Friday, September 14, 2012

Aromas of Time first post & a decadent Chocolate Walnut Cake Recipe

"When nothing else subsists from the past, after the people journeyed on, after the things are broken and scattered· the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls· bearing resiliently, on tiny and almost impalpable drops of their essence, the immense edifice of memory" 
-Marcel Proust "The Remembrance of Things Past"

Rediscover the past through your sense of smell, remembering the aromas of all the delicious dishes you have tasted. Dishes made for you by your mom, grandmother, family members and cherished friends. Dishes that came from the heart and their smells lingered with you till today. Local specialties you tasted during your travels and that when revisiting them in your mind were accompanied by smells of the foods you have tasted. 

I am going to take you through a journey of tastes, smells and experiences. I will be cooking and sharing with you new and old recipes. And hopefully I will awake your senses and build more memories with you.  

Aromas and smells travel through time ....
Middle photo: At 9 with my grandmother Mémé cutting my first communion cake.

For a long while I wanted to start my own food, photography and travel blog. I had doubts and did not know if I could commit to it. Thanks to the encouragements of my dear husband I decided to take the plunge. It will not be perfect, but it would be me.

I wanted to write about what I see, taste, smell and basically share my recipes with food lovers like you. I often get asked by friends and family to share some of my recipes. So creating this blog is definitely an easier way to do so than by email. Especially that they don’t all live on the same continent. And most importantly I wanted to create this food blog as a memoir and recipe log for my two girls Lola and Catalyna.

I have to emphasize that cooking is a passion of mine. Almost an addiction.  Such a pleasure I had watching my family prepare delicious dishes for all sorts of occasions. So at the age of 7 I started cooking and creating recipes. My senses guided me to replicate most of the recipes. And I have to admit I had a good memory.  Thanks to the encouragement of my dear Mémé (my grandmother) I created dishes that were simple but tasty.  

Today in remembrance of her I will post her famous chocolate, nuts and rum cake. The only chocolate cake I agreed to eat as a child and still do today. A very rich and moist chocolate cake that is a bit dense but oh so chocolaty. Like velvet on your tongue.

To my Mémé whose memory is present in every dish I make.

Mémé’s Chocolate and Walnut cake

2 tablespoons of milk
4 large eggs
200g butter
200g (7 pieces of 1oz) good quality semi-sweet dark chocolate (I use 60-70% cocoa)
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar (preferably raw sugar)
1 cup of flour
1 cup chopped walnut
1/2 teaspoon natural vanilla
2 tablespoons rum or brandy (optional)
Some whole walnuts for garnish (optional)

Preheat your oven to 250 C° (500F). Prepare a round mold of 8 or 9 inch (20 - 23cm) with butter and flour (so the cake does not stick). Melt the chocolate with the milk and butter on the stove on low temperature. Do not let the mixture boil. Let it cool.

Beat the eggs with the sugar. Then add the vanilla and the chocolate mixture.
Stir in well sifted flour and mix well till there is not visible flour. Do not mix too much as it will harden you cake. Finally add the rum and nuts and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula slowly.
Pour the mixture into your mold and place it on the middle rack of the oven. Lower the oven temperature to 200 C° (400F). Watch your oven because temperatures can vary from one oven to another. Bake for 20-30 min. The surface should be crunchy and the middle of the cake soft but not runny. The toothpick test should come out with some moist crumbs. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Add caramelized nuts on the cake for a beautiful presentation and add some powdered sugar (optional). It is delicious with a cup of espresso or Turkish coffee. 
Bon Appetite. Sahteen.


Version Française -

Gâteau aux noix de Mémé

2 c à soupe de lait
4 gros œufs
200gr de beurre
200gr (7 morceaux de 1oz) de chocolat ménager 
1 1/2 tasse à thé de sucre granule
1 tasse a thé de farine
1 tasse a thé de Noix de Grenoble pillées
1/2 cuillère a thé de vanille naturelle
2 c à soupe de Rhum ou Brandy (optionnel)
Quelques Noix de Grenoble pour le déco (optionnel)

Préchauffer votre four à 250 C° (500F). Préparer votre moule rond de 8 ou 9 pouces (20 - 23cm) avec beurre et farine (pour que le gâteau ne colle pas). Faire fondre le chocolat avec le lait et le beurre sans le faire bouillir. Laissez refroidir.
Battre les œufs entiers avec le sucre. Ensuite ajouter la vanille et le mélange de chocolat.
Incorporer la farine bien tamisée au mélange. Mélanger assez pour bien incorporer la farine mais pas trop pour alourdir le gâteau.  Ajouter ensuite le rhum et les noix et mélanger doucement avec une cuillère en bois ou spatule. 
Verser le mélange dans votre moule et le placer au milieu du four. Baissez la température du four à 200 C° (400F). Surveillez votre four car la température peut varier d’un four à l’autre. Faire cuire pour 20-30 min. La surface pour être dur et le milieu du gâteau pas coulant. Le test du cure-dent sortira avec des miettes. Alors sortir du four et laissez refroidir. 
Rajouter des noix caramélisées sur le gâteau pour une belle présentation et du sucre en poudre (optionnel). Il est succulent avec une tasse de café expresso ou café turc. 
Bonne Appétit. Sahteen.