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.

Easy Cheesy Buns Recipe

easy breakfast buns with cheese and nuts

What’s nicer on a Sunday morning than the smell of freshly baked bread? And what if you could cut the preparation time by 80% by using baking powder instead of yeast and making small palm-filling easy bake buns?

easy cheese filled morning buns

These cheesy buns are super easy to make.

You will need:

  • 1 cup grated cheese for the dough (any kind will work, experiment with your favourite kind or use some cheese leftovers)
  • 1 cup corn flour (you could also use yuca flower for this recipe)
  • a spoon of butter or olive oil or any kind of oil you have
  • half a cup of fresh or cottage cheese
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of baking powder
  • 1 egg
easy cheese buns recipe
photo by JP Carrascal

Mix everything in a bowl until a soft dough is formed. Roll into egg-size or smaller spheres and bake in a tray over baking paper, at high heat, until golden on top. They should be ready in around 20 minutes, but you can check if they are with a toothpick. Push the toothpick in the centre of one of your buns: if it comes our clean, it’s ready, if it comes out still wet with dough, give it 5 more minutes and try again.

Optionally you could fill these with another type of cheese, with jam, olives, nuts anything you want really!

Enjoy your snack!

Top Foodies Links For January

happy hamburger

If you’re finding that you would use some cooking inspiration, here are some ideas from some of the most talented food bloggers out there.

A meal to cook in 20 minutes

In a bit of hurry? These french bread pizzas from The Comfort of cooking are perfect for a quick lunch that doesn’t compromise its deliciousness. And it’s a great way to reuse a day old baguette. You will need cheese that melts, olives, chopped vegetables (I will try this with some chorizo) and around 20 minutes of your time.

Something new and easy

Feel like trying something new for dinner? What about these shiitake bok choy dumplings from Kelsey from Happy Olks? I love how beautiful and easy to make these look. I would almost say: if you make these, don’t keep them to yourself only. And if you live near Barcelona, invite me over :)

Something new and complex

I am enchanted by Teri’s (from the Spoon Fork Bacon Blog) Korean Kabocha Squash Porridge. It looks so exotic to me! It’s a silky squash soup with rice balls (I have to see where I can find rice flour in Barcelona). I think I would add a bit of cayenne peppers to this, but it looks, oh, so, so delicious.

Something sweet

If you’re looking for something sweet to give you a bit of energy kick, why not try this homemade snickers recipe from Ashley Rodriguez from Not Without Salt? You will need peanuts, caramel and chocolate.

Hope you liked January’s foodie links. If you have or seen a recipe you want to share, feel free to add it in the comments!

 

Crunchy Toasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Reduction

Crunchy Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Reduction

I love brussels sprouts. These miniature cabbages, part of the brassica genus are close relatives of broccoli, cauliflowers, mustard and of course, cabbage and they contain a chemical called sulforaphane, which is believed to have anticancer properties. The best way to cook them (if you don’t want to reduce amount of the above-mentioned compound) is to steam of stir fry them.

This recipe keeps the sprouts crunchy yet with that wonderful toasted flavour. The mix of the goat cheese with the acid green apple and pomegranate seeds is wonderful.

crunchy brussels sprouts with goat cheese

Ingredients:

  • brussels sprouts
  • one pomegranate
  • goat cheese
  • a handful of almonds
  • fresh ginger
  • fresh parsley
  • one orange

Optional:

  • one teaspoon sugar for the pomegranate reduction
  • lettuce
  • garlic

Season with salt and pepper.

Time needed: 30 minutes

First wash and cut your brussels sprouts in halves. Wash and dry some fresh parsley and chop some ginger into not so small dices.

brussels sprouts ginger and parsley

Then pit your pomegranate and chop a handful of toasted almonds.

winter granadilla

pomegranate seeds and almonds

Cut the goat cheese in big chunks and then sprinkle the juice of half an orange on top of it.

goat cheese orange and garlic

Take your pomegranate seeds and a teaspoon of sugar and start boiling them at very low heat until they juice becomes a thin sauce. Add the juice of the other half orange while they boil.

pomegranate reduction

In a pan toast the sprouts. You don’t need a lot of oil, a drop is enough. If you have a bit more time (30 minutes) you could toast them in the oven. Just put some olive oil in your palms and massage the sprouts, then sprinkle some salt and roast at high heat.

If you’re in a hurry, the pan will roast your brussels sprouts in a few minutes. toasting brussels sprouts

When everything’s ready chop some apples and mix everything together.

Bon profit!

crunchy brussles sprouts

Final Pie Breakdown

Everybody loves pie. Pie is comforting, sweet and pretty.

According to a survey and infographic by Coupon Cabin, the top 3 most popular pies are: Apple Pie, Strawberry Pie and Pumpkin Pie, followed by Cherry, Lemon Meringue and Pecan Pie.

Mmm… pie…

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