Soft Pretzels

Posted on: June 24th, 2012 by admin 3 Comments

They are just so delicious aren’t they?  I can’t think of many people who don’t love a big chewy bite with coarse salt and some mustard.  Well hold my mustard, but you know what I mean.  Pretzels are wonderful to make yourself, they are surprisingly easy, just taking a little time.  They are well worth it for the smell in your house alone.  I like to make a double batch and do half with coarse salt and half dipped in butter and cinnamon sugar.

The traditional recipe calls for a lye bath, but I just can’t see how that can be healthy.  Anything that requires goggles and gloves in the kitchen scares me.

  • 2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast (1/4 ounce or 1 packet)
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 c warm water
  • 3 c all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted (or you can use vege oil)

For boiling:

  • 4 – 8 c water
  • 2 Tbsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp coarse salt

Mix yeast, coarse salt, sugar, and warm water in a small bowl, whisking until sugar dissolves. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Slowly pour yeast mixture over flour mixture, stirring to combine. Using your hands, gather dough together. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until it is no longer sticky, about 5 minutes. Cover with plastic, and let rise for 30 minutes.

Cut dough into 12 pieces, and roll each into an 18-inch rope. Form a U shape with 1 rope, and twist ends together twice. Fold twisted portion backward towards the center of the U shape, then gently press ends of rope onto dough to seal. Transfer to an oiled baking sheet, and repeat. Let rise for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 250ºC (475ºF). Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add baking soda. Boil pretzels in batches until puffed and slightly shiny, 1 minutes per side. Transfer to wire racks to drain. Return to baking sheet, sprinkle with pretzel salt, and bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Pretzels will keep, uncovered, at room temperature for up to 12 hours.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

Song for this recipe:

“The denial twist” – The White Stripes The Denial Twist - Get Behind Me Satan

The White Stripes were an American rock band from Detroit, Michigan. The group consisted of songwriter Jack White and drummer Meg White. Jack and Meg were previously married to each other, but are now divorced – there was always a lot of mystery surrounding their relationship, people said they were bro and sis…  Anyway I like Jack White.  I like his voice, he writes good songs, in most of his forms of bands (the Raconteurs, the Dead Weathers) and he’s an interesting character- which I expect from a rock musician.  Even though the White Stripes are no longer together, Jack has a new solo album out now, which I also like so far.

Yellow cupcakes with peach frosting

Posted on: June 10th, 2012 by admin 7 Comments

I usually don’t refer to cupcakes by their colour.  But I had one of these yellow cupcakes that Jessica made last week and it was one of the best cupcakes I have ever eaten!  Seriously.  So I made them too.  An awesome no-fail recipe I’d say.  Joy of baking really is good for some basic recipes.  These cupcakes are ‘yellow’ because of the extra egg yolks.  It also makes them particularly rich in flavour, but they are light and fluffy in texture.  Wonderful.

Peach frosting was something I thought would be nice and summery.  I really enjoy making icing with fresh fruit.  It gives a subtle colour and a nice delicate flavour.  I will let you know in the recipe where you can use another fruit or no fruit too.

  • 1 1/2 c (195 g) flour (all purpose)
  • 1 c (200 g) caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c (113 g) butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c sour cream or plain yogurt

Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF) and line or grease a 12 hole cupcake tin.

In a bowl, mix together the dry ingredients – flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

In another bowl beat the butter, eggs and vanilla until smooth, then mix in the sour cream gently.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mixing until well incorporated, but don’t over mix.

Spoon the batter into the muffin cups until they are 3/4 full.  Then pop them into the oven and bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Or until pale gold and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.  Let them cool on a wire rack and ice when cool.  These are tastiest the same or next day, but will last at room temperature for 4-5 days.

Here are the cute cupcakes that inspired me!  From Jessica.

Peach frosting

This icing is SO delicious.  I am so proud that I invented this – although it’s so basic I’m sure someone has previously also invented it!  I don’t love peaches to eat – which is weird I know.  But I do love them in pies, cobbler, cake etc…  This recipe is easy, tasty and a little unusual, which is a wonderful treat.

  • 1 1/2 c icing/confectioners sugar
  • 1/3 c butter, softened
  • 1/4 c peach juice (1 peach)

To make the peach juice, cut up one peach and place in a small saucepan on low heat.  Stir regularly until the peaches soften.  When they are soft, push the peach pieces through a sieve with the back of a spoon.  You should get about 1/4 c from one peach.

