Monday, August 27, 2012

Coconut & Prune Muffins

I was testing in the kitchen today and came up with this recipe. I find almond extract does a very good job masking the taste of stevia, for those who like a little sweetness but not a stevia after taste, and the prunes add flavour and sweetness as well. I didn’t weigh anything as I had my measuring cups out. So here goes…

1 cup greek yogourt
6 pitted dry prunes
¼ cup coconut oil
4 eggs
½ cup oat flour
2 tbsp coconut flour
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp almond extract
1 dropper stevia
Pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients except the coconut flour and shredded coconut in a blender until smooth. Remove mix from blender and pour in a bowl. Fold in half the shredded coconut and the coconut flour.

Divide into paper lined muffin tins and sprinkle with remaining shredded coconut. Bake in pre-heated oven at 350F for about 40 minutes. Makes 8 muffins and the house smells like a vacation from the toasted coconut on top!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Spicy Cheese & Speck Muffins

As a chef, I get inspired by some recipes I see but always start working in my head how I can change it to make it even better, for my taste buds at least :) It seems coconut flour breads allow me to maintain my weight, while wheat bloats me right up to a blimp form. Here is my take from a simple cheese and ham muffin recipe to a spicy muffin with speck and Swiss cheese. Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.

3 eggs
30g speck, chopped
60g Swiss cheese, grated
30g coconut flour
2tbsp coconut oil
¼ tsp dry thyme
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
½ tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt and pepper

Beat eggs with oil, salt, pepper and thyme. Add the flour and baking powder and mix until there are no lumps. Fold in the cheese, jalapeno and speck. Bake for 20 minutes in pre-heated oven at 200C (400F). This recipe makes 6 muffins.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffin Tops

Sometimes I make mistakes in the kitchen, but when those mistakes turn out, I couldn’t be happier. I just attempted to make “diet” cookies, but it turns out I made something even better! The cookies came out a little too soft to be a "cookie" so it's more like a muffin top. Who doesn't like muffin tops? They are the best part of a muffin, don't you agree? These are chocolate peanut butter zucchini muffin tops, and boy are they ever good!

3 eggs
½ cup Greek yogurt
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
30-40 drops liquid stevia
2 tbsp butter, room temperature
2 tbsp unsweetened peanut butter
4 tbsp coconut flour
1 cup zucchini, grated
1 tbsp almond chocolate spread
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ cup milk
¼ cayenne pepper
pinch of salt

Beat the eggs along with the butter, greek yogurt, vanilla, stevia, peanut butter and milk. Add the cocoa followed by all of the dry ingredients except the coconut flour. Once it is all mixed well add the flour. Stir it in just until there are no lumps. Pour spoons full of dough on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 12 minutes in preheated oven at 175C (350F). Remove from oven and allow to cool. Makes 20 muffin tops.

Guiltless Coconut Pancake

Sunday breakfast never tasted this healthy! Try this filling recipe for a gluten free breakfast treat you will want to repeat even on Monday!

2 eggs
50 ml milk
½ tsp baking powder
2 tbsp coconut flour
a few drops liquid stevia
pinch of salt
¼ tsp vanilla extract

Beat all ingredients together except the flour. Once it is all well beaten, mix in the coconut flour. Cook on heated crepe pan greased with a little coconut oil. Cook 2-3 minutes per side. Serve topped with Greek yogurt and berries.

Coconut Kefir Bread

Being on a diet most of my life, (and failed many times) I have finally learned what is good for weight maintenance and what is not. I can’t teach you what to eat or not, but I can tell you what works for me. Wheat makes me gain weight like a blimp, but having the “carb” cravings all the time doesn’t help. So I turn to an alternative bread made with coconut flour, coconut oil and other good stuff. It doesn’t mean you can eat the whole loaf, but you may eat a slice and maintain your weight. This is also great for those who have gluten intolerance. It’s tasty and easy to make.

150g milk kefir
60g coconut flour
60g flax flour
30g hemp seeds
4 eggs
3 tbsp coconut oil
6g baking powder
3g baking soda
pinch of salt

Use 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil to grease a loaf pan and half of the hemp seeds to coat the inside of the pan. Beat the eggs and kefir together. Add the remaining coconut oil, flours, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Wisk just until incorporated. Pour batter into loaf pan and sprinkle the remaining hemp seeds over the batter. Bake in pre-heated oven at 175C for 40 minutes. Serve with Chocolate Almond Spread.

