Thursday, December 31, 2015

My newest book coming soon!

I am thrilled to shout to the world my newest book will be out very soon. This one had some serious bumps in the process of getting from done to finished. Here is the cover which keeps making me smile. I'll let everyone know the release date as soon as I do.

                                                                All my best!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Snow and a tiramisu recipe...

 We got SNOW!!! They had talked about it coming on Christmas, but no such luck. Still, in some ways this was even better. Right when the after Christmas blues were about to hit, a snowball did instead. Yes, LOTS of snowballs. We had a good, finger freezing, rosy cheeked blasting, snowball frenzy. It was lovely. We played in the day and then by evening when we thought the best of the snow was over it started up again, this time even bigger flakes. The kids headed outside once more and built a snowman by the yellow glow of the street lights.

Thank you mini snowstorm, we miss you already!

Now for that tiramisu recipe: I have made tiramisu for years; this way and that way, with more ingredients and less. Sometimes using Kahlua sometimes with no alcohol at all. But this year I had an idea about using eggs which I usually omit. I don't mind raw egg too much, but when we don't have our own chickens to get them from I am more wary. So, what I did was make a custard instead. I am not a good judge when it comes to traditional tiramisu because I don't know if I've ever had a truly traditional tiramisu. Most restaurants that sell tiramisu bring out something tasty but much sweeter than I can handle. Even this recipe is a little too sweet for me, but a far cry from what sugar load it could have. Sweet or not, it came out wonderfully, and I watched as in disappeared quickly from the refrigerator, nobody really fessing up as the one who gobbled the last slices.

Tiramisu Recipe

In a saucepan whisk until very smooth:
5 egg yolks
1 cup milk
2/3 cup white sugar

Put the sauce pan over medium heat and stir constantly until thick 
about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Once the custard is cool add and whisk until smooth:
8 ounces mascarpone cheese

Brew 2 cups very dark coffee and dissolve 1 tablespoon of sugar into it. 
Let cool entirely then add:
1 tablespoon whiskey

Whip 4 cups heavy cream until stiff then add:
1 tablespoon whiskey
1 teaspoon vanilla

Refrigerate until ready to use.

Grate 2 cups worth of bittersweet chocolate and set aside.

Take out about 36 ladyfingers. Dip each one in the cold coffee and place into a 9"x11" baking dish. Continue until the entire bottom is lined. Now spread half of the custard over the ladyfingers, then half of the unsweetened whipped cream. Sprinkle half of the grated chocolate and then repeat making a layer of dipped lady fingers, custard, whipped cream and then chocolate. Cover and refrigerate for several hours. I noticed the next day the tiramisu had aged into the perfect consistency, so if you have more ability to plan ahead then I do, make it a day in advanced.

                                                               Cheers to Everyone ~


Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas Feasting...

From late-night cookie parties to Christmas Eve and Christmas day feasts, this was one of the most food laden holidays I can remember. And that's not even including last month's Thanksgiving extravaganza. 

To start I made shortbread and thumbprint cookies. I think shortbread might be one of my favorite cookies of all. They always make me think of my mom because years ago she and I got on a shortbread kick buying the traditional English, quite expensive, shortbread cookies to have with tea every day. Eeks, I miss living near my mom!
Peppermint hot chocolate before opening presents. This was my token of compensation 
to the kids for having to wait until everyone was up... 
 Several decadent breakfasts...

 My first attempt at anti pasto to kick off our Italian inspired Christmas dinner...
 Stuffed onions that our friends came over and made with anise biscuits in the filling...
 Focaccia bread to appease my fifteen-year-old who will eat ANYTHING 
except risotto which was the main course of our Christmas dinner.
Ending with tiramisu, I hope to post the recipe soon...
 All in all, so much good food and good people to celebrate with. 
Missing our faraway clan of family and friends!
Hope you all had a wonderful holiday!
                                                              Cheers ~

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Happy Holidays Everyone!

                                                        Cheers ~

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

December December, tea time and soon a break...

Blink, is it gone yet? No, but that's how December is feeling. School is out, I've closed the pie truck for a week and now I'm ready for a calm. But wait, first a tea party. Last year my daughter and I held an afternoon tea for her friends and their mamas just before Christmas. I'm sure I have stated elsewhere in this blog—probably too many times—how much I love tea and baking. Somehow when you add those two together it's hard to get anything but tea party.

                                  Hope everyone is going to get a bit of rest!

                                                          Cheers ~

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Making Stockings from Sweaters and Curly Willow Love...

Ooo, the holidays are so close. I like this part best—the before time. My house smells so wonderful right now. Between the Christmas tree and cinnamon essential oil I've been heating over a candle, it literally smells like Christmas.
I like the cold weather and the cozy feeling of preparing. I bought some curly willow cuttings that have added a burst of festivity to the room. I wonder how long they can live indoors. The lady at the floral shop where I found them said to plant them come spring, but I would love to keep a potted curly willow in my house.

Lately I've been working on making stockings from sweaters. I have only completed one, but a second is near the finish line. My goal is to make five. Imagine one stocking for each person in the family? All the same size with the same essence? Somehow, my youngest never got a stocking made for him, this year I plan to remedy that. Our first born was lucky enough to have great aunts who knitted a stocking with his name and snowman to boot. I made our daughter one, though it didn't come out how I envisioned. Each year I intend to fix this imbalance, but it's taken until now to make it happen. Oh well, that's the way things go...

Hope everyone is having fun preparing for the celebrations to come. 
                              Cheers ~