Florentines

What’s the best cookie in the world? Hell ye, florentines! I like every possible version of it. Mine are similar to what my mum used to make for Christmas, gooey, sweet and a little crunchy. But then you get the store bought versions with are cruuunchy! So crunchy. I like them too. I don’t actually know which way they are supposed to be like, but it doesn’t matter, there are chocolate and nuts in all of them.

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So it’s been about time that I tried to make them myself (yup I usually only eat them, never make them). I guess if there is something you like above everything else it’s hard to match those memories by attempting your own version. But I just had to go for it. I have recently seen quite a few versions of my fellow bloggers and it inspired me to try my own. And yes, it’s safe to say it was a success. So happy to share this recipe with you.

Florentines

  • Servings: 30 cookies
  • Time: 45mins
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients
1 tbsp butter
1,5 dl cream
1 tsp honey
100g sugar
100g candied fruit, minced
50g almond slivers
50g flaked almonds

2-3 tbsp flour

125g milk chocolate

1. First bring the butter, cream, honey and sugar slowly to the boil.
2. Reduce the heat and simmer gently while adding the candied fruit, and the two types of almonds.
3. Mix well and simmer for about 3 minutes.
4. Add the flour and keep stirring until the paste thickens.
5. Take off the heat and use two teaspoons to spoon the mixture onto the baking tray.
6. Leave plenty of room between cookies as the mixture will spread.
7. Try and press the spooned mixture down a little bit.

Bake in the preheated oven at 220°  for about 5 minutes. Keep a constant eye on them, 1 minute more and they might already be burned.

When cooled down a bit, melt the chocolate and dip one side of the florentines into it. Leave to cool completely.

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You have probably noticed, that it’s been a bit quiet on my blog recently. It’s because I am back at Uni (a mature student as they say, or just a plain old spinster as I say ;-) ). Well sort of, I’ve been doing Open University courses for a few years now. Slowly scuffle towards my BA in English and Literature. I try, but then what do they say? The journey is the reward. I do enjoy learning, but then on other days I have a big questionmark hanging over my head. “Hark! What dost Shakespeare mean?” So these cookies are the best way to calm down again. Bring my sugarlevels up and after florentines and a cup of tea knuckle back down and get it over with. ;-)

So to all my fellow students, bake these and you will feel better. Promise!

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I will be bringing these treasures to Angies Fiesta Friday tomorrow. It’s no problem, you can keep these yummies in a tin for a few weeks. But really, they never last that long. So here is a thank you to you Angie, for organising this wonderful party every week. Here’s a very gratefully little blogger.

 

Pear and Chocolate Mini Bundt Cakes

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I have been thinking about autumn dishes and bakes recently. I mean there is the obvious pumpkin and apple, mushrooms and chestnuts. But what about that tasty little fruit that always has to take a back seat because of the much favoured apple? Well yes, it’s the pear. Obviously, right? I am not sure why apples are often favoured over pears. Pears are juicy, have a lovely flavour, wonderful colour, look pretty, have less acidity than apples (well at least that’s what my taste buds tell me) and are quite versataile too. So it beats me as to why this is a bit of a forgotten fruit…

But maybe it’s the fond memories of pears I have, that makes them so appealing. I grew up in an old farmhouse on the countryside. I mean it was old. Literally. We still heated with wood, warming our hot chocolate on the stove in the morning (my dad, that is) and freezing in winter when we had to get out of bed (no one kept putting logs into the stove at night) and the heating wasn’t working just yet. But this just boosted our immune systems. I only remember one time when I was really sick with fever in my entire childhood (the other times I was just being a softy, complaing when I was in fact quite alright). Apart from that we had a huge garden we could use with apple, damsom plum trees, strawberries, raspberries, black berries, red berries (so many my parents actually made wine with them), gooseberries and many more and of course lots of vegetables (we even had a small potato field). All these lovely delicacies were in the backyard and towering over our house in the front was a huge pear tree. Although the pears were just cooking pears it was one of the most beautiful trees I’ve ever seen. Old and sturdy housing hedgehogs in autumn under it’s large quantities of fallen leaves and providing much needed shade to our car in summer. Simply full of life. So yes, I am very fond of pears.

