bt tv clips + canadian living

November 20, 2011 § 8 Comments

Ok, so a month later, finally a recap of my first TV appearance!

I had the most wonderful experience at Canadian Living Magazine headquarters and Citytv Breakfast Television here in Toronto on October 25th!  It was a very early morning, which started at 3:45 when my alarm sounded, after which I immediately threw hot rollers in my hair, and loaded my car with carved pumpkins.  Arrival and set-up was 5:30.  Make-up 6:00.  And my super short three minutes of fame slated at 7:53 am.

This may sound odd to you — in the spring months I had actually visualized being on Breakfast Television and carving my butternut squashes.  A premonition?  “The Secret” come to life?  Ok, I’m not here to prove nor disprove the law of attraction.  However, back in the spring, I had a moment of reflection after a couple of friends urged me to pitch my crafts to the show.  I supposed if I would pitch anything in the spring, it would have to be for something six months ahead, in the fall.  I thought, if I were to make my first crafting appearance on live local TV, I’ll carve squashes.

As it goes, I didn’t bother with the pitch.  Who cares about a random blogger carving anything on live television?  The end to a reverie.

Then the bizarre twist of fate.  While I was in California last month, I received an email.  The short of it:  Breakfast Television.  Me.  Carving Pumpkins.  Here’s to you, universe — in my hands are the fate of pumpkins, not squashes!  Seriously, though, what are the chances that my first television appearance would be to carve some autumnal gourd as I had earlier prophesized?

More importantly, you’re probably wondering — how do I get a random email request such as this?

I could not be more thankful to Canadian Living Magazine.  I guess I have been silent here and not been revealing much about the work I do outside of this blog, until the work manifests itself in public.  This year, I have had the greatest creative opportunity to work on crafts projects with Canadian Living Magazine.  You’ve read the posts I wrote for The Craft Blog earlier this year.  But, I have also been busy designing some fun crafts for the magazine’s print issues in 2012.  The process is lengthy for print publication, and crafts ideas and articles go through a gestation period of sorts for about ten months before they are born into the world.  In fact, this month of November, I was busily crafting for the April and May 2012 issues.  Yep, despite my lull online, I’m not totally a slacker (not entirely, though I should totally pick up the pace on this blog)!

So, on with the show!  We had four segments filmed live inside the Test Kitchen (where the magazine prepares all recipes in-house).  I joined the three amazingly talented women: Austen Gilliland (Senior Editor and Craft Editor), Adell Shneer (Test Kitchen Manager), and Rheanna Kish (Food Specialist), and we each did a segment on creative Halloween ideas.

Of course, seeing that this is a month late, I just went to Breakfast Television’s site and wasn’t able to find the full episode that day.  However, I found our individual video clips.  I have no idea how to embed non-Youtube videos, so please click on each image to link to the video:

Click on image to link to video.

Adell had the first segment and concocted a cauliflower “brain” with dip.  You totally have to try this recipe out.  It is packed with cheese and absolutely delicious!

Click on image to link to video.

Me and my hair and, oh right, my pumpkins went for the second segment.  I really did not anticipate a third of the segment would become about my hair!  I wish there was time to explain the “convertible pumpkins” which let your children design and paint the features of the pumpkin.  The features can then be placed on the pumpkins for funny faces during the day and removed to make jack-o-lanterns at night

Click on image to link to video.

Rheanna had the third segment and she made some yummy sweet-salty-spicy zombie popcorn.  I could not have enough!  Sweet.  Salty.  Spicy.  You would be remiss not to try this recipe out!

Click on image to link to video.

The fourth clip of Austen doing creepy crafts is not available.  Boo.  It’s really too bad, she made awesome paper packaging for the popcorn!   On a good note, I did a search and found this clip from last winter when she shared cool crafts ideas from the book, “Create, Update, Remake”.  How timely — these are fantastic projects and gifts for winter and Christmas!  Enjoy!

pumpkin spice candy apples

October 2, 2011 § 7 Comments

It’s pumpkin and apple season!

