Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bitter Double Chocolate Tart (low in calories)

Another delicious, guilt free dessert!  It was made with simple ingredients that give maximum taste... 

You can keep it in the fridge for up to one week! 

Bitter Double Chocolate Tart (low in calories)
Serves 12

Crust Ingredients
13 Digestive Biscuits (light)
1/3 cup organic oatmeal
1/3 cup organic oats
2 tbsp vegetable butter (melted)
2 tbsp warm water

Filling Ingredients
2¼ cups light milk (1.5% fat)
1 cup water
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup mountain honey
1 tsp pure vanilla essence
10gr gelatin (1 sachet)
1/3 cup cold water
1/3 cup hot water
60gr dark chocolate (74% cocoa)
½ tsp ground cinnamon

Crust Preparation Method
1) Process biscuits until fine. Add oatmeal, oats, melted butter and water. Process until combined.
2) Press mixture over base of a 26cm round tart pan, and bake for 15’ minutes at 170ºC. Allow to cool.

Filling Preparation Method

1) Sprinkle gelatin over the cold water and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Then add the hot water and allow gelatin to fully dissolve. 
2) In a deep saucepan mix the milk, water, cocoa powder, cornstarch and honey. Turn the heat on to medium and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the dissolved gelatin.

3) Remove from the heat. Add the chocolate and stir until melted. Stir in the vanilla and ground cinnamon. Pour the mixture into the tart crust and let set overnight in the refrigerator.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Bushmills Whiskey Birthday Cake

Bushmills Whiskey Cake made with fondant, for my cousin Marios who celebrated his birthday on the 31st of December 2011!! 

The base was a chocolate fudge cake, covered with bitter double chocolate cream.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

How To Make Chocolate Lollipops

The chocolate lollipop idea came from Ina's show Barefoot Contessa.  Ina used white chocolate, dry fruits and raw nuts to make her lollipops, but since the ones you see in the photo were made for kids I used milk chocolate and smarties.
Makes approximately 25 Chocolate Lollipops.
Melt 800gr of milk chocolate in the microwave. Stir every 30 seconds until chocolate has melted completely. With the help of a deep spoon poor chocolate in rounds on a non stick sheet. Instead of a non stick sheet I used a silicone sheet, something that I do not recommend since I broke a few lollipops when I tried to remove them. 

Before the chocolate has set, place the lollipop sticks in the middle of each chocolate round, giving the stick a little twist. In this way the stick will be covered with chocolate.

Sprinkle the tops of the lollipops evenly with the smarties. Set aside to harden, overnight.  Remove from the sheet and store in a dry place.

Kids will be thrilled with the idea of a chocolate lollipop. 
Take my word for it :-)!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Why do diets fail?

- Why do the biggest percentage of people who are on diets fail to reach their target weight?
- Why do people who reach their target weight, put it all back on again?
- Why do overweight people visit so many dietitians and read so many diet books, but are still overweight?

People intending to embark on a diet should get answers to all the above questions before they enter any dietary programs.

After many diet attempts, and with the assistance of several dietitians, and many hours of reading, I have concluded that our efforts for losing weight is only 15% of the whole process. The other 85% is to educate ones self in the art of cooking, observing and handling food. Losing weight is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT and very time consuming, not to mention dedication, will power and total commitment. Imagine how difficult the rest must be…

Perhaps dietitians should spend more time explaining the importance of how to handle food and less on weight loss. Losing weight heals the cause but not the problem.

In the long run, diets that include only simple foods, with dull flavors, drive people to binge eating and in cases that the patient/client has a lot of weight to lose, this tactic will result in only half the weight loss target.

When one has reached their target weight, it is thought this is the final achievement, but it is not, it’s only the beginning. Most people I know who have been on diets tend to regain all the weight they have lost over a short period of time. I, myself have experienced this over the past 30 years.

What we actually need is a dietary program that includes smart, thoughtful cooking recipes which will offer us the pleasure, without the guilt of the extra calories. Eating raw, boiled or grilled food regularly with a salad as a side dish, is frustrating!! I discovered that there are recipes, low in calories, which offer satisfaction in preparing them and more importantly in eating them. I discovered that the reason I failed with my diets all these years was the fact that I was feeling guilty to eat foods which were delicious in taste. Now, I know that I can have delicious dishes with fewer calories, and still lose weight. Now I know that I can succeed. 

