Gastronomy and Life's Other Pleasures

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Posts tagged bread

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Weekend baking project: one hour (ish) bread

Making bread is a rare thing in my house. Well, any yeasted bread-type recipe really! (Save for my quick rising pizza dough recipe). Most days I just don’t have the time to wait for the dough to rise multiple times. Its not that I don’t have the patience (because I do), it is more the waiting and timing and scheduling of the rising of the dough. I like to enjoy my weekends, people! 

So when I came across this recipe for a supposedly “one hour” bread, I was intrigued. Could a tasty, good quality loaf of bread really be made in about an hour? I decided to find out for myself.

After assembling all of my ingredients, I got to work. I decided to make this manually (i.e., to not use my stand mixer) for my first try, but I would definitely use the mixer next time. Kneading is tiring for the arms! The dough came together fairly easily and quickly, then it was time to rest for a mere 30 minutes in a warm spot.

After a mere 25 minutes in the oven, I had bread! We waited as long as we could to let it cool before cutting into it, which was tough! This is definitely a dense bread, with an excellent crisp crust. We thought it was great for such little effort and rise time.

You can click here to see the recipe, which I found on the funny Cravings of a Lunatic blog.I followed the recipe and the directions as best as I could, with the only difference being that I added about a tablespoon of olive oil to the liquid mixture before adding in the flour. I believe the key to what enables you to make this bread so quickly is the instant/quick-rise yeast (I used Fleischmann’s). This yeast basically eliminates the need for the first rise according to Fleischmann’s website, which makes sense in terms of how quickly this bread comes together in this recipe.

I would definitely make this again! We gobbled ours up within a few days and it stayed fairly fresh after the first day, which was good. It was also nice toasted when we ate it with some homemade soup. If you’ve ever wanted a quick bread recipe, look no further!

Filed under food bread baking bake recipe cook cooking crumb crust breakfast lunch dinner blog Cravings of a Lunatic one-hour one-hour bread yeast rise Fleischmann's

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Lunch and treats at Holland’s Cake and Shake

I get so pumped when a new shop or restaurant opens close to my work because it means that I can get out at lunch time for some adventures and try some new things while I’m at it! This was just the case with Holland’s Cake and Shake, which I patiently watched and followed on social media since the spring when they first started getting the shop ready for opening day.

They finally opened their doors on July 15 of this year, and I was there within a few days! Owned by Chef Michael Holland, known for his work as the pastry chef at Ottawa’s popular Atelier, the shop offers a selection of mini cakes, tarts, muffins, scones, cookies, in-house made soft serve ice cream, milkshakes (including the cake shake: take one of the mini cakes and blend it with soft serve and milk), sundaes and sandwiches. But don’t let your eyes glaze over: these are not your average desserts. Chef Michael Holland’s specialty is to be quirky and playful. An example of one of the crazy cake flavours featured in the shop so far is the orange Kool-Aid cake with Red Bull pastry cream, lemon icing, streusal and raspberries (see here).

I have tried a few of the treats from the shop (a future post), but today I wanted to tell you about their lunch special. Each week, the shop offers two different sandwiches two times a week (Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday to Saturday), which can be purchased alone or bundled into a brown bag lunch combo by including a drink and your choice of a cookie or a brownie for $8.50. So far, the sandwiches have all looked so amazing, and all have been served on in-house made bread. WOW! I have only tried one sandwich so far, but it was so great: simple, fresh ingredients that made for a delicious lunch. The sandwich I tried was a combination of roast chicken, gravy mayo, mozzarella, spring mix, and potato chips on their homemade bun. I made mine a combo, and chose the brownie. and house made lemonade. The brownie was mind blowing: rich and soft, almost like fudge.

I highly recommend Holland’s Cake and Shake: everything is made in-house, which I love, and you can really see the love in all of the treats and food items they produce. Bonus: there is currently a pop up Ministry of Coffee counter, offering everything your caffeine dreams are made of. I wish this little shop all the best and I hope that it sees success!

