Friday, 29 September 2017

My Birithday Cake

This is the chocolate cake I made for my birthday party. I was very specific about what I wanted my cake to look like. I wanted a chocolate & berries cake with a chocolate ganache. I made one from the “The Australian Women’s Weekly” cookbook - it has awesome cakes. I adapted it by completely covering the cake with a thick chocolate ganache. Then I decorated it with blackberries, currants and strawberries. I must admit that I am truly proud of this cake which was extraordinarily delicious, probably the most delicious chocolate cake I have tasted in ages.

Chocolate ganache and raspberry cake adapted from the “The Australian Women’s Weekly” 

35g cocoa powder
80ml hot water
150g dark eating chocolate, chopped
150g butter, chopped
300g firmly packed brown sugar
125g almond meal
4 eggs, separated
240g fresh raspberries (I used 200g blackberries, 150g strawberries, 50g currants)
Chocolate ganache
200g dark eating chocolate, chopped
160ml thickened cream (I used 180ml and 2g gelatine in sheets)

Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease a deep 22cm diameter cake pan (I used 18cm); line base and side with baking paper.

Blend cocoa powder with the hot water in a small bowl until smooth.

Combine chocolate and butter in medium heatproof bowl over saucepan of simmering water; stir until melted. Remove from heat; stir in cocoa mixture, sugar, almond meal and egg yolks.

Beat egg whites in clean small bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form; fold into chocolate mixture in two batches. Pour mixture into prepared pan.

Bake in moderately slow oven about 1 ¼ hours. Stand cake in pan 15 minutes, before turning onto wire rack to cool.

Chocolate ganache: Combine chocolate and cream in small saucepan; stir over low heat until smooth. I soaked the 2g gelatine in sheets in cold water then I added the well-drained gelatine to the ganache. I mixed well with a spoon so that it melts well.

Afterwards, I covered the entire cake with the ganache and once the ganache set, I decorated the cake with the three types of berries. I thought it looked more festive.

Serves 12
Tip: This cake can be made up to three days ahead; store in an airtight container. Top with berries and chocolate ganache on the day of serving.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Playing tourist...

For my birthday, my sister came to Geneva. Before the birthday celebrations at home, I played the guide for her. I took her for a long walk around the city. We stopped for a few refreshments, a bit of gorgeous shopping and a lot of talking and laughing... It was very nice to play the tourist in my own town, it made me aware of all the beauty of this city, so much appreciated by travellers from all over the world.

Geneva City Centre... Geneva’s main street on a busy Saturday afternoon...

The Vanity by Capi Ombre (Place du Molard 9) is a nice bar to taste traditional beers and it is also a wonderful people watching spot. We ordered a blanche and an ambrée beer to enjoy as we discussed my sister’s upcoming trip... 

Parc des Bastions... On Sunday morning, after breakfast, a lovely walk around Parc des Bastions which is full of beautiful statues, buildings and colourful flowers.

A very beautiful park with colourful flowers and plants.

The Naked Woman is a Sculpture of a woman crouching on a block of stone.

Lion at the Eynard Palace. This charming building was built in 1817 for a Swiss banker by a Florentine architect.

The Reformation Wall

... Another piece of the wall - it is so big and impressive...

Wallace Fountain

The University of Geneva

The giant chess and draught sets are available for free

Eaux-Vives... It is in Eaux-Vives that the Jet d’eau is located

A beautiful walk around the Promenade du Lac and the Quai Fleuri where we saw the Genève which is the oldest “Belle Epoque” boat still existing on Lake Geneva.

Along the edge of the lake, further on we arrive at the English Garden park with its Floral Clock.

Vieille Ville... Geneva’s Old Town, is an ancient maze of small streets and picturesque squares, filled with homey cafés, restaurants, galleries, museums and historical sights, lined by historical buildings adorned with beautiful masonry facades.

The famous St. Peter’s Cathedral

The Old Arsenal, is a former military arsenal. This beautiful historical building now serves as the state archives. Under its arcades stand five period cannons and on its walls one can admire three valuable frescoes and mosaics.

Around the corner of Bourg-de-Four Square

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Oh, Happy Day!!

Readers who have been following my blog regularly know that I absolutely love birthdays; they are a sort of small personal holiday celebration.

A couple of months ago it was my birthday and I wanted to celebrate by doing something special. No huge plans, just spoil myself along with a glass of bubbles, delicious tapas and a glorious cake! And be in good company.

In the evening, we went out for one last drink at Le Verre à Monique, a speakeasy cocktail bar.

I had a marvellous time and feel grateful to have such wonderful people around me. This was such a fun small party and I had a blast, so that is all that matters!

As for my look, I wore an azure dress for my party, which I had fallen in love with at first sight in the shop window. I paired it with these red sandals and my favourite bracelets...

Sweetheart’s birthday card. The first one I opened was from him, just before his trip.

Gifts...books, beauty products, home décor items, clothes...and this stunning bouquet of flowers from my lovely sister...

For the table decoration, I used a white table cloth and napkins; I picked some Evelyne Dahlias, Daisies and a Fittonia plant in the market. Then I added some candles…

For the food, I kept it simple and tasty. We had a variety of “summer appetisers”

Skewers of melon with Serrano ham

Cherry tomato, mozzarella, olive and basil skewers

Salmon, avocado grapefruit and St-Môret rolls

Tuna fish empanadas

Duck mousse toasts (walnut bread)

For drinks - the day was very warm so cold bubbles were welcome - we had sparkling wine (Freixenet Ice and Café de Paris) and fruity chilled rosé…

I was very specific on what I wanted my cake to look like. I wanted a chocolate and berry cake with a chocolate ganache. I made one from “The Australian Women’s Weekly” cookbook - awesome cakes! I adapted it by completely covering the cake with a thick chocolate ganache, then I decorated it with blackberries, currants and strawberries. I must admit that I was truly proud of this cake, which was extraordinarily delicious. Probably the most delicious chocolate cake I had tasted in ages.