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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Passing on Food Blog Awards

And the winner is...
Last week I was honored to receive my first food blog awards. Yey! There are a whole bunch of them: the Sisterhood of the world bloggers award and Group of Awards including The Stylish blogger award, Kreativ blogger, Lovely blogger yummy recipes award, You are the best blogger, One lovely blog award and Lovely blogger award. And to make it even nicer, the awards were passed on to me by Gourmantine who has a beautiful blog that has been an inspiration to me ever since I’ve discovered it. Some of her recipes on my wish list to make are Macarons, Panna Cotta and Ice-cream Coffee . And there are many-many more delicious posts and photos. If you have not seen her blog, you must check it out :-).

Now following the award-winner tradition, I need to name 7 things about myself. So here they are:
1. I am one of those people who remember places they visit by the food they had there.
2. I started cooking after a summer-long trip to France, where I absolutely fell in love with French food and the whole ceremony and presentation around it. When I got back home I could not eat my mom’s food for a while – it was not plated nicely enough for me. So, being a student who could not afford dining out in French restaurants every day, I was forced to start cooking for myself.
3. Not surprisingly, I guess, French is my favorite cuisine to this day.
4. If I could change one thing about food that would be taking out the calories… A girl can dream…
5. A couple of years ago I managed to lose 55 lbs in 7 months (check out my Weightlossophy). Ever since, I have kept my weight around the “normal” mark. This has been a hard task with all these amazing recipes on my wish list.
6. Two years ago I started baking bread thanks to the amazing book “Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day” that I strongly recommend to everyone interested in bread baking. Now I rarely buy bread.
7. I love being a messy diner. I even came up with a personal motto: “First eat with your eyes…. then with your hands!” And don’t forget to lick the fingers :-).

And now to the best part: passing on the awards! This has been a really difficult decision – there are so many amazing blogs out there. But after long deliberations, here’s a list of the wonderful food blogs that I have the honor to pass the awards to (in alphabetical order):
P.s. Not quite related to the above, I finally managed (or so it seems) to upload my blog to Facebook.
So, in the style of the Cardigans: “I cry and I beg for you to Like me, Like me, say that you Like me” … :-) on Facebook (Cook book of trial and error)

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Friday, April 29, 2011

Mint Lemonade and Facebook Blog - plz Like me ;-)

I finally managed (or so I think) to upload my blog to Facebook. I am very new to Facebook, so it was a huge achievement for me. But nobody knows about it :-(.
So, in the style of the Cardigans “I cry and I beg for you to Like me, Like me, say that you Like me” … :-) on Facebook or Networked Blogs (Cook Book of Trial and Error) or invite me to be your friend (Cooking Rookie).
And now it’s time to celebrate with a refreshing Lemonade!

Source Improvised

5 (out of 5)

Difficulty 2 (out of 5)

For mint lemon water
- 1 small bunch of fresh mint
- zest of 2 lemons
- 2 liters / 1/2 gallon water
For individual lemonade
- juice of 1 lemon (25 cal)
- 1 tbsp sugar (45 cal)
Total 60 cal/serving

For mint lemon water
1. Wash the mint and the 2 lemons well. Using a peeler remove zest from the lemons. Boil 2 liters / 1/2 gallon of water and pour over the mint and the lemon zest. Let steep for several hours or overnight until it reaches room temperature.
2. When completely cool, pour the mint lemon water into a large jar through a sieve lined with a thick paper towel. Discard the mint and the lemon zest. Keep the mint lemon water in the fridge until needed for lemonade.
For individual lemonade
3. Juice 1 lemon, add 1 tbsp of sugar and 3/4 cup of chilled mint lemon water and blend well. Adjust sugar to taste. Decorate with fresh mint leaves and serve with ice cubes.

- This is my favorite lemonade. Mint goes amazingly well with the lemons and makes a wonderful refreshing drink for the summer.
- And it’s only 60 calories per serving – I thought it was 5 times more :-).

