Breakfast, Cake, fruit, Petit Four, Recipes

Honey and Olive Oil Tea Cakes with Apricot Glaze

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Yesterday I was playing around in the kitchen and I wanted to make a dessert that utilized summer flavors without being too heavy or rich. This honey and olive oil cake has the soft, airy texture of sponge cake, and pairs perfectly with the fruity apricot glaze.

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The cake itself is delicately sweetened by the honey and the olive oil keeps it nice and moist.

Honey and Olive Oil Tea Cakes

makes 12 (2″) cakes

2 large eggs, room temperature

60 g sugar

65 g olive oil

115 g honey

130 g cake flour

2 g salt

6 g baking powder

For glaze:

220 g apricot glaze

30 g olive oil

wedged apricots, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350F.

Sift together cake flour, salt, and baking powder into a large bowl. Set aside.

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment, combine eggs and sugar and whip until eggs are pale and thick (3-5 minutes).

While eggs are whipping, combine olive oil and honey in a small saucepot and gently heat until warm to the touch (if bubbles begin to form around edges, remove from heat).

Pour about 1/4th of whipped egg into olive oil mixture, and stir until combined. Pour mixture back into whipped eggs, add dry ingredients, and gently fold with a rubber spatula until there are no more lumps.

Portion between silicon molds or greased pans, bake 350F for 12-14 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one cake comes out clean. Let cool completely in mold before removing.

For glaze: combine apricot glaze and olive oil in a small saucepan, and heat until melted. Whisk glaze and oil together until completely emulsified. While glaze is still hot, dip each cake in glaze and garnish with apricot wedges, then brush glaze on top of apricot. Keep refrigerated.

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Art, DIY, Uncategorized

Dreams and Experimenting with Watercolour

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It’s been a couple of years since I’ve painted using watercolours, and I decided I wanted to get back into it. Last night I bought a new set of paints and I wanted to test them out.

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I love all the textures and flow you can achieve by just adding or taking away water from the paints, without having to switch brushes or tools. It’s easier to stretch watercolours and it’s also a lot easier to clean than oil paints (and the smell isn’t so strong).

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Unfortunately, my camera doesn’t really do the painting justice (I need to get better lighting in my room!), but I happen to love this painting and am very satisfied with it. The flow of the brush and the pale hues keep it very feminine, but still somewhat chaotic, in a sense. I’m tempted to make my next painting another free-form one like this just because it was so much fun!

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Breakfast, Drinks, fruit, lunch, Recipes, Vegan

Peach and Key Lime Agua Fresca and One Lovely Blog

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Now that peaches are in season, I bought a couple at the market and wanted to make something that emphasizes the tart, fresh flavors of ripe peaches. No peach cobblers for this gal!

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I love the simplicity of agua fresca and the peach and key lime definitely pair well together in this drink. It’s lightly sweet and just a nice drink for any summer morning.

In other news, mypenandme has nominated KnitterBakerPateaChouxMaker for the One Lovely Blog Award! Yayy!

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I definitely feel honored for this nomination, so thanks again to mypenandme!

Peach and Key Lime Agua Fresca

makes 2

2 ripe peaches, peeled and pitted

5 key limes, juiced

3 Tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 cups water

Chop peaches into 1 inch cubes. In a blender, combine peaches, lime juice, sugar, and water, and blend until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, then chill.

If desired, rim 2 glasses with lime juice and dip rims in sugar. Divide agua fresca between glasses, and serve cold.

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Dinner, fruit, lunch, Recipes

Pork Chops with Figs and Pomegranate Wine

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Today I wanted to surprise Robert with a nice lunch, so this morning I perused the market looking for some inspiration. Until today I’ve never had a fresh fig before, so when I saw them on sale I was immediately intrigued.

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Aaaand I’m hooked. I’ve never been a fan of dried figs (or any dried fruit, really) but fresh figs are so much more tender and juicy, without the chewy, gritty texture that dried figs can have. The market also had pomegranate wine on sale, so I took advantage of that as well. I added some caramelized shallots, garlic, and mushrooms too, and served it all on a bed of parmesan and chive polenta.

