How to make your own peanut butter from scratch

how to make your own peanut butter

how to make your own peanut butter by this foodie

I was out of peanut butter the other day and in no mood to go shopping for some, but I did have a big bag of shell-roasted peanuts at home, so I tried making my own peanut butter.

I used peanuts that are roasted in their shell, so they were just slightly oily, but not too much. I added a pinch of salt, two spoons of honey and another two spoons of olive oil. I ended up adding a third spoon of oil but I stopped there because I didn’t want to make it too heavy. And that’s the butter you see in the first photo.

I used a kitchen, hand mixer, but I would guess that the stronger your mixer is, the finer the paste you’ll get. I also didn’t want to add too much oil, but you could get a creamier peanut butter if you added a bit more oil than I did. You could also try mixing it for longer.

I would recommend this peanut butter to cook with, it’s delicious for pastas, sauces and I also made bread with it. It’s heavier and chunkier than your store-bought peanut butter so you might not like the strong flavour of the olive oil.

Variations:

  1. Use another type of oil, like almond oil if you don’t like the strong flavour of the olive oil
  2. Mix it with tahini to make a favoured humus base
  3. Mix it with cayenne pepper and use just a bit on a cracker with cheese
  4. Mix it with cinnamon and skip the salt and spread it thinly on a cheese cracker or biscuit
  5. Mix it with cocoa to make a chocolately pastry filling

Have you ever made your own peanut butter? What recipe did you use?

A typical breakfast in the UK

The last breakfast around the world took us to the UK. We had sunny fried eggs, sausages, mushrooms, bacon and white peas. I am sure a true British will find many flaws in this arrangement, but we found it delightful :) And very energizing.

There isn’t a lot of magic in the making off – we fried the eggs, grilled the mushrooms, the sausages and made the bacon crispy.

We used the beans straight from the can 😮 and even though I was a bit skeptical about beans for breakfast, they turned out quite nice in combination with the greasy sausages.

Now, is there a real British in the house? Will they tell us how to improve our breakfast?

Delicious and easy lettuce soup

I didn’t even know you could make lettuce soup until I found myself with a big bunch of curly lettuce on it’s way to waste. This is an easy, tasty, lazy soup that you can make in less than half an hour.

For 2 portions, you will need:

  • half a medium onion
  • a scrabble piece sized piece of butter or olive oil
  • a bunch of lettuce
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • a bit of salt
  • a bit of pepper
  • half a cup of boiled or canned chickpeas

How to cook your lettuce soup

lettuce curly

1. First you dice the onion and you cook it in the butter until it becomes almost translucent, then add the chopped lettuce and stir until the lettuce whilts.

2. Add the chicken broth and chickpeas and boil for around 15 minutes. You could boil it more if you want your soup to puree very finely, but I am fine with it having some texture.

3. At the end add salt and pepper, or any condiments you like. Use a blender to cream your soup or eat as it is.

Variations:

  1. You could add peppers to your soup or change the chickpeas with corn and that will change your soup a lot.
  2. You could also add one or two spoons of grated cheese in your plate, as your serve, or you could mix in some cream.
  3. You can serve this as is or with croutons. (Sometimes when I don’t have bread in the house or I feel like something different I make simple water and corn flour tortillas).
  4. You could also serve this with a wedge avocado on the side or chopped and added directly into the plate

Delicious!

The easiest bread recipe on the Internet

Making your own bread is easy. It´s a beautiful process, that can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. Because I like simplicity, I also tend to simplify all my recipes and leave room for experimenting in a conscious way.

To make a loaf of bread you need

  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 25 grams of fresh yeast
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 spoons of olive oil for kneading

Start by mixing the sugar with the warm water, then dissolve the fresh yeast. Wait for 10 minutes until it forms a bit of foam on top. In a bowl, add the flour and salt and mix well, then pour in the warm water and yeast. Knead until you have incorporated all the flour.

Then, on a clean surface, add a bit of olive oil, add some on the bread and start kneading. The more you knead, the more layers and holes you´ll have in your bread because the yeast will mix well with the flower and it will make it raise. You can knead from 5 minutes (if you´re really lazy) to 10 (makes a nice medium fluffy, bread) or until you start sweating a little bit (Grandma dixit!). Then put it back in the bowl, cover it with a clean towel and let it rest from 1 to 2 hours.

Some people swear by plastic wrap, but a towel works just fine and you can reuse it as many times as you want. Hmm, here´s a crazy idea, why not have a special ¨the bread is rising, don´t disturb¨ tea towel? Ok, let´s focus…

When the dough has doubled it size, start warming up your oven to high heat.

You can bake your bread in a mold or make round buns, you can hide little pieces of cheese, crunchy bacon, anchovies, olives or whatever you want. There is no limit, really, just try things that sound good to you.

