Cottage Cheese Mini Doughnuts

These are highly addictive, once you’ve tried it, you won’t be able to stop eating them. Covered with a crispy exterior, they have a really soft inside, due to cottage cheese, and remain soft for a long time. And because they are not very sweet, you can indulge them even for breakfast.

I made this batch just plain, but you can add some extras in a dough like raisins, dried chopped apricots or other berries, or use any favourite syrup instead of the icing powder before serving.

COTTAGE CHEESE MINI DOUGHNUTS

Ingredients:

250g cottage cheese/farmer’s cheese

2 eggs

4 tablespoons caster sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups plain flour (you might need to add just a bit more if the dough will be too wet)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

vegetable oil for frying (approx 250ml)

icing sugar for decoration

Method:

  1. In a big bowl start by beating the eggs with sugar, using a wooden spoon.
  2. Then add the cottage cheese and mix well with egg mixture.
  3. Then add the flour, baking powder and vanilla extract, mix well until combined (you might need to add a bit more flour at this stage, if the dough is too wet, but it should be sticky anyway).
  4. In a small pan heat up the vegetable oil until the small bubble start to appear, then turn the heat down to the medium.
  5. When the oil is ready, damp the palms of your hands with a little bit oil, then form a little dough balls (approx. size of the walnut, they will expand while frying) and place them one by one in a hot oil. Fry each ball around 2-3 minutes or until it’s golden brown, turning them around.
  6. Drain ready doughnuts onto the paper towel and dust them with the icing sugar.

No-Churn Limoncello Gelato

Inspired by my recent trip to Italy but with an absence of an ice-cream maker, here is my easy version of  Gelato, one which you can achieve at home.

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LIMONCELLO GELATO

Ingredients:

300 ml double cream 

200 condensed milk 

tablespoons grated lemon zest

50 ml Limoncello (plus more to serve on top, if you wish)

Method:

Whisk all the ingredients together until soft peaks form and  then fill 2 x 500ml / 2 x 1-pint airtight containers, and freeze for 6 hours or overnight. Serve straight from the freezer. I like to pour some more Limoncello before serving.

Serve on its own, with crumbled cookies or fill a waffle cone for an authentic feel.

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Banana Donuts

It’s a long overdue post. I had a busy last few weeks, occupied mainly with work, freelancing and a few social activities. Mark cooked and baked most of the days and although my mind was busy with work, my hands were itching to make some sort of contribution (or maybe part of me was just scared that Mark will take over completely and one day access to the kitchen will be denied for me :)) Anyway, I had to do something  and THIS SOMETHING had to be quick but delicious.

One of the desert was so appropriate for the occasion (quick & easy) and went down very
 well (it was DELICIOUS). I saw this recipe  a while ago on fellow-blogger’s website. I always favour the recipes based on the simple ingredients, involving an easy technique but as a result you get something you never came across before. It was exactly the case and I made a note to myself to make Jemput Jemput Pisang one day. So I did and they were good! 🙂  And  the great thing about these banana donuts is that the wet ingredient was 100% made up with mashed bananas! No any other liquid or even an egg.

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BANANA DONUTS

(Recipe by Farianti came from here)

Ingredients:

3 ripe bananas (medium sized), peeled
1 cup of self raising flour
sunflower oil for frying

Method:

1. In a bowl mash the bananas with fork.

2. Add the flour and combine thoroughly. You can add some sugar at this point if you wish but the sweetness of the over-ripen bananas can be sweet enough.

3. Heat some oil in a saucepan. When it’s really hot, turn down the heat and with a spoon, drop the batter into the oil. (It takes seconds to turn golden brown so make sure you flip them over every so often and don’t put too many into the pan at the same time.)

