Friday Finds

February is merely as long as is needed to pass the time until March.

J.R. Stockton

On some extra gloomy days, I feel the same. But then there’s carnivals, Valentine’s Day, more daylight, Super Bowl snacks, NYFW… and forcing hyacinth bulbs.

Image via Johanna Vintage:

hyacinth bulbs

Image by Sanna of Kukkala:

hyacinth bulbs

Image via Formelle Design:

hyacinth bulbs

Image by Kjerstis Lykke:

hyacinth bulbs

Image by Lisbet of Lisbet E.:

hyacinth bulbs

Happy weekend!



Chocolate Beignets, As In Cooking Is Not Always Success and Glory

chocolate beignets

Remember when I told you how during carnival season it’s customary here in Hungary to make donuts? Since it’s that time of the year, I thought I’d post a donut recipe again, this time exploring how other nations do donuts. Pillowy French beignets (pron. ben-yay) were on top of the list.

I wanted them square, States-style. Yes, I know they make them round in Paris, but I had enough round donuts already and no squares yet. Also, the chocolate filling. That don’t need explaining I reckon.

So I got to it. And although they tasted awesome (like, really awesome!) and I eventually managed to shoot an ok-kinda photo of them, the honest truth is that I had quite a difficult time making these.

The dough was too damn sticky (which is probably my fault because I bought the same flour I previously found hard to work with). The beignets were turning over in the frying oil all by themselves. Half the amount would have been more than enough of the chocolate ganache, and it is simply impossible to fill the donuts with it when it’s still warm, like the recipe was saying. The smallest nozzle of my piping bag turned out to be still too big for the job, and there were sticky chocolate and sugar and oil everywhere.

I struggled, cursed, made a terrible mess of my kitchen, cursed some more, and even wished at one point the whole thing would just go and eff itself.

There. It’s out, and I feel liberated. (I also had a glass… ok two glasses of wine, so all is good now.) I wanted to tell you this because 99.9 percent of the time authors – me included – are being like oh, this recipe is so ridiculously easy, you can “make it from scratch” and it “comes together in a blink of an eye”. Moderate breakdowns and piles of dirty dishes are seldom mentioned.

Easy recipes do exist. This is not one of them. Or let me put it this way: it wasn’t for me at first try. I still decided to post it, difficulties and all. Cooking is fun and I thoroughly enjoy it, but I’d lie if I said it’s always a triumph. My kitchen and its output is not Instagrammable all of the time. So if you goofed up your last recipe, don’t be disheartened. Shit happens.

That said, I’m sure I will make beignets again. It’s a learning curve, plus they are!

chocolate beignets

This is the recipe, adjusted to suck way less for you than it did for me. Good luck!

Chocolate Beignets

  • Difficulty: requires effort
  • Print

Fluffy-soft French donuts filled with a rich chocolate cream. Makes 12.


For the donuts:

50 g granulated sugar

150 ml milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

15 g fresh yeast

50 g unsalted butter

320 g AP flour + extra for dusting

pinch of salt

2 egg yolks

vegetable oil for frying

2 tbsp powdered sugar + 2 tbsp granulated sugar, for dusting

For the filling:

125 ml double cream

125 g dark chocolate, chopped

30 g unsalted butter, cubed


  1. Gently heat the sugar and milk in a small pan until warm and sugar has dissolved. Add vanilla.
  2. Crumble the yeast into a bowl, pour in half the sweetened warm milk, then mix and leave to activate.
  3. Place the remaining milk back on the heat and add the butter. Heat until butter melts, but don’t let the milk boil.
  4. Sift flour and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer equipped with the hook attachment and make a well in the centre. Add the egg yolks, yeasted milk and the butter-milk mixture.
  5. Mix on low until the dough is smooth and elastic. If the mix is too sticky, add extra flour, a teaspoon at a time.
  6. Place dough in a clean bowl dusted with flour, cover with cling film to stop the dough forming a skin. Leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  7. While dough is rising, make the filling. Put the cream in a pan and heat until steaming, but not boiling. Put the chocolate and butter into another bowl. Pour hot cream over the chocolate and stir until smooth and glossy. Put ganache in the fridge to stiffen up.
  8. When dough has risen, knead lightly on a floured surface than roll out to a rectangle with a thickness of about 2 cm.
  9. Using a sharp knife, cut dough into 12 rectangular pillows, then leave to rise again until doubled in size, about 30 min.
  10. Combine powdered sugar with granulated sugar in a bowl for dusting, set aside.
  11. Pour oil in a deep saucepan filling it one-third full and heat to 160°C. Fry the doughnuts in batches of 2-3 until evenly golden brown and cooked through. You will need to moderate the heat between batches, otherwise the doughnuts brown too quickly and remain raw inside or too slowly and suck up too much oil.
  12. Using a slotted spoon, remove the doughnuts from the oil and transfer to a dish lined with kitchen towels to drain excess oil. Once cool, transfer in the sugar to coat.
  13. To fill the doughnuts, spoon the chocolate ganache into a piping bag fitted with a small plain nozzle. Insert the nozzle into the doughnut and gently squeeze in the filling. Enjoy!



Friday Finds

I’ve just realized: we are 20 days into carnival season, people! And that means donuts with a capital D. Would you just look at these:

Berlinas by Sandeea, via La Receta de la Felicidad:


Gingerbread Brioche Doughnuts with Spiced Brown Sugar Diplomat Cream by Erin of Cloudy Kitchen:

Gingerbread Brioche Doughnuts with Spiced Brown Sugar Diplomat Cream

Blackberry Custard Donuts by Debs of Wilde Orchard:

Blackberry Custard Donuts

Coffee Donuts by Megan of Hint of Vanilla:

coffee donuts

Vanilla Cream-Filled Doughnuts by Michelle of Brown Eyed Baker:

Vanilla Cream-Filled Doughnuts

Happy weekend!


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
  • Print

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


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


  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?



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!


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.*



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!