Ep. 3: Craft butter

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Homemade Foods / Uncategorized

A thing millennials are interested in, apparently. But that aside, this is another 5 minute project meant to impress whomever.

What you see here is the butter I made on the last post to which I added:

  1. orange-rosemary-sea salt, perfect for an extra kick to your chicken;
  2. thyme-lime, perfect for your eggplants and stews;
  3. sea salt, because one cannot not have enough sea salt homemade butter;
  4. rosemary-garlic, perfect for your potatoes;
  5. chilli-sea salt, perfect for your scrambled eggs;
  6. unsalted, because it’s handy;
  7. chives-sea salt, for your warm toast;
  8. and lastly, cumin-garlic-ginger, perfect for your rice.

craft butter bun blog (1 of 1).jpg

The measurements are up to you. To all of the variations, except for the unsalted butter (doh) I added sea salt because I can’t help myself when it comes to salted butter. Really.

Also, keep in mind to mix everything together while the butter is soft and to set in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 8 weeks. Otherwise your flavoured butter will get fridge flavour too! (trust me)

Have fun!

V.

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Ep. 2: Homemade Butter

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Homemade Foods / Uncategorized

You don’t need to be any milkmaid to make your own butter. All you need is a jar and some heavy cream. Or a food processor if you didn’t break yours like I did.

butter 1 blog (1 of 1)

Your tool

The recipe is pretty straight forward. You’ll need some heavy cream if you buy it from the supermarket or some high fat sour cream (smântână) if you can grab your hands on something organic and straight from the farm. And of course, a jar. And that’s it, I promise you.

Now, if you go for the heavy cream version, you’ll end up with a low(er) fat butter and a more milkier taste while as the organic high fat sour cream version will give you the real deal. But of course, I am in Berlin and not in Romania and that high fat organic sour cream is not an option for me, so heavy cream it is.

Price wise you won’t save much but it is a 5 minute project guaranteed to impress your friends.

You’ll need:

  • some heavy cream
  • a jarbutter text final blog (1 of 1)

METHOD:

  1. add the heavy cream to the jar, make sure the lid is tightly secured;
  2. shake in an up and down motion, be slightly embarrassed for looking inappropriate while doing this for 5 minutes;
  3. you’ll see that the buttermilk will separate from the butter;
  4. with the help of a cheese cloth or your bare hands, squeeze the butter for any extra buttermilk in it;
  5. add in a container and store it for up to 8 weeks in the fridge.butter 5 blog (1 of 1)

You can also add now some sea salt to it but I will be coming in the next post with my craft butter and I will tell you more, so stay tuned!

Until the next one,

V.

Ep. 1: Homemade Ghee

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So few days ago, I was announcing a homemade produce series on the cheap and with ease on my Instagram (if you didn’t follow me yet you know what you have to do) and I promise you, it will be fun!

It shouldn’t come as a shock that I do spend a lot of time in supermarkets, markets, bio markets and everything in between so I am familiar with produces and prices. And it just recently popped into my mind that there are few things that can be easily done at home but with less money. And less additives and preservatives because you know, we love knowing what goes into our body, right?

so, ghee is one of them.

If you don’t know what ghee is, it’s clarified butter. Through the process, you eliminate the milk solids and remain with the healthy fats. And because you eliminate the milk solids you can safely keep on your cupboard without risking going bad and you can easily use it if you are lactose intolerant. You can cook with it, bake with it or spread it on bread as with butter.

A small jar of ghee weighting 180 grams is usually around 4-5 euros, depending on the brand. But if you buy a pack of 250 grams of grass fed butter (I strongly recommend you to do this) which is normally around 2.5 euro (or 1.79 euro, if you find it on discount like I did), you’ll end up with 220 grams of ghee for less that half a price you’ll pay for a small jar in a supermarket.

Of course, I didn’t graduate in Math but you can see that it’s a deal.

And less than 15 min to make.

