Home cooking journal


For a while we have heard about the delicious breakfast pastries, cakes, tarts, cookies and breads that are created everyday at Tartine Bakery in San Francisco, CA. After reading some great reviews and also knowing that the book was honored for James Beard Foundation Award for Excellence, we decided to get it and add it to our growing collection of cooking books. It’s definitely a  handsome book, full of great recipes. You can get yours at Amazon.

The first recipe that caught our eye, was “Pastel de Tres Leches” recipe or three milks cake. This cake is very popular in Mexico and Central America, but its origin is unknown. The pastry chef and the co-author of Tartine, Elisabeth M. Prueitt described the cake as soft, moist and delicately flavored and a perfect dessert after a spicy meal.

I have to say the results were delicious, but definitely we have to practice more the Chiffon cake to get it more airy and soft.

Coconut Chiffon Cake Yield: One 10-inch cake
(Split into 3 layers) 

All-purpose flour 2 1/4 cups [ 11 1/4 oz – 315 g ]
Sugar 1 1/2 cups [ 10 1/2 oz – 300 g ]
Baking Powder 2 tsp [ 10 ml ]
Nutmeg, freshly grated 1/4 tsp [ 1 ml ]
Salt 1 tsp [ 5 ml ]
Vegetable oil such as safflower or sunflower 1/4 cup [ 2 oz – 60 ml ]
Large egg yolks 6 [ 4 oz/125 mil ]
Water 1/4 cup [ 2 oz /60 ml ]
Unsweetened coconut milk 3/4 cup [ 6 oz – 175 ml ]
Large egg whites at room temperature 10 [ 11 oz – 325 ml ]
Cream of tart 1/2 tsp [ 2 ml]

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom of a 1o-inch springform pan with 3-inch sides with parchment paper cut fit exactly. Do not grease the side of the pan.

Sift together the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Add 1 1/4 cups (8 3/4 oz- 250 gr) of the sugar, nutmeg and the salt and whisk to combine. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, unsweetened coconut milk, egg yolks, water, vanilla, and lemon zest. Make a well in the flour, add the yolk mixture, and then whisk thorougtly and quickly for about 1 minute until smooth.

Place the egg whites in a large mixing bowl. Using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat on medium speed until frothy. Add the cream of tartar or lemon juice and beat on medium-high speed until the whites hold soft peaks. Slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup ( 1 3/4 oz – 50 gr) sugar and beat on medium high-speed until the whites hold firm, shiny peaks. Using a rubber spatula, scoop about one-third of the whites onto the yolk mixture and fold in gently to lighten the batter. Gently fold in the remaining whites just until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with an offset spatula if necessary. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes. Let cool in the pan (the side of the pan will help hold the structure of the cake as it cools) on a wire rack. To unmold, run a small thin knife around the sides of the pan to loosen the cake, peel off the parchment paper, and then use as directed. The cake will keep, well wrapped, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Coconut Syrup
Unsweetened coconut milk  1 cup [ 8 oz- 250 ml ]
Sugar 6 tbsp [ 2 3/4 oz – 80 gr ]
Vanilla extract 1 tsp [ 5 ml ]
Salt pinch

To make the coconut syrup in a small bowl, stir together the coconut milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt and stir until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.

Cake filling
Unflavored gelatin 1 1/2 tsp [ 7 ml ]
Water 2 tbsp [ 30 ml ]

Pastry cream recipe 2 1/2 cups [ 20 oz -625 ml ]
Whole milk 2 cups [ 16 oz – 500 ml ]
Vanilla bean 1/2 bean
Salt 1/4 tsp [ 1 ml ]
Cornstarch 3 tbsp [ 45  ml ]
Sugar 1/2 cup+ 1tbsp [ 4 oz – 115 gr ]
Large eggs 2
Unsalted butter 4 tbsp [ 2 0z -55 gr ]

Have a bowl ready for cooling the pastry cream with a fine-mesh sieve resting in the rim.
Pour the milk into a heavy saucepan. Split the vanilla bean half lengthwise and use the tip of a sharp knife to scrape the seeds from the pod halves into the milk. Add the salt, place over medium-high heat, and bring to just under a boil. stirring occasionally and making sure that the milk solids are not sticking to the bottom of the pan. The larger the batch, the more careful you need to be.

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and sugar. Add the eggs and whisk until smooth.

When the milk is ready, slowly ladle about one-third of the hot milk into to egg-milk whisking constantly. Pour the egg-milk mixture back into the hot milk and continue whisking over medium heat until the custard is a thick as lightly whipped cream, about 2 minutes. In order for the cornstarch to cook and thicken fully, the mixture must come just to the boiling point. You want to see a few slow bubbles. However, if the cream is allowed to boil vigorously, you will curdle the pastry cream. Remove from the heat and immediately pour through the sieve into the bowl. Let cool for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to release the heat and prevent a skim from forming on top.

Cut the butter into 1-tablespoon (15 ml) pieces. When the pastry cream is ready (it should be about 140°F). whisk the butter into the pastry cream 1 tablespoon at the time, always whisking until smooth before adding the next tablespoons.

