Breakfast, Brunch, Cakes, Pork, Uncategorized

First Weekend Specials 2018 and Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! I had so many plans to cook and to post many delicious meals and recipes for the first weekend of 2018, but unexpected bronchitis¬†got my plans ruined. ūüė¶

Anyway, I tried to satisfy some of our preferences for the first day of the year and to indulge a bit from breakfast through dinner ūüėČ

Me and my daughter, we started the day with a chocolate chia pudding that I prepared the day before and let it in the fridge overnight. For that, I mixed three tablespoons of chia seeds with one tablespoon of each cocoa and brown sugar and 2 cups of unsweetened cashew milk. Give it a good stir or shake to mix all the ingredients in a jar and let it in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Now, you can imagine I had to let mine warm up for a while as eating right from the refrigerator was not an option at this point ūüėČ

Cocoa chia pudding 2

While the two of us continued with some delicious Ricotta Chocolate Overloaded Pancakes:

Ricotta Pancakes.jpg

my hubby decided to move to the savoury side and enjoyed an Italian Sausages Omelette with Sauer kraut and homemade pickled beets. While the Sauer kraut was store bought I like to make the pickled beets at home. I just boil the beet with skin on. Let them cool down, peel them and cut them into cubes or chunks depending on your desire. I just drizzle the beet pieces with lemon juice ( I use the juice from a small lemon ) and half teaspoon balsamic and a  pinch of salt.

Sasauges Omelette

 

With such an indulgence for breakfast, you can imagine that our lunch was quite late, or we could call it an early supper. But this gave me a chance to take care of the cake. I made the same cake for my daughter’s¬† birthday, early December¬†2017. The cake was quite a hit after a try like ” mom, really I am not little anymore. You don’t have to make a cake every year …yadda, yadda, yadda. ” And because we all loved it I decided to make it again as the first dessert of 2018.

While the lunch was cooking, I prepared the ingredients for the cake. As a Romanian tradition, we would serve cabbage rolls for New Year. However, I did not go for the original recipe, but I made something to remind us¬†of cabbage rolls. I had left two Italian sausages, and I made some pan-fried turkey meatballs from extra lean ground turkey. I cooked the sausages in a large pot.¬†After they turned quite brownish, I added the sliced cabbage. I seasoned all with salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, dried dill and oregano. I give it a stir and let it cooked until the cabbage softened a bit. I added some more hot water and the turkey meatballs on top and let them simmer on low heat for another hour or so. If you are wondering why did I add boiling water instead of just water, is because the sausages and cabbage were already cooking and by adding the hot water you won’t stop the cooking process. I had to admit the combination of pork, turkey and cabbage was just delicious.

Sausages with cabbage

 

And we end our first day if 2018 with a decadent Chocolate Tiramisu:

You could check the original recipe, my inspiration for this delicious cake here.

Here is what I used. I changed a few ingredients, but the final result is very close.

  • 500 g ladyfingers
  • 500 ml coffee, sweetened with 1 tbsp of brown sugar ( I made it again, and I skipped the sugar and was just okay as well )
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 500 gr smooth ricotta
  • 300 gr semisweet chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee ( optional)
  • 1 teaspoon rum extract
  • a few amaretto¬†biscotti¬†for decor, optional.

Here is the result. I think that the pictures talk a thousand words :

Chocolate tiramisu 1

 

Chocolate tiramisu 2

You could add a beautiful¬†festive ribbon around. I just couldn’t find mine, and I had no energy to look for it. Like my daughter says ” mom, don’t put it away too well, you know that you never remember after that” LOL

 

Chocolate tiramisu 3

I have only one more comment to make about the cake: with every day that passes it becomes more delicious, the ladyfingers will be so moist and soaked with the coffee, and the cream cheese just melts into your mouth. Now it depends on how long you can resist it but in my opinion, the third day was the best, so maybe if you have guests, it’s better to prepare this one day ahead. ūüôā

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30 minutes meals, Brunch, Uncategorized

Apple Compote

Last week I made a so called childhood desert. Some of you might know is also as “Compot de mere”. I think we all have those moments when we crave a childhood dessert. I will share the recipe, and the way my mother used to make it for us, although I noticed that French compote is more like a stew, I love the extra juice from mine. As a kid, I always thought the more juice, the better ūüėČ I still like it this way.

