26 Jun 2010

Free e-book on the web!

Check this out!!
Surfing the web I found this free e-cookbook.
It's so cute! and fun, and so appealing... good easy recipes to prepare!


Thank you so much Jules, for this lovely cookbook!
I'm absolutely positive people who read me will love it!

24 Jun 2010

Brownies for the people!!!

Brownies... love them or leave them...
This is what I call an "individual piece" that looks cute and fresh!
Aren't they great?  Easy to prepare and absolutely delicious!!

In this photo you can see how I made them as individual pieces, like "petits-fours". But you may also prepare them the traditional way.
Ok, let's get started.

Ingredients for 12 big square brownies
3 eggs
150 gr. caster sugar
200 gr. of chocolate -the pastry one, 53% cocoa
100 gr. unsalted butter
80 gr. plain flour, bakery purposes only
1 tea spoon of baking powder

First things first: preheat the oven to 180°C. Take a 23 cm. square brownie tin lined (or use the individual silicon molds like showed in the photo above)

Melt chocolate and butter together. Microwave oven is really good, but be careful to start with 3 minutes at 50%; don't try to melt it in 30 sec at 100%, ok? because chocolate will burn and the final result will be awful, a complete disaster.

Then, get your kitchen-aid and whisk the 3 eggs until they become foamy; at that point, add the sugar, little by little as if you were pouring water on a very delicate plant.
Keep whisking until it all becomes a smooth cream, almost white.

Pour the melted choco-butter into the whisked eggs. Mix alltogether, very well, until you get a smooth batter.
Finally add the flour and baking powder. Mix again gently to combine.

That's it. Here you make your choice: adding or not any nuts? it's up to you. Sometimes I don't add any because many children in the family are allergic to them. So, if you like them and you're not allergic to them, add some 50 gr. cut in quarters.

Pour the batter into the tin and bake it for just 12 minutes!

Let cool on a rack and cut it in so many pieces as you wish -12 is good.

Decorate the bownies with icing sugar and that's it! or do as I did: insert half nut on each one before baking.

13 Jun 2010

Pastry.... I love pastry and Paris is the city... and it's freshness...

But be careful..... because not everything that shines is gold!
Rules, imperative rules, to buy pastry wherever you may be:

- Take a good look at the brilliant coat on top of the entremets -cakes- which in pastry we call glaçage
It must be really shiny, like glowing. When the top coat has some spots not that shiny, humm... beware of the freshness.

- if it is about a chocolate glaze, just the same as the glaçage; be careful if you see some little spots which seem fade.

- if it's decorated with fresh fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, this is the very best "thermometer" of freshness! they have to look as if they came out of the bushes 5 minutes ago! Never, ever buy a cake with raspberries that look like my grandmother's skin at 90yrs old! you will notice that the red fruits are a very good indicator of the freshness of the product. If they look fade, forget about the cake!

- any other decorations on cakes -like dissecated oranges, lemons, pinapples... they have to still have some brilliance on the surface. If they look like carved wood, again, forget it.

- if the entremet looks like the Pisa tower -falling apart- don't buy it. It also may look as if the superior layers of the cake are heavier than the base as if they were 1cm wider than the base. So, it's been in the fridge for more than 4 days. Run away from it, as fast as you can.

- if chantilly cream (in a framboisier, for example) has little, tini tiny bubbles on the surface... hummmm.... and it has to look white, not beige...

In pastry we have to apply the same procedures like when we go to the market: e.g.lettuce has to be vibrating, has to show us some exhuberating life; if the leaves are falling down, fade, well... that lettuce deserves a R.I.P moment (let's pray for her soul).

Have a beautiful Sunday!!

10 Jun 2010

FIVE MINUTES CAKE!!! what else can we ask for!!! and delicious!!!!!

When I have nothing to do, I bake. I love baking! as my granny used to say: "don't think about worries, just bake and put a smile on your face!"

Let's get the cake started!

Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Go to your cabinets and find one springform cake tin or a silicone one (I'm sure you've got those at home!).

Take your blender or the processor. Put in the following ingredients in the same order as described below:

. 250 gr. all purpose flour
. 250 gr. sugar (caster is better)
. 1 tea spoon of Baking Powder -love the Royal one!
. 2 tea spoons of vanilla extract -please! the good one! not that artificial flavour!!!
. zest or one orange, non treated is better; otherwise, please use a brush and detergent to rub it.
. 250 gr. soft unsalted butter,
. 5 medium eggs or 4 large ones

Blitz until all the ingredients look smooth. While pulsing, add 6 to 8 large spoons of milk until you find it soft, like with a dropping consistency.

