Banana Bread

Latelly I have no time to cook! I’m not talking about the daily cook, I mean cooking a special recipe for the blog. I usually choose recipes taking into account seasonality, then herd the ingredients, cook and photographe it. This if the recipe comes out right at the first time, which doesn’t always happen. Lately the days have been so short that when I get home it’s so late that there’s no light to shoot.

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Therefore, I’ve been choosing recipes that always work, and are easy and quick to prepare. It was precisely the case with this cake. Done with those basic ingredients, but guaranteed to obtain a moist cake and a delicious crust, which besides being good eaten when made, you can also freeze.

Recipe adapted from here

SERVES: 6
TIME: 70 min

INGREDIENTS:
200g light brown sugar
2 eggs
200g banana peeled and crushed
280g flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon of grated ginger
140g melted butter

Preheat the oven to 170ºC.
Grease a rectangular cake mold with butter.
Beat the eggs with the sugar, mash the banana and add to the previous preparation as well as the grounded ginger and cinnamon.
Add the sifted flour and the baking powder as well.
Add the melted butter and beat it again.
Place the mixture in the mold and bake for one hour.
Remove for the oven and let it cool before unmolding.

Roasted Chicken with Spiced Butter

The first time I used this kind of technique (here), I was so surprised with the result I decided to do it again. Only now instead of herbs, I used spices.

Actually I think the butter acts as a wonderful conductor of all the flavors that we want to use, and the result once again was just perfect: Roasted chicken with a delicious crispy skin and all that ocean of spices infused inside the meat.

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SERVES: 4
TIME: 90 MIN

INGREDIENTS:
1 chicken (I used free range, approximately 1.5kg)
2 tbsp butter
salt
1 dried chili
1 teaspoon of each spice: turmeric, curry, paprika, cinnamon and ground ginger
1 clove of chopped garlic
1/2 orange
2 tbsp of olive oil

Turn the oven to 190 °.
In a bowl place the softened butter, add the spices, salt, chopped chilli and chopped garlic. Mix to obtain an uniform paste.
Place the chicken on a baking tray and insert your fingers carefully between the skin and the meat, arranging space for the butter. Place small portions under the skin, trying not to tear it.
Within the cavity of the chicken place the half orange.
Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and a little salt and massage to spread the grease evenly.
Put the baking tray inside the oven and bake the chicken for 60-80 min (depending on it’s size).
When ready, turn the oven off and let the meat rest for 15 minutes.
Serve with white rice or roasted vegetables.

Lactose Free Pannacotta with Passion Fruit Coulis

The last of the summer.
Passion fruit is that kind of fruit that makes me smile. I love the acidity, I love the texture of the seeds, I love the color.

I wanted to make a “lactose-free” version of the pannacotta, because there are so many people with lactose intolerance, and their food choices are so limited. At the second attempt the recipe got the texture I wanted, and my husband even said he liked this version more than the original …

I have a feeling I’ll be repeating this recipe a few times here at home.
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SERVES: 4
Time: 10 min + 4-6h in the refrigerator

INGREDIENTS:

pannacotta:
400ml coconut milk
200ml of almond milk
4 tbsp of white sugar
6 sheets of gelatin (please confirmed the instructions of the jelly that you’re using. Different brands have different values ​​of solidification per sheet). For a vegan version of the recipe use agar

passion fruit coulis:
1 orange juice
4 passion fruit
3 tbsp of white sugar
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In a bowl with ice cold water put the gelatin sheets. Let them soften for about 5 minutes.
In a pot, place the coconut milk, the almond milk and the sugar. Bring it to a boil. Remove from heat, squeeze the gelatine leaves and add them to the mixture. Stir to dissolve them completely.
Place the preparation in molds and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours, or until the pannacotta stays solid.
Let’s make the coulis.
In a pan, put the sugar and orange juice. Cut the passion fruit and remove the pulp with the help of a spoon. Join the pot and let it boil.
Simmer a few minutes so the sugar dissolves. Remove, let cool and set aside. You can prepare the coulis Eve and store in a jar in the refrigerator.
At the time of serving, you can unmolde either way: by dipping the molds in a bowl with hot water (for only a few seconds) or by inserting a knife between the mold and the pannacota. Serve with the coulis on top.
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Tosca Cake

Sometimes we walk around life kind of lost, looking for something we don’t even know. Occasionally we even find things we didn’t know we needed, as we seek what we think is good for us, without ever finding it. Life has this irony: sometimes we give so many turns and turns that even without knowing, we end up in the same place.

This period of my life it’s a bit like that. Cycles that were open and forgotten for years, now to be closed. It’s nothing bad … just things that we keep delaying and delaying … until the day that we can’t delay any longer. I guess the next few months will be demanding for me, but it must be done.

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Therefore, this cake is to celebrate this very reason: the challenges we face every day!
Life sometimes it’s a bit like this cake … after passing the hard crust, we find a fluffy and delicious prize. The important thing is to have that in mind – every day. Even in those days that cost us the most.
Still there?
In fact, the crust of this cake is not hard. Just crispy and delicious! I think this was the first cake I made that has cream in the dough itself, and although it seems a detail, the flavor of the cake turns out to be different. This recipe is from Miisa Mink and came from this book. Did you know this is one of the most popular cakes in Sweden?

