Simple, quick, and easy! And delicious!! Whipping up a lemon cake is something anyone can do, even without much baking skills. You can make all sorts of variations on it as well. For example, you can make into a chocolate cake or a coconut cake. Feel free to experiment with this recipe and post your results below!
Ingredients: 2 cups Flour 2 cups Sugar 3 Eggs 6 oz. Butter Zest from one Lemon (Approx. 2 tbsp) Juice from one large lemon (¼ – ½ cup) ½ cup Sour Cream ½ cup Milk 1 tbsp Poppy Seeds ½ tsp Baking Soda ½ tsp Baking Powder ¼ tsp Vanilla Extract ¼ tsp Salt ½ tsp Ginger 1 tbsp Bread Crumbs or Pank
Instructions: 1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. 2. Rub some softened butter to cover a bundt pan in a thin layer of butter and sprinkle the panko or bread crumbs on top. Spin it around until even distributed and the whole pan is covered. Turn it over quickly to release any extra crumbs. 3. Mix the sugar, butter and eggs with the lemon zest, until light and fluffy. 4. Add lemon juice, vanilla, milk, sour cream, poppy seeds, and ginger and mix it in well. 5. Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl before adding it gradually to the mix while stirring it on a low setting. Once it is all mixed together, pour it into the bundt pan and place in the oven for about 50 minutes until a test skewer comes out dry.
In this version I held back on adding the lemon juice and zest. Once everything else was mixed, I split the batter into two batches and put the lemon flavors in one, while adding a cup of blueberries to the other along with a tablespoon of red wine. I then poured the lemon flavored batter first and then the blueberry batter on top. I added an extra tablespoon of flour to the blueberry mix as well as the blueberries appeared to provide a little more liquid than the lemons did.
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One fun and delicious thing to make with fruit is marmalade. It’s pretty easy as well. Over the past week I have played with some variations using lemons directly off the tree and also rose hips, which has a distinct flavor and intense color. The basic concept of marmalade is to mix equal parts fruit and sugar, heat it up to its setting temperature and voila! Citrus fruits are natural candidates for marmalade as they have a lot of pectin in them. Lemons are particularly good for this reason. You want to take the fruit before it is fully ripe as the pectin levels decrease with the ripening process. Sour apples are also rich in pectin and make for good marmalade ingredients.
When I make a citrus marmalade, I start by washing the fruit carefully. I then remove the side edges and cut it in quarter wedges before slicing it as thin as I can. If there is a lot of white pith between the fruit and the outer layer of the peel, I will separate that out and discard it so that the marmalade doesn’t get too bitter. Keeping some of it is fine, but you don’t want too much of that. I then place the cut fruit in a a stainless steel, glass, or plastic bowl and pour water over it so that the fruit is just submerged. I then cover the bowl and place it in the fridge overnight. Next day, I measure the amount of fruit and water so I know how much sugar to use. 1 cup fruit mix = 1 cup sugar. After measuring it, I will boil the fruit mix while stirring frequently for about 15 minutes before adding the sugar. I then stir it until the sugar is dissolved, but no longer than that! I then let the marmalade simmer until it reaches the setting temperature of around 105 degrees Celsius or 225 degrees Fahrenheit. I use a candy thermometer attached to the side of the pot to measure this. If it doesn’t reach the right temperature, you will end up with very runny (still tasty!) marmalade. It is also fine to add some pectin with the sugar when you are adding that to the fruit if you want to be really sure it sets well.
Once it is ready, pour it into sterilized jars and put the lids on tight. The marmalade will fully set within 48 hours. Once it has cooled down and set, I like to keep it in the fridge, but that is really not necessary until you have opened the jar.
