Tag Archives: Martha Stewart

Into every garden a little chives should fall

I was thinking about our little garden as the weather has hottened and long weekend arrived.  We have a little patch of dirt amongst the flowers where I’d plant some tomatoes and herbs–usually basil and rosemary and then last year I planted some arugula which thrived despite my lack of attention.

This year that patch of dirt has been flattened by a sand box for Felix and I will have to dig out another part of the garden if I want to continue planting.  Which I have been feeling laissez-faire about (lazy, pronounced with a french accent).

Until my friend Lisa snipped some chives for me from her front garden on Thursday.  They’ve been coming up on their own year after year.

Aren’t they beautiful?  But they also smelled fragrant when chopped.  I have already used some in an omelette and with salty butter on baby potatoes.

It reminded me how awesome it is to be able to have something you grew yourself, on hand and ready to customize your own cooking.

I also love dill so now am thinking I will plant dill, the chives and maybe some mint (mojitos 24/7  or…. maybe just 18/7).   Also the tomatoes and arugula.   And some green beans.

(See, once you start you can’t stop)

So even if you have a small patch, or just some pots, plant something.

Even if it’s just for the ability to cut some herbs,  pop them into a glass on the window sill and feel very Martha Stewart.

So Happy Long Weekend.   Don’t forget to have ice cream, my current favourite is the apple ice cream (is it gelato? can’t remember) from Ed’s Real Scoop.

But after a bike ride (or in the middle of?) a fudgesicle and oh….a creamsicle!

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Ruminations on the Edible, Uncategorized

Hot Cross Buns (cuz it’s Easter don’t ya know)

“Hot Cross Buns, Hot Cross Buns, One-a-penny, Two a-penny, Hot Cross Buns!”

Am I evoking childhood memories?  Apparently this was a popular song and even “street-cry” according to Wikipedia.  I have never encountered it in my childhood but would love to hear people yelling out about sweet, spiced buns all day Good Friday.  And yes, the cross is the cross as in crucifix.  (Not Horcrux, that’s Harry Potter)

And look what other lore I discovered, “If taken on a sea voyage, hot cross buns are said to protect against shipwreck. If hung in the kitchen, they are said to protect against fires and ensure that all breads turn out perfectly. The hanging bun is replaced each year.”

All to say is that probably someone on the Titanic should have packed some HCB’s in their trunk, and it is a relief to know that if you’re going to hang these buns if your kitchen, it’s a once a year event kind of like cleaning the crumbs out of the little toaster tray I always forget is there (maybe that explains the fires?).

I haven’t even eaten many hot-cross buns in my time but seeing them in the bakeries made me crave them.  They’re slightly sweet, yeast-leavened buns which have raisins or dried fruit in them and are scented with spices like cloves and cinnamon.   And since I knew nothing from a HCB, I turned to Nigella and her recipe.

NOTE: These have to rise in the fridge overnight, so plan ahead!  (also, this recipe uses weight measures and you’ll need a scale, Martha’s recipe looked good to if you want to go “cups”)

Start by infusing 150ml of milk with the zest of an orange, 1 clove and 2 cardamom pods.   Add 50g butter and heat on medium-low until the butter melts and then pull the pot off the stove and set aside.

Now measure 400g bread flour, 1 pack (8g) active dry yeast and 125g mixed dried fruit (I only had raisins) into a bowl.  Add 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg and 1/4 tsp ground ginger.  Whisk together.  (I had some medium shredded unsweetened coconut on hand so added only 110g raisins and 20g coconut.  To be honest I couldn’t taste it in the final bun).

Now remove the cloves and cardamom from your milk and whisk in 1 egg (the milk should only be body temperature by now–or BLOOD temperature as Nigella says– hello Sookie!)

Pour the milk/egg mixture into the flour and I mixed it in a stand mixer using the bread hook until it was shiny and smooth. I did find the dough dry and probably added 1/8 cup extra milk when it started combining and needed more moisture.  (You can just add water as well).

