Tag Archives: almond

Clementine Cake

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Last weekend Christoph and I spent our Saturday night in, which is usually how we spend our Saturday nights anyway. We get up to a lot during the week so we’re usually pretty tired by the end of it. Plus, we’re lazy and it’s winter here in Toronto. As usual we tried to find something good on Netflix and this time it was The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Usually, I’m not much for Ben Stiller movies since most of them tend to be goofy comedies. Not saying that I lack a sense of humour but I’m more into the dark comedy types. If you’ve seen The Secret Life of Walter Mitty then you’ll know for the most part that the movie isn’t a typical Ben Stiller flick but instead has a lot of great shots and scenes as well as a pretty great story. You’ll also know that this clementine cake plays an important role in the movie.

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Ever since I was a child I found that food within movies or stories has always stuck with me. Even if I can’t remember a plot of a movie I always remember the food. As in the chocolate cake from Matilda, a bavarian cream cookie from Stranger Than Fiction, or even the donuts with goose livers from Fantastic Mr. Fox. Yes, I’ve thought about eating donuts with goose livers.

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But back to the cake. This recipe comes from Nigella Lawson’s Clementine Cake which is made from whole clementines and almond flour. It’s naturally gluten free and oil free. To be honest the cake wasn’t exactly what I was looking for and doesn’t exactly match the cake seen in the movie but it’s definitely close. It’s extremely simple to make, has a lovely damp texture, and a very interesting slightly bitter note from the clementine skins. It also gets better the longer you keep it.

Clementine Cake (gluten free, oil free)
Recipe found here

Clementine Icing
Makes enough icing for one cake

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 TBSP fresh clementine juice
pinch of salt

Mix ingredients together until smooth and quite thick. Smooth on top of the cooled cake and gently push over the sides.

Candied Clementines

1 medium clementine
3 TBSP caster sugar
1 TBSP water

Slice the clementine into thin slices and lay flat in a medium sized pan. Sprinkle over the sugar and water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes or until the sugar and water has thickened. Take off the heat and let cool.

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Zwetschgendatschi. German Plum Cake.

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Want to know what gets me really excited? Getting packages in the mail.

I have a thing for online shopping. That is, when I do shop. I don’t spend a lot of money but when I do get around to making purchases, I find it much more exciting to buy them online. It’s like getting a present in the mail! One might think that ordering items from the comfort of your home is a good way to over spend but I actually think it helps me spend less. The problem with shopping in person is that, for me at least, it tends to lead to impulse buys or buying something I don’t even want at all, mainly because of pressure from sales people or false advertising. No, none of that with online shopping. I get to spend hours and hours comparing prices, reading reviews, and looking for coupon codes. Some people like to call it a waste of time…but I like to call it smart shopping.

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Now, that leads me to a package I received in the mail yesterday. Oh how I was excited for this one. I had been waiting a good 6 months for these to go on sale. What are they? Dates! Like, the dates you eat. Those brown little shrivelled things that you find in your supermarket in clear plastic containers next to the produce aisle. Yeah, I know it’s weird that I was excited to order dates online. But these were fresh, just picked dates, soft, moist, and juicy. So it was really disappointing when I finally opened up my first date to take a bite out of it and found a long pale maggot squiggling it’s way out onto my hands. Yup. Maggot.

At first I was completely put off by the thought of eating even one date after that, let alone the full 8 pounds that I had bought. But I guess the fact that they’re organic made up for all the grossness of it. That’s the one thing about organic produce though, you never know what you’re going to get. As well, I think waiting 6 months for a fruit to come into season just to be put off by a little bug is a bit silly.

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Which now, finally, brings me to this lovely Zwetschgendatschi. Which is really just a long, fancy, German word for “Plum Cake”. However, Zwetschgen are the German name for Blue Plums, also known as Prune Plums or Damson Plums. Correct me if I’m wrong. However, these little, oblong plums only come into season around here during the end of summer and knowing me, I love to buy way too much produce that’s in season because well, my eyes are bigger than my stomach.

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The recipe I have today is a typical recipe for this cake that you can find all over Germany. From what I’ve been told, it’s a popular cake to be had at ‘kaffee und kuchen’ time in Germany. Yes, coffee and cake time, a meal eaten between lunch and dinner, mostly on Sundays or really whenever you feel like coffee and cake. Why don’t we have this in Canada? It seems like it would be a very beneficial meal to get you through the day.

So, back to the actual recipe. This cake isn’t what you’d really think of as a “cake”. The base is made out of a slightly sweet, yeasted dough, topped, with fresh plums, a sprinkling of sliced almonds, and a streusel topping. Also, serving with whipped cream is a must. It’s both light from the tanginess of the plums as well as substantial from the dough. Without the streusel, I’d say would make for a delicious breakfast, whipped cream optional.

