Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Be My Valentine


Valentine's Cupcakes

Twas the night before Valentine's and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring...

Except that crazy baker.

Tonight Mr Canbella was away for business so I thought I would do some experimental love themed baking in honour of Valentine's Day tomorrow. :)



Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pancake Tuesday!

Vanilla and Cinnamon Pancakes with Maple Syrup, Burnt Butter and Vanilla Icecream

In Australia, it is traditional for some Christian groups to eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday.  This tradition is said to be based in the Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras custom of using up all of your fats and indulgent foods before the beginning of Lent.

Although strict adherence to religious practices might be  becoming less popular, many people still hold onto cultural practices of religions, especially those surrounding special days in the calendar.

Regardless of your religious convictions or opinions, doesn't everyone love a holiday or seasonal food?

Tonight, to mark Shrove Tuesday in our household we enjoyed some delicious homemade pancakes. It was nice to think of these as an indulgent special treat, as we sometimes forget how lucky we are in our wonderful abundant life here in Australia. Only two generations ago ice cream itself was a rare and expensive treat, not something just kept in the household freezer (what freezer?) to grab a scoop any old time. And of course, many people around the world could never dream of eating such a beautiful and superfluous meal. But I think that is a discussion for another time.

Onto the recipe.



Sunday, February 10, 2013

Hazzzaaaa! Baked Doughnuts!

Spiced Vanilla Baked Doughnuts with Vanilla Glaze

So, you might have read my last adventure in experimental baking: The Baked Doughnut.

Since I made that first batch I have been super busy with work, most nights I have been working til very late at night. So no baking. :(

Tonight I was finally able to have  night off and I decided to make a new and improved batch, with the aim of making them lighter and fluffier. I didn't use any fancy equipment, just mixing bowls, whisks, the doughnut pan and the oven.

They are beautiful, light and fluffy with a nice crisp shell and a lovely caramel colour. I'm super-duper pleased with them!!!

Spiced Vanilla Doughnuts with Vanilla Glaze

Makes 12 small doughnuts

Spiced Vanilla Baked Doughnuts with Vanilla Glaze, Ingredients

Dough
1 1/4 cups plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

2 Tbs Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
3 Tbs Nuttelex Olive Oil Spread
1/4 cup Natvia for Baking
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbs vanilla bean extract
1/2 tsp Wilton butter essence

1/2 cup milk
1 large egg
2 Tbs water

Glaze
1 cup icing sugar mixture
3 Tbs milk
1 1/2 Tbs Nuttelex Olive Oill Spread
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tsp rose water essence

1. Preheat oven to 180 C.
2. Place flour, baking powder and baking soda in a small bowl and mix well.
3. In a large mixing bowl combine coconut oil, Nuttelex, Natvia, brown sugar, slat, cinnamon, butter essence and vanilla bean extract and beat with a balloon whisk until smooth.
4. In a measuring jug, measure your milk and then add your egg and water and beat lightly to break up the egg.
5. Place 1/3 of the flour mixture into the main mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Place 1/2 of the milk mixture in the large bowl and whisk. Add another 1/3 of the flour and combine. Add the remaining milk, combine and then add the last of the flour. Mix with the whisk until just smooth.

Spiced Vanilla Baked Doughnuts with Vanilla Glaze, Batter

6. Transfer the mixture into a zip lock bag. Snip off one corner of the bag and pipe into your doughnut tin, filling each hole 1/2 to 2/3 full.
7. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.
8. Meanwhile place the icing sugar mixture and milk in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Add Nuttelex, rose water and vanilla and whisk until smooth.

Spiced Vanilla Baked Doughnuts with Vanilla Glaze, Glaze

9. Remove doughnuts from oven. Cool in tin for 3 minutes and then turn out.

Spiced Vanilla Baked Doughnuts with Vanilla Glaze
10. You can dip them in the glaze when warm for a thin coating or wait until they are cool and add a thicker layer. It's up to you!!!

Spiced Vanilla Baked Doughnuts with Vanilla Glaze


Spiced Vanilla Baked Doughnuts with Vanilla Glaze

Note: I may or may not have completely submerged a hot doughnut in the glaze and then plonked it on a plate to eat with a cup of tea in celebration. ;)

Spiced Vanilla Baked Doughnuts with Vanilla Glaze

Enjoy!

Ella xx


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Giselle

Last weekend Mr Canbella and I headed to our home town to visit his parents and also to receive my birthday gift from them (which was a surprise to me). When we arrived on the Friday night I received my amazing present and jumped up and down squealing. Yeah, I'm just cool like that.

Paris Opera Ballet Giselle Ticket

But, in all seriousness, what ballet loving lady would hold back upon receiving tickets to the Paris Opera Ballet performing Giselle? I mean, really. Insane.

The next night we headed in on the train to the city. I was really happy on the train. Which, being a public transport veteran, I realise is completely inappropriate on any non-national-holiday day. My happy vibe was incongruous with the general grumpy, gritty and gruff vibe. ;)

Outfit for Paris Opera Ballet

We had dinner at our favourite little restaurant Vini. (I mean teeny tinycheck this out!)The food and service there is amazing. We enjoyed some fresh house made ricotta with grilled broccoli, carpaccio kingfish, a duck pasta and a squid pasta. We couldn't help but squeeze in dessert and went for the chocolate tart with fried rosemary topping. Yum!

Vini Restaurant, Sydney

The best part of our dining experience was our gracious and cheerful French waiter who enthused about the Paris Opera Ballet and was just generally fantastic. Loyalty rewarded!

Vini Restaurant, Sydney

We then walked down to the theatre and enjoyed a champagne before the show. Heading into the theatre I felt super excited and reminded myself to stay present and not get too carried away with the emotion of the story throughout the performance because I wanted to remember every moment. But, hey, it was Giselle, who was I kidding!

Paris Opera Ballet Giselle
All I say about the performance was that it was transcendent. Technically, artistically it was perfect; and just so beautiful.

Paris Opera Ballet Giselle
The drama of the second act was amazing. The Wilis were terrifying in their unified determination. The grouped choreography and staging was very effective. Above all, it made me cry, touched me and took me outside of myself, so really how much more can you ask for from art?
Paris Opera Ballet Giselle

The hilarious conclusion to the night was the huge contrast from the ballet patrons to the passengers on our late night train home. We looked so fancy and sober that even the train guard complimented us and said goodbye as we alighted. Haha!

It was a beautiful night that I'll always treasure and such a thoughtful gift. Mr Canbella's parents are the best!!!

Happy on the train


Looking forward to many dance adventures in 2013,
Ella xx