Wednesday, 30 November 2016

A Tea Party...

Macaron, Eclairs, Profiteroles...with a twist...We made these at the weekend, but instead of the usual sweet fillings,we decided to go for savoury ones. For a while now, we have been wanting to make a savoury version of some of the  classic sweet pastries. Finely had a chance last weekend...So, Smoked Salmon and Grapefruit Macaron, Caramelised Onion Eclair and Caprice 'Salad' Profiteroles graced our tea table last weekend. We also had three types of Scones, all savoury-Cheese, Tarragon and Za'ater. The Za'ater Scones were my favourite! I've shared some of the recipes below...

For the tea table, we combined vintage with new. We went for a pastel look with lots of white. The starting point was a snowy white silk organza table cloth. We teamed this with vintage napkins and an old Noritake tea set. Soft pink crystal goblets and antique heirloom silver completed the look...

Our current craze, is to use edible gold leaf to add sparkle to our mocktails and drinks... Really glams thing up!

Smoked Salmon Macaron
For the Macaron:

120g Ground Almonds
200g Icing Sugar
90g Egg Whites (Approximately 3 eggs)
55g Caster Sugar
1 tsp of freshly ground black pepper

Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat. Put the ground almonds and icing sugar into a food processor and grind to a fine powder and then sift into a bowl. Set aside.
Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the caster sugar a little at a time. Whisk the mixture until stiff and glossy. 
Fold the sifted almond mixture and the black pepper into the egg whites. Continue folding the mixture until it falls from the spoon in a ribbon. 
Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle. Pipe disks onto the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle with a little bit of extra black pepper. Tap the tray against the work surface and then leave to stand for about an hour or until the tops are dry to the touch. 
Preheat the oven to 150C. 
Bake for 10 minutes and then open the oven briefly to let out the steam. Continue baking for another 2-5 minutes. 
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a little while before transferring to a wire rack. 

For the Filling:
Cream Cheese
Smoked Salmon
A small Grapefruit, segmented

Fill a piping bag with the Cream Cheese and pipe a little on the Macaron bases. Top with a piece of smoked salmon, and a grapefruit segment. Garnish with some chives and perch a Macaron lid on each. 

Za'atar Scones
225g Cake Flour
3 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp salt
50g Butter
70g Cheddar Cheese
2 tsp Za'atar
125ml milk
Beaten egg, to glaze
Extra Za'atar for sprinkling

Preheat an oven to 200C. Line a baking sheet with non-stick paper. 
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt  into a bowl. Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the cheese and the Za'atar. Gradually add the milk, mixing just until the mixture forms a dough. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky. Don't overwork the dough.
Roll out on a floured work surface to about 3cm thick. Use a small, round cookie cutter to cut out the scones. Place on the baking sheet . Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle with a bit of extra Za'atar. 
Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.

Oh, we had some Sweet Coconut and Violet Macarons and a few other sweets too!

Monday, 28 November 2016

Coffee and Almond Cake...

For a while now, I have been wanting to make a coffee and walnut  cake that was featured in an old 1970's magazine that belonged to my Mother, but the elaborate icing was just not my thing! Last week whilst going through a new book called 'Cardamom Trail by Chetna Makan', I came across a recipe for an Almond and Coffee Cake that sounded so good. This is my version...

Espresso and Almond Cake


250 grams caster sugar
250 grams butter, softened
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup almond meal
220 grams cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons Baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
60 ml milk
4 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons  boiling water

Preheat the oven to 180° C. Grease a 10 cup bundt tin.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and flour. Add the eggs, be at a time. Add the almond meal. Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and cardamom together. . Fold into the butter mixture. Lastly,, fold in the liquid ingredients. Pour the batter into the greased, and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a skewer come, out clean. Remove from pan, place the tin on a wire rack and leave to cool. Once cool, turn the cake out of the tin.
If desired, drizzle with the ganache.
Note: due to the almond meal, this cake will keep well for a few days.

50 grams dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
100 ml fresh cream

Heat the cream in a microwave safe bowl, until just starting to come to a boil. Add the chocolate and stir until melted and silky smooth.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Almond Milk and Tahini Spiral Breads...

Today was a busy day... But a rather unproductive one... Do you ever feel like you're busy all the time, but don't get anything done? Yep, today was THAT day!

I made some bread though, so I guess that I can't actually call the day a total fail! 

Yesterday I made some Popsicles using almond milk, and I had a half carton of milk in the fridge, so when I went to the fridge to get out the milk for my bread, I found that almond milk and decided to use it instead.

The one loaf is made using Lotus Biscoff Spekuloos Spread, whilst the remaining loaves have a Turkish/ Arabic influence, since  I used Tahini or Tahini related fillings in them. You all must know by now how I adore Tahini. I can never get enough of the stuff!

This recipe is so versatile as you can use any filling that you desire. Try caramel, Nutella, or even a savoury filling like crumbled feta or ricotta and some herbs... Like I said, so versatile...
so without further ado, let's get started...


For the bread you will need: 
4 cups flour (I used cake flour)
1 10g sachet instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
60 ml vegetable  oil
About 300 ml lukewarm almond milk to make a soft dough

For the fillings, you will need:

Loaf 1: 3 tablespoons  Tahini and 1 tablespoon caster sugar

Loaf 2: 3 tablespoons orange Tahini and 2 tablespoons finely crushed pistachios. Reserve some pistachio for sprinkling on top.

Loaf 3: 3 tablespoons Lotus Spekuloos  spread and  2 tablespoons flaked almond to sprinkle on top

Loaf 4: 3 tablespoons chocolate Halawa Spread

Combine all the dry ingredients in the bowl of your mixer. Add the oil and enough almond milk to make a dough. The dough should be soft, but not sticky.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and leave in a warm place to rise, until almost doubled in size. This should take about 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the room temperature. When the dough has risen, remove to a floured work surface and punch it down. Divide into four equal portions. Place three portions back into the bowl and roll out the remaining portion into a large, thin rectangle, about 1 mm thick. Spread with the desired filling (see above) and roll up tightly. Gently stretch the roll to a thin rope, about 3 cm in diameter. Now, holding the one end down, gently twist the rope tightly. Coil your rope, tucking the end underneath. Place on a baking paper lined tray. Complete the remaining three loaves. Cover with a tea towel, and leave to rise until it looks puffy. This didn't take too long at my place. About 1/2 hour. Meanwhile preheat you oven to 180° C . Warm about 2 tablespoons of Tahini, until it is runny. Brush this Tahini over your loaves. 
Place in the oven and bake for about 35 minutes, or until done and golden on the top. Halfway through baking, brush the loaves with the Tahini again and sprinkle with the appropriate nuts. Complete baking.  Once they are done, remove from oven, and place on a wire rack to cool 
completely. Enjoy!

Sunday, 6 November 2016

A Week in Pictures...Food...

Rice Paper Rolls...Find the recipe here...

Spicy chicken with Sweet Potato Mash...Find the recipe here...

Indonesian Style Chicken and Peanut Satay on Flatbreads...Find the recipe here.

More details on these pics here...

A Week In Pictures...

Full review on the Stila Stay-All-Day Liquid Lipstick here.

Heels: Christian Louboutin, Bag: Nine West, Lipstick: Stila.

Heels: Alexander McQueen, Bag:Zara.

Shoes: Roberto Cavalli, Bag: Zara, Makeup Brushes:Real Techniques, Mascara: Sephora.

Real Techniques Brushes...Full review here.

Charlotte Olympia
More details here!