Saturday, 31 May 2014

Italian rice

Risotto – a gift of colonialism

The veil of times gone by covers a big part of the history of riziculture in Italy, but some facts are known. The Romans knew rice, but they cultivated it for medicinal purposes only, not as a food grain. The Arabian invasion of parts of Europe established rice fields early on in Spain and Sicily. They were exporting rice from the fertile island Sicily already during the tenth century. During following centuries the popularity of rice grew among the wealthy owing to the exorbitant prices of the product.

In the 15th century budding capitalists invested heavily into the clearing of the Lombardy plains in northern Italy to grow rice there. The flat lands, abundance of water and humidity, especially in the Po Valley, provided the perfect environment for this crop. The growing towns of Venice, Milan and Ferrara made this a hugely profitable investment. Unfortunately, only the capitalists profited from this development. The workers, many of them children, were practically kept as slaves.

During the centuries rice became a staple in this part of Italy. The cooking technique of risotto was invented some time along the way. The most famous of all the risotto recipes is undoubtedly the risotto alla Milanese. This goes back to the year 1574. The magnificent Gothic cathedral, the duomo of Milano, was being built. A young apprentice named Valerius was responsible for colouring the glass windows. Because he had obtained a brilliant yellow colour, everybody joked that he had used saffron for the glass. Tired of the teasing, he added saffron to the risotto which was served at his master’s wedding. The rice tasted so good, that saffron remains the essential ingredient of risotto alla Milanese.

Even today the fields flooded for rice characterise the countryside only a few minutes away from downtown Milan. Growing rice relied heavily on cheap labour until the 1960s when machines took over the harvesting. Before, thousands of women called mondine left their homes in Emilia and Veneto to go to work in the rice fields.

They became a legendary sight in northern Italy. For eight hours, they worked barefoot in the water, protected from the sun by large straw hats. Dressed in short pants and long sleeves, they slowly walked backward, bending toward the ground to pick up weeds that infested the rice fields. Famous are the melodies they sang—about their tough days, their resentment for their supervisors, and about love and their homes far away.

The dramatic neo-realistic movie “Riso Amaro” (“Bitter Rice”), produced by Dino De Laurentiis in 1950, revolves around the lives of the mondine, starring his later wife, the great Italian actress Silvana Mangano.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Mushroom Risotto

Dear all, 
You absolutely need imported Italian rice to make a proper risotto. I have tried cooking risotto with Indian rice but it does not work. Indian rice does not give the velvety texture of a risotto; it turns into a mush.

Only the high starch content of the Italian rice delivers the proper texture of risotto. Actually there are three different varieties of Italian rice which are used for risotto: Arborio, Carnaroli and Vialone Nano. Occasionally you see Carnaroli rice for sale in India. Mostly I find Arborio rice in my favourite supermarket which is fine for risotto. Arborio rice is named after the town of Arborio in the Po Valley, where it is grown. During cooking these rounded grains remain firm releasing their starches slowly to form a smooth cream.

Risotto is easy to cook, but you have to follow some simple rules to succeed. Most important is to avoid washing the rice as this would flush away some of the starch you need for your risotto. You use your Arborio straight from the packet. Very important is also to have a good stock. I usually take the liquid left over when boiling beef filet or silver roll in the pressure cooker. You can use any kind of stock you fancy, but don’t try to cook risotto with water.

Risotto belongs to the dishes with endless variations. The procedure remains the same. First the rice is cooked briefly in butter or olive oil to coat each grain in a film of fat, called tostatura. Then liquid is added until the rice is almost cooked. At that point it is taken off the heat for the mantecatura: diced cold butter and finely grated Parmigiano or Grana cheese are vigorously stirred in to make the texture as creamy and smooth as possible. If the risotto contains fish or other seafood you don’t add cheese.

The mushroom risotto I present here is a simplified version of the traditional recipe. I cook all the vegetables and the rice together, instead of sautéing the mushrooms separately. In this way the white button mushrooms lend their full flavour to the rice. Be careful not to overcook the risotto. It should not turn into a stiff cream, but flow gently onto the plate.  My son loves this mushroom risotto, that’s why I cook it regularly in my kitchen. It is a perfect dish for a rainy monsoon day.

Wishing you happy cooking always!

