Almond Paste

Christmas time is approaching the inspiration to decorate is growing.

Looking at beautiful cakes and sweet I found I need almond paste to make my experiments.  The almond paste from the shop near my house sells delicious almond paste which is perfect for baking but not really for modeling. New project: an almond paste deer!

The easiest and best solution was preparing this myself: no oil adding better only egg white as this will dry and my creations will keep their shape easily and it’s not sticky to our hands!

 

Almond Paste

  • Servings: 400 g
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 

You need

  • 200 g almonds, unpeeled
  • 200-250 g powdered sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • A few drops bitter almond aroma (optional)

Procedure

  1. Bring 500 ml water to boil add your almonds and wait 2 minutes.
  2. Remove 3/4 of the hot water and cover the almond with cold water.
  3. Remove the skin of the almonds squeezing the almond out of the peel.
  4. Place the almonds on a towel and rub until dry.
  5. Place almonds in a food processor grinding them very fine.
  6. Add 200 sugar and grind again until well combined
  7. Add egg white and bitter almond aroma.
  8. Pulse until assembled, check if it is not sticky. If needed add more powdered sugar and pulse again.
  9. Remover from the food processor, form a ball and wrap in plastic foil.
  10. Your almond paste is ready to be used.

 

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Halloween Dinner for 4

19Days of planning, collecting ideas and material, a few hours in the kitchen and finally our dinner is ready and the table decorated.

My family really loved this dinner not only for the colors and decoration, but the food as well.

I spent some time after dinner checking the photos and prepare for this post. If you like, I will post the recipes as well.

Recipes:

Potatoes Ghosts

  • 1 1/2 pounds potatoes purèe
  • 1 egg yolk
  1. Prepare potatoes pure and stir in the egg yolk.
  2. Pipe potatoes close together into 2 1/2- to 3-inch-high pointed mounds to form “‘ghosts” and garnish each mound with 2 seeds for “eyes.”

Recipe by Annacia on http://www.justapinch.com/recipes/side/side-potatoes/potato-ghosts.html

Frogg Egg Tropic Drink

  • mixed tropic fruit juice
  • sparkling water
  • maracuja
  1. Fill half of each glass with tropic drink (maracuja, mango and/or orange).
  2. Complete with sparkling water.
  3. Scoop fresh maracuja on top.

Worms

  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 5 tabelspoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoons fresh ginger juice (grate two tablespoons ginger and press out the juice)
  • water until you get 2/3 of cup
  • gelatine (for example agar-agar)
  1. Prepare a brown salad dressing combining  the ingredients and add water until you get 2/3 of cup. Add gelatine (I used agar-agar) in the corresponding quantity necessy to form a firm jelly.
  2. Take a glass and place in stroh
  3. Bring the mixture to boil stirring.
  4. Chill until lukewarm, about 20 min.
  5. Meanwhile, gently pull straws to extend to full length cut into two pieces and place tightly in a cup.
  6. Carefully pour liquid into cup with straws, liquid will fill straws.
  7. Chill until gelatin is firm, at least 8 hours.
  8. Remove straws form cup and brush with cold water to remove gelatin of the outside of the straws.
  9. Push worms from straws with rolling pin, or use your fingers.
  10. Serve as fried worms or mix them with green salad.

Spider Cherry Quark Cake

Variation on https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/apricot-cake-with-quark-filling/

Dough:

  • 125 g flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 35 g sugar
  • 70 g butter or margarine
  • 1 EL milk

Filling:

  • 1 cup frozen cherries
  • 4 eggs
  • 500 g fat reduced Quark
  • 100 g sugar
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • 40 g cornstarch
  • Yellow and red food coloring (or orange if you have)

Decoration:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cacao powder
  • 1-2 teaspoon brandy
  • straws
  1. In a big bowl combine flour, salt and sugar. Cut in butter. Add milk and knead shortly only until assembled. Wrap with plastic and keep in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.
  2. Roll out the dough and place it in a greased 26 cm springform. You will need 3 cm borders for the filling. Place in the refrigerator until your filling is ready.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
  4. Beat to stiff peaks the egg whites. Cream yolks with sugar until pale, add lemon zest and cornstarch. Fold in the beaten egg whites.
  5. Divide cream into two portions and color one of the portion with food coloring until you get a nice orange.
  6. Pour white cream half of the filling in the prepared crust. Line with frozen cherries. Pour the second orange colored part of the filling.
  7. Bake for 50-60 minutes until set and top light golden. Let cool down on a wire rack.
  8. Mix ingredients for the decorations adding the brandy slowly until you get a smooth but not too liquid paste. Transfer the chocolate sauce into a plastic bag, cut out an edge and pipe the decoration.
  9. Add more powdered sugar to the remaining chocolate paste until you get something like a play dough. Form a spider and place it on the cake.

