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. 

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