Holiday Traditions

From Sweden to America…

Best things about Christmas and holidays are traditions that carry meaning and create memories for generations.

Baking with friends, watching carolers.. are some of our faves 😊 

Whipped up some matcha cookies!

Peanut butter chocolate melting snowmen. Trying to decorate these will definitely entertain you – try it!!

Mix was the easy part!


Klicha – our traditional spicy sweet for Christmas time made the whole house smell cozy and ‘love’! 

We kicked back after an entire day of baking — adoring the tree and magic of friendship, traditions, and holiday.  
Happy Holidays!!!

Cooking with Lecce’s best Chef Gianna !

We had been waiting for this cooking experience for weeks. It was important to us to make this travel a learning experience since we love to cook and eat. 

Chef Gianna and Giorgio gave us the full experience of cooking in traditional Lecce style.  We met in the early evening by Piazza del Duomo.  We strolled together to the market in a leisurely way while getting to know more about each other.  We all have a passion for cooking, eating, and enjoying good company as a common characteristic.   

Market experience was fun, we watched how Gianna and Giorgio selected cheese, tomatoes, and other ingredients. The market owner and staff were great.  This is an integral part of feeling and breathing the whole experience.  These are the kinds of memories that are priceless.  We loved it!! 

 

We arrived at the beautiful Cooking Experience kitchen. This is where they cook and entertain the guests.  

 

It is lovely, comfortable, fully equipped with anything needed for cooking a great meal.   

The menu was focaccia, orecchiette, stuffed eggplants, and pastacciotto , which is the local custard desert.  

   
 Drinking wine đŸ·đŸ· while we cooked made the whole process even more fun. Chef Gianna is full of great tips and lessons. We made the entire dinner from scratch!! 

  
 

Learning how to make the orecchiette was amazing. We made eggless pasta dough that could be used for any type of pasta. Chef Gianna showed us in detail how to make the pasta.
  

We tried our best to follow Chef Gianna’s instructions. Yes! she did use the pasta we made for dinner. She was gracious and kind to say we did well.  We think we need more practice 😉

The fully hand on experience was very satisfying. We made everything together. Giorgio assured us not to worry about taking notes since he send the precise recipes to all the students. This helped us relax, concentrate and have more fun. 

 

VoilĂ !!   the finished pasta… it was as delicious as it looks.  What’s remarkable is that time flew by, we had great laughs, and a great meal while learning without any strain or intimidation.  Giorgio and Chef Gianna have this easy going style that makes any level cook feel comfortable.  
While we did only one day, you can customize and book several sessions with Chef Gianna.  Start planning your cooking experience; contact Giorgio for details at cookingexperiencelecce@gmail.com 🇼đŸ‡č
 

HOT Simittt!!!

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It’s long time not sharing any recipes I hope you will like this favorite recipe it goes best with accompany of tea or just basically as bread or kind of pretzel for lunch box or freshly baked HOT right from the oven right to the belly.

Here is how to do it!

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon yeast

1 cup lukewarm water

1/2 cup oil

2 tablespoon organic molasses

2 tablespoon water

organic sesame seeds

make indent in the center of the flour add yeast.

Add little water and mix.

Add salt and oil star to knead.

Add all the water continue kneading.

Cover the dough with plastic foil leave it 1 hour.

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Mix molasses and water in deep plate.

In another plate add sesame seed.

Dived dough to 6 pieces.

Make long rolls then twist each one then make it ring shape.

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Dip the twisted rings into molasses mix then to sesame seeds.

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Leave it 1 hour.

Bake for 20-25 min. 220 C preheated oven.

Bazlama

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This is kind of bread that is very delicious and soft you can cook it 2 ways in oven or in pan so let’s start measuring the ingredients ok we need:

5 cups organic flour

50 gr organic fresh yeast

1 teaspoon organic sea salt

2-1/2 lukewarm water

Melt the yeast in lukewarm water

Put the flour in a bowl make depression in the center

Add lukewarm water gradually while kneading

The dough must stick to your hands continue kneading 10-15 min.