Kornelia Santoro with family

Mushroom Risotto 

Ingredients (for 4 servings):

  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 5 medium onions
  • 2 packets white button mushrooms (or any other mushroom you like or find)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 6 cups stock
  • 50 grams grated Parmigiano or Grana cheese


Peel the onions and chop them finely. I use a food processor for this. Peel the mushrooms and rinse them quickly under running water. Never keep mushrooms in a bowl of water, they will soak up the liquid and turn soggy. Wash the parsley and chop it finely.

Heat the olive oil in a pan with high walls. Fry the onions on low heat until they turn translucent, and then add the rice without washing it. Keep on stirring for about two minutes until the rice is evenly coated with the oil-onion mixture.

Add the first cup of stock and rise the temperature to medium. Keep on stirring until the liquid bubbles, and then add the second cup of stock. Some chefs recommend heating the stock, but I keep on forgetting this. In my kitchen cold stock works just as well, it just takes a little longer. When the rice mixture turns thick, add the third cup of stock.

Slice your mushrooms and add them to the risotto. Keep on incorporating the liquid until you have used all the stock. At this point I have to tell you a secret. Most times I go against the rules and add all my stock in the beginning. I let it simmer for about five minutes before I incorporate the mushrooms. However, this is not the proper way to do it (although I have never noticed any difference). A risotto cooked in this way would probably not satisfy a real chef. My men never complained.

All in all the risotto takes 18 to 20 minutes for cooking. During this time you have to keep on stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the pan. Shortly before the end of the cooking time, add the chopped parsley. You can keep a bit of parsley to decorate the risotto when you serve it. Once the grains are soft but still have a bit of bite, remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the butter which you have diced. Then add half of the grated cheese and stir until your risotto has a rich, creamy texture. It should flow but not ooze out excess liquid.

Serve it immediately with the rest of the grated cheese. Enjoy!

Thursday, 29 May 2014

The colours of nature

Eat the colours of nature

Phytonutrients, the colours of nature, seem to be the hottest discovery of scientists lately. The term is so new that my word-program does not recognize it and I had to add it to the dictionary. Scientists research this subject for less than two decades. Scientifically proven insights so far are still rare, simply because no really long term studies exist.

However, scientific proof is not everything. I believe in my own experiences. After eating a big bowl of mixed salad I feel good, light and satisfied. When I don’t consume any fresh vegetables or fruits for some days, I crave them. For me, this is all the proof I need for the fact that our bodies need vegetables and fruits, as many as they can get.

Phytonutrients, also called phytochemicals, are active substances in the pigments of plant skins – they literally are the colours of nature. Phytonutrients protect the health of plants. Some guard against viruses, bacteria and other diseases. Others repel bugs and predators.

Fortunately phytonutrients seem to help human beings as well. They appear to serve three major functions in the human body: they act as antioxidants; they regulate hormone levels; and they eliminate toxins. It seems they effectively diminish free radicals, a by-product of food metabolism, found in our blood. Free radicals cause cells to become weak and less active. Although phytonutrients work in the same way as vitamins and minerals, they are not. They are a class of substances on their own.

Not all phytonutrients are colourful. Some smell strongly like the glucosinolates found in broccoli, cauliflower and horseradish. These help keep the plant healthy by deterring pests. Other fragrant plant foods like herbs, spices and teas are also rich in phytonutrients.

Experts recommend eating four servings of vegetables a day and two or three servings of fruit. If you don’t reach this goal, don’t despair. We don’t live in an ideal world. Just eat as many different fruits and vegetables in as many shades of the rainbow as possible.

Scientists distinguish the following classes of phytonutrients.

Carotenoids: These are the pigments found in bright yellow, orange and red plants, and include the more familiar names beta carotene, lutein and lycopene. All have antioxidant properties.

Limonoids: A sub-group of terpenes, the same group that contains carotenoids. Limonoids occur most often in citrus fruit peels, and seem to protect lung tissue.

Phytosterols: Found in abundance in the seeds of green and yellow vegetables such as squash or pumpkin, phytosterols block the uptake of cholesterol in the intestines.

Phenols: These pigments give blueberries, grapes, bilberries and other ‘blue’ and violet fruits their colour. They’ve been studied for decades for their disease preventative properties.
Flavonoids: More than 1500 flavonoids are found in a wide variety of plants and herbs. Their biologic activity includes action against allergies, inflammation, free radicals, hepatotoxins, platelet aggregation, microbes, ulcers, viruses and tumours.

