Archives for posts with tag: sweet

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This winter has been rough on me, and I’m sure it’s been tough for a lot of you too.  I check the weather on my phone and see no hope for days.  Temperatures lingering well below freezing seem to be the norm now.  Of course, there are snippets of beauty amongst this snow and ice.  Scenes that would rival any tropical paradise in their splendor.

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On the positive side, I do love me some winter fashion.  I love chunky knits, boots, pom-pom hats, and huge scarves wrapped around a thousand times. I’ve gotten to wear crimson and berry-toned lip colors, which look out-of-place in the warmer months.  I have also been loving  goth-inspired nail polishes – very moody and a far cry from the fuchsias and tangerine reds I wear in the summer.

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There have also been cozy times I get to share with my husband.  Him and I exploring the city and finding a new café.  I will get a latte and he will get a hot chocolate because he has an abhorrence that stems from childhood towards coffee.  We’ll share a cookie or a croissant or both and discuss things in the world that we don’t understand or can’t wrap our heads around, future vacations we want to take, or whatever may come up.

We’ll also laze around at home more often on the weekends.  In the summer I like to be out and about.  This winter I’m enjoying staying in more. Usually I’m the type of person who gets in a very bad mood if we don’t have weekend plans.  But this winter I’ve been happy to stay-in on a Friday night and cook a nice dinner for just the two of us.  Of course friends are always welcome, but rather than going out, sometimes it’s nice to stay snug and comfortable at home.  When Sunday morning comes around I’m also skipping the usual restaurant brunches and opting for an omelet or pancakes or French toast at home.  I’m not big on sweets for breakfast, but sometimes a nice french toast satisfies like nothing else.

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When making French toast I don’t really measure anything out.  It’s an effortless dish that will come together if you have the basic ingredients.  That’s why I love making it.  I paired it here with ruby-toned fruits: blood oranges, pomegranates, and raspberries.  And I always use cinnamon and vanilla in my french toast.  You can add other spices like cardamom or ground cloves.  But the combination of cinnamon and vanilla is my favorite and will make your whole kitchen smell very welcoming.

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Cinnamon and Vanilla French Toast with Ruby Colored Fruits

I am providing a loose recipe here, because I really feel French toast is foolproof unless you burn it in the pan. 😉

Ingredients

oil or butter for frying

bread of your choice, sliced a little thicker than usual and day old is best.  I usually have whole wheat or sunflower toast, but brioche and challah are optimal.

eggs, use 1 egg for every 3 slices of toast

milk of your choice, use about 1 cup for every 3 slices of toast

sugar, to taste – I like to use raw sugar or sugar with larger crystals so that it caramelizes nicely on the toast.

vanilla extract or a vanilla bean scraped, start with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon for 3 slices of toast, you can  adjust the amount according to your taste

a pinch of sea salt

an array of fruits or your choice, I used blood oranges, pomegranates, and raspberries. (fruit combination inspired by @thedelicious on instagram)

chopped nuts, for serving (optional)

to serve: whipped cream or sour cream or crème fraîche or yogurt, orange zest, cinnamon, and pure maple syrup

Method

Beat eggs with milk, add in sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and a pinch of salt in a wide rectangular dish.  Soak the bread until the egg custard is absorbed on each side.

Heat a large frying pan with oil or butter on medium heat.  Add the soaked toast pieces in the pan.  Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side or until golden.  Top with the blood oranges, pomegranates, raspberries, nuts, and other topping of your choice.

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I haven’t baked in ages.  I can also say it’s been a long time since I’ve cooked anything special.  As I mentioned before, we’re moving, things are starting to be packed up and the kitchen is about to be boxed up.  I want to post more frequently on my blog. After all, I squealed and acted like an annoying brat until I got my new dSLR back in November for my birthday.  I haven’t used it as much as I would have liked.  Hopefully, with the warmer weather coming up, I will spend more time with the camera.  I’m looking forward to the summer months where produce will be abundant and I will have forgotten how long this year’s winter was.  In all honesty, it’s still winter here.  It’s only a few degrees above freezing today, not exactly what you expect on April 18th!

Where are the tulips and daffodils?  My husband and I drove back from Toronto to Kingston last Friday, all the trees were barren-gray and more gray.  The buds were not even visible yet.  Is it December or April?  To make myself feel better, I baked.  Baking is a therapeutic process for me.  My usual neat freak self takes a little break and I make a mess in the kitchen (only with baking).  I did my thing, and in the process took pictures.  I felt like I was back into the swing of things.

The cake tastes bright and fresh.  It’s all lemony and cheery.  I wanted it to be a swirl cake, but I learned that brown sugar just blends in.  No swirls.  That’s alright though, it tasted good.  Super moist and not too sweet.  Perfect with a cup of tea or coffee, but the child in me loves milk with cake.  I also made a lemon zest sugar that I incorporated into the cake with cream cheese. It was divine.  I had to stop myself from eating it as is.  In the process, I also learned it could work as a great skin scrub (before the addition of cream cheese), food and beauty all in one. Yay.

In these 2 weeks before we move out, I hope I’ll manage to do some more cooking and photographing.  Until then, this cake serves as a good start.

Lemon Brown Sugar Cake

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

1/2 cup sugar+ 2 tablespoons

1/2 cup brown sugar

zest of 2 lemons

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

4 tablespoons butter, softened

1/4 cup canola oil

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1/4 cup greek yogurt

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup cake and pastry flour, sifted

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

Method

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 9″ by 5″ by 3″ loaf pan and line it with parchment paper.

In a food processor, add the lemon zest, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons of the regular sugar and pulse until combined.  Once combined, add in the cream cheese and vanilla extract and run the food processor until the mixture is smooth, set aside.

Using a stand mixer or hand mixer (and bowl) cream together the butter, oil, and sugar and 1/4 cup of  the brown sugar, until light and fluffy.  Next, beat in the eggs until combined, and then, add in the greek yogurt.  Beat for a minute and then pour in the lemon juice and the remaining 1 teaspoon of  vanilla extract.

Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder in another bowl and gradually beat it into the egg and butter mixture.  Once the flour is incorporated, swirl in tablespoonfuls of the cream cheese, lemon zest mixture into the batter.  Once the cream cheese mixture is incorporated pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 1 hour.  Once cooked, allow to cool for 30 minutes and serve with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.