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Braided nutella bread

Braided nutella bread

Like most humans, I love chocolate – and something I love even more than plain ol’ chocolate is nutella. I mean it’s like chocolate but better, right?! I love finding any excuse to buy some and cook with it and honestly, this bread is the best vehicle for it. It’s sweet but not too sweet – and really satisfying.

If you’re looking for a sweet treat that’s warm and comforting but not too indulgent, look no further! This nutella bread is what dreams are made of – specially when it’s fresh and warm right out of the oven! It’s not the kind of treat that is sickly sweet or feels so heavy that you only feel you can have a bit – it’s the more dangerous kind that tricks you into believing you can have more and more and more!!

I like to use the same dough from my cinnamon rolls because “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” right? It’s a wonderfully enriched dough that is not too sweet but it’s really flavourful and fluffy and delicious and when paired with ooey gooey nutella… it’s a match made in food heaven! 

Nutella bread

Of course, if you don’t like (who doesn’t though?!) or can’t have nutella you can substitute it for a different chocolate spread or a different spread altogether! Also you can customise it as much as you like by adding nuts or little pretzels or even – god forbid – raisins. 

So if you want to learn how to make this beautiful and impressive – yet crazy easy to make – braided bread, keep on reading! Let me show you how.

 

 

Ingredients:

Cinnamon rolls
  • 1 pack dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cup warm milk
    • Make sure it’s warm but not hot – a good way to tell is if when you put a finger in there it doesn’t burn but also doesn’t feel cold. Should feel like “blood temperature”. For me it takes about 30-45 sec in the microwave.
  • 1tbsp sugar
  • 110g butter – you’ll need it melted and cooled down slightly
Cinnamon rolls
  • 5 cups plain flour (may need a bit extra for rolling etc)
  • 1 cup strong bread flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)

Nutella bread

  • 350g of nutella (or spread of your choice)
  • Optional: Any fillings of your choice – nuts, pretzels, raisins, dried strawberries… 

 

*** NOTE: These measurements will give you two generous-sized breads so you can either cut the recipe in half, make two braids or use one half of the dough for something else (like perhaps my glorious cinnamon rolls?). If not you can also wrap up half of your dough tightly and freeze it so you can use it at some other point. It’s an easy-going dough!

 

 

How to make it:

The dough:

  • First of all, we need to activate the yeast. In order to do this, mix your melted butter with a tbsp of sugar and the warmed milk and sprinkle the pack of dry yeast over the top. Let it sit for about 5 min in a warm, draft-free spot – until it starts to get foamy and smells like a bakery.
Cinnamon rolls
Cinnamon rolls
Cinnamon rolls
  • In a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer) add all the other ingredients for your dough
Cinnamon rolls
  • Once the yeast mixture has foamed up, add it to the rest of your ingredients and mix them all together until a dough starts to form.
    • Sometimes you may need to add a bit more flour if it’s sticking to the sides, just let it all combine and give it some time to see if it comes together but if it looks really wet, just add a bit more flour – 1tbsp or so at a time

Cinnamon rolls

  • Once it’s looking like dough, knead it for a couple more minutes – until it no longer sticks to your fingers and it looks smooth. It should still feel tacky but it shouldn’t stick.
Cinnamon rolls
Your bowl should look relatively clean and your dough should be a bit tacky but not sticky
  • Place your beautiful dough baby in an oiled bowl (oil the sides and bottom of the bowl, roll the dough around to coat with the oil and cover the bowl with plastic wrap) and pop it in a warm spot that’s away from any drafts. I tend to use my oven (with the oven turned off).
Cinnamon rolls
  • Let it rise for about 1.5 – 2 hours, until it’s grown significantly (usually doubles in size).

 

The braid:

  • Once the dough is ready, gently deflate it and plop it onto a floured surface
Cinnamon rolls
Cinnamon rolls
  • Cut your dough in half so you work with one half at a time. Wrap the dough that you’re not using with some plastic wrap in the meantime so it doesn’t develop a skin.
  • Roll one half of your dough on your floured surface to form a rectangle and try to make it relatively even. You want the dough to be about half a cm thick.

Nutella bread

  • Spread half of the nutella all over the dough – make sure to get as close to the edges as you possibly can! 
    • Again, because this recipe makes 2 braids, I use the whole 350g jar for both so I just divide it between the two. If you’re only making one you may want to get a smaller jar (or maybe not!).
    • If your nutella is a bit too stiff I’d recommend putting it in the microwave for about 30-45 sec so it warms up a bit and loosens up. It definitely makes a big difference when spreading it!
    • If you wanted to add any crunchy stuff to your rolls this is the time to do so! Just scatter them all over your nutella-covered rectangle.

Nutella bread

  • Roll your dough lengthwise, to make a long sausage. Keep it seam-side down.

Nutella bread Nutella bread

  • Cut your nutella sausage in half lengthwise but leave a little bit still together on one end. These will be your two braid strands.

Nutella bread

  • To make the “magic braid” just put one strand over the other one, then the other strand over the first one and keep going until you reach the end – don’t worry if you get nutella everywhere, this is a messy job!

Nutella bread Nutella bread

  • Once you get to the end pinch both sides together to make sure that your braid is “closed” at the top and the bottom.
    Nutella bread
  • Plop your beautifully braided bread onto a parchment paper-lined baking tray, cover it with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and leave it somewhere warm again to rise one more time. This usually takes about another hour or so.

Nutella bread

 

The baking:

  • While your bread is resting, turn on your oven to 180C
  • Optional: you can warm up some heavy cream in the microwave and brush it over your bread before baking. It’s not necessary but I’d definitely recommend it!

    Nutella bread

  • Once your bread is nice and plump and ready to be baked, put it in the oven for 20-25 min until it looks beautifully golden and smells unbelievable!Nutella bread
Nutella bread
Look at those ripples of gooey nutella! You know it’s going to be good.
  • When it comes out of the oven let it cool down just slightly – about 5-10 min should be enough. Then slice it however you like, devour and leave no crumbs behind!

Nutella bread Nutella bread

 

 

This recipe is a total winner in our household – you know it’s a good one when the hubby keeps asking for it! It’s actually super easy to make but looks really impressive and apart from letting the dough rise it doesn’t take very long either. It’s always a crowd-pleaser and honestly you should definitely make both braids because they won’t last long! They are deceptively easy to eat and before you know it it’ll be gone. 

 

Nutella bread

 

If you’re having some friends over or you’re celebrating mother’s day / father’s day (or any other day!) or if you’re just having a bit of a sweet tooth and want to treat yourself – I really hope you give this recipe a try and let me know how you get on with it! I’d love to know your thoughts on it – if you liked it or not, if you struggled or if it was smooth sailing!

As always, thank you for stopping by and supporting me and I’ll see you again soon with another yummy recipe! 

Nutella bread

Basic paella

Basic paella

Happy sunny days everyone! As soon as the weather starts to get better, the days get longer and we start spending more time outdoors, I start to crave paella – particularly when spending time with friends. It’s so convenient! It takes a bit of time to prep but then it comes together fairly quickly and you can really feed a crowd in the same amount of time as it would take you to feed a couple of people!

