Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

more christmas glee...

      Finally, finally, finally... here are the pics to my xmas cookie creations.  If you are interested in any of these little beauties or any others for a special occasion or holiday e-mail me!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

lovely lemon

    Not too long ago a I had a post on lemon posset cause I can't get enough lemon... love the little yellow things. Now, I've made a good ol' lemon meringue pie minus the meringue.... so maybe lemon tart then.  I'm not the biggest fan of meringue, I love the look and taste only if its cooked well.  But for me and only me, considering I think I almost ate most of the pie, I did a slightly sweet whip cream top - very nice!  

ps. doesn't this pic remind you a little of pac man?



Saturday, November 29, 2008

daring bakers and lots of caramel


    I was quite excited to unravel the November challenge... a lovely caramel cake and wonderful it was! I must say mine is a little less then perfect but tasted great none the less.  This month's challenge was to make Shuna Fish Lydon's of Eggbeater, Caramel cake recipe.   I added the caramel whip centre.  This cake wasn't the easiest but a good challenge... considering I burnt the syrup more then once - its funny, you walk away for a minute and then next thing you know its black.  The caramelized butter frosting was a bit sweet, but the flavor was amazing! 
Now I also made the caramels and wow, wow these were delicious!  I did burn these a little also, hehe, but lets just say I renamed them my 'burnt marshmallow' caramels.

Caramel Whip Centre

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2tsp icing sugar
4tbs caramel syrup
1tsp vanilla

Combine all in a standard mixture and beat till you get a fluffy whipped cream. 

Golden Vanilla Caramels

1 cup golden syrup
2 cups sugar
3/8 tsp fine sea salt
2 cups heavy cream
1tbs + 1tsp pure vanilla extract
3 tbs unsalted butter, softened

Using a large heavy bottom sauce pan ( bigger then you think you need, the caramel will double in size as it boils) combine syrup, sugar and salt, cook over medium heat for about 3 min covered. Uncover attach a candy thermometer to the pan. Let the mixture reach 305 degrees without stirring. (Heat cream in a small sauce pan till small bubbles form around edges.)  Once the mixture reaches 305 degrees turn of heat add butter and gradually stir in the hot cream. It will bubble rapidly so be careful.  Turn back on the heat and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, to about 245F, the stir consistently till it reaches 260F. Add vanilla at the end, stir and pour on a prepared baking sheet.  Let the mixture for 4 to 5 hours or overnight.
Cut caramels with an oiled knife and wrap in grease proof paper.  Makes about 80.
Recipe adapted from Daring bakers site.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

sour cherry pie & hope

      A couple of days ago I got the sad news that ABC will be canceling Pushing Daisies and a few others!!!  Lets just say - NOT Pushing Daisies!!!!  I love this show.  Finally something different has hit TV and they (who ever they really are) decided to cancel it!  If its not the show's intense colourful sets and costumes, the great looking pies, awesome cast... and perhaps one handsome pie maker... its the story line that I love.  I can't get enough of this show!  I can tell you that its fan's are not giving up on this show.  I think ABC is in the mist of getting a ton of nasty e-mails.  It's amazing the amount of people that are trying to save this show and the few others.  If anything... at least let the writers finish the story!  I want to know what happens!!!
So for the show and my taste buds... I have made a wonderful little sour cherry pie.  Lets just say every time I would watch the show... I would want pie!  They always looked sooo good ... and good indeed this pie was!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

drinking at noon

 
'I just got electrocuted!'  ...well that was what one server said as he handed me my ...um third glass of wine before 1pm in the afternoon.  Thanks to keeping my winter wool jacket on and the carpet beneath my feet I was frequently giving people shocks as I handed them my ticket in exchange for a tasting.  It was well worth it as the wine was great and the food fantastic!  I have never seen so many different bottles of wine in one place. I must admit it was a little overwhelming, I couldn't decide what I wanted to try first, weather it be the food or the many many wines. But I did leave happy with perhaps some wines to add to my list of favorites.

Sadly I wish I brought my camera to the event, but in the mist of deciding to go last minute and catching the next train I forgot all about it!  It was too bad cause the  atmosphere there was great too!  
I figure these pic's I took a while back would do the job.  These were from a class where we were playing with light and pours.

