Toffee Nut Latte Cupcakes

Toffee Nut Latte

For me, winter holidays start when Starbucks launch their annual holiday beverages, especially my favourite, Toffee Nut Latte. I love the combo and would continue drinking it until the stores would run out of the syrup. Now that I live in a country where unfortunately there are no Starbucks in the vicinity, I was able to get a bottle of the Toffee Nut syrup, which I used anytime I drank coffee here, to bring me some holiday spirit. I used to bring it to work, and when I shared with one of my colleagues he said: “This thing is so amazing, it could even make dirt taste delicious”.

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Bliss truffles – the healthy version

Bliss balls 1

As the new year leaps in, January surely becomes a time for new resolutions. New promises, new challenges to our own selves are always part of these resolutions. Some might have started the new year with new objectives which vary from reading more books (one of mine) to hitting the gym more often (again mine), find a new career, become more responsible, save more money and basically anything else we didn’t like about us the past year. Sadly, I have yet to meet someone who has accomplished all their New Year resolutions throughout the whole year. They usually last the first few month(s), very unfortunately.

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Hazelnut spread

Hazelnut Spread

It has been raining for so many days straight here, I am not even sure what month it is anymore. These kind of gloomy, rainy days are a perfect inspiration to get in the kitchen and start cooking something.

If you are feeling the same, I have the perfect way to cheer things up in the kitchen and your whole house. Make some hazelnut spread/butter from scratch. And when I say from scratch I mean from the very scratch. Like cracking your own hazelnut shells.

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Overload of grapes – Grape Chutney

Grape chutney

As autumn arrives, we still try to make the most of the last few summer fruits that are left. So, it might not seem that strange when I try to purchase all the grapes, figs and melons left on the market.

A couple of years ago I found myself with a very large amount of grapes, the very good, very Albanian type of grape which is used for a famous wine ( Shesh i zi, literally meaning black square) and looks like the very round, black type of grape full of aroma. As eating it straight way or juicing was something I was already bored with, I was looking for a nice recipe to incorporate my big batch of aromatic grapes. Then I came across a recipe for grape chutney. I wasn’t quite sure what a chutney was, as I had only ever tried the mango chutney in Indian restaurants in London. So I just gave it a try.

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Fast Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate pudding is my guilty pleasure. And when I crave it, I need it really fast. The store bought pudding is a very desperate measure, but since I saw the fastest pudding recipe ever, I gave up the store pudding.

This recipe I got from Food52 only takes about 10 minutes and uses a blender. That was really surprising at first, and as all unconventional things brought some skepticism. But you only need to try it once, realise how easy and fast you can make chocolate pudding and you are hooked.

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Homemade Coconut milk

Freshly made coconut milk

During my experimental phase when I was trying to not eat dairy ( and it was so hard to give up cheese and yogurt) I tried to “milk” anything. One of my favorite and also easiest milking procedures is making fresh coconut milk.

Of course, living in South East Europe doesn’t make it a great place to grow coconuts, so I usually use the brown coconut, not the green fresh one you may find in tropical climates.

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A bowl of comfort – Bubur Kacang Hijau

Babur Kacang Hijau

There is something very comforting about food in a bowl: a hot bowl of soup, a fresh bowl of ramen, a crunchy bowl of cornflakes (for dinner), a wholesome bowl of beans. Beans. Mung beans and coconut milk. Tropical comfort in a bowl to bring me back to palm skies and mango tress.

My first encounter with Bubur Kacang Hijau was this summer, during my short stay in Indonesia. It was one of the very few breakfast items I didn’t recognize at the breakfast buffet. And if you know me, I am always up for trying new things, especially related to food. A warm bowl of sweet aromatic coconut milk with mung beans. I lost count how many ladles of goodness I poured myself that morning. I hadn’t tried mung beans before, and I wouldn’t have guessed that they would make such a perfect match with coconut milk.

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