Mix all the ingredients together until smooth and creamy.  If it’s too runny, add a little more icing sugar, too thick, add a little drop of milk.  Ice the cupcakes and enjoy!

Song for this recipe:

“Peaches (Vienna 88)” – Frank Zappa Peaches (Vienna 88) - The Frank Zappa Aaafnraaaaam Birthday Bundle

Frank Zappa was pretty awesome.  This album The Frank Zappa AAAFNRAA Birthday Bundle is good fun.  It’s hard to explain Frank Zappa if you don’t know him.  He’s passed away now, but for a long time he wrote rock, jazz, orchestral and musique concrète works. He also directed feature-length films and music videos, and designed album covers. Zappa produced almost all of the more than 60 albums he released with the band The Mothers of Invention and as a solo artist.  He’s a wacky character, but I especially like this song right now.  It’s celebratory.  Which is perfect because it’s Kelly’s birthday.  My little sis.  I hope this is your happiest year yet Kel.  xo

Lemon blueberry cheesecake bars

Posted on: May 17th, 2012 by admin 4 Comments

Cheesecake is my favourite cake.  In fact for Christmas when my family were asking what I might like for a gift – I asked for a cheesecake. And my brother made me one. Sometimes I crave a piece during the week, but if you’ve ever made a cheesecake you know – they take a lot of cream cheese.  In fact, so much cream cheese, that cheesecake might be the only cake that is cheaper to buy ready made than from scratch. Also then you have a whole cheesecake to get through. Which could be a good thing or not, generally you have to give half away, (unless you’ve a big family). What I am getting at is, sometimes you need a cheesecakey treat that’s not quite as indulgent as a whole cheesecake. Like these bars! Wonderfully creamy, lightly lemony, a pop of blueberry, with a satisfying slightly spiced crust. That with a cider in the afternoon sun and I’m set.

For the base:

  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 15 graham crackers (if you can’t get them, you can make them or use digestives or gingersnaps)
  • 115 g (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 455 g (16 oz) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 165ºC (325ºF). Butter the bottom and sides of a 22 x 22 cm (9 x 9 inch) baking pan.  (Please note – we love to make this recipe x by 1.5 and use a 12 x 8 inch pan also – the bars go too fast otherwise!)

In a plastic bag – or food processor, crush up the graham crackers into chunky crumbs. In a bowl, mix the sugar, cinnamon and graham crackers. Add the melted butter and mix until everything is incorporated. Pour the mixture into the baking pan and press it evenly into the base of the pan – you can push it down with the bottom of a glass. Bake this base for 12 minutes. When it comes out of the oven, set it aside to cool.

Meanwhile prepare the filling, it will make a big difference if you make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature, this will make the bars nice and creamy. In a bowl start by mixing the cream cheese, then add the eggs, one at a time, then the lemon zest and juice, cream and sugar. Mix until the ingredients are creamy and blended together well. Pour over top of the cooled crust (it can still be a tiny bit warm). Then evenly sprinkle on the blueberries (they will sink in a little, which is great!)

 

Bake the whole thing for 35 minutes. Only allow the top to get a hint of brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Then refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Cooling slowly is important to stop cheesecakes cracking. Cut into bars and sprinkle with powdered sugar if you like.

Original recipe a mix of Martha Stewart and Tyler Florence.

Song for this recipe:

“Pirate in the water” – Santigold Pirate In the Water - Master of My Make-Believe

Santigold is like a good MIA.  Ha – boy I’ll get into trouble with that statement. But seriously, she’s been around a while now, her first album is an oldy but goodie. I like her because she has a good combo of beats and catchy lyrics, but she’s different too.  Her new album is really fun, still Santigold style, which she calls “genre-less” music. It’s true, I guess I’d call it maybe indie rock, with some new wave and synth pop elements. Bah who knows? Give her a listen, she’ll make you feel cool.

Eatpress recipes with a twist

Posted on: May 1st, 2012 by admin 2 Comments

We constantly remake most of the recipes on eatpress.  It’s like our online recipe-book that we like to share with others, but we use it more than anyone! There are lots of family recipes here that we bake and re-bake all the time, sometimes with a twist.  For instance, the Milk bread rolls we bake, often turn into either cinnamon scrolls or coconut buns.  The vanilla cookies we always bake for valentines day, often get made in other sandwiches forms.  Scones we make every Sunday, usually classic, but sometimes with nuts added.  So today we thought we’d share some of our favourite twists on recipes already here.

