Buche de Noel | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Buche de Noel

Buche de Noel | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I’ve been digging deep for that Christmas feeling. I’m counting the days until I get a break from work so I can go into full relaxation mode. We bought our Christmas Tree last week. I even made Geoff take me on a date to the Christmas market so I could eat a Yorkshire pudding wrap and drink hot chocolate with Bailey’s. We took the route home that has a walk past the most twinkling lights possible. I’ve been finding a few moments of holiday zen, and it’s delightful.

Of course, I still have a bunch of presents to buy, and the idea of wrapping them is close to sending me over the edge. Practical geometry was never my strong suit. Then there’s the Christmas menu to finalize. Geoff’s requested this turkey recipe, along with some other British Christmas classics. As for me, I’m more interested in what cocktail to serve. A poinsettia is always a good choice.

Buche de Noel | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

If you’re looking for a deceptively impressive dessert this Christmas, may I suggest you make this Buche de Noel? The first time I made this, I thought it would definitely be a disaster. I don’t have the patience or fine motor skills to make fancy cakes, and I had never tried to make a rolled cake before. It all came together surprisingly easy, and it was so chocolaty and tender, I couldn’t stop eating it. 

You don’t need to worry if your cake cracks a bit as you’re rolling it up because the fluffy chocolate frosting will cover up any problems. And you don’t need to be Van Gogh to make it look like a log, either. All you need is a toothpick and an unsteady hand. Squiggly lines are a bad artist’s best friend. A few fresh cranberries and a couple of snips off of a sprig of rosemary, and you’ve got yourself a guaranteed masterpiece.

Buche de Noel | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Maintain your holiday bliss and impress your family with a Buche de Noel this Christmas. It’s gonna be awesome.

Buche de Noel
Serves 8
A Buche de Noel is a great way to impress your family this Christmas without adding any stress to your life.
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Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
20 min
For the cake
  1. 6 eggs, separated
  2. 3/4 cup superfine sugar
  3. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  4. 1/2 cup cocoa powder
For the frosting
  1. 6 ounces semisweet chocolate (about 60%)
  2. 2 cups powdered sugar
  3. 8 ounces unsalted butter, softened
  4. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  5. Pinch of salt
For the cake
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F (175C) and line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Give yourself plenty of paper to hang over the edge, and fold it up in the corners to give it a bit of structure.
  2. In a large, very clean mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to whisk your egg whites until they're nice and foamy. With the mixer still running, add in 1/4 cup of your sugar and continue to whisk until your have stiff peaks.
  3. In another mixing bowl (I used my stand mixer for this part) whisk your egg yolks with your remaining 1/2 cup of sugar until the mixture is pale and thick. Ditch your electric mixer at this point.
  4. Add the vanilla to the egg yolk mixture, then sift over the cocoa powder. Fold this all together with a rubber spatula.
  5. Next, fold in your egg white in three batches. A few streaks aren't the end of the world. The egg white are all you have to leaven this cake, so don't overwork it.
  6. Pour your cake batter into your waiting jelly roll pan and gently spread it evenly with an offset spatula. Bake for 20 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, the use the overhanging edges of your parchment paper to lift out the cake and allow it to cool completely.
For the frosting
  1. Melt your chocolate by breaking it up into pieces and microwaving it for 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each go until it's completely melted and smooth. Should take about a minute. Allow this to cool for a few minutes.
  2. Add your powdered sugar to the bowl of your food processor and pulse a few times to make sure you get rid of any lumps.
  3. Add the butter to the food processor and process until smooth. Add the vanilla and melted chocolate and process until smooth and incorporated.
To assemble
  1. Once your cake is completely cool, spread a layer of your frosting over the entire top of your cake.
  2. Use your parchment paper to help you roll your cake. You want the short end facing toward you as you roll away from you. Don't panic if you have a crack or two. It will all get covered up with the frosting.
  3. If you want to have a stump or two coming out of your log, slice the ends of your roll at a gentle angle. This will also give the ends of log a cleaner look. You can then use a bit of your frosting to stick this slices onto the side of your cake. Once they're covered in frosting, they'll look like stumps of branches. It's almost too easy.
  4. Don't be afraid to use all of your frosting to completely cover all parts of your cake. No need to make it smooth. The rougher it is, the more it will look like bark.
  5. To complete the look, us a toothpick or skewer to to make some wobbly, bark like lines down your cake. Make some rough concentric circles at each end to resemble tree rings.
  6. If you want to get extra artsy. add a few cranberries and some rosemary to make a few sprigs of holly. If you want it to snow on your log, sprinkle it with some powdered sugar.
Adapted from Feast by Nigella Lawson
http://awesomeon20.com/
Brined & Roasted Turkey Breast with Herb Gravy | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Brined & Roasted Turkey Breast with Herb Gravy

Brined & Roasted Turkey Breast with Herb Gravy | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

So by now you may have heard about our small time Thanksgiving tradition of having Cranberry Glazed Turkey Meatloaf instead of a whole turkey. It’s a much more practical approach when you’re only feeding a few people, but beyond that, it’s absolutely delicious. I actually prefer it to a traditional turkey, and now I look forward to eating turkey meatloaf every year. 

But maybe you’re not quite ready to be so untraditional. Maybe you can’t imagine Thanksgiving without white meat covered in gravy. Maybe you want a beautiful centerpiece of a gorgeously roasted bird on your Thanksgiving table. Maybe you’re looking for a turkey recipe that makes just the right amount for a small family of four to six people that’s perfectly seasoned and never dry. A turkey recipe that’s pretty much foolproof that makes plenty of flavorful gravy. This is that.

