After baking it, cut it into layers and fill with your favourite filling. It was soo much fun to see the cake grow inside the tin can. And really, it was very easy. We think is a nice and different way to bake! Hope you like it!
A few days back I took a photo of the porringer I had as a baby, and which I still use daily for my children. It is just the perfect size and shape, shallow with a ridge, so it’s easy to scoop out the purees or soup. The thick stoneware ensures the food quickly cools down a little, but also keeps the food naturally lukewarm afterwards. I love that porringer, and I still remember eating from it as a child! (On Instagram, there were a few people who told me they had exactly the same porringer as a child, and many of them still have them! Do you still have yours?)
I really treasure these old relics from my childhood, and I love it when I visit friends or family from my parents’ generation, and they pull out the stoneware dishes and silverware they used as a child and still have and use for their grandchildren.
Sarah Nicholas Williams of Radish Moon recognised the beauty and practicality of those vintage dishes, and started producing a series of handmade stoneware porringers adorned with her gorgeous, whimsical watercolour illustrations. And they are absolutely beautiful! They are dishwasher and microwave safe, so practical for families, and have a similar shape and thickness to my vintage Peter Rabbit dish (which I’ve tried and tested for long enough to know it is perfect)! I have already placed my order, hoping that one day, my children can pull out a Radish Moon porringer for their grandchildren.
I had my 21st birthday (a girl can dream, right?) last month and decided to gift myself with my favorite cake – carrot cake with yoghurt icing. I wanted to come as close as possible to the one they sell in Starbucks here in Germany (it is to DIE for!!!) and I think I kind of did (next time I just need to add walnuts).
I found this amazing recipe, made a few of my own adjustments and the outcome is one easy-to-make, super delicious and one of the moistest cakes I ever had! Plus it’s much much healthier than the one from Starbucks. It goes something like this:
2 cups (300 g) whole spelt flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1⁄2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon (or even more if you love it as much as I do)
1 tsp. ginger
1 cup sugar
3⁄4 cup applesauce
1⁄2 cup olive oil (or any other kind)
400 g finely grated carrots
600 g cream cheese
400 g Greek yoghurt
100 white chocolate
Powdered sugar to taste (I used about 3 spoons)
Preheat the oven to 175°C. In one bowl mix all the dry ingredients minus sugar (flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger). Now in a large bowl combine the rest of the ingredients except for the carrots (eggs, sugar, apple sauce and oil). Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir just until combined. Add the grated carrots.
Bake twice – so use only half of the batter first and bake for about 13 – 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Let cool for a minute or two and turn onto a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the rest of the batter.
For the frosting first melt the white chocolate and set aside. Then beat together cream cheese, yoghurt and powdered sugar. Make sure the chocolate is lukewarm and slowly mix it in. Put the frosting into a refrigerator for about 2 hours.
Layer the bottom and the side of the cake pan with parchment paper like this. Cut one cake on half horizontally and put one half into the pan, spread about 1⁄4 of the icing, put the other half on, spread another quarter of icing and repeat the same with the other cake. Leave in a refrigerator over night then put the cake on a cake tray and spread the rest of the icing over the top of the cake.
My kids and I are really into making rice paper rolls these days — a very fun and healthy cooking activity, which they love! Dried rice paper is available from the Japanese store (you get about one hundred sheets for a few euros). The fillings can vary — we’ve tried cucumber, carrot, avocado, celery and crab sticks. Other good filling are: red pepper, prawns, tofu, bean sprouts, spring onion, Chinese cabbage, egg omelette, fresh herbs (coriander, mint) and chicken strips. They can be completely veggie or kosher, depending on the fillings you choose, and are gluten free!
Place the fillings in little bowls on the table, together with a bit of (Japanese) mayonnaise. My kids love cutting veggies (and are pretty good at it!) so I slice them in fairly big chunks and let them do the rest. Soak a sheet of rice paper into a bowl of lukewarm water until it’s soft, about 15 seconds, and place on the table. Spread a little bit of mayonnaise onto the paper, and choose the topping you like to use. Fold over sides of paper and roll up to close. Done!
You can make a quick dip sauce (combine rice vinegar, lime juice, sping onion and a bit of fish sauce, minced red chilli, mint and coriander) or serve with sweet chili sauce.
We discovered Jamie Oliver’s vegetarian chili recipe a couple months ago, and have made it nearly once a week since. It’s so yummy, and so easy to make. And it’s one of those meals you can make at the end of the week when your fridge is empty and you can’t think of anything else to make. Most of the ingredients are canned ingredients you’ll have in your pantry, or spices you’ll probably have in the cupboard. The fresh ingredients you’ll need are sweet potatoes, peppers, chillis and coriander (unless, like us, you have a stash of frozen coriander in your freezer). Give this recipe a go — I’m certain you’ll love it too!
Image taken from the Jamie Oliver website.
This bulghur lentil salad has been a huge success in our house lately. It’s easy to make, easy to keep, easy to take along (picnics!), and easy to eat as well. Our kids love it! And I imagine it’s quite healthy too.