You’ll need:

  • 1 pack of Kerry Gold Butter
  • cheese cloth
  • strainer
  • a sauce pan
  • a jar

METHOD:

  1. add your butter to the sauce pan and melt it over medium low until it starts to bubble;
  2. once it starts to bubble turn the heat on the lowest setting of your stove and allow the milk solids to separate;
  3. you’ll notice there will be a foam building up, that’s your milk fats separating from your ghee;
  4. you ghee is done when it stops bubbling;
  5. add the strainer with the cheese cloth on top (folded 4 times) over a jar and pour your ghee over it; the cheese cloth will stop the milk fats from going into your jar;
  6. store in your cupboard or fridge if you prefer for up to 8 weeks.

How easy was that, huh?

That easy that it can be illustrated:

ghee final 2 blog (1 of 1)ghee final 1 blog (1 of 1)

Let me know if you made it by leaving a comment here or via DM on Instagram!

Cheers,

V.

Balcony DIY on the cheap + some balcony gardening tips

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There is something about balconies…oh, wait I already had a rant on balconies. Remember?

Only that now I do have my own balcony. And believe it or not, a small garden too. Me, who once killed a cactus has her soon to be cherry tomatoes. And chillies.

look,

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How amazing is that? Call is a mid-twenties crisis but growing something is magical. And easier as I would have anticipated. And it feels great and rewarding and someone once said that the cheapest therapy one could get is gardening and DAMN right he/she was right.

But enough on ranting because what I am trying to say here is that if I could do it, you can do it too. And if you do really wanna control what’s going on your plate, grab some soil and some seeds and get going on growing your own vegetables. As much as you can.

I am lucky enough to live on the last floor and have an open balcony with enough sun and wind but with a little care any can grow some tomatoes. To make sure you do get your fruits is to water the plant whenever needed (mine required water almost daily since it is outside and quite hot and windy) but if you grow it inside, make sure you keep the soil moist at all times so you’ll avoid killing your plant. Also make sure you’re not over watering your plant because that kills it too. Constant moist is all you need. And a little bit of patience.

Once your flowers are blossomed you need to make sure you hand pollinate it. Normally, the wind should do the job (or the bees) but if you don’t wanna leave anything to chance, you have few options on hand pollinating:

  1. encourage the flower on releasing the pollen by gently tapping it or by using any device that vibrates (ahem) and imitates the bees;
  2. take a cotton swab and gently move it from one flower to another

or,

  • if you have a lot of flowers, just gently tap them and the pollen will just fall on the flowers underneath.

I would strongly recommend you to do the hand pollinating (keep in mind, you’re still growing them on a balcony, in a pot and not in a real garden) since it’s a 5 min job, if not even less and it will give you back guaranteed results. If you have chillies or paprika growing, do the same to them.

And that’s pretty much it, really.

As for how I arranged my balcony (don’t have a before photo unfortunately), I decided to go for the sitting area in the further end of the balcony, facing West and for the balcony table on the other end, facing East. The whole apartment is facing South so before you take out your compass you have to know that an apartment facing South has light all the time. When there is Sun, of course. Which is a good thing but also quite annoying if you’re not a fan of strong Sun. So setting is easy: table facing East for breakfast so the Sun is gentle on my ginger face and sitting area facing West for cozy, beautiful sunsets. Makes sense now?

For the sitting area I went for a small EUR-pallet I have found on the street, with some big cushions I had it handed over by my former flatmate on which I threw a blanket. I use the blanket in the evenings or as an ‘umbrella’ during the day if the Sun is too strong (my actually umbrella flew away, btw).

let me show you,

balcony 5 blog (1 of 1)

the sitting area set up

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and the sunflower plant next to it

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the sunset view I was talking about

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and the balcony table

Behind the table I did plant some other greens but half of them didn’t come out so I replaced it with some fresh herbs from the supermarket,

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Rosemary and blossomed chives

As for the lights I have hanging, I have two sets: one is solar powered, left behind by the girl living here before me (from IKEA) and the other one is battery powered on the cheap from Flying Tiger Copenhagen.

And that would be it on my balcony. Let me know how you like it!

I will also keep you updated on how the fruits and veggies will turn out.

 

Have a peaceful one,

V.

Banana peanut butter popsicles

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Homemade Sweets / Uncategorized

3 ingredients, no sugar added, guilt free and healthy. Because lately if there is something that really gets me excited are 3 ingredient recipes and something cold to make my life a little bit better.

