#WeekendCooking: Blueberry-blackberry sorbet

The husband returned from the organic berries stall at the farmers market with our usual buy of half a box of strawberries and also a load of blackberries. I love blackberries but I’m the only one in the house who eats them. And I’m sure you know that they don’t keep very well.

So what to do with them?

It felt too hot to make a crumble or pie.

Muffins?

Not really. I would end up having to eat them all.

So somehow my thoughts turned to sorbet. I don’t own an ice cream maker but I remember seeing somewhere that sorbet could be done without a machine. Something to do with a sheet pan and some scraping.

I finally settled on this recipe from King Arthur Flour. It’s a recipe for strawberry sorbet though so I had to do some adapting.

I had about 3 cups of fresh blackberries but felt that with the sieving of the seeds it needed more berries so I also added about 1 cup of blueberries.

I kept the simple syrup ratio of water to sugar at about 1 cup water to just under 1 cup sugar.

And also the 1/3 lemon juice – I also added the zest of half the lemon to the berries before I whizzed them with the immersion blender.

Then followed the recipe instructions of freezing and letting it sit for two hours or so and stirring it around every hour or so. And about 4-5 hours later it was nicely set.

I put the sorbet in a Tupperware box and we are still eating it a few days later!

It’s really refreshing on a hot day.

Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs

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Book thoughts: Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld

This review is for the audiobook:

As usual, Alan Cumming is an absolute delight to listen to. I love how he voices all the different characters (especially Bovril)! This second book in the steampunk series again blasts through at breakneck speed, this time mainly in Istanbul. I really liked that we get more character development from Deryn, the girl who poses as a boy so she can fly on the Leviathan. Overall a really enjoyable listen!

Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li

This wasn’t a definite 🤘for me. We didn’t exactly start out as best friends, this book and I. I was wanting more for our relationship, expecting book here to leave me salivating and craving Chinese food (yes, even Chinese-American food) so I was a bit disappointed. But our friendship grew as I realized this was a book about the drama of ordinary families, amid the struggles of a second generation running a restaurant.

And like a Chinese eatery, it is loud and chaotic and sometimes the service can be brusque but in the end you leave satiated.

Baking with the boys: French Apple Cake

I don’t like to buy apples from Costco. They’re huge and I find that huge apples tend to be a bit mealy. But we were doing a Costco run and the husband suggested doing some fruit juice so I just quickly grabbed the plastic shell full of Fujis and continued on the rest of the shopping trip – milk, bread, eggs, butter, paper towels etc.

But we didn’t finish all twelve apples so I’ve still got six sitting on my counter.

What to do with them? I started looking up apple cake recipes online. There are French apple cakes, German apple cakes and so on. Which one to go with?

The seven-year-old doesn’t have summer camp this week – it’s the last week the grandparents are visiting and I figured that he might as well spend the time with them. But first in the morning, we did a bit of math and practiced reading some Chinese. And while I was browsing through some recipes, with him looking over my shoulder, he asked me to check out this video which led to the link to the recipe.

It’s a simple cake recipe but what sealed it for me was the interesting “frosting” on the top, made from sugar, egg, melted butter and lemon zest, which is added on top after the cake is baked for 30 minutes, then the whole thing is baked again for about 12 more minutes. I did however reduce the sugar in the “frosting” by half as I was using Fuji apples which are a lot sweeter than the green apples that were in the video. Here’s the link to the recipe and video!

 

It was just a great texture and while I made it with Fuji apples (and also reduced the amount of sugar in the cake), I would like to try it with green apples, which was what was used in the video.

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Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs

 

Birthday books!

It was my birthday yesterday and I had received some books and thought I should share it with you fellow book lovers!

So this one wasn’t a surprise as it something I decided to do this year and sent my mom in Singapore a list of books that she could order from Book Depository and ship to the US. These are all books I’ve read and loved but don’t have copies of. And I especially love these beautiful editions! I haven’t seen them in US bookstores before either.

These books were a lovely surprise from the husband and kids.

I’ve been collecting the Minalima editions of classic lit – The Jungle Book, Peter Pan, Beauty and the Beast – and love the stunning illustrations and the fun interactive elements. I knew that the Little Mermaid was out but didn’t know about The Secret Garden which is one of my favourite books since childhood.

Isn’t it just beautiful??

Also the husband ordered this really decadent chocolate mousse cake from a fancy patisserie in Mountain View.

And we went out for some yummy Korean fusion food – kimchi fried rice, Bulgogi kimbap, soy garlic wings and spicy wings, Bulgogi cheese fries! Yum! What a great meal!

Weekend Cooking: Chocolate raspberry cake with strawberry frosting

A long overdue post from March!

I finally found a chocolate layer cake recipe that is perfect for birthday cakes. It’s not too rich, not too dense, has a great chocolatey flavour and is so simple to put together.

I’ve been making cakes for a while now and while we love chocolate cakes, making a layer cake with chocolate takes more than just any chocolate cake recipe. I made a birthday cake for my dad last year when he visited from Singapore. That cake was so rich that three layers was just too much.

I’ve also made Black Forest cake for the past few years for my husband’s birthday and somehow while the cake texture is perfectly light and fluffy, for me the chocolate taste wasn’t quite there.

So when I tried this recipe from King Arthur Flour I was surprised by its simplicity, lightness and flavour. It’s perfect for a chocolate layer cake and I will definitely be making it again. I only used the cake recipe from there, as the birthday boy specifically asked for strawberry frosting.

As for the strawberry frosting, I used this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction last year when I made a similar cake but found it way too sweet – I did reduce the sugar but not by enough.

This time I went with 1.5 cups of softened butter, 1 cup of freeze-dried strawberries and just over 2 cups of icing sugar (about half what the recipe calls for). I also added more salt. And it was perfect.

And the birthday boy was thrilled!

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Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs

Read in June 2018

A Girl on the Shore -Inio Asano
A beautiful exploration of a teenage romance in a sleepy Japanese town.

 

Serpentine – Cindy Pon

Loved this one and its story of friendship

Amberlough – Lara Elena Donnelly

Spies! Double agent! Burlesque! Intrigue! Betrayal!

Dear Committee Members – Julie Schumacher

Kinda funny. Perhaps would be more funny if I worked in academia?

A Tale for the Time being – Ruth Ozeki

Just gorgeous.

 

Annihilation – Jeff Vadermeer

Ok this was rather creepy and a very weird “I want to know what’s going on, wait, maybe I don’t” kind of feeling throughout.

Heartless – Marissa Meyer

Hopefully I’ll finally post that draft review soon!

Stepford Wives – Ira Levin


The Impostor Syndrome – Mishell Baker

Last book (I think?) in this urban fantasy series and it was a blast.


We Need New Names – NoViolet Bulawayo


Ill Will – Dan Chaon
Leviathan – Scott Westerfeld

Graceling – Kristin Cashore

A reread and I really loved it the second time around.

Shade: The Changing Girl Vol 1 – Cecil Castellucci

A strange and colourful story about a creature from another planet taking over a girl’s body

The Prince and the Dressmaker – Jen Wang

Oh I adored this one! It’s just such a fun story and beautiful illustrations. Read it! Read it!