Tuesday, 22 April 2014

April





Breakfast for a clown, eating my greens and ice cream inspired by a trip to Pisa.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Easter cupcakes



Happy Easter everyone! Hope you all had a great time with your loved ones and since we had family around I only now get to post my Easter treats. The vanilla cupcakes are topped with a cream cheese icing adapted from the red velvet cupcakes by the Hummingbird Bakery but with much less sugar (which doesn't hurt at all), then piped with my trusted 1M nozzle, and decorated with chocolate eggs. They really take up no time to make but they taste great. For next year I have put a #233 decorating tip on my wish list so I can pipe my icing to look like grass.


EASTER CUPCAKES

125ml sunflower oil
100g sugar
2 eggs
250g self raising flour
6g baking powder
dash of vanilla essence
for the icing

125g butter
200g cream cheese
100g icing sugar
dash of vanilla essence
chocolate eggs for decoration

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Mix the oil, vanilla essence, sugar and the eggs. Beat until the mixture turns pale in colour. Mix the flour and baking powder and sift. Gently fold under the egg-sugar mix. Fill into muffin cases and bake for about 15-20 minutes. Let cool down on a wire rack. In the meantime prepare the butter cream. Beat the butter until pale and creamy. Add the icing sugar, vanilla essence and cream cheese. Put in a piping bag and leave in the fridge to cool slightly. Once piped decorate the cupcakes with chocolate eggs.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Meringue kisses



I have never been a big fan of meringues until now. I just found them too sweet and there wasn't much else in flavour that could excite me.
Recently meringues seem to have a moment, overtaking my favourite, the macaron. They are not dissimilar when it comes down to the ingredients so I thought I will give it a try. Meringues are actually easier to make than macarons with just two main ingredients: egg whites and sugar. You can introduce flavour with freeze dried raspberries, cocoa or instant coffee powder and get quite creative with food colouring to make them look the part. Or make plain ones to be the base of some great desserts like Eton Mess or a classic pavlova. Quite a lot you can do with such a humble base recipe so no wonder it is exciting so many people.


MERINGUE KISSES

2 egg whites
pinch of salt
100g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pink food colouring gel

Pre-heat the oven to 150°C. Whisk up the egg whites and the salt in a clean metal bowl. When the egg whites begin to stiffen, slowly beat in the caster sugar until shiny and silky. Stir in the vanilla essence and mix. To get the pink stripe effect put some food colouring gel as stripes on the inside of the piping bag from the nozzle up. Fill with the mixture and pipe onto a baking paper. Bake in the oven for about 30-40 min depending on size. Leave them in the oven to cool down so they can dry out completely.


Friday, 28 February 2014

Cheese cake



Last week was my friend Nithra's birthday. Unlike me she doesn't have a sweet tooth though, so I was thinking cheese cake, literally. Stack a variety of cheese: goats cheese, Brie, flavoured cream cheese, blue cheese and hard cheese. Dress it all with fruit and nuts et voilà: ready is the non-bake savoury cheese cake. Just add some wine and Bon appétit!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Filo pastry roses



Happy new year to you all! I hope you had a great start in the new year and Hello to 2014! We finally have a kitchen as we have finished our extension and all building work is done so we are off to a good start. Hooray! We had to make do with a make shift kitchen in a section of the living room consisting of a camping cooker and the fridge freezer during the first stage of work. It was like camping with the plastic crockery, foldable chairs and one-pot-wonder-foods. well, minus the insect bites and the open fire (though we were close to using the fireplace to cook in...). We are quite keen campers so no hardship there but it was restrictive and baking certainly wasn't an option. So now having a kitchen again is such a luxury. I am still getting to grips with my new oven though. It doesn't seem to bake as evenly as I had hoped but I am glad to have an electric one again and bye bye to the gas oven. Hopefully no more burnt baking paper and chargrilled cakes.
I remember my grandma used to say that you will have a close relationship with your oven as a baker and now I know what she means. I am still figuring out which settings are best for what type of dish and if I can go with the recommended temperature in a recipe or if i should over or under compensate. So here is one of the first batches we made. Filo pastry with a nutty filling twisted to little roses and baked like a cake which you can serve individually.


