Sunday, March 30, 2008

This One Takes the Cake

This is my first Daring Bakers effort.

So far so good. I was a bit pressed for time

when I made it. Also, a good cause

I know asked for baked items they

needed for a function. And it was

the day before Easter. So I thought

I'd kill two birds. This is supposed to

be a lamb.

Please don't laugh too hard!!!

This truly takes the cake!!!

Saturday, March 29, 2008


I believe there are two types of people.
Sweet people and savory people.
I'm a savory person and this
dish is the definition of savory.


1 recipe of pizza dough
(I use 1 package of active dry yeast, 1 teaspoon
salt, 1 cup of warm water and about 3 cups of flour)
100 g. creme fraiche
100 g. sour cream
100 g. quark (its a kind of German yogurt)
1/2 lb. bacon
2-3 chopped onions
Heat the oven up to 450 F.
A hot oven is a must.
Spread dough out thinly on an oiled
baking sheet.
Mix creme fraiche, sour cream and quark
add pepper to taste.
Spead on the dough. Sprinkle onions on top.
Chop bacon into thin strips and put on top.
Bake for 15 to 25 minutes.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!!! Hot Cross Buns

It didn't really feel like Easter this year because it was so early.
I read in the paper that it hasn't been this early since 1913.
Anyhow, Easter isn't Easter without hot cross buns.

This recipe comes from The Chesapeake Bay Cookbook by John Shields

1 cup milk 1/2 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 eggs beaten
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
5 cups flour
1 cup raisins or dried currants (currants are better)
grated rind of 1/2 lemon
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon water

Scald milk and add sugar and butter.
Heat until butter is melted and transfer
to a large bowl. Dissolve yeast in water and let
stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add to milk.
Beat in the eggs.

Sift together spices, salt, and flour.
Beat into liquid ingredients, 1 cup at a time,
until a soft dough is formed. While beating sprinkle
in currents and lemon rind.

Turn out onto floured board and knead briefly
1 to 2 minutes. Place in an oiled bowl,
cover with a towel, and let rise in a warm place
until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Turn out onto floured board and knead briefly,
1 to 2 minutes. Return to oiled bowl, cover,
and let rise again until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350F. Shape dough into biscuits
(make 24) and arrange on buttered baking sheet.
(I use parchment paper and skip the buttering.)
Cover and let rise 30 minutes. Mix together
yoke and water and brush on buns.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes till golden brown.

For the icing I use about 1 1/2 cups
confections sugar. Juice of half a lemon
and 1 egg white. Mix it all together.
When the buns are fairly cool
make crosses on the buns.

Here's a little Easter tea party. I used rose petal
from Republic of Tea. Very fragrant with
loads of rosebuds in it.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Portrait of a Lady

This is my entry for Novel Food.
Its a little scene between Ralph Touchet and
Isabel Archer in the The Portrait of a Lady
by Henry James.

"There's no reason we shouldn't stay here--if you don't dislike it. It's very warm; there will he half an hour yet before dark; and if you permit it I'll light a cigarette."

"You may do what you please," said Isabel, "if you'll amuse me till seven o'clock. I propose at that hour to go back and partake of a simple and solitary repast--two poached eggs and a muffin-- at Pratt's Hotel."

"Mayn't I dine with you?" Ralph asked.

"No, you'll dine at your club."

They had wandered back to their chairs in the centre of the square again, and Ralph had lighted his cigarette. It would have given him extreme pleasure to be present in person at the modest little feast she had sketched; but in default of this he liked even being forbidden. For the moment, however, he liked immensely being alone with her, in the thickening dusk, in the centre of the multitudinous town; it made her seem to depend upon him and to be in his power. This power he could exert but vaguely; the best exercise of it was to accept her decisions submissively which indeed there was already an emotion in doing. "Why won't you let me dine with you?" he demanded after a pause.

"Because I don't care for it."

"I suppose you're tired of me."

"I shall be an hour hence. You see I have the gift of foreknowledge."

"Oh, I shall be delightful meanwhile," said Ralph.

I don't think that Isabel Archer ever got to eat this little meal.
I think Caspar Goodwood showed up and ruined her evening.

However, I did try to make some muffins for her.
This recipe comes from Joan Clibbon's Cooking the British Way

1 lb. plain flour 1 teaspoon salt 1 oz. yeast (I use a packet of the dry yeast) 1 teaspoon sugar 1/2 pint warm water (please remember a British pint is 20 oz.) Sieve flour and salt. Cream yeast with sugar and a little water. Mix flour with yeast mixture and 1/2 pint warm water to a rather slack dough. Cover and prove for 2 hours. Divide into eight portions, shape into round balls and leave to prove on a floured board for 20 minutes. Cook on a greased hotplate or girdle, for about 7 minutes on each side.

Some people can still remember the pre-war London Muffin Man who would tour the streets in the afternoons with a large tray of muffins on his head, and ringing a bell to announce his wares. This popular character has long since disappeared, but there is nothing to prevent your enjoying your own home-made toasted muffins, spread with plenty of butter.

I love it when I get to use my cool scale and weights.

Here they are proving.

