Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!!!

by Karolina, 24th December 2012

May your world be filled with warmth and good cheer this Holy season, and throughout the year!
Wish your Christmas be filled with peace and love.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cranberry and orange get into Christmas mood

by Karolina, 22nd December

It's been quite a while since I was here...I wish I had time a pasta maker :) So I could produce some more of it! But before I find one (preferably on sale :)), I'll have to do with these 24 hours per day.

I have sooo many Christmas ideas and inspirations...but I guess I won't be able to share it this year. A bit too late now....time ticking to Christmas.
And don't get me wrong - I'm excited :) I just wish I had couple more weeks left....
Oh time!

So now, just quickly  lovely cranberry, orange and nuts cake that would be lovely for Christmas.

The general recipe for this cake comes from lovely Joy the Baker.
She uses pecans and coffee in her cake. I replaced the pecans with honey covered peanuts and omitted the coffee. And not streusel (sorry Joy - that was too much for me :)).
You can either go with Joy's lovely recipe or just change it a little bit like I did.

What I really like in this cake is that is made with orange juice which keeps it very moist and tangy and sweet at the same time.

Check it out!
And keep warm :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It's raining babies!...Dessert table

by Karolina, 12th December 2012

Today's the time to show you the dessert table I made for my sister's baby shower.
The colour scheme was blue and yellow.
So check it out:
Above I featured some details of the table.
My favourite - lemon cake the lemon! (I'll post the recipe soon).
Then cute small bottles with mix of juices with pretty striped straws.
Because it was a baby shower, I couldn't skip these lovely milk bottle sweets.
And last but not least tea cupcakes with mascarpone and flower made of dried pineapple.

But that was not all :) I loooooooooove dessert, there's more :)
Here you can see a bit more overall look and feel of the table.
I added some yogurt covered dried fruits and nuts in the apothecary jars.
My mum prepared yummy chocolate filled yeast dough cake :) And after a few perturbations and a bit of search, I added two-tone blue jelly with cream. I really like the jeweled tones of it!
How do you like the backdrop?

Do you think it's all?
Of course not!
There's more :) Yes, I wish you were there as well ;)

Here are a few extras:
- chocolate dipped mandarins
- cotton candy in a biiiiiiiig vase :)
- creme brulee spoons
OK, even I have a bit of sugar rush now....
I think it's enough sweets for today. What do you think?

I'll try to post a few of the recipes here in coming weeks.
But if you're particularly interested in some of them, drop me a note or comment below and I'll share with you straight away!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

It's raining babies party - savoury table

by Karolina, 9th December 2012

Today I wanted to show you savoury table I made for my sister's baby shower.
I kept it quite simple this time.

Snacks included:
- Pesto and dried tomato pinwheels
- Apricots stuffed with goat cheese and walnuts with rosemary
- Mango and salmon bites
- Cranberry and herbs buns
- Mango and dried ham bites
- Mushroom stuffed puff pastry in form of clouds (the main theme of this party :))
- Hot tomato, melon soup with cheese toasts (personally my favourite taking rather cold weather outside)

If you're interested in recipes, let me know and I'll share it :)

Take care and till soon!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

It's raining babies!

by Karolina, 2nd December 2012

In the last few months quite a few of my friends have become mothers or future mums.
I don't know if there's something in the air but babies seem to show up like mushrooms after the rain :)

And in our family we have one VIP (very important pregnancy :)) - my sister's!
I can't really imagine that in a few weeks my little sister will be a mum...

Because of this special event coming, I was in charge of baby shower...a surprise baby shower.
I won't be telling you about all the logistics around it.. let's just say it that it required a lot of work and ideas to keep it secret (special thanks here to Dad, Pawel and Bartek). But we managed!!!

I'll tell you more about the party in the next few posts, but today, I wanted to share quick DIY.

The theme of the party was clouds and I made this cute cloud mobile for the occasion:

All you need to make it is:
- wreath
- cotton (to cover the wreath)
- paper (for clouds)
- socks
- thread, wool or ribbon

Step 1
Cover the wreath with cotton or wool and secure with thread.

