July 21, 2012

Bran Pancakes

I love food, and, as a great food lover I have a problem, I love it too much. I love it to the point of obsession, I love it till my body tells me I  have to stop myself from loving it...for some time ...
It never really works... Even on my low carb, high protein diet binges I find ways to make it taste good:)
To all of you Dukan diet lovers, here's a pancake that will make your life that much better when you're on the it (skip the dip if you're on Dukan diet phase 1-2).

Bran Pancakes with salmon and 'Guacamolish' dip;)

Bran pancakes (makes 6)

4 tbsp oat bran
3 tbsp fat free natural yoghurt
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking powder

salt to taste

mix all the ingredients and fry on a non-stick skillet on low heat so they cook all the way through and don't burn.

No dice/no slice guacamolish dip (makes a small bowl, 1 person serving)

1/2 ripe avocado
lemon juice to taste (i prefer lime, but didn't have any at home)
1/4 medium sized onion
1/2 garlic clove
finely chopped cilantro (if you like it)
salt, pepper to taste

Mash avocado with a fork.
Here comes the awesome part about no dice/no slice;) Grab garlic press and cut the onion into chunks that fit into the press easily, press it into the avocado, repeat with garlic. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice. Voila! you're done!

Enjoy your breakfast/ brunch!

May 02, 2012

Strawberries and wonton wrappers

Spring is in full swing, seasonal berries are plenty, perfect time to indulge in one of my favorite breakfast dishes-- strawberry dumplings.
When I was little, mama used to make them for us on her days off. Time consuming you see...but oh so worth every minute spend with that heavy rolling pin:)
Now, if you're lazy, or just saving time, grab some wonton wrappers at oriental grocery store and you're good to go. Wrapping them is easy and fun.

here's the recipe for the dough:


1 egg
pinch of salt
1c of ice cold milk (I drop an ice cube in the cup of milk, before I start the process)

sour cream or butter, to top

Whisk egg, milk, salt together with a fork, and add flour, enough for you to be able to still mix it with a fork. Beat all the lumps out and pour the dough out on a heavily floured surface.Fold flour in until the dough is pliable, small amount at a time.
Once the dough is not sticking to your hands anymore, start kneading it, give it good 10-15 minutes.
Wrap in plastic and let 'relax' in the fridge.

buy wonton wrappers and use them ;)

toll out the dough as thin as you possibly can, add half of a strawberry, dust it with a little bit of sugar, and wrap in any shape you wish.

Boil in salted water, eat carefully, try not to bite your tongue off ;D oh yeah, they are that good!:)

Enjoy <3

p.s you can use blueberries or pitted cherries, they make some awesome dumplings too!

April 23, 2012

Hail the Almighty Grilled Cheese!

why Almighty?
coz it's that good! it has so many flavors and variations, it's hard to find someone who wouldn't love one or another type of a grilled cheese sarnie.
Prosciutto , apple , onion and cheese, that's my favorite combo!
The minute that gooey cheese hits your tongue you know you're in heaven!
I love a little tangy apple in it to set the cheese off, something about it, it's sooo good.
Don't overdo the prosciutto, you want it there just for the variation in flavor, not to add too much saltiness.

here it is:

 Ingredients :

5 grain bread
thin slice of onion
slice or two of apple, I prefer sour kind,like Rennet
4 thick slices of full fat cow's milk cheese to your liking
a strip or two of prosciutto
stack,fry in butter (if you want to reduce fat, use PAM or any other spray oil straight on the bread)
and enjoy!

p.s if you find that raw apples and onions are too much for you, feel free to caramelize them,that works too ;)

February 14, 2012

LOVE it or hate it!

Valentine's day is here!
and you probably guessed, I LOVE IT ;D
if you reading this and you think this is a made up holiday
for stupid people who just need an occasion to spend money, then
you need to bugger off immediately, coz I think you're one of those
stupid people who just hate life. There's no reason to hate any holiday,
it's just a reminder to celebrate, nobody is making you go buy flowers
for your wife, you should anyway...

