Saturday, October 31, 2009

You won't be hungry after this - introducing the Yankee Doodle Noodle Casserole!

The Creative has been here enjoying the sights and sounds of LondonTown this weekend. She gave me this horrifically trailer park trashy recipe from her days working for Old Dutch potato chips. Needless to say, this recipe came down from their website when the Creative got her hands on the account.

A classic to keep for that special romantic din din when you need to impress.

  • Cooked macaroni
  • Can of sweet corn nibblets
  • Beef Jerky cut into bite sized pieces
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Cheese puffs/ Cheesies
  • Coat all of the above in a whole lotta Ranch dressing, pour into a casserole dish and crumble a whole bag of Old Dutch Potato chips on top -no need to bake! Serve at room temperature. MMmmmmmmm........TPT dinner.
Ok, back from being sick in the toilet!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

A snowy cupcake with a little snowman! Only 9 weeks til Christmas. I think we should worry about Halloween first. Mr. B is making a Halloween themed dinner on Sunday, I think there was talk of 'Bloody' Marys and a Witches Beef Stew...yum!

Thursday, October 29, 2009



Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It is delicious and I could've eaten 10 of these but I only made two. Next time I will make more and eat them all myself. These ones were filled with smoked salmon and dill and cooked in a bain marie (a roasting ray of water in the oven). They were the perfect accompaniment to the duck I made, yes I made duck and it was delicious. I am now officially a duck fan. Here is the recipe for anyone who wishes to try them at home, more on the duck later...

Twice Baked Souffles:

  • 55 g Butter
  • 45g Flour
  • 290ml Milk
  • 3 eggs -separated
  • 110g -Smoked Salmon - chopped
  • 2 tbsps freshly chopped dill
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the cream sauce

  • 55ml of dry white wine
  • 50ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped dill
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 180degrees
  2. Melt the butter and brush the timbale moulds/ramekins (I think you could also use a cupcake tray), allow the butter to set and then brush again
  3. Add the flour to the butter left in the saucepan, cook for 1min. Remove from the heat and gradually add the milk, sirring all the time. Retrun to the heat and bring to a boil, sirring continuously, simmer for 1 minute on lower heat. Tip it in a large bowl and let it cool slightly.
  4. Add the egg yolks, salmon and dill to the sauce. Season with salt and pepper. 
  5. Whisk the egg whies in a separate bowl until peaks form on your beater and then fold into your first mixture. Fold gently so it remains light and fluffy! 
  6. Divide the mix to the individual timbales/ramekins (or maybe the cupcake tin - I will ask if this is doable?!) and bake in a bain marie (roasting tin half filled with hot water -which cooks the eggs slowly) for 25min - or until they have puffed up and are brown on top - kinda golden brown like when you are making a cake. 
  7. After you remove them from the oven, let them sink down and cool down. Run a knife around the edges and turn hem upside down onto a ovenproof dish (do this while they are still warm-ish)
  8. Cover and put them aside until you are ready to serve them. Then when you are you bake them a second time for 15 min to cook them through/warm them up again. 
For the sauce
  1. Put the wine into a pan and reduce it by boiling it (you must always boil alcohol when you are cooking with it). Once it has boiled, remove from the heat and add the double cream, dill and salt and pepper. Pour over your souffles or even your duck - it is yummy!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My favourite part of the evening, apart from the food, at Formosa Dining Rooms  is when my Cupcake Pimp (he has got me 3 orders so far!) was moving around the lentils on his plate scrunching his face, squinting and asking, 'what are these things, are they vegetables?'

I was laughing a bit as I think he said that in his culture vegetables are for the poor - a sign of wealth and prosperity is a meal with lots of meat! Fair enough, but I guess he may need more pulses in his life. Well thanks to the CP I am now supplying a few places in NW London so am excited about that. Perhaps I can make him a meat-inspired or lentil cupcake as a special thanks ;)

The Formosa Dining room is connected to one of my favourite pubs, the Prince Alfred -which we call the Alice in Wonderland pub as it has so many little rooms with doors that you have to bend down to get into and out of.  It is another classic London pub, in a gorgeous listed building and the food at the Formosa was divine. I had the sea bass with a savoury cabbage and cream sauce with carrots, CP had the lamb steak with lentils and we were both completely satisfied. We ended the meal with the best Sticky Toffee pudding in London. It was a very filling meal and again service was great, maybe the winds are changing in LondonTown?!

