Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Happy birthday to me!

I'm getting old...  Really! I can now officially call myself a 24-year old "woman", even though I sometimes still feel like a little girl. I like celebrating my birthday with family; getting together, eating cake and chatting about life and what everybody is up to. This year it was no different!

My birthday was on a Monday, but I've already celebrated on Sunday with my dad, his girlfriend and their cats! As a surprise we went to visit the Apenheul, where they have lots of monkeys running around. I've made some one-bite chocolate delightfulness to indulge on, together with some vegetarian pies,  see the recipies below.
My niece was born on the 3rd of August. This year we decided to celebrate our birthdays together. On Monday, my mum had her first working day at her new job. This meant I was home-alone for the most of the day, so me and my niece spent it cooking and baking. We did some grocery shopping first and in the afternoon we made our birthday cake, the recipe is also at the bottom, as are the messy making-the-cake pictures!

In the evening, the family of my mum's side came for the birthday visit. We first enjoyed some lemon tart together with coffee or tea. Afterwards, most of us had a glass of wine accompanied with some quiches and other snacks.
This was my Sunday outfit. The jeans are from Esprit, I absolutely love that they are off-white, which makes me look a bit skinnier and it is more sophisticated than in bright white. The top is from Zara which I bought a few years ago in Spain.
As a birthday girl, you of course also have to dress up a little bit. On Monday I wore this lovely dress which I bought a few years ago already but keep for more special occasions.

And now on to the jummy jummy goodness!

One-bite chocolate&raspberry delightfulness
What you'll need for around 12 :
  • 50 grams of dates (around 5)
  • 50 grams of dried cranberries
  • 50 grams of almonds
  • 30 grams of pure chocolate / chocolate sauce
  • 10 grams of cocoa powder (around 2 tablespoons)
  • 12 raspberries 
Melt the pure chocolate au bain-marie* which will act like glue for the raspberries, or you could also use "ready-to-go" chocolate sauce. Put all other ingredients, except the chocolate and raspberries, in a food processor and mix them all up until the large chunks are gone and it forms some kind of dough (see right bottom). Next, make small balls out of the dough of approx 10 grams each. Press them down a little so they become flatter. With a spoon, put a bit of the chocolate sauce in the middle and put the raspberry on top.
Thats it! Simple, right?

*put a large pan of water on the fire, put a smaller pan on top with the chocolate in it, and wait till it melts

Lemon Tart
Ingredients for the crust (gluten-free):

  • 200 grams of mixed nuts (ours included almonds and cashews)
  • 100 grams of butter
  • 55 grams of buckwheat flour
  • 10 dates
  • 2 tsp of cinnamon

Ingredients for the custard filling (sugar-free):

  • 75 grams of butter
  • 325 ml of milk
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 2 lemons
  • 6 tbsp of honey
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tbsp of corn starch

For the crust: put the nuts and dates in a blender and blend until the large chunks are gone. Add in the butter, cinnamon and buckwheat flour and blend until the dough comes together. Coat the bottom of a 9" tart pan with butter and distribute the pastry evenly on the bottom and sides. Set aside while you make the custard.
For the custard: Heat the butter, milk and vanilla pod in a pan on medium heat until the butter has melted. Add in the lemon juice (and zest) and honey. Bring to a boil while stirring, then lower the temperature and let it simmer for around five minutes. Remove the vanilla pod and set the mixture aside to cool. Whisk the egg yolks, the egg and corn starch with a mixer in a large bowl for a couple of minutes, then put the two mixtures together while whisking. Pour the custard on top of the crust and bake at 180°C for about 20 minutes.

Spinach and Feta pies
As a small snack to go with the wine, we decided to make some pies. For this you will need a muffin form. The ingredients needed for 12 pies:

  • 12 puff pastry sheets (or as much as you need to "dress" the exterior walls of the muffin form)
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • 225 grams of baby spinach
  • 150 ml of whipping cream 
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 125 grams of feta
  • 25 grams of pine nuts
  • salt and pepper
Firstly, cut out circles in the puff pastry sheets that will cover the muffin forms, we used a glass to outline the shape. Next, put the puff pastry in the muffin form and sprinkle some of the feta on the bottom. Heat up the butter in a pan and add the baby spinach. Let it simmer for a while until most of the moist is gone (see picture). Cut the spinach into smaller pieces. Mix together the whipping cream and the egg yolks, and add the spinach. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to the mixture, and fill the muffin forms with the mixture. Put the forms in the oven (200°C) for about 15 minutes, then distribute the pine nuts over the top and bake off for another 5 minutes.

Salmon pies
Ingredients for 12 small pies:

  • 12 puff pastry sheets (or as much as you need to "dress" the exterior walls of the muffin form)
  • 150 grams of smoked salmon
  • 100 grams of fresh cheese (quark)
  • 50 grams of crème fraiche
  • 1 egg
  • 30 ml of milk
  • Italian herbs
  • dill
  • Just as above, cut out circles in the puff pastry sheets that will cover the muffin form, we used a glass to outline the shape, and put the puff pastry in the muffin forms. Cut the salmon into small pieces and put them on the bottom of the muffin forms. Whisk the fresh cheese, crème fraiche, milk, egg and herbs together in a mixing bowl. Add the mixture to the muffin forms and put them in the oven (200°C) for about 20 minutes.

    I hope you enjoyed looking at our cooking experience and a sneak-peek into my life. If you decide to try out one of the recipes, let me know and send me a picture!


    1. Lovely post dear!Really like it:)
      Keep in touch
      Antonella xoxo

    2. The Spinach and feta pies look especially delicious, they are kind of like mini quiches. I'm glad I found your blog! Do you have Bloglovin' account because I would love to follow you! If you also had a moment could you check out my blog?

      1. Thanks for the advice Laura, if just updated my bloglovin account and added the blog, so you should be able to follow me now, Yey! :) I'll check out your blog!

      2. Thanks for checking out my blog! Glad you synced your blog with Bloglovin', I'm now also following you and I can't wait to see what your blog has in store!

    3. These all look so tasty, definitely following you for future! :) x
      Hannah www.hannahbakesthings.co.uk

    4. i really love this post! definitely going to check out your instagram, it's also one of my favorites!:)