So, you’ll need:

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 tsp peanut butter
  • 125 ml of greek yogurt
  • splash of lemon juice
  • pinch of salt if your peanut butter is unsalted (optional)
  • pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg (optional)ice cream 2 blog (1 of 1)

METHOD:

  1. smash the bananas with the help of a fork;
  2. add a little bit of lemon juice so they will preserve the color;
  3. add the peanut butter in;
  4. add the yogurt;
  5. mix well and add it to your popsicles mold.ice cream 1 blog (1 of 1)ice cream 3 blog (1 of 1)

Couldn’t get any easier than that, isn’t it?

But before we enjoy the summer (not), quick tip: if your bananas aren’t sweet enough or ripe enough, try adding some vanilla yogurt instead of greek yogurt for a little bit of sweetness or add some maple syrup/honey to it. Also, fell free to melt some dark chocolate for drizzle and to chop some peanuts to top.

Enjoy it and don’t forget about the sunscreen lotion,

V.

Veggie breakfast bake

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If to remember, my summers as a child were smelling of roasted bell peppers, eggplants, fresh fried eggs, feta cheese, unbearable heat and fresh bread. Watermelon and lots of water. Tomato, onion and plenty of sunflower oil salad. Cucumber sticks with salt.  Smelly ice cubes, peace, freedom from parents.

Little did I know that years later I will find myself feeling the same. Roasted bell peppers, eggplants, fried eggs, feta, unbearable heat and rye bread. Overpriced watermelon and lots of water. Ice cubes, peace and freedom.

I don’t do well in heat. Let alone with cooking lately. Don’t wanna spend money on eating out nor I want to feed myself entirely on ice cream.

So maybe some fruits? Some veggies? But also something quick? Something light and healthy?

Found this recipe in the BBC Good Food Low Carb book and I thought to adapt it accordingly. In the original recipe, they veggies are entirely baked in the oven, I cooked mine on the iron cast skillet and popped it in the oven at the very end for the egg to cook.

And by all means, I ate it for dinner because nobody ain’t in the mood for baking in the morning.

So with no further due, you’ll need few ingredients, probably what you already have lying around your fridge, such as:

  • 2-3 mushrooms
  • cherry tomatoes
  • 1 very small eggplant
  • few mini kapia peppers
  • 1 chilli
  • 1 garlic clove
  • olive oil
  • some frozen kale or spinach
  • 2 eggs
  • salt, pepper
  • chilli flakes
  • micro greens for serving
  • avocado and rye bread to serve (optional)

METHOD:

  1. preheat your oven at 180°C;
  2. thoroughly wash you veggies, cut the stem off the mushrooms, half your tomatoes if big and add them with a little olive oil or coconut oil into a iron cast skillet;baked veggies my ass blog (1 of 1)
  3. allow it to roast on medium for a good 10 minutes or so, making sure you turn them every now and then so they won’t burn; a
  4. in another pan or in the microwave, add the frozen kale/spinach and defrost it; add some garlic, salt, pepper and some chilli flakes to it and set aside;
  5. once the veggies as almost done, add the kale/spinach in, make some gaps in between veggies to host your eggs and gently place them in there;
  6. bake until the eggs are cooked.baked veggies my ass 3 blog (1 of 1).jpgbaked veggies my ass 2 blog (1 of 1)

And serve with rye bread and avocado mash.

Until cooler weather stay healthy and hydrated,

V.

 

 

MY VERY FIRST VIDEO RECIPE!

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Homemade Foods / Uncategorized

OMG guys, I am dreading and dodging on this day for months!!

But it’s finally here, my very first, dramatic and by all means truly amateur video recipe is up!

 

Enjoy it and please do let me know how you like it! Also, any CC is more than welcome!

Cheers,

V.

Hash brown pizza

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I truly admire people who can do cauliflower pizzas. Not do as in making but as in eating. I can’t. I tried, not my thing.

So I switched to this hash brown instead. I mean, everyone loves potatoes, right? And parmesan cheese. And non heavily fried, non oily hash browns.

