I don’t know about other places, except for Italy, but here in Brazil we know Christmas arrived when dozens of panettone boxes hit the shelves of the supermarkets and bakeries across the country. Oh boy, do I love the holidays…
If you are not familiar with Panettone, it’s basically a sweet, enriched bread, with crystallized fruit throughout. It has its own distinct flavour, due to the panettone essence, and the texture varies from country to country, I believe. The italian – and original – version tends to be drier and less sweet than the brazilian one, which is quite soft and buttery, both delicious, nonetheless. We also have the habit to switch the crystallized fruit for chocolate chips, dearly called Chocottone (I know, creative), or even make a blend of dried fruit and chocolate.
Let me tell you something: growing up sucks. Don’t do it, let’s all just join hands and fly to Neverland.
I know what you’re thinking, “Can you stop complaining? This is life, you’ll just be avoiding the inevitable, so you might as well get on with it right now”. Yes, yes, and you are completely right, and the biggest part of me wants to leave home and get a life of my own as soon as possible, but it’s like being trapped in a maze, you know you have to find a way out, but you don’t know which path you should take. It’s the worst feeling. I have hopes, dreams, expectations, and I will work towards them, but I wish I knew how to begin.
Alright, let’s talk Christmas. Are you that kind of person that has a huge house and likes to receive relatives over, and hosts all the holiday parties and etc, etc, etc..? Are you that kind of person who goes crazy over the food you’re gonna serve to your guests the morning after Christmas dinner? Well, if you were looking for a new recipe, your problems are now over! (Okay, I’ll cut the 90’s commercial crap)
Anyways, when I was developing this week’s recipe, I thought about using blueberries and an orange glaze instead (which would still be really delicious), but then I failed miserably at finding ANY KIND of berries at the supermarket, so I had to come up with something else. But, honestly, I’m glad I did, because these turned out so much better than I expected, like eating-3-of-these-in-a-row kind of better. This dough recipe is from my dear friend Elin, from Sweden, who I happen to share a blog with, and it is possibly the best sweet dough I’ve ever tried in my life, it’s so soft, buttery and forgiving, a real delight. The fruity filling and the sweet vanilla glaze make for the perfect Christmasy breakfast treat. Or dessert. Or snack. Or lunch.. hey, I can’t judge you.
It is finally over. 3 days ago was my last day at university and, at the same time that part of me is relieved for not having to waste so much time on traveling for one place to another and actually focus on getting a job, the other part is missing it already.
I know I’ll miss seeing my friends everyday, we spent 2 years working together and I can safely say that they are the most amazing people I’ve ever met (stop with the emotions, Laura… get your shit together, woman..). Not to mention my teachers, which just taught me so much along the way, they became my friends as well. And now, I gotta go deal with the stresses of being an adult, which, as terrified as I am, makes me happy. I feel like adolescence (or pre adulthood) doesn’t fit me any longer.
Being alone. Learning how to be alone. Does anyone know how to do that, really? I know I don’t.
I’ve always enjoyed my solitude, getting the bus back home alone, going for walks, locking myself in my bedroom with nothing but some music in my ears. It gives you time to figure out things, and to figure things out. It’s definitely a way to get to know yourself, or to even trick yourself into thinking that you do. Solitude is clearing, at the same time that it is cloudy, it can make you find all the answers, or give you more questions to deal with. Point is, I love that about it, the way it forces me to find my own way through life, because nobody else is gonna do that for you, and we often find ourselves living in denial, waiting for something or someone to come to the rescue. I don’t fancy, however, the feeling of loneliness.
I’ve had THE MOST hectic weeks, lately. Like I said before, I’m finishing university by the end of November, and there are still quite a few essays to deliver, as well as some exams to make (yes, I go to Culinary School and I do have exams and essays).
Last week, we had a little “cooking fair” at university, which is worth 70% of our final grade, and I spent about 11 hours working in and outside the kitchen with my friends, without sitting for a minute (which is kind of a good workout, I guess…….), with only breakfast on my stomach and, if you know me, you know I simply cannot spend more than 4 hours without eating something, otherwise I start to go a little nuts.