Apple compote.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 7-8 apples (I used green apples)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp cinnamon¬†powder
  • 5-6 cloves
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • juice from two lemons
  • about 2.5-3-litre¬†water

Directions:

Bring a large pot with water to boil on medium high heat. When the water starts to boil add the sugar, the cinnamon sticks and the cloves.

Wash the apples thoroughly. Peel and core the apples. Cut them in pieces. I love mine a bit bigger. While I cut the apples, I put them in a large bowl, and I squeeze the lemon juice over the apple¬†pieces so they won’t oxidize.

If you like it sweeter, you could add some more sugar. If you are not fond of cinnamon, you can use only the cinnamon sticks or the powder. Simmer all together for about 15-20 minutes. You can serve it hot or cold. I like it mostly cold, from the fridge.

You can serve it hot or cold. In the Summer I will definitely have it cold ], right from the refrigerator.

You can keep it the compote in the fridge up to two weeks if such a thing is possible. Mine will probably vanish in a few days ūüėČ

 

Aplle compote 2

 

 

Aplle compote 3

 

Enjoy ! 

Uncategorized

Sunday’s Specials

This Sunday I was very busy, and because of that, I had to think of a really easy and fast meal. There was no time for my Sunday pancakes, so I made a fresh batch of muffins. I know what you might think, but I did it again. This time I decided for a Peanut butter coffee flavor.

Here are the ingredients:

  • 1 cup old fashion oats
  • 5 teaspoons of chocolate peanut butter powder¬†
  • 1 teaspoon French vanilla instant coffee
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • lemon juice from 1/2 lemon¬†
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup grape seeds oil
  • 2 cups cashew milk
  • 1 1/2 cup¬†unbleached¬†flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • a few almond flakes for topping

They were moist and delicious, and they had to keep us going until 3 PM when we returned home for a late lunch.

peanut butter coffee muffins

First, I was thinking of ordering out for lunch today, but before I left the house I browsed the internet for a few minutes, and I found a  recipe that inspired me.  My inspiration was Sabrina from Dinner and then dessert: Easy Greek Pasta Salad. I adapted the recipe with my ingredients and here is the result: Easy Tuna Pasta Salad. 

Ingredients:

Makes: 4 servings; Prep time: 15 min; Cooking time: 20 min

for the salad:

  • 225 gr rice and quinoa fusilli¬†pasta
  • 1/2 of an English cucumber, chopped
  • 1 cup sweet grape tomatoes, halved
  • ¬†1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 cup green olives
  • 3 small tuna cans in olive oil
  • 50 gr feta cheese

for the dressing: 

  • I saved the olive oil from the tuna cans, but I did not use all of it. ( approx¬†3-4 tbsps )
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Boil the pasta as per the instruction from the package.

Place the cooked pasta in a large porcelain bowl. Add the chopped cucumber, halved tomatoes, red onion, green olives, and tuna.

In a small bowl whisk together: olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt and black pepper.

Pour the vinaigrette over the pasta mixture and stir slowly. Add some extra black pepper if you wish.

easy tuna salad.jpg

 We spoiled ourselves a bit today by having a Chocolate mousse topped with Pistachio Ice Cream ( Indian style. Both, the mousse and ice cream were storebought).

chocolate mousse and ice cream.jpg

 

There is a frost advisory here in Toronto, but I would like to end my post with some beautiful¬†yellow tulips and the hope that Spring will come soon ūüėČ ‚̧

yellow tulip

Muffins and other sweets

Orange – Apricot Crumble Bars

Inspired by Gail from Snapshotsincursive.com ¬†I tried my first dessert of 2017 which is¬†also my first Crumble Bar. I have to admit I have a “bad” habit of changing the recipe which inspired me. This time, I substituted half of the flour with ¬†quinoa flour, even though I did not research the properties of quinoa flour to see what effect it can have on the dessert. I just risked it. After all, where’s the fun without a little risk, right? Well, I was lucky this time ūüôā Would I use the quinoa flour again ? Absolutely! I will use a different proportion though: 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of all purpose flour.

