Monday, January 24, 2011

A Foody Psychology Post

Fast food is a bigger industry now than it ever was, despite the sometimes questionable quality of this food. We all know the health risks associated with eating too much of this type of food (I'm fairly sure most of us have seen Supersize Me) but it's also common knowledge that once in a while isn't going to hurt you. If I come off sounding preachy I'm really sorry, I don't mean to. I really do think that while eating it 5 times a week is a really bad idea once in a while will do you no harm :). 

But why has this food reached and maintained this level of popularity? Among other things it gives into our love of instant gratification. All of us love getting instant reward; it makes us feel good. But when we don't get the same gratification from other things we can become impatient. So, does exposure to fast food actually affect our impatience?

This research was conducted by two researchers in the University of Toronto and they found that exposure to fast food, even incidental exposure actually can make us more impatient.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Adventures into Home-made Pizza and a Spicy Pizza Sauce Recipe

Exams are over, and a certain someone made it into round 2 of a certain competition!!! So in order to celebrate we decided to do something a bit different and make home made pizza :) Unfortunately, I can't eat regular pizza so I had to modify a regular dough recipe to make it wholewheat. Luckily for me, a certain someone was really understanding about that :). I wasn't sure how it would turn out since the last time I made pizza dough was around 8 years ago and that was regular white dough. As it turns out the recipe still needs tweaking, so unfortunately I won't be posting it up today :( It turned out way too doughey and by the time it had cooked through the cheese was VERY browned. It was also way more puffed up that I expected so I'll have to do some more experimentation but I promise It will be up here ASAP!

After a discussion about toppings we decided to make it a bit of hotch-potch kitchen sink pizza with loads different toppings including home made chicken tikka. So, while Ethan was off testing his entry for the next round of RPGSS I set to work making the dough, sauce and chicken! 

The chicken tikka recipe is a staple of my student diet. It works really well with lemon scented rice or even just plain rice and makes a YUMMY sandwich! It has just the right balance of spices to satisfy my spice craving but feel free to mess with the ratios until you find your perfect balance ^^ (Scroll down for recipe).

I decided to make the pizza sauce slightly spicy to match with the chicken. I think next time I'll go with herbs rather than chilli and make a non spicy pizza and compare the two. I also used tonnes of garlic because I loooooooove garlic! But again, feel free to use as much or as little as possible (Scroll down for recipe)

So after 2 hours and 45 minutes of work (I never expected it to take that long) it was FINALLY time to put the whole thing together and add the yummy toppings :D. I went with home made chicken tikka, pineapple and mushrooms and Ethan chose pepperoni, chicken tikka and pineapple. We piled 'em high and bunged it in the oven and 30 minutes later we had fresh pizza on our plates :). 

Aside from the dough problems the pizza turned out really yummy and we'll definitely be making it again :D!

Chicken Tikka 

(Serves 2)

2 chicken breasts
3 tbsps plain yoghurt (I omitted this for the pizza and made it a dry marinade)
2 tsps tumeric
3 tsps cumin
2 tsps garam masala
1 tsp hot chilli powder
2 tsp coriander leaves
1 tbsp lemon juice

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and add the chicken breasts. 
Toss the chicken to make sure it's coated all over
Marinade for at least 3 hours
Preheat over to 160 degrees C and cook chicken for 25-30 minutes

Pizza Sauce

(Makes enough for 1 12" pizza)

3 cloves of garlic
tin of tomatoes
1/4 - 1/2 tsp hot chilli powder
olive oil
2 tbsp tomato puree

Saute the garlic and chilli powder in the oil for 45 seconds
Add the tomatoes and puree and reduce heat to a gentle simmer for 20 mins
Blend until smooth


If you already have a tried and tested pizza dough recipe I would DEFINITELY recommend having a co-op pizza night. Gather the girls, the lads, the boyfriend, the girlfriend, the family, whoever you feel like. Get messy making dough, throw flour at eachother, pile the toppings high and have fun with it :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Oatmeal Raisin cookies