Now, let me be clear: I have not grown up in Valencia and therefore to all purists out there this is technically not paella but for the rest of us regular humans – I think you’ll enjoy it! I live in the UK so I use ingredients I find at the store, but if you want to go the extra mile and buy the rice, saffron, paprika powder and all the other things from Spain – please be my guest! It still won’t be real paella unless you’re making it in Valencia.

 

Paella

 

With that being said, I this recipe is yummy! I tend to make it with meat most of the time because 1. who doesn’t love chorizo and 2. not everyone loves seafood! But if you’re interested in seeing different variations let me know and I’ll show you! The basics are the same but there are a few variations, particularly when cooking with seafood. Also, you can leave the meat out altogether (but why would you?!) and just add some more veggies, plus use veggie stock to keep it completely veggie. Super versatile!

So if you want to learn how to make a basic chorizo and chicken paella let me show you what you need and how to make it so that you can enjoy it all summer long! 

Paella
In case you weren’t sure about this – the crunchy bottom “burnt” bit of the paella is something that’s actually made on purpose and it’s called “socarrat”.

 

 

Ingredients:

Paella

  • 400g chicken
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 250g chorizo
  • 400g short grain rice
  • 1 tsp paprika powder
  • 2 tbsp tomato sauce (or 1 tbsp tomato paste)
  • 130ml white wine
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1.2L chicken stock (or stock cube)
  • 120g frozen peas
  • Bunch of parsley
  • (Optional) 1 lemon
  • Olive oil, salt and pepper to taste

 

How to make it:

  • First, prepare your liquids:
    • Break apart the strands of saffron with your fingers and put them in a small amount of boiling water (about 50ml)
    • If you’re using a stock cube, dissolve it in boiling water (1.2L) at this point. If using stock, go to the next step!

Paella Paella

  • Then, chop up all your main ingredients – your chicken, pepper, onion, garlic and chorizo
    Paella
  • In a large pan (or ideally a paella pan) drizzle some olive oil and turn on your stove on high heat. Once it’s hot, fry up your chicken just until it gets some nice color. Season it with salt and pepper.
    • The chicken doesn’t need to be fully cooked at this point, we just want to give it some color.

Paella

  • When your chicken looks nicely golden, take it off the heat and set it aside.
  • If you need to, add a bit more oil and put the onion and pepper on the pan to fry them up. Again, we want some color to develop. Season with salt and pepper.

Paella

  • Once your veggies are looking nicely colored, add your garlic and chorizo and fry for another couple of minutes, until the garlic becomes fragrant and your chorizo starts to release some of its oils.

Paella

  • At this point, add in your paprika and tomato sauce (or paste) and stir it all together until it looks even in color.

Paella Paella

  • Add in your rice and fry it up together with everything else for a minute or two until it all looks fairly uniform in color and your rice is starting to get a bit toasty.

Paella Paella

  • At this point, add your wine and stir it all together until it’s pretty much evaporated completely.

Paella Paella

  • Once you’ve cooked off your wine, add in your saffron and your stock, pop your chicken back in and mix everything well until it looks even.

Paella Paella

  • This is important: put enough heat on your pan so that it boils gently (don’t want a rolling boil here) and LEAVE IT. Do not touch this anymore.
  • While your rice cooks, it’s a good time to chop up your parsley as fine as you want, and cut your lemon into wedges (if using it).

Paella

  • After about 15-20 min your water should be mostly gone – now you can touch your rice! Give it a gentle stir and try it.
    • If it’s cooked – jump to the next step.
    • If it still has a little bite to it, add in some more water (ideally hot), mix it gently and back off again, until the water is almost gone. Then repeat.

Paella

  • If your rice is cooked, add in your peas and mix them all through one last time. Keep going on a low heat until all your water is gone.

Paella PaellaPaella

  • This is the other important part: once your rice is cooked and your water is gone, crank the heat up to high and listen to it.
    • Give it a couple of minutes or so – you should hear it sizzling. You want to lightly toast (not quite burn!) the bottom bit of your paella but here’s where it all can go wrong.
    • After a couple of minutes grab a spoon and gently lift some rice from the side of your pan. This should give you an idea of what’s going on at the bottom.
Paella
This is how I like to check how my socarrat is looking. Once I see that the sides of my rice are starting to get toasty I leave it for another 30 – 60 sec and then it’s done!
  • When you’re happy with your socarrat, turn off the heat and LET YOUR RICE REST. This is the last important thing here. It makes a huge difference!
    • It’s a good time to plop your lemon wedges on there and bring it to the table. Hopefully by the time you dig in it’s had enough time! 5-10 min should do the trick.

Paella

  • And that’s it – a delicious homemade paella for you and your family to enjoy!!

 

Top tips:

  • Sometimes it’s hard to tell just how much water you’ll need. It really depends on so many things! I like to start with 1.2L for the 400g of rice and just take it from there. I usually have some boiled water on the side so I can add some extra in and just keep cooking it. Just make sure to only stir when the water is pretty much gone!
  • This recipe is super easy to multiply – as a general rule, I calculate about 100g of rice per person, depending on sides and other foods. This paella makes enough for 4-6 people.
  • On this recipe I’ve used chicken breast as it’s what I had at home but actually, chicken thighs tend to work better. They are super flavourful and it’s nearly impossible to overcook them, particularly when making something in water! It’s definitely the better idea here.
  • If you want to skip the chicken altogether that’s also fine – just add more chorizo or veggies. Traditionally it’s made with rabbit so you’re also welcome to use that instead.
  • Remember when you cook anything to keep seasoning every layer of your dish! That’s how you get well-balanced dishes. It’s crucial and not any different in this situation.
  • If you don’t like wine, don’t worry – you can’t taste it here! It just adds a bit more depth of flavour and it’s another way to season your rice. If you’re worried about the alcohol, don’t be – it evaporates pretty much completely. If you really don’t want to use it though that’s also fine.

 

Paella

And that’s it! The most time-consuming part of making paella is the prep – particularly chopping up all the veggies and the meat. But apart from that it’s so easy and simple! And whether you’re making it for 2 or 8 people it pretty much takes the same amount of time which is also great when it comes to entertaining.

As I said before, it’s not technically a traditional real paella but for most people I think it does the trick! It’s yummy and flavourful and perfect to feed a crowd on a beautiful summer day! 

 

Paella

I really hope that you give it a try and love it and as always, thanks for tuning in and supporting me! I really appreciate it and love to hear from you – what do you think? What do you want to see next? 

Have a great start of the sunny season everyone and see you again soon!

Cinnamon rolls

Cinnamon rolls

In case you couldn’t tell so far, I am a huge fan of cinnamon! And of course, cinnamon rolls are just the crown jewel for all things cinnamon. I think it all started when I visited the States and my now-husband took me to Cinnabon. Ahh what a lovely mistake he made – I’ve been deeply in love with cinnamon rolls ever since! And even though I haven’t been back, I keep dreaming about them. It’s one of my favourite super-indulgent treats ever.