Pop this baby into a buttered bowl and seal well with saran-wrap. Do not leave a gap or it will dry out (it happened to me, grrr).  Now it goes into your fridge overnight.

DAY 2:

You’re going to take the dough out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature (give it at least 30 minutes).  Then punch it down and knead it again until it is smooth and elastic.  (I brought in some help–those small hands really are good workers.)

Then cut up the dough into 12-16 buns (Nigella likes them smaller, I went bigger).  Just cut the dough in half and then half again ect, until you have enough pieces approximately the same size.  Now roll them into smooth, round buns.

Put the buns on your parchment-lined cookie sheet and score them with the “cross” using a table knife.  Nigella suggests using the dull side, but even with the cutting edge I could barely make the cross visible.  You want the buns quite close together on the sheet, almost touching but not quite.  PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 425°F (220°C).  Throw a clean tea towel over them and let them rise on top of the stove for about 45 min-1 hr.

While these are rising you can prepare an egg wash (just beat 1 egg with a little milk) and your “cross”mixture which is 3 tbsp AP flour, 1/2 tbsp sugar and 2 tbsp water mixed til thick.

When the buns have risen,  they should be touching each other, brush them with your egg wash and then use the “cross” mixture and a teaspoon to drizzle  a cross shape in the scored area (if it still exists as mine had all but disappeared).

POP INTO OVEN for 15-20 minutes.  I left mine about 20 (I had fewer, but larger buns).   Remove from the oven and mix 1 tbsp sugar and 1 tbsp boiling water and then brush the buns to sweeten and glaze them.   Let cool, then eat immediately (right after you utter your “street-cry”).

I found these best when still warm, but am still happily eating them two days later and all I do is give each bun about 20 seconds in the microwave to revive it slightly and then they’re great with a cup of tea.

Have Easter everyone.  Have a chocolate-filled  long weekend!

1 Comment

Filed under All Recipes, Ruminations on the Edible, Uncategorized

Woman discovers that Martha Stewart can bake

My latest discovery-hot off the press in 2005

Yes, I know, next I’ll be gushing about a great new dish called “Miso Black Cod” or enthusing about that new gadget called the “electric mixer”.  After many years of having Martha’s Stewart’s Baking Handbook in my amazon.ca cart I finally pressed “check out” and bought it.  My amazon purchases are strange in that things like this cookbook which I could have been referencing for years I feel guilty about “splurging” on but The Wild Sweets dessert book (as awesome as it is) I order without second thought though I have yet to make an Ice Wine Foam.

But-in case it’s been around so long you’ve forgotten about it–let me reintroduce you.  It’s got General Baking Tips (read a recipe all the way through–how guilty am I off not doing that–oops- I need lavender petals?), explains general baking techniques  such as how to add a drop of lemon to your caramel instead of wiping down the sides of your pot to prevent sugar crystallizing or shows pictures of the stages of whipping egg whites (there should be a wallet size pull-out of that.)

Chewy Crispy Cookie-ness.

It just has a whole whack of amazing recipes that are well-written, well explained and look gorgeous (as you would expect).  But doable.  Devil’s Food Chocolate Cake with Mint Chocolate Ganache, Potato and Onion Tarte Tatin and a zillion amazing cookies that would make most mom’s hate you at the Bake Sale.

The package arrived on a Friday.  Saturday morning at 7am Felix and I were ready to bake.  (Well, we were up so why not–plus I love baking in the early morning).  We went with the “yep, I have the ingredients” recipe.  Chewy, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.

7:30 am. My work is done.

We ate a bunch of dough raw, we had a few incidences of small hands near a whirling mixer and much impatience as we watched them flatten in the hot oven, and a toasty sweet cookie aroma filled the kitchen.

Get thee to a cookie jarrery.

Now imagine these with an Ice Wine Foam.

2 Comments

Filed under All Recipes, Blogs with cooking tips, Cookbooks, Magazines (+recipes from), Ruminations on the Edible