Tuesday, 19 July 2011


Suddenly there was a Broa making opportunity for me today. Joao went downstairs to make his coffee and heard that the bread oven is being heated and ready to bake in 1 hour. I had to move fast and mix together the dough and hope that it has enough time to rise.

Couple of days earlier I had searched out some Broa recipes and adjusted it to the amount of ingredients that I had available

500ml warm water
8g instant dry yeast
190g white wheat flour
400g corn flour
1/2 tl salt
1/2 sugar

Mix the flours together, add salt. Mix water, yeast, sugar and let it rest 10 min. Add water-yeast mix to the flour and knead it into a dough. Cover and let it raise.

Since I had very little time left thats really all I did. Kneading time was minimum too, maybe 2 minutes max. I let it grow for 1h and was called, because oven was ready. I divided the dough into 2 balls and laid them in the oven floor (outdoor wooden oven). I have no clue about the temperature there.

Long story short now. It's delicious!! The corn and wheat ratio is just right for my taste.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Loquat cake

After a long long brake from posting, I have something experimental to post now. Since living in Portugal now and getting to know all the fruits of the land I have many culinary experiments ahead of me.
Loquats have just ripened here and I had tried few commercial ones last year in Dublin, so I wasn't completely blind folded about the flavor. However, I must say that the ones from grandmothers loquat tree are so much more sweeter, juicier and also smaller, but that doesn't bother me much.
Since I haven't seen or heard anyone talking about making a cake with it here, I proudly took the challenge. Such a delicious fruit, so it must make a good cake.
Few days ago I spotted Martha Stewarts Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake somewhere in the internet pages. My loquat cake was made after this recipe, replacing rhubarb with loquats. I used about 400g peeled and deseeded loquats. That was about 20 fruits. And as usual, I reduce the butter and sugar amounts little bit.

Spreading the cake batter on loquats

Crumb topping which becomes a bottom

Friday, 31 December 2010

2010 Wrap up with DIY Christmas presents

So here a little photo gallery how our this years Christmas presents took shape. It was a full day of sticky fingers, but it was worth it. Apart from the fact that all the little bags traveling to Estonia with me being stranded overnight in Frankfurt airport got a bit deformed. Chocolate truffles became into one big truffle. Lesson to learn is that truffles don't travel well. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Nr.7 Daring Cook's Challenge - Mexican style pierogi

The August 2010 Daring Cooks' Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n' Bites and Anula of Anula's Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and additional challenge to provide one filling that best represents their locale.

Daring Cooks August challenge was happily greeted by me and Joao. In the past I have successfully introduced Joao to dumplings world and I have made them once before. Someone might say that these are not dumplings but pierogi, but if you ask me the taste the same.

I must admit that I failed to provide a filling of my locale. At the moment we are locate din Ireland, so perhaps the best filling would have been something potato or seafood related. Instead Joao came up with the idea of doing something mexican like.


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup lukewarm water

Put the flour and the salt in the bowl. Make a hole in the middle, add the egg and half of the water. Gradually ad all the water and if needed add some more flour so you get a nice smooth ball of dough. Let it sit under the moist towel for 20 minutes before starting to work with it.


200g ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1 garlic glove
1/2 can kidney beans
1/2 can chopped tomatoes
chilli pepper

Fry the onion, add the beef and fry it slightly. Add the beans and tomato, salt and chilli. Leave it simmer over a low heat for the water to evaporate.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Nr.6 Daring Cook's Challenge - Nut Butter and Chicken with Curried Tomato Almond Sauce

Chicken with Curried Tomato Almond Sauce

The July 2010 Daring Cooks' Challenge was hosted by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make their own nut butters from scratch, and use the nut butter in a recipe. Their sources include Better with Nut Butter by Cooking Light Magazine, Asian Noodles by Nina Simonds, and Food Network online.

There is unbelievable variety of opportunities out there to make nut butters from nuts or seeds. I went for the almond butter. The technology behind it quite simple, just get some nuts or seeds and put them in the food processor and let the machine do the work for you. I don't have a food processor, so I was using my hand mixer. I definitely suggest to use the food processor if you've got one. My poor hand mixer was close to smoking. The mixture wasn't quite coming together like a butter is suppose to, so I added little bit of olive oil, for it to help to combine. You can admire the result below on the photo.

By the way for the Chicken Tomato Curry recipe it suggests to take out the onion as it's meant to be a smooth sauce, but I kept it in. I like chunky texture. Also, all that almond butter and butter in the sauce, makes it a very rich meal, so I would easily serve it for more than 4 unless the eaters are big big big people. And the recipe is definitely a keep and a delicious meal. I encourage you to try it!

