Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Chocolate Yogurt Dream Cake

This is a chocoholic dream cake without the guiltiness that most of the times come together with a slice of it. Using mostly plain yogurt, rather than butter, this moist cake is full of flavor and perfect anytime.
This recipe is for a cake of 24 cm diameter and 4 layers, however, you may want to make just half recipe and make one cake of just 2 layers (24 cm)  or a 4 layers cake (15 cm diameter).
·         225ml               Yogurt Natural
·         150ml              Vegetable oil
·         350g                 Brown sugar
.         5                        Eggs
·         250g                 Flour
·         2 tsp                 Baking powder
·         80g                   Cocoa powder (70%)
A slice of a dream cake

·         300g                 Dark chocolate (good quality) in pieces
·         5                       Large egg whites
3 Layers cake


1.       Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
2.       Grease 2 pans with oil and cover the bottom with baking paper.
3.        Sift together the flour and baking soda into a bowl, add the sugar, chocolate powder and set aside.
4.       In another bowl, whisk the eggs, yogurt and vegetable oil until well combined. Stir in the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.
5.       Divide among the 2 lined pans and put in the oven (center) for about 40 minutes. Check after 30 minutes in case your oven is not very well calibrated and it may bake faster.
6.       Once done, remove from the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes. After this time remove from the pans and let them cool completely over a wire rack.
7.       Slice both cakes in half horizontally.
8.       For making the frosting/filling, melt the chocolate in a water-bath (don´t let the bowl of chocolate touch the simmering water, as it may burn the chocolate) until melted and smooth.
9.       Whip the egg whites to hard picks. Once the chocolate has cooled a little bit, folding it into the egg whites using a metallic spoon. You will get a nice glossy ganache.
10.    Place one piece of the cake in a serving plate and spread some ganache, top with another one and spread some more taking care to have even layers. Repeat until you finish the 4 layers.
11.    Optionally you can cover the whole cake with ganache or covering just the top and make any additional decorations to your taste.
Nutritional value: Approximately 357calories per serving

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Coffee and Chocolate Sausages Tapas - Created for Elterrizo VillaFranca de Ebro

Tapas de Salchichas de Café y Pepitas de Chocolate - Criadas para Elterrizo VillaFranca de Ebro
Toasted Bread and Dumpling cases

When I was asked to create a tapa using the Coffee and Chocolate Chips Sausages from Elterrizo VillaFranca de Ebro, I was flattered and it was with great pleasure that I accepted the challenge. Since their products are innovative, original and absolutely delicious I wanted to create something special and came up with this idea.

Their sausages are indeed a challenge in flavors, which will deliciously wake your senses up.

To go along with these specific ones, I have chosen a crispy Spiced Chocolate base which will blend with the sausage´s natural flavors.

The different types of textures within the tapa plus the two elements in common “chocolate and coffee”, both for the sausages or base, makes this tapa an ideal partner to a velvety and mature wine.
Crispy cases

Cuando me pidieron crear una tapa utilizando las Salchichas de Café con Pepitas de Chocolate de ElterrizoVillaFranca de Ebro, me sentí halagada y fue un placer aceptar el desafío. Como sus productos son innovadores, originales y absolutamente exquisitos, quise crear algo especial y se me ocurrió esta idea.

Realmente, sus salchichas son un reto de sabores que abren tus sentidos a deliciosas experiencias
Para acompañar esta salchicha en concreto, he elegido una base crujiente de Chocolate con Especias que combina con los sabores naturales de la salchicha.

Las diferentes texturas de la tapa más los dos elementos comunes “chocolate y café”, tanto en la salchicha como en la base, hace de esta tapa una excelente acompañante para un vino aterciopelado y maduro.

A velvety and mature wine
· Coffee and Chocolate chips Sausages
· 200g Dark chocolate, chopped
· Black Pepper, Clove, Cinnamon, nutmeg to taste (a pinch)
· Raisins
· Coffee liquor
· Bread slices, toasted
· Dumpling dough, toasted
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC
 2. Place the raisins in a small bowl, add the coffee liquor and let them soak for 30 minutes.
3. Remove the crust from the slices of bread and cut them in four triangles, put in a baking tray and toast it in the oven until golden and crispy. Once done remove from the oven, move into a wire rack and let them cool.
4. Using some muffins tins, place a round of dumpling dough in each cavity, take to the oven and toast it until golden and crispy. Once done remove from the oven and let it cool over a wire rack.
5. Chop the chocolate, put in a bowl and melt it in a water bath (don´t let the bottom of the bowl touch the boiling water). When melted, stir in the spices, let cool down slightly. Set aside.
6. Brush half of the bread toast with chocolate and let it dry.
7. Place a small amount of chocolate in the center of the dumpling case, let it dry.
8. Cut the sausages in cubes and place over the chocolate in the dumpling cases and in the side without chocolate for the bread toasts. Put a raisin on top of the sausages and spoon as well some liquor. Garnish with some herbs and serve.