My photographs above are terrible but if you are in Little Venice and want a nice meal in a great restaurant and then want to pop into a great pub for a few drinks afterwards then you shall head in this direction. Only one stop from Paddington peeps and they have a fabulous photo of the canal stretching along the whole back of the restaurant!

From their website: Built in 1863 with a beautiful exterior, the Prince Alfred is a classic example of the traditional plate glass & wood favoured by the Victorians. The inside of the pub is no less striking with the bar area being divided into 5 separate atmospheric "snugs" by original listed wooden panels.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I have had a great week and weekend, especially for a foodie as I have been out almost every day trying a new restaurant. It is not good for the pocketbook but I am sure that food critic job will come along soon!

One of my stops this week was a visit to the Saatchi Gallery - a must see when in London and lunch with the lovely Dane, Mrs. B at Cafe Oriel on Sloane Square. Stepping into Cafe Oriel is like stepping into a French Brasserie in Paris, I loved it. I am definitely going there when I feel like I need a little bit of Paris love.  Even our waitress gave us a little bit of French attitude. I had a crab salad, which I loved (I love fresh crab) and Mrs. B had the soup of the day which was a lovely tomato one.

I didn't take any snaps in Oriel, I was most likely too hungry but close your eyes and pretend you are in Paris wearing a red, French beret having just been to the Louvre (you skipped the 3 hr queue in this imagination) and stepped into one of their quaint corner brasseries in the trendy Le Marais district, you're with a mysterious and handsome French man who is smoking a cigarette and stares at you with smoldering eyes from across the table while you both sip on some delicious Bordeaux - (errm....back in the room) it is just like that. Although this one is full of Sloaney Ponies with very large diamonds draped on them and we weren't speaking French, although technically we could be. 

Merci pour un grande jour ensemble Mrs. B!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Le Dolci -Menu

Cupcake Classics

• Viva Vanilla –our best seller - a smooth and creamy vanilla cupcake

• Ciao Coco –classic, rich chocolate cupcake

• Limone L’amour– everyone loves luscious lemons and when in season, we use Sicilian lemons

Le Dolci ‘s Cupcakes with a twist

• The Hangover Cupcake -cupcake with crunched up pretzels, chocolate chips, coffee grinds and a hint of Tabasco - topped with a coke bottle or optional bacon bits (for a severe hangover)

• The Ladies Who Lunch Cupcake - champagne infused vanilla bundles of goodness

• The SAD Cupcake – add a bit of sunshine to your day with this bright yellow cream cheese frosted cupcake filled with natural sources of pick me tryptophan (serotonin booster) from bananas and nuts with a sprinkling of vitamin D

• The Sicilian Cannoli - a fresh ricotta and chocolate chip infused cupcake with a hint of pistachio, Palermo style (a homage to the Mafia Motherland)

• The Better than Botox Cupcake - a soy infused cupcake with blackberries, blueberries and pomegranate

• The Gym Bunny - a bran and granola cupcake with raisins and honey perfect for after work-out revitalization, no frosting equals less calories

• The Break Up Wake Up - white and dark chocolate chips, milk chocolate chunk, almonds and hazelnut with a sprinkle of fairy dust to change your luck in love!

