Tag Archives: cooking

250 g tamarind

Tamarind. Its taste brings back so many childhood memories … especially going to the “tienda” to buy tamarind balls and pay for them one “real” (5 cents) or asking our neighbor if she has tamarind “duritos”.

This fruit is delicious, healthy and very versatile; there are countless recipes with tamarind in many different cultures. Today I share with you three, almost four.
This post is called 250 g tamarind because I managed to make all these recipes with only 250 g (tamarind is too expensive in Madrid), so you can halved the following recipe and still get a lot.


Tamarind balls

These are very popular in Panamá and in other countries in America. Mexico for instance has a very similar recipe, but they add chili powder to the tamarind; I bet they are delicious too.
In the Panamanian version there are only two ingredients, tamarind and sugar and they are perfect in their simplicity.


  • 500 g tamarind
  • 2 liters of water
  • 1 cup sugar plus a little more to cover the balls


Peel and rinse the tamarind in ½ liter of water. Strain and discard the liquid.

Pour 1½ liter of water in a large pot and bring to a boil, then add the tamarind and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.

Drain, reserving the water (we are going to use it for our next “recipe.”) and strain the tamarind through a sieve to remove all the pulp.

Pour the pulp back in the pot and cook with the sugar, stirring constantly, until it thickens enough that you can see the bottom of the pot.

Remove from heat, pour it in another bowl and let cool enough so we can form the balls.

Then dip the tamarind ball in sugar and they are ready.


Coconut Macarons with tamarind

I love these two flavors, they work perfectly together.


  • 2 teaspoons of desiccated coconut and a little more for garnish
  • 200 g icing sugar
  • 125 g ground almonds
  • 120 – 125 g egg whites (about 3)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 40 g caster sugar
  • Tamarind Cream


Place the grated coconut, powdered sugar and almond flour in an electric mixer and mix for about 30 seconds. Then sift to remove lumps.

Whisk the egg whites (is apt to age the whites, leaving them in the fridge for at least 24 hours or to speed up the process by putting them in the microwave for 10 seconds) with the salt until it begins to foam, now begin to add the sugar a little at a time until everything is well mixed. Continue beating until meringue is firm, but not dry.

Now add the coconut/ almonds mixture and fold with a spatula until everything is well incorporated and the mixture begins to shine (you will see what I mean once you reach that point).

Fill the pastry bag and cut the tip or use a nozzle (Wilton’s # 12 for example). Form the shells on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Sprinkle a bit of grated coconut on top of each shell, tap on the counter to get rid of any air bubbles and let dry 15 minutes to an hour. You will know they are ready when you touch them (with dry hands) and they don’t stick to your finger.

Preheat oven to 140-150 º C (284-302 º F).

Bake the macarons for 12 to 15 minutes depending on the oven. After 12 minutes, open the oven and carefully touch the cookies, if the top is loose and it separate from the bottom, it means that they are not ready yet. Keep baking and check again every 30 seconds or so.

Finally, let them cool completely and fill with the cream of tamarind.

For the cream tamarind we will use the same recipe as above, just lighten it adding some water until it has the texture needed to fill the shells.


Bonus track: Tamarind duritos

Add sugar to the cooking water of the tamarind and you will get a delicious drink or “chicha de tamarindo” and if you put it in the freezer for a few hours, well, then you will have a delicious and refreshing “durito”, or a Panamanian Popsicle!


Mussels marinière


Today’s recipe is very simple, the hardest part will be cleaning the shells, but the cooking won’t take long.


  • 1 Kg. Mussels
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • ½ tablespoon paprika
  • 1 ½ tablespoons flour
  • ½ glass of white wine
  • 1 cup cooking juices of the mussels
  • A bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Extra virgin olive oil


The first step is checking that the mussels are alive and in good shape (discard all the unresponsive open shells and those mussels with a broken shell. A simple criterion is that live mussels, when in the air, will shut tightly when disturbed).

