Homemade Olive Tapenade

The homemade olive tapenade is a dip or paste made with olives (black or green), anchovies and capers. This appetizer comes from Provence, France and is great with fresh bread or toast. With the help of a food processor, or blender, this hors d’oeuvre is ready within 5 minutes.

Homemade Olive Tapenade

Natalija
The anchovies are very salty. If you find your tapenade too salty, add more olives or olive oil.
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 200 g black olives pitted
  • 1 Tbsp capers (optional)
  • 20 g anchovies filets in oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 lemon (juice only)
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Combine all ingredients in an electric blender. Pulse a few times until finely chopped. The tapenade should have small pieces of olives. Do not over blend!
  • Serve with crackers or fresh baguette slices.
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Gluten-free Almond Cake

Here is the incredibly delicate and gluten-free almond cake. This is the “Amandier” recipe by renowned French Pastry chef Christophe Michalak with minor modifications. The main ingredients are almond flour and mascarpone.

If you enjoy this recipe, check out my other gluten-free desserts, such as the delicious banana muffins!

Gluten-free almond cake

Natalija
Amandier
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr

Ingredients
  

  • 6 eggs
  • 190 g sugar
  • 40 g honey
  • 300 g almond flour
  • 150 g softened salted or unsalted butter
  • 100 g mascarpone cheese
  • Some orange zest
  • 1 Tbsp liquid vanilla (or 1 packet of vanilla sugar) (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp sliced almonds
  • Some powdered sugar (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 330°F (150°С). Grease baking pan with butter or line with parchment paper.
  • In a mixer bowl, put eggs, sugar, and honey.
  • Mix together.
  • Add almond flour and mix again.
  • In another bowl, mush the butter and mascarpone cheese together using a fork.
  • Add the mascarpone and butter to the egg-sugar mixture and mix again.
  • Add orange zest and vanilla to the batter. Mix well for the last time.
  • Pour the batter into baking pan.
  • Sprinkle with sliced almonds.
  • Bake in the preheated oven until golden, about 45 minutes. Allow the almond cake to cool before removing it from the pan. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.
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Vanilla Creme Brulee

Absolutely amazing what a little cream, a little sugar and couple of eggs can turn into….  Perfect restaurant quality dessert. A rich custard topped with a hard layer of caramel.  This Vanilla creme brulee is very easy to make if you follow all the steps correctly.

It will perfectly complete your  cafe gourmand if the crème brûlée is served in small ramekins.

Look at this short video ! 🙂

Vanilla Crème brûlée

Natalija
Use vanilla extract instead of vanilla bean, if you don’t have vanilla bean. You could add 2 Tbsp. of rum into the cream if desired. If you don’t own a blow torch, you can always use your broiler as well. You will need to move the top rack in your oven up as high as it will go.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 min
Total Time 6 hrs 11 mins
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 8 egg yolks
  • 120 g granulated sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 640 ml whipping cream
  • 6 tsp granulated sugar

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds into the cream. In a medium bowl, combine together sugar, eggs yolks, vanilla and whisk.
  • Add the cream a little at a time and stir. Remove the scum with a tea spoon.
  • Strain the mixture through a fine sieve and pour it into the ramekins. Divide cream mixture among ramekins (about 6 ramekins).
  • Arrange the ramekins in a baking pan with deep sides. And carefully pour water around ramekins so that the water level must reach about 2/3 of the ramekins.
  • Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes. You will know its ready when the custard is wobbly and jiggle from side to side when nudged (it looks like jello).
  • Remove the custard from the water bath and let cool completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 hours (overnight).
  • Before serving, cover each cold creme brulee evenly with sugar (1 tsp). Caramelize using a propane torch. If you don’t have one propane torch, use the broiler: put the oven rack about 6 inches away from the broiler. Place the custards on the baking sheet and broil for about 3-5 minutes, or until sugar bubbles and turns golden brown. (Keep a close eye on them, they can burn quickly)

Notes

With remaining eggs white, you could make some Coconut cookies.

