Sunday, July 27, 2014

Eggplant Rolls with Chili Avocado Filling

These little eggplant rolls have become my new favourite summer dish. 
They are incredibly light, refreshing and full of taste. Eggplant rolls, with or without the juicy tomato salsa, will definitely make your summer dinners an incredible feast. Whether you roast the eggplant slices in the oven or on the grill, serve them as appetizers or sides, I guarantee you, your guests will be delighted. Moreover, if you have vegetarians at home, or chose to have meatless days, these eggplant rolls will enable you to change from the ordinary ratatouille or vegetarian pasta. I love it because the flavors remind me of the Mediterranean. Fresh olive oil, dried tomatoes, roasted eggplants; make only a few yet tasty ingredients of the South. 

Over summer I have decided to put again more effort into cooking vegetarian dishes. To pay more attention to diverse flavours to vary just a little bit more. When I was living in the South of France I went with the seasons, as I generally did all the food shopping on the market next door. Back up north, things have changed again, which I regret a little. When I started cooking, I was not so much of a meat fan. Accordingly, I spent more experimenting in order to avoid eating the same thing over and over again.
Over the years, I have become a meat lover. I'm not the typical carnivore, but still, I do love meat now. And it seems that I pay more attention to the preparation of the meat, than to the choice of the sides. Willing to change this little yet important detail, I investigated on interesting recipes and just adapted or developed my own little combos. 

For around 8-10 rolls you need:

2 large eggplants
1 orange pepper
2 red chili peppers
3 avocados
4-5 tbsp olive oil
150g cherry tomatoes
50g dried tomatoes
1 garlic clove
1 lemon
sea salt
black pepper

Preheat the oven to 220°

Cut the eggplant lengthwise into thin slices. Rub in olive oil on both sides and season with salt. 
Cover your baking tray with baking sheets and place the eggplant slices on it. Bake for 10 minutes until the eggplant slices are golden brown. Remove them from heat and set aside to cool slightly. 

Cut the avocados in half and scoop out the flesh into a blender with a spoon. Core the chili peppers and orange peppers, then dice. Squeeze the lemon until you obtain 1 tbsp of lemon juice. Add the lemon juice and the diced red peppers to the avocados. Add the zest of half a lemon and start mixing until you get an even mixture. Season with salt and paper. Pour the avocado chili mix into a bowl and add the peppers. Mix with a spoon.

Blend the fresh and dried tomatoes as well as the garlic clove. Season with salt and pepper.


To prepare your rolls, place them with the widest side of the eggplant slices facing you. Distribute evenly the avocado chili mixture onto each slice. Roll each piece starting from the widest end and please it on a plate, preferably seamed side down.

To arrange the place, pour the tomato salsa on the plate and add the eggplant rolls.


Monday, July 21, 2014

White Chocolate Blueberry Cupcakes

You know that moment when you are looking for a really nice recipe to celebrate friendship? I was experimenting a bit these days and those little cupcakes are the fruit of my efforts. There is no such pleasure than welcoming friends with freshly baked cake. However, practically speaking, little cupcakes leave way more choice when to devour them. Whether it be with a great coffee at home, or on the go as a little companion during the country visit.

It is definitely no secret that white chocolate and berries make a lovely combo. To keep it seasonal, I opted for blueberries. Markets are full of blueberries, which launch a wave of recipe ideas in my head every time I do food shopping. 'Yet another blueberry recipe' I imagine some of you think. Well, that's part of the challenge, to take old recipes and give them a relook, or rather a retaste. 

I really cannot complain. I had them tasted by the German fan-block at the World Cup finals; I spoilt some of my colleagues as well. They have all agreed that they are delicious. Mission accomplished I would say… and the journey to blueberry heaven can continue. 

For 18 cupcakes you need:

125g plain yogurt
240g flour
180g sugar
4 medium eggs
120g butter
50g white chocolate
200g blueberries
2 tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven to 165°

In a large bowl whisk together the ingredients in the following order: yogurt, flour, baking powder, eggs, sugar and butter. Mix until you obtain fluffy dough. 
Chop the chocolate, and then add it to the dough as well as the blueberries.  

Place the paper cups into the cupcake molds. Pour the dough into the molds and bake for 25 minutes.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Apple Hazelnut Cupcakes

Over the last months I stated a lot of negativity towards cupcakes among my friends and other food bloggers. The reason: they are too sweet, overloaded with many different flavours at once and too many artificial ingredients such as food coloring and glitter. I cannot blame them to have that opinion because when you look all over the internet or go to cupcake shops around Europe; it's all there is. Shiny little cakes with multiple layers of all you can imagine.

