.: In the Kitchen – Brownies :.

So they say, couples that cook together stay together

Photo from google

And I don’t mean one being in the kitchen to make each other’s company, I mean really doing some proper team work. We actually enjoy doing quite a lot. We just don’t do it more often because we’re both lazy, so we end up doing something in the lines of: if one cooks the other is responsible for cleaning the kitchen afterwards.

Yesterday, we were talking about childhood memories and one of his sweetest memories (literally) was to cook brownies with his best mate. He said that they had done the recipe so many times they knew the page by heart, plus the mess was so big that the page was full of chocolate! Once we’ve started living together we’ve ended up buying the book just so we could do the brownies recipe.

This is the book: the joy of cooking (available on amazon here) and you can read it all about it here.

Unlike today’s books it’s doesn’t contain pictures of how the dishes look like and the instructions follow a more classical approach. I have to admit that apart from the brownies I haven’t tried anything else yet. But have flagged a few to try in a near future.

Here’s the recipe

Preheat oven to 350 F / 180C

1/2 cup butter (around 115g of butter)
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate (we’ve used 125g)
4 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar (400g)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted (around 136g)
1 cup pecan meats

Melt the butter and chocolate in a double-broiler (or a pot over another pot of boiling water). Let this mixture cool, or the brownies will be heavy and dry. Beat the eggs and salt until light in color and foamy in texture. Add the sugar and vanilla gradually and continue beating until well creamed.

With a few swift strokes, combine the cooled chocolate mixture and the eggs and sugar. Do this by hand instead of using a hand mixer. Before it’s well mixed, fold in the flour. Add the nuts if desired. Stir gently until mixed. Try not to beat the mixture too heavily. Bake in a greased 9 X 13 inch pan for about 25 minutes at 350 F. Cover the pan with a towel and leave it to sit between 30 and 45 minutes. Don’t cut until the brownies are cool as the interiors are still moist when fresh from the oven.

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We’ve managed to get the 3 C’s (Crunchy, chewy and creamy inside), although it could have cooked a few minutes more than the instructions said.

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I had mine with a bit of my home-made banana / nutella ice cream

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My own notes:

  • Next time I’ll actually use half of the sugar and use brown sugar instead. Although the flavour was amazing, it felt like too much sugar
  • I’ve added a small espresso into the mixture because same as the salt, it enhances the flavour of the chocolate. I could really feel it in the end result.
  • I didn’t use pecan meats but I’ve used some mixed nuts

To think that we hadn’t done brownies for almost 6 years! Last time I had replaced the nuts with pears (chopped thinly) and it was so good and so moist!

Have you done brownies before? What is your favourite recipe?

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.: How to find motivation to cook just for one :.

I’m sure we’ve all been there at least one. It’s just one of us at home and it’s meal time. Feels like eat a sandwich or some cereals and not bother to cook at all. It’s a lot easier, mentally, to cook at least for 2. Since I struggle with motivation to cook for the 2 of us on a daily basis, when I’m home alone, I’ll typically do something really quick, such as just cereals or maybe pasta with tuna or similar.

My inspiration in this field has to be my sister. Most of the time she does cook just for herself. The way she does it though, is to cook as if it was for 2 and then next day she doesn’t need to buy or cook an additional lunch. Sometimes she will store the leftovers and mix up with something else so she doesn’t get bored of the food.

She says if she wasn’t going to cook, then she would be eating just cereals and rubbish and that’s not healthy. Plus she really likes to eat, and she eats quite well. She’s also really skinny, mostly due to the amount of exercise she does. Although she eats a lot, she actually eats healthy, avoiding fried stuff or too much sugars on a weekly basis.

Here’s some of the things she cooks:

Here’s one of my favourites, this is actually cod, with corn bread and shrimps on the top.

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Corn bread with melted cheese and oregano for the starter

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Stuffed mushrooms

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Peas with chorizo & poached eggs (this is quite a classic in the portuguese menu)

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Not sure what this one was

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And this was her lemon merengue pie, which was absolutely delicious!

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Do you struggle to find motivation to cook just for one? Any main dish you rely on?

.: The flipping struggle – Banana Pancakes :.

How’s everyone today? I’m enjoying a relaxing weekend at home, as next weekend we are going away to Wales and the last weekends have been more social.

We had a quick breakfast in the morning, played “Trains to Europe” together and he won again

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This is such a nice game to be played together!

Then I had decided I wanted to try banana pancakes again. Last time I had attempted them, he put all the mixture straight into the pan, so forget about flipping, it was virtually impossible. This time, after checking this recipe from the Londoner, I wanted to try them again.

Look pretty delicious right? Here’s mine

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This was one of the few I’ve managed not to break. It’s really hard to flip flourless pancakes. Next time I’ll just add the banana mixture into my regular pancake recipe. They taste really well though and it’s a pretty healthy recipe.

Have you tried to make banana pancakes before? Any tips?

.: Happy Mother’s day with Apple Cake :.

