Showing posts with label spices. Show all posts
Showing posts with label spices. Show all posts

Friday, July 10, 2020

Butter chicken

Frango ensopado à moda indiana / Butter chicken

For years now I have been reducing the amount of beef and chicken we eat and we are very fine with it: I use vegetables in many different ways, and they always taste amazing. However, sometimes both Joao and I feel like eating chicken – maybe every 10 days or so? – but my precious little husband does not like chicken cooked in sauces, or “wet chicken” as he says. :S

I, on the other hand, love me some “wet chicken”, so I decided to make butter chicken – first time ever – and just told him I would bake some meatballs for him. When I was making lunch and he smelled the food he changed his mind and told me he would eat the chicken. Not only that happened, but he asked me to make this chicken again twice more. He was surprised of how tender and flavorful the chicken was, and the sauce was thick and delicious, not watery at all – the power of yogurt and spices… :)

Butter chicken
slightly adapted from Good Food magazine

For marinating the chicken:
½ cup (130g) natural yogurt – I was once short on yogurt and used part yogurt, part homemade buttermilk (whole milk + lime juice)
juice of ½ lime
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and freshly ground black pepper
350g skinless boneless chicken breast, in bite-sized pieces

For the curry:
1 tablespoons vegetable oil – I use canola
½ large onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons garam masala*
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup (240ml) boiling water
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons flaked almonds, toasted

In a medium bowl, mix the yogurt, lime juice, spices, salt and pepper and mix well. Add the chicken, mix to combine, cover and chill in the fridge for 1 hour or overnight – I have made this recipe three times and marinated the chicken for 3 hours.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook for 5-6 minutes or until soft.
Add the spices with the tomato purée, cook for a further 2 minutes, then add the water, the bay leaf and the chicken, with the marinade. Cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and sauce is thickened. Stir through the cilantro.
Serve immediately sprinkled with the almonds.

* instead of garam masala, I used a mix of spices called “vindaloo” that has cinnamon, cardamom, cilantro, cumin, cloves, turmeric, fenugreek, ginger, mustard seeds, black pepper and red pepper flakes. If you want to follow the original recipe, use 1 teaspoon garam masala + 1 teaspoon fenugreek

Serves 2

Monday, June 8, 2020

Lime olive oil pound cake

Bolo de azeite e limão / Lime olive oil pound cake

During this isolation period, I have not made too many sweets: my husband is not into them very much and I don’t want to end up eating it all myself. I do search for some chocolate when anxiety comes hard on me, I must confess, but having to deal with an entire cake before it goes stale might be tricky.

So in almost 3 months at home I have baked 3 cakes so far, one being the yogurt marble cake I shared with you weeks ago. I felt like baking another cake last week, but didn’t have time to wait for the butter to soften (and I don’t have a microwave oven to speed up the process). So I made Alice Medrich’s pound cake with olive oil and it was not only easy to put together but it turned out tender and delicious. I could have used sherry, as the original recipe calls for, but I wanted a recipe that more people could make during these times, so I adapted it a little bit and replaced the booze with milk. A little lime zest and a pinch of nutmeg made it all even better.

Lime olive oil pound cake
adapted from the sherry and olive oil pound cake on this book

2 cups (280g) all purpose flour
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ cup + 2 tablespoons (125g) sugar
finely grated zest of 2 limes
150ml flavorful extra virgin olive oil
3 cold eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
150ml whole milk, room temperature

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Butter and flour an 8-cup capacity Bundt pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine sugar and lime zest and rub with your fingertips until sugar is fragrant. Add the oil and beat until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue to beat until the mixture is thick and pale, 3-5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. Stop the mixer and add 1/3 of the flour mixture. Beat on low speed just until blended. Stop the mixer and add ½ of the milk, then beat just until it is blended. Repeat with another third of the flour, followed by the remaining milk, and then the remaining flour.

Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for about 20 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack and cool completely.

Serves 8-10

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Red lentil soup with kale chips

Sopa de lentilha vermelha com chips de couve / Red lentil soup with kale chips

As many of you, I have been cooking a lot more since the quarantine started, and it is not an easy task to cook lunch and dinner every day while also trying to vary the menu with what I have at hand – we already feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, so if the food is also the same in every meal… I don’t want to think about that. :D

I was going through some recipes I bookmarked in the past and found this soup on Gourmet Traveller, one of my favorite recipe sources. I decided to freestyle a little with the recipe while also aiming to make it a vegan meal. I did not have vegetable stock in the freezer and was also out of carrots to make some from scratch, so on top of the spices I also added a bay leaf and tomato paste to enhance flavors. And speaking of spices, I used the ones I have at hand and you can adapt and do the same.

