SIGN UP FOR MORE YUMMINESS
Sep
27
2012

A Farewell to Summer

Autumn is here.

September is almost over and, while Summer is still lingering in Nicosia, some trees have started to lose their leaves, and, early in the mornings and when the sun sets at night,  the air is fresh and a lovely, cool breeze signals the beginning of the new season.

I am, normally, an autumn-winter person. I thrive in cold weather, I love snow and even rain,  and I have a hard time putting up with high temperatures. I have always looked forward to seeing the first yellow leaves appear in the trees, to getting  cardigans and sweaters out of storage and to knowing that delicious apples and pears were going to fill the market stalls soon.  But this year, something changed and it wasn’t my love for cold weather, which remains intact.

This year, perhaps for the first time, I also embraced Summer.

It may have been the fact that, for the past 7 years, I have been living in countries with warmer weather climates (first in Ivory Coast, and now in Cyprus),  or it may have been the fact that this was the first year that Luka and Zoe went to school, so August felt like vacations and not just like “another hot month”. Or maybe it was because we didn’t travel and, as a consequence, we got to explore Nicosia and other parts of the island with fresh eyes, or perhaps because  after a hard first half of the year (2012 has been a rough one so far), we now take every single opportunity to connect, cherish our family, and celebrate.

For whatever reason, this past Summer we slowed down, we unplugged from all the media paraphernalia, we looked around us and we made it a point to be present, to be mindful, and to take advantage of what we have, of where we live, of who we are. We wanted to make this a fun-filled summer, so I turned to Pinterest for inspiration. I had been collecting ideas  for a while, and in August we put them to good use.

We wanted to have as much contact with nature as possible, so, at home, we planted spices to season our food. We also explored different parks and playgrounds daily, and took nature observation walks in the early hours of the morning, and then came back home to combat the heat in the paddling pool set up in the balcony. When it was too hot to get outside, we stayed indoors and spent our time doing arts and crafts.  We played with clay and play-dough. We did collages and paper mobiles and hang them from the windows to twist and turn with the afternoon breeze.

We made Toilet Tube cars, filled the house with balloons for no reason at all, glued a paper hospcotch to the floor and spent days jumping on it. We made a felt board for telling stories and singing rhymes.

We read a lot, old and newly- discovered  books, and we filled the ipod with readalong versions of our favourite stories.

We brought books to life, with a little imagination. We made lots and lots of origami boats and made them race in the paddling pool with the power of our lungs. We made origami airplanes and spent entire afternoons making them fly all around the house.

And Zoe wrote her name alone for the very first time!

 

On weekends, we took day trips around the island. We visited the Protaras Aquarium, where we saw octopus, sharks, upside-down fish, penguins, pacus and many other species. We visited the Limassol Zoo, where we saw owls, monkeys, birds and even deers. We visited the Troodos Mountains and had lunch at a lovely, shaded restaurant, next to the calming sound of a stream of water where little geese and ducks were bathing.

We spent a weekend at a hotel, by the beach, and it was wonderful. We bathed and sunbathed, we  played and relaxed. We saw beautiful sunsets, and the most amazing dawns from our balcony, and it all felt as carefree, peaceful and joyful as Summer should.

We celebrated Luka and Zoe’s birthday with not one, not two, but three cakes (each!). Yes, that’s right: one mini cake made from stacked cupcakes for the day of their birthday, one cake for each of them for a mini party at home (pictures in the next post!), and one cake for each to bring to school, to celebrate with their friends and classmates (these are cakes pictured below. Plain and simple on the outside, but with a surprise on the inside: They were rainbow cakes!).

We didn’t bake much, because it was too hot to turn the oven on…but we made ice cream! And plenty of it!

At the beginning of August, we bought the KitchenAid’s ice cream attachment and began experimenting with flavours.  I turned to the internet for recipes and I was not disappointed. We made David Lebovitz’ s vanilla bean ice cream (which is AMAZING), and chocolate ice cream, the famous one ingredient banana ice cream from The Kitchn (a wonderful guilt free treat!) , and an absolutely delicious vegan coconut chocolate ice cream.  We also made Food and Cook’s chocolate popsicles  and  her yogurt and raspberries popsicles. My advice: try them all! And if you don’t have an ice cream maker,  worry not, the recipes can be adapted (just let me know in the comments if you have any doubts about how to do it).

We enjoyed this Summer as Summers are meant to be enjoyed: fully. And now, as the last bits of ice cream disappear from our freezer,  the weather slowly starts to get chillier and we start thinking about adding blankets to our beds, we are ready to fully embrace the colder days of Autumn.

I hope you all had a lovely Summer, or a cozy winter, depending on where you live, and I hope that you are all ready for the next season.

Have a wonderful week!

 

El otoño está aquí.

Septiembre casi llega a su fin y, aún cuando el verano aún se resiste a irse de Nicosia, algunos árboles ya han comenzado a perder sus hojas y, temprano por la mañana y al ponerse el sol, el aire ya está fresco y una adorable brisa señala el comienzo de la nueva estación.

Yo soy, en geneal, una persona otoñal. Me siento mejor en climas fríos, amo la nieve, y hasta la lluvia, y me cuesta terriblemente tolerar las altas temperaturas. Desde chica esperaba con ansias ver las primeras hojas amarillas aparecer en los árboles, el momento de sacar cardigans y sweaters de los baules y colocarlos en los placares (closets) y, sobre todo, ese saber que las manzanas y peras más deliciosas pronto llenarían los estantes de las fruterías. Pero este ano, algo cambió, y no fue mi amor por el frío, que sigue fuerte e intacto.

Este año,por primera vez, me entregué al verano, y lo aproveché sin desear que terminara.

Quizás haya sido porque hace siete años que vivo en climas cálidos (Costa de Marfil, primero, y ahora Chipre), quizás haya sido porque este fue el primer año que Luka y Zoe fueron a la escuela, entonces Agosto se transformó en sinónimo de vacaciones, y no tan sólo de otro mes caluroso. O quizás haya sido porque, como no salimos de viaje, aprovechamos al máximo la ciudad en que vivimos y exploramos la isla con nuevos ojos. O tal vez haya sido que, luego de una primera mitad del año complicada (2012 viene siendo un año duro), aprovechamos cada pequeña oportunidad para conectar, disfrutar de nuestra familia, y celebrar que estamos juntos.

Por el motivo que fuere, este verano que acaba de pasar decidimos desacelerar, desconectarnos de la parafernalia mediatica, mirar a nuestro alrededor y asegurarnos de estar presentes en nuestro aquí y ahora, de vivir concientemente, y disfrutar de aquello que tenemos, del lugar donde vivimos, y de todo lo que somos. Quisimos que este fuera un verano divertido, alegre, así que aprovechamos para poner en práctica todas las ideas que había estado recolectando en Pinterest desde hacía un tiempo.

Una de las cosas que queríamos era tener tanto contacto con la naturaleza como fuera posible, así que plantamos plantas aromáticas en el balcón y nos aseguramos de explorar distintos parques todos los días, y de hacer caminatas de observación de la naturaleza, todos los días, temprano por la mañana. Cuando el calor comenzaba a arreciar, volviamos a casa, disfrutabamos de la pileta plástica que colocamos en el balcón y, si se tornaba insoportable, entrábamos a casa a hacer arte y manualidades. Así pasamos las siestas jugando con plastilina y masilla, hicimos collages y móviles de papel que colgamos de la ventana para que la brisa de la tarde los hiciera volar y dar volteretas. Construimos autitos con tubos de papel higienico, llenamos la casa de globos por que sí, pegamos rayuelas en el piso y pasamos tardes enteras saltando en ellas. Creamos un cuadro de felpa y contamos historias y canciones con sus personajes.

Leimos mucho, libros viejos y nuevos, y llenamos el ipod de audio libros de nuestras historias favoritas y, con un poco de imaginación, dimos vida a nuestros libros. Hicimos barquitos de papel y los hicimos correr carreras con la fuerza de  nuestros pulmones. Hicimos avioncitos de papel y pasamos tardes enteras haciendolos volar por toda la casa.¡ Y Zoe escribió su nombre por primera vez!

