Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Double Baked Gruyere Souffle

Now we go with a really nice Vegetarian starter, but something that is not really Vegetarian because everybody likes it. The Souffle can be made in advance and then just baked again in the oven, even so I like it just after the first baking. I like to serve it on mushroom sauce, just go give it even more richness, but you can as well use some nice tomato and basil sauce or simply serve it with a fresh garden salad, the possibilities are endless

300 ml (10 oz) Milk
40 g (1.5 oz) Butter
40 g (1.5 oz) Flour
3 ea Egg Yolk
120 g (4 oz) Gruyere Cheese
5 ea Egg White

Pre-heat the oven to 210 C
Warm the milk and reserve

Melt butter in a heavy bottom pan, add the flour and mix, fry on low heat for 2 to 3 minutes to make a white Roux

Add gradually the warm milk, mixing well after each addition to ensure the mixture reminds smooth

Add the egg yolk, mix well and return to the heat, bring the mix to a boil and cook for one minute

Add the cheese and season to your taste, mix till the cheese is melted

Beat the egg white till soft peak, then fold one third of the egg white carefully under the cheese mix until well combine and fluffy, then add the rest and fold in carefully.

Butter ramekin mold and then fill them with the cheese mix to nearly the top

Bake for about 20 minutes or till firm

Either serve the souffle directly, or cool down and then bake again when needed. Sprinkle with cheese just before serving.

The mushroom sauce on the photo is optional

Monday, February 27, 2012

Rhubarb Jam

I am cooking jam, I have done it a couple of times before and love it. I know you might say that a professional chef is not cooking jam, that sound more like what house wives do. But I love cooking jam and I love having a really nice jam on my bread. Like this the morning already starts good. A nice cup of coffee and some fresh bread with loads of butter and jam......healthy? No, good? YES!!!!
I don't have it every day, it is more like a treat, but to have a good jam on the bread is something really nice, something one has to savor. So I am doing jams that are a bit different to what one buys in the shops. So this rhubarb jam is not just rhubarb and sugar, no there is vanilla in it and some star anise, just to give it more flavor.

What is important is that the rhubarb gets cleaned properly. Young rhubarb is OK, but when it gets older and the stems thicker, they have veins running just under the skin and they are pretty tough so we don't want them. Easiest is to take a paring knife and just pull them out from both sides, top and bottom of the rhubarb. This is easily don, insert a little cut just about half a millimeter under the skin on the bottom of the rhubarb, press your thumb against the knife so that the strings are pressed between thumb and knife, and then pull them down, similar of like you would clean a bean or sugar snap

So here we go

1 Kg Rhubarb
1 Kg Sugar
1 Ea Vanilla pod
2 Ea Star anise

De-vein the rhubarb (take out the hard strings with a knife). Cut the rhubarb in slices. Mix all incredients in a heavy based pot. Bring quickly to the boil Boil till the jam thickens a bit. Make a taste in the fridge to see that the jam stes nicely. Pour in sterilized jam jars. Keep closed for a week to 10 days to allow the flavors to develop

Saturday, February 25, 2012

New Zealand, Napier

Port of Napier
We are sailing along the Coast of New Zealand and have stopped in Napier, a beautiful and quiet town on the North Island. Napier is special because after a devastating earthquake in 1931 nearly the entire town was rebuilt, so now one can find one of the best collections of buildings of the Art Deco era. There are only two places on earth with such substance that is Miami South Beach and then here in Napier.

We were lucky that at this time of the year there are many cars exhibited from the same time, so it really gives a good feel, walking through the main road and seeing these vintage cars driving around and people dressed up in the clothes of that time.
Napier and the Art Deco Houses
We went to s little coffee shop for a nice bite to eat. It was vibrant and light, the food was very reasonably priced and very good.We had two sandwiches, a toasted chicken and cheese....ham was out and a pizza sandwich with mozzarella, tomato and basil. There are so many places one can eat, just lovely.

We loved walking along the beach and just explore this little town a bit, it has so much to offer, but mainly all these buildings are amazing, it is a bit like time stood still.

