I’m away from Huelva in Madrid this weekend, but my roommate texted yesterday saying that we finally got a new stove and oven in our apartment. Hallelujah!! I haven’t baked at all since I came to Spain (one whole month without an oven! Does that count as roughing it?), and so I’m pretty excited that we can start making some warm comforting food as even Huelva is starting to get a little cool. Cookies definitely need to happen soon.
I made these just before I left for Spain, to go with our pumpkin spice lattes. Along with pumpkin flavoured anything, around this time of year I love ginger and spices in desserts. These soft cookies feature flavourful flecks of crystallized ginger and are a perfect taste of fall with some hot apple cider and sharp cheddar.
To be honest, when I realized my birthday was three weeks after arriving in Huelva I thought I might not really know anyone and didn’t think I’d do anything special, but it was a really nice night and my roommates and I put together a fun little party. I was a very happy and grateful birthday girl:) We hosted a little birthday dinner shindig and invited the friends we had made so far in Huelva.We told everyone that they were more than welcome to bring a friend or any housemates, so I don’t think I actually knew about half the people who came, but we made a lot of friends and met some new neighbours, which was awesome!
To make things even more memorable, my fabulous roommates surprised me with a cake at the salsa club the next night and after they told our salsa instructors that it was my birthday I was made to dance with all the men at the club– I’m sure I looked more inept than Jennifer Grey at the beginning of Dirty Dancing, but it was so fun I really didn’t mind!
Now, my twin is visiting me in Huelva after a an awesome twin-time/sightseeing weekend in Cordoba — I couldn’t be happier.
Without a working oven, I decided to improvise and make an ice cream cake. Our kitchen set up is really basic, so I didn’t make a crust or anything. It was literally just layers of ice cream, with homemade ganache, crushed Oreos and peanuts in the middle. It was the first ice cream cake I had ever made, and after some initial issues with the free form bottom layer on the plate melting before I could get it in the freezer it worked out super well! I’d even go so far and say it was a hit, but people might have just been nice since it was my birthday…but really, ice cream, chocolate, crumbled cookies and salty nuts? It seems like a winning combo no matter what!
When we moved in to our apartment in Huelva,, our bubbly and seemingly lovely landlady (who is an older Spanish lady from Sevilla) told us upfront that our oven was currently not working, but would be replaced “mañana”. Well, three weeks have gone by, and that’s a lot of mañanas. We’ve called our dueña several times, and she keeps reassuring us that a new oven is on the way, but we’re getting impatient over here! We will persist, por que no es vale!
To make things worse, our microwave broke last week (we’ve been told that it will be replaced mañana, too…), so when I said I would bring a dessert to a little “international” dinner I went to last week, I realized it would have to be a “no bake” recipe for sure. Cue this amazing No Bake Chocolate Cake from Heidi at 101cookbooks. With only two key ingredients (I did manage to find all of the ingredients, though, in our little local grocery store!), it is a cinch to make, and can easily be done with super low key kitchen equipment. (I used a plastic container lined with parchment paper as my “cake pan…it works!)
This cake is basically a decadent chocolate ganache or fudge in disguise. Make sure there are other people around to help you eat this, or you could end up eating it all yourself….not that that’s necessarily terrible.
I tried to make my cake a little more “Canadian” for this international shindig, so I decorated it with some maple candies and chocolate loonies that I brought from home (they are really for my students, but I figured I could sacrifice a few!). It needed a little gussying up since I was lacking any cocoa powder or powdered sugar to make it look a bit more sophisticated. This recipe was really easy to follow and the results were delicious — I’m really looking forward to making it again (maybe for (y)our birthday, Thomas!), but I’m also really looking forward to having an oven…fingers crossed.
I could gobble up avocados. If I’m in a hurry, I’ll drizzle a half with some olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and voilà! a yummy snack. Salads, sandwiches, spring rolls, guac, tacos, breakfast, lunch or dinner, I’ll eat some avocado. With all this avocado enthusiasm, I’m surprised that I hadn’t had any for dessert until recently.
