Archive for September, 2010

Apple & blackberry (chocolate hazelnut) cake – made with nutella!

September 30, 2010

This cake got compliments on three occassions already, and it’s effortless to make, so I thought I should post the recipe here. It has been adapted from the Apple, Raisin, Cranberry and Hazelnut-Chocolate Cake recipe.

Apple & blackberry (chocolate hazelnut) cake

2 apples
1 pack of blackberries (1/2 will do)
3 eggs
100-110 gram butter, melted (1/2 cup)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
75 gram of plain flour (0.6 cup)
70 gram brown sugar (1/3 cup)
3 tablespoons of golden raisins
1/4 cup Nutella spread (1/4 of the small container)

Sift the flour with the baking powder and set aside. Wash blackberries and leave to drain. Peel the apples, cut into four pieces, remove core and and slice thinly. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F).
Beat the eggs with a hand mixer, add sugar and salt and beat into a foamy mixture. Add the cooled melted butter and Nutella and mix further. With a wooden spoon fold in the flour and apple slices. Pour the batter into a round 9.5″ mould and top with the blackberries.
Bake for 30 – 35 min (a toothpick should come out clean when you pierce the cake with it). Remove and let cool for a few min before unmolding. The cake comes out quite flat but that means it bakes quickly! Delicious!


Naivety and keeping your word

September 29, 2010

When you meet an old friend, whom you haven’t seen for years (and that was for a reason), yet she/he says ‘We should catch up, I’ll give you a call/ give me a call’ – they don’t mean it. So you reply ‘Sure’ and don’t mean it. You both know it’s not going to happen. Or do you?

In my naivety I used to take people’s words as they were uttered. I believed when you were giving your word, you should try your hardest to deliver. Life’s taught me that – as bad as it is to lie – under certain circumstances it is acceptable to say things without really meaning them. It’s part of the social contract. ‘I will see you’, ‘Let’s keep in touch’ can often be just empty phrases. Both parties, however, need to know that. Right???

Let’s all bake bread!

September 20, 2010

This will have to be a very quick post as it’s Edinburgh holiday, a day off, and I am going out to see my friend who is also off work today.

[Have you noticed the prices of food go up again? They say it is because the wheat is more expensive. Well, perhaps the prices of wheat have risen but I am affraid that the difference does not go to farmers, it goes to the middlemen, as usual. Another thing is, it is difficult to buy decent bread these days. And if you find a fresh, crusty loaf, it will cost you two or three pounds. Isn’t it ridiculous?]

At the weekend I was baking bread again. It is so easy that I felt obligated to shout it out in the cyberspace: why don’t we all bake our own bread!?!? My first bread was a no-knead one, and although I took the recipe from my favourite Smitten Kitchen blog, it is probably easier to watch a 5 minute video on The New York Times – and you know it all! (As you can see, it was a craze in NY in 2006 – how far behind are we?)

My second (and third) home-made loaf of bread ever looked like this:

Less than perfect, I know. It was supposed to be ‘rustic white bread’ (see Smitten Kitchen for what it should look like – Deb went to a bread-making class, though). I am, however, expecting to improve in time. Because when it comes to baking bread, the only skill you need is patience.

Happy baking!

Edinburgh Riding of the Marches 2010

September 15, 2010

Last Sunday an equestrian event ‘Riding of the marches’ took place in Edinburgh – I saw part of it which was the horse parade in Holyrood Park. It was a cavalcade of some 250 beautiful chestnut, salt and pepper, bay, palomino and other colours coated horses, with elegantly braided hair, and proud but smiling riders on them. A joy to watch!

Things our kids need to know

September 14, 2010

There are things I’d have wanted to know when I was a teenager. Having then the knowledge I have now would have saved me a great deal of trouble, pain and tears. And much more.

Life is significantly easier in your late twenties and thirties. Now you realise that:

1. Your first long-term girlfriend/boyfriend was not the best thing that happened to you. Life does not end when you break up. (Yes, you will find someone as good – often better, as it appears – if you break up.)

2. You can truly love more than once. (Films show a mendacious depiction of life. There is not this only one person in the world destined for you, you don’t need to stress out about that.)

3. Sex is important in a relationship, this area is not to be underestimated.

4. The rule saying opposites attract does not apply to healthy relationships. In certain things two people have to be unanimous, in some – complete each other, and in the rest – balance each other out.

5. Confidence is what makes people sexy. You are one of a kind. You don’t need to be a model to be attractive – every girl/guy has that unique ‘thing’ of their own that will appeal to opposite sex.

6. You can choose your friends. It is detrimental to your psyche to try being friends with everyone. Or be one of the ‘cool kids’. (The cool kids later grow up to be un-cool, bold, fat adults.)

7. You should never scratch your spots – they will leave orange-peel scars for the rest of your life (can be squeezed out only under certain conditions). You should not smoke (you can try, of course, why not) – apart from everything else, your teeth will look horrible for the rest of your life. You should not neglect your body – if you exercise and eat breakfast, and you will feel good for the rest of your life.

The above are some experience-led opinions on the subject of love life, social life and life in general. One day I hope to be able to reveal them to my kids. If you have your own, please let me know. I will add them to the list of things my kids should know.

Bake off

September 9, 2010

I am going mad this week! …mad about baking.

Two days ago I baked my First Ever Loaf of Bread! (My boyfriend said it’s better than anything you can buy!) Yesterday we had rosemary flatbread (which accompanied cauliflower soup as first course of our dinner) and today – bread sticks and an apple & blackberry cake with a twist (both came out amazing and scrumptious).

And this all – only because my sweetheart is working long hours and I am on my own in the house. That’s one of the reasons. I also decided it is time we had our own home-made bread. Thirdly, perhaps I have been watching too many cooking programmes on tv.

Apart from that, I just enjoy cooking, in particular that our kitchen is very sunny as opposed to the living room, and that’s another reason I prefer to spend time in here. What is better, I moved my laptop so that I can listen to music or watch some series with the corner of my eye while cooking or baking! (Don’t laugh but these days it’s usually Ugly Betty; series 4 is hilarious!) Either way you look, it’s a win.

P.S. Recipes can be found here: Twisted Breadsticks with Herbs taken from the Kitchen of Oz by Ozhan Ozturk (my breadsticks were sprinkled with sesame and fennel flower seeds and flakes of sea salt); my apple and blackberry cake is in fact an adaptation of Apple, Raisin, Cranberry and Hazelnut Chocolate Cake from Chocolate Shavings – in my version cranberries were replaced with equally delicious blackberries.

Bees and butterflies

September 4, 2010

On the way from Edinburgh to Burntisland earlier on today I took photos of some unexpected subjects. They were a gang of butterflies and bees getting busy with thistles. Pollinating. There were tens of them, working so frantically, they didn’t even notice me spying on them. Exquisite!

These pictures are genuine, not photoshopped in any way. I promise, there were so many butterflies and bees!