Sunday, 16 September 2018

COFFEE CHEESECAKE WITH RUM CHOCOLATE GANACHE


     Happiness doubles when is shared with loved ones. That's how I felt yesterday, when I got to celebrate the wedding of some very dear friends of ours. Everything was simple, magical and so effortless. From the ceremony to the reception you could tell these two persons really loved each other. And their happiness vibrated throughout the room. It made me so happy for them and I felt such an honour when a few months ago I was asked to make their wedding cake. The cake was a big success, which made me proud, but also relieved that it completed the whole event.
     So, after a busy and joyful day yesterday, right now I'm sitting on my couch, drinking warm coffee and enjoying some light jazz. Well, I'm also writing this blog post. I wanted to share this recipe with you a little earlier in the week, but unfortunately life matters got in the way of things and I didn't make it on time. But, here it is now, online for you to try it out. And trust me, you need to try this recipe for sure!




     Cheesecakes are on the top of my list of favourite desserts that take a little effort for big, big results. Of course, I'm a fan of the baked, traditional New York cheesecake, that each bite leaves you with a creaminess in the beginning and then the crunchy taste of the cookie base. What is there not to love about a good cheesecake? The next best thing to it might be to make a cup of cappuccino and drink it while you eat a piece of this cheesecake.
     The chocolate rum ganache on top really elevates your taste buds even more. I'm all up for fruit jams or caramel sauce on top of cheesecake, but I'm an eternal lover of dark chocolate, so of course a little chocolate ganache on my cheesecake makes my tummy happy. It will make yours too. Combined with the coffee cream in the middle it will make a great success and everyone who will try it will ask you for the recipe! Just guide them here I guess...



Coffee Cheesecake with Rum Chocolate Ganache

ingredients

for the crust
100gr butter
75gr petite beurres + 75gr petites galettes Bretonnes (150gr petites beurres is also fine if you don't find the galettes bretonnes)
50gr ground hazelnuts
1 teaspoon espresso powder
pinch of salt

for the creamy middle
500gr cream cheese (Philadelphia style)
250gr white sugar
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
230gr heavy cream or crème fraîche
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1 tablespoon Baileys or other coffee liquer

for the chocolate ganache
150gr dark chocolate (at least 70%)
150gr heavy cream or crème fraîche
a few drops of rum essence
1 teaspoon honey

How do I make it?

1. Place a baking paper at the bottom of a round pan with detachable sides. On the sides, carefully cover the surface with aluminium foil and press it on the sides so it fits well. Crush well the petites beurres and galettes Bretonnes in a food processor until you get a nice ground and place them in a bowl. Melt the butter and mix it in with the grounded cookies. Pour the mixture into the pan you've prepared, pressing it lightly with a spatula so you get a nice, almost smooth surface. Bake the base for 7 minutes on 180C. After it's baked take it out of the oven and let it cool, until you make the cream. Decrease the temperature of the oven to 120C.
2. In a bowl of a standing electric mixer or a large bowl if you're using a hand mixer, place the cream cheese and beat it in medium speed until it's really creamy, for about 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides, add the sugar and keep beating for another 3 minutes. Add the egg and egg yolk into the mix one at a time and making sure you mix everything well before each addition. Then, add the vanilla, espresso powder and liquer and beat a little more until everything is mixed.
3. Add the heavy cream gradually and increase the speed of the mixed once all the heavy cream is added. Beat well for about 4 to 5 minutes, until you get a really smooth texture. Pour the creamy mixture on top of the base you baked and cooled. 
4. Time of the baking! Make sure the temperature is 120C and baked the cheesecake for at least 2 hours. Depending on your oven, you might need half an hour to 45 minutes more of baking. The end result should be a cheesecake with firm sides and top, but with a jiggly center when you slightly shake the pan. 
5. When it's baked, let it cool in room temperature first and then place it on the fridge for at least 4 hours to overnight ideally. 
6. The chocolate ganache should be made and poured on top after the cheesecake have been in the fridge to sit well. In a bowl place the chocolate in small pieces. Warm the heavy cream in a small pan until it starts bubbling and then pour it immediately in the bowl with the chocolate. Take a wooden spatula and start mixing to melt the chocolate. It should turn into a velvety and creamy melted chocolate. Add a few drops of rum (2 to 3) and the honey and mix again very well. Let the ganache cool down completely in room temperature. 
7. Take the cheesecake out of the fridge and carefully try to detach the sides with the foil. Using a large spatula try to lift the cheesecake from the bottom and place it on a large plate. Pour on top the chocolate ganache and place the cheesecake in the fridge again for another hour or so. When you want to serve, use a sharp knife to cut until the crust. Enjoy with an espresso or cappuccino or on its own!





