Wednesday, December 28, 2011


My husband and his aunt are saints.

First off, hubby got me a Kitchenaid stand mixer. LOVE LOVE LOVE. I haven't used it yet but I think the first thing I'll make in it will be butter tart dough. A neat little way of thanking him ;)

I think I really want the pasta attachment. My breadmaker makes pasta dough and I've always wanted to make my own pasta.

As I mentioned, hubby's aunt Lucy is awesome.  She gave me a mandoline. I've always wanted a mandoline.  Here is the mandoline she bought me. 
I used it on Giftmas day to make salads for my family. Works like a charm.  Here are a couple pictures.

First salad is a spring greens salad with cherry tomatoes, rainbow peppers, cucumbers, and red onion.

Second salad is baby spinach with strawberry, craisins, red onion, cherry tomatoes, and cashews.   I forgot the feta at home. BAD JUPE. But still, tasted good.  I now have a sweet block of feta in my fridge to enjoy in my salads so it's not all for naught.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Who needs chewing?

Nobody, when everything is custard, cheesecake, and pudding!

New York cheesecake. The blackberry swirls were my tablemate's idea - she is a self-described blackberry obsessor, and hey, for cheesecake I'm not about to argue!

A more ordinary no-bake cheesecake.

Leftover cranberry brioche? Turn it into bread pudding! This is garnished with some of the extra nut-and-cinnamon caramel crumbly bits from the baked apples.

A flan...

...and a creme brulee. This is the first time I have managed to torch the top of a creme brulee without burning the sugar - the trick is to keep your torch moving, even if not all the sugar on a given part is melted yet, and go back and melt the extra in a few seconds.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Baked stuffed apples with wine sauce

They look delicious, don't they? It's easy!

This is what I did for the day we had to bake or poach fruit. They're not hard to make at all - the cores are removed using a vegetable peeler stabbed through the apple and twisted to cut in a circle, then filled with a mixture of cinnamon, sugar, chopped pecans, and dried cranberries (about a 1:1 ratio of cinnamon-sugar to fruit-and-nuts). Set them in a baking dish and pour melted butter over them, then sprinkle more of your delicious cinnamon-sugar fruit filling over the top. Bake them at 375 until they're tender - about 20 minutes usually. Pour your wine sauce over them before serving... piped white chocolate snowflakes are optional, but I love piping so I had to do it!

The wine syrup is a great way to get rid of extra mulled wine you might have left over after a Christmas party - just mix in a cup of sugar for each cup of wine and reduce it! My wine had orange steeped in it, so I strained that out, cut the peel off, and candied the peel to use as a garnish.

I didn't eat them, alas. They went to the school's practice restaurant to be served to the diners.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Souffle and lava cake

Lava cake! Slightly undercooked, so one collapsed... but still tasty. The butterflies are made of tulip paste, piped onto silicone and baked. I love piping filigree!

And souffle! Yeah, they collapsed much faster than chef said they would. Oh well. Those red things are raspberries with melted sugar drizzled over them to make them crunchy.

Over and out for tonight.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Spicy Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breasts

Chicken Breast. Slice. Salt, pepper, ground chili, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, chili powder. Roll. Wrap in bacon.

Roasting tray. Preheat oven. 200C. Middle shelf. 20 minutes.

Rest 10 mins.

Spicy bacon wrapped chicken breasts... served.

Seasoned Pork Belly Roast

Pork Belly. Season. Roasting tray. Preheated oven. 200C.

Middle shelf. 70 minutes. Rest in warm place. 20 mins.


Seasoned pork belly with crispy skin... served.

Rediscovering My Love For Fresh Bread

Years ago, when I moved to Toronto, I bought a breadmaker and I used it fairly frequently.  Life continued and after several moves, I fell out of using it, opting for the more convenient buying of bread from either the bakery or the supermarket.

It was only recently that I picked it up again, and I have found a recipe that I love.

This is a breadmaker recipe, but I actually bake the bread in the oven (350 degrees for an hour) instead of in the breadmaker.

Hearty Multigrain Bread

When the dough was finished mixing in the breadmaker I allowed it to rise for a few hours and then rolled it in seeds for a beautiful roasted crust.

