ORANGE, CARROT, AND PECAN CAKE

Indeed a delightful treat that, believe it or not, was being baked all the way back in the medieval times. It is a perfect desert to indulge on in autumn, packed with vitamins and minerals that will help you fight away flu and cold. Have you noticed that orange, carrot, and pecan cake perfectly matches with the colors of the leaves falling season? Traditional, rich, and moist carrot cake will never disappoint. It will spoil your taste buds with sweet taste of carrot, cinnamon, and nuts. Today you can try out my recipe with a new twist, it is spiced up with some tangy ginger and citrusy orange juice. Bake it either for Sunday brunch or for your next party, top it up with some creamy frosting, and without a doubt this delightful princess of desserts will be gone in no time. And the best part, no filing of guilt after eating that second slice, after all it is all just carrots.

Orange, carrot, and pecan cake

Slice of orange, carrot, and pecan cake

Ingredients:

  • 200 g all-purpose flour
  • 1tbs baking powder
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp ginger
  • 170g soft butter
  • 150g brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2tbs orange juice
  • 2 – 3 carrots
  • 60g chopped pecan nuts

Icing:

  • 150g cream cheese
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 3-4tbs thick orange jam
  • Grated orange peel
  • 1tbs orange juice

Tools:

  • 2 bowls
  • Whisker
  • Spatula
  • Round Cake baking tray

ingredients orange, carrot, and pecan cake

1. Step One: Combine All of the Dry Ingredients for The Cake Batter

Sift the flour in the medium bowl then add cinnamon, ginger and baking powder. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to mix until the ingredients are all evenly spread.

flour, ginger, cinnamon mix_orange-carrot-and-pecan-cake

2. Step Two: Prepare Carrots, Orange Juice, and Pecan Nuts

Peel and finely great 2 – 3 carrots. Use either chopping board and the knife or some more modern chopping device and chop up the nuts. If you can’t get your hands on pecans than walnuts would be the best substitute. Squeeze fresh orange juice from half of the orange or use orange juice from the store, keep in mind if you are using orange juice from the shop it probably has more sugar in it, so you might want to reduce the amount of sugar added to the cake by 1tbs.

chopped pecans

orange carrot and pecan

3. Step Three: Whisk Eggs, Brown Sugar, and Butter

Start with whisking the eggs, once you see bubbles forming on the surface add the sugar and whisk until they get well combined. Make sure your butter has been out of the fridge for a while and is soft enough to beat into the batter. Cut it into smaller cubes and whisk it into the sweet egg mixture.

Butter sugar and eggs for the orange, carrot, and pecan cake

Cake batter orange, carrot, and pecan cake

4. Step Four: Orange, Carrot, and Pecan Cake Batter

Take the dry ingredients mixture you prepared earlier and tip it into the sweet egg mix. Use a wooden spoon or spatula and stir until it forms a thick and smooth cream. Last but not least, add orange juice, chopped nuts, and grated carrots. Stir again until consistent.

Orange, carrot, and pecan cake batter

Cake batter orange, carrot, and pecan cake

Cake batter orange, carrot, and pecan cake

Cake batter orange, carrot, and pecan cake

5. Step Five: Bake Orange, Carrot, and Pecan Cake

Use a round cake pan somewhere around 9 inch / 23 cm. If you want to use a tray of the different shape, follow the link to read more about pan dimensions and volumes. Either cover your tray with baking paper or spread over it some butter. Pour in the cake batter and distribute it evenly around the whole pan. Make sure the oven is heat up to 320F/160C and bake the cake between 60 – 70 minutes. Check with the toothpick if the cake is ready before you take it out of the oven. Let the cake completely cool down before decorating it with the creamy icing.

Orange, carrot, and pecan cake

 

Orange, carrot, and pecan cake

Orange, carrot, and pecan cake

6. Step Six: Cream Cheese Icing for Orange, Carrot, and Pecan Cake

In a small bowl combine cream cheese, icing sugar, orange jam, grated peel of organic orange, and 1 table poon of fresh orange juice. Stir it well until you it reaches a smooth and light creamy texture. Use the spatula to spread it over the top of the cake.

ingredients for decorating orange, carrot, and pecan cake

Icing for Orange, carrot, and pecan cake

Icing for Orange, carrot, and pecan cake

Decorate orange, carrot, and pecan cake

Cover Orange, carrot, and pecan cake with the icing

7. Step Seven: Decorate Orange, Carrot, and Pecan Cake

Use fresh whole pecans and place them on the icing on the cake. Place the cake in the fridge or cover it with the cake cover and let it sit for some time, before you cut it and serve it to the guests.

Orange, carrot, and pecan cake

 

Orange, carrot, and pecan cake

Orange, carrot, and pecan cake

Slice of orange, carrot, and pecan cake

 

Slice of orange, carrot, and pecan cake

Orange, carrot, and pecan cake

Slice of orange, carrot, and pecan cake

Slice of orange, carrot, and pecan cake

Eaten slice of orange, carrot, and pecan cake

Delicious orange, carrot, and pecan cake

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LEMON, LIME, POPPY SEED MUFFINS

Looking for a refreshing sweet bite to serve on a hot summer day? Surprise your guests with this healthy and tasty Lemon, Lime, Poppy Seed Muffins. Lemon and lime give this muffins refreshing summer taste, poppy seeds make them reach, nutty and extra tasty, while butter makes a crunchy, mouth melting muffin top. I can ensures you if you bake them for the party, this delicious muffins will be gone in no time.

Baked lemon, lime, poppy seed muffins

Baked lemon, lime, poppy seed muffins

Baked lemon, lime, poppy seed muffins

Baked lemon, lime, poppy seed muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1/2
 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 2 
eggs
  • 1 3/4
 cups flour
  • 3
 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 
1 1/2 
teaspoons baking powder
  • 
1/2
 teaspoon salt
  • 1
 cup sugar
  • 1/2
 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3
 cup almond milk
  • 2
 teaspoons finely shredded lemon and lime peel
  • 5 
tablespoons lemon and lime juice

Tools:

  • Stand Mixer or Hand Mixer
  • Medium and Large Bowl
  • Muffin tray and Muffin Cups

Ingredients lemon lime and poppy seed muffins

 

1. Step One: Butter Batter

In the mixing bowl combine butter, sugar, vanilla extract, lemon and lime juice and peel and beat into a thick consistent cream. Add one egg at the time, making sure the eggs get properly mixed into a consistent batter.

Sugar and butter with vanilla

Lemon, lime peel, juice

Citrus poppy seed muffins batter

Add egg to citrus poppy seed muffins

Citrus poppy seed muffin batter

2. Step Two: Milk and Poppy Seed

Heat up almond milk and pour it over poppy seeds. This will bring out the rich flavor from the poppy seeds. Set aside to cool down.

Almond milk with poppy seed

3. Step Three: Flour Mixture

In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Stir it well and set aside.

Mix flour salt baking powder for citrus poppy seed muffins

4. Step Four: Finish up the Lemon, Lime, Poppy Seed Muffins Batter

Set the stand mixer on low speed and gradually add milk and flour mixture into the butter batter. Stir gently until consistent.

Lemon lime poppy seed muffin batter

Lemon lime poppy seed muffin batter

5. Step Five: Fill up the Muffin Cups

Fill muffin tray with your favorite paper muffin cups. Then fill them with delicious batter.

Fill muffin cups with citrus poppy seed muffin batter

Fill muffin cups with citrus poppy seed muffin batter

6. Step Six: Bake Lemon, Lime, Poppy Seed Muffins

Bake lemon, lime, poppy seed muffins in the pre heated oven at 350F / 280C about 15 minutes. Try if the muffins are ready with a toothpick test. Your muffins are ready if the inserted toothpick comes out clean.

 

Baked lemon, lime, poppy seed muffins

 

Baked lemon, lime, poppy seed muffins

Baked lemon, lime, poppy seed muffins

Baked lemon, lime, poppy seed muffins

Baked lemon, lime, poppy seed muffins

Baked lemon, lime, poppy seed muffins

Baked lemon, lime, poppy seed muffins

 

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MUSSEL SHRIMP BUZARA

You ask what is Buzara? It is a Mediterranean wine and tomato seafood sauce. The recipe is very simple. Use fresh ingredients and you can’t go wrong with this tasty seafood Adriatic dish. All you will need is a few basic but fresh ingredients and 30 minutes of your time. Buzara is traditional dish in Dalmatia, Croatia and is usually prepared with either mussels or shrimps. Today I decided to combine both in one dish and present you a recipe for Mussel Shrimp Buzara.

Mussel Shrimp Buzara

Mussel Shrimp Buzara

Mussel Shrimp Buzara

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1.5 lb fresh mussels
  • 1 lb fresh shrimp
  • 1 whole garlic bulb
  • rosemary and thyme
  • fresh parsley
  • 0.3 – 0.4 l white wine
  • 2 ripe red tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup bread crumb

Tools:

  • Large cooking pan or wok
  • chopping board and knife

Ingredients Mussel Shrimp Buzara

1. Step One: Stir Fry Onion

Chop onion into small equal sized cubes. Tip them in the pan and add 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 cup butter. Stir fry until onions become slightly translucent.

