Mini Donuts: 100 Bite-Sized Donut Recipes to Sweeten Your "Hole" Day by Jessica Segarra {bookreview}

I love donuts! I love them fried or bake, sugar or chocolate coated, sprinkled or glazed, I love them pretty much anyway. So, when I was lazily looking around Amazon the other day (the only place I can really get these fun American sweet cookbooks) and this title popped up I bought it without a second thought. I even bought it over any one of the titles on my long wish list. Sometimes you just gotta have it!!

I don’t have a donut maker, but I have a donut pan. The recipes give instructions for both. Some of the recipes do need to be fried, but that shouldn't be a problem either if you have a stove! After making Vanilla Bean Baby Doughnuts with my pan I have been meaning to make more, now that I have this book I have no excuse. Nor am I short of ideas!

Normally I would list all the recipes that are a must try and to be honest I don’t even know where I am going to start with these!! The chapters are: The Classics; Chocolate; Fruity; Donuts of the Stars; Bakery Specials; Candy-Aisle Donuts; Drinks to Donuts; For the Kid in You. This is an American cookbook so first its in cups, ounces, and sticks (of butter) and second there are a few ingredients that aren't easy to find locally. Even though they might not be sourced locally there are a lot of online American grocery stores to source from.

Jessica Segarra author and creator of The Novice Chef blog

Herby Sausage & Apple Stuffing! Thanksgiving and book review

Since we were able to have family over for Thanksgiving this year, because we had it on Saturday, I went all out!!

The menu:
Creamy Onion & Garlic Soup (New Covent Garden: All Seasons cookbook)
Roast Turkey with Scarborough Fair Butter
Herby Sausage & Apple Stuffing
Perfect Roast Potatoes
Saut├ęd Brussels Sprouts
Green Bean Casserole

Gravy and cranberry sauce
Super-Pumpkiny Pumpkin Pie (Flour by Joanne Chang)

Packed up Thanksgiving Dinner for my father-in-law.
4 out 8 of the recipes I used above I took from Leon book 4: Family & Friends! I've never been to a Leon restaurant, but I have book 2 and loved it so when I had this one land on my doorstep last week I couldn't wait to tuck in! Leon is all about food that tastes good and does you good. 
The book is divided into 3 sections: Today: what you make today; Tomorrow: what you’re planning on having tomorrow; Yesterday: food/meals of memory and events. In “Tomorrow” there is a whole section dedicated to Christmas & Boxing Day. Which is about the same stuff I eat for Thanksgiving! It was perfect! The book offers so much more, it is full of classic and adventurous recipes for all levels of cooks! Everything recipe I tried this weekend was exceptional and yummy!!  

I will say up front that I didn't take a lot of pictures. It was a busy day and I was living in the moment. Something Leon is all about. Enjoying food with Friends & Family!! It was a great dinner shared with my little family and my brother-in-law and his girlfriend. She loved the Herby Sausage & Apple Stuffing so much I thought I would share it with you and her as she asked for the recipe! I added a few notes on what I changed or did slightly different!

all that was left!
Herby Sausage & Apple Stuffing:

1 tbsp olive oil
400g gluten-free sausage meat (I used Bramley Apple and Pork Sausages)
the turkey liver, chopped (optional)
1 onion, chopped
2 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
125g cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped (I didn't use them because I don’t like chestnuts) 
125g gluten-free breadcrumbs (I used a bit more breadcrumbs as I left out the chestnuts)
8 small fresh sage leaves, chopped
8 sprigs of fresh thyme, leave picked
a pinch of ground allspice
125ml good cider
50ml water
salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the sausage meat until cooked. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. If there is a lot of fat left in the pan, drain some off.
  2. If using, add the turkey liver to the pan and fry until cooked. (I soaked mine in milk while I was prepping other things) Remove and set aside. Add the onions and apple to the pan and fry until slightly soft.
  3. Put everything into a large bowl and mix together thoroughly, adding the cider and water. Drink the rest of the cider while greasing an ovenproof dish. Spoon the stuffing into the dish and pop into a preheated oven at 190C/375F/gas5 for 30-35 minutes, or until crispy on top.
The whole meal was a big hit and I can’t wait to make some of these recipes a part of my Thanksgiving in the UK tradition!

Leon: Family & Friends by Kay Plunkett-Hogge & John Vincent: Amazon UK, The Book People, Octopus Publishing

Super-Pumpkiny Pumpkin Pie

I moved my Thanksgiving dinner to Saturday (today) instead of Thursday, because in the past having a big meal that late at night was uncomfortable. It also means family and friends are more easily able to join us!

