Super Easy and Tasty Flatbread

Forget about the boring 3 ingredients flatbread (flour, water, salt) this one is as simple as that but 10 times tastier!

I  came across this recipe years ago and have been experimenting and altering it ever since. Versatile, cheap, easy and quick, no oven required, and healthy. What else could you ask for?

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Delicious!

You can shape it however you like. Turn the dough into thick oval pieces to go with a tasty curry, or small stripes to dip in hummus, or small circles (no need of a cutter, you can just use a glass upside down!) to make appetisers, or my favourite one: big thin circles to use as a quick alternative to pizza base.

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So so good!

INGREDIENTS:

  • Natural Yogurt (a 500g container is ideal)
  • Flour, whichever you like (same amount as yogurt plus some extra for shaping and rolling the dough)
  • Yeast (if you are not going to use self-raising flour)
  • Seeds (As many as you like! Fennel seeds, Poppy seeds, Flax seeds, Sesame seeds, Sunflower seeds; play around and try different combinations)
  • Salt and Pepper
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Eeeeasy

METHOD:

  1. In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients with the help of a spatula.
  2. On a clean surface, knead the dough, adding more flour until it feels more firm and not that gooey. Tip: dip your hands in flour before working the dough so it won’t stick to your fingers that much.
  3. Shape it!
  4. Place the flatbreads on a hot griddle pan. On a medium heat, turn them around when you start seeing bubbles. Then leave it a couple of minutes on each side.
  5. Served hot, or cold. Enjoy them with anything you like.



Let me know what seed combo you used, or what did you have the flatbreads with!

Obvious and Obscure Pantry Essentials

As a child, I used to love going through my grandma’s pantry and being awed by it. From very traditional ingredients from the area to good quality Spanish delicatessen, my grandma’s kitchen had it all. She used to tell me: “you never know who is coming unexpectedly and you need to be prepared if you want to be a good host”. She would have big bottles of extra virgin olive oil (from my grandpa’s little olive plantation), jars and jars of preserved tomatoes (that she would make herself with her friends once a year), olives (marinated the traditional regional way), onion and garlic, potatoes (in a proper sack), very good quality tinned Atlantic bonito, plenty of other typical Spanish canned seafood (e.g mussels, cockles, clams, razor shells), cured meats such as blocks of Serrano ham and diverse Iberian sausages, and so much more.

My mum’s pantry was also impressive and had very similar ingredients but also some more “exotic” ones. Next to the essential spices and herbs from my region (black pepper, oregano, thyme, rosemary, paprika, bay leaves and saffron) my mother stored cloves, cumin, cardamom, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg. With my grandpa’s extra virgin olive oil, she would fill up glass bottles and add herbs and chillies to infuse the oil. Together with the usual canned seafood, my mother would also have sea urchin roe and more adventurous versions of the normal preserved mussels and clams.

When I first moved out, my pantry wasn’t very impressive. Since I was a student and I had other priorities and not a lot of money to spare. It was as basic as it gets: cheap pasta, cheap rice, cheap tinned tuna, and not much else. I didn’t really care about it until I officially (officially in my mind, that is) I became an adult, about 6 years ago. I was already living in the UK and my palate was by then much wider and extremely curious. I started experimenting with different flavours and diverse cuisines and needed to start paying attention to how to store all the new ingredients appropriately.

It has been 6 years of adjusting, trying, and testing, but now I know exactly what I absolutely need in my kitchen to be able to cook on a daily basis without having to rush to the store or spending silly money unexpectedly.

This is a pantry for a household of two with a minimal meat consumption but no allergies nor other diet restrictions.

Here are my essentials:

  • Pasta: I like to change pasta shapes often so I rotate a lot. Also, I absolutely hate the taste of whole-wheat pasta, so you will never find that in my pantry.
  • Rice: Arborio or Carnaroli (mainly for risotto), Basmati or Jasmine (for anything really), and Bomba (mainly for paella) are always in my cupboard.
  • Oil: Extra Virgin Olive, Sesame, Coconut, and Sunflower.
  • Vinegar: Apple Cider, White Wine, Balsamic, and Rice.
  • Seeds and Nuts: Pine Nuts, Sesame Seeds, Poppy Seeds, and Almonds.
  • Spreads: Peanut Butter, Marmite, Apfelkraut, and Honey. All great not only for bread but also for cooking.
  • Spices and Herbs: Oregano, Black Pepper, Cumin, Garam Masala, Ras El Hanout, Dill, Rosemary, Thyme, Turmeric, Paprika, and many many more.
  • Flours and such: I’m not much of a baker so my essentials are Basic Flour, Whole-Wheat Self-Raising Flour, Baking Powder, Caster Sugar, Demerara Sugar, Muscovado Sugar, and Polenta.
  • Cans: Chickpeas, Red Kidney Beans, Butter Beans, Corn, Diced Tomatoes.
  • Fruits and Vegetables: Potatoes, Onions, Garlic, Ginger, Lemongrass, and Lemons.
  • Others: Eggs, Mustard, Tomato Paste, Soy Sauce, and Lentils.
  • In the freezer: I always make sure I have Peas and Spinach.

