Sunday, October 23, 2011

Light as a feather coffee walnut cake

My parents gave me a huge bucket of fresh walnuts from their garden and immediately thought: I want to make a cake! But I find coffee walnut cakes often extremely heavy and overly sweet, but not this one! I found this one at BBC Good Food, I tweaked it a little and it turned out really great. Very light, not too sweet and slightly sour. It's an instant fav! It needs a little work, but it's well worth the effort.

coffee walnut cake low cal!

What do you need?

For the cake:

1 tbsp coffee granules, plus 1 tsp
225g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
50g ground almonds
85g light muscovado sugar
50g golden caster sugar
25g chopped walnuts
2 eggs , beaten
250g natural yogurt
75ml walnut oil

For the filling:

2 tbsp golden caster sugar
2 tsp coffee granules
140g mascarpone
100g Quark (you can't find this in the states, take half cream cheese, half yogurt)
2 tbsp icing sugar

For the icing:

140g fondant icing sugar
1 tsp coffee granules
1 tbsp finely chopped walnuts

Let's start with the cake!

Pre-heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Oil and flour a 20cm round (6cm deep) loose-bottom tin.

Mix the coffee with 2 tsp warm water and set aside. Tip the flour into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the baking powder, ground almonds, both sugars (make sure there are no lumps) and walnuts, then make a dip in the centre. Put the eggs, yogurt, oil and coffee mix into the dip and stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until everything is evenly mixed. Spoon the mixture into the tin and bake for 40-45 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn it out and let it cool on a rack.

Time for the coffee syrup!

Put the caster sugar and coffee into a small, heavy-based saucepan, and add 3 tbsp water. Heat gently, stirring to help the sugar dissolve. Once dissolved, raise the heat, then boil at a fast rolling boil for about 1½-2 minutes until thickened and syrupy. Pour into a small heatproof bowl and set aside to cool.

The filling!

Beat the mascarpone, quark (or cream cheese and yogurt), icing sugar and vanilla together until smooth, then stir in the cold coffee syrup. Set aside.

The icing!

Sift the fondant icing sugar into a bowl. Mix the coffee with 1 tbsp warm water, stir this into the fondant icing sugar with about 1 more tsp (I needed 2) water to give a smooth, thick but spreadable icing.

I love it when a cake comes together!

Slice the cold! cake into 3, then sandwich back together with the filling. Spread the icing over the top, scatter over the chopped walnuts and leave to set. Store in the fridge.

coffee walnut cake

So great!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Mmmmmmmmmoist almond and orange cake

When I saw this recipe, I just had to try it. In this recipe there's no flour and no butter. Sounds good to me. You'll have to boil (!) organic oranges and then you have to process them, including the peel. It sounds strange but it really works!

orange and almond cake

What do you need?

2 organic oranges
250 g ground almonds
250 g white sugar
6 eggs
2 tbsp orange blossom water
1 tsp (glutenfree) baking powder

Take a large saucepan, fill it with water and bring to the boil. Wash the oranges thoroughly and put them in the water. Put a lid on the pan and let it boil for 90 minutes.

Drain the oranges, cut them in four and remove all the pits. Process them in a food processor until smooth.

Whisk the eggs with the sugar until white and very thick (5 minutes). Slowly whisk in the almond flour, orange blossom water, baking powder and the processed oranges.

Grease a baking tin with butter and line the bottom with parchment paper. Pour in the batter and let it bake in a pre-heated oven for 50 to 60 minutes at 190°C.

Have fun!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Beautiful eclairs with coffee cream and dark chocolate ganache

My mother-in-law used to go to a little bakery in Leuven where they sold round shaped eclairs with a butter cream filling and chocolate ganache. But now that bakery is closed for good, and she asked me to make them for her. And so I did.

But I find the butter cream filling a bit too rich so I made a coffee cream filling instead. She absolutely loved them. And so did we.

This recipe is exact science, even the liquids are weighed and there's no room for improvisation when it comes to the pastry.

coffee puff

What do you need?

100 grams! water
100 grams! milk
100 g unsalted butter
150 g flour
6 free-range eggs
pinch of salt

Pour the water and the milk into a saucepan and add all of the butter. Stir and bring up to the boil. Once the butter has melted, take the pan off the head and tip in all of the flour. Beat well with a wooden spoon until you have a ball of dough.

Beat the eggs in one at a time until fully incorporated. Stir in the salt. Transfer the mixture into a piping bag and allow to cool for a couple minutes.

Pipe about 5-6 round shapes (4-5 cm diameter) on a floured baking sheet (I did it in two batches). The pastry will double in size so leave plenty of space. Place into a preheated oven (220°C) and bake for 20 minutes (do not open the oven during the baking process!!!)until golden brown.

Turn the éclairs upside down, and with the point of a knife gently press a whole in the bottom to let the steam come out. Let them cool on a wire rack.

For the filling:

500 ml double cream (cooled)
75 g icing sugar
3 tbsp very strong coffee (cold)
2 tbsp coffee liqueur

Whisk the cream with the icing sugar until firm peaks. Gently stir in the coffee and coffee liqueur. Spoon the cream into a piping bag fitted with a small plain nozzle. Pipe the cream into the éclairs through the hole you've made earlier until they are well filled.

For the ganache:

250 g dark chocolate (good quality)
250 ml double cream

Heat the double cream in a sauce pan, add the dark chocolate, turn of the heat. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the ganache is beautiful and shiny. Let the ganache cool a little.

