Monday, October 27, 2008

Fall soaps that smell like pumpkin pie

Pumpkin soaps that smell like pumpkin pie

I make these little pumpkin soaps for a client. She has four bathrooms and has them decorated with apothecary jars filled with these little conversation pieces during Thanksgiving ! She reckons that if the kitchen has a pumpkin pie aroma, then why not the bathrooms as well! I bought the " pumpkin pie" fragrance from an on-line soap company in Seattle. These soaps are packed with olive oil, goats milk, shea and cocoa butters and weigh 3oz each.


I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my readers who celebrate Diwali, to have a joyous one!!!

Nazarina A

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Happy halloween! eat, drink and be scary!.....and another award!

An edible dark chocolate ( yes the martini glass is all chocolate!) with chocolate mascarpone mousse.

Neither shaken, nor stirred but definitely whipped!

Peanut butter boy is sending out a call for all your favorite peanut butter creations and is also trying to create awareness for the millions of people that starve daily!!! This is serious, so please click on the peanut butter jar and visit his site. You have until Nov. 30th to send in your recipes!

Chocolate peanut butter caramel wafer cookies and my crafty fondant pumpkins.
( See recipe below)

Decadent frozen malted hot chocolate in a real glass ha! ha!
( Like Serendipity's)
Serendipity was the highlight of my New york travels!

3D martini mold

Here's wishing all you witches, warlocks, gargoyles, ghouls etc... a frightfully good Halloween!

I am invited to a Halloween party and was asked to make chocolate desserts. This was my very first chocolate 3D martini glass and boy! did I struggle! Chocolate is nothing like soap at all! I am such a wizard with my soap creations! Chocolate is way more unstable( temperamental) and it also has to be tempered. The cup ( hollow) part of the glass kept on breaking as I unmolded it. I can mold little chocolate objects with ease like in my " Livin la vita coca post"
Well, as you can see I finally got it right hooray! I hate giving up on anything, so I tried and tried again. Now I have to make about 19 more for the party!

Chocolate mascarpone mousse
  • Dark chocolate
  • Organic heavy whipping cream
  • mascarpone
Melt about 6oz chocolate and let cool. Whip up about 1 cup cold cream and 1/2 c mascarpone for about a minute, add the slightly cooled melted chocolate and whip further until the mousse holds its integrity.

Frozen malted hot chocolate
  • Chocolate ice cream
  • Organic whipping cream
  • Milo
  • Malted milk powder
  • chocolate shavings
  • ice cubes
  • Organic milk
Heat 2 cups milk on low until lukewarm, whisk in 4t milo and 2t malted milk powder, then take off heat and allow to cool . Pour about 1/2 c cream into blender and the milo mixture and blend. While the motor is running add ice cubes one at a time( about 2 cups), until mixture is slightly thickened. Pour into glasses with a scoop of chocolate ice cream, a little whipped cream, shavings and melted chocolate as garnish.

Chocolate peanut butter caramel wafer cookies
  • 24 ice cream wafers ( I either use the ones imported from Denmark called " Loacker"( available at Cost Plus world market or sometimes my family sends me ones from South Africa.
  • 6 oz dark chocolate
  • 1/2 c condensed milk
  • 1 oz organic unsalted butter
  • 1T Lyle's golden syrup ( British product)
  • 3t smooth peanut butter
Cover an 11in x 7in sheet pan with aluminum. Cover the pan with the wafer cookies until it completely covers the pan, cutting the wafers so that it is a perfect fit, then remove the wafers and set aside.Melt the chocolate and 1/2 oz of the butter in a bain marie( water bath) and then cover the base of the cookie sheet with half of the melted chocolate and arrange half of the wafers over this and refrigerate. Add the golden syrup, remainder of the butter and the condensed milk to a saucepan and stir continuously over low heat until mixture begins to bubble, continue stirring 3 more minutes, then add the peanut butter. Spread the caramel over the wafers, arrange the remainder of the wafers over this and last but not least spread with remaining melted chocolate. Refrigerate for 30 mins and cut into desired shapes. These cookies are a cross between Reeses and a kit kat but not that sweet!

All I can say is that I truly enjoyed these dark chocolate goodies. They were not overly sweet because I did after all use the dark chocolate! I know my friends at the party will all be lured to my rich dark desserts and if not I shall cast a spell on them !