Step 2
Prepare the socks by filling it with cotton or paper and then tie the pieces of thread or ribbon to it.
Cut the clouds out of thick paper, make a hole in each of them and tie the ribbon or thread.

Step 3
Tie the socks and clouds to the prepared wreath.
Hang it (in my case from the chandelier) using ribbons.

That's the final product.
And what's even better, it's the gift at the same time- socks make a lovely gift for future mum. 
Do you want to make it extra special? Fill the socks with additional gifts - sweets, small trinkets, money etc.

 How do you like it?
I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, November 30, 2012

On to... baby shower

by Karolina, 30th November 2012

Sorry for silence! I've been busy preparing surprise baby shower for my sister and didn't find time to write anything. As well, as it was a surpsie I couldn't write anything about the projects I've been preparing :)
But the party is over now, it was a surprise....and I can finally show you what I've neem up to.

Today, just a sneak peak:

Stay tuned - much more to come soon :)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Chocolate pear molten cakes...

by Karolina, 18th November 2012

I have a sweet tooth...I really do.
It's really difficult for me to say no to the chocolate or cake.Or chocolate cake in that matter...

I do promise myself to not eat sweets anymore...but then again I find recipes like this one:

And tell me how can I resist?

Especially that this recipe involves lovely Fall produce - pears.
Pears and chocolate - another match made in heaven!

The recipe is fairly simple and I'm quoting after Chocolate Shavings with a few small changes:

Chocolate Pear Cakes
by Chocolate Shavings (my comments in Italics)
Serves 2

1/2 stick of butter (I used about 50g)
2 tablespoons of lightly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of cake flour
1 good pinch of kosher salt
1 tablespoon of cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1 tablespoon of milk
2 pears
Pistachios (optional)
Preheat your oven to 350F (180 C). Add the softened butter and sugar to a medium-size mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add the egg and beat until just incorporated. Using a small whisk, whisk in the vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder. Add the flour mixture to the butter batter in small batches, whisking the mixture until homogeneous. Whisk in the milk.

Peel the pears making sure to leave the steam intact. Using a small knife or melon baller (I used apple corer), carefully scoop out the core of the pear leaving the pear intact. Ladle the batter evenly into 2 individual ramekins. Form a well in the middle of the batter with the back of a spoon and place the pear inside the well. Gently press down so that the batter settles around the pear. (It worked better for me to first place the pears into ramekins and then cover them with  the dough)
Bake for 20 minutes or until the top of the batter is set. The inside of the batter will be gooey so the toothpick test will not be a good indication here. Let the cakes cool and serve with chocolate ganache.
I added some crushed pistachios as well for extra boost and pinch of colour.

If you like gooey, chocolaty desserts - this one is for you. With a little less guilt afterwards - you're eating pear after all :)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Autumn leaves...

by Karolina, 11th November 2012

November....for some smell of Bonfire, for others taste of Halloween chocolates. Glow of candles on the cemetery or taste of Thanksgiving turkey. November has a lot of shades, smells and tastes...

Today, I'd like to show you how an autumn walk can result in a lovely decoration...

Leafy table runner...

To create the above, all you need is:

- leaves (that's where autumn walk is necessary :))
- paper
- glue gun
- pillar candles

As most of my DIY this one is pretty easy as well:
- take paper and cut a strip as long and wide as your required runner
- arrange big leaves in a pattern starting from the sides of the paper
- start gluing the leaves into the paper, making sure that no paper is visible
- gradually add more and more leaves to create interesting structure and colour pattern
- don't want to disappoint you but....we're done :)

This table runner will look really great as your Thanksgiving table centerpiece with added pillar candles (of course be very careful while using candles! Don't put anything on fire! If you have children around best would be to replace the candles with electric tea lights). Or add other autumn symbols on top - like pumpkins or apples.
Planning autumn dinner party? This one would be amazing decoration of your buffet table!

Try it!
It's an easy craft that gives you a stunning result!

Do you like it? I'd love to hear from you!