To cool the cream, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the top of the cream. To cool it very quickly, place it in a shallow dish and press plastic wrap directly on top. Be careful whisking the cream once it is cold. Pastry cream will keep, well covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Heavy cream, very cold 1 cup [ 8 oz – 250 ml]

Caramel (optional) 1/2 cup [ 4 oz – 125 ml ]
This recipe is for 1 1/2 cups (12 fluid oz – 375 mil ]
Heavy cream 2/3 cup [ 5 1/2 oz – 150 ml ]
Vanilla bean 1/4 bean
Sugar 1 1/4 cup [8 1/2 oz – 240 gr ]
Water 1/4 cup [ 2 oz – 60 ml ]
Salt 1/4 tsp [ 1 ml ]
Light corn syrup 2 tbsp [ 30 ml ]
Lemon juice 3/4 tsp [ 4  ml ]
Unsalted butter 4 tbsp [ 2 oz – 55 gr ]

Pour the cream into a small, heavy saucepan. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and use the tip of a sharp knife to scrap the seeds from the pod halves into the cream. Place over medium-high heat and bring to just under boil. stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low to keep the cream warm.

In a medium, heavy sauce pan, combine sugar, water, salt, and corn syrup. Bring to a boil over medium heat stirring to dissolve the sugar. Then cook without stirring, until the mixture is amber colored, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat.

The mixture will continue to cook off the heat and become darker, so make sure to have your cream close by. Carefully and slowly add the cream to the sugar syrup. The mixture will boil vigorously at first. Let the mixture simmer down, and then whisk until smooth. Add the lemon juice. Let cool for about 10 minutes.

Cut the butter into 1-inch chunks and add them to the caramel one at a time, whisking constantly after each addition. Then whisk the caramel periodically as it continues to cool.

The caramel will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

To make the filling, sprinkle the gelatin over the water in small dish and let stand for a few minutes to soften. If using freshly made pastry cream and it still hot, whisk the gelatin into the entire amount, then place the bowl in an ice bath ( a large bowl filled with ice cubes and water) and the pastry cream cool before continuing. If using pastry cream that is cold, pour water to a depth of about 2 inches into a saucepan, place over medium heat, and bring to a simmer. Place 1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces -125 ml) of the pastry cream in a stainless-steel bowl that will rest securely in the rim of a sauce pan over, not touching, the water. Heat the pastry cream, whisking often, until it is very hot to touch, 4 to 5 minutes. Whisk half of the remaining cold pastry cream into the hot mixture, then whisk the rest.

Using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a whisk, whip the cream until it holds medium-soft peaks. Working quickly, gently fold the whipped cream into the pastry cream mixture with a rubber spatula. The cold cream will make the gelatin begin to set up at this point, so be sure you have all your cake components–moistening syrup, caramel (if using), and cake layers–and tools ready.

Place 1 cake layer in the bottom of the prepared springform pan. Using a pastry brush, moisten the layer evenly with one-third of the coconut syrup. If using caramel, drizzle half of it over the cake layer. Pour half of the filling over the layer and spread it evenly. Place the second layer over the filling pressing down gently with even pressure. Moisten this layer with half of the remaining syrup, and then drizzle over the remaining caramel (if using). Pour the remaining filling over the second layer. Place the third cake layer on top and moisten it with the rest of the coconut syrup. The top layer should come right up to the rim of the cake pan. Fold the over hanging plastic wrap over the top of the cake, covering completely. Place something flat, such as a flat plate or a baking sheet, over the cake, and press down gently to level the cake layers. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.

When you are ready to finish the cake, release and lift off the pan sides and peel away the plastic wrap. Using a wide  metal spatula, transfer the cake to a serving plate, if using, or leave it on the cake pan base.

Heavy cream, very cold 1 1/4 cup [ 10 oz – 300 ml ]
Sugar 4 tsp [ 20 ml ]

To make the topping, suing a mixer or a whisk, whip the cream until thickened. Add the sugar and whip until the cream holds soft peaks. Using an offset spatula, frost the top of the cake. The cake can be served immediately or kept cold in the refrigerator until ready to serve. It will keep for up to 5 days.


Published: 2 years ago
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During Fall you can find the most amazing and delicious variety of citrus and one of our favorites is blood oranges and Cara Cara. After watching the documentary Happiness is on the plate, and the episode about the chef David Kinch and his girlfriend Chez Pin, we decided to make some marmalade for the Winter, and save some of the flavors and aromas of these wonderful fruits.

After researching some recipes online, we decided to try two, one from Alton Brown and another from Elise Bauer. The results were perfect and the flavor and aroma just wonderful. Happy canning!

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Orange Marmalade by Alton Brown


  • 1 3/4 pounds oranges, 4 to 5 medium
  • 1 lemon, zest finely grated and juiced
  • 6 cups water
  • 3 pounds plus 12 ounces sugar

Special Equipment: 10 (8-ounce) canning jars with rings and lids, funnel, tongs, ladle, and 12-quart pot

Wash the oranges and lemon thoroughly. Cut the oranges into 1/8-inch slices using a mandoline, removing the seeds as you go. Stack the orange slices and cut them into quarters. Place the oranges into an 8-quart stainless steel pot. Add the lemon zest and juice and the water to the pot, set over high heat and bring to a boil, approximately 10 minutes. Once boiling, reduce the heat to maintain a rapid simmer and cook, stirring frequently, for 40 minutes or until the fruit is very soft.

