Churros con chocolate - dreams of summer and sea


I do have a new dessert crush, it's home made churros with bitter chocolate cream to dip in!

Maybe you laugh at me know and tell churros are really nothing special, that one can buy them at any fun fair and they are very oily. Well I know all this!  And exactly for that reason I fell in love with them again. They are childhood summer holidays memories and they just make me very happy. I remember the wagons selling churros on the street in spain. I remember churros after a day at the beach with still salty lips from the sea and I remember churros in the morning with milk coffee and a cigarette ( when I was a teenager ). Good memories they are!

Also in this recipe from the moro cook book they come with a fantastic  bitter chocolate dip and this is just a match made in heaven.

serves 6

You'll need for the churros:

  • 400 gr plain flour
  • a poinch of salt
  • 1 tsp soda bicarbonate
  • 500 ml boiling water maybe even more more
  • lots of sunflour oil for frying
  • caster sugar for dusting

You'll need for the churros:

  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 400 ml milk
  • 300 gr very dark chocolate, I recommend 70 %
  • 250 ml sweetend condensed milk
  • lots of sunflour oil for frying
  • 250 ml cream

For the batter sift flour, soda bicarbonate and salt into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center. Pour in the water and quickly mix with a wooden spoon so no lumps form.
Transfer to a saucepan and cook over low heat , stirring continuously for 1-2 minutes.
Spoon the mixture in a bowl and let it rest for an hour.

For the chocolate, infuse the cinnamon in the milk by simmering it for 15 minutes. Take of the heat and discard the cinnamon. Meanwhile melt the chocolate in a bain-marie or whatever your favourite way to melt chocolate. When melted gently stir in the infused milk and the condensed milk till smooth.

Fill into 6 glasses or nice tumblers. Whisk the cream until soft peaks form and spoon on to of the chocolate. Chill for at least an hour.

Heat the oil in a large shallow pan over medium heat until hot. Put the dough in a piping bag with a medium sized nozzle. Press the dough into the hot oil . I recommend making coils which you later can cut into pieces. The oil should not be too hot otherwise they turn brown before beeing cooked thoroughly .
When nicely brown take them out an drain on kitchen paper before sprinkling with sugar.

Marbach 088 Edit

picture of my grandmother with her 4 daughters on a summer holiday in italy.

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Apple crumble


For weeks I've been looking at these apples lying in the fruit bowl, looking more and more crinkly everyday and I kept saying we have to make a crumble. Not that I've ever made one, but I always wanted to.

Last week I was making the christmas windows at the shop which is something that exhausts me like not many other things. On the third day into the window decoration I came home and my niece, who is currently living with us, had mad that crumble.
It was delicious!  I can't remember having eaten anything so comforting in a long time. The leftovers I took to the office the next day and had them for lunch, reheated in the microwave. And while I sat there in the office exhausted and tired I dipped my spoon into the warm crumble I felt like I had never eaten anything like it before and I knew what I had to make on the weekend and the week after , actually what we should always have in the fridge - at least as long as it's cold and grey outside.
The recipe is based on Nigel Slaters Crumble from Tener Vol II.

You'll need:

  • For the filling:
  • 850gr cooking apples
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 75 gr brown caster sugar
  • 30 gr butter
  • For the crumble:
  • 95 gr butter for the crumble
  • 150 gr flour
  • 45 gr brown caster sugar

Peel and core the apples and cut into approximately 2 cm chunks. Toss with the lemon juice and half the sugar.
Melt the butter in a shallow pan. When it starts to sizzle add the apples and let the apples take some color. Don't move them around to much.
Let them caramelize a bit. Stir gently.

When slightly golden take them out of the pan and put them into a oven dish, make sure to scrape out all off the lovely juices you don't want to waist them.

Make the crumble by rubbing the flour and the butter with your fingertips ( or in a food processor ). Once it's crumbly add the sugar and mix. Now add 1 tbs of water and shake the mixture for a while.

Cover the apples with the crumbs.

Set the oven to 180° and bake for 40 to 50 minutes.

Eat while warm and serve with a dash of cream.

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Apple pie time
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Teaching my son italian basics: part n°1 - tiramisu

Teaching my son to like different things is like climbing mount everest! Even though I realized that the amount of vegetables ( only raw ons though ) our son is eating is not common at all ( which makes my poor soul a little bit proud ) nevertheless I keep fighting for a wider diet - with little success I have to admit.