The tip: when you are about to prepare any dough in your processor, always start with the dry ingredientes and finish with the liquid or so (like eggs); it will spare you a lot of trouble if by any reason the casket is not well adjusted and so the flour starts to fly away from the processor. Don´t wanna clean that mess!!!

Now wash and peel one apple (pink lady or granny smith). Cut it into small pieces and add it to the mixture you have just prepared.
Now, pour the mixture into the tin, which you have already buttered. If you have some dried fruit in your fridge, it´ll be a great opportunity to use it: pour it on the surface and spread over 2 spoons of demerara sugar.

Bake for 45 minutes until slightly browned on the surface or until a cake-tester comes out clean.

Let the cake cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then unmould it on a wire rack.
You will see that the dried fruit disappeard from the surface; don´t worry, it´s normal.

Now, when the cake got cold prepare the icing.

. 8 table spoons of icing sugar
. 1or 2 tea spoons of lemon juice (to make it really white)
. warm water, as much as needed

Add warm water to the icing sugar until you have a smooth and kind of thick icing. If you have added too much water, then add another spoon of icing sugar to make it thicker.

Pour over the top of the cake, making circles starting from the very center.

Use a knife or a rubber spatula to make an even surface. You can stick nuts, raisins or whatever pleases you to decorate your cake.

If you don´t want to work with the icing, just pour some icing sugar on it with a sift -like in the photo above. The cake is so good that nobody will miss it at all!!

Enjoy it!!

Need to buy PASTRY ingredients???? Where in Madrid or Paris go to.....

Yes, I know. Sometimes getting the stuff you need is complicated. Especially when you've just moved into town and don't know anything!

Here you will find some good addresses to go and get a view of all that's available to make your lovely creations:

In Madrid,
They sell everything you may need; they speak German too (just in case you don't speak Spanish and you come from Germany).

Are you looking for some latin-american product? this is the place to go. They have this excellent "dulce de leche" that you can't find at the supermarket. Many things, good argentine wines; you have to go and see it for yourself.

In Paris,
Mora is the ultimate paradise for a pastry chef. They have all the gadgets and trays and baking stuff you absolutely need to bake as well as a French chef!
you also can place your request on the website and they send it to almost any country in the world.
One more: they have the full collection of Wilton products! from meringue to icing, etc.

This is what I call, literally, "a little bit of this,  a little bit of that". Are you looking for mustard? They have at great price the mustard I love the most: EDMOND FALLOT , by far the best mustard I ever tried!
Looking for disecated "canneberger"? -cranberries- from Canada? they have it. Looking for gold or silver paper to decorate your dishes or cakes? there they are. Everything related to food, additives, chocolates! they have it. Even the most famous restaurants and Pastry Schools in Paris recommend it.
Gingembre confit, fois gras, mi-cuit, Kusmi tea. Name it! I'm sure they carry the product or they will get it for you.
No, they don't have a website if that's what you're asking for.
Located at 58 Rue Tiquetonne - M° Etienne Marcel, Paris 2°.

Interested in books?
Though Mora and G.Detou have them, take a look at
La Librairie gourmande

Need to decorate your birthday cake?
http://www.artgato.com/ is your place! Artgato has got everything you may need. Transfers, colors, sugar paste, flowers, etc.

If you are an actual cook and you're looking for spices from all over the world, go to La Bovida.
Website: http://www.bovida.com/
Only inconvenient I find, they sell the whole pack, let's say kilos... not grammes, ok? so, buying one kilo of pepper of Cayenne.... maybe sometimes they have special offers but, gotta find them.

Any questions?
leave a comment and I'll reach you asap!
Have a beautiful day!!

Absolutely delicious! cupcakes!!!!!

What about cupcakes?
aren't they great? children love them, and adults as well!!!!

Here I leave you a link for the most beautiful cupcakes

After this, the only thing you have to do is some research and bake!!!

If you speak Spanish, visit my blog where you will find lots of tips&tricks regarding the subject.
And don't forget: baking makes you feel good!!

21 May 2010

Hello there!!!

Well, here I am starting a new blog.
This one's going to be different; some "stuff" rushed into my brain while visiting "L'Alsace" in France and I couldn't help the idea of sharing that 'cloud of thoughts' with you people!

Hope you'll enjoy reading my brainstorming!
See you soon!!!