Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Cinnamon rolls



I put cinnamon on everything. I even eat it on it's own. Yes, I'm obsessesd!
I make cinnamon rolls on a regular basis. It's nice to make during the week because you can do everything in the evening, put the unbaked rolls in the fridge and then just put them in the oven next morning. And VoilĂ  ! Delicious cinnamon rolls for breakfast. And all you have to do is put them in the oven :)


Ingredients:

Dough:
1 cup water or soymilk
3 tbsp sugar
2 tsp dry active yeast (1 package)
1/3 cup melted butter, oil or margarine 
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 1/2 - 5 cups all purpose flour

Filling:
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
2-3 tablespoons cinnamon
1/3 cup melteted butter

 In a large bowl dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water or soymilk and set aside for 5 minutes. Add in the butter, salt and vanilla. Add the flour and mix until smooth. Knead for 5-10 minutes until it is elastic no longer sticky. Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm spot until it doubles in size. When doubled in size, roll it out on a floured surface into a rectangle. 
Mix all the filling ingredients in a small bowl and spread them on top of the dough.  Role up dough and cut into about 12-16 slices. Place them in a lightly greased baking pan. Let them rise for about 20 minutes. Bake for about 30 minutes at 175*C (350*F) until they are golden.




Thursday, September 12, 2013

Peach, plum and blueberry pie


I love summer!  I get so inspired by all the wonderfull fruit and vegetables to start cooking. The possibilities are endless..
I usually just have my fruit just as it is or in a smoothie. But this time I decided to bake something with it. And my favorite way of celebrating fresh summer fruit is making pie. It lets the flavor of the fruit shine.
And this summer fruit pie is full of flavor. I really love the mixture of the peaches, plums and blueberries with a touch of lemon and cinnamon in the background. And the dollop of coconut whipped cream just adds a final touch that I love!


Since my fruit was so ripe and sweet I added a very small amount of sugar. I reccomend you adjust the amount of sweetener depending on the sweetness of your fruit.







Ingredients:

Pie crust:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup cold butter
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

Filling:
1 kg (about 2 pounds) peaches and plums ( more peaches than plums though)
1/2 cup blueberries
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon

For serving:
some coconut whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream on top


For the crust: With a pastry blender or fingertips blend the butter into the flour, salt and sugar mixture until the butter is about the size of peas. Add in a minimal amount of water until the dough comes together. Shape into 2 disks, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll them out and fit one into your pie pan and the other on top of your filling. Crimp the edges and make some slits on top.

For the filling: Gently mix all the ingredients together.

Bake for about 45-50 minutes at 175*C (350*F) until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Let it cool almost completely (otherwise it will fall apart) before serving.




Friday, September 6, 2013

Perfect sea salt pretzels


Homemade pretzels have got to be one of my favorite things EVER. Straight out of the oven. With crunchy coarse salt. Nothing better to satisfy my salty cravings!

I don't really have much of a sweet tooth, honestly I'd rather have a nice meal than a dessert. I like salty and savory stuff, what can I say!

These are soft on the inside and crispy on the outside - perfection.  I really am not exaggerating.

These might be a little to salty for you if you don't like salty stuff too much, so you may want to cut back on the salt, maybe 1 tsp instead of 2 tsp.
Oh and also I tried throwing in my pretzels into the boiling water for various amounts of time. A minute, 30 seconds, 5 seconds. But I find 10 seconds is the perfect amount, they really don't need more than that. 


I think I might ever prefer this version with poppy seeds. It's really annoying when it gets in between your teeth though. Just drench one side of the pretzel in poppy seeds after boiling.



Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 tablespoon dry yeast
2-3 tablespoons melted butter or oil
2 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups flour

5 cups water
1/4 cup baking soda

coarse sea salt for sprinkiling
optional: poppy or sesame seeds


In a bowl stir together  the water, sugar and yeast. Let it sit for 5 minutes until the yeast activates. It will start to foam.
Add the oil, salt and flour. Stir until combined. Knead the dough for about 7 minutes. It should be very smooth, elastic and not sticky. Add more flour if necessary but don't overdo it!
Place the ball of dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm place for about 40 minutes.
Divide your dough into 6 pieces. Out of each piece form a long rope and twist it into a pretzel shape.
Bring the water and baking soda into a boil. Drop each pretzel, one by one, in the boiling water for 10 seconds. Place them onto some parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Sprinkle with the salt. Bake them at 390*F (200*C) for 15 minutes or until they are a deep golden brown color. 

This makes about 6 large pretzels, so you may want to double or triple the recipe



I like to make the dough in the evening, cover it and put it in the fridge overnight. Then in the morning I just form the pretzels and bake them in the oven. In the meantime I get ready for school and by the time I'm done fresh baked pretzels are ready to be taken to school!


If you have any questions, post them below! Let me know if you try these. I totally think you should!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Super raspberry smoothie





I LOVE this smoothie. It has amazing strong raspberry flavor, for all you raspberry lovers out there!
The consistency is not too thick and not too watery, which is how I like my smoothies. So if you want yours thicker add less almond milk and more banana. If you like it more watery just add more almond milk or water. I love to take this to school and have it before breakfast.

Btw the back to school lunches are coming soon, I'm just waiting for my lunchbox to come in the mail and for school to kind of settle in. I'm starting in a new school this year so things have been all over the place.



Ingredients:

1 cup almond milk or water
2 cups raspberries, frozen
1/2 cup orange juice
1 banana, frozen
optional: a handful of greens or blueberries


Put all your ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth :) You can strain out the little seeds, but they are full of nutrition so I don't recommend it!


