Filbert Cake with Praline Buttercream Daring Bakers Challenge

Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream

Where is the rest of the cake?

I woke up this morning and did my usual routine. After I turned on my laptop I went directly to check Recipemuncher's new posts and my eyes almost popped out when I saw that it was flooded with Filbert Gateau recipes. Oh s___t! I almost shouted, I have completely forgotten that it's today the posting date for this month's challenge. My head is to occupied thinking of so many stuffs that I am bound to be so absentminded these pasts days.

If you have a sweet tooth you will definitely enjoy the blogsphere today for you will definitely encounter lots of slices of Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream, a recipe challenge chosen by our remarkable host Cris of Melecotte. Daring Baker is baking community created by equally gorgeous ladies Lis and Yvonne.

So where is the rest of the cake? Eaten even before I could take my photos. :-)

Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream
From Great Cakes by Carol Walter

1 Filbert Genoise
1 recipe sugar syrup, flavored with dark rum
1 recipe Praline Buttercream
½ cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
1 recipe Apricot Glaze
1 recipe Ganache Glaze, prepared just before using
3 tablespoons filberts, toasted and coarsely chopped

Filbert Genoise

Because of the amount of nuts in the recipe, this preparation is different from a classic genoise.

1 ½ cups hazelnuts, toasted/skinned
2/3 cup cake flour, unsifted
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
7 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar, divided ¼ & ¾ cups
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. grated lemon rind
5 lg. egg whites
¼ cup warm, clarified butter (100 – 110 degrees)

Position rack in the lower 3rd of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10” X 2” inch round cake pan.

Using a food processor, process nuts, cake flour, and cornstarch for about 30 seconds. Then, pulse the mixture about 10 times to get a fine, powdery mixture. You’ll know the nuts are ready when they begin to gather together around the sides of the bowl. While you want to make sure there aren’t any large pieces, don’t over-process. Set aside.

Put the yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, and beat until thick and light in color, about 3-4 minutes on med-high speed. Slowly, add ¾ cup of sugar. It is best to do so by adding a tablespoon at a time, taking about 3 minutes for this step. When finished, the mixture should be ribbony. Blend in the vanilla and grated lemon rind. Remove and set aside.

Place egg whites in a large, clean bowl of the electric mixer with the whisk attachment and beat on medium speed, until soft peaks. Increase to med-high speed and slowly add the remaining ¼ cup of sugar, over 15-20 seconds or so. Continue to beat for another ½ minute.
Add the yolk mixture to the whites and whisk for 1 minute.

Pour the warm butter in a liquid measure cup (or a spouted container). * It must be a deep bottom bowl and work must be fast.* Put the nut meal in a mesh strainer (or use your hand – working quickly) and sprinkle it in about 2 tablespoons at a time – folding it carefully for about 40 folds. Be sure to exclude any large chunks/pieces of nuts. Again, work quickly and carefully as to not deflate the mixture. When all but about 2 Tbsp. of nut meal remain, quickly and steadily pour the warm butter over the batter. Then, with the remaining nut meal, fold the batter to incorporate, about 13 or so folds.

With a rubber spatula, transfer the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the surface with the spatula or back of a spoon. **If collected butter remains at the bottom of the bowl, do not add it to the batter! It will impede the cake rising while baking.

Tap the pan on the counter to remove air bubbles and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. You’ll know the cake is done when it is springy to the touch and it separates itself from the side of the pan. Remove from oven and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Invert onto a cake rack sprayed with nonstick coating, removing the pan. Cool the cake completely.

*If not using the cake right away, wrap thoroughly in plastic wrap, then in a plastic bag, then in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If freezing, wrap in foil, then the bag and use within 2-3 months.

Sugar Syrup
Makes 1 cup, good for one 10-inch cake – split into 3 layers

1 cup water
¼ cup sugar
2 Tbsp. dark rum or orange flavored liqueur

In a small, yet heavy saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add the liqueur. Cool slightly before using on the cake. *Can be made in advance.

