Monday, April 15, 2013

Herb salt

I'll be honest with you: I barely ever cook. I enjoy baking sweet things a lot more. Yet I ALWAYS use salt when I cook. Now I know the importance of salt, I won't stop using it either. Still I can get bored of salt. Whether it's table salt or coarse sea salt: at some point it's all just salt, so I like to add flavored salts to my food occasionally. I bought my mom a big jar of Parmesan Cheese & Basil salt a while ago. I remember we had rosemary salt at some point and salt with peppers along with some other flavored salts I can't remember. In stores I'll get stuck at the shelf with flavored salts and consider buying them all, but doesn't everyone?

There's one thing better than buying all different kinds of flavor salts in cute jars and that is making it yourself! And the one thing that can top that is making your own herb salt, putting it into cute jars and giving it away to friends, so you can show off  be nice!

Herb salt
Makes 1/2 cup - adapted from Allrecipes

1/4 cup coarse salt
handful fresh parsley (10 grams)
1/4 cup fine salt

1. Take a food processor (or mini chopper) and dump the parsley with the coarse salt in there. Make sure the parsley is not wet, so if you want to wash the herbs make sure to dab them dry with tissues. Pulse the food processor several times until you have a finer green salt, which looks like the end result but a tiny bit darker.
2. Add the fine salt to the food processor and pulse another time or two until it's mixed with the rest.
3. Leave to dry on a plate for an hour or so. 
4. Put it in a cute small jar and use it over salads, sandwiches, pastas, chicken and anywhere else you'd use salt.

Of course don't forget to try out all the other herbs. Rosemary and salt is a wonderful combination. Basil would be perfect as well. You can add 2-4 spoons of grated Parmesan cheese for the Parmesan Cheese & Basil salt combination. Or add a spoonful of pepper for a bit of extra spice. Really all you have to do once you have the salt is go into a grocery store and let your imagination run wild while you stare at herbs.

Another thing I have to add: keep the expiry date in mind. Although salt is a well-known preservative and it will keep your fresh herbs fine for quite a while, you're still working with fresh herbs. My jars of herb salt haven't lived long enough to see their expiry date, but I can confidently tell you you can keep your herb salt for several weeks. Perhaps the herb will dry out in the jar and you'll be able to keep it for a year or more.

Enjoy your new salty addition to the kitchen! In case you're intrigued by the third bowl on the picture: right next to the sea salt and the herb salt there's a delicious spice rub I will be posting soon.

Mocha Cupcakes - the deadly way

I have a little confession. I have no clue of what day it is, I don't know what to do on a daily basis and I have been slacking horribly on trying to find a job. I've done a little work around the house, but other than that I've just been killing everyone's diets by cooking and baking whenever I felt for it in search of perfect recipes and kitchen classics. These horribly delicious cupcakes keep popping out of my oven. They faithfully refuse to go wrong and when topped with cream, caramel and chocolate they scream for attention. "Eat me! Eat me!" Ah, I can almost taste the fluffy moist cake with the sweet frosting and feel the sticky caramel on my fingers. I'll have to resist licking my fingers while I stare at the cupcakes again.

Mocha Cupcakes
Yields 12 cupcakes

225 grams flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
25 grams cocoa
150 grams butter
300 grams caster sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon mocha essence or paste
250 ml milk

1. Sift the flour together with the baking soda and cocoa.
2. Cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Beat the eggs through the butter one at a time and mix until smooth in between.
4. Add the mocha paste and mix again.
5. Beat the milk and flour through the batter alternately, in about 3 additions each.
6. Bake in a preheated oven of 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 12-15 minutes.
7. To decorate, use frosting in an icing bag to make a big swirl and top it with caramel sauce and chocolate shavings. For my cupcakes I used a store-bought vanilla cream frosting.

I apologize to everyone who lives in my house and is on a diet (which is basically everyone). Please look forward to even more sweet treats in the future, while I continue to fail at finding a job. Look on the bright side: I've been looking up how to make us more healthy treats! I'm sure I'll get to making those soon after I make some fruitcakes, Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte and something that involves the jar of caramel sauce I have left.

Thank you for having me and my deadly cupcakes!