Autumn Cake With Apricot Preserves and Redcurrants



Even though I'm literally obsessed with everything autumnal, I also do miss hot summer days and especially summer fruits. But this recipe proves that we don't have to say goodbye to summer as soon as Autumn arrives. Oh, fruits are so amazing in summer. So, this time, I decided to combine two seasons together. I always try and preserve some fruits for cold winter days. It is a quite time-consuming process but totally worth the hustle. You can use preserved fruits pretty much in everything - sauces, breakfast toasts or just as a part of 5 o'clock tea. This time, I used my apricot preserves to decorate a cake. I also sprinkled some redcurrants to balance the sweetness and to add an autumnal touch to it. This way, the old fashioned basic white sheet cake turned into delicious dinnertime dessert.



For the cake you need:

4 free range eggs
120g sugar
120g plain flour


Preheat oven to 200 C degrees. Grease and line your 20 cm cake tin with parchment paper.
First, separate egg yolks and egg whites. In a medium clean bowl whisk egg whites with 40g of sugar until stiff peaks form. In another bowl beat the egg yolks with 80g sugar until the mixture is light in color and doubled in volume. Gently fold the egg whites into egg yolks. Sift, then fold in the flour until well combined. Pour the batter into prepared cake tin and smooth top with a spatula. Bake for 25 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely for another 20 minutes.







For the cream you need:

500ml whipping cream
100g redcurrants
100g apricot preserves

For the cream, whisk whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Sift in an icing sugar and gently fold. It depends on how sweet you prefer it, but remember, that fruit preserves are already sweet.
To assemble the cake, cut it in half and spread over the whipped cream and put a third of your fruits on top of it. Place your second half of the cake on top and spread your cream all over the cake. You could also skit the fruits in the middle of your cake and use it as decoration only. The choice is yours.

*If you don't like apricots, you could also use any other fruit preserves you prefer. Pears, for example, could be an amazing alternative for this autumn cake.


What do you miss from summer so far? And what autumnal desserts are you most favourite? I would  love to hear from you.

Homemade burger buns recipe

Homemade burger buns


Summer is already coming to an end. So we decided to round off this season with BBQ party outside to catch the last glow of hot summer Sun. The choice fell on burgers. This year, I decided to make all toppings first and let people build their own hamburgers. But homemade buns made a huge difference. I thought it was impossible to make a perfect soft bun at home. So we always had to buy premade ones that were okay but not great. For some reason, I decided to give it a go this year and make my own hamburger buns. To my surprise, they turned out perfectly.



YOU WILL NEED:

450g plain flour
7g dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
30ml sunflower oil
200ml warm water
1 egg



Mix dry and wet ingredients all together. Knead the dough in your stand mixer or by hand. However, a kitchen machine could save you some time that you can use to prepare all the toppings. You will get a soft and smooth dough. Grease the bowl with sunflower oil, cover your dough with cling foil and let rise for about two hours or until dough is doubled in size.         

Burger buns dough with sesame seeds


Cut the dough into 8 equal parts and shape them into round smooth buns. Place them on parchment paper now because you don't want to touch them too much once they have doubled in size. Cover the dough with towel or cling foil and let it rise for about hour. Brush them with an egg and sprinkle with some sesame seeds. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, until golden.


Homemade vegetarian burger


Here, I have two options. The first one is a veggie burger with fried aubergine slices, burrata, green pepper, dried and fresh tomatoes with yogurt and dill sauce. If you prefer a classic hamburger, here is a little twist. Try this mango chutney instead of ketchup or mustard. Cut the mango into small cubes, add chopped up red onions and sprinkle with some lime juice.




What is your favorite burger toppings? If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. I would love to hear from you.



xo,
Sarjan


THIS MONTH'S FAVOURITES: June



As a beginner blogger, I constantly look for more tools to make my little space of internet somewhat bearable to read. It's not the easiest task especially when there are so many talented bloggers out there, but I'm determined...so far (kidding). While working on a blog post list, I got through many ideas that run through the blogosphere. And one caught my eye. The monthly favourites. Okay, I know that it's so old that some people find it already boring. At first, I thought of it as some kind of bragging but then something clicked. On my 26th birthday exactly a month ago, I made a resolution of being more grateful and appreciative of life. I find that it is the key to more fulfilling and happy existence. And monthly favourites could be the perfect opportunity to point out what we consider as given.


