Posts filed under ‘baking’

What I’ve been up to these last few weeks.

I’ve been really sick, but I’m feeling heaps better obviously and have been cooking my way through Annabel Langbein’s cookbook “The Free Range Cook”. I was going to create another blog for the challenge but I didn’t want the added responsibility and it’s too hard to properly maintain two blogs. SO ANYWAY, in photos, here’s what’s been up:

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October 29, 2010 at 8:47 pm 1 comment

Busy People’s Bread

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Yesterday my amazing Mother bought me this book:

The_Free_Range_Cook_cover I nearly fell over with happiness.

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I have wanted Annabel Langbein’s new cookbook since I first saw an episode of her show “The Free Range Cook”. Her recipes just seemed so delicious and simply. And then of course there’s the natural factor, all her recipes she makes with free-range products. (That isn’t really possible for me because I don’t live out in the country with a ENORMOUS garden, but hey, I try).

Today I tried to cook my second Annabel Langbein recipe, the first was her Chocolate Cranberry slice:

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Today I made the Busy Person’s Bread.

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I had fun with the yeast haha, I was amazed at how it frothed up!!

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There is something so, so satisfying about making things like bread, dough and pastry. I’m not sure what it is but those things are probably my favourite things ever to cook. I did quickly learn that I was going to need a bigger bowl than my Pyrex bowl though…

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I didn’t have any pumpkin seeds to sprinkle on top at the end so I used some others, the name which I forget… It may have been Linseed but I’m not sure. I split the mixture between two loaf pans, sprinkled the seeds on top and put it in the oven.

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I swiftly learnt that three pans are better than two as I watched horror as my beautiful dough started spilling over the edge of the pans and onto the racks below. I lost quite a lot of mixture and I could only look on in dismay. In future, I shall use three pans or use two BIGGER pans. It also saves the pain in the ass job of cleaning the oven.

They cooked for 20 minutes at 80 degrees first and then they baked for a further 30 minutes at 210 degrees. However… I noticed that not only were they massively overflowing, but the tops were starting to burn! I turned the temperature RIGHT down and cooked them for a further ten minutes. When mum came home she moved them to a lower rung and told me to leave them for a little while more. Eventually they sounded hollow when I knocked on them so I took them out of the oven and set them on racks to cool.

They do not look pretty and DEFINITELY do not look like the pretty picture in the book, BUT… They taste yummy 😀

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Overall I was generally happy with the result. There are definitely things I’d do differently in the future but I’m learning all the time 🙂 It’s all part of it. Next time my bread will kick BUTT!

I bought a 10 concession card for the local pools today… I plan to swim or aqua jog. I’ve been really upset and depressed lately because I’ve become so unfit because my knee pain is so bad that EVERYTHING hurts. I decided water is the only way I’ll get in a decent workout without pain. I hate hate HATE swimming though, but it’s something I plan to work on. Now I’ve paid for a concession card I have no choice but to use it. Stay tuned!

In other news,

I’m addicted to this song:

October 15, 2010 at 2:08 am 1 comment

Blue sky and Pumpkin Pie

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:O What is that? I hear you ask… Why… It’s BLUE SKY!!!! Lots and lots of glorious blue sky!!!

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Blue sky that’s lasted all day 😀 I’m so happy to see blue sky that I keep looking outside just to make sure it’s still there haha. I decided to spend this beautiful day cooking with all the doors and windows wide open, it was AMAZING. Coco enjoyed it too 😀 (She went for a swim in her water bowl lol)

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Today I baked and ate for the first time ever, a Pumpkin Pie. I made everything completely from scratch including the pastry and since canned pumpkin isn’t available in New Zealand I cooked and mashed a real pumpkin.

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All was going well until I read the recipe again and realised we didn’t have any evaporated milk!! I had never used that ingredient in anything before and wouldn’t have been able to complete the recipe without it. I made a mad dash down to the supermarket on Mum’s bike to grab a tin as quickly as possible. It took longer than I’d hoped because I had no idea what I was looking for because I didn’t know what it looked like and even the supermarket assistant didn’t know. Eventually however I spotted the cans hiding beside the condensed milk 🙂 YAY!

