What are the Different Handmade Pasta Shapes

I think pasta is one of my most favourite things to do in the kitchen, I find it therapeutic and who doesn’t love to eat pasta? everybody loves pasta. The crazy thing is there are so many different types of handmade pastas.

Here are a few shapes I have learned to do over a short period of time while working in the kitchen. What’s good about this? It’s easy to follow and It is a one egg dough fits all recipe.

As a beginner, you might find making your own pasta from scratch intimidating but once you get the hang of it everything becomes very easy you’ll enjoy and love the process just like I did.

When I was in culinary school, I didn’t get much chance to make a lot of pasta but when I stepped into the real world of cooking I had a lot of intense training from my chefs which I am very thankful about, eventually I started to be confident from kneading the dough to shaping my very first handcrafted pasta. One thing that I was reminded of a lot is that handcrafted pastas doesn’t have to be perfect.

Ravioli made using a moulder | Ravioli are a type of pasta comprising a filling enveloped in thin pasta dough. Usually served in broth or with a sauce

The exciting part is you can also stuff your pasta with whatever you like really, You can be more creative with the flavour, colour and texture. Before you start, assembling and getting everything you need out is important, because once you start you wouldn’t wanna stop!

Equipment wise: A clean counter/wooden counter, rolling pin, gnocchi board, pasta cutters (amazon or lakeland), I would say mixer but since we are kneading with our bare hands we are good, racks and sheet pans, knife to cut Linguine or Pappardelle pasta, scraper, piping bag and semolina to cover the handmade pasta if ever you decide to freeze some.

Cappelletti Pasta | Cappelletti are a type of stuffed fresh pasta originating from the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna, particularly around the towns of Modena and Bologna. 

Egg dough recipe:

The typical Italian style pasta according to my chef would always use egg and flour. I find it more flavourful than semolina base pastas. For one recipe you will need: 1kg of “00” Italian flour, 27 egg yolks, three whole eggs, 1/4 cup milk, 1 tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt. Mix and knead the dough, refrigerate for an hour to rest before rolling and cutting pasta dough.

To make the dough, start by making a well just like the photo above.. Flour your counter, using fork or your 4 fingers slowly mix the flour into the liquid in the middle, make sure you do not break the well at any cost. Once everything is mixed start kneading the dough into a round, sleek and silky smooth dough ball. If the dough is too wet you can always add flour little by little until you reach that wet but not tacky textured dough. Cover or wrap in cling film and chill for 1hour before use.

Agnolotti with truffle pea puree | Agnolotti is a type of pasta typical of the Piedmont region of Italy, made with small pieces of flattened pasta dough, folded over a filling of roasted meat or vegetables.
Garganelli Pasta | Garganelli are a type of egg-based pasta formed by rolling a flat, square noodle into a cylindrical shape. They can be made from smooth pasta or a ridged variant.

I hope you enjoy these pastas and be more interested in exploring more hand-shaped pastas.

My Unique Culinary Journey in Switzerland!

Becoming a Chef was never my dream! I dreamt of being a teacher when I was in grade school, I wanted to become a mechanical engineer when I became a bit older, then I ended up taking midwifery course hoping to become a nurse which was something that I didn’t really like but during that time it was a hit in the Philippines. 

Learning different type of herbs

Cooking big batches of food

Life moved on, I took photography training, I really enjoy taking photographs mostly portrait up to now. The technical aspect became my weakness 😦 Sad I know! Before that I was already cooking and making meals for very special people, I had short work experiences in small coffee shops during my teenage years.

Then food became very interesting, it fascinates me how you can make something beautiful out of very ordinary ingredients. This, of course, includes the art of plating etc.. Wait! Being a pilot also interest me at some point but then I had very bad marks in Physics and Math and again it is very costly, college seemed out of reach so did culinary school!

We did cooking demo for promotional purposes

Detailed lesson about baking a Black Forest Cake and more.

Beef Carpaccio

A great opportunity came around, very grateful for the people who believed in me, I was lucky enough to get to study in Switzerland. I studied cooking food, variety of food, international and local cuisines, history of food and so much more. I met new people and some special ones that changed and became a part of my life forever. The school taught me the basic to more advance cooking techniques.

