Monday, May 17, 2010

Popovers with Cinnamon Butter

I had never even heard of Popovers before until my uncle served this for me.  He said I had to try it out, and they were delicious.  This is a perfect side dish and a great dinner hit since most people don’t make these anymore.

For those who do not know what a Popover is, it is a light roll made from an egg batter similar to that used in making Yorkshire pudding. The name “popover” comes from the fact that the batter swells or “pops” over the top of the muffin tin while baking.

When was the last time you had Popovers?

Popovers

Yields: 12

4 cups milk, warmed
8 eggs
4 cups flour
1 ½ heaping tsp salt
2 ¼ cups grated Gruyere cheese
Popover pan

Make sure all your ingredients are lukewarm or warmed.  Place the popover pan in the oven. Heat the over and pan to 350 degrees. Gently warm the milk over low heat and set aside. Whisk the eggs until frothy and slowly whisk in the milk (so as not cook the eggs). Set the mixture aside. Sift the flour with the salt.  Slowly add this dry mixture and gently combine until mostly smooth.  Once combined, remove the popover pan from the oven and spray with non-stick vegetable spray. While the bather is still slightly warm or room temperature (definitely not cool), fill each popover cup ¾ full. Top each popover with approximately 2 ½ tbsp of the grated Gruyere. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes, rotating pan half a turn after 15 minutes of baking. Remove from the oven; remove from the pan and server immediately and server with Cinnamon Butter.

Cinnamon Butter

4 tbsp of butter room temperature
1 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of sugar

Mix all together and server with Popovers

Friday, May 14, 2010

Top 10 Restaurants in Kona, Hawaii the “Big Island”

Beach House Restaurant

The View from the Beach House Restaurant

I am currently on vacation in Kona, Hawaii which is referred to as the Big Island.   Hawaii is comprised of  hundreds of islands spread over 1,500 miles At the southeastern end of the archipelago, the eight “main islands” are (from the northwest to southeast) Ni’ihau, Kaua’i, O’ahu, Moloka’i, L’na’i, Kaho’olawe, Maui, and Hawai’i. The last is by far the largest and is often called “The Big Island” to avoid confusion with the state as a whole.

Living in Seattle, WA, we try to get away to a warm place at least once during the winter time to break up the cold months.  However, this year we went to Thailand in November (will write about in a future post) and didn’t get to go to Hawaii until now.

It is a pretty quick flight just over the Pacific Ocean from Seattle, the flight is 5-6 hours long and Alaska Airlineshas a direct flight from Seattle, WA to Kona, HI.  There are so many things I could tell you about Hawaii; things to do, place to stay but I want to keep this post related to restaurants reviews.  You can always contact me if you are going and want more information.  Maybe later on I will post some of the other things as I am developing my new travel section in this blog.

But I do have to say we went swimming with dolphins the other day in the pacific ocean and it was amazing.  I have never had such a “wild life” sea experience before.

So if you are ever in Kona, HI here are my top 10 place to go out and eat:

Beach House Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel at Hualalai.  If you could only go to one of the place on this list this is the one I would go to.  The food is great, not the best from this list but this place is magical for me, and if can come here during a sunset it is even more magical. See the photo up top, that is the restaurant I am talking about.  I can sit here for hours and just stare out in the sea.  You can come here for lunch or dinner.  The menu is pretty simple.  My favorite salad is the Greek Salad, the Burger is amazing and the Gazpacho Soup is also very good.  You can’t really go wrong here.  They usually have a few specials too.  The restaurant is called “Resident’s” Beach House but it is open to everyone and while you are here walk around the Four Seasons Resort, it is pretty nice. I would recommend reservations.

Beach House Restaurant
72-100 Kaupulehu Drive
Kailua Kona, HI 96740
(808) 325-8000

Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushiat the Queens shops of Waikoloa.  This place is at a strip mall but it is really good.  It is contemporary sushi and new wave Asian inspired dishes. Here there are a few things to die for.  Their salmon sashimi is fabulous, the Tea Duck Egg Roll are amazing, their award winning Panko Crusted Ahi Sashimi Sushi Roll are just some of the few things that a really good on the menu, but there is a lot more.  I would make reservations at this place since it always seems to be pretty busy.

Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi
69-201 Waikoloa Beach Drive
Waikoloa, HI 96738-5810
(808) 886-6286
Sansei Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Kenichi Pacific Sushi & Pacific Rim is probably my favorite sushi restaurant that I have been to on Kona.  The menu is great and I don’t think you can go wrong with anything here.  Just order a few of their rolls and some sushi and you will be very happy.

Kenichi Pacific Sushi & Pacific Rim
78-6831 Alii Drive
Kailua Kona, HI 96740-2440
(808) 322-6400
Kenichi Pacific on Urbanspoon

Holua Koa Gardens & Café  is one of my favorite places for food.  Now it is not in Kona but in Holualoa which is about 30-40 minutes drive from Kona, but it is worth it.  Not only will you notice the huge temperature drop but beautiful scenery as you drive there.  Just bring a sweater since it is few degrees colder on the mountain.  This place has it’s own garden so everything is very fresh and the seating is outside.  Everything on the menu is excellent, but especially their tomato salad, they grow them there and they are delicious.  They usually have a few specials and I highly recommend going here.

Holua Koa Gardens & Café
76-5900 Old Government Road
Holualoa, HI 96725-8718
(808) 322-5072
Holuakoa Cafe on Urbanspoon

Merriman’sin Waimea, HI not to be confused by the Merriman’s in Waikola is a very nice place.  All the food is absolutely fresh, the décor is very cozy and the staff is very nice. I really enjoy the Opakapaka fish so I would get the Steamed Opakapaka and some of their fresh vegetables.

Merriman’s
65-1227 Opelo Road
Kamuela, HI 96743
(808) 885.6822
Merriman's on Urbanspoon

La Bourgogneis a country French cuisine restaurants.  It is in a bland building on a highway, there is no view.  But once you are inside you feel like you are in France.  It is a family owned restaurant, the husband cooks and the wife serves.  It is a very small place around 15 tables. Their specialty is the Cassoulet so I would get that and get a good bottle of wine from a great wine menu.  I would make reservations before I go.

La Bourgogne
77-6400 Nalani Street
Kailua Kona, HI 96740-7955
(808) 329-6711
La Bourgogne on Urbanspoon

Brown’s Beach House– This beach side restaurant offers a Pacific Rim Cuisines with a California twist.  Is is a great venue for sunset cocktails with a Hawaiian Duo and a solo Hula Dancer. This place is a the Fairmont Orchid Hotel outside hotel dining right on the water and the food is really good. I would get the Fried Rice, Ahi Poke, and Sea Scallops.

Brown’s Beach House
1 North Kaniku Drive
Kohala Coast, HI 96743
(808) 885-2000
Brown's Beach House on Urbanspoon

Imari – This restaurant offers Japanese Art cooking demonstrations in a variety of styles from Teppanyaki to Shabushabu.  One of the fines Japanese restaurants in Kona.  I would get the Shabushabu here if you have not had that before. This place is located at the Hilton Hotel.

Imari
69-425 Waikoloa Beach Drive
Waikoloa, HI 96738
(808) 886-1234
Imari (Hilton Waikoloa Village) on Urbanspoon

Pahu i’a – This is probably number one food place on this list but it is also the most expensive food place on this list.  It is a the Four Seasons Hotel at Hualalai, the restaurant setting is beautiful and view is amazing overlooking the beach and water just like the Residents Beach House but most important the food is delicious.  This is a honeymoon spot.  But make sure you are ready to pay the bill. Reservations are required.

Pahu i’a
72-100 Kaupulehu Drive
Kailua Kona, HI 96740
(808) 325-8000
Pahu I'a on Urbanspoon

Roy’s Waikoloa Bar & Grill– This place is owned by Roy Yamaguchi and he served a Pacific Rim cuisine with classic European technisues in this livly, and casual restaurant.  It is always full and pretty lively but the service is excellent and the food is good.

