I love me some soda bread.
Finnish Rieska is a flat quickbread (ie. leavened chemically with baking soda and powder instead of yeast) made in Finland that can be similar to soda bread, depending on how you make it.
Though Rieska is a traditional Finnish flatbread, its preparation varies across the country. Often it’s made with barley flour, sometimes it’s oat or rye, and even potato is popular. The thickness of rieska can vary too from cracker-thin to thick-and-bready.
I’ve never been all that interested in making it until I saw a version containing oats on the King Arthur Flour website. I love oats! Their flavour imparts a nutty quality that I absolutely adore in pretty much anything.
Finnish Oat and Rye Rieska
From King Arthur Flour
This was my first rieska attempt and it turned out awesome! Instead of spreading my rieska batter thinly out over an entire baking sheet, I piled it up in a 9″ round cake pan to garner the “thick-and-bready” texture that reminded me of a muffin. This bread tastes fantastic with a robust cheese and if I sandwiched a fried egg in there too it made the perfect breakfast.
35g (1/2 c) rolled oats
113g (1 c) rye flour
128g (1 c.) all-purpose Flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
25g (2 T) sugar
57g (1/4 c) butter
1 1/2 c buttermilk (or 1 1/2 c milk with 1 1/2 T vinegar)
Preheat the oven to 500°F (high temperature is good for a wet dough like this).
Grease a baking pan or baking sheet. The original recipe calls for a 9×13″ baking pan which would make a thinner bread than the 9″ round pan that I used. I’ve seen some recipes where the dough is spread very thinly on a whole baking sheet too, so the choice is yours. Just remember that the thinner the dough the quicker it will bake.
In a large bowl, whisk dry ingredients together.
Crumble the butter into the dry ingredients with your hands until it is thoroughly distributed. Stir in the milk or buttermilk to get a very sticky batter.
Transfer the dough to the prepared baking dish and, using wet hands, pat it out so it fills the pan.
Bake the bread for 15 to 17 minutes (for a 9×13″ bread), until the top is light golden brown and springs back when gently touched.
Remove the bread from the oven and cool it on a rack before slicing.9 Comments
Remember the pheasants that Matt brought home from one of his co-workers?
Well, we cooked them.
The first pheasant Matt roasted in the oven with a dry rub of miscellaneous spices that he enjoys. The bird was rather tough and I felt that I was gnawing at it with my teeth. It had a typical poultry taste but reminded me more of turkey than of chicken.
I took a different approach with the second bird since I knew what I was in for (ie. tough meat), I figured a good way to prepare it would be in a hearty pie. Because, obviously, I love pie.
It tasted much better this way. The meat was still tough but was tenderized by the longer cooking and the sauciness of the pie filling. . . plus everything tastes better topped with a flaky crust.
Pheasant Pot Pie
1 recipe for Perfect Pie Crust, wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated.
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, diced
2 carrots, sliced
3 celery stalks, sliced
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 fresh or dried bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
4 c chicken broth
1 pheasant cut into 8 pieces (2 wings, 2 legs, 2 breasts, 2 thighs)
4 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
In an large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper, then cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 15 minutes.
Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add all the pheasant pieces, return to a boil, then lower to heat to simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the pheasant pieces and transfer to a plate to cool for about 10 minutes.
Strain the stock and reserving both the vegetables and stock separately. Remove and discard the herbs.
While the pheasant is cooling, preheat the oven to 400F. Prepare the pie dough by rolling it out to the size and shape of the baking dish you will be using for your pie (I used a 9×13”).
When the pheasant is cool enough to handle, pull the meat into bite-size pieces, discarding the skin and bones.
In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour then whisk in the stock one ladle at a time. Bring to a boil, whisking occasionally. Continue cooking until the sauce has the consistency of heavy cream then stir in the chicken pieces and vegetables until well coated. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer the filling to a baking dish. Cover with the rolled out pie dough and bake for 40min or until the crust is golden brown.3 Comments
While I’m talking about cakes, here’s one that was leaps and bounds more successful than the last.
