Easy & Tasty – Best Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake with Ganache and Strawberries

I’ll start with a little expat-whining. Sometimes it is so damn hard to be a foreigner in your new ‘home’ country which is neither “home” nor truly “your”, if you know what I mean. Little things become difficult, especially when you don’t speak the language. For instance, going to the dentist becomes a whole tragedy (like it wasn’t hard enough before when you were simply frightened of pain). No, now you don’t fear pain anymore, because you’ve learnt how to say “I’m neurotic and I’m really scared and I need a double dose of whatever anesthesia shot that you have” in your new language but now you have to always bring a company for translation, because there are so many things you can not explain. You can not explain the degree of pain that you feel or your dental history, or your allergies, or anything important for that matter. This covers going to any other doctor. And when they prescribe you pills that you don’t know, you come home and search the ingredients and different brand names to find an english leaflet and make sure everything is in order. It is uncomfortable and time-consuming.

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Chocolate Mint Souffle (make-ahead recipe)

Chocolate Mint Souffle

Chocolate Mint Souffle

Fancy a restaurant-like dessert at home? Want to surprise your friends or family at dinner? Craving some airy light chocolate souffle with a hint of mint freshness? Looking for an after-dinner dessert just for two people? Then you came to the right place :)

I’ve tried to make this chocolate souffle at home before, but I couldn’t understand the time-management of this chocolate goodness.. This dessert has to be served right out of the oven because after 3-5 minutes it will start to “fall down”. So how to serve it after dinner without any messy preparations? The answer is easy – make-ahead easy chocolate souffle recipe! The batter for this souffle was prepared in advance and stored in the fridge for 4 hours, then poured into ramekins after dinner, baked for 13 minutes and served perfectly hot and high with vanilla ice-cream. Next time we have some friends over for dinner I’ll know how to surprise them without too much effort :)

This chocolate souffle is different from chocolate fondant or lava cake, it’s extremely airy and bubbly, it is light and melts in your mouth instantly and doesn’t leave you feeling like you’ve just eaten an enormous piece of chocolate cake. It’s almost a guilt-free pleasure ;)

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Carrot Loaf Bread or Carrot Cake: Have it your way :)

Interesting thing with pictures of my Carrot cakes this month – first one was a delicious two-layer cake with cream cheese frosting…  pictures of which unfortunately vanished all-together with the last 2 months of data on my iPhone when I was installing the new iOS. That cake was ultimately sweet, carrot-y with a hint of spice and no butter used in the recipe, but it was gigantic for our small household of two people :) But if that is what you’re looking for, jump right to the end of the post.

Carrot Loaf Cake with Walnuts and Raisins

Since that cake was so big and sweet, I was looking for an alternative. I’ve made a couple of my favourite Banana Loaf Breads this month and I thought why not make a Carrot Loaf Bread too? Don’t be fooled by the word “bread” – somehow bread vs. cake always wins the “healthy” contest even though the ingredients might be almost same :) But in this recipe I cut back on the sugar, added apple juice, swaped 1/3 white flour with whole wheat and I find that this carrot bread is good on its own without any frosting, especially for those like me who’s watching fats in their diets.  I accidentally deleted photos of the batter preparations and was going to at least take a picture of this beautiful and bright carrot loaf cake in the morning, but we had some friends over for tea in the evening and I felt like asking them to put the pieces down for a photo was a bit rude :D So all what was left of it by morning were these two pieces! Well, it is an easy recipe and the method is pretty straight forward. Give it a try if you’re craving a spiced carrot cake with walnuts and raisins.

One more good thing I discovered about Carrot Cake this month – you can bake it in advance for a special event, freeze it and later defrost it and decorate with a frosting of your choice.

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Sunday Brunch Crepes

How about thin, soft and delicious buttery crepes that don’t get dry or crunchy, fold perfectly and don’t tear? Use this recipe to make a delicious weekend brunch treat for yourself and family and serve with sweet and savory fillings of your choice!

Thin Crepes

Thin Buttery Crepes

They are called French Crêpes or Russian Pancakes, with a vast variety of recipes, with milk or water, with butter or oil, with different kinds of flour and different amount of sugar. The ingredients are so simple you’d be surprised that you probably always have everything in your kitchen to make them without preparing in advance.

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Homemade Crunchy Honey Granola

Hey, I have some news:

1. I am a little ashamed of my inconstancy – I changed my blog’s design again and I can’t be sure whether this time it would be for good :) But it looks very cute now!

2. I will be running a translated version on my recipes for my Russian-speaking crowd and hopefully for new audience. Exciting! The Russian Edition blog can be found at TastyTravelingRu. I will continue to cherish an idea of having enough time to combine the two under one name and create a multiblog one day :)

3. Today I want to share one of my favourite recipes – it’s Honey Granola and I’m sure you’ll love the simplicity and the taste of this recipe too.

Crunchy Honey Granola

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Pear Tarte Tatin or Upside Down Pie

Days are getting shorter and nights are getting colder. It’s middle of October and middle of autumn for that matter, summer is long gone and it’s time for new recipes! Maybe that is why I woke up yesterday surprised with the cold air outside of my cozy blanket and right away I knew I wanted to make a warm fruity and comfort pie to balance out this unstoppable season change… well, and also to complement our dinner with a French dessert! So I decided to make a Pear Tarte Tatin that I tasted once in a French restaurant in Geneva :)

Pear Tarte TatinPear Tarte Tatin

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Oh My Pie! Classic Peach Pie

It is time to bake a pie in our new home and what would be better than a sweet, juicy peach pie with a hint of cinnamon and vanilla and flaky pie crust? Driving from the south of the country we stopped on the road to buy some fresh fruits for home and my eyes fell on juicy ripe peaches and I though “Peach Pie!”

My summer this year has been unusual – 2 months spent in a rather cold climate of Canada with temperature dropping at nights in July (!) down to 13 degrees and further 1 month in beautiful but nevertheless cold mountains in Uludag, Turkey. When I say cold, I mean a very comfortable day temperature around 18-20 degrees and occasional rain, which urban citizens of Turkish cities are dying for during extremely hot and dry days here in summer but… you know, it is supposed to be HOT in summer :) Anyway, I’m trying to keep summer alive for couple more weeks and doing everything I can! Homemade melon ice-tea, berry galettes, ice-cream, fresh detoxing water with cucumbers, lemons, cinnamon and mint, etc. And what says summer more if not the ultimate classic peach pie? So I decided to give it a try and the result was yummy-yummy-yummy!

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