Tuesday 26 November 2013

Rum flam

Flams are very typical of our gastronomy, and now they are completely extended thorohghly. Despite the original flavour was the plain vainilla, nowadays they have become one of the most versatil desserts all around, as they can have both sweet or salty ingredients. Today's is a typical homemade rum flam, an easy recipe which may be the perfect healthy dessert. 

Tuesday 19 November 2013

White soup (Cabbage, leek and potato soup)

Crema de col, porro i patata i ametlles fregides

Soups have gained place into my life and my meals as the years pass. I have increased its consumption quite considerably and, above all, I have varied its ingredients and discovered they are perfect to warm cold days and nights.

With the low temperatures we are already having, I don't feel like eating salads any more, in their place, I need to take warm meals, as the appartment use to be freezing....  Once or twice a week, we cook a large pot of soups for our dinners, butternut squash, cabbage, leeks, it depends on the season, but they are all delicious and smoothy. 

Rosemary, sundried tomatoe focaccia.

Foccaccia de romer amb tomàquets secs en oli.

(Click here for the catalan version)

The smell of bread, olive oil from my town and tomatoes... These ingredients are the very gastronomical triumvirat of, at least, my mediterranean. If you have ever been to Catalonia, you may have tasted "pa amb tomàquet" which is no more that bread with rubbed tomatoe, sometimes garlic, and seasoned with generous drizzle of olive oil and salt. It is one of our best dishes, and maybe the most well known all over the wolrd. The secret of such a simple dish is to use high quality ingredients, specially with the olive oil. 

Here in Ireland I have all the ingredients for making it, mainly because I brought my town's olive oil here with me, but there are lots of other mediterranean products which are not so popular. This focaccia is the perfect dish when I start feeling melancholic it provides a very mediterranean smell all over our small appartment when it is being baked. 

Simply, this focaccia is one of the most beautiful plates I have ever cooked. It was really, really delicious and tasty, and I enjoy it so much. Moreover, it is quite easy, so no excuses!

Monday 11 November 2013

Guinness cake

This is another Irish classic, discovered these last weeks. Guinness stout, is not only an irish souvenir, but also a crucial ingredient of its gastronomy. Guinness is widely extendend thoroghlly irish life, it has its own places in all pubs, in all stores and in all kitchen and fridge all over the country. Its darkness and depth in flavour bcome the perfect ingredient for sauces, breads.... and cakes!

I have made this recipe twice since I arrived here, and I am already sure it'll be a star dessert for all the special occasions, yet to come. It never, absolutely never, disappoints!

The stout gives the cake a fluffy texture with a dark, almost black, colour, which is perfect for the cream cheese of the top.  The original recipe is from Nigella Lawson, but I have made some changes, realated mainly to the amount of butter and sugar. In spite of these revisions, the cake still has the sponge texture of the original recipe. 

Guinness cake

- 250ml Guinnesss stout
- 125g butter
- 2 eggs
- 125g natural yogurt
- 2 tsp bicarbonat soda
- 250g white sugar
- 2 tsp cocoa powder
- 275g plain flour
- pinch of salt

Cream cheese frosting

- 250g cream cheese
- 150g icing sugar

Firstly, preheat the oven to 180º. Meanwhile, put the guinness into a large saucepan with the butter, until it is completely melted. Add the sugar and cocoa powder and stir until combined. Let it cool.

Now, whisk the eggs with the yogurt and pour it to the guinness and melted butter. Start adding the flour with the bicarbonat soda and salt and mix it until completely combined. Pour the batter into a greased tin and bake for 40 minutes. Leave to cool completely before frosing.

For the topping, whip the cream cheese until smooth and sieve over the icing sugar. Beat both until combined. Ice the top of the cake as if it resembles the top of the Guinness pint.

