Battenberg Cake

battenbergcake

April 30, 1884: The Wedding Day of Princess Victoria and Prince Louis of Battenberg

As marriage sponsors at church, we are always intrigued with foods related to weddings. Battenberg Cake, with its distinctive checkered pattern and quilt-like markings, has a royal wedding history. It was reputedly created in honor of the German Prince Louis of Battenberg and Princess Victoria of Hesse-Darmstadt when they were married on April 30, 1884. The princess is the granddaughter of Queen Victoria of England. Though the royal groom was born in Austria and raised in Germany, the family name eventually became Anglicized from Battenburg (Battenberg) to Mountbatten to disassociate with the Nazis during the World War. The cake itself seems to represent the alliance (marriage) between Germany and England with the two colors!

Battenberg Cake is a terrific teatime treat. Try this royal recipe for bridal showers, nuptial celebrations and the anniversary of the Prince and Princess of Battenberg.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 box pound cake mix (we used Betty Crocker brand)
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • red food coloring
  • yellow food coloring
  • apricot jam
  • 2 packages marzipan

Directions

Prepare the pound cake mix according to the directions on the box. In a mixing bowl, combine the pound cake mix with the butter, eggs and milk. Add the almond extract.

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Mix until the batter is smooth. Divide the batter equally in two bowls. Tint one with red food coloring and stir until the batter is pink. Tint the other with yellow food coloring and mix well. Pour each into two separate, same-sized greased loaf pans.

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Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 35-45 minutes, testing the cakes for doneness. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Trim off the brown edges from the four sides of the cake.

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Level out the tops. Stack one cake on top of the other. Slice down the middle to create long, rectangular strips of cake.

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Stir the apricot jam in a small bowl until smooth. Generously spread the jam on one side of the cake strip. Attach an opposite colored cake strip to the side. Brush more jam on the top of the two cake strips. Repeat with the other cake strips, topping them with opposite colors. Brush all crumbs away and spread more jam on the sides, including the top and bottom of the cake.

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Knead the marzipan to soften. Roll out on a clean, flat surface to about 1/8 inch thick. Keep rolling until the size is large enough to cover the sides of the cake. Brush apricot jam on the marzipan. Carefully wrap the marzipan around the cake.

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Trim off the excess marzipan. Make a neat seam on the bottom and overlap the edges. Turn the cake around and make light criss-cross markings on the top. Chill until the marzipan and jam are set (around 15-30 minutes). Slice off the ends to make the cake look neat and finished. Cut ¾-inch thick portions and serve during tea time.

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Notes

  • In lieu of the apricot jam, a thin layer of vanilla frosting may be used to “glue” the cake strips together.
  • Search our blog for other royalty-inspired recipes.

Saltimbocca alla Romana

saltimbocca alla romana

April 21: Birthday of Rome (753 BC)

We were fortunate to have visited Rome, Italy, twice, in our lifetime (so far!). The first time was for Highlander’s 50th birthday (April 20) and the second time was for a family vacation to visit Islander’s brother at his congregation’s headquarters where we got to meet his Superior General and other brothers and sisters from around the world serving in God’s missions.

While in Rome, Islander did as the Romans probably do and ate veal cutlets with prosciutto and sage. The tender beef combined with the salty and earthy flavors were a “jump in the mouth” (the literal translation of “saltimbocca”). We ate different delicious foods in Italy, occasionally treat ourselves at Italian-American restaurants on “date nights” and “month-aversaries” and sometimes cook Italian dishes and post the recipes on our blog.

To celebrate the birthday of Rome, we made Saltimbocca alla Romana. Try this tasty recipe and experience the flavors of Italy jumping in your mouth!

Recipe

(Adapted from Italian Chef)

Ingredients

  • 6 veal slices for scallopini
  • 6 sage leaves
  • 6 slices prosciutto
  • flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup dry white wine

Directions

Use a meat tenderizer to pound the veal into thin pieces. Place a sage leaf on top of each veal slice. Cover each with prosciutto.

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In a flat dish, combine the flour with salt and pepper. Dredge both sides of the veal in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess. In a large skillet, melt the butter and olive oil. Slip the veal slices prosciutto side down into the skillet and cook on medium high heat until brown on one side. Flip to veal slices and brown on the other side. Transfer the veal to warming plate lined with paper towels to absorb the grease.

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In the same skillet, mix a tablespoonful of the seasoned flour into the meat drippings/grease to make a roux. Stir in the chicken broth and white wine and heat until thickened (may stir in another tablespoonful of seasoned flour, if necessary). Serve the veal hot and spoon the gravy over it. This veal meal is perfect with pasta!

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Notes

  • Avoid overcooking the veal or it will be tough to chew.
  • Make Marsala Veal for a similar dish to Saltimbocca alla Romana. Both Italian dishes have a flour coating and are served with a wine-based gravy.
  • Search our blog for more Italian recipes.

