This is the second great recipe I adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten. And yes, I did buy the book. 

Oven Roasted Sweet Potato Fries

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled 
2 Tbsp olive oil 
1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp light brown sugar 
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper 

  • Preheat the oven to 450F.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  • Peel and halve the sweet potatoes lengthwise and cut each half into 3 long spears.
  • Place them on the prepared pan and toss with olive oil.
  • Spread the potatoes in one layer.
  • Scatter the salt, brown sugar, and pepper over the potatoes.
  • Bake for 15 minutes and then turn with a spatula.
  • Bake for another 5 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • Serve hot. 



I tried making naan before. Not with great success, as I had no taste or texture reference. Kamloops has several Indian restaurants and recently Leilah and I started to frequent Spice during her lunch hour, the pristine, white table clothed restaurant on the North Shore. Sadly, the last few times we found their butter chicken a bit too hot. As it turns out I can make a nice, mild butter chicken so all we needed was to replicate the naan experience. The good news is naan is easier to make than chapati and you don’t have to make quite as many. Spice bakes their naan in a clay oven, but as you can see it is possible to make good naan at home in a non-stick skillet.

Naan Bread

1-1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 cups white bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
5 Tbsp 11% Greek yoghurt
2 Tbsp melted ghee or butter, plus extra to brush
vegetable oil to grease

  • Melt the butter and let it cool to room temperature.
  • Place the yeast, sugar and two tablespoons of lukewarm water in the mixing bowl and give it a stir. Leave it for 5 minutes.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and the salt.
  • Add the yoghurt, flour, water and the melted butter [in this order] to make soft dough.
  • Knead for five minutes with the dough hook. If kneading by hand, make sure the dough is very smooth and shiny.
  • Place in an oiled bowl and turn to coat.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and leave it to double.
  • Knock the air out of the risen dough and divide into eight parts.
  • Flatten out the balls and roll them into elongated disks.
  • Heat the oven to 200F.
  • Heat a non-stick frying pan on high heat.
  • Place in one bread and turn down the heat to medium high.
  • When the top begins to bubble, turn the bread over.
  • Cook for a short time until the other side browns in patches.
  • Place in the warm oven while you make the other breads.
  • Serve with Butter Chicken.



This is not your “authentic” butter chicken. Indian butter chicken as good as it is, needed revision for our family. The so-called mild butter chicken is still too hard for our continental apparatus nearing post middle age. But how to maintain the rich flavours without stomach churning after effects? That was my mission the other day when I took to culinary sacrilege.

Ethnic cuisines require time and fresh ingredients. Ground up spices sold in bottles and tins already lost most of their flavour by the time of purchase. No curry powder or paprika should ever be stored on a shelf. Garam masala looses its potency within a day and is best if freshly roasted or at the very least kept in the freezer in an airtight container. Commercial tomato paste is a harsh ingredient. In contrast, the flavour and the color of freshly reduced tomatoes are beautiful. It really doesn’t take long to reduce a few cups of fresh or frozen tomatoes. The difference however is worth it. Marinating the chicken breast makes it more succulent, flavourful and tender. If you use spices with restraint, you also have to cut the lemon juice in the marinade.

Butter Chicken

2 boneless chicken breast
1 cup fresh tomato sauce**
1/8 cup ghee or 1/4 cup butter
3 cups diced onions
1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
2 sprinkles of chilli
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
few sprinkles of cumin and cayenne pepper [optional]
2 tsp of Hungarian paprika [optional]
1 cup full fat almond milk
1 cup heavy cream
cilantro leaves

1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp freshly roasted garam masala
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice [up to 2 Tbsp if you heavily spice]
4 smashed garlic cloves

