Monday, May 15, 2017

Red Lentil and Vegetable Soup

Still May, still cold. This shift in cold weather has meant those pesky winter colds and coughs are back and I have fallen victim to the sore throat and chest cough that comes with it. As a result, all the tea and soup!

This recipe come from the Oh She Glows cookbook which I'm slowly but surely cooking my way through. I've previously made the curry and cauliflower stew and peanut vegetable stew which were amazing so was excited to try something new, especially when it's called 'on the mend soup'. Just what I need.

 
The onion and garlic are sauteed until translucent. Spices and all the peppers are added: cumin, cayenne, paprika and chilli powder. So much spice, it's great. Allow the spices to simmer a bit before adding the vegetable broth (you could use chicken broth too if you're not going veggie), diced tomatoes, red lentils, and carrots.

All the work is done now, allow the soup to come to a boil and then simmer until the lentils are cooked through. The final stage is adding some chopped kale or spinach while the soup is still hot. The leaves will wilt but not overcook.

 
While I hope you enjoy this soup, I think I hope more that you're already warm and enjoying iced coffee in the sun.

Recipe

  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne peper
  • 5-6 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 cup of carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup red lentils, uncooked
  • 2 cup chopped spinach or kale
  1. In a large pot, heat the coconut oil. Saute the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent.
  2. Add the spices and celery. Cook for another 5 minutes.
  3. Add the broth, carrots and red lentils. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
  4. Cook until the carrots are soft and the lentils are cooked.
  5. Stir in the spinach (or kale) while the soup is still hot so it wilts but doesn't overcook. 
  6. Enjoy not on a warm spring day but only when it's grey and raining. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Cabbage and Sausage Stew

I am not a cabbage fan. I never had a cabbage patch doll and I don't like cabbage stews. I'm a terrible Pole. But I'm coming around to it.

Over the holidays (yes, the Christmas holidays all those moons ago), my mom made a cabbage stew that actually wasn't the terrible soggy lettuce I expected from cabbage (not a reflection of my mom's cooking). I'm also not a huge leek fan, not sure of their purpose but let's give them a go. Browned sausage and root vegetables really made this a hearty and warming stew.

And even though it's MAY, it's freezing by British standards so yes, we're talking about stew. We start by browning the sausage in a soup pot with a little bit of oil to keep them from sticking to the pan. This is the basis of our flavoring.

Once the sausage is browned, remove from the pan and cut into bite-sized chunks. Return to the pan and add the broth along with chopped carrots. Carrots will take the longest to cook so we give them a head start. Next, add some great northern beans (drained) and the cabbage leaves and leeks, roughly chopped.

Recipe
  • Olive oil
  • 6 chicken sausages (I used spicy ones but you can use plain if desired)
  • 1 small head of cabbage, chopped
  • 2 cup carrots, chopped
  • 2 leak, chopped
  • 1 14 oz. can of white beans (cannellini or Great Northern)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  1. In a large sauce pan, heat the olive oil. Brown the chicken sausages until all sides are light brown.
  2. Remove the chicken sausages and cut into bite-sized pieces. Return to the pan.
  3. Add the cabbage, carrots and leaks. Saute with the sausage for about 5 minutes.
  4. Pour in the broth. Stir in the seasonings and tomato paste.
  5. Stir in the beans.
  6. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer until the vegetables are soft (30-40 minutes).
  7. Eat with some hearty bread or you can freeze this soup for a rainy day!







Monday, April 24, 2017

Coffee Cake Muffins

Contrary to its name, coffee cake doesn't actually have coffee in it. My guess is it's named this way because you serve it with coffee. My Italian flatmate was very confused when I was explaining coffee cake didn't taste like coffee, she said they call tiramisu coffee cake. We just call tiramisu, tiramisu.

So here we have a cinnamon cake with almonds and thus coffee cake--muffins. This comes from Joy the Baker's new cookbook Overeasy. It's entirely devoted to brunch: baked goods, entrees, beverages, everything to throw a great brunch. It felt wrong to sit inside my flat, on my couch and flip through the pages of this cookbook. It felt like it's meant to be read in the quiet early morning hours out on a porch with a cup of coffee. All I wanted to do was live in a bungalow and throw a fancy brunch with friends. A dream for another day.

 
Crumble is pretty standard across the board: flour, sugar, cinnamon, cold butter. Mix together to make--crumbly.