1. San Pellegrino spring water

Staying hydrated is a number one task for me right now. In fact, it's been on my birthday resolution list as well. I didn't drink as much water as I should have in the past. I know, I plead guilty. But when you get older, meaning 26, you start realizing that your youth is fading and it is time to take care of yourself. San Pellegrino is my first choice to get all hydration my body needs. It's full of minerals including sulfate that helps us to get rid of all toxins and has many other benefits. This italian spring water is bottled at the source in Italian  and its package was originally used for wine. (How fancy!). Everything italian - give it to me. And plus it's in a glass bottle which is better for our environment. You can recycle it and become a part of a green family!

2. Chanel cosmetics

Among my favourites in June are also Chanel cosmetics. I'm a person who doesn't wear makeup on a daily basis. But when I do wear it, then it is either some sort of occasion or I need to prove myself that I am still pretty enough when mirror asks me if I'm related to Frankenstein. No, thank you! I plan on talking about it more in the next few blog posts but for now, let's just say how gorgeous is Aqua Vitalumiére Foundation by Chanel. I feel like it's the perfect foundation for summers mainly because it's water based and also has SPF 15. It's not heavy but buildable. To make a finished look, I use Chanel Rouge Coco lipstick in shade 79 Plumetis. Now I know it was released as a part of an autumnal collection back in 2011 but I wear it all year around. It is the perfect nude peach tone and my lips look hydrated instantly.

3.Snacks

I have started eating healthy. Again. It's not like I didn't eat fruits and vegetables. But I make sure I buy organic food. The long term consequences are key for me. It is also important to know how much you eat. Portion size, for example, can be tricky. Here I got some snack options that I was munching on for a whole month - pears, raspberries, and avocados. Here you can find another way how to upgrade your usual avocado toast. So do try to eat 500g of fruits and 500g of vegetables every day and I promise you will notice the difference soon. It has been over 2 months and my skin feels so much better. Not to mention that I have much more energy to do what I like. There is also an old school Dairy Milk Rocky Mallow Road chocolate bar by Cadbury. I'm not into sweets at all and a chocolate bar of this size lasts forever. Well in my case, the whole month. Usually, I just have a bite and give it to someone. But this time, I kept it for myself. And that really means something. It did last for the whole month but it was too good to share.


4. Classic blue shirt

Fashion wise, I keep it simple nowadays. Not fancy, not too much accessories and comfort is the priority number one. Even my grandma would tell me I talk like her grandma. But oh well. This light blue shirt from Reserved has been an absolute savior for me. It's light enough to wear when everything is just boiling outside but also gives my outfit a classical look which I love. You can either style it with skinny jeans, jeans shorts or tuck it into a summer skirt. If you look like Gigi Hadid, you can wear it as a dress. It's up to you. Options are endless. The only 2 accessories that I take with me are sunglasses from Marks&Spencer and my vintage straw bag. What more to ask!



5. Salvatore Ferragamo Signorina Eleganza

Salvatore Ferragamo is our family designer. All women from my mom's side love him and everything about him. No wonder that this love for the talented Italian guy passed on me as well. It is a wonderful combination of osmanthus and patchouli with grapefruit notes in the beginning. However, some people might find it a little bit sharper for everyday use in summer. Even though I try and buy new fragrances, Eleganza perfume is my favourite at the moment. If you want to feel like you just got back from another roman holidays, give this scent a try.


What couldn't you survive without in June? Please comment down below. I would love to hear from you.


xo,
Sarjan






Recipe: The cherry cake you will love!


How are you guys doing? I can't get enough of summer this year. It feels different and I love it. It also happens to be a good cherry year. And that is why I would like to share this recipe with you. If you are like me in love with cherries (Personally I think that summer begins just right when you see first cherries on the market) then this one won't disappoint you. I used frozen cherries this time because I have plenty of it in my freezer from the last year but you are more than welcome to use fresh ones. It will turn out even better. Ready to try?

You need:

400g fresh/frozen cherries 
200g plain flour 
190g butter, room temperature 
140g caster sugar/ powder 
4 eggs 
50g sugar powder for dusting
1 tsp baking powder 
vanilla extract 
pinch of salt 









Step by step:

Preheat the oven to 180° C. Grease and line your round cake tin with baking paper. Cream butter with sugar until it's light and fluffy (around 2 to 3 minutes). Then at slower speed beat in the eggs. One at a time until the mixture is soft. Add vanilla extract. In another bowl sift the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt. Pour the wet ingredients into dry mixture and combine well. And now the sour cherries...fold in fresh or frozen cherries in your cake mixture and don't forget to set some aside for decorations. 

Voilá. 



Tip: If your cherries are wet, dust them with flour before you fold them in cake mixture. It will hold all cherry juice in place and prevent your cake from being too soggy.


