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A thing of beauty…

I haven’t written in ages. I haven’t stopped cooking or reading; just didn’t have to time to write about it ūüôā but today I’m lying in bed with a bad back (after soooo long without any problems ūüė¶ ) so I find I suddenly have the time. Silver lining, right?

So. This used to be¬†the¬†cake I made for my mom’s birthday… until it wasn’t. Then my mom suddenly requested it again. As I no longer have wheat flour, I made it gluten free, but use the flour you have on hand. This is based on “Fruit and cream cake” in “Cakes for all Seasons” by Nira Scheuer.

Ingredients

Dough: (this makes double the amount, I put half in the freezer for the next pie)
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour or Tami gluten free flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp lemon zest
pinch salt
150 gr margarine or butter

Cream:
1 box whipping cream (250 ml)
1 cup milk (240 ml)
1 packet instant vanilla pudding (80 gr)
1 box white cheese (5% fat)

Fruit Topping:
Canned (600 gr with the juice) or fresh (1/2 kg) soft fruit, sliced. I used canned peaches.

Instructions

Preheat oven to 200¬įC.

Dough: Mixed everything in a food processor until it forms a ball. Do not over process. Put half in a bag in the freezer for next time; press the rest into a pie plate*. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden. Let cool.

Cream: whip the cream,milk and pudding together until fluffy. Add the white cheese and whip until blended. Put mixture into cooled pie shell. Flatten top.

Fruit: Arrange slices on top of cream in an aesthetically pleasing way (or not ūüėČ ). Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.

Tip: if using canned fruit, blend the syrup with leftover canned or fresh fruit and freeze into popsicles.

Bon Apetit!

* There’s a rumor that someone has invented the “rolling pin” with which you can roll the dough into a perfect circle and then transfer it with panache to a pie plate. I’ve never believed it.

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I have back problems, as you may have gathered. And it really amazes me sometimes how every expert you see sees things from his point of view. The¬†orthopaedic¬†told me I don’t have anything at all which was surprising (“So I’m not in pain now? How wonderful!”); the osteopath told me that I suffer from¬†misalignment¬†of ¬†the pelvic bones, common to women who have given birth, and I should be fine after three sessions (I wasn’t, though I suppose my pelvic bones are aligned now); The physiotherapist told me my stomach and lower back muscles aren’t strong enough and gave me exercise for them – great for my figure, but not very effective otherwise; the Shiatzu expert told me that my chi was blocked and I need to learn to let things go (I’m trying); the acupuncturist also muttered something about chi and began raving about chinese herbs (I ran from there as fast as I could); the rheumatolog I was recommended told me I’ve got fibromyalgia, which made me feel better until I discovered what fibromyalgia is: the “You probably have something, we don’t know what or how to fix it” disease. Reading about that a bit showed me that it tends to be¬†stress¬†related, and reading about stress showed that it is a known cause of lower back pain. So I went and got the “Stress reduction and relaxation workbook”¬†where¬†I discovered, among other things, that I am a chest breather. They describe this as the most under-diagnosed plague of modern living (what, haven’t you heard of it?!) that people breath by¬†moving¬†their chests instead of by moving their belly (incidentally, I recommend trying to breathe their way whether it ultimately helps my back or not – it really is relaxing). I wouldn’t be surprised if next time I’m at my ophthalmologist he will say, “of course, your back problems are¬†because¬†of the¬†colour¬†of your eyes!” ¬†ūüôā

The hydrotherapist completely ignored my lower back and instead treated my neck. apparently my head is too forward (tsk,tsk) and my¬†shoulders¬†are slumped. She recommended that I imagine I have a diamond necklace that I want every one to see (shoulders move back and down) and tuck my chin in (head¬†backwards). It’s one of the few things I keep doing even after I finished seeing the expert. My neck ¬†and¬†shoulder muscles hurt, but in a good way, and it makes you feel better -more confident. Also, it imbues everything with something special – aren’t you doing it with a diamond necklace?

So today I cooked with a diamond necklace. Very difficult, I found my¬†shoulders¬†slumping all the time, but I persevered. Some of what I cooked for Shabbat is shown in the picture: small hamburgers, mushroom lasagne, spinach lasagne, roast potatoes, roast vegetables, lemon loaf cake (4-cake with lemon zest), puff pastry (the cream is already gone, yum. ūüėõ ¬†just kidding, it’s in the fridge). This is my first try at puff pastry, too!

What¬†isn’t shown: One vegetable kugel, tomato, cucumber and red bell pepper stew, another set of potatoes in the oven, I made breadcrumbs from old bread, challot (2 large, two medium and six small ones for¬†the¬†kids). ¬†And what is still left: cut vegetables, cherry tomato salad.

And all with a diamond necklace!

Puff pastry

I love puff pastry. That is my criterion for defining a good bakery – how is its puff pastry? But this is my first time trying it by myself. Recipe from Ugot Lekol Et (Cakes for all seasons, Nira Scheuer)

1 cup water, 50 gr margarine, 1/4 tsp salt: Bring to a boil. Lower to low heat.

1 1/4 cups flour: add at once and stir furiously until dough leaves the edges of the pot.

3-4 eggs: Add one at a time until dough hangs from a spoon but doesn’t drip. I used a beater and 3 eggs.

Use a piping bag to make nice shapes or put in one tbsp heaps. Bake at 160 degrees for 40 minutes until light brown (it took me 20, but mine are a bit small)

Filling: I used my favourite vanilla cream, made with 250 ml whipping cream, 1 cup milk, and one packet vanilla pudding (Yum!)

Have a nice weekend!

lots and lots of food!

Update on the puff pastry: My guests loved it, except for my in-laws who apparently don’t like vanilla cream (the horror! ūüėõ ) So next time I’ll make part with whipped cream and part with vanilla. ¬†But there was a problem – it doesn’t keep so well, the pastry becomes dry after 2 days or so. It’s still tasty (especially the cream!) but not…you know… amazing. Some more notes: The puff pastry done with a piping bag was more difficult to fill, and it was easiest to put cream with a teaspoon and not try to fill with a piping bag. Sometimes the simplest solution is best ūüôā

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