Next we will have to thorough rinse in water and remove “the beard” with the help of a small knife.
Now that they are clean, let’s start by placing the mussels in a big pot with a bit of water, salt and bay leaves. Cover the pot and bring to a boil, when the shells are open, remove from heat and proceed to remove the meat from the shells. Normally it will be stuck to one side of the mussel, so we will discard the empty one. Set that aside and let’s start with the sauce.IMGP4539

Strain the cooking water and set aside. Heat some olive oil in a pan, add chopped onion and sauté until golden then add parsley and flour stir well and cook for a few minutes. Now add the cooking water, white wine and paprika. Stir and cook for a few minutes.

Incorporate the mussels and keep cooking on low heat for 15 more minutes or so. Stir occasionally to make sure the sauce doesn’t stick.

Let them stand a minute before serving and you are ready to go. Hope you like them.

And for dessert, what do you think about a delicious papaya smoothie?


Very simple, peel and chop a small papaya. Put it in a blender with ice and milk, beat for one minute and taste. Normally the sweetness of the fruit is enough, but you may add honey or sugar if needed.


Chocolate Oreo macarons

Time for a new recipe!

I made these macarons a few weeks back, but haven’t found the moment to seat down and write the post … well, better late than never.

These are a bit unorthodox, but delicious all the same. Traditionally we will fill the shells with ganache or some curd or jam; but I asked my assessors (my children) what do they prefer and the answer was unanimous: Oreo!!

So here they are:

Chocolate macarons with a creamy Oreo filling




  • 2 tbsp. cocoa
  • 200 g minus 1 tbsp. of icing sugar
  • 100 g almond meal
  • 125 g egg whites (about 3 eggs)
  • A pinch of salt
  • 40 g sugar
  • Red food coloring, just a few drops

Oreo cream

  • 113 g cream cheese
  • 57 g salted butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 6 crushed Oreos
  • ½ or 1 tablespoon cream



Place cocoa, icing sugar and almond meal in the electric mixer and mix for about 30 seconds.

The dry ingredients must be sieved; purist say the it has to be done before weighting you ingredients, but I think it can be done afterwards because nowadays the sugar, cacao and almond are very smooth already, but I have to mention it.

Place egg whites (remember to age your whites for at least 24 hours in the fridge or accelerate the process by putting in the microwave for 10 seconds, just to dry them a little — I’ve never done this last option, but some people say it works fine too) and salt in the mixer and beat until it start to foam, then start adding the sugar a bit at a time until all of it is incorporated. Keep whisking until the meringue is firm, but not dry.

At this point you can add the red food coloring and then add the almond cocoa mix and fold with a spatula until everything is incorporated and the mixture starts to shine (you’ll see what I meant once you get to that point)

Fill your pastry bag and nip the tip off or use a nozzle (Wilton # 12 works well for me). Form the shells on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, tap it on the counter to get rid of any air bubble and let them dry from 15 minutes to one hour. You’ll know when they are ready if you touch them (with dry hands) and they don’t stick to your finger.

Preheat your oven to 140 – 150 ºC (284 – 302 ºF).

Bake the shells for 12 to 15 minutes, depending on your oven. After 12 minutes, open your oven and touch the shells, if the top is loose and like separated from the bottom, they are not ready, leave them in the oven for one more minute and keep checking every 30 seconds to one minute until done.

Finally, let them on the tray for a few minutes and then remove and allow them to cool completely. Fill with the cream and enjoy!

Two more notes: When baking the shells, is a good idea to use two baking trays together. And after filling the macarons, they will be in optimum condition to eat after 24 hours of rest, but who can wait that long, right?

IMGP4486Oreo cream

In a mixer cream together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Mix in the powdered sugar until smooth and fold in the crushed cookies.

This filling has to be kept refrigerated until is time to eat, especially during the summer.

Ragged Catalan sausages

Hi! Here’s the English version of this fabulous recipe, signed by a great Spanish chef, Ferran Adrià.

