Sunday, December 27, 2009


Wow, I can't believe that time has come to post yet another Daring Bakers' recipe. This month passed so quickly. Here I am blogging about the latest Daring Bakers' Challenge again, crazy!

The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of "Very Small Anna" and Y of "Lemonpi" who chose to challenge Daring Bakerseverywhere to bake and assemble a "Gingerbread House" from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.

Making a "Gingerbread House" was a big first for me. Although I love baking, I'm not too keen on decorating cakes or cookies. The reason is that I'm not skilled in that domain and lack experience. It is my weak point, yet I'd love to learn how to decorate baked goods and the like. Anything having to do with being an artist when it comes to food sends shivers down my spine and scares me to the highest point...

Anyway, I was not going to let myself get impressed by the task and started the job without thinking about the challenge that was awaiting me. I made my gingerbread dough using Beatrice Ojakangas' recipe, rolled it, cut it in the desired shapes and baked it. Then, I decorated each part and built the house as best as I could.

I really put all my heart to the task and it showed.
The final result was rather stunning and it filled me up with pride. My house actually looked like a house and was pretty enough to be exposed right next to my miniature Chritsmas tree!

I wish to thank Anna and Y for having chosen such a great recipe! I really enjoyed making that "Gingerbread House" and was so happy to have proved myself capable of having certain decorating skills...

~ Gingerbread House ~
Adapted from "The Great Scandinavian Baking Book" by Beatrice Ojakangas.

Preparation Time:
5-10 minutes to mix the dough
2 hours to chill
5 minutes to roll
10 to cut 15 minutes to bake
Estimated 4-7 hours from start to finish including chilling

Equipment Needed:
Stand or handheld electric mixer (not required but it will make mixing the dough a lot easier and faster)
Plastic wrap
Rolling pin
Parchment paper
Baking sheets
Cardboard cake board or sheet of thick cardboard
Foil, if desired
Small saucepan
Small pastry brush (optional)
Piping bag with small round tip, or paper cornets if you're comfortable with them.


1 Cup 8226g) Unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 Cup (220g) Light brown sugar, well packed
2 Tbs Ground cinnamon
4 Tsps Ground ginger

3 Tsps Ground cloves
2 Tsps Baking soda

1/2 Cup boiling water
5 Cups (875g) All-purpose flour

1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until blended. Add the cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Mix the baking soda with the boiling water and add to the dough along with the flour. Mix to make a stiff dough. If necessary add more water, a tablespoon at a time. Chill 2 hours or overnight.
2. Cut patterns for the house, making patterns for the roof, front walls, gabled walls, chimney and door out of cardboard.
3. Roll the dough out on a large, ungreased baking sheet and place the patterns on the dough. Mark off the various pieces with a knife, but leave the pieces in place (I rolled out the dough on a floured bench, roughly 1/8 inch thick - which allows for fact that the dough puffs a little when baked-, cut required shapes and transferred these to the baking sheet. Any scraps I saved and rerolled at the end).
4. Preheat the oven to 375'F (190'C). Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the cookie dough feels firm. After baking, again place the pattern on top of the gingerbread and trim the shapes, cutting the edges with a straight-edged knife. Leave to cool on the baking sheet



1 Large egg white

220g Powdered sugar
1 Tsp Almond extract

1. Beat egg white until frothy, adding the powdered sugar gradually to get the desired consistency.
2. Pipe on pieces and allow to dry befo
re assembling (If you aren’t using it all at once you can keep it in a small bowl, loosely covered with a damp towel for a few hours until ready to use. You may have to beat it slightly to get it an even consistency if the top sets up a bit. Piped on the house, this will set up hard over time).




2 Cups Sugar


1. Place in a small saucepan and heat until just boiling and the sugar dissolves.
2. Dredge or brush the edges of the pieces to glue them tog
ether (If the syrup crystallizes, remake it).


Etant donné la longueur du texte original, je n'ai malheureusement pas pu faire une traduction française de ce billet et je m'en excuse auprès de tous mes amis lecteurs et blogueurs francophones!

C'est pourquoi je vous suggère de vous rendre sur le blog mentionné ci-dessous. Vous y trouverez cette recette en version française.

Chez Isa de "Les Gourmandises d'Isa" (Canada)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


A few days ago, Zarpandit at "Cikolota & Istanbul" from Turkey kindla sent me a packet with lots of wonderful gifts from Turkey. I received loukoumi (Turkish delight), two dainty coffee cups, a traditional coffee pot (cevze), some Turkish coffee and a spice called mahlep (or mahleb). It really made my day and filled me with joy. What great items.Thanks so much dear friend!

So, as I had been dy
ing to try mahlep since a long while, I thought that it would be a good idea if I baked something with that special spice. I was really eager to try it out and wanted to make cookies for Christmas so I baked a batch of "Koulourakia" cookies (pronounced: koo-loo-RAHK-yah).

