As we begin to wake up to brisk mornings where even the sun isn’t up quite yet, and our morning cups of coffee have become warming and soothing, instead of just a caffeine boost, the desire to feel the warmth of the oven and the scent of spices in the air, burns bright.
A switch is flipped when the cool mornings set in and the chilly nights fall upon us. All of a sudden, the bananas ripening on the counter become crumbly muffins or a rich cake in your eyes, the peaches are bubbly cobblers dripping with melted ice cream and the apples turn to a buttery and flaky pie. All of a sudden, no fruit or vegetable is spared, all can be baked into a seasonal treat.
We don’t stop at fruit and vegetables, meat and poultry inspire pies, slow roasts and braises. The aroma of a piece of slow roasting meat with fragrant spices is just as enticing as the smell of cinnamon rolls baking for a weekend treat.
This post will be the last one with me going on about my trip to the Pacific Northwest. Of course, it’s probably also the most important because it’s the major reason I wanted to visit Oregon and Washington. The children think the Spring Break trip was planned with their pleasure in mind, and their desire to see the coast after living in land locked Colorado for so many years. And it was sort of…Continue reading →
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas surrounded by loved ones and lots of delicious food. Did you get what you wanted? After we reach a certain age, Christmas presents must not have the same excitement? I don’t know though, I’m just guessing. I love getting presents and I’m old! It’s always exciting to me to open up the bag or unwrap the wrapping paper with baited breath, waiting to get the first glimpse of the goodies inside.
We were up bright and early Christmas morning to start off our day with our own ongoing tradition, the first showing of whatever the hit movie is that year. This year, Star Wars VIII. As you know we are huge fans so waiting a week to watch the movie was torture. However, I’ve done an opening night movie for Star Wars back when they had their 20th Anniversary. The weirdos that turn up for the opening night; I wasn’t about to put myself through that again. So, we waited, and it was totally worth the wait. LOVED the movie and cannot wait for the next one.
In the rush to get up and get to the movie theatre and due to some bad procrastination the day before, I forgot to pull out the chicken from the freezer for dinner. So, in true “A Christmas Story” fashion we ended up in the only open restaurant close by, a Chinese place. No, we didn’t have duck with the head still attached along with badly sung Christmas carols but we did have some bad Chinese food nevertheless. Apparently, many others forgot to take out their frozen turkeys/rib roast since it seemed like everyone in Broomfield was there. When we arrived there were a fair number of people but as we ordered and got our food, the stream of people coming through the door was never ending. The bad part; only one server. She was worked out of her little apron, but then family members started pitching in. We decided it was time to leave. I couldn’t fathom how many people, on Christmas, choose to not cook, won’t cook or can’t cook…or maybe they just like less than mediocre Chinese food on special holidays. These weren’t just couples and such, while we were waiting on our food, a family came in and asked for a table for 11! For 11?!! Why aren’t they cooking a family dinner at home??
After our not very good Chinese food, we went home and collapsed on the sofa. Steaming cups of hot cocoa kept us warm as the snow that was supposed to fall in the morning, finally arrived. We watched TV, drifted in and out of slumber, drank tea and cocoa and enjoyed a cosy evening at home. The snow kept falling; in fact, it fell all night and we woke up to about 4-5 inches. All the melted roads from the last snow storm were all snow packed and icy again. The weather has been so cold that nothing has melted and there is an ice rink right as you reach the bottom of our driveway. This morning it was 6F. Yeah, single digits.
Christmas Eve we were invited to dinner at a lovely friend’s house. It had been so long since I’d seen my friends, I was really looking forward to it. As I lay in bed that morning, my mind whirred away trying to come up with something to make with the ripe persimmons I had sitting on my kitchen counter. We had eaten a few fresh but persimmons can be very tannic and that can be off putting, especially to kids. I wanted to use the rest up in a dessert of some fashion.
Pudding, trifle, cake, muffins, cupcakes….all these ideas went through my mind. Since I had only 4 persimmons left, it had to be some sort of filling that was complemented with something else and something the children would eat. But wait, I was headed to a party that evening, I could bring a dessert. That opened up the idea of cake again. I don’t make too many cakes, they never get eaten at our house and I get stuck with them every time. But dinner parties are something else, food gets eaten at parties. I jumped out of bed and got to work.
Every year I put a traditional Buche de Noel on my bucket list, and every year it gets thrown out with the dirty water. This is not a traditional Buche de Noel, but it’s a Yule log of some sort. I love roll cakes, they can be a bit tricky but I love them anyway. They are pretty and easy to portion and cut, not to mention delicious! I have a couple of roll cakes on the website.
