Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Biscotti Buono

Toasting my pistachios
My first time making biscotti, but the job was very simple and rewarding.  You can make biscotti with the traditional slivered almonds or really anything you have around.  Add lemon, lime or orange zest for a flavor addition, use raisins, chocolate chips, walnuts....you get the idea.  But any nut you use for the biscotti make sure you toast them before using.

Mix together flour, sugar and baking powder
Mix in eggs and vanilla and later your additions, here I am using pistachios and dried cranberries
Form dough into long, flat topped logs....this is before baking
First bake for about 20 minutes then take the biscotti logs out of the oven and cool for about 20 minutes
Slice your cooled logs into thin pieces (on the diagonal for pretty biscotti, which I failed to do here)
Bake your pieces for another 15 minutes flipping biscotti halfway through baking.....serve with a tea or coffee

Monday, February 6, 2012

Hello Snow

Well, we had our first snow in England this past weekend.  It was pretty, but the next day it melted and I was okay with that.  Our dog had never seen snow in her life and she absolutely loved playing outside in it.  While I appreciate the change of seasons....I still miss my 80 degrees F in January.

Sheep outside our house

Birds actually eat these berries...whatever they are
View of sheep from our backyard
Our dog Luna's presents in the snow....her paw prints and a bit of yellow snow!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Oxford Introduction

We took a day trip to the neighboring city of Oxford.  But this would be the first of many trips.  It was extremely cold on this day and we took our dog with us, so we didn't see a lot of the city, but I got the flavor.  Oxford is lovely as it still keeps it village like charms, but it is a proper city rather then a tiny village, but it is not so big that it is overwhelming like London.  As the good season slowly but surely approaches I will have more posts from excursions here.  

A bit macabre, but the small cemetery with ornately scripted, obviously old headstones was enchanting

McDonalds here and the ones I saw in France are quite understated as they are required to blend in, note the dark green color as opposed to the bright red normally used on signage

We happened upon a covered farmers market type area....we stopped and had some lunch here

The game here was obviously fresh, I had never seen the birds displayed like this before

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Chocolate Goodness

Ahhhh....learning the metric kitchen....butter is also sold in grams here

 So I have finally gotten around to cooking things other then my usual stand-bys and thus am taking photos for my blog again....all in my new Anglo-Saxon kitchen!  This dessert is from the Barefoot Contessa and was very rich, like a cross between a brownie and pudding.  Fairly easy and the results taste like you put more effort into it.

I am consistently impressed by the quality, taste and freshness of the eggs in England.
One big reason cooking is starting off slowly...I had to purchase all new pots and pans for my induction cooktop....it is fancy, heats very quickly and easy to clean, but I still prefer good old gas.  Also I miss my old pots....just like old friends I left behind in California....sad.
But I still have these friends with me!  I love reading books on my iPad, but will never give up my real cookbooks for digital ones.
Sift your cocoa powder and flour as your 1/2 pound of butter melts on the stove....I wondered if this should have been a Paula Deen recipe when I saw the butter content.

Beat your four eggs and sugar together....alas another kitchen item I am living without now, my KitchenAid since I need a voltage converter to run it here, or I could purchase a new one for the equivalent of like $600!  Hint to companies that sell products globally....make them dual voltage!
After beating the eggs and sugar for like 7 minutes....mixture needs to be very thick.
Yes these old friends made it to England....this dessert calls for a bit of Chambord if you are wondering what alcohol has to do with this.... 
Chambord is optional, but not to me as well you need seeds scraped from a vanilla bean....but I cheated and just used the extract as I couldn't be bothered to go shopping for this ingredient on a Sunday night.

You must prepare a hot water bath for your prepared dish to bake in
How the mixture had to bake in the oven in its hot water bath
Final result....crispy shell with molten chocolate inside....yum
Don't forget to serve this with vanilla ice cream!