Saturday Blog Showcase #8

•02/27/2010 • 4 Comments

This week Lori at All That Splatters is the host of the weekly saturday blog showcase.

This week I made Cinnamon Bun Pancakes with Maple-Butter Icing from Real Mom Kitchen. I was a wee bit late to make them for National Pancake Day, although I also didn’t know such a day existed. These are more of a sweet treat than a breakfast food in my opinion. In fact I made them after a nice breakfast out one morning. I added berries to them to add a wee bit of something healthy to these, and who doesn’t love a blueberry pancake?

Cinnamon Bun Pancakes
(Adapted from Real Mom Kitchen)

1 1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
3 Tbsp White Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
4 tsp Baking Powder
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
2 whole Eggs Beaten
1 cup Milk
2 Tablespoons Corn Syrup
¼ cups Butter, Melted
2 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Maple extract
1 cup Blueberries

Combine first five ingredients in a medium bowl, stir well and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together eggs, milk, corn syurp, butter and vanilla. Gently combine flour mixture, stir until the mixture is fully moistened. Add blueberries, stirring until incorporated evening in the batter.

Cook 1/2 cup of batter per pancake on a lightly oiled frying pan set at medium heat. I prefer cast iron for pancakes.

Serve with walnuts maple-butter icing drizzled over the top. Makes 12 pancakes.

Maple-Butter Icing (I recommend doubling the recipe)

1/4 Icing Sugar
1/4 cup Butter, Melted
Dash of salt
2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1/4 cups cream (I used cereal cream)
1/4 cup Toasted Walnuts/pecans, Chopped

Whisk all ingredients together until smooth, adding the cream slowly until desired consistency is reached


Moleskine, my other love

•02/25/2010 • Leave a Comment

*image from*

I am one of those people who thinks Moleskine journals are the greatest journals ever. The paper has the most perfect texture, they are a nice portable size and have durable covers. I recently discovered that Moleskine has a new journal line out, one of which is a recipe journal. I think I was as excited as anyone can be over a journal when I heard of them. I set out on a mission around town checking out all the retailers I knew that may have the new journals. One said they had just recieved a shipment but upon checking the stock room found they had already sold out earlier that day. With a wee bit of hesitation I ended up ordering a couple online.

My journals came today, well yesterday now given the time I am posting this. I am in love. I can wait to put together my scrapbook-esque collection of recipes. I’ll be sure to email my mom for some more of the family favorites. I am excited to use it as it will play more to my artistic side which has been rather neglected over the past while.

My only complaint so far is there is no tab labeled for baking or bread, nor is it included in any of the pre-printed stickers to relabel the tabs. It does come with a nice couple pages of conversions that I find I often need, especially when getting recipes from a variety of sources online. Switching between metric and imperial is hard for my brain that only know metric, except for cups, tablespoons, teaspoons.

Saturday Blog Showcase #7

•02/20/2010 • 3 Comments

Yes yes, week 6 is absent as it fell directly in the middle of my work week and I lacked any pre-planning last week to photograph something I made earlier in the week. And today’s is a wee bit late in the day, but I have good reason. I was out enjoying sunshine and purchasing some seeds from Seedy Saturday.

This week Ann at Thibeault’s Table is the host. Each week fellow food bloggers join her and Lori from All That Splatters to showcase recipes found on other food blogs. This week I made one of Ann’s recipes for scones. I used frozen blueberries for mine because that is what was in the freezer that morning. Really the only thing I changed was the sugars and amount of berries. I tend to substitute raw cane sugar in a lot of my baking but it doesn’t have as much sweetness as using white sugar. I made 8 of them and I think we ate 4 for breakfast when they were hot out of the oven.

Scones (Raspberry, Blueberry, Fresh Currants,etc..)
(adapted from Ann at Thibeault’s Table)

2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup raw cane sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 Tbsp. cold butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup frozen blueberries
extra cream and sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut butter into mixture with pastry blender until it resembles a course meal. Add cream and raspberries to dry ingredients. Mix lightly with fork until mixture forms a stiff dough. Knead on floured board just to incorporate all flour; try not to damage berries.

Roll into 7-inch round and cut into 6 or 8 wedges. Place 1 inch apart on greased baking sheet; brush tops with cream and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes.

Lunch for one

•02/11/2010 • 2 Comments

I was feeling a bit hungry but didn’t really have a whole lot of food at my house to cook as tasty lunch. I searched the freezer and found some prawns and thought those would satisfy my appetite before I went on a grocery shopping walk around town. I am going to make the tarte flambe again for dinner with some gammon bacon tonight, maybe with a wee bit of something else on the side. But since I have already posted about that recently I thought I should try something else new to me for lunch.

I liked the look and ease of the Garlic Prawn recipe from Seasaltwithfood. Anything I can use more smoked paprika on sounds good to me, oh and garlic, I can’t forget to about garlic. This would make a lovely appetizer to share, but I ate the whole thing myself for lunch with raw veggies on the side.

Garlic Prawns
(adapted from Seasaltwithfood)


8 Large Prawns, peeled and tail intact
8 Cloves Garlic, light crushed
5 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp Dried Pepper Flakes
1 small chili, minced
Sea Salt to taste

Heat oven to 400F.
In a small oven proof dish add garlic, oil, pepper flakes and chili. Heat in the oven until the garlic is fragrant and the oil is hot, 6-8 minutes. Remove carefully and place fresh or thawed prawns into the oil. Return to the oven for another 5-6 minutes or until the prawns are cooked. Lightly season with salt and paprika. Serve.