Pork Chops with Figs and Pomegranate Wine

Serves 2

2 boneless pork chops

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 medium shallots, sliced thin

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup mushrooms, sliced

4 each fresh figs, quartered

1 1/2 cup pomegranate wine

salt and pepper, to taste

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Season pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper (I also used a bit of smoked paprika and dried thyme, rosemary would’ve been awesome too). Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in pan, then add pork chops and cook 3 to 5 minutes, flip, and cook another 3 to 5 minutes until cooked through and well-caramelized. Remove from pan and set aside.

In the same pan, add 1 more tablespoon of oil, then add sliced shallots. Saute shallots until they turn a deep amber color. Add mushrooms and garlic, sauteing until tender, then add figs. Season with salt and pepper, then deglaze pan with pomegranate wine. Let wine reduce for 3 or so minutes, then return pork chops to pan to reheat. Add salt and pepper as needed.

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Art, Crafts, Places

Beachy Keen

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I don’t think I could ever live anywhere but southern California. I would just miss the beaches, the people, everything, way too much. All summer Robert and I have been hopping to different beaches; Corona del Mar, Huntington, Encinitas, all just a drive away. And it never gets boring.

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Another view of the waters of Corona del Mar.

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And another painting by yours truly. It turned out a tad more cutesy than I would have wanted at first, but hey, I’m working on it! Still like it though, haha.

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Keep swimming and you’ll get there, friend….

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DIY, Fashion, Places, Sewing

Maxi Dress and a Day with the Fiance

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Since work has been getting a tad stressful lately, I’ve been looking for any excuse to get out of the house or to at  least spend some time for myself and Robert. A few days ago I finished sewing a maxi dress, and since today was my day off (finally!!) I wanted to take it out for a spin, and what better place than the beach?

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It was a bit windy, yes haha. A lot of inspiration came from this ($3,000!!!) Chloe dress, but I chose a slightly bolder print and avoided the sheer overlay fabric. Robert and I are becoming regulars at the local swap meet, and I jumped for joy when I saw this fabric; for 6 bucks it was a pretty good steal.

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We paid a visit to Baguetier because I wanted to try out their raspberry rose croissant, which I’m sure is a take on Pierre Herme’s gorgeous Croissant Ispahan. It was pretty damn good too, although I would have wanted the rose flavour to be a tad more pronounced. Still totally worth the money, I’d say.

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Overall, it was a pretty amazing day. Tomorrow we plan on going to the fair, so here’s hoping your weekend is as good as (if not better) than mine!

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Chocolate, Cookies, Petit Four, Recipes

Black Sesame and Lemongrass Macarons

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After seeing Sadaharu Aoki’s black sesame eclair, I knew I wanted to make some kind of pastry with black sesame. For some reason it had never occurred to me that this flavor would work well in desserts, but considering all the asian desserts I’ve had that were either covered in sesame seeds or consisted mainly of them, it all made sense; the nuttiness and slightly bitter aftertaste balances out with whatever sweet ingredients you want to combine them with.

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So with this knowledge I decided I wanted to make an Asian-inspired macaron, but wanted to stray away from the typical green tea or coconut. Lemongrass it is! I love how the citrus-y floral aroma brightens up the entire cookie and gives the ganache in the center a nice flavour without being too aggressive.

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Black Sesame and Lemongrass Ganache

makes enough to fill 100 macarons

180 g heavy cream

60 g lemongrass (about 2 stalks, trimmed and cleaned)

70 g black sesame seeds

225 g milk chocolate

With a mallet or a dull object (I used the back of my knife), bruise lemongrass until the stalks open up in the center. Cut into 2 inch pieces and combine with cream in a small saucepot. Bring cream to a boil, then turn off heat and let steep 30 minutes, covered. Set aside.

In a saute pan, toast sesame seeds until fragrant and until some of the seeds begin to pop. Remove from heat. Using a spice grinder, grind seeds (while still slightly warm) until oils are released and it turns into a smooth paste; this may take a few minutes.

In a bowl combine milk chocolate and  sesame paste. Strain your cream mixture and bring cream to a boil again. Pour over chocolate and sesame paste, then whisk until ganache is smooth. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

For the macaron shells, I would recommend using My Food Geek’s recipe, or any recipe that uses the Italian meringue method. Happy Eats!

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