Two Nut Chocolate Torte and it is Gluten Free! by L

IMGP1496

If you are looking to indulge, this is the cake! I found this recipe in a hand-me-down copy of Jamie Oliver’s The Return of the Naked Chef (thanks C.M.) It calls for a favorite combination of mine: Chocolate and Nuts. Although the recipe says you can substitute any kind of nut, I followed Jamie’s instructions to a tee. For my next round, I might try it with hazelnuts or pecans.

IMGP1487

Besides having a fantastic dessert to look forward to, another sweet thing to come out of this baking experience was the chance to reconnect with my ol’mixer. It is a powerhouse of a kitchen gadget, something like a Kitchen Aid, but I think this one really rocks the house. I pulled out my Bosch MUM out of the pantry, dusted it off and gave it a quick whizz. After sitting idle on the shelf for over 2 years, it was still in perfect condition. Before the children were born, this machine had a very important place on my kitchen counter and was used very often. When the twins arrived, good ol’ Bosch got shoved aside by the Avent bottle sterilizer.

Well, it’s back and I can honestly say, it’s getting a lot of use again.

IMGP1497

Two Nuts Chocolate Torte (from The Return of the Naked Chef, by Jamie Oliver)

(Note: We enjoyed the torte more the day AFTER it was baked. It seems like the flavor and texture could use a bit of settling in time. If you are looking to really indulge, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream or creme fraiche. SOOOOO good!)

150g of ground almonds

150g of finely ground walnuts

300g of your best quality cooking chocolate

1 teaspoon of cocoa powder

255g butter

100g caster sugar

6 large eggs, separated

salt

Preheat the oven to 190C

Line or grease the bottom of your spring form or baking tin.

Place nuts, chocolate and cocoa in food processor and whizz for 30 seconds to break up the chocolate.

Put aside in a separate bowl.

Add the butter and sugar to the food processor and beat until pale and fluffy.

Keep the processor running and add the egg yolks, one at a time, then mix together with chocolate and nut mixture.

In another bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form stiff peaks.

Gently fold in the egg whites into the chocolate, butter and nut mix.

Pour all the mixture into the tin.

Bake in the oven for around an hour.

To test if the torte is cooked, insert a toothpick or tip of a knife in center of the cake and hold for 5 seconds.

When it is removed, it should be clean.

Enjoy with some ice cream, whipped cream, greek yogurt or creme fraiche!

Advertisements

GF Almond Butter with Vanilla and Sea Salt by Allison

Almond butter shouldn’t have to contain a long list of ingredients but often it does unfortunately. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want hydrogenated oils mixing with my almond butter! My friend M has made almond butter and said it was delicious so I thought I’d give it a whirl! It was remarkably easy and well worth the time. I would recommend making this when you’re in the kitchen making other things as well as you have to let the food processor motor rest in-between processing times. First, gently roast 2-3 cups of almonds on baking paper in a pre-heated oven at 220 degrees Celsius for 5-7 minutes. Place warm almonds in the food processor and begin to process for about a minute each time. My food processor is 1,000 watts full of power but it is a good idea to let the motor rest for short periods of time between grinding and mixing the almond butter. So I usually wait a few minutes and start it up again, let it cool down and repeat about 12-20 times depending on the food processor you’re working with in your kitchen.

photo 4

By the third or fourth round the ground almonds will start to stack up against the sides of the food processor. Then you’ll have to scrape the inside of the bowl with a spatula and start again. Here’s where a good dose of patience comes in handy…..good things come to those who wait right? After a few more times, add in some sea salt flakes (two-to-three pinches should do the trick).

photo 2

Then it starts to look like it is pulling together, keep processing……..

20140222-180211.jpg

Split and scrape the inside of a vanilla bean and add the vanilla pulp to the almond mixture. You can’t go wrong with adding a vanilla bean or two into the mix!

photo-18

And finally, you reach the texture in the picture below! It is time to taste-test it now….add a bit more salt to taste if you’d like and enjoy!

