Welcome to I Scream Kitchen! This is a blog to inspire you to try new dishes and make your cooking experience a pinch more fun!

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Honey Holiday Cookies

I am not the biggest fan of gingerbread; instead, since I was rather young, I make those honey cookies for Christmas and New Year’s. They are rather similar to gingerbread ones in that you can mold the dough the same way. However, this one is not that sharp and spicy, but rather mild honey-cinnamon-like (big surprise there!). I like to dunk mine in my milk or pumpkin spice latte. This recipe makes for a huge amount; I couldn't count them as the elves were continuously eating them before I took all the batches from the oven.

Decorated honey cookies

Honey holiday cookies recipe:
2 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup sunflower seed oil
700-900 g/25-32 oz flour
2 tbsp. powdered cinnamon

1. Heat the oven to 200C/390F.

Proof of temperature choice :D
2. Mix well the honey with the baking soda in a small bowl or cup until it gets pasty.

Honey and baking soda mix
3. Mix the eggs with the sugar until fluffy (preferably with a mixer), add the soda and honey paste; then slowly while mixing pour the oil little by little. Next, slowly start adding the flour and cinnamon while mixing. It depends on the brand how much flour you need, could be different every time. You might need to switch to the spiral looking whisks of your mixer and even start mixing with a big wooden spoon as the dough gets tougher. By the end you’ll need to knead it to incorporate the last bits of flower. It is important that you don’t overwork the dough as it will get too tough and the cookies will be too hard to bite on. The consistency of the dough you are looking for is play-doh like, it shouldn't be neither sticky (you won’t be able to cut it) nor too hard.

How to knead
4. If you don’t have a rolling pin and cookie cutters or you just don’t feel like all the hassle, you could make little balls out of the dough and bake them like that. Otherwise, flour your clean smooth surface (table) very well and flatten the dough on top. Sprinkle some flower on top of it and on your rolling pin so the dough doesn’t stick (do that every time the dough gets sticky) and start rolling from the middle out on all sides (vertically, horizontally, diagonally). The easiest way for me to roll (with a normal rolling pin like the one on the pictures) is to have my hands in the middle of the pin and slide them to the sides as I roll. Make sure the dough is the same thickness everywhere or some parts of the cookies will burn and others will be raw. You are looking for 0.5 cm/0.2 inches thickness.

How to roll
5. Sprinkle some more flower on top and smooth it with your hands. Now, you can cut out your shapes. If you don’t have cookie cutters, you can use glasses that have thin rims. This way you can make circles, crescents and all sorts of variations. A cute idea is to cut a little rectangular shape at the bottom of your cookie, so you can hang it on the rim of your coffee cup. Once you’ve cut your shapes, just re-knead your dough and roll it again, until finished. Don’t forget to flower the table or working surface, otherwise you won’t be able to remove your shapes from it.

Not yet baked cookies
6. Put your unbaked cookies on some baking paper-laid baking tray (if you don’t have baking paper just oil and flour the tray) and bake for between 5-10 min depending on the thickness of your dough. You are looking for golden brown.

7. Decorate your cookies if you like. You can sprinkle them with powdered sugar; stick them together with butter cream, chocolate, jam, etc. I went for encasing them with marzipan, which I coloured and rolled and decorated them further with icing. I used Dr. Oetker for all the decorations.

Honey Cookies

The ready cookies

By the way, look at these crazy old scales I found in my apartment! Funny huh! Next to them is the recipe for the cookies; love it when they looked all loved and used!

Old scales and the original recipe
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Would you make these lovely cookies at home?


Sunday, 23 December 2012

Home-Made Pumpkin Spice Latte/ Hot Chocolate

Pumpkin Spice Latte
Every fall a certain coffee shop chain comes up with the awesome pumpkin spice latte and I marvel at how expensive it is! I absolutely love it and I want to have it all the time, so I decided to make my own, which is loads cheaper, I know exactly what goes into it and is quite easy to make. I like making a big batch of the pumpkin spice milk enough for around 5 servings and I keep it in the fridge, so I can just warm it up and add it to my coffee when needed. It keeps for quite long, almost for a week, depending on what type of milk you use. If you don’t like coffee, you could turn it into a pumpkin spice hot chocolate by adding Nutella, or some ground chocolate (white, milk and dark work great) instead of the coffee. Just don’t forget to adjust the amount of sugar you put as chocolate already has quite some sugar in it.

