wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


48 Comments

Over-achiever Upside Down Cake

My guess was right. The over-achiever’s “Big Egg” was a double yolk, and it was a perfect addition to the cake I planned to make.

I had a lot of apples to use up, so an apple upside-down cake seemed like a good idea. I peeled and cut thin slices of apple and cooked them in a bowl in the microwave for a couple of minutes. With a bit of brown sugar and cinnamon and maybe a tablespoon of flour to deal with the extra juice, I stirred up the hot apple mixture and set it aside.

On thinking it over, you could make this with most kinds of fruit. Berries might work too if you added a thickener so they aren’t so runny.

The batter was a standard white cake recipe, but to be honest, I just fudged it, putting in what I remembered from the recipe.

About 1/2 c. soft butter

2/3 c. white sugar

one over-achiever egg (or two regular eggs)

a pinch of salt

a squeeze of lemon juice

about 2 c. of flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

2 level tsp. baking powder

about 2/3 c. milk

These are all ABOUT quantities. If you’re unsure, use a standard white cake recipe from any old-fashioned cookbook.

Put a good tablespoon of butter in the glass baking dish, sprinkle with brown sugar and put in the microwave for a few seconds to melt butter.

Pour in the warm apple mixture and spread it evenly. Top with the batter which should be just barely a bit runny.

Bake 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

After it has had a few minutes to cool, flip the cake onto a plate. In this case, some of the apple stuck to the pan and I had to spoon and spread it back onto the cake, but that worked out okay.

The taste was delicious!

Would you like a piece with a cup of tea or coffee?

Also, while you’re having your cake, please visit my other blog, anneli’s place


36 Comments

Easy Snacking Bread

Have you ever wished you had some little treat to offer a friend to go with that cup of tea or coffee you’re offering? No cookies or squares in the freezer? Here’s something that you can make ahead and freeze for any time. Now that I think about it, this would go well with beer or wine as well.

A bread machine helps but you can still mix, knead, and let the dough rise in the usual way. I’ve become lazy and use my bread machine all the time. This is a regular white bread recipe, but I’ve added about half a cup of 12-grain mix and eased off on the flour by a quarter cup. You can use any recipe you like – whole wheat if you prefer it.

My basic bread recipe is at the end of the post.

I’ve cut the dough into two portions to roll out with the rolling pin and put each one on a buttered cookie sheet.

Then I added a clove of crushed garlic to about a quarter cup of olive oil in a little bowl and mixed it around. I brushed the oil mixture onto the flattened bread dough, and then sprinkled some powdered cumin on it. I made the cumin powder by putting cumin seeds in an old coffee grinder to pulverize them.

You can use any kind of herbs or spices, whatever suits your palate. That flour you see in the cup was only for sprinkling on the dough as I used the rolling pin. Sometimes the dough is stickier than other times. I was lucky this time and hardly needed any.

I was experimenting here, so I wasn’t sure whether to cut the dough before or after baking, but as it turned out, cutting it before was the better way to do it. You don’t have to cut it all the way through. Just a quick score will do it.

Then let the dough sit in a warm place for half an hour to an hour – until it puffs up a bit.

Bake it in a hot 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes. Because of the scoring, the pieces break apart easily. You can then eat them as they are or cut them open and add your favourite toppings (or none). The piece with the Jalapeño Havarti cheese slice on it was SO good!

When the bread is cool, you can put the pieces into Ziploc bags and freeze them for using any time. Before serving, putting them into the microwave for a few seconds will make them taste as if they just came out of the oven.

Standard Bread Recipe

2 cups milk (heated 2 minutes in the microwave – that should make it just warm enough to melt the butter but not kill the yeast)

2 Tbsp. honey (or sugar)

2 Tbsp. butter (or oil)

2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup 12-grain mix (optional)

5 cups flour (or quarter cup less if adding the 12-grain mix)

2 tsp. fast-rising yeast

Enjoy!


24 Comments

Scones

Some people call these tasty biscuits “scones,” to rhyme with “bones.” I prefer to call them scones to rhyme with “prawns.”

I found out today why they are called scones (my way). It must be because as soon as they are out of the oven, someone “absconds” with them.

They are very easy to make if you have a food processor to mix the butter with the flour. The old pastry blender method is just too much work.

I did a post about scones two years ago, which you can visit if you like: https://wordsfromanneli.com/2016/10/31/scones/

Since then I have made many batches of scones and have stopped looking at the recipe.

Some changes?

I only use the baking soda if I add a squeeze of lemon.

I use two eggs if I have them to spare, rather than only one. One time I completely forgot to put the eggs in and they still turned out okay. The biscuit is very forgiving that way.

You can add grated cheese instead of currants. Probably there are a lot of things you could add if you wanted (chopped nuts, dried cranberries, raisins), but preferably not all in one batch.

One thing you don’t want to do is handle the dough too much. It makes the biscuits tougher if you do.

I will repeat the recipe here, but you can substitute and change things without fear of doing too much damage. One change I like is to use a lot of sour cream and less milk, but it depends what’s in the fridge that day.

Scones

All the dry ingredients go into the food processor:

3 cups flour

1/2 tsp. salt

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda (if using a squeeze of lemon for flavour)

3 Tbsp. sugar (optional)

Then add about 3/4 cup of butter and pulse the food processor until the butter is cut into the flour mixture evenly.

In a measuring cup, stir an egg  with a fork, or use two eggs, but reserve some of the egg white to mix with a drop of milk for a wash on top of the batter before putting it in the oven. Add enough milk to make a cup. At this point I also add, as part of that one cup of liquid, whatever I have on hand – yogurt, sour cream, or a squeeze of lemon or lime – just to get the baking soda working well. You may have to add a drop more liquid if you use sour cream or yogurt.

