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Easter Brunch

14 Apr

I love Easter. It always makes me think of new beginnings, a fresh start and of course, Cadbury creme eggs (lots of them).

Today I bring an Easter Brunch inspiration. I think brunch is a fantastic meal to have at Easter time. Everyone has time to go to church or sleep in late and then afterwards a no hassle relaxed brunch. For brunch there are usually lots of options; pastries, omlettes, cakes, cheese boards…the works. I chose three recipes I think would add a great touch to a brunch menu. They are all simple and affordable. I also laid out an Easter/Spring tablescape and added a delicious cocktail.

ON THE MENU

Deviled eggs

Stuffed mushrooms

Fruit Fluff

Peach “mimosa”



Deviled Eggs

This is a brunch staple and of course well suited for Easter. Deviled eggs turn simple boiled eggs into a creamy flavourful treat.

WHAT YOU NEED 

Makes 6

Eggs -The number of eggs you use will give double that number of deviled eggs as they are served as halves. I used 3 eggs so I got 6(only 4 shown)

1 tbsp Mustard– I used a spicy mustard

1 tbsp Mayonnaise– This is optional but it does add a certain creaminess

Spices– I used salt, black pepper and paprika, just a pinch of each.

Deviled eggs ingredients 




WHAT TO DO 

1) Hard boil eggs, let cool and remove shells.

2) Cut eggs in half and gently remove yolks. Set whites aside.

3) Add condiments and spices and mix until a smooth paste forms.




4) Place paste into piping bag (you can use a zip lock and snip the end) and pipe into egg whites.



Deviled eggs 


Stuffed mushrooms 

I remember the first time I had this version of stuffed mushrooms. My mother brought them home from a local Italian bistro and my life was changed. Something about soft, tart cream cheese against the crunch of a fresh mushroom is a perfect match.

WHAT YOU NEED 

Mushrooms– I used 8 medium sized ones (they were unfortunately a bit bruised)

Cream cheese– The amount you use depends on the number and size of the mushrooms but about 2 tbsp fill 8 medium sized mushrooms.

Spices– I used lemon pepper and some oregano.

Mushrooms and cream cheese 


WHAT TO DO 

1) Add spices to softened cream cheese and mix.

2) Place in a piping bag and pipe into mushrooms. 

Mushrooms and cream cheese mixture



3 )Top with oregano 


Stuffed mushrooms 



Fruit Fluff 

This is my take on an Ambrosia salad. I substituted cool whip with Greek yogurt for a healthier twist and a more “brunchy” feel.

WHAT YOU NEED 

I used arbitrary amounts, a little bit of each. The amounts you use depends on how much you plan to make.

Greek yogurt- The one I used is plain combined with honey so it’s already sweet. A great alternative is vanilla but really any flavour you prefer can be used.

Fruit– I used  mixture of frozen fruit (cherries, strawberries, lingonberries) and fresh  (strawberries and blueberries)

Mini marshmallows

Fruit Fluff mixture

WHAT TO DO

Mix altogether and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Peach “Mimosas”

What’s the best part about brunch? The fact that you get to splash your juice with wine. Lol. Now mimosas traditionally consist of wine and citrus juice hence my use of air quotes. Technically this is a peach cocktail but when doing brunch, we call it a mimosa.

WHAT YOU NEED 

White wine

Peach juice

Canned peaches

Peach mimosa ingredients 




WHAT TO DO 

1) Place 1 or 2 peach slices in the bottom of the glass and muddle it a bit (mash it with a spoon if you don’t have a muddler, which I don’t)

2 ) Fill glass halfway with wine.

3) Top off with peach juice and add a straw.

Peach “mimosas”



Tablescape

An important part of entertaining is creating ambience. For this I chose a simple, clean fresh look in keeping with the idea of a relaxed yet sophisticated setting.

This tablescape employed some crafty skills but all were simple. My colour scheme was pink, white and gold.

Table runner

I made a table runner of sorts by overlapping lots of doilies along the Centre of the table. I added a touch of gold by swiping gold paint over them in a random fashion.

