18 June 2018

Celebrating Life Cycles with Thatchers Family Reserve.

This really was one of those moments that you'll always remember.

It was September 6th 2017 and my dear friend Scott, had just finished a three year course at Warwick University.

No sooner had him received his certificate than he was packing his rucksack and taking a final look at his bedroom before heading downstairs to a living room full of his closest friends and family. He was about to embark on the most courageous journey of his life. Flying 10,000 miles to another continent, to work and travel for a year in Australia.

It was time to find himself, as the cliché goes, and what better way to do it than to head to the other side of the world all on his own?

11 June 2018

Victoria Sponge Cake - Sweet World.

As you can read here, Victoria Sponge Cake is the theme for the 29th edition of the Sweet World! 29th!! Do you believe it? Amazing!! to say the least!!
Sponge Cake is a cake based on flour (usually wheat flour), sugar, butter and eggs, and is sometimes leavened with baking powder. It has a firm yet well-aerated structure.
In the United Kingdom a sponge cake is produced using the batter method, while in the US, cakes made using the batter method are known as butter or pound cakes. Two common British batter-method sponge cakes are the layered Victoria sponge cake and Madeira cake. The Victorian creation of baking powder by English food manufacturer Alfred Bird in 1843, enabled the sponge to rise higher than cakes made previously.
Cakes made using the foam method are not classed as sponge cakes in the UK; these cakes are classed as foam cakes, which are quite different. These cakes are common in Europe, especially in Italian patisseries. The cake was first invented by the Italian pastry chef Giovan Battista Cabona (called Giobatta), at the court of Spain with his lord, the Genoese marquis Domenico Pallavicini, around the middle of the 16th century.
The sponge cake is thought to be one of the first of the non-yeasted cakes, and the earliest attested sponge cake recipe in English is found in a book by the English poet Gervase Markham, The English Huswife, Containing the Inward and Outward Virtues Which Ought to Be in a Complete Woman (1615).
Though it does not appear in Hannah Glasse's The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy (1747) in the late 18th century, it is found in Lydia Maria Child's The American Frugal Housewife (1832), indicating that sponge cakes had been established in Grenada in the Caribbean by the early 19th century.
Variations on the theme of a cake lifted, partially or wholly, by trapped air in the batter exist in most places where European patisserie has spread, including the Anglo-Jewish "Plava", Italian Génoise, the Portuguese Pão-de-ló, and the possibly ancestral Italian Pan di Spagna ("Spanish bread").
Derivatives of the basic sponge cake idea include the American chiffon cake and the Latin American Tres Leches Cake.

27 May 2018

Sweet World Round Up - Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake) / Bolo Picada de Abelha.

Two days late and for that, my sincere apologies! here it is, finally, the round up of our 28th edition of the Sweet World.
This month, we asked you to make a Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake). In case you've missed it, you can check the recipe I've presented in this post.
I'm very happy and proud with the the gorgeous cakes presented and so, a big Thank you to everyone that have made a Bee Sting Cake and enjoyed, not just making, but also tasting it.
Meanwhile, don't forget to check here, the theme for our 29th edition!

Dois dias atrasado, facto pelo qual peço desde já milhões de desculpas, cá está finalmente o Round Up deste mês.
Bee Sting Cake ou Bolo Picada de Abelha, foi o tema lançado para a 28ª edição do nosso Sweet World!
Os bolos apresentados são todos lindos e assim sendo, só me resta agradecer muito a todos os que fizeram e apreciaram esta especialidade alemã.
Obrigada a todas!!
Aqui ficam então os lindos Bee Sting Cakes deste mês e, já sabem, caso queiram participar na 29ª edição do Sweet World, o tema já está apresentado aqui, no blog da Susana!

20 April 2018

Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake) / Bolo Picada de Abelha.

Bienenstich - Bee Sting Cake is the theme for this month and the 28th edition of the Sweet World!
Bienenstich or Bee Sting Cake is a German dessert made of a sweet yeast dough with a baked-on topping of caramelized almonds and filled with a vanilla custard, buttercream or cream.
There are many stories surrounding its rather unusual name.
One story is about two royal pastry chefs who stole honey from a beehive on the banks of the Rhine in 1474, to bake a special cake for their king. The Bee Sting Cake was the result - possibly thus named on account of the numerous stings they were subjected to.
According to another story, the cake may have earned its name from its honey topping. Apparently, a bee was attracted to it, and the baker who invented the cake was stung.
Another source cites a legend of German bakers from the 15th century who lobbed beehives at raiders from a neighboring village, successfully repelling them, and celebrated later by baking a version of this cake named after their efforts.
Stories and legends might differ on its origins but, they all agree on how delicious is this fabulous cake.
Want to make a Bee Sting Cake?