I’ve wanted so badly to have that experience again that I’ve made cinnamon rolls a million times and honestly, no matter how hard I try I cannot recreate what those guys do! I don’t think I ever will but I will say that these are really delicious, and while they’re not like the ones you would buy, they are fairly close!

These buns are such a showstopper – they’re big and decadent and deliciously cinnamony. They have (in my opinion) just the right amount of frosting and they are sweet and oh so fluffy! The dough is probably the part I’m most proud of – it’s one of those recipes I’ve made over and over and tinkered with a lot and I think the results are worth all the effort! (Not that it’s a problem having to eat cinnamon rolls over and over, but you know!)

I really do think these are the ultimate cinnamon buns, they are beautiful and decadent and don’t get me wrong – it’s not something I’d suggest making often! – but they really feel like something special. I’m really proud of how they’ve turned out and I think the recipe is pretty bulletproof. I’ve made it over and over again and it comes out perfect every time. So let me show you!

 

Cinnamon rolls

 

 

First things first:

  • Make sure to check that your yeast is not expired and find a warm spot for your dough to live
  • Get the butter for your filling out of the fridge to soften up

 

Dough:

Cinnamon rolls

  • 1 pack dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cup warm milk
    • Make sure it’s warm but not hot – a good way to tell is if when you put a finger in there it doesn’t burn but also doesn’t feel cold. Should feel like “blood temperature”. For me it takes about 30-45 sec in the microwave.
  • 1tbsp sugar
  • 110g butter – you’ll need it melted and cooled down slightly

Cinnamon rolls

  • 5 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup strong bread flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)

 

Filling:

Cinnamon rolls

  • 200g soft butter – spreadable consistency, almost melted
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp cinnamon (depends on how cinnamony you like it! I use 3tbsp)
    • Optional: 1/4 cup heavy cream +/- pinch of cinnamon

 

Frosting:

Cinnamon rolls

  • 80g cream cheese, soft
  • 20g butter, soft
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • Vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)
  • 2-3 tbsp milk

 

 

How to make them:

1 – The dough:

  • First of all, we need to activate the yeast. In order to do this, mix your melted butter with a tbsp of sugar and the warmed milk (read how to tell warmth on ingredients list) and sprinkle the pack of dry yeast over the top. Let it sit for about 5 min – until it starts to get foamy and smells like a bakery.

Cinnamon rolls

Cinnamon rolls Cinnamon rolls

  • In a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer) add all the other ingredients for your dough

Cinnamon rolls

  • Once the yeast mixture has foamed up, add it to the rest of your ingredients and mix them all together until a dough starts to form.
    • Sometimes you may need to add a bit more flour if it’s sticking to the sides, just let it all combine and give it some time to see if it comes together but if it looks really wet, just add a bit more flour – 1tbsp or so at a time
  • Once it’s looking like dough, knead it for a couple more minutes – until it no longer sticks to your fingers and it looks smooth. It should still feel tacky but it shouldn’t stick.

Cinnamon rolls

Cinnamon rolls
Your bowl should look relatively clean and your dough should be a bit tacky but not sticky

  • Place your beautiful dough baby in an oiled bowl (oil the sides and bottom of the bowl, roll the dough around to coat with the oil and cover the bowl with plastic wrap) and pop it in a warm spot that’s away from any drafts. I tend to use my oven (with the oven turned off).

Cinnamon rolls

  • Let it rise for about 1.5 – 2 hours, until it’s grown significantly (usually doubles in size). This is a good time to take your butter and cream cheese out of the fridge to soften up.

 

2 – The filling:

  • In the meantime, prepare your filling by mixing both sugars and cinnamon until it’s an even consistency.

Cinnamon rolls

  • Make sure your butter is nice and spreadable. If not, you may want to pop it in the microwave for 10-15 sec – you don’t want to melt it!
    • To fill your rolls, you can either spread the butter and sprinkle your sugary mixture on top or you can mix it directly with the butter to create a delicious paste. I like to do this as I feel it’s actually easier to fill them and it also gives me a more even coating.

Cinnamon rolls

 

3 – Shaping the rolls:

  • Once the dough is ready, gently deflate it and plop it onto a floured surface

Cinnamon rolls Cinnamon rolls

  • Roll the dough to form a rectangle and try to make it relatively even. You want the dough to be about half a cm thick.
    • This amount of dough should give you a rectangle measuring about 80x40cm (please don’t get the ruler out – it’s just for reference!)

Cinnamon rolls

  • Spread your sugary cinnamony butter all over your dough and make sure to get as close to all the edges as possible!

Cinnamon rolls Cinnamon rolls

  • Roll the dough on it’s long side, so you end up with a long log – I like to roll away from me. Then keep the seam-side down and squeeze it gently to make the whole log as even in thickness as possible.
    • When I did this my roll measured about 95cm in length (again, please don’t measure it – just did this for your reference).

Cinnamon rolls Cinnamon rolls

  • Cut your dough log into equal-sized pieces. I like to cut it in half, then each half in halves etc.
    • Keep the rolls as thin or as thick as you like but for this size log I usually get out about 16 chunky rolls

Cinnamon rolls

  • Place the rolls on your baking tray (with the swirl up), cover loosely with plastic wrap and pop it back into a warm spot to rise for another hour or so.

Cinnamon rolls
I’m aware that I cut 16 rolls and there are only 12 here – I baked the others separately as a cook’s treat!

 

4 – The glaze:

  • Now that your rolls are having their second proof, it’s a good time to make your glaze so it’s ready for when they’re baked. Make sure your butter and cream cheese are nice and soft and beat them on a med-high speed for a few minutes, until they look well combined and slightly fluffy.

Cinnamon rolls

  • Once your butter and cream cheese are nicely combined, add-in your sifted powdered sugar and beat slowly until combined. Then crank the speed up and keep beating until everything is well combined and looks light and airy.

Cinnamon rolls

  • Add in your vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste) and beat for another minute or so.
  • At this point, it’s up to you what consistency you want. Slowly add some milk – 1 tbsp at a time – until it’s as thick or as runny as you want it. I usually need to add 2-3 tbsp for this.
    • A good way to tell if the glaze is at a nice consistency is by grabbing a spoon and drizzling it on itself – if you’re able to draw the number 8 and the ribbons stay for a few seconds or a minute, it’s usually a pretty good consistency I think. If you like it a bit more runny, just add some more milk. Just do it slowly! 

Cinnamon rolls Cinnamon rolls

  • Keep the glaze air-tight until you’re ready to use it
    • I like to put it into a piping bag so I can spread it evenly once my rolls are baked
    • Make sure that your frosting doesn’t sit in the open air for a while or it’ll form a crust and set completely

Cinnamon rolls

 

5 – Baking and glazing the rolls:

  • When you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 180C
    • Optional (but recommended!): While you’re waiting for your oven to heat up, warm up some heavy cream in the microwave for about 30-45 sec. Then very gently brush it over the top of your rolls, just before baking. This will provide moisture, a golden crust and a little extra bit of flavor! Yum.
    • If you want to maximise the cinnamony flavor, add a pinch (about 1/4 tsp or so) to your cream when you warm it up. Yes please!

