Monday, 28 September 2015

Messy chocolate cake with caramelized walnuts and figs

Chicken soup for lunch....as we are still being sick. Nothing against chicken soup you will say and I would gladly agree and still somehow I felt sorry for us and came up with this messy chocolate cake...messy mainly because I am still not 100% and did not pay that much attention to have the cake being tidy.

I mainly made sure to have enough chocolate inside and outside of the cake...to provide us some comfort and give us some energy back. Not being able to go for some grocery shopping I needed to improvise, by using what we had home. I still had some figs and walnuts left, chocolate, eggs, butter and flour is something I am always having home and so a messy chocolate cake with caramelized walnuts and figs has been created...



Messy chocolate cake with caramelized walnuts and figs
(for 15 cm round baking form)
  • 80 g dark chocolate
  • 80 g butter
  • 50 g brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 120 g flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 180 C. Grease and line your baking form. In a saucepan melt chocolate and butter together (medium heat, do not let the mixture cook). Take the pan from the heat and add the sugar. Then add the eggs, one at the time and mix everything together. Finally add the sifted flour and baking powder, mix till all combined. Pour the batter into the baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the lemon-honey sirup...
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
Heat everything up in a saucepan till all the sugar is dissolved, take it from the heat and let it cool. If the mixtures becomes too sticky, add some water to it... Take the cake out of the oven and pinch couple of times with a wooden stick. Pour the lemon-honey syrup over the hot cake, while still being in the baking form. Let it rest till all the syrup is soaked into the cake. Start preparing the chocolate glace...
  • 100 g dark chocolate
  • 50 ml double cream
Cut the chocolate in chunks. Heat up the double cream and add the chocolate chunks to it. Let is stay for 5 minutes, then start stirring till all well combined. Add a small dollop of butter to make the chocolate glaze be shiny.
  • 4-5 figs
  • handful walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • a dollop of butter
Wash and half the figs. Sprinckle sugar and cinnamon into a frying pan, put it on medium heat and wait till the sugar starts to melt. Add a dollop of butter, walnuts and figs. Swing the pan slightly making sure the caramel is covering the walnuts and figs.

Pour the chocolate glaze over the cake and decorate with caramelised walnuts and figs.....





Enjoy!

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Comfy Sunday dinner....Roasted chicken and berry crumble

This weekend was rather quite, as all three of us somehow catched a cold. There was not much activities for the last couple of days. We took it easy, slept a lot and spoiled ourselves with good food. Yes, yes...even when I am not at my best, I always make sure we have something nice to eat....actually especially when we are not feeling well, the food should be delicious....

On the contrary to many other people, I always can eat when I am sick...it might come from my childhood, as any time I would get sick my mom would always spoil me with something delicious, my favourite dish or so, just to make me eat something. You probably all remember your mothers words by saying that especially when you are sick it is very important to eat....

So here we are. Roasted chicken with butter vegetables and berry crumble for dessert. Comfy, delicious exactly what you would like to have when you are not feeling so fit. All pretty easy to prepare, so you do not have to spend hours in the kitchen and can return ASAP to your sofa with all the pillows and blankets......and don´t forget tea and the candles!!!


Roasted chicken with garlic-herbs and yogurt
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 gloves garlic
  • handful of fresh herbs
  • 1 tablespoon butter (softened)
  • 3-4 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • 2-3 lemons
  • salt, pepper
Preheat the oven to 200 C (use grill function if available). Wash the chicken and tap it dry. Chop the shallots, garlic and herbs. In a bowl mix together butter, yogurt, herbs, shallots, garlic and zest of a lemon. Rub the chicken with the yogurt sauce, cut a lemon in quaters and fill the inside. Lay the chicken on a roasting dish and put it into the oven. Roast for 1-1,5 hours (depending on how big your chicken is). Cover it with alufoil halfway through if it starts to get too dark, Take it out of the oven and let the chicken rest for at least 20 min, before serving. Serve it with any veggies you like.
  • carrots
  • broccoli
  • butter
  • salt
Cut the carrots and broccoli to equal sizes. Blanch it for some minutes (bit longer for carrots), take them out of the hot water, put them in a pan with some butter, season with some salt and cook for a minute or so.