Durante los fines de semana, nos dedicamos a explorar la isla en viajecitos de un día. Visitamos el acuario de Protaras, donde vimos pulpos,tiburones, pinguinos, peces invertidos y pacus, entre otras especies. Fuimos al Zoológico de Limasol, donde vimos buhos, monos, pájaros diversos y hasta alces. Subimos a las montañas Troodos y almorzamos en un restaurant precioso, bajo las copas de los arboles, y delimitado por una corriente de agua fresca en la que se bañaban, contentos, patitos y gansos.

Pasamos un fin de semana en un hotel frente al mar, y fue maravilloso. Nos bañamos en la pileta (piscina), tomamos sol, jugamos y nos relajamos. Vimos atardeceres hermosos y amaneceres de ensueño, desde la calma de nuestro balcón y todo hizo que nos sintieramos tan tranquilos, relajados y felices como todos deberian poder sentirse en verano.

Celebramos el cumpleaños de Luka y Zoe con no una, no dos, sino tres tortas ¡cada uno!. Si, como lo leen: una mini torta de cupcakes el día de su cumple, una torta cada uno para la mini fiesta que hicimos en casa (fotos en el proximo post!) y una torta cada uno para llevar a la escuela, y así soplar las velitas con sus amigos y compañeros (estas son las tortas de la foto, que son muy simples y sencillas por fuera, pero con sorpresa adentro: son la famosa torta arco iris!)

No hicimos tortas ni cupcakes ni esas cosas que requieren horno porque hacía demasiado calor…pero hicimos muchos helados!

A comienzos de agosto compramos el accesorio helador de la KitchenAid y, a partir de entonces, comenzamos a experimentar y probar helados de distintos sabores.  Busqué las recetas y la inspiración en blogs de confianza, y en internet, y la verdad es que no me decepcionaron. Hicimos dos helados de David Lebovitz, el de vaina de vainilla (INCREIBLE!) y el de chocolate (que tiene una textura de chocolate con leche), el helado de un banana de un solo ingrediente, the The Kitchn, y un helado vegano absolutamente delicioso, de chocolate y coco. Tambien probamos dos recetas de Food and Cook, el de palitos de chocolate y el de palitos de yogur y frambuesas. Mi recomendación: haganlos a todos! Y no se preocupen si no tienen máquina heladora, las recetas pueden adaptarse (si no saben cómo, dejenme un comentario en el post!)

La verdad es que disfrutamos de este verano como los veranos deben ser disfrutados: completamente. Y ahora que los últimos restos de helado comienzan a desaparecer de nuestro freezer, que el clima comienza, lentamente, a tornarse más fresco y que empezamos a pensar en agregar colchas a nuestras camas, ahora sí estamos listos para aprovechar cada minuto de los días fríos, del otoño.

Espero que ustedes hayan tenido también un verano hermoso, o un invierno cálido, dependiendo de dónde vivan, y espero que esten listos para vivir al máximo  y disfrutar enormemente la nueva estación que apenas se asoma.

Que tengan una semana maravillosa!

 

 

 

 

Aug
10
2012

August break and a simple table setting tutorial

Good Morning friends!

I hope you are having a lovely week, enjoying the warmth of summer (if you live in the Northern Hemisphere) or the cool days of winter (if you live in the South).

Luka and Zoe are currently on  a break from nursery school and, for this reason, I have decided to take a break from blogging during this month, and to dedicate it completely to making this a summer to remember. A few weeks ago, I read THIS post on the blog Modern Parents Messy kids and it got me thinking about how time seems to fly, how childhood seems to go by in the blink of an eye.

I remembered, as I read, a  passage from one of my favourite books, Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine, where it says:  “You’ll find out it’s little savors and little things that count more than big ones. A walk on a spring morning is better than an eighty-mile ride in a hopped-up car, you know why? Because it’s full of flavors, full of a lot of things growing. You’ve time to seek and find. I know, you’re after the broad effect now, I suppose that’s fit and proper. But you got to look at grapes as well as watermelons. You greatly admire skeletons and I like fingerprints; well, and good. Right now such things are bothersome to you, and I wonder if it isn’t because you never learned to use them. If you had your way you’d pass a law to abolish all the little jobs, the little things. But then you’d leave yourselves nothing to do between the big jobs and you’d have a devil of a time thinking up things? Cutting grass and pulling weeds can be a way of life.”  So, I decided to make this a summer of little things: to blow lots of bubbles, to hunt for rocks, to explore new parks, to try new games, to bake more cookies, to laugh a lot, and jump on beds, and give “no”a little break. Without computer(except for talking to grandma (my mother) via skype), without cellphones, just trying our best to be present, to be mindful, to really be here and now.

But I didn’t want to leave you just like that, so I put together a teeny tiny tutorial for planning a simple, yet pretty, table setting, which could be useful if you are entertaining but do not have a huge budget. This is how I do it:

I don’t own expensive china, but I do own a set of very basic and versatile white plates and cups (from Ikea), which I can always pair with anything more colourful that I find around the house. I find that, when one doesn’t have tons of money and plenty of space for different tableware sets (I know I don’t!), white is the best choice. And one little secret: my  milk bottles are not, in fact, milk bottles. They are recycled energy drink bottles! I scout supermarkets for cute bottles and sometimes chose products based on other uses I can give to the packaging.

If your china has a pattern or a different colour, don’t panic! Just keep reading!

 Next, pick something that you really like from your home. For my birthday I chose the above-pictured  kitchen towel (which I don’t use as such because I find it too pretty!) and I used it as a place mat in the middle of the table, to add a pop of colour.  But you could use anything: a vase, a wooden toy, a pretty box, anything that you find beautiful and that matches the look that you want for your table.

Colour is the next step…or you could chose to work with whites only, and then add interest by using different textures. But if you do chose colour, remember that you don’t need to stick to a monochromatic palette using only shades of the same colour, or colours that are next to each other on the colour wheel;  you also have the option of working with contrasting colours. So, if your china has a blue pattern, you are not restricted to blues and greens, but you could also use oranges, yellows and browns and there are so many shades of each that the possibilities become endless!

Work with what you already have, and remember that pops of colour don’t need to be expensive items: a few lemons, oranges, or even tomatoes, a couple of colourful straws, a few leaves or  flowers from your garden (or the neighbour’s-ask first!), a few candles, a mason jar with some ribbon, anything can work. The banner from the picture above was taken from my daughter’s bedroom, for example, and the pretty glass cake stand? It’s not a cake stand at all, but a plate placed on top of an inverted bowl.

Finally, add food. Whatever food you like, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy. As much as I like beautifying food, I am a big believer that the most important thing is for it to taste delicious.

And most importantly, relax and have fun with those you love. That’s the only thing that matters.

 

Have a wonderful summer (or winter!)! See you again in September!

 

(Spanish translation coming soon)

 

 

 

Jul
21
2012

Something sweet for the weekend: Alfajores (semi) cordobeses

 Good evening dear friends! I hope you are having a lovely weekend.

Days have been incredibly HOT in Nicosia this past week,  with temperatures ranging from 40 to 45.5 degrees celsius. Summer is definitely here and this means doing our best to minimize as much as possible the heat that comes into the house. This is why we clean early in the morning, and then try to keep all window shutters down, to turn the stove on as little as possible and, you guessed it, we avoid baking! We tend to opt for meals that require minimal cooking, such as fresh salads, and, for dessert, we eat fruits and simple home-made  fruit lollies.

Sometimes, however, we do crave a little baked treat and, for those occasions, these alfajores are perfect: they are incredibly easy and they take only 5 to 7 minutes in the oven to be ready. After they have cooled down,  they are sandwiched with fruit jam or dulce de leche and covered in the simplest glaze of all: icing sugar to which we just add a few tablespoons of boiling water and a sprinkle of lemon juice. They couldn’t be easier!

 

You may have noticed that I called these alfajores “semi cordobeses” ,  and there is a reason for that. I had been looking for a while for a recipe of the particular type of alfajores from my home city. I never had one because, when I lived there, I always bought them from a nearby store but, now that I live abroad and that I have children whom I would like to introduce to my culinary traditions, I wanted to be able to make them at home.

