22 June 2017

Fish Soup Basquaise / Sopa de Peixe Basca.

This month we are cooking from Paula Wolfert cook books for the Rainydaybites Cookbook Club.
The book Deborah chose was the "Unforgettable" but as it is a very difficult book to find, Deborah allowed us to cook from any of Paula's books.
I'm cooking from Paula Wolfert "The Cooking of South West France" book and this recipe is actually my first one for this month's cookbook club.
I can only compare Paula Wolfert book with Julia Child or Elizabeth David books, which, in my opinion, should be mandatory books for anyone that claims their love for cooking.
More than cooking books, they are reading books that show us their passion and deep knowledge for the cuisine and ingredients of the regions they're writing and cooking from.
To write this book, Paula Wolfert spent five years researching, investigating ingredients, origins of recipes and variations in techniques.
This recipe, a fish soup, not just is easy to make, but it's also fabulous and full of flavour.
According to the author, this soup is a modern interpretation of the classic onion and pepper fish soup of Bayonne.

20 June 2017

Neapolitan Baked Alaska.

18th edition of our Sweet World and here is the theme:
Baked Alaska!! It's Summer time and therefore, the theme had to be something light and refreshing and we thought, Susana and myself, that a Baked Alaska would be a wise choice.
After reading lots of controversial posts about the origins of Baked Alaska, I found this one very explanatory and thoughtful.
You can also read interesting posts about Baked Alaska here, here and here but, basically and despite all the invention and origin claims, a Baked Alaska is no more than a cake, topped with solidly frozen ice cream, the whole enveloped in meringue and then browned and served while still warm from the oven.
Want to participate? Here are the rules:
  1. You have until the 20th of July to make and publish your Baked Alaska. 
  2. That same day, 20th of July, Susana will let you know in her blog, the theme for the 19th edition of the Sweet World.
  3. You'll have to leave your Baked Alaska link here, in this post, in order to be featured in the monthly round up that, this time and exceptionally (because I'll be enjoying my more than deserved holidays), will be published here, on the 15th of August.

15 June 2017

Chocolate and Cherry Cake / Bolo de Chocolate e Cerejas.

Who doesn't love cherries?
I certainly love them and they are very highly positioned as one of my top, top favourite fruits.
Chocolate, cherries and cream are a combination made in heaven and this cake, that I wanted to try since last year, is one of the best cakes I ever had.
Actually, I love Simmone Logue cakes. They are always so moist, flavourful and balanced that I almost dare to say that this author is a "cake fairy".
This chocolate and cherry cake that I'm sharing today and this Victoria Sponge that I've already made twice are, until today, my favourite cakes of all times!
The recipe, of course, is from Simmone Logue "In the Kitchen" cookbook. A book that I treasure as one of the best books I have.
Forgive me the total lack of "cake slices" photos but, I took this cake to a party and before I noticed, there was only crumbs on the plate. YES! That's how good and delicious it is!
In case you want to try it and corroborate my opinion, here's the recipe.

11 June 2017

Spanische Windtorte.

Spanische Windtorte (Spanish wind torte) is an Austrian dessert and is one of the most complex to create and serve as it is composed mostly of meringue and whipped cream.
Often called "the fanciest cake in Vienna", it is a dessert that became popular during the Baroque period and the Austrian and the Spanish reference is due to the Austrian House of Habsburg and their fascination with Spain which was very similar to the Russian nobility's fascination with French culture.
A Spanische Windtorte consists of rings of meringue that have been baked into a cylindrical form with a bottom and a top lid. The piping of the meringue and the subsequent baking process require patience and careful attention to detail or the cake will not be symmetrical. When the shell of the torte is done it is then filled with whipped cream, fresh berries (usually strawberries), chocolate shavings and/or currants.
It was featured as the technical challenge in episode 4 of season 6 of The Great British Bake Off and is now the theme for the 17th edition of the Sweet World.
I confess that straight after we (Susana and myself) chose the theme, I started feeling very nervous and full of butterflies in my tummy..., Specially when I started reading the recipe.
The more I read it, the more nervous and confused I was so, I had to watch a lot of YouTube videos in order to understand the structure of this intricate dessert.
Even if I'm normally ok with meringue due to the amount of Pavlovas I make, this cake really got me all freaked out.
I remember watching the contestants making it on The Great British Bake Off, but I didn't remember the details, specially the part where it needs to go three times into the oven...
Anyway! I tackled it and I think it's an "ok" Spanische Windtorte. Not perfect, but acceptable and once more, I conclude that dainty and delicate bakes are not for me as I'm more of a rustic baker :))).
I admit that this is a real challenge and it requires patience and "meringue making" skills but, if you're like me and love a challenge, don't be scared and make a Spanische Windtorte!
This recipe is from my book, "The Great British Bake Off - Celebrations".
Just another detail...
Don't expect perfectly neat slices because, with meringue, you know that's not possible so, in this case, messy slices are synonymous of "perfection"... :))).

9 June 2017

Penne with Spinach, Peas and Gruyère / Penne com Espinafres, Ervilhas e queijo Gruyère.

Another fabulous Melissa Clark "Dinner: Changing the Game" book recipe!
This vegetarian pasta dish was our dinner a few weeks ago and, of course,  because it's so delicious and easy and quick to put together, I had to share the recipe with you all.
The original recipe calls for wholemeal or regular penne but as I had this absolutely fabulous red lentil penne here at home, that's the one I decided to use.

7 June 2017

Spiced Apple Cake with thick Vanilla Custard / Bolo de Maçã com Especiarias e Custard de Baunilha.