Green eyes

  • 12 white champignons
  • 4-6 pitted green olives
  • 1 teaspoon black olive paste¨
  • Red food coloring for decorations on cakes (for writing)
  1. In a pot bring water to boil.
  2. In the meantime remove stem of the champignons.
  3. Add champignons to water and simmer for a few minutes.
  4. Transfer champignons on a plate and let cool down completely.
  5. If necessary dry the caps with a towel and paint them with red colors making strips as blood vessels.
  6. Slice the olives and place a slice on each cap.
  7. Fill the center of each cup with black olive paste.

Note: you can use mini mozzarella instead of mushrooms (don’t boil them)

Sauce for Eyes Stew

Blend you favorite tomatoes sauce or prepare a shakshuka without eggs as in https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/shakshuka-poached-eggs-in-spicy-tomatoes/

Blent it shortly. Serve hot with „Green Eyes“

Cheesy Witch Fingers

Dough:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour (little more to knead)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella, grated¨
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated

Nails and deco:

  • 12 almonds
  • Food coloring
  • Blackberry jam
  1. Mix all the ingredients for the dough and knead until soft. Let rise 30 minutes.
  2. In the meantime pour hot water on almonds, let sit a few minutes, drain, remove peel, and dived into two halves.
  3. Form fingers (make strings), press one half almond at the end of the string forming the nail. With a knife make incision for the skin.
  4. With a brush paint nails with food coloring.
  5. Dip the base of the finger in the jam simulating clotted blood.
  6. Let rise only short (15 minutes) and bake in a preheated oven at 180°C until light brown for about 15-20 minutes.

Carrot Sauce

  • 300 g carrots
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 3 tablespoon grainy mustard
  • Salt and honey to taste
  1. Place carrot in a pot, cover with water and boil until carrots are tender (about 20 minutes).
  2. Drain, add orange juice and mustard. Blend until smooth.
  3. Season with salt and honey to taste, blend shortly again

Peas Sauce

  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  • 12 Mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup broth
  • 1 tablespoon brandy, or to taste
  1. Pepper and salt, to taste
  2. Place peas in a pot, all little water and boil until tender (about 5 minutes).
  3. Drain, add mint and broth. Blend until smooth.
  4. Season with brandy, pepper and salt to taste, blend shortly again

Tornado Potatoes

“Potatoes spirals” also known as “tornado potatoes” are sold at street hawkers as in Seoul, Bangkok, Penang, Singapore, Taipei and many other places.

Make yourself these funny potatoes spirals without any special machine. In this wonderful youtube tutorial you can see how this works:

You simply need:

Ingredients:

  • Potatoes, small ones
  • Oil, for brushing
  • Salt and spices

Utensils:

  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife
  • Wooden skewers
  • Microwave or deep frying pot with oil

Procedure:

  1. Wash your potatoes.
  2. Insert the skewer into the potato.
  3. Cut the potato at an angle of about 70 degrees to the skewers.
  4. Cut rolling the potatoes paying attention to keep the angle in order to make a constant cut. Cut through until the wooden skewer.
  5. Gently fun out the potato and try to held a constant distance between the slices.
  6. Now you can deep fry (swimming in oil!) your potatoes in enough hot oil or brush some oil and bake it the microwave at full power for about 3 minutes (depends form your microwave). Open the door and let evaporate the humidity. Repeat for one or two minutes until dry. Be careful not to burn them.  I opted for the microwave method as I don’t like the oil smell in the house.
  7. Dust salt and spices.

Weekly Photo Challenge: The World Through Your Eyes (Painting: “The World”)

The World Through Mr Eyes

This is the photo of  the painting ” the World”  I painted a few years ago.

This painting  is the expression or better the fusion of my love for colors and the the love of discovering the world.