*If you are interested and starting to make your own kefir, please let me know. I will gladly send you some dehydrated grains by mail.

Cod loins with Leeks, Zucchini & Mushrooms

The days of plain old lettuce with cucumber to lose weight are over! Diet food doesn’t have to be rabbit food. It can be tasty, nutritious and you can lose weight! White fish is a great option while trying to lose weight. It is low in calories, low in fat and high on protein, which is essential to maintain muscle health.

3 cod loins (about 150g each)
1 zucchini, sliced
1 leek, sliced
250g mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp chicken broth
1tbsp coconut oil
1 lime, juiced
salt & pepper to taste

Sautée the vegetables in coconut oil until soft, season with salt and pepper and add the juice of one lime. Place vegetable mixture in oven proof dish, making a bed for the fish. Lay 3 frozen cod loins on the vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Add two tablespoons of chicken broth to the baking dish, cover with aluminium foil and bake @400F for 40 minutes. (if the loins are thawed, it only takes 20 minutes)Makes 3 servings of 1 protein & 1 vegetable

Chocolate Almond Spread

Chocolate Almond Spread

Who doesn’t like nuts and chocolate? Well, I know I do and so I was looking for a healthier way to make a combination of the two which can be spread just like the Nutella we all love! I made this spreadable heavenly goodness with almonds, but you can use any other nuts such as hazelnuts or cashews, just omit the almond extract. You can enjoy this recipe without feeling too guilty for licking it right off the spoon.

225g dark unsweetened chocolate
200g almonds
2 tbsp unflavoured coconut oil
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp almond extract
¼ tsp salt
30-40 drops liquid stevia

Roast almonds in oven at 175C for about 10 minutes until fragrant. In a food processor grind the almond until powdered. Melt chocolate over a double boiler and add to the almonds along with all the other ingredients and pulse until incorporated.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Kefir. What the heck is it?

Kefir & Strawberry Shake

I’ve seen it at supermarkets and at the Russian bakery I buy my tea from, but never had it. Kefir is the topic here. What the heck is it? Milk? Water? Yogurt? Well, it can be all that!

I met a lovely lady on Facebook in a private group we are both members of. It didn’t take long for us to start talking about something we are both passionate about, bread. I shared with her by knowledge of bread as she shared her knowledge of this foreign thing called Kefir. Tammy is her name, and she claimed she made her own Kefir at home. I instantly googled it and I became very interested in learning more. I read I could make bread with it and about the benefits of drinking it. Tammy was so nice as to send me some of her dried grains in the mail and a week later I got the little precious package addressed to me coming all the way from Missouri from someone I never met before in person. I was so excited I messaged her to thank her again and let her know her babies had arrived safe and sound.

The trusty envelope! :)
To the kitchen I went and placed half of the grains in one cup of milk to start re-hydrating them. Some websites say it takes 48-72 hours but to my surprise, the grains were very alive and well within 24 hours. I changed the milk and added new one so the grains would have new milk to feed from. The next day I had a runny kefir which I used to make my first batch of kefir bread. I couldn’t believe how much whey there was separated from the milk fats! And so I made it a third time, and bingo…smooth as velvet after straining it. I refrigerated and a couple hours later made a delicious Kefir shake with fresh strawberries, and let me tell you, it was so good!
Dry grains                                Rehydrated grains

So, what is Kefir? Kefir grains are a cross between bacteria and yeast. Once it is added to milk and left at room temperature for a couple of days it allows the milk to ferment giving it a sour taste but with tones of health benefits. The more you use the grains the better and creamier the kefir will be. The beauty of these grains is they multiply, so they are really never ending. Those who are lactose intolerant may be able to drink kefir without any quick runs to the washroom as the grains feed on the sugars in the milk. Forget those probiotic yogurts in the dairy aisle, make kefir and it’s even better for you! The bacteria in the fermented milk, aids in getting rid of the bad bacteria in your digestive track, cleansing your body inside out.

Second batch of Kefir
Whey on top, milk solids at the bottom

Now that I made this wonderful discovery I can’t seem to stop making it. I can’t wait to make kefir pancakes and substituting all my cake recipes calling for buttermilk with kefir. Oh, and how will my waffles come out using kefir?…and my list goes on! Thanks to the American Lady in Missouri, who I am turning into a bread monster, I now make this liquid yogurt type of drink at home. Thanks Tammy for sharing your babies!
Creamy Ready to Drink Kefir
Once Tammy’s babies make more babies while they live with me, I will be able to share kefir grains just as she did. If you are interested, leave me a message and I will make sure to dry some up for you and mail them.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Skinny Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Sometimes we need yummy diet food. Here is an easy recipe which will fill you up and it’s only about 220 calories per serving. Recipe makes 10 servings of 100g meat and ¾ cups tomato.

