back of a tree

I finished the back for the tree quilt.  Our Christmas tree.  The boyos are actually pretty excited about it.

The boyos are so excited that they even helped me with the basting.  My hands are a pretty swollen mess after a day of computer work and then many safety pins but this quilt is ready!

I will probably not start quilting until next week.  The plan for the long weekend is camping.  But the weather may be wet and cold.  I do not mind cold camping at all.  I am tired of wet camping.  Unless I can sleep all day, which I may.  Warm sleeping bag.  Book.  Dry inside the tent.  It could work.

If we decide not to go camping because of weather, I am working on this this weekend.  I might have a "tree" up before to long into Advent.


savoury pies

There seems to be a theme around here currently.  It is pie.  More specifically savoury pies.

I have filled them with vegetarian picadillo.

I filled a pie with saag paneer and a pie with saag paneer and dal.  Both were incredible.  I have been using the hot water crust pastry that is featured in many savoury pies on the Great British Bake Off.  I have been using a recipe from someone who is auditioning for the show.  I would not change anything about the crust other then make sure to bring the water to just a boil and do not boil further.  You do not wish to lose much moisture to steam.

I have been cooking all my pies for 50 minutes at 200 degrees C or 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  I have one oven that is digital so that works.  This has become a household favorite.




two red cakes

Today has been a day where I need to be on a board of some type and possibly living in a tent!  

But last weekend, I was given the request from Koda Bear that he would like a red cake for his birthday.  Red is his current favorite color.  The request was actually for a white inside and a red outside but I over achieved.  At six inches in diameter, I felt that I could make two.  One was vanilla and one was red velvet.

I used my vanilla cake from my blackberry buckle recipe.  I left off the blackberries and extra sugar.  I sliced the cake in thirds and then filled it with raspberry jam using Mary Berry's recipe from the Prinsesstarta recipe and Joanna Chung recipe for creme patiserrie.  I used Tessa Kiros' recipe for the butter cream on the outside.  Tessa Kiros' is where I got the original vanilla cake recipe.  I have a tendency to adapt it to what i have in the house and also add fruit!

I also made Koda Bear a all red cake using the red velvet cake recipe from Bakerella.  I made a mascarpone frosting for it.  Both the buttercream and the mascarpone frosting recipes needed tweaking because I used one ounce of red food coloring for each.  I sliced the red velvet in thirds as well and slather the mascarpone icing between.

And because I do not decorate yet, real small metal toys were used for decoration.  I got huge thank yous from Koda Bear for that.

Now here is the funny thing, Koda Bear asked for a red cake with a white inside.

That turned out to be Grandpa's favorite cake.  It has all the best flavors of the Prinsesstarta and a lovely butter cream on the outside.  There is so much butter in this cake that the outsides have almost a crust even when you bring it out when it is just baked.  It is why using it as a buckle is so nice.  But with the cream, jam, and frosting, that crust adds a nice almost carmelish flavor.  Quite lovely.


Koda Bear's favorite cake is the red velvet with mascarpone  frosting.  Most cakes, he just eat the frosting.  This cake, he all but licks the plate!  I would say it is a success.  He has not even asked for just frosting on a spoon.  I have leftover frosting.

I am not sure what I am going to do for next year but it will not be three cakes!


graham crackers

One of the food blogs I read wrote a post about going to Edison, WA.  That is not too for south from our mountain.  My take away from the post that Edison was small town that it might be interesting to spend a couple hours someday but that they also have a top rate bakery.  One of the bakery's top sellers are their graham crackers.

Now, I have been looking for a good graham cracker recipe.  I like them to snack on trips.  Koda Bear too.  I had this recipe before the pirate boat ride to Alaska but I just did not get it tried.  Also, the directions are a bit tedious if you do not have a professional kitchen.  I at least know have a shelf free of all things for my bakes due to the Great British Bake Off.  My Beloved made it so, so I could bake more.  The picky recipes.  I have been working with a lot of pastry.  Or cakes that need to cool.

I had all the ingredients per the recipe before the trip but I used a few so I had to adapt.  Graham cracker flavor is actually a wheat flour grind.  This is really hard to make gluten free due to the flavor is actually coming from the wheat and that is what is looked for in a graham cracker.  I had whole wheat flour.  But not whole wheat pastry flour so I made due.  What else is new?

I actually made these crackers for the pecan praline style crust for a pumpkin cheese cake.  I did not wish to go to the store to buy graham crackers.  See a pattern?  Do not wish to leave the house to buy ingredients so change the recipe?  This is so me and I just accept it.  I even do not wish to leave the house to go to the grocery store that is six blocks away and I can walk to.  There are a lot of people in that building.

I get laughed at hard.

These graham crackers are worth making, even with my adaptions.  They start out crisp but if you keep them to long, the soften.  Even in an air tight container.  Quite lovely with a cup of tea and I am going to have to make some for our next driving trip.  I need to find a plain cracker, or biscuit as it has come to be referred to here, that I can make that will go well with cheese.  That is the next biscuit search.

graham crackers

Note:  Adapted from Breadfarm's Graham Cracker recipe on the SAVEUR website. I also cut the recipe in half when I made it because I was making a 6 inch cheesecake.  It worked well.

2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour, not stone ground.  I used a combination of heritage and organic

1/4 cup all purpose flour

5 teaspoons wheat bran

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup butter, softened

2/3 cup unrefined sugar, I used a Mexican brand I like

2 tablespoons honey

In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and honey together until light and there are no butter lumps.  In a medium bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients together.  Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and stir together until it becomes a ball.  

On a lightly floured counter, split the ball in half.  Roll it out to be about a 12 inch by 16 inch rectangle and 1/8 of an inch thick.  Place on a parchment covered baking sheet.  Cover with parchment paper.  Due the same with the other half of the dough.  Put in the freezer for about 30 minutes.

Remove from the freezer.  Pull off the top parchment paper.  Prick the crackers all over.  Cut into two inch squares.  Freeze for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Take the cookies of the freezer.  Have an extra baking sheet covered with parchment paper standing by.  Separate the cookies and put on the baking sheets.  There should be about 1 1/2 inches between each but all the freezer time will help them not to spread.  Put back into the freezer for 15 minutes.

Bake for 14 minutes or until golden at the edges.  The go too brown fast so watch them.  Cool immediately.

Now there are crackers.  For eating with tea or for doing crazy things like making cheese cake.

Pumpkin cheese cake actually.  So worth the effort!  


tried another technical challenge:  arlettes

When I was watching the Great British Bake Off the arlettes looked very interesting to me.

They looked like a cinnamon palmier.  Palmier.  Cinnamon.  What not to like?

I followed the recipe and they turned out very well.  They really did not last the day.  Koda Bear did not even get a chance to try one.

What I learned and would do differently, because I will make them again.  I would make the roll that you slice to make the cookies much smaller and make more cookies.  The size of cookie the recipe calls for is very large.  A smaller cookie would be nicer.

Also, roll them out as thin as you possibly can.  You need a good sprinkling of icing sugar and you may even wish to sift it for the rolling.

The last thing was that the sheet of cookies that was in the high middle of the oven baked better.  One sheet of cookies at a time.

I will definitely make these again!  Maybe this weekend if I have time.