Posted in Ramblings

My mind.

I want to stop.

I am sick of fighting.

tired of clawing for every centimeter of space in my own mind

a mind that belongs more to the darkness than to me.

I stopped trying to push it out a long time ago,

darkness became a creepy roommate you tolerate.

we wrestle each other all the time

although not as frequently and fiercely as we used to

but sometimes its almost enough to make me loose my sanity.

Trying to remember a time when my mind was just mine,

is like trying to remember my first breath in this world.

This is an everyday battle,

there are no off days.

This is what a person with mental illness feels like every single day.

It is what I feel everyday.

Imagine trying to tame a dragon living in your head that was never invited.

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Posted in Baking

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake


Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake Recipe
Ingredients
250 g flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
170 g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
100 g granulated sugar
100 g dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
200 g semi-sweet chocolate chips
Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C degrees. Grease a 9-inch pie dish or cake pan. Set aside.
  2. Sift together flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. Beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until creamy and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
  5. Add flour mixture and mix just until combined. Do not overmix. Fold in chocolate chips.
  6. Press cookie dough into the pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown but still soft at the center.
Posted in Baking

Chocolate Stout Brownies for two.

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVE!!! 

The first time I made these brownies they were so popular that the next 2 times I always made two batches each time!

They are super easy and good for taking for your friends’ Christmas party!

 

The Frosting has also beer in it folks!!! Booze + brownies + frosting + more booze = PERFECTION! 

 

 

 

We had a nice little photoshoot for these brownies because they deserved it! Also please ignore my weird hand in the video.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week. Spread the cheer and remember to pay it forward. Small acts of kindness go a long way, longer than we know or realize.


RECIPE

INGREDIENTS:

250ml dark beer

113g unsalted butter

50g + 1 tbsp cocoa powder

100g + 2 tbsp castor sugar

50g dark chocolate

1 egg white

1 tsp vanilla

¼ tsp salt

70g flour

FROSTING:

85g unsalted butter

100g icing sugar

METHOD:

  1. First, make the beer concentrate: add the beer to a small saucepan and boil until it reduces to 1/3 cup. It will take about 20 minutes. Keep an eye on it to prevent boiling-over.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325, and line a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
  3. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the butter, cocoa powder, sugar, and unsweetened chocolate (if using). Microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds. Stir, and microwave for another 30 seconds.
  4. Let the mixture cool for 1 minute. Stir in 4 tablespoons of the beer concentrate, the egg white, vanilla and salt.
  5. Finally, stir in the flour and stir for 50 strokes to incorporate and activate the gluten in the flour.
  6. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan and bake for 40-45 minutes. It’s done when the surface is dry and a toothpick inserted has only moist crumbs sticking to it. Let cool.
  7. Once the brownies are cool, make the frosting: beat together the softened butter and powdered sugar until combined.
  8. Beat in the remaining beer concentrate (1 tablespoon). Frost the brownies and serve.

 

An Emotional Coward

I have known you for about a minute,

Although it seems like we met in a different life.

You know some of the darkest corners of my soul,

Most of them yet to be excavated by the world.

You notice my tells that I didn’t even know I have,

My poker face is wasted on you.

I often wonder about your ability

to make my woes melt away,

It’s like a magic trick that always amazes me.

How do you do it? Is it a pill

or a skill that you mastered at camp?

We’ve laughed together till our stomachs hurt,

And laid next to each other silently.

We shared our plans to start new lives,

And the ways we want to conquer this one.

Although we say a lot to each other in person,

We always leave more unsaid.

I can stand up to bullies & stare down armies

But I still cannot say the few lines that I need to you.

I hide behind the safety of paper or screens

because I am an emotional coward.

Posted in Baking

Baked Doughnut Bars

If you are anything like me you crave doughnuts at least once a week. I find myself drooling over the various funky new flavours that places like ‘The Doughnut Project, NY’ and ‘Dolce Romero, La Paz’ are coming up with. I mean who doesn’t want coffee cream filled doughnuts but as fun as new flavours are, the classics are well CLASSICS. (Homer simpson doughnut anyone?) Doughnuts are a staple in my dessert exploration wherever I go.

These yeast based doughnut bars are not as easy as their fried counterparts but also not as complex as their circular baked cousins. These are just the right amount of effort and sweet. Making these was really fun and I will definitely make ’em again really soon.

I flavoured these with vanilla sugar but it if don’t have that on hand you can add in some cinnamon instead. Flavoured sugars are easy to make, to make cinnamon sugar you simply mix some 1 tsp cinnamon powder with roughly 250 g of castor or icing sugar. To make vanilla sugar, simply mix castor/icing sugar with split vanilla beans. It is also an excellent way to reuse vanilla beans that are leftover from various baking adventures!

If you prefer you can dress them up with a chocolate drizzle and sprinkles. Another way to dress ’em up is a simple milk and sugar glaze + sprinkles of course!  🙂

 

So, let’s go through the process:

  1. Take warm water with a pinch of sugar in a small bowl and stir in the yeast in a small bowl until it properly mixed. Cover the bowl and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes. (Your mixture should smell yeasty and froth up a little)
  2. Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and 3 tbsp of sugar together.
  3. Mix the butter in the flour mix to produce an even ‘breadcrumb’ or pastry dough like mix. Add in your egg white, milk and yeast into the dough.
  4. Now comes the fun part! Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 5 minutes. This is unfortunately not one of the therapeutic anger-relieving dough, this dough is more delicate so be gentle.
  5. Roll the dough in a ball and put it back in the bowl. Cover and let it rise for 15 minutes.
  6. Roll the dough on your lined baking sheet and keep it thick. Cut the dough into 6 pieces and cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 40 minutes.
  7. Once the dough has risen, sprinkle with cinnamon or vanilla sugar. Bake for 20 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 200 C.

