Chocolate Chiffon Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (Happy 1rst Birthday!)

IMG_6119It’s been ages since I’ve bothered too deeply with the more decorative aspects of baking – food colouring and sprinkles, fancy piping tips, cake toppers, (frosting as a whole), that stuff.  NOT because I don’t find it twee and amazing and honestly I’m a bright colours person… I was just frugal.  Enjoyed my natural looking food (grown-ass adult baking heyo). Continue reading

strawberry soda and papaya soda

How to Make Fruit Vinegars (Shrubs!): 2 Methods

Ooh, shrubs.

raw

Nooooooo, not that kind of shrub!!  A shrub like an old school (colonial-era skool) American drink made with sweet drinking vinegar, OR it can refer to that sweet vinegar itself.  It’s made by pouring mild vinny (apple cider, rice, wine, etc) over top of crushed fruits and letting it steep for hours or days, then the fruit is removed, sugar is dissolved in, and the resulting syrup is versatile and stable, and pretty like an magic elixir in your jar.  It can be used in any way your brain can imagine – salad dressing, sauces, gravies, ice cream & yogurt topping, drink augmentation for both PG and R-rated beverages, others, all the things! Continue reading

Uttapam – Fermented Whole Grain Pancakes from South India

IMG_4971I’m fast becoming a fan of fermentation, friends.  There’s something magical about mixing ingredients together and letting it independently bubble to life.  I’m also a huge fan of eating whole grains, although it’s hard to find ways to easily slip some of them into everyday meals – the Ninja still won’t come around to brown rice, the fool!  So when I ran across the concept of Uttapam on Cake Maker to the Stars – savoury pancakes made from fermented urad dal and rice – I was on board immediately.  Especially these ones from Kathy Hester‘s The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook for your Instant Pot, which are made entirely from a blend of four whole grains & legumes.  Holy gosh, my millet and mung beans* finally get to jump out of their jars and play? Continue reading

swedish butter cookies with chocolate ganache

Cardamom Butter Cookies w. Mocha Ganache

IMG_5529Do you ever choose a recipe just for the chance to break out a piping bag and challenge yourself to get closer to swirly perfection (never attainable, but always fun to try)?  Gosh, I adore piping things out, I should really get a job at a bakery one of these days….

The inspiration for these cookies also came, I must admit, from hanging out on my sister’s couch watching – for the first time! – The Great British Bake Off.  There’s something about those technical challenges, where each contestant has the same recipe and must execute perfectly, that just fires me up so much!  One of the first episodes I saw had them piping out dozens of identical sandwich butter cookies, and I think I was already in the kitchen before the show ended, cause, butter cookies!  With shapes! Continue reading

Coconut Tapioca Pudding with Palm Syrup & Lemon Jellies

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our office, admittedly the view was nice

What feels like a million years ago, the Ninja and I lived in a tiny high rise apartment in downtown Hanoi, Vietnam.  We were doing the teacher thing, or at least, he was discovering his talent for it while I mostly ran around with my camera trying to eat as much as possible.  I’m a predictable traveller and not a good teacher, but I did find that it was possible in a year to get familiar with a lot of what Vietnamese cuisine is. Continue reading