Zucchini Almond Cake

My Mum sent me a zucchini from her garden about a week ago. I was expecting a smallish one but was instead surprised with this gigantic monster that could easily be used as a weapon if need be. I’m not even joking. We had to clear out the entire crisper just so that this one zucchini could fit inside the fridge. I had to make something with it so that the other vegetables could go back into their crisper home. I decided to make a recipe that my Gran passed down to my Mum – Zucchini Almond Cake. It is the most moist and delicious zucchini cake I have ever eaten.

You’ll need:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 3 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 cup ground almonds

Topping:

  • 1 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds (put them on a cookie sheet lined with foil for a few minutes watching carefully until they are golden brown)

Preheat oven to 350. Mix the first four ingredients into a large bowl. In separate bowl, mix together eggs, sugar, vegetable oil, and almond extract. Add to the dry ingredient bowl and mix well. Then add zucchini and ground almonds. Pour into 2 greased pie plates and bake for 35-45 minutes or until the cakes look dark brown (but not burnt!). Let cool.

To make the topping, simply mix together the icing sugar, milk and almond extract. Drizzle it over the cake and then top with toasted almonds.

Just FYI, I only used about half of my zucchini for this recipe. Maybe I will donate the other half of it to the army or something. Thanks, Mum.

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Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Let’s face it: we all crave chocolate chip cookies once in a while. If you want a yucky crispy cookie then don’t read this post because the cookies I’m talking about are chewy and decadent and just beg to be served with a cold glass of milk. Do you want the recipe? Of course you do.

You will need:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate, but dark chocolate would taste great too)
  • *optional* 3/4 cups chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350F. In medium bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside. In large bowl, beat together butter and brown sugar until creamy. Then beat in the egg and vanilla. Stir flour mixture into the wet mixture 1/3 at a time until combined. Add chocolate chips and optional nuts.

Roll dough into balls about 1 tbsp each and place on lightly greased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake about 8 minutes or until the top just starts to turn golden brown. Remove from oven and let stand 2 minutes on baking sheet before placing cookies on a rack.

Enjoy!

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Versatile Asparagus Soup

Funny how we love some of the things we used to hate when we were kids. I am an avid asparagus fan but used to dislike it almost as much as spinach when I was little. Drizzle some melted butter and fresh lemon over it and I am in heaven. I recently discovered a bunch of asparagus in the fridge and decided that I was going to be more adventurous with it this time. So I made asparagus soup.

You will need:

  • 1.5 lbs fresh asparagus, washed and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley, roughly chopped
  • 4 cups chicken broth (substitute for vegetable broth if you want to make it a vegetarian soup)
  • 1/4 cup milk or cream
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • pepper to taste

In large pot, slowly sauté the onion and garlic with butter over low heat. Add pepper if desired. Once the onion has softened, add the pieces of asparagus as well as the parsley and cook for about 7 minutes. Add broth. Cover and let simmer for 20-25 minutes or until asparagus is nice and tender.

Now, you can serve the soup as it is if you do not want to puree it. I really enjoyed it like this and admittedly had a difficult time putting the sampling spoon down. I think next time I make it I will skip the pureeing part. If you want to make it into a deliciously creamy soup, here are the next few steps:

Take soup off the heat and allow it to cool down a tad. With a hand blender, puree until it has reached your desired consistency. Some people like everything to be perfectly smooth, but I personally like to leave a few delicious chunks here and there. Stir in the lemon juice and milk or cream. You can serve this either hot or cold. Both ways are delicious.

Now you know why I call this soup versatile!

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Café Au Lait Puddings


I came across this recipe in Gourmet Magazine and decided that it looked and sounded way too good to ignore. These delightful puddings are the perfect dessert to serve at a dinner party because you can make them a day ahead! Don’t make the serving sizes too large though; less is more after all.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons instant coffee granules*
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ground cinnamon

Whisk together milk, coffee granules, cornstarch, 1/4 cup sugar, and a small pinch of salt in a heavy medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, then boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Transfer to a metal bowl set in an ice bath and cool, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Pour into cups or ramekins and chill, uncovered, 20 minutes. If you are making these a day ahead, cover them before refrigerating.

Before you serve:
Beat cream with vanilla and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar using an electric mixer just until soft peaks form. Spoon whipped cream onto puddings and top with a light dusting of cinnamon.

Serves 6.

* If you do not want to have caffeine in this recipe, simply substitute the regular instant coffee with decaffeinated.

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How to Become a Successful Poacher

We’re talking about eggs here, guys…

Poached eggs are not only delicious, but they are also a great choice for the health conscious. Yes, eggs are known to have quite a bit of cholesterol, but poaching them means you are getting all the nutrients that they have to offer without adding any extra fat from oil or butter. I admit that for years I had no idea how to make poached eggs.  I was sick of only being able to enjoy them at restaurants, so after a bit of research and trial and error I found the most fool-proof way to poach eggs.

You will need:
– water
– 1 tbsp white vinegar
– fresh eggs

  • In a wide pot, add the vinegar and about 3 inches of water.
  • Bring to a boil, and then reduce to low heat so that the water is lightly simmering.
  • Crack egg into a bowl or small cup and very carefully slip it into the water. Repeat with other eggs.
  • Let simmer until whites are cooked (about 3 minutes). Sometimes it takes longer depending on how many eggs you have in the pot at once and how cold the eggs are (if you have them at room temperature, they will take less time to cook).
  • Remove eggs one at a time using a slotted spoon. Carefully dab any excess water off with a paper towel.

You can make eggs Benedict or just enjoy the poached eggs on their own for a light and healthy start to your day.

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And so it Begins

Welcome to my blog!  I am still personalizing it, but I hope to get things fixed up to my liking promptly so that I can begin posting! : )

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