20 December 2010

Catalan Cream (Crema Catalana- al trencadís de caramel)

Finally, a traditional Catalan dessert: Crema Catalana It is also called crema cremada or crema de Sant Josep.
There is some small differences with the French version, Crème Brûlée, but as far as I know, the French version uses cream instead of milk, and this version is cook in a different way (Bain Marie, water bath).
The traditional presentation of Crema Catalana, looks like this, and you will need a butane torch or the typical way, un cremador.
As I don´t have any of these, I am going to show you another presentation that I found in a webpage called Cuinetes that looks very cool! The recipe is called "Crema Catalana amb trencadís de caramel".

What you need for 4 people:

500 ml whole milk
220 gr sugar
5 egg yolks
1 cinnamon stick
1 lemon zest
20 gr cornflour or starch
1 tsp of vainilla flavour-optional

For the caramel
4 tbsp water
3 tbsp sugar

Let´s start

1.In a bowl, add the egg yolks with the cornflour and a tbsp of milk. Beat it.
2.In a saucepan, add the milk, with the sugar, lemon zest and cinnamon stick. You can also add some vainilla flavour. Mix it.
3. When it starts to boil, remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool down a little bit
4. Add this to the bowl with the egg yols and cornflour and keep beating all the time.
5. Sift this into another bigger saucepan at medium heat and keep beating all the time till it gets thicker. Remove it from the heat when it starts to boil.
6. Pour the catalan cream into different recipients and let it cool down. Then put it in the fridge.
7. Prepare the caramel. In a small saucepan or frying pan, add the sugar and water. When it gets a little bit brown, stir it with a spoon and remove it from the heat. Pour it in a surface with baking paper and put another baking paper on the top. With a rolling pin, make it thinner and regular. Let it cool down and remove the baking paper. Break it or shape it the way you like. Add the caramel before serving it and the Crema is cool down.

You don´t know what to do with the extra whites? Go for a Pavlova

Enjoy / Bon Profit!


Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballet dancer Ánna Pávlova. Colloquially referred to as "pav", it is a cake similar to meringue with a crispy crust and soft, light inner.
The dessert is believed to have been created in honour of the dancer either during or after one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. The nationality of its creator has been a source of argument between the two nations for many years, but formal research indicates New Zealand as the more probable source (that is what wikipedia says...I don´t know!).

Why am I baking a Pavlova? Cause I am just back from Australia!
If you want to have a look to some videos, there are some in youtube to have a rough idea (video 1, video 2)

Want to hear and read this recipe in Catalan? Vols escoltar i llegir la recepta en Català? Go to this post

What you need

For the meringue
5 egg whites
240 gr castor sugar
2 tsp cornflour
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp vainilla extract

For the whipping cream
350 ml of double cream
5 tablespoon castor sugar

+ some fruit as decoration. In my case 4 kiwis, but strawberries and blueberries are very common too.

Comment: vinegar + cornflour can be replaced by a pinch of Cream of Tartar, if you have it. The aim of all these ingredients it to make it crispy outside.

Let´s start

1.Preheat the oven at 140ªC
2.Beat up the whites (previously at room temperature) for a while. Some people add a pinch of salt here. Then slowly add the sugar while beating the egg whites.That is important, take your time adding the sugar. Keep beating all the time. When it is much thicker, add the sifted cornflour, the vainilla extract and the vinegar. Slowly and keep beating....until it holds very stiff peaks.
3.Then grab your meringue and pour it into a tray with baking paper. Shape it the way you like. I like it a little bit tall and round the sides with an spatula.
4. Put it into the oven. Reduce the temperature at 125ºC. For 1 hour and a half.
5. After this time: Switch the oven off BUT keep the cake inside the oven for 15 min. Then open a little bit the door of the oven for 10 more minutes with the cake inside. We want this cake to cool down veeeeery slowly or it is going to collapse.
6. Add the whipping cream (beat the double cream with the castor sugar previously) on the top.
7. Decorate it with fruit. Put it in the fridge.

You don´t know what to do with the extra egg yolks, go for a Crema Catalana

Enjoy/ Bon Profit!

22 November 2010

Baked chermoula salmon with red pepper, lemon and mint couscous ( Xermoula de Salmó acompanyat de couscous amb pebrot vermell, llimona i un toc de menta)

Chermoula is a type of marinade used in some Mediterranean countries in North Africa. This recipe was published in "Delicious Magazine" and I got it through a friend from Denmark....Thank you Trine!
Just with small changes

What you need for 4 people

4 x 175 g pieces of skinned salmon fillet

For the chermoula:
2 small garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp harissa paste or 1/2 tsp minced red chilli
1 pinch of saffron strands
1 tbsp lemon juice
small bunch of fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
small bunch of fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt

For the coucous:
2 red peppers
400 ml fresh chicken stock
275 g couscous
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
15 g butter
finely grated zest of 1 small lemon, plus juice of 1/2 lemon
2tbsp chopped fresh mint

Let´s start

Red peppers in the original recipe were done in the oven, like the escalivada. But I suggest doing it in a frying pan with oil, it is similar taste and less work. Up to you.