Do you think that I am a true chocoholic????

Well Reeni seem to think so because she passed this award on to me! Many thanks Reeni!!!

I am paying it forward to:

If I forgot anyone, please just come and claim it, with love from me!!!

Nazarina A

A crooked house in Sopot, Poland. (Vacation spot by the Baltic sea, Poland is where my Sweetie's from)
Can you imagine having a Halloween party in this place?!!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Power of pink, Awards and on my soap box......

Jen of Beantown Baker is hosting The Power of Pink challenge! Please visit her site to join in and help spread awareness for the battle against breast cancer! Also read her amazing story about her Mom!

Both Yasmeen and Lubna have interesting posts about this debilitating disease so please drop by their sites as well.

I was busy almost all of this week making the pink ribbon soaps for a silent auction, to help raise funds for a breast cancer awareness event. I had to make 35 soap gift baskets and I am pleased that each and every basket went for quite a large sum of money!!! Thanks to all those gracious people who bid high for such an honorable cause !

Rose fragrance

These were some of the other soaps included in the basket. These have a very deep vanilla fragrance.

These are most probably one of the most time consuming soaps to make and thanks to the pure lemon oil, I tend to "trick" people! A lot!

Pure orange oil soaps. The orange groves does not even come close! Just kidding!

Finally, my own homemade mango butter face and body cream. As you can see from the list of some of the raw ingredients below ( shea, cocoa, mango butters, almond oil etc....) , it is all natural and so gentle. It contains no alcohol that so often dries out sensitive skin ! Each and every ingredient plays an important role in keeping the skin healthy!

Last but definitely not least Lubna of Yummy Food has bestowed this beautiful award upon me. Thank you Lubna for this cute butterfly award, it is very much appreciated! The rules are that I extend this award to ten other folks, so I shall comply. I also would like to take this opportunity to let everyone know that I truly extend this award to everyone out there because the fact of the matter is, we all work hard to make our blogs look "cool!" So you are more than welcome to claim it with love from me!

And this award goes to:

Reeni, Girl Japan, Arfi, Anjum, Prudy, Hopie, Meeso, Maimoona, Ochikeron,

Mamafami, Sweetbites, Nemo at daily dabble, Icook4fun, Kevin, Couture Carrie


Please visit these folks, you are in for some good food, fun and not forgetting couture ha! ha!

Nazarina A.

Monday, October 13, 2008

" Split p e a sonality ! "

The yin and the yang of legumes
( split peas and Turkish dhal)

A creamy, flavorful rendition of "two peas in a pod!"

Accompanied by " garlic bread leaf croutons"

Or crispy puff pastry croutons with an interesting crunch ( See below for the how to)

Five star comfort cuisine with puff pastry cutouts

This presentation will have your family or your guests pondering on how you separated the two colors in the pumpkin and in a way it is fun and echoes the premise of this presentation.
Often these legumes are looked upon as culinary hum drum, but when cooked down, it becomes a creamy vehicle for kick a.. soul food! Each personality of these interesting legumes will emerge when you the mistress or master mind manipulate its gastronomic interdependence to achieve a sensational soup symphony. For me, surreal as this may sound, this soup spells Fall with its colorful leaves and also playing in the soft snow, glistening in the bright sunlight. It is then that I realize.......time to get my a.. inside out of this frigid yet refreshing arctic air and have a steamy bowl of soup!

Here now finally the recipe:

These are just ordinary ingredients none of your exotic heroics! Please use organic ingredients when possible!

  • 1/4 lb green split peas and a 1/4 lb Turkish masoor dhal ( available from Indian grocer)
  • whole allspice berries and some cloves
  • kosher salt to taste
  • 1 cup frozen green fresh peas
  • 1/4 c chives
  • 1/4 c chopped leeks
  • 1/2 c chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 c chopped parsley
  • garlic powder or fresh even though the powdered form here proves more effective!
  • few turns of crack black
  • 6 carrots
  • 1 big onion
  • 1 tomato peeled
  • tomato paste
  • 1 potato
  • 2 roasted jalapeno seeds removed ( sometimes I purchase these from Mexican markets where they only roast these chillies in huge drums and can you imagine the aroma..... AWESOME!!!!
  • cumin
Normally I just make one color and that is just the green split peas with all the veggies cooked down with the tomato paste added but I really wanted to evoke some playfulness and I can assure you, anyone will enjoy eating their veggies in this way!