To make it vegan I served my soup with kale chips and it worked beautifully – feel free to do what GT suggests and serve the soup with yogurt. Next time I have the soup for dinner (I froze half of it for some other day) I will top mine with a poached egg – my mouth is watering already. :D

Red lentil soup with kale chips
soup recipe adapted from here, chips adapted from several recipes around the web

Soup:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1/3 cup celery stalks, finely chopped – I used frozen and added unthawed to the pan
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon tomato paste
5 ½ cups (1,320ml) boiling water
1 1/3 cups (285g) dried red lentils
1 bay leaf
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large lime, finely grated zest and juice

Kale chips:
5 large kale leaves
1 ½ teaspoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
In the meantime, start with the soup: heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Add celery and cook for another 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute – do not overcook it or the soup will taste bitter. Add spices and tomato paste and cook for 1-2 minutes – it is important to cook the tomato paste well to remove the flavor of raw tomatoes from the recipe. Add water and stir. When it comes to a boil, add lentils and bay leaf, season with salt and pepper and then simmer for 15-17 minutes or until lentils are soft and starting to break down – stir occasionally so it does not catch in the bottom of the pan.

While the soup boils, make the chips: tear the kale leaves into medium pieces and transfer to a nonstick large baking pan. Drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper and dress the leaves using your hands. Spread the kale onto the sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Leave to cool completely so they become crunchy.

If you will eat the soup right away, remove the bay leaf, add lemon rind and juice, then blend with a hand-held blender until a coarse purée. If you are making the soup to freeze, do not add lime zest and juice – do this upon serving.

Divide among bowls and serve with the kale chips.

Serves 4-5

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Vegetable tagine and some planning in the kitchen

Vegetable tagine / Tagine de legumes

There are times when work is pretty intense (like last week, for instance), and something I have been doing for those times is to have ready or almost ready meals in the fridge or freezer – it makes a huge difference. Planning is, indeed, everything.

Meatballs, tomato sauce, pesto sauce, soups, beef stews – these have been my usual suspects lately. Now I will add one more dish to my list: this vegetable tagine. It is delicious and freezes really well – just do not add the cilantro leaves in the end (do it right before serving it). I have made this tagine a couple of times already and sometimes I added green olives to it – it adds a nice saltiness to the tagine. I did not have any in the fridge on the day of the photo, but if you like olives like I do please consider my suggestion.

Vegetable tagine
own recipe, inspired for several around the web

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
½ yellow pepper, finely diced
½ large onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon hot paprika – use the sweet kind if you don’t like spicy food
1 teaspoon Baharat
¼ cup dry white wine
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into ½cm (¼in) slices (the ones in the photo are too thick, they take too long to cook)
1 sweet potato (about 250g/8oz), peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
200g (7oz) butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
1 400g (14oz) can peeled chopped tomatoes
2 cups boiling water, plus more if needed
2 bay leaves
1 small eggplant (about 250g/8oz), cut into 2cm cubes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup frozen peas, unthawed
handful of fresh cilantro leaves

Heat the olive oil in a large pan over high heat – a deep frying pan works well here. Add the yellow pepper and the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the spices and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the wine and scrape the brown bits around the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the carrot, sweet potato and butternut squash and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the peeled tomatoes and crush them with the back of the spoon. Add the water, bay leaves, stir in the eggplant, season with salt and pepper and cook, partially covered, for 30-35 minutes or until vegetables are tender, checking eventually - if the tagine starts to get dry, add more water. Stir in the peas, cover, remove from the heat and set aside for 5 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and serve.

Serves 4-5

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Gingerbread granola

Gingerbread granola / Granola de gingerbread

My favorite time of the year has arrived and my Christmas tree is already up – I have been thinking of the Christmas Eve menu already, planning the food and the drinks. However, unlike previous years, I don’t think I will be able to have my oh, so beloved Christmas series here on the blog – too much work, other priorities at the moment.

Having said that, I felt I had to bring you at least one recipe with a holiday touch and it is my gingerbread granola: filled with spices it will make your house smell like Christmas immediately.

Even if I am not able to bring you other holiday recipes aside from this granola, there is plenty of inspiration from previous years: it is just a matter of clicking on the Christmas tag here on the blog.

Gingerbread granola
own recipe

2 ½ cups (225g) rolled oats
¼ cup (40g) golden flaxseeds
¼ cup (35g) raw pumpkin seeds
½ cup (60g) flaked almonds
pinch of table salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/3 cup (80ml) agave or honey
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup (75g) dried cranberries, chopped in half if too large
½ cup (90g) dried apricots, diced

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Line a large baking sheet with foil.