Stay tuned for a future post on the wild and wacky treats of Holland’s Cake and Shake!

Filed under food Ottawa restaurant shop Westboro Wellington West Hintonburg Chef bake cake shake sandwich bread homemade brownie review Michael Holland dessert lunch chicken in-house made homemmade

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Weekend eats: breakfast egg salad
I’ve been wanting to experiment with my weekend breakfast choices lately, so I did some browsing on marthastewart.com for some inspiration and came up with this delightful concoction: breakfast egg salad!
Ok, ok, so it is just egg salad eaten at breakfast, but it’s not your traditional egg salad.  The hard-boiled eggs are chopped and mixed with Dijon mustard (I used grainy) and lemon juice for a lighter, more tangy egg salad.  I added some chopped green onion because that’s how I like my egg salad.  Martha gives you the option of leaving out some of the yolks for a slightly healthier version of this recipe. 
I piled my egg salad on whole grain toast topped with sliced avocado and spinach and served it with some fresh chopped fruit and coffee. This was totally delicious!  I loved the use of Dijon mustard and lemon juice for a totally different flavoured egg salad.  It was ridiculously simple and quick to pull together and I’ll be making this often!  Click on my photo to link to the original recipe.

Weekend eats: breakfast egg salad

I’ve been wanting to experiment with my weekend breakfast choices lately, so I did some browsing on marthastewart.com for some inspiration and came up with this delightful concoction: breakfast egg salad!

Ok, ok, so it is just egg salad eaten at breakfast, but it’s not your traditional egg salad.  The hard-boiled eggs are chopped and mixed with Dijon mustard (I used grainy) and lemon juice for a lighter, more tangy egg salad.  I added some chopped green onion because that’s how I like my egg salad.  Martha gives you the option of leaving out some of the yolks for a slightly healthier version of this recipe. 

I piled my egg salad on whole grain toast topped with sliced avocado and spinach and served it with some fresh chopped fruit and coffee. This was totally delicious!  I loved the use of Dijon mustard and lemon juice for a totally different flavoured egg salad.  It was ridiculously simple and quick to pull together and I’ll be making this often!  Click on my photo to link to the original recipe.

Filed under food breakfast brunch eggs egg salad avocado spinach green onion recipe Marth Stewart Dijon mustard lemon lemon juice toast bread whole grain weekend relaxing quick easy simple

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Weekend baking: pumpkin bread, round two

The first batch of pumpkin bread that I made earlier this fall was good, but it was a bit too dense for my liking, so I went on the hunt for another recipe that suited the ingredients that I had on hand.  I also wanted there to be a LOT of pumpkin puree used in this recipe so that it really tasted like pumpkin bread.

One of my all-time favourite food blogs is the Crepes of Wrath; not only are Sydney’s recipes delicious, but reading the tales of her life with her husband in New York City is super fun!  If you don’t follow her, you should! 

Sydney’s pumpkin bread recipe was fantastic!  It was exactly what I had hoped for.  Click here to view her original recipe.  The only change I made to her recipe was to use cinnamon chips in place of the white chocolate chips, as that was what I had in my pantry.  This bread also seems to freeze well: I sliced mine into single portions and froze them wrapped individually to take in my work lunches.  I’ll definitely be making this bread again next year!

Filed under food pumpkin baking bread cinnamon dessert snack recipe Crepes of Wrath easy cinnamon chips holiday

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Easy baking project: pumpkin cinnamon chip bread
I had a bag of cinnamon chips sitting in my pantry just screaming to be used, so when I came across this recipe on the lovely Peanut Butter and Peppers blog, I was all set to go!  You see, cinnamon baking chips are hard to come by for us Canadian bakers; I had acquired my bag on our last grocery shopping trip to New York State.  
I didn’t realize it until I actually set out to start baking the bread that this is seemingly a “healthier” pumpkin bread recipe in that the moisture comes from the pumpkin, some greek yogurt, egg whites and just three tablespoons of olive oil.  I made a few substitutions to the recipe as follows: I used whole wheat all purpose flour (instead of white whole wheat flour); white sugar instead of presweet tagatose (something made from stevia); and just regular olive oil.
This bread turned out deliciously! It is quite dense, but I liked it that way.  The cinnamon chips are an absolute delight; they pair perfectly with pumpkin, of course!