Boil the two different color legumes in separate saucepans. To the green split peas, add some salt, water just enough to cover, a few allspice berries and cloves and the leeks and cook until creamy. Add enough water to thin out the soup . Add the peas, only 1/4 c of cilantro, 1/4 c of the parsley, the chives, garlic powder and the crack black and cook for few minutes more. Blend this mixture, pour back into saucepan with one of the roasted jalapenos and keep on a low heat.

Meanwhile to the Turkish dhal, add some water just enough to cover, salt, crack black, allspice, cloves and cook for about 20 mins. Add the peeled carrots, onion, potato, and cook further until the whole veggies are tender making sure to add water continuously to keep the soup of pourable consistency. Blend this mixture with the peeled fresh tomatoes and the remainder of the cilantro and parsley . Pour back into saucepan and add 2 T of tomato paste and the other whole roasted jalapeno and a touch of cumin. keep both saucepans on a low simmer until ready to eat.


I rolled out puff pastry and made twists and even cut out letters of the alphabet. I brushed with an egg wash and sprinkled with grated sharp cheddar and Parmesan and paprika OR brush some with an egg wash and sprinkle with your favorite crushed potato chips and then bake.

For the leaves:

Use a cookie cutter and cut shapes from bread, brush with melted garlic butter, dip the edges in chopped parsley and bake

Sometimes I make this soup with meat. Please enjoy!

Nazarina A

Roast chicken noodle soup with kicka.....crispy straws

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Pączki and Makowiec for my prince polo!

Delicious Polish desserts for my prince polo!

Click on pictures to enlarge!

Pączki ( Pronounced PONSKI.... Polish doughnuts) with homemade plum and blackberry preserves

I love this tin; It came all the way from Poland with dark chocolate!

My homemade plum and blackberry preserves ( My addition)

Unbaked pączki and "freeze dried raspberries" ( Use pestle to pound fine) ( My addition)

makowiec: click on the picture for this recipe!

My sweetie is of Polish descent and grew up eating these desserts. Therefore it was only prudent that I at least try to make them for him. His Mom gave me the recipes and I made subtle changes to make the recipes my own. I love to be creative and as you well know, "I never follow the pack." I am a little rebel especially where recipes are concerned. Aberration is truly my middle name and he loved my variations better!

Please use organic ingredients when possible.

Recipe for my plum and blac
kberry preserves: ( My Addition)
  • 6 big plums
  • 1c h2o
  • 1/4 c organic sugar crystals, minus 2 teaspoons
  • 6 oz blackberries
  • 1 box Kojel (tropical punch jel dessert) or any kosher jello
  • sparkling grapetiser
Wash and cut plums into small pieces and place in a saucepan with the sugar and the water and cook for about 20 mins until the fruit is cooked down but still have a little bit of integrity. You just want the natural pectin of the plums to be released. Add the washed blackberries and cook for another 5 mins. Remove from the stove and let cool for 10 min. I mixed 2 teaspoons of the kojel with a little sparkling white grapetiser and set it aside for 5 mins. The result was that it jelled ! I then mixed it gingerly into the preserves being careful not to break the blackberries. This was an experiment and let me tell you, these preserves were not sweet at all. It had a delicious twang!

Recipe for the Pącki:
  • 3 and three quarter cups organic unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/4 c cornstarch (my addition)
  • 1/4 oz dried yeast
  • 1/2 c super fine sugar
  • 3T unsalted European butter
  • 2 Egg lands best eggs( beaten)
  • 2/3 c warm water
  • 2T vanilla extract( I use the one from Santo Domingo), use any brand you prefer! ( My addition)
  • 1t cardamom ( my addition)
  • plastic container of "Just Raspberries" (freeze dried raspberries) (My addition)
  • 1 t artificial rum extract ( my addition)
Method: In a bowl of a kitchen aid, sift the flour, cornstarch, cardamom and stir in the yeast. Rub in the butter, until it resembles fine pebbles. Mix in the sugar. Use a pestle to pound 3 handfuls of the freeze dried raspberries and then add to the flour mixture. Make a well in the mixture and add the eggs, water, vanilla, artificial rum extract and mix to a soft dough with the dough hook. The dough has to be smooth and elastic, so continue kneading in kitchen aid for 10 more minutes and also if you see that the mixture is a bit dry, just add a little bit more water. If you live above 5,000ft like me and there is no humidity, then you have to add a little more liquid to recipes!
Put dough in an oiled bowl in a warm place , cover with plastic and let rise for an hour until doubled in volume. Knead the dough again and divide into twenty balls. Flatten each ball, add 1t plum preserves and pinch firmly to seal. Place the balls on a lightly floured tray and leave to rise for 30 mins. The recipe says to fry the doughnuts, but I baked them at 400 degrees for about 25- 30 mins until golden brown. Roll the fried or baked doughnuts immediately into a mixture of the super fine sugar and cinnamon. Serve these doughnuts warm.

