20 February 2017

Sweet World Challenge and the Battenberg Cake / Bolo Battenberg e o Sweet World.

It's Sweet World Day and this month, for our 14th edition, we decided (Susana and myself of course...), to ask you to make a Battenberg cake!
Is it a difficult cake to make?
Honestly? No! 
Is it good? Depends on which recipe you follow. This one was to die for. Sensational!! 
But... What is a Battenberg? 
According to my researches, the most common story is that it was an English creation to celebrate Queen Victoria’s granddaughter’s marriage. 
In 1884 Princess Victoria married Prince Louis of Battenburg and this cake represents the uniting of England and Germany. 
Marzipan is a favourite in Germany and the Battenberg cake is named after a town in Hesse. 
It encases light sponges, which suit British palettes and it is thought to be a fusion of the particular tastes of the two countries. 
Because marzipan was fairly expensive at the time, encasing the cake in it elevated the treat to a level of indulgence, while at the same time, a slice of it went very well with one of Britain’s favourite pleasures, a cup of tea. 
However, this is an unconfirmed theory and nobody knows the exact way the Battenberg was made. Similar cakes to the Battenberg also exist, such as the domino cake, church window cake and Neapolitan roll. 
There is also dispute over how many squares of cake make up a Battenberg. Some cakes call for nine squares in the checkerboard, others call for four. 
Some say the four sections represent the Prince’s of Battenberg. Louis, as mentioned above, along with his brothers Alexander, Franz-Joseph and Henry. 
This theory falls apart as some traditional Battenberg cakes have more sections but the thing is, no matter the amount of sections, it is indeed a very delicious cake that I'd never made until now and that was a real delight. At least, this Luis Troyano version which has a Persian twist. 
As you might be guessing by now, the Battenberg Cake recipe I'm leaving you today is from Luis Troyano "Bake it Great" gorgeous cook book and I'm very pleased with the final result! 
In case you don't know, Luis Troyano was one of the 2014 Great British Bake Off finalists and I'm a Great British Bake Off addicted...

17 February 2017

Poached rhubarb with vanilla and blood orange / Ruibarbo com baunilha e laranja sanguínea.

A simple suggestion with the best that February has to offer.
For Marta and her ingredient of the month, which is precisely the vanilla, I prepared this very easy and simple suggestion.
I don't even call it a recipe because it really is only a suggestion! A simple but delicious suggestion!

14 February 2017

Saint Mark / São Marcos.

As you can read here, the theme for the 13th edition of the Sweet World is to create a Saint Mark Cake.
A Saint Mark is a layered dessert that features two layers of genoise sponge, one layer of a Chantilly cream mixture and a layer of an egg yolk creamy kind of curd.
There are different versions of this pudding, some of which include a layer of chocolate sauce or, versions like the one I followed that are finished with a layer of liquid caramel.
This cake is sold in all "old fashion" Patisseries in Portugal and I part of my childhood. So much, that I always thought it was a Portuguese cake.
It's made in big rectangular trays, cut into individual squares and sold wrapped in baking paper.
According to the research I did, the only accurate information I found was that it's a Spanish cake, from the Castile-Leon region.
Apparently this dessert was created in honour of the Monastery and Convent of Saint Mark. The date and name of its creator are unknown.
This was the first time I've made a Saint Mark and I followed this recipe.
Did I like it? YES!
Did I fall in love with it? NO!
The ones that ate it (family and friends), loved it so..., I suppose it's a matter of taste!

12 February 2017

Hidden heart Chocolate Loaf / Bolo de Chocolate com coração escondido.

As I wrote last year, we don't celebrate Valentine's Day here at home but, all at the same, I like to leave suggestions for those who celebrate and that's why last year I made a cake very similar to the one I'm leaving you today. Nothing special, just a sweet treat to surprise your person on Valentine's Day.
Happy Valentine's Day to all of you and hope you enjoy the sweet hidden heart cake.