The search, however, proved to be difficult. It turns out that Argentina’s cocina criolla (créole cuisine) is famous for being “unreliable” or “moody”. Now, I honestly refuse to attribute  human characteristics to any recipe and I believe, instead, that what happens is product of the typical way recipes are transmitted back home: as part of family heritage. Recipes are learned, first, by watching our elders prepare them at home and, later,  by making them together with them when we are older. At my own home, for example, we rarely measured ingredients and recipes were rarely written down. We just knew how they were supposed to turn out and how to fix common problems, because we had been making them our whole life.

This reminds me of an anecdote from my grandmother. One day, back in 1997, I was about to leave Argentina for a few months when I realized that I had never written down some of her delicious staple recipes and that I would not necessarily remember how they were done because they were not everyday dishes. So I sat down with her, in her kitchen, armed with a notebook and a mate, and she started trying to explain to me how the recipes were done. Our dialogues went more or less like this:

Me: So, let’s see, “rosquitas“. What ingredients do they take?

Grandma Antonia: 6 eggs, 3 tablespoons of alcohol, 1/2 kilo of flour.

Me: And how do I make them?

Grandma Antonia: Just mix everything until you get a smooth dough. But if you feel that it turns out to be too dry, add another egg.

Me:  (confused) But how do I know if the dough is too dry and I should add another egg or if I should  just keep mixing??

Grandma Antonia: I don’t know! I just know!

Of course, we ended up making rosquitas together and I took many more notes than the ones initially provided by my grandmother. She knew so well how to make the recipe that it was hard for her to put herself in my shoes, or in the shoes of anyone who, well, just didn’t  know everything that she did.

Most of the recipes I have from my home are like that. They mention “a drop of milk”, “a bit of flour”, or they get started with 100 grs of chocolate but then add unmeasured extra quantities of it as the preparation progresses, according to how we know the dish is supposed to turn out because we made it countless times before. This is perfectly okay when recipes are transmitted within families but it becomes a problem when one has never seen the dish being prepared before. People tend to transmit the initial ingredients and the basic procedures but, more often than not, they simply forget to pass down vital information that one only acquires when making the food with them. Then, of course, fiascos become very common!

Let me just tell you that I had many of those fiascos before achieving this recipe (which gave me a few headaches too!) and I still haven’t found a good one for our traditional colaciones. What’s more, I don’t think my search for the real alfajor cordobés is over yet. These are delicious cookies, the texture of which does resemble that of our traditional sweets…but the taste is not quite “it”, in my opinion, and that is the reason I called them “semi-cordobeses”. That being said, do try them, because they are really, really tasty!

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients (For 25 alfajores of 4 cms diameter/ 50 single cookies)

- 500 grs all purpose flour (0000)

- 10 grs amonium bicarbonate (or 12 grs sodium bicarbonate, which is less smelly)

-10 grs baking powder

- 120 grs soft butter or margarine

- 2 eggs (I used M)

- 200 grs sugar

- 50 grs honey

- 15 grs malt extract (I used barley malt extract, which I found in the organic food section  of my local supermarket)

- Fruit jam of your choice or dulce de leche, for sandwiching the cookies. I used quince jam, apricot jam and dulce de leche, for more variety. Traditional jams are quince, apricot, apple and pear.

- 4 cups of icing sugar

- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice

-  3/4 cup of boiling water (or 12 tablespoons)

Preparation: 

1) Mix flour, baking powder and bicabonate.

2) Pour flour mix on the kitchen counter and make a hole in the middle

3) Add butter, eggs, honey, malt extract and sugar in the hole. Start mixing the wet ingredients with your hands, and once this is done, start incorporating the flour, little by little, until you get a uniform dough.

4) Cover the dough in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

5) In the meantime, prepare your baking sheets by lining them with baking paper.

6) A few minutes before removing the dough from the refrigerator, preheat the oven to 250 degrees C (maximum)

7) Roll the dough 1/2 cm wide and cut circles using a cookie cutter. Place the circles on  baking sheets and put  them in the freezer for 5 minutes. NOTE: The cookies grow in the oven, so place them apart on the baking sheet or they will join one another. Also, do not skip the freezer part or they will lose their shape!

8) Bake in a hot oven for 5 to 7 minutes, until they barely begin to brown. Be careful, they brown easily!

9) Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely

10) Add one tablespoon of jam or dulce de leche to one cookie, and sandwich it by placing another one on top. Now you have an alfajor! Continue until all cookies have been sandwiched together.

11) Prepare the glaze by adding the boiling water and lemon juice to the icing sugar and mixing well, until no lumps remain.

12) Place the alfajores on a wire rack and pour the glaze over them. Let the glaze cool and harden, and eat.

You may store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. I hope you will like them!

Buenas noches queridos amigos! Espero que esten pasando un hermoso fin de semana!

La semana pasada tuvimos unos días increíblemente calurosos en Nicosia, con temperaturas que iban de los 40 and los 45.5 grados centígrados. El verano se ha instalado aquí definitivamente y eso significa, para nosotros, hacer todos los esfuerzos posibles por minimizar la entrada de calor a la casa. Por este motivo, limpiamos bien temprano a la mañana y luego intentamos mantener todas las persianas bajas, cocinar lo menos posible y, se imaginarán, evitamos prender el horno! Así que optamos por comidas livianas, que requieran mínima cocción, como ensaladas frescas, muchas frutas y helados palito de fruta, bien simples.

A veces, sin embargo, nos agarren esos ataques de algo dulce-dulce y, para estos casos, estos alfajores son perfectos: son increiblemente fáciles de hacer y sólo requieren 5 a 7 minutos de horno. Una vez que estan cocidos y ya se han enfriado, se los une con mermelada de frutas o dulce de leche y se los cubre con el baño más sencillo que existe: azucar impalpable a la que se le agrega agua hirviendo y un poquito de limón. No pueden ser más sencillos!

Seguramente habrán notado que llamé a estos alfajores semi cordobeses  y esto tiene una razón de ser. Hace ya bastante venía buscando una buena receta de los alfajores tradicionales de  mi terruño (de los que hablé en este post). Cuando vivía en Argentina nunca los hice porque, en caso de antojo, no tenia más que ir al kiosco a comprar uno, pero ahora que vivo en el exterior y que quiero transmitirle a mis hijos mis tradiciones culinarias, comencé a querer poder hacerlos en casa.
La búsqueda, sin embargo, no fue sencilla. Descubrí, entre otras cosas, que la cocina criolla tiene fama de “poco confiable” “traicionera” o “temperamental”. Ahora bien, honestamente me niego rotundamente a asignarle a una comida caracteristicas humanas y creo que lo que en realidad ocurre, que el motivo por el que las recetas “no siempre salen bien”es otro, y está ligado a la forma en que se transmiten las recetas: como parte del acervo familiar de cada uno. Las recetas no se escriben, se aprenden mirando a nuestros mayores, cuando somos chicos, y haciéndolas con ellos, cuando crecemos. En mi casa, por ejemplo, rara vez mediamos ingredientes meticulosamente, ni escribiamos instrucciones detalladas. Simplemente sabíamos cómo  debía quedar el plato y cómo solucionar posibles problemas, porque lo veníamos haciendo toda nuestra vida.

Escribo estas líneas y recuerdo una anecdota, muy ilustrativa, que involucra a mi abuela. Un día, allá por el año 1997, días antes de que yo fuera a partir de Argentina por unos meses, caí en la cuenta de que nunca había anotado algunas de aquellas deliciosas recetas que mi abuela no hacía tan frecuentemente y que, por lo tanto, yo no conocía de memoria. Así que me senté con ella  en la cocina de su casa, con un cuadernito que aún conservo, y una pava de mate, a intentar que ella me explicara su recetario personal. Nuestros dialogos terminaron siendo algo más o menos asi:

 

Yo: Bueno, a ver, rosquitas. ¿Qué ingredientes llevan?

Abuela Antonia: 6 huevos, 3 cucharadas de alcohol, 1/2 kilo de harina

Yo: Y como las hago?

Abuela Antonia: Mezclá todo hasta que te quede una masa suave. Pero si ves que la masa está muy seca, agregá un huevo

Yo: (confundida)…pero cómo sé si la masa está seca como para agregarle un huevo o si sólo tengo que seguir trabajandola

Abuela Antonia: ah, no sé! Yo sólo sé!

