Beer Bread

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Homemade Foods / Uncategorized

Yep. Beer bread. The easiest, soft on the inside crunchy on the outside bread you’ll ever make. With no yeast and no waiting time for proofing.

And by all means I didn’t come up with the recipe but The New York Times did and although it looked suspicious (bread with no yeast??!) I gave it a try. I mean, all over the wide world web this recipe required no yeast so I guess it must have been right, no?

The Internet was right. I mean, NYT Cooking was right and so was Jamie Oliver and with no further due and with internet’s blessing you’ll need:

  • 3 cups/450 grams of flour
  • 3 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 bottle beer, 330 ml
  • 2 tablespoons butter (optional)

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven at 180° C;
  2. Combine all of the ingredients and bake in the oven at 180° C for 35 min;
  3. Sit amazed by the oven and wonder how is this possible;
  4. Drizzle butter on top of it when done if you fancy; I personally skipped it;
  5. Enjoy it with whatever your heart desires.beer blog (1 of 1)-2.jpg

And by the grace of Instagram and people who read the science behind this recipe, the bread rises due to the combination of baking powder, beer and heat. Oh, forgot to mention it’s a no knead bread too.

Internet can be amazing sometimes, I’m telling you.

Let me know if you gave this recipe a try and if you were equally as amazed as I was.

Until the next one,

V.

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Potato bacon bites

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Yep, it’s been a while but I’m back. WITH SOME AMAZING BEER COOKED POTATO BACON BITES.

I know how to make an entrance, eh?

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 bottle of beer, 330 ml
  • salt
  • pepper
  • shake of cayenne
  • breadcrumbs
  • bacon

METHOD:

  1. preheat the oven at 220°C;
  2. cut the onion and add it to a frying pan with a little bit of oil; cook it until golden brown;
  3. in the meanwhile, cut the potatoes into small cubes and add it to the frying pan once the onions are brown;
  4. add the crushed garlic in as well as the seasoning;
  5. add the beer and allow it to cook until the potatoes are done; the beer should cover your potatoes; depending on your potatoes (mine were the fast cooking ones) you might need some chicken stock or water added to make sure they cook thoroughly; also, keep in mind we will need a little bit of that cooking liquid for our final step;
  6. remove potatoes from the heat and smash them with the help of a fork or a potato masher until desired consistency;
  7. in a paper lined muffin tray add a tbsp of the potato mixture, top it with some breadcrumbs and pop in the oven until golden crispy;
  8. in the meanwhile fry the bacon and remove all of the excess fat;
  9. once the muffins are done, top them with bacon and sprinkle with some spring onions.potato blog (1 of 1)-2

Easy, eh? I went for a little extra salt for mine since I made them for the World Cup final so they will make you drink more beer and alcohol and we can ultimately blame them and the team we support for our drinking, basically.

Genius.

But until next time, stay tuned!

 

 

Refried beans

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Another no brainer, people pleaser. Add some on top of your tortilla chips, top it with cheese and you get the mexican version of fasole prajita cu mamaliga si branza.

And if you’re wondering, we Romanians as cool as we were before anyone else, we have our own refried beans recipe that we call fried beans, Fasole prajita and we pair with mamaliga  and pickles.

So little did I know that by putting this refried beans on top of some tortilla chips and pop it in the oven it will bring me back childhood memories.

But with no further due, you’ll need:

  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 – 1/2 cups of cooked beans
  • some of the liquid the beans have been cooked, if not chicken stock
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • pinch of cumin
  • pinch of cayenne
  • salt, pepper
  • fresh thyme
  • fresh queso blanco

METHOD:

  1. heat up a cast iron skillet, add some oil to it, the chopped onions and fry them up until golden brown;
  2. add the garlic in;
  3. add the beans, stir;
  4. with the help of a spatula or a potato masher, smash some of the beans in the frying pan until your desired consistency;
  5. start adding little by little the cooking liquid or the chicken stock to the pan, like you’re doing a risotto and stir;
  6. add enough liquid according to your preferences – some people might like a more pasty texture while other want it thinner; in any case if you wanna top this on tortilla chips, make it thinner.
  7. once you’re done, add some fresh tyme and queso blanco and stir;

For the Romanian recipe:

  • in a pot, repeat steps 1-3, add all of the liquid at once up until the beans are covered, let it simmer and reduce, add the tyme, skip the cheese;
  • make mamaliga (1 part corn flour, 3 parts water, salt), take some pickles out and enjoy!

For the nachos dish:

  • in an oven proof dish add some tortilla chips, add some of the refried beans, top it with some shredded cheddar cheese and put it in the oven at 220° C until the cheese starts melting and bubbling;
  • enjoy them with some pickles, guac, salsa and sour cream.

