In celebration of Mother’s Day I wanted to bake something truly extraordinary to honor an even more extraordinary woman: my mother. Throughout the years, all my ups and downs, highs and lows and a lot of exam freak-out moments, my mother has always been there no matter what. She is one of my biggest supporters, cheering me on every time I need to jump another hurdle, and is always happy to impart a few words of wisdom.
To show her how grateful and appreciative I am, I decided it was about time to turn the tables and pamper her with a delicious home-made jewel of a pie. This Oh-My-It’s-Mother’s-Day pie is the perfect representation of my mother’s personality: bright, sweet and beautiful.
The pistachio pie crust is not only incredibly pretty with its very seducing green hue, but has the most enchanting flavour imaginable. The smooth mascarpone filling was flavoured with orange zest and amaretto and decorated with lusciously plumb dates and sharp dried cranberries. It is perfect in every possible way…
If you would like to bake this wonderful pie for your wonderful mother – or for someone else you love – here is the recipe:
Mascarpone- orange- date pie with pistachio crust Ingredients: For the pistachio pie crust:
• 150gr ground pistachios
• 50gr caster sugar
• ¼ tsp baking powder
• 50gr butter
• 1 egg yolk For the filling:
• 300gr mascarpone
• 1,6 dl double cream
• 4 eggs
• Zest of one orange
• 5 dried dates, quartered
• Handful of dried cranberries
• 1 tbsp corn flour
• 1 tbsp amaretto
• 4 tbsp caster sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 150°C and line a 23cm loose-bottomed cake tin with baking parchment.
2. For the pie crust, put the ground pistachio, baking powder, sugar and butter in a bowl and beat until you get a sandy consistency. Add the egg yolk and mix through.
3. Press this mixture into the base of the prepared cake tin. Use a tablespoon to flatten and press the mixture down to form a dense base.
4. Bake into the oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
5. For the mascarpone filling, mix together the eggs, sugar, corn flour, cream, mascarpone, amaretto and orange zest until you get a smooth and runny mixture. Pour the mixture onto the baked pistachio crust. Scatter the dried dates and cranberries into the batter (some will sink to the bottom, others while stay on the surface)
6. Bake into the oven for 30-35 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and leave to cool slightly before refrigerating for at least one hour.
It was a hard battle, ladies and gentlemen! I had just baked the most ooey gooey brownie goodness in my entire life and all I had to do next was simply cut it in squares and eat it. Sounds easy, right? Well, I can tell you one thing: it was easier said than done! From the second I put my knife in the marshmallow layer I knew something wasn’t right. I should have known that once I was going to start cutting the marshmallows, they were going to stick to my knife, my fingers and practically everything else! For a brief moment my kitchen literally turned into a battlefield! (Imagine the stress I was under! ) But like any brave warrior I overcame my fear and fought back! And I totally kicked the marshmallow’s ass!
Do you want to know what my master plan was? Scissors. Yes, ordinary scissors! (Life can be so simple sometimes! 😉 )
Battles aside, however, these S’more brownies were the most amazing chocolaty gooey treats on the planet! The intense flavour of the brownies worked so well with the buttery sweet biscuit layer and the gooey palate-sticking marshmallows turned the dessert into a true comfort food showstopper!
For the base:
• 200gr digestive biscuits
• 125gr unsalted butter
For the brownie:
• 115gr unsalted butter
• 120gr dark chocolate
• 190gr muscovado sugar
• 130gr caster sugar
• ½ tsp salt
• 4 eggs
• 140gr plain flour
For the topping:
• 400gr large white marshmallows
1. Line one 20×30 cm baking tray with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
2. To make the biscuit base, blitz the biscuits in a blender into crumbs and melt the butter I a small pan. Pour the melted butter into a bowl with the biscuit crumbs and stir through. Set aside.
3. To make the brownies, place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until melted.
4. In another bowl add the sugar and salt and pour the melted chocolate into the bowl. Stir to make sure all ingredients are incorporated.
5. Add the eggs and beat vigorously to make a shiny batter.
6. Sift in the flour.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared baking tray and sprinkle the biscuit crumb mixture over the top.
8. Bake for 30 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out mostly clean.
9. Place the marshmallows in a row on top of the baked brownie and place bake in the oven for 3 minutes to soften the marshmallows. Then carefully toast the marshmallow under the grill.
If you don’t know what to have for dinner this evening, maybe this recipe will inspire you. It is perfect for a Tuesday evening when the last thing you want to do is cook. But please, forget those dreadful ready meals, this impressive looking dish isn’t just very simple to prepare, it will also be before you in less than 15 minutes! These udon noodles with minced beef, shrimps and a sweet mirin sauce are both filling and super healthy. What more could you possible want? You don’t even have to resort to ready-chopped vegetables (oh horror!) or bottled sauces .(oh horror!) Mouth-watering Asian flavours at the speed of light! (If you don’t believe me, use a stopwatch!) That is what I like to call “speedy comfort in a wok”!
Ingredients (serves two hungry noodle freaks) :
• 400gr udon noodles, cooked according to packet instructions
• 200gr minced beef
• Approx. 12 shelled shrimps
• Mini pak choi
• 1 teaspoon chilli powder
• 2 tablespoons mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
• 1 onion, chopped
• 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
• 1 tablespoon muscovado sugar
• 2 tablespoons fish sauce
• Fresh coriander and chopped fresh chilli to decorate
1. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large wok and stir fry the onion and garlic.
2. Add the minced beef and the chilli powder and stir fry for a couple of minutes.
3. Add the shrimps, pak choi, mirin, sugar and fish sauce and –again- stir fry for a couple of minutes (See how easy this recipe is? 😉 )
4. Add the noodles, give it a quick taste and see if needs more seasoning or not.
5. Top your noodle dish with some crunchy beansprouts, fresh coriander and chilli.
While I was eating my way through a box of Moroccan pastries this afternoon – without feeling the slightest bit of guilt – I suddenly realized that I had not yet thought of any New Year’s wishes. Who do I want to be in 2013? What would I like my life to be? (very cliché, I know)
It then dawned on me that I would like 2013 to be like that box of delights in front of me: full of sweet surprises. And that is what I wish ALL OF YOU for 2013 as well! A life of indulgence, with decadent treats and moments of pure joy. I want you to cherish the small things in life and turn them into sweet memories. Let 2013 be like a sugar rush: mind-blowing, head-spinning and heartwarming. Because we’re worth it!
I have an inexplicable love for dates.
Not the romantic “Would you like to go and see a movie?” ones, but the dried ones. Yes, those that look hideous but taste divine. Dates are both heavenly sweet and evilly sticky: a godlike combination that contributes to my inner peace and positive state of mind, every time I eat one.
Don’t you just love those Moroccan lamb tagines with almonds and dates? Or those wonderful canapés of dates stuffed with goat’s cheese, wrapped in pancetta?
Just thinking about all these lovely date dishes makes me drool all over my keyboard.
And for all the fans of irresistible cakes that offer pure nostalgia with a modern twist: Here is my aromatic date and apple cake. This mouthwatering and perfect marriage of traditional apple cake with Middle Eastern spices will leave you speechless!
After a very long and exhausting day, there is only one thing that can cheer me up: an overdose of sugar. And by overdose, I mean a super sweet sugar bomb that attacks your teeth, bombs your hips and annihilates all the droopy and dark thoughts out of your mind.
Today, I was under siege by a caramel hot white chocolate and a nutty white chocolate-honey cake. Super Luscious. Super Indulgent. Super Sweet.