Also don't forget to comment down below what is your favourite cherry recipes. I would love to hear from you. If you try and recreate this cake, please let me know on Twitter or Instagram by tagging @thedecouvertes  #thedecouvertes_recipes


xo,

Sarjan




Recipe: Super easy Azerbaijani Frittata - Kuku


In summertime, I try and do some vegetarian days during the week. I choose vegetables and cold soups over meats and heavy stews. There are particularly few vegetarian meals that I absolutely love. Have you heard of frittata? I am sure that many of you had. But did you know there is Middle Eastern version as well? I come from Azerbaijan and we have kuku, which is basically big fluffy frittata with herbs. It is perfect for these warm spring and hot summer days when you want to feel light but also have something delicious and quick to make.


You need:


10 eggs
50 g fresh cilantro
50 g spring onions
50 g parsley
50 g dill
50 g spinach
25 g fresh mint
3 full tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
salt, pepper
butter
sesame oil


Step by step:


First of all, chop up fresh cilantro, parsley, dill, spring onions, mint and spinach. Set aside. Beat the eggs into a large bowl and whisk well. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture over herbs. Add 3 tablespoons of all purpose flour and a teaspoon of baking powder. Next, you will need a non stick frying pan. Melt about 2 tablespoons of butter and oil. Pour the mixture in, cover with a pot-lid and let it fry for about 8 minutes. Then turn your kuku over using a large plate and place it back into your pan, so both sides are brown. Cook for another 10 minutes.

It is absolutely delicious either hot right from the pan or even cold. Serve with balkan cheese, goat cheese or yogurt and garlic dip.


Rhubarb and strawberries hand pies

Rhubarbs


Although you can buy any fruit or vegetable pretty much anytime, I prefer to wait a little longer to devour my favourites. It just happens that way that nature has its order and your patience is rewarded with most delicious taste you could imagine. Rhubarbs are amazing in the moment and it would be too bad not take advantage of it. Usually, I try and buy a little bit more. One third goes right into the freezer, another one becomes the most wonderful jam, the rest is ready to eat. I wanted to make something tiny, easy to grab and rich flavoured, I found this gem. After trying this recipe out, I can now sure say that this one goes to my precious family cookbook of all times. One thing I love the most about it is that they are fun to make and let's say the sky is limit of your imagination. It's perfect for road trips and picnics. You can fill these pastries with whatever you like. For instance, imagine raspberries or any berries really.


Rhubarb&Strawberries hand pies



YOU WILL NEED


dough

280 g all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
pinch of salt
225 g cold butter
60 ml cold water
60 ml cold vodka
1 egg



rhubarb&strawberries filling

300 g rhubarb
50 g strawberries
60 g icing sugar
lemon juice
lemon zest



STEP BY STEP:

Cut rhubarb in small cubes, add strawberries cut in half and put them all into the heavy bottomed pan. I added 60g of icing sugar but it is completely up to you how much sugar you prefer. Some would leave the filling all natural, but I feel like a little bit of sugar can enhance the flavour of sour fruits. Cook at medium heat for about 10 to 15 minutes until the mixture is thick enough. Add lemon juice and lemon zest in the end and stir well.

While your filling is cooling down, you can go and make the dough. Stir all purpose flour, salt and sugar all together. Add cold unsalted butter and combine. Pour in equal parts of cold water and cold vodka into the mixture. Shape your dough into a ball and let it cool down in the refrigerator.

Preheat your oven to 200 C. Roll the dough on lightly floured work surface. Work quite fast because the butter in the dough could start melting. Use a cup with sharp edges or cookie cutter and cut circles. Put a tablespoon og your filling that you let to cool down before on one half of your dough circle. Fold another half over the filling and press the edges down with your fingers or fork (either way is fine) to secure the filling in place. Brush your hand pies with whisked egg. As you can see I forgot to do so. Oops..

Bake for about 20 minutes. Let them cool down before serving (I was impatient and burnt my mouth badly).

Bon appetit!


The quickest Apple&Rhubarb Cake ever!




Apple and rhubarb cake

Are your guests on your way and you still don't know what dessert to make? This apple cake is ready in no time but will cosy up your place and keep your blues out. Did I mention that it's absolutely delicious too? 

Baking this cake is also my ritual for staying in when it's raining outside kind of day. Just like today. Even though it's almost a summertime, the weather thinks it's living in Australia. However I consider it as a perfect opportunity to recreate this recipe and become australian for a day. I put my PJ's on and go straight to the kitchen. I must say that apples are so far the most grateful fruit in the world. Whenever you bake or cook anything with apples, you can be sure it is going to be amazing. The smell is always incredible, not forget to mention that cooked apples are even healthier than fresh ones. So it's beneficial from all perspectives.

