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Welcome 2013… and here’s my first award nomination of the year! This wonderful start was thanks to the lovely Heather of Bake ‘n Create who selected my blog among the thirteen others as her Baker’s Dozen for the Super Sweet Blogging Award. I do hope that everyone’s new year had an equally sweet beginning and that the remaining 364 days bring lots of happiness, success and good health to all of you. May you be blessed with an abundance of food in your kitchens along with hundreds of new recipes to bake and share.

And while I am at it, I seize this opportunity to do a quick End of Year recap. The Annual WordPress Report sums up Inspired to Bake’s 2nd year as follows: 160,000 views from 176 countries, 65 new posts and 3,439 maxiumum views in a single day. I participated in all Daring Bakers 2012 Challenges except in February [Quick Breads] and wrote a guest post for Moricienneries. Other memorable participations in the past year included the Pink Ribbon Breakfast, the Red Cross Big Cake Bake and the July Monthly Mingle. And lastly, towards the end of 2012, I acquired an ice cream maker, a set of Christmas cookie cutters, a mini muffin pan and a huge pile of cookbooks I have yet to go through.

super-sweet-blogging-award21-w645

Coming back to the Super Sweet blogging award, there are a few simple rules to stick to:

1. Give credit to the person who chose to nominate you,

2. Answer the “Super Sweet” questions, and

3. Nominate a “Baker’s Dozen (13) blogs.

{SUPER SWEET QUESTIONS}

1. Cookies or Cake? Cake all the way! I do like my cookies but I’d always grab a slice of cake over them anytime.

2. Chocolate or Vanilla? Tricky one coz I usually choose them as a duo but if I had to pick one, I’d go for the rich and indulgent chocolate.

3. What is your favorite sweet treat? The most difficult question of the lot. I’d narrow the options and select one from my 2012 bakes: the much requested Tres Leches Cake. Not far behind are the Sticky Date Pudding and my Kitkat Birthday Cake.

4. When do you crave sweet things the most? I usually need a sugar fix post dinner and sometimes in the middle of the night, if I’m still awake, though I would not say no to sweets any time of the day – especially if they happen to be homemade!

5. If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be? Hmm… gato coco!

{MY BAKERS DOZEN}

1. Shelley – C Mom Cook

2. Jenni –  The Gingered Whisk

3. Korena – Korena in the Kitchen

4. Marcellina – Marcellina in Cucina

5. Audax – Audax Artifex

6. Zoë François – Zoe Bakes

7. Renata – Testado Provado & Aprovado

8. Jehanne – The Cooking Doctor

9. Lisa – Homesick Texan

10. Ree – The Pioneer Woman

11. Bourbonnatrix – Bourbonnatrix Bakes

12. Kim – Ask a Foodie

13. Deb – Smitten Kitchen

Happy 2013 everyone! Hope it turns out to be sweeter than 2012!

Happy New Year dear readers!  

I hope all of you had a great start no matter how you chose to celebrate. My first day of 2011 went by in a blur amidst the mad influx of patients in hospital. Binge eating and drinking caused many of them to turn up for admission which kept our unit working till late into the night.

To make up for my wasted January 1st, I tried to compensate for my lack of good food and sleep over next 1 1/2 days at my grandma’s place. Instead of the traditional family trip to the seaside, we opted for mountain climbing [see photos on Flickr] as part of our New Year resolution for a healthier lifestyle.

I guess many of you must have made similar resolutions to lose those extra kgs through diet and exercise. To counter the high carb & fat content of main courses during the festive season, I gave up on baked desserts for a while and switched to fruit-based ones. 

Fruit kebobs are a fun way to encourage kids to eat fresh fruit in larger amounts than they normally would. Even picky eaters in my family did not spare those cubes of cuteness for which you can use any fruit combination as per preference and availability.

FRUIT KEBOBS

 

Ingredients:

1 small punnet strawberries

2 kiwi fruit

1 large ripe mango

Method:

  • Wash strawberries, remove stalks and dry on a paper towel.
  • Peel kiwi fruit and mango. Cut the pulp into large cubes.

 

  • Thread the diced fruit onto bamboo skewers finishing with a strawberry. Store in the fridge if making in advance.

 

To end my New Year meal with a splash of colour, I chose to make this deliciously refreshing terrine. In abundance this summer, fresh fruit like mangoes, lychees and berries can be thrown together to yield this stunning last-minute dessert. Add a twist to your fruit terrine; flavour the agar agar with fruit juice, coconut milk or even champagne! 

If you are making dessert for the first time, this is one you simply cannot go wrong with. Take your time to select good quality fresh fruit and make the agar firm enough to hold its shape after unmoulding. That’s about all you need to produce a light summer dessert – no sugar added.

FRUIT TERRINE

 

Ingredients:

200 g red grapes, seedless

200 g green grapes, seedless

1 large alphonso mango

100 g mixed red berries

100 g strawberries

2 ripe peaches

1 kiwi fruit

4 cups water

1 package agar agar

Method:

  • Prepare fruit by slicing or dicing to desired size.
  • Bring water to boil in a medium heavy-based saucepan.
  • Remove from heat and cool slightly. Add sugar if you wish.
  • Soak agar agar in hot water until completely dissolved.

 

  • Lightly grease a 3″x7″ loaf pan with a dab of vegetable oil.
  • Pour agar agar mixture in pan to a depth of about 1cm.
  • Leave to set at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
  • Arrange fruit in a random pattern over this agar agar layer.

 

  • Pour remaining agar agar mixture over fruit so that the latter is completely covered. Set aside until agar agar is firm.
  • To unmould, dip pan in hot water for a few minutes or run a knife around egdes before inverting over a serving plate.

Have a wonderful start!



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