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!”

Simply Delicious

Dalla cucina povera.

Today, I made 68-1 inch Italian meatballs.  I froze more than half.  With the rest,  I added them to my version of Italian wedding soup.

Italian wedding soup

Along with the soup, I made another boule from the 5-Minute Artisan Bread recipe.

french boule

Both were delicious and comforting.

Well, that was short and sweet.

See ya later!

Thank you for visiting!

Artisan Bread The Boule

At least once a week, I bake bread.  One of our favorites is the ciabatta (slipper, in Italian).  But, yesterday, I decided to revisit a book I purchased a while back and baked boule (ball, in French). The last bread I baked from that book was an Italian Semolina Bread.

boule

It’s a 5-Minute Artisan Bread riddled with holes and full of flavor. This bread is “quick, easy and rustic” using only white flour, yeast, salt and water. There is no need to knead the dough.

But after seeing how easy it is, you may need to need it more often than not.

You mix the dough in bulk then stash it in the refrigerator until ready for a chewy, delicious loaf of homemade goodness.

The trick lies in not kneading the dough but instead mixing the dough in bulk, stashing it in the fridge, and then forgetting about it until the craving for freshly baked bread descends upon you. When that happens, simply take the dough out of the fridge, lop off enough for a loaf, shape it, let it rest, and then take a moment to slide it in the oven before you casually go about your life. And then don’t come forget to come back later to retrieve the best artisan bread of your life from the oven.  –For the recipe and to read more visit:  Leite’s Culinaria 

After looking at the recipe you might find it a little intimidating since the directions seem to go on and on.  But, I assure you that it is easier than it looks.  Rather than mixing my dough in a container, I used my standing mixer. It mixes as easily as 1-2-3.  Then, I put the shaggy dough into a plastic, loosely covered, container for the 2 hour rise and to store in the refrigerator.  I let mine rise 3 hours.  The book say up to 5 hours is ok.

boule raised dough

The dough lasts up until 14 days in the refrigerator.  Therefore, be sure to use it up before the 14 days are over.  In the book, it says that the dough can be frozen in 1 lb. portions in an airtight container and defrosted overnight in the refrigerator prior to baking.

It’s important to note that when the dough is rising and when it is stored in the refrigerator, make sure that the lid, on the container, isn’t airtight. The trapped gasses my cause a ka-boom!

When you are ready to bake, all you do is cut off a piece of dough, (follow directions for this) shape and let rest for 40 minutes before baking.  Instead of using my pizza peel, I used a pizza pan lined with parchment paper.

boule before baking

The results are a chewy,  delicious loaf of homemade goodness riddle with holes.  The prefect bread for dipping and sopping up sauces and gravy.

boule

The book (Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day) which includes this recipe and many more can found here.

boule

All Warm and Cozy

I had worked on a teapot cozy and wasn’t happy with the outcome.  Last week, I picked it back up and finished it.

Tea Cozy

For something that I made up in my head, I guess it didn’t turn out too badly.  It fits my one-cup teapot and does keep the tea hot while it steeps.  I used Peaches & Cream cotton yarn.

Tea Cozy

I do have another idea for a cozy.  If it turns out ok, I will (hopefully) write the pattern down on paper.  I hesitate to write down a pattern.  If I am on a roll, I don’t want to stop to jot down notes.

What usually happens is, “What I see in my head isn’t the same as the outcome”.  Argh!

I had purchased some new blended, signature, teas, Wizard’s Grey and The Evening Star, from Adagio online (sample tins are no longer available).  Both blends were very good, but as for my go-to-tea, I will probably just stick to Earl Grey.

These signature blends are perfect if you wish a treat now and then.  I just don’t want to depend on an online store to keep me stocked in tea.  It’s more convenient to go to the local store if I run out of tea.

Tea Grey Wizard

A cup of Wizard’s Grey, from Adagio, in my pretty little tea-cup.

I also wanted to share the flatbread that I baked.  I love how it folds without cracking.  I found the recipe for this flatbread at Mel’s Cafe Kitchen.

flatbread

To go along with the flatbread, I also made mulligatawny soup.

mulligatawny soup-flatbread

Years ago, after watching “Seinfeld’s” The Soup Nazi episode, I was curious about the recipe and found it online.  It is delicious!  I omit the eggplant and add more of the potato, pistachios and cashews to the pot.