   

Monday, November 17, 2008

christmas glee

Cookies... where to start?  I know I really wanted to get some christmas cookies rolling. That Christmas feeling is starting to win over in me and truthfully I'm kind of loving it! I still thought it was a wee bit to early for the tree to go up, so cookies are the next best thing! 
 In recent findings I found a ton of xmas cookie cutters that I just had to have... and well of course I just had to try them out right away!  So here's my first batch of the season, with more for sure to come! For this one I used a Basic Gingerbread cookie recipe and a butter cookie recipe for the snowflakes. happy holidays and happy baking! 



Monday, November 3, 2008

lamingtons


I can't believe I forgot the daring bakers challenge.  I was so looking forward to some deliciously creative pizza!  I've been so busy baking up a storm and working hard that it passed my mind.  Sorry guys.  I'm on the next one!  
I went backpacking in Australia a few  years back and was delighted in they're assortment of baked goods. Some familiar and some not... this is where the lamington comes in.  I saw this little square piece of a cake and had to have one!  Coming in tons of great colours and flavors and since I love coconut and well cake of  course they seemed like the perfect little treat!  Missing Oz  and dawning Canada's cold snowy months ahead I decided to bake up something to remind me of its hot days and salty seas.

Monday, October 27, 2008

blue


The feeling is blue... blue for blueberries that is.  No fresh pickin's for quite some months, the blueberry is officially out of season (sigh).  Oh for the sweet and sour little blue ball of a berry, no more.  (Well its not to say we can't buy it from our market where it came from another far off land and pay just that little bit more.) But I felt I should pay tribute to this little berry for all they're health benefits and sweetness it brings to our lovely desserts and healthful smoothies... I love em!
Sorry guys I haven't posted in some time. Its been a crazy crazy week!  I just finished off 260 halloween cookies and had just par-take in a week long food-styling class... very intense.  So now is my time to catch up... or was it? Here I was getting all my gear ready, ready to load up some pics and doesn't my camera decide its time to charge the battery.  So for another day I will post all my wonderful delights!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

chocolate... ooh..yeah

What more can I say. Chocolate is... chocolate is melt in you're mouth, chocolate is an old favored memory, chocolate is decadence, chocolate is love/hate, chocolate is wanting more, chocolate is a happy thing, chocolate is eyeing me in the supermarket...and at home, chocolate is simple, chocolate is sexy, chocolate is comfort, chocolate is sometimes where it doesn't belong (ie: hips), but best of all chocolate is sooo darn good!  Here are two of my absolute favorite chocolate cakes...  the chocolate flourless torte and the chocolate butter cake with a rich dark choc glaze.  Now both are filled with delicious vanilla pod infused whipped cream and berries of course!
More chocolate to come!!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

lemony goodness...


I love lemon... I really do. I think lemon could almost go with anything and everything. Its refreshing, tangy, sour, sweet, a natural killer of bacteria and well really good for you! As I was craving  something with lemon and as I spent a small part of my morning grazing threw a few cook books (I do this often) and came upon 'sunday lunch'  by Gordon Ramsay.  He had this dead simple recipe for lemon posset. So here's my adaptation of the sort.  It pretty much only took 3 ingredients and 5 min to make and you just pop it in the fridge for a few.  I added some vanilla beans to give it that extra goodness and I love the way the little black specs look. 
I hadn't taken any pictures for a couple of weeks and was missing it. I've just been so busy, but more should be in the making soon and the week after this I will be taking a week long food styling class. So I should get some more awesome photography from that! I can't wait for it. I'm excited to learn more about the art.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

daring bakers vegan lavash challenge


Okay... so here is goes, my first daring bakers challenge: Vegan lavash with a balsamic basil onion relish and lemon humus. Truthfully I must admit I was a little disappointed with this challenge.  I was hoping for something a little more exciting.  Love the idea though, something I probably would have never thought to make, but also a great way to get everyone to try it vegan style.  I must say these were pretty good, (I followed the recipe on the DB page) especially with the onion relish... yum.  But I don't think mine are authentic because they, probably knowing I didn't roll them thin enough, turned out more like a hard pita.  Loved them either way and so did the fam, I would make them again!





Saturday, September 20, 2008

fakeness...


