One of my favourite French blog, Amuses bouche, is a treasure trove of beautiful cakes and pastries. This lady has a real talent for creating culinary enchantment and if you browse through her blog, you will surely find lots of ideas for birthday or celebration cakes as well as how to turn the most mondane dish into a creative and enticing marvel. This is the case for this sandwich cake. She has successfully turned the sandwich into a feast for the eye! For this cake, she uses Swedish bread and because I can’t find them easily in Ireland, I decided to opt for my friend Carine’s “Pain polaire” (recipe here). If you are going to make the bread from scratch, then start this recipe the day before. You can assemble the cake in the morning and keep in the fridge until serving but bear in mind that it would be best to eat the same day to avoid soggy cucumbers…
Source: Amuses bouche
4 Swedish breads
6 slices of smoked salmon (about 200g)
180g Philadelphia or cream cheese
1 tsp lemon juice
200g Philadephia or cream cheese
Chives, cut into different lengths
- Mix the Philadelphia, salt, lemon juice and minced dill together in a bowl.
- Thinly slice the cucumber.
- Place one slice of Swedish bread on the serving plate.
- Spread with some of the cream cheese mixture. Add smoked salmon slices to cover neatly the bread.
- Spread some cream cheese mixture underneath the second slice of bread and place on top of the salmon.
- Spread more cream cheese and add neatly the cucumber slices.
- Repeat step 5 and 6 with smoked salmon instead of cucumber.
- Finish with a slice of bread.
- Mix the cream cheese of the topping to make it smooth and ice the whole cake with it.
- Finally decorate with the chive around the cake, cherry tomatoes and slices of radishes.
If you haven’t tried Swedish bread before than you are missing out. This is one of my favourite sandwich bread because it is soft, delicately flavoured with fennel and goes wonderfully well with smoked salmon. I was looking to make this bread myself for a long time but after seeing the gorgeous Sandwich cake from Amuses bouche (more on that in a later post), I had the perfect excuse to finally make it.
Source: Chic chic chocolat
235g strong white flour (bread flour)
100g rye flour
50g creme fraiche
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp dried instant yeast
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- Place rye flour and the fennel seeds in the Thermomix bowl and mix 10 sec/speed 10. Set aside.
- Place the water, sugar and yeast in the Thermomix bowl and warm 2 min/37C/speed 1.
- Add strong white flour + rye flour and fennel seed mix, baking powder, salt and creme fraiche to the TM bowl. Knead 6 minutes.
- Leave in the TM bowl to rise for 1 hour.
- Take out of the bowl and roll onto a lightly floured surface.
- Place on a tray lined with baking parchment or silicone sheet.
- Cover with cling film and leave to rise for 30-45 minutes in the fridge. Carine says the dough must be cold so it doesn’t shrink when being cut.
- Using a pastry ring of about 17 cm (I used an extendable pastry ring), cut out individual circles. In her blog, Carine cuts them into squares but I wanted circles to make the sandwich cake.
- Re-roll the leftover dough to cut more circles until you have 5.
- Prick with a fork all over.
- Leave on the baking tray, cover with cling film and leave to rise for 1 hour at room temperature.
- Heat a frying pan to medium heat.
- Cook each bread about 1-2 min per side until browned. Be careful not to cook too long as it would become too hard so less is more.
- Leave to cool and use for yummy sandwiches!
This is a second recipe from the great Persiana book I share on this blog. The first one being a dip, it’s natural that I give you a yummy flatbread recipe to go with it. This recipe makes 2 breads. You can freeze the second bread if you want to keep it for later.
Source: Persiana from Sabrina Ghayour
1 sachet fast instant yeast
700g strong white flour
2 tsp seal salt
60g olive oil
50g melted butter
- Place the yeast and water in the bowl and warm 2 min/37C/speed 2.
- Add the rest of the ingredients except butter & Nigella seeds.
- Mix 6 sec/speed 6 moving the speed slowly up.
- Knead 2 min.
- Leave to rest 10 min.
- Knead again 2 min.
- Leave in the bowl or in another bowl until triple in size (reaches the top of the TM bowl).
- Take out onto a floured worktop and cut the dough in half.
- Stretch the dough to a 40cm long oval shap. Place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment/silicone sheet.
- Do the same with the other half of the dough.
- Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with Nigella seeds.
- Leave to rest in a warm place for 30 min.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven at 220 (fan) and bake for 15-18 min until golden brown.
- Allow to cool at least 30 min before serving.
I recently bought a great cookbook about Persian cuisine called “Persiana”. It’s full of very tasty and fragrant dishes and if, like me, you love middle-eastern food, you’ll be in for a treat. Every dish combines beautiful flavours such as cumin, lemon, sumac or rosewater with gorgeous colours like pistachio green or pomegranate’s flamboyant red. This dip is a great hit and I was asked the recipe many times when I served it.
Source: Persiana from Sabrina Ghayour
100g shelled pistachios
60g olive oil
200g feta cheese
Handful of dill, leaves picked out
3 handfuls of coriander, leave picked out
1 garlic clove
1 long red chilli, deseeded
145g greek yoghurt
Grated rind of a lemon, juice of ½ lemon
- Blitz pistachios and oil on turbo for 2 sec at a time until powdered.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and blend 30 seconds /speed 8.
- Scrape down the sides and blend another 15 sec/speed 8 until smooth but with still some grainy texture.
- Serve with flat bread.
This cake is dynamite. Don’t do it if you don’t intend to do it again and again and again afterwards. This cake is so good, your kids will ask you to have it at every single occasion. So stock up on Guinness, turn on your Thermomix and get cracking!
