Saturday, February 14, 2009

Baked Bean Chili and Roasted Potatoes

I am aware how difficult it is to make beans look appetizing in a picture, so I made sure you could get a good glimpse of those deliciously crisp potatoes.
We're going away to England next week, so this was a meal of "use up all the stuff in the fridge so nothing will go off" necessity.

I made roasted potatoes and a beefed up version of American-style baked beans, and it was gorgeous. I got a thumps up from Cormac, my measure of delicious, so I thought I'd share it here-- in spite of the fact that the photo doesn't do the taste justice.

Baked Bean Chili

2 cans of beans (I used pinto and kidney, you can use anything you've got in the cupboard)
1/2 cup BEER (I used Guinness left over from my chocolate cakes!)
1/2 cup bbq sauce OR ketchup (I had bbq sauce so it was a bit zippy)
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup dijon mustard
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp Worchester sauce
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red pepper
3-4 tomatoes (I had vine tomatoes, medium sized)
2 strips of bacon
3 slices of ham (can you tell I was using up the contents of the fridge? Obviously, adjust this to suit yourself. I'd say a 1/2 lbs of bacon would be awesome, or a chuck of ham chopped up)

1. Cook up your ham/bacon in a large pot. Add garlic.
2. Remove from and lower heat, add your beer, molasses, ketchup/bbq, dijon, brown sugar, worchester sauce and stir well.
3. Return to heat, add chopped tomatoes and chopped red pepper. Add rinsed beans.
4. Let simmer on low heat for 30 minutes to 1 hour. The longer, the better-- but keep stirring so nothing sticks to your pot (or maybe you have such a nice non-stick pot that its none of your concern, but I don't, so be forewarned).

Roasted Potatoes in Bacon Fat
That left over bacon I used in the beans was left over from our Valentine's Day breakfast-- from which I saved the bacon grease. It was very little, and I'm sure if you replace that little bit with more olive oil these will turn out just fine.
4 potatoes
3 pinches of sea salt
several large glugs of olive oil
optional: approx 2 tbsp animal fat
polenta/corn meal

toss it all together on a pan, sprinkle potatoes with a tiny bit of polenta, cook 30-45 minutes at 180C (350F). Stir them around occasionally to keep them from sticking. If they are sticking too much, you need more oil.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine's Day

Red Velvet Cake made for promotion at my last LLL meeting. Red marshmallow fondant, decorated with royal icing. Vanilla buttercream filling. The cake went down great and I ever got an order from it!

Red Velvet Cake
3 ½ cups cake flour (you can use AP flour, minus 2 tbsp per cup + 1 tsp baking powder)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 ½ cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
6 tbsp red food coloring
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp cider vinegar (I've used regular vinegar without issue)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda


Preheat oven to 350°F. This recipe can make 2 8-9" round cakes or ~24 cupcakes.

1. Sift the cake flour.

2. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time.

3. In another bowl, whisk cocoa, red food colouring, and vanilla.
4. Add to creamed mixture.

5. Stir salt into buttermilk, add to your batter alternating with the flour.

6. Combine vinegar and baking soda and fold into your batter.

For cupcakes, bake about 20 minutes. For cakes, bake 30-40 minutes.

Cake Balls
adapted from Bakerella's Cake Balls

Red velvet cake crumbs (I used a whole 10" round cake)
8oz cream cheese
1 cup butter cream icing
(alternatively you can use one of those cans of premade cream cheese icing from the grocery store).

Mix together with your hands and refrigerate.

I melted a large bar of cadbury's milk chocolate in a double boiler, and used two spoons to cover my balls. I probably didn't use enough chocolate so they were sticking a lot. I don't like keeping extra chocolate in the house if you know what I mean!
The pink balls were melted strawberry chocolate chips from Ardkeen Food Stores.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Christening and Birthday Cake

The other cakes I made for this weekend. I had a great time making these first "for clients" cakes. These are also chocolate with buttercream filling, and covered in thick buttercream before I placed the fondant over them. I'm a little sad my fondant dried out on the christening cake-- it just took so long to roll out!

Christening Cake

Birthday Cake

Time to deliver!

Friday, February 6, 2009

First Birthday Cake for Ruben

This is the first "1st Birthday" cake I've made, and sold today. I desperately undercharged after I thought about my ingredients and the time I put into the cake, but that's alright. I knew the customer and it was great practice with the fondant. Now I know why most cake decorators buy the crappy tasting stuff. Oh well- I'd rather be proud of the work and the taste.

This is a moist chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream filling, covered in buttercream and fondant. It's the same cake I'm making today and tomorrow for a Christening which I'll post by tomorrow.

Again, I apologize for the quality of the photos. I blame it on lack of natural light this dim winter! I'm mostly annoyed that the light/flash bounces off any of the moist bits- those decorations don't actually appear so wet. The letters on this one were probably a tad too big. I wasn't completely happy with the text. I want to get some letter punches, but sometimes the bubble letters turn out great (see the 'Breda' cake). The customer was delighted, though, so that's all that matters!

I should also announce that I recently won the theme contest on the BakeBakeBake community on Livejournal for my LLL cake. Not so much the decoration but the cake/recipe. I won 2 months paid LJ account :)

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