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Everything went swimmingly after that, although I was terrified the whole time I was making the pastry because I’ve never ever made pastry before. I didn’t want to overwork it and make it tough or put in too much water. It turned out great though! The kitchen looked like a bomb had gone off when I was done though…

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The pie went in the oven for 65 minutes, during which I cleaned up the enormous mess and cooked lunch for my Mum and Step-Dad. It was yummy too! It was stir-fried tofu and vegetables with noodles. Nom nom nom. Just as we were sitting down to eat the pie was ready to come out, it was perfect timing, it would have time to cool whilst we ate lunch and then we could have it afterwards.

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Now I’ve never made a pie before OR tasted pumpkin pie so I had no idea what this was meant to taste or look like. I think I did a pretty good job though considering!

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(It’s gooey at the end because it hadn’t cooled enough) It tasted AMAZING!!! The pastry was really nice too 😀 I was so so pleased with the outcome.

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So there you have it! Successful Pumpkin Pie 🙂 Nana will be proud, it was her recipe I used ^.^ I cooked a fab breakfast for myself this morning, eggs in a basket. It was yummmyyyy.

I don’t think I’m going to do much cooking tonight haha, I’ve been in the kitchen since 8.30 am potting around and cooking things. It’s now 2.30 pm lol.

Have a good afternoon!

October 2, 2010 at 1:34 am Leave a comment

Small Pleasures

This afternoon I busied myself trying out two new recipes that I couldn’t resist. Both of which wouldn’t have helped my waist-line, but hey, sometimes you’ve just got to throw caution to the wind and enjoy the pleasures that sugar and butter have to offer 🙂

The first recipe I tried was very very simple, it was one of Nigella Lawson’s recipes that I do believe I posted a video on in the previous blog post. I made her Raspberry and yoghurt swirl. The recipe does call for crushed up oatmeal cookies but I didn’t have any of that so I went without. I also used low-fat berry flavoured Greek yoghurt instead of full-fat, plain.

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It’s messy (I’ve never put together a parfait before in my life) and doesn’t look like much, but HOLY DAMN it tastes like heaven in a glass!! It was shockingly good and I enjoyed every last teaspoon of that heavenly mixture. It’s so simple too! All you need is frozen raspberries, Greek yoghurt and icing sugar! I can’t wait to eat more of these in summer 🙂 I think it would make the perfect treat on a hot summers day. Ice Cream? Pfffftttt, this is WAY better than ice cream. I seriously recommend you try this recipe, it’s killer!

2 teaspoons of icing sugar to every cup of raspberries I’d say and as much Greek yoghurt as you need. You can add crushed biscuits if you’ve got them (any biscuits would probably do the trick).

The second recipe I tried was the non-vegan version of Oh She Glows’ Soft Ginger Cookies.

Ginger biscuits 030Ginger biscuits 020Ginger biscuits 016Oh. My. God.

These biscuits are the most delicious thing I have ever cooked in my LIFE. I’m not even exaggerating, these are so amazing, it’s hard to believe that I managed to produce something so good! They’re like biting into a fluffy ginger cloud… Oh my gosh I get dreamy just thinking about it…

My only complaint is that the recipe calls for Himalayan sea salt… Although I can’t quite figure out why :/ It was rather unpleasant to be enjoying such a delectable cookie and then find yourself biting into a big, hard lump of salt 😦 It ruined it a little bit… Next time I wouldn’t add the salt.

Without the salt, they’re perfect!!

Anyway, the title of my blog “small pleasures” relates 100% to cooking (funnily enough :P) and the way that such small things about it can give you such pleasure. As Nigella Lawon says: “There’s a lot to be said for mindless, repetitive action”. Couldn’t agree with you more Nigella! What I’ve come to love so much about baking and cooking is that you get such fabulous results from the work you put into it. It’s worth absolutely every second of the time you spend, and it’s come to be quite therapeutic for me. It’s my ultimate de-stressor, but unfortunately I’m bleeding our poor old pantry dry of ingredients. We’re out of Cocoa powder at the moment which is a pain because I have an amazing recipe for Chocolate Mint cookies from Nigella Lawson’s website.