I’ve noticed that when candy or chocolate apples are made to look like pumpkins, lines are piped on the surface of the apple, which happens to be quite the opposite of how pumpkins truly are.  I figured, why not imitate the recessed lines of pumpkins by cutting thin slices out of the apple?

So, that’s exactly what I did to make these apples look truly like pumpkins.

Then I figured, why not make them taste like pumpkin pie?

And that’s exactly what I did.  I threw in some cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger into the candy melts.  And now my pumpkin candy apples taste just like pumpkin pie.

Did the apples brown at the cut edges?  Not so much.  They were immediately dipped in candy melts, which coated them well enough to keep from browning.  Would the apples brown the next day because they’ve been cut?  Hmmm, I’m not so sure.  I ate almost all of them almost immediately.

I did save one for a friend, which I packaged using the technique in my recent tutorial on packaging cupcakes, cookies, and macarons, this time using a 2L pop bottle.

timbit tres leches with mangoes

July 20, 2011 § 1 Comment

My cousin and I had a delicious dinner last night at Julie’s Cuban, capped with a sweet serving of tres leches.  I was had at the mere mention of milk (“leche”), but three (“tres”)?  My knees buckled.  My head felt faint.  I have had many a love affair with milk, but none with such gusto as with this dessert of cake soaked in three types of milk – evaporated *heart racing*, condensed *palms sweating*, and cream *moans*.

Not surprisingly, twenty-four hours later, here I am blogging about my very own twist on tres leches: milk-soaked cake donut holes topped with golden ripe mangoes.

Canadians are so loyal to our famous coffee/donut shop chain Tim Hortons that the term “Timbits” has become generic for all donut holes.  If you are in the US, there are many Tim Hortons shops sprouting in the northern states, and many have started to swarm downtown New York.  It is a must-try, if you find one in your neighborhood!  For these tres leches, I used the simplest, least sweet donut holes: old-fashioned cake timbits.

It is the season for mangoes.  They are plenty in the summer and are sweetest at this time.  I recommend sweet Philippine mangoes.  If you cannot find them, ataulfo mangoes are the second best thing.  Make sure to pick the one that is most golden.

Here are the easy steps into turning your donut holes into tres leches.  This is a recipe per portion:

3 cake donut holes (not yeast donuts)

1/4 c evaporated milk

1 tbsp condensed milk

1 tbsp heavy cream

1. Place donut holes in a cup or goblet.

2. Slice the donut holes through the middle to ensure they will absorb as much of the milk mixture as possible.

3. In a separate cup, combine all three milks.

4. Pour over donut holes.

5. Chill in the refrigerator for an hour.  Every fifteen minutes, turn the donut holes in order that all sides are soaked evenly.

6. Top with chopped mangoes and whipped cream.

malted milk custard tart with oreo crust

July 18, 2011 § 2 Comments

I dedicate my latest kitchen experimentation to fellow lovers of Whoppers, Maltesers, Horlicks, Ovaltine Malt, any unbranded chocolate malt balls and malt drinks, and well, everything made of malted milk.  With all my love to you, I present this malted milk custard tart with Oreo crust!  If I had a signature dessert, this may be it.

I have had an obsession with malted milk since childhood, specifically Horlicks.  So much so that I wanted to call this “Horlicks custard tart”, however, I realize that not many people outside of Asia and Europe are aware that Horlicks exists, let alone what it is.  Well, Horlicks is a malted milk drink, like Ovaltine Malt.  I happen to be very familiar with both brands, but all my life, have favored the richness of Horlicks.  I have seen Carnation Malt being sold at Target in the US, but I have yet to try it (I’m headed to California next week, I will make sure to pack one in my luggage home).  Are you a malted milk lover?  Which malted milk mix do you most prefer?  And most importantly: Whoppers or Maltesers?

For the crust:

1 box of Oreos (30 cookies)

1/3 c butter

1. In a food processor, process Oreo cookies into crumbs.

2. Melt butter.  Pour over cookie crumbs and combine.

3. Spoon crumbs into a 10″ pie pan and press on the bottom and sides.  I used a 10″ fluted pie pan with removable bottom.

