Tag Archives: Autumn

Yogurt Butternut Squash Cake with Spiced Vanilla Icing

17 Nov

How’s that title for a mouthful? So I wanted to try something different from my usual, you know trying to step out of my comfort zone.  This recipe is by no means difficult, it’s just that it has butternut squash which I have never baked with before…or cooked with either for that matter.  As much as I like to think that I have a pretty unbiased palate, I do tend to stay away from the unknown.  Like the other time when I baked the chocolate cinnamon cake, it was something different, I tried it, didn’t like and will never make it again.

Tonight I thought that I would give it another go with a recipe I saw in Fine Cooking, Sweet Cakes  Holiday Baking Issue.  I picked up the magazine the other night while I was at the Home Depot of all places.  I pretty much studied all the mouth-watering recipes during my morning commutes to work, and this one just stood out. So when I stepped off the bus today I walked into the corner fruit stand and purchased myself a butternut squash.

I rushed home, quickly checked the mail and made my way into the kitchen and got my grater out.

Having never cooked or baked with butternut squash I was a little uneasy, first I noticed how difficult it was to peel and how much more difficult it was to cut.  Man, that is one hard-as-a-rock vegetable.  So t here I was breaking a sweat trying grating this squash thinking that maybe it’s not ripe enough and I’ll end of with a dense cake.  I quickly banished that thought from my mind and got back to the recipe only to remember that I forgot to but buttermilk.  No worries I thought, I can make my own.  You see the problem is the only milk I have in the fridge is 1% so I was pretty sure the cream of tartar trick wouldn’t work…and it didn’t, nor did the adding vinegar to the milk trick. Instead I opted to use plain yogurt instead, hey why not, I’ve made many delicious and moist cakes using yogurt.

 

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Fig & Walnut Biscotti

5 Nov

I’ve been out of touch as of late.  Yes, the bug got me and put me out of commission for the last couple of days.  I’ve been stranded on my living room couch too weak to even watch TV or surf my favourite blogs.  And in case you’re wondering; no I did not get the “swine flu”, just a really sore throat and a killer headache to accompany it.  Believe me at the first hint of my sore throat I asked my husband to look up H1N1 symptoms.  Luckily enough I did not develop and fever, congestion or cough.  But let me tell you if I do get the opportunity to get the vaccine, I’m all for it.  I find that as I’m getting older it becoming more and more difficult to shake things off, even something as simple as a cold.

Well I’m doing better today, not 100% but getting there.  And as soon as I started feeling better I thought that I should post something new on my blog even though I’ve been too ill to make anything this week.  Lucky for me last week when I made the Chestnut Cake I also made Fig Walnut Biscotti which I documented for a rainy day such as this.

This is another recipe that I came across on a website. I printed it out so long ago I had almost forgotten about it.  I have always limited myself to making the standard Almond Biscotti and wanted to try something different.  Walnuts in a biscotto is different, but adding dry figs is way different.  Believe it or not dry figs is something I always have in my pantry, my husband is a sucker for these.Growing up we always had dry figs in the house, and we just wouldn’t eat them plain either.  My dad used to split them in the middle and add an almond, orange peel and then stack them with layers of sprinkled cinnamon in a tin cookie can.  Back home in Italy he went a step further, there are fig trees everywhere. The figs would be sun-dried much like the process of sun drying tomatoes and then prepared the same way I just described above.

Chestnut Cake

29 Oct

I love when the seasons change, there’s always a different variety of foods to choose from and I find that my pallet also changes with the season.  The summer staple of berries is replaced with apples and tangerines, I don’t know why but those seem like winter fruits to me.  I’m pretty sure it was the way I was brought up. 

As the winter months and the holidays approach I also find that I start baking with different ingredients.  I so cannot wait for the holidays to make gingerbread; sure I can make it all year round but it just doesn’t taste the same in the sweltering summer, know what I mean?

Yesterday I was inspired to try something different using something wintery, what’s more wintery then chestnuts.  There’s this great shop, Consiglio’s my place that sells an array of Italian products (did I mention I live in one of the two little Italy’s in Toronto?).  This is my go to place for Italian goodies, so naturally that’s where I went when I was looking for chestnut flour I needed for a recipe I found on a great Italian blog; Menu Turistico

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Italian Apple Cake

20 Oct

 

You know that feeling you get when something triggers a memory and you’re suddenly transported back to your childhood? 

It can be something as simple as the smell of bubblegum, for me it was a little Italian recipe book from Bertolini that my mom has had for years.  I was over my moms the other night and I asked her for her apple cake recipe or torta di mele.  She then came back with this little recipe booklet that I haven’t seen in years. 

Aside from the great recipes it holds, the one thing I remember most is the story at the end of the booklet, the story of Maria Rosa. As a child I used to beg my mother to read it to me over and over again, I loved the characters, the pictures and of course the story.   Flipping through the pages I felt like a little girl again in my mother’s kitchen, I almost asked her to read it to me …almost.   The booklet itself according to my mother is 40 years old and she has kept it in pretty good condition.  I asked her to borrow it so that I can scan it to have a copy for myself (not sure if I am breaking any copyright laws here, no copyright notice on the booklet itself). 

 

The first recipe I made was the Torta Di Mele or Apple Cake.  My mom has been making this for years and everyone who tastes it asks for the recipe.  Continue reading