Brulée Brie and Bacon wrapped dates

Happy Sunday everyone! Today you get a 2×1 offer: 2 recipes in one post. Lucky you! Although to be fair, both recipes are fairly easy, quick to make, and go together very well.

Brulée brie is apparently all the rage at this very moment, or how kids are calling it these days “trending”. It is all over Instagram, it has its own hashtag, as all important things in life must according to The Internet – man, I sound really old and whiny-. It is one of those wonderful things that will have its minute or two of glory and then everyone will move on to the next thing. But I wanted very badly to give it a try, especially since I got this lovely torch as a Xmas gift and I had not put it to use yet (shame on me).

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  • Brie cheese
  • brown sugar
  1. Slice the cheese and arrange them next to each other. Then carefully spoon some brown sugar on top of each slice.
  2. The final AND most exciting step of this recipe: TORCH! Torch that motherf***er! Torch until the sugar has caramelized beautifully on top of the cheese, and wait a bit for it to set. And then struggle to keep your hands off until served!

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  • Pitted dates
  • Bacon rashers
  1. Wrap the dates in bacon. I usually cut one slice in half and that’s enough to wrap two dates. Otherwise the bacon to date ratio is unbalanced for my taste.
  2. Put a non-stick pan on medium heat and fry on all sides until the bacon is crispy.

Feel free to write your thanks for sharing this wonderful recipes with you lot!

Caramelized onions

By now you probably feel that it is all about caramelized stuff with me. I do really enjoy some sweet and savory contrast in my food, and caramelized onions are no exception! I first got obsessed with caramelized onions after I first went to the renowned yearly Tapas competition in my home town. You get a map of the city with each restaurant and what they offer as part of the competition, and you get to vote for your favourite tapa of the year. In this one little cellar style restaurant, very modernly decorated, we were served little bread toasts with pork loin topped with aioli and caramelized onion. It was simply delicious (and I’m not a huge fan of pork!).

And I knew there and then I had to try this at home. And thus commenced my learning process of onion caramelizing. This recipe should be enough as a topping for a 2-people meal, if you want more, just increase the amounts!

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  • 1 middle sized onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  1. Heat the olive oil on low heat on a pan, and add the butter until it melts.
  2. Throw in the onion, and watch it sizzle slowly until it turns transparent, then yellowish and eventually brown. Whenever it starts to stick to the pan, just stir it slightly with a wooden spoon or spatula. This should take some patience and around 20 minutes.

 

BONUS TIPS:

  • You can add 1 teaspoon brown sugar after the last step, and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until it dissolves together with the onion. This is optional, but it will enhance the sweetness. I do this depending on the recipe I’ll use.
  • I used this batch to top of brulée brie. Don’ miss out!

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Fruit & nut chocolates

As you may already know, I’m part british (although many people can’t tell due to my mish-mash of an accent) which automatically makes me a Cadbury lover. And it is no secret that my all-time favourite chocolate is their Fruit & Nut – followed closely by Toblerone, because who better than the Swiss, right? -.

That together with the fact that recently I’ve had this huge craving, and that I’ve had a brand new chocolate mold that was waiting for me to free it from its box (yes, it hadn’t been used, ergo, not opened, since I got it from my bestie for my birthday in July, I know, shame on me)… I had a lightbulb moment! Not that I’m claiming this is the best thing since sliced bread, or am I?

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  • 200g / 3/4 cups good quality chocolate
  • 50g / 3 tbsp whole almonds
  • 50g / 3 tbsp whole raisins
  1. Start by tempering the chocolate in a medium bowl. If you’re wondering, this is how I learned. This will allow the chocolate to hold back its shape once it’s hardened.
  2. Add the almonds and the raisins. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Pour carefully onto the chocolate mold and let it cool.

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BONUS TIPS:

  • This might be the most simple recipe in my website so far! Feel free to mix things up, add other nuts or dried fruit of your choice.
  • It should go without saying that you don’t need an actual chocolate mold. An ice tray will also do the trick.

Basic caramel sauce – with candy thermometer

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Here is another wonderful recipe perfect for Autumn – although let’s face it, caramel is wonderful anytime of the year!-. It was only a few years ago that I first tried making caramel. The first batch without a candy thermometer must have been beginners luck, because it turned out absolutely perfect. So I naively convinced myself that was it, I had mastered the art of caramel where so many others had failed miserably – no holding back on my chuffiness here -. It wasn’t until I tried a second time, that I realized it wasn’t all perfect in my little unicorn land. It cristallized, it crumbled, it burned on the bottom of the pot, it was a sugary mess. And then my bestie came to the rescue! She bought me a candy thermometer for Christmas, and ever since then I haven’t had a failed batch of this creamy sugary goodness.

So my first and most crucial piece of advice to you if you want to embark on this adventure of caramel making is: purchase a candy thermometer! You won’t regret it. I know there are plenty of recipes out there that don’t use one, but it’s such an imprecise science that it just doesn’t work for me. If it does for you, go you!

  • 200g / 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 120ml / 1/2 cups cream (minimum 30%)
  • 90g / 1/3 cups butter at room temperature
  1. Pour the sugar in a tall pot with some water, so the consistency will be that of wet sand. The water will evaporate with the heat anyway, so don’t worry too much about the amount. At this stage just leave the sugar to heat and do it’s thing, don’t fiddle with it, don’t brush water on the sides, just leave it alone! Trust me on this.
  2. Heat at medium high until the candy thermometer marks around 300ºF, then take off the heat.
  3. In a separate pot, or in the microwave, heat up the cream but don’t bring to a boil.
  4. Add the butter to the sugar and stir until completely dissolved. You can put it back on the stove if you have trouble melting the butter, and take it back off as soon as it’s all well mixed.
  5. Add the cream carefully, it will bubble up. Stir with a metal whisk until smooth.