Tip: Spray plastic wrap with olive oil spray, in this way when the dough rises it will not stick to the plastic.

These doughnuts were crispy on the outside and had a soft crumb. The fresh preserves oozed out as you bit into them and was such a lovely accompaniment with tea or coffee. The makowiec too was just so darn good and gave a new meaning to coffee bread at least for me. My philosophy about overindulging almost proved to be null and void ha! ha! I did however " overnight express mail" some to my sweetie's Mom! Pączki and Makowiec are great treats!

PLease enjoy!

Nazarina A

See how easy this gingerbread chocolate train was here!
I have all the templates and if you can cut pizza, you can
cut this dough with a pizza cutter

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A superlatively sensational shrimp curry fest!

Shrimp curry with dried chili mangoes in a fragrant basmati rice ring

Shrimp curry over lightly fried flour sticks( "Pancit Canton" product of Philippines)

Dried chili mangoes (these chili mangoes are not spicy at all has more of a sweet Hungarian paprika taste available at Sunflower Farmer's market) and flour stick
s (available at Asian markets)

Shrimp curry with roasted citrus over
colorful basmati rice & pappadoms ( pappadoms aka urad available at Indian stores)

Often a dish can go from mundane to just ostentatiously irresistible! Look closely before breezing by my method of making this flavorful curry and deciding that this is just another curry-in-a-hurry. It is all this "lagniappe"( meaning that little bit "extra" ) , in other words, all the bells and whistles that elevate this dish! It reminds me of my microbiology professor who hailed from New Orleans and who used this term "lagniappe," another form of extra credit, to encourage us to excel and as you can see it shows in gastronomic proportions in all of my culinary ventures. The dried chili mangoes partially dissipate and impart a sweet and sour element of surprise to the sauce. Crazzzzzzy good!

Ingredients ( Please use organic ingredients when possible) :

Together with 5 green onions, cut an orange or tangerine, lemon and a head of garlic in half , brush with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and roast in the oven at 375 degrees until caramelized. This takes about 30 mins and set aside to cool.
  • 2lbs peeled and deveined shrimp (lightly washed and packed on ice)
  • 6 med. tomatoes cut in half and grated on the fine side of grater. Discard the peel.
  • kosher salt to taste
  • 1 small onion chopped fine
  • couple slices of green bell pepper
  • 3 strips of the dried chili mangoes, sliced in smaller pieces or use quince sliced
  • 1t ginger paste ( pound small piece ginger )
  • 1/2 c chopped cilantro
  • 1t turmeric
  • 1t garam masala( I make my own roasted mix)
  • 1t seafood masala mix
  • couple curry leaves

Saute the chopped onion and the green bell pepper until caramelized. Add the grated tomato and half of the roasted garlic, the chopped roasted green onions and the ginger paste and cook for 20 mins until you have a luscious sauce with just a little bit of texture. Add all the spices, dried mangoes and curry leaves and cook for 5 mins. Now only add the juice of the roasted citrus and half of the cilantro and cook for another 5 mins. Last but not least, add the shrimp and the remainder of the cilantro and cook until the shrimp are just pink about 7 mins.
Serve with flavorful basmati rice or lightly fried flour sticks and pappadoms.
Please do not for one minute think that this dish is overly spicy because I cannot tolerate too much heat even though my family can. I know that I give the indication with fiery red chillies as presentation, but these chillies are only used as a garnish and not in the curry itself. This dish does absolutely score high in taste! Please enjoy. it is my pleasure to serve you!

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