Apple Tart

AppleTart-Square

Radmila posted a picture on Facebook of a gorgeous apple tart with the apple peels rolled into roses and embedded in the custard. She expressed concern that it looked a bit dodgy without photos to follow with since the link didn’t supply any, so I did a fast and dirty version to show her it’s really not.

the version I decided to base my tart on called for making your own shortbread crust and made from scratch custard, but since I was doing this on the fly with limited time and apples, I used a sheet of store bought puff pastry dough, created trough ridges along all the edges and made a boxed white chocolate instant pudding for the filling. I only had two apples in the house, so I made 6 small apple roses for the tart. Again, fast & dirty.

So, in a pictorial for her, here we go:

1. I used my ravioli cutter to make crinkled edging by cutting off a small section all around the dough’s perimeter, then placed that same dough over top of the main edge, taking care to match the shape, and cutting off the excess where necessary. This is all extra work that one probably doesn’t need to do, but can if they want a nice edge. It only adds a few minutes to the final time, so if you want to, go for it.

AppleTart-Before-Dough

2. I cooked and cooled the instant pudding before spooning some of it into the middle. I didn’t use a lot because it filling isn’t the main event, the roses are. A little goes a long way. A thin layer is all it takes to make this tart tasty.¬†Don’t worry about making a smooth layer with the custard because baking will cause it to smooth out nicely.

AppleTart-Before-Pudding

3. I formed the apple roses and let them dry on paper towels before gently placing them into the custard in select places and pushing them into the dough a bit. That seems to help hold the roses pedals in place so they don’t unfurl. (Obviously you’ll have way more roses to fill up this space than I did, but 6 is enough to give you an idea of how it’s done, right?)

AppleTart-Roses

4. I baked this tart at 350 degrees for 15 minutes and let it cool for another 15 minutes to allow the pudding or custard to finish setting. I suppose in the future when I make this again (all from scratch, none of this instant stuff), I will add simple syrup or some thinned out jam to the tops of the roses to give them gloss, and a bit of an egg wash will be applied to the dough for golden colour. I will probably dust the tart with a bit of powdered sugar, too.

AppleTart-Done

Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments.

Enjoy!

My Big Fat Anelletti Noodle Attempt

Remember the post of me talking excitedly about that funky dingy shaped pasta from Trader Joe’s that we can’t get up here in Canada? And remember how sure I was that I could use one of my pasta making plates (top righthand corner in picture below) to form my own dingy noodles at home?

Anelletti Pasta NoodlesKitchenAid Extruder Plates

Well, I was sorta right. But mostly wrong.

I feel like I’m on the right track here, but where I went wrong this attempt was thinking I could swing the wire string arm across the dough plate to cut up the rings with the same thickness at the right moment I needed, when I needed to, consistently.

I contend that would be akin to trying to nail Jell-O to a wall. {forehead smack}

So… Yeah, I couldn’t keep up. It was crazy trying to keep one eye on those noodles to cut them off at exactly the right time while keeping another eye on how much dough was left in the hopper at all times. I underestimated myself. :-\ And to give you perspective, I only had the KitchenAid mixer running on the second speed. Can you imagine what would happen if I ran the mixer on the middle speed like I do when I roll out and cut spaghetti or linguini noodles with the other pasta attachements?

Um… {giggling}

Anelletti-1

Anyway, have a look at what I did manage to make.

Yeah, yeah. I know. They look just like Cherrios. I’ve heard several people ask me why I made cereal when I promised pasta. Yuck it up, people!

As you can see, it was hard to get a uniform thickness to each noodle, and the plate I chose has side ridges to its shape, so that further complicated the thin, smooth dingy shape I was after.

Anelletti-3

After it all air dried over a 24-hour period, I was ready to cook it up. (I was already making another dinner the night I made these, so it was never going to be cooked fresh.) When I did need to use these in a dinner, I picked a fast and dirty sauce/noodle/cheese pasta bake in the interest of feeding us fast and testing how the noodles cooked up. I wasn’t concerned with serving us a high-end after a long day of baking cookies for my mother-in-law. We were starving!! ūüôā

Anelletti-Cooked

AnellettiPastaBake-1

It was fast cook, too. I cooked these to just before the dente stage in about 3 to 3 1/2 minutes. (I’m so mean to my pasta noodles!) I then forced the pasta to swim in a pot of hot tomato-mushroom sauce. After a few good stirs, I¬†let it rest for a minute while I prepared the oven pan and grated the cheese.

I baked this dish covered for about 20 minutes at 350 until it was piping hot before pulling off the foil and topping it with pizza mozzarella before shoving it back under the broiler to cook for another five minutes. When it came out of the oven, the cheese topping was the perfect white with browning colour I love so much.

