Lékué-Lemon-Squeezer

Lékué Lemon Squeezer

What is it ? It’s your solution to 1/2 a lemon!!!

The new designer lemon squeezer by Lékué :

  • Cut a lemon in 1/2
  • Put inside the  squeezer
  • Squeeze the exact quantity of juice you need
  • No pips, no splashes
  • Store in the fridge
  • Quick & easy to use
  • Made of 100% platinum silicone and very hygenic
  • Dishwasher safe

WIN your very own Lékué LEMON SQUEEZER

ENTER the contest with THREE easy steps:

  1. Go to the Lékué website by clicking HERE
  2. Choose your favorite Lékué product
  3. Leave a comment on this SWEET PEA post:  stating what your favorite Lékué product is & your email addressie) “My favourite Lékué product is the cooking mesh!!”

You are now entered in the free draw!

Click on link below for free draw & LEMON CAKE recipe!

CONTEST, ARTICLE, RECIPE & COMMENTS

CHOCOLATE LAVA CAKE

9 March 2009

sp-chocolate-lava-cakes

Chocolate lava cake

Molten chocolate lava cakes have become quite the talk of the town in recent years – slightly crispy exterior opening to reveal a melting chocolate heart! They really are the best of both worlds… a chocolate pudding & chocolate cake combined.

Though I have to admit that I have shied away from serving these lovely cakes at dinner parties, as the whole de-moulding process can go so terribly wrong – towers cracking, chocolate promenading, desert plates ruined.

It was Katya’s TEA CUP idea that solved the problem! Five to six cups (sturdy Ikea variety works best), are buttered & sprinkle with crystally demerara sugar, then covered with unctuous chocolate batter. After being perfectly cooked, they are served with a dollop of whipped cream & powdered with coco or spice.

The presentation is beautiful, the taste divine & gone is the impending doom of serving. You don’t even need to rush out & buy expensive fancy moulds to make this desert!

See link ‘Chocolate lava cakes‘ below for recipe:

CHOCOLATE LAVA CAKES

CARROT CAKE

25 February 2009

sp-french-carrot-cake

FRENCH CARROT CAKE – a Journey

Can I tell you a secret?

I have always had a terrible weakness for American style carrot cake – the soft, moist slices, filled with spices and topped with thick cream cheese icing. However when it came to the subject of nuts – as far as I was concerned they had no business being in my carrot cake. That was until now.

It all started with my new French cook book, Des Recettes du Potager. On first glance this little green book is filled with savoury recipes for garden vegetables, but on closer inspection I found 1 or 2 sweet treats nestled inside. One of these was le carrot cake, made with ground toasted hazelnuts!

The French are famous for knowing a thing or two about baking, so why oh why did I have so much drama with this new recipe??? The first time I made this cake I followed the recipe to a T, and from an outsiders perspective I had triumphed – the cake rose well, had a nice crusty golden outside & soft moist inside. I especially like the small twist of flouring the cake pan with brown sugar (cassonade), which added a sweet caramel effect. But that’s where the joy ended. Taking a bit of this lovely looking cake, my 1st thought was, oh how delicious …., then wait, hold on, what’s that funny aftertaste, a sort of acidity that rests on your tongue, lingering in the background. Another bite confirmed that I was not hallucinating.

So it was back to the drawing board, for trail N°2. This time I replaced the ground toasted hazelnuts with almonds  & used chestnut flour instead of all-purpose white. The result was better, as the aftertaste was less noticeable, but it was still there, lingering, & I wasn’t happy.

You see – drama drama drama drama.

Story Continued + CARROT CAKE recipe

HONEY CAKE

19 January 2009

sp-new-years-honey-cake

HONEY CAKE, oh honey honey!

Happy New Year! My warm wishes for 2009 are a little late coming this year , as I caught a nasty flu bug my 1st week back to work & it wouldn’t let go. However I am now feeling much better and am back in the kitchen to prove it.

To get the ball rolling I decided to make my Aunt Elise’s New Years Honey Cake.  However on reading down the list of ingredients I hit a road block…. self raising flour…. why oh why…. well I can tell you why, my aunt is from England, as is her recipe and like most English baking recipes it lists this kind of flour. The only problem is, you CAN’T BUY IT in Switzerland.  But you can make it! So if you can’t move the mountain to Mohamed, move Mohamed to the mountain –  I like applying this philosophy to the kitchen!

Self-Rising flour is simply flour that contains baking powder and salt. Mystery solved. However I do not normally use this type of flour 1. because I cannot buy it locally  & 2. because I prefer to add my own baking powder and salt – it has a better raising effect. Plus if you store self raising flour for too long the baking powder loses some of its strength and your baked goods don’t rise as nicely.

Self raising flour basic recipe:

  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon  salt
  • 1 cup (125 grams) of all-purpose flour

Mix the ingredients well together, and voila!

