Friday, April 27, 2012


Lately, while looking out of the window, the following lyrics, sung in 1982 by the mighty Glenn Danzig, leader of my favorite punk formation (The Misfits – Danzig Era only, 1977-1983) constantly popped up in my mind:
Brains for dinner
Brains for lunch
Brains for breakfast
Brains for brunch
Brains at every single meal,
Why can't we have some guts?


Brains are all we ever get at this rotten fucking place,
brains are all we ever get, why can't we have a change of pace! ]…[
Don’t get me wrong, no brains were involved. As a matter of fact, I was thinking about the rain that had not stopped bugging us on a daily basis since about a month.  After such an extensive period of precipitations, it started to get so boring and frustrating that, very much like the vocalist of that mythic band, I quotidianly prayed for "a change of pace”. Unfortunately, cursing the dark clouds, invoking our brightest star and hoping that it will finally hug us with its warm arms proved unsuccessful until today. I really thought that I'd lose my marbles if the meteorological calamities continued to strike us and the status quo was maintained for another 24 hours!

 Although nature desperately necessitated intense watering considering that the Siberian winter we experienced at the beginning of the year (January and February) left the grounds dry and the vegetation severely dehydrated, the sad, monotonus and dreary weather began to negatively affect my mood.

You see, it can get extremely tedious to wake up every morning to grey blankness. I dearly missed the pure and blinding April light, the birds' ear-tearing cacophony of joy as well as contemplating the rays of the sun play with the lush green leaves on the trees. In lieu of that, all I could observe was an aqua deluge and apart from the sound of thousand of drops hitting hard the concrete and the howls of the semi-cyclonic gusts of winds that shook the whole building, nothing else was to be heard.

When you’ve been looking forward to spring and instead, winter comes back with full force and slaps you in the face with a mighty roar, thus shattering your optimism and scattering it all over the floor like the countless petal confettis that cascaded down from the trees and were dispersed all over the muddy ground, there is absolutely no way this can make you feel enthusiastic. All the contrary.

Much to my dispair, the violent Bise and strong downpours have washed away the marvelous fruit tree blossoms and prevented us from enjoying those iconic flowers as much as we wanted. With such stormy and miserable conditions I’ve had problems gathering enough motivation to go out for walks and brave the deluvial precipitations, crazy gales as well as fresh temperatures. Cocooning was definitively a more adequate option... 
You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.  
- Brian Tracy
That reminds me of an important lesson of acceptance and resignation each one of us should learn as it would spare us a lot of trouble, unhappiness and senseless stress if we understood that we cannot have an authoritative influence over everything.

Nowadays, society is obsessed with controlling and conquering the world and what surrounds it. People hate powerlessness as it makes them incredibly anxious and uncomfortable. They are terrorized by the idea that some elements in our existence are out of our hands and totally depend on fate. 

We all can choose the path we take, our conduct, the attitude we have towards things and the individuals we want to be acquainted with, yet we cannot decide which events or circumstances we’ll come across on our journey as a manifested individual. There is no denying that a supreme principle exists behind them and that our luck as well as misfortune are not always easily explainable.
Chaos was the law of nature; Order was the dream of man.
- Henry B. Adams
The more chaos there is, the more science holds on to abstract systems of control, and the more chaos is engendered.
- William Irwin Thompson
None of us is entirely the master of our destiny. We contribute to it, but only to a certain degree. This fundamental force in the universe has always been there and will remain until the end of time. Even modern science recognizes it. Forever, humans have had to deal with chaos and unpredictability. Hence, resisting those incertainties is senseless. One should rather embrace them, make the most of them and recognize the possibilities they offer. Anarchy rules the cosmos. It has a purpose that evades us and the portion of unknown which is thrown into the equation is what makes our life even the more exciting.

Spring Flowers 1 1 bis
Chaos in the world brings uneasiness, but it also allows the opportunity for creativity and growth.
- Tom Barrett
I have great belief in the fact that whenever there is chaos, it creates wonderful thinking. I consider chaos a gift.
- Septima Clark
Creativity in its most meaningful sense renders order out of chaos. True creativity engenders new coherent form from existing patterns or ideas. The creative mind is not subdued by the apparent anarchy of random chaos.
- J.L. Read
In order to be creative, artists need to be organized as well as hectic. No art is born without a little discipline and a good dose of unbounded wackiness. Those components are complementary and if you seek to generate craft exclusively with either one of them, then you’ll get nowhere. In the kitchen, the same theory can be applied. No chef can cook like a beserker unless he/she incorporates a certain amount of method to his/her deliriousness. 

