Opera Cake

Like nothing I have ever tasted before.

The “Opera Cake”.

opera cake1For a while, I have been wanting to make this cake.  After reading through all the different recipes, my enthusiasm started to wane.  This cake has many different components and uses many ingredients.  I was just too lazy to go through all those steps.

Nevertheless, I wanted to challenge myself and to taste what all goes into one.  At the “Patisserie New York” an Opera Cake sells for $51.90.  It should be really tasty at those prices.

And yes, it was tasty-it was delicious!

I gathered a bunch of different type of recipes from around the net for this cake and put together a recipe for me. It took me a while to put it together and to convert amounts to cups, ounces, spoonfuls, etc.

I needed a joconde, ganache, coffee syrup, Italian buttercream, a chocolate mirror glaze, and lots of time.  An Opera Cake is usually made with almond flour, but can be made with hazelnut flour.  I used the hazelnut flour.  I thought coffee flavoring goes well with hazelnut flavor.

I had never made Italian Buttercream before.  It uses just calls for too much darn butter for one recipe and it read like it was too much work to create.  Blah!

I found a little “umph“, the other day, and headed right into the kitchen to make that buttercream.  I can now say that all the effort, and butter, that goes into this Italian Meringue Buttercream is well worth it-the taste is heavenly.  It’s not too sweet, but melt-in-your-mouth creaminess.  I only made 3/4th of the Italian Buttercream recipe.

The buttercream was made on day one.  The next day, I made the rest of the components and the cake.  It took me 6 hours to bake, make and put together.  Whew!   It would have taken me longer, but Tom did all the dishes after each additional component was made.

This isn’t an entremets that should be eaten all the time and then, only a thin slice will do.  Moderation is the key word for this lovely, decadent dessert.

With all the work, ingredients and effort I put into this cake, and not knowing what I was doing, I think it turned out picture perfect!

Check out it’s, possible, history at “The Good Life France“.

You can find my recipe for this cake on this page-Opera Cake.

Weekend Bakers

What was happening this weekend-

Yesterday, I made an apple-caramel tarte tatin. It came out so pretty and it was delicious.

tarte tatin (2)

I inverted in on to a plate; snapped a picture of the applely-carmelly-almondly goodness. I was pleased at how well it turned out.

However, I unintentionally deleted the photo and can’t show you how pretty and appealing it was.

Ugh!

tarte tatin

This is before turning it out onto a plate.

Friday, I made (eight) ciabatta rolls for Italian sandwiches.  We filled them with Salami, picante provolone cheese, paper thin-cut veggies and homemade Italian sub dressing.

ciabatta

Today, Tom made us a delicious brunch. He made eggs, bacon  and cheese galettes. For sides, he cooked hash browns and sausage.

galette egg

Looks good and hit the spot on the cold, Sunday morn.

Weekends, for us, are rather nondescript. But, they weren’t always that way. As one gets older they seem to, unmemorably, fade away.

There was a time when we couldn’t wait for the weekend. They were always filled with family and fun. We made so many good and fun memories.

As they say,

“C’est la vie and Bon Appétit!”

The Quirky Folk

A couple of months ago, I returned to drawing computer graphics.

Quirky Folks

These little ‘quirky’ folk are from a design collection that were hand-drawn and colored, by me, many years ago.  At the time, I  called them, “Folk Like Us”.

Now, I call them-

The Quirky Folk

Having finishing them, and not wanting them to just sit on a flash drive, I put some of the “Folk” on mugs, and tote bags.

Last October, during hurricane Matthew, there was a mandatory evacuation in our area. We had to leave our home and move inland to safety and stay in a shelter. After almost 3 days, we returned home and found damage to our roof.

Today, finally, the roofing contractors are repairing and shingling our roof. I will be so glad when they are finished.

Having a damaged roof, for so long, weighed heavily on us.

Crafting with Frankie

Will I?

Won’t I?

It’s a debate that’s has been going on in my head for many months about whether I should continue to blog.

Does it fulfill me?

Does it matter?

What’s the point?

What am I trying to convey?

Obviously, it must be something I want to hold on to, because here I am posting about the mundaneness and the uselessness (on my part) of blogging. Since the rise of social networking websites, blogging appears to be an outmoded pastime.

For now, I will think of blogging as a record of the past-of sorts. A place where, when I no long exist, my grandchildren might come to read a little of the past. I have thought how great it would have been if my grandparents had left a journal of their lives.

Hopefully, this way of thinking, will inspire me to post more often.

