Roasted broccoli and prawns

I just had this for dinner – and I could not believe how something so simple could be so tasty! Broccoli never tasted better. Well I like broccoli either way, but I knew this was a hit when even my boyfriend loved this dinner, despite it’s health factor! “This broccoli munch-munch- is so tasty! That was kind of surprising!” Those were his exact words. Now that’s a success. Another dish added to my repertoire.

I spotted this dish on the amateur gourmet, probably the funniest food blog there is. I was very intrigued about this way of preparing broccoli. That was new to me!The broccoli turns crispy and caramelized, adding Middle Eastern spices (cumin seeds, coriander seeds), and then prawns… well so few and simple ingredients can acutally transform into a meal. A very good meal. Plus it couldn’t be easier. I followed the recipe, but didn’t measure anything up. No need to. Go with the flow. Plus I added some sugar peas and zucchini as well.

Roasted broccoli and prawns

Heat the oven to 210 C (450)

On a large cookie sheet, toss together 1 broccoli cut up into florets (medium-sized. Small enough to get the sides nice and caramelized, but you still want some al-dente resistance!)
2 Tbs olive oil,
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds (or 1/2 tsp. ground)
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds (or 1/2 tsp. ground)
1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and 1/8th tsp hot chili powder.
Spread into a single layer and pop into the oven for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss together the prawns, shelled and deveined, with 2 Tbs olive oil, lemon zest from one lemon, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper in a bowl. When the broccoli’s been in the oven 10 minutes, add the shrimp to the broccoli and toss carefully.

Roast another 10 minutes, tossing once halfway through, until the broccoli is “tender and golden around the edges.”

And that’s your dinner!
I served it in a big bowl of rice.
So simple. So delicious.

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Caramelized banana cake

I never buy bananas for eating. Quite logically, since I don’t like them. But what I do like, is anything banana flavoured, exept bananas. Weird, I know. Banana bread, banana ice cream, banana fudge, banana milkshake, banana cake – you get the picture. It just transforms into something way better. So I never end up with overripe bananas by accident, “forcing” me to make banana cake, because I don’t buy them in the first place. Which is kind of sad, because I love banana cake, and you’re excused to make it when your bananas turn black. But when life doesn’t give you overripe bananas – go out and get and get them! So when I spotted a big bag of brown-turning-black bananas at the supermarket for a give-away-price, I immediately visiualized this banana cake, and bought them. This was my sign! The supermarket aka life gave me over ripe bananas for this purpose. I’m sure. Well, not a moment too soon. I bookmarked this recipe a long time ago, but for the lack of bananas in my life, making it just never happened. The recipe is from J’s Kitchen – a beautiful blog with just as beautiful photos and mouthwatering food. She made 3 versions of this banana cake, I decided on the last attempt which she said was the best. Although they all look good to me. She also said it wasn’t very sweet, but I thought it was more than sweet enough. At least for breakfast. The perfect monday morning breakfast. I actuallt skipped the gym this morning and replaced it with banana cake, quality butter and cinnamon coffee. It was the right thing to do.

Caramelised Banana Cake

70 + 10 gr butter
40 + 40 gr caster sugar
2 bananas thinly sliced
2 eggs
180 gr plain flour
20 gr cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking soda
80 ml milk

Preheat oven at 180C and prepare baking pan.
Caramelise the bananas: in a nonstick frying pan, heat 40 gr sugar and 1 tablespoon water until it starts to caramelise. Add 10 gr butter. Let the butter fully melt, then add sliced banana. Cook until softens – mash while cooking. Cool.
In a bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch, and baking soda.
Beat 70 gr butter and 40 gr caster sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one by one, mixing well after each addition. Add cooled caramelised banana.
Fold in flour mixture alternating with the milk in 3 additions, starting and ending with flour mixture.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes (depending on pan size).

(The original recipe says makes 4 mini loafs. I made one regular loaf instead, and baked it for 40 minutes. It could probably have baked a little longer, but I was hungry and I like slightly gooey cakes.)

Peshawari Naan

I cannot explain how much I love Indian food. I eat it on a very regular basis. Weekly, actually. Luckily, my boyfriend shares my enthusiasm, so it’s very easy to decide on Indian when we want something tasty for the weekend. We’ve both developed great skills, if I may say so, in preparing Indian food at home. Practise makes perfect I guess! But there is one thing that’s been missing in our very private Indian restaurant. And that is naan. When we go out to eat Indian, like most other people, we order naan. But not the plain kind. No, no, no. The peshawari kind, also known as sweet naan. It’s like regular naan bread, but with a sweet filling of raisins, nuts and sugar.

If you haven’t tried it, I encourage you to! Next time swap the regular naan for some peshawari goodness. That sweet taste goes so well together with the spicy Indian dishes. I cannot recall exactly how I discovered it, or when or how the transmission from plain naan to peshawari went, but I guess I read about it. And since I like all things sweet, I imagined this would be delicious, and quite right, this is seriously good. And ever since I took my first bite into peshawari naan, there was no going back. Naan would never be the same. From now on naan to me equals peshawari naan.

