Have I told you yet how much I love our kitchen? As soon as the estate agent showed me the kitchen in the flat, I knew I wanted to live here. It has a great big island in the middle – nice & long so there is space for a fruit bowl and random bits, while still leaving more than enough work space. When you have the work space it’s hard not to want to use it. I’ve rediscovered my love/obsession for baking and experimenting in the kitchen. Last week I wanted to make a coffee cake – but not just any coffee cake, a danish braid coffee cake. Which led me to do a bunch of research and reading on laminated pastry and making danish dough.
Sunday I made the dough (don’t ask how much butter. It was LOTS), which was quite an exercise. First you take a couple blocks of cold butter and beat it (literally) into submission and roll out a square block of it. Then you take the dough, roll out a slightly larger square of it, and put the butter block on it. Fold it like a letter, then roll out out again. Fold again, roll. Chill in fridge, then repeat the folding, rolling, folding, rolling process again. Repeat the entire process twice more – for lots and lots of layers- hence the name laminated dough. Boy are my arms sore! You can sort of see the layers in the cross section above. I didn’t have a danish pastry recipe so used a brioche recipe instead. I think I need to do it properly next time.
After resting the dough in the fridge over night, this morning I made danishes. Lots and lots of them. My favourite kind of danish is the one with bright yellow lemon curd. I made the curd it in the microwave – and it turned out fantastic. So easy. 5 minutes total.
My first danishes were too small and I baked them too long – they ended up really crunchy, like pie crust. Nice and flaky, but not quite what I was after. I made chocolate chip ones and lemon curd ones, and glazed them with icing. Despite not being what I was after I still managed to eat four of them!
I made another one which would have been much better if I hadn’t forgotten about it in the oven. It was still tasty, not as crunchy as the first lot since I’d made the second one bigger, but definitely crunchier than I wanted. So now I’m onto attempt three with the last of the danish dough. They turned out okay, but I think I didn’t work the detrempe (the dough bit of the butter and dough laminate) properly – the finished products look sort of lumpy. I made a pain au chocolat and some more lemon curd danishes and cherry jam one. I’m sure though they’ll be fine for breakfast with a cup of coffee. Ugly but tasty. Will work on the aesthetics when I try again later in the week with a proper danish pastry recipe, once my arms have recovered from the work out on Sunday!
Seeing Meimei day to day, I know she’s growing and can see that her legs are longer and sturdier than they were, but it’s only when I look at photos that I see just how much Meimei has grown. This is how big she was when I got her just over a month ago.
And this is how big she is now! She is well on her way to catching up with Deuce in size.
I’m finally getting into a bit of a routine at home with the little monkeys. Morning we play – well, Deuce and I watch Meimei do circuits around the living room stopping here and there to play with toys and random things she finds, then running off to another toy, or running to her potty area to do a lap inside then run out again. It’s amazing how much energy she has! Then after lunch she and Deuce both nap the afternoon away while I do my knitting and catch up on emails etc. Lately the monkeys have been playing musical beds. This is the bed I got Meimei a couple weeks ago, which Deuce likes to think fits him.
I think Meimei knows how ridiculous it is for Deuce to wedge himself in there.
This is where I usually find them in the morning when I’m in the kitchen (the beds are right outside the kitchen door) when Meimei takes a break from her busy schedule racing around the living room.
Then in the afternoon, they swap. Meimei seems quite smug about getting the bigger bed. The second ring shrunk when I washed it so it’s just a wee snug for Deuce. I don’t think he minds much.
Sometimes if I’m working in the kitchen, they’ll come and join me there. This was the first time I’d seen them both lying next to each other by choice. It was in the evening while we waited for DH to come home. I missed the shot of Meimei lying sprawled on her back sleeping next to Deuce, also snoozing. DH came home just then and Meimei woke up and ran off to greet him followed closely by Deuce. I wonder if they’ll ever snuggle up next to each other? Will have to keep the camera at the ready just in case.