Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sandtorte

I love this german cake, because it goes well either with a cold glass of milk as or with a warm cup of tea or coffee, because is tremendously light, because its consistency is plesantly sandy. fFom there its name, which translated would be something like Sand Cake. It doesn't sound very tempting, that's why I rather keep calling it Sandtorte.

Sandtorte
Adapted from Deutsche Küche, Rotraud Degner

Ingredients:
  • 200 gr. butter, soft
  • 250 gr. sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 140 gr. wheat flour
  • 120 gr. cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Powdered sugar for dusting
Method:
  1. Beat butter and sugar until you have a smooth batter.
  2. Add eggs one by one, until each one is well incorporated.
  3. In a separated bowl, sift flour and baking powder.
  4. Combine flour and butter-sugar-egg mixtures with a spoon.
  5. Grease and flour a rectangular cake tin.
  6. Pour batter in the cake tin and bake it at 180º C in a preheated oven for 70 min.
  7. When it's cold, put it in a serving plate and dust with powdered sugar.
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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Milk Chocolate and Vanilla cream Tart


On our way to La Mongie, my mommy, who spoils me very much, bought me a book dedicated wholy to chocolate: Chocolatissimo. It contains pictures you feel like eating the pages. Seizing the opportunity of my daddy's birthday, who also spoils me a lot, I tried one of its recipes. It's so good you wanna lick-your-fin-gers. ItE's a crunchy base with dark chocolate and hazelnuts, créme anglaise and milk chocolate mousse. Need I say more?

Milk Chocolate and Vanilla cream Tart
4 to 6 servings

Ingredients:
For the base
  • 50 gr. dark chocolate
  • 70 gr. butter, soft
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 60 gr. sugar
  • 40 gr. flour
  • 60 gr. hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
For the créme anglaise
  • 125 ml. milk
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 125 ml. whipping cream
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 40 gr. sugar
For the mousse
  • 200 gr. milk chocolate
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 40 gr. sugar
  • 4 gr. gelatine (sheets)
  • 150 gr. whipping cream
Garnish
  • 100 gr. milk chocolate
Method:
  1. We start making the base. Melt chocolate and butter (I use the microwave, purist may use a water bath). Remove from heat.
  2. Add egg yolks, sugar and shifted flour. Add hazelnuts. Pour over a greased and floured round cake form, about 20 cm diameter.
  3. Bake for 180º C (preheated) for 10 minutes. Take it out of the form and let cool.
  4. Now the créme. In a pot, boil milk with vanilla bean. When it reaches the boiling point, remove from heat and take vanilla bean out. Add whipping cream.
  5. Mix egg yolks and sugar without stirring much. Add to vanille milk mixture. Pour in a round baking tin and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes at 100 ºC. Let cool for several hours. Creme must be firm to enable working with it.
  6. Lastly, we make the mousse. Melt chocolate, this time in a water bath, and let it cool down a bit.
  7. Beat sugar and egg yolks, add chocolate. Put it for a moment over the water bath.
  8. Soak gelatine sheets in cold water. Add them to the chocolate mixture.
  9. Whip cream.
  10. Add it to the chocolate carefully so it doesn't collapse. Let it cool down just a little.
  11. We assembly the tart. Put the base on a serving plate. Spread a third of the mousse. Put it in the fridge for half an hour. So it keeps its shape, put the cake tin ring around. Spread the crème anglaise on the mousse. Let it cool again. Lastly, spread rest of the mousse. Let it refrigerate for several hours.
  12. Coarsely chop the milk chocolate and put it on top of tart. Serve and enjoy.
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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Festive Cous-cous

My friend Douja, who comes from Marocco, came today to cook for us a cous-cous. This dish is typical for celebrations and holidays and not having its original name, I've decided to call it Festive cous-cous. Of course it's cous-cous, accompanied by chicken and a wonderful sauce with onion and raisins with sugar and cinnamon. The bomb.

We had great fun cooking together and quite some laughs. I was the kitchen assistant, in between pictures, chopping up onions, searching necesary pots, crushing pepper... Whatever was needed.
Douja is an extraordinary cook. If she decides sometime to open a restaurant, she's already some clients. We didn't have much time, some we cheated: we used pessure cookers. Douja tells me it's best to plan ahead and have several hours, so everything cooks slowly. So it was delicious, I'd said unbeatable, we'll see next time...
Douja's husband accompanied us. We call him affectionately Juan, because his name is unpronounceable for us.
For those of you who want to try this divine delicacy, here is the recipe.

