Quick Raspberry Flatbread

Quick Raspberry Flatbread: a unique fruity twist to the classic thinner bread with a little raspberry puree mixed in. Make it all with fruit or half and half for fun twists.

#twelveloaves is a great group where we bake a bread with the addition of the monthly theme flavor or ingredient. Exploring a less full-on yeasty road this month, we were asked to prepare an original Cracker, Crisps or Flatbread. I was originally planning on going with down the cracker route but settled on an unusual fruit based bread with a Raspberry Flatbread.

raspberries flatbread

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Dulse Pull Apart Rolls with Chia, Flax and Sesame Seeds

Packed with 3 super healthy seeds, these fun Dulse Pull Apart Rolls with Chia, Flax and Sesame Seeds will win the heart of all bread lovers, especially those with a weakness for the sea!

Summer is going by too fast! It seems like it was just #twelveloaves a week ago but here we are already with my third participation. In this group we bake a bread every month with the addition of the monthly theme flavor or ingredient. This month we were asked to add seeds.

I was not even planning on participating this month because my schedule is just that insane! But I purchased a weird food ingredient (we love those at CEE) on my trip and I could fit it in my recipe, so here we are mixing up some dulse seaweed with chia, flax and sesame seeds.

Dusle Pull Apart Rolls with Chia Flax and Sesame Seeds

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

The Montreal Bagel

Yes you can make the iconic smaller, sweeter and denser real Montreal bagel with a larger hole at home.

This is a very exciting day for me as it is the first time I am participating in a group called Twelve Loaves. I really enjoy being a member of various cooking clubs but I need to feel like I am learning something. I felt I needed a new challenging club in my monthly groups rotation and when I came across Twelve Loaves I knew it was ‘the one’.

Baking bread is so perfect. I keep saying I need to bake more bread and I am always intimidated at the though so I keep putting off. No more as I will be popping one out of the oven every month from now on. Each month there is a chosen ingredient or theme. For July we were asked to make a Jewish bread and there was not even a doubt in my mind what I would make: a Montreal Bagel!

Montreal bagel poppy and sesame

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Banana Kiwi Smoothie with Rose Schizandra Kombucha

It seems like there is an influx of invitations to restaurant openings and product launches right now. It happens a lot with the arrival of spring. Most events I cannot be bothered with that much but there are exceptions. If something really grabs my attention and peaks my curiosity I will be there. And that is how I was introduced to a new product from Rise Kombucha by receiving an invitation for the launch of their two new flavors: Mint Chlorophyll and Rose Schizandra.

The curiosity word here is Kombucha. What the heck is it? The company calls it sparkling living tea. A more complete explanation would be that Kombucha is a sweetened tea that is fermented with a yeast, called Mother culture, thus creating effervescence.

kombucha 02

This is hardly a new product, there are claims that the history of this beverage goes back 2000 years in China or Japan. So it covers my ethnic food attraction plus it is a local, raw, organic, vegan and a fair trade product. The Rise Kombucha company is located in my city of Montreal. Actually they are located 3 blocks away from where I work. So before the official launch party I asked for a visit of their brewery. I could not take too many pics to reasons of corporate secrecy but you will still get a unique glance here.

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Spruce and Ginger Beer from Scratch to Toast a HUGE Giveaway from Mortimer Snodgrass

Yes…Mortimer Snodgrass! I can’t help but giggle every time I read the name. I also cannot help snicker at every other item I pick up in this unique gift store in beautiful Old Montreal; their inventory is so cool, funky, unusual and yet practical. Mortimer Snodgrass, the store, is 10 years old this year and the owners decided to celebrate with a BIG BANG on Cheap Ethnic Eatz. You do not want to miss out on this giveaway, it is so awesome!

I’ll tell you more about this store, the contest and where the name came from in a bit at the bottom of this post. But first I want to share my latest cooky kitchen experiments: Homemade Spruce and Jamaican Ginger Beers. These 2 unique beverages are perfect for toasting a quirky store’s 10th birthday.

Don’t let the word beer throw you off, these are non-alcoholic but fizzy soft drinks. The idea for the Spruce beer was a light bulb moment after my Mastic Ice Cream post when I compared Mastic’s flavor to Spruce Beer…which apparently not a lot of people were familiar with. Yep I found an online recipe on the Daring Kitchens forum by Audax Artifex.

