Saturday, February 11, 2012

It's Our 9th Year and Foods Abound In Our Home

Has it been 9 years already? Time is just unbelievably fast. We celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary yesterday. Instead of the usual celebration at a fancy restaurant or feasting on a full spread buffet, we decided to celebrate it at home. Fortunately, I had new cookbooks to aid me in planning a satisfying menu. It was an occasion of many firsts for me in as far as my career in cooking is concerned. It's my first time to cook a steak, first time to try on a real classic lasagna recipe and first time to whip up a devil's food cake. Although unwanted mistakes were encountered along the way, overall it was still a scumptious repertoire. And I couldn't be happier in putting an all out effort to make it work. Now, I have new favorites to put into my list of habitual foods.

What's an anniversary without a special cake?
Strawberry Fudge Cake (a modified version of Devil's Food Cake from the book Baking by LoveFood)

What you need:
140g semi sweet chocolate
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
2/3 cup butter , plus extra for greasing
2/3 cup light brown sugar
3 eggs, separated
4 tbsp light sour cream
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
fresh strawberries for topping

Frosting:
140g semi sweet chocolate
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
4 tbsp light sour cream
1 tbsp dark corn syrup
3 tbsp butter
4 tbsp water
1 3/4 cups confectioner's sugar

How to make:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 160C. Grease the bottom of two 8-inch round layer cake pans.
2. Place the chocolate with milk and cocoa in a bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering hot water, stirring until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat.
3. In a lrage bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolk, then sour cream and melted chocolate mixture. Sift in the flour and baking soda, then fold in evenly. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff enough to hold firm peaks. Fold into the mixture lightly and evenly.
4. Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans, smooth surfaces and bake in the pre-heated oven for 35-40 mins or until risen and firm to the touch. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.
5. Prepare the frosting, place the chocolate, cocoa, sour cream, corn syrup, butter and water in a saucepan and heat gently without boiling, until melted. Remove from the heat and add the confectioner's sugar, stirring until smooth. Cool, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to thicken and hold its shape.
6. Split the cakes in half horizontally with a sharp knife to make four layers. Sandwich the cakes together with about a third of the frosting. Spread the remainder over the top and sides of the cakes, swirling with a spatula. Top with fresh strawberries.


Classic Lasagna (we all love pasta but this one was specifically requested by my son)

What you need:
250g instant lasagne sheets
75g grated mozzarella cheese
60g grated cheddar cheese
125ml pack whipping cream
3 tbsps grated parmesan cheese

Cheese Sauce:
60g butter
40g all purpose flour
500ml milk
125g grated cheddar cheese

Meat Sauce:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
500g ground beef
800g cut tomatoes (2 x 400g cans)
1 tsp dried basil

How to make:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Brush a shallow ovenproof dish with melted butter. Line with lasagne sheets.
2. Make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and stir for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and slowly add the milk,stirring until smooth. Return to the heat and cook, stirring over medium heat until the sauce boils and thickens. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in the cheese, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
3. Make the meat sauce. Heat the oil in a large saucepan.  Add the onion and garlic and saute until fragrant. Add the beef and brown well. Stir in tomato, basil and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Spoon 1/3 of the meat sauce over the lasagne sheets. Top with 1/3 of the cheese sauce. Arrange another layer of lasagne sheets. Continue layering, finishing with the lasagne sheets.
5. Sprinkle with mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Pour the cream over the top. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden.



Pan Roasted Ribeye Steak with Mushroom Gravy Sauce (inspired from Gordon Ramsey's technique of pan roasting a steak). This was definitely the star of the feast!

What you need:
3 ribeye steak
sea salt and pepper
canola oil
sprig of rosemary
2 tbsps butter
1 clove of garlic
1 cup of fresh button mushroom (sliced)
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup of water
1 pc beef broth cubes

How to make:
1. Season the meat with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Make sure the meat is at room temperature and is fresh.
2. Heat a heavy based non-stick pan to high heat, add a swirl of canola oil, 1 clove of garlic and sprig of rosemary.
3. Add the meat and pan roast for 2 1/2 minutes per side. Add 1 tbsp of butter and let it foam. Baste the meat. Let the meat rest for at least 5 mins. Do not overcrowd the pan. Roast 1 or 2 pcs at a time. Set aside the pan drippings.
4. Heat the other 1 tbsp butter in pan drippings. Add mushrooms and cook until tender. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Add water and beef broth cubes. Cook and stir until mixture boils and thickens.

Shrimps Dill Salad ( a personal take from Ina Garten's recipe)

What you need:
1 pack of fresh greens
1 pc lemon, cut into wedges
4 cups of water
500g shrimps, (cleaned, deveined, shells removed)
220ml mayonnaise
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp finely chopped dill
salt and pepper to taste
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped celery

How to make:
1. Add water, 1/2 tsp salt and lemon in a pot. Boil and add the shrimps. Cook until tender. Drain and set aside.
2. Mix in a separate bowl mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, dill, salt and pepper. Add in celery and onions. Mix well.
3. Toss fresh greens and cooked shrimp into the dressing and chill until serving.

*If the salad is too wet, reduce the amount of mayonnaise or add more salad greens.

We absolutely enjoyed this luscious range of great foods and without a doubt, nothing beats home cooked meals. Especially so when it's savored with your loved ones.

2 comments:

Yedy Calaguas said...

Congratulations on your anniversary and thank you for sharing this recipes. I'll try your classic lasagna recipe one of these days :)

Sherra said...

Thanks Yedy! Happy Cooking!