Saturday, 25 December 2010

Mini doughnut muffins for the holidays!

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Happy Holidays!

I'm currently riding out the rain in San Francisco, and doing more tree decorating than baking, but I thought I'd share some pics of the mini doughnut muffins I made before we left London.

They came out pretty adorable, especially in their little Martha Stewart cups.

We gave a bag of them to our porter, and I left a bunch for my friend Magda, who'll be staying in our flat sporadically while we're gone.

They make a great, easy, super-cute holiday gift!

The recipe is here.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Gram's cookies– a major meltdown story

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This is what they're supposed to look like.  Buttery, powdered-sugar-y, fluffy-but-rich little drops of chocolate-chip heaven.  

These are the cookies that made a generation of wary grandchildren smile at the expectation of a visit from a somewhat dour, WASPy (if well-meaning), grandmother.  Gram's cookies.  Usually delivered in a Folgers coffee tin, along with what she called "the healthy cookies"– basically chocolate chip with oats (healthy!), and quite scrummy, but couldn't hold a candle to THE cookies.  Once I got the recipe from my Gram, these immediately became my go-to holiday cookies (especially cute with Martha Stewart packaging):

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Continuing the Workplace Takeover: Chocolate Peanut Butter Puffs

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Now this is a stroke of genius.

Shop-bought puff pastry, peanut butter, and chocolate chips; a pizza cutter (or sharp knife) and a rolling pin; an oven.  Add a half hour's attention and minimal energy (and, more importantly, minimal dishes!), et voila: Chocolate peanut butter puffs!

Monday, 22 November 2010

My family's super-secret Pumpkin Pie recipe, revealed!

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It's time.

I've decided I finally know you guys well enough to let you in on the big family secret: Great-Grandmother's Pumpkin Pie.

Don't take this lightly, now.  I made this pie every year for my friends at college, and every year the list of pie requests grew; I made no fewer than 10 pies my senior year.  And when we graduated, after much coercion, I agreed to give the recipe to my friend Brittany, but I swore her to secrecy.  And now I'm blowing the whole thing open by posting the recipe on the internet.  I'm taking a big risk for y'all.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Amy's Bread and Cranberry Cookies

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I bought a new cookbook a couple of weeks ago, on a whim.  My sister has it, and she showed it to me when I was last in SF, and I was taken by a photo of an adorably pink layer cake that I haven't been able to get out of my head since.  So I bought the cookbook, The Sweeter Side of Amy's Bread.  And it came.  And I put it on the coffee table, and then I sat down on the sofa and flipped through it.  And I sighed and bookmarked and planned and plotted.  And then I put it down again, and didn't pick it up for two weeks.


The thing is, I've got this new job.  And I love this job, and more importantly I love my office-mates.  But... well, I don't have a lot of time for baking anymore.  I know, I know.  The grass is always greener.  In fairness, I have been baking (well I didn't want them to regret hiring me!), but I've been falling back on old favorites like banana bread and pumpkin pie bread.  I haven't really had the time to do the kind of baking that Amy requires: weighing, measuring, sifting, using 6 bowls– this lady's not fooling around.  Her recipes aren't difficult, exactly, but they are certainly exacting

Sunday, 7 November 2010

BAKED oatmeal? Why does no one tell me these things?!

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Okay, yes, these photos are bad.  I won't even bother to submit them to Foodgawker (with whom I'm having a bit of a beef right now anyway, since they refuse to make allowances for the fact that I live in England and it's effing DARK here all the time and there's no room for a lightbox / I'm poor)

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Forced to bake with buttermilk!

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Sometimes, at our lovely new(ish) flat, we like to host dinner parties.  And sometimes those dinner parties become a bigger production than is absolutely necessary. 

Friday, 29 October 2010

One thing United Airlines does right: Carrot Cake!

Pin It Carrot cake is a wonder of science.

 You start with something relatively healthy: of the earth, raw, vegan, gluten-free, all that jazz.