The persimmons are cooked down a little to concentrate flavours and remove the tannic quality. They are then mixed with some heavy cream, a drop of rose water is added and then filled inside a pistachio sponge cake. Allowing the cake to sit for a few hours before serving makes the sponge soft and saturated from the cream and it just melts in your mouth. The hint of rose water and the pistachio cake add an exotic flair to the beautiful persimmons.
So, what was the best thing you ate over the Christmas holiday? Let me tell you, for us, it wasn’t the Chinese food! This cake was pretty good though, as was the dinner at my friend’s and my White Chicken Chilli that we had on Boxing Day.
I cannot believe 2015 whizzed by in a blur. I am quite certain I was writing this very sentence not too long ago! Be that as it may, the fact is 2016 will be here very soon. I want to wish you all a very happy, safe and prosperous New Year. I thank you for your friendship, your encouragement and your support. Here’s to many, more years together!
Hello my lovelies! How have you all been? I hope you are reading this in your inbox because it’s been so long since I last wrote anything, I’m not sure if my post was even sent out! It’s a bit rusty from the under use. This post was written right after Thanksgiving but as you can see, it’s been languishing in my drafts for over 10 days now. I’m going to go ahead and just post it, even though Thanksgiving is old news.
So, how was everyone’s Thanksgiving? Well, by everyone, I mean all the Americans. We had a very wonderful and quiet one. This year we opted out of the friendsgiving. My husband was off for four days and so were the older girls who work for a daycare/school. The children didn’t want me to host and they didn’t want to go anywhere, but of course, they wanted me to cook. And here I was thinking I’d escaped the cooking. No such luck. They all handed in their food requests: creamed corn, sweet potato casserole, cauliflower and broccoli casserole, pumpkin pie, and pecan tart. We didn’t do a turkey because we’re not huge fans so I roasted little Cornish hens, one for the each of us.
The snow fell outside all day Thursday. It was a lazy sort of snow fall, it wasn’t in a hurry, it took its time drifting merrily down from the frosty skies. It echoed the mood of the house, where we lazily shuffled about in our fuzzy slippers and socks, furry hoodies and jumpers. We lit a roaring fire and listened to the crackly sounds of fire wood; splitting and burning, fill the family room. The warm glow of the fire and family, spread over our faces, bodies and hearts. It was just a lovely day.
I had prepped much of the food the day before and all that was needed was a quick few minutes to bake off the casseroles. It took 30 minutes to stuff and prep the Cornish hens and then they were placed in the oven. In the meantime, the children enjoyed doing their thing and my husband and I spent all day watching football. We snacked on spring rolls and satsumas and sipped mulled apple cider in between yelling at the TV screen for some ridiculous referee call or play.
Those four days off sure went by in a blur but they were the best four days of the year. It is so nice to have to do nothing and to have special people to do nothing with. Two of my daughters have birthdays back to back around Thanksgiving break, so two of the days were celebratory with special breakfast one day and dinner the next. Present buying and giving, and of course, a bit of Black Friday deal shopping was also done.
I was going to post before Thanksgiving but I really have enjoyed doing nothing. I decided that I’d wait to get through the holiday and then try and get back into the groove of posting regularly and visiting my friends who I have sorely neglected. I have come to the conclusion that cooking for a living and then turning around and writing a good, food blog is quite difficult. I have 4 weeks to get some sort of plan in place before my work stuff starts again. I’m hoping to find a balance, and some time to do what I do but still post regularly with some good content and not be tired of the whole cooking and baking thing!
How has everyone been? I have visited some of my blog friends and am making my rounds and hope to get to all of you very soon.
My second week off from work, I ventured into the kitchen. My mind was beginning to churn out a few ideas and once I was in the mood to get knee high in flour, I jotted down a few ideas and armed with my trusty pink notebook, iPad and wooden spoon, I got to work.
There are a few Madeleine recipes on my blog; it’s because I adore them. I love how they’re easy to make, I love their beautiful scalloped shape, their versatility and how they make everything look fancy.
These are chocolate ones with a floral under note from lavender. Lavender and chocolate go really well together and how much you want to add is up to you. I didn’t want to confuse them with bars of soap! I used some fresh lavender from my little pot on my porch and a tad bit of dried. The White chocolate glaze with a few sprinkles of dried lavender leaves adds the perfect little floral punch as you daintily nibble them.
These are perfect for your holiday table because they instantly add a touch of sophistication. They are also great for a Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day breakfast or brunch. Like I said, versatile.
I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season. It definitely feels like the holidays here in Coloardo. The weather has been beautifully chilly and the snow has dusted everything like a gingerbread village. I know snow and cold weather is not for everyone and even though it can really stop me in the tracks especially with my joints, I absolutely love this weather. I am the happiest when there’s snow falling softly outside, and the oven is on baking up warm and gooey delights, filling the house with the aromas of sweet spices.