Tuesday, 1 November 2016


October was so much fun! I cannot believe it is November already. Seriously, where does the time go?!  We love autumn in this family and October is one of my favourite months of the year.
So here is our month in pictures.
 Playing in the park with the leaves.... that look is priceless to me!
 1st Beavers camp - my little hero!
My 1st lipstick in RED ever - thank you Emma  @life_at_the_ramblers, I am sure this will not be my last #younique lippy

local cycle - I love the forests around us

Half-term Halloween cupcakes

day out with friends

ready for a witch party this cutie #partymakeup

Day out with the cousins and grandparents #foraging

maze in a corn field - sure, why not?!

they did find the middle! #maze #halftermfun

hmmmm not sure which pumpkin to choose #carving

#bounce #bounce

yeah, we did not master this one! #nicetry

oh here we go! #pumpkin #Halloween #thebiggerthebetter

Candice won! (no one else in this household cared!) #thegreatbritishbakeoff


Anglesey Abbey - gorgeous place

this is the actual abbey! #dayoutwithkids #nationaltrust

you've noticed the trend, I am sure #autumnleaves

me in front of the abbey. not sure why!


Cambridge #punting #halftermfun IT WAS AWESOME!!!!
beautiful place that Cambridge

there you go boys!

selfie in Cambridge

okay okay, I admit - I love when kids throw leaves around! #autumnplay
ready for #Halloween

she insisted we look the same #whatcanamomdo


Tuesday, 25 October 2016


There. I said it. I am a 'new' me. And I am very proud of it.
This is my story...
Ever since I gave birth to my first born I have been struggling with a few extra pounds. Nothing excessive but let's be honest - I was not comfortable wearing a bikini on the beach. Then my daughter came along and a couple more pounds

Tuesday, 18 October 2016


I have never been a 'matte' lipstick kind of girl. Every time I go to one of the premium brands' counters I am always given a creamy one or one which has some shine to it. I haven't

Tuesday, 11 October 2016


If you follow me on Instagram you will already know how excited I am about these little beauties:
They were entered into a baking competition yesterday and they WON! You cannot imagine how joyful I was when I got a call from my husband in the afternoon telling me my cupcakes have won 1st place in the annual bake competition

Friday, 7 October 2016


Hello hello hello!

I am back! It feels like it has been ages since I was last sitting down and writing a post. The truth is that it has been months since I last wrote something. Months!!! Where does the time go?! After 6 weeks abroad without my laptop

Monday, 3 October 2016


It has been a few months since my last post. I was abroad for a very long time without my laptop. I dare say I found it quite blissful and relaxing. Now that I am back in the UK and the kids have settled into school life I am ready to write again. I have to say I missed writing. I missed cooking too but that is a whole different story!
Anyway... I am back. I am a 'new' me.
I lost the last few extra pounds I had piled up over the last 3 years. (How I did that I will tell you in another exciting post later this month). I had been talking for quite a while that I wanted to cut my hair. I did that despite everyone apart from my mom and husband telling me not to do it. I am so glad I listened to my gut - I have never ever received so many compliments on my hair! It was incredible, really and something I haven't even thought would happen. So following my transformation one of the school mums kindly offered me

Monday, 11 July 2016


Dear dog owner,

I am a mum of a 7 year old boy who is absolutely petrified of your pet. The size, breed, colour... none of this matters to him. He simply does not like dogs. He never has and probably never will. When you see me walking around the park with my son and him all of a sudden hiding behind me it is most likely because your pet is running/walking towards us. Do not roll your eyes and smirk when you see how upset he is. Do not pretend you do not see

Wednesday, 1 June 2016


1925 the World Conference for the Well Being of Children proclaimed 1st June to be the International Children's Day. This is one of the most loved holidays back home in Bulgaria. It has always been a big deal over there and still is today. In my childhood all cars were driving with


