Espresso-Dark Chocolate Truffles
I know that there are only a few people in this world who are not that crazy about chocolates, so just to be sure, I flavoured these dark chocolate truffles with espresso. And although I served these truffles in a coffee cup, I much prefer washing two of these down with earl grey tea.
A TRIP THROUGH MY EYES : Home Grown Exotic Edibles
My dear friend Laura (+follow) started this brilliant project where anyone is encouraged to share and post an image accompanied by a story that narrates, reflects or describes something about their hometown/country, local/native culture, customs and traditions or a sentiment that best represents you, where you are or what you see in your part of the world.
She encourages everyone with a camera, who takes their own original photography (food, abstract, landscape, urban, inanimate subjects, etc) and is willing to share a great story.
For my first contribution, and since I am quite known as “the food blog girl” around here, I decided to post the local and exotic fruits of my country, the Philippines. I took this photographs last year when I travelled far south of this country.
As you all can see most local fruits we have here looks a lot different, weird even ugly in their appearances compared to globally known western fruits. And I assure you all that not a fruit in these photos tastes and smells awful, their looks might be ugly but all tastes great specially when they are in season and at the peek of ripeness.
First PhotoSet Clockwise: Dalanghita (or green tangerine) this citrus is much similar to a tangerine, clementine and mandarine orange, and when it is ripe it does not changes its colour into orange but stays green to yellow green. Chico (brown leathery thin skin fruit) is a fruit that is a cross between a soft pear (grainy in texture) and persimmon. Rambutan (red golf ball size furry fruit) tastes like a combination of lychee and red grape. Atis (sugar-apple) I can only compare the taste of it like that of a sweet vanilla-banana custard. Philippine Mangoes I said this before and I’ll continue saying it again… the variety of mangoes cultivated and grown here are undoubtedly the best in the world when it comes to taste, texture, succulence and genuinely sweet pleasant smell. And if anyone argues with me about this, I will always be ready to face any judge to defend our mango’s honour. Papaya, here almost anyone who has a backyard and can accommodate fruit tress and vegetable crops almost always have a papaya tree at the back of their house, I mean I do have a papaya tree planted in a plantbox at the side of my front yard. And the best part is, because papaya trees can be planted anywhere, most are organically grown.
Second PhotoSet Clockwise: Guyabano (Soursop, green fruit with dull thorns all over its skin) When I was a kid, my grandmother always bought this fruit whenever it is in season and what she did was extract the juice and fine pulp of this fruit, add sugar and ice and serve it as juice to me and my brother. This fruit, when ripe is very pleasant tasting with a glorious tang (sourness) and is refreshing as a drink. Lanzones is the light and brown fruit that are clusted in its branches like that of grapes. It is widely cultivated in the southern provinces of the Philippines. This fruit is sectioned like a citrus fruit but the taste is a cross between a lychee and longan. This is actually one of my favourite fruits to have as a snack. Fresh Young Coconuts (Buko), here fresh young coconuts are much more preferred than mature coconuts. The meat of fresh young coconuts are tender, delicate, light and sweet and is either mixed in a fruit salad or scraped into strands and incorporated in its own water/liquid and served as a refreshment. It is actually a common practice here that when a foreigner steps on the soil of most of this country’s provinces, he/she is always welcomed with a whole coconut, capped off on top and with a straw (inserted into the thin exposed flesh) to sip the juice or fresh coconut water inside. Pineapple grown in the south of this country are prized for its insane sweetness and juiciness that international food companies like Dole and Del Monte imports their pineapples from here.
All Photographs © Jeannie Maristela 2011-2012
[To participate in this project, please tag your post/contribution with the tracked tag #a trip through my eyes and /or #Sunday Project. For further information please read this post Sunday Project : A Trip Through My Eyes]
Confessions of a Kitchen Tools Hoarder
Like any other woman, yes I love fashion and tons of girly things to decorate myself (very obvious in this icon pic with my big jade loop earrings) from head to feet, but still my love of food, cooking, baking and eating instantly takes over and controls the direction of my feet every time I go to any retail store. And I always find myself heading towards the kitchenwares section.
For years I have accumulated 3 containers full of “essential” kitchen tools… my latest acquisition, a mini tortilla press… well because one can never be in her kitchen knowing she doesn’t have a tortilla press. Yes, I do realize that I might be suffering from a grave condition known as Kitchen Tools Hoarder Disease with a side dish of OCD (yes, I made this up). Well how else can I defend my occasional madness for all things I can use to whip, whisk, mix, beat, shave, cut, press, flatten, scrape, scoop the things I create in the kitchen? My condition has become weird enough that I am now in the process of drafting my will, who in my family gets my silicone spatulas, cake turner, etc? And who will inherit my beloved santoku knives??? My wire whisks (palis)… I already know the recipient. ;)
And when I have to do some catering or cooking out of town or just a few blocks away from my house, I had to bring at least… at least one container full of my tools or else I will instantly feel my hands numbing, cold and ok, a full anxiety attack.
