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postheadericon Ricotta cake

Ricotta cake

This ricotta cake is inspired in a very popular cake we make in Portugal. We don’t use ricotta but have a similar product called “requeijao”  – from what I’ve read, it looks like we can actually say it’s the same think: they have a very similar texture, similar taste and are made from the same product i.e the milk solids that remain in the whey after the production of cheese.

So i decided that I could try our recipe and use ricotta instead. Because of the similarities between these two cheese products, it was easy to adapt the recipe. And I was very happy with the result. I haven’t had this cake in a long time and it made think of home, of course 🙂 There’s quite a lot of desserts around that are made with ricotta but this one is different. You can’t really tell is made of cheese, it just seems like a cake but more compact, not as soft as you would expect. We love it with coffee or tea in the morning, not so much as a dessert to have after dinner. Each slice can be quite filling so better to have it as breakfast or afternoon snack.

When making this cake, you will realize that the dough is quite thick. Don’t worry, it’s normal. In my case, it gave me the opportunity to use my silicone cake mold. I always struggle to use it: most of the time the dough’s too liquid and the whole mold wobbles 🙂 And I get the feeling everything is going to end up on my kitchen floor 🙂 I hope you are better them me at this!

 

Ricotta cake

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 12 slices

Ingredients

250g fresh ricotta
330g sugar
3 tbsp milk
225g flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 eggs

Instructions

Preheat oven - 180c
In a bowl , place the ricotta and mash it together with 3 egg yolks .Then add sugar, milk, flour and baking powder. Mix well.
Beat the egg whites to a stiff peak and fold them into the mixture.
Place the dough in a cake tin previously buttered and sprinkled with flour.
Place it in the oven for about 35 min.

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postheadericon Creamy scallop chowder

Creamy scallop chowder

I don’t know if anyone actually noticed but I have been missing for a while now. For almost 3 months to be more precise. And for that a apologise. I know that lately it’s been happening quite a lot and I feel really bad about it.  I wish the reason was related to some relaxing holidays in a remote paradise but unfortunately life can be really unfair sometimes. Due to family health problems I had to be away for quite a long period. And although I’ve done quite a lot of cooking, there was just not the time to share it with you. Fortunately, the situation is more stable now and I can try to be more regular on my conversations with all of you.

For me Summer is synonymous of a lot of grilling and a lot of fish on my table. Back at my parents the grill is used daily and we eat a lot of grilled fish. Back here the grill has been used a lot but mainly for meat. But I can’t live without fish or seafood when is this hot outside. And because the boyfriend struggles with fish bones I’m always on the look out for new types of fish/seafood recipes to make everyone happy. Sorry if I keep repeating this story but it’s the truth 😊

So this time, I have chosen an ingredient that I only tried to cook once before: scallops. I really like it but it’s expensive so I tend to save it for a special occasion. In the past, I’ve always had scallops as a starter so I decided to follow the “tradition”. When I see chefs cooking scallops in tv, it always seems really easy, don’t you think? But then I always hear that you can get it so wrong so easily. So I decided to take the safest road and make a delicious and creamy scallop chowder. My boyfriend never had it before so I was happy to show him something different 😃 And he loved it!

Creamy scallop chowder

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 2 people

Ingredients

6 big scallops
2 tbsp butter
2 green onions, minced
200g fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup wh8te wine
1 tsp salt
1 pinch pepper
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions

Wash and drain the scallops. Cut them in half.
In a small pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the green onions and mushrooms and saute until tender.
Stir in the flour.
Pour in the milk and stir well over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.
Add the wine, scallops, salt and pepper.
Cook over medium heat until thickened.
Serve sprinkled with chopped parsley

 

postheadericon Pork shank roasted in beer

Pork shank roasted in beer

Now, don’t you think that a Sunday deserves a roast? That’s why I’m sharing with you my pork shank roasted in beer recipe 🙂 It’s a classic piece of meat with the beer sauce as a twist. Result: finger licking delicious 🙂

