Pizza Pinwheel's

Most of the time I just order pizza. I got it into my head that I wanted to do something new, something different but with components of things I had already done. I was also feeling tired, stressed and maybe a little more tired. D and I go out together sometimes. We try once a week but often it's more like every two (or three). Work doesn't always agree with our date night and kicks up a fuss. This was also a night when D and I were about to go out. Most of the time I just order pizza.
I soldiered on. Slapped the dough together and stuck it in the fridge. Got the filling stuff together. The kids were getting hungry but that's ok. I'm really tired. Kid #1 gives up trying to talk to me because I'm distracted, grumpy and probably a little incoherent. Kid #1 leaves, escapes to room and closes the door. She hadn't stopped texting through the entire 'conversation' so I'm sure she is fine.
Kid #2 asks what's we are having for dinner. Daddy and I are going out. Can I come? No. Kid #2 groans and then sighs deeply when I tell him about the exciting thing he is about to eat for dinner. I might not have been coherent but I think that I was. Kid #2 stomps upstairs, goes to room, reads on my kindle... my kindle.

I have way more filling for this than dough. What else could I possibly do with all of that filling. I'm putting it all in. I don't care. It will taste better. Everybody is gonna love this and it's gonna be amazing. Both kids need to clean the lunch containers out of the backpacks incidentally.
Determined. All the filling goes on top of the rolled out dough. All the pepperoni. All the cheese. All the sauce. I start rolling up the dough. This is dumb because the filling is everywhere. I really want to go out. My head hurts. I think that Kid #1 just yelled down to me but I'm not sure. Probably talking on the phone... wait, nobody does that anymore.
I start to slice the bulbous, red blob that is waiting to become my masterpiece. I'm elbow deep in more filling than I can manage. I bet you didn't know this - because I didn't - pepperoni doesn't slice well. There are big slices of pepperoni falling out of everything everywhere. I'm really frustrated now. Kid #2 is practicing piano which means he races through his two beginner pieces at break neck speed despite about a thousand mistakes. 3 minutes later he is done and I am hacking the pepperoni slice dough log, slapping the 'pinwheels' onto a cookie sheet and stuffing filling into every crevice I can. I need a shower.
They bake, I clean up.
They are done. This is not as exciting as it should be.

Kid #1 eats one and says it tastes good. She doesn't have another.
Kid #2 stares at plate and sighs. He eats two bites under duress but I'm pretty sure that as soon as we close the door he's got cheetos and rice crispies on standby.
Usually I just order pizza.
Make this at your peril.

Pizza Margarita's adapted from Here
makes 9 - 10 medium sized buns

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Dash basil, oregano
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
1/3 cup shortening or lard
2 tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup milk (approx)

1 1/2 cups (approx) pepperoni, thinly sliced
1/4 cup zucchini, thinly sliced (or something like mushrooms would work well too)
1 cup greens (spinach, kale, chard), thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups (approx) tomato/pizza sauce
1 1/2 tsp basil
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp worcestershire
1 1/2 tsp salt and a dash of pepper
1 1/2 cups mozzarella, grated
1/4 cup (approx) parmesan, finely grated

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, basil and oregano together. Mix well.
Add in the parmesan and mix
Add the shortening or lard and cut it into the flour until it forms a loose crumbly mess (pebble sized balls)
Add the olive oil and about half of the milk. Mix until the liquid is incorporated. Add just enough more milk for the flour to form a cohesive dough ball.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about a minute or two - until the dough is fairly smooth and soft (not tacky), add a little more flour as you knead if necessary.
Wrap in plastic and set aside in the fridge (about 10 minutes is all that is needed)
Preheat oven to 400°F
Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicon liner.

Combine the pizza or tomato sauce, basil, sugar, worcestershire, salt and pepper together. Check the tastes and adjust if necessary.

Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface until you have formed a rectangle shape 20 - 25cm by 35 - 40 cm. Dough should be about 2 - 3 cm thick.
Spread the tomato sauce over the entire surface of the dough. Sprinkle with the greens and the zucchini slices. Place the pepperoni slices over that. Sprinkle with the grated mozzarella and finish with the parmesan.
Carefully roll the dough up long side to long side.
Carefully slice the roll into about 9 or 10 thick slices and place each on the prepared baking sheet leaving space for expansion.
Bake for about 20 - 25 minutes or until golden brown on the edges and bubbling like a crazy hot mess.
Remove from the oven and cool for about 10 minutes before attempting to eat.

My roast pork with white beans

This is time. Not coming up to Christmas. Certainly not January through March. It's this time of year. From the end of March until the end of the school year is the time that seems to slip through my fingers. I can't keep up with the date or which weekend is which because they are flying by so quickly. Before I know it the end of March has turned into the first week of June and spring has gone bye bye and I've somehow missed it all. The seasonal garden centre near my house is closing up shop and I haven't even gotten a chance to get in there let along put as much as a trowel into the ground. The rhubarb is as good as gone and I think that there might have been a long weekend and a wedding anniversary tucked in there but I can't quite remember.
I'm not sure why it happens. Could be in part due to the time change that we are forced to participate in twice a year (One guess as to which side of that argument I fall on) Might be that the days are getting longer - but one would think that might cause time to slow down a bit. Could also be that just when I want more time to stop and smell the roses that aren't quite out yet that's when everything else kicks into high gear. Concert season looms. The yearly concert tour is imminent. Events and gala appearances are piling up. Kids are gearing up for the end of the school year (and this will be our first  set of high school exams!) And let's not forget the many shows on netflix that I have waiting in my cue - haven't even touched those yet. Kid #1 and I are still working through season two of Gilmore Girls and it's taken us months to get that far.

Then there is this recipe. I was so happy that for one evening I had the house to myself. By 'evening' I mean two hours after 7pm. In that time I got the recipe out of the oven, seasoned properly, adequately photo'd and entire recipe entered as a draft. So much accomplished... and that was three weeks ago. THREE. I cringe and whither a little on the inside when I think about it for long.
As such, I've decided that Easter weekend will also be a second thanksgiving weekend for me because I need to remind myself of the things that are good and that will sustain me through the frenetic pace of the next 8 weeks.
1. Winter is gone. Even though it doesn't exactly always feel like it, it is gone. The temperatures will get better and better.
2. After months of mourning I have discovered (to quote the title here) that there is a god who cares about humanity. Here is my proof
3. Music still inspires me. Thank you D'Angelo, Kendrick Lamar, Hey Rosetta, SIA, Die Antwoord and Mafikizolo.
4. Cadbury mini eggs are no longer seasonal.
5. Nickel Brook Headstock IPA exists and is a beautiful thing.  Best part: it is available near me at a place that also serves great food.
6. I can run outside again without four layers on.
7. It is virtually impossible to destroy pork and beans.
What more can be said? I'm sure I will think of other things to be thankful for but the general theme will be unchanged. Happy Eastergiving.

My version of Pork and Beans
serves 6 - 8

2 - 3 lb pork roast
1 medium onion
3 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
1 med fennel bulb
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/4 cup navy beans, dry
2 boullion cubes
2 1/2 tsp salt
2 bay leaf
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp worcestershire
2 - 3 tbsp soy sauce
2 - 3 cups water
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp molasses
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
pepper sauce to taste

Preheat oven to 300°F
Heat a heavy bottomed/oven friendly dutch oven over medium/low heat.
Add about 3 tbsp of oil.
Add the veggies (except for the garlic) and turn the heat down a little. Heat for about 10 min, stirring to keep from sticking. add in the garlic. Cook for another 5 minutes.
Add the boullion cubes, salt, bay leaf, brown sugar, worcestershire, soy sauce and water. Mix well.
Add the navy beans and mix, making sure that the water completely covers the beans with about a half inch of liquid extra.
Add the pork roast.
Roast covered for about 3 hours, checking every hour that the water is good and it's not going dry.
After 3 hours remove from oven and check the beans for doneness (are they soft) and the pork as well (it should be more than enough time). If it needs more time then put it back in for another 30 minutes at 250°F and check again.
Once everything is done, remove the pork from the bean mixture.
Add the tomato paste, molasses and apple cider vinegar to the beans and mix well. Check taste and add salt or more molasses if necessary (and a little pepper sauce in there as well ;-)
Cut the pork roast into large pieces (or large chunks if it is just falling apart like mine) and place back in with the beans.
Serve with mashed potato, crusty break or nothing at all.

