Tuesday, July 31, 2012

What a cookie!

by Karolina, 31st July 2012

Quite a cookie actually...
Just look at it!

It is the biggest cookie I've ever made. And all because of my lovely boyfriend. I got this huuuuuuuge cookie form from him for my birthday (which was quite a while back actually). But now, at last, I used it.
And you know what? I LOVE IT! I could make a giant cookie every day...
Btw, it would be absolutely amazing excuse - "but I only had 1 cookie" :)

This cookie is made using the recipe from absolutely amazing Sweetapolita. If you don't know her blog you should visit her asap! Her pictures and amazing creations raise the sugar level in my blood!

Sweetapolita gives us the recipe for Perfect Sugar Cookie. And indeed great cookie it is.
I used this recipe while making my giant cookie and it worked.
Of course, baking time is much longer (mine took about 25-30 minutes) - but this will depend on the size of your cookie.

I won't be writting down the recipe as you can simply just head to Sweetapolita for this one. 
I totally agree with her that chilling the dough makes huge difference and makes work with sugar cookie dough much easier and faster. 
In this case I didn't have to worry about cutting the shapes but I tried this recipe on different shapes - big and small and it worked great as well. 

So, cookie(s) and milk anyone?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Summer chocolates...

by Karolina, 26th July 2012

Nice chocolates, no?

OK, I have to be honest...these are not really chocolates...
These are my summer chocolates :)
Packed with fruits, yoghurt and what makes is even more appropriate for summer - they're COLD!
So, probably I should have called it frozen yoghurt in form of chocolates...but "summer chocolates" sounds better. Don't you think?

Why did I make it?
Because summer is like box of chocolates :)

To be honest, I had some leftover blueberry smoothie which didn't fit into the bottle....and then this amazingly thought came to my mind..."Where is my chocolate mold?".
That's how these little babies came to life.
And you know what....I loved it :)

Because it was pretty much an improvisation, I can't give you exact measurements when it comes to the amounts of needed ingredients...but I'll give you rough idea. I hope you don't mind too much and this will actually push you to experiment a little bit.
So, for summer chocolates (yes, I still think it's a good name) you'll need:
- blueberries (handful or 2)
- natural yoghurt (best would be Greek one)
- honey or sugar (to taste)

Blend all together , making sure that you have smooth cocktail. Pour into silicon chocolate mould or silicon ice mould. Freeze...(a few hours should be enough)

And what to do with these?
Well...You can of course fool everyone around that these are real chocolates and wait until they bite in.... :)
OK, just an idea ;)

But even better will be to :
- add it instead of ice-cream on top of your warm  pie and watch how it slowly melts...mmmm
- put it on top of fruits (for example bananas) for extra creaminess
- blend a few of them for instant cold smoothie goodness
- mix in with your muesli and milk for added flavour

Just a few ideas...

I'm pretty sure you can come up with some more (I'd love to hear about them - so please put a comment below).

Have some "summer chocolates" with me!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A picture-worthy breakfast

by Karolina, 22nd July 2012

Usually my breakfast is quick and simple - muesli with milk, pot of yoghurt, a fruit. But during weekends sometimes I like to treat myself to more elaborate meal to start the day.

 This time I made myself nice sandwich:
wholemeal bread
+ camembert
+ fig jam
+ fresh thyme
I really liked this combination of tastes: sweet jam, smooth but little spicy camembert, earthy/salty bread and fresh herby taste of thyme. Yummy!!!
You should try it yourself.
I think this would work really well as a quick starter for informal party as well.
I'm big fan of cheese and fruit pairing lately.
I'll show you some other options soon.
But until then...Enjoy your breakfast!

And what you are having for breakfast? Any inspiring ideas?
I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Desserts for Deserving

by Karolina, 17th July, 2012

Amanda from "I am baker" organized amazing action - Desserts for Deserving. It's such a great idea - simply to give a stranger the gift of joy! There are so many people who are going through difficult time, health problems, family problems etc. I was crying when reading nominations - there are so many people around us who need help. But this showed me as well that there are a lot of  people out there who want to help and put a smile on stranger's face! So, after reading the 1st post from Amanda, I was already in :) 

I started thinking what to make for the person who needed cheering up?

Something sweet and comforting....COOKIES :)

I prepared 2 varieties-  simple but nice plain sugar cookies and cookies with chocolate (chocolate is always a good choice, isn't it?)
But I decided that my cookies are not only to create nice sweet feeling, but I'm sending it as well to cheer somebody up.
So I made cookies with the message: Love, Good and Brave

I wanted to show this lovely person that somebody cares and whatever they're going through, there's hope and there are people who are there for them.
I added little heart cookies as well :)

I really, really hope that person who received my package enjoyed it..

I definitely enjoyed preparing it. I feel honoured that I could take part in this special action.
If I managed to put a smile on face of somebodies face that's the best rewards ever!

