Savory Walnut Cheddar Biscuits

walnut cheddar biscuits

I’d really appreciate if someone would finally explain to me the definitive difference between a scone and a biscuit because honestly, I don’t see one. Even the venerable New York Times says they’re basically the same, but if you know otherwise, enlighten me. Please and thank you.

For I can not consider myself an authority in this matter, I’m calling these flaky pastries biscuits only because they are round. I’ve posted a scone recipe before which very well could be a wedge-shaped biscuit for all I know… You see, we have no such problems here in Hungary. What you call a pogácsa – be it round, square, with egg, no egg, butter or lard, leavened or crumbly – is a pogácsa.

Anyway, cheese and walnuts. Again a combination from the savory side, I still have to make up my mind about sweet ones. There’s a nice balance in texture: slightly crispy outside, tender inside with the occasional crunch from the walnuts. Best served warm.

[Your informed speculation of a bottle of wine included somewhere is not entirely without grounds]

There is something about biscuits that make them perfect for everything. Right?!

It’s a quite forgiving pastry too. No kneading, no rising, in fact you want to handle the dough as little as possible. The ingredients can be swapped in and out depending on what you happen to have on hand: I used a blend of all-purpose and whole wheat flour, but plain AP would be just fine. Don’t have cheddar? Think edam, gouda, parmesan. For a slight tang, sub in sour cream, natural yogurt, buttermilk, or heavy cream for the milk. These biscuits are also a great way to use up any random herbs.

Savory Walnut Cheddar Biscuits

  • Difficulty: easy
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Flaky and aromatic. Eat fresh or freeze for up to 1 month. Yield: 18-20 biscuits.

Ingredients

250 g whole wheat flour

50 g AP flour

1 tsp salt

2 1/2 tsp baking poder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp rosemary, finely chopped

115 g walnuts, chopped

115 g grated cheddar

115 g unsalted butter

1 medium egg, beaten

1/4 cup whole milk

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, herbs and pepper.
  2. Working quickly, cut butter into dry ingredients until coarse crumbs form.
  3. Toss in cheese and nuts.
  4. Mix egg with milk and add to the flour mixture to moisten dough. If dough won’t come together, add a tablespoon or so more milk, but do not overwork it.
  5. Wrap dough in cling foil and refrigerate for an hour to stiffen.
  6. Preheat oven to 200°C (395°F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and handling as little as possible, pat to about 2,5 cm (1”) thick. Using a 5 cm (2”) cookie cutter, cut out rounds. Pat scraps together to make more biscuits. Transfer to prepared pan.
  8. Bake for 15-20 min, until golden. Remove from the oven and serve warm.

And now you tell me: how do you like your biscuits?

Love,

Fruzsi

Friday Finds

I think by now you guys are familiar with my aesthetic when it come to colors 🙂 These images are so visually pleasing and soothing to look at.

Paint colors via Liz of Love Grows Wild:

favorite grey paint colors

Clarice Button Dress via Roolee:

clarice button dress

Handira Cushions via El Ramla Hamra:

handira cushions

DIY Wooden Candle Holders by Caroline of Burkatron:

DIY wooden candle holder

Rustic Ceramic Square Bowls via Nom Living (photo by Tim Tyler):

rustic ceramic square bowls

Happy weekend!

Fruzsi

Food Photography & Styling Workshop

I am not a particularly spontaneous person (and that’s an understatement), but last week an opportunity has presented itself and I had to make a quick decision. Fingers crossed I am not speaking too soon, but that decision might just turn out to be the deal breaker in taking My Chest of Wonders a step further.

I’ve experienced my first blogging blues and it has been a pity party over here lately. It was high time I clicked out of that tab, so this bit of good in the form of a workshop could not have come at a better time.

I always felt the lack of a local friend or acquaintance who shares my interest and taste, and since the idea of a tabletop styling and prop rental business first started forming in my head I was eagerly looking for someone I could have good chats with on the topic. Well, that person exists and she’s a total sweetheart too!