Here’s the recipe:
- 1 cup Puy lentils
- 1/3 cup bulghur
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 cup finely chopped fresh herbs (like parsley, basil, coriander, mint)
- 1/2 cup good olive oil
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- fresh ground pepper, maldon salt
Cook Dupuy lentils according to instructions (don’t overcook, it’s nice when they still have a bite to them, I cook them for about 25 minutes and rinse them with cold water immediately after), and prepare the bulghur acording to instructions as well. Leave to cool. Mix all of the ingredients well. Add more salt and pepper, olive oil, herbs and lemon juice to taste.
PS I often double the recipe and keep some in the fridge for a lunch, picnic or side dish later that week.
My sister recently suggested I read Green for Life by Victoria Boutenko. She said the book had changed her life! (How’s that for a recommendation?!) Ms. Boutenko is a raw foods pioneer and natural health advocate. She writes about the immense health benefits of eating more greens — how they eliminate toxins in the body and correct nutritional deficiencies. She suggests that the easiest way to consume sufficient amount of greens is to make and drink green smoothies.
And thus began our addiction to green smoothies!! We make them every day. It’s such an easy way to eat spinach, kale, chard and other extremely healthy green vegetables. She also argues that we should be eating more of the green parts of vegetables — the green bits of strawberries (just throw the whole strawberries, stems included, into your blender!), the greens of carrots, beet greens, etc. I don’t think I’ll ever toss those green bits away again! Plus, it’s so much easier to throw it all into your blender without removing the stems.
In addition to the greens, we also add sweet fruit like bananas, mangoes, strawberries, apples, etc. So the smoothies are not only extremely healthy, they’re super yummy! My kids are as addicted as I am! Here is one of our favourite sweet green smoothie recipes from the Green for Life book:
1 cup chard
1 cup spinach
10 strawberries, stems included
1 mango, peeled
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cups water
And another recipe we also like (a bit less sweet – more healthy tasting!) is this one which we’ve sort of created ourselves:
1-2 cups of spinach
1 bunch of mint, stems included
1 bunch of parsley, stems included
1 cup apple juice
Try it! It’s delicious! And please share your green smoothie recipes. We would love to have more options!
Do your kids love eggs so much too? Ava, our 2 year old, is especially a total egg addict — she could eat 5 eggs a day if I let her! My mum used to say that eating more than 3 eggs a week was bad for your health, it would be bad for your cholesterol level (and thus blamed for an increased risk of heart disease). Nowadays, thoughts about eggs are quite different — apparently they are great sources of protein and vitamins, and eating one egg a day has positive effects on health and cholesterol levels rather than negative ones. Good for Ava (and good for the Easter bunny)!
It’s hard to resist these insta-cute packaged Easter party decorations by Meri Meri. From paper plates to egg hunt bags to dressing up bunny ears! Everything you need for a festive Easter holiday! (Of course I had to pick up the bunny ears to bring with me when we visit Esther and family over Easter. Stay tuned for photos of all our kids dressed as bunnies!) And how fun are these cupcake kits?!
Meri Meri takes the hard work out of party prepping by offering coordinating themed party wear, all in the sweetest, most festive designs. Gotta love that. Available from Little Baby Company.
These Indian eggs were quickly made using a black marker, some masking tape and a little feather or pipe cleaner. I put them in my kids’ lunch boxes as a surprise, but I thought it would also be fun to make them for Easter. So easy, and so cute!
If you follow me on Instagram, you will have already seen the photo above. When these clever collapsible water bottles arrived, we were all so impressed with them that I had to immediately take a photo! Isn’t it such a cool concept? It’s a water bottle that collapses down to itty bitty pocket size. Which means you can easily take them out in your handbag and fill them up when you get thirsty. So much better than buying a bottle of water and contributing to the masses of plastic bottles piling up in landfills!
Today I am so happy to write about Terron de Azucar, a lovely spanish brand, run by Rebeca, which makes the most beautiful mini candy bars!!! All in them are so full of details, and all of that in a mini size.
Aren’t they lovely? All made by hand by her and personalized with the theme you want. It makes a wonderful present for the kids. I have tried them myself and I can say they are just wonderful.
Great job Terron de Azucar!
A long time ago I blogged about one of my favourite cookbooks: Je sais cuisiner or I Know How To Cook, as it is now known in English. It is the equivant to the ‘Joy of Cooking’ here in France and it was lovingly edited for the English version by Clothilde Dusoulier from the fabulous blog Chocolat and Zucchini.
Now the equally fabulous Je sais faire de la patisserie has been translated and edited by Clothilde. The Art of French Baking has every single recipe you could ever want to bake in it. From madeleines, via éclairs to macaroons, you will find all the classic recipes in this book. It was first published in 1938 so the recipes are definitely classic, but they are the type of classics that never go out of fashion!
My sister recently discovered this recipe for homemade chocolate mint patties on Design*Sponge and we were intrigued for two reasons: the first being that they look SO tasty (and who doesn’t love mint patties?!) and the second being that you get to make the mint filling, roll it out flat, cut shapes, and then dip the shapes into chocolate. Fun!