10 February 2017

Scallops, Chorizo and Rocket / Vieiras, Chouriço e Rúcula.

Scallops, chorizo and rocket!
A fabulous combination of flavours and textures, easy to put together and so, so delicious!!
A combination that one day, I put together by accident and that turned out being amazing and a staple in our household.
I'm sharing this suggestion with you all today (with a more refined presentation than the one we use to have at home), just because I think it's a very special combination and "THE" perfect Valentine's Day starter to share with your person.

8 February 2017

Blood Orange Roast Chicken / Frango Assado com Laranja Sanguínea.

Today I'm sharing this fabulous recipe with you all.
Blood oranges are in season now and at its best so, we have to use them as much as we can and you know, I love blood oranges and here on the blog, under the "blood orange" label, you can find a fair amount of blood orange suggestions.
As for this recipe, If you can't find blood oranges, you can use Navel oranges.
Remember that in this post I wrote that I would tell you more about Eva Flores "Adventures in Chicken" book in another post? Well, this is the post!
Everybody knows Eva Flores and her fabulous work and blog Adventures in Cooking right? So, no need for introductions!
Eva Flores book is, as I expected, an absolute delight. Recipes and photos that are to die for!! Actually, I can't ever think about Eva Flores without thinking and relating Eva and Mónica Pinto, as I find their work so similar, great and gorgeous...
Eva Flores first book is all about chicken. Chicken in many ways and with many flavours...
I've already made a lot of recipes from the book and some are in the queue to be published and others, I'll have to repeat them because (as I told you here, I lost the photos in the PC that broke).
Of course you might be thinking that there's nothing special about a book full of chicken recipes, but actually there is! and what makes Eva's chicken recipes different from another dozen of chicken recipe books?
I tell you what! What makes them different is that all the chicken recipes are delicious and specially the roast chicken ones! The chicken is always flavourful, moist and super delicious!! Chicken breasts, that were something that were always leftover here at home, are now being battled to be the first to be eaten. Why? Because as I said, they're moist and delicious and they're not dry and boring!
Now, you might be wondering what's the secret for those juicy and tasteful chicken breasts but for me, there's no secret!
Remember this post? This Donna Hay recipe? Well, the secret is the same, which is: Brining the chicken and, of course, a good free range bird...!
I knew that already, because in his book "In Search of Perfection" and about brining a chicken, Heston Blumenthal wrote: "Brining is a great way of tenderising the flesh and helping it to stay moist at the same time. The salt alters the proteins in such a way that they old on to moisture more effectively. The result is a much juicier chicken".
Actually and as I also wrote here, before I read this Donna Hay recipe and all the Eva Flores chicken recipes that I tried,  the best roasted turkey I ever made or tasted, was precisely a Donna Hay brined turkey and that's the only one I now make every Christmas!
Just try brining your bird before you roast it and you'll see. There's no coming back! Let's go for the recipe then!

31 January 2017

Chocolate Mirror Glaze cake with Chocolate and Raspberry Mousse / Bolo Espelho de Chocolate com Mousse de Chocolate e Framboesas.

For January and Our Great Bake Off, Ana challenged us to make a mirror glaze cake.
After checking many recipes, I decided to make this one, from Kirsten Tibballs and her gorgeous Chocolate book.
A perfect cake, full of textures and flavours, that put big smiles on the faces of the ones that tried it!
Of course my decoration is a simplified version of Kirsten's fabulous honeycomb decoration but that was my decision to decorate it with fruit, instead of the very sophisticated decoration presented in the book.
The photos are not perfect either as the light was very erratic that day... You know... When you want things to be perfect and "nature" is against you... :(...
I have to confess that I have never made a mirror glazed cake before and I was a bit scared but actually, apart from a few hiccups (my fault), it went pretty well.
It's not perfect and perfectly smooth, because I made a mistake with the glaze.
I cooled the glaze to much and it set very quickly before I could cover the cake completely so, I had to scrap it off (which created rough surface over and around the cake) and I had to remake the glaze once again.