**Fresh Tomato Sauce:
4 cups of chopped fresh or frozen tomatoes
1/8 cup of butter

  • The night before make the garam masala. You will need very little garam masala for the butter chicken so freeze the remainder in an airtight plastic container for later use. This way you will have fresh garam masala at hand for a couple of years. You can buy ready to use garam masala in the Indian store but it won’t even come close to the fresh, especially if you are making a mild butter chicken.
  • While the spices are roasting, prepare the fresh tomato sauce.
  • Remove and discard the tomato skins and chop the tomatoes.
  • Place 1/8 cup of butter in a non-stick skillet.
  • By adding half a cup of chopped tomatoes at the time, slowly simmer to reduce the 4 cups of tomatoes to 1 cup. Let it cool, wrap and place in the fridge for the next day.
  • In the meantime, wash and dry the chicken breasts and cut them into 1-inch cubes.
  • Transfer chicken to a medium sized bowl and sprinkle with salt and 1 Tbsp of fresh garam masala.
  • Add the lemon juice and the 4 smashed garlic cloves.
  • Toss well, to evenly coat the chicken cubes.
  • Wrap the bowl and place it in the fridge for the night.
  • The following day drain the chicken and discard the juices.
  • In a medium sized dutch pot sauté the onions in the ghee or butter until very, very, very soft. Do NOT brown.
  • Add the chicken and the freshly grated ginger and ever so slowly cook, turning often, until no pink shows on the meat.
  • Add the chilli and the turmeric and give it a stir. You may also give a few sprinkles of cumin and a bit of cayenne pepper, but I omitted these. Instead, I added 2 tsp of Hungarian paprika.
  • Give the chicken a good stir with the spices and then add the fresh tomato sauce.
  • Bring the mixture to a slow simmer for 10 minutes or until the chicken is tender.
  • Add the almond milk and the heavy cream.
  • Bring it back to slow simmer and simmer for 5 more minutes. At any time do not let the butter chicken come to a rapid boil.
  • Check for salt and adjust if necessary.
  • Serve the butter chicken with fresh cilantro leaves, basmati rice and naan bread.



Here are three lovely yogurt breads. It began with our friend Tony bringing us ten 1-litre containers of 0% plain yogurt. Now I love plain yoghurt, but you know what I think of 0% fat content! I hid them in the freezer under the tomatoes. Then last week Jimre cleaning the freezer came upon the yogurt and said it was time “we” ate it. Jimre doesn’t eat yogurt.  Zero fat content was already a challenge, but frozen? I thawed out a container and there were these little white specks floating in transparent liquid... This, I decided can only be used for baking. Then yesterday I made three breads and used up an entire container of yogurt. I thought we pick the one we like best but it turns out we like all three. I guess we are into yogurt bread now. Next time I am making yogurt rolls. How these recipes will work with fresh yogurt, I am not sure. I am not volunteering; I still have 9 litres of the frozen stuff in the freezer. 


This recipe makes one very large or two medium sized breads. With zero fat content, have I brushed the tops with water before I put them in the oven, they could have been crusty breads. Instead, I sprinkled the tops with flour, hence the rustic appointment.

3-1/2 to 4 cups flour
3 tsp instant yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 cup 0% plain yogurt
1 cup water

olive oil for brushing

  • Place 3-1/2 cups of flour, instant yeast, sugar and salt in the mixer bowl.
  • Using the paddle attachment whisk the flour mixture.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt and the water and continue mixing to form dough.
  • Replace the paddle attachment with the hook attachments.
  • Knead the dough until very elastic.
  • Add from the remaining flour if needed. Dough should be soft and elastic.
  • Oil a large bowl and place in the dough, turning over.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough until doubled.
  • Punch down on a floured breadboard and shape two oval loaves or one large.
  • Place the loaves on parchment lined baking sheets
  • Brush remaining oil on the top and let rise until loaves are doubled again.  
  • Place a cup of water on the bottom of the oven and preheat to 425F.
  • Dust the loaves liberally with flour and score the middle twice.
  • Place the bread in the preheated oven and bake until nicely browned on the top and the bottom.


The second recipe makes two soft bread loaves. In both flavour and texture, these are reminiscent of challah. Buttered and served with honey and fruit compote, this would make the perfect bread for teatime.