If you want to go in for the kill, you can make it into a mocha if you have both chocolate and coffee. Conversely, if you can’t find pumpkin/ pumpkin puree, skip it and you have yourself gingerbread latte.
Anyway, enjoy it with some home-made cookies! J

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Home-made pumpkin spice latte/ hot chocolate recipe
(makes 5)

4 cups milk + some for frothing (optional) – I used 3.5% but you could use any kind, including soy, rice, etc.
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. dried ginger
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. powdered cloves
1 tsp. vanilla extract/ a couple of drops vanilla flavouring
8 tbsp. pumpkin puree (or butternut squash) - check out how to make it here.
5 shots of coffee or 5 tbsp. Nutella (if you are an instant coffee fan, you can use that instead)
Sugar to taste
Whipped cream (optional)

1. Pour the milk, spices, sugar, pumpkin puree and nutella (if you’re going for a hot chocolate version) in a pot and bring almost to a boil over medium high heat, while stirring constantly.

2. Sieve if you want the latte to be super smooth.

3. Pour a shot of hot coffee (if gone for the actual latte version) and then pour some of the pumpkin spice milk, leaving a little space for the topping, if you’d like some.

4. Make the topping of your choice. I have 3 offers. Either froth some of the pumpkin spice milk, normal milk, or top with some whipped cream. If you decide for the pumpkin spice milk, it will be orange-brown. If you have a milk frother, you can froth your drink up straight in the cup you are serving it. If you are going for the milk version, froth it up in a separate cup and spoon the froth on top. If you don’t have a frother, you can use a stick blender; just have the liquid that’s being frothed up be the same temperature as the other parts of the drink (almost boiling). Also, you could top your pumpkin spice drink with some marshmallows, smarties or powdered cinnamon.

5. Serve with some cookies! 
Would you make these lovely cookies at home?


Chunky Oatmeal Cookie Magic

Oatmeal cookies

Christmas time is also cookie time for me (this may or may not be linked to the arrival and welcoming of Santa with cookies and milk…) and I have 2 favourite kinds, this oatmeal kind and the soon-to-come honey cookies. These oatmeal ones are delicious and chunky and perfect for before bed with a glass of milk or for breakfast.

When I was a kid I got a recipe for those cookies and I quite liked it, so decided to make them again; however, once I started making them, I realized that I was missing a lot of the elements, so I substituted them with what I had on hand. The new cookies were amazing! So much better than the original! Unfortunately, I had forgotten what and how much of each ingredient I had used. So, for years, I was trying to remember and I believe I finally made them the way they accidentally had turned out.

I made those last week for some friends and classmates, and two girls from my class claimed that I should start selling them, as they were utterly delicious. So, if you don’t want to wait for the I-Scream-Kitchen-branded cookie line, the recipe is below!J Also, they are super easy to make if I could pull them off when I was around 8-10!

Oatmeal cookies
Oatmeal cookies recipe
(makes 18 cookies)

3/4 cup brown sugar – I used demerara
100 g/3.5 oz softened butter
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract/a couple of drops of vanilla flavouring
1 tbsp. milk
1 cup flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1.25 cup chunky oatmeal
½ tsp. cinnamon
100 g dried cranberries/ dried cherries/raisins
1 tsp. lemon rind


1. Set the oven to 180 C/ 355 F. Mix the butter and sugar well, until creamy. Then add the egg, vanilla and milk and mix until homogenous. No need to use a mixer, you can use a fork instead.

2. Slowly add the flower, baking soda, baking powder and salt, while mixing.

3. Add the oatmeal, cinnamon, dried fruit and lemon rind and mix well.

4. Put some baking paper on a baking tray (if you don’t have baking paper, butter the tray and cover with a dusting of flour) and put a tablespoonful of the mixture per cookie. Set the cookies at least 7 cm/ 3 inches away from each other, so they don’t become one big cookie. You don’t need to worry about the shape as they will start looking more like cookies rather than wet blobs as they bake.

5. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown. You will probably need to bake in 2 go’s unless your oven is quite big.

If you are not a fan of the old cookie and milk combo, next recipe is a pumpkin spice latte one, that would be perfect to go with any cookies.

Would you make those at home?


Sunday, 16 December 2012

Delicious Roast Turkey with Sarma-Wrap Stuffing + Sweet Potato Mash

The victim

Turkey time is the most wonderful time of the year! My mouth waters just by the thought of it! Preparing a roast turkey dinner is a whole-day job but it is definitely worth it. The recipe I’m sharing is quite close to my heart as it is the one my mom makes for Christmas or New Year’s Eve. I believe one year, as a child, I requested it for both holidays, that’s how good it is!

This turkey is roasted with the stuffing inside and around it. The stuffing is a special rice and sour kraut sarma wrap stuffing. Sarma is a savoury Balkan dish, made of (in this case) sour kraut leaf rolled around a filling. The sour kraut makes the turkey incredibly juicy and tender, and conversely, the turkey infuses its juices into the wraps, making them irresistible and moreish.

If you can’t bother to make the sarma wraps or you can’t find sour kraut leaves, you can just stuff the turkey with the rice stuffing and put sour kraut on top of the bird. But if you have the opportunity, I would definitely advise you to make the sarmas.

I made this as a Christmas dinner for some of my friends last week, who loved it. Nothing was left! My New Orleanian friend even grabbed the bones to make some gumbo J

So, if you feel like something extra special this holiday season, definitely give this a try! I made some sweet potato mash to go with it, whose recipe you can find below after the turkey’s.

Delicious Roast Turkey with Sarma-Wrap Stuffing

 Roast Turkey Dinner with Sarma Wraps Stuffing
(Serves 6)
2.6 kg/5.7 lbs. turkey (with giblets if possible)
1 cup regular plain white rice
2 onions, chopped
200 g/7 oz. diced smoked bacon
Small handful of raisins
1 head of sour kraut (we need the leaves)/ around 400 g sliced sour kraut
2.5 cups stock (I used beef)
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 tbsp. butter + extra for buttering the bird
Black pepper
Paprika powder
1 cup water
Big needle and thick thread
Deep roasting tray

1. Remove giblets and neck from the cavity if there are any and wash the bird very well with cold water from inside and out.

2. Chop the giblets and fry them in a big frying pan in the oil and 2 tbsp. butter for 2-3 minutes at medium high heat, until they change colour. Don’t overcook them, or they will get too rubbery. Remove them and put them aside.

3. Fry off the onions for a couple of minutes until they get transparent; then, add the bacon. Fry for a couple more minutes and add the well-washed rice. Cook until the rice starts getting transparent. Stir regularly, so the pan doesn’t catch.

4. Add back the giblets, the raisins and the stock in the pan and as soon as the stock starts boiling, turn to low heat. Also, pop in some black pepper and paprika to taste. Cook for around 20 minutes under a lid until rice is almost done, just a little al dente. If you can’t tell, better cook it fully than undercooking it as sour kraut would prevent it from cooking further. If you have electric stove tops (as opposed to gas ones) you can switch them off fully and let the rice cook from the residual heat, but in that case, don’t open the lid for the whole 20 minutes, as you don’t want the heat to escape.

5. Butter the turkey with soft butter and salt and pepper it from inside and out.

6. Remove the centre tough part of each kraut leaf if you are going for the stuffed sarma wrap option. This will leave you with two halves of the leaf. Place the leaf half on your palm and put about a teaspoonful of rice on the upper middle part of the leaf, leaving a little buffer. Fold the upper part of the leaf over the stuffing, then fold the 2 sides in and roll until you get a nice tight wrap. If rice starts pouring over from the sides, that means you’ve put too much rice for that size leaf.

Leave 5-6 leaves out, unstuffed.

Don’t wash the pan you made the stuffing in, just yet!

Sarma Making in Action
7. Stuff the turkey tightly with the wraps, once you’ve made all of them. I stuffed the neck part, as well.
If you chose to go for no sarma wraps, stuff the turkey with the rice tightly.