• Great White North - crunchy apples, fireplace roasted cinnamon, mini marshmallows and Canadian maple syrup cupcakes with a sprinkle of snowy white icing sugar (a homage to my Canadian homeland)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

GraniteWe missed the pistacchio granite while we were in Sicily. A told me last night that they had the most amazing ones on the island of Salina. I guess we will have to sample them next time. Here's some sunny Sicily pics for a grey and cold-ish day!The car park - they are only allowed to use golf carts on the island of Panarea.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pizza East, ShoreditchWent there last night and it was great. I didn't know it only opened on Friday. We are way ahead of the trend, non? Trev is always the cool, Italian speaking dude who knows where to go. We were celebrating Le Jedan's opening night of her new show 'Women of Manhattan' get tix and go!

Soho House Group's new venture – Pizza East – opens on Friday in the Tea Building, Shoreditch. With concrete walls and steel refectory tables, the restaurant pays homage to the building's industrial past. You can get everything from a basic margherita to a duck sausage pizza with shaved artichokes, boschetto al tartufo and parmesan. There's also a takeaway service and a shop selling sauces, oils and branded merchandise. Visit their website to see some fab photos click: Pizza East.

Go there and sample all of the appetizers - especially the ricotta with honeycomb I had the clam and garlic pizza and it was divine. They make a thin pizza with a puffy crust -I think that's their signature way of doing pizza. Yum!

Pizza East, Tea Building, 56 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Red Velvet mythEveryone in London seems to be crazy for red velvet cupcakes as they taste soo good and are so silky and velvety and different.

FACT: they are made with chocolate and RED FOOD COLOURING, and bicarbonate of soda so the color and the fizzy soda is the only thing that makes it look and taste slightly different. They are actually prob not that good for you either as they have so much food coloring in them. Regular cupcakes have only a few drops in the icing but red velvet has a large qty in the actual cake part.

I just had to explain this to all the people out there who so luurrrve red velvet cupcakes! Sorry to burst your bubble peeps.

Rant over ;)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Boys shopping for dinner
A hungry little boy

We sent the two boys to get dinner for two hungry families. They were been bro-mancing all day; talking sport, drinking beer and golfing - it is a bit of a Paris Hilton and Nicole scenario minus the purse dogs.

Well not sure but perhaps they got carried away, lost track of time and then went to buy food that is not very kid friendly. But all that would've been fine if the George & Brad Pitt duo came back with the food before dinner time or brought something we could eat right away like pizza. George Clooney or Bradley Pitt? I guess him and Quinn Snr need to decide who's who in the bro-mance.

All the ladies and chitlins were anxiously awaiting a meal as we were starving after a day at the beach. While waiting we cracked open a bottle of wine with the Sting lover and then dinner enters the door. But the food (lobster, steak and seafood) needed to be cooked! Very boy-ish non?

Luckily Momma Dolce came to the rescue and fed the kids some spaghetti with tomato sauce and we all nibbled on some crackers until the boys grilled our suf and turf dinner. It was delicious and yummy but no more bro-mance shopping or if they are sent out again, it should be done during the day!

Secret: The boys spent their birthday last year together at......the Spa?! hmmmm.....

It was lovely and yummy and we were thankful after we were able to recover from our hunger pains ;)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sugar Paste flowers -easy!Very simple to make! I bought some supplies at and got making some flowers the other day. You just need to buy sugar paste - white, then color it to the color that you want with food coloring and voila! You roll it out and with these little stampers you cut out your flowers and then use a little tool that rolls the petals into little curves.

Let them dry upside down and once they are hard you can use them for up to 2 years! They are edible but sooo sugary so only recommended for kiddies to eat. My nephews love the decoration but I think most adults nibble on it and then decide that there is enough sugar in the cupcakes and frosting to give them a normal sugar rush.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Tomato goodnessSlice some fresh and ripe tomatoes, bread them in egg and bread crumbs, fry in a fry pan until the tomato is soft-ish (or to the softness that you like) and then top with sour cream, chives and parma ham/prosciutto -this is the Quinny Snr. recipe. Chives were from the garden.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

After months of toil After months of toil and care and water and sun and extra soil and love and attention - this is what resulted from my chili plant! Maybe next year!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sugar cookie fun!So the cookie making continues and during my visit to Jane-Asher's shop I found a few cookie cut outs that I tried out on a simple sugar cookie recipe. Some of these cookies will be sold at Alimentari in Queen's Park to all the little kiddies and yummy mummies that go in their for their daily cuppa.

