Apple Cake with Rosemary


Only one month and the spring will be here! Last year in September we harvested our apples and since now we have some in our not heated cellar. Our old apple trees gave us a lot these delicious fruits which I learnt to appreciate during the last years.

Apple is not equal to apple, we have old kinds of them, but I don’t know how they are called. Anyway I experimented with many recipes and so we never get bored from them.

Today I would like to present you a soft juicy apple cake with a special touch! It’s a special version of the famous Thurgauer (from Thurgau, Switzerland) apple cake: the addition of rosemary.

Today, herbs are not only used for savory recipes, the taste of sweets can be enhanced and the result will be upgraded with such a single step.

Note: the recipe fits for a baking mold of 26 cm (about 10 inches), but I made a cake of 14 cm (about 9 inches) plus a mini one for give away with some almonds for decoration! I also used small apples from the garden as they fit in both cake molds.

Apple Cake with Rosemary

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

You need:

  • 150 g butter or margarine
  • 150 g brown sugar (if possible finely grinded)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla aroma
  • 4 tablespoon Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 2 tablespoon rosemary, finely chopped
  • 180 g all-purpose flour
  • 50 ground almonds
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder, sieved
  • 600 g apples
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons quince jelly (you may add one more brandy tablespoon)
  • 2 springs rosemary

additional to coat butter and ground almonds


  1. Beat butter until soft and add gradually sugar, salt and eggs (one by one). Beat until it becomes clear.
  2. Add vanilla, yogurt, brandy and rosemary; mix well.
  3. In a big bowl combine flour, almonds ground and baking powder. Add this to the batter.
  4. Coat your baking mold of about 26 cm (10 inches) with butter and flour or better with almonds ground.
  5. Pour the batter in the baking mold and preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
  6. Peel (if needed) the apples, remove the core and arrange them over the batter; if you want prevent browning dip the slices in a big bowl with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Arrange slices over the batter.
  7. Bake for about 45 minutes at 180°C/350°F until golden brown.
  8. In the meantime melt the quince jelly in a small saucepot, switch off the heat and place the rosemary springs to infuse.
  9. When the cake is ready, brush the surface with the rosemary infused quince jelly!
  10. Let cool down on a grid before serving.



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Focaccia ai Pomodorini con Pasta Madre- Sourdough Focaccia with Cherry Tomatoes


This recipe has been prepared with the basic recipe I already posted for the “Pane Bruco – Caterpillar Bread”. The Caterpillar Bread basic sourdough is sufficient for two loaves, but you can prepare a Caterpillar Bread and some focaccia.

For the focaccia topping I used salt, rosemary and cherry tomatoes, but a plain focaccia is delicious as well. Other possible variations: olives, capers, sliced onions…..

Focaccia ai Pomodorini con Pasta Madre- Sourdough Focaccia with Cherry Tomatoes

  • Servings: 2 big focaccia or 4 smaller ones
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Autor: Focaccia-ai-Pomodorini-con-Pasta-Madre-4


You need:

First rising

  • 1/2 cup starter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup flour

Second rising

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt


  • Olive oil for the tray
  • 8 tablespoons water, lukewarm (alternative dry white wine!)
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil, or to taste
  • 24 cherry tomatoes
  • Fresh rosemary, to taste
  • Coarsely salt, to taste


  1. The evening before or early combine all the ingredients for the first rising into a bowl, cover and let sit.
  2. After 2-8 hours (2 hours by 30°C – 8 or more hours by normal room temperature) I added the additional flour and sort, knead shortly and let lit for a few hour until doubled. This can be the time you need for working or to go simply out.
  3. Give a final knead and shape two balls for 2 focaccias or 4 smaller balls for small round ones.
  4. Drizzle some olive oil on two trays and place the balls on it, brush with the dough with oil. Flatten lightly the balls with your hands and let rest for about 60 minutes to relax the dough in the oven (switched off, light on). You should get two rectangular focaccias of 25 to 35 cm or 4 round ones of about 23 cm.
  5. Now flatten the dough carefully down with your fingertips and place again into the oven to rest for about 30 minutes.

