miércoles, 29 de julio de 2009

Cookies, anyone?

Everybody likes cookies, they are nourishing, comforting, delicious and surely mouthwatering. I prefer to enjoy this on my own, so I can be ME, putting on my happy face, and not worrying about looking like an idiotic hopeless chocaholic.

Chocolate chip cookies and Macadamia chocolate cookies


1 cup caster sugar

1 cup brown sugar

100g softened butter

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

1tsp baking soda

1tsp salt

3 cups flour

200g dark chocolate chips


Place sugars, eggs, butter and vanilla in a bowl. With an electric whisk or a hand one (good for you!) mix until everything is combined. Gradually add the baking soda, salt, flour and continue mixing. Add the chocolate chips and mix again. Drop rounded teaspoons onto greased baking sheets, about two inches apart and bake in the oven at 180 degrees (375F) for 10-12 minutes. Remove from trays inmediately and place on wire racks.

For the Macadamia cookies just follow the same recipe but use 2 1/4cups flour and 1/2 cup unsweetened cooa powder. Add the coarsely chopped macadamia when you add the chocolate chips.

I went to see today my ex-work mates, (I used to work there as a cook) and took them these cookies for them not to forget about my culinary skills. They seem happy to see me....or the cookies?

lunes, 27 de julio de 2009

Incredibly spongy chocolate cake with a fluffy frosting

This is the perfect excuse for a dinner party. Or for showing off your cooking skills. It's not difficult to make, and the sponge keeps well in the fridge for days, it's so moist it melts in your mouth. You can use this sponge as a base for many cakes. But with this white frosting is delicious and the result is impressive. I have combined two celebrities recipes, Nigella Lawson and Rachel Allen, the sponge is Nigella's and the frosting is Rachel's, I hope they don't mind...

The chocolate sponge:
400 g plain flour
250 g sugar
100 g light muscovado sugar
50g cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
142 ml sour cream or buttermilk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
175 g unsalted butter
125 ml corn oil
300 ml chilled water


Preheat the oven to 180degrees/gas mark 4. Butter and line two 20cms sandwich tins. In a big bowl, mix the flour, sugars. cocoa, baking powder, bicarb and salt. In another bowl or jug whisk the eggs, sour cream and vanilla. In another bowl and withan electric mixer beat the butter and corn oil, then beatin the water. Sift one third of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, then pour one third of the eggs mixture, and continue combining a third at a time until all is combined, pour in the prepared tins and bake in the oven for 50-55 minutes, or until a skewer comes away clean. Cool in the tins for 15 more minutes, then turn them onto a rack.

White frosting:
2 egg whites
200g sugar
50g golden syrup (or honey or maple syrup)
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
2tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract

Place all the ingredients except the vanilla extract in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (don't let the bottom of the bowl touch the water) and whisk with an electric mixer of by hand until you get soft peaks. Remove from the heat, add the vanilla extract and continue whisking until the mixture gets stiffer. Now you have to work quickly, ice the middle of one of the cakes, and place on top of the other one, ice the top and sides of the cakes, and fluff it up to form little peaks. Allow 30 minutes for the frosting to get harder. Serve, eat and enjoy...

viernes, 24 de julio de 2009

The swedish!

My sister named this dip, as "The swedish" and there is a reason for this. I first tried this dip when I bought it at my swedish friend´s stall in Borough market, here in London. I looked through the ingredients and decided to try it on my own, at home. The result is delicious and it combines so wonderfully well with the bread. It´s perfect for a dinner party and your guests will love it. Always use fresh dill, and you will be amazed by the crunchiness of the onion and the sweetness of the herring. This is my version of Anna´s, since she uses swedish anchovies, gelatine and sour cream in her recipe. So here´s to you, Anna Mosseson, to your infectious smile. Thank you for introducing me to the delicious Scandinavian food. Anna gives cooking courses around Italy and Sweden these days.

