Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Summer Fruit Chiffon Cake

Waking up Saturday morning to find your freezer door wide open is a wonderful thing...

Oh, all those berries we picked for hours, now completely thawed. Some did not survive the drastic temperature change and became a yellow mash which found itself in the garbage (they were the prettiest yellow raspberries you can think of).
This, and the fact that I had a batch of sad and wrinkly cherries in the fridge inspired me to make this cake. The anything-that's-not-rotten-but-too-soft-to-be-fun-to-eat CAKE.

They don't look wrinkly from here =)

Pitting a cherry with only a knife at hand: slide the knife around the cherry, cutting it in half around the seed. Twist each of the halves in a different direction to expose the seed. Cut the part with the seed in half again and twist to separate the flesh of the cherry. Now the seed is exposed enough so that it's easy to grab it with your finger tips and release it.

I refroze the decorative raspberries for a while so that they won't turn into a mash when I place them on the cake.

You can use any fruit you can think of !! Except for bananas, I hate bananas.

Summer Fruit Chiffon Cake

500g fruit of your choice (I used cherries, raspberries and blackberries)
4 eggs (L), at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp flavorless oil (Canola, peanut, etc.)
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

100g mascarpone cheese
40g greek yogurt or white cheese
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
1 tbsp confectioner's sugar
Some more fruit for decoration

Oil to grease the cake pan
Some confectioner's sugar to cover the inside of the pan

Ready the fruit - wash, dry, peel and remove seeds as needed. Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Oil a kugelhopf pan thoroughly and dust it completely with confectioner's sugar.

Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Whisk the egg whites with a mixer till they turn foamy, then start adding the sugar and whisk until lightly stiff peaks form. Break the egg yolks and together with the oil and lemon zest, lightly fold them into the whisked egg whites, 3-4 folds should due. Now sift in the flour and baking powder in 2 turns, folding them in as little as possible (just until almost combined).

Put half the mixture into the (ready) kugelhopf cake pan and spread about a third of the fruit on top of it. Add the remaining cake mixture and spread the rest of the fruit on it.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until the parts of the cake that are visible in between the fruit are golden brown (if the cake comes out too dry you over baked it). Let it cool for 15 minutes and then release it from the pan and let it cool completely.

Mix the mascarpone cheese with the yogurt, vanilla and sugar to a smooth paste and spread it on top of the cake. Decorate with the prettiest fruit you have. Keep the cake in the fridge.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Tomato, Chickpea and Mint Salad

Shavuot is only a day away and all I can see is cheesecakes!!

Cheesecakes EVERYWHERE !

The web is flooded with them, and I am seriously confused as to which of these cakes I should make for tomorrow... This one? or maybe this one!! mmm... that one?.. Or one of my old recipes... or maybe, instead of a cake, I'll just make a flan ;)

So instead of a cheesecake recipe, here's a non-confusing wonderful salad that also goes with every meal throughout the year. It should be a light addition to your dairy packed holiday table tomorrow. Have a Happy Holiday!

Puppy seeds up close !!

Tomato, Chickpea and Mint Salad

500g cherry tomatoes
100g canned chickpeas, liquid drained
2 generous handfuls of mint leaves, washed and dried
1 small red onion or half a medium one
2 tbsp feta cheese

1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice from a 1/4 of a lemon
1/2 tsp whole puppy seeds
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Cut the cherry tomatoes into quarters. Slice the onion into small thin strips and add to the tomatoes along with the chickpeas, mint leaves, olive oil, lemon juice and puppy seeds. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and mix everything together. Crumble the feta cheese over the salad and serve immediately.

Note 1: If you don't want to serve immediately, you can fix everything but the seasoning and feta cheese and simply add them before serving.

Note 2: Canned chickpeas are just fine! You can soften them yourself if you'd like but I reckon it's too much work for a salad really.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Broccoli and Spinach Pie

Bethlehem of Galilee is one of those magical places that take you back in time the minute you step inside their gates. It was originally established by a group of Templers at the dawn of the 20th century. Walking along its main street reveals interesting architecture and peaceful patches of green flora.

In the midst of all this lies "Nira'le", which is a ceramics / gallery / coffee shop according to its owner's description, Nira. She makes a collection of beautiful ceramic dishes which are sold in the shop along with interesting furniture and other colorful items. I'm a big ceramics fan, so I couldn't help buying one of her lovely bowls. It's really GREAT for baking things, savory pies for example!

The recipe for the base of this pie is actually an adaptation of her cheesecake base, as is the base for this recipe. After having a slice of the cake while drinking coffee at her shop, I worked up the courage to ask for the recipe, which she kindly gave away.

If you happen to find yourself in Bethlehem of Galilee, you must visit her shop!

I was washing spinach leaves when I found this little guy! He was so tiny I had to use my macro extension to take a proper picture of him. When I was done taking pictures of him we said goodbye to each other ("Goodbye little snail", "..." ) and I put him in a shaded place near my block where there's lots of grass. I hope he is happy now.

Nira's baking dish looks so good!! Especially with all that broccoli inside..


Broccoli and Spinach Pie

makes one 24cm diameter pie

Ingredients for the base:
70g unsalted butter
1 egg (L)
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup flour

Ingredients for the filling:
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
50g unsalted butter
100g spinach leaves, washed and dried
350g broccoli (only the head part)
2 tbsp dill, chopped
200 ml yogurt
120 ml milk
2 eggs (L)
2 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp flour

100g feta cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.

Base: melt the butter and let it cool a bit to room temperature. Mix the flour and baking powder together. In a different bowl, stir the egg, milk and butter thoroughly. Add the flour to the mixture, a pinch of salt and pepper, and combine till it's roughly uniform. Spread this soft buttery dough on the bottom of your baking dish.

Filling: In a large frying pan, fry the chopped onion in 50g of butter till it's golden brown on medium heat. Turn off the heat and stir in the spinach, broccoli and chopped dill. Add salt and pepper to taste.
In a bowl, Mix the yogurt, milk and eggs thoroughly together using a whisk. Add the flour and baking powder and whisk till no blobs are left.

Spread the vegetables over the base and crumble the feta cheese on top. Pour the yogurt mixture over this green goodness, making sure to fill all the little holes between the vegetables. Bake for 50-60 minutes until the top is golden brown. Let cool a bit before slicing.

Serve with plenty of yogurt or sour cream.