Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Garden Cake / Tinkerbell Cake

***UPDATED - Dec 26, 2010 - Completed cake photos!!!!!***

This is one of my latest creations and I have to say that I fell in love with it as soon as it was done. Loved it so much that there is even a video of it...*see below* Please keep in mind, while it is a 9 inch cake in diameter, it was 6 inches tall and GLORIOUS! The inside of the cake is hot pink batter that tastes like strawberries. I'm awaiting a photo of it once it was sliced open! 

Tinkerbell's house went on top of the cake, hence the giant gap in the top of the cake. I promise more photos will be up soon!

Here it is!







video


Happy Tuesday! 

Tamara

*****UPDATE*****







Kimmy, the very happy 6 year old birthday girl!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving


Just wanted to post a quick message to all of you out there who happen to be reading this blog every once in a while. For those who have been celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend,  I hope that you all had the most wonderful weekend ever filled with delicious food, family and friends and lots and lots of love!

I didn't spend this weekend as traditionally as I have in the past, but there was definitely amazing food, family and friends and after all is said and done, I do feel like a very lucky and very loved girl. So in recognition of this wonderful holiday, I am making a list of the things that I am thankful for this year:
  1. My family - both near and far, both biological and not.
  2. My friends who despite it all have stuck by me through everything
  3. The experiences that I have had, both recently, and along the way that have shaped me to be me
  4. The knowledge that I have come to acquire formally and informally
  5. The things that I am passionate about - including cooking and this blog
  6. The things that the future holds for me and those I love
  7. The fact that despite everything, I have a job
  8. Those who are reading this blog - for being the reason that I write and take pictures almost daily! 
As corny as this list may sound, I felt it was really important for me to make it. And on that note, because I can definitely hear some groans of "What?!?! No food? No pictures? No recipes?"... Here are a few things that I made this weekend!  







Happy Monday, guys! 

tamara

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Apples, Apples and More Glorious Apples!


Do you ever get the craving for something that is just traditional? Something so basic but that no other food will hit the spot? Yeah! I had one of those days today. Since the weather was kind of gloomy today, I was definitely feeling that fall had arrived. We had no specific plans except for Sunday dinner with a family friend so the day was my oyster (but not so gross and slimy and yuck!). I put away laundry, purged through some old bills I had laying around (and paystubs from 2007 :S) and generally cleaned up my room a bit which always makes me feel amazing! Amidst all of this productivity, I was still craving something homecooked and delish. 

I knew that we were going to make something that involved pork tenderloin which lead me to think of apples. I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this on the blog but I LOVE apples. I love eating them by themselves but I especially love baking with them. 2 years ago I made my first apple pie with a lattice top and I swear, I almost died at the finished product. But really, can you blame me? I promise to write a whole blog post about apple pie soon.


But really, beyond baking with them, I've never really cooked with them. If we were ever having pork chops, we would just use jarred apple sauce. Mum suggested that tonight we make a pork wellington with the tenderloin and after a quick review of a basic recipe, I figured: let's do it! I am so glad that we did because what we made was absolutely DELISH! 

This is the wellington right out of the oven
Cooked to perfection
This pork tenderloin was rubbed with some olive oil and spices before they were tightly wrapped up defrosted puff pastry. It was simple but I didn't want to flavour the meat too much because I knew that my apple chutney awaited the wellingtons. My one suggestion would be to use one sheet of puff pastry for one pork tenderloin. I originally thought that I had two sheets of puff pastry but actually only had one, thus we had really thinly covered wellingtons but they were still great! 