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Zwetschgendatschi (German Plum Cake)
Makes about 8 servings
Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Apple and Blackberry Kuchen and Delicious Days’ Zwetschgendatschi

For the dough:
350g/ 3 cups all purpose flour
50g/ 1/4 cup sugar
1.5 tsp dried yeast
125ml lukewarm milk (2% or Homo)
1 tsp vanilla extract
50g/ 1/4 cup soft salted butter

For the Filling:
Approximately 25 small Damson Plums or half of that if using regular plums
100g/ 1/2 cup brown sugar
50g/ 1/2 cup slivered almonds

For the Streusel:
50g/ 1/4 cup flour
50g/ 1/4 cup cold, salted butter, diced
50g/ 1/4 cup brown sugar

Cream or egg for egg wash

Line an 8.5 inch x 12 inch tray with a piece of parchment paper. You may also use a slightly bigger tray if that’s what you have.

To make the dough, stir yeast into warmed milk and let stand for a few minutes until foamy. Either using a stand mixer with the dough hook or by hand, combine the flour and sugar in your mixing bowl and stir in milk, eggs, and vanilla. Knead for about 5 minutes with the machine or about 10 by hand on your counter. If the dough is very sticky, add a little more flour, a tbsp at a time. Knead in the softened butter until the dough looks springy and doesn’t stick to the bowl or your hands. Form the dough into a ball and place into a buttered bowl, covered with plastic wrap, in a warm place, to rise for about an hour and a half or until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, prep the plums by slicing them into quarters, lengthwise. Make the streusel topping by combining the 3 ingredients with your fingers until the butter is mixed in well with the flour and sugar, to form a crumbly mix. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat your oven to 350˚F.

Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and roll it out to about 1/4 inch thick and slightly larger than your tray. If there is too much dough, just trim off the sides and use the leftover dough another time (I rolled out my extra dough and spread softened butter and sprinkled brown sugar and cinnamon over to make cinnamon buns).

Press the dough into the tray and up the sides. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of brown sugar and place the plums on top, skin facing down, tightly next to each other. Sprinkle over the remaining 1/4 cup of brown sugar and the streusel topping. Next, sprinkle the slivered almonds over top. Let the Kuchen sit for 15 minutes for the dough to rise a little and then brush with egg wash or cream if you have it.

Bake on the middle rack for about 25 minutes. Check after 20 minutes. If the top is browning too much, cover with a piece of foil.

Enjoy warm with a side of fresh whipped cream.

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Passion Fruit Lemon Macarons

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It’s a well known fact that I’m lazy. When it comes to doing things for myself or anything without a set deadline or schedule I will most certainly put it off. For instance, I told Christoph I’d fix his jacket in time for winter. That was last summer. Recently, I just started learning how to drive…7 years after I said I’d do it (and I’m only doing it because my permit is about to expire).

My point is that I’d like to blog more but I often put it off since I don’t have a set schedule or deadline and such. If this was my full time job I’m positive that I would blog at least once a week and focus all my energy into each post. But, before I started blogging I really never realized how much time and effort goes into one post. The process of coming up with an idea, looking at recipes, creating a recipe, baking, cooking, cleaning, setting up, finding props, making props, finding proper lighting, taking photos, taking more photos, cleaning up, editing photos, choosing photos, thinking of something to write, writing something interesting, posting photos to food websites, etc. is a lot of work!

Which reminds me, I need to work on organizing the dozens of cookbooks I keep on buying. I guess I’ll get to that one day.

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This year for Mother’s day I was requested to make macarons instead of making the usual brunch. Seeing as it was snowing outside it probably wouldn’t have been so nice to have a backyard patio brunch anyway. Yeah seriously, snowing a few days after I was getting a tan in my backyard. Luckily, the weather is back to normal and I can sit here on my patio sunning my seriously pale legs.

I was planning on making lemon macarons but at the last minute added passion fruit puree to the curd and it was delicious. Also, what’s great about filling macarons with this curd is that you’ll be able to use up your left over egg yolks after making the macs. Good thing too, cause I’m sure I’d just leave them in there for days telling myself I’d use them later.

Passion Fruit Macarons
Makes about 40 1.5″ macaron sandwich cookies

For the macaron shells make a double (x2) batch of Basic Macarons and colour the egg whites with a few drops of yellow gel colouring during the last minute of whipping

Passion Fruit and Lemon Curd
Adapted from this recipe 

1/2 cup unsweetened passion fruit puree (without seeds)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick/113g) of salted butter, cut into pieces
2 tbsp cornstarch
4 large egg yolks, lightly whisked in a bowl

Add all ingredients except for the yolks to a heavy bottomed medium sized pot. Simmer on medium high heat while whisking constantly for about a minute till the mixture has thickened. Temper the egg yolks by adding a few spoonfuls of passion fruit mixture to the yolks and whisking quickly. Keep adding a few spoonfuls at a time until the egg mixture is warm. Add the egg mixture to the pot and quickly whisk in to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Keep whisking for a couple more minutes until the mixture is very thick. Transfer to a heat proof bowl and cover the surface of the curd directly with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming.