Easy baking project: pumpkin cinnamon chip bread

I had a bag of cinnamon chips sitting in my pantry just screaming to be used, so when I came across this recipe on the lovely Peanut Butter and Peppers blog, I was all set to go!  You see, cinnamon baking chips are hard to come by for us Canadian bakers; I had acquired my bag on our last grocery shopping trip to New York State.  

I didn’t realize it until I actually set out to start baking the bread that this is seemingly a “healthier” pumpkin bread recipe in that the moisture comes from the pumpkin, some greek yogurt, egg whites and just three tablespoons of olive oil.  I made a few substitutions to the recipe as follows: I used whole wheat all purpose flour (instead of white whole wheat flour); white sugar instead of presweet tagatose (something made from stevia); and just regular olive oil.

This bread turned out deliciously! It is quite dense, but I liked it that way.  The cinnamon chips are an absolute delight; they pair perfectly with pumpkin, of course!

Filed under food dessert bread quick bread baking baked pumpkin cinnamon cinnamon chip recipe blog Peanut Butter and Peppers

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Peach quick bread
I’ve been lucky this year that all of the baskets of fresh, Ontario peaches that I’ve purchased have all been wonderful!  No mealy, mushy peaches.  What a treat!
I wanted to incorporate some of this year’s wonderful peach crop into a delicious quick bread so I did some searching and found this simple and healthy recipe on one of my favourite food blogs, the Realistic Nutritionist.  Click on my photo above to link to her site and the recipe.  I made it exactly as described except that I used 1/2 cup of sugar instead of 3/4 cup, and that I prepared the topping with chopped pecans instead of almonds.  This bread is amazing!  It is very dense (which I love) and I adore the way that it is studded with all the little chunks of fresh peaches.  It comes together very quickly and easily! This is definitely one of my favourite quick bread recipes ever.

Peach quick bread

I’ve been lucky this year that all of the baskets of fresh, Ontario peaches that I’ve purchased have all been wonderful!  No mealy, mushy peaches.  What a treat!

I wanted to incorporate some of this year’s wonderful peach crop into a delicious quick bread so I did some searching and found this simple and healthy recipe on one of my favourite food blogs, the Realistic Nutritionist.  Click on my photo above to link to her site and the recipe.  I made it exactly as described except that I used 1/2 cup of sugar instead of 3/4 cup, and that I prepared the topping with chopped pecans instead of almonds.  This bread is amazing!  It is very dense (which I love) and I adore the way that it is studded with all the little chunks of fresh peaches.  It comes together very quickly and easily! This is definitely one of my favourite quick bread recipes ever.

Filed under food bread quick bread sweet recipe blog peach nuts whole wheat pecan realistic nutritionist

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Double chocolate zucchini bread
My parents had sent us home with a giant zucchini from their garden after our recent visit, and there is only so much grilled zucchini that I can eat in a week, so I needed to find a recipe that would use quite a bit of it in one go.
After a bit of searching, I came across this recipe for double chocolate zucchini bread on the Tidy Mom blog.  I was intrigued by the recipe because it combined yet another of my favourite flavours (besides chocolate): coffee!  The recipe indicates to soak the grated zucchini in a cup of strongly brewed coffee before removing the excess liquid from the veggie.
This recipe was a success!  Click here or on my photo above to link to the recipe on the fantastic Tidy Mom blog. Although her recipe calls for two loaves to be made, I decided to put all of the batter into one loaf pan to make an extra thick loaf.  I had to cook mine for quite a while, so I would probably recommend doing two loaves instead of one, but it still turned out deliciously.
I also decided to slice my loaf and freeze the individual slices to take in my lunches for a special treat, and it has kept very well in the freezer. I let it thaw at room temperature for a few hours and it is just as moist as the day it was baked.