Cinnamon rolls Cinnamon rolls

  • Bake your rolls at 180C for 20 – 25 min, until they look beautifully golden on top and your house smells like heaven (honestly, best smell ever!)

Cinnamon rolls Cinnamon rolls

  • When your rolls are done baking, get them out of the oven and let them cool down on your countertop for about 5 – 10 min and then frost them – I like to either spoon it or pipe it over the rolls, in a non-specific manner.
    • Frost your rolls while they’re still warm but not straight out of the oven or your frosting will melt completely!

Cinnamon rolls Cinnamon rolls

  • Wait a few more minutes until they’re cool enough to handle and the frosting has found its righteous place – and dig right in!

 

 

Top tips:

  • This may seem like a lot of things to do, and in a way it kind of is. It’s not difficult but with all the proofing it does take a long time to make. If you don’t feel you’ve got the time to make them all in one go, you can make the dough the night before and let it proof slowly in the fridge overnight. You can also prepare the filling and the glaze all the day before and pop them in the fridge.
    • You can also make the dough, let it have it’s first proof and then freeze it for another time. Just let it come up to temperature slowly and take it from there.
    • Also, you can do the whole process up to the point of baking (make the dough, let it rise, roll it out and fill it, cut your rolls and put them on your baking tray) and then put them in the fridge or freezer. Then all you need to do when you want to bake them is take them out onto a warm, draft-free spot for a couple of hours, brush them with your warm cream and bake them.
    • If you’re thinking of putting them in the fridge or freezer at any point, make sure they’re as airtight as you can. You don’t want the dough to dry out and get a weird crust on it!
  • If you like a bit more texture on your rolls, once you’ve spread your filling over your dough rectangle you can add other things like raisins (yuck), chocolate chips or nuts. I like to keep them as they are but this is an option!
  • This recipe is fairly large and it does make 16 very chunky buns. If it’s too much for what you want I’d suggest you make the dough, cut it in half and freeze the half that you don’t need (that way you can use it again on a different day). Then just cut the amounts of the other stuff (filling and glaze) in half and you’ll be good to go!

 

Cinnamon rolls
Here are the little guys that didn’t make it onto the big beautiful tray – this is what I call a perfect cook’s treat!

 

I really hope you give this recipe a try, and if you do please share it with me! It makes me so happy to see you guys trying out my recipes and loving them, thank you!! I’m working on some more stuff that will be coming your way soon so stay posted! And as always, thanks for reading me and see you again soon!

Smoked brisket

Smoked brisket

Okay, let me just start off by saying that this is a recipe that I make in our barbecue. I’ve never been much of a BBQ snob but you know, being married to an American man it was kind of a requirement for us to have one. It’s one of those things!

In the beginning I felt super intimidated by it – I mean it’s this big, metallic thing with an actual fire burning inside. It was a bit scary! I thought Mike would be the one manning it for the most part but honestly, I started to play with it a bit and started trying out different foods – “let’s see how this cooks in there! And this! Do you think this will be okay in there?” – and it has actually ended up being kind of fun! Plus our BBQ is uber techy (which I love) and it’s a wood-burning one, which I wasn’t sure about before but it’s ended up being my favourite part!

The fact that it uses wood pellets just adds that extra layer of flavor that honestly I don’t think you can replicate. If you use a barbecue with coals it also has a very specific flavor, right? I know that having a gas BBQ is really convenient but if you care about the flavor profile and not just cooking something outside with friends and a beer (nothing wrong with that!), I’d definitely suggest that you look into getting a wood-burning BBQ. Ours is from Traeger if you’re interested, but there’s others out there too!

Anyways, all of that is to say that I never really used to cook big cuts of meat like this – I’d usually just roast them slowly in the oven with some potatoes and a sauce (nothing wrong with that either!) – but after trying it a couple of times it’s such a nice experience cutting into it and seeing the smoke ring and just in general, having meat cooked in a totally different way (for me at least)! So if you’ve got a grill and you want to give this a try, here’s how to do it.

 

Smoked brisket

 

First things first:

  • Take the brisket out of the fridge an hour or so before preparing it
  • Prepare your barbecue or smoker if you’re using one (clean etc)
  • Make sure to have a meat thermometer on hand!

Smoked brisket
This is our barbecue – small but mighty!

 

Rub:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp garlic
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tbsp mixed herbs (or italian seasoning)
  • 1/2 tbsp paprika

Smoked brisket

 

What to do:

  • First you need to prepare your meat. You can do this an hour or so before cooking but if you did it the day before it would be even better! I’ve used a 1.5 – 2kg brisket for this and the amount of rub is more than enough.

Smoked brisket

  • Remove any of the ties that usually hold the brisket together to make sure it’s all one flat piece. Use some paper towels to pat it down and make sure it’s completely dry.

Smoked brisket
For some reason, when I removed the string from my brisket it turned out to be 2 pieces instead of one! This doesn’t normally happen but it cooks the same – just keep an eye on the temperature!

  • Score the top of your brisket – using a small, sharp knife make a diamond pattern on the fat side (try not to cut any deeper!)

Smoked brisket

  • Mix your rub ingredients together (obviously you can use a different blend but this is my favourite!)

Smoked brisket

  • Generously spread the rub all over your meat. Top, bottom, sides… make sure it’s really well coated. Use your hands and pat it in to make sure it sticks.
    • Now you can let it rest for as long as you want. If you’re going to leave it overnight just pop it in the fridge but if not you can just leave it on your countertop or somewhere safe for a while, until you’re ready to start making it.

Smoked brisket

  • Make sure your BBQ (or oven) is preheated to 105C. If you have a fancy shmancy one like us you’ll want to set it on super smoke for extra flavor but if not it’ll still be delicious I’m sure!
  • Pop your brisket on your grill, fat side down. Make sure to use a meat thermometer as this is what will dictate how long it stays in for!

Smoked brisket

  • When your meat reaches an internal temperature of 70C (for this size it took me about 3h), take your brisket out and wrap it in aluminum foil. Pop it back in and get the thermometer back in. If you’re using your super smoke function I’d turn it off now.
  • Once the internal temperature of your brisket has reached 95C (should take another 3ish hours), take your meat out of the barbecue (or oven) and let it rest on your counter for about 30min – 1 hour.
  • Once it’s rested, remove the aluminum foil (careful as it’s probably full of juices!) and slice your brisket against the grain.

Smoked brisketSmoked brisket

  • And that’s it! Delicious smokey brisket – takes a long time but little to no effort!

