Where do you start a post like this one…
This is hard in some ways and easy in others. Hard because I’ve put so much of myself into this space, yet easy because I have not put enough. There are so many things about me that I haven’t shared with all of you. My faith in Jesus and my family & everyday life being just two of them. I guess that’s ok, I mean this is a food blog after all. However, as time goes by those other parts become a bigger and bigger part of me and I’ve come to the realisation that I’ve been living too much on the internet and not enough in life.
My passion for food has become stifled by blog posts and photographs. Although I do still love these things, my food journey has focussed on them instead of on the reason that I first loved food. To revel in the process of creating food that will make those I love happy.
Having come to this realisation, I’ve decided to take a step back. I’m not sure what the outcome will be, but it seems a necessary step on the bigger road of my life. Giving my passion for food time to develop on it’s own terms and allowing my identity to be shaped by the other things in my life.
Perhaps not… we’ll have to wait and see.
This month’s challenge was a nice & easy one. Perfect for my schedule as work is manic at the moment.
The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lisa stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.
Quick Breads are great as they’re so versatile. Loaves and muffins and all the different flavour combinations you can come up with.
I came up with a few, I couldn’t help myself. Banana Chocolate Chip, Vanilla & Mixed Berry and Double Chocolate. We only have time for one recipe today but the rest will come.
Who can resist chocolate?
Double Chocolate Muffins: (Adapted from Donna Hay)
(Makes 12 muffins)
- 2 cups / 300 g flour
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- 1/3 cup / 40 g cocoa powder
- 1 cup / 220 g castor sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla essence
- 2/3 cup / 160 ml canola oil
- 1/2 cup / 125 ml milk
- 1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F and grease a muffin tin with cooking spray or place muffin cases in place.
Sift together the flour, baking powder & cocoa powder and add the castor sugar. Set aside.
Mix together the eggs, vanilla, canola oil and milk.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix in until just combined. (Don’t over-mix or the muffins could be tough)
Fold in the chocolate chips and divide between the cups of the muffin tin.
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until the tops spring back when lightly pressed with your finger tips.
Allow to stand for 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.
I have a question for all of you photographers out there (amateur & professional)…
How many photo’s do you have of yourself?
I know right? Unless you have a friend or partner who shares your enthusiasm for photography you’re likely to spend all your time behind the camera and hardly ever feature.
I see you putting your humble face on. Don’t give me that, I’m sure we’d all love to spend some time on the other side. :)
I was lucky enough to do just that a few weeks ago. G and I received a couple’s photo shoot from his brother (A) & his sister in law (L) for Christmas and were finally able to use it. (Photo’s to come!)
Needless to say I was a bundle of nervous excitement as we pulled up to the meeting point. The photographer happened to be L’s best friend which helped to still the nerves and soon we were having a wonderful time.
Now all that’s left is to attempt to muster up some patience as we wait for the photo’s.
How does all this link to our Pineapple & Lemon Granita we’re enjoying today? Well, it doesn’t really. I just wanted to tell you about it. And eat some Granita at the same time.
What I love about granita is that it’s light (even with the cream). Perfect for Summer.
Pineapple & Lemon Granita: (Adapted from David Lebovitz’ The Perfect Scoop)
- 3 1/2 cups (875 ml) water
- 1 1/2 cups (300 g) sugar
- 725 g fresh pineapple, peeled, cored & chopped into small chunks
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 cup (250 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
Place all ingredients into a blender/food processor and blend until smooth.
Pass the mixture through a strainer to remove the pulp.
Pour the mixture into a large flat pan and freeze.
After about an hour, remove from the freezer and scrape the frozen mixture with a fork to break it up. Start at the edges and scrape towards the center, breaking up big chunks and forming tiny ice crystals. Freeze for about 1/2 an hour and scrape again. Do this 2 – 3 more times until you have tiny ice crystals all throughout.
Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.
You know those days where you have everything, but nothing occupying your mind? I’m having one of those days.
I’ve started to write this post four times already with no luck. The last time had me looking back on a string of adjectives (nonsense really) without memory of writing it.
It’s not often that such things completely consume my mind, but I’m seconds away from philosophizing about life’s troubles (which I’m sure you didn’t come here to ponder) so instead, lets just have scones.
You o.k with that? I hope you are. These are some excellent scones. In the next few minutes, scones trump troubles.
Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!
He did a terrific job with this recipe. Quick and easy and oh so good.
Basic Scones (a.k.a. Basic Biscuits) (Challenge recipe, go to the Daring Kitchen for variations)
Servings: about eight 2-inch (5 cm) scones or five 3-inch (7½ cm) scones
Recipe can be doubled
1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm/5 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (10 gm) (⅓ oz) fresh baking powder
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) salt
2 tablespoons (30 gm/1 oz) frozen grated butter (or a combination of lard and butter)
approximately ½ cup (120 ml) cold milk
optional 1 tablespoon milk, for glazing the tops of the scones
1. Preheat oven to very hot 475°F/240°C/gas mark 9.
2. Triple sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. (If your room temperature is very hot refrigerate the sifted ingredients until cold.)
3. Rub the frozen grated butter (or combination of fats) into the dry ingredients until it resembles very coarse bread crumbs with some pea-sized pieces if you want flaky scones or until it resembles coarse beach sand if you want tender scones.
