Category Archives: Recipe review

Tofu Chocolate mousse

Basmala

I had a carton of tofu in the fridge and wasn’t sure what to do with it until I stumbled upon this recipe.

It’s a fantastically simple chocolate mousse dessert with minimal ingredients and tastes amazingly rich. You’d never believe that it contains tofu and NO eggs or cream.  If you love rich chocolate desserts, this really is a ‘must try’ even if you are not vegan. The other big bonus is that it contains no raw eggs.

Technically it does not set to a mousse-like consistency but the consistency is very pleasant and thick; just the way a cold chocolate dessert should be.

You need:

  • 1x 12 ounce package of silken tofu (I used ‘firm’)
  • 10 oz milk or dark chocolate (check that it is dairy free if you are making it for someone who is vegan)
  • 3 tsbp maple syrup (I used 2tbsp as I used milk chocolate which was sweet enough)
  • 1tsp vanilla essence (optional)

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave.

Blend tofu (preferably at room temperature) in food processor, blender, or with hand mixer until just smooth.

Scrape the melted chocolate into the food processor with the tofu and continue blending, add maple syrup and vanilla and process until creamy.

Pour into individual serving glasses or one large bowl and refrigerate until set.

I finished mine off with a grating of white chocolate but it would be gorgeous with something like chocolate curls or fresh raspberries, strawberries or mandarin segments.

Chicken and Broccoli Quiche

Basmala

I’d been wanting to make a quiche and then, when browsing Leslie’s blog I noticed the recipe for Easy All-butter Pie Crust that she posted recently. With promises of  “…a recipe with a technique that will give you the flakiest all-butter pie crust you’ve ever dreamed of”, I had to bite the bullet and give it a go!

I have to confess that I didn’t have butter but wanted quiche right away so I just got on and made it with margarine anyway. I wouldn’t recommend using margarine as it made the dough a little sticky and difficult to work with but the pastry was still a success: nice, flaky and cooked well without going soggy under the quiche filling.

Easy All-Butter Pie Crust

Makes one 9″ double crust or two 9″ single crusts

2 cups/280 grams all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
14 tablespoons (200g) unsalted butter
5 tablespoons cold water
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

I halved the recipe since I was making a quiche and not a pie.

Start by sifting the flour and place into a freezer bag and freeze the flour until cold. Chop the butter into cubes and place in the freezer for 15 minutes. Combine the water, salt and vinegar and place in the fridge.

Next dump the butter and flour onto your clean worktop and roll over it with a rolling pin until the butter is flattened into sheets. Gather up the butter and flour and place in a mixing dish, pour the water/vinegar mixture over half at a time in case you dont need it all and combine into a rough dough.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and press together into a more uniform ball of dough, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least half an hour before using.

More thorough explanation of the method here.

I rolled out and lined a 9″ lid of a Pyrex dish with the pastry since I don’t have a pie dish and my flan dish is a little too deep.

I refrigerated the dish with pastry for a further 30 minutes before baking blind at 375F for about 20 minutes. I covered the pastry with foil and some baking beans so prevent puffing up.

Ingredients for the quiche filling:

1 ready cooked chicken breast (approx 100g), finely diced
50g boiled and cooled broccoli, finely chopped
80g Cheddar cheese grated
60 ml cream
3 eggs, beaten

Combine the chicken, broccoli and cheese and then spread over the base of the quiche.

Beat together the cream and eggs and pour over the chicken, broccoli and cheese.

Finish off with a little freshly ground black pepper.

I found the cheese salty enough and didn’t need to add extra salt.

Bake at 375 f for 20-30 minutes; until the filling is firm and golden.

Mutabbel

Basmala

We like to eat Syrian/Lebanese style food quite often but it’s something we always eat out at restaurants. I was really happy when I found this Syrian food blog recently and challenged myself to make some of the mezze we most enjoy. I chose to make Mutabbel, Hummus, Baba Ghanoush, Waraq Inab, and Fatayir. Apart from the Baba Ghanoush, everything was a roaring success and we actually preferred my mezze to those which we normally eat out.

I’ll start with the mutabbel today which was unbelievably easy and took less than 5 minutes to make. We had a barbeque a couple of days beforehand so I had already prepared the aubergines (eggplant) by grilling them on the barbeque for about 15 minutes and placing in a plastic tub with a lid until cooled and peeling off the blackened skin.

I used:

Aubergine x2
2 tablespoons Tahina
1 pot yogurt (approx 1 cup)
1 level teaspoon minced garlic paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
Olive oil to drizzle over the mutabbel if desired

I started by roughly chopping 2 aubergines and then placing into a bowl with the tahina, yogurt, garlic paste and salt which I then mixed together well with a metal spoon. I then used the handheld stick blender to blend the ingredients roughly. The mutabbel should remain a little lumpy and rustic looking, it shouldn’t be smooth like hummus. Taste, and add more tahina, yogurt, garlic or salt as desired – it’s all down to personal taste, we personally don’t like the mutabbel to have too much tahina and we prefer not to drizzle olive oil over the top as is traditional.

