Monday, 8 December 2014

Noember 2014 Daring Bakers Challenge: Paris-Brest




The November Daring Baker’s challenge took us for a ride! Luisa from Rise of the Sourdough Preacher challenged us to make Paris-Brest, a beautiful pastry celebrating the Paris-Brest bicycle race. 
This was for me a great challenge as I always enjoy making choux pastry and everything that has to do with it. It seems though that I have to post late once more as my computer decided not to work lately.

Monday, 27 October 2014

The Daring Bakers October 2014: Sachertorte




The October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Korena of Korena in the Kitchen. She took us to Austria and introduced us to the wonders of the Sachertorte.
Sachertorte is one of my favourite cakes. I discovered a recipe when I was a teenager and I made it a lot of times. I hadn't made it for a lot of years and this challenge travelled me a little back to time.I really enjoyed making it and I didn't face any problems and I really enjoyed tasting it again. It is really a chocolate cake with marmalade, covered with chocolate but I don't know what is that something that it has, that makes me like it so much. The only thing I did differently from the original recipe is that instead of a chocolate glaze, I used a chocolate ganache which I am sure that it never disappoints me and because I wanted a softer texture on the top. So, here is the recipe and on the link you will find the original recipe given along with some history of the Sachertorte.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Apple crumble bars


After a long pause, here I come back with those delicious apple crumble bars. It was a very busy summer, been very busy with work but now I hope everything will be a little more quiet. Still stressful but baking takes a lot of it away and I enjoy to do it now that it is getting cold again.The fall is officially here and the apple season at its finest, so what is better than a warm piece of apple pie? This recipe is adapted from Donna Hay's strawberry bars but the dough would work with a lot of different fruit depending on the season. I have also tried it with peach and it was also delicious. So, here is the recipe: 

Thursday, 12 June 2014

May 2014 Daring Bakers challenge: PÃO DE QUEIJO




This month's Daring Bakers' Challenge took us on a trip to beautiful Brazil! Renata of "Testado, Provado & Aprovado!" taught us how to make Pao De Queijo, tasty cheese buns that make the perfect snack or treat, and that will make your taste buds samba!
I am posting this challenge very late but better late than ever. I have been very busy lately with work so , I haven't had time to concentrate and bake something. These little ”cheese breads” were very very easy to make and after I made them I was wondering why it took so long for e to make them.
Anyway, the recipe I chose was the fake pao de queijo, since it's impossible to find tapioca starch here in Sweden or at least I haven't found anywhere. These ones are made with potato starch, something very easy to find here, they are very tasty and ridiculously easy and fast to make. If you want to try and make them I would advise you to make at least the double amount, since it yielded only 9 small cheese balls to me. You can also take them to a next a level and fill them with extra cheese or cheese and ham, I think I will try this next time I make them. I used parmesan cheese and they had a very nice taste and they were as salty as needed going great with the chicken soup we ate them with. So, here is the recipe, it is the one provided from the Daring Bakers challenge host. If you want to try the real ones with tapioca you can also find them to the Daring Bakers site.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Two-tier Fraisier cake






Last month I had my birthday! We had a birthday party for me and my boyfriend's best friend since our birthdays are close. So, I made 2 birthday cakes! For me this year, I made a 2 tier-fraisier cake, a French cake consisting of a genoise sponge, créme patisiére, strawberries and a marzipan disc on the top. I always wanted to try and make it, it looks so nice and it is made with two of my favourite things: strawberries and vanilla cream. It was not as difficult as I thought to make. You just need to be concentrated and careful.Well, the sponge for me is always a challenge because you never know if it will rise or not. You need to be very careful, because if you lose a lot of air it will never rise.However, it is really fun to make and really tasty! And in the end you have a really pretty cake!
 I also made a snickers cake, so that we have something with chocolate too. The recipe for the snickers cake is coming soon.
As I mentioned before I made a 2-tier cake. The recipe for the sponge is for 1 cake. I made 2 sponges and cut 2 10 cm circles from the second sponge. The cream, syrup and strawberries are enough for both. If you want to make one cake use the two thirds of the recipe. But since my second cake was pretty small, if you want a cake full of cream and strawberries use it all and you can have very little left. So, this is the recipe for the fraisier:

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

April 2014 Daring Bakers challenge: Easterbreads-Tsoureki





The April Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den . She challenged us to Spring into our kitchens and make Easter breads reflecting cultures around the world.
So, I'm finally able to post this recipe since my computer fell down last week and didn't work properly.
My Easter bread is called tsoureki. It is a brioche-like bread consumed on Easter in Greece, it exists on every bakery in Greece, decorated with a dyed egg on the top. Well, we don't only eat it on Easter but we also eat it at Christmas, with a Christmas decoration and you can also eat it whenever you want, as it is, or with marmalade, nutella or whatever you like on it, as a special breakfast or along with your coffee or tea.
The main spices are mahlepi (mahlab) and mastic but some people put vanilla and cardamom instead. The traditional one though, is with mastic and mahlepi which give it a unique aroma. The most important thing about this recipe, and well, every tsoureki recipe, is to use strong flour or else you will not have this special texture, but it will feel more like common bread. 
 It would also be better, if you use a stand mixer for this one, as it needs about 20 minutes kneading. It would be pretty impossible to knead by hand and very tiring with a hand mixer. Also, if you don't have the spices as they are not that easy to find outside Greece, you can use vanilla or cardamom or both. The recipe is once more from Stelios Parliaros, the ultimate pastry chef in Greece. Here it is:

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Easter in Greece- Nutella and wafers filled Easter chocolate eggs



Warning: This is a loong post!
This year, I spent Easter in Greece, in Athens. Maybe it was not in a village, where you really feel Easter, but trust me, anywhere in Greece you can feel Easter, as it is maybe the most important holiday. In Greece, Easter doesn't last only for a day, but in order to celebrate Easter Sunday you have to go through the Great Lent,Palm Sunday, Holy week and then there is Easter and Easter week. On Palm Sunday, people go to the church where they get palm tree branches. Afterwards, the tradition is to eat fried cod, it is the one of the two times in the Great Lent that you are allowed to eat fish.
Monday to Saturday before Easter, is called Holy Week. The most important ones are on Wednesday, with the blessing of Holy oil and the Last Supper. Then, Maundy Thursday is when Jesus was crucified. This is happening to the church but you know, with a fake wooden one. During the night, some people stay, mostly

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Greek Easter Cookies (Pashalina Koulourakia)



I am in Greece for Easter :) ! In Greece, we have a lot of traditions in Easter as it is maybe the most important holiday here. One of those traditions is making Easter cookies. This recipe is a mixture of my grandma's cookies and another recipe and we made it with my little sister, who is studying to become a pastry chef and a little help from grandma. It was very fun and they turned out very tasty, but my advice is to use baker's ammonia as they become huge and fluffy like grandma's always are. To the link of the recipe I used you can also see the video.So, here is the recipe:

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Banana cupcakes with chocolate frosting



There are some things that everybody likes (well, almost everyone as I learned today :P ). Two of those things are banana and chocolate that, to my opinion, make a great taste combination. It is always a matter of ripe bananas to me when I decide to make something with them and it always turns out great. Well, at least so far. These cupcakes are so moist and so aromatic that you can almost taste them with your sense of smell. They are delicious as they are, but when topped with the chocolate frosting they become heavenly. The recipe  I decided to use, called for a peanut butter and chocolate frosting, but since I hate peanut butter (yes, that's right), I went for a chocolate version, which I think is perfect.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Semolina halva with chocolate



During the Great Lent in Greece, the people who fast, are not supposed to eat meat, dairy and fish with some exceptions like the Annunciation and Palm Sunday that they eat fish. During the Great week some people don't even consume olive oil.
So, because of these rules, people have adjusted their diets and there are a lot of different dishes and desserts that make them not to miss anything. One of those desserts is semolina halva that, well, of course people consume during the year too,because it is one of our traditional desserts. 
It is a sweet made in a saucepan and then turned over in forms, like cakes. Simple to make if you pay attention to it the whole time.The most common recipe for it, is called 1-2-3-4. That means 1 cup oil, 2 cups semolina, 3 cups sugar and 4 cups water. It usually contains cinnamon, cloves, pine nuts and blanched almonds and sometimes raisins too. Everybody makes their favourite version, adding or removing ingredients.
This halva recipe is different from the classic recipe. The sugar is reduced and it contains chocolate and cinnamon instead of the traditional nuts and raisins. I was looking for a recipe with less sugar and found this recipe on this blog where you can find a lot of delicious mostly Greek recipes. I changed some things and well, I think it has a great balance of flavours. So , go ahead and give it a try.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Semlor