Posted for Weekly Photo Challenge: The World Through Your Eyes

Potatoes Roses

potatoes roses

Have you ever seen carved potatoes roses?

This video was my inspiration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJm8yQI2vzM

Well, I tried to make it easier and imagined I could slice the potatoes arrange them in muffins mold and bake them in the oven.

But how to remove them from the mold? Egg would be the necessary glue.

For this recipe I used red skinned potatoes about 10 cm/3 inch long and little more than 2.5-3 cm / 1 inch wide.

For 4 roses you will need:

  • Boing water, salted
  • 2 potatoes, very thinly sliced
  • Olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • salt
  • spices and herbs to taste (dried rosemary power, paprika, mexican spices, garlic powder,…)

Preparation

  1. Grease your muffins molds (I used silicon molds about 6-7 cm / 2.5 inch wide).
  2. Boil potatoes slices for 3-4 minutes in order to make them lightly pliable.
  3. Drain and let cool down. Toss them with little salt and spices to taste (I love dried rosemary powder).
  4. Preheat the oven at about 200°C/400°F.
  5. In a small cup beat the egg with the fork for about 30 seconds, add salt to taste.
  6. Add 2 teaspoon egg to each mold.
  7. Place the biggest potatoes slices into the mold beginning from the outside overlapping them partially. Constantine with the smaller slices in the same way.
  8. If you have very thin half slices you can use them for the center of the roses.
  9. Spoon the remaining egg into the flowers and brush carefully the flowers with olive oil.
  10. Bake in the oven at 200°C/400°F for about 10 minutes or until the borders begins to turn brown; reduce heat and bake for other 20 minutes at low temperature.
  11. Keep warm and remove form mold just before serving.

potatoes roses collage

Gnommy and Grapes

I’m Gnommy a forest gnome created simply for fun. I’m quite shire and I rarely come into contact with humans except of my authors.

I’m about 10 inch tall, but with my cap I appear much taller. My cap and my body are made of fir cone, while my head, hands and feet are made of clay. I’m really proud of my with straw beard! My khaki clothing are filled with lavender blossoms.

During summer I have sit for months in an old glass cabinet but, when the first frosty nights come, I’m released for a few weeks. Finally last night I went out and I was allowed to climb on wood and jump into grass.

All gnomes are vegetarian as me. My favorite food? Berries if possible still hanging berries. Today I was lucky as I found exactly what I was looking for: fresh grapes!

Recycling candles

This is a technique that I found out myself as I still was in the college and I still practice it!

Perhaps you have old candles somewhere; this would be a simple way to recycle them. If not and you are really interested to try, buy some, cheap ounces will work as well.

In this way you can decorate your house, prepare presents or make your children happy.

I decided to prepare these candles already now, as after the preparation they will need some time to dry.

The consistence of the candles can be quite different; they may have different melting point, different size and so on.

I work with warm water, as warm as I can without burning or damaging my hands. Be careful.

You can work in the lavatory or in a bowl. I prefer the plastic bowl as I find that the temperature is more stable and I don’t have to add too much hot water from time to time.

Now we go!

You need:

  • A bowl (or the lavatory)
  • Warm water
  • Candles, different colors if possible
  • Candle wicks (maybe included in the candles)
  • That’s all

Procedure:

  1. Place your candles in the warm water (about 45-50°C).
  2. Let sit enough time until candles are pliable.
  3. If the candles lose their coat, you may change the water, as I did.
  4. At this point it will be possible to remove the candle wicks. Keep aside for further use; keep in mind the direction as this will improve the burning of the candle.
  5. Now stretch, squeeze the candles and eventually cut big pieces.
  6. Combine several pieces together, press and twist them lightly.
  7. While twisting, stretch them to the 3 fold size of the future candle.
  8. Fold the wax (paraffin) in 3 and place the candle wick in the center.
  9. Press well together and twist the candle carefully taking care that the wick is still in the middle of the candle. The wick should be visible on both sides.
  10. Shape the candle; stretch the wick with your fingers holding both ends.
  11. Roll with light pressure on the working surface, hit the bottom on the surface and correct the shape so that the candle can stay vertically.
  12. Take care of your hands using a good hand cream.
  13. Now the candle is ready but some time will be necessary until the water in-between the layers has evaporated and the wick completely dry.

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