Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I grew up eating crumpets in the mornings. You'd pop one in the toaster, slather it with butter, and then honey. After a while all the liquids you had placed on top of the crumpet would ooze through the porous dough and leak out onto your plate.

These days I go down to the Crumpet Shop in Seattle near the market downtown. I sip a cup of tea, eat a crumpet and watch the people go into the strip show place across the road. I have to say it's one of my favorite haunts....

Anyway this is my first attempt at making these guys at home. It was an interesting experience. Basically there were two risings; the first was just the yeast (about an hour), the second was with baking soda added (around 30min). The second one with the baking soda was there to infuse the dough with little bubble, but there weren't enough for my liking. I think perhaps I waited too long and the bubble had destabilized. I would make them again though, as they were pretty good.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Strawberry, Mint and Black Pepper Jam

This is so good. It's a nice dense preserve, with a little bit of freshness from the mint, and a smidge of a bite from the black pepper.

Great on rye bread, and I think it would work really well as a base for a tart with a simple vanilla pastry cream and fresh strawberries and mint on top.

Once again the strawberries are magnificent. The colours are amazing, the flavors intense. I would recommend preserving these flavors for winter.

Taken from Mes Confiture

Friday, June 26, 2009

Strawberry and Mint Tart

Well, it is strawberry season after all....I realize I have been on a huge strawberry bend, but they are just so magnificent at the moment. So this is yet another tart featuring strawberries. It is from 'Mes Tartes: The Sweet and Savory Tarts of Christine Ferber' By Christine Ferber.

This tart has a simple pate sucree base, with a frangapani filling and a little vanilla pastry cream on top. On top of all that are gorgeous strawberries, some icing sugar and a dash of fresh mint.

It's amazing what beautiful produce can achieve!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Reject Macaroons with Strawberries

I've been on a fix lately to try and make macaroons like Thomas Keller makes in his at Boucheron

I had some cream, some strawberries and some marzipan liquor so I decided to make strawberry shortcakes with macaroons instead. I simply infused the cream with the marzipan liquor, let the strawberries macerate in some sugar and then assembled everything.

A delectable dessert, especially with gorgeously fresh strawberries.
Bakery, but I failed miserably. The thing was they were really tasty, but they were just well, seriously flat.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Rustic Bread

I've been making all my breads by hand lately. There is something so satisfying in the knowledge that you really don't require machines (bar the oven) to make some really good bread. I also love touching the dough and learning through the feel of a dough if it is read; ready to be mixed some more, ready to have more water added, ready to be shaped, to be baked, ready to be eaten.

This was a bread that was pretty simple, again it did have a preferment, but it was a pretty easy bread to make and shape. It has a mixture of mostly white bread flour but with a bit of rye and whole wheat thrown in as well, so it's a little earthy in it's flavor. I added rosemary and salt to the top of the bread because Josh loves those two together.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Faux Canneles

We went to Portland recently and visited the bakery 'St. Honore'. They had some good looking stuff in their pastry case including a cannele, which I have to admit I had never had before. So I got one. They are really good. A mix of burnt sugar and rum and balled up in this dense yet moist cakey type thing. I wanted to try and make one. The only thing is they have this swanky mold they use, which I don't have. Nevertheless, as I'm not French and don't really have any attachment to having my cannele in the proper mold (so I used cupcake tins). I used the great recipe for 'Canneles Pretenders' of Tartelettes blog http://tartelette.blogspot.com/2007/06/canneles-pretenders.html.

They turned out really well.
Also, strawberries are seriously good right now, and so is rhubarb...so I thought I would combine the beautifully tasty (remember burnt sugar and rum) with the sweet tart of strawberries and rhubarb. They paired surprisingly well!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Strawberry and Rhubarb Jam: Welcome Strawberries

Happy Strawberry season everyone! Make sure you hit the farmers markets and ask to sample the strawberries. I've found that last week many had no flavor but looked delicious, I found the strawberries I used in the jam after around 5 tasters at other stalls. I think we're getting more into the thick of strawberry season this week at least, so there shouldn't be such an issue with flavor.

have to say I'm new to the strawberry and rhubarb sensation - but I'm no less enthusiastic about it then a veteran. The combo is amazing. So in this is one of my attempts to create a bit of summer for enjoyment in winter.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I love baguettes, but I've made them quite a few times before so I thought I would try a different type of presentation - an epi. Epi is short for 'epi de ble' which translates to a 'sheaf of wheat'.

This baguette had a poolish preferment (a preferment is a type of fermentation which adds to the flavor of a bread, cuts down on the use of yeast and helps with time management). I do it mostly for flavor, and this is my favorite type of baguette.
I like the epi because you can rip of a kernel and eat it straight away or dip it in something tasty.

Again, from Hamelman.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Plum and Walnut Cake

These are really stunning. They are moist, slightly sweet, just a tad nutty and get better with age. I had some of this gorgous cake at Quillisascut farm. We used walnuts from the walnut tree they had as well as plums they had gathered and dehydrated late last year. It was so good, so I thought I would try making this at home.

I also made these for my good friend Tricia's birthday - she said she liked them!

This recipe is from the book: 'Chefs on the Farm: Recipes and Inspiration from the Quillisascut Farm School od of the Domestic Arts' by Shannon Borg, Lora Lea Misterly and Karen Jurgensen.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Pain Rustique

Josh makes these amazingly good sandwiches with a local product called field roast, aoli and caramelized red onions. We usually go out and buy the bread rolls for them, but this time I decided to make them.

This bread is called Pain Rustique. It's a rather wet dough that requires more folding then punching, but it's a pretty easy dough to work with once you get the hang of it. I think they key is to not worry about the shape too much, instead spread the dough out on your counter top in a roughly rectangular shape, and use a metal bench scraper to cut the dough into squares. Easy as that!

This bread is once again from the Hamelman book 'Bread: A Bakers Book of Techniques and Recipes'.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake - with Homemade Ricotta

I've been fascinated with homemade everything lately. I think going to the farm in Quilisascut kinda inspires that. It's pretty amazing to look in a fridge and pantry and see cheese you made, preserves you've made, oil you've infused and other such delectable things.

So on that note I decided to make ricotta cheese. I knew it was easy I'd seen it made on the farm. All you need to do to make ricotta is add an acid to your milk (unpasteurized or pasteurized, ultra pasteurized won't work). I added citric acid, but I've seen it done with lemon juice as well as vinegar.

I've used the ricotta in a few applications, mainly pasta, but I wanted to make something sweet using it, so I made this cake; a lemon ricotta cheesecake using the ricotta I made the day before. Apparently this is a very Italian type of cake. I'm not quite sure what that means, but it was pretty tasty - so the Italians must be onto something! Beware thpough, as there is a bunch of fat in the crust it does burn easily so pay attention to the smells your oven is emitting...unlike me..

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Quillisascut Farm

This past weekend I went to farm near Rice Washington to make breads in a wood fire oven. It was a beautiful place called Quillisascut Farm (http://quillisascut.com). We made bread and food for 4 days, milked goats, made cheese and enjoyed the beautiful weather and bounty that nature provided.