3 cups bread flour
2 Tbsp light brown sugar
2 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup 0% yogurt
1/3 cup 11% buttermilk
2 Tbsp light olive oil
1/4 cup water
olive oil for brushing
1 whisked egg white for glazing

  • Place the bread flour, brown sugar, yeast and the salt in the beater bowl.
  • Using the paddle attachment whisk the flour mixture.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt, buttermilk, olive oil and water.
  • Add the yogurt mixture to the flour mixture and mix to form dough.
  • Replace the paddle attachment with the hook attachments.
  • Knead the dough until very elastic.
  • Oil a large bowl and place in the dough, turning it over.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough double.
  • Punch down dough and form into two loaves.
  • Place on parchment lined baking sheets and brush the loaves with egg white.
  • Let the loaves double.
  • Preheat oven to 425F.
  • Place the risen loaves in the oven and bake for 10 minutes
  • Reduce the heat to 350F and bake until the tops and bottoms are nicely browned.


Hard flour gives it a spongy texture, whole-wheat gives it the colour and wheat germ gives it one more layer of flavour. This third yogurt bread is full of flavour.

1 cup whole wheat flour
2-1/2 cups bread flour
2-1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup plain 0% yogurt
1 Tbsp light olive oil
1 cup water
olive oil for brushing

  • Place the whole-wheat flour, bread flour, instant yeast, sugar, salt and wheat germ in the beater bowl.
  • Using the paddle attachment whisk the flour mixture.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt, olive oil and water.
  • Add the yogurt mixture to the flour mixture and mix to form dough.
  • Replace the paddle attachment with the hook attachments.
  • Knead the dough until very elastic.
  • Oil a large bowl and place in the dough, turning it over.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough double.
  • Punch down dough and form into a round loaf.
  • Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and brush the top with oil.
  • Let the loaf double again.
  • Preheat oven to 425F.
  • Place the risen loaf in the oven and bake for 10 minutes
  • Reduce the heat to 350F and bake until the tops and bottoms are nicely browned.

Let them eat bread



We made 8 of these last Christmas, Olivia and I. What I really wanted of course was a bit of cream with fresh fruit. Here they are in refined form. Just a few bites of sweet heaven. Yes you can have it with chocolate just don’t touch mine. Happy Valentines Day. I love you. 

Meringue Cups With Fresh Fruit [no chocolate]

Meringue Cups:
3 egg whites
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 cup sugar

1-1/2 to 2 cups whipping cream
1 Tbsp sugar
sliced fresh fruit

  • Set the oven to 275F.
  • Draw 16 circles on a sheet of parchment paper.
  • Place the parchment paper on a large cookie sheet upside down. 
  • Beat the egg whites, vanilla and cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peaks form. Slowly beat in the sugar, 1 Tbsp at a time.
  • Switch to high speed and beat until stiff peaks form.
  • Assemble the piping apparatus using a large piping bag with a size 12 round tip. 
  • Fill the piping bag with the meringue mixture and pipe sixteen 3-in meringue cups.
  • To form the cups, begin to pipe from the center of the pre-drawn circles, going around until the circle is covered. Without lifting the tip, go around the perimeter of the circle 3 times.
  • Bake the meringue cups in the preheated oven for 40 minutes or until a slight browning appears around the perimeter. Keep an eye on the meringues; they should remain white.
  • Turn off the oven and do not open door for 1/2 hour.
  • Open the oven door slightly and leave the meringues to dry for another 1/2 hour.
  • Remove meringues from the oven.
  • Beat the whipping cream until soft peaks form.
  • Add 1 Tbsp sugar and beat to stiff peaks.
  • To fill the meringue cups with sweetened whipped cream give it one squirt with a very large star tip.
  • Place a slice of fresh fruit in the middle and serve.
  • Keep the leftover meringue cups in a Tupperware container. They will last for a couple of days provided the fruit used does not brown.
  • Makes 16 meringue cups.



What kind of bun is this? It’s a hamburger bun. This is no hamburger bun she said. True enough, this bun is way too amazing to be a hamburger bun. I am making them again today; Liv took the trial buns home last night.

