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The easiest, and (possibly one of) the most delicious, apple “pie”

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There are a lot of apple dessert recipes online that claim to be easy and delicious and “light” at the same time and more often than not that is not the case. This recipe, however, is one of those that actually combines all those three elements. It will take you no more than 15 minutes to prepare and it is absolutely mouth watering even if you use just a couple of tablespoons of sugar and two tablespoons of butter (which makes it one of the least fattening desserts you can find).

Based on a recipe found on Bon Appetit this apple “pie” is perfect for every time you want some comfort food and an easy, yet delicious, treat for times when friends come over and you don’t really have too much time to prepare something.

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*Note: I prefer not to quantify spices. Just add as much as you like. Spices depend on taste and preference. What I do is, I add the spices, as much as I think will be ok, then smell it and if it smells good for me, that’s how much I use. As a rule of thumb, I usually start with about 1 tsp of each spice.

What to do

Serves: 3

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 large apples

3 tablespoons dark brown sugar (you can use less if you want to, it doesn’t make that big of a difference)

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Ground cinnamon

Ginger

½ teaspoon salt

½ lemon

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

Some granulated sugar (for sprinkling)

How to do it

Preheat the oven to 230° C and brown the butter. Clean and cut the apples in small and larger pieces and place them in the pan you will bake them in. Add the sugar, flour, vanilla extract, cinnamon, ginger, salt, lemon (and some lemon zest) and some of the butter and mix everything together.

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Cut the pastry in small and larger pieces and place it on top of the apples. Brush the pastry with the rest of the butter and sprinkle some sugar on top. Bake for 35 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 160° C and bake for another 30 minutes.

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Take out of the oven and with the back of a spoon press some of the pieces in the apple juices (optional). Let it rest for a while and enjoy!

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Jamaican spiced chicken and curry flavored brown rice fajitas

Jamaican fajitas

It’s a sunny mid March Sunday, you go out for a stroll, maybe some coffee and some hanging out in the sun, and when you get back home you find yourself desperately looking for something nice to eat. Preferably something that can be prepared in no time and taste like, well… a sunny springtime Sunday.

So, how about some fajitas? Jamaican spiced chicken and curry flavored brown rice (basmati rice is also great) fajitas to be exact. That’s what we thought and fortunately for us, we thought about it before we went out for that stroll, which was helpful because it meant that we took the chicken out of the freezer so that it would be ready to be cooked by the time we came back!

(But, you know… Having a microwave that is not broken like ours is something that can do the defrosting job if you don’t think about cooking chicken before you go out for a walk!).

So. All you need is some chicken (we used three chicken thighs), a cup of rice (we used brown rice), an onion, a red pepper, one tomato, a couple of lettuce leaves, a few tortillas and about 30-35 minutes.

 

Ingredients

3 chicken thighs

1 cup of brown rice

1 onion

1 red pepper

1 tomato

6 corn tortillas

3 lettuce leaves

Olive oil

Salt

Jamaican spice pepper

Curry powder

Yogurt  (or sour cream)

Some grated cheese

 

Preparation

Pre heat the oven to 200 degrees.

Place an empty frying pan on high. While the pan is heating, season the chicken with salt and the Jamaican spice pepper. Sprinkle some olive oil on the chicken, lower the heat to medium and place the chicken in the pan.

Put a cup of brown rice in a small pan. Season with salt and some curry powder, add two cups of boiling water and let it cook for ten minutes.

Slice the onion and the red pepper, cut the tomato in small pieces and slice the lettuce.

When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pan and let it rest. In that same pan add the onion and red pepper and cook to your liking (we cooked it for about 5 minutes, or until the veggies were soft).

Take a large piece of greaseproof paper, put it under the tab and get it all wet. Squeeze it so that most of the water goes off, wrap the tortillas in it and put them in the oven for 3-4 minutes.

Before you serve your fajitas, slice your chicken pieces so that then can be better used in your tortilla.

When everything is done and ready, place in individual plates and assemble your fajitas to your liking. We added some yogurt and some shredded mozzarella, but you can also use some mexican salsa, guacamole or just about anything.

And, of course, let us know what you think.

 


Strawberry and limoncello tiramisu

strawberry limoncello tiramisu

I do not have a sweet tooth, but every now and then I get a craving for something decadent. When I do, I make sure it is not the most decadent thing in the world (diet!), but lacks nothing in taste – or appearance.