But then maybe I am just like a normal baker and cook out there, I mean I have seen the stuff contestants of Top Chef Just Desserts carry out when they get eliminated and well, they too look like a kitchen tools hoarder like me. Maybe I am just way too hard on myself…
Oh well, look at the time, I got to go… Don’t wanna mess up my schedule.
10:45 am - Inspect baking tools kit
10:55 am - Do inventory/maintenance of silicone spatulas, cookie cutters, vegetable peelers and cake combs (yes, there is such a tool).
11: 15 am - Sharpen knives
A Special Weekend Guest Post : A Sunday Smile (Por Mi Querida Amiga Laura)
“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” - Khalil Gibran
It’s been more than a year now that my dearest friend Laura and I met here on Tumblr. Yes, I said my dearest friend because she is and I am all smiles as I write this. And as all of you can see, I opted to begin this post with these photographs of her, her two adorable tiny meatballs and her very lovely rose bud because they have been my “happy pills” for quite a while now, they instantly put a huge smile on my face every time I look at their pictures. They are very dear to me and I love these redheads to bits.
Almost a year ago that I asked Laura to guest post for me, she had posted a couple of market stall shots from all over Spain on her (former) blog Lalitab and I just kept salivating at all her close-up snaps of artisan foods like cured meats, cheeses, breads and pastries. I was so in bad need of the best artisan foods to grace this blog and Laura easily and generously shared all her delicious Spanish food finds to me. (Guest Post Friday - October 14, 2011)
Laura just came back from a great vacation, and with her she brought back all these Spanish artisan market “foodgasms” snapshots just for me. But don’t think for a second that she always just keeps me drooling over her food pics, she does spoil me rotten with her occasional Spanish gourmet food care packages. But really aside from her generosity and thoughtfulness in sending me Spanish foods (pictures and real stuff) she is my real best friend who fusses over me all the time like a sister, worries about me, my love life, my health, my family just like a real sister. Bless this woman’s heart and soul for both are loving and the kindest.
“When In Spain”
Today I want to dedicate my Sunday Smile to my dear Jeannie(goddessofscrumptiousness). We met here more than a year ago now,and she´s one of the few people I consider a real friend. She´s the Queen of the Foodgasms and feeds her blog with her own amazing creations,food and photography,so I know next series are gonna make her drool because she,like me,loves food (specially cheese porn).
These are for you my wild flower,taken all at the artisan market you loved so much last year. Love you.
BEWARE: Next photos are not suitable for people on diet. You´ve been warned.
Pasiega cheese cake,our cheese cake Catabrian style
Traditional Spanish pastry sugar overdose
Homemade tuna pasties Galician style
Yes we cooked a paella the way a paella should be always cooked: slowly,on a stoke. Oh yesssssss….!!!
Spanish rosemary cured goat cheese
Here “Servilleta Cheese” or “Napkin Cheese”,handmade goat cheese elaborated in Valencia
Spanish cured goat cheese
Homemade walnut chocolate cake
Spanish artisan bread
All photographs are owned by Laura B. Fernandez
(Black Forest Cupcakes, Maple-Butterscotch Fudge, Spiced Carrot Birthday Cake)
I always believe that if you give anybody something in the form of sustenance, something edible and that they can genuinely enjoy by themselves or even share with their loved ones, relationships of any kind becomes more comfortable and bonding. I mean food is always in the centre of any gathering or occasion, and so in my personal opinion, a gift of food is the most sensible thing one can confidently give without any apprehension of it being returned or made into a dust collector the day after.
I do not need to write about how brilliant a box of Cupcakes is to give to anyone… a significant number of the world’s population with sweet tooth loves cake, it is individually portioned, therefore, instantly shareable, and cupcakes are always neither underdressed nor overdressed in any event or celebration.
Confections , specially those homemade and handmade are the perfect gifts for those people who you consider close and dear to you. It is something about the patience and thoughtfulness that were part of the process in making candy that suggests it should definitely be given only to those who also give kindness, patience and thoughtfulness in your life.
Old school and homemade Birthday Cake…
adlib: [Although September (ahem, the 12th) is my birthday month and I did made this homey birthday cake, for the record, I don’t think I have the guts to bake and give myself a birthday cake. If I were to wish for something to stick a wishing candle into, it will either be a 20-inch pizza (with all my favourite toppings plus extra extra cheese) or a jelly donut pyramid! Mmmmm…]
Call me old fashioned, even call me old, but I still believe that buttercream frosted birthday cake with retro buttercream flowers over retro buttercream vines and leaves is still the proper birthday cake… period!
