Monday, 28 May 2012

Muffin Monday: Coffee, Nutella & Brazil Nut Muffins

Since this seems to be the order of the day, three cheers for celebrating our first Muffin Monday in the new place! 

This week's recipe is actually called Coffee Hazelnut Muffins, and I had every intention of leaving the recipe perfectly intact: Nutella and coffee in a muffin? The stuff dreams are made of! Breakfast of champions! Et cetera! 

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Food & Wine Magazine: May Cover Recipe

Thai Chicken with Hot-Sour-Salty-Sweet Sauce
Rating: 4.5/5 - Tastes much better than it smells!


This month's recipe test is a bit of a mixed bag, but with good results. 

My first impression was awe-filled, as usual, taking in the beautiful food photography gracing the cover of the magazine. My second thought was that it felt as though this had been done before, and while not exactly the same, last September we had tested the Thai Chicken & Watermelon Salad, which had many similar ingredients. But those charred, roasted chicken legs on this month's cover looked too gorgeous to pass up, so Jasmine - owner of Cook That Book and founder of these Food & Wine cover recipe tests - graciously agreed to wait until the end of the month for us to post, to allow more time for me to emerge from under this pile of Frog Boxes and to relocate my kitchen appliances!

Our first official meal in the new place was actually made by F. on Monday night, who - after months of me hint-dropping and (let's be honest) outright begging - broke in the smoker I bought him for his birthday last December. The wonderful Cindy from Boneheads BBQ was kind enough to spend a wet, chilly afternoon with us back then giving the birthday boy a smoking lesson, so she would have been proud to see her pupil in action all these months later! His first try was a major - if spicy - success: "What do you mean you can't substitute cayenne for paprika?" Ha! He shared his yield with a few of our new (fantastic!) neighbours who, in the few short days of living here, have already made us feel part of their community.

In any case, this Food & Wine recipe test was the first, official meal that I cooked in the new place, and as a result, I already felt some sort of attachment to it. There was a lot of scurrying around, trying to remember where I put things, hunting through boxes in the basement, opening the same three cupboards at least 5 times, but in the end, I managed to produce this Thai Chicken with Hot-Sour-Salty-Sweet Sauce

There were a few moments along the way where I had my doubts. Truly. The marinade smelled awful, and based on all the wacky and unpleasant things I've consumed over the years, it takes a lot to make me feel that way. 

Second, F. hates cilantro, and with over 3/4 a cup of the stuff in this recipe, I had visions of the boy going to bed hungry or needing a snack to compensate for his unfinished dinner. While I quite enjoy the flavour of cilantro, I've started using cilantro paste in recipes, rather than fresh, as somehow it softens the flavour and disguises it a little more for the haters. Still, with so much of it being used, any attempt to disguise the flavour started to seem a bit ridiculous. 

Third, with 1/4 cup of fish sauce in the dipping sauce, I really wondered if that classic, Southeast Asian  balance of spicy-sour-salty-sweet would be achieved. It seemed overpowering. But in chefs I trust, so I went for it.

Friday, 18 May 2012

My 1st Blogoversary

I knew this day was coming. 

For weeks, I've had little fantasies about what decadent treat I'd bake or dinner I'd stew to celebrate the milestone. Would I time my Monthly Miette for today? Or something entirely new - a recipe I'd been meaning to make for months? Maybe - oooh - maybe I would finally incorporate those beautiful new spices I'm the proud new owner of? 

For all the fantasizing in the world, I actually have no food photos or recipes to share with you today. And I'm sorry for that. Instead, this 'full plate' I've been referring to in so many posts lately has come to a head, and can be explained succinctly by the photo below.

Yes! The house is sold. Over are the days of panic cleaning sessions and jetting out of the house for showings, as is folding all the clothes in our closet and never, ever leaving socks on the floor. No more eating at the coffee table for fear of ruining our pretty display on the dining table, and we're over using the spare shower in order to keep the fancy one with the glass doors sparkling. 

So now what? The past couple of weeks have meant long nights of packing, sorting, wrapping, and purging before we move. It has also meant finding many a mom-cooked meal in the fridge, quite magically, which offered us a most welcome head-start every evening. (Moms, huh?) 

And when, precisely, do we move, you ask? Oh, just tomorrow. In what I think was a pretty gracious concession on our behalf - from day of sale to day of closure - we had just about 3 weeks to pack up and move out. And while this business with the house is actually not the only thing piling up on that full plate of mine (believe it or not), it does, I hope, account for the fact that this is the first post I've written in the month of May.

I just couldn't let this day pass without announcing something I find pretty exciting: I have officially been blogging for one, whole, entire year. That is quite an achievement for me, friends! Previous blogging attempts over the years have usually met their pinnacle around the 1 month mark, only to head downhill - quite abruptly - afterward. 

So do bear with me during these weeks and months of transition. Food blogging and story-telling has quickly become one of the most gratifying endeavours I've ever laid eyes (and fingers and tastebuds) on, and I can't wait to see what the upcoming year of writing and eating holds.

Thank you so much to everyone who has ever followed, retweeted, commented, and encouraged over the past year. It has made every single word and every single photo (alas, while my food went cold) completely and utterly worthwhile.