 

Smoked brisket

 

Top tips:

  • I would really recommend that you season the meat the night before. The longer it sits in that rub, the better it’ll taste and also, it takes a looong time to cook and if you’re making it outside you may want to maximize your daylight.
  • If you’ve got some extra rub don’t discard it! It’s a great seasoning blend that you can use with other meats or veggies – on this day I used it to season my butternut squash but I’ve also used it on steak and chicken!
  • Cooking times will vary significantly depending on your grill, the outside temperature, and obviously the size of your brisket. This is why for something like this I’m fully guided on internal temperatures. Cooking thermometers are cheap so if you’re planning on making stuff like this I’d suggest you invest in one!
  • If you don’t have a barbecue but you’ve got a smoker I’m pretty sure you can use that as well! Just make sure to still use a meat thermometer and it’ll be the same.
  • Obviously if you make it in the oven you won’t have the smoky flavor but it’ll still be tender and delicious! I’d suggest using one of those racks that you’d use to make a whole roast chicken or turkey and on the bottom of that you can probably put some potatoes and when the meat drips it’ll flavor them like you wouldn’t believe it. Yum!

 

 

Smoked brisket

 

And that’s it! I know not everyone’s got a barbecue and much less a fancy shmancy one like we do – but if you do this is a great thing to make with it! Your brisket comes out super smoky and tender and juicy. The rub gives it a great flavor and whichever wood you decide to use it’ll give it a very particular smoky flavor too.

If you decide to make it I’d suggest pairing it with my roasted butternut squash and maybe some greens on the side but you can also cut it very thinly and use it for sandwiches or even chopped up into a frittata. The options are endless! I hope you like recipes like this and you give it a try! If you do make sure to share it with me and as always, thanks for reading me and see you again soon!

Carrot cake

Carrot cake

Ahh carrot cake… What is there to say about it? It’s just amazing.

I always like to give you some background story about my relationship with the food I’m sharing – is that weird?

Anyways – I think I first had carrot cake towards the end of my medschool years. I know right?! I’ve never seen this sort of cake in Spain. And honestly, when I first heard the words “carrot cake” I definitely made a face – and not a good one! It just sounded so freaking weird! Carrots in something sweet?! Are you crazy?!?!

Then I tried it. Ahh carrot cake. It’s just amazing.

 

Carrot cake

 

So as you’ve probably noticed, I looove cinnamony sweets (I honestly think that every single sweet treat I’ve shared so far has cinnamon in it!) and I think that’s one of the beautiful things that this cake has to offer. If you’ve never tried, try it. It’s so weird – does not taste like carrots at all! It’s like the carrots are just there to make it uber moist and give it some texture but it doesn’t actually taste like carrots. Honestly I think it’s magic!

After trying it the first time I made it a bunch more times and tried different things, added my own twists to it and since I first made it I feel like I’ve perfected it to how I like it best. This cake isn’t too sweet but it is full of flavor and it’s moist and delicious. The frosting is very sweet so I like to dial back the sweetness on the cake so it’s not too much but if you’re using less frosting or no frosting at all, you may want to add in a touch more sugar. Up to you!

 

 

First things first:

  • Grate your carrots and apple

Carrot cake

  • Toast and chop up your walnuts (or pecans)

Carrot cake

  • Preheat your oven to 175C
  • Grease and line your baking trays – I use two 9-inch / 23cm pans

Carrot cake

 

 

Dry ingredients:

Carrot cake

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans

 

Wet ingredients:

Carrot cake

  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
  • 3-4 grated carrots (you should have at least about 350g when grated)
  • 1 grated apple
  • Vanilla extract

 

Frosting:

Carrot cake

  • 120g butter
  • 200g cream cheese
  • 700g icing sugar – sifted
  • Vanilla extract

 

Makes two 23cm / 9-inch  cakes

 

How-to:

You don’t need any special equipment to make this cake!

  • Mix all your dry ingredients in a bowl until even in color (this includes your pecans / walnuts!)

Carrot cake

  • In a large bowl, beat your eggs and sugar until they look paler and increase slightly in volume – you can do this by hand or with an electric hand whisk if you like. It doesn’t need to be super fluffy just slightly aerated.

Carrot cake

Carrot cake

  • Once your egg mixture looks a bit bubbly, slowly add-in the oil while beating. Then add the vanilla extract as well. At this point your mixture should be a bit thicker and bubblier but again, not expecting it to be super fluffy.

Carrot cake

  • Incorporate the carrots and apple with a spatula until it’s all well mixed through

Carrot cake Carrot cake

  • Fold in the dry ingredients just until it’s all mixed – do not overmix!

Carrot cake Carrot cake

  • Divide your batter evenly onto your prepared baking pans and bake at 175C for 25-30min – you’ll know it’s done when they spring back to the touch or when you insert a skewer or knife and you don’t get any wet batter on it. You should also see the sides of the cake starting to pull away from the pan.

Carrot cake Carrot cake

  • Let the cakes cool completely – this is a good time to take out your butter and cream cheese from the fridge so they come to room temperature

Carrot cake
You can see how the cake is starting to pull away from the sides – this is a good indicator that the cake is done. If the pan is well greased you should see this and it should also mean that they’ll come out really easily!

 

 

Frosting:

  • To make your frosting, start by sifting your icing sugar so it’s completely lump-free

Carrot cake

  • Cream the butter and cream cheese until they’re fluffy and pale in color

Carrot cake Carrot cake

  • Add the icing sugar (in a couple of batches) and mix slowly until incorporated – so you don’t get a big cloud of sugar! – and once it’s fully incorporated beat on high speed for a few minutes until it looks light and airy

Carrot cake Carrot cake

  • When it’s pretty much there in terms of consistency, add a splash of vanilla extract and mix for another few seconds

Carrot cake Carrot cake

  • Frost the cake however you like! You can keep it rustic, you can level out the cakes and try to make them more perfect, you can do whatever you like – have fun with this!
    • For this cake, I levelled off the bottom layer just to make sure it sat straight (and to have a little cook’s treat!) and used a cake board to transport itCarrot cake Carrot cake
    • I used the frosting in between the two layers and then decorated the top with a piping bag fitted with a star tip Carrot cake Carrot cake
    • I then used my caramelised pecans on top and that’s it! Simple but beautiful I think!Carrot cake

 

 

Top tips:

  • For an extra little delicious treat, I’d suggest making my maple syrup caramelised pecans and using them to top up your cake. They’re so easy to make and so delicious! As a non-pecan-lover I can tell you I could eat an entire bowl of these! You can also use them inside instead of plain pecans or walnuts.
  • Once you’re done decorating it, I strongly suggest that you put this cake in the fridge for an hour or two to set. Particularly if it’s a warm day (like it was when I made this one), your frosting will probably get a bit sloppy so putting it in the fridge just helps set it nicely and hold its shape.
  • If you’re a raisin lover – you’ll probably know I’m definitely not if you’ve seen my oatmeal cookie recipe – you can also add raisins at the same time as the pecans. Just mix them with your dry ingredients.