1. Preheat the oven to 230ºC
2. Put all the chermoula ingredients into a mini food processor and blend to a smooth paste.
3. Cut the red peppers and fry them in a frying pan with oil (be generous)
4. Line a baking tray with a sheet of baking paper. Season the skinned side of each salmon fillet with salt and pepper and then spread with some of the chermoula. Place chermoula-side down on the baking tray, season once more and spread with the remainng chermoula.
5.Cover the tray tightly with foil and bake the fish in the oven for 12 minutes. Meanwhile, bring the chicken stock to the boil in a medium pan. Stir in the couscous, cover and remove from the heat. Leave for 5 minutes, then uncover and fluff up with a fork. Add the oil and butter and stir over a low heat until heated through. Then stir in the roasted red peppers, lemon zest and juice, shopped mint and plenty of seasoning. Add the red peppers previoulsy fried with some of its oil.
6.Remove the salmon from the oven and discard the foil. Spoon the couscous onto 4 warmed plates and place the salmon alongside. Spoon over the cooking juices from the baking tray and serve.

If you prefer, you can cover each portion of salmon individually with a foil (wrap them) in step 4-5, and you will not need the baking paper.

Enjoy! Bon Profit

06 November 2010

American Cupcakes (Magdalenes americanes)

I love the colors of these cupcakes!. The truth is that is nothing to do with Catalan culture, it is an American recipe, but I don´t know why, here it is kind of trendy to prepare it. It is something new here, and a lot of people  who like to bake like me, are trying it now. Everybody is baking cupcakes!
I went to a cooking course about it a couple of weeks ago, that was organised by Gadgets&Cuina (you can find the recipe in Catalan there). As always, I have adapted it by adding some small changes.

What you need for 6 cupcakes:

For the dough:

80 gr flour
2,5 gr baking powder
pinch of salt
100 gr sugar
50 gr butter
1 egg
60 ml milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
some chopped walnuts

For the topping:

80 gr butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
200 gr icing/confectioneurs sugar
1 teaspoon of milk
food colorant(s)
decoration (like springles, or chopped nuts..)

Let´s start for the dough

1. In a bowl, mix the sugar with the melted butter (20 seconds in the microwave). Whisk it well. Add the vanilla extract and the egg. Whisk it well (Mix 1)
2. In another bowl, mix the flour, the salt, and the baking powder. (Mix 2)
3. Then add half of the mix 2 into the mix 1 and whisk it well.  Add half of the amount of milk. Mix it. Then add the rest of the mix 2 into the mix 1 and remove. Then add the rest of the milk. Mix it again with an spatula.
4. Divide the mix into 6 cupcakes. Use a paper for cupcakes like in the pic and put it inside a mold for cupcakes.
5. Put it into a tray in the oven for about 22 minutes at 180ºC

Let´s continue with the topping:

While it is in the oven we can prepare the topping.
1. In a bowl, mix the melted butter with the vanilla extract with an spatula
2. Then add the icing sugar little by little. Mix it.
3. Add the milk.
4. If you need to add more icing sugar do it here.

If you want different colors in your cupcakes, divide this cream into different portions.
Add the food colorant needed. Just an small amount is needed. 
I did the pink one with a red one, just adding a little bit of colorant.

Let´s put it together

Once the muffins are done, let them cool down completely!
Then decorate the top of them with a piping bag.
Add the extra decoration (sprinkles, nuts...).
Put it in the fridge. 
Removed them from the fridge 15 minutes before eating them.

Enjoy/Bon Profit!

31 October 2010

Panellets (small cakes of marzipan)

Panellets are the traditional dessert of All Saints holiday in Catalonia. Panellets are small cakes or cookies in different shapes, mostly round, made mainly of marzipan (a paste made of almonds and sugar).  There are different shapes and tastes, but pine nuts, coconut, almond are the most common ones. The most popular are the panellets covered with pine nuts, consisting of the panellet basis (i.e. marzipan) rolled in pine nuts and varnished with egg.
This recipe is inspired by the chef Mireia Carbó.

What you need:

For the marzipan:

500 gr ground almond 
500 gr sugar
200 ml water (or half a liquor like limoncello +1/2 water)
one grated lemon rind

+ different ingredients depending on the different tastes

Let´s start:

1.Prepare the marzipan. Grind the sugar. Then mix all the ingredients (use your hands). Add the water and mix it.
2. Let the dough stand overnight wrapped with a plastic film (saran wrap/ clingfilm/..) (or at least 2 hours)
3. Then divide the dough in different portions to prepare different varieties. Up to you. *Follow the instructions below
4. Finish it by introducing the final product in a tray (with baking paper) into the oven preheated at 230ºC for about 2-5 minutes. Put in the lower tray. Check it. Cook each variety individually.

For the pine nuts panellets
marzipan portion
100 g of pine nuts
1 egg

-Divide the portion into smaller portions that will be the final product. Form the dough into balls (same size).
-In a dish whisk the egg. Coat the balls in the egg. Then fill your both hands with a bunch of pine nuts and take one ball and press it till the pine nuts get sticked into the marzipan
-Go to point 4.

For the almond panellets:
100 g of chopped almonds

Follow the same instructions as with the pine nuts panellets but use chopped almonds instead.

