What about the coconut chocolate muffin?

I guess there came the time for the chocolate muffins. Usually I strongly resist to this idea although these are my favourites. It is because of the bitterness that cocoa gets in baking. On the other hand melting the chocolate in bains-marie seems somewhat too laborious and clashes with the idea of muffins being quick baking. Anyway, the thing has happened in my last day of being jobless this week.

My prejudice against cocoa was completely ungrounded. It works really well. If only you addjust the fat content. This is my best muffin recipe as far as now. It gives the demanded texture, the muffin has the lightness of the sponge but doesn't need so long preparation process, its taste is not only the taste of the cocoa powder but actually reflects the taste of the real chocolate. It also results with the perfect bottom mushroom shape thanks to the small surprise stuffed in the middle.

Coconut chocolate muffins
for 8 large muffins

250 g flour
2 tsps cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
130 g icing sugar
25 g cocoa powder
200 ml buttermilk (I used peach flavoured - which is white in colour and has a very delicate taste)
50 g dessicated coconut
70 g vegetable oil
2 eggs
very good milk chocolate

1. Sift flour, raising agents, sugar and cocoa powder into one bowl.
2. Soak coconut in buttermilk for few minutes, add oil and lightly bitten eggs. Mix well.
3. Pour the liquid into dry ingredients.
4. Divide the butter into 8 oiled muffin moulds.
5. Place one piece of chocolate in the center if every muffin, as deep as you can. You can also use pralines filled up with some liquid stuffing as toffee:-)))
6. Bake in 185 Celsius degree for 20-25 minutes.

Originally I was going to introduce these muffins in the beginning of my cooking journey across the Pacific as I am now deeply involved in organisation of the international conference Aid for Tuvalu. But I come to the conclusion that sincerely this is my first muffin that I would recognise as a sophisticated one. I also realised that actually from a very long time this blog needs a tag for muffins. Moreover, an appealing idea came to my mind, the idea of a pure white muffin which, while admiring of the white chocolate aroma in baking goods, almost immediately was distracted by the image of a white chocolate muffin - with orange coloured threads. Imagine more.


Sushi restrictions

Dear readers, guess what I was told yesterday... I was told that my palms' pH is not like that of a man and thus the sushi prepared by a man tastes better. That is why I probably don't get the position of itamae despite the fact that none of the male applicants was really interested in getting the job. We all love food but hey, wait a minute, this is just the food even if some people made it their path in life. It is not a religion! I respect all the traditions the sushi is connected with but also... Finally I have learned how to use the chop sticks as I think it is necessary and I should know it. Who of my friends cooking professionally read the book on the Japanese culinary culture? Gosia only. Me, a European highlander, I love the seaweeds' taste, even in their dry shape. I admire these rice pearls, a little bit sticky but still firm, and the hopefully green and pleasantly fatty avocado, my favourite. What an astonihing beauty of the smoked salmon (yes, I prefer this!) or rare almost bloody tuna...

Do you remember Gosia's adventurous Polish style sushi?

And you say, you prefer a man... For God's sake let us do our job.

P.S. To all of you who have been told you don't know how to make this and that: rubbish.
For instance I am not afraid of the cheesecakes anymore. But - people can still hurt us. Take care.


My subjective guide on restaurants in Cracow - part 1

My Irish friends asked me to recommend Polish restaurant in Cracow. So I thought it is a good topic for series of posts in my blog. Cracow has many guides on restaurants. These posts will be my subjective guide on Polish restaurants in Cracow. I ate in every described place.

Part 1: Around Market Square

One time somebody asked me - “ What is a smell of Cracow?” The answer is easy – old Cracow smells of food.It is true. When you are on Market square in Cracow in summer afternoon you will be feeling like in restaurant room. You will find open air restaurants around you.Food smell wafts up every old town street every afternoon. Cracow has about thousand restaurants but where can you find good Polish food? In the old town there are many good restaurants - cheap and expensive ones but only a few of them serve traditional Polish food. We start our trip on Market Square. There are very expensive and tourist restaurants on Market square, this is a good place only for coffee time in open air restaurant during listening a bugle-call.

The most famous and the oldest restaurants Wierzynek and Hawełka are very expensive and with menu which is variation of traditional Polish food. If you persist with eating there I suggest those places for exclusive dinner in beautiful old interior.

My favourite place for a morning coffee or hot chocolate (the best chocolate in the world) is “Prowincja”. “Prowincja” is small and cute cafe on Bracka street. That is a place where students and famous people meet.

Close to Collegium Maius on Anna street there is “ Chimera” restaurant. “Chimera” has two branches on that street: the first is a salad- bar, the second is a restaurant.The salad- bar is big, old and very popular bar in Cracow. The salads are fresh and made with Polish vegetables and fruits but sometimes chefs use exotic ingredients. I ate there often and I always order different salads. There is a big selection of salads there. Chimera salad-bar is a good place for a quick lunch. The second “Chimera” is a restaurant which serves Old Polish Cuisine. It is expensive, but this restaurant is very good if you want to try real Old Polish food which was served in aristocratic families.
I recommend:roast duck with apples and Polish style rabbit with sour cream sauce. This restaurant serves east European wine, and Polish nalewki and wódki, of which my favourite are: wine - Tokaj, nalewki - “Piołunówka” ,Nalewka porzeczkowa and “Krupnik”. If in the menu you find dishes which you know or sound strangely non-polish it is still an Old Polish cuisine, because Polish cuisine is cosmopolitan. I will write about it soon.