Praline Buttercream
1 recipe Swiss Buttercream
1/3 cup praline paste
1 ½ - 2 Tbsp. Jamaican rum (optional)

Blend ½ cup buttercream into the paste, then add to the remaining buttercream. Whip briefly on med-low speed to combine. Blend in rum.

Swiss Buttercream
4 lg. egg whites
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly firm
1 ½ -2 Tbsp. Grand Marnier or liqueur of your choice
1 tsp. vanilla

Place the egg whites in a lg/ bowl of a elevtric mixer and beat with the whisk attachment until the whites are foamy and they begin to thicken (just before the soft peak stage). Set the bowl over a saucepan filled with about 2 inches of simmering water, making sure the bowl is not touching the water. Then, whisk in the sugar by adding 1-2 tablespoon of sugar at a time over a minutes time. Continue beating 2-3 minutes or until the whites are warm (about 120 degrees) and the sugar is dissolved. The mixture should look thick and like whipped marshmallows.
Remove from pan and with either the paddle or whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and sugar on med-high until its a thick, cool meringue – about 5-7 minutes. *Do not overbeat*. Set aside.

Place the butter in a separate clean mixing bowl and, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter at medium speed for 40-60 seconds, or until smooth and creamy. *Do not overbeat or the butter will become toooooo soft.*

On med-low speed, blend the meringue into the butter, about 1-2 Tbsp. at a time, over 1 minute. Add the liqueur and vanilla and mix for 30-45 seconds longer, until thick and creamy.

Refrigerate 10-15 minutes before using.

Wait! My buttercream won’t come together! Reheat the buttercream briefly over simmering water for about 5 seconds, stirring with a wooden spoon. Be careful and do not overbeat. The mixture will look broken with some liquid at the bottom of the bowl. Return the bowl to the mixer and whip on medium speed just until the cream comes back together.

Wait! My buttercream is too soft! Chill the buttercream in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes and rewhip. If that doesn’t work, cream an additional 2-4 Tbsp. of butter in a small bowl– making sure the butter is not as soft as the original amount, so make sure is cool and smooth. On low speed, quickly add the creamed butter to the buttercream, 1 Tbsp. at a time.

Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or can be frozen for up to 6 months. If freezing, store in 2 16-oz. plastic containers and thaw in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for several hours.

Praline Paste
1 cup (4 ½ oz.) Hazelnuts, toasted/skinless
2/3 cup Sugar
Line a jelly roll pan with parchment and lightly butter.

Put the sugar in a heavy 10-inch skillet. Heat on low flame for about 10-20 min until the sugar melts around the edges. Do not stir the sugar. Swirl the pan if necessary to prevent the melted sugar from burning. Brush the sides of the pan with water to remove sugar crystals. If the sugar in the center does not melt, stir briefly. When the sugar is completely melted and caramel in color, remove from heat. Stir in the nuts with a wooden spoon and separate the clusters. Return to low heat and stir to coat the nuts on all sides. Cook until the mixture starts to bubble. **Remember – extremely hot mixture.** Then onto the parchment lined sheet and spread as evenly as possible. As it cools, it will harden into brittle. Break the candied nuts into pieces and place them in the food processor. Pulse into a medium-fine crunch or process until the brittle turns into a powder. To make paste, process for several minutes. Store in an airtight container and store in a cook dry place. Do not refrigerate.

Apricot Glaze
Good for one 10-inch cake

2/3 cup thick apricot preserves
1 Tbsp. water

In a small, yet heavy saucepan, bring the water and preserves to a slow boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes. If the mixture begins to stick to the bottom of the saucepan, add water as needed.

Remove from heat and, using a strainer, press the mixture through the mesh and discard any remnants. With a pastry brush, apply the glaze onto the cake while the cake is still warm. If the glaze is too thick, thin to a preferred consistency with drops of water.

Ganache Glaze
Makes about 1 cup, enough to cover the top and sides of a 9 or 10 inch layer or tube cake

**Ganache can take on many forms. While warm – great fudge sauce. While cool or lukewarm – semisweet glaze. Slightly chilled – can be whipped into a filling/frosting. Cold & solid – the base of candied chocolate truffles.

