Tag Archives: salt

Reaching for the ‘clouds’ for the New Year!

Well hello to everyone… yes I realize it has been quite a while since my last posting, but there were many obstacles that prevented me from having the time to focus. Hopefully this will be a new blogging beginning for the New Year!
With 2015 finally upon us and an annual Holiday get-together with our friends approaching tonight, I felt this would be the best time to kickstart everything into motion.
Starting with ‘what can I bring’ to our amazing hostess, the words ‘how about dessert’ was music to my ears! After thinking about something out of the norm, I settled on a triple layered hazelnut mocha pavlova, with a hazelnut liquor cream filling…
It all started yesterday by roasting hazelnuts [the amount is your choice, but I went with six ounces] in the oven and also melting milk and dark chocolates [another six ounces] over simmering water. Both were set aside to cool…
While the nuts and melted chocolates cooled, six egg whites were whipped with a pinch of kosher salt until soft peaks formed, from there the sugar began to slowly get added until the whites became glossy and stiff. Once stiff peaks were evident, vanilla and almond extracts were added and the mixer then turned off. The chopped hazelnuts and a cup of chocolate chips were gently folded into the shiny pillowy mixture, as well as the cooled, melted chocolate to create a lovely marbled wonder.
Poured onto three parchment drawn discs and spread out, it was then into the 225*F oven for two and a half hours. Once cooked, the door was opened and the pavlova’s left to cool completely.
For the whipped filling, I beat cream and some hazelnut liquor until firm. This boozy filling was spread on each layer and stacked. The pavlova tier was popped into the refrigerator to ‘set-up’ overnight and then this edible beauty was dressed with some shaved dark chocolate on top before packing up and heading to the party!
The end result… crisp exterior with a slightly chewy center and a creamy delight to hold everything together… a total favorite!
What will I bake next???

-R

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one [roasting pan] wonder…

After a long day of running errands and battling the cold weather, it was home to prep up something for a scrumptious dinner! I needed something satisfying and filling, while not taking hours and hours to prepare. Simple enough was one of my fave dishes, from one of my fave home-cooks… Nigella Lawson. It was a chicken, chorizo and potato ‘bake’. This dish is literally a ‘one pot’, rather ‘one pan’ meal! Simple ingredients that everyone has in their kitchen pantry and can be put together in mere minutes.
Into a deep roasting pan went some good extra virgin which coated both sides of a healthy portion of chicken thighs, chopped up fresh chorizo, large diced red onion and cubed yukon gold potatoes! A sprinkling of dried oregano, a scatter of salt, a grating of the zest of a clementine and it was into the oven on 425 for one hour. As the ‘bake’ cooked in the russet beauty from the oil and chorizo, the scent of oregano, citrus and spices wafted throughout.
After the cooking time was up, out appeared a bronzed, crisp chicken, seductively aromatic chorizo, browned potatoes and wilted red onion. No sooner did I take this breathtaking beauty out of the oven, that we were plated up and diving in!
This is one of my go-to recipes, and chances are if you try this it will become one of yours as well!

at a low simmer…
-R

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the cure for a deep freeze!

With a bleak and blustery day upon us, there was no question as to what to have for dinner. After raiding both the pantry and crisper a menagerie of elements were strewn across my island.
After a quick dice of two onions, a fine mincing of some garlic cloves and a rough chop of a carrot they were banished to my cast iron pot to begin to sweat down. While my veg was cooking away, some leftover ham was sliced up to join everyone in the pot, along with some luxurious organic split peas.
Once everything was thoroughly combined, some homemade chicken stock, water and salt was swirled in and the entire ‘soon to be’ soup was set to simmer away until thick and creamy!
As soon as the soup was ready, it was ladled lovingly into bowls, drizzled with some chili oil and topped with crispy noodles rather than croutons.
This meaty, slightly spicy and satisfying meal hit the spot and warmed us right up!

at a low simmer…
-R

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Chewy [spicy] treats…

So with a snowy, wintry day upon us it was yet another perfect day to do some baking!
On today’s baking sheet… soft ginger cookies with pieces of crystallized ginger baked in. A simple cookie mixture that created a beautiful cracked, vintage looking edible.
This whole batch began by sifting flour, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, canola oil, molasses, dark brown sugar and one extra large egg were mixed together. Once combined, the flour was added into the wet ingredients. After folding in the crystallized ginger, scoops of the dough were rolled out in turbinado sugar, lightly flattened and baked until cracked and gorgeous.
Chewy, spicy and a perfect pairing with a cup of tea… the best way to endure a cold winters day!

at a low simmer…
-R

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Freshly baked beauty…

With a stormy day forecasted today and a very sick other half, I felt the need to stay put…
After playing chauffeur to the doctor, once home I decided to make a loaf of bread, from my favorite ‘bread man’ Paul Hollywood, that I haven’t made in quite some time. This loaf is absolutely gorgeous when baked, but just so simple to prepare…
A combination of bread flour, salt, yeast, olive oil and water was kneaded in my mixer until pulled together and completely incorporated. Once smoothed and slightly elastic, the dough was set to rise in a lightly oiled bowl. The first rise took roughly three hours… After that rise, the dough was ‘knocked back’ and formed into a cylindrical shape. The dough was placed on a sheet tray and covered for a second rise. For this rise, I allowed the dough to nap for another three hours to develop an even stronger flavor.
Upon completion of its second rise, a spritz of water, dusting of flour and four deep slashes prepared this beautiful ‘bloomer’ for its bake. The scent of fresh bread baking wafted throughout the house and made the urge for a warm slice inevitable! As soon as baking finished off, a crusty golden and luxurious loaf emerged, and so did a slice to make certain it was as delightful as I expected…
Tonight this enticing bloomer will get a nice toast and slather of Nutella for some naughty goodness!

at a low simmer…
-R

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blond[ies] have more fun!

