Thursday, October 20, 2016

Linguine with creamy tomato, thyme, caper and bacon sauce

Linguine with creamy tomato, caper, thyme and bacon sauce / Linguine com molho cremoso de tomate, alcaparra, tomilho e bacon

I believe that many of you reading me right now reach for a pasta package whenever there is the need of having food on the table in little to no time – I am guilty of that and I am not ashamed of it. :)

I make pasta often not only because of how fast it is: Joao and I love it and it is so versatile I can combine it with several different flavors and types of sauce. I saw this version of a tomato sauce on Olive magazine and it was so simple I had to try it: the sauce is delicious, the acidity of the tomatoes is softened by the addition of cream and the capers add a briny, salty touch to the sauce. Thyme is my favorite herb and one I love pairing with tomato.

Linguine with creamy tomato, thyme, caper and bacon sauce
slightly adapted from the always great Olive magazine

4 slices of bacon, cut into ½ cm pieces
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
6 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 x 400g can of chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons capers – soak them in cold water for 15 minutes before using, then drain
3 tablespoons heavy cream
200g linguine

In a medium saucepan, over high heat, cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Remove from the pan and set over paper towels. Remove the excess fat from the saucepan, leaving 1 tablespoon. On that fat, cook the garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the thyme and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, crush them with a potato masher, then fill the can by half with water and add to the tomatoes. Add the sugar, season with salt and pepper and cook partially covered, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until thickened.

In the meantime, cook the linguine in salted boiling water until al dente.

Stir in capers and cream and then cook for 3 minutes. Drain the linguine and toss with the sauce. Serve at once sprinkled with the bacon bits.

Serves 2

Friday, October 14, 2016

Spiced apple cake

Spiced apple cake / Bolo de maçã com especiarias

I was telling you the other day about how the food magazines I subscribe to fulfill my need for new recipes and inspiration – they indeed to. I subscribe to a handful of magazines – the digital versions made it easy and cheaper and no more issues lost in the way (I got addicted). I had sworn that I would not subscribe to other magazines, but then I got an offer from Zinio to get 12 issues of Martha’s magazine for 5 dollars… I just did not resist it. ;)

The latest issue celebrates the fall and Thanksgiving, so among all the beautiful pies there I found this spiced apple cake, which was perfect for my Saturday baking: I had apples and heavy cream begging to be used. I tweaked the recipe just a little bit and ended up with a moist, tender and delicious cake – it perfumed my whole apartment for hours after it was baked.

I never tire of apple cakes and this one is definitely a keeper.

Spiced apple cake
slightly adapted from Martha’s magazine

2 Granny Smith apples (about 200g each)
juice of 1 large lime or 1 large lemon
2 cups (280g) all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ cup (113g/1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
½ cup (120ml) canola oil
½ cup sour cream*
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 ¼ cups (250g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons demerara sugar, for sprinkling over the apples

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Lightly butter a 20x30cm (12x8in) baking pan and line it with foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides. Butter the foil as well.
Peel and core the apples, then cut them in half and cut each half lengthwise in thin slices. Place them in a medium bowl and toss them in the lemon juice.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Set aside. In a small bowl, mix together the butter, oil and sour cream.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk eggs until light and thick. Gradually mix in the granulated sugar by the sides of the bowl, to avoid losing the air incorporated in the eggs – you do not want to disinflate the mixture. Whisk in the vanilla, then continue whisking until mixture is thick and glossy.
On slow speed, mix in the dry ingredients in two additions, alternating with the butter/oil/sour cream mixture. Mix only until combined – do not overmix.
Spread batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Arrange the apple slices on top of the batter and push them into the batter slightly. Sprinkle with the demerara sugar. Bake for about 45 minutes or until golden and risen and a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan over a wire rack before serving.

* homemade sour cream: to make 1 cup of sour cream, mix 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream with 2-3 teaspoons lemon juice in a bowl. Whisk until it starts to thicken. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 1 hour or until thicker (I usually leave mine on the counter overnight – except on very warm nights – and it turns out thick and silky in the following morning; refrigerate for a creamier texture)

Serves 18

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Marjoram orange roast chicken

Marjoram orange roast chicken / Frango assado com manjerona e laranja

I was thinking the other day about how drastically I have decreased my cookbook purchase addiction – maybe because of how much bigger my workload is compared to years ago, maybe because the food magazines I subscribe fill that need for inspiration and new recipes, maybe because some books were such disappointments (I am speaking to you, Ms. Lawson)…

My last purchase, as far as I recall, was on Oct 20 last year – this is definitely a new world record or something. :)
However, when I saw that Diana Henry had a new book coming out, I could not wait until I had it in my hands, for I am a huge fan of her beautiful work, plus she is a total dear and have spoken to me on Twitter a few times, even saying “obrigada” in Portuguese once. <3

The book is stunning and the recipes look delicious – and are simple, like the name of the book says. I love that. I decided to start with a chicken recipe and used Diana’s as inspiration, however I made it even simpler than hers. It was indeed delicious and the chicken meat was falling off the bones after a night spent in the fridge swimming in the flavorsome marinade.

Maybe I am cured from my cookbook addiction? I don’t know. What I know is that next time Diana publishes a new cookbook I will have it on my Ipad on the very same day. ;)

Marjoram orange roast chicken
adapted from the beautiful Simple

handful of fresh marjoram leaves, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed then finely chopped
2 oranges
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 skin-on bone-in chicken thighs

In a bowl, mix the marjoram leaves, the garlic, finely grated zest and juice of 1 of the oranges, the olive oil, salt and pepper. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (overnight is great).

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a medium roasting tray with a double layer of foil and coat the foil with olive oil. Slice the remaining orange and arrange the slices on top of the foil. Arrange the chicken over the orange slices and pour over the marinade. Roast for about 60-80 minutes or until golden and cooked through – time might vary depending on how golden you like your chicken.

Serves 2

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