{kissing fingers to the sky}

AnellettiPinboard

I will keep trying to perfect making the noodle shape I’m after, or tweak it till I find a noodle size and shape I like more.¬†In the meantime, I will probably try out a bunch of recipes ideas I found until we decide which ones we like best. The bake I made was fairly good, and the husband appreciated the Spaghetti-O feel and taste, but I am aiming higher for my food¬†repertoire than food we used to eat out of a can as kids.

By the way, while I was researching how to best to cook up the Anelletti noodle, I found many other recipe ideas on Pinterest. Have a look at my Anelletti board.

PS: I know this is a crap picture, but I had to hurry to take this picture since the husband ate so much of it in such short order. As you can tell, the dish is already dirty from the first helping. Bless his nostalgic heart.

AnnellettiBake

 

 

Gardening Work

Sorry for the lack of posting. I’ve been busy working on a few projects for this blog. All of the pictures are done, but none of the write ups have happened yet. I was thinking today I’d do that if it rained again like yesterday, but it’s been gorgeous so we’ve been plotting our gardening needs instead. This is my Gardenin: What to grow¬†board over at Pinterest.One of my gardening Pinterest boards

We’re all about the self-watering setup this year, in case you’re interested. The reason for that is simple.¬†While I like a lot of things about gardening, the one part I do not like is all the watering. Specifically doing it at all. I forget sometimes, and I freak out when I finally do remember. Usually that’s about two hours after we leave for work and I can’t go home to do it. Ack!

We’re basing our self-watering planter system loosely off of this indoor version, with a larget overflow hole on the side of the container so the water can dribble out on its own and the soil doesn’t suffer. And we’re creating another use for pegboard in the process. Jen will like this idea.

One of our customer’s gave us an irrigation kit a few years back. I’d use that but in my mind, that’s for a much larger scaled garden, not a few flower beds we have herbs growing in. The soil in our backyard is terrible. It’s filled with clay and vine borers, and honestly I don’t know what else but I’m afraid to look into it.

I’m hoping this DIY project will help me keep the herbs and other plants alive this summer. I’m not much of a green thumb to start with, but when you add forgetfulness to the mix, it never turns out well in the end. I try. And I try. But, as hard as I try, I really can’t make my brain remember I have plants to take care of every.single.day. It’s just too much for my feeble mind.

And before you ask, no we don’t have kids. Small miracles, right? ūüôā

Until our DIY project is complete, please enjoy this picture of my green onions successfully regenerating or continuing to grow above ground in a mason jar of water sitting in the sun on my sideboard.

Regrowing Green Onions

Pho

Pho. It’s what was for dinner today.

Red onion, carrot, celery, chicken stock, S&P, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, leftover corned beef, spaghetti noodles and fresh parsley.

Dee-licious!

Pho

Backyard Clean Up

Today was gooorgeous out. The temperatures were a solid 22 and higher. We took the opportunity to do some Spring cleaning in the backyard and unearth our garden bed to flesh out what we want to do with it this year. It was also junk, waste, yard and recycle day, so we removed the old laundry tub from the yard and raked all the leaves & debris so they could be collected in the morning along with the blue box stuff and garbage.

Are you still awake? Oh, good. Thought I lost you all there for a second. Phew!

RIP, old bush I didn't know the name or species of.

Sadly, today we had to cut down a bush that a previous owner planted years ago because it died over one especially early cold snap two years ago. I finally gave up all hope of it coming back to life. (Sigh)

Old Bush

I don’t remember what the bush was, or even if I ever knew, but it was pretty when the Fall hit, though. I remember that much. Pretty hot pink leaves all over. It reminded me of a feather boa. The husband got to use his¬†reciprocating¬†saw on the bush, so I’m fairly certain he wasn’t sad for long. ūüôā

SquatterHome

On the other side of the yard, I was startled at one point when we moved the box the old tub was sitting in. Something jumped out from behind it and sped off like lightening. It scared me. I thought it was a full grown rat till I saw the cotton tail on its backside. It was a baby bunny. Not uncommon in these parts. The local college is nearby and the students are famous for buying one during the school year, and letting it go in any of the local walking trails with brush and trees the second their school year is done. It’s cruel, really. Domestic bunnies don’t know how to fend for themselves, and yet, this goes on year after year.

BabyBunnyBunnyBum

Anyway, this little bun had apparently made its home behind our gardening bins and tools, making a nest with the old leaves that fell between the bins and the wall. Now that we moved the bins and cleaned out that corner, I guess it will move next door where the new owner hasn’t moved in yet and the old owner didn’t bother cleaning up the yard. Next owner’s chore! Those leaves should provide a temporary home for the bunny. At least for a month or two, I figure. By then, this little bun will be a big bun, and hopefully someone will spot it and take it home. Hopefully.

