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A Bakewell Tart…Maybe?

15 Dec

So there I was in Surrey (long story, don’t ask!), driving along when out of nowhere I saw the holy grail…A British Shop! Technically it is called Sherlock’s The British Store, their website is http://www.TheBritishStore.ca I haven’t checked out the website yet but trust me, I will!

I immediately pulled in to their cramped little parking lot and started the inner pleading of “cheese and onion pie, please have a cheese and onion pie, don’t get your hopes up they’ll have a cheese and onion pie, oh pleeeeease have a cheese and onion pie”

Then the pleading stopped because I entered the shop and it smelled heavenly. Fresh baking. I love the smell of fresh baking. Mmm!

Not only did it smell amazing I was staring at all the yummy treats my cousins in England take for granted and I miss oh so much. I basically ignored the section with magazines, paper weights, and the like and focused solely on the food lol Priorities! πŸ˜‰

I mostly just wandered, trying to prolong the possible devastating news that they don’t have cheese and onion pies but eventually I had to wander my way over to the bakery counter and what do you know, they had cheese and onion pies! *happy dance*

There were three in the display case and not many people in the shop so I felt it was safe enough to keep wandering and guess what I found? Frozen cheese and onion pies! Which seems a practical purchase to me, after all, shouldn’t one at all times have a cheese and onion pie in the freezer as an emergency meal? Yup, they should. I knew you’d agree.

Grabbed a frozen cheese and onion pie, started my way back to the bakery area and saw this…

IMG_0289

It had a sign with it’s name, which I have forgotten, but I think it is called a Bakewell Tart? At least that is what my internet sleuthing is telling me, though I don’t know if I feel that is correct…

Regardless of the name of it I was positive it was something I liked, even though if asked I wouldn’t have been able to describe the flavour or texture of it to save my life. For purely scientific reasons, to make sure I was correct in thinking I liked it, that tart came home with me.

For science people!

The science proved conclusively that my memory is right and it was sooooooo good. Mmm! It tastes like almond, and has a cake type texture in the middle. I could have done without that weird cherry on top but whatcha gonna do? Maybe I’ll remember to pick it off next time. If there ever is a next time, Surrey isn’t exactly next door…which I want to be sad about but it is probably safer for both my wallet and waistline that this shop is far away from me lol

 

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Dragon Cupcake Cake

24 Oct

The title says it all! lol

My dragon boat team had our season end party and I made a dragon cupcake cake for one of the desserts.

I would like to stress I didn’t come up with this idea on my own. I saw a video 6 months ago about making a pull apart cupcake cake in the shape of a unicorn and I thought it might be fun to make but instead of a unicorn make a dragon. About a month ago I googled “dragon cupcake cake” and found plenty of images of amazing looking dragon cupcake cakes. I took the two I liked best, and used their images as inspiration to make my own version.

He came out like this…

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You want to start out by making a double batch of chocolate cupcakes. I used 24 for the dragon, I had 3 that were throwaways because they were the first three I frosted, I don’t have experience frosting with a bag and tip and let’s just say there was a learning curve lol

I attempted to make red frosting as one of my team colours is red but even though I used a “true red” no flavour gel dye from Wilton the best I could get was pink. sigh. The frosting tip was borrowed from work and I have no idea what size or number it was, it was star shaped though…in case that is something that interests you. πŸ˜›

I baked the cupcakes on the Wednesday and waited until the Thursday for frosting and decorating, partly because of time constraints and partly because you want the cupcakes to be completely cooled before moving them around and frosting them.

To make the dragon it is just a matter of having an idea of the shape you want and placing the cupcakes down in that shape, moving and tweaking as necessary until you get a shape that looks right. Then frost the cupcakes, which I quickly learned is harder and yet easier than I thought it would be. Once I got the hang of things it was fairly easy, but it took a bit to feel like I knew what I was doing.

The frosting is a simple buttercream frosting, made to be a bit on the firm side, so it would hold its shape for a while – I was worried about what would happen during transport.