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So for all these reasons I really needed to celebrate the beautiful pear in my newest autumn bake.

Pear and Chocolate Mini Bundt Cakes

  • Servings: 15 cakes
  • Time: 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients
40g sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar
1 small egg
25g butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp lemon juice
8g or 2 squares of milk chocolate (thinly cut or grated)
1 pinch of cinnamon
75g flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 pinch of salt
1/2 pear, peeled and cut into squares

4 squares of white chocolate for decorating

1. Mix the sugar, vanilla sugar and egg in a bowl until frothy.
2. Add the butter and lemon juice and mix.
3. Add the flour, cinnamon, chocolate, baking powder and salt and mix well.
4. Add the pear squares and combine well.
5. Pipe into the prepared baking mould.

Bake at 200° in the preheated oven for about 16 minutes. When cooled, decorate with the white chocolate

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I think mine were ever so slightly overbaked. So I’ve ajusted the baking time for you. But I just love the combination of pear and chocolate in them. It is such a wonderful pairing and they’re bitesize so you get to snaffle the whole bunch at once. Yay.

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So here we go. I am bringing those lovely treats to today’s Fiesta Friday. Let me just shout another big THANK YOU to our lovely host Angie for always putting this party together. It’s such a nice way of meeting fellow bloggers and marvel at all the creativity that these bloggers have. If you don’t know it, go check it out. Well worth it every minute you spend on the internet.

That’s it from me today. I will go have a lie down now and dream about pear trees.

Pumpkin Risotto

Growing up I hardly remember any pumpking dishes on our plates. I only remember pumpkin soup. Only when I grew into my teens pumpkin became wider available and grew into a fashionable vegetable. I guess with the spreading of Halloween worldwide came the spreading of the scrumptious pumpkin. So even now, pumpkin feels sort of exotic to me and I only go so far as to integrate it into my well known dishes, I am not yet ready to explore it beyond my comfort zone.

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But being now part of this wonderful food blogger community, I see so many lovely dishes with pumpkin that I just had to try and share one as well. Risotto was actually the first dish I mastered to my liking when I had to cook for myself once moved out from home. To me, it’s the most simple dish there is. It never goes wrong and always tastes good. But then when I should do a simple sauce… fire and smoke, I am telling you.

Pumpkin Risotto

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 45mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

150g risotto rice
500ml hot water with dissolved vegetable stock
0.5ml white wine
50g pumpkin, diced, precooked
½ onion, diced
1 garlic glove, pressed

Shaved parmesan to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Fry the onion and garlic on a medium heat.
2. Add risotto rice after a few minutes and fry until glassy.
3. Deglaze by adding the white wine and let it simmer on a medium – low heat.
4. Once the wine is fairly absorbed start adding a little bit of the vegetable stock. Never add the whole 500ml at once, but a little bit and then more once that is absorbed.
5. Halfway through add the diced pumpkin.
6. You may need more or less of the prepared vegetable stock, just keep adding more until you feel the risotto tastes creamy and the rice corns are cooked.

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Focaccia

As I told you in a recent post the minute my partner had left for Ireland I started to think about foods for one. And one of the first things that popped into my mind was the lovely focaccia!

This is just bread you may think, and not really a meal. True, but I can make a sandwich with it or simply have a salad and the focaccia on the side. Or I could lean over to my bench neighbor in the canteen and soak up their lovely (hopefully) homemade sauce with my focaccia. The list is long. Very long. I decided to have the first bit with dinner (which is usually cold meats and cheese, lots of cheese. This is Switzerland after all) and the rest for lunch. Magically transformed into a sandwich.

