October 20, 2013

seriously the best ever triple chocolate chip cookies

with just a tiny little healthy twist... naturally... i ve got to be able to give myself an excuse for indulging in these babies

as autumn was suddenly right on our doorstep, there was no way i could deny my urge to bake these cookies, and chocolate definitely had to be the main ingredient.

i do have a little recipe i always turn to, but this time i wanted a double whammy, chocolate cookie dough AND chocolate chips... ofcourse there s dozens of recipes out there, but this one jumped out at me screaming (not quite Halloween yet, but still, it was screaming) to be tested. who s better than to try out than Ms Nigella Lawson s big cookies.

so that s exactly what i did:


and they came out as she promised, but there was something a little overpowering about them, pure chocolate in the dough, pure chocolate chips (and loads of them) mixed in, you really need a huge glass of cold milk or a good mug of something hot and sweet to counterbalance that.

then i thought i might just want to add a little bit more sweetness, not by adding sugar, but using the bittersweet chocolate only in the dough, and exchanging white and milk chocolate chips for the pure ones, then adding pine-nuts and dried cranberries for the 'health' kick... plus an extra soon-to-be-not-so-secret ingredient...

wow, if i may say so myself, these turned out to be the best ever chocolate chips cookies i d ever made (i probably need to have a go at a few other recipes before i should be saying this, but hey, when a cookie is good, a cookie is good)




here s my recipe:

INGREDIENTS:

125 grams dark chocolate
150 grams plain flour
30 grams cocoa powder, sieved (not the drinking chocolate kind thingy)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
125 grams unsalted butter, softened
125 grams light brown sugar
1 medium sized egg
1 heaped tablespoon full-fat cream cheese (yes, the secret ingredient)
45 grams milk chocolate chips, or a bar cut into little chunks
125 grams white chocolate chips, or a bar cut into little chunks
100 grams dried cranberries
80 grams pine-nuts

METHOD:

1. preheat the oven to 170°C
2. melt the 125 grams of dark chocolate au-bain-Marie
3. mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl
4. cream the butter and sugar in another bowl
5. add the slightly cooled melted chocolate to the creamed butter and sugar, and mix well
6. beat in the egg and the cream cheese
7. mix in the dry ingredients and lastly add the chocolate chips, cranberries and pine-nuts, and mix to distribute all ingredients evenly
8. using an icecream scoop, place equal mounds of the dough on a lined baking sheet. do not flatten the mounds and leave enough space in-between because they will spread a little. i scooped 6 per tray and got 21 cookies out of the one recipe, although Nigella says she gets only 12 cookies; she must have a huge icecream scoop! bake for 17 minutes.
9. once baked, leave to cool slightly and then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before storing in airtight container, or gobble up one or two immediately

ok... yumm....

September 12, 2013

tofu & mince little pillows of flavor

4 months?

really... has it been 4 months?

wow.

after that long cold winter, and spring that just didn t seem to happen, all of a sudden we had hot hot days of summer, which somehow passed in a blur, and now we re back into that normal rhythm of life again.

so i m back, with a little recipe that ll make your heart sing, well, it did mine, because this is a recipe you can play around with, but i stuck to the Chinese flavorings just to keep it simple.

inspired by a picture i saw on Facebook, i just thought i d have a go, and came up with this combo:

TOFU & MINCE QUENELLES



INGREDIENTS:

300 gr silken firm tofu
300 gr fine grind pork mince
1 tablespoon of dried shrimp, soaked (if you don t have dried shrimp, not to worry, it s not essential)
10 French string beans, finely chopped into rings
2 spring onions, finely chopped into rings
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sriracha sauce (that s a Thai chili sauce, hot hot hot, but you could use 1 tablespoon of really very finely chopped fresh red chili)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablepoon mirin
1 tablespoon of xiao hsing rice wine
1 clove garlic, grated
1 thumbsize piece of ginger, grated
a seriously good grinding of black pepper
cornflour
vegetable oil, for frying

METHOD:

1. in a bowl, mix all the ingredients together except the string beans, spring onions and cornflour until it is almost a smooth paste
2. mix in the string beans and spring onions and combine well
3. if it seems too wet, add cornflour until it holds together and you think you ll be able to make quenelles out of them
4. heat up about a centimeter of the oil in a thick-bottomed frying pan
5. shape your quenelles and drop them gently in the hot oil
6. don t move the quenelles around! be patient, wait until they release from the bottom of the pan, you ll feel that after about 4 minutes they will have a golden crust and you know you ll be able to turn them so you can fry the other side... be gentle, they are very fragile
7. also, don t crowd the pan! take your time, they don t need to be hot, you can serve them warm







i served these with rice and some stir-fried pak-choi, but should you decide to change the flavoring, i m sure you could go for a Thai vibe by adding some green or red Thai curry paste instead of the sesame oil and the rice wine, or go Moroccan with some lemon tagine paste perhaps?

happy eating!

May 20, 2013

roasted spiced chickpeas... cuz we need some heat

ok, so i was wrong, the sun did peek thru the clouds a few times, and flowers have been stubbornly blooming, but where s the warmth?

guess we just have to make some ourselves, so here s what i did (and yes, i do admit it, the power of the internet showed me some inspiring ideas via Pinterest etc...)

so here goes, i m making it simple now:

take 400 gr of cooked chickpeas (canned is fine), wash and drain:


and now have some fun choosing your own spices; i use 1 tablespoon of this Chili Explosion mix from the Santa Maria brand because it makes life easier (but feel free to make any spice mix you like... cayenne pepper, ground chili, ground black pepper, ground cumin, garam masala, a touch of salt... the combinations are endless) mixed with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then toss the drained chickpeas into this spicy oil until well coated.



roast the chickpeas on a lined baking tray in a hot oven (200°C / 400°F) until crispy, that is between 30-40 minutes.

watch out, once you start (and they re great still hot from the oven) it s hard to stop munching on these babies...