250 g Guinness or stout
250 g unsalted butter, diced
60 g cocoa powder
400 g sugar
140 g sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
280 g plain flour
2½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking powder)
250 g dark chocolate
250 g double cream
1 tsp real vanilla extract
1 tsp unsalted butter
- Weigh Guinness into the TM bowl. Add butter and melt 3 min/50C/Speed 1 (the butter should be softened or melted).
- Add cocoa, sugar, sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Mix 45 sec/Speed 5.
- Add flour and bicarbonate of soda. Mix 20 sec/Speed 3. Pour into a buttered and lined 23cm springform tin.
- Bake for 45 to 70 minutes at 180C without fan/160C with fan/Gas Mark 4.
- Cool completely before applying ganache topping.
- Ganache: heat all the ingredients together 3 min/50C/Speed 2 or until chocolate is completely melted. Pour onto cooled cake and smooth over the edges.
Each time I ask my daughter what she wants for dessert, the reply is always the same: “chocolate mousse!”. I came across this quick and easy version for chocolate mousse recently where you whisk the whole eggs and it works beautifully. The texture is a bit denser and firmer than the traditional mousse but it is equally as delicious.
Source: chic chic chocolat
1 tbsp water
180g dark chocolate
60g strong coffee (or orange juice if you don’t like coffee)
- Place the butterfly whisk in the TM bowl with the eggs, sugar and water. Whisk 3 min/70C/speed 3.5.
- Whisk another 5 min/speed 3.5.
- Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and coffee (or juice) in the microwave in short bursts and stir between each until the chocolate is just melted.
- Fold gently some of the egg mixture into the chocolate. Add the remaining egg mixture and fold gently until combined.
- Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to set.
I love making bread. There is something deeply soothing in handling bread dough, letting it rise and shaping it. And I’m not even talking about the smell of freshly baked bread! Anyhow, I have been experimenting with different bread recipes lately and I particularly love bread with molasses in it. The caramelised flavour it confers to the loaf is just amazing. I’ve loosely used the recipe from Fast & Easy cookbook, the book that was sold with any TM31 in UK & Ireland.
Source: Fast & Easy cooking
270g strong wholemeal/granary flour
130g strong white bread flour
1 sachet fast instant yeast or 30g fresh yeast
1 tsp fine sea salt
1tsp tsp sugar
50g olive oil
1 tbsp molasses
- Warm water and yeast 2 min/37C/speed 2.
- Mix in the other ingredients 6 sec/speed 6 (going progressively from speed 2 to 6 to avoid projection of water and flour onto the lid) to combine. The dough should form a ball and should begin to clean the sides of the bowl. If too dry, add a little more water and mix a few seconds more.
- Set timer to 2 minutes and set the Kneading function on. The mixture should end up soft and pliable and a bit tacky.
- Remove the lid, turn the bowl upside-down, undo the base unit and the dough will drop out, bringing the blades with it. Gather the dough together into a ball.
- Press lightly into a tin or make a loaf shape or rolls and place on the baking sheet.
- Brush lightly with olive oil, cover with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size.
- Bake 20 to 30 minutes for a loaf or 10 to 12 minutes for rolls at 220C.
I am not a big fan of Starbucks I must confess. I find their coffee pretty weak and horrid and I can’t remember much from eating their pastries. However, when I saw this recipe going around in Facebook, the picture looked very delicious and lemon cakes are my soft spots. So I tried it and it is every bit as delicious as it looked. Here is the recipe, adapted to Thermomix and the European measurements (I include the cup measures also for those who use it).
Source: someone on Facebook…
240g (1 1/2 cup) plain flour, sieved
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
215g (1 cup) SUGAR
30g (2 tbsp) butter, Softened.
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon extract
80g (1/3 cup) lemon juice
100g (1/2 cup) oil
230g (1 cup + 1 tbsp) caster sugar
30g (2 tbsp) whole milk
1/2 tsp lemon extract
- Preheat the oven at
180C 170C (fan ovens).
- Insert the butterfly whisk in the TM bowl. Blend together the eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, lemon extract and lemon juice in the TM bowl 1 min/speed 4. Remove the butterfly whisk.
- Add the sieved flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix 10 sec/speed 6.
- Add the oil and mix 10 sec/speed 6.
- Pour the batter in a greased 9×5 inch loaf tin (23x12cm) and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cook on a grid.
- Clean and dry the bowl.
- Grind the sugar for 30 sec/speed 10.
- Add the milk and lemon extract and mix 10sec/speed 6 or until combined and smooth.
- When the cake is completely cooled down, pour over the lemon icing and let it set before slicing.
Here’s the last day of the year 2014 and with the holiday season, the breakfasts have become more copious. I recently got a proper waffle maker so the first waffles I wanted to make are the famous Belgium ones from Liege. They are not made of the usual liquid batter but rather with a brioche-style dough. It is therefore much longer to prepare (count 3 hours + between making the dough and letting it rise). However, they are totally different from their pancake-like counterparts. They are crispier outside, soft inside and of course, they are absolutely delicious!
370 g plain flour
75 g caster sugar
100 g milk (full fat)
2 tsp dried instant yeast
125 g butter, cubed
150 g pearl sugar (or sugar cubes slightly crushed into chunks), optional
- In the TM bowl, place the milk, sugar, eggs and yeast and warm 2 min/37C/speed 2.
- Add the flour and salt and knead for 6 minutes.
- After 1 minute kneading, add the butter cubes through the hole in the lid.
- Leave in the bowl to rise for 2 hours.
- Tip out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Flatten it with your hands and sprinkle the sugar pearls all over if using.
- Fold the dough to cover the sugar and cut into 16 pieces.
- Roll each piece into a ball and leave to rise for 30 minutes.
- Grease and heat the waffle maker and insert the dough balls (one per waffle) to cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Eat warm sprinkled with icing sugar, or spread with jam or hazelnut paste.