On the road again | Fiesta Friday #30

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On the road again…. Just can’t wait to get home again! :-)

I’m up here this morning.

cornell university

Why? I’ll tell you all about it on Sunday when I get home. Right now, I’m going to open Fiesta Friday #30. The party must go on, you hear, with or without yours truly.

Margy @La Petite Casserole will party with you until I can join in. She’s my solo co-host this week since she’s obviously a host extraordinaire. She will take very good care of you!

Let’s take a look at last fiesta’s features first before we party, shall we?


Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes from Michelle @Girrafes Can Bake. In Selma’s words, “Totally and utterly gorgeous!! Words fail me – Michelle needs to apply for GBBO immediately!”

Michelle, I saw the cupcakes and I read Ferrero Rocher and I yelled, “Gimme, gimme, gimme!” Obviously, you didn’t hear me from across the pond. So I’m going to try once again, ” MICHELLE! GIMME, GIMME, GIMME!” Waiting now, Michelle… :-)


Vanilla Ombre Rose Birthday Cake from Katkapow @Resting Dough. In Jhuls’ words, “I bet everyone fell in love with this cake – the colors are so lovely. Not only the icing roses have different colors, but also the cake itself. If I am inside a bakeshop and looking for something very nice to give as a gift, I would not take a second thought – I’d take this.”

In Selma’s words, “Stunning cake, inside and out! And what a great friend she is! I loved reading about the cake trials and would have loved to have seen more photos of the tea party, too.”

I only have one word for you, Kat! OMG! And WOW! Okay, two words. Rented kitchen… 2 days of baking… Your ombre cake is worthy to be any baker’s magnum opus!


Cooking My Way Around The Web from Ngan @Ngan Made It. I love this post, Ngan! You’ve made so many of our blogger friends very happy by trying their recipes and giving them feedback. You are such a dear! I just adore you and your style. <3


Summer celebration Salad from Julianna @Foodie On Board. In Jhuls’ words, “Considering that summer months will soon bid their goodbye, I know everyone would want to spend the last moments of summer with fabulous summer recipes and this salad [fits the bill]. It should definitely be on the table. It’s a delicious, healthy, and beautiful salad!”

In Selma’s words, “Julianna’s salad is absolutely glorious-looking with a really interesting dressing, too.”

As for me, looking at that salad makes me feel very happy somehow! I want to gobble it up and taste its vibrancy so I can keep summer’s brightness going forever. Just look at the colors! Doesn’t this salad prove that we eat with our eyes first? Who would be able to resist it?


Tricolor Cardamom & Saffron Sorbet from Violets & Vanilla. We had quite a few entries celebrating India’s Independence Day and this one really caught my attention. Well, hello, it’s a sorbet! Summer and sorbet go together. Besides it’s a coconut sorbet. With cardamom and saffron. And it’s tricolor, representing the colors of India’s flag. Sounds just so, so lovely!

***

Alrighty, it’s time to party, pretty! Okay, I was just trying to rhyme, but it really is time to party, sweetie! Geez Louise! It’s barely 7 am, I’m in my hotel room, and I’ve been up all night sharing a pizza and some cheap zinfandel (which surprisingly went really well with the pizza) with a few lovely people, so bear with me, please.

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Mille Crêpe Cake | Fiesta Friday #29

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I came home from my vacation only to be met at the airport by out-of-town guests, whom I love dearly. I’m just saying that I’m no less busy now than I was before. I still have very limited time for blogging. You gotta entertain your guests, after all. Just sayin’. Not complainin’.

So, despite having come back from my vacation, I haven’t really been home much. I’ve been going here and there with my guests, mostly eating out and shopping. Again, not complainin’. Just sayin’.

I did, however, manage to make this incredible dessert, Gâteau Mille Crêpes or Mille Crêpe Cake. Don’t ask me how, I wouldn’t know how to explain it. How I was able to find time, I mean, not how to make the cake. That, I will share, of course. ‘Coz you know how much I love you and just because I haven’t been able to chitchat much with you lately doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten about you.

mille crepe cake

gateau de crepes

Mille Crêpe Cake

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Recipe adapted from The New York Times’ Gâteau de Crêpes

For the crêpes
6 tablespoons butter
3 cups milk
6 eggs
1 3/4 cups flour
5 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Cooking spray or butter

1. The day before, prepare the crêpe batter. In a small pan, cook the butter until browned. Set aside.

browned butter
This adds a lot of flavor to your crêpes. You can probably go a little darker than this.

