it had to be …

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Opéra cake is a French type of cake. It is made with layers of almond sponge cake (known as Joconde in French) soaked in coffee syrup, layered with ganache and coffee buttercream, and covered in a chocolate glaze. According to Larousse Gastronomique “Opéra gateau is an elaborate almond sponge cake with a coffee and chocolate filling and icing.” … and the French pâtisserie house Dalloyau popularised this cake.

opera

Simplicity is the state or quality of being simple. It usually relates to the burden which a thing puts on someone trying to explain or understand it. Something which is easy to understand or explain is simple, in contrast to something complicated. Alternatively, as Herbert A. Simon suggested, something is simple or complex depending on the way we choose to describe it … In some uses, simplicity can be used to imply beauty, purity, or clarity. Simplicity may also be used in a negative connotation to denote a deficit or insufficiency of nuance or complexity of a thing, relative to what is supposed to be required.

apple opera 3

So, there you have it. It is SIMPLE and it IMPLIES BEAUTY … the Opera Cake has been since quite a while my absolute favourite what Flavour Texture and Color is concerned. There is hardly any cake or pastry as delicate and satisfying as this particular collection of layers …

The other week I was preparing a training for Junior-Chefs here in Saigon, and of course it had to feature …. but with a twist … or rather … apples … apple opera 1

I imagined layer by layer, flavour by flavour, texture by texture to stay true to the original … Gateaux Opéra … how could I not.

apple opera 4

I concocted this recipe on paper. I had no idea if this would work. Even less of an idea if it would taste the way I imagined …. so we set out to prepare …

POMME À L’OPÉRA

APPLE OPÉRA

 Joconde Biscuit

180 g Fresh Egg Whites
130 g Granulated Sugar
270 g Fresh Whole Eggs
50 g Fresh Egg Yolks
200 g Almond Powder
105 g Icing Sugar
60 g InterFlour Bread Flour T55
40 g ANCHOR Unsalted Butter

Apple Layer

4 pc Apples
50 g Brown sugar
100 g Neutral Glaze

Apple Butter Cream

110 g CAPFRUIT Frozen Puree Pear William
110 g CAPFRUIT Frozen Puree Green Apple
90 g Fresh Egg Yolk
300 g ANCHOR Unsalted Butter
120 g Italian Meringue

Apple Syrup

500 g Sugar Syrup
275 g Apple Juice

Ganache

180 g VALROHNA Dark Chocolate Caraibe 66%
120 g ANCHOR Whole Milk
25 g ANCHOR Whipping Cream
50 g ANCHOR Unsalted Butter

Apple Jelly

200 g CAPFRUIT Frozen Puree Green Apple
200 g CAPFRUIT Frozen Puree Poire William
80 g Invert Sugar Trimoline
14 g Pectine Nappage
50 g Sugar

Method

Joconde Biscuit

Whip egg white and ad in the sugar.
Add in the eggs and just mix.
Fold in the sifted mixture of icing sugar, flour and almond powder slowly.
Add melted butter.
Measure 650 g for one baking tray 60X40 and cook 10 mn 190°
Peel and core the apples
Slice thin and cover ½ tray with apples
After baking sprinkle with brown sugar and caramelise
Brush with neutral glaze

Apple Butter Cream

Defrost frozen puree
Cook custard sauce  with egg yolks and sugar.
Cool down in the mixer and emulsify with softened  butter.
add in the italian meringue.
Spread onto Joconde biscuit (soaked  with 500 g of syrup for 1 60×40 sheet.).

Apple Syrup

Mix warm syrup and Apple Juice and let cool before using

Ganache

bring to a boil the cream and milk. After boiling add the butter.
Pour onto the chocolate and blend.cold down a bit . … Emulsify
Spread 700 g of ganache per 60×40 frame.

Apple Jelly

Warm up the apple and pear puree
add the mixture of sugar and pectin
Cook 5 minutes and cast on top of silpat.

