Monday, 18 January 2016

White Chocolate Lemon Cinnamon Truffles!

Hey! Happy New Year!

I know it's been too long, but sometimes stuff (and life...) just happen to take up all of my time!

Anyway, I just love chocolate....

In every form possible... I even like spa treatments, that involve chocolate!

But I think I love chocolate more during Christmas....

I wanted a chocolatey treat, because I had friends coming over, so I chose to make something small, easy to eat by hand. Truffles it was!

The thing about making truffles is simply making a very firm ganache. I like the pairing of white chocolate with lemon and cinnamon, as well.

White Chocolate Lemon Cinnamon Truffles.
recipe adapted from one found on the cover of a chocolate bar

60gr heavy cream
1 lemon grated
1 tbsp lemon juice
 300gr white chocolate
45gr butter

confectioner's sugar

* In a saucepan combine the heavy cream and the lemon zest and bring it to a simmer.
* Remove from heat and cover the surface of the cream with cling film.
* Put the white chocolate, pinch of salt and butter in a heatproof bowl.
* Add the warm cream.
* Melt the chocolate (I do it in the microwave oven) until it seems that it is not fully melted and there are chocolate pieces left.
* Stir the chocolate softly until it is completely melted and add the lemon juice. Stir again.
* Let it cool and then put it in the fridge, ideally overnight.

* Mix sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.

* Using a teaspoon, take some chocolate and roll it into a ball with your hands. Immediately roll it in the coating and place it on parchment paper.
* After you are done, recoat the chocolate balls. As you will see, some of the truffles will not be very well coated.

- I don't have any quantities on the coating. It is really a matter of preference. Use as much cinnamon or as less as you like.
- The truffles will stick to your palms, as you roll them. Just wash your hands with cold water every few rolls.
- I left mine only 3 hours in the fridge, but they still turned out great!
- I forgot to use parchment paper and my truffles stuck a little on the plate...

Needless to say, they were a hit!


Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Homemade Mayo!

As I try to eat healthier, I am looking for ways to do this tasty.

Mayonnaise is a condiment I love, but I cannot find a store-bought that is made with pure olive oil. The ones available list refined vegetable oils as their main ingredient, so I stay away from them...

I was always intimidated by the idea of making my own. Maybe I thought it was difficult or the raw egg in it, well, I try to avoid that...

One day I decided that it was high time I tried to make my own. See how that goes! If it fails, it fails..

Homemade Mayonnaise - basic

1 egg (the freshest you can get)
1 cup olive oil
1 tsp mustard

You need an immersion blender for this. Sorry, I do not know any other way...

In a glass jar (that has a lid to close it), that fits the blender, crack the egg , add the olive oil, the mustard, lemon, salt and blend away!
In a few moments it will come together and look like mayo. Taste for the saltiness and "lemonness" and adjust. Once you see that the texture is like the store bought one's, that we are all used to, stop.
Put the lid on and place in the fridge.
It keeps for as long as the egg keeps. Check the date on the egg carton. However I only keep it for 5-6 days.

*Please note that it is raw egg. If you can't tolerate it for any reason, just don't make it.

I have made it plenty of times. Always using the egg cold, right out of the fridge and I never had any problems. So, no need to plan ahead. Just take an egg and try it!

It is easy. It is healthy. No strange additives...

Also the variations are so many! You can omit the mustard or you can add your favourite herbs. You can make it spicier or add more mustard. You can add lime or both lemon and lime...

I know you will enjoy it!


Monday, 9 November 2015

Honey cookies - gluten free!

Continuing my journey through gluten free land, I was thinking about cookies. I needed cookies!

So I baked soft honey cookies!

Honey cookies, gluten free
recipe adapted from here

240gr rice flour
28gr corn starch
60gr brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
60gr butter
6 tbsp milk
5 tbsp honey
1 tbsp vanilla

* Preheat the oven to 180o C.
* Mix flour, starch, sugar, baking powder and salt.
* Add butter and mix.
* Add milk, honey and vanilla.
* Mix until smooth.
* Roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment paper about 1/2 cm thick and put it in the fridge for 30 min.
* Using a pizza cutter, cut rectangles, without removing the pieces from the bottom parchment paper.
* Place the parchment paper with the cookies on a baking pan, as is.
* Bake for 15 min.
* Cook on the pan for a few minutes, pass the pizza cutter once again along the precut lines and then slide the parchment paper on a wire rack.
* Let the cookies cool completely.
* Break them apart and eat them!

I expected them to be hard, like cookies are, but mine were soft, crumbly and sticky. I think the honey makes them this soft.
Not very easy to eat, but oh, so tasty!