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Salmon Теrrine

Make a Salmon Terrine with fresh and smoked salmon, eggs, sour cream, and parsley. This elegant french recipe is a refined and delicious appetizer and it is perfect for cold buffets. Serve the terrine with mayonnaise, vegetables, or a green salad.

Salmon Terrine

Natalija
This Salmon Terrine is served cold and gets even better the next day. Very convenient to prepare in advance.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 500 g salmon fillet with no skin or bones
  • 5 eggs
  • 250 г sour cream
  • 1/4 cup parsley chopped
  • 250 g smoked salmon cut into small pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 390° F (180°C). Grease a loaf pan using cooking oil.
  • Cut the fresh salmon into pieces and mix with a food processor.
  • Add the eggs and mix well.
  • Add the sour cream and parsley.
  • Add the smoked salmon, salt and pepper. Mix with a spatula.
  • Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes.
  • Allow the salmon terrine to cool before removing it from the pan. Serve the dish chilled.
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Easy poached pears with chocolate

The pears are poached with a vanilla bean and a bit of sugar. Then, they are cooled down and sprinkled with shredded chocolate. This is a very easy recipe to make and will be perfect for a special event or holidays.

Easy poached pears with chocolate

Natalija
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 4 pears
  • 750 ml water
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean cut in half longwise
  • 50 g dark chocolate
  • Some Fresh mint

Instructions
 

  • Peel the pears.
  • Cut them in half, then core.
  • In the pot, bring water to a boil with sugar and vanilla bean.
  • Add the pears and boil for 10 to 15 minutes, until they became soft but keep their shape. Remove the pot from the heat and let the pears cool in the syrup.
  • To serve, drain the pears well. Then place each half on an individual plate.
  • Sprinkle with shredded chocolate and decorate with mint.
  • You can also serve this dessert in a glass.
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Pumpkin Soup

French recipe for a silky and smooth Pumpkin Soup with two main ingredients. Healthy, colorful, and easy to make. If you have a blender, you have to try this recipe as soon as pumpkins are in season.
To impress your guests, serve this soup in individual pumpkins.

Pumpkin Soup

Natalija
This soup is delicious and silky even without any cream. I add very little, just to make it look beautiful.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 leeks (white part only)
  • 1 medium pie pumpkin or sugar pumpkin (about 1.5 kg)
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Some heavy whipping cream or sour cream (optional)
  • Some fresh herbs (cilantro, green onion, parsley) to garnish

Instructions
 

  • Wash and chop the leeks.
  • Wash the pumpkin and cut it in half horizontally. Scrape the inside of the pumpkin clean with the spoon or ice cream scoop (you can use the seeds for another recipe).
  • Peel and cut into regular cubes.
  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Cook and stir leeks until they are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add pumpkin cubes and cook for 5-7 more minutes. Stir occasionally.
  • Transfer the veggies into a large pot. Add just enough water to cover them, and bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper. Simmer about 15 minutes until the pumpkin is cooked.
  • Puree the soup with an immersion blender or in a food processor. Add a little more boiling water if the soup is too thick. Taste for flavor, and feel free to add more salt or pepper.
  • Serve hot, with sour or heavy whipping cream and fresh herbs.

For a special presentation:

  • Cut off the top of a small pumpkin and scrape the inside.
  • Before adding the soup, heat the pumpkin for few minutes in the oven, then add the hot soup and serve immediately.
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Vegetable Tian

This is not a ratatouille, it is a “tian!” I often have to correct my guests when they ask me if this is a ratatouille. 😉

Tian is a french recipe of baked vegetables made with alternating rows of sliced eggplant, tomato, onion and zucchini. A tian itself is an earthenware dish that goes from the oven to table. Everything baked in this dish is called tian.

