Friday, November 26, 2010

Simple Graham crackers recipe

This is a simple recipe for delicious and healthy crackers.

You will need:

320g whole-wheat flour
70g cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
50g powdered sugar
150g butter cut in small cubes
150ml yoghurt

Preheat oven to 390 degrees F (200° C) Combine the two flours with the sugar, the salt and the butter in a large bowl. Add the yoghurt and work by hand (or a food processor) until the mixture comes together. Remove from the bowl or food processor onto a lightly floured surface. Work the dough into a ball and refrigerate for at least for an hour.After the dough cooled down, roll it out on a well floured surface to a thickness about 1/8 inch (3 mm). Use a cookie cutter (as you can see it on the pictures I used a ladybird form :)) or cut it to 2 inch (5cm) squares. Carefully put them onto a non stick baking sheet.
Bake them for about 8 minutes, look out, because they can burn easily, so when the edges are golden brown take the out and let them cool down on a rack.
Served them plain or with some jam (like some home made fig jam).
All right, and now some variations you may like:

- you can use 50g honey instead of the sugar
- add a teaspoon cinnamon
- add just a teaspoon of sugar, you can have these crackers with salad's or cheese
- add just a teaspoon of sugar, decrease the amount of butter to the half and replace it with grated cheese
- add 50g chopped walnuts

Bon app
étit! :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Taste of Summer: how to make fig jam with lemon balm & thyme

This recipe was originally posted on the Dutch Handmade blog, but since the blog's language became only Dutch, this recipe came back to me :)

We all know that fig is not an everyday phenomenon in The Netherlands, but if you have the chance to get a larger amount of these heavenly fruits and you already ate it as much of them freshly as you could, try this very easy recipe to preserve the sweet taste of summer for the rainy days.

This jam is made with lemon balm and thyme, the herbs give the jam a really nice flavor, not too harsh, just a little hint of something special.

As you can see on the pictures the figs I used are a different variety than the ones in the stores, they are longer in shape and their skin is much softer what makes them very difficult to transport (I am a lucky person I picked these fruit with my own hands in our own yard in Hungary, but they almost not survived the long trip back to our Dutch home). The figs available in stores have a tiny harder skin, which means you have to cut them in smaller pieces than I did.

Figs are very sweet on their own, so I used less sugar than I normally would if I make jam, which meant that I had to be extra careful with cleaning the jars (hurray for the dishwasher!) and I have to keep the jars in a cool place.

Before you begin, prepare your jars and lids. They have to be very, very clean, so if you don't have a dishwasher, wash them in hot soapy water, rinse, and sterilize the jars by boiling them 10 minutes (watch you hands!). The lids don't do well in boiling water, so just try to get them as clean as possible. Also important that you keep the jars warm before you used them by leaving them in the dish washer on heated dry or by carefully let them stand in some hot water (watch that the water don't get into them after they are clean!) to prevent them from cracking.

First I washed the figs and the herb very throughly and I cut the fruits in blocks. I left the herbs whole as you can see it on the photo, but afterwards I wish I didn't, because I had to fish out all the little branches later, so next time I will chop them too.
I put the fruit and herbs into a large cooking pan together with the sugar and some lemon juice. Also added some long peppers to give it a little edge.

After it I put it on low fire and let it cook for as long as the water vaporized completely. There are some universal laws in jam making, one of them is that you never leave it alone: once it burned on the bottom of the pan it's totally ruined. So stand by and stir!

When the jam looked like jam, I considered it done, so I took my jars and spoon by spoon I filled them very carefully. After I put the lid on I turned the jars upside down and left them like that for 15 minutes.

Now there is only one thing left, dressing the jars!

I used vintage crocheted doilies to give them a sort of "granny" feeling and I printed some cute labels, using simple printing paper stained with black tea, creased and ironed to give the labels a real antique look.

Fig jam with lemon balm & thyme:

1200 g figs
350 g cane sugar
a few branch of thyme and lemon balm
3 table spoons of lemon juice
freshly grounded long pepper (optional)

You can also replace the herbs with the flesh of two oranges.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lovely little flower earrings

My creative space today is all colorful and shiny: I would like to make good pictures of these lovely little flower earrings and list them in my etsy shop.

I think this song just fits the theme perfectly :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sourdough bread recipe and flickr favorites

I love bread, I really like to make it, all kinds of it weather sweet or sour. This really easy sourdough recept comes from Jamie Oliver's book the Happy Days with the Naked Chef.

It takes a week to prepare, but it's really worth the effort.

Mix 500g of organic rye flour with enough water to make a soft dough in a bowl. Put it outside for an hour and then bring inside, cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm place. (it has to be organic, rye flour!)

It will start to bubble. Leave it alone.

The mix will continue to bubble and go slightly grey. Stir in a handful of flour and a little bit of water, enough to get the mixture back to the same consistency as on Monday. Leave it covered again.

Leave it alone

By now the mixture should be beery, malty smelling and ashy coloured. Make the bread by adding all of this starter dough mix to 1kg of strong flour, then add enough water to make a firm, pliable dough that isnt sticky. Knead for a good 5 minutes. Remove a 500g piece of dough for your next starter before adding any salt, cover and put to one side, ready to repeat the process the next day and so on, etc. Add salt if you want to. Shape the dough and put it into a bowl or tin lined with a floured tea towel. Leave for 14 hours.

Saturday morning:
Bake the bread. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C. Gently turn the dough out on to a floured baking tray, cut quite deep slashes into it, and bake for 1 hour or until it is crisp and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Allow to cool.