Berry crumble
  • 3-4 handful berries (frozen work very good too)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 0,5 teaspoon baking powder
  • 60-70 g butter
Preheat the oven to 180 C. Wash the berries, if you are using fresh once, dry them. Spread the berries over the baking dish. In a bowl mix together sugar, flour, baking powder and butter, till dough crumbles start to form....Top the berries with the crumbles and bake it for 25-30 minutes...till golden brown. Serve it with some vanilla ice cream....




Enjoy!

Friday, 25 September 2015

Pasta, cheesecake....easy comfy Friday dinner

Finally weekend... I do not know how you feel on Fridays after work, I in most of the cases am very tiered from the working week and therefore not really able to spends hours in the kitchen to prepare dinner. Hence on Fridays we would have something what is easy and quick to prepare. But then again, for those who knows me, I am not really willing to sacrifice on having a delicious meal, due to my lack of time and unwillingness....

Today two easy recipes, which are done under 1 hour and still so delicious. One if which is the favourite of my son, as most of the kids in his age he is crazy about pasta and my version of spaghetti bolognese is something he could eat every day (same with my husband by the way)...Serve it with a nice glass of red wine, put on some candles and a nice movie, relax ...forgetting all the stress from the working days before.....


My Pasta bolognese

  • 1 onion
  • 3-4 celery sticks
  • 2-3 gloves garlic
  • 400 g minced meat
  • 4 carrots
  • 600 ml tomato sauce
  • olive oil, salt, pepper, splash of balsamic venigar
  • spaghetti
In a food processor, blitz together onion, celery and garlic, put everything in a frying pan and cook for 3-4 minutes with some olive oil. As soon as the mixture starts to get together add minced meat, season with some salt and pepper and cook till the meat is almost cooked through on medium/ high heat. Meanwhile grate the carrots and add it to the meat mixture, cook for additional couple of minutes. Pour over the tomato sauce season with salt, pepper and a splash of balsamic venigar. Put the heat down to low and let is bubble away for additional 5-10 minutes. Cook your spaghetti as per the direction on the package. Serve the pasta bolognese with some grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves.




Cheesecake (4 ingredients)

  • 4 eggs
  • 200 g white chocolate
  • 200 g cream cheese
  • fresh berries
Preheat your oven to 170 C. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites, put the egg whites in the refrigerator. Melt the chocolate, let it cool for couple of minutes, add egg yolks and cream cheese, mix together till all well combined. Beat the egg whites till stiff peaks start to form. Add the egg whites carefully with the spatula to the chocolate-cream cheese mixture. Line your baking dish with baking paper, pour in the batter and bake for 15 minutes on 170 C. Increase the heat to 180 C and bake for additional 15 minutes. Put off the heat and let the cake get ready with the remaining heat...about 10 more minutes. Garnish with fresh berries and dust with some powdered sugar...



Enjoy!

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Autumn inspired Sunday brunch.....

Who does not like brunch on Sunday....it´s a perfect opportunity to enjoy the last day of the weekend, before new working week will start. The great things about brunch is, that is does not have to start as early as breakfast, you still can sleep in...it is not that formal as dinner and you do not have to worry about getting too late home...and you still can have something of the day afterwards. I am a huge fan of Sunday brunch, especially when you can invite some friends over to your place, friends you have not managed to see for some time already....as we did today.

Today on the blog, some easy and quick brunch recipes with an Autumn touch. Some of them can be prepared in advance the day before.....


Cranberry-Lemon and Parmesan-Basil scones
  • 230 g flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons backing powder
  • 125 g butter (cut in cubes)
  • 60 ml milk
  • 1 egg
  • dried cranberries + lemon zest
  • grated Parmesan cheese + chopped basil leaves
Preheat your oven to 180 C. In a food processor add flour, sugar, backing powder and butter and blitz it for couple of seconds, till all butter is incorporated. Transfer the mixture into a bowl, make a well in the centre and add egg and milk. Mix briefly with a spatula till the dough starts to come together. Divide the dough in half...add to one  half dried chopped cranberries and lemon zest and to another granted Parmesan cheese and chopped basil. Continue mixing everything together for couple of seconds. With your hands form a square and cut 4-5 triangles. Proceed the same with the other dough. Put the scones on the baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, till golden brown. Let them cool at the cooling rack and serve the sweet once with your favourite jam and the savoury once with some butter or cream cheese.
Note: scones are the best the same day they have been done...