My very first almond butter

Chicken with Curried Tomato Almond Sauce

1 Tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil


boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Salt to taste

Spice Blend:

1.5 tablespoons (20 ml) garam masala seasoning

1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) black pepper


4 tablespoons (60 ml) butter

1 large onion, cut in half pole to pole

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 425 g can tomato sauce

cup (80 ml) almond butter

cup (80 ml) milk

½ to ¾ cup (120 to 180 ml) chicken broth or water, more as needed

1 cup (240 ml) frozen peas (optional)

Hot basmati rice for serving
Chopped parsley (optional garnish)
Sliced almonds (optional garnish)


Cook the chicken. If desired, pound chicken to ¼ inch (6 mm) thickness to promote even

cooking. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Heat 1 teaspoon (5 ml) olive oil a

large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken; sauté 3 to 5 minutes on

each side or until cooked through. Cook the chicken in 2 batches, adding more oil if needed

for second batch. Dice chicken into bite-sized pieces; set aside on clean plate and keep


Prepare spice blend. Stir garam masala, ginger, cinnamon, and pepper together in a small

bowl. Set aside.

Melt the butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook

gently for several minutes to infuse the butter with onion flavor. Keep the heat low to avoid

burning the butter; a little color is fine. Add the spice blend and garlic and cook for 1 minute

or till fragrant, stirring constantly. Add the tomato sauce, stir well, and bring to boil. Reduce

heat to simmer. Whisk in almond butter and milk until thoroughly combined with tomato

sauce. The almond butter is thick so it takes a while to make a smooth sauce. Return to

simmer. Add broth (or water) to sauce to reach desired consistency; return to simmer. Add

more broth (or water) as needed to thin sauce as desired.

Remove onion from sauce and discard. Stir frozen peas (if using) into sauce. Transfer sliced

chicken to sauce. Simmer gently for a few minutes until peas and chicken are heated


Serve chicken and sauce over rice. Garnish with chopped parsley and/or sliced almonds if


Saturday, 26 June 2010

Rustic rhubarb tarts from scratch

Finally I was able to shake off that don't-feel-like-cooking-mood and bake something. Its a beautiful summer day and its the last time to make something with rhubarb before its out of the season.
Month a go or so this recipe caught my eye while reading beautiful smitten kitchen blog where you can find the recipe, just like I did.
So I started off making the rhubarb compote to fill in my tarts. I wont bother to repeat the whole thing here, as I blindly followed her recipe and instructions. Plus, I have to follow the World Cup with the one eye (excuses, excuses, excuses), so where do I take this time to type it all in here :P
They came out pretty good. I can't belive that I say this but I would put some more sugar in the dough and suggest to eat the warm thing with scoop of vanilla ice cream. I just didn't have any, but you should get some when attempting this recipe.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Nr.5 Daring Cook's Challenge - Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchadila

Its May and challenge number 5. As you can see my dear readers, I missed out on April challenge, because of busy times and also the recipe wasn't very appealing.

Our hosts this month, Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food have chosen a delicious Stacked Green Chile & Chicken Enchadila recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo! The recipe, featuring a homemade enchdila sauce was found on www.finecooking.com and written by Robb Walsh.

I used my own creativity to adjust the recipe for our needs and tastes. First of all, I didn't use the same amount of green chiles. It sounded a lot of green chiles in the recipe, so I used chiles and green peppers 50/50. And even then it became amazingly spicy, so I used the sauce very moderately. I couldn't find tomatillos anywhere, so I used tomatoes instead. I don't have the grill, so I just oven roasted the chiles and peppers and panfried the chicken.
Although quite spicy, this recipe is a keeper. After all, its up to you how much sauce to use. I still have a good bit left over in the fridge. Which means shortly we'll be having the same dinner again.

Stacked Green Chile & Chicken Enchadila

675g roast, peel and seeds removed and chopped green chiles
215g tomatillos
920g chicken broth
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons yellow onion, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoon cornstarch
hot sauce
2 boneless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons olive oil
12 small corn tortillas
170g cheddar cheese, grated
cilantro for garnish

1. Coat chiles with little bit of vegetable oil and lay on the baking sheet or grill. They should become black and blistered. Remove when completely charred and let them cool down. Remove peel and seeds.
2.To make a sauce, boil tomatillos until soft in a little bit of water about 5-10 min. Drain and puree in the blender or food processor.
3. Return to a saucepan with chicken broth, chopped roasted green chiles, minced onion, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper.
4. Bring to boil over medium high heat then reduce heat and let simmer 10 min.
5. Add cornstarch/water mixture and stir well. Let simmer 10-15 min, occasionally stirring.

