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Enjoy a lemon-layer cake
Lemon cake (that can stand for itself!)
- 220 gr butter, soft (2 sticks)
- 200 gr sugar (1 cup)
- 4 eggs
- 240 gr flour (~1 3/4 cups)
- 6 gr baking powder (2 tsp)
- 3 gr baking soda (1 tsp)
- 120 ml buttermilk (1/2 cup)
- Lemon zest
- Dried lavender flours
Sift the flour, baking powder and soda into a bowl.
Whip the butter, lemon zest lavender and sugar until you have a nice fluffy pale cream. add the eggs, one by one, and mix until they are completely combined. Add the flour and buttermilk alternately, and mix until the batter is unified.
Place baking paper at the bottom of a 18-20cm cake pan, and transfer the batter to the pan. bake at 170 C for 30-35 min, and let the cake cool completely (!).
Lemon curd (that can be used in a variety of other desserts, such as French lemon tart).
- 5 eggs
- 250 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 170 gr sugar
- 100 gr butter, room temp ( a little less than one stick)
In a sauce pan over a medium heat whisk lemon juice, eggs and sugar (constantly mix) until the mixture has reached a very thick consistency (if you got some ‘omelets’ in the curd just transfer it through a sift). Transfer the curd to a bowl and let it reach room temp. Whisk in the butter, cover with nylon wrap and transfer to the fridge.
- Cool lemon curd
- cool lemon cake
- A little rum
- Lemon zest
- Dried lavender leaves
When every par of our lemon tower is completely cold we can combine them to get our layer cake.
Level the lemon cake to get a straight surface. slice the cake horizontally to 3-4 slices (which will be 3-4 layers). Put the bottom layer in a plate and drizzle some rum. Spread some lemon curd, then place another cake layer.. And continue like this with all 3-4 layers. It is highly recommended to cool the cake in the freezer for a short while after the placement of each layer.
When all layers are in place, decorate the cake with butter-cream, lemon zest and lavender, or not.. a ‘naked’ cake works too.
Taste it- it’s delicious!
Comments and commentaries:
- You can use butter-cream, cream cheeese frosting or no frosting at all on the cake.
- The cake should not be kept more than a couple of days (but each part can be made another day in advance).
- Keep the cake in the fridge at all times.
- Lemon curd recipe is from the book- biscuits et petit gateaux- Marabou.
This cake recipe from Grandma Lina, just makes life easy!
The recipe is based on proportions, rather than quantities, and the recipe is as follows:
Proportion of 1:1 between eggs, flour, butter and sugar
To make life even easier, here is what you’ll need for a 20cm x 20cm pan:
- 100 gr eggs (which is 2 M size eggs)
- 100 gr sugar (1/2 cup)
- 100 gr butter- melted
- 100 gr flour (3/4 cup)
- sliced apricots, nectarines or plums
Whisk the eggs and sugar until mixture is pale and fluffy. Gently fold in the melted butter . Finally, add the flour and fold it into the mixture just until the batter is unified (don’t over mix) .
Bake at 180C for 30-40 min until the cake is golden -brown.
You may flavor the butter when melting it using lavender, vanilla, sage, rosemary etc, it adds a gentle aroma to the cake.
You can keep this cake in the fridge for 2-3 days, but it is so easy to make that you can simply make a fresh one whenever you want!
- 3 zucchinis or courgettes
- zest and juice from 1/2 lemon
- lightly toasted pine nuts
- 1/2 hot pepper of your choice finely chopped
- a few cherry tomatoes cut into quarters
- 100gr good quality feta cheese
- lots of mint leaves, torn
- olive oil
Using a peeler, slice the zucchinis lengthwise to get nice long thin stripes, and put in a bowl (not the one you will serve in)- yes, the zucchinis stay raw, trust us, its good. Mix in the lemon zest, part of the pine nuts, chili, tomatoes and part of the mint. Mix in some S&P, olive oil and lemon juice.
Taste. adjust seasoning.
Place the salad in your serving plate and sprinkle the leftover mint, pine nuts and Feta. Serve.
No, this is not a salad to prepare in advance. But most ingredients can be prepared (excluding zucchini and tomatoes) and mixed at the last minute.
