Sunday, 26 July 2015

Grandma is in the town and a cake to celebrate the happy occasion

All parents out there, whose parents are not living next door, do appreciate an occasional visit from their parents, as this is their possibility to do something for themselves. 

My mom is visiting us for the next two weeks and this means that my husband and I are going to have some time off....time off of the parenting hood. For the next two weeks Pablo is going to be the responsibility of my mom. I know how it sounds, but I think you all know what I mean. 

Pablo loves his granny a lot and does appreciate her visits too. He also is going to have a time off of our parenting hood, as with granny live seems much more relaxed. She would never say no, she will support him in everything he is doing and she will do everything what needs to be done to make him laugh, How can a child not love that?!?

To welcome my mom at our place, I made a chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting, with a "beach vacation" theme. After all it is going to be her vacation.....



 Chocolate cake (for 15 cm baking form)

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 100 g butter (softened)
  • 3/4 sugar (brown)
  • 2 eggs
  • 50 g melted chocolate (dark)
  • 1/2 cup milk
Preheat the oven to 180 C. In a smaller bowl sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. In a bigger bowl mix butter and sugar, till light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at the time, and mix well. Melt the chocolate and add it to the butter-egg mixture, combine everything together. Add milk and flour,alternately, ending with the flour...mix well till you will get a smooth and shiny batter. Pour the batter into the baking dish (all at once or divide between 2). Bake for 35-40 minutes (if all at once) or 20-25 minutes..make the stick test. Let it cool completely on a cooling rack before frosting the cake.

Cream cheese frosting
  • 100 g butter (softened)
  • 100 g powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 250 g cream cheese (Philadelphia cheese)
Mix the butter and powdered sugar, till light and fluffy. Add vanilla and the cream cheese and mix till all is good incorporated.

I put some fresh blueberries in between the layers, any kind of fresh berries are good to go with this cake. Put a generous amount of frosting and cover it with the berries, then place another cake layer and frost the rest of the cake.

To create an ombrelook on the cake, I used some blue food colouring. Cover half of the cake with a darker blue frosting, and the rest with the lighter one. The easiest way would be to use a piping bag and pipe the frosting as needed, put the spatula 90 grad up, close to the cake and spin the cake around, while holding the spatula right up. Decorate as you like...I used crashed cookies to make sand, black fondant for fishes and towel and a cocktail umbrella for the beach umbrella.





Enjoy!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

A lighter version of churros con chocolate

Churros con chocalate, something you will see and hear all around living in Spain.

I have to admit, although being excited about new dishes and recipes I never tried to make churros myself so far. This is not because I do not like this Spanish delicacy, but mostly because I am unable to deep fry food. I am simple not capable to get the right temperature of the oil and somehow always end up with burned things. Oven on the other hand is the perfect kitchen tool for me, when it comes to food...not only for the cakes and muffins, but almost for everything. And so being a big fan of the oven, I did my very first baked churros con chocolate after living some years in Spain.

The outcome was delicious. My boys loved it soo much, especially the fact that they were allowed to eat it with their hands (usually I will force them to use a dessert plate and dessert fork or spoon, when we are heaving dessert)....


Churros

  • 100 ml water
  • 80 g butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 150 g flour
  • 3 eggs


Preheat the oven to 180 C. Pour the water in a pot, add butter, sugar and salt and let it cook for some minutes, till butter is melted and sugar dissolved. Reduce the heat to medium and add the flour, steer well till all the flour is incorporated. You will get quite a firm dough. Take the pot from the heat let it cool for couple of minutes and then add the eggs, one at the time. The dough will separate at the beginning, don´t give up and steer till all the eggs are well combined and you will get a firm silky dough. Fill the dough into a piping bag and pipe evenly long dough stripes. Sprinkle the stripes with some water and bake for 20 minutes, till golden brown. Coat the churros with sugar coating as long they are hot.

