Shabby Miss Jenn

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Chocolate and Red Berry Pavlovas

 Anyone remember that song by Strauss, that was used for Space Odyssey 2001?

Dahn... dahn... dahn... DAHN DAHN!!

I apologize for the huge font. But any who, this is the most fitting music for my seemingly "post-comatose awakening". I was put to shame when I read my own description of this site... it said I was regularly blogging again... I'm sorry, clap me in irons?

In my defense, I do have a defense: school. And that's all I'll say. Worst school year of my life. And I'll have you know I did actually do some other cooking that didn't appear on this site! Pumpkin donuts, Japanese Christmas cake, cinnamon-sugar cookies, custard crostata.... I have most certainly been baking, just never got around to slapping the pictures up here.

Custard Crostata

Pumpkin Spice Donuts

Cinnamon-sugar cookies

 Nevertheless, on the topic of school, my 'Hospitality' exam is coming up. And it's pretty disgusting stuff guys. Starter: Sweetcorn pancakes with chakalaka relish... apparently South African. Main: Fish Pie... 'nuff said. It's pretty bad, but as they say every cloud has a silver lining, in this case the dessert. Pavlovas. Easy, pretty and delish. It's a nice little gift from the SQA (Super Quokka Aliens)...(better known as the Scottish Qualifications Authority).

Practiced last Saturday for my exam, and these babies just made my night! They turned out perfectly, crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside. And the combination of red berries mixed with icing sugar on the top, cream and chocolate was just wonderful.

So without further ado, here is the wonderful recipe!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pecan Pie vs. Pumpkin Pie

Pie. Even the word makes me think of that warm tingle you get from your first bite, wiggling your bare toes in front of the fire, winter holidays and, subsequently, snow. Scotland has never really been known to get much snow over the winter months... it  usually receives the normal weather that we get all year round, primarily: rain, rain... and oh yeah, more rain. Maybe a little flurry sometime in April (yeah, the weather has a mind of its own over here, and doesn't much care for the seasonal weather deal) but thats about it. Last year came as a surprise though, when we got lots and lots of snow around mid December... that lasted till about mid February or so. It was crazy. So you can guess how surprised Scotland has been to get caught in a blizzard on the 26th of November. And it's still snowing. Heavily. Love it!

Anyways... what was I talking about? Oh yeah, pie! Thanksgiving was lovely. We had friends over to celebrate and ate lot's of delicious foods. Including pie. Now... I could go on about how guilty and sad I feel after not spending the day properly thinking about the history surrounding Thanksgiving... or thanking God for all He's done in my life... but I will spare you that. This isn't a diary blog. So I'll just talk about the pie. :)

In my opinion, in the Pecan vs. Pumpkin fight, Pumpkin is the clear winner. Don't get me wrong, I love Pecan, I love pie. But it's waaaaaay sweeter than Pumpkin. And there's just something about the latter's flavour that's just... just... inexplicable. However... in an attempt to avoid being biased... I'll give you the recipe for both.

The thing I love about these pies is you can make them for Christmas too! So I'll be having my beloved Pumpkin Pie again come December. Well, enjoy, and do try not to eat too much! :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Apple, Pear and Plum Crumble

The colder and darker it gets, the more I feel the urge to bake soul-warming, comforting desserts like delicious pumpkin pies and sweet potato casseroles... with coffee on the side. Not to fear... Thanksgiving is almost here! Haha, did you like that? I'm in an interesting mood right now... and it's a bit late. In case you couldn't tell. Well, until Thanksgiving comes and goes, I'll have to be satisfied with baking "mediocre" desserts like this Apple, Pear and Plum Crumble... not.

This was soooooo good! I borrowed the basic recipe from Elissa, and tweaked it to my liking and included seasonal fruits. (Special Brownie Points for the person who counts how many times I've said "seasonal" this autumn.) But seriously. This baby took crumbles to a completely different level. The oaty cream cheese topping has to be one of the best parts about this.

Anywho, without further ado, here is the recipe. Once again I apologise for the atrocious quality of my pictures.... but my photographer has cruelly abandoned me to pursue other worldly adventures. Namely university. And something else perhaps? I think she knows what I'm talking about anyways. :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Autumn Spice Cake

Whew... sorry for the long pause guys! I actually wrote this post a few weeks ago, but had to get the (very low quality) pictures off my camera, and sort of forgot about it! Once again, I apologize. On the note of Daring Baker Challenges, I've decided to skip the July and August challenges as they are both primarily made of ice cream... and it is currently below freezing here in Bonnie Scotland. I'm a bit late still... but the October challenge will be coming soon, don't you worry. Well, just enjoy the post that was meant to be posted a few weeks ago for now:

Ahhhhh. It's finally October break for those of us who still attend that unfortunate place known as "school". What does this mean? It means a wonderful week of frolicking amongst the leaves beneath a cloudy autumn sky, wrapping up in scarves and soft sweaters, reading old classics with a warm cuppa, and baking delightful seasonal goodies like autumn spice cake.

I wish.

Being a senior pupil in high school, sadly means that our teachers have the right to steal these enjoyable, relaxing times from us by giving us perposterous amounts of homework in preparation for tests, and forcing us to attend 'Oliver!' rehearsals early in the morning. Oh wait, I signed up for that. Didn't sign up for any homework though.

But, if you know anything of my character, you should know that I always find plenty of time for relaxing and savoring enjoyable moments, and find it more difficult to allocate time for working. Rather, I attempt to ignore it. Thus, this cake was a result of me trying to find something other than homework to spend an afternoon doing.

Pretty good choice actually. A delicious choice. This cake is moist and not too sweet, so when paired with a sweeter icing it creates a wonderful balance of sugar and spice! And all things nice. Which doesn't include homework. I love the orange icing, which gives it a pretty and seasonal finish to the cake.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

DB: Mini Chocolate Orange Pavlovas

If you ever want a fancy, dinner-party suitable dessert... I would definitely recommend pavlovas. They just look so sophisticated and beautiful, honestly, your guests will think they're in a Michelin star restaurant!

I chose to make chocolate orange pavlovas because of Terry's chocolate oranges. I love them, and adore my parents when I find one of those in stocking on Christmas Day. Speaking of which it's only 79 days till Christmas folks! Excited? Or am I thinking too far ahead... sorry.

The pavlova is made up of three parts: the meringue, the mousse and the cream. And though it may seem like a lot to make and too confusing, the recipes are very simple... and, as the meringue takes 2-3 hours to bake, you can simply make the other recipes while waiting. You would need to start with the creme anglaise, a component of the cream, as it needs to be refrigerated, unless of course you were more organised than I and wanted to make it the night before.

Just so you know where I am with these challenges, this was the June Daring Bakers' challenge. Find the recipe below and get baking!