My thoughts: I like my bread more flat, because it's easier to dip with it, but if you want a nice "high" loaf, makes sure that the bowl where you will leave it to rest those 14 hours is high enough.
To achieve a more crispy outside you have to spray some water on the bread before baking, but the best way is to put a roasting tray on the bottom of your oven before warming it up and when you put your bread into the oven, pour a half a liter boiling (!) water in that tray (keep your face back!!) and that really, really quickly shut the door to keep the steam inside. When your bread is ready and you put it on a roaster to cool down, first thing you do is spray a little water on it :)
Also very important: if you can, always wait till your bread cools down completely. This way it will stay moist inside and you can enjoy it longer.

as you may guessed, flickr favorites are also about bread, I collected these yummy photos from my flickr contacts:

Created with fd's Flickr Toys

for more flickr favorites from other etsy artists, please visit Artmind's blog!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Spicy roasted squash soup and other pumpkins

It's the beginning of October so pumpkins are all over the place. Of course they are inspirational, they have a gorgeous bright orange color and they are truly representing the best in this season.
I couldn't resist either, so I also made few earrings with pumpkin like beads :)

Pumpkins are beautiful or funny and this time of the year they will end up like a jack-o'-lantern in front of a porch or - the yummy ones - like a cup of delicious soup :)

You will need:

1 squash, about 1 kilo
1 tbsp grounded coriander
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1-2 clove garlic
dried chili's, as much as you can take :) Let's say for beginners one small chili
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper and sea salt
1 small onion, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
fresh coriander leaves
creme fraiche or goat cheese

Cut the squash in quarters and than every quarter in half.

Put the coriander, fennel and cumin seeds, the chili's, the oregano, the garlic with a good pinch of salt, pepper and a tablespoon of the oil in a pestle and mortar, and make a paste of it. Rub the squash wedges with it and place them on a roasting tray with skin side down. Roast them at 200 °C (400 degrees Fahrenheit or gas 6) for about 30-40 minutes, until they are tender.

Now wait till they are not so hot, because you have to peel the skin off and you don't want to burn your fingers. At this stage I usually eat one or two wedges, just cannot resist the temptation :)
After you peeled the skins off, cut the squash in little cubes, and set aside.
In a medium pan heat the rest of the oil and sauté the onions till they are tender. Add the squash cubes and add water, just enough to cover the vegetable. Cook on a low heat for about 20 minutes, refill water if necessary. Now take a stick blender or put the soup in a food processor and make a smooth puree of it. It really depends on your own taste, I like it a little chunky put if you want to make a cream of it, don't hesitate!
Put the soup back in the pan and taste, probably you will need a little more salt and pepper, and once again how you like it, maybe a little more water. Slowly bring it to cook again for a minute or two, and ready!

Serve it with a little creme fraiche and fresh coriander on top or if you like it, with fresh goat cheese, like i did.

I baked some breadsticks too, I used the recipe from the fantastic book River Cottage Handbook No 3 Bread, if you ever decide to make your own bread this book is a must, I can really recommend it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sweet potato with lemongrass creme fraiche and flickr favorites

Ugly on the outside, beautiful in the inside, what is it? Yes, that can be many things, but now I am thinking potato. Sweet potato. A wonderful vegetable, rich in flavor and other goodies, like complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, beta carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin B6.

Lately I try to cut down on meat consumption, so I got very excited when a friend of mine recommended Yotam Ottolenghi's new book Plenty, full with delicious vegetarian dishes. The first recipe I tried was the sweet potato wedges with lemongrass crème fraîche.
The creamy texture of the sweet potato with the spices and the freshness of the dip make these quiet easy to make dish a wonderful afternoon snack.

What you need for 4 persons:
3 medium sweet potatoes (900g)
4 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 fresh red chilli, finely diced
15g coriander, leaves picked

for the dipping sauce:
1/2 lemongrass stalk
200g crème fraîche
grated zest and juice of 2 limes
50g fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 tsp fine sea salt

Preheat the oven to 210°C. Wash the sweet potatoes but don't peel them. Cut each lengthways in half, cut again lengthways into quarters and then once more, so you should end up with eight long wedges.
Place them in a roasting tin that has been lines with baking parchment and brushed lightly with some of the olive oil. Brush the wedges with the remaining oil and sprinkle with a mixture of the ground coriander and salt. Roast for about 25 minutes until the sweet potato is tender and golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool down a little (can be eaten warm or at room temperature)
While you are waiting, make the sauce, Very finely chop the lemongrass or grind finely in a spice grinder. Whisk with all of the other ingredients for the dipping sauce and set aside.
When ready to serve, place the wedges on a large, flat serving dish. Sprinkle with the diced chilli and coriander leaves, and serve with the sauce on the side.

So as you might already guessed, my flickr favorites today are also related to this vegetable :)

for more flickr favorite from other etsy sellers or to play along please go to Artmind's blog!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Flickr favorites - the not so dark side

Today is a day when finally after long weeks of raining and cold weather ths sun is shining again, so let's take the opportunity to believe that "there is still good in" everybody and everything :)

Created with fd's Flickr Toys

for more flickr favorites of other members of the European Street Team please click on Artmind's blog!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wednesday wish list - purple and white

Today is Wednesday, the word starts with a w, so makes you think of other things starting with w, like wonderful, world, water, wave, whale, wood, wool, work, wear, write, wire, week, wacky, what, will, (I) want (to buy), (or just ) wish (I could have), (so let's make a) wish list :)

and some music to go with it:

And what is on your wish list today?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wednesday wish list - things for my home

Today is Wednesday, the word starts with a w, so makes you think of other things starting with w, like wonderful, world, water, wave, whale, wood, wool, work, wear, write, wire, week, wacky, what, will, (I) want (to buy), (or just ) wish (I could have), (so let's make a) wish list :)

On my list today are beautiful little work of arts I would love to dress up my home with:

And what is on your list today?


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