Archive for March, 2008

A Quarter Pounder By Any Other Name

March 22, 2008
4tranche.jpg

Hmm, ok, maybe the title is a bit misleading, since the photo is clearly showing a cake! This cake is called a four quarter cake in french, and a pound cake in english and it’s so simple, a child can do it.

And a child did, since the big boy was instrumental in bringing you this cake today: his poor little hands replaced the coveted kitchenaid standmixer as he was allowed to hold the whizzing and mixing machine ALL BY HIMSELF, all the while telling me that he was a BIG BOY NOW!

Despite warnings by She Who Shall Not Be Named (my self-appointed blog consultant — you know who you are), that it was a boring cake and recipe, I actually really really like the quatre-quart. It’s simple in taste, you can use it as a replacement for bread at breakfast, have it with tea in the afternoon and use it as backdrop for layered trifles of any kind.

It’s also the perfect recipe for someone who has never baked anything before, because there is no way that you can mess it up! You can also add some vanilla, lemon zest or dried fruit, but then it wouldn’t really be a pound cake anymore, or would it?

4James.jpg

Simple Pound Cake

prep time: 10min, baking time: 50 min

mixing bowl, loaf pan

4 eggs
weight of the eggs in butter plus more for the pan
weight of the eggs in sugar
weight of the eggs in flour
half a pack of baking powder (about 7 g)

Preheat the oven to 180° and butter and flour your loaf pan. Mix the butter and the sugar until fluffy and white. Add the eggs one by one with the handmixer still running. Sift the flour and baking powder over the Mix and fold in. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 min or until a knife inserted in the center stays clean. Let cool in the pan before unmolding. The cake is great warm, cold, the next day and even toasted!

the Gwyneth Salad

March 13, 2008
rawbroccosalad.jpg

Lately, we’ve been having lots of dinners that we were so impatient to eat, that i forgot to take pictures of them. Or that i was too embarassed to blog about for lack of a ‘recipe’ to share. These dinners having all been on the fattening side of life (I am talking ‘Raclette’, here people!), this is where i seem to still be stuck, too.

Enter: the gwyneth salad

I saw this salad when it appeared in the ny times dining section and was strangely appealed to it. Really, though who wouldn’t want to it a salad involving raw broccoli? I can hear my sister making gagging sound all the way from Switzerland (wave! hi!) and frantically trying to tell me not to make ANYTHING involving broccoli.

Good thing I learned long ago that it doesn’t always pay to follow directives from your older sibling – one incident involved me eating soap after having been told it was chocolate. I was 2, and no, no bubbles appeared out of my mouth and nose, contrary to one particular tintin album – and followed through with the recipe. Of course, I couldn’t help but substitute a few things here and there, for instance 4 raw garlics cloves and raw broccoli sounds like something only a crazy person on a macrobiotic diet would eat (hence the ‘gwyneth’ for all you trashy magazine readers out there). And 3/4 cup of olive oil seemed equally excessive in light of our recent raclette-fest, so i used enough to cover my pan. oh, and I only marinated it for about 40 min, because I couldn’t stop myself from eating it!

cumin+garlic.jpg

Marinated Raw Broccoli Salad

prep time: 10min, marinate for 1h, I dare you!

1-2 heads of broccoli, cut in florets with the stalks sliced a few mm thick
1 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 peeled garlic clove, halved
pinch of dried red pepper
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
olive oil

salad bowl, saucepan

Mix the vinegar and salt in a salad bowl and toss through the broccoli. Cover the bottom of a saucepan with olive oil and heat the cumin seeds and the garlic clove until fragrant.* Add the sesame oil and the dried red pepper. Pour the mixture over the broccoli, combine and marinate at room temperature for 1 h. The salad keeps in the fridge for about a day or so. don’t forget to take out the garlic before serving!

*oh, and if you feel like swishing some hot oil around your pan chef-style… don’t do it. Olive oil doesn’t look really great when it’s splashed on a white wall…

Spring!

March 10, 2008
rhubarbpeel.jpg

my day so far:
– hoping that the little boys would stop teething and thus be able to go to daycare.
– my hopes being shattered as I changed the n-th diaperblowout.
– getting a cancelation of my lunchdate by a friend who I have’t seen properly in months
– changing another diaper
– deciding to make something out of the rhubarb I had bought on saturday
– forgetting the rhubarb on the stove because of, you guessed it:
– changing another diaper
– making a load of laundry
– changing another diaper…
You get the picture.

rhubarbcompote2.jpg

But i digress, back to the rhubarb: after having forgotten it on the stove and nearly reduced it all to what closely ressembled the content of the above mentioned, I managed to salvage some of it and set about making a crumble – similar to when one frosts a cake because it just looks somewhat… unpleasant. I had high hopes for this crumble, considering the day I’d had so far, thankfully, it didn’t let me down!

Here is my first taste of spring:

crumblespoon.jpg

Rhubarb Crumble

prep time: 15min, serve hot or cold

For the Rhubarb

5/6 stalks of rhubarb
brown sugar, to taste

saucepan

Peel the rhubarb, cut it into bits and put it in a saucepan. Cover with a lid and cook until it starts to soften up. Add sugar to taste. Eat as is, or:

For the Crumble Topping

1 cup of uncooked rolled oats
1/4 cup of flour
1/2 cup of brown sugar
75 g of butter (room temperature)

mixing bowl, 20x20cm gratin dish

Preheat the oven to 180°. In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients for the topping until ‘crumbles’ start to form. You can do this by cutting into the mixture with a knife, or with your hands.

Pour the precooked ruhubarb into the gratin dish, cover with the crumble topping and bake for 40 min, or until the top begins to look golden.

Serve hot or cold, with ice cream, cream, yoghurt or just straight up.

You can substitute any fruit for the rhubarb, and you mostly need to precook only the tougher ones such as quinces etc.