Thursday, 28 November 2013

Losanges Noix et Chocolat (Chocolate Walnut Diamonds)

 I'm so sorry for not updating regularly enough.  I have been cooking - for instance I made these exactly a week ago today!  I could have updated but I've been busy, so I apologize.  

There's just been so much work and stress and anxiety from many different areas - it's no longer just Economics that's the source of all evil.  In fact, this semester, Economics hasn't been too bad.  I had a very cute and clever professor who just made everything better.  That's the key to learning for me maybe.  It did motivate me to work very very hard, yet I still did badly on the test, so I don't know... I didn't want him to think that I was an idiot but... meeeeh.

Again, from Christoph Felder, this guy's just fantastic.  This book, everything I've made has been good (except for my tried and failed attempt of his croissants).

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Saffron Risotto (Risotto alla Milanese)

Give an Italian saffron and the first response is saffron risotto (risotto alla milanese).  That was my response at least, after my friend gave me saffron from Lebanon.

Risotto alla Milanese is a beautiful risotto with saffron and parmesan.  It's a classic. 

Remember, the key to any good risotto is lots of stirring.  They're not hard to make, it just takes time and care.  In the winter it's actually not bad to be hovering over a stove stirring a pot with the steam in your face.  My clothes still smell of saffron - I think it's wonderful.  It's like smelling of gold. 
 Credits to Qi, who took the photos and gave me the saffron.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Coffee Liqueur & Raisin Ganache Squares

These are luxurious little bites of bliss.  These were cut into 1" squares but I'd suggest you to have them even smaller - they taste fantastic.  I don't care if you're not a fan of raisins, you should still try them.
 When I was small, whenever I cried or was upset, my father would give me a piece of chocolate -- and just like that everything was okay.

Two days ago I got my care package from my father - and it made my day.  My father doesn't normally do these things, not because he doesn't care, but simply because he's just incredibly busy.  He's the type that's always on his phone, rarely home for dinner, but with whatever free time he has, he dedicates it all to his family.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Lemongrass and Ginger Braided Bread

There's this picture of me as a child with braided hair, grinning with my mother.  I hated doing anything with my hair when I was small.  I wouldn't even let anyone comb it except for my sister.  My hair was always a mess and only my sister could comb it painlessly.  But I remember my mother braiding it on a few occasions with me wincing in pain like a baby.  I rarely braid my hair now.

My mother used to also make the best of breads.  See, she would spend ages perfecting a recipe, and then she would never make it again.  That's how it was with her sourdough breads and her ricottas and her cakes.  And then that's it.  Weeks of sourdough breads and then you reach that peak of perfection and that's it.  I miss my mother's breads.  I miss her braiding my hair, I miss her.  Making bread always reminds me of my mother.
I brought this bread to an  Italian themed dinner that was meant to cater for a girl that was allergic to wheat and a girl that was allergic to gluten.  Yea, I was an inconsiderate idiot.  Still tasted good though.

Brussel Sprouts with Everything Nice

I was thinking about chefs that work in high-end Michelin-starred restaurants.  I was thinking about the pressure and the stress of all the precision and accuracy...  Every plate has to look identical and perfect.  As a customer, I think the food that comes out of those kitchens taste fantastic, but I don't know if I'd like to work as that kind of a chef.  Just look at what I'm doing here.  I went to the supermarket with a friend and I offered to cook her dinner.  She came to mine, I looked at what I had and I just made this.  It's the kind of cooking I love.  Look at the recipe, look at how imprecise this is (I'm sorry).  I don't remember how much tahini I put in there, it could've been half a tbsp it could've been 1tbsp.  Taste and adjust as you go. 
But it's made with love and passion and creativity and everything I believe cooking should be about.

You can toss it with some pasta or grains, or serve on top of bread.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Parmesan and Thyme Scones

I was having the best of days and I couldn’t tell you why.  I was a ball of sunshine just radiating joy.  I was in the library – where all hope goes to die, and yet I was on top of the world.  I wasn’t very productive, I spent hours just browsing on the internet, yet I knew of it.  I knew I wasn’t productive, I knew I had to study for my test on Thursday, but for that day nothing mattered.  I had been under the same nail-biting, hair-pulling, pen-chewing stress for the past month. And whenever I took any time off, it was worse, I had that guilt. That nauseating guilt just at the pit of my stomach. 