Recipe Review – Cinnamon rolls

Basmala

I saw this recipe for cinnamon rolls on the Pioneer Woman website and couldn’t wait to try it but the quantities given are huge! I think I would have been eating cinnamon rolls for the next month with those quantities! I made just a quarter of the stated recipe which still made one large dish of rolls and one small dish.

As for the icing, I don’t like cinnamon rolls drowned in icing so I used just one scant cup of icing sugar beaten together will a splash of milk and maple syrup and poured this over the warm rolls.

The rolls were the best I have tasted! Very soft texture which stayed fresh the next day. This recipe is for keeps and will make this again for sure!

I used less butter, sugar and cinnamon for the filling and added a scattering of milk chocolate chips.

The printable recipe is available on The Pioneer Woman website here but I used:

  • 280 ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon instant Yeast
  • 2 cups (Plus 1/4 Cup Extra, Separated) All-purpose Flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon (heaping) Baking Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon (scant) Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 cup Melted Butter
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • Generous Sprinkling Of Cinnamon
  • Milk chocolate chips

 

The finished rolls with their glaze. I just kept the glass lid on the dish and the rolls were still fresh and soft the next day.

No knead Ciabatta

Basmala

I discovered this recipe shortly after buying one of the Ikea cast iron casserole dishes and was really excited to get on and make this. I doubled the original recipe because at 5l, the casserole dish I have is pretty huge. If you have a smaller dish, go with the original quantities for this bread (360g flour). I was a little over zealous when it came to flouring the tea towel so there was a little too much flour on top of my bread nevertheless the results were stunning. Crunchy exterior and beautifully aerated interior that was all the more delicious with lashings of butter that melted into my still warm slice that I couldn’t wait to taste test.

You must plan ahead with this bread as the dough needs to sit for a good 10-12 hours before shaping into a loaf, wrapping in a tea towel and leaving for a further 2 hours before baking.

Ingredients

720g strong white bread flour
2.5 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
660ml tepid water
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil

Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl, make a well in the middle and pour in water and olive oil. Mix together quickly with fingertips and then knead for a minute or two. Cover and leave in a dry place for 12 hours

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The risen, aerated dough after a few hours:

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After 12 hours, you’ll find it more than doubled in sized and very bubbly. On a well floured surface, knock back the dough and form into a ball. Place on a tea-towel sprinkled with flour (I slightly over did it in fear of the bread sticking), bring the edges of the tea towel up and cover and leave for 2 hours.

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Place cast iron cooking dish with lid (Dutch Oven) into the oven on 450F/230C to pre-heat.

Flop the dough out into the cooking dish, place on lid and bake for 25mins. Remove lid and cook for further 15 mins to crisp up the crust.

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Enjoy with a good quality butter or as a delicious accompaniment to home-made soup.

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Boeuf Bourgignon – recipe review

Basmala

boeuf

I had a delicious boneless piece of beef today that I wanted to cook in the slow cooker… I remembered this recipe for Boeuf Bourgignon (sans alcohol) on Simplicity by the Sea so I  popped over there to see if I had all the ingredients. I didn’t quite have everything: no mushrooms and no pearl onions but thought it would be a nice recipe to try anyway.

I followed Henia’s instruction roughly. I hadn’t forplanned so there was no time to marinade the meat AND slow cook it. Instead of marinading in 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, I just added a generous splash of the vinegar into the crockpot with all the other ingredients. Instead of pearl onions I added a couple of smallish onions cut into quarters… they disintegrated in the stew but I love to find large pieces of soft, sweet onion in my stew so all’s good! I also forgot to thicken up the gravy with flour nevertheless, the resulting stew was delicious! It slow cooked over a period of 9 hours and, like Henia at Simplicity by the Sea, I served it with mashed potato.

Hyderabadi Biriani

Basmala

I’ve made biriani/biryani many times before but have never been 100% happy with the results and have found it a little time consuming to make. That was until someone pointed me in the direction of this recipe for Hyderabadi Biriani (the link will take you to a Youtube video of the vahrehvah.com chef making the biriani). The method for making the biriani is simplicity itself but there is certainly no compromise on the taste!

All you need to do is marinade the chicken pieces in yogurt and spices for a few hours, semi-cook some basamati rice and then transfer it all to a large pot. I used my dutch oven (cast iron, enamelled pot). First empty the chicken into the pot along with it’s marinade, cover with the half-cooked rice, sprinkle some saffron water (I also added a few drops of red and yellow food colouring) top with a scattering of fried onions and mint leaves  and then leave to cook for around half an hour. In that short amount of time your chicken and rice will transform into a beautifully aromatic biriani.

I did find that the chicken stuck a little to the bottom of the pot so I intend to try baking in the oven next time. Hubby also asked me to leave out the mint leaves next time. In all though, I was really pleased to have made a quick, easy and authentic looking and tasting biriani! Top marks!