Dip the filled éclairs into the ganache and let the ganache set. And now they are ready to serve. Enjoy!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Scrumptious shrimps with tomatoes and feta cheese

I saw this recipe on the Saveur website, but I found the cooking times a bit odd. 50 minutes in total, seems like a looooooong time to me. That's fine if you like rubber shrimps, but I don't. So I adapted the recipe, and now this dish is ready in 20 minutes tops.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention how finger-lickin' good they are. An instant success!

messy shrimps with fresh herbs and feta

What do you need? (serves 4)

2 lbs medium shrimps (scampi) (thawed, peeled and deveined)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red bell pepper (seeded and finely chopped)
1 red chili (seeded and finely chopped)
2 scallions (peeled, chopped)
4 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp fresh oregano
6 to 8 large type cherry tomatoes or 2 regular tomatoes (seeded) chopped
1/2 lb feta cheese (crumbled)
3 tbsp milk

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and toss in the bell pepper, scallions and chili. Keep stirring and cook until the scallions are translucent. Add the shrimps and the tomatoes and let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the herbs, the milk and the feta and let it cook for another 3 minutes or so until the shrimps are ready. Season with freshly ground black pepper. No need to add salt in this dish. Serve with fresh bread, or white rice.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A waffle recipe from a Belgian. Yep, the real deal!

In Belgium there is no such thing as a Belgian waffle. We have 3 types of waffles. The sugar waffle (from Liège) with big chunks of sugar in them. The very light and fluffy Brussels Waffle (to be eaten with icing sugar or some fruit and whipped cream). And the vanilla waffle. These you can keep for about a week or so. And no, we don't eat them for breakfast, nor with savory stuff.

Today we're making vanilla waffles. This type is at its best when eaten cold. The buttermilk is essential in this recipe and so is the cane sugar, so please don't substitute.


What do you need?

250 g soft butter (room temperature)
250 g cane sugar
2 tbsp vanilla sugar
3 eggs (separated)
240 ml buttermilk (1 cup)
500 g self rising flour (sifted)
1 pinch of salt

Whisk (with an electric mixer) butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Whisk in the egg yolks and the buttermilk. Gradually add the flour.

Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and whisk until medium stiff peaks. Take 1/4 of the egg whites and mix into the batter. Take the rest of the egg whites and fold them gently into the batter (use a rubber spatula). Do not whisk!!!

The batter is ready to bake!

Place the waffles on a cooling rack so they don't get soggy. You can keep them for at least a week in an airtight container. Have fun!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

What a beautiful weekend!

It was absolute heaven! The weather was great (better than we had all summer), everybody was in a good mood. Perfect times. I baked an apple crumble tart for my inlaws and after that we went for a long walk in a park nearby. Wish it was like this all the time.

apple crumble - very strong light today

What goes in the apple crumble tart?

1 sheet of ready-rolled fuff pastry, thawed
4 to 5 large apples (like Braeburn)
1/3 tsp cinnamon
1 knob of butter
50 g + 50 g light brown or cane sugar
50 g ground almonds
100 g flour
100 g butter, diced

apple crumble

Heat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 24 cm round baking tin. Flip the dough over the baking tin and delicately press it all around so the corners are well covered. Trim the excess dough hanging over the edges of the pan. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork. Line with parchment paper, add baking beens and bake for about 10 minutes.

Remove the parchment paper and the beans and set aside. Leave the oven on.

Peel and core the apples and slice them into 3 mm thick slices. Melt a knob of butter in a sauce pan, add the apples, cinnamon and 50 g of sugar, stir and let it simmer for about 10 minutes on medium heat.

Place the flour, cinnamon, butter and almonds into a processor and whizz to a fine crumble mixture then mix in the sugar.

Pour the apples into the baking tin and spoon the crumble over the apples. Put the tart bak into the oven and let it bake for another 20 minutes until golden brown.

The apple crumble tart is great warm and cold.

And after that it's time for a loooooong walk.


home sweet home+emiel




garden + greenhouse

chickens and frogs




Speaker dog


achtertuin plat

nevel plat 3

nevel plat


nevel 4

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Simple but delightful kedgeree

How I love kedgeree. I know it's meant to be a breakfast-brunch type of dish, but curry doesn't go very well with my coffee, I think. I prefer it in the evenings, when I don't have much time to cook. I used smoked salmon, which goes very well with the curry.

smoked salmon kedgeree (Explore)

What do you need?

400 g basmati rice
750 ml chicken or vegetable stock
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 spring onions, chopped
1 chili, deseeded and sliced
1 tbsp yellow curry powder or paste (to taste)
1 knob of butter
4 hard boiled eggs
200 g smoked salmon
1/2 bunch of coriander (cilantro) or flat leaf parsley
1 lemon (juice)


Pour the stock into a saucepan and add the rice. Bring to the boil (lid on). When the rice boils, remove the lid and let it simmer on low medium heat until all the stock is gone. Turn off the heat and put the lid back on.

Heat the oil in a large pan and tip in the chopped onion. Fry over medium heat for 8 minutes. Stir in the curry and let it fry for another minute. Stir in the cooked rice and add the nob of butter. Keep stirring. When the butter is melted and the rice is beautiful yellow, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the smoked salmon, the spring onions, the chili and the coriander or parsley. Taste and add pepper and salt if needed. Peel the eggs and cut them in 4, add them to the kedgeree.

That's it!