And since I LOVE it, I spend a good few hours making some awesomely cute fondant covered cookies to mark the occasion!:)
without further ado, here they are!

the recipe I used for the cookies comes from the very talented SugarBelle
visit her page here :


I used almond extract, and the cookies turned out amazing, no blisters,kept the shape, and the flavor is just outstanding!

Marshmallow fondant was a bit tricky to work with, but, I think they turned out just fine for my first ever attempt at making it. Here's the recipe I used :


Hope you enjoyed these !
have a lovely, looooooovely ,love-filled Valentine's day!


January 29, 2012

it's choux , not shoe ;D

Choux pastry cookies-childhood memories in one bite ;)

These have always been one of my favorite cookies when I was growing up.
No matter where you buy them, they always taste the same, always perfect!
Soft,moist,fragrant,sweet,mmmmm, perfection ;)

I make sure I know my favorite recipes, that way if I can't buy something, I know I can make it at home anytime I wish. Today was one of those days where I just had to have them ;)
They are pretty basic, choux pastry cookies, slightly sweeter, and denser than actual choux used for profiteroles etc. Addictive as cigarettes and heroin, lol ;D

Try them and you'll see ;)


350 ml of milk
75 grams butter
100 grams of sugar (i used 120 grams)
170 grams of flour
pinch of salt (less that 1/4tsp)
3-4 eggs

heat milk, butter and sugar in the sauce pan, turn the heat down to medium low once the milk is boiling, add salt and sifted flour all at once and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a smooth ball of dough.

Let cool for 10-20 minutes,but not completely, add one egg at a time,incorporating the egg fully before adding another one.

pour the dough into the pastry bag (I used 1M tip) and pipe cookies onto a baking sheet.
feel free to play with the shapes, hearts will be perfect for Valentine's day ;D hint hint ;)

bake at 210 c for 20--25 minutes (test your oven with a small batch of cookies, I baked them at 180c)
do not open the oven while baking the cookies, they will most likely flop down!

enjoy cold or warm, you can even pipe some cream into them (I'd suggest reducing the amount of sugar to the minimum then)

at first cookies are nice and crispy on the outside, but once they cool completely and sit for a while, they become nice and soft. I like them either way ;)

enjoy! xxx

January 05, 2012

I Heart Bread!

Apparently this is an authentic recipe from one of the Lithuanian bakeries. If you're not informed yet, Lithuania, being a tiny country, has one of the best breads on EARTH, not exaggerating at all !
Makes me proud... Every time I get nostalgic, I bake bread.

This recipe is easy to make, but takes time to get the end product, due to the amount of yeast in the bread, it's tiny and it takes a while to raise, but it give you the lightest bread with the crunchy crust,mmmmm, absolutely glorious!

Ingredients :
3 cups white flour (375grams)
6 grams dry yeast (3/4 teaspoon)
6 grams salt (3/4 teaspoon)
8 grams sugar (1 tablespoon, I used 2)
55 grams vegetable oil ( 4 tablespoons ) (when I make this bread with raisins, I use melted butter instead, makes it so fragrant and much denser)
200 ml water (3/4 c)

Combine 1c flour with yeast and 3/4c warm water (not hot,it will kill the yeast), cover with plastic and let sit for 30 minutes, when you see bubbles raising to the top, it's ready.

Add 1 cup of flour, salt, 1 tbsp sugar, veggie oil , and knead for 10-15 minutes, adding flour as needed. I never use the remaining 3rd cup, barely under 1/2c , y bread always turns out great.

I cannot stress enough the importance of kneading your bread, don't be lazy,what's 10 minutes of playing with soft dough?:) I don't trust the machines, like Will Smith in "I, Robot" ;D
I believe you give your food your energy when you make it with your hands ;)

After the dough is kneaded, put it in a bowl and cover it with plastic and a towel, let is sit someplace warm until it doubles in size.

