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Romanian Cozonac: The Best Treat on Your Festive Table

A Culinary Delight with A Long History Cozonac is a beautiful festive delight I grew up with as a child in Romania. Each major holiday mom would bake the best treat there could be. Be it Christmas or Easter, our house would smell awesome, filled with delightful flavours escaping from the oven. And I would wait impatiently for the festive dinner to finally savour the best treat created by humankind! The ladies of Romania, especially in the countryside, would take at least half a day before a holiday to bake lots of cozonaci (plural [cozonach]) for the festive dinner, and...

Bread Maker Italian Panettone 27

Perfect Bread Maker Panettone – Christmas Made Easy

The Bread of Toni As is the case with everything Italian, the nation’s Christmas traditional dessert, Panettone, has its own history that goes back to the fifteenth century.  A legend has it that one Christmas Eve, while the entire court and guests of Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan were sat at the festive table, disaster stroke in the kitchen. The cook managed to accidentally burn the dessert!  Mamma mia, che dolore che faccio ora il duce mi va cortare il capo! (Oh, dear God, what a disaster, the duke will chop my head off!) While the unfortunate cook was pulling his...

cheese pie 37

Sweet Cheese Pies. Easy Desserts from Mom’s Recipe Book

Sweet Pockets Cheesecakes are widely present in international cuisine. The ones I’ll talk about today are a traditional Moldavian recipe, from Northern Romania. Mom made them countless times when I was a kid. Since I discovered how easy they are to bake, I gave these pies many a try as well. The Romanians have called these pies “poale’n brâu” for centuries. That translates literary to “the bottom of the skirt raised to the waistband”. Why? Perhaps many years ago, women would wear their skirts as improvised bags to carry whatever they would forage in the forest or a small bunch of twigs for the...

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Biscuit Salami. Easy to Make Goodies From Mom’s Recipe Book

The Taste of Childhood The first time I made a biscuit salami – a simple but incredibly tasty dessert, I was eleven years old. It was in the good old days when the parents would go to work, and the children would spend the three months long summer holiday at home doing whatever they wanted. We would mostly go outside to play with other kids (we had a key we wore on a necklace), come back for lunch (yep, we were taught from an early age how to heat a soup without burning the house down) and go back outside...

Spooky house 31

All Hallows Eve. Reasons to Throw a Halloween Bash!

Release the Ghosts! The Americans alone spend $9 billion on Halloween. Those familiar with my posts would understand why my face “fell off” when I read this fact in a news article. My otherwise fierce courage deserted me in my hour of need: I dared not look for a global statistic. I care about my face! 😄 Well, I understand the societal consumerism and the urge to party for whatever reason. I get it even more in the fateful (first) year of the pandemic. I accept both reasons even when they apply to nations that had absolutely nothing to do...

Autumn foliage forest 39

An Autumn Walk in Time. Born in October

Nature Is Most Beautiful in Its Dying Hour We all love an autumn walk and dragging our feet through the rustling carpet of colourful leaves bedding a forest path in fall. Ochre, crimson, copper or brown, depending on what stage of decomposing they were when they fell from the trees, the dead leaves work their magic on us.  We greedily take in the soothing feeling selflessly provided by nature, the bit of sanity so much needed and the escape provided by a few hours hike to recharge our batteries. We selfishly don’t give anything back, though. We walk, drag our...

Spinach and ricotta cannelloni recipe 12

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni – An Easy Dinner Idea

Italian Is Always Best! Cannelloni are in essence pasta tubes filled with ricotta and spinach or cooked mince meats. Even if Italy’s history of pasta goes back to the 4th century BC, to the Etruscans times, cannelloni seem to be a bit younger, their origin traced somewhere in the 8th century CE. There are mentions of this dish in Toscana and Campania around the same time, even if there is some distance between the two regions. Today, all supermarkets sell packs of dry tubes, and this saves time in cooking cannelloni. Nevertheless, the Italians praise themselves for making fresh pasta...

Mum's apple cake filled with nuts 20

Mom’s Apple Cake: The Best ‘Welcome Home’ Delight!

A Symphony of Scents and Flavours Disclaimer: This recipe contains allergens! Please use suitable substitutes if you have a nut allergy! My cruising job contracts were normally six months long. That meant a lot of exploring the ports of call or floating at sea in between destination.  Of course, that involved some office work (the small Shore Excursions department onboard usually made either the first or the second-largest profit per cruise after the Casino). It also meant an early morning start to dispatch the tours and send the passengers to see the wonders they wanted to see on their cruise. ...

Space ship 20

Time Travel: All We Don’t Know Is More Alluring

“Meet Me on a Starship!” Three years ago, my friend decided to die. He said he’d had enough; eighty-six was plenty of time spent in this world and needed some rest from it. A week later, he was gone, just like that. It was not the first time I saw someone setting their mind on departing and succeeding. I had seen it before in old age. All seems good, and suddenly people decide enough is enough. In a few days, their bodies shut down quietly, and they pass peacefully. I was amazed at first. I thought humans have no control...

Rosemary Pita bread recipe 10

Pita Bread. Bake The Fun And Easy Way!

The Side of All Greek Appetisers and Mains There is no more straightforward recipe to bake nor yummier than pita bread! With origins going back to the Middle East’s first farming settlements, pita can be considered a prehistoric bread type.  Our ancestors used to bake this flatbread directly on the fire. Later, the stone ovens came into use. Today, we bake in the oven or fry it in little oil, depending on how much time and effort we put into preparing. In time, the method has changed, as has the name. Apparently, as its use spread through the Mediterranean, it...

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