Game on!

I love to bake and cook from scratch. All that homemade goodness is aah… just pure bliss. Although it can be time consuming and challenging, especially with my kiddies running wild, but i love it. I love it all! Even this horrid, hot humid weather nowadays cant keep me away from my oven. But really, the rewards of my labor of love are all truly worth the effort.

Plus i definitely love to try out new recipes posted by the more experienced and amazingly creative bloggers out there. And i certainly love reading their stories and recipes, but a voice at the back of my head keeps pulling me back from trying out anything and everything for the fear of ‘what if it doesn’t turn out right?’…but hey voice! I’m stronger than you think.

Wondering what am i going on about?!

Now is the time to confess. I’m addicted to Pinterest. I cant stop gawking at those absolutely beautiful food photos that keep appearing on my screen. They are seriously jaw dropping material. So i have this recipe board over there where I stash all my collection to try out for later. And that later is NOW. I have over 200 pins so far and I’m going to pick the 10 most appealing pins that I’m going to recreate (for now at least). By recreating I mean to follow the recipe from the pin to the tee. Then lets see if that recipe is a yay or a nay!

So yes, It’s a challenge alright! Yeah, go on throw me that curve ball. I’m all warmed up and readddyyyyy to roll-that-dough!  Doesn’t it feel good to do something that makes you feel all excited and good inside? Absolutely. Simply put, I’m challenging myself to recreate in my kitchen those delicious looking recipes on my Pinterest Board.

Link to my Pinterest Board: http://www.pinterest.com/myfoodielife/my-recipe-stash/

 

 

Pinterest Recipe Challenge #10

HOMEMADE DIGESTIVE BISCUITS

Yes, digestive biscuits! The humble, not-so-fancy biscuits. They are one of my must have ingredients for this no-bake cheesecake i absolutely love. Also its something mom likes to have with her tea every morning. We always have digestive biscuits in our grocery list. So wanting to impress mom i wanted to make our own homemade version of these biscuits. Luckily I found this recipe for digestive biscuits on a very interesting blog called the little loaf. Here is the pin from my board in case you wanna save it.

Followed the recipe exactly and it came out just amazing. Normally i wouldn’t use a word like amazing to describe some digestive biscuits, but this homemade version really surprised me. They were easy to make and fail proof. They are light, crisp and flavorful. Everyone loved them. Really!

homemade digestive biscuis

Makes 16 biscuits

INGREDIENTS:

100g oats

100g wholemeal/wholewheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

50g soft brown sugar

a pinch of salt

100g butter, cubed & slightly softened

1 – 1 1/2 tbsp milk

a handful of chopped almonds (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Blitz the oats to a fine powder in a food processor then mix in a large bowl with the flour, baking powder, brown sugar and salt.

2. Add the butter and mix until crumbly. Add the milk and mix to form a smooth dough. Wrap in cling film and pop in fridge to firm up for about 15-20 minutes.

3. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out to around 3mm thickness. It can get crumbly so you’ll need to be very careful when rolling*. Cut out circles of about 6cm diameter – or whatever size you prefer. Decorate with a pattern of your choice if desired. Bake in the middle of your oven for about 12-15 minutes.

4. When lightly golden but not too brown, remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.

*rolling tip: it’s a whole lot easier to roll out the dough between 2 sheets of baking/wax paper and then transfer to baking sheet. 

My Verdict:

These are surely a winner. The subtle sweetness and buttery, nutty flavors makes them a treat to enjoy with a hot cuppa coffee.

homemade digestive biscuis

Pinterest Recipe Challenge #9

Copycat KRISPY KREME DOUGHNUTS

It seems everyone loves doughnuts. All kinds of them. Though im not totally crazy about them but i do love a good filled doughnut once in a while. When I found this pin I just couldn’t stop staring and drooling at the photos. Oh those beautiful looking doughnuts. I was sure this was really going to be a challenge making them at home. But surprie surprise, they arent all that difficult. Just a long process, but worth it. You can review the original recipe post here.

