Tuesday, 15 December 2009

TWD: Cafe Volcano Cookies

This recipe was one that I had my doubts about.. i thought- surely a meringue cookie must need to have whipped egg whites?! I cast my doubts aside and followed Dorie's recipe and found that ah ha.. the volcano action is in the oven - where my little scoop of sticky nuts turns into hot lava and finally solid rock.. i mean cookie.

I had high hopes for these cookies to become my new 'what do I do with all these egg white leftovers' recipe- but alas neither I nor the husband thought them all that great- as further testified by the neglected jar of cookies for over a week (usually 2-3 days is max for baked goods around here!)
However perhaps its just us- the cracky, dry, chock full o nuts cookie is against are usually chewy, moist, chocolaty likes...

Monday, 14 December 2009

Wedding Cake (and Pics!)

Holy S*&T! Did We make that?!

When I was greeted with the above upon arrival.. I was thrilled! It really all came together- The cake topper I made, the Wood slice cake stand from etsy, and the just married sign my Maid of Honor made! (not to mention the fact it was there at the venue assembled- -when as I left for the ceremony it was still in my aunt's fridge)
The coordinator even found some nifty up lights which gave it a really professional feel on the night. We got so many compliments and people went bake to try and taste all the flavors with the most compliments going to the pumpkin chocolate chip cake.

It was a sweet end to a great day!

ps if you want me to post more wedding pics- just leave some comments.. (I've only got like 940 from the photographer!)

Daring Cooks: Vegetable en Croute

The 2009 Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Simone of Junglefrog Cooking. Simone chose Salmon en Croute (or alternative recipes for Beef Wellington or Vegetable en Croute) from Good Food Online.

To be honest for a vegetarian- this recipe needed alot more help! It was really bland- no seasonings in the spinach and just a few thyme leaves in the crust did not save it! I suppose I should of realized this as I was going along but i blithely followed the recipe- hoping that some stilton would be strong in the end... it wasn't- in fact the layering technique was very bad for me hardly room for any cheese- not knowing how big to cut the base circle (we were just instructed 2 circles- one 10cm larger than the other ((which seemed excessive at the end)) left me wondering. I did get it all together though and it looked pretty- it just was not very tasty... bland in fact
Oh well- lets just hope next month is more 'daring' and tastes better!

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Wedding Cake pt 2

Part 2. This thing done yet?!
After a full day of cake assembly its now crunch time = drafting in the bridesmaids. as you can see this intruded on the beer drinking time, but was necessary. Here are my to lovely L &L bridesmaids getting down on melting the chocolate for the panels. My other BM B has at this point run to the grocery to buy yet more white chocolate for our too runny ganache.

Note the stress level here I tried to tell them off for too much stirring... yes of chocolate.. i know.. but then I was one day until the wedding and the guests were coming in a few hours for the welcome dance!

So here I am putting the wood graining tool into action. Using the nicely melted chocolate and some overhead transparency films cut to size (if any one actually knows where you can buy acetate sheets I'm all ears as that's what you're supposed to use!)

First goes on the chocolate coat.. i made 2 tiers with dark grain and white background and the middle tier with white grain and dark background. After applying the chocolate grain I let them set up anywhere I can either on the counter or in the fridge..

BM B having returned from the grocery with more white chocolate I can now get to filling in these white grain with dark chocolate planks. We eventually finish and I run from the kitchen to my rehearsal which takes way longer than planned and leaves me throwing on my party clothes and arriving late to my own party! But its a good time for all.
My cake fairy, L finishes the cakes while I am rehearsing and after I explain cake stacking with straws she agrees to come back in the morning while I'm at my 9am hair/makeup appointment to put any finishing touches on them, prepare them for stacking and put them in their boxes ready for the caterer to assemble at the reception venue! Whoo!

Saturday morning I wake up before anyone else in the house (I'm at my aunties to keep with tradition of not seeing the groom..) and I investigate the chocolate planks- which I remove from their acetate and make into foil packets for each tier of the cake....

Fast forward to.. my parents and I are waiting for the carriage to come back from taking the BMs up to the chapel... when we notice that the cake is still boxed and in the fridge.... (everyone's at the chapel already but us!)
now.. i could leave this a cliffhanger.. but . i won't.. suffice to say wedding vendors and having good ones are really important!
My mom made a panicky phone call to the caterer- gave them directions (it was only 3 blocks away) and stay tuned for the final chapter to see what happened next!

