dinsdag 27 april 2010

TWD: Chockablock Cookies

Chockablock Cookies: Cookies filled with loads of goodies, such as nuts, dried fruits and coconut. These cookies were picked by Mary of Popsicles and Sandy Feet for this weeks Tuesday with Dorie.

For nuts I used pecans and my dried fruit of choice was fat golden raisins. These tasted really good, but I think I would have loved them more without the oats! Go here to check out the recipe and here to see what my fellow TWD-ers thought of these cookies.

maandag 26 april 2010

Taste & Create: Mrs. B's Lemon Meringue Pie

Just a short post today. This is the second recipe I made for April's Taste & Create. I was paired with Jen of The Misadventures of Mrs. B and apparently she loves lemony desserts as much as I do. As soon as I found this lovely Lemon Meringue Pie I knew I had to make it. I have always been intimidated by meringue and was super-excited by the thought of finally tackling it!

In fact I was so excited that I made one huge mistake.... I cut the pie when the custard wasn't quite set yet.... Oops!! So the first piece looked like crap, it tasted wonderful though! For the crust I used Dorie Greenspan's recipe for Sweet Tart Dough (page 444 of Baking From My Home To Yours) or here. I used the juice of 5 lemons for this and that amount was ideal: the perfect flavor combination with the tartness of the crust and the sweetness of the meringue.

After some time in the fridge the custard set as it was supposed to and looked gorgeous. The recipe can be found here over at The Misadventures of Mrs. B, go check it out! I know I will be frequenting Jen's blog from now on to see what other scrumptious dishes she comes up with!

zondag 25 april 2010

Make your own Red Pesto

I used to buy red pesto at the supermarket until I found out that it's actually super easy to make your own red pesto. And it tastes way better than store-bought pesto too!!! When you make a batch, make sure to store it in the fridge! It will keep for about 1 1/2 week. The red pesto is great on bread or in other recipes, such as pasta dishes.

Red Pesto
a small bunch of basil leaves
40 gram Parmesan cheese
30 gram pine nuts
1 or 2 garlic cloves
150 grams sundried tomatoes
a dash of extra virgine olive oil
a splash of balsamic vinegar

Put all the ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until everything is pureed.
If you have more time available, you can also use a mortar and pestle and some good old-fashioned elbow grease :)
Add some more olive oil if the pesto seems to dry for your taste.

Taste & Create: Mrs. B's Super Easy, Super Cheesy Stovetop Macaroni

It´s that time of the month again: time to post about Taste & Create. Like I mentioned before, Taste & Create is a cultural exchange program for bloggers: you sign up monthly and are paired with another blogger. You look around at their blog, find that one recipe (or more if you like) that you want to recreate and post the about it. You also submit a picture and a very short review to the T&C website.

This month I was paired with The Misadventures of Mrs. B. I had so much fun reading her blog, she and I share a love for cheese and citrus. So I had to pick two recipes: this one I'll post today, the other (Lemon Meringue Pie) will follow this week. The first recipe I picked was super easy to make and involved cheese :) It was nice, but somewhat bland. I wonder if the Cheddar that is available here might have less flavor than the American ones..... It was still yummy thought!

The recipe can be found here at The Misadventures of Mrs. B.

maandag 19 april 2010

No TWD - instead a package from Minnesota

Barely survived the weekend... Followed by a manic monday, what will the rest of this week bring me?

All the stress started last Thursday when most of the European airspace was closed and all flights cancelled due to volcanic ash-clouds from the erupted volcano Eyjafjallajökull on Iceland.
My manager was in Oslo and got stuck there... All the trains were full, cars were rented, hotels booked full, same for the restaurants. Luckily our business travel agency was smart enough to have booked some rooms for my manager and his colleagues. Eventually we managed to get them all back to The Netherlands by borrowing cars from Norwegian colleagues.

Friday I visited a friend in Meppel, we went shopping and had some hot cocoa after the shops had closed. When we returned to the parking garage at 21h50, we were unpleasantely surprised: the garage had closed at 21h30 and there was no way to get my car out!! We also managed to miss the last bus and ended up walking to my friends home, which took us about 30 minutes. She then drove me home in their car.

Saturday I got up early (7h30) to catch the bus to the train station, I managed to miss the bus by 2 minutes... When I finally arrived at the train station I bought my ticket and missed my train. Eventually I arrived in Meppel around 10h00, walked to my car and drove back home.

When I returned home I was pleasantly surprised when my neighbor told me she had accepted a parcel for me. I knew Cora from Minnesota had sent me something, but wasn't expecting it yet as the airspace above most part of Europe was still closed.

