Grilled halloumi

Oh yes! This is my favorite dish for the summer. Halloumi cheese is very special as taste and as texture. It can be grilled and it won't melt in the heat. The texture is more hard than a normal feta cheese. It originates from Cyprus and is not so easy to find it in any shop. I was lucky to find it in Brussels in a well know supermarket chain but not so many people knows what is this cheese. However, you might find it as a starter in Greek restaurants.
Combined with the nutty flavor of rucola  and fresh and sweet cherry tomatoes it is incredible.

This is what you need to make this delicious starter.

Buckwheat and millet waffles

I started this recipe with a lot of energy until I have reached one line "chestnut flour". I was sure I still have some but I couldn't find it at all in my pantry. It was too late to look for another recipe, so I have decided to replace this ingredient with something that I had left: buckwheat flour and millet flour. I have continued the recipe wondering if it would ended up in the garbage. Finally, it didn't and what I made was unexpectedly delicious. The buckwheat flour came with an interesting aroma and the texture was soft. They have nicely grew in the waffle maker. Adding raspberry jam on top made them incredibly tasty. Here it is the recipe I made in the end ...

Rye sourdough seed bread

Two weeks ago I have baked a bread with a top of mixed seeds (seed bread). After coating the bread, I had left around 100g of baked seeds. As the mixture it was not really suited to be eaten like that, it was clear to me that they were to end up in another bread. This time, I was not coating the bread with seeds but include them in the dough. I have started from a recipe but finally I have created something else. The result was WOW! Just look at this bread ... the taste is 10 times better than the look.

Pain de mie

Last weekend I was a bit sick and I was not really in a mood of cooking, not even bread so very soon I was out of bread. During the weekdays I can only cook quick breads, so I decided to go again for a yeast one. I have picked a soft bread that it is baked in tins, but very popular, "pain de mie". I do not have specialized tins for this kind of breads so I have used cake tins and I was very satisfied with the results. The recipe was inspired from a book that is focusing on making bread with a machine. Of course I didn't use the machine but I have used the recipe. Here it is.

Seed bread

This is one of the best breads I made in terms of quality of the crumb. Big holes and an interesting structure inside. As taste, it has the beautiful flavor of sourdough. The seeds on the crust come with a nutty flavor. In combination, crust and crumb makes an amazing bread.

Berries and chocolate pavlova

Lately I've been extremely busy and didn't have either the time or the energy to cook a fancy cake. And I had a lot of occasions including the nameday of my daughter. In fact, baking a cake was not in my plans at all for this weekend. Everything started from the 5 egg whites that I was having in my fridge since the last cooking. What to do with them? Initially I wanted some meringues, then an angel food cake but the winner was a Pavlova. The recipe is a variation of the classical Pavlova that I made previously.

Coconut yogurt

Since my daughter started to drink cow milk, we buy it only from a neighbor farm. We buy 15 liters of raw milk and my husband bring it to my kitchen when is still warm from the cow. I then boil it, let it cool and split it: 1/3 goes to the freeze, 1/3 goes in bottles in the fridge and 1/3 goes to yogurt. And I do this almost every 3 weeks. Making yogurt regularly at home became as normal to me as baking bread. This time I wanted to try a new recipe of yogurt and from the normal process of doing it, I didn't change too much except that I have separated 1 liter of milk and add some extra ingredients.
This is an interesting recipe, it transform the classic yogurt into a nice light dessert.

Chicken soup a la grec

My mother knows that from all the meets, I am a fan of chicken. This is why, one of the first cook books she passed me was about how to prepare chicken. This book is no bigger than a pocket and somehow I put it in the back of my shelf, for the simple reason that it has no picture in it. Nowadays, is difficult to find a cookbook without photos inside. I actually believe that photos are selling the cookbook because the reader wants to know how it looks. Nevertheless, coming back to my little chicken cookbook, I took it out from the shelf and look for some interesting recipes. This is the first one I have selected...