Quiche is a perfect dish for brunch...Most of the quiches can be done in advance and do taste even better the day after. Another advantage of the quiche is that it can vary according to your taste and desire (or content of your refrigerator). One of my favourite quiche recipes is the pumpkin quiche which I have been already sharing with you early this year (check HERE) and which was fitting so good to my autumn brunch theme today. Prepare the quiche the day before, let is cool completely, cover it with a wrapping foil and put it in the refrigerator. Warm it up in the preheated oven for ca. 15 min and serve it with some leave salad.


Another unbeatable dish for brunch is banana bread cake, which can be enjoyed plane or with some butter. Usually this cake is prepared in a loaf pan, to give it a bread shape, I however decided to do it in a guglehupf form today and was very pleased with the outcome....

Banana bread with hazelnuts
  • 100 g brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey
  • 100 g butter softened
  • 250 g flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • hand full of hazelnuts (chopped)

Preheat your oven to 180 C. Grease your guglehupf form with some butter and sprinkle with some chopped hazelnuts. In a big bowl whisk together eggs, sugar and honey, till foamy and light in the colour. Add butter, mix till all combined. Smash bananas with lemon juice and fold it into the egg-butter mixture. Sift in flour and backing powder, mix till all well combined. Finally add the rest of the chopped hazelnuts. Pour the batter into the baking tin and bake for 25-30 minutes till golden brown (make the stick test).

The cake can be done in advanced too. Let it cool completely wrap it in a foil or put it in an airthin container. Sprinkle with some icing sugar, before serving.






Enjoy!







Sunday, 13 September 2015

Starting my favourite season with easy and comfy recipes

Autumn is my favourite season of the year. Similar to summer I am looking forward to Autumn for the nice variety of vegetables and fruits you will get around this time. Many of my favourite vegetables and fruits are having their debut in Autumn...such as sweet potatoes, pumpkin, figs, plums, apples and every year from new I am super excited to do my first pumpkin soup and apple cake with streussel like I never done these dishes before. I know meanwhile you can get pumpkin and sweet potatoes all around the year, but would you not agree that pumpkin soup taste the best when the heat of the summer is easing of and a fresh breeze of the autumn is spoiling us at the evenings...We are already looking for something more hearty and nutritious, giving up on light dishes of the summer and still not giving in into the more heavy dishes of the winter....

Today I am not going to share my pumpkin soup recipe, but something far more exotic. Two recipes combining the lightness of the summer and the warmness of the autumn...a perfect way to say goodbye to summer and welcome my long-awaited autumn...



Chicken curry with sweet potatoes and pumpkin
  • 300 g chicken fillet
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • half of butternut pumpkin
  • hand full fresh green beans
  • 1 cane coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon curcuma
  • 1 tablespoon red curry paste (or more if you like it more spicy)
  • salt, 1-2 tablespoons neutral oil
  • fresh cilantro 
  • lime 
Peel and cut the pumpkin and sweet potatoes in cubes, set aside. Wash green beans and cut them too. Cut the chicken in bite-size cubes, season it with some salt and fry it with some oil till cooked through. Take it out of the pan, set aside,  add the pumpkin and sweet potato cubes, fry for 2-3 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk and put down the heat to medium. Add red curry paste, curcuma, some salt and stir well. Let it bubble away for 10-15 minutes till pumpkin and sweet potatoes are almost done. Add green beans and fried chicken cubes, let if cook for additional 5 minutes. Garnish with some fresh chopped cilantro. Serve it with cooked basmati rice and fresh lime slices.....




As for the dessert it couldn´t be more easier or quicker believe me, but still you are going to be amazed how good it is. It´s done with 3 ingredients only and still it is so special....like a lukewarm night in orient if you want, hence super perfect for my welcome Autumn celebration.... 


Baked figs
  • fresh figs
  • honey
  • cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 180 C. Wash the figs and cut of the stalks. Cut in a cross, not cutting complete trough and place the figs in your baking dish. Mix  honey with some cinnamon and pour it over the figs. Bake for ca. 15 minutes, till the figs are getting soft and bubbly syrup will be formed. Serve with some of your favourite vanilla ice cream or creme fraiche flavoured with vanilla. Don´t forget to pour the syrup over the fruits and the ice-cream....




Enjoy!




