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Soured Cream Chocolate Cake (baked in the air fryer)

This year I started a new adventure in cooking dishes into the air fryer. Cakes, of course, were on the list to test and I was surprised to see that they actually turned out very well. There are some parameters to tinkle but I was really surprised with the results.

This cake recipe is adapted from a new recipe book I bought. I was disappointed that the book had photos for only 1/4 of the recipes. In the era where videos of recipes rule the internet, a cake book without pictures to inspire and motivate you to bake for me is essential. I was at the point of returning the book but decided to test some recipes first. The resulting cakes, even adapted by myself (you know me, I cut the sugar from everywhere) were surprisingly nice. So, I decided finally to keep the book. I still feel like in the times of my mother where you could have just imagined how a cake could turn while reading a recipe because there was no image to show. I give you then my touch and present the final image of the cake here.

The cake is very moist, not very sweet and not bitter either. I would try even one more change next time, by replacing 20g of cocoa powder with all-purpose flour.

Enjoy!

Nezuko Cake


I make just a few anniversary cakes yearly, but when I do them, I want to be remembered.


This weekend we celebrated the 11th anniversary of my daughter. At this age, doll cakes are not in fashion anymore, so I followed her taste. Nezuko is her favourite character, so you can imagine that the cake should have been related.


Luckily, her mother bought a plotter recently, so making stencils was a piece of cake (or should have been...). Her mother also added to her tools collection a cake airbrush for this occasion. I can only conclude that, me, as her mother, sometimes I challenge myself maybe too far. But in the end, for my first stencilled cake, it doesn't look that bad. The most important thing was achieved, my daughter was very proud of her anniversary cake and me, in this way I achieved my goal, to make a cake to be remembered.

40% Kamut Sourdough Bread


Today, I made a 40% kamut sourdough bread.

But what is kamut?

Kamut is an ancient grain thought to be a cousin of durum, with a grain that is at least twice the size of modern wheat. This grain comes with nice stories behind it and has many given names. In 1949, a US airman purchased 36 kernels from a vendor in Cairo who claimed to have taken them from a tomb of an ancient Egyptian king. He brought this grain to his father who had a farm and planted them. They called it King's Tut wheat but they had only small local success with it. It was just later in the 1990 that kamut became a commercial success after being trademarked to protect and guarantee that it would be grown organically and unmodified. Demand started to grow when people found kamut to be more easily digested and more flavoured compared to modern wheat varieties.

Although the last part of the story is certain, the origin of this grain is debatable as it is highly unlikely that wheat grains could sprout after 2000 years as the seeds' ability to germinate is almost lost during this time.


Another legend says that Noah brought this khorasan wheat with him on the ark, from where, another name for kamut is the “Prophet’s Wheat".

Also, the farmers in Turkey call the grain “Camel’s Tooth” because of its specific shape.

Kamut is a good source of protein, containing up to 40% more protein compared to modern wheat and it is lower in gluten. Kamut is also higher in minerals, such as Selenium and zinc. 

Kamut flour has a yellowish colour and tends to have higher water absorption. A dough made with it, forms good elasticity but is less well performing in extensibility, resulting in dough with less volume and denser texture.

Bread with kamut flour is slightly sweeter and has a rich, buttery and nutty flavour. It is firm and holds easily anything you want to spread on it. It is easy to digest due to its low gluten content while having high proteins, fibres, vitamins and minerals. Therefore, it might be a good alternative for those with gluten sensitivities.


Now, let's see the recipe:

Chicken Soup in Instant Pot

I make this soup at least 2 times a month for years. It became my classic recipe for soup. 

The initial recipe I posted here: Traditional chicken soup. I made this soup in all sorts of ways: in a traditional pressure cooker, in a regular big pot but since I've got my Instant Pot, it is the only way I do it.

The soup is so versatile, it can accept all types of vegetables that are left over in the fridge like an eggplant, a zucchini or more tomatoes/bell peppers. 

The advantage of the Instant Pot is that I can cook the chicken straight from the freezer, skipping the time to defrost them. I do not even need to cut them because, in the end, the meat simply falls out of the bones and you can break them with just a simple spatula.

There is a secret ingredient that for me is a must: the lovage. You might not be familiar with this herb but its flavour fits amazingly with the soup. During the summer I enjoy the fresh lovage leaves but during the winter I use the dried version of it. In case you do not have it available, use parsley.

