Thursday, April 2, 2020

Quarantine vegetable soup

Sopa de legumes da quarentena

Hello everyone, long time no see. Ages ago I decided to be honest with myself and accept the fact that I no longer had time to write on this blog, unfortunately – I can barely update the one in Portuguese. But with these crazy, uncertain times we are living I thought I should ask you how it has been for you.

This is my third week isolated, went out only once to buy groceries. How is it going for you? I miss my nephew, miss going to work and to the gym, miss buying things like fresh veg whenever I want to, miss going to the movies. But I know I am privileged and one of the lucky people who can work from home and I have food on my table.

I have been cooking a lot, trying to make everything stretch as much as possible to avoid unnecessary trips to the grocery store. I also try to make each batch of food last for at least 2 meals. I have baked bread, but no sweets: my husband does not like them, and I don’t want to eat everything myself.

I made this soup earlier this week and it was enough for 2 dinners – my husband loves soup and if he wasn’t so eager to eat it the soup would have probably lasted for 3 meals. :D It is a riff on another soup I make regularly. I hope you like this recipe and I also hope to hear from you. xx

Quarantine vegetable soup
own recipe, a riff on this one

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
½ large onion, finely chopped
1 leek, light part only, finely sliced
1/3 cup finely diced celery - I used frozen, unthawed
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 ripe tomato, deseeded and chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
3 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large courgette, diced
boiling water, enough to cover the vegetables (about 1,5 liters, but it will depend on the size of your saucepan)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
150g frozen spinach, unthawed - here in Brazil that would be 5 portions

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until transparent, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Add the leek and cook for 1 minute. Add the celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes – if you use frozen, like me, cook for 4 minutes, because it will cool the bottom of the saucepan slightly. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant – do not let it burn or it will taste bitter.

Add the tomato and a pinch of salt and cook until it is mushy. Add the carrots, potatoes and courgette and stir to combine. Cover with boiling water, season with salt and pepper and add the bay leaves. When the soup comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover partially and cook until vegetables are tender, 25-30 minutes – this will depend on the size you cut them; I test the carrots and if they are tender the soup is ready.
Turn off the heat and with an immersion blender, blitz the soup for a couple of seconds – you want the mixture to be half chunky, half smooth. Add the spinach and stir slowly, until it defrosts and gets mixed into the soup – this will cool the soup a little bit and make it ready to serve.

Serves 5-6

Monday, September 3, 2018

Yogurt passion fruit cake

Bolo de iogurte e maracujá / Yogurt passion fruit cake

I have not posted on this blog in such a long time I wonder if there is still anyone around. Life is hectic and I no longer have time to write each recipe in two different languages, therefore I have focused on my blog written in Portuguese (and even there I have not been able to post regularly).

Cakes are probably my favorite thing to bake and that is why I bring you a cake recipe today, after all this time: it is adapted from several different recipes that are prepared using the yogurt empty package. Since those can vary quite a lot from one place to the other, I have used measuring cups/grams in order to make the recipe work for everyone, no matter where they live. I added passion fruit pulp with the seeds because I love how beautiful they make the cake look, but if you don’t like them just strain the pulp before using it in the recipe.

Yogurt passion fruit cake
adapted from several different recipes

2 ¼ cups (315g) all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
¾ cup plain whole milk yogurt
¾ cup (180ml) canola oil
2 ¾ cups (350g) granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
½ cup (120ml) passion fruit pulp, with the seeds
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup (60ml) passion fruit pulp, with the seeds
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon water

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Butter a 10-cup capacity Bundt pan.

In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the remaining ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon just until smooth – do not overmix or the cake will be tough.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until risen and golden and a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan over a wire rack for 20 minutes, then carefully unmold onto the rack.

In those 20 minutes, make the syrup: place all the ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Cook for further 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture is syrupy. Brush the hot syrup over the warm cake. Cool completely and serve.