Monday 4 November 2013

Bulgur wheat with butternut squash

As you can see from the recently posted recipes, I am immersed in autumn and its seasonal ingredients, and the fact is that I am really discovering new recipes which go strightaway to my must-be-cooked list. This bulgur recipe with butternut squash is an exemple. Don't know if you have ever tried Bulgur, in my case, this is the second time I use it and I am completely in love with it. Have you ever smelt the multicereal babie's porridge? It smells as delicious as Bulgur, and I am quite sure there is bulgur in its recipe. 

Bulgur has a touch of sweetness (in fact, it is commonly eaten with sugar and milk, in India) and I am sure it can be a good ingredient for some desserts. I promise I'll try. However, today's recipe is a good plate for these autumn days, its colour, as well as the bulgur smell, will provide your kitchen and body a warm scent.

Tuesday 29 October 2013

Panellets (Catalan sweets)

Panellets are a traditional sweet from the Catalan countries. They are typically eaten during these days of october, specially the 31st of october and the day after, when we celebrate the "castanyada", which would be the equivalent of All Saints night or Halloween, Magosto or the celtic (also celebrated here in Ireland) samhain.  It seems they were made to be eaten for the All Saints night, when everybody joined to pray for their died relatives and friends. It used to be a cold night, so they prepared high calorie meals to fight against the low temperatures.

Panellets, as well as chestnuts and sweet potatoes, were the main protagonists of the day. Nowadays, Halloween has also arrived to Catalan countries, and it is a cultural fight to avoid the disappearance of the typical "castanyada". If you visit Barcelona these days, you will find some women selling roasted chestnuts and sweet potatoes on the corners of the main streets. It is a wonderful time there, despite the high temperatures they are having, because the smell of the burning wood fills the streets of the city. And yes, I loved autumn in Barcelona.

Friday 25 October 2013

Sweet poatatoes with caramelized onion & feta cheese

(Catalan version here)

Autumn has arrived, at least in Ireland, not in Catalonia, though, as it seems for the weather. But autumn is here for us, with the rainy days (less than expected, though) and still quite soft temperatures. And above all, its seasonal products which can be found everywhere, next to Halloween costumes. 

However, what I love most of the autumn season are the smells, the burning wood smell and the baked sweet potatoes one, at home. I  loved that burning wood smell when I was in my town, when the cold weather arrived and the day was becoming shorter. I thought I wouldn't be able to feel that feeling again, but it seems it is a quite common smell here in Ireland, too! 

Tuesday 22 October 2013

Brown irish soda bread

(Click here for the Catalan version)

It's been already four weeks since we landed in Ireland. Now, after having found an appartment for us I feel like returning to the kitchen, to the oven and to the blog. After leaving the country with just two bags, I now find myself without any of the kitchen gadgets I used to have in Barcelona, without my camara tripod and other valuous stuff... But things are going to get better with some time and pacience, so I decided to go on with everyhing I have now. 

One of the things of having a new kitchen is to discover how it works, specially the oven... so these days I'm trying to bake as much as I can to familiarize myself with it. The first recipe coming out of the oven was this irish soda bread. 

During my first days here, in the hostel we were staying, it was quite common to find this bread between the options of the included breakfast. As soon as I taste it, I realize it was not a plain bread, but a kind of cake, as it had sugar in it. The bread I made was sugar free, but you can also add some sugar, butter or some raisins, as well. 

Irish soda bread

- 220g white flour
- 220g whole wheat flour
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda.
- 440ml buttermilk.

Preheat the oven to 190º. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda and salt. With the help of an spatula or spoon, start adding the buttermilk and mixing it together. Try not no add all the buttermilk at once so we could incorporate it if the dough needs it. Once combined, transfer it to a floured surface and knead just to make a round. Place the round on your baking sheet and, wiht a scissors, cut a X on the surface.

Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Thursday 18 July 2013

Stracciatella Ice cream

(Click here for the Catalan version)

I am already returned from my holidays in Galicia, after leaving my old flat and my old kitchen for a new shared flat in front of the Sagarada Família and a new kitchen with almost no kitchen gadgets. When packing my things to move I decided to bring all my kitchen stuff to my town and now I haven't almost any of them in the new flat, so I have been avoiding my return to the blog and the kitchen for a while.

We are already at the middle of the summer here in Barcelona, and it is starting being unbearable because of the high temperatures we have. With this situation, and due to not feeling like going out of the flat, I decided to use the ice cream maker I had in the closet. I bought it two months ago, before moving and before holidays, and I used it with a vanilla ice cream recipe, as well as with a delicious and refreshing lemon sorbet, which I couldn't take any photos.

This stracciatella flavour ice cream is a good way to fight against this hot days! I totally recommend to have an ice cream maker if you would like to make home made ice creams; it is quite cheap and the ice creams are delicious and very soft if you use inverted sugar syrup or honey.

Stracciatella ice cream

- 300ml cream
- 250ml skim milk
- 90g granulated sugar
- 2,5 tbp inverted sugar
- dark chocolate chopped

Whip the cream with the sugar until it is fluffy but it is not necessary to whip it completely. Add the milk and the inverted sugar syrup and mix it carefully until well combined.  Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker following its instructions. Add the chopped chocolate at the end of the process.

Friday 7 June 2013

Honey and lemon chicken

This is going to be an exhausting month. But, at last, some changes are approaching here, starting with the fact that we are leaving this flat. It has always been difficult for me to leave houses, to move, and above all, to close mental drawers despite of being excited because we are finally moving on. I have left flats with great people and memories lived there, I have left flats leaving big friendships and relationships behind, and now, I leave this flat, in the center of Barcelona, in the middle of the Eixampe, just a pair of streets from Casa Batlló and la Pedrera, just five minutes from Plaça Catalunya. This centenary flat with typical and beautiful hydralic floor which has been my place during all these months.

 It is said that we should often do something for the first time; this month I am going to be lots of things for the last time. But moving, despite of being exhausting, can also bring some other great consecuences, such as farewell dinners. This recipe is the one I used for the first of these dinners.

It is an easy recipe, as always. The honey and lemon juice give the plate a mediterranean character and a wonderful smell in the kitchen. You only have to turn on the oven, in one hour, you'll be enjoying this plate. 

Honey and lemon chicken

- Chicken pieces. 
- 3 tbsp honey.
- two lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves
- one onion, chopped. 
- potatoes cut into chunks
- rosemary and thyme
- salt and pepper
- olive oil.

Heat the honey in the microwave till liquefied, add the lemon juice and combine. Lay the chicken in a roasting tin, with salt and pepper and a generous splash of olive oil, try not to pile them up so they all can be cooked perfectly. Drizzle the chicken with the lemon juice and the honey to coat evenly all the ingredients. Add the garlic, rosemary and thyme, cover with plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for some hours, to integrate all the flavours. 

Preheat the oven to 200º . Before baking it, add the potatoes and onion to the chicken. Roast for 1 hour, turning over the chicken, until it is cooked and golden brown.

Wednesday 29 May 2013

New York cheesecake

When I was in New York, I remember myself trying to find a good place to enjoy and try, for the first time, a piece of New York cheesecake. In fact, I remember myself looking for a bakery while coming back from the Metropolitan Museum, and before deciding to enjoy a Hot frozen chocolate from Serendipity, instead. I would continue looking for some more days, until, one evening in Grand Central Station, waiting for the train to Pelham. I really love that place, it is an amazing station and felt like home to me, but what surprised me more was the mini market it has inside. 

As you'll probably know if you have read my posts about New York, I always bought some fruits to dinner and two Magnolia Bakery cupcakes as a dessert for me and Jessica, but, one day I decided to buy myself a good piece of New York cheesecake in the market, so I got out of the Grand Central Station, went to the stairs of the Public Library, sat down there and enjoyed my cake. It was a cold december evening and the Bryant Park was full of Christmas shops and ice-skaters, and that cheesecake, despite of being too heavy for me, was full of flavour and vanilla smell. You can feel I miss New York city, can't you?

