Archive for July, 2008

The Aiya! sunday lunches come back with my favourite dish :3

This is the second part of the sending my father off activities. When I just came back from Paris, one of the first things my father told my mother was that I made this surprisingly good dish for him, ahaha. Of course, it was Alstan-style pasta!

My parents actually eat less sauce than me. And they prefer these thick noodles, while I rather go for thin spaghetti.

The major interesting point about today’s Alstan-style pasta is the fact that I put these pre-cut ham cubes into it. It changed the taste quite a lot, but the general blend of courgettes+tomates passées+herbes de provence+ground pepper. We even have an incredibly stylish pepper mill that produces the most delicious pepper *_*

Oh, I also used less tomates passées and spices than usual because of the strong taste of the ham, but I won’t make that mistake anymore. I really am a huge fan of herbes de provence after all XD

For more delicious cakes to come!

 Or so I hope. Yesterday, I got an incredibly nice new baking pan. I have been using my old one for over 5 years now, perhaps it’s even 6 or 7. The pan is thin and was pretty cheap, also it has gotten lots of cuts from my inexperienced treatment years ago XD Actually I’ve been wanting a new one quite badly. But I never expected to get such a great one! It’s quite heavy, from a good brand and actually looks very sturdy. I’m so looking forward to use this cake pan now!

Isn’t this a beauty? *_*

It’s too bad my parents surprised me with a new cake pan at the same time when I wanted to surprise them with a cake. (The cake from yesterday, that is, as you can see on the picture.)  Tehehe, they were on such a shopping spree and bought some kitchenware spending a fortune on it. So, please look forward to my next cake! :3

My specialty no.2: cherry cakes

Cherries and raisins are the greatest ingredients for cakes, just like honey is the greatest ingredient for cooking (at least in my opinion), heh. They both are sweet, have a great taste and give the whole cake more moisture, which is always a good thing for me because dry cakes just don’t taste as nice. I used to make a honey (!) cake that turned out really dry but was absolutely great with butter *_*

I am your speedlines, appearing in your cake photo!

Enough ramblings from my part, here is this week’s cake. It’s meant to be a good-bye cake for my father who’s going to leave for China for about 3 weeks, and then hopefully come back with lots of other delicious things. :3
It’s incredibly easy to make in my opinion, you just put all the ingredients together XD It’s the type of cake that you can imagine how it has to be made simply by looking at the list of ingredients: It’s simply a shortcrust dough baked for 20 minutes, then a layer of cherries and a large layer of meringue with coconut flakes.

As expected, the cake actually looks pretty nice, I think. In my world of cake-making, it means that it’s less tasty as my other cakes, which actually is the case – relatively, of course. I still find it very delicious and hope that my parents will think the same, because they are out shopping right now. Because of the simplicity of the cake, I also didn’t make any major mistakes – besides that I’m a little unhappy with the hot room (and that I worked a tad bit too long on the dough which for my taste is too thick XD) and the fact that I still am not sure how meringue actually should look like, ehehe.

By the way, my specialty no.1 is cheesecakes, and my favourite cherrycake actually is a chocolate cake, hehe.

Next time, I’m going to stuff them with rice

But today’s stuffed bell peppers weren’t all that bad either! First, a little shot of how everything looked like before it was put into the oven. Basically, I feared that the whole construction would get all messy and fall down XD For that case, I have taken this picture to at least have something I could show, heh.

It turned out that yellow bell peppers are more suitable for this dish than red ones.

When I took the second picture, we were nearly done with eating, because I completely forgot it! I’m so bad, but I was so excited about how this dish would turn out…

It’s unfortunate how the top has turned a little bit black. But the taste was still good.

The only (probably tiny) problem with today’s dish is that I am starting to feel that my dishes repeat themselves a little bit. So, I read that you can stuff bell peppers with ground meat, and that tomato sauce goes well with it. Naturally, I also have put tomatoes in as well, and garlic and onions as always. For the spiciness, I automatically put herbes de provence and some more oregano. As expected, the filling turned out to be the type of bolognese sauce that I always make, aaaah!

This is my father’s hands. Notice how he prefers using the fork in his right hand XD

Originally, I wanted to stuff rice into it, but then I realized that we bought way too much of the ground meat so that rice would never fit in anyways (as always, hahaha). I also lacked a bit of time – originally, I wanted to make some rice with eggs (a little bit like this, just spicier), but I lacked time and determination today, hahaha. It would also have been nice to stuff bell peppers with couscous and dried apricots, or rice and raisins. Aaah, I should make this dish again XD

 

Here’s a shot of the filling. A very typical Sasa-ish sauce, I suppose.

