Saturday, September 12, 2009

Summer Vegetable Tart

So this week's challenge for me should be called Baking with Oliver (and right now blogging with Oliver). I made most of this recipe with Olie either in the kitchen or in the carrier with me. It was one of those days, but I was determined to participate in this weeks challenge. Don't worry I put him down when the stove or oven was involved - I didn't want to add any injuries to the mix.

I have to say I quite enjoy Julia's savory dishes, especially with all the butter she uses in her recipes and this one was no exception. I clarified the butter even though I was tempted just to melt the butter in the microwave. To be honest I am not sure what a difference it made - maybe Tina can enlighten me. I didn't use close to 1/2 cup, so I have some clarified butter to use another time.

This was a very easy tart to make, the only problem (which is not really a problem) is that I am the only person in my household who likes mushrooms, so I will be eating the entire tart. I was hoping to entice my son, but he wasn't interested. Julia suggests serving it warm, but I have had it now at room temperature as well as from the fridge and both times I thought it was delightful. I doubt I will make this dish again since I am the only taker, as well this was not the prettiest dish to serve - flakes were everywhere!
I am looking forward to next weeks challenge. Until then, happy baking!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Berry Galette

I apologize for not participating as often in the challenges. I had a baby about six weeks ago and he has been getting all of my attention. However, once Oliver has more of a schedule it will leave some time for me to bake during the day. I am looking forward to doing some more baking. I did manage to go see Julie & Julia at a Movies for Mommies event. Julia is such an inspiration.

I made the Berry Galette one week before my due date and took it for dessert for our annual Shakespeare in the Park picnic. It got rave reviews so I made it again. I love making galettes period.

I thought I had already downloaded the pictures....I will have to upload them later this week as I have an infant attached to my arm. Tina and Misty however can attest that I made it!

Until next time happy baking!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

French Strawberry Cake

Our baking challenge this week was a French Strawberry Tart. The cake is a genoise which is the most important cake a french pastry chef learns to make. When I read about it - I felt the pressure. Is this something that I could do? The recipe seemed reasonable, but I was still anxious about how fragile the batter seemed to be.

According to Julia, the eggs and sugar should take about 5 - 6 minutes until the batter is complete (when a ribbon of batter stays on top for about 10 seconds). My mixture took almost 10 minutes to get to that point. Unfortunately, I don't have a whip attachment for my mixer which is why I think it took so long. For the majority of Julia's recipes I have had to extend my baking time, but not for this one - I baked the batter for 25 minutes exactly.

The whipped cream was easy and simply delicious. I did not need all the whipped crean, so that I can use it for my left over strawberries. I only cut the cake in two layers, as I was not confident enough to cut it into three.

I brought the cake for Baba's birthday party tonight, and the cake seemed to be a hit, as there were no pieces left. This only means that I have to make another cake soon as the family went strawberry picking today and I have so many strawberries that need to be eaten.
On a side note, I wanted to let my fellow bakers know that I have made at least three batches of the cantuccini - my husband can't get enough of them. I think he ate at least 6 tonight!
Until next time beauties, happy baking.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


I absolutely LOVED this much so that I am making another batch as I write this blog. I have always wanted to make biscotti but have been a little timid too, never realizing how simple it is.
I did make some changes to Julia's recipe (if I should dare). I halved the recipe and made one with a little less flour and added cocoa powder, removed the almonds and added chocolate chips...the end result was delish. With the other half, after the biscotti has cooled, I melted some semi-sweet chocolate and dipped them.
I didn't quite get the eight dozen cookies that the recipe called for (thank goodness)...but I did donate the majority of the cookies to my son's daycare for their bake sale. I am happy to report that the bake sale started at 5pm and by the time I got there at 5:15pm they had already disappeared. This is the exact reason why I am baking some more...I am a sucker for this low fat cookie...
I have decided not to modify this new batch, although I am sure that I am going to dip or drizzle them with chocolate for an added touch and I plan to leave some of them naked. I am sure that this is a recipe I am going to make over and over again (with modifications).

Until next time beauties...Happy Baking!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lemon Pound Cake

Yum! I could not wait to make this delish cake, but unfortunately I wasn't able to make it until last night. Sorry that I am one day late....and I should let you know that I haven't yet been able to take a picture - so hopefully there will be some left by tomorrow so I can upload some shots.

What an easy recipe and simply yummy. I baked the cake for 55 minutes and it was done to perfection. I made no modifications. With a little whipped cream and some strawberries....delish!

Can anyone tell me what they did with their lemons? I'd hate to throw them away....

