Thursday, January 29, 2015

Dragon Cake

Martina's cake with candy wings and gingerbread spine
This is the cake I made for Martina's birthday last year. I got the design from my sister when I arrived at her house in the middle of a cake crisis. The cake was for her grandson’s birthday. All the pieces were there, but they weren’t coming together. I was able to get things back on track and we were all pleased with the results. 
great nephew's cake with fruit roll wings and chocolate cookie spine

Monday, January 26, 2015

Castle Cake

It’s fun to make special cakes for kids and for those of us who are kids at heart. This cake was for Martina’s birthday. She’s a sucker for children’s literature, fairy tales and such. Last year I made her a dragon cake. This year I wanted to come up with something new. I combined a few ideas I found on the internet with some my own ideas. This is what I ended up with.

I made 1 recipe of applesauce cake and divided the batter into 4 different sized round pans. Since I don’t have any small round pans, I used tin cans lined with baking paper for the top tiers.

Once the cakes were cool, I sliced off the tops to make each layer level, frosted them with enough frosting (see recipe below) to make my “stones” stick.

For the stones, I cut up Basler Läckerli to the proper size and stuck them to the cake.
I used Lego knights as cake toppers.
Vienna Cream Frosting
½ cup (100 g) butter or margarine
2 tablespoons milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract (or for chocolate frosting, 2-4 tablespoons cocoa)
1 ½ cups (200 g) powdered sugar 

Have butter at room temperature, cream together with milk and vanilla, then add half the powdered sugar and beat well. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and beat until well blended.

Glaçage au beurre
100 g de beurre

2 cuillères à soupe de lait

½ cuillère à café d’extrait de vanille (ou pour du glaçage au chocolat, 2-4 cuillères à soupe de cacao)

200 g de sucre glace

Mélanger le beurre ramolli avec le lait et la vanille puis ajouter la moitié du sucre glace et bien battre. Ajouter le reste du sucre glace et battre encore jusqu’à ce que le mélange soit bien crémeux.

Thursday, January 22, 2015


Here’s a vegetarian soup recipe that’s full of the vitamins you need on a cold winter’s day. For a gluten free variant, replace the macaroni with 3 ounces of quinoa and the bouillon cubes with salt to taste.

2 large carrots
2 medium onions
2 stalks celery
2 medium zucchini
2 10-g vegetable bouillon cubes
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 15-ounce can (400 g) diced tomatoes
4 ounces (120 g) cooked navy beans
4 ounces (120 g) cooked kidney beans
3 ounces (90 g) macaroni

Peal and dice the carrots, chop the onion and the celery. Boil for 10 minutes in 1 quart of water on the stove in a medium-sized pot. Dice the zucchini, add to the pot and boil for 5 more minutes. Add the next 5 ingredients. Bring to a boil, add the macaroni and cook until done. Salt and pepper to taste.


2 grandes carottes

2 oignons moyens

2 branches de céleri

2 courgettes moyennes

2 cubes de bouillon de légume

¼ cuillère à café de poudre d’ail

1 boite de 400 g de tomates hachées

120 g de haricots blancs

120 g de haricots rouges

90 g de macaroni

Peler et couper en dés les carottes, hachez l'oignon et le céleri. Faire bouillir pendant 10 minutes dans 1 litre d'eau dans une casserole de taille moyenne. Couper les courgettes, ajouter dans la casserole et faire bouillir pendant encore 5 minutes. Ajouter les 5 ingrédients suivants. Porter à ébullition, ajouter les macaronis et cuire jusqu'à ce qu’ils soient cuits. Ajouter du sel et poivre selon les goûts.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Clam Chowder

Nothing adds flavor to homemade soup like a little bacon grease! Mama Denny (my maternal grandmother) always had a jar of it sitting on her kitchen windowsill and so did Mom. My bacon grease is in a little cream pitcher in the fridge.

Clam Chowder
6 strips of bacon
5-6 medium potatoes
1 small onion
1 10-g vegetable bouillon cube
1 cup (2.4 dl) of milk
1 10-ounce /280 g) can baby clams

Fry the bacon and set aside. Peal and dice the potatoes, chop the onion very fine. Cook on the stove in a pot with 1 ½ cups water and the liquid from the can of clams until the potatoes are tender. Add the milk, 1 tablespoon of bacon grease, and the bouillon cube. Bring to a boil then turn off the heat. Add the clams and crumbled bacon.

Soupe aux palourdes

6 tranches de lard à griller

5-6 pommes de terre moyennes

1 petit oignon

1 cube (10 g) de bouillon de légume

2,4 dl de lait

1 boite (280 g) de palourdes

Griller le lard et mettre de côté. Peler et couper en dés les pommes de terre, hacher l'oignon très fin. Cuire dans une casserole dans 4 dl d'eau et le liquide de la boîte de palourdes jusqu'à ce que les pommes de terre soient tendres. Ajouter le lait, 1 cuillère à soupe de graisse de lard et le cube de bouillon. Porter à ébullition puis éteignez le feu. Ajouter les palourdes et le lard grillé émietté.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Linz Pie

I’ve adapted this traditional Swiss Linz Pie recipe from a Betty Bossy cookbook. I bet you didn’t know Betty Crocker had a Swiss counterpart! She has made her way into most Swiss kitchens, including mine. You might enjoy a slice of this pie for breakfast if you are into dessert for breakfast like we are. If you have time to waste, I mean time to put some extra love into your baking, you can make mini Linz Pies instead of one big one or two medium pies.