4. Bake in 350F for 10 minutes.


For the custard filling:

3 c milk

1-1/2 c malt powder*

1/2 c corn starch

6 egg yolks

3 tbsp sugar*

*Please note: the brand of malt powder alters the sweetness of the custard.  I used Horlicks, which is not overly sweet.  However, other brands such as Ovaltine contain more sugar and will not require any sugar to be added, as well as may require the malt powder to be reduced to as little as 1 c.  Please remember that the lack of sweetness of the malt custard will be offset by the sweetness of the Oreo crust.

1. In a small bowl, whisk corn starch in 1 c of milk until dissolved.

2. In a large sauce pan whisk malt powder in remaining milk until malt powder is dissolved.  Turn heat to medium and add corn starch mixture, egg yolks, and sugar.  Whisk continuously until the mixture boils and thickens, approximately 20 minutes.

3. Let cool slightly before pouring custard into crust.

4. Let sit at room temperature until pie is cool.  Garnish with your favorite chocolate malt balls.

5. Chill in refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight.



cocoa-roasted almond popsicles

July 17, 2011 § 2 Comments

I was never an advocate of homemade ice bars until last summer, after experimenting with batches of almond muhallebi for O.T.  Muhallebi is a Turkish milk pudding thickened with rice flour and topped with nuts.  During one of my kitchen experiments, I coarsely ground a generous portion of vanilla roasted almonds which I combined right into my homemade milk pudding, instead of as garnish.  It was nuts.  Like, nutty.  Like, utter nutty goodness.  I was inspired to freeze the almond muhallebi mixture in a popsicle mold.  Since it is a milk pudding, there is none of the crystallized ice often found in popsicles (in fact, it is the crystallized ice that always had me disappointed at homemade ice milk bars). Even though no cream is used, the result is a thick and creamy ice bar (merit goes entirely to the rice flour), packed with bits of soft crunch and a wallop of nuttiness

I left my popsicle mold in California with O.T. and regret not picking up an extra set for my use here in Toronto.  I have scoured so many dollar stores and home stores in Toronto in search of a bar-shaped popsicle mold, to no avail.  If you are in the west coast, you can find popsicle bar molds at Daiso for $1.50. I finally found this pretty one for $2.99 at Meijer in Michigan when I visited my parents for the 4th of July weekend.  And impressively, they perfectly match the milk/juice carton basket weave vases that I crafted in April.

Sadly, I have not been able to find vanilla roasted almonds since last summer.  But there is a new kid in town — cocoa roast almonds.  I am a vanilla type of gal, however these bad boys have won me over.

To make these creamy, nutty ice bars, you will need:

2 c milk

3 tbsp rice flour

3 tbsp sugar

1/2 c cocoa roasted almonds

1. In a food processor, process the almonds to a coarse grind.

2. In a sauce pan, whisk together milk, rice flour, and sugar over medium heat.  Whisk continuously until the mixture boils and thickens, approximately 20 minutes.  Remove from heat.

3. Whisk in ground almonds.

4. Let cool for five minutes and spoon into popsicle molds.  Freeze overnight.

You may substitute the rice flour with all purpose flour if you do not want the hint of rice milk flavor in your popsicles, as the rice flour will leave that.  I enjoy rice milk and, like the Turks, I come from a culture that makes a majority of desserts with rice flour.  All purpose flour does the trick of thickening without any added flavor.  Next time, I will try it with some almond milk.

inuksuk maple caramels

June 29, 2011 § 1 Comment

In two days, Canada will celebrate its 144th birthday.  I whipped up a quick hands-on Canadian treat in honor of our holiday.  This is a fun cooking and crafting project for you and your little ones to enjoy — miniature inuksuks constructed out of homemade maple caramels.

In the west and Arctic regions of Canada, inuksuks stand aplenty.  You may have seen them before.  They are native manmade stone structures mostly used as markers for travel or for orientation.

