April 21, 2014 – My Favorite Food Blogs

There are a lot of food blogs out there in “etherland” – some are sporadically maintained (like this one) but others are faithfully added to nearly every day and often with wonderful recipes, tips and good ideas.

Some are fairly “exotic” while others can best be described as “down home” or mundane, but all have interesting recipes that range from extremely simple to fairly complex.

Some are “health conscious” – trending toward the low fat, low sugar tradition while others are “organic” or “gluten free” or some other designation that purports to be “healthy.”   For me the jury is still out on some of these.  I go along with the fact that some people are very sensitive to wheat/gluten and do better on restricted diets.  Others have problems with GMO foods, particularly GMO corn and soy products that seem so pervasive in a huge number of prepared foods, baking mixes and in products that, to me, have no business containing EITHER product.

I mean, why should there be soy protein in YOGURT?  Or cornstarch?  I’ve been making yogurt for decades and the product is perfectly FINE without any additives.

Zocalo Gourmet

The Kitchn

Buns in My Oven

Smitten Kitchen

The Kitchen Daily

A Canadian Foodie

Steamy Kitchen

Quirky Cooking  (Mostly Thermomix recipes)

PureWow Recipes

Polish the Stars

The Prairie Homestead

Lambs’ Ears & Honey

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April 12, 2014 – I baked a traditional Dundee Cake – which goes great with TEA!

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My great grandmother, my grandmother and the rest of my family, loved Dundee cake, which is not flavored as strongly as many “tea” cakes – no vanilla, no citrus zest, no cocoa, no herbal additions.  The addition of the dried fruits and peel add just a hint of flavor, which allows this to go well with tea, coffee, summer fruit drinks, etc., there are no “competing” or jarring flavors.

Here is the recipe – I have “modernized” it a bit (and reduced the size as the original made three large cakes for a large family) that I “inherited” from my grandmother.

DUNDEE CAKE

  • 1 Cup Butter
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 4 EGGS  Large
  • 2 1/2 Cups Flour All-purpose
  • 2/3 tsp Salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Cup Sultanas – golden raisins
  • 3/4 Cup Mixed Peel
  • 1/2 Cup Currants   (Zante)
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 2 TBS Sliced Almonds

Method:

Grease and flour an 8 inch cake pan or line it with parchment paper.  (I now use the disposable paper baking molds, 8 inch round, which do a beautiful job – they are available from Amazon.)  You can also use smaller pans or molds for a taller cake – or use a loaf pan or pans.

Preheat your oven to 325°F.

Use a medium-large bowl – 2 quarts or larger or the bowl on a stand mixer.

Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat the mixture until all are blended in and the batter is smooth.

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together

Add the sultanas, mixed peel and currants to the flour mixture and toss to coat the pieces and make sure they are not clumped together.  (They are not traditional, but dried cranberries are lovely in this cake.)

Add the flour and fruit mixture to the batter, 1/3 at a time, stirring well until blended before adding more.

Add the milk and beat until completely blended.

The batter should be fairly stiff but if it appears too stiff, or dry on the surface, add 1 or 2 additional tablespoons of milk, blending well after each addition.

Transfer the batter to the cake pan, spread to edges and level the top.

Sprinkle on the sliced almonds.

Place on center rack in pre-heated oven and set timer for 80 minutes.

At the end of this time check for doneness with a “cake tester” or better yet, a probe thermometer – the finished temp should be 205°F.  If the cake center has not reached this temp, continue baking for an additional 10 minutes and test again.

Remove from oven, place pan on cooling rack for 50 minutes.

Invert onto one plate and then turn it again so it is right-side up on your serving plate.  If using the paper mold, just strip off the sides and transfer directly to your plate leaving the bottom in place.

Lightly sift powdered sugar over the top after the cake has fully cooled.

Dindee cake

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Two more sets of Vintage canisters on EBAY! Kromex copper and Tupperware Fat Chef.

Copper anodized spun aluminum  Kromex  canisters and spice cans.  They have some dings and scratches because they were USED, but overall, they are in very nice condition for being 55 years old.

Collecting all these things was fun and I have enjoyed them.  Now it’s time to allow someone else to have the fun of putting together a kitchen with VINTAGE decor that still WORKS.

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Also a set of 12 Tupperware Fat Chef plastic canisters, 11 with “One-Touch” tight lids and the Coffee canister with a “loose” lid.

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Antique and vintage cast iron cookware. Getting ready for ebay

These first photos are of ANTIQUE English cast iron cooking pots that are like those seen in the kitchen scenes on DOWNTON ABBEY.

The very large one is  6 IMPERIAL quarts – equal to 14.2 U.S. Pints.   This is very heavy.

The smallest is One pint – also Imperial measure – equal to 1.2 U.S. Pints.

The two earliest are ca. 1895, the large one dates to 1910.

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I also have a lot of AMERICAN MADE cast iron.

Including this huge oval roaster made by Griswold – the back stamp “Large Block” logo was used between 1920 and 1940.