“Most commercial burger buns are extremely soft compared to other breads. That's because commercial bakers make liberal use of dough conditioners that help to emulsify ingredients, enhance the fermentation process, yield uniform products, and tenderize the crumb.” Source

If softness you are after this is the perfect recipe. It all started with the inner child hankering after a hamburger bun from the past. They used to be soft and didn’t crumble and didn’t taste like sawdust. I barely turned eighteen, not yet an adult under Canadian law back in 1967. One of the first things my immigrant palate enjoyed was a hamburger at the AW drive-in. The attendant brought this long tray that span the front of our car resting on the half-open windows and well you know the rest.

I use instant yeast that requires no proofing. The water should be warm but not hot. Hot water kills the yeast. All the ingredients should be at room temperature; otherwise, rising could take up to two hours or more. Preplanning is not my strong suit, but strategising is, so I revised Domestic Dreamboat’s recipe. The dough is on the stiff side and to make it easier to handle, the last cup of flour should be added very gradually, much like when making challah. The buns will still be lovely and soft at the end. Knead the dough smooth and very, very elastic. If you have to knead by hand, there is a trick to soften up the dough. Lift it up and throw it down on the counter 100 times. Beating up the dough softens it and makes it pliable. The second rising should not take longer than 40 minutes. I let one batch to double during the second rising and the buns were a bit too fluffy for my taste. 

Burger Buns

1 cup lukewarm water
3 Tbsp butter, melted
2 Tbsp heavy cream
1 egg
2-1/2 cups + 1 cup flour
2 Tbsp white sugar
2-1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp salt
melted butter for greasing

For the Egg Wash:
1 egg
1 Tbsp milk
sesame seeds for topping

  • In a 2-cup measuring cup, place 1 cup of lukewarm water.
  • Melt the butter and add 2 Tbsp of melted butter to the lukewarm water. Stir.
  • Add the heavy cream and the egg and whisk together. Set aside.
  • Place 2-1/2 cups of flour in a large bowl.
  • Add the yeast, salt and the sugar and whisk to combine.
  • Add the liquid ingredients to the flour mixture and stir to combine.
  • Gradually 1/4 cup at the time, knead in the remaining flour. The dough will be stiff.
  • Kneed the dough until elastic; if the dough is too stiff, throw it down on the counter 100 times. It will still have resistance but will be pliable enough to knead.
  • Grease a large bowl with the remaining butter, put the dough in, and turn it over.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it to rise until doubled.
  • Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Punch the dough down and roll it into a thick log.
  • Divide into 12 equal pieces.
  • Form into balls. Press the balls down with the palm of your hand into disks, to about 1 inch height.
  • Place the disks on the prepared baking sheet.
  • In a small bowl whisk together 1 egg with 1 Tbsp of milk.
  • Brush the tops with the egg wash.
  • Sprinkle the tops with sesame seeds.
  • Let the buns rise for 40 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 375F.
  • Place the buns in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the tops are golden and the bottoms are lightly browned. These buns are best when they could still bake a bit longer.
  • Let them cool on a wire rack and pack them into freezer bags.
  • What you don’t use within a day freeze.


Adapted from Limara’s Péksége: the lady is brilliant. Her recipe makes eight of these scrumptious wiener rolls. Would you believe it the rising-time is only 45 minutes? The rolls turned out surprisingly lofty and delicious. I only needed six wiener rolls so I braided two rolls without wieners. Those were good too. No bakery buns or convenience products can come close to these freshly baked rolls. 

The worthy wiener for these great rolls is the European. The taste is better. I get mine at a tiny butcher shop; the owner is a second generation German trained butcher. Grocery chains also sell European wieners, though not every European wiener deserves the title. Always look for a trusted brand name, avoid the store brands. Brand name European wieners cost more than other brands, but they are worth the price difference.

