Sunday, 26 February 2017

Traditional Sunday walk

Seems like spring decided to visit us earlier this year, we had wonderful spring weather for the last two days and spend a lot of time outside. Saturday was reserved for a lazy day at the beach, small picnic, good book and lot of family quality time... perfect Saturday if you ask me. Far away from the trouble of the busy city and all the stressed people. Beach is not very busy this time of year and I love it the most. Today was reserved for our "traditional Sunday walk in the woods". There will be also a small picnic, more like a coffee break picnic, after our standard route and activities are done. Pablo would take his bike, my husband the backpack with some goodies in it and I my camera.

I made banana bread for us to take with for the small coffee break. Banana bread cake is perfect for picnics and is surely one of the favorites in our home. This cake is best done with very ripe bananas and since I had some home left from the week, the choice for the cake was easy. I decided to pep it a bit with different flavors. I felt like coconut, hence the version of the banana bread cake today is rather exotic. The combination however was perfect and I earned many compliments on the cake from my husband too. The cake came our very moist, not too sweet, with a light touch of coconut. Fresh, nutritious and bit exotic.
Coconut banana bread
  • 3 eggs
  • 100 g brown sugar
  • vanilla extract
  • 4 very ripe bananas
  • 50 ml coconut oil
  • 250 ml yogurt
  • 30 g coconut flakes
  • 150 g flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a loaf baking pan. Whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract till foamy and almost double in size. Add yogurt and coconut oil, give it another whisk. Sift inn flour, baking powder and salt, mix till all well combined. Mash the bananas, fold them in. Finally add the coconut flakes. Pour the batter into the loaf form and bake for 40-45 minutes, make the wooden stick test. 

Enjoy!




Monday, 20 February 2017

Sunday afternoon tea cake

Sundays are perfect for the afternoon tea ceremony and we do celebrate it in our home from time to time. There will be a cake nothing too fancy at all, as we rather prefer a nice and delicious bundt cake for this special event. I am a huge fan of berries, hence there will be often berries mixed into the cake batter.
Bundt cakes are usually not as sweet (at least not they ones I am doing home) and this is why they are my favorite, they are super easy to make, do not require special ingredients and can be pepped up with different flavors, fruits or berries... so you will never get tiered of them. And let´s be frank, bundt cake always just look spectacular.

I do not know how many bundt cakes I have been making in my life, they are not only my favorite for Sunday afternoon tea, but also a perfect to bring along cake, when visiting friends.

Today a moist butter vanilla flavored bundt cake with fresh blueberries. The cake is also perfect for a sweet breakfast or a brunch invitation. You can store it in a container for a couple of days and it wont lose on the taste. The texture is velvet like and the taste of vanilla and berries unbeatable. It taste light (despite the ingredients) and makes you want to have another bite of the cake, as soon as you took the first bite (kind of dangerous cake if you ask)...

Sunday afternoon tea cake
  • 150 g butter (rum temperature)
  • 150 g sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 120 ml buttermilk
  • vanilla extract
  • 300 g flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • fresh berries
Preheat the oven to 180C and grease the bundt cake form. In a stand mixer whisk together butter and sugar, add the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla extract, give it another whisk. Sift in the flour and baking powder, mix till all well combined. Add the berries and fold them gently into the batter, make sure you are not breaking the berries... Bake for about 35-40 minutes. Take it out of the oven and let is cool for at least 20 minutes on the cooling rack, before taking the cake out of the form. Sprinkle some powdered sugar over the top.


Enjoy!

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Birthday, Dinosaurs and lots of other treats

Last weekend Pablo turned 4... I can´t believe how fast time flies. I still do remember all the panic raising in me, on the way to hospital. All the worries and more panic feelings after the birth, first day home, the first couple of weeks till we all got used to the new life situation. We managed somehow, even so I was not quite sure of that in the beginning. And now this little man turned 4 and sometimes I wish I could stop the time or maybe slow it a bit down... don´t you think kids are growing way to fast too?
Choosing a theme for the birthday party was a bit of a challenge this year, as these days we kind of like everything...  starting with "cars" and ending with all the heroes which do exist out there. Dinosaurs are also something very interesting these days. After he got his first Dinosaurs book for Christmas his interest for them grew and grew, so I decided to go for a Dinosaur themed birthday party. Theme parties are easy to make these days, as you will find lots of inspiration and stuff in internet. I decided to make the decoration myself, with some help from Pablo, this way he got involved in the preparation process too, which he actually did like a lot.
It took some weeks to organize the party and in one point my husband started to wonder if I was really planning a birthday party and not a mini wedding, as I went a little bit over board with all my ideas. There was plenty of food, snacks, cake and something to take with home after the party. And to entertain all the little cheeky monkeys there was face painting, costumes, mini disco, climbing scaffolding with a big pool of play balls and a climbing wall. All in one a successful 4 years birthday party.
Today on the blog chocolate lava cake, easy to make and very suitable for dinosaurs theme parties. Vanilla cookies, my secret cookies when I want to impress kiddis... super easy to make, delicious and loved by every kid I met so far! And banana chocolate chip bars, less sweet but still delicious.
Chocolate lava cake
  • 300 g flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 200 g sugar
  • 150 ml vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 150 ml buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon apple vinegar
  • 1 espresso cup of plain hot coffee
Preheat the oven to 180C, line your baking form with baking paper. In a big bowl mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. In a separate bowl whisk the sugar with oil, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla extract and vinegar. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and give it a whisk. Don´t over whisk, just make sure all dry ingredients are wet. Add the coffee and incorporate it into the batter. Pour the batter into the baking form and bake for 30-40 minutes (make the wooden stick test). Take the cake out of the oven and let is cool down for 15 minutes, then take it out of the form and let it cool completely.