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BONUS TIPS:

  • Add some salt to make salted caramel. I actually do this every single time!
  • Use on ice cream, toast, waffles or pancakes, even fruit (just yesterday, G used it to dip some apple slices and it was delicious!). The possibilities are endless!

Chicken mayonnaise

 

Another family treasure: the chicken mayonnaise or leftover mayonnaise. Or the how-to-make-leftovers-into-another-meal base recipe.

My dad used to make this a lot when I was little, and before him my grandmother, and before that my great grandmother. This is another one of those recipes that I’ve taken over by now. It’s perfect for the day after a chicken roast or a fish dinner. It’s also quite a fuss-free meal – my favourite!-. The face my brother and me would make when dad said we were having this for dinner said it all! It’s easy to make, perfect for hot weather, but still hearty enough for a winter meal as well. And the best is that you can put it together with a wide variety of side dishes, depending on how healthy you want to be.

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That seasoning tho… Here I used garlic powder, sweet paprika, salt and pepper and a dash of lemon juice

You’ll start this recipe with the basic mayonnaise recipe that you can find here.

  • Homemade mayonnaise
  • Leftover chicken or fish, clean and without bones
  • Some olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, herbs and spices to taste
  1. Shred the leftovers by pulsing them in a food processor. Alternatively you can chop them up really small.
  2. Once you have a mince of sorts, pour one or two tablespoons of oil and mix well.
  3. Add the mayonnaise and mix together until it has a paste consistency, sort of a spread. I tend to add the mayonnaise a few tablespoons at a time, to make sure I get the right consistency instead of adding it all at once. It depends on how big the amount of leftovers is.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste, and any other herbs or spices you like.

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BONUS TIPS:

  • This is where you get creative. Curry and dijon mustard are two favourites of mine (not together though!). Basil, rosemary, cilantro, sundried tomatoes… Feel free to experiment, I’ll be happy to read your comments telling me what you discovered!

 

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Homemade mayonnaise

Mayonnaise, I find that there’s nothing like it – if it’s self made. For me, homemade mayonnaise is a comfort food. One of those things that I could always count on either my grandmother or my mum to be able to whip up in no time. I was passed on this torch when I was 14.

While my mum taught me the recipe over the phone, I very carefully whipped an egg yolk with some olive oil and made my very first batch of mayo ever.

One weekend, we were having some friends and family over at my dad’s, and one of my aunties mentioned my grandmother’s famous homemade mayonnaise. Everyone went “Ohhhhh yummmm” at unison. My dad asked me if my mum had taught me, and when my answer was no he shoved the phone on my ear to get cracking.
While my mum taught me the recipe over the phone, I very carefully whipped an egg yolk with some olive oil and made my very first batch of mayo ever. Everyone who was there that day said it was great, but the best compliment came from my uncle Jorge. He said it tasted exactly like his grandmother’s. And so the story goes: my great grandmother taught it to her daughter, my grandmother, who in turn taught it to her daughter-in-law, my mum, and thus the recipe was passed onto myself. I feel very proud to have been trusted with it, and ever so slightly reluctant to share it like this, but I won’t be selfish. It’s too good not to share and spread the love!

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • one egg
  • olive oil (or any other good quality oil such as sunflower or rapeseed)
  • some salt and pepper, and lemon juice
  • garlic, fresh or powdered (optional)
  • a deep plate and a fork, and a kitchen towel
  1. Place the towel on the countertop, and the plate on top so it won’t slide.
  2. Separate the yolk from the white, and reserve the white in the fridge (see step 7).
  3. With the yolk in the plate sprinkle some salt and add one tablespoon of olive oil, and thoroughly mix with the fork in a circling motion. Make sure the yolk and the oil have mixed well before you continue each step.
  4. Continue adding one tablespoon oil each time, again making sure it’s completely mixed before adding anymore.
  5. If you add too much oil at once, tilt the plate to the side and try and scrape off the oil to use later. Don’t mix too much oil with the egg all at once or your mayo will separate. It can be hard to get it to mix again once it’s separated, it usually means starting all over.
  6. Repeat step 4 as many times as you can (there’s only so much oil one egg will mix with). If you see that it’s getting too oily, that’s your clue that the mayo is done. Eventually your mayo will get thicker, that’s another way to know that your doing it right.
  7. This is an optional step: retrieve the reserved egg white, and pour one tablespoon at a time, mixing it well with the mayo. This will soften the consistency and make it runnier. I like it more on the thick side, but my mum prefers it runnier. It’s just a matter of taste!
  8. Finally add salt and pepper to taste, and I personally love to add a dash of lemon juice – gives it a nice tangy kick-. Mix well and serve.

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Ready to eat up! It’s great with french fries, the way the Germans and Dutch eat them, with different types of salad, or you can use it to make one of my famous leftover mayo meals.

BONUS TIPS:

  • For those garlic lovers out there, join the club! If you have fresh garlic, you can mash it using a mortar and pestle, a garlic crusher, or just a sharp knife, and add it to the mayo to give it an allioli flavour. If you have powdered garlic, just add as much as you like directly to the mix.
  • If you want to make a bigger batch, you’ll need more eggs and oil. Just follow the recipe as is, and once you’ve finished a one-egg mayo, add more egg yolks and continue adding oil until your batch is big enough.

*Note: Some people might find homemade mayonnaise too “eggy”, and to those people I would say that they probably don’t really like eggs and should therefore stay away from real mayonnaise. Stick to the store-bought or whichever floats your boat!