Saturday, August 16, 2014

Peach flavored popsicles or Bellini, summer heat antidote!

Bellini is a very popular Venetian drink, invented by Giusepe Cipriani in the first half of the last century, this drink was very popular in Harry´s bar that was founded by Cipriani himself. Unfortunately when I visited Venice many years ago, I was unaware that such a beautifully made drink was available. Thanks to one of Jamie Oliver's shows in which he cooked in Venice I discovered the famous Bellini drink.

As Madrid summers can get really hot, I always try to make refreshing recipes that are just so refreshing and cool you off. Being a fan of the old casual popsicle, I decide that a fruit flavored popsicle is what I need to counter the heat. I had many ideas in mind but while doing my grocery shopping I saw beautiful, ripe and inviting peaches and wanted a popsicle that would do justice to this most wonderful fruit. As the Bellini cocktail is essentially a peach based drink I adapted its recipe to become a perfect summer popsicle.

So to make 8 popsicles, 90ml each, you will need:
  • 400 g of peach purée
  • simple sugar syrup
  • 30  to 60 ml of champagne or sparkling white wine (but not more or the pops won´t fully freeze)
For the simple syrup you need:
  • 130 g sugar
  • 100 g water
  • 1 tsp corn syrup or honey
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
First of all, prepare the syrup by mixing the sugar, water and corn syrup and let them simmer on a gentle heat.  When the sugar is fully dissolved add the lemon juice let it boil for 1 or 2 minutes then turn off the heat and let it cool.

Add the cooled syrup over the peach purée then the champagne and mix well.
Pour the mixture in the molds, and freeze for at least 5 hours. If you don't have molds and don't feel like buying, you can put the mix in paper or plastic cups or even make them into ice cubes.

These popsicles are really refreshing and make these hot summer days and nights more tolerable. Make some and savor with family and friends.

Here is a link to a pink lemonade popsicles that I made last year; they were super delicious!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Baked eggs with truffle and parmesan shavings!

Last week I visited Barcelona for the 3rd time. I´m in love with this city and those who have been there before will agree with me. This is a unique city boasting wonderful architecture, an enchanting sea facade, countless sites to visits and ever more activities to do. To top that, the city and its region have a rich and delicious cuisine.

One of the first places I go to when there is La boqueria, which is for food lovers something close to a five stars hotel.  There I feel like Alice in wonderland, it's really an enchanting place to visit.  It has all kind of ingredients you can imagine and even more. Everything is neatly displayed and it´s almost impossible to leave without buying something to eat or cook, but above all, the sights and smells will most probably inspire you to head back straight to the kitchen to cook up something you love.

While there, I came across black truffles, the super expensive ingredient which is hard to find in regular markets and stores, at least in its fresh form. As my eyes gazed at this most bizzare looking ingredient my mind took me to a recipe made by one my my favorite TV chefs: the incredibly talented  Lidia Bastianich. A couple of years ago I saw her cooking eggs with truffles and I immediately wanted to try it when I saw these fresh truffles. Unfortunately truffles are extremely expensive so I bought just a small head, but that's more than enough for the recipe I wanted to make.

Upon my return to Madrid, my first breakfast had to be eggs with truffles.
This is a wonderful recipe as it requires just a handful of ingredients and  the amounts can vary depending on your taste and the number of people who will share this special breakfast. 

  • 1 egg per person (I baked 4 and put 1 eggs per ramequin but got 2 egg yolks in 2 of the eggs!!)
  • a teaspoon of cream per ramequin
  • shaved truffle (about 3 or 4 shavings per person)
  • Parmesan shaves (here you can add as much as you wish)
  • salt to taste (I used a mix of salt infused with Mediterranean herbs) and pepper

First start by buttering your ramequins. Then crack the egg, add the cream all over the egg, then add the cheese, the truffle and the salt. Bake in a hot oven (200 C) for 5 to 10 min, depending if you want the eggs barely set with an oozing and runny yolk or you like it to be almost completely set. Frankly, it's better if you let the yolk be runny as the taste will be much better.

When the eggs are out of the oven, you can add a shaving or two of the truffle, if you still have!

Serve this with warm toast and enjoy a really special and rich breakfast.