Monday, November 4, 2013

Want a cookie?

Sorry, I know it's not nice to tease.   But, it's almost that easy ... I'm giving you the recipe for these.  I love them.  Kind of like a breakfast cookie if you know what I mean.

A great thing to do with those leftover Rice Krispies that have been sitting there too long...and then, guess what?  You will be forced to go buy some more to make another batch of these.  Well, that's what happened around here anyway.

I thought I was doing a good thing; using up some past due Krispies .. and lo and behold, the recipe was so good and so versatile... I make them often now.

And, ...   I've discovered they don't make small boxes of Krispies I had to buy a HUGE box.... so, I baked several batches...with different nuts, raisins, some with cranberries...and froze 'em.  Still working on the box ...but,'s good til 2014 ... I'll definitely be buying a new one before then...even if it is a whopping 500 grams of snap, crackle, pop!

They are called Crunchy Jumbles... but, I call them Rice Krispie Cookies... and it's from a magazine I bought a few years ago.  Says it makes 36, but they'd have to be tinier than I make.  I usually get about 32.

115 g or  1/2 cup butter
225 g or  1    cup sugar
1    egg
5 ml   or   1 tsp. vanilla
175 g or   1 1/4 cups plain flour
2.5 ml  or  1/2  tsp. bicarbonate of soda
        pinch of salt
115g   or   2   cups crisped rice cereal
1    cup chocolate chips  (needless to say this is waaay too much for me!)

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg and vanilla.
Sift together flour, soda.  Add cereal.   Fold into the creamed butter mixture.
Add chocolate chips, nuts etc and mix thoroughly.
Drop spoonfuls of dough onto lightly greased cookie sheets.
Bake in 180C /350 F or Gas 4 oven..... for about 10 - 12 minutes.

(for crunchier cookies add 1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped, with cereal and only 1/2 cup of choco chips and use a couple teaspoons less butter.)  (I've also taken to adding sunflower seeds or raisins, or dried cranberries, ..whatever I have on hand.)  I don't grease sheets ...but, it will depend upon what type of cookie sheet you use... test bake one.  Sometimes, I also add a tiny 'sprink' of nutmeg, cinnamon or maybe even ginger... these are so versatile...just add or subtract whatever you like after you try your first batch and get a feel for them.

okay, I"m off to make a cuppa and have one ....or two ...  or three....  sigh..... they are a bit like popcorn...can't just pop in one kernel can you?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Just to say "hi"..

I'm home alone.  You know what that means.  Trouble. not really.  Just no real regular, a little extra time and I can do baking at 8:00 at night if I feel like, I'm starting something tonight.... and then, I'm baking some cookies.  I did some embroidering all day and never did get around to much else.

I'll be baking tomorrow after soaking raisins in tea, sugar and orange rind and juice... mmmmm....

An old Irish recipe .. Barm Brack.  Mine is a bit different, but the original recipe is on the blog.  Check the index if you'd like to try it....never mind... I got it for it is....Barm Brack.

I doubt even the one I put on is the original...I think the original may have been yeasted version...but, who knows for sure.  All I know is that I like it, especially the way I make it.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Curried Cauliflower Soup

I love making soup.  It's become a once or twice a week ritual at our house.

This was today's yummy soup.

Curried cauliflower.   No real recipe...just loosely woven from several I read online... and it is a little less yellow than some because I added a fair bit of parsley...because I wanted to...

My little bundle on top?  A dollop of yogurt, some lightly toasted flaked almonds, tiny bits of chopped dried apricots, a bit more parsley and some chopped green onion tops. .... oh, this one is a keeper!

Oh, and...we had it with fresh out of the oven homemade bread slathered with butter .... mmmm..... ...

Here is my version... add or subtract any ingredients ...taste as you go along and enjoy your results.  We really enjoyed it.