Until next week beauties, happy baking!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Boca Negra

So, I have determined that I have an unequipped kitchen. Tina, the professional chef probably would have told you this many years ago. However, I thought that I had enough stuff to get me by. However, since starting this "challenge" I have come to realize that I need to go to Caynes to buy some much needed kitchen items.

This challenge requires a cake pan and a roasting pan, both of which I don't own. So, I used my spring form pan which was 9.5 inches. The only other item that I owned which this pan would fit into was a baking sheet - not quite high enough for water to be of any significance. Plus, when I attempted to put water in it - it just leaked through my pan -disaster number one. Luckily I had some foresight and hadn't added the cake mixture into my pan.

My arms were extremely sore from stirring, stirring and more stirring. I thought that the butter pieces would never end. I exchanged Canadian Club for bourbon, since we didn't have any on hand. The syrup was nice and fragrant and added a nice touch to the end result.

I decided not to make the white-chocolate cream, I thought it would be a little too sweet and would make whipped cream instead. Plus I am not a huge fan of white chocolate.

I placed my pan in the oven with a pot of water in the rack below. I had called Tina for some advice since I didn't have the necessary equipment. Tina assured me the water was needed for moisture. I baked for 30 minutes. After checking it - my instinct told me I needed to wait a little longer - so I baked it for about 5 more minutes or so as I did not want to over bake this dessert. I knew that this cake was to be somewhat of a brownie consistency. I followed Julia's instructions to a tee. When I attempted to flip it over - disaster #2....the cake was raw inside. So, not wanting to waste and after working so hard - I placed the mixture in dish and placed in the oven for at least another 20 minutes.
My plan was to bring this dish to a friend's house on Saturday afternoon, but the end result looked so ugly, I could not bear to do so. That is also why I did not include a picture of the cake on the blog, I am just too embarrassed. I am looking forward to next weeks lemon loaf!
Until next week, happy baking ladies!
P.S. I am trying to convince my friend Stephanie to join us - she is an excellent cook and baker....

Sunday, May 10, 2009


I have a soft spot for brownies, I LOVE them! I started making them on my last maternity leave. I had a fantastic recipe that I always used and never had to try any others. So, even though it was Julia Child I never thought that it would compare.

Yes, Julia's recipe is a little more labour intensive, but the results are DIVINE. I had to cook mine a little longer than suggested. I also could not find bittersweet chocolate, so I used semi-sweet instead. I will say that I will make this recipe again and again. However, I may add some chopped nuts next time. YUM.

Until next time Happy Baking!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Crispy Cocoa Cookies

What a nice easy recipe! It took me no time to assemble the cookie dough. I placed half of the dough in the fridge and the other half in my freezer for a later date. Saturday morning I did my baking. I do have to say that I didn't really enjoy rolling the dough (it was crumbly) and I didn't have a cookie cutter so I used a sake cup. Ten quick minutes in the oven and voila they were completed. It's a great small cookie that I can give Truman with little guilt!

Sorry no pictures this week ladies (I need to find my camera!).

I have decided that I will try to make the croissants...I can't say that I am not a bit worried...but it will be a good challenge for me.

Until next time, happy baking!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Buttermilk Scones

This week's challenge to my surprise was frustrating for me. I thought, what a simple recipe - yet I ran into some trouble. On Sunday night I decided to clean my oven (I have been living in my new house for about 8 months now, and thought it was probably a good idea). On Monday I made the scones and put them into the oven to cook. In about 5 minutes, my house was full of smoke. For some reason, butter dripped off the baking sheet and was burning at the bottom of the oven. I had to open all the doors and windows in my house to let out the smoke. I was left with smoke flavoured, undercooked scones. Plus I was stuck cleaning my stove yet again. Ah, but I digress...

On Saturday morning I decided to attempt the recipe again! I was not going another week without partaking in the challenge! This time I used a baking sheet with edges, so butter could not escape the pan. For this challenge I had to use a little more buttermilk than what was suggested in the recipe and I added frozen blueberries. This time, I did not run into any issues and thought my scones turned out well.

I brought the scones to the 1st Annual Wanless Park Easter Egg Hunt and they were a hit. One of the mother's came up to me to let me know how good the scones were (I was so happy). I think I will make this recipe again (it's nice a simple) and try different variations. Maybe add some nuts next time or cranberries. Or, something more sophisticated like my sister made - dried pear and Gouda (sounds divine Tina).

Happy Easter! And until next week - happy baking!

Monday, March 16, 2009


Fellow Baking Beauties I just wanted to let everyone know that I will be on a little hiatus and won't be able to participate for the next couple of weeks. I was planning on baking the blueberry muffins, but my dear son has just come down with a nasty virus and I will be working all hours of the night to keep up with work, not to mention trying to fit in some packing. The family is heading down south for a glorious two week vacation - but I promise I will be back to bake the Buttermilk Scones which sound divine!
I'm looking forward to checking out all your results. The mint night caps look incredibly delicious and I have promised myself that I will make them in the near future.
Until then Beauties...Happy Baking!

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Galette is a general term used in French to designate various types of flat, round or free form crusty cakes (Definition courtesy of Wikepedia).
I can't tell you how much I loved to make and eat this delicious recipe. Not to say that I didn't have some issues along the way. My mini processor started to smoke (literally), which is making me question if I should indeed buy a larger one. As well, my dough was extremely sticky so I called Tina for some advice. It turns out the recipe I found on the Internet was phrased a little differently that Julia's. My recipe directed to me to pour all of the sour cream and water mixture into the dough. A little more flour solved that culinary issue.

I think next time I make this dish I will mix the dough by hand instead of using the mini processor. Oh, and yes I used a measuring tape again. Such a strange tool to use in the kitchen.

The end result was delicious. Jerry and I both ate one each for dinner one night. Next time I think I will experiment with different cheeses, i followed the recipe using Monterrey Jack and mozzarella. I can't imagine how good this dish will be when using fresh summer ingredients.

Overall, I love the rustic look of this dish and the divine taste. This will definitely be part of my future repertoire!
Till next time, happy baking!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The "X" Factor

I had mentioned in last week's entry, I was quite apprehensive in trying these cookies. But since I have signed up for this challenge, I thought that I should at least give it a shot. I read over the recipe a number of times and I was still not sure and asked my dear sister a few questions. You see, I am completing these weekly challenges without the aid of the cookbook. Tina, sent me a few pictures that brought it all together for me.

I halved the recipe because I definitely do not need 5 dozen cookies in my house...I was also happy since I found these cookies a tad labour intensive with all the kneading, rolling, and cutting. I had to use my mini food processor to blend all the ingredients (I don't own anything larger), so I had to make two batches of the dough, and luckily only one batch of the filling. I did not use the candied orange and used white rum instead of dark. I also used a tape measure to cut the cookies into 3 inches each (yes, a little anal of me). I also found I had quite a bit of wasted dough, which I suppose I could have kneaded into more cookies.

The reduced recipe yielded approximately 2 dozen cookies. I brought them to our Friday night dinner at the in-laws and they went over quite well. Truman even seemed to like them, probably because they are not too sweet. I didn't mind the cookies, but I doubt I will make them again.

Can't wait to try next week's challenge. Till then, happy baking!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

First Challenge - Pound Cake

It's done! I've completed my first Baking Beauty Challenge! I was a little skeptical at first, since I don't own a stand mixer with a paddle attachment but had called my sister for advice who told me to use my stand mixer at a lower setting to get the same results. I was again concerned when my sugar and butter mixture kept balling...but eventually after I added the egg the mixture seemed to be doing what it was suppose to. I baked the cake for approximately 60 minutes. Since I had tried Tina's cake I knew what to compare mine to....Tina's was a little darker on the outside, so I think I could have baked mine for a little longer. Regardless, the result was a moist, delicious cake that Jerry and I have been enjoying all week.
I had cheated and used a butter spray for the pan (I can just hear Tina sighing), and I think next time I will use real butter as I had some difficulty getting the cake out of the pan. Although, I borrowed the pan from my parents, and it looks as though they must have bought it in the 70's. So, maybe the pan is to blame? Doubt it, but worth the try!
I too made a strawberry sauce for the cake (I've made three batches to date). I also served the cake for dessert on Friday night for my in-laws. Praises all round. I have some left overs which I plan to freeze and eat with ice cream at some later date. Looking forward to it!

I have just read through the next challenge and am feeling very intimidated by it and am thinking of passing on this one. I'll have to read through the recipe a few more times before I make my decision. Nevertheless, I will be making the gallette!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Baking Beauties

The two people I am closest to in my life have convinced me to join Baking Beauties. Now, just so that all the other Baking Beauties realize that even though I do love cooking and baking, but I don't come close to comparing to my dear sister or best friend. So, I apologize now for any culinary mistakes or baking blunders. Above all I am looking forward to the challenge!
Best of luck Baking Beauties! Looking forward to the first challenge!