Roy’s Waikoloa Bar & Grill
250 Waikoloa Beach Dr
Waikoloa Resort
Kohala Coast, HI
808-886-4321
Roy's Waikoloa Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Tommy Bahamas Café – I really enjoyed this place.  It is a bar/restaurant in a shopping area and the food was excellent.  All I can remember are those sliders.  They were really good. If you are in the shops of Shops at Mauna Lani stop by here to eat.

Tommy Bahamas Café
68-1330 Mauna Lani Dr
Kohala Coast, HI 96743
(808) 881-8686
Tommy Bahama's Tropical Cafe on Urbanspoon

 What are your favorite restaurants on Kona, HI?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

 

Ever since I was a little kid rhubarb has been delishhh to me. Every time I eat it, it reminds me of being a little kid running to my grandmother’s garden with a little bowl of sugar in my hand and picking up the rhubarb from the ground dipping it in my little bowl of sugar and just sitting there eating it. I know it was tart but so good, and such great memories. But if you decided to do this do not eat the leaves they are toxic, but rhubarb itself is a good laxative and also a good source of vitamin C.

Today I don’t have rhubarb growing in my garden, I actually don’t have any vegetables growing in my garden, maybe some day, but when you live in the city it is hard to have a vegetable garden.

So the other day when I went to the store I saw they had a bunch of rhubarb and I just had to get some. Usually I make rhubarb sauce which I will share with you at a later time but today I decided to make this amazing Strawberry Rhubarb Pie which is originally from Cindy Crawford and I got it on the Oprah website. The strawberries make it pretty sweet so do not worry about tartness, this pie is amazing. But you do have to like rhubarb too.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Adapted from: Oprah.com

Crust:
Make 2 Pie Crusts. One for the bottom and one for the top. You can find my recipe here. I decided to make mine today with whole wheat flour just for fun.

Filling:
1 ¼ cups plus 2 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cinnamon
3 cups halved strawberries
2 cups thinly sliced rhubarb
2 tbsp butter, cut up
2 tsp milk

Preheat oven to 400 F. Make the crust and let just the bottom crust bake for 10 minutes.

Then in a separate bowl start the filling, mix sugar, flour, nutmeg and cinnamon. Add fruit, stirring to coat.

Fill crust with filling. Scatter butter on the top. Add top crust. If you are covering the whole pie just make sure you have it open in the middle for ventilation. Brush with milk and sprinkle sugar on top. Bake for 50 minutes. You can cover with tinfoil if cooking too fast.

Allow to cool 1 hour before serving.

Enjoy!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Guest Post from Recaptured Charm: Embellishing With Food

Allow me to introduce today’s guest blogger Lisa from Recaptured Charm. Lisa is from Canada, and loves to cook, bake, craft and of course paint anything that stands still long enough. She has a great imagination as you will see in this post. It is a real pleasure having her here today.  

Hi there, I am so excited to be here on Delishhh. This marvelous site is filled with great ideas and delectable recipes. I am SO making the Steamed Chocolate Pudding this week! But for now, I have some tips on using food for an entirely different purpose.  

Why do people with a passion for decorating also have a passion for food? It’s very simple actually. Decorating, as well as beautiful food, is really all a feast for the eyes.While my first passion is decorating I also crave good old fashion kitchen time. I love to cook and bake. And sometimes I mix my two passions together and decorate with food.  

There are countless ways to decorate a cake.  

  

You can even make food into a decoration.  

  

But since food is beautiful in it’s own right, why not decorate with it as is? That’s where I can mix my love of decorating with food. You don’t need any special tools, or special skills, or really any great talent. You just need an eye for the beauty of food.  

Here is a little something I whipped up for dinner party centerpiece. The food is left in it’s natural state, but incorporated with some decorative items and candles. Use fresh daisies for a spring centerpiece, or rust colored mums and some gourds for fall. With a little modifying this centerpiece can take you through every holiday.  

Picture from recaptured Charm

A handful of lemons and limes brighten up any corner of a kitchen.  

