cakes, prose, woes -- the photos, food & thoughts of a french-speaking seattle-native in brazil

In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it. -AB
In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Figs & Chocolate


Hello codets. Figs can be a difficult business. I think they are very mysterious. I have no memories of figs as a child outside of the fig newton cookie. I don't think i had ever seen a whole, fresh fig until I moved to France. Figs are somewhat exotic to Americans, largely because they are native to the Middle East and Mediterranean regions, which is why they were so prevalent in France. I remember mentioning how much i adored dried figs in a post right here on the Salty Cod. If you decide to meander into the past please take note of the horrifying photos, everyone starts somewhere. The first time i tasted a real, fresh fig was here in Brazil. I thought it was very bitter. Looking back it was probably due to the fact that it was green and hard rather than a soft shade of bruise purple. Figs must be eaten ripe, even if you are going to cook them. A ripe fig is perfectly beautiful. 

source: Wikimedia Commons
Almost anything can grow in Brazil. Anything aside from russet potatoes, cranberries and holly bushes. Figs, though not native, thrive here. Even so, you don't see them around much. If you can't juice it, it's not very popular. I have never seen a snack bar on the streets of Sao Paulo selling fig juice. It is a more acquired taste, and similar to the filling of a newton cookie, i've seen jars of compote for sale. Figs have acquired a somewhat snobby connotation, --you know, the Master Chef quick challenge of douse a fig in honey and serve it ripe with a shaving of pancetta reputation.

There is a city not far from the old Sao Paulo countryside town where i used to live called Valinhos, where every year they hold a fig festival. Sadly I never attended, but the obscurity of making a festival around a single edible item hits close to my heart, as that is undoubtedly a very American pastime. For example, the lentil festival in Pullman. Someday i will make it to the festival. 

A few weeks ago we had chocolate covered fruit on the menu for a party we catered. Obviously, i had strawberries in mind. Unfortunately, when i arrived at the grocery store the strawberries, which were on sale the week before, had evaporated. What was in their place? Figs. Figs for pennies. The cheapest fruit is always the fruit that is in season. So, not sure if it would be a big hit or not, i grabbed a few boxes and decided to give it a go. After dipping them in chocolate and allowing them to dry, i was in awe at how beautiful they looked. Almost majestic. Even if no one eats these, i had thought, they will make a beautiful presentation on the dessert bar. And they did. During the party i was approached by an older gentleman who thanked me for reviving figs, as he put it, his favorite fruit that is severely underrepresented in everything. He proceeded to eat half of the display. If you've never had a fresh fig dipped in chocolate before, you are severely missing out.

So naturally this week i picked up another box of figs, for myself. Of course i dipped them in chocolate. How else could i share them with you then?

When dipping figs in chocolate, make sure the fig is completely dried after washing. Only use ripe, slightly squishy figs that have a deep purple tint. Allow the chocolate to dry completely, in or out of the fridge so that they obtain a hard crunch.




Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Dégustation


 Hello Codets. Everyone in this country is complaining about the heat. I might as well chime in. It's bloody hot here. Last week was my four year anniversary of moving to Brazil, and i must say that in my four years here i have never experienced such cruel heat without reprieve for so long. Whatever is happening here is the southern parallel of the freezing snow storms hitting the northern hemisphere. I dream of hugging a snowman....Comfort aside, this blasted heat is bad for business. Do you think cakes like the heat? No. They hate it. They melt and buckle at the hips. Once-perfectly sculpted sides spontaneously sprout love handles. Smooth tight finishes crack and wrinkle, stretchmarks expanding with every minute. Yes, i had a few issues last week with melting cakes. We had a birthday party for thirty a week ago, the menu was fun. Small bites hot and cold and a large fiesta-toned cake covered in roses and gerberas. Unfortunately through transport (and lack of any room in my fridge due to the food-for-thirty) the cake melted out the bottom. Aside from the aesthetic damage done to the outer frosting, the biggest impact is on the height of the cake. The melting out and settling shrunk the beast by nearly half an inch. Ever seen me mad at a cake? How about mad at the sun? It was not pretty. But, when the guests were fed and watered though, and the cake prepared for serving, no one cared. It was gobbled up either way. But now I am very wary of the precautions that must be taken during these waves of inferno.