BAKED DOUGHNUT BARS

INGREDIENTS:

2 tbsp 105 degree water
1 1/2 tsp active yeast
140 g flour
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter
1 egg white
55 g milk

METHOD:

  1.  In a small bowl, combine the warm water and yeast with a pinch of sugar. Stir and let rest for 5 minutes until foamy. It MUST foam. If it does not foam, the yeast are dead. Start over.
  2. Whisk the flour, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Add the butter, and incorporate it into the flour.
  3. Next, stir the egg white and milk into the yeast mixture. Add this to the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Flour the counter, and knead the mixture for 5 minutes.
  4. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for 15 minutes. Cut the dough into six bar shapes.
  5. Place the bars on a lined cookie sheet, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes. Sprinkle the donuts with 1 tbsp of sugar. Bake the donuts for 10-12 minutes.
Posted in Baking, travels

Cheese Bounty Part 2: Reypenaer VSOP

This cheese is an excellent example of artisan dutch cheese making. Reypenaer is a variety of Gouda that is made through a series of maturation stages in an entirely natural way. In fact, the secret ageing methods of Reypenaer are what give it the signature flavour.  It continues to be a family business passed down through the generations of the Wijngaard family.  They hold tastings at their tasting room in Amsterdam!

There are 3 different types of Reypenaer based on the aging period :.

  • Classic Reypenaer that is matured for a year and comes out with a soft, creamy flavour.
  • Reypenaer VSOP that is aged for 2 years resulting in a mature, strong and full bodied cheese with a delicate crystalline texture.
  • Reypenaer X.O. reserve is aged for 2.5 years resulting in an extremely unique cheese that is available in very limited quantities.

The Reypenaer V.S.O.P. is made using traditional methods in a small cheese factory.  It is then ripened for 2 years in the unique micro-climate of the old cheese warehouse built in 1906 that is located along the Oude Rijn river, Holland.

img_20171010_194238236.jpg“The Reypenaer VSOP has an extraordinary intense taste with surprising mineral crystals and complex aromas: caramel, light chocolate and toffee.”

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Have a great day! 🙂


Whole-wheat Almond & Cheese Biscuits

Ingredients:

180 g – Butter, softened
100 g Reypenaer, grated
80 g Sharp/ mature Cheddar, grated
105 g Whole-wheat flour
75 g All purpose flour
180 g Almonds, chopped & roasted
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper

Method:

1. Beat the butter until it is nice and creamy. Mix in the grated cheese to make a smooth mix.

2. Add in the salt, pepper and flour. Mix till a soft dough forms. Mix in the roasted almonds.

3. Make sure they are fully incorporated. Divide the dough into 2 pieces, roll them into logs. Wrap these logs in cling film and chill for 15-20 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven at 180 C. Cut thick slices and bake them for 15 minutes for untill golden brown.

Posted in Baking

Scottish Vanilla Shortbread!

Scottish shortbread, a perfect companion for a hot coffee or a rich hot chocolate. Our favorite parings were ice-cream and/or coffee.

Indian vanilla is lesser known than its cousins from Madagascar or Haiti. Friends often get me vanilla beans from south Indian farms from their travels. I try to do them justice.

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This is the closet I came to rolling a round. Don’t judge, if you can roll a perfect round however I respect you.

When you roll this shortbread leave it a little think as shortbread isn’t meant to be crispy. It is supposed to have a clean, light flavour that is short lived hence the name shortbread.

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Serving suggestions: You can dip the ends in chocolate and sprinkles with crushed nuts, peppermints, sea salt or sprinkles. Yummy.


INGREDIENTS:

250 g Butter, softened
75 g Castor Sugar
35 g Rice flour
270 g Whole-wheat flour
65 g all purpose flour
1 Vanilla Bean

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 150 C. Grease two baking trays.
  2. Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Stir in the flours , one by one.
  3. Knead gently on a floured surface for a minute. Divide the dough into two equal halves. Roll both of these halves into rounds, cut the rounds into 6-8 wedges and crimp the edges if you like.
  4. Prick all wedges with a fork and bake for 40 minutes.

 

Posted in Baking

Healthy White Chocolate & Macadamia Cookies!

You know when you want some cookies but also don’t want to binge-eat them all later? Well, this batch only makes 6 cookies and they are whole-wheat.

Yummy. Macadamias are awesome. Cookies are awesome. Chocolate is awesome. See where I am going with this ?

If you don’t like white chocolate you can make them with milk or dark chocolate as well. Although I must say that these cookies by themselves aren’t overtly sweet.

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Ingredients:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk (white reserved for another use)
5 tablespoons of whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
10-12 whole macadamia nuts
1/4 cup white chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In the medium bowl, add the softened butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Next, add the egg yolk and beat until combined. Finally, sprinkle the flours, baking soda and salt evenly over the surface, and beat to combine everything.
  4. Chop and stir in the macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips by hand.
  5. Divide the dough equally into 6 cookies (about 46 grams each), and space evenly on a baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 9-11 minutes, until the cookies are light golden brown on the edges and the surface begins to crack. Let cool completely, and store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 2 days (if they last that long).