While the fruit is cooking, fill a large pot (at least 12-quart) 3/4 full with water, set over high heat and bring to a boil. Place 10 (8-ounce) jars and rings, canning funnel, ladle, and tongs into the boiling water and make sure the water covers the jars by at least an inch. Boil for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the lids and leave everything in the pot until the marmalade is ready.

Meanwhile, place a small plate in the freezer. Increase the heat under the orange mixture to return to full boil. Add the sugar and stir the mixture continually, until it reaches 222 to 223 degrees F on a deep-fry or candy thermometer, and darkens in color, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. You may need to adjust the heat in order to prevent boil over. Test the readiness of the marmalade by placing a teaspoon of the mixture onto the chilled plate and allowing it to sit for 30 seconds. Tilt the plate. The mixture should be a soft gel that moves slightly. If mixture is thin and runs easily, it is not ready.

Remove jars from the water and drain on a clean towel. Place a canning funnel onto the top of 1 of the jars and ladle in the marmalade just to below the bottom of the threads of the jar. Repeat until all of the mixture has been used. The amount of marmalade may vary by 1 to 2 jars. Wipe the rims and threads of the jars with a moist paper towel and top each with a lid. Place a ring on each jar and tighten.

Return the jars to the pot with boiling water, being certain that they don’t touch the bottom of the pot or each other. (If you don’t have a jar rack, try a round cake rack, or metal mesh basket. Even a folded kitchen towel on the pot bottom will do in a pinch.) Add additional water if necessary to cover the jars by at least an inch. Boil for 10 minutes. Using canning tongs, carefully remove the jars from the water, place in a cool dry place and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 24 hours before opening. Once open, store in the refrigerator. Unopened marmalade will last for up to 6 months.

Seville Orange Marmalade by Elise Bauer


  • 3 lbs of Seville or bitter oranges (about 12 oranges)
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 lemons – 1 regular lemon and 1 Meyer lemon
  • 4 to 5 cups white granulated sugar

Equipment needed

  • 1 wide 5 or 6-quart pan (stainless steel or copper with stainless steel lining, not aluminum which will leach, hard anodized is okay)
  • An electric or mechanical juicer (you can juice all the oranges by hand but it is much easier and less time consuming with a juicer).
  • A sharp chef’s knife
  • A candy thermometer
  • A large (8 cup) measuring cup pourer
  • 5 to 6 8-oz canning jars
  • Potato peeler
  • A muslin jelly bag (for the pectin), or a large (18″ diameter) round piece of muslin, or several pieces of cheesecloth that you can tie up into a bag


Preparing the fruit

1 Scrub the oranges clean. Discard any that are damaged or moldy.

2 Cut the oranges in half and juice them, one by one, until you have 2 cups of juice. Set aside the juice. As you juice the oranges, also save the seeds and the membranes – put them in a separate bowl and set them aside. The seeds and membranes will be used for making pectin.

3 Taking a clean juiced orange half rind, use a spoon to dig out as much of the white pith as you can. The pith is bitter, so the more you can get out the better. But don’t worry if you can’t get it all out. What is pictured is the end result of one of my scrapings. It’s okay if there is still some pith. Use a sharp chef’s knife to thinly julienne the peel. Once you julienne all of the oranges that you juiced to make 2 cups of juice, you should have about 4 cups of peel. Set these julienned peels aside.

4 Juice the regular lemon and add this juice to the orange juice. Save the seeds for making pectin. Cut the Meyer lemon in eigths, lengthwise. Remove the seeds and as much of the inner membranes as you can easily remove. Cut the lemon segments crosswise into triangular pieces. (See the steps in the Meyer lemon marmalade recipe for photo descriptions.) Add the Meyer lemon seeds and membranes to the Seville orange seeds and membranes.

5 Put all of the citrus seeds and membranes into 4 layers of cheesecloth, tied up tightly with string, or into a muslin jelly bag.

First stage of cooking

1 Place the orange and lemon juices into a large thick-bottomed pot, either 5 or 6-quart. Add the julienned orange peels and Meyer lemon pieces and the water.

2 Place the cheesecloth or muslin bag containing the citrus seeds and pulp into the pot and secure the string at the other end to the pot handle. As the mixture cooks, the pectin from the seeds and membranes will be extracted into the mixture.

3 Bring mixture to a boil. Let boil, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, or until the peels are soft and cooked through. Remove from heat.

4 Remove the pectin bag and place it in a bowl to let cool until it is comfortable to touch.

Measure the fruit and add sugar and pectin

1 Pour out the mixture from the pot into a large measuring cup. Measure how much of the mixture you have. Depending on how hard of a boil and how long the cooking time, you could have anywhere from 4 to 5 cups. Return the mixture back to the pan.

2 Add to the mixture 7/8 cup of sugar for every cup of mixture. So, if you measured 4 cups of mixture, add in 3 1/2 cups of sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved, taste the mixture. Add more sugar depending on how sweet you want your marmalade to be. Note that the jelly mixture will reduce further, intensifying both the flavor and the sweetness of the jelly. I typically use 4 cups of sugar for every 4 cups of fruit mixture.