FILO PASTRY ROSES

Filo pastry
butter
ground hazelnuts
honey
icing sugar
chopped pistachios

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Melt the butter and brush some over one sheet of filo, then cover with a second sheet. Brush with a some more melted butter. Dust with icing sugar and ground hazelnuts. Squeeze some honey on top and fold over twice by a third, then roll up and twist to shape the roses. Repeat until all filo sheets have been used up. Place all roses next to one another in a round cake tin. Sprinkle with the chopped pistachios and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until golden and done. Finally dust with icing sugar and serve.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

February





Ice cold days and citrus sunshine.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Rainbow sorbet



Long time no see! Been really busy here the last weeks and when the heat of summer hit us we spent more time in the park or in the garden than in front of our beloved computer. But I am catching up with some foodie posts and here is the first one. How about freezing a rainbow?
This dessert will definitely brighten everyones mood and it's great for a kids birthday party. Or do an adult version and add a hint of booze and make cocktail flavour layers. If life gives you lemons, crack open the gin! Just go easy on the alcohol as it will prevent the sorbet from freezing through and layering will be more difficult.
In the kid friendly version I made I have left out the sugar and just layered fruit purée. Still quite sweet if you make sure the fruit is ripe and juicy. Older kids may want it a bit sweeter so add caster sugar or agave syrup to taste. So the layers are as following:

strawberry and watermelon
mango
banana and pineapple
kiwi and pear
blackberry and vanilla


RAINBOW SORBET

Place your baking tin or other suitable dish, ideally metal, in the freezer for a few minutes. Blend the fruit with a blender or a food processor. Add the desired amount of sugar and/or spices and/or booze. Spread the first layer of fruit purée evenly in your chilled tin and put back in the freezer to chill and set. This may take several hours. Purée the next layer of fruit once the first layer is frozen solid and spread the next sorbet mix on top and so on. When you want to serve it it may take a while to defrost so you can cut it, there for make sure you take it out of the freezer some time before serving.




August





Full of colour: birthday balloons, rainbow cake and party animals.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Lemon curd cake



Summer is still keeping us waiting this year and the average temperatures last month have been at a record low. Now, that is not really something to celebrate and as I can't escape to a hot and tropical place to soak up the sunshine I have resorted to the second best thing to lift my spirits and that is baking. Lemons shout summer like nothing else and in German we have a saying: "Sauer macht lustig", what means something like sour makes funny. It doesn't translate that well but you should get the idea. Might be the funny faces we make when we eat something sour.
The base of the cake is a lemon sponge, filled with my tart homemade lemon curd and then decorated with a whipped cream and cream cheese icing. You will find a great tutorial about how to pipe the roses on this wonderful website here and there's lots more inspiration there, so go and pay Amanda's blog 'I am Baker' a visit. And now off to eating some more lemons. Summer, here I come!


LEMON CURD SPONGE CAKE

for the sponge
200ml vegetable oil
250g sugar
4 large eggs
400g flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 lemon (juice and zest)
pinch of salt

for the lemon curd
4 unwaxed lemons (juice and zest)
4 large eggs
350g caster sugar
250g butter

for the icing
200ml whipping cream or double cream
200g cream cheese
4 tbsp caster sugar
3 tbsp lemon curd
yellow food colouring

Preheat oven to 175-195°C. Mix the oil and sugar, add the eggs, salt, lemon juice and zest. Mix the baking powder and the flour and sift, gently adding to the mixture. Divide the mixture in half and pour into round baking tins. Bake for about 30 minutes and set aside to cool. In the meantime prepare the lemon curd. In a medium pan whisk the eggs and add the lemon juice and zest, sugar and small cubes of the butter. Gently bring to the boil over medium heat and continue to stir until the mixture thickens. Continue stirring and simmer for another minute and take of the heat. Pour into sterilised jars and leave some for the cake. Spread between the two layers of sponge and stack. To make the icing whip the double cream until it stiff. Add the sugar and cream cheese and blend. Cover the layered cake with a thin coating of the icing to seal and place in the fridge. Take about half of the rest of the mixture and fold in the lemon curd and food colouring. Spoon into a piping bag, alternating yellow and white icing. Place in the fridge for about 15 minutes as the yellow mix will be a bit runny still. With a large nozzle pipe roses all along the cake and place in the fridge before serving.




Saturday, 1 June 2013

April





Trips to the garden center, Ottolenghi's cheese cake and my disco nails.

Monday, 1 April 2013

March





Snow and ice, ice cream and icing sugar.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Happy Easter




Easter eggs and bunnies.