I can hardly take any credit for these… I simply followed the fail proof, fool proof recipe and voila’.
Day 5. It’s Saturday so no school, work and kind of free for all/no need to get dressed king of day, but mother’s guilt is a powerful thing so there I was, baking. I’d like a medal please.
Frankly, it was worthy it. These are totes delish.
The recipe is the one on the back of the choc chips package… I have a vague recollection of an episode of friends with Phoebe talking about her grandma’s special recipe which turned out to be this one… but maybe I’m mistaken, it’s been a while since that aired on tv. I bought the chips on amazon, just in case you’re wondering, I can’t find them in the shops here in England.
The boys have already halved the qty that came out of the oven. We took some to the boy who lives opposite us and some to my dad, because we are nice like that.
Recipe from the lovely Constanca Cabral. It’s super easy to make and really delicious.
I know I’m not the only one that has taken up baking… it fills the time right? it keeps the mind occupied and away from the news.
How are you all coping? Are you worried? scared? sanguine about the current situation? To quote one of my favourite poets, Robert Frost…
in three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on
No 1 son is at home, watching his plans of round the world trips scampered (bar a miracle) and has taken it really well… much better than me frankly, three trips cancelled and counting… at least we got to go skiing for a few days, right? Sons No 2 and 3, are wondering whey they’re the only children in the world who are still going to school, whilst all their hockey matches have been cancelled. I’d like to know that too.
Someone keeps spelling rude words with the magnetic letters on the fridge… to be honest it could the husband… a puerile relief from all the work worries, it’s not easy to make a living at the moment.
My parents are getting used at their forced ’12 weeks house bounds status’ and are moved by the message of kindness received from many neighbours. Mum has bought an exercise bikes and plans to put in in the green house… a sort of home made peloton… dad is busy in his shed restoring our outdoor table and chairs.
We watched ROMA the other night. A bit late to the party as usual, but what a gorgeous movie. Not at all what I expected, but was pleasantly surprised and totally loved it. Have you seen it?
I’m not going vegan (one of my children asked me that when I bought an electric car… eye-roll), but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like vegan food.
I picked up the recipe last month and found it again this afternoon while tidying up the kitchen island which, as usual, ends up collecting all sorts of random paper and objects till Mr M has a fit and it gets tidied (he’s a minimalist guy married to a hoarder… I’ll leave you with that image). Aaaanyway, I glanced at the list of ingredients and lo and behold I had every single one of them, including – surprisingly – the chia seeds. Go me. (I also have A LOT of cupcake paper thingies… from when the boys were small and I used to make them all the time… ALL THE BLOODY TIME)
I took finding this recipe as a sign from above to stop reading books about refugees for my next assignment and do some mothering thangs…
Easy recipe and quick too. Just don’t tell my boys about the chia seeds or they’ll eye them suspiciously and won’t eat them…
They are super light and fluffy and delicious. I think next time I’ll add some chocolate chips for added crunch. I didn’t bother with the frosting because usually if they don’t get eaten straight away it goes hard and they get waisted.
No 2 has just wolfed two down as soon as he walked in. I called it a success.
I was aimlessly scrolling through Instagram this morning, while waiting for a cup of tea from MR M (he’s a good one), when I stumbled on Anna’s account (annasfamilykitchen) and the amazing photograph of her Shakshuka… my stomach started to grumble and I KNEW that would have been our brunch… bacon schmacon…
And so I did!
I’m going to copy the recipe here because something this good has to be shared:
INGREDIENTS for 4:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 2 red onions chopped⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 3 garlic cloves crushed⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 1 red pepper⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 3 tsp Ras El Hanout⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 2 cans chopped tomatoes 400g can of chickpeas drained 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 100g spinach⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 4 eggs ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 50g feta cheese Fresh coriander or parsley to serve
Colour the onions for 5 minutes, add the peppers and garlic and colour for another 5 minutes.