I have been a Riverford customer for years and have always enjoyed experimenting with the ingredients I receive regularly. My CIME DI RAPA LASAGNE is one of my husband's favourite meals to date and it is still in the top 3 of my most read recipes! Following a 4.5 hour round trip to Heathrow airport (it should've only taken me 45 minutes each way!) to collect my mum last Friday I was nicely surprised to come home and find my latest box awaiting me by my front door. I love courgettes. Any recipe will do  - fried, baked, cooked..... even raw occasionally, I simply love them. Hubby however, is a different story. He only likes them fried. Baked - NO, NO, NO. Raw - even bigger NOOOOOOO. Cooked - he is unsure about that one. Recently I have been frying loads of courgettes but I really fancied something a bit different. So following that horrendous drive on a Friday afternoon before a Bank Holiday when half-term starts (Why on earth did none of this occur to me last month when my mum was booking her flight?!) seeing Bob's recipe for Courgette & Spinach Lasagne made me smile. The evening looked a bit brighter all of a sudden. Unfortunately I had to wait until Monday evening to try it out but the wait was worth it. I mean, this is a seriously good recipe and with fresh organic produce you can hardly go wrong. In fact, you cannot go wrong with this recipe. The spinach and the courgettes compliment each other beautifully and the rich velvety sauce is divine. My mouth is watering just thinking (and writing) about it. I promise you this is a recipe you must try. And then tell me if I was right (okay, I am sure I will be right, but I really hope I get some comments on my blog).

Ingredients: *

2 courgettes
a bag of spinach (kale, cime di rapa....)
1 small onion
200gr cream cheese
100 gr grated cheese, divided
1 egg
400 gr milk
35gr butter
35gr plain flour
1 bay leaf
pinch nutmeg


Peel the courgettes and cut them into coins. Lightly fry them and set aside on a kitchen towel to cool down. Fry the finely chopped onion until soft and translucent. Chop the spinach and add to the onion until just wilted, 2-3 minutes. Add the cream cheese, some of the grated cheese, freshly grated nutmeg, salt and pepper and mix well. Leave to cool down.
In the meantime make the white sauce. Heat the milk either on the hob with the bay leaf or like me, in the microwave for 2 minutes. In a saucepan melt the butter and add the flour to make the roe. Keep the heat on medium and pour the hot milk while whisking for about a minute until all lumps disappear. Do not worry if some lumps remain, once the dish is baked it won't matter. Continue stirring until the sauce thickens. If it thickens too much, add a splash of milk to it. To give the sauce its velvety texture take the saucepan off the heat and add the egg. Stir until incorporated, add the rest of the grated cheese and leave to melt. Preheat the oven to 180C fan. To assemble: in a shallow casserole dish layer half of the courgettes. Lasagne sheets go on top, followed by a third of the white sauce then half of the spinach mix. Repeat with the rest of the courgettes, lasagne sheets, another third of the white sauce, the rest of  the spinach mix, more lasagne sheets. Cover it really well with the last of the sauce and sprinkle some grated cheese on top. Pop into the hot oven for about half an hour and enjoy! It makes great leftover lunch too.

Desi in the Kitchen

* This is not a collaborative post. The recipe is adapted from Bob's recipe Courgette & Spinach Lasagne.

Monday, 23 May 2016


My husband used to smoke. As a direct result his taste buds were not working properly anymore and he disliked vegetarian food. In fact, he disliked most foods. He wasn't fussy, don't get me wrong. He would eat everything which I would put in front of him but some dishes he simply wouldn't like at all. 19 months ago he gave up smoking for good and I am so proud of him. He was worried he would put on weight, he would binge eat, he would be cranky, grumpy etc etc etc. The truth is he was. He was cranky, grumpy etc etc etc but only for a couple of months. I made sure to prepare healthy snacks for him to take to work and stopped buying ready meals. We were not eating these a lot anyway, maybe once or twice a week. But his desire to eat better and feel better forced him to sign up with the local gym where he is now going for a swim 3 times a week. He quit having 7 cups of tea a day with 2 teaspoons of sugar each! (no, this is no joke!) and he started having packed lunch at work 3 times a week. I am sure you are wondering where I am going with this story. Well, vegetarian dishes are now my husband's favourites. Over the last year he has become a great fan of veggie lasagne, veggie quiches, simple dinners of salads with new potatoes, even vegetarian pizzas! And cannelloni is his absolute favourite. So every time I make it, which is on average once every couple of weeks, I make enough to serve 4. We have half of it for dinner and the rest goes into two Tupperware boxes in the freezer ready for him to enjoy in the middle of day when at work.