For the crust:
- 200g digestive cookies
- 50g melted butter
First of all, preheat the oven to 180º. Start making the crust. It is really simple, we just have to crush the digestive cookies and combine it with the melted butter, until it resembles wet sand. Press the crumbs over the bottom and the sides of a spring form pan. Cover and refrigerate while making the filling. 

For the filling:
- 200g cream cheese
- 100g granulated white sugar
- 3 eggs
- 80g greek yogurt
- lemon zest

Place the cream cheese and the sugar in a bowl. With an electric mixer, start combining both ingredients until smooth, but not too much. It is important not to overbeat the butter because we don't need too much air inside. Add the eggs, one at a time, the greek yogurt and the lemon zest. Beat until combined, but remember, not more.

Pour the filling inside the refrigerated crust, bake the cake for 15 minutes and then, lower the oven temperature to 120º and bake for 45-60 more minutes, until it is firm but still wet at the center of the cake. Let it cool and rest for a few hours in the fridge before serving. 

Monday 13 May 2013

Broad bean pesto bruschetta

Spring is at its height, we notice it everywhere, but also, and specially, in our fridges. Broad beans are one of these spring products appearing in my fridge, and I search for healthy, fresh recipes to use them. I try to choose recipes where they can be eaten raw, because I want to enjoy they flavour, without being overcooked. 

In addition, we have started running (again), and the truth is that after making some exercise, you feel like eating some healthy, fresh and tasty plates. This bruschetta has all these qualities and, furthermore, it has this broad bean pesto. 

The broad beans pesto, also called marò sauce, is a typical italian sauce, despite of not being so known as the original pesto sauce. Accompanied with the pesto, this bruschetta made with fresh tomatoe and gouda cheese on a bread loaf is a delicious and healthy dinner. 

Broad bean pesto:

- Broad beans
- Garlic
- Olive oil
- Parmesan cheese
- Pine nuts
- salt

Peel the broad beans and remove th rough outer shell of the bean (not necessary if you are using the smaller ones). Place the beans, the garlic and a pinch of salt in a food processor (despite it is better if using a mortar), combine with the cheese and the pine nuts and start adding the olive oil, until well integrated. 

Tuesday 7 May 2013

Carob flour rolls

As a Mediterranean town, there are lots of carob trees in my town and its area. Its fruit is a black pod, normally elongated and its picking is in autumn, after the almonds and before the olives, but it can take longer than January. It is told that its pods were eaten during starving Spanish civil post war, and I am afraid that long after it, too. Later, it was also used to make chocolate or low quality ice-creams.

However, recently, the carob flour has started being consumed and sold again, but not as a poor quality ingredient, but as the perfect substitute for cocoa powder and chocolate in some recipes. It tastes totally like chocolate, it has a strong chocolate flavor, but with just a 2% fat in front of the 23% fat of the pure cocoa.

This is a delicious, easy recipe, which can be served in individual portions or as a swiss roll. As you can see in the photos it’s really light and fluffy, and you can add chocolate ganaché to cover. A healthier and tasteful alternative to cocoa.  

For the sponge

- 3 eggs
- 100g white sugar.
- 35g carob flour
- 30g corn starch

Preheat the oven to 180º.Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Whisk the yolks with sugar utnil pale and fluffy, and start adding carob flour and corn starch until well incorporated. Add the egg whites softly until well combined.

Take a sheet pan, with baking parchment and pour the mixture on it, smoothing it into the corners. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

Lay out a clean cloth on the work surface and turn out the sponge to the cloth, carefully. Roll it out and let it rest while whipping the cream.

For the filling:

-100ml cream
- 2 tbp honey
- 1 tbp sugar

Whip the cream with the sugar and combine it with the honey. Spread the cream over the entire surface of the cake leaving margins.

