Friday, 16 June 2017

Baklava-Cheesecake cake, a match made in heaven

This post is long long overdue, but I just now got some time to publish it. Today we are going to talk about "Baklava-Cheesecake". I guess most of you have heard about this cake already, I always wanted to try it, but always missed the right occasion to make it. Several weeks ago however I got even two of such special occasions. First cake was done for my family who visited us for some days. Second was made for a good friend birthday lunch invitation.

If you love baklava and cheesecake as I do, then this cake is a must. It looks stunning, special and festive.... perfect cake to be made for a special occasion. And the best part of it is that you would not need any special decoration or have any special decoration skills, as this case looks awesome by it own already.

I made the cheesecake not too sweet to balance the sweetness of the baklava filling. Nuts, honey and lemon are giving a special wow effect to the creamy cheesecake texture and if you would like it a bit more sweeter, you can always take another splash of the silky sugar syrup on top. The cake was a success and everybody was amazed by it looks!

Baklava-Cheesecake cake

Sugar Syrup
  • 120 g sugar
  • 100 ml water
  • lemon juice of half a lemon
Put all the ingredients in a sauce pan (take a deep one) and bring it to boil. Once boiling reduce the heat to medium-low and let it bubble away for 10-15 minutes. Put it aside to cool down.

Cheesecake
  • 350 g cream cheese
  • 250 ml yogurt (I took the light to balance the creaminess of the cream cheese)
  • 90 g sugar
  • vanilla essence
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 packages vanilla pudding powder
In a bowl whisk (hand whisk) together cream cheese, yogurt, sugar and vanilla essence, till you get a smooth and silky mixture. Add the eggs, one at the time, whisk till all well combined. Finally sift it vanilla pudding powder and fold it carefully in, avoiding too much beating. Set aside.

Baklava filling
  • 250 g nuts  (I made a mix of pistachios and pecan nuts)
  • 2/3 of sugar syrup
Chop the nuts roughly (I did not chop it too small, to have some bigger nuts bites). In a bowl mix together nuts and syrup. Set aside.

Assembling the cake
  • 4-5 filo dough sheets
  • 3-4 tablespoons of melted butter
Preheat the oven to 180 C. Take your baking form and grease it slightly with melted butter. Take the first filo dough sheet and brush it with butter, fold it in half and cover one part of the baking dish with it. Continue with remaining dough sheets the same way till whole baking form is covered. Depending on how big your baking form is you will need 4 or 5 of the dough sheets. Do not worry to be too neat, just make sure the form is all covered.
Pour in the cheesecake mixture. Take a generous amount of the baklava filling using a spoon, form a small ball and let is fall on top of the cheesecake mixture, letting it sink in. Spread some more of the baklava filling on top. Bake for ca. 40 minutes. Take it out of the oven and let the cake rest and cool of for at least 30 minutes. Serve the cake with a splash of the remaining sugar syrup on top.

Enjoy!


Monday, 17 April 2017

French Madeleines

I never know when french madeleines are supposed to be eaten... for breakfast, for afternoon tea or for dessert. But what I know for sure is, that those small little heavenly tasting cute looking sponge cakes are one of the favorites in our house. I love the original recipe, done with orange blossom water, but do experiment with different flavors and ingredients to add some variety. There are many reasons to fall in love with madeleines, mines are the delicate taste and cute shell-like form. They can be served to tea or coffee and been eaten, if you ask me, at any time of the day. They are perfect to wow your guests or bring along to a dinner party invitation. 

Today orange blossom madeleines recipe, half of which were dipped in chocolate, as I was not sure if we would like to have them for the afternoon tea or for breakfast. Finally we ended up to have them throughout the day, according to my son it was a perfect way to start and end the day. My mom and I enjoyed them with a big cup of green tea after a long walk through the woods and my husband had them with some coffee for dessert. 
I think they are relatively easy to make, you only need to invest in a madeleine baking form, some orange blossom water and some time to let the batter chill in the refrigerator. Actually you can do the batter a day before and let it over night... I never manage to do so, as we cannot wait to have them as soon as possible. Sometimes I bake them straightaway, but do admit that after some chilling time they do taste better.