 

Obviamente terminamos haciendo las rosquitas juntas y en ese momento tomé muchisimas más notas para complementar las instrucciones iniciales dadas por mi abuela. Ella conocía tan bien cómo hacer la receta que le resultaba dificil ponerse en mi lugar, o sea, en el lugar de una persona que no supiera aquello que ella sabía tan a la perfección.

La mayoría de las recetas que traigo de casa son así. Hablan de “un chorrito de leche”, “un poquito de harina” o mencionan 100 grs de chocolate, pero no cuentan todos esos “poquitos extra” que se van agregando durante la preparación, conforme cómo el plato “debe quedar”. Esto funciona de maravillas con las recetas familiares, porque uno las conoce de memoria y no necesita una receta detallada, pero se transforma en un problema para alguien que nunca hizo el plato antes. La gente tiende a transmitir sólo los ingredientes iniciales y los procedimientos básicos, olvidando transmitir tambien,  la mayor parte de las veces, aquellos datos extra que son vitales para obtener un buen resultado. Y en esos casos, claro, los fiascos son momumentales y uno se queda mirando el horroroso resultado final y preguntándose qué habrá ocurrido.

Dejenme decirles que, en la busqueda de esta receta he tenido muchos de esos fiascos, que, aun esta receta misma me dio varios dolores de cabeza al comienzo, hasta que logré  ”rellenar los espacios vacíos”, y que aún no logro dar con una buena receta de colaciones. Y más aún, todavía no considero que mi búsqueda del perfecto alfajor cordobés haya culminado. Estos alfajorcitos son deliciosos, y tienen una textura muy similar…pero el gusto no es exactamente el del alfajor cordobés tradicional, en mi opinión, y es por este preciso motivo que los llamé “semi-cordobeses”. Dicho esto tambien les digo que no dejen de probarlos porque son realmente muy, muy ricos!

Aquí está la receta:

Ingredientes

- 500 grs de harina cuatro ceros
- 10 grs de bicarbonato de amonio o 12 grs de bicarbonato sódico ( que es menos oloroso)
- 10 grs de polvo de hornear
- 120 grs de margarina o manteca
- 2 huevos
- 200 grs de azucar
- 50 grs de miel
- 15 grs de extracto de malta
- mermelada de frutas o dulce de leche para unir las tapitas. Yo usé mermelada de membrillo, de damascos y dulce de leche. Las mermeladas tradicionales son membrillo, damascos, pera y manzana.
- 4 tazas de azucar impalplable
- 3/4 taza de agua hirviendo
- 1 cucharada de jugo de limón

Preparación:

1) Mezcle la harina con el polvo de hornear y el bicarbonato

2) Coloque la harina sobre la mesada en forma de corona (haciendo un huevo en el medio)

3) Agregue, en el hueco mencionado, la manteca o margarina, los huevos, el azucar, la miel, y el extracto de malta. Mezcle los ingredientes húmedos con las manos y, una vez incorporados, comience a agregar de a poco el harina, moviendola hacia el centro en pequeñas cantidades, hasta formar una masa uniforme.

4) Cubra el bollo de masa con papel film y lleve a la heladera por 20 minutos.

5) Mientras tanto, prepare las placas para horno recubriendolas con papel de hornear (antiadherente).

6)Unos minutos antes de sacar la masa de la heladera, precaliente el horno a maximo/250C

7) Saque la masa de la heladera y estirela con palote de amasar hasta que tenga un ancho de 1/2 cm. Corte circulos de aproximadamente 4 cms de diametro, coloquelos sobre la placa y lleve la placa al freezer por 5 minutos. NOTA: las tapitas crecen en el horno, asi que coloquelas suficientemente separadas la una de la otra o se unirán al cocerlas. Asimismo, no omita ponerlas en el freezer o perderan la forma!

8) Cocine las tapitas en horno fuerte por 5 a 7 minutos, hasta que esten apenas doradas. Tenga cuidado, se doran muy rápido, vigílelas!

9)Retire del horno, transfiera a una rejilla, y deje enfriar totalmente.

10) Una vez que las tapitas estén frias, unte la mitad con una cucharada de la mermelada/dulce de su elección, y cierrelas con las tapitas restantes, haciendo un sandwich. Una vez haga esto, usted tendrá en sus manos alfajores!

11) Prepare el baño de azucar agregando el agua hirviendo y el limon al azucar impalpable y revolviendo bien hasta que no queden grumos.

12) Coloque los alfajores sobre una rejilla y cubralos con el baño de azucar. Deje que el baño se seque y endurezca y disfrute!

 

Pueden guardarlos en el freezer por 3 meses. Espero que les gusten!

 

Have a wonderful weekend and a great start of the new week!

 

Jul
07
2012

Best from past weeks

 

Good morning friends! I hope you are enjoying your weekend!

Here are my favourite links from the past two weeks. Some of them have been shared in my facebook page, some others have not. I hope you like them!

 I love this great idea for making a desk with two chest of drawers, spray paint and a melamine board!

This outdoor party guide by Country Living is ideal for the Summer

I’m loving these pinwheel cupcakes!

Having a strawberry shortcake party? Check out these cute gum paste strawberries by Cake Journal

I had no idea dark chocolate ganache could be made this way!

Have you seen Sweetapolita’s video on how to frost a cake? You don’t want to miss it!

I’m definitely using Modern Parents Messy Kids’ summer blog series ideas this upcoming August, to keep Luka and Zoe happy and entertained!

This ingredient substitution chart by Joy of Baking is really useful!

Are you in search of pretty fonts? Check Daily drop cap for a dose of awesomness

This is the most beautiful wedding website I have seen 

 

Have a great day!

 

Jul
04
2012

Souvlaki,pitta bread and tzaziki: a very belated Cypriot lunch for Circulo Whole Kitchen

Good afternoon dear friends!

I hope you are having a lovely week! I hadn’t planned to take time off blogging but life took over my plans, and I had to attend to more urgent matters, which is why these recipes are being published late.I had originally planned to bring them to you on Monday the 18th of June (which was the official publication day for savory recipes at Circulo Whole Kitchen) but, as mentioned above, it was not possible. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity of publishing them, however because June’s proposal is very special to me, and because all flavours are summery and ideal for barbecues and outdoor entertaining.

During the month of June, Circulo Whole Kitchen’s  savory proposal included three recipes which constitute a traditional Greek meal…and since I live in Greek Cyprus, they are a big part of my life and of my memories of this place . I have already shared one of these recipes with you, that of Tzaziki salad, and for the rest of the menu (which even included freshly baked pitta bread!), I used flavour combinations and marinades that I learnt here. It is my way of bringing you a part of my newly adopted culture, and my children’s first one.

The first time I came to Cyprus was in August 2007, to visit my husband. At the time, I was still working in Ivory Coast (where we had met), and he had arrived to Nicosia a month before. I was meant to join him by the end of the year but we didn’t want to spend 6 months apart, so I took 10 days of vacations and came to see him during the summer.  During weekdays, when he was at work, I would stroll the empty streets (Nicosia is a ghost city in August) and, on weekends, we would travel around the island, to get to know our new home. We visited  Paphos, Limassol, Larnaca, Aphrodite’s birth place, Kakopetria and other places in between and we were captivated by the calm, quiet, leisure-like mood of the island.

An important part of exploring a new place is, of course, tasting its food, and some of the foods we tasted were the ones that are the object of this post. Now, I had tasted souvlaki before, of course. We call them brochettes in Argentina, using the french word, and I had also had them as kebabs in Ivory Coast (called after their arabic denomination, which means “roast meat”) but the difference lied in the sauces used for marinating them. Until then, I was used to simply brushing meat and vegetables in olive oil and adding rosemary or thyme, or just lemon, and here were marinades that involved wine, cinnamon, yogurt, and french fries served with oregano. I was fascinated and remember scribbling the ingredients mentioned in the menu in paper napkins  to try to emulate the recipes at home.

It is through experimenting with the recipes and comments generously provided to me by the people that came into my life since I arrived to Cyprus that I ended up with the chicken marinade for this souvlaki. I accompanied them with traditional tzatziki (using the recipe that my sister in law shared with me many years ago), and with oven- roast mixed potatoes, brushed in olive oil and sprinkled with oregano.  For the pitta bread, I used the recipe provided by Circulo Whole Kitchen.