Table runner from doilies




Flowers

I went with pink and white carnations. Carnations are often a very affordable option from the florist costing only a few dollars. I used about 4 bunches in all keeping  the look minimal.

I swished some of the same gold paint onto the flower petals to keep with the theme and placed them in jelly jars.

Flowers




Centre piece 

My “Centre piece” began with ambition. In fact, the failure of this centrepiece led to the final colour scheme, so maybe it was for the best.

For the centerpiece of an Easter Brunch I had to incorporate eggs somehow. I decided to dye some eggs. People have different methods of doing this. The best way I’ve found is using regular food and egg dye and a bit of vinegar to allow for better uptake of colour.

I removed the contents of the eggs by making a small hole at one end and simply allowing it to run out, gently shaking if you need to. Don’t waste your egg ! I put mine in the refrigerator and made omelet the next day.

I mixed the dye, vinegar and water in a mug. I find you get a more even coating if you use a mug.

As it happened the only colour that worked out was the pink (the yellow one broke and the purple came out streaky)

Once my one surviving egg was dry I splattered it with the by now ubiquitous gold paint. I displayed it in a mini jelly jar on a bed of Easter egg shaped jelly beans.

Centre piece




I placed the flowers and Centre piece on the table runner and laid the table with simple white plates and bowls.

The tablescape and settings

Table with food

Deviled eggs 


Stuffed mushrooms



Fruit Fluff



Peach mimosa


Easy breezy Easter Brunch. Hopefully some of these ideas will inspire you if you plan on doing brunch for Easter or any other occasion. Have a happy Easter and an awesome day!

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Giant Cookie

5 Apr

Giant cookie




When I was a child  (maybe 5 or so) I had a conversation with my mother one evening after school. I told her “I want a giant cookie.” I remember this conversation distinctly. For some reason, I thought this cookie would be made in a frying pan, not baked, and I could envision it being fried as I spoke to her. She told me “Okay.”

 My unsuspecting self didn’t realize at the time she said okay more to get me to stop nagging her than anything else and not because she planned to make this cookie. By the time I was about 11 I had figured out the truth. Many years into my adulthood and still, no giant cookie. There was an attempt circa 2011 by my sister, a valiant effort I must admit. However, the giant cookie of my dreams contains chocolate. So here is my attempt to finally satisfy that long burning desire for a giant cookie.

To make this cookie you need a good recipe. My recipe is adapted from one on Joy of Baking (my baking queen) and it makes a soft cookie. I figured this would be easier for slicing as giant cookies are meant to be shared.


WHAT YOU NEED 

Cookie

1) 1/2 cup (113g) butter at room temperature 

2) 1/3 cup (75g) of granulated sugar

3) 1/3 cup (75g)  brown sugar– I used coconut sugar

4) 1 egg

5) 1 tsp vanilla extract 

6) 1 1/4 cup (150g) of flour 

7) 1/2 tbsp baking soda

8) Chocolate morsels -use as much or as little as you want

9) Nuts – use as much or little as you want

10) Baking dish -I used a shallow 9” glass dish

11) Cocoa powder – I used 1 heaping tbsp

Cookie ingredients 


Chocolate wafers and nuts

Icing

1) Cream cheese

2) Icing sugar

3) Chocolate sprinkles


Cream cheese and Icing sugar


Cocoa and sprinkles


Baking dish




WHAT TO DO 

Cookies

1) Heat oven to 375 F (190 C)

2) Grease or line dish – To allow for easy removal

3) Beat butter until creamy then add both white and brown sugar and beat until fluffy.

Creamed butter and sugars 

Butter and sugar mixture


4) Add egg and vanilla extract and mix

5) Separately,  mix flour and baking soda and add to mixture and mix well.

6) Separate the mixtures into two equal parts.

Separated cookie mixture 

7) Add cocoa powder and chocolate morsels to one half mixing well.

Mixed in Cocoa


Added chocolate 

8) To the other half of mixture,  add crushed nuts

Added nuts




9) Place mixture in refrigerator for about 30 minutes just to firm up slightly

10) Add mixture in alternating dollops into baking dish.