For the quince preserve panellets:
Some thick quince preserve
whisked egg

-Use the portion and this time make a roll. Cut the roll with a knive lengthwise and introduce the thick quince preserve cut as a long portion inside (or different long portions one after the other). Close it. Paint it with some egg.
-Go to point 4
-Cut the roll in individual portions when it has completely cool down.

For the candied cherry panellets:
Some candied cherries
1 teaspoon of  Kirsch

-Add the Kirsch into the marzipan
-Divide the portion into different balls. 
-Flatten them.
-Add one cherry in each cake
-Go to point 4

For the coconut panellets:
There are 2 versions here:

Version 1:
50 gr of grated dry coconut

-Mix with your hands some coconut with the marzipan dough
-Divide it into pieces
-Shape all the pieces like a mushroom upside down.
-Add some more coconut (coated)
-Go to point 4

Version 2 (my favourite one)
Here we will not use the marzipan dough

100 gr of grated dry coconut 
100 gr sugar
1 egg

-We mix all the ingredients with your hands. You don´t need to let this stand.
-Divide it into small balls and shape it the way you like.
-Go to point 4.

There are a lot of other different varieties like coffee, chocolate, lemon, ....

Want to prepare the marzipan in a different way?

Try to do it the way of the chef Carme Ruscalleda (marzipan):
In a pan, you mix water (150 ml) and sugar (350 g). It gets over medium heat until it starts to boil and let boil it until it gets a texture of a syrup.
Then dump the grounded almonds (500 g) and stir continuously with the help of a wooden spatula for about 2-5 minutes until the pastry is homogenous and peel off the walls. Let cool it down
Incorporate into an egg white (not whipped), and mix well.
Leave the dough rest in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. (You can let it the whole night until the next day).
Mass is divided into different portions according to the tastes that you want to prepare.

Enjoy/Bon Profit !

10 October 2010

Carrot cake with walnuts and hazelnuts (Pastís de pastanaga amb nous i avellanes)

This is the best cake I have ever baked so far. You will not find this recipe anywhere else because I like to create new ones very often, but of course it is similar to the traditional carrot cake. But this is for me "the carrot cake" recipe. Well, I don´t know how could I improve it anyway. I baked it yesterday because I was invited to a friends´ new house for lunch. That was a great day Tomàs & Núria !
About this recipe: you don´t need to do all of this if you don´t have time. The cake itself is delicious, but of course the extra layer and the icing make it even better.

What you need:

For the cake:
4 eggs
200 gr brown sugar
40 gr vanilla sugar
160 gr sifted flour
16 gr baking powder
3 tablespoons of sugar
3 tablespoons of oil
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
150 gr of greated carrot
1 handful of walnuts and hazelnuts
1 teaspoon of honey
1 pinch of salt
150 gr unsalted butter

For the medium layer:
150 gr carrots (boiled)
70 gr sugar
4 tablespoons of conyac (brandy)
40 gr butter
50 ml double cream

For the icing:
200 gr cream cheese (spread)
30 gr butter (melted)
150 gr double cream
160 gr icing /confectioners sugar

I have used some nuts for decoration and the smile is made of carrot. But it is up to you.

Let´s start

The cake
1.You need to peel and great the carrots (probably you can find it in the supermarket this way, so it safes you    a lot of time). And crush the hazelnuts and walnuts. You don´t need to boil the carrots here.
2.Separate the whites of the eggs and whisk the whites with a pinch of salt.
3. In another recipient put the yellows + the butter (melted) + all types of sugar. Remove.
4. Add flour and the baking powder. All sifted. Add also the cinnamon, 1 tablespoon of oil, and the honey. Remove
5. With an spatula remove it while you add the nuts and the carrots. Add 2 tablespoons of oil. Don´t worry if it is too dry and it is difficult to remove.
6.Add the whites whisked previoulsy. Remove with the spatula.
7.Put it into a recipient with some butter and flour and introduce it into the oven (previously heated) at 180ºC for about half an hour.

The medium layer:
Boiled the carrots and once it is done add the sugar, conyac, butter and cream. Mix it.

The icing:
Melt the butter. In a recipient add the cheese, the butter, the cream (previously whipped) and the sugar. Mix it with an spatula.

Once the cake is done and you have let it cool down,  cut it in half the cake (be very very careful) and add the medium layer. Then add the icing on the top of it with an spatula.

Enjoy/Bon Profit!

03 October 2010

Chocolate Brownie (Brownie de Xocolata)

This is a basic cake with an excellent output. I got the recipe through my sister-in-law Mar. She got that from an excellent book from Mireia Carbó (easy recipes, great results).
I have decided to make some changes, to add some ingredients, to make it look even greater (if it is possible). I am going to post both recipes (the short and original one and my version). Both are great.