And this old school (Spiced Carrot Cake) birthday cake is for my grandmother for her to stick her birthday candle tomorrow. :)
Before Summer Says “Goodbye” : Strawberry-Balsamic Cherry Swirl Lemon Curd Ice Cream
I always associate ruby-red cherries and strawberries, and bright yellow lemons with summer but who doesn’t anyways for this particular season.
With cherries I always think of those 1940’s sundresses with cherry prints and with lemons… of course it will always be lemonade, sipping it with a long swirly straw (…ok, that’s just me!) under the sun.
I know that the combination of strawberry and lemon for an ice cream flavour has been around for ages. So I figured why not make a teeny tiny twist to a classic combo and incorporate some sassiness.
The classic and traditional way of making ice cream is you make a custard with egg yolks, sugar, a mixture of full fat milk and cream, and flavouring. Then you dump the custard mixture into an ice cream machine, or in the old days, putting it in a tightly lidded can and rolling the can non-stop for a very long time with your own two hands over ice and salt.
My version is more of a deconstructed process of making ice cream.
I cooked the lemon curd first, then made my own strawberry-balsamic and cherry jam, and when these two components were cooled, I whipped the lemon curd and milk and cream mixture and folded half of the jam and swirled the rest gingerly throughout the ice cream mix.
For the Lemon Curd
6 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornflour/cornstarch
1 1/3 cups water
pinch of salt
zests of 2 lemons
1/3 cup lemon juice
- In a mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar together. Mix and dissolve cornstarch and pinch of salt in water then combine these two mixtures together and cook in a sauce pan over low heat.
- Continue whisking the egg custard mixture until thickened. Turn off heat and whisk in the lemon juice.
- Transfer lemon curd in a bowl and cover the surface with cling film (making sure the cling film is touching the surface of the lemon curd) and cool at room temperature. Set aside.
For the Strawberry-Balsamic Cherry Jam
4 cups fresh or frozen strawberries, hulled and sliced into quarters
1 cup Maraschino cherries, stemmed and sliced in halves
2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
juice of 1/2 lemon
2/3 cup sugar
- In a sauce pan, put all ingredients together and cook until mixture gets slightly thick, the consistency should be a like a runny jam.
note: As jam cools it will get more thick, so a bit of a runny jam consistency is what you want when you remove the mixture from heat to cool.
- Cool jam at room temperature. Set aside.
For the Ice Cream Base
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- With a whisk or electric hand mixer, beat on medium speed the milk, cream and cooled lemon curd until slightly aerated.
- Fold in half of the jam mixture into the ice cream mixture and continue to beat but on low (hand mixer) speed just enough to make a homogenized mixture.
- Swirl the remaining jam throughout the ice cream mixture as gently as you can with a kitchen spoon or rubber spatula.
- Either transfer the ice cream mixture in an ice cream maker (check settings and instructions) or (for those without an ice cream machine) put ice cream mixture in a rectangular container, freeze for 2-2 1/2 hours until slightly frozen and beat the mixture again with a hand or stand mixer. Transfer the whipped (almost soft-serve in consistency) mixture back in the freezer until well set and ready to eat.
Makes 6 cups
Goddess of Scrumptiousness Food Photography and Original Recipes by Jeannie Maristela are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Just A Slice Of The Colour Purple
In the pastry world, blue is just so faux pas, but purple and purple cake (purple sweet potato cake) to me is just wildly pretty and distinctively scrumptious enough, it can very well be the “Rock Star” of cakes.
Steamed Crabs And Of Clawing Your Way To Eat
When we have steamed crabs in the house for lunch it is almost always during the weekend not because weekend lunches should be a bit special, but because eating crabs gives everyone a chance to wallow in our meal and eat without worrying about time… because clawing our way to a whole crab and leisurely basking in the sweetness and succulent little morsels of crab meat requires patience and determination to get every bit of flesh out of the blushing crustacean.
When I was a child, I was never a fan of seafood much more crabs. I thought it was terribly silly for anyone to spend so much time and effort, not to mention even using a wooden mallet just to get a small amount of meat from such stubborn crustacean. That and because even then, patience is the hardest virtue for me to practice and master, so I wasn’t that crazy every time my grandmother serves steamed crabs.
It was only in recent years that I did not only developed an amicably great and delish relationship with these clawed sassy creatures but I also discovered that it is only when eating crabs that I get to practice extreme patience, and for me this personal phenomenon is always a good thing.
I consider myself a purist when it comes to how I like to eat crabs. I want it as is and liberally squirted with lemon juice (yes, no butter nor seasoned vinegar).
We had five large crabs at lunchtime today, but we only ended up eating the claws (I know I’ve been sounding so barbarically carnivorous throughout this whole post… my apologies to the vegetarians and vegans) so this means… there will be a Crab Cakes post for tomorrow.