Bake it at high heat, in the middle of the oven for at least 30 hour (buns) to one hour (loaf), checking it after the first 30 minutes every 10 minutes or so. It´s done when the toothpick you push through the middle of your bread comes out clean and dry.

When warm, try a bit with butter and salt.

Enjoy the bread you´ve made!

Lemon and banana muffins: an illustrated recipe

drawn recipe lemon muffins4.jpg

Today I had an idea of illustrating all my recipes and binding them into a book. This could work, as I am a visual learner and I’ve always been amazed how much easier it is for me to remember things that I’ve seen written or drawn somewhere.  Does this happen to you too?

This is the lemon and banana muffin recipe I made this week. You could bake it in a muffin tin or a bread tin, it’s still delicious :)

It’s very easy to make, you take:

  • 3 lemons
  • 2 bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • a pinch o love 😉

First, mash your bananas and grate your lemons; put the lemon peel into the banana mash.

Then mix your sugar, eggs and olive oil until pale yellow and foamy. You can do this by hand or in a blender (I won’t tell). Add your mashed bananas and mix well. Mix the baking powder and salt into the flour, then add slowly and incorporate into the wet mix.

Put the batter into a muffin tin and bake at 180 degrees Celsius or 350 Fahrenheit for 20- 30 minutes or until golden on top dry inside (you can check this with a toothpick inserted in the middle of 1 muffin: if it comes out wet, it’s not ready yet). If you’re putting this into a loaf tin you will need to bake it longer, from 45 to 60 minutes.

Brew a fresh cup of tea and enjoy the lemony flavour that’s driving all your neighbours crazy!

 

Freckled Mini Cheese Buns

fast cheese buns recipe

We had some salty hard cheese left over the other day and we wanted to make a some quick-bake buns to go with the sunny day outside so we mixed the crushed cheese with a fork, added some fresh cheese and corn flour and a half an hour later, there it was: a dozen of small, freckled, cheesy burns, perfect with blueberry jam and a fresh banana and celery milkshake.

cheese buns recipe

Since we were going to eat them right away, we didn’t use any baking powder or yeast, but if you prefer a spongy texture to a very chewy and cheesy one, you could add some.

You will need:

1 cup of grated or mashed salted or crumbly cheese
1/3 cup of fresh cheese or greek yogurt
1/2 cup of corn flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder (optional)

Mix the salty and fresh cheese together. If your mix is still too dry and doesn’t mix well, add some more yogurt or milk before kneading the dough with flour. Knead for a couple of minutes, until firm and bouncy and form small golf-ball-sized buns.

Bake for 15-20 minutes over medium-high heat (or until golden on top).

freckled small cheese buns

These taste great with jam (if you like the salty-sweet combination) or as they are, fresh from the oven.

For 1 portion of banana and celery milkshake I blended half a cup of yogurt, 1 banana and 1 finger-sized celery stick. If you don’t like the taste of the celery, you could swap it for freshly squeezed orange juice. It’s delicious!

Easy Walnut Banana Bread Recipe

easy banana bread recipe.jpg

This is an easy and delicious recipe that’s great to employ when you want to save those forgotten, overripe bananas.

soft banana bread recipe.jpg

What we really like about this banana bread, is how soft it is and how well it preserves for up to a week (depending on your own eating habits:)

You could change this recipe up in several ways: you could cover the loaf in sugar icing or chocolate or swap the sugar for honey.

You will need:

  • 3-4 ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • less than half a cup of oil or melted butter
  • a pinch of salt
  • a teaspoon baking powder
  • walnuts or raisins

This recipe is quick to prepare so I’d advise you to turn your oven on before starting to mix your ingredients, to make sure you have the perfect temperature(170 degrees Celsius, or 330 Fahrenheit) when you’re done.

Firstly, mash the bananas with a blender or a fork, until a smooth puree is formed. In another bowl, mix together, until soft and foamy, the sugar, salt and oil or butter.

Once your mixture is soft and airy, add the smashed bananas and the eggs and mix well, until homogeneous. Add the walnuts (you can use any kind of nuts you want) or raisins. To change the mix of flavours you could add in a bit of orange peel, but be careful not to put too much, as you’ll lose the soft, comforting flavour of the banana.

Mix the baking powder into the flour, the pour into your existing mixture. Pour the mixture into a bread pan, that’s been previously dresses in baking paper.

Bake for 45 minutes or until cooked in the middle and enjoy!

 

 

 

How to Make Traditional Romanian Mucenici (Soft Honey Bread)

Mucenici is a traditional holiday in Romania and Moldova on the 9th of March; it celebrates spring and the new spring brings. The legend says that the Martyrs (The Mucenici) were soldiers drowned by the roman emperor Licinius and that the 8 shape symbolises the human body.

