June 30, 2011

Macarons with Red Currant Curd

Actually, I went to the kitchen to cook something for lunch, but I felt so empty and had no idea, so I decided to bake macarons instead. Well, I still have no idea, what to cook, but I have a nice bunch of macarons. Somehow I always postponed making Italian merinuge based macarons, and what a mistake this was! I have never managed to bake white macarons before, but today finally it just happened! It seems, that I made one step towards imporving my macaron baking skill. I am so happy with these batch of macarons, and now I feel like I could bake macarons all day long. I already have some egg whites ageing and I can not wait to bake another bunch! I have never been a big fan of macarons, but these made me love them.  When I had two sheets baked, I decided to add some cocoa powder to the batter and even those worked out! I was thrilled! So far I always had problems with cocoa powder in the batter, but not this time. For the filling I took an old and almost forgotten recipe of mine that is actually a raspberry curd, but now I've prepared it with red currants.

(recipe by Tartelette)
80 g aged egg whites
25 g sugar
100 g almond flour
100 g icing sugar
100 g sugar
35 g water
for the filling:
200 g red currant puree
120 g icing sugar
2 egg yolks
150 g butter

Beat 40 g of egg whites with 25 g of sugar until it forms peaks. Meanwhile make the syrup: bring 100 g sugar with 35 g water to boil and as soon as it has reached  110°C remove it from the heat and add it to the beaten egg whites in a thin stream while beating constantly. Keep on beating until it has cooled down, this takes about 10 minutes. Stir the other 40 g of egg whites, unbeaten to the sieved almond-icing sugar mixture. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Pipe macarons onto a silicon sheet or a baking paper covered baking sheet. Bake macarons for 13-15 minutes depending on the oven or a few minutes longer if you make bigger ones. For the filling whisk together red currant puree with icing sugar and the egg yolks and beat it over steam until it thickens. Remove and whisk in room temperature butter. Chill curd for 2-3 hours.

June 28, 2011

Green Walnut Parfait with Engadine Nut Tart and Whipped Plum Jelly

Lately there is so much to do, that I can hardly catch up with everything. Not that I do not have enough time to spend in the kitchen, but there is also much too little time for blogging. Besides in this hot weather I hardly cook anything, as we live on eating chilled fruits, like cherries and other berries. On the other side, I have a couple of baking orders and usually, when I am done with one the next one is already on its way.

Do not get me wrong, I am not complaining, I love to be busy with baking, it is so much fun and it is so great to hear the feedback from the clients. Last time I baked that famous Swiss nut tart, and as I had some leftover pastry and filling I baked one for us also. Though it is not quite a summer dessert, therefore I decided to prepare something that makes the whole dessert a little bit lighter. Tough, I am not sure if a parfait can be called light. Anyway, some time ago I prepared green walnut syrup and I used this for the parfait.
Simply, half the green nuts and pour enough honey over it and let it stand for a day. I've found this great idea in a very special Hungarian blog.

Surprisingly, my favourite farmer has already some ripe pruns right from their garden. Of course I had to buy some. I think walnuts and prunes are great together and because I felt like experimenting I decided to try the whipped jelly. I cooked a simply syrup with the skin of the prunes and then added some gelatine and then whisked it until it turned to be foamy. The whipped plum jelly brought a beautiful brightness onto the plate together with an exciting consistency.

June 20, 2011

Aubergine cream

It is not a secret that I absolutely have no talent for baking bread, unless it is a sweet bread, that is fine. And I even manage to bake a ciabatta or a fougasse, but that's it. The rest may be used as a weight or as a weapon, but they are not edible for sure. So all the disapointments stopped me even from baking that popular no-knead bread. If you think about it, baking the no-knead bread is not more complicated than preparing a ready made soup, however still it is something different. Last week, finally I felt like trying at least that.

Thanks to the success since then I have already baked it a few more times and soon I might feel confident enough to give a new chance for baking a more challenging bread. Anyway, I could not imagine anything better to be served with a fresh and crispy slice of bread then a lukewarm aubergine cream. At least in summer.

Probably, there are thousands of aubergine cream recipes out there, and everyone has a favourite. Mine will always remain this simple version, the way my mom and her grandmother used to prepare. It is only authentic if it has that smoky taste that you achieve when grilling it over open fire or a gas stove, even I have no gas stove, but I bake them on the stove. It just never tastes the same if it is baked in the oven. No way. As far as the other ingreidents are concerned, well you need only a red onion, salt, pepper and vegetable oil. That's it, nothing else.

