Sunday, April 26, 2009

Breakfast with Blueberries

As you've probably noticed, I've been making a lot of muffins lately - and BTW - I'm loving my silicone muffin pan, I'm getting the feeling that silicone kitchen utensils are the best food related invention of the last decade (if they are in fact of the last decade), the silicone spatula is my favorite as well and I'm seriously contemplating buying a silicone brush that I just saw in a kitchen magazine.
But back to muffins. From the slightly weird beetroot ones and the traditional banana and carrot ones I have now come to also quite traditional blueberry ones. Just that mine are high fiber and extra healthy, with some yoghurt so perfect for a good breakfast.

Blueberry Breakfast Muffins (Mustikatega hommikusöögimuffinid):
makes 12

75 g butter
200g coarsely ground whole-grain flour
1/2 tsp soda
2 tsp baking powder
200 ml blueberry yoghurt
75 g demerara sugar
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
200 gr blueberries (frozen work fine)
Some oil for the muffin pan

Mix the dry ingredients.
Melt the butter.
Pre heat the oven to 200 c.
Beat together the eggs, yoghurt and the slightly cooled melted butter.
Now pour the mixture over the dry ingredients and mix lightly (again, the key to good muffins is not over mixing). So mix just enough so that you don't have big areas of flour in the dough.
Half way into your mixing (i.e. when there still are big pockets of flour in the dough) add in the blueberries.

Brush the muffin pan with just a tiny bit of oil and spoon the muffin-mixture into the muffin cases.
Bake for 20 minutes.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Super-simple salmon pasta

Here's another really quick and simple fix for the pasta lovers. S really loves salmon, I, on the other hand have somehow gotten over it, I don't know what it is, but I rarely get a craving for red fish anymore and I usually prefer something more interesting when I'm in the fish section at the supermarket. However I really enjoyed it in this pasta dish.

Simple salmon pasta (lithne lõhepasta): serves 2

~100 g pasta ( I used whole wheat spaghetti again)
1 butterfly fillet of salmon
2 tbsp Worchester sauce
3 tbsp Philadelphia cream cheese
1 ripe avocado
juice of 1/2 of a lime
a little bit of fresh or dried coriander (cilantro)
some hard cheese (Parmesan, Grana Padano) for serving

Splash some Worchester sauce on the salmon about 10 min before you start cooking (if you have the salmon in a plastic bag, just add the sauce into the bag and make sure it coats the salmon fillet).
Fry the salmon on a grill-pan (or a regular one). It will need about 4 minutes on both sides. It's done if it's turned lighter through the piece and chunks will easily crumble off when poked with a fork.
Peel and cut up the avocado, mash it with a fork, add the cream cheese, cilantro and lime juice and mix. Season with salt if you want to.
Boil the pasta until al dente ( ~7 min).
Toss the pasta in the avocado-cream cheese mixture.
Serve with a half of the salmon fillet on top of the spaghetti or crumble chunks of fish into your pasta. Grate some cheese on top to finish it off

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Desserts for Easter

We spent Easter at my parent's house and my sister also came from Germany. This meant a lot of nice meals and nice desserts. Even though my menu is still rather limited, I quite enjoyed cooking luscious desserts for others. And I did have a little bit of the croissant pudding :)

As my mom and sister both love meringue, I made the Pavlova again. This time with cherries. And judging by the tiny bite I took and the fact that it was quickly devoured, it was blissful yet again.

And I tried another Nigella-dessert that I saw on her Nigella Express show and that's kept me drooling ever since... the caramel croissant pudding.

Nigella's Caramel Croissant Pudding (Nigella Lawsoni croissantivorm karamelliga):

serves 6

6 stale croissants (but if you have some stale croissants and some other stale pastry as well, you can easily add that, I used 4 croissants, and a bit of poppy seed pastry)
250 gr sugar
8 tbsp of water
400 ml whipping cream or double cream
200 ml milk
6 tbsp whiskey
4 eggs, beaten (as I had 5 leftover egg yolks after making the Pavlova, I used those + an additional egg and it worked nicely as well)

Preheat the oven to 180C.
Tear the croissants into pieces and put in a lasagna dish or any other deep oven tin.

Put the sugar and water into a saucepan, and swirl around to help dissolve the sugar before putting the saucepan over a medium heat.
Caramelise the sugar and water mixture by letting it bubble away, without stirring, until it turns a deep amber color. If you mix it, it'll go all wrong. It'll crystallize and get hard.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream, the milk and the whiskey (original recipe asks for bourbon, but I didn't have any, so I used some of 12 year old single malt my dad had :).

Any solid toffee that forms in the pan will dissolve easily if you keep whisking over low heat.
Now whisk in the beaten eggs. Pour over the croissants and leave to steep for 10 minutes before placing in the oven for 20 minutes.

It was really, really, really mind-meltingly nice. Almost competed with the fantabulous bread pudding I had in The Spot in La Jolla, CA. That one I still am unable to forget and I don't even know where to start in order to recreate it.

Friday, April 3, 2009

More really simple pasta - Spring pasta with zucchini and carrots

I've told you about my newly found love for pasta. Well that paired with an increased intake of whole-grain products naturally brought me to organic whole-grain spaghetti, which I bought in my favorite organic food store. I wasn't sure what would go well with it initially, but then one night before dozing off it came to me. Here it is, a nice springtime pasta dish that's really easy to make. I loved it. S, however, suspiciously picked in it with his fork and said 'Well, this spaghetti doesn't look that sexy.' And when I looked at him with mild disapproval, he continued, even more suspiciously: 'What's wrong with it then? Is it some kind of healthy again?'

So here we go then, some kind of healthy pasta for girls :)

Whole grain spaghetti with zucchini and carrots: (Täisterapasta suvekõrvitsa ja porgandiga):
serves 3

~150 gr whole grain spaghetti
1 zucchini
1 large carrot
3 tbsp cream cheese
1-2 tbsp olive or sunflower oil
fresh or dried basil
freshly ground sea salt
3-4 leaves of iceberg lettuce
Grana Padano or any other kind of hard cheese for serving

Peel the carrot and grate or cut it into thin strips. Cut the zucchini up into small cubes.
Boil the pasta according to directions until al dente (6-8 minutes).

Heat the oil in a deep pan and quickly fry the carrots and zucchini until zucchini cubes are lightly golden brown here and there. Add the basil and sea salt.

Mix in the cream cheese.
Shred the iceberg lettuce (I only thought of this the second time I was having this pasta, so it's not on the photo) and toss it in with the drained spaghetti.
Serve with Grana Padano or any other kind of hard cheese.

For those who can, I'd also recommend adding roasted garlic, the nutty taste of it will compliment the zucchini and Grana Padano and the mild sweetness of the whole grain pasta nicely.