But at home, we can’t order naan. And I’ve always thought of it as too much work, though I’ve been wanting to make it for years. So until now, naan has been replaced with garlic bread. If I only knew how ridiculously easy it would be to make naan, (I thought I would need a spesific oven, maybe some strange flour and it took me quite a while to figure out that the mystery filling in sweet naan was actually things as common as raisins and nuts) I would have started a long time ago. But better late then never. My new year’s resolution works! (I marked several recipes I’ve been meaning to try – naan beeing one of them)
It was so good – the texture was just right, and the filling….. Ohhh my. From now on, there will always be peshawari naan in this household. Ready for any Indian dinner!

I found a recipe from my beloved book The Complete Book of Indian Cooking by Veronica Sperling. Probably one of my favourite cookbooks. I also used it for the lamb pasanda I made. But the recipe said not to fill the naans, but that’s what I wanted, so I found a recipe on BBC by Anjum Anand as well. So my naans were something in between, I guess. I used almonds instead of pistachios for instance. Here’s the BBC recipe:

Ingredients
250g/8¾oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
110-130ml/4½fl oz milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil
30g/1oz flaked almonds
1 tbsp butter, melted, for serving

Filling
70g/2½oz pistachios, shells removed (or almonds)
35g/1¼oz raisins
1½ tsp caster sugar

Directions

Sift together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Mix the milk and oil together in a separate bowl. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid ingredients.
Slowly mix together the dough by working from the centre and incorporating the flour from the edges of the well until you have a smooth, soft dough. Knead for 8-10 minutes, adding a little flour if the dough is too sticky.

Place in an oiled bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for at least an hour, until the dough has doubled in size. Then knock back and form into five equal-sized balls.

For the filling, pulse together the pistachios, raisins and sugar in a food processor until the mixture forms a coarse powder. Divide into five equal portions.

Preheat the grill to its highest setting and place a heavy baking sheet on the top shelf to heat.
Roll out each of the five portions of dough balls into thick circles. Fill half of each circle with one portion of the filling leaving about a one-inch margin around the edge. Wet the dough around the edges with a little water and fold each circle in half to enclose the filling. Pinch the dough around the edges to close.

Gently roll out each naan into a teardrop or oval shape. Prick with a fork and place the naan on the hot baking sheet and grill for about 1-2 minutes until there are nice brown spots on the surface. Brush with the melted butter and serve hot.

Pea and prawn risotto

I really don’t have any new year’s resolutions.
Healthier better life? Don’t think so. I mean, why bother, we all know how that eventually turns out. Nah, I’m content with the way things are, so I’ll just continue down that road.

But then it hit me – why not make some fun resolutions? Resolutions that you can actually look forward to! And what would that possibly be, you say. Food, I say. Of course. I already have a list of bookmarked recipes that I want to make. And I have lots and lots of cookbooks, which I honestly don’t use that much. I like to read them, though. Sit down with a cup of tea, a nibble and a cookbook, and read it, yes – as a novel, but I rarely use them as a source of recipes. For that I have the internet. Damn Tastespotting. It’s hard to ignore.

So I decided.

New year’s resolution 1: I will try out more new recipes.
This is escpecially dinner-wise I’m thinking. I tend to make the same things over and over again, but with all my cookbooks, not to mention all the food blogs out there, there should be plenty of inspiration for me to shake things up a bit.

New year’s resolution 2: I will plough through one of my cookbooks.
As often as possible, but at least once a month, I’ll pick a recipe from the chosen book and make it.
Haven’t decided which one yet.

And starting now, I present to you, Jamie Oliver’s Pea & Prawn risotto. (Alright, I found the recipe online, but I’ve never made it before!) It was absolutely delicious. I’m a huge risotto fan to start with, and adding prawns – it had to be a hit. And it was. I loved the sweetness the peas provided, together with the garlicky prawns and buttery risotto…. What can I say. This is so added to my dinner repertoire! I’m looking forward to future favourite recipes beeing discovered this year!

Pea & Prawn risotto

Ingredients (serves 2)
200g Arborio rice
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
half an onion, finely chopped
small glass of white wine
1 pint chicken stock
150g cooked king prawns
50g frozen peas
30g freshly grated parmesan cheese
2-3 knobs of butter
salt and black pepper

As usually I didn’t have wine – but don’t leave it out if you have some!
I also left out the parmesan. In my mind that didn’t seem to go well with the prawns! But I’m not sure… Let me know if it turns out good!

Heat the chicken stock in a pan to a very gentle simmer.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan with a knob of butter. Gently fry the garlic and onion over a medium heat, until the onion is softened and almost transparent. Add the rice and coat with the olive oil, garlic and onion mix. Cook for 2 minutes.

Pour in the white wine and cook until the liquid is absorbed. Once absorbed, add a spoon of the simmering stock and cook until absorbed. Continue until all of the stock is absorbed and the rice is al dente. Stir in the remaining butter, the parmesan cheese, prawns and peas and seasoning. Cook gently for a minute or so to warm the prawns and cook the peas.
Sprinkle with maldon salt and freshly grounded pepper, and serve.

