Chives’ dumplings

Finally, a new recipe to include in our weekly meal plans. This was the second time I made them at home, and I’m pretty sure you can’t fail this recipe. It’s a variation of a family recipe, but a simpler, easier and quicker version.

Ingredients (4 people)

1 dL milk
1/2 tablespoon of sugar
20 g of fresh yeast (or an equivalent of dried yeast)
300 g flour
1/2 tablespoon of salt
5 tablespoons of sliced (fresh or dried) chives (can be modified according to your taste)
1 egg
30 g of melted butter
butter and bread crumbs

To make the dumplings, first mix together the milk, sugar and fresh yeast crushed in small crumbs. Let it rise for a while. In a bowl, mix together flour, salt, chives and egg, add the yeast mixture and melted butter. Mix it all together and make several small dumplings (I usually make 5). Let it rise for about half an hour. You can cook them in a salted boiling water for about 10-15 minutes, or you can  freeze them, and have a quick meal for one of those busy days.

They’re best served covered with  buttered bread crumbs and a bowl of fresh green salad.

 

Onion-painted Easter eggs

As part of my plan to expend the recipe repertoire, I made my first Easter eggs. Considering I haven’t ate an Easter egg for more than a decade, this was a huge change. My mum always made too many Easter egss, and we were stuck eating them for more than a week each year. At some point I completely stopped eating boiled eggs altogether. Recently, I occasionaly boil an egg for a salad, and decided it’s time to make some for Easter.I don’t remember making Easter eggs when I was younger, so despite this being ‘a family recipe’, it was my first time. And of course, not all went according to plan. I peeled onions and first soaked the onion peels in cold water. During the soaking, I prepared the eggs. I didn’t have any small flowers at hand, so I used larger leaves of one of my (unfortunately dying) plants to make initials of family members. The trick is to add a plant leaf or a flower directly on the eggs shell, and then tightly cover it with a small piece of pantyhose. When the eggs are decorated, you just need to boil them for 10-15 minutes, and they’re done. As you can see on the photos, the water colour changed during those 15 minutes to reddish brown. Unfortunately, the leaves I used for decorating the eggs were not tightly enough covered with pantyhose piece, and only one egg got a readable initial on.

Practice makes perfect…

…or in my case, it doesn’t. Three months ago our baby turned one, and officially became a very little boy, although I still refer to him as a baby. So, the idea was to home-bake a cake for his birthday party. I knew immediately I want to do the carrot cake as it’s very simple and healthy because of the carrots. And because I like how the carrot cake muffins taste like. Just to be on the safe side, I made a trial cake a couple weeks before, and it turned out great. However, the actual birthday cake was made in the third attempt. I don’t know what I did wrong, but the second cake was not eatable. Before I make you change your mind about trying this super easy and delicious cake, here’s the recipe.

Ingredients

Batter

  • 100 g soft butter
  • 250 g sugar
  • 300 g carrots
  • 3 eggs
  • 300 g flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons of cinammon

Cream filling

  • 50 g of vanilla puding powder
  • 100 g sugar
  • 100 g soft butter
  • 250 mL milk

Instructions

First, I grated the carrots, and then add the sugar, flour, baking powder and cinammon to the mix. Separately, I melted the butter and beated in the eggs and added them to the mix. I mixed the batter until it was smooth (see on the picture). It’s not very wet, but not dry either, and it’s quite heavy. I baked it for about 25-30 minutes at 200°C. I’m using a round 28 cm in diameter tin, and this amount of batter fits it nicely.

While the cake is cooling down, I prepared the cream filling. This was actually my first time making the filling using puding powder, and it worked great. First, I mixed the puding powder with three spoons of milk, and than made the puding as instructed on the bag, but using only 250 mL of milk per 50 g powder. At the same time I mixed together the sugar and the butter, and added it to the puding. One thing to make sure here is to have the puding cooled down, and to avoid the crust on the puding, mixing should be done all the time. I was too busy mixing, and forgot to take some extra photos. This is it, the cream filling was done pretty quickly. I cut the cake in half, and used about half of the cream filling for a cream layer. The rest of the cream filling was used to cover the cake. I decorated the cake with chocolate letters, and some colourful sprinkles. It wasn’t the prettiest cake, but I have about 9 more months to practice for the second birthday cake.