I love how almost all the sides of the parcel had stamps on them, I've never seen so many different stamps in one place :). Everything arrived in perfect condition: two packages of wild rice, a bag of mini peanut butter cups and two packages of normal-sized peanut butter cups. I shared one of the normal-sized packages of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups with my mom and she really liked them. I can't wait to cook with the rice and bake with the mini peanut butter cups!

woensdag 14 april 2010

Svenska Tosca Kaka

While researching the background of this weeks Tuesdays with Dorie I came across this recipe for a Svenska Tosca Kaka that seemed very similar to the Swedish Visiting Cake: first eggs and sugar were mixed, next dry ingredients are folded in and then the melted and cooled butter is folded in. The cake gets topped with almonds before going into the oven.

But this cake looked so different that I was intrigued by it, so I decided to bake it today. Again: easy to make, but way more dishes are dirtied than with Dorie's Swedish Visiting Cake. This cake has 1 1/5 teaspoons of baking powder in it, so it rises quite a bit.

Unlike the specimens I encountered during my Google-search my cake decided to dome quite a bit. Taste wise the cakes are completely different: the topping of the Svenska Tosca Kaka is both crunchy and chewy while the base is more like a spongecake, it was a tad dry to my taste so next time I would bake the cake 5 minutes less after topping it, so only 10 minutes instead of 15.
The Svenska Tosca Kaka reminded me of German Bienenstich sans filling.

Another note: make sure that the cake tin is high enough. When I topped my cake and popped it back into the oven, the top of the mixture was exactly level with the tin. The topping will bubble during the 10 minutes in the oven and thus overflow and dirty your oven by burning cause a disgusting burn smell that made me fear my cake was ruined when in fact it was perfectly safe!
P.S. Today I have reason to celebrate: finally one of my pictures got accepted by Tastespotting!!
See it here!! Yay! Btw: Happy Secretary Day!!

Svenska Tosca Kaka
adapted from nami-nami, serves 8 - 10

Sponge Cake
3 large eggs
200 gram sugar
400 gram all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
100 ml milk
125 gram butter, melted and cooled

Tosca Topping
75 gram butter
100 gram almond slices
150 gram sugar
4 tbsp whipping cream/double cream
1 tbsp all-purpose flour

Sponge Cake:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Butter and line a 25cm springform tin.
Whisk eggs and sugar together until thick, pale and creamy. Mix dry ingredients, then fold gently with milk and melted butter into the egg mixture.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

Tosca Topping

Mix the butter, almond slices, sugar, cream and flour in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.
When cake is half-baked after 20 minutes, remove it from the oven and set the oven to 225 degrees Celsius.
Spoon the tosca topping onto the half-baked cake and put back in the oven.
Bake for another 10-15 minutes, until the topping is cooked and has a lovely golden color.

maandag 12 april 2010

TWD: Swedish Visiting Cake + Foodie Exchange

This week the lovely Nancy of The Dogs Eat the Crumbs got to pick the recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie and she did a good job! She decided on the Swedish Visiting Cake that can be found on page 197 of Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or here at Nancy's blog.

A Google search for Swedish Cake soon came up with Toscakaka, also spelled as Tosca Kaka, which basically is a lemon sponge topped with crunchy almonds. Sound familiar? It looks familiar too, except that the layer of crunchy almonds is thicker than Dorie's. Could this have been Dorie's inspiration for the Swedish Visiting Cake? I might give this recipe or this one a try one of these days as it looks really tempting!

Anyways, I baked this on Easter Monday, which is national holiday here in The Netherlands, expecting no visitors and thought this would be another great cake to bring into work with me on Tuesday. It was very easy to put together, I was done in no time and I made it exactly as written: no changes this week! I was quite surprised when the doorbell rang shortly after I put the cake into the oven: it was my mom who had decided to take her dog out on a walk and visit me because the weather was so nice.

As soon as she walked into the door, she asked me what that lovely smell was. I told her to be patient as she could have a taste of the Swedish Visiting Cake when it was done. She loved it and took two pieces home with her (for my dad and herself of course!). So I only had 3/4 of a cake left for about 20 coworkers and not enough stock in my pantry to bake another one. My colleagues were a bit disappointed that they only got slivers of cake, because they loved it, as did I!! Thanks for a wonderful choice Nancy!

On another note, I have registered at Foodie Exchange for my 101 in 1001 challenge. So I've started my second goal on the list, #2: Take part in 5 Foodie Exchange. Basically what Foodie Exchange is is a group for foodies from around the planet who wish to exchange their local food specialties as a care package with other foodies. The items in the care package should be limited to about $10.00 in cost, shipping is extra. Each month you can sign up on the monthly exchange thread in the forum where members match themselves up with partners. When you received the package you can share the story by adding you blog post to the Blog Posts section.

I have started several goals, such as signing up for a two-day assertivity training (#90) that will take place in August and starting a new skin care routine (#18), which I will tell you about late this week. I already completed one goal: #80 Register as an organ donor

zaterdag 10 april 2010

101 Goals in 1001 Days

Today is Day Zero. Yes, that's day Zero of my 101 goals in 1001 days. I came across Day Zero Project and thought this was a fun way to set myself some goals and keep track of them too! These goals have to be achieved by me by January 6, 2013.

