Wednesday, December 15, 2010

New chocolate from Yogi Tea!

Yogi Tea has started making chocolate! I have tried their Cinnamon Spice and Mexican Spice chocolates and they are so good. Although Cinnamon Spice was tasting more like the traditional Mexican drinking chocolate than the Mexican Spice chocolate it self. But I did enjoy both very much so!

Monday, November 15, 2010


Mole is a traditional Mexican sauce, usually made with different chili peppers and many other spices which all give mole its amazing flavour. I love it.

I have been intimidated to make mole for a very long time.  Mostly because it was a completely new subject to me, I was not familiar with preparing anything like mole. Even a Mexican person will tell you how complicated it is to make it.

Then one day I met someone who actually had made mole from scratch.  And I was told that as long as you can find all different chili peppers (quite difficult when not living in Mexico) it is not hard at all. But that it does take time to make it.
So I gave it a shot. And I am glad I did.

So I am reconfirming, it is not hard at all. It just takes time, you will need about good 3 hours. I usually roast and fry all the ingredients the night before and the next day I puree and cook. 

I use this recipe. The things I have changed from the original recipe are:
  • I roast chili peppers and tortilla in a dry cast iron skillet, no oil.
  • For frying the rest of the ingredients I use grape-seed oil and a bit less than a half a cup.
  • I do not use the extra sugar as Mexican chocolate gives enough sweetness.
  • I cook mole until is quite thick (see picture) because most of it goes to the freezer. The recipe really gives a lot and it works excellent to freeze it. When you are ready to have it just put it in the fridge the night before and then add to some hot chicken stock.

Now back to the chili peppers. In Mexico there is a huge variety of dried chili peppers and when they are dried they get a completely new name. For example chili chipotle is a dried version of a fresh jalapeño chili.

Here you can see all four chili peppers used in the recipe, from the left: mulato, ancho, pasilla and chipotle meco.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Mexican chickpea cake

I love chickpeas, in any form. So when I saw a recipe for a cake with chickpeas I had to make it. And I was not disappointed. With a touch of cinnamon and small amount of sugar (I used only 3 tbsp) it was an exceptional cake. 

The original recipe calls for nata (skin from boiled milk), which I did not have, or evaporated milk. Since I do not use canned evaporated milk (no Nestle allowed in this kitchen) I used cream instead.

Torta de garbanzo
recipe from Cooking in Mexico
2 cups cooked chickpeas (I used one 540 ml can)
3 tbsp cane sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup cream
1 egg
1/2 oz almonds ( I used ground almonds)
1/4 cup raisins
extra cinnamon to sprinkle the cake

Preheat oven to 175 C. Butter a 20 cm round cake dish, line the bottom with parchment paper.

Put all ingredients, except for the raisins, in a blender and blend until smooth. Add raisins and pour into the cake dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake for about 30 minutes. Cool for couple of hours before cutting.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Black Forest cake

Black Forest cake, or as it is called in German Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, is one of my favorite cakes. Chocolate, cherries, cream and kirsch are meant to be together! And the kirsch is a must, without it you cannot really call it a Black Forest cake...and the more the better.

I found a recipe at the website of a company selling traditional clothes from Schwarzwald. They also have a detailed pictures of how the cake is put together. It is a great recipe!

Black Forest cake
recipe from
Trachten Winkler

chocolate-almond cake
200 g butter
200 g sugar
some vanilla
8 eggs
200 g cake flour
200 g ground almonds
150 g grated dark chocolate
zest of one lemon
2 tsp baking powder
100 g powder sugar
200 g butter
1 egg
zest of one lemon and some juice
300 g flour
50 g cherry marmalade
9 tablespoons kirsch (more or less)
8 dl whipping cream
150 g powder sugar
cherry filling
about 500 g fresh cherries or from a jar
about 150 g sugar
about 50 g corn starch
6 dl whipping cream
100 g powder sugar
150 g dark chocolate, grated
16 fresh cherries

If you can, make the chocolate-almond cake a day before because the next day  it is easier to slices it in three layers.
Preheat oven to 180 C. Line a 26 cm round cake pan with parchment paper on the bottom. In a small bowl put the flour, ground almonds, grated chocolate, lemon zest and baking powder.