Brined & Roasted Turkey Breast with Herb Gravy | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

This brined and roasted turkey breast with herb gravy is super simple. Since you’re only cooking the breast of the turkey, it usually cooks in less than three hours. Mine was two kilos, and it was done in two hours and 20 minutes. If you eat later in the day, you could even brine it in the morning. And in case you were thinking of skipping the brine, I strongly urge you to avoid that notion. Brining is absolutely key to ensuring a moist and well-seasoned turkey breast.

The gravy comes together quickly and easily as well. The trick is to smash the flour and butter together into a paste so you won’t have any lumps. The fresh herbs will make your gravy seem all sophisticated and junk. Your family’s gonna love it.

Brined & Roasted Turkey Breast with Herb Gravy | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I made this recipe for the first ever Thanksgiving dinner I made myself. I was so nervous, but it came out beautiful, and has done every time since. I hope it works as well for you.

Brined & Roasted Turkey Breast with Herb Gravy
Serves 6
Brined & Roasted Turkey Breast with Herb Gravy is moist and flavorful every time. I promise, you can't mess it up.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
2 hr 20 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
2 hr 20 min
For the turkey
  1. 8 cups water
  2. 1/2 cup salt, plus a few pinches for seasoning
  3. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  4. 1 medium turkey crown (breast)
  5. 4 ounces butter, melted
  6. Ground black pepper
For the gravy
  1. 1 shallot, minced
  2. 4 cloves garlic, smashed and peels
  3. Leaves of 1 sprig of rosemary, minced
  4. Leaves of 1 sprig of thyme, minced
  5. 1 bay leaf
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. Ground black pepper
  8. 1.5 ounces butter
  9. 3 tablespoons plain flour
  10. 4 cups low sodium chicken or turkey stock
For the turkey
  1. To make your brine, add the water, salt, and brown sugar to a large pot. Choose something that will allow your turkey breast to be completely submerged. Heat the water and stir until the salt and brown sugar are dissolved. Turn the heat off and allow the mixture to come back to room temperature. Putting a cold turkey in hot brine is like creating a bacteria factory.
  2. Completely submerge your turkey in the brine, clamp a lid on, and refrigerate the whole thing for 4 to 8 hours.
  3. When your ready to roast, remove your turkey from the brine, and discard the brine. Pat the turkey dry with a few paper towels.
  4. Preheat your oven to 325.
  5. Situate your turkey breast in your roasting pan. Brush your melted butter all over your turkey and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Roast your turkey for approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes or until an instant read thermometer reads 170. My turkey breast's packaging conveniently had a suggested cooking time that turned out to be perfect, so check your package.
  7. Once your turkey is cooked through, remove it from the roasting pan to a cutting board. I used a couple of pairs of tongs for this. Cover loosely in foil. Let it rest while you make the gravy.
For the gravy
  1. Pour the liquid from the pan into a bowl or measuring jug. Allow it to sit while you prep the rest f your gravy ingredients so that the fat and liquid start to separate.
  2. Get everything for your gravy ready before you put anything on the heat so that you can move easily from step to step. Put your shallot, garlic, rosemary, thyme, bay salt, and pepper into a small dish together. In another dish, use a fork to smash your butter and flour together into a paste.
  3. Add two tablespoons of the fat that's risen to the top of your separated pan drippings back into your roasting pan. Pour or spoon off the rest of the fat so that you can add the flavorful liquid to the stock later.
  4. Situate the roasting pan over two burners, and turn them both to medium. Add your shallot and herb mixture to the roasting pan and sautee for about three minutes to soften the shallot.
  5. Add the stock and any remaining turkey juices back into the roasting pan. Scrape up any bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Bring the stock to a boil.
  6. Whisk in your butter and flour mixture. Boil until the sauce thickens about 5 minutes.
  7. Give it a taste and adjust your seasoning if need be. Pull out the bay leaf and garlic cloves before serving.
Adapted from Food Network
Adapted from Food Network
http://awesomeon20.com/
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10 Awesome Winter Desserts

10 Awesome Winter Desserts

10 Awesome Winter Desserts

Dessert is a way of life in my house, and now that I live in a country where there’s not a chance you’ll have to wear a swimsuit at any given moment, it seems that everyone else enjoys a bit of cake or biscuit in the afternoon almost as much as I do. Winter is the perfect time to turn on your oven and bake your face off, so here are 10 totally awesome winter desserts you can make yourself and share with friends. Or not. I won’t tell.

My mom’s peanut butter fudge recipe has been viewed almost 30,000 times, and it deserves every single one. This is my very favorite thing to eat. You really need to try it right now.

Something about toffee makes me think of winter, and that’s why you should make this caramel toffee cheesecake right this minute. Also because it’s awesome and tastes like a dream.

Chocolate chip bread pudding is great for using up stale bread, and it’s made with rum. You’re going to have to buy some for Santa anyway, right? Maybe leave him some bacon, too. He’ll like that.

Peppermint is everywhere right now, and I’m so happy about it. These mint brownies can be made red or green, so get to it.

White chocolate chip brownies are equally rad, plus, they sort of look like snow, I guess. Whatever, just eat them and be happy.

Salted caramel pudding is so many kinds of good I don’t even know where to start. This recipe has such a deep flavor and an outstanding combination of textures. It’s basically irresistible. 

It’s not Christmas without Classic Fudge. It’s a close second for best food in the world. You’ll definitely want to make both. 

Pumpkin cake is everything you ever dreamed of topped with silky cream cheese frosting. Don’t wake up. Just live in the pumpkin dream.

It’s a tough call, but I think these oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are definitely in the top five of best cookies I’ve ever eaten. It’s the maple syrup that really does the trick. Must have.

Chocolate cinnamon bread is actually cake, but it’s definitely loaded with chocolate and cinnamon, and it’s definitely so so awesome. Make tea, eat cake, be happy.

So, what’s your favorite winter dessert?

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