alcohol

All posts tagged alcohol

Baking With Booze: Gin, Passion Fruit and Lime Cheesecake

Published October 2, 2014 by The Feminist

Summer is now officially over and I can’t even begin to describe how terrified I am about the prospect of colder weather. Yes, there are the really cool fall clothes. Sure, there is the really yummy fall food. But my toes are just too susceptible to the winter cold to be able to fully enjoy all of that.

Hence, I decided to remain in a summer mood for a little while longer (cuz ignorance is bliss y’all!) and conjured up this magnificent exotic cheesecake on a coconut and lime crust. This cheesecake is so sublime that even in the coldest of temperatures it will be able to light a fire in your heart. (please forgive me this cheesy quote, pun not intended.)

Gin, Passion Fruit and Lime Cheesecake on a Lime and Coconut Crust

Ingredients:

For the lime and coconut crust:

  • 100gr plain flour
  • Zest of one lime
  • 50gr caster sugar
  • 30gr desiccated coconut
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 20 gr peanut butter
  • 30gr butter

For the cheesecake:

  • 150gr sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 400gr Philadelphia light
  • Juice of 6 passion fruits, seeds removed
  • Juice of one lime
  • Zest of one lime
  • 100ml Gin

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a loose-bottomed cake tin with baking parchment. Put all the ingredients for the crust into a mixer and mix until you get a crumb-like consistency. Press the mix into the bottom of your tin and bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown.
  2. Lower the oven temperature to 150°C and start with your cheesecake filling.
  3. Mix together the eggs and sugar until light and frothy. In a separate bowl, mix together the lime, passion fruit juice and gin. Pour the liquid into the egg mixture. Stir well.
  4. Slowly fold in the cream cheese until everything is well combined. Pour the mixture onto your baked crust and sprinkle the lime zest over the top.
  5. Bake in the oven for 1 hour/ 1 hour and 10 minutes.
  6. Leave to cool completely before serving (with a gin & tonic, obv. )

Things That Make Me Happy: Martini, New Perfume and a Good Dose of Michael Fassbender

Published May 9, 2014 by The Feminist

The past week has been a rollercoaster of mildly hysterical screams and utterly insane deadlines. In between some exhausting apartment-shopping, daunting writing assignments and depressing newsflashes about Syrian bombings and kidnapped Nigerian girls, you would almost forget to live and have a nice time. So I am honestly glad to say: Thank God it’s Friday.

Cuz, I needzz it… I needzz it badly.  

In order to forget all the horror in the world, I always have three simple tricks that help me relax. Now that the weekend is upon us, I thought it would be nice to share these tips with you all, since you clearly have nothing better to do than reading this post on a Friday night.

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TIP NR. 1: No Martini, No Party

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You can do plenty of things on a Friday night, but some alcohol is always a good start. I am one of those people who love some bitter sweet Martini. I always think it makes me look so classy and cool ( that’s probably the George Clooney effect), yes even when I’m drinking straight from the bottle.

So pour yourself a glass, dear readers. Put on some jazzy music and just have a good time. You deserve it!

TIP NR. 2: Wear Perfume

There is this famous quote by Christian Dior who says that “ a woman’s perfume tells more about her than her handwriting”. I couldn’t agree more! What better way to let your personality shine than by wearing a scent that embodies who you are and what you stand for, right? Moreover, it is just so much fun to go perfume shopping. All those cute bottles, those heavenly aromas, all those ladies with perfectly manicured nails offering to “spritz you”… It is simply the best.

So in an attempt to do some stress-free shopping, I decided to buy myself a new perfume.

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I bought Pleats Please by Issey Miyake. It know it is always hard to describe a scent, but let me give it a try: Intensely fruity. Hints of aromatic musk. Asian-inspired floral freshness. Oh yes, this fragrance is the epitome of femininity mixed with optimistic and youthful exuberance. Basically, it is Marilyn Monroe and Zoe Deschanel rolled into one beautiful bottle of perfume.

