zaterdag 8 september 2012

Strawberry coffee cake & some other cakes



Since April of this year i have joined The Home Bakers. Whe are baking every three weeks but i have been missing out on some bakes or i made the cake but didn't had the time to post my findings on my blog. The idea is whe bake all the recipes from one book and whe started with Coffee cakes by Lou Seibert Pappas. So starting this post with this Strawberry coffee cake.

Our seventh bake together was picked by Alice from I love.I cook.I bake. She chose this delicious cake and for the recipe you have to go to her site. She used blueberries instead of strawberries, like to see wat the others made of theirs go to the home bakers page.

I decided to make only half of the cake so i needed only half of the ingredients. Baking my coffee cake in a round 9-inch pan. The batter was easy to make but a little tough. So spreading it out on the bottom was not going very well. Then on to that layer i putted all my strawberries and then the second layer of batter but it seemed more like dough. Baking it 180C for about 30 minutes. The cake rose above the pan but after cooling down it was collapsed. The taste is really great, but next time i will not put my strawberries in 1 layer but mix them a little more trough the batter. I especcially liked the cruch of the brown sugar on top.



Pear pinwheel and Hazelnut cake
Almond-crusted butter cake



































 

donderdag 30 augustus 2012

Sun-dried tomato-pistachio polenta cake



This is our 8th bake together (Though i already missed out on some bakes)with The Home Bakers, and it is my time to pick a recipe from coffee cakes(the book whe are currently baking from). So since nobody had chosen a savory cake yet, i thought i should do so.  This recipe looked very appealling to me and i love sun-dried tomato's. It is baking in the oven right now,  and i am curious how it will be.



I made only half the recipe and baked it in small ramekins, so i ended up with five individual small cakes. Bud i did keep the 1/3 cup julienned sun-dried tomatoes:-).The smell is great and the taste is seriously awesome "I think". I almost regret i made only half the recipe. Baked the cakes in only 20 minutes because of the small ramekins i used and didn't use the optional water. But putted in 1 extra teaspoon of the oil from the sun-dried tomato's.

Here is the recipe from the book:

Sun-Dried Tomato-Pistachio Polenta Cake

 
Makes one 9-inch cake
Serves 10

This savory tomato herb bread has a delicious polenta and nut crunch in each golden slice. Nicely moist, with a fine, crumbly texture, it is excellent warm or cold. Serve it for an Italian-style brunch, lunch, or buffet party. It is also an ideal complement to a Caesar salad or a lentil or bean soup for a light meal.
  • 1/3 cup julienned sun-dried tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons hot water (optional)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1-3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup finely ground polenta or cornmeal
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk or low-fat plain yogurt
  • 2/3 cup (2-1/2 ounces) unsalted pistachios
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan or pie pan.

If the tomatoes are dry-packed, cover them with the hot water and let steep for 5 to 10 minutes to soften.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk or an electric mixer until light. Blend in the oil, honey, and herbs. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, polenta or cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir to blend. Stir the dry ingredients into the egg mixture alternately with the buttermilk or yogurt in 2 increments. Beat until smooth. Stir in the tomatoes and any liquid. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the nuts and 2 tablespoons of the cheese for the topping and stir the remainder into the batter. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and sprinkle evenly with the reserved nuts and cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then unmold right side up on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into wedges.


zondag 15 juli 2012

Tortilla soup (Sopa Azteca)


Soups and sides is this weeks theme at the i heart cooking club. I immediateley decided to finally make the tortilla soup because i was curious about it's taste(i never had any before). My boyfriend didn't like it at all but i liked it very much, and i am glad i still have leftovers for tomorrow.

Rick Bayless says"Like guacamole, tortilla soup has a place, I feel, in practically every collection of Mexican recipes. It’s a filling, flavorful meal that can be made with little effort, but one that sings with an unmistakable Mexican harmony. Earthy dark pasilla chile. The softening crunch of toasty corn tortillas. Soul-satisfying broth. And creamy-rich avocado and cheese.
A note about pasilla (sometimes called negro) chile: Its unique flavor defines tortilla soup in central Mexico. In Michoacan, it’s ancho chile. In your kitchen, it might turn out to be another chile, like New Mexico or even a little smoky chipotle (be forewarned that chipotle will make the broth quite spicy). Though for these everyday recipes I’ve relied heavily on the easier-to-use powdered dried chile, finding powdered pasilla (negro) can be harder than finding the whole pod. Should powdered chile be at your finger tips (be it powdered pasilla (negro), ancho or beyond), add about 1 tablespoon to the pan about halfway through the cooking of the onion.
In Mexico, it’s more common to crush toasted chile pods over the soup than to add it to the base. You can follow that lead, or do both as we do in our restaurants."

Sopa Azteca
Tortilla Soup

Serves 4 to 6
Recipe from
Frontera Grill/Topolobampo


Ingredients
1 large dried pasilla (negro) chile, stemmed and seeded I used 1 normal dried chile
One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice (preferably fire-roasted)
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1 medium white onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 quarts chicken broth
1 large epazote sprig, if you have one can't find epazote so i left it out

4 (about 1 1/4 pounds total) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large ripe avocado, pitted, flesh scooped from the skin and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Mexican melting cheese (like Chihuahua, quesadilla or asadero) or Monterey Jack, brick or mild cheddar
A generous 4 cups (about 6 ounces) roughly broken tortilla chips
1/2 cup Mexican crema, sour cream or creme fraîche for garnish
1 large lime, cut into 6 wedges, for serving

Directions
Quickly toast the chile by turning it an inch or two above an open flame for a few seconds until its aroma fills the kitchen. (Lacking an open flame, toast it in a dry pan over medium heat, pressing it flat for a few seconds, then flipping it over and pressing it again.) Break the chile into pieces and put in a blender jar along with the tomatoes with their juice. (A food processor will work, though it won’t completely puree the chile.)


Heat the oil in a medium (4-quart) saucepan over medium-high. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 7 minutes. Scoop up the onion and garlic with a slotted spoon, pressing them against the side of the pan to leave behind as much oil as possible, and transfer to the blender. Process until smooth.


Return the pan to medium-high heat. When quite hot, add the puree and stir nearly constantly, until thickened to the consistency of tomato paste, about 6 minutes. Add the broth and epazote, if using. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Taste and season with salt, usually about a generous teaspoon (depending on the saltiness of the broth).


Just before serving, add the chicken to the simmering broth. Divide the avocado, cheese and tortilla chips between serving bowls. When the chicken is done, usually about 5 minutes, ladle the soup into the bowls. Garnish with the crema. Pass the lime separately.