For the meatballs

1kg extra lean ground meat
2 tbsp mustard
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp garlic powder

For the sauce

1.4 L crushed tomato
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
½ dried oregano
½ dried basil

Heat the olive oil with the fresh garlic until nice and fragrant. Discard the oil. Add the Crushed tomato and the dried herbs. Allow to come to a simmer.

Mix the meat with all the ingredients. Make small meatballs and place them in the simmering tomato sauce. Cover the pot and simmer for 1 ½ hours. Do not allow to boil or the meatballs will fall apart.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Barley Risotto with Pear & Asiago

Back in November of last year I attended a cooking and tasting event with my sister at a local private cooking school. We had fun, enjoyed some wine, good food and each other’s company. Who was doing the cooking you ask? Well, Anna Olson! She is so down to earth, friendly and funny! I had the chance to talk to her and she was friendly enough to allow a photo taken with her, and got to eat her cooking and get her latest cookbook autographed. Nice…I really enjoyed the evening.

One of the dishes she made was a Barley Risotto which I absolutely loved. Most people think risotto is a rice dish, but in fact risotto is the method of slow cooking, slowly adding liquid. I have to say, this one has won me over compared to many rice risottos I have had. This is definitely a must try!

4 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, diced
450g mushrooms, sliced
1 clove, minced
1 tbsp thyme, finely chopped
310ml pearl barley, rinsed and drained
1.5l milk
360g cooked chicken, diced (optional)
2 Bartlett pears, diced
1,5l fresh baby spinach
150g asiago cheese, grated
Salt & pepper

Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pot and add the onion and mushrooms, sautéing over medium heat until onion is translucent and any excess liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook one minute more.

Add the pearl barley and stir for a minute to coat it with the butter. Add 250ml of the milk and stir using a wooden spoon until the mil has been absorbed. Keep adding 250ml of mil at a time, stirring until absorbed. The barley should cook at a gentle simmer, so reduce the heat to low if needed. You can cover the pot and leave it for up to 5 minutes without stirring after each addition of milk.

When adding the final cup of milk, stir in the cooked chicken (if using) and pears to warm through.

Stir in the spinach until it has wilted. Stir in the remaining 2 tbsp of butter and the asiago cheese until melted, then season to taste and serve immediately.

Visit Anna's website

Chicken Cacciatore

As I rush to prepare dinner while my son takes his 20 minute-a-day nap, I start placing ingredients in my slow cooker so that I can enjoy a nice home cooked meal later in the day. I don’t have much time to make my own chicken stock lately, let alone reduce it to add to this recipe. So I opted for the easy way out. I used the new Knorr Homestyle Stock which you can find at any grocery store beside those cubs of bouillon. They are pretty tasty for something off the shelf. It adds that extra flavour to your dishes to make it a little more special. OK, so most chefs wouldn’t approve of it, but sometimes you have to find short cuts! Make this easy chicken dish which takes less then ten minutes to prepare and ends in a good dinner table conversation.

900g chicken breast, cut into pieces
230g mushrooms, quartered
1 yellow pepper, julienne
1 red pepper, julienne
1 onion, sliced
1 (720ml) bottle/can crushed tomato
1 Knorr chicken home stock
Thyme, a few sprigs
Salt & Pepper to your liking

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and set on high for 4 hours. That is it! You can make pasta or rice to accompany this dish and be sure to have good crusty bread to mop up the sauce.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sopa de Lentilhas com Salsichas Fumadas

Como é bom comer algo que satisfaz na barriga e que nos aquece do frio. Me lembro comer sopa de lentilhas quando era bem pequena. Assim meio grossa com o sabor das salsichas fumadas sabe tão bem. Não precisa demolhar as lentilhas, mas convêm passar por água várias vezes para as lavar bem.