Here are the recipes:

Souvlaki:

Ingredients (for 8 sticks):  3 tablespoons greek yogurt, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 clove of garlic, crushed, 2 teaspoons paprika, salt and pepper to taste, 1 big chicken breast, 1/2 green pepper, 1 tomato, 1/2 red onion, 1/2 white onion, .

Preparation:

1) Mix yogurt, olive oil, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper in a bowl. Dice the chicken breast and add the pieces to the yogurt marinade. Cover with cling film and leave in the refrigerator a minimum of 5 hours (preferably overnight).

2) Dice the vegetables and set aside. Remove the marinating chicken from the refrigerator and start assembling the souvlaki, mixing meat and vegetables. Place them side by side on a baking dish brushed with olive oil and pour any remaining marinade over them.

3) Grill or cook in the oven until ready.

Pitta bread:

Ingredients: 500 grs all purpose flour, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 240 ml warm milk, 240 ml warm water, 25 grs fresh yeast.

Preparation:

1) Mix flour and salt. Set aside.

2) Mix milk and water and pour over the yeast, mixing until dissolved

3) Add the the liquid mix to the flour and incorporate. Work the dough thoroughly, until really smooth and soft (this is important! do not skip this step!)

4) Form a ball of dough, place in bowl, cover with cling film and let it rest until it doubles its volume.

5) Flour the counter, put the dough on it, and pat it against the counter a couple of times, in order to remove air.

6) Cut the dough in small portions, cover with a kitchen towel and let them rest for about 15 minutes, in a warm place.

7) Once the small portions of dough have risen, roll them to give them a circular shape, until they are 1/2 cm thick. Place them in baking sheets, cover them and let them rise again.

8) Once risen, cook in a hot oven (220C) for about 6-10 minutes. They should not brown, only be crispy on the outside.  Store them one on top of the other, covered with a kitchen towel for maximum freshness.

Oven-roast mixed potatoes:

Ingredients:  1 big potato and 1 big sweet potato, olive oil, oregano

Preparation:

1) Peel and cut the potatoes alongside (as if you were making French fries)

2) Place them on a roasting pan, and brush them with olive oil.

3) Mix salt with one tablespoon of oregano and sprinkle over the potatoes. Cook in the oven until just tender.

Tzaziki (originally published in this post)

Ingredients: 1 cucumber, 1 clove of garlic, greek yogurt and a little bit of parsley for garnishing.

Preparation:

1)Cut the cucumber into thin slices, and then chop them finely. Place them in a bowl.

2)Chop a clove of garlic (or half, if you are not a very garlicky person ;) and add it to the cucumber.

3) Add greek yogurt (500 ml) and mix well.

4) Chop a few parsley leaves to garnish.

Con sabor latino...

Buenas tardes queridos amigos!

Espero que esten pasando una hermosa semana! No había planeado tomarme vacaciones del blog y tardar tanto en publicar pero la vida se interpuso en mis planes y tuve que ocuparme de asuntos más urgentes, motivo por el cual estas recetas se publican recien hoy. Mi idea original era publicar este post el 18 de junio (ups!), que era el día oficial de publicación de las recetas del Circulo Whole Kitchen, pero, como mencioné anteriormente, lamentablemente ésto no fue posible.  Elijo publicarlas, sin embargo, aún cuando haya pasado tanto tiempo, porque la propuesta del Circulo Whole Kitchen para el mes de junio tiene una importancia especial para mí, y porque todos los sabores incluidos son muy veraniegos, ideales para asados y reuniones al aire libre.

En el mes de junio,el Circulo Whole Kitchen nos invitó a preparar tres recetas tradicionales griegas…y como yo vivo en la parte griega de Chipre, estas recetas forman parte de mi vida diaria, y estos sabores forman parte de los recuerdos de esta tierra adoptiva que llevaré conmigo a donde vaya. Una de estas recetas (la de tzaziki), ya la compartí con ustedes en ESTE POST, pero la repito aquí para que no tengan que andar buscando en los archivos (aunque buscar en fácil ahora, no? ;) Para el resto del menú, utilicé combinaciones de sabores y marinadas que aprendí aquí. Esta es mi forma de acercarles una partecita de mi cultura de adopción- y la primera de mis hijos.

La primera vez que vine a Chipre fue en agosto de 2007, para visitar a mi marido. En ese tiempo yo aún estaba trabajando en Costa de Marfil (donde nos habíamos conocido) y él había llegado a Nicosia un mes antes. Ya habíamos decidido que yo me le uniría aquí definitivamente a fines de ese año, pero 6 meses nos parecía demasiado tiempo para estar separados, así que yo vine a visitarlo durante 10 días en el verano para acortar el tiempo a la distancia. En esas vacaciones comenzamos a conocer la isla. Los días de semana, mientras él trabajaba, yo paseaba por las calles desoladas de Nicosia (que es una ciudad fantasma en agosto!) y, los fines de semana, explorábamos el que sería nuestro nuevo hogar. Así visitamos Pafos, Larnaca, Limassol, la roca donde nació Afrodita, Kakopetria y otros lugarcitos, y quedamos cautivados por el animo veraniego, calmado, tranquilo de la isla.

Una parte importante de explorar un lugar desconocido es, claro está, probar sabores nuevos, y algunos de esos sabores nuevos para mí son los que incluyo en este post. No, no es que haya probado souvlakis por primera vez en este viaje, de hecho en Argentina los llamamos brochettes (usando la palabra francesa) y tambien los había comido en Costa de Marfil (donde los llaman kebabs, usando la palabra árabe, que significa “carne asada”), pero la diferencia estaba en los condimentos utilizados y en la forma de emplearlos. Antes de venir a Chipre, cuando yo hacía brochettes no marinaba la carne, sólo la pincelaba en aceite de oliva y espolvoreaba romero o tomillo o, simplemente, limón…y de pronto aquí me encontraba con marinadas que utilizaban vino, canela, yogurt, paprika y las papas fritas se servian espolvoradas con oregano. Estaba fascinada con los nuevos descubrimientos culinarios, y anotaba los ingredientes que leía en los menus en servilletas de papel para hacer pruebas en casa, e intentar emular las recetas.

La marinada que usé en estos souvlaki de pollo fue producto, justamente, de esos experimentos nacidos de los comentarios generosos y de las recetas que me brindaron personas que aquí conocí. Los serví sobre pan de pitta casero y los acompañé con la tradicional tzaziki (hecha con la receta de mi cuñada) y con papas y batatas rostizadas al horno, pinceladas en aceite de oliva y espolvoreadas con sal oreganada.  Espero que les gusten!

Aqui estan las recetas:

Souvlaki:

Ingredientes (para 8  palitos) :  3 cucharadas de yogurt griego, 3 cucharadas de aceite de oliva, 2 diente de ajo machucado, 2 cucharadas de te de paprika, sal y pimienta a gusto, 1 pechuga de pollo grande, 1/2 pimiento morrón verde, 1 tomate,  1/2 cebolla colorada, 1/2 cebolla blanca

Preparacion: 

1) Mezclar en un bowl yogurt, aceite, ajo y paprika. Cortar el pollo en cubos y agregar a la marinada de yogurt. Cubrir con papel film y dejar reposar en la heladera un mínimo de 5 horas (preferentemente toda la noche)

2) Una vez transcurrido el tiempo indicado, cortar los vegetales en cubos y retirar el pollo de la heladera. Armar los souvlaki cuidando de intercalar distintas verduras con la carne. Una vez armados, colocarlos en una placa para horno pincelada con aceite de oliva y verter encima todo restante de marinada.Llevar a horno mpderado a fuerte hasta que estén cocidos.

Pan de pitta (receta de Circulo Whole Kitchen)

Ingredientes: 500 gr de harina, 2 cucharaditas de sal, 2 cucharadas de aceite de oliva, 240 ml. de leche tibia, 240 ml. taza de agua tibia, 25 gramos de levadura fresca

Preparación:

1) Poner en un bol la harina junto con la sal.

2) Mezclar la leche con el agua e incorporarla a la levadura mezclando hasta disolverla. Agregar esta mezcla a la harina, poco a poco, junto con el aceite de oliva e ir mezclando hasta que esté todo el líquido incorporado.

3) Formar una masa y comenzar a trabajarla en forma continua hasta que esté bien lisa y suave. Es importante que la masa esté bien amasada.

