Homemade pastry cream – Basic recipes

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

Tomato soup with poached egg – an amazing summer dish

Tomato soupOne of the main things I’ve enjoyed in my new home is meeting so many interesting persons. One of them was Roni, the guy who helped us assemble the new furniture. He was so loud and happy and had tried so many things in life; it was just amazing.

When Roni was young he worked as a cook in a fish restaurant and I don’t remember how we ended up talking about tomato soup. Roni’s secret to make an amazing tomato soup was adding a poached egg, lightly cooked. How come I never thought about it.

So here I am sharing with you my favorite tomato soup recipe with a lightly cooked poached egg. It is perfect for summer, when the tomatoes are so juicy and tasty, and all we are looking for are light meals. If you’re looking for other savory meals you may find many recipes in the blog.

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Double chocolate rye muffins inspired by Green Kitchen Stories

There is an amazing couple out there that makes healthy eating so easy and delicious and has been an inspiration for millions of people, me  included, Luise and David from Green Kitchen Stories. I’ve cooked many recipes from their blog and app and I completely love them.

Since I got a big batch of rye flour and I wanted to play a little bit with it, the first place I checked for inspiration was Green Kitchen story. They’ve got a recipe for double chocolate rye muffins, which I wanted to try since a long time. I used it as a base and created my own version of it.

The double chocolate rye muffins are so good and quite healthy, you can enjoy them for breakfast. I’m sure they’ll be a children favorite so don’t hesitate to try them. In case you are curios and want to try other muffins recipes you can find plenty of them in the blog.

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Baked potatoes with homemade aioli sauce

Who doesn’t enjoy some baked potatoes with a nice sauce? Personally I love it. The smell and taste of baked potatoes is so good, while playing with different sauces is so much fun.

The trick to prepare the best baked potatoes is to boil them for few minutes. It helps keeping them soft and creamy in the insight, while they form an amazing crust on the outside while they are baking.

I never tried or heard about aioli sauce until recently. I enjoyed it in a small bistro in Dusseldorf and from that day, I just wanted to recreate it. I’m not very close to the traditional recipe, but that’s how I like it. I would love if you could share with me what you think of this recipe and what’s your favourite aioli sauce recipe.

I love aioli over baked potatoes, but it also makes a great sauce for the sandwiches, fish or chicken fillet or as a dressing for the salads.

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Tahini, olive oil and dates cake

I love browsing around the internet and discovering new blogs that inspire me. Eat in my kitchen is one of my latest discoveries and I’m sharing with you the first recipe from this blog that I had fun experimenting with. It’s a date and tahini cake, with an amazing nutty flavor that stole my heart in the first bite.

I like to use rye flour for this cake, but you may replace it with all purpose flour if you don’t like it, or if you can’t find it). I really like the dense texture rye flour brings to this cake and also all the nutrients.

Also I’m not a whipped cream girl, I’m a labneh or Greek yogurt girl, so I replaced the whipped cream with a sauce prepared with greek yogurt and honey.

I enriched the flavours with ground cardamom and added few tablespoons of black tahini. I really love this unconventional cake and I found it perfect for breakfast since is not very sweet, has a lot of fibres from rye flour and good fat from olive oil and tahini.

 

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Arugula and lentils salad

The weather gets warmer every day and I naturally crave salads. I love a good salad for dinner and sometimes even for lunch. They’re so refreshing,  tasty and so beautiful, full of colors and shapes from all the vegetables. Today I’m sharing with you one of my favorite salads which is so easy that I wasn’t sure if I should share the recipe. It is a salad, but since it includes lentils and nuts it keeps you full for many hours, so consider having it also for lunch.

It packs well in a jar or glass bowl and it is perfect to take with you to work. Just don’t forget to add salt and pepper and the dressing just before serving.

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Cocoa hummus – an amazing healthy spread for your toast and not only

You already know that I’m a hummus addict and also a chocoholic. They sound like unrelated things, but apparently they’re not. Cocoa hummus is a real thing and tastes heavenly. The idea to experiment with cocoa hummus wasn’t mine. It practically came as a challenge from Ingrid Xh. a fellow foodie who is behind Bonvivant blog. Bonvivant is so interesting, it guides you through bars, restaurants and bistros in Tirana and not only, sharing her experience and thoughts. It has become my guide lately and I’m pretty sure it will become yours too, so go check it out.

Now coming back to cocoa hummus, all I have to say is that is amazing. It is easy peasy to make, has a spreadable consistency, is very healthy and tastes better than any chocolate spread you may have tried. I’m sure that this low sugar, low fat and high fibre spread  will easily substitute Nutella in your children diet, so what can be better than that?

The ingredients you need to make cocoa hummus are simple: chickpeas, tahini, cocoa and maple syrup. You may replace tahini with every nut butter you like, like peanut butter or almond butter, and also you can easily replace maple syrup with honey. You may add cinnamon or other spices you like, it all depends on your taste. The chickpeas are tender, so there is no need for a high speed blender to make cocoa hummus.

Cocoa hummus tastes great on toast, waffles, fruits and even oatmeal. It tastes even better with a spoon straight from the jar 😛  I think it will work well even to frost a cake or cupcakes but haven’t tried it yet, so in case anyone tries let me know.

For all of you who love nature and especially animals, the good news is that this recipe is vegan and can be part of your daily diet.

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Power balls – guilt free healthy bites

Power balls are an amazing choice for the afternoon snack or after lunch sweet treat. That’s really cool to have a jar of power balls in the fridge and reach for them after lunch instead of dessert or any time you are craving for something sweet. They’re moist, chewy and packed with healthy ingredients like dates, raisins, sunflower seeds and oatmeal.

Power balls are a really great snack for all ages but kids particularly. They are full of fibre, minerals and vitamin. Another reason I love power balls are that they are free of processed sugars, and get all their sweetness from natural sweeteners, in this case from dates and raisins.

Power balls look super cute and are made in a food processor, so, no cooking involved. You can make them with your kids, I’m sure they’ll love them more. Below I’m sharing a basic recipe using dates, raisins, oatmeal, sunflower seeds, cocoa powder and tahini, but you may experiment endlessly with it. You may use other seeds or nuts, such as sesame, walnuts, almond, or add a little bit honey, or replace tahini with other nut butters such as peanut butter or almond butter, you may add spices such as ginger or cinnamon, or vanilla, etc, etc.

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Jam shortbread

I really enjoy shortbread. Easy to assemble, sweet and tasty, pairing perfectly with a cup of tea in the evening.

All you have to do is mix together butter, sugar and flour, than enrich the taste with spices, fruits or jam.

I love to add a little bit of semolina flour to make it super crispy.  Why not also some sesame seeds and coconut to add flavor and make it prettier?

So, I ended up with this beauty.

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Cauliflower steak

The cauliflower steak hit internet years ago. It is a creation of Dan Barber, one of the most amazing modern chefs and one of the most dedicated advocates of farm to table concept. Barber uses every part of cauliflower and combines the perfectly roasted parts with a creamy cauliflower puree.

I felt in love with cauliflower steak the first moment I tried it. I love to serve it over hummus for a full and hearty meal. You may serve it as a side dish accompanied by fish or chicken fillet, or just as it is for a quick low calorie dinner. Continue reading