Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A stalwart pumpkin and a list of fun food holidays!!

Hasn't my Hallowe'en pumpkin been a brave little guy...he's been outdoors now since before Hallowe'en and been rained, sleeted, iced and snowed upon since then...if you look inside he's actually desiccated and quite fascinating...good on ya Jack!!

I was doing some research for Farmers Fare (where I am now the cyber content personage) on food holidays for us to co-ordinate with special food events at the market and look what I found...this is just a part of the list I discovered and I have edited it to the kind of things I like, especially desserts. I'll be doing some posts here on the blog to co-ordinate with some of these fun days and will let you know what's happening at Farmers Fare on the days they are celebrating too!!

National Soup Month
Jan 23rd National Pie Day

National Sweet Potato Month
Feb 16th Shrove/Pancake/Fat Tuesday
Feb. 26th National Pistachio Day

March 14th UK Mothering Sunday
March 17th St. Patrick’s Day...nothing green please unless it is spinach!!
March 19th National Poultry Day
March 25th Waffle Day
March 27th Maple Syrup Saturday...I am organizing an event at Farmers Fare for this one called "Farmers Fare gets Sappy", here is a link to their events page for more info on what we will be doing that day!!
March 28th Something on a Stick Day...yea for that one!!!/Also Maine Maple Sunday when the Sugaring Shacks around the state are open for visits.

April 4th Easter Sunday
April 14th National Pecan Day
April 19th Garlic Day
April 23rd St. George's Day
April 25th National Zucchini Bread Day

National Egg Month
National Salad Month
May 4th National Candied Orange Peel day...an odd day to choose for this I think...shouldn't it be nearer Thankies and Christmas?? Maybe this is when oranges are harvested...anyone know?
May 9th Mothers Day US
May 31st National Macaroon Day

National Iced Tea Month
National Dairy Month
National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month
June 5th National Doughnut Day...yea!!!
June 17th Eat your vegetables day
June 20th Father’s Day
June 22nd National Chocolate Eclair Day!!

National Ice Cream Month...Gelato Fiasco where are you??
July 1st Creative Ice Cream Flavour day
July 2nd National Ice Cream sandwich day
July 18th National Ice Cream Day...is this the only thing Americans eat in July???, oh no wait the 18th is also Caviar Day!!!
July 30th National Cheesecake Day

Peach month!!
August 1st Blueberry, blaeberry, whortleberry, hurt, whimberry , fraughn or hurtleberry Sunday...mostly in Ireland
Aug 2nd National Ice Cream Sandwich Day
Aug 19th Potato Day....big Maine one!!!
Aug 30th National Toasted Marshmallow Day

All American breakfast month
National Chicken Month
National Honey Month
National Mushroom Month
Sept 14th National Cream Filled Doughnut Day...I like this one!!

OCTOBER (Great Maine Apple day is in Oct but I can’t find the date yet!!)
National Pizza Month
National Pasta Month
Vegetarian Awareness Month
October 1st World Vegetarian Day
October 9th Mouldy cheese day...I like this one too...Stilton YUM!!!!!
Oct 31st Halloween

NOVEMBER (Stir Up Sunday is in Nov but not sure of that date yet....when you make your Xmas puddings!!)
National Pepper Month
Nov 3rd Sandwich Day
Nov 5th Guy Fawkes Night in Blighty
Nov 13th National Indian Pudding Day
Nov 25th Thankies

Dec 5th National Sacher Torte Day
Dec 9th National Pastry Day
Dec 15th National Lemon cupcake day (why just lemon I ask??)
Dec 21st National Hamburger Day
Dec 24th Christmas Eve...Trieze Desserts in France
Dec 25th Crimbly!!!
.........and my personal favourite and the one I just can’t wait for
Dec 30th National Bicarbonate of Soda Day!!!!!’

If anyone has any fun food holidays to add please let me know, especially from other parts of the world.....thanks!!! and Happy Cooking of every kind!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Pink, red, butter, sugar........CAKE!!

HONESTLY...is this corny enough for you? For those of you in Blighty these are Valentine Candy Corns...in case you don't get the oh so subtle joke there!!
Lucie and I decided for Valentine's Day we would decorate some cupcakes..above are our Valentine's sugary accoutrements!!
and the essential buckets o'buttercream...yes that is chocolate buttercream...I do like chocolate in that instance...and also in chocolate mousse so long as it is not too dark, I am a milk chocolate person, I know it isn't trendy or hip to be so but I have accepted that fact about myself and now I feel I can move forward with my head held high!! Tee hee
Voila...my pink and brown cupcakes...ah yes that is a chocolate truffle, homemade of course, atop one of the cupcakes pink icing...and a chocolate buttercream rose, which, even though I say it myself, I am quite pleased with...buttercream roses are not so easy to do as the Youtube videos I have viewed for technique portray!!
...and here is Lucie's Plate O"Cupcakes...aren't they lovely!!! Well done Lucie!!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Coeur a la Creme, or in my case Petit Montagne a la Creme, with Lemon Curd!!

