Peoplewhoeat’s Weblog

March 5, 2011

Stuffed Dates

Filed under: Appetizer, Good for party food, Quick cook, Snacks, Special occasions — Tags: , , , , , , — peoplewhoeat @ 2:09 am

Got this from Rachel Wilkerson‘s excellent rundown of Thanksgiving recipes. But I think these puppies are awesome enough to deserve their very own blog post. Also, unlike Rachel, I don’t think the cheese is optional. I’ve made them three times now, and they’ve always been a hit!

Dates, the big ones, the best quality you can afford (it’s actually easier to buy the ones with the pit still in)
Gorgonzola cheese

Pit the dates, and replace the pits with a similarly sized and shaped bit of cheese.
Cut the slices of bacon in half, and wrap a half-piece of bacon around each date.
Bake at 400* for 20 minutes, turning halfway.

They’re best slightly warm but not hot (about half an hour after coming out of the oven).

Ta-da! A filling, impressive, and easy appetizer! I made these the other day, chilled them, then reheated them at a party and they were still delicious.

(No picture, because while they are DELICIOUS, they are not photogenic)


December 27, 2010

Christmas Cookies

I was under de facto house arrest for a large portion of my winter break, so I took the opportunity to explore some new Christmas cookie recipes. My Mom made her usual assortment: Pinwheels, Nutella Stars, Sandtart Trees, Thumbprints, Russian Tea Cakes and Rugulach (unfortunately I don’t have her recipes, but if I get them, there will be some follow-up here). I made these:

These are probably my new favorite: Coffee-Spice Shortbread

If you don’t have a tart pan, you can also use a cake pan with removable sides. You just want to be able to get to the shortbread without making a mess of it.

These are delicious and gorgeous, but kind of difficult: Chocolate Peppermint Pinwheels

A few tips:
Make sure you crush the living daylights out of the peppermints or candy canes. Any large pieces will make it REALLY difficult to make slices of the roll.
The chocolate dough is hard to work with, but delicious. Just tough it out.
These cookies don’t expand very much, so if any of them look less than perfect when you cut them (as many probably will) squish them back together before you bake them. They’ll look pretty much exactly the same when you take them out as when you put them in.
The peppermint melts, so you’ll want to take measures to still be able to get them off the pan.

I also used red and green M&Ms in my usual chocolate chip cookies:

If I were to do it again, I would put in a little extra flour and use parchment paper or something. They spread a little too much, making the M&Ms bleed and stick. Still delicious, though!

November 30, 2008

A Twist on Thanksgiving

Filed under: Dinner, Side dish, Side Dishes, Special occasions — Tags: , , , , — peoplewhoeat @ 7:05 pm

Although I love cooking and food, Thanksgiving has never really been a favorite holiday of mine.  I’ve never enjoyed turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, or pumpkin pie, so the Thanksgiving feast usually turned into a sad little plate of mashed potatoes and cranberry jelly.  The rest of my family wasn’t averse to experimenting with the traditions, though, and we’ve developed some very tasty twists on the tradition.

My aunt made this turkey recipe, and it was delicious.  It doesn’t have the impressive presentation you get from roasting a whole bird, but it sure tastes a lot better:

One of my favorite recipes of all time, which fits perfectly into a Thanksgiving feast (or really any other meal) is spicy roast sweet potato wedges.

Spicy Roast Sweet Potato Wedges:

1 tsp coriander seed
½ tsp fennel seed
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried red pepper flakes
1 tsp kosher salt
2 lb medium sweet potatoes
3 Tbl vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 425; grind together first four
ingredients; cut potatoes in 1 inch wedges; toss
together with oil, ground spices and salt. Spread
out in a shallow pan, roast 20 minutes; turn
wedges over; roast an additional 15-20 minutes, until golden and tender.

Happy Thanksgiving!

May 3, 2008

A party without a cake…

Filed under: Dessert, Special occasions — Tags: , , , , , , — peoplewhoeat @ 10:12 pm

What’s a birthday party without a cake? Well, I guess it can be a perfectly respectable affair, but to me it just lacks a certain celebratory flair. When a friend’s birthday came our way, we knew we had to bake something special and beautiful. There were only two criteria: it couldn’t be a chocolate cake, and, as students with limited kitchen facilities (not even a handheld mixer!), it had to be something simple and easy to put together. Since we even lack round baking tins,Tina and I opted for a yellow, vanilla-flavoured sheet-cake which could be baked in a rectangular brownie pan, the recipe of which we found on Baking Bites.

Since we made this all by hand, the cake was dense rather than fluffy, but it was absolutely wonderful and came together quickly and easily. The icing was a spectacular surprise; although caster sugar is used, the result is smooth and buttery, with absolutely no crunchy bits of sugar throughout.

the beautiful finished product, which we decorated with decorative sugar flowers and candles bought from Waitrose. The dark splodges on which we’ve placed the white flowers are little dollops of dulche de leche (Argentinian milk jam) which Tina bought at Borough market some time ago. The dulche de leche also makes a great topping for a classic banana cake…

Sheet cake (the instructions reflect what we did, lacking a mixer)

2.5 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 cups sugar (we used golden caster sugar)
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 eggs
1 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celcius
Grease 9×13 inch sheet pan with vegetable oil
Sift cake flour, baking powder and salt into bowl. Note: we don’t have a sifter, so we improvised by tossing the dry ingredients around a bit to aerate them. This might have contributed to the cake’s denseness, so if you like a denser, moister cake, don’t sift the ingredients.
Add sugar and mix to blend
Cut butter into four or five chunks. Drop into bowl with flour (we cut the butter into small pieces and rubbed them into the flour mixture). Blend until mxiture looks sandy and no chunks of butter remain (one or two minutes with an electric mixer on slow)
Combine milk, eggs and vanilla in large measuring bowl. Beat lightly until combined, using a fork.
Pour one cup of this egg mixture into bowl with mixer on low. Turn speed up to medium and mix for one and a half minutes (we mixed this until smooth. You could use a fork, spatula or even just your hands for this).
Reduce speed back to low and pour in the rest of the egg mixture. Continue to beat at low speed for about 30 seconds (or until smooth! It does take a bit more time by hand) until liquid is fully incorporated. Scrape down sides of the bowl and beat for a few more seconds if necessary
Pour batter into prepared pan; spread it evenly with a spatula. Tap gently a few times to eliminate any bubbles
Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes clean
Let cool for 30 mins in the pan before tuning it out onto a rack to cool completely

Vanilla Frosting

the paste of flour, milk and salt. It is not tasty, but it is the start of something beautiful (and tasty). Anyway, once you have this product, let it cool for about an hour and a half before adding it to the butter and sugar

the fluffy gorgeousness of this sweet, rich frosting

1 and 1/3 cups milk
1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 and 1/3 cups sugar (we used golden caster sugar)
1 and 1/3 cups butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract

Combine milk, flour and salt in medium saucepan with heat turned off. Whisk until smooth.
Cook over medium-high heat, whisking, until mixture thickens and comes to a boil, about 5 – 7 minutes.
Boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat
Strain into medium bowl and cover. Cool to room temperature, about 1.5 hours
When flour mixture is cool, beat together sugar, butter and vanilla until mixture is creamy and light (it is possible to do this with a fork and whisk, as we did, it just takes a bit longer!)
Add flour mixture a dollop at a time, beating it in until frosting is creamy and light

Original recipe is here, original frosting recipe is here

Blog at