2. In another small pan, heat the milk until steaming, allow to cool for 10 minutes.
3. In a mixer on medium-low speed, beat together the eggs, flour, sugar and salt. Slowly add the hot milk and browned butter. Pour into a container with a spout, cover and refrigerate overnight.
4. The next day, bring the batter to room temperature. Place a non-stick or seasoned 6-inch crepe pan over medium heat. Add a little butter or apply cooking spray on the surface of pan.
5. Add scant 1/4 cup batter and swirl to cover the surface. Cook until the bottom just begins to brown, about 1 minute, then carefully lift an edge and flip the crepe with your fingers. Cook on the other side for no longer than 5 seconds. Flip the crepe onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Repeat until you have at least 20 crêpes.
6. This recipe makes about 6 cups of thin batter, and makes about 28 (6-inch) crêpes.

For the pastry cream
2 cups milk
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp butter

1. Bring the milk to a boil, then set aside for 10 minutes. Fill a large bowl with ice and set aside a small bowl that can hold the finished pastry cream and be placed in this ice bath.
2. In a medium heavy-bottomed pan, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch. Gradually whisk in the hot milk, then place pan over high heat and bring to a boil, whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes. It will thicken quickly after the first minute is over. Don’t overcook. You’re looking for a thick pudding consistency, not any thicker.
3. Press the pastry cream through a fine-meshed sieve into the small bowl. You may not need to do this (I didn’t) if you whisk carefully enough to avoid lumps from forming :-). Set the bowl in the ice bath and stir until the temperature reaches 140 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Stir in the butter. Cover and refrigerate until completely cold before using.

Assembling the cake
2 cups heavy cream
1 tbsp sugar

1. Pass the pastry cream through a sieve once more. (Again I didn’t have to do this. My pastry cream was smooth enough.)
2. Whip the heavy cream with the sugar until soft peaks form. Fold it into the pastry cream.
3. Lay 1 crepe on a cake plate. Using an icing spatula, completely cover with a thin layer of pastry cream (about 3 tbsp.) Cover with a crepe and repeat to make a stack of 20 or more, with the best-looking crepe on top.

how to make mille crepe cake

4. Chill for at least 2 hours. The colder or firmer the cake, the easier it is to cut.
5. You can caramelize the top with a blowtorch or dust with powdered sugar or decorate with whipped cream and fresh fruits. Slice like a cake.

***

Fiesta Friday #29 is up and running. Jhuls and Selma aka “The Hyper and The Calm” are your co-hosts this week.

Features from Fiesta Friday #28 are:


Cookie Experiment from Nicky @Nicky’s Kitchen Sanctuary. In Saucy’s words, “This is an experiment every baker should do, but Nicky has done it for us! Imagine the dedication (to baking, butter, sugar and cookiedom) needed to bake those 80 plus cookies with varying ingredients and methods! This post is a useful guide…and we always like it when someone brings a whole truck load of cookies to FF.”

Wow, Nicky! I was completely bowled over by your dedication when I saw this. There isn’t anything as helpful as your cookie experiment, I tell you. It’s the post I’ll have to refer to again and again in the future.


Dutch bar snacks from Melissa @The Glen House. In Margot’s words, “[I] love the mix of travel and food – along with two lovely little Dutch appetizer recipes that I’d love to try out sometime soon.”

The lovely photos brought back fond memories of visiting the Netherlands. Therefore, I completely enjoyed looking at them. The appetizers look very familiar and tempting. Therefore, I was totally salivating as I was imagining the flavors. Wonderful post, Melissa!


Ship O’hoy, it is a fish fest with pot roasted potatoes from Petra @Food eat Love. In Margot’s words, “[Petra's] indecision at the fishmongers was the impetus for her preparing one amazing Fist Fest. Her pot roasted potatoes looked like the perfect side, too.”

This is an inspiring post for someone like me, who is actively learning to love fish. Plus, I now have the perfect recipe for a Feast of the Seven Fishes. It already features three different fishes. So, if I ever decide to do the feast, I’m at least already half-way there with this dish. I just need another recipe with 4 fishes in it, hehe…

Watermelon Lemonade With Gingery Ice Cubes from Nimmi @adorable life. In Saucy’s words, “How refreshing (and pretty-in-pink) is this drink? It would be the perfect jug or glass at so many summer gatherings. What also caught my attention was how many variations you can put on this recipe. I’m already imagining strawberry and basil ice cubes, cantaloupe and mint ice cubes in a coconut-y drink, and so on.”

Just the right recipe for me at this moment, Nimmi, thank you! Easy, quick, and seasonal. Perfect for summer entertaining, especially when you have guests in the house and you don’t have much time in the kitchen. Will. Make!

