Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Meringue Topping & Tips for Keeping Cut Flowers Fresh

Happy Valentine's Day! I know it's a silly holiday but I can't help getting all lovey dovey when I see big red and pink hearts everywhere.  I'm a hopeless romantic at heart what can I say. :-)


I hope you are enjoying this day with your sweetheart and if you're single: friends, chocolate, and some wine are just as good... if not better!

If you're in the mood for baking today, here's a flourless chocolate cake recipe you should try. It's the recipe for the Italian Caprese Cake which I topped with a meringue frosting.  It's pretty easy, there are just a few tricky steps but I'll explain them through. This is Mr. Amore's favorite cake so I made it for him this Valentine's Day. 

Ingredients for the cake: 
Skinned almonds - 200gr
Sugar - 180gr
Butter (room temperature) - 200gr
4 eggs
Dark Chocolate - 150gr

The first step is to roast your almonds for about 10 minutes in the oven at 400°F. Just lay them flat on a baking sheet and they should brown some once done. 


Next place them in a blender or mixer (I used my Nutribullet) and set aside. 


I got a creamy, buttery texture with my Nutibullet but if your consistency is drier and more flour-like, it's fine as well. 


Next step is to melt your chocolate in a double boiler (or in a microwave if you prefer).



Now mix the egg yolks, butter, sugar and almonds until thoroughly blended and set aside the egg whites. 


The batter should be pretty thick at this point as pictured above. 

Now in a clean glass or metal bowl whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form. 


This is the tricky part... you have to very slowly and gently incorporate the two being careful not to  over-whip the egg whites. 


This is what the final batter should look like. 


Add to cake pan and bake in preheated oven at about 340°F for one hour. 


Now for the meringue topping, whip up 4 egg whites, half a cup of powdered sugar, a tablespoon of lemon juice and whip as done above, until stiff peaks form. Add a few drops of red food coloring if you like for decoration. 


Now add the meringue topping to the cake and decorate as you wish. 


Return to oven for about 10 minutes and voilà! If you have some  topping left over you can make little meringues like these. 

And if you happen to receive a lovely bouquet of flowers this Valentine's Day and want to keep them fresh for as long as possible here are some tips to make them last longer. 

Cut the ends off under running water or in a bowl of water to make sure no air enters the stem. 


Try adding half an espresso cup of vinegar and a teaspoon of sugar to the vase water. This is a homemade flower preservative that balances the pH of the water and helps keep the flowers bright and vibrant longer.



Happy Valentine's Day!


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Thursday, February 9, 2017

My Vintage Plate Collection

For some time now I've been collecting blue and white vintage china and have got enough pieces finally to decorate the hutch in my living room. I love the look, as I'm sure you know if you've been following me for some time, and have switched things up a bit creating a more romantic feel to the room by adding lots of florals and soft yellow hues as well. 


I love how the blue stands out against the white and the detail that these pieces have. I have never really actually collected anything before so I'm excited about starting this new collection. I plan on finding some larger plates to hang on the wall around the hutch as well. I've seen so much inspiration on the web and they all look so beautiful. 

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Here's a close up of some of my pieces.



I particularly like the gold around this Blue Willow plate that seems to have faded some. 



I bought some vintage tea cups online and unfortunately I received two broken pieces. There was really no way I could have glued the pieces together.. That was quite upsetting. The guy could have done a better job packing.. ugh


How cute are these vintage Sake cups? Love these!

I also found three beautiful Chinese vases.  In this picture you can see my new curtains.  I made two matching slipcovers for the chairs in my living room and will get around to making the other four chairs when I have some time. 



I painted the bookshelf I have in my living room white to brighten up that corner which was looking a little too dark to me lately. That project only took me a day and what a difference it makes.

Before:


After:


Here's another view of my collection so far. I'd like the plate wall decor to be around the cabinet on each side. Not too sure about placement yet though.

I'm not entirely done decorting yet, so it's still a work in progress. 
I will say though that Spring has officially sprung in my living room LOL. I'm done with this cold weather! Adding some fresh flowers to the space really warms things up.. I want to make a habit of always having fresh flowers in the house. Their colors are always so beautiful, don't you think?

I'll post more pictures once the room is complete and maybe I'll have enough plates for the wall decor! 


xoxo

Silvana

Monday, January 16, 2017

Easy Vegetarian Pie Recipe and Veggie "Rose" Appetizers

I have an easy vegetarian recipe to share with you today that is super delicious and eye catching at the same time so this is a great recipe to make for any occasion, be it special or not. I made something similar for New Years Eve and I'll show you later in this post a cute appetizer idea using the same ingredients. 



Ingredients: 

 - one sheet shortcrust pastry (any ready made pie crust will do)
 - 250 gr ricotta cheese
 - 1 egg
 - 80 gr grated Parmesan cheese
 - 500 gr frozen spinach
 - 3 medium sized carrots
 - 2 medium sized zucchini
 - olive oil for coating
 - salt and pepper to taste

First step is to cook your spinach making sure to drain any excess water and set aside to cool. 


Prepare your veggies by washing them, trimming off the ends and slicing them into very thin rounds. You could also use a mandolin slicer if you have one to make things easier. 



Set these aside and prepare the filling. 



To make the filling mix together the ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper until all the ingredients are thoroughly blended. 



Add the spinach to the mix that you previously set aside to cool off. 


This is what you should have at this point. 


Now all your ingredients are ready and you can assemble the pie. Line your pan with parchment paper and add the pastry dough.


Trim off the edges and set aside....I'll show you how to make little veggie roses with them later :-)
Add the spinach and cheese filling. 


Go around the pie layering the rounds of carrots then zucchini until you reach the center standing the rounds upright into the spinach cheese filling. 



Once you are done coat the top layer with some olive oil and add another dash of salt and pepper. 


Now bake in a preheated over at 180°c (355° f) for one hour. 


and you're done!



Here is another version of the recipe that allows you to make cute little appetizers using the same ingredients. 

I used the extra dough that I previously trimmed off  but you can take a sheet of savory pastry dough and cut into strips. 


Spread a layer of ricotta cheese (you can  also substitute with cream cheese here - I recommend Philadelphia herb and garlic cream cheese for this recipe) and add the carrot and zucchini making sure that the veggies stick out a bit from the top. 


Roll them up forming little "roses".


Close the bottoms and add them to muffin liners brushing some olive oil on top and adding a dash of salt and pepper.


Bake at the same temperature as the pie and for the same amount of time. 


Aren't they the cutest?! And they are so tasty.


Hope you enjoyed the recipe!

xoxo

Silvana


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