Saturday, 24 November 2018


     Getting ready every morning to go to work during winter time is a tough job. It's so cold outside, that all you want to do is snuggle up in your comfy blanket and let the world go on its own. There is only one thought that gets me up and ready to go. My hot brewed coffee with hazelnut and a cup of warm porridge. I am never one to choose instant meals, but last week I came across an instant porridge package and thought I could give it a go in the office. You just add some boiled water and that's it! I was in heaven! While everyone else was eating crackers and boring breakfast, I was having a warm and delicious blueberry yoghurt porridge. 
     Another optional breakfast for those freezing mornings, when getting up seems the worst thing in the world, is a slice of any possible cake accompanied with a glass of warm milk. After all this, don't you just love winter? The past few days we've been having some very bad fog in Zurich, making everything a little spookier, but also a little more charming. 

     In Nurnberg, Germany, there is a very known tradition of ginger cakes and ginger cookies. If you also look up the "history" of gingerbread you can see that it originates from Germany and the first documented gingerbread biscuits were back in the 1700s. It goes without saying that I am a big fan of spices and gingerbread baked goods are something I love to eat during winter. You can find a few of the recipes I've created with ginger, like the Swedish Pepparkakor or the Gingerbread cupcakes  with creamy frosting.

   Last Sunday, I was looking for fallen leaves to make the photoshoot a little more special. So I went outside to look for something to include in my photos and I found some beautiful flowers with red seeds and green leaves. They looked so mesmerising and fit for the purpose I wanted them. The weather was also amazing to take photos, cloudy the whole day, so that meant I took advantage of it and completed two photoshoots.
   The recipe I will share with you in this post is a ginger spiced cake that is made with a special kind of honey and olive oil. Carob honey is something we use in Greece as well as traditional honey. What I like about it is that it's not so sweet as the usual honeys. It is often advised to people with diabetes in order to control glucose levels. It's also thought to help with stomach issues and has overall a rich profile of minerals and vitamins. If you're looking for something less sweet than your usual stuff, then I would highly suggest it. It's also rich in colour, which helped with the recipe of ginger looking cake, instead of molasses. 
     If you don't know what Carob is, maybe checking online would be a good place to start. It's thought to be an alternative to cacao beans. It's rich in flavour, but has a lower content in fat and sugar than regular cacao. Also, it's ofter used as an alternative to coffee, since it resembles the taste a bit of brewed coffee without the caffeine effect. I have only used the Carob honey, which I find to be a good replacement of regular honey.

Ginger Spiced Cake with Carob honey, Apples and Quinces


3 cups flour
1/2 cup olive oil
2 eggs
3/4 cup carob honey
1 cup boiled water
2 teaspoons gingerbread spice (lebkuchen)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
3 drops of rum flavour
1 to 2 apples
2 quinces

to serve: whipped mascarpone cream

How do I make it?
1. In a large bowl, mix together the honey and olive oil for about a minute until smooth. Start adding the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Then, add the drops of rum and the vanilla, mixing once more.
2. In a separate bowl, shift the flour and add the gingerbread spice and baking powder. Transfer in three additions the ingredients into the first bowl of liquid mixture. 
3. Boil the water and start adding it into the bowl, in small additions again. Use a cover in your mixing bowl if you're using a standing mixer, to prevent the hot water spilling all over and on you. 
4. Preheat the oven to 180C and prepare your cake pan with butter and flour. Take the apples and quinces. Clean them and cut them in small slices. Pour the cake batter into the cake pan and tap the pan a little on a flat surface to make the batter even on all sides. Take the slices of apple and insert them with the skin on top. Then take the quinces and put them the same way in the batter. Make sure to put one time apple and one time quince to create a nice patter. Start outer-wards close to the sides of the pan and then move in the middle.
5. Bake your cake for 35 to 40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. You can serve with some icing sugar on top or some whipped cream on top.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018