Surprisingly I have never made a pumpkin pie myself. I have eaten a lot of pumpkin pies in my years I have loved them since I was a kid and never understood why we didn't eat them all year long! When thinking of what recipe to use I didn't even look at another book, as I remembered there was a recipe in Joanne Chang’s Flour. I know a few other books in my crazy obsessive collection that probably have perfectly acceptable recipes, but this one stood out in my memory.

The pie is super-pumpkiny and tasted amazing. It was the perfect smooth and creamy constancy that made me forget about any other pumpkin pie from my past! Might become my go-to pumpkin pie recipe! Enjoy! And Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!!

Super-Pumpkiny Pumpkin Pie

Pie Dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons milk

Equipment: 9-inch pie pan

Make the Pie Dough: In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, and salt and mix to combine. Add the butter and continue mixing until the mixture holds together when you clump it, and there are pecan-sized lumps of butter still visible.
Meanwhile, whisk together the yolks and milk in small bowl.
Add the yolk mixture to the flour mixture and mix until a dough forms. Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap, wrap well and store in the refrigerator for several hours. (The dough will keep for several days in the fridge and several weeks in the freezer.)

1 ½ cups canned pumpkin
½ cup brown sugar
2/3 cup heavy cream
7 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
6 ½ tablespoons evaporated milk
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch ground clove
Pinch salt
2 eggs
1 egg yolk

On a lightly floured work surface, roll half of the dough into a 11 to 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Line the pan with the dough and crimp the edges. Chill the pie shell for about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line the pie shell with aluminum foil and fill with dried beans. Bake the shell until golden brown, about 45 minutes. Remove the foil and beans.
Meanwhile, make the Filling: Lower the oven to 325 degrees F. In a medium saucepan, mix together the pumpkin and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until reduced and thick, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream, milks, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, salt, eggs, and yolk. Pour the filling into the pie shell and bake until set, about 45 to 55 minutes. Cool and serve

To Finish: I added  cinnamon and vanilla to whipping cream and whipped it up!! Topped our pumpkin pies! 

What I made last year: Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake
Joanna Chang’s Flour: Amazon US, Amazon UK, my first thoughts, my cousin’s book signing experience,
Note: Sorry the pictures aren't that good. It’s hard this time of year to get pictures in natural daylight. First it isn't light for long and second I live in England most of the time this time of year it’s cloudy! I have one slice of pie left that I am coveting until the morning to try to get a better picture! At least that’s what I've told everyone! ;0) 

Oatmeal Scotchies (butterscotch)

As I mentioned in my last post, winter is upon us. What that means for us residing in England is cold rain and gray cloudy skies. The only difference between winter and the other seasons is the “cold” part. Which doesn't improve it at all!!

Feeling the need to make the house warm and cozy I thought I’d make some cookies. I had some butterscotch Nestle Toll House morsels/chips hanging out in the cupboard. I thought, even though I know there are about a million dozen recipes online and in my books that could make good use out of these chips, that I’d just use the recipe on the back of the package.

Having Goggled “Oatmeal Scotchies” (after I made the cookies may I add) so many bloggers added clever things like coconut and stuff. Ah well, maybe next time. They were good just as is! Enjoy!
Oatmeal Scotchies
1 ¼ cups all purpose flour (plain flour)
1 tsp baking soda (baking powder)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks (228/230g) unsalted butter or margarine, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups quick or old-fashioned oats (rolled oats)
1 2/3 cups (11oz. pkg) Nestle Toll House Butterscotch flavored morsels

Pre-heat oven to 375F/190C
Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Beat butter, both sugars, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixer bowl. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in oats and morsels. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheets.
Bake for about 7-8 minutes for chewy cookies or 9-10 minutes for crisp cookies. Cool on baking sheets for 1-2 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

I wasn't lying above where I said they were good. Because they are good, but…

…I don’t know if it’s just me or not, but they are not as addictive as a good ol chocolate chip cookie. I think it was because the morsels/chips are butterscotch flavored, not actual butterscotch. In the UK there are so many rules about additives in food I think that after 7 ½ years I can really tell the difference.