Spiced Chocolate Bases

· Salchichas de Café con Pepitas de Chocolate (Elterrizo Villafranca de Ebro)
· 200g Chocolate negro, picado
· Pimienta negra, Clavo, Canela, Nuez moscada al gusto (una pizca)
· Pasas
· Licor de café
· Rebanadas de pan, tostadas
· Masa para Dumplings, tostada
Hiebas aromaticas para decoración

     1.   Pre-calentar el horno a 180ºC
2.   Colocar las pasas en un recipiente pequeño, añadir el licor de café y dejar en remojo durante 30 minutos.
3.   Quitar la corteza de las rebanadas de pan y cortarlas en cuatro triángulos, poner en una bandeja para horno y tostar en el horno hasta que estén doradas y crujientes. Cuando estén listas, sacar del horno, pasar a una rejilla de alambre y dejar enfriar
4.  Utilizando moldes para muffins, colocar una hoja redonda de masa para dumplings en cada hueco, tostar en el horno hasta que estén doradas y crujientes. Cuando estén listas, sacar del horno, pasar a una rejilla de alambre y dejar enfriar.
5.   Picar el chocolate, colocar en un recipiente y derretir al baño maría (no dejar que la base del recipiente toque el agua hirviendo). Cuando este derretido, agregar las especias, removiendo el chocolate, dejar que se enfríe un poco. Colocar aparte.
6.   Con un pincel, cubrir la mitad de la tostada con chocolate y dejar secar.
7.  Colocar un poco de chocolate en el centro del molde de masa de dumpling y dejar secar.
8.   Cortar las salchichas en cubos pequeños y colocar sobre el chocolate, en los moldes de masa de dumpling y en la parte sin chocolate de las tostadas. Colocar una pasa sobre los cubos de salchicha y añadir una cucharadita de licor. Decorar con algunas hierbas aromáticas.

Friday, November 11, 2011

My Roasted Codfish with Homemade Olive Bread and Roasted Red Peppers Crust

The naturaly very layered Codfish and its Crust

As a Portuguese, I do love “Bacalhau” any style!

For a quick and very tasty meal, the Codfish (salted and dried), low in fat and rich in protein, is very convenient.  After being desalted, it can be kept in the freezer for several months, therefore, it´s always handy and ready for any dish that you may want to make.

Today, I came up with this creation for lunch. It was very tasty indeed and I´m sharing with you the way I prepared it.
A gorgeous (uncooked) piece of Salted and dried Codfish (desalted) - This one was so thick that I sliced it in half

My Roasted Codfish with Homemade Olive Bread and Roasted Peppers Crust


The roasting dish


3 to 4              Pieces of Codfish (salted and dried), desalted
100ml             Olive oil
1                     Onion, Medium (sliced)
2                     Roasted red peppers
                    Slices of Olive bread (or any other rustic bread)
1 TBS             Parsley, chopped (can be replaced by 1 tsp of dried parsley)
salt and pepper to taste

2                      Potatoes, peeled and thin sliced


1.       Bring a pan of water to a boil and cook the codfish for 3 minutes. Drain and reserve, once cold remove the bones keeping the flesh intact.

2.       Slice the onions into thin rings. Heat half the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the onion rings until soft. Once done remove and place in a baking tray preferably “Pyrex” or ceramic.

3.       Add the rest of the olive oil to the same frying pan where the onions were cooked (don´t wash it) and once hot, put the pieces of codfish and cook for a couple of minutes. Transfer the codfish to the baking tray placing the pieces over the onions. Season with salt and pepper. (Go very light on the salt)

4.       In a food processor, process the bread and roasted peppers until you get a coarse bread crumbs texture, stir in the parsley. Press the crumbled mixture on top of codfish.

5.       Using the olive oil that should remain in the frying pan (may use one more table spoon of olive oil if necessary), fry the very thin sliced potatoes for a couple of minutes on each side. Transfer them to the baking tray placing the potatoes around the codfish, season with salt and pepper.

6.       Bake in the pre-heated oven to 170ºC ~180ºC for 30 to 40 minutes. The potatoes should be soft and lightly golden.

7.       Serve in the baking dish or individually.
Individual Plating
Very big "Chips" 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá

Another Traditional Portuguese Dish of BACALHAU (Codfish)

If you look for recipes for the very famous "Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá", a dish from "Douro Litoral" region, you will realize that there are several recipes for it. Which one is the original?
Actually the original recipe offered by Mr. Gomes de Sá Júnior to the owner of the Restaurant "Lisbonense" at Porto city, is very different from most of the recipes being cooked nowadays. That one was prepared in the oven, the potatoes were sliced and with skin on.....etc.
Nevertheless, this dish is traditionally prepared nowadays this way or in a similar one. Here you have the way I cook it.
Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá
 1,5 Kg              Potatoes,
1,5 kg              Codfish (Bacalhau)
2                      medium onion, chopped
2                      cloves garlic, chopped
1                      Bay leaf
4                      eggs, hard boiled
2 dl                  Olive Oil  (Be generous, this dish need a good portion of olive oil)
Parsley            chopped
Optional for decoration: Black olives
1.      Bring a pan of water to a boil, add the already desalted codfish. When starts boiling again  cook for 3 minutes, drain water, let it cool and clean from bones and skin. Set aside.
2.      Put the olive oil in a pan, add the onion, garlic and bay leaf and cook until soft and slightly golden brown. Stir often to avoid burning.
3.      Add the shredded “bacalhau” cleaned from bones and skin and cook for a few minutes stirring all the time to avoid sticking to the pan. Reserve.
4.      In another pan, boil the pre washed potatoes with skin on together with the eggs.  Be careful to avoid cooking the potatoes for too long. They should be cooked but still firm. Once cooked,  peel and cut in medium size cubes.
5.      Put the boiled eggs in iced water and remove the shell when completely cool, and set aside.
6.      Turn the fire of the codfish pan on, add the still warm potatoes to the codfish and stir it with the “bacalhau”, taking care to keep the potatoes as intact as possible, until they are very well mixed and coated with the mix of “bacalhau” and onion. About 2 to 3 minutes.
7.      Once done transfer to a serving dish, decorate with 3 boiled eggs cut into wedges, and 1 egg chopped. Spread the chopped egg and parsley. Decorate with some olives and serve immediately!

Bon Appétit!  Itadakimasu!  Bom Proveito!