So invite your friends and enjoy this hearty apple cake.

P.S.: I also added rhubarb to add some zing but that's totally optional



You will need:

3 eggs 
120g sugar
120g flour
3 big apples
3 tbsp sugar


Step by step:


Preheat the oven to 180° C. Separate egg whites and yolks. I find that it gives your cake more of air and texture. Whisk egg yolks with 100g sugar until mixture is thick and creamy. Beat egg whites with half of sugar till it lightens up and doubles in size. Slowly add yolks into the whites. Gently fold in the flour. Mix all the ingredients together until well combined. But don't overdo it. Turn the batter into your baking tin and bake for about 30 minutes or until top is golden.






Perfect homemade bread for your sandwiches



Přidat popisek


I must admit that I wasn't always an avid cook. Actually it was the opposite. Love of being in the kitchen has come to me after I turned 20. As years passed by I have learnt that you can create something absolutely magical using few simple ingredients you always stumble upon in the kitchen. One of the most magical and delicious creations is BREAD. Yes I'm screaming. In my opinion bread deserves all the compliments and is number one food for me. However despite its simplicity, it is not easy to make. In fact it's one of those lifetime cooking challenges. Bread making requires hard work and patience. To me, it's about pursuing certain life philosophy.You need to stick to few yet very important priorities that would guide you through your life. It's exactly the same with bread. Be patient, work hard and love what you are doing. These skills well combined with fresh ingredients will guarantee you a perfect loaf of bread. Ready to meditate? 


You need:

500g plain flour
12g dry yeast
2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon sugar
40 g soft butter
350g tepid water



Step by step:


This bread is particularly easy to make because all ingredients go into a bowl together. First put flour, sugar and butter into a large mixing bowl (in case you will use a kitchen machine) or any other medium to large size bowl. Add yeast and salt, but make sure to separate them. Salt kills the yeast and in that case your bread will not rise. Start putting together the dough with half of water. Add water little by little in between each stirring and kneading. Dough should be consistent and not sticky.



Coat the dough in a tablespoon of olive oil and then put onto work surface. Push on the dough with your palm and fold it back together to stretch the gluten in your bread. Start kneading by bringing the edges towards the centre until it is smooth and elastic. You can use a little flour if the dough is sticking to your hands too much. Do it for about 7 minutes. Put your dough back into a bowl and cover with oiled cling film. Let it prove from 1 to 3 hours. (It all depends on how warm your room is).


After your dough doubled in size, put it on your work surface again and create a ball by folding the edges towards the centre. Put your dough on baking tray, cover with the cling film (or any textile)  and let rise for another hour. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 210 degrees. Once ready, dust you dough with a little flour, cut with sharp knife  put your dough in the oven and lightly sprinkle the walls of your oven with water and close the doors immediately. The steam will allow your bread to rise before the top gets baked. Bake for about 30 minutes




What kind of sandwich would you make with this bread? Please leave your comments down below. I would love to hear your ideas.  



Sarjan,
xo

Pancake week

Crepes are served with various types of toppings such as homemade jams, syrups, sour cream, cottage cheese, smoked salmon or also caviar.


I knew about traditions before I could talk. Infinitesimal signs of the weather always got me excited more than ever. First glimpse of sunshine, pouring rain or fresh and freezing air... Each month was magical. It held meaning and each day of it was filled with history I felt attached to on some subconcious level I could not explain. Now a few years after I still feel the connection. March is one of my most favourite. You can almost hear nature breathing in and out, awakening from her deep sleep. The sun is showing first glimpse and everythng comes to life.


Spring usually starts with Maslenitsa which ended the last week. It is an eastern slavic tradition celebrating the end of the winter. Each day of the week people visit their friends and family and share food. The shape of pancakes itself embodied the sun that should warm the frozen lands. It starts with welcoming Monday when people would build "Lady Maslenitsa" out of straw and old women's clothes. People sang around and welcomed spring into their homes. The rest of the week was all about families gathering together to devour some delicious crepes. For Christians it represents the last week before the Great Lent. But it's also the perfect opportunity to explore new recipes.

















The old belief says that your personality is strongly connected to the way you prefer your pancake. Tender and affectionate people prefer pancakes with butter. Loyal people eat their pancakes with jam. Got a strong personality? Caviar might be your choice. People who have their heads in the clouds prefer pancakes with smoked fish. Kind hearted people could eat crepes with Cottage cheese all day long. Meanwhile the indecisive ones would rather put some sour cream on it. Which one are you? I think, I'm a little bit of everything. In fact I'm getting quite hungry. Let's get started!

