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!

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!

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

Grilled Broccoli with Hummus Sauce and Roasted Sesame Seeds

garlic-broccoli-3

This has to be one of the easiest dinner ideas ever. You only need: fresh broccoli, canned chickpeas, lemon, salt and pepper. Some fresh parsley would be nice too.

Make the humus first: add 2 garlic cloves to a can of chickpeas and the juice of half a lemon and zzzap everything together until creamy and soft. Add salt and pepper to taste, but don’t overdo it. If you’re brave add a small pinch of cinnamon and a spoon of honey to it, it’s really tasty.

Proceed to roasting the sesame seeds in a small pan. Add a teaspoon of water and the third of a pinch of salt, the keep the seeds moving in the pan until they turn a warmer brown (not black :).

On to the broccoli. Get some olive oil into the palm of your hand and rub your hands together, then massage the broccoli florets with it before grilling it. You don’t need to put too much. Grill then mix with the humus, as you would with pasta.

Photo and Idea adapted from Babble.

Soft Top Apple Pie Recipe

soft top apple pie

I found this beautiful perfumed green apples the other day and I bought more than I needed. Everyone in the house thought “apple pie” the moment they saw them on the counter; so I obliged. I wanted to do something new though so I tried this new recipe. It turned out great so I am sharing the how to below.

Let me know if you liked it!

You will need:

  • 3 big apples
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup of oil
  • 1/3 cup of milk
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1rsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  1. Turn your oven on so it will be well heated by the time you’ve prepared your pie.
  2. Grate the apples and add into a cooking pot with half the sugar, the cinnamon and nutmeg and baking powder. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes until the apples turn brownish and lose half of their liquid.
  3. Oil a pie mold and add the apples at the bottom of it.
  4. Mix the eggs, milk, egg, the rest of sugar together, then mix in the flour. Pour on top of the apples in your pie mold.
  5. Put in the oven and leave it bake for 20 minutes at 160 degrees Celsius or 320 Fahrenheit. After the 20 minutes have passed take your pie out and make some cuts in the crust, then put it back in the oven until the top dough is golden.
  6. Serve hot or cold.

5 Gluten-free Delicious Recipes to Try

spring rolls

This post is for Belén : )

If you eat gluten free there are still so many new and delicious recipes to try. I selected these ones from one of the most beautiful food sites on the world wide web, 101 Cookbooks. I want to try them all.

Green Pea Soup

Source: 101cookbooks.com via sky on Pinterest

How to make it: Boil together fresh or frozen peas, add ginger, salt, garlic, chile, a small onion, a few fresh mint leaves and a sprinkle of fresh lemon juice. Roast cheese to use as croutons.

Oregano Brussels Sprouts

Source: 101cookbooks.com via sky on Pinterest

 

Make it: Cook the sauce first: mix olive oil, chopped parsley, oregano, garlic and salt. Cook the Brussels sprouts in hot olive oil over medium heat until they are tender. Add the sauce.

Wintery Spring Rolls

Source: 101cookbooks.com via sky on Pinterest

Make them: This recipe asks for rice paper wrappers but you can skip them and use lettuce instead as a wrap. Quickly fry a small finely chopped onion, ginger, salt and green garlic. Remove the oil and use it to “bathe” the rice paper or lettuce. Fry a few pieces of tofu in a sugary oil mix. When it’s done, remove the tofu and cook the mushrooms. Arrange everything in little bouquets.

Saag Paneer

Source: 101cookbooks.com via sky on Pinterest

 

How to cook it: Add a teaspoon of butter or oil in a wok or big soup pot. Throw in quickly a finely chopped small onion, chopped garlic, ginger and other spices your feel mix well with spinach. When the onion is almost brown throw in the spinach and let cook. Fry the paneer cheese (or another type of cheese that you like) quickly in a very small amount of butter or olive oil. Add on top of the cooked spinach. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Parmesan Cheese Spread

Source: 101cookbooks.com via sky on Pinterest

 

Make it: Mix 1 cup of finely grated parmesan cheese with 2 spoons of olive oil and another 2 spoons of white wine. You can also add: chopped dates or figs, sun-dried tomatoes or dry herbs.

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