Monday, 10 November 2014

Pomegranate jam!

My mother-in-law gave a lot of pomegranates! Like 12 fruits!

We ate a couple fresh... Ioanna especially loves these little ruby seeds!

I still had a lot left, so what do I always do? I make jam!

Thankfully I have a Kenwood Breadmaker, which also makes jam.

I used fruit and sugar in equal quantities, a little lemon juice and a tbsp butter. Pressed the button and after 1 1/2 hours it is ready!



 It is very tasty and sweet, but not in a heavy sugary way.



I am already thinking of a semi sweet tart filled with this lovely jam, drizzled with cream cheese..

Enjoy!


** Note: If you want to make this jam in a pot, you can you these ingredients. Put them in a pot, bring to a boil and then lower the temp. You need to be near the pot, stirring constantly, because it can stick to the bottom and rise over the top of the pot! It is a more difficult process... Try it at your own risk and BE CAREFUL not to burn yourself!!!!


Louise.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Playing with Barbie dolls !!! - 04

Well, it was only natural that I would make a doll house .....

I took an old used IKEA Billy bookcase and simply added furniture and shelves.


The kitchen is the bottom of a detergent box, covered with plain white paper and hand drawn by me. For the shelf I used white cardboard paper and defined the edges with a black marker.

 Snow White is baking!

 The beds are made from shoe box lids. I also made the matresses and the bed linen.


 I made the fire place myself!


I still want to add things, i.e. wallpapers, windows, a balcony, more shelves, etc., but you get the idea!

Ioanna loves it! (I love it too, I have a thing for miniatures and doll houses!)

Louise!

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Daring Bakers - October 2014!

My post for this challenge is rather late. I should have posted 3 days ago, but there was something wrong with my Internet connection.. What can you do?

So, now that everything is alright, I am posting the October Challenge. Korena from Korena in the Kitchen was our host and she chose a lovely cake!

Sachertorte!

One of my very favourite cakes! It has been quite a while since I had it. I think it was a few years back, when we were on a trip to North Italy at the region of S├╝dtirol. It is also what I have whenever I visit Austria and I always bring back home, as so far I haven't found anything matching the quality of the real thing here...

For this challenge I followed the given recipe, which I halved and made it gluten free.

Sachertorte

for the cake
90 gm bittersweet chocolate, chopped
65 gm butter at room temperature 65 gm confectioners’ sugar
3 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
50 gm granulated sugar
65 gm all-purpose gluten free flour
pinch fine grain salt

Apricot jam
Chocolate Glaze

* Preheat oven to 190˚C.
* Butter and flour of a pan, then line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper.
* Melt the chocolate ans set aside to cool completely, stirring often.
* Beat the butter in a bowl until light and creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat again.
* Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
* Add the cooled chocolate and vanilla and beat until light and creamy.
* In a clean bowl beat the egg whites with one tbs granulated sugar on high speed until foamy. Gradually add the rest of the granulated sugar and continue beating until you get shiny peaks.
* Stir about 1/3 of the meringue into the chocolate mixture, then gently fold meringue with a spatula until just a few wisps of egg white remain.
* Stir together the flour and salt and add half of it to the chocolate mixture. Fold in with a spatula until almost incorporated. Add the rest flour and fold to combine completely.
* Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and bake for 45 min.
* Let it cool in the pan for 10 min, then carefully invert the cake onto a rack and remove the parchment paper, then turn the cake right-side up onto a rack and allow to cool completely.
* Turn the cake upside-down so that the perfectly flat bottom of the cake is now the top and cut it horizontally into 2 layers.
* Place 1 cake layer on a cake rack and spread it generously with apricot jam.
* Place the second cake layer on top and spread the top and sides with more apricot jam.
* Pour the chocolate glaze over the top of the cake. Spread the excess glaze to cover any bare spots.
* Write the word “Sacher” and chill the cake until the glaze is completely set.

 Perfect shape!

Adding the apricot jam (yum!)


A few notes..
The given recipe for the chocolate glaze is this:
200 gr granulated sugar
120 ml water
115 gm bittersweet chocolate, chopped

* Place the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
* Cook, stirring, until the mixture reaches 112°C.
* Remove it from the heat and whisk in the chocolate. It might thicken up quite a bit. If it does, return it to low heat and add a few drops of water if necessary to thin it out to a runny, pourable consistency. The glaze should be smooth and shiny.

Well, I followed it and the chocolate seized so much, that I had to add more than a few drops of water. But it still was not smooth. I tried to pour it on the cake and it was not good. It dried rock hard and was ugly.
In general I do not like to mix water with chocolate...
So I ended up making my own glaze with chocolate, butter and condensed milk. It was smooth and shiny and it poured great. I did try to smooth it, even if the first chocolate layer was anything but smooth...