Double chocolate zucchini bread

My parents had sent us home with a giant zucchini from their garden after our recent visit, and there is only so much grilled zucchini that I can eat in a week, so I needed to find a recipe that would use quite a bit of it in one go.

After a bit of searching, I came across this recipe for double chocolate zucchini bread on the Tidy Mom blog.  I was intrigued by the recipe because it combined yet another of my favourite flavours (besides chocolate): coffee!  The recipe indicates to soak the grated zucchini in a cup of strongly brewed coffee before removing the excess liquid from the veggie.

This recipe was a success!  Click here or on my photo above to link to the recipe on the fantastic Tidy Mom blog. Although her recipe calls for two loaves to be made, I decided to put all of the batter into one loaf pan to make an extra thick loaf.  I had to cook mine for quite a while, so I would probably recommend doing two loaves instead of one, but it still turned out deliciously.

I also decided to slice my loaf and freeze the individual slices to take in my lunches for a special treat, and it has kept very well in the freezer. I let it thaw at room temperature for a few hours and it is just as moist as the day it was baked.

Filed under food bread zucchini zucchini bread snack recipe blog Tidy Mom chocolate dessert

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Dinner at East India Company

It had been a long, long time since I’d had Indian food, so I met up with some friends to dine at one of Ottawa’s best, the East India Company.  It had also been years (years!) since I’d been to East India Company, so I felt like it was time for a triumphant return.

With both a huge a la carte menu and a spacious lunch and dinner buffet, East India Company is one of the best places to go if you’re craving some curry-flavoured deliciousness.  My friends and I opted for the buffet, which allowed us to sample some appetizers, main dishes and desserts. It also has pretty great ambiance: there is a lot of beautiful art both hanging on the walls and taking up floor space, an example of which I shared in my photo above.  This piece sits at the very front entrance/foyer of the restaurant and is just magnificent in both size and detail.  I was too busy stuffing my face to take a good look at it (and to figure out what it actually is) so I unfortunately cannot tell you what it is exactly.  But it was beautiful!

The plate pictured above is a collection of their various curries (lamb, beef, chicken, veggie) and pulao rice.  I also couldn’t help but order a mango lassi, which helped cool the fire going on in my mouth many, many times!  We also ordered a serving of plain naan bread to share, and it was just as amazing as I remembered it to be.

I felt that the dinner buffet, for $19.99 plus tax, was a fair price for the variety that was offered.  I can’t wait to go back!

Filed under food dinner supper buffet Indian Ottawa restaurant East India Company curry beef lamb chicken pulao rice naan bread mango lassi paneer

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Weekend project and Gastropost submission: cinnamon bread

Feast your eyes on my contribution to this week’s Gastropost mission! Cinnamon bread is one of my all-time favourite kinds of bread.  I first fell in love with it after biting into a slice of Richmond Bakery's cinnamon bread a few years ago, and I've been craving it ever since!

I’ve always wanted to try making it myself, but, as I’ve said before, I’m intimidated by the idea of working with yeast and yeasted breads.  As well, there is a quite a time commitment with making bread; this particular recipe called for two rising periods of one and a half hours each!  But, in the end, it was well worth it.  The bread was perfect, and I couldn’t be more proud of my first attempt to make it!  The texture is dense and chewy yet light, and the flavour is a delightful fusion of both savory and sweet.

Click here to link to the recipe that I used (from the amazing Baked by Rachel blog), and click here to see all of the Gastropost submissions for the “Any way you slice it” mission!

Filed under food cinnamon bread yeast gastropost recipe breakfast toast sugar comfort food sweet Savoury swirl Baked by Rachel blog any way you slice it

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Breakfast at Eggstyle (again)
The fiancé adores Eggstyle, so much so that he begs me to go there every weekend.  Most of the time I say no, but even I have to give in every once in a while! haha
We try something different each visit, and this time we set our sights on the french toast.  But not just any french toast: apple bread french toast!  Two generous pieces of apple bread dipped in french toast batter, grilled and topped with hot cinnamon apples, yogurt, caramel and toasted almonds.  It was quite a treat!  The bread was fluffy and light and the combination of the apples, yogurt, caramel and almonds was a delightful taste and textural adventure.  

