Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Orange and thyme sablés and my love for herbs

Sablés de laranja e tomilho


One of the things I liked the most when I started cooking recipes from different new sources – books, magazines, foodblogs – was learning how to use fresh herbs: until then, I was used to parsley and chives, which are highly popular in Brazilian houses, but not much more than that. 

The first time I added basil to a tomato sauce it was a revelation: it was amazing how much more delicious it tasted! After basil, I became friends with rosemary, sage, mint, marjoram (which I love, even though is not super easy to find), oregano, cilantro, and my absolute favorite: thyme.

I sometimes hear people saying that it goes well with beef, or lamb, but I have used thyme in so many recipes, combined with so many different types of produce and ingredients, and it has worked wonderfully every time. I love it with roasted vegetables, tomato sauce, dishes with cheese and cream, chicken, fish, chickpeas… Really, the sky is the limit for me.

One of my favorite recipes with thyme is actually sweet: these melt-in-your-mouth sables are delicious and might turn you into a thyme-fan, if you are not one yet.


Orange and thyme sablés

own recipe


½ teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

finely grated zest of 2 large oranges

¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar

1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, room temp.

1 large egg, room temp.

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons Cointreau (optional)

2 ¾ cups (385g) all purpose flour

½ teaspoon table salt


To roll the dough log:

2 tablespoons granulated sugar – demerara works wonders here too


Place the thyme, orange zest and sugar in a mortar and pestle or a mini food processor and crush/grind until sugar is fragrant. Transfer mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer, add butter and cream until light and fluffy – scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally throughout the making of the recipe. Beat in the egg, beating well after the addition. Beat in the vanilla and the Cointreau (if using). In low speed, beat in the flour and salt and mix just until a dough forms – do not overmix.

Divide the dough into two equal parts. Place each on a large piece of parchment paper; shape dough into logs. Fold parchment over dough; using a ruler, roll and press into a 3.5 cm (1.4in) log – like Martha does here. Wrap in parchment. Chill in the fridge until very firm, about 3 hours (the dough logs can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days or stored in the freezer for up to 1 month.)

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

Unwrap one log at a time (keep the other in the fridge) and roll it through the sugar, pressing ever so slightly to help adhere. Cut log into 5mm (about ¼in) thick rounds; space 5cm (2in) apart onto prepared sheets. Bake until golden brown around the edges, 12-15 minutes. Cool on the sheets for 5 minutes, then slide the paper with the cookies onto a wire rack and cool completely. Repeat the process with the remaining dough log.

Packed airtight, the cookies will keep for about 5 days at room temperature or in the freezer for a month.

Makes about 48 cookies

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Blueberry clafoutis

Clafoutis de mirtilo

On a blueberry state of mind after themuffins I posted last week, I bring you a delicious and simple to make clafoutis with these wonderful berries: if you are on the bottom half of the globe like I am, the temperature is perfect for warm desserts as this one. 

I am a sucker for clafoutis, both sweet and savory, for I believe it is such a versatile recipe that can be tailored to whatever you have at hand. A handful of ingredients, most of them staples of every kitchen, plus fruits or vegetables to boot – sounds perfect to me!

I love blueberries and cinnamon together, I think they are a perfect pair, but this clafoutis is also delicious with cardamom instead – freshly ground is best.

Blueberry clafoutis

own recipe


2 large eggs, room temperature

1/3 cup (66g) granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons all purpose flour

pinch of salt

pinch of ground cinnamon

¼ cup (60ml) whole milk, room temperature

¼ cup (60ml) heavy cream

¾ cup (100g) blueberries, fresh or frozen (unthawed)

1 tablespoon demerara sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Butter two 1-cup (240ml) capacity ovenproof shallow dishes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and granulated sugar until creamy and pale, like eggnog. Whisk in the vanilla. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour, salt and cinnamon, until mixture is smooth. Fold in mil and cream. Divide mixture between the prepared dishes and sprinkle with the blueberries. Sprinkle with the demerara sugar.

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Serve immediately.

Serves 2

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Blueberry, coconut and white chocolate muffins

Muffins de coco, mirtilo e chocolate branco

From a very early age my mother taught me how wonderful fruits are: apples, oranges, watermelon, strawberries, pears… We were a modest family, but there were always different fruits over the counter or in the fridge – my favorites as a kid were strawberries.

Some fruits are kind of recent in my life, such as raspberries and blueberries – these have become popular and easier to find in Brazil over the past years. I love raspberries – went picking them once with a dear friend in Surrey, England, back in 2007 – but blueberries I believe benefit from heat: after being cooked or baked, for example, they become more flavorsome: it is like they turn into little pockets of jam.

Blueberries and white chocolate are beautiful together, the flavors complement each other in a perfect way. I wanted to give these muffins a bit of a tropical flair, therefore the double addition of coconut, both desiccated and in milk form. The muffins turned out delicious, moist and tender, and I found out that coconut and blueberries can be truly great friends too.


Blueberry, coconut and white chocolate muffins

own recipe


2 cups (280g) all purpose flour

¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar

¼ cup (25g) desiccated unsweetened coconut

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/8 teaspoon table salt

½ cup (120ml) whole milk, room temperature

½ cup (120ml) coconut milk

½ cup (113g/1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup (140g) blueberries, fresh or frozen (unthawed)

2/3 cup (110g) white chocolate chips or small chunks


Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Line a 12-cavity muffin pan with paper cups.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, coconut, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, coconut milk, butter, egg and vanilla. Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients and mix with a fork until ingredients are incorporated – do not overmix, or your muffins will turn out tough; muffin batter is lumpy, and not smooth like cake batter. Fork in the blueberries and the chocolate.

Divide the batter evenly among the paper cups (they will be rather full) and bake for about 20 minutes or until muffins are risen and golden, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan over a wire rack for 5 minutes, then carefully unmold onto the rack.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 12

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Granola jam bars

Barrinhas de geleia e granola


Once I started making my own granola I never looked back: store bought just doesn’t do it for me anymore. I am the only granola eater at my house, so one batch lasts quite a long time – I usually eat it in the afternoon with some yogurt and fruit, a nice snack between lunch and dinner, and that also gives me energy to exercise. 

There were times, however, before quarantine, that I was not able to finish off the granola before it lost its crunch. For times like those, these granola and jam bars are absolutely perfect: you can vary the flavors of both the granola and the jam to make several different combinations.

The only jam I usually avoid for these bars is strawberry, for I think it is a tad too sweet.

Granola jam bars

own recipe


¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar

¾ cup (105g) all purpose flour

1/3 cup (45g) whole wheat flour

pinch of salt

100g unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 egg yolk (save the white for making the topping)

½ teaspoon vanilla extract


Filling and topping:

½ cup (170g) your favorite jam – my favorite flavors for this recipe are raspberry, blackberry and apricot

1 ¾ cups (210g) granola

1 egg white


Start making the base: preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 20x20cm (8x8in) square baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang in two opposite sides, to make unmolding the bars easier. Butter the foil.

In a large bowl, whisk the flours, sugar and salt. Add the butter, egg yolk and vanilla and mix until a dough starts to form – it might be crumbly, no problem, do not overmix to avoid getting a tough base. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and pat onto the bottom of the pan – you can use the bottom of a glass or measuring cup to help. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and very carefully not to get burned, spread the jam over the base.

In another bowl, mix well the granola and egg white and then spread evenly over the jam layer.

Bake for another 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, cool completely in the pan over a wire rack.

Remove the bars from the pan using the paper as guide and cut into squares to serve.


Makes 16

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