So once the aubergines are baked on the stove, I remove the skin as long as it is still hot. Then with the help of a wooden spoon I remove the flesh and chop it. My mom told me, that if one uses steel it get bitter. True or not, I stick to that. Already before combining I add some salt to the chopped onion, then stir it together with the flesh and enough oil so that it gets brighter in the colour while stirring. If there should be some leftover the next day, which usually doesn't happen, then I add a little bit of mayonnaise to the cream. So that's my simple aubergine cream.

June 17, 2011

Macarons with Tonka Bean Cream

Well, honestly, I am not so much a macaron fan, I do enjoy one or two once in a while, but the rest of my family is absolutly addicted and they do appriciate very much when I bake a bunch. Luckily, meanwhile I've learnt to bake them so I can surprise them once in a while, as I enjoy baking macarons very much, besides it is a great way to use leftover egg whites, if not one of the best ways. By the way, once I had to bake a bunch as a surprise, but it just did not work out. I had no other opportunity then to use fresh egg whites and oh wonder it worked out. I was extremly happy! These macarons were baked somewhen last week and I decided to fill them with tonka bean cream.

for the macaron:
125 g finely ground almond
210 g powder sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
100 g egg whites
30 g sugar
for the cream:
(adapted fromTartelette)
100 g sugar
2 egg whites
170 g butter, room temperature
tonka bean

Preheat the oven to160°C. Sieve powder sugar, cocoa powder and almond flour, then stir until it is combined. Beat egg white with the sugar then fold it into the almond flour mixture. Fill batter into a piping bag and pipe macarons onto a baking paper covered baking sheet. Let it stand for 30 minutes to dry, then bake for about 15 minutes. For the cream beat egg whites with sugar over steam until shiny, then remove, stir in butter and ground tonka bean.

June 16, 2011

Pasta with Morel Sauce

Actually, not only morels, but also black trumpet and yellow oyster mushrooms are in this pasta sauce. I felt lucky to find fresh yellow oyster mushrooms, but then it was such a disappointment! Almost a neutral taste, so it is needless to say, that I prefer the common oyster mushroom a whole lot more. By the way, I have fried these seperatly, and did not cooked it in the sauce, as I wanted to try them on their own, just with salt, pepper and some parsley, but they did not convince me. Anyway, though this dish is so simple, yet it is a great comfort food, especially when it is served with a lot of fresh parmesan on top!


30 g dried morels
20 g dried black trumpet
handful of fresh oyster mushroom
1 shallot
2 tablespoons butter
30 ml whiskey
300 ml brown veal stock
70 ml cream
fresh parsley and thyme
salt, pepper

Soak dried mushrooms in hot water and let it stand. Sautee chopped shallot in butter, add mushrooms and pour whisky over it and let it absorb. Now add brown veal stock and about 100-150 ml mushroom water and cook until it is reduced by half. Stir in cream and cook for a few more minutes, season with salt, pepper, fresh parsley and thyme.

June 15, 2011

Tonka Bean Flavoured White Chocolate Parfait

Lately, we've been talking with my friend Vera about tonka beans, and how thrilled we were when we recieved our package of tonka beans among other spices, and we realised that we completly forgot about it and hardly ever used a pinch since then. The next day, I decided to prepare something with tonka beans. I wanted a dessert that is prepared quickly and needs no oven. I've had a few orders for birthday cakes and therefore I had a bunch of white chocolate bars still on stock, as I have bought far too many, just to be on the safe side. I must say, that I do not like white chocolate at all, unless the triangle shaped Swiss, that I adore, even more than then milk or dark chocolate version. Anyway, then I had the idea of a parfait flavoured with tonka beans, and I have to confess that I ate almost the whole portion myself!

60 g sugar
5 egg yolks
120 g white chocolae
300 ml heavy cream
tonka bean

Cook a syrup with the sugar and 50 ml water, then slowly add it to the egg yolks while whisking constantly. Keep on whisking until its pale and creamy. Season with tonka bean. Melt chocolate over steam and stir it into the egg yolk mixture. Finally, fold in the beaten cream and freezer for 3-4 hours.

