Archive for the ‘Loot’ Category

Loot: Crème de caramel au beurre salé

In Baking, Loot, Uncategorized on March 30, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Sweet Caramel Salted Butter Sauce. Need I say more? Oh yes thanks – Shannon for giving me this liquid gold. Thanks Shannon’s cousin for living in France and making this apart of our lives. This is one of many varieties on the market as it seems to be made locally in each region.  You can easily order it online or make your own.  This stuff is so delicious you can eat it right out of the jar, on ice cream, with tea biscuits… options are endless; but, my friend passed it on because she thought I would do something fantastic with it.  So here goes:

Caramel Croissant Bread Pudding:

  • 2 1/2 stale croissants
  • 1 jar of crème de caramel au beurre salé, 220g, 7.76oz
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 ounce bourbon
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Butter, for dish
  • Additional cream for serving, if desired

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.   Generously butter a small gratin dish.  Tear the croissants into pieces and put into dish, set aside.   Remove lid from caramel sauce jar and warm in the microwave briefly, I zapped mine for about 20 seconds; pour into a bowl.  Add the cream, bourbon and milk. (Keep in mind the kind of bourbon you choose – the flavor will remain with the final product and I used double aged so it had quite the kick!)  Whisk to mix, then still whisking add the beaten eggs. Pour this over the torn croissants and leave to steep for 10 – 20 minutes.   Place in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. (adapted from a Nigella Lawson Recipe)

Spoon up the serving size you desire, drizzle with cream and enjoy.  This is warming, sultry and has the salty edge that really makes the bourbon kick while keeping that  controlled sweetness of a great bread pudding.  Oh and the croissants make this dish.  Something about the texture and the way it absorbs the caramel goodness – it takes on that bread pudding texture while making this contrasting crispy layer on top. It’s a quick, easy and simple must try recipe and it would be delightful without the bourbon, but we never hold back here!


Loot: Spicy Apricot Loaf

In Baking, Loot, Uncategorized on February 23, 2011 at 9:41 pm

I am sure the readers of this blog will tire of my exploits with my friend Alisa’s jams, preserves and foodie type gifts.  Alas, that is what my loot posts are about! Wonderful gifts that inspire me in the kitchen and her Angry Apricot Preserves were the muse for this bread. (Thanks AJ – as always you rock my socks off ).  These preserves are delicious and if you want to substitute for regular preserves that would be fine, if you want them to be angry… crank up the heat with some crushed red pepper!! Other options for this bread would be any jam or marmalade which you love – orange marmalade would be lovely!  (Same goes for dried cranberries… feel free to use raisins, sultanas, currants or even dates!… or add nuts with the dry ingredients…)

Spicy Apricot Loaf


1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup craisins (dried cranberries)
1/2 cup Preserves, chopped (or jam, marmalade… etc)
1 stick of butter
2 cups self-rising flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp Jamaican allspice (or pumpkin pie spice)
pinch of coarse salt
1 large egg, beaten

Directions: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the sugar, milk, raisins, preserves (chopped down smaller or roughly processed in food chopper), and butter; stir well and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and let cool completely.  (so weird, but the concoction smelt amazing and looked like creepy porridge!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9 inch loaf pan with wax paper or grease and lightly flour.

Stir the flour, baking soda, allspice, salt, and egg into the wet ingredients with a wooden spoon.  Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for approximately 50 – 60 minutes, or until top is golden.  (Can test the middle of loaf with a toothpick to ensure doneness… if it does not come out clean continue to cook the loaf.)

Remove from the oven; let cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack; once it has cooled cut slices and serve; or wrap up to give… eat – that is what I do… eat and it’s the best part!

Apparently I have had a tea time thing going as of late (and for the Palmer Family this week!).  This bread does not fall short of that category and would make a lovely gift.  This is the first time I have used this method where you cook the wet ingredients and then cool before assembling – very interesting and I am sure it will inspire further exploration of ingredients, combinations and other random ideas. As for the taste: I adore the spiciness from both the allspice and the Angry Apricot Preserves, the bread is dense and has sweet surprises with the bits of cranberry and apricot, it was great with hot tea!! As always AJ, love ya and your mad jammin’ skills 😀

Loot: Apricot-Pepper Glazed Bacon!!!

In Cooking, Loot, Uncategorized on January 24, 2011 at 3:29 pm

It is nice to have foodie friends.  Foodie friends are fun to eat with… foodie friends are fun to shop with and well foodie friends also love to make and give food.  Yeah for them!  Some of those friends are extra special and you name your shortbread recipes after them :).  I have such a friend and she started making jams last year.  They are divine.  You of course do not have to use this jam for this recipe, but if you are so lucky to own some… then you should!

If you are thinking bacon??? I am on diet. Remember it is important to treat yourself and to eat things you crave – helps to keep you on track (moderation not deprivation is the key!!).  Plus according to the package labels and my research on nutritiondata.com for three pieces it is approx: 130 cal; 4.5g fat; and 7.0g protein.  Easily done with most meals.

This stuff is magical… can’t you tell from the picture???


Apricot-Pepper Glazed Bacon

One package bacon (use what you like – we use center cut)
1/4 cup apricot preserves (if using plain, you can add a touch of vanilla bean/extract)
fresh cracked black-pepper
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place bacon on large non-stick cookie sheet.  Brush bacon with apricot preserves; and then add generous amount of pepper.  Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, until it begins to turn golden and edges begin to blacken.  Remove from oven; turn and coat underside with remaining apricot preserves (additional pepper is not needed, unless you just love pepper); return to the oven for an additional 5-8 minutes or until it is cooked to your bacon standards.

I am pretty sure that in a past life bacon and apricots were soul mates.  Once you try this bacon you will agree.  The bacon takes on a candy-like chewiness, the charred bits are this dark caramelized and crunchy kind of heaven.  Of course the apricot adds this sweet warmness to the whole thing and the pepper adds a spicy undertone that plays well with both flavors (bacon and apricot).
P.S. Thanks AJ for the amazing jam – as always you inspire me!