4) Colocarla en un recipiente y cubrirla con un plástico y dejarla levar hasta que doble su volumen.Una vez levada la masa se vuelca sobre una mesa enharinada.

5) Desgasificar la masa y cortar en porciones que se dejan descansar sobre una superficie enharinada y cubiertos con un paño. Preferentemente en un lugar cálido. Esto hará que nuestro pan leve en aproximadamente 10 a 15 minutos.

6) Se toma cada porción y se estira de medio centímetro de espesor en forma circular o alargada. Se van depositando en placas limpias, se cubren con un paño y se dejan levar nuevamente.

7) El secreto de estos panes es cocinarlos en un horno a una temperatura alta , unos 220º, para que se inflen y formen corteza pero sin color, deben quedar blancos. Los dejamos hornear durante unos 6 a 10 minutos.

8) Para conservarlos blandos se apilan unos sobre otros en caliente y se cubren con un paño, o plástico.

Mix de papas y batatas oreganadas al horno: 

Ingredientes: 1 papa grande común, 1 batata, aceite de oliva para pincelar, oregano para espolvorear

Preparacion:

1) Cortar las papas en bastones, como si fueran papas fritas.

2) Colocar las papas en una fuente de horno y pincelar con aceite de oliva.

3) Mezclar la sal con una cucharada de oregano y espolvorear sobre las papas. Cocinar en horno moderado hasta que esten tiernas.

Tzaziki:

Ingredientes: 1 pepino, 1 diente de ajo (o medio, si no quieren espantar vampiros ;), yogurt griego (o yogurt natural, si no encuentran), perejil para espolvorear arriba antes de servir

Preparación:

1) Cortar en pepino en rodaja bien finitas, y luego picarlo hasta que quede chiquito.

2) Picar el diente de ajo muy finito.

3) Agregar el yogurt y mezclar bien.

4) Antes de servir, picar unas cuantas hojas de perejil y espolvorearlas encima.

 

I hope you like these recipes!

What is the dish that spells summer to you?

PS: Happy 4th of July to all my American followers! May you be enjoying a wonderful day with family and friends!

Jun
25
2012

Red fruits and white chocolate charlotte for Circulo Whole Kitchen

Good morning dear friends! I hope you had a lovely weekend.

Summer arrived in Nicosia all of a sudden and, in a way took me by surprise. We had had a relatively mild Spring until a couple of weeks ago and, as the end of June started to approach, temperatures began to rise and rise and we are now averaging 35 C every day, with peaks of 41C. These are the usual Summer temperatures around here, so we have developed a few strategies for coping with the heat. These involve light clothing, frequent showers, lots of lemonade and -you guessed it- avoiding to turn the oven on as much as possible.

This is why, when Circulo Whole Kitchen proposed to its members to prepare a charlotte for the June challenge, I was thrilled: here was a dessert I had never attempted to make, relatively easy, and that required no baking! Perfect!

Charlotte is a very simple dessert, which knows different variations: the cake mold lining can be made with ladyfingers, swiss roll or sponge cake, and the fillings may include fruit purée, mousses or custard. The recipe I chose to prepare in this occasion (inspired by this one) uses ladyfingers, and is filled with a combination of red fruits mousse ( made with fruit purée, whipped cream and gelatin) and  white chocolate mousse (made with melted white chocolate, whipped cream and gelatin). Its preparation takes approximately 15 minutes and needs to be chilled for about 5 hours before serving.

Since this was my first time making it, my charlotte doesn’t look as perfect as I would have liked it to.  This is because of two reasons:  1)I over-dipped the cookies  in syrup, which made them too soft, and it was therefore difficult for them to keep their shape. 2) I lined the bottom before the sides, so the bottom of the side cookies was too wet and the cookies tended to open when removed from the mold. So now I know better! The next time I will barely dip the cookies and I will make sure that the sides are line first. I hope that with these tips your own charlottes will come out perfect!

Despite these setbacks, I am quite happy with these charlottes because they passed the taste test (which, I believe, is the most important one when it comes to food!). They are a simple, delicious dessert, that looks pretty and is ideal for summer entertaining.

Here is the recipe;

 Red fruits and white chocolate charlotte

Ingredients:

- 1 pack of ladyfingers (or enough to completely cover sides and bottom of a 6 inch cake pan or 6 ramequins)

- sugar syrup, made with 100 grs of sugar, covered with water and put to boil for a few minutes. You may flavour the syrup with dessert wine, like oporto or marsala, or even with coffee or orange juice and zest (depending of the flavour of the charlotte itself).

- 150 grs white chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature

-150 grs red fruits (I used a frozen berry mix, that I defrosted in the refrigerator)

- 1 envelope of unflavoured gelatin

- 100 ml of heavy cream

- 4 tablespoons of icing sugar

 Preparation:

 1) Prepare the sugar syrup. Slightly dip enough ladyfingers and line a mold of the desired size with them.

2) Dissolve the gelatin in half a cup of warm water. Add 1/4 cup of cold water to cool it down. Divide in half. Set aside.

3) Melt the white chocolate and let it cool.

4) Wash the red fruits (I used a mixture of cranberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries) and process them (you may use a blender for this purpose). Pass the resulting purée through a sieve and set aside the pieces that were too big.

5) Whip  the heavy cream together with the icing sugar, until firm (“en chantilly”). Divide in two and set aside.

6) Mix the red fruits pulp with half the whipped cream, with circular movements. Add half the gelatin and mix it in, slowly. Set aside.

7) Mix the melted and cooled white chocolate with the remaining half whippedcream. Add the gelatin and mix it in, slowly. Set aside

8) At this point you will have two mousses, and you can do two things: 1) Fill  the lined pan with the red fruits mousse, let it cool for a few minutes in the refrigerator,  add a layer of ladyfingers and then add the white chocolate mousse, or 2) Fill the lined pan with the red fruits mousse and, then, add the white chocolate mousse in the middle and draw designs with a skewer to marble it.

9) Leave in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 hours, unmold and serve with red fruits on top ( don’t worry, it comes out of the pan easily!)



Con sabor latino

Buenos días queridos amigos! Espero que hayan pasado un hermoso fin de semana!

El verano llegó a Nicosia de repente y me tomó por sorpresa. Hasta ahora veníamos teniendo una primavera con temperaturas moderadas pero,a medida que junio comenzó a llegar a su fin, éstas comenzaron a ir en aumento y ahora estamos con un promedio de 35C diarios, con picos de 41C. Estas son temperaturas comunes durante el verano chipriota, asi que a estas alturas ya hemos desarrollado algunas estrategias para hacer frente a tremendo calor, que incluyen ropa liviana, ducharnos varias veces por día y-como se imaginarán- evitar a toda costa encender el horno.

Por este motivo, me alegré cuando ví que Circulo Whole Kitchen proponía como receta dulce para el mes de junio una charlotte, postre que nunca había preparado antes, relativamente sencillo y que no requería cocción! Perfecto!

La Charlotte es un postre sencillo, del cual existen muchas variantes, que van desde el tipo de galletas con el que se cubre el molde en el que se lo realiza (vainillas, pionono, o torta esponjosa), hasta el relleno (que puede consistir en puré de frutas,  mousses diversas o crema. La receta que yo elegí en esta ocasión (inspirada en esta) utiliza vainillas y un relleno compuesto de dos mousses: una de frutos rojos (yo utilicé arandanos, frambuesas, grosellas y frutillas, procesados, y mezclados con crema chantilly y gelatina sin sabor) y otra de chocolate blanco (hecha a base de chocolate derretido, crema chantilly y gelatina sin sabor, para darle consistencia). La preparación lleva tan sólo 15 minutos, pero requiere reposo en la heladera/refrigerador por aproximadamente 5 horas.

Como ésta era mi primera vez haciendo este postre, mis charlottes no lucen todo lo perfectas que me hubiera gustado. Esto se debe a dos motivos: 1) Exageré al remojar las vainillas en almibar y quedaron demasiado blandas, lo que complicó que mantuvieran la forma  y 2) Recubrí con vainillas el fondo del molde, antes que los lados, entonces las vainillas que se encontraban a los lados se humedecieron demasiado con las mousses en la parte de abajo y tendieron a abrirse al desmoldarlas. Lo bueno es que ya aprendí que para la próxima tengo que mojar apenas las galletas y poner primero las galletitas de los costados. Espero que estos datos les sirvan a ustedes para poder alcanzar la perfección de entrada!

