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Monday, July 9, 2012

Mango Banana Smoothie

Wonderful, healthy and refreshing
Source: The Slow Roasted Italian

Taste: 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 1 (out of 5)

- 1 banana, peeled
- 1 mango
- 1 cup plain yogurt or buttermilk
- 1 tbsp honey
Total: 2 servings

Mix the ingredients in a blender and serve.

- This is a wonderful drink, refreshing and filling and is a dessert in itself.
- This recipe is from The Slow Roaster Italian blog, an amazing website, with lots and lots of great recipes. This was my SRC assignment (see below) and I had a very long list of potential recipes to try. But having too many choices often leads to anxiety and inability to choose, as proven in a variety of behavioral psychology studies (see an overview here). And that's what happened to me: I could not decide almost up until the reveal date, and then I just put together the simplest recipe from the blog. In fact, I did not even prepare it, it was my bf. I hope it's not considered cheating by SRC guidelines :-).
- And last but not least, a word about SRC - the Secret Recipe Club. It's a group of over a hundred food bloggers, who are assigned a "secret" blog each months. Then they choose a recipe from that blog, make it and post it on their own blog on a given reveal day. Then there is a big party, where you hop form one blog to another and check what everyone's been cooking. Lots of fun! I want to thank Amanda, Jane and April for making it all possible!

This recipe is published on


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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Whole Farro Wheat Bread

Dense, rich and earthy whole grain bread! Perfect with anything savory. I suppose it's also healthy, but that's not why I love it.

Source: Improvised, inspired by Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Dayand the German Seed Bread - Dreikernebrot

Taste: 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 2 (out of 5)

- 3 cups of whey (or water or buttermilk)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
- 3 cups of white flour
- 3 cups of dark rye flour
- 1 cup of ground oats (I grind rolled oats with Magic Bullet)
- 2 tbsp ground caraway seeds
- 1 cup whole Farro wheat
- 1 1/2 tbsp salt
Total: 2 loaves

1. Mix all ingredients, in whichever order you like (better not to put salt and yeast right after each other, salt tends to kill yeast). You can mix all the ingredients by hand or using a stand mixer, such as my beloved KitchenAid mixer. not using the mixer, it’s best to mix the ingredients in a large bowl with a lid (4 gallon ice cream bucket is perfect for this quantity).
2. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise at room temperature for 2 hours.
3. Then transfer the dough to the refrigerator and refrigerate overnight or up to 5 days, to help the flavors develop.
4. On the baking day, line two 9 x 4 inch loaf pans with parchment paper (otherwise it will be very difficult to extract the bread from them).
5. With wet hands, to prevent the dough from sticking, divide the dough in half, shape leach half loosely into loaf shape and place into the baking pan. The dough is more like a cookie dough, rather than bread, it is not stretchy at all, but don’t worry, the bread will be dense and will not be falling apart.
6. Cover the pans with wet kitchen towels or thick wet paper towels and let them rise at room temperature for an hour. After an hour start preheating the oven to 450F. It should take about 30 more minutes.
7. After 90 minutes of rising, when your oven is hot the bread is ready to go in. It might have risen or might not have. Don’t worry, it should rise more in the oven. If you have a baking stone, cover the loaf pans with more parchment paper and place the baking stone on top. This way the loafs with be denser and squarer and your sandwiches will be more uniform. I think I saw this trick on a Julia Child’s show, but I am not sure.
8. Place the loaves with or without the stone on the them into the oven. Place a small bowl with about 1 cup of hot water in the oven to keep the moisture up. Close the oven door and bake for 45 minutes.
9. Be careful when removing the pans with the hot stone from the oven. Let the bread cool on wire racks to room temperature before slicing and eating.

- I absolutely love this bread. I bake 2 loaves, slice them and freeze them, and then I take out one or 2 slices at a time and heat them in a toaster.
- The good thing is that this bread is so thick that you can easily cut it into very thin slices, so it lasts very long and you eat less calories.
- This bread is perfect with anything savory. Some of my favorite combinations are: coconut oil (or butter) and Jarlsberg cheese, farmers’ cheese and smoked salmon with dill and green onions, with green salad and sunny side up egg, with lentil soup, etc.

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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Mascarpone Peach Cake

Perfect summer cake: moist, not too sweet and simply beautiful. Can also be made with apricots or nectarines.
Source: Slightly adapted from Apricot Mascarpone Cake @ Apron and Sneakers

Taste: 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 2 (out of 5 - the most difficult parts: beating eggs if you don’t have a stand mixer and slicing peaches ;-) )

- 125 g all-purpose flour
- 125 g mascarpone cheese
- 2 eggs
- 75 g white sugar
- 2 medium peaches for the cake + 1 for garnish
- a pinch of salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup icing sugar for dusting
- 2 tbsp rose petal (or other liquid jam)
- mint leaves for garnish
Total: one 8-inch cake

1. Beat eggs with sugar and salt until they double in volume and become light and fluffy. This is best done with stand mixer. In the meantime you can peel and finely chop 2 peaches.
2. In another bowl stir the mascarpone until it softens a little.
3. Add 1/4 of the beaten eggs into the mascarpone and mix to loosen the mascarpone. Then gently fold in the remaining eggs.
4. Add the flour, baking powder and vanilla extract and mix in gently.
5. Gently mix in the diced peaches.
6. Pour the mixture into an 8 inch greased baking pan and bake at 350F for about an hour. After 30 minutes in the oven, cover the cake loosely with aluminum foil, so that the top does not burn.
7. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely before removing it from the pan. Waiting for the cake to cool is also extremely difficult :-)
8. Remove the cake from the pan. Slice the remaining peach into thin slices and arrange them on top of the cake. Heat the jam in microwave for 20 seconds until it melts, and brush over the peaches. Sprinkle the cake with icing sugar and decorate with mint.


- This cake tastes absolutely delicious, it’s packed with peaches, it’s very delicate and not too sweet, in one word: perfect!
- The original recipe on Apron and Sneakers used apricots. I am sure nectarines would also be great in this cake. The quantities mentioned here are ½ of the original quantities. In fact, I made 2 8-inch cakes, which is exactly equal volume-wise to one 11-inch cake. Pick your size :-).
- This cake was love of first site: I was looking for a dessert to make for a party, and I was looking for a recipe to use my homemade mascarpone, and then I saw this beautiful cake, orange and shiny (and I am always attracted to anything orange). So I knew I was meant to make this cake. And it turned out as good as it looked on Rowena’s photo, and even my photo turned out decent. So I even decided to post this.
- By the way, if you don’t know Rowena’s blog, you should certainly check it out. Not only does it have delicious recipes, you can also find equally mouth-watering photos of Italy. See for yourselves.

This recipe is published on 

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