And yes I made my own extract. I went to my park and identified a Spruce. See I took a pic from my balcony to show you the conifer in question! How do you know you have a Spruce conifer? If the twig carries its needles singly and the actual needle has four sides and, thus, rolls easily between your fingers, it’s a Spruce. Pine needles cluster and Firs have 2 sided flat needles. This beer is not as overpowering as the fake flavored one you by in stores.

Ξ Spruce Beer Ξ

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon of baker’s yeast, in powder form
  • 40 grams of outer twigs of spruce fir
  • 1 tablespoon of hops
  • a 2-litre soda bottle with a screw cap, thoroughly cleaned and completely dry inside

Directions

  1. Using a funnel, pour the sugar into the bottle and then pour in the yeast. The yeast must be ground for best result, I whizzed mine in a coffee grinder. If you skip this step your soft drink will be less bubbly. Shake bottle well to mix.
  2. Make you extract by bringing to a boil your spruce fir twigs and hops in 500ml of water and simmer to reduce until you have 1 tablespoon of extract remaining, if it is very sticky even better.
  3. Again with funnel, pour in beer extract and then fill bottle half full with water from tap.
  4. Remove funnel and swirl contents in bottle until the sugar has dissolved.
  5. Fill bottle with water until there is approximately a one inch gap at the top and screw cover on tightly.
  6. Let bottle sit at room temperature for 12 to 48 hours or until the bottle feels hard. The gas has expanded.
  7. Store in refrigerator and chill thoroughly. Loosen cap VERY VERY SLOWLY allow gas to escape and avoid liquid fizzing over.

 

Normal Ginger Ale makes me nauseous. I hate the stuff. Not sure if it is the taste or an associated memory of my mom giving me flat ginger ale when I was in bed for a week with a major flu. But one day I bought a can of Jamaican Ginger Beer, there was a rooster on the can. The very spicy and intense ginger taste totally caught me off guard, I was hooked. I found this recipe on The personal blog of Giles Paterson. It is fabulous, strain the ginger out if you like before serving but I like having a little bit in there to chew.

Ξ Jamaican Ginger Beer Ξ

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon of baker’s yeast, in powder form
  • 1½ to 2 tablespoons of grated ginger
  • 1 lemon
  • a 2-litre soda bottle with a screw cap, thoroughly cleaned and completely dry inside

Directions

  1. Using a funnel, pour the sugar into the bottle and then pour in the yeast. The yeast must be ground for best result, I whizzed mine in a coffee grinder. If you skip this step your soft drink will be less bubbly. Shake bottle well to mix.
  2. Extract the juice from one lemon. Mix the grated ginger and lemon juice together in a cup.
  3. Again with funnel, pour in ginger/lemon mixture and then fill bottle half full with water from tap.
  4. Remove funnel and swirl contents in bottle until the sugar has dissolved.
  5. Fill bottle with water until there is approximately a one inch gap at the top and screw cover on tightly.
  6. Let bottle sit at room temperature for 12 to 48 hours or until the bottle feels hard. The gas has expanded.
  7. Store in refrigerator and chill thoroughly. Loosen cap VERY VERY SLOWLY allow gas to escape and avoid liquid fizzing over.

A few important notes for both recipes: a) if the pressure builds too much your bottle could explode. Place the bottle in the fridge overnight as this halts the yeast and stops the bottle exploding; b) you will notice that the basic procedures for making the sodas are identical so go ahead and experiment with flavors; c) no the ginger beer is neither radioactive nor does it glow in the dark as the pictures lead to believe; d) yes is will be carbonated almost like a soft drink…the natural way; e) until you really get the hang of opening it without making a huge mess….open your bottles outside. Trust me on this one !!!!!

Welcome to Mortimer Snodgrass! Located at 56 Notre-Dame W you will find a gem of a store when you need to buy a gift for a friend or a party….and you will leave getting a couple of extra items for yourself. They have a bit of everything: accessories, pets , balloons, spa beauty products, kids, decor, toys, office and an impressive kitchen area. The outside is adorable with Old Montreal charm, the entrance great you with a larger then life mosaic store logo..I believe made out of Jelly Beans. And the name, where did they come up with Mortimer Snodgrass?

