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! 

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