You may probably know this: in Canada, we are mad about maple.  On our flag we bear the emblematic maple leaf.  In most urban places, you cannot pass a kilometer’s stretch of road without spotting the maple leaf somehow, typically adorning shop signs and windows.  Even our hockey team in Toronto is aptly named the Maple Leafs.  Without surprise, we are the globe’s biggest producer of sweet maple syrup, on whose sole existence the pancake depends.

These delicious caramels are made of pure maple syrup and are very simple to make — no need to invest in a candy thermometer.  They’re that simple!  I used salted butter for that salted caramel flavor, and evaporated milk for that maple fudge taste (I’ve seen the best maple fudge stores flaunting cans of Carnation).

To make these caramels, you will need:

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1 tbsp salted butter

1/2 cup evaporated milk

1. Over medium heat, melt butter in maple syrup.  Allow to boil for five minutes.

2. Add evaporated milk.  Stir continuously and allow to boil further for fifteen to twenty minutes until the mixture is slightly thickened and turns a deep golden amber.  The lighter amber has a soft chew.  The darker amber turns into a hard caramel candy.  The choice is up to you!

3. On parchment, very quickly spoon small pebble mounds of caramel and some long, narrow ledge shapes.

4. Allow caramels to sit until they are cool to touch, but warm enough that they will stick to each other as you construct.  Stack the caramels to create inukshuks.

You will notice the taller inuksuk has slightly lighter caramels.  Those caramels are chewy and have some slack when constructed.  The shorter inuksuk has darker caramels, and are hard candies, and perhaps stand better as inukshuks.  Both are equally yummy!



calla lily tuile cookie with lemon ricotta

May 4, 2011 § 17 Comments

 The Iron Craft Challenge  is one of those things I wish I had time to accomplish since my recent life change.  I have set out ambitious plans for each of the weekly projects, but time has shuffled those ideas to the back burner.  However, this week, I had a couple of flower-making ideas slated for the blog in time for Mother’s Day and thought it was fitting for this week’s Iron Craft Challenge 18: April Showers.  The challenge is to bring May flowers, crafted any way you like.

As I have a penchant for crafting with food, I made bouquets of cally lily tuile cookies filled with lemon ricotta.  How?  Well, your simple fortune cookie batter just got reshaped into these spring flowers.


I had my first attempt at fortune cookies over ten years ago when my best friend shared her discovery of Martha Stewart’s recipe.  This was right when Martha catapulted fortune cookies into trend status.  Since then, I have made hundreds of fortune cookies for friends and family over the past decade.  I have also taken Martha’s trusted recipe to make my own creations from the batter.  The calla lily is one that I’ve been proud of creating, as well as a very simple and perfect food craft for this time of year.


To make your template, you will need: a 4″ x 4-1/2″ cut sheet of paper, a plastic cutting sheet (or similar flat plastic item), pencil, scissors, X-Acto knife, and cutting mat.

a. Fold your sheet of paper in half lengthwise.

b. Cut into a spade shape.

c. Trace on plastic cutting sheet.

d. Using an X-Acto knife, cut a hole through.  Insert your scissors through the hole, and cut on the marked line.


You are welcome to use your favorite tuile or fortune cookie recipe.  Here is the link to Martha Stewart’s fortune cookie recipe  that I’ve counted on for years.

Make the batter as instructed.  For this particular recipe, substitute with lemon extract and add a few drops of yellow food color. 

1. Spread a thin layer of batter over the stencil.  You can fit three in one cookie sheet, which is also the ideal number to get through the next step.

2. Bake until golden (with my oven, it takes three and a half minutes with a timer).  Quickly remove cookie from the pan with a spatula and roll up each side as shown.  Fold the sides with a slight curl.  You will need to work quickly while the cookie is hot, and quickly repeat for the remaining two cookies on the sheet.

