Secrete si trucuri pentru a obtine clatite frumoase

Clatite, clatite, toata lumea la clatite! Am vrut sa gasesc cea mai cea reteta de clatite, cu tot felul de trucuri si secrete si cred ca mi-a iesit. Am cautat si retete frantuzesti, traduse cu Google, si am ajuns pana si la a douazeci si una pagina de rezultate. Dar gata cu vorbaria, hai sa va arat de ce sa folosim beurre noisette, cum ajuta numarul de oua, de ce sa incalzim laptele, de ce ustensile ai nevoie, cat sa lasi aluatul sa se odihneasca la rece si reteta pe care am tot testat-o.

Beurre noisette sau unt topit si caramelizat: aproape in fiecare reteta de clatite, vei gasi ca ingredient unt topit sau ulei (cred ca o versiune mai ieftina a untului sau pentru retete de post), adaugat cu scopul de a face clatitele sa se desprinda mai usor cand le intorci. Insa, pentru ca vorbim pana la urma de o reteta frantuzeasca, cred ca s-a pierdut ceva in negura timpurilor prin traduceri si mai degraba ar fi vorba de beurre noisette, unt topit si caramelizat cu aroma de nuci. Ingredientul asta e minunat, merge si la briose si la piureuri de legume (ia inchipuie-ti, piure de cartofi cu unt caramelizat si usturoi, mmmm!). Am pus la resurse un articol ce detaliaza cum se face acest tip de unt.

Bere/apa minerala: ajuta sa obtii clatite delicate, dantelate, prin bule si drojdie. Le-am incercat pe amandoua si mi se pare ca berea nu difera prea mult de apa minerala, mai ales ca nu imi place mirosul de drojdie pe care il capata aluatul dupa ce s-a odihnit. Acest miros nu se simte cand prajesti clatitele.

Incalzeste laptele: ajuta la suspensia untului in aluat, asigurand o distributie egala de grasime in clatita. Daca ai cumva aluat nedizolvat inca, amesteca putin laptele cald si o sa ai un aluat fara noduri de faina.

Oua: reteta de fata merge si cu trei, dar si cu sase oua. Sa stii ca aproape ca se dezlipeste singura clatita daca folosesti un numar mai mare de oua. Vei vedea in unele retete ca se folosesc albusuri spuma. Am gasit in cartea Silviei Jurcovan explicatia: albusurile intaresc aluatul de clatite, de asta se bat spuma cu putin rom. Pentru ca aluatul se odihneste peste noapte, acest pas al albusurilor spuma nu mai e necesar.

Fara zahar: mai toate retetele cer putin zahar in compozitie. Insa, acest zahar se va carameliza si nu vei mai putea intoarce clatita la fel de usor. Mai bine foloseste umpluturi mai dulci sau arome, cum ar fi vanilie, rom, coaja de portocala sau lamaie. In plus, din acelasi aluat fara zahar si fara arome, poti obtine clatite pe care le umpli si cu dulce, dar si cu sarat.

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Beautiful Crêpes Secrets and Tips

Oh, who wouldn’t a stack of crêpes all for themselves! I know I’ve eaten my fair share of these dainty, delicate little things over the years, as back home, in Romania, we are more inclined to make French-style pancakes than the American counterpart. A basic google search will get you tons of recipes, some call for milk, others for milk and mineral water, whereas others swear by separating the eggs and beating the egg whites. You know how they say you are really desperate if you are looking well over the second page of google results. Heck, I’ve searched up until the 20th page, searched french recipes with Google Translate, Romanian recipes, any obscure site and… With no further ado, these are top tips I’ve found:

Beurre noisette, or brown butter: in almost all recipes, you’ll find melted butter or oil (cheaper than butter) as an ingredient. This would help with an easier spreading of the crêpe and non-sticking to the pan. I think this might be a lost in translation case, and this melted butter is beurre noisette, or brown butter. Beurre  noisette is a wonderful thing for desserts and savory dishes, from muffins to mashed potatoes (think garlic infusion!). More details about how to make beurre noisette can be found in the Resources section of the article.

