Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Caramel Cream with Fresh Fruits (Karamelle)

Yesterday I had a couple of friends coming over for a visit and I wanted to prepare something quick but delicious at the same time. Since my friends, Terry and John, like fruits a lot, I decided to use bananas and pears in the recipe.

A different version of this recipe could be a traditional pudding, baked in the oven. I find the traditional version equally easy, but not as quick to make as the one I am giving you here.

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Caramel Cream with Fresh Fruits

Ingredients
1 packet of Morfat Caramel Cream
1 ready made packet of Caramel Sauce
24 Savoiardi biscuits
100gr raw almond nuts (crashed)
1 big banana (cut into thin slices)
1 pear (cut into thin slices)
1 rectangular deep pan (see photo)

Preparation Instruction
1) Prepare the Caramel Cream according to the instructions written on the package; allow to cool.
2) Pour the caramel sauce in the pan. Make sure that the bottom of the pan is well covered with the caramel.
3) Lay banana slices on top of the sauce; sprinkle 2 spoons of almonds on top of the banana layer.
4) Form a biscuit layer on top of those; then lay the pear slices on top of the biscuits.
5) Sprinkle 2 spoons of almonds; then form another biscuit layer.
6) Repeat stage (5) for another time. (Three biscuit layers)
7) Finally pour the Caramel Cream on top of the biscuits and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. It is better to serve the next day.



Saturday, May 28, 2011

Marbled Brownies and Clay Work

These marbled brownies are dedicated to a dearest friend of mine, Oria Petropoullou, who is the best artist I ever met. She turns clay into fantastic art.

The hand with the butterfly you can see in the photo is a small example of her fantastic work.

I am very proud for her and I will never stop telling her how talented she is. I am sure that if she lived in New York or London she would be very famous by now.

Here is her official website, “Oria Creations”: http://www.oriap.com  
Please take a look. I am sure you will love her work too!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Volkswagen - Boys Birthday Cake

This cake was baked and decorated in only three or four hours. Actually I “forced” the whole process, and I did not follow the basic rules for cake decoration… Sorry!!

One of our friends had his birthday so his wife, Katerina, and I decided to surprise him with a cake.

I know that this cake is for a little boy and actually this was not what I had in mind, but at the last minute I decided to tease him a bit…

Haris became 39 this year and he is my husband’s best friend. He has a very good sense of humor and he looked pleased with the surprise.

Well, to be honest, one of the reasons I decided to make this cake for him was that my kids where around during the whole process, so I wanted to keep them happy as well… I am sure that if you have a kid you know what I mean…

The bottom line is that we are all kids, aren’t we???

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Koupes (Wheat bulgur filled with ground pork meat)

Koupes can be a starter, a main dish or a side dish. When I was little koupes was a street food, but nowadays koupes are usually a treat we offer to our guests in birthday or cocktail parties.

In my family koupes are considered a number one finger food so I decided that it was time I learn how to make them.

My first attempt was quit a success considering the fact that I do not have a machine to form the dough, which would make my attempt much easier.

Any way, if you ever find yourselves in Cyprus ask for koupes. You will never forget this flavor…
This recipe is dedicated to my friend Ivy and the “Creative Concoctions #4”, an event which is held in Kopiaste.. to Greek Hospitality.

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Below you can find all relevant information on how to prepare this super treat!

Koupes (Wheat bulgur filled with ground pork meat)


Dough Ingredients
4 cups of fine bulgur
4 cups of water
4 tablespoons of Greek extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons of all purpose flour
Salt, pepper and cinnamon (to taste)
1 small onion (chopped)

Filling Ingredients
600gr ground pork
4 cups onions (finely chopped)
¾ cup Greek extra virgin olive oil
2 cups parsley (finely chopped)
Salt, pepper and cinnamon (to taste)
Oil for frying (Good quality)

Preparation Method
You can find koupes preparation details to Ivy’s blog “Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water”. She has a slightly different recipe than mine but the preparation method is the same.

I will only give you the details about the dough preparation.
1) Boil the water with the olive oil and the chopped onions.
2) Add the bulgur, salt, pepper and cinnamon to taste. Mix well.
3) Allow to cool completely and refrigerate over night.
4) The next day add the flour and incorporate well. If the mixture is too stiff add a bit of water. The dough should be sticky.