Sew the cavity and the neck of the turkey closed, so the stuffing can stay nicely inside and preserve all its juices.

Arrange the leftover stuffing (rice or sarma wraps) around the turkey in the roasting tray. Put the neck in, as well.

If you went for no wraps spread half of the sliced sour kraut over the outside rice.

8. Melt the leftover 2 tbsp. butter in the pan you made the rice stuffing in. Let it get golden. Pour it over the turkey and the sarma wraps.

9. Cover the turkey well with the leftover sour kraut. This will make the meat juicier and more tender.

Stuffed, sewn and covered turkey, ready to roast

10. Boil the cup of water in the same pan you made the rice and melted the butter in and make sure you grab all the little leftover pieces of stuffing. Pour it over the outer stuffing.

11. Wrap the turkey and the stuffing with aluminium foil.

12. Roast the turkey in a preheated to maximum oven. Once you hear the water boiling from under the foil, turn the temperature down to around 200 C/390 F so it keeps boiling. For every kilo/2.2 pounds of turkey allow for 1 ¼ hours of overall roasting. If you’d like the turkey to colour on top, remove the foil and the sour kraut covering the turkey for the last hour of roasting and bathe the bird with the juices around it every 15 minutes. However, if you don’t care for the colour, I would suggest roasting it under the foil for the whole roasting time. This way, the bird will stay pale, but it will be extremely juicy and even more delicious.

13. Serve the turkey with the sarma wraps on the side. I made some sweet potato mash, steamed green beans and served with some gravy and cranberry sauce.

Here is the recipe for the sweet potato mash. Sorry that the picture quality is a little crummy but we were getting pretty hungry! 

Sweet Potato Mash

Sweet potato mash
1300 g/3 lbs. sweet potatoes (peeled and chopped in stripes)
200 ml/7 oz. cream
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. sugar
Salt to taste

Put all the ingredients in a pot and bring to the boil over medium high heat. Once it starts boiling, lower the heat to “low” and boil under a lid for about 30-45 minutes or until the potatoes start falling apart. Stir occasionally. When ready, mash with a potato masher or a hand mixer. If you want it super smooth and lumpless, pass it through a drum sieve, but I find it way more charming if it’s a bit rougher. 

Would you make this at home?


Holiday Double-Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

Double-layered Pumpkin Cheesecake

There is an abundance of pumpkins and butternut squashes (my personal favourites) in the fall/winter season and this year I went all out on the pumpkin recipes. I love cheesecake and I make different kinds quite often. I particularly like baked ones in the winter as they give you that warm and fuzzy feeling that is usually reserved for your mum’s cooking.

The recipe I’m sharing is for a double-layered pumpkin cheesecake (half vanilla, half pumpkin pie flavour), which has a little bit of a funny story behind it. I made this for dessert for a Halloween party this year, but as I got a bit overzealous on the tequila, I might have ended up in bed while my, also quite “spirited”, guests were nomming it up from the baking tray, while standing up. They liked it quite a bit so I ended up making it again and it’s quite a festive one to try out for the holidays, as it has loads of wintery holiday-like spices in it.

I prefer making it with butternut squash instead of with pumpkins as butternut squash is a lot more flavourful and a lot sweeter. Actually, if you buy a canned pumpkin puree, it is usually indeed butternut squash inside. However, I couldn't find a canned puree in my country, so I made it myself (which is super easy) from an awesome fresh squash. Read on for instructions.

I would suggest baking it in a spring form, so you can put it in a serving dish later, if you’re making it for others. Otherwise, you can use anything that is ovenproof. For this recipe, I used individual cups.

Just have in mind that, even though the baking takes only about 40 minutes, you have to allow for it to cool off for several hours. So, prepare this a bit in advance, so it can set. If you make it in individual cups, like me, you can pull it off with shorter cooling time, as you eat it straight from the baking dish.