HONEY CAKE

Pierre Hermé

12 June 2008

PIERRE HERMEP is for perfect and H is for heavenly : sweet delights, from cakes to pastries, chocolates, sweets, tarts, deserts, petits fours, sorbets and macarons!

Pierre Hermé is an artist – an artist of pastry making. Born in Colmar, Alsace, to a family of three generations of baking & pastry making, he began his apprenticeship at Gaston Lenôtre at the age of 14. It was here that he discovered his passion for pastry making. After many years of experience, he opened his 1st boutique in 1998 at the Otani Hotel in Tokyo. It was only in 2002 that he came back to his roots and opened his Parisian store, which I had the pleasure of visiting.

But I am getting ahead of myself, and a story is told best from the beginning!! This past weekend my fiancé whisked me off to Paris for a romantic trip for two….. Knowing my passion for the culinary arts, & the need for inspiration for our forthcoming wedding cake, he had sweetly included a few surprise visits along the way.

As we strolled through the streets, there was no shortage of eye candy…. So when we arrived in the 6ème arrondissement, at Pierre Hermé’s small patisserie on rue Bonaparte, I was intrigued but not overwhelmed. Perhaps the fact that you had to wait outside to then squeeze into the shop, should have been an indication…. but as they say the proof is in the pudding, we had yet to taste.

STORY CONTINUED

ALMOND CAKE

20 May 2008

Almond Cake

ALMOND CAKE {GATEAU AUX AMANDES}: I think my pantry has been learning old tricks from the washing machine – you put two socks in and only one comes out…. you place a packet of almonds in the pantry and they vanish – coincidence I THINK NOT!

To avoid ‘the hunt of humiliation’ the only logical solution was to get their 1st – buy the almonds and use them right away. Which in my case in not difficult as I am a big fan of this nut.

The original recipe for this cake comes from Thomas Keller’s cookbook ‘Bouchon’, and uses almond paste and amaretto. I first tried this recipe using 2 substitutions : almond essence & ‘masse d’amande’ – a very thick French almond butter made with ground almonds, soya beans and sugar.

My cake turned out wonderfully moist & flavourful – which got me to thinking. If others wanted the same results & didn’t have access to this almond paste, it would be useful to know how to make it from scratch. Thus I have created a homemade recipe, which makes a little extra almond paste that you can keep in the fridge and use as a spread on toast – delicious dear diary!

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See link ‘Almond cake‘ below for the recipe:

ALMOND CAKE

CHESTNUT YOGHURT CAKE

3 March 2008

Chestnut yogurt cake

CHESTNUT YOGURT CAKE

It seems as though every culture has their own, good oldfashioned, mother’s milk cake - the Chinese have their pound cake, the English their victoria sponge, the French love a moist ‘quatre quart’ as do the Swiss, and I was recently introduced to the wonderful world of ‘yoghurt / yogurt cake’ which has become a staple in my kitchen.

What makes this cake so perfect is that it is uncomplicated, yet versatile - to be served alone or with jam & butter, to accompany coffee, tea or milk as is your preference (or your age)  – speaking of which doesn’t appear to influence the love for this cake amongst children and adults alike. It is perfect for tea time, the gouter (aka snack) or just when you feel like something a little bit sweet.

I often come home at the end of the day with a hankering to bake but an aversion to spending hours doing so. The yoghurt cake is a great soulution, as it can be made using two bowls, in less than 10 minutes, with endless flavours and to really bring the selling point home it is as good as any cake can be for your waist line as it uses more yoghurt than butter. I have taken to making it on it’s own or with lemon zest, coco powder, vanilla bean and most recently purée de marron AKA chestnut purée.

<strong><em> CHESTNUT YOGHURT CAKE</em></strong>

BOSTINI CREAM PIE

1 November 2007

Bostini Cream Pie - Daring Bakers Oct. 07

{BOSTINI CREAM PIE}  This year has been filled with many ‘FIRSTs’ …..  the creation of my 1st blog, my engagement, my 1st trip to Moscow (hence the lateness of this post) and this my 1st DARING BAKERS challenge!

DB mini web logoTHE DARING BAKERS are an on-line community of over 200 members dedicated to baking! Each month we receive a recipe challenge from the chosen host, which we are to make (with only allowed modifications) and then post our results simultaneously on the chosen date!

This month’s challenge was hosted by Mary of Alpineberry blog whose assignment was a ‘Bostini Cream Pie’. Her original recipe called for a large quantity of orange juice and orange zest, two ingredients that we could replace as long as the cake remained a light colour!! As I am not a fan of the combination of orange and chocolate, I replaced the orange juice with milk and the zest with saffron, which turned out beautifully. I also halved the recipe, which scaled down nicely, but for the purposes of this competition I have posted the original recipe.

RECIPE

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