Tag Archives: history

I have been baking coffee flavored cupcakes all morning without realising that today, 29 of September is actually Coffee Day! This may come too late, but dont worry.. in Japan coffee day is yet to come


And what a better way to celebrate than by munching on some soft vanilla cupcakes tinted with a luscious, aromatic, buttercream frosting made with freshly ground coffee beans.

And since we are at it, my ultimate favorite top 10 with all the things, we need to know about coffee.

1. Coffee is…consumed at the rate of 1400 million cups per day!!!
Fact which makes me wonder if homo sapiens actually runs on coffee as a specie…

2. Coffee is the most popular drink after water.
Fact which verifies the hypothesis that perhaps humans do run on coffee!?!

3. Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world today!
With the first one being..oil.

4. Coffee was imported to Europe first by the Dutch!(YAY!) who actually (HMM?) eventually smuggled coffee seeds to Europe, defying the Arab Prohibition around 1690! Other sources claim it was Indians who smuggled it out towards the East but of course we can not be sure.

5. Coffee beans are seeds, found inside brightly red colored berries!
The berries are handpicked and the skin of them is removed usually by a machine. After this, a fermentation process takes place and allows the green coffee bean to be roasted to what we know as dark brown coffee bean!

6. Coffee develops its particular aroma at the exact 10th minute of roasting!

7. Coffee has more than 800 different aromatic compands, as scientist discovered.

8. While one can find many aromas in coffee beans, there are only two species of coffee beans: Arabica and Robusta. 70% of us consumes Arabica coffee which is mild and aromatic, while the other 30% opt for Robusta which may be more bitter but contains twice as much caffeine..

9. It takes 40 coffee beans for your daily espresso cup..

10. Since, one coffee tree yields less than half a kilo of coffee per year I would suggest we ease up on coffee.. Unless we make sure its fair trade?

and last but not least, if you are curious like me, the name “coffee” has a disputable “provenance”. Yet, even though we cant be sure, these are the most popular beliefs of the origin of the name of the most popular drink man ever created!

-Kaffa? A province in Ethiopia where it was first discovered.
-Kaaba? The holy building in Mecca.
-Kavus Kai? A Persian king who was able to defy gravity and levitate by drinking coffee.
-Kahwe? Meaning roasted in Turkish.
-Cahouah? A hunger curing drink in Arabic.
-Cohuet? Meaning strength or vigour in Arabic.



Mmm..I dont know about you..but I would like to have yet another coffee cupcake..or perhaps a nice cup of coffee? Inhaling its aroma, tasting its dark and full bodied flavor.. What a delight!
Enjoy your coffee everyone and see you soon!



“De re coquinaria”, or “On the subject of cooking” was the overall title of a Roman collection of recipes, APICIUS.
It is thought to have been written somewhere around the 4th or 5th century A.D. by a roman gourmet lover and was ment to be used in the kitchen! It was organised in 10 books, under 10 themes (fisherman, gourmet, many ingredients, gardener etc) It is a very useful text as it enables us to take a glimpse into the culinary habits of the ancient times for the people residing around the Mediterranean basin.

There are no tomatoe recipes, no pasta but there are a couple of what can be thought as a meatball recipe.
Apicus, mentions round meat patties, and lists their recipes in order of his preference. The best, says Apicius were made of peacock after which he enjoyed meatballs made of pheasant, then rabbit, then chicken and, last, suckling pig.

Of course at the older days, meat was a rare commodity reserved for the rich.
As such, every part of the animal and all kinds of meat were preserved and used.
But lets not forget that meatballs started loooong before the meat grinder was invented in 1829.
The meat would often have to have been cooked. The leftover were then easily shredded by hand, minced in any number of primitive ways, or pounded with a heavy object. They would be mixed with other ingredients and cooked.

During the Venetian golden years, meatballs were heavily spiced, as the trade with the Arabs brought spices and flavors of the East to Europe.

Easy as they are, they can be vary tasty and a nice appetizer or main dish for a warm summer dinner accompanied by a nice salad with a light vinegraitte.

So, I decided to bake some meatballs.

Since I had pre-prepared the mix (minced meat,finely chopped onion, bread crumbles and fresh mint leaves) the day before and let it in the fridge so that the aromas from the herbs would infuse the meat, the only thing left to do would be shaping the little balls, rolling them in flour and frying them!

Adding a bit of lemon and they were ready to serve!

In China, meatballs are morphed into fishballs, which can be a nice alternative for a lighter dinner or for our vegeterian friends!

x Elleen

Today, I was browsing through my shelves, reorganising and decluttering old volumes of various kinds of magazines when a thichk dusty Forbes volume fell literally on my head!
Unlike Archimedes eureka moment i just got a headache from all that paper’s gravity force.
Never the less, this random event coincide with me forgeting to trash that particular magazine.
Later and much to my surprize, i decided to give it a go and browse briefly through the glossy pages, mainly seeking an excuse to take a break from tidying up my shelves..
As I was browsing through expensive watches, powerful men and yachts wondering why i had that particular magazine “in house”, I found a full page commercial depicting :

“The most expensive chocolate truffle in the world, La Madeline au Truffe”.

“La Madeline au Truffe starts with a decadent 70% Valrhona dark chocolate, heavy cream, sugar, truffle oil and vanilla as the base for the rich decadent ganache. A rare French Perigord truffle (a rare mushroom) is then surrounded by this rich decadent ganache; it is enrobed in Valrhona dark chocolate and then rolled in fine cocoa powder. The result is pure extravagance! Lying on a bed of sugar pearls in a silver box tied with a ribbon.”

Fascinating right?
And it is so that i decided to go make some ganache and roll into coconut crumbles, caneel flavored crystal sugar and lick my finger as i roll my very own freshly made chocolate truffels!

Did you know?

Truffels were invented by M. Dufour in Chambéry, a beautiful city on the south east of France in a cold December 1895! M. Dufour used ganache, rolled it and coated it and served the first truffel that would come to be the number 1 cherished chocolate sweet in the world today!

Today, we can distinguise three different variations of truffels, all made with the same principle (rolling bitesize balls and covering them with yummie things).
-The Swiss variation
-The Canadian variation or American variation (depending on your source of info:P)
-The European variation
While the swiss variation includes a mixture of melted chocolate with cream and butter and uses cocoa as a coating, the european uses cocoa powder, milk powder and fat which makes its lifespam on the shelf or in your cookie jar more lasting. The American/Canadian variation differs even more since peanut butter and graham cookies are used as main ingredients.

Though i like all three variations, i usually make my truffels using Elleen’s Method, which i like to call the French-Dutch variation as i came up with it during my studies while sitting in a high speed train crossing Europe.

I use ganache and mix it with cake crumbles. Leave it to cool and roll it in balls. Then i use farmers butter mixed with syrop to coat it and then dip it in chocolate flakes, coconut or crystal sugar.
I tend to divide the paste and add liquer , amaretto, coconut liquer or menthe de creme or kaluah and make variations of truffels to please all of my friends.

Nothing is more yum yum than a nice freshly ground mug of coffee with an assortiment of truffels after a dinner!