When i first made these on my sons birthday, the little guy was over the moon and i was getting “wow, you really made these at home?” from my family. Ahh, that’s a great feeling.

homemade doughnuts

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk, warm
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, then more as needed
  • 3 – 4 cups oil, for frying

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a bowl whisk together yeast, warm water and 1/2 tsp of the sugar. Let rest 5 – 10 minutes.
  2. Add in evaporated milk, remaining granulated sugar (3 Tbsp + 2 1/2 tsp), salt, shortening, egg, egg yolk and vanilla.
  3. Add half of the flour and mix using a whisk and blend until smooth.
  4. Now using an electric mixer with a dough hook, slowly add remaining flour and knead on low speed until smooth and elastic about  5 minutes, adding additional flour IF needed (you want dough to be slightly sticky and tacky but shouldn’t stick to a clean fingertip). Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until double in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Punch dough down and roll into an even layer onto a floured surface to slightly less than 1/2-inch thickness. Cut into doughnut shapes using a doughnut cutter or two round circle cutters. place evenly on a baking sheet or large tray. Cover and let rise again until doubled, about 30 – 40 minutes.
  6. Heat oil upto to 360 degrees in a large pot. If not using a thermometer, just make sure the oil is hot enough for frying…not too hot or doughnuts will burn and not cook properly.
  7. Carefully transfer doughnuts to oil (frying only 2-3 at a time) and fry until golden on one side, then using a fork/butter knife or even a chopstick, gently flip to opposite side and fry until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.
Chocolate glazed doughnuts filled with vanilla pudding.

Chocolate glazed doughnuts filled with vanilla pudding.

My Verdict:

These were OH so good! if you are eating them warm, trust me they will literally melt in your mouth. Ok, honestly maybe a little greasier than i would like…but will try using less shortening next time or substitute it with butter. Lets see how that goes.

Pinterest Recipe Challenge #8

HOMEMADE CLASSIC WHITE BREAD

Nothing can beat the delicious aroma of bread baking in the oven. Nothing at all. Just imagine popping the fresh dough into the oven first thing in the morning and waiting for it to bake while you enjoy a hot cuppa coffee. Aah, the perfect start to a day.

Homemade just tastes so much better, duh right!

I was really thinking this would be challenging. Baking bread at home! But guess what, its the easiest homemade goody you can make…you just gotta make sure all your ingredients are right. The crucial ingredient, Yeast does all the hard work for you, minus the kneading of course (if you are doing that by hand). But you would hear this from a lot of bakers that kneading is the best part about baking bread (and the aromatic kitchen while it bakes). The whole process really helps make you a better person or momma in my case. Trust me!

So i finally see this Pinterest addiction paying off. Im hooked on bread making now, no more bread from the store for me. You gotta try it to believe it!

Here is the link to the pin. Save it, you wont regret it. It’s the famous recipe from the King Arthur Flour website.

Classic White Bread

Makes 1 large loaf

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/3 to 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water*
  • 1 heaping tablespoon honey
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons soft butter
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup dry milk powder

*Use the lesser amount in summer or humid climates; the greater amount in winter or drier climates.

DIRECTIONS:

1) Mix all of the ingredients in the order listed, and mix and knead — by hand, or using a dough hook. It won’t be particularly soft nor stiff; it should be smooth and feel bouncy and elastic under your hands.

2) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover it, and let it rise at room temperature until it’s very puffy, 1 to 2 hours.

3) Gently deflate the dough, and shape it into a fat 9″ log. Place it in a lightly greased 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.

4) Cover the pan, and let the dough rise for 60 to 90 minutes, till it’s nicely crowned over the rim of the pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

5) Bake the bread for 20 minutes. Tent it lightly with aluminum foil, and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, till it’s golden brown. Tap the top, if it sounds hollow its done.

6) Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out onto a rack to cool. When completely cool, wrap in plastic, and store at room temperature.

My Verdict:

This was a soft and fluffy bread, great for sandwiches or just toasted and slathered with butter. I only wish it was more crustier but oh look at the shape of that sliced bread…totally digging it :) Of course its homemade which means no preservatives. So this will stay fresh and at its best for a day or so, but you must keep it at room temperature not in the refrigerator. If you haven’t managed to devour it all in a day, you can make french toast next morning. Just the ideal thing to do. And if you still have some leftover – make breadcrumbs!

Happy Baking!