We're using my favorite browned (nee melted) butter to make these muffins. No planning for softening required. Sour cream is also used instead of milk, giving an extra spongy and delicious texture to these muffins.

 
After browning the butter, it is whisked together with the sour cream, egg and egg yolk. If you have vanilla extract, now's the time to add that. I ran out and was going to skip it (scandalous!) but my flatmate had this combo vanilla-baking powder thing I tried instead.

 
In a separate bowl, mix together your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt) before adding to the butter mixture to form a nice, thick batter.

Now, some assembly is required: muffin batter followed by crumble topping followed by almonds. Easy peasy. Bake until golden brown and cooked through.

 
Enjoy on your perfect porch/patio/deck/fire escape with a cup of coffee and you're good to go!


Recipe
Crumble
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold butter, cubed
  1. In a medium bowl, mix togethr the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  2. Cut in the cubed butter with a knife or pastry cutter. You can also use your hands to mix until it's crumbly. 
  3. Set aside for later.
Muffins
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) browned butter
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup roasted almonds, chopped for topping
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin and set aside (in total, this made around 15 muffins).
  2. In a small sauce pan, brown the butter. Even once the butter is melted, continue to heat as it crackles and the water cooks out. Remove from heat once it's changed in color to a darker yellow, crackles less and smells nutty.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the sour cream (you could substitute for Greek yogurt if you prefer), egg, egg yolk, vanilla and browned butter (slightly cooled).
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. 
  5. Pour the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Mix until no flour is visible.
  6. Assembly time! Spoon the muffin mixture into your prepared pan, filling each cup about half way.
  7. Add a spoonful of crumble topping to each muffin cup. Use a knife to mix and swirl the crumble into the muffin.
  8. Lastly, top with the toasted almonds.
  9. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until set and browned on top. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

BakedIn: Whoopie Pies

Because my friends are awesome, they gifted me a subscription to BakedIn for my birthday last month. Similar to Blue Apron, it's a service that sends you all the ingredients to your door for a specific recipe. Everything is pre-measured and all you have to do is provide the perishable stuff like eggs and butter.

Having moved from Boston, it seemed especially fitting that the first recipe was for whoopie pies, a cream-filled cookie sandwich. I was also pretty excited by the butter ruler they included for easy butter measuring, my long-term struggle when baking in grams.

Ultimately, these didn't turn into whoppie pies but just cookies. The chocolate filling came out too thick to really be glue for a sandwich but was tasty nonetheless. So I shamelessly passed these off as cookies, no mistakes here! Until someone asked me for the recipe and I cracked under the pressure. So here's the recipe for the cookies but if you have a solid filling recipe in your arsenal, sandwich away!

BakedIn itself was amazing. The box is narrow so it will fit through a letter slot and having everything pre-measured made it all a lot simpler. Even so, they tell you the measurements of each ingredient so you can replicate without the pre-measured bags.

Recipe
  •         110g soft butter
  •         50g caster sugar
  •         100g light brown sugar
  •         60g cocoa powder
  •         260g plain flour
  •         ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  •         ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  •         1/8 teaspoon salt
  •         ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  •         1 egg
  •         40mL of milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and caster sugar. Add the egg, vanilla, cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix well.
  3. Add the milk and mix until the mixture becomes firm (you can add more milk if it’s too crumbly). You can use your hands to mix as well.
  4.  Roll the dough into a log and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for 20 minutes.
  5. Break the dough into small pieces and roll into munchkin-size balls. Place about one inch apart on the baking sheet (they don’t flatten out much so you can press them into discs for more cookie-like shapes).
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until set. Repeat for all dough.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Oatmeal Spice Muffins

Let's take a breakfast staple and throw it into a muffin. I've seen french toast muffins and pancake syrup muffins, probably bacon muffins, so why not oatmeal muffins? A nice compact way to get your oats for the day. You can easily season these with your favorite oatmeal toppings like blueberries or extra cinnamon or add some jam or nutella.

 
The only preplanning needed here is allowing the oats to soak in the buttermilk for about 30 minutes. While they soak, you can gather your ingredients and preheat the oven (400F, line the muffin pan too!). In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

 
Once the oats have soaked up the buttermilk, add the eggs and brown sugar to the bowl and mix until combined. The batter so far will be very thick. Mix in the melted butter and vanilla, followed by the flour mixture. If you're adding any dried fruit or chocolate chips, now would be the time to fold 'em in.