Savoury Oat and Parmesan Cookies

I celebrated christmas again recently with my best friend.
It was February and we had not seen each other since December 14th.
We got about an hour and forty five minutes together.
We live about 15 minutes away from each other.
This is sad.
I totally understand it and then I kind of don't. We are busy. We are so busy. There is always something. Even meeting up with my best friend I squished it in between going to the running track and a family movie night (to be fair, it was family day weekend so what's a girl to do?) We work. We parent. We hustle home. Then there is winter. And I remember how the same thing happened last winter. We got a nasty ice storm just a couple of days before christmas and that set the tone for the entire 80 days to follow. Cold, icy, snow and more snow... and nobody wanted to do anything because it just felt so hard to get anywhere. You really do feel like hibernating. The bare essentials - get to work - get food - and that is it. This year the winter hasn't been quite as brutal but it hasn't exactly been easy. The cold has been relentless this year. This has taken it's toll.
Here we are looking down the barrel of March. The calendar has just as many events on it as it did throughout February, maybe even more. And yet something feels just a little bit different in my soul. I've noticed that night time is not chasing my back on the way home from work. I looked at the forecast for this week and it looks like we have a couple of days that are sitting right around the 0C mark. We've got a tidy little week off nestled in about two weeks before easter long weekend. If I had to put a word on that barrel that I'm looking down right now (the one for March - remember?) it would be 'Promise'. Promise is a funny word because it is not a definite. March might not bring me everything that I am hoping it can but at least there is the hope.
Back to our hour and forty five minutes christmas celebration. My best friends gift had been sitting, ready and waiting for months... except for this. Her cookies. These I made on the day that we met. I made sure that they were just cooled enough that I could put them into little freezer bags - 3 to a bag, the perfect portion amount - so that she could take them home and freeze away. She loves this kind of thing and I love doing it for her.

I can tell you that these come together easily and would be great for a party when they would all get scarfed up. I wouldn't bother with them if it was a dinner party thing and there were lots of other courses that could over shadow these little delicacies though - plus who wants to bake cracker cookies when you have a whole dinner party to get ready for? Serve these cookies with some Boursin, Blue Cheese (if that's your thing) or a spreadable something or other. As part of an appetizer or tasting party  - olives, grapes, cheeses, meats, spreads - Lovely.

Oat and Parmesan Cookies adapted from thekitchn

1 cup old fashioned oats (I used quick oats BTW and it was fine)
1/4 cup warm water
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 lg eggs (or two egg whites if you've just made ice cream and you've got extra whites hanging around looking for something to do)
1 cup unbleached, all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp basil
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp paprika
pinch black pepper
1 cup parmesan cheese grated (if you happen to throw in a little cheddar by accident I wouldn't be too upset)
coarse salt (maldon or sea salt)

Preheat oven to 350°F
Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicon liner.
Combine the flour, salt, basil, baking soda, paprika and pepper together. Mix well and set aside.
Combine the oats and warm water and mix well.
Add in the olive oil and brown sugar and mix thoroughly until the brown sugar has dissolved.
Add in the egg and mix well.
Add the flour mixture to the oat mixture and mix until combined.
Add in the parmesan cheese and mix to combine.
Form into balls of about 1 1/2 tbsp or so then squish down into a cookie shape. Place on the baking sheet (they don't spread very much so they can be within an inch of each other) topping each with a little bit of coarse salt (might need to press it in a little)
Bake for about 15 - 17 minutes turning half way through baking. Cookies should be just turning golden brown at the edges.
Cool completely.