4. Add nearly all of the liquid at once into the rubbed-in flour/fat mixture and mix until it just forms a sticky dough (add the remaining liquid if needed). The wetter the dough the lighter the scones (biscuits) will be!
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, lightly flour the top of the dough. To achieve an even homogeneous crumb to your scones knead very gently about 4 or 5 times (do not press too firmly) the dough until it is smooth. To achieve a layered effect in your scones knead very gently once (do not press too firmly) then fold and turn the kneaded dough about 3 or 4 times until the dough has formed a smooth texture. (Use a floured plastic scraper to help you knead and/or fold and turn the dough if you wish.)
6. Pat or roll out the dough into a 6 inch by 4 inch rectangle by about ¾ inch thick (15¼ cm by 10 cm by 2 cm thick). Using a well-floured 2-inch (5 cm) scone cutter (biscuit cutter), stamp out without twisting six 2-inch (5 cm) rounds, gently reform the scraps into another ¾ inch (2 cm) layer and cut two more scones (these two scones will not raise as well as the others since the extra handling will slightly toughen the dough). Or use a well-floured sharp knife to form squares or wedges as you desire.
7. Place the rounds just touching on a baking dish if you wish to have soft-sided scones or place the rounds spaced widely apart on the baking dish if you wish to have crisp-sided scones. Glaze the tops with milk if you want a golden colour on your scones or lightly flour if you want a more traditional look to your scones.
8. Bake in the preheated very hot oven for about 10 minutes (check at 8 minutes since home ovens at these high temperatures are very unreliable) until the scones are well risen and are lightly coloured on the tops. The scones are ready when the sides are set.
9. Immediately place onto cooling rack to stop the cooking process, serve while still warm.
Well it seems Summer has finally arrived.
I can’t say I’m too happy about that weather wise. Nearly reached 40°C/104°F today. Luckily I was off from work which meant I could chill in the pool and generally just laze around.
I did spend a bit of time in the kitchen making sorbet and popsicles though (the part I am happy with about Summer).
So to celebrate the happy parts of Summer, we’re having ice cream (what else?).
Roasted Strawberry & Balsamic Ice Cream:
Serves: 6 – 8
- 300 g strawberries
- 2 tsp (10 ml) balsamic vinegar
- 3 Tbsp (45 ml) castor sugar
- 3 C (750 ml) fresh cream (divided)
- 1 C (250 ml) full cream milk
- 1 C (210 g) castor sugar
- 10 egg yolks
Pre-heat the oven to 150°C/300°F. Hull and slice the strawberries into quarters. Place into a roasting pan and sprinkle the balsamic vinegar and 45 ml castor sugar on top.
Roast for 30 – 40 minutes until strawberries are soft and have darkened in colour.
Remove from the oven and mash them lightly with a fork.
Transfer to a separate bowl and chill in the fridge until needed.
Whisk the egg yolks and 1 cup of castor sugar together in a medium bowl and set aside.
Place 1 cup of cream into a large mixing bowl and set a strainer on top. Set aside.
Combine the 2 remaining cups of cream and the milk in a small saucepan.
Heat over medium heat until just simmering.
Add the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture a little at a time, stirring constantly.
Pour back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon.
Strain the mixture into the set aside cream and stir to combine.
Add the chilled strawberry mixture and stir to combine.
Chill in the fridge for at least 12 hours. Churn in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions OR place into a freezer bowl and chill for 1 hour. Remove from the freezer and beat with an electric beater until smooth. Return to the freezer and take out to beat every 30 minutes until the ice cream is thick and smooth (soft serve consistency). Return to the freezer until ready to serve.
Serve with: Chopped strawberries macerated in balsamic vinegar or chocolate sauce.
This is just a short post to say…
Check out what you can do with leftovers… Christmas Pudding Ice Cream.
Yeah probably the only way I will eat it. Sorry to all of you who love the stuff but I just can’t do it.
This however, is not half bad. I ate two scoops and I enjoyed them which (trust me) says a lot.
Plus, it’s easy.
Here’s what you do…
1. Don’t feed your leftover christmas pudding to the dirt bin. Or the dog.
2. Crumble said christmas pudding into a bowl and pour a little brandy over the top. Allow it to soak it up for a few minutes.
3. Stir said christmas pudding into some slightly softened vanilla ice cream (homemade or store-bought) and re-freeze.
4. Well, there is no step 4. It’s that easy.
Got leftovers? Do it.
December is always crazy around here but I didn’t expect to be away from you guys for this long. Damn but I am exhausted.
Work is going so well that I barely have time to sit down let alone check my emails. Everyday I come home with bruised (or so it seems) heels and burning eyes but honestly, who’s complaining? I’m loving every second of it.
We’ve got just over twenty weddings coming up in the next 2 weeks and prep for next year (wow that sounds weird) and trying to keep a million things in my head (with Christmas planning on top of it all) is taking its toll.
I tend to become a type of hermit during times such as these. With regards to technology that is. I don’t know why, but some days I just can’t bear the thought of turning on the TV or picking up my laptop. Technology seems to further clutter my already cluttered mind.
Lately, instead of my morning and evening internet sessions, I find myself reaching for a cup of tea and my bible instead. I’m planning on keeping that habit but when things slow down I’m excited to get back into blogging more often again.
Hope you’re all having an awesome December!