Pour in the liquid and give it a few pulses, add a handful of currants (or whatever you’ve decided on), and pulse again. You don’t want to mash the dried fruit so this goes in last and is just barely mixed in.

Pat the dough together and flatten it on a buttered cookie sheet. More directions are given in my previous post (use the link given earlier in the post).

Today’s scones baked at 400 degrees for about 26 minutes.

But I still wonder … who absconded with that scone that is missing in the photo?

 

 

 


39 Comments

Cranberries

Nearly home from Montana, we drove past this cranberry farm east of Vancouver, BC. Again, I only had seconds to snap a drive-by shot, but it made me look up cranberry harvesting when I got home.

I learned that cranberries can be harvested dry or wet. For the dry harvesting they go through the cranberry field with a machine much like a lawnmower except that it doesn’t cut the plants; it only scoops up the berries and bits of the plant. The berries are then sent through a machine that bounces them around and separates them from the other bits of debris through a grooved roller that rocks back and forth. Then comes the assembly line where workers pick out the bad berries from the conveyor belt.

On the tiny photo above, you can see that they have flooded the cranberry field. A taller machine, designed not to churn up the wet ground goes through and scoops up more berries to bring them to the surface.

Then the berries are “herded” together by floating dams just as if the berries were an oil spill.  Once the berries are enclosed, they are vacuumed up into a truck while the water is drained off  as the berries are loaded.

They still need to go through the assembly line for sorting, but machinery does all but this last step.

When you make a cranberry sauce for your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, you need to add about a cup of sugar for two cups of these very tart berries, but you can make your cranberry sauce more interesting by adding plums and apples if you have them handy.

Cranberries also make a wonderful addition to muffins. Throw in a cupful with the batter instead of using blueberries. Add some chopped nuts. The measuring doesn’t have to be an exact science. Experiment. They’re sure to be good.

 


32 Comments

You’ll Love “Yule Logs”

These delicious cookies are supposed to look like logs, but when you have help to make cookies you don’t criticize a little aberration in the shape of the “logs.”

Also, I think it’s encouraging  to others when you hear that, even though the “log” shapes turned out a bit unorthodox, the taste of the cookies is “more-ish” (as my father-in-law used to say, when a food made you want more).

The incredibly easy recipe is below the photo.

dscn7644

The Admiral’s Yule Logs

2 Tbsp. butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup chopped dates

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans, or hazelnuts, or….)

shredded coconut

Mix butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, flour, dates, and nuts in the usual way, and in the order listed. Have some shredded coconut in a shallow bowl or plate. Drop a teaspoonful of the dough into the coconut and roll it around to coat the lump of dough. Then, using the coconut to keep it from sticking to your fingers, roll the dough into the shape of a tiny log, about the size of your little finger. When the logs are shaped and coated in coconut, place them on a buttered cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until brown. (325 if oven is too hot.)


49 Comments

A Morning’s Baking

8:56 a.m. and I have a morning’s baking done. Mother’s Day is coming up so I wanted to bake our favourite cake that my friend Ariane turned me onto. She was looking for something gluten free and baked this cake when I visited her. I don’t care about whether it’s gluten free or not, but it was important to her, and so it might be good for others out there who are also gluten intolerant. You can find Ariane’s recipe at the end of this post. It’s supposed to be an almond cake but I have several hazelnut trees in my yard so I experimented by substituting hazelnuts and it worked just fine.

You have to imagine this cake on a pretty plate, served with dollops of whipped cream, or ice cream if you want to do the easy route. Either way, it’s the best cake I’ve tasted in a long time and it’s VERY easy to make. Thank you, Ariane!002

The rest of the things in the photo were put together while the cake was baking. On the left, is the easy ciabatta bread that I learned about in the ciabatta bread video (Click on “bread” to view the tutorial on easy ciabatta bread) and in the top of the photo is my usual (60%) whole wheat bread dough with milk, honey, and caraway.

The muffins were an afterthought because I had ground hazelnuts left over from the cake, so I added a tiny bit of flour, some currants, baking powder, salt, sugar, milk eggs, melted butter. It was easy because all the ingredients were already on the table.

I just noticed that the muffin tin looks well used. Oh well … better than sitting in the cupboard all shiny and never used.

Now, will it be tea or coffee with your muffin? Sorry, I can’t serve the cake until tomorrow. It’s especially made for my mother-in-law. But you’re welcome to a muffin.

Ariane’s Lemon Ricotta Almond Cake

2 cups almond meal (I use hazelnuts because I have them – grind them in the food processor with the fine grater blade, or you can use the cutter blades and chop until the hazelnuts turn to meal – it’s noisy).

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

3 large eggs

1 cup (or less) sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups ricotta cheese (I use cottage cheese – works just fine)

juice of one lemon (about 3 Tbsp.)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl, combine almond meal, baking powder and salt.
  • In a medium bowl, combine remaining ingredients and mix well. (I do this in the food processor, processing the cottage cheese until smooth and then adding the other ingredients).
  • Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir well until smooth.
  • Pour mixture into buttered 9-in. pan, deep pie dish, or springform pan (my favourite).
  • Bake 55-60 min. until cake is completely puffed up, no longer jiggly in the center, and golden brown on the edges.
  • Cool cake completely (it will deflate) and chill in fridge at least 4 hrs. before serving.
  • Cake remains moist and is better the next day.  Serve with whipped cream, or ice cream, or garnish with lemon zest. Cut slices small like you would cheesecake. It’s very filling. You can always have a second slice…. You probably will.