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As long as it is cared for and treated with respect, cast iron can last for decades or even centuries.

And even though many people collect it, there are still “treasures” to be found.  One of the women who works at a local thrift store, found an Erie “Spider” skillet in a box of mostly junk that had been dropped off outside the back door of the store a few weeks ago.  It was in almost perfect condition and looked like it had been used sparingly.

Go to the site Cast Iron Collector  BEFORE you go shopping for antique and vintage cast iron.

I will be posting this as a Page after I have photos of more pieces of my cast iron collection.

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March 16, 2014. Another collectible up on ebay.

This is a fun collectible that isn’t seen too often.

I bought this 1940s Hot Fudge Sundae “Fudgester” in the 1970s when a local Ben Franklin dime store, that had a soda fountain/lunch counter, went out of business.

I used it for a number of years both for hot fudge and for caramel sauce and it was great for holding these at the correct serving temp (to go over ice cream).

It’s not easy to find restaurant items that are in such good condition (the power cord does need replacing but it still heats) because these items were heavily used.  This one was in excellent condition when it came to me but the outer rubber casing on the power cord has cracked over time – it has been stored for many years.

Hot Fudge Sundae 2 Hot Fudge Sundae 1

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January 21, 2014 – Another collectible going on eBay.

Since a vintage mixer identical to one I have was featured on Downton Abbey, I feel this is the time to offer it on ebay.  I believe it is time to allow someone else to enjoy some of these interesting appliances I have had in my collection.

It is the Universal mixer shown first on this page and is in very good condition, considering that it is 95 years old!

It is difficult to find these in this condition – the good ones were snapped up by collectors years ago.  Univ.mix2 Univ.mix

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January 10, 2014 A New Year to do some “thinning” of my collections.

In the coming weeks I will be putting some of my vintage items, appliances and others, on eBay auctions.

If, while looking through the various pages, if you see something in which you are interested, just comment here and I will make the decision to either put it up for auction or keep it.

I will NOT be selling anything directly, everything will be offered only via eBay with payments through PayPal.  I have been burned in the past and will not make that mistake again.

There will be Toasters, Waffle irons, Sandwich presses, Coffee brewers, Mixers and some non-electric gadgets.  They will be only a few each week because getting an item ready for auction, taking up-to-date photos and finding a suitable box for packing, takes time and I want to be prepared.

This is the link to a list of my current eBay auctions:

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January 4, 2014 – What to do with Leftover Oatmeal

Fried Oatmeal – to use up leftover oatmeal instead of just heating it in the microwave.

What do your do with leftover cooked oatmeal?   This works well with old-fashioned rolled oats or steel-cut oats (Irish oats)

Since it is so easy and a cinch to make without requiring attention, I have been making larger batches in my Thermomix.
This way I have enough left over for at least one additional meal, sometimes more than one.

I had fruit for breakfast so for lunch decided to make “fried oatmeal” which I remembered from childhood.

In a small skillet I melted a tablespoon or so of butter and “browned” it to develop the flavor.
I added a cup of cooked oatmeal (made from steel-cut oats) and half a cup of dried sweet cherries.
I cooked it until lightly browned. Because of the sweetness of the cherries, no sugar was necessary.
Any dried fruit should work. Dried apples, chopped, raisins, chopped dates or figs, apricots, etc. I’m also going to try adding some chopped candied ginger.

It was very tasty, and filling. Perfect for a chilly day.

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And another use for leftover oatmeal.

Adding other cooked grains, nuts, eggs, flour and seasonings I can make patties that are either sweet or savory.

Oatmeal (cooked) Nut and Fruit patties.
Slightly less than 2 cups leftover cooked oatmeal
1/3 cup dried sweet cherries (or any other dried fruit/raisins)
2/3 cup toasted sunflower kernels (or any finely-chopped nuts
3/4 cup almond meal (or any nut flour or meal,coconut works too)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt – use less if you have regular table salt.

(Optional additions: Spices, herbs, cinnamon for sweet, toasted ground cumin for a savory flavor.

Mix together until it is firm enough to hold its shape – it will be sticky. – add a bit more almond meal, or other nut meal if it won’t hold together.

Put some oil on your hands and form the mixture into patties (I use disposable gloves in the kitchen because it is less messy)
Coat the patties in more almond meal – I used all my almond meal in the mix so I substituted hazelnut meal.  You can also use crushed cornflake crumbs or Panko crumbs for a nice crisp crust.

Fry in a hot skillet in a little oil – I use grapeseed oil because it has a higher smoke point and things fried in it tent to not absorb as much.

(I would advise making a test patty first and if you like a sweeter flavor, add a tablespoon or so of sugar, white or brown and/or any seasoning you like. I find the dried fruit makes this sweet enough for me but may not be enough for everyone.)

Cook on each side for 5-8 minutes, depending on how hot your griddle or skillet is. They should look like those in the photos.

Serve topped with a dollop (or more) of yogurt – mine is homemade, thick, Greek style.
Add a bit of jam, if you like a bit more sweetness.

