Sunday, July 27, 2008

Cucumber surprise

Cucumber surprise is a fresh and delicate recipe that will perfectly suit the summer, during which we generally want to enjoy something refreshing and tasty at the same time.

The cucumbers marry well in many recipes; Cucumber surprise is a surprise! Surprise in the sense that each small bite contains a heart of ricotta cheese, pine nuts and fresh basil.

The presentation of this dish is part of the success of this recipe; it needs to be prepared with patience; you have to compose each little packet and then you have to do the decoration of the plate. So take your time.
You can choose different presentations; the one in the picture has a Zen and geometric touch.
The white plate gives a highlight to the pale green of the cucumber.
I'm sure that your imagination will add something unique and special to your own presentation.

I have chosen the place holder SPIRAL to accompany this recipe.
Spiral is one of my favorites, I already presented it in the recipe Apple and cinnamon cake.

Spiral is a place holder that every guest can easily put next to his plate before going around for some conversation or a walk in the garden!
Spiral is made of copper wire (5 cm - 2" height).
They're inspired by the spin of the clock hands - the passage of time during the day.
They're very useful and at the same time they improve the decoration of your table.

I am planning of doing an episode of my blog where I will show how to make Spiral, so that you can try to prepare them yourself for your table.

If you want to see some of my other creations click here.

Time for preparation: 40 minutes
kcal per person: 60

For 4 persons you will need:
-1 Cucumber (medium)
-100 g ( 4 oz) ricotta cheese
-30 g (1 oz) pine nuts cut into small pieces
-20 fresh basil leaves
-salt and pepper

*cut the cucumber into strips in the vertical sense
*add in a bowl the ricotta cheese, the pine nuts and the fresh basil, chopped.
*add salt and pepper
*place a teaspoon of the mixture on one edge of the cucumber strip.
*roll the strip on itself up to half of its length; at this point bend it to 45 degrees and continue rolling until complete closure of the little packet
*now place the little packets on each plate, sprinkle with pepper

You can add some decorations on the plates, for example I put a little roll made using the strips of cucumber left.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Carrot cake and Pink lady

For so many years I have tried recipes for carrot cakes that left me really disappointed.
After having abandoned the idea to bake a good one, surprise! Stopping by different blogs, I found the good one.

The blog is called El rincon de Bea and her recipe was already a modification of a recipe found in a cook book.
I started my experiments from Bea's modified recipe.

I prepared it four times, making changes until I got a version that at the end, satisfied me.
The main changes I did are the following:
- I replaced the walnuts with almonds
- I doubled the amount of carrots
- I decreased the amount of oil and I chose extra virgin olive oil instead of sunflower oil
-I didn't add the drained pineapple
Here you can see the original recipe and Bea's changes.

Here is my recipe with all my changes:
time for preparation: 20 minutes
time for baking: 35-40 minutes
kcal per person: 270 kcal

preheat the oven to 180C (360 F)
for 10 persons you will need:
-160 g (6 oz) whole wheat flour
-3 eggs
-1 packet of baking powder
-180 g ( 7 oz) raw sugar
-80 ml extra virgin olive oil
-200 g (8oz) grated carrots
-125 (5 oz) grated almonds

*beat the eggs with sugar
*combine the flour and baking powder
*add the oil and carrots
*put in a plum cake mold
*bake at 180 C (360F) for about 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

I have chosen my napkin ring PINK LADY because it's as simple as this cake.
PINK LADY is made with aluminum galvanized wire and pink pearls.
It gives an happy touch to your everyday table and it's a simple way to decorate a lunch table on a terrace during summer.
If you want to see more of my creations click here to have a look.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Tea Time Apple Cake

Tea Time Apple Cake is very tasty.
Last week I prepared it for the tea time with my friend Michelle who was really exited about it.

I presented the cake with the cinnamon Tea that I bought last year at the Drury shop in London.
The Drury shop is very small and is located near the Covent Garden; no tourists just tea lovers.
I assure you that there I bought the best teas I've ever tried in my life!
They are specialized in coffee too.
When I go to London I really buy a luggage of teas and obviously I'm waiting with impatience the day when Drury will decide to send orders outside the UK.

Well... the cake was delicious and if you prefer a more caloric touch, you can add a filling of jam (I suggest apricot)! or you can cover the slice with a hot chocolate sauce.

If you are planning to do a tea time party in the garden or on the terrace you will find STONE very very useful. Your guests could place their plate everywhere, and they will be sure to find them after their go around and around.

STONE is a name holder made with sea stones from the Antibes beach, copper wire and pearls (imitation).
It is inspired by the calm and zen atmosphere that I can find during a winter day on the beach in the place where I live (south of France).
STONE can give a design and zen touch to your table, you can use it to place a card or as name holder for your friends.
If you like it or want to check out other models shop here.

Time to prepare: 30 minutes
Time to bake: about 50 minutes
kcal per person: 330 kcal

Preheat the oven to 180 C (360 F)
For 12 persons you will need:
-175 g (6 oz) butter
-175 g (6 oz) raw sugar
-350 g (12 oz) whole wheat flour
-3 eggs
-2 teaspoons of cinnamon
-4 medium apples unpeeled and cored
-100 g (4 oz) hazelnuts roughly chopped
-1 packet of baking powder

*Beat the eggs into the melted butter
*In a separate bowl mix the flour, the baking powder, the cinnamon and the sugar
*Cut 3 of the apples into chunks; stir the chunks into the flour with half of the hazelnuts
*Pour the eggs and butter mixture into the flour mixture and stir gently
*Spoon into the lined tin
*Cut the remaining apple into thin pieces and arrange over the cake; sprinkle with the remaining hazelnuts over the apple
*Bake for about 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

If you want to put the jam in the middle of the cake, you must wait until the cake is cold.