18 April 2018

Hazelnut & Chocolate Dacquoise / Dacquoise de Avelãs e Chocolate.

Originating in the south of France, dacquoise is a meringue made with very finely chopped nuts folded into the mixture before baking.
This dessert is named after the residents of Dax, a town in southwestern France, and is also occasionally referred to as Palois in reference to the residents of Pau, a neighboring town.
The nutty meringue is piped or spread into shapes (often round discs) and baked until crisp in a low temperature oven.
The dacquoise discs are then often layered with buttercream, sweetened whipped cream or ice cream to create a complete cake.
A popular version is the classic French marjolaine - long, rectangular layers of almond or hazelnut dacquoise interspersed with chocolate or praline buttercream.
While cakes featuring dacquoise may have their own names, they can also be referred to as dacquoise. The term dacquoise can be used to describe a myriad of desserts. Technically dacqoise is the meringue-like layer employed in cake creations but, over the years it has become common to refer to not just the layer but the entire cake as “dacquoise”, giving the term an expanded meaning.
The recipe I'm presenting today is from the fantastic book "Bake Off - Crème de la Crème" by Martin Chiffers & Emma Marsden.
The Dacquoise discs are filled with a layer of chocolate crémeux and dollops of an homemade, mixed berry compote, will give it the necessary sharpness to cut through the richness of the chocolate.
It's a very rich and indulgent dessert and perfect for chocolate lovers!

28 March 2018

Bubbie Smigel Cake with Mocha Frosting / Bolo Mármore com cobertura de Chocolate e Café.

This month for the Rainydaybites Cookbook Clubwe are cooking from the gorgeous Kerry Diamond and Claudia Wu, Cherry Bombe Cookbook .
A book full of recipes and stories from 100 of the most creative and inspiring women in food.
This cake was the second and last recipe challenge of the month and, as Marta "ingredient of the month" is Chocolate, I thought it would be a great idea to post the recipe and share it with you all.
I love the texture and moisture of cakes with soured cream and this cake, though it seems like a simple marbled cake, it's a marbled cake taken to the next level and it was a hit here at home.
This recipe is a treasured family recipe from Karen Leibowitz, the San Francisco based writer and restaurateur behind The Perenial and the original Mission Chinese Food.

25 March 2018

Sweet World Round Up - Mirror Glaze Cake / Bolo Espelho.

26th edition of the Sweet World and we asked you to make a Mirror Glaze Cake!
In case you've missed it, you can check the recipe I've presented in this post.
This month, only 3 of us add the courage or time, to make this challenging cake but, saying that, I'm very happy and proud with the ones that made it.
Thank you so much Marta and Elsa! Your cakes are gorgeous and I'm very happy with your efforts!!
Meanwhile, don't forget to check here, the theme for our 27th edition!

Bolo Espelho foi o tema lançado para a 26ª edição do nosso Sweet World!
Só 3 pessoas (incluindo eu), tiveram coragem, saúde, ou tempo para o fazer mas, dito isto, fico muito feliz com as participações apresentadas e só me resta agradecer muito e muito, tanto à Marta, como à Elsa, pelos lindos Bolos Espelho que apresentaram e por não me terem deixado sózinha este mês (lol).
Obrigada meninas lindas!!
Aqui ficam então os lindos Espelhos deste mês e, já sabem, caso queiram participar na 27ª edição do Sweet World, o tema já está apresentado aqui, no blog da Susana!

16 March 2018

Fried Dover Soles with Capers, Olives and Sun-dried Tomatoes / Solha frita, com molho de Alcaparras, Azeitonas e Tomates Secos.

Helen is doing a fabulous job on promoting this gorgeous historic town where we live. Linlithgow!
This week is all about food and drink and promoting all our lovely shops, cafes, restaurants, etc.
To celebrate Linlithgow food and drink week, I decided to be part of it and after meeting with lovely Helen in one of our most gorgeous cafes in linlithgow, the Granary Cafe, we agreed that I'd be posting a recipe promoting our local shops.
When I saw these Dover soles in our local fish shop, I couldn't resist them.
Shallow fried and topped with Mediterranean flavours, these soles are a great delicatessen and a delightful treat.
The recipe is from Bart Van Olphen, Bart's Fish Tales book and was marked down to be tried for a long time now. It's absolutely as I thought it would be: Exquisite!
The sun-dried tomatoes and capers were bought at our local healthy shop, Complete Health. A shop that I truly adore and where you can find everything healthy and organic. The owner, Gail, is so kind, adorable and thoughtful. Honestly, is one of my favourite shops in town and it's always a pleasure to go there.
Now for the recipe...

