Monday, November 30, 2015

Caramel Coconut Custard

Caramel Coconut Custard
400mL coconut milk
2 cups dulche de leche 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 Tablespoon water
1/4 cup finely chopped pistachios
1/4 cup shredded coconut

In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk, dulche de leche, and vanilla until lightly boiling and thickened. Whisk together the cornstarch and water to make a slurry, then add in. Heat until thickened, then remove from heat, stir in the nuts, and cool. Chill until firm.
For a really interesting presentation, pour warm custard into a large, flat tray, then freeze briefly. Once semi-solid, but not hard as a rock, cut out unique shapes using a metal cookie cutter, place on a flat tray and freeze again to firm up. use to garnish desserts, allow the custard to reach room temperature to eat.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Berry Kissel

This is a basic Russian berry sauce that I made to serve with my sweet cheese pastries, syrniki. I had looked up a recipe for it, but just had to use the berries I had on hand, so I changed it around, then added some stuff. I ended up not measuring anything, just adding ingredients to taste. So here is the procedure.

Boil the berry juice (I used blueberry) with some fresh strawberry quarters and star anise until softened. Mix together some cornstarch and sugar, then whisk in a few spoonfuls of the hot liquid. Pour this into the saucepan. Add in some frozen blueberries, fresh lemon juice, and sambuca. Simmer slowly until thickened and alcohol is cooked out, but flavor remains. 
You can make this sauce as thin or thick as you wish, simply by adding more liquid or cooking longer. Use any berries, and any spice or alcohol you wish. I liked the combination of star anise and sambuca for a slight licorice flavor. 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse

Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse
one cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated (white) sugar
1 1/3 cups ground hazelnuts
4 ounces dark chocolate, melted
1/4 cup coffee
2 cups whipping (35%) cream, whipped until stiff

Cream the butter to soften, then cream in the sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the nuts, chocolate, and coffee. Fold in the whipped cream. Chill, or spread onto a cake, cookies, cupcakes, or wherever desired. It can also be chilled then scooped into a piping bag and piped.

For different flavor variations, use a different type of chocolate (milk, white, orange dark, etc.) and different varieties of coffees, and different ground nuts.
I used this mousse as the filling for my Charlotte Russe au Chocolat. I chilled it first to firm it up a bit, then spread it on the spongecake base.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Greek Tzatziki

1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 cup cucumber, peeled and shredded
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste

Place the yogurt in cheesecloth, tie tightly and leave to drain for at least two hours or overnight. 
Place the cucumber in a colander set over a pan and leave to drain for at least two hours or overnight.
Then mix all ingredients together and season to taste.

Draining the yogurt and cucumber is not completely necessary but will give the tzatziki a much thicker texture. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Basic Chocolate Sponge Cake

Basic Chocolate Sponge Cake
3.5 ounces dark chocolate
2 Tablespoons strong coffee
3.5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon granulated (white) sugar
pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup cake flour
Preheat oven to 300F. Line a nine inch springform pan with parchment paper.

In a small saucepan double-boiler, heat the chocolate, coffee, and butter until melted.
Meanwhile, beat the yolks and 1/2 cup sugar until thick, pale and yellow and forms a ribbon when the beater is trailed in. Beat in the vanilla.
Beat the egg whites and salt until soft peaks form, gradually beat in one Tablespoon sugar until stiff peaks form.

Mix the chocolate mixture into the yolks. Scoop one quarter of the whites over the yolks, then sift on one quarter of the flour and fold in. Repeat this process three times. Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes until puffed, firm, and risen. Wait five minutes, then remove cake from pan and cool completely.

This is the spongecake base I used for my Charlotte Russe Malakoff au Chocolat. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Mung Bean Cake

Mung Bean Cake
1 cup mung beans
1 liter water
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
6 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup shallots, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon pure grated cane sugar
salt and pepper
In a small saucepan, bring the beans and water to a boil, cook for about 40 minutes until softened enough to purée and almost all the water is absorbed. If water runs out before beans are soft, add more. Purée until smooth.
Meanwhile, beat together the milk and sugar. Beat in the beans, then the eggs. Return to the saucepan and cook over low heat until mixture begins to thicken. Pour batter into an 8x8 inch square pan. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes, then at 450F for 25 minutes more. 
Meanwhile, sauté the shallots in the oil until soft and caramelized, add the cane sugar, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle over the baked cake. Cool, then cut.

You wouldn't even know there are beans in this cake! The texture is softer and different, but the cake is sweet and tasty, You could definitely reduce the amount of sugar if you want a more savory cake. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Corn Bread Triangles

Corn Bread Triangles
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup ground cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup oil
1/2 - 3/4 cup water
Mix together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Blend in the oil. Then blend in the water gradually to form a soft dough that is just dry enough to handle. Roll out to a thin circle (as thin as you want/can get it) then cut into triangles. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes or so until crisp and golden.

This is a cornbread-style recipe I came up with when I wanted something tortilla chip-like to use for my dip for a Latin/Caribbean buffet. This is what I came up with. The recipe doubles or halves well and has a nice texture and crunch. Alternately, the dough can be baked as biscuits, or cut even thinner and fried in oil or deep-fried.

Monday, November 23, 2015


3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon granulated (white) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt
1/2 cup all-purpose (plain) flour

Preheat oven to 300F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Beat the yolks and 1/2 cup sugar until thick, pale and yellow and forms a ribbon when the beater is trailed in. Beat in the vanilla.
Beat the egg whites and salt until soft peaks form, gradually beat in one Tablespoon sugar until stiff peaks form.

