Author Archives: annasox

Inaugural summer BBQ

We kicked off the summer barbeque season with a birthday celebration for our Southern friend Beau that included ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, tater salad, and lemon icebox dessert, amongst other treats.  In the absence of any food photos, however, I’m forced to post gratuitous photos of everyone’s* favourite furry guest.

*Everyone except Henry, that is:

Not a happy face

– Anna

3-booze cupcakes

Another win for the Smitten Kitchen!  You probably know I’m a big fan of cooking with booze, so I’ve been wanting to try these for months.  They’re a lot of effort, but well worth it, I promise!

Bailey's, whiskey, and Guinness, oh my!

The cake is made with Guinness and sour cream, and is incredibly moist.  They’re then filled with a chocolate and whiskey (or other poison of your choice) ganache, and iced with a Bailey’s buttercream frosting.

I almost had a disaster when I split the ganache quite badly, but the internet helped me rescue it. Seriously, what did people do before Google?  Apparently the temperature of the ganache is key because it has to emulsify (the fat in the chocolate has to mix with the water in the cream, more details here). Mine was too hot, so I saved it by putting the bowl over another bowl filled with ice water and continuing to stir.  I think the result was more truffle-like than a ganache should be, but my test subjects all really enjoyed the extra-chocolatey surprise in the middle.

If you’re in the mood for a booze-tastic dessert, the recipe is here.

– Anna

“Tastes like Mexico”

I made a  lime yogurt cake with blackberry sauce from the Smitten Kitchen yesterday, and it met with good reviews from my test subjects.  It apparently “tastes like Mexico, in a good way”.  Maybe I should pair it with Corona next time I make it.  I’ll be repeating this one for sure…it takes no time, it’s lovely and moist, and the blackberry sauce really elevates it.

– Anna


From flickr user longhorndave under Creative Commons licence

I feel slightly bad posting about these because I’m not sure you can get them in London.  But if you find yourself in Argentina, keep an eye out for Havanna Alfajores – they’re a thick layer of dulce de leche sandwiched between two very fluffy, cake-like cookies, covered in dark chocolate.  Seriously good.  I suspect the rest of the ones I was given are not long for this world.

– Anna

Inspired by Eve’s twits

Specifically, the one about coffee and cilantro.  It reminded me of a blog I saw the other day called Putting Weird Things in Coffee, which does exactly what it says on the tin.  I’m not sure that cilantro is one of those weird things, but if you’re curious you can check it out here.

– Anna

Rocket pesto

Conchiglie with mushrooms and rocket pesto

I had some rocket that was on the verge of going off, and didn’t fancy salad (it’s freezing again), so decided to attempt a rocket pesto.  I’ve made regular basil pesto before, but never this variation.  The interwebs yielded this recipe, which I used as a rough guide as I was feeling far too lazy to measure anything.  It worked fairly well, and I suspect would have benefitted from the lemon zest instead of the bottled lemon juice I had to use as a substitute.

I served it over conchiglie and sauteed mushrooms, and it was pretty successful.  But even improved with lemon zest, it’ll never trump my love of basil pesto.  And one word of warning – it’s very prone to getting stuck in your teeth.

Rocket pesto (from Taste Italia):

3 tbsp pine kernels, toasted
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 large bunch of rocket (about 100g in weight)
100ml olive oil
sea salt
55g Parmesan, finely grated

Process the pine kernels and garlic until finely chopped. Add the lemon zest, rocket and a third of the olive oil, and process until the required texture is achieved, gradually adding more oil. Stir in the Parmesan by hand and season with salt. Adjust the olive-oil content to reach the desired consistency – this pesto needs to be quite thick.

– Anna


Have to get my fix somehow...

Having left my cafetiere at Buster’s house after high tea (Ryan, please to post pictures!), I’ve had to improvise a way to make coffee this week.  A jug and a sieve have worked perfectly, probably because I have coarsely-ground Peet’s coffee at the moment that my mom brought from California at Christmas.  I love Peet’s.

– Anna