Tag Archives: cooking

Chili with pasta


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Spring made a spectacular entry into Madrid. With a hint of summer, temperatures invited us to wear sandals and sundresses… But this weekend, cold winds and rain sent us back home, saying turn on that oven and bake, bake! ;)
IngredientsP1110631

  • 500 g ground beef
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 500 g crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • ½ jalapeno chopped
  • ½ cup water
  • 500 g elbow macaroni
  • 4 cups Béchamel sauce with cheese *

* Béchamel sauce with cheese

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 225 g shredded cheddar cheese

DirectionsP1110629
Béchamel: Melt butter, add flour, stirring constantly, incorporate the milk gradually, stirring to avoid lumps. Add cheese and stir until melted. Finally add salt and nutmeg. Set aside.

Chili: Sauté onion, bell pepper, jalapeno and garlic in a pan with olive oil until soft. Remove from the pan and add the meat. Sauté until golden brown. Reincorporate the veggies, add tomatoes and chili powder. Stir well, add water and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Cook the pasta al dente according to package directions.
Mix three-quarters of the béchamel with the pasta and three quarters of the chili. Pour into a baking dish and cover with the rest of the béchamel and the chili; sprinkle with grated cheese and bake at 180 ° C for 20 minutes.

Enjoy!

Marshmallow Cupcakes revisited


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Last year I made a batch of these marshmallow cupcakes, but I wasn’t 100% satisfied with them. Don’t get me wrong, they were delicious, is just that the fact that they filled with melted marshmallows made it so difficult and created such a mess in my kitchen…

That’s why today I give you a new version of these beauties, they are moist and tender and of course super delicious, you are going to love them.
This cheerful dessert will take us all back to our childhood and, as Frank would say, they will make us…“ ♫ ♪ want to run and play hide-and-seek, and bounce the moon just like a big toy balloon… ♫ ♪

Ingredients

  • 120 g flour
  • 140 g caster sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 45 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 120 ml whole milk
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 medium pink marshmallows
  • 200 g mini marshmallows, to decorate
  • Vanilla frosting

Directions

Preheat your oven to 170 ° C (325 ° F). Line a cupcake pan with paper cases.P1110640

Put flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in an electric mixer and beat at low speed until you have a sandy consistency.

Gradually add half the milk and beat until it is well incorporated.

In another bowl, whisk the remaining milk with the egg and vanilla, and then pour this into the flour mixture. Continue beating until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Do not beat too much.

Fill the cupcakes cases with a spoon until 2/3 of its capacity and bake for 15 minutes; after that time, without taking the cupcakes out of the oven, place one medium pink marshmallow on top of each one and continue baking for 5 more minutes or so. The cupcakes should be lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the middle will come out clean.

Allow them to cool slightly in the pan before turning them out onto a rack to cool completely.

Now brush the cupcakes with vanilla syrup and decorate with a vanilla buttercream, such as this one and place a few small marshmallows on top of that.

Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from The Hummingbird bakery. Cupcakes and muffins

Strawberry cupcakes


These delicious cupcakes were made for a lady who wanted to try our strawberry cupcakes for her daughter’s First Communion celebration, so they are pretty special.

First you have a moist vanilla cake, soak in natural strawberry syrup, topped with a scrumptious strawberry buttercream and a little bit of diced fresh strawberries to add a touch of color.

French style onion soup


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These photographs have been “sitting” in my computer for weeks, waiting to be posted alongside a clever and enticingly written post. Well, good luck with that! ;)

Anyway, here it is. I hope that now those delicious caramelized onions will stop yelling at me that they were born to be published every time I walk by my desk.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 4 – 5 onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 liters vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 160 ml dry white vermouth
  • 3 tbsp. brandy
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

Heat the oil and melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add onion, stir well and cover. Cook at low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Raise the heat a bit and add garlic, sugar and one teaspoon of salt. Cook for 30 – P111055940 minutes, stirring frequently until the onions are caramelized.

Meanwhile, pour the broth into another pot and bring it to a boil.

Add flour to the onions and cook for another 3 minutes stirring constantly. Pour the vermouth and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring, until the alcohol had evaporated. Then start adding the broth and bring everything to a boil, turn down the heat, put on the lid and allow it to boil for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, we can make the croutons (but be careful! I burned my only batch of baguettes and ended using slices of white bread instead).

Preheat the grill and roast the bread in both sides. Rub them with a garlic clove, cover with grated cheese and grill again for a few minutes until the cheese has melted.

