August 6, 2017

Bacon & Maple Syrup Scones


Sometimes you go to a restaurant and there's one item on the menu that really stands out and forever sticks in your mind.  When I went to Frenchie Covent Garden this past July that thing turned out to be their snack of Bacon Scones with Maple Syrup.  

 
One bite and I was a complete goner.  Salty, sweet, smoky and savory....what more could I ask for?  They were so good, in fact, that I not only had them as my starter but later on as my dessert!  Don't get me wrong, the entire meal and service at Frenchie was fantastic, but one month on and I am still dreaming about those amazing scones.    



Lucky for me the recipe for their signature dish was readily available on the internet.   The ingredients are easy to gather and the dough comes together super quick.  Try and use the best maple syrup you can find for this recipe.  I finished off the glazed scones with a light sprinkling of smoked Maldon sea salt to further enhance the smoky flavor.    

 
While the restaurant's version will always taste best in my mind, I think these homemade beauties are a pretty good substitute - and I don't need to travel 5,000 miles to get them!

August 1, 2017

Aloha Bundt Cake



If ever there was a thing called baking bad luck, this Aloha Bundt was its poster child.  Why?  Because for some crazy reason this particular pan seems to incite power outages.  Read on and you'll see what I mean.

Proof #1: I found this fantastic Nordic Ware pineapple bundt pan on sale at Sur La Table in Palo Alto.  Anyone who knows me knows I'm crazy about pineapples, they're my favorite fruit of all time.  Just as I was about to pay all the power in the store (and mall) went out.   No till, no purchase.  Argh!  Luckily the electricity was restored half an hour later and I was able to complete the transaction and take my pan home.  But you can be sure I was worried I'd have to leave it behind in the shop.

Proof #2: Got up early this past Sunday to make my favorite lemon poppy seed sour cream bundt cake using the new pan.  I was supposed to meet up with some friends for brunch later that morning and wanted to make sure the cake was done beforehand.  Forty five minutes in to baking and suddenly all the power in my flat went out.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  Rien.  No worries I thought, I've got a gas range.  Not so fast.  Little did I know that while the oven was fueled by gas, electricity kept it running.  Suffice it to say 3 hours later and the power came back on.  Luckily I was able to finish baking the cake without any issues but it was definitely a close call. 

July 27, 2017

No-Bake Lime Cheesecake


When the temperature rises even I, as an avid baker, hesitate to turn on the oven.   Call me crazy, but when I was a kid growing up in the sweltering summers of California's San Joaquin Valley I used to bake all the time.  But mind you, I was wearing my bathing suit at the time - it was the only way I could tolerate the crazy hot weather.  These days you definitely won't catch me wearing that particular attire!

So when I was browsing the July/Aug 2017 issue of Martha Stewart Living the recipe for a No-Bake Key Lime Cheesecake immediately jumped out at me.   Even better, I had all the ingredients in my kitchen.  [Note: I used regular organic limes, not key limes.]  Graham cracker crusts are de rigueur for cheesecakes, but the twist with this recipe was it didn't require baking.  Instead you just pop it in the freezer for 15 minutes.  Genius!


The filling is super light, creamy and jam packed with lime flavor.  If you love citrus this cheesecake is right up your alley.  It's the perfect dessert for your next BBQ, but honestly I'd indulge in it for any occasion.   


July 15, 2017

Parmesan Focaccia


Apologies for the radio silence these past few weeks.  I was on a business trip to Europe and tacked on some summer holidays as well.  I live for vacation but I definitely miss my kitchen while I'm gone, especially my oven and stand mixers.

One of the first things I did when I got home after three weeks away?  Duh, bake of course!  
 

I'd been craving carbs big time so ended up making a pan of Parmesan focaccia.    Nothing better than warm, soft bread sprinkled with herbs and cheese.   I used an Anne Burrell recipe I found on The Food Network and just added cheese at the end.   The dough comes together so easily and is a dream to work with.   Only requirement is patience while the dough proofs twice.  

I served the focaccia with one of my favorite summer salads, prosciutto and melon, and it was so delicioso!  I can guarantee this will be on repeat!  


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