So I had a blond[ie] moment today… that sweet craving that can’t be satisfied by just any old treat!
After chopping up some semisweet and milk chocolates, they were gently mixed into a creamy, buttery mixture made up of white and brown sugars, butter, flour, baking soda, homemade vanilla, eggs and salt.
Once spread into a greased and floured baking dish, it was off for a nice half hour bake. After cooked through, the blondies were set aside to cool entirely and then cut into sizeable cake-like treats!
Served with an ice cold glass of almond milk, these heavenly [yet sinful] delights didn’t stand a chance!

at a low simmer…
-R

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Summer Sunday supper!!

With Sunday supper on my mind, and finally some sunny [yet über humid] weather upon us I felt the need to marinate some sexy flank steak and then toss onto the grill! To serve up alongside, a beautiful tossed salad with a homemade balsamic dressing and some beautiful grilled asparagus.
The salad was just a mix of crisp romaine, sliced roasted red peppers, a diced shallot and homemade stuffed mozz! As for the asparagus, just a toss in some homemade infused olive oil and salt.
Once grilled and rested, the steak and sides were ready to eat up and enjoy… thrilled that there is a bit of leftovers for some lunch tomorrow!!

at a low simmer…
-R

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who you calling honey!!

So after an evening of rising away, this morning was the bake-off of my gorgeous lavender honey and toasted almond sourdough!
This is not a bread that you suddenly think… ‘I think I’ll whip up a loaf of sourdough bread’, since this is a plan-ahead idea! Actually at least a week since you have to prep up a starter for the sourdough. I have a starter that I made months ago slumbering away in the fridge, however that is made using wholemeal flour, while for this loaf, I made a new starter of white bread flour.
Once my newest starter was fragrant and active, it was time to get baking! The recipe I used was that of Paul Hollywood and like most of his recipes, this one did not disappoint!!
It started with strong bread flour mixed with my starter and salt, along with some tepid water to bring everything all together. Once combined, a good kneading was necessary to activate this bad boy and give it that rise it so desperately needs. After its first rise [five hours], the dough is formed out into a square, spread with lavender honey [see my earlier post on this] and scattered with toasted sliced almonds. The square dough is rolled into a cylindrical form and rolled into a ‘crust’ of more toasted sliced almonds… After the loaves are covered with the almonds, they are off to rest for an additional nine hours [this was the overnight part] to rise again!
Once morning arrived, it was off to bake in a 375 degree oven for thirty-five minutes until golden and when tapped… hollow!
A slight cool down, a beautiful tear and it was time to devour with a luxurious cup of lady grey tea…

**if you are interested in the recipe, you can find it in the Paul Hollywood cookbook, ‘How to Bake’. I highly recommend the book**

at a low simmer…
-R

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A rainy day masterpiece…

So on this yet again, rainy day… I decided to pull another interesting dish from my new cookbook! This recipe had quite a few steps involved so the prep work began in the early AM hours.
The entire bang started by marinating a boneless leg of lamb with rosemary, garlic, lemon zest, extra virgin, salt and crushed peppercorns for roughly eight hours.
While my meat was marinating, I began mixing rye, white and wholemeal flours, along with salt and then yeast in my mixer. To pull everything together, in went some water. Everything was kneaded and then it went into an oiled mixing bowl and set off to rise. As soon as the dough rose, I stretched it out into a rectangle, made some imprints with my fingertips and then pricked the dough with a fork. Again it was time for another rise and then a bake! The baking time was only thirty minutes and then off to cool.
While my bread cooled, the lamb was grilled until perfectly cooked… Then it was onto the fun part, to serve this gorgeous dinner up! The freshly baked bread [trencher as the recipe is called] is decorated watercress, haricot vert, scallions and radishes. On top of this vibrancy, were slices of the succulent lamb, along with its sexy juices…
As the finishing touch, a dressing of crème fraiche, lemon juice, salt and english mustard.
The flavors were incredible… earthy from the rosemary, citrusy from the lemon zest, cool yet spicy from the dressing, while the ‘trencher’ tasted nutty and light, while soaking up all the goodness…

at a low simmer…
-R

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A rainy day masterpiece…

So on this yet again, rainy day… I decided to pull another interesting dish from my new cookbook! This recipe had quite a few steps involved so the prep work began in the early AM hours.
The entire bang started by marinating a boneless leg of lamb with rosemary, garlic, lemon zest, extra virgin, salt and crushed peppercorns for roughly eight hours.
While my meat was marinating, I began mixing rye, white and wholemeal flours, along with salt and then yeast in my mixer. To pull everything together, in went some water. Everything was kneaded and then it went into an oiled mixing bowl and set off to rise. As soon as the dough rose, I stretched it out into a rectangle, made some imprints with my fingertips and then pricked the dough with a fork. Again it was time for another rise and then a bake! The baking time was only thirty minutes and then off to cool.
While my bread cooled, the lamb was grilled until perfectly cooked… Then it was onto the fun part, to serve this gorgeous dinner up! The freshly baked bread [trencher as the recipe is called] is decorated watercress, haricot vert, scallions and radishes. On top of this vibrancy, were slices of the succulent lamb, along with its sexy juices…
As the finishing touch, a dressing of crème fraiche, lemon juice, salt and english mustard.
The flavors were incredible… earthy from the rosemary, citrusy from the lemon zest, cool yet spicy from the dressing, while the ‘trencher’ tasted nutty and light, while soaking up all the goodness…

at a low simmer…
-R

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