Can someone please tell me why on earth is Brazil so bloody hot ALL-THE-TIME? O.O
Okay, not all the time, but definitely 80% of it. I mean, if you are brazilian, or live/have been here, you know what I’m talking about. It’s not like we have any decent winter, or any defined season for that matter, all we got is summer and a short period of the year where is a little more… fresh… (well, if you are southern, you probably don’t experience this amount of heat everyday, but if you live on the southwest – up parts of the country… I feel ya).
So let’s take a look at our facts here: crazy heat waves, pretty much, all year round and nowhere to run but the closest AC. This can only mean one thing:
Doubts. That’s the word I’d use to describe my life right now. Doubting others, doubting myself and the life I chose. For a person in her 20’s, that’s probably a very common state of mind, but, to be honest, I’m not completely sure if I know how to handle it.
I made this cake for my older sister’s birthday. She asked for something with chocolate and, almost immediately, I started to think about how I would make it look amazing. So I made 2 cakes, sliced both in half, so I’d have four layers to work with, along with one frosting and one filling. So far so good, I had everything planned, so as soon as I came from university, that was about 7 p.m., I started working on it, so I could finish up the next morning. I had two broken layers in the process, which really pissed me off, I like my food to be perfect, to LOOK perfect. But okay, I just joined the pieces and got on with it, I was covering everything with meringue, anyway. It was looking good, the taste was also nice (yes, I ate almost all the scraps alone, do not judge me, my sister ate it too), so I placed it in the fridge until it was time to serve. Suddenly, I heard a noise. I went to check on it, and my sister’s boyfriend was catching various cans of beer on the floor, that he accidentally dropped. He looked at me with a scared face, and said, in a single breath: “Oh God, the cake.”. The fridge drawer, which was holding the cans, fell on top of the cake, and broke almost half of it.
So, here’s an important lesson to carry through life: photographing soufflés is emotionally painful. Don’t do it. Like, ever. You don’t need that kind of stress in your life, trust me. Since this recipe was my own creation, I decided to test it twice. And everything that had to go wrong, did. First time, the soufflé got a really good height, and it was looking beautiful, however, after 25 minutes in the oven, it was still raw inside, so I opted for cutting down the amount of both egg yolks and whites, as well as the amount of pistachios and milk. As I tested it for the second time, the first batch was looking gooorgeous, and I thought to myself “oh my gosh, this might actually work!”. And then I opened the oven. Turned out that the soufflés raised so much, that the tops got stuck in the oven broiler, and as I pulled the baking sheet out, the whole thing collapsed in half. I think you can imagine my face expression… and my silent inside crying. I had enough batter to make 2 more portions, but since I only have 2 ramekins, I have to bake things in batches, and the waiting made the leftover batter lose a bit of its air. I took the second batch out of the oven, and got 1 minute of glorious height, which is not enough time to take good shots. But definitely enough time to burn myself twice, I can tell you that.
Oh-my-sweet-Jesus test week is over (everybody raise your hands)! I still got plenty more of paper work to do, though… (what was that, like, a second of happiness?) So what do I do when I have to study but don’t want to?
I eat chocolate.
I’m pretty sure it’s not just me, but cooking is such a motive for procrastination, I’m not even ashamed to admit it. I spent, probably, about 1 hour reading an article that only had 9 pages. That’s how much I didn’t want to read it. So, I made these little chocolatey beauties, and tried to convince myself that I had nothing more important to do (didn’t work).
I have been obsessed with almond milk, lately, the taste is just so much better than regular milk, which is why I used it for this recipe. Of course that, if you want to use cow’s milk, or any other plant milk, feel free, the almond extract will still give you plenty of almond flavor. This custard is smooth, creamy and very easy to make, takes a while to set, though, I’m not gonna lie, but you can always make it the night or a few hours before serving.