It is beautiful to see that there is a hidden plan behind everything and that even the most crazy phenomenon has a reason of being and a deeper meaning behind its apparent randomeness. This is why I believe that door’s will open for you when the stars are aligned and the right moment has arrived.

So, when life hands you lemons, don't dispair and "say oh yeah I love lemons, what else you got?" (quote by
Henry Rollins). Remember that this is the result of your actions combined to a higher pattern (equation composed of controllable & uncontrollable factors: actions + attitude+ place + time + character + unpredictability = fate). You are not getting what you want because you have engaged yourself in the wrong direction and you are lost (not morally speaking). Thus, if you want to influence your kismet in a more positive manner, then it is essential to rethink your doings and turn bad situations to your advantage by adjusting your karma (every action or manifestation marks a rupture of equilibrium, so to counterbalance that, a corresponding reaction is demanded - concordant actions and reactions). In one word, never give up as you have some cards in hands and can still alter the course of your route... 

Since my photography "studio" is situated on my balcony, the unfriendly climate and lack of light of the last four weeks have greatly compromised my photoshoot projects. Seing my projects fizzle out has upset me immensely, yet I refused to let that discourage me and annihilate my cheerfulness or sap my energy, hence I decided that it was indeed a good excuse to relax a bit.

An auspicious contretemps and message from the sky which I greeted with open arms as I'm suffering from a photographer's and writer's block at the moment. I have the impression of turning in circles and inspiration just fails me. Anyway, I'm am pretty sure my readers don't mind if I occasionnaly publish a "simple" recipe and slightly slow up my posting rythm in order to regain my strength and not develop a bad case of blogging burnout (we wouldn't want that to occur, would we?).

Hence, the speciality I am presenting today is uncomplicated. Nonetheless, it is far from being uninteresting or ordinary. "Tahinomelo" (ταχινόμελο, pronounced tah-hee-NO-meh-loh) is a luscious Greek sweet sesame spread made with tahini and honey which is without a doubt foreign to the majority of my non Hellenic or Middle Eastern readers.

Not only is it easy to make as it requires only three ingredients, but it is also delicious, refined, very healthy, nourishing and is a great alternative to other industrial pastes that are far more calorific and less wholesome in comparison with that 100% natural treat. A perfect breakfast, brunch or snack indulgence!

Tahinomelo 2 1 bis
Tahinomelo With Mahlab
Recipe by Rosa Mayland, April 2012.

Makes about a cup of tahinomelo.

1/2 Cup Tahini
3/8 Cup (1/4 + 1/8 Cups) Runny honey
1/8 Cup Water
1/2 Tsp Mahlab (optional)

1. In a medium bowl, add the tahini and whisk together mith the water until you get a solid mass.
2. Incorporate the honey and and mahlab. Whisk hard until you get a smooth and pale spread that has the consistency of Nutella.
3. Serve.

If the paste is too thick or not sweet enough for your taste, then add a little more honey.
Tahinomelo can be stored unrefrigerated for several days, well covered.
Before every use, stir it well.

Serving suggestions:
Spread on bread (whole grain preferably), toast or crackers.
It is also perfect for making banana sandwiches.

Tahinomelo 1 5 bis
Tahinomelo Au Mahleb
Recette par Rosa Mayland, Avril 2012.

Pour environ 1 tasse de tahinomelo.

1/2 Tasse de Tahini
3/8 de Tasse (1/4 + 1/8 de tasse) de Miel liquide
1/8 de Tasse d'Eau
1/2 de CC de Mahlep (optionel)

1. Dans un bol moyen, foutter ensemble le tahini et l'eau afin d'obtenir une masse solide.
2. Incorporer le miel et le mahleb tout en fouettant énergiquement jusquà obtention d'une pâte étalable et ayant la consistance du Nutella.
3. Servir.

Spring Flowers 7 9 bis
Si la pâte est trop épaisse et pas assez sucrée à votre goût, alors vous pouvez ajouter un peu plus de miel.
Le tahinomelo peut être conservé à température ambiante pendant plusieurs jours.
Bien mélanger avant chaque utilisation.

Idées de présentations:
Tartiner sur du pain (pain complet aux graines de préférence), des toasts ou des crackers.
Cette pâte à tartiner est parfaite pour faire des sandwich à la banane.