Blueberry and Greek Yoghurt Cake

My sister handed me down this super easy and delicious recipe she found online. The original post can be found at A Tasty Love Story blog by Josephine Malene. But be careful, that’s a blog about addictive recipes. Also,her recipes have a nordic twist, and originally, this cake is called Icelandic Skyr & Blueberry Cake. If you’re wondering, I haven’t heard of Skyr before either. Luckily, Josephine explained in her blog that Skyr is Icelandic version of a low-fat and high protein Greek yoghurt, and is increasingly popular in Danmark as a symbol of health and lean diet. As such, Skyr can be easily replaced with Greek yoghurt, which is most likely easier to get, wherever you are.

Before rebloging the recipe, I just wanted to comment that being fairly unexperienced in the kitchen and often failing recipes in the first go, this turned out great. Appart for some uneven edges smudged by the cake pan (as seen on this picture) it was looking good. It’s also easy and quick, as it requires no baking. I made mine in the evening after I put the baby to sleep, and my kitchen was clean in no time. I’m definitely doing this again soon.

Blueberry Greek Yoghurt Cake
Blueberry Greek Yoghurt Cake

Icelandic Skyr & Blueberry Cake
Serves 8-10 persons

Crust
10 whole grain butter biscuits (e.g. digestive)
50-70 g butter/coconut oil
1 Tbsp coconut sugar

Filling
500 g skyr or Greek yoghurt (2 cups)
250 ml heavy cream (1 cup)
50 g sugar/honey or sweetener of your choice
1/2 tsp ground vanilla
3 sheets of gelatine

Topping
4 Tbsp blueberry jam
100 g fresh blueberries

Directions
Coarsely crush the biscuits. Mis them with sugar and melted butter/oil. Use a 22 cm (8 inch) spring-form cake pan. Fasten a piece of parchment paper between the ring and then bottom of the spring form. Use your hands to firmly press the crust out in the pan until it covers the whole bottom. Place it in the freezer.

Start by soaking gelatine in cold water. In a bowl combine skyr, sugar, vanilla and mix it well together. Remove the gelatine from the water and transfer into a little pot on low heat and stir until dissolved, let it rest until slightly cooled. Mix the lukewarm gelatine with a little of the skyr and afterwards mix it into all of the skyr in the bowl – this little extra step with make sure that the gelatine does not shock and make small jelly clumps.
Whip the heavy cream in to a light and fluffy foam and gently fold it into the skyr mix. Remove the crust from the freezer and pour the skyr cream on top of it, gently smoothing out the surface. Now place it in the fridge for at least 4 hours until completely chilled and set.
Before serving remove the cake from the form and transfer onto a serving plate. Gently spread our the blueberry jam on the surface of the cake and decorate with the fresh blueberries.

Once again, thanks to Josephine Malene for posting this on her blog and teaching me a new easy and delicious summer cake recipe.

Chocolate chip and mint chocolate cookies

I have a very big sweet tooth, but I’m also an unexperienced baker, so I love easy recipes for two reasons. Easy recipes mean almost a 100% success and they’re usually also quick, which means not much time is spent between tidying up the kitchen and enjoying the freshly baked cookies. Ok, I often have a bite or two while cleaning up the mess from baking.

Recently, I tried chocolate chip cookies my sister made based on recipe in one of her American baking books and they were really great and buttery just melting in my mouth. The recipe seemed easy, so I gave it a try when I got back home. Well, the first time they didn’t turn out as they should, but they were tasty anyway. I blamed my lack of experience with the new oven, but more importantly, I didn’t follow the recipe carefully, which was probably the main reason for failing. Now, after several batches of (successfully) baked cookies I felt confident to make a few changes to the recipe – I used less sugar and substituted chocolate chips with either mint chocolate or white chocolate and coconut flour.

The ingredients

240 g white flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
170 g soft butter (unsalted)
120 g sugar (originally it was 200 g)
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
2 eggs (originally it was 1 egg and 1 egg yolk)

125 g chocolate chips (originally it was 350 g)

Recipe
First step is to mix the soft butter and sugar together. Make sure the butter is soft enough to mix homogeneously with the sugar. One of my mistakes was that the butter was not soft enough, and even after thorough mixing, there were still chunks of butter visible in the dough. I use granulated brown sugar, but I guess any kind would work. Also, I downsized the sugar content, as the cookies were actually really too sweet for my taste (very unusual, I know).
Mixing soft butter and sugar
Mixing soft butter and sugar

I added two eggs to this mix, although the original recipe called for 1 egg and 1 yolk, but I didn’t know what to do with the left over egg white, so I just mixed it all in.

Adding the eggs
Adding the eggs

If you see chunks of butter in the mix, this will affect the cookies, unless you mix it really well, but that will take time. Some of the cookies will have too much or too little butter, and they will bake differently and won’t look as nice as they should (I ate them anyway).