Brussels waffles

This is definitely a Belgium specialty. After 8 years living in Belgium it worth to try something local at home. I bought sometimes some from touristic shops, but believe me there is no compare. The ones you buy on the streets are extremely sweet and most of the time not well cooked. I gave up on the idea of trying more of them until one day when my neighbor brought me some for my daughter. There were 2 bags and my daughter eat them all. Then I saw in this a great potential to try tp cook them myself. The only important tool that I was missing was the waffle maker / gaufrier. It took me a while to decide to buy one, but one day, I saw a promotion in a supermarket and I just felt it was the time. Coming home, I went to action. My daughter enjoyed a lot the whole process. I picked the first recipe written on the leaflet that came with the waffle maker. It was a very low sugar recipe, so it was perfect. Anyway, they are to be combined with something sweet like jam or honey so why to add extra sugar.
This is not the recipe to make and eat them without a topping so if this what you are after, look for another recipe.
We liked them as they are and my daughter loved them with honey or cerise jam.

Le vivarais

Le vivarais takes its name from the diamond shapes you see on the crust. This pattern is not made by scoring the bread with a blade before baking it but by almost cutting the bread before the final fermentation with a dough scraper. When you do this, the dough is flattening a bit, so sustaining the loafs from the sides is a good idea. I put the loaves on a linen towel and wave it between them.Then, I have shrink the loaves so that they support themselves. Nevertheless, you'll get the breads more flatten than with a normal scoring. But in the end, what is really more important: the aspect or the taste? As a home baker, for me, the aspect is nice but the taste is definitely more important. For this bread in particular, the taste beats the aspect!

Tuna and chives clafoutis

I have left outside over the winter some of the pots with herbs. Many of them have died, but when the spring has come I saw some green tall herbs going out by themselves. Of course, it was me planting them last year but I have totally forgot about them. I am talking about chives of course. They grew nicely but it has come the moment to use them as they were almost blooming. My target was a gratin or a clafoutis and I have found the perfect recipe for this. Here it is:

Almond and chocolate muffins

Looking around for a simple and nice muffin, I arrived to read a recipe book for children. This book looks more like a calendar and I received it from my mother to cook for my daughter. Although it has many great recipes inside I do not know why, but it is the first time to try something from it. And the result was far from being disappointing. This muffin recipe is actually amazing: it is simple to make, it has a crumbly texture due to the ground almond and is very flavored. My daughter in fact loved it even more than me and this for me is a very good indicator that the recipe worth to be made again.

Pumpkin seeds ciabatta

When somebody tells me the word ciabatta I have in mind an almost flat bread, with a rectangular shape and with big holes inside. I still didn't reach this performance but I am still trying. So far, this is probably my best result. Covered with pumpkin seeds makes the ciabatta more attractive. Even if I am quite very satisfied with the result I know there is place for better ;)
Nevertheless, the taste is great, the texture amazing and the flavor is perfect, being a sourdough bread.

Carp roe salad

This is a salad that I miss so much here, living in Belgium. In Romania you find this in any food shop, already prepared. Here is difficult to find even the raw ingredient.
So, what I have done was to buy 1 small box of 100g of roe carp from Romania and bring it here. I made this salad with it. It is so delicious and so tasty that I cannot compare it with any other salad. I'll need to search again in Belgium for a source to buy it ... maybe Romanian shops in Brussels ...

Rye sourdough baguettes

I really though I made a total mess from this recipe. The problem was that instead of putting 1000g of flour I measured only 650g without noticing my mistake. As the recipe said, I let it for autolyse for 1 hour. When I came back to add the rest of ingredients I saw that my dough was actually a running composition. I understood my mistake and I have decided to add more flour. But instead of putting the same type of white bread flour I wanted to give a try to an addition of rye flour. This is how actually I made my own recipe and the inspiration from the book is more that I have started from there.
The surprise was that these baguettes turned to be one of the best baguettes I made before. they opened nicely after scoring and they have an amazing taste.
Although I am very satisfied with my invented recipe, I am still on search for the perfect baguette with nice big holes inside. It will come one day, for sure... till then I'll gain experience ;)