Some things are just universally loved. Like finding money in your pockets or banana muffins for breakfast. Other things are universally hated, like smashing your little toe against a table, or mondays. Most people find mondays truly horrible; it’s the day they have to get up early again, go to work, and accept the fact that there are five more days of the same before the weekend comes again. I, on the other hand, happen to be a complete lunatic and absolutely love mondays. And don’t get me wrong, I love weekends as well… but they just take a huge toll on my doing-things-I-love-on-my-own schedule. For example, I can never have the discipline to work out on weekends. Or to walk my dogs, or read, or try out new recipes, or start a new work project, or finish another one I had at the back of my mind. I also get tons of ideas during weekends for cooking, or drawing or designing or just in general things I’d like to do, and I invariably forget them after a night out with friends. Which are absolutely worth it… but they make me crave monday morning the same as I crave banana muffins any other morning. There’s an incredibly good feeling when you don’t hit the snooze button and get to walk outside with the sunrise that carries on throughout the day, making those five days till friday actually really great. Almost as great as waking up to the smell of freshly baked muffins – which is what happens at my house when I don’t get to work out because of a bad ankle. I just bake instead. In this case, greek yogurt, chocolate chip, oat and ultra banana-ish banana muffins. They’re the perfect consistency, so smooshy from bananas you might even think there’s no flour instead. And not overly sweet, which means you won’t feel like you’re having cake for breakfast. (on monday! Asolute no-no. That’s ok on saturdays only) Not too much butter in them either, so have one after lunch as well. And since even sharing you can’t possibly eat all 12 in one day, have some post-monday. Read more for the recipe!
Most bakers love bite-sized things. They’re just irresistible to make. There’s something about seeing a small army of pastries, all properly lined up on baking sheets waiting for their time in the oven. And when dressing, rolling, cutting or stuffing, there’s a strange pleasure to be found in doing the same thing for each one of the small baked goods, trying to get them as even as possible. (Or maybe I’m slightly obsessive and find this satisfying…). But who can deny the appeal of a basket filled with bite-sized treats? No one. And I’ll tell you why; if you had a basket of regular-sized croissants sitting on your breakfast table, the most you could grab in one sitting, without losing face in front of your breakfasting companions, is one lonely piece. And pushing it, you could eat half of this piece with one topping and the other with a different one. But if you have a basket full of mini-croissants… the possibilities are endless! Because no one will judge you if you spread nutella on one, take another one and smear some butter and marmalade on it, take a third one and dip it in your milk, or even if you take a fourth one to accompany a little bit of ham and cheese you had left over on your plate. That’s the beauty of bite sized. Small pastries just keep telling you to eat them because they know they’re so small that what could be the harm in just one more? And they’re absolutely right. Such is the case with these fluffy, buttery, cinnamon stuffed mini-brioches. It’s like just eating the center of a brioche-a-tete several times over. Because once you have one you will have to have a second one and quite possibly a third one. And that’s ok. No one will judge you.
Read more for the recipe!
So I know it hasn’t been that long since I rambled about nutella. And I know that the last time I didn’t just use nutella once in the same recipe, nor twice. It was three times (Yes, because how else would you get nutella cupcakes stuffed with ferreros and nutella frosting?). And yet here I am with another recipe. Our love for each other isn’t special, I know a lot of people out there share the same passion for chocolate-y spread. Our love isn’t secret, I’ve been known to eat spoonfuls of the stuff in front of small crowds. It isn’t fleeting either, I have always loved it and always will. It isn’t moderate…and I don’t need to explain that bit. The one thing our love is, is delicious. Because yes. That’s what nutella is and there’s no amount of elaborate words I or anyone else could say to explain it better. So why not channel that delicious love into a thin, crispy cookie? The kind you put on a scoop of vanilla (or chocolate) ice cream. The kind you store in a tin and when you open it you say “only one” but they’re so thin and crispy that you end up having three (or four). Yes, that kind of cookie. Because apart from being delicious, nutella is so incredibly versatile. From creamy to crispy and all the colors in the rainbow in between. So here’s another recipe for all you nutella nuts (no pun intended) out there. Read more to find it. Continue reading
You know how at certain points in your life you have to just shout out “Screw it, I don’t give a damn about anyone or anything and I’m just going to do whatever I like!”? I do. It doesn’t happen to me that often, but when it does I feel reaaaaally good. (Almost as good as when I eat nutella, but no, not quite) My life lately has been exactly like that. Things happen, people happen, problems happen…and when there’s nothing you can do about anything, the only thing left to do is exactly that – to not give a damn. Especially if at that precise moment of your life you happen to have a 25th birthday which makes you feel incredibly old, single, and stuck in life. (Is this a 25 year old rule or something?) And if you can not give a damn surrounded by friends who are equally not giving any of those damns, then everything is much better! Just like chocolate cupcakes, stuffed with another chocolate and covered with some more chocolate spread. Too much chocolate? Who gives a damn???? And there is no such thing as too much nutella, ever. But I’ll leave my torrid love affair with the heavenly spread for another post. (Suffices to say the frosting recipe called for 100 grams nutella. I used 200. Have no regrets.) Meanwhile, you should really go and read more for this absolutely over the top recipe, who doesn’t care what anyone has to say about it.