Curried Cauliflower Soup

1/4 to 1/2 head of cauliflower florets ( I pre-cooked mine and cut them small)
1/4 to 1/2 a medium onion (finely diced)
stick of celery (finely diced)
one medium apple (finely diced)
one small potato (finely diced)
2 or so cups chicken broth
1 cup water
2 tsp curry paste (or powder or whatever you like to use)
2 tbsp olive oil
nob of butter
clove of garlic (crushed)
1 tbsp flour
big sprinkle of turmeric (it gives great colour)
small bay leaf (and any other spices you might like)
dash of cumin
grind of fresh pepper

1/2 cup milk or cream (optional)
my garnish to give it that extra something special... dollop of yogurt, finely chopped dried apricots, lightly toasted almond flakes, finely chopped onion greens, and a few sprigs of chopped parsley.... or whatever you choose...

I cut all my ingredients finely as I knew I was going to puree it in the end.  If you prefer to leave it as a chunky soup then just don't chop things as small.

Gently sweat onions and celery in some olive oil and a nob of butter on medium heat.  (If you want to add extra veggies... try a carrot and some red peppers chopped finely as well.)  When they are nice and soft, I add the crushed garlic and only cook it about one minute longer, make sure it doesn't burn and get bitter tasting.   Then, I sprinkle on about 1 tbsp of flour... stir it and let it gently cook another minute or so.  It is dry looking, but fine...just don't let it get too brown or stick to the pot.  I pour in a 1/2 cup or so of chicken broth if I get concerned with it being too dry or beginning to brown too much.  Stir right away as you add mix in the as yet uncooked flour and to keep it from becoming lumpy.  It becomes creamy looking almost right away. (It even tasted good at this point!)

Add the potato and apple if you are using them and add a cup or two of broth.  Let it come to a boil, stir a bit and then turn it low to simmer. Put on a lid.

Meanwhile chop the cauli into florets and microwave them in a small bowl...or steam them on the stove ... I like to precook them just to make sure they will be nice and soft for blending when I am ready for that.

Add the cauliflower and some spices and the curry paste... good stir, add cup of water and cover to simmer .... stir occasionally and taste ....add more spices if you choose.

Once veggies are soft and you are happy with the flavour ... mine takes about 2 hours....turn off heat, use hand immersion blender to turn it into creamy cauliflower soup.  Let it cool a bit before adding milk or cream...stir, ladle into bowl, add a pretty little garnish and enjoy.

I think that's it.... I hope you give it a try ....

Thursday, February 21, 2013


I have no idea why it is called that.  Just a minute. Must check it out ... I'll go ask Professor Google and see if it is a regular name for this type of bread.

Oh, sorry...just ran off to check it out and Wiki says this about it. ....  And, as usual... the Americans are claiming they invented it.  Okay then.....

I found the recipe in one of my bread books.... and, added a few things they didn't ...subtracted a bit of the cheese... and now wish I had mixed it more like they suggested.   Next time.

I may have added a bit more flour than they asked for or mixed it a bit too much...either way.... I didn't like the firmness of the crust, although, the interior is lovely and soft.  And, in retrospect, wish it had more cheese and less olives.... again, next time.  The photo in my book looks softer and it seemed flatter ...

There are lots of recipes online if you would like to give it a try.  I won't be adding my own recipe here til I have attempted it a second time and appreciate the crust a bit more.   But, how about this? ... Why doesn't somebody else give a Stromboli a try and let me know if their recipe is better or ..much the same....  ??

Thursday, February 14, 2013

What I made yesterday...

Chef John's no knead Ciabatta bread.  

I have no idea why everybody wants to do this type of bread...but, it seems a big, of course,  I'm doing it too.  After's bread!  I'm having fun testing various recipes.  This guy is kind of fun to listen to on his video...and let's you know how simple this is to do... no big deal when he doesn't quite flip the soft dough onto the sheet pan properly, etc.... just fix it up and carry on.  Let's us all know we can do it's not rocket science as they say...