This recipe comes from Pellegrino Artusi, the author of the veritable bible of recipes from all regions of Italy: La Scienza in Cucina e l’Arte di Mangiare Bene (The Science of Cooking and the Art of Eating Well) which he published in 1891.
As an uber-geek interested in both food and history, I get overly excited by historic recipes like that time I found out that the National Archives has a full copy of The New Galt Cookbook on their website(!)
I like to think about how much more work it would have been 100 years ago to prepare food compared to today. I think’s it’s amazing both how little and how much recipes have changed over the years. And I think eating food from historic recipes gives you a real connection to the past.
In my grade 12 Modern European History class, we had a project where we had to prepare a dish typical of revolutionary France. I still recall showing up to school smelling like fried bacon and onions from the roasted squash dish that I made that morning. Best. Project. Ever.
Italians love simplicity– seriously, just ask my Nonna. If she calls you “simple” it really is the utmost compliment.– even in their desserts. In this sense, Torta Margherita is classically Italian.
It’s an unintentionally gluten free and dairy free cake that has only 4 ingredients. It is made with potato starch (not potato flour) and leavened with egg whites. It’s cheap to make, it’s easy to make (although it would have arguably been a hell of a lot more labour intensive before the age of electric mixers and beaters), and it is a really great, light cake.
The taste and texture sort of reminds me of ladyfinger cookies which makes me think it would be awesome in a tiramisu. I ate mine with a very hefty drizzling of coconut curd (which is also coincidentally gluten free and dairy free).
Pellegrino Artusi’s Torta Margherita Recipe
This is a very simple cake that can be served in many ways. Simply with a dusting of icing sugar and dunked in a caffe, or served with a berry compote, or as part of a trifle or tiramisu, or you can drizzle it with an Asian coconut curd called Kaya if you want a really cool cross-cultural fusion like I did.
You can also play around with the flavours, swapping orange zest or vanilla or perhaps even a little rum for the lemon zest.
120 grams potato starch, sifted (not potato flour)
120 grams granulated sugar
4 eggs, separated
Zest of 1 lemon
Butter a round cake pan and line with parchment. I used a 6″ pan for a taller cake but you can also use an 8″ pan for a wider cake and bake it for less time.
Preheat the oven to 350*F
In a large bowl, beat the yolks together with the sugar until very pale and creamy. Add the lemon zest and the potato starch and beat until combined. Note: the potato starch will make the batter very tough and tacky, but don’t worry the egg white will lighten it up so it’s smooth and pourable.
In a separate clean bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form then fold the whites gently through the batter a little at a time. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake at moderate heat for an hour or until the cake is firm and passes the toothpick test.
Remove from the pan to a wire rack and let cool. Serve as desired with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar or with whatever accompaniment that you like (like coconut curd, for example).5 Comments
It’s the 15th of the month, that means it’s time for this month’s Baking Partners Challenge.
The theme for this month is Cheesecake!
I personally love rich desserts, so I can never say no to cheesecake (not that I ever say no to any dessert). Plus, it’s super versatile and lends itself well to countless different flavours and varieties.
I’ve made a handful of cheesecakes before and they’ve all been delicious, rich, creamy cakes. So I was excited to try a cheesecake of a very different variety: chiizukeiki or Japanese cheesecake.
(Sidenote: How fun is it to say chiizukeiki? Honestly, I’m never going to call it cheesecake again.)
What’s the story?
Chiizukeiki is the Japanese version of cheesecake.
Unlike American cheesecakes which are thick, crusted custards, Japanese cheesecakes have no crust and are made in the style of a soufflé instead, that is, it has a base of eggs yolks and cream cheese and is leavened with whipped egg whites. But, don’t worry, there is sufficient enough flour, sugar, and cornstarch in a chiizukeiki recipe that it won’t deflate like a soufflé does.