Mortimer is the owner’s 11 year old rescued mutt. There is yellow lab in there and the rest is for anyone to guess! He is the store mascot and when he was younger he came to work every day greeting customers. Explaining Snodgrass is a whole other ball game, literally. One of the owners is a huge baseball fan and he knew of a little known baseball player named Chappy Snodgrass who played for Baltimore Orioles in 1901. Mortimer Snodgrass, it works!

Can you guess what purpose in the  kitchen my whale has? No hints we’ll see in a bit. The inside has a loft industrial feel a bit, but not in a modern exaggerated way. It’s really the shell of the store. The store’s colors are a nice pale blue with a calm orange. This is the store where you will find that unusual item you cannot find anywhere else: the ice mold to make those ice vodka shot glasses, a guitar shape silicone spatula, a blood red bath gel in a drip bag like you would see in the hospital, a cool pet treat for your pouch, fun and educational toys for kids no one else will have, neoprene designer lunch bags. And on and on and on!

I got to take a few items home to to play, oops cook, with. The first is the whale can opener. Yep the irony of opening a can of tuna with a whale that will be served to my cats…too funny. Amazing can opener by the way, made by Kuhm Rikon from Switzerland. I also got a very fashionable extra-long protective oven mitt made by Built, you know the kind that won’t still burn you threw like a cheap mitt. And finally the coolest dish brush dude ever. Dirty dishes watch out cause I will rock on while scrubbing you. Fun, quirky and all practical!I bet you would love to get you hands on some of these cool things.

Well you can! Because I am hosting with Mortimer Snodgrass the coolest giveaway ever. OK maybe not ever but close. We will be giving away not 1 but 2 gift baskets full of fun kitchen items. I was actually asked to come into the store and pick the prize packages myself for you guys. That was so fun! Each package has a retail value of $50 and there is more: each package comes with a $25 gift certificate which can be used online if you are not in Montreal. Each prize is worth $75 and the contest is open to EVERYONE worldwide! Let me show you what I picked:

Gift basket #1 includes a home sprouting kit made up of an Ancient Eastern Blend with fenugreek, lentils, kamut and adzuki beans sprouts. Next is a yellow lady citrus reamer. Lastly a set of chili shaped plastic ice cube – just pop them from the freezer to your glass, wash after and freeze again. Don’t forget the $25 gift certificate also included!

Gift basket #2 includes a grown your own edible flowers kit (marigolds) . Next is Sud Green the coolest dish brush dude around, just like the one I got too . Also we have a nifty “pull tab lid” that will keep your warm drinks warm and you cool one refreshing. Lastly this prize includes a ‘saw’ perfect for cutting up limes and lemons to add to your drink or food, and the handle also doubles as a bottle opener. Don’t forget the $25 gift certificate also included!

So do you want to win one of these baskets? Are they not awesome? Here is what you have to do to enter the contest:

– Leave a comment about my ‘ramblings’ in the post, just to make sure you read it and  did not just look at the pictures!

Many ways to get extra entries…

– Tweet Two 75$ Gift BasketsGiveaway with @mortsnodgrass & @cethniceatz http://t.co/PYit9iXj
– Follow Mortimer Snodgrass on Facebook, come back and tell me you did
– Follow Cheap Ethnic Eatz on Facebook, come back and tell me you did
– Follow Mortimer Snodgrass on Twitter, come back and tell me you did
– Follow Cheap Ethnic Eatz on Twitter, come back and tell me you did
– Download the Cheap Ethnic Eatz Mobile App, come back and tell me you did

You have till October 15th 2011, 23h59 EST to enter.

And of course the 2 winners will be picked randomly. What I will do is I’ll give the owners the total number of entries and ask them to give me 2 random numbers. Let’s get everyone involved. GOOD LUCK!

A Breton Kouign Amann

I bowed out of this month’s Daring Bakers as I just had too much on my plate with the cold and with time/personal issues. Good news, the cold is getting better. Please accept this offering instead. And don’t forget to enter my California Walnut Contest before April 1st, 2011 1pm EST!

This Breton flaky pastry means Butter Cake and the recipe originally comes from the town of Douarnenez in France. Imagine taking the base of a bread dough but then rolling it out and folding in layers of butter and sugar. The baked result is a layered caramelized flaky caked.

I have never eaten one before (the one I just made) but I have been dreaming of it for years. I’ve heard tales of friends having enjoyed this dessert in the North of France that was basically flour, butter and sugar mixed together just enough to make a dough. It turns out with my research the process is slightly more complicated then mixing everything in a bowl.

