Sunday, November 29, 2009


This week, Weekend Cat Blogging #234 is hosted by Othello at "Paulchen's Foodblog" (Austria)...

To submit your kitty picture(s), you can either leave a message in his blog's comment section (with your permalinks) or contact him via e-mail without forgetting to give all the needed information.

Friday, November 27, 2009


With my new job which has started some weeks ago, I hardly have enough time to blog, cook, bake or take pictures. Time goes by ever so quickly at the moment and the Daring Bakers monthly posting dates seem to follow one another without a break...

Anyway, although I am very busy and quite tired at the moment, I have been able to gather enough strength in order to accomplish my challenge in time. I would not want to pass an event as I'm very proud of having never made a hiatus since 2 years and 2 months!

The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of "Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives". She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks "Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen" by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and "The Sopranos Family Cookbook" by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.

"Cannoli" are pastry desserts that originate from Sicily. "Cannolo" (singular) in Italian means "little tube". It is called in that way because of the shape of it's shell which are tubular. This speciality is also very popular in America where it is easily findable pretty much anywhere.

"Cannoli" consist deep-fried shells filled wit
h a sweet, creamy filling usually containing ricotta cheese which is blended with a variety of flavorings (Marsala wine, vanilla, cinnamon, etc...) and ingredients (pistachio nuts, chocolate chips, candied orange, etc...).

As I don't have "Cannoli" molds and would not know where to find them here in Geneva, I had to make sheets out of my pastry. I cut out my shapes using a bowl and they turned out really well. Regarding the filling, I followed the recipe, but added cocoa nibs, toasted almonds (instead of pistachio), orange extract and candied orange. My "Cannoli Napoleons" were good looking and so exquisite!

The shells had a gorgeous deep fried flavor and were not too sweet, but wonderfully fragrant thanks to the cinnamon and cocoa used in the pastry. The ricotta filling added a fruity, nutty and fresh note to that refined treat. A heavenly combination that makes you come back for more, and more, and more. As you say in French, this treat has a "goût de reviens-y" ("moreish taste") ...

I wish to thank Lisa Michele of "Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives" (USA) for having chosen such a wonderful recipe! I really enjoyed making "Cannoli" and was so happy to get to do a little deep frying instead of baking. That recipe is definitely a keeper!


Ingredients for the "Shells":
2 Cups (250g/16 ounces) All-purpose flour
2 Tbs (28 grams/1 ounce) Castor sugar
1 Tsp (5g/0.06 ounces) Unsweetened baking cocoa powder
1/2 Tsp (1.15g/0.04 ounces) Ground cinnamon
1/2 Tsp (approx. 3 grams/0.11 ounces) Salt
3 Tbs (42g/1.5 ounces) Vegetable or olive oil
1 Tsp (5g/0.18 ounces) White wine vinegar
~1/2 cup (approx. 59g/approx. 4 fluid ounces/approx. 125ml) Sweet Marsala, red Porto or any white or red wine you have on hand
1 Large egg, separated (you will need the egg white but not the yolk) Vegetable or any neutral oil for frying – about 2 quarts (8 Cups/approx. 2 litres)
1/2 Cup (approx. 62g/2 ounces) Toasted, chopped pistachio nuts, mini chocolate chips/grated chocolate and/or candied or plain zests, fruits etc.. for the garnish
Confectioners' sugar

If you want a chocolate cannoli dough, substitute a few tablespoons of the flour (about 25%) with a few tablespoons of dark, unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch process) and a little more wine until you have a workable dough (Thanks to Audax).

