Category Archives: Baking

Apple snacking spice cake from “Flour”

The name of this cake is straight out of Joanne Chang’s “Flour”. I am not really a fan of cakes because they end up too dry most of the time but the name made me curious. And after having tried a few recipes from her book, I trust her judgment. And after trying this cake I have to tell you, I am a big fan! Hopefully next year when I visit the USA I will be sure to swing by one of her bakeries.

Back to the cake, it wasn’t time-consuming at all and in fact most of the ingredients that go into this cake are to be found in the cupboard. Joanne uses Granny Smith apples but as I did not have enough of those I threw in 1 Braeburn. I made this cake Sunday night and brought some for my co-workers. Man, did I get some praise!!! They couldn’t stop talking about it. Now I get e-mails asking when I will make this again. I truly believe that this cake is for everyone, I gave it to about 7-8 different people and they all loved it, including me. Here’s what it looked like:

The cake was really moist and you could taste the spices( cinnamon, cloves, ginger) but it wasn’t overpowering. This cake will be definitely in my top 5 cakes. Enjoy!

 

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Craving quiche from Flour by Joanne Chang

The last post I mentioned that I bought a new cookbook and I would post the first thing I tried. I bought Flour by Joanne Chang from Amazon.uk. Although I have Nick Malgieri’s “Bake”and some other random pastry cookbooks I was still looking for a specific desserts/sweets cookbook.  As it is I have too many cookbooks but I still manage to find something that I “need”.But in my defense I do use every single one of them so I don’t feel guilty. Anyways, back to the book. I stumbled upon the title when I was browsing on Amazon’s website and all the reviews were so convincing I ordered the book. And after browsing in it every single day for 2 weeks, I am glad I bought it.

       

The pictures are wonderful and really inviting. And what I really like about the book is that the author gives a short intro about how the recipe came about and there are tons of suggestions to play with the recipes. So, bottom line: good choice if you’re looking for a in-depth cake/sweets/pies cookbook and if you’re an amateur baker like me.

Yesterday I was in the  mood for quiche and the first thing that came to mind was: leeks. I love the oniony flavor of leeks and they work so well with gruyère and bacon. So I decided upon leek,gruyère, bacon quiche. I used the pâte brisée recipe from “Flour”. I made it yesterday and let it rest overnight. In the morning I spread it on a 9-inch pan and blind baked it. Normally you wouldn’t cook the filling but I think that you have to with leeks because it brings out the flavor really well. I sautéed the bacon first, took it out and sautéed the leeks in butter. I flavoured it with some sprigs of thyme, salt and pepper. While I blind baked the quiche shell I mixed the custard; 6 L egg yolks, 2 tbs. of flour, heavy cream, half-and half, nutmeg and the gruyère.

After baking the quiche shell I filled it with the leek bacon filling and poured the custard on top. See pic below.

After baking for 55 min in 350 F oven, it was ready!. I couldn’t wait and honestly, I didn’t. I picked some mache lettuce from the garden and greedily ate a quarter of the quiche along with it. The crust was incredibly buttery( not for dieters) and the oniony leeks with the salty bacon made for a wonderful lunch. Definitely a good recipe for hearty pies and I will be sure to try this recipe out again. Enjoy!

 

Stale bread turned into cinnamon raisin bread and butter pudding

Last week I tried the cinnamon raisin bread recipe from R.L.Beranbaum’s bread bible. I love making and eating her breads so I decided to try her recipe. If you’re looking for an easy recipe, her recipe is not the one for you. It took me 2 whole days and by then I partially lost my appetite for cinnamon raisin bread. I did like the bread, it was soft and tasty but a bit more sugar would make it even tastier. But that is a note for next time.

