I`m more of a winter person but I appreciate summer because of every single veg and fruit that are in season. Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, apricots - I love them all. So, last summer I was enjoying all these beautiful fruits but I got to a point when I desperately needed something chocolatey and I made these tartelettes. Don`t get me wrong - fruit is great but chocolate is... well, chocolate! :)
300 g flour
1 large egg
200 g butter
120 g sugar
pinch of grated lemon zest
pinch of salt
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup sugar
4 tbsp flour
pinch of salt
3 cups milk
3 tbsp butter
rum to taste (you can absolutely omit it if you don`t like it)
Sift flour onto working surface. Add sugar, salt and lemon zest. Incorporate the ingredients into one another. Make a small well in which you`ll add slightly beaten egg and cold butter cut into small cubes. Blend all of the ingredients into the flour mixture but do not overmix it. Pat the dough into a flat round, wrap it in plastic foil and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
I didn`t have any special molds for tartelettes so I used a muffin pan. I divided the dough into 12 pieces. Now, roll one piece of your dough to get a disk bigger in diameter than your mold. Tuck the dough into your mold (whic you buttered and dusted with flour) and evenly distribute it at the bottom and sides. Do the same with the remaining 11 balls. You can fill your tartelettes with beans and then bake them but I only pricked them thoroughly with a fork on the bottom and sides to prevent puffing up.
Bake 15 minutes on 180 Degrees C or 350F or until golden brown and done. Be careful not to overbake your tartelettes.
Carefully remove from pan while they are still hot.
While the tartelletes are baking, prepare the filling.
In a pot mix cocoa, sugar, salt and flour. Gradually add milk whisking well to prevent lumps. Put on low heat and bring to boil. Cook for 2-3 minutes stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add butter and rum.
Pour hot cocoa cream into baked shells and let completely cool down. Decorate with whipped cream and a bit of sifted cocoa.
This was the first time I made this cocoa cream and I was really surprised with its richness of chocolate flavor. It`s like chocolate pudding but way better and homemade. The only "problem" was that I got more cream that I actually needed for these tartellets but that`s not a real problem, isn`t it? You simple cut the ingredients in half or even better: eat the leftover cream :)
This recipe was inspired by Cocoa Cream Pie.
I have never tried asparagus before but when I saw how beautifully Jamie Oliver cooked them in his show Jamie at home, I took a mental note to definetely try them when they are in season. Apparently, asparagus is really good for you. It is low in calories, contains no cholesterol and is very low in sodium. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium and zinc, and a very good source of dietary fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, rutin, niacin, folic acid, iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese and selenium.
So, it`s spring and it`s asparagus time. Since this was the first time I bought them, I decided to make something special which shows asparagus at its best - creamy soup. I kept it as simple as possible and fell in love with this beautiful veg.
bundle of asparagus (about 400g)
2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock for vegetarian version)
water to taste (from 1/2 - 1 cup)
salt and pepper
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp butter
1 small onion
1 garlic clove (optional)
Chop onions and garlic (I didn`t add garlic because I didn`t have any at home but I would recommend it). Cut asparagus tips and leave them to the side. Cut asparagus stalks into 1/2-inch pieces. In a pot heat olive oil and butter on low heat. Add onions and cook them 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 more minute. Now, throw in your asparagus stalks and cook additional 5 minutes. Add hot chicken stock, salt and pepper to taste, bring to boil, add chopped chives and cook for 10 minutes. Use a stick mixer to get a nice and smooth puree. Add water if necessary depending on how thick you want your soup to be, bring to boil and add asparagus tips. Taste the soup and see if additional salt or pepper is needed. Cook the tips al dente (it took me 10 minutes).
Serve with parmesan and olive oil croutons (cut bread into smaller cubes; heat olive oil in a pan, add bread, sprinkle with parmesan, bake until golden brown). Garnish with chopped chives.
