I have a confession to make. I don’t like chocolate. I just don’t like it. Never have. So for Nick to make me a chocolate cake that I like, that’s something unique. This cake won me over to the dark side (of chocolate). This cake is SO good.
Everyday, for the last two months, we’ve been cooking something we have never tried before. With this we’re trying to make an amazing collection of recipes. We’re going to perfect all of those recipes and share some of them with you. For all of the recipes we won’t be sharing you will have to come over for dinner.
This cake didn’t need a lot of tweaking. It’s perfect just the way it is. We just added a shot of espresso. Because espresso and chocolate go well together.
250 ml of Guinness
250 grams of unsalted butter
75 grams of cocoa powder
400 grams of white castor sugar
140 ml of sour cream
2 large eggs
1 vanilla pod
275 grams of plain flour
2,5 teaspoons of baking powder
1 shot of espresso
For the topping
300 grams of cream cheese
150 grams of powdered/icing sugar
125 ml of whipped cream
Preheat your oven to 180°C/350ºF. Get out your 23 cm/9 inch round baking tin and butter and line the baking tin. I never had Guinness so before I started baking I took my first sip. It’s actually quite nice!
Put on a large saucepan on medium heat. Take the rest of the Guinness and pour it into the pan. Spoon in the butter bit by bit. When it has melted, whisk in the cocoa and sugar.
Get a bowl and beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla. When smooth, pour it into the brown buttery, beery pan. At last, whisk in the flour and baking powder. Pour the cake batter into the baking tin and bake for 45-60 minutes, it took an hour here.
When it’s done, take it out of the oven but leave it in the tin. Place on a cooling rack and let cool completely. When the cake has cooled to room temperature, start with the icing.
Whip the cream cheese until smooth. Get out your sieve and sieve over the icing sugar and then beat them together until smooth again. Careful at the start, unless you like breathing sugar. Add the whipped cream and beat again until it makes a spreadable consistency. We did it by hand, but use a processor or mixer if you have one, it will make your life a lot easier. Now start icing! Put it in the fridge for an hour or two if you can control yourself.
I’m a huge fan of anything coconut flavored and when I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it. It did not disappoint, but I do feel it needs some tweaking. I like spicy cakes with a little bit of special. And even though this cake is super tasty, it lacks that bit of special.
This friday it was our 6th anniversary. I can’t believe it’s already been six years since we met. He lights up my world, makes me smile when I’m down and he is the best man I have ever met. Up to another 6 years, I can’t wait to spend it with you.
2 large eggs
300 ml of organic full fat milk
1 vanilla pod
320 grams of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon table of salt
10 grams of baking powder
3 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
200 grams of granulated sugar
140 grams of unsweetened flaked coconut
85 grams of unsalted butter, melted
zest of half a lime
Heat oven to 160°C. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and milk.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Add sugar, coconut, vanilla and lime zest, and stir to mix. Make a well in the center, and pour in egg mixture, then stir wet and dry ingredients together until just combined.
Melt butter and add it to the bowl.Stir until smooth. Don’t over mix!
Now get your loaf pan and butter and flour it. Put the batter in the pan and put it in the oven. Bake it for 1 hour to 1,5 hours. If you want to check if it’s done, get a wooden skewer and stab that cake right in the middle. If it’s comes out clean, your cake is done! Take it out of the oven and let it cool for five minutes. Now take it out of the pan, put it on a cooling rack and slice yourself a piece of heaven. (very tasty with a dab of butter)
Note: we added the lime to the recipe after baking, because we think it will give the recipe a little extra zing.
As some of you might know, Nick did one year of bakery and pastry school where he learned a lot about kneading dough, making pies and baking bread. I love this about him. He gets in the kitchen, grabs a bag of flour and some butter and he creates something yummy. This sunday, after a lot of begging from me to please start baking again, he made this heavenly piece of pie.
In the next few weeks we’ll be sharing more of Nick’s own recipes. They’re awesome. He is awesome. I love a man that can bake. And cook. And cuddle. God I love a good cuddle.
Apple & Pear Crumble
Ingredients Pie Crust
100 grams of sugar
200 grams of butter
300 grams of flour
8 grams of baking powder
pinch of salt
some lemon zest (optional)
4 apples (crisp and a little sour), peeled and in cubes
4 pears (the green ones), peeled and in cubes
handful of raisins
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cardamom
marrow of 1 vanilla pod
pinch of salt
30 grams of butter
100 grams of flour
50 grams of butter
50 grams of sugar
pinch of salt
Pre-heat your oven at about 170°C.
Soften the butter with your hands, until it’s room temperature. You shouldn’t be feeling any cold pieces in the butter any more. Mix in and knead through the sugar, followed by the egg. Mix the salt and the baking powder with the flour. Get your hands dirty and knead the flour through the butter until you’ve got a nice and smooth dough. Add a little flour if it’s too sticky or add a little water if it’s too dry. Wrap it in some plastic foil and put it in the fridge.
