Archive | October, 2007

Pineapple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

27 Oct

Pineapple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Originally uploaded by wanderingcoyote.

Never been a huge fan of carrot cake. It’s always seemed a little…weird, I guess. I mean carrots? In a cake? How fun is that? But, despite my judgements, I am, if nothing else a dessert addict, so if it was all on offer I’d indulge. This week, I had a request from my roommate’s sister, who wanted to serve this to guests. Because I’m not a fan of carrot cake, I don’t have many recipes for it. When this lady asked me to make the cake, I really had to search for a recipe. I have one from school that has blueberries in it, but the recipe was too big and there aren’t a lot of inexpensive blueberries kicking around right now. There’s a carrot sponge in one of my professional books, but it was too big, too, and had ingredients in it I didn’t have on hand. I eventually found this recipe in Anna Olson’s Sugar.

A few words about Anna. Anna has a show on the Food Network entitled Sugar. It was upon watching an episode of this show while on holiday in Vancouver nearly three years ago (where the Food Network is on cable; in Ottawa we needed a cable box) that I discovered there was an occupation entitled “pastry chef.” I knew there were bakers, but I’d never really heard of pastry chefs. I knew, upon seeing Anna on TV, that I wanted to be a pastry chef. A couple of days later, I went to hang out on Granville Island, and there I saw the culinary school I would graduate top of my class from a year and a half later.

Unfortunately, fame has changed Anna. I think she’s sold out. You can now see her pimping Pilsbury products and Starbucks in ads appearing on the Food Network, particulalry around Christmas time. I noticed also she’s lost weight, which she totally didn’t need to do, and gotten a new hairdo – probably because of the ads. She now looks more like a sex kitten than the pastry chef I came to love.

This is a fabulous recipe. It’s rich and moist, and the cream cheese icing is to die for. Don’t substitute any other kind of syrup for the maple syrup; the lady I made this for, who was buying the ingredients, wanted to put pancake syrup in it to cut down on costs, but there’s so much crap in pancake syrup, and the flavour would be totally different. This is a really easy recipe to put together, too, and if you have a bored someone or other at home, get him/her to grate the carrots for you.

Pineapple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups grated carrot (approximately 2 medium sized carrots, peeled)
1 cup pineapple diced or crushed, fresh or tinned (drained)

4 oz/125g cream cheese at room temperature (I used light, but you cannot use the fat free kind so don’t bother trying; the amount is equivalent to half a brick)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups icing sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the cake, preheat the oven to 325F and grease & flour an 8″ square cake pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, sugar, maple syrup, and ginger. Sift in the dry ingredients and blend well with whisk or wooden spoon, just be sure not to over mix. Mix in the carrots and pineapple. Pour into pan and bake for 1 – 1 1/2 hours, or until tester inserted in centre comes out clean. Make sure you cool it completely before icing it.

For the icing, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth./ Beat in the icing sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spread on top of cake and refrigerate until ready to serve.

How hard is that? Not very, and if you have carrot cake skeptics out there like me, I’m sure you can win them over with this recipe.

**thx ReTorte**


18 Oct

From MacStars:

Oct 11-17, 2007


It is time to seek your destiny. While doing so, remember that your destiny is seeking you. All karmas are unchangeable and immutable and must be borne. Keep in mind that karma represents all aspects of our lives. Tears, joy, happiness, love, good health, sickness, and whatever comes our way are all blessings from the Lord. Uranus and Rahu, the north node of the moon, are moving through your sign prompting you to truly move towards all that life has to offer. It is a time of great awakenings, epiphanies, discoveries, and great adventure. You may feel that you have wasted your time and now are anxious to embrace life gifts and treasures.


*** yes, going back into getting fit after months of inactivity. Excited about what the next few months will bring***


Oct 18-24, 2007


Pisces: Venus opposes Uranus on October 25 indicating a time of surprises and very unique experiences taking place. The moon is full as well and is another indicator of some type of excitement unfolding. Possibly you will be in a mood to do something different.  Try something exotic, erotic, or completely unusual. Mars and the sun cast fine energy into your sign in the weeks to come, bringing confidence, courage and action into your life. Embrace it all and know that there is a divine plan and it is working just right, even if we cannot perceive it to be so.


