Dec 21, 2012


OK, so I don't do dating anymore, I do panettones. I can't sleep, I dream about it, I tell somebody about my dream in my dream. All night before the big day. I finally get up, all awake, not tired at all from the lack of sleep, filled with great expectations.

Dec 18, 2012

Tyrolian cookies with jam

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This was Hania's idea. She wanted cookies with little heart shaped windows. We bought special cookie cutters on Friday and made the little goodies Sunday evening. We also decorated the tree and played Christmas music.

Dec 14, 2012

Austrian croissants

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I'm continuing my countdown to Christmas with cookies. My cookie jar can't be standing empty. The gingerbread cookies are gone.

Dec 12, 2012

American fruit cake

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I shouldn't be tasting the cake till December 24th...or 23rd...but I did, this morning...things you have to do for the sake of research. I'm very happy with the result, even if I just had one end piece.

Dec 11, 2012

Gingerbread cookies

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I've done research about gingerbread cookies, hands on. I do it every year. This is my first try this year. The recipe is called "Gingerbread Cookies 101", and it has the most positive reviews. I had to make something good, because Hania needs to take some to school. I don't want her to feel bad about bringing bad cookies prepared by an incapable mom.

Dec 8, 2012


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I always get up first in the morning. It's my time. It could only be 10 minutes sometimes, but I know I'm starting day fresh. I have my coffee, the cat is nice to me...all the other nice creatures in the house are still sleeping.

Dec 6, 2012

Lemon ricotta cookies

Wow! Wow! I've never had anything like that before, cheese cookies! A cheesecake and a cookie in one.

Dec 2, 2012

Almond beans (Beans of the Dead)

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It's a traditional Halloween Italian recipe and a scary story. You leave the beans around the house so the ghosts eat them and leave you alone. I found the recipe afterwards, but I had to try it in case there were still some hungry ghosts in the area.

Nov 24, 2012

Ultimate cheesecake

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American cheesecakes are the best. I have my favorite recipe that's always a hit...leaving us with no leftovers. But it takes 24 hours to make, so you have to plan way ahead. And wait...

Nov 22, 2012


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When your turkey is already out of the oven, and the family gathering around the table, surprise everybody and throw a brownie together...

Nov 21, 2012

Ciambellone with apples

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...or ring cake. Soft, delicate, little sweet, I mean - comfort food. For Hania, for me, for Julian.
Hania is swallowing a big piece now, just got back from school. Happy, she is. So am I. I had mine a minute ago.

Nov 20, 2012

Chocolate-almond little cookies

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Nice recipe. All you need is chocolate, almonds, egg and sugar. And some spices: cloves and cinnamon.

Nov 16, 2012

Chocolate cake

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Italian, I should add. The magic worked again. I had hands full today but the smell of chocolate made everybody feel good. The day is coming to an end. The cake is beautiful.

Nov 14, 2012

Italian rustic apple cake

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I survive Winter thanks to apples. I eat a lot of apples. I wanted to research once if you can eat too many. I didn't get a straight answer.

Nov 4, 2012

Chocolate amaretti cake

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It was a hit. It always is. Delicious, simple, fast and foolproof. What more could you want? I've made it so many times, alternating here and there a bit - always a success! A perfect dessert if you want to take something to your friends,  just like I did a couple of days ago. Nobody will ever be disappointed. And they will always want the recipe!

Nov 1, 2012

Cranberry cake with caramel-almond sauce

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There is a crunchy crust on top, the cake is delicate and sweet, the sauce makes is all better. The outside is brown, the inside is yellow with red cranberries here and there. This dessert is exquisite, the sauce makes the cake look and taste refined.

Oct 25, 2012

Chocolate ganache cream

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This is the best cream I've ever made. Nothing went to waste, all the tools and bowls are cleaned up, so good.

Oct 23, 2012

Paradise cake

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Torta Paradiso - in Italian, sounds good either way. This is one of the Italian classics. It is very popular with bambini, they like simple desserts.

Oct 18, 2012

Chocolate biscotti

I refuse to buy cookies any more. Unless in Italy. There, they have aisles of good cookies. They call them "breakfast cookies". Which means healthy, good for kids. Yeah, right, just like Nutella. Do you believe it?

Oct 16, 2012

Cranberry almond muffins

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Hania came back from school yesterday and was disappointed there where no muffins nor cake. But she'll be happy today. I'm already!

Oct 15, 2012

Cranberry and apple cake

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We loved it! I took it to my parents yesterday, even my Dad tried it and even took a second! It was gone in 15 minutes.

Oct 10, 2012

Plum butter

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Plums, plums, plums. I happen to like them a lot. Specially the late season variety, the small, dark, almond shape. When it's season for plums, I can just eat plums.

Oct 7, 2012

Flours in my kitchen

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Regular (white wheat) flour:
  • 1 cup weighs 150 g
  • the more I bake the more I experiment with using less and less
Whole spelt flour:
  • 1 cup weighs 120 g; so it weighs less than regular flour
  • I add to just about everything
  • I play with proportions trying to squeeze in more spelt
  • it doesn't affect the taste of the final product
  • it is less strong than white wheat
  • it's 3 times more expensive than regular flour, here in Poland
Whole rye flour:

Oct 6, 2012

About me


Hi, I'm Ela (or Elżbieta) Hester. I spend most of my days with family in Kołobrzeg, Poland, right on the beautiful Baltic coast. Before that, I'd lived, studied and worked in the USA and Europe. I feel at home in New York, Milan or Paris. I love my family, friends, Italy and lots of other people, things and places.

I started the blog to keep track of my cooking. And I figured, if I want to get better at it, I need to write it down. I do it in English so my Mom doesn't read it.

e-mail me at