Fine dining event

We studied theory and a lot of practical classes to apply everything we learned in the classroom. During weekends we visited public markets, beautiful sceneries and did other outdoor activities such as mountain climbing, picnics etc. Also being able to hangout by the lake after class during sunset was always the highlight of my day. 

img_4142Friends and school-mates on an after-school “tea party” by the Lake ( Lake Geneva)

Time flies,  the moment arrived.. It was time to leave the nest, goodbyes were said or maybe it was more of see you around. Time to get real-life experience in the kitchen – the beginning of my career.

Always grateful for the love and support of the people who have made this possible for me and for those who have dreams, never give up on your dreams. Also merci to my Culinary Arts Academy Switzerland for this very unique experience. 

 “love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life”

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Meanwhile keep yourselves safe at home, always sanitise and be mindful of what’s happening. This pandemic will come to pass! 

x R

Spicy Chicken Adobo with Homemade Pineapple Jam

A simple but very delicious adobo lies in the process, freshness of ingredients and its regional twists as well. Each region has their own version so I might as well try experiment my own. This time I want to make it spicy and a little sweet at the same time.

Finally a spicy adobo recipe with a twist! I think it is a common knowledge that adobo in the Philippines is considered as the national dish of the country.

Sugar is usually added to any adobo dish to balance the saltiness of the dish. A lot would use pineapple as substitute, caramelising pineapple first before adding the meat and the rest of the vegetables. In my experience the dish become sour if you add it raw. That’s why I wanted to try use a jam instead and luckily it worked! Its sweet and the fruity flavour is there but not sour at all.

To make pineapple jam is easy, all you need is 1 cup pineapple, 2 cups brown sugar, 1 cup water and a squeeze of lemon. Cook until pineapple is soft and the entire mixture is thick.

Adobo Recipe:

Birds Eye Chillies 8 pieces, 2 potatoes, 1 large carrots, onion, garlic, ginger, pineapple jam, soy sauce, cane vinegar, bay leaves, black pepper, one whole chicken into chunks and seasoning. Best thing to do is always marinate the meat overnight or more. Enjoy!

WHITE BEACH, PUERTO GALERA MINDORO!

Hello everyone!

I came home to the Philippines after 2 years of culinary school and Internship both in Europe and in the United States. It was a tough one lol but I can say it changed my life for the better. While It is summer over here, I took the opportunity to explore my own country!. I have lived and been to a lot of beautiful places outside the Philippines but I have not been able to explore my own. Now having the opportunity to do so, for my first trip I went to Puerto Galera.

Puerto Galera is the closest beautiful island beach destination in Manila, I travelled with my sister over one weekend. To get there was very easy, we took the public transport to Batangas Port where you ride the ferry across the Island of Mindoro. It took only 45 minutes to sail over and voilà you have beautiful beaches to yourself! Well, not really as it was a bit packed with tourists.

Having Taho is like reliving my childhood days. Taho is a snack made of fresh tofu. Sweet, warm and silky served with tapioca pearls. yum!
Fresh coconut water by the beach is lush! Better than a mojito or Moscow mule! yum, yum, yum!

We spent our entire time at White Beach, It took roughly 10 minutes drive from port to White Beach making it easy and accessible for us. We swam, sat and eat by the beach during the day and towards the evening we enjoyed the nightlife they have to offer. It wasn’t too bad with music and a few shows.

Fire dance
Massage by the beach too!

A lot of fun activities were offered, offered because the people come and sell it to you at the beach, they have snorkelling, diving, parasailing and more. We didn’t really try any of those as what we really wanted was only to be able to relax and enjoy by the beach, a lazy kind of day by the beach sort to say. Food and drinks were delicious, but we had to be extra careful of where and what to buy. I ordered mainly à la carte to be on the safe side. A lot of food stalls has cooked meals to sell, but I was doubtful.

When you get properly educated about food handling, food safety and HCCAP suddenly you become aware of how people can easily get sick by food contamination, food spoilage especially under hot weather which can lead to food poisoning.