Saturday Blog Showcase #5

•02/06/2010 • 9 Comments

Ann at Thibeault’s Table is this weeks host for Saturday Blog Showcase. For instructions on how to participate and the links to everyone else who posted this week be sure to check out her blog. Next week Lori at All That Splatters will be the host.

This week the same friend who went to cooking class with me helped make Flammkuchen also known as Tarte Flambée. She expalined it to me as french fast food home cooking. So refer to it as french pizza. We used a recipe from Beyond Burgers and Bratwurst and now I think I have another new favorite food. Again I was not completely satisfied with the crust so I would like to try it again with a yeast dough crust but we chose that particular recipe because we didn’t have a lot of time to let it rise and sit and such. The dough was very easy to roll very thin. This recipe was a fast simple delicious treat! We had it with bacon wrapped asparagus, some broccoli in brown butter and foie gras. I added a glass of wine on the side of mine.

(from Beyond Burgers and Bratwurst)

For dough:
2 cups Flour
2.5 Tbsp Oil
2/3 cup Water
1/4 tsp salt

For toppings:
1 cup Crème Frâiche
1 onion (can be red or sweet onions)
1 Tbsp Butter
1/4lb Bacon
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 clove Garlic

Preheat the oven to 450F.

Combine ingredients for crust. The dough shouldn’t be sticky and should turn smooth and slightly stretchy. Roll out the dough as thinly as possible and place on a baking sheet or pizza pan or stone.

Thinly slice onions and sauté in butter until clear (don’t caramelize). Cook bacon until crisp. I prefer to cook bacon in the oven for a nice even crispness. Finely chop garlic and add it with seasonings to the cream.

Spread the creme fraiche over the rolled out dough and top with the bacon and onions.

Bake for around 10-15 minutes, or until the dough has begun to create bubbles and you see nice browning (you don’t want burnt!).

Cooking Class

•02/05/2010 • 2 Comments

A good friends of mine recently came back after living in France for a year. With both of our growing interest in cooking and her growing comprehension of the French language we decided to take a cooking class, taught in french. My french ability is minimal, having not taken a french course in 11 years but I am always up for new experiences. The course is offered through Alliance française de Victoria, more for those who are fluent but it is for fun class and a translator was close by. I read a few french food blogs so I find my ability to read recipes and instructions related to cooking and baking my comprehension is getting better, I could make it through a verbal class. I will probably try all the recipes again in the future once I have finished translating them and adding the notes from class.

The night was also a bit of a self experiment for testing the current state of my shellfish allergy. I am very pleased to say I had no allergic reaction to muscles. This was probably what I enjoyed finding out the most because I do enjoy shellfish but only have it once a year due to the aftermath. We cooked muscles in two sauces for our first course. One was a white wine, butter, scallion sauce. The other was a curry and leek sauce.

Our main course was herb crusted rack of lamb. Apparently I can prepare the lamb quit well presentation wise, despite having never done it before. So I was pleased to learn another useful cooking skill. It helps to have a properly trained chef giving you direction and tips. I also had the pleasure of eating the rare pieces because most people wanted medium-rare. We also had potatoes in a mushroom sauce that were some of the best potatoes I have had in a while.

Dessert was two kinds of tarts. On an apple and one a strawberry. The pastry portion of the class was a bit more challenging, although we did that part first. There was a limited supply of flour on hand and our measurements probably were not exactly accurate to start. We made a pâte brisée crust for both, blind baking the one for strawberries because the berries were not cooked. They all turned out delicious. I’d like to try these again at home in a better tart pan.

Comfort foods

•02/02/2010 • 2 Comments

I was reading about all those foods we eat that we don’t care to admit to anyone, especially to those that know we can cook. Mac and cheese from a box nears to top of many peoples lists. It being cheap and easy to make I somewhat understand why people like it. I don’t really care for it much myself. I could probably count the amount of times I have made it in the past several years on one hand, and usually it comes as a suggestion from someone else in my company. I can’t even remember when the last time would have been. But I do love a good mac and cheese made with a roux and some real cheese! Since it is groundhog day and apparently we should all get set for another 6 weeks of winter I decided to make a nice filling batch of mac and cheese.

I used penne this time because that was in my pantry. I prefer the larger size of the pasta noodles most often anyway. I used a mix of swiss and cheddar, and was sad to not have any parmesan this time. Usually I would add it. I consulted a variety of sources for making my sauce because I still have not mastered cooking sauces but can’t say I relied heavily on any one source to credit an adaptation from. The nutritional yeast flakes could easily be omitted if you don’t have any around, I just like to add them to cheesy dishes for their slightly cheesy taste and nutritional value. Vegans use them all the time in their mac and fake cheese.

Penne and Cheese

Penne, enough for 4-6 portions
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk, heated (I used 3.25%MF)
2 egg yolks
1 generous cup of shredded cheese (when I say generous I slightly pack the cup and heap more on top)
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp cayenne
salt and pepper

In a skillet melt tablespoon of butter and lightly sautee the onion and garlic until the onions are starting to turn translucent. Remove from heat.

Cook the penne according to package directions or preference.

In a saucepan melt the remaining butter and whisk together with the flour, it may be slightly lumpy but try break it up as best you can. I love my flat whisk for this job. Add the warm milk and whisk frequently to mix away any remaining flour lumps.

Blend yolks in a small bowl, add a spoonful of the roux to the yolks stirring rapidly. Continue adding roux until to temper the yolks. This will prevent them from cooking to quickly when added to the roux. Mix in cheese and yolk mixture back into the roux. Add dijon, yeast flakes, cayenne, salt and pepper to season.

Mix cooked pasta in with cheese sauce. Pour into a casserole dish and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown on top. If you want it extra cheesy top with some more cheese before going into the oven.