500g Lentilhas secas
1,400ml de caldo de galinha
2 Salsichas fumadas, cortadas em rodelas
2 Cenouras, cortadas aos cubos
1 Batata, cortada aos cubos
½ Cebola, cortada aos bocados pequenos
1 Colher sopa de azeite
1 Raminho de tomilho
Umas raspas de noz-moscada
Sal e pimenta a gosto

Numa panela alourar a cebola no azeite com as salsichas. Adicionar os restantes ingredientes e deixar ferver. Ao começar a ferver, reduzir o fogo para médio e cozer por meia hora com a panela semi-tapada.


Lentil Soup with Smoked Sausage

It is so good to eat something that satisfies the belly and warms us up from the cold. I have been eating lentil soup for as long as I can remember. A little thicker then most soups with the flavour of the smoked sausages, it is so good. You don’t have to soak lentils but you should rinse them well before cooking.

500g lentils, dry
1,400ml chicken stock
2 smoked sausages, sliced
2 carrots, cubed
1 potato, cubed
½ onion, diced
1tbsp olive oil
A pinch of nutmeg
A few thyme springs
Salt & pepper to taste

Sauté the onion in with the olive oil and sausage, add all the remaining ingredients and allow to come to a boil. Once it boils, reduce to medium heat and cook for half an hour with the pot semi-covered.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Filetes de Peixe Frito com Molho Tártaro

De vez em quando apetece algo frito. Filetes de peixe frito servido com batatas fritas e molho tártaro é tradicional de Inglaterra, Irlanda, Canada e Austrália. Mas também se pode servir com uma salada simples.

Para o Peixe

700g filetes de bacalhau fresco ou hadoque
250ml agua com gás bem fria
150g farinha
1 Ovo
1 Colher de chá de pó royal
Sal e pimenta a gosto
50g amido de milho
oléo vegetal para fritar

Cortar os filetes em bocados ao comprido e com cerca de 5 cm de largura. Misturar a farinha com a água, ovo, pó royal sal e pimenta. Deve ter a mesma consistência da massa de panquecas. Aquecer o óleo ate chegar aos 190°C (375°F). Passar o peixe pelo amido de milho e a seguir cobrir com a massa. Fritar logo de seguida por cerca de 2 minutos de cada lado ou ate ficar dourado. Servir de imediato com molho tártaro e limão.

Para o molho tártaro

3 Colheres de sopa bem cheias de maionese
1colher de sopa de mostarda Dijon
Sumo de um limão
4 cornichons pequenos, picados

Misturar todos os ingredientes e servir com o peixe frito.


Fried Fish Filets with Tartar Sauce

Sometimes we crave fried foods. Fish n’ Chips is always a good option served with tarter sauce. This meal is traditionally served in England, Ireland, Canada and Australia. Instead of serving chips, make it with a simple salad.

For the Fish

700g cod or haddock filets
250ml sparkling water, very cold
150g flour
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder
Salt & pepper to taste
50g cornstarch
Vegetable oil for frying

Cut the filets into long pieces about 5 cm wide. Mix the flour with the water, egg, baking powder, salt and pepper. It should look like pancake batter. Heat the oil to 190°C (375°F). Dredge fish in corn starch and then dip it into the batter. Fry for about 2 minutes on each side or until nice and golden. Serve immediately with tartar sauce and a wedge of lemon.

For the sauce

3 generous tbsp of mayo
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Juice of Lemon
4 gherkins, small diced

Mix all ingredients and serve with the fried fish.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Bolo de Banana com Chocolate & Nozes

Cá em casa, quando as bananas têm muitas pintinhas pretas já ninguém lhes toca. Eu coloco no congelador para depois fazer bolo (ou pão) de banana. Um bolo simples que dá para o pequeno-almoço ou como snack. Se não quiser não precisa adicionar o chocolate e/ou as nozes, mas da um sabor superior ao bolo. Aqui está a receita.

375g farinha
130g de açúcar
2 Ovos
3 Bananas bem maduras
80g pepitas de chocolate
80g nozes ou noz-pecã
85ml óleo vegetal
½ Colher de chá de sal
2 Colheres chá de pó royal
2 Colheres chá de extracto de baunilha

Bater os ovos com o açúcar e sal ate ficam cremoso. Adicionar o óleo, baunilha e bananas já esmagadas e misturar bem. Em seguida adicionar a farinha e o pó royal, mas não misturar demasiado, só ate envolver a farinha. Por fim adiciona-se as pepitas e nozes. Cozer numa forma rectangular de 22cm X 11cm, untada com manteiga e polvilhada com farinha em forno pré aquecido a 175ºC (350ºF) por cerca de 45 minutos.