Anyway the trip was after all a beautiful and successful trip. I will definitely go back. Up next is El Nido, Palawan. xoxo

Traditional Chicken Adobo

Adobo is one of the many celebrated dishes in the Philippines. This typical dish is very often serve and shared during lunch or dinner. Some would make it extra special for special occasions. 

There are so many ways of cooking adobo, each region in the Philippines has their own version of adobo but the traditional way of making it is far from complicated. You can use pork, chicken, duck its up to your preference but nothing beats a simple but delicious chicken pinoy adobo. 

Being born and raised in Bicol, a beautiful region in southern Luzon, I was taught and grew up eating chicken adobo made the rustic way. Basically we want utilise every single part of the chicken. Everything is edible as long as it is prepared and cooked the right way.

Gizzard is naturally tough while chicken liver will quickly melt in the pot. The gizzard is a muscle found and part of a chicken’s digestive system, it is the muscle that basically grind up the food or any ingested solids. This powerful muscle works 24/7, therefore it’s very important that it is cooked properly and braised enough to tenderise the muscle. 

Always sauté giblets in ginger to remove unnecessary smell, when evenly brown add the liver, remove from the heat after 3 minutes and set aside. 

Whole Chicken, 1 cup water, 1/4 soy sauce, 1 bulb garlic, ginger, 1/4 tsp whole black pepper, 2 tbsp vinegar, 2 tbsp brown sugar and 2 pcs. bay leaf are the essential ingredients you need to make a hearty adobo meal. 

Break down the chicken into small chunks. I never make a boneless adobo. The bone has a lot of collagen which is a natural thickener. You’ll get a really nice, beautiful thick and shiny sauce at the end, that is what we are looking for. I also tend to leave most of the skin as it is a source of fat and fat is flavour! Once the chicken is ready, add soy sauce, garlic, ginger, basically everything in the pot and leave it to marinate for 30 mins. 

Add the water, gizzard, liver and start braising for more or less an hour. Make sure that the gizzard is soft and tender, adjust the seasoning of the adobo, when the sauce is well reduced, the gizzard is tender then it is ready! Serve with a cup of steamed rice. 

That is chicken adobo a true filipino classic! Hope you enjoy!

Food trip in New York City

The last time I visited the Big Apple, I had the the best food adventure, I explored the city from North to South, cycle from West to East Manhattan just to find all these lovely places to eat. The best thing about living in the city is that it’s so easy to find places to eat, from exclusive restaurants to affordable bites, endless options right around the corner. 

These are a few places I think has the best food to offer! 

Bagels at Best Bagels and Coffee

This place was by far the best Bagel I have had in New York! And what is the best next thing to  bagel? hazelnut coffee!! As you can see the place was completely packed! People would literally crowd the place even before it opens everyday I was there everyday too!).

Patiala Indian Grill For dinner, my boyfriend and I found this really cozy Indian restaurant down at 38th street. It was small with only 20 sitting but the food was really not too bad. We had amazing lamb biryani and chicken tikka masala. Plus a really nice mango lassi on the house!

Pizza at Little Italy

The following day we head down to lower Manhattan for another food adventure! I’ve always heard that pizza in New York is the best so we went to Little Italy for a real authentic Italian Pizza and it was indeed very delicious.

Ice cream in Chinatown

People usually come here for the culture and the food as well. As for me, I found this cute little Ice cream shop in the middle town, as I was craving for exotic flavoured Ice cream and bubble tea. The beautiful street arts and a lot more are an extra bonus.

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Haru Sushi

We had sushi and amazing Japanese lemongrass soup one rainy night after visiting Brooklyn. This place is located at Wall street in lower Manhattan, but I believe it has outlets all over the city, you just have to find the nearest location and of course the best place as well. The sushi were impressive! I am a big fan of Japanese food, I can eat it anytime. 

Taiyaki NYC offers soft-serve Ice cream with taiyaki cones. This place is known for their fish- shaped Japanese waffle that is chewy inside & crispy on the outside. Filled with custard, chocolate or serve as a plain waffle cone. More Ice cream, I know! 

Chelsea Market-  next is an enclosed food court located in Chelsea neighbourhood. Make sure to stop by and experience the really cool industrial vibe of the place as well as their local food. 