Oreo peanutbutter chocolate torte

I cannot tell you how long I’ve been dreaming about this cake. When it first appeared to me, I was what you could call cake-struck. I mean, just take a look at this. It looked sooo good, and was immediately bookmarked on my baking-list. 10 syllables titles are always a good sign. But I began to realize that it would be a little too much to throw together on a regular weekday, just because of a sweet craving. It was even too much for a weekend dessert – after all, there are just 2 of us in this household. And though we’ve eaten our way through entire cakes before, this was different. Just a quick look at the ingredients, (32 oreos, 2,5 cups heavy cream, 350 g cream cheese and 1,5 cups peanut butter….to name some) I knew 2 things about this cake. 1: this had to be good. I mean, oreos, peanut butter, sugar, cream cheese and chocolate – how could so many calories possibly fail? and 2: this was a cake for special occacions and more than 2 people.

So it was put on hold. For a long time. The right occasion never seemed to appear. Until now! New Years Eve! What better day for some cake-extravaganza? Maybe I should have opted for something lighter after dinner, but screw that, I was making this cake while I had the chance. If not now, when would I ever make this cake? Well my birthday I guess, but that’s far away, and this had been put off for far too long already. Finally, I would be making the delicious oreo-peanutbutter-torte that I first set my eyes on at annies-eats, but originates from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home To Yours. (Which I’ve tried to purchase online, but seems impossible as Amazon will not ship this book to Norway, so I guess I have to travel myself to the US, go to a bookstore, purchase this book, and return. Unless anyone out there will help me getting this cookbook?) Until then – I always have the internet. Here’s the recipe!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte

For the crust:
32 Oreo cookies, finely processed into crumbs
5 1/3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Small pinch of salt

For the crunch:
1 1/4 cups salted peanuts, finely chopped, divided (for the filling, crunch and topping)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. espresso powder
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

For the filling:
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter (not natural)
2 tbsp. whole milk

For the topping:
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

(I would maybe increse the amount of oreos- yes, really- as I found it a little hard to cover the sides completely. And I think I would leave out the cinnamon next time, I don’t think that flavour blended well together with the rest. But that’s just my humble opinion.)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 180 C/ 350 F. Combine the oreos, salt with melted and cooled butter. Crush everything together until it resembles small crumbs. I found it best to put the oreos in a plastic bag and go at it with a rolling pin! When you’re done, press everything into a springform pan covering the bottom and the sides. Freeze the crust for 10 minutes, then bake in a preheated oven for 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack completely before filling.

To make the crunch, combine everything in a bowl, but using only 1/2 cup of the chopped peanuts. Toss with a fork to mix, and set aside.

To prepare the filling whip 2 cups of the cream until it holds medium peaks. Beat in 1/4 cup of confectioners’ sugar and whip until the cream holds medium-firm peaks. Scrape the cream into a separate bowl and refrigerate until needed.

Wipe out (do not wash) the mixer bowl, replace the whisk with the paddle attachment, and beat the cream cheese with the remaining 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until the cream cheese is satiny smooth. Beat in the peanut butter, whole milk, and 1/4 cup of the chopped peanuts until well combined.

Using a large rubber spatula, gently stir in about 1/4 of the whipped cream just to lighten the mousse. Still working with the spatula, stir in the crunchy peanut mixture, then fold in the remaining whipped cream. Scrape the mousse into the crust, mounding and smoothing the top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. (Eventually put it in the freezer for a frozen version, or to speed the freezing process, as I did.)

To finish the torte, put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Leave the bowl over the water just until the chocolate softens and starts to melt, about 3 minutes; remove the bowl from the saucepan. Bring the 1/2 cup of cream to a full boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and, working with a rubber spatula, very gently stir together until the ganache is completely blended and smooth.

Pour the ganache over the torte, smoothing with a metal icing spatula. Scatter the remaining peanuts over the top and chill to set the topping, at least 20 minutes. When the ganache is firm, remove the sides of the springform pan. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Or you can freeze it and thaw in the fridge a few hours before serving. I decided to give mine a little freeze as I think it’s much easier to slice when frozen – besides, I like slightly frozen cakes. Either way, it’s delicious. Satiny smooth mousse like or the colder version; snickers ice cream-torte, only with added oreos! You have to try this some time. I know I’ll be making this again! This is what I call cake. Or torte. What’s the difference anyway? Who cares. Capitol C, capitol A, capitol K, capitol E. CAKE. Cakealicious is what this is. Or torte. This is confusing. Next subject, please!

Unfortunately I didn’t get to photograph it until today. I forgot to bring my camera on New Years Eve, but luckily there was a lot cake left. That much that me, my mother and my sister each got 1/4 cake to share with our respective men… So needless to say, today, 3 days later, after spending too much time in room temperature plus travelling around the city, through the snow, beeing sliced and shared, it lost some of it’s glory. But not its taste. So don’t judge by it’s slightly messy apperance! Make this cake as soon as you get the chance – you will regret if you don’t. Be realistic and have only this new year’s resolution – make this in 2010.