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delicious culinary journey

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Blueberry Pancakes

I promised you I would bring delicious recipes back from my trip to New York. So this is the first one I will share with you. Blueberry pancakes - they're really fluffy and I am happy about the result. The blueberries give these little bad boys a fruity note. Combined with the fluffy pancakes you might think you are eating a fruity cloud. Sounds crazy - but according to me this is an accurate comparison ;-).

I have to admit that I only ate real American pancakes twice in my life; the first time during my trip to New York in 2013. I was not that convinced about these huge dry discs (as I used to call them). Talking to some of my friends they explained to me that what I had there were not the best version of their favorite breakfast. Alright I thought - next time I will give them a second chance. This year, when I went back to New York, I had to be true to my words. Those following my on Instagram saw that my breakfast treat at Extra Virgin was just perfect. Fluffy pancakes with loads of berries and a little maple syrup to round it all up. I left all prejudice aside and am now an official fan of pancakes. 

Pancakes are part of the list of foods that I saw on TV years before I first tried them. Back in the days, when someone talked about pancakes I always thought about sitcoms or movies I used to be watching during my teenage years. Children would always get pancakes or waffles for breakfast. Back here in Europe, breakfast rarely includes pancakes, and when it does, they're not the fluffy kind of pancakes but rather Belgian crêpes. The only had real pancakes twice in my life. As mentioned about, since my last trip I really like them but I couldn't eat pancakes every morning. Already that I have to force myself to have breakfast, I would be a little bit too lazy to prepare a stack of them at 7 am. 

For 10 pancakes you need:
2 eggs
200ml milk
170ml buttermilk
2 tbsp melted butter
270g flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tbsp sugar
75g blueberries 

blueberries, raspberries and maple syrup to serve.

Il a bowl whisk the eggs on high speed. Add the milk and buttermilk as well as the melted butter. In another bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and sugar. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until you get an even dough. Slowly add the blueberries and mix. 

Melt a knob of butter in a frying pan. Add 3/4 of a soupspoon into the pan. Cook the pancakes over medium heat until the first bubbles appear on the surface. Now they're ready to be turned. Wait another 60 seconds until you take them out of the pan. 

Stack the pancakes on a plate one after another. When all the pancakes are ready, top them with blue- and raspberries and pour some maple syrup over it all. 


Monday, May 30, 2016

Giant Chocolate Cookies

The weather outside is terrible. It hasn't literally stopped raining for 12 hours over here. The roads are flooded and atmosphere makes you feel like we're just a few seconds away from the apocalypse. Some of my colleagues are stuck on the highway and others even find their way home totally flooded. As a reminder dear weather gods, today we're writing May 30th, and we were expecting everything but rain at this time of the year!!!

Well.. I guess complaining won't change anything anyways. The least one can say is that on days like these, we need comfort food. I usually go for the 'sunshine in your plate' option with loads of fruit and veg, but even a big fat colorful salad couldn't make up for the big fat raindrops today. Luckily I took some cookies to work as well. My colleagues loved and hated me at the same time today because of the  great taste as they said on one hand and the high amount of carbs and chocolate on the other. Well from time to time, it's not that big of a deal. As long as your main meals are well-balanced.

For around 16 cookies you'll need:

250g flour
50g cacao powder
280g sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 pinch of salt
220g butter
1 large egg
2 tbsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180°

In a large bowl combine most of the dry ingredients such as flour, cacao, salt and baking powder.

In another bowl, whisk together the sugar and half of the butter until you obtain a fluffy dough. Melt the other half of the butter and pour into the sugar-butter mixture. Now add the egg and the vanilla extract and mix again until you get an even dough. Then slowly pour in the flour-cacao mixture.

Line a baking tray with a sheet of baking paper. With two tablespoons form medium-sized balls (diameter 6cm), which you then place onto the baking tray and slightly flatten them. Make sure to leave a distance of 10cm between them. 

Bake the cookies for 18 to 20 minutes.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Cherry Coconut Granola

When I think granola, I think crunchiness, raw foods and energising elements. Unfortunately, many store-bored products are full of refined sugar and don't provide you with the nutriments you expect. At first, I thought making your own granola would be time consuming and complicated. A reason why I often went for the regular müsli. But let's be honest. müsli is granola's boring little sister. 

