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2012 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 6,200 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 10 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Biscuits with love


Today I would love to eat some homemade biscuits. I will not cook them though as I am not in the mood. Would there anyone make them for me? Mum? Anyone? Lol. At least I can describe the way I make them. With love, of course. This is the main ingredient. I am afraid I didn’t write down on the printed recipe, the name of the book I took it from. If anyone knows it, please, write to me. I am concentrating in visualising the biscuits. I made them a few times and I loved them every time. I could eat them all and because the recipe here gives me just a few, I double the ingredients and I have to my heart’s delight. Yummy! Here they are:

Soft biscotti with chocolate

Biscotti morbidi con cioccolata

Serves 10

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 250 g plain flour
  • 65 g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 100 g chocolate chunks or roughly chopped plain chocolate (use a good one, of at least 70% cocoa)
  • 150 g pistachio nuts
  • 100 g butter, softened
  • 225 g unrefined golden caster sugar
  • 2 medium eggs, at room temperature

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180˚C/ 350˚F, gas mark 4.
  • Grease a baking sheet with a little butter and dust lightly with a little of the flour.
  • Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, chocolate chunks and pistachio nuts in a bowl.
  • In another bowl, beat together the butter and caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat until well combined.
  • Stir in the flour mixture until it forms a stiff dough. Place the dough on the baking sheet and press onto shape until it is 30 cm long and 10 cm wide.
  • Bake for 35 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean when you insert it into the biscotti. Remove and leave to cool for 5 minutes. Place on a wire rack and leave to cool to room temperature. Slice into thick fingers and serve with coffee or vin santo.

Bon appetite!

Cooking for two


I would like to introduce you today to a new recipe I tried years ago in my beloved city, London. I got it from the book “Cooking for two”, published in 1996. What a reasonable title! And what a perfect day to cook, at the end of the week. Imagine yourself tired from the week. You don’t feel like looking at all. May be not a very difficult recipe. You would love some eggs too. Hmmm…ah…there is it…

Souffle omelette with mushroom sauce

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
  • 20 g butter (lovely butter…)

For the mushroom sauce

  • 60 g butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 125 g baby mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 tsp plain flour
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tsp French mustard
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon

Method:

  • Whisk egg yolks, water and tarragon in a large bowl until well combined.
  • Beat egg whites in a small bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form.
  • Fold egg whites gently into egg yolk mixture in 2 batches.
  • Heat half the butter in the omelette pan. Pour the half egg mixture into pan, cook omelette until lightly browned underneath.
  • Place the pan under a hot grill until top of the omelette is just set.
  • Slide the omelette onto plate, fold omelette in half, spoon over half the mushrooms sauce.
  • Repeat with remaining butter, egg mixture and sauce.
  • Mushroom sauce: heat the butter in a pan, add onion, garlic and mushrooms, cook stirring, until onion is soft. Add flour, cook stirring, until combined.
  • Remove from heat, gradually stir in combined remaining ingredients, stir over heat until mixture boils and thickens. If you like to ease your work, you can make the sauce a day ahead.

Bon appetite, my love!

 

The fruit that blushes when you cook it


This is a beautiful title for what comes next. I dared to take it from here as it is very romantic. Imagine a fruit that blushes. Wow! 2 medium quince The recipe is a mixture of 2 other recipes: Spiced Quinces and  Paula Wolfert’s Slow-Baked Quince.  I thought of taking a bit of that  and a bit of the other and have a new recipe. I have tried this recipe some years ago, at home. I was convinced at that time that I am the best… in the kitchen, with all the good feed back I got from abroad I wanted to impress my family. Well, they were impressed. What did you think? Sometimes they are sooo not. De gustibus non disputandum, that’s why. The good think is that everything that other cooks on these sites described, it happened. It was wonderful. You can do this recipe now, in autumn, as you know, quinces are fruits of the autumn or anytime. I just think that another perfect time is in the winter, to aromatise the house delightfully. Oh, don’t forget. You fall in love doing this so watch out for the one you share with…

Spiced Quinces

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium quince
  • 375 ml sweet wine
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 150 g sugar
  • 1 clove
  • 1 apple
  • 1½ tablespoon lemon juice

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 120˚C/ 250˚F.
  • Peel and halve the quince. Using a sharp knife, core the quince halves. Reserve all the peel and trimmings.
  • Combine the sugar, wine (or water, in case you don’t have wine or you don’t want to use alcohol), clove and lemon juice in a shallow baking dish, such as a casserole (preferably one with a lid). Stir with a whisk to dissolve the sugar.
  • Add the reserved trimmings and the quince halves, cut side down.
  • Peel the apple. Coarsely grate the apple over the quince halves, using a grater. This will prevent the quince from drying out while baking.
  • Cover and bake for 5 to 7 hours until the fruit softens and turns pink or crimson. I was lucky to have them crimson.
  • Have you fallen in love?

Bon appetite!

What can you do with 1 £?