Chop Onion

Butter and Olive Oil With Onions

Stir Fry Onions for Mussel Shrimp Buzara

 

2. Step Two: Stir Fry Mussels

When the onions are soft and creamy add washed mussels. Mussels are cooked live, so if you come across open dead mussel throw it away. Not all opened mussels are dead, you can check if an opened mussel is still alive by squeezing it. If the mussel closes itself then it is safe to use. Add mussels and half bulb of thinly sliced garlic to the wok and cook for about 10 minutes or until majority of mussels opens up in the pot.

*Read more about how to handle mussels.

Stir Fry Onions and Mussels

Chopped Garlic

Add Garlic Mussel Shrimp Buzara

3. Step Three: Spices and Flavors for Mussel Shrimp Buzara

Chop two large, juicy tomatoes into desirable size pieces and add them to the pan. Pour over 0.3 – 0.4 l of white wine. Stir and cook for few more minutes before adding rosemary and thyme. If you wish you can also add some oregano.

Add Tomato and Wine Add Garlic to Mussel Shrimp Buzara

Add Herbs to Mussel Shrimp Buzara

Add Herbs to Mussel Shrimp Buzara

4. Step Four: Add Shrimp to Mussel Shrimp Buzara

Lastly add washed shrimps. Let them cook for about 10 minutes before adding 1/2 cup bread crumbs. Bread crumb will thicken the sauce and make it more creamy. If you prefer lighter version feel free to skip on bread crumbs. But make sure to add the other half of thinly sliced garlic and a good dash of chopped parsley. To ensure the best flavor add this just before you serve the dish.

Add Shrimp to Mussel Shrimp Buzara

Add Shrimp to Mussel Shrimp Buzara

Cook Shrimp in Mussel Shrimp Buzara

Chop Parsley and Garlic

Add Scampi and Fresh Parsley

Add Breadcrumb to Mussel Shrimp Buzara

5. Step Five: Serve Mussel Shrimp Buzara

You can eat Mussel Shrimp Buzara by itself as a seafood stew or you can add some carbs to it. Boiled or roasted potato with rosemary goes very well with this seafood dish. But today I decided to make homemade pasta and serve this indulgent seafood stew over the delicious homemade egg noodles. Click here for the recipe for delicious homemade egg pasta.

Mussel Shrimp Buzara

Mussel Shrimp Buzara

Mussel Shrimp Buzara

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GREEN TEA MATCHA BANANA TIRAMISU

Tiramisu is one of our favorite sweet tooth bites. If you are not a big fan of matcha you can also find the traditional coffee tiramisu recipe here. We love it because it is not too sweet, not too bitter, and slightly alcoholic. While searching for inspiration and looking at all the incredible photos of tiramisu prepared with green tea I decided to come up with my version of Green Tea Matcha Banana Tiramisu. I think green tea nicely balances the sweetness from cookies and banana, while almond milk adds a slightly nutty flavor and finally rum gives it the proper kick. It is so incredibly creamy and delicious that after you take the first bite you wont stop until it is all gone.

Green Tea Matcha Banana Tiramisu

Green Tea Matcha Banana Tiramisu

Ingredients:

  • Matcha Powder (learn more)
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 Mascarpone Cheeses
  • 6 TBS of Brown Sugar (for a healthier option use honey or coconut sugar)
  • 1 Pack Ladyfingers Cookies
  • 1 Cup Almond Milk
  • 1/3 Cup Rum

Tools:

  • Wooden Spoon or Spatula
  • Whisker or Hand Mixer
  • 2 Medium Size Bowls
  • Serving Cup, Jar, Bowl or Glass

Ingredients Seperate Eggs for Green Tea Matcha Banana Tiramisu

1. Step One: Make Mascarpone Egg Cream for Green Tea Matcha Banana Tiramisu

Start with separating egg whites from yolks. Beat egg whites into a thick foam and set aside. Then mix 6 TBS of sugar with egg yolks and beat into airy and light cream. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to mix mascarpone cheese with egg yolk cream. When smooth and consistent gently stir in egg white foam.

Seperate Eggs for Green Tea Matcha Banana Tiramisu

Egg Yolk

Egg Cream with Mascarpone

Egg White Foam  Egg Cream with Mascarpone

Egg Cream with Mascarpone

2. Step Two: Matcha Dip

In a medium bowl combine 1/3 cup rum and 1 cup almond milk. Add 2 – 3 TSP of matcha powder. Use whisker and whisk until matcha gets dissolved.

Matcha Dip For Green Tea Matcha Banana Tiramisu

3. Step Three: Dip Ladyfingers Into Matcha Dip

One by one dip ladyfingers into matcha dip. Make sure you turn them around so they get juice in on both sides. Don’t leave them in the matcha dip for too long, they might become too soft and start breaking apart. Let each cookie soak for about 3 seconds on each side then place it into the serving bowl.

Dip Cookie in Matcha Dip

Green Tea Matcha Banana Tiramisu Cookie Layer

4. Step Four: Create Layers of Ladyfingers, Cream, and Banana

After first layer of ladyfingers soften in matcha dip it’s time for a layer of green tea cream. Divide mascarpone cream into two parts and dye one green with matcha powder. Add approximately 5 TBS of matcha or more if you prefer greener color of the cream. If you are using unsweetened matcha it is a good idea to also add 5 TBS of powdered sugar, so the cream doesn’t taste too bitter. Spread green matcha cream over the first layer of ladyfingers, then cover it with slices of banana. Now apply another layer of ladyfingers, that have been soaked in the matcha dip. Finally spread the white mascarpone cream on top and sprinkle with some matcha powder. Decorate with some remaining ladyfingers.

Green Tea Matcha Banana Tiramisu Matcha Layer

Green Tea Matcha Banana Tiramisu Cookie Layer

Green Tea Matcha Banana Tiramisu Top Layer

Seperate Eggs for Green Tea Matcha Banana Tiramisu

Green Tea Matcha Banana Tiramisu

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STRAWBERRY JAM BREAD BUNS

Strawberry jam bread buns are one of those childhood dessert I will remember for ever. My grandmother was able to create this most delicious thing out of just few ingredients from the local farm. She would use eggs that have been laid that same morning and milk that have been milked at neighbor’s farm. Grandparent’s house and garden are surrounded by fruit trees and bushes; therefore, every year she would make many different kinds of fruit jams. From apple to plum, apricot, raspberry and my absolute favorite, strawberry jam. There wasn’t a time in my childhood that we would arrive to my grandparents house and there wouldn’t be a delicious dessert in the oven. I still remember the smell of freshly baked strawberry jam bread buns. As a child I would run to the kitchen and beg my grandmother to open the oven and tear one strawberry jam bread bun for me. The buns are definitely most delicious when they are still warm. Butter makes the outside crunchy and mouth melting while dough, beaten by hands for a long time, formed a soft and fluffy consistency inside the bun. Sweet jam is overflowing because my grandmother would put a lot of jam filling inside each bun. I must admit this habit stayed with me; therefore, nowadays I too fill bread buns with a lot of jam.

Baked Strawberry Jam Bread Buns

Baked Strawberry Jam Bread Buns

Ingredients:

Tools:

  • Baking Tray
  • Oven
  • Rolling Pin

Ingredients Strawberry Jam Bread Buns

1. Step one: Making Yeast Dough

First and most important rule whenever you make dough with yeast is: make sure the room is warm and no windows are opened. If you follow this rule your dough will grow and bread will be soft and fluffy.
In a large mixing bowl combine dry ingredients flour, dried yeast, salt and sugar and mix them well. Then add room temperature butter (it is best to let butter out of the fridge over night), milk, and lastly eggs. Use the hand mixer to form the dough. I let my stand mixer process the dough for 10 – 15 minutes, adding more flour as needed. The dough is ready when it doesn’t stick to the side of the bowl anymore. Dust it with some more flour on top and underneath then place the bowl with the dough in a warm place to rest.

*I heat up the oven to 50 C / 320 K and turn it off right before placing the bowl with dough in it. Let it rest there for at least half an hour. Don’t open the oven door.

Dough Strawberry Jam Bread Buns

Dough Strawberry Jam Bread Buns

Dough Strawberry Jam Bread Buns

Dough Strawberry Jam Bread Buns

Dough Strawberry Jam Bread Buns

Dough Strawberry Jam Bread Buns

Dough Strawberry Jam Bread Buns

Dough Strawberry Jam Bread Buns

2. Step Two: Making Bread Buns

Once the dough has rises up to the top of the bowl it’s time to roll it out on the table or counter top that have been generously dusted with flour. Don’t roll it too thin because it will break easily and will be harder to form buns. Cut it into squares and place 1 – 2 spoons of favorite jam in the middle of each square then use your fingers to pul the corners together and press them from all sides so jam gets nicely packed in the middle. place the buns in the baking tray, placing the pressed side down.

*If the dough is too sticky dust your hands and surface with more flour.

Dough Strawberry Jam Bread Buns

Dough Strawberry Jam Bread Buns

Make Strawberry Jam Bread Buns

Make Strawberry Jam Bread Buns

Strawberry Jam Bread Buns

3. Step Three: Coat Strawberry Jam Bread Buns With Melted Butter

Melt the butter in the warm oven or in the microwave. Use the brush and cover all buns with decent amount of butter. Make sure butter gets in between buns, that will make it easier to break apart after they get baked. Cover buns with kitchen cloth and let them rest for another 20 minutes before placing them in the heated oven. Bake at 180 C / 450 K for 30 – 40 minutes.

