Category Archives: Bake

Sense and Sensibility

Hello All,

I know, I know, I’m overdue it seems as always with my blog!  But I sit here now, ready to update it!  I’ve started my new job, been at it for already a week now…it’s not that bad, just a bit dull at times, but this is only temporary!  Hopefully soon I’ll be embarking on some different projects.  But to be honest, I really don’t mind going to work.  Trust me, I’ve had several jobs where I DREAD going to them, and this is not one of them.  I treat the job that I have now with a lot of respect.

Anyways, getting to what I love doing–being in the kitchen!  I realized as I walked down the baking aisle the other day, that it’s my most favorite aisle of the whole grocery store!  I love looking at all the different kinds of spices for sale, or the different types of flour on sale…I’m surrounded by pie fillings, marshmallows, and chocolate chips!  In the baking aisle, how can life be unhappy? Ha.

This weekend I baked Sweet Potato cookies, which turned out more like mini-scones, which I thought were interesting.  As my mom put it, they’d be great with coffee or tea!  I’m on the fence about them however, as to whether or not I’d make them again…Hmm….I also baked my grandfather a surprise!  It was my Saturday baking project–a Black Forest Cake! Mmmm…I’d never made one before, and I knew that I wanted to make one that was small and yet enough to enjoy for a while.  So in a loaf pan it was!  The original recipe called for 2 8 inch pans, and I halved the recipe, and it fit perfectly in my loaf tin!  Success!  Sadly, I do not have any pictures of my delicious and beautiful two-layered baking wonder, but it remains in my memory, alas.

My grandfather was so cute–he called me to tell me how much he LOVED my cake!  And how he was going to enjoy it each night for several nights to come!   Ah, that was just so cute!  I put a lot of love into that cake, as I do with anything that comes out of my kitchen or made by my hands.  In addition to writing, it’s one of the ways I know best to express myself.

Ok, now for some pictures!  Yes, some much needed pictures!

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Filed under Bake, Chocolate, Foodie, Life, Miscellaneous, New Recipe

Cookin’ and Lookin’

Well I’ve been baking and cooking a lot this past week and I’m finally getting around to blogging about it.

I’ve been also doing a lot of work in the crafting world—crocheting, learning how to make granny squares, sewing and various other crafting activities.  Today I took the bus to the nearby town (not the village) and bought some amazing fabric at Fabric World.  I couldn’t believe how busy it was in there today!  You’d think that everyone with the recession or ‘credit crunch’ has resorted to making their own clothes or something it was that busy.  I also got some fabric to make a blanket—well I can’t really sew (of which I hope to learn how to do this week, the basics anyways), in which I’m going to sew on some crochet pieces.  Due to the fact that I can’t sew yet, I resorted to buying some fleece material, that way the blanket would still be warm, and I could customize it with my handiwork.  When it comes to crafting, I usually have several projects or bits and bobs (odds and ends) going on at once, which is just typical of how my mind works.  

So here’s some pics of what I’ve been up to in the kitchen lately, which has been a lot:

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Filed under Bake, Cook, Crafty

Rain rain, go away!

Ugh, it’s an unpleasantly rainy day here in England today–cold and rainy, the kind that makes you want to stay inside all day.  We haven’t had good weather or a spot of sunshine in some two weeks here.  I’m dreaming of a Spanish villa somewhere in the sunshine….I’m tired of being cold.  I’m also starting to wonder how people do indeed put up with the weather on this island for so long!  I can see why sitting inside drinking tea and making up for the weather’s miserable existence by eating tons of cakes and cookies is the norm here.  

Although I must say, despite the gloomy weather today, three things excite me: one, it’s FRIDAY, always a good thing even when you’re not working, two, I FINALLY managed to find some polenta at the grocery store, something I’ve been trying to find for a while now (I’ve been wanting to make this: Sweet Breakfast Polenta), and thirdly, I just received a gift from Coldplay in my inbox: a free download of a live album they put together just for their fans!  Sweet!  

Oh and I went to the Dorchester Market during the week and scored some greatness as usual!  I came home with a weaving loom for only £1, a way cool ring made out of sea shell, and some dried fruit for a cake for really cheap.  I’d never taken a train by myself before even though I’ve been living here for over a year now, and it was my first adventure on the rails!  Thankfully it was uneventful and I made it home without any transportation mishaps.  Oh, and I also bought some rhubarb since it’s now in season, and made this for tea the other day:  Sour Cream Rhubarb Squares. They were indeed deliciously moist with a faint hint of rhubarb.  I made some in a muffin tin and the rest of it I made in a loaf tin and froze for later.  

Tomorrow night for dinner I’m trying my hand at Apricot Pork Chops with Jersey Royal potatoes and I’m making my first ever Shoo-fly Pie!  I bought a Pennsylvania Dutch cookbook ages ago at my local library and came across the recipe today, so I’m going to make it.  It will also be my first time making a pie or even working with molasses!  So here we go!  Wish me luck!  

Brrr!!! I’m really cold right now!  I think I’m going to make a tea loaf now…my new thing is to make baked goods and then freeze them for later use/enjoyment.  With only three of us in the house, it’s kind of hard to eat everything up within the week, even though believe me, I’m trying my best!  So by freezing it, it lasts longer and we can have things available for tea in only a couple of hour’s notice.