A. My own version of Chocolate Brownie

What we need (8 people)

For the brownie:

125 gr chocolate (dessert)
100 gr sugar
30 gr vanilla sugar
80 gr butter
80 gr flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs
1 handful of walnuts
1/2 handful of hazelnuts

For the medium layer:

100 gr chocolate
25 gr butter
2 tablespoons of brandy/ cognac

For the chocolate frosting:

125 gr chocolate
25 gr butter
1 tablespoon of water
1 handful of walnuts
1/2 handful of hazelnuts

Let´s start

The Brownie:
1. Cut the chocolate up into pieces
2. Crush the hazelnuts and the walnuts. Make small pieces
3. Melt the chocolate with the butter in the microwave for about a minute.Stir it.
4. In a recipient, whisk the eggs with the sugar and vanilla sugar. If you don´t have vanilla sugar, you can use 125 gr of sugar (instead of 100 gr sugar) and add some vanilla flavour.
5. Add the melted chocolate and stir it slowly
6. Add the sifted flour and the baking powder.
7. Add the hazelnuts and walnuts previously crushed into the mix.
8. Put it into a recipient (with some butter and flour) and introduce it into the oven for about 20 minutes. Bottom heat. And  then 5 more minutes top/Bottom heat. 170ºC.

The chocolate layer:
Cut the cake in half pieces. Be careful.
1. Melt the chocolate with butter in the microwave for about a minute. Check it and stir it.
2. Add the brandy and stir it.
3. Distribute it with a spoon all over the cake

Chocolate frosting:
1. Crush the hazelnuts and the walnuts. Make small pieces.
2. Melt the chocolate with butter and some water in the microwave for about a minute. Check it and stir it.
3. Distribute the chocolate all over the top and sides of the cake with the right tool. Add the nuts at the top.

Enjoy/Bon Profit

B. Mireia Carbó version

Just brownie:

125 gr chocolate (dessert)
125 gr sugar
100 gr butter
80 gr flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs
1 handful of walnuts or a handful of hazelnuts

Follow the instructions I have explained for the brownie before.

C. Microwave instead of oven:

6 minutes in the microwave (highest potency)
let it cool down inside the microwave for 5 more minutes.
You can do both versions with the microwave.

25 September 2010

Catalan Spinach´s Canneloni (Canelons d´espinacs a la catalana)

Canneloni is a traditional meal when there is something to celebrate. They are very common here the 26th of December, what we called, Sant Esteve. Normally, they are from meat, but spinach´s canneloni are also very common but maybe more common in summer time. Today there is something to celebrate, the Annual Festival of Barcelona (La Mercè). La Mercè is the patron saint (24th of September) of the city.  It lasts different days, and there is plenty of activities such as music concerts, theatre, free museum tickets and so. 
Canneloni were introduced in Catalonia in the XIX century by Italians. Catalan Spinach´s canneloni means that we will use pine nut and raisins. 

What we need for 10 canneloni:

For the canneloni:

350 gr spinach
1 onion
some pine nuts
1/2 clove of garlic
some raisins
black pepper
2 eggs (optional)
emmental grated cheese
unsalted butter
200 gr fried tomatoe sauce
50 ml double cream
provençal herbs (optional)
10 pieces of canneloni

For the Bechamel sauce:

500 ml good milk
4 tablespoons of flour
a pinch of nutmeg

Let´s start

1. Let´s boil the pieces of canneloni for about 15 minutes. Follow the instructions of the manufacturer. Use some oil and remove it from time to time.
2. Boil 2 eggs and cut them in small pieces.
3. Boil the spinachs for 5-8 min minutes. Cool them down with some water. Be sure to remove all the water and cut them.
4. In a frying pan, fry the onion (cut it in very small pieces) and the pine nuts, and when the onion gets a slight brown colour, add the sliced garlic and then the boiled spinachs. Remove.  Then add the double cream, 2 boiled eggs in pieces and the raisins (cut them in half).  Add salt, black pepper, some cinnamon (just a little) and some provençal herbs (a little).
5. When the pasta is done, remove the water and add some cold water. Remove the water.
6. In a non-sticky surface, put the pasta one by one. Distribute the mix of spinachs in these 10 portions. Wrap each of them. and put the open side backwards in a plate with some tomatoe at the bottom.
7. Prepare the bechamel sauce. In a saucepan, put a tablespoon of butter and let it melted.Add the milk and make it boiled. When is it boiling, reduce the fire and add the salt, and some nutmeg. Keep removing it all the time. Then add the sifted flour and beat it well every time between each tablespoon. Beat till it gets the consistency and it is homogenous.
8. Pour the bechamel on the top of the canneloni and add some cheese and butter.
9.Gratin it in the oven for about 5 minutes. Check it carefully.

Enjoy/Bon Profit

23 September 2010


Very popular in the middle east, now you can find it anywhere. Hummus is the taste of the Mediterranean.
As an appetizer or a dip, Hummus is scooped with flatbread (such as Pita).

What you need for 2 people:

200 gr of chickpeas
half clove of garlic
half lemon juice
a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons of tahini (ground sesame seeds paste)
2 teaspoons of paprika
5 cl of water ( a small coffee cup)
parsley or cumin

Let´s start

Just mix all the ingredients in a whisk. Start first with the garlic and lemon juice. Then add the rest of the ingredients except the parsley, oil and the paprika.
Serve it with some oil, paprika and parsley (or cumin) in the top.A little bit cold is better.
Eat it with some flatbread.

