First the flowers than the sweets!
I couldn’t wait for the spring and for the upcoming flowers and I was dreaming of recipes with flowers. The spring arrived, all fields of the surroundings are full of flowers especially primroses and violets. It’s perfect for me to fulfil my wish for Easter: some flowers for the cakes and cupcakes decoration. But how? The easiest way to keep them is to transform them in candied flowers.
I tried this for the first time and I found it super easy and this job and not too complicate. The good thing is that this preparation does not require many ingredients and all what you need are the flowers (as primroses, violets, rose petals, marigold, borage, pea and beans, scented geraniums you may also use leaves as mint!) and time. Yes this takes time.
I my case I used the multicolored wild primroses and violets, easy to find and, as they are not too thick, they dry quite fast. One night waiting and they are ready to use.
First I thought to reserve my flowers for a white cake for Easter day but couldn’t wait, I didn’t want to wait so long and after analyzing my recipe I decided to scale it down and to transform my white cake recipe to a muffins one. I made only one third of the quantity of the dough for the cake and I got 9 cute muffins.
Note: the size on the top of my silicone muffin molds is 7 cm (about 2.5 inches).
A few weeks ago I noticed in the freezer of a shop some boxes with guinea fowl (guinea hen) birds.
I never had them, or better, I think I had some of them and I was just curious how they are and how they can be prepared. This weekend I decided that it was time to have a try and my husband suggested to prepare it with cranberries. In the internet I did not find recipes with cranberries so I adapted one recipe for Turkey and it was really delicious.
I’m really glad that my family enjoy experimenting and I can prepare all kind of food for them! My children asked me what kind of birds… here a short answer.
Guinea fowls are originally African birds but today they are largely grown all around the world.
The taste of their meat is slightly “wilder” than chicken (gamey flavor), but is milder than pheasant.
Guinea fowls are smaller than chicken and usually one bird feeds only two people. In our case this was the right portion for the four thanks the delicious and rich filling.
This African bird makes a lovely alternative to chicken for a special Sunday lunch or holiday; a real feast! If you don’t have this bird… no problem, this recipe will work with chicken as well!
For me this soup is the expression of simplicity and the result a delicious soup.
Many years ago, travelling in Greece we arrived on a dream island called Sifnos. On Sunday we ordered this chickpeas (garbanzos) soup and our young daughter was so enthusiastic from this dishes that she asked for this the next day as well.
“No, today not, we serve this only on Sunday!” was the answer. “Why?”
We found out that this soup is prepared on Saturday evening with the remaining heat overnight in the wooden oven in an earthen pot (tsoukali). This means that on Saturday the oven was used for the meals and then, while the oven was already cooling down, the heat was still enough for this soup to cook this soup as chickpeas almost fall apart during cooking and in this way on Sunday the women did not need to prepare the lunch and after returning homes from church they had a meal already ready and only needed to serve to place the pots on the table and serve this fragrant chickpeas soup.
We love this soup flavored with lemon peel. The original recipe ask for water not for broth (vegetal or meat) and we really support this rule! If you wish you can drizzle the soup with more olive oil!
We are lucky we have a wooden oven and we follow the Greek traditions, but this soup can be made on the stove in a pot at low temperature, in a clay pot in the oven or even in the slow cooker overnight!
Flavor variations instead of lemon peel: bay leaf or 1 orange, preferably organic, quartered and seeded
There are two kind of bread that are our favorites: the first one is the Swiss Zopf (see link for the recipe) and the second is the challah bread of this post.
I Wikipedia we can read that challah is also named “Zopf” in Switzerland, this is absolutely not exact because while Challah is usually parve (I did not know what parve means and I found that parve is a Hebrew term that describes food without any meat or dairy ingredients; food can be eaten with both meat and milk dishes) unlike brioche and other enriched European breads as the Swiss Zopf, which contain butter or milk.
In any case Zopf and Challah look very similar (both braided and golden color), are soft and are lightly sweetened. For us the most important thing is that both breads are delicious with honey (we are beeper) and with homemade jams! I like the very light texture of both and I like to change: sometimes Zopf and sometimes Challah!
A few years ago I tried to prepare my first challah and I was surprised from the great result.
I changed the recipe according to our needs and for this reason we prepare 4 pieces each time I bake some; we enjoy one fresh and place the other 3 in the freezer for the next weekends. One challah is enough for us four for a weekend (Saturday and Sunday)
I need 2 trays for this, but I bake all 4 at once in two levels as we have a fun forced oven.