Once your pectin bag has cooled to the point you can handle it, squeeze it like play-doh to extract extra pectin. Grasp a tangerine size portion of the bag and squeeze, pulling the bag away from you with one hand as you hold firmly with the other hand. Work your way around the bag. “Milk” the pectin until you have released anywhere from 2 Tbsp to 4 Tbsp of pectin. It should take a few minutes. The pectin has the consistency of sour cream. Add it to the orange mixture.

Second stage of cooking

1 Heat the jelly mixture on medium high and bring it to a rapid boil, stirring occasionally, making sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan. Secure a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. The marmalade may take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes or so to set. After about 10 minutes, start checking it frequently.

2 There are two ways to test that the marmalade is ready to pour out into jars. One way is to check the thermometer for when the mixture reaches a temperature of 220-222°F (8-10°F above the boiling point at your altitude). Another way is to put a bit of it on a chilled plate and look for signs of it “wrinkling up” when you push it with your finger tip. Depending on how accurate your thermometer is, you might find the wrinkle test more reliable. Put several small plates into the freezer. As the jelly temperature exceeds 218°F, start testing it by placing a small amount of the hot jelly on a chilled plate. If the jelly spreads out and thins immediately, it isn’t ready. If it holds its shape a bit, that’s a good sign. Push up against it with your finger tip. If the jelly sample wrinkles at all, it is time to take the jelly off the heat and pour it out into jars.

When you use a candy thermometer to test the temperature of your mixture, make sure the probe is NOT touching the bottom of the pan. Make sure the indentation on the probe (with modern candy thermometers this is about an inch and a half from the bottom of the probe) is actually surrounded by the mixture. You may have to tilt the pan to one side, to cover the probe sufficiently to get a good reading.

I find the best jelly results from stopping the cooking as soon as the temp reaches 220° (I use a very accurate digital thermometer). At this point the test jelly is just barely wrinkling.

Overcooking a marmalade will result in a caramelized flavor or tough orange peels in your marmalade.


1 There are several ways to sterilize your jars for canning. You can run them through a short cycle on your dishwasher. You can place them in a large pot (12 quart) of water on top of a steaming rack (so they don’t touch the bottom of the pan), and bring the water to a boil for 10 minutes. Or you can rinse out the jars, dry them, and place them, without lids, in a 200°F oven for 10 minutes.

2 As the time approaches for the marmalade to be done, boil some water in a tea pot. Put the jar lids in a glass or ceramic bowl and pour the boiling water over them to sterilize.

3 Once the jelly has reached 220°F (or 8°F over the boiling temperature of water at your altitude) remove the jelly pot from the heat. Carefully ladle the jelly into the jars, one at a time, leaving 1/4 inch head space at the top of the jars for a vacuum seal. Wipe the rim clean with a clean, wet paper towel. Place the lid on the jar, securing with a jar ring. Work quickly.

If you want, you can process the jars in a hot water bath for 5 minutes to help get a better seal and to help prevent mold. If you used boiling water in an earlier step to sterilize the jars, you can just keep the same set-up for the water bath. You want to make sure there is a rack at the bottom of the pot so that the jars aren’t actually resting on the bottom of the pot.

4 Allow the jars to sit overnight. You will hear them make a popping sound as a vacuum seal is created.

Published: 2 years ago
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Prawn Chowder (Serves 4)
This is a particularly good soup for a cold winter’s night. It has all the warmth and comforting properties of a classic chowder, but with a kick of Peruvian heat to wake up your taste buds.

From the original recipe, we used red snapper and tiger shrimps. Great twist! Delicious results.

600 raw shell-on prawns
1 litre shellfish stock made using the heads and shells from the prawns.
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large red onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp Amarillo chilli paste or 2 tbsp tomato purée and 1 finely chopped red chilli
2 tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and finely chopped
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried oregano, plus extra to garnish
50 gr long-grain rice
1 large floury potato, peeled and cut into 2 cm cubes
1 choclo cob, kernels cut from the cob
100 ml single cream or evaporated milk
100 gr peas
4 eggs
50 gr Fresh Cheese or feta diced
4 large cooked shell-on prawn, to serve
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Prepare the prawns. Remove the heads and shells from the prawns and use them to make 1 litre Shellfish Stock. Devein the prawns and chill until needed.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Add the onion and sauté over low heat for 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and sauté for a further minute. Next add the Amarillo Chilli Paste and sauté until oil and paste start to separate.

Add the tomatoes, oregano, freshly made stock and the rice. Bring to boil and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the potato cubes and choclo and simmer for 20 minutes. The starch released from the rice and potato should start to thicken the soup.

Check the soup to test that the rice, the potato and choclo are cooked. Add the prawns, cream and peas and keep simmering for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, poach 4 eggs in a saucepan of boiling water or in an egg poacher.

Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the cheese. Pour into serving bowls and top each bowl with a freshly poached egg, a cooked shell-on prawn and a sprinkling of fresh oregano and serve immediately.

Evaporated milk is often used instead of single cream as it adds a sweeter flavor.

Fish stock
This recipe provides an excellent base for any fish soup, stew or sauce.

Put 200 gr of washed fish trimmings, 1 diced leek, 1 diced white onion, 1 diced celery stick, 1/2 a diced fennel bulb, 50 mil white wine, 1 garlic clove, 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, 1 thyme spring, 2 bay leaves and 1 litre cold water in a large sauce or stockpot and cover. Simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes and then reduce the heat to very low and continue to simmer for 30 minutes. Strain and reserve the liquid. Makes about a liter.