So there it is:
Double-layered Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake
(serves 6-8)
600 g/ 21 ounces cream cheese
200 g/ 7 ounces Greek yoghurt
2 large eggs
Several drops vanilla flavouring
1 tsp. lemon rind (optional)
½ cup caster sugar
½ cup pumpkin puree (about 200 g pumpkin or butternut squash)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
2 tbsp. soft butter
200 g/ 7 ounces whole-grain biscuits/crackers (the crunchier, the better)

1. Crush the biscuits/crackers in a blender. I had no blender, so I put them in a plastic bag, wrapped the bag in a towel and hit them with a thick glass bottle until they got powdery (use a rolling pin, if you have one, instead). This is great for anger management…

Preheat the oven to 160 C/320 F.

2. Melt the butter and pour it over the crushed biscuits/crackers and mix them well. Put the mixture in the baking tray you will be using to bake the cheesecake in. Press the mixture well with your fingers so it sticks to the bottom and put the tray in the fridge so it hardens.

3. Mix cream cheese, yoghurt, eggs, sugar, vanilla and lemon rind with a mixer until fluffy. Don’t leave any lumps.

4. Spread about half the mixture over the hardened biscuit/cracker crust.

5. Add the pumpkin puree and the spices to the leftover cream cheese mixture and mix well.

If you don’t have pumpkin puree, like me, clean and peel some pumpkin (better butternut squash, as it is sweeter), chop it in small pieces and put it in the microwave with the tiniest amount of water in a microwaveable dish with a lid for about 8-10 minutes. Remove the leftover water and blend well with a stick blender, or whatever blending kitchen appliance you have. If you don’t have one, pass the boiled pumpkin through a sieve or a muslin cloth.

6. Spread the pumpkin cream cheese mixture over the white one and put in the oven for about 40 minutes. Then, switch off the oven and let the cheesecake sit for at least 30 more minutes in the switched-off oven (the oven door slightly open). If you have more time just leave it in until the oven completely cools off. To lower the chances of the cake cracking, run a knife on the edges of the cake so they separate from the baking dish. Next, take the cheesecake out and let it cool slowly first and then, put it in the fridge, covered with some cling film.

7. Serve completely cold. You can add some whipped cream. Bon appetit! 

Would you make this at home?


Monday, 10 December 2012

Mulled Wine (Glühwein)

Mulled Wine

The first thing I get excited about, once it hits December, is definitely the Christmas markets. Here in Austria, they are quite the deal and are surely worth seeing with their majestic decorations, purely oozing Christmas spirit. But… let’s face it! The best thing about them is grabbing a cup of mulled wine (Glühwein) to keep you warm (and boozy) while chatting to your buds in the festive atmosphere. Every mulled wine stand has its own recipe and so do I. I love making it at home as I usually find the ready-made mixes tasteless and most of the stands’ either too sugary or too low quality.
Mulled Wine
As I love Christmas and everything around it, and I was particularly lacking festive spirit due to the lack of snow a year or two ago, I spent a couple of cold December evenings trying to develop the best (in my humble opinion) mulled wine out there. Let me just say that after the 3rd batch it gets more and more difficult to restrain yourself from singing Christmas songs out loud through your window. However, it was totally worth it! If you want to give it a whirl yourself, read on for the recipe:

Mulled wine/ Glühwein recipe
1 bottle (750 ml) of dry red wine (I quite like Syrah/Shiraz)
¼ cup sugar
1 ½ cup water
½ lemon – sliced (or other citrus fruit)
2 cinnamon sticks (or 1 tsp. of powdered cinnamon)
3 cloves
½ l orange juice
1 bag of fruit tea (berries or apples work best)
1 shot rum per cup (optional, I personally don’t put it in)

Mix all the ingredients but the rum and the lemon in a pot and put over medium high heat and stir well, so all the sugar dissolves perfectly. Bring almost to the boil; if it starts actually boiling, the alcohol evaporates. Sieve the liquid if you used powdered cinnamon; otherwise, fish out the cinnamon sticks, cloves and tea bag. (You can, also, put all the dry ingredients in a muslin cloth before you put them in the liquid, so it’s easy to remove them afterwards.) Pour in cups, put some lemon slices in and add the shot of rum. I find it tastier without rum, but, I believe, the classic recipes always feature it.

So, there you go, if that doesn’t cheer you up, I don’t know what will! ;)

Rathaus Christmas Market, Vienna, Austria

Would you make this at home?