     Waking up today I only had one memory in mind. My first trip to France. The very first moment everything about my younger self changed. I was only 6 years old, when my parents took me and my brother to Paris to enjoy the city and have fun in the Disneyland park. Little did I know what this trip and the following ones that came would do to my priorities in life. I know everyone talks about quitting their corporate jobs and start travelling the world. I'm not going to say I encourage this, since I don't believe it's even close to reality. But I will say that one may keep their hard earned money to travel the word and let your mind make all the nice memories you will remember during the old times.
    Of course, I can't stop thinking about where to go next. There are so many places I haven't been to, especially outside of Europe and I want to visit them all (if I can). This Christmas, we will enjoy our time with some friends in Copenhagen, the happiest city in the world...or so they say. I can't wait to go there, back to the Scandinavian lands. Back in 2011 I lived in Stockholm for 3 months and I still remember how beautiful the city was and how magnificent the scenery appeared. I believe the same about Copenhagen and I can't wait for the time to come to explore it. Food wise I have some things on my mind I would like to eat and share with you on the blog. So be prepared!

     It's about time I shared with you a recipe I made last week. During fall and winter I tend to make a lot of different cake recipes and if there is one that I love is a classic bundt cake. This recipe, apart from delicious, it was also very exciting because I used two cake forms that I got from a special antique shop here in Zurich. Brockenhaus is a secret paradise if you love antique plates or furniture. On my last trip there I found some English porcelain, the two cake forms from porcelain and ceramic, two ceramic coffee cups and much more. These items probably came from someone who passed away or didn't need them anymore and I'm sure they have some great story to tell. Whatever it is, now it's part of my collection of items that I love!
     Apples and pumpkins are both in season right now, so making the best of these two ingredients should be your goal until the end of autumn. And who doesn't enjoy a slice of cake with their afternoon coffee or with their Sunday morning brunch? With simple ingredients and keeping up my mojo of using olive oil in my cake batters, this one experiment turned out to be so damn good!

     You can serve it without the icing of course, with just a dash of icing sugar or completely plain. That's how delicious it is and moist. But I do urge you to try this simple white chocolate and rum frosting on top. It will take your taste buds completely by surprise.

Apple & Pumpkin Bundt Cake with a White Chocolate & Rum Icing


for the cake
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup oats
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 medium sized apples chopped
1/2 cup raisins
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

for the icing
100gr white chocolate
1/2 cup full fat milk
2 to 3 drops of rum essence
zest of one lemon

How do I make it?
1. Prepare your cake pan, preferably one for bundt cakes, by laying some butter at the bottom. In a bowl, whisk your eggs and olive oil well and then add the pumpkin puree. Whisk again until you have a nice mixture. Pour inside the vanilla, mix one more time and leave aside. 
2. Get a bigger bowl or the bowl of your standing mixer and pour inside the flour, sugar, oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir well all the ingredients and start adding in small doses the liquid mixture. Mix well until everything is smooth. 3. Stop the mixer, if you're using an electric mixer to mix and add inside the apples and raisins. Start stirring with a wooden spatula. Turn your oven to 180C and while you wait, pour the cake batter into the prepared cake form. Bake your cake for 45 to 50 minutes. You will need to check by using a toothpick. If the toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, then your cake is ready.
4. Take your cake out of the oven and let it cool off completely. When you want to make the icing, simply put the chocolate and milk in a bowl and use a microwave to heat up the chocolate. You will get a sort of watery mixture, but don't be scared, we don't want a very thick icing. Add inside the drops of rum and lemon zest and mix well. While the icing is still hot, pour it on top of the cake.

