I could not be more thrilled than I am today. The incredibly talented Roxana of Roxana's Home Baking agreed to let me interview her for my Burning Down The Kitchen series. Roxana is one of the hardest working bloggers out there. She puts so much care and thought into her posts. Every recipe is impeccable and each photo is more remarkable than the one before it. She excels at everything she does. So I'm beyond touched she is joining us today to let us peek into her world a little bit.
If you are unfamiliar with Roxana let me give you a little introduction. She blogs at Roxana's Home Baking, and makes some of the most amazing bread I've ever seen. I swear you can just smell the aroma of fresh bread right through the computer. She is also a passionate chocolate lover which I'll admit I admire in a gal. She is also a sweet lover and has lots of sweet options such as Raspberry Cheesecake, Chocolate Fudge Roasted Strawberry Cookie Bars, Tiramisu Brownies, Apple Dulce de Leche Tart, and Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich Cookies. Roxana also cooks vegan recipes, as well as vegetarian dishes. She has a vast assortment of bread recipes that will completely blow your mind. She is also the host of a monthly Chocolate Party. And lets' not even get started on her 25 Recipes to Christmas series, it is spectacular. If you can't get enough of her tasty recipes you can sign up for her weekly newsletter to keep up to date on all the happenings on her site. You will never be disappointed. She brings it every single time she posts a recipe. I admire her and am so happy she's here with us today.
BURNING DOWN THE KITCHEN WITH ROXANA OF ROXANA'S HOME BAKING:
1. What inspired you to start a food blog?
When I start blogging I had no idea what blog actually is. It took me about a year to figure few things out and now, after two years, I still don't know everything but I like to believe I'm doing OK.
The idea of starting a blog came to me one day as a way to get rid of the pile of recipes and notes I had around the kitchen.
2. What would you say is your favourite part about blogging?
My favorite part .... Hmmmm the eating 🙂 Joking, sort of. One of my favorite part is receiving emails from my readers letting me know they tried one of my dishes and everyone loved it. I also love I got to meet other people who love food as much as I do. (My mommy friends just don't get me)
3. Are there any negatives to it?
Yes and no. Sometimes I get mean emails or blog comments. Probably the worst one was a couple of months ago from someone demanding to send her money for the ingredients she used because she didn't like the cake.
4. How much time do you spend blogging on an average day?
It depends. If I take into consideration the time to shop, bake, clean and photograph the dish, then probably around 80 hours a week. If it's just computer time, then maybe 1-2 hours a day. I wish I had more free time, but my daughter is a handful.
5. Take us through a typical day in the life of Roxana.
It depends, but most of the time I have the same schedule.
Wake up around 5.30 - 6 am, make a cup of tea or coffee and start working on my blog (either write the post itself, edit photos, read/reply to emails. Around 7, sometimes even earlier, Tiffany wakes up and computer time is over.
We go in the kitchen, have breakfast and shortly after either we get ready for a play-date or do some school work.
At lunch we usually have a salad and some leftovers from the previous night or something that can be put together in less than 30 minutes. Around 1 Tiffany takes a nap and this is the time I tidy up around the house and photograph something for the blog.
When Tiffany wakes up we start making dinner, bake something and enjoy the family time.
Around 9 Tiffany is going to bed and if I'm not completely brain-dead I turn the laptop on and work on my blog
Most of the time, I just snuggle up with the IPad and browse Pinterest.
6. Does your daughter help you in the kitchen?
Yes, she does. She's still too young, but she's my sous-pastry-chef. She hands me measuring cups, spatulas and turns the mixer on or off, as needed.
7. What about your hubby, does he help out?
Define "help". Does that mean taste-testing and doing grocery shopping with me? He doesn't do anything else.
8. Tell us a little about your kitchen, things you love and things you might change.
I LOVE my double wall oven, although sometimes (when we have friends or family over) I could use a third one. I wish I had more counter space and I hope by the end of 2013 that wish comes true.
9. What’s your favourite kitchen toy?
My oven 🙂
10. Is there an appliance or kitchen gadget you covet but don’t own yet?
A 7 qt Kitchen Aid stand-up mixer
11. Snack of choice: sweet or savoury?
12. Best chocolate for baking: milk or dark?
13. If you had to choose just one would it be Nutella, Peanut Butter or Biscoff?
Nutella (I'm a chocolate girl)
14. Coke or pepsi?
15. If we made you pick would you rather have fruit or veggies?
16. What's one thing you won't eat?
Sushi. You cannot make me anything that involves raw fish or shellfish. I got goose skin just typing this.
17. If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, living or passed, who would it be and why?
That's a hard one to answer. I love Ina Garden ( there's something about her warm voice) but I'd love to meet and bake along with Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, Peter Reinhart, Chad Robertson and learn from them more baking secrets.
18. If you were asked to be on a cooking show and they told you to bring the dish that best represents you what would you bring?
A chocolate cake or a sweet yeast bread although my garlic crescents are a killer!
19. Apron or no apron when cooking/baking?
20. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Is blogging still a big part of the picture?
That's similar with "what would you like to be when you grow up?"
I hope by then we'll have the house decorated as we want or even better build the house of our dreams with an orchard and a small area to ride horses.
I hope I will still be blogging, I have no intention of stopping anytime soon.
DARE PORTION OF BURNING DOWN THE KITCHEN:
Take a photo of you in your kitchen while baking up a storm.
As I'm writing this I'm in the living room of my mother in law.
If you'd like to see my kitchen, I've already showed it here on my own blog.