Admitting this to:
Rick Bayless @IHCC button rounded

zondag 8 juli 2012

Tropical pink limeade

 

 Salud! is this weeks theme at I heart cooking clubs. And while í am making this post the rain is pouring, but when i made this thirst quensing limeade this week it was very hot outhere and we where really in the mood for this limeade.

It even was a coinsidense that i could get my hand on prickly pears because i never noticed them before in any shop, but now they where there and the taste is great in this lovely pink limeade.

 

 

Tropical Pink Limeade

 

Makes 5 or 6 servings
Courtesy by Rick Bayless
Recipe from Season 3 of Mexico - One Plate at a Time

Ingredients

1 1/3 cups fresh lime juice
1 quart water (use sparkling water for a festive touch)
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
2 or 3 prickly pears

Directions

In a large pitcher, mix together the lime juice, water and smaller amount of sugar. Taste and add more sugar if you think the limonada needs it. Serve over ice.

Cut the ends off 2 or 3 prickly pears (handle prickly pears with latex or rubber gloves or with tongs). Make a shallow slit down the length of each one, then peel away the thick skin; discard. In a small bowl, crush the fruit into a coarse puree, then strain the puree into the limeade mixture. Taste and add more lime or sugar if necessary.


Admitting this to:
 Rick Bayless @IHCC button rounded

donderdag 31 mei 2012

Chocolate Meringue truffle cake with liquer 43


Did you know that Nigella Lawson is hosting a cookalong, on her own website. I didn't! Untill i accidentaly found out last week when i saw this Chocolate meringue truffle cake featured on the front page. So i decided to make it immediately.
Nigella says"This is a dinner-party stalwart from a couple of decades back, and I like it no less than I did when I first tasted it, made by my sister Thomasina, about twenty years ago. But I have added something: I make a thin meringue base instead of crumbling biscuits into the tin. This is not hard, not even remotely, and you don't have to worry about anything since you don't want airy puffy meringue, but rather a contrastingly crackling base, with just a hint of chewy marshmallow."

Since i don't like rum i substituted it for liquer 43, thats more my kind of thing. The taste went wonderful with the truffle chocolate cake. But probably you can substitute it for any liquer that you might like(i think coconut or mint infused rums would be great also).
The cake was not difficult to make but the time of baking the meringue bottom is a little short i suppose, because it became wet after putting the filling on it(and it still hass to sit in the fridge overnight). So the taste and surely the crackling base where Nigella talks about was completly gone. Next time i bake this cake i think it would be a great idea to brush the meringue bottom with molten chocolate before putting the filling on it, so it won't go to waste.
But after all this cake was still amazing!

Recipe adapted from here
INGREDIENTS FOR THE BASE:

1 egg white
50g caster sugar
2 teaspoons cocoa
Drop of wine vinegar

FOR THE TRUFFLE FILLING:

400g dark chocolate
60ml liquer 43
60ml golden syrup
500ml double cream 
cocoa to decorate
sugared pecans to decorate


METHOD
Serves: Makes 10-12 slices

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C. Line a 20cm springform tin with baking parchment and oil the sides with some flavourless oil; almond would be good.

Whisk the egg white until foamy peaks form and then whisk in the sugar a little at a time to make a thick, glossy mixture. Sieve over the cocoa and sprinkle with the vinegar, and whisk again to combine everything. Spread as evenly as you can over the bottom of the prepared cake tin and then put in the oven to bake for 15-20 minutes. Leave to cool while you make the truffle filling.

Melt the chocolate with the rum and syrup in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and let it sit off the heat for 5 minutes or so.

Whisk the cream until it thickens slightly - it should be slightly aerated and have the consistency of thick pouring custard, no thicker. Pour into the chocolate mixture, beating gently until everything is amalgamated. Pour into the meringue-bottomed tin and cover the springform with clingfilm, and put in the fridge for a night or day, or for up to two days.

A short time before you are ready to serve the cake, take it out of the fridge and let it lose its chill. It will be easier to spring open if the chocolate truffle filling has become less fridge cold, although you don't want soft room temperature chocolate. Spring the cake free, then transfer to a plate without removing the base unless you think you can with ease (and have one of those big round spatulas). Smooth the sides with a spatula if you want a smarter look, and push the cocoa through a sieve to dust the top of the cake.

maandag 28 mei 2012

Vanilla and Cinnamon Challah bread pudding


Yesterday was the day that the daring bakers presented this months challenge, whe made challah this time. I made 2 small loaves but whe couldn't eat all of it with the two of us and it was already starting to get dry. So i decided to make a bread pudding from the leftovers of this delicious sweet bread.
Here is the recipe

Do you want to make Challah bread yourself here is the recipe.

Vanilla and Cinnamon Challah bread pudding

Adapted from here.
serving 5 to 7

Ingredients:

5 cups challah bread, in cubes
1 cup whole milk
½ cup whipping cream
3 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup apple, peeled and chopped
½ cup of nuts, chopped
¼ cup of raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
Icing sugar and cinnamon for decoration

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and  lightly grease a 8 X 8 inch square baking dish.

Place the bread chunks in a large mixing bowl.

In another bowl, mix together the whole milk, whipping cream, eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, baking powder and salt, then pour this mixture over the bread chunks & let stand for 10 minutes.

Fold in the apples and nuts,  then spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and dust the top with a little powdered sugar and cinnamon.

Bake 30-40 minutes, or until lightly golden.

Cool about 5 minutes before serving, although it will also taste just fine served cold.







zondag 27 mei 2012

Daring bakers may 2012: Challah




May’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge was pretty twisted – Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to make challah! Using recipes from all over, and tips from “A Taste of Challah,” by Tamar Ansh, she encouraged us to bake beautifully braided breads.

Baking bread isn't a think i have done verry often and certainly not from scratch. So i was a little bit intriqued by this challenge when i started it. To start with baking bread from "scratch" i thought it was a good idea to use the easy challah recipe provided by Ruth.

The making of the challah "after all" wasn't dificult at all but it took some time because of all the time it needs to rise. I was braiding the bread in a three strain(you can also do four or six strain) and that part went verry smooth either. So i wondered ,why was i so afraid my attempt would fail? This bread looks so nice but mine turned out great as well.

