Have you ever touch a dream?

Hi all.

Have you ever touch a dream? do you imagine how could it feel to be so closed to what you want?

Sometimes in life we lost the track and we see them pass next to us without being able to grab them or just too late to see them.

But some times if you are patient enough and your heart guide you,  you understand that those dreams have a soul and when you connect with that soul

You see things on a different way and you get closer to what you want

And in that moment you have it so close at hand that you just need to reach out and touch it.

Believe in your dreams, follow them closely and do not loose track because they could be closer than what you think.

Remember that your soul will guide you but when the time comes reach for it.

Hugs. Will

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Willmer Colmenares

Preparing for Brazil 2016

 

Hi all

We are already preparing for the next Olympic Games. If you do not know,  there will be a new series of sport on “Brazil 2016” specially design for the young ones, and we have decided to start training our ones

One of those new challenge is the “Step on the chair”, this sport requires a lot of training and motivation. Let’s see one of our students practicing to show you the way to do it

1st you need to be able to put one foot on the chair without losing the balance

2nd stand up without stop looking at the camera, really important!

Remember when practicing any sports that the motivation is another important thing to remember!

Another sport that have been added top in the Olympic Games is the “Fruit Carrying”. You need to be able to mimic your partner while carrying your fruit loads

And of course you will have the traditional “Scooter competition”. Here you can see the master training the new student on this amazing sport

As well there will be some qualifications for “Painting“, where not only the painting itself will be reviewed but the technique as well

Well now we just need to keep practicing and we will be ready for the games.

Brazil 2016

Family time

Hi all

There are important things in life that require our full attention and need us to disconnect completely from our day to day activities and that is exactly what holidays are for.

In our modern world, sometimes we forget that life goes on without us moving around like ants making sure that something is being done or by watching the time every five minutes to make sure that we know what is happening somewhere in the world.

When we are young we enjoy the life to plenitude and we are easily impressed, that is why we spend most of the time happily living and enjoying our life with as little worries as possible but when we grow older and we join the adult world we forget the excitement of the young ones. Until we have kids and we see them enjoying themselves with the most simple things, at that moment is when we go back to our young-selves and we reconsider our way of living.

Now, holidays are for us to enjoy the life as it should be and to get a balance in our crazy life. Be yourselves, make sure that you see things that are not just in front of your eyes and use the eyes of the young ones.

Give those first steps to that world forgotten by your old self and enjoy the happiness of being around your love ones, and with them just move from your safe ground to the unknown of the life.To make sure that you can achieve it remember to become part of the spectators and understand the world that you were into when you were a kid.

Fell into the dreams, first on your bed when you sleep (and sleep a lot) and later in your mind, use your imagination every second of the day and forget what you are and become what you want to be in that dream

Being a Panda or a Lion is up to you,  as soon as you are able to dream it.

Make sure that you can see beyond the bubble that encircle your world and submerge into the sea of the possibilities.  When you achieve all that, you will be ready to see with the eyes of the young ones and them you will be able to see what is in front of you but not at plain sight.

That should be your family time!!! Hope that you all enjoy your summer holidays as we did.

Be free. Open your eyes. Become a Kid!

 

 

 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Willmer Colmenares

Milk Cake/ Torta tres leches

Hi all

This is a simple and sweet cake recipe that can be accessible to almost any one.

Preparation time: 20min     Cooking time: 30 min     Serve: 15 Portions

Ingredients

  • 200gr Plain flour
  • 250 Caster sugar
  • 6 medium Eggs (separate egg yolks from whites)
  • a pinch of salt

For the milks

  • 1 tin of Condensed milk
  • 1 tin of Evaporated milk
  • 200ml Double cream/ Heavy cream
  • 1 Vanilla beans or 1 tsp Vanilla essence
  • 1/2 Tonka bean micro plane (Optional)
  • Dark Rum (Optional and to your taste)

For the topping

  •  3 eggs whites
  • 100gr of caster sugar

Preparation:

Preheat your oven at 170C.

We will first prepare the basic sponge by adding the eggs whites into the mixer with a pinch of salt (see basic Meringue recipe) whisk until you have a soft peak, then start adding the caster sugar without stopping mixing very slowly to not drop the eggs whites, when you have finished with the sugar and the meringue is smooth texture, stop the mixer and proceed to add the flour slowly using a mixing spoon or plastic spatula, you need to be really careful when adding the flour to avoid mixing too much or adding to much  flour at a time as this will make your cake heavy. When you have finished adding the flour, add the yolks one by one and incorporate to the mix slowly.