Other attempts from food and product photography class....   more fake ice cream, I think this one is my favorite shot and the jello balloons with a neatly placed coconut shine mark.  The jello balloons were an attempt at a kids packaging design lesson and well the fake ice cream is just so neat!  If you want to try making something with jello, just add less water it gives it a more solid texture, therefor its easier to use with a cookie cutter to make shapes.

Monday, September 8, 2008

SHF: so horribly fantastic, lemon strawberry little cakes .....mmmm


This is my contribution to SHF, sugar high fridays.  Yes, there is a lot of bad cupcakes out there, they may look pretty, but once you bite into them... disappointment dawns.  It saddens me, such a pretty thing being so bad.  So I've tried something new. Now these are simple, as I wanted to keep, and absolutely yummy of course... that is what we're going for here!  These lemon strawberry cupcakes are simple and well surprising.  I wanted to keep the white icing look, but its not just vanilla buttercream frosting, its strawberry vanilla buttercream. I got my little hands on some candy flavorings and decided to try them out.  I thought they would have that bitter fake taste you some times get, you all know what I'm talking about, but I was wrong.

lemon cupcakes

31/2 cups all-purpose flour
2tsp baking powder
1tsp baking soda
1/2tsp salt
1cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2tsp  real vanilla extract
3 eggs
250ml sour cream
2tsp shredded lemon peel

strawberry buttercream frosting

1 cup unsalted butter
6 to 8 cups icing sugar
1/2 milk
1tsp vanilla extract
4-5 drops strawberry flavoring
Add all ingredients into a mixing bowl and beat until smooth and creamy (3-5min)

Preheat oven 350. In a large bowl, beat butter in a electric mixer on high speed until smooth. Add sugar, vanilla and beat until mixed.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Add flour mixture and sour cream alternately while continuing to beat.  This batter is thick, stir in lemon peel. Makes approx 2 dozen or more.


Monday, September 1, 2008

chocolate pots et frangelico


Lets just say I was craving chocolate....  I've been so busy lately that I haven't had time to make anything, but I did manage to fit in some time to indulge my sweet tooth.  I found these little shot glasses I thought would look perfect filled with something sweet so hence why these little chocolate pots were born.  I must say they are a little too sinful, dark chocolate, cream and the hit of frangelico. I do love that little hint of hazelnut.  These look great and are dead easy to make.

chocolate pots

200g  good quality chocolate
1 cup  cream
2 egg yolks
knob of salted butter
2 tbsp frangelico*

heat cream in a sauce pan over medium heat untill simmering. Add  chocolate till melted and the cream turns into a fantastic chocolatey goodness, add eggs stirring constantly, then add butter and liquor stir until smooth and creamy... yum!  Pour into little cups and chill for at least a few hours.  Makes about 6, as I used little shot glasses.
*You can use just about any liquor that suits you're taste buds: brandy, kahlua and fruit flavors work really nice.

Friday, August 22, 2008

vanilla cupcakes


I love cupcakes.... they are just so cute and their are so many ways to decorate them. I kind of went for simple this time and that can be just as lovely too!
I was flipping threw my array of cookbooks, like I do on any old day, for inspiration and stopped at one of Bill Granger's books, I love his stuff!  He had this great recipe for the vanilla cupcakes, cause secretly I wanted to use my vanilla extract I had just made all my own, I was pretty excited.  Making you're own vanilla extract is so easy, I was surprised, a whopping two ingredients!  Use either vodka or dark rum, de-seed the vanilla bean pods and add them to the bottle too, shake once a day for two weeks.  

Vanilla cupcakes
250g (9oz) unsalted butter, softened                       
250g (1cup) caster sugar                                              
4 eggs
1 tsp natural vanilla (or you're newly made one!)
185g (1 1/2cups) self-raising flour
60g (1/2cup) plain four
185ml (3/4cup) milk

Icing
60g (1/2cup) icing sugar
2-3 tbsp hot water
a few drops lemon or vanilla extract

Place the butter and sugar in an electric mixer and beat until pale and creamy, add eggs one at a time, then vanilla until combined. Sift the flours and fold in while adding the milk.  Put the mixture into a 12 cup muffin tin and bake for 20min at 350F or 180C.  Makes 1 dozen

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Oh.. Snap!


I thought I'd just sneak this pic in... I've recently fell in love with Ginger Snaps, they are so addicting! These are oh so thin, plus you can eat quite a few of them before you start to feel bad about how many you just ate!  So I thought I'd share this photo I took of them with you.  Now I didn't make these, they did indeed come from a box of a Swedish brand, but now I'm thinking I may  need to try my own out soon...  or at least when this box runs out.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

no ice, no cream...