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… And Assemble … up-side-down …

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apple opera 2

You would end up with something like that. …. and next time Peach-Passion-Fruit perhaps … ?

apple opera 5

Do not let the casual appearance of these ladies fool you, some of them may be “junior” in their position, but they are professionals, they have fun in the kitchen, and the day ended with a large Apple Opera devoured in no-time ….

apple opera 6

… of course, this would not have gone as well as it did without the help of thee three Pastry-Ninjas of CFF … Thanks Ladies … 

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punschkrapferl

the crescent for christmas

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… it is Viennese, and that’s that …. 

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Demel Shop Window 5

There is nothing that says Christmas more than a this little crescent-shaped cookie called Vanillekipferl. It is the star of any and every household’s cooking repertoire. It is the pride of every self-respecting wife, mother, grandmother, and sometimes even husband, father, and I am not so sure about grandfather …. It belongs in every and all cookbooks.

The principal is easy. You take ….

  • Roasted Hazelnuts (NO almonds, PLEASE !!!!!!!)
  • Plenty of good Butter (and NO, Margarine will NOT do)
  • Sugar
  • Flour
  • Maybe even an egg … if you have to
  • and of course Vanilla

…. and you go from this ….

vanillekipferl1

… to this …

vanillekipferln

It is the easiest cookie to make …. it is the easiest cookie to get wrong …. but do not despair … if it doesn’t look like a kipferl, if will always taste like a kipferl ….

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WIENER VANILLEKIPFERL

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  • 550 g All purpose Flour
  • 600 g Butter
  • 170 g Icing Sugar
  • 300 g Roasted Hazelnuts
  • A pinch of cinnamon powder (the best you can find)
  • One twist of your spice mill loaded with Cloves
  • Icing Sugar with Vanilla-bean immersed in it for at least a couple of weeks (you can of course use Vanillin if you so feel inclined)
  1. Keep the ingredients cool and mix quickly to a smooth dough
  2. Keep in the fridge for an hour to relax and let the spices macerate
  3. form to crescents and bake at 210C until golden
  4. Dust with the “VanilleSugar” while still hot

And now, HURRY … it’s Christmas already ….

vanillekipferl

So, now I can go back to dreaming of Vanillekipferl ….. maybe I should get baking and ….

vanilla

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Merry Christmas

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A ‘Kipferl’ … it was …

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Kipferl1

The Kipferl, ancestor of the croissant, has been documented in Austria going back at least as far as the 13th century, in various shapes. The Kipferl can be made plain or with nut or other fillings (some consider the rugelach a form of Kipferl).

The “birth” of the croissant itself – that is, its adaptation from the plainer form of Kipferl, before the invention of Viennoiserie – can be dated with some precision to at latest 1839 (some say 1838), when an Austrian artillery officer …

French Croissant 3

It’s not THAT of a stretch to these croissants … and YES, … I made those …

A croissant is a buttery flaky viennoiserie bread roll named for its well known crescent shape. Croissants and other viennoiserie are made of a layered yeast-leavened dough. The dough is layered with butter, rolled and folded several times in succession, then rolled into a sheet, in a technique called laminating. The process results in a layered, flaky texture, similar to a puff pastry.

Crescent-shaped food breads have been made since the Middle Ages, and crescent-shaped cakes possibly since old times. Croissants have long been a staple of French bakeries and pâtisseries.

YES, the Viennese bakers started it all. Some say with a little help of the Ottomans (Turks) at the time, but …. semantics …. and French refined it it seems …. good on them ….

BUT we needed the Americans for the ….

Big Chill

30-cronut

The rape of the good old croissant

…. that is ….

It all started with Chef Dominique Ansel of the Chef Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York. He called it the Cronut.

It probably happened when some apprentice dropped carelessly some croissant dough in the deep-fryer. It may even had somebody hurt in the process … all in the name of progress. And then it happened. A few tried to emulate. But as we all very well know, If you copy, you probably will always stay second best …

A few even had their own “original” idea ….