Prepare a baking cake mold, please make sure that is a deep mold at least  5cm deep and 30 cm long, and add soft butter all around the areas of the mold, after that, add a bit of flour and spread it all trough the baking mold. Place the mix on the mold and put into the oven and cook for 30 minutes or until center of the cake is dry (insert a small knife or stick into the middle of the cake and if it comes dry the cake is ready)

Now we can prepare the milks,mix all the ingredients in the blender or on a bowl. reserve until the cake is cooked.

When the cake is cooked, leave it to rest for 10 minutes or so until is warm but not hot and with the help of a fork or small knife start making some holes all over the cake, this is to help the cake absorb the milks. When you are done start adding the milks mix slowly to not over flow the mold, every time the milks are absorbed add a bit more until the whole milk mix is gone. Leave the cake cool down on the fridge and the milks to set.

For the decoration place three eggs whites on the mixer or bowl and with the help of a whisk bring them to a soft peak point and add the sugar slowly with out stop mixing to avoid the meringue to drop.When the meringue is done cover the cake with it. This can be done by using a piping bag, a spatula or even a spoon, here is where your imagination will help you. On this occasion I just use a palette knife to spread the meringue and later a spoon to make a bit of rises on the cake, add the end I used a blow torch to burn the top of the meringue and give it a  bit of colour.

The cake is ready to serve. Enjoy it.

He forgot to say that the idea of decorating it with the spoon was mine :), how cheeky!!

 

 

 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Willmer Colmenares

Basic Meringue (understanding the process)

 

 

 

 

 

Hi All

While writing some of the recipes I realized that some of the people that I know does not understand a few of the basis techniques that could help them achieve the best results when making preparations with eggs. A Basic meringue is one of the most important thing to understand if you want to be able to make cakes and baking mix as understanding how to use eggs on all this recipes is what makes the final product a success.

Meringue is a basic part of some mayor cakes and pastries as angel food cake, pavlova, Baked Alaska, Queen of Puddings, Key lime pie, Eton mess and lemon meringue pie

There are three main kinds of meringue recipe that you should know.

French meringue: this is the most basic meringue, is made by beating the eggs whites with fine sugar, this is not a really stable meringue and is normally keep  for a short period of time before start dropping.

Italian meringue: this kind of meringue needs a bit more of understanding, and is  achieved by boiling sugar syrup until you reach the ball point at around 116C and then incorporate eggs whites as on the french meringue. The result of this is a more shiny and stronger meringue that stays firm for many days,  this kind of meringue is usually used for cakes, decorations, souffles and some other kind of baking. The proportion of sugar is usually 30g for eggs white.

 

 

 

 

Swiss meringue: is prepared by whisking the eggs over a Bain Marie, and then whisk steady until the eggs cook, this will give you a more firm meringue that is usually baked or used as filling for tarts and fruits.

 

 

 

 

Well now that we all know the general information we need to come to the practical part. how to whisk or how much ? why to whisk? how all this work?.

For some time I have many of my chefs asking me those questions and it amazed me how little nowadays cooks know about the physics and chemistry of the general basic cooking. I would like to start recommending for some of you who are interesting on knowing how things happen! the following books “Mcgee on Food and Cooking” by Harold McGee and “kitchen Mysteries” by Herve this, the first is for those of you who like chemistry and want to understand every detail, the second is detailed enough to help you understand the process of cooking.

Now is time to explain the process on the recipe that we are looking at, let’s start from the beginning, keep your eggs at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before any preparation as the temperature of the eggs is essential to break the hydrogen bonds in the protein, and make them unfold and denature and in consequence trap the air particles on itself creating the bubbles that will make the whites to grow into a foamy texture.

Be aware of where  you are going to beat your eggs, the material of the bowl might help you or not. If you use a plastic bowl for example or any other material where the fats are easily stuck it will make it more difficult to lift your eggs as the bowls could have fats particles within its walls and in consequence make it difficult the braking up of the hydrogen bond in the proteins of the eggs. In the other hand if you use a copper bowl, it will react with the eggs and help on the denature of the proteins that will create better peaks when whisking your eggs. In resume, make sure that your bowl is clean of any fat, water or debris before adding the eggs whites.

When breaking the eggs make sure that not egg yolks fall into the whites because  the egg yolks fat will mix with the proteins on the egg whites and will reduce their ability  to brake and fold the air particles. Brake the eggs one by one on small containers or remequins to avoid having them contaminated with the yolks in case the yolk brakes.

Now that we have finally brake the eggs and place them into the bowl there are a couple of factors that will help you on the process of lifting the eggs whites.

Acidity: the addition of vinegar, lemon, lime or a similar kind of acid will help you to brake the proteins because of their electric charges. A bit to complicate to go in details but easy enough to understand that a touch of lemon juice or vinegar will help you to have faster whisk whites and steady peaks.

Salt: adding a pinch of salt before starting whisking the whites will help the eggs whites to coagulate easily when whisking the eggs.

