Monday, 17 April 2017

French Madeleines

I never know when french madeleines are supposed to be eaten... for breakfast, for afternoon tea or for dessert. But what I know for sure is, that those small little heavenly tasting cute looking sponge cakes are one of the favorites in our house. I love the original recipe, done with orange blossom water, but do experiment with different flavors and ingredients to add some variety. There are many reasons to fall in love with madeleines, mines are the delicate taste and cute shell-like form. They can be served to tea or coffee and been eaten, if you ask me, at any time of the day. They are perfect to wow your guests or bring along to a dinner party invitation. 

Today orange blossom madeleines recipe, half of which were dipped in chocolate, as I was not sure if we would like to have them for the afternoon tea or for breakfast. Finally we ended up to have them throughout the day, according to my son it was a perfect way to start and end the day. My mom and I enjoyed them with a big cup of green tea after a long walk through the woods and my husband had them with some coffee for dessert. 
I think they are relatively easy to make, you only need to invest in a madeleine baking form, some orange blossom water and some time to let the batter chill in the refrigerator. Actually you can do the batter a day before and let it over night... I never manage to do so, as we cannot wait to have them as soon as possible. Sometimes I bake them straightaway, but do admit that after some chilling time they do taste better.

French Madeleines
  • 120 g sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 150 flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 120 melted butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons orange blossom water
  • orange zest
  • some dark chocolate
  • chopped pistachio 
In a bowl beat together sugar, eggs and honey, till double in size. Sift in flour, baking powder and salt, mix till all well combined. Pour in the butter and incorporate it with a spatula. Add orange blossom water and orange zest and give it another whisk. Let the batter chill for some hours in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 180C and grease the madeleine baking form. Pour in the batter (3/4 full) and bake for about 10-12 minutes. Take the form out and let it cool for couple of minutes on the cooling rack, before taking the madeleines out.
Melt the chocolate,  dip one end of the madeleine into it and sprinkle with some chopped pistachios.

Enjoy!

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Happy Easter holidays

Spain is spoiling us with most beautiful weather for Easter holidays. It is so good to have some days off from work, doing nothing but spoiling ourselves with some nice treats for Easter, spending lots of time outside at the sun, sleeping in and having brunch instead of breakfast. 

We are going bit more casual for Easter this year... with some family favorites and plenty of boiled colored eggs. I tired a new technique to color the eggs (well at least new to me) leaving aside all the stuff you can buy in the shops to make the eggs look spectacular. Instead I used some food coloring and the result was as spectacular... The only things you would need is a plastic bag, handful of rice and liquid food coloring. Boil the eggs, put the rice into the bag, add some drops of food coloring and the egg. Then shake, shake and shake again... The longer you shake the more colorful your egg will turn out.


One of our family favorites is my lemon poppy seeds cake, to me a perfect cake for Easter holidays. It is fresh, delicate and special, very spring like. I usually do this cake in a bundt cake form and having it decorated with some colorful sugar sprinkles makes it a perfect fit for Easter brunch or picnic.

Lemon poppy-seeds cake
  • 3 eggs
  • 180 g sugar
  • 120 g melted butter
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 180 g flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons poppy seeds
Preheat the oven to 180C and grease the bundt cake form. Whisk the eggs and the sugar. Add the butter, lemon zest and half of the lemon juice, give it another whisk. Sift in flour, baking powder and salt, mix till all well combined. Fold in the poppy seeds. Pour the batter into the baking form and bake for about 35-45 minutes. Make the wooden stick test.
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 2-3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • remaining lemon juice
Mix all the ingredients together, till all well combined and frost the cake. Sprinkle some sugar sprinkles over the top.

Check HERE for home made bread recipe.




I wish you all a Happy Easter!

Enjoy!

Sunday, 2 April 2017

40th Birthday and Lisbon

Birthdays are cool, but some might be a little bit scary.... My 40th made me a bit fuzzy for the last couple of month. I was not sure if I shall looking forward to it or be rather scared. Finally it turned out to be a wonderful birthday, not scary at all...

My husband took the three of us to Lisbon and we spend a wonderful long weekend enjoying ourselves in this beautiful city. It was the first time for us visiting Lisbon and we just loved it. The food was amazing, people very friendly and open and the old charm of the buildings has something special to it. Lisbon is bit different from what we have seen so far, some people would call Lisbon "old town" and I think I understand why, but to me it was one of the charming thing about it... the old tram, which is still driving through the city and all these magnificent tiles covered buildings.  

What really is very noticeable in Lisbon or probably in whole Portugal is that people love food, good food, which obviously made our small foodie family very happy. 

My husband planned the birthday dinner Bairro do Avillez, one of the restaurants from Jose Avillez, who is a famous Portuguese chef, with several restaurants in Lisbon and two Michelin stars. I am not able to describe in words the experience we had... the exceptional food was just one part of the whole "wow" effect. The ambiente, the service, the open kitchen where at least 13 chefs were doing their magic and then the bar tender... I never saw someone putting so much passion to create a cocktail. Every small details was covered and it was such a joy to see someone loving to do what he was doing. The cocktails by the way, were to die for. 

Today I am not going to share any recipes with you, only some nice memories of a great weekend in Lisbon and of course some inspiration...either for your next weekend getaway or birthday celebration, your next cocktails party or for a starter plate with some cheese, ham, olives and corn bread....which we have had in Bairro do Avillez with a glass of rose as a starter. So simple and yet so so delicious. F

















Enjoy!
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