Luckily, the food escaped the fate of the poor cake. The party was a cocktail-style party with easy to pick up and eat items. The menu included beet, pecan and ricotta salads in ramekins, spoons filled with melon gazpacho and spicy shrimp, Vietnamese meatballs, apple and blue cheese crostini, BLT sliders with a spicy homemade mayo, steak shoots with caramelized onion jam, couscous with chicken tagine en papillote (served in their own parchment paper parcels), chicken curry salad served in wonton cups and chocolate covered figs. The children's menu included shortbread cookies, cheese and chicken sandwiches and cupcakes. It was a lot for just one. Prep took a full day and a half and cooking took the full five to six hour duration of the party. I'm learning that even this size of a party desperately needs a sous-chef on board. But, the food was well received (except for the two older Brazilian women i overheard say "too experimental for me") but you can't please everyone now can you.

Cake buckling under the heat
Right after wrapping up the catering event i threw myself into planning another cocktail party, a surprise in-apartment gig for my husband's 30th birthday. Now, after complaining about how horrible the heat is you can imagine my fear of my little apartment filled with fifteen people. Luckily, guests BYOFed (brought their own fans.) The theme of the party was originally meant to be "James Bond" because it is très distingué for a 30th birthday party. But i hate corny decorations so it eventually evolved into "mid century" theme with era food, music and drinks. I instructed guests to wear cocktail dresses but the heat deterred many from getting in the mood. no harm. For drinks I served martinis and dirty Shirley's along with an avalanche of cold beer and Chardonnay. The menu wandered quite a bit from authenticity but was fun nonetheless. Wasabi pork, salmon rillettes, ham terrine, tomatoes stuffed with risotto, baked crab and dough wrapped sausages. The small cake i made also began to melt, but the smaller size made it less noticeable. Was he surprised? Yes. Especially by the fact that when he arrived there was no one in the apartment. Oh well, in Brazil everyone comes late!




The final event I must share with you today occurred on Saturday--my first wedding cake tasting session. I was contacted with a request for a wedding cake for a May wedding (will be nice and cool weather!) a few weeks ago by a bride looking for a "naked cake." Naked cake....this term applies to any cake that does not have an outer frosting or covering. Personally, I think small, single tier cakes can be beautifully "rustic" when naked. But when it comes to a three tiered mammoth size wedding cake, they can be a bit tricky. The majority of naked wedding cakes are covered in strawberries and powdered sugar dust: tacky as...... The biggest issue with naked cakes is that there is no possibility for blemish control. If a cake comes out of the oven with an odd pockmark or a slightly darker colored bottom, you will see it in a naked cake. Another issue is that they dry out in a very short time. Frosting both holds in and adds moisture to the cake as it hardens slightly to form a protective "shell." Naturally i told her i would do it and then gave her my website to show her ideas for using natural flowers. After she looked through my site she decided to chuck the idea of naked cakes and order a butter cream watercolor cake instead. Pretty flattered i must say. 

I gave her many flavor combination options and told her to choose three for a cake tasting session. For the tasting i made three small two-layer cakes; honey cake with lemon filling, brown sugar cake with dark chocolate cream filling, and dark chocolate cake with Irish cream truffle filling and vanilla cream. The tasting was in the client's apartment and i took a bottle of complimentary champagne with me. A bit over the top? Perhaps, but i want to stand out in this business here in SP. I want people to have an experience worth talking to their friends about. Fondant is the number one style of wedding cakes in Sao Paulo, butter cream really isn't much of an option at most bakeries. So I want to stand out on flavor and service. My cakes are natural. I want people to know that I use raw honey, real butter, free range eggs and real chocolate. Luckily it worked. They chose all three flavors, so each tier will be different (and able to disassemble). Needless to say, very excited for our first tiered wedding cake. Thankfully we have until May to practice.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Portraiture



Hello Codets.  We have a few catering and cake events coming up at the end of this week, but in the meantime we want to share with you some portrait projects. Food undoubtedly is and always will be my favorite subject to photograph. Unfortunately, food shots alone don't pay the photography bills. So I am trying to poke my nose into the portrait business as there is a much higher demand for this line of photography work. To be honest, portrait sessions are pretty fun. I enjoy it a lot, and believe it or not i have a pretty good bedside manner with model subjects which allows them to relax and enjoy the session as well. I loved the (one) wedding i shot way back in 2011, and am really going to push myself into photographing humans more frequently so that i can secure more clients.