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Vanilla and Apricot Whole Grain Scones

After finishing my essay two nights ago, all I wanted to do was relax and bake, before starting revision for my test on Thursday.
 If you had to choose a food item to represent a relationship you have with someone, could you? My relationship with my flatmate can be scones. We used to frequent a cafe together than had scones of the day everyday - they had such exciting flavors, like coconut and orange, banana and brown sugar, Mars Bars etc etc. I loved their scones, and she just loves scones in general. Unfortunately I'm not the biggest fan of the cafe otherwise. It's apparently where Kate met Will if you guys follow the royal family. Well, if I end up meeting a man here I hope he takes me to another cafe.

Friday, 8 November 2013

The Perfect Bowl of Porridge

I know that it's simply sacrilegious to be making oatmeal in the microwave in Scotland, but I'm guilty of it.  1 part quick rolled oats, 2 parts water, give it a quick mix and pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds.  Season, add a dash of milk, and that's my breakfast on most days.

Then I followed this recipe for the perfect bowl of porridge.  The author describes the porridge as "just right". 

This bowl of porridge was much more than "just right".

Like I've said before, for me, having porridge in the morning in winter is like falling in love.  Well, with this bowl of porridge it was better -- it was first love.  It's that tingling warmth you have at the bottom of your stomach that rises up and warms through your entire body and soul and puts the color on your face.  That reassurance of happiness, peace, kindness and life and sunshine, snowflakes and flowers.  That purity and innocence and simplicity that makes you reminisce and smile.

It is much more than "just right".  It's first love all over again.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Lemon Coconut Bars

Lemon bars are happy.  It's the color, it's the bright yellow, it's the tart and the sweet and soft filling against the crunch of the base.  Lemon bars are what you need on a dark winter's day in Scotland.

See, I have this wonderful weather app: it not only tells you what the current temperature is but it tells you what it feels like.  I've surely mentioned this.  I love talking about the weather, it's all I talk about with people.  Weather and food.  Those were certainly the main topics of conversation at the lunch where these lemon coconut bars were consumed, so I wouldn't be surprised if you find me talking about this exact same weather app in other posts. 

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Tawny Port Cake

It was a long day.  I came home at around midnight from the library and decided to make cake.  That is how I relax.  I put on my apron, turned on the oven, grabbed the butter and eggs out of the fridge, opened my cupboard, and pondered.  Then I saw the bottle of tawny port I had laying around, and settled on that.  I had found a recipe for a sherry cake awhile back.  It was in a Delicious Magazine, and I sneakily took a photo of that page in the store.  Gotta love smart phones.  I have so many shots of recipes from cookbooks in book stores.  I mean, sometimes I really just like 2 or 3 recipes from a cookbook.  No need to spend so much $$$ on it.  I just pretend I'm texting.

This cake is so incredibly moist.  Some people are very uncomfortable with that word but that's the best way to describe this cake.  I don't know if it's the port that makes it so.  Also, you can definitely taste the port and it's just delicious.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Miso Raspberry Pistachio Lentil Salad


Competition is still on!  Less than 24 hours to go, like my page, follow me on twitter and post a potential nut butter flavor on my facebook timeline.  For more information, check this post

Ok so.

Food is always on my mind.  Sometimes I genuinely feel like I may have ADHD because I have such difficulties focusing.  I'd be in lectures, or in a conversation with someone, and suddenly my mind would go to food.  Ingredients, combinations, flavors, colors, plating.  It always goes to food. 

So I was in a very interesting class about face perception and attraction and I started thinking about raspberries.  Raspberries in savory dishes.  Not a sauce that goes with meat, but just something light.  And then I created this little ingredient spider diagram in my head with one of the spider legs ending with miso and raspberries.

What I do when I have a new idea is google.  Because unfortunately I can't be the first one to think of a revolutionary food pairing -- if it hasn't happened yet, it's likely that an amateur cook like me can't make the pairing taste good.
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