*** too social these days, sex show tonight!!***


Holiday – Oct 18th, 2007: PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20). You impress people. Is that so bad? Enjoy the public recognition you get now, even if that’s hard for you. If you can accept this positive reinforcement gracefully, a lot more comes your way in the weeks to come. *** yes, dodgeball was a blast***

Essential oils that will make you younger…

15 Oct

The secret of natural beauty: Essential oils that will keep you looking younger for longer

The beauty industry appears to be at a crossroads.On one hand, we have never been able to harness the potential of so much technology in terms of ingredients and techniques available to us.

On the other, despite all the exciting possibilities offered by cosmeceuticals, non-invasive procedures and so forth, there’s a distinct concern that the long-term effects and unresearched side-effects could actually end up doing us more harm than good.

Scroll down for more…

natural beautyBy paying individual attention to each body part and using the right oils, Daniele Ryman believes natural beauty is achievable for everyone

As a result, increasing numbers of people are turning to natural, organic treatments that have been tried and tested for years.

At the forefront of this movement is Daniele Ryman.

Daniele has been practising aromatherapy for 40 years and is a firm believer in the power of essential oils, particularly when it comes to anti-ageing.

She studied under Marguerite Maury, widely regarded as the doyenne of aromatherapy, and recalls one of her early encounters with the power of oils.

“Marguerite gave me my first prescription when I complained of a little wrinkle appearing round my eye at the age of 22.

“She made me a special oil, for which I still have the recipe: geranium, neroli, eucalyptus, rose, mixed in a carrier oil of avocado, hazelnut and almond.

“It smelt beautiful and was so effective that from that moment I was hooked.”

In her latest book, Secrets Of Youth & Beauty: Aromatherapy For Natural Rejuvenation, Daniele reveals which combinations of oils can help keep you looking younger for longer.

Here, she presents ten recipes for natural top-to-toe youthful beauty:


Hair-loss of any type, whether caused by cancer treatment, stress or hormone imbalances, can be devastating.

Ylang-ylang has long been used in hair treatments (such as a 19th-century hair oil called Macassar).

Before applying, tip your head forwards and brush your hair until your scalp feels warm.

Ylang-ylang hair-loss remedy

6 drops essential oil of ylang-ylang

1 capsule borage oil

1 capsule evening primrose oil

50ml bottle

Mix the oils and shake well. Massage into your scalp one hour before shampooing. Use two to three times a month. You can also add a few drops to a mild shampoo. Shake the bottle and use in combination with the scalp oil.


Broken capillaries or spider veins are especially noticeable on the cheeks and decollete.

Avoid hot baths and showers, hot facials, the sun and alcohol as these cause capillaries to dilate.

Vitamin C in your diet is important, as is rutin (found in the pith of citrus fruits).

Both are extremely good for strengthening the walls of veins.

Parsley is a particularly effective essential oil to use as it slows down the spread of broken capillaries and reduces their appearance.

I have also found essential oils of chamomile, violet leaves and orange to be good.

Face oil for broken capillaries

30ml (2 tbspn) rose masqueta oil

10ml (1 dspn) argan oil

2 capsules borage oil

2 capsules wheatgerm oil

6 drops essential oil of parsley

2 drops essential oil of chamomile, violet leaves or orange

50ml bottle

Mix in the bottle and gently apply to the face after cleansing, preferably in the morning. After ten minutes, remove any surplus oil with a tissue. This oil will keep for two to three months.


Late nights, too much alcohol, cigarette smoke and allergies can all cause bags.

Heavy creams can also contribute and it is all too easy to think they are helping when really they are causing the problem.

Instead, try this light gel.

Eye oil

1/2 cucumber, liquidised

1 capsule wheatgerm oil

50ml herbal infusion – marigold, fennel, parsley or comfrey

Make up the infusion using a teaspoon of your chosen herb and 50ml boiled water. Let cool, strain, then stir into the cucumber with the wheatgerm capsule.

