Home Shopping Experience

17 Dec

Hello there!

I’m finally getting in holidays mood! Everything is starting to get calm at work – what a relief.

One of the marketing projects for the brand I work for, is to do a sort of  “shopping delivery” experience. The other day I was doing some research and found a brazilian brand – that I had never heard about before – that had a similar idea (damn!).

When I found A.Niemeyer’s website, I couldn’t believe they would actually send me a bag full of clothes, just like that, delivered directly at my work place. Curiosity couldn’t keep me from trying it out, so I filled out the form with basic informations such as name, address, telephone, sizes, submitted the order form and thought “no way this is so easy”. The next day, I received at my office a huge shopping bag! Inside, besides clothes perfectly folded and tagged with their prices, a lookbook, an envelope and a letter explaining how to proceed in case I wanted to keep something. I had 24 hours to try everything on and the next day they would pick it up again. If I liked something,  I could keep the garment and just put a check inside the envelope. Voilà!

Beautiful linen shirts and tops, fluid dresses, shorts – everything beach and summer inspired!

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A great idea and very practical in our busy modern workaholic lives.

The Packaging! Dream Shopping Bag!

Delicately protected

My 24 hour clothes!

Lookbook to get inspired

Gift wrap just in case you want to buy something for a friend

I would have loved to keep everything, specially the white dress, but prices were out of this world. Well, I guess practicality isn’t cheap…

xxx

“Fry Me Not Cheesecake”

30 Nov

Berry Cheesecake

I spilt quite a bit of topping there, maybe too much! Hihihi

Who would have thought that Paula Deen would ever inspire me to bake anything?! Well, after the last post (click here to see what I’m talking about) I decided to make a cheesecake that would definitely NOT be fried and get this – it doesn’t even need to go in the oven.

Easy, easy, easy and so finger lickin’ good!

Important: this recipe requires you to let the cheesecake set in the fridge overnight.

Ingredients:

250g (9 oz) digestive biscuits | gewoon ‘digestive’ koekjes van Verkade

100g (3.5 oz) butter, melted | boter, gesmolten

1 vanilla pod | vanillestokje

600g (1.3 lbs) soft cheese | monchou

100g (3.5 oz) icing sugar | poedersuiker

284ml (10 oz) pot double cream | In NL gebruik je mascarpone

Topping:

400g (14 oz) berries (you can also use just one type, ie: strawberries) | bessen

25g (3 tablespoons) icing sugar | poedersuiker

Equipment: 23cm (9 inch) loose-bottomed tin, baking parchment, plastic food bag, rolling pin, dessert spoon, chopping board, kitchen knife, electric mixer, spatula, serving plate, blender or food processor, sieve.

Method:

To make the base butter and line a 23cm (9 inch) loose-bottomed tin with baking parchment. Put the biscuits in a plastic food bag and crush to crumbs using a rolling pin. Transfer the crumbs to a bowl, then pour over the melted butter. Mix thoroughly until the crumbs are completely coated. Tip them into the prepared tin and press firmly down into the base to create an even layer. Chill in the fridge for one hour to set firmly.

Remove the vanilla seeds: slice the vanilla pod in half lengthways, leaving the tip intact, so that the two halves are still joined. Holding onto the tip of the pod, scrape out the seeds using the back of a kitchen knife.

To make the filling place the soft cheese, icing sugar and vanilla seeds in a bowl, then beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Tip in the cream, and continue beating until the mixture is completely combined. Now spoon the cream mixture onto the biscuit base, working from the edges inwards and making sure that there are no air bubbles. Smooth the top of the cheesecake down with the back of a dessert spoon or spatula. Leave to set in the fridge overnight.

Un-moulding and topping: bring the cheesecake to room temperature, about 30 minutes before serving. To un-mould, place the base on top of a can, then gradually pull the sides of the tin down. Slip the cake onto a serving plate, removing the lining paper and base. Puree half the berries in a blender or food processor with 25g (3 tbsp) icing sugar and 1tsp water, then sieve. Pile the remaining berries onto the cake, then pour over puree. You can substitute the berry with just one type, ie: strawberries, or even use mango, etc… whatever you fancy!

WARNING: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!

28 Nov

…unless you want to know first hand what a heart attack feels like! Only Paula Deen could fry a cheesecake and add that ‘little’ bit more powdered sugar on top… watch it here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42oUVwyFsZI

Image of Paula DeenI would not let her anywhere near my kids!!!

