Yelly Reads

The Cake Book Challenge!

I am doing a Julie Powell!  This challenge that I’ve taken on is getting more and more daunting as I think about it.

I have decided to cook through this book:

The Cake Book

It’s a book from Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube series (I also have the BBQ Book too which is excellent!) published by Penguin Books.  The book is called The Cake Book.  The recipes are written by Jemma Wilson who is the wunderkind behind Crumbs & Doilies.  If you’re into street food, you’ll know that C&D offers a really good range of lovely (heavy on the lovely) cupcakes.  I love the mini cupcakes that they offer the most because they are bite-sized pieces of heaven!  And they look so cute and dainty, almost too good-looking to eat.  Almost.  I thought to myself, well, if these are Cupcake Jemma’s recipes, well, they are definitely worth making!

There are 50 recipes in The Cake Book.  There are 26 weeks left in the year.  If I manage 2 recipes each week, I will have cooked through the entire book at the end of the year!  I am thankful that I can bring the cupcakes to work or share them with friends.  Because my blood sugar would not appreciate the increase in sugar intake!

I like that I am in the same situation as Julie Powell was when she started the Julie/Julia project.  I have a full-time job and a long commute at both ends of the day (mind you, I’m not sure how long Julie Powell’s commute was!)!  Am I crazy?  Definitely.  Is this self-inflicted project bigger than I think it is?  Probably.  But am I excited?  You betcha!  There are so many interesting recipes in the book.  I am looking forward to making brittle!  If Julie Powell can do it, so can I!

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Yelly Reads

Book du jour: Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously

Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell.  “A culinary legend provides a frustrated office worker a new recipe for life.”

I’ve got the paperback version. 320 pages, size 1.9 x 13.2 x 19.8 cm.  Published by Penguin Books.  That being said, I also have the Kindle version!  But because this is one of my favourite books, I am going to go old style and read the actual book!

I’ve probably read this book at least 9 times.  I’ve watched the movie more!  In fact, as I write this blog entry, it’s on.  Right now.  I’ve got Meryl Streep, Stanley Tucci and Amy Adams on my TV screen.

It’s my comfort movie because I watch it whenever I’m home ill.  It fills me with hope that someday, my blog will mean something, that someone will read it and think, “Hey, that girl has something to say and she says it well!”  That is the dream.

I love this book because it’s about someone I can relate to.  I can relate to the experiences and it’s someone who knows about the Bataan Death March (which my grandfather was part of — he was a Philippine World War II veteran)!  Every time I read it, I just smile.  I would love to meet Julie Powell.  I would love to pick her brains.  I would love to say, “How in the world did you manage to start living the dream?!?”

Because that is the dream.  To write.  In my case it’s to write about food.

So I am about to embark into another journey into the world of Julie Powell challenging herself to cook through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  And, oh boy, am I going to enjoy this particular ride.  Again.

Julie_and_julia

Yelly Writes

Breaking the silence…again!

This is becoming a blog-a-month kind of thing.  I’m not happy about that though.  I seem to have lost my writing mojo.  I love writing but life seems to have overtaken my writing aspirations.  What to do?  What does one do?  How does one conquer writing block?!?  How does one climb over the writing wall?!?

Sometimes I look at the social wasteland that is my social life and I wonder what in the world has happened?!?  I used to go out for coffee with friends, go window shopping, blog loads and be interesting!  Now I only have thoughts that never get written down, that never get expressed.  I have become a jumble of insecurities and unrealised dreams.  I am completely homesick and I feel like I haven’t achieved anything at all!

I’ve tried everything:  post-a-day, post-a-week, post-a-photo, post about food, post about cooking, post-a-whinge, post-a-peeve, deadlines for posts (this particular attempt at encouraging more blogs reminds me of a quote from one of my favourite movies of all time, Julie and Julia,Julie Powell’s husband Eric said about deadlines — “I love deadlines, I love the sound they make as they go whooshing past!”).  These tools don’t seem to encourage the blogging juices!

Frustrated am I!

Whinge over.

Yelly Writes

To bake or not to bake?

This was imported from my old blog and this was published on 24 September 2010.  Funnily enough, it’s that time of year again.  Series 3 of the Great British Bake Off starts tomorrow night at 8PM!

***

I am inspired to bake again.  And it’s all the Great British Bake Off’s fault.

The final show was a few days ago and am now itching to try a new set of recipes.  It probably wasn’t a good idea to watch Julie and Julia during the weekend because I am now inspired to do a Julie Powell–meaning I could try 1 recipe for every day of the year.  That would be expensive and very exhausting.  While I applaud Julie Powell for doing the amazing (and getting her writing kicked off after the blog), I don’t think I have the stamina and I want to remain friends with my finances.

I do have a book in mind, should I decide to do a Julie.  If she (Julie Powell) has Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking (which I also have but have only managed to leaf through twice since I received it as a gift on Christmas), I have Delia Smith’s Complete Illustrated Cookery Course, which is a very scary, very thick book.  I may just put off Delia’s book for a while.  I like being able to convince myself that I have the capability to accomplish my goals and I think that setting myself to do every recipe in Delia’s book is setting myself up for a fall.  It is achievable but not right now.  Now isn’t a great time for me!  And somehow, I feel better after admitting that!

I also aim to try all the recipes in the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.  Realistically, I think the HBC would be a better bet since I’ve managed to try 6 out of the 60 recipes in the book (which always turn out perfectly!  if you dabble in baking, this is, seriously, a book that you should have in your cookbook arsenal!).

Shall we put it to a vote?  To bake or not to bake?

Yelly Eats

Macadamia and Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is one of my favourite Julie Powell quotes from the movie Julie & Julie (one of my favourite movies EVER!):

“Chocolate cream pie! You know what I love about cooking? I love that after a day when nothing is sure and when I say nothing, I mean nothing. You can come home and absolutely know that if you add egg yolks to chocolate and sugar and milk, it will get thick. That’s such a comfort.”

And Julie Powell was so right!  It is such a comforting certainty that if you have the ingredients, a relatively reliable set of scales, measuring spoons, an oven and elbow grease and a wonderful recipe book, you will, more or less, make something comforting to eat.

I haven’t been feeling well, so I thought maybe if I whipped something up, and it turned out more or less acceptable, I would feel a little better.  And looking at my chocolate chip cookies, I do feel better.  I can’t eat them yet.  But I do feel a sense of accomplishment that has made me feel better than a caplet of paracetamol ever has!

I added a twist to the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook recipe—macadamia nuts!  Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

Makes 24 – 40 cookies

  • 225 g unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 350 g soft light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 400 g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 bicarbonate of soda
  • 225 g dark chocolate chips (or dark choccie chopped)
  • 150 g macadamia nuts roughly chopped (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C (325°F).
  2. Sift together flour, salt and bicarb of soda into a bowl and set aside.
  3. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, making sure everything is well combined before adding the next egg.  Add vanilla extract and mix until well incorporated.  Scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure all ingredients are well-combined.
  4. Add the flour mixture in quarters and mix until a smooth dough is formed.  Add macadamia nuts and chocolate chips and mix until evenly distributed.
  5. Depending on your cookie sheet, arrange 6-8 amounts of cookie dough on baking tray covered with parchment.  Bake for 10 minutes.