Friday, 11 December 2009

The Wedding and Cake! pt one

Making your own wedding cake....
First let me say is well worth it if you normally take pride in making cake for your family, yourself, friends etc.
Also let me qualify that with its not to be undertaken lightly! As I live in UK and got married in USA I couldn't bake the layers and freeze them ahead of time as I did with the trial wedding cake this spring.. so with much pleading, photo sharing and phone calls- I convinced my mother that yes she could whip up 9 layers no problem.. which after all this is the woman responsible for my cooking/baking love- she did.. and it was fabulous! BUT.. there is still a lot more to wedding cake than baking the cake. And it does mean you have a bit less chill out time- but perhaps I would of spent that stressing about something else silly.. at least this was a real challenge to worry about!

We got married on a Saturday, so all of Friday was devoted to 'assembly'! My mom and I had make the tricky Praline Silk Meringue Buttercream on Tuesday so we would have one last thing to worry about and everything had been coming to room temperature since Thursday night.

Cue the miracle worker..the wife of one of the groomsmen- she makes my cake making hobby look like mud pies in the back yard. almost completely self taught she loves making cakes- so much so she was tickled pink to get to ditch her kids and be put to work basically all day until the evening dinner on Friday.. so here she is in action...

Here I am trying my best to reassure her that yes I do want her to stack my cakes as I know that without her ingenious leveling I will get a sloped saggy masterpiece!
Witness here our fridge full of partially completed cakes and white chocolate ganache- see those bits on the corners of the top cake.. i would have never done that... but she did and I have level layers to show for it!

Note its the bottom tier on the bottom of the fridge (a 12' chocolate butter cake with silk praline meringue buttercream) and the middle tier on top with waiting bowls of chocolate ganache and white chocolate! (a 10" vanilla buttermilk cake with homemade raspberry jam and white chocolate ganache)

At this point I thought.. hooray we're almost done.. then remembered I still had to make all the chocolate faux bois coverings.. and there was still one more tier to assemble and it needed its filling made too.. and we had a rehearsal to get to, party dresses to change into and a party to go to!

part 2 coming soon!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009


This month I've made a pledge to get back on track! It also helps that I'm in a cookie making mood and the two recipes that are cookies this month go hand in hand (this one needs 2 egg yolks- next one 2 egg whites!)

These were really simple to make and tasted just like a shortbread cookie to me. I seem to have some issues with rolling a log and not having crevasses in the middle- but thankfully that doesn't seem to have any impact on the taste! Plus putting them on our new wedding dishware seems to make everything more photogenic!

TWD:Sugar Topped Molasses Spice Cookies

Oh Dear.. it seems that November completely got away from me.. The first month of life post wedding was such a transition for me that I barely even made it into the kitchen! Let alone posting a wedding/ wedding cake recap!

somehow I did manage to make these in Novemeber- before Thanksgiving.. but then never managed to post until now!... These are delicious.. really make them now- they are very similar to a cookie I grew up making with my mom called molasses crinkles from that much loved 'cookie book'. I ran out of molasses but substituted the last of my treacle.. if anyone can tell me how those two are different.. i'm all ears cause they seem to work interchangably!

I try and get a wedding cake post up soon!

Monday, 28 September 2009

TWD: Chocolate crunched caramel tart

It was a bit hard to get this weeks TWD recipe out. Not for any sane reason, like not wanting to make the recipe.. because believe me that picture looked so good and chocolaty, I knew I wanted to make this one! The real problem you see is that this is the last week before we leave for the USA and get MARRIED! Yup so sorry if this is a kinda lonely blog for awhile but pretty much all of October is wedding and honeymoon.. so come 10/10 you know I'll be digging into my own wedding cake that me and my mom have made- with a little help from some bridesmaids!

As you can see this is pure deliciousness and for once I had no issues with making caramel! Hooray! A quick press in (i love not having to roll it out) cookie tart dough- breezy caramel and super simple ganache and you have something that looks beautiful, tastes like the best candy bar you've ever had and definitely impresses! Make sure to check out the rest of the TWD blogroll tarts!

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Sunday, 27 September 2009

Daring Bakers: Vol au Vents

The September 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon. She chose the French treat, Vols-au-Vent based on the Puff Pastry recipe by Michel Richard from the cookbook Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan.