Festive Cous-cous
Serves 8 people

Ingredients:
  • One big chicken
  • 1 500 gr. cous-cous box
  • 1.600 gr. onions
  • 375 gr. raisins
  • 2 saffron threads papers**
  • 8 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons powdered cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons freshly crushed black pepper
  • paella coloring*
  • olive oil
Method:
  1. Rise chicken well and pull out any feather it may still have.
  2. Finely chopp up two onions. Put about 6 tablespoons oil in a pressure cooker and sautée it. Add 3 tablespoon kosher salt.
  3. When they are a little bit transparent, add the first saffron paper and some paella coloring.
  4. Crush 2 teaspoon black pepper, I do it in my mortar and add it.
  5. Put chicken in the pressure cooker, add oil generously, about 200 ml. water and some more coloring, close pressure cooker and let it cook for about 20 minutes. We opened it passed half the cooking time, to turn the chicken so it got golden all around.
  6. Let's make the sauce. Peel rest of the onions. Cut them in half and slice them thinly.
  7. In another pressure cooker (yes, I've two), put a generous amount oil. Sautée sliced onions. Add two teaspoons kosher salt.
  8. Crush another two teaspoons black pepper and add them.
  9. Put the other saffron paper and some coloring on the onions. Close pressure cooker and let it cook for five minutes.
  10. Open cooker, add 4 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons cinnamon and the raisins. Stir over medium heat until it caramelizes. Add some water (about 50 ml). All it rests is to add last 4 tablespoons sugar. Let shimmer some more, stirring constantly, until it's golden and it smells like caramel and cinnamon.
  11. Prepare cous-cous following the instructions on the box.
  12. Take chicken out of the pressure cooker. Cut it in pieces and put in on a serving plate.
  13. Strain chicken sause. Put it in a sauce boat.
  14. Put onion - raisin sauce on another serving plate.
  15. Serve hot.
* We use a mixture of coloring and sipices for paella and some other dishes. It's not necessary, it adds some color and a little bit of taste.

**We buy saffron threads in little papers. I think each has two grams.

Keep reading...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Chewy Brown Sugar Cookies

It looks like chocolate, doesn't it? It's not. The main ingredient in these cookies is brown sugar. Dark brown sugar. The sticky one with a strong (and delicious) aroma. I'd said like caramel. The contrast of brown sugar with walnuts (crunchy), works wonderfully. Make sure you try them.

Chewy Brown Sugar Cookies
25 pieces

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil
  • 60 gr. butter, soft
  • 225 gr. dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • a pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Method:
  1. In a bowl, mix oil and butter. Add sugar and egg.
  2. In another bowl, sift flour, baking soda and salt. Combine with butter mixture. Add chopped walnuts.
  3. Put it in the fridge for an hour.
  4. Line your oven sheets: with paper or silicon.
  5. Make little balls and put them on the baking sheet, well apart, they spread quite a lot.
  6. Bake at 180º C, in preheated oven, for 10 to 12 min. Let them set on the baking sheet.
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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

1-2-3 Cupcakes

My friend M., whom I met through this blog, has given me this recipe. I wanted to try it long ago.

Everything you bake as cupcakes can be baked as cake, you just have to adjust the cooking time, I'd double it, but without sticking my neck out for it...

The recipe's basic dough is that of the famous yoghurt cake. Its originality lais in mixing wheat flour and cornmeal. I woundn't have thought of it in a hundred years! They are awesome. My friend adds chopped walnuts and raisins (I didn't have raisins) to the dough and she finishings the work with some extra fine apple slices. Chapeau! To recommend.

1-2-3 Cupcakes
About 15 pieces

Ingredients:
  • 1 greek yoghurt
  • zest of a lemon
  • 1 yoghurt can sunflower oil
  • 2 yoghurt cans sugar
  • 2 yoghurt cans wheat flour
  • 1 yoghurt can cornmeal
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 sachet (8 gr.) baking powder
  • apples (I used small golden delicious, one and a half)
  • a handful walnuts, chopped
  • a handful raisins
  • powdered sugar for dusting
Method:
  1. In a bowl, sift flours and baking powder. Reserve.
  2. In another bowl, beat eggs and sugar.
  3. Add oil and yoghurt stiring constantly.
  4. Add lemon zest.
  5. Add flour mixture little by little, carefully upside down.
  6. Add chopped walnuts and raisins, if you feel like it.
  7. Distribute dough evenly in cupcake paper forms.
  8. Peel and slice apple very thinly. Put about three slices on each cupcake form.
  9. Bake at 180ºC for 20 min in a preheated oven.
  10. When they have cooled down, dust with powdered sugar.
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Friday, March 6, 2009

See you soon!