Directions for the "Shells":
1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer or food processor, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the oil, vinegar, and enough of the wine to make a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and well blended, about 2 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge from 2 hours to overnight.
2. Cut the dough into two pieces. Keep the remaining dough covered while you work. Lightly flour a large cutting or pastry board and roll the dough until super thin, about 1/16 to 1/8” thick (An area of about 13 inches by 18 inches should give you that). Cut out 3 to 5-inch circles (3-inch – small/medium; 4-inch – medium/large; 5-inch;- large. Your choice). Roll the cut out circle into an oval, rolling it larger and thinner if it’s shrunk a little.
3. Oil the outside of the cannoli tubes (You only have to do this once, as the oil from the deep fry will keep them well, uhh, Roll a dough oval from the long side (If square, position like a diamond, and place tube/form on the corner closest to you, then roll) around each tube/form and dab a little egg white on the dough where the edges overlap. (Avoid getting egg white on the tube, or the pastry will stick to it.) Press well to seal. Set aside to let the egg white seal dry a little.
4. In a deep heavy saucepan, pour enough oil to reach a depth of 3 inches, or if using an electric deep-fryer, follow the manufacturer's directions. Heat the oil to 375°F (190 °C) on a deep fry thermometer, or until a small piece of the dough or bread cube placed in the oil sizzles and browns in 1 minute. Have ready a tray or sheet pan lined with paper towels or paper bags.
5. Carefully lower a few of the cannoli tubes into the hot oil. Do not crowd the pan. Fry the shells until golden, about 2 minutes, turning them so that they brown evenly.
6. Lift a cannoli tube with a wire skimmer or large slotted spoon, out of the oil. Using tongs, grasp the cannoli tube at one end. Very carefully remove the cannoli tube with the open sides straight up and down so that the oil flows back into the pan. Place the tube on paper towels or bags to drain. Repeat with the remaining tubes. While they are still hot, grasp the tubes with a potholder and pull the cannoli shells off the tubes with a pair of tongs, or with your hand protected by an oven mitt or towel. Let the shells cool completely on the paper towels. Place shells on cooling rack until ready to fill.
7. Repeat making and frying the shells with the remaining dough. If you are reusing the cannoli tubes, let them cool before wrapping them in the dough.

Directions for "Stacked Cannoli":
1. Heat 2-inches of oil in a saucepan or deep sauté pan, to 350-375°F (176 - 190 °C).
2. Cut out desired shapes with cutters or a sharp knife. Deep fry until golden brown and blistered on each side, about 1 – 2 minutes. Remove from oil with wire skimmer or large slotted spoon, then place on paper towels or bags until dry and grease free. If they balloon up in the hot oil, dock them lightly prior to frying. Place on cooling rack until ready to stack with filling.

2 lbs (approx. 3.5 Cups/approx. 1 kg/32 ounces) Ricotta cheese, drained
1 2/3 Cups (160g/6 ounces) Confectioner’s sugar (more or less, depending on how sweet you want it), sifted
1/2 Tsp (1.15g/0.04 ounces) Ground cinnamon
1 Tsp (4g/0.15 ounces) Pure vanilla extract or the beans from one vanilla bean
3 Tbs (approx. 28g/approx. 1 ounce) Finely chopped good quality chocolate of your choice
2 Tbs (12g/0.42 ounces) Finely chopped, candied orange peel, or the grated zest of one small to medium orange
3 Tbs (23g/0.81 ounce) Toasted, finely chopped pistachios

If you want chocolate ricotta filling, add a few tablespoons of dark, unsweetened cocoa powder to the above recipe, and thin it out with a few drops of warm water if too thick to pipe.

Directions for the "Filling":
1. Line a strainer with cheesecloth. Place the ricotta in the strainer over a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Weight it down with a heavy can, and let the ricotta drain in the refrigerator for several hours to overnight.
2. In a bowl with electric mixer, beat ricotta until smooth and creamy. Beat in confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and blend until smooth. Transfer to another bowl and stir in chocolate, zest and nuts. Chill until firm (The filling can be made up to 24 hours prior to filling the shells. Just cover and keep refrigerated).

1. When ready to serve..fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain or star tip, or a ziplock bag, with the ricotta cream. If using a ziplock bag, cut about 1/2 inch off one corner. Insert the tip in the cannoli shell and squeeze gently until the shell is half filled. Turn the shell and fill the other side. You can also use a teaspoon to do this, although it’s messier and will take longer.
2. Press or dip cannoli in chopped pistachios, grated chocolate/mini chocolate chips, candied fruit or zest into the cream at each end. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and/or drizzles of melted chocolate if desired.