A mix of butter, sugar and eggs
Well mixed butter, sugar and eggs

In a separate bowl, I mixed the flour, baking soda, vanilla sugar and the chocolate chip cookies. If I don’t have chocolate chips at hand, I just chop a chocolate bar to smaller pieces. It takes more time, but the result is the same. Make sure to mix the powdered ingredients well.

Powdered ingredients
Powdered ingredients

The powdered ingredients should be added to the butter/sugar/egg mix by spoon while mixing it. I’m not that slow, and I add the powdered ingredients in 3 or 4 steps. If you want to add it all at once, I strongly advise against it, as the flour will be all over the place when mixing (at least in my case this happened).

Combining the butter/sugar/eggs mix with the powdered ingredients
Combining the butter/sugar/eggs mix with the powdered ingredients

The dough is rather soft, but it’s not easy to mix it with the mixer (at least my mixer is at its limit when mixing this dough). At this point the dough needs to be cooled for at least an hour (it can be left in the fridge for up to 24 hours – but who wants to wait this long for the cookies).

The mixed dough
The mixed dough

I wrap the dough in a transparent foil and leave it for in the fridge for an hour to chill. If I’m making more than one batch, I prepare it while cooling the first batch. Otherwise, I use this free hour to clean up the counter and do the dishes, and if I’m quick enough, make myself a cup of tea (everytime I baked them, I did it in the late evening).

Cooled dough
Chilled dough

The chilled dough is more stiff, and you have to use some muscle to get small chunks off the main mass to make small balls of dough. If leaving the dough for too short, the dough will be too sticky to make the balls, so it’s best to leave it in the fridge for at least one hour.

Cooled dough
Cooled dough

I always line the baking tray with baking paper. The balls should be apart enough, so that they don’t stick together while baking.

Balls of dough
Balls of dough

I bake them at 180°C for approximately 10 minutes. I wasn’t sure how long to leave them in the oven the first time I made them, and I overbaked them. Later, I got a usefull advice – the cookies are baked when the edge of the cookies gets brown.

Baked cookies
Baked chocolate chip cookies

In my opinion, these cookies need to cool down before eating them, but they’re almost as tasty when still warm. After a day or two, the cookies are more firm than when straight from the oven. However, in both cases they taste great and really melt in my mouth.

Alternatively, chocolate chips can be substituted with mint chocolates. I’m using mint chocolate sticks, which are easily chopped to smaller bites.

Mint chocolate sticks
Mint chocolate sticks

If you like the mint flavour as I do, you should try this. The cookies don’t differ much from the classic chocolate chip cookies, but the mints make them slightly different, and whoever tried this mint version, was positively surprised.

Mint chocolate cookies
Mint chocolate cookies

Holiday treat

The time around Christmas and New Year’s Eve is usually very festive, and special desserts are in order. This is what I made for us to enjoy on one of the evenings. It’s actually pretty simple variation on one of the treats from our favourite cafe Cacao in Ljubljana and Portoroz. It’s a combination of chocolate and vanilla puding with an addition of ground almonds, butter buscuits and spices (cardamom, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg). I topped it off with gingerbread icecream and sweet cream. Mmmmm, delicious!

Gingerbread icecream winter treat

Tripple Chocolate Mint Muffins

I did some experimenting this afternoon, and the result are Triple Chocolate Mint Muffins. They look fine, and they taste nice, but the recipe could be further optimized according to taste. I’m happy with the way they turned out, and I’m definitely doing them again.

Triple Chocolate Mint Muffins

Ingredients list

– 2 cups of flour

– 1 cup of brown sugar

– 1 cup of white chocolate chips (I use white chocolate bars sliced in small chips)

– 1 cup of mint chocolate chips (I use After Eight mints sliced in small chips)

– 2 spoons of cocoa powder

– 1 tablespoon of baking powder

– 2 cups of yoghurt

– 1,5 cup of oil

 

Instructions (makes about 18 muffins)

1. Mix flour, sugar, white and mint chocolate chips, cocoa powder and baking powder in a bowl.

2. Add yoghurt and oil to the bowl and mix until smooth.

3. Transfer mixture into muffin pans filling each cup to about 2/3 full.

4. Bake at 200°C for about 15-20 minutes (until a toothpick comes out clean).

5. Optional: For decoration I used whipped cream (2 dcL with a tablespoon of cocoa to add brownish colour) to cover the muffin top and added half of mint chocolate.

 

Comments

– according to your taste, more sugar or more chocolate chips can be added to the mixture (I prefer extra chocolate, though)

– any kind of chocolate chips can be used (I used what I had at hand)