Add the balsamic vinegar and then the Ras El Hanout. Give the pan a stir then add the chickpeas and tomatoes.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Simmer for 15 minutes or longer if you want a richer sauce.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Add the spinach. Give the pan a quick stir then make 4 wells in the sauce. Crack an egg into each.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Sprinkle over the feta or mozzarella and put under a grill or in a hot oven for 5 minutes. Alternatively just pop a lid on the pan for 7-8 minutes.
Serve with crusty bread.
I didn’t have spinach so I used kale and also cheddar cheese instead of feta… and I didn’t have any coriander to garnish… It was still the best brunch recipe EVER. Warming, and tasty, beautiful to look at…
It’s definitively soup weather… the mornings are dark and chilly and frankly a salad for lunch is not so appealing anymore.
The first soup was butternut squash and carrots, nothing fancy, but velvety and warming. And I didn’t take any pictures, because… I don’t know, I forgot…
This time though I made an effort and even though I don’t have photos of the final results I have some of the ‘during’… does that count?
Most of my soup (unless I do the famous ‘everything at the bottom of the vegetable drawer’ soup) comes from this book:
To start off I went back to the old classic:
Who doesn’t like this one? No 3 calls it ‘white soup’… probably a strategy to ignore the fact it contains a moderate amount of vegetables. Denial.
It’s a harmless soup, that’s for sure.
The other ingredients are an onion (I was crying, couldn’t take a picture) and some chicken stock. That’s it. Easy peasy.
This week is rolling on in a haze… the sounds appeared muffles. After a loss like we’ve just experienced it’s weird to realise that actually no matter how great is the pain, life just goes on around you. It seems a little insensitive… but actually it should be comforting; like a stable ground after an earthquake .
Cooking, soup, even banana cake help a little. I feel that doing something concrete, and physical almost, helps a tad.
I had the last of the banana bread, sliced, toasted and smothered with Nutella. Zero guilt.
and here’s a poem about soup… just because… that’s how randomly my brain works these days…
I saw a famous man eating soup. I say he was lifting a fat broth Into his mouth with a spoon. His name was in the newspapers that day Spelled out in tall black headlines And thousands of people were talking about him.
When I saw him, He sat bending his head over a plate Putting soup in his mouth with a spoon.
Don’t ask me what possessed me to bake brownies first thing in the morning the other day… because I have no idea… I had eggs that needed to be used, I had children ready to eat them so I found myself melting butter and chocolate and trying not to drool in the pan
The recipe is from the big anthology of Delia Smith, which I don’t use much because it hasn’t got any pictures and I like to see what ‘something’ is supposed to look like at the end. I figure brownies would be ok though… I mean, brownies are… brown, quite flat, squidgy in the middle…
Anyway, the ingredients are in the photo above and here are the instructions. I omitted the nuts because they would have cause a riot.
Easy peasy. In the interest of disclosure, I think the amount of sugar is waaaay too much. I would literally used 50/80gr less next time. Don’t know what would happen to the ‘chemistry’ of the things, but we’ll see.
They are however, delicious. crunchy and chewy on the outside and moorishly (is that a word?) soft/gooey on the inside.
They didn’t last long.
They are definitely in the ‘to do again’ pile. Possibly after my ‘oh god I need to wear a swimming costume’ week in Greece… you know how it goes.
Do you have a favourite brownie recipe? a really dark chocolety flavoured brownie recipe… they’re all seem so sweet… do share!
… and had to force myself to get up… it’s such a relaxing place I feel immediately lazy and chilled there…
… the weather is incredible, really really hot. Not that I’m complaining!
I then drove to my home town to have breakfast in the best possible way, standing at the counter in a bar full of locals with the tiniest of espresso (which packed a hefty punch) and the best pastry: a ‘bombolone’, a fried doughnut filled with custard – sorry English friends, this jam business is an abomination, get in with the custard!