Chocolate frosting
  • 150 g butter (room temperature)
  • 350 g cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 100 g powdered sugar
  • 100 g dark chocolate melted and cooled
In a stand mixer, whisk butter with powdered sugar till fluffy and pale in color. Add cream cheese, continue whisking till all well combined. Finally add melted chocolate and give it another whisk.

To create the lava crater, I took some of the cake batter into a small glass bowl with round bottom and baked an additional cake, you can also use a muffin form for this. Don´t worry if you cake won´t come out even on the top, use the small "rising dome" as an additional support to create the lava crater. Cut the cake in 3 layers, cut the mountain cake in 2 layers. Frost the layers with frosting. Place the lava crater on top and frost it too... It does not have to be very neat... Mix red and yellow fondant to create marble look and cut some "lava strings" strips placing them over the mountain. I used a led candle to imitate fire coming out of the lava crater. Finish the cake decoration with some dinosaurs and palm trees.

Dinosaurs fossil print cookies
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 50 g powdered sugar
  • 125 g butter (room temperature)
  • 190 g flour
Take the seeds out of the vanilla bean. Put all the ingredients into the bowl and mix till everything is combined and you will get a soft and silky ball of dough. Put it into the fridge for at east 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180C. Take the dough out of the fridge and divide it in 16 equal balls. Press them gently with your hand into the round shape. Now take a small dinosaur and press it into the cookie dough, you can also use the feet prints from a big dinosaur. Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes, till the edges starts to brown.

Banana chocolate chip bars
  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 150 g chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and flour your baking dish. Peal and mash the bananas, add the eggs, sugar, oil, milk and vanilla extract, whisk till all well combined. Sift in the flour and baking powder give it a whisk. add 100 g chocolate chips and steer. Pour the batter into the baking form, sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips over the top and bake for about 20 minutes.
Next to all the sweet delicious treats there was homemade pizza slices and sandwiches. Popcorn for a snack in between and chocolate dipped strawberries and kiwis. I pealed the kiwis and cut them in slices, then put it on a lollipop stick and covered it with melted dark chocolate.

Enjoy!


Thursday, 9 February 2017

Homemade bread, because it is so easy to make

After rather a long pause, I am back again with some new, delicious and easy recipes. I took some time from writing, but not from cooking... trying new recipes, experimenting in my kitchen and spoiling my boys with nice and delicious food.

Today we are going to make bread. Yes, yes bread..... you probably do think right now why, why shall I make bread... well homemade bread is the best if you ask me and does not have to be very difficult to make. After you will try this recipe you will agree to everything I wrote above. Now the recipe is done within couple of minutes, the only thing you would need is a bit of a resting time. After you make the dough, it shall rest for about 8-10 hours, overnight if you would like to have the bread for breakfast or you make the dough early in the morning and have a delicious bread for dinner. 

I made this bread to bring along for brunch at our friends place, I made it for my boys for a cosy and lazy Friday evening and for a special weekend breakfast. The smell around the house is heavenly and the smiles on the faces of your loved ones unbeatable.
The crust is another unbeatable feature of this bread... as it will be baked in a dutch oven pot. Is crust also your favorite part of the bread? When I was a kid my mom would often send me to buy bread. On the way home, I would not be able to resist to take one or two bites of the bread crust, well maybe a bit more. By the time I would return home, half of the bread crust would be gone. At first my mom would argue with me, explaining me that this is not a good thing to do. Over the time she would give up on her arguments and simple ask me to buy two loafs of bread instead, making sure the rest of the family can enjoy some of the bread crust too...
Freshly made bread does not to have much to be served with, in our little family we do enjoy it with some butter. I would pep it up with some flavors to make it extra special.
 Homemade bread
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon dry yeast
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
In a bowl mix flour, yeast , sugar and salt. Pour in the water and oil. Mix everything together with a wooden spoon till all dry ingredients are wet (no need to over mix here). Wrap the bowl with a clear film foil and let it rest over night... in the refrigerator or on the kitchen counter.

Preheat the oven to 200 C. Put your dutch oven with the lid on into the oven too, making sure it will get very hot. Take the dough out of the fridge, you will find it very bubbly and sticky.... exactly how it supposed to be. Flour your working board (I add some poppy seeds to the flour...to add some more flavor to the bread). Using a spatula, scrap the dough out of the bowl on the floured working board. Take a scraper and fold the dough couple of times from the edges to the middle (since the dough is so sticky the scraper makes it easier to handle the folding part). Take the dough ball and place it on the baking paper, then back into the bowl... while you are waiting the dutch oven to get very hot. 

Take the dutch oven out of the oven (use oven gloves), place the dough (with baking paper) into the hot pot and put the lid on. Bake for about 30 minutes. Take the pot out and check on the bread... if the bread appears to pale, take away the lid and put it back into the oven for 5 more minutes. Take the bread out of the dutch oven and let it cool on the cooling rack. Serve it with pure butter or flavored butter...

Lemon and chives butter
  • 100 g butter (softened)
  • salt
  • zest of a lemon
  • finely chopped chives
Mix all the ingredients till all well combined

Honey butter
  • 100 g butter (softened)
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey
Give it a mix, not too much, so you still will have some honey buckets in there (marbled look)

Enjoy!
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