Thursday, April 28, 2011

Coraline cookies

 I was baking Mazurek just before Easter and was left with some of the shortcrust. Well, I didn't throw it out obviously. :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Coffee bean cookies

I love looking for new inspiration on the web. I have a whole separate board on Pinterest devoted to cooking inspiration. I just don't seem to have enough time to try everything that looks soo cool!

Recently I've stumbled upon this Polish blog that I just adore and found this amazing recipe I want to share.

Birthday girl!

 Ok, I didn't want to write about my b'day, but I have a such a lovely day so far...

My best friends surprised me during Easter with an impromptu party and today I went shopping with my mom. I just can't tell you how much I love spending somebody else's money :)

So despite the fact I just got older, I'm just ridiculously happy. Everything seems to be going in the right direction and I couldn't be more thankful.
I'll be hosting a party and will cook and bake something special just for my friends - as soon as I have the pictures I'll put them here to show you.

I'm also glad I started writing this blog and I'm thankful for my readers (if there are any).

I'll just go and soak in the beautiful sun that shines on my birthday :)

Take care!

©2010-2011, copyright Guilty Pleasures

Friday, April 22, 2011

Kraszanki - Polish Easter eggs

Kraszanki are a type of Easter eggs that are made by scratching the surface of a dyed egg with something sharp. You scratch the dye and thus make a drawing on the egg. You can scratch anything you want :) We used to make all kinds of branches and flowers. 

I'll show you how to make kraszanki step by step. 

1. First you need to prepare the dye. You can of course use dyes available at the shops but we always dyed the eggs in natural dye made out of onion peels.You need a pan you don't mind getting coloured  - it happens to some pots and pans. Then you strip the onions of the outer layers - the ones that come of when you rub them with your fingers, the dry papery ones. You may use red onions if you want a slightly reddish colour. For some additional reference on natural colouring look at Tips for Easter
2. You pour water over the onion peels - as much water as to cover the eggs you want to dye. Cook the peels for 10 - 15 minutes for them to release colour and then add eggs and boil as long as you need - the colour will be more saturated if you boil eggs longer. Or put the eggs in the water with peels and boil them together (this will take longer). 

3. Let the eggs cool and pick something sharp - a razor, a knife or a compass and scratch away. Look below to see what it really is all about.

4. Show off you beautiful eggs to the whole family and proudly announce that you made them all by yourself :)

5. Optional - eat your kraszanki! - if you dyed your eggs with onion peels or tea leaves you may safely eat them.

Go here to check out mazurek - Polish Easter cake.

Happy Easter!

©2010-2011, copyright Guilty Pleasures

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mazurek with dulce de leche - Polish traditional Easter cake

 I decided to cook and bake things traditional this year. As I've said in the previous post, Easter makes me think of kraszanki and pysanky, but there are many other traditional Polish dishes served at Easter.

I wouldn't be me if I didn't bake a cake and the most popular Easter cake in Poland is mazurek. The word itself means a couple of things but we will be concerned with the sweetest of the meanings.

The cake is extremely simple because you only need to bake a shortcrust bottom and than put a filling on it.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Easter and a bit about Xmas :)

Easter's coming and well I start feeling a bit festive :)

You know how people make this competition about Xmas and Easter - which one is better and stuff. As I love Xmas and the whole Yule season, you may say I'm a bit biased, but times change and so am I. 

The whole commercial thing going on about Xmas is starting to piss me off. 10 years ago I was coming back home form school on November evening and I could feel something on the air. There was the smell of winter and Xmas in the air. Sadly, I haven't felt it for 5-6 years now. 

I've given it some serious thought - well, it was something that I associated with my childhood and you need to feel the child in you or you'll go mad/sad... I can proudly say I nurture the child in me constantly but there are signs you just can ignore. People are getting older and mature and down to earth. I get older and start to feel it and that's just being almost 26. 

So, I've been thinking about the vanishing Xmas feeling and I'm afraid to lose it. There are times when I feel this little, tiny stab of it and get really excited about it. I'm happy I haven't lost it completely but know that'll happen. I'm putting my own life together, getting married soon and stuff and seriously hope for the feeling to come back when we have kids. 

Magic calls to magic, you see.

I have a different feeling connected with Easter. Actually it's more to do with spring than Easter in itself. And most importantly with my birthday that comes right after Easter this year. I remember swinging on a swing my father build and seeing the field of tulips we used to have in our garden. It was so warm I could wear dresses all the time - you know, the ruffles and polka-dot fabric and pink :) I miss the tulips and (don't tell anyone) sometimes I even miss the ruffles and polka dots :)

And after my birthday, we are just one step away form summer, right? That's also part of my childhood memory - May was just an introduction to proper summer (the one with summer holidays, I mean).

But before we have the sun in it's glory, there's still the spring and Easter to enjoy. I have one memory connected solely with Easter and this is making pysanky (in Polish - pisanki). It's a traditional way of decorating hard-boiled eggs. You may want to look at this post by make someting for some info and pictures about traditional wax painted pysanky. I, on the other hand, will show you how to make "crashanky" (I just made that pseudo-English word up, actually it's spelled kraszanki - in Polish).

Please go here to see my step by step tutorial - how to make Polish Easter eggs kraszanki.

And here's the recipe for a traditional Easter pastry.

Happy Easter!

©2010-2011, copyright Guilty Pleasures

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Simple shortcrust

I'm adding this shortcrust as a separate post for easier reference. It's the basic shortcrust I use when in need of a crumbly bottom for any cake. I'll be using it for my next cake, Mazurek and for Coraline cookies.

The recipe for shortcrust you find below comes from this book that I constantly use for reference when baking. The pastry is quite sweet and buttery and perfect as a crust for any cake or cookies :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Flatbread with mushrooms

 Last night I had to come up with something quick and easy because I had only 30-40 minutes before K. came home from work. Well, I spent 10 minutes looking through blogs to find this recipe. I saw it earlier that day but didn't remember where to look for it. I think I have to re-organise my bookmarks once again. Having all 30 of my fav blogs in one place and uncategorised can turn to be such a pain in the ass.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Orange muffins - saving a badly written recipe

My obsession with muffins continues... I've been asking my friends for good recipes and, well I got this one (in Polish), I thought, great. But (there always is a but, isn't it?) it turned a nightmare to bake with.
btw: I just looked at the sentence in the brackets and lolled - butt :) 

Monday, April 11, 2011

French toast with cinnamon sugar

A quick idea for breakfast or supper. It's quite sweet.

I've never made French toast before and, come to think of it, I don't know if it's a correct way of making it. But it turned out tasty :)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Soft and moist cocoa muffins with pudding

These are the foolproof muffins from a recipe given by a friend. And they are amazing - so soft and moist, even next day.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Leftover chili casserole with mushrooms and pasta

Since we didn't manage to eat the chili the day I made it and I have an aversion to eating the same dish for two consecutive days I decided to make a casserole.

It quite easy to make and quick too, if you have everything on hand. Still, it's easy to adapt this recipe to use anything you've got in the fridge/pantry.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Chili with pork and beans

I was meaning to try this for some time and never actually had the time. This is meant to be a dinner dish as it's quite nutritious. I think it would be too heavy for supper.

I served it with rolls and buttered bread, but I think rice would great as well.

I know that some people would not call my stew chili because of the pork in it, but that's what I made so live with it :)

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