In another bowl beat the room-temperature butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy and fluffy. Add room-temperature eggs one buy one until well incorporated. Add the flour mixture and with a spatula slowly mix until well blended. If you fell the mixture is too thick add some milk. Pour in the cake pan and bake for about 40 minutes. Check with a cake tester. Let the cake cool completely. If you are baking the day before, after it has cooled down wrap it in the plastic foil and refrigerate.

Now make the short crust. Beat the sugar and butter, add the egg. When fluffy add flour, lemon juice and zest. Roll out, about 2 cm thick and cut a 26 cm circle. Bake at 180 C degrees about 15 minutes.

If you use fresh pitted cherries for the cherry filling put them in a sauce pan together with the sugar. Cook on a low heat until they have softened and released the juice. In a small cup mix the corn starch and some water, add to the cherries and cook shortly until thick. Let cool.

If you use jar cherries, drain them from the juice. Put the juice in a sauce pan, add sugar and let it boil. Mix the corn starch with some cold water and when the cherry juice in boiling add it. Cook shortly until thick. Take of the heat and add cherries. Let cool.

Assembling the cake
Cut the chocolate almond cake in three layers.  Whip the cream and powder sugar for the filling. Spread the cherry marmalade over the short crust.

Top with one almond-chocolate layer and soak it with 3 tablespoons of kirsch. Spread two rings of cherry filling over the layer. Spread three rings of whipped cream around.

Cover with the second layer of almond-chocolate cake. Soak with 3 tablespoons of kirsch. Spread whipped cream. 


Top with the last layer  of almond-chocolate cake, soak with 3 tablespoons of kirsch. Refrigerate the cake for couple of hours or overnight.

Whip the cream and powder sugar for the decoration.Cover the whole cake with whipped cream. Mark the 16 slices with a knife and with a help of pastry bag pipe 16 whipped cream roses. Grate the chocolate and spread on the top and the sides. Top each cream rose with a cherry. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Champurrado is another Mexican drink made with cacao beans that is really amazing. The difference from the Mexican hot chocolate is that ground corn is used to thicken it up (the same corn flour used to make tortillas) and it is not as sweet as the hot chocolate. If you have Mexican chocolate discs you can easily make champurrado by adding some corn flour until you have slightly thick chocolate.

However, last time we were in Mexico I picked up a bag of champurrado mix by a brand Kekua. The ingredients are: corn, sugar, cacao, cinnamon and soy lecithin. You add 3 tbsp of this mix to a cup of milk or water, boil it, froth it, done.

I really like this mix, it is perfectly sweet and thick, they just could have added a bit more of the cinnamon.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lentils with spätzle

Lentils with spätzle is an old traditional Swabian dish (south west Germany) and it has become my favorite lentil recipe. Well, not exactly the traditional dish but rather an updated version of it.

I found the recipe at the website of the organic food company Rapunzel and it is somewhat modernized version of the traditional dish. These lentils have a touch of apple juice, apple balsamic, cloves, cinnamon and there are no sausages on the side like in the traditional version. And it is not only delicious but it is also very easy to make.

Just make sure to use cloudy apple juice without any additives or sugar, i.e. pure unfiltered apple juice. I use this one.

Lentils with spätzle
adapted from Rapunzel
serves 2

400 gr cooked brown lentils
30 gr butter
20 gr flour
3 dl cold water
3 tbsp cloudy apple juice
2 tbsp finely diced celery
2 tbsp finely diced carrot
2 tbsp finely diced potato
1 tbsp apple balsamic ( I use regular apple vinegar)
1 bay leaf
a tiny tiny pinch ground cloves
a tiny tiny pinch ground cassia cinnamon

250g flour ( I use spelt)
3 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
about 1,5 dl water

In a saucepan melt the butter and add the flour. Cook on a medium heat until the flour gets light brown, takes a bit more than 5 minutes. Add about 3 dl cold water and whisk until nicely blended with the roux. Add the apple juice, all diced vegetables and spices. Cook until the vegetables are done.

If you are making spätzle start with the dough. Mix flour, salt and eggs. Add slowly water until you have dough that is not too much runny nor too much thick. When you put the dough in the spatzle maker it should form drops but not drop straight through. Cook the spatzle in plenty of water and drain.