Picture from Recaptured Charm

 Three large brandy snifters with fresh cranberries and hydrangeas.  


Picture from Southern Living

 Mix up some live foliage with red apples in a rustic container. 


Picture from Country Living

Or how about a live centerpiece with the most colorful veggies you can find!  


Picture from Martha Stewart

You could even go whimsical!  


Picture from Martha Stewart

Lets take it a step further. Take the decorations to another level.  

  

  

So the next time you need to spruce up your place a little with some color, or need a quick centerpiece for your table, skip the trip to the florist and stroll down the produce aisle of your grocery store. Be inventive, and be creative, there are no rules.  

  

Thanks Lisa for such a lovely post. If you haven’t already, hop over to visit Lisa at Recaptured Charm!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Seattle Top 10 Brunch Places

Baked French Toast

Note:  Due to the huge interest i keep this list up to date, last update September 1st, 2012

Everyone always asks me where to go for brunch and I always provide my lists of my top bunch places in Seattle, and I would like to share this list with you today. I figured this is a great time to share this list since Mother’s Day is coming up this weekend, why not take your Mother to one of these places.

Here is my list of Seattle top 10 brunch places:

Café Parco – This is my new favorite brunch place these days.  I was a little torn about putting it up because this place is not very busy yet, it’s pretty new and not many know about, but it is so good.  You can walk up the same day and get a table.  But I bet you that in a few months there will be a long line out the door.  This is the old Madison Park Café, on a gorgeous day it’s just fabulous to sit outside.  I have been at this place about 6 times now since it opened and I have my favorite thing on the menu, it’s the Panino Croccanti,  which is two pieces of French toast, layered with rosemary ham and black truffle Sottocenere and topped with a soft egg.  It is out of this world.  Really everything is awesome on the menu, that is just my favorite.

Café Parco
1807 42nd Avenue East
Seattle,WA98112-3288
(206) 328-4757
Cafe Parco on Urbanspoon

Vios – This is another favorite of mine these days.  They just started service brunch a few months back.  This is great family place and they have outside seating as well. Everything on their brunch menu is delicious, but my favorite is the Vios Benedict.  It’s benedict on a potato latkes, with greens or ham and Béarnaise Sauce. It’s just delicious.  The menu at Vios is small but that is ok I can always find something good here.

Vios
903 19th Ave East
Seattle,WA98112
(206) 329-3236
Vios Cafe & Marketplace on Urbanspoon

Café Campagne– While you are strolling around at Pike Place market this is an excellent place to stop for some amazing brunch.  I don’t go here very often but doesn’t mean it isn’t my favorite.  I usually have a very hard time with their menu, because they have so many of my favorite things.  You can’t go wrong here.  But my top three things are; Quiche du jour,  House-cured salmon gravlax, or Croque-madame.  After you are done here continue your walk at the Pike Place market.

Café Campagne
1600 Post Alley
Seattle, WA
(206) 728-2233
Cafe Campagne on Urbanspoon

Macrina Bakery & Café– When I moved to Seattle this was on the first place I went to.  First you have to know that all baked good, breads and cakes that come out of here are amazing.  So any baked good you order for breakfast will be delicious.  You have to also remember that their menu is very small but everything is really good.  My top three choices would be; Brunch Café Special. Which is an open faced sandwich featuring Zoe’s Applewood Smoked Bacon, over easy eggs, tomatoes, arugula and tarragon aioli on our Giuseppe bread. Served with herb roasted potatoes, Organic Greens Salad and fresh seasonal fruit.  Second choice would be Macrina Fried Egg Sandwich, which are eggs fried over-medium and topped with spicy tomato sauce, Muenster cheese, roasted onions and Dijon on grilled potato bread. Served with herb roasted potatoes. And my third choice would be the Brioche French Toast, which is a thick-cut brioche topped with raspberry compote, rose water whipped cream and toasted pistachios. Served with Zoe’s Chicken Apple Sausage.