4. Once golden brown on both sides, place on kitchen paper towels.

Farianti recommends also dust them with the icing powder (which I would definitely do!), but I didn’t have any at the time and I was too hungry to grind the sugar myself, so we left out…had a healthy version instead :))

 

No-bake Chocolate Cheesecake (winter edition)

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I found this recipe via Google search a couple years ago when I needed something chocolatey but not too heavy. After the first glance at the description and the amount of the reviews I decided to make it immediately. I wasn’t disappointed  and I never remember anyone disappointed with this cake ever since. Just recently, I made several variations of this cake for multiple gatherings and dinner parties with friends, the reviews were great each time, to the point that even our friends’ 9 years old daughter emailed me asking for this recipe.

Original recipe came from SUGAR.PLUM.FAIRY via allrecipes.co.uk

In my version of the recipe I use Bourbon Biscuits instead of Digestives, I don’t use sugar in a base and I increased the amount of dairy products (I like cheesecake to be a bit higher), I also choose to add different accents into the cake  by adding some alcohol to the mixture (it can be orange, mint, almond flavour), which completely changes the taste. You can adapt the flavouring and decoration depends on the season.

NO_BAKE CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE (WINTER EDITION)

Ingredients

150g Bourbon biscuits (or Digestive biscuits)

45g butter

100g caster sugar

150ml whipping cream

150g dark chocolate, melted and cooled

2 tablespoons cocoa powder mixed with a little hot water

300g cream cheese

shot of any flavoured alcohol (mint/amaretto/orange), optional

Method:

1. Crush the biscuits and mix with the melted butter. Press into a 18cm (7 in) cake tin and refrigerate.

2. Meanwhile, whip cream until soft peak stage. Add cooled melted chocolate, then the cocoa powder mix. Blend well and set aside.

3. Beat the cream cheese and sugar together. Fold in cream/chocolate mixture and mix thoroughly.

4. Spread into tin on top of crushed biscuits. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. I chose to decorate with handmade chocolate mini trees and flaked coconut to recreate winter theme. Then serve. 🙂

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Blackberry & Apple Crumble

If you are fortunate enough to live in a countryside or near by, you have to try hard not to spot the hedgerows of blackberries, as they are everywhere, they are the stars of the season right now. Although any sort of crumbles are usually associated with the cold weather, however blackberry picking  is a great way of sourcing perfect and very cheap summer pudding, which is so good with a dollop of any (single, clotted, ice) cream.

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BLACKBERRY AND APPLE CRUMBLE

Ingredients:

200g blackberries

2 apples

3 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

For Crumble topping:

100g butter

60g sugar

100g flour

50g oats

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Cream to serve

Method:

1. Preheat the over to 190C. To make the crumble topping, put all dry ingredients along with butter in a food processor and pulse it all few times until the mixture resembles light breadcrumbs texture. Alternatively, you can make it by hand, using your fingertips. The only thing, you shouldn’t over work it, otherwise the crumble will be rather heavy.

2. Peel, core and chop the apples into small chunks. Place the apples in a large buttered ovenproof dish, layer the blackberries on top, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon and cover with the crumble topping evenly all over the fruits.

3. Bake it for about 45 minutes or until the fruits are cooked, bubbling juices seep through the topping and the crumble topping is golden coloured. Let it cool a few minute before serving with cream, ice cream or custard. 🙂

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Latvian Pancakes with Fresh Apricot Compote

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Back home it is very common to have pancakes for breakfast (and you don’t need to wait till the Shrove Tuesday!). And the reason why people are not getting bored of having the pancakes quite often it is because the variations of the pancakes are endless, you can literally find BOOKS on pancakes only! However, for now, I am not going to go into details, simply because one blog post is not enough to describe them all 🙂

I am just going to tell you about the pancakes my Mum made for one of the breakfast we had at home. And the difference in these pancake is that they are based on a … soured milk, or what we call it prostokvasha. If you can’t get hold of it, do not panic, you can use buttermilk instead. These pancakes are best eaten straight from the pan and they are so tender and delicious you won’t be able to leave anything for later anyway 🙂

 

LATVIAN PANCAKES (Option 1)

Ingredients:

2.5 cups prostokvasha (or buttermilk)

2 eggs

2.5 cups flour

3-4 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 baking powder

vegetable oil for frying

For the apricot compote:

500g fresh apricots

1/4 water

sugar to taste

1 cinnamon stick and vanilla (optional)

Method:

1. To make a compote, cut the apricots into halves, remove the stones, place them in a pan, add the water, sugar and cinnamon (if you like), bring to boil, reduce the heat and let it cooking for 10-15 minutes.

2. For the pancakes, mix prostokvasha (buttermilk) with sugar, salt, add flour and baking powder, stir well until the mixture is even.

3. Heat up the frying pan with a little oil on eat and spoon the pancakes mixture (about 4-5 pancakes in one go, depends on a size of your pan). Let it fry about 1 minute on each side or until golden brown and puffed up.

4. Serve pancakes hot with hot or cold compote.

P.S. Please note the compote were made entirely from apricots despite the peaches are appearing on picture too.

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Apple Fritters

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Whenever I cook these apple fritters (or back home they are called ‘Apple Coronas’), I always think of My Grandma, it always brings  a smile to my face and the happy memories. When it was an apple season, she would make them almost every day (obviously, by a popular demand) and it is a favourite of my grand dad too, so you had to be quick to get the best ones and they, normally, never reached the table and were eaten straight away, still hot, on their way from the pan to the plate, with chilled glass of fresh milk.

APPLE FRITTERS

Ingredients:

150g plain flour

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

50g caster sugar

250ml buttermilk

1 egg

20g butter, melted & cooled

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 apples, sliced into thin rings and remove the cores

icing sugar for dusting

Plus butter for frying

Method:

1. Mix together flour, soda, salt and sugar in a bawl and leave it aside. Then in a separate bowl mix the wet ingredients (buttermilk, melted butter, egg, vanilla extract. Then add wet mixture into dry one and stir just until it forms a batter, then leave it to sit for 5 minutes. Batter should be quite thick consistency in order to ‘stick’ to the apple slices eventually.

2. Slice the apples into rings, removing the cores carefully. Heat a non-stick pan with some butter over a moderate heat. Then dunk each slice into the batter and carefully place them onto the pan, leaving a bit space between them, as the fritters will spread a little. (Alternatively, you can spoon a little batter on a pan first, then place a slice of apple, then cover with drop of batter on top. Im sure by one way or another you will get the hang of it.) Give it a few minutes on each side or until they are golden brown. They won’t be even, but there is a charm in it. Perhaps that’s why they called ‘Coronas’, because they are golden colou with the bits sticking out every way 🙂 Also, keep an eye on a heat and the butter, otherwise they can burn quickly.

3. When the fritter are evenly cooked and golden brown, remove them on the plate and dust generously with the icing sugar. Continue making with the rest of the apples and batter the same way.

Evening walk and Pecan Pie

Oh how I love Spring. Nice colour skies, fresh green grass, birds singing, people more happier, less clothes, long warm days, everything is coming back to life. Even a simple walk in the evening is so liberating, touching and overwhelming with colours and smells. So forgive me for more flowers (again), but isn’t it just wonderful?- wherever you go at the moment it’s like being in one enormous flower shop! 

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As a reward after a long walk, we enjoyed the last pieces of the Pecan Pie which Mark made for my Birthday. He asked the day before what kind of cake I’d like for my Birthday and I didn’t think a minute – Pecan Pie was on my mind for a while lately, I think it’s full of character as well as absolutely delicious, crunchy and not too sweet.

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PECAN PIE

Ingredients:

375 g ready-made sweet dessert pastry

flour for dusting

150 ml maple syrup (or he used golden syrup instead)

60 g butter

175 g soft brown sugar

3 eggs

few drops of vanilla extract

pinch of salt

200 g pecan nuts

 

Method:

1. Rolle the pastry out on a lightly floured surface, then use it to line the flan tin. Trim around the top edge of the tin, and prick the base all over with a fork. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove the paper and beans,  and bake for another 10 minutes, or until pale golden. Remove the pastry case from the oven and reduce the temperature to 180C/350F.

3. Pour the maple (golden) syrup into a saucepan and add the butter, sugar, vanilla extract, salt. Place the pan over a low heat and stir constantly, until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the mixture to cool until it feels just tepid, then beat in the eggs, 1 at a time. Stir in the pecan nuts, then pour the mixture into the pastry case.

4. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until just set. Cover with a sheet of foil if it is browning too quickly.

5. Remove the pie from the oven, transfer it to a wire rack and leave to cool for 15-20 minutes.  You can serve it warm or leave it to cool completely. Good with creme fraiche or whipped cream.

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Easter treats


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Easter break is a good excuse to indulge yourself on some of your favourite (or new) treats. In our family dining over Easter is always pretty much a freestyle. This time I chose not to cook a sit-down meal but have a buffet type lunch instead. I made Smoked Salmon Terrine, Pickled Herring and Egg salad, continued with Courgette and Chick Pea Filo Pie and a variation of my Speedy Salad, with other small bits and pieces. I promise to post the recipes of those later on, but for now I’m going to share our baked goods with you.

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My Boyfriend’s Mum came to us today with these delicious savoury muffins and she was glad to share this recipe with me.

Here is goes:

LEEK, CHEESE & BACON MUFFINS

Ingredients:

1 leek, trimmed

100 g melted butter

4 rashes bacon, chopped

300 g self-raising flour

1 level teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

1/4 teaspoon chilli or cayenne pepper

2 eggs

175 ml milk

150 g extra mature Cheddar, grated

salt

 

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C, lightly grease 12 holes of a muffin tray.

2. Trim & cut the leek finely. Cook it in 1 tablespoon of the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, for about 5 min, or until softened. Set aside.

3. Add the bacon to the pan and cook until the fat starts to crisp. Add to the leeks.

4. Sift the flour, baking powder, mustard powder, pepper and salt into a large mixing bowl.

5. Lightly beat the eggs, milk and the rest of the melted butter together. Stir into the leeks and bacon. Add the grated cheese, then the flour mixture, all in one go.Stir until evenly mixed together but don’t over mix, otherwise muffins will be tough.

6. Divide the mixture between the muffin tins and bake for about 25-30 minutes, until golden.

 

And here is the recipe for a fabulously easy cake which is very moist, has a velvety texture, full of flavour and you can easily adopt it for any occasion.

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ANY OCCASION CHOCOLATE CAKE

One of the main ingredient of this cake is soured cream, it makes cake moist and gives a nice flavour to the icing

Ingredients

For the cake:

200 g plain flour

200 g caster sugar

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

200 g butter

40g cocoa

150 ml soured cream

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla or orange extract

Plus: 2x20cm sandwich tins, buttered and lined

 

Fo the icing:

160 g good quality chocolate

75 g butter

125 ml soured cream

1 tablespoon golden syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla or orange extract

50 g icing sugar (optional)

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C.

2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarb and salt in a large bowl. Then, using electric mixer, add the butter. In a separate bowl whisk together cocoa, soured cream, eggs, vanilla or orange extract and slowly add this cocoa mixture to the flour and butter mix, beating until throughly mixed.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared tins and bake for 30 minutes, until it bakes through. Leave for 10 minutes in their tins, then turn out to cool.

4. To make the icing, melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave (no more then 30 seconds in one go, stir and if it’s not melted, put again for another 30 seconds), or in a bowl over hot water. Let cool a little, then stir in the soured cream, vanilla extract and syrup. If you use dark chocolate and prefer cake to be quite sweet then at this point you can add the icing sugar (personally I use dark chocolate and don’t put any sugar in the icing at all and I found that cake is sweet enough for as is, specially I definitely won’t put additional sugar if I plan to serve cake with ice cream).

5. Spread the icing onto both layers and use the rest of the icing to cover the top and sides.

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Have a great Easter! x