With no further due, you’ll need:

  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 egg
  • bread crumbs
  • parmesan cheese
  • salt
  • pepper
  • pinch of cayenne
  • pinch of garlic powder
  • pinch of onion powder

For the toppings:

  • goat cream cheese
  • goat cheese curds
  • lightly pan fried spring onion
  • tomatoes

METHOD:

  1. peel and wash the potatoes and grate them on the smaller blade;
  2. squeeze all the juice out of your grated potatoes and set them to a bowl;
  3. add the egg together with the spices and mix;
  4. add the breadcrumbs gradually according to your mixture until it holds enough to form a pizza crust;
  5. in a frying pay add a little bit of olive oil and with the help of a spatula add the hash brown mixture, distributing it evenly;
  6. cook the hash brown on both sides for around 5 min on medium heat or until golden brown;
  7. set aside and allow it to cool;
  8. once cooled add the toppings and enjoy! hasbrown 2 blog (1 of 1).jpg

Of course, you can switch to any toppings you want, this is what I used for mine. Half of this pizza can keep one full so it’s a great delicious gluten free/cauli pizza alternative to bring to any picnics or pot lucks. Not to mention easier to make and perfectly served cold.

Have fun making it and of course, enjoy it!

V.

 

Healthy Elderflower Drink (Socată)

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Lately I have found myself rather nostalgic about my roots, my culture, my food, my everything that shaped me in what I am today. I have found myself digging for old Romanian recipes, reminiscing old tastes, trying to recreate, to rebuilt those memories. I do miss my country but as I best know it, as a cabin lodge, somewhere on top of a mountain or in an isolated village where daily struggles can’t reach. Nor media. Nor corruption and everything evil. A place where you create, where you can be in peace with the nature and with yourself. A place to cherish and to value for what it is and for it offers.

And maybe this starts to become a dream. A place of your own where everything is sustainable, everything is fresh and tasty, a place where animals live a happy life and taste even happier.

But until then we dream and we try to make the best of what we have. Which is Elderflower, or as we call it in Romanian, soc. Easily found on the outskirts of forests or in parks, very aromatic and full of properties.

A versatile and very aromatic flower, very good for your heath too but I do prefer it best in a drink. I don’t necessarily have strong memories with the drink itself since my mum didn’t really make it, but I strongly remember how I loved it whenever I had it.

Traditionally, the recipe requires tons of sugar and fresh yeast but I decided against and went for honey and natural fermentation instead. And ginger because that never hurt anybody. This drink is not only delicious, but also good if you have a cold, any infection in the body or if you’re not a regular.

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But with no further due, you’ll need:

  • 6-8 big elderflower flowers
  • 3 liters filtered water
  • 250 ml honey
  • 2 lemons
  • thumb size piece of ginger

METHOD:

  1. thoroughly wash the flowers and allow them in cold water for 15 min to clear all of the impurities;Blog blog (1 of 1)
  2. in a pot, add the water and honey and simmer on low – don’t boil it;
  3. once the flowers are clean, add them to a large enough container along with the lemon zest, the juice from the lemons and the ginger;
  4. pour the warm water on top, seal and cover with as many towels as you have;
  5. allow it to ferment for 3-4 days;
  6. strain the mixture, add it to sterilised glass bottles and enjoy it!Socata 9 blog (1 of 1)

Until the next one, stay healthy and appreciative,

V.

 

Rhubarb lemongrass cordial

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Summer is here. We don’t really wanna cook but if we do, we cordial.

And if you don’t necessarily know what cordial is, it’s this sugary drink made of pretty much everything flavorful, paired really well with sparkling water, or even better with alcohol.

It’s super simple to make, it has ingredients you have lying around the pantry and seasonal products easily available in supermarkets.

But, before drinks ingredients:

  • 300 grams sugar
  • 300 ml water
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lemongrass stalk
  • 450 grams rhubarb

METHOD:

  1. in a pot add the sugar and water and simmer on low until the sugar has melted;
  2. grate the lemon peel and juice the lemon;
  3. cut the lemon grass;
  4. cut the rhubarb into small chunks;
  5. add everything to the pot and simmer at medium heat until the rhubarb disintegrates;
  6. add it to a sterilized jar/glass bottle and enjoy a fair amount of cocktails!
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Mixed mine with prosecco but goes perfectly fine with rose, white wine, vodka and gin ❤️

Cordial 3 blog (1 of 1)

Prosecco cordial

Cheers,

V.