Pinterest Recipe Challenge #7

CLASSIC PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES

I prefer feeding my kids homemade baked goods. Mainly because i love the baking part. I also wanted to introduce my kids to the famous world of creamy peanut butter that everybody seems to love, but apparently they are MY kids…not into peanut butter. Well, at least now i don’t have to worry about making homemade peanut butter.

The challenge for me here was baking the ‘cookie’ right. And trust me this time there were no tears involved. You can find the pin from my Pinterest board here. The recipe is originally posted on Sally’s Baking Addiction She is the queen of cookies. Will be trying her other interesting cookie recipes too for sure.

peanut butter cookies

Makes approximately 32 cookies

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature*
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (150g) light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature preferred
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (250g) creamy peanut butter*
  • 3 cups + 2 Tablespoons (391g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS:

1. Using a hand mixer, cream the softened butter and both sugars together on medium speed until smooth. Add the egg and mix on high until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

2. Add the vanilla and peanut butter and mix on high until combined. Set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, toss the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together. Add to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. Dough will be thick, yet sticky. Cover dough tightly and chill for at least 3 hours (and up to 2 days) in the refrigerator.

4. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

5. Roll balls of dough (about 1.5 tablespoons of dough per cookie). Place 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Press fork into the tops to create the criss-cross pattern. Bake for 11 minutes or until very lightly browned on the sides. The centers will look very soft and undone. Remove from the oven and let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. The cookies will continue to “set” on the baking sheet during this time.

6. Cover cookies and store at room temperature.

classic PB cookies, fresh out of my oven

My Verdict:

Ok so Im not a peanut butter fan, but honestly i would still rate these cookies 9 out of 10. They were easy to make and didn’t flop like my cookie baking usually does. That’s a big achievement in my books. So keeping this recipe as my basic cookie science, I’m sure i can play around with flavor as per my liking. And my better half loved them. So that’s a Yayy! for this recipe.

Pinterest Recipe Challenge #6

GLAZED LEMON RICOTTA CAKE 

Right now, right this moment I’m in a sweet, lemony heavenly world where evrything is fresh, bright and perfect. This cake, is perrrfect! As i type and devour this beautiful slice I feel a sense of eureka and boy am i glad i took on this Pinterest Recipe Challenge. Hee hee, Im sure you can already hear me scream out my verdict.

So basically i was looking for something to make with my homemade Ricotta cheese (yes, i made ricotta. smile smile) Thats when i found this. Pinned it instantly and just had to make it right away in my kitchen.

You can find the pin from my Pinterest board here. The recipe is originally posted on Bunny’s Warm Oven. A blog that Im going to be stalking from now on.

Glazed Lemon Ricotta Loaf

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
15 ounces (425 grams) whole milk ricotta
1 ½ cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
Zest and Juice of 1 large lemon (approx 3-4 tblsp)
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Lemon Glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a cake pan and set aside. In the original recipe they used a bundt pan, I didn’t have one so i baked it in a loaf pan.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until well combined. Add the ricotta and blend until light and fluffy.

3. Mix in the eggs one at a time, incorporating well. Add the vanilla, lemon juice/zest and mix until fully combined.

4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients in 2 increments, mixing just until incorporated. Do not over beat.

5. Pour into a parchment lined pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until the cake is set and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

6. Let cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

7. For the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Drizzle the lemon glaze over the top of the cake and serve.

Glazed Lemon Ricotta Loaf

My Verdict:

This glazed lemon ricotta cake is incredibly moist. Melts in your mouth and has that zing of lemon that everybody loves. Almost everybody. You MUST NOT skip the glaze. It makes this cake all that much better.

Like i initially said, this is the most perfect lemon cake I have baked to date. Although this is my first attempt at baking with ricotta, but like the writer of the original recipe post said….what took me so long to discover this super ingredient! Definitely worth all the calories. I have a feeling i will be making lots and lots of ricotta from now on.

Love,

Me, the cake addict.

 

 

 

Pinterest Recipe Challenge #5

HOMEMADE WHOLEWHEAT PASTA

There’s something about homemade, making something from scratch makes me feel totally on top of the word. I seriously get a kick out of it…yup, that’s me!

So of course like most other kids mine are big pasta and noodle fans too, and so i thought why not try the whole wheat version…healthier and better for their tummies. Looked up few recipes on Pinterest and decided on making this one. The recipe is originally posted on a blog called One Couple’s Kitchen.