The second place which serves Old Polish food is “U Babci Maliny” restaurant (Grandmother Malina). This restaurant has a few branches in Caracow and they serve Country Old Polish Cuisine. The first one is in the building of Polish Academy of Sciences (Polska Akademia Nauk). Beforehand it was typical cheap restaurant for students but it was very popular among Cracow citizens and the owners changed this place and they started to serve country food. Next, tourists who sought real polish foods found this place and this small cheap restaurant evolved into today’s form. Now the owners have 6 branches in Poland.
The restaurant in Polish Academy of Sciences on 17 Sławkowska street is self-service restaurant with good food and average prices. It is always quite full. If you wait and find free place, you can eat very good polish food. It tastes like my grandmothers food I recommend all soups, pierogi and kołduny. The second branch is on Szpitalna street opposite Słowacki theatre. This place has two floors. There is a self-service restaurant on ground floor and typical old restaurant underground where they serve a little expensive food of the same taste I ate there good pork and lamb.

My sentimental place where I ate dinner only twice is Jama Michalika on Florianska street. Jama Michalika now is a restaurant and a museum at the same time. That place have long and famous history. In nineteenth century this place was open as a cake shop where painters often met. Michalik expanded his own shop and next he changed the shop into a restaurant where artists were still meeting. The artist had a bigautonomy in Michlik restaurant and they started to decorate rooms and organized a cabaret. That cabaret was known in the whole country and now students are taught about it. The interior of the restaurant is a little dark like a cave (jama means cave or hole) but decor is fabulous and it comes from art nouveau (19th century), and we can see old pictures and puppets. Food in this restaurant is normal like in cheap restaurant, but prices aren’t low. Managers still think like during communism time. I recommend this place if you love history and you want to absorb the old magic atmosphere of Cracow.

... to be continue.


Similar Posts:

My subjective guide on restaurants in Cracow - part 2

My subjective guide on restaurants in Cracow - part 3 - My zone around Bagatela theatre.


Time of Hallowe'en

Time of Hallowe'en means for me dishes with pumpkin. Every year I prepare a few new recipes with pumpkins and during week before Hallowe'en my home menu consists of pumpkin.
This year my husband bought me pumpkin of 7 kg weight. It was small because last years my pumpkin was about 10 kg, but I made: soup, pumpkin with lamb, casserole with pork, salad, pickles, two kinds of jam, and muffins.

Muffins were my failure. They were flat and rubbery but the taste wasn't bad. I added too much grated pumpkins and this was the cause of my muffins failure.

The soup was simple: I added cuting pumpkin, potato, carrot, onion to consommé with chiken. Finally I added rice, pepper and salt. Perhaps it was difficult to find pumpkin flavour in my soup nevertheless it was very good.

Casserole with pork was a little more difficult. Mince of pork I fried with onion, black peppers, salt and sweet powder of red pepper. Next time I added cubes of pumpkin, carrot and continued frying. Finally I added green olives and rosted pine nuts. I put all mixture to a lined pot with slices of pumpkin, which I also used for covering the mixture. I baked it for 45 minutes in 180 C.

Pickles were very easy: I boiled for 15 minutes 1 kg cubes of pumpkin in 3 liter water with 1 spoon salt and 1 spoon sugar. Next I put cubes into jar, I added 10 ml. venigar to 1 glass water which I used to boil pumpkin and I added it and a few cloves into jar and I twisted it. When pickles cooled down, I pasteurized them.

One kind of jam is typical jam with pumpkin. 1 kg cubes of pumpkin bolied with 0,5 l. orange juice and 2 glasses of sugar. My innovation was adding 2 cm ginger root and a few spoons of juice with raspberries, I added them at the end.

Second kind of jam I made with grated 1 kg pumpkin and 0,5 kg apples. I added 2 glasses of sugar and left for half an hour. Next I simmered about 1 h. and I added 1 spoon of cinamon.
Now I have 5 jars with pumpkin jam on winter. The rest of jam I used for pancakes.

But my spectacular dish was pumpkin with lamb.

For 2 people

300 g. cubes of Lamb
500 g cubes of pumpkin
1 large choped onion
2 tbsp Olive oil
1 tbsp grated ginger root
2 tbsp choped leafs of mint
1 tbsp honey
pepper, salt
1 glass of water

Boil quickly water, ginger, mint, honey, salt and pepper – this is sauce. At the same time fry lamb on hot olive oil, and add sauce and pumpkin. Simmer about 45 min under cover, add a little water if required. Serve with potatos. Enjoy!

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