June 14, 2011

Dried Tomato - Lavender Sablé with Tomato Curd

Well, I always end up buying far too many tomatoes and I think it is absolutely needles to try to change my tomato buying habits, because it is just impossible for me to resist those beauties. Especially then, when my greengrocer happens to have new types every week. It is so totally amazing! Meanwhile, I live on tomato salad almost for a week, sometimes with fresh goat's cheese, sometimes just with a slice of freshly baked bread. However, I always end up with some leftover that needs to be used fast, therefore I felt like experimenting a bit. And so the tomato curd was born. Do not let yourself bother by the orange colour, it is because I've mainly used yellow, green and rosa tomatoes. It would also be funny to make it using only yellow, or only green tomatoes. And by the way, lavender harmonises with tomatoes very well! Give it try!


for the sablé:
125 g butter
50 g honey
200 g flour
ground lavender (adjust amount to your taste)
2 teapoons ground dried tomato
1 tablespoons vanilla sugar
1 pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to
200°C. Beat butter and honey until foamy, stir in tomato powder, lavender, salt, flour and then knead it together. Chill for 30 minutes, then slice and bake for 6-7 minutes.

for the tomato curd:

100 ml fresh tomato juice
1/2 vanilla pod
piece of star anise
3 egg yolks
70 g sugar
100 g butter

Cook tomato juice with vanilla and star anise until boiling, then let it stand for 10 minutes and sieve. Beat over steam the tomato juice with the sugar, egg yolks and when it is nice thick and creamy remove it from the heat and stir in the soft butter. Cool for a few hours.

June 10, 2011

Spicy Milk Poached Cod with Morel Powder on Pea Puree with Saffron Jelly, Chicken Jus and Spring Vegetables

Yesterday, I took two plastic boxes with me for our usual mornnig walk with my dog. The plan was to collect some wild strawberries and cherries for a dessert. Not only I got home with a nice portion of wild berries, but I even collected some common wood sorrel too. The evening before I was in a creative state of mind, so I started to plan next day's lunch. Pretty fast I had everything ready and it was all written down. Except for the fish: as often I have decided at the very last moment how it is going to be prepared.

Believe it or not, but this dish is done within a couple of minutes, if you are well prepared. First of all it is good, if you have a portion of chicken jus ready, because that what makes most of the work. Therefore I have prepared this already the day before. Fresh peas cook within a few minutes and when that's ready you are free to serve! The fish was poached in spicy milk where I used Sichuan pepper, fennel seeds and coriander seeds, and made a shallot-white wine reduction with a bit of garlic, then added the milk, and kept it about 75-80°C warm.
The sour touch of the wooden sorrel harmonised just perfectly with the sweetness of the peas. The spring vegetables that I used were green asparagus, fava beans and of course peas. I coated the fish with morel powder, therefore I also served fresh morels with it. Well, I can not give you an exact recipe this time, because I did not measure the ingredents, except for the jelly. I used a reduction of fish stock, white wine flavoured with a big pinch of saffron. For 200 ml liquid use about 2,5-3 g of agar-agar. The peas were cooked in chicken stock, but before I satueed some chopped shallots in butter. When serving I ladled some pea puree onto the middle of the plate, placed the morel coated fish on the sides, garnished with the vegetables, the saffron jelly and the sorrel and nettle flowers. Ah and the chicken jus was served seperately at the table.

June 9, 2011

Fennel Tart Tatin

Some months ago, on a boring afternoon I spent my time watching cooking shows. I am not sure anymore, if it was James Martin, who baked a chocolate-fennel cake, but it is sure that this dessert was inspired by that. However, except for the fennel, the two desserts have nothing in common. Yesterday, it was such a rainy day, that I've almost missed our usual walk with my dog, simply because she hates rain, and always hides in the bushes. Yeah, funny little thing she is. Anyway, of course we had our walk, but inbetween I prepared a fast and simple puff pastry. The recipe is gorgeous, just like each and every by Michel Roux. Usually, I make his classic puff pastry, but I did not have enough time to do so, therefore I tried the other one. It is not like a classic puff pastry, but still amazing and much much better than a store bought wannabe dough. And it is indeed so easy! And because the chilling time is only 30 minutes after each turning you are done so much faster! Ah and the dessert? The fennel tart tatin? Well, those who had a slice loved it, and said it is sure unusual but delicious, especially, with that scoop of home made vanilla ice cream with roasted almonds.