One jar pickled herrings
One hard boiled egg
Half a red onion
Fresh dill
One to two spoonfulls of creme fraiche
Salt and pepper

If the herring comes with onion in the jar, discard it. Chop the herring very finely, as well as the onion, egg, dill, and add one or two spoonfulls of the creme fraiche, until all the ingredients are combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. It´s now ready to use, or you can keep it in the fridge. Serve with triangles of brown bread, or granary bread.

viernes, 17 de julio de 2009

German apple cake

I learnt this recipe at my cooking school. It's a sponge with apple pieces and sultanas inside, and decorated with thinly sliced apple slices. It's very soft and it has a wonderful flavour. The result improves if you have all the ingredients at room temperature. You can use any fruit, but I strongly recommend to use apples. If you follow the recipe this cake will always turn out ok and your house will smell delicious when you are baking it, promise!

240gms plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
180gms softened butter
3extra spoonfulls melted butter
180gms sugar
4 or 5 eggs
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
splash of vanilla essence
4 or 5 golden delicious apples

Peel, core and dice two apples and fry with three spoonfuls of butter in a pan for ten minutes. Add a handful of sultanas and mix well, turn down the heat and add a splash of brandy or whisky and let it marinate. Turn off the heat and set aside. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. In a big bowl or food processor mix the butter with the sugar until it becomes a pale mixture, add the eggs, one at a time, the lemon juice and the vanilla. Sieve the flour and baking powder and add to the egg mixture. Add the diced cooked apple and sultanas mix, don't forget the liquid from the pan, this will give the cake the moisture. Pour the mixture in a greased cake tin (24cms). Peel the remaining apples, cut in quarters and slice them very thinly, now you have to arange them around the cake. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour or until a skewer comes away clean. To serve, heat two to three spoonfuls of apricot jam in the microwave and brush all the cake with it. Sprinkle some sultanas over and enjoy...

miércoles, 15 de julio de 2009

Octopus, galician style

Whenever I'm in Barcelona, as I am now, I always try to eat and buy the things I cannot or it's almost inpossible to find in London, like one of my favourite ingredients ever: octopus. I have even brought it along with me to London (in the suitcase). I love the texture, the flavour and the fact that it's so healthy. It's sad to think that this creature is one of the cleverest in nature, but it's so tasty! I know this dish can be considered a rarity, but if you ever have the chance, and dare to cook it, dont hesitate, it's one of the most delicious things...

Cooked octopus (to cook it, just pop it into a pressure cooker filled with boiling water and cook for 20mins/half hour, or cook for an hour in a normal pan)
cayenne pepper
smoked paprika
sea salt
extra virgin olive oil

Heat the octopus, cut into not very big slices, use a wooden plate if you have one, which is the authentic way of serving it, add a splash of extra virgin olive oil, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika and sea salt and serve inmediately. Enjoy...

sábado, 11 de julio de 2009

Fried quail egg with sobrasada montadito

I read this recipe somewhere, and since then I have been thinking about the flavours. "Montadito" is spanish for a piece of bread with something yummy on top, we have warm and cold "montaditos", filling and light, fishy, meaty or veggie, you name it. They are part of the "Tapas" culture. One of the main ingredients of this one is "Sobrasada", which is a kind of chorizo pate, but its flavour it's more delicate to the palate. If you live in London you can easily find "sobrasada" at the spanish shop in Borough market. I prefer this "montadito" to be made with "sobrasada" but if you can't find it you can also use a slice of chorizo instead. These "montaditos" are bite size and the flavours explote in your mouth followed by a smile...


First thing is to get the toasts ready. Spread the "sobrasada" quite thinly or put the slice of chorizo on top. Then for frying the eggs, cut open them very carefully with a sharp knife, and fry in olive oil, just for 5 or 6 seconds, dry in kitchen paper for a minute, and then very carefully put on top of the "sobrasada" or chorizo. Add salt and finely chopped parsley.

miércoles, 8 de julio de 2009

Cocochas de bacalao in a pil pil sauce

This is a sublime dish, a delicacy from the north of Spain, Cococha is the vasc term for fish cheeks, and it's usually from cod or hake. I learnt this recipe at my cookery school in Barcelona, from my teacher Mr Ceres, the funniest teacher ever, so, here's to you, Ceres!
eight cod or hake cocochas
three garlic cloves, finely sliced
three of four dried chillies
a good splash of virgin olive oil
In an earthenware pot or casserole, pour the olive oil, in a medium heat and add the garlic cloves and the chillies, when they start dancing around take off the garlic and chillies, and reserve, then add the cocochas with the skin up in the oil, and leave to cook for three minutes, turn them around and cook for another minute. Now, turn off the heat, and with the help of two tea towels or oven gloves, start shaking the casserole, you will start seeing the fish cheeks to leave a green substance in the oil, this is due to the natural gelatin of the fish, carry on shaking the pan, and you will see how the sauce thickens, stop when the sauce has reached the thickness you want. Scatter the garlic and chillies back on top of the fish, and serve inmediately, don't forget to dunk a piece of crusty bread in the lovely sauce...