 
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling half way. Bake until golden on top and cooked through.

 
The verdict was these were more like scone muffins than muffin muffins but I'll take it! We are in England, after all.


Recipe

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1.  Preheat the oven to 400F and line a muffin tin with paper liners (or grease like I did because I was fresh out of liners).
  2. In a large bowl, combine the oats and buttermilk. Allow to sit for 30-60 minutes until the oats have soaked up the milk.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. 
  4. Once the oats have soaked, add the eggs and brown sugar, mixing to combine. Next, stir in the melted butter and vanilla. 
  5. Add the flour mixture to the oats mixture and stir until no flour is visible. The batter will be very thick from the oats.
  6. Add any remaining fixins you'd like in the muffins before spooning the batter into the pan, filling a little over half-way.
  7. Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown on top and cooked through. 
  8. Enjoy with some jam or nutella, like a scone, or plain. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

Clearly I have a lemon problem. I love lemons. I love yellow. And I love muffins. And if all of those things are baked together into one format, plus poppyseeds, sign me up for lots of 'em. I made orange poppyseed muffins as the inaugural muffin of muffin Monday in the UK but my fav is lemon poppyseed. I also have a large bag of poppyseeds that need to be used up.

 
The thing about muffin recipes, and most easy bake items, is they follow the same order of operations. Dry ingredients in large bowl, wet ingredients in small bowl, mix together, fold in bonus items, spoon out batter, bake and eat. Easy peasy.

 

So in this case, our bonus items are lemon zest and poppyseeds. Lemon zest (zest in general) is very strong and a little goes a long way. The one down side to zest is the actual zesting. Many a knuckle skin has been lost to an overzealous zesting and there's a whole graveyard for sponges that died trying to clean the graters. But I've found that a bottle brush (like for baby bottles) is perfect for cleaning a zester! Pro tip, you're welcome.



At any rate, the zest is added to the sugar and poppyseeds are folded in last. An all around team effort.

 

Recipe

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup refined sugar (or light brown sugar)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons poppyseeds
  • 1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Prepare the muffin pan and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the melted butter, milk, eggs and vanilla with the sugar and lemon zest.
  4. Carefully add the butter mixture to the dry ingredients and fold together until incorporated. 
  5. Add the poppyseeds and fold together until evenly mixed. 
  6. Fill the muffin cups half-way and bake until golden brown.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Cherry Chocolate Muffins

Test, test. Is this thing on? Ground control to Major Tom? I'm not sure if this thing still works, it's been so long since a new recipe has gone up. End hibernation now!

Way back in January, I wanted to make some orange cranberry muffins because I thought they were nice and wintery with just a hint of Christmas in the post-holiday lull. However, I couldn't find cranberries anymore. Despite still having the aisles marked with Christmas Entertaining, the store employee told me Christmas was over and there wouldn't be any cranberries. But they did have frozen cherries which seemed even more out of season than cranberries but okay, I rolled with it.


It took me far too long to realize that Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream was actually an ode to Jerry Garcia but they were spot-on with their cherry and chocolate combination. I've given it a go in ice cream form as well but really this is another muffin that's a cupcake in disguise.

In addition to the variation in produce availability, chocolate chips in England are different. Every time my friend has a visitor from America, she asks them to bring Nestle chocolate chips. Which on occasion end up in my pantry so I can put them into things like muffins. This recipe also uses yogurt which I've found to make especially spongy cakes and muffins.

 

In a medium bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients. In a small bowl (non-metallic), melt the butter. In the melted butter, add the yogurt, eggs and vanilla (carefully). Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Fold in the cherries and chocolate chips. Spoon the batter into a prepared muffin pan, filling half-way.

 
Bake until golden brown and cooked through (15-20 minutes). Allow to cool before enjoying with coffee or ice cream...

Recipe

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup cherries (pitted and halved, if frozen then allow to thaw first)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Prepare a muffin tin by greasing lightly or lining with muffin liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter. Allow to cool slightly before mixing in the eggs,vanilla extract and yogurt.
  4. Mix the butter mixture into the flour mixture until you can no longer see the dry ingredients.
  5. Fold in the cherries and chocolate chips.
  6. Fill muffin tin half-way with batter and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden on top and cooked through.