As a result of this technique, the chiizukeiki is light and airy unlike any American cheesecake you’ve ever had.
It should look like this (source)
. . . that is, unless you fuck it up like I did and your chiizukeiki ends up with the consistency closer to fudge than soufflé. Wah waaaaaah.
I’m not exactly sure where I went wrong with this. Admittedly, I did sub all purpose flour for cake flour (I never have cake flour on hand) and then I accidently forgot to bake the cake in a water bath, so it could have been one of those 2 changes. The chiizukeiki ended up rising quite nicely in the oven, but then when I took it out it fell flat and was super dense.
I’m not sure whether I want to go through the effort to try making this again. I found the flavour a bit egg-y and not as sweet as I’d like, so I’d need to have a nice sweet sauce to pair it with.
Granted, lots of people in the baking partners group did execute this recipe effectively, so maybe it was just me. Maybe it’s totally worth making.
Chiizukeiki – Japanese Cheesecake
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) butter
8 ounces cream cheese
3 ounces (1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon) milk
2 ounces (generous 1/2 cup) cake flour
1 ounce (1/4 cup) cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
6 egg yolks, room temperature
6 egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
5.25 ounces (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
Preheat your oven to 325F and line an 8″ springform pan with parchment paper and wrap the outside with aluminum foil (as the pan will be placed in a water bath before baking).
Combine the cream cheese, butter, and milk in a microwave-safe bowl microwave on high long enough to melt the cream cheese and butter, stopping and stirring occasionally, until you have a homogenous mixture. Set aside to cool.
Whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice together, then whisk that into the cheese mixture.
In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, cornstarch, and salt then whisk that into the cream cheese mixture.
In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until they’re foamy. Add the cream of tartar and all of the sugar and whip the mixture to soft peaks. With the machine on low, add the cheese mixture and stir until combined.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, place the pan in a water bath, and bake for 45 minutes, until the cheesecake is browned, firm, and set.
Good Food: Notable bean dishes that I’ve made recently.
I love beans and could eat them at every meal. Here are a few delicious dishes that I’ve discovered recently.
Slow Cooker Navy Bean Soup
Recipe from Prevention RD - A really thick and hearty soup with lots of herbal flavour.
My variation on was to cut back on the amount of liquid resulting in more of a stew or ragout than a soup. I also cut out the ham, but I used homemade pork stock to retain that pig flavour (so, sadly, it wasn’t vegetarian).
I think I was a little heavy-handed with the sage, but I love the earthiness of that herb. I would probably add the same amount next time and just call it Navy Bean and Sage Stew.
Whisky Baked Beans
This is comfort food. I love the sweetness from the molasses and brown sugar. I could eat these for breakfas, lunch, and dinner.
Vegetable Pita with Lentils
Recipe from New American Table by Marcus Samuelsson - A stew that eats like a sandwich.
My sister introduced me to this one. It is one ridiculously messy dinner and it is a bit involved to make, considering it’s just a simple pita sandwich, but it’s totally worth it.
I love the Indian, Lebanese, and African influences all rolled into one meal. That’s fusion.
Black Bean Burger
Recipe from Oh She Glows - Staple formula for a good veggie burger.
I usually vary the ingredients slightly based on what I have, but I stick with similar ratios and this burger ends up a winner. Also, you can make the patties and freeze them before cooking so you have a quick and painless meal at the ready. (I have a stash in my freezer right now)1 Comment
Who doesn’t love Bagels, amiright?
I don’t love traditional bagels though. I’m too young to have lived through the time when bagels were at their prime so I don’t experience nostalgia from a handmade, very chewy yet slightly crispy bagel.
Some traditionalists might say that all I know are the bastardized version of ‘bagels’ that came about after industrialization of bakeries. . . but that’s what I like.
This is the recipe that I like. It doesn’t use high gluten bread flour or barley malt and it has a relatively high water content (by bagel standards), but it’s good. I’m willing to experiment with some bagel variations in the future, but right now this version hits the spot.
