Eclairs with vanilla filling

After watching an episode of the Polish edition of Masterchef in which the participants prepared eclairs I thought- well well, I have never made eclairs, how do they make them, anyway? I do not actually remember anybody inviting me and offering homemade eclairs. Indeed, hundreds of times there were cheesecakes, cookies, tarts, poppy seed cakes, and even donuts, but eclairs? My assumption was that you buy eclairs at the bakery...
Well, after conducting short interviews with friends and searching on the Internet I found out that ... people make eclairs! And they are not too difficult to make! So I accepted the challenge and this weekend I baked eclairs ... and they even turned out pretty good :) ... the disadvantage is that they are a bit time-consuming, but if you care about baking at home rather than buying it ready-made from the store ... it's nothing difficult!

Orange Hot Chocolate

Today morning on my way to the supermarket I heard a talk of two ladies: " I have magnesium deficiency...", "And what are you going to do?", "I am taking the magnesuim dietary supplements.". At once I thought about dark chocolate :) It's a rich source of magnesium. It also helps to improve memory, brightens your mind and boosts your energy level. It's also a good way to warm up in cold days. Besides, we cannot allow ourselves to let our magnesium level go rapidly down, can we? :) But seriously, we should not overuse chocolate of course, but today I allowed myself to have a moment of pleasure with a cup of orange hot chocolate. If you've never tried you DEFINITELY should! 

Polish Shortbread Mini Croissants with Plum Marmalade

It's one of the old recipes from my mum's notebook which she got from her colleague at work. I came across quite a dilema while translating the name of the dough the croissants are made of. It says in the notebook that it's "half-puff pastry" but I think it's much closer in the texture to shortbread and that's why I've decided to stick to it. If somebody knows about the exact name for this pastry in English please let me know in your comments!
Irrespective of the name, the croissants were extremely popular during our last family gathering. They are really delicious and literally melt in your mouth. If you add you home made plum marmalade (which I don't have this year, unfortunately)- they will disappear from the table very fast :)   

Red lentil soup

This soup is really easy and quick to prepare, and on top of that it consists almost only of fresh vegetables. I've recently found out that it's better to use fresh tomatoes instead of buying canned tomato paste in order to prepare soups and sauces. You can just buy fresh tomatoes, chop them, cook and blend. There's a big difference in the taste of fresh tomatos and tamato paste. If just like me, you did not have so much time in the summer to prepare you own tomato preserve in jars you can still get a similar result by using the fresh ones! I do not peel tomatoes and press them through the sieve on purpose. I believe that the most valuable vitamins are right under the skin, so why to get rid of them?! Besides the soup tastes better with some chunks to bite :)

Hot Ginger Lemonade

Hippocrates used to say that the food should be our medicine and that's why it is worth including ginger in our everyday diet- not olny due to its delicious taste but also because of its incredible medical properties. Since it's the season for cold and flue, it should be mentioned in the first place that ginger helps to recover from cold and flue and helps to prevent from getting sick. Ginger also helps to improve the blood circulation, concentration, fights migranes, travel sickness and joint problems.    
Ginger is widely known as a spice for cooking and baking but it can also be used for making hot infusions. Today I am sharing with you my favourite recipe for the delicious ginger lemonade.

Cocoa dough cheesecake

This is an old cult recipe in my family. I found it a few years ago on a website of a Polish-German family, on which you can find a lot of other interesting recipes. The link to the original one is here. The cheesecake can be made in a round form (of approx. 26 cm), square or rectangular- I did it this time, but the cheesecake will be slightly lower. It all depends on your preferences, I thoroughly recommend :)

Vietnamese Pho Soup

In the autumn last year my friend said he would take me to the best soup in the city. I did not take it seriously at all but I eagrely walked to the restaurant since I am very passionate about discovering new tastes and places. That place was not different from many other Asian restaurants in Copenhagen that I had visited before. It was Monday and Mondays are usually slow days. It was very quiet and cozy then. We knew what we came for on the spot- for that biggest promise which was the soup- Pho soup, but I didn't know the name at that time. After a few minutes the waiter brought us a few spring rolls with sweet chilli sauce- they were good, very good I'd say, but we were still waiting for the soup. After a moment he came back- now with a plate of herbs to my surprise. We did not order something like that, I thought, but I asked my friend what that was. Completly unmoved, he replied this was garnish for the Pho soup. Finally, it arrived- the main attraction of the evening- steamy and aromatic, looking like an ordinary chicken soup, maybe sligthy darker. My friend told me that I should place the fresh herbs, lime, chilli pepper and bean sprouts on top of the soup. So, I finally tried it. That was amazing! The taste was so good that I will never forget that! It was a prefect match of the beef boulion with anise, cinnamon, fennel seeds, ginger...stunning! And on top of that crunchy bean sprouts and tender beef... 

