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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Brownies - in egg shells

The most delicious and simple brownie recipe ... also available in egg shells
This recipe is featured on RecipeNewZ

RecipeNewZ - great recipes, desserts, mains, cooking, baking
Source: A friend’s grandma

Taste 5 (out of 5)

Difficulty 1 (out of 5)


- 200 g margarine, melted
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp baking powder if not using self rising flour
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional

1. Mix all ingredients in no particular order.
2. Grease a 9x13 inches baking pan and pour the batter in.
3. Bake on 350F for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.

- This is my most favorite brownies recipe: it produces wonderfully chewy, chocolaty and not-too-sweet brownies. The main criticism is that it's very hard to stop eating them, and when a batch is over you immediately crave more. Fortunately, the recipe is so simple, that the craving is very easily satisfied :-)
- If you are using egg shells, empty, wash and dry them before baking. You can place the filled egg shells in muffin tins to bake. Egg shells are super-cute, but very high maintenance, both in terms of preparation and eating (peeling and all), so I only managed to make 6. The rest of the batter I baked in a smaller (7x11 '') pan. The egg shells keep the brownies moist for over a week, so you can make them well in advance.

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mango Mousse Cake

Perfect for entertaining and a lot of fun making!
This recipe is featured on RecipeNewZ

RecipeNewZ - great recipes, desserts, mains, cooking, baking
Source: Base cake Improvised
Mango mousse adapted from Desserts for Breakfast
Mango jelly adapted from Baking Library

Taste: 4 out of 5
Difficulty: 4 out of 5

For cake base
• 3 eggs
• ½ cup / 100 g sugar
• ¾ cup / 120 g all-purpose flour
• 1 ½ tsp baking powder
For syrup
• ¼ cup syrup from canned peaches
• 1 tbsp sugar
• 1 tsp fruit liqueur (optional)
For mango mousse
• 1 tbsp gelatin
• 2 tbsp water
• 350 g fresh mango puree
• 100 g sugar
• 1 cup / 250 ml whipping cream
• 1 tsp orange extract
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
For mango jelly
• 150g mango puree
• 2 tsp gelatin
• ¼ cup water
Total 3 3-inch cakes and 3 4-inch cakes (I’d say 9 servings)

For the cake:
1. Using an electric mixer whisk the eggs with the sugar on maximum speed for about 5 minutes until soft peaks form.
2. Fold in the flour and the baking soda and pour the batter into a parchment lined 10x14 inch cookie sheet. Spread the batter evenly and bake in an oven preheated for 350F for about 30-40 minutes until the cake is golden brown.
3. Let the cake cool before peeling the parchment paper; then using the mousse rings or a cookie cutter, cut individual cake rings of desired sizes.
For the syrup:
4. Place all the ingredients into a small pot. Cook on medium heat until all the sugar melts. Remove from heat and let cool. Generously brush the tops of the cake bases with the syrup. Let soak for several minutes before assembling the cake.Now you can make the mousse.
For the mousse:
5. Combine gelatin with water and set aside for 5 minutes to bloom
6. In the meantime, heat half the mango puree with half the sugar, just until all the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, stir in the gelatin and again whisk until the gelatin dissolves. Mix in the remaining puree and the orange extract and let cool.
7. Whip the cream. Add the remaining sugar and the vanilla and whip until soft peaks form.
8. Fold in half the whipped cream into the mango puree to lighten it up. Then gently fold the puree into the cream.
9. Immediately pour over the syrup soaked bases and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.
For the jelly:
10. Soak the gelatin in water, let bloom for 5 minutes, then heat in a microwave for 20 seconds until gelatin dissolves completely. Allow to cool and mix with the mango puree. Pour over the chilled cakes. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours until the jelly sets completely.
For assembly:
11. You will need 3 3 inch cake rings and 3 4 inch cake rings. You can also use cans, such as tuna cans with bottoms removed.
12. To line the molds I used transparency strips. Remember those transparencies used for presentations in the pre-laptop age? I cut them into strips, a little taller than the cake rings. It was a bit of work, but I will be reusing the strips for future cakes, so it was time well spent. You can also use parchment paper, but I am afraid cake edges will not be very smooth.
13. Before you start baking, prepare the rings and the lining.
14. First make the cake. While it’s baking make the syrup. Let the cake cool in the pan then invert it onto a cutting board, peel of the parchment and cut the individual bases. Re-line the sheet with parchment.
15. Place the lined rings on the baking sheet. Brush the bases with the syrup and place each base at the bottom of each ring.
16. Next make the mousse, when it’s ready pour it over the bases and place the baking sheet with the cakes in the fridge to set.
17. Make the jelly only once the mousse is completely set. Pour the jelly over the mousse and refrigerate the cakes once again.
18. To unmold, slide the cakes with the transparent lining out of the cake ring (that should be very easy). Then when the cakes are still cold, carefully peel off the lining. If you freeze the cake for 5-10 minutes before unmolding, the lining will come off a little cleaner leaving the sides, especially the mousse layer, smoother.
19. Can be served with almond crisps, chocolate shavings, whipped cream of fresh mango slices.