Banana Bread with Chocolate & Nuts

At my house, once bananas a a little over ripened, no one touches them, so I just throw them in the freezer so I can make banana bread when ever I feel like it. It’s a simple recipe to be enjoyed for breakfast or as a snack. You don’t have to use chocolate chips and nuts, but it just adds another dimension to the banana bread. Here is the recipe.

375g flour
130g sugar
2 eggs
3 ripe bananas, mashed
80g chocolate chips
80g walnuts or pecans
85ml vegetable oil
½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract

Beat the eggs with the sugar and salt until creamy. Add the oil, vanilla and mashed bananas and mix well. Mix in the flour and baking powder, but do not over mix. Lastly add the chocolate and nuts. Bake in loaf pan 22cm X 11cm greased with butter and dusted with flour in pre heated oven at 175ºC (350ºF) for about 45 minutes.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Couve-flor no forno com Parmesão

Sem saber o que fazer para acompanhar a sua carne? Sempre arroz ou batatas? Que tal uma bela couve-flor no forno com queijo parmesão? Até os seus filhos vão começar a gostar de vegetais!

1 Couve-flor
Sal e pimenta a gosto
Queijo parmesão

Lavar e cortar a couve-flor em floretes. Colocar num tabuleiro de ir ao forno. Regar ligeiramente com azeite e temperar com sal e pimenta. Levar ao forno pré-aquecido a 190°C (375°F) por 45 minutos ou até ficar ligeiramente caramelizada. Retirar do forno e polvilhar com queijo parmesão.


Baked Cauliflower with Parmesan

You don’t know what to make to accompany your meat dish? Always having rice and potatoes? How about cauliflower baked in the oven with parmesan cheese? Even your kids will start liking vegetables!

1 cauliflower
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
Parmesan cheese

Wash and cut the cauliflower into florets. Place in baking dish and lightly drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake in pre-heated oven for 45 minutes at 190°C (375°F) or until a little caramelized. Remove from oven and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Lombinho de Porco com Sumo de Laranja

Às vezes a preguiça é maior que vontade de cozinhar, mas em vez de telefonar para encomendar a tal pizza que é sempre entregue cheia de gordura e meia fria, porque não fazer estes lombinhos que levam o mesmo tempo a preparar que o tal telefonema e o mesmo tempo a cozinhar que esperar pela entrega. É tão simples de preparar que mesmo se não é muito boa na cozinha vai-se impressionar a si mesma!

2 lombinhos de porco
2 colheres de sopa de azeite
1 laranja, raspa e sumo
1 raminho de alecrim
sal e pimenta a gosto
1 colher de sopa de molho jerk (optional)
100ml de vinho branco

Colocar os lombinhos numa travessa de ir ao forno. Barrar com o jerk se utilizar. Adicionar a raspa e sumo da laranja, azeite, vinho, sal e pimenta, e colocar o raminho de alecrim em cima dos lombinhos. Tapar a travessa com folha de alumínio e levar ao forno pré-aquecido a 190°C (375°F) por 25 minutos.

O que é jerk? São uma mistura de especiarias e pimentos bem picantes moídos para fazer um molho chamado jerk, originado em Jamaica. Tradicionalmente é usado para temperar frango ou porco e assado na brasa e é bastante picante. Se não encontrar no seu supermercado, pode substituir pelo seu molho picante preferido.

Pork Tenderloin with Orange Juice

Sometimes we feel lazy to cook and reach for the pamphlets for take out and order that greasy and cold pizza. What about making this pork tenderloin? It takes the same amount of time to prepare as the phone call to the pizza place and the same amount of time to cook as waiting for the delivery. It’s so simple to prepare, even if you are no genius in the kitchen, you will impress yourself!

2 pork tenderloins
2tbsp olive oil
1 orange, zest and juice
1tbsp jerk sauce
100ml white wine
1 sprig of rosemary
Salt & pepper

Place tenderloins in baking dish, rub in the jerk sauce and add the zest and juice of the orange, olive oil, wine, salt, pepper and place the rosemary over the meat. Cover the baking dish with aluminium foil and bake in preheated oven at 190°C (375°F) for 25 minutes.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bolo de Queijo Creme tipo New York

Foi o aniversário do meu marido no outro dia e como sempre perguntei que tipo de bolo queria para a celebração anual. Eu já devia saber que ele ia dizer bolo de queijo creme, porque todos os anos ele pede o mesmo, o bolo favorito dele. E assim foi, estilo New York, bem alto e delicioso, com a textura de veludo e ganache de chocolate preto por cima. Concordo que é um bolo de muitas calorias, mas serve 16 pessoas. Mas também, é para celebrar um aniversário e deve-se desfrutar de uma boa fatia de bolo!

