Monday, April 28, 2008

Curried Quinoa Salad

This seemed like a perfect lunch today, its so hot you could probably fry eggs on the patio! Its a great salad to make a big bowl of, then have for lunch at work. The flavor only improves after a day or two, the delicious creaminess of the goat cheese, and the lovely curry with the crunch of the nuts, quinoa and chick peas. Mmmm.

It also seems like the perfect dish for the 'foods to combat cancer' with the curry, and all those tasty veggies, chickpeas and quinoa. Please visit mele cotte to see others!

I'm not sure where the recipe is from, I got the original recipe 'curried cous cous salad' from a friend, but this has been adapted quite a lot, I used quinoa instead of cous cous, just cos I like it more, and I didnt have broccoli so I just used the veggies I had. This goes nicely with my loquat chutney that I made the other day!

Curried Quinoa Salad
2 cups water
1 cup quinoa
1 veg oxo cube (can sub a bouillion cube, but dissolve in the water)
1 1/2 tsp curry powder (I used penzeys sweet curry)
2 cups grated carrots
2/3 cup chopped peppers
1 cup snap peas
2/3 cup edamame
1/3 cup chopped scallions
1 can garbanzo beans
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp minced ginger
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup cashews, chopped
3 oz goat cheese, crumbled

Cook the quinoa in the water for about 10 mins, or until tender. Crumble the oxo cube over it, and mix with the curry, raisins and snap peas and cover.
Mix up the remaining ingredients, then add the quinoa and mix. If you can wait a little while for the flavors to develop it will taste better, but serve immediately if you're hungry!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Daring Baking! Cheesecake Pops

For some strange reason, I wasnt very inspired by this challenge. I find them a lot easier when I have a destination for my desserts. What was I thinking?!!! Cheesecake and chocolate -HELLO!!! When I started making them, I could see how fun they were, and absolutely delicious! This is why it is really cool when I get to make the challenge twice, first time as the recipe and then the second, I can get creative!

They are the perfect little bite of indulgence and everyone at work loved them! I saved a few in the freezer for a little treat!

I made a couple of substitutions, I have a friend who is eating kosher for passover, so I made the recipe without the flour, took a little bit out in a ramekin and then added flour at the end. I also took care to find chocolate without soy lecithin. I cannot bring myself to use shortening, so I substituted with coconut oil, which seemed to work really well to smooth out the chocolate.

I baked in a larger pan than recommended, and I think that helped to set the cheesecake a little quicker, and used a cookie scoop to scoop up the cheesecake. They were a good size, any bigger and it would have been just too much, cheesecake and chocolate are very rich!

The latter picture is the kosher one, not quite as exiting but I was assured they were very tasty!


1.5 lb cream cheese
9.5 oz sugar
1.25 oz AP flour
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
1.2 tsp vanilla
1.25 oz heavy cream (easier to weigh)

Baked in a pyrex 8 x 8 dish and it took around 45 mins.
Boiling water as needed

Thirty to forty 8-inch lollipop sticks

12oz melted chocolate

1 tablespoon coconut oil


Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Set some water to boil.

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. If using a mixer, mix on low speed. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (but still at low speed) after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and cream.

Grease an 8 x 8, and pour the batter into the cake pan. Place the pan in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top, 35 to 45 minutes.

Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool to room temperature. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

When the cheesecake is cold and very firm, scoop the cheesecake into 2-ounce balls and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the cheesecake pops, uncovered, until very hard, at least 1 – 2 hours.

When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, prepare the chocolate. I. melted it in a double boiler with the coconut oil

Alternately, you can microwave the same amount of chocolate coating pieces on high at 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth.

Quickly dip a frozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completely. Shake off any excess into the melted chocolate. If you like, you can now roll the pops quickly in optional decorations. You can also drizzle them with a contrasting color of melted chocolate (dark chocolate drizzled over milk chocolate or white chocolate over dark chocolate, etc.) Place the pop on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet to set. Repeat with remaining pops.

Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.

Elle – Feeding My Enthusiasms
Deborah – Taste and Tell

Friday, April 25, 2008

WCB-popping into all kinds of places

My little poppet likes to investigate every open cupboard. She's a little tinker! Full of the joys of spring she's doing a lot more investigating these days!!

Please go and see a byootaful life for more lovely kitties!

Livestrong with Loquats!

For the Livestrong challenge, I made some Loquat Chutney to accompany my curried corn fritters. Please go to winos and foodies to see everyone elses wonderful concoctions!

