Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Super Healthy Blueberry Banana Muffins



Let's get fit!
One of my new years's resolution was to go to the gym regularly, which has been succesful so far. But as you are there, close to death, every day, you kinda wonder that maybe you should reduce the amount of unhealthy food you eat...



Ok, the term 'unhealthy' is very subjective: personally, I don't think that there is anything bad with that 250 g butter in a tray of brownies.
But they won't make you skinny, that's for sure.
So now, I am trying to eat a bit healthier. Since I still wanted to have cake, cos you know, cake is cake, I made this super-healthy blueberry-banana muffin recipe, and it worked. Yummy and healthy.



As you can see, my muffin tray's holes make super 'skinny' muffins; feel free to make them in the regular ones.



These little things are perfect for library snacks, or lunchboxes. But a bigger post is coming on those soon.


Ingredients

300 g flour
1 tsp baking powder
50 g porridge oats
2 eggs
120 g low fat natural yogurt
140 g almond milk
50 g butter (melted)
100 g honey
2 bananas
200 g blueberries, washed

Method

In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients: the flour, the baking powder and the oats.
In an other bowl, beat the eggs for a couple of minutes, then add honey, yogurt and almond milk, melted butter and beat it together for another 3 minutes.
Mash up bananas with a fork, and add it to the egg mixture.
Mix the egg mixture into the dry mixture. Add the blueberries - try to have them as dry as possible (so wash them a while before baking), as you dont want to incorporate any additional water into your dough.
Butter your muffin tray, or put some muffin cases into the holes: bake on 175 C for 25 minutes.








Friday, 6 March 2015

Sticky No Egg Cinnamon Swirls


Ah, this title sounds like if I was a very very conscious lacto-vegetarian, but I think it's no surprise that I'm actually not. 
I just simply forgot to put eggs in my cinnamon rolls.
Lucky me, it worked! Good news for the egg-avoiders, and to me in case I want to bake something and happen to be out of eggs.


I'd like to start with a very important thing: I have no idea what makes a difference between a cinnamon roll and a cinnamon swirl.
So from now on I'm gonna use the word we use in Hungarian: cinnamon snail. yep.
Please don't say it's gross, it's such a cute name! Just think about it as the sweetest animal out of all.
Ehw, sorry...


So the story this time is not that long: there is this bakery on my corner.
The cutest, nicest, warmest little place ever.
With cinnamon snails that just too pretty to eat.
What I especially love about their version is that they don't put any icing on top. To be honest, I started to make these snails because I had some leftover cream cheese in the fridge for the icing, but after trying one straight out of the oven, I learned that it's absolutely unnecessary. It's pretty sweet on it's own.


So obviously my little cinnamon snails are not as pretty as those in the bakery, but tastewise I got pretty close! Give it a try.

Ingredients

Dough:
350 g all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
50 g caster sugar
100 g butter
200 ml milk
(add two egg yolks if you feel like it. I didn't.)

In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Melt the butter in the microwave, then beat for a minute with the sugar. Add the milk, and combine the two mixtures.
Knead a smooth dough (it should be like gingerbread) with your own hands, Add more flour if it's too sticky, or more milk if it's too dry.


Filling and topping:
50 g butter 
60 g caster sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
a handful of raisins (leave them out if you hate them)
a splash of milk.

Melt the butter in th microwave, and mix with sugar and cinnamon.

Assembly:
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a centimeter thick rectangle. Spread the 3/4 of the filling on the rectangle and sprinkle the raisins on top. Roll up the rectangle, starting from the longer side if you want mini rolls (like mines on the pictures) or start from the shorter side if you want bigger ones. Cut the roll into 1,5-2 cm wide slices. 
Place the snails on a cookie tray, greased, or lined with baking paper. Brush gently with some milk. Bake until golden brown (it was 20 minutes for me). Three minutes before you would take them out from the oven, open the oven door and quickly brush the snails with the reheated remaining of the filling. This way it will just have time to fully dissolve and stick to the rolls, which will make a deliciously crunchy-glazey top.
Start eating when it's not steaming hot anymore.



