Thursday, January 28, 2010

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and

So, Nanaimo bars this time. I was really curious to try them them since I've seen them on the web some months ago. And I really wanted to like them, I really did. So my lacking enthusiasm in the final product was certainly not caused by a lack of motivation. You can guess by now that I was less than happy with them .... It started with Graham Crackers. I've never had some, I've got no idea how they are supposed to taste like, but I expected them to look like crackers, at least. What came out of the oven was not like crackers at all. It resembled sponge - tasty and fragrant, but sponge nevertheless....which hardened up after some time out of the oven, but I don't know if it was anywhere close to the real thing.

Then, the first layer ... Coconut AND almonds? No way! I omitted the coconut and decided to follow the almondy direction throughout the cake.

But it was the second layer that really gave me the creeps! If you take a close look at the recipe picture in the DB-Forum, you can actually see teeth marks in it! No wonder, if you consider that the second "creamy " layer consists basically of sweetened butter, NO buttercream in any way! In my version, I prepared an actual vanilla-almond custard and mixed it with the so-called "buttercream". I added some canned pears on top of the crackers' layer as well before filling the custard cream.

The top chocolate layer was the less problematic.

The results? I brought it to the office yesterday and it was unanimously approved. But personally, for me, it was too too much work for a rather averaged result.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A little black dress and a string of pearls is all you need to always look neat and dressed to occasion. What if the dress is a black-and-white tweed and has black flowers printed all over it and the pearls are a black plastic? Never mind, it's the style that counts!

P.S. If you like this dress, you can buy it here!
P.P.S. I will start a new rubric offering tutorials on "How to" - it's much more fun to share the "hows" instead of just showing off. In one of the next posts I will show you how to make the cute fabric flowers like the one attached to the dress!

Shortbread Owls

What is a group of owls is called? A flock? Do they even ever fly around in groups? I don't think so...But can you picture my surprise as I found these cute little fellows outside my window? :)

Use any favorite shortbread recipe, preferably without any chunky additions. Shape into ovals, place an almond (I used particularly long hazelnuts) in place of nose, score with a toothpick the eyes and the feet, bake according to your recipe.

When ready let cool. In the meantime melt a bit of chocolate and pipe the inside and the outside of the eyes and the feet. Take a last look. Add milk. Eat.

In a Nutshell

When life gives you walnuts, make walnut-bread pops

After seeing the recipe for Seeded Flatbread on 101 Cookbooks, my all-times favourite blog, and seeing virtually kilos of walnuts in the pantry, I decided I wanted to try it with walnuts and rosemary, baking the plops of bread inside the empty shells. It worked out just fine, resulting in a nice "head" to tear off and munch right away, and then crack the shell to get at the crunchy inside part. Quite an "interactive" eating!

Walnut-Rosemary Bread Pops
(adapted from 101 Cookbooks)

  • 2 1/4 cups Whole Wheat Flour

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 tbs rosemary needles
  • 2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 cup water, ice cold
Mix flour with salt and yeast, add water and oil, mix to combine, add rosemary and walnuts, knead to form a smooth dough. Cover and refrigirate overnight.

One hour before baking, take the dough out of the fridge and let sit at room temperature. Tear walnut-sized plops of dough and place them inside the empty walnut shells. Bake 220°C for about 15-20 minutes until tops are nicely browned. Let cool a bit and enjoy. Crack the shells using a nut cracker to reach the inside parts.

If you don't use all teh dough for the bread bits, shape the remaining dough into a flat disk, add toppings or sprinkle with some seasalt and a bit of oil and bake until crisoy on teh outside but still soft inside. Delicious either way.

Makes about 12 bread-bites and a one-portion flatbread.

It's been a long time since the last post, and unfortunately I don't have a good excuse for not having posted for so long, except that I've been lazy .... very very lazy :( Sorry ....

So let's start this year with an "activity" post. As you may remember, after moving into the new house, we have decided to divide the open space that was the living-dining-kitchen room in two using the well-loved IKEA Billy libraries. Practical, but the kitchen site was ugly...very ugly:

See what a difference some color and wooden wine-cases made:


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