RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: September 2012

Chinese Blackened Chicken

I knew today would be busy as soon as I woke up. I had laundry to do. Paintings to receive in the mail (and UPS was not making it easy for me), not to mention preparing for a ton of homework and memorization for the following weeks. Making flashcards, cooking dinner, vacuuming, and even doing my nails all had to be done today.

There was a bright side to all of this however, a new and delicious chicken recipe.

As this is a work day I decided to be a bit loose on the directions, and although I posted the original recipe below (also found here by The Gourmet Kitchen), I eyeballed the measurements and did it to taste and preference. The only thing that I can stress here is the chicken you’ll be using. You really do need to get skin on and bone in. Chicken breasts that are skinless and boneless, and all lean and healthy will not work here. I’m all for healthy and lean, but this chicken is not it. It’s great for lunch, if you only eat one piece at a time you’ll hardly notice the calories, which some steamed rice, you’re all set!


Chicken Blackened Chicken

  • 4 chicken wings, a few drumsticks and a few thighs – all skin on and bone in
  • 150mls dark soy – the best you can get will be from an oriental supermarket, it’s really really thick and a little sweet
  • 100mls light soy
  • 150mls shaoxing rice wine (I used unfiltered sake)
  • A few pinches Chinese five spice powder (I omited this, but used a lot of cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, and cumin)
  • A large thumb sized piece of ginger, minced
  • A tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • Strands of ginger, red chilli and sliced spring onions to serve

Place the soy, minced ginger and garlic and shaoxing rice wine into a box with a lid and place into the fridge. Marinate for at least 24 hours, turning the box over occasionally so the wings are totally coated in the marinade.

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.

Decant the chicken drumsticks and thighs (liquid and all) but not the wings into a roasting dish and place into the oven. After 15 minutes add in the wings and cook the whole lot for another 30 minutes in total, turning the pieces over every 10 minutes. Make sure the last 10 minutes is done with as much of the skin facing up as possible and give the skin a pinch of Chinese five spice just before it goes back into the oven.

Remove from the oven, give a drizzle of sesame oil, scatter with the ginger and spring onions and eat – we especially like it with egg fried rice.


Train Rides and Nutella Muffins

This weekend was pretty darn close to perfect. I went on a vintage train with Boyfriend and we got lots of time to do homework together, do errands together, and even pretty up my apartment… together! We did everything together and I must say it was a great and lovely time.

Fillmore and Western Railway Train

Inside the amazing and old train

we were on a “scenic” weekend tour… it was a lot of farm land and trailer parks

LOOSE CABOOSE mini chicken farm

This fan is probably older than my grandfather!


I even looked after a friend’s doggies this weekend. My first time pet sitting for someone that isn’t my mom and Miss Kitty Cat. I’m excited to say that they are very healthy, well fed, and happy. I hope my friend doesn’t mind me showing off her pooches, they were really adorable. And a little insane cause of the lack of attention. Nonetheless, you can see they were still fun.



As a result of this very fruitful and amazing weekend I decided to clean and bake for the first time in about two-three weeks. The fact that I’ve been too busy to bake has been astonishing for me, the person that would sometimes bake cookies or muffins and a cake in the same day to have “variety” for the rest of the week.

I’ve had a small sweet tooth for warmth lately. I don’t even know if that makes sense, but that’s what I’ve been craving: cinnamon, apples, brown sugar, caramel, all those amazing things.

I’ve had this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction pinned on google chrome for a while now. And the last time I baked something I used one of her recipes, so I figured now is as good at time as any to get on the nutella train, knowing what I’d make would be delicious.



Nutella Stuffed Cinnamon Sugar Muffins

makes 8-9 muffins

  • 1/3 cup (5 Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk, but regular is fine)
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 tsp Nutella

Cinnamon-Sugar Topping

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 425F.  Spray muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl of an electric or stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together on medium speed.  Mix in the egg, vanilla extract, and milk. Gently stir in flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.  DO NOT overmix – stir until *just* combined.

Spoon 1 heaping Tablespoon of batter into muffin cavity.  Layer with 1 tsp Nutella in the center and spoon another heaping Tablespoon of batter on top.  If the muffin tins are completely full, that is ok.  They will not overflow.  Repeat layering batter + Nutella into each muffin tin.  I got exactly 8 muffins.

Bake at 425F for 5 minutes.  Reduce oven to 350F and bake for an additional 13-17 minutes until batter is set. Allow muffins to cool for about 5 minutes.

While the muffins are cooling, make the cinnamon-sugar topping.  Melt the butter for about 30 seconds in the microwave.  Stir and stick back in microwave if not fully melted.  In a separate small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon.  Dip the top of each muffin into the melted butter and dip into the cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Swirl them around in the cinnamon-sugar a bit to make sure you get a thick coating. Set upright on cooling rack.  Enjoy!*



*I didn’t make the streusal topping because I added a bit more nutella and I didn’t want them so sweet that I wouldn’t eat them, so I sprinkled some raw sugar over the top instead.

Cinnamon-Apple Upside Down Cake

I finally got a chance to do some more baking. I bought a ton of apples over the weeks so I needed to incorporate them. I found this recipe online, and although I enjoyed it for what it was, I would definitely add more apples, and maybe some brown sugar to the apples as well in order to get a good caramel layer after baking.

Overall, it was a complete success. Between homework and studying and baking it was quite a Saturday!

  • 1-1/2 cups {about 2 medium} Gala Apples
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon, divided
  • 1 cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • 7 tablespoons, divided
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 2/3 cup Whole Milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon Real Vanilla Extract
  • 1-1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon Fresh Nutmeg
  • 6 teaspoons Honey

Line and spray a 9-inch round cake pan.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Core and dice up 1-1/2 cups of apples, that’s roughly about 1-1/2 to 2 apples. Toss the diced apples with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and place them in the bottom of your prepared pan.

In the same bowl add the butter and brown sugar. Mix until crumbly, about one minute. Combine the flour, remaining cinnamon and baking powder. Grate in 1/8 teaspoon of fresh nutmeg, stir and set aside.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Then, with the mixer on low, blend in the vanilla and whole milk. Add in the dry ingredients and mix by hand until combined thoroughly, then pour over apples and spread evenly.


Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a cake plate.

Once the cake is cooled drizzle honey over the top.

Cut into eighths and serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Tarte Fine Aux Pommes (Apple-Puff Pastry Galette)

I haven’t baked anything in such a long time. Dare I say, in over a month! I’ve got to stop being so neglectful of my oven, and skills, if I say so myself. Today I got the itch. Between the laundry and the homework, I gave in, and made this lovely apple galette.

Although  it’s not really a galette, Nigella refers to it by it’s French term, and as I know nothing of French language or food (officially anyway), I’ll describe as she does. Regardless of the name it’s called, this lovely pastry is the most amazing thing I’ve tasted all month. Well, last month, as this is September after all.

But I digress, this recipe speaks for itself.


* (edit) Side note: This would be great with some honey drizzled over it once it’s still warm and out of the oven. Apples, honey, this sounding familiar to anyone? It’s the traditional dessert for Rosh Hashanah. It’s an idea that my friend gave me, which  I thought I’d share with you in case some readers out there were wondering what to make next weekend*


Taken from Nigella Express

  •  2 Large Granny Smith apples, or 3 smaller Fugi apples
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 (1 sheet) of a 17.2 oz package all-butter puff pastry, measuring 9 1/2 by 9 1/2 inches
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, separated
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Preheat over to 425 degrees.

Core the apples, cut them in half. Pour lemon juice into a wide shallow dish and fill it with some cold water. Immerse the apple halves in the lemony water; this will stop them turning brown.

Lay the sheet of puff pastry onto a large baking sheet, and either using the back of a large carving knife, or a steel ruler, mark a 1/2 inch border all the way around the edge of the pastry. You need to score the lines on the pastry rather than cutting all the way down and through it. This will allow the frame to rise above the apple filling.

Pat the apples dry and cut each half into quarters, then slice each as thinly as you can muster.

Sprinkle 1 tbsp of sugar over the base. Working from the inside edge, place the apple slices closely overlapping within the border of the frame. Create neat lines of apple slices until the pastry is covered.

Heat the butter with the remaining tablespoon of sugar in a small pan, and let both bubble for a few minutes, until a light caramel color appears. Dribble and drizzle this syrup over the apples and put tart in the oven.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, by which time the puff pastry should have risen with a nice border, and the fruit will be soft and slightly colored. If the apples have given off a juice, go ahead and let the pastry sit for 5 minutes.

Serves about 6-8