Chocolate Jewels

 Chocolate and dried or candied fruits,what could be better?

Pretty simple to make and very impressive.Your guest would think you got it from a gourmet store.

You will need

Some chocolate Dark,Milk or White (I am partial to dark chocolate)

Dried or candied fruits of choice

Divide your chocolate into 2/3 and 1/3.

Melt 2/3 in the microwave at 20 secs interval,stirring it after 20 secs so it doesn’t burn.

When it has melted,add the 1/3 portion and stir it until very blended (this is called tempering,you have to temper your chocolate so that it will have that nice snap to it and not melt in your hands).

Line a tray with parchment paper and drop buttons of chocolate on it with teaspoons

 Work fast or the chocolate will solidify before you are done.

 I used these dried and candied fruits. You can find the recipe for the candied ginger here and the recipe for candied orange here,I used candied orange peel but you can use candied orange slices. The candied pineapple and candied lemon have similar steps too.

Now arrange the fruits and nuts as you like it,1 per chocolate button

 You can leave it at this step or go a step further…..

 Form a cornet out of parchment paper or use a small nylon/sandwich bag. Cut a little off the tip and drizzle the chocolate over the “jewels”.

Sprinkle with a little sea salt from a height.

Or would you prefer White Chocolate……

You can drizzle it in white chocolate too.

If it has not yet set up,put in the refrigerator until set,probably about 5 mins.

Enjoy!

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Doughnuts

 Aren’t they pretty!!!!

I was looking for a doughnut recipe that would require a starter and long rising time because I know that this would improve the flavor. So whenever I want a good bread recipe,I go to kingarthurflour,I have tried just a few of the recipes,2 recipes actually and they came out well. I got the recipe from the website but I change a few things to suit what I had in my pantry but the glazes and toppings are mine,*insert smiley here*.

Oh,this takes about 24 hours to make so if you need it say on Saturday,you will need to start on Friday.Most of the time is just rising time.

You will need;

For the starter

1 cup Water

2 1/2 cups Flour

1 tsp Salt

1 tsp instant Yeast

for the rest

2 Eggs

1 tsp salt

1 tsp instant Yeast

3 Tbsp unsalted Butter

3 Tbsp Shortening or Lard

200 g Sugar

1/2 tsp Nutmeg

360 g Flour

More flour for kneading and rolling.

Oil for frying

 

Combine everything on the starter list,put the salt and yeast on opposite ends of the bowl or the salt would kill the yeast.

 Stir and cover.

 Keep in a cool place,not in the refrigerator for 3 hours – 1 day. As long as you can wait.

 it will look like this. The yeast is alive!

the night before,combine the rest of the ingredients

 I melted the butter and shortening

 form into something like this. transfer it to a floured working surface and knead well.

 Oil the bowl and coat the dough with the bowl(you probably don’t have to oil the bowl,but I did so anyway)

leave overnight in a cool place,again,not the refrigerator.

ta da! in the morning,it would have risen to more than twice it’s original size

punch down the dough and deflate all the air in it.

Cut into 2 workable portions.On a floured surface,roll it out

 and cut into any shape you want,long johns(rectangular bars,classic doughnut shape(with the hole in the middle,use to sizes of circle cutters for this,you can fry the doughnut holes and toss in powdered sugar),knots,twists,triangles,squares,hearts,let your imagination run.

You probably would want to use a knife and not a pizza wheel.Cover for 15 -20 mins,or longer

Fry(it’s better to use fresh oil that has not been used before) until golden brown,drain on paper towels.Let cool before topping.

Long johns

 Then you can dust with powdered sugar or powdered sugar+cinnamon

 Put the powdered sugar and cinnamon in a bag,combine,put your doughnuts in and shake! shake! shake! Really loved the combo

or………

Salted Caramel and Crushed candied Peanuts

or……

Matcha(green tea) Ganache with white chocolate. Green tea is still one of my favorites.

How about some Chili Dark Chocolate ganache with shredded Coconut

421628_10150581229338212_241494341_nOr just some plain frosting with sprinkles.

