Monday, September 25, 2006

Basic Baked Delicious Cheese Cake

(Bolo de queijo básico cozido delicioso)

I started making this recipe a few months ago. It’s my variation of Donna Hay’s cheese cake presented in Modern Delicious 2 http://www.amazon.co.uk/Modern-Classics-Book-Biscuits-Cookbooks/dp/0060525894. I changed just a few quantities and made it simpler in ingredients. It tastes divinely nevertheless and is, in my view, a much better cheese cake than the cream and gelatine variations you find nowadays in most Portuguese restaurants.

Base
150 gr digestive biscuits
100 gr butter
1 pinch powder nutmeg

Filling
500 gr ricotta
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
Juice ½ lemon
Lemon rind of 1 lemon

Method
Process the biscuits until finely grated, mix with the melted butter and add the nutmeg.
Press the dough very well in a round 22cm tin with a table spoon. Let it cool and dry a little in the fridge while you make the filling.

Turn the oven to 150ºC.
Beat the ricotta with an electric mixer together with the sugar until very smooth. Add the whole eggs, lemon rind and juice and mix well.
Pour the mixture carefully in the tin and cook for about 1 hour. Check it after 50min and keep controlling the texture with a wooden toothpick. It shouldn’t be completely dry because it will thicken afterwards.

Remove from the oven and let it cool completely. Dust with icing sugar or cover with strawberry jam.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Sugarless Scones

(Scones sem açucar)

Lately, I’m trying to restrain my weight improving. Unger is something I never loose, so I have to find ways of deceiving it. Taking some good amount of nutritious advices and a bit of common sense I look for some good healthy recipes and add my personal touch. In this one I left sugar off, add whole-wheat flour and increase the amount of milk. If you want to be purist replace the margarine by olive or soy oil.

Sugarless scones

200 gr whole-wheat flour
150 gr flour
1 pinch of salt
1 egg
75 gr butter
¼ l milk (a bit less is you want to make “proper” round scones)
100 gr dried dates/prunes/peaches/apricots)
50 gr of mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower)
2 big tsps of baking powder

Heat the oven to 200ºC.

Start by chopping in small pieces the dried fruits (use an electric device for this). Mix the dried ingredients in a big bowl together with the fruits and seeds. Beat the whole egg and add the milk in a separate bowl. Melt the butter in the microwave in the lowest power. Make a hole in the middle of the flour, pour the butter and start mixing. Add the milk and egg. Mix everything well with a big knife but don’t over mix.

If you want you can cut round pieces of dough after rolling it at about 1 cm height (you have to use less milk, around 150 ml, depending on the type of flour you use and the dryness of the fruits).
I normally use a silicon mould for muffins; I pass first a brush in melted butter on each hole.

They bake for around 15 min but check them after 10 min.
Enjoy them for breakfast or tea with some margarine and organic jam.

I’ll post a picture soon...

Monday, September 11, 2006

Rice pudding ice-cream

(Gelado de arroz-doce)

The first time I tried this ice-cream flavour was about 20 years ago, in Cais-do-Sodré station (http://www.cp.pt/cp/detailCulture.do?itemId=393432). There used to be a small ice-cream stand that had unusual flavours, for those times. When I came to Lisbon I would always stop for buying my sweet rice ice cream on my way back home. I guess the stand closed; nevertheless it has been many years since I stopped commuting to Lisbon by train.

Three years ago I got and ice-cream machine for my birthday; so once in awhile a try a different version. My husband is the official taster and this, I must confess, was not his favourite, but one can not make rice pudding tasting like chocolate, can you? Ok, you can make chocolate rice pudding…

This recipe is posted to answer the challenge of HEMC3 (http://hechoencocina.blogspot.com/2006/08/hemc-3-arroz.html), so no picture, sorry :-(!

I learnt that this recipe must be the world’s most cross-border pudding, but each culture adds it its own touch. My recipe is as follows:

½ cup “common” rice (that is the round grain type not basmati or nothing of that type)
2 cup water
1 pinch salt
1 cup sugar (or a little less if you prefer it less sweet)
1 lt full fat milk
1 slice of lemon peal
1 cinnamon stick
4 egg yolks
Cinnamon powder (optional)

First “open” the rice. Put the water and the salt in a large pan and let it boil. When the water is boiling add the rice and mix with a wooden spoon. Don’t wash the rice!!! Lower the heat and wait until the rice is cooked, that means “open” and white. In the meantime heat the milk until is almost boiling.
When the rice is cooked discard the excess of water. Once again, don’t wash the rice!!! Pour the boiling milk, the sugar, the lemon peal and cinnamon stick. Mix again carefully and keep the pan in lower heat. Once in awhile mix carefully until it turns creamy. The rice has to stay quite liquid.
Take the pan out of the heat. Remove the lemon peal and the cinnamon stick. Mix the yolks with a little cold milk and pour into the creamy rice mixing quickly so the yolks won’t cook immediately. Return to the heat and keep mixing until it thickens a little. At this step you can had the cinnamon powder, if you are a fan. I am!

Let the rice get completely cold. When the rice has cooled put it in the ice-cream machine and proceed according to the manufacture instructions.

Enjoy!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Spiderman’s Face Orange and Marzipan Birthday Cake

(Bolo de aniversário de laranja e massapão com a cara do homem-aranha)

My nephew chooses every year his birthday cake’s theme. Spiders have been around for 2 years…
Why almonds and oranges on a white sponge? Well I usually start discussing the “Cake’s theme” with my nephew 1 or 2 months before his birthday. He always chooses the colour of the cake and the decoration, obviously.
This year he wanted a “white cake inside and outside” (the chocolate versions of previous years didn’t wake him up for chocoholic desires…). So it had to be the classic sponge (“pão-de-ló” in Portuguese) covered in plain marzipan. And what about the filling? Almond goes well with… orange of course. In spite of not being the orange season around this part of the world I managed to buy some real sweet ones on my regular grocery store.
I got back to by rescue library and found the perfect orangerie flavours I was looking for… http://www.amazon.co.uk/Modern-Classics-Book-Biscuits-Cookbooks/dp/0060525894
Be prepared, this takes about a whole day to produce, decoration included!

First thing first… start by making the…
Sponge
6 large eggs
200gr caster sugar
200gr flour mixed with 1 tbs of baking powder
Orange peal from 1 orange

Beat the whole eggs with the sugar and the orange peal until the batter turns white, fluffy and bubbling (this takes quite a while; you’d better use an electric mixer).
Carefully mix small amounts of flour into the batter (do not over mix!) with a big metal spoon.
Pour in a 25cm round buttered mould.
Bake in a pre-heated 180ºC oven for about 30-40min.

while the cake is baking prepare the filling…
Orange Curd
100gr butter
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
½ cup caster sugar
1 whole egg plus 3 egg yolks

Melt the butter with the orange juice and the sugar until the sugar is dissolved on low heat. Beat the egg and yolks and mix into the butter. Continue mixing on low heat until it thicks. Let the curd get completely cold before using.

and while the curd is thickening make the…
Orange syrup
1 cup caster sugar
½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
½ cup water

Mix everything and put on medium heat. Keep on mixing until the sugar is dissolved and it turns syrupy.

don’t forget to check the oven and start making the…
Marzipan
250gr very finely ground almonds (use a food processor for this)
250gr icing sugar
2 egg whites
1 tsp lemon juice

Mix everything very well and let it dry a little. Cover the cake with the marzipan on his natural cream colour or use some food colouring of your choice.

last but not the least... Draw spiderman's face with melted chocolate and paint it with artificially coloured pineapple jelly. Voilá!