I don't know if you can see it, but it is totally "grainy".

This is after I used my glaze. A lot better and smooth enough to "write" the word Sacher.



I wrote the word "Sacher" using letter stamps.

The cake itself is very tasty. It is indeed in the dry side, but still so so tasty!
Normally it is accompanied with a portion of schlag, unsweetened whipped cream, but we didn't want to, so I didn't make any!

(I love the lighting in this picture...)



I think I will make it again. It is the only way to enjoy a piece of Sachertorte, outside Austria!


Thank you Korena for this challenge and for reminding me this lovely cake!

Louise

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Hazelnut milk!

Usually in the morning I make a smoothie with non dairy milk, fruit and avocado.

At first I was making almond milk, but decided to try hazelnut milk, as well.

It is so much better!

The process is exactly the same, as with almond milk.

Hazelnut milk

* Soak the hazelnuts overnight (about 1/2 or 1 cup depending on your bottle).
* Strain them and put them in a blender.
* Add as much water as it is the capacity of your bottle.
* Blend very well.
* Use a cheesecloth to strain the mixture and squeeze to get all the "milk" out.
* Keep it in the fridge.



Enjoy!



Louise

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Birthday Cake Nr 4!

There is no way I am buying a ready made cake from a bakery, when it comes to birthdays!
Not that I don't like them... It just doesn't seem natural to buy, as opposed to bake!

This year, for my little one's 4th birthday, I decided to use fondant. It is actually the second time I ever used fondant on a cake. I use it more often on sugar cookies. My favourite is buttercream, but for certain decorations, well, you can't beat fondant!

Ioanna likes the sea a lot, likes fish, likes Nemo, so.... it was an instant decision to make something related to fish.

The cake, itself, was a brown sugar cake. I found a mind blowing recipe from Summer's blog Cake, Paper, Party. Really, amazing, amazing cake. Loved the taste, loved the smell!
Also, this cake keeps well in the fridge. It was very moist and tender, even after 5 days!

The filling was a classic buttercream: 250gr butter, 500gr icing sugar, beat together, done!
In it I added 3/4 cup cream cheese, the zest of an orange and 1/2 cup orange juice (about...).

As the cake is very sweet, I wanted to pair it with something fresh and not-that-sweet. The addition of cream cheese really helped tone down the sweetness of the icing sugar in the buttercream.

I crumb coated the cake with butter cream and chilled it.
Then I covered it with white fondant.
For the "Sea" I coloured pieces of fondant in the 3 different blue hues and rolled them in strips. Using a sharp knife, I cut the top of the strips wavy.
I glued the on the white base with water.

Then I shaped the fish, which I also glued with water.



We had her birthday party at our summer house, so I didn't have all my baking equipment with me. Therefore, the fondant is not as smooth as I would like.

Also, at first I kept the fondant covered, but after a point, I was in a hurry and left the strips uncovered. Hence some dryness at the edges...

She loved her cake!
The combination of flavours was amazing!



All in all... success!



Louise!

Friday, 12 September 2014

Holidays!

We are back!

Returning from summer vacation is always bittersweet... You miss your home, but at the same time you miss that relaxing, carefree feeling!

We only went away for two weeks, never the less we had a very good time!

Mountainous Korinthia, seaside Kiato and seaside Kimi. Great time, great scenery, great beaches, great food!

Waiting for the tomatos in our garden to get all red...

 The blackberry season started... We went berry picking!

 We relaxed under the fir trees in our garden....

We played at the beach and searched for sea glass...

Listening to the waves...


I am looking back and feel good with the quality and great time of our vacation.

I am looking ahead and wishing for a prosperous, cold (yes, I prefer the cold to the heat!) winter.


Louise!

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Playing with Barbie dolls !!! - 03

Doll accessories are amazing, but rather expensive...

I wanted a wardrobe for Ioanna's Barbie dolls, but at 35 Euros, well, maybe in the future, not now. So I decided to get crafty...
After all a little girl just wants a wardrobe to play with, she doesn't care how much it costs.

Take a large shoe box.
Create a pattern in Word and print it.
Then glue it inside.
 For the rack I had a little help from G.


Also, I made a pattern for the bottom and the front to make it look more "real".

The nob is a marker cap painted gold. I also painted the exterior of the wardrobe with some left over wall paint.

I made hangers from metallic paper clips and shelves from a small juice box, which I glued on the bottom.

(Please excuse Euterpe, she just got out of bed and is still in her night gown... What to wear today?)

I also glued a hanger on the door for larger items or a shopping bag.

It is really easy to make things for your little one and trust me, you will enjoy making it more than you will enjoy buying it!



Louise!