Nigel Slater’s Cake of Roasted Hazelnuts, Muscovado, and Coffee + A 30th Birthday/Housewarming Menu

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Nigel Slater’s Cake of Roasted Hazelnuts, Muscovado, and CoffeeNigel Slater’s Cake of Roasted Hazelnuts, Muscovado, and Coffee

Nigel Slater’s Cake of Roasted Hazelnuts, Muscovado, and CoffeeNigel Slater’s Cake of Roasted Hazelnuts, Muscovado, and Coffee

Nigel Slater’s Cake of Roasted Hazelnuts, Muscovado, and Coffee

I turned thirty at the end of January. I meant to throw a birthday party/housewarming at our new place on the 23rd, but alas, Jonas! So, we rescheduled for the 30th.

I salvaged what I could from that first Saturday’s cooking–although we still have two-pounds of prosciutto in the fridge, God help us–and decided to cater bits and pieces to fill in the rest of the menu for the following weekend.

Below, a compilation of what I served, but also what I originally planned to serve, to aid in planning your next winter party, plus some tips and notes:

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Strawberry-Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting

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This past week has been full of travel. I was in Los Angeles for a bachelorette party, where I visited Disney Land for the first time. Now I’m on Cape Cod with my cousin who is just twenty-eight hours older than me. (She was a bridesmaid at the wedding.) To see some recent travel images, take a look at Instagram.

For now, here are a few themed haikus and limericks constructed with my cousin this morning:

There is much debate
about which lobster roll reigns;
I like Sir Cricket.

Here I am on beautiful Cape Cod
Where there is an abundance of scrod
I like the catch of the day
But oysters would make me sway
I think I have lost my hot bod

I hear ice cream truck,
but I prefer Sundae School;
I hope there’s still fudge

On the Cape there is much entertainment
To play mini golf I am hell-bent
Let’s hop in the car
I’m hoping for par
Will I beat the Frenchman, probablement

Strawberry-Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut-Cream Cheese FrostingStrawberry-Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting

This cake is soft and tender and studded with strawberries. I could eat it on its own, sans frosting, any time of the day.

The recipe is adapted from The Flourishing Foodie‘s Coconut Cake. I’ve made Heather’s Coconut Cake several times; it’s delicious, and especially impressive for birthdays. I sometimes fill the layers with jam or citrus curd instead of the frosting, and I’ve poured cajeta over the top of the cake, or covered it with fruit. Makes 12 cupcakes.

Strawberry-Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut-Cream Cheese FrostingStrawberry-Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting

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Strawberry Cake + an Almost Wedding

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On Saturday, the Frenchman and I are getting married. It’s happening. After so many months of scheming and dreaming, the event is now just two days away.

I’m a bit chicken-with-her-head-cut-off at the moment, but I wanted to stop into this space to say hello, I’m still here! And to share this strawberry-vanilla cake with you, which is perfect for right now. Avis sur levitra generique.

One more thing: here is our wedding reading, a passage I’ve long-appreciated for it’s honest approach to love and the life of a long term relationship.

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Chocolate Cake with Rhubarb-Strawberry Compote + Crème Fraîche Cream

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Swan

Did you see it, drifting, all night on the black river?
Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air,
an armful of white blossoms,
a perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned
into the bondage of its wings: a snowbank, a bank of lilies,
biting the air with its black beak?
Did you hear it, fluting and whistling
a shrill dark music, like the rain pelting trees,
    like a waterfall
knifing down the black ledges?
And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds–
a white cross streaming across the sky, its feet
like black leaves, its wings like the stretching light
    of the river?
And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?

–Mary Oliver

rhubarbchocolate cake batter

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Everything Carrot Cake + Swiss Cream Cheese-Mascarpone Frosting

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Inspiration

I am tired of the tundra of the mind,
where a few shabby thoughts hunker
around a shabby fire. All day from my window
I watch girls and boys hanging out
in the dark arcades of desire.

Tonight, everything is strict with cold,
the houses closed, the ice botched by skaters.
I am tired of saying things about the world,
and yet, sometimes, these streets are so
slick and bold they remind me of the wet

zinc bar at the Café Marseilles, and suddenly the sea
is green and lust is everywhere in a red cravat, Read more »

Tipsy Apple-Parsnip Cake with Sultanas and Cider Glaze + A Food Rant

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I oscillated hour to hour on whether or not to post this essay here–it is not the kind of writing I normally share in this space. Regular readers will know how much I care about whole foods, and that the farmers market is an essential facet of my cooking life, but I do not usually bring policy into the conversation.

Ultimately, I am posting this because I think the issues at hand are more important than my fears you won’t like what I have to say.

I recently spent a few days with a group of people who could not think more differently than me when it comes to food. After that experience, I needed a way to vent my frustrations, collect my thoughts, and clarify my views. If you already agree with what I write below, excellent. If you agree and are looking for a way to broach the subject with the people in your life who disagree or simply don’t know, I hope this essay aids that conversation. If you think I am totally full of cow manure, well, we are just going to have to agree to disagree. Either way, if you would rather simply read about a happy-go-lucky, apple-parsnip cake laced with rummy raisins and warming spices, click here to jump ahead. Read more »

Fig and Hazelnut Muffins

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I recently purchased David Tanis’s book, A Platter of Figs. In the introduction, he talks about the idea of understanding the seasons, really understanding them, so that you always get the best out of whatever garden-grown thing you’re bringing into the kitchen.

“Do you really need a recipe for a platter of figs?” he asks. “No. Is that the point? Yes. Does it have to be more complicated than that? Not really. Yet to serve the figs you need to know about ripeness and seasonality — the seasons of the garden — and you need to know your figs. By this I mean, are they sun-ripened and bursting with jammy sweetness? Are they succulent enough to eat as is, or do they want a sprinkling of salt, a drizzle of good olive oil, perhaps a thin slice of prosciutto? A dab of fresh ricotta and honey to heighten the flavor? Or should you roast the figs with onions and thyme and serve them warm with rare-grilled duck breasts?

The platter of figs perfectly illustrates the idea of eating with the seasons. Read more »

Almond-Spice Plum Upside Down Cake

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As you can see, The Roaming Kitchen has a bit of a new look, thanks entirely to the Frenchman’s hard work and ingenuity. We’ll be making a few more cosmetic changes around here over the next few weeks. I’m really excited about what’s to come!

I thank you in advance for your patience as we work out the kinks. (And by that I mean, “Cris, be patient. Abstain from hurling your computer out your apartment window, just because it took you a gazillionty-one more hours than usual to format this post, and now you have no brain power left for the witty and devastatingly interesting headnote you’d planned to pen.)

Ah well. I’ll be clever next week. Also, I’ll share some fetching, non-food photos. In the meantime, I’m going to put down my computer and have a piece of cake. You should, too. I hope your weekend is full of seascapes and ripe tomatoes. Happy August! Read more »