Enjoy/ Bon Profit

21 September 2010

Fritter or Culler ( Xurros )

Xurros are made by just deep frying a sweet bread dough. Cheap and old tradition meal here. Normally you eat them with a cup of chocolate. The shape is commonly a strip.

What you need for 2-4 people
1 big glass of flour
1 big glass of water and milk (2/3 water, 1/3 milk)
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of vinegar

you need also some tool to make this long strip shape. If you don´t have anything, you can do some small balls instead.

Let´s start
In a saucepan, boil the milk, water, vinegar and salt. When it is hot, mix it with the flour.
Then put the mix inside the recipient you will do the shape mentioned before. Be careful as they should be or thin strips or small balls, because if they are thick or big, then it is going to be not enough cooked inside and it can be dangerous to fry.
Deep fry them. You can cut them before hand or afterward.
When you have finished, remove the extra oil and add the sugar. Serve them warm.

Enjoy/Bon Profit!

Banana Tatin Tarte/ Tatin de plàtan

Looking for an easy and delicious recipe? This is the one. Tatin tarte normally comes with apple, but this takes even less time and it is as great as the other one.

What you need

60 gr unsalted butter
3 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
orange zest
puff pastry
4 bananas

Have a look at this recipe I found in youtube. It will help you to understand the recipe. I use less sugar but more butter, but it is up to you.

Let´s start

You should use a tray or any other recipient that you could then put inside the oven.
This is an upside down tarte, so we first prepare what it will go into the top of it.
Caramel is the most difficult part, but nothing to worry about, except that you should be a little bit careful not to hurt yourself. For the caramel, put the sugar, the unsalted butter, some orange zest and grounded cinnamon into the tray and cook it. You don´t need to remove it at the beginning (let the butter melt), till it starts to get light brown colour. Then remove it gently, and reduce the power in order to cook it more slowly. Add the bananas (you can cut them in advance the way you like), and let the banana be cooked for 2 minutes. Then add the puff pastry at the top of it, and prick it with a knife.
Then put it in the oven for about 20 minutes 200ºC.
Then find the right surface/recipient to flip it upside down. Be careful. And that is all.
Serve it with some cream or with vanille ice-cream if you feel like.

Enjoy/Bon Profit

15 September 2010

Meringue with Raspberry & thyme custard (Merenga amb crema de Gerds i farigola)

This recipe was done as a collateral output from another recipe in this blog (the Raspberry and thyme custard tart). So have a look at it before starting.

The truth is that the original recipe of the custard from Delicious magazine, the amount of ingredients needed are probably a little bit less in the reality, so I got extra custard. I kept the same amount in the post, so take that into account.

What can I do with the extra custard?
As you will see in the other recipe, there were 6 egg whites left (3 for the custard, and 3 for the pastry) that were not used in the recipe either, so the question was....and now..what I am going to do with these extra whites??!!

So here it come the recipe I am posting here (for 6 people).

Let´s start

With the custard left (about 1/3 of the total initial amount), I baked them for about 25 minutes in individual recipients (6 moulds) in the oven 180ºC. Be careful as they should have some kind of consistency, so be sure to bake it enough for all sides.

While this is in the oven I prepared the meringue.
Just whisk the room temperature whites (6) + a pinch of salt. Whisk them hard till it peaks. Add the sugar ( 270 gr ) and whisk it again until it holds very stiff peaks (better if you use caster sugar).
Depending on the texture you desire (Pavlova like), you can add 1 teaspoon white vinegar +1/2 tablespoon cornstarch (corn flour). Pavlova a crust that is dry and crisp, with a soft marshmallow-like interior.
For a regular meringue texture, this is not necessary

Then put it in 6 individual recipients (similar size as before) into the oven 150ºC for 20 min or till it gets the texture you feel like.

Serve it at room temperature like the pic.

Enjoy/ Bon Profit

Raspberry and thyme custard tart (Tartaleta de gerds i farigola)

This is not a catalan recipe, but thyme is a very common thing here. I learnt this recipe together with Trine, a girl from Denmark that I met in France during these holidays. It was a lovely experience. She got it from the Delicious magazine, but I have made just a few changes.
It tastes delicious, and it is not difficult if you have the right instrument to weigh up the ingredients!
There is another post that use the same filling, that I would like you to read before baking this one, just if you prefer the other way. Have a look.

You will need for 8 people:

2 large eggs + 3 yolks
125 g caster sugar
ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons of cornflour
600 ml double cream
5 fresh thyme sprigs
120 g raspberries, plus extra to garnish

For the pastry:

100g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
3 large egg yolks
200g plain flour
pinch of salt

Let´s start

-Make the pastry. Beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy, then gradually beat in the egg yolks. Add the flour and salt and mix until you can form a dough. Knead briefly, shape into a ball, wrap in cling film and chill for at least 10 minutes.
-Preheat the oven to 200ºC. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to the thickness of a 50 p coin and use to line a deep (3 cm), 23 cm fluted tart tin. Prick the base all over with a fork and line with baking paper. Fill with  rice. Place on a baking sheet and blind-bakein the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the rice and paper and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes until the pastry is lightly golden and crisp.
-Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, some cinnamon and cornflour together in a bowl. In a clean  pan, heat the cream with the thyme sprigs until almost boiling, then pour over the egg mixture. Stir to make a custard
-Reduce the oven temperature to 180C. Strain the custard into the pastry case and sprinkle over some  raspberries. Bake for 30 minutes until lightly set
-Leave to cool slightly, then remove from the tin. Serve warm or at room temperature with a few extra raspberries and some cinnamon.