Combine water and oil and pour over the focaccias. Work with your fingertips to traditional holes (don’t press though!) where the liquids will assemble!

  1. Place the cherry tomatoes into some of the holes and sprinkle with rosemary, sprinkle with salt. Let rise in the oven (switched off, light on) for about 60 minutes or until doubled.
  2. Preheat the oven to 220-250°C (I prefer high temperature) and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  3. For a crunchy focaccia remove from the oven and transfer on a grid to cool down. In the meantime brush with additional olive oil if you like!

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Rosemary Rolls and Rosemary Grissini

Rosemary Rolls and Rosemary Grissini

Refreshing the sourdough starter is necessary to keep it strong and alive.

These preparation have been creating to refresh my sourdough starter and avoid making “too much” bread when I don’t need it. It’s a simple way to refresh without spoiling material/food.

Last time I needed to refresh I decided to prepare grissini with rosemary taste and as the first batch was in the oven I decided to convert the second part into bread rolls.

For grissini I decided to prepare a dough with 60% (this means 60% water to flour weight) hydration as more water would make the dough to sticky.

For breads, especially if prepared in the Dutch oven as for no knead bread I prefer the 70% formula.

I started with the 100 g of starter, corresponding to the amount of 50 g water + 50 g (=ml) water.

Adding 100 g water and 200 g flour we get a total amount of 150 g water to 250 g flour; this is equal 60 % hydration (calculation: 150 / 250 *100)

From starter Addition Total
water 50 130 180
flour 50 250 300
Hydration % 100 60


For a softer preparation we can add 120 ml water + 200 g flour.

From starter Addition Total
water 50 125 175
flour 50 200 250
Hydration % 100 70


Rosemary Rolls and Rosemary Grissini

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Autor: Rosemary Rolls and Rosemary Grissini

You need

  • 100 g sourdough starter, 100% hydration (If you don’t have it: replace with 50 g flour + 50 ml water and 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast)
  • 250 g flour (I added 180 g white plain flour + 70 g whole meal flour)
  • 130 ml luke warm water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Flour to dust


  1. Combine sourdough starter with all the other ingredients except the flour to dust,
  2. Knead well, cover and let rest to rise until doubled in a warm place. Depending on the activity of the yeast this can take 2 hours to 6 hours.
  3. Divide the dough into two portions.
  4. Roll out the first portion on a well-floured surface to 2-3 mm thick. Cut with the pizza cutter into strips and place on a baking tray. Let rest about 30 minutes before baking.
  5. In the meanwhile cut the second half into 4 log portion for the bread rolls. Dust with flour, twist and place on a baking tray to rise.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
  7. Bake the grissini until they change the color, remove from the oven and place on a grid to cool down and finish to dry.
  8. Preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F when you see that the bread rolls are rising.
  9. Bake the rolls until the borders turn brown.

Roasted Pumpkin with Rosemary

Roasted Pumpkin with Rosemary

This rustic, minimalistic but delicious recipe can be used as side dish or as base for a pumpkin soup.

We were used to prepare this in a big skillet or directly under the broiler, but this week we enjoyed it form the wooden fire; this simply placing the fire safe bowl into the wooden oven while the temperature reached almost 400°C. This was fast done, I only had to turn the mold once.

You need:

  • Fresh pumpkin, peeled and cubed
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Garlic, optional
  • Olive oil just to toss
  • Really little salt just before serving


  1. Preheat oven at max temperature. I possible heat and boiler combined.
  2. Toss pumpkin with rosemary, garlic and oil.
  3. Place them in a mold if possible only in one layer.
  4. Place them in a preheated oven (at max temperature) about 10 cm under the broiler.
  5. Broil until upper surface begins to turn brown.
  6. Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.