I also keep a little herb garden in my kitchen with mint, basil, rosemary, and sage.

Mum’s Asian Style Chicken

I was recently visiting my family back in my hometown when my mother surprised me with this recipe. At the beginning I couldn’t believe what I was hearing “I now make a delicious Asian style chicken in a bao bun” she repeated to my shocked face. My mum, my amazing mum, that cooks delicious Spanish food was now playing around with Asian flavours and I had to try it!

“It’s very easy -she said- I was watching this cooking channel the other night and they were making some Asian chicken broth for noodles.” You know my inability to follow recipes, and now, you may also learn where it comes from. My mum, doesn’t follow recipes either, she takes ideas and then adapts them to her liking to the point that it barely resembles the initial recipe at the end.  In my 30 years of life, I have never seen my mother eating noodles, and I wasn’t going to see it now either. Her take on the recipe had nothing to do with that, instead, she had changed it to the point that now it was Asian inspired shredded chicken in a bao bun!

chicken bun
Soft, light, dreamy!

This recipe also works for already cooked chicken leftovers skipping the boiling part.

 Bollo de Pollo or Asian Style Chicken in a Bao Bun:

Ingredients:

  • Small Whole Chicken
  • Ginger
  • Red and Green Chillies
  • Lemongrass
  • Garlic
  • Cloves
  • Bay leave
  • Soy Sauce
  • Lime
  • Onion
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Coriander (Or Parsley if you think Coriander tastes like soap)

For the mixture that will go into the bao bun:

  • Mayonnaise
  • Mustard
  • Pickles
  • Spring Onions
  • Boiled eggs (optional)
  • Lamb’s Lettuce or Watercress to decorate

Bao buns can be shop bought. However, if you feel brave enough, you can follow this recipe. It is the best I have seen online and way easier than you would think.

Method:

  1. In a pot, combine the whole chicken with every other ingredient chopped roughly. Fill with water and let it cook on a medium-low heat for around 2 and 1/2 hours.
  2. Once cooked, turn the heat off and allow the pot cool down with everything still inside. This way the chicken will be juicy and filled with all the ingredients’ aromas.
  3. Take the chicken and shred it once cooled. Don’t throw the broth, keep it in the fridge for other delicious recipes or freeze it for another time.
  4. In a bowl combine the shredded chicken, mayonnaise, mustard, thinly chopped spring onions, pickles, and boiled eggs in cubes (if any) and mix. If using leftover chicken, add some fresh chopped chillies and a bit of grated ginger for an extra kick.
chicken mixture
Aaaaand mix!

That’s it! Now you can just fill the bao buns and decorate however you like.




What to do with the broth you ask? I made noodles with it the other day. Added some vegetables and boiled rice noodles in the broth itself. It was yummy!

noodles

Kaiserschmarrn, Austrian “Scrambled” Pancakes

Today is International Pancake Day. I don’t usually care for these kind of random international days but who can resist a day dedicated to Pancakes?

This year, trying to bring something you might have never heard of, I would love to dedicate it to the Austrian Kaiserschmarrn. It’s such a fun way of making pancakes! You start the same way you would when cooking the classic ones, but then, once in the pan, you torn, chop, and shred them. Sounds great, right?

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So fluffy!!!

Let’s get started!

Remember, my recipes don’t have precise measurements and are just a guideline for you to adapt freely.

Ingredients:

  • Eggs (the happier the hen the tastier the egg!)
  • Milk (whole milk please)
  • Flour (same amount as milk)
  • Caster Sugar
  • Butter
  • Icing Sugar
  • Pinch of Salt
  • The classic recipe calls for Raisins but I never add them in

Ingredients for toppings, sauces, or to mix in with the dough can be as varied as for pancakes.

Here are 3 of my favourite combos:

  1. Add apple sauce to the dough and top the Kaiserschmarrn with cherry sauce and whipped Mascarpone before serving.
  2. Add vanilla pods to the dough, once cooked, top with sugar, cinnamon, and maple syrup.
  3. Add chocolate chips to the dough, make a minty whipped cream (simply whip some cream with chopped mint and sugar) to serve with and decorate with orange zest.

Method:

Do as you would do when preparing pancakes but pour the dough all at the same time in the pan. After a couple of minutes, start breaking them and when it starts browning, add a little bit of sugar and stir, then add some more sugar for a caramelised result.




Happy Pancake Day!!!

Guten Appetit!

5+1 Mouthwatering Toast Combinations

Toasts are one of my favourite things to eat. The combinations are endless and can go as far as your imagination does. This is a compilation of 5+1 of my favourite combos, I tried to provide a good mixture of sweet and savoury for it.

For all of you who are flexitarian like myself, or full vegetarian or vegan, I will try to provide as many alternatives to each of the combinations as possible to suit your needs. For the recipes that include cheese, you can check this amazing list with all the vegetarian friendly cheeses or use a vegan one.