I wanted to distinguish the back from the legs and head so I put a bit of black frosting on those pieces. The claws are made from soft licorice that I cut in to triangles. The eyes are a marshmallow that I broke in half and then flattened, the pupils are brown mini m&m’s that are stuck in to the gooey side of the flattened marshmallow. The nostrils are also brown mini m&m’s, the mouth is made of white chocolate chips, and the whiskers are Twizzler Pull ‘n Peels that I pulled apart so I could get the red strips.

It was a lot of fun to make the face, as it came together it made me smile. Its kind of hard to resist a smiling dragon lol

For transport I dismantled the dragon, the cupcakes just barely fit in to my rectangular cake holder. Once at the party it was quick work to put the cupcakes back in order so the dragon was once again a dragon. I had placed marks on the tray he was going to be displayed on so I knew where some of the body pieces went, making it even easier to get him back together quickly.

The team seemed to like him, pictures were taken, comments were made about how cute he was, he was a hit! πŸ™‚

I’ve got to say, of the desserts I have made for the season end party over the past three years this one is my favourite, and I think the easiest to make…I would have thought he’d be harder, or more work, because it seems a more finicky thing to deal with – all those cupcakes and the decorating and the placement of them, but nope, super easy, and fun! Makes me wonder what other shapes I might try making…

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

23 Oct

It was Thanksgiving a couple weeks ago, a holiday I normally celebrate by eating pizza and watching a movie. This year though, a friend decided she was going to do the whole Thanksgiving thing and she invited me over. My contribution to the meal was dessert because let’s face it, it is the only thing I can reliably make lol

I was going to make a traditional pumpkin pie but decided to switch it up a bit and made a pumpkin swirl cheesecake – it sounds fancier than it is lol

Basically it is a cheesecake that had the batter separated so half is normal cheesecake batter and the other half has pumpkin puree and a bit more sugar mixed in, then you layer it and swirl it with a knife. It was dead easy to make and people liked it, so a win in my books!

IMG_0019

The cheesecake cracked along the swirl lines I made with my knife when cooling, which is annoying. I tried the hack of turning the oven off, cracking the door open, and letting the cheesecake cool that way, theoretically making the cooling off process less traumatic and therefore stopping the cheesecake from cracking…you can see how well that turned out. *rolls eyes* I know there are ways to repair the cracks but it would have ruined the marble look so I just left it.

The crust was made by putting ginger snap cookies in my mini food processor and pulsing until the cookies were crumbs, then doing the same with walnuts, pour the crumbs of both in to a bowl, add melted butter, mix it all up then put it in to the bottom of a springform pan and press it down so it is even. As a crust it turned out perfect, firm enough to maintain structural integrity when a slice was cut, but not so hard it wasn’t an easy thing to eat. I liked it but didn’t love it…could be because I’m not a huge ginger cookie fan. It was a complimentary flavour for the pumpkin though, which was why it was chosen.

As for the cheesecake it is like I mentioned above, you make a standard plain cheesecake batter, take out a cup and leave it alone, to the rest you add pumpkin puree, seasonings,Β  and some sugar, mix it in well. Then you pour approximately half the pumpkin batter in to the pan (on top of the ginger-walnut crust you’ve already put in there), make sure it spreads evenly. Put about half of the white cheesecake batter on top, sort of in blobs, then use a knife to spread it a bit. Then repeat! Once you’ve got the second layers of the pumpkin batter and the plain batter in the pan use a knife and swirl it all around. Make sure your knife goes all the way down to the crust without actually cutting through or messing up the crust.

Bake, let it cool, pray to the baking gods you don’t get huge cracks during the cooling process, curse the baking gods when the cracks come anyways, transfer to your serving platter or in my case the cake holder I was using to transport the cheesecake, and all that is left is to enjoy. πŸ™‚

In my opinion it turned out not flavourful enough, but others seemed happy with it so that could just be me. I wish I’d put more seasonings in it (it uses the same as a pumpkin pie) but hey, live an learn! I am toying with making it again but instead of pumpkin I’d make a raspberry puree and use that, I think it would be pretty with a pink swirl in it.

Here are some other pictures from Thanksgiving…my friend hosted a great evening, her meal was delicious, and it was fun to spend the evening with her and her family. πŸ™‚

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New Recipe and Frozen Pie

29 Sep

The other night a friend came over to help me move furniture. She was originally going to help me move but since I don’t have to move anymore (long story!) I decided to use her muscles to help me rearrange my living room.

