Tuesday, November 11, 2008

TWD: Kugelhopf

This is another Tuesdays with Dorie post, I must say I quite enjoy baking these days and I discover new recipes which I have never heard of in my life before. Last week I baked first time Rugelach and this week I baked first time Kugelhopf.

This week's recipe was chosen by Yolanda from The All Purpose Girl. You can find the recipe here or from the book on pages 61-63.

According to Dorie, Kugelhopf is half cake and half bread, to me it reminded a bit doughnut though, not bad if you like doughnuts and I do :).

This time, surprise surprise, I didn't half the recipe :)!

My version: I am lazy person and didn't even use mixer for mixing the dough like Dorie suggested to do. I mixed all ingredients together using wooden spoon and I also didn't dissolve yeast in milk. Basically I approached to the dough like it's regular pizza dough :).

My dough rose pretty well though, and it remained this way even after taking out of oven but I didn't use any foil to cover it, so no reason to open oven door either. I baked my Kugelhopf in 180 C degree oven about 25 minutes and that was pretty enough.

I used first time in my life silicon pan and I was very pleasantly surprised, I tend to prefer firm metal pans but silicon was great, I might even consider buying some more silicon dishes in future.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Cheddar-Dill Scones

I have had Ina Garten's The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook for some time now but today I finally managed to cook something from it. I am an early bird, so I baked cheddar-dill scones in the morning before going to work.

Cheddar-Dill Scones

4 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
4 extra-large eggs, beaten lightly
1 cup cold heavy cream
1/2 pound extra-sharp yellow Cheddar, small-diced
1 cup minced fresh dill
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water or milk, for egg wash

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Combine 4 cups of flour, the baking powder, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.

3. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is in pea-sized pieces.

4. Mix the eggs and cream and quickly add them to the flour-and-butter mixture. Combine until just blended.

5. Toss together the dill, cheddar, and 1 T of flour and add them to the dough. Mix until they are almost incorporated.

6. Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it gently for 1 minute, until the cheddar and dill are well distributed.

7. Roll the dough ¾-inch thick. Cut into 4-inch squares and then in half diagonally to make triangles.

8. Brush the tops with egg wash.

9. Bake on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 20 to 25 minutes, until the outside is crusty and the inside is fully baked.

My version: Again I halved the recipe and I used regular cheese which I usually put on sandwiches. I didn't use mixer, I think you'll get the best results mixing flour and butter with your fingers, and you're saving yourself from cleaning the mixer :). Next time I'd use a bit less butter, I needed to add more flour than recipe called for.

Valuation: good scones, best eaten warm and with tiny bit of butter. Makes great breakfast.

Recipe adapted from: The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Pork Stroganoff with Beans

I had few pork shops in my fridge which were desperate need of my attention, otherwise they would have gone bad with no time :).

I wanted to cook something fast and easy, something which doesn't require a lot of time in kitchen, after all, it's Sunday and time for my weekly girlie beauty procedures :). I have found some nice cooking ideas from Sille's blog and her pork with beans recipe is a base for mine pork stroganoff.

Pork Stroganoff with Beans

300 g pork fillet, sliced into strips
1 carrot, sliced into strips
1 leek, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced into stripes
1 clove of garlic
1 chili bean, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
3 tbsp tomato paste
200 ml single cream
200 g red kidney beans
ground pepper

1. Cut pork fillet, bell pepper and carrot into stripes, slice leek, chop chili bean and garlic.

2. Pour little bit oil into frying pan and fry pork stripes quickly, don't burn or overcook.

3. Add carrot, bell pepper, leek, garlic and chili. Fry few minutes and then add tomato and beans, canned are perfect but drain them before.

4. Add tomato paste and single cream. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Let it boil until sauce thickens a little.

5. Serve!

My version: I like red sauce, so this pork stroganoff is exactly my kind of cup. Gets ready within seconds in you use frozen carrots and canned red kidney beans. I used fresh carrot and soaked and cooked kidney beans myself. Great to serve with boiled potatoes.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Olive Cheese Bread

I spent my morning reading some food blogs and this recipe caught my eye. I could have guessed before making it, this dish full of calories, but I guess there are so many of them that I can't count that much anyway :). So the dish which was meant as snack turned out to be lunch and dinner!