Back home, Sunday was the only day that my mum would cook lunch (as she was working during the rest of the days!). During the week she would try to cook simple and fast recipes for dinner, otherwise we would end up having supper at midnight! So on Sundays she could complicate things a bit more. The thing is that my mother is not exactly a cooking mum. According to her: she cooks because we have to eat. She’s not even worried about her, it’s all about me and my dad. And because my grandmother was the same, I don’t have family recipes or food traditions. Whichever traditions we have now, were introduced lately by my mum and some by me. So saying that she could complicate things a bit more on Sundays usually meant that we would have some sort of roast. In her defense, she actually does quite a good chicken roast 🙂 The kind of meat would be a decision taken at our local butcher, it would depend on what he had available or his recommendation. Pork shank was a very popular choice so I learned how to cook it in various ways. For me, one of the tastiest and easiest is this one where the shank is cooked with beer. Try it and let me know if it’s not easy and delicious 🙂

Pork shank roasted in beer

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 3/4 people

Ingredients

1 pork shank (of approx. 1300g)
60 ml of oil
1 chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp rosemary
1l of beer
700g potatoes
Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

Preheat the oven - 190C
Place the shank in a large pan and season with salt and pepper.
Add the onion, garlic, paprika, tomato paste, rosemary, olive oil, beer and 400ml of water.
Cover and cook over medium heat for 40 minutes.
Halfway through cooking, turn the shank.
After 40 minutes and when the leg starts to get tender, remove it from the pan and place it on a tray to go in the oven.
Around, spread the potatoes and drizzle everything with the cooking sauce from the pan.
Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
After all is roasted, remove from the oven.
Serve the shank with a greens salad

postheadericon Mexican steak fajitas

Mexican steak fajitas

We really like Mexican food in my house… from tacos to fajitas, tortilla chips, burritos, enchiladas, you name it 🙂 so Mexican steak fajitas it’s a dish I cook a lot. It can me messy but we like it and the boyfriend asks for it quite regularly!

Although we call it Mexican, fajitas it’s actually a Tex-Mex dish. It’s said to have started with the Mexican cowboys working in Texas. When the American cowboys butchered cows they would give the Mexican cowboys the least desirable parts (head, intestines and skirt steak) as part of their pay. The skirt steak cut into strips was called Fajitas! The Mexican workers would tenderize the meat and cook it over an open fire. They would then serve it with various condiments rolled in a flour tortilla. Along the years this dish started being served in restaurants in Texas and it started to be called fajitas. Technically, only when using steak strips we should call it fajitas. But the term started to be used to any meat or even seafood wrapped in a tortilla. It’s a very popular dish mainly because of the diversity of flavours that can be added to it and the ease of assembly.

We really like it because I end up taking advantage and I use what is left in the fridge. When it comes to the condiments, I prefer to do my own sauces like Guacamole or Salsa Pico de Gallo . I just never made sour cream at home. But sometimes I cheat and buy bottled sauces. Not the same but faster. But whichever way I make it, it’s always a hit!

Ps – Check my Basic recipe section for the Guacamole and Salsa Pico de Gallo recipes

Mexican steak fajitas

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 2/3 people

Ingredients

800g of minute steak, cut into strips
6 to 8 flour Tortillas
1 red pepper, cut into strips
1 green pepper, cut into strips
1 yellow pepper, cut into strips
1 onion, cut into slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
Chili powder, to taste
Dried oregano, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Guacamole sauce
Sour cream
Salsa "Pico de Gallo"
1 cucumber, cut into small cubes
Juice of 1 lemon
Baked beans
Tabasco
Arugula
Grated cheese

