Thursday, 18 January 2018

Apple cake for us and doggy cookies for Bella

Would you ask me some years ago how I feel about having a dog, the answer would be most likely rather negative. Not that I had something against them, I just could not picture me and a dog under the same roof. It all changed recently, with Bella our newest family member the cutest Jack Russel puppy ever. Today's post is dedicated to Bella, which you probably already guessed.


It all started with our decision to move to the Swedish country side, having a dog came as a natural fact, everybody has a dog living in a house on the country side, right? So once arrived here the idea grew on us and some weeks ago we finally got our Bella. It was love at first glance, not sure it always works like this but we saw her, she saw us and we kind of all knew it.
Now, even though we are speaking one week and a couple of days, since this cheeky lady moved in, it feels like she was always a solid member of our family and there is no way I can picture my future without her any longer. I heard from others that this can go quick, but I am still pretty much stunted how quick it actually was. So now having her with us I have another family member, which likes to get spoiled once in a while (or maybe a little bit more). I know I shall be all firm with her diet, timing, portion etc. but did you ever tried not to give anything to your doggy while you were having a snack and she was sitting next to you giving you this look (you know which one I mean)?!? Well I tell you it is a hardest things to do, to say no to them that very moment.
Being all firm (and I am really giving my best) I still feel like she does deserve some snacks between the meals. I was not all crazy about the doggy treats you can buy, as most of the ingredients are "Chinese" to me.... some even bit scary, not being an expert on doggy food here. So I started to look around what dogs can eat. There are many recipes out there, I checked couple of them looking for healthy and light version. I found plenty, but finally ended up with an adjusted version of healthy doogy cookies, which were done yesterday for Bella, next to an apple cake treat for us.


I was  a bit nervous at first... all for nothing as she loves these cookies so much. Now when she give me this look (please look at the pictures) and I am unable to say no to a treat, she gets one of these  cookies and I feel much better, knowing exactly what she is eating. The recipe could not be easier and the ingredients are actually always around.

Doggy treat cookies
  • 200 g oatmeal flakes
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 egg
  • 2 small carrots
  • 1 teaspoon oil - I used coconut oil
  • 0,5 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180C. Blitz the oatmeal flakes in a food processor, till you will get a flour texture, set it aside. In a bowl smash the banana, add the egg, finely grated carrots, oil and turmeric, stir till all well combined. Add the flour, mix again. Let the dough sit for 15 minutes. Take a small piece of dough and roll it to a ball, place it on the baking sheet lined with baking paper, take a forge and flatten the dough ball with it. Alternatively you can form small bones out of it. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Let them cool completely before giving it to your dog or putting them into a glass jar




As for us, it was something rather unplanned as I was not planning to bake anything, but my son, to whom by the way I also cannot say no that easily, wished for a cake. He was a bit sad and cold and I could not resist. Apple cake is always an option when something comfy should be done. Every time I feel bit down and need this special treatment apple cake will come up first in my mind. Not sure why but it always works his magic on me... actually on my husband, on my son and many of my friends too. I guess there has to be something to it then... maybe the cinnamon which warms us from inside, the sweetness of the apple which reminds us on sunny and warm days or this little dollop of vanilla cream or ice cream on a warm cake, running down the side. Either way it works to chear up my lovelies and this is all what matters.



Apple pie
  • 200 g flour
  • 60 g brown sugar
  • 80 g butter cold cut in cubes
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 apples
  • 1 tablespoons brown sugar
  • agave syrup
  • cinnamon
  • 4-5 small cubes of butter
Preheat the oven to 180C. Put flour, sugar, butter cubes, baking powder and salt in the food processor and give it couple of spins. Add egg and pulse another couple of times till dough starts to form. Should the dough be too dry, add some cold water (spoon wise) to reach a firm ball of dough (not too sticky). Take the dough out, half it in two and roll out two circles, big enough to cover your baking dish. Butter you baking dish and cover it with the first dough circle, covering the edges too. 
Skin, remove the seeds and cut the apples in cubes, add them in a bowl. Add sugar, cinnamon, some agave syrup and mix till all apples are covered. Put the apples in the baking dish. Now add the butter cubes on top. Take the second dough circle and cover the pie. Press the dough edges with your finger to seal the pie. Springer some brown sugar on top, cut a small cross in the middle and bake for about 45-50 minutes. Serve the case with some cream or ice cream on top.


Enjoy!

