Chocolate Cloud from Et toque

Happy Friday, everyone! I've spent the last week dealing with a very persistent leaky roof/window issue that I've had for the past oh, I don't know, three years or so, and I was feeling a little down in the dumps about, well, the dump that I call my home, when I got an e-mail from Clementine Derodit about her new cookbook that instantly cheered me up! I can't think of better cure for an annoying water drip then looking at the delicious food and sweet illustrations that fill the pages of Clementine cute book, Et togue! Based in France, illustrator Clementine has created a wonderful recipe book for children that is filled with a cast of adorable characters and includes intriguing recipe titles like "pirate's soup" and "tyrannosaurus poo." Personally, I'm loving the page for "Risotto bicolore." Risotto has never looked more fun!

The text of Et togue is in French, but Clementine graciously agreed to translate the Chocolate Cloud recipe for us, which you can find below. You can also watch a cute little video about the book, which is in French with English subtitles. Even if you don't understand French it's still fun to watch. Everything sounds better in French! :-)

You can order a copy of the book right here and check out the Et togue Web site right here. To see more of Clementine's work click here. Thanks, Clementine!

St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake

I love this article on St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake that appeared in the New York Times early this month. The story is centered around writer Melissa Clark's first tasting and subsequent baking of this delicious Made by Molly treat!

Here's a sample:

I took a big bite. It was nearly what my friend described, though I’d say it was more moist and cakey than gooey. Nonetheless I was hooked, and did not want to wait for next week to get more. I’d just have to make it myself.

I know that I'll definitely be making this one sometime in the near future! If you live in New York and would like to try Molly's yummy cake for yourself, you can find her stand at the Park Slope Farmers’ Market (Sundays 10 to 5). Btw, Molly used to be the pasty chef at Amy's Bread, so you know her treats must be good!

I hope everyone in the states has a great holiday weekend!

Click here to read the article from the Times and here to get the recipe. Thanks, Steve!

Vegan, Gluten-Free Blondies

Last weekend, my sister, my mom, and I got our hands dirty, tackling another recipe from the Babycakes cookbook: gluten-free blondies. Actually, there wasn't much tackling going on because, as long as you have the ingredients, this recipe is actually really easy to make and the blondies turned out great! And I don't mean great for a vegan, gluten-free dessert. I mean great, period. I know that there are varying opinions of Babycakes out there and I'm not saying that all their recipes hit the spot, but these were good. More like mini chocolate chip muffins then blondies, but, hey, I like mini chocolate chip muffins, so that was okay by me. Besides, Zooey Deschanel likes them, so they must be good! :-)

You can find the complete recipe after the jump.


Check out Bob's Red Mill for the a wide-range of unusual flours.

1/2 cup GF Garbanzo Fava Flour
1/2 cup Brown Rice Flour
1/2 cup Potato Starch
1/4 cup Arrowroot Starch
1 1/4 cups Evaporated Cane Juice
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Xanthan Gum
1 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 cup Coconut Oil or Canola Oil
1/3 cup Applesauce, unsweetened
2 Tb Vanilla
1/2 cup Hot Water
1 cup Vegan Chocolate Chips

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease three 12-mini-muffin tins* with oil.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, potato starch, arrowroot starch, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt. Add the 1/2 cup oil and the applesauce, vanilla and hot water and stir until batter is smooth. Using a plastic spatula, gently fold in the chocolate chips until they are evenly distributed throughout the batter.

Using a melon baler, scoop the batter into each prepared mini-muffin cup. Bake on the center rack for 9 minutes, rotating the tray 180 degrees after 5 minutes. The finished blondies will be golden brown and firm to the touch.

Let the blondies stand in the tins for 10 minutes. To maintain freshness, leave the blondies in the muffin tins until ready to serve. Cover remaining blondies with plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

*If you do not have mini-muffin tins, a greased 9 x 13-inch pan will work just fine. When using this method, bake blondies for 25 minutes.

