Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Lemon and raisin oatmeal cookies

Lemon and raisin oatmeal cookies / Cookies de aveia, limão siciliano e passas

Days ago I was thinking (again) of certain ingredients and why they are so hated: aside from coconut and cilantro, I can’t think of anything that divides people as much as raisins do – at least here in Brazil. Every December there are hundreds of memes on Facebook and Twitter of either people saying how much they hate raisins and begging others not to add them to the Christmas dishes or people saying how much they love them, “please add raisins to everything”. It is crazy. :)

I like raisins and have nothing against them, but have to say I prefer them on sweet dishes rather than savory ones. In cookies they work beautifully and here, combined with lemon and oats, make them even more delicious.

Lemon and raisin oatmeal cookies
own recipe

¾ cup (105g) all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (58g) light brown sugar, packed
finely grated zest of 2 lemons
½ cup (113g/1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups (120g) rolled oats
1 cup (150g) raisins – use golden raisins if you prefer

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Line two large baking sheets with baking paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, rub sugars and lemon zest together with your fingertips until sugar is fragrant. Add the butter and beat until creamy and light – scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally throughout the making of the recipe. Beat in the egg and the vanilla. Add the flour mixture and the oats at once and mix on slow only until a dough forms. Stir in the raisins.

Roll 2 leveled tablespoons of dough per cookie into balls and place onto prepared sheets, 5cm (2in) apart. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until cookies are golden around the edges. Cool on the sheets for 5 minutes, then slide the paper with the cookies onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 20

Friday, January 26, 2018

Panzanella with a Spanish touch - perfect for the weekend

Panzanella with a Spanish touch / Panzanella com um toque espanhol

I remember the first time I made panzanella at home: it was a revelation. Who could have thought that a salad made with stale bread would be so delicious? The Italians, of course. :)

As much as I love Italian food – half of the blood in my veins is Italian, after all – I have added a couple of Spanish touches to my panzanella: crispy chorizo, chickpeas, sherry vinegar in the dressing. The salad turned out wonderful and it is a beautiful idea for lunch or dinner in the really hot days we have been having in Sao Paulo (to make it even fresher, add 1 thinly sliced small Japanese cucumber sliced to the salad). It is also great for lazy weekends, like the one I plan to have. :)

Panzanella with a Spanish touch
own recipe

½ red onion, peeled and cut in half
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
2 cups stale bread cubes (approximately 2cm each cube)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided use
2 large ripe tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
100g chorizo, chopped in small cubes
¾ cup (127g) cooked and drained chickpeas
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt and freshly ground black pepper
handful of fresh basil leaves

Thinly slice the onion, transfer to a small bowl and drizzle with the vinegar. Set aside for 15 minutes or until you get the other parts of the salad done.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Line a medium baking sheet with baking paper or foil. Spread the bread cubes over the paper/foil and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Bake for about 8 minutes or until bread is crispy and golden. Remove from the oven and set aside.
In the meantime, heat a nonstick frying pan over high heat. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring now and then, until crispy. Drain the chorizo over paper towels.

Transfer bread, chorizo, tomatoes and chickpeas to ta large bowl. Drain the onion (save the vinegar for the dressing) and stir into the salad. To the bowl with the vinegar, add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper and whisk well. Pour over the salad, toss to combine and set aside for 30 minutes. Stir in the basil leaves and serve.

Serves 2

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Banana muffins with cashew nut streusel

Banana muffins with cashew nut streusel / Muffins de banana com farofinha de castanha de caju

Usually making baked goods with bananas is not easy at my house because my husband and I like the fruit so much we end up eating all the bananas before they get ripe enough for baking. However, when the weather is too hot (as it is currently) they get ripe overnight – these muffins are a great way to use them up.

I developed this recipe a long time ago, when I was still working on the book project. Lately I have been making it without the streusel (because of my lactose intolerance) and the muffins taste great anyway. However, if you can, make the muffins with the streusel because it makes them extra special.

Banana muffins with cashew nut streusel
own recipe

½ cup (70g) all purpose flour
½ cup (88g) light brown sugar, packed
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of table salt
5 tablespoons (70g) unsalted butter, cold and diced
2/3 cup unsalted cashew nuts, finely chopped

2 cups (280g) all purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon table salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 small very ripe bananas
¾ cup (150g) demerara sugar – used for color and caramel flavor; can be replaced with granulated sugar
½ cup (120ml) canola oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Line a 12-hole muffin with paper cases.

Streusel: in a small bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add the butter and rub the ingredients together with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Using a fork, stir in the cashew nuts. Refrigerate while you make the muffin batter.

Muffins: in a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside. In a medium bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Stir in the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla. Pour over the dry ingredients and stir with a fork just until incorporated – do not overmix or your muffins will be tough. Divide the batter evenly among the paper cases and sprinkle the top with the streusel, pressing lightly with your fingers to make it stick to the batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and risen and a skewer inserted on the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan over a wire rack for 5 minutes, then carefully unmold and transfer to the rack. Serve lukewarm or at room temperature.

Makes 12

Friday, January 19, 2018

Flourless chocolate peanut cake

Chocolate peanut cake (gluten free) / Bolo de chocolate e amendoim (sem farinha de trigo)

This morning I joked on Instagram that this week feels like it lasted 45 days already – I am completely exhausted and very happy it is Friday. \0/ To celebrate it, I bring you a recipe that is perfect for the weekend: a moist, delicious and almost creamy chocolate cake, to be served with whipped cream or ice cream.