If I have time, I love to decorate the loaves with seed. My favorite seeds combinations are slivered almonds, moon and sesame seeds.
I you want to prepare only one loaf you can dived the recipe ingredients by 4 and for the egg you can use half egg for the second rising and the second half for the topping.
This recipe required 3 rising! I know it’s a lot, for this reason make this bread when I’m at home (Saturday and Sunday). It’s possible that I could combine all the ingredients for all of 3 rising and work them with the knead machine for about 10 minutes and a good quality of instant yeast. I never did it, but I think I should try this perhaps with the half of the ingredients and see what will happen.
A lemon butter sauce is a simple quick sauce that goes well with fish, seafood and chicken as well as steamed vegetables.
This sauce can be modified using different kind of spices of herbs. Fresh time would be perfect for chicken! Garlic instead shallots over shrimps!
I used this sauce to top lightly grilled chicken, steamed asparagus and carrots. As carbs source I served grilled (from the can!) corn under the broiler, but plain white rice or noodles would have been perfect as well.
Add herbs and serve
Sometimes some ingredients seems not to be made to stay together as this happens in this recipe.
Rucola (Arugula) combined with Parmigiano is a well know and popular Italian salad, it’s easy to make, can be arranged on a plate in advance and you need only a good balsamic dressing to finish this delicious starter.
Now we add strawberries, why not? So many recipes include fruits as apples, pears, oranges, and so on. Strawberries can be easily sliced, give a sweet not too sweet touch and make contrast with the pungent taste of the rucola and Parmigiano.
You can prepare the dressing with any balsamic vinegar, you may also add a few drops of balsamic vinegar syrup if you like.
The dressing is very simply, no need to add more herbs and the main ingredients have enough character itself!
It’s spring now, enjoy this salad!
With the recent discovering of always new recipes, we have come to search for new and forget the good oldies. There is, indeed, no intrinsic reason why we should ALWAYS try new recipes and look only forward. Remembering should be given precedence over forgetting; in my case already proofed recipes should be checked again and made again. Writing down these recipes is a way to prevent forgetting about them and passing them further to my children and my friends.
For this reason, I made this curry with minor changing again and doubling the sauce. Definitely worth to make it again!
Focus in this recipe is the creamy sensual sauce that should be enjoyed with chapattis eating with the fingers!
Let me start the description of this recipe with the preparation of the ingredients because this dish is quick done. Be sure you have the chapattis ready on time as well!
Many times I was tempted to prepare Filo (or phyllo from Greek: φύλλο ‘leaf’) at home. Homemade fresh food is better than preserved one, freshly made filo dough is always much better than the stuff of the shop.
Today I took the decision and I did it! WOW, the challenge was less difficult than I supposed, it was more a question of technique than exercise!
It’s possible to roll it out with a pasta machine stretching the dough manually to make it thinner, but using the rolling pin it’s easy as well and you can roll it to the desired round shape for your mold.
Filo dough can be used to prepare different kinds of dishes as the famous baklava but also for this savory recipe including spinach, cheese and lots of herbs!
Follow these instructions and you will get incredible results!
Once again this fabulous fish dish found it place on our table. The best is that I know that I will make it again and again.
The very first inspiration was a dish fish we got on a Thai island. The tangy tasty sauce was always more than welcome and the fish was prepared on charcoal (without veggies) or wrapped in banana leaves and cooked on the BBQ.
The fish, as fresh as best, should be cleaned first and marinated while you prepare the other ingredients. Are you ready with the ingredients? Now it’s time to start … you should work quickly!
Don’t forget to prepare some plain rice or other side dishes before!
Spring is at the door, flowers will arrive at different times depending on where you live, but soon or later they will be here again and they may find the way into our kitchen.
The same with the herbs, some survived the winter and some will apprear in a few days. In this occasion I would like to hare with you a wonderful link: Edible Flowers Guide
For this recipe I made my choice and I used some fresh wild primroses flowers!
These easy to make and tasty amuse bouche (bite-sized hors d’oeuvre) are based on a mixture of Asian flavors and filled with cream cheese as they would be macaroons. Now we have your faux macarons!
Variation: add a small piece of smoked salmon as filling in addition of the cream cheese.
Note: The white flowers on the background are called “spring snowflakes” ( Leucojum vernum): they are not edilbe!