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Maple Mousse in Walnut Cups

The edible containers challenge from the Daring Kitchen.
Taste: 4 (out of 5)

Difficulty: 4 (out of 5)

Source: Evelyne of the blog Cheap Ethnic Eatz

For nut bowls
- 1 1/2 cups crushed walnuts , or other nuts of your choice (1200 cal)
- 1 egg, beaten, at room temperature (70 cal)
- 2 tbsp sugar (90 cal)
For maple mousse
- 1 cup / 240 ml pure maple syrup (not maple-flavored syrup) (800 cal)
- 4 large egg yolks (220 cal)
- 1 package / 7g/1 tbsp unflavored gelatin
- 1 1/2 cups / 360 ml whipping cream (35% fat content) (1230 cal)
For chocolate decoration
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate pieces (300 cal)
Total: 6 cups, 3910 cal, 650 cal / cup


For nut bowls
1. Use a food processor or a zip-lock back with a rolling pin to crush your nuts if whole, use about 1 cup of whole nuts to get 3/4 cups crushed. You want it somewhat coarse.
2. In a bowl mix the nuts with the beaten egg and the sugar.
3. Grease well 6 small 1/2 cup capacity muffin molds (I used silicon). Spread ¼ cup of the mixture in the bowl, all the way up to the sides making sure you have a thin and even clean layer all around.
4. Bake at 350F/175C. until the nuts are golden and fragrant (about 15 minutes). Let cool completely before unmolding.
For maple mousse
5. 1. Bring maple syrup to a boil then remove from heat.
6. In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and pour a little bit of the maple syrup in while whisking (this is to temper your egg yolks so they don’t curdle).
7. Add warmed egg yolks to hot maple syrup until well mixed.
8. Measure 1/4 cup of whipping cream in a bowl and sprinkle it with the gelatin. Let it rest for 5 minutes. Place the bowl in a microwave for 45 seconds (microwave for 10 seconds at a time and check it in between) or place the bowl in a pan of barely simmering water, stir to ensure the gelatin has completely dissolved.
9. Whisk the gelatin/whipping cream mixture into the maple syrup mixture and set aside.
10. Whisk occasionally for approximately an hour or until the mixture has the consistency of an unbeaten raw egg white.
11. Whip the remaining cream. Stir 1/4 of the whipped cream into the maple syrup mixture. Fold in the remaining cream and refrigerate for at least an hour.
12. Remove from the fridge and divide equally among your edible containers.
For chocolate decoration
13. Melt chocolate (either in the microwave or over a double boiler). Fill a small piping bag with a narrow tip (size 2 or 3) or even a small plastic sandwich bag. If using a plastic bag, cut the tip. Line a tray with parchment paper and pipe out maple leaf shapes. Place the sheet in the fridge for 10 minutes until chocolate hardens. Place the maple leaf on top of the maple mousse. You can also decorate the nut cups with chocolate, but this has to be done before filling them with the mousse :-).

- Lovely dessert, thanks so much, Evelyne, for hosting this month’s challenge! I really enjoyed making this recipe!
- My favorite part was the nut cup – such nice texture, a perfect container for mousse or cheesecake! And you don’t need to add butter to it :-), it’s all held together by an egg…
- The mousse itself was a lot of fun to make, but a little too much maple for my taste. But my boyfriend absolutely loved it.

Blog-checking lines: The April 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Evelyne of the blog Cheap Ethnic Eatz. Evelyne chose to challenge everyone to make a maple mousse in an edible container. Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 27th to May 27th at!

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Orange Glazed Rolls

Soft, sweet, warm, delicious and you don’t have to use cinnamon!!
Taste: 5 (out of 5)

3 (out of 5)

Gingerbread Bagels blog

For the dough
- 3/4 tbsp / 1 package active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup lukewarm water (110 – 115F)
- 1/4 cup sugar (195 cal)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature (140 cal)
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted (610 cal)
- 1/2 cup sour cream (250 cal)
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (1595 cal)
For the filling
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened (305 cal)
- 2 tbsp orange zest, finely grated
- 1/2 cup sugar (390 cal)
For the orange glaze
- 6 tbsp sugar (280 cal)
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened (200 cal)
- 1/4 cup sour cream (125 cal)
- 3 tbsp orange juice, from about 1/2 orange (20 cal)
Total: 9 rolls, 4110 cal, 410 cal/ roll (because you discard an equivalent of one roll)