Put on a pan and melt the butter until it stops bubbling and sizzling. Throw in the apples and pears, followed by all the spices and the raisins. Bake for about 4-5 minutes on medium-high heat. It shouldn’t get too mushy, but the apples and pears should get a little softer. Take the pan off the heat and set aside.
Mix the flour and sugar in a bowl. Make sure your butter is cold. Cut it into small pieces in the bowl. Get your hands in there and try to make the pieces of butter as small as you can and mix them well until you get a crumble. Don’t make it into a ball, you want to keep the little crumbles.
Butter up your favorite cake pan. Its shape or whether it’s metal or whatever doesn’t really matter. Take your pie crust dough out of the fridge, and knead it through a little. You don’t want to get it warm. Roll it out until approx. 3-5 mm thick, and cover your cake pan with it. To do this, lightly flour your rolling-pin, roll the dough loosely around your pin, and unroll over your cake pan. Cut away the overhanging edges. You can stick this together to cover up some pieces of your cake pan you might have missed. Or put it in your fridge and secretly take little bites out of it when nobody is looking. You can keep this dough for up to a week in the fridge and up to three months in the freezer.
Put the filling in there.
Cover the filling with the crumble.
Put it in the oven until the pie crust is nice and golden. The crumble is going to stay a little lighter.
Store on your kitchen counter (it gets sloppy in the fridge). It tastes best if you leave it for a day. But I know you’re not going to be able to stop yourself.
Have you ever been to Vietnam? If you have, you’ve probably tried these spring rolls and have fallen in love. If you haven’t: you will fall in love. Also, Vietnam is great and you should try to visit sometime. For realsies.
Rice paper (make sure they are suited for fresh spring rolls, there are lots of different kinds!)
500 grams of shrimps
1 cucumber, cut into thin strips
2 red bell peppers, cut into thin strips
4 carrots, cut into thin strips
1 crop of green lettuce, cut into thin strips
1 bunch of cilantro (we love cilantro, so we usually end up with 3 bunches)
1 bunch of mint
Rice vermicelli noodles
For the Peanut Sauce:
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tea-spoon of olive oil (or sesame oil if you’ve got it.)
10 table spoons of peanut butter
3 teaspoons of hoisin sauce
4 table spoons of water (we usually end up adding more, as this sauce thickens quickly)
Sweet and sour sauce
Start by cutting all the vegetables in thin strips. When you’re done, put them aside and start setting the table.
Cook the noodles as per instructions on the package. Allow to dry at room temperature.
Time to make the peanut sauce. This sauce is meant as a dipping sauce but I put it inside of my spring rolls. I like it better that way.
Put the olive oil (or optionally sesame oil) in a small saucepan and set it on medium-low heat. Add garlic and sauté for about 20 seconds. Do not let the garlic burn. Add peanut butter and hoisin sauce and continue to stir. When the sauce begins thickening, add water. Adjust to taste and continue to add water if it becomes too thick. Remove from heat and set aside.
You can now put everything on the table. Do not forget a flat bowl or pan filled with hot water. You need this to soften the rice paper.
To assemble rolls, dip single sheets of rice paper into hot water for a few seconds. Allow excess water to drain and quickly place on a plate. Add a layer of peanut sauce, some sweet and sour sauce and stack on the shrimps, softened noodles, lettuce, cucumbers, red peppers, carrot, cilantro and mint. Carefully roll closed and slice in half. SUPER YUMMY.
If you’re like me and love cilantro, buy some more cilantro and pile up!
Now that we’re home, we miss Asian food. Sure, there’s a lot of Asian restaurants here, but it’s just not the same. Nick is an amazing chef and he took it upon himself to cook something we ate and miss at least once a week. So far we had a very delicious Banh-Mi and this week we made this great Thai massaman curry. It was almost as good as the ones we had in Thailand (but it’s just not the same).
Don’t be put off by the ingredient list, it’s very easy to make and most of the spices are good to have anyway. And chances are, you’ve already got a great deal of them laying around.
And yeah, I would love to show you a picture of what it looks like when it’s done, but we were too damn hungry.
500 gram of chicken, cut into bite size pieces
3 potatoes, cut in chunks
1 can/ 400 ml coconut milk
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 tomato, cut in cubes
1 onion, minced
1 piece of ginger of about 5 cm, grated
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 red chili, thinly sliced
200 ml chicken stock
1 stalk lemongrass, minced
3 bay leaves
1 tea spoon of turmeric
1 tea spoon of ground coriander
1 tea spoon of whole cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon of cardamon
1 tablespoon of tamarind
3/4 teaspoon shrimp paste
2 table spoons of fish sauce
1 table spoon of brown sugar
a handful of cashewnuts
Enough rice for 4 people
Get a stewing pan, a big one. Heat it over medium heat and drizzle in some oil. Add the onion, ginger and chili. Stir for 1 minute. Add the garlic. Stir for another minute. It should start to smell really great. The smell of fried onion and garlic is one of my favorite smells in the world.
