I used to work with this very talented chef who quickly became a dear friend & partner in crime. Then of course, she moved back to London & our interactions are limited to Facebook, skype, & an annual visit where she returns to the sunny & inviting climate of Greece.
The questions becomes, how can I have more of an interaction with this fabulous woman & still draw from her, her vast knowledge of food.
Cooking classes of course! She’s joined this program, a little like AirB&B but for cooking. You choose your location of who’s home you’d like to dine in, & head over for dinner or lunch. She wants to take it a step further & turn it into a class & dinning experience.
I’m on board with this.
She’s got a wealth of knowledge that I want to get my hands on. I’ve got years of experience trying to gluten-free dishes edible. She’s got the kitchen & space. & I’ve got a webcam. This could be something fantastic.
A while back I had the pleasure of teaching a cooking class to a friend via skype. It went well. Really really well. Now if I just minus the cocktail & PJs, & put on a more professional approach… I think we could be on to a winner.
First, we need to come up with a name. That’s where you come in. We spent the evening brainstorming ideas & came up with 5 that we find appealing. Bellow is a link to a public poll where we’re trying to find out which one works best for the people out there. So follow the link & tell us your favourite!
Sometimes, a tutorial isn’t about showing you the tricky stuff. It’s not always about imparting technically appealing methods & showing off. Sometimes, a tutorial needs to be about the basics, because the basics are fundamental.
Maybe you don’t think peanut butter is a basic. In this household… it’s a staple of our daily diet. & let me be clear, by diet I don’t mean we watch what we eat & count our calories, I’m just talking about daily consumption.
We go through at least a jar every couple of days. On road trips…. biker camping road trips (like the last one we went on), I make a giant batch & it fills in all our snack cravings in-between long legs & stretches of road.
The thing is, peanut butter is pretty pricey. At least, the good stuff is. & the cheap stuff, whilst delicious, is loaded with things I don’t want to be consuming in large quantities. Things like sugar (yes, I like sugar, I love sugar even, but I don’t want to consume is all the time), palm or soy-bean oil, large quantities of salt. For something I’m eating every day, I want to at least claim it’s healthy.
The solution? Make your own! I put pink himalayan salt in mine. I’ve read all sorts of studies (maybe it’s all fiction, maybe not) about how it’s healthier & doesn’t cause water retention. I also use honey instead of sugar. Olive oil (cause we all know how amazing is it for you)… & I buy my peanuts from a guy who has great quality. & the great news? It’s costs me half of what a jar of the cheap stuff costs.
So what are the draw backs? It’s slightly time consuming. Other than that, I see none.
– 500g roasted, unsalted peanuts (shelled)
– 1/4 tsp pink himalayan salt
– 2 tbs cocoa powder
– 1 tbs honey (or agave syrup, coconut sugar, regular sugar, any sweetener you want really)
– 60ml olive oil (sesame oil, sunflower oil, or any alternative)
1. combine the peanuts & salt in your food processor & turn it on. Keep the machine running until it is a smooth paste. You may need to stop it once or twice just to scrape down the sides & mix. This can take up to 10 minutes.
2. ass the cocoa powder & two table spoons of olive oil & repeat until smooth.
3. Add the honey. This will cause the peanut butter to “seize”… that’s ok. Just add the rest of the oil & it will go back to being nice & smooth. If you want it runnier, add a little more oil.
4. transfer it to a clean jar & consume as you desire!
This is not a new cake. At least not to me. It’s a cake I’ve made many, MANY times before.
I may have explained this to everyone, but incase you weren’t there, (or need a refresher) I love lemons. On everything. Desert. Salads. Meat. Chicken. BBQ. In tea. I like the smell. I love the colour. It’s pretty simple really. My house is always fully stocked with lemons & I can never get enough.
If left to my own devices… most people would complain I make things too “lemony”. So I hold back & just add more to my own plate (bowl, salad).
This weeks tutorial is brought to you a little less for the love of lemons… & a little more because I had all the ingredients readily available in my cupboards & didn’t have to take a dreaded trip down to the grocery store. Yes. I am lazy.
Even if you don’t love lemons, you will love this cake. Very few people don’t love lemon cake. It’s true. There’s just something magic about it.