Tahinomelo 4 6 bis

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


 Spring Flowers 6 11 bis
- Delicate Blooms -

Peas 1 5 bis
- The Taste Of Renewal -

The last picture was submitted to "Black & White Wednesday", an event created by Susan at "The Well-Seasoned Cook" (click here in order to see who is hosting the next roundup).

Friday, April 20, 2012


Some people are so poor all they have is money.
- Source unknown
Content makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor.
- Benjamin Franklin
Humans never cease to complain about the status of their bank account and their degree of brokedom, but they rarely realise that true wealth doesn’t come in the form of a banknote and that nobody can manufacture it – on another level, the same can be said about handsomeness, kindness, personality and intelligence. It is something you carry within yourself and it’s not easily quantifyable.

Certain people are poor regardless of how many luxury houses, fast cars, fine jewels and designer clothes they have or can buy. Others are rich even if they are bankrupt or living on the street. The first category of individuals are barren shells whose soul is so desert-like that they have to fill their lives with meaninglessly clutter and keep busy for the sake of averting from seeing the empty void they have inside. The second kind of folks only need cash to survive and eat, dress or have a roof over their heads, thus living on the strict minimum. But contrarily to the former group, their inner value doesn’t depend on earthly possessions as the flame that burns deep down within themselves is enough to animate their spirit, make them glow with happiness and give them the courage to face the harsh everyday reality.

As a rule, those who don’t have to rely on goods to exist are far more satisfied than those who need to be surrounded by excessive opulence in order to experience artificial bliss and whose morbidly fake world is dominated by illusion. Deception junkies are eternally on the quest for new means of furnishing their vacuity with yet more nothingness. They are addicted to their delusional sense of fulfillment and strive on their secure make-believe little Hollywoodesque environment. Without their precious elixir of beatitude, they'd be lost and fall into a deep depression since having to confront the senselessness of your own being is incredibly mind-boggling
All folks ever seem to care about is wealth, but wealth is death. Blessed are the lame, the sick, the poor, lacking wealth, for wealth is death.
Never met a rich man whose grave I didn’t want to piss on. Never met a poor man whose grave I didn’t want to pray on. Wealth is death, life’s for living.
Why would I ever want a job? Waste my life, wealth is death. When I’m old and ready for the grave, I want memories to recall.
Never met a rich man whose grave I didn’t want to piss on. Never met a poor man whose grave I didn’t want to pray on. Wealth is death, life’s for living.
La, la, la. Wealth is death.
- Lyrics to the song “Wealth Is Death” by Those Poor Bastards
When you are not defined by your income or extravagance and you don’t depend on it to feel like somebody, then you are a lucky human being as no matter your situation, you’ll most likely be content, remember to stay humble, find pleasure in the little things, understand the real meaning of life, recognize the importance of being a spiritual entity and know peace of mind.

In the same way, when it comes to food, abundance and expensiveness aren’t always a guarantee for gratification. One doesn’t need to indulge on the most rare and high-priced staples in order to enjoy oneself. The market value of an ingredient is seldom an indicator of savoriness. In business, its worth is mainly fixed according to arbitrary ratings based on ephemeral fashions and its dream-selling factor - an invention of mankind. Scarcity and the amount of work put into generating a merchandise hardly come in play here.
Quality in a product or service is not what the supplier puts in. It is what the customer gets out and is willing to pay for. A product is not quality because it is hard to make and costs a lot of money, as manufacturers typically believe. This is incompetence. Customers pay only for what is of use to them and gives them value. Nothing else constitutes quality.
- Peter F. Drucker, American Management Guru
Consequently, I ask myself the following question: why are oysters* thought to be better than mussels or Champagne considered to be superior to Clairette De Die? Apart from the reasons I cited above, there is no other tangible and possible explanation for this consumerist behavior pattern. Tomorrow, the roles could very well be reversed if declared so by those who run the show and control popular opinion by creating novel fads and demands.

*A funny fact:
Oysters weren't always classified as a luxury item. Actually, in the Victorian era oysters were a regular food of the poor in Britain (learn more here).

Spring Pasta Salad 1 bis
In nature, comparison and grades are inexistent. There, each tree, animal, plant or mineral has a purpose and a quality of its own. The Universe doesn’t judge or make differences. In  opposition, we humans constantly have to classify and compare everything, and I find that so stupid, absurd and really useless. Our materialistic visions are dictating our thoughts and actions...