500 g flour
500 g cold butter
1 teaspoon salt
250 ml ice cold water (my dough needed less)

Crumble flour with the butter and the salt. As soon as it is crumbly add ice cold water in portions, then knead it fast to a ball. Chill for 20 minutes. Flour a working surface and roll out dough to a rectangle about 40x20 cm in its size. Take one side of the dough and fold it onto the middle, then take the other side and fold it again. Now turn the dough by 90°C and roll out again, and fold it again.
Remove any flour while folding! Chill for 30 minutes. Repeat this 2 more times, so that the dough is going to be folded all in all 4 times. It keeps fresh for 3 days in the fridge or can be frozen up to 1 month.

1 big or 2 small fennel bulbs
100 g sugar
30 g butter

Slice fennel with the help of a mandoline. In a round cake pan caramelise sugar over medium heat, then add butter and as soon as it is molten remove it from the heat. Put fennel onto the bottom of the baking pan and cover it with the puff pastry. Preheat the oven to 220°C, then reduce it it to 200
°C and bake the tart for 20-25 minutes. Serve lukewarm with ice cream.

June 8, 2011

Sheep's Milk Quark Stuffed Lángos

A few years ago I have already posted about the Hungarian Lángos, that is a deep fried flat bread made of a potato-based dough. Though then, I have shared a recipe without potato in the dough. However, meanwhile I enjoy the potato version a whole lot more. So it is time to post about it! It is just so different and absolutely addictive. Now, I am here with another version, that I did not like at all in my young years. Therefore, I've decided to give it another go and I must say, it was love at first bite! I am talking about my mom's favourite lángos, that is stuffed with sheep's milk quark, spring onions and fresh dill. Yummy! If you do not have the opportunity to get the mentioned quark, use goat's milk quark instead, but then add some salt to the mixture. Of course the possibilities are endless, you can stuff the dough with anything you desire, but if you enjoy sheep's and goat's milk products you should give this a try!

400 g flour
30 g fresh yeast
2 medium sized potatoes
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
5 g salt
300 ml lukewarm milk
pinch of sugar
oil for frying
300 g sheep's milk quark
bunch of dill
bunch of spring onion

For the filling mix together quark with chopped spring onion and dill. Dissolve yeast in 100 ml lukewarm milk together with a pinch of sugar and let it stand until the yeast swimms on top. Make a mold into the flour and pour the milk-yeast mixture into it. Press boiled potatoes through a strainer and stir it into the flour mixture. Knead a soft dough and add oil and salt while kneading. Sprinkle the top with flour and let it stand for 1 hour or until it doubles its size. Cut dough in equal pieces, roll out and place 1-2 tablespoons onto the middle, then cover the filling with the leftover dough from the sides and roll out the dough again. Fry the flatbreads in hot oil.

June 7, 2011

Cherry Cake

Yesterday some sort of nostalgic mood came over me, and therefore I picked an old recipe and went straight to the kitchen to bake. I think this cherry cake was the first treat that I have ever baked on my own. Probably, I have discovered my passion for baking thanks to this simple, yet soft and moist fruit cake. As the weather was a bit cloudy, the cake was just the perfect treat for the afternoon with a glass of cold milk.


500 g cherry

200 g butter
200 g sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar

7 eggs
1 tablespoon rum or arrack
100 g ground almond
200 g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
coarsly chopped almond

Whisk butter and sugar together, add 6 egg yolks and 1 whole egg and whisk until it is well incorporated. Whisk in the rum, stir in ground almond, flour and baking powder. Beat the leftover 6 egg whites with a pinch of salt and the vanilla sugar then fold it into the batter. Stir in pitted cherries and pour the batter into a floured baking sheet. Sprinkle the top with coarsly chopped almonds and bake for about 30 minutes on
180 °C, then let it cool in the baking sheet.

June 6, 2011

It's all about new potatoes

Finally, my favourite farmers' shop sells their own new potaotes and I was looking forward to that so much! The reason, why I have been waiting for that, is that they also sell tiny little potatoes, not bigger then a fingertip. Already during the weekend, new potatoes were the highlight on our table, and as my enthusiasm remain, I decided to build today's lunch around them. This time the green asparagus and the morels were only the supporting actors.

