Saturday, December 31, 2011

Crafty Saturday Party No. 52 and Goodbye Year 2011

I know that like me, everybody has been very busy with their holidays celebration! And now, we are also busy to welcome the new year!

For the Noche Vieja (dinner for the last day of the "old" year), it's just my small family here in Mallorca. The hubs, the kids, my MIL and I. We had these for dinner:

First course: Gambas al Ajillo (Sauteed Prawns in lots of Garlic and Lemon juice), Lettuce and Cherry tomatoes Salad

Second Course: Creamy Canelones

I really hope I can tell you in words how delicious this turned out! I will of course, share the recipe! ^^)

For our dessert:

A small easy, no-bake cheesecake. We typically slice it and we top it with strawberry marmalade. I did not pour the marmalade on top of it since my MIL doesn't like it with the marmalade. 

Meringue Cake due to my daughter's insistence! ^^)

On my dinner table, you can also see these:

I am not superstitious, but I really miss Christmas back at home (Philippines). When I was young, we would gather 13 round fruits, would place it on a round plate with a cotton ball and a coin for prosperity and luck. I only have 4 round fruits though, since it was a last-minute thought... ^^)

But I have also incorporated something from Spain that's why you can see a hazelnut on top og white sugar with lentils for good health and good luck. ^^)

We have also prepared our uvas (grapes) for the campanada. When the clock strikes 12 (midnight), the bell will ring 12 times and for every ring, you will have to eat one grape. Typical Spanish tradition to welcome the new year!

We took some picture before we had dinner...

Here, with my MIL! ^^)

Oopps! There's a grease stain on my jeans! ^^)

My princess is quite tired helping me out... MIL and mommy are also tied from being in the kitchen all afternoon ^^)

My heartbeats!

I wish you all good health and happiness for 2012!


Now, let's proceed to this week's Crafty Saturday Party!

Here are the winners of December's Finest Week 4 who will qualify for the TSWL's Finest of 2011 fun contest where you could win some fab prizes:

Congratulations, ladies! Way to go! And of course, thanks to the rest of the nominees and to all of you who voted! Don't forget that we will be voting for our December's Finest tomorrow! ^^)

And for the featured projects I am really excited about (in no particular order) and are nominated for the elimination round of week 1 of TSWL's finest of January 2012:

If you were featured, we would really love for you to grab this featured button and place it somewhere on your blog (pretty please with cherries on top! ^^)... thanks! We really appreciate that! 

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And if you have some spare time, do vote for the 2 projects which you think should make it to the final round of TSWL's finest of December 2011. You can vote for 2 projects, once per day until this friday. Thanks!

Thanks for voting! And do keep on linking up. Isn't it great to inspire and be inspired in return!

To link up, you only need to:

1. Link up the url of your specific post not your blog. This would make it easier for others to follow your post.

2. Kindly grab our button and place it in your blog where others can see so they could also join the party. The more, the merrier! ^^)

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3. Show some lovin’, love! Visit other bloggers, tell them how fabulous their projects are and that you found us through us. Wouldn’t it be nice to make somebody smile or make their day a little bit more special? ^^)

4. Make sure you include our button under your linked-up post or include a line saying "We are linking up to". Make sure to link back to us!


Now, let's party! ^^)

Link up here!

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Friday, December 30, 2011

Meringue Cake (Tarta de Merengue)

You asked for it, you got it!
Today, I am sharing with you my Meringue Cake recipe! This must be one of the easiest dessert I have ever made!

First and foremost, make sure your egg is at room temperature and that the beater and the bowl where you'll be beating the egg whites is free of any strain of grease. Also make sure that your egg whites doesn't have any trace of egg yolk in it. 

I use a 12.5" x 8.5" non-stick pan to bake my Meringue Cake. Eventhough it is a non-stick pan, I still coat it with some cornstarch. Make sure to take off extra cornstarch by tapping lightly on the pan, with the pan upside down. 

Also take note that the texture of the meringue cake will depend on each and every person's preference. My family and I love our meringue cake a bit crunchy outside but not totally dry inside, a bit moist. You can always experiment to find out which you like most. You just have to adjust on how long you leave your pan inside the oven.

As you will only use the egg whites for the meringue cake, what I do is I use the egg yolks by making some baked custard. I bake the custard first then I bake the meringue cake since the meringue cake has to be left inside the oven even after the baking time. I let it cool inside the oven just to make sure it won't deflate. 
More than baking, we are drying our meringue. You should be very patient with your meringue cake. 