Only recently he discovered tiramisu at our local italian ( who is actually from sri lanka ) and liked it a lot. But foolish me had no better idea to teach him how to make it. If only I'd known better…

We made it in our holidays in sardinia, I haven't made a tiramisu since in was a teenager. Tiramisu used to be my standard contribution to school parties.
Anyway everything went fine till he got to taste the cream. The mascarpone we bought had quite a strong cheese flavor and the whole cream tasted quite strong of sweet cheese. My little chef was rather disgusted. A little bit vanilla and some lemon zest fixed the problem but I think till this day he remembers this and so far hasn't eaten a tiramisu with the same love he had before.

Funny thigh is we developed a new appetite for it. I started experimenting with it and came up with quite a nice recipe.

You'll need:

  • 250gr mascarpone
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 1/4 tb vanilla seeds
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 dl whipped cream
  • 1.5 cups strong black coffee mixed with
  • 2 tbs brandy
  • Savoiardi biscuits
  • some cocoa powder and black chocolate

Beat the egg yolks and the sugar till light. Add the mascarpone, vanilla seeds, lemon zest and mix well. Then add 2-3 tbs of the expresso- brandy mixture.  Beat the cream and add.
Dip the biscuits on both sides into the expresso brandy and place them on the bottom of a plate or an oven tray. Cover with a approx. 2 cm layer of the mascarpone mixture. Then comes an other layer of biscuits and one more mascarpone.
Let it rest in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
Dust it with cocoa powder and some grated frozen dark chocolate.

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Baked Nespola

We had big plans for these woman-kids holidays in sardinia. We brought tons of cookbooks along and saw ourselves trying out plenty of new recipes.
But as usual things turned out quite different. The mornings at the house were spent drinking to much coffee and reading books then eventually one of the boys would freak out and a big brunch would have to made immediately. This meant being at the beach late and because it's so lovely at the beach we always left to late. Problems ;-)!  Anyway after we had the boys in bed we tried to do some fancy cooking but usually we were to tired by then - maybe also because of the aperol spritz.
We also had big plans for desserts. But after the first evening when we made these baked nespola, we knew that this would be our dessert for the next ten days - the nespola season is short !

You'll need:

  • plenty of nespola
  • 3 tbs caster sugar
  • seeds of one vanilla pod
  • a bit of lemon juice
  • cremé fraiche

Take off the skin from the fruits. Take out the stones and cut into halves. Place on a baking tin.
Mix the sugar with the vanilla and sprinkle over the fruits.
Sprinkle some lemon over the fruits and place in the oven.
Bake for 45 minutes on 150° until they start to turn slightly brown at the ends.

Serve with some cremé fraiche.

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Millefeuille poire chocolat

I've been complaining about my lack of coming up with my own recipe here before, all the more I'm proud to present one now.
It seems I'm better with sweet dishes than with salty ones.
We were invited to a friends place and had nothing to bring along. Kevin said he would like to bring something sweet and that we still had some of these nice pears. Maybe we could make something with these. Instantly I had this idea of a Mille-feuille, something one cut cut into slices. Obviously dark chocolate would have to be involved too.
So off I went into the kitchen experimenting with dough and 70 percent black chocolate.
I was very please with the result and so were our friends but over the past weeks I have been developing this further and now I think it's rather delicious.

The  Mille-feuille

You'll need:

  • Ready made puff pastry
  • beans for baking ( whatever you have in your cuboard)
  • sugar

Roll out the puff pastry and sprinkle generously with sugar. Blind bake ( with baking beans ) on 170° for approximately 15 min. Before it starts to get brown take of the beans and put it back into the oven on a high rack to let the sugar caramelize . Once the sugar caramelized take it out and let it cool.

The dark chocolate mousse

You'll need:

  • 180gr gark chocolate 70%
  • 80 gr whole milk
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 2 tbs sugar

Melt the chocolate over simmering water, the water should not touch the bowl. Let it cool down a bit. Bring the milk to boil and gently blend it into the chocolate using a small whisk. Add the egg yolk, again very gently.
Beat the egg whites on medium speed till they hold soft peaks then turn the speed up and gradually add the sugar. Continue to beat until they are firm but still glossy. Mix one third of the egg whites into the chocolate to lighten the mixture. Use the whisk for this . Now carefully fold in the rest with a rubber spatula. Put into the fridge.

