Yoghurt and cinnamon cake

Ingredients:

  • 200g flour;
  • 150 g sugar;
  • 300g  natural yoghurt;
  • 2 tbsp oil;
  • 15 g baking powder;
  • 1 tsp honey;
  • 1 tsp cinnamon;
  • 1 pinch of salt;
  • 1 orange: juice and grind;

How to make it: Grease a baking tin. Sift together the flour, the sugar, the baking powder and the cinnamon. In a bowl combine the yoghurt, the honey, the oil, the orange juice and orange grind. Gently add the solid ingredients to the liquid ones till everything is well combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in a preheated oven for 40 minutes at 180°C. Let the cake cool down and sift it with some icing sugar before serving.

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Tuna and potatoes croquettes: the healthy ones!

This is perfect for your summer lunches/dinners and also if you have kids over: it’s quick, tasty and funny. Usually croquettes are very deep fried but today I want to suggest a lighter option: I hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients:

  • 200g potatoes;
  • 240g tuna;
  • 50g  breadcrumbs;
  • extra virgin olive oil;
  • 2 egg;
  • fresh parsley;

How to make it:

Peel and boil the potatoes until tender. Let them cool down and then mash them with a fork until you obtain a nice potato purée. Add the tuna, one egg, the olive oil and the parsley and mix well together. If you prefer you can use a food processor (as I did) so it is faster. Adjust of salt and pepper.

When your mixture is ready for the balls from it; you can try different shapes to add some fun to your dish. Place onto a lined oven tray and set them aside.

Prepare 2 shallows bowls: one with the beaten egg and the other with the other half of the breadcrumbs. Dip each croquette into the egg and then roll it into the breadcrumb: this step will guarantee a golden appearance and a crispy taste!

Cook the croquettes in a pre-heated oven for around 15 minutes or until golden.

 

Tips to improve your dish:

  • If you are not on a diet you can deep fry your croquettes;
  • You can use cornflake crumbs or flour to coat the croquettes instead of the breadcrumbs;
  • Make sure you don’t over boil the potatoes;
  • Instead of the parsley you can use fresh mint or use the 2 herbs together;
  • Don’t forget to serve them with some fresh veggies.

Summer tips!

Dear all, summer is here: the best season of the year will start next week! Make sure you are ready to welcome it. Today I would like to share with you some tips that I am following since a while but the effects are already visible!

1) Drink at least 1.5 l of water daily: I know it’s not easy but I can guarantee that the problem it’s only at the beginning. After the first days you will get used to it and you will miss water. We all know the benefit of water and in particular in summer we should drink even more;

2) Drink some bicarbonate of soda: what I do is add half tsp to 500ml of water. It is proven that bicarbonate of soda boost your body’s health by maintaining proper ph levels. It is a great help also to treat indigestion and heartburn. You can also use for many more uses (add it to your bath, scrub your feet, clean the house!). Just remember to read well any side effect it might occur and if there are any restrictions by using bicarbonate (remember it is sodium!). You can click here for more information;

3) Eat plenty of raw veggies: I would suggest green leafy and red/orange vegetables (tomatoes, carrots). The green veggies are a rich source of minerals and very low on calories; the red ones will help you with your tan;

4)Go on holidays in a sunny place and stay outdoors as much as you can to avail of the benefits of the sun;

5) Sleep as much as you can;

6) Follow Silvia and Kitchen’s receipes!

 

Happy summer!

Easy strawberries cake

With a little delay today I post this easy recipe  for a cake which is perfect for St. Valentine day. But I’d say this is perfect for any occasion.

What you need:

For the dough:

  • 150g flour;
  • 110g unsalted butter;
  • 75 g sugar;
  • 1 egg;
  • 1 pinch of salt;
  • 1 tsp baking powder;
  • grated lemon zest;
  • 1 tbsp White wine;

For the  topping:

  • 200g fresh strawberries, washed and sliced;
  • juice of 1 organic orange;
  • 250 ml fresh cream;
  • 50 g icing sugar;
  • 50g strawberry jam;

How to make it:

Pre-heat the oven at 180°C. Work together the sugar, the softened butter and the egg into a rough paste. Add the salt, the baking powder, the lemon zest and the wine. Gradually work in the flour with your fingertips to bind the ingredients into a smooth dough. Wrap the mixture in clingfilm and chill for 30 mins.