Thursday 2 May 2013

Strawberry jam

I discovered the easiness of making jam just a few months ago when I made the fig jam and I became a totally jam-making obsess. I can just tell but good reasons to go to your kitchen right now and start making jam with any seasonal fruit you have in your fridge: it's easy and cheap; it's healthy as you control the amount of sugar and other components it will bring; you’ll be totally grateful when in autumn you will be able to taste your amazing spring fruits jam and above all, it tastes wonderfully natural. 

I bought 6.5lb of strawberries and I got seven jars of absolutely extraordinary homemade jam. Surely, I am going to can some more before the season is over because I am using it not only for breakfast, but also for desserts and ice creams, so I am going to run out soon. 

My mother uses to make preserves of lots of things; jam, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried tomato sauce… and she ha san old fridge specifically for preserves. Now, I strongly believe in the importance of doing these preservations and to take profit of seasonal ingredients we have. In addition, it allows me to control the additives or conservatives I eat in my life, as you can really use high quality ingredients in your preserves.

The preservation process is quite simple, but you have to follow some steps to ensure the quality and the safety of the food. One of these steps is to boil the jars during fifteen minutes to sterilize them and let it cool before adding the jam. The second is to assure all the jars are hermetically seal, and I use a simple method for that, which I’ll explain later.

Strawberry jam

- 1kg (2.2 lb) fresh strawberries.
- 400g (0.88 lb) brown sugar. 
- one lemon juice

Clean the strawberries and cut them in slices. In a large saucepan, mix together the cut strawberries, the brown sugar and the lemon juice. Turn on heat and bring it to boil while stirring often. Let it simmer for thirty to forty minutes until desired consistency. Beat the strawberries and pour into the sterilized jars.

I always cover the jam with a disc of waxed paper before sealing the jars. Now, we are going to seal the jars hermetically and it’s really simple: when the jars are sealed and the jam is still hot, turn them over and let it cool and rest overnight before turning them back. They’ll be hermetically closed. 

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Saint George's Bread

Saint George is a very special day here in Catalonia. In fact, I would add, this is the most special day for lots of people, including me. Saint George is our Valentine's day, but the tradition is not only to give a present to our lovers, but to give books and roses as presents. Only books and roses, so this is an amazing day for writers, as well as for flowers sellers. As you can imagine, the streets fill with roses and books shops and everybody walks around while choosing the right book and the most precious rose for their partner. This is a really colorful, beautiful day for everybody. But aside of being a great day, I always have the feeling of being the start of something, the start of spring or warm days, and I always remember it as an optimistic and cheerful day.

This day also arrives to the bakeries, and one of the most typical products is this Saint George bread, which was created 25 years ago by Eduard Crespo, a baker from Barcelona. This bread shows the catalan flag, made with a typical sausage meat called "sobrassada" from Balearic Islands and white bread dough with grated cheese. Both doughs are wrapped by another one with nuts. 

This recipe isn’t difficult if someone is used to making bread but it can be a little confusing because of the assembly process. I will try to explain you, but due to this reason, it is better if you have a look at this video, in which you’ll be able to see the creator of this bread while making it. As I said before, the bread has three different doughs (cheese, “sobrassada” and nuts) which have to be made separately, because they haven’t the same moistness so we won’t need the same quantity of flour

Cheese dough

-         300g bread flour
-         8g yeast
-         Salt
-         100g grated cheese
-         175g water

In a bowl, whisk the flour, salt and yeast until well combined. Start adding water while stirring with a fork or a spoon. When the dough is quite solid, start turning the mixture with your fingers. The, transfer the dough to a clean working surface a bit of flour and knead for ten minutes. The dough has to be soft and not sticky. Return the dough to the bowl covered with a towel and let it rest for half an hour.