I think Olive Cheese Bread is the food where you can say "Everything good in this life is either illegal, immoral or makes you fat!"

I halved the recipe and it was still plenty of food and calories. I guess it's about time for me to look up my skates and do few rounds :).

I guess it could be quite good party food also, if you use baguette and slice it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

TWD: Rugelach

This is my first Tuesdays with Dorie post, well technically my first :). I have done before Banana bread but this doesn't really count since I wasn't member, just someone who was browsing randomly and ended up on Tuesday with Dorie page. But now, everything is official, I have the book and I am the member!

This week's recipe was chosen by Grace from Piggy's Cooking Journal. You can find the recipe here or from the book on pages 150-152.

To be honest, I have never even heard of the word Rugelach before and I have no idea how it's called in Estonian but reading the recipe, it includes all the yummie things, so I suspect the result can't be bad!

I usually halve the recipe when I cook/bake something first time, I mean even dog can't eat all the failures, so no reason to torture him with enormous amounts:)!

My version: I used strawberry jam, this was the only thick enough jam in my cupboard and the jar was already open, so strawberry it is. I used almonds, chocolate and almonds go together very well in my world. I left out sugar and cinnamon, jam was sweet enough for me and I don't like overly sweet things. I only had small bag of small and very dried raisins, so I soaked them about an hour in amaretto. Alcohol always gives a little touch to sweet things and besides better inside the cookie then somewhere else :). I didn't bother rotating my rugelach in oven, I prefered to watch TV instead :).

Half way rolling the wedges

Smell which came from kitchen was wonderful! Rugelach taste awsome but it takes a LOT of time and patience to make them. If I'll bake them next time, I'll double the recipe, I want my effort lasts a bit longer then 5 minutes!

These little babies are ready to into oven

Recipe adapted from:
Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I tend to keep a box of minced meat in my freezer, just in case. I mean you never know when you have desire to cook something meaty and are too lazy to go outside to do shopping, and besides, it's cheap :).

I took one box to thaw in the morning and I made meatballs for dinner, I flattened them, so I can eat them tomorrow between bread as hamburger. I have tried several meatballs recipes and this is my favorite.


1 dl bread crumbs
1/2 dl sour cream or plain yogurt
1,5 dl water
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
500 g minced meat, (beef is good, although I use sometimes mixed version)
1 egg
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly grounded black pepper

1. Cover bread crumbs with water and leave them soak for 10 minutes.

2. Chop the onion and garlic clove and fry quickly until golden. Cool a little.

3. Add sour cream, egg and fried onion and garlic to bread crumb mixture. Stir lightly.

4. Add minced meat to bread crumb mixture and stir.

5. Add salt and black pepper. Give another stir until seasoning is incorporated.

6. Shape little or average size balls and bake them medium-high heat until brown.

My version: I use what I have at home, sour cream or plain yogurt, both work. I also flatten my meatballs a little and if I'm in mood, I dip them into bread crumb mixture before frying.
Good dinner, I served with mashed potatoes and cucumber.

Cream Scones

It's Saturday again, amazing how much joy one weekend might bring :). Today's breakfast is again from Dorie Greenspan's book Baking: From My Home to Yours, cream scones.

This is my first time when I actually bake scones, I have baked cinnamon rolls, meat pastries and some other yeast containing pastries. I really enjoyed her Basic Biscuits and I had a bit heavy cream left in fridge so scones was perfect choice.

Cream Scones

1 large egg
2/3 cup cold heavy cream
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
5 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
3/4 cup moist, plump currants

1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.

2. Stir the egg and cream together.

3. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Drop in the butter and, using your fingers, toss to coat the pieces of butter with flour. Quickly, working with your fingertips or a pastry blender, cut and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly.

4. Pour the egg, cream and currants over the dry ingredients and stir with a fork just until the dough, which will be wet and sticky, come together. Don't overdo it. Still in the bowl, gently knead the dough by hand, or turn it with a rubber spatula 8 to 10 times.

5. Lightly dust a work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Divide it in half. Working with one piece at a time, pat the dough into a rough circle that's about 5 inches in diameter, cut it into 6 wedges and place it on the baking sheet.

6. Bake the scones for 20 to 22 minutes, or until their tops are golden and firmish. Transfer them to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before serving, or wait for them to cool to room temperature.