Thanksgiving is tomorrow. I will be celebrating on Saturday with my little family and in-laws. I can’t wait to share with you what I make! I am not one of those bloggers who bakes/cooks a head of time to have posts up before the actual holiday or event. I do apologize for this if you find that annoying. ;0)

Last year I made Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake for dessert! It was good. This year I am going for a traditional pumpkin pie! Hope all my American friends, family, and followers have a great day of food, family, friends, and laughter! 

Bramble and Chocolate Bread!!

Winter is here! It makes me want to stay in a bake 24/7, if only I had the time! Skimming through my cookbooks looking for some good comfort food, I stumbled upon this recipe in Sue Lawrence’s A Cook’s Tour of Scotland.

It seemed interesting and having all the ingredients, except for the brambles (blackberries), it was decided! After a walk to the store I was all set! The house wasn't so warm so it took a little longer to rise then stated. The brambles burst in the oven and it oozed out of the top of the loaf. It was beautiful.

Bramble and Chocolate Bread

500g/1lb 2oz unbleached strong white flour, sifted
7g sachet of fast-action/easy-blend dried yeast
25g/1oz golden caster sugar
1 level tsp salt
2 tbsp sunflower oil
150g/5 ½ oz quality milk and/or dark chocolate, chopped
250g/9oz brambles (blackberries)

Mix together the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt; make a well in the center and slowly pour in the oil and enough tepid water (about 300ml/10fl oz/ ½ pint) to make a softish dough. (To have tepid water, mix two-thirds boiling water and one-third cold water.)
Using floured hands, bring the dough together and turn out on to a floured board then knead for 8-10 minutes, or until smooth. Keep the board lightly floured. The dough should be soft and shiny-looking but not too sticky. Place in an oiled bowl and cover with oiled clingfilm. Leave somewhere warm for 1-2 hours.
Lightly oil a baking sheet. Punch down the dough and roll out to a rectangle about 38 x 28cm/15 x 11 in. About the size of a baking sheet.
Scatter the chocolate and brambles over the long half then roll up along the long side to make a roly-poly about 38cm/15 in long.
Place this on the prepared baking sheet and cover loosely with oiled clingfilm then place somewhere warm. Leave to rise for about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 230C/450F/gas8. Remove the clingfilm, slash the top of the loaf five to six times and bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool until just warm before eating. Don’t want to burn yourself with hot melted chocolate!

Bipartisan Cake {apple crumb cake}

Hello. Last night I baked Bipartisan Cake (Apple Crumb Cake) from Baked in American by the David’s owners of Outsider Tart (London). Having already baked a several things from the book I won’t be sharing the recipe with you, but it’s yummy to look at!

I didn't just choose the Bipartisan Cake (pg 126) because of the apples (of course I did). I choose it because the David’s conceived the cake the week Barack Obama first took office 4 years ago. Obama has a thing for caramel apple cake apparently? It also evolved from an Alaskan recipe, where Sarah Palin is from. Hence why the cake is called Bipartisan (Bipartisanship involves trying to find common ground) Cake. Now that Obama has just had another victory I thought I’d make it and share it with friends, but unfortunately not with you…. unless you have the book. Sorry, I am mean like that. 
The cake is has a caramel apple filling mixed in a cinnamony cake batter, topped with lots of crumbs mixed with pecans (or walnuts your choice). I like this cake, it’s perfect with a cup of coffee or tea which ever your preference is! It also works as a dessert cake: top it with ice cream or cream (again depending on taste or culture preference), caramel drizzle or a simple glaze.

More from Baked in America:

Blackout Cake (recipe)
Are you convinced you need to own this book?? visit Amazon UK and Amazon USA

American History: Obama, Palin, bipartisan

Guy "Forks" Marshmallow Brownies!!

A few days ago I shared with you my thoughts of The Vintage Tea Party Year by Angel Adoree where I said I would be letting you know how I got on with the book.

If my first attempt says anything I know this book is going to be a great addition to my collection. There were a few things that made me decide on this particular recipe. 1. it was Guy Fawkes Night (aka bonfire night)  and 2. Brownies.

I mean really do I need to say more?? After reading the recipe I was very interested by the cinnamon. I love cinnamon. (I love a lot of things please bear with me!) Why have I never thought to add cinnamon to brownies?? I knew I couldn’t waste any time in trying these out.

I think I will be adding cinnamon to all my brownies from now on (not really). Seriously though they were very yummy. More of a ‘cakey’ brownie then a proper brownie, but I’m really not all that picky. Enjoy!!