Sunday, 21 December 2014

Perfect Christmas Morning Breakfast - Countdown for Christmas Part 3

Happy Last Sunday of Advent Everyone!

This is Part 3, so the very last part of our little Christmas countdown. Today I'm going to be showing you something which is the perfect breakfast if you want to impress your family on Christmas morning. Or any morning, really.
THE PAIN AU CHOCOLAT!
I know, the pastry is not the easiest pastry to do. But please give it a try!


There are two options:
1, Prepare the pastry the night before, wake up an hour earlier in the morning, roll it out, make the little pain au chocolats, and bake them.
2, Prepare everything the previous night and in the morning just bake the pain au chocolats.
Either works.


Ingredients:
35 dkg flour
25 dkg very cold butter
half a sachet of instant dried yeast (use the other half for snow crescents)
2 dl cold milk
2 tblsp caster sugar
1 tblsp honey
1 tsp salt
approxiomately 150 g grated dark chocolate

Grate your very cold butter using a cheese grater. Add 6 dkg flour and mix it together with your hand. Line clingfilm on the counter, and spoon the mixture on it. Create a 2 cm thick, 12 cm long and 6 cm wide (approxiomately) rectangle, Wrap it into cling film and put in the fridge for half an hour or in the freezer for 15 minutes. 
Mix the yeast with the flour and add the remaining ingredients. Knead into a smooth dough.
On a floured surface, roll it into a rectangle, and place the butter rectangle on it lenghtwise. There should be a bit longer dough than the size of the butter rectangle on each side. Fold the downer and upper sides onto the butter rectangle. Fold one side of the dough on the butter rectangle (it should outreach it with a couple of centimeters). Push the outreaching part properly into the dough, then fold the other side as well - you should have covered the butter rectangle completely.
Turn the dough with 90 degrees, and roll it carefully. Divide the dough into three parts with your eyes and fold the two outer parts onto the middle one. That's a simple fold.
Then turn the dough again with 90 degrees, and roll it. Now divide it into four parts with your eyes. Fold the outer ones in, then fold the two parts on each other. That's a double fold. 
Turn the dough with 90 degrees, and do another simple fold. Don't roll it out but cover with a kitchen towel and put it in the fridge for 2-3 hours or for overnight. 

Roll the dough into 0,5 cm thickness and cut into 10x10 cm squares. Springle grated dark chocolate in the middle and roll it up. Cover the little pains with a kitchen towel and let it rest at a warm place for 30 minutes or for overnight. 
Preheat the oven for 175 degrees, and bake the pain au chocolats for 15 minutes.





Friday, 19 December 2014

Snow Crescents - Countdown for Christmas Part 2


sn't snow crescents - in Hungarian 'hókifli' - the cutest name for a cookie? Although this is not necessarily a Christmas cookie, at least in my family it's always present at any celebrations, I find it the best dessert for the holidays.
As you may guessed earlier, I am pretty much a big fan of smaller cookies for Christmas - I think baking huge cakes is unnecessary (although I will of course...). Let me explain. What does a Christmas fridge and balcony looks like? Full of food or ingredients, all needs to be chilled/rested, and after the holidays it's the same amount of leftovers. No matter how big your fridge is, it is very likely that there won't be space for a cake stand with the lovely cake on top, covered in icing, therefore it can't touch anything... Bad idea. Instead, a simple metal box full of cookies what you just put on the table with the coffee, and then you serve the leftovers at breakfast on Christmas morning. Because cake for breakfast is a bit 'too much', cookies are absolutely fine. 
And these snow crescents suggest that it wasn't only a 'form random balls from the dough'-method. Because it takes a long time. But it's worth it, believe me.


Don't be afraid, this recipe is not hard. But it takes a long time. It's the best to have a calm weekend afternoon before Christmas to prepare them. And good news! Storing them in a box, they stay fresh for more than a week. 