My version: I think there's mistake in recipe, according to her book, she never mentions currants in instructions. I tend only read ingredient list and from instructions I read temperature and baking time, so I discovered later that there's no currants! I used raisins which I found from dark corner of my cupboard and mixed them in with flour mixture.
I have noticed Dorie's baking times don't match with my oven, I set timer 5 minutes less then recipe requires and it's more then enough.

Valuation: great for breakfast or even eating as all-day snack. They turned out really puffy and crumbly, especially good warm with cold butter.

Recipe adapted from: Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Chocolate Banana Muffins

These are great muffins, especially when you have some bananas laying around in kitchen which are starting to brown.

Chocolate Banana Muffins

1 dl dark brown sugar
2 eggs
100 g melted butter or margarine
2 ripe bananas (the bigger the better)
3,5 dl flour
2 tsp baking powder
50 g chopped dark chocolate

1. Beat eggs with sugar, add melted and cooled butter, chopped chocolate and bananas (make puree of them first).

2. Add flour with mixed baking powder and mix everything fast and as less as possible.

3. Place dough into muffins cups and bake around 18 minutes in 200 degree C oven.

My version: These are my favorite muffins and I usually add a bit more chocolate and the bigger the chunks you chop the better! I baked them 15 minutes and that was quite enough.

Valuation: I have baked these quite few times already and every single time they turn out just fine. Soft and moist muffins, perfect with glass of cold milk.

Recipe adapted from: Muffins (Muffinid) by Maire Suitsu and Lia Virkus

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Crispy Chicken Fingers

I have had Bill Granger's book Every Day for some time now and to be honest, at first I didn't think much of it, just browsed very quickly and thought "this is not one of my brilliant ideas". Today when I was looking for Sabrina to start, I browsed this book again and I must say, it's pretty good actually. I marked quite a few recipes which I'd like to try someday.

I am collector, especially which concerns food, so I desperately needed room in my freezer for cranberries, so chickens had to go since I wasn't ready to give up my blueberries yet :).
Considering the size of my pantry, I won't be surprised if I manage to feed whole army but I just love grocery stores, and shoe stores too of course :-).

Crispy Chicken Fingers

60 g plain flour
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 eggs
100 g fresh breadcrumbs
50 g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
small handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
4 chicken breasts, cut into thirds
2 tbsp olive oil
25 g butter

1. Put the flour and little seasoning in a flat bowl. Bear the eggs in another bowl. Put the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, parsley and seasoning in a third bowl and stir together well.

2. Dip each piece of chicken in the seasoned flour, then the egg and finally in the breadcrumb mixture. Cover and chill for up to 2 hours before cooking.

3. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook about 3 minutes on each side, turning once until lightly golden. You may need to do this in two batches, adding a little more butter and olive oil, if needed.

My version: I halved the recipe and it's still huge bunch of food! I left out parsley, I just don't like it but I added about heap teaspoon of oregano.

Surprisingly good, since I am not big chicken fan, I'm more pork and beef kind a girl but even I must admit, these chicken fingers were good, both warm and cold. Besides it's pretty good party food if you cut chicken breasts into smaller pieces.

Recipe adapted from: Every Day by Bill Granger

Womanizer - The Girl is back!

I am not much of Britney Spears' fan but I have few of her songs in my iPod. For a workout this song is perfect, I can't really run and listen Dan Hill's "Sometimes When We Touch", it's just plain wrong!

Britney's new single is probably one of the best ones, really catchy and I love the lyrics.

Hopefully she has finally got her life back in track since wearing underwear is not such a bad idea at all :).


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Basic Biscuits

Few days ago I got from Amazon.com Dorie Greenspan's book Baking: From My Home to Yours, and since this is Saturday and I don't have to start my morning with make-up and my never ending question "what should I wear today", I had time to make something for breakfast which doesn't include only coffee and cornflakes :).

So I decided to start with biscuits since bread which I thought I had, well, apparently somebody ate it (not me!).

Basic Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 stick cold butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup cold whole milk

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Drop the butter in and, using your hands, blend the butter and flour together quickly. You can also use a pastry blending if you desire. Do this until you have a pebbly, sandy mixture.