LawnCare

All in all, I’m happy with how the yard turned out after only a few hours of raking and moving stuff to sweep, cutting and clearing, and uncovering a pleasant surprise in my gardent bed – flat leaf parley from last year that somehow managed to survive a snowy, awkward winter season. Not sure how to explain that. Thought for sure the snow and cold snaps would’ve shocked them dead. Huh. Hardy little herb, no?

ParsleyLives

After I plant the rest of my herbs in the coming weeks and get things rolling gardening wise, and the husband has a chance to make the grass seeds he threw down today make some magic happen in those patchy areas, I think this yard will come together nicely. I will post more pictures as things progress or if there is anything amazing to show you, like more bunnies or a zombie playing in my herb garden.

Making Vanilla Extract at Home

I’m out of vanilla extract. ACK!!

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade Vanilla Extract

I know, right? This is a baker’s worst nightmare, and a total disaster. {sigh}

Guess this means a trip to the booze store across the street tomorrow morning is in order. I’ll head over the second they open just like the booze hounds.

(I shouldn’t joke. Have you ever talked to anyone who works at a liquor store? Their stories are all achingly depressing, and they hate serving those so desperate for their fix because there will be a line up before the store opens every day, regardless of the time of year or economy, and the customers are fairly belligerent¬†and unpleasant to deal with if their drink of choice isn’t in stock.)

But, since I don’t drink, my¬†pilgrimage¬†will be for the purpose of picking up a small bottle of vodka for the express purpose of pouring it into a jar over the vanilla beans I have so it can ferment over two months and turn into a jar of lovely vanilla extract. This method is all the rage with the bakers online. Just do a quick Google search for ‘homemade vanilla extract’ to see what I mean. And since I’m sensitive to all the other gunk manufactures may put into their commercial vanilla extracts, this is my safety plan.

If you’re into making your extracts or even your own booze, check out my Pinterest¬†F√ľd: Extracts & Booze¬†board:

 

Pinterest Extracts & Booze Board

I should have planned this better. I will have to rely on almond extract for all my baking needs for the foreseeable future. I guess things could be worse. I could be suck using that stuff from Costco that burns the back of my throat and makes me all dry heave-y. That would be what I call dire. Yikes.

How to make a personal croquis

Following up on yesterday’s post featuring Imogen showing us how to figure out our body proportions as they pertain to drafting up sewing patterns and just overall dressing of your body, here is a great little croquis making video from the magazine, Threads.

Watch as a professional fashion illustrator traces over a full length photo on tissue paper so he can mark it up using head lengths from the tip of you head down to your toes. He also marks off the body shape so he can draw certain garments and patterns on it to see if the client will like the look without wasting time before with a muslin.

This is a time saving mock up stage. All to see if something works or not. I’ve seen scrap pieces of proposed fabric laid over a croquis before if you’re not artsy or that comfortable with drawing fabric patterns on paper. Scraps also save swap out time if one is toying with more than one idea for the same garment.

For those of us who have studied drafting, sketching and the like, this will come easy to you, but for those who haven’t, you will get the hang of it after a few attempts. Most of it is simple tracing and marking off co-ordinates.

Knorr Sample Pack

The mailman dropped off a sample pack today from Knorr along with our mail.Knorr-2

The sample pack also contains a magnetic QR code, a bouillon sample, a $5 coupon and a recipe collection of dinner ideas.

Knorr-1

 

It’s always lovely to get free samples from any company, but it’s even nicer then they include a novel item such as this tote bag that folds up neatly with a flap sewn onto the side with a velcro tab to keep it folded up. Handy way to save space and keep it in great condition for a long time to come, no?

Knorr-3

Table Top Mannequin

Every time I buy a bra, it never fits. That’s because I’m between an A and a B cup. I have to take fabric in by pinning it till the cup is tight and is still covering and lifting where it should.

I have a pile of bras I’ve been putting off altering for lack of time and pinning buddy. Now that I have time, I dusted off that pile as well as my table top mannequin buddy that oddly enough has the very same body proportions I have in terms of where my boobs and waistline to my hip crease fall. All I have to do is attach some padding here and there, and this buddy will be my physical twin.

I mean, what are the chances someone’s body would match a table top¬†mannequin¬†to a tee like mine does? With my short odd waist spacing, it’s such a stroke of luck! This buddy is going to make creating and pinning pattern muslins sooooooooooo much easier.

Table Top Mannequin

Table Top Mannequin