Ingredients

For the dough
50 dkg flour
25 dkg softened salted butter (if you use unsalted, add 1/2 tsp salt to the flour)
2 eggs
5 dkg sugar
2 dl semi-warm milk
half a sachet of instant dried yeast

For the walnut filling
230 dkg walnuts or pecans (I used half and half)
180 dkg icing sugar
2 tblsp milk
1/2 tblsp vanilla extract

For the jam filling
25 dkg thick jam (I prefer berry jam)

For the icing
5 dkg icing sugar

Method
For the dough, mix the yeast and the sugar with the milk in a cup.
In a large ball, whisk the eggs for two minutes with a hand mixer, then add the butter and mix it together. Incorporate the flour into the mixture, then add the milk, yeast and sugar. Roughly mix with a wooden spoon, then start kneading with your hand. Knead for 3-4 minutes. The dough should be smooth. Cover it with a kitchen towel and let it stand for 40 minutes. While it's resting, prepare the filling.
With the amount of ingredients I wrote above, you can use half of the dough for the walnut crescents and the other half for the jam crescents. If you want to prepare only one type, double the measurements. For me, the walnut crescents are the best/real ones!
You don't have to do anything with the jam in advance of filling.
Grate the walnuts in a food processor. I don't have one, so I put them in a plastic bag, and I hit them with a wooden spoon on the kitchen counter for 5 minutes. 
Mix the grated walnuts with the icing sugar, vanilla extract and milk in a saucepan, and cook it for 3 minutes on low heat. Cover it with a lid until the resting period of the dough is finished.

Preheat the oven for 175 degrees. Line parchment paper into two trays. 
Get a bit of the dough - a size of a walnut - and form it into a ball. On a floured surface, roll it into a 8-10 cm wide circle. Put half a tablespoon of filling in the middle. Fold the circle into a half circle, and push together the edges (it should look like a ravioli). Then fold it once again, so one side of the little roll will have a thicker crust (this should be the bottom of the cookie). So basically you just rolled the filling-bump into the flat part. Push the dough well together - use a fork if necessary. Push the ends into little 'tails' and turn them inside, so it will look like a little moon.
When you do it with jam, be very careful not to have any holes on the crescents, otherwise the jam will escape.

Bake them for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Roll them in the icing sugar while they are still hot. Serve with cold milk.




Thursday, 18 December 2014

Our Secret Family Gingerbread Recipe - Countdown for Christmas Part 1


Hey Everyone! Good news: I'm going to make a series of three posts before Christmas: two cookies you can make days or weeks before the holidays (this is the first) and the perfect Christmas morning breakfast. Here we go with number one - Our Secret Family Gingerbread Recipe!


Not a secret anymore I guess.
This recipe has a cute story - our kitchen at home (and mine here in Scotland as well) is tidy and clean - but not organised at all. I mean the recipes - despite that I bind books myself and we have so many pretty recipe books and planners, the most important recipes are just circling around - 'it's on a piece of paper in the big red cookbook'; 'I've seen it in the wooden spoon drawer' ; 'I saved it in a draft on one of the computers' and so on. However, we never had problems with that - except maybe an additional half an hour looking for the recipes. But a couple of years ago, we lost the gingerbread recipe. It was gone.
It was literaly nowhere, so we decided to go back to the bottom. Where was it from? A back of a gingerbread spice mixture. Ten years ago. Great.

We tried every gingerbread recipe from every single brand of gingerbread spice mixtures - but ended up disappointed all the time. We had an entire Christmas period with a kitchen full of hope and half-decent cookies.
And then my mom found it. 
It was indeed on the back of a spice mixture, and it was the same. The same old, lovely perfection. 
Obviously we copied it to every single book and electronic device we have. And now I share it with you guys - so if it gets lost again, you can save me.
This recipe is the best gingerbread for me, ever ever. The only thing I changed from the original one is that back home we don't use separate spices, just buy the readymade gingerbread spice mixture. For some reason, I could not find any of that in Glasgow, so I made my own. 
The baking part of the gingerbread takes time because of the amount of cookies - I find it the best to do it together with someone - one is handling the oven and the other is cutting the cookies. For example, it is a brilliant kitchen activity for kids. When I was little I spent most of my december evenings cutting little angels and Christmas trees.