3. Pour the milk over the dry ingredient and toss with a fork until the dough comes together.
Give the dough four quick kneads with you hands.

4. Dust a clean work surface or pastry cloth with some flour. Press the dough until it is 1/2 inch high. Using a biscuit cutter or the top of a glass cut the bisuits out. Do this as closely together as you can to get the most out of the first round. Place the biscuits on a baking sheet or stone.
Gather the scraps together, press again, cut out biscuits. Follow this procedure until all the dough is used.

5. Bake for 14-18 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Remove immediately.

My version: I used plain flour, although Dorie suggest you can use 1 2/3 cups of all purpose flour and 1/3 cups cake flour, I didn't have any cake flour so I used that I had in my cupboard. I also added a bit more sugar into dough, 3 teaspoons. Instead of butter, (well, somebody obviously forgot to buy butter!) I used good-quality shortening, and I can't say it affected taste much. For cutting I used flower-shaped cookie-cutter, just because it was the only one I managed to find and flowers look much prettier then regular rounds:).

Valuation: great for breakfast or even eating as snack. They turned out really puffy and moist, especially good with butter or Nutella.

Recipe adapted from: Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Book review: The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten

You got to love Amazon, I mean truly. This company might bankrupt you but it doesn’t make it less lovable :-).

I got today another bunch of books from there and so far I have managed to browse through one, „The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook”.

To leave aside US measurements, its incredible book, full of easy and apparently tasty recipes. Ina Garten have friendly writing style and this book includes useful tips, like how to make your own vanilla extract and how to set up fruit and cake platters so that they look nice both to eyes and to mouth.

She stresses the same principle which I believe in, use the freshest available ingredients and when it's season. I can't agree more, tomatoes taste totally different when you buy them in the middle of February or in the middle of August.

I tend to use post-it bookmarks to mark recipes which I definitely want to try and I must say this book is pretty much covered with them :-).

My “cook these as soon as possible” list includes:
  • Maple-oatmeal scones – I love oatmeal and maple syrup so this should be perfect combination for me :-).
  • Cheddar-dill scones – Cheese is always great, in fact I consider it as one of the food groups :-).
  • Coconut cupcakes – everybody loves coconut and cupcakes!
  • Parmesan smashed potatoes – Parmesan is one of the cheeses which I buy as big chunk, since I know I always eat half of it so I need to buy more than recipe calls for!
  • Roasted carrots – I love carrots, and no, you don't get bunny ears if you eat too many carrots :-)!
  • Indonesian ginger chicken - well, it’s chicken!
  • Filet of beef bourguignon - I have always wanted to try beef bourguignon but I have been quite intimidated by the recipe but Ina’s seems pretty easy so I’ll give it a try.
  • French potato salad – I love classical potato salad (although some might know it as Russian Potato salad), so it’s about time to try some other versions.
  • Parker’s split pea soup – I love my grandmother’s pea soup which she used to make on cold winters. Since winter is approaching what could be better time to test this pea soup.
  • Grilled lemon chicken – Chicken and lemon go well together so I am sure this is one great recipe.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Rachel Allen's Chili con carne

This is another chili con carne recipe, this time by Rachel Allen. I really think I have thing for chili :).

Rachel Allen's Chili con carne

2 large onions
700g lean stewing beef, fat removed and cut into 1-2cm cubes
5 garlic cloves, crushed
800g tinned chopped tomatoes
2 green peppers, sliced
3 green or red chillies, chopped, seeds left in if you like your chillies fiery
2 tsp ground cumin
1 can (400g) red kidney beans
1 tsp brown sugar

For serving:
125ml sour cream
2 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
4 tbsp Cheddar cheese, grated

1. Heat the olive oil in a casserole,or saucepan and fry the meat until it changes colour - about 5-7 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and stir for a minute or so before tipping in the tinned tomatoes,chopped chillies, peppers, and a good pinch of salt.

2. Cover the pan and simmer for about an hour, until the meat is tender and the liquid reduced to a thick sauce. If it gets too dry during cooking, pour in a little more water.

3. Add the cumin, kidney beans (and a little of the bean liquid, if you like) and the brown sugar. Simmer for a further 10 mins before serving with rice, a spoonful of sour cream, grated cheddar cheese and and coriander leaves as a garnish. For added spicy kick, serve this dish with hot chilli sauce.

