Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Yummy shortbread cookies

We found a recipe for easy cookies but we made changes and came up with this recipe instead. We used it at one of our children's class and we had lots of fun making these.

INGREDIENTS:
250 grams of butter at room temperature*
1 cup of icing sugar
3 cups of flour
1 tsp vanilla
A bit of milk
Sprinkles to decorate

1. Cream the butter and sugar in the mixer until well combined and light
2. Add the flour and mix
3. Once the mixture is crumbly, add the vanilla and a bit of milk just to make sure the dough sticks together. Knead either by hand or with the kneading hook on your mixer.
4. Cut them in shapes and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180ºC for about 10 minutes or until the edges are brown. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack before they cool down (or they can break).




Sunday, 21 October 2012

Tomato plants not giving fruit!

So F and I have a little veggie/herb patch and so far we have planted parsley, dill, coriander, basil, romanesco, tomatoes, onion and jalapeño peppers. We have been successful with the herbs and are still waiting for the veggies.
We were so excited when we first planted our tomatoes and knew what our restrictions were since we live in an apartment and we don't have sunshine all day. Specifically talking about tomatoes, the plants grew nice and healthy looking, we got lots of flowers but then they would just dry and fall off and we wouldn't get any fruit  :(
After doing some research, we decided to move the plants to a place in the balcony where the sun hits for more hours during the day and then gently brushed the flowers with a paintbrush to imitate the process of pollination bees do (we live up where bees wouldn't really visit).
After only 2 days (yes! 2 days!) we have 2 tiny tomatoes! As you can tell, we are so excited that had to write it here so we can share our experience. So, if you are struggling with this issue, perhaps you can try this and it will work for you too :)

P.s. Our tiny romanesco has started to come out as well!





Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Japanese milk bread

We found this recipe from La Fuji Mama and we decided we HAD to try it! We had never made bread before so this was quite exciting.

You can find the recipe and more details here.

Milk Japanese bread

INGREDIENTS:
2 1/4 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoon instant dry yeast
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 cup of warm milk 

1. Mix the half of the flour with the sugar, yeast, and salt. 
2. Add the milk, mix well and then add the remaining flour until combined. In a mixer, using the dough hook, knead the dough for 5 minutes or you can choose to do it by hand until the dough is smooth and stretchy. 

3. Cover the dough and let it rise until it doubles in size (about 1 hour). We used a kitchen cloth.
4. Roll the sticky dough out into a rectangle about 8 inches by 14 inches on a smooth, greased surface with a greased rolling pin. Roll the shorter ends just a bit and then roll the dough and put crease down in the greased loaf pan.

5. Cover and let rise in a warm place until it has risen over the pan (about 2cm).
6. When the dough has risen over the middle, preheat the oven at 200 C.
8. When the dough is ready*, brush the top with some milk, then bake it for 25 to 30 minutes (the top of the loaf should be golden brown and sound hollow when tapped lightly). 
9. Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. 

Enjoy!
*Don't touch the dough after the second rise. We did and it deflated!!  Still delicious though :)





Boiled quinoa

INGREDIENTS:
2 parts water
1 part quinoa
Seasonings (optional)

1. Bring the water to the boil and then add seasonings if desired (we usually don't add anything but we have used stock cubes or salt). Add the quinoa to the boiling water.
2. Bring to the boil again and then reduce heat to minimum and let simmer covered until little holes appear and the water is consumed.
3. Remove from heat and stand covered for about 15 minutes.

Serve as rice or use as cereal with fruits and milk!



Chicken with mushrooms and cream

This is super easy and very delicious (well, at least for us). It is very similar to stroganoff but way simpler.

INGREDIENTS:
1tbsp oil
1 tbsp butter
Boneless, skinless chicken (we used 3 pieces of thigh fillet, diced)
1 can of drained champignon sliced
500ml of sour cream*
3x chicken stock cubes*

1. Heat the oil and butter in saucepan.
2. Stir in chicken (it can be cut in whatever way you like or left whole), cook and brown on both sides. Take out of pan and save.
3. In the same saucepan you cooked the chicken, fry the champignons until slightly brown and add the stock cubes.
4. Stir in the sour cream and the cooked chicken and simmer for 10 minutes.

Serve with white rice and some greens if desired. This time we served with some quinoa (RECIPE HERE). Delicious!
NOTE: when simmering at the end you will notice some of the fat going to the surface. You can choose to scoop it out before serving.
* If you are near a Central American shop and can get your hands on mantequilla crema, use this instead of the sour cream and only add 2 instead of 3 stock cubes.

Easiest cheesecake!