 

Animal Cracker/Cookie Pie

April 18: Animal Crackers Birthday

Animal crackers and cookies were among our favorite childhood snacks. Even now as adults, we still light up like little kids when we find a box of Barnum’s stuffed in our Christmas stockings or open one up as an extra birthday preview present (you know—the prelude to the main gift).

We wanted to nosh on some nostalgia in celebration of Animal Crackers Birthday by making an animal cracker/cookie pie. The pie crust substitutes graham crackers for animal crackers. The filling is frozen pink-lemonade ice cream to match the colors of the animal cookies, although any flavor is good (guava, strawberry, raspberry, etc.). We also decorated the pink pie with white whipped cream swirls and colorful sprinkles for a final, festive touch. Animal cracker/cookie pie looks pretty for a party and is perfect for Animal Crackers Birthday.

Recipe

(Adapted from Real Food Real Kitchens)

For the animal cracker pie crust

  • 1 2/3 cup crushed animal crackers
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Directions

Crush the animal crackers (pulse in a food processor or place in plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin) into a fine powder. Place the crumbs in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the butter and honey and mix until everything comes together.

Press in a 9 or 10 inch pie plate, covering the sides and bottom well. Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from oven cool completely on a wire rack. Freeze the pie crust to make it firmer (optional).

For the pink lemonade ice cream filling

  • 3 cups vanilla ice cream
  • ½ – 1 can frozen pink lemonade juice concentrate, thawed (to taste)
  • few drops of red food coloring

Directions

In a large bowl, mix together the vanilla ice cream with the pink lemonade (½ – 1 can according to tartness and taste). Add a few drops of red food coloring to get the desired shade of pink. Spread the filling mixture into the pie crust. Cover and freeze until firm.

For the decorations

  • whipped cream
  • colorful sprinkles
  • frosted pink and white animal cookies

Directions

Swirl some whipped cream on the edges of the frozen pie (we used Wilton tip 1M and a decorator’s piping bag). Sprinkle some colorful non-pareils on the pie. Garnish with frosted pink and white animal cookies. Freeze until ready to slice and serve.

Notes

  • Learn more about the history of animal crackers from the Real Food Real Kitchens website.
  • Learn more about the history of frosted animal cookies from Mother’s Cookies brand website.
  • There are many brands of animal crackers and cookies—even chocolate flavor!

HI Cookery is 7!

Life is a gift and today is a “present”. This belief has guided us when we began our food blog back in 2010. HI Cookery, now in its seventh year, aims to feature a recipe for every day of the year—because there is something always worth celebrating, such as living another day.

This is especially true when Highlander went to the emergency room and then was taken by an ambulance to be hospitalized last summer for pulmonary embolism. This was a shock to both of us since he has been relatively healthy and there were no symptoms of the original blood clot in his leg. Hopefully, the doctors have treated him early on before he developed a deadly brain aneurysm. We are so grateful to God that Highlander is doing better now. His health still needs to be monitored but we realize just how precious life is—it is truly a gift, and getting a chance to live another day is a “present”! We ask our readers to please pray for his complete recovery.

As we have continued to “cook our way through the calendar” for the past seven years, we have finally filled in the all the days for January, February and March! We have leisurely cooked recipes randomly, but now we will be more focused on filling in the rest of the blanks of the remaining months. Tomorrow is not promised but we have scheduled some recipes to be posted already on their specific holidays.

HI Cookery is still a work in progress and we hope to live on and complete the cooking calendar. As always, thanks to everyone who have supported us in our blogging journey. Eat, drink and be merry!

Tapadh leat! Mahalo! Thanks!

Highlander and Islander

“Soylent Green” Tea Cookies

soylentgreenteacookies

April 1: Soylent Green Day and April Fools’ Day

What a coincidence that Soylent Green Day falls on April Fools’ Day. Why not fool some friends by serving them some “Soylent Green” tea cookies?!

Spoiler alert: Unlike the fictional food depicted in the film, they are not made of people but are made of matcha (Japanese green tea powder), they are not crackers but cookies and they are not mass produced at a mysterious factory but baked in small batches in a home kitchen.

Soylent Green tea cookies are sweet but have an earthy taste about them, which comes from the matcha flavor (or from its movie equivalent the “high-energy plankton gathered from the world’s ocean”). Soylent Green crackers were favored over its predecessor products, Soylent Red and Soylent Yellow. According to movie trivia, the word “soylent” comes from “soy” + “lentils”, implying that the crackers were protein-rich and nutritious. But the world’s ocean was unable to supply enough high-energy plankton to feed the masses so Soylent Green was rationed. Only human remains were a suitable substitute for the plankton-protein but this was not revealed until the film’s climax. Therefore, “Soylent Green is people!”

Have some fun on Soylent Green Day and April Fools’ Day by snacking on Soylent Green tea cookies, watching the classic movie and fooling friends with freaky food.

