Ribs

Ribs is something I tried for first time some years a go in a BBQ restaurant. I wanted to try for some time. So I checked these two videos: american versionspanish version.

I followed the American version mainly. I bought two rack of small pork ribs. Whatever my butcher had left.

First thing, I salt them as I was going to cook them the next day.

Pre-heat oven at 150C

Rib Rub: Salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika. (for nex time, I need to add coffee)

BBQ Sauce: ketchup, mustard, sugar, soy sauce, apple vinegar, salt, garlic powder, paprika.

Dry the ribs with kitchen paper. Spread your rib rub thoroughly in the rack. Spread a bit of vinegar to give some moist. Wrap the ribs very tightly with aluminium foil.

Put the ribs in the oven at 150C for 2.5h – 3h.

The challenge here is to be sure if the ribs are cooked as you can’t see them. But the result was good:

They looked tender! And there was sauce around so I think it is a good sign that they are not dry! And could pull a bone easily!

Now last part. Use a brash to spread your bbq sauce on the top and put then back in the oven at 200C for 10 minutes (or until the sauce is a bit dry)

Then you are ready!

It was really testy for the first time!

A couple of days later, I tried the second rack…. and the result wasnt that good. I put the ribs at 200C for nearly 3h.. they turned up dry 🙁

Well, that’s experience. But I am glad of trying!

Marmalede-p1

This weekend I have tried something I had in mind of some time. Home-made marmalade!

I had done before membrillo! (quince) And it was great! Such a good memories came back. And you realize how is done the one you used to buy in shops…

I decided to try the same method with berries (strawberry, blueberries, rasberries, etc). The recipe is quite simple.

Ingredients

-1 kg of frozen berries (if you can get them fresh, even better)

– 100g sugar ( maybe you can add more)

– 1 glass recipient of 600ml. Disinfected with boiling water.

Process:

Heat up a big saucepan (middle heat), put the frozen berries and the sugar. Stir frequently.

The fruit will start to unfrozen. Once fruit is soft, reduce the heat a bit and keep stirring.

The fruits will release water so dont add any.

Once they are looking like a pure, taste with a spoon (dont burnt your tongue!!)

If you want to get rid of the big bits of fruit, use a hand blender.

Once you have the texture you want, it is done.

Let it cool off properly before transfer to the glass and then to the fridge.

Notes

Dont add water!!!! If you do, the marmalade will be quite liquid.

– Sugar levels. This is quite personal. Most marmalades I have checked have at least 40% sugar. I have decided with a 10%. 1kg fruit, 100g sugar. To be honest, depending on the fruit, it can be still a bit acid and you can add more. In my next attempt I will try 150g sugar.

Apple-Pie

To celebrate a new lockdown season, I wanted to cook an apple pie like my mum used to make and I think I found a recipe that looks like that.

Ingredients:

1- 150g of biscuits smashed (my tin was a bit bigger than the video)

2- 70g melted butter

3- 8 apples, peeled and core removed – 6 for the sauce and 2 for decoration

4- 1 glass of milk (around 250ml)

5- 1 glass of plain flour (same glass as above)

6- 1/2 glass of suggar (same glass as above)

7- a pintch of cinnamon

8- Some tbsp of marmalade (or maple syrup as I ran out)

Process

1- Use a bit of butter to cover the bottom of your tin. Mix your crashed biscuits with the butter and fill the bottom of the tin. Be sure it looks like a firm surface. Put the tin in the fridge to cool down.

2- Pre-heat oven at 180C

3- In a blender, put the 6 chopped apples, milk, flour, sugar and cinnamon. After a couple of minutes, check everything is fully combined and liquid-like.

4- Take the tin from the bridge, and pour the apple mix on the tin. Be sure it is level. Then cut the other two apples in slices and cover the apple mix.

5- Put the cake in the over for around 60 minutes. The top should be brown and if you push a knife in the cake should come out clean.

6- Once the cake is out of the oven. Use the marmalade to bright up the surface of the cake.

7- Let the cake to cool in the fridge (1h) and ready to eat!

I actually liked it and I think it is similar to the one I used to have as a kid. Good memories!

Pisto

Another dish I wanted to try for some time has been pisto. I had to be a teenager since last time. I found several good videos like this. But I tried to do it my way.

Ingredients:

  • 1 courgette
  • 1 big potato
  • 1 big onion
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 3 peppers (red, green, whatever)
  • Salt, olive oil, any spice you fancy
  • 1 can tomato sauce

Process

1- Preheat oven at 200C

2- Chop your vegetables, put everything in a tray. Add salt, spices and coat in oil everything.

3- Put the tray in the oven, kind of 30 minutes. Be sure, they dont burn!

4- Heat up a frying pan. Add some oil, add the can of tomato sauce. Stir, add a bit of salt, and sugar (optional). It should thicken up a bit.

5- Once your vegs are grilled, add them to the tomate sauce (dont throw the liquid from the tray). Stir everything for some minutes and ready to serve.

6- Optional, you can fry an egg and add it on top!

