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Sunday, 21 January 2007
Apple, Cranberry, Raisin Stovetop Fruit Torte for One Recipe - another 'steamed baking' experiment.
Topic: Recipes

apple cranberry torte photoI had a hankering to try out this idea yesterday. What prompted the idea? Someone had arrived at my blog entry for stovetop chocolate bread by googling "how to bake a cake on a stovetop", according to my traffic logs. I usually replicate such searches to see just where my site turns up in Google. In the process I look into any results that intrigue me. Such a one, and I've found and read this one before, is an article by Ruth Ross on making stovetop steamed breads and cakes in Mother Earth News  from the 1970's. The article reinspired me, gave me the idea to try a fruitcake. I peruse recipes to get a general gist or feel of how to make something. I find it so much more fun to invent my own recipe just to see if I can do it, or to see what comes out. However, I use a mix of eyeball measuring and exact measuring, and only write things down afterwards. I try to hold on to the memory until I get to a pencil. This is much like painting. I cannot know until I see how things mix up if the proportions are right. Everything depends on everything else - as in Life.

I started out by imagining what fruit I had on hand, and did I want to try to make it like a fruitcake or like a pie without a crust or perhaps a cross between the two. Pie without a crust called louder. Would I use the Macintosh apple or the Empire apple - Mac was better for cooking. But wait, this lot of Macs had been so tasty. I had to eat some of it first. Then there was a bowl of cranberries that had never made it into sauce at Thanksgiving. I salvaged a handful of those. And I had some good raisins. This was a perfect combination. The old raspberries in the freezer would have to wait for another experiment.


Posted by Catinka Knoth at 2:09 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, 21 January 2007 2:50 PM EST
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Saturday, 6 January 2007
Chocolate Cake Recipe for One - or a Kids' Teaparty
Topic: Recipes
For years it has been a private tradition to make myself a chocolate cake on my birthday. It is usually invented on the spot, no recipe.  I try to remember the recipe afterwards and write it down with notes on how it turned out. It is so much fun to cook this way. Try my recipe or make one up yourself. There is nothing to lose in such small quantities. Have fun.

chocolate cake photo


c. 1 T butter
3 rounded cutlery teaspoons sugar
dash salt
6 heaping soupspoons whole wheat flour
1 soupspoon soymilk powder
2 heaping soupspoons dutch process cocoa
c. 3/4 cutlery teaspoon baking powder
c. 1/2 cup leftover eggnog with some whiskey & dash of nutmeg


Cream together butter, sugar and salt in small mixing bowl

Add dry ingredients on top. Mix dry ingredients well without yet mixing into butter/sugar mix. When the dry stuff is well mixed you can start mixing it into the butter sugar mix. Get it thoroughly mixed.

Alternate splashes of eggnog with quick mixing strokes. Mix quickly so as not to develop the gluten in the flour. Add enough eggnog so that you have a loose but not liquid batter.

Grease a small round crepe or casserole dish with butter.
Spoon in the batter.

Set the pan on a low rack in a two quart saucepan 1/3-1/2 full of water.
Cover saucepan. Turn on heat and get water to boil. Turn down heat so that water is at a high simmer. You don't want the dish to rock wildly in there but you want as high a heat as you can get.

Let simmer covered for c. 1 hour 20 minutes
(I think that is how long I cooked it for.) It's deceptive knowing when its done. The steam rises up and dampens the top so it will still be sticky while in the pan. I used the knife test several times hoping I'd get a clean knife. Finally I just said, this has to be done.

Use dishtowels to retrieve the cake/pan from the pot of hot water.
A china dish is harder to retrieve from hot water than a metal pan or a loaf by itself. You want a good grip on the edge of the dish. (Perhaps one should fashion a wire ring with handles onto the dish before setting in the water.)

Turn the cake out by putting a plate on top of pan and turning upside down. The cake should fall out. Quickly and carefully turn it back over onto its bottom. Place on a rack to cool. You can then decorate with powdered sugar, jam, or frosting if you must, or leave plain. This cake was delicious. I have yet to taste better chocolate cakes here in Maine than my own concoctions. Perhaps it is just the butter even though this has minimal butter? Also, this does not have a 'whole wheat' taste. It is as fancy and rich as it can be while still being somewhat good for you. And even though it is quite small, it will last one person for several servings. Or would make a perfect kids' teaparty cake. It is so cute.

Posted by Catinka Knoth at 2:37 PM EST
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Monday, 1 January 2007
Carnival of Papercut Lions
Topic: Art

Try a papercut! They're such fun. You can try one of these lions. Start with a quarter sheet of copy paper. Pinch a little section about 3/4" from the 'ground' edge. With a small pair of sharp scissors snip into the pinch. This is the back of the back paw. Cut smoothly up the back leg, around the tail, down the back, over the mane, ear, profile, mane again, chest, front leg(s), ribs and belly, haunch?, and finally down the back leg. Oops - each foot on the ground needs to stay connected if you want to turn it into a popup card. When I cut these I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with them. I did then make them into popup cards. Here I just kept making different arrangements with them. To turn them into popups they get glued into a card folder of a contrasting color. It should be positioned with the ground edge in the fold of the card. Glue a tab into the back of the figure. Leave a gap the same size as the distance between the ground edge of the papercut and its paw edge. Fold the rest of the tab up and glue onto the card. The tab acts as a bridge between the card and the figure and holds the figure away from the card. I should show one of the actual cards, but they got mailed. When I make another I'll try to remember to add it here.

See enlarged views of the pictures.
Papercut Lions 1
Papercut Lions 2
Papercut Lions 3
Papercut Lions 4

papercut lions papercut lions
papercut lions papercut lions

Posted by Catinka Knoth at 6:49 PM EST
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Sunday, 31 December 2006
Happy New Year!
Topic: Seasonal/Holiday
New Year's Bear graphic

Posted by Catinka Knoth at 12:01 AM EST
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Monday, 25 December 2006
A Christmas Card and Poem - 2006
Topic: Seasonal/Holiday
Wishing everyone all the best: my Christmas card and poem for the 2006 Holiday season.

Christmas drawing

christmas tree graphic

Posted by Catinka Knoth at 9:41 AM EST
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