Mucenici is a type of bread that is soft and perfumed, glazed with honey and sprinkled with crushed walnuts.

mucenici recipe

soft honey and nuts bread recipe.

To prepare mucenici, you will need:

  • half a kilo of flour
  • a cup of milk (you can use water or soy milk if you’re vegan)
  • 25g fresh yeast
  • the peel of a small orange
  • half a cup of olive oil
  • 5 spoons of sugar
  • a pinch of salt

how to make mucenici 1.jpg

First of all prepare the fresh yeast: warm the milk and mix it with a spoon of sugar, then incorporate the fresh yeast in it. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, while you grate the orange.

flour with orange peels and milk.jpg

Put all your flour into a large bowl and make a crater in the middle. Pout the milk and yeast, the rest of sugar, the salt, the grated orange peel and the oil altogether.

on top of the flour add the milk the yeast and some olive oil.jpg

Then mix well, for around 5 minutes, until the dough stops sticking to your fingers.

start mixing the dough.jpg

At this point, the dough should be soft and elastic. Let it sit in warm place for an hour, so the dough can rise.

the dough before letting it rise.jpg

Then pre-heat your oven at 180 degrees celsius (350 F) and shape into small eight-shapes pieces.

how to make mucenici the shape.jpg

how to make a 8 shape our of bread.jpg

When you arrange them in the baking tray, make sure you leave a bit of space between them, as they will rise a bit more in the oven.

mucenici before.jpg

Bake for around 30 minutes or until golden on top.

mucenici after.jpg

While they cool down a bit, warm up some honey and brush the mucenici with plenty of it. The more layers you put, the more syrupy they’ll be. Sprinkle crumbled walnuts of over and pour yourself a nice cup of coffee to go with it.

Pofta Buna!

How to Make Delicious Fresh Pasta

how to make beautiful fresh pasta fresh pasta recipe hand made fresh pasta

My grandmother never bought noodles or pasta, it was simply not something you would buy. A mother and a daughter would meet and make fresh pasta together; sometimes it given as a gift, but never sold, never bought.

Sometimes my grandmother would take a still-warm egg and knead it with flour and salt until a golden, soft and crumbly dough was formed. Then the dough was kneaded for a bit longer, with soft touches but fast, so it wouldn’t dry too much and the dough became more elastic.

The dough was then extended with a rolling pin into a paper-thin surface. A perfectly thin, golden surface. The table-wide paper-like dough was then sprinkled with flour and quickly folded in two, in three, in four, as many as needed.

With a big, sharpened knife, the dough was cut into thin, perfectly equal noodles.

Some of this pasta was used fresh and sometimes it was put to dry out of sun and out of sight into a less-circulated space, like a table in a guest room.

I had never eaten a more delicious chicken soup with noodles than the one my grandmother cooks. In my family, we all agree she makes the best one. Her food is grown organically, and she always uses the most tasty ingredients. You know, tomatoes that taste like tomatoes, apples that taste of apples.

And still, there’s something else, something so sweet, and comforting and wonderful that we’ve never tasted anywhere else. It could be the fresh herbs, but that’s not it either.

I ask her what the secret is and she says it’s… the noodles. When I ask her for the noodle recipe, she laughs, her eyes and lips creating happy wrinkles on her face. There is no recipe. No need.

You just take an egg and mix it with flour and a bit of salt…

The Importance of a Good Sushi Rice

salmon and tuna nigiris with caviar salmon maki rolls

One of the most important elements of good sushi is a good sushi rice, says Jiro in Jiro Dreams of Sushi. The rice should have the right temperature (body temperature), texture (not too sticky, not too watery, not to dry) and the right amount of vinegar, salt and sugar.

It’s easy to cook bad sushi rice. I’ve done it more than a couple of times. I try to skip steps, I hurry, I don’t take it seriously enough. One thing that I learned from JP (the photographer behind this blog) is that when it comes to sushi rice you have to take your time and enjoy.

It all starts with washing the rice. You can wash it 4, 5, 6, 7 times, as much as your rice needs until the water runs clear. Then let it rest in cold water for 45 minutes in the same quantity of water, as rice. Then pour into a saucepan, cover the rice and bring to boil on high heat. When it boils, turn the heat low and cook without lifting the lid for another 20 minutes. Turn the heat of, then let it rest for another 10 minutes.

In a bowl, prepare your sushi vinegar with salt and sugar. Prepare this to your taste, but start with the proportions of salt and sugar 1/2. One teaspoon should be more than enough for a 250 ml mug.

Put your rice into a glass bowl and start adding the vinegar,a little bit each time, then taste it, all this while fanning the rice to help it cool faster. The rice shouldn’t be hot when you start adding it to makis or nigiris.

Now you are ready to make sushi.