Is this really what the cupcake is all about? NO! A cupcake actually is the cup-sized version of a cake. The quantity of a whole cake's dough, divided into little bites. To give the little cake a little extra, toppings are added. Whether in the shape of little flowers or spirals, it does not matter at all. Over the last few years though, cupcakes have become what has just been described in the paragraph above. I honestly have the feeling that bakers try to outdo one another without realising that what really is to the cupcake is being completely lost. As a consequence, cupcakes have become little accessories whose taste no one really cares about anymore.

Thankfully we are numerous thinking the same way. Today's little cupcakes are my newest creation. I love the combo apple-cinnamon but it somehow always remains the same flavour whether you put them into cookies, pies, or cakes. To add a little something, I added hazelnuts. I do not exactly remember how the idea came to my mind, but I guess it was because I wanted to prepare apple cinnamon cupcakes on one hand and on the other hand I really wanted something nutty and fruity. Am I now being contradictory to the two previous paragraphs? Wanting too much and then putting it all into one cake? Am I hereby forcing too much out of these little treasures? Again, NO! The flavours are all natural and you will taste a smooth transition between all of them. 

For around 12 cupcakes you need:

120g butter
120g sugar
120g flour
125g applesauce
1 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
50g crushed hazelnuts
80 raisins
1 apple

In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, sugar, flour and the eggs until you get a smooth cake batter. Now add the applesauce, cinnamon, the hazelnuts as well as the raisins. 

Pour the dough into the cupcake molds. Cut the apple into small slices and place them on top of each cupcake. 

Bake the cupcakes for 25 minutes.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Zucchini Linguine with Dried Tomato Walnut Pesto

Whether you are looking for a low carb dish or just a little veggie experience, you are on the right page!  

Several weeks ago I bought a spiral cutter because I heard and read about these zucchini linguine all over the Internet.  I was curious and wanted to know if the hype around this pasta alternative is really justified. First of all, you have to like zucchini; otherwise the experience will not be a success. 

Today was the big day, and I prepared zucchini pasta. I have to say, I did not expect it to be that fast to prepare. In my mind it was more of an elaborate dish, the reason why the spiral cutter remained in my cupboard all these weeks.

I was wondering what sauce would go best with the zucchinis. The winner was my beloved dried tomatoes walnut pesto. The hearty taste of the pesto goes perfectly well with the discrete flavour of the zucchinis. The combination is definitely a convincing match. It is not really important if you heat the zucchinis up like you would boil real pasta, enjoy it cold as a side dish or salad, or fry it in a frying pan. I would say that if you wish the pesto to be well spread over the veggies, you better heat them up before adding the sauce. 

For 2 portions you need:

4 Zucchinis
50g dried tomatoes
90g walnuts
125 ml walnut oil
10g Parmesan 
black pepper

In a frying pan roast the walnuts with 30ml of oil. Then in a food processor combine the dried tomatoes, the roasted walnuts and the Parmesan. Add the oil and pulse until mixed well and smooth. Season with salt and pepper

Now you can start preparing your zucchini linguine with your spiral cutter.

Boil the linguine on maximum heat for 2-3 minutes. Drain the pasta and put it back into the pot.

Add 1 tbsp pesto per serving, which you fold gently in. 


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Orange Soft Cake

You don't want to give up on cake during summer but you think it's too hot for anything chocolaty?
Here is one option you may consider.

Of course there are hundreds of mousses and creams one could prepare, but sometimes all you want for dessert is cake. With the latest heat wave I was not very eager to transform my flat into a sauna, a reason why I delayed the baking for a while. It took two entire days of strategic airing to get the heat out of the flat. Why thus get the it back in by turning the oven to 180°?

This orange cake is definitely a summer cake. The low amount of flour makes it very moist and juicy and you basically feel like devouring a freshly squeezed orange juice in the form of cake. At the beginning I was not sure whether to prepare an orange glaze or not. While baking the dough caramelized on the surface and there is no need to drizzle more syrup on it. 

I really love this cake and I have to restrain myself from eating the whole cake all at once. Should you want to go for the moist variant of a classic, this cake is decidedly for you. 

For 1 cake you need:

120g butter
130g flour
125g sugar
2 eggs
2 oranges
1ts baking powder

Preheat the oven to 180°

Beat the butter until fluffy, then progressively add the sugar and the eggs one at a time.  Now you can add the flour, the baking powder the zest as well as the juice from the two oranges.

Butter a middle-sized springform. I really recommend to take a springform, this is the only one you can get the cake out without breaking it as it is really soft. 

Pour the cake batter into the cake mold and bake for 30 minutes. Then check with a skewer if the cake is done. The cake is done when the skewer comes out clean. 

Let the cake cool down before you take it out.



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