Coconut scrolls

Using the Milk bread rolls recipe.

Plus:

  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 1/4 c milk
  • 3/4 c shredded coconut

In a saucepan on medium heat, add all 3 ingredients and stir gently until the mixture thickens slightly.  This will take only about 3-5 minutes, don’t left it get too hot.  Then turn off the heat and let stand.

Once the dough is made and has risen one time.  You want to roll it out on a floured surface into about a 40cm x 25cm (15 x 9 in) rectangle. Spread coconut mixture all over dough – it will be a little messy! Beginning at the long side, roll up dough into a long log and pinch the edge together to seal. Cut into 12 to 15  roughly 5cm (2 in) slices.

Grease the bottom of baking pan with butter. Place coconut roll slices close together in the pan and let rise until dough is doubled, about another hour. Bake for about 25 – 30 minutes or until nicely browned.

……………………………

Vanilla sandwich cookies

Use our classic vanilla cookie recipe AND the decorator frosting recipe.  Before baking, cut the cookies with a larger cutter and then cut out a little circle from the middle of half the cookies. Bake as usual and when cooled spread the topside of finished cookies with frosting and quickly sandwich together – the frosting will set and the cookies double in value!

 

What are your favourite re-mixed recipes?  Ever made a variation of an eatpress recipe?  We’d love to hear it.

Song for these recipes:

“Kiss” Daft Punk Remix (This is a tricky track to find, but I’m sure if you search you will find!)

Remix recipes while listening to remixes? OK! Daft Punk, what a great time they bring me back to. Listening to Discovery on repeat, while grinding glass for my honours year at University, pretty much in syn with my friend Mere. We listened to that disc like crazy, dancing away with our no-skip disc-mans. And Prince – how could you ever go wrong with Prince? I love that he appears occasionally here in Montreal while the jazz festival is on and does a couple of surprise shows at various secret locations. What a self-loving/loveable man. What I wouldn’t give to stumble on one of those shows…

Lime coconut cupcakes

Posted on: April 22nd, 2012 by admin 4 Comments

I love coconut, fresh especially, but I love to bake with it too.  Beans doesn’t like it in cooking much, so I don’t use it too often, but lately he’s not eating treats at all, so I made these for myself and some girlfriends.  I’ve made them lots of times with lemon or lime, so you can always change out your citrus, lime and coconut do work well together though!  These are so good, they are light, slightly crisp just around the top edge, the lime is not overpowering and the coconut is chewy and delicious.

 

  • 150g (2/3 c) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 c granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp grated lime zest
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c milk
  • 3/4 c desiccated coconut

Grease 12 muffin tins or line with paper muffin cups and preheat oven to 180ºC (350°F).

Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer or by hand. Beat in the eggs one at a time and then add in the lime zest, juice, vanilla and mix well.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet, alternating with the milk, until combined. Mix in the coconut. Spoon the mixture into the muffin tins, to about two thirds full. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow them to cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Lime coconut buttercream frosting:

  • 1/2 c butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp coconut extract (optional)
  • 3 c powdered/icing sugar
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 cup coconut, decorating the tops of the cupcakes

In a medium bowl, beat butter, vanilla, and coconut extract until creamy. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, alternating with lime juice, beating until smooth and combined. Ice the cupcakes as generously as you like and then sprinkle with coconut.

The unfrosted cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to six weeks. Freeze the frosting separately. When defrosting the cupcakes, keep them in the container so that condensation forms on the outside of the package, not the cupcakes.

Recipe modified from Style at home.

Song for this recipe:

“Video games” – Lana Del Rey Video Games - Born to Die

Lana Del Rey is a dreamy singer, she sounds a little sad, but I’m not sure if she just finds being moody cool.  In any case I love her voice and her songs are enjoyable in lots of ways.  I can see this being a big summer album.  It’s relaxed, but interesting, perfect for baking treats on a Sunday and then eating them in front of the telly while playing video games!  (I’ve heard she’s a mess live, but she’s gorgeous, so it must still be quite a show).

