White chocolate, summer fruits and Barbie

The best way to bring back summer when it is raining for days in a row is baking some summery sweets. Yeah, it is raining for a while already and I am kind of done with it, I want sun, hot weather, that kind of hotness that makes you want to move just to dive into the deep blue sea. Despite the greyness of last week, it was a great week and I wish it could last much longer, at least few years longer. A little part of family visited me, so it was a great time to spend with them, especially with my little niece. She just turned six last week, so I had the chance to bake her a Barbie cake.  Growing up in a communist country, Barbie was a bit of a UFO,  we’ve heard she existed, but nobody ever encountered one. Now, it was my turn to have some fun playing with Barbie, so I decided to dress her up in a strawberry tiramisu cake. About Barbie’s skirt I will write another time.

Now is time for summer blues and family leaving sadness type of therapeutic baking.

Searching for summery cakes I came across this recipe http://en.julskitchen.com/fruit/lemon-white-chocolate-cake. I adjusted the recipe a bit, but in the end it turned out great.

Sweet, somewhat delicate and  light turned out to be the perfect cake next to some hot tea.

 

white chocolate and blueberries pound cake

4 eggs

200 grams sugar

100 grams white chocolate

150 grams butter

250 grams flour

8 grams baking powder

blueberries and dark chocolate chips

a pinch of salt

vanilla

Start by pre-heating the oven to 170C.

Melt the butter and the white chocolate on bain marie. Meanwhile beat the eggs together with the sugar until the mixture becomes whitish in color, light and fluffy. Mix in the melted butter and chocolate and incorporate them gently. Sift  in the flour and the baking powder and mix well. Add some blueberries and chocolate chips to the batter and mix them in slowly.

Pour the batter into cake tins, lined with baking paper. Bake for about 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out dry.

Let it cool before slicing it.


 

Paris, mon amour

I kind of abandoned my blog lately, but I had a good reason for it – I was travelling around. The latest trip was in Paris. I always had a love – hate relationship with Paris. Sometimes I just love it, with all its great food, beautiful people, amazing buildings and delicious sweets. Other times it drives me crazy – there are too many people around, you can find terrible restaurants serving horrible food, the Parisians are too arrogant and I can go on for a bit.

My Paris is moody, crazy, lovely, colorful and always full of surprises.

This time I loved Paris, the weather was great, I went to one of the best concerts ever http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNj13LiGpG8&feature=related, the food was great…and the macarons heavenly.

I had an epiphany when it comes to food, I discovered this little gem thanks to http://johntalbottsparis.typepad.com/john_talbotts_paris/2011/02/dans-les-landes-in-the-5th-jeez-i-wish-i-had-a-place-like-this-around-the-corner.html. Dans Les Landes serves southwestern french tapas style food, some of the best tapas I ever tried. The dinner started with salade Landaise, some sort of insanely delicious spring rolls – rice paper encapsulating salad, duck breast, foie gras and asperges served together with an amazing sauce. Next were some crispy fried baby squid (chipirions) served in a clog, so good that we considered a second and third serving.

These dishes were followed by fried  shrimp in coconut milk, clams cooked in an amazing greek artichoke sauce, fried quail breasts cooked in the best sauce ever (when I think of it I get hungry in an instant). After all these amazing dishes, we wanted more, even though our bellies were almost exploding and my taste buds were dancing with joy, so we ordered langoustines. I am not going to describe this dish anymore, all I have to say  is – it is not fair to have such an amazing food only in this country, these kind of dishes should be produced on a large-scale and distributed around the world.  I am sure good food is the answer to world peace :-)The quality of my pictures does not do any justice to these dishes, next time I will try to do a better job, because next time I go to Paris, I know where I will end up for dinner or lunch:

Dans Les Landes

119 bis rue Monge,

Paris 5e. 

Metro:  Censier-Daubenton.

01.45.87.06.00.

Ah, did I mention – they serve some amazingly fruity and  light Gascogne white wine…and as an added bonus the chef and the waiters are really cute and super friendly.

unfortunately, that evening there was no room for dessert, but next day I wanted to try some of the highly praised macarons. So, after seeing Sacre Coeur I was ready for a heavenly experience and I went to Christophe Roussel’s shop http://www.christophe-roussel.fr/.

The shop looks more like a high-end parfumerie rather  than a macaron/chocolate shop. Luckily the guy behind the counter offered us little macaroons samples – I was lost the moment I tried the cheesecake one. Insanely delicious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I ended up buying a box full of  precious treasures – little crispy cookies bursting with lavender and apricot, coffee, caramel and banana, pistachio, raspberries, chocolate flavours  . Forget about diamonds, macarons are the girls best friends.

The macarons are long gone now, but their memory will stay always with me, I will never forget those elegant, delicious, amazing cookies.

All I can say now is : MERCI PARIS ET A LA PROCHAINE!