6 oz. (good) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, like Lindt
6 oz. (¾ cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. light corn syrup
1 Tbsp. Grand Marnier, Cointreay, or dark Jamaican rum (optional)
¾ tsp. vanilla
½ - 1 tsp. hot water, if needed

Blend vanilla and liqueur/rum together and set aside.

Break the chocolate into 1-inch pieces and place in the basket of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer into a medium sized bowl and set aside.

Heat the cream and corn syrup in a saucepan, on low, until it reached a gentle boil. Once to the gently boil, immediately and carefully pour over the chocolate. Leave it alone for one minute, then slowly stir and mix the chocolate and cream together until the chocolate is melted and incorporated into the cream. Carefully blend in vanilla mixture. If the surface seems oily, add ½ - 1 tsp hot water. The glaze will thicken, but should still be pourable. If it doesn’t thicken, refrigerate for about 5 minutes, but make sure it doesn’t get too cold!

Assembling Cake

Cut a cardboard disk slightly smaller than the cake. Divide the cake into 3 layers and place the first layer top-side down on the disk. Using a pastry brush, moisten the layer with 3-4 Tbsp. of warm sugar syrup. Measure out 1 cup of praline buttercream and set aside.

Spread the bottom layer with a ¼-inch thickness of the remaining buttercream. Cover with ½ of the whipped cream, leaving ¼-inch border around the edge of the cake. Place the middle layer over the first, brush with sugar syrup, spreading with buttercream. Cover with the remaining whipped cream.

Moisten the cut side of the third layer with additional sugar syrup and place cut side down on the cake. Gently, press the sides of the cake to align the layers. Refrigerate to chill for at least 30 minutes.

Lift the cake by sliding your palm under the cardboard. Holding a serrated or very sharp night with an 8-ich blade held parallel to the sides of the cake, trim the sides so that they are perfectly straight. Cut a slight bevel at the top to help the glaze drip over the edge. Brush the top and sides of the cake with warm apricot glaze, sealing the cut areas completely. Chill while you prepare the ganache.

Place a rack over a large shallow pan to catch the ganache drippings. Remove the gateau from the refrigerator and put it the rack. With a metal spatula in hand, and holding the saucepan about 10 inches above the cake, pour the ganache onto the cake’s center. Move the spatula over the top of the ganache about 4 times to get a smooth and mirror-like appearance. The ganache should cover the top and run down the sides of the cake. When the ganache has been poured and is coating the cake, lift one side of the rack and bang it once on the counter to help spread the ganache evenly and break any air bubbles. (Work fast before setting starts.) Patch any bare spots on the sides with a smaller spatula, but do not touch the top after the “bang”. Let the cake stand at least 15 minutes to set after glazing.

To garnish the cake, fit a 12 – 14-inch pastry bag with a #114 large leaf tip. Fill the bag with the reserved praline cream. Stating ½ inch from the outer edge of the cake, position the pastry tube at a 90 degree angle with the top almost touching the top of the cake. Apply pressure to the pastry bag, moving it slightly toward the center of the cake. As the buttercream flows on the cake, reverse the movement backward toward the edge of the cake and finish by pulling the bag again to the center. Stop applying pressure and press the bag downward, then quickly pull the tip up to break the flow of frosting. Repeat, making 12 leaves evenly spaced around the surface of the cake.

Make a second row of leaves on the top of the first row, moving the pastry bag about ¾ inch closer to the center. The leaves should overlap. Make a 3rd row, moving closer and closer to the center. Add a 4th row if you have the room. But, leave a 2-inch space in the center for a chopped filbert garnish. Refrigerate uncovered for 3-4 hours to allow the cake to set. Remove the cake from the refrigerator at least 3 hours before serving.

Leftover cake can be covered with foil and kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days

My other DB challenges:

Lemon Meringue Pie
Yuletide cake log
Mango Blueberry Opera Cake
Coconut Cranberry Danish Braid


Sun dried tomatoes and basil Ciabatta rolls

"Where do we spend our vacation this time Honey?"