I really really liked the soup. It was light, creamy (but no cream added) and none of the ingredients interfered with the lovely taste of asparagus. It`s a shame that asparagus are so darn expensive cause I would love to eat them more often. :)
Everybody likes pizza, right? But have you ever tried a calzone? Basically, it`s the same thing just folded in half. Italians pronounce the word [kalˈtsone]. They usually make it with tomatoes and mozzarella but what`s so great about it is that you can use any kind of leftover veg from the day before. A normal pizza can be a bit dry but in calzone everything is mixed up in the middle, the cheese is melting, the aromas are getting into the dough and staying in there. Bellissimo!
Here`s my step by step recipe with photos.
300 ml tepid water
1 tsp sugar
40 g fresh yeast
500 g flour
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp Herbes de Provence
400 g mushrooms (white/button/champignons mushrooms or portobello mushrooms)
2-3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
pinch of pepper
pinch of Herbes de Provence
pinch of salt
2 tbsp butter
8 tbsp tomato puree (from the brick)
a handful of grated parmesan
freshly chopped parsley and basil
mozzarella (about 100 g)
1. Sift flour with the salt on a clean surface and make a well in the middle with your hands. In a bowl, combine tepid water, sugar and crumbled yeast. Let it rise until it doubles in size, then pour it into the well. Add olive oil and herbs.
Using a fork, bring the flour in gradually from the sides and swirl it into the liquid (circle around the well each time incorporating a litlle bit more of the flour but be careful not to let liquid out from the well).
2. When it starts to come together, dive in with your flour-dusted hands kneading until nice and smooth. Dust a glass bowl with some flour, put your dough in it and dust a bit more. Cover it with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place for about half an hour or more until it doubles in size (apparently yeast loves damp and warm places). :)
You can make 2-3 calzones from this amount of dough - I made 2 large.
3. When your dough has doubled in size, divide it into 2-3 equal pieces. Roll them out on a dusted surface so that they are circular and pretty thin.
Now, prepare the filling. Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan. Cut mushrooms in larger slices. Put them onto the oil and fry until water evaporates. Add pepper, salt and herbs and fry 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and add butter. Let it melt and add tomato puree, basil and parsley.
Divide filling between your 2-3 pizzas. On each, add some parmesan, mozzarella and, if you wish, a bit more of tomato puree.
So, let`s get to the forming of your calzone. You need to basically fold the pizzas in half. Then fold the edges as well away from you so that you secure the filling. Dust a fork and press along the side of your calzone. It`s secure and nice and pretty.
Bake on a greaseproof paper dusted with flour for 30 minutes on 200 Degrees C (it really depends on your oven).
This calzone was inspired by Jamie Oliver`s calzone from cookbook Jamie at Home - Cook Your Way to the Good Life.
Yesterday I came across some cool muffin paper cups and immediately wanted to try them out. The only problem is that the cups were kinda enormous so I had to double the measurments for muffins. Usually, when I make dozen muffins we eat them like they are dozen truffles. So, I hoped that these gigantic muffins would last longer. Boy, was I wrong... :)
I had some cranberries and walnuts and decided to experiment with this combo for the first time. My niece tried them and said that these are the best muffins she ever tried. And she knows her muffins... :)
Ingredients (for 12 gigantic muffin cups "6,2 X 5,2 cm" or 24 normal size ones "6 X 2,8 cm")
4 1/2 cups flour
1 cup ground walnuts
3 cups milk
1 cup sunflower oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp vanilin sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 g baking powder
1/2 tsp soda bicarbonate
1 cup cranberries (or more)
Combine all dry ingredients: flour, sugar, walnuts, vanilin sugar, baking powder and soda. In another bowl, combine wet ingredients: eggs, milk, oil, vanilla extract and slightly whisk them. Combine dry and wet ingredients, add cranberries and stir with a wooden spoon just until combined.
Pour into 12 paper cups placed in muffin pan. Bake on 180 degrees C or 350 F until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
I only regret that I didn`t have enough cranberries (I put maybe a handful) so that`s why I wrote that you should put 1 cup or more. They give a lovely contrast to the sweetness of the muffins with walnuts.
Trust me when I say, they are better the next day if you can withhold yourself from eating them immediately.