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!


Thursday, 11 June 2015

Breakfast Shakes!

On weekdays in the morning I am running around like crazy, trying to get myself and Ioanna ready for our day.
Most of the times I do not have time for a warm sit-down breakfast. This is a luxury I enjoy on the weekend!

What I have found easy and convenient as an on-the-go breakfast are the shakes!

I use almond milk, ice cubes, avocado, whey protein powder, chia and flax seeds as my base and work from there. Some of the choices I add are berries, apples, pears, nuts and cocoa powder!

Add to your blender and blitz!

My favourite, though, is this:

It is a chocolate shake with almonds, cinnamon, avocado and 1/2 apple. Yum!

Delicious, healthy, packed with nutrients!

You cannot go wrong with this!


Friday, 22 May 2015

Cheese tart!

Cheese and dough is a combination I just cannot resist... Cheese tarts, cheese pies, cheese pockets, cheese pizza... I can go on and on!

This time I made a simple cheese tart. Easy, tasty and rather quick!

Cheese Tart
tart crust adapted from here

200gr AP flour
100gr whole wheat flour
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
225gr butter
2 to 4 tbsp cold water

2 eggs
200gr feta cheese crumbled
yellow cheese grated
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 small green onions chopped

* Combine the flours, oregano and onion powder.
*Add the butter and mix with your fingers until it resembles a coarse meal.
* Add 2-3 tbsp of cold water and mix to form a dough. If it looks dry add a little more water.

Note: I have done this process many times in my mixer with the paddle attachment and the dough is fine. Just don't overbeat.

* Place the dough on parchment paper and roll to a circle or a rectangle, depending on the tart dish you will use.
* Lay the dough on the buttered and floured tart dish and press the bottom and the sides.
* Put it in the fridge for 20-25 min.
* In the mean time, make the filling. Just combine everything and mix with an egg beater.
* Preheat the oven to 200oC, take the tart out of the fridge and prick it with a fork all over the bottom. Add pie weights and bake for 8-10 min.

Note: For pie weights I use old rice and old beans. I cover the bottom with cling film, add the weights and bake. When the beans are cold, I put them back in a bag for reuse.

* Remove from the oven, reduce temp to 180oC, add the filling and bake for about 25 - 30 min, until the filling is done.
* Allow it to cool before you cut a piece.

Note: I never wait... I eat it while it's hot. Right then and there. I just cannot wait to dig in..  And then the next day I tell myself, that I should have waited because it is so tasty cold (room temp)....

What I love about this tart is that you can make it any time you want only with what is in your fridge... Different cheeses, left over meat and chicken, peppers, zucchini, olives... Really it is so versatile!

And if you don't like whole wheat flour, just put in all AP!


Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Strawberry cake!

Strawberries! So good for you! And they are in season, too!

Strawberry cake is a classic, that I actually had never made before.
I baked two variations. One with fresh strawberry puree and one with strawberry flavoured jello, just to see the difference.

I will not even show you the fake strawberry one. Awful! I (we all) hated the taste.

The one with the fresh strawberries, though.... Ah, that is another thing.... Perfect!

I used my vanilla cake recipe, in which I simply added about 250gr of strawberries, in a form of coarse puree, not very smooth that it, because I wanted these little bits of strawberry to appear!

The glaze is very simple. Just confectioner's sugar, 1 tbsp of milk and 2 tbsp of strawberry puree, all mixed in a rather runny consistency.



Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Mug Cake in the microwaves!

There are times when you want to eat some cake, but you are not in the mood to make a large one and use the oven and your mixer and make a mess in the kitchen.
Well, for those times, you have your microwave oven!

This is the base, but I adapt it each time to my mood.

Microwave mug cake for one

1 egg
3 tbsp white sugar
40gr all purpose flour
15gr butter melted
1 tsp vanilla

* Mix everything together with a hand mixer.
* Pour into a buttered mug.
* Bake in the microwave oven for 1 1/2 min in medium, then check the centre.
* If it is still runny, bake for 1/2 min more and check again. It has to be tender but not runny.

This is a chocolate cake, for which I added to the above recipe:
15gr cocoa powder
20gr chocolate chips
I poked it in the middle and added caramel sauce, while hot!

This is a lemon cake, for which I added:
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon zest
no vanilla
(I know it sounds a bit too lemony, but I want my lemon cakes to taste lemony!) .