Oh I love that question! As I was busy preparing our dinner last night, my hubby popped that question to me. I have no idea yet, I replied. The truth is, after our common passion for food we both love travelling. And who doesn't? Travelling is always the best way to discover and meet people, their culture, their cuisine and their way of life. When we were students we were backpackers who would stay, eat and travel the cheapest way. Oh you wouldn't imagine how severely I haggle just to have discounts. :-) But gone are those days. Not that we have more money and we have grown older now. I guess it's just different now because we have a kid. Our perspective in life changes to a new dimension. No more risky travel I guess.

As I continue to contemplate our next destination, I couldn't help but remember one of the best places I have been, Italy. The spectacular monuments, churchers, museums and plazzas and their delectable cuisine. Do not blame me if I ended up baking some ciabatta.

This is my entry to Grow Your Own a blogging event created by Andrea and is being hosted by Bee of Jugalbandi. You have until July 30 to send your entries.

Sun dried Tomatoes and Basil Ciabatta Rolls

(there exist a lot of recipes in making this Italian slipper bread and this recipe is one of them)

460 g of flour
250 ml of warm water

1 sachet (about 1 teaspoon of dry yeast)

4 tablespoons of olive oil

1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 tablespoon of chopped Sun dried tomatoes

1 tablespoon of chopped basil (you can use fresh or dry ones)
(you can add more or less of the tomatoes and basil )

Dissolve the yeast on the warm water and add about one cup of flour on it. Let this stand for about an hour. Once little bubbles are formed on your yeast you can start putting the rest of the flour on your working table. Make a whole in the middle and add your dissolved yeast. Add the salt and olive oil. Work this dough for about ten minutes. Do not hesitate to put flour if it becomes too sticky. Add your chopped tomatoes and basil. Form a big ball and let this stand for an hour, cover it with wet towel. After the first rise cut the dough in six equal parts. To form the ciabatta bread, with the aid of your rolling pin flatten each ball of about 1 cm thickness. Fold from top to the center and the lower part to the center. You will now have long rectangular shaped dough. Fold again from right to the center and the left to the center. Imagine it will be like a folded square towel that is a little bit plumpy on the top. Powder it with flour and let it rise for another hour directly on your parchement papers. Preheat the oven at 200° celsius and bake the bread for about twenty to twenty five minutes. You can put a ramekin with a water inside the oven while baking the bread to have a crusty bread.
Believe me its delicious!!!

My other bread recipes:

Caramelized Onions, Roasted Tomatoes Foccacia Bread
Rosemary and Black Olive Fougasse
Mini-flute Bread

Lemon Yogurt Mini-Cakes

Lemon Yogurt Mini-cakes

I have been hesitating for weeks. Should I or shouldn't I?

Well you see this recipe is supposed to be red and white, the color of Swiss National flag. And how could I miss that? After all these colors are so basic.

As I sat in front of my computer I just thought this actually isn't the first time I had trouble with colors. In our high-school graduation day I was the only one wearing a pair of green shoes. Imagine my embarassement when I realised that it was not black at all. I was totally convinced it was when I bought it with my sister. And of course that purple dress we are all supposed to wear for our classroom presentation, I could still hear the laughter of my classmates when they saw me arriving with my dress totally different from theirs. Whew, It's hard to be colorblind.

As I sip my hot coffee this morning, I just thought what the heck I will be sending this anyway. I am sure she will love this despite that color problem. Of course this is my entry to Zorra's Swiss National Day: Red, white, Swiss blog event.

Lemon Yogurt and Red fruits Mini-cakes
1 cup plain yogurt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 3 eggs 1 1/3 cups sugar, divided grated zest of 2 lemons 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 50 g of butter (about half a stick) juice of 2 lemons about 250 g of red fruits
about 10 g of butter to grease your ramekin

In a bowl whisk the eggs with yogurt , vanilla, lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar. Add some salt and melted butter. Fold in the all purpose flour and baking powder. Grease your ramekin and pour your lemon yogurt cake mixture. Top it with red fruits. Preheat the oven at 180° celsius (350°F) and bake it for about 20-30 minutes. Let it cool.