Here is the recipe for your baking pleasure.

Sugar cookies

  • 200g unsalted butter at room temp
  • 280g sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract - I have some yummy stuff from Mexico
  • 1 egg
  • 400g plain flour
  • salt - just a pinch!
Mix butter, sugar and vanilla together until it is light and fluffy, add the egg and once fully mixed together, add the flour and salt. Onc it is all mixed together - lay it on a floured surface and knead into a doughy ball. Roll the ball out flat and cut out your cookies. Place on baking paper and bake in a pre-heated oven for approx. 10min. They should only be golden brown around the edges (my pics have a few burnt ones so ignore that!)
  • Icing - 1 egg white, 1/2 tsp lemon juice (fresh is best), 300g icing sugar sifted - and any food coloring to make diff colors - beat egg white and lemon juice together and then slowly add the icing sugar a little bit at a time. Whisk until you get stiff peaks and add coloring to get your desired color.

A few tips:

  • Keep a close eye on these when they are in the oven as they can immediately turn very brown (and burn!)
  • Mix them only briefly with the mixer then use your hands to ply into a big ball of dough - the recipe I had didn't tell me that so I kept mixing them hoping the crumbly mixture would turn into dough -which it didn't
Share and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Turkey day!

Yesterday was Canadian Thanksgiving and to celebrate here in Blighty I defrosted a big bird and cooked up some traditional grub for my favourite people. A few of my favourites were in Australia/Canada so it wasn't the usual gang tucking into the turkey. J-Lo said she would come early to learn how to cook a little more (she just mastered the boiled egg- and is having a child so needs a few more lessons!) but she turned up after her 'nap' just in time for the meal to be served; I think she knows my sister as they have the same impeccable timing. The Burger and Mr. F came along with cake in hand. It was a yummy cheesecake that although I shouldn't eat cheese, I did anyway as it was that delicious. Mr. F took some of these great photos and he is the designated cupcake photographer from now on. I am hoping to use some of his photos on the new site.
The Parisian sickies came and were not eating as much as usual just in case the gastric flu hit them again but they brought some French Madelines from Paris, some lovely garlic-infused olive oil from Siciliy and their lovely warmth and grace (yes, they have been traveling for weeks!).
There was the usual turkey, stuffing and lots of root vegetables roasted (potato, sweet potato and carrots) and some lovely vino to accompany it all and some OJ for Miss Prego!
We did the traditional - round the table - what are you thankful for question and the usuals came up - thankful for great food, friends, famliy our health and happiness. Very corny and someone shed a tear (we won't name names) but it is just what thanksgiving is all about; being thankful for all of the luck and fortune that you have been given. All of us around the table have been truly lucky and blessed in our lives. Ok, enough sap! It was a lovely evening and I love hosting the annual turkey day - gobble, gobble! Hugs and love to my family in Canada - from what I heard, I think they were stuffed turkeys too yesterday!
The oh so yummy cheesecake.
The turkey heart-which no one ate!

Monday, October 12, 2009

New biz-ness cards
Step right up and place your orders people. I have a few orders for this Friday so will be a busy baker on Thursday. My lovely Kitchen-Aid mixer arrived which will make this batch much easier than the last one. For Dee's wedding cake (200 cupcakes) I did it all by hand! Thanks to il Paolo di Milano from PMMB Design for making the cards.

So pass this link on to anyone you think may need a little sweetness in their life!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Coffee poison[On learning that coffee was considered a slow poison]
I think it must be so, for I have been drinking it for sixty-five years and I am not dead yet.

Voltaire (1694-1778)

HAPPY THANKSGIVING - my big bird is currently cooking!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Frosting funHow to keep kids entertained for hours you ask? Make a large batch of vanilla frosting, let them loose with some food coloring and have them make different shades for your cupcakes. The boys loved the frosting afternoon we had, Momma Dolce not so much, she is a Virgo and didn't like the mess.

