Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Cauliflower mash - healthy and low carb!

Trying to eat healthy whenever you can is hard at first. And by that I mean it takes a little time to adjust your ways.

One of the first things I did was to replace the potato mash with cauliflower mash.

Seriously, I haven't used potatoes again. In fact, to me, it is a personal success, because G. now eats cauliflowers. Applause please! (he wouldn't touch it, ever...).

It is very simple to make.

* Boil your cauliflower florets with 1/2 onion in medium heat, until all the water has been absorbed.
* Drain very well (leave it in a sieve for a little while).
* Put it in the food processor along with butter, salt, pepper and dry garlic, quantities are measured according to your taste.
* Blitz until you have a puree.
* Serve with some pink Himalayan salt, while it is warm!

I like this salt coarse, it is very pretty on food!

Enjoy a healthy low carb side dish!


Sunday, 27 April 2014

Daring Bakers - April 2014!

Our challenge this month was - fitting to this time of year - Easter Breads!

Our host was Wolf from Wolf's Den.

As I am starting to experiment with gluten free recipes and gluten free flours, I chose an Easter Bread recipe that I found in a little book of selected gluten free recipes called appropriately "the little book of Gluten-Free Baking" by Bromleigh House.

Easter Bread with cranberries and choc chips - gluten free

slightly adapted

55 ml warm water
60 gr granulated sugar plus 2 tsp
1/2 tbsp dry active yeast
125 gr gluten free flour mix (with xanthan gum)
100 gr buckwheat flour
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
20 ml olive oil
55 ml warm full fat cream
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla
a little lemon and orange zest
juice of 1/2 lemon and 1/2 orange
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chocolate chips

* Grease a small loaf pan and cover the bottom with parchment paper. Grease that, as well.
* Combine the warm water, 2 tsp sugar and the yeast and set it aside until foamy.
* Mix together all the dry ingredients.
* Mix together all the wet ingredients and the zests.
* Slowly add the wets and the yeast in the dry ingredients and mix until combined. If it is too dry add some more warm water or juice. The dough will be soft and sticky.
*  Stir in the cranberries and the chips.
*Put the dough in the prepared pan and let it rise in a warm place.
* Preheat the oven to 180o C.
* Bake for 35 - 40 min. If the top is browning fast, cover with tin foil.
* Let it cool on a wire rack in the pan, just run a knife around the sides first.

i) I don't use extra xanthan gum, because I don't really like it. The final product is a little crumblier, but I don't mind.
ii) The buckwheat flour doesn't rise much.
iii) I don't use vegetable oils, as it calls for in the original recipe, EVER!
iv) The choc chips I used are not gluten free. I am not intolerant, so I didn't mind. I just try to avoid gluten whenever possible. If indeed you are intolerant, just make the necessary adjustments.

It is quite tasty! A little on the dry side, which I attribute to the buckwheat flour.

Thank you for this challenge Wolf!


Thursday, 24 April 2014

Lattice tart (basic shell)!

I have settled on two basic tart shell recipes. One is chocolate and the other is white plain.

This particular one is a kind of tart I make very often.
It goes very well with any kind of filling. Plus it is suitable for fasting.

Lattice tart with jam (Pasta Flora)
recipe from my mom!

225gr olive oil
80gr white sugar
110gr orange juice
2 tbsp brandy
about 500gr self rising flour
jam of your choice

* Preheat the oven to 180oC.
* Beat together the olive oil and the sugar very well.
* Pour the orange juice and brandy and continue beating.
* Start adding the flour and mix at low speed until you have a soft dough, that doesn't stick.
* Use 2/3 of the dough and roll it, according to the size of your tart pan.
* Prick all over with a fork, cover the bottom with cling film, fill with beans and bake for 10 min.
* Remove the beans and film, spread some jam on the tart.
* With the remaining dough, make strings or strips and arrange on the jam.
* Bake for 10 - 15 min, untit it is golden brown.

I made two and used kiwi jam in one and red currant jam in the other!
Really good!


Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Birthday Cupcakes!

This post is belated... A lot!

It was my niece's birthday in November and she asked me to make her birthday cupcakes, instead of a birthday cake!

The colours for the party were lilac and light blue, so I kept the theme.
She chose chocolate and vanilla cupcakes and the buttercream is white chocolate. I also added some sprinkles!

I made her sugar cookies and chocolate cookies, using the "1" cookie cutter, as she turned 11!
The icing on the cookies is a simple royal icing.

The candles went on 11 cupcakes!

All her friends were very happy and she really liked her birthday "non-cake" cupcakes!


Friday, 11 April 2014

Chocolate cake 01!

I am looking for the perfect chocolate cake.

So I will be testing a number of recipes to find THE one!

Chocolate cake 01
recipe adapted from here

280gr cocoa powder
300gr hot strong coffee
225gr honey
360gr all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
170gr butter
70gr olive oil
225gr brown sugar
225gr white granulated sugar
4 eggs
170gr greek yogurt
2 tsp vanilla
white chocolate chunks

* Preheat your oven to 180oC.
* Butter and flour a round cake pan.
* Sift cocoa in a bowl and add the coffee and honey, whisking. Let it cool completely.
* Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
* Beat the butter and gradually add the oil.
* Add the sugars and beat until fluffy.
* Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each one.
* Add yogurt and vanilla.
* Add the flour mixture and the coffee mixture alternately.
* Beat until just combined.
* Add in the batter white chocolate chunks.
* Bake for 45 min until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean with a few crumbs.
* Let the cake in the pan for 15 min., then invert it on a wire rack to cool completely.

It sunk in the middle, but I was OK with that.

This recipe yields a lot of batter, which is good if you want to make a layer cake.
It is tasty and super moist, definately not dry. It actually tastes better the next day.
You can sence the olive oil, so maybe I will try it next time with less, see if it also won't sink.

Overall I liked it and I would make it again.


Monday, 7 April 2014

Oreo cookie cake!

I wonder, is there anyone who doesn't like stuffed cookies? Vanilla cake? A combination of the two?

I'm sure I know the answer to this!

A friend of mine loves Oreos. In fact, she introduced me to them many many years ago, when we still were students in the University.

So, when I went to visit the other day (I always bake her something), I made a vanilla oreo cake.
I used my vanilla cake recipe and added crushed oreos in the batter.

For the frosting, I made a quick ganache. I melted milk chocolate and kept adding warm milk, until it reached the consistency I wanted. Then I decorated with more oreos!

I put some in the bottom of the pan...


Great! She loved it!


Wednesday, 2 April 2014

S'mores Pops!

The combination of  Digestive biscuits, chocolate and marshmallows that you find in S'mores desserts sounds delicious.

I had never tried something, though....
So, after I made my vanilla marshmallows, I decided that the time had come for something S'mores!

S'mores Pops

small white vanilla marshmallows
dark chocolate, melted
Digestive biscuits, crushed in small crumbs
wooden skewers

* Inside each marshmallow push a wooden skewer.
* Pour the melted chocolate in a drinking glass and place the biscuit crumbs in a shallow dish.
* First dip the marshmallow pops in the chocolate, remove any excess chocolate and then quickly roll each
   pop in the biscuit crumbs.
* Let the pops stand and dry completely.

They are very tasty!
It is a really fun treat for a party and very popular among kids!

Oh, they freeze very well! I had some left overs from a party and popped them in the freezer. About 10 days later I took one out and ate it right away. One I left to defrost a bit and it was fine too!

The best thing, though, is that I removed them from the skewers and stuffed them in chocolate chip cookies...
Can you imagine the taste and the gooeyiness? (no pictures, the cookies didn't last that long...)