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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Japrak – a traditional dish that brings on so many memories

One of my favorite traditional dishes is japrak (dolma). It is prepared in spring when the nature is so generous with greens. Japraks (dolmas) are cooked in all Balkan countries, Middle East and Central Asia. They’re basically vine leaves stuffed with greens and rice. Many recipes call for meat, but I prefer them without.

I’m pretty sure japraks bring a lot of memories to all of my Albanian readers and will make curious the others.

I’m sharing with you my family recipe of japrak with just a small change. I added a little bit of ground cumin and powdered garlic for flavour. Japraks seem difficult to prepare, but believe me they aren’t. They just require time and patience, but the result is so rewarding. They’re perfect with some yogurt or Albanian cold yogurt soup, for which I will have a dedicated post soon.

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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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Vegetarian black bean burgers

Black beans are a real treasure. They’re packed with proteins, fibers and minerals, and have a meaty texture which makes them popular in vegetarian dishes. One of my favorite things to cook with black beans are “black bean burgers”. They are packed with spicy flavour and are moist in the inside with a nice crust in the outside.

Black bean burgers are very easy to make and match perfectly with yogurt sauce or a nice salad, apart from the classic form, inside of a bun with cheese, tomatoes and lettuce.

A few thoughts on the recipe :

  • I love them with lots of spices, that’s why the list of spices may seem a bit long, but you may go with the traditional “salt” and “pepper” if you like.
  • I like to cook from scratch, since this way I have more control on what I am cooking so I almost always use uncooked beans and cook them myself, but you may go with canned beans, since there is no difference in flavour.
  • I love to make bean burgers with black beans but white beans work perfectly well too.
  • As a seeds addict I’ve added 1/4 sunflower seeds to this burgers, but  if you don’t have them on hand or simply, don’t like seeds, you may omit them.

I hope I’ve tempted you enough to try them and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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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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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

The basic granola recipe

I’ve been quiet busy this period, so I just needed to relax, even from the kitchen. So I’m not sharing any cookie, cake or comfort meal recipe, but I’m going to the basics, GRANOLA.

Granola is basically baked oatmeal flakes with nuts, seeds and dried fruits. Once you master a basic recipe you may play endlessly with the mix-ins and spices to find the perfect combination for you. Granola is perfect to top almost anything from smoothies and yogurt to dessert, or even salads.  I almost cannot live without homemade granola in my pantry. It not only tastes amazing but is so healthy, made with whole grains, unrefined oil and sweetened naturally. The recipe I’m sharing with you is my basic granola recipe, that you may adapt to your taste. You may experiment with spices, nuts and sweeteners.

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