Thursday, February 26, 2015

Vegetable Cake

Sometimes all you need is a simple and quick meal made from scratch. You are very likely to have all the required ingredients to make this easy vegetable cake. It doesn't contain anything fancy and the preparation couldn't be easier: all you need to do is grate the veggies and throw everything together. And despite being a quick, it is also a healthy and a low-calorie meal. I've included the weight of all the ingredients because I'm so addicted to my kitchen scales. I can't make anything without weighing the ingredients. Well, I love accuracy in cooking/baking. But in this recipe exact measurements are not very important. Nothing will happen if you add more or less carrot/zucchini or substitute it with any other veggie. However, I find this combination just perfect. I've made this several times and every time I had to adjust the baking time. I guess it depends on the size of eggs, the moisture of veggies etc. Especially if you don't use kitchen scales, check the cake after 20-25 minutes. You don't want it too dry or underbaked. It serves 4 but it's so light that you might eat 2 pieces at once. Easily.

Vegetable Cake

1 large zucchini (370g), grated
1 carrot (150g), grated
1 small potato (130g), peeled and grated
1 medium onion (140g), grated
80g (1 cup) your favorite cheese, grated
5 eggs, lightly beaten
90g (3/4 cup) Spelt flour (any other flour would work)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp chili powder
Large pinch of salt

1) Preheat oven to 180C / 350F. Grease a 20x20 cm / 8x8 inch baking dish.

2) In a large bowl, mix together all the vegetables. Add cheese, eggs and seasonings. Finally fold in the flour.

3) Pour the mixture into the baking dish and bake until golden brown on top and firm to the touch (it might take around 30-40 minutes; keep an eye on it and remove from the oven once the center is set).

4) Cool slightly before slicing. Serve warm or cold.

Recipe by collecting memories

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Cookie Dough Frosted Brownies

I'm sure cookie dough is something that many people can't resist. If you love cookies, you will definitely love cookie dough. But do you know what's even better than cookie dough? It's cookie dough frosting. On a brownie. gosh, this is what dreams are made of. Can you imagine a fudgy, dense and rich cocoa brownie topped with a layer of a creamy cookie dough? I believe you can, but in order to believe how good this combination is, you'll have to make these. I promise, this will be the best thing you'll have tasted in a while.

Cookie Dough Frosted Brownies

140g (1 1/4 sticks) butter
275g sugar
80g unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
70g (1/2 cup - 1 tbsp) flour

Cookie dough:
56g (1/4 cup) butter
100g powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp (30ml) heavy cream*
60g (1/2 cup) flour

*I believe full-fat milk would also work.

1) Preheat oven to 160C / 320F. Prepare a 20x20cm / 8x8 inch baking pan.

2) Make the brownies: In a medium saucepan, combine together butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Set over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the butter is melted and the ingredients are combined. The mixture should look shiny and be hot, but not too hot. You should still be able to touch it.

3) Remove from heat and let cool a little bit. Add vanilla extract and stir in the eggs. When the mixture looks smooth, add flour and stir just until incorporated. Spread the mixture evenly in the pan. 

4) Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool before frosting.

5) While the brownies are cooling, prepare the frosting: In a large bowl with a mixer on high speed, beat butter until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar, salt, vanilla and beat until well incorporated. Add heavy cream followed by flour. Beat a few more minutes until the cookie dough looks fluffy.

6) Spread cookie dough on the brownie. Refigerate for at least one hour to let it set (I like leaving it in the fridge overnight). Cut into squares and serve. 

Store in the fridge. You can store them at room temperature as well, but the frosting will be softer.

Makes 16 bars.

Recipe by collecting memories

Monday, February 16, 2015

Sweet Noodle Kugel

I was very intrigued when I discovered Noodle Kugel. This was something totally new to me, but I was sure it's something really delicious. Then I found out that it's a traditional Jewish dish. I checked out lots of recipes and all of them use pretty much the same ingredients. Most of the recipes call for egg noodles but I didn't have any and simply used basic wheat noodles. Some use Farmer's cheese instead of Cottage cheese, but I guess Cottage cheese is easier to find. Some Kugels are made with milk and omit sour cream. I decided to add some light cream (just because I had some leftovers), but you could substitute it with full-fat milk if you like. Some Kugels are made with sweet crushed Cornflakes: half of them is mixed with the noodles and another half is sprinkled on the top of it to produce a crunchy exterior. Raisins are also optional here, but for me, a Kugel MUST contain raisins. I just love the combo of cottage cheese and raisins. So these are the possible variations of this famous Jewish dish, and below is my version of it. The result? It's just perfectly delicious. It's creamy, custardy, not overly sweet and has a caramelized, cinnamony top. It's totally my kind of dessert. I DO recommend you to try this if you've never had a sweet kugel. You're gonna love this.

Sweet Noodle Kugel

500g (17.5 oz) noodles
56g (1/2 stick) butter
6 eggs
500g (17.5 oz) cottage cheese
345g (1 1/2 cup) sour cream
80ml (1/3 cup) light cream
225g (1 cup) white sugar
120g (4 oz) raisins

4 tbsp breadcrumbs
3 tbsp sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

1) Cook noodles according to directions (Add a splash of oil into the boiling water before cooking to prevent noodles from sticking together). Once cooked, rinse under cold water for 1 minute. Drain well.

2) Preheat oven to 190C / 375F. Lightly grease a deep metal square baking pan and set aside.

3) In a small bowl, combine together the topping ingredients and set aside.

