i baked bread!

That's right, bread. The most ominous, finicky and difficult of all baking creations (at least in my eyes). The thing that cannot be fixed by chocolate frosting or some artful cutting-out of bad parts. It has to rise. Ingredients matter not only in their proportion to each other, but their reaction. They've gotta, like, do stuff. So if you don't get it right it's no bueno. And gluten free bread is a problem area. I am aware of what I'm going up against here. But if you don't try you certainly won't succeed. Therefore, I pulled out the ingredients and got to work.

It wasn't bad for a first try. Not bad at all. Good crust. It even rose though noticeably less than a more glutinous bread. But a good open texture could be seen within the loaf which thrilled me to no end as that's what I most often come across as a problem with store bought gluten free breads. That is their density. I mean like they could totally be used as a doorstop, or to build a brick wall. Not so good for eating. And it's hard to think of it as bread if it can ONLY be eaten when toasted.

So I ate mine fresh, warm from the oven and not toasted at all. And it was quite good. I think next time I may try to go for a flour equation that is lighter on the bean flour cause there was a bit more of taste of garbanzo's that I am partial too but on the whole to a lot else to find as faults with this hear petite loaf.

And I had some a day later with jam and it was still good. Un-toasted. I would call this a victory. Will there be more bread-making in my future? I think so. I may even tackle sourdough. Stay tuned.
Oh yeah and here's some crumbling ancient Greek architecture, to got with the bread. Random I know but I like the picture. And they had bread in Greece. I think. I mean of some kind. So yeah that totally fits or at least I'm just gonna go with it!


Mmmmmmm colors..

I made macaroons. And then I decided that they weren't holding together like I wanted them to and I made a new batch a bit more like rice crispy treats and so I melted marshmallows with butter and stirred the coconut into that and it was fantastic. Here you can see the two varieties with colored white chocolate, the colors were used to differentiate the two versions. It was decided that the more unusual marshmallow variety was the winner and will therefor be the recipe I go with for my project. Not to imply that the more classic one was no good at all, it was quite lovely but I can only go with one and the marshmallow-caroons were a bit more interesting as so, we have a winner!
I have also been working on some colorful books. Which were made to fit in some fabulous boxes from work, and will go with some other paper products I am making, in a color coordinated set.
Holiday decorations are being done bit by bit every day, and I made a great string of lights, but I really do wish that I had an enormous sign like this:


baking up a storm

Scones are not easy. In fact they are down right difficult. Finery even. In fact, to get the recipe hammered out for these took four attempts. That's right I had to make scones not two or three times but four, to get something edible and as close to perfection as a gluten free scone can be.

To me eyes (or mouth as it were) the key to a scone is the texture. A flaky fall-apart sort of design that is easily peeled into halves to apply a liberal smear of butter (the only way to improve a fresh-out-of-the-oven scone is to add butter, therefor the texture must be right for the application of sad butter to go off without a hitch. No one wants to go to butter their scone only to find that it crumbles and falls apart at the slightest touch. That's not the way things go) that's the goal. Therefore, the multiple attempts were necessary to achieve said perfect consistency. I actually had to take a break after batch number two, as it was just too horrible for me to even convince myself to recover from. It took nearly a month for me to approach the subject of scones again. But approach I did. Snuck up on the darn things and knocked their socks off is what I did. The key is to go for the whole enchilada. No humble drop scones are these, no. They are the flaky-buttery scone one dreams of, formed in thick wedges and brushed with milk to make a lightly browned top in their short sojourn through the oven. And that seemed to be the key. Try and try and try again. Go big or go home and all that. More motivational sayings? I've got a whole armful here I can just keep chucking them your way if you like. Just say the word.

So the scones turned out awesome. Just when I was losing faith in them (perhaps cause I burned the third batch badly and it was just so sad I almost scraped the whole idea) but no-get up at eight on a Sunday morning and take one more shot at that unicorn of a recipe. That's how we roll in my casa. Another win for team max.

Oh yeah, while the oven was on, in our unseasonable and decidedly non autumnal 90 degree weather, I decided to continue baking. Clockwise from the left you have cornbread with bacon and Chile's, apple zest pie and an onion and asparagus quiche. The amount of dishes that were done on this most bake-tastic of days was so alarming it passed alarming and just became downright ridiculous.
And I'm tired just looking at these so here is some lovely beach for your viewing pleasure. Southern hemisphere beach. They have different stars there. Enjoy.


a printing fiend

Been doing lots of printing recently. And as I am not in posession of a press, this printing is done using the back of a big spoon and lots of elbow grease.

So as you can see..... the fruits of my labor are vast. I'm developing some serious arm muscles here. Now I just have to figure out what exactly I am to do with all this stuff now it's printed.

Also made some fan-tabulous chocolate cupcakes. Sort of like the ones I made forever ago in February for Valentines Day, but even better as the cake-y texture was spot on this time. Airy and not dense as many gluten free baked goods seem to be. Pretty exciting as I developed the recipe myself. Small victory.

And, one for the road folks, here's the travel pic of the day. This time it's some amusing signage. Enjoy

fruit tarts (worth making a second time)

I had to make them twice to get it right (well they were perfectly lovely the first go round but I thought they needed a little something extra so I added sesame seeds to the tart shells and used plums instead of nectarines and more of them so there was a better fruit to pastry ratio. But really anything that has a little bit of this:

(that would be respectable sized pads of butter melting in pans)and this:

(fruit simmering in that glorious butter -plus some cinnimin)and you are on to something good. Cook the fruit until it is shiny and the delightful aroma of warm butter-coated plums floats out into the living room and spoon into some crisp mini tart shells and you've got something spectacular. While also being crisp and fruity and summery, and of course, most importantly, totally appropriate for breakfast.

Plus they looked so cute all lined up. And buying sesame seeds is awesome cause you've got to go to the bulk bins and they are so small and satisfying en mass and make such a charming shhhhhhhhhhh sound as they are scooped up into a bag. Maybe I should use them more often.

I of course was a bit (or more) silly and had to make both things I made go together and be consumed at once (despite them being a strange combination) and so I topped a tart with some ice cream I made. No not vanilla or anything sensible, but orange-cicle chip. Yup, and I put a scoop on my plum tart. And it was fantastic.
Now in the face of an oncoming winter, I give you........................
tree scarves!