If you want a vegan variation of this skip the cheese or add some vegan cheese to it and enjoy it!

Bye!

V.

3 ingredients energy balls

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Healthy and easy.

You only need:

  • 150 grams dates, deseeded
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • coconut flakes or coconut chips

Optional, for coating

  • Cocoa powder
  • coconut flakes

METHOD:

  1. In a food processor add all of the ingredients and mix until everything is combined and looks like a gooey paste;
  2. with the help of a wet spoon and some wet hands, take some mixture into your palms and form equally sized balls;
  3. coat them in cocoa powder or coconut flakes.

It’s as easy as this post is.

 

Halloumi pistachio Baklava with rose water syrup

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Thank you Yotam Ottoloneghi for existing and for sharing this recipe with us, the humble world!

As much as I love walnuts, my bf is allergic to it so I switched for a mix of pistachios and cashew nuts instead. The rest of the recipe is the same, maybe with a little bit more sugar and some added lemon juice in the filling because for some reason all of my ingredients were salty AF. Oh and I went low with the cinnamon too.

In the final result you can’t feel the saltiness but you know it’s there because the sweet taste is balanced. The baklava isn’t hurting your throat while eating it (I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s still super sweet, but balanced sweet). I also used more butter than the original recipe required, just because.

I know that maybe making Baklava at home might be quite an intimidating thing but it’s not, really. It’s all about making sure you don’t forget to butter those filo pastry sheets individually while assembling it. The rest is in the hands of sugar, butter and carbs. You can’t go wrong, really.

So, for a 21×15 cm tray, I used:

  • 100 grams of roasted peeled pistachios
  • 100 grams of cashews
  • 2 tbsp of sugar
  • 2 tbsp of melted butter
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • juice from half of lemon
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • 200 grams of halloumi cheese
  • filo pastry
  • 150 grams of melted butter for the filo pastry

For the syrup:

  • 150 grams sugar
  • 90 grams water
  • 1 1/2 tsbp rose water
  • lemon juice from half a lemon

METHOD:

  1. crack open your pistachios;baklava 2 blog (1 of 1).jpg
  2. with the help of a food processor pulse the pistachios and cashews until they look finely chopped; make sure you pulse them, otherwise you’ll have pistachio-cashew butter;
  3. grate the halloumi cheese and add it to a bowl;
  4. add the nuts on top along with the sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, melted butter and spices and mix everything well;baklava 3 blog (1 of 1)
  5. preheat your oven at 180°C;
  6. melt your butter and set it aside;
  7. add some melted butter to your pan and distribute it evenly;
  8. measure your filo pastry to the size of your pan – mine was exactly in half;
  9. start assembling your baklava by adding one filo pastry sheet on the bottom of your pan; brush it with melted butter; take another single sheet of dough, put it on top, brush it with melted butter, take another single sheet of dough, put it on top, brush it with melted butter – and again and again, 8 times for the bottom layer;
  10. add some filling on top;
  11. add another single sheet of dough of top, brush with butter, repeat 4 times, add filling, another filo dough sheet, brush with butter, repeat 4 times and so on until you finish your filling; you should get around 5 layers of filling, with 4 individually buttered filo pastry sheets in between, except for the bottom part and lower part which have 8;
  12. for the top layer, repeat step no.9; the bottom layer and the top layer needs to be a bit thicker so go again for 8 layers of dough, each buttered individually;

I know, it’s annoying but definitely worth it! All of that flakiness and crunchiness, thank you butter!

  • once you finished layering and buttering, tuck your baklava in and with a sharp knife cut it into small squares – this step is crucial since it will allow the syrup later on to absorb;baklava 4 blog (1 of 1)
  • add it to the oven at 180°C for 45-50 min, no fan;

The syrup:

  • in a sauce pan add the sugar and the water in;
  • allow it to simmer on high for 2-3 minute or up until the sugar has dissolved and it starts to bubble;
  • turn the heat to medium-low, add the rose water and the lemon;
  • let it simmer for 6 to 7 additional minutes;

And for the most satisfying part of all, pour that syrup over your super hot freshly out of the oven baklava and watch mesmerized, the bubbling.

It may sound complicated but if you forget all of that buttering of individual sheets of dough, it’s quite an easy recipe! Plus you can’t really go wrong with all of that butter and carbs and sugar and nuts. You just…can’t.

baklava 6 blog (1 of 1)

Eat in moderation,

V.

 

How to make baba ganoush

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Two ways. One Romanian, one Levantine. Only that we Romanians don’t call it baba ganoush but eggplant salad, Salată de vinete.

