Sunday, August 12, 2012

Happiness in Sarajevo

Some cause happiness wherever they go.

Easy Toasted Bread Dessert

It is really hard to please everyone, but "Never stop trying," they say. Well, I happened to make a light and terrific dessert which made every single person who tried it the most delighted. So, on demand, I wanted to share the recipe with you. 

The original dessert is called 'ekmek kadayifi/bread dessert' in Turkey which is one of those Turkish specialties most people would feel thrilled to eat. It has a cake base which itself is a simple and moist sponge and it is bathed in  syrup that makes it really special. It is always served with Turkish sweet whipped cream turning it into something  absolutely delicious and perfect for those with a sweet tooth.

The one I made is a simpler version of the original recipe that's why it is named 'fake bread dessert', 'easy bread dessert' or even 'rusk dessert'. Here comes the recipe. 


for the base:
9-12 plain rusks (biscottes) - go for the ones with no salt 
left- over bread - 9-12 slices

for the syrup:
1 ½ cup sugar
2 cups boiling water

for the milk pudding:
1 litre milk
70 grams rice flour 
8-10 level tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


*Always start with a clean pan and utensils, as any dirt or debris can cause crystals to form around it.

Step 1: Prepare the base

*If you use rusks, place them in a deep dish pan/tray. 

*If you want to use bread, then
1. Turn your oven on to 350°F.
2. Slice the bread thinly and lay the slices flat on the oven racks
3. Continue to bake until all the pieces are golden brown.
4. Place them in a deep dish pan/tray. 

Step 2: Prepare the syrup

1. In a heavy-bottom, high-sided saucepan cook the sugar over low to medium-low heat stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until it gets darker. Watch the changing of the color carefully, it can go past the light brown stage quickly and burn.

2. When sugar reaches a uniform golden brown (light amber) color, add the water but this should be done very carefully, as the water will hiss and sputter. Add the water at the edge of the pan, slowly, and stirring as it is added.

3. Keep stirring until the sugar dissolves completely and the mixture just begins to simmer. It will turn to a clear liquid.

4. After the sugar dissolves and syrup is simmering, cook for approximately 8 to 10 minutes, without stirring and remove from heat. 

5. Pour it evenly over the rusks/slices of bread.  Let them soak up all the syrup. Meanwhile, prepare the pudding.

Step 3: Prepare the pudding

1. Mix sugar, rice flour and vanilla in a small bowl. 
2.Transfer the mixture into a medium saucepan and add in milk. 
3. Stir constantly over medium heat until it boils. 
4. Add the butter and continue stirring. 
5. Keep simmering for another 3-4 minutes. 
6.Remove from heat and pour the pudding onto the rusks/slices of bread. Spread it with a spatula.
7. Let it cool down completely in room temperature and then refrigerate it. 

Step 4: Top with sweet whipped cream

After the pudding gets completely cold, get some sweet whipped cream ready for the last layer. I don't like whipped cream very much so I just spread a very thin layer of it over the pudding. If you love it, feel free to use it as much as you like. 

Step 5: Garnish the dessert

Use any kind of nuts, fresh berries, cinnamon, chocolate sauce, etc. to garnish your bread dessert. I chose walnuts this time. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Summer Drinks for Iftar: Fresh Plums with Cloves

Being so easy, tasty and refreshing home-made summer drinks have turned out to be my favourite this summer. Every other day I use whatever I have on hand in the refrigerator to make some cooling and healthy drinks. Here comes the latest one: Plum juice with cloves. It's one of those traditional Ramadan drinks my mom used to prepare for iftar dinners in Istanbul. I'd also like Milou to feel the same spirit when it comes to Ramadan and all the blessings it surrounds us with. 

Anyways, whether for Ramadan or not, as long as you some fresh plums in the kitchen, you can always follow a few simple steps to enjoy this fabulous cooler.

1 kilo fresh plums
3-5 liters water
1 kilo sugar
2 cloves
2 teaspoons sour salt

1. Wash the plums well and slice them into halves.
2. Put them in a big saucepan and add the sugar and water. 
3. Bring to a boil over high-medium heat.
4. Add the cloves. 
4. Let it simmer until the plums let their red colour out.
5. Add the sour salt. Keep boiling for another 5 minutes.
6. Remove from the heat.
7. Let it sit at room temperature to cool.
7. Once cool, strain it to a sealed container and store it n the refrigerator.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Summer Drinks for Iftar: Fresh Nectarines

 by Diane Herbort 

One of my ex-flatmates - more like a companion to me actually -  came to Sarajevo to visit us a couple of weeks ago. She's such a person that she has all the same colors and similar models in her wardrobe. I remember she was always stuck to some specific models with the same colours and avoided all the others. Well, she's broken a few of her shopping habits when it comes to colors and patterns since she arrived. Milou and I have played sort of ice-breakers for her and she went for the nectarine colour for the nail polish which she confessed she would never give it a try if it weren't me and Milou. I happened to find her several times looking at her nails and enjoying the colour. Anyways, when we went shopping she started to try on a variety of sandals and shoes for a change going for the ones in different colours or with different patterns most of the time. I think she loved the change. The nectarine nail polish she had put on inspired me to make some nectarine juice for iftar which was my first time with the fruit - which is thought to have originated from China, for your information.
Here are the photos. I liked the taste and the colour both. It was a great change for us too and it makes me feel really cool to be making my own juice at home. 

1 kilo nectarines
1 kilo sugar
5 litres water
2 teaspoons sour salt

1. Wash the nectarines well and slice them into halves.
2. Put them in a big saucepan and add the water. 
3. Bring to a boil over high-medium heat.
4. Keep boiling for 10 more minutes and remove from the heat.
5. Let it rest for 1 hour and drain it to another saucepan.
6. Add the sugar and bring to a boil again.
7. Keep boiling until it gets thicker.
8. Add the sour salt. Keep boiling for another 5 minutes.
9. Remove from the heat.
10.Pour into bottles and let it cool down completely and then put the lids on. 
11.Keep in the refrigerator.
12.Add some more water before you serve if it tastes too sweet.