My version: I used orange and red peppers instead of green ones, simply because these were what I had in my hands. Secondly, I used again minced beef instead of cubed beef, it's not my fault minced beef was the only meaty thing left my local store when I got there :). According to my opinion, you don't really need to add any water while it simmers.

Valuation: great chili con carne recipe, almost as good as to beat Jamie's :). Brown sugar gives nice sweet after-taste.

Source: TV show "Rachel's Favourite Food"

Monday, September 29, 2008

Potato and Mushroom Gratin

My favorite past-time activity is to cuddle up with nice cookbook, with pictures of course. I was browsing my Nigella book and as result, Potato and Mushroom Gratin.

Potato and Mushroom Gratin

3 average-size baking potatoes (about 750 g), thinly sliced
350 ml milk
3 tablespoons white wine
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons garlic oil
250 g chestnut mushrooms, finely sliced

1. Heat the oven to 220°C and butter a shallow baking dish or gratin.

2. Bring the sliced potatoes, milk, wine, salt, and pepper to boil in a saucepan, stirring occasionally, and leave it at a simmer while you get on with the mushrooms.

3. Melt the butter and garlic oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.

4. Pour the mushrooms and their garlicky, buttery juices into the pan of potatoes, stir to mix, and pour straight into the gratin dish. Bake for 45 minutes alongside the chicken or until piping hot and crisp on top.

My version: Opposite to Nigella's, I peeled my potatoes. Only time when I eat unpeeled potatoes is when they are cooked in campfire, fantastic outside snack. I had bottle of cider in my hands so I used cider instead of white wine, the one wine which I had, well, I drank it during cooking, so not that much left for "real cooking" :-).

Valuation: Great side for Mustard Pork Chops for instance.

Recipe adapted from: Nigella Express by Nigella Lawson

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Jamie's Chili con Carne

I discovered chili con carne thanks to Jamie Oliver and it's perfect dish to pack for your work lunch also. This is my first chili dish, I saw Rachael Allen has also one chili con carne recipe but this will have to wait for better times, need to finish off Jamie's first :-).

Jamie's Chili con Carne

2 medium onions
1 clove of garlic
olive oil
2 tsp chilli powder
1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
455 g chuck steak, minced, or best minced beef
200 g sun-dried tomatoes in oil
2 x 400 g tins of tomatoes
1/2 stick of cinnamon
2 x 400 g tins of red kidney beans, drained

1. Blitz the onions and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped, then fry in a little olive oil until soft. Add the chilli powder, fresh chilli, cumin and a little seasoning. Then add the minced chuck steak or beef and continue to cook, stirring until it has browned.

2. Blitz the sun-dried tomatoes in the food processor with enough oil from the jar to loosen into a paste. Add these to the beef with the tomatoes, cinnamon stick and a wineglass of water. Season a little more if need be.

3. Bring to the boil, cover with greaseproof paper and the lid, then either turn the heat down to simmer and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Add the tinned kidney beans 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time - they are already cooked and only need warming up.

4. This always tastes better if you cook it the day before (to give the flavours time to develop), so it's really handy if you've got friends coming round and don't want to be stuck in the kitchen. Just take it out of the fridge and warm it up - serve it with lots of fresh crusty bread, a nice tossed salad, and a big blob of natural yogurt or guacamole.

My version: I added about 300 ml water, this is pretty enough, I have tried with less and more water but chili tends to burn or leave too moist, so I have learn 300 ml water is just enough :-). I like my chili with grated Parmesan cheese on top, although it's pretty good with plain yogurt. I didn't bother with guacamole like Jamie suggested, laziness again kicks in :-). I have done it without sundried tomatoes, just used tomato paste instead and I can't say it tasted significantly worse, and I used minced beef (I mean, come on, stores sell it and somebody has to buy it!). I usually cook whole bunch and keep it in fridge.

Valuation: The best chili I have ever tried (well, the only one so far but who's counting anyway!), cinnamon stick gives it interesting twist.

