Sunday, January 27, 2019

Chateau Chenonceau Kitchens

This castle has been on my bucket list for over 40 years.  I had a big poster with this castle on it as a teen, though I have to say the weather in the poster was a lot sunnier than the grey day that we had on New Year's day this year. Never mind, we still had a blast investigating the castles and the gardens. My favorite place in the whole castle was the kitchens and servant dining room.

One good thing about sight seeing during the holidays is the beautiful decorations (in addition to the lighter crowds!)  There were decorations in almost every room, it was positively stunning.

I especially liked the gallery part of the castle that spans the river Cher.  We got to wander through two of the levels, one the main gallery used for parties (and a WWI field hospital!).  This table was over 100 feet longer (hard to estimate) and filled with a sparkly sugary Christmas buffet, beautiful crystal (Baccarat???) and silver.  You couldn't get too close without setting off the alarms, but WOW, was it beautiful!

Just down some stairs off the gallery, you descend a stone staircase down to the servant area. It was huge!  A large room just set up for butchering and meat prep, another for the servant living room, a dining room and a gorgeous big kitchen for cooking.

This was taken from the main hall and looking into the servant dining room. All the copper was beautifully polished. I wonder how they keep it looking like that?

Inside the dining room with a view of the holiday decorations. Wow, I loved the colors of the citrus and the mossy greens. 

I could be happy eating dinner here.

From the butcher room, lots of knives and hanging racks.

Fresh water from below with this crank wheel

This oven was HUGE.  We took a panoramic of it, but it was so hard to get it right. 
You could feed a small army on this range.

Copper lids for the many pans in the kitchen.

Beautiful baking pans and fireplace. I am in love with this place.

Now THAT is a mortar and pestle!

Beautiful ironwork everywhere

Drinks anyone?  I imagine it might have been water originally but I can think 
of a couple of a big batch recipes to put in this vessel.

AS much as I'd like to avoid the crowds, I do think I need to go back here again in the summer to see what it is like.

Love, love, love

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Tangerine Almond Cake

It been so long since I've updated my blog... so, my New Year's resolution is to share more in  2019.

This is a perfectly easy little cake that is easy to make and tastes so yummy.  The only thing that takes a while is to simmer the tangerines to soften them and reduce the bitterness. This gives it an intense orange flavor and a wonderful moistness too.

Here it is below with some fresh raspberries, but honestly, you don't need them.  Serve with coffee, or with champagne which is what we did today.

I use the Costco almond flour which is so nice and fine. 

Serves about 12-16

6 small seedless tangerines, washed
6 eggs
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
3 cups almond meal. finely ground
1 tsp Grand Marnier (optional)

Place the tangerines in a pot filled with cold water to cover them. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat & set your timer for 25 minutes. Drain off the oranges & refresh your water, setting your timer & repeating the process two more times.
Set your oranges aside to cool.

Preheat your oven 350°F. Spray a 9 inch spring form cake tin, or tart tin with non-stick spray. Roughly chop your oranges removing the white pith in the center (the "core" of your orange) as this may make your cake bitter, as well as any seeds. Blend in a food processor until a fine puree & measure out 1 1/4 cups of the orange puree.
In an electric mixer, beat your eggs until light & creamy then gradually add your sugar & baking powder and Grand Marnier (if using). Continue to beat until thick & pale in color. Gently fold in your almond meal & the orange puree with a metal spoon until well combined.
Pour mixture into prepared tin. Bake for 50 mins or until cake tested clean.

If you have any extra batter that doesn't fit into your pan, use a couple small dishes to bake them extras into small tarts or cup cakes.

It didn't overflow, but I was worried about it.  Always use a baking tray underneath, "just in case".

We had a nice time at brunch today, and this was just one delicious item on the table.