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PretzelCroissan

… the version of Arlequin Café

How about New York’s City Bakery’s “Pretzel Croissant”. So don’t throw the good old croissant into hot oil but rather into a sodium solution, and then salt it and bake like a German Pretzel …. Sounds like a French version for the Oktober Fest …

 And here is what happens when you bring the good old OREO into the equation …

Crookie

Toronto’s Mail writes about the “Crookie”. Clafouti Patisserie et Cafe in Toronto, Canada, have “invented” the crookie. The originality is, or the lack thereof, that you stuff an OREO into a croissant. Oh well …

image

Naturally there had to be a savory version of the madness of sorts. The Maple Bacon Jam Cronut Burger …. Got it … Bacon_Jam-Cronut-Burger … quadruple madness …. Und you’ll find it here …. well …. in Toronto ….

There must be something in the air up north that those guys come up with something like that. Or just cold enough …. By now you all have probably reached for your cholesterol tablets, and if not …. Bon Appétit ….

… in the meantime … I’ll have my Punchkrapferl

punschkrapferl

… a small one

… where the gods of fertility and creation …

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… the name of the village derives from the names of two gods, Aon,the God of Fertility and Abel, the God of Creation, thus Aon-Abel, which by the passing of centuries and the change of languages that the region experienced was corrupted into Ain-Ebel.

Watercolor painting by Ghassan Rached

…. others believe that the name of Ain-Ebel derives from two words, “Ain” and “Ibl”. The first means spring as many places in Lebanon are named, and the second word means irrigation. Combined in one (Ain-Ebel) the two words mean the spring of irrigation.

kaak bi tamr from ain ebel 1

What we do know is, that these cookies come from Ain Ebel. These are “Kaak bi Tamr” from Ain Ebel, or “Cookies with Dates” from Ain Ebel. Simmilar to Ma’amoul. Usually prepared right around the Easter holidays.

Ma’amoul are small shortbread pastries filled with dates, pistachios or walnuts. They are popular in Levantine cuisine and in the Gulf countries. They may be in the shape of balls or of domed or flattened cookies. They can either be decorated by hand or be made in special wooden moulds. (My post “delicious opulence and comfortable luxury“)

kaak bi tamr from ain ebel 3

This box of “Kaak bi Tamr” was an Easter offering from my brother in law’s mother in law. Easter, like every easter this box comes into our home. Yes, mother in law is from Ain Ebel … Thank You Cleo …

Arousset el Jnoub, Ain-Ebel, is known for its beautiful scenery, amiable people, and jovial atmosphere. Situated in the heart of the South of Lebanon, Ain-Ebel occupies several hills with elevations ranging from 750 to 850 meters above sea level.

kaak bi tamr from ain ebel 2

Round biscuit like cookies filled with a filling of dates. Crisp on the outside, and chewy on the inside …. not to sweet, ….  a peppery taste to it, …. the perfect companion to a morning-cup of jawa on the terrace.

kaak bi tamr from ain ebel 5

First I was playing with them, got out my camera and took a couple of shots. Playing with food in one of my things …. taking pictures …. and playing some more …

kaak bi tamr from ain ebel 4

Research did not reveal any recipes or instructions …. not even a faint hint of an idea. I will try to get behind it …. for another blog ….

HAPPY EASTER

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delicious opulence and comfortable luxury

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Ma’amoul are small shortbread pastries filled with dates, pistachios or walnuts. They are popular in Levantine cuisine and in the Gulf countries. They may be in the shape of balls or of domed or flattened cookies. They can either be decorated by hand or be made in special wooden moulds.

Ma'amoul

There is a more elaborate version known as karabij, used on special occasions. In this, nut-filled ma’amoul balls are piled in a pyramid and served with a white cream called naatiffe made from egg whites, sugar syrup and soapwort. These are popular in Syria, Lebanon, and other Levantine countries.

Ma'amoul 2

Just now I got home with a rather large cache of this date, pistachio and walnut filled …. sinfully delectable delights. It is now that one finds him- and her- self buying boxes in unreal large dimensions as presents and gifts for friends and families and even not so close people.

It is a pre-easter and Easter ritual that repeats itself year after year, season after season.

Ma'amoul 3

The same attention is given in packing those, as one would when just spent a fortune on jewellery in the favourite down-town boutique.

Everybody … naturally …. has his and her favourite bakery where one would purchase mountains of those stuffed and buttery shortbreads. They all come … of course … after ones grand-ma aunty or mom …. and question the allegiance at your own peril.