You can also try my other fruit based dessert recipes:

Strawberry and Rhubarb Turnovers
Mango and Blueberry Opera Cake
Coconut and Cranberry Danish Braid
Banana and Honey Muffins
Pineapple and ginger Creme Brulée

Chocolate Crème Dessert & Lavender Fields

Chocolate Creme Dessert

If you have never been to Southern France yet or have been there and longing to see this beautiful region once again; allow me to tag you along with me as we take a short side-trip there in land of wine and cheeses.

Southern France is famous for its Middle ages Roman ruins, arena and beautiful paysages of blue sky, rosemary and thymes that is magnificently illustrated in the paintings of the world renowned painter Cezanne. This region is also home to pristine and turquoise blue water of Mediterranean sea, singing cicadas, delicious bouillabaise soup, sweet calisson (melon and marzipan candies) and of course the fragrant flowers of lavander.

For this edition of my Friday Dose of Chocolate, I'll be sharing with you the wonders of nature that we saw one saturday afternoon while having an impromptu picnic on the blazing road of tour de France.

Chocolate Pudding (Crème Dessert au Chocolat
recipe of Cyril Lygnac

2 eggs
4 egg yolks
55 grams of icing sugar
15 cl of milk
35 cl of heavy cream
120 g of dark chocolate

Preheat the oven at 130° celsius. In a salad bowl beat the eggs, 4 egg yolks and sugar together. In a casserole bring to a boil the milk and heavy cream. Turn off the fire and add the chocolate. Mix them well. Pour gently the chocolate mixture on the beaten eggs and sugar mixture. Mix them well. Filter the liquid in order to have a smooth texture. Cook in the oven for 35 minutes. Then wait for about an hour before pouring them on your individual serving glasses or bowl. Put in the fridge for at least 3 hours before serving. You can top it with fresh fruits of your choice.

No words can describe the beauty and fragrant hidden in this field.
Your eyes will make you believe you are staring the blue sea.
A memory and scent that will linger forever.

Try my other chocolate recipes:

Toblerone Molten cake

Mini Dacquiose Cake In Chocolate Cream chantilly

Perfect Party Dishes Blog Event

We all love parties and get-together. Cooking, eating, drinking and generally catching up and just plain having fun. But before I give you your invitation to this party let me tell you a story first.

I have always loved cooking. Let's put it this way. I cook for others. When I see the smile on their faces I know that all my efforts are paid off. A year ago, during my pregnancy I lost all my cooking powers and I hated so much being in the kitchen. They said it was due to my hormones. For months my husband suffered eating disgusting food that I cook :-). I thought I will never get back this passion again. The delicious world of blogging has helped me a lot in finding it back. Then I opened this kitchen few months after I gave birth. Everytime I look back at that point of my life I cannot believe my eyes on how fast time flies. My baby girl starts to have confidence to walk. She has more and more teeth. Her hair starts to grow longer. Well you see my baby girl will turn one year old in few weeks time. I only feel excitement for her as this big day approaches.

So in celebration to my little darling's first birthday festivity I am happy to announce my very first hosting event: Perfect Party Dishes blog event. So here's how you get the ticket to this party: I will be needing perfect party recipes (I do, I really need) it could be savory or sweet or it could also be a drink or a cocktail, it could be simple or complicated. It's your choice. Surprise me :-) and my guests.

Post your entries anytime between July 24- August 15 with a link back to this post. And send me your entries at dhanggit ATgmail DOTcom with the following details:

Name and URL of Your Blog:
Name and URL of Your Recipe Post:
Location: Optional
Photo: 200 pixel larger

Use of the logo is optional. (You can use the smaller logo on my sidebar)

I'll be posting the round-up sometime during the week of August 15. And the best part I will be giving away a prize (to be announced later) to the winning recipe that will be chosen by my panel of gourmet french critic (in other words my family). It will be shipped worldwide at my expense. Those who aren’t bloggers are also welcome to submit recipes and photos which will be included in the round-up and the competition.