I was lucky enough to get an amazing model subject for my first photo session back in Sao Paulo--a dear friend. We went to a (sort of) community center in Sao Paulo called SESC Pompeia, which is a government sponsored rec center with an amazing infrastructure. The center has a huge gym, pool, library, game room for children, restaurant that serves good cheap
food, rotating art exhibits AND a boardwalk with misting spray poles complete with bikini clad sunbathers. At the beach with no beach. A little surreal. SESC has a very rustic industrial feel so it was a great alternative to the classic park bench shoot. It was about 100 degrees F during the shoot, but my model disguised the discomfort well.

Enjoy the shoot, one of my first with human subjects, so we'll hopefully be improving soon. See you all this weekend for a cake and catering update.







Tuesday, January 14, 2014

New Year and Dog Flights


Happy new year codets. Sorry i have been MIA--i was on vacation. Yes, I actually was. Went home to Seattle to visit my family for the entire month of December. Took my dog, Sybil, along with me. Why didn't i post? I spent the greater part of one month playing with my baby niece, sweating at kickboxing classes and lounging about on the couch while watching all six seasons of Doc Martin. But alas, the fun and games are over with. Back to work. Not that making cakes isn't fun--it is. Well, for me at least. I'm usually a bit blue after a trip to the US. Mostly due to the fact that it marks the end of the holidays, i won't see my family for some time, and honestly and truly i miss the Pacific Northwest. Luckily this time i had a distraction the moment I landed in Sao Paulo--I had a cake to make that night. No time to be blue. This cake is a four layer gluten free carrot cake (no nuts or raisins, just carrot and spices) with three layers of brown sugar buttercream, three layers of cream cheese frosting with peach colored roses on top. I was informed by my client that most of the party goers, trying to keep to their New Year regime, all asked for half a slice to "share" with their partner. She also informed me that the half soon turned into a whole and the sharing concept was chucked out the window. Success.

I thought i would take a moment for the travelers out there who read this blog (are there any of you?) to mention how traveling internationally with a dog went. When i told friends and family that i would be taking Sybil with me on my vacation to the US I received a lot of shocked looks--most people can perceive traveling with a dog when you move to a new country, but not just for a vacation. I mean, i didn't have to take her. I could have sent her to a dog hotel. The total cost of her trip was probably the same as a hotel anyway. But, as a former street and shelter dog, i didn't want to put her through the thought that we abandoned her to a new shelter. So elected to go the hard route and take her along for the ride. It's stressful no matter what country you are flying into or out of. Vets have to be visited, paperwork signed and appointments made. That in itself is the most stressful part. The actual travel itself is variable. Flying from Brazil to the US with the pup required a visit to the vet to obtain a health certificate and an appointment at the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture within three days of departure. The ministry processes the paperwork for free. How nice of them. On the return, i had to do the same thing. Go to the vet, obtain a certificate of health and make an appointment with the USDA. The vet visit was twice the price in the US and there was a 38 dollar processing fee with the USDA. Not so bad.


I chose to fly Delta because they had a good pet policy and only charged 75 dollars each way for the pet to ride in the cabin. Even though the rules state that a dog or cat must stay in their carrier under the seat for the duration of the flight, i took Sybil out of her box on held her on my lap under a blanket during the flight from Sao Paulo to Detroit. None of the flight attendants cared or asked me to put her away. The same thing happened on my flight from Detroit to Seattle. No problem. She was silent, still and scared out of her mind. Customs in the US was practically non existent. They didn't even ask me to take her out of the box, and they handed me back the difficult to obtain paperwork after superficially glancing at it. Unfortunately my cabin crew on my return flights were not as keen on rule bending. My Seattle to New York flight went well until after an hour the first class attendant walked by and told me to put her box under the seat. Things got worse for poor Sybil on the flight from New York to Sao Paulo when the flight attendant told me that she must stay in the box under the seat for the full trip. About 12 hours total without getting out. I felt cruel for doing it, but i passed her food and water through the carrier. And she made it. In the end it really depends on the cabin crew. And a crowded 767 with screaming babies does not make for a cheery crew. I definitely recommend traveling with your pet if you are going for a significant period of time. Despite the stress of traveling, i know she had more fun passing her vacation in a big house with a big yard and cousin dogs to play with than scared in a dog hotel. And there you have it.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cakes and Thanksgiving