One of the biggest small pleasures (lol) for me has to be the garlic roasted peanuts that Mum and I have started making.

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They are so delicious and SO easy, it’s insane. All you need is a bucketload of peanuts, some peanut oil and about 7-8 cloves of crushed garlic. Mix it all in, pop it in the microwave for 2 minutes, stir and repeat until they’ve spent collectively 8 minutes in the microwave. See! How easy is that? And believe me, they are YUMMY.

Anyway, that’s all from me for today. Tomorrow’s forecast is terrible so I plan to spend the day making the vege broth I’ve been meaning to create for about 2 weeks now… Better late than never.

Night!

September 30, 2010 at 9:20 am Leave a comment

Nigella Lawson, Julia Child and Chocolate Spice Muffins

Sorry for being M.I.A as of late… I’ve been absolutely flat out, run off my feet all week and I’ve been too exhausted to do anything in mu spare time. I’m working at the local newspaper this week as a reporter and the hours are long and the work gets taxing. I enjoy it, but it is quite tiring.

I came home sick yesterday afternoon with a headache, nausea and a cold. I was glad I did, I passed out on the couch for two hours to help ease my headache and catch up on 4 days of lack of sleep. Once I’d risen I baked some Chocolate Spice Muffins from my Cupcakes and Muffins cook book. Unfortunately they weren’t so great by themselves, but I’m sure with some whipped cream and jam they would’ve been lovely.

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Last night I was looking up cooking related videos on Youtube and I felt compelled to search for Nigella Lawson. I’m so glad I did! I feel so inspired by her and I love her food philosophy. Even though most of what she creates has your entire RDI of calories in one serve, her food looks like fun to make and would be great to serve at birthdays, Christmas and BBQ’s.

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I would love to own one of her cookbooks but I’m too poor :/ They cost quite a lot, so I’m counting on a wicked trademe bargain to get one.

Another cookbook I’d LOVE to own is The Art Of French Cooking volume 1 and 2 by Julia Child. If you’ve seen the film Julie and Julia you’ll understand why this sounds like such a great cookbook. Also, Angela from Oh She Glows used this cookbook to recreate a vegan version of a beautiful food she ate while in Paris. That pretty much sealed the deal for me.

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Unfortunately these also cost a small fortune even on trademe, so until I find a paying job these will sadly be out of my reach 😦

Last night I made pizza for dinner, the lazy and sick person’s answer to dinner.

Anyway, I’m not feeling well so I’m off now, I shall leave you with these amazing Nigella Lawson youtube videos to entertain yourself.

Ciao!

September 29, 2010 at 7:56 pm Leave a comment

“Food must be made with love, you can taste it if it’s not”

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That right there my friends, is Vegan Chocolate-Blueberry cake from FatFree Vegan Kitchen. I was searching for a vegan recipe to make for lunch and during my search I stumbled upon this recipe. I had planned to make Vegan Pizza for lunch but I was so compelled to make this cake that I had PB + J toast instead for lunch and got straight onto the cake.

I was very interested to give this a go because I’ve never before made a cake that doesn’t use milk, eggs or butter. Also the fact that this cake is fat free (but has A LOT of maple syrup – do not be fooled people, that still counts as major calories) was hugely enticing to me. From the moment the cake went into the oven I was excited and it wasn’t long before the delicious aroma of baking began to fill my nostrils. It baked for half an hour and I was very eager to taste it, I let it cool for 15-20 minutes and then cut a slice and drizzled maple syrup over the top. It’s supposed to be served with blueberries but we only have frozen blueberries so I opted to have the syrup alone.

Unfortunately this cake didn’t taste as great as it looks or smells, but I guess since it has no butter it came out well. In future I wouldn’t use wholemeal flour because it created an odd texture. Plain white flour would most probably be better. I’m not sure that I’d make this cake again because there are so many other delicious vegan/vegetarian dessert options. I’d be more inclined to go for fruit salad or something similar. However, for one who loves chocolate and cake and is considering veganism, this wasn’t a bad substitute.