So what are you waiting for, help me out in preparing Mayumi's first birthday party. :-) I'll be waiting for your entries.

Homemade Orange Wine

Orange wine

What is told in the ear of a man is often heard 100 miles away. ~Chinese Proverb

My mom always told us to mind our own business. It is a sign of respect to other people. But one Tuesday afternoon in the organic market in our area, I couldn't help myself eeves dropping two wine connoisseurs conversation. Their topic was how to make your own Home-made Orange Wine. I hope you like my Wordless Home-made Recipe this Wednesday.

This wine is just perfect for summer. The light and fruitful flavor of this wine will perfectly harmonize with the color and odor of the season.

Orange Wine

for every liter of white wine or rose wine you will need
2 organic oranges
20 cl of alcohol of at least 40% (I suggest you use Calvado, Armanac, Grand Marnier etc)
16 teaspoons of sugar

Cut the oranges in quarter. Mix the wine, alcohol and sugar together and let the oranges macerate for three weeks in this mixture. You need to put them in one big plastic container tighly covered like an empty water plastic container. Everyday you need to shake a little bit. After three weeks maceration, filter the wine twice to be sure that there is no more orange pulp left in the wine. Pour them on your wine bottles and put back the cork. Orange wines are served cold to accompany your white meat dishes, seafoods, or desserts. This wine is also best appreciated for the apperitif.

Drink moderately....

You can also try my other wine recipe:

Walnut wine

Lime Black Sesame Prawns with Asian herbs Spaghetti

Lime Black Sesame Prawns with Asian herbs Spaghetti

Dreams are often most profound when they seem the most crazy. I didn't said that but Sigmund did. :-)

I consider myself most creative when I sleep. Do not laugh at this its just simply because my subconscious mind could forge unfathomable images in my dreams. I am sure you will think that either Stephen King lives in me or I am just simply fool if I were to tell you how horrifying my nightmares are. But anyway who didn't have a scary one? We all suffered nightmares.

But imagine how hard it must have been for the young minds to confront them. Much worse if it's just an eleven month old baby that will have to brave all these. Well let's put it this way: my husband and I did not sleep well (at all) last night. It was brutally interrupted many times by our daughter's cry. We took turns several times in appeasing her. Well she's having her first nightmares. Our book said that this is normally the moment when babies have more nightmares. (What?) ( Does this mean there will be more moments like this? Sigh)

As I type this post I still have my eyes really drowsy. I think I will need to go back again to bed. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

By the way, this is my entry for this three delicious ingredients chosen by Peter of Kalofagas (the last month's winner. You need to check the cake he made it's awesome) for this month's Royal Food Joust, an event created by Jen of The Left Over Queen.

for the Lime Black Sesame Prawns

10 pieces of large prawns
2 tablespoons of grated lime rind
2 tablespoons of lime juice
salt, pepper
2 tablespoons of black sesame seeds
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
2 tablespoons of sesame oil

Peel prawn bodies leaving head and tails intact. Combine lime rind, lime juice, cumin seeds, black sesame seeds and sesame oil. Allow prawns to stand for about twelve minutes. Cook prawsn on a hot char grill or pan for 1 minute eadh side or until it changed into golden brown color.

for the Asian Herbs Spaghetti

500 g of spaghetti noodles
half a cup of Thai Basil leaves
1/4 cup of coriander leaves
2 tablespoons of light soy sauce
2 tablespoons of honey
1 tablespoon of lime juice
2 tablespoons of cooking wine like Mirin
salt, pepper

Cook the spaghetti noodles as indicated in a boiling water. Drain. Toss basil and coriander through spaghetti. Combine all the rest of ingredients and pour over the pasta. Toss to combine. Place the spaghetti on serving plate and serve with the black sesame prawns on the top.

Try my other related recipes:

Strawberrt Gazpacho and Basil
Drunk Shrimp in Sake
Spicy Fettuccini

Authentic Tempura Recipe

Zuccini Flowers

Say it with flowers.