Cover and leave the dough until doubled around 60 min.931

Take the dough on floured surface

Separate the dough into 5 balls

Open each ball in 1 cm thick rounds with help of your hands

If you will make them in oven then open the circles on baking sheets

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Leave it 10 min.

Heat the pan and cook it

For oven version

Preheat the oven 250 C while the pan is also inside of the oven heating the pan as well.

You can add little flour, water and oil to brush on top of them (Optional) or leave it plain.

Take them on heated pans and bake them until the golden brown spots appear on top of them.

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Enjoy bazlama with butter and salt or sugar or piece of cheese or some olives maybe or what ever you may like but don’t forget enjoying and sharing them with someone

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Sharing is most delicious and enjoyable way to give something with love!

Cooking Class 2: Raspberry Mousse Cake anyone!

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Today we took the raspberry mousse cake class. Wowwww… so this is quite something, we learned a lot about how elaborate and technical this is. Chef Pierre Ferland said “it’s 90% science 10% art – and that 10% is the hardest”. Think this was supposed to be a clue for what’s to come.

So this cake is done in 5 stages and things have to be in specific order, otherwise it does not work. Trust me all 8 students we tried and asked what if we do this or that first — Chef Pierre said “Ok, then you will end up with something else but not a raspberry mousse cake!”

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Stage 1:
Make the simple syrup so it can take time to cool off. You will use it for the raspberry filling and later to brush the layers of the cake to give it moisture.

Stage 2:
You must do the raspberry mousse. This way it can take time for gelatin and the mousse to set to the right consistency to become the filling. Make sure to strain the raspberry purée so all the seeds are taken out.

Stage 3:
Make the genoise (cake). It is not hard but the key is to put it in already heated owen rightaway so it won’t collapse. Also do NOT tap to even out the cake in the pan, use your hand to smooth it out quickly, otherwise it will again collapse. Don’t you love all the tips and tricks — we would not have known any of this if Chef Pierre did not tell us and demonstrate.

Stage 5:
While the cake is baking, make the Le Creme Chantilly which is the frosting that will cover and decorate the cake. Tip here was to start with a cold mixer bowl!!

Assembly:
Are you stable handed?? Well this is the test!! Cut the cake into 3 straight even layers. With a brush brush first layer with simple syrup, then smooth over some of the mousse, do the same with the other two layer and build up your cake tower. Then use some of the mousse to cover the sides of the cake. Finally, use the Chantilly to frost and decorate the cake. You can also use toasted almonds to coat the sides for a more rustic look. Tip: put the cake in the fridge for hour or two before cutting it, helps it set and be easier to cut.
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Remember… We did not say this was easy or simple. Apparently after 2 years of apprenticeship this became easy for Chef Pierre. I believe it.
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Finally – cut and serve! Bon Appetite!!

Thankfully, Chef Pierre said we could make the cake the day before – so you can do this in 2 days if you need the time. In any case, if you are excited to try this delicious cake, let me know and I will provide you the full recipe.
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Bourak

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For Sunday SURPRISE!

It’s great recipe for any time especially for tea time gatherings I can eat half of this yummm :)) and the only food I can’t resist anyway let’s make it!

500 gr. organic parsley, chard or spinach

6 yufka (special thin pastry for bourak)

200 gr. organic feta cheese

1 cup organic Greek yogurt

1 organic egg

1/2 cup organic extra virgin olive oil

1 cup mineral water

Optional ( salt, pepper and flaked red pepper)

Optional ( sesame seeds or black cumin)

Preheat oven to 180 C.

Wash and dice any green you choose.

Crumble the cheese with fork and mix it with greens.( If you will use the salt, peeper and flaked pepper add them and mix them as well)

In separate bowl mix yogurt, olive oil and egg well.