Beer/mineral or sparkling water: carbonation and yeast that  help in creating that lacy structure of French pancakes. I tried them both, and honestly, if you can’t use or don’t have any beer, mineral water will work just fine. Shh, I seriously don’t like the smell of yeast after an overnight rest, even though you can’t taste it.

Heat the milk: butter stays in suspension and this gives you an equal distribution of fat for the crêpe. Oh, and if your dough is grainy, warm milk and butter will almost dissolve those lumps with a quick stir.

Eggs: this recipe is forgiving and there is no too much of a difference if you use 3 eggs or you go with 6. However, based on my trials, I’d use at least 4, because, as you increase eggs, crêpes tend to flip more easily and the taste is slightly better. I’ve found in one my trusted Romanian cookbooks (Silvia Jurcovan pour les connaisseurs) that egg whites may toughen the batter, hence they need to be beaten. However, because we are resting the batter, I don’t think this step is necessary.

No sugar: some recipes will call for a few grams of sugar to make for a sweeter crêpe. However, sugar will tend to caramelise and make the crêpe stick to the pan. Therefore, just use a sweeter filling. Another benefit is you can make sweet or savoury fillings using the same stack of crêpes.

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Best of 2015 … Skincare

Pentru versiunea in limba romana, cititi intreg articolul. – For the Romanian version, read the full article.

I’ve described almost my entire facial routine in the Skincare articles so there is no surprise that most of the products that I’ve talked about are are included in my 2015 skincare favourites. Let’s recap, shall we?

CleanserAlmond Oil as described in my facial cleansing routine article.

Moisturiser – In the morning I would use one or two drops of Earth Sourced Toner mixed with a drop of Ultra-Light Super Antioxidant Serum. For the evening,  Resist Anti-Aging Clear Skin Hydrator or  jojoba oil. I like all these products, as every item has a precise role; however, I would pick the Clear Skin Hydrator.

 

SPF – Daily Wrinkle Defense I don’t even know how to describe this product. It’s Paula’s Choice BB cream replica, a tinted moisturizer that provides SPF, light coverage, primes the faces and looks like skin. The only downside I can find is that it can be a little too dark for fairer skins. To overcome this issue, I usually mix it with a drop  or two of another white-casted SPF cream (Kiss My Face, Face + Neck)

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Edinburgh in 12 hours or less

It was an childhood dream of mine to travel by plane to a city and return in the same day. Given that we live in Dublin, Edinburgh seemed to fit the bill, as the flight is usually under one hour, the Edinburgh airport is close and you could take the 100 bus directly to the city center in about 30 minutes. I didn’t know exactly what to make of Edinburgh while researching for this trip but I’m glad that I had low expectations. I was just blown away by the city! I see Edinburgh as an refined lady, with a high-bred demeanor with an easy to spot royal vibe.

Save This Map For Your Trip

Here are all the locations mentioned.

Highlights

Dean Village Highly recommend it! Make the time and include it in your visit, easily one of the best parts of Edinburgh in my opinion. Just a nice, quiet neighborhood, perfect for a Saturday stroll.

Old Town Nothing can beat a relaxed walk across the streets, trying the beat the crowds. I find that, as years go by, I am more inclined to watch the street show, instead of ticking attractions from my virtual list. I get so much more energy at this stage, just by doing some people watching. And the streets from the Old Town are great for this purpose.

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Basic skincare routine / Rutina de baza de ingrijire a pielii

Pentru versiunea in limba romana, cititi intreg articolul. – For the Romanian version, read the full article.

As with everything in life, you need practice to get better. This is my idea of a basic skincare routine that could be further improved with treatments.

Morning

  • Cleanse
  • Moisturise (optional)
  • Sunscreen

Evening

  • Make up removal / Cleanse
  • Exfoliate (optional, highly recommended)
  • Moisturise

My skin type is combination and I wrote in more detail about my cleansing routine here. If you’re unsure about your skin type, use this infographic. I use almond oil in the evening, even if I don’t usually wear make up, because a simple cleanser is just not strong enough to remove the SPF.