Scoop one quarter of the whites over the yolks, then sift on one quarter of the flour and fold in. Repeat this process three times. Spoon batter into piping bag fitted with a half inch open round tip (or simply cut a hole in a plastic piping bag). Pipe ovals approximately 2 inches wide, four inches long and one inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes until risen and firm. Remove from baking sheet and allow to cool.
To prepare for a Charlotte, dip one end of each cooled ladyfinger in melted dark chocolate. Chill to set, then dip the other end in melted white chocolate. Chill to set before using. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Black Fruit Cake

This is a dark, rum-flavored fruit cake from the Caribbean area.

Black Fruit Cake
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup citrus spice syrup (see )
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups dark rum-soaked dried fruit
1/4 - 1/2 cup dried fruit and nut filling (see )
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8x8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat the oil and syrup. Beat in the eggs, then the vanilla. Fold in remaining ingredients (including rum). Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake for about an hour until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm or cool. I cut mine into hearts and served with coconut caramel custard.

Saturday, November 21, 2015


Khobz (Moroccan Bread)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
Mix together the flour and salt, then gradually work in the water until dough forms into one smooth ball, kneading for ten minutes. Cover and let rest for at least two hours. Divide into six balls, roll each flat, it doesn't have to be a perfect shape. Cover with a damp towel to keep moist and let rest twenty minutes.
Heat a frying pan until water bounces off. Rub with oil. Cook dough for a few minutes per side until browned. Transfer to a baking tray and bake at a high temperature until crisp. Tear into pieces and serve with a spread or dip.

This is a super-easy flatbread recipe that is healthy and takes no time to make at all. It goes well with just about anything!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Lemon Pastry Cream

Lemon Pastry Cream
1 cup milk
3 egg yolks
6 Tablespoons granulated (white) sugar
2 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 Tablespoon custard powder
pinch salt
juice and zest of one large lemon

Whisk all together in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil stirring often, then boil slowly for one minute. Immediately pour into a bowl, and press plastic wrap on the surface. Chill to set. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Greek 'Orzo' Salad

This is one of those dishes I came up with as a way of using up leftovers. I had a lot of leftover filling from my stuffed grape leaves, dolmathakia me rizi, when I made them, so I used it to make a Greek salad, similar to Greek orzo salad, except this uses rice instead. I included the filling recipe so this salad can be made from scratch, as it is quite tasty!

Greek 'Orzo' Salad
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1/2 cup short-grain rice
1 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 Tablespoon chopped dill
1 teaspoon chopped mint
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
salt and pepper

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, sauté the onions in the oil until translucent. Add the rice to coat, then the stock. Cook until rice is barely tender, it should still be fairly firm since it will be cooked further. Add remaining ingredients. Cool.

Then add:
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup chopped black olives
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon mustard
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
This salad gets better with age, and keeps in the fridge for several days.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Second Open Day = Last Buffet Day

On our final buffet day we went all out - no food left behind! It was by far our biggest and best buffet yet, as we made so many different dishes of so many different types, flavors, colors, and ethnicities. We used up all the leftovers in the fridges and came up with some new creations as well. We couldn't even fit all of our dishes on the one counter. I am not writing less words on my blogposts to be lazy - wuite the opposite - as a picture is worth 1000 words and it actually takes longer to format the pictures than just blocks of text. It's just easiest to express buffets this way, however; this will be the last buffet post for the time being.

Miniature homemade puff pastry bites
with caramel filling, pecan, and figs
Vegan meringue cookies with chocolate
foam, orange foam, and caramel spirals
Chickpea hummus dip with handmade lavosh bread

Sweet corn salad

Sweet cream cheese filled deep-fried
wontons with sweet and sour dipping sauce
Sticky glazed ribs

Salmon crustini with herb cream
cheese on homemade baguette 
Rice noodles with chicken and assorted stir-fried vegetables
Soy sauced rotini with mixed mushrooms, peppers, and pork

Spicy tofu

Jerk chicken
Scallop ceviche
Spicy okra soup

Beef skewers with peppers

Homemade pasta with fresh seafood,
spring vegetables, and cream sauce
Fresh baked salmon fillet

Homemade pasta with mushroom cream sauce
Cherry pie

Duck breast atop mushroom polenta with molasses
 glazed red peppers, cranberries, and toasted walnuts
Lobster eggs Benedict on homemade English muffins
with fresh hollandaise sauce and Lobster roe
Fried calamari with cucumber yogurt sauce

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Open Day

Some really great creations after exploring some really great regions - look at the new dishes, an amazing variety as well!
Cheesy Shepherd's Pie
Creamy Seafood Chowder
Zest Lemon Shortbread Cookies with Lemon Sugar Glaze
Soft Fried Dumplings
Comforting Cornmeal Pudding
Warming Vegetable Stew
Crispy Risotto Balls
Modern Seared Beef and Scallops with
roasted root vegetables and creamy potato purée
Pretty Vanilla Cake with caramel pecan filling
Fresh Buckwheat Noodles with vegetables
Yummy Homemade Pasta with seared scallops
Sweet Rice Balls
Fluffy Fried Churros
Hearty Lamb Stew
Succulent Steamed Dumplings
Irresistible Ice Chocolate
Classic Beef Wellington with herb crêpe and sauce Bavaroise