Guy "Forks" Marshmallow Brownies 

200g (7oz) dark chocolate
250g (9oz) butter, cubed
250g (9oz) dark muscovado sugar
4 eggs
185g (6 ½ oz) plain flour, sifted
35g cocoa powder, sifted
¼ tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
150g (5 ½ oz) marshmallows, mini or chopped

Preheat oven 160C/fan140C/gas3. Line a 20cm (8in) square tin or brownie pan with baking paper.
Melt the chocolate (break it up) and butter together in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Allow to cool slightly.
Place the sugar, eggs, flour, cocoa powder, and cinnamon in a bowl. Add the chocolate mixture and mix until just combined. Fold in the marshmallows.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes until skewer comes out clean.
Allow to cool before cutting

Angel Adoree’s serving suggestion: Cut into 16 bite-sized pieces. Pierce a cocktail fork into the top of half of the bites and arrange in a checkerboard fashion.

I hope everyone has had a fun and safe bonfire night!! 

notes: My thoughts on The Vintage Tea Party Year! Brownie Quest: Definitely would make again! 

Chilli Corn Bread!! {bonfire night}

We've had a quiet bonfire night/weekend, but food has not been compromised! Yesterday I made really yummy easy quick chili from Nigella's Express. I needed something to accompany that chili and that's where the chili corn bread steps in! 

I found the recipe for the corn bread in the November issue of Delicious magazine. I didn't think that one finely chopped chilli would make any difference in flavor, but it's perfectly distributed through out the loaf. It was very good and a perfect accompaniment to chili, baked beans, tomato soup, and all sorts of different savory dishes! 
60g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
250g cornmeal or fine polenta, plus extra to dust
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
4 medium free-range eggs
300ml buttermilk
300ml whole milk
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

  1. Preheat the oven to 220C/fan200C/gas 7. Grease a 1 litre loaf tin with butter, then dust with the extra polenta.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients and make a well in the center.
  3. In another bowl, whisk the eggs with the buttermilk, milk, and butter (make sure the melted butter isn’t too hot when I added my chilled buttermilk and milk it solidified everything turned out okay but it was weird looking) then pour into the well in the dry ingredients and mix.
  4. Stir in the chilli, and then scoop into the tin.
  5. Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden and starting to come away from the sides of the tin. Serve warm and with butter!
Per-Serving (based on 10)
293kcals, 10.5fat (5.1g saturated), 9.8g protein, 40.9g carbs (3.1g sugars), 1.5g salt, 1.8g fibre

The Vintage Tea Party Year by Angel Adoree {book review}

With the party season upon us Angel Adoree’s The Vintage Tea Party Year is the perfect companion for any host/hostess! In the midst of planning my soon-to-be 5-year-old’s birthday party I realize I really enjoy the whole thought process and execution of parties. I devoured this book in one night and dreamt of all the events I can’t wait to celebrate! Armed with all the information in this book party planning will be a lot easier!

With 12 chapters, loosely based on the 12 months of the year, there are plenty of fun ideas to pick and choose from! In saying that it’s not the typical 12-month celebrations you might be familiar with. New Years and Christmas are of course present, but then it’s more based on events that warrant a party. Such as: Hen-Do’s, kids parties, picnics, street parties, Guy Fawkes Night and so on.

My favorite is the Gentlemen’s Tea Party. I so wish Mr. Knightley would let me arrange a tea party for him and his friends! Some how I think it won’t be happening, but that doesn't mean I won’t be using some of the delicious looking treats from this chapter!!

Not only is there a range of gorgeous sounding and looking food, but lots of tips to help your event go off with a bang! The hairstyles are a fun bonus as well. I would never succeed in doing the hair myself, but if I had a little help I might be able to pull it off!

As I write this I am listening to fireworks and I know I will be listening to them all night and weekend long! Guy Fawkes Night is one holiday I have come to love, having never celebrated it until I moved to the UK. It's just the first of many events that deserve to be recognized with a party, better yet a tea party!! Even though we are staying in this weekend it doesn't mean we will be skimping on the food and activities!

I haven’t decided what I will be making yet, but when I do you will be the first to know! What are you doing this weekend? Really I just want to know what you're eating?!? Doesn't matter if you made it yourself or someone else is making it for you! Have a fun and safe weekend! 

links: The Book PeopleOctopus Publishing GroupMy thoughts on Angel Adoree’s The Vintage Tea Party Book, be warned it has footnotes and I talk about my problem for the first time in a public space.