In the original recipe: You can use vanilla pod with the seeds scraped instead of cinnamon . And you can also put some remaining thyme sprigs before baking it.

Enjoy/ Bon Profit

24 August 2010

Zucchini (Courgette) and Onion Omelet (Truita de Carbassó i Ceba)

Today is about an special and delicious omelet that my grandmother used to make me for lunch. The taste for me is kind of sweet and I like it a lot. I told you about it in another post

What you need for 2 people:
5 eggs
2 zucchinis
1 onion
salt and oil

There are 2 main important points here: 
1. Don´t peel the zucchinis, it tastes much better like this
2. Let them be fried for at least 30 minutes...they should be sooo soft

Let´s start:

Cut the zucchinis in small pieces. Fry them slowly till they are very soft. Be generous with the oil. When they start to be soft, add the onion previously sliced. Let this fry for at least 15 minutes more. We want very soft zucchinis (don´t worry if they break or melt a little bit) and the onion should be cooked enough. Add salt.
While frying, break the eggs and whisk them gently in a big bowl.

Once it is done, add the onion and zucchini in the bowl with the eggs and avoid pouring the oil too. 
Dump the mix in altogether in the frying pan with some oil ( 2 tablespoons of oil).
Then you have to be careful because the omelet easily can get stuck on the frying pan. To avoid it, shake the frying pan once in while. Also it is important to lean the saucepan back and forward while you separate it from the border. Egg will reach homogeneously all the omelet if you do it this way.

Once you think it is done (it takes less than 5 minutes), flip it, and shove it back in the frying pan in order to cook the other side.
And that is all. The most difficult part is flipping it, so for that be sure the frying pan is not very heavy and you have the right dish or lid and it is not slippery. I would recommend to check it beforehad. That is a clue step!

Check the Spanish Omelet post. You will find some pics and further explanations about how to make an omelet.

Enjoy and Bon Profit!

13 August 2010

Tiramisú (Italian Dessert)

It is summertime! I feel like baking and cooking but with temperatures it is very difficult.  So the best thing is just avoid the oven. It is time for going to the beach. My favourites here are Sant Martí d´Empúries or Tamarit, in Catalonia.

Well, about the tiramisu.....I love love love it!. There are more professional recipes than this, but it is difficult to find one that tastes better than this. And the most important thing: this is soooo easy.

What we need for 4-6 people

250 gr Mascarpone cheese (please don´t use any other thing here, Tiramisu recipe is with Mascarpone)
small sponge cake / or 6 sponge fingers/ or 6 muffins (you can buy it or bake it) 
about 150 ml of proper strong espresso coffee - (if you use a Nespresso machine, for a tea cup size use 5 capsules at least).
2 tablespoons of sugar for the mix and 1 teaspoon of sugar for the coffee.
2 eggs
chocolate powder
Amaretto (the traditional recipe) or you can use Baileys too, it tastes great.

Let´s start!

First if you want to do the sponge cake or sponge fingers or muffins, start with it. In my case today as it is very warm here, I just bought it. I don´t want to use the oven today!
Depending on how you want to serve the tiramisu, it will be better a large cake or in my case, it does not matter as I will serve it in individual portions.

Second, start with making the strong coffee, so we will be able to use it when it will cool down.Then add 1 teaspoon of sugar and 2 teaspoons of amaretto or baileys.

Third, separate the whites from the yolks and whisk them hard until peaks. In another recipient mix the yolks with the mascarpone cheese and the sugar. Then we add the whites into this cream very slowly and we stir the cream slowly.

After that, we will use individual transparent recipients to serve it. I like it this way, but it is up to you. This way is very easy, you add a small portion of sponge cake to the bottom of it and press it till it is homogenous. Add some coffe mix (with sugar and liquor) till it is soak. Then you add the cream, creating a layer. Then add another piece of sponge cake, and then the coffee, and finally a generous layer of cream. 
Do it with all the recipients at the same time, so you will realize the amount of cream and coffee that is left.

At the top of it, add the chocolate powder. 

Put in the fridge for at least 8 hours. If you want to it for lunch, do it the night before.

Enjoy! Bon Profit!

14 July 2010

Coca de Iogurt amb Pastanaga i Poma /Yogurt Cake with Carrot and Apple.

I am back from my holidays in Mexico, that is why you have not heard much about me. I love summertime, I was starting to miss these temperatures!
Apart from my holidays there has been a lot of exciting things lately, ...but I am here again.

I wanted to bake something, but the truth is that I did not have much left on the fridge, so it should be something easy to do. And I found a recipe (El kiwi Blau) that reminded me the yogurt cake I used to do when I was younger. It is easy, and it is good. Why do you need more? But yes, I had to do something else, and as I like cakes that are soft and smooth, I have added an extra layer of carrot and apple mix.