I used the back side of a wooden spoon in order to make the hole, in the dough, in which I put the filling. You can do it with your finger as Ivy suggests, or by using a machine, which by the way is the easiest method.



I hope you manage to succeed in making koupes because I am sure you, your family and friends will be thrilled with the result.
Good luck…!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Easy Halloumi Cheese Pie

Such recipes usually are created when I have friends coming over with a short notice. This pie was created a few months ago, once again with ingredients I had at home.

To be honest I expected a normal result but the pie ended to be very tasty. According to my taste, the puff pastry can be easily omitted.

In a previous post I gave step by step instructions on how you can make your own halloumi cheese, but nowadays I am sure you can find halloumi cheese in all supermarkets.

This recipe was created especially for the “Creative Concoctions #4”, an event which is held in Kopiaste.. to Greek Hospitality.

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Some ingredients of the Halloumi Pie: Puff pastry, halloumi cheese, yogurt, semolina and eggs.

In a rectangular pie baking pan, lay puff pastry to cover the bottom and the sides of the baking pan.

In a bowl mix together the halloumi cheese, the eggs, the olive oil and the yogurt; add semolina, baking powder and peppermint.

 Pour the halloumi mixture on top of the puff pastry.

 Bake for about 40 – 45 minutes or until the top of the pie becomes golden brown.

Serve hot or cold.

Below you can find the full recipe. Enjoy!!!

Easy Halloumi Cheese Pie

Ingredients
425gr puff pastry (1 pastry phyllo)
450gr halloumi cheese (grated)
2 large eggs (beaten)
1 cup strained Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons fine semolina
4 tablespoons chopped fresh or dried peppermint
2 teaspoons baking powder

Preparation Method
1) Preheat the oven to 170ºC (350ºF) fan forced.
2) In a rectangular pie baking pan, lay puff pastry to cover the bottom and the sides of the baking pan.
3) In a bowl mix together the halloumi cheese, the eggs, the olive oil and the yogurt; add semolina, baking powder and peppermint.
4) Pour the halloumi mixture on top of the puff pastry.
5) Bake for about 40 – 45 minutes or until the top of the pie becomes golden brown.
6) Serve hot or cold.

A lighter version could be to omit the puff pastry. The baking time should be reduced 35’ minutes.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Me to You Bear Birthday Cake

This birthday cake was made for Paris, a two year old adorable boy, who celebrated his second birthday yesterday.  His mum, my friend Alexia, wanted to decorate his birthday cake with a clay Me to You bear, an idea which was unacceptable by me...(I am sure you understand why...). 
It took me approximately 4 hours to make the second cake layer (with the bear) and a total of 6 hours to make the whole cake. You can see the end result in this photo.

The only "problem" was that the bear was a bit heavy, and the only way it could be placed on a cake was laying down.


 I used rolled fondant for the cake decoration and a double chocolate fudge recipe for the cake. I will only tell you that my secret ingredient to the fudge cake was Greek yogurt. A magic ingredient according to my point of view :-)


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Coconut Cake with Syrup (Cake Indokarido)


My father likes coconut as much as I love chocolate and he is always complaining that I never bake a coconut cake for him. He also likes cakes with syrup so I thought that the next “experiment” would be a coconut cake with syrup.

He was so excited with the result that he even asked for the recipe. He said that he will bake the cake whenever he feels that he wants to eat a coconut cake.

Below you can find my Coconut Cake recipe.

Coconut Cake with Syrup (Cake Indokarido)Ingredients
5 medium eggs
1 cup of sugar
1 vanilla sachet
2 cups of all purpose flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
2 cups of shredded dry coconut
½ cup butter
½ cup fresh milk
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon of orange zest

Syrup Ingredients
1½ cup sugar
1½ cup water
2 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon orange zest
¼ cup orange juice

Syrup Preparation
In a deep pan mix all syrup ingredients together and boil for 15 – 20 minutes; set aside to cool completely.

