Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Check 1-2-1-2 and Lemon Pudding Cakes

I love lemon! In every single possible way …. With fish, pasta, in lemon curd, cookies, lemonade…And desserts. All kind of desserts!!

In my constant research of new desserts I found this simple yet tasty lemon puddings. The texture is fluffy and light. Best thing is the sauce that remains in the bottom. I think I will bake them during the Christmas season …

Hopefully, during the season, I will have free time that I could use to do, among many things, an interesting recipe research. I am also doing a good home-glamour-make-over. I am painting, changing curtains, organizing my china, glassware and tablecloths. Now that is going to be interesting!! I will make sure to keep you posted.

In the mean time here I am trying new lightings, new home “locations”, new accessories…. Finding a way to post during the weekdays when I get home and there is not natural light…sounds familiar, ah?

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Return of the Baking-Jedy


Months ago I said that I will post on my "Le Cordon Bleu" course and I didn´t. Well, they say better late than ever …. So here I am!!!

At the beginning of the summer I joined LCB to attend the basic level of the Pastry Chef Diploma. I had a lot of expectations. I wanted to learn, from professional chefs, how to bake things, as simple and complicated at the same time, as croissants, brioche or charlotte cake… the bases of French baking. I also wanted to know much of a baker I had in me. Is this something that I want to make a career of?

Overall, I can say that mi time at LCB was fantastic. The facilities are amazing. The kitchens have every sort of tool that you can think of. Everything is spotless, and this is one of the big lessons. About the chefs, is such a pleasure to see the difficult techniques done in such a talented and gracious way.

I have also meet very nice people. Those people have a real passion for baking. This takes me to “the baker in me”.

Reality is that I do not see myself in bakery baking for living. I love baking, but baking at home, for family and friends. For the fun of it! And I love baking simple, innocent, comforting goods despite the fact that now I have the skills for a more challenging recipes.

So if you are thinking of joining the school I highly recommend it! The only negative is that from the first tasting with the chefs, you will think that any dessert in any restaurant is just not good enough!!!:-)

On another note, I am coming back to blog-land. I think I have figured out what do I want to tell and how to express it in images. This is going to be a big exercise of organization. I hope you have a little patient ….

By the way …. So happy to be back!!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Le Cordon Bleu



A year ago I decided that I needed a changed in my life. And I did changed!!!
In my new life my job is not the most important thing in my life. I don´t travel like crazy. I get off at 6.30. I ride my horse everyday. I sleep in my bed. I go to my Asturias home whenever and I bake non stop!!!!

So since as now I do all the things that makes me happy ... I thought that it was the time to take my "I am happy while I am baking" to the next level.

Here I am, tomorrow is my first day at Le Cordon Bleu!!!!!! Do you imagine if this is really my thing and I become a pastry chef?? Now that´s a change!

I will keep you posted on my Cordon experience. What we learn, what we bake, my progress, exams ....

Wish me luck!!!

Mariola

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Hot Milk Sponge Cake and See You Soon!

I feel that reached this point it would be more honest and straight forward to take a break from my blogging life. Although I enjoy cooking and sharing what I do with my dear ones, I do not feel the need of blogging about it. I am just not inspired!!

Do not get wrong! My free time at home has reduced by a factor of a 1000! My loving horse Oberon gets the largets part of my free time and my desire of having my appartment almost perfectly tidy the rest of the time ...

Do not think I will be gone forever .... my closest friends know that I "disapear" from time to time but I always come back.
It feels that I need the time for me. And my new ME loves myself and has promise to take care of me. So there you go!
Thanks so much for being there, for sharing with me your comments and experiences, for being so nice and supportive. I will see you very soon!!

The recipe is from "The Amish Cook´s: Baking Book" which has got all my attention in the past weeks . I highly recomend it!! The cake was yummy and fluffy!

I hope you like it!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Strawberry and Lemon Whoopie Pies

Life has been busy these past weeks. Between my job, my horse and my baking I have not had that much time left for anything else.

To recuperate energy I went to spend some days off to my Asturias house. I have been gardening, specially concentrated in my peonies and rhubarb, reorganizing the furniture I brought from Switzerland and exercising

So now back in Madrid, and getting ready for a new week and before it gets crazy I wanted to post my whoopie pies.

Whoopie pies are my new favorite thing. Original from the Amish, nobody is really sure where the name comes from. The only thing for sure is that in any variation they are terrific.

This recipe is from Martha and needless to say is just great.