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Winter weekend with winter chocolate mini cakes

We all are looking forward for the weekend to come, thinking ahead what can be done... when it comes to us it always has to include some kind of activities outside. Living in Sweden now, does not change anything on that fact, we just need to get the right clothes (and by that I mean warm clothes) and off we go. This weekend was no exception either.
On Saturday we woke up just to discover that the sun decided not to make an appearance, so to cheer us up I spontaneously decided to make breakfast in bed. Breakfast in bed is always something super special and is actually quite easy to make. There are various versions but my will always include scrambled eggs and something in a bowl... yogurt with berries, smoothie with fruits and cereals or porridge with berries, honey and nuts. This weekend it was oatmeal-quinoa porridge with fresh blueberries and dried mulberries. Scrambled eggs and crispbread. Easy, delicious and super comfy.
Suddenly there was no issue to go outside and do some activities at the fresh (bit frosty) air... All packed and properly dressed we made our way to the beach. Beach in winter time can be very exciting too... I do admit it is a bit colder as in Spain, but it works and we still manage to do our small picnics. Next to the picnic I always manage to shoot hundreds of pictures, because I discover yet another fascinating big rock, which caught my or Bella's attention. Bella is our newest family member, a Jack Russel puppy who joined our house about a week ago. This little cheeky lady is very curious and obviously as crazy about being outside as us. Despite the fact that is has been only a week when we got her, it feels like she always been with us, she blends in perfect in our little and crazy family and I got an additional photo model on top.


And to make this weekend count even more, as the sun did not appear today either I made our newest favourite... gluten free chocolate mini cakes. They are heavenly chocolaty, deep and dark in taste, exactly what your soul needs, when winter shows herself not from her best side. They are easy to make and with some frosting and berries on top, they transform to a very delicious winter chocolate dessert.






Chocolate mini cake
  • 100 g dark chocolate
  • 100 g soft butter
  • 120 g sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 50 g almond flour (ground almonds) - optional!
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease or line your muffin form with muffin paper. Put chocolate and butter into a sauce pan and melt it on a low heat. Take it from heat and whisk in sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and salt. Add the eggs, one at the time, whisking them in. You shall get a smooth, shiny and runny chocolate mixture. At this point you can add the almond flour, but the cakes can be easily done without it. I like to add the almonds for additional flavor and texture. Pour the batter into the muffin forms and bake for about 12-15 minutes. The edges will be firm, while the centre still bit moist, this is when the cakes should be taken out of the oven. Let it cool for at least 15 minutes on the cooling rack before taking them out of the baking form. Sprinkle some powdered sugar and serve.

For the frosting I used 3 table spoons of cream cheese, 2 table spoons of powdered sugar and some vanilla extract. You can garnish them with some fresh berries, they will not only make the appearance exceptional, but also add additional taste and freshness to the mini cakes.




Enjoy!

Friday, 27 October 2017

Autumn at the country side

The season changes at the country are more noticeable as in the city and I am still enjoying the vibes of my favorite season, the colors, the warm and soft lights in the morning and in the evenings, as well as the food and this special melancholy feeling when it´s rainy and crazy windy outside and you are siting home with a cup of tea in your hands cuddled in a soft blanket. It´s the right time to put on the fireplace and lit some candles and enjoy the change from bright Summer to cosy Autumn. 

With the change of temperature one longs for more soul food, food which gives us some warmth from inside, food which is still not as heavy as we would like it in winter, but it should be more than a salad what we just love in Summer. My dish to welcome Autumn in our house is usually our all favorite pumpkin soup. It´s easy made, taste delicious, can be varied in so many different ways and the color is simply stunning. They say you eat your food with your eyes too and this dish is definitely the ultimate "eyes eating food" for me. Pumpkins are fun in many ways, not only for eating, but for decorating or carving funny or scary faces...

And as the Autumn progresses, we are also moving forward with our renovations and decorating in our new home. My passion for interior design grows on me as well as building furniture, another bench was built and found its place in our new guestroom. New projects are planned and I am looking forward to see them completed. They say Swedish winters are long and as it gets colder, darker and rainier there is not much you can do outside. I think I know already now how I will overcome my first long Swedish winter then.... which will surely involve more experimenting with the wood!!!

Today some cosy pictures of the lovely Autumn at Halland County and a recipe of a pumpkin soup, which might also brighten up your Autumn evenings...




Pumpkin - Sweet potatoes soup

  • 1 pumpkin
  • 1 onion
  • 2 gloves of garlic
  • some ginger (finely grated)
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1.5 l vegetable stock
  • 100 ml cooking cream
  • 1-2 teaspoons turmeric
  • salt and pepper

Peel the pumpkin and sweet potatoes and cut it in cubes. Chop the onion and garlic and cook them for a bit in a big pot with some olive oil. Add the pumpkin and sweet potatoes, let them sweat for  couple of minutes, add vegetable stock, ginger, cayenne pepper and turmeric. Put on the lid on your pot, reduce the heat to medium high and let it cook for 20 minutes. Check if the veggies are cooked through and take the pot from the heat. Add the cream and season with salt and pepper is needed. Now puree everything with a blender stick, till you get a smooth creamy soup. Serve the soup with some roasted pumpkin seeds and crispbread.







Enjoy!

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