You can get Ceviche, Peruvian Kitchen book at Amazon

Published: 3 years ago
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Get Ceviche Peruvian Kitchen Book


Amarillo chilli tiger’s milk
Put 5 mm piece of fresh root ginger (cut in half), 1 small garlic clove (cut in half), 4 roughly chopped cilantro springs and the juice of 8 limes in a bowl. Stir and then leave to infuse for 5 minutes. Strain the mixture through a sieve into another bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons Amarillo Chilli Paste and mix well. This will keep for 4 hours in the fridge. You can transform this tiger’s milk into panther’s milk adding a drop of pisco.

Alfonso put some extra love, adding 1/4 half sheet of kombu and a pinch of bonito flakes. Very delicious indeed!

Basic chilli paste – Makes about 190 g
Put 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Heat over medium heat and then add 100 g frozen or fresh deseeded chillies of your choice or 35 g reconstituted deseeded and roughly chopped dried chillies, and 1/2 finely chopped small onion. Sauté over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly.

Add 2 crushed garlic cloves and sauté for 5 minutes until everything is very soft, being careful to make sure it doesn’t take on any color.

Put the contents of the saucepan into a food processor or blender and blitz until smooth. Store in the fridge in a sterilized jar. 


Don Ceviche – Serves 4

1 large red onion, very thinly sliced
600 gr halibut or other firm-textured white fish, skinned and trimmed
1 portion of Amarillo chilli tiger’s milk
1 few cilantro springs, leaves finely chopped
1 limi chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 sweet potato, cooked and cut into small cubes
Fine sea salt

Wash the sliced red onion and then leave it soak in iced water for 5 minutes. Drain throughly, spread out on kitchen paper or clean tea towel to remove any excess water and then place in the fridge until needed. This will reduce the strength of the onion and help to keep then crisp.

Cut the fish into uniform strips of around 3 x 2 cm. Place in a large bowl, add a good pinch of salt and mix together gently with a metal spoon. The salt will help open the fish’s pores. Leaves this for 2 minutes and then pour over the tiger’s milk and combine gently with the spoon. Leave the fish to “cook” in this marinate for 2 minutes.

Add the onions, cilantro, chilli and the cubed sweet potato to the fish. Mix together gently with the spoon and taste to check the balance of salt, sour and chilli in to your liking. Divide between serving bowls and serve immediately.

Instead of chopped cilantro leaves, we used cilantro oil to finish the dish.



Cilantro oil – Makes about 100 ml

Put 1 small bunch of fresh cilantro (leaves and stalks) in a saucepan with 100 ml vegetable oil and set over medium heat. Heat gently for 5 minutes, without boiling, to let the cilantro wilt. Take off the heat and leave it cool. Transfer the cilantro and oil to a food processor or blender and blitz until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve and decant into a sterilized bottle. Store in a cool, dark place.

This can be kept in the fridge for around a month.



Published: 3 years ago
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Pizza MargheritaNaplesPizza05_Web

A twist with anchovies, shallots and mushrooms

In the making
Alfonso making Fresh MozzarellaMozzarela01_Web


Pizza Dough Ingredients
Makes four 12-oz. balls

The secret to making this pizza dough is to let it slowly rise in the refrigerator for 48 hours–that’s what gives it its deep flavor and tender structure.

2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. olive oil plus more
1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp. kosher salt

1. Combine sugar, oil, yeast, and 2 cups cold water in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook; let stir until foamy, 8–10 minutes. Mix flour and salt in a bowl. With motor running, slowly add flour mixture; mix until a smooth dough forms, 8–10 minutes. Transfer dough so greased baking sheet; cover with plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature 1 hour.

2. Divide dough into 4 balls, transfer to a greased 9″ x 13″ dish; brush tops with oil. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate 48 hours.

Salsa di Pomodoro Fresco (Naples-Style Pizza Sauce)
Makes about 4 cups

2 28-oz cans whole peeled tomatoes (packed in purée)
2 tbsp. kosher salt

1. Remove each tomato from the can and reserve 3 cups of the purée. Cut the tomatoes in half and, using your fingers, remove and discard the seeds (don’t rinse)
2. Place the tomatoes in a food processor and pulse until just crushed but not purée. (Alternatively, crush the tomatoes by hand or pass then through a food mill.)
3. Transfer the tomato sauce to a bowl and stir in the reserved 3 cups of purée and salt.

Pizza Margherita
(Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Pizza)
Makes four 10″ pizzas
This most iconic of pizzas is topped with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and basil leaves, the colors of the Italian flag.

1 recipe Naples-style pizza dough
Fine semolina, for dusting
1 recipe Naples-style pizza sauce
1 lb. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced (We did the recipe by the Cheese Queen)
16 fresh basil leaves
Olive oil, to taste

Place a pizza stone under the broiler; heat for 30 minutes. Working in 4 batches, dust 1 ball dough with semolina. Using your fingertips, press dough into a 10″ circle about 1/4″ thick, leaving a 1″ crust around the edges. Hold dough straight up, and with fingertips around crust in a circular motion as you would turn a steering wheel until dough in the center is stretched to about 1/8″ thick; transfer to a semolina dusted pizza peel. Spread 1/2 cup sauce over dough, and distribute a quarter each of the cheese ad the basil leaves; drizzle with oil. Slide pizza onto stone; broil until cheese melts and crust is puffed and charred in spots, 3–4 minutes. Serve hot.