My sister and Ivy decided to make them (again, thank goodness for my sister!) and it was a relatively easy and fun recipe to follow… and they are the most delicious mint patties I have ever eaten. SO. DARN. GOOD.
p.s. Ivy started calling the them ‘mint patios’, so now mint patties are officially called ‘Mint Patios’ in our house. (I nearly wanted to title this post ‘mint patios’, but figured you all might be confused.) : )
Take the cake pops maker, which my girls were given for Christmas. It will definitely not be used daily, but it is great to have for rainy afternoons and birthday parties. It’s actually a great alternative to cupcakes.
I know cake pops have been around a while now in the US and the UK, but they have not arrived in Paris yet, so I am looking forward to introducing them to Paris, one cake pops at a time!
Crystal, one of our readers, sent us this beautiful image of a giant cookie she made with her 2 children a few weeks ago. It’s a lemon poppy shortcake that was carved before baking, and the photo was used for their Christmas cards this year. What a great idea!
Crystal was so sweet to write down the recipe / method for us — so here we go. Thank you, Crystal!
Lemon-Poppy Seed Shortbread (from Claudia Fleming, The Last Course)
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until creamy and smooth, about two minutes. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla and beat well. In a bowl, combine the flour, poppy seeds, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix until combined. Form the dough into a disk and, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours (and up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months.) Preheat oven to 170° C. Roll the dough between two sheets of wax paper to a 1/2-cm thick rectangle. Return dough to refrigerator for an additional 30 minutes.
For normal cookies: Cut the shortbread into shapes with a two-inch cookie cutter, or use a knife, and place 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. The original recipe says not to re-roll the scraps, but my kids didn’t want to stop, and it seemed like a waste of potential cookies, so we kept re-rolling and cutting until we had used everything up -to no noticeable effect on the baked cookies. Prick shortbread with a fork and bake until pale golden all over, 23 to 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
For a giant cookie: After rolling it out to the rectangular shape I wanted, I popped it onto the baking tin, covered it with cling film and popped into the freezer for around 10 minutes. I kept doing this each time during the cutting to ensure that the cookie mixture was firm enough to carve/cut. I used a toothpick to sketch out the main shapes and then used a small sharp paring knife to cut out fuller shapes out around the toothpick lines. I then used a wooden chopstick dipped in water to smooth the inside of some of the cut lines that hadn’t cut so well. The cookie definitely cut better when it had just come out of the freezer, so I kept popping it in and out quite frequently during the process. I actually did this part while my kids were taking their afternoon nap -it would have been quite boring for them to watch this part. By the time they woke up, we gathered the scraps, ruled them into a few extra creatively shaped cookies, and the whole thing was ready to go into the oven! We kept a close eye on it’s cooking, and after about 25 minutes took it out when the edges were beginning to brown. Then we had to be really patient, (ok, maybe not that patient! There were a couple of the extra cookies to nibble on) while the giant cookie cooled down. It slipped off the tray perfectly, and we were able to photograph it right away. Finally we all had fun breaking up our giant cookie to lots of small irregular sizes and packing them away for tea later!
A very special place, full of lovely things and lovely atmosphere. And really nice to visit with your kids!
After Madrid in Love, we went to a very nice place in Madrid. If you are looking for something sweet and tasty, Mama Framboise is the place. Amazing and super nice desserts.
If you happen to be in Madrid, I think they are a couple of lovely places to visit.
Once every few weeks we come together with a couple of friends on a week night and we cook up something interesting. So far we’ve made anything from pickled cucumbers, spicy red onions jam, red beet chutney, to the original plum pudding (with suet!). Yesterday we made our own mustard, which was a simple project with amazing results that I had to share with you. It would make an easy and lovely gift for the holidays — by itself or paired with a nice piece of great cheese. We found the recipe in ‘Home Made’ by Yvette van Boven, which BTW would also make a lovely holiday gift!
For two smaller or one bigger jar of mustard, just combine the below ingredients in the food processor and whizz for about 5 minutes:
- 100 g mustard seeds
- 200 ml white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon kurkuma
- 50 g cane sugar
- pepper and salt to taste
When you’ve reached the consistency you like, spoon the mustard in clean jars and seal. Store in the fridge until use. It is said the taste will improve after a few weeks but I’m sure ours will be gone immediately — it is that good.
Note: We used white wine vinegar with tarragon and it made a lovely mustard with an interesting twist. You can also play around with honey instead of sugar, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, cloves, chilli etc., or roast the mustard seed beforehand for a more nutty flavour.
My sister is visiting us from Seattle — she arrived the day before Marlow was born, and she’s staying with us through Christmas. I can’t even begin to describe how happy this makes me! She is so much help with the kids and with the baby. I really don’t know how I will survive when she leaves.
Another bonus — she bakes! She recently made this delicious Pumpkin and Cranberry Bread for us and it is sooo yummy. It’s so perfect for this time of year. (The recipe makes two loaves — but we decided to make cupcakes for the kids because they’re easier for them to eat.) The recipe comes from Lena Corwin, as featured on Design*Sponge.