Monday, September 15, 2014

Caramelized Onion Pumpkin Galette with Feta Cheese & Balsamic Sauce









Fall is almost here and it's time to start cooking with my favourite veggie - pumpkin! Why favourite? Because pumpkin is great with everything. Really, I couldn't think of anything that would taste wrong with pumpkin. You can make anything from pie to ice cream or from bread to stew.

And yes, summer wasn't very productive for me. I've only posted.. hmm how many times.. once? Yes, once. Shame on me. But now I definitely have much more ideas and recipes to try and write about. And here's one of them! This galette wasn't planned, I just had some leftover feta cheese in my fridge which was about to expire so I had to make something with it. I didn't expect anything special, but this galette came out surprisingly good! No, it was freakin' amazing! The dough is simple, a little bit flaky with crunchy edges but still soft and a little bit chewy. And that amazing pumpkin and caramelized onion filling topped with salty crumbled feta and drizzled with slightly sweet reduced balsamic... Yum! This is definitely a keeper!

Caramelized Onion Pumpkin Galette with Feta Cheese & Balsamic Sauce
Pastry:
185g flour
15ml /1 tbsp oil
pinch salt
1 small egg
60ml/1/4 cup water

Filling:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions (265g), sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
250g grated pumpkin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
50g feta cheese

Reduced Balsamic Sauce:
1/2c balsamic vinegar
1-2 tsp sugar

1) Mix flour, salt and olive oil with a fork. Add egg and mix to combine. Add water and mix until the mixture forms into a ball. Dust your hands with flour and knead for a few minutes, just until it holds together. The dough shouldn't be sticky. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and place in the fridge while you make the filling. (Usually I'm too lazy to oil the bowl so I just throw it in the fridge and leave it).

2) Preheat oven to 200C (400F).

3) In a small saucepan, place balsamic vinegar and sugar and bring to boil. Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat to low and let simmer until the vinegar is reduced in half.

4) Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan. Add onions and cook, covered, for about 5 minutes over medium-high heat. When they start browning, stir once, cover and leave to cook a little bit more. You can reduce the heat and/or add more oil if they brown too quickly. Once the onions are nicely brown, soft and fragrant, add garlic, pumpkin, salt, parsley, oregano and thyme. Stir, cover and cook over medium heat until the pumpkin softens, from 5 to 10 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed. Turn off the heat and leave uncovered.

5) Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it out into a 2-3mm thick circle. Transfer it to the baking tray (dusted with flour!). Spread the filling onto the dough, leaving about 5cm space on the edges. Sprinkle with feta cheese and fold the edges over the filling. (You could brush the edges of the pastry with egg wash but, again, I was too lazy to do that and I don't think it's necessary).

6) Bake for 15-20 minutes. Let cool for 5-10 minutes and drizzle with balsamic sauce. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Recipe by collecting memories


Monday, July 28, 2014

Ricotta Pastries





Have I ever mentioned that I love Italian desserts? And Ricotta cheese? Probably too may times. And, sure enough, these Italian Ricotta cheese pies were a hit. A soft lightly sweet pastry filled with a light and fluffy cheese filling. What I like about them is the airy texture of the filling and a slightly lemony flavour. They're not overly sweet which is good, and they perfectly pair with a cup of coffee. 
I found this recipe on Made in our kitchen and haven't changed anything in the recipe. This is just so great as is. Simple and so good.

And yes, collecting memories hasn't been updated for a long time. Shame on me. Let's say, I've been exploring the world and food a little bit. Luckily, I found this recipe unpublished in "drafts". Will be back!

Ricotta Pastries

Dough
250g/2 cups all-purpose flour
55g/1/4 cup granulated sugar
Pinch salt
2 large eggs
2 tbsp olive oil

Filling
250g/1/2 pound  ricotta cheese
2 large eggs, separated
30g/2 tbsp granulated sugar 
1 tsp lemon zest
Butter, for greasing muffin tin
Powdered sugar, for dusting



Dough:

1) In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar and a pinch of salt. Make a well in the center and beat in the eggs and oil to the well. Start incorporating the flour mixture by gently whisking the yolk mixture with a fork. Knead the dough until it forms a ball. Keep kneading the dough for another 5 minutes or until it's smooth and elastic. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and leave to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Filling:

1) While the dough is resting, make the filling. Mix together ricotta cheese, egg yolks, sugar and lemon zest until well combined.

2) In another bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Gradually fold in the whites into the yolk mixture. Set aside.

3) Preheat oven to 190ºC/375º F with rack in the middle. Grease 8 muffin cups with butter.