3. Place on a cooling rack.

4. Pipe the lemon ricotta filling.

 For the lemon ricotta filling, you will need:

One package of stovetop lemon pie

2 cups of milk

1 cup of ricotta cheese

Yellow food color

Red food color.

Prepare the pie filling according to package instructions, however, substitute the water with milk.  Let cool.  Combine ricotta cheese.  Add a few drops of yellow food color and one drop of red food color for a light orange tint.

Once the lemon ricotta filling is piped, the cookie must be served immediately to maintain its crisp texture.

 This single recipe yields 4 dozen cookies — there’s enough cally lily tuile cookie bouquets to share with everyone!


sweet potato nacho poutine

April 30, 2011 § 4 Comments

It’s a very, very big night here in Toronto — UFC is here for the first time (after a drawn out political battle) and our national fighting hero, GSP, is defending his title.  I made this for snacking during the fight and to celebrate Georges St.-Pierre’s Quebecois roots.  Poutine is a pride of Canada, specifically, our French speaking province of Quebec, where GSP was born and raised.  I know you can always simply look for authentic poutine recipes online (it’s quite simple — fries, gravy, and cheese curds), so as expected, I am throwing in a twist.  Sweet potatoes were a staple in my childhood and make for a slightly more exotic version of poutine.  Latin flavors are among my favorites, so out go the gravy and curds and in come the pico de gallo, sour cream, green onions, and cheddar.  Here’s my not-so-Quebecois version of poutine.  (Pardon, mes amis québécois).

Sweet potato fries:

2 large sweet potatoes

2 tbsp corn starch

1/4 tsp red ground pepper

1/4 tsp Spanish paprika

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

I prefer narrow-cut fries, almost shoestring.  After cutting, dry out the fries for half an hour to an hour.  The less moisture in the fries, the crispier.  Toss in starch, paprika, ground red pepper, salt and pepper until coated.  Fry in oil, a quarter batch at a time, between 5-7 minutes or until golden.


1/2 pound ground beef

1/4 tsp Spanish paprika

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 Roma tomatoes, finely chopped

1/4 c cilantro

half lime, juiced

1 c sour cream

1/4 c chopped green onions

salt and pepper, to taste

hot sauce, to taste

3/4 c grated cheddar cheese

Ground beef topping: Take half of the onions and saute in oil.  Add ground beef, paprika, salt and pepper, and a quarter cup of chopped tomatoes.  Brown ground beef.

Pico de gallo: In a food processor, process the remaining chopped onions and chopped tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, hot sauce, and salt and pepper.

Top your fries with ground beef topping, pico de gallo, sour cream, green onions, and cheese.  Place in preheated 350F oven for five minutes until cheese is melted.  Enjoy a very unconventional take on poutine!

peanut butter and jelly baklava

April 17, 2011 § 6 Comments

I knew that sooner rather than later, my love of all things Turkish would converge with all things familiar and North American.  If you’ve followed my delightful adventures in Turkish gastronomy, I’m sure you’ve come to know my weakness for their fare.  There is one thing Turkish, though, that I happen to like but cannot love with wholehearted abandon — baklava.  The mere thought of it makes my cheeks cave in and my blood sugar spike like a knee-jerk reaction.  Baklava is simply too sweet for some.  But it doesn’t have to be.

I happen to love making the odd cultural food fusion like my red bean and green tea tiramisu (Japan meet Italy; Italy, Japan).  I figured, why not offset some of baklava’s sweetness with the flavoring of good old North American PB&J?

If you want to try it out, you’ll need:

1 box of phyllo pastry

3/4 c of butter, melted

1/2 c of peanut butter

1/2 c of jam (I prefer raspberry because it is tart and less sweet)

1 c of crushed peanuts

1 c water

2/3 c sugar

1 tbsp lime cordial or key lime juice

1. Cut phyllo pastry in half.  You will have two stacks of phyllo.  Grease a rectangular baking dish.  Place one phyllo pastry sheet in the baking dish and brush with butter.  Repeat until you have used half the number of sheets from one stack.