Chocolate Pudding and a slew of other things not remotely related to Valentine's Day

I wonder what cruel god or energy force thought that putting holidays which could involve doing things outside (As far as I'm concerned walking to somewhere inside falls into that category) in February was a good idea... in Canada. Yes, let's definitely put family day in February. Just happens to be one of the coldest weekends to date this year. Let's go family day skating... nope. Let's go family day hiking... nope. Let's go family day skiing... nope. Can't even go somewhere on a plane to a place where I can forget that it's beyond freezing back home because it's only a long weekend. This couldn't have been in May? July?
Thank you. Rant is now over.

I will instead bore you with a myriad of things that I have found interesting over the past little while

This movie was fun
And I'm looking forward to this one
Enjoying this tune
LOVING this tune
There is just no excuse for this.
I want this
I really want this
Argh Let's all take a moment here... let people live their lives and get over our own issues/obsession with how celebrities look.
I am learning to perfect my weekend morning cup of coffee. Happier and happier.

My Mom knocked christmas gifts out of the park this year:

And Pudding:

Chocolate Pudding adapted from the kitchen

1 cup whipping cream
2 1/2 cups milk (I used 2%)
1/2 cup sugar
1 scant tsp instant coffee granules
4 oz dark chocolate (I used 72%), finely chopped
3 tbsp dark cocoa powder
3 tbsp corn starch
1 tsp salt
pinch of cinnamon
3 egg yolks

In a heat proof bowl mix together the cocoa powder, corn starch and salt. Whisk in the cream until completely blended. Whisk in the egg yolks until completely blended. Set aside.
In a heavy bottomed pot heat the milk, coffee granules, cinnamon and sugar over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Turn the heat up and heat until the milk begins to simmer.
Gradually and slowly pour the heated milk mixture into the cream mixture whisking constantly until it's all mixed together.
Pour the whole mixture back into the heavy bottomed pot and heat until it starts to bubble. Let it bubble for two minutes whisking constantly to keep it from sticking. Remove from heat and cool slightly whisking every minute or so to keep it from forming a skin on the top.
Once it cools to almost room temperature place in a large bowl or into individual bowls. Cover with plastic wrap, placing the plastic wrap right onto the pudding and sealing up the sides as well (this way it won't form a skin). Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
*** If you put yours into a big bowl like I did, don't be afraid to whip or whisk it up a little before serving. It lightened it up a lot.

This was supposed to be Banana Oat Snacking Cake but ended up being Pretzel Chocolate Brownies

I have to start this post by stating that I have decided to experiment with using only 1 space after a period. This decision has been made in an attempt at hiding my age.
Looking back over my last few posts I have realised that there are only baked goods and sweets showing up here. It's given me pause to think about why that might be. Obviously we have cooked more than our fair share of meals and we have not been eating cookies and ice cream for dinner every night. Not any night in fact. I think that recently I have felt completely uninspired at best and disengaged at worst. The odd thing is that I have made some really good stuff. In the fall I let myself experiment with lamb by making a roast leg of lamb which turned out beautifully. A pork dish seasoned with a generous marinate of worcestershire and soy sauce, garlic, ginger and pepper sauce. Rave review. Recently I threw together some leftover roast chicken and slow cooked vegetables to make a pasta sauce. Beautiful. So why do I feel uninspired and apathetic about what I have churned out? And why don't I post about them even when they turn out well. Here are some of my ideas:
1. I don't feel like the pictures will turn out well. It is kinda hard to take an inspiring shot of sauce on pasta (am I wrong here?) or a hunk of meat on a plate... or in a roast pan. Perhaps I need to expand my photographic horizons or just start taking pictures of vegetables and leave it at that
2. I'm tired from making all the damn food (I don't actually think this is true) but I am tired
3. I don't even feel like eating the food myself (this is true unfortunately. Hummus and toast usually wins... and have I told any of you about my new obsession with grapes and cherry tomatoes?)
4. I am feeling uninspired and apathetic about life and I can't even blame winter for that one - although it certainly is not helping
5. My kids are using the computer too much. Perhaps I need to have my very own computer - one of these will do fine, thanks for asking
6. There is not enough room in my brain. I need an upgrade to get more space... or something needs to go to clear some space... no kids... no job... just tossing around some ideas. In truth, I think that this is probably the best answer so far.  It's not that there is no down time it's that the down time is still parenting and all the taxiing to this, that and the other in addition to the chores that need to get done - well that's not really head clearing time is it