INGREDIENTS:
- If you want to make the crust:
1 pack of plain cookies (we use Marie)
200 gr melted butter
a bit of milk

- For the filling:
1 pack of cream cheese
1 can of condensed milk
2 eggs
A splash of lemon juice

To make the crust, crush the cookies and mix with the melted butter and some milk until it has a doughy consistency. Press on the pie pan either just on the bottom or the bottom and sides and bake in preheated oven (165 C) for about 10 minutes until the top is no longer shiny. Remove from oven.



While baking the crust put all the ingredients for the filling in the blender and mix well. Spray the edges before adding the cheese mixture so it doesn't stick. Top the baked crust with the mixture and put back in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the middle doesn't shake when wiggled. Remove from oven and let cool.


NOTE: You can add pretty much anything to your cheesecake from fruit to chocolate and nuts. We added Lindt balls to ours. Just spread the toppings you like over the crust and cover with the cheese mixture.

Also, cheesecakes taste best the day after they are made once they have set, so if you're planning to make it for an event, we suggest you make it the day before :)


Monday, 15 October 2012

Ghormeh Sabzi (herbs, beans and meat stew)

Every Persian cook has their own way of making ghormeh sabzi. We don't want you to think this is the traditional way to make it but we have seen Persians cook it and this is our version of this delicious stew. It full of greens and protein!

INGREDIENTS:
Oil

1/2 bunch of celery
2 bunches of parsley
A bit of dry mint and fenugreek*

1 medium onion diced
Meat on bone (we used 2 pieces of beef osso buco and diced it)
1-2 cans of red kidney beans
4 dried lemons* slightly broken for the flavours to come out (not too much because the seeds are really bitter)
The juice of 1-2 limes (depending on preference)
Salt and pepper to taste and any other spices you'd like to add (we use turmeric and ground cumin)
Water

1. Chop finely the celery and parsley and put in a frying pan with a bit of oil until it is soft. Remove from heat and save (you can fry it in batches days or even weeks in advance and store in the freezer in an airtight container or freezer bag).
2. Heat a large pot with some oil. Add the diced onion and slightly brown. Add the diced meat and the bone, and brown both sides.
3. Add the celery and parsley to the meat and stir in the mint and fenugreek**. Throw in the drained beans and stir.
4. Add the salt and pepper, the dried lemons and the lime juice. Add some water just to cover the stew. Once boiling, lower the heat, stir and simmer for about 2 hours, stirring every once in a while. Taste and adjust salt if required. Some people like to take the dried lemons out because they can be quite bitter (especially the seeds).

Serve with long grain white rice -we prefer basmati.

*You can find dry fenugreek, mint and dried lemons in middle-eastern stores.
** We added previously fried and frozen herbs without thawing so we reduced the amount of water added at the end. You can also add other herbs. We have added fresh chives when we had them.


Oatmeal (porridge) for breakfast

This is one thing Faizi and I make quite often for breakfast. It is easy, delicious and nutritious!

INGREDIENTS:
1.5 cups of milk or water
1/2 cup of oats (any kind will do)
Cinnamon (optional)
Honey, maple syrup or sugar to sweeten.
Fruits and nuts (optional)

Pour about 1.5 cups of milk or water in a saucepan and add 1/3 of the oats. The more oats you add, the thicker it will be but remember that while cooking it may look runny, as it cools down it starts becoming thicker. Bring to boil and add the remaining oats if you want; reduce heat to minimum. Simmer for a few minutes and remove from heat.
Serve and add whatever you want to it: cinnamon, sweeteners, fruits and nuts :)

We added sliced banana and maple syrup to ours!

Friday, 12 October 2012

Piña Colada ice cream

So here is a recipe my son and I made yesterday. Took us right back to the Caribbean :)

INGREDIENTS:

1 can sweetened condensed milk (you can use light if you prefer)
1 can coconut milk
1 can pineapple in juice
Some shredded coconut
A bit of milk

Add all the ingredients except the milk into a blender and mix for about 1-2 minutes until well combined. You can add the milk only if necessary.
Put the mixture in an airtight container for 2 hours before transferring to your ice cream maker (this speeds up the process).
Once in the ice cream maker, check periodically until it achieves the desired consistency (ours was still a bit soft so we put it in the freezer for a few hours). You can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the freezer.

NOTE: If you don't have an ice cream maker, just take the container with the mix out of the freezer every 2 hours and scrape the sides and give it a good mix until you reach the desired consistency.
Piña colada ice cream

Some friends and I spoke about how difficult it can be to come up with new recipes for your family so... my son and I decided to start up this blog to share recipes we cook for our family. Because one of us is a toddler, some of these will be very much targeted to that audience.

As you will notice, we do not spend hours in the kitchen so a lot of these recipes are quite easy and fast to make. We try to come up with our own recipes or versions of dishes and a lot of the time they are based on the items we have available to us at home.

Hablamos Español así que pondremos recetas en Español también.

If you have a recipe to share, please do!
Let the cooking begin :)