No-Bake Nutella & Oreo Cheesecake

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When I read this recipe in the Internet for the first time, I was thinking “Oh my goodness, I will gain 5 kilos just by looking at this cheesecake.” But I was too curious to try this recipe, so I made it for our visit this weekend. I have to say, I was completely positively surprised how great it tastes. I expected a horribly sweet taste, but the combination of Nutella with cream cheese, where no extra sugar is added, was really nice. If you wish to have it less rich, then add like 100 g less Nutella. It is done very quickly, you don’t have to bake it and it has a big wow effect from everybody who eats it… so what are you waiting for?

You will need:

  • 20 Oreo cookies for the base (or use other biscuits with filling—I used some hazelnut biscuits with vanilla filling and Oreos just for the decoration because I didn’t have enough Oreos)
  • 85g (3oz) melted butter
  • 500 g (18oz) cream cheese
  • 300g (11oz) Nutella
  • 400 ml (13oz) whipping cream
  • 1 pouch gelatine (or 6 leaf) suitable for 500 ml (17oz) of liquid
  • 10 – 12 Oreo cookies for the filling
  • around 15 Oreo cookies for decorating
  • 200 ml (7oz) whipping cream also for decorating

Take a cake springform and line it with baking paper. Sometimes I cut a round form from baking paper and place it inside of the springform and sometimes I open the springform, place baking paper on the bottom part, then put the side ring on the top, close the spring and cut around with scissors  to remove the rest of the paper. (Sounds complicated but it is very easy, just try it). Then place the first 20 Oreo cookies into the blender and pulse few times to make fine crumbs. Then add melted butter and pulse few more times. (If you don’t have a blender, just place your cookies in a plastic bag and beat them with a wooden rolling pin or a meat mallet. Then put your crumbs into a bowl and mix it with melted butter). Now put this crumbs mixture into your prepared springform, spread it evenly, and then push with your hand or glass that it is firm. Place the springform into the refrigerator. In the mean time, make the filling. Put one package of gelatine (or 6 leafs) in a small pot, mix it with 6 tablespoons of water and let it stay for 10 minutes. Then in a bigger bowl or stand mixer, mix cream cheese and Nutella. In a separate bowl, mix the whipping cream until you will get whipped cream. Now heat the gelatine in a pot until totally melted. Don’t cook it! Take the pot from heat. Take two tablespoons of your cream cheese-nutella mixture and mix it into the gelatine. Like this you will cool the gelatine a little bit and it will not be such a shock for the cream. Now put all the gelatine in your cream cheese-nutella mixture and mix it properly, so the gelatine will be not just on one place. Break 10-12 Orio cookies into this mixture and also mix properly. Pour it into your springform, smooth the top evenly, cover it with plastic wrap, and place it in the fridge for few hours of even better over night. Next day, run a knife around the edge of your cheesecake, open the side ring and place it on a nice platter. I left the cheesecake on the bottom part of the springform, but you could also put a bit knife under the baking paper, lift it up and put it on platter without the bottom part. Then make a whipping cream by using an electric mixer and add one tablespoon of powder sugar (if you want) in the end. You can just make small dollops of the cream with teaspoon or decorating it like me by using the pipping bag and star tip. Then carefully cut your 15 Oreo cookies in half with a sharp knife. Place them on the whipping cream and you can serve.

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I am eating it right now…🙂 and I have to say, it is even better than yesterday. So rich, chocolaty, creamy filling, and crunchy bottom. Really a great treat! I hope you give it a try and enjoy🙂

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PS: If you leave the gelatine in the filling away and freeze the whole cheesecake overnight (for at least 12 hours), you will have a great Icebox Nutella Oreo cheesecake… how cool is that?

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Pavlova

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Oh my dear Cookaholic, I can’t believe that it is already half a year since I wrote my last post. Yes, I know I’m really horrible but this time I had a good reason for that. We move to a new house end of this February, and you can imagine that with two small kids and lots of stuff to unpack there is not much time to write. But hey, here I am again and I will start with a very nice recipe which fits great to summer days. It is called Pavlova… meringue-based dessert and it’s so light and airy and fruity… you will love it. There are just few ingredients but few important steps to follow. So let’s get started!

You will need:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 210 g of granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar (potassium hydrogen tartrate)
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • whipping cream
  • fruit for decoration

Preheat your oven to 150 degrees Celsius (300 F) and draw an 18 cm (7 inch) circle on your baking paper. Turn the paper upside down (so you will not put your egg whites on the drawing). This will give you orientation how big the Pavlova should be. If you spread it too much, it would end up kind of flat. You can use a ruler, simply make a point somewhere in the middle of the paper and from that fours points, on top, bottom, left, and right, each one 9 cm away from the central point. Then connect the four points to one circle (or something that looks like a circle🙂 ) It is just for your orientation and doesn’t need to be perfect.

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Or if you have a small dessert plate which is approx. 18 cm wide… just trace around it. IMG_5491

Now, start with beating your egg whites in a really clean bowl. I do it in my Kitchen Aid stand mixer with whisk attachment, but you can do it with hand mixer or even just with your hand and whisk. But I can assure you, if you do it just with your hand and whisk, you will get biiiiig biceps because it takes kind of long.

I was using my normal white granulated sugar, but because it has a big crystals I mixed it in my food processor so it became much finer and dissolved easier.

So when the egg whites are starting to be foamy, add the tartar, then start adding the sugar one tablespoons at a time. Like this the sugar will have time to dissolve. Beat it until the egg whites will be stiff and shiny. And when you take your whisk out, the egg whites should be pulling with the whisk and form peaks. Now add your white wine vinegar, vanilla extract, and sifted cornstarch. Carefully fold it into the egg whites. Put your egg whites mixture to your prepared baking sheet and spread it on your traced circle.

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Then bake it in a preheated oven for 80 minutes! Because the temperature is low, it will first grow, then bake a nice crispy crust, and then when you switch your oven off it will collapse a little bit. It will also most probably crack… but don’t worry either. This happens most of the time. You will cover it with whipped cream and the fruit so nobody will see that and when you cut it in pieces it will break a little bit anyway.

It is simply so fragile and light as air. This cake (dessert) is created and named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova who, as they say, was dancing as light as air.

So, after 80 minutes baking, you switch off your oven and let it cool completely without opening it. That can take 2-3 hours. You can also bake it in the evening and let it cool over night.

After it is cooled completely, transfer it on some nice serving dish. Whip up your whipping cream (I recommend not to put any sugar because the meringue is sweet enough), spread it on the top of your meringue, and decorate with fruit. You can practically us any fruit you like. I used fresh raspberries, strawberries, and kiwi. I wanted to put some blueberries, too but in the store they didn’t have any nice ones. Great would be also red currant, gooseberry, oranges, peaches, … The juice from a passion fruit is also added frequently. Use your fantasy and taste! You can’t really go wrong

I am pretty sure that if you do this dessert next time when your friends will come, you will get lots of compliments. I hope you will give it a try and enjoy🙂

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Markthalle IX

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Yesterday I was almost in paradise. I love food festivals where you can eat from lots of different stands lots of different food. Therefore my husband and I go to the Prague Food Festival every year in May. Every time I am looking forward to the next one, so I can eat from all those Michelin star cooks from around the whole Czech Republic. But it is just once a year… so you can imagine how happy I was when I read in the newspapers that Berlin has now three food markets which became very popular. One of them is in Marthalle IX in Kreuzberg and they have one stand with great pulled pork sandwiches. So I said to myself that we have to go there one day. I would love to meet the people and eat their pulled pork.

In Markthalle IX, they have lots of events going on. For example, on every Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m. they have Street Food Thursday, every third Sunday in a month they have Breakfast Market. This weekend we decided to visit our friends in Berlin. Our kids were at their grandparents until Sunday. So my husband and I could enjoy some time together. I said that it would be great if we visited this street food market with our Berlin friends. So my husband started to search when they are open and which events are going on. And he said that this Street food is just on Thursday and Saturday there is nothing. And just every third Sunday in a month there is a Breakfast Market. So I was a little bit sad because I thought that it is still something like the beginning of January😀 I usually don’t have any idea which date is it (I am a stay-at-home mom… therefore) and then we opened a calender and counted the Sundays and luckily for me… it was the third one😀 I was soooo happy. First thing when we came to our friends was that I told them about this new thing in Berlin and that we MUST go there because I have to show them… and they were like “Oh yeah, we know. We’ve already been there…”😀 Okay, so not surprised but at least they knew how we can get there.

I came inside of this beautiful old hall and the first stand where I went (probably my heart was leading me) was a stand with some buns filled with meat and egg… and then I started to talk to the woman behind the counter and suddenly it was clear that the newspaper article was about her and that I am standing in front of the pulled pork stand. We ordered one sandwich with BBQ sauce, something like a poached egg (but in an eggshell), bacon, and salad. It was so good… I can tell you. To bring you the people and their work closer, have a look at this YouTube video about them.

Here are some photos showing how our breakfast sandwich was created.

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It was so good. When you took the first two bites, the poached egg opened and it spread on the meat and the bun. And the combination of egg, bacon, meat, and salad was perfect for a late breakfast (it was already 12 noon). I made pulled pork already once by myself but it was not perfect. I was baking it so long and still it was not totally getting apart. And because I had it yesterday in Berlin, I felt like I have to try to make it again. So, today we bought meat from the pork shoulder and I tried a new way… I found some recipes on YouTube and I like this style of “fast food”. Instead of baking it for 4-6 hours in the oven on low temperature, I cooked it 2 hours in the pressure cooker. And I have to say, it turned out great. It was so soft and getting apart by every touch. I will post the recipe soon. Here is a photo of my pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw salad, pickles, bean sprouts, and homemade BBQ sauce. Delicious🙂

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Now, back to Markthalle IX: The pulled pork stand was not the only one. There was a colorful mixture of different cuisines from several countries. Everything what we tasted was really great, mostly from local and organic products.

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IMG_2384 New York style bagels

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We already visited Portugal twice and are totally in love with Pastel de nata. So when we saw a stand here which was selling them, we were so happy and bought 10 pieces. They packed it in a nice box for us. So we had something for the grandparents as a thank you for taking care of our girls🙂

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To conclude… if you are in Berlin and by coincidence it is the third Sunday in a month, then go for a nice breakfast to Kreuzberg in Markthalle Neun and enjoy🙂

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Borơč (English Borscht)

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Hello dear friends and readers of my blog. I hope you had great Christmas holidays. I wish you all and your families a happy new year. May this year be full of good health, good luck, good friends and good food. I will try to post some great recipes this year to make it a little bit tastier🙂

As every year I was so busy before Christmas, so there was not much time for posting. I wanted to post my gingerbread recipe, vanilla crescents, etc. But well… maybe next year😀 Actually we bake gingerbread several times per year, because my daughters love to make them and, of course, eat them. So I might post this recipe now and you can make them for Easter.

Today I made some great soup for cold winter days. It is so warming and full of great vegetable like cabbage, carrot, beetroot, potatoes, celery root, onion which gives you vitamins in winter. I think, if we ate more of this kind of vegetable in winter, we would be less sick. Look what Wikipedia says about cabbage.

This soup is a little bit time consuming, but definitely worth it. It is a big pot, so it will serve 8 people minimum. I even freeze half of that, so I can have some on hand, when I need quick lunch or dinner.

You will need for the stock:

  • 500g beef meat
  • 500g pork meat
  • 500g beef bones
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 8 berries allspice
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 3 teaspoons salt

Other ingredients for the soup:

  • 3 beetroot (raw)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 4-6 teaspoons vinegar
  • 1 carrot
  • small piece of parsley root and celery root (together approx. 100g)
  • 300-400g cabbage (I used the white)
  • 6 potatoes (medium size)
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 3 Tablespoons tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 lemon (organic!!!)
  • 4 Tablespoons flour
  • 200g sour cream
  • salt and pepper to your taste

Put all your meat and bones in a bigger pot, add spices, salt, whole onion and 4 liters of water.

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In some recipes, they say you should take the pork out when it is tender and let the beef cook longer (because beef needs usually longer to cook). But I cook all the meat together for 2 hours, and it worked. I simply left the pork in bigger pieces and I cut the beef in smaller cubes. Like this both needed the same time and they were nicely tender. But if you check on your meat after 1 hour, and you see the pork is already done, then take it out as most recipes say and cook the beef longer. When both kinds of meat are cooked, pour everything through a sieve and catch the broth in another bigger pot. Let the meat in the sieve cool down and set the pot with broth aside. After meat has cooled down a little bit, cut it in smaller cubes and set aside.

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Peel beetroot and cut it in small stripes (or grate on grater). Put butter in a pot and add beetroot, sauté for 3 minutes and than add the vinegar and 500 ml of water. Cover it and cook for 30 minutes on medium-low.

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Cut in small cubes your potatoes, celery root, parsley root, and carrots, in thin stripes the cabbage. Put all your vegetable in the pot with broth. Add canned tomatoes, tomato puree, sugar and 1/2 lemon (the whole thing, not just the juice). I put even one more onion in halves for more flavor, but you can skip that.

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Bring it to boil. In a small bowl mix flour with one cup of water until there are no lumps. Now pour it to your boiling broth and mix for one minute.

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Let the soup cook for 30 minutes or until the vegetable is tender. Then add your cooked beetroot and meat. Mix it properly and let it heat a little bit, so that the meat is not cold. Take it from stove and add half of the sour cream. Mix again. Now your nice winter soup is done and you can serve it. Pour it in a small bowl or plate and decorate with a small dollop of sour cream.

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Btw. this portion was for my husband with just a little bit of beetroot. But in the end he put much more😀

I cooked this soup yesterday and my husband doesn’t like beetroot. Today my friend came and I offered her this soup for lunch… and she doesn’t like beetroot either. What do you think? My husband ate 2 full plates and my friend totally loved it😀 So funny… this soup can really surprise you with the nice taste. I hope you give it a try and enjoy🙂

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Hungarian LĂĄngos

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Probably most of you don’t know what that is. But I am pretty sure that after you taste this most of you will love it. This doesn’t belong to the healthy food category but once a year you can sin🙂 Our mom always did this when we were kids. We ate them with the speed of light and then she put two pieces on a plate and we went to our grandma who lived next street. She loved this. “Grandma, if you would be still here I would love to make you some LĂĄngos and bring it to you. Hot, garlicky and cheesy… the way you liked it.”

LĂĄngos, as I know it, is a fried yeast dough smeared with garlic water, mayonnaise, ketchup, and Gouda cheese. I don’t do them often but when I do them I always feel in love like eating them for the first time. In Hungary they make them with sour cream and cheese. Some people put bacon and spring onions, some like it sweet just with strawberry jam and sour cream. You can make them as you like. I am just giving you hints how I love them.

For 4 people you will need:

  • pinch of salt
  • 250 g flour
  • 200 ml milk
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 40 g yeast (I use fresh one)
  • mayonnaise
  • yogurt or sour cream (optional)

Heat the milk and the sugar in a sauce pan. The sweet milk should have almost body temperature when you put your finger inside. It shouldn’t be colder because then the yeast will not be activated. If it’s too hot, it will kill the yeast. So, nice, lukewarm milk. Take it from the stove and put yeast crumbs and mix a little bit. Cover it with a clean kitchen towel and let it stay for 10-15 minutes. Mix flour and salt in a bowl, look under the towel and if it has some big bubbly top, pour it in your flour.

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Mix it with a wooden spoon until it comes together. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let it rise for 20 minutes.

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After 20 minutes punch the dough down, cover it and let it rise again for 20 minutes.

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Prepare your garlic water. Take a small cup or bowl. Crush 4 cloves of garlic and mix it with a pinch of salt. You can rub the crushed garlic with the salt on a cutting board, until a fine paste will be created. I like it this way because it mixes much better with the water and gives more flavor. So then put the garlic in a small bowl and add 4-5 tablespoons of water. It should be very loose, but not too watery. Put 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise in the bowl (if you don’t want it so fatty, mix mayo with 2 tablespoons of yogurt). In another bowl, put ketchup and also prepare your grated cheese (I use Gouda because it melts very well). It is better if you have prepared everything on hand because the assembling is then very fast.

On a floured surface put your dough and roll it 1 cm thick. With a knife or pizza cutter, cut 8-10 pieces. Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan. When it is hot, put one of the dough pieces inside. Do it one by one because it is going really fast. Like 10-15 seconds per side.

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It will grow in the pan and make big bubbles, that is how should it be. When you have both sides golden brown, take it out. Put it on a plate with a paper towel, so you get rid of some oil.

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Smear it with garlic water, mayonnaise, and ketchup.

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Sprinkle it with grated Gouda cheese. Serve it hot and enjoy🙂

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Chocolat cake

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I don’t need to write a recipe for this chocolate cake because I already posted it here. I just wanted to show you how you can change a sheet pan cake to something beautiful. I previously did my zucchini chocolate cake for the birthday of my mother in law. If you want to try it, here is how I did it:

Make the batter as in the recipe above. Butter two baking thins with a diameter of 15 cm (6 inches), then cut 2 round shapes of baking paper and lay it on the bottom of the thins.  Separate the batter in half and pour it into the thins. Bake approx. 20-40 minutes.  Check after 20 minutes with a wooden skewer: if it comes out clean, it is done… if not, bake another 5 minutes and check again. This may take a while because the dough is higher than in a sheet pan.

After it is done, let it cool for 10 minutes and then run a knife around the edge. Remove from thins onto wire rack, discard baking paper, and let it cool completely.

Meanwhile prepare your ganache which is similar to one from the zucchini chocolate cake. But this one has more chocolate and less cream. It is still spreadable but it will get harder than the other ganache.

Heat 1 cup of cream in a saucepan until almost boiling. Take it away from stove and break 400 g (14 oz) of your favourite chocolate in the cream (I used one with 50% cocoa but you can also use white or milk chocolate). Mix it and let it sit for 2 minutes. Then mix it with a wire whisk or a tablespoon until the chocolate will be smoothly spreadable.

Then cut each of the cake in half (now you have 4 pieces of cake).

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Choose a serving plate where you want to present your cake. Put a small dollop of ganache on your plate and place the first part of your cake on it. Like this your cake will stick to the plate and not move. Then put 2-3 tablespoons of ganache on the cut side of the cake and spread it.

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On the other part of this cake, spread some jam. I used some redcurrant jam which is a little bit sour and it fits great to this sweet cake.

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Btw. I am spreading ganache and jam on the cut side. Not on the bottom or top of the cake! So, when you put them together, there will be jam on ganache and that is what we want. Repeat the same with the cake from the second baking thin. Now spread some ganache on the top of the first cake. Then spread some jam on the top of the second cake and flip it on the first cake which stands on your plate. Push the top of your cake with little pressure, so both cakes will stick together properly. So, you should have now 4 layers of cake and between 3 layers of ganache and jam. Sounds complicated… but it is not. And because you flip the second cake on the first cake, you have a straight top of your cake.

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In lots of recipes they simply cut the round top of the cake away. But I think that is waste of cake. This way the uneven parts are in the middle of the cake. You can now fill the gaps with ganache as you frost the cake. And nobody will see anything, just a nice straight cake🙂

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You can put it for 20 minutes in the fridge to let the ganache harden a bit. Meanwhile prepare whipped cream. Use very cold cream directly from the fridge and if you have time and space, put even your bowl and whisk in the fridge. It will help the cream to be nice and stiff. Mixed the cream a little bit and then add one tablespoon of powdered sugar and one tablespoon of vanilla extract. You can also leave the sugar away and just have vanilla flavored whipped cream. You will not miss the sugar because the cake is sweet enough. As you see on the photo I made a dollop of cream in the middle and some fresh raspberries on top. You could leave it like this, it looks pretty already. But I wanted more cream on mine. So I made some swirls with a piping bag and a star tip and then place a strawberries on them. This was a very sweet chocolaty cake, but still very moist because of the zucchini batter.

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The fresh fruit and cream made it even more delicious. If you know some chocoholic, I am pretty sure you will make him happy with this cake.. for a birthday or just like this. Give it a try and enjoy🙂

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Still summer?

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It is almost end of November and in Germany it is getting really cold. But our summer-fruit-raspberries don’t mind. What a joy for our kids to pick raspberries this time of the year🙂

My garden hasn’t gone to sleep yet. I can still pick fresh herbs like thyme, lemon thyme,  Nasturtium the “nose-twister” (which is great in salad), or lovage. I even had a last small zucchini not long time ago. Nature is amazing and I am happy that I can grow food.

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