Archive for August, 2009

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Mixing the cake

August 29, 2009


Slow process….getting this up here! I made this Cranberry Nut Cake whilst I was visiting my family so was a few weeks ago now and I’ve been meaning too get it up but getting the photo up was a little difficult for a multitude of reasons. So as I sit here waiting impatiently for my new dining room table to arrive I thought I’d take the opportunity to get this up quickly.

The recipe is a bit of a mish mash of a number of recipes I’ve discovered and thought would work great together. It worked out great from my perspective, the only thing I would have changed is the coffee liqueur I used – not my favourite, knew that but it was what my mum had on hand. Still a fine flavour though, worked out all sweet and nutty. Like I said, great from my perspective

Cranberry Nut Cake

Ingredients
1 ½ cups dried cranberries
125 ml coffee liqueur
4 cups (460 grams) sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup (200 grams) white granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Zest of one orange or lemon (optional)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) (56 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups (360 ml) milk
1/2 cup (60 grams) toasted almonds, coarsely chopped (can use walnuts, hazelnuts or pecans)

Directions

Butter, or spray with a nonstick vegetable, a 9 x 5 x 3 inch (23 x 13 x 8 cm) loaf pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). (Note: if you are using a dark colored pan reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C).

Put the cranberries and coffee liqueur in a small saucepan and bring to the boil (it won’t take long). Remove from heat, cover and leave for an hour, or until the cranberries have absorbed most of the liqueur.
In a large bowl whisk together the sifted flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and orange zest. In a separate bowl whisk together the beaten egg, melted butter, vanilla extract and milk. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix in the fruit and nuts. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Wrap in aluminum foil and store for a few days before serving. It can be frozen.
Makes one – 9×5 inch loaf

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Cheese experiences

August 16, 2009

As with my previous entry, I’m trying to expand my cheese repertoire. Not quickly, not in any odd way I’ve had all the standards and normals that one can find readily available at their local supermarkets. Not always the finest quality but it gives you the idea doesn’t it? I know I’m really a hard cheese girl.

It’s a texture thing I think, I’m like that with a lot of things. I like my porridge to be what people consider “stodgy” I don’t want it runny and mushy that’s bad! and so it goes with my cheeses. Firm hard cheese makes me happy.

Having said that, I came across what I believed to be a divine sounding pasta recipe which incorporates goat’s cheese. Now, from my experience (looking only) goat’s cheese has been a bit of soft cheese. Now I know that one can find firm goats cheeses. Or semi firm (feta would be a good example) but having said that, commonly in my experience it’s been a soft cheese.

So, ergo my avoidance has not been due to the fact that I think to myself “gosh goat….ewww” but more due to texture. However, on discovery of said recipe I decided I needed to give this cheese a go. Now I’ve not gone gun-ho and made the pasta – that will come later. But, I did head out and buy myself a goat’s cheese. I was visiting with family who are cheese lovers so I figured it was safe to get a cheese that perhaps I would not enjoy because I felt secure in the belief that if I didn’t eat it they certainly would.

And…I liked it! Texture remains a bit of an issue of course, but flavour…..good! so watch this space that pasta recipe will certainly be on its way!

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Yoghurt Cake

August 9, 2009




When I first married The Husband he mentioned a “yoghurt cake” his mom used to make for him. I’d never had anything like it, the mere thought of using turning yoghurt in my cooking made my stomach roll! But…he wanted it, so I shelved it as something I would make “some day”

That day eventually arose, The Husband didn’t eat all his yoghurt in time and as I am loathe to throw things away I sucked up my disgust and off I baked. I surprised myself however, it created a beautifully moist cake (I am not overly a cake person) that I actually couldn’t get enough of – and The Husband says he likes it better than his mom’s version!

Now I smile whenever I see the yoghurt reaching it’s use by date as I know what goodness will come from it. Admittedly I’ve baked this cake with yoghurt that was perfectly fine just because I had a craving! I’ve used a variety of yoghurts, and I’ve even substituted things here and there (cornmeal/almond meal/bran instead of/mixed with flour) but the basic recipe is always the best.

This version was made with a strawberry yoghurt

Yoghurt Cake

1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 cup Yoghurt

-Preheat oven to 180C
-Cream butter, sugar & vanilla
-Beat in egg, combine Flour, baking soda & baking powder
-Stir into batter alternatively with yoghurt
-Bake for approximately 50 minutes

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Blue Cheese…..