When making rosehip marmalade, it is important to remove ALL the seeds from inside along with any hairy fibers. This is a time consuming process, but it can provide for a good opportunity to meditate or socialize over an activity. Use latex or vinyl gloves when cleaning the berries to avoid getting all itchy in your skin. I find that having a bowl of water next to me that I can dip my fingers in between each berry is helpful. I cut the berry open into two pieces and scrape out the seeds with a small spoon or blunt knife. Once I have the cleaned berries, I chop them very finely and then boil them with some thin, peeled green apple slices, zest of half a lemon, and fresh squeezed lemon juice from one large lemon, a generous splash of orange juice and some water. After boiling for about 15-20 minutes and the apple starts falling apart, I add the sugar along with a small amount of pectin. I then let it simmer until it reaches the setting point temperature. When it is done, I pour it into sterilized mason jars. I wipe off the edges before putting the lids on and then let them cool off.
If you notice that the marmalade is too thick or jelly-like in its consistency once it starts cooling down, just pour it back into the sauce pan and add a splash of single malt scotch whiskey. Stir it up and heat it gently before pouring it back into the jars. This should bring it to the consistency you want for good marmalade.
What have you tried and how did it turn out? Please comment below and add pictures if you like!
This is a luscious treat when you want fresh flavors and a smaller meal although it’s not necessarily the healthiest way of preparing tomatoes. Make sure you use tomatoes that are very ripe for this recipe.
INGREDIENTS Sliced pumpernickel bread (or rye bread) 1 pound tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces 4 tbsp unsalted butter (or mix butter with olive oil) 1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled, cut into thin pieces 1 small shallot (finely chopped) ¼ cup leek, cut in thin slices and slightly chopped 2 tbsp soy sauce ¼ tsp salt 3 tbsp Parmesan cheese (shredded) Fresh cilantro leaves
Instructions: 1. Heat a large skillet on medium with the butter added. As soon as butter stops foaming, add the ginger, shallot and leek. Let it cook for about a minute to bring out the flavors. 2. Add the tomatoes and let it cook until tomatoes are juicy and just warmed through. Stir occasionally with a large spoon while the tomatoes are cooking. This will only take a couple of minutes. 3. Add soy sauce, half of the parmesan and salt before giving it one final stir. 4. Serve on pumpernickel toast with a dollop of crème fraîche. Top with leek, cilantro, and Parmesan. A little freshly ground black pepper on top will also help bring out more of the flavors.
Variation: – Replace half the butter with olive oil
While cherries and mangoes are still in season, I love making this delicious dessert for a summer night dinner. It’s easy and simple to make! You can of course make variations using different fruits, but I find that this flavor combination works quite well. You don’t need to use both red and rainier cherries. It works well using one or the other. I have not tried this using frozen fruit, but there is no reason why that would not work well also. Try it out and let me know how yours turned out in the comments below!
Here is the recipe. It makes 4 servings.
INGREDIENTS: 1 mango (sweet yellow is best, but any mango works) 12-15 sweet red cherries 4-8 Rainier cherries 3 oz. Aperol liquor 1 tbsp maple syrup 1 tbsp honey 1 tbsp sugar ½ tsp corn starch ½ cup rolled oats ¼ cup butter (Don’t skimp on this!) 1 tbsp all purpose flour 3 tbsp shelled roasted pistachios (unsalted) ¼ tsp cinnamon
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Peel and cut the mango into cubes. Remove the pits from the cherries and place it all in a bowl with 2 oz. Aperol and stir before letting it sit for about an hour. 2. Mix oats, butter, flour, honey, 1 tbsp pistachios, and sugar into a paste. 3. Mix 1 oz of Aperol with ¼ – ½ tsp corn starch. Heat the fruit mixture in a sauce pan on medium heat with the Aperol corn starch mix while simmering until you get a slightly creamy consistency. About 4-5 min. Add 1 tbsp pistachios and the maple syrup to the mix and stir. 4. Rub a thin layer of butter on the bottom and sides of four 6 oz. ramekins (or a larger bowl if you prefer making one big dish). Portion the fruit mix into the ramekins, making sure there is some space at the top. Roll the oatmeal/butter paste into small chunks/balls and place on top of the fruit mix in a thin layer, allowing some space for the fruit to “breathe”. Bake for about 15 minutes in 350 degrees until the top looks crispy. If you are making a larger dish, let it bake for 20-25 minutes to get the right crispiness. 5. Let cool for 5 minutes and then add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and decorate with pitted Rainier cherries. You can also add some whipped cream on top of the ice cream or just substitute it for the ice cream. Drizzle Aperol and the remaining pistachios on top. (Tip: You can boil the Aperol to remove the alcohol before adding it. Just make sure it cools off before serving it.)