Il Mullino New York

Had dinner at Il Mullino’s main branch in New York but it was a little disappointing. The place is great, the service was amazing but they lack on food. The food they serve was somehow plain and quite pricy for its quality. But It was still fun to try. 

And that is all for now! 

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Thank you for reading! 

Banana chocolate cake

I am excited to share this updated version of my ultimate favourite recipe to bake… Banana Cake! This time it’s chocolate coated with a real nice banana base.

I love using banana because first of all its amazingly delicious and second you’ll always end up with a moist and soft textured product.

Ingredients

3 medium eggs, beat lightly

1 cup flour

1 tbsp baking soda

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup chocolate cookie chips

1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature

2 large ripe bananas, fork mashed

Chocolate Ganache

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 cup Lindt milk chocolate

1/2 Hershey cocoa powder

Method

Pre heat the oven to 390 F. Cream the butter and sugar together. Once both are well mixed, add the eggs and mashed bananas and mix well.

Combine and sift all dry ingredients and incorporate into the batter.

Pour into a baking tin. You can play around, shape it however you want. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes.

Place the cake in the fridge for an hour before coating with chocolate

Get ready to coat the cake once it has completely cool down. To make the ganache, mix the heavy cream, chocolate and cocoa in a non-stick pan. Cook until the chocolate is melted. You can adjust the sweetness according to your liking. To coat, place the cake on a wire rack over a plate or something to catch the excess, slowly pour the ganache on the cake, add some sprinkles to make it look fun and place in the fridge for another 15 Minutes then it’s ready to be served.

Et voilà, magnifique et délicieux!

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My cake came out moist and fluffy with just enough sweetness to it.

Thank you and hope you liked it!

New Orleans, Loussiana

All about Food, Culture and Spice

A city that stands out in all the cities of the United States. A place full of history, amazing culture, so unique in every way. It is also the birth place of Jazz, where Tabasco and other hot sauces originated. I am in awe and I just fell in love with the city immediately. Apart from the music and art, food plays a big part.

New Orleans has very unique cuisine. It is heavily influenced by Creole and Cajun cuisine, Creole being a city kind of food while Cajun are more of country cuisine. I tried too many dishes whilst in town, opportunity comes only once. Below are the places I have visited. 

Cafe Du Monde is the first stop. It is the oldest doughnut shop in the whole of America and maybe in the entire world, founded in 1862. It is located at the french quarter, surprisingly super-packed with tourist 24/7, you’ll think its quite ridiculous but wait until you try their famous beignets! 

It has become a very successful cafe even though they only serve minimal food items on their menu, that is “french doughnut and cafe au lait” they have been attracting a lot of customers nonstop, a lot of tourists, the place is now considered a landmark. 

We headed towards Bourbon street on the same night and discovered another place to dine in, Acme serves the best grilled oysters in town! They also serve the best seafood jambalaya, the one that I had was really tasty despite its simple ingredients. The restaurant is all about seafood because life is more fun with seafood as they say! 

House of pepper is where you can try different types of hot sauces with different level of intense heat. Too much!! 

Po’boy short for poor boy’s sandwich is another type of delicacies in New Orleans. It looks very simple but the explosion of flavour packed in a well-toasted baguette was really delicious.  I even ordered a take out! 

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Oak Alley is another historical place we visited, it is a sugarcane plantation located at the west bank of Missisipi river. It offers a beautiful landscape with its hidden nook and crannies, despite its dark and heavy history, it is another place packed with tourists. 

 

Beautiful giant oak trees leading up to the mansion. Oak Alley was built in 1837-39 now famous for the slavery back in the day.

 

Next we visited the french-quarter, the historical district of New Orleans. They have amazing fresh oysters, plenty of things to see in the market. I went around the market stalls a couple of times, being all fascinated with the items on sale. I have also seen a lot of buskers or street performers showing off their skills.

Amazing street arts

I was so tempted to buy one of these pretty and colourful baskets 

Airbnb for a night

 

It was a wonderful experience and a very memorable trip. Hope you enjoyed reading! 

The hustle and bustle in New York City

Good morning on this sunny Saturday! 