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SERVES: 6
TIME: 60MIN

INGREDIENTS:
4 eggs
120g White Sugar
200ml double cream
100g butter
1 tsp of vanilla extract
2 tsp baking powder
260g plain flour

topping:
75g of butter
75g sugar
50ml cream
25g flour
125g flaked almonds

Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
Beat the eggs and sugar for 10 to 15 minutes, until a soft whitish mass.
Add the cream, the melted butter and the vanilla and beat for 1 minute.
Add the stifed flour and baking powder beat until combined.
Place the dough in a mold with the bottom lined with parchment paper and bake for 30-35 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the topping.
In a saucepan place all the remaining ingredients and place over low heat until it boils slightly.
When the cake’s out of the oven, spread the topping and bake again for 10 to 15 minutes, until you get a golden crust.
Remove from the oven and let it cool slightly before unmolding.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Dark Chocolate, Walnuts and Blackberries Brownie

Here’s one of those fantastic recipes, great for everyday. And why? Because it’s delicious, easy to make, and you can use a multitude of ingredients … is this case I used blackberries (which are in season) and nuts.

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You can use other nuts, chocolate and other fruits. It also has the advantage of being easily frozen after it’s done, and when you have one of those desires for something very sweet and decadent, take it out of the freezer for two hours and you will not even notice the difference.

SERVES: 8
TIME: 30min

INGREDIENTS:
125g Dark Chocolate
150g of butter
3 Eggs
100g walnuts
200g blackberries
100g Flour
1c. of baking
120g Sugar

Preheat the oven to 180 °.
Start by melting the chocolate and the butter.
Beats the eggs with the sugar and add them to the previous mixture.
Add the sifted flour and baking powder and stir to combine.
Grease a pan with butter and pour the preparation.
Over it arrange the blueberries and walnuts and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Ideally remove the brownie when the surface is already cooked, but you’ll realize at touch it’s still slightly raw in the middle.
Allow it to cool for 30 minutes before serving.
If you want you can do the day before and leave in the fridge to serve the next day.

Chinese food for dinner?

I love Chinese food! I love all the stir-fry dishes, I love the vegetable crepes that they serve as appetizer, I love the noodles, I love the chicken with almonds and those dishes that come in that hot plate!
Apart from a few specific ingredients (fish sauce and soy sauce) all the other ingredients in this recipe are used in countless recipes from other cuisines. The big difference is in how they are prepared.
If you don’t have a wok, you should think about buying one, because it’s a very practical tool, not only to prepare Chinese food.

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As a teenager, the first Chinese restaurants have opened here in Aveiro, so every friend’s birthday dinner, 99% of the time  was Chinese. It was a new thing … fortunately things have changed since then and now we find many more varieties of restaurants. Even so, I still love going to the Chinese, although I think that the menu was too adapted to western tastes, and any Chinese restaurant has pretty much the same dishes (at least here in Aveiro).

SERVES: 4
TIME: 50 min

INGREDIENTS:
garlic shrimp:
400g shrimp
2 tbsp vegetable oil
half chilli
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 1 lime
salt

fried rice:
1 cup rice (I used steamed)
1/2 cup of frozen peas
2 slices of ham
1 egg
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp vegetable oil

vegetables with sweet and sour sauce:
half courgete
1 onion
1 carrot
half a package of white mushrooms
1 pepper (I used orange, but can use other)
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tbsp White sugar
4 tbsp of white wine vinegar
2 tbsp ketchup
1/2 cup of water
2 tbsp soy sauce

shrimp with garlic:
Remove the heads and shells of the prawns and set aside. Chop the garlic cloves and also set aside.
Heat the wok (or skillet) and add the oil. Add the prawns, garlic and chopped chilli and stir the prawns until they’re fully opaque with an orange color. Remove, season with fish sauce and lime juice, stir and it’s ready to serve.

fried rice:
In a pot add water and salt. When it starts boiling, add the rice and peas and cook until the rice is almost cooked, but still a little raw. Drain the water and set aside.
Heat a wok, add the oil and the egg. Stir the egg. Add the ham and rice. Stir and add the soy sauce. Remove from heat and it’s ready to serve.

vegetables in sweet and sour sauce:
In a bowl place the cornstarch and dissolve it with vinegar. Stir in the ketchup, soy sauce, fish sauce and sugar and stir to dissolve the sugar. Reserve.
Peel the onions and cut them into wedges.
Clean the seeds of the pepper and cut it into squares.
Wipe the mushrooms with a wet paper towel and cut them into four wedges.
Also cut the courgette and the carrot into pieces.
You should have all the vegetables ready when placing the wok or skillet to heat.
Heat the wok, put oil and add the onion and carrot. Let them sauté for 30 sec.
Add the pepper and let it sauté another 30 sec.
Now add the mushrooms and zucchini. Stir and sauté for 1 min. Add the previously prepared sauce, let it simmer a few seconds and add the water.
Stir, correct the salt if necessary (adding more soy sauce), and let the sauce reduce to the desired consistency. Remove and serve.