Super easy, quick and healthy!

Chicken-Katsu-Curry

I am not good at cooking curry dishes but there is one I wanted to try. I found a video that I liked and gave it a try.

Curry Sauce:

  • a bit of olive oil to fry (2tsp)
  • 2 onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 apple
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp flour
  • 4 tsp curry mild powder
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 4 tp soy sauce
  • 500ml water + 2 chicken stock cubes
  • 1/2 can coconut milk

Chicken:

  • 2 big chicken breasts
  • bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • flour
  • olive oil for frying

Rice

  • 1 cup of rice + 1 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 can coconut milk

Process for curry

1- Fry in a pan the chopped onions, carrots, apple and garlic. Stir for 4-5 minutes. Onions should soft a bit.

2- Add the flour, curry, garam masala, coconut milk, honey, soy sauce. Stir everything properly. It should be like a paste. Start adding the chicken stock. Leave it simmer for kind of 30 minutes, while you prepare the chicken and rice.

3- Heat another pan with the olive oil (you are not deep frying…)

4- Prepare the chicken breast. I pounce the chicken breast to make a bit flat. Then pass the chicken first via the flour, properly coated, then pass via the egg, properly coated,then finally via the bread crumbs, properly coated.

5- Fry the chicken, golden in both sides.

6- Boil your 1 1/2 water, put it in another pan, add the rice and the 1/2 can of coconut. Let it cook at middle heat.

7- Once the chicken is fried, the rice ready. It is time to finalize the sauce. I pass the sauce with a hand blender, I dont want to waste all ingredients and take only the liquid. I dont like to waste food.

The result was really good! I have good for a week!

Moussaka

I was a bit homesick from a trip with friends last year to Greece so I decided to try moussaka again.

I followed this video and it was very good!!!! I have never tried bechamel that way.

Ingredients for meat mix:

  • 3 aubergines
  • 2 big potatoes
  • 1 big onion
  • 2 or 3 garlic cloves
  • 500g minced lamb (you can use beef of course)
  • olive oil to fry
  • tomate paste
  • 1 can of tomate sauce
  • 250ml water + 2 beef stock cubes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt, pepper, 1 tsp of cinnamon.

Ingredients Bechamel:

  • 250ml milk (2 glasses) – warm
  • 120g plain flour + 120g butter
  • 85g parmesan
  • nutmeg
  • 2 egg yolks

Instructions:

1- Slice the aubergines into 1cm thick. Season with salt and set aside for 30 minutes (then dry them properly)

2- While you wait for the aubergines, peel and slice the potatoes.

3- Heat up a pan with olive oil and fry the auberguines and potatoes until golden. Try to remove as much oil when taking out the pan and dry in kitchen paper.

4- In the same pan (medium heat), with a bit of oil, chop the onions and saute for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic.

5- Add the meat, salt, pepper and cinnamon. Once it is cooked, add bay leaf, tomate sauce and stir well. Add the water + beef stock cubes. Once starts reducing the liquied, reduce heat to low and let it simmer while preparing the bechamel.

Bechamel:

1- In a sauce pan in low heat, melt the butter, then add the flour and whisk until you have a paste.

2- Start adding the warm milk while whisking. Add pepper and nutmeg.

3- Once it is smooth and think, remove from heat, add the parmesan cheese and egg yolks. Whisk until smooth and thick again. Add a 4-5 tablespoons of bechamel into the meat mix.

Assembling:

1- Pre-heat oven – 180C.

2- In a large deep ovenproof dish, lay down the fry potatoes in 1 layer. Then 1 layer of aubergines. Add meat mix. Then add a last layer of aubergines.

3- Finally add the bechamel on top of the last layer of aubergines. Spread out evenly.

4- Put in the oven until golden brown (45m aprox)

The result was quite good!

Cocoa Peanut Butter

I like a lot nuts and peanut butter can be a good snack before/after a workout but if you try to buy a good one from the supermarket is not cheap. 500g of roasted/salted nuts is around £3 so it is easier to do it yourself and you know what is in it! I took inspiration from this blog post.

  • 500g of peanuts (if possible unsalted)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tsp of coconut oil
  • 50g 100% cocoa
  • 2 tsp of custer sugar

In my case, I just can find salted peanuts. So I pass them via water to remove the excess of salt.

1- Roast the peanuts in a pre-heat (200C) oven for 5 minutes. Toss them and give another a couple of minutes. Be sure they don’t burn! Let them cool for a bit until you can handle them

2- Put the peanuts, salt, coconut oil, cocoa and sugar in the food processor. Run at full speed for several minutes. Depending on your taste, you can make it super smooth. In my case, I like a bit crunchy. In the main time, taste it just in case you want to add anything else (salt, sugar, coconut oil, etc)

Empanada

Some time ago I watched this video from Paul Hollywood in Madrid. I was amazed! And there was something I had in my to-cook list: Empanada

As a kid I have eaten different types of empanadas, mainly vegetable and meat ones. Although you have find versions with fish (cod) and seafood/octupus. Depends on the region in Spain.