What we need:

3 eggs
250 gr flour
16 gr baking powder
125 gr yogurt
150 gr sugar
1 small glass of oil (same size as yogurt)
1 apple

For the filling:

1 apple
4 carrots
5 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of brandy

Preheat the oven 180ºC
Cut the apple in slices. Prepare the mold with some butter and flour.
Whisk the eggs with the sugar. Add the flour with the baking powder (all sifted) and mix it well. Add the yogurt and the oil. Mix it well. Put the mix in the mold. Add the apple in slices on the top. Add a little bit of sugar.
Put the mold in the oven for about 35 minutes, or till you check it is done (with a toothpick)

While it is in the oven, prepare the filling for the cake. Peel the carrots and the other apple and let them boil.
Once they are soft, remove the water and let them at room temperature. Add the sugar and the brandy. Mix it well.

When the cake is out of the oven, let it cool down. We can use a cake cutter to divide the cake in 2 parts.
Add the filling and ensure an even distribution. Join the two parts....and it is done!

Bon Profit! Enjoy!

25 June 2010

Working on the Icing/Frosting thing...

I have been cooking these days, but I have not been as proud of my recipes to publish them. Both were very good in taste but the exact measures of every ingredient should be checked again, as I was deciding it while I was cooking. So, I will let you know when I have the final recipe!. Lately I have kind an obsession with the icing in cakes and cookies. Here in Catalonia there is not a tradition in that, so, I have been checking different recipes in the web, but I have not find the one I like enough. I have found different interesting webs, like Karen´s cookies, that helped a lot though. But I did not have all the ingredients for it...what a pity!
Any suggestions will be appreciated!

04 June 2010

Pumpkin Cupcakes (Magdalenes de Carbassa)

The truth is that I don´t really know it you will call that a muffin, a cupcake or a fairy cake...We will call that "magdalena" for sure. The truth is that we don´t have these differences here. I decided to do them because my sister is getting married and we are going to celebrate it with some friends this weekend, 2 weeks before the wedding day. We are just going to eat, relax and go to the beach. We are going to have a good time for sure!. I think I need it, it has been a weird and tough week.

I have adapted the recipe from another blog, Mil y una recetas, and done some small changes.

You will need for 40 cupcakes (if they are not big) (we are 12 people for breakfast):

750 gr flour
450 gr sugar
40 gr baking powder
5 eggs
25 gr butter
200 ml oil
300 ml milk
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 chocolate bar (or a little bit more if you want to put some inside too)
1 orange
1 teaspoon of salt

Let´s start
First preheat the oven, 180ºC (360F)and cut the pumkin in small pieces. Put it with just a little bit of water in the oven. It will take at least 30 minutes. You should be able to smash it with a fork after it. It should look like this.

Once the pumpkin is in the oven, prepare the mix. 
In a bowl add the flour, sugar, cinnamon. Mix it.
Then add the baking powder, salt, and the grated orange rind. Mix it
Then add the eggs, butter melted, oil, milk and 2 tablespoons of honey. Mix it
Here we´ll need the pumpkin. So smash it the way I showed you and add it here. Mix it well.

Divide it into different recipients and add a small piece of chocolate bar inside if you feel like. 
Put it in the oven for about 20 minutes, 180ºC (360F)
Use the grill for 2 minutes at the end.

Add some chocolate at the top (you can melt it easily at the microwave, just add a little bit of water or butter).  Paint each cupcake. Then add the coconut.

Enjoy! Bon Profit!

29 May 2010

Sweet dough (Brioche) (Brioix)

When I was a child, my grandfather used to pick me up at school and he used to bring me a brioche as an afternoon snack. He was a baker. I remember the shape of the brioche he used to to for his grandchildren. It was a snail. I have not been able to find it anywhere, so I decided to do it myself. 
I did not find the recipe, so I decide to check it and I find some information in "La cuina per llaminers" with a useful video of the chef Richard Bertinet (have a look at the video).
Instead of a cake, I decided to do different shapes (between 6-8), like my grandfather used to do for me.

The word brioche first appeared in writing in 1404, and this bread is believed to have sprung from a traditional Norman recipe. It is argued that brioche is probably of a Roman origin, but everybody agrees that French made this very popular. As you know Barcelona is close to the border with France (just less than 2 hours driving), so we have some fluent feedback from their excellent cuisine.
There is a famous sentence mis-attributed to Queen Marie-Antoinette, wife of Louis XVI, with regard to peasants who had no bread. When she was told about it, she pronounced "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche", commonly inaccurately translated as "Let them eat cake"...so it would be better translated as "So, eat brioche".

For this recipe I used fast action dried yeast (Tesco) instead of fresh yeast (bakery) that I have been used lately. This comes with a sachet of 7 gr. you can use fresh yeast anyway but you will have to use the double, so 14 gr instead  (have a look at the yeast post for more info). My English teacher got me these two yeasts from London. Thank you John!!

What we need (6-8 people)

255 g whole milk (or 220 g whole milk if you rehydrate the granulated yeast)
14 g fresh yeast (or 7 gr of granulated dry yeast)
500 g flour
57 g butter
50 g sugar
5 g  salt
2 eggs
1 egg for decoration
chocolate for decoration and to fill it inside the brioche.

