lunes, 26 de abril de 2010

Polenta cake

After the killer onion, this is a quieter recipe. No more scares, I just keep on chewing for longer, just in case...

Another blood orange recipe. I have to take advantage whilst is still in the markets! This is one of those recipe where polenta is used in a cake, and it really work, it gives the cake a wonderful texture and flavour.  Polenta is a main ingredient in Italian cuisine, its not only a side dish, but a main one. Its really more important than pasta in northern Italy, and its versatility is enormous, you can use it in a casserole, for polenta gnocchi, with melted cheese, as a filling for different vegetables. Etc. There are two kinds of polenta, the fine ground and the coarse one, and you also get the quick and the normal version. Polenta is one of those ingredients which you either love or hate. I love it...

This is a sponge with toasted pistachios, and it’s drizzled with a blood orange syrup after it’s baked. The blood orange gives the syrup a very attractive colour and its distinctive sweetness. You can use ground almond instead, and normal orange if you can’t find blood oranges and the result will be also delicious.  The original recipe has sour cream but if you can’t find it, you can use buttermilk, or yogurt.

Ingredients for the cake

300g sour cram

125g softened butter

1 cup, caster sugar

2 cups self raising flour

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

2/3 cup polenta

1 teaspoon finely grated blood orange rind

¾ cup water

2/3 cup toasted shelled pistachios


For the Blood orange syrup

1 cup blood orange juice

1 cup caster sugar

1 cinnamon stick


Preheat oven to moderately slow. Grease deep 20cm round cake tin.

Make blood syrup by combining all the ingredients in a small saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce heat, simmer for about 15 minutes or until syrup thickens. Cool to room temperature.

Place sour cream, butter, sugar, sifted flour, and soda, polenta, rind and the water in a large bowl. Beat on medium speed until it changes to a pale colour. Stir in pistachios. Spread cake mixture into prepare tin. And bake for about 1 hour. Stand cake in tin for 10 minutes; turn cake, top side up, onto cooling rack. Serve cake warm or cold with strained blood orange syrup.

lunes, 19 de abril de 2010

My posthumous post...nearly.

When it comes to cooking, French people have a “je ne sais quoi” , it’s in their blood. Cooking and eating is a daily experience but is something mystical at the same time. People gather around the table, to share and eat. Same as the rest of us Latin people! Celebration around a table full of food, family and friends, who can ask for anything more? French cuisine is different to Italian or Spanish food, when it comes to the way they cook some ingredients, but there us no doubt about it: French people are real masters in the art of food, and because of this, they are known worldwide. Escoffier would be so proud...

Beef bourguignon, was a recipe originally made by peasants, it has climbed up in the culinary scale, it was very popular in the sixties and it’s now coming back, and I am glad about it, because I really like this recipe, it’s not a simple one, but its elegance and flavour its guaranteed. You need to marinate the meat overnight, and that will give it a lovely flavour.

I have to say that this could have been my last post in my blog, and not because my blog is in danger, but because when i finish the cooking the recipe, after setting everything for the photo shoot, and after looking the plate and decorate and garnish it, after taking all the photos, I finally sat down exhausted, and hungry, so I ate it...I was really enjoying it, but suddenly a bothering baby onion got stuck in my throat and I was literally choking! T was then when I felt, that my time had come. I couldn’t breath and my heart was jumping in my chest, so scared. So, I got ready to see all my like in pictures as they say it happens when, you are going to die, but instead, I rebel myself, It was impossible that my time had come, so soon? So, since I was on my own, and there was nobody to perform the Heimlich manouver, and the cat was not helping, I went for a big jump, and it worked! ...the cat run away and the killer onion jumped the other way...and so I carried on eating...

My time has not yet come, apparently.


For the marinade

A big carrot chopped

An onion chopped

1 Bouquet garni (make a bouquet with the green part of a llek, add some thyme, parsley and celery leaves)

1 celery stick, chopped

2 garlic cloves

3 tablespoons brandy

10 peppercorns

1 1/5 litrers good red wine

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 kilo beef, diced

Method for the marinade:

Mix all the ingredients in a big bowl and let rest overnight in the fridge.

Ingredients for the casserole:

200 g bacon, diced

150 mushrooms

1 tablespoon butter

400ml beef stock or water

150g button onions

1 tablespoon tomato puree

½ tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoon chopped garlic

2 tablespoon flour

2 slices white bread cut in triangles

2 tablespoons chopped parsley


Sieve the marinade over a saucepan, and bring to the boil, reserve the vegetables and the bouquet garni. Keep the meat in another plate. When it boils, cook for five minutes and pass through A SIEVE. In another saucepan, heat some oil and butter, and fry the meat, until golden brown, keep the beef in a plate while you add the vegetables from the marinade and fry. Put back the meat, and add the tomato puree and the flour, add the liquid from the marinade and bring to the boil, and stirring, add the stock or water and the bouquet garni, bring to the boil again, cover with a lid and bake in the oven for an hour and a half.

Whilst the meat is cooking, get a small saucepan and place the baby onions, butter, sugar and salt, and cover with water. Cook on a medium heat, until the water has evaporated, shake the saucepan, so the onions get golden brown. In a frying pan, fry the mushroom in butter and ad the onion, apart, fry the garlic and bacon and add to the onions and mushrooms.

When the meat is tender, pass the sauce through a sieve, and return to the heat. Cook on a medium heat for 15 minutes, add the mushrooms and the bacon, and turn off the heat.

For the bread, butter the slices and bake in the oven until they are golden. Dip one tip in the cooking sauce and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

When you are ready to serve, sprinkle more parsley on the meat. And be very careful with those killer onions!

domingo, 4 de abril de 2010

Three of a kind

I guess many of you know by now that I love cooking and baking with fruits and you are not wrong. I love it because if the versatility that gives to a dish and a pudding, or a sponge, I love because of the natural sweetness, and because it’s healthier as well. One may think that by cooking with fruits, you are being “less naughty” and you can afford a treat if it’s made out with fruit. Te original recipe of these pancakes is made with just strawberries , but you can use up any other fruit, in my case I used kumquats( to which I am addicted), blueberries and cherries, but it’s also delicious with sliced oranges, and blackberries or raspberries. Everybody seems to like pancakes, specially children. So, here they are:

Ingredients for the pancakes

4 eggs

2 tablespoons sugar

1 ½ cups buttermilk (if you don´t have any, you can easily make some at home by mixing one a half cups of milk with one a half tablespoon lemon juice, leave for 15 minutes and it´s done)

100butter melted

1 ½ cups self raising flour


Beat eggs and sugar in small bowl with electric mixer until thick, stir in buttermilk and half of the butter. Sift flour into large bowl, whisk egg mixture gradually into flour until batter is smooth, Heat frying pan, brush it with some of the remaining butter. Pour ¼ cup of the batter into pan, cook, uncovered, until bubbles appear on surface of pancake, turn pancake and cook until browned. Remove from pan, cover to keep warm. Repeat with remaining butter and batter.

For the glazed fruit

250g each fruit (pitted cherries, kumquats and blueberrries)

1/3 cup water

½ cup jam (strawberry jam for the cherries, orange marmalade for the kumquats and blackberry jam for the blueberries)

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoon lemon juice


Place the water, jam, sugar, and juice in small saucepan. Add strawberries, or the fruit you are going to use, reduce heat, simmer uncovered about w minutes or until the fruit is hot.

To serve, pile up the pancakes, and spread the fruit on top, garnish with some whipped cream and fresh mint.