Grease the pan with oil take 1 yufka and spread it over the pan the pan should be smaller than yufka I used rectangle pan you can use round or and form you like just make sure it’s smaller than the yufka.

Spread over the yufka from yogurt mixture with help of brush.

Spread 2 more yufka’s  by wrinkling them and again for each one spread the yogurt mixture over.

Now spread all the feta and green filling all over the yufkas.

Repeat the yufka and yogurt spread by wrinkling the yufkas when you complete this take the corners of the bottom yufka and fold it over the top.

Cut the bourak in pieces if you still have yogurt mixture pour it all over the top.

Gradually pour the mineral water all over the top of the bourak.

Sprinkle cumin seeds or sesame seeds.

Bake it 30 min. or until golden brown on top.

ENJOY it warm or cold !

Trios sisters cookies

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Cute cookies and different presentation!

Good thing about the dough of this cookies is you can chill it up to 2 days isn’t that great!

Also it’s very fun to make it with children they can roll the balls and make the indentations and fill each round with different jam.

If you are more than 3 sisters you can stick more rounds with each other it’s really fun or maybe less.

Anyway let’s have some FUN!!

2 -1/2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

2 sticks butter (softened)

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 tbs raspberry jam or cherry jam

2 tbs apricot preserve

2 tbs strawberry preserve

Whisk flour salt.

Beat butter and sugar with mixer about 4 min. add egg and vanilla mix at low speed.

Mix in flour mixture in 3 batches till dough forms.

Divide dough in half and form each into 6 inch disks wrap it in plastic wrap and chill 1 hour.

Preheat oven 175 c.

Roll 3 separate level tsp of dough into a ball then flatten each ball 1 inch wide and less than 1/2 inch thick.

Arrange them into triangle and make deep indentation in center of each round with help of 1/2 inch thick spoon handle.

Arrange them 1 inch apart on baking sheets.

Fill indentations with about 1/88 tsp jam avoiding any large pieces of fruit.

Bake 15- 20 min. till golden brown.

Cool on baking sheets 5 min.

Enjoy fun sisters or one size bite sister! just use your creativity and have so much delicious & fun!

Feta-buns

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My snack bunnies sometimes I eat them for breakfast with cup of tea or for a quick lunch at office or for take away or just any where they are like my life savers . As most of the times as I do you can make these buns and freeze them then when you are ready to serve them de-freeze as much as you need or if want to give them fresher taste put them in preheated oven for few min.  cool and fill them with feta actually they are looking pretty good at partys as well and please keep them at refrigerator after filling. Enjoy them as soon as possible! they have 3-4 days to survive :))) short shelve life.

This short shelve life reminds me something very important worth to share with our beloved readers&followers! Did you ever think when buying our food we are buying our (lives or death) our (health or illness). I want to share this great information with you about short&long shelve life what ever you buying is directly effecting  your life want to know how? 

Here is how

If you are buyer of long shelve-life products means unfortunately more likely gives you shorter&sick live.

Good news if you are buying shorter shelve-life means long&healthier live so please be aware of the shelve of your life & health.

Buy +more fresh -less or no more canned & only what you need because less is more!

Finally the recipe take the start!

3 -1/2 cups flour

1 tbs sugar

1/2 tbs sea salt

1 tbs instant yeast

1/2 cup lukewarm water

1/2 lukewarm milk

1 egg white for inside the dough and the yolk for top of buns

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Filling

100 gr organic feta cheese (creamed) if it’s too hard you can add 1 tbs milk or olive oil to make it spreadable.

Only parsley leaves diced finely.

Come on to make the lovely Feta-Bunnies!

Preheat oven 180 c.

Add flour, sugar and salt mix. make hole in center.

Add yeast, milk, water, oil and egg white and knead.

Cover the dough with cloth and leave it 30 min.

Make small chestnut sized balls or ovals from dough.

