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  • Writer's pictureElie Ravitz-Basser

Spring Blog Post



Spring on the farm has begun! The vibrant yellow forsythia's are in full bloom and the ornamental flowering pear trees have all produced their showy flowers and striking green leaves. My favorite tree of all, the cherry blossom, is also blooming this week. Each delicate pink petal provides a beautiful portrait against the pale blue sky background. Spring is also a time of renewal and rebirth on the farm. Grass regrows and new spring babies are born. I experienced this springtime renewal up close, with the birth of my ducklings. Read on to learn more!







If you read my last post, you'd know that I was raising a little black lamb named Cupcake. Cupcake was born premature, and even at a month old he weighed under ten pounds. Additionally, Cupcake's health declined with time. His heart beat was irregular, it pounded much faster than it should have. Cupcake's breathing was also unsteady and often we could hear him struggling to breath. After a while, my family had to make the incredibly difficult decision to euthanize Cupcake so he would no longer be in pain. Although I miss Cupcake so much, I recognize that sometimes the best option is euthanasia and this was one of those cases.







I'm happy to report that my other sheep, Muffin, is doing well. She is three months now, and almost 70 pounds. She still loves cuddles and scratches, especially behind her ears. We are trying to wean Muffin off milk, as she no longer needs milk to sustain herself. Muffin eats grass, like the rest of the goats and sheep.







I'm excited to share the newest members to our farm...ducklings!!! Last week I bought 15 American Pekin ducklings. They are fuzzy and yellow, just SO cute. The ducklings are still learning to trust me, so they mostly keep their distance when I come in every day to give them water and food. They need medicated feed four times a day to help them grow, and constant water. When the ducks are a month old, they will be able to start swimming. They are clearly already interested in the water, as they often stick their feet in it and try to paddle.






Recipes

I've included two spring-themed recipes. The first is similar to a chocolate mousse, and it's so light and delicious. The second recipe is a fun Carrot Cupcake recipe, delicious by itself or with cream cheese frosting. Enjoy!


Double Chocolate Pavlova with Mascarpone Cream & Raspberries


INGREDIENTS

6 large egg whites

Pinch salt

1¾ cups superfine sugar (see note)

3 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder, such as Hershey's

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped


FOR THE MARSCARPONE CREAM

8 ounces (1 cup) mascarpone cheese, cold

1½ cups heavy whipping cream, cold

¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


FOR THE TOPPING

1½ cups fresh raspberries

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, grated or shaved into curls (optional)


Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a dark marker, draw a 9-inch diameter circle on the parchment paper by tracing around a 9-inch cake pan or plate. Flip the paper over so your meringue won't touch the marker.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt on medium speed until foamy soft peaks form, about a minute. Increase the speed to medium-high and gradually add the sugar; continue beating until stiff peaks form, 8-9 minutes. (The meringue will be glossy.)

Pass the cocoa powder through a sieve or sifter and add to the meringue. Add the vinegar and chopped chocolate. Using a large rubber spatula, fold the mixture until well combined. It should be a light mocha color with no white or brown streaks.


Secure the parchment paper to the baking sheet by adding a dab of meringue under each corner. Mound the meringue onto the parchment inside the circle. Using the spatula or a butter knife, spread the meringue to fill the circle. Even the top and sides just slightly -- it shouldn’t be perfectly smooth or overworked. Place in the oven and cook for 65 to 75 minutes, or until the meringue is puffed and crisp all over, yet still a bit wobbly underneath if you touch the center. Don't worry if the top is cracked -- that's normal and it all gets covered with whipped cream in the end. Turn off the oven, prop the oven door open, and leave the meringue in the oven to cool to room temperature, at least 30 minutes. (The meringue won’t collapse as much if it cools gradually.)



Carrot Cake Cupcakes


INGREDIENTS

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (157g)

▢½ cup granulated sugar (100g)

▢½ cup light brown sugar packed (100g)

▢¾ teaspoon baking soda

▢½ teaspoon baking powder

▢½ teaspoon salt

▢1 teaspoon cinnamon

▢¼ teaspoon nutmeg

▢¾ cups canola oil (180ml)

▢2 large eggs room temperature

▢1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

▢2 Tablespoons milk

▢1 ½ cups grated carrots (170g)

▢½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional (60g)

▢1 batch Cream Cheese Frosting


Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and line a 12-count muffin pans with paper liners.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl using an electric mixer), whisk together flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Stir in canola oil. Add eggs, one at a time, pausing to scrape down sides of the bowl after each addition. Beat until well-combined.

Stir in vanilla extract and milk.

Add carrots and nuts (if using). and stir until combined.

Evenly divide batter into cupcake liners, filling each ⅔-¾ of the way full. Transfer to oven and bake on 350F (175C) for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs.

Allow to cool completely before decorating with cream cheese frosting.




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