So of course I could not finish the loaf by myself and I was stuck with half which wasn’t so fresh anymore. And because I hate wasting food I decided to make good use of it and turn it into bread and butter pudding. I loooove bread and butter pudding, it’s just the kind of winter pudding one needs to feel all warm and cozy when it’s cold outside. And the ingredients for this pudding are easy and it can be adjusted to your liking. It’s simply cream, milk, eggs, brown sugar and rum(optional). I cut the leftover bread into cubes and let them dry out overnight. The next day I soak them in the custard mixture and some chocolate bits for an hour. I make sure every cube is soaked into the mixture and top with some demerara sugar to make a crunchy topping. Then it goes into the oven for about 40 minutes on 180 degrees. Make sure to check it once in a while because every oven is a bit different. Just pull it out of the oven once you think it’s done. It should feel firm when you press it with a little bit of a spring to it.For me, tucking into this warm pudding with the custard and chocolate oozing out of it is heaven. It feels like being covered with a warm blanket on a cold night. See my yummy cinnamon raisin (chocolate)bread pudding!

 

food to cure a bad day

Yesterday I got some disappointing news in the afternoon and I took it pretty hard. I agonized about it but after an hour(or 2) enough was enough! Most people will have a drink after bad news but I tend to cook. It always makes me feel better after I chopped, tasted and pulled something out of the oven. I guess you could say, it’s a bit like therapy but cheaper. Thus to recover from this very bad day I decided to make a main course and a chocolatey dessert(chocolate always works for me!!). I went to the supermarket with no idea what so ever, sometimes it’s better this way because seeing the different veggies or a nice bit of meat can spark an idea. Coincidentally I saw nice cuts of ham and picked a small but plump piece to add to my shopping bag. And of course with the weather being so cold, chicory was readily available and at a bargain price (€0,59 for 4 pieces). I have never cooked with chicory before but they looked so delectable I just had to buy some. Looking at them I knew I wanted to make chicory wrapped in ham and smothered in Continue reading

Whole wheat bread from Nick Malgieri’s “Bake”

As promised I would write more about the recipes I have tried from Mr. Malgieri’s book “Bake”. His recipes are well written and the photographs in the book makes me want to bake everything in it. And so I tried his two-step whole grain bread. This bread is based on a sponge which I made 1 day in advance. The sponge itself is very easy to make but I found out the hard way that making the bread itself takes 1,5 hours longer than I anticipated. The result? I went out to buy some bread for lunch because my bread came out of the oven at 14.30. I thought I’d be eating fresh bread that day but  Continue reading

Nick Malgieri’s potato gruyere focaccia and a pie for dinner

The last time I wrote a post I promised to tell you how the potato gruyère focaccia turned out from Nick Malgieri’s book “Bake”. This book was a Christmas present from my little brother and I cannot stop flipping the pages to decide what to make next. So last week I tried his focaccia and honestly, this was by far the tastiest focaccia ever. The bread rose nicely and it was not labor intensive to make. As I am always hungry, the latter is very important to me. This focaccia had so much flavor, the moment I tasted it I knew I would be making this again and again. With some recipes you know they will be a regular in your repertoire. And this potato gruyère focaccia one of them. Unfortunately I only took 1 picture as I wasn’t patient enough to take another. Here it is:

Of course I will be trying lots more from Nick’s book so stay tuned. Maybe I’ll try his oat and honey bread or his ligurian walnut cake. The hardest part about his book is deciding what to make. And as it happens I do spend countless hours deciding what I would like to eat and many more scouring cook books and websites deciding which recipe to use for it. Like yesterday when it was time to decide what to cook. Continue reading

In need of some sober nourishment

This is my first post for 2012, I hope everyone had a great 2011 and the best wishes for the new year. My resolution for the new year is to improve on my blog and writing skills. I started playing with the idea of writing a blog as a means of keeping record of which new recipes I tried and liked and what I ate on a daily basis, so the idea was nothing fancy just a regular girl crazy about food(and eating). Some people have a gift of making food look incredibly good but I am not a photographer, I’m a foodie and a greedy one at that. I’m regularly in the middle of dinner and then I have to kick myself because I forgot to take a picture beforehand. So in 2012 I am going to try to restrain myself from devouring my dinner immediately, the things I do for this blog! 😉

Enough of reflections/resolutions and back to the important stuff; food. After eating pretty much everything I wanted during the holidays, today I wanted something a bit more sober. So I woke up and scoured my cookbooks and I found a focaccia recipe in ”’Popina, book of baking” by Isidora Popovic. I found it on sale for €4 at a book store and I haven’t regretted it yet. Even if you don’t bake the pictures are beautifully taken. But I do bake so Continue reading