Travelling through New England in spring 2014 and autumn2015, my parents and I made sure to take advantage of the local quahog clams via delicious, creamy clam chowder. Manhattan clam chowder is lighter and tomato-based, but New England clam chowder is thick and creamy and rich. Here is a recipe that I made for Tomiko, Donatello, Ryan and Karlos, who didn’t come to New England with us.
Technically, a chowder needs to include potatoes. Other than that, all the other ingredients are fair game. Cream? Clams? Corn? Bacon? Add whatever you want! Continue reading →
Our mom is German so it’s no surprise that she loves Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte – Black Forest Cake. As a kid, I never really liked black forest cake because I hated maraschino cherries, and all the store-bought cakes seemed to be covered in them. What’s the point of eating a cake when you don’t like the main filling? It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I tried a bite, probably a homemade version baked by my aunt, and it was fantastic! She used jarred sour cherries, which are more like real fruit and less like candy. Paired with chocolate and whipped cream made them even better!
Black Forest Cake is a classic German torte that consists of whipped cream and cherries sandwiched between layers of chocolate sponge cake, and then frosted with more whipped cream. The sponge cake layers are made with eggs and without any butter – this keeps the sponge flexible and allows it to be cut in rather thin layers without breaking.
Adding the whipped cream stabilizer helps keep the cream from ‘weeping’ after a day or so, while making sure the whipped cream is stiff enough to stand up to being used as a filling.
Ajiaco, a type of Colombian chicken soup, is fun to eat. There are a variety of toppings and sides to customize your bowl to your liking. As a diner, you can top it with capers and cream and then eat it with a side of avocado, arepas, and rice. It almost feels like you have a hand in cooking the meal.
I first tasted ajiaco a few years ago at a beautiful hotel in Paipa, Colombia. It was a drizzly and chilly day and this soup was a delicious treat.
I’ve finished all of Peter Mayle’s novels and non-fiction books, and have turned to Confessions of a French Baker, a little tome on French baking. Co-authored by famous Provençal baker Gerard Auzet, this book is divided into two parts. The first half of the book discusses Mayle’s relationship with the French baker and his observations of the bakery, Chez Auzet, itself. The second part of the book contains recipes for famous French breads, from the classic baguette and torpedo-shaped bâtard to loaves flavoured with Roquefort cheese, red wine, or olive oil.
Chef Auzet’s bakery is located in Cavaillon, the melon capital of France (or the world, if they have their way). When Mayle visits the bakery to see the bakers in action, he had to be there by 4am, since the first loaves hit the shelves by 6am.
It was only after I had finished crocheting this toothed cowl for Tomiko that I realized I used one of Pantone’s 2016 colour of the year – serenity. Instead of pairing it with rose quartz, the other colour of the year, I used white.
This cowl uses spike stitch to create an almost houndstooth-like pattern. It is then finished with ribbing.
Above, I made Tomiko a matching toothed hat finished with ribbing.