And then you spend a few minutes imagining the worst men you've ever known and thanking your lucky stars your poor lovely bf isn't home...

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Falling in love– banoffee blondies

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 When I moved to Brighton to study abroad my junior year of college, I was expecting the cold (not that I was prepared).  I was expecting the dark, the rain, and the terrible 'mexican' food.  I was expecting good, cheap beer and student discounts at nightclubs, and I was even expecting to find food that I could stomach.  But I wasn't expecting banoffee.

Monday, 18 October 2010

It's getting pretty chilly out there...

Pin It I guess it's time to make chili!  (Yes, I know, I should be ashamed... but I'm not.)

The bf has been really busy with school lately, so I've sort of taken over a good bit of the evening cooking.  Which means savory.  Which is not something I've ever been terrible at, but it's always been more about sustenance than interest.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Homemade potato chips, or: How you know you're truly a master procrastinator!

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In case you haven't noticed, I'm kind of controlled by my cravings.  That's one of the dangers of being both anti-dieting and home all day.  You end up making all kinds of random things in pursuit of a craving. 

Well... in pursuit of a craving while also trying to outrun a deadline.  Yeah, yeah, I was supposed to be writing my book.  But I needed salty crunch!  Don't judge me.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

This should be illegal...

Pin It Seriously?  This is just wrong.

See, what we're talking about here are cookies.  That taste like brownies.  But with chewy edges and cakey centers.  And this is the really naughty bit: they're cookies, so they're really easy (like, wayyyy too easy) to just pick up and pop in your mouth.

This is some dangerous genius we're dealing with here, folks.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Carrying on the Thanksgiving-with-a-twist theme: Pecan Pie Muffins!

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These little babies are the business.  For serious. 

I was never really a pecan pie gal.  I was much more about the pumpkin (as I would think might be obvious from the wealth of pumpkin-related posts on this site (and there are more to come!)).*  Pecan pie was just a tad too rich and sweet for my tastes, not that that stopped me from eating it.  I just didn't eat as much of it...

Monday, 27 September 2010

Fall is in the air!

Pin It Well... inasmuch as Fall can ever be in the air in a city where the default weather setting is grey...

But yes, the air has crisped, the trees are already turning brown and baring their branches, and school is starting up again.  And you know what that means: baking for an audience again!  Oh, and pumpkin.  Definitely, definitely pumpkin.

Specifically, pumpkin pie bars, the answer to the age-old question: how can I take my pumpkin pie with me on the go?  Because don't we all need a little pie-to-go in this rushing about, bustling, high-energy world (or at least city)?  Yes.  Yes we do.

Monday, 20 September 2010

More my thing: easy 'donut' muffins

Pin It After last week's challah trials (and tribulations), I needed a pick me up.  Something easy.  Something delicious.  A guaranteed success.  Enter: the donut muffin.

Monday, 13 September 2010

The Idiot Baker (or maybe just a shlimazel)

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It started so innocently.  A naive shiksa baker with a lotta chutzpah, a missed slice of challah at a friend's recent wedding, a craving, a dream...

But then it that dream turned to drek.

First came a strange, knead-less recipe that, while it seemed to work well for Rebecca, and while it made a pretty braid on the cold cookie sheet:

nonetheless led to a dense, bloblike 'loaf.'  Not exactly a mitzvah.  Although we did eat it all.

Next, I decided to really roll up my sleeves and get to work.  So I went back to a long-ago bookmarked recipe for a gorgeous challah from Deb.  I figured it would be complicated, but I told myself it was worth the extra effort to get it right.  I didn't have to be such a schlemiel, I just needed to focus.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Spotty bananas– a healthier way!

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First off, let me assuage your fears: no, I am not on a health kick, and no, this blog is not becoming weight-conscious or health-obsessed.  I just got back to London (don't get me started on the welcoming deluge) from a month in San Francisco– land of the latest organic/vegan/macrobiotic craze– with my crazy, points-counting family, so I've got health on the brain.  But don't worry, I'll be back to my buttery, sugary self in no time.