Yesterday it was Fat Tuesday or as it is known in French: Mardi Gras. Here in Sweden the ultimate treat on Fat Tuesday is semla, a sweet cardamom bread roll, filled with almond paste and cream. It is supposed that you eat a semla on Fat Tuesday and every Tuesday until Easter. It is so delicious, even King Adolf Frederick of Sweden died after consuming too many in the 1700's.
Every year before Fat Tuesday, bakeries, cafes and supermarkets are filled with semlor, but I couldn't resist making my own. Try it and you will not be disappointed. Accompany it with a cup of hot coffee or tea, or you can eat it like in the old times in a hetvägg, that is in a plate with hot milk around it. You will enjoy it any way you eat it.
So, here is the recipe I used:

Monday, 3 March 2014

Lagana And Koulouri






Today, it was Clean Monday or as we say it in Greece Kathara Deutera. It is the first day of the Great Lent and the beginning of the 40 day fast that lasts until Easter. Clean Monday in Greece is a public holiday and people usually go out on picnics and fly kites. The traditional food for this day is: taramosalata (a delicious dip made from fish roe), shellfish, beans and other legumes, vegetables, olives, halvas and of course lagana. Lagana is a flatbread consumed on Clean Monday that looks a bit like foccacia. You cannot celebrate Clean Monday without this on your table. You usually eat it with taramosalata, olives or with tahini halva or well with anything you like. It is a bread after all. This recipe that I used was enough to make 2 breads so I made one lagana with the half and with the other half I made koulouri which is a circular bread with sesame, similar to bagel in appearance just thinner. Something very similar to it is the Turkish simit. Anyway koulouri is something very nice and healthy to accompany your coffee or eat for breakfast on its own or with cheese or jam or whatever you like. It is very common in Greece and it exists in every bakery. So, here is the recipe:

Thursday, 27 February 2014

February 2014 Daring bakers challenge: Beautiful breads: Cherry jam and almond paste bread



Beauty surrounded the Daring Bakers this month as our host, Sawsan, of chef in disguise, challenged us to make beautiful, filled breads. Who knew breads could look as great as they taste?
Well, this challenge was surely challenging for me as I hadn't tried this before. I am pleased with the result even though I know it is not perfect. But, if you saw how it looked before I put it in the oven and the mess around it in the kitchen, you wouldn't believe it would look like that after it was baked. So, no complaints here. The taste of the bread was very nice although it felt a little dense for me, so I think it needs the sweetened condensed milk that is suggested on the original recipe and I did not use. Overall, I would make this again and experiment with more recipes and different fillings and of course try to master the shapes. The recipe I used was the recipe given at the challenge with a different filling and very small adjustments.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Chicago-style deep dish pizza




I have always been craving this kind of pizza with the cheese at the bottom and the sauce on the top and I had never tried it before. Now, I know I love it and I will surely make it again. It is huge like a pie and the crust is just amazing. This sauce is a perfect combination with this pizza and I love it when you take out a piece and you see the cheese strings at the bottom. Also, you get full with one piece or if you are very hungry with two. Well, I suppose that depends on what you put inside it and how much of it, but it surely needs a big amount of stuff. It is not something to eat very often if you consider all the calories it has, but it is a nice once in while pleasure. The recipe I used is adapted from Cook's Illustrated so, I was sure it would be a good one. Also, this recipe makes two pizzas so, if you want only one halve the recipe or freeze the rest before you let it rise for the second time. As it is time consuming to make this pizza, if you have the rest of it ready in the freezer it will save you a lot of precious time when you decide to make it again. So, here is the recipe:

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Chocolate and pear tart




I made this tart for dessert on Valentine's day. I love the combination of pears and chocolate and the tart was delicious!! Very chocolatey and the pear was giving it just the exact freshness that it needed! Very nice and balanced flavour. But thanks to my clumsiness the half of it fell on the floor. :( Thank God it was not the whole of it but still... So, despite the accident I suggest everyone to try this tart, it's heavenly!!

Friday, 14 February 2014

Strawberries and Champagne Macarons



Happy Valentine's Day everyone!! I hope you all love someone and are loved by someone as well.
So, I tried to make macarons for the first time! It was not so difficult but if I had paid more attention to the recipe I think they would have turned out better. Firstly, I didn't have a food processor so, my macarons ended up having crumbly texture and I think I should have folded them a little more. But if you don't make mistakes, you don't learn. There is always next time. The taste was very very nice at least and they had the right consistency inside and the champagne ganache is amazing, just make sure that you use a kind of champagne/sparkling wine that you like and something that is on the sweet side. The appearance could be better but there's always next time. Anyway, I will surely make macarons again and experiment with different flavours and follow the instructions carefully. Here is the recipe that I used:

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Vanilla Pannacotta with Raspberry coulis