Melted Butter

Cover Strawberry Jam Bread Buns with Butter

Baked Strawberry Jam Bread Buns

Baked Strawberry Jam Bread Buns

Baked Strawberry Jam Bread Buns

Baked Strawberry Jam Bread Buns

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HOMEMADE STRAWBERRY JAM

Jam is an old way to preserve fruits, using sugar as a preservative. Nowadays you can use brown or coconut sugar and result is a much healthier jam from the ones you can get in the store. Always use ripe fruits to ensure best possible taste and aromas. When making homemade jam it is also important to keep in mind that fruits need to have a certain level of fruit acids, sugars, and pectin in order to form a thick consistent jam. Strawberries have average amount o pectin and low level of acidity; therefore it is advisable to add either lemon, lime juice or a sour green apple. Today I will combine strawberries with lemon juice and green apple, that will make 4 jars of delicious homemade strawberry jam.

Homemade Strawberry Jam

Homemade Strawberry Jam

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg Organic Fresh Strawberries
  • 1/2 kg Brown Sugar
  • 100 ml Water
  • Lemon
  • Green Apple
  • Bag of Gelatin

Tools:

  • Chopping Board
  • Knife
  • Small pot
  • Large pot
  • Wooden Spoon

Ingredients Homemade Strawberry Jam

1. Step One: Wash and Cut Fruits

Wash strawberries and cut out green leaves from the top. Place them into a large cooking pot. Cut bigger pieces in half or quarters, then peel the apple and use a grater to get smaller pieces. Don’t worry abut the size, because latter when you cook jam the pieces will almost completely dissolve.

Cut strawberries

Clean, cut, and peel fruit

Strawberries and apple

2. Step Two: Mix Lemon With Fruit and Water With Sugar

In a large pot pour freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice over the strawberries. Move pot to the stow and bring to boil. In a separate smaller pot combine sugar and water and bring to boil. Cook for about 15 minutes until it forms a thick sugary syrup.

Lemon juice for Homemade Strawberry Jam

Strwberries apple and lemon juice

Water and sugar mix

3. Step Three: Combine Sugary Syrup and Cooked Fruits

Be careful when pouring hot sugary syrup into the boiling fruits pot. Stir it in well and mash the fruits with the wooden spoon until they are desirable sizes. If you prefer jam without fruit pieces you can use hand blander to bland all the fruits into one consistent marmalade. Cook for about 15 – 20 more minutes or until the jam starts to thicken.

Cook Homemade Strawberry Jam

Cook Sugar Syrup for Cook Homemade Strawberry Jam

Combine Sugar syrup and cooked fruit

 

4. Step Four: Add Gelatin to Homemade Strawberry Jam

In a small glass combine 1/4 cup water and one small bag of gelatin. Stir well so it becomes consistent then mix it into the boiling fruit jam. Cook for about 5 more minutes. You can perform a plate test. Using a spoon take a drop of jam on drop it into the cold plate. Turn the plate sideways and if jam doesn’t run off then your marmalade is thick enough and ready to be packed into glass containers.

Gelatin mix

Cooked Homemade Strawberry Jam

Cooked Homemade Strawberry Jam

5. Step Five: Fill up Glass Jars with Hot Jam

Wash glass jars with hot water, dry them with clean kitchen towel and fill them up with the jam. Wipe any drops of jam that got around the jar and then seal the jar with the lid. You can also turn the jars upside down so the vacuum seals the jar, in this case your jam will last longer. Let the homemade strawberry jam cool down completely before serving it with piece of bread and butter or crepe. Here is also another delicious recipe to use this jam for Buhteljni (Slovenian sweet bread buns with jam).

Homemade Strawberry Jam

Homemade Strawberry Jam

 

 

Homemade Strawberry Jam

Homemade Strawberry Jam

Homemade Strawberry Jam

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ROASTED CHICKEN WITH SPICY HARISSA CHICKPEAS

Finally time has come to share another spicy recipe. Ever since I came across African Harissa sauce I have been wanting to make a spicy dish using this incredible ingredient packed with indulgent flavors. This mouth melting roasted chicken with spicy Harissa chickpeas will without a doubt satisfy all chicken lovers out there. Even if you are not very crazy about chili you can try using a little less Harissa sauce and substitute it with a little bit more tomato paste, garlic, saffron, coriander, and dried roses. Read more about indulgent Harrisa sauce here and if you are brave enough follow the recipe and try making it yourself from the scratch.

Serve Season Roasted Chicken with Spicy Harissa Chickpeas

Serve Season Roasted Chicken with Spicy Harissa Chickpeas

Ingredients:

  • 4 Chicken Tights
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • Small Onion
  • 1 Cup Chickpeas
  • 3 TBS Tomato Paste
  • 1/4 cup Harissa Sauce
  • 1/2 cup Soup Broth (Chicken or Vegetable)
  • 2-3 TBS Olive Oil
  • Salt and Black Pepper
  • Parsley
  • Lemon
  • Rice

Tools:

  • Knife and Chopping Board
  • Large Pan or Wok
  • Baking Tray or Casserole Dish
  • Wooden Spoon or Spatula

Ingredients Roasted Chicken with Spicy Harissa Chickpeas

 

1. Step One: Cook Chickpeas

Soak raw chickpeas in cold water over night. Next day pour away the water chickpeas were soaking in and rinse them under cold water. Cook them for about 45 minutes then set aside.

cook chickpeas

2. Step Two: Season and Grill Chicken

Before seasoning rinse chicken pieces under cold water. For this dish it is better to use chicken pieces with bone and skin. After washing apply salt and black pepper over both sides of each chicken piece. Heat up 2 TBS of olive oil and add chicken pieces into the pan. Grill each side for about 5 minutes or until slightly brown and when you can see chicken skin getting crunchy and crispy. Then move chicken pieces from the pan into the baking tray, make sure skin is facing up, so it will stay crunchy after baking. Save pan with oil for later use.

Season Roasted Chicken with Spicy Harissa Chickpeas

grilled chicken

3. Step Three: Cut Garlic and Onion and Stir Fry with Sauce

Crush 3-4 garlic cloves and dice them into small pieces. Dice one small onion into approximately same size small cubes. Toss them into heated oil in the pan and stir fry for about 5 minutes or until they become slightly translucent then add 2-3 TBS of tomato paste. Stir and simmer for few minutes then add 1/2 cup chicken broth following by 1/4 cup spicy Harissa sauce. Stir and bring to boil before adding 1 cup of chickpeas. You can use ones from the can or cook them yourself. Stir them evenly into the sauce and simmer for few more minutes then pour spicy chickpea sauce over the chicken pieces in the baking tray or casserole dish.

chop garlic and onion

garlic onion harissa sauce

chickpeas in spicy harrisa sauce

chickpeas in spicy harrisa sauce

Roasted Chicken with Spicy Harissa Chickpeas

4. Step Four: Bake Roasted Chicken with Spicy Harissa Chickpeas

Pre heat the oven to 400 F and bake spicy chicken with chickpeas for about 25 – 40 minutes. Baking time depends on the size of chicken pieces. If you used bigger chunks than baking time should be longer, smaller pieces should be done faster. Make sure chicken pieces are half way dipped in spicy red sauce when baking, if necessary you can pour some more soup broth over to keep chicken juicy and moist.

Roasted Chicken with Spicy Harissa Chickpeas

 

Roasted Chicken with Spicy Harissa Chickpeas

5. Step Five: Serve Roasted Chicken with Spicy Harissa Chickpeas

After chicken becomes brown and skin is crispy, take it out of the oven and sprinkle chopped parsley on top. Serve with boiled rice and lemon wedge on the side. Bon appetite!

 

Serve Season Roasted Chicken with Spicy Harissa Chickpeas

Roasted Chicken with Spicy Harissa Chickpeas

Eat Roasted Chicken with Spicy Harissa Chickpeas

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GNOCCHI WITH MUSHROOMS IN CREAMY TRUFFLE SAUCE

Gnocchi are little creamy dumplings usually prepared out of semolina, potato or flour. Many times combination of all of the above ingredients. Usually they are used to replace pasta; therefore, they go very well with almost any pasta sauce. Today I will share with you a simple, but delicious, mushroom and truffle sauce recipe. It is incredibly easy to make and takes less than 20 minutes of your time. Surely this is one of those last minute recipes that you will keep forever, either for a last minute meal when unexpected guests show up or for a quick, tasty dinner after a long day. Try it out and decide for yourself if gnocchi with mushrooms in creamy truffle sauce is a keeper.

Serve Gnocchi with mushrooms in creamy truffle sauce

Serve Gnocchi with mushrooms in creamy truffle sauce

Ingredients:

Tools:

  • Chopping Board
  • Knife
  • Pan
  • Cooking Pot
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Small Bowl
  • Hand Whisker of Fork

Ingredients Gnocchi with mushrooms in creamy truffle sauce

1. Step one: Cut Garlic and Mushrooms

Peel, crush, and dice about 4 garlic cloves into very small pieces. Set aside while you cut up the mushrooms into desirable sized slices. I usually cut them up thinly and not much larger than the size of gnocchi.