My culinary skills cannot compare to the skills of the master who made the best soup I had ever eaten. However, since last week I felt so much like eating the soup again and I decided to cook it on the basisis of a few Internet recipes that I found. The result- not that great like the prevous time but definitely delicious and satisfying.
There's a lot to say and write about Pho soup, as it can be made in many different ways, but today I am presenting the easiest of all.

Chinese eggplant

Chinese eggplnt is one of my favourite dishes of Asian cuisine. It is not an easy topic because it quickly absorbs the oil on which it is being cooked and you always have to add more and more. In order to prevent that and make the dish light, you need to pre-soak the eggplant in the water with salt.
Secondly, eggplant does not have such a strong taste and that's why the sauce in this recipe is quite aromatic and makes the taste more interesting. I also recommend making this dish with some pork meat. You can just finely chop the meat and fry after adding ginger, garlic and onion.  

Polish Chicken Soup

Chicken soup is one of the essential dishes of Polish cuisine- it is common in every Polish household and made in many different ways. Until recently, I thought that chicken soup cannot be made without adding boullion cubes- othewise it would be tasteless and too plain. 

Mexican pancakes

The Mexican pancakes is a delicious idea for lunch or dinner for those who love meat and spicy food. Unfortunately, I was unable to find fresh chilies in my region at the moment and I am currently using the ground ones. However, if you have the possibility to use the fresh ones do not hesitate.
I thoroughly reccommend the tomato sauce which is a part of this recipe. It is really tasty and you can use it for pastas and lasagna as well, and you can add your favourite herbs such as basil or oregano.    

Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins

Pumpkin season is still on and today I am presenting you another recipe for pumpkin: pumpkin-cheesecake muffins! The fusion of pumkin and cheesecake creates a very suprising autumn taste. The muffins are topped with delicious brown crumbles with cinnamon. That all reminds me of my first Thanksgiving in the beautiful East Coast :)

DIY cooked ham

An important part of leading a healthy lifestyle is avoiding highly processed food- the one that is made in a factory and enriched in preservatives, artificial flavours, colouring and other additives. In order to avoid that it's best to bake, cook and prepare meals at home from good quality ingredients. Let's be honest, it's time-consuming but in a long run it pays off- it's the best investment in your wellness and good health. 
One of the most problematic food items is, in my opnion, ham and sausage. I've been searching for a chemical-free ham and sausage for a while without any result- at least in the place where I live. So I decided to start making my own ham. It could seem time-consuming and requiring special equipment but that's not true! Today I am presenting a simple recipe for a cooked homemade ham which you can eat for lunch with your favourite bread. This kind of hame is free from artificlal flavours, preservatives and other chemical additives. Just try! 

DIY egg noodles

Why should you bother yourself to make noodles at home if you can easily get them in every supermarket? If you have never tried homemade noodles you probably have no idea that there is a big difference between these two products. Fresh organic eggs play a key role in making homemade noodles. Make sure they come from a good source, always buy organic, especially for this recipe. Making noodles at home might be time consuming but I really encourage you to try at least once- it will be a pleasant tasty surprise :).

Pumpkin pie

Pumkin season has already stared and that's why it's high time for pumpkin pie! It reminds me of American tradition, Halloween and Thanksgiving. Even though they are not celebrated in Poland or the counry where you might be from, it's worth acquainting oneslef with them, especially from the culinary side. I baked a pumpkin pie last year but it can't compare with the one I did yesterday. It owes its delicate creamy texture to condensed milk. I got inspired by this recipe.

Chinese plum sauce

This aromatic sauce is a perfect match for fatty meat dishes, especially the duck. The recipe comes from Asian cuisine and the ripe plums and five-spice powder are the basis for it. I learnt about five-spice powder when I was making the crispy Chinese duck. It turned out that you marinade the duck with it. The five-spice powder consists of SOLELY the following ingredients: anis, pepper, cinnamon, fennel seeds and ginger. Always check out the ingredients! When I went to the supermarket and I took the spice of a popular producer called "five-spice powder" it turned out that it contains artificial aromas and other chemical additives. Plus, it did not even contain the five spices. That's why I bought it in a local herb shop. It's also available in online shops or else you can even do it yourself by mixing the spices I have enumareated before in equal proportions. But coming back to the sauce. Here's the recipe!

