Chocolate chip cookies are such a classic treat! There are thousands of variations on the basic recipe of a vanilla cookie dough with chocolate chips. Some people like their cookies flatter, others more cakey. Some like them with nuts, others only with chocolate chips. I fall into the “soft, chewy, and loaded with chocolate” camp and these cookies satisfy all of my heart’s chocolate chip cookie desires. They’re called “Secret Ingredient” chocolate chip cookies because they contain an unexpected ingredient – custard powder! The original recipe called for instant vanilla pudding mix, but that doesn’t really exist in the UK. I googled the ingredients for both custard powder and instant pudding mix and they’re pretty similar. I thought I’d give a go and see how the cookies turned out with this substitution. Mmmmffff! They are so damn good! My old flatmate asked me if I had put crack in them because they were so deliciously addictive. ;)
November 18th, 2013 § 0
A few weekends ago I finally saw the film “The Help”. The movie came out in 2011 and is based off the book with the same title that came out in 2009. I had heard so many great things about it but it still took me a while to finally getting around to seeing it. It has to be one of the most heart warming films I have ever seen. The two main characters, Minny and Abileen, work as maids in the households of rich white people in the Southern states. The movie had me laughing out loud and nearly in tears. I especially loved Minny’s fiery spirit and her devotion to Crisco.
November 9th, 2013 § 0
I love pancakes. Since moving to the UK, I’ve come to appreciate the thin crepe-like pancakes that are favoured on this side of the Atlantic (they are optimal vehicles for Nutella). However, thick, fluffy pancakes will always be my favourite. I used to love it when instead of making us each two or three small pancakes my mum would make one huge one the size of the entire pan. It was a challenge to finish it sometimes, but I always gave my best effort! ;) I love brunch almost as much as I love pancakes. I like how there is never anything rushed about brunch. It starts at a civilised hour in the morning, it’s perfectly acceptable to linger over your
third second cup of coffee, and it’s a great time to catch up with friends on all the latest gossip.
November 3rd, 2013 § 0
As a Canadian living abroad, it is essential that I import my own supply of maple syrup. The maple syrup sold here is heinously expensive and packaged in tiny bottles. Even worse is the fake maple syrup that is basically corn syrup with “maple flavouring”. It offends me to be in the same room as that stuff. Using a full cup of maple syrup, this is a recipe after my own Canadian heart. It also afforded me a chance to finally use some of the lovely apples from our family friend’s farm. They have been sitting in my fridge begging to be turned into pie or cake or something. It has taken me a few weeks to finally getting around to doing something with them, but this cake certainly does them justice.
October 29th, 2013 § 4
A few weekends ago I noticed that I had a bunch of bananas that were getting very brown. Unfortunately, I had no time to turn them into anything tasty. Thankfully, bananas can be mashed up with a bit of lemon juice and stored in the freezer. This weekend past I decided to make banana cake for my fellow medics on placement with me.
Allrecipes.com is one of my go to websites for a new recipe. There are thousands of recipes on that website, so you know if a recipe as several hundred five star reviews then it’s going to be a good one and this banana cake is no exception. It was incredibly moist and almost gooey with the icing, but in a delicious moreish way rather than an undercooked icky way. The banana flavour shown through really well too. In fact, it was consumed by my colleagues with an alacrity that is only found in students offered free cake.
October 20th, 2013 Comments Off
This is the most intensely chocolate cake I have ever made. Cake of Death. Chocolate buttercream. 12 KitKat bars. Over 200g of Maltesers. This cake is chocolate suicide on a plate. I stumbled across a photo of this cake whilst browsing cake recipes on the interweb and I knew instantly that I had to make it. Not only did it have freaking KitKats all around it, but I loved how it looked almost geometric. The clean straight lines made by the fingers of each KitKat bar and the mosaic pattern made by the Maltesers on top just really appealed to my inner cake decorator. I set out to think of an appropriate occasion to make this cake. Unfortunately, I don’t know if there will ever be an “appropriate” time to eat a cake that uses 12 chocolate bars and a huge bag of Maltesers. So I decided to make it for no special occasion, but just because I could. I informed a group of friends that I would be coming along one evening with this cake and that we were going to eat it or die trying.
October 17th, 2013 Comments Off
This past weekend my parents came to visit me! I had a wonderful Saturday and Sunday just spending time with them. They had been in London and also visiting some old family friends that own a farm near Rugby. When they arrived on Saturday morning, they did not come empty handed! I was presented with a huge carrier bag full of apples and also another carrier bag full of damson plums.
Damson plums are petite versions of normal plums and are about the size of either a large olive or slightly bigger than a cherry. With well over a kilo of these things, I was stumped with what to do with them. A quick Google showed me that I had many options: damson gin, damson chutney, damson jam, and a recipe for Zwetschgendatschi, a traditional German cake. Having no gin or empty jars, the cake seemed like the easiest option.
October 14th, 2013 § 5
I have so many wonderful memories of Thanksgiving growing up. I remember how the air would be turning crisp, the leaves would be blushing a deep red before dropping to the earth, and of course, Monday would be a precious day off school. One year we went walking outside and gathered golden and red leaves to decorate the table with. Having lived abroad for so long, I rarely get homesick nowadays. However, if I do ever feel a pang of longing, it is usually around this time of the year, when the leaves have changed colour and summer has finally gone.
Of course, back at home, we would have the huge Thanksgiving meal with turkey and all the trimmings, but the real treat was always dessert. Pumpkin pie is a classic North American dessert. Although it is eaten all throughout
autumn fall, it is often considered the traditional way to end a gut-busting, belt-loosening Thanksgiving dinner. For most of my university years, I have largely ignored the holiday, glumly emailing or skyping with my family to see them enjoying our normal family festivities. However, the last two years I feel like I have celebrated Thanksgiving properly, with friends and (this year) family.
September 8th, 2013 § 1
I love Maltesers, especially when they come with lots of chocolate and crushed digestive biscuits. I made this over the top no-bake recipe last weekend to accompany the Pumpkin Spice Cake I made. They are addictive but extremely rich – I had to recommend my friends cut them in half before eating them as I cut pieces that were huge. These are guaranteed to send you into a happy but sugar-induced coma.
September 2nd, 2013 Comments Off
Way back in June, I found that Aldi was stocking canned pumpkin in their “American” specialty aisle. I went a little bit nutso and bought several cans. However, pumpkin is a flavour I always associate with autumn and Thanksgiving, rather than the lighter flavours and fresh fruits of summer baking. Yesterday was September 1 so I felt justified in baking this cake as we finally edge closer towards the fall.
I also wanted to do something more interesting than your standard cream cheese icing, so I decided to make dulce de leche buttercream. My stove broke last week so my plans were almost foiled until one of my friends graciously let me use his hob for a few hours. Disaster averted! The icing itself tastes wonderful and I love the rich caramel flavour of the dulce de leche. In fact, the dulce de leche creamed with the soft butter tasted so good that I almost stopped right then and there. I did decide to continue with the recipe, but I’m definitely going to use it as a filling for a tart or cake or something. It was just too delicious not to!