Tourism is big here in Napier, I have seen a lot of back packing and a lot of mini buses picking up and dropping off Backpackers. It is the ideal place to stay if you want to explore the wine region of Hawkes Bay a bit. The wines are absolutely amazing, not just the Sauvignon Blanc, for which New Zealand is so famous, but many more. I love the Pinot Noir here, a stunner, typical New World, but because the temperatures are so moderate, it is the perfect weather for these grapes
Two oldies, but both still looking very crisp!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Butternut Soup with Cinnamon

Let's say, it is winter....which in many parts of the world it is, and a very cold one on top of it ( I am in mid Summer in New Zealand at the moment and the temperatures are very nice. So now in this cold winter, I like to make a heart warming soup and Butternut or Butternut Squash is a perfect vegetable to make a lovely winter soup.
Of course one can take just Pumpkin, but I prefer the taste of the Butternut, not that it really matters as a soup, but when using it as a vegetable I think Butternut is just a bit finer, more subtle. It is easier to peel as well, the Pumpkin has a very thick skin, the Butternut a bit less, so it does go easier with the peeling
But now comes the first little twist of all the readers who are in hot areas like me, this soup is delicious when served cold, so it is not really just a winter soup. When I serve the Butternut Soup cold, I like to add a little bit of freshly pressed orange juice and zests, just to give it a bit more of a tang.

Then I like to combine a bit sweetness to it, I always caramelize the Butternut (or Pumpkin) with a little sugar, then add some orange and cinnamon, it really gives a warm feeling when the soup is finished.

1 Each Butternut
1 Each Onion
50 G Butter
 40 G Sugar
5 G Salt
2 G Pepper
5 G Cinnamon
500 Ml Water
350 Ml Cream

Peel and de-pip the butternut and cut in 1 cm cubes Peel the onion and cut in julienne Saute the butternut and onions with butter and sugar in a pot without color. Add salt, pepper and cinnamon and sautée futher until the water gets drawn out of the butternut. Simmer for 10 min Add the cream and simmer for further 15 min Blend, strain and season to taste. Makes about 1 Liter of soup

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

New Zealand, Lyttleton

Lyttleton, a quiet, lovely town
Nobody really knows about Lyttleton, it is just a sleepy little town that suffered like the rest of the region from the devastating earth quake last year. But maybe you know better where I am when I tell you for which city this town is the main port.....Christchurch. Now everybody knows where I am, we sailed up the coast of New Zealand and are now in Christchurch....sorry Lyttleton. Christchurch is actually just on the other side of the mountain, 20 minutes drive from here.

Being a turn around day, we had of course loading. So for a couple of hours everybody helps with carrying the boxes, loads of them as after Antarctica the ship is pretty empty in the stores. Even so we have now only a 8 day golf cruises ahead, there is still a lot to be loaded. Being on such a small ship, everything is done by hand, there are no folk lifts putting whole pallets in the ship like on the big ones I was on before, no, here the chef stands outside and we inspect the quality and then the boxes get handed over in a long line all the way to the stores,
Winsome and me, she is my favorite supplier
One of our best suppliers, and by far my favorite one, is based here in Lyttleton. It is Winsome Dormer from Independent Providores. I have never seen someone more dedicated and really going out of the way to find the best products for us, looking after us and being there basically 24/7. Winsome has a fantastic team and we all went out for dinner that night, something I have rarely time, but as the guest only embarked the next day, we took the time and were treated royally

Winsome is our supplier since many years and I have never seen anybody working so hard to make sure we get exactly what we need. Her and her team have sourced organic edible flowers, Kiwi Berries, even Ice Carvings for us. It has been such a pleasure to have her and her team making sure that we only got the best quality ingredients

We went to a restaurant called Freeman's. It has just been re opened after the earth quake and has been beautifully decorated. The food was up to par with the rest of the restaurant, it was beautifully presented and tasted fantastic. We had some Antipasti for the table, one of them was stuffed and deep fried Zucchini Flowers filled with Ratatouille and Ricotta.
Then the main course was either the slow braised pork cheeks with creamed potatoes or roasted Akaroa Salmon with Tortellini, both dishes were delicious.
 We had a fantastic evening, it is just great to get to meet your supplier, as the whole office team came as well, so now there is not just a cold email, but there is a face and a voice behind it. We visited the offices too, so now I even know where the email comes from, it makes the purchasing so much easier, to know the person and to have a real personal contact, something that is very difficult to have on ships