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds and salt. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the spices, oil, agave/honey and vanilla. Pour over dry ingredients and stir well to coat. Spread mixture over foil and bake for 10 minutes. Stir the granola around and bake for another 10 minutes – the granola will still be soft and will get crunchy once cooled. Remove from the oven and stir in the dried fruit. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Serves 6-8

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Lime nutmeg snickerdoodles and Christmas gifts

Lime nutmeg snickerdoodles / Snickerdoodles de limão e noz-moscada

This is the time of the year when my colleagues and friends with kids tell me that they have to buy Christmas gifts for their children’s teachers, and since the kids have so many teachers these days they have to buy tons of presents. This is when I suggest them to make cookies or brownies, to wrap them up beautifully and there, gifts are ready. :)

These snickerdoodles may be a good idea for a holiday gift: starting with a traditional snickerdoodle recipe, I swapped the baking soda and cream of tartar for baking powder – since not everyone has cream of tartar around or wants to buy it – and added a touch of lime and nutmeg (instead of the most common cinnamon). The cookies turned out delicious and they smelled amazing while in the oven – you might have to bake an extra batch for your neighbors. :)

Lime nutmeg snickerdoodles
own recipe

Dough:
1 ½ cups (210g) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon table salt
¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
finely grated zest of 2 limes
½ cup (1 stick/113g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

To roll the cookies:
¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
finely grated zest of 1 lime
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, rub sugar and lime zest together with your fingertips until sugar is fragrant. Add the butter and beat until creamy and light – scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally throughout the making of the recipe. Beat in the egg and the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients at once and mix on slow only until a dough forms. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes – in the meantime, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F and line two large baking sheets with baking paper.

To roll the cookies: in a small bowl, rub sugar and lime zest together with your fingertips until sugar is fragrant. Stir in the nutmeg. Roll 2 leveled teaspoons of dough per cookie into balls and then roll the balls through the sugar. Place onto prepared sheets, 5cm (2in) apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are golden around the edges. Cool on the sheets for 5 minutes, then slide the paper with the cookies onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 35

Friday, September 15, 2017

Orange, cinnamon and clove cake and the second recipe I ever learned

Orange, cinnamon and clove cake / Bolo de laranja, canela e cravo

Most people who know me or read the blog know that the first recipe I ever learned how to make was a Brazilian cornmeal cake, the one I published a while ago. I was 11 years old and right then and there a whole new world opened up in front of me: from that day on I engaged in a relationship with food and cooking that changed my life for good.

What not everyone knows is that the second recipe I learned how to make was an orange cake – very simple, yet so delicious, I can almost smell it if I close my eyes for a moment. For that reason (aside from the fact that I am a citrus nut) orange cakes have a special place in my heart and I am always looking for new ways to make them.

The one I bring you today is perfumed with both cinnamon and cloves and the inspiration for this combo of flavors came from the sablés I posted a couple of years ago, when I was saying goodbye to my dear Peggy Olson.

Orange, cinnamon and clove cake
own recipe

2 cups (280g) all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
finely grated zest of 2 oranges
¾ cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs, room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (240ml) sour cream*
Icing sugar, for dusting the cake

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Butter and flour a 2-liter capacity Bundt pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine granulated sugar and orange zest and rub them together until sugar is fragrant. Add the butter and using the mixer beat until creamy and light in color – scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally throughout the making of the recipe. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

On slow speed, beat in the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the sour cream in two additions (start and end with the dry ingredients). Beat just until incorporated. Pour into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until cake is golden and risen and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan over a wire rack for 20 minutes, then carefully unmold onto the rack and cool completely.
Dust with icing sugar before serving.

* homemade sour cream: to make 1 cup of sour cream, mix 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream with 2-3 teaspoons lemon juice in a bowl. Whisk until it starts to thicken. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 1 hour or until thicker (I usually leave mine on the counter overnight – except on very warm nights – and it turns out thick and silky in the following morning; refrigerate for a creamier texture)

Serves 8

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Orange, rye and nutmeg slice and bake cookies

Orange, rye and nutmeg slice and bake cookies / Biscoitos de laranja, centeio e noz-moscada

Today’s post is about how much I love the Internet and it is probably the 15th time I tell you that. :)

I had been testing recipes with rye flour, but was not very happy with the results: when I made breads, for example, it was fine, but for cookies, muffins and cakes the flour was too thick and the baked goods were not as light as I wanted them to be. So I decided to put the rye recipes aside for a while.

Months later, while browsing one of my favorite Instagram profiles, I learned about a food store that sells spelt flour (which is hard to come by here in Brazil) and there I found a different type of rye flour, called “fine rye flour” – I bought it and retested all the recipes I had made before, and the results were wonderful!

One of those recipes is for these slice and bake cookies, deliciously fragrant from the orange and nutmeg: the rye flour lands them a nutty flavor and a beautiful color.