Apply a little of the gel to your fingertips and pat into the area around the eye. This will boost the circulation, and reduce puffiness, lines and wrinkles.

Keep in the fridge and use within three days.


We are constantly looking for new ways of enhancing our lips – from collagen injections to High-Street lip plumps.

I prefer to use a natural balm. Massage it into your lips twice a day and you will have a fuller pout in no time.

Natural lip plump

10ml (1 dspn) jojoba oil

5ml (1 tspn) castor oil

5ml (1 tspn) argan oil

2 capsules wheatgerm oil

50ml bottle

Mix the ingredients together in the bottle and apply to the lips, gently pressing in with the fingertips. Massage into the skin around the mouth in a clockwise direction, pulling out both upper and lower lips slightly and rubbing in.

Apply a little more oil to the lips and leave for a few minutes before removing the surplus with a tissue. Ideally use twice a day. Keeps for a month in the fridge.


The jawline and neck area is very delicate and is one of the first places to show your age.

But essential oils can work wonders, as can massage.

Use this oil to massage your neck and jawline.

Always use upwards movements and gently lift, pinch and hold the skin to help tone and lift it.

Sandalwood neck oil

10ml (1 dspn) jojoba oil

8ml (1 1/2 tspn) avocado oil

2 capsules borage oil

4 capsules wheatgerm oil

10 drops essential oil of sandalwood

5 drops essential oil of bois de rose

2 drops essential oil of either petit grain or orange

50ml bottle

Mix together in the bottle and shake well. To help penetration of the oil, place a hot flannel on your face for a few minutes.

Apply every night until used up – this recipe gives enough for two to three weeks’ supply. Keep in the fridge or a cool place. Do this two or three times a year.


This lotion is great for firming the connective tissue around the breasts.

It is easy to make – just add some fresh or dried herbs, such as mint, basil, lavender, rosemary and thyme, to a bottle of cider or white wine vinegar.

You can use essential oils if you prefer – bois de rose, rose, peppermint, ylang-ylang and lavender all work well.

Aromatic vinegar lotion

6-10 tbspn dried herbs or a handful of fresh herbs or 15 drops of one of the essential oils listed above

1/2 litre cider or white wine vinegar

3/4 litre boiled cold water 2-litre bottle

Add your chosen herb or essential oil to the vinegar in the 2-litre bottle. Keep in the dark for two weeks. Add the water.

Use cotton wool to apply the lotion in circular movements to each breast. Do this a few times. Let dry. Try using this preparation daily for two months.


Like everything else, the skin on the arms starts to sag as we get older.

Exercise such as walking, running and swimming, can help tone and firm, and gentle upward massage will help banish cellulite by encouraging lymphatic drainage.

Massage oil for the upper arms

45ml (3 tbspn) jojoba oil

10ml (1 dspn) rose masqueta oil

1 capsule wheatgerm oil

1 capsule evening primrose oil

3 drops essential oil of either rose or jasmine

5 drops essential oil of lavender

4 drops essential oil of either bois de rose or lemon

100ml bottle

Mix together in the bottle. After a bath or shower, use the oil to massage the triceps muscle from the elbow upwards. This oil will keep for up to two months.


Ageing spots can appear from exposure to too much sun.

Often called ‘liver spots’, they also appear with age. Try this massage oil.

Fading oil for age spots

15ml (1 tbspn) almond oil

15ml (1 tbspn) argan oil

1 capsule wheatgerm oil

2 capsules evening primrose oil

10 drops essential oil of lavender

2 drops essential oil of rose

50ml bottle

Mix together and shake well. Every evening, massage the oil into the hands until fully absorbed.

This will keep for up to two months.


As many as nine in ten women are affected by cellulite, which can be brought on by hormonal changes characterised by high levels of oestrogen.

This encourages the body to retain fluid, causing the fat cells to bunch up and protrude through the dermis, giving the orange-peel effect.

A combination of factors can help reduce the appearance of cellulite, including diet, exercise, body brushing and detox baths but this massage oil may also help.

It contains guarana, which acts as a lipolytic enhancer, meaning it activates the circulation and stimulates the blood flow.