The moment has arrived. Almost everything is ready. We are leaving to go skiing. A week away from the daily worries. Wonderful.

I' ll seize the opportunity to put my world into prospective. On top of the mountains, of the world, one realizes how small we are and what we call our problems.

See you soon!
Keep reading...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Warm winter fruit salad

Winter is back. It rains, it hails, it's tremendously windy. To counteract this very unplesant weather, I've made this warm fruit salad. This are the fruits you need to prepare it. It's a version of one of Madame's Cugnac recipes. I hope you like it.

Warm winter fruit salad
8 servings

Ingredients:
  • 2 bananas
  • 2 golden delicious apples
  • 1 kiwi
  • 1/2 pineapple
  • 2 pears
  • 1 little bunch white grapes
  • 1 handful walnuts, chopped
  • juice of a lemon
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 20 gr. butter
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanille extract
  • 100 ml. milk
  • 250 ml. double cream, cold
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, powdered
  • powdered sugar to taste
Method:
  1. Peel and chop pineapple and kiwi. Cut grapes in half and take pips out. Put these fruits in a bowl, sprinkle with one tablespoon brown sugar and lemon juice. Cover and let rest for half an hour.
  2. Meanwhile peel apples, pears and bananas. Cut them in slices. Put butter in a skillet. When it's hot, add fruits, sprinkle with another tablespoon brown sugar and brown. Reserve.
  3. Drain pineapple, kiwi and grapes and keep about 50 ml. from the juice. Reserve.
  4. Let's make a creme anglaise. Beat egg yolks with caster sugar and vanille extract in a bowl. Put milk and fruit juice in a pot to heat. When it boils, pour it over egg yolks and stir constantly. Put everything back in the pot and cook over medium heat until it thickens. Reserve.
  5. Turn oven on at 210ºC. Put the fruits and walnuts in a baking pan. Pour creme anglaise over them. Mix last brown sugar tablespoon with cinnamon. Sprinkle this mixture over fruits.
  6. Bake for 20 min.
  7. While they are in the oven, we make the whipping cream. Beat it very cold for a couple of minutes with your kitchen aid. Add powdered sugar to taste. I guessed the quantity, I supose about a tablespoon should be enough.
  8. Serve hot with whipping cream on top.
Keep reading...

White beans with sobrasada* and cured cheese

This week we've changed our family reunion day. Little brother was in charge of the cooking. He's exploring his Julius book. He's offered us a savory and categorical dish, inspired by one of his recipes. It's ideal for these dog, I mean, winter days.... With his permission I give it to you.

You already know (if you follow my cooking adventures) that Julius cooks for two, so if you are a larger party, you only have to multiply (ingredients and time)

White beans with sobrasada* and machego cheese

2 servings
From Julius sigue cocinando en 22 minutos

Ingredients:
  • 1 can of white cooked beans
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1 gouse garlic, minced
  • 150 gr. sobrasada*
  • 3 tablespoons pureed tomato (from the can)
  • 3 manchego cheese slices
  • Fresh chopped parsley
  • Olive oil
Method:
  1. In a little skillet, sautée onions with a little bit of olive oil. After two minutes more or less, add garlic. Add pureed tomato when onion and garlic are golden. Strain beans and add . Stir and let cook some minutes.
  2. Put beans in a baking pan. Spread sobrasada over them and fin.
  3. Grill in the oven for some minutes, until cheese is golden.
  4. Sprinkle with parsley and serve very hot.
*Sobrasada: kind of chorizo but soft, you can spread it. It comes from the Balearic Islands. It can be sweet or spicy.
Keep reading...

Monday, March 2, 2009

Blondies

I had some almonds in the fridge. Because next week we are leaving to go skiing (finally, I need a vacation RIGHT NOW), I'd like to finish everything that can go bad before.

This recipe came into my mind. To be honest, I don't have the slightest idea wher it came from. But here it is. From me to you.

Blondies

Ingredients:
  • 2/3 cups sunflower oil
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons hot water
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 cup toasted and chopped (big chunks) almonds
  • 175 gr. dark chocolate, in chunks
Method:
  1. Turn oven on at 180ºC. Get a rectangular baking pan ready: line it with parchment paper or grease and flour it. If it is a silicone pan, you don't have to do anything.
  2. Combine oil, sugar, water and eggs in a bowl.
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder and soda and salt in a separated bowl.
  4. Gradually add flour to egg mixture, blending well.
  5. Add almonds and chocolate. Pour in the baking pan.
  6. Bake for 30 - 40 min. Be careful not to overbake them as they turn hard.
  7. Allow to cool in then pan.
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