Friday, July 25, 2014

FFWD - Provencal Vegetable Soup

For French Friday with Dorie this week, we made Provencal Vegetable Soup.  This is a stock-based soup chock full of pasta and vegetables.

As you can see, this soup contains lots of brightly coloured vegetables.  Mine is even brighter because I substituted sweet potato for white potato in the recipe.  I could only buy 4 ears of corn, so I opted to leave it out rather than spend money on unwanted corn.

As ever, I reduced the liquid more than I probably should have, but that didn't matter to me - I liked the chunkiness of my soup.  Overall, I rated this soup as delicious. 

To see what the other Doristas thought of this soup, visit the LYL section of the FFWD website.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

WWDH - Yorkshire Puddings

For Wednesday with Donna Hay this week, I chose something that has long been on my list to make - Yorkshire puddings.  This recipe comes from p120 of Modern Classics I.

 I had read that the requirements for successful Yorkshire puddings are a hot oven and hot oil (or in this case, lard).  Accordingly, I made sure of both before adding the batter to the muffin trays.

I think my Yorkshire puddings turned out pretty well - they were golden and puffy.  I served mine with a steak and gravy:

To see what Kayte, Margaret, Chaya and Sarah thought of this recipe, visit their websites.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Blueberry and Yoghurt Muffins with Lemon Sugar

Everybody loves a muffin, and so it seemed when I baked Donna Hay's Blueberry and Yoghurt Muffins with Lemon Sugar, a recipe I found in Sunday Style magazine.  These muffins disappeared like hotcakes, and I can understand why, having eaten one and a half of them myself. They are tangy and lemony, with bursts of juicy blueberries in every mouthful.  The lemon sugar on top adds a pleasant crunch.

Here's a peek inside:

I would definitely make these muffins again - they are simply scrumptious.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Date and Apple Cakes

I am a huge fan of dates, and I eat them like lollies.  Accordingly, when I saw a recipe for date and apple cakes on p69 of the July 2014 edition of Taste magazine, I had to make them.

These date and apple cakes tend towards the healthier side of things, as they contain spelt flour instead of plain flour, and coconut oil.  They contain comparatively little sugar, with the sweetness coming primarily from the dates.  Best of all, they are moist and delicious. The magazine served them with a caramel sauce, so that they resembled little sticky date puddings, but I didn't bother with the sauce.

To make these little cakes, you will need:

135g pitted dried dates
250ml water
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
60ml (1/4 cup) solid coconut oil
1/3 cup sugar (they used coconut sugar, I used white sugar)
240g white spelt flour
2 eggs
1 peeled and grated Granny Smith apple
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and spray a 12 hole muffin tin with cooking oil.

Put the dates and water into a small saucepan, bring to the boil, then simmer for 2 minutes.  Take the saucepan off the stove then stir in the bicarbonate of soda.  Allow the mixture to cool.

Beat the coconut oil and 2 tablespoons of sugar together  until light and creamy, then add 1 tablespoon of flour and 1 egg.  Beat to combine, then repeat with another tablespoon of flour and the remaining egg.  Fold through the grated apple and half of the remaining flour, then fold in the baking powder, cinnamon, date mixture and the last of the flour.

Using an icecream scoop, divide the mixture evenly between the 12 holes of the greased muffin tin, then bake for ~25 minutes.  Cool the cakes in the tin for 5 minutes before unmoulding onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunrise over the Grand Canyon; Williams and Seligman AZ; Hoover Dam


Having the luxury of staying overnight at the Grand Canyon meant that we could be there for sunset and sunrise, which we were informed could be spectacular because of the different light and shade that the Canyon takes on with the movement of the sun's rays.  Unfortunately, sunset was a bust, because it was an overcast evening.  This meant that we had to rise early the next day (around 5.30am at the time of year that we were there) in the chilly weather to see the sunrise.

