Monday, May 19, 2008


I made a batch of brioche dough last weekend, but only got around to baking with it this morning. I split the batch and froze portions earlier in the week (when it became obvious that I wouldn't have time to use it!). It defrosted in the fridge overnight, no problem. This weekend's experiment....Apple & Pear Coffee Cake from Artisan Bread In Five Minutes A Day. So easy, so so good. I didn't have an 8 inch cake pan (I know- it's shocking!) that I thought was deep enough, so used an 8x8 square instead.

Streusal topping- oats, sugar, flour, butter & cinnamon.

Apples, pear, more sugar & orange zest.


And, make Cinnamon Twists with the scraps of dough.

These were baked a smidge too long, but good with coffee nonetheless.

Art in the trash

The boy and I spent yesterday morning "making art". As I was cleaning up afterwards, I unearthed these scraps from Ethan's pile. I'm not sure what I loved about them, but as soon as they dried, I had to frame them. They were gloppy with glue, paint and markers.....and the turquoise colour was a result of some chemical reaction between the glue & the paint. Funny what happens when you don't even try!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Anything Bread

This is a great recipe if you've got anything you need to use up. It was posted some time ago, on the FoodWine list, and I finally got around to trying it a couple of weeks ago, when I had some bananas which were way past their prime. I used raisins instead of nuts...still trying to figure out a good crunchy substitute for the nuts in recipes.

Anything Bread

3 cup flour
1 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoons cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup oil
2 cup sugar
2 cup "Anything"
3 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts


Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon and set aside.

Beat eggs in large bowl. Add oil and sugar and cream well.

Add "anything" and vanilla.

Add dry ingredients. Mix well.

Add nuts. Spoon into 2 greased and floured loaf pans or a large Bundt pan.

Bake at 350 F for 40 minutes (loaves) or 50 to 55 minutes (Bundt pan).

Cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then turn out onto rack to cool completely.

Recipe Notes:
The anything in this recipe can be one or any combination of: grated apples, mashed bananas, grated carrots, chopped dates, pumpkin puree, raisins, chopped rhubarb, chopped strawberries (or any other berry), grated squash or zucchini, etc.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Weekend in photos

This past weekend was packed full of Martha Stewart moments.

More dough making- brioche and a rye bread. I didn't have a chance to bake off anything with the brioche, but will later today maybe. I'm home with the boy.

Rye bread- it's my favourite so far. My mother got a loaf for Mother's Day.

Some gardening...

Dining al fresco on calzone- made from last weekend's herbed boule dough...

Bike riding, including a minor wipe-out in my garden.

Made this salad for my nephew's baptism on Sunday.....very good!

Friday, May 9, 2008

The office reno....a work in progress

We’ve been really busy these last couple of months….both of us taking courses, taking care of the boy (who knew 3 was so busy??? Not us, not us- why are we so clueless about parenting?), maintaining some semblance of contact with friends and family, and trying to finish up our inside projects before the outside work starts.

You know, that sounds like we’re crazy workaholics or maybe just addicted to projects? Although it sounds like we’re neurotic about getting stuff done, and scheduling it all in tightly, we are also remarkably easy to talk out of doing the stuff. Why, just last weekend we spent the better part of Saturday sitting in a friend’s garage, drinking wine and eating deep fried turkey, with Ethan happily running his trains across the table and eating massive amounts of nacho dip. Was it our fault the community garage sale got rained out??? So there, friends and family…you can stop worrying about us! We do know how to relax.

In the house, we’re working on finishing up the office. Back in January, we moved Ethan into his new room (which was the old office) and decided that his old room would finally be the office we’d always wanted. We’ve grown a little tired of the wires and the piles of stuff and the general lack of organization and storage. So, we came up with a plan…..or actually I had the vision, and my favorite (so far!) husband is making it a reality. There’s been a bit of resistance on his part, but I’m confidant he’ll figure out how to do what I want, er, envision. Apparently installing an eight foot slab of butcher block for a desk, and making it look like it’s floating is too much to ask? And the conduit running along under the back of the desk, for hiding the wires….it’s a phenomenal idea, no? Anyway, we’re on our way, and this one just might get done. Colin has declared that there will be no more projects started until this one is done. We'll see.

This is our old / still in use desk. It's ugly, and all the wires show. I hate that. This is where the new "floating" desk will go, suspended between wall and cabinet. It'll be great. Just as soon as we have time to get it!

Some features so far….wall to wall built in cabinets (thank you Ikea kitchen sale!) which will house every unsightly piece of computer equipment, printer, scanner, cell phone chargers and Palm docks. And the shredder, the filing cabinet and so much more.

The under cabinet lighting is installed, and there's a nifty rack to keep all the little stuff off the work surface.

And, last weekend Colin did all the wiring and finally made us a network. Now we can view all of our photos and home movies on the TIVO / TV, among other things. Very cool. That Colin, he's really a good man.

Of course, the floating desk isn’t there yet but you can imagine it I’m sure. Soon, my friends, soon. I know you can hardly stand the wait. But, in the meantime, we have to peel a billion glow-in-the-dark-stars off the ceiling.....and doesn't that just scream crick in the neck???


Because really, you just can't help it. Doesn't everyone need a pair of bunny sunglasses?

Thursday, May 8, 2008


I recently picked up Artisan Bread In 5 Minutes A Day, and it's a great little book. It's full of basic "master" dough recipes, with lots of variations, and also some great pastry type recipes. I don't have a lot of experience with bread baking or using yeast doughs in general, and I found the book had some great instructions and tips. Before last weekend, my repetoire had included a couple of decent enough loaves and one batch of very sad dill dinner rolls. The latter took forever to rise, likely due to the drafty old house I was living in at the time. Lesson one....a warm kitchen is good! And they weren't so good either.

So, I don't really need more bread (or pastries) in my life (or on my hips) but I really like making it....kind of stress relieving, no? And, since Ethan was diagnosed with a peanut allergy, I've found it almost impossible to buy baked goods that haven't possibly maybe come in contact with a peanut. Bakery bread and goodies are now out. Bagged commercial breads are okay, but the chemicals in the ingredient lists kind of gross me out. Now that I diligently read all labels in search of peanut products, I'm even more aware of how many chemicals are in the most basic foods. Don't even get me started on how much this is stressing me out! Like I really need more things to worry about. Anyway, I decided to give this a whirl and I'm really liking it.

The book's basic premise is that you make batches of dough which you store in the fridge after a rise of approximately 2 hours. When you're ready to bake, you cut a hunk of the dough off, shape, rest for a bit (the dough, not you, but you certainly can!) and bake. The dough is a snap to make, and there's no kneading required. The loaves are small, so they bake quickly and are easy enough to eat in the couple of days before they go stale. Even day 3 bread made for good toast.

Last Sunday I made a basic Boule recipe, with some herbs added, and proceeded to bake one plain loaf and one olive bread variation. Both were really good- nice texture and a awesome chewy crust. This weekend.....brioche- stay tuned!

I'm so proud....weird, huh?