Macrina Bakery & Café
2408 1st Avenue
Seattle, WA
(206) 448-4032
Macrina Bakery on Urbanspoon

Dish – This place is always very buys so expect a wait but the wait is worth the while.  This food is good, it is not anything fancy but worth it.  They now take credit cards, which is great. I would recommend the Slacker Especial, eggs tortilla chips, enchilada sauce, cheese and second I would get their pancakes.

Dish
4358 Leary Way NW
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 782-9985
Dish on Urbanspoon

Café Presse– A French little café/bar on Capital Hill (same owner as Le Pichet).  I think this place is great, it is not for everyone since it is pretty tight but I love it. The coffee is always delicious and the food is great.  There is only one thing that I order here for breakfast, I am sure everything else is really good but my favorite is Croque madame which is Croque Monsieur with a sunny side up egg.  Yum!

Café Presse
1117 12th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122-4415
(206) 709-7674
Café Presse on Urbanspoon

Portage Bay Café– For this place you have three locations to choose from South Lake Union, Roosevelt or Ballard.  I used to go to the Roosevelt location all the time until they opened the Lake Union location and now I go there every time.  It is much bigger and the line doesn’t get that long.  This is another place where the menu is overwhelming.  There are just too many choices and everything is great.  I think the first few time I always got the waffles or the pancakes so I could use the topping bar with all the goodies, but afterwards I realized that I could not eat for the rest of the day because it was so good.  So I now have a different strategy, do not do the topping bar unless you can handle it by only getting up once. So if you have never been have the pancakes or the waffles otherwise I would recommend Chorizo Sausage Scramble with organic bell peppers and tomatoes scrambled with three eggs and topped with queso fresco, sour cream, salsa and fresh green onion. Served with a warmed flour tortilla. And if that doesn’t sound good I would get the Goat Cheese Omelet with organic baby spinach, mushrooms, green onions and Laura Chenel goat cheese.

Portage Bay Café
391 terry ave n
seattle 98109
206.462.6400
Portage Bay Cafe & Catering on Urbanspoon

Hi Spot Café– I haven’t been here in awhile but I still remember it as amazing.  It was summer so we got to sit outside.  First you have to order one of their baked items.  They are delicious.  Then I would get their Chorizo Scramble with eggs, grilled onions, green peppers, diced potatoes, & mozzarella. Served with green tomatillo sauce & corn tortillas on the side. My second choice would be French Brioche toasts that are thick sliced egg-dipped brioche with almond butter & pure maple syrup. And if none of those sound good I would make my own Customized Omelet or Scramble.

Hi Spot Café
1410 34th Avenue
Seattle, WA
(206) 325-7905
Hi-Spot Cafe on Urbanspoon

Voulas Offshore Café – I had never heard of this place until we heard Guy Fieri recommend this place on the food network. We just had to try it out.  This place is a diner and nothing fancy but the food is GOOD.  Some of the best diner food I have had.  There are several things on here that are amazing but my favorite it the Pinata Benedict. It is served with their in-house smoked pork and poached eggs on English muffins, topped with chipotle hollandaise sauce and served with hash browns.  But this smoked pork is out of this world.  You have to try it out.

Voulas Offshore Café
658 Northeast Northlake Way
seattle, WA 98105
(206) 634-0183
Voula's Offshore Cafe on Urbanspoon

Palisades Waterfront Restaurant– I was debating if I should put this place on my list or not, and my husband convinced me to put it on.  He likes it and I do not.  It is not that food is bad, it is actually very good.  The problem I have with this place is that first it is way too large, second it is very touristy because of the beautiful views, and third which is the most annoying part is that when you order an entrée it comes with the buffet.  I usually do not like buffets because either it isn’t very good or you over eat.  I never order the buffets and end up just doing a la carte, but at this place you can’t just order a la carte, if you order anything of the menu you also get the buffet.  This is totally against my theory.  So if you are going to this place go hungry!  The portions are large and the buffet is really good, and the view is amazing.