These are my bagels with a slight crisp to the crust, a bready crumb, and a hint of sweetness.
I made some this week for my friends who came over on Saturday morning for an Easter breakfast get-together. I think they were a hit!
Oh, and Happy Easter!5 Comments
So I haven’t been doing too well with my Sugar Free Lent these last couple of weeks. My sugar cravings have come back and I’ve been sampling more and more desserts. Also I’ve been caving completely on Sundays (because, technically, Sunday’s don’t count). Today for instance I had a piece of pie and ice cream, and I sweetened my coffee with cinnamon sugar.
Last Sunday I ate these:
Nutella Banana Rolls
This is one of Matt’s favourite types of bread that I make.
Use a soft white bread dough (like this one)
Roll it out with a rolling pin into a big rectangle
Spread nutella and mashed banana on top
And then roll it up like a cinnamon bun.
You can either bake it as a loaf or cut it into buns (cinnamon bun style) and bake it that way. 350F for 30min or so should do the trick.
Spread nutella on top after it’s baked for extra luxuriousness. It totally hits the spot.3 Comments
It’s the 15th of the month, that means it’s time for this month’s Baking Partners Challenge. The theme for this month is Gelatinized Starch.
It can go by many names—tangzhong method, scalded flour, water roux—but they’re all essentially the same thing: Gelatinized Starch.
How Gelatinized Starch Works to Make a Soft Bread
Flour is made up of starch granules. Let’s think of them as bricks.
If you take some of that flour then add water and heat up, the starch gelatinizes. The starch granules in the flour will suck up all the water until they explode (think of a brick crumbling into sand) into starch molecules which suspend themselves in the water.
Your standard bread recipe doesn’t have the moisture, heat, or time for the starches to gelatinize during the baking process, so the bread is like a sturdy house built of starch ‘bricks’. It’s dense.
However, if you make ‘sand ‘ by gelatinizing the starch before baking the bread, then you’ll build yourself a sandcastle or, in bread terms, a soft and fluffy pillow of deliciousness.
Super Soft White Bread
Makes two 9”x5” loaves
Adapted from Christine’s Recipes
So in this recipe your starter is some flour that’s been heated up with water to 65*C to create a gel (known as the tangzhong method). This is added to the final dough, making a soft and fluffy bread.
This recipe is great on it’s own as a sandwich bread. It also makes a really good base for sweet breads (like cinnamon bread, or hot cross buns, or buns filled with custard) which are best with dough that has a soft crust and light crumb like this one does.
50g/ 1/3 cup bread flour
250ml/ 1 cup water
Final Dough Ingredients:
700g/ 5 cups bread flour
110g/ 1/2 cup sugar
10g/ 2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
250mL/ 1 cup water
All of the starter
12g/ 4 tsp instant yeast
60g/ 3 Tbsp oil
Directions – starter:
In a small saucepan whisk the flour into the water and remove lumps. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly. Heat the mixture to 65*C. It will be thick and hold the ‘lines’ made by stirring with the whisk.
Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Cover with a cling wrap sticking right onto the surface of the starter. Let cool. It can be used immediately once cool or stored in the fridge for a few days as long as it doesn’t turn grey.
Directions – final dough:
Combine all the dough ingredients into the bowl of a mixer with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the dough comes together and then switch to the dough hook. (You can also mix the whole thing in a bowl with your hands and knead it manually). Knead on high speed for 6-10 minutes until the dough is elastic, smooth, and not sticky. To test if the dough is ready, you might stretch the dough. If it forms a thin “membrane”, it’s done.
Form the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Proof in a warm place until doubled in size, about 40 minutes.
Transfer to a clean, floured surface. Deflate and divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Knead into ball shapes. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
Flatten each portion of dough into an oval shape. Fold like a letter: 1/3 from top edge to the middle and press, then fold 1/3 from bottom to the middle and press. From the narrow end, roll the dough into a cylinder. Repeat with the remaining dough pieces.
