Thursday, May 28, 2009

All that and a cupcake

What's better than a cupcake?
A mini cupcake!
I like bite of a petite feur, they're just a hint of yummy cakey dessert. I like them when they are particularly rich or chocolatey, as normally it's too much for me to want a whole piece of cake or cupcake but just one bite? Heaven.
I've had the idea to make these for ages, but no mini muffin pan. Tonight, I finally got around to making minicakes as a practice run for a family tea we're having on the weekend. I got me out today to buy a nice commercial grade baking pan from Chicago steel (courtesy of Peppers, the keepers of all good things)- here's my little speech of the day: never chimp on bakeware. People go on and on about Wilson's or Baker's Secret if you're feeling a bit posh, but really even they only last about a year or so and then the finish starts to go and they aren't non-stick...and the pro bakeware is solid metal, conducts heat evenly, cleans up very well (no finish to worry about scratching) and lasts forever. They're non-stick as long as you keep them very clean and spray with cook spray...I like to use muffin papers anyways, so it's perfect for me...

Back to the cakes. Yes...yummy cakes.

I found a good rich cake recipe at my brother's place a while back I've been itching to try, so I made this up. It makes a 9 X 13 cake...this is enough for 6 dozen minicupcakes. It's nice and moist from the bananas and is chocolatey and rich without being too sweet.

Chocolate Banana Cake

In a mixing bowl combine:

2/3 milk with 1T vinegar added - let sit 5 min
3/4 c softened margarine
1 2/3 c sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 c mashed bananas (I pureed mine with a blender)
1 t vanilla
Mix until combined

Sift together into wet:
2 c flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
3/4 c cocoa
For the cake, bake at 350 for 40-45 min. For the minicakes, put about 1 T batter in each paper in a sprayed muffin pan, so the paper is about 3/4 full. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the they bounce back when tapped.
Cook a few minutes on a rack and eat. I'm going to ice them up for the tea. For now, they'll go in my belly as is....and they are just delicious as is!

Wahoo! I've got cakes for both J and I to take to work and still have a few to nibble on here...:) I've got 66! I mean 64....:)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Geo's Pasta Salad

When I was little I didn't like pasta was usually just overcooked macaroni with some cheese and celery thrown in and some mayo. My Mum (who is an awesome baker) is not the queen of spices and likes simple food. I found it to be just too boring to make on my own - I did not like her pasta salad.

Now? I like pasta salad. I've tweaked a version of it, with a greek flavour. Last night I made some for our lunches today and threw in some chic peas for the first time - definitely a good addition. I just finished eating it and I'm still tasting the yumminess on my tongue - so I thought I'd post the recipe quick. It makes enough for 4, as a stand alone meal.
The amounts below are estimates...I usually end up with far more veggies than pasta.

2-3 c cooked whole wheat pasta (I usually use rotini or penne)
1/2 c cucumber cut up into 5mm square pieces
1/4 c carrots sliced up
1/3 c celery cut up into 5mm square pieces
1 roma tomato diced up
4 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 c feta cheese crumbled
1/2 c both red & green pepper cut up into 5mm square pieces
1/3 c red onion cut up into 5mm square pieces
1/4 cup diced fresh parsley
1 c cooked and rinsed chic peas (I just use canned ones)

For dressing: 1/2 c low fat greek style oil/vinegar herb dressing, 1/2 c fat free sour cream, dash of cayenne, 1/2 t garlic, 1 t oregano, 1 T lemon juice, 1/2 T fresh black pepper (or more to taste).
Mix it all up and let sit a few minutes before you eat. It's even better the next is a picnic favourite of mine. Tossing olives or parmesan into this is always a good thing too. Usually it's whatever veggies are around, but if I have all these it's a bonus. I'm trying to find a way to get less oil int he dressing to be a bit healthier, but for now...pastaliciousness.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


I am on a bit of a Swiss chard kick these days. Last night I steamed chard in white wine with parsley, sage, pepper, garlic and onions. I served it with rice - partially cooked in white wine - and chicken seasoned with pepper, sage and rosemary. Excellent meal. Tonight, I am steaming chard in beer to see what difference it makes.

Update: the slightly sour taste that the wine lends to the dish (a good thing, believe me) is absent when cooked with beer (I used an amber ale) but still excellent.

- Magnus