Palisades Waterfront Restaurant
2601 West Marina Place
Seattle, WA 98199-4331
(206) 285-1000
Palisade on Urbanspoon

Removed from the list since last update, either due to other places just being better, or food/service got worse:

Coastal Kitchen– This little local place is located in the Capital Hill neighborhood, and the brunch place I visit most often.  You know what you are getting every time.  The portions are a little big but delicious.  What I also like about this place is that every 3 months or so they switch the menu focusing on the varied coastal regions.  They also change the décor of the restaurant to the specific city, and their exhibits are by local artists.  There are a few things here that are my favorites.  I usually get one of these unless one of their specials sounds really good.  I either get the Sonora Scramble which is a scramble of Ulis’ authentic spicy chorizo sausage, jack & scallions topped with sour cream. Served with dueling salsas and flour tortillas.  The second thing I would get it their amazing Blueberry Pancakes. And then if I am really brave and they have it on the menu I get their French Toast.  Of course you can’t forget their coffee cake.  You have to get a coffeecake for the table.

Coastal Kitchen
429 15th Avenue East
Seattle, WA 98112
(206) 322-1145
Coastal Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Americana (Formerly Table 219) – This was one of those places that a few years ago we just stumbled upon.  First time I went there I got the Table 219 Benedict, two poached eggs over potato cakes made with smoked gouda and Canadian bacon and topped with a creamy tomato, mushroom sauce and served with toast, and always get the same thing, since it is delicious.  I am sure their other things on the menu are just as fabulous but you will just have to tell me about it.

Americana (Formerly Table 219)
219 Broadway Ave E
Seattle, WA 98102
(206) 328-4604
Americana on Urbanspoon

What is your favorite Seattle brunch spot?

Seattle Travel Tips on raveable

Seattle

 

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Sunshine Blog Award

The Sunshine Award is an award to recognize blogs that bring a little sunshine to the blogosphere.  Miel, from Miel et Lait, graciously bestowed this award on me.  It definitely made my day. Who doesn’t like a little recognition now and then?  In the spirit of all blog awards, this award comes with it a few rules.

  1. Nominate 12 bloggers.
  2. Put the award logo onto your sidebar or within a post.
  3. Link the nominees within your post.
  4. Let the nominees know they’ve received this award by commenting on their blog.
  5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award

Without further ado, here are my nominees for The Sunshine Award

  1. Splendid Willow – Monika write an amazing interior design blog. Her style is “Edgy Classic with a Swedish Twist.”  If you don’t yet like Swedish design you will after reading her blog.
  2. A Creative Mint –  Leslie’s blog brings a smile to me every time I look at it.  Her pictures are amazing!
  3. Recaptured Charm– If you haven’t seen what she did with her cabined you have to check it out.  This post deserves a Sunshine Award!
  4. Savy Girl and Co Jewelry – Have you seen this jewelry?  If not go and check it out.
  5. Tokyo Terrace – Love reading this blog. Reminds me on my days living in South Korea.
  6. The Occasional Ex-Pat – American woman married to Swedish man living in Sweden.  Love reading about her experiences.
  7. Koklog – This woman can draw.  The writes a blog using her own illustrations.
  8. Taste of Beirut – I love Lebanese food, and this blog tells us how to cook it. If you love Lebanese food you have to check it out.
  9. Tasty Colours – Magdalena born in Poland and lives in France.  Not only are her recipes amazing but her food photography is beautiful.
  10. Some Say Cocoa, Some Say Cacao – A little blog of a woman’s chocolate adventures.  If you love chocolate check this blog out.
  11. Ispand Eat– An adorable blog with some amazing recipes right from the little island of Vancouver Island in Canda.
  12. The Local Cook – The Local Cook cooks through all the recipes in Simply in Season. Lot of fun to follow.

 You are all great and deserve this Sunshine Award.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Steamed Chocolate Pudding

I wanted to learn a few new things to bake so I decided to join Daring Bakers.  For those that don’t know what it is let me give you a little history on it. In November 2006, Lisa of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice decided to challenge themselves to bake pretzels for the very first time using the same recipe. They each went ahead and posted about it on November 18, 2006.