Ma'amoul 5

Now consider that for a minute. Imagine biting through that buttery, crumbly crust and getting the faint hint of roses and orange blossoms, followed by the chewiness of pistachios, nutty and sweet.

Medicine and Health

…. YES …. I found this sentence while browsing and researching, at a site that calls itself Medicine and Health … and an easy to follow recipe you will find there as well.

… I know … right ?!?

Ma'amoul 6

I have not had the urge to try to produce Ma’amoul myself, therefore I do not have a recipe to share. But if you really want to step into Lebanese grandma’s footsteps and give it a go, you should probably follow Joummana Accad‘s instructions on taste-of-beirut.

You’ll find recipe for cheese ma’amoul, pistacchio ma’amoul and the ever so pretty crown cookies.

Ma'amoul 7

Now, … there is just on thing left to do …. enjoy your Ma’amoul no matter whether you made it yourself or you make a trip to your favourite bakery ….

.. SAHTEIN

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or to permit the production of the opium poppy

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§ 3 of The Opium Poppy Control Act states

It shall be unlawful for any person who is not the holder of a license authorizing him to produce the opium poppy, duly issued to him by the Secretary of the Treasury in accordance with the provisions of this Act, to produce the opium poppy, or to permit the production of the opium poppy in or upon any place owned, occupied, used, or controlled by him.

Papaver_somniferum

Poppy seeds, or Mohn as we call it in Austria, is very important part in our cooking. And particularly important in baking. Mohnnudeln comes to mind when talking about poppy-dishes ….

Mohnnudeln (meaning poppy seed noodles in German), is the name of thick noodles of a potato dough in Bohemian and Austrian cuisine, similar to the Schupfnudel. The main difference is, that Mohnnudeln are served with melted butter, ground poppy seeds, and sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar.

They are also called Waldviertler Mohnnudeln, referring to the Austrian area where they originated. Waldviertel is a part of Lower Austria where poppy seeds have been cultivated for ages, which give the dish its distinct black coloring.

Mohnnudeln can be eaten as a dessert or a light supper. Most Bavarians and Austrians serve it traditionally as a main course anyway.

Papaver-somniferum copy

And yes, like the old romans, we in Vindobona, (good old Vienna), we like a bit of a kick in our food from time to time …. and yes, we do cultivate Opium Poppy in Austria …. and yes, we can eat it, we can cook (or bake) with it …. AND YES, if we smoke it we do go to jail.

Mohnnudeln 1

Poppy seeds do need work before you can bake or cook with it. It is not a matter of “throwing some in”. I do not move anywhere without my Mohnmühle. It has been part of my luggage since at least twenty-five years. It was my grandmothers once. And boy could she bake with poppy …. it literally would make you dizzy ….

But the one thing we would be waiting for was Mohnnudeln. The little dumplings …. rolled in butter …. and topped with poppy-seed-sugar …. with apple sauce or roasted plums …. Powidl …. on the side.

It was almost ten o’clock in the evening the other day, and did not have any decent dessert in a couple of days. I do ALWAYS have a couple of packets of poppy seeds in the chocolate drawer. No, I did not start making Nockerl or Nudel in the middle of the night. I used a packed of Potato Gnocchi from De Cecco I kept in the cabinet.

gnocchi

Of course, you could make your own:

Potato Gnocchi

  • 1/2 kg boiled potatoes cooled and shredded
  • 120 g all purpose flour
  • 40 g butter softened
  • 2 egg yolk
  • 1 pinch salt

Mix the ingredients to a dough. The dough should give under slight pressure. It will feel firm but yielding. Form small dumplings and boil in rolling, salted water until gnocchi float to the surface.

Mohnnudeln 3 copy

Mohnnudeln

For one 500 g packet of De Cecco Potato Gnocchi you will need

  • 100 g poppy seeds
  • 100 g icing sugar
  • 60 g butter
  • a pinch of ground cinnamon if desired

Mohnnudeln 1

  • Grind the poppy seeds … and NO the food processor will NOT do it.
  • Mix with the icing sugar
  • In a mid sized cooking pot bring lightly salted water to a boil. put in the gnocchi and boil for two minutes, strain of all the water
  • Melt the butter in a separate casserole
  • Throw in the hot gnocchi and roll in the butter 
  • add half the poppy and sugar mix
  • plate on you favourite dessert plat
  • sprinkle generously with the remaining poppy mixture
  • serve with apple sauce …. home made of course
  • or Powidl …. (roasted plum stew)

Mohnnudeln 4 copy

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…. of course you could ask your Austrian Grandma to make you some ….

