Category Archives: Homemade

Love is sweet: Sweets pictures roundup

Jam-making: Apricot, Peach, Nectarine and Plum with Lemon Zest and Prosecco

It’s Jam-making day 2.

Yesterday I was in a jam-making mood so I made a batch of Peach and Forest Fruits Jam (2 parts peach to 1 part forest fruits) and it turned out sooooo yummy.

So, why not go even more creative today? Since I found just-perfectly-ripe fruits (apricots, peaches, nectarines and plums), I started searching the web for some extra flavours to get that ‘zing’ to my jam.

I stumbled upon a great post regarding pairing of fruits and flavours which helped me pick my extras. So, today’s jam is Apricot, Peach, Nectarine and Plum with Lemon Zest and Prosecco Jam and it’s really tasty with a bit of zing 🙂

Maybe next time I’ll grow bolder and I’ll experiment with some more unusual flavors.

You can find the post by clicking the picture below.

 

Winter is here

 Yesterday it snowed heavily. Apparently winter is already here.

So, join me for a cup of hot chocolate (homemade of course, using quality dark chocolate, brown sugar, cocoa powder and milk).Hot chocolate

Cupcake mania

cupcakes for ralu's bachlorette party

A few weeks ago, I started making cupcakes again, although I try to control my sugar desire 🙂 But it was a special occasion, the bachelorette  party for my best friend. And as I haven’t baked cupcakes in a long time, I went a bit crazy and actually made 4 types… about 60 cupcakes in total, but there were gone in less than 2 days.

As none of the recipes were my own (although i’ve been using two of them for some years), i’ll just post some of my photos along with the recipes links…and the changes i made (i can’t seem to be able to stop modifying recipes :)) )

choco banana cupcakes  & triple chocolate

So i started with some pink ones, it was a bachlorette party after all 🙂 So, here you have the vanilla cupcakes with strawberry cream cheese frosting. For the frosting i didn’t use a recipe, but i just mixed butter + cream cheese (I used 6% fat not full fat) + powdered sugar + strawberry jam + a drop of pink coloring gel. As decorations I used sugar hearts, flowers and butterflies.

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Then, because the future bride is obsessed with coconut, I tried some pina colada cupcakes. I did a batch of Coconut Rum Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting but once again I changed the recipe, as at first I didn’t not notice that the recipe doesn’t contain any coconut flake , so I added 100g grated coconut, I only used 1/2 cup of buttermilk and added 1 cup of pineapple juice from canned pineapple. And as I wanted the cupcakes to taste like pina colada … I put some extra pineapple (from can, blended) in the frosting. And I decorated them with some browned coconut flakes (just brown them in skillet for a few seconds) which bring an amazing flavor.

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As for the chocolate ones … it’s a recipe that I have been using for a long time, where I only changed the amount of chocolate chips, I used about 70g of dark chocolate chips and about 100g chopped white chocolate. For the frosting I went with my favorite chocolate cream: ganache (chocolate and cream melted together). They were a hit, as always, mostly among chocoholics.

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But, because the future bride wished she had chocolate-banana for her wedding cake, but settled for chocolate mousse , I decided I’d make another batch of cupcakes. I used a Banana Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe  to which I added as decoration caramelized banana slices and flambé using whiskey. The cupcakes were so moist and yummy and the caramelized banana slices added an interesting flavour.

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I cannot give you the preparation time for each of them, as I did them simultaneously, but I baked and decorated for about 4-5 hours 🙂

Try them, they won’t let you down. Let me know if you tried them. Hope you liked them.  Feel free to comment with any help, opinions, or suggestions.

Jamie Oliver’s Super-Quick Brownies

You MUST try it! Throw all the ingredients in food processor, mix, pour batter into pan, add dried fruits and nuts, then bake. I didn’t add ginger and mandarin, as I didn’t have any, but I added Pink peppercorn. After approx. 20 minutes you will be awed by yumminess. You and all who are lucky enough to grab a piece 🙂

Can’t show you a section of the cake ( i baked it in a round pan), because it’s all gone, although I made 2 batches in 2 days ;))

Vegetarian thin crust pizza with a twist

Since I’ve always been a big fan of thin crust pizza…and I was really hungry (that’s when the best food-related ideas come) …and in a hurry, I gave this classic a twist.

Vegetarian thin crust pizza with a twist - Steps

Vegetarian thin crust pizza with a twist – Steps

When baking pizza, I usually use Jamie Oliver’s pizza dough recipe, which is very reliable and foolproof (1 kg white bread flour,1 teaspoon fine sea salt, 2 x 7 g dried yeast sachets, 1 tablespoon golden caster sugar, 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and 650 ml lukewarm water), but today I was in a hurry and craving golden melted cheese, so I had to find a shortcut.

Instead of kneading some pizza dough, I decided to use some flat-bread (Lebanese flat-bread in my case) along with some fresh vegetables and cheese.  I went for some fresh tomatoes, courgette and fresh basil leaves, which I had on hand and were homegrown, but you can use any vegetables you like.

Other vegetables which seem as a good idea for this are peppers, eggplant, broccoli (or even cauliflower), mushrooms and so on. Whenever you can, use vegetables which are fresh, in season and homegrown. You can use other Italian herbs you like as well (oregano and/or thyme is your best bet). You could even replace the cream cheese layer with tomato sauce or Genovese Pesto Sauce (I’ll go for homemade Genovese Pesto Sauce next time, because I’m a huge basil fan).

So, start with a flat-bread, spread some cream cheese on top (I used some homemade mix of organic dairy products: about 3 parts cottage cheese, 2 parts greek yogourt, 1 part cream), then added the diced veggies (I deseeded the tomatoes to avoid getting the flat-bread too wet), some minced garlic (you can use dried garlic as well), some fresh basil, some hot dried red pepper flakes and salt to taste. After baking it for a few minutes to soften the veggies, I added the shredded cheese (preferably mozzarella) and then baked it until the cheese melted and started to get golden. Add fresh basil leaves.

* If you are a vegan, replace the cheese with vegan cheese or spread on the flat-bread some homemade Genovese Pesto Sauce (skipping the Parmesan cheese in it).

*If you like some salami, prosciutto or anchovies on your pizzas, feel free to add them before adding the cheese.

As an important note after burning the edges of my ‘pizza’, spread your toppings (and most important the cream cheese, tomato sauce or Genovese Pesto Sauce) as far out to the edge of the flat-bread as you feel safe doing, in order to prevent browning.

You don’t need a pizza tray or a very large baking tray, just use some aluminum foil and place the ‘pizza’ on the oven rack. You don’t even need a recipe or exact ingredients for this yumminess, just go with your heart and enjoy it. I know we did (with a glass of cold white wine) 🙂

Chocolate and cream cheese yumminess – Mini no-bake chocolate cheesecakes

Money can’t buy happiness but it can buy chocolate

Wood sign image from etsy.

I was feeling in need of some chocolate. Some silky smooth desert. Maybe some chocolate lava? Some ganache-filled pie?

But as the weather outside is so hot, I gave up any baking and went for some lighter version of  a ganache, let’s call it a chocolate and cream cheese yumminess. This no-bake chocolate cheesecake recipe is very fast (except for the waiting for it to cool in the fridge), calls for no gelatine (not a big fan of it), no extra butter for the crumb mixture (in fact no crumbs today, just gonna use a sandwich biscuit) and has little added sugar.

Cold mini no-bake chocolate cheesecakes

Cold mini no-bake chocolate cheesecakes

If dieting, watch out portion control, as these tend to be quite fat although i used low-fat cream cheese, so each serving still brings about 280 kcal.

Prep time :25 minutes
Total time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients*:

  • 300g dark chocolate (I used 200g dark chocolate + 100g milk chocolate)
  • 200g light cream cheese (I used 6.5%)
  • 200ml light whipping cream (I used 30% fat)
  • 50g icing sugar
  • a sprinkle of sea salt
  • double-chocolate sandwich biscuits
  • fresh fruits, syrup or jam (optional)

Scroll through the photo gallery for step-by-step instructions.

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The mixture will be quite runny, but don’t worry.  Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Take the mini cheesecakes out of the molds and enjoy cold with some fresh fruits or jam.

* As this was an experiment, I ended up with quite a lot of  chocolate-cream cheese mixture, so I used about one third of it for the mini chocolate cheesecakes and the rest I just spooned into small glasses and garnished with some homemade light strawberry jam (my mom ate it right away, unchilled).

Cold chocolate and cream cheese yumminess in a glass

Cold chocolate and cream cheese yumminess in a glass

If you want to make a smaller quantity, just enough for 6 silicone cupcake moulds, use the following quantities:

Ingredients 6 mini no-bake chocolate cheesecakes:

  • 115g dark chocolate
  • 75g light cream cheese (I used 6.5%)
  • 75ml light whipping cream (I used 30% fat)
  • 20g icing sugar
  • a sprinkle of sea salt
  • 6 double-chocolate sandwich biscuits

Try them, it only takes a few minutes and they are so so yummy. Let me know if you tried them. Hope you liked them.  Feel free to comment with any help, opinions, or suggestions.

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