Breakfast at Eggstyle (again)

The fiancé adores Eggstyle, so much so that he begs me to go there every weekend.  Most of the time I say no, but even I have to give in every once in a while! haha

We try something different each visit, and this time we set our sights on the french toast.  But not just any french toast: apple bread french toast!  Two generous pieces of apple bread dipped in french toast batter, grilled and topped with hot cinnamon apples, yogurt, caramel and toasted almonds.  It was quite a treat!  The bread was fluffy and light and the combination of the apples, yogurt, caramel and almonds was a delightful taste and textural adventure.  

Filed under food breakfast brunch Eggstyle french toast cinnamon apple bread yogurt caramel almond Ottawa review restaurant fruit delicious sweet treat

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Weeknight dinner: Corn chowder
After the first recipe from my Soup Cookbook turned out so well, I was eager to try another.  I’d always been curious about corn chowder, and I know how much the fiance loves his corn, so I decided to give this one a try.  
It is a bit more labour intensive; you have to puree the corn and milk and then press that mixture through a fine sieve to create a corn-infused milky liquid.  Pressing it through the sieve took a bit of elbow grease but nothing too crazy.
The result was a delicious and hearty soup, much like the potato and pesto soup.  To round out our meal and add some protein, I baked some bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, and then shredded the cooked meat on top of the soup.  We also served it with some homemade garlic toast on the side.  This recipe is delicious!  The fiancé loved it too.
Corn chowder
serves 6
Ingredients
- 150 grams bacon, chopped
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, very finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 1/2 cups corn kernels (I used frozen kernels that I thawed)
- 2 cups milk
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 large russet potatoes, chopped into smallish bite-sized pieces
- 2 cups chicken stock
- pinch of cayenne pepper (I didn’t have it so I used smoked paprika and chili powder)
- 1/2 cup 5%/light cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tbsp fresh cilantro or flat leaf parsley for garnish
Directions
- Fry the bacon in a large pot for 5 minutes over medium heat (or until starting to crisp).  At this point, you can drain the bacon and excess bacon fat if you like; I did it this way.  Add back the bacon, add the butter, and, once foaming, add the onion, red bell pepper and bay leaf.  Cover and cook over medium heat for 7-8 minutes, until the onion is soft but not browned (watch closely; stir often).
- Meanwhile, add 2/3 of the total amount of the corn and the milk to a food processor.  Blend for at least 2 minutes.  Push mixture through a fine strainer, discarding the solids left in the strainer, and reserving the liquid.
- Add the garlic and potatoes to the pot and moisten with a little bit of the stock.  Add the cayenne pepper and salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and cook for an additional 5 minutes.  
- Pour the remaining stock and reserved corn liquid into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 5 minutes.
- Add the remaining corn kernels and cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Stir in the cream and check the seasoning.  Ladle into warmed bowl and garnish with cilantro or parsley.

Weeknight dinner: Corn chowder

After the first recipe from my Soup Cookbook turned out so well, I was eager to try another.  I’d always been curious about corn chowder, and I know how much the fiance loves his corn, so I decided to give this one a try.  

It is a bit more labour intensive; you have to puree the corn and milk and then press that mixture through a fine sieve to create a corn-infused milky liquid.  Pressing it through the sieve took a bit of elbow grease but nothing too crazy.

The result was a delicious and hearty soup, much like the potato and pesto soup.  To round out our meal and add some protein, I baked some bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, and then shredded the cooked meat on top of the soup.  We also served it with some homemade garlic toast on the side.  This recipe is delicious!  The fiancé loved it too.

