December 22, 2009

Very Berry Macarons and Holiday Cheers!

The weather is improving in the countryside where I live. We've started enjoying early Summer plums, strawberries and raspberries from our orchard and garden. Our young trees of blackcurrants and blueberries are trying their best to give us reward upon attention we've been giving them throughout the year. Giving us a little string of blackcurrants is quite a satisfaction given that how young the tree is.

early Summer harvests

The children are so happy in the orchard and it is their favourite task climbing up the tree and picking fruits. What a childhood bliss!

delight from the orchard

Today, I have finished my assignment on baking macarons for Christmas sweets my sister-in-law has ordered to celebrate the holiday with family and friends. I am using Helen's basic macarons recipe and make blueberry marshmallow filling.

Very Berry Macarons-1

Very Berry Macarons

I also want to thank you all for participating on DMBLGIT December 2009 edition. Thank you for sending us your gorgeous photo entries.

As it is going to be my last post of the year, I am also sending you all my gratitude to all HomeMadeS readers who have been following my posts newly or for years. Happy Christmas and Have a safe and wonderful New Year 2010. Cheers!

Holiday Cheers

See you again next year!

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December 15, 2009

SHF#60: French Macarons

Baking French Macarons for me is more to satisfy my passion of baking rather than enjoying the sweetness of meringue. I thought I am a sweet tooth, but the taste of macarons makes me shuddered. The highly sweetness of meringues sandwiched with sweeten chocolate or caramel sauce or whatever sweet stuffs they may require is really too sweet for my taste. Perhaps, I am not such a sweet tooth anyway, for I only cannot enjoy it.

Out of curiosity, I first learned baking French macarons just last year (French Macarons and Tag post). The results were oh-so-embarrassing. The meringues were too dry and cracked. Then, I followed Helen of Tartelette's macarons tutorial on Desserts Magazine. It surely worked (Yes, I Did It! post)! Since then, I love baking these little delicate sweets for Christmas gifts to our neighbours, friends and families or on other special occasions. These sweets have never failed to entertain guests. There are also macarons I have made: Fleur de sel Macarons, Green Pandan Macarons, Assorted Macarons on Sarah's Birthday, Sesame Macarons, and Snicker Macarons which I haven't posted yet. I've more photos rather than posts, I suppose :)

snicker macarons

This is my entry for Sugar High Friday (SHF) #60, originated by Jennifer of Domestic Goddess, and this month is hosted by Nic of Cherrapeno.

before and after

The recipe for macaron shells can be searched on Helen's website, and trust me, it always works! Here is her latest invention of macarons: Candy Cane and Eggnog Macarons.

French Macarons by ab'09

On the photo above as you can see, I use milk chocolate flavoured with raspberry essence. I use plum colour powder. I have experienced macarons flattened when I use food colouring paste wither water-based or gel-based. Perhaps, such food colouring contains more liquid that make the batter heavier and wetter. Colour powder is the best to use to colour macarons. You can find colour powder on cake decorating shops or bakers specialty shops.

And, it is a reminder: I am still waiting for your submission for DMBLGIT December 2009. Please, send me your photos not later than 20th December 2009, your time. (I have a day bonus for you, as NZ is the first country to receive the sunlight). So, come on! Don't hesitate to send me your entries. I'll be here waiting.

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December 08, 2009

DMBLGIT December 2009 Announcement

I am thrilled to host Does My Blog Look Good In It? (DMBLGIT), December 2009 Edition. If you are new to this photo contest for foodie bloggers, please feel free to visit DMBLGIT page on Andrew Barrow's blog, the very father of this 'grandest foodporn event available', and get more information about it. 

Would you like hosting this finest food photography contest next year? Please, feel free to visit Andrew's page on DMBLGIT? or send him an email at arbATandys-scribblings DOT co DOT uk, with the subject "DMBLGIT Host".

This is the winner of DMBLGIT November 2009, hosted by Sandra of Le Petrin.

I have four peer judges to join me on the judge panel. They are:

Ema Yudhistira of My Explorations
Nic of Cherrapeno
Y of LemonPi

The Rules to participate

  1. Send a photo that has appeared on your blog during November 2009. The photo should be food and/or drink related. No diptychs allowed.
  2. Your photo must be text-free, please.
  3. Only one entry per person.
  4. The photograph must have been taken by you (copyright is allowed).
  5. Deadline for submissions : December 20, 2009.

Send your entry to arfi.binstedATgmailDOTcom with DMBLGIT in the subject line with the following details:

- Your name.
- Your location.
- Your blog’s name and URL.
- The photograph that you wish to enter, of no more than 500 pixels wide.
- Your photograph’s title.
- URL of the post containing the photograph.
- Type of camera used, lens if you wish.
By submitting a photo, you agree to your picture being redisplayed and altered in size on the host’s page and on DMBLGIT page.
The judges will review your entries on the basis of:
- Aesthetics: composition, food styling, lighting, focus, etc.
- Edibility: “Does the photo make us want to dive in and eat the food?”
- Originality: the photograph that catches our attention and makes us want to say wow!, displaying something we might not have seen before.

From these categories, the judges will come up with:
- Overall Winner: top overall scores in all three categories combined.
- There are three overall winners for photographs with the highest point totals in all three categories combined, and one winner in each of the three individual categories.

Every photo entry will be compiled on DMBLGIT December 2009 photo album. I will personally send you a note when I have uploaded your photo on the gallery, so you know that I have received your entry.

Well? What are you waiting for? Come on, send me your gorgeous photo entry. And thanks so much for your participations!

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December 07, 2009

Gluten-Free Cherry Clafoutis

I visited my Greek mate's blog, Peter G of Souvlaki for the Soul, resides in Sydney, Australia one day, and bumped into his gorgeous photographs of cherry clafoutis. What makes more of this sudden appetite rising to its peak is that the photos speak to me and convince me that it is delicious!

cherries by ab 09 cherries2 by ab 09

And so I made my way to the kitchen while, luckily, we bought some plump and juicy cherries from the local  market that very day. Can't wait too long, can we?  

cherries3 by ab 09

Here's my simple recipe for gluten-free cherry clafoutis.

Cherry Clafoutis by arfi binsted 2009

Gluten-Free Cherry Clafoutis for Two

I just did not really measure the ingredients, so this one is approximate measurements. Please, feel free to adapt to suit your needs. I prefer not too sweet clafoutis, for cherries are already contributing the sweetness in it.

2 cups pitted cherries
1 Tbs caster sugar
splash of orange juice

2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
2 Tbs - 1/4 cup caster sugar
3 Tbs cup gluten-free flour + 1/8 tsp baking powder, sifted
1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 tsp orange zest
about 1/2-3/4 cup milk + 3 Tbs fresh cream

Preheat the oven to 180C. Lightly greased ramekins. Put the pitted cherries in each ramekin, sprinkle with sugar. Combine until well-coated. Splash freshly squeeze orange juice. Put in the oven for about 5-8 minutes until the fruits are just soften. 

Beat eggs and egg yolk until smooth and fluffy with sugar and vanilla bean paste. Add in orange zest. Fold in sifted flour and baking powder. Trickle milk + cream a little bit at a time until the mixture is thinner but not so thin. It is just like your pancake batter, not so thick, nor too thin. Pour this mixture into ramekins, just to cover the cherries. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until cooked and golden, and there's no runny mixture in the centre although it may be still wobbly. Remove from the oven. Cool for about 5-10 minutes. Dust with icing sugar, and serve warm. Lovely for celebrating Christmas over Christmas dinner in a romantic evening with your beloved. Makes 2.

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