Panforte Margherita

This recipe became my ultimate Christmas treat. Just like my other seasonal favorites — Medieval British Fruitcake and German Spiced Christmas Cookies — panforte Margherita is made with a lot of dry fruit and nuts. It also gets better with time when properly stored. But it seems easier and faster to make because there are no time-consuming steps. The original recipe comes from a collection of traditional Tuscan recipes. 

January 22, 2021
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Moroccan Eggplant Salad

I came across this warm eggplant salad 10 years ago, when discovered harissa. Unfortunately, this salad is less know than zaalook, another Moroccan eggplant salad — with tomatoes. Or, let’s say there are fewer references to it available out there in English. 

It is sweet and sour, refreshing and citrusy, mildly spicy, with very pronounced Middle Eastern flavors. Pairs well with crispy grilled flatbread.

January 21, 2021
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Sweet Snowflake | White Poppy Seed Bread

With slight variations, this versatile dough recipe is used for many baked goods all over Ukraine. The same dough is made for savory garlicky pampushky served with borsch and for sweet, plain or filled with fresh berries, jam (povydlo), poppy seed filling, and dusted with sugar powder. Pies, braided and intricately decorated loaves of sweet bread, rolls — it is good for all of them. Try it this holiday season! This snowflake-shaped sweet bread makes a light, fluffy, nutty, and delicately sweet gift to remember.

December 5, 2018
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Rum Baba | Babà al Rhum

This recipe is based on my Italian friend’s story about Neapolitan Babà al Rhum.

Rum baba is brioche-like rich cake soaked in rum flavored syrup. It can be a large cake or individually portioned little cakes, served with whipped cream and tart fruit. The cake itself is less sweet than brioche, taking into account it needs to absorb a lot of syrup. It is a perfect canvas for artistically balanced flavors the soaking liquid brings into the dessert. That’s why it is important to use high-quality rum for good results.

February 12, 2017
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When Life Gives You Lemons Again and Again… Just Add Honey!

During the winter, two our favorite food stores Whole Foods and Centra Market bring a generous variety of citrus fruit to Austin. Some of them a simply better during the season — fresh, juicy and fragrant. Other are exotic and not available any other time of year. Making honey preserves is my way to prolong the pleasure of having them in my kitchen. I do not add pectin or other gelling agents. Instead, I keep the syrup liquid and use it for everything — hot tea, sparkling drinks, cocktails, sponge cakes feed, etc. Honey candied citrus slices are excellent as toppings for other desserts, ice creams, custards, fruit salads. Everything is pure, natural, and beautiful.

February 12, 2017
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Heart Warming Winter Drinks: Scottish Posset

Last year I experimented with old recipes and, surprise surprise, didn’t find traditional possets pleasing at all. Well, I don’t mind curdled milk, but not with hot alcohol like ale or sherry. The only variation I enjoyed was my own “invention” — hot frothed milk flavored with honey (or caramel) and whiskey. Not curdled. This winter I spent more time researching hot milk and whiskey drinks and found Scottish Posset and Scáiltín. There is very little information available about them. I do not know how traditional or popular they are now. The only difference between the Scottish Posset and “my” recipe is the thickener. I used Xanthan gum instead of oatmeal. I couldn’t resist to modify the recipe a little, There is no reason to strain oats, if you have a good blender. They add velvety viscosity to the drink.

January 10, 2016
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Heart Warming Winter Drinks: Grog

…warmth, passion, and life, fueled by alcohol, stopped by no one and no single digit temperature. Warm hearts — that is all that we remembered feeling on that glorious cold day…

January 4, 2016
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Makivnyk | Poppy Seed Roll

With slight variations, this dough is used for many baked products all over Ukraine. It is used for small, round pastries called pampUshky (there are also deep-fried pampushKY, which are similar to doughnuts). Savory garlicky pampushky are known to be served with borsch. Sweet ones can be plain or filled with fresh berries, jam (povydlo), poppy seed filling, and dusted with sugar powder. The same dough is used for pies, braided and intricately decorated loafs of sweet bread, and rolls. All these beautiful sweet breads are light and puffy, never overly sweet.

March 24, 2015
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Honey Cake | Medovik

Medovik (Honey Cake) is known under different names and considered one of the most popular cakes in Eastern Europe.

January 5, 2015
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