The Eggplant Story

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It is over a decade now, that we came here, to this continent. You know…..the New World, like Christopher Columbus did many centuries ago.

It wasn’t really that easy in the beginning. But I don’t want to write about the sad part. Sometimes, when we started to talk about our first year here, our friends are tell me, that I should write about this. Some things were funny, mostly sad, but…

That’s why I want to write tonight about one day – The Eggplant story.

Let’s start from where we came – Armenia. For those, who doesn’t know where it is – it’s a small country in mountains. Actually on the foot of the mountain Ararat, that one, from the Bible. Close to the Black and Mediterranean Seas. Armenia is very sunny and therefore there is tons of sweet fruits and beautiful vegetables.

When we came here my knowledge of English was close to zero (even though I fluently knew 2 languages and studied another one in school). But English – no.

So, it was a couple of months after our arrival. We went grocery shopping, bought some vegetables, including eggplants too. Prices here are in pounds, so different from what we are used to (in kilograms). We walked home from the store, no car back then. I started to look at the receipt. What we bought, was 3 small eggplants (baby eggplants) – and I saw the price for that – around $6! 6 bucks!!! 3 SMALL eggplants… I couldn’t believe it. I was furious! I should return them! Everybody started to calm me down, saying who is going to go back to the store? It was actually quite a bit of a distance. But I didn’t listen to anybody and in a minute I was already on my way to the supermarket, determined to fight. In my mind I was calculating how much money $6 will be in our national currency and was imagining how many kilo eggplants it would be… Imagine, in a summer time, harvest time every household was preparing preserves for winter, therefore people were buying 20, 30 kg of eggplants – and making different types of preserves – with tomatoes, pepper, garlic, and parsley, fried, grilled and etc… List is actually very long and preserves are very yummy!!! I remember, once I decided to buy 20kg and it was actually a big mountain of eggplants on our balcony. Thank God, they stay long, because I couldn’t handle that amount in one day.

So, remembering that, I was looking at 3 small eggplants in my bag and getting more and more angry.

I didn’t think much, when I took off alone, that I can’t speak English. I came to the store and started saying “Refund, Refund” repetitively to the cashier. The cashier was asking me something, but what’s the point? I couldn’t understand. She called a manager, and now he is asking me questions. I think, they were asking, what’s the problem with the vegetables? That word I knew – I said – expensive. And again – refund!

So… They give me my money back, I was relieved and went out from the store and there was my husband, catching his breath, just made it uphill to the store. I was so furious, I made it there in no time.

Now it is funny… I can laugh, sure. But, that particular day wasn’t funny at all for me.

In my next post I will write the recipe for an eggplant salad, and I promise you it is very easy and tasty.

Thanks for reading

Nune

Very short post…

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Hello there! I started the blog 6 months ago and posted several posts  and then somehow stopped, I don’t really know why… Mainly, I think, because I didn’t really see the purpose of it. I thought, nobody is going to read that stuff, so…

But suddenly a couple of days ago, I wanted to check the spelling of my blog name, and I google it. You can’t imagine my reaction, when in response I’ve got 2 (TWO!) pages with links, where the name was used! I started to check everyone of it, and realised that people really even quoting it :), Pinned it, etc…

So, for those, who are not sure is it really worth it to put something you’re passionate about in the blog, this is the answer – Just write. That’s right.

This wasn’t really a recipe post, just my thoughts… Now I know, that I have to prepare something new for my blog and I will.

Have a great day

NUNE

Healthy Eating is a Matter of Personal Choice

Today in the store I noticed a cake stand and decided to look at the labels of some of the cakes there. List of ingredients took up almost the entire side of the package. It means that instead of real cake you are eating just chemical components… In that case it is no surprise that sooner or later in life we end up with so many health issues. In order to offer to the consumer cake for that low price the big chain stores are offering, they have to use those ingredients.

In my case I only use whole products that you can actually pronounce – eggs, sugar, butter, real cocoa (best quality), chocolate, cream, real vanilla, flour etc.

Because I believe that people should have access to cakes free of chemicals.

Feel free to also visit my Facebook page.

Thanks for reading,

Nune

Gluten and Guilt Free

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I do love to bake, really, I do. But sometimes my family complains about putting on pounds.

And last weekend I decided to make something sweet but in the meantime not so heavy. So, this is gluten-free dessert for you, without any flour.

All you need is 4 egg whites and 1 cup of sugar. Some recipes call for 1,5 cups sugar for that amount of egg whites, but I used only a cup and it turned out just fine. And who needs extra sugar anyway?

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Preheat the oven to 200 F (or 95 C). Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

First you have to carefully divide eggs, because even a smallest amount of yolk can ruin your merengue. It is better to divide egg whites when eggs are cold.

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Bring egg whites to room temperature before starting.

To clean the bowl of any fat or oil you can wipe it with some vinegar or lemon juice.