Monday, February 20, 2012

Brazo de Mercedes

We are going sweet again, very sweet I have to say and I love it. I am a sucker for sweet desserts and this dessert is sweet, very sweet. For this reason I will actually give you 2 recipes, one is the original Brazo De Mercedes and the other one is slightly changed, I added a bit Passion fruit juice that gives it a bit of an edge and instead of Condense milk I make a Vanilla Custard, like this it is not as sweet anymore, hehehe, but still sweet.

This is another Cake from Philippines, so after the Buko Pie and the Sansrival, this is already my 3rd cake on the Blog that comes from this beautiful Country. There are so many more recipes and I am slowly getting them all together to have a nice recipe collection of Pinoy Recipes

The Brazo De Mercedes is actually very easy to make, but it needs a little timing with the baking of the Meringue as you don't want it to dry out, so take the time and check your oven often, you want it baked, but not too much color, that is really important. The Meringue must be nice and moist that it can easily be rolled later with the filling on it.

Now here the Recipes

Original Brazo De Mercedes
12 ea Egg White
300 g Sugar
50 g Corn Starch

1 Tin Condense Milk
20 ea Egg Yolks

For the Meringue whisk egg white with one quarter of the sugar to soft peak, then add the rest slowly, beating it all the time. Ad the end mix the corn starch with some sugar and add it too.

Spread the mix on a baking tray with a non stick mat on it (Flexipan) then bake in the oven at 160 C for about 10 minutes

Cool the Meringue down

Mix the condense Milk with the eggs and beat in a bain marie till very thick and creamy

Pour on top of the meringue, roll tightly and cool in the fridge till completely cold

Passion Fruit Brazo De Mercedes
12 ea Egg White
300 g Sugar
50 g Corn Starch

1 Tin Passion fruit concentrate
12 ea Egg Yolks
350 ml Cream
0.5 ea Vanilla Bean
10 g Corn Starch
50 g Sugar

Bring the Passion fruit concentrate to a boil, take off the heat. Add the sugar first, then all the other ingredients.

Put the filling back on the heat and bring to a boil. The corn starch will prevent the eggs from curdling, but the mix needs to boil up, just briefly to activate the corn starch

Then pour on top of the Meringue, roll tightly and cool in the fridge till completely cold.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Fresh Mussels

How often have you eaten fresh mussels....and how often have you actually cooked fresh mussels? Most of us don't dare to do fresh mussels, but then it is actually so easy to prepare and so delicious to eat. I cook mussels regularly and enjoy it tremendously. It is so quickly done and succsess is nearly guaranteed.

There are of course different mussels, thee are the normal black mussels, widely used in Europe and other places. The are a bit smaller, but also delicious in taste.

But now being in New Zealand, I get the fresh Green Lip mussels. They are very similar in taste, but a bit bigger and ...of course green. Not the meat, no, when that is green then the best thing to do is run, run fast, because then they are off, no it is the shell that is slightly green. But when you have these fresh mussels, just simply cooked like you will with this recipe, they are absolutely delicious.

Here is what you need

1.5 kg Mussels, black, fresh, cleaned
150 g Onion Julienne
150 g Carrot Julienne
150 g Leek Julienne
Garlic, sliced
White wine (Chardonnay)
Salt, Pepper


Heat butter till starting to foam, then add the mussels and vegetables at one go
Mix properly, then add white wine and Pernod, season
Cook covered for 2 to 3 minutes, then stir
Cook for another 3 minutes, stir again, taste, season if necessary
Serve immediately with either baguette or garlic bread

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Nuffnang Blog Survey

What is he writing about a Nuffnang Blog Survey, what is that, what is Nuffnang?

