Archive for July, 2008

To Family

July 29, 2008
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Last Friday, my brother and his son came for a visit so we spent the weekend celebrating and making up for missed birthdays which means we re-celebrated my nephew’s and J’s on friday with a dessert straight from the pantry — and straight from my birthday dessert book: all I had was some cookies, one chocolate bar and some chestnut cream. My favorite birthday dessert has always been a ‘turinois’ a flourless butter-chocolate-glaceed chestnut cake so I thought I’d make something similar, but with a no bake cookiecrubmcrust.
It was a huge hit.*

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On saturday we then celebrated the first (!) birthday of our twin boys. And aside from drinking champagne and getting teary-eyed, I made carrot cupcakes which sadly didn’t turn out too great, but were still pretty good. And can I add again, that it was their first birthday? Because man, that year went by so fast and the next thng I know they are all moving out!

Finally, today is my fabulous sister C’s birthday and the second recipe (with a speciale dédicace) is just for her.
We have both made this before as we own the same cookbook and there is no pasta recipe that screams summer quite like this one.

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It comes from the river café cookbook and the key is obviously to use the freshest produce at the peak of it’s season. Other than that, it’s dead simple and doable for anyone anywhere.

I will start with the main course and do the dessert after if that’s cool. Oh and before I forget, please check out this site NOW. You can thank me later!

Green Beans and Tomato Pasta

taken from river café cookbook
prep time: 20min

4 roma tomatoes
300 g fresh green beans
1/2 cup of cream
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 handful of basil leaves, torn
salt, pepper, parmesan to taste

Clean up your green beans and cook or steam them until just tender. Reserve. Cut your tomatos in half and squeeze out the juice, dice them and reserve.
Boil the water for pasta. Salt just before it comes to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package instructions.
In a heavy saucepan, bring the cream to a boil together with the garlic clove. Once boiled, remove the garlic and add the tomatoes and beans. Stir and heat up. When the pasta is cooked, toss the sauce through, add the basil and parmesan and enjoy the summer!

Chocolate-Chestnut-No-Bake-Cake

adapted from various sources

prep time: 15min, cooling time 4h min
metal mixing bowl, food processor or rolling pin, 20 cm cake tin with removable sides

For the Cookie Crust

15-20 butter cookies
60 g of butter, melted

Smash up your cookies into relatively fine crumbs (rolling pin or food processor!) and mix in with the melted butter. Press the mixture into the bottom of your cake tin and reserve in the fridge.

For the Chocolate-Chestnut-Filling

100 g chocolate
50 g butter, softened
125 g chestnut cream

Beat up the butter and chestnut cream until sufficiently homogenized. Melt the chocolate and beat it into the mixture. Spred the chocolate-chesnut-filling on the cookie crust and refrigerate until ready.
You could double the filling recipe, but this desserts is very very rich and dense…

*seriously, you should make this dessert even if I realise that not everybody keeps a jar of crème de marron as a pantry staple!

Sidenote: I am having problems with colors in my image editing programme, which is why the reds have been screaming at you as if from underwater. I hope I can fix it soon and if anyone has suggestions that possibly top the ones from my geek husband, please email me!

Home is…

July 21, 2008
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We have had a most grueling weekend here at the 13desserts, and I am happy to be back. Twin2 suffered a fairly hefty bump on the head, and so I had to spend 48h with him at the hospital as he was under observation. It was…not superfun. Hospitals make me really unhappy. I feel lonely there, and sick and just plain worried and always uninformed. It was good that we went however, and got medical proof that he was OK. Also, my sister is luckily a doctor as well as a sister, and gives us the soundest of advice. Also I can call my parents blubbering, and they will listen and pretend that they are not worried, just so I can calm down. And we have friends who are ready to drop everything at 11pm to come and watch our children so we can go to the hospital – I am talking to you I and J!

But most luckily of all, we have resilient and patient children. And good doctors. Anyway, twin2 is fine and I am watching him at home today. And to make up for the stress and worry of the weekend, I made something to remind me of my mother (and her mother): something that I never thought I could do. I made jam.
And can I just say wow? It’s so easy! Really, scarily easy! 10 min and you’ve got enough jam for — oh wait, that’s a bad calculation, since we seem to be going through a big pot of jam / a week– well it makes lots of jam. It makes your house smell delicious and homey, and in my case, it makes me feel close to my mother.

I made mine with a bit of ginger, because of the layer cake I made last week that had a raspberry-ginger-preserve filling. There is only a hint of ginger in this recipe, a little bit of heat, and it’s really really nice, but you can totally skip it if it’s too froufrou for you*. I just found out, speaking of Froufrou, that my mother made jam this weekend with cherries and rosemary. And word is, it’s delicious.

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Strawberry-Ginger-Jam

prep time: 10 min, makes about 4 340ml jars (regular jar size)

one big pot and several jars with tight fitting lids

1 kg strawberries, washed and hulled
1 kg jam or preserving sugar 1:1**
1,5 cm long piece of ginger, peeled

Cut the strawberries in quarters into a big pot. Grate the ginger into the pot. Mix to combine. Add the preserving sugar and mix well. Bring to a boil, stirring. Boil under high heat for 4 minutes (or according to package instructions) while continuously stirring and making sure not to get burned. Turn off the heat and transfer into the clean jars using a ladle. Close the lids tight and let it cool.
Keeps for up to four months in a cool dark place!

*now that’s a good band name, no? The Too Froufrou For You’s?
** This type of preserving sugar is fairly commmon in Europe, it has pectin and citric acid in it to help the gelification of the fruit sugars along. The package didn’t disclose a percentage of ingredients, so email me if you have any questions about that and I will try to answer them. Or maybe my mother will?

Unbelievable, but true…

July 13, 2008
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Do you realise, that it’s been something like 7 months since we have been together? You forgot, didn’t you? You always forget.
Well I didn’t, and I also realised that in those past 7 months, I have not once told you anything about pasta. That, friends, is absolutely unbelievable and probably unforgettable especially since in my food pyramid, pasta is probably the biggest food group.

Well I am about to remedy the situation with a bit of a cop-out. A pasta recipe so simple, it’s laughable to actually call it a recipe. But onward with it anyway.

Oh, and by the way, my alternative was to tell you about the crazy layer cake I made today. It involved excel-spreadsheets (drats), raspberry-ginger preserves (awesome), a lovely lemon cake (also really good) and the famed swiss meringue buttercream, which was unfortunately too sweet for the cake I had in mind.
Oh, and the photos? Wow, those were truly bad. Hence my choice of pasta and not cake for this sunday’s post. Ah well. the cake was still good, and I will probably remake both the cake and the preserve and blog about them. If you insist.

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Pasta with Buttered Broad Beans

prep time: 12 min, serves 3

300 g lima or broad beans, fresh or frozen
300 g short pasta
one lemon
butter
parmesan to taste
salt and pepper

Boil the water for pasta. Salt just before it comes to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package instructions. In a separate pot, cook your lima beans for about 6 min or until tender. If you are the obsessive sort of person who has a cooking timer, you can also add the beans to the pasta water 6 min before your pasta’s time is up, that saves on dishes!
Drain pasta, toss in together with the beans, lots of butter, salt and pepper. Serve with freshly grated parmesan and a squeeze of lemon on top.


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