Incidentally, please check out features for Fiesta Friday #28. They include a Kreppel, a Pickle, a Parcel, and a Wrap.

Then, come back here and party with Jhuls, Selma, and everybody else. I might even show up this time!

Kaila

Tina

Claudia

Nimmi

Anna

Michelle

Selma

Justine

Simon

Justyna

Ngan

Jhuls

Lisa

France

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Shelly

Krumkaker

Shelly

Ahila

Elaine

Lori

MB

MB

Radhika

Lina

Dimple

Ivy

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Meaghan

Andrea

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Lily

Su

Laila

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Arl

Nourished Roots

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V & V

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Mila

Sue

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Anna

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Jess

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Mandi

Mandi

Sarah

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Jess M

Mermaid

Ted

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Margy

Nell

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Sarah

MB

Shikha

Jess

Nino

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Mr Fitz

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Fiesta Friday #28

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We’ve been enjoying our holiday, my family and I. We’ve seen stuff, done stuff, eaten stuff, and so on and so forth and what have you, but like they say, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”

So, I’m not telling you anything about my trip.

Just kidding! I just haven’t had time to cozy up in front of a computer and blog, that’s all. It’s near impossible to travel and blog at the same time. How do travel bloggers do it? Is there a secret formula? Please, tell me!

Of course I will share with you the highlights of my trip, but in due time. After I get home. Once I rest and recover. When I finally sort out my photos. If I have time.

Just teasing again! I’ll make time! :-)

For now, though, we shall party on with Margot and Saucy, who have graciously agreed to stay for FF28, so that I can continue to enjoy the rest of my holiday. As soon as I’m able, I’ll update this post to include features. I take the selection process very seriously and need to spend time visiting and reviewing all the links carefully before making my final decisions.

Update The following are posts from FF27 that grabbed everyone’s attention. Please check them out!


Kreppel, Berliner or as the Berliner says Pfannkuchen from Tina @Mademoiselle Gourmande. In Margot’s words, “[I] love,love, love the Kreppels from Tina. They look like they’re straight out of a boutique German bakery! My mouth was positively watering, looking at her photos and imagining the pillow soft buns, all deliciously jammy in the middle.”

In Saucy’s words, “Kreppel sound like the exotic German cousin to filled doughnuts. I wanted to hop over to Germany and buy one of every flavour! And Tina burnt her fingers making these, that’s what I call dedication to food blogging and food!”

I just want to add one thing. Kreppel, I’m so glad we’re on a first-name basis now and that I have found out all your aliases as well. It’ll be so easy to find you next time I go to Germany.


Sweet and Sour Date-Lemon Pickle from Sadia @Savory and Sweet Food. In Saucy’s words, “…I’m in a pickles mood! But just take a look at the colors, and then read the ingredients and imagine the complex flavors! I’m planning to make this soon, while we have lots of winter citrus around.”

Oh yeah, I did take a look at the colors, and then read the ingredients and imagined the complex flavors! I may not have been in a pickles mood, but I am now. I’m planning to make this, too. As soon as I get my hands on some good, organic and free lemons. Good thing I have a MIL with citrus trees. All I need is another person with date trees and I’m set.


Cheesy Chicken Filo Parcels from Skd @Aromas and Flavors from my Kitchen. In Margot’s words, “I was in awe of the clever way that Skd brought together the craft of weaving with the delights of crispy-fried pastry… Thankfully she gave instructions on how to replicate these, otherwise I wouldn’t have a hope…”

How creative, Skd! When I saw your parcels, I made a promise to myself that I will make them, sooner rather than later. I even made a pinkie promise to myself. That was the only way I could calm myself down.


Pulled brisket of beef with olive oil breads.. from Mr Fitz @Cooking with Mr Fitz. In Margot’s words, “Mr Fitz’s determination to make the perfect pulled brisket of beef was impressive. He researched cuts, travelled to find the right butcher to buy from and then dedicated further hours to slow-cook the most succulent, melt-in-your-mouth meat. Such dedication to a dish deserves to be rewarded!”

Nothing comes between that man and his meat! That’s our beloved resident meat-lover, that man, Mr Fitz. That pulled brisket briskly pulled me in! It looked and sounded so mouth-watering. Just so YUM! All I can say is that I got really hungry reading and looking at that post. Like mad!

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Breakfast Biscuit | Fiesta Friday #27

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breakfast biscuit

This summer is flying by way too fast for my liking. How is it that we’re in August already? In just about a month, the new school year will start, which means I’ll have to go back to work. Boo hoo!