Kouign Amann

Ingredients

  • 10 g yeast (not the instant stuff)
  • 200 ml warm water (just below 100°F) I had to add more after
  • 250 g granulated sugar
  • 500 g flour
  • 250 g half-salted butter
  • 1 beaten egg

Directions

1. Mix water with the yeast and a pinch of salt in a medium mixing bowl.

2. Add the flour and knead it until you have obtained a homogeneous ball. Let the dough  rise for 30 minutes in a warm place.

3. Roll out the pastry and distribute the butter over the whole surface. Powder with sugar and fold the sides over the dough, just like you do when making puff pastry.

4. Roll out the pastry again and repeat this operation four more times.

5. Butter a mold and place the pastry in it. brush the surface with egg. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes at 400°F or until golden. Cool a bit but remove from mold before any syrupy sugar hardens.

Puff pastry making and I do not get along, this is my third time doing the technique and I have no patience. I had butter popping out all over the place and it did not look pretty. But for this dessert IT’S OK, I just dealt with it and plopped my butter dough ball in the mold. Even if you do get it right this dessert will never win a presentation award. Its all about the taste. So don’t stress out if your butter is ‘farting’ out, go with the flow and improvise.

The verdict: Wow, everything  and nothing like I had imagined and more. Since my butter spurted out it did not quite flake so much but there are layers. More bread like in taste then expected but the intense butter/sugar combo is what I was dreaming of. As Julia Child said with enough butter, anything is good.

Daring Bakers: Sorry this recipe was not Stollen

A day late for the wishes, had technical difficulties connection wise at the parents.

Opps!

I read the tittle and looked at a picture of this month’s challenge. I assumed it was a holiday dessert. Turns out it was a sweet bread. I had planned on making it for Christmas Eve dinner. I read it a few days ago and realized this would not cut it for the dessert, at least not in my family. And considering I had 5 other recipes to do…well I did some quick research and came up with an alternative. I did not make the mandatory Christmas Stollen, I hope you and Penny will be forgiven.

I wanted to stay within the concept of the challenge so I did find a cake that uses yeast and it is also German. Not bad don’t you think? I settled on a Bienenstich Cake which actually translates into Bee Sting Cake. The cake itself is very bread-like and it is filled with a custard…I added dried fruits and nuts to the custard. The top of the cake consists of sliced almonds ‘glued on’ with honey. And this is where the Bee Sting name comes in: “the story goes that a baker made the cake with a honey topping that attracted a bee which stung the baker”.

The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book………and Martha Stewart’s demonstration. If you want to make a Stollen click here for the recipe.

But if you want to make a Bee Sting Cake than you have come to the right place 😀

Bienenstich Cake (Bee Sting Cake) adapted from Angie’s Recipes and Diana’s Desserts

360 g flour
7 g instant dry yeast
60 g sugar
100 g butter, melted
1 egg
160 ml milk, lukewarm
120 g sliced almonds
200 g honey
1 gelatin pack
3 tablespoons water
1 (3-ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 1/2 cups milk
½ nuts
½ candied fruits and/or raisins

Combine together flour, dry yeast, and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add in butter, egg and milk to form a dough. Knead the dough until soft and smooth. Put the dough in a lightly greased plastic bag. Tie the bag and let rise for about 1 hour until double in bulk at room temperature.

Remove the dough from the bag and roll out on a greased 26 or 28 cm springform pan. Cover and let rise one more time until the dough doubles in size. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F. Place the sliced almond evenly on the top of dough, then spread the honey over the almond. Bake or about 35 minutes. Remove the form and cool the baked dough on a wire rack.

Soften the gelatin in the water, then heat the mixture (in a microwave set on low, or over low heat in a saucepan) until the gelatin has melted and the mixture is clear. Let it cool slightly. Mix the instant pudding with the milk and stir for 2 minutes as the box directs. Add gelatine mix, fruits and nuts. Slice cake in two horizontally. Spread the cream filling over the bottom layer and top with the almond layer.


Final verdict? It is a stunning cake to present but taste wise I would not do it again. The cake itself is a little unusual as it really is between a bread and a cake and was quite heavy and a bit dry. The taste was just OK. The almond crust top though was a HI and that I would apply to other sweets. The filling was awesome too. I really did enjoy combining yeast for a cake though, that was a fun challenge.