Recipe

(Adapted from Japanese Cooking 101)

Ingredients

  • 4 teaspoons matcha
  • ¾ cup cornstarch
  • ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon cake flour
  • ¾ cup cornstarch
  • 5 tablespoons butter, softened
  • ¼ cup granulated white sugar
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon soy milk (as in “Soylent”; the original recipe uses regular milk)

Directions

Over a large bowl, sift several times the matcha, cornstarch and cake flour until well blended. In another bowl, cream the butter with both the granulated and powdered sugars. Beat in the two egg yolks.

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Mix in the soy milk or milk. Gradually add the dry ingredients and mix until a cookie dough is formed. Cover in plastic film and refrigerate the dough for at least half an hour.

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Divide the dough in two balls. Roll out each between two sheets of waxed paper about ¼ inch thick. Use a 1-inch square cookie cutter to cut out shapes OR slice into perpendicular lines with a pizza cutter or knife to cut out squares. Place the squares on lightly greased baking sheets about an inch apart.

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Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 12-15 minutes, being careful not to overbrown the edges. Remove from the oven. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for about five minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and cool to a crisp. Serve in rations by placing a few Soylent Green tea cookies in a plastic bag.

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Notes

Chocolate Raisin Nut Clusters

chocolateraisinnutclusters

March 24: National Chocolate-Covered Raisins Day

This blog post is dedicated to our New Jersey friend Gary B. who, whenever we went out with him and his wife to dinner and a movie, would get a bucket of buttered popcorn and a box of chocolate-covered raisins to eat—even if he already had a big meal. His habit of combining popcorn and Raisinets has influenced us, as we now like to eat something sweet with our salty snacks.

We no longer live in the Garden State but still watch a matinee in the local theaters once in a while and eat popcorn and candy. On some Saturday evenings, we laze around the house and watch videos and also eat microwaved popcorn with a side of homemade chocolate raisin nut clusters. They are an amped-up version of Gary’s favorite movie theater treat.

Our double-dating days with our friends may be over because of the distance now. But Gary can still enjoy this easy recipe with his family in their huge home theater. And we can all treat ourselves to chocolate raisin nut clusters on National Chocolate-Covered Raisins Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from Food Network)

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces chocolate, dark or milk, melted
  • ½ cup peanuts, unsalted
  • ½ cup raisins

Directions

Line a cookie pan with waxed paper. Set aside. In a large bowl, melt the chocolate (over a double boiler or in the microwave according to the directions on the package). Stir until smooth. Add the peanuts.

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Stir in the raisins and coat everything well. Use a small scoop to drop a cluster on the prepared pan, leaving ample space between each candy. Refrigerate to set until firm. Peel the clusters from the waxed paper. Serve at room temperature.

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Notes

  • This is a very versatile recipe. Exchange the peanuts for pistachios, macadamias, cashews, etc. Use golden raisins or dried cranberries.
  • Instead of dropping clusters on waxed paper, spoon them into mini cupcake or candy papers for an elegant presentation.

 

Baguette

March 21: National French Bread Day

We celebrated Highlander’s birthday while touring Paris, France, many years ago. Before heading out of our hotel to go sightseeing, we ate croissants, brioches and other breads for breakfast. But our favorite was the classic baguette, a long loaf of French bread with a crusty exterior, which was served with many meals at the cafes and restaurants throughout the day. It tasted so delicious, especially when smothered with creamy French butter!

We still like to buy baguettes and fresh artisan breads at the local grocery store’s gourmet bake shop. But for our blog, we decided to try the “dough only” cycle on our bread machine and bake baguettes in our own oven because Islander has an old form pan that she wanted to use (both our bread machine and the form pan were acquired in our newlywed year).

Whether starting from scratch or taking a shortcut with a bread machine, try baking a baguette for National French Bread Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Oster)

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon softened butter (or margarine)
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons regular active dry/bread machine/quick-acting active dry yeast

Directions

In the container of the bread machine, place the water, butter or margarine, flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Set the machine to “French” and “dough only” cycles. Press start and wait until the cycle is complete.

Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into two or three balls. Place the balls in well-greased bowls or pans that are large enough for the dough to rise. Cover with a damp cloth or greased plastic wrap.

Put the dough in a warm, draft-free place, such as an oven. Let them rise until doubled in size (about 1-2 hours). Remove from the pans and roll out to form a long loaf shape. Sprinkle corn meal on a greased French bread form pan or baking sheet. Lay the dough on the pan/baking sheet, cover with a damp cloth or greased plastic wrap and return to the oven. Let them rise again until doubled in size (about another hour). Remove from the oven. Meanwhile, preheat it to 375 degrees F.

Brush a little milk on top. Cut diagonal slits on top of the dough. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven. Cool slightly before slicing.

Notes

  • We bought our baguette form pan from Wilton before the item was discontinued. However, Amazon.com sells a variety of French bread pans.
  • Search our blog for other Franco-inspired food recipes.