Monday, March 31, 2014

Farro & Carrot Risotto

This is one of those dishes which, despite being ridiculously simple, are amazingly good. I've been experimenting with Farro for a while already, and every time I come up with delicious combinations which are both healthy and yummy. This is actually my favourite kind of food, you can eat tons of it every day and it's still good for you. And as you know already, it contains very simple and cheap ingredients. But there's one important thing - use a really good natural vegetable stock. Try to find the one which tastes really good because it's really important in this dish. So if you haven't tried using Farro, I highly recommend to do it right now! This recipe seems like a perfect start, isn't it?

P.S. For this recipe, use pearled Farro. Whole-grain Farro requires longer cooking time - about 60 minutes.

Farro & Carrot Risotto 

2 tbsp oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 large carrot (80g), shredded
4 cloves garlic, minced
500ml vegetable stock (with salt)
100g farro

1) In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Add onion and cook over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes and then add garlic and carrot. Stir to combine, cover, and cook for about 5 minutes until onions turn translucent and lightly caramelized and the carrots soften a little bit. Stir occasionally.

2) Add farro and cook for a minute. Now start adding vegetable stock into it, one cup at a time. Stir occasionally. Repeat the process of adding stock as soon as the liquid gets absorbed. You might not need to use up all the stock - stop adding it as soon as the farro is cooked through. Cook for about 20 minutes until farro is soft and all the liquid is absorbed.

You could serve this with a little bit of Parmesan cheese on top.

Serves 1-2.

Recipe by collecting memories

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Banana Cake with Cocoa Buttercream Frosting

I've probably already said this many times before, but banana & chocolate combo is one of my favourite. I don't really like eating raw bananas with chocolate spread on a toast, for example. But when the bananas are mashed, baked, cooked they pair so perfectly with chocolate. For example, my favourite Chocolate Oatmeal, or imagine, banana oatmeal with milk chocolate sauce! I definitely have to try this. Or for now, just look at this Banana Cake with Cocoa frosting. I don't really have anything to say about it, it's just amazing. My favourite part is frosting: I've used it in many recipes and I still haven't found a better cocoa frosting recipe. It's sweet and not bitter at all (I don't like pairing bittersweet chocolate with bananas). It's more like a milk chocolate frosting. But there's one important thing - BEAT it until you really get tired. That's the key to get a fluffy frosting. And for the cake, use really ripe bananas. What is more, I find this cake even better when it stands in the fridge. Actually I highly recommend refrigerating it overnight, it was much better when cold! Only the frosting hardens a little, but that's fine. 

Banana Cake with Cocoa Buttercream Frosting


113g/1/2 cup butter, softened
100g light brown sugar
100g white sugar
3 very ripe, mashed bananas (~1 cup)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
80ml/1/3 cup plain yogurt or buttermilk or milk
190g/1 1/2 cups flour 
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

15g cocoa
125g powdered sugar
Vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk
90g butter, room temperature


1) Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Grease a square 8x8 inch/20x20 cm baking dish with oil and lightly dust with flour, shaking off excess. 

2) In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugars, bananas, eggs and vanilla on high until very well combined. Add yogurt and mix until combined.

3) Stir in flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Mix just until combined.

4) Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for at least 10 minutes before removing from it. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely, then frost. 


1) Beat butter until soft. Add cocoa, powdered sugar, vanilla, salt and milk. Beat on high speed for at least 5 minutes or until the frosting is very light and fluffy. Frost immediately.
Cake recipe adapted from here.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Flourless Oatmeal Cookies

This cookie recipe is one of the easiest I've ever made. You only need a couple of bowls and no more than 5 minutes to mix them up. They're quite reminiscent of lace cookies. If you flatten them a little before baking, you are going to get thin, lacy cookies. I didn't flatten them because I wanted to get a slightly thick and chewy center. Either way, they come out delicious and perfectly chewy. And the best part - they're flourless! That means they're a little bit healthier, too. 

Flourless Oatmeal Cookies

56g/1/4 cup butter
135g/1 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
150g/1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten

1) Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Line two baking trays with parchment paper.

2) Melt the butter and set aside. In a bowl, combine the oats, sugar and salt.