4) Roll out the dough to about 35cm/14inch square, 2 millimeters thick. Cut out 8 (10cm/4inch) squares. Placed squares into prepared muffin cups, pressing it to the bottom and the sides of a muffin cup with your fingers, leaving corners of pastry to overlap edges of the cup. Pour the filling into dough-lined cups, then fold dough corners over filling.

5) Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until pastries are puffed and golden. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, dusted with sifted powdered sugar.

Recipe adapted from here.


Monday, June 02, 2014

Mushroom Fritters





Meaty and filling mushroom fritters. These will leave you full for a long time without making you feel heavy. Just make sure you add dill - this is the key ingredient! Oh, and don't add all the flour at once. You may want to reduce/increase it a little bit as it will depend on how long you fried onions and mushrooms. Couldn't be easier! Just a few steps and you have yummy healthy fritters. And don't forget sour cream - the more, the better ;).

Mushroom Fritters 

250g mushrooms, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tsp dried dill
Generous pinch of salt
1 large egg
50g flour
Oil, for frying

1) In a saucepan, heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Fry onions until softened and golden brown. Add garlic, salt and dill. Finally add mushrooms, cover, reduce heat and let simmer until mushrooms start releasing liquid. Uncover and cook until all the liquid evaporates. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

2) Add egg and mix to combine. Finally, stir in flour. Mix well.

3) Heat a tablespoon of oil in a saucepan and drop 2-3 tablespoons of the batter. Flatten if needed. Fry on both sides until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Recipe by collecting memories

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Avocado Egg Salad (Mayo-free)







I was thinking what should I write in this post and couldn't think of anything interesting. I guess I'm not very productive after the exams session. But I'm already writing something, so it's not that bad, right?? Actually, I'll better say something about avocado. I love avocado. I especially fell in love with it after I making Avocado Brownies last week. Can you believe that it can be paired perfectly with eggs as well as with cocoa and sugar? Well, let's discuss this avocado egg salad now. It's amazing. Why? Because there's no mayo in it, which means, it's skinny and healthy, and still tastes wonderful! I believe this would be perfect wrapped in tortilla or simply used as spread on a slice of bread (what I did). Or... who said you can't eat it straight from the bowl?

Avocado Egg Salad (Mayo-free)

1 large ripe avocado (300g)
2 large eggs, hard boiled
1-2 cloves garlic
~20g Greek yogurt (1-2 tbsp)
salt & black pepper

1) Cut avocado into small/medium cubes and mash some of it. Cut egg into small cubes and mix with avocado. Mince garlic and mix together with avocado/egg.

2) Add Greek Yogurt and mix with a spoon, mashing avocado and egg a little bit. Season with salt and pepper.

Enjoy!

Recipe by collecting memories

Friday, May 23, 2014

Fudgy Cocoa Avocado Brownies (Butter, Egg & Flour-Free)






I've been trying to healthify some of the foods I make quite often recently. And sometimes I still can't believe that healthy food can taste so good. There's no surprise that the web is full of recipes with strange ingredients, for example, brownies with black beans or applesauce. And then you ask yourself: whaat? No way, how can you make brownies without butter? And, how can you put avocado in it? It should taste terrible. But, you know, I think it's unbelievable how healthy ingredients can be incorporated in our favourite fatty desserts without any unwanted taste. I think it's a real science! And then I decided to make avocado brownies... When they were still in the oven, I was very sceptical. But I was so curious to try them that I didn't even let them cool down. When I tasted them, my mind was blown out. They were the fudgiest and the most amazing brownies in the world! With no eggs, no flour, no refined sugar, no butter!! The next day I made them again and I will be making them again and again! The most surprising thing was that they came out perfectly on the first attempt. There's nothing to be added. And believe me, you can't taste any avocado. You better stop reading and mix up a batch of these.

Fudgy Cocoa Avocado Brownies (Butter, Egg & Flour-Free)

2 avocados, ripe
200g light brown sugar
2 tsp coconut oil, melted
50g unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla sugar (or vanilla extract)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp instant coffee granules
50g ground oats

1) Preheat oven to 180C. Prepare a 8x8 inch/20x20cm sicilone baking dish (or if using a metal one, line with parchment paper). Set aside.

2) In a large bowl, mix together mashed avocados, brown sugar, and melted coconut oil. Add cocoa powder, instant cofee, salt, vanilla sugar and mix to combine. Add ground oats and mix just until combined. 

3) Bake for 20 minutes. Cool at least one hour before slicing. ENJOY!