Zita Csigo is one of my country’s most established and well-known food stylists & photographers, also teaching tricks of the trade at her popular workshops. I was quick to respond to a sudden vacancy, took the day off from work and oh was it worth it!

Being my biggest critic, I wasn’t satisfied with my photos. When I got my DSLR I enrolled on a photography course to learn the basics, but limited knowledge and no constructive feedback put me in a place where taking photos for my posts became a bit of a nuisance. I knew my shots could (should) be better, just didn’t know how.

I brought two sets of images we made from the workshop to show you a bit of what I’ve learnt. All photos were taken without studio lights. The shots on the left were taken after I’ve selected and arranged the objects in a way I thought was fine. The improvements you see on the right were made by adjusting the light and following the basic rules of composition only. No editing was done on the images.

food photography workshop

food photography workshop

Besides the food photography know-how, we had a lengthy conversation on blogging and business, and I absolutely loved getting lost in Zita’s astonishing prop collection. Our aesthetic turns out to be quite similar (good sign for me!) so working together was really effortless. She also reassured me that my business idea is ripe for the picking which I consider the most valuable feedback I could get. I left inspired and with newfound motivation, so thank you again!

*Disclaimer: I have visited and paid for this service. What I write about business establishments on My Chest of Wonders represent my genuine and unbiased opinion, I am not being compensated in any way through sponsorship, commissions or gifts.*

Love,

Fruzsi

Friday Finds

January is being really January today (where’s the snow, tho?), but a hot cuppa can help you live to see the weekend. Especially if you sip from such hand-made beauties:

Textured Short Mug by Kati Von Lehman, via Spartan Shop:

Kati Von Lehman Textured Short Mug

Gold Accent Mug via Anthropologie:

anthrolpologie gold accent mug

Cobalt Dot Mug via Koromiko:

koromiko cobalt dot mug

Coffee Mug by 1220 Ceramics Studio via Etsy:

1220ceramicsstudio coffee mug

Ceramic Mugs with Blur Detail by Clear Blur Design, via Etsy:

clear blur design mug

Happy weekend!

Fruzsi

Let’s Do This 2018

begin again

Hello, Happy New Year and welcome back! I hope all of you had a wonderful and relaxing holiday.

The end of 2017 literally just whizzed by and it feels like I’ve been thrown into January. It has been a challenging time for me with new job responsibilities and an office move after which I had to reconsider my everyday routine, buy a car, and re-learn to drive. Driving was never my strong suit, but I try to think positively of having to face one of my biggest insecurities. Sitrep: I’m still scared sh*tless sometimes, but it’s better every day 😀

Oh, and Holidays.

All in all, a wee bit more anxiety than I would have cared for. I needed to cut myself some slack and so time away from the blog turned out to be a little longer than I originally planned, but I’m back now.

With a new year comes new-found motivation and inspiration, although if I’m being honest, I don’t quite see the exact direction I will be heading in 2018 just yet. Not everything needs to be planned though, so we shall see!

Achievment-wise, I have reached some of the goals I set for 2017. I also have failed some. My only resolution for this year is that I would be more determined, whatever my intentions will be. And so to kick off 2018, here’s my list of the things I would like to spend more time working on:

  1. Learn more about the rules, customs and traditions of properly serving and enjoying food. I am planning to share a guide for setting the table, so keep your eye out!
  2. Attend more workshops. The ones I did last year were properly fun and I had a great time learning new skills and meeting people.
  3. (Find the time to) create more content. I have a notebook I carry around with me full of ideas, it’s time to implement!
  4. Reach out more to fellow bloggers. Being more active with my networing is essential for this year.
  5. Earning the first income from the blog.

So there it is. Looking forward to what 2018 has in store!

What goals did you set for this year? Do you do resolutions? How succesful are you in keeping them? I’d love to hear it from you!

Love,

Fruzsi

Happy Holidays from My Blog to You!

christmas styling

Wishing you and yours a most joyous holiday season and a prosperous New Year! Also, I think this is the perfect time to express my appreciation and gratitude for the love and support of my dear readers. Thank you for visiting, liking, commenting and following! Stay safe and enjoy your vacation with family and friends – see you in 2018!

Love,

Fruzsi

Photo & styling: Anna Kvarnström

Friday Finds

You’ve still got time to make a batch of iced gingerbread cookies! For some inspo, check out these little beauties:

By Yvonne of Fraulein Klein:

gingerbread icing

By Julie of Shoots Knits and Leaves:

gingerbread icing

By Amanda and Aaron of Pickles & Honey:

gingerbread icing

By Eva Blixman via Roomdeco:

gingerbread icing

By Kinga of Green Morning:

gingerbread icing

Happy weekend!

Fruzsi

You’ve Got Bread Pudding, We Have THIS

hungarian makos guba

Christmas is unthinkable in Central-Eastern Europe without sweets made with nuts. If it’s mostly walnuts, hazelnuts or almonds in your region, depends on the climate but all of us in the heart of Europe bake similar traditional holiday treats.

And there is another very important ingredient in Hungarian kitchens around festive season: poppy seeds. The symbol of richness, also supposed to bring you luck. Such a favorite many of us enjoy it all year round.

We use poppy seeds in a great many recipes from bejgli (a poppy or walnut filled pastry roll), to nudli (small potato dumplings sprinkled with sugared poppy seeds) to rétes (strudel) to flódni (a Hungarian-Jewish pastry with layers of fillings), and I could just go on and on.

If you happen to have some sweet type of bread that dried on you – because you forgot to put it in the freezer – you are in luck! Your negligence just landed you the opportunity to try the one particular poppy-based dessert that’s intentionally not listed above: mákos guba (pron. maa-kosh goo-bah).

It’s a great and easy recipe to repurpose leftover, dry bread. Whatever you have on hand works from regular white bread to brioche, buns, crescent rolls and the like. Just avoid sourdough or whole-wheat loaves; the savory flavors don’t make them suited to a sweet bread pudding.

Because mákos guba is a kind of bread pudding: the pastry slices are layered in a baking dish, softened with sweetened milk, sprinkled with ground poppy and powdered sugar, than baked until the middles are soft and the top is crunchy and golden.

hungarian makos guba

I always liked this dessert but only begin really loving it when I deviated a little from the family recipe and traded in crescents for challah and sugared milk for crème anglaise. That seriously raised the bar! This new and improved mákos guba made it from a frugal weekend dish right to our holiday table: as part of creating new traditions for ourselves with the Husband, it’s going to be dessert after a hearty soup for lunch on December 24th.

Here’s how I make it:

Hungarian Poppy Seed Guba

  • Difficulty: easy
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Sweet bread pudding layered with vanilla-flavored custard and ground poppy seeds. Serves 4.

Ingredients

100 g poppy seeds, ground

80 g powdered sugar

an 500 g (1 lb) challah or brioche, a little dry, cut to 14-16 slices

800 ml whole milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 egg yolks

50 g granulated sugar

2 tbsp butter

Directions

Make crème anglaise:

  1. Heat milk and vanilla in a heavy bottomed saucepan until steaming, but not boiling.
  2. While milk is heating, whisk the egg yolks with the granulated sugar until pale.
  3. Temper custard: whisking constantly, slowly but steadily add hot milk to egg mixture.
  4. Transfer back to saucepan and cook on low heat for a few minutes until the consistency of a pouring sauce is reached. Set aside, divided: use 500 ml to soak challah, reserve 300 ml to serve.

Arrange guba:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (355F), butter a deep baking dish using 1 tbsp of the butter.
  2. Mix poppy seeds with powdered sugar.
  3. Cover bottom of dish with challah slices. Soak slices with custard, than sprinkle generously with the poppy mixture. Continue layering until you run out of challah.
  4. Put remaining butter pieces on top and bake until golden, about 30 min. Enjoy warm, served with remaining crème anglaise and/or whipped cream.

 

Love,

Fruzsi

Friday Finds

Have you planned the holiday menu yet? I’ve still to test a few recipes, but it’s coming together. Below are some gorgeous examples on how to dress up a simple cake for Christmas.

By Hannah of Domestic Gothess:

christmas cake

By Erin of Erin Made This:

christmas cake

Photo by Ruth Black via Stocksy:

christmas cake

By Tessa of Style Sweet CA:

christmas cake

By Joanna of Liebesbotschaft:

christmas cake

Happy weekend!

Fruzsi

Cold Day Special: Spiced Carrot Soup with Roasted Chickpeas

spiced carrot soup

First snow of the season has fallen this week, which came as a surprise considering the non-wintery winters we’ve been experiencing. In fact it’s snowing right now as I write this post, which managed to finally put me in a festive-ish mood.

There’s a lot going on lately with my day job and it’s hard sometimes to break away from all that but here I am, with a bowl of steaming, creamy soup counting snowflakes and watching our street  transform into a piece of winter wonderland.

Said soup is a simple and delicious veggie soup loaded with spicy-sweet flavor which I made in under 30 minutes from a bag of carrots that were forgotten in the pantry (leftovers of last week’s pie). I personally just love these simple affair type of dishes: satisfying and flavorful, quicker than the pizza delivery guy fires up his scooter.

Honestly. It’s just chopped carrots simmered with warm spices and blitzed into a silky smooth puree.

Also vegan, gluten-free, low-calorie and packed with nutrition. Healthy meets delicious in a brightly colored, vibrant quick fix. You literally feel yourself warming up from the inside out with each spoonful. Spiced with anti-inflammatory ginger, turmeric and a little bit of chili powder for some extra heat, a delightful combination of sweet carrots balanced with pungent spices.

To add a bit of crunch to the velvety consistency of the soup, I went with roasted chickpeas. It’s as easy as can be: a can of chickpeas tossed with olive oil and yet more pantry staple spices, roasted in a hot oven. Great snack on its own too when not used as a soup topper.

roasted chickpeas

What else can I say? Make this the next time you’re feeling a little down, under the weather, or just, you know, want something to warm your cold cold heart 😉

Spiced Carrot Soup with Roasted Chickpeas

  • Difficulty: easy
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Warming creamy spiced carrot soup packed with goodness, perfect to comfort on a cold day. Serves 4.

Ingredients

For the soup:

1 kg carrots, peeled

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finally chopped

1 l vegetable stock

2 tbsp olive oil

1 bay leaf

1/4 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

salt and pepper to taste

For the roasted chickpeas:

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

2 tbsp olive oil

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp paprika powder (sweet or hot)

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp curry powder

Directions

Make soup:

  1. Finely chop the carrots, or cut with a handheld slicer. This step helps them cook in no time, retaining all their goodness.
  2. In a heavy bottomed pan, sauté onions with the olive oil on medium-high heat until softened.
  3. Season, add garlic, bay leaf and spices, stir until fragrant.
  4. Add carrots, stir to coat with spices. Add stock, bring to a boil.
  5. Simmer until carrots are cooked through, about 10 min.
  6. Puree until smooth.

Make roasted chickpeas:

  1. Preheat oven to 230°C (450°F). Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Toss chickpeas with the oil and spices to coat evenly, arrange in a single layer on the baking tray.
  3. Bake for 15 min, stir, than bake for an additional 15 min, until golden and crispy (some will pop, that’s a sign they are getting ready)
  4. Serve soup with chickpeas, drizzled with some extra virgin olive oil. Enjoy!

Love,

Fruzsi