Now that we've got that out of the way, lets talk about what awaited me upon my return to the UK (besides the aforementioned rain): piles of books/clothes/general boy stuff on every surface in the flat; a closet full to bursting, into which I was hoping to unpack my stuffed suitcase; a fridge full of random meats and not much else; and bananas.  Spotty, old, fragrant bananas.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Points Counting and Panna Cotta

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 I have a bit of a baking dilemma: when I'm in London, I have very little equipment/space, but there are people around who will eat the things I make.  When I'm in San Francisco, at my parents' house, I have all the beautiful, fancy equipment and stainless steel countertops a girl could desire, but nobody will touch my creations.  Why is this?  Well, I blame weight watchers.

Monday, 23 August 2010

On cravings.

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Every now and again, I do in fact feel like baking something savory.  Now, usually this craving comes in the form of buttery, flaky, biscuity goodness, but it's also been known to rear its head in a sharp, tangy, cheddary way.  As it did last week.

Now, as someone who never visited restaurant chains as a child (my parents are food snobs, much to my childhood chagrin– not that I mind these days!), I can't testify as to the oft-cited deliciousness of the Red Lobster Cheddar Biscuits.  I can, however, say that the many bloggers and food message-board commenters who describe them gave me a major jones for cheesy, chivey, garlicky goodness.  So off I went to hunt for a recipe that would be easy to throw together with stuff I already had in my pantry.  And boy did this one fit the bill! 

Monday, 16 August 2010

On ADHD and rice pudding

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I’ve always said I’m confident I can cook pretty much anything*, except pasta and rice.  Yes, you read that correctly.  For some reason, I always seem to either undercook or overcook those simple basics, yet I’m capable of making mini lemon soufflés in hollowed out lemon peels!  Seems really weird, I know.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Not a total fail Fruits-of-the-Forest Crumb Bars

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Sigh... Yet another SK recipe that didn't turn out as I expected.  I think Deb's gorgeous photos just raise my expectations too much!  I'm just one person, damnit, with an insufficient kitchen and metric conversions to do!  Oh, and I didn't follow the recipe exactly, so that might have been it...  Hey, fresh blueberries are spend-o-rama, and we happened to have some forest fruits in the freezer, and they looked so beautiful...

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Consider my heart duly touched– Dim Sum in the 'dam!

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Sometimes I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. 

Like when the bf whisks me off to Amsterdam for a weekend of charming canal walks and delicious ice cream.  Or when we arrive, having checked the weather and prepared for rain, and instead we're greeted with cool breezes and warm sunshine and fluffy white clouds.  Or when, as a thank-you, I book us in for a cooking class at a place I've never heard of, which just happens to be the only class I can find where the timing fits, and we end up cooking dim sum for 4 hours (and staying to eat and chat for another 1.5) in a gorgeous studio with a raucous, international crowd of students and a fabulous, young, Socratic teacher named Fong. 

Luckiest girl in the world.  For serious.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Homemade bread on an hour's notice? For serious!

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Do you ever just think: "I really feel like baking bread today," but feel like there's too much effort and time required?  That was me a couple weeks ago.  I didn't really have time to deal with a couple of long risings, and I didn't have an appropriate loaf pan for a quickbread.  So I set out on the hunt for a recipe that would allow me to have bread and butter in my mouth within the hour, and wouldn't require any equipment besides a baking sheet, a bowl, and these two lazy hands of mine.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Signs of summer: Strawberry Shortcake

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Is there anything that better represents summer (to Americans) than strawberry shortcake?  Now, I wasn't one of those lucky girls who had treats and sweets all summer long, but strawberry shortcake was one of the few sweet things my mom could get on board with.  My dad loved it, and we used to 'make' it for him for breakfast in bed on fathers day, with storebought shortcakes, canned whipped cream, and fresh berries.  I'm pretty sure it knocked our sloppy pancakes out of the park.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

The miracle of microwavable cake!

