May 25, 2018

weeknights


From Monday to Thursday I try to keep it simple and healthy when it comes to preparing dinner for my family.
I try to incorporate as much vegetables as I can for side dishes and the main course.
Squashes are everywhere in Uganda, sold at every market, the side of the road, grocery stores, and available year round. For me it is a luxury because I love them. You can make savory dishes and sweet dishes with these versatile vegetables.
One of my favorites is the nutty acorn squash, also also called pepper squash, Des Moines squash, and gem squash. It is small and very easy to work with. Bonus: it fluffs just as spaghetti squash.

{ How to }
Cut the squashes in half, drizzle them with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast them in the oven at 400degrees for about thirty minutes.
For the stuffing, heat olive oil in a pan caramelize chopped white onions and one garlic. Then add chopped mushrooms, watercress and chickpeas. Season with cumin, salt and pepper.
Enjoy!










May 24, 2018

buttercream hydrangeas

I love decorating my cakes for Rose Vanilla with buttercream flowers.
Making each individual flower is a joy and seeing the finished cake, just like you have imagined, is great.
I made this one yesterday with a base of mauve buttercream, hydrangeas and leaves.







May 23, 2018

source of inspiration

Today, I was inspired by the hydrangeas in my garden. You've got to love their beauty. They have this romantic elegance reminiscent of times gone by and they look wonderful on the cakes I make for Rose Vanilla.






May 22, 2018

our own strawberries { in Kampala }

Store-bought or frozen strawberries can't come near the intense and fresh flavor of those picked right off the vine from your very own garden.
Strawberry is the quintessential late spring to early summer fruit, but here in Kampala we can enjoy them year round.
I use the fruit to make strawberry jam, buttercream and since our variety is small, I also use them to decorate the Strawberry Lemonade, Passion Fruit and Lemon Poppyseed cupcakes for Rose Vanilla, when available.
While living in Virginia a few years back, we loved to go strawberry picking in early Spring to Wegmeyer Farms and Mackintosh Fruit Farm.






We also have sage, one of my favorite herbs for pasta and chicken dishes.

May 21, 2018

inspired by the royal wedding cakes


Inspired by the Royal Wedding cakes and as a devoted fan of the California-raised chef Claire Ptak, who created them; last Saturday I baked this flower cake for the royal occasion.
Layers of chamomile cake drizzled with lemon syrup, filled and frosted with honey mousseline.
I used garden roses and hydrangeas from our garden in Kampala to make a little bouquet topper for the cake.






Hydrangeas blooming in our garden.



May 17, 2018

deep chocolate mini cakes

This morning I woke up thinking, What could be better than individual chocolate cakes?, so baked these rich and decadent mini chocolate cakes for Rose Vanilla.
The mini cakes are split into two rounds and layered with rich buttercream frosting, infused with espresso. 
I painted some coffee beans with edible gold paint to top the cakes and finished them with a dusting of espresso powder.
They are to die for and they make a delicious dessert for any holiday party.







May 16, 2018

african violets { in Africa }

For some time, we have been planting and propagating African violets, some of them from two plants we received as a gift from a dear friend and others from seeds.
These plants with showy blooms and velvety leaves are among my favorites. The flowers and the colors are of unsurpassed beauty.


One of the many things to love about African violets is that they are easy to grow and despite the weather outside, they have flowers all through the year.



They make great centerpieces. I set them on the tables when entertaining in my garden in Kampala.



May 15, 2018

it's been a while

Hello!!! It has been more than a year since I was here. Time flies!
Sometimes I wonder if people still read blogs. I do, but I must confess that I'm a devoted Instagram user and spend most of my social media time there. It is a fantastic visual platform.
In any case, I'm back here and will definitely try to post more regularly.
What has been going on around here? Well,  we're still living in Uganda. Almost three years now since we came to Kampala. Again, time flies!
I have downsized Fournier to the bare minimum because the time difference with Bolivia and the United States was taking me to the next level of craziness, trying to "remote control" the business in the late hours of the night. It was crazy! I do keep on knitting for a few old time customers and also knit some of the toys myself at my little studio in Kampala. I love designing and knitting my little creatures.
Eight months ago, I started Rose Vanilla, a small baking business. I do it from home and all by myself. I see it and do it as another creative avenue for my design work. It is long hours of work, especially on weekends,  but I'm loving it and the positive feedback from customers has been amazing!
These are some of the cakes I've made in the past couple of weeks, but I also make "alfajores, cupcakes, "brigadeiros", marshmallows, macarons and other sweets that are only available in Kampala at Rose Vanilla.






February 20, 2017

Our little baker


We have a baker in the house!!!
My thirteen year old son has developed an interest in baking. From bread to the most difficult desserts, he enjoys the process of the baking arts so much.
I can only take credit for the photos :-)

Yesterday he made these lemon curd mini tarts.
A wafer thin crust with tart lemon curd filling, topped with Swiss meringue. Just delicious!

 
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