Yes, I know I should have little heart shaped molds for this BUT I didn't have any on hand, I did, however, have little flat topped mountain shaped ones so that's what I used! There are two parts to this recipe...the creme part which takes overnight and the curd part which takes about 40 minutes total, so start the day before in order to have it all right 'on the day'

PS The type is all over the place today on this posting and will not behave so forgive me for my inconsistency in typefaces!


6 ozs cottage cheese

4 ozs cream cheese

¼ cup either sour cream or crème fraiche (I used sour cream)

4 tablespoons of confectioners/icing sugar…more or less depending on your sweet tooth, the recipe I worked from said 1 tablespoon for twice the ingredients but that was way too subtle for moi!!

1 teaspoon vanilla essence/extract

1. In an electric blender, yes I gave in to technology on this one, blend the cottage cheese, cream cheese…you know what, everything above…until super smooth.

2. Find yourself a ceramic mold with holes in the bottom…I don’t know where mine came from but I just happen to have 2 on hand, you can also use small clay plant pots that haven’t been used before and give them a good soapy washing and a good rinse or, if you are very fancy, you can buy the special Coeur a la crème molds which are little ceramic hearts, hence the Coeur part, with holes in the bottom.

3. Cut some squares of cheesecloth (some people use paper towels for this but I prefer cheesecloth which you can actually buy at the supermarket if you look hard enough..try to get the tightest weave you can, not too open)…usually you use two per mold layered one on top of the other, then wet them and wring them out thoroughly, this helps the liquid to drain more easily, if you use dry cloth sometimes it won’t drain at all. Line the inside of the molds with the cloth.

4. Pour the cream mixture into the lined molds until nice and full then tap the molds hard on a smooth surface to help any air bubbles rise to the top and pop away.

5. Put the filled molds on a cooling rack or similar over a plate so the whey can drain away nicely and pop in the fridge overnight.

The Lemon Curd Recipe:

3 egg yolks lightly beaten

½ cup sugar

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ stick/2oz butter (yes I used salted, I like that kind of taste!!)

1. Put a pan of water on to simmer, you’re going to be using a double boiler to make the curd.

2. In another non-reactive pan or glass bowl mix together all the ingredients EXCEPT the butter and then put bowl or pan over the simmering water and stir, stir, stir until the mixture thickens slightly…the sauce can be a little runny when ‘set’…you don’t want it quite so hard as the usual curd…

3. Take curd off the heat and stir in the butter until all melted then allow the curd to cool….you can make this the day before or just before you are ready to unmold the crème.

To assemble:

1. Pour a goodly amount of the curd into the bottom of your chosen crème vessel.

2. Very gently tip a crème out of the mold and very gingerly remove the cheesecloth.

3. Pop the crème into the pool of curd…add a rose geranium leaf for adornment or a strawberry, or a raspberry or whatever you would like…a chocolate truffle…go crazy.

This is a very subtle dessert, the crème is very cremey and just slightly sweet but combined with the tangy bright curd it makes a lovely treat for Valentine’s Day especially so if you can get your hands on some Coeur molds…kind of helps if the dessert is heart shaped!!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Put a little Earth Day in your Valentine's Day!!

Why not consider buying your Honey, and that Honey may well be yourself, a ceramic mug, travelling mug or reusable water bottle for Valentine's Day? Here is a small selection of my Valentine's worthy designs from my Cafe Press online store
I was just Googling the statistics on disposable cup and water bottle use and the numbers were too big and frightening for me to get my head around so instead of wielding insurmountable numbers here why not just consider how much good you can do as one individual just by taking your own mug, with a design by yours truly of course, to the deli or coffee shop or refilling your own water bottle with tap water, we filter ours in a Brita jug, instead of buying bottled water??
SIGG aluminum bottle with special non-toxic lining that doesn't impart a flavour to your water, available in o.6 and 1.0 litre sizes..adorned with my Red Heart Scandinavian style Folkloric Design...good for both Valentine's and Christmas....my longest titled design thus far!!
A SIGG with a lily.....
My Pink Pansy on a large mug......................

and "Be My Cupcake" on a ceramic traveling mug...nice hot coffee to go with a no-calorie cupcake!!
If you order from my print-on-demand online store (no inventory no waste...everything is printed to order which is just great!!) you can ship direct to your Honey's home or business just in time for Valentine's Day!! Thanks for taking a look