Published: 3 years ago
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Chocolate_Cupcakes_Web Buttermilk_Cupcakes_Web

Yellow buttermilk cupcakes (Makes 36)

3 cups cake flour (not self rising)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/4 cups sugar
5 large whole eggs plus 3 egg yolks, room temperature
2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Fluffy vanilla frosting
Round candy sprinkles for decorating (optional)

Preheat the oven to 35o°F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together both flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

2. With a electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium. Add whole eggs, one at the time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add yolks, and beat until thoroughly combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and beating until combined after each. Beat in vanilla.

3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating this halfway through, until cupcakes spring back when lightly touched and cake tester inserted in centers comes our clean, about 2o minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto rack and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

4. To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting. Refrigerate up to 3 days in airtight containers; bring to room temperature and, if desired, decorate with sprinkles before serving.

Fluffy vanilla frosting
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 pound (4 cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. With an electric mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes.
2. Reduce speed to medium. Add the confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup at the time, beating well after each additions and scraping down the sides of bowl as needed; after every two addition, raise speed to high and beat 10 seconds to aerate frosting, then return to medium. This process should take about 5 minutes. Frosting will be very pale and fluffy.
3. Add vanilla, and beat until frosting is smooth. If nit using immediately, frosting can be refrigerated up to 10 days in an airtight container. Before using, bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth, about 5 minutes.

Devil’s food cupcakes (Makes 32)

3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 cup hot water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon plus
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
Chocolate Ganache frosting
Chocolate curls, for decorating

Preheat the oven to 35o°F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together cocoa and hot water until smooth. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

2. Melt butter with sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring to combine. Remove from heat, and pour into mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add vanilla, then cocoa mixture, and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with sour cream, and beating until just combined after each>

3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire rack to cool 15 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

4. To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting. Refrigerate up to 3 days in airtight containers; bring to room temperature and, if desired, decorate with sprinkles before serving.

Chocolate ganache frosting
1 pound of good-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 1/3 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup corn syrup

1. Place chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Bring cream and corn syrup just to a simmer over medium-high heat; pour mixture over chocolate. Let stand, without stirring, until chocolate begins to melt.
2. Beginning near the center and working outward, stir melted chocolate into cream until mixture is combined and smooth (do not overstir)
3. Refrigerate, stirring every 5 minutes, until frosting just barely begins to hold its shape and is slightly lighter in color. Use immediately (ganache will continue to thicken after you stop stirring.

Published: 3 years ago
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The perfect dish for a cold day of winter is this Brazilian fish stew called Moqueca. It’s based on fish, onions, garlic, tomatoes and cilantro and cooked slowly, with no water added. We found this recipe on Saveur magazine issue #148.

Serves 6-8

1 ½ lb. boneless, skinless catfish filets, cut into 2″ pieces
8 oz. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ cup fresh lime juice
8 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 ½ small yellow onions (1 minced, ½ thinly sliced)
1 Italian frying pepper, stemmed, seeded (half minced, half thinly sliced)
2 plum tomatoes, cored (1 minced, 1 thinly sliced)
1 cup fish or vegetable stock
1 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp. palm oil
¼ cup minced cilantro
½ cup minced Thai basil leaves
Cooked white rice, to serve

Toss fish, shrimp, juice, half the garlic, and salt and pepper in a bowl; set aside. Heat olive oil in a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add remaining garlic, minced onion, and minced pepper; cook until soft, about 6 minutes. Add minced tomatoes; cook until broken down, about 5 minutes. Add stock, coconut milk, and palm oil; boil. Drain fish and shrimp and add to pot; cook until just cooked through, about 7 minutes. Add sliced onion, pepper, and tomato; cook, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro and basil; season with salt and pepper. Serve with rice.

Published: 3 years ago
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Last Saturday we received the latest Saveur magazine issue, featuring the world’s best donuts. On Monday Alfonso decided to try the Berliners recipe which somehow reminded us the Chilean “Berlines”, that came with the German immigrants in the mid 19th century. Even the results weren’t close to our memories, it was a fun process and as always a great cooking experience. He also made a chocolate ganache glaze and classic sugar glaze.

Makes about 2 dozens
If piping the jelly into these donuts proves challenging, use a paring knife to hollow out the donut, making a cavity for the jelly.