Sunday, 2 September 2018

CHOCOLATE AND HAZELNUT GRANOLA (LIGHTLY SWEETENED)



     Yesterday I welcomed the new season in the best way possible. By doing a makeover to my hair, and mood! I have always been and still am the girly, romantic individual who fantasises about spending time in a Parisian cafe, reading poetry or a cult novel. Without being too detailed about it, I got some cute bangs on my forehead. The kind of bangs that hang loosely from the top of your head, without being too structured or formed. I'm in love! Although I didn't expect to like them as much, I always thought that they wouldn't look good on me or something. For sure, I look like a kid without make up or proper adult clothes, but who cares? As I'm proceeding to getting 30 next year, I could use some high school vibes.
     Thins are getting pretty hectic this September. My best friend here in Zurich is getting married, my graduation is next week and some pretty exciting news hit me last Friday. Can't wait for everything to happen and some of my dreams to come true soon. Other than that, I am a bit away from the blog lately as I am working full time now and my time is limited, but also I had zero creativity and motivation during summer. As a sensitive and creative nature, I cannot help it but feel beaten up by algorithms on Instagram or generally the net, where gifted individuals who don't get as much followers or audience are left behind. Also, I am not a person to monetise my passion, I think that would kill it. You see, to me creating recipes and taking photos is a passion. And I want it to stay like that. My only escape from everyday life and problems. My true time alone.





     This morning I was looking for something crunchy to eat, but I was left out of my old coconut granola. I was also filling the cold weather taking out some part of the summer joy and bringing in some blues, so I thought it would be nice to make something enjoyable to eat every morning this fall. Then, the idea popped into my head to create a recipe that paired chocolate and hazelnut. Nutella, you might say. And you are probably right, since it almost tastes like it. But this granola, however, doesn't have all the nasty stuff you find in nutella, like palm oil and badly processed sugar, so that you can enjoy it for breakfast and you won't feel hungry in 1 hour after eating it.
     I added Dutch unsweetened cocoa and a cocoa with peanut butter I bought last year from Edinburgh. When I saw it, memories were brought back to me from our trip last year. The mesmerising little streets, the warmth of the small and big cafes and the overall atmosphere of an old city with its knights in shining armour. In Edinburgh I felt so alive, even though the city has very dark colors. My boyfriend loved it too and we are planning on visiting Scotland again this year and perhaps visit some other villages or cities.




     This recipe is easy and versatile, which is how I like my granola to be. In all seriousness though, it really is something to make in big batches and enjoy throughout the fall. I used a small amount of sweetener (honey), but if you want to add more you can (up to 2 more tablespoons). I wouldn't however skip on the good quality of cocoa, because that is what makes this granola AMAZING.

Chocolate and Hazelnut Granola (lightly sweetened)

ingredients

2 1/2 cups of whole oats (not the instant cooking ones)
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon honey (or add two more for a sweeter taste)
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch cacao
pinch of salt
1/2 cup raw and chopped hazelnuts
1/4 cup dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, coconut)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla or hazelnuts extract

How do I make it?

1. In a large bowl, add the oats, dried fruit, salt and chopped hazelnuts. Using a small pot, pour inside the coconut oil, honey and cacao and try incorporating everything in medium heat. Basically you only need them to melt enough to become one smooth mixture. Be careful to stir continuously and not let them get too hot or burn.
2. Pour the warm liquid mixture to the large bowl and mix well. Try  mixing the bottom of the bowl thoroughly because most of the oats that are there don't get moistened with the liquid. Preheat the over to 170C.
3. Use a large flat pan and cover it with baking sheet. Pour on top the raw granola and spread it throughout the pan. Bake the granola for 30 to 40 minutes, depending how crispy you want it. Enjoy with milk, yoghurt or just on its own!