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Speedy Hostess 4...or how to decorate the table in less than 5 minutes (Autumn edition)

by Karolina, 4th November 2012

Do you know this situation when you rush back home to prepare dinner for mid-week dinner party and you have absolutely no time to decorate your table? Yeah, me too...
This is for these times in life when you're stirring the pot with one hand and apply your mascara with the other.. Or for when you're hoovering, painting your nails and making canapes at the same time or when...well, you get the idea :)

And because it's autumn (or Fall - if you're from other side of the Pond)...
I'll show you a table centerpiece idea that will take you less than 5 minutes to prepare but will make a style statement...

Of course, I use pumpkin. It's probably the vegetable that screams the season the most.
Don't worry - no carving, painting and other crafting skills are needed for this one...

Actually you'll use things that you see in the picture above.

Pumpkin - check
Leaves - check (I'm sure you can run outside and grab some leaves. If you have kids - even better, they can get it for you)
Terracotta pot -check (if you don't have it just arrange the pumpkin on the leaves)

OK, now comes even easier part...
Take a few leaves, put the pumpkin on top of it, transfer to the pot...put it on the table...Done!

Well, I told you it was quick and easy.

And that's what you get. Simple, maybe little bit shabby chic style centerpiece.
Have more pumpkins - go for it, make more for more dramatic effect.

Do you have more time to spare or feel like making it more special?
Add ribbon or pack the pot in the piece of burlap or other textile, or paper of your choice.
Possibilities are endless really.
But I just wanted to show you that even if you're in a hurry you can create a seasonal centerpiece that will make your table more interesting and pulled together.

What is your seasonal decorating style this autumn?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Purple rain...

by Karolina, 28th October 2012

"Autumn had come, giving not a damn for the inconvenience it caused"- these words by Andrey Kurkov say it all...

The short days have come bringing the chill with it. Beautiful Indian summer is over and rainy, grey time had taken over :(

To fight cold weather blues I made these...

Purple madeleines with a hint of lavender.

As a base I used Dorie Greenspan's recipe for madeleines. After all if you learn, learn from the best!

However I was making violet madeleines, so I infused the butter with little bit of dried lavender and for the colour I used a few drops of coloring. I didn't want to have just one plain colour. So I added tiny drop of colouring when the dough was already in the madeleine pan and then swirled it using wooden stick. Like this I got pretty purple swirls.

I'm really happy with the result. I got nice fluffy madeleines with hint of lavender which reminded me of summer and quite quirky look :) Together with nice cup of tea made be forget the weather outside - so definitely reccomended.

And how do you like my madeleines?
What is your way to beat autumn blues? I'd love to hear from you!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fig fling

by Karolina, 21st October 2012

What would be Autumn without its seasonal fruits and veggies?
Apples, plums, pears, pumpkins - they make grey clouds and chilly weather more bearable  and comfortable.

But my favourite of all is beautiful fig.

With amazing colours of purple and violet and lovely sweet taste, it's one of my most loved fruits.

And today, I'd like to show you classic, no fail combination of fig and goat cheese.

This quick and easy recipe makes a lovely starter.

All you need is:

- figs (as many as people at your table)
- goat cheese
- balsamic vinegar
- a few pistachios
- salt and pepper

How to?

- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C
- Cut the figs across and open them slightly to make cavity for cheese
- Crush or cut goat cheese and insert into the fig's cavity
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper and pistachios
- Pour a little bit of balsamic vinegar on top
- Put into the oven for about 10-15 minutes (when the cheese is nice and melting it's ready)
- Serve immediately

This dish is a yummy combination of sweet & salty, smooth and crunchy.
Give it a try! You won't regret it!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Apricot forks

by Karolina, 14th October 2012

Sorry for longer silence here on the blog...I'm guilty of catching some holidays :)
While I'll tell you more about it some other a little, quick appetizer.

Taking advantage of last apricots this season, I made a quick and easy appetizer which is tasty and good looking at the same time.

Forks with apricot, goat cheese and bacon.
I really love the combination of fruits and meat - in this case smoky bacon. Goat cheese adds a bit of tangy, salty taste to it, which goes perfectly with smooth sweetness of apricots.
You can use as well peaches instead of apricots and Parma ham instead of bacon.

 It really is as easy as it sounds...