4) In a large saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Turn off the heat and let cool slightly. Beat in the eggs, cottage cheese, sour cream, light cream and sugar. Mix everything well. Add in the noodles and raisins and stir to combine.

5) Pour the mixture into the baking dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumb/sugar mixture.

6) Bake for approximately 1 hour. You may check the Kugel after 45-50 minutes. If the center looks a little bit runny but the edges are brown and firm, you may remove it from the oven. It will firm up while cooling.

7) Let cool for 15 minutes before slicing. Serve warm or cold.

Recipe by collecting memories

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Tuna Pasta Bake

I don't usually use tuna but a few months ago I grabbed a can of flaked tuna at a supermarket and decided that it would be great to try something with it. Well, this canned tuna was standing in the back of my pantry for a while. But I had to use it before it expired. And then the most logical idea came to my mind - use it with pasta. Gosh! Why haven't I tried this much earlier! This was divine. Just amazingly amazing. That was cheesy, creamy and had a crispy breadcrumb topping. Now I'm a huge fan of tuna and I feel inspired to create more recipes with it. But I doubt there could be anything better than this cheesy tuna pasta bake. 

Tuna Pasta Bake 

225g (1/2 lb) pasta
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tin (185g) tuna flakes in brine (do not drain!)
180g (3/4 cup) ketchup (I used Heinz)
100g (1 cup) grated cheese (I used Edam)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp dried Italian herbs
2 tbsp bread crumbs
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated

1) Cook pasta according to the package directions and drain well. Preheat oven to 180C / 350F and lightly grease a 23 x 13 cm / 9 x 5 inch (or similar) baking dish.

2) In a skillet, heat a tablespoon of oil. Add onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes until soft and fragrant. Set aside and cool a bit.

3) In a large bowl, combine together the flaked tuna in brine, ketchup, grated cheese, salt and Italian herbs. Add onion/garlic mixture and stir to combine. Add pasta and toss to coat. Pour the mixture into the baking dish.

4) In a small skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add breadcrumbs and cook for 1-2 minutes until lightly browned. 

5) Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top of the pasta and sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top.

6) Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the cheese is bubbling.

Serves 2-3.

Recipe by collecting memories

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Chocolate Fudge Cake

Whatever it is - a chocolate cake, a chocolate cupcake, a chocolate muffin - it has to be rich. It has to be intensely chocolatey. I hate when a chocolate dessert is pale in color and has just a hint of cocoa. If there's a word "chocolate" in a name of a dessert, there has to a lot of chocolate. Just like in this chocolate cake. It's like one of the best chocolate desserts you'll ever make. It's very simple and easy, with just a few ingredients, but it's amazing how these (five!) ingredients can produce such a fudgy, dense, rich chocolate cake. The secret? Just a tablespoon of flour. It's similar to a brownie but the texture is less chewy and more smooth, it melts in your mouth. There's one important thing you need to do. Once you bake this cake, cool it completely and transfer to a fridge and refrigerate overnight before serving. Trust me, this is very important. In fact, the more it stands in the fridge, the more delicious it becomes. Dust it with powdered sugar, serve with some whipped cream, but the best thing would be a dollop of vanilla ice cream. Whatever you decide, do make it. There's a perfect occasion to make this cake for - Valentine's day, right? I bet there's no better dessert for Valentine's day than this one. Don't do what I did - don't eat it all by yourself (Yes, I did). It has to be shared!

Chocolate Fudge Cake

200g (14 tbsp) butter
200g (7 oz) chocolate (I used half 50%, half 70%), chopped into small chunks
225g (1 cup) caster sugar
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
15g (1 tbsp) flour
Powdered sugar/vanilla cream/whipped cream, to serve

1) Preheat oven to 180C / 350F. Line a 23 cm / 9 inch cake pan with parchment paper.

2) In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Once it melts, add chocolate, cover and let sit for 2 minutes. The chocolate will be melted. Stir with a wooden spoon until completely smooth. Cool slightly.

3) Stir in the sugar, eggs, salt and vanilla extract. Mix until combined. Stir in the flour and mix just until incorporated.

4) Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool on a wire rack and then transfer to the fridge. Refrigerate overnight.

5) Serve with some vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or dust with confectioner's sugar.

Recipe by collecting memories

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Caramel Crumb Bars with Brown Butter

I am so happy to share this amazing recipe for extremely buttery, melt in your mouth caramel bars. These are like thick buttery crumbly cookies with a gooey salty caramel layer in the middle. Yes, SALTY. Salt is very important in this recipe so don't even try to reduce the amount of salt here. These are made with brown butter which makes them even better. And the best part? They are ridiculously easy. You need a few ingredients to make these and just a few minutes to prepare them. When I saw this recipe on this amazing blog, I knew I will fall in love with these bars. I encourage you to make these. Now.

Caramel Crumb Bars with Brown Butter

1 can dulce de leche 
225g (1 cup) butter
2 tsp salt
200g (1 cup) sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
375g (3 cups) flour

1) Preheat oven to 180C / 350F. Grease a 20 x 20 cm / 8 x 8 inch metal baking pan or prepare a silicone baking pan.

2) In a small saucepan, place the butter and cook on medium high heat until browned and fragrant (You will see brown bits in the bottom of a saucepan. You don't want to burn it so remove it from heat when it turns golden brown).
3) Transfer the butter into a large bowl and mix in the salt and sugar. Whisk in the egg and vanilla extract. 

4) Add in the flour and mix just until it's incorporated. Press half of the dough into the bottom of a pan. Spread dulce de leche on top and crumble remaining dough on top of it, pressing it slightly.

5) Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Cool completely before slicing.

Recipe adapted from here

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