Following my fellow food bloggers, I saw granola recipes popping up everywhere. Foodies all over the world claim that you can make your own recipes in a glimpse of time. I have to admit that I was very skeptical at the beginning, but then I decided to give it a try. 

I was evaluating what ingredients I would expect. Dried fruits for sure because of their softness and sweetness. Then I wanted nuts. Nuts are a must because of their crunchiness and the good elements they provide you with.

You have many different ingredients to bind your granola with so I tried different combinations. For the present granola recipe I found the oil and maple syrup combination a good one because it would emphasise the nuttiness of this granola. The sweetness of the maple syrup goes very well with the dried fruits. I promise you there are some more variations to come and you'll find out for yourself which binder combination suits you best. 

For around 1kg granola you need:
70g pumpkin seeds
70 sunflower seeds
50 lin seeds
625g oats
150 chopped almonds
50g coconut flakes
1 tbsp cinnamon
125ml rice syrup
125ml maple syrup
1 pinch of sea salt
125ml extra virgin olive oil
1,5 tsp vanilla extract
50g dried apricots
50g sultanas
120g dried cherries

Preheat the oven to 150°

Prepare two rimmed baking trays with baking paper, then set aside.

If the different seeds are not yet cleaned, place them in a medium-sized bowl, fill it with water, swish the seeds around and let them settle for a while. Then pour the seed-mix into a strainer in order to pour off the water.

If your seeds are all clean, whisk them together as well in a medium-sized bowl.

In a second but larger bowl, place the oats, almonds, coconut flakes and cinnamon. Mix well to combine all the ingredients. Now stir the seeds into the oat mixture.

In a saucepan, warm the rice and maple syrup over medium heat. Add some salt and stir until the mixture begins to simmer. Now remove from the heat, pour in the olive oil and vanilla extract.

Pour the olive oil syrup mixture over the dry ingredients and stir regularly until all the ingredients are evenly combined.

Divide the unbaked granola between the two baking trays and bake for 15 minutes.

Now stir the mixture, rotate the baking trays and bake another 10 minutes. Repeat the procedure and bake for another 5 to ten minutes until the granola is golden and crunchy.

Place the warm granola into a large bowl, add the dried fruits and toss gently.

Wait until the granola has completely cooled down until you start deciding it in jars.


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Almond Maca Energy Bites

Over the last months I have done a lot of research on nutrition and the benefits of the so-called super foods. In times, where high performance is key, I was wondering where I could get my energy from and more precisely, which foods I could get it from. I am not a fan of energy drinks or supplements, that's why I got interested in which foods could provide me with what elements in order to stay energized the whole day.

 At some point I discovered Maca, a root cultivated in a narrow, high-altitude zone of the Andes in Peru. This root was already cultivated 2500 years ago. The Incas, cultivated, dried and transformed it into powder for centuries, and it has emerged as one main source of income for the people of the Andes.

Maca has many benefits, but the one I was interested in was its boosting effect. For centuries it has been used to fight fatigue among the indigenous peoples. Combined with dates, almonds, and chia seeds it makes up for a perfect snack. These additional ingredients provide also loads of goodness to compose this healthy snack. Chia seeds for instance are loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids, protein and fiber as well as various micronutrients. The dates however are a great source of potassium and rich in copper. They also contribute to keep you full for a long time hence curbing the cravings. 

Now you know which power-packed snack I consume. I can assure you that 2-3 balls keep you going for hours. As this recipe is in regular rotation in my home, I have offered these balls, to some of my friends. It would also make a great recipe for my 'Gifts from the Kitchen' section. My friends also recommend them as pre- or post-workout snacks, which I can perfectly understand for the reasons mentioned above. 

 For about 30 balls you need:

460g roughly chopped Medjool dates
270g raw almonds
45g cacao raw powder
2,5 tbsp almond butter
2 tbsp coconut oil
2tbsp maca powder
2tbsp chia seeds

Place the almonds into your food processor and pulse until they're completely crushed. Pit the dates, chop them and add them to the food processor. Pour in the cacao powder, almond butter and coconut oil, pulse again until all the ingredients are well-combined. Now add the chia seeds and maca powder and mix again until you get an even mixture.

Place the mixture into a medium sized bowl. Now roll the mix into equally sized balls. In order for the balls to set well, place them into the freezer for 45 minutes. Then put them into an airtight container and store in the fridge. 


