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Posts Tagged ‘step-by-step’

I made these babies the other day.

Then, two days later, I made them again to make sure I hadn’t been dreaming before and they really tasted like heaven.

And they did.

Again.

Just like heaven!

When it comes to their structure, they have it all. They are something between cakey and fudgy, slightly more on the fudgy side, with just a little chewiness to them. When I think about it (which is a little difficult after eating so many), these brownies have a strong potential to satisfy just about anyone. So any camp you are in – the cakey, fudgy or chewy one, these are great for you!

Now let me just run to the kitchen to grab another one before I show you how I was making them…

…Okay, thanks for your patience, I’m back now. YUM!

This is the list of ingredients.

 
 

1. To make your own Brownies, first preheat the oven to 350 °F (175 °C).

 
2. Line the bottom and two sides of a 13 x 9-inch (33 x 22 cm) baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the two sides. Butter the paper and set the pan aside.

Lining a baking pan this way is just gorgeous. It allows you to remove the baked stuff out of the pan in the most easy way. I find it the best invention right after wheel. Yes, that’s exactly what I think!

 
 

3. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

 
 

Just like this.

I was a naughty girl and didn’t sift the cocoa. But next time I will, I promise!

 
 

4. Now chop the chocolate roughly.

Or just brake it. Or just throw it against your counter top and watch it break into a million pieces (sorry, I just got slightly carried away).

 
 

5. Now place the chocolate and the butter into a heatproof bowl and set it over a pot of simmering water.

The bottom of the bowl shouldn’t be touching the water since what we want to do here is just gently melt these two ingredients.

 

6. Heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth, for about 3 minutes. Then remove the bowl from the pot.

 
 

7. Add sugar and mix to combine.

 

8. Then add the eggs and, again, mix to combine.

 
 

9. Finally, add the flour mixture and mix just until moistened (do not overmix).

 
 

10. Transfer the batter to your prepared pan. Using and offset spatula or just a spoon, smooth the top.

 

11. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the batter/brownies comes out clean (or with a few moist crumbs attached).

 

12. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Using the paper overhang, lift brownies out of the pan and transfer to a rack to cool completely (still on the paper).

 

13. On a cutting board cut into squares.

 
 

Yum-yum!

Enjoy, dear friends!

 

And if, by any chance, you end up with some leftovers, store them in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 2 days.

 

(This recipe was loosely adapted from Martha Stewart. It takes about 1 hour to prepare and yields 24 2-inch/5cm squares.)

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Lentils are my favorite legumes.

My body loves them and craves them very often.

Well, sometimes my body cannot decide between legumes and eggnog. But all-in-all, I really love lentils.

 

I’ve made this particular soup for the first time in my life.

I make lentil soups quite often but not the Indian ones.

The thing is that I had been playing with the idea of making this kind of soup for some time and all I needed and was trying to find were the right Indian spices.

The day I saw Garam Masala and Turmeric in one magical shop my vision was finally free to turn into reality – the yummy Lentil Soup with Indian Spices.

So, here’s what I did and how I improvised…
 
 

These are the ingredients that I’ve used.
 
 

And here they are again.

Mmm, this looks promising.
 
 

1. Firstly, let’s get some chopping done – chop the onion and the chili pepper finely. Then dice up the tomato. And give the garlic cloves a nice fine chop as well.
 
 

2. Rinse the lentils under cold running water. Place them into a pot and cover with water (3 1/2 cups – 870 ml).
 

3. Cook the lentils until just almost ‘fully tender’. We need them to be almost done.

I was using halved red lentils and this process took only about 4 minutes. If you use whole red lentils it might take a little longer. To check how tender the lentils are just eat a few. Easy!

 
 

4. In the meantime, heat the oil in a larger pan or pot.

 

5. Add the mustard seeds and watch the magic happen – they will enjoy the warmth of the oil so much that they will start to pop with joy. As a result, they will taste sweet and nutty.

Let the seeds pop for about 20 seconds.

 

6. Then add the cumin seeds, turmeric and chopped onions.

Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
 
 

7. After that, add the garlic. Stir and cook together for about 1 minute.
 
 

8. Add the chopped tomato and chili pepper.

Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring every now and then.
 
 

9. Then add the lentils and their cooking water.

 

10. Add the garam masala powder and salt to taste (I used about 3/4 tsp).

 
 

11. Let come to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for about 5 more minutes.
 
 

And that’s it!

This is an unbelievably simple, delicious and quick-to-make soup.

Enjoy, dear friends!