It is easy, Nuffnang is a company that helps Bloggers like me to put some advertising on the Blog, but not just any advertising, that is the key, they want to make sure that the right advertising is on the right Blog. There is not much use that there is an Ad on my Blog for Hair wash products or  baby products, but something that has to do with food and travel. Now, this little Blog here is actually a sponsored post by Nuffnang, yes that is right. It is the first time that I write a "sponsored" post. I am sure there are plenty of Bloggers out there doing that, it is just not always advertised like I just did here

And the survey made exactly that, plenty of questions about me and my Blog, I tell you, plenty, but at the end of the day, this is a good thing as I want to make sure the Ads are corresponding to my article. And I do like that a company cares about ME and doesn't just give me the cold stats of how much I have earned....the bits and pieces as most of us are not getting rich with advertising, but it is just fun having it on the Blog. So the questions of course included my age, normal income, the usual, but then the questions were really specific about what I write, so I am sure when they have finished getting all the results, the already great service I receive will be even better

So, there we are, I am writing this article that is not really related to what I usually write, but  on the other hand it is related.

Nuffnang is mainly active in Asia and Asia is big and there are many Asian living all over the world like I live in Asia, Philippines to be exact. I love it here, the food is amazing, the country beautiful and the people some of the friendliest I have met so far. Originally it has started in Singapore an Malaysia, it has now offices in several countries, and that is the difference again to other Ad companies, they have actually offices with real people, one can see what they do on the website, for me being in the hospitality business for such a long time, this is so important, I am in contact with people every day, so when I am writing my Blog, it is nice to know that the advertising needs are taken care of by real people. 

So if there is anybody else who wants to become a "Nuffnanger" check out their website you will see that this is a cool company that really cares and makes sure we, the publishers have the right stuff on our websites

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Baked Alaska

Baked Alaska, what an old fashioned Dessert....and? You cannot believe how often this Classic is still served all over the world, not just in the cruise industry. There we still have the Baked Alaska Parade with everybody coming in the Dining Room and 1000 guests are applauding....and then the same again for the second seating, no even in hotels, restaurants, the Baked Alaska is a Classic, but it is by far not dead! Long live the Baked Alaska!

I want to show you how to make this dessert quick and easy at home and let the tradition live on! I prefer to make individual Baked Alaska as it is not just beautifully to present on the plate, but it is easier to store in the freezer. The big ones are just so bulky!

As for the blow torch you will need, there are two options, get one in a kitchen specialty shop, they have the little fancy ones, or take your husband for a stroll and go to his "toy shop" to get a proper blow torch, I am sure he will like that you come with him to this dreaded store and will gladly buy you a proper model.

All you need is 4 items, Ice Cream, Sponge, Egg White and Sugar

Baked Alaska
1 small Tub Chocolate Swirl Ice Cream
1 ea Sponge Cake

5 ea Egg White
150 g Caster Sugar
Cut the sponge cake in round sponge circles about 1 cm thick and 5 cm diameter. Place one ball of ice cream on it, you can use any ice cream you like. Place it back in the freezer and freeze completely

In the mean time beat the egg white with one third of the sugar till soft peak in an electric beater, then add the rest of the sugar slowly always while beating the egg white. Beat the "Meringue" till it is very firm.

Put the Meringue in a piping bag, take the ice cream out the freezer and garnish it till completely covered with the Meringue, then place back in the freezer.

Just before serving the Baked Alaska, take a blow torch and "burn" the meringue, serve immediately

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Prawns on Avocado Tartar

Here is something really simple, you can make it quick and even on short notice, have some cooked prawns in the freezer and an avocado in the fridge and basically you have everything you need to do this little but very effective and delicious starter. I am a strong believer of having always something as a back up that when friends pop over it is easy and fast prepared, the title sounds grand, but basically all it is Guacamole with Prawns, shushed up a little bit, but here the recipe

Just some useless information about the prawns, or shrimp in certain countries. When you buy them they are either called by a name like Giant, King, Queen which means the size, or you get number, like 21/25, 15/20, 9/15. This shows you the size as well, the number means how many prawns are in each Kilo (2.2 lbs) so the smaller the number, the bigger the prawn. For general cooking 21/25 are perfect, if I BBQ and have them butterfly I try to go for bigger Prawns. In Asia you get the huge ones 2/3!!!! they are nearly the size of a lobster and taste delicious!