The taste of the bread was  surprisingly nice, the sweet flavor of it and the slight yellow color. You can also make a lot of variations on this bread. Some of the daring bakers put nutella or fruit inside, i'd like to try that to anytime soon. The only thing is that in mine opinion you have to eat this bread the same day it is baked because it thurns dry quickly. But with the leftovers i made a great challah bread pudding, i'll tell you everything about that tommorow.

What to do with Chalalh leftovers make an Vanilla and cinnamon Challah bread pudding!
Here are the recipes that ruth provided for the chalange:


Ruth’s “Go-To” Whole Wheat Challah
(adapted from D’s Whole Wheat Challah)
Servings: 12

Ingredients
2 (.25 oz.) packages (4½ teaspoons) (22½ ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) dry yeast
1 cup (240 ml) warm water (100°F/38°C)
½ cup (120 ml) (100 gm) (3½ oz) brown sugar, firmly packed
½ cup (one stick) (120 ml) (115 gm/4 oz) margarine or unsalted butter – room temperature
2 tsp. (10 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) salt
3 large eggs
2 cups (480 ml) (280 gm/10 oz) whole wheat flour
2 cups (480 ml) (280 gm/10 oz) all-purpose flour
½ cup (120 ml) (50 gm) (1¾ oz) rolled oats (Old Fashioned work just fine!)
Additional flour for kneading (½ to 1 cup) (120 to 240 ml) (70 to 140 gm) (2½ to 5 oz)
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. water for glaze

Directions:
1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, dissolve yeast in warm water. Allow to stand about 5 minutes until creamy/foamy.
2. With paddle attachment beat 3 eggs, sugar, margarine (or butter), whole wheat flour, all purpose flour and oats into the yeast mixture. Or, if mixing by hand (ok, spoon), combine eggs and margarine/butter with yeast mixture until well mixed. Add flours and oats and mix until it becomes difficult to mix.
3. Once combined, switch to the dough hook and knead for 5 to 10 minutes until smooth and elastic, adding flour as/if needed. If kneading by hand, this should take about 10-12 minutes.
4. Form dough into a round, compact ball. Turn in oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen/tea towel. Let rise in warm area (I put it in the oven with the light on) until doubled, approx. 2 hours.
5. Once dough has doubled, punch down. Recover with towel, allow to rise again for an hour, but even 30 minutes will be fine if you’re in a hurry.
6. Punch the dough down again, divide in two.
7. Shape each half as desired (3, 4 or 6 strand braid, rolls, etc.). Place shaped loaves onto parchment covered baking trays. Cover with the towel and allow to rise another hour.
8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
9. Brush loaves with egg wash. (Sprinkle with vanilla sugar/sesame seeds/poppy seeds/other topping here if desired)
10. Bake 30 to 40 min. until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
11. Transfer loaves to a wire rack to cool before serving.

Challah (Honey White)

(from Tammy’s Recipes)
Servings: 2 loaves

Ingredients
1 ½ cups (360 ml) warm water, separated
1 Tbsp. (15 ml) (15 gm/½ oz sugar
2 Tbsp. (2-2/3 packets) (30 ml) (18 gm) (2/3 oz) dry active yeast
½ cup (120 ml) honey
1 Tbsp. (15 ml) oil (light colored vegetable oil, or olive oil if you prefer)
4 large eggs
1 ½ tsp. 7½ ml) (9 gm) (1/3 oz) salt
5 cups (1200 ml) (700 gm/25 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour, plus more as needed (up to 8 or 9 cups total)
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. water

Directions:
1. In mixer bowl/large mixing bowl combine ½ cup warm water, 1 Tbsp. sugar and 2 Tbsp. yeast. Allow to proof approximately 5 minutes until foamy.
2. To the yeast mixture add the remaining water, honey, oil, eggs, salt and 5 cups of flour. Knead (by hand or with your mixer’s dough hook) until smooth, adding flour as needed. Knead for approximately 10 minutes.
3. Transfer dough to a clean, oiled bowl, turn to coat or add a bit more oil on top. Cover bowl with a kitchen/tea towel. Leave to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 ½ hours.
4. Punch down the dough, divide it into two sections. Use one half to make each loaf (shaped or braided as desired).
5. Place loaves on parchment lined or greased baking sheets, cover with a towel, allow to rise 30 minutes.
6. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
7. Brush tops loaves with egg wash. (Sprinkle with seeds or toppings here if wanted.)
8. Bake loaves 30-40 minutes until done.
9. Cool on wire racks.


Easy Challah

(from templedavid.org)

Ingredients
4 cups (960 ml) (360 gm/20 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
1 cup (240 ml) warm water
1 package (2¼ teaspoons) (11¼ ml) (7 gm) (¼ oz) package rapid rise yeast
½ (120 ml) (115 gm/4 oz) cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. water

Directions:
1. Measure flour, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl.
2. In a separate bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer) combine water and yeast, allow to sit 5 minutes until foamy.
3. Add 1 ½ cups of the flour mixture to the water and yeast mixture, beat until well combined. Cover with a dish towel, let stand 30 min.
4. Add two eggs to the dough, beat again.
5. By hand or with your dough hook knead in the remaining flour mixture. Knead approximately 10 minutes.
6. Transfer to oiled bowl, cover, let rise one hour.
7. Punch down dough, knead approximately 3 minutes.
8. Divide dough in two. Shape each half as desired (3, 4, or 6 strand braid).
9. Place loaves on parchment covered or greased cookie sheets, cover with a towel, allow to rise one hour.
10. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
11. Brush loaves with egg wash.
12. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees, bake until golden crust forms (about 25-30 minutes).
13. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.


Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:
Once cooled, challah loaves which will not be eaten right away (or in the next couple of days) should be bagged in heavy duty freezer bags. Remove excess air from the bag before securing it tightly (tying a knot or using tape). Put the bagged loaf/loaves into the freezer as soon as possible to ensure fresh taste; frozen challah will keep approximately three months.