Wednesday, 22 August 2018

OATS, APPLE & RAISINS BREAKFAST SCONES WITH DULCE DE LECHE


      This post is dedicated to somebody special that didn't know what Internet probably is but would be happy to know that we will think of her for the rest of the days. 

     The week started overall well, but the weekend was even better. My best friend here in Zurich asked me to make her wedding cake in September and I was so, so happy of the proposal. As she wants a rather boho wedding, I thought of a naked cake would be the best choice. As any other professional cake maker (I totally am), I decided to make a cake testing with two flavours for her and her future husband to taste. Let me tell you, they loved both, but at the end of the day we had to decide on one flavour and go with it. You may have seen some of my posts on instagram with the cake. I sincerely fell in love with this mini version of a cake. And my friends did too.
     I also had the chance to go to the Limmatschwimmen! Zurich friends, HOW AMAZING was this? I thought it was going to be awkward, but in reality it was really fun and the river was full of people. Of course, many thanks to Stadt Zürich for organizing this event and let's hope next year's animal is a unicorn. For those of you you who don't know the event, it's basically swimming in the Limmat river for about 2km or 1,5 hours holding on to a floating animal. This ywar the animal was a sea horse. My friends also enjoyed the event, although one of the guys was unlucky that his animal got blown out and he was barely surviving on it.


      I apologise for not posting this recipe earlier, but some things got in the way with my new job and as I am an extremely, over the top anxious and responsible human being (as much as I hate it often), I had to devote some of my time to it. 
     Anyways, the recipe is finally being written in this post. Lately, I have been experiencing some nostalgia for Edinburgh or Great Britain in general. Maybe it's because I really am over summer and want fall to come. And what place or which country better represents fall than UK? The land of creamy porridge and buttery biscuits. It was no surprise that I was looking for recipes on healthier versions for biscuits, since I am making an effort to eat healthy as much as I can. And to me, a healthy breakfast sets the tone for the day. As so, I wanted to create biscuits that you could eat in the morning occasionally and not feel like you ate a cake or something. Plus, what better way to celebrate upcoming fall than an apple, cinnamon and raisin biscuit (drizzled with dulce de leche sauce if you feel fancy)? 


     Oats, Apple, Cinnamon and Raisins Breakfast Scones (with dulce de leche)

ingredients (for 12 scones)

1 cup oats
1 cup white flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup buttermilk
1 medium apple cut in small pieces or grated
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup raisins

topping (optional): dulce de leche 

How do I make it?

1. Mix together the butter and sugar with an electrical mixer until the butter softens and the sugar has been incorporated. Then add the buttermilk and mix well again. In another bowl, mix together the oats, flours, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. When ready, start adding the mixture to the wet ingredients in 5 additions. 
2. Once everything is incorporated, stop the mixer and add the apple with raisins. Try to mix everything with a wooden spoon or your hands. In the end your dough might be slightly wet. Don't worry about this, the scones will be moist and not dry.
3. Preheat oven to 180 C. Use a round pan for cakes, place a baking paper and then transfer the dough in the pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until the scones are nicely brown. Let them cool for some minutes and then cut them into pieces, as you would cut a cake or a pizza.
4. If you wish, you can drizzle some premade dulce de leche sauce on top!



Thursday, 9 August 2018

SUMMER ROLLS WITH SHRIMPS, VEGGIES AND HERB SAUCE


     You know how it goes...when life gives you lemons? That's how I feel lately, like I can grab opportunities coming my way and make them into something. It doesn't necessarily always comes out the right way, but you know what? If we knew what our life would turn out to be, then it would be plain boring. Like watching a film you like (or didn't like) for the second time. You know it, you know how it goes and there is no excitement.
     New opportunities, new people, new ideas. It's all very exciting and thrilling. On top of that, I tried making a new recipe last Saturday. As werew experiencing a very hot summer here in Switzerland, I thought I should try making some summer rolls I had in mind for a long time. However, before startinf I was already scared of rolling them...