I was pretty excited to make my own puff pastry this month. I remember doing it once as a kid with my mom so I thought I'd see how tough it could be on my own. I must admit I found this pretty straight forward. I spent one Saturday doing errands and then coming in and doing a turn of the dough before starting something else and returning.

The result was a nice crispy, golden, flakey form ready for me to fill! I had some leftover black bean hot pot that was fantastic in these!

Be sure and see the rest of the Daring Bakers posts this month!

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Tuesday, 22 September 2009

TWD: Cottage Cheese Pufflets

We have had a bumper crop of plums this year- so I thought this would be a good excuse for using up some of the jars of jam in the fridge that didn't seal properly.

These were very simple to make and the cottage cheese added an interesting tanginess to things. I think perhaps they might of needed a bit more time in the oven to get flakier, but they were delicious even slightly underdone!


Be sure to check out the rest of the TWD blogroll today.

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Monday, 14 September 2009

Daring Cooks: Indian Dosa

This months daring cooks is a great choice for me as I am vegetarian and the past couple have been pretty meat/fish heavy. While this 3 piece recipe seemed daunting at first the filling came together quite easily.

I then moved on to making the sauce- and I think there must be some sort of misprint in the instructions as it ended up tasting too stocky.. kinda like gravy (not so curry inspired) I doubled the coconut milk- but it was still a sort of gravy taste..

For me I think the biggest challege was the dosa themselves- getting these pancakes to turn out took some time figuringout the right amout of oil in the pan and the right heat. I got there in the end though!

These were pretty good- but I did find the recipe too reliant on curry powder- i guess living in the curry capital of the UK this was just a bit too 'translated' for me to really taste anything like the dosa I can get in Bradford!

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Thursday, 27 August 2009

Daring Bakers: Dobos Torta

The August 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonfulof Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular DobosTorte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers' cookbook Kaffeehaus: ExquisiteDesserts from the Classic Caff├ęs of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

This was pretty easy to make but perhaps not so interesting to taste.. I must admit I had some trouble with the carmel always tasting like lemon and never really hitting a dark amber color.. So I called it after what seemed a very long time! and the result was crisp- uncut/edible topping that on the second day became moist again.

On the whole I thought this tasted like pancakes with nutella... not worth the effort... but pretty when cut!

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Tuesday, 4 August 2009

TWD:Creamiest Lime Meringue Pie

This weeks recipe is a play on lemon meringue or key lime pie as it is topped with meringue in my family recipe. This was a fantastic pie! The ginger really was subtle, but helped to ramp up the lime flavor.

There was a bit of me that was shocked at the amount of butter added to the lime cream and if I make it in future I might just go for the straight lime cream as I thought it was fantastic!

I used a cookie crust- mostly as I knew I wouldn't have enough butter otherwise! Make sure you try this recipe its a very yummy one!

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TWD:Bananna Bundt

This weeks recipe was very tasty. A notch up from regular bananna bread it was the perfect thing to slice up for morning tea breaks while also being a pretty damn fine dessert!

This batter was dead simple to throw together and even forgave me for not having quite enough bananna.

However as you can see I had a bit of sticking problems in my supposedly non-stick silicone pan!

Oh well- this left me with a top crust less cake- not going to win any beauty contests, but still fabulous to eat!

Be sure and check out all the rest of the fabulous Dorie bakers this week!

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Tuesday, 28 July 2009

TWD :Va-Lavender Ice Cream

Lavender Honey Ice cream (spicing up the Vanilla!)

This weeks recipe is a great one- so great in fact I had already made the plain jane vanilla and let me tell you it is good! So to make things more interesting I decided to harvest some of the lavender buds from the plants outside and also follow dori's suggestions for a Honey variant (though I did choose a less strong flavored honey this time).

Basically I only changed the recipe by letting the hot cream and milk steep in about 1/3-2/3 cups of lavender buds for approximately 3o minutes before moving on to straining and making the custard.

The taste of the ice cream is fantastic- rich and cream from the custard base- but then amazing floral/lavender taste with just a tiny bouquet of honey. Its good..folks- very sophisticated!

Next time I will have to make mint chip after reading all the glowing reviews!
Thanks to Lynne of Cafe LynnyLu who chose Vanilla Ice Cream as this weeks recipe!