Isoflavones: This sub-class is found in beans and legumes. They deserve special mention because they appear to the block tumour growth.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Rainbow Frittata

Sometimes our world seems to crash. Whenever I open the newspaper or watch the news, I cannot help but feel depressed: bombs, bad economy, corruption. The list of tragedies goes on and on.

My only recipe for making the world a better place is to try and live as well as I can, to try to be the best person I can be. Both my men can tell you that I lapse many times. But I know that occasionally I manage to bring a smile to their faces. Our home is generally a peaceful and welcoming place; my son knows he can always invite his friends over – also on short notice. When somebody drops in, I am always able to offer lunch or dinner. It might not be an elaborate dish, but even on a rainy day I normally have a pasta sauce or two stashed away in my freezer.

In case I don’t want to make pasta, a frittata is a great way of dishing up a tasty and healthy meal in no time at all. Basically, a frittata is the Italian version of the French omelette. With one big difference: An omelette is cooked only on one side, while the frittata is flipped or finished under the grill. Like pizza, anything goes with a frittata. You can use every kind of vegetables, herbs, cheese, fish and shellfish, bacon, sausage and salami slices. Only one ingredient remains the same. You cannot make frittata without eggs.

I call the recipe here Rainbow frittata, because I tried to use as many different coloured vegetables as possible. This recipe is only a guideline. Just take whatever you have in the kitchen, throw the ingredients into a pan and spill some eggs over the mixture. In most cases you can enjoy a delicious, light meal.

Wishing you happy cooking, always!

Kornelia Santoro with family


Rainbow Frittata

Ingredients (for 4 servings):

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 big carrot
  • 1 medium beetroot
  • 1 bundle spring onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 bundle parsley
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


Clean and chop the spring onions. Crush the garlic. Peel and grate the carrot and the beetroot. Wash the parsley and chop it.

Heat the oil in a non-stick pan. Fry the spring onions, the carrot and the beetroot over a low fire until they are soft, around three to four minutes. While the vegetables are getting done, crack the eggs into a bowl and season them with salt and pepper. Mix the eggs well with a fork.

Add the parsley and the garlic to the vegetables and fry for another minute. Spread the egg mixture over the vegetables and cover the pan with a lid.

When the egg has largely set, flip the frittata or finish it under the grill. All my pans have plastic handles, that’s why I always flip my frittata. This is a bit tricky, but not as difficult as it sounds. I loosen the border of the frittata with a spatula and make sure that it does not stick to the pan. Then I place a flat plate over the pan and turn it. Now the frittata should be in one piece on your plate. From the plate I slide the frittata back into the pan and give it another two minutes.

If you use the grill, just place the pan under the grill and wait that the egg-mixture takes on a lovely, bronze colour. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

About different kinds of fat

Fats: The good, the bad and the really ugly

When it comes to fat and the human health, it is difficult to figure out what is really happening, not to mention forming an educated opinion. Until recently, scientists promoted polyunsaturated oils to keep cholesterol levels under control. Now it seems that the experts might have been wrong by condemning saturated fats. I, a humble lay person, cannot help but feel confused. Maybe all this scientific research cannot be taken too seriously. After all, there is always somebody paying the bills and this might influence the outcome of any research.
For me it is time to apply some common sense to the subject: I strongly believe the more natural the fat, the better. That means in short: I trust butter and cold pressed oils. Generally I use only butter and olive oil in my kitchen. However, now a book has changed my mind: In future I will include cold pressed coconut oil as well.
In the book “Coconut diet” (ISBN-13: 978-0-00-727284-6, available from HarperCollins Publishers India) the author Cherie Calbom provides some interesting information about coconut oil. According to her, coconut oil got a bad reputation due to negative media reports during the latter half of the previous century. Saturated fats were widely held responsible for the increase of heart disease in the USA, condemning butter as well as coconut oil. Polyunsaturated oils were hailed as healthy.
Nowadays it seems exactly the opposite may be true. I believe refined vegetable oils – even if they are polyunsaturated – are bad for our bodies. Vegetable oils produce highly damaging trans fatty acids when refined or heated. These trans fatty acids, according to latest research, are the really ugly when it comes to our health. The clog our blood vessels and they inflate the fat cells on our hips in no time at all, not to mention they become quickly rancid, flooding our body with poison. Most packaged food contains oil of questionable quality.
On the other hand, saturated fats like butter and coconut oil are absolutely vital for the human body (the following points are taken from the “Coconut diet”):
  • About half of cell membranes are made from saturated fatty acids.
  • Our bones need saturated fatty acids to incorporate calcium.
  • Saturated fatty acids protect the liver and enhance the immune system.
  • Tissues retain omega-3 fatty acids better when you eat saturated fat at the same time. (Check Kornelia's Kitchen  ).
  • The heart muscle is embedded in tissue made from saturated fat.
  • Short and medium-chain saturated fatty acids combat harmful microorganisms.
More recipes at Kornelia's Kitchen
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Friday, 23 May 2014