Ingredients
25 dkg honey
10 dkg butter
10 dkg sugar
0,5 kg flour
0.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
0.5 tbsp ground nutmeg
0.5 tbsp ground cloves
0.5 tbsp ground cinnamon
0.5 tbsp ground ginger
1 egg
2 egg yolks

Method
Melt the butter in a saucepan with the sugar and honey. Set aside and let it cool (I normally put it outside for some minutes). Mix the flour with the bicarbonate of soda and the spices. Whisk the egg and the egg yolks for a minute and add it to the flour. Mix it together, then add the sugar, butter and honey. Knead together with your hand until the dough is smooth. If it is still a bit warm, let it cool completely then put it in the fridge for overnight (this part is crucial - otherwise it won't be soft). 
Flour a bigger surface and roll 1/4 of the dough each time. Roll it to any shape, it should be around 4-5 mm thin. Cut the cookies out with gingerbread cutters - if you don't have these, you can use a cup as well. 
Put them in a tray (you can put baking paper but it won't stick without it either) and bake on 180 degrees for 5-7 minutes. Keep checking on them - the best is when the edges are crunchy and the middle is still soft. Let it stand for 5 minutes before putting them into a box. 
In a box, they could be kept forever.
Okay, not forever, but for a long time - so you can make it in advance for Christmas.



From this amount of dough, a normal metal cookie box will be full. 

For the icing, you may use the egg whites remained from using the egg yolks in the gingerbread - or if you freak out from eating raw eggs, you may use water. Start adding icing sugar, constantly mixing. It will be ready if it's thick but still spreadable - like the consistency of nutella or mustard (great examples huh). Put it in a small plastic bag and make a tiny hole on it - and you can start icing. 
If you want to make colourful icing, you can add food colouring at any point.


We also made a gingerbread house. We made our own templates and of course that I forgot to write down the measurements (food blogger...?). However, we used the gingerbread house of Kara as an inspiration, and I realised she actually put some templates on her blog. You can find it in the link with her instructions.

From my recipe, there was only a little bit of dough left after the house - so if you want to make it, my advice is to double the measurements - but it this cake, have plenty of time for it!





Sunday, 16 November 2014

Mini crescent rolls tutorial

I wasn't sure whether to share this recipe or not, because I don't have photos about the result. But since these little crescent rolls are very nice and super easy to make, I thought I would still share it with you. It's also a great substitute for bread, you can make mini sandwiches, or sometimes I like to fill it with cheese or pizza sauce. You can also put some cheese on top! 
So here is the recipe and the tutorial pictures. Photos this time are by the wonderful Filipa André

Mini crescent rolls

Ingredients
35 g all purpose flour
2,5 dl milk
half a sachet of instant yeast
2,5 dkg butter
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 egg yolk

Method
Mix flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Melt butter in the microwave and mix it in as well. Add milk - it should be semi-warm - slowly, continously incorporating into the mixture with a wooden spoon. When it's starting to become a dough, put the wooden spoon away and start kneading with hand. Knead for a couple of minutes, then cover with a kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm place for an hour.
Divide the dough into 4 parts. Cover the rest, while you're working with one.
On a floured surface, roll the mini dough balls into a rectangle - it should be thin, around 4-5 mm. Half the rectangle along the longer side, and cut each sides into 2 quadrangles (leaving triangles on the top and bottom), then these into two triangles. Sounds complicated? It isn't, just have a look at the pictures and the gif!
Gently pull out the triangles, then roll it up from one of the corners, creating a mini crescent. If you are patient, let them rise for 20 minutes - until then, you can make more crescents.
Spread some egg yolk on the top with a kitchen brush, then bake on 180C for around 10-15 mins  - but that depends on the oven and the size of the crescents, so be careful at the first round.









Friday, 17 October 2014

Scotch Lamb Street Food Festival + Using stock wisely + Homemade Bread!

