Cheese, Wine and Romance

Sounds like a perfect renaissance moment to me.

Today I’m not sharing a recipe however, I want to share with you something a little more special. Something that only gets better with age. Something that any one can have, should have. I call it my Stolen Moments recipe. It does not required cooking, special tools or ingredients but it involves food. Good basic food. and love. and attention.

wine and cheese

You see – you, us, I, we, they – everyone is busy doing something and I imagine most of us work overtime just to catch up on things we’ve always planned on doing but left it for the last minute, simply because we do so much that almost everything is considered “the last minute”. Then, it’s no surprise that we find ourselves sitting in front of the screen late at night typing, posting, emailing, doing something. But. There is someone who I know very close to my heart, who truly knows how to make the world stop and enjoy a few stolen moments. Someone who makes me forget about everything and anything and simply makes me enjoy the present when and where ever it may be – My other half.

wine and cheese, lifestyle

The Mr. is an amazing tennis player, his biggest most passionate hobby. Every time when he returns from a game he freshens up then prepare just for the two of us – those special Renaissance moments – Cheese, Wine and Romance. Unless he finds me on cloud nine, my mouth is wide open and my head tilted on the sofa, I’m usually wide awake and I’m all in. But I am only only allowed to watch him.

wine and cheese, lifestyle

He takes fresh baguette, cuts it into thick slices and toasts them. So crunchy.

wine and cheese, lifestyle

He takes soft Brie, Feta and Goat cheese, then slices the Brie and crumbles the Feta and arranges them on a platter. He then spreads just a touch of Goat cheese on a toasted Pita bread and tops it with fresh sliced cucumber.

wine and cheese, lifestyle

He knows I love creativity.

wine and cheese, lifestyle

He peels, chops and slices lots of fresh vegetables. I love the chopping sound and the fresh smell of vegetables.

wine and cheese, lifestyle

He picks one or two types of fresh seasonal fruits.

wine and cheese, lifestyle

He is in full swing and knows his ways around our new kitchen.

wine and cheese, lifestyle

He moves the vase of flowers to the table.

He arranges the food on a pretty china.

He pours our favorite red wine in big wine glasses.

He dims the lights.

He opens the back door so I can hear the sound of the water in the fountains.

He lights candles.

He keeps quite.

I do too.

But that’s a little hard to do…

Ahhh….stolen moments. No one can take them away.

 

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Delicious and creative sugar-free and dairy-free flower cake

This is going to be the tastiest, simplest, creative and most attention getter flower cake you will ever make (yes Flower not Flour).
It’s perfect for a birthday, Mother’s Day or even Father’s Day (men like flower too you know), Or any day.
flower cake for mother's day
Sugar free dessert
And it’s so simple to make I wanna laugh. Actually I’m laughing now.
But seriously, I can’t stop giggle when the results look like a Million Euros.

How did i get to this idea? I always keep Phyllo pastry sheets in my freezer. It’s the thing that makes baking beautiful and light when you don’t want to eat “cake”. So last week I gave my husband a cool birthday party in our backyard. All the sleepless nights and the pain in my back and the hard work  in the kitchen was it worth it? let’s not think about it right now.

So I got the food and the atmosphere ready BUT I didn’t have any birthday cake. It can only happen in my house. I took a risk (big one) and left the cake idea to the last-minute, the day of the party. You see, waiting to the last-minute makes me come up with some crazy ideas (not necessarily good ones), that make them so great only because i don’t give myself a chance to think about it.
But here is the catch, I had a great last-minute idea but had to repeat it 30 times because we had about 30 invites.

sugar free mother's day cakeI know what you’re thinking just by looking at the preparations, but when I got to it i ran with it and in less than an hour I was already with 24 cakes ready to bake. The best thing about this cake is that you can choose to make one, two, four or fifty cakes. Can this be more flexible? If yes please – share.

