Most people I know who love to cook are never satisfied until they've found 'the' recipe for bread: 'that' quasi-perfect recipe that not only makes delicious bread, but results in an immense personal sense of achievement leading you to swear that you'll never buy bread from your local bakery again (when in fact, we all know that's simply not true). Essentially, bread is a simple food and probably the most common food that we humans are familiar with. However, it is one of the trickiest to make at home. Many have told me that they'll try anything except bread- leave that to the baker with their special ovens and customized flours (and their early wake up calls). Well, I say don't be intimidated, don't despair. I have a recipe that I swear by- years have passed and it has not once betrayed me!
Feb 13, 2013
I've always loved how the sweetness of dates and chocolate match up. Dates are incredibly delicious fresh (that crunch!) but when they are left to ripen, they become nature's most divine sugar treat. This dessert was something of a rich dark brown chocolate-date canvas laced with cardamom and grated coconut and bejeweled with crushed walnuts and chopped dried apricots. The combination of all these ingredients turned out to be fantastic with flavours that linger in your mouth and take your tastebuds off on a Chocolate Safari... indeed, the most appropriate way I found to name this treat.
Jan 29, 2013
It was about fine time that I included a blog post about what might possibly be among the most quintessential staple recipes that any kitchen should witness: roast chicken. It is as classic as the little black dress is to fashion. Comforting, genuine, versatile, universal and always a crowd pleaser. Lunch, dinner, leftovers, chicken thighs or breast, skin or without- anything goes! Everyone has 'their' perfect recipe, tricks they've read in cook books, tips they've heard through the grapevine and treasured tools and ingredients they keep in a safebox (well, maybe not). Not too long ago, I may have achieved my best version to date. The process is a simplistic one that ultimately comes down to a few steps (but much patience!) I put together based on experience and research. Ah yes, I'm certainly the nerdy type when it comes to cooking.
Jan 21, 2013
I always wonder what it is that gives vegetables their bad rep- with their multitude of colours, shapes, textures and forms they are anything but 'yucky' (were you one of those kids who hated broccoli?) Boil them, roast them, grill them, fry them, steam them, chop, dice or slice: eating greens should be a wonderful thing! As a matter of fact, I have an unusual soft spot for vegetables: I crave them the very same way I crave chocolate (I suppose one makes up for the other!) Fennel, with it's signature licorice-like taste, is one I particularly relish- especially when it's roasted.
Jan 12, 2013
In the world of finger lickin' good spreads there are favourites along the nutty lines of Nutella and Peanut Butter, fruity twists of Jams and Marmelades, and even cookie-ish Biscoff Spread for those of you who realized that the flavour of Belgian Speculoos is indeed an addictive thing.
But my firm favourite has always- and will always be- what the French call 'Creme de Marrons' - which is nothing more then a sweetened Chesnut Puree. If you love the taste of 'marrons glaces' (candied chesnuts), then you will most certainly enjoy Creme de Marrons. It's also one of the key ingredients in the celebrated Mont Blanc dessert with all its swirls and twirls of chestnut goodness.
Jan 6, 2013
The calendar reads that today is January 6th- which is the day Epiphany is celebrated- and also the day we all stuff our faces with delicious King Cake. Having spent many years in France, the treat of my choice has always been the Galette des Rois- which is nothing more then scrumptious frangipane sandwiched in between two layers of flaky puff pastry. It sounds simple (which it is) and happens to be my favourite "holiday sweet" of the year- that I admit to making it even if we're no longer in January!
By the way, in France there's a tradition that each galette holds a slice with a figurine hidden in it. The person who randomly gets this slice will have a lucky year (or something like that) and gets to wear a crown on their head. This time around I actually got that slice, so that makes me look forward to the next twelve months!
Jan 2, 2013
A belated Happy New Year to everyone! With the festive season coming to it's end, I have to admit I'm very happy all this holiday food business is over... all the indulgence was starting to get to me! You're expected to dress up, look your best, and spend your time fueled on meals that quadruple your waistline and then running on a treadmill like a crazy hamster in a wheel. And then run some more once it's all over! It doesn't make any sense if you ask me :) On the upside however, I didn't mind the endless hours cooking up recipes!
Anyway, this year I'm hoping to share lots of delicious awesomeness with you guys. For starters, there's this recipe I'm really excited to share- it's a superb spinach tart that I've been eating since as long as I can remember. My mom would make this so often...so I have it embedded in my taste buds at this point! Rich with spinach, pomegranate and walnuts, it's at once delicious and beautiful. An alchemistic and colourful combination that also includes a tangy sumac spice twist.
