Archives for posts with tag: chocolate

Hi all:

As you know I’ve started NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and I promised you I’d be taking blogging easy and reblogging or reposting some old posts, but before that, I had some things pending that I tried to fit in (yes, I pre-program some posts).

As people seemed quite keen on the recipe I shared for Créme Catalane, I decided to leave you another one of the recipes I share in my book I Love Your Cupcakes, this time a good old-fashioned cake. This one I’ve actually baked myself, although some time ago, and the recipe I used is slightly different to this one, but I must say this one looks awesome:

Still from the film Julie & Julia that I recommend, especially if you're a foodie and a blogger

Still from the film Julie & Julia that I recommend, especially if you’re a foodie and a blogger

Reine de Saba

(Chocolate and Almond Cake)

Yield: One 8-inch cake

Recipe by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking

For the Cake:

4 ounces or squares semi-sweet Chocolate

2 tablespoons of Rum

4 ounces softened butter

⅔ cup granulated sugar

3 egg yolks

3 egg whites

¼ teaspoon of cream of tartar

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

⅔ cup pulverized almonds or 1 cup of almonds to pulverize

¼ tsp almond extract

For the Glaçae au Chocolat (Chocolate-Butter Icing):

2 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate

2 tablespoons of Rum

5 to 6 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup cake flour (scooped and leveled) turned into a sifter

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter and flour the cake pan.
  2. Set the chocolate and rum in a small pan with a tight cover, and place (off heat) in a larger pan of almost simmering water; let melt while you proceed with the recipe. Measure out the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Pulverize your almonds in your food processor, about a cup. Add a tablespoon of sugar to avoid the almond oils to lump up.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar together for several minutes until they form a pale yellow, fluffy mixture.
  5. Beat in the egg yolks until well blended.
  6. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt  until soft peaks are formed; sprinkle on the sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed.
  7. With a rubber spatula, blend the melted chocolate into the butter and sugar mixture, then stir in almonds, and almond extract.
  8. Immediately stir one-fourth of the beaten egg whites to lighten the batter.
  9. Delicately fold in a third of the remaining whites and when partially blended, sift on one-third of the flour and continue folding. Alternate rapidly with more egg whites and more flour until all egg whites and flour are incorporated.
  10. Turn the batter into the cake pan, pushing the batter up to its rim with a rubber spatula. Bake in middle level of preheated oven for about 25 minutes.
  11. Cake is done when it has puffed, and  2½ to 3 inches around the circumference are set so that a needle plunged into that area comes out clean; the center should move slightly if the pan is shaken, and a needle comes out oily.
  12. Allow cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run knife around the edge of the pan, and reverse cake on the rack.
  13. Allow it to cool for an hour or two; it must be thoroughly cold if it is to be iced.
  14. For the Icing, place the chocolate and rum in the small pan, cover, and set in the larger pan of almost simmering water.
  15. Remove pans from heat and let chocolate melt for 5 minutes or so, until perfectly smooth.
  16. Lift chocolate pan out of the hot water, and beat in the butter a tablespoon at a time with the help of a rubber spatula. If the mixture starts to cool off too fast, place the chocolate pan again in hot water and beat in the butter until it fully incorporates.
  17. Then beat over the ice and water until chocolate mixture has cooled to spreading consistency. This will take about 3 minutes.
  18. At once spread it over your cake with spatula or knife, and press a design of almonds over the icing.

Notes:

  • You can replace the rum for coffee: 1 tablespoon of instant coffee dissolved in 2 tablespoons of boiling water.

http://www.thefoodieskitchen.com/en/2013/02/reine-de-saba-chocolate-and-almond-cake/ (downloaded in June 2014)

Here I leave you a link of Julia Child baking the Queen of Sheba Cake. I must admit the version I have baked myself had neither coffee nor rum and it did not add any frosting, although her version looks Amazing! (And if you’ve never watched the movie Julie & Julia I can’t recommend it highly enough, especially if you’re interested in cooking and blogging.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8clrnFM3Ys (it was working at the time of publishing my book in September 2014)

This one from wildcranberryhookedrugs-wordpress-com looks much more like mine

This one from wildcranberryhookedrugs.wordpress.com looks much more like mine

As you can see from my blog (and thanks to Sarah Vernon from whom I “borrowed” the icon for award free blog. Don’t miss the chance to check her fabulous blog First Night Design) I’m an award free blog. For a variety of reasons. A bit over a year ago there were so many awards making the rounds that I could no longer find people who had the time to keep the chain going or to comply with some of the requirements, and I felt I was spending more time doing that than actually blogging. I wanted to focus more on may writing so I decided (after seeing what great friend and blogger Teagan Geneviene did), to do regular posts sharing some of the blogs I’d come across that I thought might be of interest to some of my readers.