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Filed under Bake, Foodie, Life, New Recipe

No oven, no name

Well even though yesterday was a glorious day that prompted inspiration, today is far from it.  It’s cold, it’s rainy, it’s grey outside…I have done a variety of activities as I normally do on any given day which include some watching Ina Garten, Rachel Allen, or Ching’s Kitchen on the UKTV Food channel, crocheting/doing some sort of yarn craft, and making sure that I’m keeping up on reading all those lovely and amazing food blogs out there.  However, as a result, I have what feels like billions of recipes I want to try and the list is ever growing.  I feel like sometimes I think too much about food, but then again, to me, it’s an important part of my life and it always will be.  I would also like for fashion to be a part of my life too, but that’ll have to come with time and money.  Cooking and baking on the other hand, are much more accessible to me right now.  

Before I forget, there’s a lovely recipe I’d like to share with you all–Elise’s (of Simply Recipes) deliciously easy banana bread, yes, I know there’s so many banana recipes out there, but I find this one to be one of the easiest ones I’ve found yet, and tasty too I might add.  You can find her wonderful website here: Simply Recipes No kidding folks, EVERY single recipe of hers I have tried has been fantastic and always finds its way to my archives.  Ok, here’s the recipe, and yes, I’m adding it to my yummy files!

Banana Bread Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup sugar (can easily reduce to 3/4 cup)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

METHOD

No need for a mixer for this recipe. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last, mix. Pour mixture into a buttered 4×8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.

I’d make some more of this bread, or any sort of baked good for that matter, if I could–but our oven is on the blink!  We think the heating element may have gone…..so it’ll be a good couple of days until the new part can come in and get that oven on its way!  Alas, I am resorted to having to think of non-oven using baked goods…Hmmm….a little tricky.  I might make something like peanut brittle or chocolate creme pots for dessert this evening.  Does anyone else have good ideas for easy treats made on the stove top??  I’d love to hear your recipes–just share them by posting a comment!     

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2 amazing recipes I MUST share!

Yes, I am going a little blog crazy today….only because I sometimes work on a post, edit it, and then publish it later.  I’ve got several posts that are kind of stacking up so I thought I’d better get to publishing them on my site.  Now I must share with you lovely blog readers of mine the most delicious and unique dessert I’ve had in a very very long time:  Ritz Cracker Pie.  Some people call it a mock apple or mock pecan pie.  Whatever you call it, it’s not only easy, it tastes amazing, and it keeps well a few days afterwards.  That is, if you actually have any leftovers!  I got this recipe from my mom’s recipe box and I’m so glad I did!  Thanks Mom!   

Ritz Cracker Pie

3 egg whites, beaten stiff with 1 C sugar (I think next time I make it, I’m doing 3/4 C, it is pretty sweet so I think I’ll tone it down a little bit for my own personal preference)

Then fold in 1/2 tsp baking powder.

Then add:
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon (I think next time I make it, I’ll just a pinch more and it’ll be perfecto!)

Then add:
25-30 Ritz crackers, crushed into dime size pieces
1 C chopped nuts

Butter 9 inch pie plate and pour in mixture–it will look like a meringue. Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool to room temperature and serve with whipped cream. Refrigerate and cover any leftovers.  

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The finished product!  It develops a kind of crunchy meringue like topping as it cooks.  I think this would be a great dessert to do when entertaining as everyone can help themselves.  I can’t help but try and promote this pie around the world it’s that good!  Push aside the mouse, turn the computer off, and go make this!  I’m telling you it’s beyond delicious!!  When you do/or if you have made this, please post a comment and let me know how it went! Mmmm…

And now, the other recipe that I feel compelled to share with you all: Jamie Oliver’s Parmesan Chicken Breasts with Crispy Posh Ham.  Not only is it so simple to make but it tastes just divine!  It’s basically heaven in your mouth.  So after you make this, you can serve the above aforementioned Ritz Cracker Pie and you’ve got yourself one heck of a meal that would delight anyone!  My BF and I have made this twice in nearly a week which means that we love this dish.  I have to stress this—do not skimp on any of the ingredients here–each one is so vital to the overall flavor.     

Now, on with the recipe, serves 2:

• 30g Parmesan cheese (English cheddar works too)
• 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
• 2 skinless chicken breasts, preferably free-range or organic
• freshly ground black pepper
• 1 lemon
• 6 slices of prosciutto (or Parma Ham)
• olive oil

To prepare your chicken
• Grate your Parmesan 
• Pick the thyme leaves off the stalks 
• Carefully score the underside of the chicken breasts in a criss-cross fashion with a small knife 
• Season with a little pepper (you don’t need salt as the prosciutto is quite salty) 
• Lay your breasts next to each other and sprinkle over most of the thyme leaves 
• Grate a little lemon zest over them, then sprinkle with the Parmesan 
• Lay 3 prosciutto slices on each chicken breast, overlapping them slightly 
• Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining thyme leaves 
• Put a square of clingfilm (saran wrap) over each breast and give them a few really good bashes with the bottom of a pan until they’re about 1cm thick

To cook your chicken
• Put a frying pan over a medium heat 
• Remove the clingfilm and carefully transfer the chicken breasts, prosciutto side down, into the pan 
• Drizzle over some olive oil 
• Cook for 3 minutes on each side, turning halfway through, giving the ham side an extra 30 seconds to crisp up

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We served ours with mashed potatoes but you could serve it in a salad or even pasta!  Mmmm…This recipe can also be found here: Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food

 

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