Recipe by collecting memories


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Peanut Butter & Honey Bars (No-bake)




It's been a long time since I've made oat bars. And only now I realize that I actually felt like something was missing in my life. I really can't live without oat bars. Really. I'm not sure if I like something more than these. So you can imagine how happy I was when I made a batch of these peanut butter & honey bars after such a long time. They were a-m-a-z-i-n-g! And can you believe that they only consist of three ingredients? (well, salt is not necessary so I leave it out. Three ingredients sounds more impressive than four). They're sweet, chewy and sooo healthy. Have 5 minutes? Go and mix them up. Now.


Peanut Butter & Honey Bars (No-bake) 

3 cups (270g) quick oats
¾ cup (190g) peanut butter*
2/3 cup (226g) cup honey
Pinch of salt (I do like salty peanut butter)

*I used homemade. I toasted peanuts in a saucepan and ground them in a food processor until they turned into a creamy peanut butter. Homemade PB tastes much better!

1) Prepare a 20x20cm silicone baking dish. If using a metal one, line with parchment paper. Set aside.

2) In a large bowl, place oats and salt.

3) In a small saucepan, melt peanut butter and honey. 

4) Pour it over the oats and mix to combine. Press the mixture into the pan and leave for at least 2 hours to set (If you are impatient - place in the fridge for 30 minutes). Slice and enjoy!

Recipe by collecting memories



Monday, May 12, 2014

Home away from Home

What a hard week! There have been so many deadlines to meet and it's been a challenge to plan my time properly in order to have everything done on time. But I still managed to prepare some delicious no-bake Peanut Butter & Honey bars which will be published very very soon! 

As you have probably already noticed, this post is a little bit different. A few days ago, I received an e-mail from DogVacay asking me to participate in their project. DogVacay is an online dog boarding service that helps dog owners find local sitters to care for their pet while they're on vacation. Isn't this amazing? I think their mission is beautiful and very helpful. I do have a dog and I know what it means when you have to leave home for a longer period of time and can't take your doggy with you. DogVacay definitely makes things easier. Make sure you check their site http://dogvacay.com/! There are a lot of photos of cute doggies!! 

So when I received the e-mail I knew I was going to participate. What I had to do was to think of my favourite place which is far from home and share a photo of it. I have to confess - it was a challenge to choose the best place. But then I thought.. where does it feel like home? Of course! Cluny! I know - this might not mean anything to you. I will explain to you now, but first of all - here is the picture which represents my favourite place far away from home:


Cluny is a small city in France. During the summer time, it is filled with the smell of lavender and flowers. In fact, there are flowers everywhere. If you go to the center of the city, you will see lots of small shops where you can find souvenirs, soups of Provence and bakeries offering fresh baked French pastries. If you buy one, there will be a bench just outside the bakery and you will be able to enjoy your Croissant (or whatever it would be) surrounded by the flowers and a relaxing atmosphere. If you go a little bit farther from the city center, you will find out that the city is surrounded by vineyards, sunflowers and mountains. It may sound as an ordinary city. But there's something special about Cluny, at least for me. It feels so homey and warm. Can you see those flowers, those colorful shutters and those lovely tiny houses? It's an amazingly peaceful city where you can feel safe and relaxed. The good atmosphere is in the air.

I think it's enough said about the city which is really far away but so lovely and so homey. I'm not going to bother you with too much talking. Just make sure that if you ever visit France, you include this city to your destination list. Voila! 

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Pumpkin Pie Pancakes






Yes, I know! It's not the best time to post pumpkin recipes as the pumpkin season has ended quite a long time ago. But I can't keep this recipe unpublished any longer. We all know how good pumpkin recipes are. And I'm sure we all love thick and fluffy pumpkin pancakes. I am also sure that we all love pumpkin pie. What about a combination of these two? A pumpkin pie in a pancake form! These really have a texture of a pie and at the same time they're thick, soft and a little bit chewy pancakes. And who cares it's not a pumpkin season anymore? You can always find pumpkin at a supermarket. Or you can save this recipe in your to-bake list for the upcoming fall. But will you be able to wait so long??

Recipe by collecting memories


Pumpkin Pie Pancakes

125g flour
30g sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ginger
1 egg
240g puree
1/2c milk
Butter, for frying & topping
Honey, for drizzling (optional)

1) In a large bowl, combine together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger.

2) In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg. Add pumpkin puree and milk and stir to combine.

3) Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ones and mix just until combined.

4) Heat butter on a skillet. Fry pancakes on low heat for a few minutes on both sides until lightly browned. Serve immediately with additional butter and a drizzle of honey.


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