Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

The raspberries have continued to come in so I’ve rl3 been working through some baking options. Considering how happy we were with the apple fritter loaf recipe from Tess, I thought it was worthwhile to see if it could be adapted to use the raspberries. Since I didn’t want to kill their flavour with the cinnamon, we decided to go with chocolate. Once they are cooked raspberries can be a bit more bitter than apples so I also needed to increase the sugar just a little. What I went with was around a tablespoon of hot chocolate powder and a bit of the ground vanilla in addition to listed sugar. That seemed to give us the chocolate accent we wanted as well as balancing the sweetness a bit better. I also added a teaspoon of corn starch too. The berries were a bit more liquid than apples and the cornstarch thickens them just enough. (sugar, cornstarch and chocolate were mixed together, then added to the fruit) We cooked it around 10 minutes longer and that made sure it was fully done, all the way through. (the parchment paper liner is also pretty necessary) The raspberry flavour came through strong and clear, but they weren’t bitter or overpowering and were a good balance to the vanilla cake that makes up the bulk of the loaf. I did go a bit overboard with the amount of raspberries on the first attempt and had a catastrophic structural failure. (4 cups was too many) At least it tasted good, but staying around or under, 2 cups of the raspberry mixture is needed if you want a loaf instead of a baked pudding. We like lots of raspberry, but sticking to 1 to 11/2 cups of fruit would make the chocolate more noticeable and the loaf much more solid. I also stuck with the vanilla cream glaze, but you could drizzle the top with melted chocolate to increase the chocolate aspect.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

It’s been a good year for quite a number of fruits and a local friend fritloaf let us pick a bunch of apples from their feral tree. The tree is huge and probably in the 100 to 150 year range. The apples, while small and with the typical deformations of untreated fruit, are clearly Macintosh’s, or closely related. I chopped up a few for a trial run with them and made this apple fritter loaf. It was a quick and easy recipe and does satisfy the fall apple fritter cravings. I didn’t do much modifying for this, the first attempt, but did add some vanilla bean powder to both the loaf fritslice and the glaze and was happy with the depth it gave to the flavour. I also went with a parchment paper liner and I think it helped the crust as well as making sure the whole thing came cleanly out of the pan. I’d like try it again with a higher quality cinnamon, since I just used the generic stuff we have on hand.

Read Full Post »

This year, with the holiday baking, I mostly stuck to tried and true winners.

Cookie birdhouses, Dec 2012

Cookie birdhouses, Dec 2012

There was only one really new thing on the treat plate this season. Dad and I used to construct a gingerbread church every Christmas, growing up. I had meant to try and make it again, a few years ago but both the cookie dough recipe and the building pattern have been lost. I’ve tried a few other recipes, over the years, but never found one that really worked for me. With any type of house construction, you need a dough that will cut clean and stay in shape, so the pieces will fit properly and I wanted one that also tasted good! I’ve been reading “Bake at 350” for a while now and tried her regular sugar cookie recipe early in the year. It was an excellent cut-out cookie! Tasty, easy to work with and held it’s shape when cooked. Even though it was a winner, I still wanted something a bit more seasonal. When she posted a spiced sugar cookie last month, I decided to try it. Since I wanted something for gifts, I designed a simple, small birdhouse. They are only about 8” high, so quite petite. The dough was great to work with, but I did cheat and doubled the called for amounts of spice since I wanted it to have a bit more flavour. I was able to get four houses per batch of dough. It cooked clean and they went together quite easily. I kept the decoration simple as well and stuck to white royal icing. The fronts were done first, the houses assembled and then the roofs were done. For ease of transport and display they were set on a foil-wrapped square of cardboard and then wrapped in cellophane with a bit of curling ribbon. I was really satisfied with the final product and people seemed happy to receive them!

