Sunday, 31 March 2013

Peach cream crumble

I know this blog is becoming something of a recipe book, but I cannot deprive my readers of the mouth-watering treats that my flatmates and me enjoy. So here is yet another, it's just come out of the oven, and smells amazing. Try it with ice cream...

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream or greek yoghurt
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 2 cups sliced peaches
Butter Crumb Topping:
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour (I used whole-wheat)
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Combine 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, and salt; beat in sour cream, the beaten egg, and vanilla. Add sliced peaches. Pour mixture into pie pan. Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F (175°C) and bake 15 minutes longer. Remove from oven then increase heat to 400°F.
Combine topping ingredients, mix with a knife, then use your hands to mix them until crumbly; sprinkle over pie. Continue to bake pie at 400°F for 10 minutes longer.

Apple pies baked in apples

A friend sent me this amazing recipe some time ago, and now I finally had the time to try it (and adapt it, here's the original). Don't be put off by the prospect of removing the inside of the apples, it's easily done with a small knife and a tablespoon.

So here is the recipe for 4 people:

  • 4 Granny smith apples (make sure that they can stand on their own)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp sugar or maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp raisins
  • 1 tbsp shredded or sliced almonds
  • pie crust (I used ready made one, here's a recipe if you want to try making your own)
Start by cutting the top off the apples, then start removing the inner bits. Be careful not to puncture the peel (although if that happens, don't worry, just wrap the bottom into some tin foil when baking so that the juice doesn't flow escape into the oven). Keep the apple bits and cut them into small pieces.

Mix the apple pieces with all the other ingredients (except for the pie crust), then spoon this filling into the hollow apples. 

Roll out the pie crust and cut it into thin slices. Weave these together into small squares and put them on top of the apples. Place them into a pan (so that the juice won't flow everywhere) and bake for 40-45 minutes (you can vary the baking time depending on how soft you want your apples).

It looks a bit burned here, but that's just the picture quality...


Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Chocolate-mandarin-coconut cupcakes (without egg)

I made those amazing cupcakes yesterday - I didn't have any eggs left, and it was too late to go shopping, so I looked for a recipe for muffins without eggs, then added some mandarins, cream and caramelized muffin crumbs. Simply amazing.

Here's the recipe:

Quick and easy chocolate muffins


  • 125g flour
  • 1.5 tsps baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp baking soda
  • 65g sugar
  • 3 tblsps cocoa
  • A few drops vanilla essence
  • 100ml water or fruit juice
  • 50ml oil
  • 1 tblsp vinegar
  • 200ml whipping cream
  • 1/2 can of mandarins
  • 50g shredded coconut
  • 3 tblsps butter
  • 3 tblsps icing sugar

Mix all dry ingredients. Add water, oil and vinegar, don't stir any more than necessary.
Fill into 12 paper muffin cups and bake for about 20 minutes at 180^C/350^F. Let cool.

Remove the top of all muffins, crumble them and put them aside, you will need them later.
Beat the whipping cream (if you want, add some sugar and vanilla essence). Carefully add coconut and mandarins, and distribute the mixture equally between the muffins.
Heat the butter in a pan, then add the muffin crumbs. Add icing sugar, and let caramelize while continuously stirring (be careful not to burn them).
Spinkle crumbs over cream.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Playing with fire

Two weeks ago, I finally "opened" my Christmas present from mum: A working-with-glass workshop at Flo Glassblowing in Ottawa. I had already blown a Christmas ornament there in December, and wanted to learn and do more this time. So I signed up for the most basic course: Making your own paperweight. It was quite amazing, and a lot of fun. I will collect my finished product today, and will of course publish the pictures on here.

The hot glass is taken from the oven. The pipe on which it is amassed has to be turned continuously, which needs quite some getting used to.
The glass is rolled over coloured glass pieces.
Then it is twirled to get a nice spiral in the finished paperweight.
With a big piece of wood, the glass is formed into a ball shape.

This almost looks like a paperweight now. Soon after, the big ball of glass is separated from the pipe. It then has to cool for 24 hours in another oven. Afterwards it's polished a little, and then, voilà, it's ready.
All the tools needed for working with glass
Some of the finished pieces that are sold in the shop.

The finished paperweight - unfortunately, my camera made a mess of this picture.  Imagine a purple-green galaxy imprisoned in the glass...