Additional Information:
Egg free recipes: This recipe uses baking powder for the egg-replacer. The resulting loaves were light and fluffy, and tasted better than I thought they would!
http://www.vegkitchen.com/recipes/special-occasions-and-entertaining/jew...
This recipe uses a more common egg replacer – flax seed meal. It was a tougher dough than I was used to using, but the resulting loaves were light, and looked beautiful with the flax speckles.
http://thatsonetoughcookie.com/2009/06/22/olive-oil-flax-seed-vegan-chal...
Gluten free recipes:
 http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/GLUTEN-FREE-CHALLAH-PAREV...
http://celiacdisease.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ&zTi=1&sdn=celiacdisease&...
Videos: These videos were made in my kitchen. The kids – mine and my sister’s were running around. So it is totally a real world view, no fancy tricks happening!
Video of basic three strand braid:
http://s1075.photobucket.com/albums/w440/tinkrsh/challah%20braiding/?act...
Videos of four strand braids:
http://s1075.photobucket.com/albums/w440/tinkrsh/challah%20braiding/?act...
http://s1075.photobucket.com/albums/w440/tinkrsh/challah%20braiding/?act...
Videos of six strand braids:
http://s1075.photobucket.com/albums/w440/tinkrsh/challah%20braiding/?act...
http://s1075.photobucket.com/albums/w440/tinkrsh/challah%20braiding/?act...
Video of four strand braided round:
http://s1075.photobucket.com/albums/w440/tinkrsh/challah%20braiding/?act...
Additional resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Challah
http://www.thechallahblog.com
http://www.atasteofchallah.com/

zaterdag 26 mei 2012

Avocado-Dressed Shrimp a la Mexicana Tostada


Finally it's that time of the month again Potluck week at I Heart Cooking Clubs. Because i wanted to make this recipe ever since i saw it a few weeks ago but the time wasn't right untill now ofcourse! I made this as an appetizer but i made really small bitsize tostadas and if there wouldn't have been anybody else around i could have eaten them all by myself;-).

To make small tostadas i used a cookie cutter to cut out small rounds from big tortilla's(The leftovers i didn't use this time but there are options enough to do that). Baking small tortillas is another option ofcourse but i was lazy and used storebought tortillas this time around. If you want to make youre own here is the recipe.

The taste of this small tostada is fenominal! The combination of shrimp, avocado and lime do the trick for me. Although my avocado wasn't totally ripe yet, but this recipe is a winner for me and will be my go to summer appetizer this year.


Avocado-Dressed Shrimp a la Mexicana Tostada

Camarones a la Mexicana con Aguacate
Makes about 4 cups, enough for 15 tostadas, serving 15 as a nibble or light appetizer
Rick Bayless Recipe from Season 6 of Mexico - One Plate at a Time

Ingredients

12 ounces (about 2 1/2 cups) medium-small, peeled-and-deveined cooked shrimp
1 medium white onion, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
1 large tomato, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces (you should have a generous cup)
1/4 to 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
Hot green chiles to taste (usually 3 serranos or 1 to 2 jalapenos), stemmed and roughly chopped
1 medium avocado, pitted, flesh scooped from the skin and chopped
1/3 cup (loosely packed) chopped cilantro, plus sprigs for garnish
Salt
Directions
In a medium bowl, combine the shrimp, onion and tomato. Measure the lime juice into a food processor or blender. Cover and turn on. Drop in the chile(s) and, when chopped, turn off and scoop in the avocado and cilantro. Blend until smooth. Thin to a "creamy dressing" consistence with water (usually 2 to 3 tablespoons). Taste and season with salt, usually about 1 teaspoon. (You will have about 1 1/2 cups.)
Mix the dressing into the shrimp mixture. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the shrimp a la mexicana and refrigerate. When you're ready to serve, scoop into a serving bowl, decorate with a cilantro sprigs and it's ready.

Rick Bayless @IHCC button rounded

vrijdag 18 mei 2012

Blueberry streusel coffee cake - THB



I started a new baking challenge with The Home Bakers six weeks ago hosted by Joyce of kitchen flavours. Read all about the home bakers and feel free to join!
Our third bake together is the Blueberry streusel coffee cake as seen on the cover of the book, it is chosen by Chaya of Bizzy bakes. You can see the original recipe here.

This cake was easy to make. I really liked it but most of the people that got to taste it liked the streusel topping most of it. Lucky for me that blueberrys aren't hard to get overhere, but some other participants could not get them easily. The dough was made with all purpose and whole-wheat flour so it would be great in the morning as a breakfast to.

Instead of using half a cup of granulated sugar i only added a quart cup of sugar, because the topping would be very sweet also. Eating the topping together with the cake was just the right amound of sweetness for me.
Used yogurt and not buttermilk just because i had it in my fridge.
Blueberry are easy to get fresh or frozen, i used frozen blueberries. Instead of 2 whole cups i only added 1 and a half cup because my boyfriend doen't like blueberries.

Baking this cake i bought myself a 8 inch springform baking pan. Where if the cake was ready i could easily slight the cake from the bottom and that worked verry well.



About The Home Bakers
We are a group of home bakers who share the same passion in baking and we love collecting cookbooks! Most of us would probably have tried out about 2 or 3 recipes from some of the books that we own and these books somehow got pushed back till later or kinda forgotten, as we collect more cookbooks along the way! So at THB, we will bake from one cookbook only, until every recipe has been baked. This will not only fully utilized your cookbook to the maximum, but it will widen your baking skills, and learn more about baking as we share our experiences together. Come join us as we venture into the exciting world of baking right in our own kitchen haven. The challenge of The Home Bakers is to complete every recipe from one chosen cookbook. This will be an easier challenge if we are baking and sharing our experiences together. There's always something new to learn about baking.










The Chosen Book
We are currently baking from "Coffee Cakes" by Lou Seibert Pappas, who has written more than 50 cookbooks. "Coffee Cakes" is a beautiful cookbook with various bakes covering Sunday Brunch Cakes, Everyday Morning Cakes, Savory Picnic Cakes, Bundt Party Cakes and Delectable Dessert Cakes, a total of 60 wonderful recipes. Just by taking a peek at this book, would make you want to bake each and every recipes!




dinsdag 15 mei 2012

Fresh Corn Chowder with roasted peppers - Crema de Elote



Yellow i need some more of that lovely color in my live at this moment, it makes me happy!
When i saw this weeks cooking them at I Heart Cooking Clubs and that we would be celebrating yellow foods this week. "Yellow ingredients and/or yellow dishes! Eat the rainbow, right? Don't forget yellow! Red gets all the attention these days, give yellow some love! "
Yesterday when i was running true authentic mexican the sun started shining after a rainy spring "so far", and sudddenly there was a lot of yellow. When i found this recipe for corn chowder.

The chowder was very lovely and i am going to make this one again, because even my boyfriend really liked this soup and he usually doesn't like soup that much. The sweetness of the corn together with the spicy serrano pepper is a great combo.