Thanks so much to my friend Julie-Ann for the enormous bag of Loquats she gave me. They turned into a lovely loquat chutney for a great accompaniment to any curry type of meal, or would probably work really well with a strong cheddar in a sandwich.

I had them with some curry fritters, my usual Thursday night meal when I'm in on my own, I do like savory pancakes for dinner, but Andy really doesnt!

I'm lucky enough that I've never personally been touched by cancer, nor has anyone in my family, but I realise now that I look back that it has affected my life more than I realise. When I was at school, my best friend at school lost her mother to breast cancer, and it was a horrible experience for her. Then when I was 18 a close friend of mine, Elliot Moody, died of Leukemia, one minute he was having some bad headaches, after a few weeks he was in hospital, and then all of a sudden he reacted to the chemotherapy and died. Later in the year another friend's mother got lung cancer.

I now am a cycling addict with Team in Training, and many of the participants have said that it feels really good to get rid of the frustration by actually doing something physical. We train for an endurance event and raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society while doing it. I'll be riding 100 miles around Lake Tahoe in June, then my team will go on to try to complete the Death Ride (Raaagh!) in July.

Loquat Chutney -Adapted from Recipezaar

850g loquats (after removing stones)
2 large pears
1 cup applesauce
4 tablespoons mustard seeds
500 g raw sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons crushed chile

Remove tops and tails of loquats, plus seeds and any membranes. Cut into quarters.
Peel pears and cube.
Cut the dried apricots into strips
Crush some of the mustard seeds, leave the rest whole.
Put everything in a big pot and stew for about an hour and a half until the loquats are tender.
Pour into sterilized jars and keep in a cool dark place. Refrigerate when open.

Curry Fritters - enough for dinner and lunch the next day!

1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup gram flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup fried onions and garlic
1/2 cup sweetcorn and leftover potatoes
butter/oil for frying

Whisk together the first five ingredients
whisk together the milk and egg
combine the wet and dry, mix together then add onions, garlic etc.
Take 1/4 cup scoops and fry patties in a little butter/oil.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Farmers Market, it was a lot of fun, but too much work!

I thought I'd talk a little about my stand at the La Jolla Farmers Market. It was a lot of fun, but ultimately, trying to get any baking done in addition to a long bike ride from 8-6 on a Saturday was impossible! I really liked getting to know some of the other vendors, Darcy, who organizes it is really nice, and its an amazing undertaking getting everyone all fitted into that playground!! I thought it would be fun to talk about the things that went down really well and where they came from:

Pecan Walnut Bars REALLY GOOD!!

Doubletree Chocolate Chip Cookies Perfect chocolate chip cookies

Walnut Shortbread (I also tried this with Hazelnut, sandwiched with a nutella filling)

Fig and Date Anise Swirls - very popular and looked great!

English Style Flapjacks Popular but a bit crumbly!

Chocolate Sparkle Cookies
Samoas (these were a little bit fragile, but delicious!)

Kumquat Citrus Shortbread - very pretty and popular but time consuming!

Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies - very popular, I'm making these for my bike rides!

Peanut Mouse Cookies kids loved them although the eyes melted and the ears fell off!

Energy Bars - nutritious with no added sugar for the healthy folks!

Oatmeal Breakfast Bread - very good early in the morning!

Pear and Ginger Bran Muffins - more popular than I expected!

Chocolate Whopper Drops (very fragile indeed and all stuck together!)

Low Fat Banana Muffins (must remember to post recipe!)

Thanks so much to all the bloggers with the recipes, especially cookie madness, culinary in the country and baking bites. I like that everything I make from these folks is a success! Also, anything from Dorie Greenspan's Baking from my home to yours is going to be delicious!!!I cant say that for epicurious. I made some buttermilk lemon cookies that, despite reading lots of good reviews were dry and nasty :(

If anyone would like to help me out with my fundraising for the Leukemia Society, feel free to visit my website, I've still got a long way to go!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

WCB-better late than never!

Little Tina loves to sit in the garden surveying the landscape and looking for lizards. Thankfully she's not brought any in, although Andy discovered a gopher in the kitchen, just hanging out. Apparently it wasnt interested in moving, so I'm guessing it was in shock!

