May 28, 2008

Daring Bakers: Orange, Elderberry White Chocolate Opera

This month's challenge is hosted by the founders Lia from La Mia Cucina and Ivonne from Cream Puffs in Venice, co-hosted by Shea from Whiskful and Fran from Apples Peaches Pumpkin Pie. The challenge is Opera cake, but not the traditional with coffee and dark chocolate, but any ingredients that are light-coloured and makes us feel the spring. As it was my birthday cake I deciced to decorate it with my favourite flower the lilac, as these are edible. For the flavouring I used orange and elderberry. My first DB Challenge was the Party Cake and there I screwed up the buttercream. This time it was really good and I loved its orange flavour. However as my baking form was too big the cream was almost not enough, I should have doubled it. I still have problems with white chocolate so the glaze was not nice at all and the joconde got also too brown. Do not forget to check out all those great daring bakers out there! The Double DB is also completed: croissants.

May 20, 2008

Crack the crust!

I guess the cooking list of a foodie is almost unending. This crust is something I wanted to prepare since quite a while. After the first bit I knew, this is going to be something that will visit my kitchen again and again. I am talking about an almond-celery crust with majoram, sage and parsley. I coated a piece of pork tenderloin with it. In the saucepan, where I fried the meat before adding the crust on top, I added sliced mushrooms, salt pepper and some veggie stock. I poured some white wine under the meat, and when it was ready I added this white wine to the mushrooms with some heavy cream and got a yummy sauce that went really well with this dish.

200 g celery
bunch of parsley
2-3 sage leaves

3-4 majoram leaves
100 g almond, coarsly grated

1 egg
2 tablespoon breadcrumbs

2 tablespoon sour cream
1 pork tenderloin
dijon mustard

white wine
salt, pepper

Salt, pepper meat, marinate with dijon mustard and fry in butter. Prepare crust: chop herbs, add almond, egg, breadcrumbs, sour cream. Add crust on top of the pork, pour white wine under it and put it in the oven for 30-40 minutes on 200°C.

Cauliflower Panna Cotta

This dish is today's experiment, that was a success. The experiment part was not the cauliflower panna cotta, but the spinach sponge under it. I consulted with my mom and she was not sure if a sponge would not be too flat without sugar. First I had the idea to add a pack of vanilla sugar, but then I thought no risk, no fun. I flavoured the panna cotta with truffle oil, well next time I am going to leave that, because after experiencing black truffle three times, I am sure now, it is not my cup of tea.

For the spinach sponge:
1 egg
1 tablespoon spinach
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
salt, pepper, nutmeg

For the panna cotta:
200 g cauliflower
30 g butter
40 ml vegetable stock
25 ml heavy cream

2 gelatine sheets
salt, pepper, nutmeg
optional truffle oil

Whisk egg yolk with spinach, salt, pepper, nutmeg and flour. Stir in beaten egg white and bake on 200°C for about 3-5 minutes in any kind of form you want.
Cook cauliflower roses in water, or stock until ready. Melt butter, add 40 ml veggie stock and puree together with the cauliflower. Add heavy cream, salt, pepper
, nutmeg and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in gelatine and fill into forms, let it cool until stiff.

Double DB Challenge: Croissants

It is time again for our Double DB Challenge. I have never made puff pastry before so you may think how nervous this task made me! On the other side it was also very tempting! It took me some days until I dared to start with it. This includes reading the recepie again and again and again...Well now I can say that I loved it! I had some problems, as I had to roll out the dough on a round table that was shaking, so that is why it was hard to get it real thin. Nevertheless I am in love with it! I am so eager to prepare puff pastry again for other purposes. Yumm. Do not forget to check out my friend, Amy's croissants as well!

I was so glad when I have seen that the preferment raised, phew one thing that I do not have to worry about. Kneading the dough went also pretty well, I had hope that it is going to be fine.

I got more worried when I noticed that I just can not roll it out thin enough, but after the laminating and the long waiting I was more and more delighted as it was a lot easier to roll out. Well okay, I had bigger and smaller croissants but they raised and were really yummy. I made some with chocolate, others with sesame and cheese. Everything else than perfect but I guess it was quite good for my first ever croissants.

May 19, 2008

Shortcrust screwed up!

I was wondering if I should post about this or not. I am here writing a few lines about today's lunch. I received a bunch of beautiful swiss green asparagus. Fresh and thin.

I had the idea to bake sort of a quiche. For this purpose I wanted to use that gorgeous and absolutely yummy Velouté sauce that I prepared lately. I already felt the taste explosion in my mouth: asparagus, Emmentaler, Black Forest ham and THE sauce with a crispy pastry. Well the crust was a huge catastrophy. I guess I did not bake it long enough. I prepared it out of flour and grated almonds. No matter why, but fact is I screwed it up. Still the sauce and the asparagus with the cheese...mmm that was yummy with some bread. For sure I am going to try again, but then with a traditional and not experimental pastry.

May 18, 2008

Chocolate&Orange Cake

I was thinking a lot about what I should prepare using those cute chocolate bars I have received lately as a sample from Amano. I noticed that I have some small oranges left and I thought that would be a nice combination.