 

Fresh corn chowder with roasted peppers
Crema de Elote

Rick Bayless, Authentic mexican
Yield: about 1 quart, 4 servings

Ingredients

2½ to 3 cups frozen corn, defrosted
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled an minced
1½ tablepoons cornstarch
2 cups milk, plus a little more if necessary
2 fresh chiles poblanos Serranos, roasted and peeled, seeded and finely diced
1 cup thick cream or whipping cream
salt, about 1 teaspoon
½ cup crumbled mexican queso fresco or other fresh cheese like feta
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Directions

Preparing the corn. Simply place the defrosted corn in the blender or foodprocessor and puree it.

The corn puree. Heat half of the butter in a small skillet over medium. Add the onion and fry untill soft, 6 or 7 minutes, then stir in the garlic and cook a minute longer. Scrape the mixture into the corn in the blender or processor, along with the cornstarch and ¼ cup water. Process until smooth.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium-large saucepan set over medium heat. Add the corn puree and stir constantly for several minutes, untill quite thick.

Finishing the soup. Whisk in the milk, partially cover and simmer 15 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring often.
When the soup is ready, strain it trough a medium-mesh sieve. Rinse out the pan, return the strained soup to it and stirin the diced pepper and cream. Season with salt and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes longer, stirring frequently.
When you are ready to serve, thin the soup with additional milk if it is thicker than heavy cream, then ladle into small, warm soup bowls. Garnish with the cheese and chopped parsley, and serve at once.

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woensdag 9 mei 2012

Guacamole Sencillo - Simple Guacamole




After one month cooking with Rick Bayless, i still am a newbie to mexican cooking so nothing hass changed yet. But i have been choosing recipe of wich i could get the ingredients easily because i still haven't found a good source of jalapenos, pobalonos, tomatillos or mexican cheese. So the only green pepper i can buy is the green serrano pepper . So i made up my mind and now the substituting is" on" because otherwise i would not have a real impression of the mexican kitchen after six months. I know serranos aren't the same as Jalapeno, padron or poblano pepers but wat else am i supossed to do. I really enjoyed mexican cooking so far and it can only become better.

This weeks theme for cooking along with the I Heart Cooking Clubs is For mom! And ofcourse its all about pampering the mom in your live! I decided to treat my mom on some homemade guacamole another mexican basic i wanted to learn. I had guacamole before but never made my own and it tasted so much better then store bought(never going to do that again after this). Real easy to make to. My mum really liked it too, although mothersday still has to come;-)


Simple Guacamole
Guacamole sencillo

Rick bayless, as seen here
Serves 8 to 12 as a snack

Ingredients

2 to 3 garlic cloves, peeled
Hot fresh green chiles to taste (I’d choose 2 serranos), stems removed
3 ripe avocados, preferably the black-skinned Hass
A couple of tablespoons chopped fresh Mexican herbs (such as cilantro, pipisa or papalo)
1 small white onion (fresh knob onion—green tops still on—is best), finely chopped
Salt
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
A little crumbled Mexican fresh cheese (queso fresco) for garnish Had to use greek feta
A sliced radish or two for garnish


Directions

Finely chop the garlic and green chiles, and scoop them into a bowl.
One at a time, run a knife down through each avocado, starting at the top, until you reach the pit; continue cutting around the pit until you reach the point you started.
Twist the two halves of the avocado apart. Remove the pit and discard. Scoop the flesh into the bowl with the chiles. Mash coarsely with the back of a spoon or an old-fashioned potato masher.
Add the herbs and onion, stir to combine, then taste. Season with salt (usually about a teaspoon) and lime juice. Scoop into a serving dish and garnish with cheese and radishes.




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zondag 29 april 2012

Mexican Horchata: Almond-rice cooler







This week at I Heart cooking clubs we are cooking with the theme earth day. Any recipe with use of products grown from the earth is allowed. Should i make something with fruit or root vegetables, No rice is grown from the earth too.We eat a lot of rice but i never had it as a drink. So i decided on this Recipe for Horchata; Almond-Rice cooler. It made me curious, how would it taste?

Rick Bayless says" This has the simplest and most familair flavors of the three most common aguas frescas: a slightly chalky, thirst-quenching refreshment with a flavor reminiscent of rice pudding. This drink is light and rich - exceptionally good hot-weather party fare, poured over ice."

Almond rice cooler
Rick Bayless, authentic mexican

Yield: about 1½ quarts, 6 to 7 servings

Ingredients:
6 tablespoons rice
6 ounces blanched almonds
1 inch cinnamon stick
3 2-inch strips of lime zest(colored rind only)
about 1 cup of sugar - sugar syrup

1. Soaking the rice and the almonds.
Thorougly pulverize the rice in a blender or spice grinder. Transfer to a medium bowl and add the almonds, cinnamon stick and lime zest. Stir in 2¼ cups of hot tap water, cover and let stand at least 6 hours or preferably, overnight.
2. Blending and straining.
Scoop the mixture into the blender jar and blend for 3 or 4 minutes, until it no longer feels very gritty. Add 2 cups of water, then blend for a few second more. Set a large sieve over a mixing bowl and line 3 layers of damp cheesecloth. Pour in the almond-rice mixture a little at a time, gently stirring to help the liquid pass trough. When all has been strained, gather up the corners of the cheesecloth and twist them together to trap the dregs inside. Squeeze the package firmly to expell all remaining liquid.
3. Finishing the Horchata.
Add 2 cups of water and stir in enough sugar to sweeten the drink to your taste. If the consistency is too thick, add additional water. Cover and refrigerate until you're ready to serve. Stir before pouring.

Notes/ findings:
- The drink keeps for 5 days or more, covered and refrigerated.
- At the last moment i put in some more cinnamon, because i really like cinnamon.
- I used sugar syrup instead of sugar.
- And ofcourse i really liked this drink and Rick was wright it does taste like rice pudding!


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dinsdag 24 april 2012

Apricot-Pistachio-Lemon coffee cake - THB



The past three weeks went very fast, so its time for our second baking job with The Home Bakers. The Home bakers are a new baking group that will bake from just one book only untill it's finished. Whe started out three weeks ago with the first recipe from Coffee cakes by Lou Seibert Pappas. Feel free to join in....



So this time Chris fom Yummy bakes got to pick a recipe; Apricot-pistachio-Lemon coffee cake.

I didn't feel like baking a hole cake for just the two of us so i made only a quart of the original recipe, that you can find here. I didn't have a small bund pan so i chose to pour the batter in to six smal souflle dishes/ ramekins that are about 2 inch wide and baked them for 20 minutes at 175C. 

