Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Christmas!

Have a wonderful, happy and delicious Christmas!

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Chai spiced truffles

When I started this blog I thought that I'd be posting every day with the Christmas season just around the corner. Well, life intervened and that didn't happen. Now, Christmas is almost here. And this is going to be my first "official" Christmas post.
For me Christmas is not Christmas without truffles. I usually make several different flavours to choose from. This year I'm going to stick with just one: Chai spiced truffles. I make a huge batch and send them (well, not all of them) to my sister every year.
Word is she enjoyed them a lot. I hope you enjoy them, too.

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1/2 cup heavy cream
6 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
3 black peppercorns
4 cloves
7 oz coarsely chopped milk chocolate
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp cocoa powder

Bring heavy cream to a boil, add all spices. Cover and let infuse for an hour.
After an hour strain into a clean pot and bring to a boil again. Discard spices.
Add chopped chocolate to the cream, mix well. Add vanilla and butter. Mix well to melt the butter.
Let the mixture cool, cover and refrigerate over night. The next day, line baking sheet with waxed paper. Drop mixture by rounded teaspoonfuls onto prepared sheet. Freeze until firm, about 45 minutes.
Place cocoa into bowl. Roll truffle between hands into rounds. Roll them into cocoa.
You can also roll them in melted chocolate, you'll need about 6 oz for this amount of truffles.
I used Callebaut chocolate, my chocolate of choice when a recipe asks for quality chocolate.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Midnight snack of the week

This gal likes to snack. A lot. Especially before going to bed. Preferably something spicy, hot and full of flavour on a piece of stinky cheese. Usually a nice coriander and cardamom flavoured kiwi or sweet mango chutney will do it, but this time it's something special: my second childhood food crush, mushrooms.(The first being cheese). I found this recipe in an old hand written cookbook of mine. Plus I needed to make good use of some herbes de Provence I had sitting on my spice rack.
It's the perfect midnight snack. Sweet dreams, everybody!


Citrusy mushrooms with herbes de Provence


1 lb small white button mushrooms
juice of 1 orange
juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp grated orange zest
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
150 ml vegetable stock
2 tsp herbes de Provence
100 ml olive oil
1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped

Clean mushrooms, peel and cut in half if too big. In a bowl, mix orange and lemon juice, vegetable stock, orange zest and herbes de Provence. Mix well, then add the mushrooms. Heat olive oil over medium heat, add the shallot and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes, then add mushroom mixture and cook until mushrooms are soft, about 10 to 15 minutes. Finally add the parsley. Cool completely. Refrigerate for a few hours to let the flavours develop.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Cardamom and damson plum cookies

OK. It took a little longer than expected to publish the recipe for this cookie. My apologies. I made these heavenly bites a few nights ago, while the Grinch was stealing Christmas (on TV). It was almost midnight by the time I finished baking them. ( I seem to be doing a lot of late night baking).
Except for the few I kept to take photos of the next day, they were all gone in a matter of minutes. I do have to say though, that they are better the next day, if kept in an airtight container. My damson plum jam is home made. Friends say it's the best jam ever. I tend to believe my friends. If you cannot find damson jam, use a good quality raspberry jam.
Cardamom does it for me, so I used a lot in this recipe. Should you like a milder taste, use less. Same goes for the damson jam. I kinda like it dripping out of the cookies. For aesthetic purposes use less. This is a small batch. You can easily double it.
If you're not thinking Christmas yet, it high time you did folks!

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1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp ground cardamom
pinch of salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup(or so) damson plum jam

Add flour, cardamom and salt to a bowl. Mix well.
Beat together butter, cream cheese, sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolk and vanilla. Next add flour mixture in two parts.
Mix until dough comes together. Chill in the fridge, wrapped in a plastic wrap for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Remove dough from fridge.
Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Using a 1 1/2 inch cookie cutter stamp out rounds as closely together as possible. Arrange cookies on a baking sheet, about 1/2 inch apart.
Bake cookies for about 10 to 12 minutes, until edges are golden. Cool completely. Sandwich cookies together with damson plum jam. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.