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When my older brother and I were in undergrad together at Washington University in St Louis, I used to take him grocery shopping with my mom's credit card.  I was always a little appalled (and admittedly a weensy bit envious) at the things he'd chuck into the cart: frozen pizzas, chocolate milk, canned whipped cream, more frozen pizzas/breakfast sandwiches/soft pretzels.  And, one time, some sort of packaged chocolate gloop that theoretically turned into cake when you add water and put it in the microwave.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

An impromptu brunch, with only a *little* hair-tearing!

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When my friend Miranda suggested brunch last weekend, I immediately offered to host.  I’d been out and about a lot the week before, and I was kind of tired of the rat race (and paying people to cook my food), so I was psyched when she accepted.  I started planning right away: something savory, something sweet, some fruit, maybe a salad, something else sweet…  I spent hours on Allrecipes, cruising brunch recipes and looking for something new and different.  And I found three recipes that seemed perfect, at which point I printed them out and spent another couple of hours (book?  What book?  Was I supposed to be writing something other than blog posts?) reading the reviews and compiling tips in the margins so I could idiot-proof the recipes. 

Friday, 16 July 2010

Success IS possible!

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I just wanted to share that, despite my earlier failures, I'm not a total flop in the kitchen.  Yesterday, unable to look any longer at the bananas blackening rapidly on the kitchen dresser, I fell back on an old favorite.  And it did not disappoint! 

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Week of the baking brown thumb

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I know it may seem like I’ve got this whole baking thing figured out (if you ignore all my posts about hair-tearing), but I do sometimes make mistakes.  Usually, though, they’re few and far between in the grand scheme of things.  But not last week.  Last week was the week of baking disasters.

Monday, 5 July 2010

A not-so-short story about shortbread.

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You may sometimes wonder, as does my mother, who eats all this stuff I bake?  Well, for a while it was my classmates I depended on to make sure we wasted not, but then classes became fewer and farther between.  And other people started bringing snacks (usurpers!), and I didn’t want them to think I was trying to steal their thunders.  So when the bf started working full time I was pleased to be able to ply him with tupperwares full of brownies and coffee cake and cookies. 

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Vegetables! With butter...

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I was hoping to post about how I do, on occasion, eat things that don't involve butter/sugar/flour, but unfortunately these steamed artichokes were delicious dipped in a lemon-butter mishmash of my own making.  Still, they were green and healthy and savory, so that's something new and different for this blog!

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Heat wave sweet crave solution

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It’s hot in London right now.  As my brother would say, hot as… well let’s just say, really hot and sticky.  Muggy.  Humid.  Still.  Not exactly comfort-food weather.  I spend all day grazing on chunks of cheese and nibbles of cucumber– anything cold and quick.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Because we love dads, even when they don’t love chocolate.

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This past weekend was father’s day.  It was also the weekend of a huge outdoor party, complete with big bohemian tents and a pig on a spit, that the bf’s dad and stepmom hosted at their house in Oxfordshire to celebrate their joint birthdays.  They took care of all the party planning and much of the food (besides the pig) themselves, so of course I offered to help.  Which meant baking 3 trays of brownies (not too hard, but very messy) and bringing them up on the train on Friday evening (really surprisingly hard).  It also meant finding a great, easy brownie recipe (pretty difficult too).

Friday, 11 June 2010

Rhubarb Coffee Cake, Rhubarb Lemonade, and Apologies Again

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I’ve been bad.  I’ve been eating too much sugar, working too little on my book, and worst of all wasting too much time online gawking at other people’s food blogs and not spending enough time working on my own.  But I’m back now, having been for a whirlwind week in New York with my bf and 'rentals, and with a brand new camera to play with!*  I've also gotten my first big book deadline under my belt, and I’m celebrating with all things rhubarb!