3) In another bowl, whisk together melted and slightly cooled butter and egg. Stir this egg mixture into the oat mixture. Chill the dough about 30 minutes in refrigerator.

4) When the dough has chilled so you can form the balls, take it out of the fridge and form little balls. If you want them to be more like lace cookies, flatten a bit. Place on a baking sheet about 5 cm/2 inches apart.

5) Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes before removing from baking tray.

Recipe by collecting memories

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Greek Salad

This is my version of the famous Greek salad. It's quite basic - the only unusual ingredient is balsamic vinegar. You could omit this if you want but I think it goes well with everything. I also added some dried basil and oregano, but if you have fresh basil - I highly recommend using it instead. 

Greek Salad

Juice of 1 lemon
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
salt & pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
1 head (450g) your favourite lettuce (I used Iceberg), chopped
4 plum tomatoes, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
1 can (110g drained) black pitted olives, sliced
100-150g feta cheese, crumbled

1) Throw everything in a bowl and mix to combine. Serve immediately.

Recipe by collecting memories

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Yeast Raisin Pancakes

Puffy, soft, fluffy and sweet pancakes. Just like the ones your grandma used to make. I craved them so much that I ate all of them. Yes. I know, I ate sixteen pancakes.
And yes, there's a Christmas tree in the background of the photos. I really don't know why I am keeping it. 

Yeast Pancakes
200g flour
4g dry yeast (1/2 packet)
2 tbsp sugar (20g)
Pinch salt
100g raisins
250ml milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
Butter, for frying
Sour cream or greek yogurt, for serving (optional)

1) In a large bowl, combine together the flour, yeast, sugar and salt.

2) In a small saucepan, heat milk to lukewarm. Mix in the egg.

3) Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stir just until combined. Mix in the raisins. Place in a warm place and let rise for an hour.

4) Heat some butter in a large saucepan. Drop 1-2 tablespoons of batter and fry on both sides until lightly browned. Serve with some sour cream or greek yogurt.

Serves 16 medium size pancakes.

Recipe by collecting memories

Monday, March 03, 2014

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie (low-fat)

I'm always super excited when it comes to creating something healthy. It is always a challenge to make a dessert guilt-free and delicious. I like omitting oil and butter when I make something healthy so another challenge is to make a dessert moist. That's why pumpkin puree and honey are my favourite ingredients, they always create perfectly chewy and moist texture and you could never guess there is no butter or oil in it. 
And now about this chocolate pumpkin pie: the result was unexpected. It didn't rise much and had a dense, chewy, fudge-like texture. You almost can't taste pumpkin in it, I added some lemon zest so the pumpkin layer is more like a lemon layer which matches perfectly with the cocoa layer. This recipe is definitely a keeper. It's quite unusual, but that's why I like experimenting!

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie (low-fat)

125g quick oats, ground
125g all purpose flour
65g light brown sugar
100g white granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder

400g pumpkin puree
2 eggs, lightly beaten
65g honey, melted
20g sour cream
Zest from 1 lemon

20g dark unsweetened cocoa powder
30g white granulated sugar
50ml + 50ml boiling water (separated)

1) In a large bowl, combine together ground oats, all purpose flour, light brown sugar, white sugar and baking powder. Set aside.

2) In a medium bowl, combine together pumpkin puree, eggs, honey, sour cream and lemon zest. Set aside.

3) Add pumpkin puree mixture into the flour mixture and mix just until smooth.

4) In a medium bowl, combine together cocoa powder and white sugar. Mix in 50ml of boiling water and stir. Let sit for 2 minutes.

5) Add half of the pumpkin puree/flour mixture into the cocoa/water mixture, spoon by spoon. Mix until you get a smooth batter. Set aside.

6) Add another 50ml of boiling water into the remaining pumpkin puree/flour mixture and stir until you get a smooth batter.

7) Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Ligtly grease a 23cm round springform pan.

8) Spread 1/2 of pumpkin batter into the pan. Top with 1/2 of cocoa batter. Spread the remaining pumpkin batter on top and top with the remaining cocoa batter.

9) Bake for 35-45 minutes. Cool completely (preferably leave it overnight) and slice.

Recipe by collecting memories

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