Butifarra “esparracada” or ragged

For 6 people

  • 6 butifarras (Catalan sausages) or any other fresh sausages
  • 600 g mushrooms sliced or chopped into quarters
  • Minced fresh parsley
  • 12 cloves garlic, peeled
  • A sprig of fresh rosemary
  • A sprig of fresh thyme
  • 12 tablespoons of wine (The original recipe uses sour wine (a Catalan wine), but if you can’t find it, use other kind of wine)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


Remove the skin from the sausages and form small meatballs with the meat (to remove the skin make a cut along the sausage).IMGP4472
Sauté the meatballs in olive oil until golden. Add garlic, rosemary and thyme. Sauté for 5 minutes.
Add the wine and deglaze, scraping the pan to retrieve all the meat juices. Remove from heat and set aside.
In another pan add the mushrooms and a bit of salt. Sauté for a few minutes and then add the sausage (with juices) and cook everything for 15 minutes.
Finally add the chopped parsley, correct the seasoning if needed and serve.




From the book “The Family Meal” by Ferran Adrià

Lemon Lime Macarons


This week I’ve been cooking several recipes that were long overdue. One of these was the lemon lime macarons’ recipe. It is a simple adaptation of the classic macarons but with a touch of summer.



  • 200 g icing sugar
  • 100 g ground almonds
  • 120-125 g egg whites (3 large eggs)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 40 g caster sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • Yellow gel color


  • ¼ cup (56 g) unsalted butter
  • 1-2 cups of icing sugar
  • 2-3 teaspoons of cream
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated lime peel
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • Green gel color

Directions2014-08-04 19.47.01


Wash and dry lemon and grate. Set aside.

Put the icing sugar and almonds in the bowl of a food processor (or blender) and mix until it comes together, about 30 seconds.

Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they begin to rise and then gradually add the caster sugar. The merengue must form stiff peaks.

Add a few drops of yellow food coloring and lemon zest.

Incorporate the mixture of icing sugar and almonds and mix with a rubber or silicone spatula until you have a homogenous batter (use enveloping movements).

Fill a pastry bag and form the shells. Then let stand for 15 minutes to one hour until “dry” (when you touch them they will not stick to your fingers).

Preheat oven to 140 -150 ° C and bake for about 12 minutes. After that time, open the oven and touch the macarons (carefuly) to see if the shells are attached to the collar of the macarons, if not, close and check again every 30 seconds until they are ready.

Let them cool for a few minutes on the tray and then lift them and fill when cold.


Beat butter on medium – high speed for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the icing sugar, half a cup at a time. Add the cream and lime juice.

Then add the grated peel, vanilla and salt, continue beating for 1 to 2 minutes. Add more sugar if it appears too runny or more cream if too dry.

Fill the macarons and enjoy!


Something sweet

How about a superhero chocolate cake…


Or an ice cream cookie?



A girly white chocolate cake?


Or a chocolate soccer ball?


I love cake decorating. It gives me the opportunity to expand my creativity :)

Blue Jellybeans Top Ten

When I was little (I don’t like the sound of “when I was young”…) I used to listen to a show on the radio called American Top 40 with Casey Kasem, I loved it and every week I will listen to it for hours. Well, with this show in mind I leave you with the BJB Top 10 (most viewed)  ;)

The 10 most popular posts on BJB clearly reflect the spirit of my blog, simple and easy recipes but with character and a deep connection with my culture, as a Panamanian living in Madrid (who loves America!)

” Now, on with the countdown! ”

Number 10: Panamanian style Codfish with potatoes

A delicious recipe from Panama.
Bacalao con papas

Bacalao con papas

Number 9: Bon Bread

This one is from back in the days when I used to write my posts in both languages… now I know better ;)

Number 8: Meatballs in caramelized wine sauce

One of Panama favorites at parties

Number 7: Panamanian cocada

From 2011 come these beautiful and delicious treats made with coconut
In sixth place we have our Corn fritters, another Panamanian hit
The top five begins with an American classic…Peanut butter cookies. You can’t have only one!
The forth place in this top ten are M&M’s cookies! No wonder these are among the top five…
Now is time for the three posts on top of the chart.

Number 3:

My post about the Separation of Panama from Colombia with a delicious recipe for my mom’s Crème caramel (flan).

Number 2:

And finally, here it is. The number one! St. James cake!
And that’s it, ladies and gentlemen…BJB/T10. I hope you enjoyed this walk down memory lane… I certainly did!
Take care

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