My small individual cakes came out perfectly and tasted very nice. I think i really like apricot and pistachio together! Because it already are small round cakes i didn't need to cut the cake and that is where i got lucky with my choice of small cake pans.  The others baking this cake along with me had some difficulty with cutting the cake, because it gets crumbly because of all the apricot and pistachios in it.

There is a variation on this cake in the book: Cherry - hazelnut cake;
Follow the original recipe, substituting 1¼ cups dried cherries for the dried apricots and ¾ cup toasted and skinned hazelnuts, whole or chopped, for the pistachios.

I really liked to made the variation to but i could't find any dried cherries:-(


Come back here on the 18th of may then where baking a Blueberry streusel coffee cake.

zondag 15 april 2012

Grilled bananas with cajeta and cream



This weeks cooking theme at the I Heart Cooking Club is sweet tooth!
Searching true the recipes of Rick Bayless i got curious about cajeta at first because i didn't know what it was but now after tasting it, i do! A very nice cinnamon flavoured caramel sauce that is verry popular in mexico i understand.
But Cajeta is better known as dulce de leche in other parts of the world.

Making the cajeta was another daring experiment for me. Again because i tried to make caramel before and i always failed in attempt. It took me 1 hour and 45 minutes to finish the cajeta because i was afraid it would burn or boil over(don't like all the sticky stuff on my stove top). Like Rick said it would, it turned golden but only after 1 hour and 30 minutes. And i was stirring a lot tho prevent it to stick to the bottom of he pot.

I served the cajeta with this grilled banana recipe from rick and it was lovely. substituded the dulce the leche flavoured ice for cinnamon flavoured ice cream. and sprinkled some halved pecans on top.




Grilled bananas with cajeta and cream
Serves 4
Recipe by Rick Bayless

Ingredients
4 firm, but ripe, bananas with attractive stems
Vegetable oil for brushing or spritzing
8 small scoops best-quality ice cream, preferably dulce de leche flavor
1/2 cup Mexican cajeta (goat’s milk caramel sauce)

Directions
1. Heat a gas grill to medium or prepare a charcoal fire, letting the coals burn until they are covered with a gray ash and are medium hot. Cut the bananas through the stems lengthwise in half. Brush or spritz the cut sides with oil.
2. Place the bananas on the grill cut side down directly over the heat. Cover and grill until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Turn skin side down and continue grilling until tender and bananas have pulled away from their skins, 2 to 4 minutes more.
3. Arrange 2 banana halves on each serving plate. Top each serving with 2 scoops of ice cream. Drizzle each with about 2 tablespoons of the cajeta. Serve immediately.


Cajeta
Goat's Milk Caramel Sauce
Recipe by Rick Bayless

Makes about 3 cups

INGREDIENTS
2 quarts goat's milk or a combination of goat’s milk and cow’s milk—or even with all cow’s milk (use whole milk in all cases)
2 cups sugar
A  2-inch piece of cinnamon stick, preferably Mexican canela
1/2 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1 tablespoon water

DIRECTIONS
1.  Simmer the cajeta.   In a medium-large (6-quart) pot (preferably a Dutch oven or Mexican copper cazo), combine the milk, sugar and cinnamon stick and set over medium heat.  Stir regularly until the milk comes to a simmer (all the sugar should have dissolved by this point). Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the dissolved baking soda—it’ll foam up if the goat’s milk is acidic. When the bubbles subside, return the pot to the heat.   Adjust the heat to maintain the mixture at a brisk simmer (too high and the mixture will boil over; too low and the cooking time will seem interminable). Cook, stirring regularly, until the mixture turns pale golden, more or less one hour.   Now, begin stirring frequently as the mixture colors to caramel-brown and thickens to the consistency of maple syrup (you’ll notice the bubbles becoming larger and glassier).  Stir regularly so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. Test a couple of drops on a cold plate: When cool, the cajeta should be the consistency of a medium-thick caramel sauce.  If the cooled cajeta is thicker (almost like caramel candy), stir in a tablespoon or so of water and remove from the heat; if too runny, keep cooking.

2.  Finish the cajeta.   Pour the cajeta through a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl or a wide-mouth storage jar.  When cool, cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.  Warming the cajeta before serving (a microwave oven is efficient here) makes it extra delicious. Working Ahead:  Cajeta keeps for a month or more in the refrigerator.  Keep it tightly covered to keep it from absorbing other flavors.



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zondag 8 april 2012

Flour Tortillas a Mexican Basic



A new cook has arrived at I heart cooking clubs. After spending a lovely six months cooking With Tessa Kiros we are welcoming Rick Bayless as our next cook. His comfort zone in Cooking is believe it or not MEXICAN food, And mine definately isn't. I had my fare share of mexican food but mostly in restaurants and the only mexican meal i can prepare is from a manufactured mealkit. So The next six months will be fun or they won't but the main reason i started this blog 2 years ago was to learn better cooking and for that you can't stay in your comfort zone!

So for this first week the theme is ¡Bienvenido Rick! To welcome him at our cooking club and we can choos any recipe we want. So because i don't know anything from mexican cooking i thought it would be nice to start with some basic recipe and that is flour tortillas.

When i was reading some recipe from Rick Bayles i noticed another difficulty for me. He/mexican kitchen uses a lot of ingredient that aren't common in the netherlands. Such as Chipotle, Tomatillos, vegetable shortening or lard and more. So i have to find some creative solutions for that in the next six months.

Starting today with the flour tortillas, there was the first problem of the use of lard or vegetable shortening. I managed to get a jar of vegetable shortening but it cost me 6 euros(1 Euro = 1.3094 U.S. dollars at this moment). I think thats a little bit expensive so i want to find a substitute for it and i don't wan't to use butter.

So i divided the flour in two and made half the recipe with the vegetable shortening and the other half i used sunflower oil. The rolling of the tortillas was a little bit difficult but after a few they turn out almost round. The baking wend well too, both tortillas grilled niceley in the griddle and you can't see any visual differences between te two. The only thing is that the taste is miltlydifferent and the sunflower oil tortillas seemed a little softer then the ones made with the vegetable shortening. So now i know that the sunflower oil works well in this recipe.