The top shot is of the Canyon as the sun was just starting to rise.  There is nothing much to see at that stage.  Following are a series of shots of the Canyon as the sun rises slowly in the sky, demonstrating the different hues that the Canyon takes on with the differing exposure to light:

After the sun rose, we went for a well deserved breakfast.  Just outside the breakfast area, we spied an elk enjoying her breakfast (there were actually two, but this one was closest):

We then packed up our cabins and drove on for a final look at the Grand Canyon, this time from Mather Point:

Can you see the face of the person in the rock face below?

On leaving the Canyon, we headed for Williams, Arizona, which was the last town on Route 66 to be bypassed by the new freeway:

At the Williams visitor centre, Tim found a new friend in the form of Smokey the Bear:

Downtown Williams features lots of old style buildings and cool street art.  This old-style diner is one of them:

and features this Route 66 mural on the outside wall:

The Grand Canyon Railway has a depot in Williams:

Isn't this steam engine one of the most handsome pieces of machinery you have seen?

From Williams, we moved on to Seligman.  The revival of interest in Route 66 is credited to Angel Delgadillo, a Seligman barber known as the guardian angel of Route 66, who campaigned with a group of like-minded folk to have signage placed along the old Route 66.  Here is Angel's barber shop, where Angel still pops in every day:

Unfortunately, we missed Angel on the day that we visited, but here is Tim trying out his barber's chair:

Angel's late brother, Juan, used to run Delgadillo's Snow Cap Drive-In:  

and drove this crazy car to attract customers: 

Juan was very much a local celebrity in his own right, although from the video that we saw, I think I would have gone nuts trying to buy anything from him.

On the way to our final destination for the day, Las Vegas, we passed the Hoover Dam:

I am very proud of this shot, despite the bus window frame, as there is only a very narrow opportunity to see the dam from the road, as it has been fenced off to avoid gawkers causing traffic accidents.  (I was a bus passenger, so no-one was harmed in taking this photograph.)

233 N. Grand Canyon Blvd
Williams, AZ 86046
United States
Phone: +1 928 635 4253
Seligman, AZ 86337
United States
Ph: +1 928 422 3352
Delgadillo's Snow Cap Drive-In
301 Arizona 66
Seligman, AZ 86337
United States
Ph: +1 928 422 3291

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Light walnut and chocolate brownies

This month's Taste magazine had a feature on "naughty" and "nice" brownies.  I am not sure how "nice" brownies with 15g of fat per serve are, but I decided to make them because they sounded interesting, with coconut oil, maple syrup and prunes.

When I looked up the website, I was a little annoyed that the recipe had previously been published in October 2009. This is the second time in recent months where I have bought a food magazine, only to find that the recipe was published elsewhere online years before. 

These brownies tasted OK, but they were a little unusual. I am not sure that I liked the prunes in them that much, despite quite liking prunes. Note that these brownies are not gluten free, although you could probably easily make them so by substituting a gluten free flour for the plain flour. They are definitely not as chocolatey tasting as your usual brownie, and they are not particularly sweet, which depending on your personal tastes, may suit you perfectly.   I have a feeling that I might like the "naughty" brownies better.

Friday, July 18, 2014

FFWD - Coddled Eggs with Foie Gras - err, Duck & Orange Pate

For French Friday with Dorie this week, we made Coddled Eggs with Foie Gras - except that in my case, the foie gras was replaced by Maggie Beer's Duck and Orange Pate.  I was happy with my substitution, not just financially, but ethically as well.  I have never had foie gras, and now that I know how it is produced, I am not keen to start.

These coddled eggs are unusually made in a steamer  rather than being baked.   The eggs are steamed until the whites become opaque, but  leaving the yolk runny:


The pate is placed in the bottom of the ramekin before the egg, cream, herbs and salt and pepper.

I found this dish lacked a little punch.  I prefer Spanish eggs, which have a bit of punch.

To see what the other Doristas thought of this recipe, visit the LYL section of the website.