French Madeleines
  • 120 g sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 150 flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 120 melted butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons orange blossom water
  • orange zest
  • some dark chocolate
  • chopped pistachio 
In a bowl beat together sugar, eggs and honey, till double in size. Sift in flour, baking powder and salt, mix till all well combined. Pour in the butter and incorporate it with a spatula. Add orange blossom water and orange zest and give it another whisk. Let the batter chill for some hours in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 180C and grease the madeleine baking form. Pour in the batter (3/4 full) and bake for about 10-12 minutes. Take the form out and let it cool for couple of minutes on the cooling rack, before taking the madeleines out.
Melt the chocolate,  dip one end of the madeleine into it and sprinkle with some chopped pistachios.

Enjoy!

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Happy Easter holidays

Spain is spoiling us with most beautiful weather for Easter holidays. It is so good to have some days off from work, doing nothing but spoiling ourselves with some nice treats for Easter, spending lots of time outside at the sun, sleeping in and having brunch instead of breakfast. 

We are going bit more casual for Easter this year... with some family favorites and plenty of boiled colored eggs. I tired a new technique to color the eggs (well at least new to me) leaving aside all the stuff you can buy in the shops to make the eggs look spectacular. Instead I used some food coloring and the result was as spectacular... The only things you would need is a plastic bag, handful of rice and liquid food coloring. Boil the eggs, put the rice into the bag, add some drops of food coloring and the egg. Then shake, shake and shake again... The longer you shake the more colorful your egg will turn out.


One of our family favorites is my lemon poppy seeds cake, to me a perfect cake for Easter holidays. It is fresh, delicate and special, very spring like. I usually do this cake in a bundt cake form and having it decorated with some colorful sugar sprinkles makes it a perfect fit for Easter brunch or picnic.

Lemon poppy-seeds cake
  • 3 eggs
  • 180 g sugar
  • 120 g melted butter
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 180 g flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons poppy seeds
Preheat the oven to 180C and grease the bundt cake form. Whisk the eggs and the sugar. Add the butter, lemon zest and half of the lemon juice, give it another whisk. Sift in flour, baking powder and salt, mix till all well combined. Fold in the poppy seeds. Pour the batter into the baking form and bake for about 35-45 minutes. Make the wooden stick test.
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 2-3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • remaining lemon juice
Mix all the ingredients together, till all well combined and frost the cake. Sprinkle some sugar sprinkles over the top.

Check HERE for home made bread recipe.




I wish you all a Happy Easter!

Enjoy!

Sunday, 2 April 2017

40th Birthday and Lisbon

Birthdays are cool, but some might be a little bit scary.... My 40th made me a bit fuzzy for the last couple of month. I was not sure if I shall looking forward to it or be rather scared. Finally it turned out to be a wonderful birthday, not scary at all...

My husband took the three of us to Lisbon and we spend a wonderful long weekend enjoying ourselves in this beautiful city. It was the first time for us visiting Lisbon and we just loved it. The food was amazing, people very friendly and open and the old charm of the buildings has something special to it. Lisbon is bit different from what we have seen so far, some people would call Lisbon "old town" and I think I understand why, but to me it was one of the charming thing about it... the old tram, which is still driving through the city and all these magnificent tiles covered buildings.  

What really is very noticeable in Lisbon or probably in whole Portugal is that people love food, good food, which obviously made our small foodie family very happy. 

My husband planned the birthday dinner Bairro do Avillez, one of the restaurants from Jose Avillez, who is a famous Portuguese chef, with several restaurants in Lisbon and two Michelin stars. I am not able to describe in words the experience we had... the exceptional food was just one part of the whole "wow" effect. The ambiente, the service, the open kitchen where at least 13 chefs were doing their magic and then the bar tender... I never saw someone putting so much passion to create a cocktail. Every small details was covered and it was such a joy to see someone loving to do what he was doing. The cocktails by the way, were to die for. 

Today I am not going to share any recipes with you, only some nice memories of a great weekend in Lisbon and of course some inspiration...either for your next weekend getaway or birthday celebration, your next cocktails party or for a starter plate with some cheese, ham, olives and corn bread....which we have had in Bairro do Avillez with a glass of rose as a starter. So simple and yet so so delicious. F

















Enjoy!

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Delicious and healthy blueberry muffins

If you fancy delicious and healthy breakfast, you will love these blueberry muffins. I was writing couple of times already how dear weekend family breakfasts are to us. I try to keep them special, delicious and healthy. Today I am going to share an easy recipe for blueberry muffins, which are perfect for a healthy and well-balanced breakfast. They are not difficult to make and do not require any extraordinary ingredients. 