In the meanwhile add the orange juice  to the strawberries and set them aside (if you like it you can add Cointreau instead of the orange juice). Roll out the pastry in a floured surface and line a 20 cm tart tin. Prick the pastry base with a fork, cover it with some baking paper and bake for 15 mins. Remove the baking paper and keep baking for additional 10 mins,

While the base is baking you might start preparing the filling;Whisk together the double cream with the icing sugar untile nice and fluffy. This will take you around 6/7 minutes with a kitchen robot at max speed. Be careful when doing this as the cream might turn out as butter.

Once the base has cooled down you can start decorating your cake. Spread the strawberry jam over the surface of the cake and place the strawberries and the cream as desired. Below it’s my cake. Hope you enjoy it.

Strawberries cake

Keep your kitchen (and your life) healthy!

Hi all and happy 2014! Because we are at the beginning of the year I’d like to share some healthy tips with you so you can get the best from your cooking sessions! These are 3 basic RULES that everybody should follow when approaching any kitchen or any place where food is placed.

1. SHOPPING TIME –  when buying the food ALWAYS read the label: check where the products are from and which ingredients are in them.  Always prefer fresh food, which comes from local sources especially if you are fresh food. I am not saying to buy organic all the time but when possible you should go for it! Buying good quality food doesn’t mean buying the most expensive. When it comes to the stuff we are going to eat we should really not put the price at the first place!

2 THE FRIDGE – the fridge is the favourite place where bacteria can develop so it is important you keep it in order and clean. Place the vegetables and the fruits on the bottom; meat and fish should be removed from their original package and placed in a plastic box. Then they should be stored on the lower level to avoid any juice coming from your steak goes into any other food. We all know the risks of dealing with raw meat and raw fish! Wash the eggs before storing them in the fridge. To clean it, use a solution made with white vinegar and soda bicarbonate: totally natural, totally perfect and your fridge will be ready to store your foods. To prevent any bad smell put some coffee powder into a small cup and leave it in fridge: no more smells (actully a lovely perfume of coffee).

3 SPONGES AND CLOTHES – make sure all the tools to clean the kitchen ARE clean. If not you will keep spreading bacteria all over. To keep your sponges perfect leave them all night in a solution based of boiling water, little bleach (roughly 1 tbsp) and soda bicarbonate. The day after they will be brilliant!

 

Feel free to share any suggestions or tips you might have about kitchen hygiene: remeber this is the first step to stay healthy and therefore having a better life.

 

Christmas treats

This is going to be my first recipe for Christmas time.  Few words to describe it: easy, delicious and perfect.  If you don’t have time but you are having a dinner on the same night this is just perfect. Result is 100% guaranteed. Hope you enjoy it.

What you need:

  • 250g mascarpone;
  • 2 cups of espresso;
  • 250 g amaretti;
  • 20 g cocoa powder;
  • 50 g desiccated coconut;

 

How to make it:

First thing to do is to dip into espresso coffee your amaretti biscuits. Make sure they don’t become too wet otherwise they will break.

Dispose the amaretti in a dish and set aside. You need now to make the cream: whisk together the mascarpone and the cocoa powder until you have a soft light brown cream.

Once you are done with it you can compose your dessert: take one biscuit, add some cream and stick it to another biscuit. Basically one biscuit should be an half dessert. When all your little treats are ready you need to roll them into the coconut. For best results keep them in the fridge until it’s time to serve them.

 

Treats

Gnocchi alla zucca (pumpkin gnocchi)

As this is Jack O’Lantern week I  decided to post some recipes with pumpkin as main ingredient. Pumpkin is a very good friend for those who need to keep a special eye on their diet. It’s great for cholesterol and bladder stones. It was also used to treat diabetes 2 because it helps to reduce blood sugars. And last but not least it’s delicious. The first recipe is gnocchi and I really hope you enjoy it.

What you need:

  • 350g potatoes
  • 350 g pumpkin
  • 180 g unbleeched flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Parmesan or ricotta affumicata
  • black pepper

How to make it:

Preheat oven to 180ºC and in the meanwhile cut the pumpkin into pieces and dispose them on a baking tray. Bake the pumpkin for 25 minutes or until tender. Bring the unpeeled potatoes to the boil and cook them until tender. When all the ingredients are ready let them cool down before you start preparing the gnocchi dough.