I’m somebody who is not presumptuous, superficial and who totally dislikes conventions or limitations, hence the price and reputation of a fare has absolutely no effect on me. As a matter of fact, they don't affect my perception of it as I develop my taste independently from absurd trends - though I do admit that I tend to shun what is in vogue as the word alone already infuriates me, gives me an allergic reaction and creeps me out (you might want to check out that other article I wrote on the subject). A potato will delight me as much as a truffle, and I’d still refuse to eat caviar even if it would be regarded similarly to liver paste and not be grub for the wealthy, aristocrats or jet-setters. In my opinion, although we all have our personal favorites, every comestible has to be cherished as it is earth’s gift to us and we should be thankful for it.
You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces - just good food from fresh ingredients.
- Julia Child
Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten.
- Gucci Family Slogan
At my place, "modest” dishes are consumed regularly, however I never feel ashamed or unsatisfied by what I cook as I regard them to be just as excellent as the ones that are said to be “noble”. If you select good raw materials and you prepare them with care, respect and devotion, then what you’ve paid for them has strictly no importance as the end result will simply be fabulous whether you have kept a tight budget or have totally blown it.

So next time you want to concoct a meal, remember to let go of your preconceptions and don’t let your choices be guided by how cheap or dear something is as you’ll miss out a lot. Instead, appreciate your vegetables, fruits, meat, cheese, spices, etc… for what they are as it is crucial that you only worry about the degree of joy they'll convey and not about their weight in gold.

This is my
philosophy and I apply it on a daily basis. Thanks to my limitless curiosity and to my non-consumeristic approach, I have expanded my culinary knowledge drastically. Nothing stops me from discovering new specialities. One day, I’ll purchase pork livers and chicken hearts in order to make an accompaniment to my spaghetti and the next, if the state of my finances permits it, I’ll bring back home a lobe of foie gras or a few balls of Burrata to eat with fine homemade bread.

I'm not going to lie to you and say that I hate all produces which are labelled as "deluxe", but generally, I'd rather settle for those that are less posh and sometimes dispised or neglected because they are supposedly boring, crude and too ordinary. You see, one of my passions is to transform frugal eats into dazzling and surprising specialities and use my creativity to sublimate them. I have a lot of fun playing around in the kitchen and revamping those “ugly duckling” of gastronomy. Through, Rosa's Yummy Yums, my aim is to show others that even the most unpromising root veggie, innard or cereal can be worked into something appetizing, refined and extremely savory.

It is exactly what I did with the pasta salad I am presenting today. All components I employed are commonly found in a majority of pantries and fridges. There's nothing special about them, but the recipe I have put together is far from being average.

My "Creamy Fusili Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Peas & Arugula" is an ode to spring and to the warmer days. It is fresh like the young leaves that are budding, buoyant like the birds that are singing on the top of their lungs, zesty like the cool April breeze and lusciously creamy like the first ice cream of the sunny season... Bliss in a plate!

Creamy Fusili Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Peas & Arugula
Recipe by Rosa Mayland, April 2012

Serves 2 (2 medium servings each).

Ingredients For The "Lemony Cream Dressing":
The juice of 1/2 an organic lemon
5 Tbs Sour cream
3 Tbs Milk
The zest of 1 organic lemon
1/2 Tsp Onion powder
Red Tabasco, to taste
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Ingredients For The "Pasta Salad":
240g Raw fusili
100g Arugula
80g Preserved dried tomatoes (weigh drained), thinly sliced
60g Raw peas
Shaved parmesan, to taste

Spring Flowers 8 7 bis
Method  For The "Lemony Cream Dressing":
1. In a big salad bowl, mix all the ingredients for the dressing together.
Method For The "Pasta Salad":
2. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Strain and let cool until lukewarm.
3. Toss the pasta, 1/4 of the arugula and the peas with the dressing.
4. Dress the plates with 1/4 of the remaining arugula and 1/4 of the pasta salad, then sprinkle with 1/4 of the tomatoes and top with the shaved parmesan.
5. Serve.

The fusili can be replaced by penne rigate, farfalle, gnocchetti sardi or conchigliette.
If you are calorie conscious, use light cream instead of sour cream.

Serving suggestions:
Serve for lunch or supper.
This salad can be accompanied by a Chardonnay, Chasselas, Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc.