Have fun with it.

Enjoy!

Candied Peanuts

 Candied Peanut,another favorite of mine.You can eat this as a snack,crushed in desserts,as a decorative feature for cupcakes and cakes,it’s up to you.

You will need;

450 g Salted Peanuts

300 g Sugar

80 ml water

 

Combine the peanuts,sugar and water in a large sauce pan and place on heat.

Candied Peanuts

Stir to combine and keep stirring occasionally

 when the caramel starts forming,stir continuously to coat evenly and prevent the caramel from burning

Almost done,keep stirring

 Done!

line a tray with parchment paper and spread the peanuts on it

 When it’s cool,break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.

Enjoy!

 

Homemade Taco Seasoning Crackers

I love this spicy crackers.You have it as it is or eat it with Salsa,ice cream,anything refreshing.

1 Cup All-purpose Flour

1 Cup Graham flour

1 teaspoon Sugar

2 teaspoons Salt

1 or 1 1/2 Tbsp Taco Seasoning (you can reduce it if you don’t want it very spicy,I used 1 1/2 tablespoon of my homemade taco seasoning and it was hot!)

1 egg room temperature

1/3 cup Olive oil

2 tablespoons water (if needed).

Mix all the dry ingredients together.

Mix all the wet ingredients together.

Combine the wet and dry mixtures and mix to form a really firm dough.

Divide the dough into 2.

Preheat your oven to 190°C

Roll one half of your dough on a baking sheet/parchment paper,roll from the center → out and make sure it is very thin. Prick the rolled out dough with a fork,close together. Make score lines with a pizza wheel or a knife.

Lift the parchment paper and the dough and place on your baking tray.Bake for about 10-20 mins.

Brush melted butter as soon as you remove it from the oven (optional).

Enjoy!

Taco Seasoning Wheat Crakers with Salsa                                                                                                Taco seasoning Crackers with homemade tomato salsa

Checkerboard cookies

Checkerboard cookies

Vanilla Shortbread

170g butter

75g sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 large egg yolk (keep the egg whites cos we will use it later)

170g flour

Cream the butter and sugar together until soft and fluffy.

Beat in the egg yolk,and vanilla.

With your hands,mix in the flour until well combined.

Transfer it to a lightly floured work surface and knead just a bit to form a tight ball.Wrap it in a cling film and put it in the refrigerator to firm up.

Chocolate Shortbread

114g butter

115g sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 large egg

140g flour

40g cocoa

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

a pinch of salt

Cream the butter and sugar together until soft and fluffy.

Beat in the egg and vanilla.

Sift the flour,cocoa powder,salt and baking soda together

With your hands,mix in the flour mixture until well combined.

Transfer it to a lightly floured work surface and knead just a bit to form a tight ball.Wrap it in a cling film and put it in the refrigerator to firm up

When it is firm enough to handle,form them into equal rectangles about 1/2 inch thick

Wrap them in cling film and put them in the refrigerator and chill until firm.

Beat the egg white that was reserved from the vanilla shortbread just to break it up.

Remove the cookie doughs from their wraps and apply the egg whites (thinly) with a brush on the vanilla dough,then place the chocolate dough on top.

or in my case,the other way round,it really doesn’t matter.

Cut the dough into 2 equal halves

and apply the egg whites onto the top of one of the doughs and place the other on top of it.

Wrap and put in the refrigerator to firm up again.

Cut into 2 equal parts again.

and then cut each half into 4 pieces.

Brush some egg whites onto the surface of 1 side and layer the dough,alternating the colours until you have stacked all 4 slices,repeat with the 2nd half.

so,now you have 2 blocks of dough

Chill in the refrigerator again until firm,this also gives the egg whites enough time to bind the doughs firmly.

When firm enough,preheat your oven to 175°C or 350°F

Slice the cookies with a sharp knife as thin as you want and layer the onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.

Bake for 8-12 minutes. Watch your cookies closely and make sure they don’t burn.

Enjoy!

