Chocolatey-Nutty Muffins

It’s very straight forward here. I was desperate for something sweet with my tea, but didn’t want to spend too much time making it. I had a banana to use up, with cravings for chocolate and some crunch. These muffins ticked all the boxes. Chocolaty-Nutty Muffins

CHOCOLATE MUFFINS WITH PEANUT BUTTER CENTER

(Original recipe is from My Happy Food)

Ingredients:

100g butter
2 eggs
1 large banana
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
a pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar
approx 70 g peanut butter (I used crunchy one)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Beat the butter with sugar, add the eggs one by one. Then add mashed banana.
  3. In a separate bowl/jug mix together flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and pinch of salt. Add the mixture to the wet ingredients and mix it until smooth.
  4. Line the muffin tray with the muffin cases. Spread 1 tablespoon of chocolate mix in each muffin case, then put a teaspoon of peanut butter, finishing with another tablespoon of chocolate mix.
  5. Bake it for about 25 – 30 minutes, or until the toothpick comes out clean.

Salmon Kedgeree

A kedgeree is often thought of as breakfast here in the UK but I prefer mine as a main course. Lots of kedgeree recipes use cold smoked haddock – which is delicious – but I had only smoked salmon on hands, and this substitution didn’t disappointed. It’s a quick dish, it’s easy, it’s filling … but most importantly it’s delicious and good for you.

Salmon Kedgeree

SALMON KEDGEREE

Ingredients:

300g cooked brown rice

50g butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 1/2 teaspoon mild curry powder

200g frozen peas

4 eggs

225g smoked salmon, cut into chunks or flaked

4 spring onions, finely shredded

bunch of fresh coriander/parsley, roughly chopped

juice of 1 lime

Method:

  1. In a frying pan, heat up the oil, butter and add the onion. Fry for 5 minutes, then add the spices and fry for a further 3 minutes.
  2. Add cooked rice and peas, splash of water (if required), cover with lid and cook for 10 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the peas are cooked.
  3. Meanwhile cook the eggs how you like them (I personally prefer soft-boiled or poached).
  4. When rice is done, mix in the salmon, spring onions, coriander and lime juice. Taste, season it and top with the halves soft-boiled eggs.

Salmon Kedgeree

Crunchy Thai-style Mango Salad

This is a take on the traditional Thai salad, which is crunchy, sweet and spicy, and full of flavour. Fragrant firm mangoes are the best for this salad.

Crunchy Thai-style salad

CRUNCHY THAI-STYLE MANGO SALAD

Ingredients:

1 slightly under ripe mango

5-7 romaine lettuce leaves, torn into peaces

100g beansprouts

handful of fresh coriander leaves

25g roasted unsalted peanuts, roughly chopped

dressing:

juice of 1 lime

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

1 teaspoon light brown sugar

1 shallot, very thinly chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 red chilli, finely chopped

1 tablespoon mint leaves, finely chopped

Method:

  1. To make the dressing, mix together the lime juice, soy sauce, and sugar in a bowl. Then stir in the shallots, garlic, chilli and mint.
  2. Peel the mango using a sharp knife or potato peeler. Slice the flesh from each side of mango around the stone. Thinly slice or shred the flesh.
  3. Place the torn lettuce, beansprouts, coriander leaves and mango in a serving bowl. Gently toss together. spoon the dressing over the top, scatter with the peanuts and serve immediately.

 

Walnut and Chocolate (Gluten Free) Cake

This is what I call a ‘good-for-you’ cake. One-quarter cup of walnuts, for instance, provides more than 100 percent of the daily recommended value of plant-based omega-3 fats, along with high amount of copper, magnesium and biotin.  Dark chocolate provides you with energy, fat, minerals and antioxidants. Eggs are a good source of high-quality protein, vitamin D, vitamin B12. Ok there is some sugar in a cake, but you can replace it with honey and it is a cake after all, not a medicine. So, I say… Eat more cake!

walnut & chocolate cake

WALNUT AND CHOCOLATE CAKE

(An adapted recipe from Jul’s Kitchen)

Ingredients:

140 g shelled walnuts

140 g caster sugar

140 g dark chocolate

4 eggs

butter to grease the cake tin

cocoa powder or chocolate for dusting (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Place the walnuts and sugar in the blender and pulse it until the walnuts are finely chopped, resembling a coarse flour.
  3. Transfer it to the bowl and add finely grated chocolate.
  4. Separate the eggs. Leave egg whites aside. Add the egg yolks to the nut mixture and stir to combine.
  5. Whip up the egg whites until they form the stiff peaks, then gently fold them into the walnuts.
  6. Butter a round tin and line it with the parchment paper, then scrape the batter into the tin.
  7. Bake the cake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown and set.
  8. Let it cool down completely before slicing, dust with cocoa powder or more chocolate.