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grandma

…. I did …

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For the truth is the truth, and no lie can prevail

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Leadership

by Jean McGivney Boese
(Louisiana State Senate Poem adopted 1999)

It is easy to bend with the wind and be weak,
Wrapped in silence when it would take courage to speak,
To do nothing when crises demand that you act;
To prefer a delusion to unpleasant fact.
But the easy evasions that dreamers embrace
Are denied to a leader with problems to face.
He must cope with the world as he finds it, and plan
To make each hard decision as well as he can.
He can’t hide from the truth or deny what is real.
Though a lie might assuage all the fears people feel.
For the truth is the truth, and no lie can prevail.
In a world that is real, one must face truth or fail.

cajun 1In my attempt to cook a Creole Jambalaya the other day, I was phased with the truth, that I will not be able to purchase a Cajun Seasoning mix anywhere near here. Therefore I set out to try a couple of recipes I found on the internet and to make my own.

I love Cajun cooking for the very simplicity in its preparation and complexity in flavours. Peppers, pepper corn and chilies in various heat levels mixed with herbs to make a mix that will open the most stubborn pallet.

cajun 4

Cajuns are an ethnic group mainly living in the U.S. state of Louisiana, consisting of the descendants of Acadian exiles (French-speakers from Acadia in what are now the Canadian Maritimes). Today, the Cajuns make up a significant portion of south Louisiana’s population, and have exerted an enormous impact on the state’s culture.

cajun 5

The following recipe I came up with AFTER I ran out of dries onion and garlic powder and found that the fresh stuff gives a whole more flavour than the dried one.

Home Made Cajun Seasoning

Ingredients

  • 200 g teaspoons salt
  • 75 g dark brown sugar
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 10 gloves garlic finely chopped
  • 50 g premium fine paprika
  • 35 g dry chili flakes
  • 35 g black pepper corn freshly ground
  • 35 g red pepper corn freshly ground
  • 35 g cayenne pepper
  • 35 g oregano flakes
  • 17 g oregano powder
  • 35 g thyme powder

cajun 3

Method

  • mix all ingredients together
  • spread onto a ceramic oven dish
  • “bake” at 120 C for about 2-3 hours, taking care not to burn it
  • stir every half hour to mix it and break up some lumps that may form
  • this process is to dry the onions and garlic in the mix
  • once you are satisfied with the drying process remove from the oven and let cool
  • once almost cold, run the mix through a coarse kitchen sieve to remove the onion and garlic lumps
  • run the “leftovers” through a kitchen blender or food processor and return it to the mix
  • let cool completely
  • store in airtight glass jars

I am tempted to try using all fresh herbs next time and desiccate  them in the salt and sugar mixture ….

cajun 2

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Stick a label on it and give it as a present …

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only the chosen ones can be admitted into the realms of the beautiful

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“But beauty is of higher value than all this,” said the apple-tree branch; “only the chosen ones can be admitted into the realms of the beautiful. There is a difference between plants, just as there is a difference between men.”

excerpt of The Conceited Apple-Branch

By Hans Christian Andersen (1852)

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Many, many years ago, …. it was a Thursday …. and it was December 5 …. at 17:05 my dream became reality. “I AM GOING TO AMERICA” …. it was everybody’s dream, or so I thought at the time. It had to be …. !! I was in my VERY early twenties and there I was on my way …. first stop-over New York City …. and then into the deep South …. Wyatt Earp country ….

The Dessert Lover's Cook BookThe first cook book I purchased with my first hard-earned green-back was The Dessert Lover’s Cook Book by Marlene Sorosky. I dished out a hefty 22.50 at the time, which was unheard of for a cookbook. But I paid anyway ….