This ice cream actually only happened because my mum had stocked up on avocados recently, and I hadn’t been at home much so they were ripening fast without anyone taking advantage of their goodness (I guess my family needs an avocado monster around the house). To solve this conundrum, I was looking for avocado recipes that would freeze well. There don’t seem to be many of those out there — except for avocado ice cream!
I know it might sound weird, but it’s a very refreshing flavour; light and just the right amount of sweetness. Don’t knock it til you try it!
I love this light and airy cake, but I tend to think of Angel Food Cake as a summer dessert. However, with cartons of egg whites in the fridge this dessert suddenly seemed very appropriate (even if there is still snow on the ground!).
The cake can be whipped up quickly and you certainly don’t need to get fancy to make this dessert a hit. I also discovered that this recipe works super well for a cupcake version! I added some mini chocolate chips to the cupcakes just for fun and it was a perfect little treat. Topped everything off with vanilla whipped cream and strawberries…is summer here yet?
Heart shaped foods might be reserved for Valentine’s Day (which I hope was lovely, by the way!), but this quick dessert will taste good any day of the year.
Good news: meringue does not kill poodles. Our silly puppy manged to pull a meringue down from the kitchen counter when I wasn’t looking. These hearts are a little fragile, so make sure you keep your curious puppy away…you don’t want any broken hearts!
The meringue thief. Guilty puppy.
I just took a simple meringue recipe and made the individual hearts by spooning the meringue within a heart shaped cookie cutter on the baking sheet. Topped with vanilla whipped cream, lots of berries and a drizzle of chocolate sauce this was a light and scrumptious way to end the meal.
For an easy chocolate drizzle, just melt chocolate chips! The higher quality, the tastier it will be.
Valentine’s Day is coming right up (as in tomorrow!), and I love it. No, I don’t like the overly corny marketing and yes, if you love someone you should show it all year ’round. But despite all the reasons so many people love to hate it, I’m a fan. I mean really, no matter your relationship status, there’s always someone you can send a little special love to. Family, friends, the puppy…all good candidates for getting a shoutout on the day of love.
Sugar cookies should be simple; the appeal lies in the old-fashioned sweet buttery goodness. This recipe (which is really an awesome master recipe for about 14 variations — I went with regular and toasted coconut this time) is great for beginner bakers and experienced cookie monsters alike. These cookies freeze really well, so you can start making your holiday cookies wayyyy in advance! (One day I will be that organized.)
Another reason why I love Valentine’s Day might lie in my weird penchant for conversation hearts. I know, they don’t even taste that great, but I bet if they were home made they would be delicious! Check out this recipe for the little treats, sounds awesome! http://bravetart.com/recipes/ConversationHeartsGF
I am a tea drinker. It fits all occasions. Early mornings, pity parties, long talks, steamy dates, nights of insomnia, last minute cramming, cozying up on the couch...through it all there has been one man: Earl Grey. Though I certainly appreciate variety in my tea cup, I think the Earl and I have a serious and lasting relationship. What better way to show my love for the Earl than to pair him with another one of my favourite things? Cue a decadent Dark Chocolate Earl Grey Tart.
Dark Chocolate Earl Grey Tart with Earl Grey Whipped Cream
This dessert even got the nod from my mother, and she’s my (most loving) harshest critic! Even if you’re not a big tea fan, the subtle-tea (I promise to stop…) of the bergamot flavoring adds a really lovely dimension to the dessert. As long as you like chocolate, you’re good to go. Something this decadent shouldn’t be so easy to make…
Bursting with juicy fruit and cream between layers of brown sugar meringue, this delicate and versatile dessert is certainly fit for its namesake. Believed to be created in honour of Russian prima ballerina Anna Pavlova while dancing on tour in Australia or New Zealand (they still debate it), the dessert has become one of my favourite things to make (and eat, obviously!).
This “triple-layer” version of the pavlova is a little more high maintenance than a more typical pavlova with one large meringue and toppings, but it is still easy to make and assemble and the overall effect of the layers is worth it!Recipe and variations