Serves 10-12

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Quinoa, carrot and mozzarella fritters

Quinoa, carrot and mozzarella fritters / Bolinhos de quinoa, cenoura e mozarela

It took me a while to get on the quinoa bandwagon (I don’t really know why), but after I did I started making fritters with it quite often: with a salad they become a delicious and light lunch or dinner.

Here I have combined quinoa with other tasty ingredients such as carrots, mozzarella and olives – their saltiness goes really well with the sweetness of the carrots and the mozzarella. However, if you like intense flavors (I do), the mozzarella can be replaced with a stronger cheese.

Quinoa, carrot and mozzarella fritters
own recipe

1 small carrot, coarsely grated
150g cooked quinoa, drained and cooled
2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan
1 spring onion, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons chopped green olives
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
60g fresn mozzarella, finely chopped
2 large eggs
salt and freshly ground black pepper
canola oil, for frying

Place the carrot in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze to remove excess liquid. Transfer carrot to a large bowl and add the quinoa, parmesan, spring onion, parsley, thyme, olives, flour, mozzarella and eggs. Season with salt and pepper and stir until well combined.

Heat about ½ teaspoon oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Pour about 2 tablespoons of batter per fritter and flatten with the back of a spoon, shaping the edges quickly to form a rough circle. Don’t overfill the frying pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then flip and cook until golden.

Serve immediately.

Makes about 10

Monday, April 16, 2018

Brownies with white chocolate and raspberries

Brownies with white chocolate and raspberries / Brownies com framboesa e chocolate branco

I think that whenever inspiration fails me when I want to bake something I bake brownies: I can’t think of any other baked good that is a hit with pretty much everyone I know. Not to mention that I absolutely love brownie batter: when I could still eat dairy I would always leave some batter left in the bowl for my own moment of happiness while the brownies were in the oven. :)

The brownies I bring you today combine the tart flavor of raspberries with the sweetness of white chocolate: nothing like sour or citrus kick to make white chocolate even more special. However, raspberries go well with all kinds of chocolates, so I have made this exact same recipe using both milk and dark chocolate chips to replace the white chocolate and it worked like a charm.

Brownies with white chocolate and raspberries
own recipe

¾ cup (170g) unsalted butter, chopped
¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
½ cup (88g) light brown sugar, packed
1 cup (90g) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup (46g) all purpose flour
pinch of salt
¾ cup (75g) frozen raspberries, unthawed
100g white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Butter a 20cm (8in) square pan, line it with foil leaving an overhang on two opposite sides, and butter the foil as well.

In a large saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Remove from the heat and whisk in the sugars, cocoa and vanilla, followed by the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Fold in the flour and salt. Fold in raspberries and white chocolate.

Spread batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies comes out with moist crumbs. Cool completely in the pan over a wire rack. Cut into squares to serve.

Makes 16

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Peanut butter and chocolate chip bars

Peanut butter and chocolate chip bars / Barrinhas de manteiga de amendoim e chocolate

Lately I have been using peanut butter as a way of increasing my protein intake: I buy the natural type made with roasted peanuts only and add a spoonful to smoothies and such.

That reminded me of these bars I made ages ago, when I bought natural peanut butter for the first time. The jar seemed to last too long and I wanted to make something delicious with it. These bars are easy to put together and peanut and chocolate are a match made in heaven.

Peanut butter and chocolate chip bars
own recipe, inspired by several others

1 cup (300g) natural peanut butter
½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups (175g) icing sugar, sifted
¼ cup (56g) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup (125g) dark chocolate chips
½ cup (70g) toasted peanuts, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Line a 20x30cm (8x12in) baking pan with foil and lightly butter it.

In a food processor, process the peanut butter, sugars, butter, baking soda, salt, egg and vanilla until creamy. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the chocolate chips and peanuts. Press dough into the prepared pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges (the center will still be soft).

Cool completely over a wire rack. Cut into bars.

Makes 24

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