Saturday, February 1, 2014

The perfect chocolate cake

I was just thinking when was the last time that I've blogged something and I see that it was in November, that's is much too long. Of course that time I have been cooking and baking a lot, but I have been much to busy to write in my blog and that is not good. I need to start having a good routine again and not forget to update every now and then.

Well there is no better way to engage that to post the perfect chocolate cake. This one is based in a recipe from Annabel Langbein but I gave my own twist, and my god what a perfect cake is!
Ingredients and bakeware you need:
  • 2 x 20 cm round deep baking tins, greased and the base cover in baking paper.
  • 450 gr. self rising flour
  • 450 gr. caster sugar
  • 65 gr. cacao powder
  • 1 and half teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 200 gr. butter, a bit soft
  • 250 ml. milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 250 ml. boiling coffee
  • Mascarpone
  • Raspberry jam
  • Fresh raspberries
  • Chocolate ganache, made with 250 ml double cream and 250 gr. dark chocolate
Add into a large bowl the flour , sugar, cacao, vanilla, soda, butter, milk, eggs and coffee. If you have a mixer will be easier, so mix well all ingredients until you have one color. Divide the mixture into the 2 baking tins, make sure is smooth. Then bake for about 1 hour in a 160 degrees preheated oven. Allowed to cool completely in the tin. 

Once is cool take them out of the tin. In one of the cakes using a knife make a layer with the mascarpone and after that a layer with the jam, put the other cake on top and then you can prepare the ganache to poor on top.

To make the ganache, cook the double cream until very hot, but not boiling, take out of the fire and then add the chopped chocolate. Stir until smooth and creamy, once ready, wait about 5 minutes before poring into the cake. Decorate with the raspberries.

Of course you could use other fruit like strawberries, whatever you have at home. With a cappuccino or a cup of tea you have the perfect afternoon treat! Enjoy!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Cupcakes with chocolate

Last weekend I did again some baking, oh the weekends are fantastic for those things ;-) On Sunday I made two batches of kruidnoten, you can read how to make them in my previous post. But on Saturday I made cupcakes with chocolate for all tastes, just mixing things here and there, with ingredients I had at home, they were absolutely delicious!

To make 12 cupcakes you need:
  • 200 gr. flour
  • 220 gr. caster sugar
  • 7 gr. baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 180 ml. milk
  • 60 ml. sunflower oil
  • 1 table spoon vanilla extract
  • About 70 gr. pure chocolate (chopped)
Sieve the flour in a bowl and mix with all the dry ingredients, except the chocolate.In another bowl mix the egg, milk, oil and vanilla. Then put all ingredients into one and mix again, only this time with a mixer, the last 10 seconds use the mixer at maximum speed. At last scoop the chopped chocolate and divide the dough into the cupcakes cases. Bake in a 180 degrees preheated oven for about 25 minutes, until gold.
For the topping I had as ingredients
  • 150 gr. butter at room temperature
  • 140 gr. icing sugar
  • 10 gr. cacao powder
  • Some chopped white chocolate
Put the butter, icing sugar and cacao in a bowl and mix, with the mixer, until soft and creamy. Then pipe the butter cream on top of the cupcakes, sprinkle with the white chocolate.

Enjoy with a capuccino or a hot chocolate, kids will love it!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pepernoten or Kruidnoten

Saint Nicolas is approaching and in The Netherlands is big party specially for kids. Of course with those celebrations belong also special sweets, in this case what they call "pepernoten" or "kuidnoten". I always say pepernoten but a Dutch friend point out that actually they are "kuidnoten". In any case they are nice, easy and fun to make, specially if you do that together with children. So last Saturday I made together with my daughter, for the first time in my life, "pepernoten" and they taste fantastic. It was fun as well, so that coming weekend we are planning to do another batch!

Ingredients you need for about 500 gr. "pepernoten":
  • 250 gr. self-rising flour
  • 100 gr. butter
  • 125 gr. bruin sugar
  • 50 ml. milk
  • 1 and half tablespoon speculaas spices 
  • A pinch of salt
Using a mixer, that will make easier, mix the butter until creamy and soft. Then add all the other ingredients to the butter and scoop all together until is well mix, it is actually better if you do this by hand.

Once the dough is ready make small balls, really small (mine were a bit too big actually), don't be afraid of small size, they will rise. Then put them in baking tray that is prepare with baking paper, after that using your finger push a bit the balls, that way they will look like a button.

Bake for about 15 minutes in a 170 degrees preheated oven. Allow to cold down, about another 15 minutes, that way they will get a hard an nice. You can keep them for about a week in an air tight box.


Monday, November 4, 2013


It has been quite a long time since I wrote something in my blog. What is the excuse this time? Well shortage of time, long working days, weekends busy, holidays, … a lot going on. Also a lack of original recipes and ideas.

Finally this weekend I came up with a good idea, Panellets. This is typical Catalan sweet that you normally eat on November 1st, the day of “All Saints”. It is not very well known outside Catalonia and this is really a pity because they are actually very good, easy and tasty.

My recipe to make 30 Panellets, ingredients for the base dough: 
  • 250 gr. Very fine ground almonds
  • 200 gr. Caster sugar
  • 150 gr. Potatoes’ or Sweet potato
  • Zest of ½ lemon

Clean the potatoes and boil them with skin until they are soft, drain well and peal them, then make puree and allow to cool down completely. After that add the sugar, almond and lemon zest, using a fork mix well but not too long otherwise it will too soft and will not cook well. Before you start making the Panellets you will need to stove your hands with flour.