When vegetables are done add apple balsamic (or vinegar) and cooked lentils. Let it boil and serve with spätzle.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Favorite bakery in Munich

Hofpfisterei is my favourite bakery here in Munich. They make amazing breads, sweet breads, danishes, cookies...just name it. All bread is organic sourdough and they have so many variates. My favourite  bread is called '1331', a blend of rye and wheat. But to be honest I love them all.
And their poppy seed streusel and hazelnut-braid, oh my oh my, addiction for ever and ever.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Mexican drinking chocolate

Never return from Mexico without chocolate. I live by this wise rule. These are Mexican drinking chocolates I got when we were on the visit last time. Two are bought in a supermarket, one at the market and one at the airport. I liked three of them, but the fourth one (the largest disk) not so much as it was too sweet.

And I finally bought the traditional chocolate whisk, molinillo. The Mexican hot chocolate has to have a thick froth on the top (has to) and molinillo, together with some elbow grease, makes a wonderful froth...

...and it is a beautiful piece of wooden art as well.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Carob crêpes

I really love the taste of carob. My grandmother makes an amazing carob-apple cake, but here comes a simple carob crêpes recipe. As carob is naturally sweet I only spread a super thin layer of my favorite crepe-filling, and right now that would be dulce de leche.

Carob crêpes
makes 10
1 large egg
pinch of salt
1/2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp carob powder
8 tbsp flour (I use spelt)
3 dl milk

Beat the egg, add salt, sugar and carob powder, mix well. Add flour and very slowly the milk. Heat your well seasoned cast iron pan and make the crêpes.

Saturday, May 01, 2010


Ebersberg is a small town in Bavaria, about 30 kilometers south of Munich, and on the 1st of May the inhabitants of this small town gather to erect the Maypole (Maibaum in German). The tradition goes way back in time and if you are in this part of the world 1st of May it is definitely a great experience.

This maypole was about 30 meters tall and it was erected by some 30 men with a help of a forklift. It took them a bit more than an hour to put the pole on the place and another hour to decorate the pole with shields that represent the crafts and industry of the town.

And everything was observed by huge crowed sitting in the beer garden, chatting about how the work is advancing, enjoying beer, sausages, sauerkraut and cakes (loved it). Long live traditions like this one!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


When you order enchiladas in Mexico you will get tortillas covered in chili sauce, filled with chicken (or beef, or beans...) and topped with some cream and cheese. There are tons of varieties.

But traditionally, enchiladas had no filling. Tortillas were simply dipped in the chili sauce and served. That is how I like enchiladas the best as well. Fillings are good, but a good corn tortilla with a chili sauce is awesome.
It has to be corn tortillas though, they are a perfect match for a simple chili salsa. Wheat tortillas do not have much taste so they are more suitable for filled enchiladas.

I also top enchiladas with goats sour cream and goats fresh cheese. Not very traditional but oh so delicious.

serves 2
8 corn tortillas, warm

500 gr fresh tomatoes
1 small coarsely chopped onion
1 garlic clove
5 serrano chilies (or more)
salt and pepper
fresh chopped coriander

2 tbsp goats sour cream mixed with some milk
2 tbsp goats fresh cheese
some fresh coriander

Put the whole tomatoes, chopped onion, peeled garlic clove, and whole chilies in a sauce pan. Cover with water and cook for about 15 minutes. When done drain the water, take away the tomato skin, clean chilies and chop everything (or use food processor). Add coriander, salt and pepper.

Dip warm tortillas in the chili salsa, fold each tortilla in half, put a spoon of salsa inside and place on a plate. Spoon some more salsa over and top with sour cream, fresh cheese and coriander. Serve immediately.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Barbecue season

It is end of April and this weekend we were lucky enough to have a great weather and the first barbecue of the year.

Pimiento de Padrón is a Spanish type of pepper. It looks like chili and sometimes it is as spicy as chili, but usually it is quite mild in taste. In Spain it is fried in olive oil and served as tapas.

And Cypriot cheese Halloumi is made with goats milk, sheep milk and some mint. It is perfect for grilling.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Vegetable smörgåstårta

Here is my vegetable version of the Swedish sandwich cake. Avocado and coriander give it a delicious touch of Mexico and eggplant the cute round form.