For the filling:
1 pack spinach (kale, cime di rapa....)
1 small onion
1 tub ricotta/quark
salt and pepper
a handful of grated cheese

White sauce:
25gr butter
25gr plain flour
about 300ml hot milk (plus more if needed)
a handful of grated cheese

12 cannelloni tubes
500gr passata

extra grated cheese to sprinkle on top


To make the filling:

Finely dice the onion and let it fry gently until soft and translucent. In the meantime wash and cut the spinach roughly, squeezing as much water as you can out of it. Add to the onion and stir for 2-3 minutes until it is just wilted. Turn off the heat and add the ricotta cheese, spices and the grated cheese. Stir until all is blended well, the grated cheese will melt from the heat. Leave to cool down for a bit.

White sauce:

Whilst the filling is cooling, melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and some salt and stir until a roe is made. Add the hot milk (I always microwave mine for 2 minutes) to the pan and whisk vigorously for about a minute - you should end up with a nice smooth sauce. Let it thicken slightly, take off the heat and add the grated cheese to it. This dish is awesome as you can hide any mistakes you make! I made probably the worst white sauce I have ever made  - lumpy, lumpy, lumpy. I had no more milk otherwise I may have made a new one so I was forced to use it. The dish turned out just as good and you could never tell my sauce had any lumps in it!

Preheat your oven to 180C. You need a suitable dish which can hold the 12 tubes comfortably.
Pour half of the passata at the bottom of the dish. I add herbs to mine, whatever is in season or whatever I fancy that day. To fill the cannelloni - it is messy and there is no way round it. I used a piping bag - I cut quite a bit opening at the bottom. You will need to hold your tubes flat. I know it sounds tricky but it did work for me after the second one. Once all 12 tubes are filled arrange them into your dish. Pour over the rest of the tomato sauce. The cheese sauce is next - slowly pour it over, trying to cover as much of the tomato sauce as possible. Sprinkle with the last of the grated cheese and pop into the preheated oven for about half an hour. Serve warm and enjoy!

Desi in the Kitchen

Thursday, 12 May 2016


It has been ages since I have even logged on to the web. 77 days to be exact. Ouch! That hurt me. A lot. It really has been a long time. Following a trip abroad, child illness and Easter holidays I am finally able to tell you all about my bakes. I haven't stopped baking, not in the slightest. I have however, found it pretty much impossible to sit down, unwind and write about it. To celebrate me working on the blog again I thought I will tell you a little bit more about this beautiful cake.
A couple of weeks ago my daughter turned 5. 5!!!!  I can't believe my beautiful  baby girl is growing up. She is turning into a lovely young lady and as such she has very specific demands when it came to her party. She started talking about her birthday party many months ago. She wanted some of her friends to come home and have a tea party. Her birthday was on a Wednesday, so 5 girls from her class came home after school. Miss Annabel wanted them to decorate their own cupcakes. She wanted them to do colouring, play in the garden, have pizza for tea and most importantly - she wanted a cake, covered in roses in shades of pink. You see, Annabel does not know the term ombre yet, but she was very particular about wanting various pinks on the cake. After all of these demands were agreed upon I had to actually make the cupcakes and the cake. To make an ombre cake you need height. I am fortunate to have friends who bake so I was able to borrow a 7'' and a 6'' tins. I made a chocolate cake with chocolate butter cream. I must say THANK YOU to my friend Sarah from Sarah Bakes Cakes (please check her out, she is amazing!) for all her tips and advice. She showed me how to make an ombre cake - I wouldn't have been able to do it without her help. The buttercream for the roses were in various shades of .... purple! Of course, miss Annabel changed her mind about the colour the night before her big day. I used PME violet food gel colour but found it very difficult to work with. I had to use vast quantities of it to achieve the colours I wanted and even then they were not right. I much prefer working with Wilton food gel colours or Sugarflair which is unfortunately very expensive.
I was pleased with the texture and moistness of the chocolate cake, this is probably the best recipe I have ever tried. But don't take my word for it, give it a go and let me know what you think.
I made loads of buttercream, about 800gr in total. It sounds like a lot and it is. But you need every last drop of it. Because the cake was a chocolate one I had to make sure it was crumb coated in white buttercream. Apart from hiding the colour of the cake it helps the buttercream roses to stick to the sides. Here is the result:

It was gorgeous. I was impressed with myself and very pleased. It took me a while to do it but the look on my daughter's face was priceless. She was so happy! I couldn't bring myself to cut it so it was up to my husband to 'destroy' my work of art.
According to hubby it was 'the most delicious and good looking cake' I have ever made. It was a very rich cake and lasted us a few days. I never thought I would be able to pull it off but pushing through anxiety and fear of it not working out I created something amazing and made Annabel's birthday a magical one.
Decorate your own cupcakes went down a treat - the girls were hungry after school and a lemon cupcake with buttercream, loads of marshmallows, sugar animals and some fruit seemed to be exactly what they needed.
Various pizzas, cucumber and carrot sticks, plum baby tomatoes and vast quantities of grapes made a great dinner. The day was beautiful and perfect for jumping on the trampoline, having a go on the swings and running around the garden. All in all, it was a great day, a fab one even. I thoroughly enjoyed it and so did Annabel.
As part of the gifts she gave her friends for helping her have a magical day were my homemade cookies. I attempted to decorate them and here is the result:

I had never decorate cookies before and it clearly shows. But Annabel and the girls enjoyed my first try of making and working with royal icing.

Thursday, 25 February 2016


I always thought making ganache was incredibly complicated. Somehow melting chocolate seemed terrifying. Back in November the chocolate for icing my birthday cake was too hot so it split. But I managed to rescue it and it was good. Very good. 4 months later I fancied truffles. Because it was Valentine's Day (yes, I should have posted this ages ago) I thought I would make some instead of buying them. I read a couple of recipes, bought some chocolate and cream and .... easy peasy.
A bit too late I realised that the better quality chocolate you buy the nicer truffles you will eat. You live and learn they say. They are correct. Anyway, my truffles turned out very chocolatey, gooey and even my not-so-chocolate-loving husband thought they were a real treat. There is nothing sophisticated about making truffles. Absolutely nothing. Mix the ingredients, add some alcohol (always optional) then put in the fridge for about 4 -6 hours to set. Roll out balls and dust in nuts, coconut, cocoa powder... options are endless. Eat. I am serious - it is as simple as that.

Recipe: Makes about 30 truffles
250gr chocolate (I used 200gr dark cooking chocolate 54% and 50gr 85% very dark chocolate)
250 gr double cream
35 gr butter
pinch of salt
alcohol - brandy, wine, Baileys, whiskey  .... I used none so the kids could eat them too

To cover:
cocoa powder, chocolate pieces, ground nuts.... your choice


Cut the chocolate into small pieces and put into a heat proof ball. Melt the butter with the cream in a small saucepan over low to medium heat. Just before boiling point take off the heat and pour over the chocolate. Keep stirring until the chocolate melts. I had to put the mixture in the microwave for about 30 seconds as it cooled down too quickly and the chocolate was not melting. Once the chocolate has completely melted add the salt (I did not use any) and the liquor if using.

Stir well and leave in the fridge for 4-6 hours. I left mine in the fridge overnight. I have been told to use a melon baller to make the balls but since I do not have a melon baller (who has one of those anyway?!) I used my hands. It is not as messy as I thought it would be. I put some cocoa powder in a little bowl and some chocolate pieces in another. With a spoon I took a bit of the mix, roll it between my palms until a ball formed. Then it was rolled in the cocoa or the pieces and on a plate. I kept mine in the fridge the whole time. As it was the morning of Valentine's Day I surprised my husband with a cup of tea and a few of these delicious treats before breakfast.
The kids absolutely loved them too. They keep for about 4-5 days in an airtight container. Mine only lasted 2.5 days - they were that good!
Do you love chocolate? What would you put in your truffles?

Desi in the Kitchen