Sobrassada dough

-          250g bread flour
-          100g water
-          125g “sobrassada”
-          8g yeast

In a bowl, mix the flour, the yeast and the sobrassada with the fingers until quite combined. Add water while stirring with a spoon and then knead the dough in the surface until soft and not sticky. Let it rest for another half an hour while you prepare the other dough. 

Nuts dough

-          250g bread flour

-          150g water

-          8g yeast

-          10g granulated sugar

-          80g chopped nuts

Proceed similarly to the other doughs and add the nuts before letting it rest for a half an hour. 

When finishing the third dough, the cheese dough is probably ready and almost doubled in size. In this case, with the working surface lightly floured and with the rolling pin, start rolling out the dough to rectangle of 1 centimeter of thickness. Set aside, and do the same with the sobrassada dough. However, in this case, the rectangle should be a bit smaller than the cheese one.

Now, take the sobrassada dough and lay on the top of the cheese dough. With a knife, cut the sobrassada dough in four fringes, like in the video. You will have four sobrassada and cheese fringes and another cheese one. We have to put them one above the other, starting and finishing with a cheese fringe. These will be the stripes of the flag.

Take the nuts dough and roll it out in a similar way as the others. Put the stripes of the flag in the center of the nuts dough and wrapped it with the dough. I am sure you now understand why I recommended watching the video!

Now, cut it into slices of about 8-10 cm with a knife or dental floss and let it rest on the baking sheet for one hour. Preheat the oven at 200º and bake them for twenty minutes or until lightly brown.


Wednesday 20 March 2013

Beet hummus

There are certain ingredients which tend to be forgotten. Certain foods which not only we never cook, but also we hardly know what to do with them. Parsnip, radish, red cabbage and beets, among others, are on my list. I never buy them, but sometimes they appear in my fridge (as part of the organic food basket) and then I have to look for the best manner to cook them. This week has been radish and beets turn. The firsts are still there; the beets have been converted to an original and delicious recipe, which  enlarges my official list of recipes from now on, not because of the recipe, but also because it has turned to be a very healthy food. 

These situations are great chances to discover and taste new flavours and recipes. And, sometimes these recipes, which come unintentionally, arrive to stay. This is one of these.

I am not sure if I have ever told you I am absolutely obsessed with hummus. I love it. I eat hummus every week and more than once. Thousands of different recipes and combinations, and a unique way of eating legumes. The colour of beets makes it really beautiful and appetizing, and it gives an extra point of creaminess. A perfect recipe as an appetizer with toast or pita bread.

Beet hummus
- 2 beets
- 1/2 onion, chopped.
- 7oz chickpeas cooked.
- 1 tbsp tahini
- olive oil
- lemon juice
- salt

Clean the beets perfectly, cover with water in a saucepan and simmer for 20 minutes or until they are tender. Let them cool. Meanwhile, sauté the onion until soft and lightly golden. Place the beet, the onion and the chickpeas in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add tahini, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pulse again. Check and season if necessary. 

Serve with toast or pita bread. My recommendation: serve on a toast with melted camembert. Delicious.

Friday 8 March 2013

Rose cake

Last Friday was my birthday, I turned 27. Despite some stomach problems I decided to make my birthday cake although it wasn't a red velvet cake, as I initially had been thinking, but a basic vanilla cake with rose decoration.

I don't really feel like telling what supposes for me to have turned 27, nor think about what I'll do or won't do, what I want or don't want... I don't want to, but I don’t lye if I say that during the last few weeks, even months, these questions have been occupying my whole time and energy. What I want here, now, is just to be positive and keep going on, trusting in myself and in people around me and to celebrate these 27 years, accepting them as best as possible. And this cake really helps me... of course it does!

Today's cake is a vanilla rose cake filled with cream cheese and strawberry jam. I used an old recipe for the basic cake which I don't know from it came from. The truth is that after making some different recipes for these kinds of cakes, I have decided I'll always use my "genoise" recipe, which is butter free. I haven't found any other better than that.