Diced Garlic

sliced mushrooms

sliced mushrooms in the box

2. Step Two: Cook Gnocchi

In a medium sized pot bring around 1l of water to boil. Add some salt and when it reaches boiling temperature dump in gnocchi. Let them cook according to the instructions specified on the box, but make sure once they float up to the surface of the water to stop the cooking process. Pour out the hot water and rinse under cold water, so they don’t become mushy.

Gnocchi

Cooked Gnocchi

3. Step Three: Mushroom and Truffle Sauce

In a pan heat up 2-3 TBS of olive oil and once hot add diced garlic and sliced mushrooms. Stir fry until mushrooms get nice light brown color. Season with 1 tsp of salt and black pepper and decent amount of parsley just before adding 2 TBS of white truffle sauce. In a separate bowl whisk one whole egg, 2-3 TBS of sour cream and 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream. Use hand whisker or fork to whisk until the evenly consistent. Pour the cream sauce over the grilled mushrooms. Turn the heat to to low and use the wooden spoon to stir it in evenly.

grill the in olive oil garlic

stirfry mushrooms

Grilled Mushrooms

mushrooms with parsley and garlic

white tartufata truffle sauce

add truffle paste to mushrooms

Egg Cream Sauce

Egg Cream Over Mushrooms

Mushroom Truffle Sauce

4. Step Four: Serve Gnocchi with Mushrooms in Creamy Truffle Sauce

Cut some parsley and tip it into the sauce just before serving. Parsley gently connect mushroom and garlic flavors. On each plate place 1/2 a cup of gnocchi and pour the creamy mushroom and truffle sauce over. Use some fresh parsley to decorate the plate and to enhance the truffle flavor sprinkle few drops of truffle oil over the dish or on the side of the plate.

Serve Gnocchi with mushrooms in creamy truffle sauce

Serve Gnocchi with mushrooms in creamy truffle sauce

Serve Gnocchi with mushrooms in creamy truffle sauce

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SEAFOOD PASTA

This is a very simple, light, and delicious way to prepare seafood. Actually all the credit goes to my boyfriend, since he is the one that introduced this delicacy to me. The recipe calls for simple, basic ingredients while the most important aspect when cooking this seafood pasta is to get  fresh and high quality ingredients. Try to get fresh seafood from a local fish market and choose most recently caught seafood. Also tomato will taste much better, and will provide more delicious juice, if it’s from a local farm. This dish proves that all the little things mater, so if you want a delicious dinner trust me spend a little more time getting local, fresh ingredients. Seafood sauce will taste absolutely heavenly. A great way to make this meal a true five star dish is to use freshly made squid ink pasta.

seafood pasta sauce add squid

seafood pasta

Ingredients:

  • Any 2-3 of the Local Fresh Seafood:
    • Squid
    • Shrimp
    • Fish
    • Octopus
    • Scallops
    • Mussels
  • Local White Wine
  • 3 Tomatoes From the Farm
  • 2 – 3 Onions (Shallots)
  • 1 Cup Olive Oil
  • Parsley or Cilantro
  • Pasta

 

Tools:

  • Chopping board
  • Knife
  • Cooking pot

seafood pasta ingredients

1. Step One: CLEAN AND CUT THE SEAFOOD

You can always ask at the fish market to get cleaned seafood. Sometimes when they get really fresh ingredients this is not possible and at this occasion you should scrub the mussels and clean the squid. It is important to properly clean and remove the inside of the squid.  Then it’s time to cut up seafood into desirable sized pieces.

cut the seafood

cut the seafood

2. Step Two: PRECOOK SQUID

A trick to a very soft squid. Boil 2 cups of water and add cleaned and cut up squid. Boil for 5 minutes and set aside.

cooked squid

3. Step Three: COOK PASTA

For this recipe I like to use long and thick pasta. I tried it with spaghetti and it turns out pretty well as well. But my all time favorite, beside the homemade pasta, is surly squid ink pasta. For this dish there really isn’t anything that would connect the whole dish more perfectly than the squid ink. If possible go for the fresh squid ink pasta, its so worth spending few dollars more.

pasta

4. Step four: THE PASTA SAUCE

Chop onions and tomatoes into small cubes and tip them in the hot oil. Stir fry for 5 minutes before adding octopus. Then scoop out the squid from the other pot and add it to the pasta sauce. If tomatoes weren’t very juicy pour some of the water in which squid has been cooking. Also add 1/2 – 1 cup of white wine and let it steam over low flame bubbling gently for few minutes. Add scallops or mussels and pieces of fish and stir occasionally for next 5 to 10 minutes, until all your shells open up. Lastly add shrimp, you don’t want to over cook it because it will become very dry and lost its flavor. Cook for few more minutes or until you can see shrimp changed its color to slightly orange.

sliced onions

chopped tomato

tomato and onion seafood sauce base

seafood pasta sauce add baby octapus

seafood pasta sauce with white wine

5. Step Five: SERVE SEAFOOD PASTA

Place cooked pasta on the plate and in the middle pour some of the seafood pasta sauce, then carefully scoop out seafood and place it on top of pasta. Cut up parsley or cilantro and sprinkle on top.
*Tip: If you like more creamy taste grate a little Parmesan cheese on top of the dish. Serve hot and with a glass of local white wine.

seafood pasta

seafood pasta

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WALNUT & CHEESE CREPES AU GRATIN

Gratin is a widespread culinary technique in which a dish, in today’s case crepes, is topped with a browned crust, often using breadcrumbs, grated cheese, egg and/or butter. Today I will reveal my favorite creamy topping made out of egg, sour cream, and heavy whip cream.  You can substitute walnut crepes filling with any other preferred ingredient. Cottage cheese and dried or fresh fruits are a great refreshing option on a sunny day while nuts are a bit heavier and will warm you up on a rainy day. For all the chocolate lovers I would advise to use Nutella for your crepes filling and egg with whip cream gratin on top. Serve with shredded coconut and preferred fresh fruit. Try out the delicious walnut & cheese crepes au gratin, anyone deserve a sweet treat here and there right?

WALNUT & CHEESE CREPES AU GRATIN

WALNUT & CHEESE CREPES AU GRATIN

WALNUT & CHEESE CREPES AU GRATIN

WALNUT & CHEESE CREPES AU GRATIN

 

Ingredients:

  • Crepes:
    • 2 eggs
    • 480 ml / 2 cups milk
    • 1 TBS oil
    • pinch of salt
    • 1 cup flour
    • 2 tbs sugar
    • *extra oil to grease the pan
  • Walnut Filling:
    • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
    • 1 cup cottage cheese
    • 1/4 cup sour cream
    • 4 TBS sugar
    • 1 TBS rum (optional)
    • 2 eggs
  • Gratin:
    • 250 ml / 1 cup whip cream
    • 3 TBS sour cream
    • 1 egg
    • vanilla essence

Tools:

  • Wok or Frying Pan
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Whisker
  • Spatula
  • Oven
  • Casserole Pan

WALNUT & CHEESE CREPES AU GRATIN ingredients

1. Step One: Crepe Batter

In a large mixing bowl combine 2 eggs and 2 TBS sugar. Whisk until smooth and bubbly before adding half of the flour, 2 TBS oil, and  half of the milk. Whisk until consistent and then add the rest of the milk and flour.

crepe batter add milk

crepe batter add oil

mix crepe batter

2. Step Two: Bake Your Crepe

In wok or frying pan heat up little oil. Scoop 1/4 cup of crepe batter at the time. Spread around the pan, so it forms a round shape crepe. Bake it on each side for about half a minute or until light brown. Set the pile of pancakes on the plate.

pancake pan

bake pancake

bake pancake

baked crepes pancakes

3. Step Three: Walnut and Cottage Cheese Filling

In a medium mixing bowl separate egg whites from yolks. Whisk egg yolks together with sugar until they forms a creamy texture and set aside, you will use egg yolks for the gratin.  Beat egg whites into a thick snow then use the wooden spoon to stir in walnuts, cottage cheese, and sour cream. Lastly stir in sweet egg yolk cream.

pancake filling walnut & cottage cheese batter

pancake filling walnut & cottage cheese batter

pancake filling walnut & cottage cheese batter

4. Step Four: Spread the Filling Over Each Crepe

Use the batter knife or plastic spatula to spread approximately 2 TBS of walnut filling over each crepe. Roll each crepe into a small roll and place into batter greased casserole pan, repeat this process, until the pan is completely filled up with crepe rolls.

spread pancake filling walnut & cottage cheese batter

spread pancake filling walnut & cottage cheese batter

rolled pancake

crepes in casserole pan

crepes casserole

5. Step Five: Gratin Batter

Use fork to whisk the egg with vanilla essence, and if you have a sweet tooth, tip in few TBS of sugar. Use the wooden spoon and stir in whipping cream and sour cream. Pour the mixture over your crepe rolls. Make sure they are completely covered with the gratin batter, this will ensure your crepes stay juicy and moist.

gratin batter

gratin batter

casserole dish au gratin

6. Step Six: Bake and Serve Walnut & Cheese Crepes au Gratin

Bake the dish for about 25 minutes in the pre heated oven at 180 C. Serve a few baked rolls per person. On the side you can give out some fresh fruit and a homemade dip of melted chocolate. Bon appetit

WALNUT & CHEESE CREPES AU GRATIN

WALNUT & CHEESE CREPES AU GRATIN

WALNUT & CHEESE CREPES AU GRATIN

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FRENCH POTATO SALAD

French potato salad can be served at many different occasions and can especially come in handy for holidays and celebrations. It goes very well with broad variety of cured, cooked or baked meats. My favorite way to enjoy this salad is for Easter breakfast, when we would traditionally eat potato french salad together with traditional Slovenian roll cake (Potica), cooked ham, freshly grated horse radish and hard boiled Easter eggs. Sounds a little overwhelming? Try it out yourself, this meal will not disappoint you.

