The random musings of a software developer

Kirschen’s Carbonara

Servings: 2


3 eggs
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
6 ozs pasta
3 strips turkey bacon
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil


Boil water for pasta per directions on packet.

While water is boiling:

Cut stacked bacon strips in half across the long edge. Cut halves lengthwise into strips. Further cut across into small bits.

Fry bacon in the olive oil till crisp, reducing heat.

While bacon is cooking:

Grate cheese in a bowl. Beat eggs in cheese till well combined. Set aside.

When water boils, put pasta in, reduce heat and cook pasta per time on packet or 1 minute less if you like al dente.

When pasta is cooked:

Drain pasta or remove pasta with tongs, and pour out water from pot. Put pasta back in pot and pour cheese / egg mixture on top and stir till cooked with a wooden spoon, under low heat. Pour bacon and olive oil onto pasta / egg / cheese and mix till well distributed.


Nutritional Info: 461 calories per serving

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Olive-Butter Spread

I bemoaned the lack of availability of OliveIt – an olive oil and butter mixed spread. Decided to try my hand and whip up my own rendition. It’s essentially half olive oil and half butter and very easy to make.

Soften two sticks of butter in a mixing bowl. Measure one cup of olive oil into the bowl. With a hand mixer, whip the butter into the olive oil until smooth and uniform. Pour the mixture into containers, such as spread tubs. Put the tubs into the fridge to set overnight. Next day, spread and enjoy!

That’s a great way to get olive oil into your diet. The mixture remains soft in the tubs and is very spreadable. A little goes a long way and it tastes heavenly!

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Orange-Chocolate Muffins With Almonds

Indeed a sumptuous muffin, half orange and half chocolate, that certainly will charm any guest.

2 cups all purpose flour
½ cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup toasted, chopped blanched almonds
2 eggs, beaten
¾ cup orange juice
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted
Grated rind of 1 large orange

Preheat oven to 400°. Brush twelve 2½" muffin cups with melted butter or coat with vegetable spray.

In a mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in the almonds, leaving ¼ cup to sprinkle over tops of muffins. Combine the eggs, orange juice and butter. Stir into the dry ingredients until just well mixed. Remove half the batter to a second bowl. To one-half the batter add the melted chocolate, mixing rapidly until smooth. To the other half of the batter add the grated orange rind, mixing well. Holding the muffin tin slightly tipped, spoon in the orange batter on one side of each muffin cup. Fill the other side with chocolate batter. By lightly touching the batter you can keep each under control — and they certainly do not have to be perfect. Sprinkle tops with remaining almonds. Bake muffins 20 minutes.

To toast almonds, spread the nuts in a cake tin and place them in a 300° oven. Toast about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Watch carefully to avoid burning.

From Mary Gubser’s “Quick Breads, Soups, and Stews“, Publ. Council Oak, ISBN 0-933031-33-5

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Grand Marnier Orange Nut Bread

The aromas of orange and Grand Marnier will float through the kitchen as this lovely bread bakes. Serve it plain or with a soft, creamy Brie at room temperature.

2¼ cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
½ cup butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
Grated rind of 2 large oranges
1 cup orange juice
4 tablespoons Grand Marnier or Curaçao liqueur
½ cup chopped pecans
½ cup golden raisins, scalded and dried

Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush a 9x5x3" loaf pan with melted butter or coat with vegetable spray.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl, blending together. Set aside. In the large bowl of an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Beat in the two eggs and orange rind until well mixed. Combine the orange juice and Grand Marnier. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the orange and Grand Marnier, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Scrape the sides of the bowl and continue to beat until the mixture is smooth. Fold in the nuts and raisins. Pour the batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake one hour and test for doneness. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Turn bread out on the rack to finish cooling.

From Mary Gubser’s “Quick Breads, Soups, and Stews“, Publ. Council Oak, ISBN 0-933031-33-5

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Queen of Sheba Cake

Dense gateau-style chocolate cake with ground almonds.

Serves 8 to 10


125 grams semisweet chocolate
125 grams unsalted butter
3 eggs-separated
125 grams granulated white sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla 125 grams ground almonds


50 grams white wheat flour-sifted
100 grams semisweet chocolate
50 grams unsalted butter

  1. Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F).

  2. In a small pan, melt chocolate over low heat. Cool to room temperature.

  3. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and mix in melted, cooled chocolate. Add egg yolks, one by one, and half of the sugar, beating well after each addition. Mix in vanilla. Fold in ground almonds and then flour.

