When I was a little girl, I was not very fond of coconut. There was something too coconutty about coconut flavours that it overwhelms my tastebuds. I was a child, my sense of taste wasn’t fully developed to appreciate the flavour of coconut – at least that was my excuse. It wasn’t till I was a bit older that I realized it; I wasn’t disliking coconut, I was just disliking the flavours of the processed extract of coconut. Fresh coconut, it’s flesh and water, virgin or otherwise transformed, I do very much like. It was probably very telling when I liked certain coconut products but not all. And I am glad to report, I do like coconut after all. And since that one time I saw a cake, iced in glorious white flakes, I have been wanting (dying) to make a coconut cake with all it’s glory. My version of a coconut cake is a dense but light (I’ll get to that in a bit) cake with an Italian meringue icing flavour with my homemade coconut extract! I got that idea from Alton Brown. I had researched a lot of recipes, of cakes and icings, and I came up with this recipe as an adaptation to every awesomest cakes out there. I call this my own version of a coconutiest coconut cake. Be forewarned, you’ll need to think about this cake a week in advance if you want to make it with your own homemade coconut extract (recipe below). You could skip the extract too, it just won’t be the “coconutiest coconut cake” any more, it’d just be “coconut cake”.
My basil plant is prolifically producing and I love, love, love the fact that it has tripled in size in this beautiful Vancouver weather. What better way to use basil than to turn it into an all-purpose pesto! You guys are probably used to pesto made with basil and pine nuts but really, pesto can be a combination of any greens/herbs/fruits, nuts, lemon juice, olive oil and grated Parmesan. After all, pesto just means paste in Italian. With the price of pine nuts going off the roof lately, this is a basil pesto that uses sunflower seeds. If I were you, I’d toast the seeds until they are slightly brown and fragrant but feel free to skip the roasting, if you’re feeling lazy. I don’t like my pesto to be emulsified. It’s a state you’d get if you blitz all the ingredients into a blender. The combination of lemon juice and all the other ingredients turns the paste into a light green cream and I hate that. I want my basil pesto to be a fluid sauce, glistening with oil and with all the finely chopped ingredients visible as you run your spoon in it. This is my recipe for pesto.
I love lemon desserts. Lemon meringue pie, lemon cream cake, lemon-vanilla pound cake, lemon-anything, actually. Now, this recipe from Nigel Slater might be my favourite lemon dessert recipe to date. The Lemon-Lemon Thyme cake is moist, sweet, lemony and woodsy with the addition of lemon thyme; the lemon-thyme syrup adds to the burst of sunshine on this cake and helps keep it moist as well. I highly recommend using lemon thyme in this recipe but if you can only get regular thyme, that’s fine too. The recipe is pretty straight forward but I’ve tweaked Nigel’s recipe for the cake a little bit by adding more lemon zests. read more …
I love compound butters. A dollop of these flavoured butter goodness can take any dish through the roof. What is compound butter? It may sound fancy but that cannot be further from the truth, it’s basically butter mixed with whatever herbs you have at hand. Garlic butter is an example of a compound butter, and I am sure you know how delicious it is when slathered onto toasts. You can easily make your own flavoured compound butter at home. Store it in the freezer and it freezes well for up to a year and when you want to use it, just open the packaging and cut a few chunks out. In the fridge, depending on what herbs you used, it can last quite a long while too. I just wouldn’t recommend storing your compound butter in the fridge for long periods of time if you used a lot of fresh herbs.
This is my version of compound butter, made in a food processor. You can also make it by hand, you just need to make sure your butter is soft and your herbs finely chopped. And you should make a lot of compound butter, especially when butter goes on sale. ;) read more …
I was a skeptic when I first read this recipe at the Minimalist Baker. I was wary about because black bean is not a conventional ingredient in baking but the number of reviews raving about these brownies can’t be lying, right? They’re not liars because these black bean brownies are divine! These brownies are chocolatey, fudge-like in the centre and they are gluten-free; and completely vegan. Eating
them makes this Christmas feel, how shall we put this, like a guilt-free indulgence. Oh, don’t forget to lick the batter off the spoon, it’s safe.
The black bean brownie recipe takes 5 minutes to put together, if you have all the ingredients. If not, I suggest you buy the ingredients because they are multipurpose and great for health too. And you will make the batter in a food processor or a blender. My other brownie recipe is pretty awesome too. If you want something traditional and non-vegan, that’s the one you want make.