I remember there was one time as a teenager when my youngest sister told me, that If my boyfriend would not offer me flowers he doesn't really love me. I know it sounded irrational but you know she's just being romantic. :-)

Flowers have long signified love, compassion, flirt (?) and admiration in our society. Their colors and beauty have awed almost all walks of life. But recently they have been creating delicious waves in our palate too. From vibrant Pansy flowers to immaculate Jasmin have not escaped the ingeniousness of our notorious chefs around the globe. In France alone, the blooming flower consumption have paved way to organized gastronomic promenade in the forest providing crash courses on comestible flowers in the nature. This naturally ends up in the kitchen where a cooking class awaits the participants.

I must admit that everytime I am in the market I am always tempted to savor these colorful petals but their lavish prices hinders me from doing. Naturally only this time I opted to settle for these delicious zuccini flowers that fits more my budget. Next time you'll have a bouquet of flowers think twice if you'll put them on your vase or on your plate.

Zuccini flower Tempura

Tempura batter:
(I got this recipe from my Japanese foster Mom in Osaka)

This is a standard recipe you can use for any type of tempura you want

The rule: Egg + Ice Water : Flour = 1 is to 1

The quantity of beaten egg and ice water should be equal to your flour. Mix the eggs with your ice water. Mix well. Add the sifted flour all at one time. Dont stir too much, the batter should be thin and lumpy to be sure your tempura is crispy. Add ice cubes. You can divide it into three portions and keep them in the fridge to prevent them from becoming sticky.

I'll be sending this recipe to Kelly our host for this week's Weekend Herb Blogging, that lovely event created by Kalyn. (I just got a message that this week's WHB was cancelled by Kalyn due tothe death of one of our friend in the blogging world Sher of What did you eat?).

Chocolate Charlotte with berries

Chocolate Charlotte with different kinds of berries

Making tough decision by definition is never easy nor fun. And I never consider myself a specialist in this domain neither. For I am the type that would probably do a mini myni mo or draw lots in making crucial decisions :-). So yesterday when a good friend of mine asked for my advice on a career decision move, I knew it was way out of my league.

She's one of the talented and intelligent person I know. And for one, she would never occupy that VP post in a big shipping corporation if she'st not well deserving. But she wanted to quit and leave everything she has worked hard for for years. I listened to her most of the time, I knew she needed someone to listen to her. And when it was my time to talk I just told her not to make any hasty move at the height of our emotions that she will regret afterwards. She thanked me and felt relieved afterwards. I am really glad to be of help.

Well she's not called Charlotte, but I do hope this edition of my Friday Dose of Chocolate will give her some dose of encouragement and happy thoughts.

I'll be sending over this Chocolate Charlotte with berries to Susan of Food Blogga, the lovely host of Sugar High Friday, playing along with berries .

Chocolate Charlotte with Berries

about 22 pieces of ladyfinger biscuits
about 15 g of gelatine powder
about 1/4 cup of raspberry coulis

150 g of dark chocolate

25 cl of heavy cream (very cold)

25 g of sugar

some ice
half a cup of raspberry syrup (or any berry syrup)

Start by warming up in a casserole hlaf of the raspberry syrup then add the gelatine powder. Cut the fire and pour in the raspberry coulis, mix well. Melt the chocolate in bain marie set aside. Whisk the cold heavy cream (you can put some ice on it) to make your cream chantilly. Add little by little your sugar. Fold in delicately the melted chocolate and the raspberry mixture. Dip lightly your ladyfinger biscuits on half of the remaining raspberry syrup and assemble it on your charlotte mold. If you prefer you can also make smaller charlotte using ramekin. Line up your dipped biscuits on the side of your mold, then pour your chocolate raspberry mixture. Refrigerate it for 24 hours. Decorate the top with berries of your choice.

Some Charlotte facts:

Charlotte is a typical chilled dessert with sponge cake or biscuits. It is normally serve cold during summer. You can vary you charlotte by putting bavarian cream, purée with gelatin or even chocolate mousse. You can also do some savory if you want. Its origin is vague, some claim it originated from the English word "charlyt" which means a dish of custard. While others claim it was named after Queen Charlotte the wife of King George III.