You need:

500 ml milk
250g flour
2 eggs
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 tablespoon of sugar
pinch of salt

                                                   Step by step:


Beat eggs with salt and sugar. Pour in about 200 ml milk and whisk together. Add flour. The consistency of crepes batter should be similar to thick whipped cream. Then add the rest of the milk and oil. Mix together. Let it rest for about 15-20 minutes.


                                                    PANCAKES

Pancakes with pears and agáve syrup

I must admit my pancakes were the worst years ago. It was like one of those challenges I knew I would never conquer. But a few months back, Zoe Sugg introduced us all to Jamie Oliver's american style pancake recipe and it is absolutely amazing. Pancakes turn out great each time. You can make them plain or add any toppings you prefer. Today I made two versions - with smoked salmon and sautéed pears. For recipe, click here.


Either way, we all could agree that pancakes and especially crepes are extremely versatile and could become a part of any meal. Sweet or savoury - they are quick to make and delicious. Even though, pancake week is gone now, who said we can't make our own? Make your own tradition - to make every week a pancake week.

Sarjan,
xo

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Middle eastern braised chicken with tomatoes and chickpeas


Chicken with tomatoes and chickpeas

If you are looking for some cozy comfort food these days, this braised chicken might be ideal for you. It's full of spices that will make your house smell like a moroccan holiday. All the ingredients simmer together and create something hearty and delicious to keep you warm. 








Ingredients:                                                              

chicken breasts
100 g chickpeas, rinsed
3 medium sized tomatoes, peeled
2 red chili peppers
chicken broth
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
3 cm ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon cumin
rosemary
salt, and freshly ground
pepper
butter
oil



Step by step:

The night before,  soak chickpeas in water.

Cut chicken into serving pieces, rinse them with water and dry with paper towel. Set aside. 

Put the coriander seeds, cardamom, and cumin into a pan and toast them for a couple of minutes. Grind them in a mortar and set aside.


For the sauce, chop up shallots and red chili peppers. Crush in cloves of garlic and grate about 3 cm of ginger. Toss into a pan together with roasted spices,  butter and a little bit of oil. Cook over medium heat until shallots are golden. Put chicken in and roast together for another  35 minutes. Add chickpeas and vegetable or chicken broth, and let simmer together for 35 minutes.

Top with fresh coriander and serve with warm pita bread and hummus. 



Bon appetit!





Chocolate - Coffee Cake





I believe that every special occasion needs it's special celebrating cake. A few days ago I had so much fun taking part in my oldest friend's baby shower party and as you could probably tell - the cake was on me. Everyone was craving some chocolate so the decision was obvious. Whether you have a special day coming up or you just simply want to pamper yourself after hard work, this cake will not disappoint you. It's very chocolatey and has a touch of coffee flavour which is the reason why we had it for the breakfast as well (in the end we all looked pregnant). Added vegetable oil gives this cake a wonderful texture you just cannot get enough of. I followed the recipe for the cake but made my own icing. However you could do your spin on it and decorate cake with fruits or some whipped cream. 







VIA CANADIAN LIVING MAGAZINE




750 ml
500 g granulated sugar
150 g cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 g salt
500 ml cooled brewed coffee
250 ml vegetable oil 
10 g vanilla 
45 ml cider vinegar





Preheat your oven to 180 C. Line round cake tin with baking paper and set aside. Get two bowls for wet and dry ingredients. Sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and pinch of salt into a bowl and mix well. Then prepare 500 ml of brewed coffee and add vanilla extract. Whisk it together while slowly pouring vegetable oil in. If you want to cut calories down, you could substitute oil for buttermilk, yoghurt or sour cream. Add cider vinegar and you are almost done! 

Now mix dry and wet ingredients together until well combined. It should make a thick mixture. 

Put your cake tin in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean


Ultimate Snowfairy Pavlova




Our world is filled with so much inspiration. Everything is connected without you even realizing it and that’s what I love the most. We all tend to wait till some significant days to come so then we can be happy again. But don’t we have many more reasons to celebrate? We should feel festive each day because every day brings memories that we hold dear through the years. Each day is filled with unforgettable moments even if you don’t realize it just yet... Invite some friends over or simply set the table for family dinner and let’s party! For me, one of the simplest ways to bring festive mode on is to try a new recipe. And here comes this ultimate Pavlova cake inspired by the eternal talent of russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova. Even though New Zealand and Australia can't decide who invented this cake, one thing is certain - Pavlova cake will bring festive mood to your house all year long. This meringue based cake has fluffy almost snowy center and crispy crust and reminds me of perfect winter day
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