The Mixing Bowl: Blok by Katarzyna Bogucka

I was first introduced to Kasia's portfolio last month, after running across her work on the Polish design site/store Pan Tu Nie Stal and have been smitten ever since! I really love her ability to move in between the sweetly retro and the slightly odd with such ease. Her work is full of so many humorous and colorful details that you don't even need to speak Polish in order to understand the images. The illustrations tell their own story.

I’ll let Kasia take it from here, but I wanted to first thank her for sending such an interesting story and recipe, one that I'm sure you'll want to try at home!

From Kasia: "Blok" (cake) was made in my early childhood, when there was nothing to buy in Polish shops! People dreamt about chocolate, and one day someone cooked up BLOK! It's one of my favourite memories! I'm not sure if it will taste as good for people who are not devoted emotionally to it, but I hope you like it!

You can find Kasia's books on various Polish Web sites, like this one. You can also see more of her illustrations by clicking here. Thanks, Kasia! There are more illustrations after the jump.

The Mixing Bowl: Toffee Mallow by Emily Hogarth

I'm so in awe of papercut artists. I can barely cut a straight line with a pair of scissors, so it amazes me that people can create such beautiful and intricate work with just a piece of paper and an exacto knife! That said, I was so excited when Emily Hogarth agreed to share her Toffee Mallow recipe with us. It's an easy, yummy version of the classic Rice Krispie Treat. Quick and easy comfort food. What's better than that?

From Emily: This is a really simple recipe that my grandma used to always make for me when we went to hers. I love it and I hope your readers will to! You certainly don't need to be a great cook to pull this sweet treat off.

Inspired by natural beauty of her native Scotland, Emily's incredible work is quite magical to look at. Whether appearing as an art print, on a dress, or as a greeting card, her designs are always telling a story.

It's really fun to look at all the little details that she creates or you can just appreciate the entire design, in total, from a far. Lovely work, Emily! You can see more of Emily's designs here and purchase her work here on Etsy. You can also visit her blog right here. Thanks, Emily!

Asian Style Meatballs

Here I am. I haven’t gone very far. Just across the main avenue that divides our busy little central business district into two. Thank you for all your warm wishes and greetings of luck on our move! We have successfully installed ourselves in the temporary flat, which is located in the same building as our new/old flat that we will be calling our home. We'll be staying here until early next year while our soon-to-be home (some floors below us) gets a much needed face lift.

I must confess to slight nostalgic twinges for our old home and our old neighbourhood (we still make it to the market there) but I am growing very fond of our new one. I’m much closer to another weekend market (which I’ve also frequented in the past). The sidewalks seem bigger and I see more trees around. The view is much better too – still a city view, meaning building and more buildings, but at least none of them are condemned or under construction...and the afore-mentioned trees add a touch (albeit a very small touch) of green :) Anyway, I actually love looking at other buildings***. Oh and we have a teeny-tiny kaffir lime plant can finally know what it feels like to live in the outside world!

On the cooking front, we have managed not to totally fall into the trenches of store-bought food, thank goodness. Plus renovation is hungry work so best to be prepared with something a little more substantial than a convenience store bun!

Asian Style Meatballs
  • 500 grams ground pork
  • 1/2 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon dried chili flakes (depends how spicy your chili is...mine is from Thailand and very spicy)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (leaves and upper stem parts)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (scant, not packed)
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (patis)
  • 1/4 cup Ilocos vinegar (sukang Iloco)

- In a bowl mix salt, pepper, chili flakes, garlic, ginger, cilantro, and sugar until well blended.
- In a bigger, non-reactive bowl, place ground pork. Add vinegar and fish sauce, then sprinkle with bread crumbs.
- Add the spice mix from step one to the pork and mix with your hands until incorporated.
- Cook a small amount of the mince mix to taste and adjust seasoning (and cook and taste again) as needed.
- Leave the mince mix in the fridge for an hour.
- After the mixture has rested, shape into balls, patties, or logs and fry until just not overcook! Watch them to make sure the sugar does not burn.
- Serve immediately. Serves 4.