 

Carrot cake

 

And that’s it! It’s one of the simplest cakes to make that – aside from grating the carrots and sifting the sugar for the frosting – takes little to no effort to make and it’s always a crowd pleaser! Using oil instead of butter gives you a really moist and light cake, and not only using fresh carrots but also the addition of apple in this recipe gives you amazing flavor and yet, more moisture to the cake! I think it’s a killer recipe – super easy, don’t need any fancy equipment and everyone loves it!

I hope you give this recipe a try and really love it – and if you choose to make it for a special occasion I’m sure it won’t disappoint! As always, thanks for reading me and see you back here again soon!

 

Carrot cake

Maple syrup caramelized pecans

Maple syrup caramelized pecans

Hi everyone! Today I wanted to share a really quick and easy snack that’s kinda salty, kinda sweet and overall really yummy! You can eat these on their own (believe me, once you start you can’t stop!) or you can use them with other foods – just the way you would regular pecans. There’s no wrong option here!

So tell me, are you a pecan lover or hater? I’ve never really liked pecans that much, probably because I didn’t grow up eating them – we ate walnuts instead. But since I left Spain and started trying different kinds of foods I discovered pecans and to be honest I’ve had a bit of a love/hate relationship with them. Pretty similar to walnuts actually.

I think what I don’t like about pecans is their texture – particularly how they leave your mouth feeling after eating them. Is it just me? It’s just this weird dry feeling that I struggle to get on board with. Through time I’ve learned that the only way I actually enjoy eating pecans is by toasting them. It makes them crunchy, much tastier and not feel so “dry”. This recipe takes them to the next level.

 

Pecans
Admittedly, not the prettiest thing to capture on photograph!

 

 

First things first:

  • Preheat your oven to 170C
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper

 

Ingredients:

Pecans

  • 80g maple syrup
  • 15g butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 200g pecans

 

What to do:

  • In a (preferably non-stick) frying pan, melt together your maple syrup, butter, salt and cinnamon on a low-medium heat

Pecans Pecans

  • When your wet mixture is fully melted and combined, add in your pecans and mix them through until they’re all fully coated

Pecans Pecans

  • Spread the mixture evenly onto your parchment paper-lined tray. Try to keep them on a single layer as much as you can!

Pecans

  • Put it in a 170C oven for 10 minutes, take it out and give it a mix

Pecans Pecans

  • Pop them back in the oven for another 5min and by now your house should smell heavenly and your pecans should look a deep caramel color. The edges might look a bit dark but don’t worry – it’s all good and delicious

Pecans

  • Leave them to cool for a few minutes and enjoy!

Pecans

 

 

These are such a quick and easy little snack! As they cool down they get really crunchy – it’s basically a really easy and safe way to make caramel. They are great just on their own but they’re also amazing in other foods such as carrot cake or even some salads – they’re super versatile.

Keep them in an airtight container (super important if you don’t want them to get super sticky and lose their crunch!) and they’ll probably last about a week or so (if you can keep yourself from eating them all before then!). If you want to make a big batch of it just double or triple the recipe and they’ll also be good in the fridge for a couple of weeks or even in the freezer for a few months.

 

Pecans

 

I hope you give these a try and let me know if you like them! I hope to see you again soon and as always, thanks for reading me!

Arroz con leche (rice pudding)

Arroz con leche (rice pudding)

As you probably know, I grew up in Spain and if there is one thing that everyone can agree on is that Spanish people know how to eat! We’ve got the best food, freshest ingredients and I mean, to me there’s nothing like it. Spanish cuisine isn’t super elaborate and I actually really like that – they just use super good-quality ingredients and let them shine through.

This is one of those irreplaceable nostalgic comfort-food recipes that doesn’t look pretty, it’s not fancy at all but it just can’t be beat. It’s sweet, it’s cinnamony, it’s creamy and delicious and you can have it either warm or cold but either way it always hits the spot. Even though rice pudding is made in lots of different cuisines, the recipes can vary significantly. This is how I’ve grown up eating it, its a family favorite and I hope you love it as much as I do.

 

Arroz con leche

 

 

Ingredients:

Arroz con leche

  • 1L of milk – ideally whole milk
  • 100g of rice – short-grain works best here, something like arborio, risotto or bomba rice
  • Orange peel (1/4 to 1/2 orange)
  • Lemon peel (1/2 – 1 lemon)
  • 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks
  • A vanilla pod – cut it in half lengthwise and use both the pod and the seeds inside (you can also use extract or vanilla bean paste)
  • 70g sugar or a small can of condensed milk (370g)

Arroz con leche

  • Optional: knob of butter (about 10g)
  • Powdered cinnamon for dusting

 

How to make it:

  • In a large pot, combine your milk, rice, citrus peels, cinnamon stick and vanilla

Arroz con lecheArroz con leche

  • Turn the stove on a very low heat and bring it up to a gentle bubble (do not boil!). Simmer it slowly for about 30-45 min, stirring every few minutes – if you don’t stir it frequently it’ll form a skin over the top really quickly

Arroz con leche

  • After this time your mixture should be starting to thicken up and look creamy but your rice probably won’t be cooked all the way through yet. It’ll still be a bit runny which is exactly what we want

Arroz con leche

  • At this point add the sugar and keep simmering it for another 5-10min, until your pudding is thick and creamy and your rice is fully cooked through

Arroz con lecheArroz con leche

  • Turn the heat off and carefully remove your citrus peels, cinnamon sticks and vanilla pod. Make sure to mix through while you’re doing this so that it doesn’t form a skin.
    • Optional: add your knob of butter once you’ve removed all your flavorings and mix through

Arroz con leche

Arroz con leche

  • Cover your pot and let it rest for about 10-15min, then serve or put it in the fridge to cool down (see below).

 

Top tips:

  • If you want to eat it warm you can serve it at this point, just sprinkle some cinnamon on top and enjoy! (I love it with tons of cinnamon)
  • If you prefer to eat it cold, transfer your warm mixture to an airtight container, sprinkle with cinnamon and make sure that no air is getting in there (again, trying to prevent a skin from forming!). Pop it in the fridge to cool down and let it sit there for a few hours, then serve!
  • If you want to make it even creamier and more decadent, try substituting the sugar for a small can of condensed milk and thank me later! This is how my grandma prefers her arroz con leche. Just keep in mind that you’re adding liquid so you may need to cook it down a bit longer than with just sugar.
  • If you want to make this the day before (I used to do that in medschool) just keep in mind that the rice will keep absorbing the liquid for a while after it’s off the heat. If you don’t like it too dry you can either reduce your cooking time a bit so it’s looser, or you can just add a bit of extra milk when you go eat it. Just mix it through really well and it should incorporate easily.

 

Arroz con leche

 

Let me tell you, there are few desserts that warm my heart as much as this one. This is probably where my love for cinnamon comes from actually – I just cannot get enough of it! When I was young my parents had to take it away from me because if not I’d eat it all and I wouldn’t leave any for the rest of the family. Just couldn’t get enough! Like I said, it’s super simple and doesn’t require lots of ingredients or effort so it’s really a great treat to have on hand.

