Thursday, January 24, 2008

..chocolate birthday cake day.... but.....

Nobody was home to lick the beater, so I had to take one for the team. Then..there was also the bowl....and the spatula...and the..... oh, brother ... .... who needs cake?

Well, this was interesting... a learning experience with a layer cake. Same pans, same oven, same amount of time, .... but.... one cake I turned out after only 10 mins. onto the rack...but had to wait a bit longer to turn out the other as I only have one smallish rack (rest assured I am buying another ... today!!) Look at the bottom of each. Arrgghhhh! one felt nice and almost dry to the touch...the second..that had languished in the pan far too long... ick..felt moist, sticky and obviously stuck to the non stick, buttered and also floured pan. Sheeesh..... The only saving grace was that it WAS a layer cake. I could hide the bad side in a variety of ways...and the taste would, of course, be the same so it didn't matter. But... lesson learned. Leave 10 mins... remove from pan, place on rack to cool fully. Period.

Please try to ignore the holly leaves on the platter.., (of course, now that I mentioned it, even if you hadn't noticed it will find difficulty getting past that!) This year...along with a new cake rack..I vow to get a pretty cake plate or stand.... oh, yes... a covered one at that. And...also... new gift to me... and to those of you who love cake...a new cooling rack.

definitely more moist and sticky than I thought it would be....

Mocha chocolate filling ....

Some day I might like to take a cake decorating course...or at least try my hand at it somehow. but, for now...I just do it how Mom did...with a knife; make it look "pretty". It reminds me of smallish waves on water... and looks about like the picture does in my ancient Canadian Cookbook. Looks good, tastes great!

Monday, January 21, 2008

I love a bargain meal...

Especially one that tastes amazing and is easy as pie. (well, easier than pie actually)

I am using my new little crock pot every so often and love it! Darly is on the prowl...looking for crock pot recipes. I am afraid I don't really have a list of particular ingredients Darly, .. or measurements or the like. It seems a bit like soup to me and ... well... with soup, anything goes.

I began with sirloin boneless pork chops...

look at the size of the panful for $6.45 !! who can believe that? I think somebody made a mistake on the sticker that day. This will easily make six meals ++ "plan overs".

Even if I am using my crock, I like to sear, brown or otherwise colour meat a bit before tossing it into liquid in the pot. Same thing when I use the microwave for some things. I hate anemic looking food. Even a bit of paprika can help there. I also then add a bit of water, wine, tomatoes or broth to the browning pan..boil it a bit and pour it over the meat in the crock pot. More flavour yet. You could probably use a bit of soup I guess and add some water. Personally I don't like canned soup.... but that is just me. Feel free to do whatever you like...or use whatever you have on hand. Any recipe is just a guideline...

You don't need much liquid really... hardly any of it evaporates if you leave the lid on. I like to add enough to get some other use out of it though, especially if I have 6 chunks of meat as we had today. Add some herbs.. you could try sweet basil, Tuscan spices or perhaps Herbes de Provence .. maybe a bay leaf, garlic, pepper, a sprig of Rosemary?.. whatever you like... then, some veggies as well and you will have a complete meal ready and waiting for when you arrive home from work......the house will smell amazing.... If you are at home during the cooking process... give it a little stir every so often.

By the time this was in the crock pot for about 6 hours we didn't even need a knife to cut it. There were onions, carrots, celery and green beans in the I just made some couscous and we spooned some of the"jus" over it... oh, yummy. That little crock pot has already more than paid for itself. Good suggestion from my brother the mountain man. Now..I have to hurry up and try his recipe for buns.... he is testing my Barm Brack....

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Please check out my other blog

Would you like to play a game? .... how about Pay it Forward?

Check out the Bearister Bookcase. Leave a comment there to be entered into the draw for the 3 recipients who will receive a handmade gift from me ... if you are chosen... you will then also pay it forward to 3 others.... with some gift you will choose to send to them.

Friday, January 18, 2008

last of the 'nog

... and a pretty good "last" it was! It is called Christmas Bread...but really, it seems like a pound cake or loaf to me. Last week I found a whole shelf of eggnog on sale for only 99 cents for the two liter size. Over at Joe's blog... they were talking about eggnog cheesecake...and then off I went somewhere else....and they were talking about an eggnog loaf .... had to try at least one of 'em, didn't I ?!
hhmmmm.... where was that? ok....thinking...... it was eggnog, it was a cooking was .... darn it... where was that? HAH! I remember... it was Megan's blog. This is ridiculous, typing along trying to remember where I actually saw something, then having to open another window to try to find it, then trying to get back to where I am typing up my post.....sheeesh. Sometimes I make a boo boo and close out my blog entry...luckily it gets saved automatically most of the time.

It definitely has the great taste of 'nog if you like it.