Hello everybody, long time no see. Glad to be back again in this blogosphere. I have just read an article and my engine started working. It might not be a great idea but for the moment it seems great to me. I need your help too as I want as many ideas as possible, with links too, where needed.

So, I need to know what can you do with 1 £. I thought first of asking you what can you do in terms of food but I want a limitless list. So feel free to add here ANYTHING that is worth 1 £ or close like 0,99 £. You can’t think of a 99 p store, only items on sale at any shop, that are now worth 1 pound.

You might ask me why 1 £. Well, because of my love of UK and London. I will start this list and later, when it might me exhausted I will add a list of 1 $ and 1 €. But let’s start with 1 pound first. And after that, I will continue with 2, 3 and so on. Indulge me! Thank you very much for your time and curiousity.

Here I start myself:

Neon Pink Plastic Belt

Nairns – Oatcakes Fine Milled

Neals Yard Wholefoods – Flame Raisins

Neals Yard Wholefoods – Milk Chocolate Almonds

Green crystal necklace

Bodyform natural ultra normal wing towel

Pad Thai


‘This is the best known of all Thai noodle dishes’ writes Vatcharin Bhumichitr in his book ‘Vatch’s Thai Cookbook’, in 2004. In 2005 I was reading this recipe, in London and I thought that I have to try this famous dish. I went shopping and the result was delicious. I would love to try it again, sometime. It takes only 2-3 minutes to cook, I can’t ask for more. May be a take away. 😉 I am not sure if this recipe is enough for 4 people, by the quantities, I estimate it is enough for only 2 so if you are more than 2, just double them.

Thai Fried Noodles/ Pad Thai

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 extra large egg (or 2 small eggs if you like)
  • 180 g (6 oz) sen lek noodles, soaked and drained
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp chopped roasted peanuts
  • 2 tbsp dried shrimp, ground or pounded
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp chopped preserved radish (chi po)
  • 30 g (1 oz, 1/3) cup fresh beansprouts
  • 2 spring onions/ scallions, chopped into 1 inch/2,5 cm pieces
  • sprig of fresh coriander/ cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • lemon wedges, to garnish

Method:

  • In a wok or frying pan, heat the oil and fry the garlic until golden brown.
  • Break in the egg and stir quickly, cooking for a couple of seconds only, then add the noodles and stir well, scraping down the sides of the pan to ensure that the egg and garlic are well mixed.
  • One by one, stirring between each addition, add the lemon juice, fish sauce, sugar, half the peanuts, half the dried shrimp, the chili powder, the preserved radish, 1 tbsp of the beansprouts and the spring onions.
  • Test the noodles for tenderness and when they are al dente, turn on to a serving dish. Arrange the remaining peanuts, dried shrimp and beansprouts around the noodle mixture.
  • You can also put a little  pile of chili powder and another of sugar on the side to be mixed in as each diner wishes. Granish with coriander and lemon wedges and serve.

Bon appetite!

I’m not famous but I’m Aromanian


Today I would like to introduce you to a special recipe, equally famous and tasty. It is a traditional Aromanian recipe, known for years and years. Aromanians are people who live in the Balkanic area and they talk a dialect or a language (here, the opinions are divided and it is not the subject of this blog, but you can get a lot of info from many sites). ‘I’m not famous but I’m Aromanian’, to paraphrase a film made recently by another Aromanian,  Toma Enache. I can not say the same thing for my mother, though. She is famous and she is Aromanian. 🙂

She is the cook for this famous recipe too and she does a brilliant job. I don’t like to cook it, only to eat it. In the future I see myself doing it but until then, I enjoy my mum’s fried bell peppers. It is an easy and light recipe, it requires a bit of work and guarding the cook. But it is soooo worth it. Aromanians call this recipe piperchi țârgâsiti or țâgârsiti, in case you know how to read Aromanian, and I hope from the bottom of my heart that once you eat this, you will definitely ask for more. Cross my heart, hope to live.

Fried Bell Peppers

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 kg bell peppers (or sweet pepper later in Autumn), diced into 2,5 (1 in) pieces
  • 1 kg tomatoes, chopped
  • 250 g cow or sheep feta cheese (you get delicious cheese from any market in Romania)
  • 150 g cottage cheese or green cheese
  • oil

Method:

  •  Put about 500 ml of oil in a deep pan or wok and leave until hot. Put a batch of bell peppers in and stir a bit, until coated. Leave to fry until golden then remove and put to dry in a colander. Repeat with another batch until all the peppers are fried. You can add more oil if needed.
  • In another large pan, put 5 tbsp of oil and add the tomatoes. Stir and leave to cook at a medium heat, until it becomes sauce-like. You can skin tomatoes before cooking and then diced them.
  • Stir in the peppers and mix well. Leave for 5 minutes until it thickens a bit.
  • Add the cheese and mix again.
  • You can have it with a baguette or bakestone bread.

The End, my friend!

Bon appetite!