Valentine's day is almost here and everything is dressed in the colours and shapes of love <3. Even though it is a holiday for the shops and the restaurants I think your love deserves to be celebrated. For those of you who will make a dinner home this is a very nice dessert to finish it and super easy to make. It is as sweet as it s needed and the raspberries give it just the amount of tartness to create a nice balance. This is a basic recipe for a pannacotta that I don't remember where I found ( I use it for years) and the raspberry coulis I put it together and cooked it in Martha Stewart's way. If you find it too sour, add more sugar, because it depends on how sour is the fruit you are using. So, here is the recipe.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Lemon Blondies




Valentine's day is pretty close and stores are all red and full of hearts and valentine gifts. Even if I don't really consider it as a real holiday, it is always fun to celebrate love <3 and a good excuse to bake.
This recipe is not in the valentine's spirit it is for those people that life gave them lemons. They are a ray of sunshine in the cold winter. So, I was craving something lemony the last days and I found this recipe. These blondies are delicious, especially for people that like lemons (obviously) and sweet and sour tastes. I think they are also great without the glaze; they have a nice balance. Perfect for your afternoon tea.

Friday, 31 January 2014

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread





I had a few ripe bananas looking at me in a very sad way, so, I decided I had to do something with them. I looked through the internet and I discovered this recipe for a banana bread. I hadn't tried banana bread so I went for it. Now I know that banana bread is actually cake. To be more precise a muffin in the shape of a loaf. This one I made is actually very tasty,it smells and taste so much banana and it is a great combination with the chocolate chips. Great for breakfast. I just think that with brown sugar it would be even more delicious so, that is what I'm going to do with my next ripe banana batch.

Monday, 27 January 2014

January 2014 Daring Bakers challenge: Baumkuchen



The January 2014 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Francijn of "Koken in de Brouwerij". She challenged us all to bake layered cakes in the tradition of Baumkuchen (tree cake) and Schichttorte (layered cake).
This was an interesting challenge. I hadn't heard of this cake before, so, it was nice to try something different and unknown. What was more interesting is the baking technique. You start baking one layer of the cake and then you add one layer at a time and bake it and when you cut the finished cake you can see the different layers. They look kind of the lines that you see inside a trunk and that is why it is called Baumkuchen (tree cake). You normally do that on broiler and because I don't have in my oven I was a bit worried that I will end up with a half-burnt cake but in the end it turned out perfect. The consistency and the taste were both amazing. I used the given recipe with some small changes and I loved how soft the cake turned out and I liked that it has marzipan since I love almonds. Here is the recipe then:

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Tiramisu Semifreddo



I love semifreddos and I love tiramisu. On New year’s eve that I had made a tiramisu along with the chocolate terrine, I had bought too much mascarpone and savoiardi, so, I found the perfect recipe to use them. A tiramisu semifreddo! It is very cold here the last days (-15 to -30oC), but it didn’t prevent me from making it. I love everything that has to do with ice cream no matter the weather.
The recipe that I used, is adapted from Leila Lindholm’s recipe. Because I’m a little scared of raw eggs I whisked them on a bain-marie to pasteurize them. If you are not scared of them or you are sure about them you can just whisk them in a bowl.(the yolks in one bowl and the whites in another).So, here is the recipe:

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Chocolate terrine with praline wafer sticks



I am posting this recipe a little late, since I made it for New year’s eve but better late than never. It is once more, one of the recipes of my favourite pastry chef in Greece, Stelios Parliaros. It is very chocolatey and a little piece is enough to send the sense of your taste to another level. So, here is the recipe and the link is for the video of the recipe where Stelios Parliaros is making it.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Irish Soda Bread





The holidays are over, it’s time to go back to reality and for some people (me included), time for new beginnings and new goals to achieve. So, good luck to everyone to whatever your goals are.
Today it was the official beginning of the working week, so, we started our week with a warm and cosy salmon soup and I also, made a quick and easy Irish soda bread to go along with the soup. It is a very nice solution to have bread in no time. I only had white flour, so, I made a white soda bread. Here is the recipe:

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Cheese and Christmas ham leftovers quiche lorraine




After Christmas we had so much leftover ham. Even the smallest ham is too much for two people, so after eating ham for some days and getting bored of it, I decided to make a quiche lorraine with what was left and it was delicious!  Next time instead of eating it for a lot of days I will make more things with it, I already have a few ideas.

Happy New Year 2014!!



Happy New Year everybody I hope this year is better than the other ones and that at least some of our dreams will become true! I hope everyone had a great time at New year’s eve! We had a very nice time at New year’s eve. We prepared a lot of food because we were twelve people but it was worth all the effort because it was very fun and what is better than celebrating among friends?