Divide the dough into 3 parts, let it sit another 10 minutes, as 'they' say to relax ;)

Braid the dough as shown in this video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YR6aIAh2Vt8

My favorite is 5 strand braiding, 6 i find to be too much.

Once you're done playing with it (it is very entertaining!:), place bread into the baking tray (any shape you want, bread pan, bundt pan) cover with plastic and let sit, until the bread is doubled in size again.
Brush with eggwash and bake at 180c /356 F for 30-45 minutes, depending on your oven and location.

Enjoy it warm, with some fresh butter and whatever else you want to put on top of it!

December 30, 2011

worthy of emperor's taste buds for sure!

Meet the Napoleon Torte !
a traditional New Year's Eve dessert for millions of
people in ex soviet countries, loved by everyone I know to this day.
Time consuming? yes! Delectable ? You'll wanna slap your next door neighbor!
Yes, not grandma, coz she taught me to do it, neighbor, coz it's that good the mere
thought of sharing it with someone will make you wanna slap them! :D

without further ado, here is the beauty :

this recipe is very easy to make, minus the grueling labor when rolling out those tiny tiny layers , mine had 12 this time, and 16 last time i made it.
this amount of dough makes a 20cm / 8 inch diameter cake.
I doubled the recipe to get 16 layers and made the cake 30 cm/12 inch cake.

200 gr margarine (1 cup minus 1 tbsp)
3 cups of flour
1/2 cup cold water
1tbsp vinegar

grate chilled margarine and cut it with the flour.
once the mixture looks like fine crumbs, add water and vinegar, knead the dough gently into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap and put into the refrigerator to cool while you're making the cream.

I used pastry cream that's made in 2 steps:

3 cups of milk-- heat on medium heat while mixing following ingredients in a separate bowl:

1c sugar
1c milk
2 eggs
2 tbsp flour

Once the milk has started boiling reduce the heat a little bit and start pouring the egg mixture slowly into the milk,whisking it constantly to avoid forming lumps. When the cream has thickened, cover it with a towel and let it cool (if you're lucky and have minus temperature outside, it won't take long)

Once the cream has cooled completely, add this mixture to it:

300 grams of butter (1cup plus 5 tbsp)
1 cup of sugar
(whip it with the mixer until sugar completely incorporated)

Add one table spoon at a time to the cream, and whip it with the mixer after each addition.

let it stand it the fridge for an hour or so.

Get your dough ball out, cut it into 12 equal parts,shape them into small balls and place them back in the fridge, using one at a time, so they don't start melting on your table,it makes it very hard to roll out.

Dust the work surface with flour and roll the balls as thin as you possibly can. Move onto baking sheet and pierce wholes all through with the fork.

Bake at 240 c (464F)
the layers bake very quickly, so watch out for them getting scorched. If you have an eager set of helping hands, that's the time to employ them.

Cut the layers into the shape you wish, I prefer the cake round, and I use this glorious TRICK, I take a lid off any of my pots and cut the layers with it, the actual layer gets stuck inside the lid and i can move it without breaking it onto the plate that the cake will be served on;) veeeeeery handy ;)

Reserve the leftover cutoffs from the cake layers, they will be turned into crumbs and used to decorate the cake.

Once all of the cake layers are ready, pour the cream on each layer, pressing lightly to 'glue' the layers together. If you like the layers half dry, this is not the cake for you,it's very moist and heavy.

Make sure you have enough cream for the top layer (I reserve it in advance just in case)
Once you have poured the cream on top, cover it with crumbs all over, wrap with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to soak up the cream overnight. I remove the cake the next day and let it sit at room temperature for complete 'soakage' lol ;)

It's time consuming, but very rewarding!
Everyone who tries this cake is smitten with it's delightful aroma and flavor, not to mention the texture of 12 layers of pastry melting in your mouth!


Happy New Year!