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Almond plum tart + In the kitchen with Agnieszka!

School's starting tomorrow so I've been busy shopping and organizing. This year I will be posting my healthy and quick school lunches! Hopfully they will give you some ideas :) Last year I got really lazy and I didn't pack my lunches. I just really had whatever I could buy on my way to school. This year I'm changing this for sure! The only thing left is to get a deacent lunch box, which I will be doing tomorrow.

So Agnieszka and I are childhood friends and it's soo cool that we both have food blogs! She's actually the person who inspired me to start this blog.
Be sure to check out hers: Oh, how lovely! She blogs in Polish, so fair warning :) She's a very sweet and creative person which definitely translates onto her blog.
She invited me over for some cooking this week. We decided to use raspberries, since there are so many around this time. First a raspberry smoothie then raspberry sweet rolls. I will be posting the raspberry smoothie recipe soon!



A few days later I made this almond plum tart. I really had 2 kilos of plums in my house and they were fully ripe. The perfect opportunity to use them up. I love making tarts with seasonal fruit. So make  this while plums are still in season! I got these delicious sweet plums straight from my garden.


To me almonds and plums are a match made in heaven! 



Ingredients:

Crust:
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small cubes
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp ice water

Filling:
1/4 cup butter
1/8 cup almond paste
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
pinch of salt
3 tbsp flour

Topping:
8 plums, sliced into wedges
1 tbsp sugar for sprinkling



For the crust: With a pastry blender or fingertips blend the butter into the flour, salt and sugar mixture until the butter is about lentil sized. Add in a minimal amount of water until the dough comes together. Shape into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll it out and fit it into your tart pan

Filling: Cream together the butter, almond paste, vanilla and almond extract until smooth and combined. Add the sugar and whisk a bit more. Add the eggs, one at a time. Finally stir in the salt and flour. Pour it into the crust.


To finish: Arrange the plums on top of the cream. Sprinkle with some sugar and bake for 35 minutes at 175*C (350*F). 


Monday, August 26, 2013

Asian vegetable dumplings




I love Asian food but unfortunately I'm not very good at cooking it hehe. I realize these dumplings are pretty amateur (my second time making them) but the flavors are amazing - spicy and sweet. A perfect lunch or dinner.  Hopefully I will perfect my dumpling folding skills soon.

I like my dumplings on the larger side because they are quick too fill. Two-bite ones are perfect for me. I also like frying sometimes to make them super crispy. 

What did I learn after my two attempts to make dumplings? Make the wrappers very thin, I use a pasta machine to make mine perfect. I won't lie - it's very hard to roll the dough out thin enough without a machine. You can buy them frozen at an Asian supermarket too.
Also don't put too much filling or they will explode. Try to find the golden ratio.



The recipe makes about 25 dumplings, but that depends on how big you make them and how much filling you put in each one.




Ingredients:

Filling:
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ginger, minced
2 scallions, finely chopped
1/2 cabbage, finely shredded
1 medium carrot, shredded
5 small mushrooms, finely chopped
1/2 cup white beans, mashed
1 1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp vegetable stock
1 tsp sriracha
salt and pepper to taste

Dough:
1 cup all purpose flour
about a 1/4 cup water (amount depends on humidity and your flour)



In a skillet heat up the oil. Add the garlic, ginger and scallions until very lightly golden and fragrant. Add the cabbage, carrot and mushrooms, Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the beans, soy sauce, vegetable stock and sriracha until the liquids evaporate and the mixture holds itself together. Season with salt and pepper.

Combine the flour and water until a very stiff dough forms. Roll it out using a pasta machine. Cut out as may circles as you can. Make bigger ones for bigger dumplings and smaller ones for smaller dumplings. Cover your wrappers with a cloth to prevent them from drying.

To assemble take one of your wrappers, put between a teaspoon and a tablespoon of the filling, lightly wet the edge and seal your dumpling.

Throw them into boiling water a few at a time for about 45 seconds. Eat them straight away or fry them in about an inch of flavorless oil.



Thursday, August 22, 2013

Minestrone soup




This is officially my favorite soup! Amazing flavor, packed with veggies and is very healthy. It's so colorful and looking at it makes me so happy. Don't let the amount of ingredients scare you. You can easily leave out a few, though the more the better, so just go to your fruit market and buy them! The more vegetables in your life the better!
This is really one of the easiest soups to make ever, so go make it. Oh and the recipe makes a lot of soup so it's perfect if you have a crowd or just want to enjoy it for a few days.
I made this yesterday because it was a chilly rainy day and I was in the mood for something warm. And then I had ice cream for desert haha.




Ingredients:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped,
4 cloves garlic, minced
half a leek, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
1 can tomatoes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
a 1/8 cup fresh basil or 3/4 tsp dried
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp oregano
1 cup chopped cabbage
1 cup baby spinach
3/4 can white beans
3/4 can red kidney beans
10 to 12 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 cup pasta water (from boiling the pasta)
1 cup pasta of choice (i used small shell pasta)



Start with boiling your pasta until al dente, strain and reserve a cup of the water.
In a big pot heat the olive oil and add the onion and garlic. Cook until golden.
Add the celery and leek and cook for a few minutes.
Add the carrot, red pepper and zucchini and cook for a few minutes until they soften just a bit.
Add your tomatoes and all the seasonings. Cook for a few minutes
Add the vegetable stock, cover the pot partially and let it simmer for 40 minutes on medium low.
Add the cabbage, spinach and beans. Cook for 15 minutes.
Add your pasta and pasta water and cook for 10 more minutes until it slightly thickens.
Serve just like that or with a sprinkling of parmasan cheese.