Mixture placed in dish




11) Bake for 15 minutes or until baked through 

Baked cookie




Icing

Mix some softened cream cheese with Icing sugar until desired texture and sweetness. I started with approximately 2 tbsp of cream cheese and 1/2 cup of Icing sugar.

Icing




Top cooled cookie with icing and add sprinkles

Cookie with icing




Slice and serve

Sliced cookie




Finally,  a chocolate giant cookie. Lol. This was awesome. I think this is a great alternative for a birthday cake (for that weird friend who doesn’t like cake) or a dessert with a difference if you’re entertaining.

The chocolate and nuts expectedly go beautifully together. The cookie is soft so it’s easy to slice and eat but not as fluffy as a cake. The cream cheese Icing gave a nice contrast to the decedent almost bitter dark chocolate and the saltiness of the nuts.

(Mummy, I’m still waiting…)

Give this one a try and have an awesome day.

January Cake

15 Jan

Today’s recipe is a two layered naked cake topped with sugared fruit and nuts. I called it January cake simply because it was made in January.It’s a white butter cake with minimal icing so it’s a light(ish), dessert great for after a holiday season of decadent eating and drinking.

This butter cake recipe is adapted from my favourite baking website, Joy of Baking. I added the strawberries and cut down on the sugar a bit. The recipe makes two 8 inch diameter cakes. However, I made 2, 4 inch diameter cakes and so I had excess batter.

WHAT YOU NEED 

Cake

1) 2 eggs, separated- Allow the whites to come to room temperature. 

2) 1 1/3 cups of flour

3) 1 cup granulated sugar divided into 3/4 cup and 1/4 cup.

4) 1/2 cup butter

5) 1/2 cup of milk

6) 2 tsp baking powder

7) 1/8 tsp cream of tartar

8) 1 tsp vanilla extract 

9) Strawberries  (about 1/4 cup chopped)

Toppings

1)Assorted fruits- I used strawberries but you can use any berries you like.

2)Assorted nuts- I used almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts. 

3)Granulated white sugar- about 1 cup.

Frosting

1) 1 cup confectioners sugar

2) 1/4 cup butter 

3) 1 tsp vanilla extract 

4) 1 tablespoon of milk

5) Food colouring of choice

Ingredients 

Ingredients 

Topping ingredients 


Frosting ingredients 


WHAT TO DO 

Cake

1) Beat butter until soft then add 3/4 cup of sugar and beat until fluffy. Add egg yolks and vanilla extract and beat well.

2) Keeping mixer on low speed, add flour and milk alternately beginning with flour. Add chopped strawberries and mix in gently with a spatula.Set batter off to the side.

Batter with strawberries 


3) In a clean bowl, beat egg whites until foamy.

4) Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form.

Soft peaks

5) Add 1/4 cup of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

Stiff peaks


6) Fold meringue mixture into batter careful not to deflate the meringue. 

Batter


7) Pour into baking tins and bake at 350 F until done.

Batter in tin


Baked cake


Toppings

1)Mix about 1/2 cup of sugar with a small amount of water until a thick syrup forms.

Syrup



2) Dip strawberries and nuts into syrup and allow to partially dry then roll into remaining sugar.

Sugared fruits

3) Set out to dry at room temperature. 

Frosting

1) Beat butter until smooth and creamy.

2) On low speed add the confectioners sugar.

3) On high speed add milk and beat until frosting is light and fluffy.

4) Add food colouring  (I added WAY too much).

Assembly

I intended initially to make a 3 layered cake but due to the narrow diameter , it wasn’t structurally sound,  Depending on the size of your cake you can do however many layers you wish.

1) Level the cakes using a sharp knife or cake leveler. 

2) Place a dot of frosting on a sturdy icing surface and put first layer of cake down.

3) Place a dollop of frosting on top of cake and using a knife spread it out. 

One layer


4) Place second layer on top and cover top with icing allowing some to spill over the edge.

Two layers


5) Place in refrigerator and allow everything to firm up for about 15 minutes. 