Net World Network Image courtesy of Vlado / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Net World Network Image courtesy of Vlado / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So far I had only done a couple of these posts and kept a list going. The list is getting quite long now, and in the last few weeks I’ve been nominated for a number of awards. Although I’m not going to follow the rules (sorry, I’m award free), I wanted to thank Jo Robinson (who was on my next list and you must visit as she’s extremely entertaining in showing us life on the wild side, and she’s tremendously generous with her advise on writing, interviews and has joined a team doing great job to promote other writers, that now I’m a part of too, although not very active until after November), Lord David Prosser (a gentleman who shares his life, writings, reblogs and interviews his fellow authors, actually, me just last week) and Elaine Canham (who makes me laugh often when she shares funny stuff, and can write about the trade, about a bus trip, or reflect incisively on everyday life, and who was also in my list of new blogs to recommend) for their nominations. Do check them out, they’re amazing.

And here I leave you some other blogs I’ve discovered recently and I hope you enjoy too (if you haven’t met them yet):

Smorgasbord – Variety is the Spice of Life (Sally Cronin’s blog: great blog full of information on health related topics, personal experiences, special features like the Sunday interviews, where Sally interviews writers, artists, musicians, and she’s also fabulous at discovering and sharing other people’s blogs. She reblogs fabulous content too and I rely on her to keep me up to date with great content I might not have come across. Unmissable!)

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/

Cyndy Noke (pictures, books… Cyndy keeps making me add to my long list of places to visit. She has a wandering heart and itchy feet!)

http://cindyknoke.com/

Inesemj Photography (photography with a wonderful eye for spots and places you would not have thought about, Irish themes, and wonderful and interesting information, including tips on photography)

http://inesemjphotography.com/

Janet Weight Reed (artist who shares her work and experiences related to art. I love her love of colour and her hummingbirds! And don’t miss her posts on her process of creation and her videos. And she’s even gone where no other people do, and read my cupcake book and left me a wonderful review. Thank you Janet!)

http://jcrhumming.wordpress.com/

Confessions of a writer (James Naith. Just go on and check)

http://jamessnaith.wordpress.com/

Ronovan Writes (Ronovan not only interviews other authors, and thanks for the wonderful interview, Ronovan!, but also offers his advice and experience in promoting others. He has teamed up with our friend Jo Robinson and keeps building up a group of people invested in promoting writers. Yes, he’s also decided I might be able to help with reviews and other content.He bogs his own content but shares most advice for writers in this great resource. Do not miss!)

http://litworldinterviews.wordpress.com

Chronic Conditions and Life Lessons (Kim Goselin. I met Kim through Sally Cronin and she’s one of a group of bloggers who regularly meet in Twitter and we keep each other going. I hope we can all make it in person one day.)

http://kimgosselinblog.com/

Cate Russell-Cole (I’ve know Cate for quite a while now but she had to take a bit of a break from blogging. Now she’s back offering comprehensive advice on writing, sharing any useful information she comes across and also taking part in NaNoWriMo. We’re writing buddies, so she’s having a bit of a breather in November, but go and check all of her advice. Go Cate!):

http://cateartios.wordpress.com/

 

Billy Ray Chitwood (he has quite a few blogs going, but he’s a prolific writer and juggles them very well. I appreciate his reflections on life, love his very short fiction, and recommend that you check the comments too, as recently he even offered us a masterful rendition of a song in the best crooner style):

http://www.thefinalcurtain1.wordpress.com

http://www.billyraychitwood.weebly.com

 

C-Dog and Company (Because dogs and cats are family…) by Debra Levy. (I started reading her posts about her pets but it didn’t take me long to realise the whole universe meets there):

http://cdogco.com/

Aquileana (I reccomend this blog especially if you enjoy Mythology, Philosophy and the Classics. Exquisite taste in choosing classics and gorgeous images and art works to illustrate the stories). The blogs are in Spanish and English so if you want to practice…

https://aquileana.wordpress.com/

I’ll keep noting down blogs, because there are so many great bloggers around I think this will go on, and on…

Ah, I did promise I’d do the workplace/writing place blog (thanks Jo) but due to my current circumstances it might be a while, but if anybody wants to take it up and show us (pictures are more than welcome) their writing place, consider yourself nominated!

And just in case you didn’t come across my two previous post about blogs to check, here are the links:

https://olganm.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/blogs-i-follow-come-and-have-a-look-today-blogs-on-writing-and-personal-blogs/

https://olganm.wordpress.com/2014/05/06/and-more-great-blogs-10-best-insight-technology-photography/

As an aside, I Love Your Cupcakes is now available in paper. Anybody needs any presents?

I Love Your Cupcakes by Olga Núñez Miret. Cover by Lourdes Vidal

I Love Your Cupcakes by Olga Núñez Miret. Cover by Lourdes Vidal

 

Thanks to all of you for reading, to the fantastic bloggers for visiting, to my friends and fellow bloggers for the nominations, and you know, like, share, comment, and of course, CLICK!