23 February 2018

Nina Olsson Jerusalem Artichokes Soup / A sopa de Girassol Batateiro da Nina Olsson.

Creamy velvety soup with Jerusalem artichokes that, as you know, I truly adore.
If you have a look under the "Jerusalem artichokes" label, you'll find a good amount of, not just soups featuring this amazing ingredient, but also a few other more "chefy" delicious recipes.
Actually, this was the 3rd time I've made this soup recipe and what I love about it is the addition of the Prosecco, which gives it a very interesting and delicious depth of flavour.
The recipe is from Nina Olsson "Bowls of Goodness" fabulous book and this time, I've decided to share it with you all.
Hope you enjoy it!

20 February 2018

Cherry Berry Mousse Cake / Bolo Espelho de Mousse de Chocolate, Cerejas Cristalizadas e Framboesas.

Mirror Glaze Cake is the theme for this month and for the 26th edition of the Sweet World!
What is a Mirror Glaze Cake?
I couldn't find much more information other than the fact that, a mirror glaze, is a white chocolate glaze made with gelatin that is poured over cakes - usually mousse or other soft molded desserts - to give them an ultra-shiny appearance, like the surface of a mirror.
I've made one once (you can see the recipe here) for Ana and for our Great Bake Off. Actually, Ana herself has a few delightful recipes for mirror glaze on her blog if you want to check them here, here and here.
Want to make a Mirror Glaze Cake?

14 February 2018

Deer Hooves / Patas de Veado.

Do you know why almost all of our Portuguese sweets features egg yolks?
Many of the recipes for the nation’s favourite sweet treats originated in Portugal’s convents and monasteries.
Eggs, especially the yolks, are heavily featured in our Portuguese sweets.
Legend tells us that the nuns starched their laundry with egg whites and so, they had to come up with a use for all the excess yolks.
Egg yolks, along with plenty of sugar and, depending on the region, local produce will be incorporated into our sweets. Almonds, beans, cheese or chestnuts are just a few examples.
Don't get me wrong! I love our Portuguese sweets but... Lord!!!
Do they make you feel naughty after eating them? Trust me! They do but!!! nonetheless, they're absolutely delicious and amazing!!
The recipe I'm leaving you today is called "Patas de Veado" or Deer Hooves!
Its name has nothing to do with the deer itself but only because of it's shape and the way they are cut and decorated.
Although it might look intricate, it's not!
It's a simple "kind of" sponge roulade, filled and topped with a creamy egg yolk curd, rolled in shredded coconut and at the end, decorated with a fine line of ground cinnamon.
Though they're very simple to make, this was the first time I've ever made them, and! I had to make them twice! YES!! sometimes, the simplest things are the most challenging ones and this was the case...
I have very cherished childhood memories about these cakes so, they had to meet the standards of my memories.
Though I've never been a sweet tooth person, the only sweet treat I'd crave and eat with pleasure as a child, teenager or young adult, would be this one!
There's a tea room and Patisserie shop in the North of Portugal, Pastelaria Gomes in Vila Real, where they make "Patas de Veado" at such a high standard that, honestly! I've never liked any of the ones I've tried apart from the ones they make there!
If you ever visit Vila Real, in the North of Portugal, go to Pastelaria Gomes and try one of their Patas de Veado and also their "signature pies" which are called Covilhetes (a kind of a meat pie that is absolutely to die for).
The recipe I'm leaving you today is from Rita Nascimento book, "Uma Pastelaria em Casa".

1 February 2018

Lemon Coconut Panna Cotta with Blood Orange / Panna Cotta de Limão e Coco, com Laranja Sanguínea.

Here it is, another absolute stunner recipe, from Rita Serano FABULOUS, FABULOUS book "Vegan in 7", from which I've already shared this soup and this salad and a book from! honestly? I can't stop cooking. I might be turning vegan and not assuming it yet (lol)...
I love lemon as you all know and coconut is another ingredient that I totally adore so, this panna cotta couldn't go unnoticed!
Let me tell you...
This Panna Cotta is Masterchef worthy!
It has just the perfect wobble and its texture and flavours are amazing!!
I added a few grinds of vanilla powder to my panna cotta just because, as you know, "vanilla" is my first surname and, as blood oranges are now in season, I've topped my panna cotta with segmented blood orange but, feel free to top it with any oranges variety you like or even with any other seasonal fruit.
As oranges are Marta's "ingredient of the month", this is my last post for Marta and her January table.