Tuesday, 27 March 2012

#MonthlyMiettes - March Round-Up - Tomboy Cake

I decided I'd wait to write about my experience making the Tomboy Cake until I posted the round-up for March. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now I'm feeling a little bashful after seeing the beautiful cakes made by everyone else who participated in this challenge! Ladies - bravo!

I have to be mindful of the fact that I started this challenge to challenge myself in the baking department, fully knowing I might not have the prettiest cake or that it might not turn out every time. My goal is to come out on the other end of this book as a more accomplished baker. I was definitely quite proud of my Tomboy when I made it, however, and even more proud when I tasted it! 

I am thrilled that I'm in such fine company and among such wonderful bakers for this first month's challenge - thank you so much for participating! Readers and visitors, before you read on, please go visit their posts and prepare to swoon over their stunning recreations. Below are links to their posts, as well as a preview of what you'll find there.

Athena Plichta of Athena Plichta Photography 

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Food & Wine Magazine: March Cover Recipe

Flax-Coconut Pancakes
Rating: 4 out of 5 (Fabulous pancakes, but quite an investment!)

My goodness we love breakfast in our household. Breakfast for breakfast, breakfast for lunch, breakfast for dinner, breakfast for snacks; it's definitely a favourite meal and in all its manifestations.

While I was unable to participate in Cook That Book's cover challenge in February, I simply could not resist the allure of that beautiful stack of pancakes on the front of March's cover, and neither could F. Since he picks up the mail every day, he actually gets to see what's on the cover of my new F&W mags before I do, so it's usually the first thing out of his mouth as he walks through the door. "Are you gonna make this one?!"

And who could refuse him with that hopeful gleam in his eye?

Intentions are one thing, however, but actually getting down to the nitty gritty of reading the recipe and preparing to make it are another. I knew for weeks I was going to make these pancakes, but what was so special about them? I'd plan to read the recipe over the following day's lunch break, which turned into the next day's lunch, and the next day's, and the next day's... and so on. So last week when Jasmine and I were coming up with a mutually acceptable post date, it occurred to me that I should probably see what all the fuss was about and read the recipe. Since they were just pancakes - I bet they have yogurt in them - I suspected I'd find everything in my pantry with the exception of the fruit for topping.

How wrong I was!

What makes these pancakes special? They're GLUTEN FREE. So what did I have in my pantry to make them? NOTHING.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Muffin Monday: Honey Lemon Olive Oil Muffins

After what feels like an achingly long 2.5 months away from the Muffin Monday community, I have made a comeback this week, joining the crew in making some Honey Lemon Olive Oil muffins with Lemon Glaze. I've missed you guys! 

With a little extra (and rare) downtime on my hands last week, I emailed Anuradha to see what the week's recipe was, and was delighted to see that these muffin contained so many of my favourite things.

There are few flavours I love more than lemon. Lemon anything and I'm in. I typically buy the large lemons at the grocery store, but considering Meyer lemons are still in season in the US right now, I thought I'd give those a try. What a difference! Their juice was much darker, and their flavour that much richer. They were also much softer and easier to squeeze. Considering lemons don't exactly thrive in this part of the world, the Meyers were a wonderful new discovery for me. As if my first (and thus far, last) batch of lemon curd wasn't already good and luscious enough, I couldn't help but wonder how much better it'd taste using Meyers. 

Monday, 5 March 2012

T'ga Za Jug

I got used to drinking wine out of tumblers because of a Spanish restaurant I used to frequent while living in Germany. Conveniently, the restaurant - Lizarran - lent a touch of class to the fact that my first, sparsely furnished German kitchen had me drinking wine out of old mugs from the Christmas market until I could start earning a better salary. 

Now, whenever I'm enjoying one, indulgent, weeknight glass of wine, I prefer to drink it out of a tumbler. 

Drinking wine this way makes it a little more casual and relaxing, somehow, and always makes me nostalgic for Bonn and old, wonderful friends. (Maria, amiga, te extraño!) For any special occasion, or just when we needed a night out, Lizarran became our go-to food and wine retreat. In the heart of Altstadt (city center), it was hip and atmospheric enough to make us feel like we were treating ourselves, while still fitting nicely within our junior professional budgets. It was often over tapas and tumblers that Maria would tutor me in Spanish, trying (in vain) to help me improve my accent and learn new words. To this day, the names of tapas are still what I understand and pronounce best in Spanish, despite Maria's best efforts to broaden my vocabulary! Nonetheless, I can attest to the fact that alcohol does magically enhance anyone's ability to speak a second language. 

Admittedly, it really doesn't take much to make me miss Bonn (and Maria), but some things pack more punch than others. Isn't it funny how something as simple as a tumbler can conjure up so many memories? Food and drink can be such powerful conduits that way. Like how a scent or taste can immediately transport you somewhere else. 

Ever the photo-tourists, here is Maria and me attempting to capture ourselves in Sardinia in April 2007.