It tastes just like this bread my father in law gets from the Superstore. Absolutely wonderful toasted with butter and a fraction of the price to make.

Beautiful Vegetables

In recent weeks, my knitting group and I have moved our venue from Panera to Whole Foods.  They have a pretty decent buffet style area, as well as a custom fresh pasta or slice of pizza area.  Anyway, this is not why I post.  I just love walking through their produce section. The colours are so beautiful and the arrangement is lovely.

I took a picture last night of the carrots (arranged in a towering circle) and the rainbow myriad of peppers.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Specialty Cakes: Grand Finale

Today was the pastry student's practical exam: One four-tiered wedding cake with decoration, and one anniversary cake with a bouquet of gumpaste flowers. Here is the wedding cake that Chef made as an example:

So, fondant, with more fondant roses and ribbons between the layers, and royal icing piped all over. We were allowed to pick our own design for the top tier, ribbon shapes, and colors, but everything else had to be like what's in the picture. This one is mine:

I was actually in a minority of students who chose to make their cakes white! But that's not too surprising, given how coloring your fondant makes it easier to cover any dark spots on your cake that are left after crumb icing it. Here is a feast of colorful cakes made by my classmates below...

Note especially:
1. The green cake with white roses. This girl did an amazing job keeping her fondant smooth and decorating her ribbons between layers, and the realistically-dark leaves look lovely against the minty background.
2. The pink and green cake with orange roses. Nobody thought it would end up looking nice, but I think it was the best in the class - and just look at that piping on the top tier!
3. Blue roses. Now, don't get me wrong - I HATE blue roses. They're unnatural abominations that will never befoul any cake of mine... or so I would have said until I saw this cake. It's a rare baker that can make blue roses look good, and this one did it. Incredible.
4. The last cake. I just love the multicolored roses on this one, and the tiny heart design on the top tier is soooo adorable!


Remember those gumpaste flowers and anniversary cakes I mentioned waaaay up at the top? Only one tier, but much harder - because a) gumpaste is a bear to work with, and b) writing in royal icing. A few of us got it pretty well, though:

The first one is mine. Unlike the wedding cakes, which were put on display in the hall, these were packed up to send to a homeless shelter. We were allowed to keep our flowers, though - so I drew in some new ones, so whoever gets my cake has something prettier than a big blank space at the side.

So that's cakes. See you later, when I start my Plated Desserts class!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Modeling chocolate is kind of cool

More from the pastry student. This is the product of Friday's class. It's a Lutetia torte - so, a sponge cake with walnuts in it, filled with chocolate mousse and whipped cream.

Anyway, that rose on top is modeling chocolate, which is chocolate mixed with corn syrup until it takes on the consistency of a tootsie roll - very easy to make, but annoying to work with! There is a very narrow temperature range in which you can make a rose out of this stuff... too cold, and it cracks; too warm, and it's so sticky you'll tear the petals just by touching them.

At some point, I will take a series of photos documenting how to make a rose out of pastes like this, but I will have to remember to do it...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Enter the pastry student

Well, hi. First thing's first: I am not Jupe. I am Jupe's internet video game friend who happens to also be a foodie, and whom she has invited here to share the things I do in my labs at culinary school.

Here are the cakes I have made over the past couple of days.

That's what my chef called a crispy mocha torte - the cake itself is a pretty ordinary yellow sponge cake, but it's covered with mocha buttercream and has a crunchy layer of Japonaise (kind of like meringue, but with hazelnuts!) in between the two cake layers. The top is marzipan... someday I will make a post about marzipan, because that stuff is fun as hell once you get the hang of it! I ended today wishing I had the time and energy to just play with the stuff and see how many kinds of flowers I could make, but it was a busy class period.

There's more...

Flourless hazelnut torte! This was delicious, but I couldn't eat a whole slice - that praline glaze coating it is SWEET! I think if I make it again, there will be less mocha buttercream inside it and more dark chocolate ganache. With coffee. Damn. I wish I could have done that in class, it would have been amazing.

Anyway, there's the young upstart's introduction. Seeya folks.