Para a mistura de Queijo

1 ½ kg Queijo creme
1 Copo de creme azedo
5 Ovos
2 Limões
2 Colheres de chá de extracto de baunilha
½ Copo de farinha
2 Copos de açúcar

Para a base

1 Copo de bolacha moída
4 Colheres de sopa de manteiga

Para o Ganache

200g Chocolate preto de boa qualidade
200g Natas

Misturar a bolacha moída com a manteiga e calcar no fundo de uma forma com fundo falso de 25cm (10 polegadas) forrada com papel vegetal na base e nos lados. Levar ao forno pré-aquecido a 175°C (350°F) 15 minutos.

Misturar no robô de cozinha o queijo a temperatura ambiente com os ovos, sumo dos 2 limões, açúcar, baunilha e creme azedo ate ficar cremoso. Adicionar a farinha. Colocar a mistura de queijo na forma e levar ao forno pré-aquecido a 175°C (350°F) por 1 hora. Reduzir a temperatura para 160°C (325°F) e deixar mais 30 minutos. Apagar o forno e abrir um pouco a porta para que o bolo arrefeça no forno. Retirar no forno e meter no frigorífico sem tapar por pelo menos 6 horas.

Aquecer as natas ate quase ferver. Retirar do lume e adicionar o chocolate partido em bocados pequenos e mexer com uma colher de pau para evitar borbulhas de ar. Quando estiver arrefecido, espalhar por cima do bolo, já retirado da forma. Bom Apetite!


New York Style Cheese Cake

It was my husbands’ birthday the other day and as always I asked him what type of cake he wanted for his yearly celebration. I should have known better because every year he asks for cheese cake, one of his favourite. And so it was, New York style, high and rich, with a velvety smooth texture and dark chocolate ganache on top. I agree this is a very high caloric cake, but it does serve 16 people. And it for a birthday and you can enjoy a piece of cake too!

For the Cheese Mixture

1 ½ kg Cream Cheese
1 cup sour cream
5 eggs
2 lemons
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup flour
2 cups sugar

For the Crust

1 cup graham cookie crumbs
4 tbsp butter, melted

For the Ganache

200g good quality dark chocolate
200g heavy cream

Mix the crumbs with the melted butter and transfer it into a parchment paper lines 10 inch (25cm) spring form pan and pat it into an even layer. Bake at 175°C (350°F) for 15 minutes. Line the sides of the spring form as well.

Allow the cheese to come to room temperature as it is easier to mix. In a food processor, mix the cheese, juice of two lemons, eggs, sugar, sour cream and vanilla. Once the mixture is creamy and without any lumps and add the flour. Pour mixture into the spring form and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour at 175°C (350°F). Reduce the heat to 160°C (325°F) and bake for another 30 minutes or until the center jiggles slightly but mostly looks firm. Cool the cake in the oven with the door left ajar. Remove from oven and refrigerate uncovered for at least 6 hours before covering it.

Make the ganache by heating the cream to the boiling point, removing from the heat and adding the chocolate so it melts in the hot cream, mix with a wooden spoon so not to create any air bubbles. Once cooled, pour over the un-moulded cake. Enjoy!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Frango Mouro

A combinação de sabores usados nesta receita deixa um aroma de abrir o apetite. E fácil de fazer e bom para impressionar convidados num jantar de sábado á noite. Uma malagueta é o suficiente para dar o sabor de picante sem dominar os outros ingredientes. Bom Apetite!