Cream of tartar: also known as potassium hydrogen tartrate is a acid salt that is used as a stabilizing of egg whites  and increase their heat tolerance and volume.

Now how long should we whisk. The eggs white beating is classified in three stages according to the peaks they form when the beater is lifted: soft, firm, and stiff peaks. This is whisking your eggs from soft to hard, being stiff peak when your eggs form a stiff peak when lifting your whisk from the bowl.

Wow!! So much information just to make a basic recipe, but I am sure that after understanding the whole lot, you will never have any problems when whisking your eggs.

Baking meringues is a classic and simple recipe which is mainly whisk egg whites with sugar cooked a really slow temperature for a relatively long period of time

Basic French Meringue recipe:

  • 4 eggs (separate the whites from the yolks)
  • pinch of salt
  • 220 gr of Caster sugar
  • the juice of half lemon and the zest

The first thing that you should know is that when making meringues your first enemy, to call it someway, will be the humidity as the whole process is only to make and keep the  the products as dry as possible, then try to not make them on a rainy day or just after baking as there will be a lot of humidity around that will make your meringues soft.

Now is time to follow all the recommendations explained before and put into practice your knowledge and common sense.

Pre heat the Oven at 120C. Whisk your egg whites into soft peak and start adding the sugar slowly but consistently  spoonful by spoonful without stopping whisking until all your sugar have been incorporated and you achieve a stiff peak, the best way to check it is by lifting your whisk and checking if the meringue does not move and make like a wizard hat, the consistency should be smooth and the sugar should be dissolved completely. One word of caution, make sure that you do not over beat the eggs as this will make the meringues collapse on the oven and crystallize .

 

 

 

 

By using a spoon or a piping bag make small round cones kind of shape on a silicon tray
(silicon baking mad) or a baking tray with silicon paper, make sure that you leave some space between the meringues to avoid getting stuck together. Place the meringues into the oven and reduce the temperature to 90°C. When you place the meringues in the oven, the initial slightly higher temperature sets their outsides. The lower temperature then dries the meringues rather than bakes them. Leave the oven on for 1 1/2 hour or until the meringues are crispy and sound hollow when tapped on the base. Turn the oven off and allow the meringues to cool in the oven – this will take 3-4 hours

The meringues will have a pale looking colour (not toasted colour), they will be crisp on the outside and slightly soft on the inside. Place the Meringues on a air tight container and keep up to three weeks.

Remember that the same process could be use to any kind of meringue recipe that you will need, from decorating ones to Souffles

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Willmer Colmenares

Kitchen Aid Blender

HI All

KitchenAid Blender

Well, it has been a while since I posted something on this page and I wanted to keep giving you my recommendations on what I consider are the great kitchen equipments for the house.

I have my kitchenAid Blender probably since 2006, and until today it has not given me any problems. I use the blender on daily basis for different preparations as I love to have proper consistency when I cook.

The Kitchen Aid Blender has 5 speeds that can be used for different cooking and procedures from crushing ice (great for those summer days when you want to have a nice mojito or ice frappe ) to really smooth soups, purees, baby food products or emulsions.

As you might understand this is a really strong blender and because of that it can bring some consequences if you do not know how to use the product properly. You can not have really smooth purees or emulsions unless you have the right temperature for it, but is the products are too hot you might be having problems when blending them as some of it might just fell out of the jar because of the heat, but this is something that could happened with almost any blender. On the other hand is really easy to clean and is  strong enough to do most of the general cooking jobs.

A really positive point is that even when it is a really strong piece of equipment it does not make much noise, my old blender that was half of this one was making double of the noise with half of the job.

Another thing that you should know about this blender is that the driving mechanism consists of a rubber toothed piece that transfer the engine strength to the jar blade and this part might waste or brake.  This is  is designed to protect the engine in case the blade is stuck while blending, but even so the blender comes with three year manufacturer guarantee and the only thing that you need to do is contact them and they will organise a replacement of the part, even so I can said is a solid product.

By Willchef

 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Willmer Colmenares

Rice pudding/ Arroz con leche

Hi all

I wanted to start this section with a traditional dessert but I was not sure what was good enough for this page until today.

My little girl have been with a flu for a couple of days and I wanted to do something nice  to try to cheer her up, then I remember that when I was little my grandma use to make me puddings when I was not feeling well and this recipe came to my mind in a flash. I hope that you enjoy it.

Arroz con leche/rice pudding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rice puddings and its varieties can be found on almost every country of the world and  because of the simplicity of the ingredients and the easy cooking methods used, it has made it an excellent and well known dessert around the whole world.