For moisturising, I use mainly Paula’s Choice products: in the morning I would use a few drops of Earth Sourced Toner or Ultra-Light Super Antioxidant Serum (hyaluronic acid). This toner has more like a watery serum consistency, can be applied with fingers and is very easily absorbed. It’s one of those products I could write on and on, chock full of antioxidants and anti-irritants. Evening moisturising consists mainly of the Earth Sourced Toner, Resist Anti-Aging Clear Skin Hydrator (my fourth bottle, contains niacinamide) and/or the Ultra Light serum. For an extra oompf factor, I would sometimes use jojoba oil (here is the ingredient definition; this oil helped me greatly with sebum control).

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Bruges, you are beauty full!

When I think of Bruges, I get all those images from the Grimm Brothers fairy tales. This was my third visit to Bruges, almost every 5 years, apparently I need to take my Bruges refuel. I was single when I first visited Bruges and because I just gazed in awe at everything, I promised myself I need to bring my future boyfriend here. Well, because of a recent upgrade, I visited Bruges again, with my husband. As he is quite a fan of knight and medieval buildings, you can understand why he was more excited than I was for our visit.  We stayed for 3 nights and we also did a day trip to Ghent (travel report to follow soon).

Highlights

Historic Center & Burg Square  Just walk around  for awhile and take in the sights and sounds of this place. Full with cafe’s, you can drink/eat right there, or go down any of the side streets off the main square and do the same a bit calmer and less expensive. beautiful, romantic, calm and small Belfort – I climbed in my previous visits spiral staircase, great view  go early or during the week to beat the crowds  crowdedJust historic and beautiful scenery all around, a town to visit and rediscover stories from another centuries. open air concerts travel you to other centuries. just to soak up atmosphere and gaze in awe. 10/10

Canals There’s a reason why Bruges is the Venice of the North. Visiting Bruges canals is a worthy bucket list wish. That’s all I ever dreamed on my first visit: hand in hand with my half, wandering around and just fill our hearts with peace and serenity.  10/10

 

Shopping around Lace, chocolate, even a Christmas shop open all year round. 9/10 Continue reading →

Danube Waves Cake / Prajitura Valurile Dunarii

IMG_20150928_145304

Pentru versiunea in limba romana, cititi intreg articolul. – For the Romanian version, read the full article.

As I recently joined the baking club at my job,  I started hunting impressive and delicious desserts. Soon, I found the the Danube Wave cake to fit the bill:  impressive look and a fantastic combination of flavours. When you have vanilla, cocoa, butter cream layers,  sour cherries, with a finishing touch of chocolate, it’s bound to be excellent, right? The waves are supposed to be represented by the sunken sour cherries into the cocoa layer.

Vanilla and Cocoa Layers

Almond Syrup

Butter Cream

Chocolate Glaze
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Amsterdam Highlights / Repere din Amsterdam

Pentru versiunea in limba romana, cititi intreg articolul. – For the Romanian version, read the full article.

Amsterdam Images

Highlights

Zaanse Schans – some would say it’s a tourist trap. Once in a blue moon, yes, I enjoy a tourist trap, especially if it features windmills, cocoa labs, bakeries, traditional houses, wood workshops, cheese farms. A strong 9.5/10

Keukenkof Gardens unfortunately, we went to Amsterdam a little bit too early in the tulip season (mid March). I consider a better option would be mid April – May, It’s easy to understand the special connection between flowers and Dutch people, the way they choose to represent so many emotions incorporating flowers. Some serious floral creativity in this park. 9.5/10

Walking – just wandering by, getting immersed into the city, charming districts, dozens of canals, almost every place is meant to be photographed. And it’s free! 9/10

Rijks Museum – I adore Vermeer’s and Rembrandt works, so this museum was just too good to be missed. 9/10

Dinner cruise – candlelight dinner, close friends, Amsterdam canals.What more can you ask? Maybe, just maybe, friendlier prices? 8.5/10

Red Light District Tour – quite entertaining. 8/10

Things to include for our next visit

Van Gogh Museum

Delft

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