Salade De Fusili Aux Tomates Séchées, Pois Et A la Roquette
Recette par Rosa Mayland, Avril 2012.

Pour 2 personnes (2 portions moyennes par convive).

Ingrédients Pour La "Vinaigrette A La Crème":
Le jus d'un demi citron bio
5 CS de Crème aigre
3 CS de Lait
Le zeste d'un citron bio
1/2 CC de Poudre d'oignon
Tabasco rouge, selon goût
Sel de mer, selon goût
Poivre noir, fraîchement moulu, selon goût
Ingrédients Pour La "Salade De Pâtes":
240g de Fusili non cuites
100g de Roquette
80g de Tomates séchées à l'huile (pesées égouttés), coupées en fines lamelles
60g de Petits pois crus
Copeaux de parmesan, selon goût

Spring Flowers 9 3 bis
Méthode Pour Le "Vinaigrette A La crème":
1. Dans un grand saladier, mélanger tous les ingrédients pour la vinaigrette ensemble.
Méthode Pour La "Salade De Pâtes":
2. Faire cuire les pâtes comme indiqué sur le paquet. Les égouttez et les laisser refroidir afin qu'elles soient tièdes.
3. Mettre les pâtes, 1/4 de la roquette et les petits pois dans le saladier et mélanger délicatement pour enrober.
4. Dresser les assiettes avec 1/4 de la roquette restante et 1/4 de la salade de pâtes, puis saupoudrez avec 1/4 des tomates séchés et garnir avec les copeaux de parmesan.
5. Servir.


Les fusili peuvent être remplacés par des penne rigate, farfalle, gnocchetti sardi ou des conchigliette.
Il est possible d'utiliser de la crème légère au lieu de la crème aigre. Cela limitera les calories ingérées.

Idées de présentation:
Servir pour le repas de midi ou du soir.
Accompagner cette salade d'un Chardonnay, Chasselas, Riesling ou Sauvignon Blanc.

Avec cette recette, je participe au concours "Cuisinez La Pasta Avec Garofalo" qu'Edda organise. Vous trouverez tous les détails sur son beau blog "Un déjeuner De Soleil".
Spring Pasta Salad 3 bis

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


- Early Spring Forest -

Easter Eggs 3 4 bis
- Remenants Of Easter -

The last picture was submitted to "Black & White Wednesday", an event created by Susan at "The Well-Seasoned Cook".

I have been featured on Gourmet Live as Food Blog Of The Week!!!
Head over there to read my interview.

Friday, April 13, 2012


I've always appreciated what captures my attention and is different, characterful, inspirational as well as a little unconventional. Those are the qualities I search in blogs and the people who are behind them. Because I constantly need to cultivate my knowledge, feed my curiosity and satiate my hunger for novelty, I totally dislike being bored, not challenged intellectually and anything that is déjà vu. If I don't get entertained by the things I see or read, then I'll easily lose my interest in them and will try to fullfill my cravings by searching elsewhere...

Ben Herrera's wonderfully exotic and captivating site is far from being insipid or ordinary and the same can be said about its buoyant author. As a matter of fact, both stand out of the crowd and have their own personality. That is the reason why I have been following What's Cooking Mexico? religiously for about 4 years and have not missed a single post since 2008.

This Mexico City native is passionate about food and his country's versatile cuisine. He knows how to fascinate you with his detailed and informative articles that combine history and anthopology, delightfully colorful pictures, traditional recipes and mouthwaterringly fresh, refined, spicy and vibrant dishes. A blog that deserves much recognition.

Being a big fan of Ben's extraordinary work, it is with much pleasure that I am hosting one of his posts today on Rosa's Yummy Yums. Thanks for having given me the opportunity to showcase your talents and to share your "Quesadilla" wisdom with my readers. That is so kind of you!

I’m almost certain that the majority of people around the world who have internet access and some kind of food curiosity know what a quesadilla is.

The word quesadilla comes from the combination of the Spanish words queso (cheese) and tortilla, Mexican flat bread made with nixtamalized corn (if you’d like to know more about this process please visit this link). The quesadilla can contain different kinds of fillings other than cheese. In Mexico the variety is endless. There are meat and vegetarian quesadillas. Some are small and others so large that they can be considered a full meal. Some are cooked on a griddle and some are deep fried until they’re crispy.