2. Warm peanut butter in microwave for 30 seconds.  Spread 1/4 c of peanut butter on the pastry.

3. Spread 1/4 c of jam on the peanut butter.

4. Layer the remaining number of sheets from the first stack of phyllo pastry, one sheet at a time, brushing each sheet with butter.

5. Take the remaining peanut butter and spread on the pastry.  Repeat with jam.  Sprinkle crushed peanuts.

6. Layer the second stack of phyllo pastry one sheet at a time, brushing each sheet with butter.  Cut into squares followed by diagonal cuts into triangles.  Pour the rest of the butter on the pastry, making sure the butter seeps in between the cuts.  Bake in preheated oven at 350 F for 40 minutes, until golden.  While the pastry is baking, place water, sugar, and key lime juice in a sauce pan and boil for 10 minutes until the mixture turns into a light syrup.  Remove from heat.  When the pastry is baked, remove from oven and immediately pour the light syrup on top of the pastry.  Let cool.

I was due to meet with some friends yesterday and thought to take advantage of the perfect opportunity to make this little experiment so I could have others try it and, just as importantly, so I’m not left with a tray of experimental baklava at home for my sole consumption.  I packaged the slices in boxes and quickly whipped up some labels before giving them away.  The verdict?  This is not the first and only time I will be making these to give away.

solar system cake pops

March 29, 2011 § 32 Comments

As I consider the diminished frequency of my posts (thanks to several weeks of juggling three jobs, followed by a dramatic lifestyle change into a 9-5 as of last week), I really ought to avoid consecutive posts on the same topic.  However, I had a surplus of cake and frosting from my previous post, carrot cake pops.  The result: a further exercise in the making of cake pops, specifically marbleizing, manifested in the likeness of planets.

In the midst of my cake pop research, I stumbled across Wilton’s decorating technique of marbleizing candy for pops.  I contemplated uses for this particular technique and was inspired by something I’ve been teaching children over the past three years — to build a model of the solar system.

Simply take several colors of candy melts, swirl a tiny bit, and let the act of dipping create the full marble effect.  For Saturn’s rings, I made a marbleized candy disc on parchment, carved away the center with a knife, and slipped it over the planet.

Marbleizing is a fitting process to make planets, especially the hazy clouds of Jupiter and Saturn.  This is a fun kitchen project to do with kids.  Your little ones can learn about the colors and surfaces of each planet as each is created.  What’s best is these planetary models are not only educational, they are edible!

carrot cake pops

March 27, 2011 § 54 Comments

I have officially jumped on the bandwagon of cake pops.  A bit tardy on the trend, but better late than never.  For my first endeavor in cake pop creation, I thought to start with something simply and organically shaped — the carrot.  Of course, carrot cake is among my favorites.  Appropriately so, these carrot cake pops are both carrot in flavor and form.

I had ambitious plans to make my own carrot cake with honey walnut cream cheese frosting.  However, considering I have never developed my own carrot cake recipe (yet) and although the recipes I’ve posted here have been my own making, I decided to skip that process by sticking to the tried, tested, and true method of making cake pops — cake mix and ready-made frosting, which is what I discovered online that most people use.

Cake pops are usually in the form of balls, like a lollipop, although they are evolving with more dimension.  These carrots are my take on cake pops.  If you haven’t seen cake pops before, head straight over to Bakerella, who, from what I gather, is the person to thank for inventing cake pops in general.

I did face one very, very silly conundrum — which side of the carrot to insert the stick.  I wanted the cake pop to be held as you would hold the wider end of the carrot when being eaten (meaning the stick is at the top of the carrot).  I already knew in advance I wanted paper grass in the photo.  The stick being at the top of the carrot, I had the forethought of the carrots appearing to grow upside down and above ground.  So with that thought, I was stuck.  I chewed it over for a while.  But I thought to stick with it.  Oh, the little things that confound me.

You will need: carrot cake mix, cream cheese frosting, about three cups of orange candy melts, half a cup of green candy melts, and lollipop sticks.  All this stuff is about $10 and yields 20 carrot cake pops.