I thought it a tiny bit drier than I would have liked it (easy to fix next time, more eggnog!!) ...but very tasty. If you make some holes with a skewer prior to drizzling on the will even seep inside the loaf a bit....mmmmmm very yummy. Oh, I'm bad. I am pretty sure everybody is trying their darndest.. (just like moi ) lose the few extra Christmas pounds we gained. so... .. highlight, copy, print, stick it in your holiday fare binder, and bake it next year!!

Eggnog Christmas Bread with Buttered Rum Glaze
Makes: 1 loaf
2 eggs
1 cups sugar
1 cup eggnog
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated)
1 1/2 teaspoons rum extract
1 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

Buttered Rum Glaze

Make this after bread comes out of the oven:
1/4 c brown sugar
1/3 c unsalted butter
1 teaspoon rum extract
Melt butter and brown sugar together in a saucepan until smooth and sugar loses it’s graininess.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter a 9×5x3 bread pans.
Beat eggs, add sugar, eggnog, butter,
rum and vanilla until blended.
In a bowl mix together flour, baking powder and nutmeg. Add to the egg mixture and stir until just moistened. Don’t over stir.
Pour into greased pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out
Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan.
Glaze with frosting while still warm.
Cool bread completely before slicing.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Chocolate and gold....

Those seem to have been my favourite colours during the holidays. This delectable liqueur represents only one portion of a tasty Mochatini. Sampled a couple of those ....

..... so, did everybody gain a few Ferraros over the holidays? They are similar to pounds, but are
chocolate and hazelnut and ... ooohhhhh do they add girth to a tummy. But, what rhymes with tummy ...but yummy... and that is exactly why I ate more than my share. Guess what? this week they are on sale 50% off! That's right, I bought some more. Why not? They last a long, long time if I don't open them! 'Course...that'll be the hard part.

I am supposed to be "putting Christmas away" this week...but...look.... more golden chocolates..... and butter cookies...and.... oh, brother, does it never end? I am still enjoying my holidaying...well into this new year. Why not? Other than Valentine's day and birthdays...I usually don't bother with chocolate or many sweets. Bread is more my weakness...

Okay...look, there are some good things in the frig too....

and I am preparing healthy food and smaller portions..... that should help get us back on track.

a little slice of tenderloin(with spicy curry tomatoes), couscous and veggies..

or orange roughy with a simmered fruity melange over rice..

I was keen to begin some exercise this month...but my foot is still not perfect. Some days it feels pretty good and then...some days it is painful. I think I will begin with shorter stints on the treadmill than I have been trying... even 10 -15 morning, noon and night...might be better than trying for 20 minutes at one go right now. Must strengthen it gradually or I feel I will risk problems .. I want this to be a much more mobile year so am not taking any chances. I am back to doing some light weights, leg lifts front, back and sides... and some rubber band therapy for my shoulder ... wish my back would hurry up too... still a bit painful from the tub incident.... sigh .. always some darn thing.

January is a good time for a clean sweep. I like to check both pantries and re-organize things. Check dates...make sure I am not going to let anything "expire". Absolutely no point in buying on sale or getting any bargains if you let it go to waste is there?

All the dry soup ingredients are on sale right now. I almost think the grocery stores are trying to help out a bit in the budget department. A shame some folks overspend at the Christmas...but they do....and they pay dearly for it in January.

Usually the weather makes it feel a bit more like a soup day too but so far... we have had no winter. Not to say we won't...we will likely get whacked pretty hard by good ol' Mother Nature...and soon...and then, well into spring...and even early summer....that is just how it goes here.

This year I would like to try baking some breads, and have bought a couple of new loaf pans. I am still just tidying for this week ... but will be back to baking and experimenting with a few new things next week.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

I'm a delinquent...

.... not really, but sort of .... cuz, I promised this awhile ago and finally today I remembered that I had said I would post it ... but, only after seeing Louise's comment. Head like a sieve ..... oh, well, seeing as this is a food blog it seems appropriate for it to be a kitchen utensil. ...

Use your favourite pastry recipe or use one from a package of Crisco or Tenderflake. .. It is always a good idea to read through the whole recipe first to see what you decide to add or not bother using..... and remember, I always toss in my two cents worth to let you know what I prefer ...

Butter Tarts

1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 or 2 eggs
1 cup currants or raisins ( I use a lot less)
1 Tbsp. lemon juice(optional)
1/2 tsp. vanilla

(This is so quick & easy it is not even worth getting out your mixer.)

Cream butter; add sugar and mix.
Add well beaten egg, fruit and flavouring; mix well.
Line tart tins with pastry and 1/2 fill with mixture.
Bake at 375F 10 to 12 minutes.
Makes 1 dozen medium sized tarts. (It actually makes a few more)

............ Cranberry butter tarts ... just use dried cranberries instead of raisins...or use a mixture of the two ) ... some people don't like too many raisins in their tarts... so sometimes I just use a few and some toasted walnuts. If you don't want them to be quite so sweet ..add the lemon juice cuts the sweetness nicely and adds something to the overall flavour. If you like them even sweeter..add a few tablespoons of corn syrup or Rogers Golden syrup (mmm that one adds yummy, runny,sweetness!)