Finally, add the brandy, remove the pot from the heat, taste it and add salt and pepper as needed.

Serve immediately with one crouton on top.

Enjoy!

This recipe is courtesy of Chica Andaluza, who gave me this fantastic book: 1 stock 100 soups

Sweet baked samosas two ways


Hi!

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I made these the other day to take to a friend’s house where we were having a small gathering.

The “recipe” couldn’t be easier: just go and by some filo or brick pastry and then prepare the filling. You may use one of these two, which are delicious, or come up with one of you own.

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Ingredients

  • 8 sheets of filo or brick pastry cut lengthwise
  • Melted butter to brush the pastry
  • 2 sweet bananas, diced
  • 1 or tbsp. of sugar
  • The juice of 1/4 lime
  • 175-200 g chopped dark chocolate
  • Confectioner sugar and cinnamon to sprinkle
  • Wild berries
  • White chocolate
  • Brown sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 190 ºC (374 ºF).

Filo pastry needs to be protected from air, or it will dry and crack when working with it, so it’s best to handle it one by one and keep the rest covered.

To make the first version, mix in a bowl bananas, lime juice, sugar and chocolate. Brush one rectangle of pastry with the melted butter, place a couple of teaspoons of the filling near the top. Fold the end of the pastry over the filling making a triangular shape and continue folding down the strip to the bottom, alternating diagonal and straight folds to maintain the triangular shape.

I found this fantastic step by step at Chef in disguise blog (and another filling!); the link is in the picture.

samboosek-steps

To make the second version, simply mix the fruits with the chopped white chocolate and fill and fold the pastry as before. But bear in mind that berries tend to release plenty of juice when cooked, so don’t overfill them or the pockets will burst.

Place them on a baking sheet; sprinkle the banana-chocolates somosas with confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon and the ones with berries with brown sugar and cinnamon.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Well, that’s it! Now is your turn :)

Enjoy!

Sausages with bacon and apple


P1090974This is a quick recipe for these long and cold winter days. You just need a few ingredients and the result is a delicious and heartwarming dish.

Ingredients

  • 8 slices of smoked bacon
  • 8 pork sausages of good quality
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 red apples cut into eighths

DirectionsIMGP1008

Preheat the oven to 200 ºC (390 ºF). Wrap each sausage with a slice of bacon.

Pour the oil into an ovenproof dish, place it on the stove and sauté the sausages until golden brown. Put the baking dish in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Add the apples and bake for 10 more minutes, until the sausages are done and the apples are caramelized.

A good choice as side dish are mashed potatoes, a match made in heaven!

Enjoy!

From the book 101 Budget Dishes

Devil’s food cake


P1110394Devil’s food cake

Is amazing how time flies! I thought I was keeping a good blogging rhythm lately, but apparently it’s been more than 10 days since my last post… phew! Sorry about that!

I few weeks back a friend asked me if I can bake a chocolate cake for her and her family, and the first recipe that came to my mind was Devil’s food cake.

Rich, moist, dark and crumbly, wrapped in scrumptious chocolate fudge frosting…, well you can imagine…despite its name, it is heavenly!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 3 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 8 ounces (226 g) unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract

Frosting

  • ½ cup butter, cubed
  • 4 ounces (113 g) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 3 ¾ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

DirectionsP1110395

Preheat the oven to 350 ºF (180 ºC). Grease and lightly cover with cocoa or flour two 9×2 inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with waxed paper.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Beat the egg yolks until thick and lemon colored, about 2 minutes.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and the sugar until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolks, beating until well combined. Add the chocolate, mixing until well incorporated. Add the dry ingredients in thirds, alternating with the milk and the vanilla, beating after each addition until smooth.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold into the batter. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of cake comes out clean.

Let cakes cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.

For the frosting, in a small saucepan, melt butter and chocolate and cool for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, beat sugar, milk and vanilla together until smooth. Gradually, beat in chocolate mixture until frosting is light and fluffy.

When cake has cooled, ice between the layers, then ice top and sides of cake.

Decorate with some grated chocolate.

Enjoy!

Source: The complete Magnolia Bakery cookbook

anniversary-1x

P.S. Today is my third anniversary of blogging at WordPress. Here’s for many more to come. Thanks a lot for your support and, in many cases, your friendship!

