Month: August 2016

Malta – a little heaven

When I was making the mini pastizzi last week, the image of the Maltese blue sky just kept showing in my head. when you look at that sky, I think anyone can forget about all the unhappiness in one’s life. Malta is a tiny little island with just over 300 km2 . However, it is indeed charming and fascinating. On our way from the airport to the hotel, the first thing I noticed was these honey color limestone houses everywhere. Geologically speaking, the whole island is a big chunk of limestone. I guess it was no surprise that they have been using limestone as building materials for centuries. Most of the houses have colorful windows and color-matched doors. Quickly, I developed a new obsession for these beautifully made doors. I couldn’t stop taking photos of them. They are so exquisite. I can’t help to wonder what kind of stories are happening each day behind the beautiful doors on this little island. The second thing is cacti, Prickly pear to be specific. It was introduced from America/Mexico originally. Malta’s dry and long summer …

Mini Maltese pastizzi

We had a trip to Malta last year. Although at the end we had to cut our stay short because of a family emergency, I will never forget the beautiful country and the yummy pastizzi. Traditionally, it has ricotta or pea flavors. You can find it everywhere in Malta. I remembered we went to Mr. Maxims Pastizzeria to try it out for the first time because it has good reviews on tripadvisor. The truth is I think you can buy a tasty pastizz in any pastry shop or cafes. I can’t remember how many pastizzi I had during our stay, and I have never had so much pastry in such a short time. I created a mini version here because my biggest cookie cutter is only 8 cm. Hope you enjoy it. 🙂 Makes 27 INGREDIENTS 130g dried split peas 1 onion, finely chopped 1 teaspoon curry powder 3 sheets of puff pastry salt and pepper 1 egg to make the egg wash salt and pepper Olive oil round cookie cutter INSTRUCTIONS Soak the dried …

Spinach feta dip with almonds and mint

This is the husband’s recipe. It has his name written all over it. It’s creamy, fresh, yummy and super easy to make. He made this last Saturday for a dinner party we had. Everyone loved it. I thought it would be a good idea to share here with my new friends. I asked him to recreate it last night and took some photos. The dip is great on toasts, crackers, or even  as a salad dressing.   INGREDIENTS Feta cheese – 100g Fresh spinach leaves – 125g Olive oil – 50g Almonds – 30g some dry mint or fresh mint Lemon juice – half lemon salt INSTRUCTIONS Rinse the spinach leaves and mint (if you use the fresh ones). Pat the leaves dry with paper towels. Put all the ingredients in a food processor. Now let the food processor do the work. Add salt to taste. Done and done! So easy and quick! 🙂

My favorite lip balms

I wouldn’t say I am obsessed with lip balms, but I admit they have become necessities in my life over the years. I don’t remember ever I don’t have dry lips. No matter how much water I drink, they are always dry. If I am nervous or upset, they become drier instantly. Anyway, my desire of having soft and hydrated lips leads to a journey of finding the best lip balms. Here are my favorites! Lanolips 101 ointment multi-balm (pear) – $13.95 I had heard good things about this lip balm before I tried it. It is made from lanolin. The company claimed that they use the “Ultra Pure Medical Grade lanolin” which is processed through “a highly specialized & patented” system. There is no artificial colors, no fragrances, no additives, no mineral oil, safe enough to use on babies’ mouth and  100% natural. The best part is that it can be used on dry cuticles, cracked heals, nails, paper cuts, insect bits and even your eyebrows. A multi-tasker. I like the pear flavor. It …

Strawberry Pie with love :)

Hubby brought back some strawberries from the local fruit shop yesterday. They are so lovely. I can never resist the pink cute pretty fruit. Then, Tuesday was the Chinese Valentine’s day (Qi Xi). I totally forgot about it. Although he wouldn’t know anything about the Chinese Valentine’s day, I  still think I should give him a pleasant surprise. The problem is that today is Saturday and we have a lot of plans as always. If I decide to do it, it has to be simple and quick, sweet too. Here comes the strawberry heart pie. Easy, simple, quick and lovely. It only takes about an hour to prepare and bake it (well, I have the store bought pastry).  It’s not very sweet, but with soft strawberry flavor. You can serve it very a scoop of ice cream or yogurt. INGREDIENTS strawberry – 500g Sugar – 40g Cornstarch – 25g 1 lemon zest 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 teaspoon rosewater 3 sheets of pre-made puff pastry 1 egg, beaten icing sugar Heart shape cookie cut INSTRUCTIONS Preheat the …

Varna and Nessebar, Bulgaria – little jewels on the Black sea

Before I met my husband, I knew very little about Bulgaria. I knew the name and it is an eastern European country. That was about it. It had never been on my travel destination list before I met my better half. I still don’t know too much about the country since I only had two short trips there. What I do know is it is a beautiful country with a long history which is worth to visit. Varna is the second largest city in Bulgaria, which is located on the Black Sea Coast. The beautiful beaches and resorts made it a very popular destination for Bulgarian and international tourists. It is certainly so nice to sit in a little restaurant on the beach, drink cold beer, eat freshly fried yellow tails and catch up with old friends. It was definitely the first time for me to see a 2L beer. I guess there is a lot of beer drinking going on in the Summer.  Apart from the beautiful beaches, there are also a lot of things …

Mini pithiviers

This is one of my favorite desserts/snacks. Whenever I make it, everyone likes it. It is sweet, but not too sweet. The pastry is so crispy. Perfect to serve as a dinner dessert with your favorite ice cream. Or, it goes well with afternoon tea. Simple and delicious. Good looking too with the golden-brown color and the almond aroma. My mouth is watering now… 🙂 Makes 13 INGREDIENTS Filling 80g unsalted butter 70g caster sugar 1 egg, beaten 1 tablespoon white wine 1 small orange zest, finely grated 70g ground almonds 10g plain flour Pastry 3 sheets of pre-made puff pastry 1 egg, beaten icing sugar INSTRUCTIONS Beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy. Mix in the egg, white wine and orange zest. Mix well. Fold in the ground almonds and flour. Leave the filling in the fridge while prepare the pastry. Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Line the baking try. Use a cookie cutter to cut out circles and place on the baking paper. Spread the filling over the …