Ohhh, I love ice cream, but this quite isn't that! Can you believe these aren't real? Here's my attempt at the fake art...
Right now I am pursuing a career in food styling, or at least attempting. I'm going to school for Food and media which combines quite the range of food related courses, like learning how to cook for a start, food photography, food writing, and of course the art of food styling.  I've got one more year left and I'm enjoying every bit of it!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

something old, something new?


Vintage finds...I'm always on the look out for them. I scope out antique/flea markets and thrift shops for the perfect props for my photography. There's always something to buy and sometimes quite a bit cheaper then a regular ol' shop. Besides you can find some pretty interesting things and it can be a lot of fun looking. I'm a huge fan of scarves from the 60s' and 70s'. The colours and patterns are amazing and they only cost around two dollars each! ...Aren't they back in fashion now too? Bonus!
 I tend to pick up some of the most random things too, like the old tiffin tin shown in the pics. Its a cute little steel three level carrying case, perfect for those on the go food journey's. There really is so many things to buy at second hand shops. Even old sheets can make great backdrops for pics, especially if can find some great patterned ones. Or use an old sheet (in good condition) and staple it to a wooden frame for some cool retro art! Cups and glasses are huge. I'm always on the look for those. You can't have the same one in all you're pics right? Cutlery too, is big, I like the old cutlery, its got a lot more character then the new stuff, especially if you're shooting something rustic.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

coffee break....



Boy do I love my coffee... and there's so many kinds, you can never get board! Coconut coffee would have to be my absolute fav! You can never go wrong with a good espresso either. I will admit, but probably like most people, when I start a new day its the first thing I do in the morning, I leap... well maybe not so much leap but drag myself out of bed and turn the coffee on. But you gotta have something to wake you up on those early days!
Funny I was never much of a coffee drinker, until I headed to New Zealand a while back. It was the thing to do, grab a coffee, chat (well that's nothing new, we all do it here, but it was just different.  Was it because I was way on the other side of the world? Perhaps). Plus it didn't help that my job over there was working as a barista. But if you've ever been there, you'll know that kiwi's have some weird names for they're coffee, most of the cafes don't even serve filter coffee. So here I am one day staring at a menu in a shop and see: flat white, long black, short black?? Total confusion, of course there was the familiar latte` and cappuccino and what have you... but apparently flat white, long black and so on are just variations of how much milk you put into the espresso. Amused either way, I became a frequent orderer of the flat white, and some of they're coffee has been the best I've ever had!  Right now I'm a huge fan of the coffee press. Its so fresh and fast, you get all the flavor! Try putting cinnamon in with the grounds or adding some vanilla extract to you're cup!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

...the old man is snoring



Wow, has this week been a soaker or what!  I think its rained almost everyday.  I do love it though, in moderation that is.  Not  only does everything get a little greener and well cleaner, its a day to spend time watching some good ol' movies and cooking up something special to make the grey haze disappear.  I think baking might hit the spot, some cookies for the rest of the week, a cake I've been dying to try or even a crazy muffin concoction. You never know... Just something to break the blah. I do sorta attempt to follow a recipe, but then I see something eyeing me in the cupboard that could just maybe work, then well that's just gotta go in too!  ie. My attempt at strawberry muffins turned into chocolate strawberry nut muffins... damn that chocolate for peaking out at me from the cupboard! But hey, those were good!  
Rainy days are always a tool for getting stuff done you've been meaning to, or willing to try. Get out those cookbooks and look at that food porn for inspiration for the next rainy day!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

sundays...


Sunday's are the one day of the week to relax and unwind, unless you're stuck working of course, but for most people its a lazy day.  I do enjoy those lazy days where you can just putter around the house and finally get all those things done you've been meaning to do earlier in the week.  But for me, after a good little sleep in, I love to make a big breakfast.  Its really the highlight of the morning, the anticipation  of what new spin will have on breakfast today.  Will it be chocolate french toast, pancakes with lemon and honey, or a good English style eggs and bacon with the lot? The smells alone will wake you out of bed and send you down stairs in you're pj's and roughed up bed head, too excited to even check yourself out in the mirror.