Orange, rye and nutmeg slice and bake cookies
slightly adapted from Deb’s recipe

1 ½ cups (210g) all purpose flour
½ cup (70g) fine rye flour*
½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
2/3 cup (93g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
finely grated zest of 2 oranges
200g (7oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, whisk together all purpose flour, rye flour, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, place sugar and orange zest and mix them together until sugar is fragrant. Add the butter and mix until light and creamy – scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally throughout the making of the recipe.
Beat in yolks, one at a time. Beat in the vanilla. On low speed, mix in the dry ingredients and mix only until a dough forms – don’t overmix.

Divide the dough into two equal parts. Place each on a piece of parchment paper; shape dough into logs. Fold parchment over dough; using a ruler, roll and press into a 3.5 cm (1.4in) log – like Martha does here. Wrap in parchment. Chill in the fridge until very firm, about 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F; line two large baking sheets with baking paper.
Unwrap one log at a time (keep the other in the fridge). Cut into 5mm (¼in) thick rounds; space 2.5cm (1in) apart onto prepared sheets. Bake until cookies are golden around the edges, 12-14 minutes. Cool on the sheets for 5 minutes, then carefully slide the paper with the cookies onto a wire rack and cool completely.

* for the cookies to be light in texture, make sure the rye flour you use is finely ground

Makes about 50

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Chicken fajitas with homemade tortillas

Chicken fajitas with homemade tortillas / Fajitas de frango com tortillas caseiras

I always think about how much my understanding of food has changed over the last decade or so – I feel grateful for how much I have learned after I started writing this blog, back in 2006.

Back then, I had already been cooking for seventeen years, for at the age of 11 I was already cooking dinner for 5 people every night. But after the blog I have come to learn dishes I had never heard of before, new ingredients, amazing flavors, and all of that has improved my cooking immensely.

I first heard of fajitas a long time ago, and I don’t even remember where I first saw it. After that, I ate them a few times in a Tex-Mex restaurant, but I can tell you that nothing, nothing beat homemade fajitas, especially if they are served with homemade tortillas – it is a whole new thing completely.

These tortillas are so delicious that I make them quite often, even to be served with guacamole only – after he tried these for the first time, my husband told me he would never eat store bought tortillas again. :)

Chicken fajitas with homemade tortillas
own creation, inspired by lots of sources

Chicken:
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
a few drops of Tabasco
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
a few drops of Worcestershire sauce
1 large clove of garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
2 chicken fillets (about 250g in total), cut into strips
1 small yellow bell pepper (about 150g), sliced
1 small red onion, sliced in half moons
1 tablespoon water

Tortillas:
2/3 cup (94g) all purpose flour
1/3 cup (46g) whole wheat flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/3 cup (80ml) warm water

Start by marinating the chicken: in a shallow medium bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, salt, pepper, Tabasco, cumin, paprika, Worcestershire sauce and garlic. Add the bay leaves and the chicken and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, 2 hours if possible.

Now, the tortillas: in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix well the flours, baking powder and salt. Add the oil and water and mix on medium speed until a smooth and elastic dough forms, about 5 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Divide dough into 6 equal portions – each should be about 40g. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of dough until you get a thin circle, 20-22cm (8-9in) in diameter. Heat a large nonstick frying pan over high heat. Grill each disc of dough for 1-2 minutes each side, or until a few brown spots appear on the surface – if you want soft tortillas, immediately transfer them to the plate and cover with a clean kitchen towel; if you want crispy tortillas, let them cool on a wire rack, without overlapping them. Repeat the process with all the remaining dough.

Cook the chicken: on a large nonstick frying pan over high heat, heat the remaining olive oil. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until tender. Add the chicken and cook, stirring a few times, until chicken is golden and cooked through, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the water, scrape the bottom of the pan to remove the delicious burnt bits and then serve immediately with the tortillas and guacamole, if desired.

Serves 2



Thursday, March 9, 2017

Clementine spiced cookies

Clementine spiced cookies / Biscoitos de tangerina e especiarias

I think one can say I am addicted to baking cookies – as you have probably noticed already – and for a good while now slice and bake cookies have been my favorites: they are easy to make and the uncooked dough can spend some time in the fridge or in the freezer waiting for the right moment to be baked.

Even though the dough can be kept for a good while before baking, I hardly ever keep it that long: I prefer to bake lots of cookies at once and eat them and also share them with my family and friends – a “spreading joy” operation, let’s say. :)

These cookies, deliciously fragrant from the tangerine zest and with a kick from the spices, will make your kitchen smell like heaven. The almond meal makes them quite delicate and tricky to be transported, so for a bit firmer – but still wonderful – cookies omit the almond meal and use a total of 175g all purpose flour.

Clementine spiced cookies
slightly adapted from Annie Rigg's breathtakingly beautiful book

1 cup + 1 tablespoon (150g) all purpose flour
¼ cup (25g) almond meal
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
finely grated zest of 2 clementines
¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
½ cup (113g/1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 pieces of crystallized ginger, cut into small dice

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
Put zest and sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer and rub them together with your fingertips until sugar is fragrant. Add the butter and using the mixer beat ingredients together until creamy and light in color. Beat in the honey and vanilla. Turn off the mixer and mix in the dry ingredients using a rubber spatula just until a dough forms – do not overmix.