So here´s my list!! By posting this I´ve already finished goal #1. The goals that I have completed will be in red, the ones that are in progress will be blue

Blog / Food

#1 Blog about 101 in 1001

#2 Take part in 5 Foodie Exchanges

#3 Try 10 new recipes (not TWD, Taste & Create or Craving Ellie in My Belly

#4 Have a giveaway on my blog

#5 Make croissants from scratch

#6 Host a tapas party

#7 Go to a foodblogging event

#8 Try 5 new foods and blog about them(0/5)

#9 Leave 101 comments on 101 blogs (TWD-blogs not included!!)

#10 Blog on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for at least three consecutive weeks


Make a birthday cake for someone

#12 Blog about each completed task

#13 Set up my own website

#14 Design my own website lay-out

Body /Mind / Diet

#15 Grow hair past shoulders and don't cut it short for a year

#16 Go to the hairdresser to get my hair highlighted for the summer

#17 Get a manicure/pedicure

#18 Develop a better skin care routine

#19 Put lotion on at least once a week

#20 Plan my check-up appointment at the dentists

#21 Whiten teeth

#22 Workout 2 times a week for a month

#23 Take a Zumba dance/aerobics class

#24 Loose 11 kilos to achieve a weight of 84 kilos

#25 Loose 16 kilos to achieve a weight of 79 kilos

#26 Loose 21 kilos to achieve a weight of 74 kilos

#27 Loose 26 kilos to achieve a weight of 69 kilos

#28 Drink no alcohol for a month

#29 Eat an apple a day

#30 Keep a food journal for 30 days in a row

#31 Buy only what is on my grocery list for one month

#32 Drink nothing but water for a week

#33 Give up all fast food for one month

#34 Eat a vegetarian diet for a month

#35 Remove sugar from my diet for one month

#36 Eat breakfast every day for a month

#37 Eat more fish

#38 Take a multi-vitamin every day for a month

#39 Polish up my Spanish

#40 Read 50 books


#41 Sell my appartment

#42 Buy/rent a new appartment in Arnhem

#43 Move to Arnhem

#44 Make my bed every day for two weeks

#45 Clean out and organize every closet in the house

#46 Do laundry once a week for a month (folded and put away)

#47 Keep every room in the house clean for a week

#48 Go through my closet and get rid (or refashion) my old clothes

Family & Friends

#49 Have Harm & Lotte over for dinner

#50 Get back into contact with Florian

#51 Go to the cinema with Kelly to see 'Eclipse'

#52 Surprise my mom with flowers

#53 Visit both my grandmothers graves and leave some flowers

#54 Cook a meal for friends

#55 Attend a friends wedding

#56 Give 5 'just because' gifts

#57 Make a collage of photos of me and my friends and frame it

#58 Send out Christmas cards

Travel / Fun

#59 Visit Paris (France) and get some macarons at Pierre Herme

#60 (Re)visit the east coast of Canada

#61 Go on holiday with a friend

#62 Go on a vacation with my mom

#63 Go out with the girls and don't go home until the bars close

#64 Have a picnic with friends

#65 Go to a theme park

#66 Watch a 3D movie

#67 Meet an Online Foodblog Friend in real life

#68 Stay in PJ’s and watch movies all day long one day.

#69 Subscribe to a new magazine

#70 Take a cooking class

#71 Paint every nail a different colour and leave them be for a week

#72 Try 5 new restaurants

#73 Spend an afternoon reading at the park

#74 Go barefoot for a day


#75 Buy a new laptop

#76 Make myself a dress for my friends wedding on June 12th

#77 Learn to knit a scarf

#78 Write a letter to myself to be opened when the 1001 days is over

#79 Write my Will

#80 Register as an organ donor

# 81 Write in my diary daily for at least a month

#82 Keep a dream diary

#83 Buy a harddisk to save my pictures on

#84 Stay off the internet for a week (non-professionally, 'cause I need the Internet for work)

#85 Go a week without watching television

#86 Purposely leave my phone at home all day

#87 Go through my phone’s contact list and delete all the people who I no longer talk to

#88 Don't swear for a week

#89 Don't complain about anything for a week

#90 Go to a two-day assertivity training

#91 Do speed dating

#92 Go on a date

#93 Ask someone out on a date

#94 Fall in love

#95 Go to bed before 10 and get 7 hours sleep per night for 2 weeks in a row (never been done!)

#96 Get a henna tattoo

#97 Take one picture every day for a month

#98 Buy a lottery ticket

#99 Put all my loose change into the piggy bank for 3 months

#100 Put away 5 euros for every goal completed

#101 Donate 5 euros to a charity of my choice for each goal that I do not complete