Happy mother’s day! (for all Moms in Portugal)

For the first time since I remember the national workers day (1st of May) is also Mother’s day in Portugal. Since being a mom is quite hard-working (I still don’t have an idea how much this is true but will know that shortly) I would say it makes a lot of sense.

1st of May was always quite a tradition back home, it’s a day where we would always go and do a picnic somewhere nice. My grandma would cook delicious cakes for the day, being the traditional “May’s cake” always on the table (this is a corn’s cake)

(For the portuguese recipe check here.)

As I always found this particular cake a bit too strong, my grandma would always bake the orange roll which I truly love

(For the portuguese recipe check here – video included)

I really have good memories of this particular day. Me and my sister would play in the fields and then enjoy lots of our favourite cakes. Here in UK, it’s a long weekend and the sun in finally shining outside. So I went out for a brunch with friends and back at home I couldn’t resist the temptation of baking something.

As I have lots of apples available, decided to do an Apple Cake (recipe from Gennaro Contaldo’s Nonna’s Apple Cake from his Let’s cook italian book). I really love his recipes and his simple style of cooking.

Expectation vs reality

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The recipe advises for 40m baking, but I believe next time I’ll do just 35 to get it more moist. I had my cake with a bit of ice cream

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It’s actually a very easy cake to prepare and it’s not too sweet. Also, the recipe doesn’t mention it, but please add cinnamon. Apple & cinnamon is the best combo ever! I’ve added on mine and could really taste it.

What is your favourite cake? Any cake that really brings you good memories?

Have a lovely week 🙂

.: Life Lately :.

Hard to believe my last post was almost 2 months ago! But I have to admit since then my life has been a bit upside down and a lot is changing, so I didn’t had the chance nor the mood to keep the blog up to date.

I’m still enjoying working in London, which means for the first time ever having the chance to sleep in my bed at night, but the commuting is killing me. It’s 1h20 each way in good days. Which means I leave the house before 07h to get the 07h10 train, I’m in the office around 08h15, then I return back home at 19h, which means being home at 20h30.

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On the other hand, because pretty much all I can do over the weekend is lay in the couch and watch all the food & house programs on telly, I have a lot of cooking ideas on my mind. Haven’t done any, except for the stuffed mushrooms yesterday:

I love Laura’s videos, and this recipe was no exception. I’ve used feta cheese as well. Because I had a lot of bedcrumbs leftovers, I’ve sparkled a few over the salmon, and it turns it it’s pretty good!

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It was a very good meal, even if the photo is rubbish, it was pretty tasty. We were so starving I didn’t had the chance to take a decent photo of the food.

Today for lunch doing something I really miss, Portuguese Tuna & Egg salad

You can see the recipe here.

Have a lovely weekend and hopefully I’ll be posting a bit more regularly now

.: In the kitchen – Chili con Carne :.

It’s winter time and now winter is really coming as temperatures are dropping. One of the best winter foods I know is a good Chili con Carne. I had tried to do this before, but as I had to cook for 12 people it was quite a challenge to ensure it was not too spicy but spicy enough. Also, I’ve ended up using minced meat because it would be easier to cook and feed more people.

So imagine this, lazy Sunday morning, how about preparing a proper chili con carne? That’s precisely what we’ve decided to do. My favourite recipe for Chili con Carne was Jamie Oliver’s

We didn’t cook it for 7h, but rather 3h, but still the final result was really good. He was in charge of the spices so let’s just say it was the max I can normally handle. I felt crying from all over the place if you know what I mean, but really tasty.

Here’s the final result

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Really yummy! Now I feel like having a siesta!

Have a lovely week ahead

.: Lazy Monday :.

Ahhh nothing better than a bank holiday to extend the weekend 😀

We’ve just returned last night from a weekend away in Cornwall, so now have loads of photos to check. The advantage of being at home is that you can cook and enjoy your kitchen a bit more, which is what I’ve been doing:

Lunch – Salmon with lemon sauce and mash potato & boiled eggs

And need to add fresh coriander from our mini garden 😀

We was trying to make a smile in my mash hahahahahah Drink: Bulldog’s Gin Tonic. Love this gin, so easy to drink

Then a few photos later, I started fancying some pancakes, so just stopped everything and went to prepare some:

Nigella recipe available here. (He says he prefers the Jamie Oliver version here)

I can’t recommend La Chambre Aux enough! I bought this on my trip to Lille, and have been saving them. This one is the strawberry & mint jam, so good and perfect! We had nutella on the table as well, and we didn’t even touched it, so yes, that good!

Superb!

Wish you all a great week ahead!

.: Sunday Brunch :.

After watching this video, we’ve decided to change the way we cook our scrambled eggs:

I actually love the chopped tomatoes with the eggs (following the indian recipe), so we did a fusion of Gordon’s recipe and our one (almost no butter and no cream). This was the result:

Really creamy!!!

How do you like your eggs? What’s your favourite Sunday Brunch?

Enjoy your sunday!