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So yes, buying perfume makes me happy. Give it a go, dear readers. If it does not make you happy, at least you’ll still smell really nice 😉 . (Oh yeah, another benefit of buying perfume is that you are allowed to sniff yourself as many times as you want without people staring it you, thinking you’ve gone completely mad. )

TIP NR. 3: Go on a Bender… A Fassbender

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Seriously. Just looking at him makes me insanely giggly. Not only is our dear Fassy a really good actor and ridiculously handsome, his accent is to die for as well. So if you are in the mood for some instant happiness, all you need to do is watch an interview with Michael Fassbender and you will be chirping around the house in no time!

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What’s that you’re saying? You don’t believe me? Well, dear skeptical reader, I have the perfect way to persuade you, because Fassy was on the Graham Norton Show last week. He was funny, he was sweet and he even danced to Blurred Lines with buddies Hugh Jackman and James McAvoy.

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See? If even this gif can make you giggle, just imagine what the entire interview will do to you! Google it. Watch it. Dig it.

A Not So Traditional Take on a Classic Apple Cake

Published January 8, 2014 by The Feminist

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Call me a rebel, but I don’t like cooking traditional food. I mean, why would I want to bake well-known classics, say éclairs ( everyone knows what they taste like, am I right?), when you can bake something as insane as Earl grey cupcakes filled with mango custard and decorated with freeze-dried strawberries and a dust of pink peppercorns?

Don’t you agree that the latter sounds much more fascinating?

However, sometimes you just have to make do with the ingredients you have lying around in your fridge and – to my regret- they didn’t include earl grey tea powder, mango and strawberries. What I did have at home, on the other hand,  were a couple of eating apples that had gone past their date of crunchy yumminess… and that is when I got an amazing idea…

To all the traditional inside-the-box thinkers among you, let me just say this: No, I did not bake apple pie, tarte tatin, apple crumble or boring apple cake.

No offense.

That’s just not how I roll.

I did, however, bake an absolutely gorgeous spiced apple and calvados cake: a hint of warmth from the calvados,  moist sweetness from the apples, some lovely crunch from a variety of nuts and to finish it all off, succulent raisins and dried apples coated in cinnamon sugar.

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Now that is what I call an Apple Cake. (Notice the capital letters A and C, because this cake is too awesome not be written in extravagant calligraphy 😉 )

Note from the Author/Baker:

Some of you of might have noticed that this baking recipe is the second recipe in a row that uses generous amounts of alcohol. Please, don’t be alarmed. There is no underlying addiction here, just someone who prefers her booze in a cake instead of a glass. (Okay, that’s not entirely true but humor me for a second here.)

Note to the BBC:

Should you  be looking for a new concept for a cooking show, I am always available to do a “Baking with Booze” programme. (That does have a certain ring to it, doesn’t it?! )

No pressure.

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Spiced Apple and Calvados Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 apples, peeled and grated
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ½  tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 150gr plain flour
  • 75gr muscovado sugar
  • 75gr butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1dl Calvados
  • 4 tsp milk
  • 50gr nuts, roughly chopped
  • 50gr raisins
  • 50gr dried apple coated in cinnamon sugar (These are rather hard to come by- I just happened to have them at home- so if you can’t find them, use sultanas instead.)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Sift the plain flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg into a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl mix the sugar and butter until you get a paler colour. Stir in the grated apple.
  4. Add the egg and mix well. Gradually pour in the Calvados and milk and mix until everything is combined.
  5. Add the spiced flour mixture to the apple mixture and mix well.
  6. Stir in the nuts and dried fruit and pour the batter into a prepared cake tin. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes.

Cooking with Booze: Pumpkin Soup with Chimay and Cheddar + Chocolate and Cointreau Bread Pudding

Published November 12, 2013 by The Feminist

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“I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.” This famous quote by kitchen goddess Julia Child is one that seems to be coined just for the likes of me. Mark my words: if I ever get my own place, with a very large kitchen (mandatory, as you might have guessed) , I want that quote engraved above the stove, so I can look at it every day while I’m stirring my stew/risotto/soup and sipping from a ridiculously large glass of rose wine…

Just for the record, I am not some closet alcoholic. I like my glass of chardonnay in the weekend, my cocktail when I go out and the stronger stuff (Mr. Whiskey or Ms Amaretto) when I feel a bit down or under the weather (nothing better to cure a cold than a jalapeno shot!), but I never get drunk, have never been hung over (can’t believe I’m saying this out loud) and (since it’s confession time, I might just well add the following) I don’t like beer.

