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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Old World Biscuit Rolls

Guest Blogger: Renata Toth It was my birthday recently, so we had a little celebration at work. My colleagues prepared, as always, a plentiful choice of sweets. And I just had to contribute. As I have limited time in the evening, I chose a cake that is relatively quick, a little bit special, yet traditional, delicious and can be made in various ways. The recipe itself comes from an old Hungarian cookbook under the name of biscuit rolls, but we made some modifications to better fit our taste. The basic recipe is rather classic, but we boosted it with some rum or aroma, which gave it a tasty touch. For this recipe then we use: For the pastry: 250 gr ground dry cookies or biscuits 100 gr sugar 100 gr ground walnuts 1,5 dl dark coffee 1 sachet vanilla sugar Rum / aroma as and if desired For the chocolate filling: 100 gr butter 100 gr sugar 2 tsp cocoa powder rum / flavoring as desired. If you cannot buy cookies/biscuits already ground, be sure to grind them finely. Once they are ground, mix it with the other ingredients for the pastry, knead it until you obtain a homogenous and consistent mixture and stretch it evenly into a square shape. It is easier to stretch between two sheets of foil. For the filling, mix the butter, the sugar and the cocoa powder until it is consistent and fluffy. Spread it over the pastry, roll it up and if sticky, sprinkle the pastry with some ground walnuts. Cover it in foil and leave it rest for a few hours, or overnight, in the fridge, it will be easier to cut. It can be prepared with other fillings as well, or jams, whatever you can spread well over the delicate pastry. My first time in trying this recipe and it was a great big success! Of course, the recipe still can be modified or personalised to better fit your taste. You can add dried fruits to the cream, or into the pastry maybe, or add other flavorings instead of rum, use additional ingredients, or so. Feel free to experiment and be creative with this basic recipe! And enjoy! Join 100,000 worldwide subscribers at The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati tm BLOG Get your copy of the Gourmand World Award Winning book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays and Special Occasions-2nd edition

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Dessert Fit For The Prince of Persia

Guest Blogger: Renata Toth There I go experimenting again in the kitchen. After my newfound discovery of some Iranian music, I felt the sudden urge to discover some of their most famous dishes as well. And why not start with the dessert? Personally, I find the most inclined to try national desserts – much more than main dishes, although it all is interesting. So as I went through the internet on the quest of finding an exciting Iranian dessert to try in the weekend, I came through an interesting piece of culinary art. The thing is called Zoolbia and will require the following ingredients: 500 gr starch 150 gr non-skim yogurt 200 gr sugar cooking oil 2-3 sp rose water (can be acquired in special eastern or middle eastern stores; some Mediterranean food stores may also have some). Now the ingredients are few, which already imply a not very complicated dessert. This is true: although the recipe may seem a little odd at first, it is easy to prepare and will give a nice crunchy dessert of a warm Mediterranean flavour. First of all, mix the starch, 1-2 sp of sugar and water. Add yogurt and mix well until you obtain a smooth and even texture. Heat the oil in a pan, and pour the mix into the pan through a funnel to create rounded shapes of approximately 5-6 cm large in diameter. Turn down the heat to fry fully on one side, then on the other side as well. Mix the rest of the sugar, rose water and a glass of room temperature water. Bring this mixture to boil and cook until the syrup thickens. Soak the previously fried zoolbia pieces in this rosy flavoured syrup for around 5 minutes, then serve warm. Rose water is typically used in Middle Eastern cuisine. Not only is it widely used in Persian cuisine, but also in Arabic cuisine. The other most used dessert ingredient is the orange blossom water. These two additions need to be added to the dessert in small quantities, but a few drops already give a great flowery-fruity flavour to the dish. The taste is a little strange and enchanting in the same time; like a culinary travel to a different culture in your own cuisine. If you want to boost up the Persian experience, cook something Iranian as main course as well! For recipes, travel tips, join 100,000 worldwide subscribers at Get you copy of the Gourmand World Award Winning Book that makes any day a Special Occasion: The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition.