I absolutely love it. I love the experiences it brings. The places I get to see. The people I meet along the way.
A few years ago, when I finished high school, I moved overseas for a year. I lived in Poland, and travelled whenever I could.
Then someone, I think it was my dad, suggested I go to New York and visit his second cousin.
I had met him before, a few times when I was very young, and remember him pinching my cheeks and buying me designer Barbies whenever he would come and visit.
Those two things made me love him (the Barbies) and hate him (the cheek pinching) at the same time.
Anyway, a few emails later and what do you know, I had flights booked to visit my dad’s second cousin and his family in Connecticut.
I was so nervous. I mean, I really didn’t know these people. I was going to be staying at their house. What if they didn’t like me?!
But I shouldn’t have worried. They were, and are, the most amazing family I have ever met. I fell in love with them instantly.
They welcomed this young, crazy teenager they didn’t know, who flew in late and without any luggage (it was left behind in Dublin. That was awesome), with open arms and hot soup.
They were kind and warm and caring. They introduced me to my entire extended family. They showed me around Connecticut and around New York. They took me shopping (a lot). And to eat (a lot a lot). And taught me how to carve pumpkins for Halloween.
We drank wine together, and laughed together, and went and saw an off Broadway show together. They drove me up to Canada, and took me to see Niagara Falls.
And one day, as it was the most beautiful fall, we went to an apple farm.
We picked apples. And drank hot apple cider. And bought pies from the farm. It was the first time (believe it or not) that I tried pecan pie. And pumpkin pie. We took home crates of apples, and I baked them into a huge apple pie.
It was the most ridiculous pie fest. We were eating pie for days.
I loved the pumpkin pie. I was fascinated by the fact that pumpkin was being used in a sweet way.
This year, as it is almost Thanksgiving in the States, and Maura was so so kind to send me a few cans of pumpkin puree (more on that and the other amazing goodies she sent me coming soon!), I baked my own pumpkin pie.
It is delicious, with its crumbly, nutty crust and cinnamon spiced filling. And it reminds me of my wonderful family in Connecticut. Happy Thanksgiving!
For the almond pie crust
350g plain flour
55g caster sugar (1/4 cup)
60g almond meal
A pinch of salt
200g unsalted butter, cubed
2 egg yolks
40ml water, chilled (4 tbsp or so)
Put the flour, sugar, salt, almond meal and butter into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or in a food processor) and mix on a low speed until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
Add the egg yolks and the cold water while the mixer is still running. Continue to mix until a dough forms. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
I feel really bad. But things have just been crazy around here.
What with work, going to my patisserie course, assignments, study for my college exam, friends, family, celebrations, etc, I just haven’t had time to sit down and write a post.
But I’m totally about to make it up to you.
So I hope you have some free time today. Because you’re going to want to bake these.
See all of that Nutella oozing out of there?
I’ve been posting all of this healthy (but still delicious!) stuff lately and thought I’d balance things out a little with a hugely indulgent, chocolate Oreo Nutella calorie bomb.
You’re welcome. In advance.
So here we have double chocolate chip cookies. Made with Oreo crumbs. They’re one of my favourite recipes. We’ve put them into cupcake liners. Flattened them out. Thrown in a huge spoonful of Nutella. And topped the whole thing off with another scoop of cookie.
220g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup cocoa 14 Oreos 1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt 3/4 cup chocolate chips
1 jar Nutella, chilled (you won’t need the whole thing)
Preheat the oven to 180 C and line 18 muffin holes with cupcake liners.
Grind up your Oreos into a powder using a blender or food processor. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and both sugars until well light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition.
Add the flour, cocoa, ground Oreos, baking soda and salt and mix, on a low speed, until combined. Add the chocolate chips and mix until evenly dispersed.
Scoop tablespoon-sized balls of dough and place them in the base of the cupcake liners. Press them flat so they line the base.
Top each cookie with a heaped teaspoon of Nutella.
Scoop more tablespoon-sized balls of dough and flatten in the palm of your hand. Place over the Nutella.
Bake for 12 – 14 minutes. Makes 18 stuffed cookie cups.
Or because of the crazy amount of jaconde sponge, homemade ice cream and chocolate garnish scraps I have been snacking on in my Present Desserts class at culinary school.
No, no, it couldn’t possibly be because of any of that.
So in all of my weight gain denial, I baked. I diet-baked.
Yep. I made us some diet baked goods. I’ll snack on these instead of on sponge cake scraps from now on, okay?
These muffins are super super moist, especially for healthy muffins. They stay moist for days, and actually taste really good. Not like they’re healthy at all.
I’ve made them about five times already since first making and photographing them. I’ve tried them with mashed banana instead of some of the applesauce and put in frozen blueberries instead of the raisins.
The possibilities are endless. Enjoy!
HEALTHY APPLE, YOGURT AND OAT BREAKFAST MUFFINS Inspired by Everyday Health.
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain yogurt
55g unsalted butter, softened (1/4 cup)
2 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup plain flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 apple, peeled, cored and diced
1/4 cup raisins (or blueberries)
Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F) and line a 12-hole muffin pan with cupcake liners.
Stir together the oats and yogurt and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar together with a wooden spoon.
Add the egg and beat to combine. Stir in the applesauce. Mix in the yogurt oat mixture.
Stir in both flours, the cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt until just incorporated.
Mix through the apple and raisins gently.
Divide the mixture evenly between the 12 muffin holes.