Speaking of inspiration, a few weeks ago, I saw little pocket folders and string-tie envelopes on Pinterest. I felt motivated to craft some of my own. Since I already had craft paper and other supplies needed, I thought, “why not”?

folder-envelopesI used double-side craft paper such as K&Company Specialty 12-by-12-Inch Paper Pad. Examples of the paper used can be found here.

string envelopes

If you are inspired to make these cute string-tie envelopes, you will find the template and instructions at Minieco.

pocket folders

The pocket folder’s template and instructions can be found at Cedar Graphics.

This was an easy and satisfying project to do.  However, there was one hurdle that was keeping me from completing my project in a smooth manner.

frankie2

Even though he is a nuisance at times, I would genuinely miss him if he were not a part of my life.

Frankie1

Pork Ragù and Pappardelle

When home cooking becomes a necessity.

Tuesday, I made a pot of pork ragù, Italian bread and pasta dough for pappardelle (wide pasta).

ragu and pappardelle

Tom (hubby) rolled and cut the pasta dough which gave me some time to step away from the kitchen for a little while.

Yay, Tom!

Tom the pasta maker

We made a pound of pappardelle. This is just one of two sheets.

pappardelle

For me, home cooking is cheaper, taste far better and healthier than processed, prepackaged or restaurant foods.

The downfall to home cooking is that it can be time-consuming. However, for some of us retired baby boomers, it is a necessity.

Sad as it is, it is just the two of us now.  Family is grown, far, far away and have lives of their own.  All we can hope for is that they all stay safe, healthy and happy.

Tom and I cook all of our meals, here, at home. The only days we don’t cook, are the days we eat left-overs from the day before.

Just last spring Bloomberg reported that Americans now spend more on dining out than they do on groceries. 

Luckily, most of us were taught, by our parents and grandparents, how to cook and prepare a home cooked meal.

It wasn’t until I was twelve years old that my parents finally took us to eat at a restaurant.  Up until then, all our meal were eaten at home.

I might add, it was the first time and the last time my parents indulged us with dining out.

Although I do understand why so many eat out; I find it sad that most don’t have the time or basic kitchen skills to cook at home.

There may come a time when it is a becomes a necessity.  If not a necessity, ` than a tradition to pass down to each generation.

Dilly Pickled Veggies

Because most grocery stores prepackaged most of their veggies, I had to buy a prepackaged bag of fresh green beans. But, I only needed a small amount for a meal I was preparing.

I used the amount I needed, and with the remaining (not enough to freeze), I pickled them along with some carrots and baby sweet peppers.

dilly pickled veggies

With other foods we had on hand, we made a couple of small antipasti dishes with homemade vinaigrette and the pickled veggies.

The antipasti went well with the pizza we made.

Hubbie’s antipasto dish had a boiled egg, shrimp and anchovies. I opted out of these three, additional, ingredients and just went with the bland version.

I wasn’t in the mood for shrimp or egg.  

I am never in the mood for anchovies.

antipasto

Delicious!

You gotta love veggies!

Being A Lover Of Ginger

I happened upon a ginger syrup recipe that suggested it could be used to make ginger sodas.  I figured that it would be something different to drink during the hot, summer months.

Being a lover of ginger, I made a batch.

Ginger Syrup

Today, I fixed myself a glass of ginger soda using tonic water (per one of the suggestions from the recipe).

Ginger Soda

Oh, boy!  It was so sweet…too sweet for me!

If I make this again, I will use much less sugar and more ginger. Also, rather than tonic water, I will use seltzer water. I am also thinking it would be good added to unsweetened iced tea for those of us who like sweet tea, but not too sweet.

There was one good thing about making this syrup.

I saved the ginger and made candied ginger.

Candied Ginger

The left-over ginger yielded two jars of candied ginger.

Candied Ginger

I really wanted to make this syrup work. I just can’t think of any other uses for this batch.  However, the candied ginger is good!

A Saturday Supper

Saturday supper-

Homemade Spanish rice and taco salad bowls.

My version of homemade Spanish Rice. Rice-a-roni-like, but BETTAH!

homemade spanish rice

Couldn’t find taco bowls in any store here. So, we took corn tortillas and baked them in a muffin tin, upside down. I wasn’t too impressed with them as they were too small and, for me, the flavor just wasn’t there..  However, they were ok-in a pinch.

I am thinking that the flour tortillas would have been better than the corn.

taco salad and spanish rice

I forgot to add the shredded cheese before I took the picture. The dish needed that yellow color for photos.

Darn!