Having enjoyed that experience tremendously, they decided to try it again the next month, this time choosing to bake biscotti. And to make matters even better, they were joined by a few more food bloggers. This is how Daring Bakers started.  Each month a person posts a baking challenge and we all have to try it out and blog about it.  Doesn’t that sound fun?  So here is my first Daring Bakers challenge.

The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.

So what is suet?

It is the hard but flaky fat found on the inside of a cow or sheep around the kidneys and that area of the body. Suet in its raw form crumbles easily into small chunks so much so that my butcher says it covers his floor in bits if he doesn’t have it taken out as soon as possible. In fact unless he knows he has a customer for it he has the abattoir take it out and throw it away and when I want some he gives it to me for free! It also melts at quite a low temperature, which has an effect on how it works in cooking. In some places such as the UK it is sold processed which basically means it is grated and combined with flour to keep the individual pieces from clumping together, and it becomes a sort of dried out short strands, almost granular in texture.

For the challenge we had two options, a crust type (steak and kidney pie) and a sponge cake type (Traditional Christmas cake).  I really wasn’t interested in the suet option so I decided to do the dessert version and WOW, this pudding turned out amazing.  If it wasn’t for this challenge I would have never made it but I am glad I did, and I will definitely make it again.  For those that are wondering what is taste like, I think my best description in a Molten Chocolate Cake.  It was amazing.

I found the original recipe from Dan Lepard from another Daring Baker who was also using it.  It was easy to put together and it was an amazing dessert.  I suggest eating it warm with whipped cream.

Steamed chocolate pudding

3 tbsp good dark cocoa
1 ¼ cups dark brown sugar
½ cup cold milk
2 slices stale bread (about 50g), or 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg
4 tbsp melted butter
½ cup plain flour
½ tsp baking soda
Sugar for the pudding bowl(s)

Butter a 1-pint pudding bowl or several small pudding bowls, this is where the pudding will be cooked.

In a separate bowl whisk the cocoa and sugar with a dash of milk till smooth, then stir in the remaining milk, breadcrumbs, egg yolk and melted butter, beating after each addition. Sift the flour and baking soda together then fold this in. Put this batter in the pudding bowl(s) Butter a sheet of foil, fold a pleat in the middle, and secure this butter-side down with a length of string tied under the lip of the pudding bowl.  If you are using several small you have to do this to each one.

Place the bowl(s) on an old saucer placed in the bottom of a large deep saucepan with a lid. Half fill the pan with water then bring to a boil; again if you are using small pudding bowls, just fill the pan with just a little water, you don’t want any water in the pudding. Then reduce the heat to a bare simmer, put the lid on, and cook for 1 1/2 hours – checking the water every 30 minutes to make sure is doesn’t boil dry.

 Carefully lift the basin out of the pan, remove the foil, run a knife around the inside and turn on to a plate to serve with whipped cream.

Enjoy!  Serves 4-6

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sour Cream Strawberry Cake

As I had lots of strawberries in my refrigerator I was looking for different strawberry recipes. I came across this recipe from The English Kitchen Blog it calls for blueberries and also icing.  But I just wanted a moist strawberry cake and didn’t include the icing at all.  This cake turned out delishhh! I wasn’t too sweet and it was light and moist. I am sure you can put in almost any kind of fruit, pears, apples, peaches and others.

I converted the recipe to US measurements and also had to read up on self raising flour.  To make self raising flour you add ½ tsp baking power and ½ tsp salt to every 1 cup of flour.

Enjoy!

Sour Cream Strawberry Cake

Adapted from: The English Kitchen

Ingredients
12 ½ tbsp softened butter
¾ cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups self raising flour (2 cups flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt)
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp dairy sour cream
½ lbs of strawberries

For the Icing:
6 tbsp softened butter
¾ cups of powdered sugar
1 tbsp sour cream
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp lemon extract

Preheat the oven to 180C /350F.  Butter and baseline a loose bottomed 9 inch round cake tin. 

Put the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, and vanilla in a large bowl.  Beat with an electric whisk for 1 to 2 minutes, until light in color and well mixed.  Beat in the sour cram and then fold in the strawberries.