Green tea cake

Since I went to Japan and I discovered how many things you can do with green tea, I knew I must bring some to Poland and make my own recipe. The basis for this easy cake is an ordinary sponge cake and powdered green tea- very common in the Cherry Blossom Land. It's also becoming more popular outside Japan now. Feel free to try out this recipe :) And the story of the tea ceremony in Japan soon on the blog! 

Potato pie with cheese and chanterelles

Yesterday I just felt so much like eating sheperd's pie but I knew I don't want meat, so I figured this out...It's a light creamy-textured pie with delicious chanterelles and a pich of white pepper. Adding parsley roots to the mashed potatoes gave them a distinctive taste. I love it! 

Power boosting carrot juice

Do you remember your parents serving you carrot juice when you were small? I used to drink it when I was a child and so did thousands of other children in Poland. It was delicious and left you a "moustache" mark under your nose. Drinking carrot juice helps to improve you eyesight, skin and hair condition and also refreshes and boosts the energy level. My favourite version of carrot juice also inludes mint and orange for extra freshness and ginger for boosting the immunity. Remember not to drink it very often. Eating whole raw carrots is much healthier for us because they have more fiber than juice.   

Vanilla-plum whole wheat cake

This weekend I am celebrating the end of my house renovation. Hurray! What a relief, it’s finally over! I felt like celebrating it with a plum cake. However, I decided to add some vanilla flavour to it...You can see the result of my idea here.

Mango lassi

Since I practically do not drink anything except for water, tea and freshly squeezed juice, I had been hesitating to try mango lassi for a long time. I was not sure what that was- juice, smoothie, cocktail? Nothing of that sort. Mango lassi is just mango lassi.  Nothing can compare to this taste. This delicious, sweet drink has its roots in Indian and Pakistan cuisine. The exotic mix of fresh mango with Greek yoghurt gives it perfectly creamy texture and sweet taste. The secret of mango lassi is in mango- the sweeter the better. If mango is juicy and ripe, you don’t need to add any sugar. You can serve it with ice in the summertime, then it’s pleasantly cooling. I encourage you to try my recipe- it’s one of my favourite :) The picture above shows mango lassi served in the Vietnamese restaurant LeLe in Copenhagen.

Banana-pear millet groats

When I read in Beata Pawlikowska's book (Polish author, traveller, journalist) about the health benefits of the millet groats I knew I must try and decide if I would include them in my daily menu. I easily found millet groats in every supermarket and a grocery store (it's best to get the ones that are organic). I prepared them the same way that I did my oatmeal: cooked with milk, served with fruit and sunflower seeds. The meal was as good that I feel like cooking it every day and I make this effort to take my time in the morning and simmer it for 20 min. It's really worth it! It has a lot of health benefits, wonderful taste and on top of that it gives great energy for the whole day. Today I am giving you my recipe for the millet groats I have cooked the last few days, but you can prepare them in many different ways. I am sure there will be many more recipes for the millet groat on my blog in the future.

Salmon with lemon sauce

Since I started eating out in Copenhagen, the word "laks" meaning "salmon" was everywhere. You could eat salmon in every sandwich bar and restaurant. Sometimes it was in a salad, sandwich or just grilled fish. Always served with herbs and lemon. So delicious!
Everybody was speaking about "laks" even those who only knew English and not Danish:
- What are you making for dinner tonight?
- I'm making laks.
Somehow the word is so strongly rooted in the Danish culture that you just have to use it :)
I love the match of salmon and lemon. Salmon is a fatty fish (rich in good Omega 3 acid fat) and lemon balances it with its freshness. I recommend serving this dish along with steamed broccoli- for keeping the maximum of their nutritional values and paraboiled and wild rice.

Banana-oat cookies

I remember when I once went to a supermarket in Copenhagen to do the shopping and I bought some bananas that were on sale. 1,5 kg cost as much as three pieces normally do. Unfortunately, my appetite for bananas did not go along with the amount that I bought. The next day the bananas turned brown and I had to solve the problem before I would be forced to throw them out- which I don't usually do. But "the need is the mother of necessity" like they say, so I had to figure something out. I put the bananas in a big bowl and I smashed them with a fork. I started adding different ingredients to knead the cookie dough. Plus, I added all nuts, dried fruit and pieces of chocolate that I had left from baking another thing before. When they stared baking the fantastic smell of bananas spread around the whole apartment. At that time my roommate came back from university and we couldn't resist trying the delicious cookies when they were still warm. They were really good and disappeared fast. Since then, I have improved the recipe and I am writing it down for you today.

