Sunday, July 30

Italian Honey Loops

Some days ago I bought “ La Doce Vita - Sweet Things from the Italian Home Kitchen” by Ursula Ferrigno and it became right away my favourite cooking book. It’s just wonderful for authentic Italian pastry. The book is timeless; filled with delicious recipes for Italian pudding, pastry, pies, cookies, other sweets and of course the famous gelato! There are also many sweet recipes for Italian feasts, for example these Honey Loops; traditionally people eat them only on Christmas Eve. (why for heavens sake just once a year??) Almost every recipe is paired with the most beautiful pictures, and when I see them, I picture myself in lovely sunny Italy. Just sitting outside in front of a local pasticceria, enjoying my morning espresso with some tasty pastry…

Browsing trough the book, I found the recipe for ‘Honey loops’ and I just couldn’t get the picture of these little sugared cookies out of my mind. They were completely new for me, so I didn’t know what to expect, but I already knew it would be very good. The picture looked so delicious and having dreamed about this high, golden pyramid, drowned in honey and mixed spices last night, this morning I woke up resolute and made my bunch of Honey Loops...

And I was absolutely right. Although it didn’t taste how I thought it would, the Honey Loops were very, very delicious and a real success. The thick spongy inside paired with the sticky sugary outside was just perfect.
The loops self haven’t got a concrete taste. They’re just very soft, dry and doughy. (In fact I don’t think I would have put them in the chapter ‘cookies’…) All the flavour comes from the outside - the sweet honey with the sugar mixture - Therefore it’s really important you use honey from a good quality and aren’t too thrifty with it. Drown those Loops!

Just watch out you don’t make the loops to thin. They are much nicer when they’re big and thick. They’ll have more bite and you’ll notice the difference between textures much better.
The Honey Loops should be eaten the same day (but I doubt that’ll be a problem…)

Honey Loops
(makes 15)

- 15 g fresh yeast or 1 ½ tsp instant yeast with a pinch of granulated sugar.
- 150 ml warm water
- 225 g flour
- pinch of salt
- olive oil, for frying
- 5 Tbsp honey
- granulated sugar and about 2 tsp of mixed spices to sprinkle on top. (a bit to taste!)

1. Combine the fresh yeast with 2 Tbsp warm water. If you’re using instant yeast, mix it with the sugar in 2 Tbsp warm water. Leave the yeast for 15 minutes on a warm spot, until it becomes a foamy mixture.

2. Sift the flour and salt over a medium bowl. Make a dimple for the yeast mixture and pour it, together with the remnant of warm water in the bowl. Mix until you have dough.

3. Knead the dough, on a flowered surface, for about 10 minutes, until its elastic. After this, place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover the dough with a clean towel and leave it to rest for 20 minutes.

4. Take little pieces of dough, about the size of a chestnut, and roll it out till strings. Place the ends over each other, so that on one side there’ll be a loop. Make 15 loops.

5. Heat the olive oil in a pan until it starts to smoke. Bake the loops five at the same time. Pay good attention; this doesn’t take much time. Take them out when they’re golden and let them leak out on kitchen paper.

6. Make a pyramid out of the loops and cover it with warm honey. Sprinkle generously with sugar and mixed spices.

Thursday, July 27

Soft Blueberry Cookies with Chocolate Chunks

It’s soo hot at the moment in Holland. After a severe spring full with rain and storm, the sun finally found us and is making us regret for whishing for a hot summer with a terrible heat wave. Everyone is smelly & cranky and everything is melting. Although it’s not nice at the moment, I do love the summer.
The warmth, all the green outside, the fact that I don’t have to go to school and the most delicious kinds of fruit in the supermarkets.
Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries… all beautiful lined up in the cooling area, waiting to be bought.

Perfect for making these delicious sweet cookies. They are really easy to make (which is extra nice with this wheater…) and are very light. The combination of the slightly bitter chocolate chunks with the sweet summer fruit is just heavenly. I love that the cookies’ll stay soft and moist, all oozie from the melted chocolate and berries. With a cup of tea, this is just the perfect way to start a hot summer day.

Soft summer Cookies with Blueberries and Chocolate chunks
(Makes about 10 cookies)

- 50 g butter - cut into small cubes
- 150 g wheatflour (so much better than just normal flour!)
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 70 g cane sugar
- 100 g fresh blueberries (can be replaced for other summerfruit)
- 75 g extra dark chocolate – chopped into little chunks
- 100 ml milk

1. Preheat the oven to 200˚C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper

2. In a medium bowl mix together the flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Knead the butter through the flour with your fingertips until it looks like rough breadcrumbs.

3. Mix in the sugar, blueberries and chopped chocolate. Stir in the milk until you’ll have a sticky dough.

4. Scoop the dough in little piles onto the bakingsheet, a bit flatten out and with about 5cm space between them.

5. Bake for 20 minutes, until they are goldenbrown and the tops feel dry and firm. Don’t overbake them, or they won’t remain soft and moist.

6. Let cool about 5 minutes before transferring from the baking sheet to a cooling rack. (they’ll break easily!) Enjoy and Store the rest in an airtight container.

Wednesday, July 26

Welcome to Tasting Life

Hi Everybody! Welcome to my foodblog. My name is Julia, I’m 16 years old (but mature for my age…) and I’m from the Netherlands. I live with my mum, my sister Sarah and my cat Romeo in a small apartment building in The Hague, and – what a surprise - I love to cook.

About a year ago I discovered ‘The Absolutely Fabulous World of Food Blogging’ and I was instantly hooked. It was like I had discovered a whole new world; Wow, is this real? Do all these people feel the same way about baking as I do? Are all these people from all around the world as much obsessed with food and cooking as I am? Yeeeh I’m not alone! I’m not weird! (OK, maybe just a little…) ;-)
I think it’s great you can share your thoughts, recipes, victories, adventures (and of course disasters…) so easily with others on the net, to see al the beautiful pictures of baking goods and get new ideas for own recipes.

I have always loved cooking programs like Oliver’s twist and Bill’s Food, and one of my favorite things to do is to go to a bookshop to the cooking section and browse trough cookbooks looking at all the mouth-watering pictures. To search for new delicious recipes, at home experiment with them and of course the result… spending time in the kitchen, the smell of your own homemade cookies and seeing the faces of others while they are enjoying what you have made…
Aaaah I just love everything about it!

School is very easy for me – OK, I’m completely bored most of the time, but don’t tell them!… - a new project is always welcome and I love a good challenge. This is when I got the idea of Tasting Life. Cooking and baking is one of my favorite things to do and if I believe my friends and family, I’m quite good at it! So why not my own blog? So here I am; - Tasting Life.

My goal for Tasting Life is to make minimal once a week something new and post the recipe (my own or adapted from a cookbook) I always LOVE to see many pictures with recipes, so Tasting Life will be full of pictures. I want to experiment, make delicious things and be original and different.
Tasting Life will mainly be sweets, desserts and little snacks. I just love to make (and to eat of course...) things like cookies, cakes, muffins and pies. Because I’m addicted to coffee, chocolate, fruit and nuts many recipes will have one (or more…) of these things in it. – But really, has anyone a problem with that?? - ;-)

Well I think this is all for now, I hope you like it (and me…) and see U soon!