That’s the category strawberry and limoncello tiramisu falls under. It has the potential to be extremely beautiful and inviting, if you have the transparent glasses to put it in (which I didn’t) and is very tasty – with the refreshing taste of the strawberry sided with the kick of the limoncello and the sweetness and crunchiness of the ladyfingers.

We went to a friendly home last night and the strawberry and limoncello tiramisu was the best thing I could think of, to bring to the party. The sweetness and the freshness, the kick and the crunchiness, the harmonious combinations of all flavors and smells that come together in a glorious party of all senses, and the way it cleanses your mouth and your soul, well, it just feels like the perfect paragon of friendship.

This is even easy to make. It requires no baking (well… tiramisu!) but it does contain eggs, so make sure your eggs are of excellent quality and can be eaten raw.

 

Strawberry and limoncello tiramisu

Makes 4 individual glasses (about 200ml each)

 

Cream

250gr mascarpone cheese (if yours is a bit runny like mine was, use a bit more, but don’t overdo it)

a small espresso cup of limoncello (about 30ml)

30gr powdered sugar

3 egg yolks

 

Limoncello mixture

Zest and juice of one lemon (unwaxed, please, no one likes wax in their tiramisu)

6 TB limoncello

1 to 1- 1/2 TB sugar

About 5 TB water

 

Rest

250gr strawberries

30gr sugar

10 ladyfingers (or more, depending on the shape of your glass)

 

Preparation

First prepare the cream. Beat the egg yolks with the powdered sugar with a hand mixer until creamy. Add the limoncello and keep beating. Start to slowly add the mascarpone, a little at a time. At this point, you can either use the hand mixer or an eggbeater. I tried the hand mixer but was afraid it was beating it way too much, so I used the eggbeater instead. You know your mixture (and mixer) better.

If your mixture is runny, add a little more mascarpone. I had to add about 70-80gr more, because the mascarpone we bought was watery. Don’t add too much, though, the taste will change.

Put your cream in the fridge and let it cool. As it cools, it will also firm.

Now prepare the limoncello mixture. Add everything in a bowl and mix it together. Put that in the fridge as well. Easy, right?

🙂

Now chop the strawberries in small pieces, add the sugar and some lemon juice if you have any left from the lemon you squeezed for the limoncello mixture, and set it aside.

When you are ready to put everything together, take all of your bowls and plates, the ladyfingers, and start:

Cut one ladyfinger in half and immerse it in the limoncello mixture BRIEFLY. When I say “briefly” I literally mean for less than a second. Not figuratively, literally. It touches the liquid and out it goes. Then at the bottom of your glass.

Next comes a layer of cream.

Then a layer of strawberries.

Then another layer of cream.

Then take another ladyfinger, cut it in half and do exactly what you did with the first one. Put it over the cream layer.

Then add another cream layer.

Then add some decoration, maybe half a strawberry or a few strawberry pieces.

 

Your sweet indulgence is ready, for you and your friends to enjoy.

Let me know what you thought!

 

 


Oscar night

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It’s Oscars night tonight and here at camp Chez Nous we are all very excited to once again celebrate that glorious fest that is this yearly ceremony.

We have The Booze, The Coffee, The Blankets and, naturally, The Food, that promises to get us through the small hours and keep us awake until Chris Rock says “Goodnight” and makes it yet again “legal” to yawn and fall asleep on the couch.

Of course, this year things will probably be different. My friend, A., my partner in Oscars-crime, lives hours away (by plane, mind you) and I have a class early in the morning, so it will be long before Chris Rock says “Goodnight” that it will actually be okay for me to shut my eyes and ZzzZZzzZZZzzZzZZzZZzz in front of the TV.

One thing won’t change: the food.

Since we will be catching the whole red carpet action before the actual awards (yasss!), I am sure to get The Guilt – you know, that feeling you get when Anne Hathaway looks gorgeous in a dress even your hanger doesn’t fit in, and you’re there, fingers yellow with Cheetos residue, mayo sandwiches and kreatopitakia winking at you from the end table, your pyjamas’ waistband leaving its mark on your skin.

So, this year we are going “light”.