Tasty variations: walnuts, dried cranberries, Tulum cheese.
You can bring flowers, you can cook shrimps.
To make a fancy impressing dish doesn’t mean working hard necessarily, it can mean taking the time and effort to find ‘fancy’ and fresh ingredients and not doing to much work on them.
As far as I know, here in Israel shrimps are something most people eat only in restaurants, because they are not widely available or just because their cooking method is unfamiliar.
But there is nothing to be afraid of. The only rule when cooking fresh shrimps is short cooking time.
You can find fresh local shrimps in season in many fish shops in Tel Aviv and Jaffa, they are not cheap, but you can make a nice and impressive appetizer using only a few shrimps (hey, restaurant here may serve no more than 5 of them in a dish…).
If you buy whole fresh shrimps you sometimes need to clean them (devein) first. You can do it and keep them whole using a toothpick, or you can peel them and cut them open to pull out the ‘vein’, you can look how to do it here.
- Sliced lemon
- Bruised garlic
- Olive oil
Of course you can play with it, put chilies, different herbs, or nothing at all.
After they have been marinated for a short while, skewer them, and put them on a grill or on a hot heavy pan. Brush the shrimps with the marinade while they roast. You won’t need more than a couple of minutes for each side to cook. They will turn pink, and then they are ready. Short cooking will keep them tender, while looooong cooking will give you the hard and chewy texture that you probably came across before… just keep in mind that fresh shrimps are also eaten raw.
That’s it, a great and fast way to impress your peers.
But flowers are also nice!
Cherries and coffee! what a wonderful treat! Now we can have it, with an Italian twist!
Fresh cherries are abundant now, couldn’t eat them all fresh.. so there they went into a pot, with some sugar and amaretto.
- 400 gr cherries
- 200 gr sugar
- 1 tbs amaretto
Bring the cherries and sugar to the boil, reduce the heat and cook for about half an hour, this will give you cherries in wonderful syrup (not jam), you can keep in a jar.
Now you can continue with any tiramisu recipe you like, or continue reading:
Amaretto- egg cream (kind of a zabaglione)
- 2 egg yolks
- 50 gr sugar
- 45 ml amaretto (3tbs)
In a ban-marie over the stove, beat egg yolks, amaretto, and sugar in. Use a whisk or handheld electric mixer to beat until tripled in volume, 5 to 8 minutes, or until it looks like a runny- pudding.
Let the zabaglione cool.
- 250 gr mascarpone
- 125ml whipping cream
- cocoa powder
Whip the mascarpone cheese to get a lighter consistency, and then add the zabaglione and mix until the the two masses are combined.
Whipe the whipping cream to stiff peaks, and fold it into the mascarpone mixture.
Make some good espresso. Mix the espresso with some of the cherry syrup and some more amaretto, according to taste (don’t be cheap with the syrup). Thoroughly soak ladyfingers in the mixture, and arrange them in a square pyrex or pan in one layer.
Top the ladyfingers layer the cherries as a second layer , top it all with a layer mascarpone mixture. Put a second layer of soaked ladyfingers, and then mascarpone.
Sprinkle a nice layer of cocoa powder on top.
I am proud to present an inherited recipe from the photographer’s grandmother, Lea.
Túrosgombóc: traditional Hungarian sweet dish, cheese dumplings filled with apricot jam.
- 250gr dry cheese, tvorog/ quark.
- 1tbs semolina
- 1tbs flour
- 1 egg
- One slice of white bread/ challah (can be old bread, frozen or fresh)
- Sugar to taste (~2tbs)
- Lemon zest
- Apricot jam
- Water for cooking the dumplings
Golden crunchy topping:
- White bread (old or fresh)
- Lots of butter
- Sugar to taste
Remove the crust from the bread and soak it in water, then take the bread out and squeeze out the water. Put the bread in a bowl with the egg, flour and semolina, sugar, zest and cheese. Mix together, taste and adjust seasoning. You will get a sticky and soft dough, it is not easy to work with it.
*you can add flour to the dough if you wish, but that will make the dumplings less delicate, so if you can handle it, it is better to use the sticky dough as it is.
Gently boil the water with a bit of salt in a sauce pan.
