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.


Sour Cream Strawberry Cake

Adapted from: The English Kitchen

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?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Carrot Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting


Are you wondering what to do with all of those carrots you have in your fridge or are you just craving a delicious carrot cake?  People usually either love carrot cake of they hate it.  I love them. I found out that historians tell us that the origins of carrot cake were likely a type of carrot pudding enjoyed during medieval times. Later sweetening agents were hard to come by in Britain and quite expensive, so as a result, carrots were often used in place of sweeteners. 

Most all carrot cake recipes have a core group of ingredients in common, which are flour, sugar, spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, salt), baking soda/powder, butter or oil, nuts, and of course carrots. But there are folks that put other things into their cake like: pumpkin, coconut, figs, chocolate chips, oranges, zucchini, ginger, beetroot, sweet potatoes, or papaya.  If you have a recipe with one of those ingredients in your carrot cake I would love to hear about it.  I like my carrot cake basic but would be eager to try something different. 

In terms of carrot cake frostings, some people still prefer their carrot cake plain like me, although you will still see a lot of recipes for the traditional cream-cheese frosting. Other carrot cake toppings folks like are Greek yogurt that is lightly sweetened, buttermilk glaze with a zest of lemon, Royal icing, and chocolate icing.

Then there are many variations of things folks do with their recipe, the amount of carrots they put into a carrot cake recipe will affect both the texture and taste of the cake, using pureed carrots as opposed to shredding raw carrots will give your carrot cake a much more moist consistency, use oil instead of butter, use the zest of one orange in the batter for a zippier consistency.

I like my basic carrot cake recipe and I can tell you that I found this great recipe called Laurie’s Amazing Carrot Cake on A Bountiful Kitchen.  That recipe was made for a wedding cake so not only did I split it the recipe in half but I also made it with walnuts and golden raisins, and it turned out amazing.  Her secret to a moist, but not too greasy carrot cake is buttermilk and lots of carrots. I can tell you it was moist. I made this cake as a bunt cake but I am sure you can make it in any pan you wish.  

I am not a huge fan of frosting and usually like my carrot cakes plain but I wanted to try a new frosting, so I made a Cream Cheese Frosting from Simply Recipes and added coconut in it.  It was one of the variations to the recipe.  I only put a thin layer of frosting on the cake but it was good, I am sure you can add as must frosting as you wish.


Carrot Cake

Adapted from: A Bountiful Kitchen

1 ¾ cups sugar
1/2 cup oil
3/4 cups buttermilk
4 eggs
½  tbsp salt
2 tsp soda
2 tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp ground cloves
3 cups grated carrots (4 medium carrots)
1 cup walnuts
2 ¼ cups flour
1 cup raisins

Beat the eggs, oil and buttermilk together in a large bowl. Grind the pecans and raisins in a food processor with a metal blade. Pulse until chopped into very small pieces. Add all of the dry ingredients, including the nuts and raisins to the wet ingredients. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Pour into greased and floured bunt pan, only fill pan 3/4 full. Bake at 325 F degrees for about 50 minutes. Test with toothpick to see if done before removing from oven.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Adapted from: Simply Recipes

1/2 cup of butter (1 stick), room temperature
8 oz of Philly cream cheese (1 package), cold
2-3 cups of powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

With an electric mixer, mix the butter and cream cheese together, about 3 minutes on medium speed until very smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing. Add the vanilla extract and mix. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Keep adding until you get to desired sweetness and thickness. Either spread on with a blunt knife or spatula, or spoon into a piping bag to decorate your cake or cupcake.

Adding a teaspoon of Chinese Five Spice is always great for exotic chocolate cakes.
Adding freshly ground ginger helps spice up a carrot cake.
Freshly ground chai spice or even the contents of a bag of earl grey tea are heady and aromatic.
The scrapings from a vanilla bean can be very sweet and heavenly for red velvet or dark chocolate cakes.
Freshly grated or dried, flaked coconut mixed in makes it perfect for a coconut cake.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Barbecue Sauce

As it is getting warmer outside it is soon time to take out the grill.  There is always a question of what to put on the grill and i know most folks just put on hot dogs or hamburgers because it is easy.   Well here is an easy BBQ sauce for your to switch things around. But before we jump into the recipe here is some history for you.

Did you know that barbecue sauce has been used to help add flavor to grilled and smoked meats for as long as 300 years, depending on where you look the history of barbecue sauce isn’t exactly clear. We do know that in the US the BBQ sauce do come from the south. All barbecue masters have their own special sauce recipe, but depending on where you set up your smoker in the United States, you’ll probably use a different style of sauce. This is because each region, sometimes even within a state, has its own signature style. Sauces are used in a few different ways. Some meats and ribs are marinated in sauce and then grilled and basted. Other meats, like beef brisket and pork butt, are typically cooked with a dry rub and then sauced after they’ve been sliced or pulled.