Let´s start!
I used granulated dry yeast and I add some water (just 4 tablespoons). You have to take into account that if you add water here you have to reduce the amount of milk, so we want the same liquid at the end. 

First of all, heat the milk until it is around 37ºC (98,6 F). Don´t let it boil, we just want it warm.
In a large bowl, mix the flour and the yeast. With your fingertips rub the flour with yeast until it forms lumps.
Add the butter, sugar, salt, eggs and the warm milk.
With the help of a scraper, mix all ingredients until it forms an homogeneous mass (and very sticky).
Then start to work the dough on a surface without flour if possible.
Then we proceed to knead. Have a look at the video, but the idea is to catch the air while you are kneading.. Repeat with your hands the process for about 10-15 minutes until the dough does not stick to the table. (It can take more time, it is not easy)
When you have the sweet dough kneaded, keep it at room temperature inside a bowl with some flour and cover it with a damp dishtowel or tea towel.
When it reaches its double volume (about 1 hour and a half later), then you divide it into 6-8 equal portions. If you want to add a little chocolate in the middle, just flatten each portion of dough and place some pieces of chocolate and then close it and form the shape you feel like. In my case some snails, one heart and other shapes like a plait or a braid.
Let them stand in two trays (they will grow so let some space in-between) on a non sticky paper for the oven until they double in volume (at least half an hour more at room temperature)
Then paint them with a beaten egg.
Cook in the oven preheated at 180 ºC (350 º F) for approximately 25-30 minutes until it is blond.
You can put some melted chocolate at the surface for decoration too.
It is really worth it, it is delicious...and so soft!

Bon Profit, Enjoy!

24 May 2010

Spanish Omelet (Truita de patates)

That is also called Tortilla de patatas in Spanish or Tortilla española. Tortilla in Spain is different than tortilla in Mexico. So don´t get confused.
In Catalan we called it truita, but it is the same as in Spanish. The origins of this dish is not very well-known, but what is clear is that potatoes are originally from South America.
It can be made with potatoes or potatoes with onion. I like the latter the most.
There are a big tradition of omelets and you can find a lot of different ingredients in it. The most commons in Catalonia are, truita a la francesa (just egg), truita de patates (the one I will explain it now), truita de samfaina (with red pepper and aubergine or eggplant), truita de carbassó (zucchini or courgette, normally with onions) , truita d´espinacs (spinachs), truita de mongetes (beans), ...etc.. My favourites ones: truita de patates, truita de samfaina i truita de carbassó. Yummy!
I know this is a very basic cuisine...but it is very useful and it tastes so good!

Let´s talk about the Spanish Omelet:
*As there are different interesting options, I have write them down in italics and in orange. These are quite common options that can be very useful too.

What you need for 2 people:
4 eggs
3 potatoes
1 onion
olive oil

Amount of eggs or potatoes can vary a little bit. If you are cooking for more than 2 people, normally it is only 1 onion anyway.

Options: with garlic (fried), with parsley, with milk, with green pepper (fried), ..etc

There is people who also use garlic or green peppers in this recipe, and they fried them too,  and others use also some baking powder (one spoon) to get it spongier or some milk (half a glass) and they mix it with the eggs.

Let´s start. First peel the potatoes and cut it in slices. Do the same for the onion. 
Put the potatoes in some water for a while. Remove the water.
As potatoes and onion have different times of cooking, I do it separately (in different  frying pans). Normally I cooked the potatoes in a deep fryer and I fry the onion with oil in the frying pan I will use afterwards for making the omelet.
(If you prefer a very soft omelet, don´t let the potatoes get toasted and use a lot of oil. It is up to you. There is also people that smash the potatoes too.) (Some people add some salt when frying the potatoes, I do it with the eggs, but it is a good idea too)

While frying, break the eggs and whisk them gently. Add the salt.(Some people add here some milk too) (Other people first whisk the whites and then add the yolks)
Once the potatoes are done and you have drained the oil put them together with the onion (be sure don´t forget to dump the extra oil out!).
Mix the onions, the potatoes (drained and smashed if you want) and the eggs whisked in a bowl and then dump in altogether in the frying pan with some oil ( a little!).

Then you have to be careful because the omelet easily can get stuck on the frying pan. To avoid it, shake the frying pan once in while. Also it is important to lean the saucepan back and forward while you separate it from the border. Egg will reach homogeneously all the omelet if you do it this way. The picture can show you a little bit what am I talking about.

Once you think it is done (take less than 5 minutes), flip it, and shove it back in the frying pan in order to cook the other side.
And that is all. The most difficult part is flipping it, so for that be sure the frying pan is not very heavy and you have the right dish or lid and it is not slippery. I would recommend to check it beforehad. That is a clue step!

Just all very basic. I have also attached a video I found in internet that it is a good approach to see what kind of problems you can find when flipping the omelet. I told you it is the most difficult part, but with the right skills and right stuff it is a lot more easier than it looks like here! The video is worth it though.

With a mold you can get the shape you want. The sauce you see is with tomato, milk and just a little bit of flour.
Enjoy and Bon Profit!