While I’m visiting my in-laws in Taiwan with my family, I’ve asked my long time blogger friends to blog-sit for me like asking a good friend to house sit when you go on vacation. They have prepared wonderful holiday recipes for Just One Cookbook readers so I hope you will enjoy reading their recipes. My blog sitter today is Gourmantine of Gourmantine’s Blog.
The first time I visited Gourmantine’s blog, I was simply mesmerized by her food and photography. Each one of her recipes is presented like a professional cookbook and they inspire me to consistently improve my own posts. Gourmantine lives in Europe and I found out blogging is just her hobby, and she actually has a day job where she’s always traveling between different European countries.
Between her business trips, as relaxation Gourmantine enjoys cooking and baking at night. Instead of chilling after a long day at work or traveling, she spends her nights experimenting and creating various food she experienced during her trips. She has a lot of recipes that she recreated from what she recently ate and she tries really hard to replicate the exact taste. Such hard working ethic toward her culinary adventure leads to her collection of very delicious and refined recipes. I always tell her that she’ll be really successful if she owns a restaurant and I’m secretly hoping that she will extend her cooking beyond just a hobby one day.
Despite Goumantine’s busy schedule and time difference between us, we managed to be good friends outside of blogging and she’s been a great inspiration for me when I cook. Her blog features simple recipes that do not look like they’ve been prepared in just 30 minutes. She has the special touch to use simple ingredients and turn them into four star restaurant food.
Welcome Gourmantine! Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a travel and food addict who can barely manage to sit in one place (that’s probably the most concise way of putting it). 🙂
On a more serious note, I live in Europe, mostly in between France, Lithuania, Netherlands and Italy. I’ve took interest in cooking probably 10 years ago, simply because I liked to eat well. Then at some point it grew to hobby which recently reached the point of what could be called obsession (I’m not joking when I say I even dream about food).
Please tell us a little bit about your blog.
I’ve started the blog initially to organize hundreds of recipe notes flying around the house, now I rather see it as a creative outlet. I love to create food inspired by travels that is healthy, easy to make at home and makes every day a little feast. The visual side of the blog is looked after my friend ieva, who takes all the beautiful photos.
How do you feel about your own food blogging experience so far?
I find blogging is rather addictive. I’ve started blogging not really knowing what to expect and now, more than a year later, it truly has became an integral part of life. Blogging has opened the doors to an incredible community of bloggers, who share same passion for food, but at the same time have so many different approaches towards cooking. I guess it has been a very eye opening.
If you can give one advice to a new food blogger, what would it be?
I have two words: patience and dedication. Blogging is fun and a great way to interact with people who share same passion for food, but to reach out to this group will require plenty of efforts: from constantly updating your blog to being active on different social platforms. Once you start blogging you suddenly realize how many platforms there are (many, I never knew before starting), how active many bloggers whom you admire are on them and believe me, constantly keeping up with them all will require time. Probably so much, that at times it will feel like (in my case) having a second full time job, but then again this is also the fun part of it.
What would you advise to a new cook or someone who wants to start cooking at home more?
For anyone who wants to cook more at home, I would suggest to first of all think of the kind of food they like to eat (and cook) and the basic ingredients needed. I’ve heard many people complain about trying lots of different things and then having to through away unused ingredients. Planning ahead on how you will use all the ingredients can both save time and money, like taking a few minutes to prep a list of recipes to be cooked throughout the week. Also, I guess the most important advice is to take one step at a time: if you’ve never been cooking a lot then probably starting out with making qroquembouche may not be the best idea (just a thought)… Start with simple recipes and move forward from there.
Thank you Gourmantine! From here I will let Gourmantine take over and show us what she prepared. Enjoy!
I was so honored and thrilled when Nami asked me to write a guest post for her beautiful blog. This is not only because I very much admire her cooking and find her recipes incredibly inspirational but also because over the past half a year she has become a dear friend and is one of the most genuine persons I’ve encountered while blogging.
Having said that, it took me quite a while to think of a recipe worthy of the post and occasion as Christmas is almost knocking on the door. For me, the very thought of Christmas always brings out a smile and it’s unquestionably my favorite time of the year. There is something about it that I find irresistible and uplifting: a bit of time to be relaxed and happy.
Now, when I think of food that makes me happy I mostly think of chocolate. There are quite a few desserts that can celebrate chocolate in all its glory, but I believe rather few can rival a good chocolate cake. A chocolate cake must (in my humble opinion) be: rich, deep, moist and a single bite should leave you yearning for more.
For this, I’ve chose to do a little twist on the German classic black forest cake. A black forest cake traditionally is made with layers of chocolate sponge, whipped cream, cherries and cherry liqueur “kirschwasser”. To make the traditional version of this cake would probably require 3 to 5 layers of chocolate sponge, which then have to be equally layered and decorated. I thought of making things a little simpler and used my favorite chocolate cake (which is incredibly easy to make) as a base and then to make it true chocolate heaven, layered it with a very intense chocolate cream. The result will be very very rich and sinful cake, but if chocolate makes you happy then trying this, surely will!
- 300 g dark chocolate
- 70 g all-purpose flour (plain flour)
- 160 g sugar
- 160 g unsalted butter
- 5 large eggs (50 g each w/o shell)
- ⅛ tsp kosher/sea salt (I use Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt)
Dark chocolate ganache:
- 400 g chocolate chips
- 300 ml heavy cream
- maraschino cherries
- white chocolate (shaved)
- Heat the oven to 180°C.
- Melt the chocolate with butter in a heat proof bowl over simmering water together with butter and sugar.
- Do not let the bowl touch the water or your chocolate will burn and that’s not welcome in a chocolate cake
- Mix until the sugar is dissolved then remove from the simmering water and set aside to cool down a bit.
- Separate the egg yolks from the whites.
- When chocolate mixture has cooled down a bit, mix a few spoons into the egg yolks, one at a time to temper and prevent the yolks from scrambling. Then mix all the yolks into the chocolate mixture, followed by the flour, a little at the time to avoid lumps. Set aside.
- Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and beat them to stiff peaks, then incorporate them into the chocolate mixture in 3 parts. Fold them in gently, this affects the texture of the cake.
- Pour the batter into lightly buttered form and bake for 30-35 minutes.
- When the cake is done, set aside to cool down.
Dark chocolate ganache
- Bring the cream to a boil and pour over the chocolate chips. Leave to soften for a few minutes, then either using a whisk or a hand blender, mix till smooth. Set aside to cool down for 10-30 minutes.
To assemble the cake
- Before assembling, make sure your cake is completely cold. Very important! It will allow the ganache to set quicker.
- Cut the cake in half. Place the bottom layer on the cake stand and pour half of the ganache to the centre of the cake. Then using a knife or spatula gently spread the ganache equally to the sides, but stop about 0.5 cm to the sides, place some cherries on the ganache (to your liking). Then place the top layer of the cake and top it with the remaining ganache. Sprinkle some white chocolate shavings and some extra cherries!
- The photo contains a mini version of this cake, the recipe will yield a much bigger one.
- If you are feeling exceptionally naughty then add a little scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (or both) on the side… This will elevate the cake to yet another dimension!