Brunch, Cakes, Cakes and Desserts, Cheese, fruit, Recipes

Swirl Sour Cream Cake with Dried Fruit and Walnuts

 

The following swirl cake is a wintry version of a summery fresh fruit cake I have posted a few years ago.
In the earlier version of the cake, I have used quark cheese as the base for the swirl, along with fresh summer fruits. As I didn’t have quark cheese this time, I substituted it with a mix of sour cream and yogurt.
Instead of fresh fruits, I used dried cranberries and dried apricots, and also added some chopped walnuts – all were mixed into the sour cream and yogurt layer.
For more aroma and flavors, I added honey and orange juice and zest to both the cake batter and the sour cream yogurt layer.
All these additions made the cake a bit sweeter than the previous one, and a lot more aromatic, with different flavors and textures in each bite. Even with all that, the cake is light and refreshing, and relatively low in fat and sugar. It is perfect for serving with a hot beverage on a cold day, or as part of a dessert buffet. Try it and enjoy.

Makes: 20 squares
Prep time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:
For the sour cream-yogurt layer:
1 cup sour cream
½ cup Greek yogurt (I used Fage 2%)
¼ cup sugar
2 Tbs honey
1 Tbs fresh orange juice
2 tsp orange zest
¼ cup cornstarch
1 cup roughly chopped dried cranberries, dried apricots, and walnuts
1 Tbs cornstarch
For the cake layer:
2 L eggs
½ cup sugar
2 Tbs honey
¼ cup oil
¼ cup fruity white wine
1 Tbs fresh orange juice
1 tsp orange zest
½ cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1¾ cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Line a 12”x8” (20.5cm x 30cm) pan with baking paper.
  2. The sour cream yogurt layer: in a medium bowl, whisk the sour cream and yogurt with the sugar, honey, orange juice, and orange zest. Add ¼ cup cornstarch and whisk to a smooth mixture.
  3. In a separate small bowl, mix the dried fruit and walnuts with 1 Tbs cornstarch. Add to the sour cream-yogurt mixture, once the cake batter is ready, and mix lightly
  4. The cake batter: in a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar and honey. Add oil, white wine, orange juice and zest, sour cream and vanilla, and whisk again. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix to a smooth batter.
  5. Pour the cake batter into the lined pan, and add dollops of the sour cream-yogurt-dried fruit mixture on top. Using a fork, gently swirl the two layers together, to create a layered marble effect.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake batter part comes out clean. Place on a rack and let cool to room temperature before cutting.
appetizer, breakfast, Brunch, Cheese, Dips, Food, Recipes

Caldo Godro – Sephardic Cheese and Tomato Paste Dip

 

Caldo godro is a Sephardic term in Ladino (Judeo-Spanish), used to describe a warm (=caldo), thick (=godro) broth, which is actually more of a warm dip than a broth.
This rustic, simple dip, is thickened with flour, in a similar way to Sephardic sauces I have posted here before (“agristada” and “vinagre”), and requires a fairly short cooking time.
The base for this warm dip are cheese and garlic, lightly fried in olive oil. They are then topped with a mixture of tomato paste, flour and water, and seasoned simply with salt and pepper, and cooked until the mixture thickens. 
I’m quite sure that the dish was invented as a way to use leftover cheese, probably some that hardened in the days of pre-refrigeration, and couldn’t be grated.
The cheeses that are suitable for this type of preparation are ones that can hold their shape after a quick frying. The original cheese, used by my maternal grandmother, who came from the Jewish community in Izmir (or Smyrna, when under Greek rule), was a sheep milk cheese, that is common to the area. As I couldn’t find this specific cheese in the US, I thus successfully substituted it with other dry cheeses, such a Parmesan (as shown here) and Pecorino. Another option I came up with, was using Halloumi cheese, even though its texture is quite different.
This tasty and fragrant dip is served warm, in the winter time, with fresh or toasted bread on the side, for breakfast or lunch. However, I also find it makes a nice light weekday dinner as well. Try it and enjoy.

Notes:
* Click HERE for more information about Sephardic cuisine, and HERE for more Sephardic recipes.
* I’ve tried to “fancy” the original recipe with different herbs and spices, but eventually decided that the original simple recipe tastes the best. Feel free to experiment and decide for yourself.