The oil will need to stay on the surface of the skin for a few minutes before you massage it in.

Note: You will need to shake the oil well before every application, as the contents will separate.

Cellulite massage oil

10ml (1 dspn) aloe vera juice

20ml (2 dspn) almond oil

60ml grapeseed oil

10ml (1 dspn) guarana tea or 2-3 dissolved capsules guarana

2 capsules wheatgerm oil

1 capsule borage oil

5 drops essential oil of either thyme or fennel

6 drops essential oil of rose 10 drops essential oil of lemon, grapefruit or orange

10 drops essential oil of either cypress or violet leaves

100ml bottle

Pour ingredients into the bottle and shake well. Massage into affected areas daily. Will keep for 3-4 weeks in a cool, dark place.


Varicose veins are caused by interruptions of the blood flow.

People who stand a lot are more susceptible to the condition, as are those who don’t exercise or exercise too strenuously.

It is also a genetic condition.

The following oil is great for preventing varicose veins and will also help if you already have varicose veins or thread veins.

All the ingredients are rich in vitamin C and rutin, which will help to strengthen capillary walls.

Geranium will encourage good circulation and the citrus oils will have a slightly astringent effect upon the whole venous system.

The aroma is also very positive and uplifting.

You should also make sure that you eat a diet rich in fruit and avoid hot baths or carrying heavy loads.

Vitamin-rich massage oil

50ml soya oil

1 capsule wheatgerm oil

2 drops essential oil of geranium

2 drops essential oil of grapefruit

1 drop essential oil of lemon

1 drop essential oil of orange

50ml bottle

Mix ingredients together in the bottle and shake well. Stroke the oil very gently into the legs using upwards movements, from the feet to the thighs. Use daily. The oil should keep for 2-3 months.

NB: Always buy your oils from a reputable shop and if you can afford to buy organic oils, do.

Always do a patch test – dip a cotton bud in a tiny trace of the oil, dab it on the inside of your wrist, cover with a plaster and leave unwashed for 24 hours.

If there is any allergic reaction at all, do not use the oil.

EXTRACTED by Claire Coleman from DaniËle Ryman’s Secrets Of Youth And Beauty published by Rodale, priced £18.99, available now.

From MM: 10-Inch Chocolate Ganache Torte with Caramel Sauce

13 Oct
10-Inch Chocolate Ganache Torte with Caramel Sauce
Serves 10-12
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
7 tbsp sugar
1 cup pecan halves

Place pecans and sugar in food processor and grind until pecans are medium ground. Place in stainless bowl and mix in melted butter.

Place in 10-inch spring form pan and pack evenly in bottom only.

Bake in 350-degree oven for 6-8 minutes, until golden brown, then cool.
16 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 egg yolk
pecan halves for garnish

Place melted chocolate in food processor with cream and blend until smooth. Add egg yolk and scrape bowl; continue blending until fully incorporated.

Place mixture evenly in spring form pan. Place pecan halves around the outside of torte and chill for at least one hour before serving.
Caramel Sauce
4 tbsp unsalted butter
7 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Melt butter, add sugar and whisk until bubbling. Slowly add cream and bring to a boil. Cool until lukewarm.
changeTitle(’10-Inch Chocolate Ganache Torte with Caramel Sauce’);
Executive Chef Ken Sharp
El Gaucho
2505 1st Avenue
Seattle (206) 728-9593

From MM: Apple Omelet with Cinnamon Cream

13 Oct
Apple Omelet with Cinnamon Cream
Serves 2
4 whole brown eggs
1 medium apple, peeled, cored, sliced thin
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp whipping cream, whipped with a pinch of cinnamon

Beat the eggs, sugar and 2 tbsp of cold water with a whisk, until frothy.

Heat the butter in a non-stick skillet, when the butter starts to foam, add the apple and cook until golden brown.

Add the eggs, swirl the pan back and forth so they will cook evenly. Fold the omelet and invert onto a warm serving plate.