6) Add a bit more frosting on top and spread it with a straight edged tool (palette knife ) until there is a light layer of frosting around the cake.Think of just doing a crumb coat layer of frosting.

7) Add toppings and  you’re done.

January cake


This cake was delicious. The butter cake is light but somehow still dense. Not like a sponge cake at all which is how I thought it might be at first. The sugared fruits and nuts add a whimsical flair. The icing was sweet and buttery but not overwhelming because there wasn’t much of it.

This is great to have as a teatime dessert or a brunch dessert or really anytime. 

Have an awesome day.

Happy 2017

1 Jan

Hello and welcome to 2017! Wishing everyone who reads this a year of achievement and contentment and success.

 I don’t make traditional New Year’s resolutions but I do often write out my goals (which is kind of the same thing I guess) . I have personal goals, career goals, reading goals and of course blogging goals. I will share a few blogging goals I have.

1) To continue to consistently post on my blog- though I started my blog in 2012, I only began consistent posting in mid 2016, and I love it. It gives me something to look forward to and hopefully does the same for those who read the blog.

2) To expand my posting range- I primarily do recipes and tips with some travel and beauty stuff splashed in between. This year I want to do DIYs ,more exciting recipes  and more travel and beauty related posts.

3) To improve my photography skills- While I quite like taking photos and I do think I have improved over time, I know there is so much more to learn and do to create beautiful shots. I intend to invest more energy in that.

4) To engage more with fellow bloggers- I learnt in the latter half of 2016 that there are A LOT of blogs out there. Some very similar to me, some completely different but exciting and some just totally out of the box. Before, I never really considered finding blogs on WordPress,  I only used it to actually write my posts. It opened up a whole new world for me and I’m excited to see more.

This are my main blogging goals that I hope to achieve this year. What are your blogging goals?

Have an awesome day!

Blogmas Bonus- Cranberry Scones

25 Dec

Blogmas Bonus – Cranberry Scones

Hello and Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it and Happy Holidays to everyone.

Back in November when I was meticulously planning each and every Blogmas post, I asked my sister to do a guest post on something sweet and easy to make. I told her what daybI was thinking of putting it up and told her to get back to me.

Well she did. Yesterday. But I digress. Better late than never.

This recipe is taken from our favourite online baker Stephanie fron Joy of Baking (I have referenced her more than a few times)

Since this is Kristine’s post I will present it the way she did.

Ingredients

image

2 cups of flour
1/3 cup of white sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup of unsalted butter
2/3 cup of fresh cranberries
2/3 cup of milk

She left out the candied fruit and the almonds listed in the original recipe.

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400F (200C) and butter or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk dry ingredients then cut butter in. Use a pastey blender of you have one if not use forks or knives creating course crumbs.

image

image

Add the cranberries and gently mix

image

Add milk and stir careful not to overmix

image

On a floured surface knead dough four times then form a circle about 7 inches (18 cm) in diameter.

image

image

Cut it into 8 triangles and brush top with milk.

image

Bake for 20 minutes or until crust is brown.

image

My sister gave these to some of her cowokers for Christmas. They make great gifts or a light dessert to have with coffee after all the heavy Christmas dinner.

Enjoy and have an awesome day!

Cozy Christmas  Breakfast 

24 Dec

BLOG-Mas DAY 24!

I feel like breakfast at Christmas time should be a little special and these two recipes are bound to be. The first recipe is Cinnamon pancakes with Blackberry syrup and paired with a spicy hot cocoa. 

WHAT YOU NEED 

Pancakes 

1) 1 1/3 cups (135g)Pancake mix 

2) 1 tbsp cinnamon

3) 1 cup Blackberries  Any type of berries will do. I chose blackberries because they were the cheapest st the supermarket. 

4) 1/2 cup (48g)  White sugar 


Ingredients 


WHAT TO DO 

Pancakes 

1) Add cinnamon to pancake mix and stir in. 

Add cinnamon 

Mix in cinnamon 

2) Add water and mix well. 

Batter

3) Heat skillet and make pancakes to desired size. 