Tofu steak with a japanese glazing

Tofu is a perfect substitute for a beef steak or chicken fillet, so, if you are a vegetarian, or have a vegetarian around you, like me, this tofu will satisfy them and they will love it. I am not a vegetarian myself, but I love this tofu recipe, because tofu on its own has no much flavour, but with this sauce it becomes succulent and delicious. You can buy the ingredients at any oriental supermarket.

One block of firm tofu
sesame oil (2 or 3 spoonfuls)

For the sauce:
Four spoonfuls mirin
Four spoonfuls sake
Two spoonfuls soy sauce
One spoonful sugar

Cut the tofu in thick slices, coat with the cornflour and fry in the sesame oil for two minutes. Turn it over, very carefully, and brown for another minute, then mix the ingredients of the sauce, making sure that the sugar has dissolved, and pour it over the tofu, shake the pan slightly, and leave the sauce to thicken, when it has become a syrup, turn off the heat, and put the tofu in a serving dish, pour over the sauce, and sprinkle with chives, or the green part of spring onions.

Lentil salad with caramelised onion and goats cheese

This is my lentil salad, which I made up the other day and I've already made three times, I was thinking of something filling and healthy and came out with this, it can be served as a main dish.

One sachet of ready made black lentils (I used Merchant gourmet puy lentils) or one tin of cooked lentils.
one portion of goats cheese (they serve 250gr, discs)
one jar of roasted red peppers (about 300gr drained)
one red onion
2 or 3 finely sliced spring onion (only the green part)
splash of balsamic vinegar
splash of olive oil
handful of capers
10 sliced cherry tomatoes
handful fresh chopped coriander
handful fresh chopped parsley
10-15 sliced black olives

First, we need to caramelise the onion, so, slice it and fry it in olive oil until it becomes translucid. Add a good splash of balsamic vinegar, and leave it to reduce at a low heat, until it becomes a syrupy mix. Reserve.In a salad bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients, you can stick the lentils in the microwave for 30 seconds, so they are a little warm, add the caramelised onion and crumble the goats cheese on the top. Add a splash of liquid gold (olive oil), and salt and pepper.

Mangosteen, I love this fruit!

This is one of the sweetest and refreshing fruits I've tried. It's also known as Queen of the fruits. It has lots of nutritional porperties, it's antiinflamatoty, antifatigue, its good for the arthritis and rich in antioxidants, and it belongs to the group of the superfruits. It comes from Asia, and you can easily find it in chinatown in the european cities, like this one from the photos which I bought this morning in chinatown, here in London. I always buy them whenever I see them, because they are not in the shops all year round, so if you ever see them in the shops, don't hesitate, and get some of them, give them a try, you will love them. They have a very hard shell, and segments inside, with a cartilaginous bone. Mangosteen fruit fills your mouth with a lovely and delicious exotic flavour.

Milk jelly cake

This is a typical mexican pudding, there are lots of varieties and flavours. This one is made with evaporated milk. It's very tasty and the kids love it!


One packet of orange jelly, one packet of lemon or lime jelly, or whatever flavour you prefer. I chose lime for the color, one can of evaporated milk, ice.


Prepare the lime or lemon jelly according to the packet, the day before. Pour in a square tin and keep in the fridge overnight. The next day, cut the jelly into squares and leave in the fridge whilst you prepare the rest. Mix the orange jelly with half of the water , make sure its dissolved then add the evaporated milk and the ice, making sure that the ice melts. Put a little water in a tin, or jelly mould and get rid of the excess, pour in the mixture and quickly scatter the lemon jelly squares all over, so it has a mosaic effect when set. Keep in the fridge for 3 or 4 hours to set.