All you need to do is:

1. Prepare the goat cheese (preferably softer one) - add pepper (little bit of salt if needed) and form little balls
2. Roll the balls of cheese in bacon
3. Fork the rolled cheese
4. Grill quickly the apricot quarters
5. Fork the apricots
6. Serve - I served it with small salad, a few more apricots, walnuts
7. Gently sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and honey

This looks really lovely on the individual serving plates but I'm sure it will be stunning on one big serving dish as well.

All of it takes not more than 15 minutes to prepare.
So, go on - give it a try and let me know how you like it!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Speedy Hostess 3 or Cheese Platter Decalogue

by Karolina, 5th October 2012

Really speedy post today...It's been really crazy and busy week...Uffffff.........
And the best part- we decided for last minute holidays. Yay! We're leaving tomorrow. So actually I should be packing right now...but I'm an "almost" good blogger and I'll write a few words before leaving for a week.

So, I thought that Speedy Hostess post would be perfect for speedy post :)

Today, one of my "to go" entertaining tools. Good, old....Cheese platter!

Couldn't really be quicker, right?
But there are a few things you should remember when preparing a cheese plate.

So here's my...

Cheese Platter Decalogue:

1. Have at least 3-4  different cheeses to offer
2. Vary the cheese by type of milk (cow,sheep,goat)
3. Have a variety of tastes - from smooth and silky to pungent (OK, not too pungent because you have to live in your home afterwards)
4. Offer different cheese textures - hard cheese & softer ones
5. Remember that eyes are eating first - think about different shapes and colours of cheese
6. Try local or unusual cheeses (makes a nice twist and a good conversation starter, in case you've run out of subjects after mains ;))
7. Don't forget about additional items for your platter - fruits, nuts etc.
8. Good bread is a MUST.
9. Try something new - like honey or quince membrillo with your cheese
10. Let the wine flow!

How is your cheese platter? Did I forget about some important rule?

Let me know!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Lavender fields

by Karolina, 30th September 2012

I love the smell of lavender. I use lavender soap and air freshener. I have lavender on the balcony to remind me of Provence.

unfortunately this is not my garden...
But can you imagine -  I have never tried lavender in the kitchen!
I had to change it quickly...especially seeing some mouth-watering recipes online.
I managed to get dried lavender at the local farmers' market and went back home to experiment :)

So far, so good :) I made lovely lavender creme brulee using this recipe from No onions please.
Unfortunately I didn't have a chance to make any pictures...sorry...

Then I tried it again and again and again in different combinations, using different ingredients...

Today, I wanted to show you my super quick lavender peach tart.
This was my variation on the subject, as I needed some dessert and needed it now!
And that's how this tarte came to life...

Quick peach-lavender tarte

2 peaches (pitted and cut into wedges)
1 pack of puff pastry
1 cup of custard
1 teaspoon of dried lavender

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
Roll out the pastry and fill the tarte (quiche) tin with it. Make little holes with fork or fill the pan with baking beans. Bake the pastry for about 15 minutes until starting to brown.
Fill the pastry with custard and arrange the peaches. Sprinkle the top with lavender.
Put back into the oven for about 10-15 minutes.

Done :)

Final effect was simple, rustic tarte with lovely sweet, peachy interior with delicate flavour of lavender.

Do you cook with lavender? I'll be happy to hear what you've tried to do with lavender.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Keeping the sunshine...

by Karolina, 20th September 2012

I can already feel the autumn's breath on my back. It's close, veeeeeery close.
Evenings are shorter and morning a little chilly. Yes my dears...we have to say goodbye to summer and brace for long cold months.
But i decided to keep a little bit of sunshine with me, to steal tiny sweet ray of summer...

I made apricot jam. With these lovely sunny like gems.
I was inspired by lovely Bea from Bea in the kitchen and her incredible canning skills. She has dozens of amazingly good jam, confiture and marmalade recipes. I'm making her plum-chocolate jam pretty much every year.
This time I decided to combine couple of ideas from her apricot recipes and created my own apricot jam

To usual suspects: apricots and sugar, I added as well cardamon and fresh thyme.
And they cooked...What a smell!!! Amazing!

At the very end I added some almond flakes.
The end effect is really nice.
Sweet and a little tangy at the same time with lovely smell of cardamon and just a tiny hint of thyme.

Are you planning to keep some summer? Tell me how!

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