This cake, that is named a "cake" but for me, is more a cross between a tart and a pie, is one of the most beautifully delicious "cakes" we had later.
Everybody raved about how delicious it was and, certainly, it's a keeper and a recipe to make more often.
Darren Purchese (and pardon my ignorance), is a Chef that I truly admire but only came across, throughout my must beloved TV program, Masterchef Australia.
Chef Darren is one of the "bad guys", the one setting up the dreadful and very scary challenges for eliminations but the thing is...
OH LORD!!! His creations are pure pieces of art!!! and, who cares being eliminated from a competition over such gorgeous creations? I certainly wouldn't!
I didn't know anything about this gorgeous book until..., "this devilish (cook book addicted) girl" showed me the cover of "Lamingtons & Lemon Tart" on the Instagram "private messages". It was love at the first sight and I couldn't help but buy the book and I love it! Thank you so much Inês!!!
I told you already! Australia is my "dream Country" and everything that comes from there, I can't resist it. Specially if it's a book that is all about "Aussie" desserts and puddings but notched up by a great Chef - meaning - Chef Darren Purchese...
NO more talking...
Just a great and super delicious cake, filled with (for me), the best apples in the world: the Pink Lady Apples!

5 June 2017

Bread Rolls stuffed with Chives Pesto, Maasdam cheese and Chive Blossoms / Rolinhos de Pão recheados com Pesto de Cebolinho, Queijo Maasdam e Flores de Cebolinho.

The idea of making these stuffed rolls came last week after browsing through the blog and finding this recipe I made a while ago.
As I had lots of chives and chive blossoms and I'd already tried a fabulous recipe from Aimee's blog using chive pesto that I adored, I decided to try this rolls with chive pesto, Maasdam cheese slices and chive blossoms.
They turned out so delicious that I wrote everything down so I could share them with you all.

3 June 2017

Thai style Mussels / Mexilhão à Tailandesa.

Who likes mussels?
I know a bunch of people that doesn't like mussels but I certainly love them!
This recipe, another successful one from Melissa Clark "Dinner: Changing the Game" cookbook, is another winner, specially for those who love Thai flavours.
This is also my last contribution (out of date) for this month's Rainydaybites online Cook Book Club and I couldn't have chosen a better recipe to end May and the Melissa Clark cook off. Although, I must say, there's still lots of recipes marked down to be tried and tested so, you'll see more of this gorgeous book recipes around here soon.

1 June 2017

Sour cream, Cheddar and Chive Drop Scones / Drop Scones de Sour Cream (natas azedas), queijo Cheddar e Cebolinho.

These scones are so delicious that this is the second time I've made them!
As you might know, drop scones are rustic and not the perfectly shaped ones that you know. Nonetheless, they are light as feathers and super delicious.
This recipe is from Aimee Twigger fabulous "Aimee's Perfect Bakes" book. A book that I love and there's so many recipes marked down to be tested. I just wish I was that kind of person that can eat everything and not get fat and I would be baking everyday from this book believe me!!
The combination of flavours for these scones is so perfectly delicious and clever that they're hard to resist, plus! you know me. I can't resist a good scone, specially if its a savoury one.
This time, as I had some chive blossoms, I had them to the batter for extra flavour and the final result was fantastic.

30 May 2017

Carrot Tarte Tatin / Tarte Tatin de Cenoura.

Looking for recipes featuring carrots for this month's "Marta and her Ingredient of the Month", I found this fabulous Tarte Tatin where the carrots are the star of the show!
I have to tell you that this tatin was a very, very pleasant surprise as it's so, so flavoursome and delicious that we all loved it to bits.
Of course, homemade pastry helps a lot too and that's the one I used but, saying that, be my guest if you want to use shop bought puff pastry.
The recipe is from Rachel Khoo "Little French Kitchen" book and let me tell you that, it was the first time I made it but, it will not be the last one for sure!!

28 May 2017

Harissa Chicken with Leeks, Potatoes and Yogurt / Frango assado com Harissa, Alho francês, Batatas e Iogurte.

Second and last recipe challenge of the month and also a "Cook the Cover" challenge for May's Rainydaybites Cook Book Club.
Deborah asked us to cook this fabulous one sheet meal and I'm glad she did because, not just I love all the ingredients in this recipe, I also love the fact that there's almost no washing up after.
The combination of ingredients, as you might guessed by the title, is absolutely incredible and the textures and flavour are, both, absolutely fabulous.
Another great hit from Melissa Clark "Dinner: Changing the Game" book which, by all means, I'm loving to bits!

26 May 2017

Spiced Carrot Purée (Dip) with Dukkah / Puré (Dip) picante de Cenouras com Dukkah.

Last recipe for Marta, May and Carrot as the ingredient of the month!
This recipe, another one from Chef
Maria Elia "Full of Flavour" book is absolutely divine to serve at a dinner party as a canapé or as part of a mezze.
Everybody can help themselves and dip the chosen bread in the carrot dip, while enjoying their drinks or cocktails.
ingredients (serves 8):
for the dukkah:
100g almonds, blanched
50g coriader seeds
20g cumin seeds
75g sesame seeds
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Toast the almonds in a medium pan over a medium heat until golden.
Transfer the almond to a work surface to cool a little, then finely chop them.
Transfer to a bowl.
Add the coriander and cumin seeds to the pan and toast for 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Transfer to a pestle and mortal, leave to cool completely, then coarsely grind and mix with the almonds.
Toast the sesame seeds until golden. Leave to cool, then grind, together with 2 tsp of sea salt.
Add to the almond mixture and season with black pepper.