Spread into the prepared tin, leveling off the top.  Bake for 50 minutes, until risen and the top springs back when lightly touched.  Remove from the oven.  Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then take out of the tin, peel off the paper and finish cooling on a wire rack.

To make the icing place all the ingredients into a bowl and beat well with an electric whisk until the mixture is smooth and creamy.  Spread over the top of the cooled cake.

Serves 8-10 

Friday, April 30, 2010

SmileyCookie.com Mother’s Day Cookie Competition!

SmileyCookie.com is giving away 1 dozen Smiley Cookies a month for a whole year to the winner of their Mother’s Day Cookie Competition.

Mothers, here’s your chance to win some cookies as well as brag about the best Mother’s Day gift you’ve ever received.

To enter, simply enter your favorite Mother’s Day gift here. On Wednesday, the 5th of May, SmileyCookie.com will pick the top ten finalists.

From Wednesday till Saturday, viewers will vote for what they think the best gift is. The winner will be announced on Saturday, May 8th.

Winning couldn’t be simpler! Good luck and Happy Mother’s Day!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

 

This is just a little reminder that Mother’s day is coming up in the US on Sunday May 9, 2010 (Other counties have different days for example Sweden is always the last Sunday in May)

In case you’re looking for gifts, I have a great list of my top 10 food and kitchen ideas for Mother’s Day:

  1. Acacia Honey– Cost $11.45 for one jar of the best honey in the world. The acaia honey is delicate, smooth, subtle and light flavor. An ideal sugar substitute for coffee and tea. High fructose content makes this clear golden-yellow honey extremely sweet but never cloying. If your mother loves honey this is a perfect gift.
  2. Rose’s Heavenly Cakes Cookbook – Cost $24.77.  This cookbook was the winner of the International Association of Culinary Professionals Cookbook Awards for 2010. What mother wouldn’t  want an award winning baking cookbook?  Some of the recipes here are; Chocolate Velvet Fudge Cake, Spice Cake with Peanut Butter cream, Apple-Cinnamon Crumb Coffee Cake and many more.
  3. Abaca Tea Box from Mighty Leaf – Cost $24.95. Ever since I had this tea a few years ago at a restaurant I have ordered most of my tea from here.  It is excellent quality and if you are a tea lover you need to try it out. Each box comes filled with 30 of our whole leaf biodegradable tea pouches.
  4. Fran’s Chocolates – Cost $28.00 for 20pc Pretty in Pink Truffles & Caramels – A complete assortment of handmade truffles and award-winning salt caramels. These are my new favorite chocolates on order.  I received these as a gift last year for Christmas and they were delicious.  Today if I want to send chocolates as a gift I go to Fran’s.
  5. My CucinaPersonalized Bamboo Cutting Board – Cost $34.95. This is an excellent idea.  You can personalize a cutting board with up to 16 characters to your mother.  Every time she stands in the kitchen chopping she will think of you.
  6. Vinturi Red Wine Aerator – Cost $39.95. This actually works. The simple act of pouring wine through the aerator increases pressure as you pour, drawing in and mixing just the right amount of air to help wines open up to their full potential.
  7. Simplify Ceramic Countertop Compost Container – Cost $60.00. If your mother is not composting yet this might be a great opportunity for her to start with a great little ceramic compost container.
  8. Gift Certificate to her favorite restaurant – Cost $100 – My favorite restaurant in Seattle, WA is Café Juanita so if you are in the area this is a great gift certificate.  If you are else where buy her a gift certificate to her favorite restaurant.
  9. Fromages.com – Cost $105 for 10 difference cheeses. Is your mother a cheese lover?  Well then this is the gift for her.  Amazing French cheese directly shipped from France. See my full review here.
  10. Le Crueset Cassis Round French Ovens – Cost starting at $189.95 at Sur La Table.  This is the legendary cookware in a fresh new color, my favorite is this Cassis color. If your mother doesn’t have a Crueset in the kitchen this would be the perfect opportunity to get one.  I think it is a key cookware item to have in the kitchen.

What are you getting for your Mother?

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