  4. In another bowl, whip egg whites just until they are stiff. Add remaining half of the sugar and beat until egg whites are glossy, about 30 seconds more.

  5. Stir 1/4 of the egg whites into chocolate mixture and then fold in the rest of them. Pour mixture into a 20-cm (8-inch), buttered and floured cake pan.

  6. Bake until cake shrinks slightly from sides of the pan and the top springs back when lightly pressed with a fingertip, about 30 minutes. Cool cake in pan for a few minutes before turning it out onto a cake rack to cool completely. At this point, cake can be stored in an airtight container for a week.

  7. For the glaze, a few hours before serving, melt chocolate with butter over very low heat. Stir gently.

  8. Put cake on a rack and spread warm glaze over its top and sides, working quickly to finish before glaze sets.

To make ground almonds, cover them with water, bring to a boil, drain, and then slip each almond out of its skin by pinching between your thumb and forefinger. In a 175°C (350°F) oven, toast almonds until they are light golden, about 10 minutes. Cool. In a food processor, grind almonds with a few tablespoons of the sugar by turning machine on and off.

Banana-Nut Bread

Just made this tonight. Enjoy!

A perennial favorite when banana ripening outstrips consumption.

Makes 1 loaf (Serves 6 to 8).

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup butter
2 eggs
1 ½ cup mashed bananas-very ripe (about 3 to 4)
1 tbl. lemon juice
2 cup sifted white wheat flour
3 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a large loaf pan. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together.

Cream the brown sugar together with the butter, then mix in the eggs. Thoroughly mix in the bananas and lemon juice, then mix in the flour mixture as quickly as possible.

Fold in the chopped nuts, then pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

(Cook’s Magazine, courtesy of Mangia, the Mac OS 9 recipe application)

Victoria Sandwich Cake

A traditional recipe in the British baking repertoire.

Makes 6-8 slices


1 cup (250g) butter, softened
1 cup (250g) granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 ½ cups (250g) self-rising flour
1-2 tbsp milk
4 tbsp seedless raspberry jam
granulated sugar to decorate

Oven temperature: 350°F / 180°C
Baking time: 25 mins
Cake pans: two 8in (26cm) round pans, greased and lined

Storage: Keeps for 2-3 days
Freezing: Freezes for 3 months undecorated


  1. In a large bowl, beat the butter and granulated sugar together until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a little of the flour if the mixture begins to separate.

  2. Sift the remaining flour over the surface of the mixture and fold it in, followed by a little milk to give the mixture a soft dropping consistency.

  3. Divide the mixture in half and spread it evenly into the prepared pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until pale golden and soft and springy to the touch.

  4. Remove from the oven and invert onto a wire rack. Let cool. Carefully remove the lining paper and spread the bottom of one cake with the raspberry jam. Cover with the second cake layer, transfer to a plate, and sprinkle the top with granulated sugar to decorate.

Kirschen’s Notes

Any kind of jam can be used – I particularly like strawberry.

If you have non-stick pans, just grease them with the remnants on the butter wrappers, don’t need to be lined.

Instead of using granulated sugar, I use powdered / icing / confectioners’ sugar and sift that over the top using a sieve.

Source: Ultimate Cake by Barbara Maher, published by DK Living

New England Maple Bread


2 cups all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup butter or margarine, melted
¾ cup milk
¾ cup maple syrup
1 large egg
1 cup golden raisins, scalded and dried
1 cup chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Brush a 9x5x3″ loaf pan with melted butter or coat with vegetable spray.

In a mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt, and blend well. Set aside.

In a separate bowl stir together the butter, milk, maple syrup, and egg. Beat well and with a rubber spatula add to the dry ingredients, stirring quickly until well moistened. Fold in the raisins and nuts.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly. Bake one hour and test for doneness. Remove bread from oven and cool in the pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Turn the bread out on the rack to finish cooling.

A delightfully simple bread with a charming, light flavour of maple syrup

Recipe from Quick Breads, Soups and Stews by Mary Gubser, Council Oak Books, 1991

To scald raisins – put the raisins in a colander and pour hot water over the raisins. Drain and place on paper towels on a plate and pat dry.

To test for bread doneness, insert a skewer (bamboo or metal) into the bread and remove. If it comes out cleanly with no trace of batter, the bread is done.


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