Today my blog pays homage to three amazing bakers who put great effort into each post they compose. Their blog articles end up as detailed tutorials that allow even a beginner baker to tackle what might seem very intimidating at first. I share three recipes, in the chronological order I baked them in the past couple of months.




One of the tastiest cakes baked in our kitchen, and I am not exaggerating. Moist. Sweet to the perfect level. Luscious. Everything works in this cake. For the recipe and very detailed tutorial, visit Helen’s blog with a click here. You will make a blueberry jam to fill the cake, and I advise you to give enough time to allow it to set a bit, just to make it easier to work with…. Below, a little comparison between Helen’s neat work and yours truly… my jam was still bit too loose. No major harm done, though, I just thought it was funny to share.

Helen’s site and her cookbooks are a constant source of inspiration for me. Plus, she is tremendously helpful and whenever I get into trouble I drop her an email. She has rescued me more than once. A lot more than once (wink, wink).

Every once in a while, Helen offers online classes, and I’ve taken a couple of them. One of my favorites was last year, in which she taught how to make Chocolate Tartlets with a caramel filling. A thing of pure beauty and absolutely decadent! Make sure to subscribe to her blog, so you get notification of upcoming classes.



Absolutely delicious, you can make them without the cutouts if you’d like to simplify your life, but of course turning them into Linzer territory is not a bad move at all! For the full recipe click here. I made a very slightly modification adding strawberry extract to the filling and a touch of pink gel color. Other than that, I followed her recipe to a T.

You can modify the filling, use jam, or Nutella, the cookies are very flavorful and will be perfect no matter your choice of filling. Caro has countless baking lessons in her site, I highly recommend you pay her a visit and subscribe to be notified of new posts. Caroline is one of the moderators of a Facebook group with almost 18 thousand members, for lovers The Great British Bake Off, and that’s how I got to know her. I don’t know how she manages to do all she does…


As you can see, I’ve been on a red velvet kick lately. These are spectacular and simple to make, especially if you follow the detailed instructions and the very helpful video available in Tanya’s blog. Essentially two bowls, no need for an electric mixer until you get into frosting territory.

Another example of a great baking instructor, Tanya’s articles are always carefully composed, and I am in awe of the amount of work she puts into the making of each of the videos often included in her posts. In case you don’t know, Tanya was one of the contestants in season 5 of The Great American Baking Show, and I shared the tent with her a few times. She even got a handshake from a certain guy with penetrating blue eyes…

That’s all for now, folks! I hope you visit my friends’ sites, and get as inspired
by their baking as I do…

ONE YEAR AGO: Turkey Meatloaf

TWO YEARS AGO: Prue Leith’s Smoked Salmon and Beetroot Blinis

THREE YEARS AGO: Mandioca Frita 101

FOUR YEARS AGO: White Chocolate Raspberry Dome Cake

FIVE YEARS AGO: Blueberry Crumble Coffee Cake

SIX YEARS AGO: Pickled Red Onions

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cake

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Mini-Chocolate Cheesecake Bites

NINE YEARS AGO: Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Grated Tomato Sauce

TEN YEARS AGO: A Taste of Yellow to Honor Barbara

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Gratin of Beefsteak Tomatoes

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Tour de France Final Stage: PARIS

THIRTEEN YEARS AGO: Snickerdoodles with a Twist


Once again, I share a recipe that will not get any prizes on beauty contests. Brown food, oh so very tricky to get a good-looking picture. But I would never shy away from sharing something tasty, so let’s get to the most important point: how to get this to your table!

(inspired by Modern Proper)

1 + 1/2 pounds ground turkey
2 tablespoons white miso paste
1 egg
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup finely grated carrot
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 + 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
olive oil spray

for the cabbage:
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
finely sliced green cabbage, amount to taste
salt and pepper to taste

to finish the dish:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon white miso paste
sesame seeds for serving

 Heat oven to 400F.

In a large bowl, stir together the eggs and 1 tablespoon of the miso paste until fully incorporated. Add the ground turkey, almond flour, carrot, ginger, salt, and pepper. Mix well, then with wet hands, form golf ball–size meatballs and place on a sheet pan covered with aluminum foil. Spray the surface of the meatballs with olive oil, and bake for about 20 minutes, turning them midway through baking.

