Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Cookies "Warm-up"

The next day after Thanksgiving, with Christmas in my mind, I went to my first "Christmas Cookie Decoration Course".

Going from blog to blog (actually from "El Rincon de Bea"), I found this beautiful blog about cookies: "Muy Dulce Vinuesa". I have to say that the quality and creativity of their work blew me away.

Being "Muy Dulce Vinuesa" one of my regular visits in my "blog tour", going to one of their courses was more than exciting!!

Mercedes and Mariapi are the leading ladies behind the "cookie camp". M&M are warm, professional and generous with their knowledge.

They tough us the technique, the tools, the tricks and the right addresses for cookie shopping. If you want to see us "at work" just click here to sneak a peek. You will see me very concentrated!!

The pictures in this post are the cookies I decorated with Mercedes and Mariapi. They gave me so much energy and inspiration that I am ready for my Christmas cookies baking season.

I hope you like it!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Thanksgiving is that holiday, that although is not originally from where I am from, I have been celebrating for some years now.

The idea of getting together with your loved ones around food to thank God for the good things is just great.

This year I organized dinner with some of my close friends and family. We had a great time catching up, drinking fantastic wine and eating ... too much I have to say.

I prepared a beautiful turkey, mashed potatoes with buttermilk, gravy, apple and chestnut stuffing, honey-glazed carrots, thyme sauteed apples, green beans with mustard vinaigrette, cranberry sauce and biscuits. And, of course, pumpkin pie.

The food was delicious. My guest were delighted with the menu! My only difficulty was taking pictures of the food.

How do you ask a hungry crowd to hold for the pictures?? Excuse me this time for not giving you the recipes and for the pictures.

I hope you like it!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Lemon Cookie Squares

Last Sunday after our ritual brunch at “Le Pain Quotidien”, my friend Claudio and myself went for a lovely walk to the Alfred Bertrand Park in Geneva.

Claudio was telling me about the bake sale that took place few weeks ago at his work (my former work) to raise funds for breast cancer. Bake sales at my former work are just sunning. The decoration and props are amazing, making the treats look even more beautiful. What to expect from one the best fashion companies in the world?!!

I started to think about bake sales and how “sweet “ they are. I love the tables full of treats, very nicely displayed, with cute packaging. Nothing like homemade baking to indulge yourself! And they are always to raise money for a good reason!!

At all the bake sales you can find the classic: chocolate chips cookies, raspberry muffins, vanilla cupcakes …. But there is one thing that you will always see: Lemon cookie squares.

Lemon squares are EASY to bake and very tasty. This is the reason, in my humble opinion, that a bake sale is not a real bake sale if they don´t have lemon squares ;-)

I hope you like them!

Serves two dozen 5cm squares


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

200gr unsalted butter, frozen

3/4 cup confectioner's sugar, plus more for dusting

3/4 teaspoon salt


4 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 cup whole milk

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 1/3 cups granulated sugar

3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4 lemons)

1/4 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 180º. Butter a 20-by-30-cm (aprox) glass baking dish; line dish with waxed paper.

To make the crust grate butter on a cheese grater with large holes. In a separate large bowl, whisk together flour, confectioners' sugar, and salt. Add butter; stir with a wooden spoon until combined and mixture looks crumbly.

Transfer mixture to baking dish; press evenly onto bottom with your hands. Chill crust in freezer 15 minutes. Bake until slightly golden, 16 to 18 minutes.

Meanwhile, make filling: In bowl whisk together eggs, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. Stir in lemon juice and milk.

Remove crust from the oven and pour filling mixture over hot crust. Reduce oven temperature to 160º and bake until filling is set and edges are slightly golden brown, about 18 minutes.

Remove dish from the oven. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Grip paper; lift out dessert, and set on cutting board. With a sieve, dust with confectioners' sugar. Cut into squares.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sunshine Award - Premios "Sol Brillante"

Mi amiga Dadà del blog "Dadà Flavours" me ha dado una gran alegría al darme el premio "Sol Brillante". Dadá tiene un blog fantástico. Sus recetas son muy creativas y las fotos muy visuales. Dadá muchísimas gracias por acordarte de mi blog.
Desde aquí quiero agradecer a Dadá y a las habituales que dejáis comentarios (ya sabéis quienes sois) vuestra presencia y palabras. Sois un ejemplo para mi!

Hay 5 condiciones para este premio:
1. Agradecer a quien nos lo envía con un link a su blog.
2. Escribir un post sobre el premio.
3. Entregarlo a doce blogs que consideremos merecedores.
4. Colocar el enlace de cada uno de los blogs premiados.
5. Avisar a los elegidos de la distinción que le pasamos.

Algunos de estos blogs ya han recibido este u otro premio, pero aún así quería darselo y expresar mi reconocimiento. Estos son de mis blogs favorito a los que se lo entrego:

La Chica de la Casa de Caramelo http://lachicadelacasadecaramelo.blogspot.com/

Saludos a todos!!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Quince Biscuit Pie

I love fruit deserts. I never loose the chance to bake a fruit pie. Summer is a great time for it, but for me fall is just the perfect season. I guess that I enjoy fall the most because the fragrant spices that I use in the recipes.