I absolutely loved making this pasta. It’s a simple recipe with the very basic ingredients with delicious results. you MUST try this.

pasta dough

whole wheat pasta

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • Water as needed.

DIRECTIONS:

1. Place your flour on a clean counter or a large wide bowl. Make a well in the middle large enough to hold the eggs.
2. Using a fork or your fingers, break the yolks and start swirling the eggs around the well. With your other hand, start spooning in the flour a little at a time. Slowly the dough will start to mix together and form.
3. Now add water 1 tablespoon at a time until your dough begins to feel smooth and is no longer sticky. It should not be too soft like pizza/bread dough. And since we are using whole wheat flour here, the elasticity will be much less than regular flour.
4. Keep kneading the dough by hand for about 5 minutes.
5. After kneading, once the dough is nice and smooth, let it rest for about 30 minutes. After resting, cut the dough in half and you can work with a smaller more manageable amount.
 6. Now lightly flour your counter top and begin the rolling process. If you’ve kneaded properly, your dough won’t shrink back after each roll, and the gluten will have developed enough that you’ll be able to get really thin dough without tearing it.
7. Roll your dough as thin as you would like your pasta to be. Just slice straight strips with a knife or a pizza roller/cutter (approx 1/2 cm wide). After boiling they tend to puff up a bit, so thinner the better.
8. Toss your pasta noodles lightly with flour to keep them from sticking. You can cook immediately or let dry. Freshly made pasta will cook much faster than store bought pasta – it will only need between 5-7 minutes. The best way to check their if they are done is by tasting it. if you don’t get the raw floury taste, then you are good.
9. Strain out the water like you normally do when cooking pasta,, run under cold water.
10. To flavor it, i simply tossed my pasta in some marinara sauce. But of course you can add any and as much flavor as you prefer.
 homemade pasta
Notes:
  • I made half the recipe and the pasta was more than enough for 2 servings.
  • If you are used to working with dough, you will find the whole process easy peasy and very fulfilling :)
  • If you find working with whole wheat flour a little difficult, you can substitute half of the whole wheat flour quantity with regular white flour.
  • I cooked my pasta al dente…so in order to get that just keep a close eye and keep testing it.
  • Refrigerate any left over dough covered in cling film. But prefer to use within 24 hrs.

My Verdict:

YAY! This is a good, simple recipe. Definitely a keeper.

I had a great therapeutic experience making these. I find working with any kind of dough makes me feel relaxed and focused. Just what i need after a sleepless night and a rushy morning.

Happy Cooking!

Pinterest Recipe Challenge #4

ITALIAN BISCOTTI

There are so  many ways you can get creative with a plain old traditional Italian biscotti. These cookies are generally hard and crunchy. They go well with coffee and my caffeine loving hubby likes them more with Turkish coffee. Some recipes i looked up were too sugary, some not. We prefer our biscotti a little less sweet, just good enough for some dunking.

You can find the pin from my Pinterest board here. The recipe is originally posted on Ciao from Debbie. The website/blog has a great deal of recipes, giving us the taste of Italy.

Biscotti

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup sliced almonds

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mix together the sugar and zest, eggs and oil and beat with a whisk until incorporated. Add vanilla and almond extracts.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients and add to the liquid, stirring with a wooden spoon. The dough should be very stiff; if it’s too sticky to handle, add a bit more flour.
  3. On a floured board, knead in the nuts until evenly distributed.
  4. Shape dough into a log.
  5. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350° F (180° C) for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
  6. Cool for 15 minutes. With a serrated knife, slice the log into 1/2 inch slices.
  7. Lay them flat on the cookie sheet and bake for 8-9 minutes more. Then turn them over and toast another 8-9 minutes.
  8. Now they should be all toasty and hard. Let cool on a wire rack.

Italian biscotti

My Verdict:

It turned out well, but i was kinda short on almonds so that nutty almond flavor was lacking. Next time Im going to use whole almonds instead of sliced. This wasn’t the very hard kind biscotti…but it had a good crunch. I did come across another classic recipe that dosent use any oil or butter. Im assuming that its going to be drier and harder. Will give that a go too.

Over all not bad at all. And guess what? My kiddo loved it! So, a thumbs up for sure.