For the dough
1. In a large mixing bowl or container combine the yeast and warm water and let it sit for 5 minutes until the yeast dissolves and becomes bubbly.
2. Add in the sugar, salt, eggs, melted unsalted butter sour cream and 2 cups of flour. Mix the ingredients together with a wooden spoon (if you like me don’t have a stand mixer). Gradually add in the remainder of the flour. At this stage you might need to start working with your hands.
3. Knead the dough for 6-7 minutes. Put the dough in an oiled bowl (or use the same container in which you mixed the ingredients) and cover with plastic wrap or lid. Place the bowl in a warm place to rest and rise for about 1.5 hours. After the dough has risen you can also refrigerate it, covered (not airtight) for several hours or overnight (that’s what I did); or you can proceed to the next stage without the refrigeration.
4. Sprinkle flour on the counter and your rolling pin. You don’t need much flour; the dough is not very sticky and really easy to work with (even for someone like me, who dreads rolling the dough). Roll the dough out into a 14×18 inch rectangle. Spread the softened unsalted butter over the dough. Leave a 1 inch border. Mix the grated orange zest with the sugar. Sprinkle the orange zest/sugar mixture over the butter and press it down a bit. Make sure you still leave a 1 inch border.
5. The 18 inch (the longer) side should be closest to you. Starting with the shorter sides, roll the dough over once on each side. Then from the bottom (the end closest towards you), tightly roll the dough away from you (see very instructive photos on Gingerbread Bagels).
6. Cut the ends of the dough off with a serrated knife or with a string and discard. Then cut the dough into 1 1/2 inch rolls. Place the rolls into a lightly greased 9 inch cake pan. Cover the rolls with plastic wrap and let them rise for 45 minutes. Bake the orange rolls at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
For the glaze
7. When the rolls are almost done baking (the last 5 minutes), begin on the orange glaze. In a small pot, whisk together the sugar, softened unsalted butter, sour cream and orange juice. Bring the mixture to a boil and continue to boil the glaze for 3 minutes.
8. Once the rolls are done baking, pour the glaze over the rolls. Serve warm.


- I’ve always loved the idea of cinnamon rolls, but… I can’t stand cinnamon … So I was super excited to see this recipe on Gingerbread Bagels blog (a wonderful website, by the way). And I had all the ingredients, so I knew it was my fate to make these rolls this weekend :-). And they turned out absolutely amazing! Yum yum yum!
- I made only very minimal changes to the original recipe – primarily I refrigerated the dough after the initial rise overnight, because it was getting very late, and then I rolled the dough out first thing in the morning. I don’t think this hurt the taste.
- The only thing I would have changes – I placed the rolls a bit too far from each other on a 9-inch square pan, and they were not pressed together when they baked, so they “unrolled” a bit :-). They don’t look as nice as the ones on the Gingerbread Bagels, but I could eat them with my eyes closed ;-).

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mini Ricotta Cheesecakes

A kind of cheese soufflé
Taste: 3 (out of 5)

2 (out of 5)

Source: Inspired by Chef Dennis


For the base
- 50 g animal crackers
- 50 g walnuts
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 3 tbsp melted margarine
For the cheesecake
- 200 g ricotta or farmers’ cheese
- 75 g sour cream
- 75 g yogurt
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp flour
Total 6 mini cakes

1. In a food processor combine the animal crackers and the walnuts and grind into meal. Add the butter and the sugar and continue blending until the butter is incorporated and wet enough to form.
2. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease 6 small muffin tins and press the nut-cracker mix into the tins. Bake for 7 minutes and remove from the oven.
3. Mix all the ingredients for the cheesecake in a blender and pour into the muffin tins over the base. Bake in a 375F oven for 45-50 minutes. The cheesecake will puff up like soufflé and the top will brown.
4. Remove from the oven, run a knife around the cheesecake and carefully invert the muffin tins to release the cakes. Let cool slightly and serve with fresh fruit or with cherry syrup, like in the photo.