I think I still prefer the first one I tried a few years back, called Tuscan bread...which is done on the same day...with no kneading either by the way and got it from 29 Black Street blog.  The rest of them all seem to call for leaving the dough mix for 18 to 24 hours and then shaping and letting it rise again for 2 hours and then baking.  Either's not a big deal...but, I prefer the flavour of the Tuscan (
not that it has much either, ...they are meant to be eaten with spicy soups or tangy cheeses I think ) ...this one and others I've tried have not very much flavour at all.  Surprisingly, this one has the teeniest amount of yeast so far..... only 1/4 read it correctly.  How such oven spring is possible with that tiny amount is beyond me ....but, spring it does!  Big time.

Strangely,it does not smell like you are baking bread at all.  Probably due to the small amount of yeast. And, if you flour the sheet generously....try to keep it under the bread only...  Any extra flour on the sheet does tend to get pretty brown to the point of almost burned as you can see...and that does tend to stink...

But, look....what fun to see this in my oven....

A great big Italian slipper.... what the word ciabatta supposedly means...

A lovely large loaf, with firm crunchy crust and moist and soft airy crumb. (hole-y is exactly what we are looking for in a loaf like this.)

....I had to cut into it immediately after taking it out of the oven....

What could possibly be any better than fresh, home made bread...slathered with lovely butter.

Nothing....that's what.  Absolutely nothing.

We had it for supper with a tangy and very spicy sweet potato/carrot soup...... yum!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I've posted the recipe for these before ....but, muffin making is a regular occurrence around here ...and as I was putting together the batter today I thought I'd just let you know a little trick I invented.  Well, maybe I didn't actually invent it... I'm sure others have figure this one out, but it's helpful to me and I like to share tips and tricks to make life in the kitchen easier and therefore, more fun.

Little jam jars make perfect containers for already toasted and chopped nuts.  I like to chop them as soon as I toast them because it is so much easier to chop nuts when they are warm.

Almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds..and .... dried cranberries.  Staples for me.  I keep the jars where I can see them in the 'fridge.... let's me know when I need to toss a handful on a sheet and lightly toast them before baking something ...usually do them while preheating the oven...and if I forget them at that point, there is always plenty of heat left after taking out muffins and turning off the oven.

Here they are: ..... so cute too..... hahhah..... like that counts....

Small and extra small jam jars... a one cup or half cup measure of nuts at the ready.

I like to add flour when the wet ingredients are nicely mixed.... and gently just fold in so as not to over mix.  It maintains a lovely rustic texture which I prefer for muffins... not a fine cupcake appearance or texture.

I usually add a dollop of yogurt instead of milk if the batter appears a bit too dry.... ...

Yes....those are my Christmas oven mitts.  The only pair I have that fit my hands the way I like oven mitts to fit.  So I can easily handle hot things with ease.  Maybe some day I will actually make myself a pair that fit my hands.  Some day...... or ...maybe somebody will find me a pair that are small enough for my hands ...

There.  See?  Rustic, man size muffins. Lovely.

Monday, February 4, 2013

I love biscotti

Bake it often.  It's not fattening and lasts ages...

Here is my second batch of the new year.  Biscotti Toscani.. a fairly simple recipe with great taste.  Well, I love it anyway.  Chopped toasted almonds...some orange zest...   simple, but effective.

I still chop nuts by hand... can't manage to get them the nice rough chop I want in a processor.  It's either too big...or nut butter.... no in between for me it seems.  Chop them when warm from the oven to prevent them flying all over the place when the knife hits them.  You still get a few bits...but, nothing like when cold.

 On this batch I tried a wash of some egg whites mixed with a bit of water.

 I've discovered that if I carefully get the serrated blade into the top of the logs... and almost rock it gently instead of sawing .... I get lovely slices.  Only a few end up with broken ends... my nemesis.  I hate broken ends...and used to use a hacksaw to get them really smooth.  This way I get the old fashioned rustic Italian look...and quite like it.