Stars To Steer By

The misadventures of a creative mind

Candies from Narnia May 14, 2015

For the Month of May, Rachael from Pizzarossa challenged us to make candy but not just any candy! She challenged us to make Turkish Delight, or Lokum. Or, if you live near the northwest corner of the US, aplets and cotlets.


I have to say, this truly was a challenge for me, and I won’t be insulted at all if you don’t read this recipe because I despise aplets and cotlets – the consistency is just so off. I remember being told that the delicious dessert found in the Chronicles of Narnia was actually this strange gelatin cube and I was just heart broken (honestly Vader’s got the snow queen beat, tempting people with cookies). But it was the challenge, so I started looking at some different recipes and figured maybe I’d be surprised.

I decided to go with a saffron turkish delight interspersed with some lightly chopped pistachios because I bought some saffron a long time ago and realized that I just don’t work with it often enough and spices don’t last forever.

*The one guy I found who does like aplets and cotlets thought this recipe was pretty good if that inspires confidence in you. And they come out really pretty.


1 1/4 cups cornstarch
2 1/2 cups water
3 cups sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon saffron threads
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup roughly chopped pistachios

Mixing it up:

1. Whisk together 3/4 cup conrstarch with 2 1/2 cups water in a large bowl until smooth.

2. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, stir with a spatula. Keep microwaving in 1 minute intervals, stirring between until the mixture becomes thick and bubbly and is translucent.


3. Add the sugar, corn syrup, and saffron. Stir to combine.


4. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Stir and repeat two more times (total of 15 minutes.

5. Add the vanilla and lemon juice, stirring to combine well.

6. Heat on high in 3 minutes intervals for ~15 minutes, until a bit of this syrup scraped onto a cold plate quickly sets into a tacky solid.


7. Add the pistachios and scrape into a greased 8×8 pan.

8. Allow to rest several hours or overnight, until firm enough to handle.

9. Dust the top of the delight with cornstarch.

10. Flip the delight out onto a small cutting board and dust the other side with more cornstarch.

11. Set the delight (on the cutting board) in the freezer for 30 minutes.

12. Use a sharp knife to cut the delight into 3/4 inch squares.

13.Combine 1/2 cup cornstarch with 1/2 cup powdered sugar.

14. Toss the squares in delight in the powdered sugar/cornstarch mix.

15. Store in a wide shallow container.


Even though I wasn’t fond of the final product I did have a lot of fun making this. I think the colors in this recipe were fantastic, and my group who likes turkish delight (single outlier) seems very happy if a bit overwhelmed with the results.


Spice Up Your Tea – A Homemade Chai Blend April 14, 2015

Filed under: Daring Cook Challenges,Kitchen Catastrophes — Cisa @ 10:00 am
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What’s life without a little spice? For the month of April, Sawsan from Chef in disguise challenged us to spice things up by making our own spice blends from scratch for the Daring Cook’s Challenge. She gave us several different recipes from all over the world; a dip blend, pie spices, meat rubs and soup spices and challenged us to make up our own spice blends. The great thing about spice blends is that we use them in almost everything, and the more you think about this challenge, the more “I could make that at home” moments you’ll find.


Pease Porridge Hot, Pease Porridge Cold, There’s Never Any Left That Get’s To Three Days Old March 14, 2015

Filed under: Daring Cook Challenges,Kitchen Catastrophes — Cisa @ 12:00 pm

This months daring cooks challenge was something that I don’t normally give much thought to – porridge, also known in my world as oatmeal. Specifically, Ruth from Makey Cakey invited us to start the day with something filling, warm and nutritious. We got to experiment with different techniques and flavorings to create our own perfect personal porridge. The goal was to make at least two different kinds of oatmeal that were different, in an attempt to find your favorite flavor. (more…)


A Time for Tamales December 9, 2014

I’ve been bad about keeping up with posting my Daring Cooks challenges on here. But they’re doing some restructuring to the group, and in the mean time all of us were given the chance to try challenges that we missed or that were posted before joining. I decided to go with an older posting challenging individuals to try making their own tamales. I love tamales, and can get them from some pretty spectacular places here, but it’s always fun to make something yourself.


Spanakopita – The Only Excuse For Spinach February 13, 2014

It’s no secret to those who know me, I hate spinach. I’m actually not fond of many veggies, but I really don’t see the point of spinach. However, there is one use for it outside of Popeye cartoons – spanakopita. If you’re like my friends and have been unfortunate enough to never hear of this dish, it’s an amazing concoction of spinach, cheese and phyllo dough that you should either go buy ingredients for now or find your nearest greek restaurant and order some. NOW.


Italian Risotto Dumplings January 18, 2014

Filed under: Daring Cook Challenges — Cisa @ 3:21 am
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I’ve finally gotten back into doing the challenges from the Daring Kitchen, which is lucky because this month the challenge was Arancine – Italian dumplings made of risotto and stuffed with a meat sauce and fresh mozzarella. These little buggers were a lot of fun to make, and really filling. It was my first time making a risotto, let alone trying to shape and fry it, but the good news is I only set off the fire alarm the one time!



My Big Fat Italian Dinner June 24, 2013

Filed under: Daring Cook Challenges — Cisa @ 11:04 am
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Okay, so first off an apology. I completely forgot about the Daring Cooks Challenge for last month, which was meatballs. However, I was reminded when I was craving spaghetti, went to check a sauce recipe and realized I’d flagged all the meatball recipes in the book. In an attempt to fix this horrendous crime, I promptly made spaghetti and meatballs. The recipe is surprisingly easy and makes for a great family dinner – I served mine up with garlic bread, fruit salad, and a green salad for an Italian themed feast.




Wrapped and Ready to Go May 14, 2013

Filed under: Daring Cook Challenges — Cisa @ 11:13 am

Hello intrepid readers, today I bring you another morsel courtesy of the Daring Cooks.


Our lovely Monkey Queen of Don’t Make Me Call My Flying Monkeys, was our May Daring Cooks’ hostess and she challenged us to dive into the world of en Croute! We were encouraged to make Beef Wellington, Stuffed Mushroom en Croute and to bring our kids into the challenge by encouraging them to create their own en Croute recipes!


Jump Right In … With Chicken April 20, 2013

Filed under: Daring Cook Challenges — Cisa @ 4:44 pm

First off, I must apologize for posting this late. Somehow life caught up with me and I just didn’t have time to put a post together. Now that I finally have a little bit of a breather, I present to you my commentary on deboning a chicken.


The Wallace and Gromit Effect March 14, 2013

Filed under: Daring Cook Challenges — Cisa @ 12:30 pm
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I recently joined the wonderful societies at the Daring Kitchen (Daring Cooks and Daring Bakers) which provide a challenge recipe each month which everyone then attempts. So a few days ago I received my first challenge recipe from the Daring Cooks group – cheeeeeeese. This immediately brought to mind the childhood classic that is Wallace and Gromit, especially the wonderful scene where they fly to the moon and discover it is made out of cheese. (more…)


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The misadventures of a creative mind

The misadventures of a creative mind