1. preheat the oven to 175C. Grease a bunt tin with butter & set aside.
2. combine the lemon juice & cream in a bowl & set aside to let thicken.
3. in the bowl of your stand mixer, add the sugar, butter & lemon zest. Beat on high heat until thoroughly creamed together & then add in the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition.
4. add the dry ingredients & the thickened cream to the batter & beat. Make sure to stop your mixer once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl & make sure everything has been incorporated.
5. transfer your batter into your prepared baking tin & bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out dry.
6. remove your cake form the oven & allow to cool for 20 minutes before transferring to a serving platter of your choice.
Tips: *** if you would rather use whole almonds because it’s cheaper than almond flour, you can place your almonds in a blender & grind until fine. Then add in the lemon juice, cream & eggs & let the blender work for several minutes. This will ensure a fine paste instead of large chunks of almond. This is what I have done in the video. *** if your bunt pan has an intricate pattern, you may want to give it 4 or 5 hard raps on a surface before placing it in the oven. This will make sure all the nooks & crannies are filled & ensure a beautiful looking cake.
*** if you have a gluten-free white flour blend that you know & love, then you can replace the 70g oat flour & 70g tapioca starch with 140g of the white flour blend & make your life a little simpler.
Ingredients, syrup: (optional)
– 50g sugar
– 60g lemon juice
1. combine the sugar & lemon juice in a pot & bring to a simmer. Allow to cook together for 10 to 20 minutes. Liquid should remain clear but thicken slightly.
2. once your cake is removed from the oven, poke it full of holes & slowly pour the syrup over the cake. Tip: *** this will give your cake an extra *ZING* of lemon flavour. I opted out of this step in the tutorial as I wanted a more mellow cake with my coffee.
1. place your icing sugar in a bowl & slowly add the lemon juice a little at a time, whisking between each addition until you have a thick consistency. Slowly pour over your cake in any pattern you like & then sprinkle the finished cake with nuts.
Generally, I don’t really think about bread that much. It’s one of those things that I generally kind of wrote-off once I made the switch to gluten-free. That’s not to say that it’s vanished from my mind completely… as a Greek, it’s present at every single dinner table or restaurant outing I attend. For the most part, I just ignore it & hope my cravings go away. Sometimes that even works.
& truthfully, as much as I love bread, it was kind of a pain in the butt to make… so I just didn’t. Simple as that.
Then I went & married a greek. & he likes bread. He likes bread a lot. So much so that he sneaks off to the baker & comes home with all sorts of delicious loafs. I’m happy for him, really I am… I’m not so happy about the crumbs all over my kitchen. Which as you know, are inevitable. If I think there’s even the slightest chance that there’s something on a surface, or on the dish towel… I’m cleaning or throwing it in the wash.
So I gave in. I started baking bread again. It’s gotten me experimenting with recipes such as bagels, buttermilk biscuits, blueberry & oat loaves, & many more. Cornbread was a recent addition. I mean, not recent to my stash of recipe cards that have been building up… but a recent addition to what I bake in this little kitchen I call home.
It’s made an appearance three times now. The first was just for us. The second was for the video… but that vanished before I really had a chance to finish off the recording… so of course, I made it a 3rd time to give you a clear shot. The truth is, only once have I not shown the final product, & it still haunts me. I wasn’t about to make that mistake again. Not to mention… any excuse to remake the cornbread. Oh, & I also seem to be making crepes at least twice a week since I wrote that last recipe. Somethings become favourite quickly in this house.
1. pre-heat the oven to 176C. Grease & line a 25cm x 25cm baking tin with parchment paper & set aside.
2. combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl & whisk to combine & mix thoroughly.
3. create a well in the centre & add the remaining ingredients & give it a good mix until everything is evenly distributed. Transfer into your prepared baking tin. At this point, you can add canned corn kernels, jalapeños, or any other little tidbits you can think of.
4. place in the centre of the oven & bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven & allow to cool before cutting.
It’s been a few long weeks without my laptop, but I finally gave in & had my power cable repaired. There is no good excuse for my lazy ways or stubborn behaviour, but it took me a while to cave.