It’s healthy, yummy and good for you.
 

(This recipe makes 3-4 portions and takes about 30 minutes to make.)

Source: Saboot Masoor Masala Dal from ItsLife.in.

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Crepes are a beloved kind of dessert over here – in our monkey household.

They make the days brighter and happier.

I don’t really know how but it works!

Here’s a little idea on how to make crepes a little different than usual – why not fill them with a wonderful cream cheese filling!

It’s beyond delicious.

And beyond simple.

Come and have a look at how I made them…
 
 

These are the ingredients that I’ve used.

I bet you have them all in your pantry right now.

Right?
 
 

1. What I really love about making crepes is that the batter couldn’t be easier to prepare.

At least the one I make.

You just throw the eggs, flour, milk, water and a pinch of salt into a bowl…
 
 

2. …and give it a good mix until it’s all incorporated and there are no lumps.

If there’s any more elaborate way how to prepare the crepe batter I never want to know.

Never!

I can perfectly survive with this amount of knowledge.
 
 

3. Now you need a pan. I usually use an 8-inch (20 cm) one.

Pour some vegetable oil in since we don’t want our crepes to stick to the pan.

Place the pan over medium heat and let it stay there until it’s rather hot or until a few sprinkles of water dropped on the pan splatter.

Using a ladle or scoop, pour about 1/4 cup (60 ml) of batter into the pan.
 
 

4. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly.
 
 


5. Cook the crepe for about 1 minute, or until the bottom is light brown.
 

6. Then loosen with a spatula, turn it and cook the other side.
 
 

7. Remove the crepe from the pan onto a plate.
 

8. Continue with the rest of the batter.

Oh, and oil the pan again before pouring the batter for another thin pancake.
 
 

9. And this is how I made the cream cheese filling.

All I did was that I grabbed a bowl and in it I mixed the cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar, vanilla extract, lemon zest (fresh or dried) and a pinch of nutmeg.
 
 

Yum!

At this point it is important to be very strong.

Very, very strong!

So try not to stick your finger in that and lick it like there’s no tomorrow.

Please!

I know what I’m talking about…

Don’t be like me!
 
 

10. Spread about one heaping tablespoon of the filling over the crepe.
 
 

11. Fold it in half…
 
 

12. …and then fold it in half again so that you have this cute little triangle filled with pure heaven.
 
 

13. You can serve the crepes with melted chocolate, whipped cream and some fruit.

Enjoy, dear friends!

(This recipe makes about 8 crepes.)
 
 

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As you might have noticed, my greatest passion is to prepare simple and healthy dishes for this blog.

Okay, sometimes I just break loose and prepare a sweet little dessert.

Okay, okay …you mostly see me preparing desserts and you might have heard me saying about a million times how much I love baking and how I can’t live without it, but listen folks – I am attending a wedding this Saturday and really need to squeeze myself into that cute dress I haven’t even bought yet. That is the main reason why I’ve been treating myself to vegetable diets or lemon juice afternoons recently.

Yes, lately I’ve been determined to lose the weight of at least one well-fed elephant.

Or even more.

Because when I think, I think BIG.

So that is for the theory.

In practice, I’d like to note that chocolate has never tasted better than it does these days and I’ll also be posting about those wonderful, wonderful cream cheese crepes soon.

And you know what?

I think I’ll just blame the lack of my self-control on the full moon.

Yeah, that’s exactly what I’ll do.
 
 

Now, back to the Chicken Steaks with Green Onion Potatoes.

This dish is truly wonderful, light and the determined ones will definitely appreciate its low calorie count.

In the picture above I am showing the ingredients that I’ve used to prepare it.
 

1. First, grab the young, green onions.

Aren’t they just cute?

Place them on a cutting board and lop off their tops.
 
 

2. Slice the onions into little rounds.

Set aside a couple of the rounds for later.
 
 

Then play with the chopped onions – form various shapes and take pictures of it all …let this activity last for the next 30 minutes or so, then start feeling really hungry and continue the cooking process.
 
 

3. Heat up some oil in a medium pot and throw the onions in.

Fry them for a little while over medium heat.
 
 

4. Peel, wash and slice the potatoes.
 

5. Add the potatoes to the onions.
 

6. Add the salt.
 
 

7. Then add the other spices –  red sweet paprika powder, ground black pepper and the ground cumin.

Stir it all together.
 