Thank you Amanda for this fantastic opportunity and for being such an amazing inspiration! And for spreading the love around :)

I hope that Desserts for Deserving will continue to grow.
Before next edition will come, I plan to send a few packages to some people "just because".

To know more about Desserts for Deserving - visit  I am Baker blog or Desserts for Deserving Facebook page.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I(ce) S(cream)

by Karolina, 11th July 2012

I scream ice-cream! :)
It's been pretty hot here in the last couple of weeks..not that I'm complaining - sunny weather is always good. However, the heat makes me want ice-ceam. Very badly...
I should/try to avoid zillions of  calories hidden in my favouite summer treats...so I tried a few "healthy" ice-cream. Don't worry, it's not one of these things where "healthy" mean "yucky" :) In this case it means "yummy"!

These are my Blueberry Yoghurt Lollies. Not only it's nice and healthy, but easy as well. Seriously!

All you need is:
- blueberies (couple of handfuls)
- natural yoghurt (fat free or normal)
- honey (if you like it sweeter)

You just blend it all. Of course you can just drink it as smoothie and it will be good enough. But for the ice-cream lovers I propose next step...
Pour the mixture into ice tray and pop into the freezer. After half hour/hour insert the lolly sticks (or coffee stirrers). Leave it in the freezer for a few hours and then enjoy :)
To take them out of the tray, insert the tray for a few seconds into warm water.

Note: of course you can make it in the ice-lollies foms. I did it in ice tray because:
1. I didn't have the forms at that point yet
2. I wanted to have smaller portions as a little snack

I think they make great summer party treat as well. Of course timing is everything when it comes to ice-cream, so make sure you don't take them out too ealy. Have a tray of ice at hand as well.

And what is your favourite summer treat?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Speedy Hostess (2)

by Karolina, 8th July 2012

Speedy Hostess is back :)
Today, I wanted to show you a perfect entertaining idea which will make your party preparation or last minute entertaining stress-free.

Pretty little pastries...Quick and cute.
This is really no-brainer.
A few simple ingredients combined together + pretty presentation.

OK, this involves cooking shortcut, kind of baking cheating...Store-bought pastry shells. I always keep pastry shells in the cupboard. They're life-savers for last-minute parties! Seriously, if you don't have them in your pantry yet, go and get them...now!
Don't get me wrong, I really like making things from scratch, but sometimes little shortcut means that you have a few more minutes to prepare something yummy or that you actually have time to do your hair before guests arrive, or just that you have 5 minutes before the party to chill out with glass of wine instead of frantically running around the kitchen.

So, how to create these tiny beauties?

It's just assembling job really...(and simpler than Ikea stuff, I promise :))

You need:
- pastry shells
- whipped cream or mascarpone
- fruits for topping

Fill the shells with cream or cream cheese (depending what you have on hand) and top with a few fruits. I used variety of fruits to have nice colour palette - blueberries, red currents, strawberries. But actually any berries will be great. In winter when it's much more difficult to get hold of nice fruits , I would use cut pieces of peaches in syrup or even dried fruits. Really, the choice is huge and sky is the limit when it comes to different variations. Arrange cups nicely , decorate with fruits or leaves (I used some red currants and mint leaves). And you're ready to go!
5 minutes and pretty little tea snack or dessert buffet option is ready.

Do you use any shortcuts in the kitchen?
I'd love to hear about it from you.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Red diamonds...

by Karolina, 2nd July 2012

OK, so these are not exactly precious stones and not worth a lot of money...

However, sometimes I think that beetroots (yes,we are talking about vegetables here :)) are like rare precious stones which are not discovered yet. A lot of people don't appreciate their potential hiding under rough skin.
I looooooooooove beetroots. For their hidden sweetness and versatility- how you can match them with different tastes.

Today though , I wanted to give them main role.. And I find that this simple recipe from Jamie Oliver lets them really shine:

Baked Beetroots

after Jamie Oliver's recipe with small changes

portion for 2 people

4 small beetroots (preferably young ones)
3-4 cloves of garlic (amount depends on your love of garlic :))
2 sprigs of rosemary
balsamic vinegar
salt, pepper

Preheat the oven to 200 C.
Lay ovenproof dish with baking paper, so the sides will be hanging over the dish.
Peel beetroots and cut in halves/quarters depending on size (note: sometimes I don't peel them at all, just wash and cut). Transfer to ovenproof dish.
Add garlic cloves and rosemary. 
Seperately mix balsamic vinegar and oil . Pour  over the beetroots. Add salt and pepper.
Fold the baking paper around losely.
Transfer to the oven and bake about 45-60 mins (depending on the size of beetroots - pinch them with the fork to check if they're ready).

You can serve these as main dish with good baguette and salad on the side. Or as a side dish.
Ruby red colour is just amazing, don't you think?

And what is your favourite way of preparing the beetroots?

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