Monday, February 15, 2016

White Chocolate Raspberry Pralines

No, this is no cheesy belated Valentine's blog post. Actually, this blog post is again about sharing love through food. You remember when I recently published my first recipe for the 'gifts from the kitchen' section. I couldn't help but repeat myself; edible gifts are always the best gifts. Sometimes, one just doesn't need a special occasion, sometimes it's just because you want to say thank you or show some love.

I would say that rather often, when we're invited to a dinner party we tend to bring a bottle of wine or flowers, which are definitely nice gifts as well. But as a foodie at heart, I decided I would rather go for homemade gifts in the future. Many recipes are easy to make and allow you to bring something more personal. 

Not so long ago I bought these little praline molds and. The plan was, to prepare some pralines for Christmas to offer them to my colleagues. But as usual, the holiday season is a very busy season. Everyone wants to complete their projects and that's why I didn't' really manage to experiment in the kitchen. Just a few days ago, while daydreaming about yummy food again, I had this idea about making some pralines at last. 

I was lucky enough that all the crafting stores were selling decorative hearts because of Valentine's Day. Well.. at least this allowed me to find some details to decorate my packaging. As you can see in the picture, even the gift tag spreads some love. One thing I can ensure, that these gifts are definitely 'made with love'.

For 30 pralines you need:

450g white chocolate
100g raspberries
red food coloring paste

Melt the chocolate over a hot water bath until completely molten. Add the food coloring paste an set aside. Put the raspberries into your blender or food processor and blend until smooth. 

Take one teaspoon and place the chocolate into the silicone heart mold. Then add half a teaspoon of raspberry purée to it. Finally place another spoon of chocolate until the mold is full. Repeat. Once you filled all the hearts, cool in the fridge for half an hour. 

Once cooled, pop out of the mold and enjoy!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Chocolate Baileys Cake

Do you know that feeling when you work on a chocolate cake recipe, taste the outcome and think: wow this is the best chocolate cake I have ever made. When it comes to chocolate cake I am really hard to please. Chocolate cake is my favorite cake, but it really has to have the right texture, the right amount of chocolate and also most importantly the right balance between chocolate and sugar. It should neither be too sweet nor to bitter. Only recently I've tasted one of the best chocolate cakes in my life, and if I am lucky enough, my colleague will hand the recipe over to me so I can try it for very special occasions. When I tasted his birthday cake, I was just amazed. With half of the cake in my belly, I was wondering what made this chocolate cake so special. It took quite a while until I found out. But I would say, as mentioned above it is the balance between chocolate and sugar; neither too sweet, nor too bitter.

I am not too much of a fan of boozy cakes, except for Rum and Baileys. I love rum truffles and all kind of baileys treats. When I was in high school, a friend of mine gave me this delicious chocolate cake recipe, which my grandpa then took as a base for his chocolate ganache cake. I inherited the recipe and added an extra note, notably the Baileys note. I was experimenting several times with the amount of Baileys until I finally came to the end result of this cake.

I took it too work, and within seconds it was fully approved. Three quarter of the cake were gone in only one afternoon. Fair enough, I saved the last quarter for my parents, to let them see what I transformed grandpa's cake into. I found it would be a perfect Christmas recipe, because of the booziness on one hand and the lovely Baileys taste on the other, which makes a great treat for the festive season.

For the cake you need:
160g butter
100g good quality dark chocolate
200g brown sugar
45g cocoa powder
180ml Baileys
180g flour
1 heaped tsp baking powder
3 eggs


For the ganache you need: 
200g dark chocolate
120ml liquid cream
80ml Baileys

Preheat the oven to 175°

Chop the chocolate first, then take 100g for the cake. In a saucepan, heat the butter and chocolate over medium heat until completely melted. Add the sugar, cocoa powder as well as the Baileys and whisk together until you get a silky and lump-free mixture. Remove from heat and cool for a few minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Add the chocolate mixture and mix until you get an even dough. Add the eggs and mix again. Now you can pour the dough into a buttered cake tin and bake for 40-45 minutes. 

In a saucepan, bring the liquid cream and Baileys to a simmer. Add the remaining chocolate and stir regularly until it has completely molten. 

Set the liquid ganache aside at room temperature. Stir every now and then, to avoid clumps, until thick enough to spread over the cake. 


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