2 ea Avocados
0.5 ea Onions
1 ea Red Chili
Lime Juice

16 ea Prawns (21/25) cooked
20 ml Olive oil
10 ml Lemon juice
Sea Salt

For the avocados, cut the onions in very fine cubes, then de-seed the chili and chop. Peel the avocados and cut in cubes. Mix all ingredients and season to taste.

Marinate the prawns in olive oil, Lime juice, salt and pepper, leave for a couple of hours

To plate put the avocado in a round form and then dress the prawns on top of the avocado.

Garnish with some micro herbs

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Oysters from Bluff, New Zealand and Nam Jim Dressing

Not everybody likes Oysters, it is that either you love them or you hate them, there is nothing between, straight forward. I love them, I really do. Yes they are glibbery and wobbly things, but boy, a really fresh oyster is something amazing to eat.. Now being in Bluff, I had to get the local Oysters for our ship, there is just no way around it. Bluff is the Mecca of Oysters in New Zealand, they are highly priced and absolutely delicious.

But now, where is Bluff? If you take a New Zealand map and go all the way south, so far that there is nothing else to come.....that is where Bluff is, at the end of New Zealand. Even so the residents of Bluff will certainly disagree as Bluff is actually the oldest European settlement in New Zealand

We have just come back from Antarctica and are now on the way north, just dropping off all our passengers. We will have a charter cruise now and everybody will arrive in Christchurch, so we have 2 days time to clean and scrub every little part of the galley clean
Bluff from the ship
Many years ago the Bluff Oyster was like raked up from the bottom of the sea and lots of nature had been destroyed, but since many years there are strict regulations and the oyster farming is now strictly monitored. A lot of damage had been done, but now nature has slowly time to recover, but it will still take a long time till everything is back the way it was
The tiny town of Bluff
The Bluff Oyster is more of a round oyster, sand colored and nice and fleshy. The taste is.....a little salty, fresh and fantastic. It has some lovely creaminess, is just a little chewy and delicious

There are many ways to serve an oyster. I like them raw, but with a little additional flavor, so here we serve them with a little cucumber salad and then of course the lemon and some Nam Jim Dressing, a Vietnamese dressing

Here is the recipe for the Nam Jim, a very nice dressing, it is really complementing the Oysters

1 knob Ginger
3 ea Gloves Garlic
3 ea Chili red
3 ea Shallots
1 knob Galangal or Ginger
3 ea Coriander roots
5 ea Lime juice
3 tblsp Fish sauce
3 tblsp Palm Sugar, light

With a mortar and pestle pound all the roots and herbs
till a fine paste
Gradually add lime juice, fish sauce and palm sugar
When combined, pass liquid through a fine strainer
and check balance of sweetness, saltiness and spice
adjust if necessary

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Flour less Chocolate Cubes with Strawberry Compote

Now this is a truly indulgent recipe, the chocolate is reach and creamy, so the strawberries give a little acidity and sweetness to it. To round the whole thing off, I add some cold Sabayon. All in all you get this great dessert that is colorful and absolutely delicious. I make the chocolate cubes flour less as like this the flavor is even more intensive and apart for from that, it is a perfect dessert for a gluten free diet

Chocolate Cubes
300 g Chocolate
3 ea Eggs
1 ea Egg yolk
250 g Butter

Strawberry Compote
500 g Strawberries
100 g Sugar
0.5 ea Vanilla bean, scraped
50 ml Red Wine
15 g Corn Starch

2 ea Egg Yolks
50 ml Marsala
75 ml White Wine
50 g Sugar
150 ml Cream, whipped


For the Chocolate Cubes, melt the butter and then add the chocolate. Over very low heat melt the chocolate, stirring constantly. Then when the chocolate is completely melted, add the beaten eggs. Stir nicely till you have a smooth batter

Pour in a square, buttered baking tin and bake at 120 C for about one hour or till cooked. Make sure the heat is not too high to avoid over cooking