This dish was inspired by two (well, three actually) bloggers' attempts at making their own, homemade, Filipino longanisa. Longanisa is our local sausage and every corner of this archipelago has their own version. One blogger is Marvin of Burnt Lumpia who I have long admired for his tireless dedication to learning Filipino cooking. His family is from a region in the Philippines (Ilocos) known for their delicious longanisa. The other bloggers are JS and TS of [eatingclub] vancouver who shared their old yaya’s (nanny) recipe. Now, how did it go from Filipino longanisa to “Asian Style Meatballs”? I added a bit of this and a bit of that, searched the internet some more, and ended up with what you have here. That’s not to say you can’t turn these back into Filipino Longanisa. If you omit the ginger and cilantro, form the mince into little logs, and fry or grill, you should have your own version of longanisa!

C and I (and our friend who dropped by last night) both enjoyed this! The meatballs came out tremendously flavour-packed! The garlic, ginger and cilantro all came through beautifully, the chili added just the right amount of heat, and the sugar worked perfectly in tempering these potent flavours. The fish sauce (patis) adds a more rounded savoury-ness than salt and I’ll be trying an all fish sauce-no salt version next time.

These go very well with some (Thai) sweet chilli sauce for dipping and I imagine would make a jaunty addition to a spread of appetizers. You can also shape the mince into little patties and cook up a noodle salad much like this one. You can freeze the shaped balls (or patties or logs), uncooked, as an emergency stash...just in case your contractor or designer is in need of some sort of bribing! ;)

***Does anyone else have this strange insectile fixation? It gives me a peculiar sense of pleasure to gaze at a zillion other windows, imagining the zillion other lives going on behind them. I can stand like this for quite some time, oddly entranced.

The Mixing Bowl: Pasteis de Nata by Lisa Jones Studio

If you're not familiar with Lisa Jones's work yet, get ready to fall in love with her sweet designs! Lisa is a graphic designer whose bold and colorful work is great for both adults and kids! Not only is she the creator of one of the cutest tea towels that I have ever seen (see owl print below), but she also designs a line of recycled cards and wrapping paper, which is helpful for people like me, who wrap all their xmas presents in newspapers and plastic bags! This week she's sharing her yummy recipe for Pasteis de Nata (custard tarts), as well as a really cute egg illustration to accompany the recipe. Great work, Lisa!

From Lisa: I grew up on a version of these custard tarts. The English versions are a little more insipid, not quite as tasty and covered in nutmeg!! So the Pasteis de Nata are a tasty treat! I read that some Hong Kong branches of 'Kentucky Fried Chicken' sell them. . . . mmmm I'll have chicken, chips and a custard tart please!

You can check out more of Lisa's designs via her blog, Web site, and online store.

You can find the complete Pastis de Nata recipe and more of Lisa's work after the jump.

If you need help converting the measurements, click here for a nifty conversion calculator.

Pastis de Nata
Makes 12

softened butter, to grease the tins
375g sheet ready made puff pastry, defrosted but quite chilled
5 egg yolks
70g caster sugar
150ml double cream
half tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
icing sugar combined with a pinch of cinnamon, for dusting (optional . . . I didn't!)

Lightly grease the bun tin. Roll the pastry on a lightly floured surface to 3mm thick and 23 x 40cm,then roll it up tightly like a carpet, starting at the short end. Cut off 1.5 cm lengths and roll each one into a 10cm circle. Press each circle into the bun tin, gently pleating the sides to make a cup. Chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 170C/325F gas mark 3. Put a paper bun case into each shell, filling with baking beans and bake blind for 15 minutes.Remove from the oven and remove paper cases. Return to the oven for five minutes - if they puff up too much, gently press them down the moment you take them out of the oven.

Lower the heat to 150C/300F/gas mark 2. Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until light and creamy, then stir in the cream, vanilla and salt until well combined. Spoon into the sells, filling them by two-thirds. Return to the oven for 11-13 mins, until the custard takes on a little colour and the egg still has a bit of wobble to it (it will continue to cook a little after the tarts are taken out of the oven).

When cool, dust with with the icing sugar mix, if you like, and eat on the same day, they don't keep...but is that really a problem?