When the meatballs are almost done, start making the cabbage. Heat the oil on a large non-stick skillet until almost smoking. Add the cabbage, season with salt and pepper, and allow it to brown slightly. Move it around, flipping the strands, until cooked through, but don’t let it get mushy. Transfer to a serving dish. To the same skillet, add the soy sauce and miso, whisk until the miso fully dissolves. Add the turkey meatballs to the soy mixture and simmer gently for a few minutes, with the pan covered.

Serve the meatballs with the cabbage noodles, sprinkle with sesame seeds if so desired.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: My friend Tracy a couple of months ago mentioned that cabbage is a great alternative to low-carb “noodles” if you get tired of zucchini. I am a huge fan of zoodles , but decided to give her idea a try, and I can see why she loved her Pad Thai so much when lightened up with thinly sliced cabbage. It absorbs any flavor you use for a sauce, and the texture is quite pleasing. I don’t follow any particular type of diet, but tend to favor lightening the carbs whenever possible. In this case, it matched well the meatballs in their Oriental ways. I served ours with air-fried butternut squash that was leftover from another meal.

ONE YEAR AGO: Smoked Shrimp Tacos with Roasted Jalapeño Salsa

TWO YEARS AGO: Corn Fritters

TWO YEARS AGO: Minnie Macarons

THREE YEARS AGO: Air-Fried Mexican Meatloaf

FOUR YEARS AGO: Mimi’s Sticky Chicken, a Call from my Past

FIVE YEARS AGO: Perfect Soy-Grilled Steak

SIX YEARS AGO: The Devil’s Bread

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Heart of Palm Salad Skewers

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Potluck Frittata and Lavoisier

NINE YEARS AGO: Home-made Corn Tortillas

TEN YEARS AGO: Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Peanut Sauce

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Brigadeiros: A Brazilian Party!

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Lemony Asparagus


I’ve been on a roll for the past month or so. After a long time – maybe a couple of years – not making this type of cake, I flirted with a few different methods, including some by very reputable sources, but they did not please me for one reason or another. In this post, I share a very simple recipe. Simple in the sense that you don’t have to separate egg whites and yolks, it rolls very well thanks to the addition of a very small amount of melted butter, and the texture is not dry like most versions, again kudos to butter. Plus, you won’t need a special size of baking pan, it works well in a half-sheet, which most people have in their kitchen. You can of course, skip the patterned decoration, but, why would you not go for it?

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

for the decoration:
50g butter, softened
50g powdered sugar
50g egg whites
50g all-purpose flour
pink, yellow and teal gel colors

for the cake:
130g cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
5 large eggs, at room temperature
200 g granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

For the filling:
170g (6 ounces) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
½ cup powdered sugar
½ cup Nutella
1 tablespoon cocoa powder

Make the piping decoration by beating the butter with powdered sugar in a small bowl until fully combined. I used a hand-held electric mixer. Add the egg whites and beat for a couple of minutes. Add the flour and mix by hand with a spoon, divide in three portions. Color them pink, yellow and teal.

Place a diamond stencil over a sheet of parchment paper and add small amounts of each color as shown in the composite picture included in my post. Spread the colors in one direction, trying not to move them back, but making sure to cover all the little diamonds. Carefully remove the stencil frame and freeze the parchment for 30 minutes or so.

Heat oven to 375°F. Sift the flour and baking powder into a small bowl. Reserve. Place the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until the mixture form ribbons, about 12 minutes. Add the lemon zest, lemon extract and vanilla. Beat until combined. Sift the flour mixture over the beaten eggs, fold gently. When the flour is mostly incorporated, add a little bit of the mixture to the melted butter, whisk well. Pour that into the cake batter, whisk gently to disperse. Pour over the frozen parchment paper placed in a half baking sheet, and smooth the surface.

Bake the cake until it begins to pull away from the sides, about 12 minutes.