I am not sure if I can "advertise" more this soup.

Below is the adapted recipe for the Instant Pot.

Cherry pound cake

A pound cake usually is a simple recipe with 1:1:1:1 ratio of ingredients. This means that you put inside the same quantity of butter, sugar, flour and eggs. Well, that's the theory. Practically, adding that much sugar for me is a bit too much considering that these black fresh cherries are also super sweet. I then cut the sugar in 2. Sweetness turned out just perfect for me. 


Even if I love this recipe, I am tempted to play with some of the quantities to adjust to the height of the glass pan that I have.

I made many cherry cakes over the years, and most of the time I used another method, first foaming the egg whites, then the yolks and gently mixing in the flour. That recipe has no added fats and tastes drier even the cherries add moisture inside. This recipe starts by beating the butter with sugar that will create bubbles and just then, adding the eggs. The taste and texture are on the other side of the scale: creamy, soft, wetter.  
The 2 recipes might look the same, however, they will be different in your mouth.
Testing somewhere an addition of fat somewhere in the middle makes me curious about the taste and consistency. But for now, here is the recipe...

Asparagus and Mushroom Tart


It was for the first time in my life to bake a tart with asparagus. I have eaten this vegetable before but I never used it in a tart. One day, I saw it at the market and challenged myself to do something new with it.
I wanted something simple, delicious and good looking.
I served this tart to my family and it was incredibly well received.

Little did I know last week when I baked this tart for the first time that I will do it again today for a dear friend unfortunately for a very sad occasion. One of my ex-colleague and a close family friend lost his life unexpectedly after a heart attack. The pain to lose him is unmeasurable for his wife and his 2 little girls, one of them being a colleague with my son at school also. I have no words to describe this shocking news but I know that I baked this tart with all my heart. I wished I would have shared it with him alive but the faith decided otherwise. If you are up there my dear friend, this tart is for you.

 


Summer Soup in Instant Pot


What can be more refreshing for dinner than a summer soup?

This is an enhanced tomato soup with some amazing extra vegetables. I will be honest and say that initially, I wanted tomato soup. But looking into the fridge, I found other leftover fresh vegetables that I bought originally for grilling. I hate throwing away food and hiding them in soup seemed a good idea. Actually, it was not a good idea, it was a brilliant idea. Even my husband made the comment that this soup was incredibly delicious and he loved it.

Another aspect is that since I've got my Instant Pot, all my soups are made inside. The thing that captivated me is the easiness and the speed the soup comes out from the IP. Of course, you can do it in a normal pot, just that you'll need to be around and stir from time to time while your kitchen would be full of steam.

I can only recommend this soup to be made with fresh vegetables. If you have your own garden to grow these vegetables, that would be the ideal situation. I have a garden but I cannot grow all these amazing vegetables there, so I can only rely on the Saturday market or super market. Vegetables grown in your own garden would be much more delicious, no doubt about that.

Check the recipe below. 

Apricot Cake Hearts


For this recipe, I used the same batter as for the Simple Bundt Cake
To make it an apricot cake, I've added 500g of diced (or sliced) apricots, just before scooping it into moulds.

Apricot Mint Ice Cream

 

When summer comes, I tend to switch from baking cakes to making ice cream. Why? Because is so delicious, healthy and easier to make. My kids love everything that is frozen (especially if it comes on a stick) and tastes fruity.

This recipe is so versatile. You can use whatever fruits you have available, fresh or frozen. You can replace sour cream with coconut milk, whipped cream or any kind of cream that has some fat consistency. The maple syrup could be replaced by powdered sugar, brown sugar or a healthier option like honey. I let your imagination compose this recipe with any fruits or ingredients you have at hand.

Sunflower Seeds Sourdough Bread

 

I baked on purpose the same dough with different seed additions. This is the 3rd one of the series. The speciality of this bread is the sunflower seeds. Compared to the previous ones (chia and poppy seeds), the sunflower seeds are bigger in size. Its tip is very stiff and acts like a needle when touches a bubble. 

I did not hydrate the seeds before because I still wanted them on the crunchy side. Therefore, no wonder that from all, this was the less bumpy loaf.

In terms of taste and flavour, the poppy seeds version had the most pronounced nutty version. Which one do I prefer the most....hmmm difficult to choose from these fantastic loaves. Each is different and each is gorgeous. Maybe I should continue the experiment with other types of seeds. But until then, here is the recipe...