Mac & Greens

I have a good friend that is vegan and some time ago bought a book to find some recipes so I had some to cook when arranging a meal at home.

So last week, I had a broccoli in the fridge and I wanted to do some nice with it. So checking the book I found a vegan version of “Mac & Cheese”. I didnt follow the recipe to the dot as I used real butter for the white cream.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of broccoli, cutting the florets
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Good splash of olive oil
  • 300g mushrooms, chopped
  • 350g macaroni (or any small pasta)

White sauce:

  • 500ml milk
  • 70g butter
  • 50g flour
  • garlic powder
  • 1 tsp mustard (optional)
  • salt, pepper
  • 5-6 tbsp of nutritional yeast (or just Parmesan cheese)
  • 60g breadcrumbs

Marinade

  • 5tbsp soy sauce
  • 20ml honey (or maple syrup or similar)
  • 20ml apple cider vinegar
  • 20ml olive oil

Process

  • Preheat oven at 180C. Prepare two baking trays. Prepare a large saucepan with boiling water. Lasagne dish
  • Put the broccoli florets and chopped onion in a baking tray, drizzle some olive oil. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Put the tray in the top shelf of the oven
  • Mix all ingredients of the marinade, add the mushroom chunks to the marinade. Be sure all it is coated. Spread the mushrooms over the second baking tray. Put the tray below the broccoli tray in the oven.
  • Check all veggies are brown/golden after 15 minutes.
  • While veggies are roasting, put the pasta into the boiling (and salted) water. Cook as per instructions (until al dente). Then drain and put in the lasagne dish
  • Prepare the white sauce. In the saucepan, melt the butter, then add the flour. Now at low heat, combine with a wooden spoon until you have a paste. Then start adding the milk bit a bit keeping a creamy sauce. Add the garlic powder, mustar, salt, pepper, yeast (or cheese). Taste it.
  • In the lasagne dish, add the veggies, mix well. Add the white sauce, mix well.
  • Add the breadcrumbs, a bit of salt/pepper and put back in the over at high temperature until golden the breadcrumbs.

Happy with the result.

To be honest, the marinade gives all the flavour!

Almond Croissant

I learned most of my baking from these courses. I baked croissants later last year so last week I decided to give it another go. I was quite happy with the result. I realised that it was easier than donuts. So I enjoyed croissants the whole week. But yesterday, still had some leftovers so I decided to try something that was in my to-do list: almond croissant. The main steps are the filling called frangipane and soaking the croissants in a syrup. But checking this video, I decided to use a typical Portuguese almond liquor, amarguinha.

Frangipane:

  • 100g butter
  • 100g caster sugar (you can use less)
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 20g plain flour
  • zest of 1/2 lemon

Soaking:

  • 100ml (aprox for 5 croissants) of almond liquor or sugar syrup.

Decoration:

  • sliced almonds
  • sugar powder

Process:

  • Slice your croissant horizontally. Soak the inside parts in the almond liquor. Just a bit and this is alcoholic and you dont want a strong liquor flavour. The goal is the almond touch.
  • Join the croissants again and put them in a tray with baking paper.
  • Prepare the frangipane. Cream the butter and sugar. I do it manually.
  • Then add the eggs, bit a bit, and keep mixing.
  • Then add the almond flour and plain flour, and keep mixing.
  • Finally add the lemon zest.
  • With a kitchen spatula, take the croissant and add a good frangipane layer in the middle.
  • Once you have all croissants filled, spread more frangipane in the top of the croissants.
  • In a bowl, add the sliced almonds, then take the croissants and press the top into the bowl of almonds. The almonds should stick into the frangipane.
  • In a pre-heat oven at 210C, bake the croissant for 15 minutes or the almond get golden.
  • Once ready, taken out of the oven and spread some sugar power. Wait a bit to cool down and enjoy!!!

Veggie Lasagne

Last week I fancied a lasagne but I didnt have mince meat so I decided to try a veggie version based on a vegan dish I cooked for a friend in Christmas. You replace the mince meat with shredded mushrooms.

Ingredients:

  • 500gr of chestnut mushrooms
  • garlic + 1 onion, oregano.
  • tomato sauce, splash of read wine
  • roasting veggies: 1 onions, 1 red pepper, 1 green pepper, 1 courgette, 1 potato
  • milk, flour and butter for the white sauce. Nutmeg
  • lasagne sheets (3 layers, 9 sheets in my case)
  • grated cheese
  • olive oil, salt, pepper

Process:

  • Pre-heat oven at 180C. Chop all roasting veggies, coat with a bit of olive oil and a pinch of pepper/salt. Put in the oven.
  • In a food processor, put all mushrooms and whizz until shredded.
  • In a pan, add olive oil, once hot, and the garlic. Cook for a minute, then add the onion, cook for a couple of minutes, then add the mushrooms. Cook for a bit, then add the tomato sauce. Pinch of salt/pepper to taste. Add some oregano and splash of red wine.
  • Once the mix thickens up, remove from the heat.
  • Check the roasting veggies.
  • Prepare the white sauce. In a saucepan at medium heat, put a big know of butter. Once melted, add 3 big tsp of flour. Mix until all combine. Then start pouring some milk, and whisk. Then keep adding milk bit by bit until you have a smooth, not very thick sauce. Add nutmeg, salt, pepper. Taste.
  • Veggies should be ready.
  • Time to assemble everything.
  • In ovenproof glass dish, spread a bit of the white sauce (or butter) in the bottom. Then add a layer of lasagne sheets. Then add half of the mushroom mix, add half of the roasting veggines, add some white sauce. Add a new layer of lasagne sheets, the rest of the mushrooms mix and veggies, add a bit of white sauce. Finally the last layer of lasagne sheets. Pour all the white sauce and spread the grated cheese.
  • Put the lasagne in the already hot oven for 30 minutes or until cheese is crispy.

Really happy with the result!

Ginger, Date and Oats loaf

This cake doesnt have a specific name. I found it in a magazine from my supermarket. I have a pile of recipes collected over the years and rarely try them. But I fancied cooking something related to ginger and this cake looked ideal.

Ingredients:

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 50g of peeled ginger. Then grate it
  • 150g pitted dates (if they are hard, put them in boiling water for 30 minutes until soft)
  • 100g plain wholemeal flour
  • 75g oats
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tsp honey or agave sirup
  • 150g soft cheese
  • 1 lime zested

Process:

  • Preheat oven at 180C. Prepare a loaf tin with non-stick paper or spread some butter.
  • In food processor. Cream the butter, then add the grated ginger, dates, flour and oats. Once all combined (pieces of date are ok), add eggs, baking powder and honey.
  • Pour the mix into the tin. Bake it for 1h. Cover with foil for the last 10-15 minutes if it browns to much. Remove from the oven once you insert a knife and comes out clean
  • While it rests, whisk the soft cheese, 1 tsp honey and the lime zest. Give a taste, it should have a hint of lime, no too strong.
  • The spread the mix on top of the cake. Ready to eat!

It doesnt taste too sweet (most sugar comes from the dates). And the ginger taste is not very strong neither. Having the soft cheese with lime I think it balances. Maybe I should have added more lime but for the first time, it was good!

Katmer

I love bread and I watch a lot of videos about cooking that come up randomly. And this one is something that caught my attention. This looks like it is a typical fried bread or pancake in central Asia. The video shows the Turkish version so I decided to give it a go:

Ingredients:

  • 2 glass of plain flour
  • 3/4 glass of water
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of sugar
  • 75g butter melted
  • 1/4 glass vegetable oil

Process:

  • Mix salt and sugar in water. Add the water the flour and mix all well together.
  • Knead for 5 minutes. Let it rest and then knead again for a couple of minutes. Rest again for 15 minutes.
  • Knock the dough and form a rounded ball. Cut in four pieces and then each piece in two. In total you will have eight pieces. You can make it bigger though.
  • Round each dough ball and let is rest in a floured surface.
  • Mix the butter and vegetable oil.
  • This is the difficult part and is better to watch the video a couple of times. Be sure you have your surface properly floured (I am not used to) for the next step.
  • Using a rolling pin, try to make the thinnest layer you can, if rectangle shape, the better. Then spread some butter mix on it. Fold one third from the right side, spread some oil, fold the other third on top of the oiled one. Oil again. You should have a rectangle. Fold a third from the bottom, oil and fold finally from the top. You should have like a handkerchief .
  • In a medium/hot pan, with just a bit of oil, fry each unit until golden/crispy each side. If you are good, it will bubble up! (just a bit in my case)

It took me a bit and I struggled with rolling pin as I am not used to this kind of dough. But the result was good, very crispy! (I need much practice to reach the level of the video)

Brisket

It is funny but after reading that eating beef doesnt help the planet, last week I decided to cook brisket and bought a 5kg piece…. I am a bit a hypocrite right now. In general I dont eat much meat but it is done.

So this desire came from one visit to a BBQ restaurant some time ago. And I wanted to try at home with my oven. So I found this recipe that looked good to follow.

Ingredients:

  • 2.5kg brisket
  • salt, pepper, paprika, brown sugar, garlic, spices for the rub
  • 2 onions and 2 potatoes
  • 1 can of beer (or 200ml wine)
  • 1 litre of beef stock
  • foil

Process:

  • Combine all spices. Be sure the brisket is not too wet, so you can spread the spices properly in the whole piece.
  • Let the meat rest (marinate). Put it in foil in the fridge.
  • In a big hot pan with a bit of oil, seal the brisket. Then fry the onions at medium heat.
  • Add the beer to the onios until soft.
  • Move the onions to a oven try, add the brisket and sliced potatoes.
  • Add the beef stock.
  • Cover in foil the tray and put in a pre-heat oven at 175C for 4.5-5h.
  • After long wait, take the tray from the oven and remove the foil.
  • Let the meat to rest for a bit

This was my result:

It wasnt like in the restaurant but actually it was like some beef stew I used to have as a kid. Good lunch for a long week…

Timballo di Riso

Some years ago I went to this restaurant. We had a nice meal and I remember I tried something totally new: “Timballo di riso”. It was super tasty, it wasn’t a normal risotto (that still I haven’t master it…) and it wasn’t a pasta dish. So I only managed to take a picture of the ingredients, because I finished it too quick. Since then, I had it into my to-cook list but finally I decided to try after checking some videos. This was the source for my attempt.