This month I am exploring different fall fruit desserts. I am looking for the perfect companion for the Thanksgiving classic pumpkin pie. Getting ready for Thanksgiving is such an excitement!

I have found this pie recipe in the November issue of Martha Stewart Living. Delicious result!!

I hope you like it!!


Makes one 9-inch pie (22 cm); serves 8

For the filling

5 cups water

1 cup pure maple syrup

1/2 cup granulated sugar

5 quinces, peeled, cored, and quartered

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, pod reserved

2 teaspoons cornstarch

For the topping

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup fine yellow cornmeal

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder


1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons sliced almonds

For the maple cream

1 cup heavy cream, chilled

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

Garnish: confectioners' sugar


Make the filling: Bring water, maple syrup, granulated sugar, quinces, and vanilla seeds and pod to a simmer in a large pot over medium heat. Cover with parchment, and cook until quinces are soft and rosy pink, about 2 hours. Discard vanilla pod.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Make the topping: Sift together flour, cornmeal, granulated sugar, baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoon salt, and then sift again. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or rub in with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse meal with some large pieces remaining. Make a well in the center. Pour in cream; stir until combined.

Transfer quinces to a medium bowl using a slotted spoon. Add 1 cup poaching liquid and the cornstarch, and toss to combine. Pour quinces with juices into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Arrange large spoonfuls of topping mixture around outer edge of pie, leaving a space in the center. Sprinkle almonds on top, and bake until liquid is bubbling and topping is golden, about 50 minutes. Let cool completely.

Make the maple cream: Whisk cream with a mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Fold in maple syrup. Garnish pie with confectioners' sugar. Serve with maple cream.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ladureé Madeleines

From all the things that I miss from traveling there is one that I miss the most: Paris.

I don’t even know how many times I have been in Paris, but every time I get to the city I get amazed of how beautiful the city is.

I have always enjoyed Paris, but the best time was when my friend Iva and I walked the city scouting for new ideas. Iva has a great eye for fashion and visiting stores and cool spots was always great fun.

Iva and I share another passion: Ladureé. Breakfast at Ladureé at Place de la Madeleine was a must. What can I say about those croissants or pain au raisins, with a glorious café au lait? The best way to start the day.

Our Ladureé “experience” continued during the day. After our meetings with clients, preparation of buy-plans … there were always time for a break and some macarons.

I usually bake these wonderful madelaines. They remind me so much of the breakfast at Ladureé with Iva. This recipe is from the Ladureé book “Sucré”. The book is beautiful and the pictures simply gorgeous. It really captures the essence of the French house.

I hope you like it!!


Serves 24 madeleines

2 Lemons

160 gr caster sugar

175 gr all porpoise flour + 20 gr for the mold

10 gr baking powder

180 gr butter + 20 gr for the mold

4 eggs

35 gr honey


The dough needs to be prepared a day in advance.

Grate the zest two lemons. In bowl mix the zest of the two lemons with the sugar. In other bowl, sieve the flour and the baking powder.In a small saucepan melt the butter.

Beat the eggs together with the lemon zest, sugar and the honey until the mix becomes a bit foamy. Next add the flour-baking powder mix and whisk. Finally add the melted butter and mix until well incorporated.

Save the dough in the freezer in an air–tight container minimum 12 hours.

The next day, melt 20 gr of butter and with a brush paint the madeleines molds. Place the molds in the freezer for 15 min until the butter firms. Sprinkle flour and remove the excess.

Preheat the oven at 200ºC. fill the molds ¾ of the capacity. Bake them during 8 to 10 min, until the madeleines are golden. Let the madeleines cool before removing them from the mold.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Parsnip Soup with Sauted Veggies

These past few months that I have not traveled like a mad woman have been GREAT! Not going from time zone to time zone suddenly made sense.

I have adapted myself to many new things … the hardest one is food shopping and baking supplies. I say is hard because when I am in Madrid I don´t have many of the things that used to buy in New York, Paris or Milan. Lucky me I have Geneva.

In Madrid I am learning to find the places where I can shop some of my “favorite” things. In fact, I found a supermarket where I buy a good amount of the products that I used to shop at Whole Foods in New York or that I buy at Coop in Geneva.

Last week I found parsnip, in Spanish “Chirivía”. I was soooo happy! Although parsnip is easy to find abroad and there are many recipes to cook it, its not easy to find it in Madrid.

I prepared a soup. Very good idea after the Halloween candy galore. I also prepared some carrots, mushrooms and almonds that worked perfectly with the parsnip aniseed flavor.

I hope you like it!!


Serves 4

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 small shallots, chopped

250 gr parsnips (about 2 medium), peeled and coarsely chopped

2 medium potato, peeled and coarsely chopped

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

3 1/2 cups water

1/4 cup heavy cream


Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook shallots, parsnips, and potato, stirring occasionally, until almost tender, about 10 minutes.

Season with 2 teaspoons salt. Add water, and simmer, partially covered, until vegetables are tender, 13 to 15 minutes. Puree mixture in a blender with cream until smooth.