These are some classy ass measuring cups that my Mom got me for Christmas.  Awesomest.
So there it is.  Mystery solved. Here is the funniest part - my kids don't even really like the stuff I'm baking. At least they are not terribly interested in eating it. I think they've grown totally accustomed to it and would much rather have a snickers bar than home baked cookies. I had to send about 80% of this snacking cake to school with kid #1. Her friends at school probably think that home baked stuff is a novelty and that it tastes much better than the orea cookies my kids are constantly begging for. She is 14 so after sharing with all of her friends I have some new love interests and someone else wants to make me a superhero costume... my super power being doing shit with bananas and chocolate - meh, could be worse.
For the record - I had to go back through this post and erase an extra space after almost every single period. Including the one in the first paragraph.

This was my original post idea... then I discovered that every single solitary photo I took blew huge chunks.
Banana oat snacking cake adapted form Bon Appetit
makes 1 8x8 square cake

1 1/2 cups oats (I used a combo of quick and classic rolled oats)
1 cup unbleached, all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
dash nutmeg

1 1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs (I used 1 egg and 2 egg whites)
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3 ripe bananas, peeled and coarsely chopped
5 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (or use chips)

Grease and flour an 8x8 square baking dish. Set aside
Preheat the oven to 350°F
Combine the oats, flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together.  Mix until combined and set aside.
In a large bowl beat together the brown sugar and eggs until they are a creamy caramel colour and smooth.  About 2 minutes.
Add in the melted butter and beat together for another minutes.
Fold in the flour mixture just until all the ingredients are wet.
Gently fold in the chopped banana and chocolate.  Fold in just until mixed.
Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
Bake for about 35 minutes, turning half way through baking.
Cool in pan for about 15 minutes before removing.  Cool a little longer before eating or don't... eat it warm... with ice cream... thank me later.

This is the recipe that goes with the photos you are seeing...
Pretzel, milk chocolate brownies adapted from Alice Medrich via Sassy Radish

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
pinch of cayenne and a larger pinch of cinnamon
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp dark cocoa
2 lg eggs cold
1 cup large chunks of milk chocolate
3/4 cup (or so) broken bits of pretzels

Preheat oven to 325°F
Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment or butter and flour it and set it aside.
Combine the flour, salt and cinnamon together and set aside
Combine the butter, sugar and cocoa together in a heat proof bowl. Place over lightly simmering water and stir until butter is melted and everything is combined. It shouldn't be too hot and will be gritty looking.
Add the eggs one at a time whisking well after each addition. Once the mixture looks silky add in the flour mixture and whisk just until it's mixed in and you can't see flour anymore.
Poor the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the chocolate chunks and the pretzels on top of the batter.
Bake for about 28 - 33 minutes (mine was done around 28 minutes) depending on how gooey you want your brownies.
Cool before removing from the pan - unless you think it's cool that they break apart like mine did.