I thought I’d have more time to blog in the summer. Apparently, not so. There are summer projects to finish around the house and garden, places to go to, people to see, blah blah blah… Pretty much sucking all of my time. Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking. I’m the world’s biggest complainer there is. Yup, that’s me!

So, with limited time in the kitchen, I mostly cook simple stuff. I’ve been feeding my kids scrambled eggs. What? Stop looking at me like that. At least I don’t feed them McDonald’s. Oh, wait, I do take them to McDonald’s. But way less frequent than feeding them home-cooked scrambled eggs, which are way better than McDonald’s, right?

Besides, I make my eggs look pretty and everything. Take a look!

breakfast on cheesy biscuit

I serve them on cheesy biscuits.

cheesy biscuits

And I sprinkle crispy bacon pieces and drizzle cheese sauce over them.

breakfast on cheesy biscuit

Doesn’t that look really yummy? See, I don’t mistreat my kids at all.

Recipes will have to wait. I’m traveling at the moment and it’s just too hard to stay focused and sit in front of a computer for too long. Recipes are serious business, don’t you agree? I want to make sure they are clear, concise, and correct. That’s my motto in recipe-writing, anyway, the three Cs. :-)

***

I’m turning it over now to my Aussie duo to welcome you to the party, Dame Edna and Madge. I mean, Saucy @Saucy Gander and Margot @Gather and Graze. The one wearing the most sparkling frock is Dame Edna, that much I know.

They’re ready to party with you! Are you ready to party with them?

But first, let’s look at last week’s features:


Ragda Pattice from Namrata @MyFoodTapestry. I’m so surprised I haven’t met Ragda Pattice before. Why, she’s so lovely in her shredded carrot outfit and a wedge of lime pinned on her hair! Really, this one stole the show for me. Crispy potato patties, yellow peas curry, tamarind chutney… the whole thing makes my mouth water. Namrata herself describes it as “thick, tangy, sweet, spicy.” Now, tell me that doesn’t make your mouth water. Impossible.

torta con albicocche e coccoTorta con albicocche e cocco from Simi @acasadisimi. This translates into Cake with Apricots and Coconut, which may have been lost on me if not for the translation. This cake sounds so scrumptious; I’m so glad I took the time to read the English translation. I can just imagine a delectable mix of flavors from the apricots and coconut. Serving it with ice cream doesn’t hurt one bit, either. Ben fatto, Simi! E’ una bellisima torta!


Spinach & Preserved Lemon Paratha With Zaatar from Sue @Birgerbird. In Prudy’s words, “I mean, holy smokes! This was her 1st time making a “non-traditional” Indian flatbread… For a flatbread newbie, she’s a prodigy. Seriously, look at that gorgeous bread. The combination of [flavors] are fabulous and the photos are spectacular. I’m so impressed… it’s one of those recipes [that] I can’t get out of my mind; it strikes me to the core… you know, the gut, the belly…. LOVED that post!”

Many times I marvel at Sue’s creativity in coming up with original recipes and flavor combinations, this time is no exception. I’d like to stay inside her brain for a day to understand fully how that girl thinks! She is incredibly imaginative. This bread proves it.


Lunch for Film Crew from Martina @Make, Shake and Bake. In Jess’s words, “I loved this post. It was so nice of Martina to create an entire meal for her partner and his film crew. It made me wish I was a part of the team, so I can enjoy the food myself. “

I concur with Jess. I, too, feel a certain affinity to the post, not only because it was gratifying to see a couple full of support for each other, but also because I minored in Film & Theater. This reminds me of those assignments I had to do, where I had to “hire” actors and the only payment I was able to give them was a free lunch. Except mine was way less sophisticated. Mine consisted of fries and chicken strips.

***

Now, go and party! I’ll be watching from far, Las Vegas far. That’s where I’m bounded. I’m looking into catching a Celine Dion show maybe, if my kids would let me. They themselves are more interested in Cirque du Soleil. What’s the difference, I asked? They’re both French Canadians. Secretly I know who’s going to win this. It’s not who you think. Let’s just say, once you have kids, it’s not about you anymore. That’s the truth, isn’t it?

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie | Fiesta Friday #26

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Chocolate Banana Cream Pie

chocolate banana cream pie

It’s occurred to me I haven’t done dessert in a while, like half-a-dozen-posts while. I attribute this to the fact that most desserts require baking and therefore, turning on the oven. In case you didn’t know, we’re well into summer where I am, and it’s been mostly hot and humid. I’m not fond of standing in front of a hot oven in this weather. I’m sure you’d understand.

What about making cold desserts, you say, like ice cream, for instance? Uhm…. yeah, my ice cream machine is…. uhm…. broken.