Original Ingredients:

  • Arborio rice, saffron, Béchamel sauce (milk, nutmeg, salt, butter, whipping cream, flour type 00), Vegetal broth ( celery, carrots, onion, broccoli, zucchini), Fontina cheese, ham, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, salt

My ingredients:

  • Glass of risoto rice.
  • 2 glasses of boiling water
  • 1 cube of stock
  • 100g of butter
  • pinch of saffron (or similar)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • bechamel / white sauce:
  • – 50g butter
  • – 1/2 glass of flour
  • – 2 glass of milk
  • – nutmeg, pepper and salt
  • 250g cure ham cut in small pieces.
  • 1 mozzarella ball
  • chopped parsley
  • grated Parmesan
  • breadcrumbs

Process:

  • In a big pan and medium heat, put the boiling water, stock cube, butter, saffron and bay leaves.
  • Once all mixed, add the rice. Let it cook at low heat until it gets dense. Stir from time to time to be sure it doesn’t stick.
  • Let the rice to cool down in a try.
  • Prepare the bechamel sauce. In a pan, melt the butter, add the flour. Once it is combined like a brown paste, start adding milk bit by bit. It should start to form a sauce. Add nutmeg, pepper and salt. Keep adding milk. At the end you should have a creamy tasty sauce.
  • Put the ham and shredded mozzarella with the bechamel. Add the parsley.
  • Add the rice to the bechamel mix. Combine everything. Add the mix into a ovenproof glass dish.
  • Top the dish with a layer of grated Parmesan and then another of breadcrumbs.
  • To the oven at 180C until golden on top (20 minutes)

Here we go!

To be honest, I don’t remember the taste so I can’t compare but it was taste. It is like a risoto without mushrooms but with cheesy bechamel!

So again, I liked it, I enjoyed cooking and had a good lunch for the work days! I don’t need much more (enjoy my job?)

Cocido

I have done some lentils and beans stew before haven’t tried chickpeas stew “cocido” before. And I fancied a good homemade cocido soup! So as I had my last piece of cure ham in the freezer, I went for it. This is a proper cocido, but I used the ingredients I had at hand and the result was very tasty. That’s what matters to me.

Ingredients

  • 1 piece of cure ham
  • 1 chicken breast sliced
  • 1 portion of chorizo
  • 1 potato
  • 1 cup of chickpeas cover on water from the day before
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Salt, pepper
  • Paprika (pimenton!)
  • Some greens: I used chard
  • 2-3 handfuls of fideos

Process

  • Get a big pan, put all ingredients apart from the greens and fideos
  • Fill the pan with boiling water. Put the pan at medium heat until start boiling. We want plenty of liquid for the soup!
  • Reduce heat till simmer. Stir from time to time for 1 hour of so.
  • Taste the liquid, it should have a strong flavour. If the potatoes, chickpeas and carrot are soft, we are nearly done.
  • Add the green and fideos. Stir for couple of minutes until the fideos are cooked. The greens will boil and keep a nice color.
  • Shred the ham so it releases all juices. Mix all together

All done, it is quite easy. And had a tasty lunch for the work week!

Hot Chocolate

When making hot chocolate at home, I used to use the pre-mix thing, the result was good. But this time, I wanted to make it from scratch and get the final hot chocolate I like when as a kid bought “churros”: thick, delicious hot chocolate.

So I have tried several methods, but I made my best result based on this video. Easy ingredients, easy process. Great result!

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup of plain flour
  • 1/3 cup of 100% cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 2 cups of milk

Process:

  • Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.
  • Add the milk to the dry ingredients and mik well.
  • Put the mix at medium hit and stir from time to time. It will start to thicken up in 15 minutes or so. Be sure it doesnt stick in the bottom of the pan.
  • Taste it, you may add some spoons of cocoa if it is too sweet.
  • Once it is thick for your taste, remove from the heat and enjoy!

As a kid, sometimes I used hard bread with my chocolate. Good memories today!

La Viña

I was getting many video recommendations about this type of cheesecake. So I gave it a go:

Ingredients:

  • 4 big eggs
  • 500g cream cheese
  • 250g double cream
  • 200g sugar (I used 150g)
  • 1 tsp plain flour

Process:

  • Pre-heat oven at 200C
  • Mix cream cheese and sugar.
  • Add eggs and mix
  • Add double cream and mix
  • Add flour and mix
  • Use two wet pieces of baking paper into a round mold.
  • Pour the mix into the mold
  • Bake for 40 minutes or until quite brown on top.
  • Let it cool down for a bit and then put into the fridge for a couple of hours.

The recipe is quite easy and quick. To be honest, it tastes good, even better the next day. Best cheesecake ever? Don’t care, but I need to compare with the cheesecake I used to bake.