Potato Croquettes

Potato croquette

This is also another favorite of mine.There are different ways to make this but this is just my way.

You will need;

4-5 potatoes (white potatoes and best for this)

100-150g cooked minced meat

A pinch of black pepper

Salt (to taste)

3 tablespoons milk

A hand full (or less) of chopped green(spring) onions

for frying

Vegetable Oil

For the Batter

Flour (as needed)

2 Eggs (beaten)

Dried Bread crumbs

How to

  • Dice your potatoes,this makes it cook faster

20121121_114918

  • Cook with a little salt till it is soft,but not (mushy-kinda soft),just until you can insert a fork in without any resistance
  • Drain the the water,put it back on the heat and mash immediately (if you wait,it becomes a little harder to mash)
  • Remove from the heat
  • Add the minced meat,black pepper
  • Taste and adjust the salt to your liking

20121121_120046Spring Onions.

(don’t use that much and use only the green part)

  • Add the spring onions and mix well,add the milk and mix again until it is well blended.
  • Taste and adjust anything to your liking

20121121_123459

  • Transfer it to a wide plate or tray,spread it out and let it cool
  • Form it into little balls or big balls (as you like it)
  • In 3 different plates,put flour in one,beaten eggs in another,breadcrumbs in the last
  • Roll the balls of mashed potatoes in the flour,eggs,and breadcrumbs in that order,one at a time
  • Fry until golden brown
  • Drain on paper towels and serve

Enjoy!

Meat Pie — The Nigerian way

Meat pie

 This half moon-shaped pastry is one of the most common pastries in Nigeria,loved by all (I am yet to meet anyone who does not like it).It’s even a big hit among my Hungarian friends too so there has got to be something right about it.right?I can’t say it originates from Nigeria,to be honest,I have no idea where it originates from but different countries have something that makes it different.The buttery crust with meat and vegetable fillings is a palate pleaser.It’s pretty simple to make but there are lots of steps involved.

Recipe

For the Meat and Veggie filling

500g of Minced Meat

1 teaspoon dried chili

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 bullion or stock cube

1 bay leaf

pinch of salt (to taste)

1 small onion

2 medium size carrots

1 medium potato

1 tablespoon vegetable oil(optional,I just like to add it for flavour)

1 tablespoon flour

Bell pepper (optional)

Green peas(optional)

For the Dough

600g Flour

300g Butter

1 tablespoon Baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

Pinch of salt

Cold water (as needed)

1 Egg (for brushing)

How to

makes about 24 pieces

The dough

  • In a big bowl,combine the flour,baking powder,salt,sugar and mix.
  • Cut the butter into little cubes and add to the mixture

  • Rub in the butter till it looks like breadcrumbs

  • Then add water cold water,a little at a time and mix until it forms a soft but firm dough.Cover and let it rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator.this gives the gluten in the flour some time to develop

The filling

  • Cut the carrots and potatoes into little pieces

  • Dice the onions too.
  • In a pot,crumble the minced meat in,add the onions and stir,it would begin to change colour as it cooks.add the salt,black pepper,chili,stock cube and keep stirring
  • Add the vegetables and cook for about 2-3mins
  • When it’s done,add the oil,mix,then add the flour.The flour helps to bind all the delicious goodness coming out of the meat

In my opinion,the less the veggies,the more delicious the meat pie is (but then again,it’s just my opinion)

  • Set aside to cool.
  • Roll out the dough,as thin as you want it but not to thin (we don’t want the dough tearing).
  • Get a round cutter or anything round that you can use to cut (I used the container that my daisy cookie cutters came in).

If yours looks like mine,just run a small knife through the cuts.

  • Put about a tablespoon of filling on one half of the cut dough,moisten the edges with a little bit of water (just dip your finger in water and run it around the edges.

  • Fold over and use the tines of a fork to seal the edges.

  • Transfer to a baking sheet
  • Preheat your oven to 170 degrees Celsius
  • Brush a beaten egg on the dough (this gives it a nice brown finish)
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes

Enjoy!