And you can find them in many Latin countries too!

Finally this weekend I gave it a go.

Based on this recipe, I made mine with grilled vegetables.

  • Filling: Grilled Vegetables
    • Pre-Heat oven at 200C
    • Oil a tray.
    • Cut several types of vegetables: onions, courguettes, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, etc
    • Add some spices: tumeric, paprika, a bit of salt, etc
    • Mix everything with your hand so all ingredients have a bit of oil coatting.
    • Put in the hot oven for 20m at least. Depends on the amount of vegs. At this point you coud start the empanada dough.

  • Empanada Dough Ingredients:
    • You should put the butter and lard (pig’s fat) into the freezer!
    • 200gr plain flour
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 125 ml water
    • 65gr butter, frozen and then grated (or finely laminated)
    • 65gr lard, frozen and then grated (or finely laminated)

  • Empanada Process:

1. Oven should be hot from the grilled vegs at 200C

2. Mix the flour and salt. Add water bit a bit until getting a dough. Shouldnt be too sticky. You can knead it a bit.

3. Roll the dough out into a rectangle on a lightly floured work surface. Add half of the butter/lard over the pastry. Fold the dough on top of the butter/lard. Turn, use the roll to mix and repeat again with the rest of the butter/lard. In the video is much easier to see/understand. Repeat the roll and folding two more times so we create the layers in the pastry.

4. Wrap the dough in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes before using.

5. Take the chilled pastry from the fridge and roll out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a rectangle. Just be sure the dough doesn’t break. Brush the edges with beaten egg as this will be the sticking point for the pastry.

6. Add the grilled vegs in half of the dough. Fold the other half to cover the filling. Press the edges to seal. Brush the top with beaten egg

7. Put in the oven at 200C for 25 minutes or so until the pastry is crispy and a golden brown colour.

For being the first time, I was really surprised how crunchy it was! I had a good lunch.

I think you prepare the dough the day before, and as soon the vegs are ready, take it out of the fridge and carry on.

Grating the butter/lard was a bit messy even being frozen. Next time I will slice it very finely. When making croissants, you just flatten the butter.

Anyway, new recipe in my arsenal!

Sourdough Focaccia

I like bread, a lot. And I have been baking at home once a week for a couple of years already. And Mainly sourdough. Still far from the courses and videos you can find in the internet but I am happy with it. I really enjoy eating it 🙂

Once day watching some videos about sourdough, I found this focaccia sourdough recipe. I had seen another videos in the past from the author so I decided to give it a go. I have tried once focaccia a couple of years ago using yeast sackets but never with sourdough starter.

All credits to the author.

My topping was different. I did tomate sauce, thin slices of potatoes, onions, a bit of courguette and frozen rosemary.

Not sure why, my dough didnt come up like in the video/blog. I think it needs a bit more oil?

Anyway, the taste is good. Will try another time.

Other things I want to try with sourdough are croissants and ciabattas!

Choco Cookies

It is something I have never tried to bake. I consider it a very American/British thing. I have tried good ones in UK in Ben’s Cookies and it seems there is a great version in USA in Levain Bakery.

So searching for recipes, I chose this one:

Ingredients (adapted to what I have):

Plain flour 200g
Self-Raising flour 100g
100% cocoa powder 50g
1 teaspoon of corn flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
Half a teaspoon of salt

Cold butter 200g
Brown sugar 130g
White sugar 70g

2 free range eggs - beaten room temperature 

300g 80% dark chocolate in pieces
20g of mixed nuts crashed

Process:

  • Sieve flour, cocoa powder, corn, baking soda/powder, and salt.
  • Cut the cold butter into a small cubes.
  • Chop chocolate tablets into small pieces.
  • In a big enough bowl, cream the butter and sugar. I do it by hand.
  • Add eggs in 3 separate steps, and keep mixing.
  • Add the dry ingredients (flour mix), and mix lightly until you still see unmixed flour.
  • Add chocolate pieces and nuts. Mix lightly.
  • Cover and move the dough to the fridge for 2-3 hours.
  • Weight 170gr of dough per cookie. Make a ball and place it on a tray.
  • Move the try to the fridge for 30 minutes in the fridge.
  • Pre heat the oven to 200℃ and bake it at 180℃ for 10 minutes.
  • Let them rest for 15 minutes or more until the surface is a bit hard. If not they will break down in your hand.

Veredict

Obviously, they dont look like the ones in the video or the other sites but they were good.

Difficult to believe, but they dont taste super sweet. I used 100% cocoa powder and 85% dark chocolate. Still one cookie has the amount of chocolate and sugar that I take in one week 😛

Reminder

You can put the rest of cookies in the freezer! And enjoy fresh baked cookies any day!!! (I had three left over)

Mistakes

  • They where in the oven for 13 minutes or more… so they flat out more than I wished.
  • They are very big cookies so make sure they have plenty of room. I only put four and one moved when I put the tray in the oven.

Another time, I will try the walnut one.