Archive | May, 2012

Gâteau au yaourt

31 May

or Yoghurt cake

…or yoghurt pie (as we call it in Greece, but had no idea about it)

No, I am not really a francophile, although I did spent a few years learning French (and absolutely loved it). I just had a couple of yoghurts sitting in my fridge forever, and instead of giving them the death penalty (i.e. the bin), I remembered that I had this recipe bookmarked, at some point in this life (I have a serious case of food porn addiction), and managed to retrieve it.

Also, lately, I have been trying to persuade someone to try and eat more “clean” foods, full grains and the like, so I couldn’t just go and make another cake full of butter, sugar and white flour. So this recipe was perfect. It has olive oil, yoghurt, a relatively small quantity of sugar (which i decreased by mistake) and I substituted less than half of the AP flour for spelt flour that was also sitting in my fridge (I only told about it after everyone had eaten it, to see if they could taste anything different).

The cake is really simple, moist and not overly sweet (and somewhat healthy I guess – at least I didn’t). Simplicity is underrated. Continue reading

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Lollipops!

28 May

A while back, a cousin sent me a link of some lollipops, saying that she wanted something like that for her son’s christening (it’s common practice to give little “presents” and sweets after the christening ceremony is over and she wanted to give something like those for the kids).

“Yeah, right”, I thought to myself. Part of me wanted to do it, but was afraid that I would destroy my new glass-top stove (a friend was telling me that the sugar melts and sticks on it and stays there forever – true story), that the kitchen counter will melt, that the sugar will stick to my hair and what I might burn my skin (my priorities are a bit messed up, I know).

Since they are always willing to try everything I bake and offer them, with no complains, I thought that I ought to at least give it a try, so I did a test batch. It came out impressive, although I had some difficulties, mainly finding the work flow (the caramel dries quickly and you have to know what you want to do, so I ended up making made big round candies instead of lollies), so I accepted the challenge (“Challenge accepted!”, as Barney says).

I had to make about 60 lollipops and I managed to have them ready in 3 batches, with my mom assisting me and here is the result.

A few words about the recipe: Continue reading

Strawberry cake with chocolate glaze

21 May

Mondays….

are tough….

Ever since I was little ….

 

Especially after a busy weekend, hanging out with people, cooking, baking, and all that entails. I can say that I was kinda relieved when I returned to the office today and started my weekly routine. It’s an endless loop. At least it was quite productive and I managed to finish these for my nephew’s christening (for the children’s goodie bags). They are ready, packed waiting to be eaten.

I made this cake to accompany our coffee and lollipop decorating/packaging session and even though I was pretty sure that I wouldn’t touch this cake (I am not fond of fruit, especially when inside or on top of sweets-cakes etc- no-one’s perfect), I had to restrain myself from eating too much  (I’m supposed to be on a strict diet)

A few words about the recipe:

  • It’s not an overly sweet cake and this makes it perfect for breakfast or to accompany coffee (or tea- ok I am not a big fan, but I suppose you get the picture)
  • The strawberry taste is not too strong and it offers a discreet scent and flavor and as you eat a piece, you can feel the strawberry “seeds” pop in your mouth (like poppy seeds)
  • The strawberry purée/sauce can also be used in crepes, on waffles etc. You can prepare it earlier, or the day before (that’s what I did) and keep it refrigerated. If you like to feel and see the strawberries in the cake, just cut them in half cause they are going to melt (and disappear, like in mine)
  • Although it might look like it, it doesn’t contain any whole wheat flour, it’s dark because of the strawberry (if you look closely, you’ll see it) Continue reading

Farfalle with zucchini and eggplant chips

17 May

According to a Smiths song, “some girls are bigger than others”, but these girls occasionally decide or have to go on a diet, when things have gone too far, especially around this time of the year, before the summer and after Easter, and various occasions when eating was too much. My friend Th. was right when he was saying “a moment of the lips, forever on the hips”, but who knew better?

But, what can you eat to make up? Mosses; Lawn? And for how long can you get by on a minimal low fat, low cal, low everything diet? Especially when someone (don’t want to name any names, but it starts with G_) eats a pile of spaghetti, with 2 kilos of grated parmesan, bacon and a dash of cream, and when a zucchini or a cauliflower gets near him, he reacts like a cat with water.  Not to mention about those (rhetorical) question, like “how can you eat that (zucchini, cauliflower etc)”? You are just trying to be patient and get those kilos off and swear that next time you will not let it get out of control.

The only thing you can do is prepare something like this, a“light” pasta dish and forget about dieting for a little bit.

