Quinoa with shrimps and zucchini

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Quinoa with shrimps & zucchiniAlmost 2 months ago I made a short questionnaire that I shared on my Facebook page on what you would like to find more on this blog. The top answer was “healthy recipes”. Obviously, it made my day, since I love experimenting with healthy recipes.

Quinoa with shrimps and zucchini is the synonym of healthy food. The recipe is very easy to follow and the result is a colorful plate with an amazing aroma and flavor.

Depending on the season you may use other vegetables instead of zucchini like spinach, peas, leeks, asparagus or whatever you like and think can match well with quinoa. I choose shrimps since they’re my favorite seafood, but other seafood also works well.

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Wholesome cherry galette

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whole wheat cherry galette

I’ve always loved the simplicity of galettes. They require few ingredients and the end result is so rewarding.

This time I’m sharing with you a whole wheat cherry galette recipe, which is a summer favorite of mine. Choose the sweetest cherries you could find, get bored pitting them, make a sweet mess around and treat yourself with a nice piece of cherry galette straight from the fridge.

This cherry galette is made using whole-wheat flour for a healthy twist, but in case you want to keep it classic you may use this basic pie crust recipe. The filling is easy peasy, just pitted cherries mixed with some sugar and cornstarch.

I hope I’ve tempted you to switch your oven on these hot days.

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Homemade Jufka with dried porcini mushrooms

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One of the perks of being a food blogger is that all your friends share their thoughts and experiences on food and special food products with you.

The latest wonderful gift I got were homemade Jufka. Jufka are Albanian traditional pasta, cooked especially on Diber, made with fresh eggs, milk and wheat flour. Dried Jufka keep well for months and are traditionally prepared with meat, chicken or lamb in the oven.

Since I do not eat meat recently, I had to find a creative way to prepare Jufka. And since they are a traditional Albanian product I thought I should combine them with another Albanian delicacy, dried porcini mushrooms from Puka. Porcini mushrooms are one of the best you could use, with a deep earthy flavor and full on proteins and potassium. The result was amazing. I can’t wait to make them again. If you are curious to try other traditional recipes, you may find many of them in the blog.

Jufka

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Healthy strawberry chia jam that is ready in few minutes

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Strawberry chia jamI confess, I am a jam addicted person.

For many, many years (until I discovered oatmeal) my breakfast was bread, butter, jam and a glass of milk. Being conscious of the dangers of sugar I ended up looking for a healthy way to cook jam and after some research here we have the fruit & chia jam. Using the gelling power of these tiny little seeds, you can transform a few cups of ripe fruit into a naturally sweetened, delicious jam, in few minutes. As you see, chia is not only the secret ingredient to a healthy pudding, but also to healthy jam.

All we have to do is mash up, or blend some fruit, add maple syrup or honey and stir in a few tablespoons of chia seeds. Within a few hours, the chia seeds will absorb the fruit juices and thicken it to a jammy consistency and you’ll have this amazing chia jam ready for you to enjoy.

I make chia jam two ways cooked & not-cooked and below I’m gonna show you how to make strawberry chia jam in both ways.

The non-cooked version is easier, but tastes more like raw fruit and it should be consumed quickly since the fruits are raw and it can get spoiled.

The cooked version tastes almost the same as the traditional jam, and has a slightly lower life shelf.

I always use the ratio 1 cup fruit pure to 1 tbs of chia seeds, but you may add some more chia if you prefer a thicker consistency. I choose strawberry because they’re in season and because I love them, but you may prepare chia jams with other berries also like blackberries, blueberries and raspberries.

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Stuffed zucchini flowers with ricotta and sunflower seeds

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Stuffed zucchini flowersZucchini flowers are a season favorite, especially filled with ricotta, lemon zest and sunflower seeds. They are so beautiful and so tasty. Have you tried cooking them?