Even if you’ve had rice pudding before I’m sure it won’t be quite like this one. When my mom and grandma made it at home I think they only put a tiny amount of lemon peel in there and as far as I remember there was no vanilla so this is not quite exactly like the one I used to have but in my opinion it’s even better! It may be a touch too sweet so if you try it and feel like it’s too much, just cut down on the amount of sugar a bit and it should do the trick.

I hope you give this recipe a try and love it as much as I do – it tastes like my childhood! Also let me know if you like simple traditional Spanish recipes like this one and if you’d like me to share more? I’d love to know what you like to see over here! Thanks for reading me and I hope to see you again soon!

 

Arroz con leche
If your bowl doesn’t end up looking like this then something’s gone wrong – I’d suggest you try again!!

Roasted butternut squash

Roasted butternut squash

This is one of those undiscovered gems for me. I’ve always associated butternut squash with soup and most of the time, not well-seasoned soup. Also, any time I saw it at the supermarket I just didn’t know what else to do with it, so I’ve never really been very into it! And then one day I saw one of the YouTubers I follow make a veggie dinner and she used butternut squash as part of the meal – it looked so interesting to me I decided to try it and since then I’ve made it a bunch of times at home. I’ve tinkered with the method and found a way to make it my own and let me tell you, it’s become one of our favorites!

Butternut squash is actually quite sweet – kind of like pumpkin or sweet potato. So whichever way you make it you really need to think about your seasoning as this will make the biggest difference! I think the best flavour to compliment the sweetness of the squash is smokey. So I love to use smoked paprika and smoked flakey sea salt to finish it. I think it really does make all the difference here. If you have any seasoning that’s good for steak or big cuts of meat (stay tuned for my smoked brisket recipe!) that would work really well here too.

 

Butternut squash

 

 

First things first:

  • Preheat your oven to 220C
  • Wash and dry your butternut squash

 

Ingredients:

  • Butternut squash
  • Seasoning of your choice (see below)
  • Olive oil

 

How to make it:

  • Even though we’re not going to be eating the skin of the butternut squash, I like to wash the skin a bit to get rid of any soil or anything else that might be on it. Just a quick scrub will do!

Butternut squash

  • Cut the top and bottom of your squash and then cut it in the middle, lengthwise

Butternut squash

  • With a spoon, remove the seeds from your squash. It’s a lot easier to do with a spoon than it is with a knife, but still be careful when you do this! It starts to get a bit slippery in there so just be patient.
    • Note: you don’t have to discard those seeds if you don’t want to. You can just remove all the flesh and then rinse the seeds, pat them dry and roast them in the oven until they become fragrant. 

Butternut squash

  • Grab a baking tray, line it with aluminum foil (trust me, it’ll make the biggest difference when it comes to cleaning!) and place your squash on it, open-side up. Season it however you like and drizzle with some olive oil
    • Note: My favourite way to season it is with a blend that I make which has salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder (if I have it), and lots of smoked paprika.
    • Sometimes I also add mixed dried herbs or fresh herbs – usually rosemary and sage.
    • On this day I used some leftover seasoning from my smoked brisket which is basically the same thing!

Butternut squash

  • Once your squash is all dressed up, put it in the oven at 220C for about 45min. Keep in mind that depending on your oven and the size of your squash, the cooking time may change.
  • When you think it’s about done, poke the thickest part of your squash with a knife and if it goes in and out super smoothly (as if it was soft butter) then it’s all good to go. If you get any resistance, pop it back in for another 5-10min and re-check.
    • Don’t be alarmed if the top looks really dark and almost burnt. This is just the top and in my opinion it’s actually the best part! You’ll see.

Butternut squash

  • Let it rest for 5-10min and serve it however you like! I like to just use a spoon to scoop it out. I use a fork to help myself with holding the skin down (it’s too hot for my fingers!). It should come off from the skin nice and easily.

Butternut squash

  • And that’s it! Sprinkle some flakey (smoked if you can) sea salt over the top and it’s good to go!

Butternut squash

  • I like to serve it “messy” because I feel like that way the ratio of seasoned and not-so-seasoned flesh is nicer but if you want to just cut it up into neat little chunks you can too – it’s up to you!

Butternut squash

 

I hope you give this recipe a try and if you do, let me know if you like it! It’s one of those super simple things to make that are just so yummy! It’s also super easy to prepare and great for a weeknight dinner.

Also, I always serve this as a side dish but if you’re veggie it’s great as part of your main meal – I’ve had it before with a serving of quinoa and some greens and it’s really filling and delicious!

Thanks again for reading me and stay tuned for more yummy recipes!!

Giant oatmeal cookies

Giant oatmeal cookies

I didn’t know this growing up but I actually love oatmeal cookies! I think it’s their chewiness and the cinnamony taste. I looove cinnamon! However, for some strange reason oatmeal has been forever paired with gosh-darn-raisins! Why?!?!? In my humble opinion, raisins are devil’s food. They are horrible. So weird and sweet but stale and chewy and not in a good way. What do you think? I think this is one of those divisive topics – either you love them or you hate them!

Anyways, I’m someone who hates raisins but you know what I love? Chocolate! Who doesn’t love chocolate?? It’s the best, most well-known comfort food. It’s just good for the soul in my opinion. So why not pair them both up? Sounds like a match made in food heaven if you ask me.

Let me just say, these cookies are no joke. They aren’t a “standard cookie size” – these are chunky, bakery-style cookies that will just make your heart so so happy. They are special, one of those treats you make for a special occasion and not just a random Thursday (although no one is judging here!). The only bad part is – they do need to be frozen before cooking them (sorry!). It all depends on how you look at it though – you could make a whole batch at once for a special occasion, or you could just bake one or two in a cookie emergency (or for that random Thursday) instead of baking the whole batch. I mean, there’s just no wrong option here.

 

Oatmeal cookies

 

First things first:

  • Cut up your butter into small cubes and pop them back in the fridge so they stay nice and cold
  • Cut up your chocolate into chunks, as big or as small as you like
  • Preheat your oven to 185C when you’re ready to bake

 

Ingredients:

Oatmeal cookies

  • 230g cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar

 

Oatmeal cookies
On this day I decided to use a mixture of white chocolate and caramelized white chocolate – yum!

  • 200g white chocolate chunks
    • Options: Caramelised white chocolate (best option), white chocolate bar cut up into chunks (second best), chocolate chips/chunks from a bag (least good option). 

 

Oatmeal cookies

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups oats

 

Oatmeal cookies

  • 2 eggs
  • Vanilla extract (don’t measure this but I’d say about 1tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

 

 

What to do:

I use a KitchenAid stand mixer but you can use an electric hand mixer or a bowl with a wooden spoon for this recipe.