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The title of my blog is a quote that made quite an impact on me from this book that I’m reading right now. I was in the school library the other day browsing for a book to read and since I’m horrible at picking a book I chose this one for the fact it combines two of my favourite things:

1. Food

2. Italians

🙂 That sounds so silly, but I miss my Italian brother Tommaso soooo much, I picked this book with him in mind.

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Anyway, I’ve been SO inspired by this book it’s insane!! I have so many new ideas for food and I’m so keen to experiment with new flavours and the freshest of fresh foods. I love the heart and soul in the book, it perfectly encompasses my attitude towards cooking. Tonight I’m going to try stir fried vegetables with marinated tofu and couscous. I want to cook the vegetables in olive oil, lemon juice, herbs and spices. I want to keep it as simple yet delicious as possible.

If you’re looking for a good read and you love food, I highly recommend this book.

Anyway, the other night I cooked Pumpkin Thai Soup but I didn’t get any good photos of it so I won’t post it. I was missing a few ingredients so it lacked that little something-something. I might try it again with the proper ingredients.

Hope all is well and that everyone’s been enjoying their first day of the school holidays.

Ciao!

September 25, 2010 at 2:08 am Leave a comment

Blueberry Muffins

12 glorious, delicious blueberry (well, mixed berry actually) muffins.

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I actually baked these for Dallas for his 18th birthday which was yesterday. The lovely recipe courtesy of my new favourite read- Cupcakes and Muffins.

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I used mixed berries instead of plain old blueberries because we only had frozen mixed berries. I was a little concerned that they wouldn’t turn out so great because I made a mistake in the recipe, but they turned out great 🙂 They weren’t so great the next day when they were cold, but they were amazing when they were still hot from the oven.

I find it endlessly amusing how I’ve all of a sudden developed this random passion for cooking and baking. I’ve never been one to enjoy cooking and be inspired by the kitchen, in fact most of the time I’ve detested cooking and found it a drag and nothing more than a pain in the backside whenever the prospect of creating any sort of culinary delights arose. I can know honestly say that baking has become my “happy place”, a place of solitude and therapeutic benefits. I spend more time baking these days than I do anything else in my spare time. They only issue from it is the cost of ingredients… I’ll start focusing more on savoury food because I’m using up all our sweet food ingredients like sugar and butter.

Last night I cooked potato wedges for dinner, glazed in Olive Oil and various different herbs and spices. They tasted so great 🙂 I believe the satisfaction of knowing you created something delicious also adds to the experience.  I’m planning what I’ll have for dinner tonight… I’d like to try a recipe using Quinoa but so far I can’t think of anything particularly creative to do with it. I think I’ll make something using pumpkin, I’ve still got a pumpkin in the pantry from the other day with the intention of pureeing it for Pumpkin Scones, but maybe pumpkin soup? I do love a good, hearty pumpkin soup 😀

I’ve been doing yoga everyday since I bought the DVD and I think I’ve fallen in love with that too. What makes this trial run of yoga so different from all the others is that I’ve let go of the thoughts that I’m “not doing enough”, that yoga isn’t enough of a workout and that I should be slogging away at the gym for 2 hours to get any real results. I’ve just focused on being relaxed, working towards becoming more supple and achieving the proper movements. I’ve felt myself being more relaxed throughout the day and I think I’ve been handling stressful situations more effectively. EPIC WIN FOR YOGA! 😀

Anyway, I need to clean my room and get my daily dose of yoga in, so I’m outties! Bye!

September 22, 2010 at 4:06 am Leave a comment

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Introducing…

Hey there, my name's Jenny. I have a huge passion for cooking/baking, writing, yoga and photography. I love nature and my favourite thing to do is spend an entire day outside, breathing in crisp, fresh air. Even better if I have a pen and paper with me. I started out running in March 2009 but sustained an injury in October 2009 which has unfortunately prevented me from running. I've been experimenting with other kinds of exercise to find another one that clicks. Follow me on my journey to maintaining good health + surviving high school and pursuing a career in Journalism. I Hope you enjoy reading my blog!

Questions? Comments? Email me at jennyeatliverun@hotmail.com

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