With a knife peel the potatoes and mash them together with the pumpkin. You should obtain a lovely and colored purée.

  Add the egg, the salt and the flour , beating with a spoon until smooth. Dust a work surface with flour and knead the dough with your hands.

Dough 2

At this stage you need to divided into 6 pieces and roll each using the palm of your hands to obtain a long rope of about 1 cm thick. Please note that the perfect size of a gnocchi doesn’t exist; I don’t like gnocchi to be too big so I stick to the 1cm rule but you can make it thicker.

Cut each rope into small pieces and if you like you can press each gnocco (this is the Italian singular name!) on the tines of a floured fork.

Pieces1

Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and cook the gnocchi in small batches. This is a VITAL part if you want a good result. If you cook the gnocchi all at the same time  they will stick together. When they rise to the surface lift them out with a slotted spoon and drain them well. You need to serve them immediately.

My favourite sauce for gnocchi is very easy. Heat some butter (or margarine, if you like) on a pan and when it’s melted add the gnocchi. Finish with some Parmesan or ricotta affumicata and some black pepper. BUON APPETITO!

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Basic recipe for cupcakes

Hi there! Today I will post the standard recipe to make cupcakes. You can use this one for every kind of cupcake you want as it is very easy.

What you need:

  • 125 g softened unsalted butter;
  • 125 g sugar;
  • 2 eggs;
  • 125 g white flour;
  • 1 tsp baking powder;
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract;
  • a pinch of salt;

How to make it:

Pre – heat the oven to 190°C.  Beat the softened butter and the sugar in a bowl until well combined. Gradually beat in the eggs and add the vanilla extract. Sift the flour, the baking powder and the pinch of salt in the mixture until combined to a fluffy mixture.

Dispose the mixture in your baking tray and bake the cupcakes for around 15 mins until they are golden brown. Test them with a toothpick; if it comes out clean and dry then your cupcakes are ready. Let them cool down before decorating them.

TIPS: Make sure that all the ingredients are at room temperature, butter included: you want it soft when you are beating it. Remember also to fill the cupcakes liners up to 2/3 only: you are not baking muffins!!

Maple ribs

With summer season approaching, why not trying this delicious recipe? The secret is to start marinating the meat the day before.

What you need:

  • 1kg pork ribs;
  • 1 garlic clove;
  • 100 ml maple syrup;
  • 1 tbs white vinegar;
  • 3 tbs tomato purée;
  • juice of 1 lemon;
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped;
  • 10 grams smoked paprika;
  • lemon slices;

How to make it:

First step is to prepare the sauce: beat together the maple syrup,  garlic, vinegar, tomato purée and the lemon juice. Add the paprika and the chilli. Arrange the meat in a bowl and pour the mixture over the ribs. Let marinate in the refrigeratore as much as you can (at least 5 hours).

Preheat the oven at 180°C, place the ribs on a baking tin and cover with the mixture left, if any. Bake for around 1hour and half.

Your dish is ready when the ribs are tender and sticky. Serve with some lemon slices for squeezing over.

ps: unfortunately I did not manage to take any pic for this recipe but it was so delicious that I will cook it again and this time with pics!

Choux pastry

Choux pastry is today’s recipe. This is a very good recipe, easy and quick to make and I assure you the results are great.  It can be used for both savoury or sweet recipes.

What you need:

  • 75 g plain flour;
  • 50 g unsalted butter;
  • 2 large eggs;
  • 150 ml of water;
  • pinch of salt;

How to make it:

In a bowl sift togheter the flour with the salt. Put the butter and the water in a saucepan and heat them until the butter has melted. Bring the mixture to the boil.

 

Once melted remove the pan from the heat and add the flour immediately. Mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture becomes a ball (it will take you not more than 2 minutes). The mixture is ready when the sides of the pan are clean.

Wait 2 minutes for the mixture to cool down and then gradually add the eggs. Beat everything until the mixture is smooth; the choux pastry is ready when it gently falls form the spoon. What I suggest you is to use the mixture immediately. If you need to use it later you’d better cover it very well and keep it chilled until you need it.

Tip: Be careful not to bring to the boil the water before the butter has melted.  This is a  very important detail if you want to have a good result.