Igualmente, a pesar de estos errores, estoy muy conforme con el resultado de este postre porque de gusto estaban riquísimas (y, en definitiva, eso es lo que importa cuando se trata de comida, verdad?) Ademas son sencillas, deliciosas y lucen bonitas y son ideales para eventos de verano.

Así que sin más, esta es la receta. Espero que les guste!10

Charlotte de chocolate blanco y frutos rojos

Ingredientes:

-1 paquete de vainillas (o las que sean suficientes para recubrir el o los moldes que vayan a usar. El relleno es suficiente para un molde   de 15. 4 cms, o 6 ramequins)

-  almibar, hecho con 100 grs de azucar, recubierta con agua y llevada a fuego por unos minutos (que no se pase, que no quieres hacer caramelo!)

- 150 grs de chocolate blanco derretido y enfriado (tiene que estar a temperatura ambiente)

- 150 grs de frutos rojos

- 1 sobre de gelatina sin sabor

- 100 cm3 de crema de leche

- 4 cucharadas de azucar impalpable

Preparación:

1) Prepare el almibar. Coloque el azucar en un jarro, recubra con agua y lleve a fuego por unos minutos, hasta que la mezcla espese ligeramente. Remoje las vainillas en el almibar y recubra con las mismas el molde a utilizar.

2) Derrita el chocolate a baño maría (o en el microondas, si tiene uno). Deje enfriar hasta que quede a temperatura ambiente.

3) Procese los frutos rojos en la procesadora o licuadora. Pase el puré por un tamiz hasta obtener la pulpa.

4) Bata la crema de leche a punto chantilly con el azucar impalplable. Divida en dos partes iguales y reserve.

5) Disuelva la gelatina sin sabor en media taza de agua caliente. Agregue 1/4 taza de agua fria para bajar la temperatura. Divida en dos y reserve.

6) Mezcle la pulpa de frutos rojos con la mitad de la crema chantilly y, una vez bien incorporado, agregue la mitad de la gelatina sin sabor. Reserve

7) Mezcle el chocolate blanco con la mitad de chantilly restante, e incorpore luego la gelatina sin sabor que había reservado.

8) Rellene el/los moldes con mousse de frutos rojos. A continuación, tiene dos opciones; 1) Colocar el molde en la heladera unos minutos (hasta que tome un poco de consistencia) y a continuacion, agregar una capa de vainillas y luego la mousse de chocolate blanco o 2) Una vez rellenado el molde con la mousse de frutos rojos, agregar la mousse de chocolate blanco inmediatamente en el centro y luego hacer dibujos con un palito de brochette, para marmolarla.

9) Coloque el/los moldes en la heladera/refrigerador por 4 a 5 horas. Desmolde y sirva con frutos rojos  (no se preocupe, se desmolda super facilmente!)

I hope you’ll like it!

See you later this week!

Jun
22
2012

Best of this week

 

 

Good morning dear friends!

I had not planned to take two weeks off blogging, but life (or my son’s tonsilitis!) got in the way. I am preparing a few posts for next week and, in the meantime, here are a couple of links that I have discovered on the internet and that I liked these past days.

 

I just discovered this absolutely beautiful magazine

The summer edition of Sweet Paul Magazine is out and is beautiful!

I love this tutorial for making a flower fairy cake topper

I’m saving this  ties tees cupcake topper tutorial for next father’s day

I feel in love with this hot air balloon party and the cool tutorial for making hot air balloon decorations with Ikea items.

Here are 25 pretty summer party ideas

This party is just precious

 I’m really liking this food blog

A pretty way to use posts its when wrapping presents

Have a beautiful weekend!

 

Jun
01
2012

It's time for the blog makeover reveal!

Good evening dear friends!

I am so happy to finally be able to show you the blog’s new face. After working on it for over two months, and exchanging 98 emails with adorable Jessica the day has come to see all those ideas come to life!

Let me recap a little bit how this all began. As I mentioned in this post, ever since the time I started this blog, I wanted to make it pretty but lacked the knowledge and resources to do so. Back in March I got really lucky and won a blog makeover for a basic wordpress  design package by Jessica Sims. I had seen the announcement in Makin’Cute blogs  and, after checking Jessica’s website and portfolio, I decided to participate.

I should probably tell you right now that I had no expectation to win, because I have never won anything in my life. I wanted it badly, but I never thought it could happen. I subscribed to Jessica’s facebook page and one day, to my surprise, she announced that I had won! I had been saving some money towards a new blog design for some time, so I asked Jessica whether I could upgrade to the Extreme WordPress Design Package, and to my delight, she accepted.  I put my ideas together, filled the necessary form, made the 1st payment and Jessica got to work! She prepared mock designs, we went back and forth with ideas, colours, little tweaks here and there and, this week, it was ready!

As you most probably have already noticed, we introduced many changes, and not only cosmetic ones.  Yes, the colours are different, the pictures are bigger and there are cute icons everywhere. But that is not all: all posts have been classified, categorized and subcategorized to make the blog more user-friendly. There is now a homepage, which displays the most recent posts from the blog’s main categories, so that you have a clear idea of what’s new and whether you may have missed a post.  The pages on the menu above store all posts from each category, organized chronologically. And there is also a “Recipe Box”, organized with index cards, where all recipes are stored with a thumbnail photo and a link to the post where they were published so that they are easy to locate.

We also added an amazon store (as part of Amazon.com’s associates programme), where I have listed the products I use and love, as well as the books that inspire me. I will complete the listings in the following days, and I will keep it updated regularly, so that if you want to know what precise product I used for a post, you can find it easily. I have also listed my photography equipment because I keep getting questions about it!  I will explain a bit about how I use it  in the new “photography” section, in the upcoming weeks.

In addition to all of this, from this post on, this blog will be bilingual. Every post will be written in English and Spanish, which is my mother tongue. I had always wanted to do it but, with my old theme, it looked messy. Jessica has now made it possible (isn’t she a real angel?). If you are a Spanish speaker, just scroll down until the end of each post and the translation will be there.

So, browse around and make yourselves comfortable, grab some cake and a cup of tea, relax on the couch, listen to some music. I’ll come back on Monday with the first recipe of this new era: the most delicious cheesecake of all!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Con sabor latino…

Buenas noches queridos amigos!

Estoy inmensamente feliz de que finalmente haya llegado el momento de mostrarles la nueva cara del blog. Luego de trabajar en el nuevo diseño durante más de dos meses e intercambiar 98 emails con Jessica (la diseñadora), finalmente ha llegado el día de ver todas esas ideas en práctica!

Recapitulemos un poco: Como les había comentado en este post, desde que comencé a escribir este blog deseaba que fuera bonito, pero no tenía ni los conocimientos técnicos ni el dinero para lograrlo. En marzo de este año, tuve muchisima suerte y gané un pack de diseño basico de Jessica Sims Design. Yo había visto el anuncio del sorteo en la página web de Makin Cute Blogs y, luego de visitar la página web y el portfolio de Jessica, me había decidido a participar.

Quiero aclarar en este preciso momento que yo no tenía la más mínima esperanza de ganar el sorteo porque nunca he ganado nada en mi vida! Lo deseaba muchisimo pero no creía que fuera posible. Me suscribí a la página de facebook de Jessica porque me gustaba su trabajo y, cual no seria mi sorpresa cuando un día vi que había ganado! Como había estado ahorrando dinero desde hacia ya un tiempo para poder afrontar un nuevo diseño, le pregunté a Jessica si podía hacer un upgrade y pagar la diferencia que había con el pack de diseño extremo y, para mi alegrón, ella dijo que sí! Junté mis ideas, envié el formulario de diseño, hice el primer pago y Jessica puso manos a la obra.  Preparó bocetos, fuimos y volvimos con ideas, colores, y ajustes varios y, finalmente, esta semana, el diseño estuvo terminado!