30 January 2017

"Ovis Mollis" (Soft Eggs) and Tangerine Cookies / Biscoitos de Tangerina e "Ovos Moles".

Who would have thought of making cookies with hard boiled egg yolks?
I never heard of such a ting, until I bought Melissa Forti fabulous book, The Italian Baker!
This book is to die for! Italian classics with a twist and everything looks so amazing and delicious that I just want to bake everything from it and I love when a book makes me feel like that because, that means that is was worthy the money I spent on buying it!
This recipe is slightly adapted from the book, because I wanted to incorporate the tangerine in it.
Of course I wanted this recipe to be part of Marta's January table and part of her "ingredient of the month", which is precisely, the tangerine!
Saying that, I'm leaving you the original recipe, with my adaptations highlighted in between ().

28 January 2017

Roast Chicken and Quinoa Salad with Tangerines and Pomegranate / Salada de Frango assado e Quinoa, com Tangerinas e Romã.

Another fabulous recipe for Marta and her "ingredient of the month" - January, the month of Tangerines!!
This recipe is slightly adapted from a book that I adore to bits! Eva Kosmas Flores "Adentures in Chicken" cook book!
A book from which I already cooked lots of recipes but, unfortunately, I can't share them with you straight away as all the photos are in the PC that broke and therefore, lost...
Of course, I'll make them again to share with you, because they're all so delicious that it will be a real pleasure to taste all those flavour combinations again but, until then, I'm sharing this one. A salad, that I slightly adapted by using quinoa instead of bulgur wheat but that was, at the same, absolutely delicious!
About the book, I'll give you more details in another post because there's some fabulous things to say about it and I want to talk about it with you, but in a different post. For now, here is the recipe for this amazing salad that I really think should have a place on Marta's January table.

26 January 2017

Tangerine shortbread / Shortbread de tangerina.

Last month I couldn't prepare a recipe for Marta and I felt very sad about it because you know, I love #martaingredientofthemonth :)).
This month, I hope I can compensate Marta and, hopefully, I'll post 3 recipes being this shortbread the first one.
Super easy and quick to prepare, I don't have to tell you how delicious this shortbread is but, if you want to try it yourselves, please don't be shy as you're in for a huge treat.

25 January 2017

Medovik Cake - Sweet World - 12th edition Round Up / Medovik Cake e o Round Up da 12ª edição do Sweet World.

Here is the round up for the 12th edition of our Sweet World!!
As you can read here the challenge was to make a Russian Medovik Cake and as always, we couldn't be happier with the results! I think that even the Empress Elizabeth would be proud...
Thank you to everyone that took time to participate.
Meanwhile, the theme for the 13th edition of the Sweet World, is already on Susana's blog and it is a very interesting one.

Como podem constatar pelo desfile que se segue, o empenho dos participantes foi fabuloso e acho que a Imperatriz Elizabeth ficaria muito orgulhosa deste desfile.
Aqui fica então o lindo round up e o nosso sincero agradecimento a todos os que se esmeraram, não só para este desfile, mas para os desfiles de 12 meses (sim, 1 ano) de Sweet World!! Enchem-nos o coração!!
E como o tempo não pára, já está lançado o tema do 1º mês do segundo ano de Sweet World!! Não se esqueçam de ver no blogue da Susana o tema para a 13ª ediçãoque, confesso, estou super entusiasmada para fazer, pois é uma daquelas maravilhas que nunca fiz...!!!

10 January 2017

Espresso Granola / Granola de Café.

After all the December excesses, we all need a little food cleansing this month and so, for January and the most needed detox and clean start, I'm leaving you with this delicious and very flavoursome granola.
The recipe is from Donna Hay "Life in Balance" cookbook and the coffee flavour is a very pleasant surprise.