Ingredients:

  • 250 gr of white short grain rice (Valencia rice or similar) you could use a most rich variety as Arborio rice ( medium grain rice) or similar for a more whole cook look on the rice pudding.
  • 1lt of milk
  • 100 gr of Sugar
  • 4 aromatic cloves
  • 2 Cinnamon sticks
  • 2 lime
  • 1 lemon
  • Cinnamon powder
  • 40gr of Butter

Arborio RiceDemerara SugarAromatic ClovesLime and Lemons

 

 

 

Cinnamon and ClovesDiced Butter

 

 

 

Products:

  • Rice: almost any varieties of white rice can be used for this dish depending of what are you looking for and what do you have available. I do like a really creamy rice pudding and for this recipe I like to use a variety of rice that have a lot of starch, Today I have used a risotto rice variety: Arborio rice
  • Milk: the quantity of fat on this dish will tell you the consistency and creaminess of the dish but if you want to avoid the fat, is not a problem if you use a low fat milk and add some egg yolk to add consistency. Even so I will still recommend full fat or semi skimmed.
  • Sugar: you can use any kind of sweetener for this dish: brown sugar, white sugar, honey, Demerara sugar, sugar cane or any other that you will prefer, in my country we normally use Panela or Papelon. As I am really far from my country we have substitute this for Demerara sugar
  • Lime and lemon: on this occasion we will only need the skin of the lemon and the lime. you can use a knife and remove the skin without using the white part of the skin or use a Zester
  • the rest of the ingredients can be eliminated or substituted depending of what you prefer on some areas of the world they add raisins, dates, liquors, coconut milk, almond milk and similar

preparation:

  1. Place the milk, the rice, the sugar, the Cinnamon stick, and half of the lime and lemon zest on a sauce pan and put into the fire at medium heat, mix time to time to make sure that it does not stick on the button of the pan.
  2. Cook slowly to make sure that the rice absorb the milk and the spices and it cooks to the right consistency with out overcooking, if you use to much heat you will finish with a dry rice, probably not cook, and you will need to add more milk to rectify the heat what will make the rice soft outside and still hard inside .
  3. When the milk has reduced to almost nothing and the rice is cook, start adding the pieces of butter slowly and mixing constantly to make sure that you get a creamy consistency.
  4. Remove from the heat and from the pan when you have reached the desired consistency.
  5. Finish with a bit of cinnamon powder and a bit of the lime and lemon zest.

 

 

 

 

 

Understanding the cooking: there are really little techniques involved on this dish but there are a few things that you should be aware of.

  1. There are some recipes where they recommend to wash the rice. The only reason for doing this will be that you are not interested to have a creamy rice as you are eliminating part of the starch by washing the grain, if you are not looking for a creamy consistency try using a thinner rice, eliminate the fat from the recipe or as I mentioned wash the rice before cooking it.
  2. I have found some recipes where they pre-cook the rice on boiling water before cooking it on milk, the reason for this is to do this dish faster by precooking the rice the only thing that is achieved is reduce the cooking time. I still prefer the long process as you will have a really milky taste on the rice.
  3. In some cultures they like the rice pudding really liquid or really thick, to achieve this you need to understand a couple of things. To get the rice thick you will need a starchy rice grain, some fat on the recipe and you could use some egg yolk (at the end of the cooking) to get a more compact rice. To make it more runny but at the same time creamy the easiest way is to add more liquid on the recipe.
  4. On certain areas of Latin America we add raising to the rice pudding but previously we marinated them with rum or any sweet wine, add them last minute or you will have a darker rice because of the raisins.

 

 

 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Willmer Colmenares

Wine Cellar

Hi.

Since we move to our house, early 2010, we have been working on making  improvements in all areas that it have been possible. One of the first things that we had to do in the House was to change the Boiler as it burns down one night after a month from moving to the new house (early winter).

When we replace the boiler for a new model we have to change the actual place of the boiler.Initially it was situated in what it use to be the chimney in the kitchen area, and the new boiler is on one of the kitchen walls. When the installation was done we realised that we had an empty area in the kitchen which I wanted to make useful.

Then the idea of the wine cellar came. Why not to use this space to keep our wines and drinks?, and that was it. I worked on the inside walls of what it was going to be the cellar and start looking for what I could use to make the cellar itself.

The space of the old boilerThere are many ways to do this, you could use plastic pipes, old wine boxes, hollow bricks, terracotta  wine brinks or you could make your own with wood. On this occasion I was lucky enough to find a wine rack almost exactly of the size of the area I wanted to cover, and voila!!! done!!!

Now I have an excellent place where I can not only keep my wines and drinks at the perfect temperature and without using any more space in the kitchen area, but also keep the bottles away from the kids.

As you can see there is always a way to make any space useful. you just need a bit of imagination and time, my mother collaborate with one of her paintings and a candle set make it the central place in the kitchen area

Wine cellar decoration

By Willchef