Happy Mother’s Day!

in Desserts, Inspiration -

Six delicious desserts to celebrate Mother’s Day: from the most chocolatey cake, to strawberries & cream and a hell of a banana bread. Happy Mother’s Day! 

I really am quite oblivious when it comes to all the ‘days’ celebrated throughout the year- apart from two: Mother’s & Father’s Day. I suspect that the reason I pay that much attention to them is stark evidence of how much I miss my parents. And I do, I really do, so very much, in such different ways. My mom is a stunning ball of energy that seems to excel in everything she does, in an understated, quiet and yet powerful manner. Her embrace is literally the safest place in the world for me (still, regardless of everything), her glance is a raffish little pool of the softest blue and her loud, exuberant laugh one of my favourite sounds in the world. She inspires and drives my sister and me crazy- both in equal measures, both seemingly every single day. And every single day, I also miss her and love her. So very much… [READ MORE]

Blueberry, lemon & pine nut cake

in Desserts, Taste -

This blueberry, lemon & pine nut cake is exactly how I love a cake to be: simple, sweet, delicious, maybe a little messy and oh so satisfying. 

Blueberry, lemon & pine nut cake

I don’t remember when exactly, but somewhere along this weekend, it dawned on me how long it’s been since I last made a cake. I’ve spent the better part of the weeks leading up to Easter trying to make tsoureki and failing spectacularly, time after time. I was left with more flat, dense, delicious yet overall miserable looking sweet breads I knew what to do with. I was also left with an overwhelming desire not to make a dessert for quite some time- enough for my bruised pride to heal and all of me to stay away from sugar and butter and all them beautiful things I had been struggling with. [READ MORE]

Lemon zest & cardamom Easter cookies

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These lemon zest & cardamom Easter cookies are basically a slight variation of one of my favourite recipes from My little Expat kitchen.

Lemon zest & cardamom Easter cookies

As I’ve mentioned on Friday (and on past Easter-related posts), my family relishes traditions of any kind; my father especially, is drawn to activities that involves bells and whistles of any kind and preferably, if not necessarily, an audience. He therefore tirelessly participates in Easter traditions which are somewhat grand, aka meat preparation, and literally makes the entire process all about him. It is annoying, amusing and adorable in (almost) equal measures; at the same time, since he really knows what he’s doing, we just let him do it and take lots of photos while he does it, to keep him happy and motivated. What is always missing from the festivities is homemade desserts. Absolutely no baking took place in our house during the Easter holidays, so even though koulourakia (cookies) and tsoureki (a brioche-like sweet bread) were around, tempting the ones fasting, they never were homemade. [READ MORE]

Shortbreads, strawberries & cream

in Desserts, Taste -

I can’t think of a more spring appropriate dessert than this: shortbreads, strawberries & cream! Delicious and lightly sweet, they are to die for! 

Shortbreads, strawberries & cream

I believe that the best way to enjoy strawberries is simply by washing them and devouring them on the spot; to frills, no gimmicks, no extras. And still, here I am adding to them; delicately sweet shortbreads, perfectly crumbly and irresistibly buttery, layered with a light almost cream, made with Greek yogurt, thick mascarpone and maple syrup. It is a good fit though; all these layers and different textures, they are distinct companions to these rose jewels, without however overwhelming them. Stay with me if you please. [READ MORE]

Halva & dark chocolate blondies

in Desserts, Taste -

Deliciously cakey and soft, these halva & dark chocolate blondies are subtly sweet, fragrant and guaranteed to make you crazy about halva. 

Halva & dark chocolate blondies

Halva is one of my all time favourite sweet things; I love its tahini flavour, slight sweetness and irresistibly crumbly texture; that aside, it’s so dear to me mostly because of all the memories each bite brings. As a staple in the 40day Greek Orthodox lent diet, it has always been part of my family’s spring diet- and a much beloved one at that. My family is not religious, but has always reserved an intensely soft spot for traditions- not to mention sweet treats and tahini. [READ MORE]

Cardamom & cocoa nib banana bread with coconut frosting

in Desserts, Taste -

Celebrating International Women’s Day with a cardamom & cocoa nib banana bread with coconut frosting. Sweet, powerful and perfect just the way it is.

Cardamom & cocoa nib banana bread with coconut frosting

Days designated specifically for celebrating anything tend to make cringe; be it grilled cheese or Valentine’s Day, my first instinct is to revolt and mock relentlessly. Yet, I have made my peace with Valentine’s Day, mostly because I love any excuse for a decadent dessert; and I have occasionally hoorayed for other, food related, days. Today, on International Women’s Day, my first instinct is to celebrate. [READ MORE]

Date, hazelnut & coconut fudge

in Desserts, Taste -

Love at first bite: this super healthy, super quick date, hazelnut & coconut fudge is the perfect little treat for your loved ones.

I believe I have already mentioned here my affection for Valentine’s Day celebrations. It’s a silly day and these are silly sentiments, really, but I am holding on to both with a somewhat nostalgic persistence. I am not quite sure what being a ‘romantic’ entails nor can I put in precise words my definition of a romance. Yet, I have the persistent and almost fantastic certainty that my parents share a love which is both one for the books and messily and reassuringly ordinary. I like to think that Mike’s and mine romance shares both these attributes and somehow balances between the overwhelmingly extraordinary and the comforts of a serene routine. [READ MORE]

The prettiest salted caramel sauce

in Desserts, Taste -

The most delicious salted caramel sauce is also the prettiest of them all!

the-prettiest-salted-caramel-sauce

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been officially obsessed with grains and learning all about how cool they are (they’re pretty cool). I’ve been trying new ones, combining them with grilled chicken or smoked fish and every vegetable under the sun and serving them with new herby, creamy dips. While I’ve been in farro, freekeh and wild rice heaven and waking up to slow of fast cooked quinoa breakfast bowls, I’ve also been looking into sugar. [READ MORE]

Caramel & cinnamon dark chocolate brownies

in Desserts, Taste -

caramel-cinnamon-dark-chocolate-brownies

HAPPY NEW YEAR! The first recipe for 2017 has to be a special one, am I right?* We need something exciting and easy on the eyes, but also kinda easy in general too, as it is only the beginning of the year and we need to pace ourselves and get back in the game gently, yet with all our cool intact. Yeah. So brownies, am I right? I don’t think there is an easier, more foolproof dessert out there and I can hardly think of one that gives such deep satisfaction with such limited effort. [READ MORE]

Spicy & lemony linzer cookies

in Desserts, Taste -

Spicy-lemony-linzer-cookies

These past few days, I’ve been longing for some extra Christmas spirit-ness and festiveness and joy and whatnot. The house is fully (yet not full on) decorated, our Christmas jumpers are out and some most of the presents are wrapped; yet there was something missing. I couldn’t put my finger on it for a while and then it hit me: baking! I hadn’t done any festive baking this year. You know what I’m talking about: the kind that’s easy and comforting, that makes the the house smell of cloves and cinnamon and citrus and butter, the kind that leaves you with small delicious bites, to be displayed on the coffee or dining table for everyone to enjoy. [READ MORE]