Place the dough on a large piece of parchment paper; shape into a log. Fold parchment over dough; using a ruler, roll and press into a 3.5cm (1.4in) log – like Martha does here. Wrap in parchment. Chill in the fridge until very firm, about 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F; line two large baking sheets with baking paper.
Unwrap the dough log and cut into 5mm (¼in) thick rounds; space 2.5cm (1in) apart onto prepared sheets. Gently press a piece of crystallized ginger in the center of each cookie. Bake until golden brown around the edges, 10-12 minutes. Cool on the sheets for 5 minutes, then carefully slide the paper with the cookies onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Makes about 30

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Eggnog rice pudding with roasted cherries and the reason why I love Christmas so much

Eggnog rice pudding with roasted cherries / Arroz doce de eggnog com cerejas assadas

I think it is fair to say that the main reason why I love Christmas so much is because it reminds me of my mom: she loved it and I can’t forget all the preparation around the house while the holiday songs were playing on the record player. Because of that, I decided to finish my Christmas series this year with a recipe that I make every time I miss her more than my heart can bear: rice pudding.

Unfortunately this is not her recipe – once my father got married again his wife made sure everything related to my mother got destroyed and tossed away, and the recipe notebooks were then gone forever – but it doesn’t matter: it reminds me a lot of rainy afternoons with piping hot rice pudding and cartoons on TV.

This time I served it cold because of the delicious roasted cherries I paired with it, and I added nutmeg and brandy to evoke the flavors of eggnog – it was delicious and it filled my heart with joy.

I wish you all a happy holiday season and a wonderful New Year – thank you for keeping me company all this time! xx

Eggnog rice pudding with roasted cherries
own creation

Roasted cherries:
150g fresh cherries
1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
juice of ½ large orange, freshly squeezed
1 small cinnamon stick

Rice pudding:
½ cup (110g) long grain rice
3 cups (720ml) whole milk
½ cup sweetened condensed milk
pinch of salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon brandy
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Start with the cherries: preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Cut cherries in half and remove the pits. Place them in a 4-cup shallow heatproof dish, stir in the sugar, orange juice and cinnamon stick, then roast for 20 minutes or until fruit is bubbly. Let cool completely, then cover and refrigerate.

While the cherries are roasting, make the rice: place the rice in a colander and wash it under the tap with cold water, rubbing the grains with your fingers until water runs clear. Set aside to drain for 10 minutes.
Place the rice, milk, sweetened condensed milk and salt in a medium saucepan and cook over high heat, stirring, until mixture starts to boil. Turn down the heat, add the nutmeg, brandy and vanilla and cook, stirring so mixture doesn’t catch in the bottom of the saucepan, until rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool, then cover and refrigerate.

Serve the rice pudding with the cherries on the side.

Serves 4


Monday, December 19, 2016

Rum nutmeg snowballs and handling cookie dough on a hot day

Rum nutmeg snowballs / Bolinhas de noz-moscada e rum

Weeks ago, while I was putting together the list of recipes I wanted to bake to give as gifts to my friends I saw these cookies on one of Martha’s digital magazine issues (the subscription that was a real bargain). So I decided to make that money count and use the recipe – the cookies looked adorable after all, and the flavor combo sounded delicious.

However, I was baking the cookies on a very hot day, so it was a nightmare trying to shape the dough into crescents – by the time I had finished shaping two cookies the whole dough was going soft. So I put it back in the fridge for a while and decided to turn the crescents into balls – snowballs, for that matter. In the end it was a good decision: cookies looked pretty and tasted great. Win/win situation. :)

Rum nutmeg snowballs
slightly adapted from Queen Martha

2 cups (280g) all purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg – do not pack it in the spoon when measuring it
¼ teaspoon table salt
¾ cup (170g/1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup (70g) confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons white rum (Martha uses brandy)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For rolling the cookies:
½ cup (70g) confectioners' sugar, sifted

Whisk together flour, nutmeg, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter with confectioners' sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add rum and vanilla; beat until combined. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, beating until just combined. Divide dough into 2 disks; wrap each in plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Line two large baking sheets with baking paper.
Working with one disk at a time (keeping the other refrigerated), scoop 1 leveled tablespoon of dough per cookie and roll into a ball. Arrange 2.5cm (1in) apart onto prepared sheets.
Bake until golden on the bottom, 16-18 minutes. Transfer cookies on sheets to wire racks; let cool 5 minutes. Working in batches, carefully toss warm cookies in confectioners' sugar, then transfer to racks and let cool completely.

Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days. Dust with more confectioners' sugar before serving.

Makes about 42

Friday, December 9, 2016

Apple gingerbread crumble and weekends

Apple gingerbread crumble / Crumble de maçã e gingerbread

Today is Friday (thank you, Universe!), or as I call it the Universal day of people asking each other what they will do on the weekend. :D

I am a very talkative person and luckily I have a good relationship with most people at the office. On Fridays some of them usually stop by my desk and ask me what my big plans for the weekend are, and it is funny to watch the look on their faces when I tell them that I intend to bake and watch Netflix. :D

On Saturday and Sunday afternoons one of the things I like doing the most is making a crumble with whatever fruit I have in the fridge/freezer and then seat comfortably on my couch to watch a movie or a TV show – it relaxes me and makes me happy. I did exactly that last weekend with a handful of apples and since I have been on a Christmas vibe lately I added a few spices to the crumble topping – it turned out delicious, therefore I share it with you now.

Apple gingerbread crumble
own creation

5 Granny Smith apples
1 cup (140g) all purpose flour
5 tablespoons demerara sugar
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
70g unsalted butter, cold and diced
6 tablespoons rolled oats

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.

Peel, core and dice the apples, then place them into a shallow 4-cup heatproof baking dish (if you prefer, make individual crumbles dividing the apples among four 1-cup heatproof ramekins).

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, spices and salt. Add the butter and rub the ingredients together with your fingertips until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Using a fork, stir in the oats. Sprinkle over the apples and bake for about 25 minutes or until topping is golden and crispy.
Serve with heavy cream or vanilla ice cream.

Serves 4

Monday, December 5, 2016

Spiced cake bars (gewürzschnitten) - flavors of my childhood on a recipe I had never seen before

Spiced cake bars (gewürzschnitten) / Bolo de especiarias e chocolate (gewürzschnitten)

In my searches for Christmas themed recipes every year I have learned about new types of baked goods, have seen beautiful photos and known gorgeous food blogs and websites. Some of the recipes were completely new to me, some were made of flavors I recognize from my childhood, from the sweets my German grandmother used to make.

These delicious bars, super easy to make, were new to as I did not know their name – gewürzschnitten; however, the taste was no stranger to me: as I bit into a square and tasted the mix of spices, chocolate and lemon from the glaze, my taste buds took a trip down memory lane. I don’t really remember what I ate as a kid that reminded me so much of these bars, but what started as inspiration found on this beautiful blog ended up as wonderful discovery – grandma Frida is no longer around for me to ask her this, but I can start my own tradition and bake gewürzschnitten every December from now on. <3

Spiced cake bars (gewürzschnitten)
slightly adapted from this beautiful blog

Cake:
1 ¼ cups (175g) all purpose flour
¾ cup (75g) ground almonds
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa, sifted
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
2 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
pinch of salt
¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar, divided use
1/3 cup (75g) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Amaretto (optional)
100ml whole milk, room temperature

Glaze:
¾ cup (105g) icing sugar, sifted
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Lightly butter a 20cm (8in) square baking pan, line it with baking paper leaving an overhang on two opposite sides, then butter the paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, almond meal, cocoa, baking powder and spices. Set aside.
In a small bowl, using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Gradually add half of the granulated sugar (75g), beating until mixture gets thick, silky and shiny. Set aside.
In another large bowl, using again the electric mixer, beat the yolks, butter and remaining sugar until light and creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in the vanilla and the Amaretto. Add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the milk in two additions, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Fold in the egg whites. Spread onto the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for about 20 minutes or until risen and cooked through when tested with a skewer. Cool completely in the pan over a wire rack.

Glaze: mix the icing sugar and lemon juice until you get a thin glaze. Spread over cooked cake, set aside until set and then cut into squares to serve.

Makes 16


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Beef kofta in sweet-sour tomato sauce

Beef kofta with sweet and sour tomato sauce / Kofta de carne bovina com molho de tomate agridoce

I am a complete sucker for food magazines and because of that end up with tons of them and thousands of recipes to choose from. At this time of the year my favorite ones – Donna Hay and Gourmet Traveller - are all about grilling, since they are Australian magazines celebrating the same season as we are here in Brazil (summer). The grilled foods look amazing, but I live in a small apartment and don’t own a barbecue – therefore, the inspiration most comes from the European mags or older issues of my favorite ones.

These beef koftas are delicious and I made them in a matter of moments – some rice and a salad completed a very simple yet tasty meal. I found the recipe on Olive magazine, which is always a good source for quick recipes, and replaced the lamb for beef and the cinnamon for baharat, since it always goes wonderful with beef (like in the sfihas I make sometimes and that my husband eats like a madman).