6. Grill the chicken breast, let it cool a bit and then slice into think stripes.
7. Take a baking dish and lay layers of tortilla, sauce chicken until finished with ingredients or as much the baking dish can hold. To finish put tortilla and grated cheese on top.
8. Take to the oven for 20 min. Let it cool down 5-10 min before serving.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Warm spinach and fried egg sandwich

Little bit of spring on the plate and home made green ice tea in the glass

Today I was inspired by spring. I came up with this gorgeus looking dinner out of the blue. I was feeling like something light (by light I mean, small portion and no meat) and colourful. So here comes the recipe of what you just see on those photos here.

Warm spinach and fried egg sandwich

1 or 2 slices of good fresh bread
2 handfuls fresh baby spinach leaves
1 egg
1/2 teaspoons red curry paste
small handful of grated cheese
1 small garlic clove
olive oil

1)Heat the pan and cook spinach leaves on dry pan for few minutes until they come togeter, remove from the pan.
2)Add some olive oil to the pan, chopped garlic and 1/2 teaspoon red curry paste. Let it come to sizzle and then add the bread slice(s). Fry 1 min from both sides. All you really need is to get the bread hot and absorb some of that garlic and curry paste flavored oil, remove the bread.
3)Take a fresh pan or just wipe down this one with paper towel, so the curry paste oil gets removed. Add some fresh oil on the pan and fry the egg just the way you like it, sunny side up or rock hard.
4)Now assemble the masterpiece. Place the bread on the plate, spread the spinach evenly over it. Sprinkle grated cheese over spinach and fried egg goes on top.

NOTES: I used two slices of irish wholemeal soda bread. Two because the bread is quite flat, so the slices are not that big. Ideally you want your bread to be size of the fried egg, so make your own calculations.

I was very happy with the outcome. If you dont like spicy at all, leave the curry paste out. What it does is a little warm feeling in your mouth after the eating, nothing too spicy, just the way I like it.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Nr.3 Daring Cook's Challenge - Risotto

The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.

This month I was really on the edge. I just finished cooking and eating my delicious risotto. I love risotto and I make it every now and then, not always with home made stock though, actually never. Making your own stock gives little more work, but the result is worth the hassle. I wanted to make it with butternut squash or pumpkin, but the ones from local shop were from Brazil and since I am trying not to contribute to this worldwide shipping of food I had to pick what ever was local. So I found some Irish mushrooms and carrots. Also, I made some alterations to the recipe myself, as I added the mushrooms and carrots, just after the onion and like this cooked everything together. In my opinion, it allows the flavours to get incorporated much better. Perhaps some Italian chef would have another opinion about it, but he wasn't here, so I did it according to my own beliefs.

Chicken Stock

1 kg of chicken
1 Kg of chicken bones
2 onions, roughly diced
1 medium leek, white part only, roughly diced
2 sticks of celery, roughly diced
2 cloves of garlic
1 cinnamon stick
1 Tsp peppercorns
2 bay leaves
peel of 1/2 lemon
1/4 Tsp allspice

Wash the chicken, place in the pot and bring it to boil. Skim away any scum as it comes to the surface. Add all the other ingredients and leave it to simmer very gently uncovered for 1.5 h. Take out the chicken and leave the stock to simmer for another hour. Then pour the stock through a fine sieve and its ready to use.


60 ml olive oil
1 small onion
2 handfuls of fresh mushrooms, halved
1 carrot, chopped
400g risotto rice (Arborio)
60 ml white wine
1 l chicken stock
60g parmesan cheese, grated

Heat the oil in the pan and add the onion. Now I added the chopped carrots and halved mushrooms. I let everything to sizzle for some time. Add the rice and let every grain to get nicely covered with juices from the pan. Then add wine and let it bubble until evaporated. Add enough stock just to cover the rice, cook on medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon until most of the stock has been absorbed, repeat this final step until stock is finished. When stock is finished then the rice should be ready as well, if not, get some more stock and continue until rice is cooked. For the final step, remove from the heat and mix in grated parmesan cheese.
Head isu!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Nr.2 Daring Cook's Challenge - Pita Bread and Mezze

Mezze - Middle Eastern version of Spanish Tapas

February challenge was a nice one. Probably I wouldn't have ever tried it myself without this challenge, since pita bread is so widely available in the shops. I was prepared for the worst, since lately my challenges haven't been so successful, but I must say I stayed satisfied with the result of this one. Some of the breads didn't puff up, but at least half of them did.

