I love throwing parties! My mediterranean side is deeply dominant in that matter. Problem is: I always overdo it and end up spending my time in the kitchen, or serving people. Before I notice the evening is gone and I haven't taken the time to sip one of my cocktails and chatt with my guests. This year, for my birthday party, I decided it would be different. I would enjoy my party from the beginning until the end... even if that meant serving beer and peanuts! Ha ha... Of course, I didn't resist. I overdid it again. Less than usual I swear! At least, I had everything ready before hand and I prepared self service bites with among others: marinated gambas, aubergine and herb dips, mini vegetables, merguez, dutch cheese and grape skewers, morrocan lamb skewers, strawberries and cream, and mini sweet bites... and a Punch. Peanuts, I told you!
Unfortunately, I was so busy preparing everything that I completely forgot about my blog and camera! And there were no leftovers the next day... so, no food picture this time!
However, I did save a selection of sweet bites in prevision of this post. This is also the perfect occasion to inaugurate the beautiful Eva Solo teapot I got as a present from two of my girlfriends... I couldn't resist showing it off a little!
For the sweet bites, I got hold of my brand new silicon mould and inspired myself from two talented french bloggers who always have an amazing selection of sweets on their blog: Le palais des Delices from Celine and La popotte de Manue. From Celine, I borrowed her recipes of chestnut bites to which I added chocolate bits, and lemon squares. For the pear and almond bites, I used the base of Manue's heavenly tartlets. They were all delicious, especially the chestnut bites. If you read french I suggest you have a look at theit posts for the recipes. For the others, the translations (with a few personal twists) are at the end of the post.
One more picture for the road:
Chestnut and chocolate bites
(inspired from Celine's "bouchons aux marrons")
For approximatly 50 mini bites, prep. 10 min, cooking: 25min
500g chestnut cream (I bought my "creme de marron" in France)
small chunks of your favourite chocolate
Preheat your oven at 175 deg. Melt the butter. Pour the chestnut cream, butter in a bowl and mix until smooth. Then add the eggs and mix again until smooth. Don't add any sugar, the chestnut cream is more than sweet enough! Pour into mini moulds (I highly recommend good quality silicon moulds as they will make your life so much easier for unmoulding). If like me you are a chocolate addict, add a small chunk of chocolate in each bite and bake for 25 min at 175deg. Leave to cool before unmoulding. Celine suggest serving them cold.
Pear and almond bites
(inspired from Manue's "divines tartelettes")
For approximatly 40 mini bites, prep. 10 min, cooking: 20min
100g powdered almonds
1/2 a vanilla pod
3 egg whites + 1 whole egg
a pinch of salt
2 or 3 pears
Preheat your oven at 180 deg. Melt the butter. Peel and slice the pears into small slices fitting your moulds. Count 2 to 3 slices per bite. Mix the almonds, the flour, the sugar, the seeds from the vanilla pod and the pinch of salt. Then add the eggs and mix. Finally, add the melted butter and mix until smooth. Pour into mini moulds. Add the pear slices on top of each mini moulds and bake for 20 min. Leave to cool before unmoulding.
(taken from Celine's "carres au citron", no personal twist)
For 36 mini bites, prep. 15 min, cooking: 15 + 20min
40g glazing sugar
150g + 35g flour
125ml lemon juice
The zest of a lemon
1. Preheat your oven at 180 deg. Cover a rectangular mould with a shit of baking paper.
2.In your food processor, mix the butter and glazing sugar until you get a smooth cream.Melt the butter. Pour the chestnut cream, butter in a bowl and mix until smooth. Then incorporate the flour. Garnish the mould with the dough. The dough layer should be smooth and regular. Bake for 15min. The cake should be slightly golden.
3. In your food processor, mix the eggs, the sugar, the rest of the flour, the lemon juice and zest. Pour on the rectangular basis, still warm and bake for 20 min. The cake has to be firm. Leave to cool in the mould.
4. Cut into squares and sprinkle with glazing sugar.