Top With Cinnamon
This is something completely new – I am going to tell you about a cook book! First of all, I’d like to thank Hardie Grant Books for this wonderful opportunity, second – even artists have to feed their bodies, right?
Well, if you’re too busy to stop working on your creative projects right now, do come back later, if only to collect two brilliant recipes.
Top with Cinnamon by Izy Hossack is a good example of how writing a blog can be turned into something tangible – something that is available to even bigger audience, something that will teach new stuff and even inspire to change habits – a book that’s a collection of the best blogging moments and revelations.
Izy was only fifteen when she “discovered the wonderful world of food blogging” and “really started to want to learn more about food”. Mind you, even then she wasn’t a novice – growing up with “two food-loving parents” must have had an impact. I guess now she can be called a real expert and she’s only eighteen!
The very beginning was a bit awkward – choosing a name for the blog, learning how to photograph food and… finding a way to justify cooking and baking. There had to be balance and this balance has been transferred to Izy’s book – “from the wholesome and heary to the downright indulgent”.
I loved that this book offers ideas for nourishing breakfasts, fresh sides, filling mains and irresistible sweet snacks and desserts. The recipes are original, always introduced with a short story that sometimes offers even more preparing or serving options. Beautiful photographs will definitely inspire to cook or bake and the last chapter of “how to’s” will teach a few great tricks.
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2 RECIPES from Top with Cinnamon by Izy Hossack
Baked Rosemary Polenta Chips (MAKES ABOUT 20 CHIPS)
“Polenta chips are for the times when you want to make oven fries but don’t have any potatoes. They aren’t a replacement for potatoes; don’t worry friends, I’m not trying to remove the beloved chip from your life. They are, however, much more exciting in terms of texture and flavour potential. Take a regular fry: what can you do? You can season it with spices or herbs. That’s about it. Take a polenta chip, however, and you have access to the actual ‘meat’ so to speak, of the chip. You can mix different cheeses or purees into the polenta while you cook it (sweet potato polenta is major) and also get whatever herbs or spices you want in there. You then get the opportunity to season the outer layer, too. Double flavour layers call for double exclamation marks!! I’ve gone and put garlic, ricotta and Parmesan IN the polenta, and then rosemary and truffle salt ON it. What results is the perfect harmony of mega flavour and cheesy, soft centre encased by a crisp outer layer.”
125 ml (4 fl oz/. ½ cup) milk
1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced
160 g (5 ½ oz/1 cup) dry polenta
1 tbsp unsalted butter
100 g (3. oz/. cup) ricotta
2 tbsp grated Parmesan
a large pinch of salt
1 tsp dried rosemary
a large pinch of truffle salt or regular salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil
“In a large pan bring 500 ml (17 fl oz/ 2 cups) water, the milk and the garlic to the boil over a medium heat. Gradually add the polenta, while stirring, until thickened (it can take anywhere between 5 and 15 minutes). Then stir in the butter, ricotta, Parmesan and salt.
Spread the mixture on a foil-lined baking tray in a layer roughly 1 cm (1½ in) thick. Sprinkle with the rosemary and salt, pressing it gently into the surface with your hands. Chill until set, roughly 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6). Once set, cut the polenta into 1 cm (1½ in) wide strips. Grease the lined baking tray with a little oil and then spread the polenta chips on top. Drizzle or spray the chips with oil too, and bake for 20–30 minutes, until golden brown, flipping them over halfway through the baking time.”
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Grilled Fruit with Salted Brown Sugar (MAKES 6)
“As soon as peaches are finally cheap in the markets, no one can stop me eating as many of them as humanly possible. I will eat them for breakfast, post-cycle snack, dessert … and also just any time I see a peach. When I visited a market in Paris last year the people at the stalls were offering slices of peach just for looking at the fruit. I left the market having eaten a lot of free peach slices, and with a paper bag full of them. Most of the time you don’t get to ‘try before you buy’ and can end up with unripe or just utterly flavourless fruit. This can be helped by grilling the peaches, which makes them tender and juicy. The dark brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon in this recipe caramelise on the fruit and their flavours mingle together in the baking tray. Top with some tangy creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream and you’ll have the epitome of summer in a dessert.”
4 ½ tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp flaky salt
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
3 tbsp demerara (raw) sugar
to serve: pecans, flaked coconut and creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream
“Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6). Halve the peaches and remove the stones. Halve the bananas lengthways (still in their skins). Place the halved fruit cut-side up on a large baking tray with a deep edge.
In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, vanilla extract, salt and cinnamon. Divide the mixture between the fruits, spreading it over the cut surfaces, then cook in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and use a spoon to baste the fruit with any juice that has pooled in the tray. Sprinkle the fruit with the demerara sugar. Heat the grill to its highest setting.
Grill the fruit for 2–5 minutes, watching closely until the sugar is caramelised. Serve with pecans, flaked coconut and creme fraiche or ice cream.”
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P.S. I baked Izy’s Dutch apple cake on Saturday. It disappeared within a few hours!
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Top with Cinnamon by Izy Hossack (Hardie Grant)