She's really enjoying basking in the sun and enjoying the warmer weather too!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Mmmm samoas

I've never got into most of the girl scout cookies, but the samoas. Ooooh. I could eat a whole box. Not so keen on all the wacky ingredients and trans fats, so when I saw the recipe on Baking Bites, I knew I had to try them!

This recipe wasn't without the odd disaster, the beginning part was easy enough, I rolled out the dough easily between parchment and then cutting rounds, with a hole punched with a piping tip. Then things started going wrong. I was supposed to toast the coconut and I incinerated it. I dont know if its because I'm really not a fan of coconut, but it was literally toast, so I scraped together the small amount I had, less than a cup, and then carried on. I was happy enough with less coconut, I'm not a huge fan. I melted some home-made fleur de sel caramels with milk and that all went great. It was a little messy putting it on the cookies, but that was ok. I then got more chocolate on my hand instead of out of the other end of the parchment. Hmmm.

Oh well, I'm pleased to say that they were so good I had to quickly farm these out for gifts, then put the rest into the freezer before I ate them all! These were very sweet, I think they would have been better with the full quantity of unsweetened coconut.

Homemade Samoas (a.k.a. Caramel de-Lites) from Baking Bites
1 cup butter, soft
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
up to 2 tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Mix in flour, baking powder and salt at a low speed, followed by the vanilla and milk, adding in the milk as needed to make the dough come together without being sticky (it’s possible you might not need to add milk at all). The dough should come together into a soft, not-too-sticky ball. Add in a bit of extra flour if your dough is very sticky.
Roll the dough (working in two or three batches) out between pieces of wax paper to about 1/4-inch thickness (or slightly less) and use a 1 1/2-inch cookie cutter to make rounds. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and use a knife, or the end of a wide straw, to cut a smaller center hole. Repeat with remaining dough. Alternatively, use scant tablespoons of dough and press into an even layer in a mini donut pan to form the rounds.
Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, until bottoms are lightly browned and cookies are set. If using a mini donut pan, bake for only about 10 minutes, until edges are light gold.
Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
12-oz good-quality chewy caramels (I used my home made fleur de sel caramels)
1/4 tsp salt (omitted as they were salted caramels)
3 tbsp milk
8 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips are ok)

Preheat oven to 300. Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (preferably one with sides) and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula.
Using the spatula or a small offset spatula, spread topping on cooled cookies, using about 2-3 tsp per cookie. Reheat caramel for a few seconds in the microwave if it gets too firm to work with.

While topping sets up, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching. Dip the base of each cookie into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment paper. Transfer all remaining chocolate (or melt a bit of additional chocolate, if necessary) into a piping bag or a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle finished cookies with chocolate.
Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.

Makes about 3 1/2-4 dozen cookies.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Chocolate Malted Whoppers-wow!!

Oh my goodness, I need to get these out of my house asap! Yet another Dorie Greenspan recipe which is just totally amazing! You need quite a sweet tooth for these. The malted flavor coupled with the delicious chocolate is just unbeatable and the melted whoppers are all gooey and chewy. I reckon they'd be better with maltesers, but thats just me being British!!

If you're going to make these, make sure they have a home before you start, otherwise you'll be buying a new pair of trousers!

I forgot my hat and my knives at my class last week for my exam, so I will be giving some of these as a gift to my wonderful generous classmates for helping me out.

I know these are all over the web, but I really liked them and just had to post! Joe did them justice in his blog, his pictures show the bits in them much better than mine!

Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops (Baking From My Home to Yours-Dorie Greenspan)

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chocolate malted milk powder (I used Ovaltine)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
11 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup milk
6 ounces malted milk balls, halved or coarsely chopped
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, malted milk powder, cocoa, baking powder and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar until smooth and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well combined after each. Mix in vanilla. Dont worry if it all looks curdled, it will come together once you add the dry.

Add half the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Mix in milk, then the remaining dry ingredients, mixing just until combined. Add malted milk balls and chocolate chunks and mix together.

Using a tablespoon cookie scoop, drop the dough onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake until the centers are set and puffy, but still soft to the touch - about 11 minutes, try to rotate in the oven if you remember half way through cooking. Remove and let sit on the baking sheets for a couple minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 30 cookies.

WCB-I can still see you!

Little Tina is full of the joys of spring now, and we're very happy that we think that all of her pets have now left, so she's free of fleas and worms. Yay!

So she's running around like a crazy thing, jumping in the air for no reason, and doing the cartoon scuttle around corners, scratching away at our lovely wooden floors! The joys of having a pet!