“Cheery Tomato Tart”

27 Nov

Italian Tomato and Zucchini Tart

I love the sweetness of the tiny cherry tomatoes with the freshness of the ricotta and lemon zest. Thyme goes really well with this, thanks to its lemony, slightly peppery taste. Add some zucchini (courgette) for an extra health boost and you’ve got a delicious tart that will cheer anyone up on a rainy day… hence then name: ‘Cheery Tomato Tart’😉

Ingredients:
300g (10 oz) puff pastry | bladerdeeg
2 eggs and 1 yolk, beaten | eieren & eigeel, geklopt
200g ricotta
Zest of 1 lemon | rasp van 1 limoen
A small bunch of thyme | tijm
350g cherry tomatoes, halved | cherrytomaten, gehalveerd
1 zucchini (courgette), sliced thinly with a peeler (half a courgette will probably do)
Extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of salt & pepper

Method:
Preheat oven to 180°C (356°F). Roll out the pastry to form a rectangle that’s about 35x20cm (14×8 inch). Score a border about 2cm (¾in) from the edge of the pastry and prick the middle a couple of times with a fork.

Mix most of the beaten egg with the ricotta, lemon zest and thyme, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread the ricotta mixture over the inner part of the pastry rectangle. Top with the cherry tomatoes and zucchini, then drizzle with a little olive oil. Brush the pastry border with the remaining beaten egg and bake for 20 minutes, or until the filling is set and the pastry is golden.

“Te Quiero Cupcake”

22 Nov

Caramel (Dulce de Leche) Cupcakes

So I took the homemade dulce de leche (click here to see how) and used it to make scrumptious cupcakes! I had my little nieces over and we had a lot of fun making these.

I lived three years in Montevideo, Uruguay and dulce de leche was everywhere you looked – in cookies, cakes, pancakes, flans and of course alfajores. You must try it if you’re ever travelling through South America, especially the ‘Havanna’ brand that can be found in Argentina. There’s no cookie quite like it… One day I’ll have a go at making it myself.

This time however, I was inspired by a caramel cupcake recipe I found in ‘Cake Days’ by The Hummingbird Bakery.

One of my favourite baking books by the way, with beautiful photos and easy recipes that consistently deliver delicious results.

I adapted the recipe slightly to include a bit of condensed milk and I used less dulce de leche than suggested. I also used cane sugar instead of caster sugar. The cakes ended up with a subtle caramel taste with a stronger, sweeter icing on top that was just to die for.

Here’s my version, makes 24 cupcakes:

Sponge:

80g (3oz) unsalted butter, softened | ongezouten boter, zacht

280g (10oz) cane sugar | rietsuiker (original calls for caster sugar | kristalsuiker)

240g (8½oz) plain flour | bloem

1tbsp baking powder | baking poeder

¼ tsp salt | zout

240ml (8½fl oz) milk | melk

½ tsp vanilla essence | vanille

2 large eggs | eieren

50g (1.75oz) dulce de leche

50g (1.75oz) condensed milk | gecondeseerde melk

(original recipe calls for 150g (5½oz) dulce de leche, no condensed milk)

Frosting:

500g (1lb 2oz) icing sugar | poedersuiker

160g (5½oz) unsalted butter, softened | ongezouten boter, zacht

50ml (1¾fl oz) whole milk | volle melk

50g (1.75oz) dulce de leche, plus extra to decorate (you can add more, depending how much of a sweet tooth you have as original recipe calls for 100g (3½oz) dulce de leche)

Method:

Preheat the oven to 190ºC (375°F) and line a cupcake tin with cases. Using an electric mixer, whisk together the butter, sugar, flower, baking powder and salt on a low speed until crumb-like in consistency.

Place the milk and vanilla essence in a jug with the eggs and whisk by hand until combined. Pour three quarters of this mixture into the dry ingredients and mix together on a slow speed, then increase the speed to medium and keep beating until smooth and thick. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the remaining milk mixture and dulce de leche and continue to mix until all the ingredients are incorporated and the batter is smooth.

Divide the batter between the cupcake cases and fill each by two thirds. Place in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes or until well risen and springy to the touch. Live to cool first in the tin, then transfer to a wire rack to cool down completely.

Make the frosting: beat the icing sugar in the electric mix with the butter on a low speed until combined and still powdery in texture. Slowly mix in the milk and once it’s all been added, increase the speed to high and whisk until light and fluffy. Add the caramel and beat well.

Once the cupcakes have fully cooled down, go ahead and spread the frosting on top. If you want to decorate with a bit of dulce de leche.

Take a big bite and I guarantee you too will be saying… “Te quiero cupcake” (“I love you cupcake”)

PS: visit our Facebook page @ couturekrumbs to see some “behind the scenes” photos, including what went wrong during the making of these cupcakes!