Friday, 18 April 2014

Apple Galettes

It's Easter time! And I think we all know what that stands for - long family meals, endless chats and of course the always too many chocolate eggs. That's why I skipped my initial plan of yet another chocolate based recipe to inspire your culinary easter and opted for these little goodies instead: Apple Galettes!

These freestyle tartlettes are made up from a whole wheat crust and a super fruity apple-starring filling all spiced up with my all time fave cinnamon - pure bliss yet not overly sweet, so instead of a sugar coma they are a tad bit more nutritious and light. That definitely calls for some honey whipped cream as a partner ;-) (recipe below). Or skip the whipped cream and serve them at Sunday's Easter brunch. For this occasion egg-shaped galettes might be a nice idea to entertain friends and family.

I've generally got all in for galettes recently (which might be because of a short trip to france a couple of days ago, a post about that will be up soon though) - throw together the ingredients for the crust, fill with fruit of choice, fold up the edges, bake in the oven while you clean up the kitchen and surf in the internet for the next galette ideas and voilĂ  your left with a wonderful breakfast/brunch/coffee time addition. In this special recipe the combination of a crisp butter-y and wholesome crust filled with soft partly caramellized apples and the always present touch of cinnamon are the ones responsible for the unique all-time-favourite kind of taste.

The super quick and easy preparation which can easily be executed ahead of time (bake them one day ahead or just prepare the crust and chill the dough overnight) and only requires basic ingredients is what makes this recipe a classic that can always be thrown together for some last-minute guests or the next get-together with friends and family. So in this way include some galettes into your planned meals for Easter and have a happy relaxed time with your loved ones!

Apple Galettes
- makes eight small galettes, can be changed into a big one
- Crust:
- 300g/ 2 and 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 80g/ 2/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 200g/ 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp Butter

- Filling:
- 2 medium sized Apples
- 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar plus more for sprinkling
- 1 tsp Cinnamon

1. Combine the flour, salt, sugar and cinnamon in a medium sized bowl, then work in the cold butter until a dough forms. Cover and set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F. Wash and core the apples. Now you can either cut them into small cubes or thin slices like I did. Toss together with the sugar and cinnamon.
3. Knead the dough once again and divide into eight equal parts. Roll each part out on a lightly floured surface with a rolling pin into a freestyle circle, about 15 cm/ 5.9 inches in diameter.
4. Divide the apples equally onto the eight crusts, with about 1 inch/ 2.5 cm distance to the edge. Fold in the edges to create a border, partly covering the apple filling. Sprinkle with some optional additional brown sugar, which will caramellize during the baking time.
5. Grease or line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the galettes, about 1-2 inch apart from each other.
6. Loosely cover with aluminium foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for an additional 20-30 minutes until crust is slightly brownes and apples are soft.
7. Take out, let cool for 10 minutes and serve either immediately, still warm and preferably with honey whipped cream (recipe below) or save for later and serve them at room temperature. Enjoy!

- Honey Whipped Cream
- 150g Whipping Cream
- 1 Tbsp liquid Honey
1. Start whipping the cream and slowly drizzle in the honey while you continue beating until the cream is thick and a knife cut stays visible. Serve immediately.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Rhubarb Magic Cake

One Batter, seperating into three layers: soft, melt-in-your-mouth cake on top, a thick custard in the middle and a thin cake layer on the bottom - this is what makes up the magic custard cake/pie.

Now it's already fabulous on it's own already but imagine pairing it up with some speckles of fresh rhubarb, cooked with a little brown sugar and cinnamon: magic cake perfection!

I've had my veeeery last day of school yesterday, eight years of grammar/high school have passed really fast and the past months have been an emotional roller-coaster between total euphoria and depressional moments - happiness about starting into a self-determined post-school life while yet leaving the structure that was well known for years. But hey, that's life and I'm all in for the great moments that are ahead once the missing exams and viva voce are done and once I (hopefully and finally) hold my leaving certificate in my hands.

But back to the cake, before I am boring you with my inner mindset about studying all the stuff of the past two years...
Magic days call for magic cakes and thus this one was created, based on the awesome version from the White on Rice Couple which can be found here.
I've used a little less sugar and obviously added in the rhubarb which gives the cake a nice fruit-y and spring-y accent. The thick custard layer is incredibely light which makes this recipe perfect for the warm days - bake it a day before serving, leave it in the fridge over night and you're ready to go the next morning/day (And btw will be the hit of the party when you tell them that this cake is made out of just one batter!)! No rhubarb? No problem, just switch it up with some berries, apples or pears according to your liking. I've also seen chocolate chips being added in in some places ;-). Now try it out on your own and be surprised by the magic that can happen in your own oven! Hope you all are having a nice start into the spring break/easter holidays - take it slow (bake some cake ;-)) and enjoy the days off with family and friends!