 

St Jordi's bread (cheese and sobrasada) in a bakery in Barcelona

St Jordi’s bread (cheese and sobrasada) in a bakery in Barcelona

I went back to Barcelona for a few weeks and I was pleased when I realised that without much planning on my side I was going to be there for Sant. Jordi. Sant Jordi (St George, in Catalan) is celebrated on the 23rd of April. Traditionally it is the day of the rose (from the blood of the slayed dragon was born a red rose that the knight gave the lady, as the legend goes, but check some of links at the bottom for more information) and the book. I think most places tend to adopt global traditions and nowadays St Valentine’s Day is celebrated nearly everywhere (at least Western countries, although I suspect with movies and advertisements it might be difficult to escape it even farther away), but when I was a child, in Catalonia is was more traditional to celebrate love and all its accoutrements for Sant Jordi. The day coincides with the anniversary of Cervante’s death (in 1616) and therefore it also became the day of the book. Women would get a rose (and I must tell you they are particularly expensive that day and you won’t be able to go anywhere and not find a stall trying to sell you a rose) and then you have the books. Stalls selling books also everywhere, famous (and less famous) authors doing book signings, and books at a discount. Oh, Sant Jordi is the patron saint of Catalonia (yes, I know it’s also patron saint of England and the same date also celebrates Shakespeare’s death, so many coincidences), and although it is not a bank holiday, many official buildings (like the Town Hall, la Generalitat…) will be open to the public that day.

I hadn’t been back in Barcelona for Sant Jordi for well over 20 years. I remember talking to a friend, Silvia, about it; she warned me that it gets very crowded that day and you have to be prepared. We ended up meeting on the day, and going to visit her son (Daniel, Dani) who was selling roses near la Sagrada Familia. I had gone for a walk in the morning, checked the stalls trying to see if some of my author friends were signing (some were, but not in Barcelona or in the area I visited). A bit windy but a sunny day, good for both roses and books. I saw the stall dedicated to reading El Quijote from beginning to end. A volunteer would step in and read a chapter, and so on. At that point in the morning they were reading chapter 5. A fair way to go.

Stall where they were reading El Quijote by chapters, in La Diagonal

Stall where they were reading El Quijote by chapters, in La Diagonal

I had received many messages from other authors in the city who were planning on meeting for lunch. Silvia and I joined them briefly and managed to have chat (about life, writing, being a superwoman and doing everything, Egypt, mayors, social media, selling, health and parents) and then Silvia suggested we could go and visit l’Ateneu Barcelonés, where her husband (Bernardo) is studying a course on novel writing. The building is normally only open to members, but it was Sant Jordi and they opened it to general public. It is a gorgeous building and I include some pictures. The library is truly amazing.

The library at the Ateneu Barcelonés

The library at the Ateneu Barcelonés

L'Ateneu Barcelonés. Who wouldn't want to read there?

L’Ateneu Barcelonés. Who wouldn’t want to read there?

After our break at the Ateneu we ventured down Las Ramblas. If you’ve ever been to Barcelona, you’ll know Las Ramblas. It’s the Mecca for tourists, full of character, an avenue that walks you down to the port, with flowers, souvenirs, craft shops, street performers, the must-see Boquería (El Mercat de St Antoni) a market the likes of which you’ve probably never seen, with la Font de Canaletas at the top (legend has it that if you drink from it you’ll go back to Barcelona) and Colón (the monument to Christopher Columbus pointing towards America) at the bottom. I nearly forgot el Liceu, the Opera Theatre well-worth a visit, also in Las Ramblas. (And it has fabulous acoustics.) Silvia was right. It was crowded. But surprisingly enough, this being the most touristic avenue of the city, most people that day were locals. Roses, people signing books, buzz…

A well-known cake-shop (Vives) decided that books in chocolate were the way to go. These books made on chocolate reproduce covers or real books

A well-known cake-shop (Vives) decided that books in chocolate were the way to go. These books made of chocolate reproduce covers or real books. And you’ve guessed it, inside there were more chocolates!

It got quite late and I left Silvia, who was going to meet with her husband and son and go back home (as they live outside in Terrassa) and I got back too. At that point the roses were selling much cheaper as there wasn’t much day left.

I loved being back in Barcelona for Sant Jordi. If you have a chance, I’d recommend it too. I leave you links to some information on the web, just in case you feel curious:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_George’s_Day

http://barcelona.de/en/barcelona-sant-jordi.html

http://www.spain.info/en_GB/reportajes/la_fiesta_sant_jordi.html

And an article in The Guardian by Matthew Tree, one of their correspondents, who seems to quite like it too!

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/apr/23/st-georges-day-catalonia

 

Thanks for reading and if you’ve enjoyed it, like, share, comment and CLICK…and see if you can go and visit!

 

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