1. Bake your cake according to package instructions.  Let cool.  Crumble baked cake into a bowl and mix with 2/3 of the frosting.

2. With clean hands, take about 1/6 cup of cake and form into a carrot shape.  Chill in the refrigerator for an hour.  NOTE:  In hindsight, I realized that I could’ve achieved great details by using the edge of a butter knife to create short horizontal creases, giving more realism and texture to the surface of the carrots.  The more organic, the better.  I will try this butter knife technique next time.

3. Melt green candy melts.  Dip about 1-1/2″ of the lollipop stick.  Insert 1″ into the chilled carrot cakes.  The candy melt will automatically pool around the lollipop stick.

4. Melt orange candy melts in a tall, narrow container (I used a 6″ mug).  I did a cup at a time.  Dip the carrot cakes.  Tap off excess by holding the stick with one hand and flicking the tip of the stick with fingers of the other hand.  Stick into a Styrofoam block and let dry.

Enjoy making these carrot cake pops for Easter!

black milk tea tapioca pudding

March 13, 2011 § 3 Comments

I suffer a nagging obsession over bubble tea (or boba tea, which more accurately implies tea with tapioca).  I love it so much that I rang in 2011 with sips of black milk bubble tea.  A resounding “yes!” to bubble tea over champagne.  And if it weren’t chockfull of calories, I would have it everyday.  Well, I do, in fact, prepare black milk tea (without tapioca) everyday at home.  And so, it was over one of my daily black milk tea breaks that I thought — why not black milk tea tapioca pudding?!?  I love tapioca pudding and what could possibly go wrong to flavor it like the drink I love so much?  Well, it didn’t go wrong.   And I think I just made a brand new dessert!

I made sure to use real tapioca pearls instead of opting for the shortcut, instant tapioca.  Small tapioca pearls are very inexpensive, and you can pick up a nearly one pound bag for $1 at most Asian grocery stores.  They may require a lot of patience to make, but they’re worth the wait.  Make sure to soak your tapioca in the tea overnight to get the full flavor in the pearls.

2 c water

6 bags of black tea

1/3 c small tapioca pearls (not instant)

1 c evaporated milk

1/2 c condensed milk

1 egg yolk


1. Boil water and place tea bags.  Turn off heat.  Steep tea and cool.

2. Add tapioca pearls to tea.  Cover.  Soak overnight.

3. Wring and remove tea bags.  Heat tapioca and tea over medium heat.

4. In a bowl, whisk evaporated milk, condensed milk, and egg yolk.

5. Add whisked milk and egg to tapioca and tea, stirring continuously over medium heat until it boils and thickens.

6. Reduce heat and simmer for five minutes until desired consistency.

The use of evaporated milk and condensed milk is what makes most Asian black milk tea so special.  And appropriately, they give this tapioca pudding the authentic black milk bubble tea flavor I crave.  Too bad, this is one dessert I can’t have (mustn’t have) everyday.

fig and feta phyllo pockets

February 21, 2011 § 10 Comments

There wasn’t time to craft with O.T. in town for over a week, but he most certainly inspired me to get caught up on my baking.  The kitchen is always bustling with activity when he’s around (though he’s often found elsewhere in the house until it is time to eat!).  It never fails, he always requests a batch of savory phyllo pastry, either filled with eggplant or ground beef.  To break the routine, I decided to make some modifications by eliminating the eggplant and ground beef altogether.

O.T. regularly snacks on dried figs and I was tempted to sneak a few from his stash as filling for the phyllo, along with some goat feta.  It was scrumptiously savory-sweet!  And laughably easy to make.

1.  Cut dried figs in half and fill with a small slice of feta.

2.  Cut phyllo sheets in half.  Take one half-sheet and brush with butter.  Place the feta-filled fig on the bottom right corner of the sheet, with about an inch of space beneath and to the right.

3.  Fold the bottom over.

4.  Fold the right over.

5.  Continue folding the bottom and right edges until you are left with a small 2″ square pocket.

Place on parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes or until golden.