A Natural Diuretic

Asparagus is a very good source of potassium (288 mg per cup) and quite low in sodium (19.8 mg per cup). Its mineral profile, combined with an active amino acid in asparagus, asparagine, gives asparagus a diuretic effect. Although some popular articles on asparagine link this amino acid to the distinct urinary odor that can follow along after consumption of asparagus, research studies suggest that this odor stems from a variety of sulfur-containing compounds. Historically, asparagus has been used to treat problems involving swelling, such as arthritis and rheumatism, and may also be useful for PMS-related water retention.

Food for Healthy Gut Flora

Asparagus contains a special kind of carbohydrate called inulin that we don't digest, but the health-promoting friendly bacteria in our large intestine, such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli, do. When our diet contains good amounts of inulin, the growth and activity of these friendly bacteria increase. And when populations of health-promoting bacteria are large, it is much more difficult for unfriendly bacteria to gain a foothold in our intestinal tract.

Especially if you're thinking about becoming pregnant or are in the early stages of pregnancy, make asparagus a frequent addition to your meals. A cup of asparagus supplies approximately 263 mcg of folate, a B-vitamin essential for proper cellular division because it is necessary in DNA synthesis. Without folate, the fetus' nervous system cells do not divide properly. Inadequate folate during pregnancy has been linked to several birth defects, including neural tube defects like spina bifida. Despite folate's wide availability in food (it's name comes from the Latin word folium, meaning "foliage," because it's found in green leafy vegetables), folate deficiency is the most common vitamin deficiency in the world.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Parsley and Mint

Go green with herbs

Green herbs are packed with nutrients. They do not only add taste to any dish, they also bless us with many health benefits. The humble parsley is as widely used in Europe as coriander is in Asia. The word parsley has it roots in the Greek word petroselīnon meaning rock celery. Native to Mediterranean Europe, it was first used as a medicine.
During the middle Ages, cooks started to season dishes with parsley. This herb contains vast amounts of vitamin C, vitamin A and folic acid. Parsley’s volatile oils help neutralise particular types of carcinogens (like the ben­zopyrenes that are part of cigarette smoke and charcoal grill smoke). According to scientific research, eating a lot of parsley helps keep your heart and cardiovascular system healthy and can prevent rheumatic arthritis.
Mint is actually named after a nymph called Minthe. This delightful creature appeared in the Greek mythology as a female that attracted Pluto’s attention. His jealous wife Persephone changed Minthe into a plant. Sorrowful Pluto could not reverse the magic spell, but he gave her a sweet smell. From ancient times, mint is used all over the world. There are more than 25 different species of mint with slightly different aromas.
Mint relieves cramps of the belly because it is able to relax muscles. It is a useful herb in case of indigestion, dyspepsia and irritable bowel syndrome. Animal studies have shown that the phytonutrient monoterpene in mint stops the growth of pancreatic, mammary and liver tumors and protects against caner in the colon, skin and lungs. However, there are no proper human studies yet.
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Monday, 19 May 2014


Spicy treasure

Rucola, Arugula, Rocket salad: The Mediterranean plant with the scientific name eruca sativa is known under many names. Already the Romans enjoyed rucola, like I call it. They considered it an aphrodisiac. However, it was not cultivated on a large scale or scientifically explored before the 1990s.

Nowadays, rucola is widely used all over the world. Italians love it as a pizza topping which is added after baking to avoid wilting. On the Italian island Ischia people make a digestive liqueur called rucolino from the plant.

There is no other green edible leaf which carries such a rich, peppery taste. This taste indicates the hidden treasures of rucola. It is stuffed with phyto-nutrients which help prevent cancer, strengthen the immune system and have anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.