In those parts of the world that have adopted the quesadilla, even more different variations are prepared. For example, in the American Southwest, a quesadilla is a very popular food made with flour tortillas and filled with cheese, chicken, salsa and other ingredients.

However, all quesadillas from all over the world have something in common. No matter what kind of tortilla or filling is used to make them, they all have cheese. All, that is, except Mexico City quesadillas. But didn’t the word quesadilla mean tortilla AND cheese, you may ask? Yes, but in the valley of Mexico City and surrounding areas your quesadillas may or may not come with cheese.

I love street food and I find myself eating quesadillas, tlacoyos or gorditas very often from vendors that look like the lady from the picture above. For some reason only women sell this kind of food and most of the time they cook them right in front of you from fresh masa (corn dough).  White and yellow corns are the most popular varieties, but blue corn quesadillas are easy to find in the streets of the city, too.

However, I have to remember to order cheese with my quesadillas every time.  This is the quesadilla paradox. Why is it this way in Mexico City? Nobody seems to know, and the rest of the country (and I’m pretty sure the world, too) finds it silly and makes fun of our way of eating quesadillas.

Many people argue that quesadillas without queso are only tacos. But chilangos (people from Mexico City) strongly defend their position with arguments that this is the way quesadillas have been eaten since pre-Columbian times when cattle, and therefore cheese, didn’t exist in the Americas.

I’m not going to defend either position. For me a quesadilla is more than cheese and a tortilla. The filling and the sauce inside the quesadilla is really what makes them so delicious. However, I’ll try to answer the question that is on everyone’s mind: What makes Mexico City quesadillas different from tacos? The answer, after some research that involved eating a lot of them on the streets of the city, is not easy or clear, but this is how I would describe them:

A Mexico City quesadilla is a paddy of corn masa that is filled with different ingredients. The masa is ALWAYS fresh and it can be cooked on a griddle or deep fried in vegetable oil.

If cooked on a griddle the corn paddies are USUALLY oval and thin. The corn masa is cooked first and then filled and folded with the ingredient of choice.

If deep fried, the corn masa is filled with the ingredient of choice and folded BEFORE going into the deep fryer.

In both cases salsa is added at the end, usually by the customer. Other ingredients such as chopped cactus paddies, onion, cilantro or cream may be added to the quesadilla.

The list of fillings is endless, but my personal favorites are: chicken, quelites (wild greens), mushrooms and squash blossom. And here is where I finally come to the delicious part. The following is my recipe to prepare a quesadilla (with cheese) with mushrooms and squash blossom. It’s a very easy recipe, but what makes this quesadilla delicious is fresh and quality ingredients.

Mushroom and Squash Blossom Quesadillas

The ingredients:
  • 100g Mushrooms, sliced
  • 100g Squash blossom, without the stems and washed
  • 1 Tbs Butter
  • 1/4 White onion, sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 to 6 Corn tortillas
  • 1/2 Cup Oaxaca cheese, or any other kind of melting Mexican cheese
  • Guacamole, salsa or any other topping of your choice
The how-to:
  1. In a skillet melt butter and add onion to sauté.
  2. Add mushrooms and stir constantly until they’re cooked, around 5 minutes.
  3. Add squash blossom and season to taste. Stir for a couple of minutes until the blossoms are cooked. They don’t take long so be very careful not to overcook them.
  4. On a griddle or comalover low heat, heat up one tortilla. After about 45 seconds turn it over and put some of the mushrooms and squash blossom with a little bit of cheese.
  5. Fold in half and heat each side for about two minutes.
  6. Serve with salsa, avocado or any other topping of your choice.
 ¡Buen provecho!

Ben grew up in a restaurant in Mexico City and also lived a big part of his life in the United States. He is now back to his native country where he writes and photographs his culinary adventures with Mexican food to share them with the world.

Friday, April 6, 2012


Welsh Cakes 1 4 bis
Feasting is also closely related to memory. We eat certain things in a particular way in order to remember who we are. Why else would you eat grits in Madison, New Jersey?
- Jeff Smith 'The Frugal Gourmet Keeps the Feast' (1995)
Ponder well on this point: the pleasant hours of our life are all connected by a more or less tangible link, with some memory of the table.
- Charles Pierre Monselet (1825-1888)
There are some memories which we simply cannot forget or erase. They stay forever inked in our brains and branded in our heart, no matter what happens to us in life or how we feel now about the people they imply...
My mother and father are awfully manipulative, considerably messed up, highly harmful, terrifyingly tyrannic and disfunctional, but although I have not spoken to those two beings since eight years and I don't regret cutting off all contact with them (the only solution left for me if I wanted to get healthy again, to maintain my sanity as well as to reclaim my independence), certain past events just can't be washed away that easily, especially if they are enjoyable and linked to food - one of my biggest pleasures and weaknesses.