      These summer rolls or spring rolls, called Goi cuon, come from Vietnam. They normally consist of a cold protein, like pork, prawns, salmon or chicken and then paired with fresh vegetables and noodles. I skipped the part of the noodles in this recipe, as I thought the rice paper roll was enough rice for me. By all means, you can add them if you want to and are expirienced with those. For me the rolls were filling as it was with the ingredients that I used and the high summer temperatures we have right now. The yoghurt-based herb sauce I used was also very refreshing and paired perfectly with the garlic shrimps.
     One great thing about the rolls (there are many great things) is that you can pretty much add anything you like inside. You can also make them completely vegan or vegetarian, by adding only some fresh veggies. They make also for a great work lunch box. You just need to take a small jar with the sauce to dip them and have a fun lunch time. Your colleagues might be wondering what you're eating, as it happens to me quite often, but then I can start a big conversation how I am a foodie at heart and enjoy cooking alone or with my boyfriend.



     Without further talking I will get right into the recipe. One thing to have in mind before starting is that you need a lot of preparation for the rolls if you don't want to spend hours in the kitchen. Also, you will find that you need to do the whole process quite quickly, so that the rice papers don't become more fragile than they already are. You might find yourself struggling to roll the first ones or being a total master of the rolling. Whatever the case, I suggest you have fun with it!   


Summer rolls with Shrimps, Veggies and a Yoghurt-based Herb Sauce

ingredients (for 4 rolls)

about 12 shrimps (with shell or without)
3 gloves of garlic minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
lemon juice from half lemon
1 cup chopped red cabbage
1 to 2 medium sided carrots chopped in vertical slices
1 avocado cut in slices
mint leaves (about 16 leaves)
4 rice papers for spring rolls
a bowl with lukewarm water (towards room temperature)

for the yoghurt herb sauce

1 cup of yoghurt (if vegan, coconut yoghurt)
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt (or more depending on taste)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

 How do I make it?

1. First step is to cook the shrimps. In a bowl put the shrimps, minced garlic, olive oil, chilli flakes, lemon juice and salt and stir to mix together. Let them marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes. Then, turn on your oven at 180C, spread the shrimps in a medium sized pan and cook for 5 minutes or until the shrimps become pink. Some people say they need 3 minutes, but with seafood I always like to be careful. Once they are cooked, leave them to cool down completely.
2. In the meantime, gather all your ingredients and chop the veggies. Take a small bowl and add all the ingredients for the yoghurt herb sauce. Mix well with a spoon and taste for saltiness. When you think your sauce is salty enough, place it on the fridge.
3. When you're ready to make the rolls, make sure you have all the ingredients with you and a big surface for the rolling. Also have the bowl of warm water next to the surface you're working. I used a flat plate as my surface, but you can use a cutting board as well. A trick is to wet your surface a bit, so the paper doesn't stik to the surface. Start by taking a rice paper and dip it in the bowl of water for a few seconds. Once it starts getting soft (around 20 seconds) take it out of the water and carefully place it on the surface you're working using both your hands, as it might collapse. The paper should not be too soft that you can't work with it. The first time might be a trial, so don't worry.
4. Start adding on the left center side 4 mint leaves, keeping some space around the paper. Then, on top of the leaves place four shrimps as pictured below. On the right center side put some veggies (cabbage, carrots, avocado slices).



5. Time to start rolling. Fold the top and bottom of the wrapper to cover the filling (pictured below). Next, fold the left side over the shrimp. Start rolling from the side of the shrimp to the right side until you have completely rolled the wrapper. Place it on a baking sheet and cover it with a damp towel, until you finish with all the rolls. Repeat the whole process for the remaining wrappers.







6. When you're ready with the rolls, simply take out the yoghurt sauce and dip your rolls into it and enjoy! You can eat them whole with your hands or cut them in half. Your rolls, your choice...