No Cheetos, no kreatopitakia, just some salad, oven roasted potatoes and a steak. Yes, a steak.

And Spritz, of course, because, yeah… eh… it helps me sleep!

That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

 

So, this is what will be happening in our apartment, about an hour before the red carpet starts. You can do it along with us and share your results

 

Oven Roasted Potatoes

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About ½ kilo baby potatoes

2 garlic cloves

A few TBs olive oil (A few does not mean 20, it means about 4 – I may have used less)

Salt, pepper

Grated cheese (Parmiggiano is awesome, but, honestly, use the one you like best. Parmiggiano is the one I like best)

1 lemon

 

Preheat your oven at 200 degrees Celsius (400 Fahrenheit).

Make sure your potatoes are clean. I wash them, then scrub them, make sure there’s no dirt on them. That’s because we won’t peal them. If you peal baby potatoes, seriously, why? Why?

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Cut them in half and put them in a bowl. You want to choose the bowl wisely, because you will be serving your potatoes in that bowl. Toss them with the oil, the garlic cloves, salt and pepper and make sure every little potato-half is covered with that nice, garlic-y goo.

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Place them on a rack, cut side up and put them in the oven, on the upper third. Bake them for 25-30 minutes, depending on how big your potatoes are.

Do not wash the bowl, you’ll need it. I saw that part on Epicurious, that guy was a genius.

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When they are nice and golden, take them out and place them back in the bowl. Toss them with the the cheese of your choice and put them back on the rack and back in the oven for another 10 minutes, or until your cheese is nice and melted.

Take them out, put them in the bowl and toss them in some lemon juice. Taste one for seasoning. Then steal another one before anyone sees you.

Serve.

If you want some extra heat, I suggest adding some red hot chili pepper along with the garlic and the oil, the salt and the pepper. Yum.

 

Steak

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About 450-500gr beef steak

Rock salt

Some olive oil

Pepper (optional)

 

This is the easiest thing ever. Our goal was to do “Bistecca alla fiorentina”, which is a T-bone steak grilled over a wood or charcoal fire, seasoned with salt and a little bit of black pepper, and olive oil, applied immediately after you take the meat out of the heat. Unfortunately for us our butcher shop was out of T-bone steaks when we went there, so we had to settle for a no bone steak. But we made sure to get a pretty thick and large cut so that it would be as close as possible to the “real thing”!

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So, no salt, no pepper, no nothing! Just place the meat on the grill and let the heat do its job. Cook the steak to your liking (5 minutes on each side did the job for us). Take the steak out of the fire, put it on a plate, season with some rock salt (you know, the one with the large sized grains, some black pepper and some olive oil and let it rest for a couple of minutes. That’s it!

rosemary

Some like to add herbs, after the steak is done, so rosemary, thyme, maybe some garlic (don’t overdo it). The secret is to let the herbs accompany the taste, not cover it! It’s all about the meat!

Enjoy it with some beer. Or some wine. We’ll be having both!

So that will be our Oscars feast. Let me know what you think – or what you made!

 


New beginnings

This is not a recipe post. This is a new adventure post.

I have been in Florence for a while and will stay here for a while, until I leave – the decision to keep moving, you know,  keeps me moving! 🙂

So this is what we ate here today. Street food in Florence is out of this world!

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One is a veggies, scamorza and pesto toast and the other one is a bacon, cheddar and scrambled eggs toast. Both from I’Tosto, right under the Duomo!

I hope everyone is okay and everyone always tries new things! I will be cooking and #fooking soon!

 

 


#Fooking Samosas

samosasIt has been a while since I last cooked something for this blog, and I say this a lot, but in the past five years it seems like it’s always something, right?

Sometimes I let the bad things take control and sometimes I try to shake them off and start surviving. And those are the best times and I will try to make them happen more. Everything that’s happening is beyond my control, but I, me, myself, I am not beyond my control. Right?

Hopefully, at least 😉

Well, this past couple of weeks has had its ups and downs, politically, historically, Greece has come and gone, things in our lives have come in circles, losses, gains… We realized that we are experiencing a concentrated version of life, with its joys and disappointments, shocks and fears, losses and reliefs – and epiphanies like this require strong doses of food and celebration.

So I made samosas. We ate them watching football, drinking beer, spritz, with yoghurt, sausages, salad, cats, friends.