Magical Triple Layer Cake

Magic Cake
Are you curious about why this cake is magical? The beauty of it is with in the batter  mixture, during the bake, will split magically into three distinctive layers. On the bottom is a dense layer, followed by a mid level custard filling, crowned by a fluffy sponge layer. There’s no need to make a filling, just scatter some icing sugar on top. Everything is done for you by “oven” magic.

MAGIC CAKE

(Recipe taken from Little Sweet Baker)

Ingredients:

4 eggs, separated and at room temperature

150 g (3/4 cup) sugar

 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

125 g (1/2 cup) butter, melted and cooled

500 ml (2 cups) milk, lukewarm

115 g (3/4 cup) all-purpose flour

icing sugar for sprinkling (optional)

120g blueberries for decoration (optional)

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Butter an 20x20cm square baking tin and line with parchment paper so two sides overhang for easy removal.

2. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites for about 5 minutes or more until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks, add vanilla extract, sugar and continue mixing until pale and thick, about 3 minutes. Add butter and mix until it starts to thicken again. Then add the milk, one cup at a time, mix well. Sift the flour into the bowl and beat until all the flour is mixed in.

4. Gently and quickly fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture until just combined. Batter will be a little lumpy.

5. Slowly pour cake batter into the prepared baking tin and bake at 180C for 10 minutes. Then keeping the cake in the oven, reduce the heat to 160C and bake for another 40-50 minutes until the top is golden. Let it cool completely. Dust with some icing sugar and decorate with any preferred berries, if you wish.

Magic Triple Layer Cake

Gazpacho

Apparently the ‘real’ Gazpacho has bread in it, but I prefer the ‘clean’ version with fresh bread or other bread things on the side. Easy to modify to suit your taste. Even better the next day!

Gaspacho

GAZPACHO

(Recipe adapted from Ina Garten)

Ingredients:
1 medium cucumber, halved and seeded
2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
4 plum tomatoes
1 red onion

1 red chilly
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups tomato juice
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup good olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Method:

1. Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onion and chilli. Put all vegetables into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process it until the mixture appears creamy.

2. Transfer the mixture into large bowl or saucepan and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the tastier it gets. To garnish you can add finely chopped onion, tomato, cucumber or small croutons on top. I’ve just splash extra olive oil on top before serving. We had it with Empanadas on a side, the combination of flavours, cold and hot was wonderful!

Shakshuka

Shakshuka

According to Wikipedia, Shakshuka is a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chilli peppers and onions, often spiced with cumin. It is believed to have a Tunisian origin. The first time I heard about it, was on Ottolenghi’s TV cooking show. Thing is, I remember my grandma used to cook something very similar but without chillies and with some pre-cooked potatoes. Using up all the leftovers we called it ‘Poor Man’s Breakfast’.

It is warming and comforting, ideal for mornings or days when you are not up for a great culinary challenge. We had it with Soda Bread and it was a perfect match.

SHAKSHUKA

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced

1 medium hot chilli pepper, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

5 large tomatoes, chopped

4 eggs

Salt & Pepper

Bread to serve

Method:

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and bell pepper. Cook gently until very soft, about 20 minutes. Add garlic and cook until tender, 1-2 minutes; stir in cumin and paprika, and cook 1 minute. Pour in tomatoes and season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; simmer until tomatoes have thickened, about 10 minutes.

2. Gently crack eggs into skillet over tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Cover skillet with a lid and leave it cooking until eggs are just set, 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle with some fresh herbs, feta cheese or serve with hot sauce, if you wish, but definitely with some crusty bread to scoop up delicious sauce.