Now add the chicken stock and the minced lemongrass. Stir. Add bay leaves. Stir. Red pepper. Stir. Turmeric. Stir. Ground coriander.Stir. Cumin seed. Stir. White pepper. Stir. Cardemon. Stir. Tamarind. Stir. Shrimp paste. Stir. Fishsauce. Stir. Sugar and chopped cashews. Bring this to a light boil.
Add the chicken and coat it with the mixture. Add the coconut milk and the potatoes. Stir everything and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to get a good simmer.
Let this simmer 3o-40 minutes. We let it simmer for 1,5 hours because we were walking the dog and sort of forgot about it. I like to believe this made it even better. Stir occasionally. When you’re almost ready to eat, put a pan of water on the stove for rice. When you put the rice in the pan of water, it’s time to add the tomato to the curry.
When your rice is ready, your curry is ready. Taste it. Does it need more salt? Add some fish sauce. Not spicy enough? Add some chili. Too spicy? Add some coconut milk. Is it too sour? Add some sugar. Is it too salty or sweet? Add some tamarind or lime juice.
Put the rice on a plate, scoop over the curry and top with a few cashews and coriander. We love loads of coriander.
By the way, did anyone else expect to get a loooooot of coriander in their food in Thailand, and found it wasn’t that much?
Have you ever ever ever thought the best place to eat home-made fresh greek yogurt would be Malaysia? No, me neither. And yet I found myself sitting in The Mugshot Cafe in Georgetown, Penang, in awe of their yogurt. As the owners of Mugshot cafe were so kindly to explain, they make it themselves Jesse and Tristan believe it’s best to only have a few things on your menu that are really good. This means they only serve bagels and yogurt, both incredibly tasty.
If you’re not feeling bagels or yoghurt, you can go next door to The Rainforest Bakery (which is owned by Jesse’s family) to get your sugar high. Or, as we did, 0ur daily bread fix. It’s Asia, good bread is rare. We spent a week and a half in Georgetown and we dropped in almost every day for a cup of coffee and most of the time, some yoghurt. We saw a lot of people doing the same. These guys have a special way of making everyone feel at home.
They’ve got plans to turn the unused upstairs area into a hostel. We’re really curious what the future is going to bring for this place, and we’ll make sure to keep an eye out. We’ll be back!
Bangkok is one of the most inspiring cities I’ve ever been too. Although we were only there for a month, I feel like we got to know the city. I truly loved it. Since we were both raised in small(-ish) Dutch cities that have nothing on a huge city like Bangkok, we were continuously in awe as we were wandering around.
There is so much going on in Bangkok, new cafes and shops are opening every day, and each one is even better than the last one. Because we are running our company while traveling, we are always looking for places that have an inspiring interior, fast wifi, tasty food, good drinks and a crowd that’s not spilling beer over our laptops.
Bangkok can be quite overwhelming at times. It’s so ginormous and busy and hot (oh god it’s so hot). If you are looking to escape the heat, have good coffee, work, or drink a beer or two (not all of them serve beer), these are the places to go. And there are so many more places like this, go out and explore!
If you find anything similar, let us know one way or another so we can visit them when we get to Bangkok sometime in the future!
Cafe Bicycle is our favorite place to work in Bangkok. And it’s not just us that like to work here. This cafe is constantly filled with people with laptops, sipping their coffee and stuffing their faces with all the delights on the menu.
Every day around lunch they have a special offer with cheap local food. Very tasty!
I just really like places that look right. It’s all about the details and the owners of cafe Bicycle understand that.
Library Cafe is kind of hard to find if you don’t know where to look. It’s in a side street of a side street of Sukhumvit Road.
This cafe stands out for its extremely good styling. The style is 70’s mixed with contemporary stuff. Everything just goes together perfectly. The little wooden spoons (which we are looking for, if you know where to get ‘m let us know!) complement the good coffee. Upstairs is a Japanese style sitting area with pillows on the floor. Shoes off before you go upstairs!
Library Cafe gets a Sparrow-in-Space-award for the prettiest toilets I’ve ever seen. I kept drinking lots of water so I could pee again, just to spend some more time there. If you don’t like interior design, coffee, tea or food, just go here to pee. Seriously, this toilet is better than eighty percent of the hotel rooms I’ve slept in.
The food is good as well, although some of the dishes come in quite small portions. The pies are great. Try them all!
Krabi’s morning market is all a market should be. Fresh fish, fresh meat, vegetables, fruit, fresh noodles. And breakfast. Krabi’s morning market made us want to get into a kitchen and cook. Everything is so fresh and it looks so great. Nick has been missing having a kitchen to cook and I’m really missing his cooking. I’ve eaten so many different things at so many different places but his cooking is still the best.
To be honest, the smell of fish didn’t work that well on my stomach at eight in the morning, but the fish were so fresh and good-looking that they were quickly forgiven. We had breakfast at Krabi’s morning market three days in a row and just wandered around a little (it’s not that big) looking at all the fresh wares. I think most of the Thai do their daily shopping here, I would if I lived here.