Happy Valentines Day peeps! Or rather happy-another-excuse-to-indulge day! Despite initially thinking I would effectively sit this one out I have so far made two variations on Bubble valentines, made several batches of heart shaped cookies, and two desserts. Clearly, I am weak willed.
I was in the car the other day (on my way to the store) brainstorming about an eggless easy treat that I could put together for a Valnetine’s party for the girls that a friend of mine was hosting. I had made Oreo truffles a while back that tasted like tasty little cheesecakes, but disliked the fiddliness of it all. The rolling, the perpetually dirty hands, the nuisance of getting even chocolate on, it just wasn’t for me. I am too lazy you know.
So this is what I did, whizzed together all two of my ingredients in a food processor, lined a mini muffin pan with plastic wrap, quickly pressed in tablespoons of ‘dough’, froze, then dipped the tops in chocolate and let it harden. Cutesy white chocolate heart covered with sprinkles optional.
Before I go on to the recipe I wanted to apologize to my wonderful subscribers. I was experiencing technical difficulties on Thursday which I now realize were because of my ancient laptop. Now if you will excuse me I will go find a place to bury it…
These muffins are a bad influence on me. The other day I was at a friends house storing some homemade ice cream I had brought over and I saw about half a dozen bananas in the freezer. I wanted them. So bad. Just so I could come home and make these muffins.
All I have left in my freezer is one shrivelled up little banana and there are no bananas in the house right now let alone over ripe ones. Don’t worry guys I resisted. Only because it’s a gluten free household and I couldn’t have offered her a few muffins in exchange for the bananas – yes, I did think of that.
I was about to wax lyrical about these muffins, but really – with a name like Nutella Swirl Banana Bread Muffins is a sales pitch really needed? You kinda get the picture right?
Yes, I said get the picture and then inserted a picture below that. I am so not corny.
Okay so here are my favorite parts about this muffin – the chocolatey swirl, the caramelly undertone of the browned butter (only 1/4 cup!), and that it has half a cup of brown sugar making it less sweet, but perfect for a breakfast that feels more indulgent than it is. Win win I say, win win.
If you asked me a few years ago I would have told you that I categorically do not like eggplants. The usual desi eggplant dishes – baingan ka bharta, bagharay baingan, etc. do not do it for me at all. But then, then something happened. I discovered that you actually do not have to cook it to soft mushy pulpiness. You can cook it until just tender – a magical point where eggplant pieces retain their ‘skin’ and shape and yield a creamy softness. That friends is my happy point.
This dish meets several of my requirements for something I would make again – it is quick, easy, can be made spicy, and between the eggplant and spinach it is quite healthy for you too. Today’s version was topped with some nice bright feta, but I imagine it would be delicious with some toasted pine nuts strewn on top or even some crispy fried onions.
The recipe, only mildly tweaked, is from Pretty Delicious by Candice Kumai. I have tried a few of the recipes in this book with mixed results (probably due to my own errors), but I love the premise of the book. Unlike books which tend to be low-fat or low-carb this one takes a FWB (Food With Benefits) approach to food. In a nutshell what we put in our body should nourish it. Sometimes ‘healthy’ cooking tends to focus on minimizing foods impact on us, this book tries to maximize its impact in the best way possible.
I like recipes that are quick, easy, and spicy. When this one at A Small Snippet checked all three boxes then I knew I had to give it a try. I tweaked it a little and have written the recipe as I made it. I do confess though that the ‘dressing’ for the noodles made a lot more than I needed. What I love though is that I have been able to keep it in the fridge, shake it up and add to noodles with whatever veggies I have on hand and some lime and it’s delicious every time.
This recipe is infinitely adaptable, feel free to play with it as you go along, especially with spice levels, my family (minus the tot) likes things pretty spicy which is why I use a full 2 tbsp of chilli flakes and add in diced green chillies. If you wanted to make it more ‘substantial’ then you could even add protein to the mix in the form of shrimp, tofu or chicken. Or, for a purely vegetarian version, omit the fish sauce.
The original recipe calls for cooling the dressing and noodles, I had mine warm – it was raining and warm spicy noodles really hit the spot.
As it warms up we are out and about a lot more and I like to have snacks on hand that don’t have an unpronounceable list of ingredients. My last granola bar attempt was a total disaster and I ended up with a sickly sweet mess. Now thanks to Ninja Naan I have a recipe that works! It has a few ingredients and is so quick to make. The coconut flavour is subtle- it basically adds a wholesome chewiness to an otherwise crunchy bar. If you want to amp it up then use coconut extract instead of the vanilla. I halved the original recipe to make them in a 9*9 pan. Not sure why I keep doing that since I have made it twice in the last week!