Thursday, 17 September 2015

Hazelnut butter!

Well, hazelnuts... Love them.. Sweet and fragrant!
The addition of hazelnuts only makes things better!

Hence, the butter.
Following my Almond and Peanut butters, I naturally made hazelnut butter (anyone thinking Nutella right now?).

Hazelnut Butter

3 cups hazelnuts (remove the skins for a fairer colour)
1 tsp Stevia or brown sugar

* Blitz the hazelnuts with the sugar.
* Be patient, as it takes some time for the nut oils to be released.
* In the mean time, taste and adjust for sweetness.
* Once it looks like nut butter, stop blitzing! You don't want it to be too runny.
* Put it in a glass jar.
* Eat it!

Note: to remove the skin, spread the hazelnuts on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake in a preheated oven (200oC) for 10 min. Be careful not to burn them! While hot, place them on a kitchen towel and rub them. Most of the skin will rub off and you are good to go. BE CAREFUL not to burn your fingers (as I did....)!

Next time I am making this hazelnut butter, I will add melted chocolate. Homemade Nutella, healthy and fast! Stay tuned!


Friday, 7 August 2015

No Diet Brownies!

No diet, sinful, gooey, lose your head Brownies....

I rarely bake with ready mixes. But sometimes you may be bored or have no time.
This time I was bored. I mean, I can make my own chocolate chip cookie dough and brownie batter, but somehow I couldn't...

No Diet Brownies
recipe slightly adapted from here

1 box brownie mix
1 box chocolate chip cookie mix
1 big box of chocolate stuffed cookies (I am in love with these....*Sigh*)
everything else you need for the mixes

* Line a 20x20 pan with parchment paper and butter it.
* Prepare the mixes.
* Press in the pan with your hands the chocolate chip cookie dough.
* Arrange the stuffed cookies on top.
* Pour the brownie batter evenly on top and smooth.
* Bake according to the brownie box directions.
* Wait until it is cool (I NEVER do that, by the way!) and slice.

I devoured it. I didn't share it. I went to heaven. I plan to go back there again!


Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Hazelnut butter fudgy brownies - gluten free!

I am certain that my search for fudgy brownies is over. I am using a lovely trusted recipe as base for all sorts of combinations!

This time, it was hazelnut butter. Homemade, of course!

Hazelnut butter fudgy brownies

1 dose of my gluten free fudgy brownies
1 cup hazelnut butter

* Prepare the brownies, as directed.
* Pour the hazelnut butter in a piping bag with a large round tip and pipe lines of butter on the surface of the brownies.
* Take a knife or a skewer and "make" lines vertical to the piped ones to create the design.
* Bake as directed.
* Let it cool completely, then cut in to pieces..... or eat right off the pan!

 Temperature finger testing!

 Check these amazing hazelnut butter streaks!

 Fudginess at its best...

Yummy flavours that pair so good together!



Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Easiest Tomato Soup!

Comfort food is a weakness of mine. I love not having to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, in the evening or when I come home from work.
Sometimes I have already cooked from the previous day or I choose a recipe that is quick and easy.

Like this tomato soup, for example. Easy, fast, delicious and versatile!

My inspiration for this soup was something G. likes to eat a lot. He buys ready-made tomato soup mixes with croutons, because some nights he wants something quick and easy to eat. I didn't like what I read on the package, though and I wanted a healthier option. I also wanted to omit the sugar...
I make a large batch and keep it the fridge for about 5 days. We take out as much as we want and simply heat it up.

Tomato Soup

olive oil
1 tbsp butter
5 tomatoes, ripe
1 large onion
spices of choice
1 can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 can concentrated tomato juice
pinch of salt
3-4 tbsp heavy cream
grated cheese

* Heat the oil with the butter in a large pot.
* Chop the onion and brown it a little.
* Add the spices.
(I use hot paprika, onion powder, dried garlic, dried oregano, black pepper, dried thyme)
* Give it a stir, so that the spices become fragrant.
* Add the tomatoes chopped, the diced tomatoes and the juice.
* Add the salt and 2 cups hot water and bring to a boil.
* Reduce the temperature and let it cook for 30min.
* When it is done, remove it from the fire and using a hand blender, blend it in the pot until it is smooth and creamy.
* Bring it to a boil and remove.
* Ready!

To serve, pour some some in a bowl and add the heavy cream and the grated cheese.

This recipe is a base. I have made it plenty of times either as it is, or by adding vegetables that happened to be in my fridge. Peppers are lovely in this soup!

If you want, you can accompany it with some bread slices, that you have previously brushed with olive oil and baked in the oven for a few minutes or some croutons!