Those traditional sesame topped Greek cookies are generally made at Easter time. Mostly shaped like a twisted rope, these cookies are also often shaped into figure eights, braids or twisted wreaths. They are a kind of shortbread, a bit crunchy, buttery but not too sweet.

"Koulourakia" are maybe simple cookies, but they taste heavenly nonetheless. The mahlep spice which is made from black cherry kernels somewhat tastes like cherries and almonds. It adds a very unique, distinctive and delicate flavor that is uncomparable, thus making those cookies irresistible.

~ Koulourakia ~
Recipe found on the blog "World In Our Oven" (India).

Makes about 30 cookies.

1/2 Cup (120g) Unsalted butter
1/2 Cup (105g) Caster sugar
3 Egg yolks
1/4 Cup (60g) Half and half (light cream/see remarks)
2 1/4 Cup (287g) All purpose flour
1 Tsp Baking powder
1/4 Tsp Sea salt
1 Tsp Ground mahlep
2 to 3 Tbsp Sesame seeds

1. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar till creamy.
2. Beat in 2 of the egg yolks, one at a time.
3. Mix in 3 tbsps of the half and half.
4. In another bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt and Mahlep powder; gradually add to butter mixture, blending thoroughly.
5. To shape the cookies, pinch off 1-inch balls of dough; roll each into a 7-inch strand. Bring the ends together and twist (or form into a pretzel shape, if preferred).
6. Place slightly apart on a greased baking sheet.
7. Beat remaining egg yolk with remaining half and half; brush lightly over the cookies and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
8. Bake in a 180° C (350° F) oven for 15 minutes till golden.
9. Transfer to racks and cool completely.
10. Store in airtight tins.

I you have any half and half, whisk together half cream (25% fat) and half milk (3% fat).
You can leave out the ground mahlep if you want.
You can also roll those cookies and cut them out with cookie cu

Serving suggestions:
Serve with a cup of Turkish coffee.

More festive recipes over here...

~ Koulourakia ~
Recette trouvée sur le blog "World In Our Oven" (Inde).

Pour environ 30 biscuits.

120g de Beurre non-salé
105g de Sucre cristallisé
3 Jaunes d'oeufs
60g de Crème à café (voir remarques)
287g de Farine blanche
1 CC de Poudre à lever
1/4 se CC de Sel marin
1 CC de Mahleb en poudre
2 à 3 CS de Graines de sésame

1. A l'aide d'un mixer, battre le beurre avec le sucre afin d'obtenir un mélange mousseux.
2. Incorporer 2 jaunes d'oeufs, l'un après l'autre.
3. Incorporer 3 CS de crème à café.
4. Dans un autre bol mélanger ensemble le farine, la poudre à lever, le sel et le mahleb, puis ajouter au mélange au beurre. Bien incorporer afin d'obtenir une pâte.
5. Former des boules de la taille d'une noix, puis confectionner de minces lanières de 18cm de longueur. Pliez chaque lanière en deux et tournez les pour former une torsade.
6. Mettre sur une plaque recouverte de papier sulurisé en laissant un espace entre chaque biscuit.
7. Battre le jaune d'oeuf restant avec le reste de crème à café et badigeonner les biscuits avec ce mélange. Saupoudrer avec les graines de sésame.
8. Cuire à 180° C pendant 15 minutes jusqu'à ce que les biscuits soient dorés.
9. Mettre les biscuits sur une grille afin qu'ils refroidissent.
10. Conserver dans des boites en métal.

Si vous n'avez pas de crème à café, alors mélanger une moitié de lait avec une moitié de crème à 25%.
Le mahlep n'est pas obligatoire dans cett
e recette.
Ces cookies peuvent être découpés à l'aide d'emporte-pièces une fois la pâte étalée.

Idées de présentation:
Servir ces biscuits aved du café turc.

Pour plus de recettes festives, suivez le lien, merci.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


A few months ago, after I had posted a recipe for "Ma'amoul", a friend of mine proposed that I start a movement callled "Pastries For Peace". That idea struck me as good and a few days later I advertised for the event...

Unfortunately, although the concept was good, not many people contributed to my little event. Was it a bad time of the year to lauch it? I don't know...

Anyhow, I still received a few gorgeous contributions and I wish to thank all participants for having taken part in that event and baked magnificent creations!

Dada @ Un Déjeuner Au Soleil (France) - Pruneaux A La Fleur d'Oranger
Prunes filled with ricotta and flavored with orange blossom water and lemon zest.

Ivy @ Kopiaste To Greek Hospitality (Greece) - Kourabiedes With Stakovoutyro
Little Greek shortbread cookies coated with powder sugar.

Ivy @ Kopiaste To Greek Hospitality (Greece) - Limoncello Kaltousnia or Lychnarakia
A Cretan sweet cheese pie flavored with limoncello.

Arlette @ Phoenician Gourmet (Canada) - Flower Cookies
Flower shaped Middle Eastern semolina cookies filled with pistacchio and drenched in syrup.