I was in New York a couple of days ago and there, I experienced New York in summertime. Tourists are scattered all over the places, locals trying to live their daily lives along with the tourists, typical New York taxis and tour buses honking here and there, shoppers crossing the pedestrians, moving in a rapid pace, a lot of food trucks and vendors almost in every street’s corner, you see everyone in action in New York City.

The city is indeed a very busy place to be but what a wonderful sight to see! Amid all these, there are a lot of things New York is famous for and why it is a city worth visiting!  First would be the beautiful skyline. You only have to find a spot where you can soak-in the beauty from above although on land is also not too bad. 

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img_1885img_1590img_1091Surrounded by beautiful buildingsfacetune_22-07-2018-11-36-22Grand Central Station’s main concourse – Admiring this beautiful terminal landmark, built in 1903 and one if not the most extra-ordinary station I’ve ever seen! It is in reality a large public space hence the name “grand”where everyone rush to catch their trains, in and out of the city. It has its own character just like Amsterdam Central or London’s King’s Cross, so uniquely beautiful. 

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img_1576-1Time Square is where you’ll find theatres in Midtown west, advertisements on large billboards, and chains of restaurants and stores. Again a place packed with tourists and I believe a place open almost 24 hours. 

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This music hall is an entertainment venue and also considered the showplace of the nation located in Manhattan. A lot of sold out concerts have been performed in this place. 

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The last two photos are the Flatiron building and One world trade centre. On my next post It will be about food and a lot more about New York!

New York what a beautiful city.. 

R x

Cooking Filipino Dishes

I spent almost half of my life away from home, therefore it has been quite tricky to learn to cook authentic Filipino dishes. But I was surrounded by amazing ladies that cook delicious Pinoy food. I was able to learn a few recipes that are actually typical Bicolano Food, Bicol is a region in the Philippines, South of Luzon where I spent my childhood life. A lot of recipes are also now available online, leaving me with no option but to contemplate and experiment.

Here we have Chilli pork curry or Bicol express. Thin slices of pork belly, cooked in coconut milk along with a whole loads of both green and red chilies with fermented shrimp. Second Image is my favourite, Banana muffin, this is a Mary Berry recipe so I can assure you that at least, this one is very edible 🙂 HAHA!

The third photo is my own version of vegetable spring rolls. A mixture of julienne vegetables, seasoned and sauteed quickly before wrapping into little mini rolls in a thin spring roll pastry sheet. Dipping sauce could be a homemade sweet and sour chili sauce or simply a tomato ketchup 🙂 Last but not least is the plastic noodle dish. Another staple in the Philippines. The main protein could be pork or chicken or both! 

RECIPES

Bicol Express

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  • 1 small jar of plain fermented shrimp (rinse off with plain water) 
  • 1 Coconut Milk 
  • 1 Coconut cream
  • 20 pieces of red and green chilies, seeds removed and sliced diagonally. 
  • Pepper and a bit of salt to taste if not too salty yet
  • 3 to 4 slices of pork belly
  • Garlic Cloves

Start by slicing the meat thinly, sautee in garlic infused oil, just a tiny amount of oil. The meat itself will produce oil as it starts to turn golden brown. The garlic is optional, but I personally love the garlic-ky flavour so I would use about 5-10 garlic cloves (smashed) and believe me it will not overpower the dish as we have the shrimp paste as well. 

When the meat is crispy brown and seasoned remove from the pan and set aside. Pour in the coconut milk and add the chillies. Halfway through add the shrimp and maybe a bit of coconut cream if needed. I always have mine extra rich and creamy. The spicy flavour always balances out the creaminess of the dish anyway that it will not be too overwhelming. Once the taste and texture are well adjusted, fold in the crispy pork meat until it is coated with the sauce. Sprinkle with a bit of lemon juice or top it up with coriander leaves. It is a dish always serve with rice.


Banana Muffin

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  • 100g Butter,  at room temperature
  • 170g golden caster sugar
  • 3 medium size eggs
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 225g self-raising or plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tablespoon milk

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.