In the way of friends, and moving, and all that, I offered to pay her for her help…in food. I figure you offer pizza and drinks when bribing friends to help you move, the least I could do was offer her dinner and dessert to help me rearrange furniture.

The rearranging was actually a lot easier than anticipated, which was a lovely surprise.

And the food turned out pretty decent, yay!

I got a recipe from a lady I follow on YouTube, it is called One Pot Enchillada Pasta. She got the recipe from someone she follows online (oh the wonders of the internet). The link to the video is here:

And here is the link to the original recipe…

https://www.iheartnaptime.net/enchilada-pasta/

Cause ya know, it is important to give the right people credit.

I won’t go in to the details of how to make the dish since I have just provided you with two links to that info, but here is a brief overview of my cooking adventure with this recipe.

The hardest part was finding enchilada sauce. Yup, you heard that right, that sauce was an elusive beast. I just sorta assumed it would be in the Old El Paso aisle at any grocery store so I stopped at Superstore on my way home from work to grab that and a bunch of the other ingredients, only to discover they don’t carry enchilada sauce, in any aisle, by any brand. Uhh, it is sorta one of the main most needed ingredients considering “enchilada” is in the title of the recipe! I had a sneaky suspicion that if Superstore didn’t carry it other stores might not so I then proceeded to call a bunch of other grocery stores (figured calling saved me more time than driving all over the place) and it turns out nobody had the sauce.

Just greeeeeat.

There goes that cooking plan. *rolls eyes*

Later that night at home I googled the sauce and discovered that Save-On-Foods carries it and they have the whole order online and pick-up the order whenever it is convenient for me deal so that is exactly what I did. I placed the order, timed my pick-up for after work the next day, problem solved!

The actual meal is easy to make, mostly because it is dumping a bunch of stuff in a pot lol Just brown the meat (ground beef or turkey, whatever you prefer), add the other stuff, stir, cook for a while, add a couple last minute things, stir, cover and simmer for a while, add some cheese and cover until the cheese has melted, serve.

Easy peasy.

I opted to not put the cheese on top and let it melt, mostly because the recipe called for a lot of cheese and sour cream and pasta, and is just in general a not-healthy recipe and I thought the least I could do was have us add our own cheese to our own bowls so we can decide how smothered our food was. It probably didn’t make much of a difference calorie wise at that point but hey, a girl can try!

Oh, and you can top your serving with a whole variety of things, tomatoes, avocado, green onions, sour cream, really, whatever you want. So I prepped some stuff for use as toppings and had it ready to go.

My bowl ended up looking like this…

one pot enchilada pasta

Yes, I know my ratio of sour cream to everything else is out of whack but whatever, I like sour cream and very rarely eat it, shrug. You can’t really see the actual dish I made, only the toppings, but it is under there!

It turned out tasty. Spicy, thanks to the green chilies and possibly the enchilada sauce (I’m not sure just how spicy that sauce is since I didn’t taste test it separately before adding it to the pot), but not so spicy it is hard to eat. I used regular penne pasta for mine, and I added in one cup vs the 2 cups of ziti noodles the original recipe called for. I gotta say, one cup of penne was plenty! I don’t see why you’d need more than that. I think other than the change in cheese and the change of noodles I stuck to the recipe.

I’m happy with how it turned out, it made a huge amount of food, I had left overs for daaaaays! Despite that, I probably won’t make it again, unless I am making it to take somewhere, because it is so unhealthy, but as a one off it was enjoyable.

Dessert was also served that night, in the form of a frozen pie I actually bought from the friend that was helping me. She was fundraising and selling frozen baked items and one of the things I bought from her was a peach pie. I never got around to baking it and her coming over seemed the perfect excuse.

All I had to do was pop it in the oven for an hour, it then said to let it cool for two hours, which we felt was extreme so we cut in to it sooner than that lol Whoever said patience was a virtue wasn’t waiting for a pie to cool!