Ingredients:

1.5 cups of all purpose flour

1.5 cups of quinoa flour

50 gr of ground almond

1 tsp of baking soda

1 stick of butter

3/4 cup of sugar

1 jar of orange jam plus 4 tbsp of apricot jam

Mix the two flour together. Add the sugar, almond ground and baking soda. Rub the butter and flour  mixture until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.  Add half of the mixture over a prepared greased baking tin ( 9 inch x 9 inch ) and press down gently. Spread the orange jam over followed by the apricot jam. Crumble the remaining batter on top. Sprinkle the almond flakes and bake in the preheated oven for about 25 to 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let it cool completely ( if you  can resist it,  LOL ) and cut into squares.

orange-apricot-crumble-bar

orange-apricot-crumble-bar-4

orange-apricot-crumble-bar-5

orange-apricot-crumble-bar-2

Thank you, Gail, for the inspiration! ūüôā

‚ąó

 

Cakes

Butternut Squash Coffee Cake

In the previous post ” Homemade Almond Milk” I found inspiration on “pastryaffair.com” website. ¬†I decided to give it one more try after making the successful Almond milk ;). This time my inspiration was for a dessert: “Pumpkin Espresso Bundt Cake”.

I guess it was another success if I consider that my daughter who does not eat pumpkin or butternut squash ate several slices and even she said ” really is this a pumpkin cake ?” ¬†She just loved it ūüôā

Ingredients 

For the  Cake

  • puree from 1/2 of a large butternut squash
  • 4 ¬†eggs
  • 3/4 cup grape seed oil
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 For Coffee Filling 

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon hazelnut instant coffee NESCAFE
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate bites

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lined a backing sheet with backing paper.

Wash and cut the butternut squash in pieces. Place the pieces on a backing sheet and bake them for about 30 minutes. I like to cut the squash in pieces as I always like to enjoy a few pieces. Yummy ūüėČ Of course you don’t have to do this, you can cut the butternut squash in ¬†in half or quarters if it’s too large and bake it. Let¬†the squash coll it down before using it in the cake.

butternut-squash-2butternut-squash

For the cake, in a large bowl beat together the squash, eggs, oil, brown sugar,  and bourbon. In another  bowl mix together the two flours, baking powder and cinnamon . Add the flour mixture to the squash mixture and mix well until all ingredients are combined.  Set aside.

For the espresso filling, whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and instant coffee. Set aside.

In a prepared baking pan, add half of the cake batter. Sprinkle half of the coffee filling and add the chocolate bite. Press lightly just to be sure the bite are sticking to the batter. Spoon in the other half of the squash batter and even it with a spatula. Sprinkle the coffee filling  left.

Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes depending on the oven. check the center of the cake with a toothpick; if it’s coming pit clean the cake is ready. Let it cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Cut it in small pieces and enjoy it.

I know I have ūüėČ

pumpkin-espresso-cakepumpkin-espresso-cake-3pumpkin-espresso-cake-4pumpkin-espresso-cake-5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Muffins and other sweets

No Butter Cinnamon Raisins Buns

As you might know, the main ingredients in a cinnamon roll are flour, cinnamon, sugar and butter. So you might ¬†think why no butter ? It’s not because I don’t like butter; I love butter. I love it too much and sometimes I prefer not to buy it so I can stay away from it

But who can stay away from cinnamon buns ?!? If you don’t use butter you can substitute with olive oil ( any oil of your choice it works ) ¬†and believe me there was almost no difference ūüėČ

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp instant traditional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 large run free egg
  • 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup of 1% lactose free milk

Heat the milk but never reach boiling point.

In a bowl add 1/2 cup of warm water and 1/2 teaspoon sugar and 2 tbsp instant yeast. Let it activate for about 10-15 minutes.

In a large bowl add the flour, salt sugar and mix. Make an indentation, add the egg lightly beaten, milk and the yeast mixture. Start kneading until the dough is coming from your hands and it’s no sticky. ¬†You might have to add a bit of all-purpose flour. Knead for about 5 minutes. Transfer the dough to a clean, oily bowl and cover with a kitchen towel or plastic foil. Let it rise for about 1 hour in a warm place.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a thin rectangle. Brush with 3 Tbsp of olive oil ( you could also use grape seeds oil ). Top the dough with 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 – 1 Tbsp cinnamon (to taste).

Starting at one end, tightly roll up the dough. Cut the dough into 2 inch pieces. Add the pieces in a square or round pan lined with oily baking paper. Brush the rolls with olive oil for a reach golden color. Cover them with plastic wrap and let them stend on the top of your preheat oven ( 375 F ) for about 30 more minutes.

Bake the rolls for about 25 – 35m minutes until nice and golden on top. While fresh from the oven brush them with some honey ( optional )

Let them cool for a few minutes and then serve and enjoy them ūüôā

 

no-butter-cinnamon-buns

                  ♥