Read Full Post »

Making muffins

I just got introduced to a new food blog, Bake at 350I haven’t had much of a chance to go through the archives but had to try a recently posted recipe. Nutella-filled Banana muffins. It was one of the first entries I’d read there and it grabbed me, partially because we happened to have both some over-ripe bananas and Nutella on hand. I went ahead and made up a batch. It was a bit more work than my usual banana loaf recipe, but not much more and the instructions and recipe were both clear and easy to follow. I had to make a couple of minor modifications, mace replaced the nutmeg, since we didn’t have any on hand and they are pretty close. I also substituted brown sugar for half of the called-for white. (that was done simply because I really like using them both in banana dishes) I also used standard muffin liners rather than the pretty, folded parchment ones pictured on her site. They smelled great while baking and we all tried one, while they were still warm. I had intended to add the Nutella, but as either a result of our personal tastes or the swap of mace for nutmeg, none of us liked it on them so they stayed plain. The finished product is much more of what I would call a cupcake than a muffin, since they are quite sweet and rich without any need for icing. They made a lovely treat and the recipe got immediately put into the “keeper” file!

Read Full Post »

zucchini bread

In the planting this year we decided to add a few zucchini plants

zucchini bread

to the mix. They were put in near the middle of the two properties and to the west of the parking lot. We actually have planted a blueberry patch there as well, but the shrubs are small enough this year that there was room for the zucchini plants, and a few other squashes. (and likely next year too, since the blueberries are not fast growers) While we put in a number of plants, we haven’t been drowning in produce, mainly due to the drought conditions. (also we like eating the little ones) There have been a few that we missed picking when they were small so I broke out a recipe for zucchini bread that I hadn’t made for a really long time. It’s tasty and easy to make but is one of those things where you use if you’re growing them yourself, or you have friends who aren’t properly monitoring their own crops since it works well with the oversized fruits. I took the easy way out and used the food processor to get a nice even grate in a couple of minutes. This recipe is lightly spiced with cinnamon and mace and the zucchini doesn’t add any noticeable flavor but gives it a really rich and moist texture. I baked the batter in our mini-loaf pans, rather than the full-sized ones so they are more of a mix between a large muffin size and a full loaf. It makes them easier to share!

Read Full Post »

I realized that by taking a nice break for the holidays I never did get around

soda cracker bark with orange chocolate

to posting some more photos from the seasonal goodies! This is a bark that has been the Christmas treat of my friend D for a long time. It’s always being amazingly tasty and he kept resisting my attempts to weasel the recipe from him for years. For some reason, he finally caved and shared so this year we made a couple of batches. It’s simple enough, a thick caramel is cooked on the stove and then poured over a layer of unsalted soda crackers. (yes, soda crackers, they give at wonderful flakiness and cut the sweetness) The whole thing is popped into a pre-heated oven for a couple of minutes. When it comes out you cover with a layer of chocolate chips followed by white chocolate ones. Each layer is allowed to melt and then smoothed out over the whole surface. You can top it off with things like chopped nuts or broken candy canes. This is a picture of the second group where we mixed things up a bit. (me, changing a recipe, what a shock) The chocolate layer is Lindt’s “Intense” chocolate orange and then we sprinkled it with some of the extra candied peel chunks and toasted sliced almonds. It was almost too good to give away but we did share.

Read Full Post »

squash “noodles”

We had a few plants not make it through the spring, The biggest ones being the roses

black bean chicken with spaghetti squash

in the front of the house. (downy mildew got them) A friend gave us some mystery plants to fill in the space this year. (we’ll put in something more permanent next year ) We knew they were some member of the squash family, but not sure what specific type. It turned out that they were spaghetti squash and we ended up with about six good sized ones. I’d never really tried it, except for a couple of bad experiences in restaurants so we had low expectations. We cut into one and cooked it in the microwave. What came out was impressive. A pale yellow, perfectly textured “noodle” that tasted lightly seasoned with a hint of squash aroma. After the first round I wanted to try using it like a real noodle and made a batch of black bean chicken with broccoli and mushrooms. The strong, salty flavor of the sauce was a perfect match to the veggie “noodles”. The texture was solid enough to work well and have an excellent mouth feel. I think we’ll try and make room next year for a few more plants since we’ve been so happy with trading in our pasta for squash!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: