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Monthly Archives: September 2011

Rediscovered: Balinese Food Trays

I bought half a bushel of honey crisp apples today from the apple farm. The lady at the apple stand told me the cold room would be the perfect place to store the apples and I could keep them even till January! She said a basket would be ideal to hold them to allow air circulation. I don’t have a basket but another customer who bought a whole bushel said she just put them on a tray.

When I got home I decided to continue my storage reorganization project in the newly renovated basement. That’s when I found the perfect thing for the apples – this food tray with cover that my mum bought for me when my parents went on a holiday to Bali, an island in Indonesia:

 These aren’t the easiest thing to bring back from a holiday as the covers can be easily ripped or the thin bamboo strip broken so… thanks, Mum! I appreciate it!!

The food trays comes in a set of three and this one is the biggest. When I was living in Malaysia, I would buy pastries and desserts and put them in the tray and pull the cover over to keep flies away. We leave our windows open all the time and sometimes a fly or two do fly in!

These food trays have been hiding in the basement long enough. I’m glad I found them again! Come next summer, they’ll be used more often, especially on the patio table to keep flies and bees off the BBQ!

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2011 in Life

 

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Finding My Routine

It’s the new school year, the kids have been back to school for two weeks now, and I’m trying to get a smooth routine running. I drew up a timetable for Big Kid and he appreciates it. He likes having a schedule, that kid. He likes to check the chart, stuck on the fridge, to see what he should be doing. I need a schedule too to make my life more organized and productive. The big thing now for me is the daily meal planner. Big Kid has after-school programmes every day except for Fridays. I have to plan the dishes according to how much time I have to cook e.g. Mondays – I have 30 minutes to cook and I do my prep in the afternoon, Wednesdays – dinner has to be ready by 5pm the latest and we’re out of the door a quarter to 6pm. The last two weeks have been a trial run for both of us since most of his programmes have not started.

French Fridays have taken a back seat until I find the time to make the recipes. (Blogging too for that matter!) I could have made the honey-spiced madeleines, which is this week’s recipe, this past weekend but I made Dorie Greenspan‘s Brr-ownies as York Peppermint Patties 8-pack were on sale for $1 at Wallyland. Furthermore, a family has invited us over for dinner and, I could be wrong but, I think brownies make better desserts to bring over than madeleines.

These brownies are a pretty good snack but they sure aren’t pretty to photograph! However, these fudgy brownies with bites of peppermint patties were eaten so quickly that I could only get a photo like that before they were all gone.

Since I have sour cream to use up, I also made Dorie’s Nutty, Chocolatey, Swirly Sour Cream Bundt Cake, another not-so-pretty-to-photograph cake. (Click the link to the recipe for a second recipe from Dorie.) I used only pecans and mini chocolate chips for the swirl as Hubby doesn’t like raisins. I love the flavour combination of the swirl – cinnamon, nutmeg, pecans and chocolate – and it goes so well with the buttery, orangy cake.

I’m not surprised there was no picture for this recipe in the book but it really tastes better than it looks. :)

One new thing this year that I’m very happy about is Little Guy going to school twice a week at the school just 10 minutes from the house. As long as the weather permits, we would walk there and back. This morning I let him cycle to school on his bike that has never seen the outdoors before. It has always been an indoor toy and now that it’s almost time to give it away, I decided to let Little Guy use it on the streets before he really outgrows it!  Time to seek out a new bike for him…

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2011 in Baking, Food, Life

 

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Banana-Coconut Cake

I saw these mini-loaf pans and thought they’re cute. They’re also good for making cakes to give away. They came in a pack of 5.

I recently used them for a banana-coconut cake which is really Dorie Greenspan’s Lots-of-Ways Banana Cake. The full recipe made exactly five mini-cakes and I gave three of them away including one to my friend, Sue, for her birthday.

This banana cake is moist with chewy coconut shreds. It’s great as a snack or after-school snack for kids and also good for breakfast with tea for mommy! I didn’t frost these cakes but I’m sure they’ll be fantastic with a cream cheese frosting.

Lots-of-Ways Banana Cake
(Adapated from Baking: From my Home to Yours)


2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar (or granulated sugar)
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons dark rum
About 4 very ripe bananas, mashed (you should have 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 cups)
1/2 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk, regular (stir well before measuring)
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut, preferably toasted

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 5 mini loaf pans, dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg together. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugars and beat at medium speed for a couple of minutes, then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, followed by the vanilla and rum. Lower the speed and add the bananas – the batter will curdle, but that’s fine; it will come together as you add the remaining ingredients. Still on low speed, add the dry and liquid ingredients alternately, adding the flour mixture in 3 portions and the coconut milk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients). Mix just until everything is incorporated. Switch to a rubber spatula and gently stir in the coconut. Divide the batter evenly between the pans. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the cakes are a deep golden brown. They should start to pull away from the sides of the pans and a thin knife inserted into their centers will come out clean. Transfer the cakes to a cooling rack and cool for 5 minutes, then unmold and invert onto another rack to cool to room temperature right side up.

For the original recipe, along with the ways to play around, click here.

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2011 in Baking, Food

 

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French Fridays with Dorie: Corn Soup

This is the first time I’m making corn soup. I’m not sure if corn soup is French but Dorie thinks it would have been had sweet corn been one of their native crops. This soup is delicious and, as Dorie said, quite substantial (probably due to the corn’s high fibre content and the whole milk!)

The base of the soup – fresh yellow corn.

I got the corn from the Farmers’ Market that opens every Thursday in my town. Most of the farmers were selling peaches and cream corn and just one had a box of yellow corn.

The soup was easy to make – so glad for my immersion blender! I like that it has celery and carrot in it too. It’s a sweet soup with strong flavours from the herbs – rosemary and thyme. I thought my kids wouldn’t like it because of the mixed flavours but they finished their soup. I might use 2% or low-fat milk the next time I make this so it won’t be so filling. We had pizza for dinner with the soup and I couldn’t finish my pizza…

Dorie suggested a garnish for the soup comprising of corn kernels, chopped scallions, chile pepper or cayenne, chopped bacon, and creme fraiche for serving. I didn’t have any of these but I dropped some of the bacon bits from my pizza into the soup and they did go well! As Dorie explains, “because the soup is sweet, it takes well to salty additions…”

I’m going to take a look at other FFWD-er’s soup and see what garnishes and additions they added. You can find the recipe here.

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2011 in Cooking, Food, French Fridays with Dorie

 

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