There. I said it. The big secret is out.

But what I lack in the “let’s drink loads of alcohol to have fun!” department, I make up for in the “let’s give this sauce a good splash of booze”-section. I love adding alcohol to my dishes. It gives the most lovely depth of flavour to practically any dish. It turns a sauce into a work of art, a venison stew into a well of rich divinity and a cake into a heavenly delightful piece of paradise. It intensifies the experience of cooking and eating. It makes even the most ordinary dish look outrageously decadent and gives richness in a way it would even make Will Smith’s big fat bank account sneak off in embarrassment!

So here are two dishes that are ridiculously easy to make (and may sound quite ordinary if you leave out the booze) but with that little touch of alcohol they are transformed into a brilliant image of culinary madness!

Pumpkin soup with Cheddar, Chimay and crispy pancetta
Like I said, I don’t drink beer. Pouring plenty of it in food, on the other hands, is one of my culinary trademarks. Chimay is one of Belgium’s best known beers. It may seem completely bonkers to add it to a soup, but the beer adds such great flavour to the sweetness of the butternut.

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Ingredients:
• 1 large butternut, cut into chunks
• 2 large carrots, cut into chunks
• 1 large onion, cut into chunks
• 1 -1,5 l vegetable stock
• 1 bottle of Chimay Triple Trappist (33cl)
• ¼ tsp cinnamon
• ¼ tsp nutmeg
• 150gr grated matured cheddar cheese
• Slices of pancetta

Method:
1. Heat a knob of butter in a large pot and sauté the veg for a couple of minutes. Add the beer and bring to the boil.
2. Add the stock and the spices. Let it simmer for at least half an hour.
3. Mix the soup until you get a smooth and velvety texture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the cheddar cheese and let it melt.
4. Meanwhile, put your slices of pancetta on a baking tray and put them under a grill until they get all golden brown and crispy.

Chocolate and Cointreau bread pudding
Bread pudding is a very traditional dessert here in Belgium (and probably in the Netherlands and Germany as well). It is our version of the British all-time favourite bread and butter pudding but if I may be so frank: this version is way better than the version they serve across the Channem. Just saying.
Oh, and I added a good splash of Cointreau as well, which made this pudding even more special!

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Ingredients:
• 375gr stale bread
• 75gr dark chocolate, finely chopped
• 80gr sugar
• 1 heaped tbsp cocoa powder
• 3 eggs
• 5dl milk
• 4 tbsp cointreau
• 3 tbsp orange marmalade
• ½ tsp cinnamon
• ¼ tsp nutmeg
• ¼ tsp ginger
• Pinch of salt
• One Clementine, for decoration (optional)

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and grease a flat loaf tin with plenty of butter. Heat the milk, sugar, cocoa powder and spices on a low heat and let it infuse for 15 minutes.
2. Cut the bread into small morsels and add a good pinch of salt. Pour the milk on top of the bread and let the bread soak up all the moisture. Mash the gloopy bread together until you get an incorporated, semi-smooth mixture.
3. Stir in the eggs. Now finally stir in the marmalade, chocolate and cointreau.
4. Pour the batter into the tin, decorate with Clementine and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.

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Cake Season in full Bloom: Boozy and fruity elderflower cake

Published May 25, 2013 by The Feminist

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Elderflower cake is a well-known afternoon tea treat this time of the year: It is easy to bake and the refreshing floral taste of the elderflower transports us to the most sunniest places imaginable, even if it is raining cats and dogs outside.

Most elderflower cakes are made with elderflower cordial, a non-alcoholic soft drink that is often used in cocktails. The elderflower in this amazingly fragrant cake, however, is not so innocent. ( Innocence is not really my style 😉 ) I used “RoomeR”, a wonderful artisanal liquor produced in my hometown Ghent. It gives the cake a great depth and an electrifying boozy aftertaste! Oh yes, the RoomeR turns this cake into something truly special!