Apple cider cake

Posted on: April 9th, 2012 by admin 2 Comments

After a long week of work I really enjoy a cider or two on the weekend.  This Easter we were a little ill prepared in the food department, but we had beverages so we figured we’d be fine whipping up a left-over pasta or a simple curry.  But we’d forgotten about dessert too, so I tried a new cake made with cider.  One sip for me, one for the cake…

Now this cider cake is so wonderful you won’t feel at all bad about sharing your drink with it, promise.  It’s inspired by Jamie Oliver’s apple pepper pot cake, which he baked with cider when he was in Bristol, but I wanted a simpler version and I had seen a great recipe on the blog – Baking for Britain.  I wanted to make a light sponge without fruit, something fast and easy with a hint of spice.  I was especially pleased with how well I could taste the apple and how the bubbles from the cider helped the cake rise to fluffy perfection.

You could easily double this recipe and make 2 cakes to sandwich together with whipped cream and jam.

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c self-raising flour (or 1 c plain flour with 1 tsp baking powder)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 150 ml cider

Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF).  Butter a square, shallow cake tin. Ours was 21cm x 21cm (about 8in x 8in), but you could use a round one too.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy, a good 2-3 minutes, then add vanilla and the eggs one at a time and beat again.

In another bowl sift together the flour, baking soda and the spices, then fold the flour mixture into the creamed butter.  Add the cider and mix just until combined, don’t over mix.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35-40 minutes.  Allow to cool in the tin, then turn out and sprinkle with icing (powdered) sugar.

We served ours with unsweetened whipped cream that had a dash of cinnamon sprinkled through it and fresh strawberries.

Original recipe from Baking for Britain.

Song for this recipe:

“Lordy May” – Boy and Bear Lordy May - Moonfire

I love Boy and Bear and while they are similar to a few indie rock bands around, Fleet foxes, Mumford & Sons etc, the reason I love them above the others is Dave Hoskings voice.  I’ve been trying to explain it for the last few minutes, but instead I reckon you should just have a listen and tell me if you like it too.  Their tunes are excellent and even though there’s plenty of it, I’m always happy to hear good Aussie music.

Happy Easter and Passover for those of you who celebrate.

Milk bread rolls

Posted on: March 25th, 2012 by admin 6 Comments

I think I crave bread more than other foods.  All baked goods actually.  But yeasty breads are definitely my weakness.  Especially when I see an image of fresh baked bread rolls – I have to make them.  The smell in the house, the warm out-of-the-oven softness, the satisfaction when eating lunch the next day. So many good things to do with baking bread.

We often use milk bread when we make French toast.  It’s the best bread to use, we find.  Portuguese bakeries often bake these rolls, which are pretty easy to make yourself.  All you really need is a little time when using yeast – it’s not hard, you just need something to do in the hour that it rises.

This recipe was inspired by one of those pictures – that makes your tastebuds instantly crave.

  • 2 1/4 tsp (that’s about 1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 2 Tbsp warm water
  • 1 c milk
  • 70 g (5 Tbsp) butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 c bread flour
  • 1 1/2 – 2 c all purpose flour
  • (Bread flour makes for fluffier bread, but if you don’t have it, you can just use 3-4 c regular flour)

Egg wash

  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt

In a large bowl stir together yeast, warm water and a pinch of the sugar- let sit for 5 minutes. Add melted butter (cooled), milk, remaining sugar, egg and salt and mix to combine. Gradually mix in flours (just do 3 cups first and build up from there) until the dough is formed and not too sticky.

Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.

Lightly coat a large clean bowl with a neutral oil (I use canola), form the dough into a big ball and place in the bowl. Cover with a tea towel or plastic and let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until doubled in size.

Punch down the dough and divide into 12-18 pieces (depending on what size roll you want – I made 14 ).  Roll the dough into a ball and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat. If you want individual rolls, place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. If you like pull apart rolls, place them shoulder-to-shoulder on the sheet.

Cover the rolls with a tea towel or lightly greased plastic and let them rise again.  This time for about 45 min – 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 215ºC (420ºF). Whisk together the egg and pinch of salt to create an egg wash. Brush the rolls with egg wash and bake for 15 minutes until the rolls sound hollow when thumped on the bottoms.

Recipe adapted from the daily waffle/the joy of cooking.

Song for this recipe:

“Cameo lover” Kimbra Cameo Lover - Vows

Kimbra is a New Zealand singer who seems to be becoming more popular due to her recent collaboration with Goyte on the track “Somebody that I used to know”.  Her solo album is pretty good, a nice mix of interesting tunes and good beats, even if the lyrics aren’t always my cup of tea – but I think that’s because the album is called ‘Vow’s’.  It’s a pretty great listen from beginning to end, which I appreciate, she has a terrific voice.  I especially find it suits parties and Sundays.