When I'm done baking it's not a pretty sight. Some evenings there's absolutely no counter-space and ALWAYS I tell myself I'll clean as I go starting next day. Never did, doubt I'll ever do it.
RECIPE PORTION OF BURNING DOWN THE KITCHEN:
I chose to make Roxana's Chocolate Swirl Bread. It was calling my name in a big way. I didn't make many changes, why mess with perfection really. We had toblerone from Christmas. Hubs was a wee bit mad that I scoffed part of his giant-sized chocolate bar. You'd think by now my family would be used to me stealing chocolate. I mean hello, it's me people. I've been known to steal an entire box of Turtles on occasion. Anyhow, I stole a big portion of the big baby's chocolate bar which he's going to whine about till I replace it. So I used that in lieu of the kind Roxana used. I'm also going to admit I was too lazy to zest oranges. If I zest I like to eat or use up the citrus immediately and I wasn't in an orange eating kind of mood, which is odd since I've also been known to eat 2 or 3 oranges in a day. But today was not *that* day so I cheated and used orange essence. Worked like a charm. If working like a charm means cheating so you can spend more time watching t.v. or whatever. I used yogurt instead of sour cream. I have a dislike of sour cream beyond comprehension so I usually switch it out to yogurt. I also think I rolled mine out a lot thinner than Roxana's. Mine made two loaf pans and took about half the time to cook as hers. I think I started rolling and immediately went into "cinnamon roll mode" or something. The bread turned out incredible though so apparently not paying attention does not ruin it. Can you say "whew", I know I can. I have to say I really flipping love this bread. It's sparked more bread ideas. Which is a dangerous thing. So if I gain 10 pounds in the next week making chocolate experiments I completely blame Roxana. Ah, if you're going to get chubby then doing it while eating yummy chocolate bread is definitely the way to do it. So worth it.
This bread is step heavy for those who like my usual quick "in and out in under 30" kind of recipes. This one will take you longer but it's completely worth it. There's some proofing involved, and some rising involved, then more rising involved. But it's all super easy to do so do NOT be intimidated. Proofing and rising are easy peasy to do. There's some kneading involved too. Again, do NOT panic. You can totally do this. I know it's daunting but trust Lunie, if I can do it so can you. Take a chance. Get in the kitchen and get your hands dirty. Then make sure you kids are around to keep pushing up your sleeves cuz man that's a pain when you don't think ahead to roll them up. Thank goodness for hooligans. If it weren't for them I'd have oil all over my sleeves. So fair warning folks, make sure you roll up your sleeves when you get in there. Saves time and lots of hollering "hey hooligans". See, I'm full of useful tips and tricks right. Now onto the recipe.
- ½ cup all purpose flour sifted twice
- 2 teaspoons of dry yeast
- ½ cup lukewarm milk
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 eggs room temperature, lightly beaten
- 4 tablespoons melted and cooled butter
- ¾ cup vanilla yogurt
- 1 teaspoon orange essence
- 1 teaspoon vanilla salt
- 4 ¼ cup all purpose flour sifted twice
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 8 to 10 ounces chopped up toblerone bar
- In a mixing bowl add ½ cup flour, yeast and the lukewarm yeast. Whisk till combined well then leave at room temperature until yeast is proofed.
- Using your stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, add your yeast mixture to it, then slowly add eggs, yogurt. butter, orange essence, sugar and salt.
- Slowly add your flour ¼ cup at a time until it is all mixed and the dough becomes slightly sticky.
- Take your dough out of the bowl and lay on a clean surface. You are going to knead the dough by hand using a few drops of oil until the dough is soft but not sticky and all the oil is used up. Takes about 15 to 25 minutes. I did mine for 15 on the dot.
- Spray a bowl with non stick spray, pop the dough inside, cover with non stick sprayed tinfoil. Leave at room temperature until the dough is double in size. Takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes, give or take a bit.
- Once the dough is doubled, place it on a clean work area. I sprayed mine with non stick spray ( I really love non stick spray, can you tell?) before plopping the bread on it. Spread the dough out with your hands until it becomes about 10 inches by about 18 inches.
- Now sprinkle the chocolate pieces over top as evenly as you can.
- Roll it up, I did mine the long way so I ended up with two loaves instead of one. I cut the loaves in half then popped each one in a non stick sprayed loaf pan.
- Cover with non stick sprayed tinfoil and allow to rise again at room temperature for about an hour or so.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- You can brush with an egg wash if you like, I did not.
- Bake both pans for about 20 to 25 minutes. (if you did one giant loaf then bake for about 50 to 55 minutes)
- Allow to cool for about 15 minutes.
- Remove from pan and continue to cool before slicing.
- Who are we kidding that''s why I made two pans, one to demolish hot and one to take photos of. Chocolate is always better hot.
- Serve with a big old chocolatey smile!
I only adapted it slightly so full recipe credit goes to Roxana's Home Baking and her Chocolate Swirl Bread. It's really fantastic. You seriously have to try this. Make sure you stop by her recipe for it as her photos are outstanding. You will thank me.
You can use regular salt if you don't have vanilla salt. I just love to use vanilla salt as much as possible.
I'd like to thank Roxana so much for allowing me the very special honour of interviewing her. She is such a class act and she's so down to earth. It's been a total pleasure working with her. Make sure you stop by Roxana's Home Baking. I encourage you to follow her blog, you will thank me. Also make sure you follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. She's a self professed pinterest addict so you will love following her. I know I do.
Make sure you stop by my giveaway to win a Pistachio Panettone. You will love the pistachio cannoli recipe that joins it. Seriously wicked good.
Toodles and smoochies! xx