Honey Almond Slices

 

Almond Apple Slices -BlogFRIENDS… 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.

Ingredients

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:

  • 150g butter
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 cups sliced almonds

25 cm x 25 cm pan

Preparation

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Spread mixture to top evenly the base and return to oven to bake for 25 minutes or until deep golden brown.
  4. Allow to cool completely. Remove from pan and slice into squares or rectangles and serve.

Rice Salad with Chimichurri

Rice Salad LRGrade 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

Ingredients

  • 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

Chimichurri:

  • 1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • ½ cup apple vinegar
  • Freshly ground Salt and Black Pepper

Directions

  1. In a large bowl combine all salad ingredients.
  2. In a small mason jar combine all of the dressing ingredients; shake well. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Chestnut Banana Bread

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Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas to me without a lot of recipes with chestnut on the table.

I have a home-made chestnut cream that I did last week, so I decided to bake my regular banana cake recipe and add it to it, the results were simple and delicious.

I know this recipe is a keeper and definitely worth to share with you.

Chestnut Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose-flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, diced
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 small mashed ripe bananas
  • 3 tablespoons chestnut cream
  • ¼ cup milk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
  1. In a large bowl combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, continue beating about 3 minutes.
  3. Add bananas followed by chestnut cream and beat until combined.
  4. Gradually add dry ingredients; flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  5. Beat in milk.
  6. Pour batter into pan and bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.
  7. Allow bread to cool for 10 minutes, then turn it out and let it cool completely on a wire rack.

Pumpkin Jam

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Pumpkin Jam

Go fetch your most beautiful pumpkin soon, my simple pumpkin jam recipe is online!

Ingredients

  • 2kg pumpkin, peeled and cut in bite-sized pieces
  • 1.2kg sugar
  • 100g limestone (kilis)
  • 4L water

 Directions

Dissolve the limestone in water. Leave to rest for 1-2 hours. Soak the pumpkin chunks inside the water for 10 hours or overnight.

Gently take out the pumpkin out of the water and wash thoroughly. Strain and leave to dry.

In a heavy-based saucepan, add the sugar to 2.5 L water and bring to a boil stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved.

Add the pumpkin pieces and let it simmer on low heat. Remove scum from the surface.

When a small amount of the juice gels on a chilled plate this indicates that the jam is ready. Turn off the heat and  ladle carefully in jars finishing with a coat of syrup.

For immediate consumption, keep refrigerated and consume within 3 weeks.

Alternatively, boil the tightly sealed jars for 10 minutes, remove from water and turn upside down till next day. Label them and store in a cool dark place.

Le Choux A La Creme

MayaOryan-IMG_9842-RLast week I came back home to find a beautiful gift from POLYGEL HOME BAKER waiting for me on my desk office.

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A jam-packed goody bag has always an enjoyable impact on me, especially when it’s from a brand that I love. I rummaged through the bags to find many baking accessories, party items, 65% dark INAYA chocolate from Cocoa Barry ideal for my ganache, Spanish almond flakes and a lovely cake mould that I will try soon. But the one item I was thrilled about the most was the star cream, which is a ready mix to make crème pâtissière. I’ve been craving for a choux a la crème for a while and this came handy at the right time.

I love choux because the dough on its own is not too sweet so it really goes with any flavor you fill in. It can be catered to your liking. The most popular is to have a custard cream inside, but some recipes include caramel, coffee, strawberries, banana,… so the options are really unlimited.

The choux a la crème and éclair dough are the same, they are just piped in a different way. I prefer the choux pastries because it’s a bite size treat picked up and devoured in a single mouthful. These little sweets dole out an irresistible dose of rich flavor and will soon become your next favorite treat.

As per the rest of the items found in my goody bag, I know now I have few weeks worth of testing and evaluation. Checkout Polygel Home Baker website, many of their fabulous products can be ordered online.

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The recipe for: Choux a la creme

Makes around 50

Ingredients:

  • 100g / 1 cup butter, diced
  • 300ml water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 3-4 eggs, lightly beaten

For the filling:

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 200C/400F. In a medium size pan, melt the butter with water and bring to simmer.
  2. Add the flour and the sugar, whisking constantly and remove from the heat and continue beating until the mixture forms a paste that doesn’t stick to the pan. Let the paste cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs a little at a time and beat until you have a glossy smooth dough.
  4. Using two teaspoons (I prefer piping), place blobs of the dough onto the lined baking sheet, leaving space between them as they will puff up. If you use a piping bag, dip your finger in water and flatten down the little tips on the top.
  5. Bake the buns in the middle rack of your oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden. Leave to completely cool on a rack.
  6. To make the filling, mix 350g of Laped Starcream Vanilla (crème pâtissière) with 1 liter of cold milk and whip for 3 minutes until glossy and fluffy or use the whole pack (400g) with 1 liter of water and whip vigorously.
  7. Fill the choux pastries with the chilled mixture of crème pâtissière and dust with Laped Powdered Sugar, ideal for usage in pastries and decorations.

 

Note: Alternatively, you can fill these choux with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or any other filling of your choice.

Fried Caulifower and Tahini Dip

Fried Cauliflower

Nothing can beat this amazing vegetarian appetizer! Served as a snack or as a side dish, it’s crisp, tasty and easy to make. The homemade tahini dip a.k.a tarator is the perfect accompaniment to this straight forward recipe. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 kg cauliflower, cut into florets
  • Vegetable Oil for frying

For the Dip

  • ½ cup tahini (tahina or sesame paste)
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp water
  • Pinch of salt

Preparation

  1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to boil, and blanch the cauliflower for 8-10 minutes. Remove from water. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Place the cauliflower in and fry for 5-6 minutes or until it turns golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with wax paper or paper towel to drain.
  3. To make the dip, combine tahini, lemon juice, water and salt. Stir until well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning to liking.
  4. Serve cauliflower and dip as an appetizer.

P.S. Can also be served in pita bread as a sandwich.

A Month to Celebrate

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April is for me a month to celebrate; Kaia turns 11 and Axel turns 6 and my youngest baby Maya’s Ingredients turns 5!

Yes, Five years ago, my baby blog was born!!

Like any child, he needs attention, warmth and care. He kept me awake at night reading him stories. He made me wake up early answering his inquiries. He tested my photography skills and made me follow him with a camera. He became so popular that he made me famous:)

My baby blog has followers and friends from all around the world. He is established on the blogosphere and has a fine reputation.

To celebrate I prepared a giant bowl of fruit salad soaking in orange juice, just by adding a drizzle of honey and a handful of pine nuts, I made it taste like the best fruit salad ever.

No recipe directions to follow! Combine at least 4 to 5 varieties of your favorite fruits chopped. Add fresh orange juice. Drizzle some honey and decorate with raw pine nuts.

Enjoy it fresh and Happy anniversary to Maya’s Ingredients!