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APPLE CAKE – for the holidays or for any time. Great with coffee or tea.

This is for a 9 inch tube pan or two loaf pans, 4 1/2 x 9 inch – however, I recommend the “disposable” paper baking molds, now available from Amazon, like these:  Paper baking molds – loaf, large size.

 

Ingredients:
Oil for greasing pans – tablespoon of flour for flouring.  Or use Baker’s Joy.

1 1/2 cup vegetable oil  – use a “neutral” oil that has little flavor – I prefer grapeseed or sunflower.
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
3 large eggs   AT ROOM TEMPERATURE
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour, plus more for dusting pan
1 teaspoon salt  if using kosher salt -  1 1/2 teaspoons
2 teaspoons cinnamon     or you can use the pumpkin pie spice blend.
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 cups peeled, cored and COARSELY CHOPPED apples, any variety that has good flavor.
1 cup chopped walnuts  or pecans or sliced almonds – if the latter, use only 3/4 cup.
1 cup raisins  – better if they are “plumped” a day ahead in sweet wine, apple cider or brewed tea.

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Grease and flour the tube pan or the loaf pans – the paper molds DO NOT NEED TO BE GREASED.
Or line the metal or glass pans with parchment paper.

First measure the FLOUR, SALT, CINNAMON AND BAKING SODA and either sift together or blend with a whisk in the bowl.  Measure the flour using the spoon and level method. (spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level with a straight edge).  Set aside.

Measure the sugars and oil into a mixer bowl. Start beating the sugars with the oil – use a paddle if your mixer has one.  (If you only have a hand mixer, you will have to shift to mixing by hand after most of the flour has been added.)
Beat oil and sugars for about 3-4 minutes.
Add the eggs, one at a time until well blended and the mix looks “silky.” Add the vanilla, blend.

Continue beating and add the flour mixture, a cup at a time, till well blended before adding more.
Switch to a spoon or a silicone spatula.
Fold the chopped apples, nuts and raisins in until completely and evenly combined.

Spoon the mixture into your prepared pans, pressing it down to fill the corners – batter will be thick – and leveling it so it will rise evenly.

If using the tube pan, bake for 75 minutes.  If using the two loaf pans, bake for 60 minutes.

If you have one, use a probe thermometer to check the internal temperature of the cakes – the center of the cake should be at 205° F.  MINIMUM.   Otherwise, a thin-bladed knife or toothpick inserted near the center should come out clean.

Place pans on a cooling rack and allow to cool for at least an hour before removing from the pans.
The advantage of using parchment paper in the metal or glass loaf pans is that you can lift the cakes out using the parchment as a “sling.”

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October 12, 2013My pumpkin custard pie recipe

It has been a very long time since I last posted.  I have been busy with other things.

I am getting ready for some autumn baking and thought I should post my favorite pie for this season.

My pumpkin custard pie recipe

2    cups pumpkin puree
1/3     cup  white sugar
1/3     cup light brown sugar
1/2    teaspoon (rounded)  kosher salt
1    teaspoon ground cinnamon     (If you like the commercial pumpkin pie spice, use 1 3/4 teaspoons instead of these spices.)
1/2    teaspoon ground ginger  (or you can grate 2 teaspoons fresh ginger)
1/8    teaspoon cloves
1/8    teaspoon finely ground black pepper

6    large eggs  – (separate TWO and beat the whites)

3/4     cup heavy cream
1/4    cup milk

1      9 inch single pie crust – unbaked -  It’s perfectly acceptable to use the frozen ones.

Preheat the oven to 375° F.

If using FRESH pumpkin puree – especially if somewhat runny – cook in a large saucepan or saucier  until it has thickened and most of the moisture has been absorbed.

Remove from heat and add:

The two Sugars
Salt
Cinnamon
Ginger

Mix well and allow to cool for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile:

Separate the two eggs and set the whites aside.

Beat the 4 whole eggs and the two yolks until slightly frothy blend in the cream and milk.

Beat the 2 whites until they form soft peaks.

When the pumpkin has cooled sufficiently
Add the beaten whole egg/cream/milk mixture and stir to blend completely.

Next   Fold in the whites and stir, you don’t have to be too careful, you are not aiming for a souffle.

Pour into prepared pie shell.  You should have a small amount left over, pour this into a buttered 12 ounce
custard cup.

Place pie on baking sheet and into the preheated oven.

Bake for 45 minutes and test by giggling the pie, if the center is still liquid, give it another 8 minutes and check again.
You can test with a thin-bladed knife if you wish but this custard will always be a bit moist.
It will continue cooking for a few minutes after removal from the oven.

Place on a cooling rack for at least an hour before cutting into it.

The pies pictured are in a 10 inch DEEP dish.  I double this recipe and make an addition 8 inch pie.
Pumpkin custard Pumpkin custard3 Pumpkin custard2 Pumpkin custard6 Pumpkin custard6:detail Pumpkin pie slice pumppie raw fill PumpPie detail Pump..pie

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