Whole Wheat Popovers

I’ve never made a perfect popover until I tried “The Joy of Cooking” version. Popovers can be tricky and all the conditions to make them must be exact: the consistency of the batter has to be not thicker than whipping cream, the temperature of the ingredients should be at room temperature and the oven very hot with all the heat coming from the bottom. I also floured the buttered tins to ease the removal of the popovers. The classic popover is made from white flour but I prefer the taste and health benefits from this whole wheat version. You can also add chopped herbs like parsley and thyme or spices of your choice for extra flavor. The English version of the popover (and probably its origin) is the Yorkshire Pudding, which isn’t a pudding as Americans would imagine but a similar recipe using hot beef roast drippings in the bottom of the tin. Continue reading

Nutty Chocolate Beet Cupcakes

You can’t beat these nutty chocolate beet cupcakes in healthiness with any other chocolate dessert that I can think of. You’re practically having your vegetable and dessert at the same time! And the rich chocolate flavor doesn’t reveal the “mystery” ingredient at all – the beets actually seem to enhance it making the cupcake moister without hardly any fat at all – only a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil and a minimum of natural coconut sugar. And the omega 3 rich nuts make a perfect topping. Continue reading

Aquafaba Popovers

These aquafaba popovers actually didn’t turn out as regular popovers in that they came out flat and didn’t rise up to my expectations. I’m posting them here anyway until I find the a.f. recipe that works – if there ever is one! Even though they didn’t puff up they were still delicious – delicately crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Great with maple syrup – the texture and taste almost like a miniature waffle. Continue reading

Pistachio Vegan Cupcakes

I made these wonderful little pistachio vegan cupcakes thanks to a vegan pastry course I took at the “Kilometro Bio” vegan restaurant in Monza. Here we learned all sorts of tips on how to substitute egg whites with aquafaba, how to make vegan butter for pastry crusts (crostata) and a wealth of other information on vegan baking. These cupcakes with their rich pistachio flavor also have an interesting souffle like texture which really makes them melt in your mouth. Using these white silicone teacups also made it much easier to bake and serve them. Continue reading

English Sourdough Muffins

Actually these English Sourdough Muffins are only English in name – they are as American as apple pie! There could be a vague resemblance to the English Crumpets which are similar in appearance, but baked in special rings only on one side. Anyway whatever their origins they are a scrumptious treat baked right on top of your stove in a skillet! The same dough can also be baked in the oven with a few cherry tomatoes sliced on top with a dab of olive oil – all of a sudden we have mini pizzas! (or as the Italians call them – pizzette) Continue reading

Tearose Deli

I love cooking and baking but now and then I need a break! Just a few steps away from my home in Monza there is the lovely Tearose Deli right in Piazza del Duomo facing the beautiful cathedral. Not just a cafe’ but also a place where you can enjoy a light vegetarian (or more appropriately vegan) meal – everything freshly made including the bakery goods. The fresh flowers and garden atmosphere makes this cafe’ a perfect stop in a busy day. Continue reading

Controversial Cream Scones

While visiting beautiful Cambridge, barely an hour by train from London, I discovered the interesting Michaelhouse Cafe’ and its delicious cream scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam. The cafe’ was situated in an ancient crypt of a former parish church established in the 1300’s serving also as a chapel for three colleges with the original chapel in full view. Their motto in Latin “Panem angelorum manducavit homo” (meaning “Man hath eaten the bread of angels”) was appropriate to say the least. These scones were truly “heavenly” ! I also discovered an ancient controversy: should the clotted cream be spread first and then the jam as in Devon or first the jam and then the cream in the Cornish version? Well, I tried both and didn’t notice much difference – both were scrumptious! Clotted cream isn’t easy to find outside of England. It’s really worth trying though so I will be posting a recipe soon. It’s actually quite easy to make and I discovered it’s lighter than butter and could be used as a delicious substitute for that. Continue reading