2 1/4-oz. packages active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups milk heated to 115°F
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 egg, plus 3 yolks
4 3/4 cups (1 lb. 5 oz.) all-purpose flour, sifted, plus more for dusting
Canola oil, for frying
2 cups seedless strawberry or plum jam, for filling

1. Combine yeast and milk in a bowl; let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Beat 1/2 cup sugar and butter in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until fluffy. Add yeast mixture, vanilla, salt, egg, and yolks; beat until combined. With the motor running, slowly add flour; beat until dough is smooth. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap; set in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into 14″ round about 1/2″ thick. Using a floured 3″ ring cutter, cut dough into 20 rounds, gather and reuse scraps. Transfer rounds to lightly greased parchment paper lined baking sheets, at least 3″ apart. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

3. Heat 2″ oil in a 6-qt saucepan until deep-fry thermometer reads 350°F. Using scissors, cut the donuts out of parchment paper, leaving about 1″ of paper around the sides of each donut (the paper makes it easier to transfer them to the frying oil). Working in batches, place donuts in oil, paper side-up, using tongs to quickly peel off and discard paper. Cook flipping once, until puffed and golden, 2-3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a baking sheet with a wire rack; let cool completely.

4. Place remaining sugar in a large bowl; set aside. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain 1/4″ tip with jam. Working with one donut at the time, insert tip about 1/2″ deep into the side of donut, pipe 2-3 tbsp. jam, and toss generously in sugar.

Dark chocolate ganache glaze
Makes about 2 cups
8 oz. dark chocolate, grated
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. unsalted butter

Mix chocolate, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a bowl. Bring cream and butter to a boil in a 1-qt saucepan. Pour cream over chocolate; let sit for 2 minutes without stirring. Whisk until smooth; chill until thick.

The cooking journey begins

Transfer the mixture to a lightly greased bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap; set in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into 14″ round about 1/2″ thick.



Using a floured 3″ ring cutter, cut dough into 20 rounds

Transfer rounds to lightly greased parchment paper lined baking sheets, at least 3″ apart.

The lovely aftermath…

The frying begins


The donut holes were a nice snack



Donut12_web   Donut09_web Donut08_web
Piping the berliners with strawberry jam

Donut07_web  Donut05_web Donut04_web Donut03_web  Donut01_web


Published: 3 years ago
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The latest Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel book is called Bouchon Bakery, a visual celebration of sweets, pastries and breads at his famous bakery. The book has inspired us with new ideas and techniques and open new paths in our kitchen. With care, precision and love this book is part of our favorite collection and definitely will be part of many upcoming features in our cooking journal. We invite you to try this raspberry macaron recipe at home, you will love the results.


Almond flour/meal
212 grams | 1 3/4 cups + 2 1/2 tablespoons

Powder sugar
212 grams | 1 3/4 cups + 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons

Egg whites
82 grams | 1/4 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons
90 grams | 1/4 cup +  2 tablespoons

Granulated sugar, plus a pinch for the egg whites
236 grams | 1 cup + 3 tablespoons

158 grams | 2/3 cup

Chefmaster Liqua-Gel Rose Pink food coloring
3 – 4 drops

You will need a Thermapen or another candy thermometer, a pastry bag with a 1/2-inch plain tip, and a pastry bag with a 3/8-inch plain tip. Baking in a convention oven is preferable; the tops of the macarons baked in a standard oven often develop small speckles, which can affect the texture (though not the flavor)

For the macarons: Because the cookies will be sandwiched, it is important that they be as close in size as possible. Even if you are proficient with a pastry bag, we suggest making a template, as we do. Use a compass or a cookie cutter as a guide and dark marking pen, such as fine-tip Sharpie.

1. Lay a sheet of parchment paper. Trace 4 evenly spaced 2 1/4-inch circles along the top long edge, leaving 1 inch of space between them. Trace 3 circles below them, spacing them between the first circles. Continue with another row of 4, followed by another row of 3. Turn the parchment paper over and lay it on a sheet pan. Lift up each corner of the parchment and spray the underside with nonstick spray to keep it from blowing up while cookies are baking. Repeat with a second sheet pan and piece of parchment paper.

2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (convection) or 400°F (standard).

3. Place the almond flour in a food processor and pulse to grind it as fine as possible.

4. Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar into a large bowl and whisk together. Mound the almond flour mixture, then make a 4-inch well in the center, leaving a layer of the flour at the bottom. Pour in the 82 grams | 1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons egg whites and combine with a spatula, stirring until evenly distributed. Set aside.

5. Place the remaining 90 grams/1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Combine the 236 grams | 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar and the water in a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until the syrup reaches 203°F/110°C.

6. Letting the syrup continue to cook, add the pinch of sugar to the egg whites, turn the mixer to medium speed, and whip to soft peaks. If the whites reach soft peaks before the syrup reaches 248°F/12o°C, reduce the speed to the lowest setting, just to keep them moving.

7. When the syrup reaches 248°F/120°C, remove the pan from the heat. Turn the mixer to medium-low speed, and slowly add the syrup, pouring it between the side of the bowl and the whisk; the meringue will deflate. Increase the speed to medium and whip for 5 minutes, or until the whites hold stiff, glossy peaks. Although the bowl will still be warm to the touch, the meringue should have cooled; if not, continue to whip until it is cool.

8. Fold one-third of the meringue into the almond mixture, then continue adding the whites a little at a time ( you may not use them all) until when you fold a portion of the batter over on itself, the “ribbon” slowly moves. The mixture shouldn’t be so stiff that it holds its shape without moving at all, but it shouldn’t be so stiff that it holds its shape without moving at all, but it shouldn’t be so loose that it dissolves into itself and does not maintain the ribbon; it is better for the mixture to be slightly stiff than too loose. Add 3-4 drops of food coloring into the finished meringue mixture and mix well.