Rucola is a good source for folate which is especially important for pregnant women. It provides a lot of vitamin A, B vitamins and vitamin C.  It also contains a lot of vitamin K making it an excellent choice for the elderly. Only 100 grams of rucola deliver 90 % of the recommended daily dose of vitamin K which is crucial for bone formation and healthy brain cells. Vitamin K is used to treat patients with Alzheimer’s disease. This plant also contains many minerals, especially iron, copper and potassium.

Some years ago media in Europe wrote about big amounts of pesticide residue in rucola and issued warnings not to consume it frequently. My research on the internet did not give me any conclusive information. Anyway, in India it is difficult to estimate how much pollution is in the food we consume. Occasionally there are horror stories in the media. Some time ago I read that practically all Indian honey is contaminated with pesticide and antibiotic residues.

Rucola is not a common vegetable in India yet. I praise myself lucky when I find it in the market. It is more commonly sold in Goan supermarkets which cater to a foreign clientele. In North Goa, some supermarket owners grow their own rucola. Honestly, I don’t think we should worry too much about pesticides in this vegetable. I wash it well and hope the health benefits more than compensate the damages caused by pollution.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Rocket Burgers

For many years I have desperately tried to make my son eat salad and other green, leafy vegetables. I added his favourite fried bacon and tuna to the greens. I tried convincing him by explaining how good green vegetables are for his body; I tried promises and threats before finally giving up.

Some time ago, I got inspired to a new effort.  I watched Rachael Ray on TV showing how you can hide vegetables in minced meat dishes. So I started another attempt to get the healthy greens into my son.

My first experiment failed miserably. I had mixed boiled sweet potatoes, carrots, spring onions and leeks with minced chicken and fried these burgers in a pan. Unfortunately they turned dark outside before they cooked through. I did not mind the sweet potatoes, but my men flatly refused to eat these burgers. Luckily our dogs are not so discerning when it comes to food.

I kept on thinking which vegetables would make a nice mix and had the idea of testing rucola or rocket salad, like the English call it. I love rucola in salads or just plain with a fried piece of fish. When we are in Italy, many times our dinner is simply a lovely steak with rucola and cherry tomatoes on the side. Nowadays you can find rucola quite frequently in the market.

I had never heard of cooking rucola but decided to give it a try – and it worked. My son ate them without complaining - although my husband kept on asking me about the strangely green colour of the burgers. I avoided answering this questions until dinner was over.

It seems, at long last I have found a way to get some green leafy vegetables into my darling’s belly – without a fight.

Wishing you happy cooking, always!

Kornelia Santoro with family

Rocket Burgers

Ingredients (for 12 burgers):

  • 1 packet (450 grams) chicken mince
  • 2 cups oats
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 bundles rucola
  • 1 bundle basil
  • 1 bundle spring onions
  • 1 big carrot
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 50 grams sesame seeds
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil extra vergine
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Wash the rucola and the basil. Cut the end of the stems of the rucola and sort out all yellow or damaged leaves. Remove unblemished basil leaves from the stems. Clean the spring onions. Peel and cut the carrots into pieces. Chop the vegetables and the basil finely in a blender. Put them into a big bowl. Add the chicken mince, the oats, the flour, the eggs, the crushed garlic and salt and pepper according to taste. Combine all the ingredients well. You should have dough which you can form into burgers. If it is too soft, add some more oats.

Spread the olive oil over a cookie sheet. Put the sesame seeds into a plate. Form the dough into flat, round burgers and roll them in the sesame seeds so they are covered well on all sides. Place them onto the oiled cookie sheet. Bake the burgers in the oven at 190 degrees for 40 minutes. After 20 minutes flip them over so they cook through evenly. The sesame seeds should show a lovely, golden shade. Enjoy!



Sunday, 11 May 2014

Sugar, an Indian invention

Long before baby Jesus was born, people on the shores of the Bay of Bengal already enjoyed sugarcane. During his campaign in India, Alexander the Great marveled over this sweet plant, so different from honey which was commonly used these days. Around the 5th century, during the reign of the Imperial Guptas, crystallized sugar was discovered. Along trade routes and with the help of Buddhist monks, sugar soon spread to China and the Arab world. Arab businessmen first set up large scale plantations and refineries. In 1498, Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama brought sugar from India to Lisbon which became the European sugar capital. By the 1800s, sugar was widely available to both upper and middle classes. 