Flour Tortillas
Tortillas de Harina
Makes 12 tortillas
Recipe from the Authentic Mexican Cookbook by Rick Bayless

Ingredients

3/4 pound (2 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour, plus a little extra for rolling the tortillas
5 tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening, or a mixture of the two, or 5 tblsp of sunflower oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
about 3/4 cup very warm tap water

Directions

1. Make the dough. Combine the flour and fat in a large mixing bowl, working in the fat with your fingers, until completely incorporated. Dissolve the salt in the water, pour about 2/3 cup of it over the dry ingredients and immediately work it in with a fork; the dough will be in large clumps rather than a homogeneous mass. If all the dry ingredients haven't been dampened, add the rest of the liquid (plus a little more, if necessary). Scoop the dough onto your work surface and knead until smooth. It should be medium-stiff consistency -- definitely not firm, but not quite as soft as most bread dough either.


2. Rest the dough. Divide the dough into 12 portions and roll each into a ball. Set them on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and let rest at least 30 minutes (to make the dough less springy, easier to roll).


3. Roll and griddle-bake the tortillas. Heat an ungreased griddle or heavy skillet over medium to medium-high heat.


On a lightly floured surface, roll out a portion of the dough into an even 7-inch circle: Flatten a ball of dough, flour it, then roll forward and back across it; rotate a sixth of a turn and roll forward and back again; continue rotating and rolling until you reach a 7-inch circle, lightly flouring the tortilla and work surface from time to time.


Lay the tortilla on the hot griddle (you should hear a faint sizzle and see an almost immediate bubbling across the surface). After 30 to 45 seconds, when there are browned splotches underneath, flip it over. Bake 30 to 45 seconds more, until the other side is browned; don't overbake the tortilla or it will become crisp. Remove and wrap in a cloth napkin placed in a tortilla warmer. Roll and griddle-bake the remaining tortillas in the same manner and stacking them one on top of the other.

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dinsdag 3 april 2012

Cheese-swirled chocolate bundt cake - THB




A new baking challenge with The Home Bakers. Starting today with this delicious cheese-swirled chocolate bundt cake!




About The Home Bakers

We are a group of home bakers who share the same passion in baking and we love collecting cookbooks! Most of us would probably have tried out about 2 or 3 recipes from some of the books that we own and these books somehow got pushed back till later or kinda forgotten, as we collect more cookbooks along the way! So at THB, we will bake from one cookbook only, until every recipe has been baked. This will not only fully utilized your cookbook to the maximum, but it will widen your baking skills, and learn more about baking as we share our experiences together. Come join us as we venture into the exciting world of baking right in our own kitchen haven. The challenge of The Home Bakers is to complete every recipe from one chosen cookbook. This will be an easier challenge if we are baking and sharing our experiences together. There's always something new to learn about baking!




The Chosen Book
We are currently baking from "Coffee Cakes" by Lou Seibert Pappas, who has written more than 50 cookbooks. "Coffee Cakes" is a beautiful cookbook with various bakes covering Sunday Brunch Cakes, Everyday Morning Cakes, Savory Picnic Cakes, Bundt Party Cakes and Delectable Dessert Cakes, a total of 60 wonderful recipes. Just by taking a peek at this book, would make you want to bake each and every recipes!



So a few weeks back i stumbled up on this site and as a cookbook addict it seemed nice to join in a club where whe would make every recipe from just one book(and didn't already started baking/cooking). So i ordered the book immediatly. I finally received my copy of coffecakes last week ans started baking last saturday. The recipe for this first time baking together was picked by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours who also is the creative mind behind The Home Bakers.
She chose to make this Cheese-swirled chocolate bundt cake and the recipe can be found at her blog, Right here.


The preparation of the cake wasn't very difficult to me, but i had some questions about how to put in the cheesecake filling? Because in the picture in the book the filling is actually INSIDE the cake and mine isn't(like you can see in my picture). In the recipe it is descriped as "Spoon half of the chocolate mixture into the prepared pan. Carefully spoon the cheesefilling over.Spoon the remaining chocolate mixture over and smooth the top." Naive as i am thinking the cheescake would end up nicely in the middle of the cake! Does anyone of you has any recommendations or tips how to get it in the middle of the cake the next time i would bake this cake?

Also i had to alternate two ingredients; The first one was the canola oil because its not a common product in this little corner of the world i substituded it for the exact amound of sunflower oil. The second where the walnuts i substituded them for pecans just because i had them in my pantry.

The baking time of 1 hour and 15 minutes my cake really needed that time to be ready, but after 45 minutes i coverded the cake pan with thin foil because the bottom was getting a litlle dry. Then when i removed the cak pan after 15 minutes waiting to cool down, i saw that the cheesecake filling didn't and up in the middle of the cake and i was a little bit dissapointed. But when i served this as a dessert that evening for my guests they loved it! and ofcourse i did too. The bottom became a little dry but the rest of the cake tasted even better the next day....

 Next time we will be baking a Apricot-Pistachio-Lemon Coffee Cake, so come bake here to see that on the 24th of April!








zondag 1 april 2012

Goodbye Tessa! Nutella Hazelnut chocolate balls



This is the week we say goodbye to Tessa Kiros who whe have been cooking with for the past six months over at I Heart Cooking Clubs. I have been enjoying this six months en fell in love with this cook, where again i'd never heard of before. I own copies of her books Twelve and Apples for Jam and i want to buy Food from many greek kitchens, because where fond on the greek food to.

For this last time a made a real treat Nutella hazelnut chocolate balls, its homemade Ferrero rocher but i liked it even better. Next week where start cooking with Rick Bayless, feel free to join in!



Nutella Hazelnut chocolate balls
adapted from Tessa Kiros, Apples for jam

Makes about 30

3 hazelnut wafer biscuits
250g (9oz) Roasted peeled hazelnuts, copped quite finely
about 165g (6½oz) Nutella/chocolate hazelnut spread
250g(9oz) milk chocolate

Crumble the biscuits into a bowl and add the hazelnuts and about two-thirds of the Nutella to start with. Mix together until it all looks a bit like a mud cake. Try rolling a small portion into a ball, if it breaks up, mix in more Nutella until it will hold shape. If the weather is hot, put the mixture into the fridge for a while before rolling.

Line a tray or a large flat plate with foil. Roll slightly heaped teaspoonfuls of mixture between your cool palms into compact little balls. Put them on the tray and into the fridge for an hour orso to firm up.

Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler, makins sure that the water doesn't touch the top bowl. Remove from the heat and let the chocolate cool for a few minutes. Drop the balls in one by one, turning them around so that they are completely covered. Return them to the tray, where they will flatten a bit on the bottom. Let them set completely, even in the fridge for the first half hour or so if the wheater's hot. Bring them out to room temperature and store in a tin in a cool dark place or the fridge. They will keep for a couple of weeks.