It's been a while, but I think it's never too late to write about a great food event, and the Scotch Lamb SFF in Glasgow was amazing.
I was a little bit surprised when I got invited as it's still weird to mention myself as a blogger from Scotland, and also, I usually bake sweets, so lamb or any meat dishes are not exactly in my repertoire, at least not on my blog.
Actually, I have to confess something: I barely eat meat. It isn't a decision or a conscious diet point, but it doesn't exactly fit into my student budget. I could buy chicken, as it's not that expensive, but I am really afraid of the chicken meat you can buy in stores, even the free-range ones. We have our own chicks at home, and when you prepare those birds all the time, and then you get a supermarket-chicken in your hand, you can really see the difference, and I am afraid of the things which are causing the difference.
I am not an expert in preparing red meat, but I know the same problems come with that as well. Especially as it's more expensive, it's easy to get tempted by the cheaper ones, thinking that it must be the same with a different label. Because seriously, how can we know?
This question was answered at the Scotch Lamb SFF, when I got the Scotch Lamb and Scotch Beef labels introduced to me. It is pretty straightforward; those labels only go to meat coming from checked, trustworthy farmers all around Scotland, so you know that what you're paying for is not estrogen, but quality meat. So watch out for these:


At the event, we were showed a butchery lesson and an exclusive cooking demonstration with useful tips like which parts of the animal you would need and what you should throw away and also advice so you could understand what your butcher is doing and ask for specific preparations.
We were also invited to taste incredible lamb dishes and yummy smoothies. I had a delicious lamb shoulder with coriander, pomegranade seeds and cous cous. My friend Eve had a lamb burrito and we both tried the berry, mango and the oreo chocolate smoothies. Yum!




I thought I would share a great tip with you in case you are a student as well, or just find meat too expensive, or maybe not a great fan of it, but still want to get the useful proteins and vitamins.
If you go to the butchers, normally you can't only buy meat but also bones, which is obviously so much cheaper. If you can't see any, just let the butcher know you are interested in buying some bones, they will be more than happy to sell it to you - otherwise they might throw them away.
At home, put the bones in a big saucepan, add cold water and some salt and pepper. Sting a clove into an onion and put it in the water. You can also add celery, carrot and parsnip. Bring it to the boil and let it simmer for a couple of hours. When it's ready, strain it and there you go! You can also freeze your stock in plastic boxes so you can use them later.
If you are preparing a chicken, you an use the backbone for stock - it normaly has very few meat on it so it's worth it more for stock - if you cut the chicken before roasting it, you save cooking time and you aso get the backbone for stock - great deal!

The recipe I'm sharing with you is ideal if you are making stock - it is the famous french onion soup


Ingredients
1 kg red onions, peeled, chopped to circles
1 tsbp sugar
some olive oil
your beautiful lamb/beef/chicken stock

The secret of making french onion soup is the time. Heat the oil and add the onions and the sugar, then let it caramelize. It could take almost an hour, but please be patient - don't add the stock until you've got a beautiful amber colour mixture of the onions.
It is great when you are making stock, cause while you are cooking the broth, there is time for the onions to caramelize - but be careful to be there during the whole time and keep stirring it, otherwise it will burn.
When the onions are ready, add the stock. It's hard to say how much liquid you need, but for one kg of onions, you are good to do a big bowl of soup - like 3 or 4 liters.
When you added the stock, season it, but be careful - when I make soups I normally make it a bit saltless, cause when you reheat it later, it will taste saltier. And obviously, you can always add salt at serving. Bring it to simmer with the stock, cook for 10 minutes, and you're done! Try it with this amazing homemade bread - but be careful, you have to prepare the bread the day before.



The easiest no-knead bread

This recipe is adapted from here, and I'm absolutely loving it!

3 cups of flour
1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp seasalt
1 1/2 cups water
1 tblsp oil

Mix dry ingredients, then add the water in little portions and mix continously with a wooden spoon. When all the ingredients are combined, grease another plastic boil with olive oil, and put the dough in there. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 18 hours.
Put flour on a surface, and pour the dough on it - form a ball with quick moves and cover it again with some plastic wrap for 1-2 hours. Make sure that the ball is covered with flour all around, but not super thickly.
Preheat the oven for 200 C and put your French oven inside (if you don't have one, a big heatproof ceramic bowl with lid or covered with aluminium foil will do it). When the dough is ready, get the very hot pot out and carefully place the dough inside. Cover with lid and bake for 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake for another 15.