Wild berries tart

There is nothing I like more for desert during summer then a nice piece of fruit tart. Well there is ice cream as well, but still…baked goods are my weakness. Since wild berries seem to be everywhere I wrapped up a nice tart this past weekend. The good thing is that you do it in less than an hour, and the fruit is fresh since you don’t cook it. What is takes longer is chilling it, but you can savour it at room temperature if you are impatient.

For the sweet pastry I used the same recipe I use all the time. It works wonders and it is very simple: 100 gr. butter, 60 gr. sugar, 220 gr. plain flour, 1 egg. You mix the sugar with the butter and the egg and at the end you add the flower and using you hands you mix the dough. You should mix until the flour is just about incorporated not more. Put the dough in the baking tray and leave it in the fridge to cool for 30 minutes. Then you put it in the oven for another 30 min to 180 degrees C covered with baking paper and some beans/rice on top. After 20 min you can remove the baking paper and leave it for another 10 min to continue baking.

For the crème pâtissière I used this recipe. I put almond milk instead of the usual milk and it came out just as good.

Once the sweet pastry and the crème pâtissière are chilled just put them together and decorate with the fruit of your choice: blueberries, raspberries or any berries for that matter work. Leave to chill and savour it with someone you love. Sweets are meant to be shared if you ask me.

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Baileys Chocolate Cake

 

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What is your favourite cake? I am a fan of chocolate cake and I have been looking for the perfect recipe for a long time. For Christmas I decided to give a try to this recipe and I was not disappointed. It is such a decadent cake. I love it because it has enough moisture to melt in your mouth and you can feel the chocolate flavour mixed with the sweetness of the Baileys.

I followed the recipe the first time and I found that the ganache with the Baileys made the overall taste too strong, so the second time, I did not put Baileys in the ganache. I replaced it with cream and it was just perfect.

I hope you decide to try the recipe and you like it. This is going to be my go to chocolate cake. No more unsatisfied chocolate cake cravings from now on. I am drooling …

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xox, Andreea.

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Food: Bruschetta Bar

 

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Who doesn’t love delicious finger food? How about a platter filled with the best bruschetta to entertain your friends and family next time they stop by your place? We had a small friend’s gathering this weekend at the house and I just went with the Bruschetta bar or tapas as my friends called it. I got the idea from Pinterest and I was very pleased to be able to recreate it. What is great about this type of food, is that it is unfussy, but still looks and tastes incredibly good. The idea was not to buy everything, but also cook some fresh food. You can let you imagination run wild and make all sorts of toppings that go well on bruschettas. Traian adores pesto so every occasion I get, I make some plus a tomato confit that is to die for. Once you make this, you will want a jar in your fridge every day. It is that good!

What I put on the plater:

– homemade Pesto, recipe here.

– homemade Saffron tomato confit, recipe here

– homemade aubergine paste, made by my Mother.

– grilled champignons with parsley leaves and a splash of lemon juice

– grilled garlic bread

– prosciutto crudo, italian salami, smooched salmon, olives, carciofi and rucolla.

– ricotta cheese with tomatoes on top

– mozzarella di buffala

As a second dish, I made honey soy chicken wings and drumsticks following this recipe. They are a great finger food idea and if you follow the recipe, you will get to taste one delicious chicken. (no picture unfortunately since we were to busy licking our fingers :)).

 

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Cooking – Cinnamon Rolls

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I have always been a fan of baked goods, but lately I am just on a roll. There seems to be an occasion to have cake every day: a birthday (a lot of people are born in August, am I right?!) or a craving that needs to be satisfied ( the internet does not help with cravings since I seem to always find pictures of food and recipes that make me drool).

I wanted to make cinnamon rolls for a while now, but I could never decide on a recipe. So when I found this one, Pecan Cinnamon Rolls with Mascarpone Icing on Perpetually Chic , I knew I had to get my baking tray out. I am happy with the result, they were similar to the ones you buy in Cinnabon, but only homemade and maybe not that sweet (more than perfect in my opinion). I loved that the recipe has pecan nuts and buttermilk and the icing was the perfect coat for them. I am definitely going to make them again, especially in the colder months. Enjoy!

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A Light Summer Desert: Berry Tart

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I am a big fan of fruit tarts and when I saw the berries everywhere, I had to bake a desert. I didn’t use a particular recipe, since I wanted to keep things simple and as healthy as possible. For the base,  I always use the same recipe, from a Romanian chef (found here) that is very easy and delicious. And for the filling I used ricotta cheese that is so versatile. You can either make something salty with it or something sweet depending on your mood. This time I went for sweet and to give it an edge I added lemon zest and juice.

The base: 100 gr of butter (room temperature) mixed with 60 gr of sugar and 1 egg.  Add to the mix 220 gr of flour and use your hands to get a dough base. Put this in the tart tray and let it rest in the fridge for 15 minutes. Once set and cold, stick a fork around the base so that it does not rise unevenly and put in the oven for 15 min at 180 degrees Celsius.

The filling: 250 gr of Ricotta cheese mixed with the lemon zest from 1 lemon plus half of the juice, 1 spoon of vanilla sugar and 1 egg. If you like it to be more sweet you can add more sugar but I wanted to keep it fresh so for my taste it was enough. I had also 500 gr of  berries (250 gr blueberries mixed with 250 gr raspberries). I added half of the mix of berries to the cheese filling. The rest you keep them for the end.

Once the base was out of the oven (the first 15 minutes) I put the cheese filling on top and I put the hole thing in the oven for another 35 minutes.