That being said, I’m back, & I’m back with a vengeance.
This weeks tutorial is inspired by my husband… we were laying on the couch on Sunday watching a movie & melting in an overly lazy & indulgent way when he decided he had a sweet-tooth. I offered to make brownies… & he said that maybe he’d just go out & get a crêpe. Well, seeing as I wasn’t about to change out of my PJs… & I most certainly wasn’t going to accompany him & watch him devour a dessert I couldn’t at least partake in, I decided the only rational thing to do was write a crepe recipe.
It was so good, I decided to do it all over again & share the knowledge!
Here it is for your enjoyment! Yes, my glutinous ways are the fuel behind my inspiration. I have no shame.
1. combine all the ingredients in a blender & blend until smooth.
2. bring a large non-stick frying pan to medium-high heat. Make sure it’s good & hot before you begin.
3. use a 1/2 cup measurer to ladle the batter into your pan. Pour into the centre of the pan, & then lift the pan up & tilt in a circular motion to distribute the batter evenly. After a minute or two, gently lift the edge of the crêpe, if the colour is a nice light golden, use a spatula to ensure the crepe isn’t stuck to the pan & then flip it & cook for another minute or two.
4. transfer the crepe to a plate & cover with a towel, or fill immediately with anything of you choice & serve.
there’s been a gap of silence. As I type I feel it’s necessary to inform you that this post is being tapped out on my phone. Yes… I’m trying to formulate my thoughts using my thumbs.
I detest writing long messages with my thumbs.
My laptop cable has finally but the dust, & I’ve been without my precious computer for four whole days.
No posts. No video recordings. No new tutorial. This pains me to say.
I think I’m going to have to bite the bullet & buy a new cable. I was hoping to abstain from such a purchase until my mother arrives next month on her white chariot bringing me her spare…. But the reality is, I can’t go that long.
So I’m here to say, I’ll be back with a vengeance. Just stay tuned.
For now, please enjoy the cakes I made this previous week…
Ok, I’m a little disappointed with myself. I usually take great pride in photographing the end result so I have a beautiful image to start off my tutorial with & then I get to show it all off at the end so I can relay the amazing results….
I let my cravings & compulsion get the better of me however & I have nothing to show for it. That’s right, I’m a greedy greedy girl & I ate it all before I ever even had the chance to document it.
That being said, I brazenly used the excuse that it was late at night by the time I’d finished… & there was no light left for such a photograph… & it would be such a shame to let a delicious meal get cold.
Have I managed to justify my actions? Not quite.
Still, the tutorial shows all the prep & for that I am grateful. Am I as pleased with it as my previous two tutorials? Not even close.
Lesson learned… if I have a wicked craving for food, it should not be used for the tutorial because it won’t make it to it’s photoshoot. I only have myself to blame.
1. combine the almonds & spinach in your food processor & blend until smooth.
2. add in the rest of the dry ingredients & continue to process until everything is incorporated. Add the wet ingredients & continue blending until a dough is formed.
3. transfer the dough into a bowl, wrap with clingfilm & refrigerate for 2 hours.
4. To make the tortillas, place a large non-stick pan on the stove & heat to medium-high. Lightly grease the pan with oil.
5. take a portion of dough about the size of a ping-pong ball & flatten into a disc, lightly dust with buckwheat flour & roll out to 1mm thick between two sheets of parchment paper. You can trim the edges using a large bowl to get a nice uniform shape. Transfer the disc into the frying pan & move it around so the oil is evenly distributed. Cook for 1 minute on each side or until the bubbles start to get colour.
6. continue on this way until all the tortillas are cooked. Or alternatively, make as many as you like, & freeze the remaining dough for use at a later date.
I may be facing a slight problem… my mac is still refusing to charge & I’m wondering how I’m going to churn out a tutorial this week if I can’t put together a video.
I know this isn’t a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, but it’s enough to cause some frustration.
With a little (a lot) fiddling, I can get it to at least hold power instead of continuing to run down the battery.. but the slightest movement disconnects even that. The problem arises of how I record my introduction. I use my mac for that. No one wants my intro from my couch… they might actually see that I have a giant, orange, mural of a sunset on my living room wall. (not my choice).