French Potato Salad

French Potato Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 large potatoes
  • 4 large carrots
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 garlic bulb
  • 1 cup of pickles
  • 2 and half cups of peas
  • 2 tbs mustard
  • 3 cups mayo
  • salt and black pepper

Tools:

  • three cooking pots
  • chopping board
  • knife
  • serving bowl

ingredients for french potato salad

1. Step One: Peel And Cook The Vegetables

Peel potatoes and carrots and dice them into small, pea size, cubes. Place them into a medium sized pot and add water. Bring to boil and cook for about 15 minutes or until cooked through. In a small separate pot boil peas until cooked. When cooked pour the water away and let the veggies cool down.

cooked veggies

cut the carrots

cut the potato

cut the potato

 

2. Step Two: Cut Eggs And Pickles

In a small pot hard boil 3 medium eggs. Let them cool down a bit before peeling them and cutting into very small pieces. Cut pickles into pieces approximately the same size as the hard boiled eggs pieces.

hard boiled eggs

cracked eggs

diced cooked eggs

pickles diced

 

3. Step Three: Grate Onion and Garlic

Peel the onion and half of the garlic bulb. Use the grater to grate very thinly. A blander might work well as well. The pieces should be small enough that when you eat salad you taste the rich flavor of garlic and onion but don’t bite into pieces of it.

grated garlic

grated onions

 

4. Step Four: Mix All The Ingredients

In a large bowl combine all cooked and chopped vegetables, eggs, pickles, garlic, and onion. Stir in mustard, salt, black pepper, and mayonnaise. The amount of mayonnaise is really up to you, depends how thick and creamy you like the dish.

french potato salad

french potato salad

french potato salad spices

french potato salad

 

5. Step Five: Serve on its Own or With Favorite Meat

Serve the french potato salad either on its own or with your favorite meat. Could be anything from pork roast to sausage or dried cured meats. The other day we had it with grilled fish and the creamy salad nicely connected the whole meal. Try this rich salad with your favorite food and share the great ideas with the rest of us foodies.

french potato salad

french potato salad

french potato salad

french potato salad

mini french potato salad

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BARLEY STEW WITH ROOT VEGETABLES AND SAUSAGE

Barley Stew with Root Vegetables and Sausage or Slovenia we call this dish Ričet. The word comes from German word Ritschert, which means barley porridge boiled with beans. This thick soup meal is traditional for Slovenian, Croatian, and Bavarian cuisine. It is basically a pot of barley cooked with different root vegetables and pork. Feel free to experiment with ingredients. I added beef and pork spicy sausage for this recipe, although in some more traditional recipes you will find cured or smoked pork meat. This dish also tastes amazing if you prepared without meat, just as a creamy vegetable and barley stew. It can be a perfect and healthy vegetarian meal.

Barley Stew with Root Vegetables and Sausage

Ingredients:

Tools:

  • Chopping board
  • Knife
  • Large cooking pot

Ingredients Barley Stew with Root Vegetables and Sausage

1. Step One: Soak Barley Overnight

Place pearl barley into a medium size bowl and pour decent amount of water over it. Make sure all barley is covered with water. Let is soak over night. This soaking process helps to break down the gluten which is present in high amounts in barley. Make sure you discharge the soaking water next day and rinse barley under warm running water.

Soak barley in water over night

2. Step Two: Cut Sausage and Prepare Onion and Garlic

Cut up sausage into bite able slices then peel one onion and about 6 garlic cloves. Place them in the cooking pot with barley and sausage. Add the rest of the seasonings; such as, whole black pepper, few bay leaves, and sea salt. Pour a decent amount of water over the ingredients and cook on high heat until starts boiling.

Place peeled onion and garlic in pot with spices and barley

Cut sausage for Barley Stew with Root Vegetables and Sausage

Add sausage to the pot with barley and herbs

Add water and cook

3. Step Three: Cut up Root Vegetables

Cut up your preferred root veggies into small cubes and circles. Peel potato, carrots, and parsley root and slice them into desirable size. Peel rutabaga and kohlrabi and cut them into almond size pieces. Wash and slice celery and open a can of red kidney beans and rinse them under cold running water, to get rid of excessive sodium.

Cut carrot and parsley root for Barley Stew with Root Vegetables and Sausage

Cut rutabaga and kholrabi for Barley Stew with Root Vegetables and Sausage

4. Step Four: Add veggies to the Barley Soup

Add all fresh cut up vegetables, except celery, to the boiling barley soup and cook slowly on low-medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Add root vegetables to boiling barley stew

5. Step Five: Add Celery, Tomato, and Beans

After root vegetables have been slowly cooking in the barley stew for about 15 – 20 minutes it’s time to add the few final ingredients. Add celery and tomato paste and stir it in the stew evenly. Then stir in the red kidney beans and simmer on low heat, half covered with lid for another half an hour. Make sure you stir occasionally so barely doesn’t burn at the bottom.

Add tomato paste and celery to Barley Stew with Root Vegetables and Sausage

Add beans to Barley Stew with Root Vegetables and Sausage

Stir in beans to Barley Stew with Root Vegetables and Sausage

6. Step Six: Control Thickness of Your Barley Stew with Root Vegetables and Sausage

I prefer barley stew very thick, therefore I cook it until almost all the water evaporates and stew is formed into a creamy and hearty dish. Sometimes I even let it sit on the stove for another 10-15 minutes after its cooked. Just to assure the creamy consistence is formed. If you prefer more watery variety feel free to add as much water as you like and serve it as a soup.

Barley Stew with Root Vegetables and Sausage

7. Step Seven: Serving tips for Barley Stew with Root Vegetables and Sausage

Cut up some fresh parsley and sprinkle some chili flakes over the bowl of barley stew. If you are short on spice few drops of Tabasco sauce really transform this dish and adds up the flavors.

Barley Stew with Root Vegetables and Sausage

Barley Stew with Root Vegetables and Sausage

Barley Stew with Root Vegetables and Sausage

Barley Stew with Root Vegetables and Sausage

Barley Stew with Root Vegetables and Sausage

Barley Stew with Root Vegetables and Sausage

Eat Barley Stew with Root Vegetables and Sausage

Eat Barley Stew with Root Vegetables and Sausage

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TOMATO AND MOZZARELLA SALAD WITH PUMPKIN SEED OIL

Tomato and mozzarella salad with pumpkin seed oil is my favorite meal on a hot, sunny day and it tastes delicious especially when tomatoes are in season. For this simple and refreshing lunch you should make sure to pick up high quality ingredients. Fresh and juicy tomatoes from the local farmers market are a must. Pick a good quality, soft mozzarella cheese. And most importantly make sure you get your hands on cold-pressed pumpkin seed oil. This nutty flavorful oil is packed with vitamins and minerals and adding it to your diet will not only increase the diversity of your foods flavors, but will also help you stay in good health. Read more about health benefits of this incredible, but yet still less know oil.

Tomato and Mozzarella salad with pumpkin seed oil

Tomato and Mozzarella salad with pumpkin seed oil served

Tomato and Mozzarella salad with pumpkin seed oil served

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 ripe tomatoes
  • mozzarella cheese
  • pumpkin seed oil
  • salt and pepper
  • wild rocket or any other preferred greens; like baby spinach or lettuce…

Tools:

  • chopping board
  • knife
  • serving plate

Ingredients for Tomato and Mozzarella salad with pumpkin seed oil

 

1. Step One: Cut the tomatoes

Carefully wash and cut your tomatoes into the bite able sizes.

Tomato and Mozzarella salad with pumpkin seed oil

tomato wedges

2. Step Two: Cut Mozzarella cheese

Cut mozzarella cheese into blocks slightly smaller than tomato pieces.

Tomato and Mozzarella salad with pumpkin seed oil

3. Step Three: Prepare your plate for Tomato and Mozzarella Salad With Pumpkin Seed Oil

First spread your green leaves veggies around the plate. You can use any preferred greens. I like wild rocket, but baby spinach or green lettuce go very well with this dies too. When the plate is covered with green, sprinkle tomatoes and pieces of mozzarella cheese on top.