Monday, 15 October 2018


     The first thing that comes to mind when I think about growing up is that I get to have friends that teach me new experiences every day and become a valuable part of my life. Those friends are far more different than the friends I had a decade ago in the sense that now I can see a deeper and more meaningful connection to those individuals I chose to call friends. So, it is not a surprise that yesterday was spent again with lots of friends in top of the Swiss mountains. We hiked for about 3 hours and then enjoyed a very Swiss meal. What a wonderful and full Sunday we had!
    Of course, my mind today was still on yesterday's adventures and memories. But also, I wanted to come home from work so that I can start writing a delicious recipe I created on Saturday. It's been a long time since I baked a loaf cake that can be enjoyed with a warm cup of coffee. I guess there is no better time than autumn to start getting back onto baking treats to be enjoyed with the cold weather. This period there is a pumpkin overload everywhere and recipes with this tasty vegetable must have probably overcrowded your feed. I suggest you add this recipe to your list of things to bake and eat this autumn, cause I promise you will love this cake recipe.

     Overall I find cakes to be interesting when they combine taste with appearance as well. A marble cake is always something that fascinates the eye and gives you a combination of different flavours. Chocolate pairs well with almost everything (even salty food) and I knew that it would be a good match with a pumpkin cake. Once again for this recipe, I used olive oil instead of butter and it's actually the tip I give to everyone when they ask me how to make their cakes soft and last longer. Use olive oil! It's a miracle maker with guarantee. 
     This cake recipe is quite simple depending how much of the ingredients you already have in hand. For some of you perhaps in USA, UK or Australia, you might have pumpkin puree ready in cans. The rest of us have to make the extra effort to actually bake the pumpkin and then puree the flesh. But I advise you not to be disheartened by this. Fresh pumpkin puree will give incredible flavour to your cake and if you have leftover puree you can always make some pumpkin soup.

Pumpkin and Dark Chocolate Marble Cake

ingredients (for 1 medium loaf pan)

1 3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup olive oil
2 eggs
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
85gr dark chocolate
2 tablespoons unsweetened cacao
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
icing sugar for decorating

How do I make it?

1. Prepare a loaf pan with baking sheet or coat with butter and flour. Put in large bowl and mix together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, baking powder and baking soda. If you have powdered vanilla extract mix that in. Otherwise, leave it for the liquid ingredients in the next step.
2. In another bowl, mix together the eggs and the sugar until the eggs have a fluffy and airy texture (for about a 30 seconds). Then, add the olive oil and milk (add the vanilla if you didn't add it in the previous step) and whisk again. Finally, fold inside the pumpkin puree. 
3. Gradually add the flour mixture into your liquid mixture and mix very well so that you don't have any lumps left. Divide the mixture into half by pouring half of the cake batter in a clean bowl and set aside. 
4. Melt the dark chocolate in a microwave and then pour it inside one of the bowls from the previous step. Add inside the cacao powder and mix again. 
5. Take your pan and pour one layer of pumpkin batter. Then on top add a layer of chocolate. Repeat the pumpkin and chocolate layers until you have no more batter left. Use a knife and make swirling motions in the batter. Bake the cake at 180C for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.

Saturday, 6 October 2018


   The last three months of the year might be somewhat intimidating (if you haven't been good with your year's resolution) or a chance to push hard until the end of the year in order to achieve more things in the new year. I am the person who likes to look at life with a positive vibe and try to learn for experiences, people and obstacles that come across. If this year has taught me anything is to be open to new opportunities, communicate with people in a deeper level and accept individuals for who they are.
    Last Sunday we went on an amazing hiking that challenged us physically, but rewarded us with the best view and food afterwards. We truly cherished those moments with special friends and incredible Swiss food. I always find that if your weekends include friends and experiences, then your working week that follows will be much more enjoyable and less of a struggle. And let's not forget, prepare something yummy for the week. Whenever I cook or bake something in the weekends, I take my time to choose the recipe, the ingredients and the time to savour it. During the week we rush to get to our work or responsibilities and don't always get the time to appreciate food as it deserves. Well, last weekend we really appreciated it.