Try my other berries recipes:

Mango Blueberry Opera Cake
Home-made yogurt with red fruits
Poached pears with wild thymes and raspberries

Zuccini and Parmesan Bread

Zuccini and Parmesan Bread

I have one word to describe my post absences for the past days: virus! My computer unfortunately contracted an "unidentified virus" that wouldn't let me surf the net if my firewall wasn't down. It was a total headache for I never realised that it was indeed a virus. I thought it was the wifi captor that wasn't working very well. Anyways, it pays well to have a hubby that loves repairing computer :-) And thank God for his patience, for it wasn't the first time I caught a virus. :-)

Lesson learned: bake a good bread before announcing to your husband that your computer is broken. You have more chances he'll repair it.

I'll be sending this over to Aparna of Diverse Kitchen hosting the 12th edition of Bread Baking Day an even created by Zorra. And this is for Susan's weekly Yeastspotting.

Zuccini and Parmesan Bread

1 sachet of dry yeast (about 7 g or 1 tablespoon)
500 g of flour
40 cl of water
10 g of salt
1 small zuccini washed and grated
half a cup of grated parmesan cheese

I used a bread machine to knead this recipe. Put the flour, water, salt and yeast and press the button applicable for making bread. At the first beep of the machine add zuccini and parmesan. It will continue to knead the dough. Wait until after the first rise to get the dough and handle it on your floured table. Shape it accordingly to the forms you want and let it rise for the second time. Spray some water on the surface of the dough if you want a crispy bread on the top. Let it rise for an hour. Preheat the oven at 200° celsius and bake them for 30 minutes. Let them cool completely before enjoying them. You can serve them with salad or hot and cold soups.

Enjoy my other bread recipes:

Caramelized onion and Roasted Tomatoes Foccacia
Home-made Croissant
French Bread

Peanut butter Chocolate Maple Syrup Marble Cake

How many friends do you have?

My granddad popped us this question when we were kids. I proudly claimed that I have plenty. He looked at me and smiled and told me he only have very few. Why is that so we asked him. And he replied to us by telling that it is not the number that counts but the quality. He told us that he had very few friends but they were real and sincere friends. He then recounted the story way back during WWII of how his american friend saved the life of my granddad's family one night when a group of a Japanese soldiers attacked their village. He told us with teary eyes, you see if weren't for him I wouldn't be here to tell you this story. And this happened long long time ago. Everytime I look back at this moment, I know that this have served its purpose. Because I grew up with lots of friends. And I can proudly claim that they are real and sincere. For all the ups and downs of my life, they were there. I feel so lucky :-)

And as I type this post I am on my way to meet up with some bloggers. Well you see I thought of writing about friendship because never I would imagine to develop real friendship too through blogging. So this Friday edition of my Friday Dose of Chocolate I'll concocted this special peanut butter chocolate marble cake for them. See you later guys!

Peanut butter Chocolate Maple Syrup Marble Cake

3 eggs
120 g of sugar

175 g of flour
165 g of butter
3 tablespoons of maple syrup
2 tablespoons of peanut butter (put more if you are a great fan)
1 tablespoon of Nutella choco spread

50 g of dark chocolate
a pinch of salt
1 table spoon of baking powder

10 g of butter to grease the baking dish

Start by separating the yolk and white of your three eggs. Cream the yolks with your sugar, melted butter and maple syrup until it becomes creamy. Add the flour, salt and baking powder. Mix well. Beat the egg whites until they become stiff and fold in gently the mixture. Divide this cake mixture into two. Mix your melted chocolate and nutella spread on the other half and your peanut butter on the one. Pour the two flavors at the same time on a greased baking dish of your choice, or you can pour them alternately to make that marble effect that you want. Preheat the oven at 180° celsius and bake it for thirty to forty minutes. To avoid burning the top you can put an alluminum paper on the top of your cake during the last ten minutes of its cooking time.

Here are my other chocolate recipes:

Chocolate clafoutis muffin style
Sacher Torte

Toblerone Molten Cake