If I like one thing then it is the texture of the focaccia. If you knead it long enough (but not too long) you’ll get these wonderful holes in the dough which make it so fluffy. I usually sprinkle the olive oil and salt on top of the bake (just before putting it into the oven) to do the rest.

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Focaccia

  • Servings: 1 loaf
  • Time: 1h40mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

250g flour
2/3 tsp salt
10g fresh yeast, crumbled
1,6 dl lukewarm water
1,5 tbsp olive oil

Olive oil to taste
Rosemary to taste
Salt to taste

1. Mix the flour, salt and yeast in a bowl.
2. Add the water and the olive oil and work into a soft, smooth dough.
3. Leave at room temperature to rise for about an hour.
4. Spread the dough gently onto a baking tray and push down until its about 2cm thick.
5. Cut some crosses with a knife into the dough.
6. Sprinkle salt, rosemary and the olive oil on top if desired.

Bake for 25 minutes at 220° in the preheated oven.

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Apple Pie 2.0

Autumn has kicked off to a wonderful start over here. Although cold in the mornings (as it should be in a proper autumn) the days amaze with warm sunshine on our faces, while we sit outside and sip a big cup of tea. Lovely. This has to be my favourite season.

In this spirit, nothing says more “autumn” to me than apples. They even look like autumn with their bright and varied colours. So I am bringing another apple pie to you. I know what you’re thinking. She’s done that before and not even that long ago… Boooored. Well, true. But this one is version 2.0. Smaller (since I am cooking for one now), better and much tastier. So I just couldn’t keep that version from you, could I?

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Apple Pie 2.0

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 45mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients for the dough:

200g flour
½ tsp salt
100g butter, cold cut into pieces
½ dl water

1. Mix the flour and salt.
2. Add the butter and work the ingredients into a crumbly paste.
3. Add the water into the middle and form a dough (don’t knead).
4. Freeze half of it for another time and use the other half for this pie.
5. Roll out and line the tin with it.
6. Leave for 30 minutes in a cool place, then pierce with a fork.

Ingredients for the filling (for a tin of Ø 19cm):
3 medium sized apples
2 tbsp grounded hazelnut
2 eggs
1/2 – 1dl milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla sugar
1 tbsp apricot jam

1. Peel and seed the apples, then cut into slices.
2. Scatter the hazelnuts on the dough.
3. Distribute the apples on the hazelnut lined dough.
4. Then mix the eggs, milk, vanilla sugar and cinnamon and beat well.
5. Pour the liquid over the pie.

Bake for approx. 40 minutes at 200°. Once baked brush the apricot jam onto the pie for a nice shine and taste.

Did you like it? I hope so, this pie was gone within minutes of taking it out of the oven.
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I have also been travelling a little bit recently. Since my partner in crime has moved back to Dublin for a year, the need to visit is very big. But that means I got to spend some lovely days walking down the lovely pier in Dun Laoghaire, soak up the autumn sun in a wonderful cafe in Dalky (do visit the Tramyard if you’re in that area) and to run around town for the Culture Night. Oh and let’s not forget the most amazing muffin I had in years (see my twitter account). When I was leaving the city I tried a chocolate and orange muffin at the Harvest Market at Dublin Airport (Terminal 2). Oh… My… God! Yum! I will have to work on copying that recipe in the near future and hope to bring it to you soon. Although I highly doubt I can dublicate the exact same delicousness I had that day. Be sure to visit that cafe as well when you’re leaving Dublin. A must!

So this post turned a bit into a travel advice post. But I find it important to share lovely places as well as lovely food. We’re not all great cooks (like me, hello!) but certainly all food lovers and sometimes it’s just nice to sit down and enjoy a nice meal and wonderful location.

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So I will bring this over to Angie’s place to day. In case you haven’t noticed, it’s Fiesta Friday time again. Oh yes. A big thanks to Angie and the two co-hosts Prudy and Naina for throwing a wonderful party, week after week.