I hope you like it!!

Ingredients

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature

1 cup plus 3 tablespoons light-brown sugar

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 large egg

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1 cup whole milk

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 cup fresh strawberries

Directions

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter, 1 cup brown sugar, and lemon zest until light and creamy. Add vanilla and egg and beat to combine, scraping down bowl as needed. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With mixer on low, beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk and ending with flour mixture (scrape bowl as needed). Beat well to combine.

Drop batter in 2-tablespoon mounds, about 2 inches apart, onto two parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until puffed and pale golden around edges, 17 to 19 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Let cakes cool completely on sheets on wire racks.



Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Onion & Parmesan Cornbread

In a couple of weeks I will be going to Asturias. Yeah!!!!!! I have not been in my house for a while now …. I know I know …. I should have go. But the weather, Switzerland, the new job …..

So, very soon I will be at home2!! I am so excited to think about my garden produce. At the end of the summer I planted rhubarb and I hope a decent amount of plants have survived the winter. I am thinking rhubarb pie …. Yum!

Asturias has many faces, smell and flavors for me. But there is one among all of them that takes me to my grandmother’s kitchen: Corn.

This time I am bringing you a super easy and yummy cornbread. Let me tell you something: You have one piece of this bread and you can not stop!!

The recipe is from “The Photo Cookbook” application for IPad.

I hope you like it!

Serves 16

Ingredients

140 gr fine cornmeal

140 gr plain flour

4 tsp baking powder

2 tsp celery salt

55 gr Parmesan cheese, grated

2 eggs, beaten

400 ml milk

55gr butter, melted

1 bunch Spring onions, chopped

Ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 190º/375F. Grease a 23cm/9 inch Squire baking tin.

Sift the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, celery salt and pepper into a bowl and stir in 40 gr of the Parmesan cheese.

Beat together the eggs, milk and melted butter. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and stir well to mix evenly. Stir in he chopped spring onions and spread the mixture evenly into the tin.

Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the mixture. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until firm and golden.

Cut the cornbread into squares and serve warm.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Maple Syrup and Cinnamon Cupcakes

Last weekend my sister celebrated her birthday. She organized a dinner at home for her closest friend in which I was the cook.

The menu was fun and easy! When my sis and I spoke about the birthday cake, we came to the conclusion that cupcakes were better alternative. Personally I though that if they were cupcakes left I could give them away to the guest.

Don´t get me wrong! Not that I don´t like my cupcakes. The issue is that I love what I bake and if I have it home I eat it! All!! Baking every week … imagine if I don´t control myself.

The B-cupcakes were cinnamon (from Martha S.) and the frosting (my own recipe) is a maple syrup buttercream. The cake is moist and soft and the buttercream delicious! They worked perfectly!!

I hope you like it!!

Makes 2 dozen cupcakes

Ingredients

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup milk

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two standard 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners. Into a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until combined. With the mixer still on medium speed, add the flour mixture in two parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour. Stir in walnuts with a wooden spoon.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until cupcakes are golden and a cake tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool.

Maple Buttercream

Serves 2 dozen cupcakes

Ingredients

2cup butter, room temperature.

1 cup confectioners sugar

2/3 cup

Directions

Beat the butter until fluffy. Ad sugar and Maple Syrup and continue beating.

Frost cupcake tops.




Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Feta Cheese and Sun-dried Tomatos Scones and Frustations

I have been seriously thinking about weather I should upload this post or not. We always speak about the pleasure of cooking this, baking that and eating all! The creative process of creating a picture is, at least for me, fun and challenging.

This time I want it to share with you my frustrations. That I am going through a creative –photographic crisis is obvious. You just need to take a look at the pics. And to prove that this is not some kind of self-suggestion-drama I wanted you to “enjoy” this post.

Since in my apartment the light is not great, I decided to get all my food and gadgets and go out to find a place to take the pictures. I though that the club where I ride was a perfect place.

So there I was ready with my camera. I take one picture …. And the camera dies. I have to admit that for a second I freaked out. Me in the middle of a paddock taking pictures to my scones and he camera dies!!! What did I do? I took my phone. Which, by the way is not last generation, and took the pictures you see here.

The only thing I can say, apart from sorry for the pics, is that the scones are delicious. The recipe is from the “The Baking Photo Cookbook” application for IPad.

I will post the recipe very soon!!!


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Few days ago I was talking to some of my friends about my favorite things/shopping from my “past international life”.