Cook pancakes 

Stack





Syrup

4) Place blackberries, sugar and teabag into a skillet or saucepan.

Ingredients in skillet 

5) Add  water and bring to a boil.

Boil





6) Adjust to a simmer until syrupy in consistency 

Syrup 

7) Pour over pancakes. 

Pancakes with syrup 




Spicy hot cocoa 

WHAT YOU NEED 

(Makes one 16 oz(475mL) cup )


1) 1/4 cup(56g) Chocolate morsels /chips

2) Cocoa powder  (unsweetened )

3) 1 tbsp of White sugar 

4) pinch of Salt

5)2 cups (16floz )of milk

6) 1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper 


Cocoa ingredients 


WHAT TO DO 

1) Place all the dry ingredients including the chocolate morsels into a saucepan and mix until chocolate has melted.

Ingredients in saucepan 


2) Add milk and let simmer 

Cocoa in pan

3) Pour into cup and top with marshmallows and pepper 

Finished cocoa 

Your breakfast is ready to serve! 

Finished breakfast 

This is a delicious cute breakfast.  The cinnamon adds a festive feel to the pancakes and the fruit based syrup gives it a more complex grown up flavour.

The hot cocoa is rich and decedent and the pepper adds a most unexpected  dimension. It gives a slow smokey burn that somehow goes beautifully with the chocolate  (because what doesn’t go beautifully with chocolate? )

Definitely try this one out and have an awesome day !

Christmas Appetizer -Honey Garlic glazed Meatballs 

18 Dec

BLOG-Mas DAY 18

Welcome to the 18th day if Blogmas where I bring you a simple recipe for a delectable appetizer great for your yuletide gathering (or any other time of year). 

This is a recipe my mother makes often.She got it from TasteofHome. She has altered it a bit and I have altered her version so this is a version of a version. Lol.

WHAT YOU NEED 

Meatballs 

1) Ground beef-you can substitute this with another ground meat : turkey, lamb, pork, chicken or for a vegetarian option you can use textured vegetable protein (minced soy chunks)

2) 1 large egg.

3) 1/2 cup(125mL) of milk

4) 1 cup breadcrumbs.

5) 1/4 cup of diced onion.

Meatball ingredients 


Sauce

6) 2 diced garlic cloves.

7) 3/4 cup(6oz/170g) of ketchup

8) 3/4 cup of honey

9) 3 tbsp(45mL) of soy sauce

10) 1  tbsp butter

Sauce ingredients 




WHAT TO DO 

Meatballs 

PREP

Season your ground meat-I use black pepper and Worcester sauce and let it sit for about 30 minutes. 

1) Mix egg and milk together.

Egg and milk 


2) Add breadcrumbs and onioin and mix well.

Breadcrumbs and onioin  added 




3) Add ground beef (turkey,  lamb, soy etc) and form a firm mixture.

Meat mixture 




4) Form balls, approximately 1 inch (2.5cm) in diameter. This recipe gives approximately 24 meatballs this size. Of course you can make them larger or smaller if you so desire.

Meatballs formed


5) Place on baking sheet and bake at 400 F (205 C) for 15 minutes or until cooked all the way through. 

Sauce

6) In a saucepan heat garlic and butter then add ketchup, soy sauce and honey. Allow to simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes.

Sauce


Serve Meatballs with sauce either on the side or coated.

Meatballs with sauce on the side 



Meatballs glazed with sauce 



The original recipe(linked above) makes more meatballs than stated. My mother also finds the amount of breadcrumbs recommend isn’t quite enough to make a firm meatball. She also recommends using more honey than listed. For me I halved the amount of ground beef but had to tweak it in a few other places. The take home message is be careful if you plan to use the original recipe.

These Meatballs are always a hit. The meatballs themselves are firm but moist and flavourful. The sauce is has complex flavours but is super easy and affordable to concoct. The salty soy sauce , the sweetness of the honey and the tang from the ketchup make give a unique taste combination sure to impress your guests.

Definitely try this one out guys and have an awesome day.

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