Thursday, June 28, 2007

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake ( one 9-inch/23-cm cake)

Eggs - 6
Sugar - 180 g
Salt - 2.5 g (a pinch)
Lemon juice - 25 g
Rum - 25 g (or more)
Vanilla - 2.5 g
Ground carrots - 375 g
Bread flour - 50 g
Baking powder - 7.5 g
Cinnamon - 5 g
Bread crumbs - 100 g
Ground almonds - 150 g

- Place the eggs, sugar, and salt into a mixing bowl and heat over a water bath to blood temperature until the sugar is dissolved. Stir constantly, so that eggs won't curdle.
- Whip the eggs on high speed for about 10 minutes until firm peeks.
- Add the lemon juice, run, and vanilla to the egg mixture and mix just until blended.
- Fold in the ground carrots to the above mix by hand
- Sift the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon together. Add the bread crumbs and ground almonds. Mix.
- Gently fold the dry ingredients to the egg mixture just until blended.
- Butter and line a baking pan with a parchment paper.
- Pour the batter into a baking pan.
- Bake at 350F for about 45-60 (depending on the oven) minutes until the cake springs back when touched.
- Let the cake cool slightly then remove from the pan


Cream cheese at room temperature - 250 g
Icing sugar - 100 g
Lemon juice - 25 g
Whipping cream 35% - 250 ml
- Whip the cream to medium-hard peaks.
- Place the cream cheese in a separate bowl and mix it for a few minutes on medium speed until there are no lumps.
- Sift the icing sugar and add it to the cream cheese. Mix just until blended. Scrape the bowl.
- Add the lemon juice to the cream cheese and mix until incorporated.
- Add 1/3 of the whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture and mix until incorporated.
- Continue adding the rest of the whipped cream in stages and mix after each addition just until blended.

Cake Assembly

- Cut a completely cooled cake horizontally into 2 or 3 layers.
- Place the bottom one on a cake board and cover the top with a thin layer of icing.
- Place the second layer on top of the icing and cover it with more icing. (Repeat with the third layer if cake is cut into three)
- Mask the cake with cream cheese Icing and decorate with Marzipan carrots (lightly dusted in cocoa powder to simulate dirt)

- This cake has no oil or butter, but the bread crumbs come from my Brioche bread with some butter in it.
- The taste is very well balanced and it's one of the best cakes I've ever tasted!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Amaretti Cookies

Egg whites - 2
Sugar - 1/3 + 1/3 cup less a couple of teaspoons
Almond extract - 2 teaspoons
Flour - 1 tablespoon
Cornstarch - 1 tablespoon
Ground almonds - 1 cup (90g)

- Preheat the oven to 160C, line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Whip the egg whites to hard peaks slowly adding 1/3 cup of sugar.
- Sift the flour and cornstarch, add the other 1/3 cup of sugar and ground almonds, mix.
- Add almond extract to the whipped egg whites and fold it in.
- Add the dry ingredients to the egg whites and slowly fold them in with a rubber spatula. Do not overmix.
- Put the egg whites into a piping bag fitted with a round nozle.
- Pipe small rounds onto a baking tray.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the cookies cool in the oven.

- I usually put a little bit less sugar, only a few teaspoons less.
- I whip the egg whites with a dash of cream of tartar.
- If you leave the cookies to cool in the oven, they'll be very crisp, but if you take the cookies out, then they'll be nice and chewy. I like them both ways!!!

Grapefruit Banana Smoothie

Freshly squeezed grapefruit juice - 1 and 1/2 cups (1.5 grapefruits)
Strawberries, cut in half and tops removed - just over 1 cup
Ripe bananas - 2
Icing sugar - 1 or 2 teaspoons, to taste, depending on how sour the grapefruits are

- Put the grapefruit juice, strawberries, and bananas into a blender and process until smooth.
- Check the sweetness and add 1 or 2 teaspoons of icing sugar, pulse for 30 seconds.
- Chill and serve

Guacamole Salad

Adapted from "Barefoot Contessa at Home" by Ina Garten

For 2 dinner portions

Grape heirloom tomatoes, halved - 225 g
Orange pepper, seeded and 1-cm diced - 1/2
Canned black beans, rinsed and drained - 220g/ half a can
Red onion, diced - 1/4 of a medium onion
Small red chilli peppers, seeded and minced - 3
Cillantro, roughly chopped - 3-4 tablespoons
Lemon zest - half a lemon
Lemon juice - 1 lemon or less to taste
Olive oil - 2-3 tablespoons
Salt, pepper to taste
Avocado, seeded and 1.5-cmdiced - 2

- Place the tomatoes, orange pepper, beans, red onion, chillies, cillantro, and lemon zest into a large bowl.
- Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and pour over the vegetables. Toss well.
- Just before serving, fold the avocados into the salad.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Herbed Goat Cheese Sandwiches

Adapted from "Barefoot Contessa Parties" by Ina Garten
Green onion cream cheese at room temperature - 125 g
Mild goat cheese at room temperature - 175 g
Minced garlic - 2 small cloves
Minced fresh parsley - 2 tablespoons
Milk - 3-4 tablespoons
Salt, pepper to taste

Half Brioche Loaf
Cucumber - a few slices

For the spread
- place the cream cheese, goat cheese, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper in a bowl and mix.
- add a few tablespoons of milk to get the spread to the right consistency.