Okay, I’m just making excuses. But you did buy it for a second there, didn’t you? The truth is, I haven’t done much cooking and baking altogether, period. It’s time to change that. I can’t continue to keep coming to my own fiesta without bringing anything. My guests deserve better than that. They would appreciate a dessert every now and then, am I right?

An easy to make, no-bake pie, like Banana Cream Pie, sounds pretty good to me and would satisfy my family’s sweet tooth. But is that the way a host should behave? Making the easiest thing to serve to her guests? I don’t think so. So, I’m making you a Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie, instead. See, I’m a very thoughtful host and person. :-)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie

  • Servings: 8 (9-inch pie)
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

The crust
12 graham crackers (or 24 squares or 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs)
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tbsp. Nutella

1. In a food processor, grind the crackers until you get fairly fine crumbs.
2. Add melted butter and Nutella, and pulse until well-blended.
3. Press into bottom and sides of 9-inch pie pan.
4. Bake in 350 F for 10 minutes. Let cool completely.

nutella graham cracker pie crust

The chocolate & banana layer
3/4 cup dark chocolate morsels
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
3 bananas

1. Mix chocolate morsels and peanut butter in bowl. Microwave for about 30 seconds, stir. Microwave for another 15-30 seconds and stir until smooth. Set aside while you cut the bananas.
2. Cut bananas in half lengthwise and then in sections so that they fit nicely inside the pie pan.

making chocolate banana cream pie

3. Pour chocolate mixture over bananas to cover. Place in refrigerator while you prepare the pudding layer.

chocolate cream pie

The vanilla pudding layer
2 (3.4 oz packages) instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups cold milk
1 cup whipped topping

1. Combine pudding mix and milk and whisk until smooth and thick.
2. Add whipped topping and continue whisking until thoroughly incorporated.
3. Spread over chocolate layer.

vanilla pudding cream pie

Decorate the top of pie with piped whipped topping, sliced bananas, and crushed roasted peanuts. Refrigerate until completely chilled (3 hours) prior to serving.

banana cream pie

At this point, this pie is pretty enough to serve, don’t you think? But I like to make my guests feel really special, so I’m adding a little somethin’-somethin’ to decorate my pie further.

how to make piped chocolate decoration
A little somethin’-somethin’ for the pie. They don’t have to be perfect. It’s the thought that counts. At least that’s my excuse. For the directions on how to make these piped chocolate decorations, go to my Halloween post.

Here’s the finished pie, for all of you. I told you I’m a thoughtful host….and caring…. and nice…. and…. own-horn tooter. I’m stopping, right now.

chocolate peanut butter banana cream pie

***

Fiesta Friday #26 is now open, co-hosted by Prudy @Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs and Jess @Cooking Is My Sport. Better watch out with these two in charge. There’s no telling what’s going to happen. All I know is that it’s going to be rowdy and wild! Which I love! I’m ready to party!

But first, features from last week:


Chocolate Cherry Cakes from Chava @flavourphotos. In Hilda’s words, “When there is a really special occasion which merits the most exquisite decoration, including gold leaf no less, you know you are not dealing with a run-of-the-mill recipe. [These] vegan cupcakes look as extraordinary as the beautiful presentation. It makes me glad Germany won so we could share these superb treats.”

Okay, I could go with that. Being glad that Germany won, I mean. Only so that I can partake in sharing these amazing and incredible beauties. Edible gold leaf, wow! That just takes things to another level. You hit it out of the park, Chava! Thank you for bringing these to the fiesta.


Cinnamon Almond Chocolate Pudding Pops from Lori @Creating Beauty in the Kitchen. These pudding pops are just so adorable. Plus, they’re on a stick. That makes them extra adorable. Plus, Lori wrote this so that Jhuls, who was having a tough week, could make it to Fiesta Friday. That makes her so, so adorable. I love it, Lori! You are the sweetest girl, who goes out of your way to make others feel happy, and you make the cutest, most delectable pudding pops!


Caramel Macchiato Ice Cream Cake from MB @Bourbon & Brown Sugar. In Julianna’s word, “Wow! This was just gorgeous and a perfect ending to any summer BBQ.”

Couldn’t have agreed more. Great dessert, MB! I can definitely go for a big slice of this. Coffee and caramel are my favorite flavors, too.


Chocolate Mango Slice from Tina @Mademoiselle Gourmande. Unlike Tina, I’ve been making brownies for ages, but not once did I ever think of adding fresh fruit. Who thinks that way? Only the most creative person, that’s who! What a wonderful idea, Tina, especially for summer treats. That mango topping sounds refreshing!

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