Beef kofta in sweet-sour tomato sauce
slightly adapted from the always great Olive magazine

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided use
1 onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons baharat
1 teaspoon ground cumin
500g beef mince
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1 x 400g can of chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar – I used sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves

In a large nonstick frying pan, heat half of the olive oil and cook the onion until it’s soft and translucent. Add the baharat and cumin and stir for a minute. Remove from the heat, cool and then add half of the mixture to the mince along with the 2 tablespoons pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper and mix to combine. Divide it into 24 and roll each lump into a neat ball between your hands. Fry them in the remaining olive oil until they brown all over (you might need to do this in batches). Lift them into a sieve while you make the sauce.

Remove any excess oil from the frying pan, then put the rest of the onion mix back in the pan and cook until warm. Add the tomatoes, sugar and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Bubble the lot gently for 5 minutes, then add the kofta. Cook for 15 minutes, over medium heat, turning over the kofta half way. Make sure they are cooked through. Scatter on the remaining pine nuts and the parsley and serve.

Serves 4

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Spiced almonds

Spiced almonds / Amêndoas apimentadas

The year is almost over (and I am hoping that 2016 is better than 2015, please Universe, make it happen!) so instead of writing a very long post complaining about the weather or anything else I will give you a recipe that is very quick to make, tastes great with drinks and will be a nice addition to your New Year’s Eve party – or any other party, actually. :)
I used almonds because it was what I had in my freezer, but any other nut would go well here, or even a mix of nuts.

Happy 2016!

Spiced almonds
from the always great Delicious UK

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon Tabasco
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala
salt, to taste
200g almonds, or the nuts of your preference

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, sauces, spices and salt. Add the nuts and turn to coat evenly. Spread mixture onto a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, then stir. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes or until golden brown. Stir again then tip onto kitchen paper to remove excess grease. Cool, then serve.

The nuts can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Serves 4

Monday, December 21, 2015

Chocolate gingerbread bites

Chocolate gingerbread bites / Quadradinhos de chocolate e gingerbread

The Internet can be a great source of inspiration, I am sure you all agree with me – not only for food, obviously, but let’s focus on that now: there are so many great recipes out there it is hard to choose which one to make, but depending on what we see it gets easier to take our pick.

I saw these bars on Rebecca’s blog and immediately felt like baking them: chocolate, spices, and molasses beautifully combined. Very Christmassy, exactly what I wanted at the moment. When I wrote to her about it, she told me she’d gotten the recipe on another blog, and that person had gotten the recipe from Martha. I then remembered I’d seen the recipe on Martha’s website more than once and thought “well, Martha did not inspire me to make these, Rebecca did”. So these delicious bars, a sort of cake perfumed with spices and moist with the addition of sour cream, have become part of my repertoire of great recipes thanks to a search online – a beautiful blog inspired me to make them, and I hope my blog can inspire some of you to make them, too.

Chocolate gingerbread bites
from Rebecca's blog

¼ cup (56g/½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup (22g) unsweetened cocoa powder + about ½ tablespoon for dusting the pan
¾ cup (105g) all purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup (88g) light brown sugar (packed)
¼ cup (60ml) unsulphured molasses
1 large egg
¼ cup (60ml) sour cream*
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup (85g) dark chocolate chips
icing sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Lightly butter a 20cm (8in) square pan, line it with foil and butter it as well. Dust it all with cocoa and tap out the excess.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, spices, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the brown sugar, butter, egg, molasses, sour cream and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour into the prepared pan. Smooth out the top and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan over a wire rack.
Dust with icing sugar and cut into squares to serve.

* homemade sour cream: to make 1 cup of sour cream, mix 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream with 2-3 teaspoons lemon juice in a bowl. Whisk until it starts to thicken. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 1 hour or until thicker (I usually leave mine on the counter overnight – except on very warm nights – and it turns out thick and silky in the following morning; refrigerate for a creamier texture)

Makes 16

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Gingerbread and peanut caramel bars

Gingerbread and peanut caramel bars / Barrinhas de gingerbread, caramelo e amendoim

Having rediscovered the pleasure I used to feel in the kitchen I keep having ideas and imagining things to cook and bake – I can’t wait for the weekends, not only to get some rest but also to prepare something tasty. I made a broccolini pesto the other day that turned out wonderful – even my not-so-into-pesto husband liked it a lot. But right now we are in Christmas mode around here, therefore I bring you these bars: I saw them on the latest issue of Donna Hay magazine and since I am a sucker for gingerbread, caramel and peanuts I had to make them.

