here and there

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Bavarian Apple Torte

A dessert that we shared in Paris this summer, reminded me of the Bavarian Apple Torte that I used to make in our last home.  The Patterson Apple tree that we planted, yielded tons and I mean tons of cooking apples.  These apples didn't keep well so I would freeze sliced apples to be used during the winter.  The dessert is a custard with slices of apples arranged on top or as in this case arranged on the cookie base before the custard was added.  I think it looks better if the apple slices, very thin are arrange on the top of the custard.. The apple slices were arranged different in the dessert in Paris.  The slices were thicker and tended to sink. 

Once again, I made another cake for a birthday family celebration.  Our Granddaughter's grandparents both have birthdays in September.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Number Seven Brownie Cake

Sometimes, the simplest ideas are the best!

Since we were invited to a family supper for our grandkid's birthday, I decided to bring a dessert.  

This was easy to put together as it was a brownie recipe baked in a 8 X 8 pan, frosted with butter icing


The food for the Seven Year old birthday party was Calzones

The recipe used was Refrigerator Bread dough which is certainly a staple in my kitchen

A visit to the local Italian market was a great spot for a variety of sliced meats, mozzarella, mushroom, fresh basil and tomato sauce.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Birthday Slime Cake

I have always made the birthday cake for my kids, which usually meant two cakes, one for their Birthday Party, the other for school on their birthday.  I must say I am not a baker but have had fun with the creative side of making a cake.  I have made Batman, Oscar the Grouch, Tigger, Big 'Yellow' Bird, Cookie Monster, Barbie Doll, ET to list a few.. The cakes were usually baked in a circular pan for the head  and a rectangle pan for the body.  I have come across some of my sketches for the cakes. The cakes were covered in Buttercream Icing.  The cakes were baked ahead and frozen to make them easier to frost.  The cakes were always a surprise and decorated a day before and stored on the top of the china cabinet! 
The Birthday Cakes became Trifle cakes when my kids were teenagers and I was called the "Trifle Queen" by one of my son's friends.  

This year, my Grandchild who was turning seven asked me to make the cake with certain conditions. The cake had to be pink, with strawberries and a puddle on top!  She drew out her cake as we chatted.   Now this was a challenge as not sure about a puddle on top.. I did find ideas for the puddle but they were mostly mud puddles held together with chocolate wafers or bars. Some had pigs in the mud!  Since the birthday craft was making Slime, I thought a Slime Cake would fit the bill better.   

The only problem was to figure out how to have the slime pour out when the cake was cut!   

I had seen Strawberry Jello cakes and decided that this would be the pink and adding fresh chopped strawberries would be perfect.

Vibrant Pink Strawberry Jello Cake

  • 1 White Cake Mix 
  • 3 oz strawberry Jello 
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 1/2c Flour
  • 1 c oil
  • 1/2 c  milk 
  • 1 c freshly chopped strawberries

Mix together
Pour into 3 - 8in lined circular pans
Bake for 20 minutes at 325 degrees*
*350 is too high as the  cake browned too quickly 

Strawberries Butter Cream 

 3/4 c Shortening
 4 - 5 c icing sugar 
1/2 - 3/4 c freshly chopped strawberries
4 -5 T milk

Beat butter until fluffy, added the strawberries, gradually add the icing sugar and milk until you have the right consistency.

The original buttercream recipe with this much of fat calls for 3 c of icing sugar, but with the amount of strawberries, I did add milk and more icing sugar.. I just played around with it until I had enough butter cream for 3 layers of cake and the right consistency for spreading on the cake.  This amount just covered the layers and all of the cake. 

Green Slime
Mix vanilla instant pudding as directed on package, add green food colour 
Chill, and don't panic like I did if it seems liquidy.. it needs to chill!

Assembling the cake
First place strips of wax paper under the cake to protect the serving dish a
These strips are pulled out after the cake is decorated. 
Apply a thin layer of butter cream to top of a cake, cover with fresh sliced strawberries, apply a thin layer on the strawberries so the second layer sticks
Cut a 5 inches circle in the middle of the second layer

Fill the centre with 2/3 of the green pudding mixture
Spread buttercream and strawberries on the outside ring

Add the top layer  
Cover with Buttercream

The cake had to be transported to the party, so I used skewers to hold it in place

Friday, August 17, 2018

Grilled Bourbin marinated steak

This rib eye steak is as delicious as it looks.  The recipe come from Cook's Country with a little history on Bourbon.  The steak needs to be 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick.  Some of those small rib roast cuts would be perfect to use for this marinade.  The results are best if marinaded overnight in the refrigerator.

  • 1 c  bourbon
  • 1 c Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 chopped shallot
  • 2 -3 garlic cloves
  • 1 -2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper 

Grill for 6 -8 minutes on each side on a Med Heat grill or until internal temperature 125 degrees
rest for 10 minutes, cover with foil.

Sicilain Cannoli

My husband found cannoli tubes at the Italian store and decided he would make cannoli for Sunday dinner! 