Baked Lamb and Potatoes with Yogurt

Baked Lamb and Potatoes With Yogurt   4

We had this dish many years ago in a small restaurant in Heraklion (Crete, Greece).

There are many variation of it. The first one, a very delicious one, we prepared ourselves was the combination of lamb and kritaraki (“orzo” pasta). We prepared it in this way many times in the kitchen oven.

The next big improving step was preparing in the wooden oven.

In the meantime I saw many variations of this recipe: with rabbit, with rice, with artichokes or with potatoes.

Today’s choice will be potatoes and I will prepare it in the pizza-oven. I will give you the instructions to prepare it in the kitchen oven as well.

I will start using a big cast iron pot and I will finish it using smaller clay molds.

This was inspired by Tante Kiki

You need:

For the roast:

  • 1 – 1 1/2 kg lamb, sliced or in big pieces (shoulder or leg)
  • 1/2 lemon, juice only
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 – 1 1/2  kg potatoes, peeled sliced
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup of water (more if necessary)

For the topping:

  • 1 kg Balkan style yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 rosemary springs


  1. Marinate the meat in lemon juice, oregano and the two first 2 tablespoons olive oil for about 2 hours or overnight. This step is not necessary but will improve the taste.
  2. Preheat the oven at 180°C/350°F.
  3. In a fireproof mold with lid place the meat on the bottom.
  4. Toss potatoes with salt and olive oil and place over the meat. Add water
  5. Bake in the oven at 180°C/350°F for 2 hours. From time to time check if more water is necessary; don’t let dry completely the juice!
  6. In a bowl combine the ingredients for the topping (yogurt, eggs, mustard powder, salt and pepper).
  7. At this point you can top the meat with potatoes with the yogurt mix and place the rosemary in it. If you have single portions mold you can arrange meat, potatoes, yogurt sauce and rosemary spring in them.
  8. Bake until yogurt is set and lightly golden. This takes about 20 minutes.

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Rosemary Oven Baked Potatoes

Rosemary Oven Baked PotatoesThis is our favorite way to prepare baked potatoes with rosemary.

We love this recipe for many reasons: less oil, more crispy, no oil smell in the house, turnover is not necessary and finally it looks better.

Paprika is optional; you can also use garlic powder. A Mexican spices mix works perfectly with them!

You need

  • 2 pounds potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary, fresh minced or1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons paprika and/or garlic powder, optional
  • 1 teaspoon salt ( or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


1.       Preheat the oven at 425°F/220°C.
2.       Slice the potatoes. As thinner as quicker will be done. They may be 1/4-1/6 inch thick.
3.       Combine all the ingredients in a big bowl until well coated. I use my hands.
4.       Prepare your baking mold with foil and line the potatoes overlapping them only partially. This time I made rosettes-
5.       Bake 20-45 minutes at 425°F/220°C C or until golden roasted. Remember the cooking time depends form the thickness.
6.       Serve immediately

Herbs under the rain


It’s raining today; the garden is wet and perhaps not the best time to take pictures of small flowers.

The drops seem to be huge on them, heavy and sticky.

Yesterday I took some picture as it was sunny; however I decided to go out again to take picture of the details.

All the flowers published here look very similar. Why?

All these flowers are the flowers of the herbs I found today in the garden and all of them belong to the big family of the Lamiaceae also know in English as “mint family”-.

This is a large family of aromatic herbs and shrubs having flowers resembling the lips of a mouth and four-lobed ovaries yielding four one-seeded nutlets.

Her some examples:

Mints, Thyme, Basils, Sages, Oregano, Marjoram, Savory, Rosemary, Lavender, Self Heal, Lemon
Balm, Betony, Motherwort, Woundwort, Perilla, Catnip, Calamint, Cat’s Whiskers, Bergamot, Mother Of Herbs, Bugle, Alehoof, Pennyroyal, Hyssop, Patchouli, White Horehound,, Hottentot, Germander, Plectranthus / Coleus

The staminal lever mechanism in Salvia L. (Lamiaceae):

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