Now for the apple chutney, I was definitely flying by the seat of my pants, which (without sounding too much like Michael Smith-who I love) was actually a lot of fun. So here is the rough recipe for my spicy apple chutney:

Makes about 5 cups - Enough for two pork tenderloins
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 5 apples, peeled, cored and cubed
  • 2 tbsp fresh (or dried) thyme, chopped 
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1/8 cup maple syrup (or 1/4 of table syrup, if you're like me who has run out of maple syrup)
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
Add olive oil, apples, red onion and thyme to a skillet set to medium-high heat. Let all ingredients simmer for 3-5 minutes until tender. Add the maple syrup, white wine, lemon juice, salt and pepper and stir. Let the liquid reduce until a chutney forms, about 5-7 minutes or until apples are soft and almost falling apart.  Serve warm over pork wellington slices. 

And here, loves, is what you end up with if you serve it with mashed potatoes and green beans:


Now, while the pork wellington with spicy apple chutney killed my craving for pork and apples, I still wanted a bit more apple, THUS I put together a quick topless apple tart. The topless-ness of our tarts were simply due to me running out of dough but in the end, I actually enjoyed the tart better without any dough on top. 

I can't lie, we used ready made Pilsbury Pie Crust and par-baked the crust in individual tart shells at 400 for 10-12 minutes (or until golden brown). Once the shells were baked, I cut and cubed 4 apples (2 macintosh and 2 granny smith) and mixed them with 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon, 4 tbsp brown sugar, 3 tbsp white sugar, 1 tbsp white flour and 2 tbsp lemon juice. Mix all ingredients together and pour the apple mixture into the tart shell. Bake at 325 for 15 minutes or until the apples are soft and voila! You can top these with either ice cream or as I did with mine, whipped cream. 




And on that note, this is why I am in love with apples. They're so versatile and amazing you really can't say no to them... PLUS they're in season right now! 

Get out there and get your hands on some apples! 

Happy soon-to-be-Monday! 


tamara

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Homemade Cinnamon Sticks - (aka a Free Saturday Night at Home with Mum)

For the first time in months, I didn't have to work tonight. Since I usually babysit on Saturday nights, a Saturday night at home is truly a rarity. Mum and I ordered in some Swiss Chalet for dinner and watched both "In Her Shoes" and "The Holiday" - two of my favourite movies! However, in between movies, I had a huge craving for cinnamon slathered dough after reading the Pioneer Woman's blog post about Cinnamon Buns! So, I popped some ingredients into my fabulous bread maker and whipped up a quick batch of what is really just slightly sweetened pizza dough. All I did was take my standard pizza dough recipe and I substituted some more sugar than the recipe calls for. This dough in particular is also made with 3/4 white flour and 1/4 whole wheat flour to increase the fiber a bit. I have been wanting to try to increase the whole wheat flour amounts in my pizza dough but I haven't quite got around to it yet (I'll save all of that jabber for another post).

Hello beautiful lump of dough
I then melted 1/4 cup of butter (I used salted because I had it on hand but I would typically use unsalted) in a bowl and then made a quick mixture of 4 tablespoons of sugar combined with a 1 teaspoon of cinnamon in another bowl. 



Once the dough was done, I rolled it out on a baking sheet that was well greased. I brushed on some butter and sprinkled on a generous amount of the cinnamon sugar... Then I made cuts in it so that they were shaped like sticks rather than just a lump of dough. So it looks something like this :)


Bake at 425F for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown:



When it comes out of the oven it should look something like this lovely piece of dough:


Now, I was willing to leave it right here at this stage but figured that I could make it look even better. So I took the remaining melted butter and added in the remaining cinnamon sugar and made a bit of a paste if you will. Slater the paste over the hot dough and let it sit for a minute! I promise, this will push this over the edge!!!! Just look at the deliciousness:



Cut whatever size slab that you feel is necessary (Mum and I shared this and were hungry) and indulge! 

Happy Saturday Night, My Loves!!!! 

Happy Cooking! 

tamara

Flower Spray Cake


This is a cake that I made last weekend for a cake order. These are what the flowers that I posted last weekend were for. I'm so very proud of how the cake turned out!!!! The cake was for two people hence the colour splits! This cake had a basketweave all the way around it and despite being a little time consuming, it turned out flawlessly!