Hello Codets. Just got back from a few cake deliveries this morning. Our cakery is severely growing. I even handed out business cards in an elevator while on delivery this morning. These babies take a lot of work but their turnover is fantastic. Biggest issue cropping up is enough space to make multiple cakes at a time and of course....delivery. I'm a nightmare when delivering cakes. Delivering cakes in the midst of Sao Paulo morning traffic is hell. I have to hold the cakes on my lap to prevent annihilation during the common event of slamming on the breaks for a rogue motorcycle or not-so-stealth lane changer. Sao Paulo drivers remind me of big dogs who live with small dogs; the big dogs act like the small terriers and try to get into places they really shouldn't. Two foot gap? Of course my car fits. Perhaps who has it the worst during a delivery is H, whose every tweak of the wheal I curse at. I'm learning to relax, but cakes are precious cargo. For today at least, all our little cakes made it safely to their destinations.

Cakes aside, this Thursday is Thanksgiving.  I won't be doing anything special. We celebrated an early Thanksgiving last Wednesday (a holiday here) with a large group of our gringo friends. Giant turkey, mashed sweet potatoes, apple crumble, wine, wine, wine and i made cornbread stuffing, roasted balsamic pears and a pumpkin torte. The best part about a hot (meaning weather) Thanksgiving is that you really can pile on the ice cream. I am thankful to have this large misfit group of friends in Sao Paulo to act as my surrogate family. To fill in the void of like-minded ideas, gestures, customs that come with your own culture. Then again only a few of us were actually from the US or Canada. Perhaps we share these things simply because we are all out of place. My friends here come from everywhere. From Malaysia, Spain, New Zealand, South Africa, France, Argentina--but we all feel at home at Thanksgiving knowing that we made one of the largest cities in the world feel a little bit smaller. Well, that and getting a giant group of international hard core foodies and wine-enthusiasts together usually results in a good time. Happy Thanksgiving!

My cakes this morning were both small; about 15 cm in diameter. The Tiffany blue textured cake comprised of brown sugar vanilla cake (and was gluten free) and had two layered fillings of Irish cream chocolate truffle and Swiss meringue butter cream. So overall ten distinct layers. The outer frosting was traditional butter cream. The pink cake was a vanilla angel cake with two layered fillings of vanilla Swiss meringue and strawberry cream, also a total of ten distinct layers, also finished in traditional butter cream. viva la cake.

I have one final and quick announcement to any Sao Paulo residents reading this---please come to the SP Night Market in Jardins this Saturday, it is the final market of the year and is focused on Christmas shopping. I will be there selling Vietnamese pho (come at lunch time!) a few sweets and a few fun edible Christmas gifts that yes, will last until Christmas. see you there -and to the rest of you, have a lovely Thanksgiving.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Indochine


 Hello Codets. Don't be cross with me, i know it has been a while. But i have been swamped with work and had a nasty case of salmonella poisoning which left me feeble and whimpering on the floor in the corner of my bathroom. Not a pleasant time. In any case, i am sitting here today on a gray Sao Paulo monday with a sunburn on my legs for the first time in the four years i have lived in brazil to tell you about our adventures in the past week, particularly the Indochine dinner i kept going on and on about.... that was November 7th. I also need to report a few photo shoots, my cakery and how irksome cake pops are.

The Indochine dinner. Really there is nothing to say other than how stunned i was by the success. I am not trying to praise myself, but honestly there were no problems. Not one. The only hiccup was that one of the "guests of honor" arrived very late forcing my entrance to sit plated for longer than i had wanted. But that's it. No complaints, nothing broke, i didn't burn anything. It was like, magic. I went Gordon Ramsey on my crew maybe only once or twice, but everything went out quickly and the stew was served hot! 40 stews served hot! I even received a standing ovation at the end when i explained the meal with a impromptu speech. The whole event seems like a blur looking back, but luckily H was there to take a few phone photos.