Beat the butter and sugar together until it is well combined. Add the eggs one at a time and beat again. Incorporate the dry ingredients slowly, when the flour is well incorporated, add the mashed banana with the milk and a pinch of salt run the mixer one last time. Transfer to a cake tin and bake for 45 mins over 180 degrees. Serve with coffee or tea! 


Vegetarian Spring Rolls

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  • A handful of beans sprout, julienne carrots, fine green beans, and cabbage
  • Cooking oil
  • Chopped onion and garlic
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Spring roll sheets (Available at Asian markets) take out of the fridge an hour before to soften. 

Heat the pan to a medium heat, add oil and once the oil is hot add the onion, saute until it is translucent to extract the sweetness out of it, then add the garlic and vegetables. Saute for 5 minutes keeping it still crunchy, season and transfer into a chinois to cool and drain out the moisture before wrapping. Wrapping is simple, lay out a perfectly softened sprint roll sheet, add the veggies but make sure that you do not overstuff the sheet and you have enough space on all sides to be able to fold it into a roll.

Pick and fold the bottom part of the sheet, followed by both left and right sides. Then slowly roll the bottom up to the top corner, finish off by sealing it with water or eggwash. Rest for 10 minutes and start frying. 


Pancit Bihon or Glass Noodles

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Here you can use the same vegetables as the one we had used for the spring rolls. All you need will be: 

  • Oil
  • Onion and garlic, chopped
  • Boneless chicken thigh, cut into strips
  • Soy sauce
  • 2-3 cups Water 
  • Mixed vegetables, cut however you like. 
  • Glass noodles
  • Salt and pepper 
  • Lemon wedges to serve

Saute the meat for 5 minutes, add the vegetables, water and let it simmer almost to a boiling point. Then add the noodles and slowly add soy sauce and adjust the seasoning. Let the noodles cook through but not to a point that it becomes all mushy. It must come out a little al dente. Hope you enjoy!! 

x R

Easy Rhubarb Tart Recipe

This is probably one of the many easy recipes out there. It is undeniably simple and yet the finished product is delicious and elegant. I used to harvest rhubarb myself just from the backyard, and I remember how happy and satisfying it made me feel. I would harvest and bake nonstop until the rhubarb is stemless 🙂 so cruel right? but the stems will age and disappear anyway until the next season. 

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These are field grown, it has a more robust flavour, firm, crisp and a lot greener in appearance. Grows up to 1.5m long, stems are the only edible part here, the leaves are actually poisonous! There are also indoor grown rhubarbs, those that are planted in “hot greenhouses” are more brighter pink or reddish and sweeter than field grown rhubarbs. 

Ingredients:

320g pack rolled puff pastry – storebought
1 tbsp flaked almonds
300g Rhubarb stems, trimmed
1/4 cinnamon ground
Zest of 1 orange
150g ground almonds
2 medium size eggs
120g golden caster sugar
100g salted butter, at room temperature 

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Sprinkle with a bit of white sugar and place in the oven for 8 minutes until the rhubarb is slightly cook and juicy. 

You can prep the tart ahead, it’s easy to make. Here I cheated by using storebought puff pastry.

Go ahead, cream the butter and sugar until you get the right consistency. It should come out light and fluffy. The butter could make or break the finished product, creaming the butter and sugar is not tricky at all. It all depends on the temperature of the butter. A lot of times bakers would cheat and microwave their butter, instead of leaving it out at a room temperature to softened.

Microwaved butters create an oily mixture, creaming a butter straight from the fridge is also a big no. Creaming the sugar and butter the right way will determine how dense, hard, soft or fluffy a cake or a tart will be. Then there’s the whipping timing etc to consider as well.

 That’s why baking is science, it is a lot complicated than we think. 

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After creaming the butter and sugar, add and beat the eggs one at a time until well incorporated. Add orange zest and slowly incorporate the dry ingredients and mix well.

Once the mixture is ready, pour a small amount into a pastry-lined baking tin, assemble rhubarb stems, repeat the process until everything is all in.

Sprinkle with almond flakes and bake for 30-40 minutes at 200 degrees oven temperature.  

P.s don’t forget to spray or butter your tins! 

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Et voila! Hope you enjoy this recipe and please let me know what you think.

x R