But, as you can see a little bit on this picture, there is a novelty to this dish: I have put raisins into the filling and that made the whole thing somewhat sweet. In my opinion, it really is a great addition to the taste :3 If I didn’t know that my father dislikes olives, I would have put in some as well, but the raisins were a surprising success. Ultimately, the dish probably is not all too novel, because I like sweet ingredients – first honey, now raisins, hahaha.

What a failure, but it tastes good…

… really! So, this is the birthday cake for Pip :3 At the beginning, everything looked really good – I had a nice choice of ingredients and the cream felt ‘right’. Also, my parents gave me some delicious chinese raisins to put inside, aaaah! But then, the topping that was supposed to be white turned yellow as well, and I wasn’t even able to take a picture of it, because it was about to fall apart T_T

I quickly closed the cake form again to take a picture XD

Basically, I wanted to make a cake that would turn out white, but I was afraid of making a cake with a meringue topping. Ultimately, I’m just not particularily good at making meringues and I don’t find them very tasty myself. So I found this nice cheesecake recipe and really wanted to make it.

A collection of pieces that did not fall apart. The rest was already eaten by my parents.

This is probably the most expensive cheesecake ever. One package of cream cheese costs 70 cents to 1 euro, and you need 4 of those packages. In fact, I substituted one package of them with mascarpone, which made it even more expensive. But oh god, this is so delicious, hahaha. Taste-wise, it’s much much better than your typical german-style cheesecake, so the expensive ingredients are actually totally worth it. Arrrrr~, I think I’m never going to make that other cheesecake again, only this XD

The pieces are small, because it was mainly the middle of the cake that fell apart XD

Actually my first mistake was to accidentally put way too much cinnamon inside XXD I bought some very nice, whole grain zwieback and the cinnamon took a part of its taste, but it’s fine, it turned out really tasty actually, hmm! (I like cinnamon a lot after all.)

For the longest time, lasagna was my favourite dish

And today, I have finally made it myself the very first time! It’s one of these things I have always wanted to do, and at least I can proudly say that the béchamel sauce was a full success. Unfortunately, I totally do not agree with the recipes on the amount of béchamel sauce: I think it was way too much béchamel and I prefer it with much more bolognese sauce, but besides that, the taste was great already. Next time, I’ll definitely also put more vegetables into the bolognese sauce (although it’s probably not very traditional). A meal without vegetables feels so… wrong.

drrt

The brown stuff on it is the parmesan. It looks weird, I know, but tastes delicious.

I also felt that the shape was somehow not right, I wonder why? Hahaha. At least the ingredients were somewhat right and the consistency was okay as well. In fact, you are supposed to make lasagna with ground beef, but we had ground pork, heh. Apparently the brand ground pork was very cheap this week XD

drrt

The single pieces look much more like lasagna now.

After this calory bomb, I’m really glad that my parents are going to make ‘normal’ chinese food this evening. I’m so looking forward to it now XD And next week, I will finally make the Alstan-style-pasta – without any meat.

This is the prettiest cheesecake I have ever made…

…but unfortunately I’m not entirely satisfied with the taste – I prefer my cakes more fluffy than this, but maybe that also is a very personal thing.

drrt

It seems that there is a trade-off between great look and better taste.

Admittedly I put less milk in than was written in the recipe, but that also was because the filling became too creamy last time I made this cake and because the raspberries I have put add moisture to the cake too. Ultimately, I think that this time was much better than last time, but it’s not perfect yet.

drrt

Unfortunately raspberries are so expensive, I would have loved to put in more.

I especially love cheesecake with some red fruits or apples inside. Last time I think I put cherries in, this time raspberry and who knows, maybe next time it will be apples. What I hate about apple pies the most is that you have to prepare apples which takes ages, while berries and cherries can be put in very quickly.
A propos speed, I was surprised myself how quickly I came up with this cake. The preparation time for the dough and the cream did not take more than 25 minutes, and then I’ve just let it bake for around 40 minutes.

Finally, cheesecake is only cake that I have been making for ages now, repeatedly. Besides that, I think I only made the Sachertorte twice. After all, cheesecake is one of my (and my parents’) favourite cake and I want to fully master it one day – actually this cake today already is somewhat close to how I want it in the end.