Place your egg whites in the bowl and start mixing them on the medium speed for 3-5 minutes. After that put on a maximum speed and beat until eggs become foamy but not dry.

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Start adding sugar with a spoon, keep the mixer on.

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When the mixture looks stiff and shiny, stop mixing. Transfer the meringue to the baking sheet with a spoon or a piping bag. This is totally your choice.

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Baking time actually varies from 1,5 to 2 hours, until meringues are dry. After turning off the oven, leave the meringue inside and keep the oven door open. When they are completely cool, remove from the oven and the baking sheet.

You can serve merengue like that or you can put your favorite icing between two merengue and it will become fancy pastry.

I decided to put orange zest in the icing and covered the meringue with my favorite drizzle – chocolate ganache. Three components – meringues itself, flavor of orange and chocolate made the magic! Light, fancy and sophisticated dessert.

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What is your favorite gluten-free dessert?

Enjoy!

P.S. For those, who had the patience to read my really long post, I want to also invite you to my Facebook page, where you can find much more variety of yummy pastries.

 

Limited edition cupcakes or story behind the photo

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Sometime ago I brought a book of Junior’s Restaurant & Cheesecakes recipes. I never before heard about that place (which is in NYC, btw), but I like the recipes and one in particular – Oreo cookie cream cheese cupcakes. Recipe was complicated, but I was very determined to make those cupcakes.
So… I did. In each paper cup you have to make a real mini cheesecake. And bake them also like cheesecake. After spending 2 hours baking I was rewarded by the most delicious cupcakes I ever baked! Not only they looked exactly the same as in the magazine, they tasted amazing!
So never be afraid to try something you never tried before.
 
 

Small Sweet Indulgence – Puff Pastry Cream Horns

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I love working with puff pastry dough. Nowadays it’s easily available in every supermarket’s frozen food section, ready to use.

In this post I want to share with you how to make cream horns. In our family it was a tradition to make them around the holidays. Sweet times…

The molds I am using are very old and almost antique. My grandma was using them and I think she got them from her mother-in-law. So imagine how old they must be now!

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OK, enough of history, here we go:

  • Preheat oven to 410 F. Prepare your baking sheets by putting parchment paper or silicone sheets. You don’t have to grease them.
  • If you are using ready-to-bake puff pastry dough, read the instructions on the label. Usually, you have to keep it in the refrigerator overnight to thaw, or in room temperature for couple of hours. Dough should still be cold when you touch it. Roll the dough into a rectangle form and ¼ of an inch thick.
  • Cut the dough into 1 inch stripes. I normally use a pizza cutter.

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  • Gently wrap the dough stripes around the molds, overlapping the edges.

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  • Put on the baking sheet, leaving enough distance between them. It is puff pastry, remember?

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  • Bake in the preheated oven (very important for puff pastry!) for about 15 -17 min. You can decrease the temperature after 10 min to 400 F.
  • The shells are ready, when they turn golden.

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  • Remove them from the oven, let cool for a little bit, then move to the cooling rack. When completely cool, remove the shells from the molds by gently (!) twisting them off.

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  • Now you can fill them with whipped cream or your favorite icing.
  • Final touch – dust your pastries with icing sugar.

Now it’s time for a coffee!!!

Enjoy!

Nune

P.S. About the molds, if you don’t have any available, you can find them online, just Google cream horn molds.

Easy-breezy coffee cake

Not every day is a special occasion, but sometimes you just want to eat something sweet, but not so heavy – without any icing on it. And in that case usually you have everything in your fridge, without any special shopping.

I have a very easy recipe for you to try.

All you need is:

-3 eggs

-3/4 cup of sugar

-1 cup of plain yogurt, or sour cream (or even just cream, whatever you have in the fridge)

-50gr (or less than ½ stick) of butter

-1 ½ cup of any flour (all purpose or cake flour)

-1/2 tsp of baking soda

-pinch of salt

-1/2 tsp of vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C), and grease your spring form (9 inch diameter). You can bake in any form you want, it doesn’t have to be a spring form.

Beat together butter and sugar on a low speed, add eggs, one at the time, add the dairy ingredient (yogurt, sour cream or cream), mix until the batter looks smooth (doesn’t have any lumps in it).

In a separate bowl mix together flour, soda and salt. Add flour to your batter in two parts mixing with a spoon until smooth. Here comes the fun part! To give a special flavour to your cake you can add lemon zest (plus little bit of juice), orange zest, chocolate chips, even raisins, any dried fruit and vanilla to the batter. It is totally your imagination or preference.

Bake for 20-25 min in the oven until it’s golden brown. You can check by inserting a toothpick in the cake if it’s cooked through. If toothpick comes out clear, it’s done.

Leave on a cooling rack for 10 min, after which you can remove your cake from the form.

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Enjoy with tea, milk or coffee!

ilivingwell

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