The crust was nice and flaky, the peaches were delish, the glaze or sauce or whatever you want to call it that the peaches were in was interesting. Not bad, just not what I was expecting. I think they added the juice or flavouring of another fruit in there, which is odd, is it not? Maybe that’s just me…

peach pie

I was able to send left overs home with my friend and take a good chunk of the pie over to a different friend’s place a day or so later, the pie sure did make the rounds lol

All in all, it was a good pie, I could have made better (yes, I know that sounds smug but don’t hate a baker, that’s not nice πŸ˜‰ ) but it was nice to have the convenience of just popping a ready made pie in to the oven and not have to do all the work of actually making it. Which I guess is why ready made foods are such a massive industry lol

So yeah, there we have it, two yummy dishes, made and enjoyed by all. πŸ™‚

Canned Bird

7 Sep

At some point I bought a can of turkey meat. Yes, you read that right, the way you buy canned tuna to make tuna salad, I bought that, but the turkey version.

PC Blue Menu Seasoned Chunk Turkey Breast

I think I had some brilliant idea of getting my protein in, at a not horrible cost, and with no worries about (1) having to cook the meat and therefore risk food poisoning and (2) being able to keep it in the cupboard and have it on hand whenever I need it. The boon of not needing defrosting time was also taken in to consideration I’m sure.

I’ll be moving soon and am loath to pack and move a bunch of food. I go through this every time I move. The result is I end up eating a lot of strange foods, or strange combinations anyways.

Tonight after dragon boat practice I was in that mood where I didn’t want to eat because I wasn’t hungry but I knew I probably should eat because I’d been exercising, and I hadn’t had dinner, and if I didn’t eat then (it was roughly 10pm) with my luck I’d feel peckish around midnight and really be in a pickle about if I should eat, and if so, what I should eat. sigh.

So into the cupboard I went to see if inspiration would strike and I found the can of turkey meat.

I reeeeally didn’t want to open it, buuuuut, it is protein (technically), and theoretically wouldn’t be gross (people eat tuna and that stuff is just nasty, this couldn’t be worse, right?), it didn’t require me to cook anything, and I could easily make a simple turkey salad wrap with it…there were a lot of positives on my mental checklist about this food.

I opened it, thank goodness I haven’t packed my can opener yet!, and oh my dear god the smell. The smell is not pleasant at all! At least not to my nose…the cat liked the scent so much he came out of the bedroom and started meowing at me, demanding his share. It smelled like tuna. How is that even possible??

Now, I’m not proud of this, but I used the cat as a test subject and gave him some of the meat. I figured if he ate it then it must be ok. Umm, he wouldn’t eat it. Sniffed it and walked away without a backward glance!

This didn’t bode well…but I felt like I had come to far to back out now so I drained it, then rinsed it because it was freaking me out, mixed it with some dill, black pepper, mustard, and calorie wise miracle whip, then I spread it on a mini tortilla wrap and topped with some shredded coleslaw (no dressing), and a small amount of shredded cheddar.

Simple? Yes.

Likely to food poison me? Probably not.

A meal that contains food groups? Surprisingly, yes.

Go me go. πŸ˜‰

It wasn’t as horrible as I was expecting…I mean, it wasn’t so gross I didn’t eat the wrap. I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it, but it could have been worse…right? Right! It can always be worse! Aren’t I such an optimist? πŸ˜‰

So there we have it, my experiment with Seasoned Chunk Turkey Breast in a can. For all that it smells atrocious, doesn’t have a pleasant texture, and tastes unique, I can see why people might buy it. I don’t remember the cost but it can’t have been too high, and it was an easy to use food item, and the meal came together quickly – all things to take in to account when grocery shopping.

I however will not be putting this particular item back on my list. I’m putting it in the same category as brussel sprouts, fine for people who like them but something for me to avoid if only to not have to smell it.

Spilled Egg

8 Aug

Why is it “spilled” when it is a liquid but “dropped” when it is a solid?

Not really the point of my post but just a thought to wonder about…at 2am…when I should be sleeping… πŸ˜‰

Tonight after rehearsal I came home and was making myself a late dinner. Usually if I have a later dinner it is super simple, and on the smaller side, and sort of breakfast related…what can I say, breakfast foods tend to be my favourite, shrug.