The pears

You'll need:

  • 2-3 pears depending on the size
  • 2 dl port wine
  • zest of one organic lemon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla seeds

Finely slice the pears and let them soak in a mixture of Port wine, lemon zest and vanilla seeds for an hour or more.

To make the "mille feuille" uns a oven dish or bis pastry form if you have. Cut the pastry so it fits neatly into the form.
Layer with the pears. Cover with a thick layer of chocolate mousse and but into the fridge for 2 hours.
Take our and sprinkle with grated chocolate and cut into slices - bon appetit!

Related Entries:
Very chewy and lovely caramel flavoured chocolate chip cookies
Chocolate - Chestnut - Parfait
Little chocolate cakes
Chocolate- lemon Madelaines
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Apple pie time

Don't forget to make these little apple pies once in a while they are so easy and so delicious.

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Apple crumble
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Tarte aux prunes

It's that time of the year again where I run from fair to fair, where I spend more time on trains and planes than in the kitchen.
Instead for harvesting and eating all the delicious vegetables from the garden we end up going to our local pizza place ( could also be that we had about enough of these courgettes ;-) ).
At least the prunes were more or less waiting for my return from New York. And I think these 10 hot days really helped to get them perfectly sweet.
The tree stands on a small allotment bit that we took over last summer and hasn't produced fruits for several years. But thanks to Cornelia's perfect pruning, this year it full of fruits.

Last weekend was harvest day.

Kevin has done some lovely chutney which he will hopefully post soon. Other wise the classic "Tarte aux prunes" is always a favorite.
As a dessert with whipped cream or a light lunch with nice bread and lot's of cheese.

You'll need:

  • puffpastry
  • prunes
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • a dash of fresh lemon

Halfe the prunes and lay them on the puffpastry ( don't forget to make some holes into the dough). Bake for 30 min on 200° take out. While still hot sprinkle over some sugar and a dash of fresh lemon.

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Ice pops - back in the days when we had summer

Now thats is cold and horrible it's the perfect time to think back to these days ( only 2 weeks ago ) when it was so sunny and hot that we slept with bed linens only, went for a swim in the river every evening, drank this and made plenty of ice pops. I want my summer back! NOW!

We only just started to discover the endless possibilities of these ice pops moulds. So far we've been experimenting with frozen sirup.

You'll need:

  • several different sirups
  • maybe food coloring for some extra fun
  • water
  • a freezer
  • time
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Chocolate - Chestnut - Parfait

This stunning dessert comes from my upstairs neighbor. A very surprising combination which is not easy to guess for your guests.
Quick and simple to make. But it needs some 3 hours in the freezer.

Enough for at least 8 people.

200 gr sugar
5 eggs
2 bricks puréed chestnut
250 gr melted dark chocolate
2.5 dl cream
1 tbs kirsch

beat sugar and egg yolks till white, add the chestnut purée and the melted chocolate. Carefully add the beaten egg whites and the beaten cream.
If you like ad some kitsch.

Put in the freezer for approximately 3 hours.

Serve almost but not quite frozen. Semifredo style.

Related Entries:
Very chewy and lovely caramel flavoured chocolate chip cookies
Millefeuille poire chocolat
Little chocolate cakes
Chocolate- lemon Madelaines
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Earl Grey crème brulée

I want summer back! I want to go back to these days were it was to hot to do anything else except sitting on the balcony and drinking whiskey sour. Back to the humid heat the made baking and cooking almost impossible.

Instead it's cold and raining non stop. I try to be optimistic and see this as a temporarily thing. Time to try some new things in the kitchen that we can enjoy on the next summer evening. Earl Grey crème brulée seems like one of the desserts that go together perfectly with a warm summer evening in the garden.

5- 6 persons
make one day in advance.

1 dl milk
7.5 tbs earl grey tea, preferably "earl grey french blue" from mariage freres if you can get hold of it. (Bring one home next time you visit paris I suggest ;-))
8 egg yolks
130 gr caster sugar
500 ml single cream
40 gr brown sugar

Heat the milk add the tea and let infuse for 5 min. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until white.
Strain the milk infusion. Then mix it with the cream and heat again. Pour onto the eggyolks and sugar. Mix well and allow to rest in the refrigerator for 24h.

Next day preheat the oven to 100° . Fill the mixture into 5-6 ramekins and bake for 1h or until they have the consistency of creme brulée. Let them cool down. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and caramelize with the gas torch.
Serve when still a bit warm.

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