Rhubarb Magic Cake
adapted from this recipe by White on Rice Couple, yields one 8x8 inch cake
- ~400g Rhubarb
- 1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
- 115g/ 1/2 cup Butter
- 480ml/ 2 cups Milk
- 4 Eggs
- 1/2 tsp Vinegar
- 100g/ 1/2 cup minus 1 Tbsp Sugar
- 1 Tbsp Water
- 120g/1 cup All-purpose Flour

1. Wash, peel and cut the rhubarb into cubes. Mix it with the Brown Sugar and Cinnamon. Then either heat it in the microwave on high for 2 minutes or in a small saucepan on medium high heat for 5 minutes until soft yet not falling apart completely. Set in a fine sieve to drain off most of the liquid and set aside to cool down.
2. Preheat your oven to 325 °F/ 160°C. Grease or line an 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper. Melt the butter and set aside to cool.
3. Warm up the milk until warm to the touch.
4. Seperate your eggs and whip up the egg whites with the vinegar until stiff peaks form.
5. Beat together the sugar and egg yolks, then add in the butter and water and continue beating until well mixed for 1-2 minutes.
6. Quickly add in the flour and then carefully beat in the milk until well incorporated.
7. Carefully fold in the egg whites (I've done this in two batches, the original recipes calls for adding it in 1/3 at a time).
8. Slowly pour the batter into the prepared pan, then sprinkle the rhubarb on top and bake it for 50-60 minutes until the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted comes out with just some custard attached. Take it out and leave it to cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then put it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to overnight. Enjoy!

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Quiche with Smoked Salmon and Sundried Tomatoes

Ask one about the indicators for spring and he or she will probably give an answer like "twittering birds in the morning, first green and colourful spots in nature and dishes with fresh veggies and fruit". While I totally won't argue about those facts, as I am a great fan indeed, I've found yet another factor to show me that the warmer seasons has arrived: quiches!

Yes, those crisp crusts filled with an egg mixture and savoury or sweet produce which start to pop up at every corner in the digital as well as the real-life world in the moment: in cafeterias and food galleries. And I'm totally with that vibe: nothing comes close to the taste of a fresh homemade quiche enjoyed at a picnic or get-together on one of the first warmer evenings! (how can one not love the changing of the clocks - okay, minus the hour that was "stolen" and the all-dark-again mornings...).

Conclusion is: ithappens to be springtime - I've also munched on the first aspargus this week and to kickstart the endorphine production decided to bake up a quiche that already tastes like summer with yet a touch of spring: Smoked Salmon and Sundried tomatoes get accompanied by fresh basil leaves and a dash of parmesan.  The red splash of colour and sunny tastes pairs beautifully with the smoky nuances and the basil leaves can also be found in the crust to give it all a fresh, green-dotted appearance. Happy springtime!

Quiche with smoked salmon and sundried tomatoes
- makes enough for one 9 inch pan (I've used several smaller ones and froze the leftovers)
- 200 g flour (I've used whole wheat flour)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- ~4 tbsp water
- a dash of pepper
- a generous handful of fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

- 2 eggs
- 200 ml milk
- 2 Tbsps creme fraiche
- dash of each pepper and ground nutmeg
- 200g smoked salmon
- 30g sundried tomatoes
- 50g parmesan, freshly grated
- a few fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

1. Preheat your oven to 175 °C.
2. Mix together the flour and salt, then add in the basil, olive oil and pepper and gradually mix in the water until a soft dough is formed.
3. Roll the dough out and press into a pan. Blindbake for 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile prepare your filling: finely chop the tomatoes and basil leaves and cut the salmon in small stripes. Beat together the eggs, milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add in the grated cheese but reserve about one Tbsp. Take the crust out of the oven, evenly distribute the salmon, the tomatoes and the basil on top, then pour the egg mixture all over. Bake for 30 minutes. Then sprinkle the reserved cheese on top and continue baking until top is golden and middle is set. You might need to temporarily cover the quiche with aluminium foil or a lid to prevent browning. Take it out, let cool for 10 minutes then remove from pan and allow for further cooling or serve straightaway. Best accompanied by a fresh green salad. Enjoy!

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Earl Grey Porridge

Foods have characters right? Some easily pair up with nearly anything others are quite special and their partners have to be picked carefully. Or think of chocolate - most people like it (at least once in their life) and then there are specialist foods like porridge and Earl Grey, totally delightful yet not everyones first choice.

With several recipes like here and here you might already know how much I love black tea and Earl Grey in particular is one of my all time favourites. The fragant sometimes fruity flavour is what gets me every single time. It's not as strong as the breakfast kind of tea (another fave of mine) which makes it perfectly adaptable to use in cakes or other desserts.

To speak about the porridge: a steaming hot bowl is what wakes me up during the cold mornings and a cold overnight version fuels me for long lovely summer days - serve it with some cut up fruit and maybe a little yogurt and I'm all in.

On one of those totally-not-motivated Monday mornings (we all know them, don't we?) a few months ago: I was sitting at the breakfast table, a cup of tea steaming on my right side and a hot bowl of porridge right in front of me, when my mind woke up in the matter of a second with a super easy idea: why not add the tea into the porridge for a little twist on flavour?