8. Add a little water – about 1/2 cup (125 ml), cover and let cook.
 

9. Keep your eye on the potatoes while they are cooking – stir them every now and then (!) and when the water evaporates add some more (this thing likes to burn a little so make sure there’s always at least a little water in the pot).

The whole process – just until the potatoes were done – lasted (in my case) about 30 minutes.
 
 

10. In the meantime, wash the chicken breasts and slice them in half lengthwise.
 

11. Pound the breasts lightly so that they are of even thickness.
 
 

12. In a pan, heat up some vegetable oil.
 

13. Put the breasts in the pan and sprinkle them with your favorite grilling spice.
 

14. Fry over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes. Then turn the meat, sprinkle the other side with the grilling spice and  fry for another 5-7 minutes.
 
 

Now place your lovely, fragrant steak on a plate…
 
 

… and add the delicious, irresistible potatoes.

Yummy!
 
 

Sprinkle with the remaining onions that you’ve set aside.
 
 

And enjoy, dear friends.

It’s really good – even my man said so!

(This recipe makes 2 portions.)
 
 

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Summer offers so many wonderful kinds of fruits and vegetables that I don’t even know where to look first or what to grab.

What a wonderful time of year.

I wish there was a country where they have summer all the time.

Or wait …is there a country like that?

Is there?

Then I’m moving right now!

Anyway, these days I just walk through the supermarket aisles and wait excitedly which one of the luscious beauties will speak to me first.

This time it was zucchini and – mmmm – was that a good choice. It allowed me to prepare this truly light, healthy, playful and flavorful dish.

Your body will thank you if you make it too…
 
 

The ingredients are – as usual with me – very simple.

‘Cause I like simple…
 
 

1. First, wash the zucchinis and cut them in half lengthwise.

2. Then, using a spoon, scoop out the flesh and set it aside.
 
 

3. Place the zucchinis into a baking pan…
 
 

4. …sprinkle them with salt and drizzle with some vegetable oil (if you want to go super-healthy here, then use olive oil).

5. Pop the baking pan into the oven which you have preheated to 350 F (175  C) and bake for about 10 minutes only.
 
 

6. In the meantime, chop the flesh you have removed from the zucchinis into little pieces.
 
 

7. Peel and chop the onion.
 
 

8. Drizzle a frying pan with a little oil.

9. Add the onion, the zucchini flesh, season it with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4  teaspoon ground black pepper and fry, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes.
 
 

9. Then add you wonderful, colorful vegetables and fry for another 10 minutes (or until soft).
 
 

10. Cook the rice in the vegetable broth.

The picture above shows the initial stage of the rice cooking. When the rice is cooked it should have absorbed all the liquid.
 
 

11. Grate the cheese.

I am using Edam here; you can choose any cheese that you like or have in the fridge.
 
 

12. Now combine the vegetable mixture from the frying pan with the rice and 1/2 cup of the grated cheese.

You can even add a few drops of Worcester sauce – it will ‘lift’ the taste slightly and accentuate the other flavors.
 
 

13. Stuff the zucchini halves with the rice mixture and cover the top with the rest of the grated cheese.
 
 

14. And now, just for kicks, sprinkle the whole thing with yummy sunflower seeds (or pumpkin seeds if you prefer those).

The seeds add an interesting and surprising twist to this dish, just try it, it’s fun…
 
 

15. Put the stuffed zucchinis back into the oven and bake them at the same temperature (350 F – 175 C) for 20-25 minutes.
 
 

It’s delicious, I’m telling you.

A scrumptious, light summer dish.

Yum!

Enjoy, dear friends.

(This recipe makes 2 portions.)
 

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I have something to admit.

There are only few things in this world that I love more than this photo editing technique.

I know, it sounds strange, but right now that is exactly what I feel.

Tomorrow everything might change, especially if I find a new, amazing technique that will fill my heart with joy.

But today I feel like applying a vignette to all the photos that I’ve ever made.

Please, somebody, come and stop me.
 
 

This is what my picture looked like before.

It is a lovely tomato from my Mom’s garden. Actually, that’s what my diet consists of mostly these days.
 
 

And this is the same picture after I applied the vignette effect.

Adding a vignette to an image basically involves adding a subtle (or not so subtle) edge effect to it.

A popular vignette technique involves darkening the edges of your image which gives the image a slight border and helps keep the viewer’s eye in the photo.

In other words, the darkened edges make your subject stand out.

Well, who wouldn’t love that?

Let me explain this technique in particular steps – they are very, very easy.

NOTE: I am using Photoshop Elements 8 here (but I suppose that this method works fine with any photo editing program that supports layers and adjusting opacity).

