Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Norwegian Mountain Loaf

Nigella describes this bread best "nubbly Northern European breads which are dense and virtuously substantial". By the looks and tastes of it, this heavy loaf is truly packed with goodness and full of flavour. The kind of loaf you'd bring if you go camping in the mountains. I had one loaf (made 5 small loaves from this recipe) for lunch with a dipping bowl of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Perfect combo. Be forewarned that the dough is awfully sticky. I replaced the porridge oats with rolled oats, wheat germ with pumpkin seeds, linseeds with sesame seeds and added kibbled rye as well. With these replacements, I drenched the grains in a little water and let them sit for 30 minutes before I started. Oh yes, I also added a tablespoon of molasses to overide the 'husky' smell you usually get from multigrain loaves.

Baklava Muffins

I didn't sleep too well last night and got up at 5am this morning. I know I'll pay for it by 2pm later :-p. Chuck the laundry into the washer and decided to bake some Double Chocolate Muffins for the kids' breakfast before school. Well, it was either that or cereal....(I can already hear them whining about it). Muffins are the easiest to whip up and within 30 minutes, they're out of the oven. Since I still had an hour before I go waking up the kids, I thought about the MOTH. He really shouldn't be indulging in those muffins, he could do with being less hyper... So, I had a choice of Nigella's Blueberry Muffins or Baklava Muffins. I opted for the Baklava. The muffins were great. Absolutely wholesome yet light for a good breakfast. Love the crunch from the walnuts-cinnamon-demerera mix. I forgot to take the honey out of the fridge so no runny honey on them when they came out of the oven. That would have given the muffins the extra punch. Without it, it was purely a health nut's breakfast muffin. The MOTH of course, had to be convinced that he needed the Omega-3 and Apple Cider Vinegar (used it to make the buttermilk) more than the sugar and milk in the chocolate ;-)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

New York Cheesecake

Yumm...the New York Cheesecake is exactly what Nigella said it would be "that airy lightness". I can tell you now that those so-called New York Cheesecakes you get out there (least the ones I've tried) - are just wannabes. With the 750gm of cream cheese in there, this cheesecake didn't taste one bit the type of cheesecake I'm used to - the creamy rich and dense version. Definitely one cheesecake that you can easily go for seconds. Though the next time I bake this (yes, this recipe is a keeper), I'd use the water-bath. The top cracked after just 30mins in the oven and the recipe called for 60 to 90 minutes of baking time, 2 hours of resting in the oven (door closed) and another hour cooling outside before it went into the fridge. Yeah, nearly 5 hours for this cheesecake. But well worth the time and fiddly preparations.

Friday, March 25, 2011

How To Be A Domestic Goddess

The Book- How To Be A Domestic Goddess, Nigella Lawson This was my first celebrity cookbook and in 2003, was my most expensive. I simply love baked goods and desserts, and it's only natural that I chose this book to do a Julie-Julia project with it. Adding to that, I owe Nigella a cup of tea for inspiring me to eventually take my love for baking to the next level and "taking ownership" of my initials D.G. I shall be going through every single recipe in this book in no particular order and shall document them here. Unlike Julie Powell, I'm not giving myself a timeline to finish the project. It's meant to be fun!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Doing A Julie-Julia

Julie Powell started The Julie/Julia Project in 2002 to tackle 536 recipes in 365 days. Basically trying out every single recipe in Julia Child-Louisette Bertholle-Simone Beck's Mastering The Art of French Cooking and chronicle them via a blog. I have volume 1 of that book and you know what? I take my hat off to Julie for having the patience to go through that now nearly 50 year old, recipe book! Don't get me wrong, the book is wonderfully-detailed and would be perfect for a new bride who wants to learn the ropes of cooking per sé. It's just too detailed for me, too much to watch out for that it can become quite stressful cooking... Though, after playing housewife in the last 12 years, I still do enjoy leafing through the book and picking up a few pointers here and there for my day-to-day cooking. See...that's the problem. I have a lot of such books - recipe books. I LOVE books and I LOVE good recipe books. And I think I LOVE collecting recipe books. To be fair, I do cook and bake from these books or else, how would I have managed to cook 9072 meals (minus the weekends ;-) in the last 12 years? The important thing is that the family is still happy eating stuffs that come out of my "crappy outer borough kitchen". Bottomline: recipe books are good investments IF you use them. Otherwise, they'll just be what your interior designer ordered to have your kitchen look like a kitchen.

Now, back to the Julie-Julia Project. After re-reading Julia Child's My Life in France a couple of days back, watching the movie Julie&Julia again and staring at my rows of recipe books, I thought what Julie Powell did was a great inspiration! I need to do something like that. I need to do something fun. I need to do a Julie-Julia.