Vegetable smörgåstårta
serves 2
6 slices bread
2 tbsp hummus
4 thick slices of roasted eggplant
1/2 avocado
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper

4 tbsp hummus
1/2 slice roasted eggplant
2 slices avocado
some whole coriander leaves

Put a slice of a roasted eggplant on the bread and cut out . Mash avocado, add lemon juice, coriander, salt and pepper.
Spread 1 tbsp hummus on one slice of the bread, top with a slice of eggplant. Put the second slice of bread on the top.

Spread half of the avocado mixture, top with a with a slice of eggplant (or tomato). Finish with a third slice of bread. Frost with 2 tbsp hummus and decorate with eggplant, avocado and coriander leaves. Make the second sandwich cake.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mexican Oaxaca cheese

Oaxaca cheese is the cheese used when making quesadillas. It is named after Mexican state of Oaxaca which is famous for its very rich and amazing gastronomy.

This semi-soft cheese becomes soft and stringy when melted, it is less salty than your average cheese and it has a very mild flavor. And that is exactly what you need when making quesadillas, a cheese that gives you the texture but does not take over the flavor. Mozzarella is its European cousin.

Make some corn tortillas, fill with cheese and melt in a pan. Open and fill with a spoon of pico de gallo. Too delicious.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Goat cheese gnocchi

Long live goat milk and all awesome things you can make with it!

Goat Cheese Gnocchi

from NY Times

serves 2
225 gr fresh goat cheese
1 large egg
1/4 C flour (or more)
sea salt

2 tbsp butter
1 big onion, thinly sliced

1/3 C vegetable stock
1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
50 gr butter
1 C spinach
50 gr grated parmesan
ground black pepper

Put cheese, egg and pinch of salt in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Add slowly the flour until you have a dough that is not sticky. Do not kneed too much. Put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Melt the butter and add sliced onions. Cook until onion is soft and begins to brown. set aside.

In a large pot bring water to boil, add salt and reduce the heat so that water simmers. On the side put a bowl with ice water. Roll out the gnocchi dough in a 1 cm thick snake. Cut into 2 cm long pieces and with a back of a fork make the typical gnocchi marks. Boil gnocchi for 2-3 minutes and put in the ice water. When they are cool, drain and set aside.

In a large pan put vegetable stock, thyme and gnocchi. When gnocchi are hot add butter and let it melt. Add spinach and parmesan, season and serve. Top with caramelized onions.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Smörgåstårta means "sandwich cake" in Swedish, and it is exactly what its name suggests: a big sandwich that looks like a cake. But delicious and fancy looking sandwich that is.

White sandwich bread is used to create cake layers and it is filled with creamy mayonnaise-based mixture to which shrimps, or smoked salmon, roast-beef, eggs...have been added. And decoration is as important, it just has to look fancy.

It is usually made for big dinner/lunch parties because of its many advantages: it is very easy to make, you can change the size of it in the last minute , it looks fabulous and it is super delicious.
No big parties around here so I decided to make a mini version for a weekend lunch for two. So cute, so delicious.

makes 2 mini individual cakes
6 slices sandwich bread (I used wholewheat bread)
salomon filling
1 tbsp mayonnaise mixed with 1 tbsp crème fraiche
1 big slice smoked salmon, chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill, chopped
shrimp and egg filling
1 tbsp mayonnaise mixed with 1 tbsp crème fraiche
16 small cooked shrimps, chopped
1 boiled egg, chopped
3 tbsp mayonnaise mixed with 2 tbsp crème fraiche
4 small cooked shrimps
1/2 slice smoked salmon cut in two
2 cherry tomatoes, halved
some dill
16 this slices fresh cucumber

Cut off the bread crust. In two small bowls combine all ingredients for each filling. Season wit salt and pepper.
Put one bread slice on a plate, spread half of the smoked salmon and cover with the second bread slice.

Spread evenly half of the shrimp filling.

Put the third bread slice on the top. Make the second mini cake. Cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour or two. Frost the cake with the mayonnaise-crème fraiche mixture, decorate and serve.