October 31, 2011

Tomato Cheesecake with Basil-Pine Nut Crumble

Well, I guess it is time to say goodbye to this year's tomato season. Last weekend I bought a few pounds from a local farmer and I preared a portion of roasted tomato sauce that went right into the freezer. That will help to survive those cold winter days! The other plan was to make a savoury tomato pie with some goat cheese for lunch, but instead I've ended up baking this cheesecake for dessert. The bright green of the pastry comes from pureed spinach, that I needed to refill my chlorophyll reserves, and as I did not want to throw away the puree, I decided to knead it into the pastry. No worries, you do not taste the spinach, so go for it!

250 g flour
125 g butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons pureed spinach
300 g tomato
2 tablespoon sugar
250 g cream cheese or quark
50 g sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon flour

The pastry is enough to make two 15x20 cm cakes (freeze the rest!), the filling is enough for one cake.

To make the pastry knead together flour, butter, salt, sugar egg and spinach puree, then chill until needed. For the filling bring chopped tomatoes to the boil with sugar and cook until there is almost no liquid left. Puree, mash it through a strainer and set aside. For the filling cream together the quark or cream cheese and the tomato puree, stir in vanilla extract, sugar (add more if desired), eggs and flour. Roll out half of the dough and cover the baking form, then pour the cream cheese mixture in it and bake for 25-30 minutes in the preheated oven on 180°C. For the crumble mix together about a tablespoons pine nuts, 3-4 tablespoons flour, a tablespoon butter and sugar and chopped basil as desired. Crumble it onto a baking sheet and bake until golden brown. Simply crumble it on top of the chilled cake when serving.

October 28, 2011

Pumpkin Seed Oil White Chocolate Ganache

Well, I hope that you are not yet bored of macarons! However, now I am here with a ganache, that might sound a bit bizarre, but I must confess, for me it was love at first bite! In fact, I could hardly resist not to eat it all before filling the macarons. But I made it! You know those nasty calories helped to contain myself. Probably, it is a daring combination, well it is indeed, but it was a great success! Of course everything depends on the quality of the ingredients you use, so get the best you can afford. By the way, I almost could not share these green cuties with you, because my camera did not want to give back that gorgeous colour, so yesterday morning, I've decided to take photos every half an hour. You have no idea how happy I've been, when finally, I had some useable photos, of course even those needed some work on the pc, but still! Ah, and right then, when I finished taking the photos the background crashed some of the macarons! At least, I had a good pretext to eat them!

45 g cream
100 g white chocolate
70 g pumpkin seed oil

Bring cream over low heat to the boil, while waiting chop white chocolate and put it into a bowl. Pour hot cream over the chocolate and wait for a few seconds, so that the chocolate gets warm and then stir it with a wooden spoon until it melts. Add oil in a thin strain while stirring constantly.

October 27, 2011

Pumpkin-Gorgonzola-Chestnut Ravioli on Pumpkin Puree with Brown Butter, Sage Foam and Caramelised Chestnuts

As promised here is the ravioli! I had many different versions on my mind, and believe me, it was not easy to decide for one! However, right then, when I started to roll out the pumpkin pasta dough, suddenly everything was crystal clear. In some way I wanted to include yesterday's planned gorgonzola sauce in this dish, or at least to use the cheese. So I ended up wrapping the blue cheese in the pasta, to which I've added some fresh sage leaves, just like here.

Then, I had the idea to mix some roasted chestnuts into the filling of the ravioli, where I also added some fried cubes of pumpkin. Be careful, when using the gorgonzola, and add only a little in a while, because it should not dominate the taste! That's the tricky part  I guess. So ravioli, done! What about the sauce? Originally, I wanted to cook a sage flavoured pumpkin puree, but then I separeted the sage from the puree, just to make them meet on another level. The puree is made out of oven baked pumpkin flavoured with garlic, allspice, nutmeg and brown butter, lightened with some cream.

As the sweet component of the dish, I decided to leave some roasted chestnuts whole and caramlised them with brown sugar
just before serving and flavoured it with marsala. Only one thing is missing from the photo and that is some really good quality pumpkin seed oil. Ah yeah, and the sage foam, well that is simply based on my good old recipe for basil foam, of course with a few adjustments to fit this dish.

October 26, 2011

The big disovery?!

Yesterday afternoon, I baked a bunch of pumpkin seed macarons, that means that I have simply added some ground pumpkin seeds to the batter. While piping the macarons, I was thinking about all those gorgeous and colourful macarons out there, and I was wondering how could I make such too. My problem is that I am not willing to use any artficial colouring and when I used powders the batter is just not the same and I end up with large and flat macarons. So, that is also not really an option. Later on, while seeking for a bar of white chocolate, I discovered beet juice and had the sudden idea of using it instead of the water when preparing the syrup for the macarons. So today, I gave it a try and I felt extremly happy, because it has worked out!!! Do you know what that means?! Actually, there are endless possibilites, because there are so many juices out there, so now it is possibly to bake macarons in almost any natural colour! I hope at least, that it works out with fruit juices as well! Just imagine using raspberry or black currant or even spinach? I can't wait to try more of them! And if for some reason would not work? Well, at least now I have rose macarons in my repertory.

Fresh Pumpkin Pasta with Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Drum roll, please! The pumpkin season has officially started here right at the corner! Thanks to a Hungarian blog event, the pumpkin fever has caught me and I have many ideas! So let's start the line with two simple pumpkin dishes. By the way that beauty on the photos is the Hungarian Blue pumpkin, my most favourite type. Just yummy!