1 Frango cortado em pedaços
1 Cebola cortada grosseiramente
2 Limões
2 Copos de caldo de galinha
1/2 Copo de vinho branco
1/3 Copo de passas
1/3 Copo de azeitonas pretas sem caroço
1/4 Copo de azeite + duas colheres de sopa
1 Colher de sopa de mostarda Dijon
1 Colher de sopa de grãos de café expresso moído
1 Colher de sopa de pimentão
1/2 Colher de sopa de canela
1/2 Colher de sementes de anis
Sal e pimenta a gosto
1 Malagueta (opcional)

Fazer um molho com o sumo dos limões, mostarda, ¼ de copo de azeite, pimentão, café, canela, anis, sal e pimenta (e a malagueta se desejar usar). Marinar o frango com o molho por pelo menos duas horas. Num tacho, fritar o frango rapidamente nas duas colheres de azeite. Retirar o frango do tacho e adicionar o vinho e cebola. Mexer com uma colher de pau para descolar os bocadinhos de frango do fundo do tacho, porque lá esta muito sabor a não perder. Voltar a por o frango no tacho e adicionar as passas, azeitonas e caldo de galinha. Tapar e cozinhar em lume brando por duas horas. Servir com arroz branco ou cuscuz simples.


Chicken Moorish Style

The combination of flavours used in this recipe gives off an aroma which will make anyone hungry. It is easy to make and good to impress your guests during a Saturday nigh dinner. One malagueta pepper is enough to make it spicy overpowering all the ingredients. Enjoy!

1 chicken, cut into pieces
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 lemons
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup black olives
1/4 cup olive oil + two tbsp
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp ground espresso beans
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tbsp anis seeds
Salt & pepper
1 Malagueta pepper (optional)

Make a marinade using the juice of the lemons, mustard, ¼ cup of olive oil, paprika, coffee, cinnamon, anis seeds, salt and pepper (and the malagueta pepper, if using). Marinate the chicken for at least two hours. Brown the chicken in 2 tbsp of olive oil, remove from pot and add the wine to deglaze, scraping all the brown bits using a wooden spoon. Add the onions, chicken stock, olives, and raisins and return the chicken to the pot. Cover the pot and simmer for two hours. Serve over white rice or plain couscous.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sopa de Feijão Branco

Os dias frios chegaram e por vezes só apetece comer uma comidinha que de conforto. Em frente a lareira a ouvir a madeira a estalar, o cheiro da lenha a queimar e fazer uma pausa na leitura daquele livro que já há muito se queria ler. Nada melhor que uma tigela de sopa quente para aquecer o corpo e a alma. Para fazer esta sopa super fácil basta ter uma panela de pressão. Em 30 minutos tem-se uma sopinha para aquecer a barriguinha num dia frio.

2 Salsichas fumadas, cortadas as rodelas
6 Copos de couve, cortada grosseiramente
2 Copos de feijão branco, demolhado
1 Batata grande, descascada e cortada aos cubos
1 Nabo, descascado e cortado aos cubos
1 ½ Litro (6 copos) de caldo de galinha
½ Colher de chá de pimentão
1 Raminho de tomilho
Sal e pimenta a gosto

Colocar os ingredientes todos numa panela de pressão. Fechar a tampa e em lume alto deixar que atinja pressão. Baixar o lume para médio e cozer em pressão por 18 minutos. Pronto, uma deliciosa sopa para um daqueles dias frios!


White Bean Soup

The cold days have arrived and the only thing we want to eat is comfort food. Nothing better then sitting by the fireplace, smelling and listening to the burning wood, and putting aside that book we so wanted to read to enjoy a bowl of hot soup. This soup is so easy to make, all you need is a pressure cooker and in 30 minutes you have a soup to warm up the belly on a cold day.

2 smoked sausages
6 cups of kale, roughly cut into pieces
2 cups white beans, soaked
1 large potato, peeled and cut into cubs
1 turnip, peeled and cut into cubs
1 ½ litres (6 cups) chicken stock
½ tsp paprika
A few sprigs of thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients into the pressure cooker. Close the cooker and on high heat bring the pot under pressure. Lower the temperature to medium and let cook under pressure for 18 minutes. That is it, a delicious soup for a cold day!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Bacalhau com Natas - Cod au Gratin

Ok, esta comida não é muita amiga da cintura, uma vez de vez em quando não e assim tão ma. Já tenho visto receitas parecidas feitas só com natas e queijo, mas pelo menos esta versão e feita com bechamel de leite e natas com queijo. Esta receita serve 6 pessoas, mas não recomendo convidar os amigos pela primeira fez que fizer, porque não vai ter o suficiente. Tenho a certeza que vai querer repetir a porção. Este prato não sabe nada peixe, somente suave e cremoso e super delicioso. Também se pode fazer com batatas fritas cortadas bem finas, dependendo de que parte de Portugal se representa. A versão com batatas fritas é mais conhecida no Algarve e com a batata cozida é mais conhecido no norte to pais, mas tem o mesmo nome, Bacalhau com Natas. Bom Apetite!