Oatmeal blueberry muffins
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • 200 ml yogurt
  • 120 g oatmeal
  • 120 ml oatmeal milk (or any kind of milk you like)
  • berries
  • almonds, nuts (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180C and grease the muffin tins. In a bowl mash the banana, add egg and honey, whisk everything together. Add baking powder, cinnamon and yogurt, give it a whisk. Mix in the oatmeal flakes and milk. Fill the muffin tins half full with batter, put some blueberries, pour more batter to cover the berries, top the muffins with more berries and nuts. Bake for about 30 minutes till golden brown. Take the muffin tin out of the oven and let is cool down for 10-15 minutes, then take the muffins out. Served the muffin with some freshly squeezed orange juice or cup of tea.

The muffins can be also made with any other berries you like, fresh or frozen. If you do not like cinnamon that much, exchange it with vanilla essence instead. To add some crunch mix in some crashed nuts to the batter. 


Enjoy!

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Traditional Sunday walk

Seems like spring decided to visit us earlier this year, we had wonderful spring weather for the last two days and spend a lot of time outside. Saturday was reserved for a lazy day at the beach, small picnic, good book and lot of family quality time... perfect Saturday if you ask me. Far away from the trouble of the busy city and all the stressed people. Beach is not very busy this time of year and I love it the most. Today was reserved for our "traditional Sunday walk in the woods". There will be also a small picnic, more like a coffee break picnic, after our standard route and activities are done. Pablo would take his bike, my husband the backpack with some goodies in it and I my camera.

I made banana bread for us to take with for the small coffee break. Banana bread cake is perfect for picnics and is surely one of the favorites in our home. This cake is best done with very ripe bananas and since I had some home left from the week, the choice for the cake was easy. I decided to pep it a bit with different flavors. I felt like coconut, hence the version of the banana bread cake today is rather exotic. The combination however was perfect and I earned many compliments on the cake from my husband too. The cake came our very moist, not too sweet, with a light touch of coconut. Fresh, nutritious and bit exotic.
Coconut banana bread
  • 3 eggs
  • 100 g brown sugar
  • vanilla extract
  • 4 very ripe bananas
  • 50 ml coconut oil
  • 250 ml yogurt
  • 30 g coconut flakes
  • 150 g flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a loaf baking pan. Whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract till foamy and almost double in size. Add yogurt and coconut oil, give it another whisk. Sift inn flour, baking powder and salt, mix till all well combined. Mash the bananas, fold them in. Finally add the coconut flakes. Pour the batter into the loaf form and bake for 40-45 minutes, make the wooden stick test. 

Enjoy!




Monday, 20 February 2017

Sunday afternoon tea cake

Sundays are perfect for the afternoon tea ceremony and we do celebrate it in our home from time to time. There will be a cake nothing too fancy at all, as we rather prefer a nice and delicious bundt cake for this special event. I am a huge fan of berries, hence there will be often berries mixed into the cake batter.
Bundt cakes are usually not as sweet (at least not they ones I am doing home) and this is why they are my favorite, they are super easy to make, do not require special ingredients and can be pepped up with different flavors, fruits or berries... so you will never get tiered of them. And let´s be frank, bundt cake always just look spectacular.

I do not know how many bundt cakes I have been making in my life, they are not only my favorite for Sunday afternoon tea, but also a perfect to bring along cake, when visiting friends.

Today a moist butter vanilla flavored bundt cake with fresh blueberries. The cake is also perfect for a sweet breakfast or a brunch invitation. You can store it in a container for a couple of days and it wont lose on the taste. The texture is velvet like and the taste of vanilla and berries unbeatable. It taste light (despite the ingredients) and makes you want to have another bite of the cake, as soon as you took the first bite (kind of dangerous cake if you ask)...

Sunday afternoon tea cake
  • 150 g butter (rum temperature)
  • 150 g sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 120 ml buttermilk
  • vanilla extract
  • 300 g flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • fresh berries
Preheat the oven to 180C and grease the bundt cake form. In a stand mixer whisk together butter and sugar, add the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla extract, give it another whisk. Sift in the flour and baking powder, mix till all well combined. Add the berries and fold them gently into the batter, make sure you are not breaking the berries... Bake for about 35-40 minutes. Take it out of the oven and let is cool for at least 20 minutes on the cooling rack, before taking the cake out of the form. Sprinkle some powdered sugar over the top.


Enjoy!
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