Instructions

Season the meat with salt and pepper.
Heat a frying pan, add a little oil and place the meat strips. Stir so that all the meat changes colour. Remove and set aside.
In the same pan, put a little more oil and add the onion, garlic and peppers. Stir for 2 mins and add the reserved meat. Mix well.
Season with chilli and oregano to taste and stir to mix well.
Season with salt and remove when the meat is cooked and the vegetables "al dent"
On a serving container, place the diced cucumber and season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
In a small saucepan, heat the baked beans and season with tabasco. Place in a serving container.
For serving: on the table place the pan with the meat and vegetables, guacamole, sour cream, arugula, baked beans, cucumber, salsa "pico de gallo", cheese and tortillas.
Place 1 tortilla on the plate, add the ingredients to taste, roll and enjoy.

postheadericon Strawberry cheesecake

Strawberry cheesecake

I’m finding Malta to be a strawberry paradise during this time of the year 🙂 and what a better way to celebrate it than by making a delicious Strawberry cheesecake? I totally agree 🙂

I can’t really explain why but for a long time I wasn’t a fan of cheesecake! I wasn’t a fan of creamy desserts in general and particularly desserts involving whipped cream. I honestly don’t know why because now I love it! And I love cheese so why not cheesecake? Weird, I know!!!!

Malta loves their strawberries and when they start to show on the markets you know Spring is coming 🙂 With the weather changing we are starting to have strawberries earlier each year. I can swear I saw strawberries on a vegetable truck as early as February this year! But April and May are the best months for these red beauties… after, it becomes too hot. Here, there’s even a very famous Strawberry Festival in Mgarr which unfortunately I haven’t visited yet… next year for sure…

This was the first time I’ve made strawberry cheesecake… or any cheesecake! It’s been a while since I started ordering cheesecake for dessert in restaurants but I never thought about making it myself. A few weeks ago, my boyfriend came home with two big boxes of strawberries that he got from his colleague that has a farm. I diced the strawberries from one box and added lemon juice, sugar and Port wine. Simple and really tasty 🙂 But I still had a whole box to use and I couldn’t really leave it to waste. And then it clicked: why not try to make strawberry cheesecake? And this is the result 🙂

Strawberry cheesecake

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Yield: 12 slices

Ingredients

Base:
200g digestive biscuits, crushed into very small pieces
90g butter
50g sugar
Cream:
1 can of condensed milk (397g)
200g cream cheese
400g strawberries
400ml whipped cream
4 tbsp sugar
8 sheets of gelatin
70ml milk
Sauce:
160g sugar
7 tbsp water
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick
400g strawberries

Instructions

Base:
In a small pan, place the butter. When melted, remove from the heat and add the chopped biscuits and sugar. Stir until everything is well blended.
Place the mixture in a cake tin with removable bottom.
Press down well to make it a compact base.
Place in the fridge until it's firm.
Cream:
Reduce the strawberries to a pure with a hand held blender.
Put the gelatin sheets to soak in cold water for 5 minutes.
In a saucepan, bring the milk to a boil.
When hot, add the well squeezed gelatin leaves and stir.
Once the gelatin sheets are dissolved, turn off the heat.
Beat the cream until it becomes fluffy and bulky. Add the sugar and beat until it becomes whipped cream.
In a bowl, put the cheese and condensed milk. Beat with a wire whisk until everything is well blended.
Add the gelatin sheets dissolved in milk and mix.
Finally, mix in the strawberries puree.
Mix this the cream with the whipped cream.
Place the cream on top of the biscuit base.
Place in the fridge for at least 5 hours until it is fully solidified.
Sauce:
With a fork, crush the strawberries.
In a saucepan, place the water, the sugar and the cinnamon stick. Simmer for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, add the crushed strawberries and lemon juice.
Stir and cook over low heat for 45 minutes, until it becomes a thick sauce.
After the 45 mins, turn off the heat and remove the cinnamon stick. Let the sauce cool completely.
After the cream is solidified and the sauce is cold, spread the sauce over the dessert.
Pass a knife around the rim of the tin and pull out the sides. And is ready to serve.

 

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