Hummus I have done before, so this part didn't exactly have a challenge element for me. I used lemon juice and parsley to season the hummus.

The 2010 February Daring COOKs challenge was hosted by Michele of Veggie Num Nums. Michele chose to challenge everyone to make mezze based on various recipes from Claudia Roden, Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Dugid.

Pita Bread – Recipe adapted from Flatbreads& Flavors by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid

2 teaspoons regular dry yeast (.43 ounces/12.1 grams)
2.5 cups lukewarm water (21 ounces/591 grams)
5-6 cups all-purpose flour (may use a combination of 50% whole wheat and 50% all-purpose, or a combination of alternative flours for gluten free pita) (17.5 -21 ounces/497-596 grams)
1 tablespoon table salt (.50 ounces/15 grams)
2 tablespoons olive oil (.95 ounces/29 ml)

1. In a large bread bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. Stir to dissolve. Stir in 3 cups flour, a cup at a time, and then stir 100 times, about 1 minute, in the same direction to activate the gluten. Let this sponge rest for at least 10 minutes, or as long as 2 hours.
2. Sprinkle the salt over the sponge and stir in the olive oil. Mix well. Add more flour, a cup at a time, until the dough is too stiff to stir. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8 to 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Rinse out the bowl, dry, and lightly oil. Return the dough to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until at least doubled in size, approximately 1 1/2 hours.
3. Place a pizza stone, or two small baking sheets, on the bottom rack of your oven, leaving a 1-inch gap all around between the stone or sheets and the oven walls to allow heat to circulate. Preheat the oven to 450F (230C).
4. Gently punch down the dough. Divide the dough in half, and then set half aside, covered, while you work with the rest. Divide the other half into 8 equal pieces and flatten each piece with lightly floured hands. Roll out each piece to a circle 8 to 9 inches in diameter and less than 1/4 inch thick. Keep the rolled-out breads covered until ready to bake, but do not stack.
5. Place 2 breads, or more if your oven is large enough, on the stone or baking sheets, and bake for 2 to 3 minutes, or until each bread has gone into a full balloon. If for some reason your bread doesn't puff up, don't worry it should still taste delicious. Wrap the baked breads together in a large kitchen towel to keep them warm and soft while you bake the remaining rolled-out breads. Then repeat with the rest of the dough.

Hummus – Recipe adapted from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden

1.5 cups dried chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight (or substitute well drained canned chickpeas and omit the cooking) (10 ounces/301 grams)

2-2.5 lemons, juiced (3 ounces/89ml)

2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
a big pinch of salt and good handful of chopped parsly

1. Drain and boil the soaked chickpeas in fresh water for about 1 ½ hours, or until tender. Drain, but reserve the cooking liquid.
2. Puree the beans in a food processor (or you can use a potato masher) adding the cooking water as needed until you have a smooth paste.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Adjust the seasonings to taste.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Nr.1 Daring Cook's challenge - Pork Satay with Peanut Sauce

This is my first Daring Cook challenge and I was very excited about it. Hopefully I will be able to collect some new recipes for dinners.

The January 2010 DC challenge was hosted by Cuppy of Cuppylicious and she chose a delicious Thai-inspired recipe for Pork Satay from the book 1000 Recipes by Martha Day.

Satay Marinade

1/2 small onion
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon ginger root
2 tablesoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
2 tablespoon vegetable oli ( or peanut or olive oil)
450g pork (loin or shoulder cuts)

1) Put all the ingretiantes to food blender and blend it until puree. Place the pork cuts into the marinade and chill it for 2 hours.

2) Grill pork cuts or fry on a sizzling pan.

Peanut Sauce

180ml coconut milk
4 tablespoons peanut butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1-2 dried chillies, chopped

1. Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add soy sauce and lemon, mix well.
2. Over low heat, combine coconut milk, peanut butter and your soy-lemon-seasoning mix. Mix well, stir often.
3. All you’re doing is melting the peanut butter, so make your peanut sauce after you’ve made everything else in your meal, or make ahead of time and reheat.

Feelings about this recipe: Satay marinade was quite nice and something I might try again once in a blue moon. Peanut sauce was something absolutely weird. Somewhat sweet and peanut tasting, no, no, no in my house.