I have to thank Ethan for putting me on to the idea of making these many moons ago. It had never even crossed my mind to make them and now I've made them twice in the same week (they're pretty popular with my room-mates). I've been fiddling with the original recipe a bit by substituting some of the white flour for wholewheat. I think because of this they turned out possible a little bit sconey but hey, they're still full of oaty raisiney cinnamony goodness...-y :P Also, the wholewheat flour makes them dense and really satisfying :D 

I've stuck the substitutions for not using the wholewheat flour down the end in case that's more your thing :)

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Makes around 15 depending on what size you like them

200g wholewheat flour
100g plain flour (+2 handfulls if necessary)
1/2 tsp baking powder
170g melted butter
200g light brown sugar
1tsp cinnamon
2 tsps vanilla essence
2 eggs
130g oats
180g raisins

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C
Soak the raisins in water with 1 tsp of the vanilla essence (this will make them plump up and be wonderfully juicy)
Combine the flours and baking powder in a medium bowl
Mix butter and sugar in a bigger bowl until well blended
Add cinnamon, remaining vanilla essence and eggs and beat until creamy
Add the flour mix and beat until just combined
Add in oats and raising and mix until just combined
Bake for 13-15 mins (edges should be slightly brown and centres slightly soft)

Cool on a wire rack (or dive straight in) :)

Enjoy x

(If you don't want to use the wholewheat flour then 250g of plain flour should be used instead of the combination)

My first interesting psych post *fanfare*

Ok, so this is an article I came across while researching for thesis. I know it's not about food but the only food related one I came across was this one and to be honest I'm not so sure reading about obesity will sit well with people on lunch.

The article was published in the Journal of Research in Personality and is all about the idea that seeking out wealth and fame are dead ends, psychologically speaking. It basically suggests that despite the fact they are doing well, individuals who actively seek out wealth, fame etc., experience more negative emotions like shame and anger. On the other hand, people who value personal growth, close relationships, community involvement, and physical health are more satisfied as they have success in those areas than those who mean material successes. They tend to have more positive feelings toward themselves.
I definitely recommend reading the article itself, it's really interesting

Recipe soon, I promise x

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Orange and Almond Muffins

This recipe was adapted from an orange muffin recipe I got from a friend. I had ground almonds in the press and my Mum LOVES the combination of orange and almonds so I set to work.

These muffins are light but filling and the ground almonds give them an extra, earthy sweetness.

Orange and Almond Muffins (Makes 12)

  • 120g softened unsalted butter
  • 160g caster sugar
  • 160g + 1 handful self-raising flour
  • 25g + 1 handful ground almonds
  • 125mls orange juice
  • 1tsp almond essence
  • 2 eggs
  • zest of 1 orange
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 
Add the eggs, flour, ground almonds and orange juice and beat until just combined
Add orange rind and almond essence and mix until smooth and pale

Divide into cases and bake for 20 mins, until golden. Cool completely on a wire rack (or dig in while warm). We did the latter and I don't think there was any left to cool :P

Hello blogosphere

Hi, I'm really new to this whole blogging thing so I may take a while to get any good at it. I figure introducing myself is a good start so here goes *deep breath and imagine everyone in their underwear*

My name is Kate and I looooove to bake :) In fact I considered calling this blog Kate's Cakes but after some thought I decided I'd combine my passion for all things sweet with my passion for all things psychological, hence Baking on the Brain. Other contenders for the title included Pavlovian Kitchen, A Psychologist Wears an Apron and Someone's in the Kitchen with Freud :P

As you may have guessed by now I'm a psych student and as a result I may randomly post up interesting psychology facts (especially if they're about food)!!! But aside from loving all things neural, I also love all things foody! I love to bake and while I do end up scraping my experimental concoctions into the bin the odd time, the majority of my baking adventures turn out fairly well (or so I'm told). I say adventures because I tend to be quite experimental and never follow recipes exactly (which wrecks my Mum's head). As a result I've ended up with some 'interesting' outcomes and some that were just plain yummy!

I hope you enjoy my recipes and remember, if you decide to experiment with anything I post, by adding or taking away certain things, please let me know how it turns out so I can try your version :D

Happy baking x