Transfer the pan to a cooling rack, cover the cake with a towel and let it cool fr 10 minutes. Remove the towel, sift a little powdered sugar over the surface and flip it over parchment paper. Gently peel off the paper with the design, flip the cake again over a clean towel. Starting with a short side of the cake, roll the cake gently, using the towel to support the cake as you go. Let the cake cool all rolled up in the towel, seam side down.

While cake cools make filling by using a handheld mixer or standing mixer to beat cream cheese and heavy cream on high until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add ½ cup powdered sugar, Nutella, and cocoa powder. Start the mixer on low and slowly increase speed, beating until the filling is light and fluffy. The filling should be thick and spreadable. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, so that it sets a little.

Carefully unroll the completely cool cake, spread the filling, then roll it again. Wrap the cake in plastic and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, overnight is best. When ready to serve, slice a small piece of each of the ends, so that it looks more polished.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: For this pattern, I used three colors of the paste, and placed them in alternating spots over the large stencil, that covers the whole surface of the half-sheet. The thickness of the stencil determines the amount of paste that gets into the paper. The design transfers very well to the surface of the cake, and does not interfere with rolling it.

I’ve had this stencil frame for many years, bought it on eBay, but could not find it anymore.
This one is very similar, in case you are interested.

If you don’t have a stencil frame, there are plenty of alternatives to decorate, one of them drawing little flowers on the paper, and pouring the batter on top. Two things are important to remember: first, the design cannot be too large, or it will pull the cake during baking, and might even make a crack in those spots. Second, the layer of the design should be as thin as possible, because it you make it too thick, it might not incorporate well into the cake batter, and pull away during baking. Make sure to use white parchment paper, because it helps keeping the cake layer lighter, giving better contrast with whatever pattern you go for.

The Nutella filling is excellent! I’ve used it to fill macarons a couple of days later. The cream cheese does a little magic to cut the sweetness of Nutella. It has a wonderful spreadable consistency, but the macarons stored in the fridge held up pretty well, once moved to room temperature for 20 minutes or so. I hope you give it a try, either to fill a regular cake, make sandwich cookies, or…. a patterned roll cake!

ONE YEAR AGO: Roasted Carrot and Barley Salad

TWO YEARS AGO: Ode to Halva

THREE YEARS AGO: Brazilian Pao de Queijo (re-blogged)

FOUR YEARS AGO: Apricot Linzer Torte

FIVE YEAR AGO: A Trio of Air-Fried Goodies

SIX YEARS AGO: Focaccia with Grapes, Roquefort and Truffled Honey

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Moroccan Carrot Dip Over Cucumber Slices 

EIGHT YEARS AGO: White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

NINE YEARS AGO: Cilantro-Jalapeno “Hummus”

TEN YEARS AGO:A Moving Odyssey

Hoegaarden Beer Bread

 Ancho-Chile Marinade: Pleased to Meat you!

 Shrimp Moqueca


A recipe that led to a marriage proposal gotta be pretty awesome, don’t you think? You can check out the details on this blog post. I modified slightly the recipe, which is delicious, but could not possibly end in engagement, as I am – as you know – very happily married already. The flavors are complex and the whole meal super satisfying. It would work on any type of weather, cold evenings, or warm nights. So even if you are in Brazil or Australia, grab the ingredients and go for it.

(adapted from Well-Plated blog)

for the sauce:
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup tablespoons water (or more if needed)
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

for the stir-fry:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 medium size head of broccoli, florets only, chopped
½ cup dry-roasted, unsalted peanuts
fresh cilantro leaves, amount to taste

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients until smooth: the peanut butter, water, honey, soy sauce, red curry paste, vinegar, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.

Make the stir-fry: In a deep, large nonstick skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot but not yet smoking, add the shallot and cook until fragrant and beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken and salt, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until fully cooked through, about 4 minutes. Transfer everything to a plate.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, then the mixed vegetables. Sauté until the vegetables are crisp-tender. You can close the pan with a lid and reduce the heat for a couple of minutes to promote even cooking by steaming, then remove the lid, increase the heat until they are done to your liking.

