Ajvar (Roasted red pepper and eggplant relish)

September 26, 2011

 Ajvar - Red pepper and eggplant relish

Ajvar [aye-var] is a savoury relish made from roasted red peppers, eggplant, garlic and chili peppers. Onions, string beans, vinegar, lemon and even tomatoes are sometimes added for extra flavour. Thought to originate in the Serbian cuisine, ajvar is a popular speciality throughout the Balkans, with each country and household having its own variation. We have a similar relish in Romania called zacusca; but while zacusca is dominated by eggplant, ajvar gets its unique flavour from the red peppers.

Carrot Cake

September 08, 2011

Carrot Cake

It wasn't hard to pick the recipe for my first post, since carrot cake is by far my favourite. Almost every time I made it I had half myself (in one day). Why do I like it so much? It's got the 4 most important qualities I look for in a dessert: it's sweet (in a delicate way), crunchy, moist and the flavours are perfectly balanced. Those of you who are familiar with this classic cake might be surprised to see chocolate ganache instead of a thick layer of cream cheese frosting. That's because I don't like buttery frosting at all. It's too sticky and sweet to be able to enjoy the true flavour of the cake. I find that chocolate ganache matches it perfectly. Add to that a little bit of lemon or orange drizzle and you're in cake heaven.
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