Nowadays, sugar is produced all over the world mainly from two plants: sugar beets and sugarcane. Sugarcane requires a sub- or tropical climate to grow well while sugar beets thrive in moderate climates. To produce raw sugar the juice of sugar cane is mixed with lime to achieve the desired ph balance and to help settle out impurities. The resulting liquid is reduced through evaporation. A centrifuge then separates the sugar crystals. A drying process produces granules.

To obtain white sugar, phosphoric acid and calcium hydroxide are added to sugar cane juice. These acids absorb or trap impurities. The resulting syrup is then filtered through a bed of activated carbon to remove molasses and then crystallized a number of times under vacuum. Commercial brown sugar is refined white sugar with molasses syrup mixed in, then dried again.

I took this description from the website Green living tips. This might not be an independent source, but I checked with various websites sponsored by the sugar industry. The process seems to be fairly the same all over the world. Michael Bloch, the owner of the website green living tips, points out that commercial brown sugar is actually the worst sugar of all considering the impact on the environment. It requires all the processes of refined white sugar plus additional mixing and drying.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Dairy-free Chocolate Cake

My men cherish their sweet tooth. My husband and I grew up during the good old times when nobody considered sugar harmful or dangerous. Sweet innocence! Nowadays I feel guilty that I did not raise our son sugar free. The list of harmful effects for consuming refined sugar seems endless: depression, diabetes, tooth decay, osteoporosis, insulin sensitivity…when you do a little research on the internet, you end up convinced that sugar is the enemy.

But what would be life without a little sweetness? When I read all the well meant messages about the evils of sugar I feel sometimes compelled to shout: Give me some sugar to blur the rough edges! Ok, I never really shout, but I want to enjoy a sweet treat once in a while and I want to be able to feed my men without feeling like a monster.

One way to avoid sugar would be replacing it with chemical substitutes. Unfortunately, these substitutes are at least as harmful as sugar itself. The only chemical without proven long term harmful effects seems to be sucralose which is widely sold now as sugar substitute for diabetics. The reason might be the matter of fact that sucralose is a relatively new product. On the packet is printed ‘not recommended for children’. Do I need to write more?

Honey does not offer a solution because it tastes different than sugar and is full of pesticides. I have tried stevia which I found as a dried herb. So far, all my experiments with stevia have failed miserably.

Luckily there is one sugar product available in India which - I hope - avoids most of the pitfalls of refined sugar: Raw sugar from the Mumbai-based company Conscious Food. I avoid advertising products on my newsletter, but here I make an exception. The company promises that no chemicals are used in making this sugar. It is slightly brown, but it tastes like ‘normal’ sugar. Whenever I can, I use this raw sugar in my sweets although it costs more than double than normal sugar. The philosophy of Conscious Food is to work to a standard, not to a price. They offer natural and organic food products that come from small organic farms all over the country. I am happy to pay some more money to support these people.

I developed the recipe for this dairy free chocolate cake with walnuts because my son suffers from food allergies. I use raw sugar for the cake and normal icing sugar to give it a polished look. If you want a really healthy cake, just forget about the icing.

Wishing you happy cooking, always!

Kornelia Santoro with family

Dairy-free Chocolate Cake

  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups raw sugar
  • 200 grams walnuts
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup cold pressed coconut oil
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla essence
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • Butter or coconut oil to grease the cake dish

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
Spread butter or coconut oil over the walls of a round cake dish with a diameter of 26 centimetres.
Grind the walnuts in a blender.
Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and the vanilla essence and stir it well.
Adjoin the cocoa, the coconut oil and the walnuts and stir.
Mix the flour with the baking powder, add it to the mixing bowl and combine well. Fill the dough immediately into the cake dish and put it into the oven.
Bake at 190 degrees for around 40 minutes. You can check if your cake is done with the help of a toothpick: Insert it in the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, your cake is ready.
For the icing mix the icing sugar in a little bowl with just enough water to melt it. Around two tablespoons are enough to get a thick icing sugar solution.
Spread this over the cake and let it set.

For gas oven: Preheat the gas oven to lowest temperature for around five minutes.
Place the cake in the middle of the oven for around 25 to 30 minutes. When you see that the batter has set, turn off the heat from the bottom. Turn on the grill and give it five to ten minutes longer.