  • In a large bowl, mix all your dry ingredients – your flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and oats

Oatmeal cookies Oatmeal cookies

  • In a small bowl, crack your eggs, add-in your vanilla and almond extracts and beat them slightly so that they’ll mix through quickly once we’re ready for them

Oatmeal cookies

  • In a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer), mix the cold butter and both kinds of sugar until the butter has broken up into smaller pieces and your mixture looks like wet sand

Oatmeal cookies Oatmeal cookies

  • Add-in your chocolate chunks and mix through so they’re evenly distributed
    • If you were a raisin lover you could add raisins here instead, same amount

Oatmeal cookies Oatmeal cookies

  • Add your dry ingredient mixture and on a low speed, mix through just until you have an even texture. It will look dry but this is normal, you just want everything to be evenly distributed.

Oatmeal cookies Oatmeal cookies

  • Pour in your egg-extracts blend and mix until a dough starts to form. It might still feel a bit crumbly but the mixture will start to come together and into a ball of dough. Do not over mix! Just leave it there.

Oatmeal cookies Oatmeal cookies

  • Divide your dough into evenly sized balls – I use a scale for this and measure 100g balls so I know they’re about even but you can use a large cookie scoop or just eyeball it. You want these big! I’d say between 100-125g per ball.
    • When you’re rolling these, you want to try to handle them as little as possible. Don’t try to make perfect balls or to compact them too much. You want to just bring them together with your hands but once they stay in a ball-shape just don’t overwork them. They’re supposed to be chunky and a bit uneven.

Oatmeal cookies

  • Place your cookie balls into a freezer-safe container and pop them in the freezer. They should chill there for at least a couple of hours but ideally you should leave them overnight.

Oatmeal cookies

  • When you’re ready to bake them, preheat your oven to 185C and pop your parchment paper-lined baking tray in the oven to heat up – this will make the bottom of your cookies nice and toasty and will help cook them more evenly (keep in mind that they’re big and fully frozen!)

Oatmeal cookies Oatmeal cookies

  • Bake for about 15-17 min or until they look golden brown and your house smells like heaven

Oatmeal cookies

  • Let them cool for about 10-15min and dig in!! Delicious oatmeal white chocolate almond cookies at your fingertips!!

 

 

Top tips:

  • You can make a single or double batch of these cookies, shape them and freeze them and then just use them up as you wish. They’ll be fine in the freezer for months so it’s the perfect cookie recipe to have on hand!
  • Keep in mind that your cooking time will vary depending on the size of your cookie balls. For me, 100g balls take about 16-17min in a 185C oven. I know they’re about ready when the house really starts to smell like cookies and when the cookies are looking beautifully golden.
  • If you have a temperamental oven (like I do), I recommend rotating your baking tray about halfway through so that they cook evenly. That way, if you have any hot spots in your oven, all the cookies will still get the same amount of heat throughout.

 

Oatmeal cookies Oatmeal cookies

 

I mean… you’re welcome! What else can I say. These are chunky, delicious, sweet – but not sickly sweet, and they are just so much better than anything that has raisins! I’m not the biggest fan of white chocolate in general (I like dark chocolate) but it just goes so well with the oatmeal, the almond extract and the cinnamon.

I discovered caramelized white chocolate a few months ago and it’s kind of a game changer! It’s a much richer, caramel-like flavoured and it’s just an interesting flavor. If you’ve never tried it, I recommend it! Give it a try, particularly in a recipe like this – it just takes it to another level. If you’d like to try it but can’t find it and you’d like me to show you how to make it – leave a comment down below and let me know!

 

Oatmeal cookies

I hope you give these a try and enjoy them! As always, thanks for reading me and stay tuned for my next recipe!

Mike’s favorite salad

Mike’s favorite salad

My husband Mike is a true meat-eater. For years he’s been saying that “if it doesn’t have meat it’s not a real meal“. He’s never been into veggies, soups and much less salads. So when he kept insisting that I made this salad over and over again, I thought there must be something to it – and I should probably share it with you!

I love to try new recipes and follow the guidance that other people are giving me, but when it comes to certain foods – particularly salads – I tend to go “off the cuff” and just mix stuff up based on what I’m feeling like. I tend to just open the fridge and see what I’ve got and what speaks to me.

On this day it was the middle of fall and I just wanted to have a “wintery, fall-like” salad. I had some pomegranate seeds in my fridge that I wanted to use up somehow and Mike had just bought some feta cheese at the store because “it spoke to him”. So in my brain these two were a match made in food heaven. So with a few more ingredients I found around the house I somehow made this little concoction and it’s been a winner ever since!

 

Mikes salad

 

First things first:

  • Wash and dry your lettuce
  • Mix up the dressing
  • Toast your almonds

 

Ingredients:

Mikes salad

  • 2 heads of lettuce – I like to use romaine but you can use cos lettuce or any lettuce you like to eat
  • 250g of pomegranate seeds
  • 200g of feta cheese
  • 1 cup flaked almonds – roasted
  • Cucumber – about a 10cm chunk or 150g
  • 1 apple – we usually have pink lady but use whatever you like to it. Something that’s relatively sweet and not too tart.

 

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup good quality olive oil
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

What to do:

  • Mix your dressing ingredients until they become uniform (the honey will help bind it all together)

Salad dressing

  • Toast your almonds on a dry pan for about 5min – you should stir frequently so that they all get toasted evenly. You’ll know they’re done when they start to look beautifully golden and you can really smell them

Toasted almonds Toasted almonds

    • Cut and wash your lettuce
    • Chop your cucumber, apple and feta cheese into small cubes

Note: I don’t like to peel my cucumber or apple but you’re more than welcome to do so if you like! 

Mikes salad

  • Mix all your salad ingredients except your almonds – save these for the end

Mikes salad Mikes salad Mikes salad

  • When you’re ready to serve, pour the dressing over the salad, mix until everything is coated and sprinkle your toasted almonds on top

Mikes salad Mikes salad Mikes salad

 

And that’s it! Just a simple salad that takes no time at all to put together but is super satisfying and different to your everyday “lettuce, tomato, cucumber” mixtures. I’ve really enjoyed having it this fall / winter season but you can have it all year round!

 

Top tips:

  • If you’re not the biggest fan of balsamic vinegar or feel like it’s too tangy you can swap it for balsamic glaze instead – it’s a much thicker consistency and it’s pretty much like caramelised balsamic vinegar. I don’t think you’d need the bit of honey if you were using the glaze instead.
  • You can get all the salad ingredients ready, toast your almonds and mix your dressing and just leave it at that until you’re ready to serve. I like to mix it all in a big bowl and then serve directly from there but you could also mix the salad ingredients and then add the dressing and almonds directly onto each plate (this is also a good option if you’re meal prepping and want to have this salad more than one day).
  • Most of the time we have this as a side salad when having steak or fish but you can also have it just as a main dish! It’s actually fairly filling and this recipe makes a good amount. I’d say as a main it’ll serve 4 people happily but as a side this amount will probably be good for 6-8 people.

 

Mikes salad

 

I really hope you give it a try and that you enjoy it as much as my husband has! I’d love to hear your thoughts on it and whether you’ve tinkered with it – have you changed anything? Have you found any other ingredients that you think go really well in here? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

As always, thanks for reading and see you on my next post!