There really isn’t much I can say to sell you on this recipe…it contains the words grilled and cheese in the title, so I don’t really need to make an effort, do I? Everyone knows that those two words are heaven in a sandwich, guaranteed. Even if it’s just two slices of buttery grilled bread with gooey cheese in between and nothing more. But I took it upon myself to make a melt-in-your-mouth grilled cheese using wheat thins. (Not the crackers, the flat bread) I know, wheat thins don’t even count as bread, at least not in my book. But they make excellent shells for grilled cheese, because they’re so thin they become crispy and deliciously buttery. And if you pair them with semi cured Manchego de oveja*, snow peas and wilted arugula with a generous dab of dijon mustard….well…need I say more? I know, imported spanish cured cheese seems a bit fancy for wheat thins…but it’s seriously an amazing combo! Or maybe it was the peas. Or the arugula. Or the butter. Or the fact that I served them with sweet corn cobs grilled in parsley butter. Take my word for it, whatever it was, you’ll want to try one! Read more for the recipe.
*For those who don’t have it around, Manchego de oveja is a DO spanish cheese made from the milk of sheep originally from the La Mancha region, hence the name manchego. It varies in hardness according to the time it’s been cured. You can read more about it right here.
I have continued to neglect the uploading of recipes….I know…I’m terrible. But I’m always busy or sick. Right now I’m recovering from my 4th respiratory disease of some sort in less than two months. It’s crazy. Just when I’m getting back on the wagon, back to a good daily routine with lots of exercise, cooking, crafting and gazillions of endorphins per day (either from exercise or chocolate…you guess)….no, my body says. And its back to resting for three days straight without doing anything fun. Hmmph. This has to stop! The good part of not posting though, is that I’ve cooked a lot of new things in between posts, and so I can pick the yummiest! This time I present you with a hard to surpass combination; chocolate and peanut butter, on a crunchy, buttery, flaky tartlet. Sounds delicious? That’s cause they are. I created these because I had a birthday dinner party for one of my best friends, but she’s super tiny (tinier than me) and so I made mini everything for dinner. (Yes, again) Tiny burgers, tiny fries, tiny salads, tiny stuffed portobellos, and of course, tiny desserts! Pavlovas, which I’ll post as soon as I sort the photos out, and these incredibly good chocolate peanut butter tartlets. The tartlet shells are a bit tedious, yes. But you can skip that and make a regular size tart using a pastry ring, because the filling is really really easy and fast. Just make sure you weigh your tart shell properly. Read more for the recipe!
(The above mentioned tiny dinner. See why I had to make tarlets?)
This is a dish I first tried when I was living in Paris (I know, insane to think I went all those years before that without knowing the heaven-in-your-mouth that these are!) and they are constantly lurking in the back of my mind as something I want to cook, but whenever I go to the supermarket the shallot box is always so pitifully hidden away in a corner with only a few sad, small, shrivelling shallots scattered in it. And so I lose my inspiration. It’s strange, because as far as I know Mexico does produce a fair amount of shallots….apparently my supermarket seems to think it’s okay to sell only what’s leftover in the crates. Granted, I’ve never seen big, round, beautiful shallots as they have in France around here, and I can’t even imagine the ones they have in Asia, but I did find a few decent sized bulbs on my last trip there. And paired with a couple of rib-eye thin steaks I had in my freezer and green bean crocant salad, I finally got around to having these in the comfort of my own home. They can be served as a side dish, on top of meat or chicken, on rice, or whatever else you fancy. They could probably also be a main dish if you can find big enough shallots and are a vegetarian, I would just reduce the sugar amount a bit. And, if you find that your local supermarket is imitating mine, you can do this recipe with only very small shallots, and make a delicious sauce, which would go superbly over a few slices of turkey. (In fact…I’ll probably come back and post that sometime soon). But no more rambling, on to the recipe!