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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A year of pies...

Ever since Christmas when I received a fabulous cookbook from my brother called 'A Year of Pies' by Ashley English ( I have been thinking about PIE!  For those of you who actually know me you may recall that pie has always been one of my favorite things to make and I have even had a few pie parties in my time. Moving to Australia of course expanded my understanding and taste for pie as I discovered the big wide world of savory pie...YUM!

Ashley has inspired me to take my pie baking to a new level and make this my own year of pies and hopefully Tablenosh will begin selling pie at the local farmers market this Spring!  My year of pies kicked off  about 2 weeks ago and I announced 'Friday Pie Day' in our home.  Every Friday I will do my best to experiment with a new recipe or work on mastering a favorite.  Pies will also of course include tarts, galettes, crostata, quiche and any other 'pie-like' thing I can muster up!

So far I have made 5 recipes from Ashley's pie book and each one has been pretty delicious.  I kicked off with a savory 'collards and cornbread quiche' recipe - this had a quiche like base and a crusty cornbread on top.  Then I made 'shoofly' pie and a lemon-lime chess pie.  Last Friday was an apple & pear crostata... I served it warm with some crème anglaise and it was delicious, definitely a winner.  Oh yes and the 5th pie I made a few weeks ago which was a chicken pie, very similar to other chicken pies I have made except I stuffed it full of every veggie I could find and used a regular pie crust versus puff pastry, this is one of my favorites especially for winter and so easy!
Apple & Pear Crostata with Creme Anglaise
I made a double batch of all butter pie dough last week and froze half of it, so this week I can just thaw it and put it to use.  A dear friend of mine who has much more baking experience under her belt has generously given me some top notch lard (she special orders this stuff in bulk) to experiment with as well, I have heard that using lard in a pie crust can take it to a whole other level so I am looking forward to finding out!  I am not sure what pie is next...possibly a rosemary bourbon sweet potato, depends on what I have in the cupboard.  Keep ya posted!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Wedding Cake # 4

Somehow between babies, holidays, house guests and sleep deprivation I managed to step up to the task of making my fourth wedding cake.  This time around I actually took a few minutes to get some basic cake icing instruction - thanks to 'you-tube' (I should have done this a long time ago).

This cake was pretty simple in terms of the cake, filling and such - I just did my favorites.  Using the best chocolate cake recipe (I referenced this in another blog), brushed with raspberry preserves and framboise, stuffed with whipped cream and fresh raspberries, iced with vanilla meringue buttercream.

As I learned some new tricks for getting the icing a little smoother, I also learned a new trick for making my cream stiff enough to stay put underneath all the layers of cake, just add a little gelatin, worked like a charm.

The wedding was on December 29th, so it had a nice wintry festive look to it in decoration.  Personally I was very pleased with the taste and out of all the cakes I have done the icing was far smoother than any of the others!  Imagine what could happen if I actually went and took a of these days I will get there and until then I will just keep winging it and enjoying the creative outlet of cake...yum :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Shifting gears...babies in the kitchen!!

I have truly not had a moment to write anything on this blog since October!  What a whirlwind the past few months has been for us...we got babies...we were blessed with our first child through adoption and we have also been blessed with a little foster baby boy (it is unknown how long we will have him)!!!!  Our precious son, Abram Joshua was born on November 3...this has been a miraculous answer to many years of prayer and we feel so blessed, but needless to I have been sleep deprived and fairly nuts especially through the holidays!  So, in terms of my kitchen activity I have gone from experimental creative cooking to making 'whatever is easy & simple' and spending much more time making food for babies :)
Our Growing Family
Cooking and noshing with babies has definitely been a slightly different ball game, but I have no doubt I will find my rhythm and figure it out...eventually :)  I have shifted my energy from grown up food to making homemade baby formula and veg/fruit purees for our 5 month old foster baby.  It has been good to know I am putting whole pure foods into these boys, especially since breastfeeding is not an option.  The idea for making my own baby formula came after hearing about a few recipes from other moms.  Through a few different sources I was steered towards an organic 'raw milk' homemade formula.  I make a double batch every other day and my little boys are loving it!  We had to buy a share of a cow in order to get the raw milk and most of the other ingredients I can find at the natural foods store or I order on Amazon.

For anyone who may be interested or feels like they need something to supplement their breast milk with you can find the recipe on this website: We currently have been blessed to get our raw milk from Avery's Branch Farms in Amelia, VA .
Roasted Butternut Squash & Roasted Apple
In the past few weeks I have also just started feeding our foster baby solids, so it has been fun roasting up veggies for him and pureeing them and then of course watching his facial expressions as he discovers new tastes!  I am roasting the vegetables because it makes the veggies so much more flavorful than boiling and I want him to be enjoying his food while he gets the nutrition he needs.  Today's new flavor was roasted butternut squash pureed with a roasted apple!  Yummy (I would totally eat this much myself).