Makes: 2-4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:
2 Tbs tomato paste (double concentrate, preferably Italian)
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper (I used four peppers mix)
2 Tbs flour
1 cup warm water
1 Tbs olive oil
¾ cup Parmesan cheese, roughly broken into medium piece (see notes)
2 small garlic cloves, roughly diced
For serving: fresh rustic bread

  1. In a medium bowl, mix the tomato paste with salt, pepper and flour. Gradually, and while mixing, to avoid lumps, add the water. Mix well and set aside.
  2. In a medium pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the cheese, and fry lightly for about half a minute. Mix gently, add the garlic and sauté for half a minute.
  3. Gradually, and while mixing with a spatula, add the tomato paste mixture. Mix gently and bring to the verge of boiling. Mix again, lower the heat to low, and cook for 4-5 minutes, mixing occasionally, until the mixture thickens. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  4. Transfer to a serving bowl, and serve immediately, while warm, with fresh bread on the side.
Bread, Brunch, Cakes, Cakes and Desserts, Recipes, Vegetables

Spiced Zucchini Cake with Golden Raisins and Walnuts

 

When the weather outside is getting colder, a simple homey cake. served with a hot beverage, is a good way to keep warm. The following zucchini cake is exactly that. Continue reading “Spiced Zucchini Cake with Golden Raisins and Walnuts”

Entree, Food, Pasta, Recipes, Sauces, Seafood

Lemony Spaghetti, with Shrimp, Spinach and Grape Tomatoes

 

The combination of butter and lemon is a classic one, and for a good reason. The lemon cuts down the richness of the butter, while adding its pleasant acidity and fresh fragrance to the it. This mix is taken further in many recipes, especially those of fish and seafood, with the addition of garlic. In the following recipe, I’ve used this tasty combination to flavor a dish of spaghetti and shrimp. Continue reading “Lemony Spaghetti, with Shrimp, Spinach and Grape Tomatoes”

appetizer, Bakes, Brunch, Cheese, Entree, Recipes

Flourless Mushroom and Cheese Bake

 

After all the fairly heavier holiday season’s dishes, I felt it was time for some lighter dishes, yet, at the same time, filling and warming. Continue reading “Flourless Mushroom and Cheese Bake”

Cakes, Cakes and Desserts, fruit, ice cream, Recipes

Banana, Marzipan and Dried Cherry Cake, with Chocolate Glaze

 

Cherries and almonds pair wonderfully well together, so, when I was planning on baking a banana cake, flavored with my homemade marzipan, it was an easy decision to add dried cherries to it. Belgium cherry beer, that I also had at hand, was the perfect way to enhance the cherry flavor, and give the cake a lighter texture. Continue reading “Banana, Marzipan and Dried Cherry Cake, with Chocolate Glaze”

appetizer, Brunch, Cheese, CONDIMENTS, Food, fruit, Recipes

Baked Camembert Cheese with Cherry-Kumquat, Ginger and Brandy Jam

Baked white rind cheese, such as Camembert or Brie, is one of the easiest, yet most festive dishes for a relaxed entertainment. Baking the cheese turns it even creamier, enhances its flavor, and keeps it at the perfect texture for serving with tasty additions, such as crackers and fruits. The pairing of delicately salty cheese and sweetish/aromatic additions is hard to resist. Continue reading “Baked Camembert Cheese with Cherry-Kumquat, Ginger and Brandy Jam”

Cakes and Desserts, Cookies, Food, Snack, Sweets

Cookie Time

 

As I was working on quite a few batches of assorted cookies lately, I thought it could be a good idea, to compile some of the cookie recipes from the earlier days of the blog, which I believe are worth another visit.  Try them and enjoy. Continue reading “Cookie Time”

duck, Entree, fruit, Recipes

Orange and Quince Duck Legs

 

Whenever I’m lucky enough to find quince at the store, I immediately grab a few. It is such a wonderful and versatile fruit, and it is a real shame its’ season is fairly short.
On top of being such a fragrant fruit, quince has so much pectin in it, it is no wonder that its’ main use is in making jams, jellies and fruit pastes. Quince is also great for making Pate de Fruit, a recipe I have shared a while ago, and can be found HERE. Continue reading “Orange and Quince Duck Legs”

Cakes and Desserts, Cookies, Recipes

Cocoa Condensed Milk Dough Cookies with Coconut Filling

 

After posting a recipe for coconut filled cookies a few weeks ago, I was asked in one comment about adding chocolate flavor to the cookies. As coconut and chocolate do pair well together, this made me think about adding cocoa powder to the dough, in order to create this tasty combination. Continue reading “Cocoa Condensed Milk Dough Cookies with Coconut Filling”

Bakes, Entree, Meat, Recipes

Mushroom and Potato Venison Meatloaf

 

Meatloaf is a great easy way when it comes to casual entertaining. The mix can be prepared in advance, and baked before serving. There’s no need to worry about the doneness of each portion of meat, and leftovers are always welcome the next day, by themselves or in a tasty sandwich. Continue reading “Mushroom and Potato Venison Meatloaf”