9. Transfer the mixture to the  pastry bag with the 1/2-inch tip. Hold the bag upright 1/2 inch above the center of one of the traced circles and pipe out enough of the mixture to fill in the circle. Lift away the pastry bag and fill the remaining circles on the first pan. Lift up the sheet pan and tap the bottom of the pan to the spread the batter evenly and smooth any peaks left by the pastry bag. If using a convection oven, bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the tops and shiny and crisp. If using a standard oven, place the sheet pan in the oven immediately lower the oven temperature to 325°F, and bake for 9 to 12 minutes, until the tops are shiny and crisp. Set the pan on a cooling rack and cool completely. If using a standard oven, preheat it to 350°F again.

10. Pipe the remaining meringue mixture into the circles on the second sheet pan and bake as directed above. Let cool completely.


Makes 365 grams (1 2/3 cups)

Granulated sugar
38 grams | 3 tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon
38 grams | 3 tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon

Egg yolks
63 grams | 1/4 cup + 1/2 teaspoon

Whole milk
75 grams | 1/4 cup + 2 1/4 teaspoons

Unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature
250 grams | 8.8 ounces

1. Whisk 38 grams/3 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and the yolks together in a medium bowl; set aside.

2. Combine the milk and the remaining 38 grams | 3 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon of sugar in a medium saucepan, set over medium heat, and stir to dissolve the sugar. When the milk is at just below a simmer, remove the pan from the heat and, whisking constantly, pour it into the egg mixture. Return the mixture to the pan and place over medium heat. Whisking constantly, bring to a gentle simmer and simmer for 1 minute, lowering the heat if necessary to prevent the mixture from curling; it should be very thick.

3. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into the bowl of a stand mixer. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment, turn the mixer to medium, and whisk for 8 minutes, until the mixture is completely cool.

4. Add the butter, a few pieces at a time, to the egg yolk mixture. If at any point the mixture looks broken, increase the speed to re-emulsify it, the reduce the speed and continue adding butter. Check the consistency: if the butter cream is too loose to hold its shape, it should be refrigerated for a few hours to harder, then beaten again to return it to the proper consistency.

5. Add 50 grams | 2 tablespoons raspberry jam and mix for 1 minute, or until combined. If adding a jam center, use 80 grams | 3 1/2 tablespoons additional raspberry jam.

Be creative with buttercream flavors center. For example we like to make a peanut and jelly macaron. Peanut butter cream is piped around the edge and the center is filled with jam.

The butter cream can be stored in a container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 1 month; defrost frozen buttercream in the refrigerator overnight before using. Thirty minutes before using the buttercream, place it in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and allow it to soften. Then mix on low speed to return the buttercream to the proper consistency for piping or spreading.

Place the French buttercream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on medium-low speed until smooth and fluffy.

1. Transfer the buttercream to the pastry bag with the 3/4-inch tip.

2. Remove the macarons from the parchment paper, turn half of them over. Starting in the center, pipe 15 grams | 1 tablespoon of the buttercream in a spiral pattern on one upside-down macaron, not quite reaching the edges. Top with a second macaron and press gently to spread the buttercream to the edges. Repeat with the remaining macarons and filling.

The macarons are best if wrapped individually in a few layers of plastic wrap and frozen for at least 24 hours or up to 2 weeks.. Defrost in the refrigerator for 3 hours, then bring to room temperature before serving. They can be served the day they are made or stores in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.


Published: 3 years ago
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Yield: One 10-inch round loaf (1 1/4 pounds)
Equipment: A 41/2 to 5/1/2-quart heavy pot

2 1/4 cups bread flour (300 grams)
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (100 grams)
1 1/4 teaspoons table salt (8 grams)
1/2 teaspoon instant or active dry yeast (2 grams)
1 1/3 cups cool water (55 to 65 degrees F) 1 1/3 cups (300 grams)
Wheat bran, cornmeal or additional flour for dusting

1. In a medium bowl, stir together the flours, salt and yeast. Add the water and, using a wooden spoon or your hand mix until you have a wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let sit a room temperature until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough is more than doubled in size, 12 to 18 hrs.

2. When the first rise is complete, generously dust a work surface with flour. Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece. Using lightly floured hand or a bowl scarper or spatula, lift the edges of the dough in toward the center. Nudge and tuck in the edges of the dough to make it round.

3. Place a tea towel on your work surface and generously dust it with wheat bran, cornmeal, or flour. Fold the ends of the tea towel loosely over the dough to cover it and place it in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours. The dough is ready when it is almost doubled. If you gently poke it with your finger, it should hold the impression. If it spring back, let it rise for another 15 minutes.

4. Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 475 degrees F, with a rack positioned in the lower third, and place a covered 4 1/2- to 5 1/2-quart heavy pot in the center of the rack.

5. Using pot holders, carefully remove the preheat pot from the oven and uncover it.Unfold the tea towel and quickly but gently invert the dough into the pot, seam side up. (Use caution–the pot will be very hot; see photos, page 55.) Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes.

6. Remove the lid and continue baking until the bread is a deep chestnut color but not burnt, 15 to 30 minutes more. Use a heatproof spatula or pot holders to carefully lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool thoroughly.

Published: 4 years ago
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