Yesterday, I preapred some pumpkin gnocchi and served it classic with sage and brown butter and loads of fresh parmesan cheese, however, this time I used Robert's recipe, instead of mine. I was wondering for days what to make out of that 5 kg of beauty and I had the idea of fresh pumpkin pasta with gorgozola sauce. Well, I indeed preapared the pumpkin pasta, which is by the way eggless, however I served it among a pumpkin seed pesto and fried pumpkin cubes with maple syrup. But there is more to come! I also made a bunch of blue cheese ravioli, so stay tuned!

50 g durum wheat flour
100 g flour
40 g cooked pumpkin

Cook diced pumpkin until soft together with the spices in some water, or in a mixture of water and orange juice, then puree. Once it is cooled knead a dough with the rest of the ingredients and let it rest for about an hour, then roll out with the help of a pasta machine and cut it in the desired thickness.

50 g pumpkin seed
1 small clove garlic
1/2 bunch parsley
1/2 bunch chervil
70 g freshly grated parmesan
7-8 tablespoons pumpkin seed oil
salt, pepper

Roast pumpkin seed in a frying pan, then add everything to a mixer, then season and serve it with the pasta.

October 25, 2011

Sablé Breton with Vanilla Cream and Raspberries

It is almost November, so it was a great surprise, when last weekend I found huge, aromatic raspberries in my favourite farmer's shop. It is not even strange, because we had some gorgeous sunny October days and the farmer told me, that they have simply trimmed the bushes and the reward was a bunch of juicy beeries. I must say, these were the best of the season. Of course I had to prepare a dessert with the berries. I decided for a simple, yet elegant sablé breton with vanilla cream.

(based on a recipe by Alain Ducasse)
250 g flour
125 g butter
100 g sugar
2,5 egg yolks
pinch of salt
10 g baking powder
1 vanilla pod

Mix together flour, butter, salt and baking powder and whisk until it is well incorporated. Whisk egg yolks with sugar, vanilla seeds and add it to the flour mixture and knead a dough, but do not overknead! Let it rest for 2-3 hours in the fridge. After roll out and cut out any shape you desire and bake it in dessert forms in the preheated oven on 180°C

3 egg yolks
65 g sugar
20 g flour
250 ml milk
1 vanilla pod
40 g butter

Cream egg yolks with the third of the sugar until pale, then stir in flour. Bring milk with the rest of the sugar and the vanilla seeds to the boil. Pour hot milk, while stirring constantly to the egg yolks, then put it back on the stove and cook for about 2 minutes. Pour it into a bowl and sprinkle with icing sugar. When it has cooled, stir in butter and put the cream in the fridge until needed.

October 24, 2011

Roastbeef with Roasted Onion-Whisky Sauce

Huh, it feels like it's been ages that I haven't cooked! First, I just had to do so many other things, that I had no time to blog, altough I have been baking and cooking. Then, when finally, I was done, I had an accident where a black cat was involved, and I had to spend almost a whole week in bed. Still, I am not a superstitious person, after all I was born on a Friday the 13th. Anyway, during my bed rest I had the opportunity to listen to a couple of cooking shows, some were pretty good others rather boring. In three shows they prepared roastbeef so it was clear that this is going to be the first dish to prepare when I get back on track. So Sunday's lunch was a delicious, perfectly tender and rosa roastbeef with yorkshire pudding, maple syrup and thyme flavoured carrot, roasted potatoes and a whisky sauce with oven roasted onions. The beef was prepared in the oven over 80°C according to a simply rule: per 500 g of beef 1 hour cooking time. As soon as the meat reaches 55-60°C it is perfect! And if there is any leftover, it makes a perfect sandwich the next day with freshly grated horseradish!

1 shallot
400 ml brown veal stock
50 ml whisky + 2 tablespoons
handful of oven roasted onion
salt, pepper

To make this sauce, first you have to fry the meat from each side in a real hot frying pan together with garlic and fresh thyme. After move the beef to the preheated oven, remove most of the frying fat from the pan and add chopped shallot. After a few minutes add whisky, reduce and add veal stock, reduce by half and sieve. Pour sauce back to the frying pan and season with whisky, salt, pepper and fresh thyme. Add roasted onions before serving. In case the consistency of the sauce not thick enough add some in water dissolved cornstarch.

October 6, 2011

Quince Parfait

Quinces are rare to find, therefore they are a real treasure, at least here. Last year I was so sure that I am going to find enough to prepare everything I wanted, so I did not hurry at all. Of course, when I wanted to start making jelly and stuff, no more quinces were available. Well, this year I have already cooked a portion of jelly and I used some quinces to make this light dessert. I wanted to bring back the taste of the quince mousse I made last year. To give the whole dessert a crunchy kick, I added some caramelised nuts as well. Serve with with warm caramel sauce and poached quinces!

500 g quince (peeled and cored)
1 cinnamon stick
2-3 green cardadmom
3 egg whites

150 g brown sugar
50 ml sherry
200 g cream
50 g sugar
2-3 teaspoons maple syrup
30 g walnut
20 g macadamia nuts
10 g pistachios

Poach quince together with the spices in just enough water so that it is covered, then let it stand over night. Sieve and puree. Beat egg whites until half stiff, while that melt brown sugar over low heat. Once sugar has dissolved add sherry and cook until it reduces. Pour brown sugar into the egg whites in a thin strain and beat until stiff. Stir in beaten egg white into the quince puree. Caramelise nuts with sugar and maple syrup, let it cool then stir it into the quince mixture together with the pistachios. Beat cream and fold it into the mixture. Freeze for 6 hours or over night.

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