Of course, everything that should be eaten in moderation is what I add more of…of course!

bluebird-siggy

Tapestry, Tea and Whoopie Pies

Over a week ago, I was working on a crochet tea cozy and added some crochet tapestry to the piece.  Not happy with the outcome of that project, I put it aside. However, last weekend, I had an urge to do a little more crocheting.  I decided to use some of my cotton yarn stash to make dishcloths.

dishcloths

My inspiration, for two of these patterns (the tapestry), came from my little tea cozy and Little woolie’s blog. If you are a crafter, Little Woolie is worth checking out.  She has “a love for crafty things, crochet, knitting and yarny makes in particular”.

The other one (yellow and blue) is something I just made up.  It’s just rows of extended single crochet.

dishcloths

The two, on the end, are ‘Flat Tapestry crochet’. If I could use both hands to crochet, the patterns would be sharper. No matter how hard I try, I just cannot crochet using my left hand or crochet backwards.  I want to learn, but on the other hand…

To see what I mean, take a look at this video “Flat Tapestry Crochet by Carol Ventura“.

A while ago, I made these (see photos below) using the tapestry technique.  They are done in the round. Therefore, the patterns are sharper.

crochet tapestry change purse crochet tapestry

I don’t have to use my left hand for tapestry if done in the rounds.

And, to add a little sweetness to our lives, I baked Whoopie Pies.

whoppie pie

I filled half with marshmallow (Fluff) and vanilla cream, and half with marshmallow and peanut butter-vanilla cream.  A New England tradition, my mother made these for my sister and me when we were kids.

whoppie pies

I purchased some new blended teas from Adagio online.  My purchases were these two sample tins along with a couple of Earl Grey pouch blends.

grey

 star

It is time for my afternoon pick-me-up.  I am off to make a cup tea.  I think I will try the Wizard’s Grey.  I am hoping it is as good as it sounds.

teapot

The Sweeter Part of Life

I have been working on a couple of crocheted item, but I don’t seem to be in too much of a hurry to finish them.  Lately, I just can’t sit still long enough to crochet. My mind wants to wander to other things rather than the task at hand.

Two weeks ago, to satisfy a craving, I baked a Victoria Sponge Cake.

victoria sponge cake

It does go very well with a cup of hot tea.

There is one problem with this cake.  The problem being that I am the only one here that likes it.  I ended up throwing more than half away.  I could have-believe me-eaten the whole cake all by myself.  Nevertheless, I was good and only had two slices in a two-day period.

I suppose I could make half the recipe and find a smaller pan-I suppose.

victoria sponge cake

This recipe makes one 9-inch cake.  Rather than cut the cake in half horizontally, I chose to cut it in half.  By doing it this way, the cake was too thick and I lost the flavors of the cream and raspberry. I should have just stuck to the way I normally do it.  However, if you would like a thicker cake, double the recipe and divide between two 9-inch cake pans.

victoria cream cakeTo print, click on recipe and save from there to your desktop.

Later that same week, I made Orange Swirl Cinnamon Rolls.

orange cinnamon swirl rolls

Everyone here loves these rolls.  I had no leftovers like there was with the Victoria Sponge Cake.

It has been my experience that not many could resist a hot, yeast roll fresh from the oven?

Thank you for visiting!

Casa di Pizza

I am finding it a little difficult to find things to post that are positive.  What I will say is, “I can’t keep up with the rising cost of food and other things!”  Going out to eat has been non-existent for us.  We cook or bake everything rather than buy prepared or packaged foods.

A couple of Saturday’s ago we made homemade pizza.  It is a little time-consuming, but it is much cheaper and taste better.

I make the dough-

pizza dough

and I made my quick pizza sauce.

homemade easy pizza sauce

I made six individually sized pizzas.

dough pizza

Each of us added our favorite toppings (the one below is mine) and there you have it!  A delicious pizza costing you less than a delivery pizza or going out for a pizza.

pizza

Buon appetito!

liz siggy