It has been nearly thirty years since I have this book, and I used it regularly over the years. But one of the recipes stands out. I am using it to this very day in various adaptations. On page 35 there is a recipe called Hot Apple Cake with Caramel Pecan Sauce. It was quickly turned into Hot Apple Cake with Caramel Walnut Sauce, and then just Hot Apple Walnut Cake, and finally Apple-Walnut Pudding … very English … indeed ….

wa'ple crumble

The dessert ‘Wa’ple Crumble’ by ChefThomas, from the menu at the ‘MZAAR IntContinental Mountain Resort and spa’, which has the ‘Hot Apple Cake with Caramel Pecan Sauce’ as a basis.

But the other day I fell right onto the gorgeous pictures of Virginia‘s blog BEL’OCCHIO, and the Apple Walnut Cake-blog in particular.

…. and the rest is history Apple Cake ….

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Apple Walnut Cake

by Mrs Butterfingers

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 ounces (6 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup smooth homemade or store-brought applesauce
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Walnut topping (recipe follows)

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Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 inch baking pan, and line the bottom of the pan with parchment and butter the parchment.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt to blend.
  4. Come the butter and sugar in bowl of stand mixer. Beat with K blade on medium spread until combined (but not fluffy), scraping the bowl as needed, about 30 seconds.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined and scraping the bowl as needed.
  6. Add about one-third of the flour mixture, mixing on low until just combined.
  7. Add the applesauce, mixing on low until just incorporated and scraping the bowl as needed.
  8. Mix in another third of the flour mixture,then the sour cream, and then the remaining flour mixture.
  9. Mix after each addition just until incorporated. DON’T OVER MIX.
  10. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
  11. Bake until the edges of the cake are slightly set and the rest is very jiggly, about 15 minutes.
  12. Scatter the walnut topping evenly over the cake and bake until the crumbs are golden brown, the center of the cake springs back when lightly touched, a a toothpick inserted in the center has a few moist crumbs sticking to it, 30 to 335 minutes.
  13. Check the cake early and if the crumbs are golden but the caked isn’t fully baked, cover loosely with foil.
  14. Let cool on a rack for at least 20 minutes.
  15. Serve warm.
  16. WALNUT TOPPING
  17. /4 pound (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  18. /2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  19. /2 cup granulated sugar
  20. /4 tsp cinnamon
  21. cup all-purpose flour
  22. generous cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  23. Melt the butter in a medium bowl in the microwave or in a small saucepan.
  24. Pour into a medium sized bowl.
  25. Add the brown and white sugar, and the cinnamon and stir until blended.
  26. Add the flour and the walnuts mixing with your fingers until combined. The mixture should be crumbly but also clump together.
  27. Refrigerate until ready to use.

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…. et voilà

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Two points though ….

  1. Make your own applesauce ….. you’ll know why when you eat the cake
  2. and, I had put a layer of sliced apples under the topping, for extra ‘applenes

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…. Apple Walnut Cake, Virginia ?!?!

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the more sense it makes

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“Cooking is not a particularly difficult art, and the more you cook and learn about cooking, the more sense it makes. But like any art it requires practice and experience. The most important ingredient you can bring to it is love of cooking for its own sake.”

Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking

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chicken liver pate 1

Slowly but surely the good old chicken liver is gaining pack its popularity. For some time you would be hard pressed to find it on the menu, except in some fancy restaurant where food traditions are kept alive.

chicken liver pate 2

Of course here in the Middle East, chicken liver is readily found on menus. I am quite fond of the Egyptian version of chicken liver sauté. A bit heavy on cumin, with thick slices on onions …. but this is not what I am talking … writing about.

chicken liver pate

There was a time where there mere sight of this can would have sent shivers down my spine. Leber Aufstrich, ….. yes the ol’ chicken Liver pâté.  You could have chased me to the ends of the world.

chicken liver pate 3

Now, much later, and familiar with the ways of the kitchen, I have come to appreciate the subtle nuances of this exquisite dish. There are as many recipes as cooks out there, and everybody swears by his or her recipe.

As for me I do prefer the ones where the chicken liver is the star of the flavour and not diluted with cream, but rather enhanced with fresh herbs and a spoon or to of GOOD Cognac.