Love,

Giovanna

Fruit Cake and Ron Ponche


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There is a saying in Spain, “till San Anton, Easter is”, obviously in Spanish it rhymes. But the point is that it is still perfectly correct to post Christmas recipes (until Saint Anthony’s feast day, January 17th), so here they are: two Christmas classics.

When I lived in Panama, from one year to another the holidays’ menus could change from turkey to ham or chicken pie, there could be at the table tamales or rice. But two things were a constant: Fruit cake and Ron Ponche. When I was growing up, my grandparents’ house was the headquarter of every main celebration, so the house was always fill with friends and family and there was always the distant cousin that will make his/hers appearances by that time, so you ought to be prepare…and have a fruitcake at hand!

As I didn’t want to break with this tradition this year, even being away, I made a reduced version of a fruitcake and a small batch of Ron Ponche.

You shall keep these recipes for next Christmas and give a Panamanian touch to your holidays.

Ron Ponche

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This is the Panamanian version of Egg Nog. During the Holydays, every time you pay a visit, there’s a 99,99% chance that you will be offered a glass of Ron ponche and a piece of fruit cake… at least in the good old days :)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups condensed milk
  • 3 cups evaporated milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¾ cup rum or to taste

Directions

In a medium saucepan, mix the milks and water and heat them over medium heat, until hot but not simmering, stirring occasionally.

In a small bowl, beat the yolks and add to it 3 tablespoons (one at a time) of the milk mixture to raise the temperature of the yolks, stirring continuously.

When the milk mixture starts to simmer, add the egg yolks in a thin stream, stirring constantly to prevent lumps forming.

Keep cooking over medium- low heat, stirring frequently, until mixture begins to thicken, about 20 minutes (do not let simmer).

Remove from heat, pour through a fine sieve into a bowl to remove any lumps, add the vanilla and whisk.

Allow it to cool and incorporate nutmeg. Finally, add the rum until it is to your liking.

Refrigerate before serving.

Fruit cake

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With this recipe I cheated a little. I was inspired by Peggy Porschen’s recipe (the amounts are perfect for a little cake), but I gave it the Panamanian touch by adding some of the ingredients that we usually find in fruit cakes in Panama.

Ingredients

Fruits Mix

  • 200 grams of raisins
  • 50 grams of chopped walnuts
  • A handful of chopped dried figs
  • 100 g of candied cherries, cut in half
  • 150 g of candied fruits, chopped
  • 60 ml of rum, whiskey or Port
  • 50 g of molasses
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon

Cake batter

  • 2 eggs
  • 90 grams of brown sugar
  • 115 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 90 g flour
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 30 ml of rum, whisky or port for soaking (optional)

Directions

This cake is richer when prepared 3-4 days before eating, well wrapped to preserve moisture. You may want to feed it with the chosen alcohol several times before serving it.

The first step is to place all the ingredients for the fruit mix into a big bowl, stir well and cover with cling film. Leave to infuse overnight at room temperature.

The next day, preheat the oven to 140 º C ( 285 º F) , line a 20cm round cake tin with baking paper and place the oven rack in the lowest level.

Beat the eggs and sugar in a medium bowl.

In the mixer bowl, mix butter with ground almonds until the mixture is creamy.

Add eggs and mix until well incorporated, if it starts to curdle, add a tablespoon of flour, which will help to bind the mixture.

Whisk the remaining dry ingredients and add to the wet ingredients in two batches, mixing until just combined.

Add the fruit and mix well with a spatula or a wooden spoon.

Pour the mixture into the cake tin, level the surface with the back of a spoon and tap on your counter to release any air bubbles.

Bake for 2 or 3 hours, depending on your oven. To prevent overbrowning, place an empty tray in the rack above the cake.

The cake is ready when the top is golden brown and a knife or skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. While still warm, brush the top of the cake with the chosen alcohol.

Leave the cake to cool completely on a wire rack before wrapping in greaseproof and aluminum foil.

Enjoy!

Madrilenian stew


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The origins of the cocido are uncertain, but most sources agree that probably it was created during the Middle Ages as an evolution of the Sephardic dish adafina or maybe of the olla podrida manchega (potpourri).

Following the first line, long cooking dishes were indispensable for Jews as they allowed hearty meals during Shabbat. These first versions were kosher, using eggs and without pork. But the Inquisition during the 15th and 16th centuries modified the dish substantially, as the fear of being denounced as Jewish forced Christians and converted Jews (Marranos) alike to prove themselves as Christians by incorporating pork into their meals. Soon lard, bacon, chorizo (pork sausage) and morcilla (blood sausage) were added to the dish.