Stuffed zucchini flowers make the perfect appetizer or party food. You may prepare zucchini flowers fried or baked. They’re both wholesome and delicious. The only issue is zucchini flowers are rare to find, so in case you see some of these beauties in the farmers market, don’t lose the chance to buy and cook them.

My better half calls the fried zucchini flowers vegetarian “chicken wings”. There are some months now that we don’t eat any meat (we’re still eating seafood though) and are trying to get proteins from other sources. Zucchini flowers filled with fresh ricotta are a great substitute.

Stuffed zucchini flowers

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Sweet potato, millet and greens salad

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Sweet potato and greens saladMe and my salad obsession are back. This time I’m sharing with you an old love of mine “sweet potato, millet and greens salad”. This wholesome salad with earthy flavors was an “empty the fridge creation”. I had some leftover spinach and lettuce and a single sweet potato that was sleeping in my pantry for quiet some days, so I had to invent something.

I stirred fried the sweet potato, hand chopped the spinach and lettuce and added some leftover cooked millet and voila, the salad base was ready.

Than it was “play with seeds and dressing, time”. I added some pepita and sesame seeds and prepared a simple dressing with lemon juice, fig balsamic vinegar, olive oil and tahini. It was so good, I couldn’t stop eating. Anyway, a salad a day keeps the doctor away, so who could blame me.

If you’re looking for other healthy and wholesome salads you may find many recipes in the blog.

Sweet potato and greens salad

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Bulgur salad – a summer favorite

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Bulgur salad is one of my favourite summer plates, because it is fresh, tasty, colorful and ready in few minutes. I usually prepare bulgur salad in the morning and take it to work.

It is full of the best summer ingredients and one of my favorite grains, bulgur. Bulgur is wheat that’s been parboiled, dried, and cracked into small bits. It cooks fast and tastes sooooo good. Bulgur is most common in European, Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine. I usually use it into salads, for extra taste, crunchiness and fiber intake.

This is my version of bulgur salad that I usually cook in summer, but you may play endlessly with it by adding different vegetables, nuts and spices.

In case you are curious and want to try other easy savory recipes there are plenty of options in the blog.
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Buttery, flaky, all-purpose pie crust (pate brisee) – basic recipes

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Pie crust is the second recipe in “Basic recipe section” in this blog. It is an amazing recipe that can be used for sweet and savory dishes. I love pie crust because the dough can be prepared in advance and kept in fridge for some days or freezer for some months.

You may use pie crust for quiches, savory pies, vegetable galettes, fruit pies, fruit galettes, tarts etc. You may adopt pie crust in version of mini-pies, mini-tarts or mini-galettes and have portion size treats that can be adapted to everyone taste.

This is my basic recipe for pie crust, which produces an amazing, flaky and buttery dough. I sometimes play with it by flavouring the dough with spices or lemon zest which makes my dishes even more flavourful. I also like to replace part of the flour in my basic pie crust recipe with different flours like whole wheat flour, oatmeal flour or almond flour, the result is a little more dense, but still buttery and delicious.

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Homemade pastry cream – Basic recipes

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pastry creamI’m starting a new series of post in this blog called “basic recipes”. The name says it all, there will be some basic recipes that are easy to make and you may adapt in thousands ways. The first one is a sweet one, vanilla pastry cream basic recipe, and some tips and tricks on how to completely change its flavour.

I use part cream and part milk to make my pastry cream, for a more velvety texture and a more luscious flavour, but feel free to replace the cream with milk. I use different ways to add flavour like using spices: vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom, or zest from orange or lemon, almond extract is also a very nice choice.

You may use pastry cream for many desserts: to fill tarts or pies, to fill layered cakes, to fill eclairs or muffins, or just eat it by spoon like a pudding with some fresh fruits aside. My little secret to make pastry cream is mixing everything together and cooking it in medium heat. You have to stir the mix for about 20 minutes, but on the other hand you don’t need to temper the eggs, or use many dishes.

If you’re wondering what to do with all the leftover egg whites I suggest you to make coconut macaroons, almond mini-muffins or sesame crisps. Continue reading