I might not have been blessed with selfless, non-narcissic, affectionate and dedicated parents who had a healthy relationship with one another or their children and who were capable of ridding themselves from their demons, yet I have to admit that regardless of all the stuff they have put me through and how much they have hurt me, treated me disrespectfully, caused me to doubt myself, brought me to my knees, supressed my self-confidence, transformed me into a willing "slave", vampirized me and deeply bruised my ego, soul as well as body, I still recall the rare and happy moments when what was left of their kind nature transpired through the thick veil of toxic poisoning that kept them emprisoned in frustration, hate and affliction.

Being a person who prefers to dwell on the positive side of things instead of choosing to get galvanized by negative thoughts, I cherish those cheerful and peaceful times and try not to focus on events that caused me a lot of pain and distress even if I know I'll never be able to obliterate them totally from my mind. Their hurtful legacy has marked me for the rest of my existence and there's nothing I can do about that, nonetheless, even if they didn't bring me up conventionally I have to point out that, at least, they have taught me to cultivate a fervor for quality fare and fine dining. This passion later turned into a serious hobby to which I am a 110% dedicated and which I need to survive. I am grateful for this heritage as it has got me through the tough periods in my existence (read article on that subject here).

It seems many emotionally handicapped people show their feelings for their kids by feeding them like kings. It is their way of expressing their emotions and thoughts. I guess it is for that reason that eating is often associated with well-being and is quite regressive. In my case, I know that what graced my plate never failed to bring a smile on my face and had the same effect on me as the warm kisses on the cheeks or an affectionate hugs I sadly never received and always dreamt of getting - until today, it is a mystery whether they truly love me or not.

For instance, I will always remember coming back home from school to an apartment smelling gorgeously of homemade dishes and freshly baked goods that my mum had been preparing while I was arduously studying. This filled me with joy and lifted my spirits. A breath of fresh air after a hard day of learning in an environment that was quite depressing for the outsider and social misfit that I was. Food transported me to another world and had a strong impact on my mood - it still does nowadays.

There was one sweet chow I particularly liked to find on the kitchen table when I got home in the afternoon: "Welsh Cakes", a wonderful speciality which hails from Wales in the UK. I can't think of something more soothing and addictive than those round doughy delights. One little bite of them babies was enough to make me forget my exam stress and the fact that I was singled out by my peers and didn't have many friends. As if by magic, all my problems vanished and I was overwhelmed with pure contentment.
A genial hearth, a hospitable board, and a refined rusticity.
- William Wordsworth
Unlike other patisserie products, "Welsh Cakes" are never baked in an oven. Actually, they are very shortly cooked on a bakestone, a hot plate or in a heavy metal pan. This humble confection is made from butter (or lard and margarine when it comes to the cheap version), self-raising flour (or plain flour to which baking powder has been added), castor sugar, currants, eggs as well as a little milk and salt. They are a variant of the flat griddle-breads and scones found throughout the western and northern parts of Britain, though they are flatter and a lot denser in mass and texture than the latter.

In the past, "Pice Ar Y Maen" (Welsh for "cake on the stone", also called "Cacennau Cri") were fried in a cast-iron skillet or in a kind of Dutch oven (three-sided tin oven) placed in front of the flames of the kitchen fire. At this time, yeast was used as the raising agent as baking powder appeared only after the mid 19th century. Each family prepared them slightly differently and had their own secret formula which was passed from down to daughters (some included honey, mace, cinnamon, nutmeg, currants or even ginger).

"Welsh Cakes" are lusciously soft and humid on the inside, delightfully crispy on the outside and have a nice chewy touch thanks to the moistened dried fruits. It is recommended to eat them while they are fresh and still warm as it is then that they are at their best. Unless you have tasted that artisan deliciousness, you'll never be able to imagine how fabulous it is or to understand why the Welsh folk venerate this afternoon tea delicacy so much as it is quite incomparable.