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dinsdag 13 maart 2012

Dutch "Boterkoek" for my 2nd blogiversary!





Dutch butter cake/cookie "boterkoek" is an easy recipe made with real Butter. It's a real rich, dense and buttery cake ofcourse, and is traditionally baked in a 20-24cm(8-9,5 inch)  round pan. This is the classic version but there are more version, this varieties are filled with almond paste, apricot or ginger. This cookie is mosthly eaten during coffee or thea- time in the netherlands.




Dutch butter cake"boterkoek"

Makes 10-12 portions

250G( +8 oz) Soft real butter
250G All-purpose flour
250G Sugar
2 Eggs
50G Almond flakes
Pinch of salt


Preheat the oven to 180C (355F). Butter or grease your cake pan and line with parchment paper, if you don't have a round cake pan you can use a square brownie pan instead.

Whisk the butter and sugar together in the mixer (or by hand), put in 1 egg and the pinch of salt. Add in the flour and mix untill the dough forms a soft ball. Spread the dough ball equaly in your lined baking pan. Cover the douch with some eggwash of the other egg and sprinkle with the almond flakes.
Bake for about 25 minutes untill its golden brown.






zaterdag 10 maart 2012

March meze Madness! Keftedes with fresh pita, tzatziki and cucumber meze




This week its March Meze Madness! over at I Heart Cooking Clubs.
So i made ourselves a little meze party for dinner, when my boyfriend came home from his work he almost couldn't wait to get started. I'm glad whe both like tzatziki. Whe ate the hole bowl so that will keep colds and the vampires away;-)




Keftedes (fried meatballs)

Tessa says,"These are very popular in Greece. They are lovely as a meze with a dish of feta and a few other bits and pieces. Of course they are also great with french fries. Many Greeks roll their keftedes in a little flour before frying."

Serves 35 balls

10½ ounces unpeeled potatoes [about 2]
1 pound 2 ounces ground beef
1 red onion, grated
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped Italian parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried mint
good pinch of ground cinnamon
1 egg, lightly beaten
salt and freshly ground black pepper
all-purpose flour, for dusting
olive oil for frying
lemon quarters, for serving








Boil the potatoes, covered, in plenty of water until they are soft when pierced with a fork.

Meanwhile, put the beef, onion, parsley, oregano, mint, cinnamon and egg into a bowl and mix. Drain the cooked potatoes and when they are cool enough to handle, peel and break up into the bowl. Season well with salt and pepper, then mash everything together with a potato masher. Knead again with your hands to make a compact mix. Form walnut-size balls of about 1 ounce each, but you can make them smaller or bigger if you like. Scatter some flour onto a flat plate and roll the balls lightly in the flour, keeping them in compact balls.

Heat olive oil to a depth of about 1/4 inch in a large nonstick skillet. Add as many balls as will fit to the skillet and fry until they are golden on all sides, flicking them gently to roll over. You will probably have to fry in two batches. Remove carefully with tongs and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Add a little salt (as fried things are always good with a last sprinkling of salt). Serve hot, with a few drops of lemon juice.


Pita bread

Makes 8 pitas

Tessa says,"Generally in Greece pita is found at a souvlaki house and some grill spaces. But it is also wonderful served plain instead of bread at your table with dips etc.
In Greece, the pita are more often wrapped than stuffed for souvlaki and kebabs, so they need to be a bit softer. They are then heated up at the barbecue, or in the oven or chargrill pan before filling. If you will be eating them straight away. However, cook them a little longer, until they just start to colour. These can be frozen once cooked and then just pulled out to thaw."

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon honey
450G (2 cups) bread flour
6 tablespoons olive oil


Sprinkle the yeast in a large bowl. Add the honey and 3 tablespoons warm water and mix to dissolve. Leave it till it starts to activate and get frothy. Add salt, flour, oil, and 7 oz water to the dough and mix until a rough dough slumps around your spoon. Change to your hands and knead until you have a soft springy dough, 8-10 minutes. It will seem sticky at first, but that is good, so only add more flour if the dough clings to your hands.

Wipe out the bowl with an oiled paper towel. Put the dough in, cover with plastic wrap, then a heavy cloth, and leave in a warm place to puff up until about double in size (1 1/2-2 hours).

Preheat the oven to 400. Punch down the dough and divide into 8 balls. Press each ball into a flat disk with your hands and leave for 5 minutes for them to relax.
Roll out the disks into a circle about 1/6" thick. Brush lightly with olive oil and put onto unfloured baking sheets. Bake one sheet at a time util they are firmed on the first side, 5 minutes or so, then turn them over amd bake for another 3 minutes, or until the top surface is dry. You will finish cooking them under the broiler or in the oven when you are about to serve, so they should be a little underdone.
Remove and immeaditely stack them on top of each other and wrap in plastic wrap to keep them pliable. To serve, brush each side lightly with olive oil and put under the broiler to warm both sides.




Tzatziki(Yogurt, Cucumber, Garlic)
Serves a nice bowlful
Tessa says, "This is a subtle amount of garlic comparred with some versions that you might come across. So you can add more if you like. If the garlic bothers you, you can leave it out completely, but it's not really tzatziki then. Tzatziki is a beauty as it takes just about anything to a different level. wonderful with chips, lamb chops, bread and many other dishes."

2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small cucumber
1 teaspoon salt
250g Greek yogurt
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped mint
       

Using the flat of your knife, crush the garlic with a pinch of salt into a paste. Put into a small bowl with the oil, and leave to marinate while you prepare the rest.


Top and tail the cucumber and peel it. I like it striped, with one strip peeled and the next left unpeeled. Using the large holes of the grater, grate the cucumber into a sieve. Scatter with the salt and leave it for 30 minutes or so to drain, turning it over a couple of times and even pressing it down with your hands or a wooden spoon.


Put the yogurt into a bowl for serving. Add the garlic and oil, the mint and a couple of grinds of black pepper. Fold the cucumber through and taste for salt. This can be stored in the fridge, covered, for a couple of days. The cucumber will give up a little water, but stir it through to loosen the tzatziki.


Cucumber meze

Serves 2

Tessa says,"This is extremely instant and extremely simple. The kind of thing you could eat a bucket of in summer. The recipe is easy to double; just reduce the olive oil slightly-about 1½ tablespoons.

Serves 2
1 cucumber, about 200g peeled and sliced
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon dried mint
about 1 Tablebspoon olive oil

Mix the cumcumber, lemon juice, and mint together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and toss again. Just before serving, drizzle the cucumber slices with olive oil.







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