I remembered a recepie that I have seen in Pierre Hermé's book so I decided to search for it and bake. The recepie calls for syrup which I left out and instead of Cointreau I used some sherry to moist the cake. This chocolate cream was the best that I have ever tasted!!!

For the cake:
1 orange
50 g butter

3 eggs
150 g sugar
150 g flour
7 g baking powder

For the cream:
1/2 orange
2 eggs
200 g dark chocolate (60%)

100 g butter
80 g sugar

Preheat oven to 180°C.
Melt butter, let it cool. Whisk egg yolk with sugar until fluffly and light yellow. Add orange zest and juice, flour, melted butter and baking powder. Beat egg white and add to the egg yolk mixture. Butter a 20 diameter form, add butter and bake for about 40 minutes.
Melt chocolate over steam, add butter, sugar, orange zest, egg yolks and whisk it all together. Add beaten egg white and let it cool for 20 minutes.
Half the cake, add cream between the layers and cover the whole cake with the cream. Decorate with orange slices and chocolate.

Gordon Ramsay's chilli con carne

I was curious about chilli con carne since my childhood. I have seen it in many movies and I thought it must be really yummy. I confess that I do not like tomatoes either canned or boiled, that is why it took me so long to cook my first ever chilli. I could not imagine that a dish contaning canned tomatoes would taste so savoury! I am in love with the intense taste of the chilli. What a fantastic symphony of fresh and canned tomatoes. I am really surprised. The only change I made is that I used minced turkey, as I had no beef in the fridge. I served it with rice, however I think bread is the perfect match.

1 large onion or 2 banana shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 red chilli deseeded or keep half with seeds if you like it spicy

2 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked and roughly chopped
olive oil, for frying
500g good quality beef mince
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp sweet paprika

1 tsp dried oregano
3 fresh tomatoes or 1 beef tomato, roughly chopped
400g chopped tomatoes

2 tbsp tomato puree
100-200ml chicken or beef stock
3 tbsp tomato puree
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf

400g kidney beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper
handful of chives, chopped
200ml soured cream
boiled rice, to serve

Sweat the onion, garlic, chilli and thyme in 2 tablespoons oil in a large saucepan. At the same time, brown the mince in a separate pan over moderate heat in a little oil.
Add the dried spices to the onion mixture and cook until they release their aroma. Then stir in the beef and mix well. Add the fresh and tinned tomatoes and leave to cook down a little for
about 5 minutes.
Pour in the chicken or beef stock and stir in tomato puree to taste. Drop the cinnamon and bay leaf in then bring to the boil and leave to simmer.
Once the sauce is beginning to thicken add the kidney beans and leave to cook for another 5-10 minutes to allow the beans to soak up the flavours. Check for seasoning.
Mix the chives and soured cream together. To serve, spoon the chilli into the centre of a mound of rice, with the soured cream and chives in a separate bowl on the side.

May 16, 2008

King Prawn - Mission 1.02

Tropical shrimps, both farmed and wild caught.

Coldwater shrimps.

As I have already mentioned in a previous post, I am not a seafood fan, but this recepie, that I created today was so delicous! I am surprised and can not wait to prepare it again. I am really thrilled! Now I have to write it down fast, before I forget it. I fried half of the patties without flour, and half with. I think the only difference is that without they look more delcious, I just was not sure if without flour they would fall apart or not. But it worked out!

250 g prawns
1 shallot
2 celery stalks
1 piece of fresh chili
1 piece of fresh ginger
juice of 1 lime
100 g coarsly grated almond
5 drops dark sesame oil
1 egg

Chop shallot, celery stalks, prawns, chili. Add grated ginger, lime juice, almond, sesame oil and egg. Whisk all together, add a tablespoon flour if you do not feel comfortable without. Fry patties in oil. I served it with a mixture of sour cream and mustard.

By the way, this month is one old recepie of mine is online on Culinary Seductions!

Sugar High Friday #43 - Citrus: Orange Crêpes with Lemon Sorbet

When I saw the theme of this month's SHF hosted by Tartelette, I was delighted! I adore lemons, so I was sure I am going to make something using them. I was thinking days about what I should do and I just had no inspiration...until today! As one of my favourite ice cream is lemon, I thought why not make my own lemon sorbet. Each time I buy ice cream on the street I check how the lemon tastes, if it is yummy I buy other flavours, so that is the ultimate ice cream test for me. If lemon is good, the rest should rock as well. On the other hand side I thought only a sorbet is not enough, so that is how I ended up preparing orange crêpes. To give the missing kick to the whole dessert, I took some tablespoon of the grapefruit jam, that I cooked recently, added some orange juice and lemon pepper to have a sauce going with the rest. While taking photos I remembered my orange pastry I made a day before yesterday and decorated the whole thing with it. That is how I managed to use more than one citrus for this great theme!

