Archive for the ‘breakfast / brunch’ Category

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?

Physics 101

July 1, 2008
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The sleeping arangements are much better, thank you for asking and to make my life even more delightful (if you blithely ignore the fact that I am currently in the throes of sinusinfection2008, the revenge), I am writing this from the speedmachine of my dreams, brought to me courtesy of generous loaners who prefer to stay anonymous and to whom I will be eternaly indebted (uhoh, I hope not!).

Ok – deep breath, that sentence was way too long! And speaking of length, I bring to you today, the gift of the shortest recipe ever. It is a recipe to make dulce de leche, or confiture de lait, made the dangerous way

My sister used to really like dulce de leche, while I was ony mildly impressed by it – you see, in the department of indulgent (read: never to be found at our house) breakfast foods, nutella reigned supreme. I have since been converted to the virtues of DdL and in making it, finally understood something about physics. My teacher Bruno R. would be so proud!

The dangerous way I made this thing was quite simply, by immersing a closed can of sweetened condensed milk in a pressure cooker and cooking it on high for 20 min. The can becomes a pressure cooker inside the pressure cooker, and as long as you don’t even think about opening the can unti it is completely cold (I mean it), it’s absolutely not dangerous. And delicious to boot. And there is virtually no cleanup involved, since the pressure cooker only had boiling water in it and the can stayed closed. What’s not to like? I ask you!

Dulce de Leche

prep time: 25min in a pressure cooker, 2 hours in a regular saucepan

pressure cooker or regular saucepan

1 can of sweetened condensed milk*

Immerse the can of sweetened condensed milk with water in your vessel of choice. If you are using a pressure cooker, close it tight, turn the heat on and wait for the steam to start Turn the heat to medium. The longer you wait the more chewy and dense the texture will be: if you want to spread it on bread or use it as a filing, 25 min is a good time. Once you have let it cook the desired time turn the heat off.

Run cold water on the top of the pressure cooker to stop the pressure and let the air escae through the vent. Open your cooker and let the can cool down in the water. Overnight is best, that way you can be sure noone will get hurt! Open the can once cool, eat the DdL and feel like a rock star because you made it the high pressure way

Now, if you are a wuss and do not own a pressure cooker, simply immerse the can in water in a saucepan over medium heat and let the water simmer around the can for about 2 hours. Keep checking on the water level to make sure the can is always immersed. Use the same caution when opening the can as with the pressure cooker method.

If you type in dulce de leche how to in your favourite search engine, I am sure you will come up with a way to make dulce de leche suiting your own kitchen (for instance using a microwave–no wait, that would be dangerous with the can). But I like it the rock star way using the laws of physics I missed in school.

* Kondensmilch auf Deutsch ‘Milchmädchen’ is the name on the can made by that big swiss company that also makes chocolates, babyfood and lots more, Lait concentré sucré en français.

In Honor of the Upcoming World Nutella Day… Chocolate Pizza and Basic Pizza Dough

January 30, 2008

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Did you know, that there is a World Nutella Day? I read about it on Ms. Adventures in Italy, and I had to applaud the initiative. An entire day to celebrate Nutella is only right and proper!

As a child, we were never allowed to have nutella, which resulted in me developing a lifelong addiction to it – so much so, that one of the first things of my own that I bought when I moved into my own apartment, was a giant jar of nutella. Because I polished it off much too quickly, I have since tried to restrict myself to desperate times only. Hence, the appeal of a World Nutella Day.

I’ve had this recipe in my must-try folder for about a year and it seemed to be just the thing for this celebration: chocolate pizza.

Pizza, Nutella, and more chocolate to top it off sounded like my idea of a good time — but while it did not disappoint, it is not quite the dessert it was said to be. In my opinion, it is much better suited for goûter (the snack that most french children take after school, around 4 pm) or maybe even for a decadent breakfast.

It’s very quick and easy to make, I used my go-to basic pizza dough recipe, nutella and subsituted ribboned orange zest for the hazelnuts which gave it a more refreshing taste.

Basic Pizza Dough

Prep Time: 30 min baking time: 15 min

2/3 cup of lukewarm water
1/ Tbsp active dry yeast (amounts to one envelope)
1 Tsp of sugar
2 cups of flour
1/2 Tsp of salt
3 Tbsp of olive oil

baking sheet

In a mixing bowl, mix the water, yeast and sugar together and set aside in a warm place until bubbles form at the surface (5 min)
Add the flour, salt and olive oil to the yeast-preparation and beat with the wirehooks of your handmixer until an elastic dough forms (5 min). You can of course mix the dough by hand, but it will take about 5x longer.
When the dough has come together, roll it into a ball in the mixing bowl, cover with a teatowel and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size (20 min).
Preheat the oven to 200° and line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
You will have enough dough for either 4 small pizzas, 2 medium sized ones, or one big one. If you are making pizza, proceed to top the rolled out dough with the topping of your choice and bake for about 20 min.

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Chocolate Pizza

Prep Time: 2 min baking time: 22 min

1 Tbsp of melted butter
about 1/4 cup of Nutella or to taste
2 Tbsp white chocolate chunks
1/2 cup of dark chocolate chunks
1 Tbsp of orange zest

baking sheet

When your dough is done and rolled out into the desired size, prick it with a fork and brush the top with the melted butter. Bake it in the oven until golden and baked through – for about 15 min
When the pizza is done, take it out of the oven and spread it with your choice amount of nutella. Sprinkle the chocolate chunks and the orange zest on top. Bake it in the oven for another 2 min, or until all the chocolate has melted. Serve warm.