As a matter of fact they are absolutely irresistible, incredibly ambrosial, gustatively fullfilling and so moreish in a manner only warm pastries can be. It is impossible not to stuff your face with them and end up exploding after having giddily swallowed your upteenth "Welsh Cakes" in a row. Once you start, there's no stopping you.

The recipe I am presenting today is based on the one that has been followed by both my granny and mama so, as you can imagine, it is very traditional and far from being recent. As a matter of fact, I bet it dates back to the early 50's. Of course, since I am a perfectionist and it is my habit to add my owm personalized touch to things, I fiddled with it in order to ameliorate and customize it a little by ajusting the quantity of milk used as well as by adding a few grams more sea salt and raisins.

This combination of homely ingredients and rich flavors is simply perfect. As a result, my "Welsh Cakes" are dangerously hooking and refined despite their modest origins. So, my question is the following: are you strong enough not to fall under their spell? Nah, I bet not and why bother resisting? You know you'd never win that battle!!

~ Welsh Cakes ~
Recipe by Rosa Mayland, April 2012.

Makes about 14-16 Welsh Cakes.

225g (8oz) 
All-purpose flour
1 1/4 Tsp Baking powder
1/2 Tsp Fine sea salt
100g (4oz)
Unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
50g (2oz)
Castor sugar
60 g (2oz)
1 E
gg (63g)
4-5  Tbs (60-75ml) Milk
Peanut oil, for frying
Extra castor sugar for dusting (optional)

1. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt together.
2. Rub in the butter.
3. Stir in the sugar and currants.
4. Beat the egg together with the milk.
5. Add this mixture to the one in the bowl and combine in order to obtain a ball of dough. Knead lightly.

Welsh Cakes 2 4 bis
6. Roll out the pastry until it is about 5 mm (1/4 inch) thick.
7. Cut into rounds with a 6cm (2.4 inches) fluted cutter and re-roll the trimmings.
8. Fry
each pastry rounds in a moderately hot cast-iron pan or frying pan for about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned.
9. Let cool on a rack or eat while still warm.

If you want your "Welsh Cakes" to have a spicy edge, then you can add  1/2 tsp mixed spice to the dry ingredients.

Serving suggestions:
Serve them warm or cold, plain or dusted with sugar, with butter or clotted cream and jam.

Spring Flowers 4 2 bis
~ Gâteaux Gallois ~
Recette par Rosa Mayland, Avril 2012

Pour environ 14-16 Welsh Cakes.

225g de Farine
1 1/4 CC de Poudre à pâte/lever
1/2 CC de Sel de mer fin
100g de Beurre non-salé, coupé en petit cubes
50g de Sucre cristallisé
60g de Raisins secs foncés
1 Oeuf (63g)
4-5 CS
(60-75ml) de Lait
Huile d'arachide, pour frire les gâteaux
Sucre cristallisé, pour saupoudrer les gâteaux


1. Mélanger la farine, la poudre à lever et le sel ensemble.
2. Ajouter le beurre et sabler
du bout des doigts.
3. Incorporer le sucre et les raisins secs.
4. Battre l'oeuf avec le lait.
5. Ajouter le mélange liquide à celui dans le bol et bien incorporer à l'aide d'un couteau afin d'obtenir une boule de pâte. Pétrir très légèrement et rapidement.

Welsh Cakes 6 1 bis
6. Etaler la pâte à une épaisseur d'environ 5 mm.
7. Découper des cercles à l'aide d'un emporte-pièce cannelé de 6cm.
8. A feu moyen et dans un peu d'huile (1 CS), faire frire chaque rond de pâte dans une poêle pendant environ 2-3 minutes de chaque côté, ou jusqu'à ce que les cakes soient dorés.
9. Les faire refroidir sur une grille ou les manger lorsqu'ils sont encore chauds.

Si vous voulez que vos "Welsh Cakes" aient une saveur épicée, alors je vous recommande d'ajouter 1/2 CC de mixed spice au ingrédients secs (recette:
1 CS cannelle en poudre, 1 CC de coriandre en poudre 1 CC de noix de muscade en poudre, 1/2 CC de gingembre en poudre, 1/4 CC de tout épice en poudre et 1/4 de clous de girofle en poudre).

Idées de présentation:
Servir les Welsh cakes encore chaud ou seulement une fois refroidis.
Ils peuvent être mangés tels quels ou saupoudrés avec du sucre cristallisé ou encore avec de la confiture et du beurre/de la "clotted cream".

Welsh Cakes 3 1 bis