Maple sugar shack

Last weekend, my great-aunt took me to a cabane au sucre, a maple sugar shack, where maple syrup is made. It was a pretty amazing (and sweet) experience, something truly Canadian.

The maple sap is collected in those buckets. 40 litres of this liquid is required to make one litre of maple syrup.
Drop by drop, the sap comes out of the tree.
Every tree has its own distinct flavour. And believe me, we tried them all.
In the cabana, they offered an amazing buffet of different foods, most of them contained maple syrup (amazing: baked beans with maple syrup). And for desert: pancakes :)
After the ride in the sled, we needed some warming-up in front of the fire place.
This is maple taffy. Thick maple syrup is poured onto snow, then you take a stick and turn it until you have a nice big amount of frozen maple syrup. Very very sticky, very very sweet.
The cabana, as seen from the horse sled.

Black forest gateau (Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte)

I made this lovely gateau today. This cake is so much better than anything that is sold under the same name here in Canada.

Here's the recipe:

List of ingredients for dough:
  • 140g of bittersweet and dark chocolate 
  • 75g butter or margarine 
  • 6 eggs 
  • 180g sugar 
  • 100g flour
  • 50g corn starch
  • 2 tsp baking powder 


Melt chocolate and butter together by placing them into a bowl, over a pot of boiling water, stirring regularly.

Separate the eggs. Beat egg whites until a fluffy solid like texture is made. (test with knife)

In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks while adding sugar gradually to make fluffy mixture.

Mix and beat chocolate mixture to the egg yolk and sugar mixture.

In a third bowl, mix flour, starch and baking powder. 

Put half the amount of flour mixture in with the chocolate mix and beat on lowest setting. 

Carefully, with a spoon,  add  1/3 off the egg white snow to the flour /chocolate mix.

Carefully, with a spoon, mix and fold the remaining flour, then add the remaining egg white snow mix, gently fold as well.

Fill into a cake pan and place into pre heated oven at 350°F (175°C).
Bake for 40-45 mins.
Let cool completely. 

After complete cool down, cut cake in 3 separate layers, using string.

List of ingredients for filling and topping:

  • 800 g cherries. Example: red sour cherries, pitted, in light syrup.  (fresh or frozen is good, but NOT in syrup) 
  • 500 ml cherry juice (the same liquid from the jar of cherries, if not enough, use water to top it up)
  • 4 tbsp of corn starch
  • 2 tbsp of sugar
  • 100 ml rum or calvados (for non alcohol, use cherry juice or jam)
  • 800 ml whipping cream  (3-4 packs of Whip It cream stabilizer)
  • 30g sugar
  •  a few drops of vanilla extract 
  • 100g dark chocolate (or any other chocolate)
  • Make sure to save some cherries for decoration! 



Mix the corn starch with the sugar in a small bowl, add 3 tbl of the cherry juice. 

Heat remainder of cherry juice in pot until boiling 

Pour starch and sugar mix into pot and whisk until all power is dissolved 

The mixture shoulder a thick texture, remove from heat, add cherries. 

Let cool.

Add 50ml of the 100ml of rum. Use remaining rum to sprinkle over the two bottom cake layers.

Using tin foil, make a ring around thebottom layer of cake. Make sure it's higher than the cake pan. Place the cake ring back on.

On the bottom layer of cake, add 1/2 of cherry mixture 

In a big bowl, whip up thecream with the stabilizer, the sugar and the vanilla extract. 

Take 1/4 of the cream and place evenly on the cherry layer.

Now, add middle layer of cake on top of cream layer.

Now add rest of cherry mixture on top of that middle layer.  

Let cool.

Place another 1/4 of the cream on top of cherries. 

Sprinkles rest of rum.

Place top layer of cake.

Add 1/4 of cream.

Sprinkle any kind of shaved chocolate on top of cream.

Now, decorate with rest of cream, little blobs around around three cake and in the middle. Also decorate with remaining cherries. Also, if there is any cream left over. Spread around the sides of the cake.

Take pictures.

EAT :)

Indian Henna tattoos

My lovely flatmate made me these beautiful henna tattoos. First she put on some henna paste, and after it dried for almost an hour, I washed it off and put some cream on it. Now the colour has changed, I love how the colours are different on the hands and on the wrists. My flatmate says, they will stay for the next 2-3 weeks.
First the Paste looks all dark and wet
But after washing it off, the true colour can be seen