Traditionally, baba ganoush is made with olive oil, tahini and spices while the Romanian version is simpler, requiring just chopped onion and oil. Either way, it is the same technique and with no further due, you’ll need:

  • 2 eggplants
  • half an onion per eggplant, finely chopped, massaged with some lemon juice and salt
  • lemon juice
  • 1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp tahini sauce
  • 1 clove of garlic, smashed
  • pinch of cumin
  • salt/pepper

METHOD:

  1. roast your eggplants over an open flame until the skin is burnt and the flesh is soft and cooked – if you don’t have access to an open flame, cook them on a cast iron skillet on medium high; don’t roast it in the oven unless you really have no choice. The key point here and also the significant taste of it is the smokiness, achieved only by using the first two methods; or over a grill.ganoush 9 blog (1 of 1)ganoush 7 blog (1 of 1)
  2. prepare next to you a pot with a lid; once the eggplants are done transfer them immediately to the pot with with the lid on and allow it to steam for 15 minutes;ganoush 8 blog (1 of 1)
  3. fill in a bowl with cold water and have it next to you; peel the skin of the eggplant and gently wash any stubborn small pieces of skin left by wiping it with your clean, cold hand;
  4. transfer the peeled eggplants on a wooden cutting board, remove the stem and mince it with a wooden spatula;
    IMG_20180627_142847_091

    You have to excuse the slight double explanation, the photo is taken from my Insta Stories

  5. once you’re done chopping add it to a clean (non metallic) bowl and according to your moods add:

for Salată de vinete,

  • the finely chopped onion massaged with salt and lemon to cut off the strong taste of onions;
  • the vegetable oil and the lemon juice, little by little and alternating while adding it – use a wooden spatula to mix;
  • salt and pepper to taste

or,

for the original recipe,

  • the tahini, cumin and crushed garlic clove;
  • the olive oil, added again little by little so you make sure it won’t split;
  • salt and pepper to taste.

And that’s it! It’s a simple recipe but definitely a summer staple and a delicious vegan spread.

Best served with soft bread and some fresh tomatoes on the side. Or some potatoes wedges!

Enjoy it,

V.

Ep. 4: Cream cheese

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Homemade cream cheese, that’s right. It only takes you 2 minutes and 1-3 days but other than that this project is your perfect healthier alternative to the store bought cream cheese.

In today’s post I will be showing you how to make cream cheese 4 ways: low fat, high fat, goat cream cheese and vegan cream cheese.

The winner – money wise – is the vegan cream cheese since it can get quite pricy at times, price ranging from 3 to 5 euros for 100-150 grams of product while by making it at home you’ll end up with around 400 grams of cream cheese for as little as 2 euros.

So with no further due, we buy some yogurt, we get our clean cheese cloth out and we make:

  1. 10% fat cream cheese made out of greek yogurt;
  2. low fat cream cheese made out of any 3.5% fat yogurt (I chose the Kerry Gold yogurt);
  3. goat cream cheese made out of (doh) goat yogurt;
  4. and vegan cream cheese made out of any Natural flavor plant based yogurt you fancy (I chose the Alpro yogurt for mine)

to which we add some sea salt.

The method is quite straight forward, and a no brainer – we line the cheese cloth on a strainer and pour the yogurt over:

We tie our cheese cloth and allow it to hang in the fridge for a day so all the liquid from the yogurt will drain:

cream cheese 1 blog (1 of 1)

Also, check form time to time your cheese not to touch the drained liquid in the container. After 24h, take the cream cheese out of the cheese cloth, add the sea salt on (or any other herbs you prefer, really) and mix well.

From this point on you can either find a nice small container on top of which you’ll lay some clean cheese cloth and the salted cream cheese, with something heavy on top of it and allow it for 2 more days in the fridge to ‘mature’

or,

just put in a Tupperware and enjoy it, which I did.

Of course, if you for example have some guests over and you wanna impress them with a cheese board on which you present your homemade cream cheese I would strongly suggest you the first option. Those 2 extra days in the fridge will give a show stopper cream cheese with all those beautiful and rustic cheese cloth marks on it.

But other than that that’s all you need to do for the homemade cream cheese. You’ll get best results with the high fat yogurt since it won’t drain that much and it will give you a really creamy delicious result. It also makes more sense money wise since you won’t be wasting much of the yogurt.

By doing 4 types of cream cheese at once, I found that the greek yogurt one performed the best, followed by the vegan one, goat cheese and lastly the 3.5% one.

Also, texture wise, the 3.5% is the softest one which will be perfect on any cream cheese based sauce while the rest are perfect for spreading over toast or anything your heart desires.

And that’s it, really.

Enjoy it,

V.

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.

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.