     Apples are a regular staple in our house during fall and winter. I love to crunch on every kind and variety of apples, from shiny red to almost sour green ones. There is not a single kind of apple I won't eat or try to use in recipes. An apple pie sets the mood and lets us know it's autumn season. It's a dessert pie loved by almost everyone, but it's also found in different shapes and styles. The French like to do an open apple tart, while the Americans like to cover the top of their apple pie with more dough and use a much bigger filling compared to a tart. There are also apple pies made like cakes, which in my opinion aren't considered a pie, because they fit more into apple cake.
     Any way you prefer to bake it or eat is delicious. However, there is something intriguing and exciting about the skillet pie. The skillet pan is such a wonderful equipment to own and if you don't already have it in your kitchen I suggest you go get one. It gives all of the recipes a richness you won't be able to get with other pans. And it gets better with age! How much better can you get than this? It feels more like an investment for your future self and all the cooking or baking you will do with it.

     For this recipe, I made the pie dough from scratch. It's like the normal pâte brisée you would normally do, but I added some ground hazelnut inside to make it more nutty and surprising. When my boyfriend had a taste of the pie he was taken aback with the hazelnut taste that the pie left in his taste buds. It takes some extra time and dedication to make it, but be sure that it will make your pie extraordinary. However, if you don't have the time to make it from scratch you can always buy premade dough from a grocery store and it will work just as well. Ideally you can make the dough the night before, because it needs some time in the fridge and then the whole process won't take your whole day.

Skillet Apple Pie with Hazelnut Pâte Brisée

ingredients (for a medium skillet)

for the hazelnut dough

200gr flour
50gr  ground hazelnuts
125gr butter cold and cut into cubes
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
4 to 5 tablespoons cold water

for the pie 

110gr butter
50gr brown sugar + extra 50gr
4-5 medium sized apples
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

extra: caramel sauce or dulce de leche

How do I make it?

the dough
1. In a bowl mix together the flour, ground hazelnuts, salt and sugar with a spoon. Then add the cold butter. Put on gloves or wash your hands before continuing. Then, using your hands try to mix together the cold butter with the flour mixture by pinching the flour with the butter or rubbing the flour with the butter together. The goal is to slightly melt and incorporate the butter with the flour until you get a very course  (rough) texture of flour. 
2. When there are no more butter pieces left in your flour it's time to put it all together with the water. Add three tablespoons of cold water and start mixing with your hands. Once the water is absorbed add another tablespoon and see how your dough feels like. It should be a little moist but not sticky. If it's still dry, add another tablespoon. Remember to not put all the tablespoons in the beginning and then try to save it in the end. You will end up being frustrated. 
3. Form a ball of your dough and wrap it in plastic wrapping and put it in the fridge for at least one hour or better overnight. When you are ready to make your pie, take it out of the fridge about 20 minutes before using it.

for the pie

1. Cut and core all your apples into vertical pieces and put them in a big bowl. Mix inside the lemon juice and make sure all the apples are coated with the juice. Then, pour inside 50gr brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove and mix again. Leave on the side.
2. Take your dough in a clean and floured surface and cut it in two pieces. Roll out each piece, trying to keep it in a round shape. The dough is quite gentle, so don't put a lot of pressure when you're rolling it out. You just need it to take a rounder shape. Leave them on the side until we use them.
3. Preheat your oven to 170 C. Then, take your skillet and put it on medium heat. Melt inside the butter and the other 50gr of brown sugar, just until they all melt together. Leave the mixture to cool a bit for 5 minutes and then carefully place the bottom rolled dough piece on the skillet. Try to make it stick to the sides of the skillet, but again don't apply too much pressure on it and allow it to take the shape of the pan. 
4. Pour inside the apple pieces and spread them evenly around the pan. If you're using a caramel or other sauce, then spread it on top of the apples as well. Cover the top of the pie with the top dough. I cut it into thin lines of dough and created the typical lattice striped decoration. I could tell you or show you photos of how I did it, but I feel that videos are always better. If you would like to do this decoration to your cake, here is a video that shows perfectly how to do it.
5. Once you are done with the top of your pie, put the skillet in the oven and bake the pie for about 1h and 25 minutes or until caramel bubbles start coming out of the pie or the dough is getting golden brown.
6. Let the pie cool for 10 minutes and then serve while it's still hot. You can enjoy as it is or put some skyr on top (like I did). I also put some pumpkin jam we made on top and it was so delicious together!