- I bet the original recipe of Chef Dennis tastes much better, I made lots of substitutions, and my batter was probably much more liquid. I think it would have been better to use less yogurt and sour cream or use mascarpone and Greek yogurt, as in the original recipe, which I did not have.
- Baking this soufflé-like cake in muffin tins was not very smart; the soufflé collapses when you try to release the cakes from the tins. It’s much better to use a spring form pan, like in the original recipe.
- Anyways, I needed to use up my farmers cheese and this is a "cook book of trial and error" after all :-). And if you want a better recipe check out More than a mount full

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Broccoli Kale Frittata

Makes a great healthy brunch on a spring weekend, and only 140 calories.
Inspired by the Spinach Gratin from the Linden Tea blog -there are lots of beautiful recipes on that blog :-)

Taste 4 (out of 5)

Difficulty 2 (out of 5)


- 150 g / half medium-sized broccoli (50 cal)
- 3 large kale leaves (35 cal)
- 3 large eggs (210 cal)
- 1 clove garlic (5 cal)
- 3 green onions (5 cal)
- 1/3 cup shredded cheddar (or other) cheese (135 cal)
- 1 tbsp canola oil (120 cal)
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- salt and black pepper to taste
Total 560 cal, 4 servings, 140 cal/ serving

1. Roughly chop broccoli, kale, garlic and green onions.
2. In a large (9-10 inch) oven proof frying pan heat canola oil and sauté broccoli and garlic over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add kale and sauté for 2 more minutes.
3. Beat eggs with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Mix in the green onions. Pour the mixture into the frying pan over the broccoli and continue cooking for 10 more minutes on medium low heat.
4. In the meantime preheat the oven to 350F. Bake the frittata in the oven for about 10 minutes.
5. Sprinkle the ground cheese over the frittata, turn the broiler on and cook for about 5 more minutes until the cheese is melted and golden brown. If you don’t have a broiler increase the oven temperature to 450F and bake until the cheese melts.

My biggest mistake in this recipe was sautéing the kale. I should have boiled it or steamed it (like the steamed spinach in the Linden Tea recipe ). The broccoli becomes softer after sautéing and the texture is perfect for a frittata, but the kale turns crispy and flake, like kale fries :-). Other than that it’s a very nice satisfying meal, especially for a weekend brunch.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Bird's Milk Candy

Delicious, gentle, airy soufflé in dark chocolate.
This recipe is featured on RecipeNewZ

RecipeNewZ - great recipes, desserts, mains, cooking, baking
Source Improvised

5 (out of 5)

Difficulty 4 (out of 5)


- 3 egg whites (45 cal)
- 50 g sugar (195 cal)
- 75 g butter at room temperature (540 cal)
- 100 g sweetened condensed milk (415 cal)
- 1 tsp vanilla essence (5 cal)
- 1 tsp lemon essence (5 cal)
- 10 g gelatin
- pinch of salt
- 100 g dark chocolate (605 cal)
Total 1810 cal, 18 servings, 100 cal / serving

1. In a microwave-safe bowl sprinkle the gelatin over 2 tbsp cold water and let sit for 30 minutes.
2. Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks. Slowly add sugar and continue whisking until firm peaks form.
3. In a separate bowl beat the butter with the condensed milk, the vanilla and the lemon essences until uniform and creamy.
4. Microwave gelatin for 15 seconds or until all the gelatin dissolves. Pour the gelatin into the butter mixture. Stir until combined.
5. Using a rubber spatula gently fold the butter mixture into the egg whites until uniform.
6. Pour the soufflé into a parchment lined 5’’ x 7’’sheet and refrigerate for several hours or overnight until sets. Flip the set soufflé onto a cutting board, cut into small rectangular shapes.
7. Temper the chocolate (see detailed instructions on tempering here), dip the soufflé rectangles in the chocolate and place on a silicon lined baking sheet to set. Refrigerate.

- Tastes really great! I had several other much less successful attempts before, but this time I think it’s a winner.
- Don’t skip the essences – if you don’t have the lemon one, add finely grated lemon zest. 

- And this recipe is going to be featured on YBR (Your Best Recipe) by Spicie Foodie, one of my favorite food blogs! Yey!

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Greek Salad in a Bread Bowl

For the April 2011 Daring Cooks Edible Containers challenge

The bowl from Renata’s site


- cucumbers
- tomatoes
- red leaf lettuce
- dill
- olives
- feta cheese
- walnuts
- lemon juice
- olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste

For the bowl all the ingredients and instructions are on Renata’s site.
For the salad, chop the veggies and add the seasoning :-).

- First of all, I really LOVE the edible container idea! Thanks, Renata, for the challenge and for all the creative suggestions!
- I tried many different bowls, but I guess this was not my month – they all fell apart. The bread bowl was the only survival :-). I can’t wait to see the posts of the other Daring cooks with their recipes!