Preparation Method
1. In a mixer beat the sugar, eggs and vanilla sachet for eight minutes, at high speed, until light and fluffy.
2. Melt the butter and add to it the milk. Then pour in the egg mixture.
3. Sift flour with baking powder; add to the egg mixture (lightly mix with a spatula).
4. Then add the shredder coconut and mix until combine.
5. At the end add the orange juice and the orange zest and combine.
6. Bake in a preheated oven at 170ºF, for 40 minutes.
7. Cut the cake into squares and pour on it the syrup. Allow to cool completely before serving.


Friday, May 6, 2011

How to make Halloumi Cheese (Video Included)

Halloumi cheese has its origin in Cyprus, my country. My grandmother used to make halloumi when I was a little kid and I remember myself watching every little detail of the process. I was so fascinated with the whole halloumi idea that I always wanted to learn and make it at home.

On the 29th of April my grandmother asked me whether I was interested in making halloumi. I gladly accepted and she came to my house with all the necessary equipment to show me all the steps of the preparation.

In the meantime the Royal Wedding was broadcasted on TV so we decided to dedicate this halloumi treat to the newly weds :-).


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Below you will be able to find the full recipe along with a small video showing all steps of the recipe.


How to make Halloumi Cheese (Traditional Cypriot Cheese)

It makes 4 halloumi cheeses

Ingredients
3ltr unpasteurized sheep milk
1/8 teaspoon of rennet (pitia/πυτιά)
Salt
Dried Peppermint
Water at room temperature

Preparation Method
1) Pure the milk in a deep aluminum or stainless steel casserole and set on low heat (mark 1) for 5 minutes, increase the heat to 3 for another 5 minutes, then increase again the heat to 5 for 7 minutes and then again to 7 for another 5 minutes until the milk reaches the temperature of 38.9ºC. During this process keep steering the milk continuously with a wooden spoon.

2) Dissolve rennet with a bit of the warm milk and then add it to the milk. Stir it well with a wooden spoon and set aside for one hour. Then, shake gently the casserole, if you see that the milk in the casserole is still, then it means that you are ready to continue the halloumi procedure. If not, allow some more minutes.

3) Brake the milk curd gently with your hands. Do not over do it. Then push it to the bottom of the casserole until you see a yellowish liquid coming on top of the pan.

4) Take the milk curd and place it in plastic cups with small wholes on them. Place those cups in a deep pan because the liquid which will be released from the milk curdles will be used again during this process. There are special cups were anari cheese is usually kept in. You can use one of those plastic cups. (see video)

5) Allow to rest for 5’ minutes; then take the formed curd mass and with gentle moves turn it the other way down and place it again in the plastic cups and allow to rest of another 10’ minutes. Then, when the milk curd is well shaped into cheese, take it out of the plastic cup and place it on a clean pan for 15’ minutes. Any liquid left must be returned to the first casserole and will be used later on to cook halloumi.

6) In the meantime set the casserole on a medium heat with the liquid that was left from this process and add to it a cup of water. With a spoon remove any curd excesses that come to the surface of the casserole.

7) Press the halloumi cheese gently with your hands, wash them with water and put them one by one back to the pan in the hot liquid, on a medium to high heat (mark 6-7). With a spoon move the cheese gently while cooking in order to prevent any possibility of burning them. The cheese should not stick to the bottom of the casserole.

8) While cooking you will see curd coming to the surface of the casserole. Collect it with a spoon and put it in one of those plastic cups. This curd is what we call “anari cheese”, and you can eat it plain, salty or with sugar and honey. This anari cheese is ideal for people who are on a diet.

9) Halloumi cheese is cooked when the whole piece of the cheese comes to the surface of the casserole. This process takes approximately 10-15 minutes. Remove from the casserole and set aside to a plate or a bigger pan.

10) Season well with salt and dried peppermint. Keep them in a deep Pyrex covered with the liquid that you used to cook them.

11) Always wash halloumi cheese with water before serving, otherwise the cheese will be very salty.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Spiderman Birthday Cake

If you have a boy I am sure you can all understand how important Spiderman is :-).

This was a banana cake that took me almost 3 hours to decorate it. It was not a huge cake but the details gave me a hard time. I think the result was good; actually my “audience” was thrilled with it! I hope you like it too.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Barbie Birthday Cake

This Barbie Birthday Cake was made for my two little daughters who celebrated their birthdays in Januarry 2011. 

Dream of Cakes

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