Variation: – Add some pineapple chunks to the fruit mix for a sweeter flavor!
This vegetarian soup can be served warm, hot or cold. It can also be made with half the amount of dill than I used if you want more of the celery flavor in the foreground. Served cold, it is a perfect lunch soup for summer. Served hot, it will warm you up inside during colder days or nights. The recipe below makes four servings.
INGREDIENTS: 8 celery stalks 1 green zucchini 1 small or medium yellow onion 1-2 potatoes 2 oz. Butter 1 cup fresh dill leaves (or ½ cup frozen dill) 3 tbsp olive oil ½ cup sour cream, crème fraîche, or heavy cream 3 cups vegetable broth (I make my own and will post recipe later.) 3 tbsp dry white wine freshly ground pepper freshly ground nutmeg
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Peel the potatoes and chop them up in smaller chunks. Chop the celery, onion, and zucchini into smaller chunks as well. Put it all in a pot with the butter and olive oil and cook while stirring until the onions start looking slightly translucent. 2. Add the broth and simmer until potatoes are cooked through. Add the wine halfway through so that the flavor is absorbed and the alcohol is evaporated. 3. Add the dill and mix the soup in a blender until smooth. (You want to use mostly leaves of dill so make sure you remove any coarse stems before adding it to the soup.) 4. If you want a cold soup, strain it and stir in some heavy cream. If you want to serve it warm, just add a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche on top when you serve it. You will get a heartier soup if you don’t strain it and serve it warm or hot. 5. Serve with some freshly ground nutmeg and black pepper on top.
Optional: – Add a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar at the end of the process for a different flavor profile.
Vegan version: – Use double the amount of olive oil or add canola oil instead of butter if you want to make a vegan version. In that case, you can use coconut milk to get the creamy consistency instead of cream. (Make sure you buy coconut milk that doesn’t come from child labor or animal abuse!)
Delicious banana bread is a fun and easy thing to bake. Here is my recipe. Try it out and let me know how you like it!
Ingredients 3 very ripe bananas 4 oz. butter (soft, room temperature) (115 g.) 2 large eggs 2 cups all-purpose flour (0.5 L) ¾ cup brown sugar (2 dl) 1 tsp baking soda ½ tsp cinnamon ½ tsp vanilla extract ¼ tsp salt ½ – ¾ cup walnuts (optional) (1½ dl) ½ cup sour cream or plain greek yoghurt (optional) (1 dl)
Instructions 1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees (= 175˚C). Line a standard 9 x 5 inch bread pan with parchment paper and cover with a thin layer of butter or cooking spray.
2. Mix the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon and set to the side.
3. Mix the butter with the sugar and vanilla extract using a hand mixer until it is smooth and blended. Add the eggs and continue mixing while adding the peeled and crushed bananas and the sour cream. Add the flour mix and keep mixing at low speed. Add the nuts and stir it up before pouring it into the baking pan.
4. Bake for about one hour until a toothpick in the center part comes out dry.
5. Let it cool off on a cooling rack for 10 minutes before lifting the entire loaf out of the pan, using the parchment paper. After it has cooled off, store it in plastic. It will keep longer in the fridge than in room temperature, but it will taste so good that it is not likely to last long wherever you store it!