A few words about the recipe:

  • It is not a glamorous, or sexy plate, but it will serve its cause
  • It is a variation of a recipe my cousin from Italy gave me, with zucchini and carrot, but because I’m not a big fan of carrot I have not used any)
  •  The quantities are for one person, roughly estimated according to my taste and you can adapt it to suit yours.
  • I haven’t used any olive oil as I used some to make the chips, but feel free to use as much as you like
  • If you make the eggplant chips, you might as well make some more and keep them in the fridge to eat some other day (you can drizzle the slices with balsamic vinegar) . Continue reading

Cranberry–strawberry bars

15 May

Sunday was Mother’s day I wanted to make something fucsia/pink (in another life I must have been/will be the magenda mixer).

I found this recipe ages ago and had kept it for whenever I found cranberries and it just happened that I came across some (frozen of course) at a new shop near my house. It’s was a message from the universe I could not ignore. Of course, I know that in the blog world, using out of season produce might be frowned upon, but I couldn’t care less. There are enough musts, shoulds and have-to’s in my offline life.

Sunday was also the day that my laptop decided to die on me. I guess it didn’t want this vain life anymore. I hope that someone will save it, as the green mixer and the pans were best pals and will definitely get depressed.

A few words about the recipe:

  • The original recipe calls for cranberries, but I used strawberries as well. The result is a refreshing dessert, with texture that is similar to lemon/lime pie.
  • As you add the lemon in the recipe, it is best if you do it slowly with tasting it because it might get too sour for your taste. I used about 45ml. As you add lemon to the filling, its color will get lighter.
  • The crust is crunchy and buttery like a shortbread Continue reading

White Chocolate Chip Almond Cookies

8 May
Fewer words, more baking…

(…or action, depending on what you do)

The times are tough for this country and everyone seems to be talking about one or two things (the recession and the elections that we had on Sunday, in particular), what is going to happen or what isn’t going to happen. Everyone seems to have an opinion (especially the taxi drivers seem to be experts) and the saying  opinions are like assholes… keeps coming back to my mind, making me laugh on my own. In all this, I am trying to keep calm  and retain a zen like state, no matter what.

Fortunately the super duper full moon has passed and maybe, I wish, I will be able to gather my scattered pieces (although the spring is to blame, I think we all agreed on that) and focus on something.  So, the other day (election day that is) I planted a couple of basils, some new succulents I stole from a friend’s house and baked these cookies (I also wanted to get rid of some bits and pieces I had in my cupboards and fridge).

A few words about the recipe

  • The original recipe calls for macademia nuts (I don’t dare to buy any because they will not make it home), but I replaced it with white almonds, which I toasted in a pan for a few minutes.
  • I put half white chocolate drops and the rest in chunks.
  • The original recipe calls for half butter and half shortening, but I used butter as it’s the only thing I had (that is why the cookies spread a little more and came out crunchier and darker).
  • These cookies are on the sweet side and the white chocolate does add a lot of sweetness and richness. If you do not like very sweet cookies, this recipe may not be for you (you can always reduce the amount of sugar but the texture of the cookie might change
  • Always check if the cookies are ready in the minimum time given by the recipe. If you like cookies soft, remove them a  bit ahead. If you like them crunchier let them little more in the oven.
  •  To keep them fresh, store in an airtight jar/container. If they are too soft, you can put them in the oven for a few minutes to harden,  while if you want them to stay soft, you can add a slice of bread or a small slice of apple.
  • You can make and freeze the dough for future baking. With an ice cream scoop (or 2 tablespoons) scoop little balls, fast freeze them for 30-40 minutes and then pack in an airtight bag (2 bags even better, because they tend to absorb odors in the freezer). Make sure that you write on the bag the type of cookies,  date of freezing and baking instructions, cause trust me, you are not going to remember what it is after 1 month, or find the recipe. Many  people bake straight from the freezer, adding a few minutes to the baking time, others prefer to thaw them  for a few hours in the refrigerator and then bake (I bake from the freezer with no problems). Keep them in the freezer for 4-6 weeks. Continue reading

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

4 May

I don’t know about you, but I am in a “spring mood”. I can’t concentrate, I want to do things but don’t know what that is, I want to fill my house and balcony with flowers and when I sit in the sun i feel like I am thawing (like an ice cube in the heat). I usually try not to admit that I am at the mercy of every weather change, but the alternative explanation is that something is really wrong with me, so I just accept my human nature.

One of the first recipes for muffins I’ve ever made was this one. Till now I had only seen poppy seeds on bread rolls but had never seen them elsewhere and had no idea where to get them. Eventually I found them in a shop with healthy/bio foods, (that are becoming very popular in Greece) packed in 250gram. Huge amount for someone who wants to use no more than two to three tablespoons . I put the rest in a nice jar and stuffed it in a kitchen cabinet. At least it takes up some of the space (I don’t like having empty cabinets, I have the urge to fill them up, even if it’s with stuff I am not going to use).

Back to the muffins. Since the jar with the poppy seed was getting my attention lately (as well as some poppies that have grown by the sidewalks and reminded me of it) I thought of making this recipe and get to use my new rectangular muffin pan too (I also happened to find some pink liners for it – yes I am one of those people who like to accessorize, even for baking).

Continue reading

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