Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Cook-Up with Donna Hay and Dzintra!

A Happy September to you, mes amis!

I was planning to share some fun photos from various fairs we attended in August, and I will...but I did not want to put off the latest Donna Hay cook-up, especially since Dzintra
has hers up right now!
Dzintra, dear, you are so talented!
Her styling is very beautiful...everything looks incredibly delicious.

Here is a link to the Donna Hay website
in case you would like to

We are cooking from the June/July 2013 issue...

This month, I prepared the "Spicy Tomato, Chicken, and Bean Soup with Toasted Tortillas"

(please let me know if you'd like any of the recipes)


It was very simple to make...I was trying to figure out where the "spicy" came in. Other than garlic, there really was not much in the recipe to add heat...and I like my south-of-the-border dishes SPICY.... ;)
Sooo...I cheated a bit...added some taco seasoning that I had in the pantry, as well as some green tabasco sauce...perfect.
If you see little olives in the soup, that was my "Russian" touch...

This issue featured a gorgeous collection of flourless cakes...
The "Lemon, Almond, and Ricotta Cake" contains some of my favorite ingredients...

It came out moist (lots of ricotta) and lemony...
with the perfect touch of almond...

The recipe does not mention refrigerating the cake, but I would highly recommend doing so. It is much like a cheesecake, and needs to firm up and chill a bit for the best texture/flavor.

Update: I MUST include the recipe...really, this is one of the most delicious desserts I have ever had...

Lemon, Ricotta, and Almond Cake
adapted from Donna Hay magazine

 (I mixed everything by hand...
so you don't need an electric mixer to get beautiful results with this one.)

*1 stick of softened unsalted butter

*1 cup cane sugar

*1 T. vanilla extract

*1/4 cup finely grated lemon zest (yellow rind only, no pith)

*4 eggs, separated, room temperature

*2 cups almond meal (Trader Joe's works great)

*1 1/2 cups of ricotta cheese

*flaked almonds (they go on top of the cake...I got mine at Trader Joe's)

*optional powdered sugar for dusting 

1. Preheat oven to 350F 

2.  Butter a nine inch spring form pan.

3. Mix the butter, vanilla, and lemon rind until fluffy.

4. Add the egg yolks until well combined.

5. Add the almond meal and sugar, and mix well.

6. Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

7. Fold in the egg whites and ricotta into the other batter. Mix well, but gently.
(I also added some tiny chocolate chips to the batter)

8. Pour the batter into the pan, and either sprinkle or decorate the top with the almond slices. 

This is an important step, because you will get that toasted goodness and crunch.

9. Bake at 350 F for about 50 minutes, or until the cake is firm to the touch.

10. Cool completely. This cake tastes best out of the refrigerator. I would recommend chilling it for several hours or overnight.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar...and serve!

Moist...light...and rich at the same time...
Please let me know if you make this, and how you like it!


Thank you once again, dear Dzintra, this was so much fun! If anyone would like to join the cook-up, just let Dzintra 

Bon Appetit!



  1. Oh goodness this cake looks absolutely delicious :)

  2. Well, now I am really hungry! Great post dear friend...
    Thank you so much for your sweet words about Peanut.. I always look forward to your visits.

  3. Hi Irena! (love your name)
    I love flourless cakes and this one sounds incredible! You have a lovely blog and it's so nice to learn of Donna Hayes magazine.

    Thank you for your visit to our place and your sweet comment! I'm going to post what I do to the sewing machine drawers... I just have to get to work!!

    Blessings to you Irena, Edie Marie

  4. Oh Dearest Irina thank you so much....I just love knowing that we are both cooking together o opposite sides of the world and seeing what you have made makes me want to rush off to the magazine and see your dishes through new eyes... Your dishes look just perfect for our foolish Spring evening...

  5. Oops Irina I didn't mean to hit publish....sorry....I meant to say coolish not foolish!!! Loved your post....Many thanks for cooking with me....I love it....Bon Dzintra xo

  6. My goodness Irina,it's coming up that time of year again......log fires and deliciously comforting dishes. Thanks for the link!

    Happy September to you too!
    Best wishes,

  7. Mmmmmm, my mouth is watering, dear Irina! It's just about 5:00 PM as I read this post, and I'm starving!!! I could eat your whole pot of spicy tomato, chicken, and bean soup. And have plenty of room left for dessert. Wish I lived closer :)
    Happy September, and enjoy the upcoming weekend!!

  8. Irina,
    This soup sounds delicious. I love south-of-the-border dishes. And that cake!! I am a huge lover of lemons and almonds. It looks very moist too. It sounds like you love to cook. My son used to be interested in culinary arts, and I miss all the cooking that he used to do.


  9. Do I want the recipes? Well, better can come cook for me! heehee...
    It all looks SO yummy!!!!

    Have a good weekend!

  10. Hi Irina, thank you for the recipe. I will look it up, since I have one of her cook books. That cake looks yummy. I will definitely try it.

    Enjoy your weekend



  11. My Donna Hay cookbook sits on my counter at all times, but I had never really checked out the magazine, so thanks for the heads up. I love your photos and those on your friend's blog - enjoy your fall favourites in the kitchen and Bon Apetit dear one.

  12. OH DEAR....I did miss this blog post! Your post never came up to the top as new posts often do! I am so sorry to have missed this! I remember seeing the magazine at Dzintra's blog and thinking this would be a perfect dessert as it has less carbs than a regular cake! You liked it my friend? Ricotta is marvelous and does yield great results whenever I've used it; I have to use the light versions because the fattier (yummmm) the cheese, the more problems I unfortunately have with dairy. Flourless cakes are so good when the ingredients have that dense and moist texture. I wonder if this can also be made with pumpkin?

    Oh thank you for alerting me to this. So sorry to have missed it! LOVE TO ALL! Anita

  13. Irina! How wonderful to hear to hear from you!
    So sorry it has taken me a few days to respond. At the risk of sounding like a broken record (and I AM!) it is the busiest "wedding season" for me. Autumn weddings have definitely taken over the ever popular Spring/Summer favorite months....
    This recipe sounds divine! ANYTHING with Ricotta makes my mouth water...add lemon to the recipe and I'm drooling! I am definitely making this recipe. :)
    We're enjoying the most beautiful weather here on the east coast--FINALLY. I am sooooo ready for Fall after the horrendous heat wave we've experienced this summer. The changing of the leaves, the cool, crisp air, and the scent of a crackling fire...I am in HEAVEN!
    I'm working on a lavish wedding for next week with a "Mad Men" vibe. Picture this theme in our gorgeous barn venue! I'll be sure to post photos afterwards.
    Hope you're doing well, my friend...
    I'm still dreaming of the day you and Anita come out here for a visit. :) :) :)
    Hug and much love,
    Lisa xo

  14. Hi Irina, I will let you know how I go with this scrumpdelicious treat. I will post it in my blog. Thank you again and also for your visit. You are so sweet and kind.

    God bless



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