For the sandwiches
- spread each slice of bread with the goat cheese spread
- slice the cucumber in thin rounds and arrange on half the bread slices
- top with the remaining bread
- cut the sandwiches


- I didn't measure any of the ingredients for the spread, just put everything to taste, it turned out very good.
- Cucumber is a really nice touch because it cools the pungency of the spread.

Brioche Loaves

Adapted from "Barefoot in Paris" by Ina Garten

Unfortunately, pictures didn't turn out well at all...

Warm water - 1/2 cup
Dried yeast - 7 g
Sugar - 5 tablespoons
Eggs - 6 large at room temperature
Bread flour - 5 cups
Salt - 2 teaspoons
Unsalted butter at room temperature - 226g (2 sticks)
Milk - 2 tablespoons for glazing

- Combine the water, yeast, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; let stand for 5 minutes.
- Add the eggs and beat on medium speed for 1 minute, until mixed.
- With the mixer on low speed, add 2 cups of the flour and the salt and mix for 5 minutes.
- With the mixer still on low, add 2 more cups of flour and mix for another 5 minutes.
- Still on low speed, add the soft butter in chunks and mix for 2 minutes.
- With the mixer still running, add another cup of flour.
Switch the paddle attachment to a dough hook and mix on low speed for 2 minutes.
- Scrape the dough into a large buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, bring the dough to room temperature.
- Grease two 22x12 cm loaf pans.
- Turn the dough onto a floured surface and cut in half.
- Pat each portion into a 15x20 cm rectangle, then roll them into a loaf.
- Place each, loaf seam side down, into a greased pan, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Brush the loaves with milk and bake for 45-50 minutes.

- I know how to bake breads. I baked a lot of breads in the last year. I know how the bread dough looks, feels, behaves... This one was the strangest bread dough that I've ever seen and I've never heard of anything like this. It didn't look (or felt) like a regular bread dough. It was very very soft. The recipe called for 4+1/4 cups of flour, but after that amount it was... almost liquid. So I added another 3/4 of a cup of flour. The next day the dough felt like a playdough, it didn't spring back when touched.
- The loaves turned out to be very good. Make sure that you butter the pans well, otherwise it will stick!!! (I learned the hard way)
- I am not sure if I make it again, too much butter and eggs, but it tasted very well, especially toasted!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Cherry Brownies

For 9-inch (23cm) square form

Semisweet chocolate, chopped - 200 g
Unsalted butter - 125 g
Dash of salt
Sugar - 200 g
Rum - 3 teaspoons
Eggs - 4
Flour - 1 1/2 cups
Frozen pitted cherries - 2 cups

- Preheat the oven to 330F
- Line the baking dish with parchment paper
- In a double boiler melt the chocolate and butter, let cool a little bit
- Add the sugar and salt to the chocolate, mix
- Add the eggs, rum and mix well
- Add the flour and mix just until combined
- Add the cherries

- Bake for 45-60 minutes. When tested with a cake tester, it should have a few crumbs.
- Let cool for 15 minutes and remove from the dish

- I added 1/4 teaspoon of Natural Cherry Flavour

California BLT

Adapted from "Barefoot Contessa at Home" by Ina Garten

For two sandwiches

Bacon - 4 slices
Dark Rye bred - 4 slices
Mayonnaise - 2 tablespoons
Mixed greens - to taste
Avocado - 1
Lemon juice
Tomato - 1
Salt, pepper to taste

- Toast the bread slices
- Grill the bacon slices until they are crispy
- Slice the avocado and drizzle with some lemon juice
- Slice the tomato
- Spread half a tablespoon of mayo on each slice of bread
- Cover two bread slices with mixed greens, layer with 2 pieces of bacon, tomato and avocado, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with the other bread slices, mayo side down.

Malted Grain Bread

Adapted from "The BIG Book of Bread" by Anne Sheasby

Whole Grain flour - 1 1/4 cups
Rye flour - 3/4 cups
Bread flour - 1/2 cup
Salt - 1 teaspoon
Brown sugar - 1 teaspoon
Molasses - 1/2 teaspoon
Malt - 1/2 tablespoon
Butter, diced - 1 tablespoon
Dried yeast - 1 teaspoon
Warm milk - 1/3 cup
Warm water - 1/2+ cup

- Mix the water, milk, yeast, molasses, malt and sugar in a mixing bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes.

- Slowly add the flours and mix to form a soft dough. Kneed the dough for 15-20 minutes until smooth and elastic.
- Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1.5-2 hours, until doubled in size.
- Shape the dough into a round loaf, place on a baking sheet, covered with parchment paper, cover with dish towel and let rise for another 30 minutes, or until doubled in size. Make a cut on the top.
- Preheat the oven to 230C/450F/ Bake the loaf for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 200C/400F and bake for another 15-20 minutes.