Here they are on the "girdle". I found it hard to control the heat.
And they sort of blobbed up a bit.

I couldn't complete the meal for Isabel because I can't really poach eggs.
So I decided to make her some Lady Grey tea. The little blue specks
in the tea are dried cornflowers. I highly recommend this tea.
It smells wonderful.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

What I got for my Birthday

Beautiful delicious macarons.

Aztec hot chocolate from Mariebelle. This stuff is just shards
of chocolate that you mix with hot water. It is unbelievably rich.
Its like drinking a dark chocolate candy bar.

A lovely orange scented candle from Molton Brown. And a sweet Gerbera daisy

A Teaposy tea pot with flower bombs.
You pour boiling water on them and
they flare up into a fantastic under tea bouquet.

A yummy box of Belgian choclates.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Chicken Tetrazzini

In this blog you get to meet Blizzard!!!
He is my beautiful Samoyed. He loves my

This is one of those recipes that have
very few ingredients but come together
to make something more than the sum
of their parts.

This recipe comes from the Gourmet Cookbook Volume I.

Take two young chickens about 3 pounds each. Quarter them.
Put them in a large kettle and cover with boiling water.
Simmer them gently until the meat is tender. After
the chickens have begun to simmer, salt the water
a little. let the chickens cool in the broth and then
cut the meat into fine strips. Return the bones
and skn to the broth and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer
until only two cups remain (I have yet to do this. I find
that I have way more broth than this and it can
be put to good use in other things.)

Slice very thinly 1/2 pound mushrooms. Saute them
in 3 tablespoons butter over low heat until they
are soft and slightly browned.

Cook 1 pound spaghetti until it is tender.

In a saucepan melt 2 tablespoons butter
and blend in 3 tablespoons flour. Stir in gradually
the reserved broth, stirring until it is smooth and thickened.

Stir in 1 cup heavy cream and 3 tablespoons Sherry.
(I use medium Sherry). Add salt, pepper, and nutmet to taste
and cook over low heat 10 minutes. Mix half the sauce
with the mushrooms and the spaghetti and
pour into a generously buttered baking dish. Mix the
remaining sauce with the strips of chicken and
1/2 cup sliced truffles (I have yet to add truffles.)
Make a hole in the center of the spaghetti mixture
and pour into it the chicken mixture. Sprinkle the top
with 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Bake in moderate
oven (350F) till the cheese is browned. I usually cook
it for a half hour.

Chicken with Peanut Sauce

This is a Mexican dish. It takes a bit of time to make but is well
worth the effort. Sometimes we make it and leave out the
chicken because the sauce is so good. There are layers
and layers of flavor each one better than the next.
You'll need a baguette to go with this. The recipe is from
Food and Wine April 2000.

2 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
boiling water
1 cup raw peanuts, shelled & skinned
(once I used dry roasted, I washed them off and didn't pan roast them)
2 large tomatoes, coarsley chopped
1 hard roll, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 small onion, coarsley chopped
2 canned chipotle chiles in Adobo
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 3 1/2 lb chicken cut in 8 pieces (we use boneless chicken breasts!!!!!)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons red wne vinegar

Soak ancho chiles in boiling water
till softened (15 minutes). Meanwhile in a large
deep skillet, toast the peanuts over moderately
low heat, stirring constantly, until golden
(15 minutes) Put on a plate and cool.
Drain anchos and put in food processor.
Add peanuts, tomatoes, hard roll, onion,
chipotles, garlic and sugar. Puree until smooth.

Combine cinnamon and salt and sprinkle over
chicken. Heat the oil in skillet. Brown the chicken
till golden about 6 minutes per side. Put on a plate.
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the oil from the
skillet. Add the peanut sauce and cook over moderate heat,
stirring constantly, until very thick (15 minutes) . Don't
skimp on the time, I think
this is the most important step.
Add chicken stock, wine, and vinegar and
bring to a simmer. Nestle the pieces of chicken
in the sauce and simmer over moderately low heat,
turning occasionaly, until cooked through (25 minutes).
I actually cook it a lot longer until it becomes
very tender.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Tea Eggs

These eggs have a lovely frangrance and a subtle taste.

The recipe comes from Irene Kuo's The Key to Chinese Cooking.

2 dozen small eggs
4 tablespoons salt
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 whole star anise
4 black-tea bags or 4 teaspoons loose black tea

Rise the eggs in cold water carefully to remove
any blemishes. To prevent cracking, puncture the wider
end of the eggs with a straight pin.
Bring 6 cups water to a boil, turn down the
heat to maintain a slow simmering, and lower the eggs into
the water with a spoon Simmer them about 5 minutes.
Place the pot under a running cold faucet
until the pot is full of cold water.
Soak the eggs in the cold water for a minute, then tap
each of them lightly with the back of a spoon
until they are covered with a network of fine cracks.

Put the eggs back in the pot and pour enough cold water
over them to cover. Add the seasonings and bring to a
slow boil over medium heat; adjust the heat to maintain
a very gentle simmering, then cover
and simmer around 2 hours. Remove the spices.
Let them soak in the brine in the fridge till
you are ready to use them.

This is the tea I used because like they say "good tea
tastes better."