Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Eid Al Adha 2013 - Eid Mubarak!


















Sunday, October 13, 2013

Homemade 2 ingredient froyo


Lately one of the biggest trends out there is froyo, and I'm seeing these froyo bars popping up literally EVERYWHERE!  You know the places where you grab a cup, fill it up with the frozen yogurt of your choice which is dispensed right out of the machine in the wall?  There is a selection of toppings in different stations varying from candies to sauces to fresh fruit which you can top your yogurt with to your heart's content.  Once you've created your masterpiece then it's off to the cash where you "weight & pay" and you're all set to enjoy your froyo (which hopefully didn't melt at this point)

It's a fun concept and I can see the appeal, especially for kids but I find myself always feeling ripped off because my cup averages at about $8-$12 a visit and if I stop into 10 places within the summer then I'm out over 100 bucks!

I've never been the biggest fan of froyo (or sweet yogurt anything, you probably read me express this in other posts - I prefer my yogurt/lebneh plain, salted and drizzled with good olive oil and a nice piece of warm flatbread on the side) but I've learned to embrace this refreshing dessert because my family members drag me to one of these places from time to time.

Since I'm fortunate to have a handy ice cream machine at home I've been feeling challenged to create a froyo that would rival any of these places and satisfy my family.  It's been on my mind for a while but I put it on the back burner for a while because for some reason I felt pretty intimidated by the idea.  Little did I know that it is probably the easiest thing on earth to make!

When I finally worked up the courage to search for a recipe online I stumbled upon this one, it mentions how it rivals pinkberry (I've never been but often see pretty photos of their froyo online, I don't know if they have locations in Canada)
When I scrolled down to the recipe I couldn't believe how few ingredients were listed!

So without further adew here it is!


I put my own twist on it and I began with 4 containers of plain bulkan style yogurt which I whisked each very well and dumped into a paper towel lined sieve (something with feet is good and slightly elevated since a lot of water will be coming out of the yogurt)

I put an upside down bowl into a large bowl and set the sieve on top of that. Placing a piece of plastic wrap onto the top (just to prevent dust or anything from falling in) it went into the fridge for 24 hours.

What I was left with is a thick greek style yogurt (might have to spill out the water a few times if it is filling up in the bowl below)

Now for a sweetener, I used white sugar but feel free to try any type of sugar you like (maple sugar would be nice and healthy!) Don't use honey or maple syrup, it will not freeze well and become all goopy.

I used about 3/4 cup of sugar and a dash of vanilla extract (totally optional)
The recipe says to mix the sugar in and refrigerate for an hour, I forgot this step and churned it immediately once the sugar was dissolved into the thick yogurt. 

Now simply churn it in your ice cream machine according to instructions!
It is preferable to remove the froyo and refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving as it melts quickly otherwise.

Served with orange blossom honey and toasted walnuts.


October Birthday Girl


My sister and I both have birthdays about one month apart in the late summer and early fall, this year we wanted to do something extra special because it marked 20 years to of our favourite childhood birthdays!  

 I wrote about the story behind the photos here when we celebrated my birthday in early September.    These are photos of my sister's birthday cake from October 5th. We celebrated her 25th birthday and it was so much fun!!!

Chocolate Smartie Cake 

Hershey's Black Magic Cake
(I baked this recipe twice and it yielded 4 round 8" round pans and I used 3 cakes out of the 4)

Ingredients:
1/2 cup vegetable oil  (I used butter flavoured EVOO From Olive That!
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk (Or mix yogurt with water to a nice thick liquid creamy consistency) 

1 cup strong black coffee OR 2 teaspoons powdered instant coffee plus 1 cup boiling water (or just plain boiling water) 

Dry ingredients:
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Cocoa Powder 
2 cups sugar


Directions

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 12-cup fluted tube pan, two 9-inch round baking pans or one 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes (Batter will be thin). Pour batter evenly into prepared pan.
3. Bake 50 to 55 minutes for fluted tube pan, 30 to 35 minutes for round pans, 35 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Loosen cake from side of pan and remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost as desired.
Filling: 
Any desired cream filling recipe of your choice (We went with a chocolate cream cheese as requested from my sister) 

From Nigella Lawson's chocolate fudge cake 

Made double the recipe to cover the 3 layer cake. Some will be leftover.

Fudge Icing:
175 grams dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
250 grams unsalted butter (softened)
275 grams icing sugar (sifted)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract