Thursday, 26 February 2009

Full Steam Ahead

Steamed food has always appealed to me. Why wouldn't it? Steaming brings out the best flavour and locks in nutrients of most ingredients more than any other cooking method. Though this does not mean that I'm willing to do it often. All the hassle of dragging out all the cooking utensils from cupboards for steaming is something I could do without. And not only that, as a consequence of this I will expectedly have a mountain of pots, pans, steamer basket, etc. I have to wash up. I'm not a happy bunny after all that palaver.

But the kitchen gods must be smiling on me when Matt of Miele was kind enough to give me a more relaxing way of steaming by way of lending me a steam oven for a trial period. Now it's my new best friend. I just love the ease of cooking in it whereas, like what I said before, I used to dread the prospect of steaming. With the Miele steam oven all I have to do is fill up the water jug on its side, set the temperature and timer and away it goes. No fiddling with water laden pots, nor making the lid as tight fitting as possible, or worrying about running out of water (it warns you if water is running low). Once set-up, I shut the door and wait for it to chime indicating end of cooking time. I was quite surprised with the speed it reaches the usual cooking temperature of 100°C or the time it takes to cook things. It's almost like a microwave. I even defrosted frozen chicken in it with very good results. My kids love reheating food frequently using it in favour of our microwave oven.

My first foray in it of course is by way of dessert - steamed puddings of course. All the steamed puddings I have in my arsenal of recipes in this blog I tested in this steam oven. They all came out perfectly. The steamed treacle pudding that I've been wanting to do since time immemorial was the first one I cooked in it. Flavours from Delia Smith's recipe that I adapted were really really addictive that I have to steam one for the second time! It's best eaten with generous lashing of warm custard. I promise you it tastes so much better than how it looks in my picture below. Fantastically great comfort pudding on a winter's night. Do try it - both the steam oven and the treacle pudding.

Steamed Treacle Pudding

3 Tbsp golden syrup
175 g  self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
165 g  [2/3 cup] butter - softened
175 g  soft light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 Tbsp black treacle
3 Tbsp warmed golden syrup (optional) - extra for topping
greaseproof baking paper
aluminium foil
  1. Butter well a 1.2 liter (2 pints) pudding basin. Pour the golden syrup in the bottom of the basin. Set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix the flour and baking powder.
  3. Add all the other ingredients and beat with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes or until smooth and well combined.
  4. Pour into the pudding basin. Smooth and level the top with the back of a spoon.
  5. Measure the baking paper and foil into a size of about 16-inch x 12-inch. Put the foil on top of the baking paper. Fold and make a pleat in the centre.
  6. Place this on top of the pudding basin with the foil side up. Pull it down the side of the basin and tie with a string or rubber band. Trim the excess baking paper and foil all around.
  7. Steam for 2 hours.
  8. Using a butter knife, loosen the pudding all around the side. Invert into a warmed plate. Pour the extra golden syrup on top (if using). Serve with custard or creme fraiche.

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