Linz Pie
¾ cup margarine
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
1 pinch salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ (150 g) ground almonds or hazelnuts
1 cup (150 g) flour
* (200 g) raspberry jam

Mix margarine and sugar. Add the egg and continue beating until the mixture whitens*. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Chill the dough ½ hour. Roll out a good half of the dough and lay it on the bottom and ½ inch up the edges of a 10-inch (25 cm) pie plate. Spread the jam over the dough. Roll remaining dough, cut into strips and crisscross over jam. Cut pieces sticking out. Bake at 375° F (190° C) on lower rack for 25-30 minutes.

Gâteau de Linz

150 g de margarine

150 g de sucre

1 œuf

1 pincée de sel

¼ cuillère à café de cannelle

½ cuillère à café de poudre à lever

150 g d’amandes ou noisettes moulues

150 g de farine

200 g de confiture de framboises

Mélanger la margarine et le sucre. Ajouter l’œuf et continuer à travailler jusqu’à ce que le mélange blanchisse. Ajouter les ingrédients secs et bien mélanger. Laisser reposer la pâte ½ heure au frais. Abaisser une bonne moitié de la pâte sur le fond et sur ½ cm du bord d’un moule de 25 cm. Répartir la confiture sur la pâte. Abaisser le reste de la pâte, couper en bandes et déposer en croisillons sur la confiture. Couper les morceaux qui dépassent. Cuire à 190° C sur la grille inférieure pendant 25-30 minutes.

Monday, January 12, 2015

No-bake Cheesecake

The tart red currents from our backyard are the perfect cheesecake fruit topping. On special occasions, I prepare the cheesecake in 8 individual dishes, as pictured above.

No-bake Cheesecake
1 ½ cups (180 g) graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup (70 g) melted butter
2 tablespoons sugar 

Combine and press into bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan.

1 cup (2.4 dl) warm milk
4 sheets of gelatin softened
14 oz. (400 g) mascarpone
½ cup (100 g) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup (2.4 dl) cream whipped 

Dissolve the gelatin in the milk. Beat together next 4 ingredients. Pour in the milk and beat until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream. Spread over graham cracker crust. Chill 2 hours in fridge.

2 cups (5 dl) fruit
¼ cup (50 g) sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

In saucepan, mix cornstarch and sugar in juice from the fruit (or ¼ cup of water, if no juice). Bring to a boil stirring continuously. When mixture begins to thicken, turn off heat, add fruit and stir well. Once cooled, pour over cheesecake. (8-10 servings)

Fond :
180 g de biscuits écrasés (genre spéculoos)
70 g de beurre fondue
2 cuillères à soupe de sucre
Bien mélanger et presser au fond d’un moule à charnière de 23-25 cm.
Farce :
2,4 dl de lait tiède
4 feuilles de gélatine ramollies
400 g de mascarpone
100 g de sucre
1 cuillère à café d’extrait de vanille
2 cuillères à soupe de jus de citron
2,4 dl de crème entière, fouettée
Dissoudre la gélatine dans le lait. Bien battre les 4 ingrédients suivants. Rajouter le lait et battre jusqu’à ce que le mélange soit crémeux. Incorporer la crème fouettée. Etaler sur le fond de biscuits. Mettre au frigo 2 heures.
Garniture :
500 g de fruits
50 g de sucre
1 ½ cuillère à soupe de maïzena
Dans une petite casserole, délayer le sucre et la maïzena dans le jus des fruits (ou un peu d’eau s’il n’y a pas de jus) et porter à ébullition. Dés que le mélange commence à épaissir, éteindre, rajouter les fruits et bien remuer. Une fois refroidi, verser sur le cheesecake. (8-10 portions)

Friday, January 9, 2015

Spinach Quiche

I like to serve this quiche when I have friends over for lunch. This is how I got my kids to eat and enjoy spinach!

Spinach Quiche
6 slices bacon (or 3 slices of ham, chopped)
1 onion, chopped
5 ounces (150 g) grated sharp cheese
5 eggs
1 cup (2.4 dl) light cream
5 oz (150 g) chopped spinach
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon flour
1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust

Cook and crumble bacon. Sauté onions in 1 tablespoon bacon grease. Spread bacon, onions and cheese on pie crust. Beat remaining ingredients and pour in pie. Bake in 375° F (190°C) oven for 30 min.

Quiche aux épinards

6 tranches de lard à griller (ou 3 tranches de jambon coupées en dés)

1 oignon haché

150 g de fromagé râpé

5 œufs

2,4 dl de crème

150 g d’épinards hachés

¼ de cuillère à café de sel

1 cuillère à soupe de farine

1 pâte à gâteau dans un moule rond de 22 cm

Cuire le lard à la poêle et casser en petits morceaux. Faire revenir les oignons dans 1 cuillère à soupe de la graisse du lard. Eparpiller le lard grillé, les oignons et le fromage sur la pâte. Battre le reste des ingrédients et verser dans le moule. Cuire au four à 190° C pendant 30 min.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Epiphany Kings Bread

Dad’s parents didn’t remember when he was born. He celebrated his birthday on May 13th, but that was the day he was christened. His parents wanted to name him Stephan, but the priest insisted his name would be Epiphanius. So it’s very possible he was born on January 6th, St Epiphany Day. Of course he loved that holiday. The tradition here is to share a sweet bread shaped like a wreath. A dried bean (or a porcelain king) is hidden in one of the section. The person who finds the king gets to wear a crown that day. I use the same recipe as for St Nicolas bread men. One recipe is enough for two wreaths formed with eight balls. I have a collection of porcelain kings from the local bakery where Dad bought his kings bread every year.
Dad and Justin
Justin was often the lucky one

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Black-Eyed Peas

In Tennessee, where Mom was from, it was good luck to eat black-eyed peas, along with ham and cornbread, on New Year’s Day. I used to bring my black-eyed peas back from the States until I found out they actually have them at the Srilankan store down the street. We try to perpetuate the tradition every January 1st. Happy New Year!
January 1, 2014