With this base you can make different kind of Panellets, I made 3, 10 each, with pine nuts, with almonds and last one with coconut.

The ones with pine nuts, you need about 70 gr. pine nuts and 1 egg, split yolk and white egg. Take pieces of the dough and make small balls, soak them into the white egg and then sprinkle all around with the pine nuts. Put in a greased baking tray and paint the top part with the yolk.

Then we have the one with almonds, you need about 80 gr chopped almonds and 1 egg, split yolk and white egg. You prepare exactly the same as the ones with pine nuts.

With the rest of the dought you make the ones with Coco, here you need 60 gr. of grated coconut and white egg. Take about 2/3 of the coconut and mix with the dough using a fork. Once is well mixed, make balls and give them a pyramid form, sprinkle the top part with the rest of the coconut and a bit of flour at the bottom. Paint the top part of the pyramids with the white egg.

Once all Panellets are in the baking tray, bake in a 225 degrees preheated oven for about 9 minutes, until nice and golden.

They are delicious with a glass of muscatel (sweet wine). Enjoy!

If you actually made them, let me know, I am very curious about your results!!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Blackberry muffins and jam

In September is the perfect season for wild blackberries, so my husband and my daughter decided to go to pick up some, I gave them a couple of small plastic boxes. Well the came back with almost 2 kilo blackberries ... so dilemma, what do I do with so many? Solution cakes and jam.

First I prepared 12 muffins filled in with blackberries and decorated with a blackberry topping. With the rest I made 5 pots of jam, thats a good use of the fruit.

Ingredients for 12 normal size muffins or cupcakes, how you prefer to call them:

  • 200 gr. flour
  • 230 gr. caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 180 ml. sunflower oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 130 ml. fruit juice (I had multi fruit at home)
  • 130 gr. blackberries in small pieces
In 1 bowl mix the flour and baking powder (sieve), add then the sugar and the salt and with a fork mix slowly. In a second bowl mix the eggs, fruit juice, oil and vanilla, the best is to use a mixing machine. Then add to this second bowl the mixed flour, using the mixer, mix until a nice smooth dough. When ready add the blackberries. Divided in the 12 muffins cases and bake in a 180 degrees preheated oven in about 25 minutes.

You can eat them like that or you could also make some topping, that's what I did. For this just mix again in a mixer, about 100 gr. cream cheese, 100 gr. icing sugar, 100 gr. butter. When you get a nice smooth cream, you can add some blackberry puree to give a bit of extra color.

With the rest I made jam, if you buy jelly sugar, just follow the instructions for the proportions, there is nothing better like self made jam.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Italian meatballs

I am not sure how I can actually call this recipe, I took the idea from Nigella, but I put my own twist with some extra vegetables. In my garden is now everything growing, in the beginning of the week I could pick a small courgette, small red pepper and a nice aubergine. So I thought, I should do something where I can put all the ingredients in once and then I found this idea. I made enough for 6 people, actually in that case we can eat 2 times, safe time for other days.

So what do you need for 6 people:

  • 500 gr chipolata sausages
  • 3 or 4 garlic cloves
  • 5 spring onions
  • 1 small aubergine
  • 1 small red pepper
  • 1 small courgette
  • 3 pot chopped tomatoes
  • 4 laurier leafs
  • 70 ml white wine
  • Dried oregano
  • Fresh parsley
To start you need to take out the skin of the sausages and with the meat make small balls of the size of a  cherry tomato, more or less. 

Then cut all the vegetables, the spring onions in small rings the rest in small dices. In a big pan and in olive oil bake the red pepper, aubergine and courgette for about 10 minutes. Take them out of the pan, put a side in a plate. Now bake the meatballs until they are golden, the last minute add the garlic. After that add the spring onions and the oregano, about 1 table spoon. Stir well and then add the wine and the tomatoes with half glass water. When starts cooking add the already baked vegetables, some pepper and maybe more oregano if you like. Let it cook slowly for about 30 minutes, until the sauce is a bit thicker.

Serve with rice or pasta or couscous, whatever you prefer, finalize with chopped parsley. Perfect with some bread and a fresh salad, and of course a good red wine.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Penne with pancetta and tomatoes

When you have a busy day, but still you want to eat good and is of course nice and sunny outside, there is nothing better than a salad or like this a simple pasta. For this pasta I use my own tomatoes, they are now getting beautiful red in my garden, so I have a lot of them and this is the best way to eat them, after a salad of course.

What you need for 3 people, my daughter eats now almost like a grown up ...

  • 1 chili pepper
  • 100 gr. good quality pancetta (very thin)
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 600 gr tomatoes
  • 275 gr penne
  • Parmesan cheese 

Cut the chili pepper in small rings, if don't like very spice then make sure you clean the seeds. Chop the tomatoes in dices.

In a pan heat some olive oil, then bake the pancetta with the chili and the onions, until all is nice golden. Add the tomatoes, some pepper, salt and one table spoon sugar, let it cook slowly for about 30 minutes, stir every now and then.

Cook the pasta following the instructions on the package. Serve with the sauce, grated parmesan and a bit of dried or fresh basil. Perfect for the summer days!