Tomato and Mozzarella salad with pumpkin seed oil

4. Step Four: Season Your Tomato and Mozzarella Salad With Pumpkin Seed Oil

I like to keep the seasoning simple and enjoy the rich flavor of the pumpkin seed oil, but feel free to add vinegar, lemon or lime juice if you like your salad savory. Sprinkle some salt and pepper and last but not least add few table spoons of pumpkin seed oil.

pumpkin seed oil

Tomato and Mozzarella salad with pumpkin seed oil

Tomato and Mozzarella salad with pumpkin seed oil

*I like to serve a piece of full grain bread and some cured meets on the side with this salad. I believe they complement the dish perfectly.

cured meats

cured meats

Tomato and Mozzarella salad with pumpkin seed oil

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LEMON, APPLE, AND LITCHI RICE CAKE

This indulgent treat brings to my mind great childhood memories, when we were playing outside free of any worries. Our grandmother would served this specialty for either breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert. Sometimes we would even get it as a school snack served in the school canteen, those were the happy days. The most classic version of this rice cake is just plain Arborio rice cooked in buttery milk and mixed with egg cream into rice cake batter before finally baked in the oven. Over the years growing up, experimenting in the kitchen, and perfecting the ingredients; I have come up with the perfect fruity mix of zesty lemon, sweet and sour apple, and sweet dried litchi soaked in rum. I guarantee after trying this juicy sweet and sour Lemon, Apple, and Litchi Rice Cake no other rice cake can ever compare.

 

Lemon, Apple, and Litchi Rice Cake

Lemon, Apple, and Litchi Rice Cake

Lemon, Apple, and Litchi Rice Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Arborio rice
  • 3 Cups milk
  • 1 TBS butter
  • Lemon peel
  • Vanilla pod or vanilla flavoring
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 – 2 apples
  • 4 eggs
  • 6 TBS maple syrup or honey
  • Litchi (dried) soaked in rum

Tools:

  • Medium cooking pot
  • Baking tray
  • Oven
  • Whisker
  • Grater

Lemon, Apple, and Litchi Rice Cake ingredients

1. Step One: Cook Rice

First bring milk and butter to the boil. Add rice and cook for about 20 – 30 minutes. If you feel rice absorbed all milk and is still uncooked, you can add more milk as needed. Make sure you stir milky rice constantly so it doesn’t burn at the bottom. Once rice is completely soft, cooked and looks a lot like a rice pudding it’s ready to set aside for cooling.

*Speed up the cooling process by placing rice into the fridge and stirring it occasionally.

Milk and butter for rice cake

Cook milky Arborio rice

Cook milky Arborio rice

milky rice

2. Step Two: Prepare Egg Cream

Separate egg yolks from egg whites. Beat egg whites, together with a pinch of salt, into thick and firm foam. In a smaller bowl beat egg yolks with maple syrup and vanilla essence, make sure it forms a bubbled yellow cream.

egg cream rice cake

Seperate eggs for rice cake batter

beat egg cream for rice cake

3. Step Three: Enrich the Rice With Fruits

When rice is completely cooled stir in litchi that has been soaking in the rum for past half an hour. This will give rice cake extra sweet and spicy kick. Grate peel of one organic lemon and stir it evenly into the milky rice.

grate lemon rice cake

Rice cake batter

4. Step Four: Finalize the Rice Cake Batter

Finally its time to stir the eggs into the creamy rice. Start with adding egg yolk cream. Then slowly and gently stir in egg white foam. Make sure with every turn of the spatula you are adding air into the rice cake. This will result in less dense and much lighter texture of the cake.

Rice cake batter

Rice cake batter

Rice cake batter

egg white rice cake batter

Rice cake batter

5. Step Five: Create Layers for Lemon, Apple, and Litchi Rice Cake

Use baking paper or grease the baking tray with butter. Start with pouring a thick layer of rice cake batter over the bottom of the baking tray. Cover the rice cake batter layer with grated apple and follow up with another layer of cake batter on top.

Rice cake apple layer

Lemon, Apple, and Litchi Rice Cake ready to bake

6. Step Six: Baking and Serving

Bake in the pre heated oven on 400 F for 10 minutes then another 20 minutes on 375 F. Before serving sprinkle a decent amount of dusting sugar on top of the rice cake. You can also add few fresh cut apple slices on top for extra classy look.

Lemon, Apple, and Litchi Rice Cake

Lemon, Apple, and Litchi Rice Cake dust with sugar

Lemon, Apple, and Litchi Rice Cake

Lemon, Apple, and Litchi Rice Cake

Great party idea, make little fruit rice cupcakes as a substitute for the too sweet and heavy chocolate cupcakes. Surprise your gusts with a cup of delicious and healthy proteins.

Mini Lemon, Apple, and Litchi Rice Cakes

Mini Lemon, Apple, and Litchi Rice Cakes

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GRANDMA’S STUFFED CHICKEN

If you are looking for something traditional, extra delicious that will feed a large group of people then you stumbled across the perfect recipe. The recipe was invented by my grandparents, they would usually prepare this dish for family gatherings over Christmas or Easter. When whole family gathers around the table the delicious, juicy and flavorful chicken is gone in no time. Cooking time for this dish is a bit longer but it is totally worth the effort; around 3 – 4 hours, the time varies according to the size of the chicken.

Grandma’s Stuffed Chicken

Grandma’s Stuffed Chicken

Grandma’s Stuffed Chicken

Ingredients:

  • Whole chicken
  • Minced beef
  • Mushrooms * fresh or/and dry
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Parsley
  • 2 eggs
  • Sour cream
  • Bread
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lemon
  • Rosemary
  • Olive oil
  • Water
  • Carrots and/or potatoes (optional)

If you can find, use the mushroom called Boletus edulis , that has a lot of flavor and creamy texture. It is also low in fat and packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. It only grows in season in the forest, since it is impossible to cultivate I would recommend to use any other preferred mushroom and add extra some dried Boletus Edulis. Add 2 -3 TBS of dried mushroom to enrich the flavor of the stuffing.

Tools:

  • Large pan or wok
  • Baking tray
  • Cutting board and knife
  • Few Tooth Picks

 

ingredients Grandma’s Stuffed Chicken

1. Step One: Cut up the Bread

Start with cutting bread into small cubes. For this recipe few days old, dried bread is perfect. Fresh bread works too, you can cut it up and let it dry on the air while preparing other parts of the filling.

Cut Bread for Stuffing

2. Step Two: Stir Fry Minced Meat and Mushrooms

Firstly cut onion and 3-4 garlic cloves into small cubes. In a large wok heat up the oil and add onions and 1 TBS of salt. When onions start turning slightly translucent add minced beef or pork or mixture of both. Season with decent amount of salt, black pepper and fresh garlic. After meat is completely cooked add sliced mushrooms. Stir fry until cooked completely then set aside and add chopped parsley. Stir well and let it cool down completely.

cut onion and garlic

Grandma’s Stuffed Chicken filling

Grandma’s Stuffed Chicken filling

Grandma’s Stuffed Chicken filling mushrooms

Grandma’s Stuffed Chicken filling parsley

3. Step Three: Finish the Filling for Grandma’s Stuffed Chicken

Finish the filling by whisking 2 eggs with some salt and black pepper. Add 1 cup of sour cream and stir well before pouring the mixture over the dried bread cubes. Use wooden spatula or hand to evenly distribute egg mixture over the bread. Then mix juicy bread cubes into the meat and mushroom filling.

Egg mixture Grandma’s Stuffed Chicken

Grandma’s Stuffed Chicken filling

Grandma’s Stuffed Chicken filling

4. Step Four: Season Grandma’s Stuffed Chicken

First start with washing the chicken, outside and inside. Then season every inch of the chicken with olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, garlic and lemon. I like to rub each ingredient into the skin of the chicken.

Grandma’s Stuffed Chicken Seasonings

Season Grandma’s Stuffed Chicken

Grandma’s Stuffed Chicken rub in Seasonings

seperate chicken skin

5. Step Five: Fill up Grandma’s Stuffed Chicken

Fill up chicken with pre prepared filling. You will have to use a knife and gently cut where skin is touching meat. Once you get the main  connection cut the skin should separate from meat easily with just use of you hands. Stuff in the filling between the chicken skin and meat as well as in the middle of the chicken. If the skin breaks no need to worry, you can always fix it latter with toothpick or two. When chicken is fully stuffed use toothpicks to close the open gaps.

stuff the chicken

Whole Grandma’s Stuffed Chicken

Whole Grandma’s Stuffed Chicken

6. Step Six: Bake Grandma’s Stuffed Chicken for 1 – 2 Hours

Bake the chicken in the pre heated oven on 400 F. Here I want to share a little secret with you. If you want to keep your chicken juicy pour 1/2 cup of water over the chicken every half an hour. This will ensure the chicken will turn out finger licking good. Half way through the baking turn the chicken upside down, this will ensure a crispy and crunch skin on all sides of the chicken.