Chicken Liver Pâté

 Ingredients

  • 200 g unsalted butter
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh sage
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ kilo chicken liver, cleaned and trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons Cognac

chicken liver pate 5

Method

  • Melt half the butter in a large skillet over low heat, then cook onion and garlic, stirring, until softened.
  • Add herbs, salt, pepper, allspice, and livers and cook, stirring, until livers are cooked outside but still pink when cut open.
  • Stir in Cognac and remove from heat.
  • Purée mixture in a food processor until smooth, then fill pâté into glasses or ceramic dishes and smoothen top.
  • Melt remaining butter in a very small heavy saucepan over low heat, then remove pan from heat and let butter stand for a couple of minutes.
  • Skim froth from butter, then spoon enough clarified butter over pâté to cover its surface, leaving milky solids in bottom of pan.
  • Chill pâté until butter is firm, about 30 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap and chill for 24 hours before serving.
  • Serve with caramelised onions.

chicken liver pate 4

I had it today with fresh baguette. But together with my Pumpernickel, which rocks (by the way), … and this pâté, …. hey ….

 …. Rock n’ Roll

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chicken liver pate 6

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associated with a goblin …

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pumpernickel

Pumpernickel is a very heavy, slightly sweet rye bread traditionally made with coarsely ground rye.

It is often made with a combination of rye flour and whole rye berries. At one time it was traditional peasant fare, but largely during the 20th century various forms have become popular items of delicatessen.

A folk etymology involves Napoleon, who, while invading Germany, was served dark German rye bread. He would not eat it and said “C’est pain pour Nicole!”… it was bread for his horse, Nicole. This folk etymology grew from a “witty interpretation”, proposed by seventeenth-century satirist Johann Balthasar Schupp, that the bread was only good for “Nicol”, a nickname for a weak or puny horse.

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We are having our neighbours over tonight for a 100% homemade Scandinavian dinner. A couple of weeks ago I got busy and started preparing. Pickled Herring in different sauces are on the menu.

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And so is the fresh Salmon I marinated yesterday …. Gravad Lax ….

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To stick to tradition, I had to make some really thick Rye bread. Mad with sourdough of course. What better occasion to get out my recipe for Pumpernickel.

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This time around I decided to stick to my “quick sourdough” to make sure we get some bread to eat before the weekend. It was not easy to get whole rye kernels, or the rye flour, or mixed kernels. There was no time left to make a sourdough that will take three days to prepare.

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But, …. no matter …. we got the kitchen all dirtied and dusted with flour, and got right into mixing and fermenting, waiting and raising, kneading and waiting, …

I do have a recipe for Pumpernickel, but it would not be me if I did not experiment and modify the recipe on the fly. This time around I added some shredded carrots for extra moisture, and for molasses I used “Date-molasses” for extra flavor.

Here is my original recipe …..

PUMPERNICKEL BREAD

(DEVILS FART BREAD)
  • 1 kg Rye Flakes Fine
  • 500 g Rye Flakes Medium
  • 500 g Sourdough For Rye Breads
  • 750 ml Water
  • 10 g Salt
  • 150 g Dark Molasses
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  • sift the fine rye flakes into a mixing bowl, and add the medium rye flakes add the sour dough and start mixing
  • slowly add the water, salt and molasses
  • knead until the dough does not stick to the bowl
  • remove the dough, put some flour on the bottom of the mixing bowl
  • put back the dough cover with some flour and rest for 3-4 hours in a warm place once the dough has risen by half, take out of the mixing bowl and knead
  • form to a ball and then to a log
  • place into a greased and floured bread tin
  • cover with a damp cloth and let rest for 15 min
  • brush the dough with water, seal the mould with aluminum foil
  • place into a preheated (150 c) oven, bottom tray
  • at this temperature the pumpernickel must bake for 10 – 12 hours (over night) after about 10 hours check with a knife
  • if the knife comes out clean, switch of the oven and leave the bread for another hour remove, and let cool completely
  • serve in thin slices 

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So, just now I sneaked a taste of the wonderful creation. A bit of lightly salted butter, a sprinkle of chives …. and guess what ….

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… My Pumpernickel Rocks …

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