• This was my first attempt at individual mousse cakes. It was a long process (probably a fool day, including recipe research and up to posting, but now I feel like a semi-accomplished baker :-).
• I used 2 large Peruvian mangoes for this recipe, most for the mousse and some for the jelly. I simply pureed the mangoes in a blender. Took less than a minute.
• Taste wise, the cake was a little too dry. I should cook it a little less next time and use more syrup to soak. Or maybe add a little butter or oil. This cake is an angel cake, but it is very thin, so it actually tasted quite a lot like lady fingers. Which is great, because it can be used for Tiramisu, without the need to pipe out individual cookies, yey!
• The leftover cake can be used for English Trifle, or something similar. Cut it into small chunks and serve with canned peaches, fresh blueberries and whipped cream – just one idea.
• For the syrup, you can also use another juice or water, just add more sugar. Next time I will double the syrup for this amount of cake.
• The mousse was great. It gets 5 out of 5 taste-wise.
• For the jelly I used 3 tbsp water and 1 tbsp gelatin. It started to stiffen very quickly before it even got a chance to spread out evenly. If I make the jelly again, I will use a little less gelatin and more water. I will also add sugar or liquor. Also, because the surface of the mousse was not even, I would need maybe twice more jelly to create a smooth cover. So I should try doubling the mousse. But to tell the truth, the jelly did not taste too good. I think using an orange or peach Jell-o would give better results.
• You can also make one large cake. Then you would need a 9 inch spring form pan lined with parchment paper (on the base and on the sides). In this cake use ½ the cake batter.

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Monday, March 5, 2012

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Perfect for one of these cold rainy winter nights - for March SRC
Source: All Day I Dream About Food blog, originally from Cook’s Illustrated

Taste 5 (out of 5)

Difficulty 2 (out of 5 – the most difficult part is using an immersion blender)

• 1 tbsp unsalted butter (100 cal)
• 1 lb broccoli (150 cal)
• 5 green onions (10 cal)
• 2 garlic cloves, minced (5 cal)
• 1 tsp dry mustard powder
• pinch of cayenne
• ½ tsp salt
• 2 cups water
• 1/8 tsp baking soda
• 1 cup chicken or beef broth (20 cal)
• 1 cup frozen spinach (40 cal)
• 1 ½ oz sharp cheddar, grated (170 cal)
• ½ oz parmesan, grated + more to sprinkle before serving (60 cal)
• ¼ tsp pepper (or adjust to taste)
Total 4 servings, 555 calories, 140 cal / serving

1. Chop the broccoli into 1 inch pieces, use both the florets and the stems. Finely chop the green onions.
2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat butter over medium high heat. Add broccoli, onion, garlic, mustard, cayenne and salt. Stir frequently and cook until fragrant, about 6 minutes.
3. Add water and baking soda and bring to a simmer. Cook until broccoli is very soft, about 20 minutes.
4. Add broth and spinach and bring to a simmer.
5. Add cheeses and blend soup with an immersion blender (alternatively, you can transfer soup to a blender and blend in two batches).
6. Adjust consistency of soup to your liking with remaining water (I found it didn't need any more).
7. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

• This is a great soup, we really liked it! Rich consistency, yet not too greasy; all the ingredients can be distinctly felt, yet they blend together very nicely; filling, yet not heavy.
• I made small adjustments to the original recipe; primarily I used a little more spinach and used green onions instead of regular ones. I don’t think these changes made a big difference.
• I was very puzzled by the addition of baking soda. Carolyn mentioned that it was meant to speed up the cooking of broccoli. I did a little more research on baking soda in cooking, and it seems that people add it to greens to preserve the colors, and add it to creamy soups to prevent milk from curdling. Interesting…
• About All Day I Dream About Food – this is a wonderful food blog. I have been following it for ages now, and it’s getting better and better. Carolyn publishes many gluten free and low-carb dessert recipes. She also has a lot of delicious savory posts. I first wanted to make her chilled avocado soup , but it’s a little chilly for that, so I made a warmer soup and her chicken Adobo, which also turned out super yummy!
• About SRC – it stands from a Secret Recipe Club, each month you are assigned a food blog, you choose a recipe from it, post it on a predetermined reveal date and add your link to a blog hop, where all the participant post their results. This is a very neat idea of Amanda Formaro.

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