August 3, 2009

I’ve always avoided Blue Cheese. The thought of it turned my stomach, the smell is off-putting…the idea of actually eating cheese with mold spores? Who thought that it would be tasty? I’ve heard many arguments for and against it but recently I had yet another conversation with a colleague about cheese in general. About our likes/dislikes and how I prefer hard cheeses to soft cheeses, and I prefer strength and bitey and she suggested I really consider giving a blue a go because they offer intensity in flavour.

I must admit at a very basic level I was convinced the likelihood of me trying this cheese was really low, I’m not going to buy a whole block of cheese on the off chance I like it? what if I don’t? I’m not in to money wastage – especially not in this “Go Find Chickens” that we currently find ourselves in – not in the uncertainty of my current employment status. And, for the most part I don’t find myself confronted with cheese platters with this cheese option. Yea people do a soft and a hard cheese usually but a blue? not in my experience. However, today I was at a conference and low and behold there was a blue.

I reflected upon my conversation with my colleague as I looked at the cheese. There was a beautiful hard cheese….gorgeous strength and tang YUM! But, Ive been saying I’ll challenge myself and stretch my pallet try new things so I sliced, popped it on my plate and off I went.

First step, biting into the cheese alone and unaccompanied….mmmm not too sure not terrible but not great. Placed on a cracker to offer some contrast? Same thought not terrible not great. So reflection….I’ve had worse cheese, and I probably would choose it over a soft but over a hard? no way! will I try it again? sure why not, especially one made from goat or ewe instead of cow. I’m glad I gave it a go, but yea I don’t think I’ll be running out to the shop to buy it!

Early days….but I was proud of myself to sticking to the “try it” philosophy!

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…1st

August 2, 2009

You need to start somewhere don’t you? Maybe a direction for you to head in? So I’ve chosen this list as my starting point because it allows me some direction in that if I even get stuck for things to try as the “new/different” I can use something of this list maybe? I’ve used images obtained from flickr but will gradually update the images with my own (I did start with PB&J Sandwich today…but will have to r/v photos first)!

1. Venison
2.
Nettle tea
3.
Huevos rancheros
4.
Steak tartare
5.
Crocodile
6.
Black pudding
7.
Cheese fondue
8.
Carp
9.
Borscht
10.
Baba ghanoush
11.
Calamari
12.
Pho
13.
PBJ sandwich
14.
Aloo gobi
15.
Hot dog from a street cart
16.
Epoisses (this is a very famous amazingly stinky cheese)
17.
Black truffle
18.
Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19.
Steamed pork buns
20.
Pistachio ice cream
21.
Heirloom tomatoes
22.
Fresh wild berries
23.
Foie gras
24.
Rice and beans
25.
Brawn, or head cheese
26.
Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27.
Dulce de leche
28.
Oysters
29.
Baklava
30.
Bagna cauda
31.
Wasabi peas
32.
Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33.
Salted lassi
34.
Sauerkraut
35.
Root beer float
36.
Cognac with a fat cigar
37.
Clotted cream tea
38.
Vodka jelly/Jell-O shot
39.
Gumbo
40.
Oxtail
41.
Curried goat
42.
Whole insects
43.
Phaal (apparantly the hottest kind of curry made in india – noticably hotter than vindaloo)
44.
Goat’s milk
45.
Single malt whisky
46.
Fugu
47.
Chicken tikka masala
48.
Eel
49.
Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50.
Sea urchin
51.
Prickly pear
52.
Umeboshi (japanese pickled plum)
53.
Abalone
54.
Paneer
55.
McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56.
Spaetzle
57.
Dirty gin martini
58.
Beer above 8% ABV
59.
Poutine (Canadian dish – basically french fries topped with cheese curds and smothered in brown gravy)
60.
Carob chips
61.
S’mores
62.
Sweetbreads
63.
Kaolin (basically food grade clay)
64.
Currywurst
65.
Durian
66.
Frogs’ legs
67.
Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68.
Haggis
69.
Fried plantain
70.
Chitterlings, or andouillette
71.
Gazpacho
72.
Caviar and blini
73.
Louche absinthe
74.
Gjetost, or brunost
75.
Roadkill
76.
Baijiu (distilled sorghum drink – chinese)
77.
Hostess Fruit Pie
78.
Snail
79.
Lapsang souchong
80.
Bellini
81.
Tom yum
82.
Eggs Benedict
83.
Pocky (some kind of japanese crackery snack stick)
84.
Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
85.
Kobe beef
86.
Hare
87.
Goulash
88.
Flowers
89.
Horse
90.
Criollo
91.
Spam
92.
Soft shell crab
93.
Rose harissa
94.
Catfish
95.
Mole poblano
96.
Bagel and lox
97.
Lobster Thermidor
98.
Polenta
99.