FRIENDS… and not the TV show! Friends that we have, from school, work, clubs… and friends we make through our children later in life. How many times while dropping your child at a new friend and when waiting for the door to open, you start wondering about the mom… Is she nice? Fun? Warm? Chatty? Psycho? Does she give a lot of sweets? And how many of them ended to be a keeper and became one of your closest friends. I am blessed with few of them, actually many, and we share a lot; we take trips together, we volunteer for school projects and we sometimes bake together.
The Honey Almond Slices is a new recipe for me. Axel, my daughter, had tasted it at her friend’s house and at pick up time she begged me to bake some for her. The funny part is that the mom bought her bars at the market and doesn’t even know what it was called. Thanks God for Pinterest where I combined few recipes and made my own with less butter and less sugar but still I thank my friend for the inspiration. My eagerness is boundless to try new recipes, especially that belongs to the dessert section.
For the base:
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
1 cup ground almond
1/2 cup light brown sugar
120g butter, melted
For the topping:
½ tsp salt
¼ cup honey
2 cups sliced almonds
25 cm x 25 cm pan
To make the base Combine flour, ground almond, brown sugar and melted butter until you have a moist sandy mixture. Press mixture into a brownie mold or tart tin and bake for 12 minutes at 170°C / 335°F.
To make the filling Inside a saucepan, on low-medium heat, place butter to melt, add sugar, honey and sliced almonds. Stir to well combine.
Spread mixture to top evenly the base and return to oven to bake for 25 minutes or until deep golden brown.
Allow to cool completely. Remove from pan and slice into squares or rectangles and serve.
Freekeh is a young chewy wheat, with a nutty flavor. Containing twice as much protein and fiber as quinoa, freekeh is nutritious! Try this combination of antioxidant-rich pomegranate, beetroot, avocado, herbs, seeds and watch those health benefits add up!
Beetroot Freekeh Salad
3 cups whole grain freekeh, cooked according to package directions
1 cup beetroot, grated
1 cup fresh purslane leaves (bakle)
1 cup fresh thyme leaves
½ cup pomegranate arils
1 avocado, diced
½ cup mixed pumpkin and sunflower seeds
1 cup olive oil
½ cup lemon juice
2 tbsp fresh mint leaves, minced
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp sumac
½ tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
In a salad bowl, combine freekeh, beetroot, purslane, thyme, pomegranate avocado and seeds.
To make the dressing, mix together all ingredients and shake well.
Grade 3 class at my daughter’s school are preparing for International Day next month and they chose Argentina to represent and talk about. Part of the celebration, they proposed to serve a rice salad on that day, with Chimichurri sauce. Since I always volunteer to help with the food, I came up with my own version of the recipe and took a picture of the end product. I’m super happy to document it in my blog and share it with you, hope you will like it.
If you like to add more ingredients, my advice is to stay away from juicy ingredients and stick to solid ones like chorizo, ham, pickles, green onions, …
Ensalada De Arroz Con Chimichurri
Rice Salad with Chimichurri
3 cups long grain rice, cooked and cooled
1 cup kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup corn, drained and rinsed
1 cup cucumbers, diced
1 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup olive oil
½ cup apple vinegar
Freshly ground Salt and Black Pepper
In a large bowl combine all salad ingredients.
In a small mason jar combine all of the dressing ingredients; shake well. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well.
I got this heart shaped pan on Mother’s Day few years ago, I’m so happy for Valentine day to find an excuse and use it again. This cake is spongy and smells gorgeous. The texture is close to breads so don’t hesitate to bake it in a loaf pan if desired.
Gifts, flowers and cakes are all expressions of love and celebration, most important of get-together. I wish you all love and happiness and a lot of cakes to bake.
Cream Cheese Strawberry Cake
200g butter, softened
1½ cups sugar
8 oz cream cheese
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2½ cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup yogurt
1½ cups chopped fresh strawberries
Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F. Grease and flour your cake pan and set aside.
Cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar together with an electric mixer.
Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla and beat.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gradually stir the flour mixture into the cream cheese mixture, beating just until combined.
Add yogurt, mixing well to incorporate. Fold in the strawberries.
Transfer batter to the prepared pan, spreading evenly with a spatula. Bake for 1 hour, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Remove pans to rack, and let cool for 10 minutes. Invert cake onto serving plate and allow to cool completely before slicing.
Don’t you hate when you invite guests over and hear them cheering, drinking, having a blast while you’re stuck in the kitchen, running in all directions, heating dishes and making sure everything is perfect?
Thinking of this makes me have second thoughts about how much I truly love (or not) Christmas!
This is exactly the time when, I appreciate recipes like that. Recipes that can be done entirely the day before and requires minimum manipulation on the day of the event.
This tart requires no baking.
If using a round tin, then 20cm would be required.
The base can be done with Chocolate Oreo or Speculoos biscuits.
Crush biscuits in a food processor or in a plastic bag using a rolling pin.
As for the filling, semisweet chocolate can be replaced with dark chocolate and two more tablespoons of sugar, or use milk chocolate and omit the sugar.
For coffee lovers: caramel sauce can be replaced with 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder.
Merry Christmas food lovers!
Caramel Chocolate Tart
For the base
32 chocolate biscuits or Oreo Biscuits, crumbled
½ cup / 50g butter, melted
For the filling
150g semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups heavy cream
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp caramel sauce
½ tsp salt
25g corn flour
1/3 cup milk
To make the base In a food processor, pulse biscuits, butter and salt until you have a moist sandy mixture. Press biscuit mixture into a tart tin and refrigerate for 3 hours.
To make the filling In a saucepan, on low-medium heat, pour the chocolate chips and the cream and stir until the chocolate melts. Add sugar, caramel and salt. Stir to well combine.
In a small bowl, whisk corn flour and milk together and, off the heat, add to the chocolate mixture and mix. Return sauce over low heat and keep stirring 5-7 minutes or until sauce thickens. Leave to cool 15 minutes.
Take out the base-lined tart tin, pour the chocolate mixture evenly on the top and return it to the fridge to chill overnight.