I opted for egg on toast, though my version also has two slices of turkey bacon on there, so the layers go: toast, turkey bacon, over easy fried egg. Simple. Tasty. Has protein. Yum!

I’ve made this often enough I have the timing down perfectly so there I am with the bread toasted and on the plate, the turkey bacon on top of the toast, and I bring the fried egg over via spatula to put the egg on top of the bacon but the egg slips and next thing you know it is flying through the air and landing sorta stuck between the front of the cupboard and a plastic bag that holds my empty pop cans (I collect them for the bottle depot). I actually had a brief moment when I thought I could somehow save the egg but then it continued it’s journey downwards (damn you gravity!) and plop, it was on the floor.

The floor of my kitchen that I haven’t scrubbed in over a week.

Crap.

I picked up the still hot egg, saw the cat hair on it, made a mournful sound, and put the still hot egg in the compost.

Trying to move on from the disaster, and also trying to fix the meal before my toast and turkey bacon went stone cold I quickly cooked another egg.

As I pick this egg up on the spatula to carry over to the toast I am more cautious, no repeats of last time thank-you-very-much!

Instead, as I transfer the egg from the spatula to on top of the turkey bacon it starts to slide and almost goes off the plate in to the sink!

NoooOOOOooooo!

Luckily I managed to save it and put it back where it belonged. Phew!

You should have seen how careful I was when carrying my plate to the chair where I sat and ate. I was half convinced the universe didn’t want me to eat tonight and was doing everything in its power to ruin my meal. Because obviously it couldn’t have been my fault, not my clumsiness or anything that might be the problem here… πŸ˜‰

egg

Garden Fruit

8 Jul

For all that I like to hike, and dragon boat, and I get so grateful to finally be able to escape being inside when work is done, I am not really an outdoorsy kind of gal. Shocking I know! πŸ˜‰

This extends to being in gardens. I like gardens in theory, but in reality they are filled with bugs, and spider webs, and wind, and too many icky things for me to enjoy myself. I never relax in gardens because I’m always keeping an eagle eye out for the next bug to wander my way. And yes, I know I am crazy.

My landlords were away for a while and they asked me to water the hanging baskets because the sprinkler system they have set up wasn’t working properly and two baskets were being neglected. They also asked me to keep an eye on the strawberries and pick the raspberries.

Pick the raspberries!

So, not only water some plants but touch them! Touch! Eek!

I put it off for as long as I could but eventually I had to go out there and water stuff, and pick fruit, and you have never seen a person look more uncomfortable than me picking raspberries.

Turns out flowers in hanging baskets are kinda delicate so they may not recover from the time I “forgot” to water them…I am much better with cacti. Indoor cacti that is. I have two and they are doing great, even with the cat chewing on them now and then.

The strawberries, well, I don’t know how to gauge how well the bush is actually doing. It is super tiny but it did create these…

strawberries

The little one was still attached so I left it. The larger one had come off the bush so I took it inside. I would’ve put it in the compost but my landlady kept texting asking if I had eaten it yet so I scrubbed that sucker so clean there was no way there was any trace of a bug footprint left and I ate it. It was actually pretty good. Smaller than strawberries from Safeway but more flavourful.

Then the drama of the raspberries! I’m in the backyard plucking the raspberries from the bush and every time I slightly change the angle I am looking at the bush by I see more raspberries ready to be picked. They were hidden amongst the leaves, near the back of the bush, generally in harder to reach areas that involved my hand going deep in to the bush to be able to grab the fruit. I was so not ok with this. Then! Oh the horrors! I was picking a raspberry and an ant got on my hand! My hand! I did the whole shaking my hand thing and that ant went nowhere, clung to me for dear life. So then I continued to shake the hand while the rest of my body started to move and jerk around and I almost came in to contact with a spider web! A spider web, just right there, in the open, waiting to ensnare me and make it easier for the spider to creep from the web on to me, *shudder*.

That was when I called it quits.

raspberries

This was my reward for my dramatic time in the garden. I could have gotten a lot more for a lot less stress at the grocery store…just sayin! They are quite tasty though, and free since all I had to do was pick them and not buy the bush or put effort in to growing them lol.

I am so incredibly grateful that raspberry bush is in the backyard and out of sight…

spider gif

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