Como seguramente ya se han dado cuenta, los cambios son numerosos, y no son sólo cosmeticos. Sí, la paleta de colores es distinta, las fotos son mucho más grandes y hay íconitos por todos los rincones. Pero eso no es todo: todos los posts han sido clasificados, categorizados y subcategorizados para que el blog sea más amigable para el visitante. Hay una pagina de inicio donde van a encontrar  los posts más recientes de las categorias principales, para que puedan saber  rápidamente qué hay de nuevo y si se perdieron algún post. Las páginas del menu principal (arriba) almacenan todos los posts de esa categoría, ordenados cronológicamente. Todas las recetas estan ordenadas, ademas, en una “caja de recetas” con indices, una fotito y un link al post en el que fueron publicadas, para que sea fácil localizarlas.

Tambien incorporamos una tienda amazon (dentro del programa de asociados de amazon.com), donde encontrarán listados de todos los productos que uso y que me gustan, incluyendo aquellos libros que me inspiran. En los proximos días terminaré de ponerla al día, y la actualizaré periodicamente, asi pueden encontrar cualquier producto que les haga falta rapidamente (compren o no en la tienda, lo importante para mi no es eso sino que tengan la información). Dentro de la misma tienda he incorporado también mi equipo fotográfico, porque recibo muchas preguntas acerca del mismo! En las proximas semanas explicaré un poco cómo lo uso en la nueva sección “photography”.

Además de esto, a partir de este post, este blog va a ser bilingue. A partir de ahora, todos los posts serán escritos en inglés y castellano. En realidad esto es algo que siempre quise hacer pero no se veía bien con el diseño anterior. Jessica hizo posible cumplir este deseo ( ¿no es un angel?). Así es que, queridos amigos hispanoparlantes, de ahora en más sólo tendrán que llegarse a este rincón al final de cada post, donde los estará esperando la traducción (no literal) correspondiente.

Ahora den una vuelta, ponganse cómodos, tomen un pedazo de torta y una taza de té, relajense en el sillon, escuchen algo de música, estan en su casa. Yo estaré de regreso el lunes con la primer receta de esta nueva etapa: ¡¡la cheesecake más deliciosa de todas!!

¡Que pasen un hermoso fin de semana!

May
25
2012

Zebra mini cakes for Circulo Whole Kitchen

Good morning dear friends!

Today I bring you another recipe from Circulo Whole Kitchen. As I mentioned in my post from last week, this month I started participating in the  culinary challenges proposed by Whole Kitchen Magazine, and their sweet suggestion for May 2012 was the ultra popular zebra cake.

The zebra cake is, basically, a vanilla and chocolate cake, marbled  to resemble the stripes of a zebra. This is achieved by putting the batter in the pan one or two  spoons at a time, alternating colours. When looked from the top, the cake looks like a succession of circles, but when cut in slices, the zebra stripes appear, making it an instant hit with children- and with adults!

In this occasion, I used the recipe provided to us by Whole Kitchen and followed the directions exactly, because I am always happy to try ones, but know that since the effect is mainly visual, you can simply use your favourite vanilla cake recipe, divide the batter in two, add two tablespoons of cocoa (I prefer dark cocoa) to one half, and go ahead with the method for placing the batter in the pan, as you would with this one.  And you could even use a boxed cake or change flavours and colours!

This recipe is a very nice one, though, and I encourage you to try it. It is a simple cake, with a spongy texture (because the eggs are beaten with the sugar until white, which makes them fluffy) and not overly sweet. It makes a nice everyday coffee cake, but if you are making it for a child’s party, you could also cover it in chocolate ganache, or cover the sides with peanuts (as Kim did here, for example, and then the zebra stripes could come out as a surprise! The cake’s pattern would be perfect for birthday themes such as Safari, Young Explorers, Animals, Madagascar (the movie) or Africa.

The only variation I introduced to the original one, was the size of the pan: instead of baking my zebra cake in a normal sized pan, i did it in small ramequins. I like to bake cakes in small containers so that I can freeze those that will not be eaten immediately without losing  freshness.  This batter is enough for a 9 inch pan, or for 6 ramequins (mine are from Ikea). I do have to point out, though, that the effect of the zebra stripes is less noticeable when baked in small pans, as you can see from my pictures. So, if you want the full wow effect of the zebra stripes, it is probably better to stick to the traditional size.

Here is the recipe I used:

Ingredients

4 large eggs

250 grs sugar

250 ml milk

250 ml sunflower oil

300 grs all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

Preparation

Oil and flour a cake pan and pre-heat the oven to 180C.

Beat sugar and eggs until white and fluffy. Add oil and beat until well-integrated, and then add milk slowly, beating all the time.

In a different container, mix flour and baking powder. Whisk to integrate.

Add dry to wet ingredients in three times, integrating well before each new addition.

Separate the batter in two and add cocoa powder to one half.

Assemble the cake by pouring the batter in the center of the pan, using an ice cream scoop, alternating colours ( two scoops  of vanilla batter, one scoop of cocoa batter, two scoops of vanilla batter, and so on).

Bake for 40 minutes at 180 C.

Note: If you change the size of the pan, remember that the oven times change as well! My mini cakes only took 18 minutes to be ready!

 

I hope that you like it! Have you ever made a zebra cake before?

Have a nice weekend!

May
23
2012

Amy Atlas' book is finally here!!!

Good evening friends! I hope you are having a lovely week!

Those of you who follow me on Facebook, already know that last week I finally received my copy of Amy Atlas‘ book, Sweet Designs: Bake it, Craft it, Style it. If you don’t know who Amy is, let me simply say that she is the woman who started the dessert table trend and who has inspired with her talent, her creativity and her generosity hundreds of persons worldwide. If you haven’t done it yet, go take a look at her amazing portfolio.  Seriously, go now, I’ll wait. Her work is truly stunning, you’ll see.

So, as you can imagine, when Amy announced in 2010 that she was writing a book full of tips and inspiration, I couldn’t wait to have it in my hands. During all of last year, Amy kept her followers updated on the evolution of the book through her blog and, with every post, the expectation grew more and more. She shared pictures and updates on planning, photo shoots (here, here, here and here) and, more recently, even a video  trailer.  I pre-ordered the book as soon as it was available, and waited (im)patiently for it to arrive to Cyprus. Last week, when I held my copy in my hands, I almost couldn’t believe it. And let me tell you this: it’s even better than I imagined!

Sweet designs: bake it, craft it, style it has 375 pages full of inspiration, detailed DIY, recipes and lists of resources. The print quality is absolutely beautiful and every single aspect of its design shows how much care everyone has put on it.

The photography ( by one of my favourite photographers, Johnny Miller) is absolutely stunning (and there are over 300 photographs in it, including detailed shots of each  party, ingredients and tools shots, and of the step by step instructions for the DIY projects).

The book is divided in 15 chapters: an introduction, where Amy shares (in her sweet, familiar voice)  basic recipes and techniques that are used throughout the different dessert tables, as well as plenty of inspiration for styling and displaying food and decorations. And then there are 14 chapters, each dedicated to a different dessert table, one more gorgeous than the previous one.

Each of the main 14 chapters provides details for everything that would be needed to reproduce  Amy’s ideas: lists of resources and where to get them, recipes for all deserts, instructions for DIY (including the gorgeous backdrops) and tips and tricks for styling. But not only that: Amy also shares ideas for introducing variations, including how to achieve similar looks with store-bought items, for example.

If you have fears that the DIYs may be too complicated or expensive or that the recipes may require the kitchen of a pastry chef, you can relax: Everything in the book seems to have been written with someone like you or me in mind: home party planners, and home bakers. Recipes do not even require a stand mixer (Amy says a handheld mixer is ok) and, very importantly, they have been tested by a  recipe tester (which is a person that makes the recipes as anyone would in an average kitchen to make sure that, if one follows the instructions, one can achieve the results portrayed in the book. This is a guarantee that the recipes do work!). If you are curious about the recipes, you can try a few that Amy has shared  in her blog, here and here.

But that is not all: at the end of the book, Amy provides a list of resources, including provider’s  websites, as well as a list of Amy’s favourite shops and sources. In addition, the book also includes a password to download printables and templates for every party, from a special section in  Amy’s blog.

So, if you love beautiful food displays, baking, crafting and celebrating, this is a book for you. I am sure you will enjoy it as much as I do.

Have a lovely day!

 

Note: I did not receive any compensation, in cash or in kind, for writing this review. I bought the book with my own money and what is stated in this post constitutes my own personal opinion about it.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Design by Jessica Sims