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Vegetable Tian

To make the tian look more appealing, use vegetables with similar widths.
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Natalija

Ingredients

  • 2 onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 7 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 eggplant
  • 1-2 zucchini
  • 1-2 summer squash
  • 5 tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp herbs de provence

Instructions

  • Peel and cut the onion into half moons. Peel and cut the garlic into 2-4 pieces.
  • In a medium skillet heat 2-3 Tbsp of olive oil until hot, add onion and sauté until tender, stirring frequently. Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.
  • Preheat the oven to 400℉. Spread the cooked onion on the bottom of a baking dish.
  • Cut zucchini and summer squash into 1/4 inch slices.
  • Cut the eggplant into 1/4 inch slices.
  • Core and cut tomatoes into 1/4 inch thick slices.
  • Arrange the zucchini, eggplant, squash and tomatoes in alternating rows. Continue until the baking dish is filled.
  • Sprinkle the vegetables with salt, pepper, Herbs de Provence and drizzle with the remaining olive oil.
  • Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and golden. If the vegetables are not ready, but the top is starting to burn, cover the tian with aluminum foil.

French Chocolate Mousse

Only 2 ingredients are needed to prepare this delicious French chocolate mousse. No dairy products and no sugar added; all you need is dark chocolate and eggs. So simple and so tasty! The only downside is that you should allocate about 4 hours to chill the mousse before serving.

In small individual glasses, the chocolate mousse will be perfect for a cafe gourmand!

French Chocolate Mousse

Natalija
Use very fresh eggs and do not refrigerate the mousse for more than 24 hours. I recommend keeping the mousse in the freezer if it needs to be stored for an extended period of time.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 2 mins
Total Time 4 hrs 17 mins
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 200 g dark chocolate chips (60-70% cocoa) or break dark chocolate into small pieces
  • 6 fresh eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 pinch salt

Instructions
 

  • Melt chocolate in a microwave (or use a double boiler) until the chocolate is completely melted. If you use a microwave: put the chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl, microwave for 25 seconds, then stir. Microwave for 25 more seconds and stir again. Continue microwaving and stirring until the chocolate is liquid, smooth, and shiny.
  • Separate egg yolks from the egg whites. Add egg yolks in melted chocolate and mix well.
  • Whisk egg whites with salt until stiff.
  • Carefully fold the egg whites into chocolate using a spatula.
  • You should have a smooth and fluffy mousse.
  • Divide the mousse among individual glasses. Refrigerate your dessert for 4-6 hours.
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Easy Walnut Cake

There are quite a few nut cake recipes; but this one, which my mother-in-law is preparing is a little different. With that easy walnut cake, you can really taste the taste of nuts thanks to the small pieces that crunch under your teeth!

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Easy Walnut Cake

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Christophe

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 220 g sugar
  • 100 ml milk
  • 90 ml olive oil
  • 200 g sifted flour
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 300 g walnuts
  • 40 g butter
  • Some confectioner's sugar
  • Few walnuts halves

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 380 degrees F. Grease and flour a round cake pan or line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
  • Using a mixer, beat eggs with sugar.
  • Add milk, olive oil, flour, and baking powder. Mix well.
  • Place the walnuts in the zip-lock and cruch them using a pastry pin.
  • Pour the batter in the cake pan (mould). Lay walnuts halves on top of the cake.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. The cake should be well raised with a thin crust but not fully baked. Place the pieces of butter on top of the cake.
  • Continue to cook for another 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven, allow to cool before removing it from the mold.
  • Dust it with powdered sugar before serving.

Flourless chocolate cake

The flourless chocolate cake is a delicate gluten free dessert that melts in your mouth. The recipe is absolutely simple without any flour! All you need is chocolate, butter, sugar and eggs.

Flourless chocolate cake

Natalija
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 200 g chocolate chips (60%)
  • 150 g unsalted butter
  • 200 g sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 1/4 tbsp powdered sugar

Instructions
 

  • Melt the chocolate and butter on a water bath or in a microwave. Mix well.
  • Add sugar and mix well.
  • Separate yolks from egg whites.
  • Add yolks into the melted chocolate and mix.
  • Add salt to the egg whites, and beat into a thick foam.
  • Using a spatula carefully fold in whipped egg whites into chocolate mass.
  • Preheat oven to 380 degrees F. Generously butter a baking pan and pour the batter into the cake pan.
  • Bake in in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes. The exact time of baking depends on the oven, size and quality of the baking pan. Once the the cake is moist and not liquid inside (it’s not a lava cake) – it’s ready. Please, don’t overcook!
  • Let the cake cool then carefully remove it from the pan. Dust it with powdered sugar and serve.
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