So, shall we:

ingredients:
(this recipe is for 12 or more since the muffin tin I used has 12 cup holes)
One package Phyllo pastry sheets, thawed
1/4 cup honey
1 vanilla bean
2 tbsp of your favorite espresso coffee powder and some more for garnish
1 pint heavy whipping cream (I used dairy-free)
1 tbsp light brown sugar crystals
Fresh thinly sliced strawberries
Canola oil baking spray
Muffin cupcake pan for 12 (2 1/2 inch each)
preparations:
Heat oven to 350º. In a large bowl combine heavy cream, espresso powder, honey and vanilla. Beat until stiff. You’ll know when you see the cream stays on a spoon turned upside down. Refrigerate until use.
Spray muffin pan with baking spray, set aside. Lay out one sheet Phyllo and spray with oil, make sure the rest of the sheets are covered with a damp towel to avoid them from drying. Repeat with more Phyllo sheets greased and laid one on top of the other. I used batches of five’s.
How to cut – with scissors carefully eye-ball the size of the “cakes” – first cut the sheets in half horizontally from one side to another and then cut in three sections vertically, you’ll end up with six rectangular “cakes”. It shouldn’t be complicated.

Insert each “section” into the greased muffin cups by pressing gently and forming a cup. You’ll end up having the edges of the “cakes” sticking up and out – You want that.

sugar free dairy free cupcakes dessertsugar free dairy free cupcake dessert

Sprinkle cups with brown sugar and bake for about 10-12 minutes or until golden. Out of the oven, handling with care remove the baked cups with a spoon and set aside to cool.

If you have a pastry bag use it otherwise with a spoon fill up the cups with the chilled  cream. Stick a couple of sliced strawberries on the side to make them look like leafs, sprinkle with powdered coffee and brown sugar.

Serve in personal dessert plates or to really get your guests attention place all the cakes in one large tray to create a big flower composed of small ones. It will sparkle and I guarantee you – they will be impressed.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

Tasty chocolate melting crunchy berry cupcakes

Big name
but
little effort.

Does it ever happen to you that you crave for something to eat and don’t know what it is? sweet? savory? home cooked meal or just that something to satisfy your desire? it happens to me a lot maybe because I simply want to try a lot of things at one time. So it’s a new day and a new day calls for new something. Something sweet and comforting that reminds me my childhood home…or my sisters’ homes (they baked a lot when their kids were young). Do I have a treat for you.

I was in a mood for a dark, deep, rich color with smooth texture. How did I come about it? While I rearranged my living room today (which happens quite often) and I laid my new rug on the floor, it came in these beautiful deep silky earthy hues of browns that the colors naturally triggered my cravings to – you guesses it – chocolate.

But not just chocolate. I craved warm, silky, melting chocolate with just the right amount of crunch. Petite in size zapped with a touch of sour red berry. Oh, my juice buds are exploding as I write this.

tasty chocolate melting crunchy berry cupcakeDon’t you feel the same now? than go ahead and make this super simple yet light and so tasty chocolate melting crunchy berry cupcakes. It requires minimum effort – if you have nutella chocolate spread – then you have almost everything you need.
tasty chocolate melting crunchy berry cupcake
tasty chocolate melting crunchy berry cupcakesyou can serve it like this
tasty chocolate melting crunchy berry cupcakeor like this

tasty chocolate melting crunchy berry cupcake

or eat it straight out of the paper…like me.

tasty chocolate melting crunchy berry cupcakeServe it to guests and I promise they will think you worked very hard on it. I just can’t promise how many will satisfy you or them: three…five…

Shall we:

ingredients:
about 6-8 medium size cupcakes:
3/4 c. nutella spread
1 whole egg
1 egg white
4 tbsp white flour, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans
handful of any kind of berries
1/2 c. chocolate chip (optional – fun for kids)
medium size paper muffin cup

preparation:

In a large bowl combine whole egg, egg white, vanilla extract and nutella. Whisk until smooth. Add the flour and whisk gently until well combined. Set a side.

Heat oven to 350°. Meanwhile cut the berries to small pieces.

Insert paper muffin cups into a tin muffin pan (if you have one, it simply helps with support). Spoon the nutella batter into the paper muffin cups about 3/4 full. Top with chopped pecans, or chocolate chips or both. Insert a few pieces of berries into the batter filled cups. Bake for about 12-14 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out soft and sticky. For a drier consistency bake 5 minutes longer. Let cool in paper cups for 10 min. Serve warm and enjoy this delectable treat.

 Bon apetite.