Bread flour - 500 g
Dried yeast - 7 g
Malt - 1/4 teaspoon
Sugar - 2 tablespoons
Salt - 4 teaspoons
Warm water - 350-400 ml
Oil - 2-3 tablespoons

- In a mixing bowl, combine water, yeast, sugar and malt. Let stand for 5 minutes.
- Slowly add the flour and mix into a soft dough.
- Add the salt and oil, kneed for 15 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Put the dough into an oild bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for about 1.5-2 hours, until the dough double in size.

- Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a flat disk, cover with dish towel and let stand for another 30-40 minutes.

- Brush the breads with water and put into a very hot oven (220C/425F) for 20 minutes.


Adapted from "Pure Chocolate" by Fran Bigelow

Semisweet chocolate, finely chopped - 170 g
Oranges - 2, preferably large navels with dark, rough-textured skin
Unsalted butter, room temperature - 1 1/2 sticks ( 12 tablespoons, 170 g)
Sugar - 1 cup
Eggs, room temperature - 4 large
Ground almonds - 1 2/3 cups

- Preheat the oven to 300F (150C)
- Butter a 9-inch (23 cm) cake pan and line with parchment paper
- In a double boiler melt the chocolate over low heat
- Wash the oranges and zest them directly in the mixing bowl, so that all the fragrant orange oils are captured
- Add the butter and sugar to the orange zest. Beat with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light in colour, 3-5 minutes. Scrape.
- With the mixer on medium-high speed, begin adding the eggs slowly, one at a time. Continue beating until well mixed, about 3 minutes.
- Using a rubber spatula, fold in the ground almonds. Then fold in the melted chocolate. Evenly spread the batter in the prepared pan.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, until puffed and domed in the center with a slight fracture 2-3 cm from the rim. A cake tester inserted in the center will have a few moist crumbs.

- As I mentioned, it might be my oven, but it was completely liquid after more than an hour. I had to increase the oven temperature to 180C and test the cake every 10 minutes until it reached the right texture.
- I also didn't use any orange zest, but I used Pure Orange Oil instead. I added about 2 tablespoons, which turned out too much, one would suffice.
- Other than that, it is a very easy and tasty cake!!

Lemon Lentil Soup

Red lentils - 100 g
Olive oil - 1-2 tablespoons
Garlic - 3 cloves
Chicken (or vegetable) stock - 1 liter
Lemon juice - to taste
Salt, pepper

- Wash the lentils
- Heat some olive oil in a pot, saute the lentils with minced garlic for about 3-5 minutes
- Add the stock and simmer for 10 minutes until lentils are cooked
- Squeeze some lemon juice into the soup and serve

Wheat Tortillas

Adapted from "The BIG Book of Bread" by Anne Sheasby

All-purpose flour - 1 1/2 cups
Salt - 1 teaspoon
Baking powder - 1 teaspoon
Softened butter - 3 tablespoons
Warm water - about 2/3 cup

- Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder into a large bowl, then lightly rub in the butter. Make a well in the center, then add enough water to form a soft dough. Knead the dough lightly in the bowl, then cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll out each portion on a lightly floured worktop to form a 6-7 inch round. Cover to keep moist.
- Heat a griddle or large, heavy-nased skillet until hot, then add one tortilla and cook for 1 1/2-2 minutes, or until surface starts to bubble and the the underside is speckled brown. Turn the tortilla over and brown the other side - it should stay flexible.
- Remove the tortilla from the pan and wrap in a clean dish towel to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, stacking the cooked tortillas as you go. Serve warm.
- To re-heat tortillas, wrap them in foil and place in a preheated oven at 180C/350F for about 5 minutes

- I didn't do the first step by hand, but used my KitchenAid mixer. First, I used a Paddle to rub in the butter and then I switched to a Hook to make the dough.
- As I mentioned, I couldn't make those perfect rounds, but they still tasted amazing!!!


Flat Breads

Wheat Tortillas


Malted Grain Bread
Brioche Loaves
Baguettes - Épi de Blé
Multigrain Harvest Loaf


California BLT
Herbed Boat Cheese Sandwiches


Lemon Lentil Soup
My Gazpacho
Fresh Sweet Corn and Potato Chowder


Guacamole Salad
Avocado and Grapefruit Salad


Filo Triangles


Freshly-Salted Cucumbers


Chicken Gizzards and Hearts a la Stroganoff

Shrimp in Chocolate Sauce
Fish baked with Tomatoes in Cheese Sauce

Chocolate Ricotta Ravioli with Garlic Sauce

Broccoli with Cheese Sauce

Maple-Roasted Bacon


Carrot Cake
Banana Bread
Ricotta Bagels
Chocolate Decadent Cake


Strawberry Meringue Pie


Cherry Brownies


Amaretti Cookies
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ice Creams

Chocolate Ice Cream


Rum Balls


Grapefruit Banana Smoothie