Dec 27, 2012
I have yet to come across someone who loves banana bread as much as M does- this guy is a serious die-hard fan! Consequently, every time we see each other (which is usually a few times a year) there's a somewhat unspoken rule -which now feels like an unspoken expectation- that I'll make him banana bread. Throughout the years I've played around with base recipes so that each bread is a bit different then the prior one (you know, so things don't get boring) and this year was no exception. The only exception is that I feel I've made my best version of banana bread to date. It's an absolutely naughty bonkers one full of mashed up ripe bananas, extra crunchy peanut butter and whiskey soaked golden raisins! Fragrant, moist and with a fruity sweetness, it becomes even more delicious if you can give it an extra day (after having it baked) to enjoy a first slice. My personal thing has been to wrap up the baked, cooled down cake and leave it overnight on the lower-most shelf of my fridge, allowing the flavours to ripen up and do their magic...
Dec 17, 2012
In continuation with the holiday baking madness, here is a recipe I make year after year without fail- they are just too damn good to miss a year of! Chocolate Crinkles: a cheerful chewy gooey chocolate cookie with an almost brownie-like texture. Or alternatively, in my imaginary world, chocolate confetti that has fallen from the sky to merrily roll in sugar dusted snow. Yes, this cookie does trigger whimsical thoughts in mysterious ways...
Dec 13, 2012
Listen up people. In December, everything is very straight forward. There's no rocket science here and no need to complicate life more then it already is. For that in the festive month of December, thou shall bake, eat, share and blog about cookies
(goodness that came out like something straight out of a religious book now didn't it )
Anyway. The truth of the matter is that you just need to take a look at all the culinary magazines and websites out there and you'll come to realize there is one item that hijacks the food pyramid and indeed you guessed right, it is cookies- "holiday cookies" to be precise.
Dec 8, 2012
It's that time of the year again. Time to be merry, jolly, shimmer in silver and gold...Whatever it is you make "that" time for, I'd like to think that cravings for the taste of gingerbread is one of them. However the real question is: are you team bread or cookies? I have a theory that us humans fall into two camps when it comes to this gingery delight -bread or cookies- with a third deviation of both. Me? I am some odd statistic of team bread, with fluctuating drifts to cookies. Either way, gingerbread is a tradition that fortunately just doesn't get boring, year after year. So to kick off the holiday baking season (and to use that bottle of molasses!), what better then a recipe for this sweet spiced classic!
Dec 5, 2012
"Oreo, Milk's Favorite Cookie". Damn right it is, at least we can all agree on that one. So what's this post about? Let me explain the context to you. So lately I've been hooked on the awesome new food show Mind of a Chef, narrated by Anthony Bourdain and featuring the very cool David Chang (he does indeed come off as very cool) and some of his crazy gang at Momofuku along with other personalities from the culinary scene.
For those of you who have been watching the show, you know there is along with all the interesting food talk and insights, a refreshing dash of madness which probably explains Chang's genius. Anyway, so what happens when you overdose on the show? You end up having wacky dreams that involve pots, pans, flavours, textures....all sorts of stuff. With that said, the secondary effect that I experienced was dreaming of trying to capture something so nostalgic, so quintessential and relatable to most people's childhood: the sweet memory of dunking Oreos in milk. When you have a dream like that, it's one where you want to wake up and remember every detail of it!
Dec 3, 2012
Homemade always results in a good feeling. Cakes and cookies and stuff, ya, that's nice and all. But some homemade things make you feel extra special, as if you were suddenly granted some superpower and thus automatically becoming the coolest cat on this planet. Know what I mean? I'm talking about homemade yoghurt, cheese (does labneh count?), jam, Nutella, or your favourite grocery store biscuits for instance. Or take a look at the courageous Matt over at Wrightfood, who has made all sorts of charcuterie (chorizo, hello!) Someday, I'll give prosciutto a try... but until then, I've got more homemade tricks up my sleeve. Vinegar for instance. Something that always comes in handy in the kitchen.
Nov 30, 2012
I don't think I've ever walked into an empty kitchen. I mean, literally- an empty one with absolutely nothing in the fridge or closets.
Everyone, I believe (or assume at least) has some sort of kitchen staple lying around at any given moment.
Today, you won't get a recipe, but a little sneak peak into ten items I always have in my cooking space. This excludes of course the absolutely essential ingredients of salt, pepper, olive oil and onions. Instead, these are ingredients that I discovered throughout the years, that have always proved to add a dash of magic to any dish. In a nutshell, they are additions that make cooking an even more enjoyable moment for me and that often stir curiosities as friends and family ask what that little mystery ingredient is.
This is one incredible ingredient, particularly in baking. Mahlepi is a staple in most Middle Eastern & Greek cuisines. You'd never guess it's ground kernels of cracked cherry seeds. My grandmother used to typically use mahlepi in her traditional Easter cookies. I loved it's intriguing taste so much, I'll often sneak some in to most of my baking recipes.