Friday, 11 September 2015

Flammkuchen and easy quark cheesecake for dessert

Today on the blog two simple and humble comfy recipes. Last weekend we spontaneously decided to go for a walk in Collserola (forest area which separates us from Barcelona). The weather was perfect and by the end we spend more time there as initially thinking.... On the way back, I made a turn into the wood path and discovered a big blackberries bush, covered with big, ripe berries. Lucky me I had a tupperware bowl with me, so I could take some of these delicious berries home for dessert...



Flammkuchen

  • 1 package dry yeast (7 g)
  • 250 ml warm water
  • 300-400 g flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 250 g quark cheese
  • 5 tablespoons yogurt
  • salt, pepper, nutmeg
  • onions
  • bacon cubes
  • cheese grated
Put some warm water, yeast and half a teaspoon of sugar in a small bowl, steer briefly and let stay for 5-10 minutes, till  foamy and you can smell the yeast. In a bigger bowl add remaining water, 300 g flour, salt and the yeast mixture. Mix everything together, till an elastic and not too sticky dough will form. Add the remaining flour spoon wise if needed. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let the dough raise (30-40 min). 
Meanwhile mix quark cheese, yogurt and pinch of nutmeg, season well with salt and pepper. Cut the onions thinly in half rings.
Preheat the oven to 200 C. Take some dough and roll it out as thinly as possible (I am doing it directly on the baking paper, which makes it easier to put it the baking sheet later). Spread some of the quark-yogurt on top, cover it with onions, bacon and cheese. Bake for 12-15 minutes till crisps and golden brown. Continue with the rest of the dough till all used. Serve immediately...Flammkuchen taste the best directly out of the oven. Serve it with beer, Radler or white wine.....




No bake quark-cheesecake with blackberries
  • 4-6 digestive cookies
  • 250 g quark cheese
  • vanilla sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • fresh blackberries
Stir quark, vanilla sugar and sugar together, set aside. Crumble the cookies and wash the berries. Assemble the cheesecake...in a glass put some cookie crumbs, top it with vanilla quark and spread some fresh berries on top, repeat the step again. Put the dessert into the refrigerator...for at least 30 min.






Enjoy!



Thursday, 3 September 2015

Working routine and homemade granola

The working routine has us back and I am missing the time where my mother in law was preparing us a nice breakfast every day and I would not worry about what to have for breakfast. Being home, back to office and kindergarten, there is no much time left in the mornings, before we all are leaving the house, hence something quick, delicious and healthy was what I needed.

Granola was the answer to my prayers, but I have to admit that I am not such a big fan of store bought granola, some of them are just pumped with lots of sugar, others contain ingredients I do not like and some of them are just too bland that you cannot enjoy it without putting tons of sugar into your muesli bowl. All good reasons to re-think the whole granola for breakfast routine and finally try the trend of homemade granola. 

You really would think that making granola is a very big deal, but it actually isn´t. Just grab your favourite seeds, nuts and dried fruits mix it with some oatmeal flakes honey and spices and voila your granola is almost done..... Easy you see!


My homemade granola is quite a success in our house and I think I will never buy any granola in the store anymore. You can eat it with yogurt and fresh berries or fruits or just with some milk, which is my personal favourite.

You can always play with the ingredients creating new and unique granola flavours, which is somehow cool, wouldn´t you agree? Make some extra granola for your next breakfast or brunch invitation, I guarantee your friends will be amazed and grateful.


Homemade granola

  • 200 g oatmeal flakes
  • 100 g spelt flakes
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 handful hazelnuts
  • 2 handful dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 0,5 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 50 g honey
  • 1-2 tablespoons neutral oil
  • chia seeds (optional)
Preheat your oven to 180 C. In a big bowl mix oatmeal flakes, spelt flakes, sunflower seeds sesame seeds and hazelnuts (roughly chopped) together. In a separate bowl mix sugar, honey, oil and cinnamon. Add the honey-cinnamon mixture to the oatmeal-nuts mixture and mix everything together till all well combined (I am using my hands to get the sugar mixture being well incorporated into the flakes-nuts mixture). Spread the granola on the baking sheet and put it into the oven. Roast for 15-20 minutes, till golden brown...stir it 2-3 times during the roasting process, making sure it roasted evenly. Take the baking sheet out and let it cool on a cooling rack. Meanwhile chop roughly dried cranberries and add it to the cooled granola along with the chia seeds if you are using them. Store the granola in an airtight container.

Note: if you are using roasted nuts, leave them aside and add them to the granola in the last step of the recipe.



Enjoy!
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