Posted in Cooking and baking

Individual Tiramisu

A recipe worth trying. And oh the reward when it’s time to taste it.


Although tiramisu is a relatively common dessert nowadays, I have to say it is one of my favourite desserts and probably one of the easiest to make. With these handy individual desserts, which are perfect for parties, hopefully you will enjoy it as much as I do!


  • 200g sponge fingers
  • 2tbsp instant coffee, or 4tbsp fresh coffee
  • 300ml double cream
  • 250g mascarpone
  • 2tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3tbsp sugar


  1. Add the double cream, mascarpone, 1tbsp cocoa powder and the sugar to a mixing bowl
  2. Whisk until the mixture has the appearance of whipped cream
  3. In a jug, add the instant coffee and add 300ml boiling water – make sure the coffee is fully dissolved; if using fresh coffee, make 300ml coffee in a cafetiere
  4. In another bowl, cut the sponge fingers into 1cm x 1cm x 1cm chunks and then slowly add the coffee, mixing gently with a wooden spoon
  5. After…

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Posted in Cooking and baking

Beef Bourguignon recipe and video

Beef Bourguignon recipe by The Wine Baron with inspiration from Julia Child, this is my Chateauneuf du Pape variation, with ideas from the French and Austrian kitchens.


One 6-ounce piece of chunk bacon
3 ½ tablespoons olive oil
3 pounds marbled stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
3 large carrots, sliced
1 medium leek, diced
1 large Spanish onion, diced
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups red wine, full-bodied (like Cotes du Rhone or Bordeaux)
1 litre brown beef stock
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cloves crushed garlic
½ teaspoon thyme
A crumbled bay leaf
16 to 20 red pearl onions, small
3 ½ tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons black peppercorns (tied in cheesecloth)
1 pound mushrooms, (half quartered, half of them full)

Cooking Directions

Cut bacon into lardons (sticks ¼-inch thick and 1 ½ inches long). Simmer lardons for 10 minutes in a bit of water. Drain and dry.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Sauté lardons in 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a casserole or large stainless steel Dutch Oven over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.

Dry beef in paper towels. Heat fat in casserole until very hot. Sauté beef and diced onion separately until onion is golden brown and beef is browned on all sides; sprinkle on the flour to coat the beef. Add it to the bacon.

In the same fat, brown the sliced carrots. Pour out the excess fat.

Return the beef, bacon and onion to the casserole on stove element, medium heat, with the browned carrots and toss with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Pour the beef broth into the casserole slowly to allow the heat to maintain the cooking process. Do the same slowly with most of the bottle of wine, just enough of both so that the meat is just covered. Add the tomato paste, diced leek and crushed garlic as well.

Allow the whole thing to cook about 45 minutes on the element for some reduction to take place. Then place covered casserole in middle position of preheated oven. Reduce oven temp to 325 degrees. Cook for three to four hours, checking frequently after the 3 hour mark to make sure there is still enough liquid to keep it from getting too dry. Add the peppercorns in cheesecloth for the last hour or two and fish it out at the end or earlier if the stew tastes sufficiently peppery (which should be subtle).

While the beef is cooking (about an hour before it’s done) prepare the onions and mushrooms. Heat 1 ½ tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet.

Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown evenly. Do the same with the mushrooms, but they will require only 4 to 5 minutes in the frying pan. Transfer both to a saucepan. Add ½ cup of the stock and salt and pepper to taste.

Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has become thick.

When the casserole meat is tender, skim fat off the top. Skim fat from the onion/mushroom pan as well. On the stovetop, Pour the contents of this pan into the casserole.

You should have about 2 ½ cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If sauce and fat separate too much, you can add a bit of flour. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock. Taste carefully for seasoning.

Serve in casserole, or arrange stew on a platter surrounded with roasted or boiled potatoes, noodles or rice, and garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

Posted in Cooking and baking

Sachertorte recipe

  Ah Sacher Torte! The fairytale chocolate cake.

I was born in Vienna. Among so many other cultural gems, this city is also the home of Sachertorte. This cake is an Austrian classic. It’s coated in chocolate and layered with apricot jam. This version employs the jam as a filling between the layers and as a glaze to coat the cake before covering it with chocolate. This cake has quite the storied history. there was a lawsuit between Hotel Sacher and Demel bakery over the secret recipe. And now here’s the (improved) secret recipe.



  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted, then cooled a bit
  • 1 1/2 sticks softened unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 ounces ground blanched almonds (1/3 cup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • 1 3/4 cups apricot jam
  • 2/3 cup corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum
  • 10 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • Unsweetened whipped cream, for serving (if desired)


The Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and butter the paper. Dust the pan with flour, tapping out the excess.
  2. In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, whip the egg whites at high speed until soft peaks form.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the all-purpose flour with the almond flour and salt. In another large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the yolks, one at a time, and beat until fluffy. Beat in the chocolate, then beat in the flours. Beat in one-fourth of the whites, then, using a spatula, fold in the rest of the whites until no streaks remain.
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake the cake in the center of the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let the cake cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then remove the ring and let the cake cool completely. Invert the cake onto a plate and peel off the parchment. Turn the cake right side up. Using a long serrated knife, cut the cake horizontally into 3 even layers.

The Filling and Glaze

  1. In the oven, whisk 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the apricot preserves with 1/4 cup of water and melt on low heat.
  2. Place the bottom of the springform pan on a wire rack and set the rack on a baking sheet. Arrange the top layer of the cake, cut side up, on the springform pan. Brush the cake with 1/3 of the melted apricot jam. Spread 1/2 cup of the unmelted apricot jam on top and then cover with the middle cake layer. Brush the surface with another third of the melted jam and spread another 1/2 cup of the unmelted jam on top. Brush the cut side of the last layer with the remaining melted jam and set it cut side down on the cake. Trim the cake edges with a sharp knife if necessary to make it even.
  3. In the oven, heat the remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the apricot jam just until melted. Press the jam through a strainer to remove solids. Brush the jam over the cake until completely coated. Refrigerate for 20 minutes until set.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, whisk the corn syrup with the rum and 2 tablespoons of water and bring to a boil. Cook until slightly thickened, approximately 1 minute. Put the chocolate into a bowl and pour the hot mixture on top. Let stand until melted, then whisk until smooth. Whisk in another tablespoon of hot water if the chocolate glaze is too thick to pour. Let cool until just warm.
  5. Use an offset spatula to scrape off any excess jam from the cake so that it is lightly coated. Slowly pour half of the warm chocolate glaze in the center of the cake, allowing it to gently coat the top and spread down the side. Spread the glaze to evenly coat the cake. Heat the remaining glaze for a few seconds and repeat pouring and spreading. Scrape away any excess glaze. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to congeal the glaze, then cut the finished torte into wedge slices and optionally serve with the whipped cream (which is about as authentic as it gets, Austrian style).

And a Beverage to go with this you ask (well, our reader Lillian asked): 1. Coffee of course. Preferably a Vienna style coffee or Italian roast. And Wine? Why an Austrian St. Laurent of course. The pairing is perfect. This is a delicate Austrian red varietal that’s like Pinot Noir only usually better!