Recipe adapted from: Happy Days with the Naked Chef by Jamie Oliver

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

TWD: Black-and-White Banana Loaf

I discovered recently one nice community Tuesday with Dorie, where people bake recipes from book Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. I gave it a thought and ordered myself also a copy of this book from Amazon. It takes time to arrive though but I decided to try recipes ahead, after all, we all love Internet :)

I had some bananas at home which were almost ready to go bad, so perfect to put inside some cake. I checked my pantry and result, Black-and-White Banana Loaf!

Black-and-White Banana Loaf

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 ½ ripe bananas, peeled
squirt of fresh lemon juice
grated zest of ½ lemon
1 tablespoon dark rum
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 stick plus 2 tablespoon room temperature butter
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup whole milk

1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter an 8 ½ x4 ½ x 2 ½ inch loaf pan on an insulated baking sheet.

2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.

3. In another small bowl, mash the bananas with lemon juice, zest, then stir in the rum.

4. Melt the chocolate and 2 tbsp. butter together in a microwave or saucepan over simmering water.

5. Working with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter at medium speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugars and beat for 2-3 more minutes, until light and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in vanilla. The batter will look curdled, and it will continue to look curdled as you add ingredients.

6. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half the flour mixture, mixing only until it is just incorporated. With the mixer running, pour in the milk and when it is blended add the remaining dry ingredients. Scrape down the bowl and mix in the mashed bananas. The batter will look even lumpier.

7. Pour a little less than half the batter into the bowl with melted chocolate and stir to blend. Drop alternating spoonfuls of both batters into prepared pan (or follow any of the marbling techniques on page. 229). Then, using a knife, swirl the batters taking care not to overdo it.

8. Bake for 1 hour and 20 – 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Check after 30 minutes, if the cake browns too much, cover loosely with a foil tent. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it cool for 15 minutes before removing it from the pan. Continue to cool on the rack.

My version: I didn't have any light brown sugar so I replaced it with dark brown sugar and I only used half the milk which was given in recipe; otherwise I think I would have ended up with cocktail :-)! I used mixer only to beat butter and blend eggs into batter. I can't say my batter was lumpy though. I baked the loaf in 175 degree oven (Celsius!), so hotter then recipe says but it got done within an hour.

Valuation: Tastes better as cold, when eat warm, nutmeg taste is too intensive. Not sure if I'll bake this loaf again, probably not. It's not bad, inside is pleasantly juicy, great with tea as breakfast but nothing spectacular.

Recipe adapted from: Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Friday, September 12, 2008

Mustard Pork Chops

I got Nigella Express from http://www.amazon.co.uk/ about month ago already but this is the first time when I actually cook something from it. I prefer to browse cookbooks as bedtime reading material and fantasize what all I could cook if I have time and supplies and.... well, you know, it's also known as pure laziness :-).

Mustard Pork Chops

2 pork chops, about 450 g
2 teaspoons garlic oil
125 ml apple cider
1 tablespoon grain mustard
75 ml double cream

1. Cut the fat or rind off the chops, and then bash them briefly but brutally with a rolling pin between 2 pieces of cling film/plastic wrap to make them thinner.

2. Heat the oil in a pan, and then cook the chops over a moderately-high heat for about 5 minutes a side. Remove them to a warmed plate.

3. Pour the cider into the pan, still over the heat, to deglaze the pan. Let it bubble away for a minute or so then add the mustard and stir in the cream.

4. Let the sauce continue cooking for a few minutes before pouring over each plated pork chop. If you're having gnocchi with, make sure you turn them in the pan to absorb any spare juices before adding them to your plates.

My version: I used Dijon mustard and meat hammer to hammer pork chops just because I have meat hammer and I am rather fond of my rolling pin:-). I also added ground pepper and salt to pork chops, my grandmother did it and my mother does, so it's hard to go without adding pepper and salt to pork, habits die hard :-) but I think it would have been lacked in taste without seasoning. I didn't have garlic oil, so I used regular oil but I chopped in half clove of garlic.

Valuation: definitively something which I'll cook again some time soon and it is super super easy and fast. Very tasty and great sauce to soak your bread in also :-). I served with vegetables and nice bunch of spring onion, love that one, if I could I'd probably put it into cake also :-).

Recipe adapted from: Nigella Express by Nigella Lawson

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Piece of the wisdom vol.1

Do NOT eat undone raspberries!

It doesn’t matter how much you love them, they are bad for your stomach, I know that from direct source :)!