Line them on parchment papered pans spread egg yolk on top and leave 10 min.

Bake them until golden brown.

Cool them completely.

Cut one side of the buns fill it with feta cheese leave some feta outside to stick parsley easily then dip them in parsley.

I’m ready to give myself more fresh & shorter shelve life feta-bun party!

Nuts about anything COCONUT!

Ok, finally I decided to write about my obsession with anything coconut. Have always really liked coconut, but about few years ago got more serious as I learned more about the healthy benefits of coconut.

Coconut is another miracle of nature that is yummy and smells amazing. So many uses for this amazing nut – hard not to love it.

Coconut Juice and Flesh
Best way to experience this is to have fresh coconuts. I will never forget the coconuts in Thailand. Last year, during our trip to Thailand coconut juice became our official drink. We were delighted to also discover we could scrape and eat the flesh. Coconut juice is more hydrating than water.
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Coconut Flakes
Coconut flakes come in various shapes and sizes. Most common use is in baking. I love the large hefty flakes that I can crunch and taste the coconut flavor. I use them in the mornings: little yogurt, blueberries, and coconut flakes!
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Coconut Butter
Warning – if you read beyond this section we will not be responsible for your coconut addiction.

Coconut butter is great for cooking, baking, or just as a spread on a piece of good bread. BUT mixing couple spoonfuls mixed with dark cocoa powder makes the best impromptu desert!!
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Coconut Oil
Yes, you can cook with it. BUT even more importantly you can use it for your skin and hair. I am close to ditching my body lotion altogether and completely switch over to coconut oil. It is important to emphasize you should use organic cold pressed virgin coconut oil. If your hair is too fine you may not want to use it besides as a mask to nourish the hair. But if you are sporting a bushy lush head of hair – your hair will love you for using coconut oil.
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Btw – if you live in a cold climate the coconut oil will naturally solidify, that does not mean it is bad. This is normal, it will easily turn liquid with a bit of warmth.

How do you enjoy your coconut ??

Almond Meringue Torte

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Some sweet-dreams anyone? Who doesn’t like a sweet-dream like this you don’t have to dream-big to get this sweet! wait!! Surprisingly I made this torte many times and it’s foolproof so don’t be afraid to try it it’s guaranteed recipe but you can be afraid for only to get addicted or addict others unfortunately I made this mistake during one of the Easter time and every Easter when family and friends visiting asking me if I made Easter-famous almond meringue torte. This photo is from last Easter I’m sorry I even couldn’t took another photo to show you when you serve this torte how beautiful it stands in a plate because swept away immediately anyway when you will try it yourself you’ll see how sweet it looks & tastes!

Let’s start hand’s on-to dream-big to get our sweet-dream!

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt

4 large egg yolks

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 tbs milk

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup flour

For Top

4 large egg whites

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1 tbs sugar

Filling

1 box instant vanilla pudding

2 tsp vanilla extract

1-3/4 heavy cream

Fresh strawberries, black berries, raspberries, blueberries

Preheat oven 175 c

Line 45 x 35 x 3 cm. pan with non-stick parchment or grease the pan.

Cream together butter, sugar salt and egg yolks

Add vanilla, milk, baking powder and flour beat.

Spread the batter in pan.

Beat egg whites till light.

Continue beating gradually add sugar.

Till meringue is smooth and stiff.

Spread meringue on batter.

Sprinkle almonds then cinnamon and sugar.

Bake it 30 min. till lightly browned.

Remove it from oven cool it 15 min.

Gently loosen the edges measure it cut it into half  then cut one half into half again to make it easier to handle it.

Mix vanilla pudding with heavy cream and vanilla till thick spread it over one half of the cake layer of meringue side.

Add layer of berries I use small strawberries sliced into half.

Top other layer of cake layers meringue side up if almonds will fall off just sprinkle them back on top.

Enjoy immediately or refrigerate till you would like to enjoy it!