Feeling so stressed about my continual failures, in August 2011, I decided to put my new strategy to the test … I am now almost mid-way through achieving my goal and things are getting seriously difficult. The difference is that now things look more promising,  because this dietitian is more open to new suggestions.

Success for me is not only to lose the excess weight but to educate myself in how to handle food; how to cook it, and how to eat it – guilt free.
If I manage to think healthily I will stay healthy, and I have found this to be a fact!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Knights' Castle Birthday Cake

This birthday Cake was made for a 6 year old boy called Andreas. 
Happy Birthday Andrea!!
The idea came from Debbie Browns' Book "50 Easy Party Cakes", which I find a very good source for birthday cake ideas.  The design was a bit different than mine. For a birthday cake in this size I think my version looks better...! The main castle had a diameter of 21cm x 21cm and the height was about 16cm.
My kids were very excited with this birthday cake, so I think I will make something similar for my boys when they will have their birthday party.
The cake was made with butter, cacao, powder sugar, eggs, biscuits, vanilla essence and brandy.  The castle towers were made with round cardboard covered with fondant.
The flag was made with gumpaste.
This is a rear view of the cake.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake Cartoon Hat Cake

This Birthday Cake was made for a special girl called Olia.  She celebrated her 5th birthday on the 7th of January 2012.  Great party Olia!!  Happy Birthday!!

The bottom cake was a triple chocolate fudge cake. The hat was a cookie cake. Both were covered with fondant.
 The strawberries were painted with edible Wilton colours.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Vegetable Tart

My dietitian is very fond of simple food, something which I find extremely boring. I love creating recipes and I adore  color in my plate, so  I am trying to find a way to please us both. Every time I tell him that I will cook something my way, his face changes. The  look I see in him  is a mixture of horror and disappointment, but  immediately I balance the situation  by saying something  funny… :-).

I have to admit that if I followed exactly his instructions  I would have  lost much more weight than I did up to now, but at least I lost  weight my way as well :-).

What is my way? Well nowadays, the answer is: creating colorful but lower in calories dishes and desserts. Kitchen is my play  ground and I  think I will never grow up :-)!!!

The reason I created the following recipe was my need of creating something which would look like a tart or a pizza.

I cheated by adding cheese (not on my diet menu for this meal), but I truly believe that the amount I used was fine for a serving (20gr per serving).
Vegetable Tart
Serves 6

Base Ingredients
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup organic oats
1 tbsp Greek extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp salt
1 cup of warm water

Filling Ingredients
3 medium zucchini
2 medium eggplants
6 medium mushrooms
2 medium tomatoes
120gr light cheddar cheese (shredded)
2 tbsp Greek extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp sweet paprika
⅛ tsp coriander powder
½ tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp fresh cilantro (finely cut)

Base Preparation Method
1) Mix flour, oats and salt. Incorporate olive oil and finally add the water.
2) Form an elastic dough and roll it out into ½ cm thick.
3) Place the dough in a 26cm round tart pan and cook in a preheated oven, for 15 minutes at 200ºC.

Filling Preparation Method
1) Cut all vegetables in thin slices.
2) Mix olive oil with salt, pepper, paprika and coriander powder. Brush sliced zucchini, mushrooms and eggplants with this mixture and cook in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes at 200ºC.

When both base and filling are ready assemble tart. Use cheese in between each layer and make sure there is tomato in the middle and on top of the tart.

Sprinkle the dried thyme on top of the tart and cook for another 10 minutes at 200ºC.

Add fresh cilantro before you serve.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Winter Cake Selection

This is my Winter Cake Selection.  I love snowmen and bears, so as you can see I decorated a lot of cakes with these two elements. 

 Most of them were fruit cakes with an addition of almonds, walnuts and raisins.

I used marzipan and rolled fondant to cover all cakes.

Coconut flakes and a touch of icing sugar were added to create the snow effect.

This one was a brownie mixture with walnuts.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year 2012!!!
For those who are wondering where is the recipe, this was a common orange cake with a coin in it. The person who finds the coin is considered to be the lucky person of the year!!!

Dream of Cakes


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