Place 3 side by side into each of 2 greased 9”x5” loaf tins, with seal facing down. Cover and proof in a warm place until double in size.
Bake in a pre-heated 356F oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and tin. Transfer onto a wire rack and let cool completely. Slice to serve or place in an airtight plastic bag or container once it’s thoroughly cooled.
On Saturday Matt and I went to the What’s Cooking Expo at the MGM Grand Casino in Detroit. The show was made up of live cooking demonstrations, hands-on workshops, and food sampling by exhibitors.
The expo started at 12pm but we didn’t get there until 2pm. In hindsight I wish that we had gone earlier so that we could see more demos (Michelle Bommarito was presenting at 12) and take part in more of the workshops.
On the bright side we did get to to see Carla Hall demo a Squash Soup and a Rustic Mushroom Tart.
I’ve loved Carla ever since she first appeared on Top Chef Season 5. I was gunning for her to win it (she didn’t, but she came so close!). She’s really lively and animated and fun and she seems like a genuinely nice person. Also her recipes are really good.
The coolest part was when she was rolling out the crust for the tart and lamented about how terrible it is when you roll a pie crust out and it sticks to the counter. As I was nodding my head in sympathy she pointed at me and said
“Girl, you know! You know what I’m talking about!”
That was great.
After seeing Carla we walked around to sample food at some of the vendors and I might have eaten some sweets, guys :/
The mac and cheese croquettes (on the left) were probably the best thing up for sample.
When we were sure that we sampled absolutely everything, we went to a workshop by Sweet Heather Anne on piping techniques. She focused on simple techniques which is fine with me since my skills at piping are terrible.
We practiced piping with royal icing on some parchment paper first and then we got to decorate our own cookie.
My cookie probably could use the help of an expert hand.5 Comments
Since Lent started last week and while I < em>been craving sugar, it’s not as much as I expected to.
. . . perhaps because I’ve been substituting sugar with more than my fair share of nuts and dried fruit. But in an attempt to stop myself from just eating them by the handful I decided make little truffles.
These are similar to the rosemary sea salt larabars that I’ve made before. They’re super easy. It’s just dried fruit and nuts in the food processor and formed into balls.
You can really do any fruit and nut combination. You can add spices or herbs or cocoa or flavour extracts. Anything goes.
For the nuts, I really like peanuts because they process smoother than almonds or other nuts. But any nut will do.
For the dried fruit, dates work best because they are sticky and smooth and hold together well when processed. I made this same recipe twice, one with dates and once where I subbed apricots for the dates. I preferred both the flavour and the texture of the date balls better so that’s the recipe I’m putting here.
Date & Peanut Truffles
makes about 15 balls
170g/6oz pitted dates
85g/3oz unsalted peanuts
a dash of sea salt
28g/1oz unsweeted shredded coconut
In a food processor, blend the dates, peanuts, and salt for 3-5 minutes until the mixture comes together into a smooth paste. Form with wet hands into 1 inch balls. Roll the balls in the shredded coconut.2 Comments
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- Lose 6cm from my waistline
Start (Aug 15): 83cm/ 91cm/ 166.8lb
Aug 31: 82cm /89cm/ 166.8lb
Sep 10: 83cm/ 89cm/ 166.2lb
Sep 20: 83cm/ 89cm/ 166.2lb
Oct 1: 83cm/ 88cm/ 165.6lb
Oct 10: 82cm/ 89cm/ 166.6lb
Oct 31: 81cm/ 88cm/ 166.6lb
Nov 15: 81cm/ 87cm/ 169.4lb
Dec 1: 82cm/ 88cm/ 170.2lb
Jan1: 82cm/ 88cm/ 169.4lb
Feb 1: 84cm/89cm/171.8lb
Mar 15: 83cm/ 88cm/ 170.0lb
Apr 15: 82cm/ 88cm/ 170.0lb