Today I was in the mood for something light, healthy, and flavorful. Quinoa is easy to make, but lacks flavor so I chopped up some celery to cook with it as well as some fresh dill. Once it was done, I also squeezed fresh lemon over it to bring out some more flavor. The veggies were made with roasted peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, onion, garlic, shallot, celery, and some fresh basil. On the side I chopped up a ripe tomato and added some hummus. It was all very satisfying and easy!
Roasted Pepper You can easily roast your own pepper in a frying pan. It is best to use one with a non-stick coating for this. Cut the peppers lengthwise creating pieces that are as flat as possible. Then place them in the pan on high heat with the skin side down. You may need to gently press the peppers down so that more of the skin makes contact with the hot surface. Once the skin has “blistered” and the pepper is getting soft, it is done. Take it out of the pan and if you have black burnt skin, just scrape it off under running water.
July is a great time for cherries. As I was popping some cherries this afternoon, I started thinking: what yummy thing could I make with cherries? A classic French cherry clafoutis seemed like a great idea so that’s what I decided to make! It’s a simple and easy dessert to make, but it tastes divinely good. My dinner guests (and myself) went for immediate second servings without hesitation! Please try the recipe below and let me know what you think. I would love to see some pictures of your creation as well!
Ingredients: 1 pound of red cherries (450 g) (Less if pitted in advance) 1 cup whole milk (or 2% with a splash of cream) (2 ½ dl) 3 eggs ½ cup granulated sugar (1 dl+) 2 tbsp butter (unsalted is better) ½ tsp vanilla extract ½ tsp almond extract ½ cup all-purpose flour (1 dl+) a pinch of salt
Instructions: 1. Pit the cherries and soak them in an ounce of cognac or brandy with a tablespoon of granulated sugar mixed in. Let it sit for about an hour while stirring occasionally. 2. Heat the oven to 325-350 degrees. (My oven tends to run hot, so I set it at 325, but 350 should work well for most ovens. That’s 175 degrees Celsius.) Cover a baking dish (about 1 ½- 2 inches (4-5 cm) tall at least) with softened butter. Then place the fruit at the bottom of the dish, pretty much covering it completely. Melt the rest of the butter. 3. Mix the milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract, and melted butter in a blender or bowl. Mix using a mixer and then add the flour. Mix it some more and then pour it all over the baking dish covering the fruit. 4. Put it in the oven for 45-55 minutes until it is set and a test stick in the center comes out only slightly wet. Be careful to not let it cook too long. You want to look for a consistency that is similar to a flan. 5. Serve with whipped cream or as is with some powdered sugar sprinkled on top.
Variations: – Instead of cherries, add 2 tbsp cocoa powder to the batter and use banana and chocolate chunks as filling. – Reduce the amount of cherries by about 40% and add 50g of chopped dark chocolate (unsweetened if possible) and half a cup of coarsely chopped blanched almonds. Serve with whipped cream with a dash of Kahlua in it. – Soak blueberries in red wine and some sugar and use instead of cherries. – Zest one orange and add the zest to the batter. – Add a few drops of Grand Marnier or Kahlua to the whipping cream. – Serve with ice cream instead of whipped cream. – Make individual portions in 6-8 oz ramekins (Bake for 15-20 minutes in this case)
What is this blog about? I am hoping to engage others who love to eat or cook in a conversation that will inspire and tickle our taste buds as well as nurture our creative spirit.
The whole thing started when my house mate asked me to make what I had made for dinner one night the week before. I had no idea what I had made or what I had put in it, because my cooking process is mostly intuitive. This happened a few more times until he said that I had to start writing down what I do. I reluctantly agreed to do so. Also, being a photographer, I figured it would help trigger my memory if I also took photos of my creations. After posting a few of them on social media, people started asking me for recipes and tips in addition to dinner invitations. Before I knew it, I was working on creating a cookbook!
In order to make sure that the recipes are useful, I’ll be asking people to re-create them and report back on their experience along with photos of their results and tips for improvements. I’m hoping this will then lead to a book of cooking inspiration rather than just a series of recipes. Please comment freely and add your tips and experiences to the recipes!