2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,700 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.


Sanda Marin – the best known Romanian cookery book

Sanda Marin was a lady with a beautiful and remarkable presence of interwar high society. An elegant figure, cultured, aristocratic and very talented in the art of gastronomy.


Cecilia Simionescu – this is the true name of “sandeimarinului”. Cecilia was born in Iasi, in a family of prominent intellectuals. Her father Ion Simionescu, was a geographer and president of the Romanian Academy.

Cecilia received education at the best schools and with the best rated tutors. As a teenager she spoke perfect german, french and english. The family home is visited by important figures of interwar intellectual elite and Cecilia has the opportunity to listen to ideas and participate in discussions, full of passion and great controversy.

After her marriage to Mr. Zapan, it is said she was one of the most charming hosts and loved to welcome guests with exquisite gourmet delights. 

Dissatisfied with Romanian cuisine books available on the market, Cecilia thinks that she can write a complete and comprehensive edition. She signs the book under the name: Sanda Marin.


So began the saga of one of the most reprinted editions of Romanian publication, “sandamarinu” became a favourite cookbook for Romanian cuisine since 1936 and the most comprehensive collection of traditional recipes

Carrot surprise

This is one of my favorite cakes. I can use my imagination and depending on the mood go to extreme and make it fun and festive. Or just use it without the frosting to keep the calories to the minimum. You can taste the carrots and if they are sweet, you can cut the amount of sugar with 50 – 80 grams,  increase the walnuts/pecans for a more crunchy taste.
  • 4 eggs
  • 300 ml vegetable oil
  • 400 g white sugar
  • 10 ml vanilla extract
  • 250 g flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 350 g grated carrots
  • 150 g chopped walnuts or pecans


  • 500 g Mascarpone cheese, softened
  • 4 table spoons of confectioners’ sugar
  • 5 ml vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. Grease and flour a 26 cm round pan or a 25×30 cm pan. Or prepare one muffin tray for 12 muffins. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, white sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in carrots. Fold in pecans. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

To make the frosting

In a medium bowl,mix the mascarpone cheese, confectioners’ sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Frost the cooled cake.

Keep some of the frosting and play with food color to decorate your cake or muffins. You can use your imagination and make it fun or festive…

Marinated meatballs with mashed potatoes


I love chifteluțe, ever since I was a little girl, I love those flavourful meatballs. Either dry, just off the pan… or marinated and served with mashed potatoes and murături (pickled vegetables). And my nieces often order this for sunday dinner… It is fairly easy to make, but it takes time.


    • 700 g minced meat
    • 1 egg
    • 200 g of grated old bread
    • 2 tablespoons of finely chopped onion
    • 1 teaspoon of chopped garlic
    • 2 tablespoons of chopped dill
    • 1 teaspoon of thyme
    • 2 teaspoons of tomato paste
    • 1 cube of meat stock
    • salt and pepper
    • 4 tablespoons of flour
    • 800 g coking potatoes
    • 50 g butter
    • 150 ml milk
    • salt and pepper

Mashed potatoes

  • 800 g cooking potatoes
  • 50 g butter
  • 150 ml milk
  • salt and pepper

Take the bred, cut it in cubes and grate it in a food processor. In a pan add a little oil and blanche the onion and the garlic, 2-3 min. In a bowl mix the minced beef, with the grated bread, the egg, the chopped onion and chopped garlic. Add the thyme and the chopped dill, salt and pepper and mix well. Let the mixture stay and infuse for about 20 minutes.

Pre-heat a large pan on medium heat. On a large plate put the flour. With a spoon take from the mixture, make into a ball in your hands, roll through the flower and tap  lightly on two sides to get rid of the extra flour. Put it to be fried in the pan. Fry on both sides until golden brown. Continue until you finish all the meatballs

In another pan, put 100 ml of water, mix with the tomato paste, melt the stock and add 400 ml of water together with salt and pepper. Not too much since the meatballs are salted too. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes and then add all the meatballs to the pan. You might have to add some more water until the meatballs are covered. Let the meatballs simmer for about 30-35 minutes.

Peel and cut the potatoes in cubes. In a pan add the potatoes with salt and water and boil for about 30 minutes. Test with a fork if the potatoes are cooked. Strain the water and in a bowl add small cubes of butter, salt and pepper and the milk and mash into a creamy consistency.

Serve hot with either a nice green salat or very traditional Romanian – with pickled cucumbers.

Other serving ideas: serve the chifteluțe marinate with pasta, couscous or rice.

Chicken with peas

This used to be my favourite dish while I was 6-7 years old, and I stil love to make this simple but delicious dish.


  • 4 chicken legs
  • 700 g frozen peas
  • 1 large onion
  • chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped dill
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of sweet chili pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

Pre-heat the oven to 190 ℃. Clean the legs, trim away fat and bones so you are left with four beautiful chicken legs. In a cup mix 4 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, garlic and the sweet chili pepper. Put the legs in a ovenproof pan and brush with this mixture. Put it in the oven to bake for about 30-40 min until they look golden brown and juicy.

Chop the onion in small cubes. In a pot, add 4 tablespoons of oil and saute the onions until translucent and then add the peas. Add water, so the peas are covered. Let is simmer for about 20 minutes. Then add the chicken stock (I use cubes), salt and pepper and the tomato paste. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes and then add the fresh dill.

Seve immediately with some good bread.