20140222-180223.jpg

GF Almond Butter with Vanilla and Sea Salt by Allison

Ingredients

2-3 cups of almonds

1/8-1/4 tsp. of sea salt flakes (I like to use the brand Morton which can be found at : http://www.trms.cz)

1 or 2 whole vanilla beans

tools needed

Food processor

rubber spatula

Magdalenas de Matcha (Green Tea Mini Cakes) by L

IMGP1394

If you have ever visited Spain, you might know about “Magdalenas.” If you haven’t, then I’m here to tell you all about them. Magdalenas are small sweet cakes that are usually eaten at breakfast or for merienda (tea time.) They go very well with your morning cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate. I could easily (although I shouldn’t) eat at least 2 to 3 of them for breakfast.

At first glance, it appears to be a simple morning breakfast choice. It possesses a subtle sweetness and the texture is both light and airy. Magdalenas are easily spotted in most Spanish bakeries and pastry shops. Since the birth of our daughters, we have spent every summer at my father in-law’s hometown of Montserrat and our home is just a hop, skip and a jump away from one of the town’s many bakeries. Every morning, my father-in-law would bring home a bag of freshly baked golden magdalenas and they would quickly disappear into the bellies of our household.

IMGP1409

Fortunately, since we don’t live in Spain, magdalenas can be easily baked at home. For years, I have used a recipe from one of Spain’s popular TV chefs: Karlos Arguiñano. You can find that recipe here. For this post, I adapted that usual recipe with a special ingredient that my friend B presented me with on my birthday.

IMGP1403

Matcha. Green tea, right? No, no, no. It’s NOT just your ordinary green tea. These leaves have been finely milled and the result of the end product is a fine-ground, powdered, high-quality green tea. This was the real good stuff! Aside from an amazing cup of tea, matcha can also be used as a flavoring essence for cakes, ice cream, lattes or chocolates. Just one teaspoon can add an amazing punch of flavor!

So here it is: Magdalenas de Matcha. My toddlers really enjoyed them and for me that meant the magdalenas were a sure hit!

IMGP1396

Magdalenas de Matcha (adapted from La cocina de Karlos Arguinano)

4 eggs
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon of matcha
1 tablespoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place muffin cups in your baking tin.
Beat the eggs with 1 cup of sugar.
Keeping the mixer on, slowly add the oil.

In another bowl, sift the baking powder, flour and matcha together.
Pour the dry mixture into the wet mixture.
With a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, gently mix the batter going in one direction.

Pour the batter halfway into the baking cups.
Sprinkle a pinch of the remaining sugar on top of each magdalena
and then place in the oven.
Bake for 15-18 minutes.

A quick dinner: Sesame Vegetables over Noodles

veggies + noodles = dinner

veggies + noodles = dinner

Sometimes after a long day, I just need a quick dinner. Of course, I want a hot, yummy dinner but quick is the key word here. A couple weeks ago, I was on my way to pilates and I stopped at one of the local potravinys. This potraviny carries the best corn tortillas not to mention some of the better produce… at least when the Farmer’s markets are not open yet! Browsing the isles for Sriracha hot sauce, I found these really great Asian noodles. I recently made a chicken soup and threw them into the broth. They were a great addition to the soup. I enjoy a lot of Asian cuisine so these noodles are a welcomed addition to my cupboard. Anyway, getting back to my quick dinner. I was really hungry and craving Thai food. But since I am nursing an injured hip and pulled muscle, I decided take out wasn’t the best option!

i love sesame oil

i love sesame oil

Instead I chopped up a few veggies from my fridge sauted them in sesame oil and threw them on top of these noodles. It was perfect and it “hit the spot.” You can throw any veggies into this that you want- I like it colorful!

My new favorite quick dinner!

My new favorite quick dinner!

Sesame Vegetables over noodles

ingredients: fresh green beans, half a red pepper, broccoli, and carrots (dice, cut, or shred them… your choice!) 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, 1 tablespoons of sesame seeds and your favorite noodles.

directions: boil water and noodles, heat oil in the pan; prepare veggies as you like them and saute 6- 8 minutes; combine noodles and veggies in the pan and let the noodles soak up some of the oil; serve hot preferably with Sriracha hot sauce.

Enjoy!