Feb 27, 2009


Alright ladies (and gentlemen!), clear out your beauty shelves, set your skin cream jars & tubes aside, and make some space for this beauty cake! Yes, that’s right: beauty and cake are two words that can be written side by side. And I’m not talking about a “beautiful looking cake” (because clearly, this cake I’m posting about doesn’t score much points in terms of good-lookingness), I am talking about a cake that can make your skin look more beautiful.

So why is it that I’ve given this cake the name of a “beauty cake”? Of course, it all has to do with the ingredients. Take a closer look at this wonderfully scented cake with a melt-in-your-mouth texture which miraculously enough might also be beneficial for your skin.

In general, my cooking rules is try to make everything as healthy as possible without compromising on taste. I am a firm believer in this, and having grown up on a Mediterranean diet, you can imagine that our household consumes an above-average amount of good-for-you ingredients such as olive oil, almonds & Co.

This cake is in line with my culinary beliefs, as it contains no butter (and no, I have not substituted butter with apple sauce or gelatin or what not), no egg yolks, and no sugar (and no, the sugar hasn’t been replaced by aspartame!).
What it contains is this: egg whites, high quality honey, almonds, dried figs (with no sugar added), and sunflower oil (yes, you can bake cakes with sunflower oil).

Now being the research freak that I am (always googling stuff up!), all the ingredients of my beauty cake recipe have been documented about to be skin-friendly (and good for cardiovascular health too! )

Let’s start with the obvious ones: almonds is super packed with Vitamin E- and we all know that Vitamin E is your skin’s best friend. Vitamin E is actually an ingredient that helps keep your skin smooth & supple, that’s why it is so common to find in skincare products (did you ever notice the sheer amount of skin creams that contain vitamin E?) (and these are words coming from someone (me) who has worked on skincare products!)

Sunflower oil has been known for years to help skin retain moisture and is also, like almonds, rich with Vitamin E. Many beauty products actually contain sunflower oil for the softening factor, and some people apply sunflower oil directly on their skin.

Honey has been repeatedly studied to contain antioxidants. Now take a minute and think about what most anti ageing skin creams read… yes indeed, they all stress on the importance of anti oxidants to keep fine lines at bay!

Now interestingly enough, egg whites have been used in home-made masks to treat wrinkles! So egg white goodness does not just stop on it’s protein loaded and virtually fat free content (which makes it a fave for celebs who diet all year long i.e: Victoria Beckham hehe).

Finally, dried figs are packed with beauty nutrients such as potassium, iron, calcium & magnesium which are great for healthy skin and hair.

They say there are always exceptions in life, and this might just be one.

Doesn’t it feel good for once to enjoy a slice of cake without the guilt factor?
Recipe for the Beauty Cake:

4 egg whites
120gr good quality honey
50gr sunflower oil
20gr whole grain flour
100gr ground almonds + some chopped almonds to add in the batter
6-8 dried figs, diced

Preheat oven to 180C/350F/th4. In a bowl, whisk the egg whites until they become fluffy. Then add in the honey and mix. Add the vegetable oil, mix. Follow with the flour & ground almonds, mix well but gently. Finally, add some chopped almonds and the diced figs, mix gently with a wooden spoon or spatula. Transfer batter to mould, bake for 30 mins, check with a knife to see if cake is baked. If not, extend cooking by sequences of 10 mins, checking with a sharp knife after each sequence. Remove cake from oven and let cool.

Feb 21, 2009


Oh my goodness, I have been away from my blog for way too long and I have definately missed writing about my culinary experimentations and discovering those of fellow bloggers too! It feels very good to be back on here!
So here I am with a savoury spicy note and a recipe for easy to make delightfully tender chicken breasts that have been marinated in a collection of spices mixed with yoghurt in the same way some Indian recipes are done, and served with a fragrant brown rice mixed with onions, fresh chopped coriander and toasted almonds. Just the perfect meal that adds some heat to this seemingly never ending winter season...Roasted mango & coconut ice cream was then a perfect refreshing way to cool down our flaming tastebuds and keep us on an exotic note for the rest of the day...
Recipe for Indian inspired spicy chicken:

For 2 chicken breasts:
100ml yoghurt
Mixture of spices (cumin, coriander, cardamom, chilli powder, anise, ginger, turmeric)
1/2-1 teaspoon garlic paste
For the rice:
Brown rice
Chicken stock
Handful of chopped fresh coriander leaves
1 onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
Toasted sliced almonds

Vegetable oil (or butter)

Mix the yoghurt & spice mixture & garlic. Coat chicken breasts with this mixture and set aside (keep cool in fridge).
Cook the brown rice in chicken stock. In the meantime, sauté onions in a pan with oil and cardamom. When rice is ready, mix in the onions, chopped coriander & toasted almonds. Set aside, but keep warm. Add salt if necessary.
Heat a deep pan with some vegetable oil. Place chicken breasts and cook at high heat for the first few minutes. Turn down heat, cover and let cook well for about 15 minutes. Turn heat up again for the last few minutes before serving with rice.