Sunday, 25 November 2012

Banana and Dark Chocolate Muffins

Apples and cinnamon go well together. Banana and chocolate make even a tastier combination! :-)  So, since I had two very ripe bananas in the kitchen, I decided to mix them with dark chocolate, turn them into muffins and enjoy them as a great dessert. They are great when served warm, but just as yummy with coffee the next morning :-)

Makes 12 muffins


- 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
- 100g dark chocolate chips (crushed baking chocolate works too)
- 150g plain flour
- 1 package (1tbs) of baking powder (baking soda works too)
- 6tbs vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- 6tbs sugar
- a pinch of salt


- Preheat your oven to 200 C degrees and line a muffin tray with liners.
- Add the oil, sugar and egg to the bananas and give it a good mix.
- Add the flour, baking powder, salt and most of the chocolate chips and mix until well combined, but don't over mix. Keep the rest of the chips to sprinkle on top of the muffins.
- Place the mixture in the muffin liners, equally dividing it. Sprinkle the remainder of the chocolate chips on top.
- Bake for 15min, then turn the oven off and leave the muffins in for additional 2-3min. Enjoy!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Rigatoni With Butternut Squash and Pancetta

I had a butternut squash in the fridge and wanted to try something with it. So, I came across a great recipe that I'd like to share. It's amazingly delicious :)
The recipe is by Laura Vitale and here is a link to get all the ingredients and instructions:


Thursday, 15 November 2012

Pillow Soft Bread Rolls

I was getting ready for a dinner party when I figured regular bread from the bakery was getting a little boring. So I decided to make some bread rolls, and I all I can say is: this was such a great idea!! Soft, buttery and delicious... They also make great sandwiches, so you really can't go wrong with this recipe :-)

Makes 12 rolls


- 500g flour
- 1 package yeast (2 1/4tbs)
- 2tbs sugar
- 2tsp salt
- 250g milk
- 3tbs butter, at room temperature
- 1 egg
- 1tbs melted butter, keep it till the end for glazing


- Melt the butter and milk together until warm, don't boil them. Put the mix in a big bowl, add the yeast and let it stand for 5min.
- To this mixture add flour, sugar, salt, egg and mix together until it becomes a dough.
- Place the dough on a generously floured surface, knead for 1 minute, form it in a big ball and place it in a lightly greased bowl. Cover it tightly and let it sit somewhere warm for an hour to double in size.
- Place it on a floured surface again, spread it a little with your hands and cut it into 12 pieces.
- Shape them into rolls and place them on a greased baking sheet. Make sure you leave some space between them, so they can rise.
- Cover them with a towel and let them stand for another hour to double in size.
- Preheat your oven to 190 C degrees. Bake the rolls for about 20min or until golden brown.
- Glaze them with the melted butter and enjoy!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Stuffed Sour Cabbage Meat Rolls (Sarma)

Since winter is nearly here, I had the make the first Sarma. This is a MUST when it comes to a typical Macedonian meal on the Christmas table. There is something so comforting and enjoyable about eating Sarma. The best thing is, the longer it sits, the better it gets. So this is how the recipe goes:

Makes 28 rolls:


- 1 onion, chopped
- 1cup leeks, chopped
- 700g mince (pork and beef) meat
- 150g uncooked rice
- 130g smoked bacon, finely chopped
- 30 sour cabbage leaves
- 100g shredded sour cabbage
- 2tsp smoked paprika
- 5-6tbs vegetable oil
- salt and pepper to taste


- In a skillet, add the oil, onion and leeks, turn the heat to medium and let them go until soft.
- Add the mince meat and fry until it's is cooked all the way.
- When the meat is done, take the skillet off the heat, add the uncooked rice, a little bit of salt, pepper and 1tsp paprika. Give it a good stir.
- In a big casserole dish, add a little bit of oil and place the shredded cabbage on the bottom of the pot and sprinkle a little bit of black pepper and paprika.
- Place a cabbage leaf (if the leaf is is too big, cut it into two pieces, so the roll isn't too thick) on a cutting board, spoon 1tbs of the meat mixture, place a little bit of chopped bacon on top and roll. Squeeze gently so the excess water comes out and place on top of the shredded cabbage. Keep going until all rolls are in the dish. (The following photos help with the rolling process.)

- When you are done rolling the 28 rolls, sprinkle with the leftover bacon.

- Place the last two cabbage leaves on top to cover everything.
- In the same skillet you used for the meat, add about 4 cups of water, 1tsp smoked paprika and bring it to a boil.
- When boiling, put a clean plate on top of the rolls and while holding it with one hand add the water with the other one to cover them. The plate helps for the rolls not to swim to the surface.
- Preheat your oven to 200 C degrees. Cover the casserole dish with a lid or aluminium foil and put it in the oven. After about 40min, lower it to 150 C degrees and let it slow cook for 5-6 hours or overnight.
- When done, the water will be gone and the Sarma will be delicious. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Creamy Fresh Tomato and Garlic Marinara

Being in Macedonia for a couple of weeks and enjoying the fresh tomatoes, I just can't get enough of them :-) But what happens when you don't eat them quickly enough and they start to get soft? You make a delicious pasta sauce! :-) Adding cream cheese to the sauce gives it some extra richness but you can get creative and put anything you like. This is what I did:

Serves 4


- 4 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped into bite-size pieces
- 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 4tbs plain cream cheese (double cream works too)
- 3tbs olive oil
- 1lb uncooked pasta
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3tbs fresh chopped parsley (any fresh herb works)
- grated cheese to sprinkle on top (any cheese works)


- Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, drain and set aside.
- In a sauce pan, drizzle some olive oil, set the heat to medium and add the garlic immediately to infuse with the cold oil. Let it go for 6-8min or until the garlic is golden brown.
- Add the tomatoes, give them a good stir, increase the heat to a medium-high and let them cook for about 10min or until saucy consistency.
- When the tomatoes are done cooking, add the cream cheese. Check for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper.
- Add the fresh parsley and give it a good stir.
- Add the pasta to the sauce, give it a good toss, add grated cheese on top and enjoy!