What was the event. It's difficult to explain. I was hired by a social organization called SP Night run by a group of women in Sao Paulo. The organization holds various events including socials, markets and connection evenings. This was a connection event, meaning people with similar business interests were invited to "mingle" and treated to a three course dinner. The event was held at a private country club style house called Tofiq House located in undoubtedly one of the most glamorous and well-to-do neighborhoods in Sao Paulo. I chose the theme Indochine because i am most fascinated by Vietnamese cuisine, and to kick it up a notch for guests paying two hundred a seat we specified it to Indochine; meaning Vietnamese dishes influenced by French flavors or techniques. It was quite a challenge.

The menu took about a week to get straight. I have to thank, and give credit, to one particular blog that helped me beyond belief. I spent hours pouring over posts at The Ravenous Couple, a blog featuring beautiful Vietnamese and contemporary foods. Their recipes for bo kho beef stew, various banh mi sandwiches and instructions on glutinous rice balls gave me a concrete stepping stone to tweak into my own Indochine versions. So thank you Ravenous Couple!

The menu was as follows; a welcome cocktail featuring mint, tangerine juice and gin, a starter play of of the classic banh mi French baguette sandwich (i turned it into a bruschetta), main was a spicy beef stew featuring white yams and fresh herbs, and finally dessert included a pandan creme brulee and fried glutinous rice balls filled with banana and cinnamon served with a coconut cream.

I was nervous as hell going into it, but i got it done. and it was quite the thrill, a dream actually. I owe a lot of thanks to my team for helping, including my sous chef, two waitresses and two cleaners. Impossible without great help. I can't wait to do it again.






The day after the big event (i arrived home at about 2am) i had two large bakery orders to fill. When it rains it pours. I have been selling a lot of layer cakes lately....my kitchen is turning into a cakery. We had a baby's first birthday cake along with a cheesecake, cupcakes, cake pops, caramel apples and creme brulee to make the day after Indochine....i honestly felt like a zombie pushing my cart through the supermarket aisle. But the results were well worth the pain. We also got a quick photo shoot in of the cutie pie one year old. Making cakes is starting to be quite relaxing....i will take that back next week when i have two orders to deliver on the same morning but for now I still love looking at them.







This is my Sao Paulo life now. I have been waiting almost four years to be busy and now i am. And im loving it. I feel like i have my own purpose, my own space in this vast country whereas before i felt like a floating immigrant destined to teach for no merit other than birthright. The immigrant dream of being a "self made man" and turning nothing into something isn't the American dream; it's the dream of anyone starting from scratch in a terrifying and intimidating foreign land. Once you find your place you start living rather than floating. See you next week.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pandan Crème Brûlée


Hello Codets. Today we must celebrate. We must celebrate a Salty Cod victory. Today, the essence of this very post marks the first time since 2009 that we have managed to return to our once a week (four times a month) quota of posting. Indeed, three barren years of singular, double and triple appearances per month (not to mention the many months of absence all together). But today we break this barrier, today, on this loveliest of Halloweens, we sing a sweet song of victory. Codets! Sound the alarm! We be back yo.

Today is a bit grey in Sao Paulo city. I am glad though, feels more like Halloween. After a few English classes this morning in which we discussed the history of Halloween, i got to recipe testing flavored creme brulee. During my classes we stumbled upon a few articles breaking down Halloween costume popularity; among children the most common are princesses and super heroes. To this, my students questioned, why are there non-scary costumes? I never really thought about it. When i was a young child i was everything from a pumpkin to pooh bear, fairies to bumble bees. Kids don't think about being scary. Original Halloween costumes are intended to simply trick wandering spirits from recognizing you. I highly doubt many wandering spirits would mess with Tinkerbell. I much prefer cute Halloween to scary; reminiscing when my youngest sister at age one masqueraded as a purple Teletubby. I do think it is sad that Brazilian children don't get the fun and excitement of Halloween. Sure, people tell me it is "just like Carnival! dressing up in silly costumes!" but honestly, Carnival isn't much of a children's holiday...which in my opinion is a good thing. Halloween, for American children, is a liberating day. You smell Halloween in the air, you feel it coldly creeping through your too-thin fairy tights and leotard because you didn't listen to your mom telling you to wear a jacket, dinner? unlikely. It is the only day where you know you will have more candy than all other days of the year combined. I do feel lucky to have so many great memories from being a child; from being an American child. On that note i am pleased to announce that my baby niece on her first Halloween will be promenading around as a perky peacock!