We ran out of butter and had to use margarine which made everything a bit runnier but it still tasted good, although not just right. I was stubborn and pretended it was fine when my sister turned her nose up at it, but she was right (I hate when that happens!).

Well at least we had fun but no one wanted to eat the green cupcakes, note to self for Christmas cupcake making.
PM and his stained finger tips and favourite blue frosting.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Turkey Day, two more sleepsMy frozen bird is going to be removed from the tiny freezer tomorrow afternoon to be defrosted for the big roasting on Sunday. It is Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend - I hope the sun shines on us for a nice autumnal feast.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

World's largest cupcakeI've got two orders for cupcakes! But none will be as big as this one I'm afraid. This one was made to beat the last Guiness world record. It is a whopping 1,316 pound sweetie!
It was made in Boca Raton, Florida and was made for Think Pink Rocks - a breast cancer fundraiser. Mmmm....I wonder if it tastes any good and how they actually put it together?

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

How to woo a man? Well apparently this is how the Burger does it.

Or as someone on television said last night - What the fork is it?
She made this romantic dinner for her boyfriend the Big F. He was a bit shocked so took a picture to send to me to ask me to decipher what it was? I thought it was mashed potato with ketchup and some re-fried Mexican beans with two sorry cherry tomatoes. But in fact, it is fish and baked beans!

I think there should be a rule that you cannot eat baked beans after lunch time. They can be eaten as beans on toast in the morning and then maybe as at lunch with a jacket potato (baked potato) but then the can stays in the cupboard! They are not meant to be on any dish to impress a man.

Burger we expect a better showing next time my dear!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The famous Orange Cookies

My Zia Chuza makes these and they are a hit, they are so lovely, I have been having one a day since I left the sunny shores of Toronto. Yum!

1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 cup of milk
3 eggs
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup Crisco shortening (made with vegetable oil)
5 Tsp. baking powder
3 1/2 - 4 cups all purpose flour

Mix Crisco and sugar together with a fork
Add 1 egg at a time and continue beating
Add milk, orange juice and baking powder
Blend until smooth
Take one teaspoon of dough and roll into icing sugar. Press 1/2 a piece almond or colour candied sugar (green or red) on each cookie
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes
Broil for a few minutes until golden brown

Makes about 36 cookies.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Matt Groening quote:Groundskeeper Willie: Get yer haggis right here! Chopped heart and lungs, boiled in a wee sheep's stomach! Tastes as good as it sounds!

The Simpsons, TV cartoon series.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Filo pizza base - a must trySimple tomato pizza using a filo pasty crust takes a twist on regular pizza and makes it super light and delicious. Tami the teacher came up with this and it was a hit at little M's bday party. The tomatoes were fresh from the garden and all they had on them was salt, pepper, oregano and a drizzling of oil. It was a lovely snack before lunch and the freshness of the tomatoes and the light filo pastry were divine.
The birthday boy in his jumpy castle!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Recipe of the day -Sanguinaccio Dolce (sweet blood -hmm...sound familiar?)

I was looking through my Sicilian cookbooks and found this chestnut! I loved the title of the recipe but the main ingredient is not too appealing, but hey I guess someone in Sicily eats this as it is in a cookbook.

  • 1 Litro di sangue di maiale (1 litre of pig's blood)
  • 200 grammi di granella di mandorle tostate (200 grams of ground up almonds)
  • 500 grammi di zucchero (500 grams of sugar)
  • 200 grammi di cioccolato fondente (200 grams of chocolate)
  • 100 grammi di zuccata a pezzettini (100 grams of candied pumpkin)
Mix the fresh blood energetically and then pass it through a sieve, add sugar and simmer it over a low flame, when it gets creamy, add the pumpkin, turn the heat off and let it sit to cool.

Once cool add the almonds, sugar and chocolate and serve it cold .......yum, yum.

I actually feel a bit queasy, luckily this book doesn't have a photograph. Please email me if you have ever had this delicacy.