Sugar coating
  • sugar
  • cinnamon or vanilla
  • pinch of salt
Put everything in a zipper plastic bag and shake it till all well combined. Throw in 3-4 churros at the time and shake the bag till they all are well coated. Take them out and place it on a cooling rack for some minutes



Chocolate sauce

  • 150 ml milk
  • 150 g chocolate (dark, or mixed with milk chocolate)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of cornstarch
In a pot, heat up the milk. As soon as the milk starts to simmer add the chocolate and let it melt slowly, add the salt. Dissolve the cornstarch with some cold water and add it to the hot chocolate, steer well, till the mixture starts to thicken. Take it of from heat and serve it to the churros



I personally love them because they are not as heavy as the original churros deep fried in oil, but still sooo delicious and I feel just "half" guilty to have them for dessert.

Craft your very own (personalised) paper cone / bag and surprise your friends with an exceptional snack next time your are visiting them.
Serve some fruits (cut in chunks) along with the churros and chocolate sauce, which can be dipped in the hot chocolate too....watermelon, apples, pears, pineapple... and your guest will be delighted!!!

Enjoy!

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Hot days, cool drinks and homemade icecream

Last days were bit stressfull and very very hot. The heat wave seems to be all over the Europe and I personally feel that Spain is impacted the most. I love sun and summer, we are having our fun at the beach and do appriciate the fact of living here.....however in the last couple of days I started to wonder how would it be to live in Alaska....I guess the heat is slowly getting to me.

To overcome the heat and to pamper ourselfs with something nice, without using the oven, I needed to get a bit more creative. And so it came that in the last couple of days we are having something light and fresh for dinner, cool driks to get relaxed and homemade icecream for dessert....


Apricot Bellini cocktail

  • 4-5 fresh apricots
  • 1/5 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Cava cold
In a blender blitz the apricots with the sugar and press the puree through a fine sieve. Put 1-2 tablespoons of the apricot puree in a champagne glass and fill it with Cava...steer briefly.


Tomato-Avocado crostini

  • baguette bread
  • tomatoes
  • avocado
  • lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • salt, pepper
  • black sesame seeds
Cut the baguette and sprinkle it with a bit of olive oil. Toast it (oven or pan). Cut the avocado and tomatoes in small cubes, sprinkle some lemon juice over it. Have a generous splash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar over it, season well with salt and pepper. In a pan roast 1 tablespoon of black sesame.
Put couple of tablespoons of avocado-tomato mix on the top of the toasted baguette, sprinkle with some sesame seeds and serve.



Cherry ice cream

  • 300 ml heavy cream cold
  • 150 ml sweetened condensed milk cold (I use the light version)
  • 2-3 handful of cherries
Blend the cherries in a blender and set aside. Whisk the cream till soft peaks start to form. Add sweetened condensed milk and mix again, till everything is well combined and fluffy. Add the cherry puree and steer briefly. Pour the mixture either into an ice cream machine or into a freezing container and freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight.


Enjoy!

Sunday, 5 July 2015

A cake for Sunday....nectarines bundt cake

Today a quick and fruity cake, perfect for Sunday afternoon tea or coffee.

The cake was a spontaneous creation of too much yogurt in our refrigerator, some nectarines and limes left overs. All the ingredients I like, so I was thinking why not put them all together and see what will come out. The outcome was perfect, the cake is moist but light in taste in the same time. Not too sweet and very fruity. The preparation was easy as always and I found the cake quite light....if you can call a cake light of course....




Nectarines bundt cake
  • 2-3 nectarines
  • 200 g butter (softened)
  • 150 g sugar
  • vanilla sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 lime (zest and juice)
  • 5-6  tablespoons Greek yogurt 
  • 300 g flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
Preheat the oven 180 C and grease a bundt cake form. Wash the nectarines and cut them in small cubes, set aside. In a bowl mix together softened butter, sugar and vanilla sugar till light in colour and fluffy. Add eggs, one at the time mix in between, add the yogurt and mix everything good together, Wash the lime, take the zest and squeeze the juice out, add it to the butter-egg mixture, combine well. Finally add the sifted flour and baking powder, mix well till everything is well combined and you are having a smooth and silky batter. Gently steer in the nectarines. Pour in the batter into the baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes till golden brown (make the stick test). Take it out of the oven, let it cool on a cooling rack for 15-20 minutes, then carefully take it out of the form. Decorate it with powdered sugar or sugar glaze (powdered sugar and lime juice). 




There was quite an amount of batter...so I divided it between 2 bundt forms, a standard one and a small one. Always good to have something extra to share with friends or neighbors...




Enjoy!




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