When narrowing down the list of my “favorite things/places” this was my top three: The Container Store, my manicure place in NY and the red velvet cupcakes from Magnolia’s.

Happily I found this store close to work very similar to “The Container Store”. I love having everything organized, from my cookie cutters to my closet and containers are a great help. Happy me there is a Muji in Madrid where I can buy more containers!!!

For my manicure a friend recommended a place close to the office. I have to say that they do a very good job with NY prices!!. They are no open “24/7” like in NY but I will not complain.

For the beautiful Magnolia red velvet cupcakes I worked two ways to solve my cravings. The first one is for when I am in downtown Madrid. I will go to Cream Bakery and get me a red velvet (actually it usually is 2). The red velvets are as good as Magnolia’s.

The second way to solve my craving is, me taking my Magnolia’s book and baking some of my favorite cupcakes! And this is what I did! I am happy with the result!

But what really make me happy is that step-by-step I am finding in Madrid those little things that make happy: a container, a good manicure and a red velvet cupcake.

I hope you like it!

Ingredients

Makes 12 cupcakes

2 cups all porpoise flour

95 gr butter

½ teaspoon sugar

2 eggs

3 tablespoons red food coloring

1 ½ tablespoon cocoa

¾ teaspoon vanilla extract

¾ teaspoon salt

¾ cup buttermilk

¾ teaspoon cider vinegar

¾ teaspoon baking soda

Directions

Preheat oven at 350. Line the cupcake papers.

In a small bowl, sift the flour and set aside. In a large bow, on a medium Speedy of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well alter each addition.

In a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, cocoa and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well.

In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk. Add to the batter in three parts, alternating with the flour. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat.

In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.

Bake for 20min, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

Creamy Vanilla Frosting

Makes enough for 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

3 tablespoons all-pourpous flour

1 cup milk

1 cup unsalted butter softened

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract


Directions

Be sure to follow the recipe directions exactly.

In a medium-size saucepan, whisk the flour into the milk until smooth. Place over medium heat and, stirring constantly, cook until the mixture becomes very thick and begins to bubble, 10-15 min. Cover with waxed paper placed directly on the surface and cool to room temperature, about 30 min.

In a large bowl, on the medium high speed of an electric mixer, beat the butter for 3 minutes, until smooth or creamy. Gradually add the sugar, beating continuously for 3 minutes until fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat well.

Add the cooled milk mixture, and continue to beat on the medium high speed for 5 minutes, until very smooth and noticeably whiter in color. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes (no less and no longer). Use immediately.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Corn Muffins

I always though that the order that rules my life during the week- days was kind of a Swiss influence. You are in Switzerland and your schedules and habits become Swiss.

How can this happen? Easy. You are not allowed noises (washing machines, loud tv, loud conversations, noisy showers). So before 22.00 pm everything needs to be done!

Well, since I am working back in Spain, happily my schedules and habits have not become “Spanish”. I get out of work at a decent hour (late for my friend Silvia from Geneva). I have dinner early and time to do things before bed time, at an early time.

You might think this in too much order for you. For me this has two objectives: sleeping time and time for breakfast!! I love having the time for breakfast in the morning and something nice for breakfast!

Corn Muffins are one of my all time favorites. Now even more that I get fresh corn flour from Asturias. The recipe is simple and quick to prepare.

I hope you like it!!

Ingredients

Makes 1 dozen

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

Coarse salt

1/4 cup sunflower

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons mild honey

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup whole milk

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with baking cups. Whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt in a large bowl. Combine oil, butter, and honey; stir in eggs and milk. Stir oil mixture into cornmeal mixture. Divide batter evenly among baking cups.

Bake until tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Baby Shower Cookies and Cupcakes

After having a great time back in November with Mariapi and Mercedes from "Muy Dulce", I did not hesitate one second to join them again this past weekend.

The theme this time was baby showers. You should have seen the beautiful table presentation that Mariapi and Mercedes prepared with the cuttest cookies and cupcakes!

As always, I had a blast of time hanging around these talented two. They have infinite pacience with us the students. Theach us all little tricks. Make you feel like at home and always with the sweetest smile.

These time there were people from all over Spain. From Mallorca, Sevilla, Cuenca ... go figure!
I am telling you !! M&M Rock!!

So, if you want to see them in action you can do two things:

1. Tune your TV tomorrow 15th Feb. Antena 3 news.
2. Join them in their next course. I will be there!

And to Mariapi and Mercedes: Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!