Looking at three different recipes, two from cookbooks, the "Friends of Don Orione Cookbook" and the other from "Good Housekeeping Around the world cookbook" along with a youtube video found that the recipes are very similar. Today, I saw this recipe on Facebook

Sicilian Cannoli 
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups 
  • 4 T lard
  • 1 tsp icing sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cocoa
  • pinch of salt
  • 30 ml vinegar 
  • 30 ml marsala 
  • 1 egg 

  • Creamy Ricotta 
  • sugar to taste
  • garnish; chocolate chips, pistachio, glazed oranges, maraschino cherries etc

  • Sift dry ingredients
  • Add the lard
  • Mix in beaten egg
  • Add vinegar and Marsala gradually to form a soft dough, did need another oz of marsala  for a soft dough
  • Wrap and chill for an hour or overnight
The process is very much like making pasta dough.
  • For the filling, drain the ricotta overnight
  • then add your chosen garnish
  • Roll out small pieces using a rolling pan
  • Cut out circles using a cookie cutter or a glass
  • Wrap the circles around the cannoli tubes
  • Seal the ends with beaten egg
  • Heat the oil to 325 to 350 degrees F 
  •  Cook for about 2 minutes 
Fill the shells just before serving to keep the shells crisp!

Family style serving is the best!  Roasted garden fresh Potato Salad, Beet Rolls simmered in a creamy dill sauce, Bourdin marinated Rib Steak.  For the girls; mozzarella, bing cherry, apple and pork tenderloin Stuffed Buns.  

Bourdin marinated rib steak!

The cannoli were delicious but the ricotta needed to be drained first or whipped cream could have corrected those ends!

The grandkids enjoyed the cannoli.  Yes, finger licking good!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Dark Fruitcake, 1846

This is a recipe that has been handed down many generation in my hubby's family.  According to my husband 's Aunt Kay, the recipe was brought to Canada from Ireland in 1846.   Not sure how many modification there would have been over the years as not sure how available the spices would have been or the vanilla extract.  The mixed peel would have been made as I did this year.  

My husband and I both spent an enjoyable time putting this cake together that had so many memories for both of us! 

These were my notes that I made the first time I made this recipe with great success.  I love this cake as my Grandmother also made a similar cake for Christmas and covered it in Marzipan, decorating with almond half to form a flower.  As a young child, I loved the look of this cake, the dark cake covered in the white marzipan.  I made a similar cake for my daughter's wedding dessert table. 

The fruit and peel were marinated in Appleton Estate Rum for 3 days, something that Aunt Kay would not have done.  

Setting out all the ingredients in the recipe makes it easier and quicker to make the cake.

The richness in colour is due to the very dark raisins, seedless and regular and the dark molasses.  The seedless raisins were very plump and twice the size of the Thompson Raisins 

A step that must always be done in making a fruitcake is to dust completely the raisins or fruit in some of  the flour before mixing up the cake  This prevents the fruit from settling and stay mixed in the batter.

I did use the 4 pounds of raisins but only 1/4 pound of mixed peel.  Since I used two small Wilton springform pans, I was not sure how many other pans I needed to prepare.  The pans were greased and lined with parchment before stating the cake.

The cakes, wrapped tightly in aluminum foil, were all steamed in pots over a rack at a medium boil.  Keep an eye on the water level. 
The cakes were then baked at a low temperature- 325F

Brandy was poured over the hot cakes that had been first poked with a fork and left to cool before taking out of the pans, then left to completely cool before wrapping.

When the cakes are fully cool, wrap in muslin or wax paper and then in aluminum foil. The cakes were stored in tin cans and refrigerator to age. The cakes will be checked as they age.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Coconut Custard Pie, aka Impossible Pie

Impossible pies were popular years ago, either savoury or sweet.  The magic of these pies was that it formed it's own base and filling.  I had made a Broccoli and Cheese impossible pie, but since the recipe required Bisquick or one could make this mix, but the recipe yielded a large amount.  

In following a food page on Facebook where handwritten recipes are posted, I came across the two recipes posted below that I used to compare.  I like the name of Coconut Custard  Pie better. 

The third recipe, is what I modified and filled a very large nine inch pie plate.  It really didn't need to be done in a Food Processor, as one could easily whisk the ingredients.  It did need to be baked at a lower temperature.  Also half way through the baking temperature, cover with foil.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Flambe Christmas Pudding

Here is my Mom’s Christmas pudding for Christmas Day dinner that she made every year and served with a brown sugar sauce. I continue to do so, but have varied the fruit I put in, ie figs, dried fruit like apricots, then this is FlambĂ© to the wows of the kids not to mention the adults!   It is always so festive! 

This recipe was written in my brother's unused old Science Notebook and the stains in the corner have made the recipe difficult to read.  Most of all if not all of my Mom's recipe were written with little instruction or details.  

Christmas Pudding

1 c Bread crumbs, 1 c dates, 1 c suet* , 1/2 c Brown sugar, 1/2 c citron peel, 1 c raisins, 1/2 c chopped nuts

Spices; 1Tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp cloves, 1/4 tsp allspice.

1 c flour, 1/4 tsp Baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs, 1 c Milk, 1/3 c molasses

Mix, cover double foil, steam 3 hours.

*Suet is ground beef fat used in many classic old recipes like savoury pies and puddings. One can use butter in place of the suet.  Suet is found in the meat frozen section.

Steps in mixing the pudding

Combine bread crumbs, suet, dates, raisins, citron peel, sugar, nuts

Mix spices, baking soda and baking powder with flour
Whisk eggs, milk and molasses together
Mix flour mixture into egg mixture, then mix in the fruit mixture. Very thick batter!
Grease well your moulds, fill and smooth the top, double foil the pans.

 Since I tend to add more fruit to my batter I have an assortment of moulds ready to go. This is a rich pudding and a little goes a long way when served!  Marilyn's recipe
Before you beginning, you need to plan out your moulds and steaming pots which need water with a rack to steam the puddings ready to go. I use my canner with the rack insert and I can get two moulds in it. Making sure your water level doesn't drop during the cooking time. steam for 3 hours.

Let cool on a rack, rewrap and freeze.