As I have had a portion of new potato stock, this time cooked and not roasted, I decided to use that as the basis for the sauce that is going to be served with the ravioli. The sauce was inspired by a
friend, but I've made a little change. In my friend's recipe he adds some cooked potatoes to thicken the sauce. In my case, after reducing the new potato stock and the cream, I have only added a chunk of butter and foamed the sauce. So the star of the plate was a new potato ravioli, but I have also prepared a green asparagus-goat cream cheese ravioli flavoured with a bit of new garlic. For the filling of the potato ravioli simply mash the cooked potatoes and mix it with a bit of rosemary flavoured brown butter and with a tiny bit of fresh nutmeg, if desired.

For the asparagus ravioli steam asparagus, then puree and stir in some goat cream cheese, season and set the spears aside for serving. In this light spring starter, the new potatoes go perfectly well with the asparagus and the morels, and the light rosemary touch of the ravioli complements the goat cream cheese just perfectly well.

June 3, 2011

Cherry Pie

Yesterday, I have discovered the first local cherries of the season in a small wooden stand and though these are not yet the real juicy and huge cherries, but still, I had to buy a basket. I must confess, that I nearly never bake any dessert with cherries, simply because no matter if I buy 1 or 5 kilogramms, it is always all eaten within a very short time. Chilled cherries are simply irrisistible on a hot summer day. Who wants to stand on such a day in the warm kitchen? Not me. However, now the weather is far from being hot, can not even say that it is warm, and these cherries are also not yet those juicy cherries, so I decided to bake something.

Not so long ago, I have checked out my cookbooks, and found out, that I have a couple of books, that I have never tried a recipe from. I discovered this pie in a book of Gordon Ramsay, and I thought why not, I am going to bake that, after all it's been such a long time that I have cooked, or even baked something out of a cookbook. So in kind of nostalgic mood I sat down and started to pit the cherries. It is a fact, that a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream was definitely missing to be served with the pie, so I am going to bake this pie again, at least as long as the real cherries are not available.

125 g butter, room temperature
90 sugar
1 egg
250 g flour
1-3 tablespoons cold water, if necessary
1 egg for glazing
1000 g cherry, pitted
100 g vanilla sugar
3 taplespoons cornstarch
25 g butter

Whiz butter and sugar until well combined, whiz in the egg, then add the flour and knead a dough. Let it rest for half an hour in the fridge. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Roll out 2/3 of the dough and line a 23 cm deep pie dish, then chill for another 20 minutes. For the filling toss the cherries with the sugar and the cornstarch. Pour cherries onto the pie bottom, dot butter over the filling, then cover it with the remaining pastry: simply roll out the rest of the dough and cut in stripes. Brush with egg glaze bake for 10 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to
160°C and bake for another 30-40 minutes.

June 1, 2011

White Tomato Risotto

Meanwhile it's been raining for two days and it is really cold outside, so it was time to cook something soul-warming. Though these gorgeous and fragant tomatoes come from a greenhouse, but they were grown local by my greengrocer and as I am such a tomato freak I could not get home without a big bowl of tomatoes. We still have to wait quite a while for the first local free land tomatoes, but these are almost just as delicious like those. First I planned to make the risotto with goat cream cheese, but then I just could not resist the smell of the parmesan. I cooked a portion of fresh white tomato consommé and so I had a beautifully fragant and intense tomato stock ready for the risotto.

250 g risotto rice (e.g. carnaroli)1 shallot
1 teaspoon olive oil
100 ml white wine
500 ml white tomato stock

50 g freshly grated parmesan
50 g butter
oven dried tomatoes
roasted pine nuts

salt, pepper

Heat olive oil, add chopped shallot and rice. Mix until rice is well covered with oil. In a separate large saucepan bring the bouillon to simmer, and keep it hot. Add wine, increase heat to medium, and stir constantly. When the wine has been absorbed, add a little of the hot tomato stock. Add salt and pepper. Once the stock is absorbed, add a little more; repeat this process, stirring constantly, until the rice is cooked through. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the butter and parmesan melt, stir in oven dried tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper. Let it stand covered for a few minutes. Stir in fresh basil and sprinkle with roasted pine nuts right before serving.
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