For the Strawberry Compote mix Strawberries, Sugar and Vanilla and bring to the boil. Mix Corn Starch and Red Wine, add to the strawberries, stirring all the time, it will thicken nicely. The take immediately off the heat and cool to room temperature

For the Sabayon mix all ingredients except the cream in a metal bowl, big enough to whisk the eggs rapidly and to make sure it doesn't over flow when all the foam comes up during the cooking and whisking

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Antarctica, Penguins

Adelie looking at me
This is the last Blog about Antarctica as we are nearly back in Bluff, in the south of New Zealand. Of course I have to make at least one Blog about the Penguins as we have seen plenty of them. They are just so cute, have no fear and are tremendously entertaining.
The Penguins on the way to check us out
There are so many different types of penguins the King, Emperor, Adelie and many, many more. They all live in the southern Hemisphere, so it is not possible that a Penguin says hello to a Polar Bear. But in the south, they are everywhere, from South America to South Africa to New Zealand and even Australia.
We stopped quickly at Macquarie Island, and Island that lies south of New Zealand. I have written about it before, so will not go much into the Island, apart from that it is still beautiful, but just want to show you a couple of photos of really cute Penguins we saw there. You sit there and wait and then after a while they come to you and check you out, noisy little birds.
Sandy Beach, full of Penguins
I could sit here for hours and watch them, it is just amazing to sit among thousands of Penguins, hear them, see them, laugh at them and of course small them. Yes a Penguin is really smelly and if you have thousands of them then it smells accordingly. There is Penguin pup everywhere, hehehe, so be careful where you walk.
But to be here, having the possibility to see all of them happily living here, being entertained, that is just an amazing moment and a little pup just gives the extra dimension.Penguins are such fascinating creatures, to see them in the wild is something very precious. It is difficult to imagine that less than 100 years ago they were shortly before extinction because of the oil that humans got from them. 
Orion with Adelie Penguins in Antarctica
Soon we will be sailing around the North Island of New Zealand, stay tuned for more episodes of my travels.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Snapper on Saffron Potato, Octopus and Tomatoes

Another recipe, this time a fish, you can use any fish available, as long as it is sustainable, that is really important. Why? Because we want to make sure that for generations to come there is still plenty of fish.

So, the dish is actually quite simple, but needs a bit time to prepare as there are a lot of ingredients. The tomato sauce you can make ahead, the same with the saffron poached potato, the octopus you can cook in advance as well, I usually cook is gently with vegetables and red wine, it gives a lovely flavor, then heat up everything, cook the fish, wilt the spinach and voila, you got a great fish dish that will wow away your friends, that is for sure.

But now to the recipe

8 Snapper portions (120-140 gm)
250 g Picked spinach
Prepped octopus legs, 200 grams cooked weight

100ml white wine
4 ea Potatoes cut into 70mm circle 11/2cm thick
1 pinch saffron
100gm butter
Fish stock to cover

Bring to the boil the white wine, saffron and leave over night. The saffron will leach into the wine giving it a great color. Sauté the potatoes with colour on both sides, add butter and cover with fish stock. Add saffron wine to taste and for the colour (to much saffron will go bitter.)  Finish in a low oven keeping the shape of the potatoes. Keep warm.

8 large tomatoes
12 red peppers
4 cloves of garlic
1 large chillies
1 ancho dried chillies soaked
250gm almonds
250gm peeled hazelnuts
6 thick slices of sourdough (fry in oil)

Roast all ingredients except the bread and pulse in the robot-coupe, till smooth. Thin with fresh tomato juice and season with red wine vinegar, sea salt and fresh white pepper. Set aside.

Saute with a nice crust on the snapper fillet and finish in a medium oven. Warm Romesco sauce. Cook Octopus in the fish stock quickly so it is transparent, then saute spinach and season to taste

Place a circle of Romesco sauce on a plate, dress the saffron potato on top and then place the snapper skin up on top of the potato. Place the spinach on top of the snapper and then finish off with the octopus. Dribble some paprika oil around and serve 

Friday, February 3, 2012


Today I am giving you the recipe of one of my all time favorite cakes in Philippines, The Sansrival. This is a special cake mainly made in Pampanga, but one can find it in other places too. It is a very labor intensive cake that requires a lot of love in the preparation, but the result is so delicious. The cake is rich, don't eat too much of it as it is basically just butter, sugar, a bit almonds and some eggs, then everything is layered so one has the crunchiness and the sweetness.