For the Crêpes:
2 eggs
2 tablespoon flour

2 tablespoon powder sugar
4 tablespoon milk

zest and juice of 1 orange
For the lemon sorbet:
275 ml milk
275 g sugar

zest and juice of 3 lemons
1 egg white

For the crêpe whisk all ingredients together and put aside for about 30 minutes.
Bake them in buttered saucepan.
For the sorbet cook milk with sugar and let it cool. Add zest and juice of the lemon and whipped egg white. Let the ice cream machine do the rest.

May 14, 2008

Rhubarb Ice Cream with Honeybee Pollen

Some bored rhubarb stalks were starring at me in the fridge. I had the sudden idea to prepare some ice cream out of them. I used some rose water to season it and to have a sort of a crunchy effect I added some honeybee pollen. Bees while collecting the nectar they also collect pollen, that is edible for human. Some say it is very healthy as it contains about 5000 enzymes and coenzymes. But now back to the rhubarb ice cream and its companion a delcious orange pastry, that is kind of like a tuiles, I guess. This is my entry for the Root Source Challenge #14.

For the orange pastry:
55 g cane sugar
55 g sugar
60 g orange juice
30 g flour

60 g grated almond
60 g butter

For the ice cream:
300 g rhubarb
2 tablespoon rose water
150 g sugar
180 ml heavy cream

1 tablespoon honeybee pollen

Whisk butter so that it is fluffy. Beat in all the other ingredients and put aside for about 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 180°C. With a help of a tablespoon add some pastry on a baking sheet and flatten. Bake for 5 minutes.
Peel and slice rhubarb and start to warm it with the sugar. After sugar is molten, but not caramelised add rose water and let it cook for a minute. Puree and add with vanilla sugar beaten heavy cream. Pour it to the ice cream machine and let it do the rest. Before it is ready stir in the honeybee pollen.

May 13, 2008

Grapefruit Jam with Lemons

I have this recepie from Millie, my cooking buddy from Hungary. Her jam has a fabolous colour, check it out! When I halfed my grapefruits, I was sure that mine going to be orange, because two of them were very light rosa and the other almost yellow. Nevertheless the jam is very tasty and of course bitter. Finally I have my own citrus jam, good bye Mr. Pomelo! I added one orange and one lime to the recepie, only because otherwise they would have landed on the compost. In addition I caramelised two tablespoon of the sugar to have a more intense colour.

3 big rosa grapefruits
500 g lemon
1300 g sugar
2000 ml water

As first peel the fruits so that you have nice long zests. Add the chopped fruit and the zest in water and cook for 2 hours. The white parts and all the rest that you would throw away put in a cloth and add to the rest. After 2 hours of cooking, remove the cloth, add sugar and cook until you reach the consistency you want.

Crêpes fourrées gratinées

The plan was to cook something with champignons for lunch, because I had about a half pound in the fridge and it was time to use them. Crêpes, I adore them just like I adore mushrooms. So I prepared this absolutely fantastic recipe that supposed to be today's appetizer. While preparing it I felt that is perfectly enough for lunch, no need for anything else. However I knew that not everyone enjoys mushroom among my birthday guests, so I also prepared some dijon mustard marinated pork tenderloin with some cognac on young rosemary potatoes and an improvised zabaglione. I did not want to spend too much time on my birthday in the kitchen so it had to be fast and considering that the weather is getting warmer and warmer it is like in a sauna if the oven is working. I am totally thrilled about this crêpes dish! Creamy, tasty and the cheese on top is irresistible!

For the Crêpes:
150 g flour
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon melted butter

For the filling:
375 g Champignons
4 tablespoon butter
1 shallot
1 teaspoon parsley
salt, pepper
For the Velouté sauce:
6 tablespoon butter
75 g flour

2,5 cups chicken stock, hot
2 egg yolks
1-1,5 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon lemon juice

grated ementaler cheese

For the Crêpes whisk all ingredients together and let it cool for an hour, after bake them.
Slice champignons, add shallot in melted butter, add champignons and fry. When ready stir in chopped parsley, season with salt and pepper.
Prepare the sauce: melt butter, add flour and whisk until it is well corporated. Remove from fire, add stock and mix well. Cook for another minute. Whisk egg yolks with heavy cream, add half of it to the mixture. To the rest of the egg yolk-heavy cream add the sauce and whisk well. After whisk all together. Cook it for some second, season with salt, pepper, lemon juice.
Preheat oven to 180°C. On the bottom of a heat proof bowl add some sauce. Add 2-3 tablespoons of the sauce to the mushroom. Fill crêpes with mushroom and roll it up. Place them to the form, add the rest of the sauce and the cheese on top. Bake for 20 minutes or until the crust is light brown.

May 12, 2008


We have wonderful weather today and it was so tempting to go out, that we decided to go to a nearby forest and roast some sausages over fire. The timing was perfect because the plan was to bake my birthday cake for tomorrow, so there was no need to cook for lunch. We roasted on a wood spit some swiss cervelat sausages. For this type of preparation we cut the ends of the sausages, that is a traditonal Swiss manner.

That is how we found the fireplace.

Yeah it is burning, let's roast!

The cutie on the bottom of the photo stole one of the cervelats. Well it would have anyway been hers...
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