They might seem a bit time-consuming, but it is just a matter of respecting the fridge time for each layer – there is also a serious risk of eating the entire saucepan of caramel before pouring it over the gingerbread base, but that is a completely different matter. ;)

Gingerbread and peanut caramel bars
from the always delicious Donna Hay Magazine

Base:
125g unsalted butter, room temperature
90g light brown sugar
1/3 cup golden syrup – I used corn syrup
1/3 cup molasses
375g all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
pinch of salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping:
175g unsalted butter, softened
220g light brown sugar
½ cup golden syrup
1 cup (240ml) heavy cream
200g unsalted toasted peanuts

Lightly butter a 20x30cm baking pan (use a deep pan, or make only 3/4 of the caramel recipe), line it with foil leaving an overhand on two opposite sides and butter the foil as well.
Place butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until pale and creamy. Add the golden syrup, molasses, flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt and vanilla and beat just until a dough starts to form. Press the mixture into the prepared pan, prick it all over with a fork and refrigerate for 30 minutes – in the meantime, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
Bake the gingerbread for about 15 minutes or until golden – remove from the oven but keep it on.

Make the caramel: place butter, sugar and golden syrup in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved and butter is melted. Bring to the boil then cook for 8-10 minutes or until mixture reaches 140°C (285°F) on a sugar thermometer. Carefully add cream – mixture will spit furiously – and stir until dissolved, then cook for 2 more minutes. Stir in the peanuts, remove from the heat and pour over the gingerbread base. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until caramel is slightly set around the edges (caramel will set as it cools). Cool for 15 minutes, then refrigerate until firm. Cut into bars to serve. Keep the bars in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Makes 24

Friday, December 11, 2015

Gingerbread pepper cookies

Gingerbread pepper cookies / Cookies de gingerbread com pimenta do reino

So you know that I decided to bake for the Christmas series, got carried away and made cookies beside this cake – I have to tell you, without false modesty, that the cookies turned out wonderful! Soft, packed with oats and perfumed with spices, they were a hit with my family and also my coworkers.

I used to take my baked goods to work all the time in the past, but this was the first time I baked for my new coworkers and I did not know if the girls would like the cookies – they loved them and now I want to bake more delicious things for them. <3

Gingerbread pepper cookies
slightly adapted from the wonderful and beautiful Home Baked: More Than 150 Recipes for Sweet and Savory Goodies

200g all purpose flour
150g rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon table salt
generous pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
150g unsalted butter, room temperature
250g light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Cointreau (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Line two large baking sheets with baking paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, salt, pepper and spices. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together until light and creamy. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and Cointreau. On low speed, mix in the dry ingredients just until combined (do not overmix).

Using a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop drop portions of dough per cookie onto prepared sheets, spacing 5cm (2in) apart. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cookies are golden around the edges. Cool on sheet over a wire rack for 5 minutes, then slide the paper onto the rack and cool completely.

Cookies can be stored between layers of parchment in airtight containers at room temperature up to 5 days.

Makes about 28

Monday, December 7, 2015

Gingerbread honey cake because Christmas is coming

Gingerbread honey cake / Bolo de gingerbread e mel

I was sitting home the other day, thinking about Christmas and how it is my favorite time of the year. I thought about my Christmas tree, and how I would be decorating it in a few days and felt miserable because this year I would not be able to prepare the Christmas recipes for the blog like I’d done in previous years.

I decided that there would be at least one recipe for the Christmas series this year, went to the kitchen and baked this cake – actually, I baked some cookies, too. ;)

This gingerbread cake is super tender, smells and tastes delicious and will perfume your entire home while in the oven and even after cooled down. It is, in fact, a loaf cake, but the one I used was a bit smaller and I ended up with a loaf + a small round cake (I used a 1-cup capacity pan). Since the mini cake looked so adorable that was the one I used for the photo – I hope the cake’s cuteness entices you to bake it, too, and you can thank me later. ;)

Gingerbread honey cake
slightly adapted from the beautiful Home Baked: More Than 150 Recipes for Sweet and Savory Goodies

85g crystallized ginger
50g crystallized orange peel
220g (1 ½ cups + 1 tablespoon) all purpose flour
½ cup (50g) almond meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
100g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 ¼ cups (300ml) whole milk, room temperature
100g light brown sugar
150ml honey
2 eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon Cointreau (optional)
¼ teaspoon Amaretto (optional)
icing sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Lightly butter a 6-cup capacity loaf pan, line it with baking paper leaving an overhang in two opposite sides and butter it as well.

Chop the crystallized ginger and crystallized peel, place in a bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon of the flour. Set aside.
Combine remaining flour, almond meal, baking powder, salt and spices in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the butter and on low speed mix the ingredients together until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in crystallized ginger and orange peel. In the meantime, heat together over low heat milk, brown sugar and honey until honey and sugar are dissolved (mixture should not get too hot, otherwise it might cook the eggs). Pour over the flour mixture and stir until just combined – do not overmix. Stir in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla, Cointreau and Amaretto.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until risen and golden and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan over a wire rack for 15 minutes, then carefully unmold and cool completely over the rack before peeling off the paper.
Dust with icing sugar to serve.

Serves 8-10

Related Posts with Thumbnails