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Those who would really like to bake this cake (If you don’t, you are really missing out on something extraordinary, dear readers! ), but don’t live in Belgium and hence can’t find a bottle of RoomeR, I suggest mixing equal amounts of elderflower cordial and rum. Admittedly, it won’t be exactly the same, but at least you will get that boozy kick 😉 .

The topping was made with RoomeR, elderberry jam and decorated with fresh strawberries. Since the elderflower and the elderberry come from the same plant, it feels very therapeutic to bring these two predestined ingredients back together once more.

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Boozy and fruity elderflower cake

Ingredients:

For the sponge:
• 2 eggs
• 55gr soy spread (or butter)
• 190gr caster sugar
• 160gr plain flour
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 50ml milk
• 110 ml RoomeR

For the topping:
• 150gr elderberry jam
• 50ml Roomer
• Fresh strawberries

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line a 20cm diameter loose-bottomed cake tin with baking parchment.
2. Mix together the butter, flour, sugar and baking powder until it forms a sandy consistency.
3. Mix together the eggs, milk and RoomeR in a jug and gradually pour the liquid into the crumb mixture.
4. Mix thoroughly until the batter is thick and smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
5. Put the elderberry jam and the RoomeR in a small sauce pan and heat through to create a glossy and runny spread.
6. Once the cake is removed from the oven, leave to cool for 5 minutes in the tin and then pour over the fruity elderberry spread. Let it sit for half an hour before removing the cake from its tin.
7. Arrange some strawberries on top of the cake.

The Rum Diaries: the most exotic dessert you’ll have ever tasted

Published April 6, 2013 by The Feminist

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When my mother walked into the kitchen this morning and asked what I was baking this time, it was very hard to find a suitable name. That’s what happens when you combine at least three different recipes and top it all off with your own personal input. I guess that you could best describe this dessert as an “exotic trifle” or maybe “Rum Baba Revisited”. Basically, it’s just the cake version of my two favorite cocktails: a caipirinha and  a pina colada.

Needless to say that , after I had mentioned the word “cocktail”, my mom didn’t need to hear any further details. She knew it was going to be an amazing dessert. God bless my mom for always believing in my cooking skills!

Or maybe she just believed in the power of rum. Because, quite frankly, everything tastes better with rum. I know that. You know that. Jack Sparrow knows that. It is common sense. Just like one plus one equals two, sugar plus rum equals heaven. It is basic mathematics.

That marvelous sweetness from the coconut rochers, that fragrant zing from the lime custard and that splendid fruitiness from the pineapple, all coated in a wonderful blanket of spiced rum syrup.

Cocktail sweetness

Ingredients (makes 6 glasses)

For the lime custard:
• 1,5dl lime juice (4-5 limes)
• 0,5dl water
• 150gr caster sugar (for the lime syrup)
• 50gr caster sugar (for the egg mixture)
• 25gr corn flour
• 2 egg yolks
• 1,5dl double cream

For the rum syrup:
• 0,5dl white rum
• 1,25dl water
• 65gr caster sugar
• 6 cardamom pods

For the decoration:
• Good quality shop-bought soft coconut rochers
• Half a pineapple, finely diced

Method:

1. Crumble a layer of coconut rocher on the bottom of each glass.
2. To make the lime custard, pour the lime juice, water and 150 grams of sugar in a sauce pan and bring to the boil.
3. In a bowl, beat together the egg yolks and 50 grams of sugar until light and creamy. Add the corn flour and mix through.
4. Pour a little bit of the hot lime syrup into your egg mixture and whisk well. Then pour the egg mixture into your pan of lime syrup and, on a low heat, whisk constantly until it starts to thicken.
5. Remove from the heat and pour the custard into a baking tray and cover straight away with cling film and set aside to cool completely.
6. To finish the custard, pour the double cream in a bowl and beat the cream until it forms soft peaks. Gradually fold the whipped cream into your cooled custard.
7. To make the rum syrup, add the ingredients to a pan and bring to the boil. Let it reduce by half.
8. Spoon three to four teaspoons of rum syrup over each layer of coconut rocher and pour the remaining syrup on top of your chopped fresh pineapple.
9. Scatter some pineapple over the coconut layer and then spoon a good dollop of lime custard on top.
10. Generously finish with al layer of boozy pineapple. (and decorate with some desiccated coconut if you like)