Thursday, January 29, 2009

My cool new kitchen machine!

A few weeks ago my old trusty Philips food mixer died, no doubt from burn-out after a particularly strenuous Christmas and New Year which saw a lot of baking, particularly for the New Year's Eve party we held here at home - see that post for more!

Here is a photo of my cool new Kenwood - and the inaugural muffins!!

The next week when I went to make some buns/fairy cakes, the mixer gave an asthmatic wheeze as if it was trying to muster up some power, and nothing more. So after 9 years of service above and beyond the call of duty for a mere 250watt machine, it had given up the ghost. I had bought it after an earlier (wedding present then 18 years old!) Philips machine mixer attachment suffered meltdown when I left it unattended during bread-making - something the manual warns against but whoever takes notice of the manual until it's too late! A bit of brand loyalty mixed with pragmatism as the dough hooks and whisks from the old machine fitted the new one, worked well with multitasking and keeping down the washing up frequency during a bakeathon!

This time I decided to shop around and get something that would hopefully give many years of faithful service, and when I saw this Kenwood Kenmix 650 in the shop marked down by 15% in these recessionary times, I was hooked. It was about double what I'd originally budgeted for a mixer, but the fact that it was a half dozen machines in one powerful 650 watt motor was enough to convince me anything else would have been a false economy. It has a lot of bells and whistles: namely a blender jug for smoothies and soups, a juicer for apples and other hard fruit and veg, and a citrus juicer; a food processor with some lethal blades and a number of grater and slicing discs that need careful handling or diced and grated finger could have a "bit" part in my next culinary creation!

Back to what I can now do with this wonder machine - I was so busy at work I didn't have the energy to bake during the week so last weekend I made some muffins. I had never made muffins until recently, as I always had the idea they were waayyy more fattening and unhealthy than my default surefire cake - fairy cakes. I am sure these are called other names like cupcakes, but in Ireland they tend to be called fairy cakes or queen cakes. In any case they are all basic Victoria Sponge mix - the same proportions of 4-4-4-2. That's 4ozs each of Flour (self-raising or plain with baking powder), sugar and butter, and 2 eggs. Vanilla or dessicated coconut or ground almonds or lemon or orange zest are all options to jazz them up in different ways!

I often make fairy cakes at 11 o'clock at night on a whim if I want some tasty buns hot out of the oven, there is little to beat them! Then they can be iced or filled with jam and cream or whatever you wish. I often ice them and sprinkle with hundreds and thousands "sprinklies" like here!
I will post the recipe for the muffins I made in my next post, as this is long enough. I made two different types, Blueberry, and Chocolate Chip. They keep for days in an airtight tin, though if you have visitors they won't last daylight! The recipe is from a book called Baking (now there's a surprise!) by Martha Day, which is full of lovely bread and cakes and cookies. I have varied the recipe and it is very adaptable. So I hope you all enjoy them. I got a muffin baking tin, which is deeper than a bun tin, and I get muffin paper cases for convenience, though they aren't essential if you use a non-stick tin.


FoodFunFarmLife said...

Congratulations on your lovely new mixer ! Your baked goods look delicious, too :) Glad that you managed to load the award onto your blog !

The Cherry Tree Farm said...

Wow! Your mixer is smashing! It looks like something from a futuristic kitchen! And I'm delighted to finally know what "fairy cakes" are. I've come across them in English/Irish books before (mentioned as part of the story) but never known what that really meant. I would, indeed, call them cupcakes -- but fairy or queen cakes is way more fun (sometimes American names for things are SO boring!).

So the 4-4-4-2 way to remember them is great ... do I take it you just cut in the butter to the flour/sugar and then mix in the eggs? No other liquid? How long do you bake them? I'm craving them right now ...


Catherine said...

Thanks for the kind comments! LYNDA, I haven't been doing much with the new machine as I have been too busy with work and meetings in Dublin, maybe this weekend i might get down to Anzac cookies, and some soda bread.
KRISTIN - great to see you have a blog now and I took the liberty of following it- please reciprocate with mine if you wish! I love the photos of your kids. As for the mixer - it is pretty cool isn't it? Never thought I'd wax lyrical over a machine - my inner feminist would be horrified!
Glad to have bridged the cultural/linguistic divide about the fairy cakes. I guess cupcakes is just so literal!
What I do is put everything in the mixer bowl - the butter should be quite soft, not melted or you have ghee and it can curdle the eggs, but soft. If too stiff after adding the eggs a few tablespoons of hot water can be added to get a dropping consistency, not runny but you want to be able to drop spoonfuls into the baking cases - I use paper cases for convenience. I will post a recipe. bake for 15 mins or so till golden brown in hot oven - 190 deg. centigrade, 375 deg. fahreheit.Thanks for the interest!

CouponAlbum said...

Oh!! You got really wonderful food mixer for your kitchen!! It seems to be very useful and helpful in making delicious muffins!!