- Dough must be stiff and well kneaded - Rolling the dough to paper thinness, using either a rolling pin or pasta machine, is very important. If the dough is not rolled thin enough, it will not blister, and good cannoli should have a blistered surface.
- Initially, this dough is VERY stubborn, but keep rolling, it eventually gives in. Before cutting the shapes, let the dough rest a bit, covered, as it tends to spring back into a smaller shapes once cut. Then again, you can also roll circles larger after they’re cut, and/or into ovals, which gives you more space for filling.
- Your basic set of round cutters usually doesn’t contain a 5-inch cutter. Try a plastic container top, bowl etc, or just roll each circle to 5 inches. There will always be something in your kitchen that’s round and 5-inches if you want large cannoli.
- Oil should be at least 3 inches deep and hot – 360°F-375°F, or you’ll end up with greasy shells. I prefer 350°F - 360°F because I felt the shells darkened too quickly at 375°F.
- If using the cannoli forms, when you drop the dough on the form into the oil, they tend to sink to the bottom, resulting in one side darkening more. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to gently lift and roll them while frying.
- DO NOT crowd the pan. Cannoli should be fried 2-4 at a time, depending on the width of your saucepan or deep fryer. Turn them once, and lift them out gently with a slotted spoon/wire skimmer and tongs. Just use a wire strainer or slotted spoon for flat cannoli shapes.
- When the cannoli turns light brown - uniform in color, watch it closely or remove it. If it’s already a deep brown when you remove it, you might end up with a really dark or slightly burnt shell.
- Depending on how much scrap you have left after cutting out all of your cannoli shapes, you can either fry them up and sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar for a crispy treat, or let the scraps rest under plastic wrap and a towel, then re-roll and cut more cannoli shapes.
- Push forms out of cannoli very gently, being careful not to break the shells as they are very delicate. DO NOT let the cannoli cool on the form, or you may never get it off without it breaking. Try to take it off while still hot. Hold it with a cloth in the center, and push the form out with a butter knife or the back of a spoon.

- When adding the confectioner’s sugar to the filling.
- You may like it sweeter than what the recipe calls for, or less sweet, so add in increments.
- Fill cannoli right before serving! If you fill them
an hour or so prior, you’ll end up with soggy cannoli shells.
- If you want to prepare the shells ahead of time, store them in an airtight container, then re-crisp in a 350°F (176 °C) oven for a few minutes, before filling.
- Practice makes perfect. My first batch of shells came out less than spectacular, and that’s an understatement. As you go along, you’ll see what will make them more aesthetically pleasing, and adjust accordingly when rolling. Don’t give up!!!


Etant donné la longueur du texte original, je n'ai malheureusement pas pu faire une traduction française de ce billet et je m'en excuse auprès de tous mes amis lecteur s et blogueurs francophones!

C'est pourquoi je vous suggère de vous rendre sur les blogs mentionnés ci-dessous. Vous y trouverez cette recette en version française.

Chez Jasmine de "Jasmine Cuisine" (Canada)
Chez Isa de "Les Gourmandises d'Isa" (Canada)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


On Thursday the 26th of November most Americans will be celebrating one of the most important holidays of the year, Thanksgiving.

In order to give you ideas and help you save time, I have compiled a few recipes which, I believe, might grace your festive table perfectly.

Have fun browsing through my recipes and I hope you'll find a dish you'd like to try out!

Almond And Curry Bread (see recipe)
American Pancakes (see recipe)
Apple And Cheddar Quiche (see recipe)
Apple Latkes (see recipe)
Bagels (see recipe)
Bakewell Tart (see recipe)
Banana Bread Pudding (see recipe)
Banana Walnut Bread (see recipe)
Bostoni Cream Pie (see recipe)
Buttermilk Honey Bread (see recipe)
Buttermilk Potato Bread (see recipe)
Cantuccini (see recipe)
Cardamom Crumb Cake (see recipe)
Caribbean Banana Soup (see recipe)
Challah Bread (see recipe)
Chestnut Jam Bites (see recipe)
Chocolate Mousse (see recipe)
Chocolate Walnut Fudge (see recipe)
Chopped Liver (see recipe)
Cinnamon, Chestnut & Persimmon Muffins (see recipe)
Cinnamon Granola (see recipe)
Corned Beef Scrapple Or Ponhaws (see recipe)
Deadly Blondies (see recipe)
Dream Bars (see recipe)
Festive Challah (see recipe)
Fragrant Swedish Rye Bread (see recipe)
Greek Lemon Roasted Potatoes (see recipe)
Greek Pork Stew With Quinces (see recipe)
Hazelnut Cake (see recipe)
Hazelnut Nougatine (see recipe)
Honey Cinnamon Graham Crackers (see recipe)
Italianesque Meatloaf (see recipe)
Kriegskuchen - "War Cake" (see recipe)

