This is a fun and easy-to-make alternative (or addition) to birthday cake for casual or last-minute celebrations. It’s convenient for cottage or ski chalet getaways, classroom or office celebrations, dessert tables, etc.
Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category
I very seldomly use cream of tartar, so one box has lasted me several years. Whenever I clean out my pantry, I’m tempted to throw it away, because storage space in my home is literally that precious. I recently made a batch of cookies that, surprisingly, required cream of tartar. I didn’t have any on hand and didn’t have time to buy more. Luckily, I found a website that provided a simple and effective substitute for cream of tartar. I also finally learned what it does. It turns out that cream of tartar is an acid that reacts with baking soda to create carbon dioxide gas, thus acting as a leavener. Cream of tartar can also stabilize whipped egg whites (by maintaining the air bubbles) and prevent crystals from forming in simple syrup.
Cooking with Alison’s Mom (Part 6)
Dried birds’ nests (also known as swallows’ nests) are considered a Chinese delicacy. Bird’s nests are believed to have many health benefits, including improving overall health and combating signs of aging. There are 3 different types of bird’s nest and they can be distinguished by their differing colours. The colours are, in order of increasing price, white, yellow (shown in the photos below), and red. Some people say that drinking a few spoonfuls of birds’ nest each day will keep you looking young and feeling healthy.
Bird’s nest is most commonly used to make a Chinese sweet dessert soup. After being boiled, bird’s nest becomes gelatinous in texture. It is pretty much flavourless. Here is my mom’s simple recipe for bird’s nest soup. Alternatively, we also make the birds’ nest without the rock sugar and then mix a few spoonfuls of it into a bowl of warm milk. I love drinking it with milk just before bed.
I was first introduced to this traditional Christmas dessert at a craft show where I sampled Cranberry Creek Baking Co.‘s cranberry pudding. I immediately fell in love with it, because it is dense, moist, slightly chewy, and almost savoury. The tartness of the cranberries in the pudding, which is more cake-like in texture, is contrasted nicely with the sweet and warm butter sauce. Also, I like that this dessert uses molasses instead of more processed sugars. Since this dessert is steamed, it was perfect for our Christmas meal in 2013 when our oven was broken.
I made this rhubarb cake for a friend’s birthday camping trip and everyone loved it. This is my new go-to rhubarb cake recipe. It’s easy to make, it’s moist and delicious, and the tart rhubarb contrasts the slightly sweet cake perfectly. This recipe makes a lot of cake, but don’t worry, because the cake is freezer friendly.
As much as I love the butter tart recipe here, I am so happy that I’ve finally found a delicious butter tart recipe that doesn’t use corn syrup and that, in the true Canadian spirit, uses maple syrup. In case you didn’t already know, butter tarts are a Canadian dessert. This pastry was beautifully flaky and airy, but it was a bit too delicate for my taste. I prefer the still flaky yet slightly sturdier crust of my other butter tarts (recipe here).
Whenever I cook with ingredients that I don’t use regularly, I almost always end up with extra ingredients that I can’t find the time or purpose for. I hate to waste food. So, very early on, I learned how to make the freezer my best friend. Below I’ve shared a list of fresh and canned ingredients that freeze beautifully for months to a year, without a change in texture or taste. Let me know if you can think of anything else! I will add to this list as I discover new freezer friendly ingredients. Also, I’ve posted many many freezer friendly recipes throughout the years. Just look to the end of each recipe for freezing instructions, as applicable.
I love almost all fruit, and mangosteen is, by far, my favourite. If you haven’t tried purple mangosteen yet, I highly recommend that you do as soon as the opportunity presents itself. When I was in Malaysia, I ate an entire bag and every day that I’ve been back, I regret not eating more. That was a year ago!!! Mangosteen are grown mainly in Southeast Asia and the best ones that I’ve ever had were from Malaysia. Disappointingly, in North America, mangosteen can be quite expensive and often not very fresh. So be sure to choose ones with a fresh and green coloured stem, because there are such things as bad and so-so mangosteen.
The purple outer shell is inedible. To open a mangosteen, crush the purple shell between the palms of your hands and then pull it apart to open it. But be very careful not to stain your clothes, because the purple dye is almost impossible to wash out. In fact, many hotels in Southeast Asia ban their guests from bringing mangosteen into their rooms. The white flesh on the inside of the fruit is soft, moist, juicy and refreshing and light tasting. Also, there are large seeds within each lobe of the white flesh.
If you get the chance to try a mangosteen, let me know what you think!