In the end once the tart was done and out of the oven I added the rest of the berries (250 gr) on top. You serve it cold (from the fridge) and if you think it is not sweet enough you can add a scoop of ice cream on top.

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Enjoy!

xo, Andreea!

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Chocolate chip cookies

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Can you believe it’s already May?! We have a day off today and because the weather is so terrible baking cookies sounds like an excellent idea. I found this recipe and it said that they are the best chocolate chip cookies…ever. I was sold, and last week I tried it. Indeed the cookies were a success, they were crispy on the outside and a bit soft on the inside. And the secret, with letting the dough sit for 36 hours in the fridge before baking it, is very true. I baked the first batch after 24 hours and they were good, but when I baked the rest after 36 hours, they were even better. I added besides chocolate chips, salty macadamia nuts and some left dried cranberries I had in a bag.  Total success…So arm yourself with patience and give them a try. You won’t be disappointed, I promise.

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Lindt event

This week we had a work event with one of our partners, none other then Lindt, the famous Swiss chocolatier. If by some sort of misfortune you din not try Lindt chocolate yet, then you absolutely must do it. It is one of the finest and most delicious chocolates. The Lindt factory is not open for the public anymore, so this made the whole thing even more special. We had the chance to do our own truffles and decorate pralines that we got to wrap and take home, because chocolate is better when shared with the loved ones. (My husband appreciated it so much). We also dressed up as a maitre chocolatier. Honestly, this is a profession that has a certain noblesse and finesse to it, that you can instantly feel when you get to wear the all white costume. Sadly I only took pictures with my phone so please pardon the quality.

Oh, and if you’d like to try something similar, Lindt is now organising events that consist of making your own chocolate creations. You find all the information you need on the Lindt website.

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My pralines – writing with chocolate is so much fun

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Lindt kitchen

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The goodies, wrapped and sealed, ready to be taken home

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Yes, I did lick the spoon.

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Champagne filling for the truffles

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Getting my hands dirty to roll the truffles

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Blueberry crumb muffins

There is no better way to welcome the cold weather then by getting some baking done. I just love the smell of homemade goodies in the apartment. The other day I baked a nice batch of blueberry muffins. They were delicious especially since I discovered that by sprinkling streusel on top you just give homemade muffins and extra kick. I followed this recipe (seen also here) that I improved by using whole grain flour and reducing the quantity of sugar (all recipes tend to be very sweet for our taste and by reducing the sugar with 100g or sometimes even more, I get the sweetness right as we like it). For the cinnemon streusel I used this recipe. Take a look at the result.

 

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Styling cupcakes

Cupcakes are like diamonds, they will never go out of style. Ok, maybe it is not the most intelligent thing I could write, but these amazing miniature cakes make me so happy. They are definitely the most stylish type of cake there is out there. So yes, I love cupcakes, and I recently took a cupcake decorating class. Sounds very sophisticated, right?! It was a nice experience that I had with Denise’s Bakery and two of my baking passionate and talented friends. We learned a few tips on how to make the best cupcakes and also we got to play with fondant while making the prettiest decorations. I tried the recipe from the class this weekend but since I like my cupcakes simple I did not go all the way with the decorations. I am not a big fan of fondant, I think it is too sweet and adding it on top of a homemade cupcake is just a waste.

Here are some picture from the class. I am sorry for the quality of the pictures but I only had my phone with me.

Pretty roses made from fondant

My flower cupcake

And now the cupcakes I made yesterday, vanilla cupcakes with a sprinkle of chocolate on top.

The recipe from the class, that I followed:

Ingredients:

120 g flour
1 1/2 baking powder
40 gr butter (room temperature)
120 ml milk
1 egg
140 gr sugar

Mix the flour and the baking powder and then add the butter, and continue mixing for about 10 minutes on low speed.
Mix the milk, with the egg and the sugar and add them to the flower mix. Mix this for another 10 minutes.

Put the final mixture in the cupcake tray and then in the oven to 170 degrees for about 17 minutes. After which you can leave the oven door open for 2 minutes and continue baking them like this. You can also put a wet towel on the oven door and keep it open for another 7 minutes. This way the cupcakes will all have the same flat shape making it easy to decorate them.

Frosting:

150 ml whipped cream
50 gr icing sugar
250 gr Mascarpone cheese
50gr cream cheese (Philadelphia is the best one)
vanilla extract

Mix the whip cream and the sugar. Then add the cream cheese. I also added a bit of lemon zest and 1 drop of lemon juice just to give it a twist.

If you want to try other cupcake recipes, you find quite a few on my friend Emilia’s blog: In love with cupcakes.

I also recommend 180 degrees baking, Dewi’s blog that covers all sorts of cooking recipes, not only cupcakes. She does some amazing things with fondant.

Enjoy cooking!

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Summary of the past week

I have some good news: we got the most gorgeous apartment and I couldn’t be more happy about it. It is a 2 bedrooms roof top, with a great terrace, nice kitchen and we just love it. Of course all we do now is talk about it and plan new purchases that will make it our new home. But until the great moving day (in 2 weeks) let me show you our last week in pictures.

We celebrated Valentines day all week, first we had a nice evening at home with flowers and chocolates from Traian and then, on Thursday we went for sushi …so delicious. Last night was BBQ at the house, we celebrated our friend’s birthday.


Friday, my day off, I went for some shopping. It is time to start getting ready for spring and I got shoes from Zara, skirt and accessories from H&M, all in bright colors. Saturday it was sunny, the perfect weather for my new blue skirt.


I finally made cupcakes on Friday. I wanted so bad a cupcake and I did this recipe. Thanks Linda, they were wonderful.

Have a great week, bright and sunny!

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