Yasmeen @ Health Nut (USA) - Dates Chocolate Rugelach
A Jewish treat that is always baked for New Year (Rosh Hashanah). Hers are filled with chocolate, dates, nuts and spices.

Yasmeen @ Health Nut (USA) - Kunafa
A Jordanian sweet pastry that is made by superposing layers of crispy kataifi and fresh cheese.

Sudha @ Malaysian Delicacies (Malaysia) - Churros
Spanish doughnut fingers dusted with orange-flavored sugar.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


This week, Weekend Cat Blogging #236 is hosted Breadchick and LB at "The Sour Dough" (USA)...

To submit your kitty picture(s), you can either leave a message in their blog's comment section (with your permalinks) or contact them via e-mail without forgetting to give all the needed information.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Lately, I have felt the need to learn more about England's unique food heritage and get closer to my British roots.

This country's cuisine is so interestin
g, delicious, yet so underrated and overlooked. Unfortunately, many people think that it is not worth the attention or that it's totally gross when, in fact, it is fabulous and has much to offer. It is for that reason that my aim is to show you England's rich as well as diverse culinary heritage through my future posts.

"Potted Cheese" is a humble as well as rustical dish that I have been enjoying since a very tender age. It is a kind of cheese terrine that is easily made, which doesn't cost much, is versatile and practical.

It is an excellent way to use up odd bits of cheese and can be kept in the refrigerator for several weeks. So, if ever you have semi-hard cheese leftovers and don't know what to do with them, then "Potted Cheese" is the solution!

Without having to fuss around in the kitchen, you'll be able to serve a toothsome appetitzer that goes perfectly well with bread, crackers and raw vegetables (especially with celery stalks).

The advantage with that paste is that you c
an flavor it in many ways (as it pleases you) and always have a pot on stock somewhere in the fridge. So, next time you have impromptu guests that show up inexpectedly at your place, you'll always have something fine at hand to offer them!

~ Potted Cheese ~
Recipe taken from Jane Grigson's "English Food" and adapted by Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums 2009.
Serves 4

250g Cheshire cheese or cheddar cheese, cubed
90g Butter, softened
A pinch paprika
A few drops red Tabasco
2-3 Tbs Red Port, Madeira or sherry
60g Walnuts, roasted and chopped

1. In a food processor, mix the cheese with the softened butter to a smooth paste.
2. Flavor it with with the paprika, Tabasco and wine.
3. Transfer the paste to a bowl and add the chopped walnuts.
4. Pot and decorate with walnut halves.
5. Store in the refrigerator.

Remove from the refrigerator about 1 hour before serving.
If you want to keep it for a while, cover your "Potted Cheese" with clarified butter.

Serving suggestions:
Spread on toast, bread and crackers or serve with vegetable sticks (celery stalks).


~ Terrine de Cheddar ~
Recette tirée du livre "English Food" de Jane Grigson et adaptée par Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums 2009.

Pour 4 personnes.

250g de Cheddar
90g de Beurre non-salé, à température ambiante
Une pincée de paprika
Quelques gouttes de Tabasco
2-3 CS de Porto, Madère ou sherry
60g de Noix de Grenoble, torréfiées et hachées grossièrement

1. Mettre le fromage et le beurre dans un mixer afin d'obtenir une pâte homogène.
2. Incorporer le paprika, le tabasco et l'alcool.
3. Transférer la pâte dans un bol et bien incorporer les noix.
4. Mettre dans un récipient et décorer avec des noix entières.
5. Garder au frigo.

Sortir du frigo une heure avant de servir.
Si vous voulez garder cette terrine pendant un certain temps, alors couvrez le dessus avec du beurre clarrifié.

Idée de présentation:
Servir cette pâte à tartiner sur du toast, du pain et des crackers ou avec des batonnets de légumes (surtout du céleri).

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Due to my busy schedule, I am forced to postpone my "Pastries For Peace" roundup. I will post it a little later than announced. For those who have send me their recipe, please don't worry, nothing is lost!

If you are interested in participating, the new deadline is the 15th of December 2009. I am really looking forward to your contributions!


A cause de mon emploi du temps chargé de ces dernières semaines, je suis dans l'obligation de repousser la date de publication de mon billet en ce qui concerne le
jeu "Pastries For Peace (Pâtisseries Pour La Paix)". Les recettes que vous avez envoyées ne sont en aucun cas perdues!

Si vous vous voulez encore participer, il n'est pas trop tard car je vous accorde un délai jusqu'au 15 décembre 2009. Je suis impatiente de voir vois créations!

Thursday, December 3, 2009


My blog is on a hiatus for a very short while, because I started a new job. I should post a recipe in a few days, though...

Mon blog est en pause forcée pour quelques jours car j'ai commencé un nouveau job. Je mettrai une nouvelle recette d'ici quelques jours...

Thanks for understanding!
Merci de votre compréhension!