Lemon Chestnut Italian Cake (see recipe)
Luscious Pumpkin Jam (see recipe)
Macarons ith Orange, Cinnamon & Cubeb Pepper Buttercream (see recipe)
Maluns (see recipe)
Maple Glazed Brussel Sprouts And Potatoes (see recipe)
Moroccan Dry Fruit Truffles (see recipe)
Oatmeal Bulgur Bread (see recipe)
Orange Cornmeal Cake (see recipe)
Panettone (see recipe)
Parsnip Puree (see recipe)
Party Bread (see recipe)
Pecan Sandies (see recipe)
Perfect Party Cake (see recipe)
Pfeffernüsse Cookies (see recipe)
Plain White Bread (see recipe)
Potatoes Baked With Parmiggiano (see recipe)
Potato Crisps (see recipe)
Potato Kugel (see recipe)
Pumpkin Apple Bread (see recipe)
Pumpkin Bread Pudding With Caramel Sauce (see recipe)
Pumpkin Challah (see recipe)
Pumpkin Cupcakes (see recipe)
Pumpkin Latkes (see recipe)
Pumpkin Muffins (see recipe)
Pumpkin Pasta Bake With Speck (see recipe)
Pumpkin Pie (see recipe)
Roasted Onion Gravy (see recipe)
Rosemary And Vinefruit Bloomer (see recipe)
Raisin Scones (see recipe)
Roasted Onion Gravy (see recipe)
Roasted Pumpkin & Bell pepper Salad (see recipe)
Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese Bagels (see recipe)
Spätzlis (see recipe)
Spicy Roasted Chickpeas (see link)
Stir-Fried Matzah Balls With Bell Peppers (see recipe)
Super Tasty Caramelized Onions (see recipe)
Sweet And savory Meatball (see link)
Sweet Plantains (see recipe)
Swiss Quark Cheese Tart (see recipe)
Tex Mex Cornmeal Bread (see recipe)
Toad In The Hole (see recipe)
Tiny Curry Scones (see recipe)
Upside-Down Honey Cheesecakes (see recipe)
Warm Beetroot With Sour Cream (see recipe)
Zimtsterne Cookies (see recipe)

Friday, November 20, 2009


Since the very first time I visited Annecy, this French little town holds a very special place in my heart. I love everything about Annecy and the more I go there, the more I want to go again. I guess you can call it love at first sight!

Not only is Annecy situated in a beautiful region (Haute-Savoie) close to Switzerland and Geneva, but it is also a special town with a cool architecture and a pleasant as well as relaxed atmosphere...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


It is not my habit to ask for things or help, but this time, I am begging you to vote for me (if you like my recipe) so that I can win a gorgeous cookbook...
Many thanks in advance!

Sunday, November 15, 2009


At the moment, with my new job which I have just started and the challenge it represents (I'll soon post about it), I don't have much time left to blog or cook/bake. And with the light fading away earlier every day, I don't really have the opportunity to take good pictures, thus making things even more difficult...

Lately, finding an interesting and original recipe that could be prepared in a whizz has not been an easy task. My work obliges me to think about baked goods on a daily basis, so you can imagine that when I come back home, the last thing I can think about (or want to think about, as a matter of fact) is food. When Friday arrives, I have no ideas left!

Anyway, after scratching my head and going through my cookery books as well as every possible site or blog, I have finally found a recipe that is both simple to make, worth the attention and that brings me back to childhood.

As I'm going through a "back to the roots" phaze and want to learn more about my second country of origin's culinary habits and recipes, I decided to blog ab
out a treat that has always held a important place in my heart as it's linked to my English grandparents and to wonderful memories I have of my summer holidays in Belper (Derbyshire) and Stratford-Upon-Avon (Warwickshire).

Spending my holidays in England was the highlight of the year. Not only did I get to see many beautiful places and discover wonderful custums, but it was also the opportunity for me to stay with my grandparents whom I only got to see once a year.

My grandmother has always been a great cook and baker. She loves making homemade meals and refused to buy anything processed. Both my grandparents managed two youth hostels (they were the wardens) and there my grandmother's knowledge as well as skills were very helpful when it came to preparing food for crowds and being the big boss in the kitchen. My grandfather also played an important role. He was a great "sous chef" and peeled, grated and chopped vegetables like a pro. Together they worked like a team.