This cake is similar to this one, which is also gluten free, however it is more flavorsome and moist. The recipe is easy to make and calls for peanuts, a very Brazilian and cheap ingredient that goes really well with chocolate.

Flourless chocolate peanut cake
own recipe

200g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids, finely chopped
¾ cup (170g) unsalted butter, chopped
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup (65g) peanut meal – very finely ground peanuts
pinch of salt
whipped cream or ice cream, to serve

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Butter a 20cm (8in) round cake pan with a removable bottom, line the bottom with a circle of baking paper and butter it as well.

In a large bowl, put chocolate and butter and melt them over a saucepan of barely simmering water (do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water). Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
Add the sugar and whisk well. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Whisk in the vanilla.
Using a rubber spatula, fold in the peanut meal and salt. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes or until the top of the cake is opaque que a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out still moist. Cool completely over a wire rack. Carefully remove from the pan and serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Serves 8-10

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Roasted garlic pecorino focaccia

Roasted garlic pecorino focaccia / Focaccia de alho assado e pecorino

I can say that after the lovely Ina my favorite Food Network presenter is Rachael Ray – she is fun and her food always looks good – even though most of the times her portions look too generous to me. :)

She constantly says how much she loves garlic and I always relate to that: I have a heavy hand with it comes to adding garlic to my food and usually double the amount requested in recipes (maybe that is why both my husband and I rarely have colds). And don’t even get me started on roasted garlic: I just love the stuff so much I had to mix it into a focaccia dough. It turned out delicious, but if you are not a fan of bold flavors you can tone this down by adding half the amount of garlic and replacing the pecorino with parmesan.

Roasted garlic pecorino focaccia / Focaccia de alho assado e pecorino

Roasted garlic pecorino focaccia
own recipe

For the roasted garlic:
1 large head of garlic, whole
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons dried yeast
¼ teaspoon granulated sugar
300ml lukewarm water
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra to drizzle over the focaccia
3 cups (455g) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
1/3 cup finely ground pecorino
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Place the whole head of garlic in the center of a medium piece of foil. Drizzle with the olive oil and close the ends of the paper, pressing them together so the oil does not leak. Place the foil package in a small baking sheet and roast for about 45 minutes or until garlic is tender. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely. When garlic is cold, remove the pulp from the skins and mash it with a fork to form a purée – save the olive oil left in the foil for later. Set the garlic aside.

In the large bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast, sugar and water and mix with a fork. Set aside for 5 minutes or until foamy. Add the olive oil, flour, salt and half of the pecorino and mix with the dough hook for 6-8 minutes or until an elastic and smooth dough forms – it kneading by hand, 10-12 minutes should do. Add the mashed garlic, half the thyme leaves and mix well. Transfer to a lightly oiled large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm spot for 1 ½ hours or until doubled in volume.

Lightly brush a large baking sheet with olive oil. Carefully transfer the dough to the prepared sheet, gently so you don’t lose the air trapped in the dough. Shape it onto a 30x20cm (12x8in) oval. With lightly floured fingertips, pierce the dough in a few spots without pressing it too deep. Measure the olive oil left from roasting the garlic and add more olive oil until you have 1 tablespoon. Drizzle over the dough, then sprinkle it with the remaining thyme leaves and pecorino. Set aside in a warm place for about 20 minutes – in the meantime, preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Bake the focaccia for 25-30 or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and very carefully slide it onto a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. The focaccia can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days and tastes fresh again if reheated briefly in the oven.

Serves 8-10

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Black Forest self-saucing pudding to start 2018

Black Forest self-saucing pudding / Bolo-pudim Floresta Negra

Happy New Year, everyone! :)

I haven’t posted anything new on the blog for quite a while, even though I have several great recipes to share with you: my workload last December tripled and I was working like crazy in order to get things done before taking a few vacation days. I had also promised myself that on those vacation days I would not seat in front of a computer and I am proud to have kept the promise – I really needed the time off. Of course I am only human and used my mobile to post and check Instagram and Twitter, but that was kept to a minimum and it was a lot less than I had expected.

I got back to work and because we still have some amazing cherries around I thought I’d share this self-saucing pudding with you: it is delicious and easy to put together. Here in Brazil cherries are easier to be found in the summer, but if you are facing winter don’t worry: this recipe is also great using frozen raspberries instead of the cherries – it will no longer be a Black Forest pudding, but it will taste great all the same.

Black Forest self-saucing pudding
own recipe

¾ cup + 2 tablespoons (125g) all purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
pinch of table salt
¼ cup (56g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/3 cup (80ml) whole milk, room temperature
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cognac – use kirsch if you have it at home; or omit alcohol all together
1 cup (150g) fresh cherries, pitted and halved
¼ cup (42g) dark chocolate chips or chunks – I used one with 53% cocoa solids

½ cup (88g) light brown sugar, packed
1 ½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup (120ml) boiling water
whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, to serve

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Lightly butter four 1-cup (240ml) capacity heatproof ramekins.

Start with the batter: in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In another medium bowl, whisk together the butter, milk, egg, vanilla and cognac. Pour over the dry ingredients and stir just until a thick batter forms. Stir in the cherries and chocolate. Divide batter evenly among the ramekins.

Topping: in a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cocoa. Sprinkle over the batter. Place the ramekins in a baking sheet, then pour 2 tablespoons boiling water over each ramekin, gently pouring it over the topping. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until mixture rises and a crust forms. Serve immediately with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Serves 4

Related Posts with Thumbnails