Once upon a time my husband and I would go for brunch every weekend. When we were in Toronto this was easier to do because the options were seemingly endless. In fact I actually made little chits with names of places I wanted to try and threw them in a mug and we would pick one out every weekend and go. That obviously was before the move to the ‘burbs and the babes. Now a brunch out is an occasional treat so when I want something a little less ordinary I better make it myself. I have had a cornflake crusted French Toast at School Bakery & Cafe in Toronto and thought that perhaps I can put my otherwise abandoned box of rice krispies to use here. A little googling showed that this is indeed a thing. This small modification takes the same French Toast I have had a million times into the realm of fun, and who doesn’t want a little bit of fun? 🙂 Because it is so basic I hardly have an exact recipe for it, but here are ‘guidelines’, modify as you please!
Oh and not to sound corny, but I used a French Loaf for my French Toast and the combination of light-crispy-crunchy cereal and the airy loaf is a thing of beauty.
I heart cardamom – in tea, traditional desserts, or even on it’s own. It occurred to me the other day that I don’t actually bake anything in which cardamom is the main ingredient. I add some to my baked oatmeal, but there it is part of an ensemble and does not shine alone. When I saw Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for Allspice Crumb Muffins I decided to adapt it slightly to fit the bill. My cardamom loving self may increase the cardamom next time, but my taste testers liked it as is.
I have been having a lot of sweet stuff lately. I blame it on the holidays. Or the newborn. Or family birthdays. Really with all those reasons to eat dessert it astounds me that I can make time for more savory foods, but I somehow did 🙂
For those of you familiar with a ‘paratha’ this is the Asian version of it. The recipe is from Brown Eyed Baker and with the exception of the addition of half a finely diced green chili I made it as is. My husband described this as a fun snack and I agree. My pancake/paratha making skills are pretty pathetic so it took me a while to figure out how to roll the dough out right, but the dipping sauce was a breeze and I am sure it would work well with a variety of things.
Some time ago when I had posted the Jamie Oliver Cheat’s Fresh Pasta recipe a friend of mine had asked about the pasta with mushrooms that I had made when she was visiting. While I was meandering through the grocery store (which is what happens when I leave my list at home) I saw a box of mixed mushrooms and figured why not.
And I am so glad that I did. I had forgotten just how incredible this simple dish can be. I usually make this with the meatier Portobello mushrooms, but today I picked up a mix of shiitakes, chanterelles and baby portobellos and it was perfect for a spring day. Flavorful, but not too over the top, satisfying yet I could still move from point A to point B after. This recipe is a modified version of a Jamie Oliver recipe that I tried several years ago and have made countless times since. The original recipe is at the food network site here – yes, I am a gigantic wimp and scaled down the red chilli. Those dried red chillies are really spicy okay! Do I get points for increasing the garlic? Well, given what it does for this dish, I certainly think I should 🙂
You know how when the sun shines fiercely down and you feel a mild burning sensation from its rays – I love it. I revel in it, I embrace it, and let’s be honest it is the only reason that I am not deathly pale for a few months of the year. And those days are here – woohoo!!!!!!!!!!!! I am a warm weather baby, born in the desert, raised in a hot city by the sea. I was not designed for winters. And rain? Rain in my mind was a stupendous deluge that is heavy and oddly warm and lasts for a few days, just enough to flood the streets, knock out the power, and inspire my mother to go on a ‘pakora’ frying frenzy.
Point is welcome back Mr. Sun, you have been sorely missed! Warm days are here again and for Zara and I that means playing outside every day and after hours of being outside a curry does not always cut it. These Zucchini and Corn Pancakes – they really do. The original recipe is from King Arthur Flour, but I came across it on the lovely Girl Versus Dough blog here. Check out her amazing collection of recipes and drool worthy photos!
I have been making Zucchini Latkes for a long time, but the secret to a good latke is draining the moisture out of the zucchini which means it does take some time. These zucchini pancakes were a breeze though, took me 15 minutes to throw together, and made for a lovely dinner with some salsa and sour cream. They are also part of my continued efforts to get Zara to try something new – I wish I could say she wolfed a stack down, but she ate one without complaining and for my tot that is practically a miracle.
When I made some for myself I snipped very small pieces of green chillies on top and loved that touch of spice. If I was not making them for Zara as well I may have felt the urge to add a liberal dose of hot sauce. Feel free to add those in or omit, whatever floats your boat.