Spoon the whipped cream over the top and serve.
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A late harvest Riesling

From MM: Chocolate Ganache with Crème Anglaise

13 Oct
Chocolate Ganache with Crème Anglaise
Serves 4
6 oz chocolate
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp cream
2 tbsp port wine
1 tbsp butter

Melt chocolate in double boiler with butter.

Combine cream and port wine.

Heat cream and wine – but do not boil.

When chocolate is melted, combine with warm cream.

Pour into plastic lined bowl and refrigerate.
Crème Anglaise
1 cup half & half
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp hazelnut liquor

In a bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar.

In a heavy pot, heat half & half to a simmer.

Pour over egg yolk mixture, while whisking.

Return to pot over low flame, stir. Stir constantly until thickens enough to coat back of spoon. Add liquor.

Strain through a fine sieve and refrigerate.

From MM: Creme Brulee

13 Oct
Crème Brûlée
Serves 4
2 cups milk
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
4 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
6 tbsp brown sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Bring milk and cream to a boil. Whisk together the sugar, eggs and vanilla until it becomes pale and yellow. Add the hot milk to the mixture and blend well.

Pour the mixture into 4 small ramekins or gratin dishes. Bake for 45 minutes in a water bath until the custard sets. Chill.

Sprinkle the brown sugar over the top of each custard and place the ramekins under the broiler in the oven until the sugar caramelizes evenly over the top. Serve with your favorite cookies.
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A luscious Dessert Wine

From MM: Creme Caramel

13 Oct
Crème Caramel
Serves 4
1 egg yolk
3 whole eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups milk, scalded
1 tsp vanilla
garnish: mint, crème fraiche, red berries

Whisk eggs, sugar, and vanilla together. Stir in hot scalded milk.

Pour batter over hardened caramel in custard dishes.

Place the dishes in a water bath, and bake in oven at 325 degrees for approximately 40 minutes, until custard sets.

To serve, run the blade of a paring knife along the top edge of the crème caramel, invert each mold onto a plate. Garnish with a sprig of mint, crème fraiche and red berries.
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp water

In a saucepan, boil the water and sugar until dark brown, then pour and coat bottom of 4 ovenproof custard molds.
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From the Côtes du Rhone, a fruity Tavel Rosé

From MM: Autumn Brie Tart with Spiced Fig Pear Butter

13 Oct
Earth & Vine Provisions Autumn Brie Tart with Spiced Fig Pear Butter
2 cups ginger snaps, finely ground & firmly packed
1 cup pecans, finely ground & firmly packed
4 oz butter
13.2 oz baby Brie wheel
1 (9-oz) jar Earth & Vine Provisions Spiced Fig Pear Butter
2 (15-oz) cans Bartlett pear halves in lite syrup

Trim skin off Brie and cut into cubes, set aside and let it come to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, combine ginger snap crumbs and ground pecans; blend together.

Melt butter in microwave and stir into ginger/pecan mix, blend with fingers or fork until completely moist. Press mixture into bottom of 11 x 1-inch tart pan firmly and evenly, set aside.

In a food processor, blend Brie and Spiced Fig Pear Butter until creamy. Gently spread Brie mixture evenly over tart crust.

Drain juice from canned pears, slice pear halves into 5-6 slices. Starting on the outer edge of tart, fan pears in a circular arrangement until tart is completely covered with pears, (you may have some pears left over). Chill for 3-4 hours before serving. Optional: Top with fresh figs.

From MM: Glazed Apples with Espresso-Cream Sauce

13 Oct
Glazed Apples with Espresso-Cream Sauce
Serves 4
4 granny smith apples, peeled but not cored
1/4 cup apple juice
1/4 cup honey
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp ground allspice
1/4 cup brewed espresso
3 tbsp heavy whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the peeled apples in a shallow baking dish.

In a small saucepan, combine the apple juice, honey, butter, allspice, and espresso. Heat until the butter melts, stirring occasionally.

Pour the mixture over the apples and bake them for 50 minutes, basting them with the liquid in the baking dish every 10 to 15 minutes.

When the apples are tender and glazed, remove them from the baking dish to a serving plate or plates; set aside and keep warm.

Mix the cream with the liquid in the baking dish and serve warm over the apples.