When they retired, my grandmother decided to join the "Women's Institute" and baked for the WI market which was held twice a week. Then again, both worked hand in hand and they produced astronomical quantities of scones, Bakewell tarts, bread loaves, quiches, fruit cakes, Eccles cakes, mince pies, etc... Seeing them work busily in their tiny cottage kitchen was amazing!

The baked goods they produced were perfect and as good as in any bakery. One special treat I particularly loved (and still do) was "Rock Cake". As a child this name made me giggle and the looks of that "cake" amused me!

"Rock Cakes" are hybrid cookies that contain dried fruits as well as spices and share similarities with scones and fruit cake. Their rough surface makes them look like rocks, hence their unique name. This little treat originates from Great Britain, but is very popular in various parts of the world. As they are very easy to make, "Rock Cakes" can be baked with children or if you are in a rush.

Tany Ramsay's (Gordon Ramsay's wife) recipe is different from the original. With it's spice mix and dried cranberries, this fall/winter version of "Rock Cakes" is terrific and can be made for all occasions, and especially during the end of year holidays (Thanksgiving or Christmas).

This irresistibly buttery, crumbly and soft tea treat is absolutely delightful, regressive to please and so satisfying! I love the simplicity of those "Rock Cakes" and their addictive old-fashioned taste that'll make you go back to the kitchen for more.

~ Rock Cakes ~
Recipe by Tana Ramsay and adapted by Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums.

Makes 8 Rock Cakes.

225g Plain flour
The zest of 2 organic oranges
50g Light brown sugar
1 Tsp Baking powder
1 Tsp Ground cinnamon
1/4 Tsp Ground nutmeg
1/4 Tsp Salt
100g Unsalted butter, softened
55g Dried cranberries
1 Large Egg, beaten
4 Tbs Milk
Ingredients for the frosting:
90g Confectioner's sugar
3-4 Tsp Milk

1. Preheat the oven to 180° C (350° F) and cover the baking sheet with baking paper.
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, zest, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Rub the butter into the flour mixture and add the dried cranberries.
3. Mix the beaten egg together with the milk.
4. Add this liquid mixture to the flour mixture and mix to a stiff dough.
5. Using a spoon or a ice cream scoop, make eight mounds out of the dough.
6. Place the mounds onto the baking sheet and bake for 10
-15 minutes until the tops are a light golden brown.
7. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the confectioner's sugar with the milk.
8. Remove from the oven, frost them immediately (with a brush) and cool on a rack.

Don't allow the Rock Cakes to overcook, as they will continue to cook slightly when taken out of the oven.

Serving suggestions:
Serve those "Rock Cakes" whenever you want and accompany with tea, coffee or cold milk.


~ Rock Cakes ~
Recette par Tana Ramsay et adaptée par Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums.

Pour 8 Rock Cakes.

100g Beurre non-salé, ramolli
225g Farine blanche
55g Cranberries séchées
Le zeste de 2 oranges bio
50g de Sucre brun clair
1 Gros oeuf
1 CC de Poudre à lever/cake
1 CC de Cannelle en poudre
1/4 CC de Noix de muscade moulue
4 CS de Lait
Ingrédients pour le glaçage:
90g de Sucre glace
3-4 CS de Lait

1. Précahuffer le four à 180° C et recouvrir la plaque avec du papier sulfurisé.
2. Dans un bol moyen, mélanger la farine, le zeste, le sucre, la poudre à lever et le sel. Mélanger du bout des doigts (comme pour une pâte sablée) le beurre pour l'écraser et l'incorporer dans les ingrédients secs, puis ajouter les cranberries.
3. Mélanger l'oeuf battu avec le lait.
4. Ajouter ce mélange au mélange sec et bien l'incorporer afin d'obtenir une pâte assez compacte.
5. A l'aide d'une cuillère ou de vos mains, former 8 tas avec la pâte.
6. Mettre ces tas sur la plaque et cuire pendant 10-15 minutes ou jusqu'à ce qu'ils soient dorés.
7. Pendant ce temps, dans un petit bol, mélanger ensemble le sucre en poudre avec le lait.
8. Sortir les Rock Cakes du four, les glacer à l'aide d'un pinceau à pâtisserie et les laisser refroidir sur une grille.

Etant donné que les Rock Ckaes continuent un peu à cuire une fois sortis du four, ne les cuisez pas trop longtemps.

Idées de présentation:
Servir les "Rock Cakes" accompagnés de thé, café ou de lait froid à toute heure de la journée.