Corn chowder

serves 6

Ingredients

- 150 grams bacon, chopped

- 2 tbsp butter

- 1 large onion, chopped

- 1 red bell pepper, very finely chopped

- 1 bay leaf

- 4 1/2 cups corn kernels (I used frozen kernels that I thawed)

- 2 cups milk

- 2 garlic cloves, chopped

- 2 large russet potatoes, chopped into smallish bite-sized pieces

- 2 cups chicken stock

- pinch of cayenne pepper (I didn’t have it so I used smoked paprika and chili powder)

- 1/2 cup 5%/light cream

- salt and pepper to taste

- 3 tbsp fresh cilantro or flat leaf parsley for garnish

Directions

- Fry the bacon in a large pot for 5 minutes over medium heat (or until starting to crisp).  At this point, you can drain the bacon and excess bacon fat if you like; I did it this way.  Add back the bacon, add the butter, and, once foaming, add the onion, red bell pepper and bay leaf.  Cover and cook over medium heat for 7-8 minutes, until the onion is soft but not browned (watch closely; stir often).

- Meanwhile, add 2/3 of the total amount of the corn and the milk to a food processor.  Blend for at least 2 minutes.  Push mixture through a fine strainer, discarding the solids left in the strainer, and reserving the liquid.

- Add the garlic and potatoes to the pot and moisten with a little bit of the stock.  Add the cayenne pepper and salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and cook for an additional 5 minutes.  

- Pour the remaining stock and reserved corn liquid into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 5 minutes.

- Add the remaining corn kernels and cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Stir in the cream and check the seasoning.  Ladle into warmed bowl and garnish with cilantro or parsley.

Filed under food soup corn chowder bacon bread crostini garlic potato milk dinner recipe warm comfort

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Ukrainian Christmas Dinner
Part of my family’s heritage is Ukrainian, which is from my mother’s mother’s side.  I remember a few lovely food-related traditions that I experienced at my grandparent’s house when I was very young, such as eating my Grandma’s borscht.  
One way that my family has been able to continue to participate in the tradition of Ukrainian Christmas is by sharing it with a family who has always been close friends of ours.  Each year they invite us to share in their tradition with their extended family and we are so honoured to continue to be included.
Everyone looks forward to sharing this special time catching up with our friends, and enjoying the huge and delicious meal that they make.  The first course is borscht, a hearty soup with potatoes and cabbage in a clear, vegetarian-based broth.  Then comes the main meal, which includes perogies, cabbage rolls, fried fish, mushroom gravy, pickled herring and kutia, which is a mixture of cooked wheat groats, poppy seeds and honey.  My favourite is the home made sweet bread: if you’re a bread addict like me, this bread is insanely good!
I haven’t had the opportunity to attend Ukrainian Christmas in many, many years, what with living so far away from our friends.  But fate and luck came together this year and I was able to attend, and I am so thankful to have shared in this tradition once more, and to catch up with my extended family.

Ukrainian Christmas Dinner

Part of my family’s heritage is Ukrainian, which is from my mother’s mother’s side.  I remember a few lovely food-related traditions that I experienced at my grandparent’s house when I was very young, such as eating my Grandma’s borscht.  

One way that my family has been able to continue to participate in the tradition of Ukrainian Christmas is by sharing it with a family who has always been close friends of ours.  Each year they invite us to share in their tradition with their extended family and we are so honoured to continue to be included.

Everyone looks forward to sharing this special time catching up with our friends, and enjoying the huge and delicious meal that they make.  The first course is borscht, a hearty soup with potatoes and cabbage in a clear, vegetarian-based broth.  Then comes the main meal, which includes perogies, cabbage rolls, fried fish, mushroom gravy, pickled herring and kutia, which is a mixture of cooked wheat groats, poppy seeds and honey.  My favourite is the home made sweet bread: if you’re a bread addict like me, this bread is insanely good!

I haven’t had the opportunity to attend Ukrainian Christmas in many, many years, what with living so far away from our friends.  But fate and luck came together this year and I was able to attend, and I am so thankful to have shared in this tradition once more, and to catch up with my extended family.

Filed under food dinner Ukrainian Christmas meal perogies cabbage rolls bread fish borscht soup mushrooms