And oh, I will of course share with you my baked custard recipe!
Now, for the meringue cake...

For my 12.5" x 8.5" pan, I use:

6 egg whites
300 grams icing sugar
a pinch of salt

1. Pre-heat your oven at 100ºC. Place the egg whites in the bowl. Make sure the egg whites are at room temperature, with no trace of egg yolk in it and the bowl and whisker, without any trace of grease in it.

2. Start beating, moving your whisker from top to bottom, at medium speed. When the egg whites start getting foamy, add the pinch of salt. 

3. When your egg whites starts getting a heavier foamy appearance, add your icing sugar little by little. I do mine per 2 spoonfuls. 

Make sure to move your whisker from top to bottom or up and down, never horizontal, to incorporate maximum air to your egg whites. You can of course beat your egg whites manually or with an electric mixer

4. When your egg whites start to form peaks, then you're ready to go. 

This merengue was made with 9 egg whites

With the help of a rubber spatula, transfer the meringue to you pan. 

I use my spatula to make an irregular top which will form the crust.

Place it in the oven and slow cook in your oven for 1 1/2 hour. 
After that 1 hour and a half, turn of your oven but leave your meringue inside the oven.

If you cook it only for an hour, you will have this:

It was delicious. Inside, it's still moist and fluffy but the top crust is not crunchy. This is what my husband likes.

However, if you cook it for 30 mins. more, you will have this:

Inside, it is still moist and fluffy but the top crust is crispy or crunchy. And this is how my daughter likes the meringue cake!

Added on 01/01: This is how thick my meringue cake turned out then made with 9 egg whites!

5. Once it has already cooled down, serve and enjoy!

The meringue cake is a fat-free dessert with simple carbohydrates from the sugar. I am almost tempted to say that it's a guilt-free dessert ^^)


P.S. I used to make meringue cookies with this recipe but I think I am losing a lot of the meringue in the piping bag, jeje ^^) so to enjoy everything, I started to make it into a cake! ^^)

UPDATE 01/01: I place my oven temperature knob on 100º. My oven also has a know where you can control which parts you'd like to be turned on, if you'd like to grill or just maintain low heat. When baking the Meringue cake, the control knob of my oven looks like this:

I place it on CAKE option

As you can see, top and bottom heat is on plus hot air will be pumped into the oven to dry the meringue!

Tell me how yours turned out when you try out this recipe!

Don't forget to vote for us at The Picket Fence. Just click the button below to vote. Thanks!

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sponsor Spotlight: mariaHandmade

Who doesn't love accessories? But how do you like your accessories? Personally, I like my jewelleries to be subtle - with a barely there effect. But this doesn't mean that I can't nor I don't appreciate head-turning, eye-catching statement jewelleries and accessories just like what you see from this gorgeous handmade shop!

Let us show you Maria's lovely handmade items while we share with you the interview we had with her! Take it away, Maria!

This geometric suede and chain earrings is SO chic and stylish! 

I live in a place where everything is full of arts and fashion. I study in the Art academy, work as a graphic designer, with the theatre and as a photographer at the same time, and sometimes I plunge into the world of video directing with my boyfriend…

This wood fang point necklace has a unique ethnic and boho look I really love!

 I love living this way enjoying beauty and originality of all the things around me, which also is very inspiring. My Etsy shop is just a way to share my ideas and a great motivation to create more.

This half-moon embroidered earrings in gold is head-turning or what? Impressive!

It all started with making things just for me, then for some friends of mine… But one day I realized my inspiration flows over this border and I create for someone I imagine. I just see people who could wear my accessories or jewelry – their lifestyle, self-perception and even appearance. 

This Pearl Fringe earrings is so feminine and sophisticate! LOVE!

It’s always different, of course, but it’s in my head all the time. That’s why it’s always very interesting to communicate people who wants to buy something – I love personalizing things or adjusting them for someone specifically.

This suede and chain geometric bracelet is a modern and chic accessory! Truly fashionable!

The only thing I would like to say as an advice is just Free your mind. I think, anybody can be an Artist, but it has to come from your soul.

This leather leaves earrings have this "I rock!" look! so pretty...

Don't you just love Maria's impressive handmade creations? Truly handmade LOVE!

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