Then I made the video. Because, Foo Fighters. And cooking. Fooking. It makes me smile and laugh, not necessarily in that order.

A word about the food. Folding the samosas can be tricky. Watch the video, it makes the folding part pretty clear. Once you’re through with the folding, the filling is nothing. Also, feel free to use other spices you like. Garam masala will probably work miracles in this. Don’t omit the coriander, it smells exactly like i imagine a baby angel’s hair will smell like. Seriously. But, if you don’t like it, by all means. Add or leave out anything you want. And let me know what you changed and how it turned out.

Also, I don’t fry. So I baked them. But you can also fry them, and they will be crispier and, well, tastier. People who fry, know that. But these have fewer calories and are a bit healthier, so yay for that!

What you will need:

For the dough

3 cups flour

3 TB olive oil

½ TB thyme (dry)

½ tsp salt

less than a cup of cold water

For the filling

3 – 4 potatoes

some peas

1 onion

2-3 cloves of garlic

1 small carrot, grated

1 small chili pepper

1 tsp coriander seeds, broken

1 tsp cumin

½ tsp turmeric

1/3 tsp ginger

½ tsp sweet paprika

Some lemon juice

What you will need to do:

To make the dough, mix the flour, the oil, the thyme and the salt in a big bowl, add some of the water and mix with your hands, continuing to add water until you have a soft dough that doesn’t stick. Cover it with a towel (you can even touch it with some oil to keep it soft) and leave it to rest for about half an hour.

Meanwhile, boil the potatoes and, towards the end, add the peas.

When the potatoes and peas are done, heat some oil in a large pan and sauté your spices, until they are fragrant. At this point, you love me, because your house smells like heaven. Now, add the onion and cook until it is translucent and soft, about 2- 3 minutes. Add the potatoes and peas, the garlic, the carrot, the chili and cook for 4-5 minutes, until everything is brought together and smells like the spices. Take the potato mixture out of the pan, transfer it to a big bowl and add some lemon (as much as you want, don’t add too much, a couple of squeezes will do) and some pepper. Now take a fork and start mashing it, making sure you don’t end up with a pulp. Mash it but not too much, we want some pieces in it.

Let it cool.

Go back to your dough and take a bowl of water and a rolling pin with you. Take your dough, divide it in 8 equal balls, and start rolling them. Once you’ve rolled the first one pretty thin but not paper thin (you’re not making a pie!), cut the circle in half, take one half in your hand, dip your fingers in the water and wet the round edge, roll it and make a cone. This involves some hand crossing and some imagination, but you can check out the video and see how it is done. It’s pretty easy once you’ve seen it and made your first. BTW, the first two always suck, then it gets easier. Take your cone, fill it with your filling, dip your fingers in the water again, wet the remaining edge and close your samosa. Make sure you keep the shape.

At this point I separate myself from tradition and don’t even regret it. At this point you can fry your samosas in some non-fragrant oil and they become crispy and amazing.

But I don’t fry.

Ever.

Only if I absolutely have to, but I always try to find alternatives.

And alternative I did find.

So, at some point before starting to roll your dough, preheat your oven to 200C (400F). Once ready, place your samosas on an oiled baking sheet, brush them with some egg and put them in the oven for 30-40 minutes, depending on the oven, or until you see them turn golden and beautiful (whichever comes first).

Have them with some greek yoghurt (I suggest full fat or more!) or a chutney of your liking, and bon appetit!


Foorenze

9968_10151581592927051_1650129466_nIt’s been a while since I cooked anything and turned it into a video, mainly because, well, work. And things are so hectic in Greece right now that it just seemed like an insult to everything to be cooking and having a good time. And then… summer. Suddenly, in the middle of July, things just cooled off, the heat went up, and it was summer. I swear, it seems like it all happened in one day! So, we packed our bags and flew to what seems to be our new hometown by now – Florence (a.k.a. Firenze, you know, in italian). It’s very cheap to fly from Greece to Italy and Italy from Greece, so this back and forth has been fairly easy for us. This time it was just for a couple of days, but we shot enough short videos to actually edit one on a Foo Fighters song. Everlong was an obvious choice. So here it is. Our Florence. No museum insides this time – because we didn’t know if we were allowed! I hope you enjoy it.

[Click, huh?]

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