*You can use flour on your hands or water when you make the balls. However, the dough will most likely stick to your hands anyways, so be prepared to wash them often while making the dumplings.
Make a dent in the ball, put a small tea spoon of jam, close the ball. Do not try to put too much jam, cause you wont be able to close the balls, remember the dough is gentle. Put it in the boiling water until the balls float plus one minute. Gently strain the dumplings. You can keep the cooked dumplings in the fridge until serving. It is better to keep them well separated and not in a pile. The dumplings should be served at room temp or slightly warmed .
Tear dried bread into smaller pieces and place in your food processor. Grind the bread into crumbs until you reach your desired coarseness. Fry the crumbs with butter and a bit of sugar until they are crunchy and brown. Sprinkle the fried crumbs over the dumplings and serve.
A version for the lazy ones:
Instead of making balls from the cheese-dough make a snake on a floured surface and cut them into 2cm pieces (similarly to gnocchi, like this one). Cook them until they float plus one minute. Strain, serve covered in the fried bread crumbs and with the jam on the side.
The post is, of course, dedicated to the photographer’s Grandma Lea.
Goat ricotta gnocchi in thyme brown butter
This gnocchi have the texture of light and delicate unicorn marshmallows, and taste like magic (goat magic!). They are very easy and fast to make, yet impressive and fancy.
The variations are endless, and here is the one special kind we suggest:
- 250gr goat ricotta
- 1 butternut squash, baked until completely soft
- 1 egg
- you can add grated Parmesan to the gnocchi themselves as well, nutmeg.. or loose the squash etc.. etc..
- lots of butter (~80gr)
- grated Parmesan and hard goat cheese (such as goat-milk Gouda)
Mix together the egg, ricotta, squash (sans seeds of course!), Parmesan if using, and s&p. I like to keep the squash chunky, for ‘flavor surprise’, but you can kneed it completely into the dough if you prefer.
Add flour. You want to add enough flour to get some kind of dough, but not too much flour, so you won’t get a brick instead of a gnocchi. I personally prefer to add some flour, try to work the dough on a (heavily) floured surface, and if it doesn’t work.. add more flour. Lets say the amount of four should be around 100gr, which is 3/4cup, for 250gr ricotta.
Cook the gnocchi in boiling salted water until they float plus ~2min, and transfer to a strainer.
Meanwhile.. put butter, whole branches of thyme, sage and garlic in the pan, on a low heat, melt the butter.. and let it brown a little (i.e. let it burn slightly). Now take out all the leaves (particularly the garlic), to get a flavorful butter. Add some new thyme leaves to the brown butter, brown it a little more .. and add the gnocchi. The gnocchi should be covered in light brown color, but not fried… so take the pan off the heat. Sprinkle loads of the grated cheeses (Parmesan and goat Gouda).. and serve, with wine and maybe a candle.
This recipe can serve 2 people as a (not too small) main course, or 4 as a big starter, or 6 as an appetizer.
P.s. it is recommended to warm up the plates before serving this dish, it has little sauce and thus nothing to keep it warm for long.
A new summery turn on the classic coffee cake.
- 250gr soft butter
- 240gr sugar
- 3 eggs
- Pinch of lavender *
- Pinch of vanilla *
- Zest and juice from one lime
- 200gr sour cream
- 100ml milk
- 240gr flour
- 10gr baking powder
- 50gr coconut flakes
- Extra coconut flakes, sugar and butter to cover the cake pan
Sift the flour, baking powder and coconut flakes together, and set aside. Whip the butter with sugar, lavender, vanilla and lime zest until the butter is creamy and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one until combined. Turn the mixer to slow speed and add half of the flour mixture, followed by half of the sour cream, milk and lime juice, and repeat with the second half of the ingredients. Mix just until combined.
Carefully butter the kouglof pan, then cover with sugar. Discard of the access sugar. sprinkle some coconut in the pan. Put the cake batter in the pan and bake at 190C for 30-40 min.
Let the cake cool for several minutes, then turn the pan on a dish and hope you buttered the pan good enough. Let the cake cool to room temp, and serve.
Now you can enjoy a wonderful summery coffee cake, along with some iced coffee and Harry Nilsson.