500g bacalhau cozido e desfiado
900g batatas, peladas e cortadas em cubos de 1cm
400g cebola
350ml leite
250ml natas
100g mussarela, ralado
4 Colheres de sopa de parmesão, ralado
2 Colheres de sopa de azeite
50g farinha
50g manteiga
Sal e pimenta a gosto

Cozer as batatas previamente peladas e cortadas em cubos de 1cm. Escorrer e por de parte. Cozer o bacalhau, escorrer e desfiar em bocados pequenos e por de parte. Cortar as cebolas em fatias finas e em lume brando cozinhar a cebola no azeite até ficarem macias e transluzentes. Adicionar as batatas e o bacalhau e misturar sem pisar as batatas.
Para fazer o creme, derreter a manteiga juntamente com a farinha. Adicionar o leite e natas, previamente aquecido e mexer com uma varinha até engrossar, cerca de 8 minutos. Retirar do fogo e adicionar a noz-moscada, sal e pimenta a gosto a mussarela e duas colheres de parmesão e mexer até ficarem derretidos. Colocar a mistura de bacalhau num tabuleiro de lados alto de ir ao forno e regar com o molho de queijo e usar o restante parmesão por cima. Tapar levemente com folha de alumínio e levar ao forno pré aquecido a 180°C por 30 minutos. Retirar a folha de alumínio e deixar no forno por mais 10 minutos. Pronto a servir!


Cod au Gratin

OK, so this dish is not waist friendly, but once in a long while, it’s not so bad. I’ve seen similar recipes made all with cream and cheese, at least this version is made with a Mornay sauce, which is basically a béchamel sauce with cheese. (Just change the type of cheese and you can make home made Mac & cheese too!) This serves 6 people, but I don’t recommend inviting friends over the first time you make it, or you won’t have enough. For sure you’ll want seconds and worry about the scale afterwards. This dish is not fishy at all, just smooth, creamy and all around delicious. It can also be made with shoe string fries (fried) instead of the boiled potatoes, it just depends which part of Portugal it is representing. The French fries version is from the south and the boiled potatoes in a version from the Algarve but still called the same, Cod with Cream (Bacalhau com Natas) or better even Cod au Gratin. Enjoy!

500g salt cod
900g potatoes, peeled and cut in 1cm cubs
400g onions
350ml milk
250ml heavy cream
100g mozzarella cheese, grated
4 tbsp parmesan, grated
2 tbsp olive oil
50g flour
50g butter
Pinch of grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the potatoes which have already been peeled and cut into 1cm cubes. Drain and set aside. Boil the cod fish, drain and shred into small pieces and set aside. Thinly slice the onions and sauté in olive oil until tender and translucent. Add the cooked cod fish and potatoes and gently mix, remove from heat. In a separate sauce pan melt the butter along with the flour to make a roux. Add the milk and cream, previously heated, and using a whisk, mix until it thickens, about 8 minutes. Add a pinch of grated nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste, the grated mozzarella and 2 tbsp of parmesan cheese. Remove from heat and whisk until cheese is melted. Place the cod mixture in oven proof dish and pour the cheese sauce over it. Sprinkle the remaining parmesan over the cod mixture and lightly cover with aluminium foil. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes @ 180°C. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes. Ready to serve!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Feliz Dia de Reis!

O Natal veio e se foi num piscar de olhos e depois veio a passagem de ano com mais coisas a preparar. Mais comida boa para encher as barrigas com fome e mais algum vinho mas no fim, todo o mundo tem espaço na barriguinha para as sobremesas. De Pudim de leite e Filhós, bolachas e Bolo-rei, é sempre uma mesa cheia. O último pedaço de Bolo-rei é para ser comido no Dia dos Três Reis Magos, que visitaram Jesus com ofertas de ouro. Então aqui está para celebrar este dia com um delicioso pedaço de Bolo-rei até ao próximo Natal!


Happy Three Wise Men Day!

Christmas came and went as fast as a blink of an eye, and then there was New Year to prepare for. More food to fill the hungry bellies with some more wine but everyone seemed to leave a little space for desserts. From milk pudding and filhós to cookies and Epiphany cake The last of the Epiphany cake is to be eaten on January 6th in celebration of the Magi (Three Wise Men) who visited Jesus baring gifts of gold. So here is to Celebration with a piece of this delicious cake until next Christmas!