Did you know…
…the first BBQ sauce was created to preserve meat prior to the invention of effective refrigeration? A mixture of vinegar, water, salt, and peppers was the first form of BBQ sauce.
… that the US has 12 classic BBQ recipes in the: Kansas City, South Carolina Mustard Sauce, East Carolina Vinegar Mop-Sauce, Lexington Dip, Texas Sauce, Tennessee Whiskey Sauce, Louisiana Hot Dipping Sauce, Alabama White Sauce, Memphis Dry Rub, Fruit sauce, Sweet Glaze and Novelty sauces.

Well, this easy recipe was originally from The new basic Cookbook but in the book it calls for a few more ingredients as well as cooking the barbecue sauce.  I like this sauce better uncooked and simple. I marinate chicken in here, other meats and then put them on the grill.  This is my favorite BBQ sauce and it beats the bottled one.

Barbecue Sauce

Adapted from: The New Basics Cookbook

½ cup chopped onion
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup ketchup
½ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup dark brown sugar
2 tbsp Worchester sauce

Mix all the ingredients together and together and add to your favorite meat before you put on your barbecue grill. If you want it more spicy you can always add more cayenne pepper.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Oatmeal Wafers “Havreflarn” with Nutella

Here is another recipe that would not be easier and quicker to make but tastes fabulous. They are called “Havreflarn” in Swedish or Oatmeal Wafer is probably the best translation.  These wafers you can find everywhere in Sweden, they have been around ever since I was a little kid.  You can even get these in IKEA today.  Your main ingredients are oats.  There are so many things you can do to these.  Some of the most common ones are dipping them in chocolate.  Another one which i did was add Nutella to them, or you can add Nutella in the middle of two wafers.  Some folks add whipped cream between two wafers.  It is really up to you what you like.  You can even add 2 tbsp of cocoa into the batter or 2 tbsp of coconut as well.  All of those things taste good. 

Oatmeal Wafers “Havreflarn” with Nutella

7 tbsp butter
1 1/4 cup oats
1 egg
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp baking powder

Oven 350 F

Melt the butter in a pot and stir in the oats.  Set aside.  In a separate bowl mix the egg and sugar well. Then pour in the baking power and flour.  Once it is mixed add the oats and butter a little at the time. On a cookie sheet drop batter a 1 tsp at a time. Do not add anymore than 9 of these with 3 inches apart.  Bake for 7-9 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.  Let stand 1 minute before removing quickly with sharp knife or spatula. Cool on rack.  Do one batch at a time if you let the batter sit too long the oats swell and the cookie will not expand as well.

Once the wafers have cooled heat a little of the Nutella and spread it on the wafers.

Makes about 27 wafers.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cookbook Giveaway!

I recently got a copy of a cookbook I already owned.  I was wondering who would want this, and then thought why not do a giveaway right here?

I am giving away The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten to you, the readers, the ones that keep coming back. One example out of this cookbook is my Strawberry Scones recipe.

I wanted to say thank you to all of you that keep coming back reading week after week, and I could not think of a better way to do it than by showing you my gratitude by giving this great cookbook to a lucky winner.

To enter the giveaway you need to do 3 things:

1. Subscribe to Delishhh in an RSS feed or by Email!
2. Subscribe via Twitter or become a fan of my Facebook page
3. Leave a comment here to let me know you did 1 & 2 as well as letting me know what you would like to see here during my next year of blogging. This will give me some great ideas.

The giveaway ends on Sunday, 4/25 at 11:59 p.m. PDT. Winner will be selected from Random.org.

Good luck and thank you so much for being here with me. I look forward to getting some new great ideas.

***** UPDATE ******

And the winner is. . . .


Comment #8 belongs to Shannalee from Food Loves Writing – CONGRATULATIONS!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Strawberry Scones

I had a bunch of strawberries in the refrigerator so I have been trying to do different strawberry recipes lately.  I made strawberry pancakes the other day and today I did the strawberry scones from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.  The recipe calls for dried strawberries but I had fresh ones so I thought I would use them.  Also I added vanilla and lemon essence to mine.  I was thinking orange essence but I had just run out of it. These were very easy to make not lots of sugar and they came out delicious.  You can add other fruits too, blueberry or even nuts or chocolate chips, even dried fruit since the original recipe calls for it.  Let me know what you put in your scones.

Strawberry Scones

Adapted from: Barefoot Contessa

4 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp lemon essence
2 tsp salt
3/4 pound (3 sticks of butter) cold unsalted butter, diced
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cold heavy cream
1 cup small-diced strawberries
1 egg beaten for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine 4 cups of flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend in the cold butter at the lowest speed and mix until the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and quickly add them to the flour and butter mixture. Combine until just blended. Toss the strawberries with 1 tablespoon of flour, set them aside.

The dough may be a bit sticky.

Dump the dough out onto a well-floured surface and be sure it is well combined. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4-inch thick. You should see lumps of butter in the dough. Cut into squares with a 4-inch plain or fluted cutter, and then cut them in half diagonally to make triangles. Then put the strawberries in the triangle and fold the top piece over to the long side of the triangle. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Brush the tops with egg wash. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the outsides are crisp and the insides are fully baked.

Makes around 14 to 16 large scones.


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