This Recipe is from our Pastry Chef Jamie who took the time and made this cake for my Birthday. We had a little drink after service in the galley with more Filipino food, some Sisig, yummy and some Pancit, a couple of beers and everybody was happy
My Galley Team and me having a Birthday Drink
Sansrival, Japonais Sheets

850 g Egg white
850 g Sugar
560 g Almonds, ground

Beat the egg whites to soft peak, then add the sugar slowly and beat till the sugar has dissolved and you have a firm Meringue. Then add the ground almonds and fold them into the Meringue. Spread the mix on baking sheets, makes squares of about 40 x 30 cm (13 inch x 10 inch) and about 5 to 6 mm in height (0.25 inch)

The batter here is called Japonais batter in the pastry world, so if you want to use a fancy word, like I like to to, you just got a new one!! The moment the Japonais Batter is baked it simply becomes a Japonais

Bake the sheets at 180 C till golden brown and slightly crisp. Take the Japonais out the oven and cool to room temperature

Sansrival, Filling

300 g Water
900 g Sugar
30 ea Egg yolk
1.125 kg Butter, soft

Bring the water together with the sugar to the boil, take off the stove and cool down slightly. Put the egg yolks in an electric beater , put on high speed and pour in the hot sugar syrup slowly. Beat the eggs till the batter reaches room temperature.

The mix the egg batter with the soft butter.

Now the layering of the cake starts. First take one sheet of the Japonais, then spread the butter cream on it, followed by a Japonais. This goes till you have used up all the ingredients. Always press the Japonais sheets carefully, but firmly on to the Butter Cream.

Then chill the cake in the fridge till the butter cream is hard, only then cut the edges of the cake in a straight line and top the cake with toasted almond slivers
Here you can see the layers of the Cake clearly

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Antarctica, Shackleton's Hut

It happened, something I didn't even dream of it, but really wanted to do. I was down in Antarctica at Sir Ernest Shackleton's hut. The weather was absolutely amazing, sun shine and not too cold, loads of Penguins and of course the hut.
Now I have this thing with Shackleton, since I was about 2006 on South Georgia Islands (South America, then you go direction Falkland Islands and then just a bit further in the middle of nowhere) I have seen this old whaling station and the grave of Shackleton. Then I watched a movie how he went back from Antarctica after being stranded in the Ice, rescuing his entire team. He went with 2 guys on a small life boat, sailed somehow to South Georgia Islands, had to climb over the mountain range to get help in the whaling station. Which they went out after winter was over a couple month later. The entire team survived!

A team of modern Explores re-did his journey, with modern gear and all......just to find out that they were not faster than he was, totally under equipped, not enough food and everything, he became a "hero" for me.
From 3 AM there was no sleep anymore as we tried to break through the last bit of Pack Ice, we were only 40 Miles away from our goal, but the Ice was so thick that we could not get through....was the dream just a dream or will it become reality? The captain turned around, got us safely out of the ice and then sailed along the ice and found an opening.
At lunch time we arrived at Scott's hut, everybody went out to see it and then we sailed the couple of Miles to Shackleton's Hut. Everybody went out after dinner, it is still light and the sun is shining, so no problem.
The hut has actually been renovated as the force of nature is too strong to withhold for too long, but everything inside is still the same, the tins of fruit, the books, beds, amazing stove..... where everybody slept, unbelievable. There are more people going up Mount Everest every year than coming here to see the huts......just simply because the weather is so unpredictable. Last cruise we were not able to do any landings as there was too much ice
Now we are on our way back, still have to go through the pack ice belt, then up to New total 8 days at sea! But it was amazing to be here, I am very humbled by it, the long journey is worth it, the storms the rain, the wind, all has been worth it to be here in one of the last corners of the world, seeing how some explorers came here in 1908 and built this station, just simply amazing
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