Showing posts with label Valentines. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Valentines. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Meringue Topping & Tips for Keeping Cut Flowers Fresh

Happy Valentine's Day! I know it's a silly holiday but I can't help getting all lovey dovey when I see big red and pink hearts everywhere.  I'm a hopeless romantic at heart what can I say. :-)

I hope you are enjoying this day with your sweetheart and if you're single: friends, chocolate, and some wine are just as good... if not better!

If you're in the mood for baking today, here's a flourless chocolate cake recipe you should try. It's the recipe for the Italian Caprese Cake which I topped with a meringue frosting.  It's pretty easy, there are just a few tricky steps but I'll explain them through. This is Mr. Amore's favorite cake so I made it for him this Valentine's Day. 

Ingredients for the cake: 
Skinned almonds - 200gr
Sugar - 180gr
Butter (room temperature) - 200gr
4 eggs
Dark Chocolate - 150gr

The first step is to roast your almonds for about 10 minutes in the oven at 400°F. Just lay them flat on a baking sheet and they should brown some once done. 

Next place them in a blender or mixer (I used my Nutribullet) and set aside. 

I got a creamy, buttery texture with my Nutibullet but if your consistency is drier and more flour-like, it's fine as well. 

Next step is to melt your chocolate in a double boiler (or in a microwave if you prefer).

Now mix the egg yolks, butter, sugar and almonds until thoroughly blended and set aside the egg whites. 

The batter should be pretty thick at this point as pictured above. 

Now in a clean glass or metal bowl whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form. 

This is the tricky part... you have to very slowly and gently incorporate the two being careful not to  over-whip the egg whites. 

This is what the final batter should look like. 

Add to cake pan and bake in preheated oven at about 340°F for one hour. 

Now for the meringue topping, whip up 4 egg whites, half a cup of powdered sugar, a tablespoon of lemon juice and whip as done above, until stiff peaks form. Add a few drops of red food coloring if you like for decoration. 

Now add the meringue topping to the cake and decorate as you wish. 

Return to oven for about 10 minutes and voilà! If you have some  topping left over you can make little meringues like these. 

And if you happen to receive a lovely bouquet of flowers this Valentine's Day and want to keep them fresh for as long as possible here are some tips to make them last longer. 

Cut the ends off under running water or in a bowl of water to make sure no air enters the stem. 

Try adding half an espresso cup of vinegar and a teaspoon of sugar to the vase water. This is a homemade flower preservative that balances the pH of the water and helps keep the flowers bright and vibrant longer.

Happy Valentine's Day!

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Monday, January 16, 2017

Easy Vegetarian Pie Recipe and Veggie "Rose" Appetizers

I have an easy vegetarian recipe to share with you today that is super delicious and eye catching at the same time so this is a great recipe to make for any occasion, be it special or not. I made something similar for New Years Eve and I'll show you later in this post a cute appetizer idea using the same ingredients. 


 - one sheet shortcrust pastry (any ready made pie crust will do)
 - 250 gr ricotta cheese
 - 1 egg
 - 80 gr grated Parmesan cheese
 - 500 gr frozen spinach
 - 3 medium sized carrots
 - 2 medium sized zucchini
 - olive oil for coating
 - salt and pepper to taste

First step is to cook your spinach making sure to drain any excess water and set aside to cool. 

Prepare your veggies by washing them, trimming off the ends and slicing them into very thin rounds. You could also use a mandolin slicer if you have one to make things easier. 

Set these aside and prepare the filling. 

To make the filling mix together the ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper until all the ingredients are thoroughly blended. 

Add the spinach to the mix that you previously set aside to cool off. 

This is what you should have at this point. 

Now all your ingredients are ready and you can assemble the pie. Line your pan with parchment paper and add the pastry dough.

Trim off the edges and set aside....I'll show you how to make little veggie roses with them later :-)
Add the spinach and cheese filling. 

Go around the pie layering the rounds of carrots then zucchini until you reach the center standing the rounds upright into the spinach cheese filling. 