 
 

1. Open your image in the photo editing program using FILE -> OPEN… .

2. Open a new layer using LAYER -> NEW -> LAYER.
 
 

3. There are 3 subsequent steps here:

  • 1. In the right-hand layer palette, make sure you click on the top (newly added) layer (it should be darkened now).
  • 2. In the left-hand tools palette, click the Elliptical Marquee Tool (if the Rectangular Marquee Tool is preset then right-click on your mouse and choose the elliptical shape, though it’s actually up to you which shape you choose).

    Also, have a look at how the ‘feathering’ is set in the upper bar. I had it set to 14. It will determine how strong and defined the border of the vignette will be.

  • 3. Click and drag over the picture to create an oval shape.

 
 

4. Click SELECT -> INVERSE to invert your selection so the border area is selected .

You will see ‘marching ants’ around your picture now.

 
 

5. I am describing another three subsequent steps here:

  • 1. Make sure that the foreground color is set to black (if not then just click the letter ‘D’ on your keyboard).
  • 2. In the left-hand tools palette, click the bucket tool.
  • 3. Click anywhere on the border area to fill it with black.

 
 

6. Now click SELECT -> DESELECT.

 
 

7. And finally, in the layer palette, adjust the opacity of the border layer to any value you like.

(Though I didn’t do that myself now – at this point, if you find the border too hard – you can also choose FILTER -> BLUR -> GAUSSIAN BLUR and use a high radius value to blur the edge of the border and soften it.)

8. Click LAYER -> FLATTEN IMAGE and then save your new picture.

 
 

I like it!
 
 

Hm, what do you think…will you give it a try?
 

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I know how it is.

Recently you’ve been craving something yummy but you just didn’t know precisely what it was.

And I am here to tell you exactly what it is.

That’s my purpose on this planet, actually.

What you’ve been craving recently is this wonderful, delicious, scrumptious and luscious lemon delicacy.

Call me a witch if you want to…but I just know it.
 
 

These are the ingredients that you’ll need if mere looking at these pictures isn’t enough for you.

This treat isn’t just wonderful in taste, it is also very interesting in structure – which only adds to its WOW factor.

Since half of it is baked and the other half is cooked you get two surprises in one dish.

Isn’t that amazing?

Come and have a look, I’ll show you what I mean.
 
 

1. To prepare you own Lemon Delight first place the softened butter and the sugar (1/2 cup – 100 grams) into a medium bowl.
 

2. Mix it with your hand mixer until light and fluffy.
 
 

3. Add three egg yolks…
 
 

4. …and mix again until smooth.
 
 

5. Add the flour and the baking powder and give it another mix, just until combined and well incorporated.
 
 

Very yellow, ha?

It might have something to do with the fact that I am using home eggs here – fresh from my Grandma.

They are so much richer in color.

Thanks, Grandma!
 
 

6. Then grab a lemon and juice it – any way you like.

If you are a Xena woman like me, you can squeeze it with your bare hand (okay, I am not that much of a Xena woman, I just don’t have the juicer here with me). That might actually be the reason why I am not showing the picture of me squeezing the lemon (oh, that was a stormy fight). But what I am showing here is a little trick that helps a lot…if you’d like to make things easier then just roll the lemon on the countertop (before you slice it). It will help to break down some of the fibers and the juice will flow more freely when you cut it.
 
 

7. Then, when the fight is over, pour the milk and the lemon juice into the batter and stir to combine.
 
 

8. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until firm.
 
 

9. Add the egg whites to the batter and, using a rubber spatula, fold together gently.
 
 

10. Spray you ramekins with some vegetable oil and fill them with the batter.

Since I used 1 cup (250 ml) dishes, there was just enough batter to fill three.
 

11. Place the ramekins into a deeper baking pan and gently pour boiling water to come halfway up the sides of  the ramekins.
 
 

12. Bake at 356 degrees F (180 degrees C) for about 40 minutes or until golden brown.
 

13. Remove from the oven and dust the top with some confectioner’s sugar.
 
 

So now you know what I meant when I said that half of this dessert is baked and the other half is cooked.

You’ll be amazed by how this process results in the dessert’s structure – the top half looks like a cake and the bottom half has a structure of custard.

It’s cute.
 
 

Yum!
 
 

Okay, it seems that I am done here.

And now only tomatoes for me for the next seven days.
 
 

Enjoy, dear friends!

(This recipe makes 3 portions if prepared in 1 cup – 250 ml dishes.)
 

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