Now, being that i am not into making ghoulish pasta or hot dog witches if  there are no children around (though I have a feeling H would probably like it) I decided to run through some recipe testing for pandan crème brulée that I am intending to serve with the dessert course for an event im working next week. The event is a connection social featuring a foie gras purveyor (apparently the lady makes her own foie, erm, in the backyard?) a live pianist, a breathtakingly beautiful venue, and a three course plated sit down dinner cooked by yours truly. The theme is Indochine, meaning Vietnamese dishes that reflect French influences. I won't divulge the full menu as i plan on doing that next week after i've either succeeded or failed miserably. The guest list is estimated at around forty. I have two waitresses and a sous chef to help plate in a timely manner. How the hell i am going to serve forty people simultaneously is going to be the biggest challenge of the event.

Returning; there is no frenchier dessert than crème brulée, so in order to twist its ankle out of cliché overuse at expensive sit downs, I decided to flavor it with something a little more Vietnamese. My first attempt was mixing shredded coconut directly into the cream mixture. The result was tasty but there was concern that "purists" might resent the change in texture (the shredded coconut turned creamy into fluffy) so i nixed the shredded idea. I had been concerned as well that coconut milk might not set as well as cream, so i combined cream and coconut milk together and the texture kept and set just fine. success. But then i kept reading about pandan waffles, pandan crepes, pandan this and that on Vietnamese food blogs. I'd never actually tasted pandan before, but now i wanted it. Pandan extract is very strong, very condensed. much more potent than vanilla. It smells like mossy almonds. very unique. i was worried mossy almond might not translate very well in a creme brulee, but the result was really refreshing and still very much a traditional crème brulée. I tried to mix coconut flakes in with the sugar for the burned cap, but it burned too quickly and tasted like carbonized coconut. so don't do that.

For the dinner event the crème pots will be served on a plate along side miniature banh cam, fried glutinous rice flour balls filled with a sweet and spicy paste and rolled in sesame seeds. Mine will be filled with bananas and cinnamon and be sitting on top of a puddle of coconut cream.

Pandan Crème Brulée
Yield: 10 miniature ramekins or 5 large ramekins

Ingredients:
5 egg yolks
300g cream
100g coconut milk
1/2 (American) cup sugar
a small dash of pandan essence (i mean small)
green food coloring

Method:
Mix absolutely everything together in a bowl.
Divide mixture evenly among ramekins
Place in a ban marie (casserole dish filled with a few cm or water)
Bake on medium low for roughly 45 minutes
Let cool in fridge until set


 Yes, you are right. Pandan cremes have absolutely nothing to do with Halloween. They're green, mysterious and sweet. So maybe...just maybe. I don't want to ruin the mood, but you could tell your kids that they are slime pots if you really want to get into spirit. These might be a big hit at next year's St. Patrick's Day party though, so keep that in mind.

I will close off this delightful victory post by thanking you, all of you, who are reading this. Salty has been through so much, the world of blogging and particularly food blogging has changed so much since 2007, but it's nice that you are still here. Happy Halloween.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Wedding Cake

Hello Codets. It's a hot October day--perfect for a rooftop wedding party. We delivered this 25 pound cake this morning to a rooftop wedding party in Jardins -- I know very little of the clients other than that they are a Dutch woman and French man and are modern enough to choose flavor over cliché fondant. A wedding cake can be anything you want it to be. White, tiered fondant is not the only "cake" you can have at a wedding. A wedding cake should be more personal than that; it should show off a bit of your personality. Or, it should probably just taste good. Yeah. If you are going to be spending the kind of bling most people do on a wedding cake, you should at least get the best damn tasting product out there. 