Sunday, 23 September 2018


     That time of the year is here again. When the weather gets colder and during the weekends all you want to do is stay in bed or cozy up to some hot chocolate and your Netflix subscription. I'm talking about Fall, obviously, and while it's not cold everywhere right now, it sure starts becoming colder here in Zurich. Some people don't like giving up the warmer temperatures of summer for the moody and cloudy mornings of autumn. Personally and as a food photographer, I really like cloudy days for photo sessions and then sunny days when I'm not photoshooting. But also I love all the amazing recipes that we get to do during autumn or winter, like stews, soups, pies and tons of desserts.
     Talking about autumn recipes, today we're going to a pumpkin festival, where more than 150 types of pumpkins will be there for us to choose. I'm so excited about it and can't wait to be surrounded by amazing and fresh pumpkins. Pumpkin is such a versatile vegetable that can be incorporated in both savoury and sweet recipes. My all time favourite dish with pumpkin has to be a pumpkin and coconut milk soup. I could eat it all autumn and winter long with some freshly baked bread.

     Yesterday was a very fun, relaxing and creative day. I managed to do a lot of things and prepare a savoury recipe for the blog. The inspiration came while I was in the grocery store, looking at what vegetables and fruit I could buy for the week. While I was searching for some eggplants to make our traditional dish (mousaka), I saw some zucchini standing next to them and it was at that moment that the idea for a simple and flavourful tart came. I had some feta cheese at home, waiting to be loved and this idea for a recipe was perfect.
     The recipe is very simple, you only need fresh ingredients and some love for your zucchini. I tried to take some photos showing you how I prepared the dough, because I find that photos are sometimes better than words. If you want of course, you can make your own dough. I used a store bought one that I find is not too buttery, because I find if it contains too much butter it's not so good for my digestion later. So, without further chatting (or typing) let's move on to the recipe.

Zucchini and Whipped Feta Tart

ingredients (for 4 to 6 servings)

1 store bought dough (1 sheet)
1 large zucchini
100gr feta cheese
100gr full fat greek yoghurt
1 garlic clove
fresh parsley (chopped)
sweet paprika (optional)

How do I make it?

1. Take out your dough and lay it on a clean surface. Using a roller, try to roll it out a bit, but not too much as you want it to be thick in order to be able to hold the whipped feta and the zucchini. Turn your oven to 160C and carefully place the dough on a pan with baking paper.
2. Using a knife, try to shape a rectangular on the dough leaving about 5cm of space from the sides. Then, take a fork and start   making fork shapes on the dough with light pressure (pictured below). You do that so when the dough is baked you let the air come through and your dough doesn't puff. Bake the dough for 5 minutes and then let it cool a little bit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. (I didn't prebake my dough as I forgot about it, but I advise you to bake it on its own before adding the ingredients on top).

3. Cut the zucchini in thin slices. Then, use a food processor to mix together the feta cheese, greek yoghurt and garlic glove. Pulse the processor well until you get a creamy texture, but there are a few pieces of feta cheese inside. Mix inside some pepper and sweet paprika if you want to. Pour the mixture into a bowl and add some freshly chopped parley and stir with a spoon.
4. When your dough is cooled, start adding some of the whipped feta on top, staying inside the rectangular shape you created in step 2. Cover the whole rectangular area and then start placing the zucchini. For lack of words, I provide you a photo on how to place the zucchini (but to be honest, it doesn't matter, we do it like these for appearance reasons).

5. Before putting the tart in the oven for the final baking, try folding the sides of the dough as pictured below. 

Bake the tart for 20 to 25 minutes on 160C until the dough turns golden brown. Take out of the oven and let it cool slightly for 10 minutes.