I usually buy a round package of dried figs (containing approximately 20 pieces) for less than $1.50 at the grocery store.

golden chocolate sponge toffee nuggets

February 16, 2011 § 14 Comments

This week on Iron CraftChallenge #7: Midas Touch.  The challenge is to turn any item into gold.

Chocolate sponge toffee rocks are ones I’ve been eager to create for this blog  (I’ve specifically slated them as a treat for Earth Day in April).  The original intent was to paint the chocolate as realistically as I could portray the surface and texture of rocks.  Despite this post today, I am still determined to create that specific project in April as originally intended.  But I simply couldn’t resist making some alterations to those plans when I saw the images of gold leaf chocolate and gold leaf decorated rocks on Iron Craft for this week’s challenge.  Who could resist the combination of edible rocks made of chocolate, sponge toffee, and gold?

O.T. flew into town over the weekend to spend Valentine’s week with me here on my side of the continent.  An aside: I’d like this to be the explanation on record for my inexistent posts over the past seven days.  Aside aside, while shopping this week, coincidentally, we came across bricks of sponge toffee.  He had never seen them in that form before, so I was given an extra reason to pick them up for him to try.  His being here is my waist’s saving grace, otherwise I’d eat this all up on my own  — I’ve granted him jurisdiction over half of the lot.

You will need: sponge toffee brick (for Canadians, I found these for $0.99 at Giant Tiger, but they are also sold for $1.49 at Bulk Barn), chocolate, and edible gold dust (dilute with vanilla extract).

Using a knife, chop the sponge toffee brick into 1″ to  2″ chunks.  Dip in melted chocolate and set.  Paint with edible gold.

edible bunting

January 19, 2011 § 25 Comments

This week on Iron Craft: “Just Bunt”.  The challenge is to design and create bunting, which seems to be all the rage in décor these days.

I thought making decorative flags would be simple enough, being a stationery designer by trade.  However, I would be remiss if I weren’t to explore this challenge outside of the usual parameters (of paper).  So, I decided to save my beautiful stock for something less, well, flat.  I moved on to my next obsession: food.  My bunting is made out of 100% candy.

Thank the geniuses who invented Fruit Roll-ups for providing the world with edible paper, pretty much (albeit very sticky).  Hats off to the masterminds behind licorice lace.

All kudos to the manufacturers aside.  A rant…..I went to two grocery stores and two Walmarts before I found Fruit Roll-ups!  What gives?  Is it a fad of the past?  Fruit-by-the-Foot is fully stocked at all stores.  Betty Crocker must have conclusive market research that children prefer their candy in strips instead of sheets.  But how about grown-up children like me with capricious urges for edible bunting?!?  And don’t get me started on licorice lace.  I couldn’t find the never-ending one-length kind anywhere.  I do love me my Pull-n-Peel, though.  Even if it comes in shorter lengths, it does the job and makes my tummy grin wide (or just wide).

To make your own candy bunting:

1. Take a sheet of Fruit Roll-ups and cut into a triangular flag.  Press a cookie cutter, if desired.  (I wish I had letter cookie cutters to create a version spelling “Eat Me”.  For now, this bunting is a hearty ode to Valentine’s).

2. Press licorice lace about 1/2″ from the edge, with enough hanging on each side to facilitate bow-tying (I used two pieces of Pull-n-Peel).  Fold the edge over the licorice.

3. Trim the remnant into a narrower triangular flag and add licorice lace as above.

4. Tie the two flags together into a bow.  Trim the bow’s tails.

5. Repeat pattern.   NOTE: The candy has much more weight than paper.  It is best to create separate lengths of bunting, each having no more than 4 sheets of Fruit Roll-ups (remnants included).

Kids may just be asking for this as party décor for their next birthday.  Though I can imagine it would be torn apart and eaten before the last guest arrives.

There’s a lot of miniature bunting going on cakes and cupcakes as well.  This, being translucent, is a great alternative to gum paste.

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