Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Apple Cake with Cinnamon Topping

“Happiness quite unshared can scarcely 
 be called happiness; it has no taste.” 


  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ⅓ cup oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk (you can sub milk+vinegar, or plain yogurt+milk)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 1½ cups chopped apples 

For the topping
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1,5 tablespoons butter


  1. Preheat oven to 165C. Prepare the pan. Watch the video here
  2. Mix ingredients in order given (except the last 3 ingredients for the topping).
  3. Pour batter into the pan.
  4. Combine last 3 ingredients to make a topping and sprinkle it evenly over the batter.
  5. Bake for at least 45 minutes up to 1 hour. 
  6. Serve it warm. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

What Do Chestnuts Taste Like?

Seed, raw or cooked - which one would you prefer? I love them roasted. 

Well, how would you describe the taste then? 

"A somewhat astringent taste raw, it improves considerably when cooked and is delicious baked with a floury texture and a flavour rather like sweet potatoes" they keep saying.  It sounds so ordinary, doesn't it? There must be some other adjectives to describe that taste but which ones?

A friend of mine, after much thought, decided that chestnut to him is the father he has been missing. I appreciated his ability to describe the taste so delicately. However, what concerns me more than his conscientiousness is the fact that he compared the chestnut taste to the lack of hope in his relation with his father. This has been constantly bothering me - what could it be that made him feel that way when he ate some well-roasted chestnuts? 

Until... until I came across Dr. Edward Bach's flower remedies today. All that time, I was wondering whether chestnuts contain some magical substance that exceptionally works on people and unlocks the doors to hope that could heal all the wounds of the past. Then, I read about how chestnut is used in Bach flower remedies - the keywords for prescribing it are 'Extreme mental anguish', Hopelessness' and 'Despair'. Let me quote Dr. Edward Bach:

“For those moments which happen to some people when the anguish is so great as to seem to be unbearable. When the mind or body feels as if it had borne to the uttermost limit of its endurance, and that now it must give way. When it seems there is nothing but destruction and annihilation left to face.”

It can't be a simple coincidence. It must be the very magical content that I've been tracing for weeks. I still do not know what exactly it is - starch, one of those various sugars, unsaturated fat, or even vitamin C it contains. Whatever it is, it is something to cheer up the souls in need of hope. Perhaps, Dr. Bach and his remedies are not so effective after all, who knows. However, when you feel hopeless despair, and you feel an intense sorrow and feel destroyed by it, as Dr. Bach indicated, roast some sweet chestnuts and eat them. They must help. Reassuring, isn't it?

The photograph below shows a sheet of vintage water slide decal made in Italy by Art Deco-Cals. I'd been keeping it since I got stuck with finding the right adjectives to describe the taste of chestnuts. I decided to post it here after I read Dr. Bach's interpretation of chestnuts' healing power. Please drop me a line, if you want the decal. I'll post it to you immediately. Even the decal of chestnuts might cheer you up. Who knows?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Pyhllo Tartlets with Pear and Cream Cheese

“The little boy nodded at the peony and the peony seemed to

 nod back. The little boy was neat, clean and pretty. The 

peony was unchaste, dishevelled as peonies must be, and at

 the height of its beauty.(...) Every hour is filled with such 

moments, big with significance for someone.” 

phyllo pastry
1 small egg
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
butter, melted
pears, ripe
cream cheese, 1-2 desert spoons for each tart shell
powdered sugar
ground cinnamon
Prep the sauce
Break the egg to medium bowl and add the milk and vegetable oil. Whisk until mixed well.

Assemble and bake the mini pyhllo tarts

Pre-heat the oven to 180 C.

Brush the melted butter into the tartlet shells. 

With a sharp knife cut layers of pyhllo into circles the same size of the bottom of the tart shells. 

Lay one pyhllo circle into the tart shells and brush the sauce onto it. 

Slice the pears very thinly and place them on the pyhllo layer.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cinnamon.

Lay two more circles and keep brushing the sauce onto every other of pastry.

Spread the cream cheese and keep layering the pyhllo circles until the shells are full. 

Top the tartlets with more pear slices. 

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cinnamon. 

Bake until golden brown on top.

Cool on a rack until warm and serve with more powdered sugar.