Wiener Rolls - Virslis Kifli

2-2/3 cups flour
1 Tbsp instant yeast
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp oil
3/4 cup 11% Greek yoghurt
1/3 cup water
1 egg

Egg Wash:
1 egg, whisked

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, instant yeast and the salt.
  • Add the yogurt, water, oil and the egg.
  • Combine ingredients to make dough.
  • Knead until shiny and elastic.
  • Place in a greased bow, cover and let rise for 45 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 375F.
  • Roll the dough into 9X16 inch rectangle.
  • Divide into 8 parts.
  • Place half a European wiener in the middle of each square.
  • Cut 3 diagonal cuts down beside the wiener as shown.
  • Then criss-cross the strands over the wiener. 
  • Turn the end under.
  • Place the rolls on the prepared baking sheet.
  • In a small bowl whisk one egg and spread the rolls with egg wash.
  • Bake the rolls in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the top has a nice golden colour.


Our conditioning is to think that bran muffins are “healthy”. The truth is there just isn’t much to look forward to in a “healthy” muffin. If you make it “healthy”, you just end up taking out all the things that could make it delicious. The healthy muffin is crime against good taste. What matters in a muffin is the “mmm” factor.

Let’s face it, comparatively speaking muffins are high in calories, even the “low fat”, “no fat” “egg free”, “dairy free”, “whatever free” muffin is higher in calories than a jelly donut. If you have to watch your intake, have an egg, but don’t have an inferior muffin. In the bakery, well... there are better things in the bakery than “healthy” muffins. I think I will have that lofty fruit explosion with the cream cheese filling.

Replacing real food with fake stuff is not healthy. Sometimes it horrifies me what fake ingredients people put into their foods to stay “healthy”. Those highly processed substitutes only mess with the hormones. Avoiding processed foods should be the first step toward eating “healthy”. That is why I cannot phantom putting bran flakes into a homemade bran muffin. Why would you even bother baking?  

Red Cottage Chronicles had the right idea. I would have liked to add raisins plumped in rum, but I wasn’t allowed.  I have to admit that these were very nice, even without rum plumped raisins. They were soft and light in texture as all muffins should be. I think I will have one. Ah there it is... “mmm...”.


 Bran Muffins

3 eggs                                                         
1/2 cup vegetable oil                 
1/2 cup sugar 
1/8 cup plus 4 teaspoons molasses                      
1-2/3 cups milk                               
2 cups natural bran                  
1-2/3 cup whole wheat flour        
1 tsp baking powder            
1 tsp baking soda                  
1/2 tsp salt                                 
2/3 cup raisins soaked in rum, optional                            

  • If using place the raisins in a small bowl first and cover with a little bit of rum for an hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Spray the muffin cups with cooking spray or line with parchment muffin liners. If using paper lines, lightly spray the liners with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, sugar, and the molasses until well blended. 
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the bran, flour, baking powder, baking soda and the salt.
  • Add the flour mixture and the milk alternatively to the egg mixture and stir until just combined. 
  • Stir in the rum soaked raisins last.
  • The batter will be a bit runny so spooning or scooping will make a mess. Transfer the batter to a small jug with a good spout. My large one litre-measuring cup has the best pouring spout.
  • Distribute the batter in the prepared muffin tins filling them almost to the top.
  • Place in the preheated oven and bake until firm to the touch.
  • I had some leftover batter, enough for one extra large muffin. I sprayed a small ovenproof bowl with cooking spray and baked it alongside the muffin tins. The muffins in the tins needed 20 minutes; the extra large muffin took a bit longer to bake.
  • Serve these with butter.
  • Muffins are best on the first day so freeze the leftovers and for best texture thaw them at room temperature.

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It began with posting a few recipes on line for my family. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has more than 1000 Hungarian and International recipes. What started out as a private project turned into a well visited blog. The number of visitors long passed the two million mark. I organized my recipes into an on-line cookbook. On top of the page click on the cookbook to access the recipes. I am not profiting from my blog, so my visitors will not be harassed with advertising or flashy gadgets. Feel free to cut and paste my recipes for your own use. Publication is permitted as long as it is in your own words and with your own photographs. However, I would ask you for an acknowledgement and link-back to my blog. Happy cooking!