Return the chicken and shallot to the skillet. Add the peanut sauce. Toss to coat evenly, and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in the peanuts and cilantro. Taste and add additional soy sauce or red pepper flakes, adjust salt if needed.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Peanut butter is obviously super thick and dense. I found it better to reduce the amount and dilute it a bit further with water, compared to her original recipe. If you don’t do that, it will be a bit too thick once you add it to the pan and heat it with all other ingredients. Feel free to add garlic if you like, if you’ve been around my blog you might remember we have issues with it, and never use it. Other veggies can be used instead of broccoli, but I would keep the bell pepper – orange, red or yellow – avoiding the green like a plague as it creates hell in my digestive system.

Leftovers were enjoyed by yours truly over shirataki noodles, for a low carb lunch that was exactly what I needed to keep me going…

ONE YEAR AGO: Baharat Flower Sourdough

TWO YEARS AGO: Biscoitinhos de Canela



FIVE YEARS AGO: Rack of Lamb Sous-Vide with Couscous Salad

SIX YEARS AGO: Focaccia with Grapes, Roquefort and Truffled Honey

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Moroccan Carrot Dip over Cucumber Slices

EIGHT YEARS AGO: White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

NINE YEARS AGO: Cilantro-Jalapeno “Hummus”

TEN YEARS AGO:A Moving Odyssey

ELEVEN YEARS AGO:Hoegaarden Beer Bread

Ancho-Chile Marinade: Pleased to Meat you!


Sometimes a recipe intrigues me. I am not sure I will like it, or might have issues with the method of preparation, but something tells me I must give it a try. I saw this one at chinasichuanfood, placed an order for the fermented black beans (featured in my latest In My Kitchen post), took a deep breath and went to work. We simply loved it! Plus, it gave me a totally new use for the pressure cooker, exploring the steam setting. Do you need a pressure cooker to make it? No, you don’t. But it gave a delicious, velvet texture to the meat. We ate like kings. Or maybe I should say emperors.

(adapted from chinasichuanfood)

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in small pieces
1 Tablespoon sherry wine (or Chinese cooking wine)
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon hoisin sauce sauce
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
2 spring onions
5 slices of ginger
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 Tablespoons fermented black beans, finely minced
2 Tablespoons peanut oil
shiitake mushrooms, amount to taste, or a mixture of mushrooms
sesame oil and soy sauce to finish

Make a marinade with the sherry, soy sauce, hoisin, salt and black pepper. Add the chicken pieces, mix well, add the spring onions and ginger pieces. Place in the fridge for several hours.

Discard the spring onion and pieces of ginger. Add the cornstarch to the meat and gently mix. Place the mushrooms in the bottom of a steamer, then add the chicken on top. Spread the fermented black beans all over the chicken pieces. Heat the oil until it is starting to smoke. Pour immediately over the fermented beans, it will sizzle.

Steam the whole mixture of mushroom and meat for 15 minutes. If using a pressure cooker, add enough water (a little over 1 cup) in the pan to make sure it will have enough to steam for the required time.

Remove the meat from the steamer and serve, drizzling a bit of sesame oil and soy sauce.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I used 6 pieces of chicken and that was the maximum amount my steamer would hold. It was enough for our dinner and we had leftovers that I claimed for my lunch next day. The texture of the meat is perfect for my taste. I normally prefer to stir-fry breast meat, saving the thighs for the grill, but steaming is a real game-changer. Once again, not the type of recipe that will win beauty contests, but the flavor was fantastic. It will definitely go into our regular rotation. You can go into the original website and watch a nice video of the whole preparation.

ONE YEAR AGO: Ginger-Dill Salmon

TWO YEARS AGO: Eleven Years, Time for Goodbye


FOUR YEARS AGO: A Dream that did not come true 

FIVE YEARS AGO: Kaleidoscopic Macarons

SIX YEARS AGO: Zucchini Noodles with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

SEVEN YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, July 2015

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Sous-vide Pork Chops with Roasted Poblano Butter

NINE YEARS AGO: Roasted Strawberry-Buttermilk Sherbet

TEN YEARS AGO: Amazing Ribs for the 4th of July!

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Baby Back Ribs on the 4th of July

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Blueberry Muffins

THIRTEEN YEARS AGO: A Pie for your 4th of July