Clementine, bacon and maple (?) sugar cookies

It's interesting to note what inspires people and how inspiration and motivation can often be interpreted as one and the same thing.  Maybe they are the same thing.  In reality at least.  I think that adversity and/or the negative experiences we go through tend to inspire and motivate me more than the positive ones.  Sad but true.  I would venture to say that this is the case for more of us than we would care to admit.
The western world has been motivated to assemble in unity against terrorism and for freedom from censorship.  I had the odd experience of all of this outcry not quite sitting right with me.  Not being sure exactly why I felt odd about it, I started to let myself dwell on the situation and the issues that have arisen around the Paris incident.  Rolling it around, here is where my thoughts have gone up to now:
 - Is freedom from censorship the same thing as freedom of speech?
 - We talk about how powerful words are all of the time.  Our words affect people and can illicit a strong response - sometimes we can determine that outcome and sometimes we can't.  When does what we say become translated as hate?
 - We censor ourselves all of the time - every single day.  Journalists, artists, writers, researchers... you name it.  That censorship is based on the acceptable social norms currently in existence.  There are certain people groups and religious groups that I would never even consider writing negatively about.  However, that might not have been the case 75 short years ago.
 - No one should have to die for the things that those in the Charlie Hebdo offices died for.  Full stop.

I started to articulate what I was thinking to D.  I thought that maybe I was crazy to even be thinking this way.  Turns out that D, while not asking exactly the same questions, was definitely rolling things around as well.  He forwarded this article to me from The Intercept.  As I was reading it, I found myself feeling so thankful that I wasn't alone in feeling odd about this whole thing, I wasn't crazy either and that someone out there had managed to articulate their thoughts in a much more logical and concise way than I could have.  I'm not done stewing about this for sure but there are other things that are just as concerning... what about these guys?  Shall we march?

Look, cookies certainly are not at the top of the news food chain.  World crisis will not be widely affected by the baking of two more dozen cookies.  Still I make cookies.  Maybe I bake cookies for the same reason others watch reality tv or awards shows - for the record, I can't even force myself to sit through either one.  We do it to feel normal.  We do it because it helps us lose ourselves in something else.
Full disclosure:  I found that the cookies I made were a little too clementine overwhelmed.  The maple will be subtle no matter what (sometimes I wonder why I use maple syrup at all when I'm baking) but mine just turned into clementine cookies with a couple of weird bacon sprinkles on the top.  I have adjusted the amount of zest accordingly... feel free to add vanilla as well to round it out more.

Clementine, bacon and maple (?!) sugar cookies adapted from here
makes about 2 dozen

2 cups icing sugar
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 lg egg
1 tsp grated clementine or orange zest (no more than that!)
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
dash of nutmeg
2 tbsp maple syrup

1 egg white
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp maple syrup
3 strips bacon - cooked until very crisp, drained and broken into small pieces

Combine the flour, salt and nutmeg together and set aside.
In a large bowl combine the icing sugar and butter.  Beat together until creamy.
Add the egg and clementine zest and continue to beat until light and fluffy.
Continue to beat on low and slowly add the flour mixture.  Beat only until combined.
Divide the dough into two portions.  Roll each portion into 3 inch round logs.  Cover each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 12 hours.
Preheat oven to 370°F
Line a cookie sheet with parchment or a silicon liner.
Slice each log into 1/4 inch discs.  Place the discs on the lined cookie sheet leaving some room between each for spreading while baking.
Bake for about 7 - 8 minutes.
Remove cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Beat together the egg white, icing sugar and maple syrup until creamy.
Pour about a tsp of icing on top of each cookie and immediately sprinkle with a little of the bacon (might want to press the bacon down just a little to wedge it into the icing)
Leave cookies for a while to let the icing get solid.