This weekend is slowly turning into a feed-fest… which was not my intention.
Especially because after a morning of mooching around the local market we made it to the coast and had lunch here:
In the afternoon I went back into Cesena for a sport of shopping (… when in Rome, right?) and to meet up with my all school friends, so it hasn’t been only about the food I promise
These are ‘piadine’ (plural, ‘piadina’ singular, let’s get things straight). And they are delicious.
It’s a food typical of this region ‘Romagna’, the eastern side of Emilia Romagna, it is a flat bread usually made with white flour, lard or olive oil, salt and water. The dough was traditionally cooked on a terracotta dish, although nowadays flat pans or electric griddles are commonly used. And it’s delicious. It’s sold in kiosk all over the region and it’s proper street food, cheap and freshly made. It’s eating during meals instead of bread, or with cold cuts of meat, or cheese… I like the double ones, closed in half like a ‘calzone’, filled with ‘herbs’, or tomato and mozzarella.
Piadine are cheap, 0.75 Euro for a plain one, £2.50 for a filled one. And need to be eaten fresh, the next day they are already hard.
Mum and I de-toured off the motorway to get some at an old favourite place, queueing with the locals like we used to do when we live here.
Every time I eat one is a real Proustian Madeleines moment… those ephemeral moments that last only the length of a breath and then they’re gone, that leave you with the memory of a memory, the feeling of the past. This food, this taste, this city is part of me. It is my past, it is who I was and who I left behind and have become.
At the end of the road there was a green grocer who used to gift me juicy San Marzano tomatoes every time mum shopped there. Behind the kiosk is the police Academy where dad used to work and behind that the first home I remember. I can close my eyes and see all places I used to go, the schools I attended, the friends’ homes, the running track, the shops, the parks, the churches, the streets… all connected by million of steps taken, and cycle rides and moped rides and later by car journeys… like a tight spider web that nevertheless couldn’t hold me here.
Except I used green lentils and buffalo mozzarella…
BUT let’s rewind….
The recipe is from this book…
… which is brilliant by the way…
I had a couple of aubergines (eggplants, for you across the ocean) in the fridge which were about to die so I made an amended version of this dish. Also, can you believe I had never roasted an aubergines before this morning? Ridiculous, it’s so easy.
As I said before I modified it slightly… first of all I didn’t have puy lentils so I used a can of Lentils ‘vert’ I had in the cupboard. Then I omitted the oregano because I’m not too fond AND the garlic because I didn’t fancy it. ALSO I replaced the yoghurt with fresh buffalo mozzarella because a friend brought me the real thing from Italy a couple of days ago and it’s divine.
I’ve been in a mega rut regarding food. Bored of cooking doesn’t even begin to describe it… mainly because whatever I cook I always get a comment or two, or three: I don’t like this, I prefer it the other way, why did you cook this, too cooked, too uncooked, I don’t like spicy, not spicy enough… blah blah blah…
This evening I decided to cook something I actually wanted to eat and I’m going totally out on a limb. (You’ll hear the moaning in about 45 minutes… get ready).
The recipe is from this book:
which I’ve had for ages and never used (I’ve ear-marked a few others too)… and it’s here:
It sounds simply enough, right? As I said it’s the first time I’ve tried it…. so don’t blame me… (I would like to add one of my children hates onions… I think he needs to get over it… we’ll see)
Whilst cooking I’ve been watching the movie Jane Eyre. The 2011 version with Michael Fassbender… (omg)… such a beautiful version.
I need to re-read it before college starts in September and I thought it might help me to have a nice image of Mr Rochester in mind… it’s a much bigger book that I remember!
I’m also attempting to cook Basmati rice in this way… which could easily go wrong and sounds terribly complicated… send good vibes! From the same book.
While I wait for everything to cook … I might re-watch the last scene a few times… all in name of cultural research, you understand.
The film is currently on Netflix and if you haven’t seen it… you must.