Today’s version tries to emule the cocido served at the legendary restaurant Lhardy, established in Madrid in 1838 under the sponsorship of Eugenia de Montijo, wife of Napoleon III. They add another element to this dish, the filling or ball. Some people fry it with or without a coat of breadcrumbs before adding it to the pot. I didn’t do it, too many steps, but here are the ingredients too in case you want to try it.

Ingredients

  • 300 g of chickpeas
  • 3 chorizos
  • 3 blood sausages (Black pudding)
  • 3 sausages
  • 3 whole potatoes
  • 2 ham hocks
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 cabbage
  • 1 chicken
  • 1 veal shank
  • 1 piece of bacon
  • 1 piece of salted ham,
  • 300 ml of natural fried tomato sauce

For the ball or filling:

  • 400 g of ground beef
  • 150 g of bacon
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 eggs
  • Fresh bread crumbs
  • Parsley and sea salt

For the soup:

  • 1 handful of thin noodles for person

DirectionsP1090990

Soak chickpeas for 12 hours.

To make the ball or filling, mix the ground beef, garlic and parsley mashed with the eggs. Season and form a thick cylinder. Reserve.

In a pot with cold water, cook at loow heat for 2 hours all the meats and carrots. Once cooked, remove all the ingredients together with enough broth to give everything a boil just before serving.

In the remaining broth, add the ball (which you will remove after half hour of cooking), along with the chickpeas inside a cooking net. Cook them 2 ½ hours. In another pot with cold water, cook the diced cabbage and add the chorizo, ham, sausage and some bacon, cook for 2 hours.

Strain the cooking juices from the meats, bring to a boil and add the noodles, let them boil for 8 minutes, depending on their thickness.

Presentation:

The cocido is eaten traditionally in three “vuelcos” or spills: The soup, the veggies and the meats.

First, transfer the soup to a tureen. Put the chickpeas in a bowl with the meats, ball, and carrot. In another plate, place the cabbage, sausage, black pudding, chorizo, ham and potato. Serve with warm natural fried tomato sauce.

Enjoy!

Meatloaf


1

Very often, even the most pedestrian ingredients can become an exquisite dish when cooked with love, it doesn’t matter if the dish at issue is meatloaf… A few weeks back, looking for an idea for lunch with my parents in law I realized that I had never done meatloaf and that actually none of us have ever tasted it. So there it was and here it is, a delicious and moist meatloaf, an everyday dish dressed up for a special occasion.

I think there is no one better than the author who inspired me to cook this recipe, Ree Drummond, to describe it.

“…open your minds for a moment. Pretend the title of this dish does not contain the word “loaf.” Focus, instead, on the simplicity of the ingredients: a beautiful meat mixture bound together with bread and eggs and made delicious with Parmesan and seasonings. Focus, instead, on the fact that the meat mixture is wrapped lovingly in a blanket of thin, flavorful bacon, and topped with a tangy-sweet sauce that pulls it all together in perfect harmony”

Thank you Pioneer Woman!

2

Ingredients

Meatloaf:

  • 1 cup Whole Milk
  • 6 slices White Bread
  • 2 pounds Ground Beef
  • 1 cup (heaping) Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon Seasoned Salt
  • 3/4 teaspoons Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/3 cup Minced Flat-leaf Parsley
  • 4 whole Eggs, Beaten
  • 10 slices Thin/regular Bacon

Sauce:

  • 1 ½ cup Ketchup
  • 1/3 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
  • Tabasco to Taste

DirectionsP1110041

Preheat oven to 350 ºF (180 ºC). Pour milk over the bread slices. Allow it to soak in for several minutes.

Place the ground beef, milk-soaked bread, Parmesan, seasoned salt, salt, black pepper, and parsley in a large mixing bowl. Pour in beaten eggs.

With clean hands, mix the ingredients until well combined. Form the mixture into a loaf shape on a broiler pan, which will allow the fat to drain.

Lay bacon slices over the top, tucking them underneath the meatloaf.

Make the sauce mixing ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, and hot sauce. Stir together. Pour 1/3 of the mixture over the top of the bacon. Spread with a spoon.

Bake for 45 minutes, then pour another 1/3 of the sauce over the top. Bake for another 15 minutes. Slice and serve with remaining sauce.

Delicious!

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I hope to be able to come back and post another recipe before Christmas, but if I can’t, then I wish you all have a wonderful Christmas. God Bless you all!

G

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