Black and Yellow Chocolate Mousse Cake

Now that christmas is behind us and the pressure is off I feel like I can think just a little more clearly.  It's all an illusion of course but christmas seems to carry with it some brain cluttering expectations whether or not you embrace them (I'll leave you to guess which category I fall into).  After what felt like a record number of performances this December we really tried to keep expectations low.  Like really low.  We didn't have a big christmas day dinner (decided at about 4pm that we would glaze and bake the ham in the fridge and have it with leftovers) although D made his amazing omelet for breakfast which sustained us through the day.  We didn't go anywhere on christmas day - or boxing day for that matter. We watched movies, movies and more movies. Ate ham and leftovers again.  Two words: Track Pants.  I think that you get the idea.
Even with the aggressive no-christmas-craziness campaign I still found myself making 4 different kinds of cookies.  There was absolutely no reason for these cookies.  No one asked for the cookies and not one single person needs those cookies, especially at this time of year.  This is probably a good time to mention that because I work in a school I receive chocolates in amounts that are crazy - I donate and give to friends.  So why the cookies? It was the sheer guilt of tradition that motivated them.  Once they were done I realized that the blondies I made sucked (they lasted a day before I called it and they met their end) and that clementine/maple and bacon cookies become clementine cookies because clementine is a bully - I will post a recipe for these though.  From there I needed to find homes for the rest of the stuff because it was physically impossible for us to eat them all.  Merry christmas one and all.
Moving on:
These two articles entertained me: One and Two
This is the funniest thing I've discovered recently (trust me: keep going cause each page gets better and better)
I still need to make these for my bestest because she doesn't like chocolate and because I bake for her.
Can we talk for a moment about how much gushing is going on over this man and his music.  The album cannot be over hyped.
If you haven't gotten your fill of movies just yet then this might help you decide on your next rental.

Mousse cake Pre-Ganache
Mousse cake Post-Ganache
Way Way Way back in early December, D had a birthday.  We couldn't have been busier (all of us) but we still managed to squeeze some gifts and a special dinner in there.  I'm not totally confident about this but I think that D requested my own shepherd's pie concoction.  He did not request this cake - it's possible that he requested cheesecake and I didn't quite take it in... but that also might have been another year.  However, knowing that D loves chocolate mousse cake I decided to make something with chocolate mousse.  I liked the idea of the colour contrast between the layers.  The cake turned out to be surprisingly moist and lasted forever (because D ended up being the only one eating it after 2 days and refused to let it go into the green bin... which is fine because it was his birthday cake).

Chocolate Mousse Cake adapted from Martha Stewart
makes 1  9inch round cake

1/2 cup unbleached, all purpose flour
1/2 cup corn starch
pinch cinnamon
4 eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350°F
Butter and flour a round cake tin.  Set aside.
Combine the flour, cornstarch and a pinch of cinnamon. Set aside.
Beat together the egg whites and 1/4 cup of sugar until they are stiff and fluffy.
In another bowl combine the egg yolks, vanilla.  Begin to beat together and slowly add 1/2 cup of sugar.  Beat together for about 5 minutes until thick.
Fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture until incorporated.
Add the flour in 3 stages, thoroughly combining each time.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until the edges are golden and pull away from the sides of the pan and a tester comes out of the middle clean.
Cool completely before removing from the pan.

Chocolate Mousse adapted from Epicurious
make about 3 1/2 cups

1 1/4 cups whipping cream, chilled
3/4 cups whipping cream, room temperature
4 egg yolks
3 tbsp sugar
7oz chocolate (I used between 50 and 60% cocoa solids)

Heat 3/4 cups whipping cream over medium heat.  Remove just before it begins to boil.  Cool for 2 minutes.  Combine egg yolks, sugar and salt together in a bowl.  Pour the hot cream in a slow, thin, steady stream into the egg yolk mixture. Stir constantly until all the hot cream has been added.
Melt chocolate over a double boiler.  Add to the cream mixture and mix until thoroughly combined.  Set aside to cool until at least room temperature.
Whip the chilled cream until it forms stiff peaks.
Fold little by little into the chocolate mixture until all of the whipped cream has been added.
Pour over completely cooled cake.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill.

Chocolate Ganache adapted from Epicurious

1 1/2 cups semi sweet (55%) chocolate chips
1 cup whipping cream
1 tbsp salted butter

Place the chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl.
Heat the cream until simmering.
Pour hot cream over the chocolate.  Stir until the chips are beginning to melt.
Add the butter while the chocolate is still warm.
Stir until everything is melted and the mixture is smooth.
Cool for a few minutes and pour over cake.

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St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.

My Favourite Cookbooks

  • Naparima Girls High School Cookbook
  • The Silver Palate Cookbook
  • More-with-Less Cookbook
  • Moosewood Cookbook

About Me

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Wanda Thorne
St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
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