Bake Grandma’s Stuffed Chicken

Water Grandma’s Stuffed Chicken

Grandma’s Stuffed Chicken

Turn Around Grandma’s Stuffed Chicken

Grandma’s Stuffed Chicken

Grandma’s Stuffed Chicken

Grandma’s Stuffed Chicken

Grandma’s Stuffed Chicken

Grandma’s Stuffed Chicken

Grandma’s Stuffed Chicken dinner

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CHEESY CHICKEN

Cheesy chicken is a simple to make and  light calorie dish. Use lean chicken breast meat and low fat sour cream for an even lighter version. Today I am also sharing my favorite side dish; potatoes and carrots enriched with butter, garlic, and parsley. This side dish goes very well with the cheesy chicken fillets, but if you prefer fell free to experiment with other sides such as; mash potatoes, rice, or even pasta. I have tried all of the above and they all nicely complement creamy chicken dish. If making pasta or rice you can increase the amount of sour cream in the chicken gravy, or even tip in few spoons of heavy whipping cream to create a bit more of even richer and creamier sauce.

melted cheese cheesy chicken

Ingredients:

  • chicken breast
  • 1 garlic bulb
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 6 cheese slices
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbs mustard
  • potato
  • carrots
  • bunch of parsley
  • 3 tbs of butter
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 1 cup water

Tools:

  • pan or wok
  • stove
  • chopping board
  • knife
  • medium size pot
  • wooden spoon or spatula

ingredients cheesy chicken

1. Step One: Prepare Potato and Carrot side dish

Peel potato and carrots and cut them into desired sized pieces. Rinse under cold water and place in the medium size pot. Fill the pot up with cold water and add a pinch of salt. Cook, covered with lid, on high heat until the water starts boiling, then lower the heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Pour the water away and set cooked vegetables aside.

potato carrot

potatoes and carrots

potatoes and carrots

2. Step Two: Season and cut Chicken Breasts

Wash chicken breasts and cut them into smaller size fillets. Sprinkle decent amount of salt and pepper on both side of chicken fillets. Then spread a little mustard and sprinkle thinly sliced garlic on the top of each filet. I use 3 -4 thinly sliced garlic cloves for seasoning chicken.

mustard garlic seasoning for cheesy chicken

3. Step Three: Gill the Chicken Fillets

Heat up 3 tbs of olive oil and when oil is hot add chicken fillets. First grill the side that is not seasoned with mustard and garlic. Once this side of chicken turns slightly brown and crunchy then turn the chicken fillets around and grill the other side. Lower the heat if necessary. Make sure that garlic and mustard don’t get burned, since this might result in the bitter flavor of the sauce.

grilled chicken fillets

4. Step Four:  Prepare the Flour Paste

Flour paste will thicken the sauce and make it taste richer and creamier. In a small cup combine 2 tbs of white flour and 10 tbs of cold water. Stir with a fork or whisker until the paste is consistent and there are no balls of flour in it.

flour and water paste for cheesy chicken gravy

flour and water paste for cheesy chicken gravy

5. Step Five: Make the Cheesy Chicken Gravy

Once chicken fillets are grilled on both sides add 1 cup of warm water. Bring it to boil slowly on low-medium heat. Once boiling add 1 cup of sour cream and stir it well into the watery sauce. Let it cook on lower heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then stir in the flour paste. Use the wooden spoon and stir constantly so the flour forms equally thickened sauce. You might have to shuffle chicken fillets around a little bit in order to stir the sauce well.

cheesy chicken cream sauce

cheesy chicken flour sauce

cheesy chicken in the cream sauce

6. Step Six: Cover Chicken filet with Cheese and Finish up Potato and Carrot Side Dish

Place a slice of your preferred cheese on each chicken fillet, and then cover the dish with the lid to ensure the cheese melts completely. Cut the rest of the garlic and bunch of parsley into small pieces. Melt butter in the medium pot and when hot tip in garlic and parsley. Stir fry quickly for 1 -2 minutes, before adding cooked potatoes and carrots and pinch or two of sea salt. Stir a few times so garlic, parsley and salt are well mixed with potatoes and carrots.

cheesy chicken

butter, garlic, parsley, potato, carrot

7. Step Seven: Serve Cheesy Chicken With Garlic and Parsley Potatoes

Serve chicken fillets covered with melted cheese with a side of potatoes and carrots enriched with butter, garlic and parsley.

cheesy chicken served with side dish

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KAISERSCHMARN (EMPEROR’S MESS)

There are few different stories about the formation of this emperors dish. Read more about them here. My favorite tale is the one our grandmother would tell us when I was little. “When Franz Joseph I. was ruling the Hapsburg Monarchy his newly employed kitchen cook was preparing the pancake for the emperor. But when he tried to flip over the pancake, he tossed it in the air and the pancake broke apart. To cover up the mistake he added one handful of raisins and shredded the rest of the pancake into bite able pieces. He served the fluffy torn apart pancake dusted with sugar to the emperor as a new dish called Kaiserschmarn (Emperor’s Mess). The  mighty Franz loved the new creation and the word about the new delicious dessert spread fast across the emperors land.” Nowadays this hearty dish is served with different fruity sides; such as jams, creams and nuts, but my favorite way is with hot apple sauce made out of fresh apples.

Kaiserschmarn (Emperor’s Mess)

Kaiserschmarn (Emperor’s Mess) served with apple sauce

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 5 TBS all purpose flour
  • 5 TBS milk
  • 4 TBS butter
  • 3-4 apples
  • cinnamon
  • Optional:
    • raisins soaked in rum
    • dusting sugar

Tools:

  • hand or stand mixer
  • pan
  • 2 wooden spoons

Ingredients Kaiserschmarn (Emperor’s Mess)

1. Step One: Prepare Pancake Batter

First separate egg yolks from egg whites. If you add a pinch of salt to egg whites it will help them to form a thick foam. Beat egg whites until foamy and fluffy. In a separate bowl combine egg yolks, milk, 3 TBS of room temperature butter and flour. Beat until consistent. Then slowly with a spatula or wooden spoon stir in the foamy egg whites.

separate the eggs for pancake batter

Kaiserschmarn (emperor’s mess) batter

beaten egg white

Kaiserschmarn (emperor’s mess) beaten eggs

2. Step Two: Bake the Pancake in the Pan

Melt one TBS of butter in a large pan or wok. Pour the pancake butter in the pan and bake it for 5 -6 minutes. Then if you want to add raisins toss some raisins over the pancake before flipping it over. Bake the other side of the pancake for another 1-2 minutes on medium heat. Take two wooden spoons and start tearing pancake apart until you end up with bitable size pieces. Add 1-2 TBS of dusting sugar and stir fry the shredded pancake for another 2-3 minutes, therefore sugar caramelizes and forms a crunchy coat over each pancake bite.

Bake the Pancake

Bake the Pancake

Tear the Pancake

shred the pancake

shred the pancake

3. Step Three: Hot Apple Sauce

Dice apples into medium sized cubes and dust them with cinnamon. Add 5 TBS of water; just enough to cover the bottom of the pot. Cook, covered with lid, for 5 – 8 minutes or until apples become soft but still keep the shape.

dice apples

hot apple and cinnamon sauce

hot apple and cinnamon sauce

4. Step Four: Serving Kaiserschmarn (Emperor’s Mess)

Serve the shredded pancake on a plate with apple sauce on the side or in a small separate bowl. On a hot summer day you can also serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Kaiserschmarn (Emperor’s Mess) served with apple sauce

Kaiserschmarn (Emperor’s Mess)

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MEAT AND POTATO MOUSSAKA

Moussaka is a dish originating from Middle East, and made its way trough Turkey, Greece, and over the Balkans. The varieties of this dish differs from country to country. Each nation makes it with the ingredients typical for their region. Therefore in Turkey and Greece Moussaka is most commonly prepared with eggplant and tomato, while in Balkans the main vegetable ingredient is potato. I believe this dish once it crossed over the border, between Slovenia and Italy, it turned into a lasagna, Italians just substituted potato for their preferred carbs, pasta. If you search moussaka recipe online most of the search results are for Greek moussaka. Today I will share with you a Slovenian variety of this dish, Meat and Potato Moussaka. It is prepared with potato, minced meat either beef or pork, or combination of both. In today’s recipe you can also find some little tricks and tips on how to improve the recipe for the tasty, rich, and hearty meal.

Meat and Potato Moussaka

Ingredients:

  • 400 g potato
  • 350 g minced meat
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • salt and black pepper
  • fresh basil
  • 1,5 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tomato or 1/3 cup pelati
  • butter to grease the baking tray

Optional:

  • parsley for garnish
  • Parmesan cheese for serving
  • chili to spice it up
  • eggplant

Tools:

  • Cooking pots
  • baking tray
  • oven
  • cutting board
  • knife
  • whisker

Meat and Potato Moussaka ingredients

1. Step One: Get the Potato Ready

First peel the potato, then slice it into an inch thick slices. Put all the potato slices in the pot and cook until almost fully cooked. Bring to boil and let it simmer for about 15 – 20 minutes. Pour the water out and set aside.
*It is important not to overcook the potato, because it will break apart when you place it in the baking tray.

potato

potato

2. Step Two: Prepare the Minced Beef Filling

Diced onion and garlic and stir fry them on the olive oil. You can add some salt and black pepper, salt helps the onion to soften without burning and turning bitter. Once the onions turn slightly translucent add mince meat. You can play with the meet and use either beef, pork, lamb, or a combination of all three. To make it juicier add diced tomato or 1/3 cup of pelati or tomato sauce. If you are a spice lover, like I am, tip in some chili powder or even some fresh chili. To enrich the flavor of the dish even more mixed in some fresh, chopped basil.