Blog-checking lines: Renata of Testado, Provado & Aprovado! was our Daring Cooks’ April 2011 hostess. Renata challenged us to think “outside the plate” and create our own edible containers! Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 17th to May 16th at!

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Chocolate Scone Balls

Scone, cheesecake and dark chocolate in one wonderful cute ball for only 100 calories!
Taste: 5 (out of 5)

4 (out of 5)

the cake ball idea inspired by The Food Junkie, scone cake adapted from, cream cheese icing improvised


For scone cake (2565 cal)
- 2 eggs (140 cal)
- 1 cup sugar (775 cal)
- 1 cup heavy cream (820 cal)
- 1/4 cup light sour cream (60 cal)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (10 cal)
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour (760 cal)
- 2 tsp baking powder
For cream cheese icing (1305 cal)
- 250 g / 1 package light cream cheese (665 cal)
- 1 cup light sour cream (240 cal)
- 1/2 cup sugar (390 cal)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or orange extract (10 cal)
- 1 tsp finely grated orange zest (optional)
For chocolate coating
- 250 g / 1 bar dark chocolate (1200 cal)
Total: 5070 cal, 50 balls, 100 cal / ball

For the scone cake
1. Beat eggs until thick and lemon colored; gradually beat in sugar; then add all the liquid ingredients. Stir in sifted dry ingredients. Beat well. You will have a gooey, thick batter.
2. Grease and flour a 7’’x11’’ baking pan and spread the batter evenly. Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
3. Let the cake cool in the baking pan for 5 minutes, then remove it from the pan and let rest on a cooling rack until completely cool.
4. In a large ball, crumble the cake with your fingers.
For the cream cheese icing
5. In a blender mix all the ingredients until incorporated and uniform.
For assembly
6. Add the icing to cake crumbs and mix well.
7. Roll mixture into small balls (about 1 inch in diameter). You can use a small cookie scoop to measure if you like. This recipe gives about 50 balls.
8. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place the cake balls on it. Chill the balls in the freezer for about 30 minutes.
9. Break the chocolate bar into small pieces (or use chocolate melts). Microwave the chocolate in 30 second segments, stirring after every segment, until all the chocolate is melted.
10. Using a fork, dip the chilled balls in melted chocolate, roll them around until coated, lift with the fork, let excess chocolate drip and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. When the chocolate on the ball is still warm, you can create some “artistic” effects with a fork, a toothpick or a brush.
11. Your chocolate will gradually harden from contact with the cold cake balls. You can either use small batches of chocolate, or simply re-melt the chocolate in microwave every time it stiffens.
12. When all the balls are coated and arranged on the cookie sheet, place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator to chill for about 20 minutes until the chocolate sets.

- YUM…. So moist and delicious, it tastes both like scones and like cheese cake, absolutely amazing with the dark chocolate.
- Crumbling the cake, rolling the balls and dipping in the chocolate can be a bit time consuming, but it can be a very fun “group” activity :-)
- The scone cake is a very tasty way to use up whipping cream that is about to expire.

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Honey Cake

.. with coffee and orange - yummy even for those who are not crazy about coffee cakes.
Source: Adapted from

Taste: 5 (out of 5)

1 (out of 5)

- 1/2 cup of honey (515 cal)
- 1/2 cup of brown sugar, not packed (275 cal)
- 2 eggs (140 cal)
- 1/2 cup black coffee (room temperature)
- 1/3 cup canola oil (635 cal)
- 1/2 fresh orange, juice, pulp and skin, grated fine (40 cal)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (910 cal)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 pinch of salt (⅛ teaspoon)
- 1/2 cup of dried cranberries or raisins (205 cal)
Total 2720 cal, 10 servings, 270 cal / serving


1. Mix the baking soda with the orange juice until bubbles form, and then mix all the ingredients except flour until uniform. At the end mix in the flour. The batter should be moderately loose, but not too loose.
2. Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan, and bake in an oven preheated to 350F for about an hour. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes and remove to the wire rack until completely cool.

- I am not crazy about honey cakes, but this one is really good. I suppose I would not have guessed that it has honey, had I not known.
- This recipe is very easy to make, and I love the fact that there is not much oil in it.

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