Lentil soup with tomatos and chicken

Maybe the lentil soup doesn't have the best colour but I promise you, it tastes wonderful! I have tried many recipes but this is the ultimate one that I like the most.
Before I never used lentils in cooking but once I did I always come back to them. First of all, they have a delicious taste. If you like other legumes like beans, you will probably also like this one. Secondly, they are very healthy. These are some of the benefits of eating lentils:
- they are high in fiber which speeds up our metabolism
- they are a rich source of protein which means that it can replace meat, so vegetarians will probably be found of them (you can also cook my soup without the chicken meat)
- they are a rich source of folic acid which improves the work of our brain and nervous system
- they are a source of other important vitamins and minerals like: vitamin B1, B5, iron, zinc, which are also beneficial for our health.

King prawns with coconut milk

The recipe comes from a friend of mine who has been working in the Asian restaurant industry for more than 20 years. I learnt a lot from him and I love the way he cooks. He always uses garlic, ginger, chili and onion as the basis for nearly each Asian dish and I think it's both healthy and tasty. The recipe is for a spicy yet delicate dish due to the coconut milk which balances the hot taste. 
King prawns are a very rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids which are essential for our health. Their intake can lower the risk of cancer, arthretis and heart disease. It's good to include them in our everyday diet- seafood like king prawns are one of the good sources.  

Pear cheesecake with dark chocolate

This light cheesecake is perfect for Sunday afternoon to share with your guests. The pear gives the cake its fruity taste.

Refreshing raspberry-coconut smoothie

Summer is still around and we are searching for different methods to cool down our bodies. We can do that by serving cold drinks or food but we can also do that by using the ingrediends which have cooling properties. Raspberry-coconut smoothie contains mint which realises its essence and pleasantly cools us down. The coconut water and melon are very refreshing and raspberries give the smoothie the fruity taste. When I drank it I felt pleasant coolness in my stomach :)

Italian Prosciutto ham salad

I think this salad is perfect for summer- crispy, fresh and juicy! Personally, I have it as the main course and I don't need anything else, but you can as well share it with friends during a get-together.

The idea comes from the restaurant where I worked- we used all the ingredients like: Prosciutto ham, rucola salad, mozzarella, balsamic vinegar, pumpkin seeds, etc. for Italian meals. I just put them all together- in the symphony of taste ;)

The portion is enough for 2 persons if you both have it as the main course.

Kawiarnia Gerstner w Wiedniu

Do Wiednia zawitałam zaledwie na dwa dni w sierpniu 2013 roku, ale był to bardzo intensywnie wykorzystany czas na zwiedzanie tego przepięknego miasta. Wiedeń jest bardzo europejski, elegancki, nostalgiczny ale zarazem na tyle rozwinięty, że nie czujemy się w nim jak pośród ruin tylko tak jak byśmy przenieśli się w czasie do czasów świetności dynastii cesarskiej, mecenasów kultury i sztuki.
Upał był niemiłosierny, ale nie zepsuł on wrażenia jakie wywarło na mnie majestatyczne piękno budynków, ulic i oczywiście...lokali gastronomicznych. Na temat restauracji w Wiedniu napiszę w osobnym artykule.
Strudel truskawkowo-jogurtowy.
Dzisiaj, natomiast chciałabym skupić się na słodkościach, a mianowicie na kawiarni Gerstner. Znajduje się ona na Karnter Strasse blisko Katedry św. Stefana, niedaleko przystanku metra Stephansplatz. Historia tego miejsca sięga aż do roku 1847 kiedy to Anton i Barbara Gerstner założyli swoją małą cukiernię. Wkrótce stała się ona tak popularna, że zamówienia zaczęły przychodzić z samego pałacu Schonbrunn. Biznes rozwija się do dnia dzisiejszego, a firma Gerstner dostarcza swoje specjały na największe eventy w Wiedniu. Aby dowiedzieć się więcej na ten temat zachęcam do odwiedzenia strony
Co można zjeść w kawiarni Gerstner? Słodycze, desery, ciastka, makaroniki- a wszystko stworzone w wersji jak ze snów. Wyobraź sobie najlepszej jakości składanki połączone ze sobą według tradycyjnej receptury przekazywanej z pokolenia na pokolenie tworzące spójną przepyszną całość. Takie są wyroby w Gestner.

Memoirs from Pigalle in New York City

Because it is my first post opening the blog, I would like it to be special. That’s why today I will share with you my favourite story from New York City.
In 2011-2012 I took part in an au pair program and I travelled to United States for a few months. It was my biggest dream to feel like Kevin (from Home Alone 2: List in New York, which is a cult Christmas movie in Poland). My host family lived in the suburbs of Washington DC, so I had to go to Big Apple by bus. Kalina, my friend from Poland, also joined me. Together we spent the best weekend of our lives.