Once you are done coat the top layer with some olive oil and add another dash of salt and pepper. 

Now bake in a preheated over at 180°c (355° f) for one hour. 

and you're done!

Here is another version of the recipe that allows you to make cute little appetizers using the same ingredients. 

I used the extra dough that I previously trimmed off  but you can take a sheet of savory pastry dough and cut into strips. 

Spread a layer of ricotta cheese (you can  also substitute with cream cheese here - I recommend Philadelphia herb and garlic cream cheese for this recipe) and add the carrot and zucchini making sure that the veggies stick out a bit from the top. 

Roll them up forming little "roses".

Close the bottoms and add them to muffin liners brushing some olive oil on top and adding a dash of salt and pepper.

Bake at the same temperature as the pie and for the same amount of time. 

Aren't they the cutest?! And they are so tasty.

Hope you enjoyed the recipe!



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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Random Act of Kindness

So my blog friend Manu started a linky party on her blog that I thought was really sweet and such a wonderful initiative especially since we're in the time of Lent. So with this I'm linking to Cooking Manu's RAK week!

I usually give something up for Lent but this year I have decided to do things differently. Instead of giving things up, I want to make an effort of DOING things. Doing random acts of kindness every day is something that I'm sure will make all of us feel better about ourselves. Everyone has problems and whenever I meet someone who is in a bad mood or grumpy I always try to remember that I don't know what this person has gone through/is going through. There probably is a reason that he or she is being mean, or is in a bad mood or doesn't smile all the time.

I too have been going through some personal issues right now and I recognize it in myself that at times I can be rather hurtful towards the people that love me the most. Sometimes I'll close up and not be the best at keeping in touch with friends of mine or just be too indulged in my own problems to worry about others. So I'm going to try and make an effort of being more present and loving towards the people in my life.

Sunday was Valentine's Day and I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers from my Love. He really is my rock and I would be lost without him.

To me Valentine's Day is kind of a dumb "holiday"... I think that a couple should celebrate Valentine's Day all year round and not just one day a year.... but I guess I see how it can be a special day. I didn't get my sweetheart anything but I wanted to do something special all the same.

You know how my friend Alessandra got me to start making sourdough bread? I've talked about her many times on my blog. She is an exceptional person and I'm sure she would have many RAK to share on Manu's blog! Well, for Christmas she sent me this proofing basket.

I haven't been making bread in a while even though I have been refreshing my sourdough and keeping it in good "health" in my refrigerator....  Even my sweetheart mentioned a while back that he noticed I stopped making bread at home.

He's the one that actually got me to start making homemade sourdough bread because I know how much he loves it.  I don't know what it was...I just wasn't in the bread-making mood I guess. So for Valentine's Day I decided to surprise him by making a loaf of bread in the proofing basket that my friend Alessandra gave me. I woke up on Valentine's Day ready to bake some bread!

(Make sure to flour the basket well or the dough will stick!!)

I know it may seem dumb and insignificant but it was a special act that my sweety appreciated greatly and I was happy to use my sourdough again that I had put so much time, effort and care in making. I also wanted to use the basket for the first time and now I can't wait to use it again!

Bear in mind that I have never used a proofing basket before. Alessandra sent it to me in late November and it's been sitting in my kitchen cabinet since then.  It's supposed to shape the bread and absorb the moisture from the dough while it's rising.

I added poppy seeds and sunflowers seeds all around the dough. 

I made sure to coat the bottom of the basket with seeds as well and placed the dough in the proofing basket to rise. 

I left it to rise for 7 hours. I probably should have left it another couple hours but I couldn't wait any longer! It was just beautiful and it flipped over without sticking at all. 

So I baked it on parchment paper for about an hour and it was good and done!  My house smelled A-mazing!

With this post I would like to point out that I was also the reciever of a Random Act of Kindness when my friend Alessandra who never even met me before sent me this wonderful present <3

Thank you Manu for the linky party! I will be joining with this post on Friday and I invite others to join in as well!

Hope you all are having a wonderful week!