To assemble the macarons, fill up a plastic piping bag with the curd and pipe about a teaspoons worth of curd onto half the macaron shells and sandwich with the other half. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to eat. They will keep fresh for a few days.

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Quickest Almond Milk and Blackberry Mash

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It’s day … of my elimination diet.

Ok, so I’m not on my elimination diet anymore. Yeah, I gave up. But I did stay on it for 30 days. No cheating or anything…except for that one time on day 25 when I shoved two donuts into my mouth and then ended up eating hot sauce and instant noodles. Yeah, that happened.

Though, from what I noticed, there was no change in my problem on the diet and there was no change when I stopped the diet. So maybe I don’t have any food allergies at all. Wouldn’t that be great! I was mostly scared that I would end up being allergic to gluten and never be able to sink my teeth into a fresh baked loaf of bread ever again. Saddest   thought   ever.

Anyway, I’ve been absent on here for a while due to exams and such and now that they’re over I’m going to bake EVERYTHING. Seriously. You don’t understand how much I think about bread and buns and rolls and all things that include flour. Apparently, according to the internet, what you crave the most is often what your body is sensitive to and that could indicate an allergy to that certain food. However, I’m just going to choose to ignore what the internet says.

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Anyway, today’s post actually has zero to do with bread but involves a sweet little drink I came up with when I was on my elimination diet. It’s super healthy, a little creamy, a little tart, and a lot delicious. You can use already made almond milk but I didn’t have any and found the almond butter to be a pretty good substitute. As well, most of the almond milks out there tend to use carrageenan as a thickener. There’s been quite a bit of speculation surrounding carrageenan as a cause of IBS and digestive problems. I’m pretty sure I already have enough digestive problems with the amount of gluten and sugar that enters my body.

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So, this drink is a combo of fresh blackberries mashed with a little lemon juice and homemade almond milk. The blackberries get layered at the bottom for a pretty colour effect and are lightly mashed for an interesting texture. It oddly reminded me of bubble tea. But much much healthier. I recommend getting your hands on some large bubble tea straws, which you can usually pick up at any asian grocery store.

Next time I make it, I plan on adding a banana to the almond milk to make it more of a smoothie texture.

Almond Milk and Blackberry Drink
Makes two 8oz drinks

3/4 cup of blackberries, cold
1 tsp of fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups of filtered water, cold
a few ice cubes, optional
2 tbsp almond butter
2 tsp maple syrup, or to taste
pinch of sea salt

Mash the blackberries and lemon juice with the back of a fork until liquid-y but still chunky. Divide into the bottom of two glasses. In a blender, puree the almond butter, water, ice, syrup, and salt until smooth and frothy. Add more syrup if you’d like it sweeter. Pour the almond milk on top of the blackberry mash and serve immediately with a large bubble tea straw.

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Cupcakes and a liver cleanse

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Oh cupcakes. Remember when they were the “it” thing? Everyone was opening up a cupcake shop and making a million different flavours. Chocolate cupcakes, red velvet cupcakes, bacon cupcakes…blue cheese cupcakes?! People just went ape shit for cupcakes and now that it’s died down I finally feel like making some cupcakes. No cheese, no weird flavours, and please…no bacon. Just a simple chocolate cupcake with a hint of almond..and oh yeah they’re vegan.

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I know I’m supposed to be eating healthier and all that but these weren’t really for me. I made these especially for a dinner party and bringing a box full of gluten, sugar, dairy, fat, and delicious free cupcakes didn’t sound all that great. At least they’re vegan right? I only ate one…and a half anyway.

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I am actually supposed to be avoiding gluten and dairy right now as I’m on a liver cleanse through the advice of my naturopathic doctor. I’m literally wrapped up in plastic wrap right now with castor oil  and a hot water bottle over my stomach in hopes that it’ll detoxify my liver. I feel like a stuffed sausage..a sweaty stuffed sausage. Now, I have never been to a naturopath before but I sure wasn’t expecting this. I was hoping for something more along the lines of a hypoallergenic diet or something diet based, not having to take 2 tubes of bitter yellow tincture 3 times a day. Oh boy is that stuff disgusting. But these cupcakes aren’t. Go make them, eat them, now!

The recipe for these chocolate almond cupcakes can be found at the lovely Oh She Glows blog by Angela Liddon

I pretty much followed the recipe exactly as written except omitted the almond milk in the icing recipe. This way I had to use less icing sugar to get the right consistency and also I dyed half the icing pink.

Hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

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