This cake is comprised of four layers of (real) strawberry cake, three layers of dark Irish cream truffle, three layers of a strawberry cream and is covered in a vanilla butter cream. Yeah, it tastes good. The decor atop the behemoth, as always, includes fresh flowers. No one eats sugar paste or fondant flowers anyway, so why not just use real ones? They can last in the fridge for days. The bride requested the cape gooseberries specifically as she had seen them on my display cake at the last Night Market i participated in. They taste like unripe cherries, but are beautifully unique as they come in their own crispy, slightly rustic foliage. Where the wild flowers are.

We haven't posted a recipe here are the Salty Cod in months, so since we are talking about cake, let's discuss our recipe for our Irish cream chocolate truffle. I have made over 10 batches of this in the last month alone, it's pretty damn popular. Usually i serve them on the dessert table at catering events, but the same recipe is versatile enough to be converted into a cake layer. If you intend to use this truffle recipe for a cake layer, please note that i use a form (such as acetate plastic used in the Momofuku cake method) secured around the cake in order to make the truffle set evenly.

Irish Cream Chocolate Truffles

Ingredients: 
200 grams dark chocolate
1/3 cup cream
3 tablespoons Irish cream liquor (like Bailey's)

Method:
1) Chop chocolate into manageable pieces (unless using chips) and melt in a double boiler set up (or place a pan inside of a larger pan with water).
2) Add the cream and liqueur and whisk really well until all chunks are melted.
3) For truffles: pour chocolate mixture into a dish and refrigerate until solid to the touch. Roll Tbs size balls in dark cocoa powder.






The watercolor effect is quickly becoming our signature style. I feel it to be the most refreshing and easy on the eye. For information on how to order a cake in Sao Paulo, please contact me through my professional website.

For the rest of you, as always, thanks for stopping by.

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Sunday Lunch

Hello Codets. I am trying to think of something very witty to tell you. but i feel very dull at the moment. It's Monday, nearly noon, I have an appointment to get to soon in Liberdade, the Japanese district of Sao Paulo. It's pleasantly warm outside. Cotton candy clouds, wispy breeze. my dog is sleeping on the couch. There are some very noisy birds attacking the amora tree outside my window. People think amora berries are blackberries, but they aren't because they grow on trees. and blackberries grow on bushes. obviously. The stuffed birds then fly to the foyer of the apartment building where, to the dismay of the building manager, they drop violet colored bombs on the stone tiles.Other than that it is fairly quiet.

I came by to share with you yesterday's luncheon. It was a great success. Less stressful as it was only for 15 people, but still around three days work. Our strawberry lemonade cake ended up looking like a giant candy corn, unintentional i should add. But it was very delicious. The appetizers were well received, though they ran out faster than i had expected. Vietnamese spring rolls are always the hit of the party here. The main dish was pad Thai, shrimp pad Thai. I have to admit that i think pad Thai is an very easy dish to prepare-- what is difficult about it is serving it. You can't let pad Thai sit around. after a few minutes it gets gummy. So i made two batches--two full wok loads. One mistake--i hadn't planned on plating (i was going to serve it family style) so when the party host asked me to plate it i went too fast and handed out larger than expected portion sizes so that i could quickly get the next round started in the wok. Not the best idea. Instead of reaching 15 plates i only reached about 10. People shouldn't have to wait around while others are eating. Thinking toward the future, pho is much more practical noodle dish for large groups as you can make it large enough to serve twenty plus without having to make a second batch of anything. Waiting time aside, the whole event went extremely well. I even managed to clean my kitchen before leaving for the party. That is a definite first. I think im starting to get into a rhythm which is making the whole process easier. as is the case, with almost everything in life.

This week we are working on a wedding cake and next week we are presenting a tasting menu for a large sit down dinner themed Indochine. Pretty damn nervous about that one.






It doesn't feel like October anymore. I think i am starting to forget what October was like. I always loved autumn. Leaf rot. End of summer. Dark evenings. Changing seasons allow you to feel and see the progression of the year. Climate wise that is what i miss the most about the northern hemisphere; the dramatic change between all seasons. We are slipping into summer in the south. Hot days are ahead.