Meat and Potato Moussaka meat filling

chili and basil

3. Step Three: Make the Cream Topping

This is the final and top layer of the moussaka. When its baked it will be crunchy on the top and creamy inside. It also helps keep the dish moist and juicy.
In a small bowl whisk eggs and sour cream with pinch of salt and black pepper and set it aside. Optional if you are a cheese lover you can add some grated Parmesan cheese into the mixture to enrich the flavor even more.

egg cream topping

4. Step Four: Meat and Potato Moussaka  Layers

Heat up the oven to 350 F. Grease the baking tray with butter before placing in any layers, this will ensure the bottom and side of your dish doesn’t stick to the pan. Start with the potato layer by covering the bottom of the pan with potato slices. Then pour a generous layer of meat filling. Repeat the potato and meat layer, if necessary, the last layer should be the cream topping. Pour the egg and cream on the top of your ingredients. If you have some spare eggplant slice it thinly and add dip eggplant slices into the creamy layer. Then place the tray in the per-heated oven.

moussaka layers

Potato Layer Meat and Potato Moussaka

Meat and Potato Moussaka meat layer

Meat and Potato Moussaka cheese layer

egg cream topping layer

Meat and Potato Moussaka cream egg layer

5. Step Five: Bake and Serve Meat and Potato Moussaka

Bake the moussaka for about 20 minutes. It should look slightly brown and crispy on the top. Serve with some fresh parsley or basil leave. Some people also like to grate Parmesan cheese on top of the dish.

Meat and Potato Moussaka butter tray

Meat and Potato Moussaka

Meat and Potato Moussaka

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HUNGARIAN BEEF GOULASH

There are many varieties of goulash across different regions in Slovenia they can differ in usage of several ingredients. Some cooks swear on adding fresh paprika and chili and also potato while others don’t. Interesting to know is also goulash origins in Hungary and Hungarian goulash can be prepared with all different kinds of meets. My mum on the other hand would always stick with beef when making goulash, but in Hungary they would also use pork, veal or even lamb. I am sharing the version of the goulash my mum taught me to make which may differ slightly from the traditional Hungarian beef goulash. I hope you find the improved recipe as inspiring and tasteful as I do.

Hungarian Beef Goulash

Hungarian Beef Goulash

Ingredients:

  • 2,5 pounds of stew beef meat
  • 2 green peppers
  • 1 red pepper
  • 6 white onions
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 garlic bulbs
  • 2 cups of oil
  • 2 glasses of red wine
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 apple
  • 2 cups of tomato paste
  • fresh chilies (optional)
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 2-3 cups of water

Spices:

  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbs black pepper
  • 1-2 tbs salt
  • 2 tbs marjoram
  • 2 tbs sweet paprika
  • 1-2 tbs chili powder (optional)
  • dried Juniper berries

For serving:

  • bread buns
  • parsley for decoration

Tools:

  • large pot
  • chopping board
  • knife
  • wooden spoon
  • blender
  • grater

Hungarian beef goulash ingredients

 

1. Step One: Peel and cut veggies

Start with peeling onions and cut them into evenly-sized small cubes. Then peel garlic and wash chili. You can cut them into very small pieces or you can use blender. If using blender be careful not to over do it, since garlic can become somewhat watery. Set chopped garlic and chili aside.  Cut both, red and green peppers, into small cube and set aside for latter use.

Hungarian beef goulash onions

Hungarian beef goulash onions

Hungarian beef goulash diced pepper
garlic and chilies

2. Step Two: Stir fry onions, spices and pepper

Put all the onions into a large cooking pot and add 2 cups of cooking oil and 1-2 tbs of salt. Stir fry it for about 20 minutes, or until it all turns translucent and starts forming sauce like texture. Then add diced peppers and spices: bay leaves, paprika, chili powder, black pepper and dried Juniper berries. It is important to stir constantly and cook on medium flame. If you burn the base the beef goulash will taste rather bitter.

Hungarian beef goulash base

Hungarian beef goulash base

3. Step Three: Dice and stir fry meat

Dice the beef meat into desirable size blocks. Then season it with salt and black pepper before adding it to the pot. Stir fry the meat for about 20 minutes or until no raw meat pieces are in the pot.

Hungarian beef goulash meat

Hungarian beef goulash

Hungarian beef goulash

4. Step Four: Grate carrot and apple

Peel and great carrot and apple. This will help goulash sauce to form a creamy texture that connects together the whole dish. Stir it into the dish of veggies and meat, along with marjoram and tomato sauce.
Hungarian beef goulash add carrot and apple

5. Step Five: Simmer Hungarian beef goulash on low flame for 2-3 hours

Then its time to simmer the goulash on low flame. Ideally for 3 hours. After first half an hour you can add 2 glasses of wine and some water if needed. Also a good idea is to add some soup stock if you happen to have some left, but it’s not necessary. Then let the beef goulash cook while you stir it occasionally.

Add wine to Hungarian beef goulash

6. Step Six: Serving advises for Hungarian beef goulash

You can serve beef goulash with most of the widely used carbs. We eat it with either boiled potatoes, corn meal (polenta), pasta, traditional potato-pork dumplings, bread dumplings or just with plain bread. Today I decided to serve the goulash in the bread cup. I bought medium size bread buns, cut off the top and dug out the center to form  a bread bowl. Pour the goulash into the bread bowl and serve it half covered with the bread lid on top. You can season it with some fresh parsley and chili.

bread bowls for Hungarian beef goulash

Hungarian Beef Goulash in a bread bowl

Hungarian Beef Goulash in a bread bowl

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SLOVENIAN TRADITIONAL DUMPLINGS

Slovenian Traditional Dumplings are traditionally filled with potato, bacon, pork lard and herbs. Nowadays there are many new trendy varieties but I decided to present the most traditional way. Just like our great grandparents would eat them  50 years ago. In the past they would sprinkle some fried and crunchy pork fat crackling on top of each dumpling; however, today at the restaurants across the country they serve the dumplings as a side dish for different kinds of meat stews or pork roast. I will be posting recipes for some of them soon and I am leaving it up to you to try them all out and decide what is your favorite way to enjoy this traditional delight.

Slovenian traditional dumplings

Ingredients:
Dough

  • 300 g or 2,5 cups white flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1TBS olive oil
  • water as needed

Filling

  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 TBS pork lard
  • 1 cup of ham or sausage
  • herbs: marjoram and chives

Topping

  • pork lard

Tools:

  • bowl
  • rolling pin
  • stove
  • 2 pots
  • wooden spoon
  • chopping board

Slovenian traditional dumplings ingredients

 

1. Step One: Boil potatoes

Place whole potatoes into the pot and fill it up with cold water. Bring to boil and let them cook for about 20 minutes. The time may vary depending on the size of potatoes. Check if potato is cooked by poking it with a fork, if the fork sticks in easily then its time to take them out of water and let them chill aside. Once cooled down peel and crush them into a potato mash.

Slovenian traditional dumplings ingredients potato

 

2. Step Two: Potato filling for Slovenian Traditional Dumplings

Cut the onion and meat into small cubes. stir fry them together with 4 TBS of pork fat. Once onions start turning translucent add dried marjoram and fresh finally chopped chives. Lastly stir in the mashed potato. Make sure filling is firm. Let it cool on the side and if necessary add some more pork lard to make it firm.

Slovenian traditional dumplings ingredients
Slovenian traditional dumplings filling

 

3. Step Three: Slovenian Traditional Dumplings Dough

In a medium size bowl measure 2,5 cups of flour. Create a little volcano shape in the middle and beat two eggs together with 1 tbs of olive oil. First stir with the fork, adding small amounts of water. When the mixture becomes to thick to stir use you hands to knead the dough. Add water and flour as needed. Then set the dough aside and let it rest for 15 minutes.

Slovenian traditional dumplings dough

 

4. Step Four: Potato balls filling for Slovenian Traditional Dumplings

Once potato filling cools down its time to make potato balls. Using a spoon scoop out mixture into you hands and roll out balls that are approximate the size of walnut. Place them on the plate.

Slovenian traditional dumplings filling

 

5. Step Five: Roll out the dough

Dust the working surface with flour. Then start rolling the dough. Try to roll it into a rectangle shape. Make sure your surface and dough is dusted with enough flour so the dough doesn’t get stick to the working surface.

Slovenian traditional dumplings dough
Slovenian traditional dumplings dough

 

6. Step Six: Making the Slovenian Traditional Egg Dumplings

Place potato balls on the rolled out dough in a straight row. Cover them with the dough on one side then roll the dough once, you should get a long roll with potato balls inside. After the potato balls are completely covered with dough, use your finger to press down in the spaces between the balls. Use the butter knife to cut the the dough from the dumpling roll. Now cut the dough and separate dumplings. If necessary use your fingers to press the dough in the place so all the corners are nicely stick together. Lastly use your finger to press on top of each dumpling to create a little  trench.

Slovenian traditional dumplings

 

7. Step Seven: Boil dumplings for 5 minutes

Place a pot with water on the stove. Add a pinch of salt and bring it to boil. Then place dumplings into the pot and cook for 5 minutes or until they swam back up to the surface. Scoop them out and place on the serving plate.

boiling dumplings

8. Step Eight: Serve Slovenian Traditional Dumplings  with pork lard cracklings

In a small but deep pot melt 1 – 2 cups of pork lard. Stirring constantly. Once the cracklings start to firm turn the temperature down. They are ready when they turn light brown. Scoop them out with a spoon and place them into the little trench on top of each dumpling.

Slovenian traditional dumplings

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