For the rose decoration you can find lots of tutorials on the net, but I have to say it's a really easy technique. I recommend you to practice with some roses before starting with the cake.

Rose cake

For the cake:
- 2 cup (250g) flour
- 1 cup (225g) sugar
- 2/3 cup butter at room temperature. 
- 4 eggs
- 2/4 cup milk
- 1tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180º. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, the salt and the baking powder. In another bowl, separate the egg yolks and the whites and whip these egg whites on high speed until peaks form. Reserve. 

In a large bowl, beat the butter for two minutes, add sugar and keep beating until the mixture becomes creamy and pale yellow. Add the egg yolks, one by one, until it is perfectly combined. It is the time to add vanilla extract. 

Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until combined; alternate the flour with the milk until all ingredients are added. 

Finally, add the whipped egg whites and fold carefully until the mixture is smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 180º for about 45 minutes. Let it cool for 10 minutes before unmolding. 

For the filling: 

- 1 cup (250g) cream cheese.
- 1 tbsp strawberry puree
- 1 tsp vanilla extract

Beat the cream cheese with the strawberry puree until smooth.

For the buttercream frosting:

- 1 cup (250g) butter. 
- 1 cup and 1/3 caster sugar.
- 1 tbsp strawberry puree
- 1 tsp vanilla extract

Beat the butter until creamy and yellow pale; add the caster sugar, slowly, while beating. Add the vanilla extract and strawberry puree. 

Monday 4 March 2013

Wishing for spring: Mixed berry coulis

Berries season is going to be here soon and,  actually, you can already find them in some markets although they are not too sweet nor too cheap. When I opened the freezer last weekend I realized I still had some frozen mixed berries so I decided to use them before enjoying the fresh ones, as well as to complete the spring feeling this sunny and warm weekend brought to us. Moreover, I found some forgotten crepes from the crepes cake I made some weeks ago, so it was the perfect match for a Sunday dessert: crêpes with berry coulis.  I'm not sure about calling it coulis, as I decided not to strain it and enjoy it in a more rustic way. 

It is a very easy and famous recipe that can be used with ice cream, fruits and other desserts as well as with meat. When I tasted it I automatically thought of vanilla ice cream with berry coulis, so this will be one of the recipes for next summer. 
You can make it sweeter by increasing the amount of sugar in the recipe, but I prefer to preserve the berry sour taste instead. You can find the crêpes recipe in the crêpes cake recipe

Berry coulis
- 250g mixed berries.
- 50g brown sugar
- 2 tbs lemon juice

Place the mixed berries, sugar and lemon juice in a medium pan and bring to simmer during five minutes or until the sugar is dissolved and berries are warm and soft. You can blend and strain it if you prefer a thin sauce. 

Friday 1 March 2013

Cauliflower and leek soup

The other day I heard a woman who said she knew if she had been eating well by the state of the fridge at the end of the week: if empty, it had been a healthy week; if it was full, it meant too precooked food or eating out. I totally identify with that. I feel comfortable when I open the fridge and find nothing there; in fact, it is almost obsessing, I don't want to throw away food. 

But sometimes, especially if it has been a busy week with not enough time to cook, I have to deal with some ingredients and try to find the better recipe to use them. And sometimes, I find it. This recipe is the perfect example. This soup has a smooth texture and delicate flavour, very wintery, a warm solution for these rainy days. 

Cauliflower and leek soup

- Cauliflower cut into florets
- Leeks cut into round slices.
- Sliced potato
- Olive oil
- Salt
- Water
- Milk or cream cheese. 

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. First of all, add leeks and cook while stirring during three or four minutes until softened. Add potato and cauliflower and cook for five more minutes before adding the water (or stock) until covering all the ingredients. Season with salt and simmer for twenty minutes or until potato is tender. Let it cool slightly before beating until creamy and smoothie. You can add two tablespoons of cream cheese or milk to soft it. Season it with salt and pepper if necessary. 

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