1-Orange, Brown Sugar, and Cinnamon

For the picture, I used a blood orange, but you can use any type of  orange or clementine, it’s delicious all the same. This toast is vegan, light, and super refreshing.

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Such a feel-good flavour!

Mix sugar (I like to use Barbados/Muscovado brown sugar but it’s really up to you) and cinnamon in a little bowl. Sprinkle some of it on the toast, then lay the sliced orange, and add some more of that sweet brown mixture.

This flavour combination works specially well on seeded wholemeal bread.

2-Blue Cheese Salad

I first made this toast when I was going through a blue cheese obsession period and it has now become one of my favourite lunch options.

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Beautiful colours, exciting flavours

Cut and chop the veggies or fruits of your liking. I personally love to do it with cucumber, tomato, avocado, and red cabbage but you could also use pear, radish, figs, or celery for example. Lay the salad of your choice on the toast, add crumbled blue cheese on top, and dress with olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon.

If you want to make sure the cheese you are using is vegetarian but have no access to this list or can’t find a specific cheese there, simply check the label (it should say “made with vegetarian rennet” or something similar) when you are at the store.

3-Tomato, Serrano Ham, and Garlic

This is a classic toast where I come from and was one of my favourites growing up.

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A Spanish dream!

Cut a garlic clove in half and rub it on the freshly toasted bread. Then add the grated tomato, a hint of salt, and a good quality virgin extra olive oil. Top it off with Serrano ham (or Parma ham if it’s easier for you to find) or leave the ham out for a vegan treat.

This toast works best on a crusty rustic white bread.

4-Ricotta Cheese, Honey, and Black Pepper

Sweet and aromatic, perfect combo for a sneaky snack on a lazy day.

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So simple, so luscious.

Spread the Ricotta cheese (or Cottage cheese) on the toast, add some cracked black pepper and as much honey as you like.

Turn it vegan with any of these amazing alternatives for honey and this great recipe for vegan cottage cheese.

5-Poached egg, Sriracha, and Parmesan

Perfect to start the day full of energy. Sriracha and eggs are such a winning combo!

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Look at that silky yolk!

Simply poach an egg and lay it on the top of the toast, sprinkle some grated Parmesan and add as much Sriracha as your palate can tolerate. Grill then for a minute for the cheese to melt.

Substitute the parmesan cheese with any vegetarian hard cheese available if you like.

Bonus Toast: Apfelkraut and Quark

This is a delicious combo that I recently discovered in my last trip to Germany. Rheinisches Apfelkraut is a regional speciality better explained here.

apfelkraut

      It is not easy to find but if you ever come across it, you need to try it!

The flavour is sour and sweet and the texture is a bit like jelly but thicker. Spread it on rye bread and add quark or crème fraîche for a glorious experience.

One Pot Pasta Really Works!

One Pot Pasta has become extremely popular in the last few years and I wanted to see what all the fuzz was about, so I investigated and then tried it out myself.

First of all, I thought it was not going to work properly and it would be too soupy and bland. Also, it occurred to me that this might give a proud Italian a heart attack. “One Pot Pasta”, repeat after me: “One Pot Pasta”. It really doesn’t sound like anything that should exist. However, it exists, and it can actually be quite delicious.

One Pot Pasta is easy to make. It’s not like you can chuck everything in the pot, walk away, and come back after 15 minutes later to a perfectly cooked dish. You need to be there to stir every now and then and keep an eye on the water level but that is all.

The first time I tried, I did it with spaghetti since it seemed to me that it would be the easiest pasta to cook this way. I went for a classic combination of flavours: tomato, red onion, garlic, and parsley.

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I didn’t follow any recipe when doing it but it is a pretty straight forward dish that welcomes pretty much any ingredient you would usually use when making pasta sauces or soups. I realised that it could be a simple no fuzz quick dinner or an adventurous and more elaborated dish, almost anything goes.

That’s how, the second time around cooking One Pot Pasta, I went for penne and added new ingredients and textures. And it was a lot more rewarding and fun to cook. So here is my recipe, roughly, as usual.

ONE POT PENNE

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Ingredients:

  • Penne (or Fusilli, Tortiglioni, Rigatoni, etc)
  • Green Peppers (diced)
  • Red Onion (also diced)
  • Tomatoes (plenty, grate some of them, dice the rest)
  • Fresh Chilli Pepper
  • Parmesan (or Pecorino, or Grana Padano)
  • Salt, Pepper, Oregano, and Basil
  • Olive Oil

You can use different spices and herbs like Rosemary, Thyme, or Paprika.

Method:

  1. Heat the pot with some olive oil in and once is hot, add all the grated tomatoes and half of the diced ones. Fry.
  2. While the tomatoes are frying in the pot, dice all the vegetables.
  3. Once the tomato looks properly fried, turn down the stove to a low heat. Add the vegetables and the pasta.
  4. Cover with water and add the herbs and spices. The water should cover the rest of the ingredients just enough. Remember that is always better to add more water later than to have excess of it.
  5. Turn now the stove into a medium-high heat and stir every couple of minutes and keep an eye on the water level. This will take approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. When it is almost ready, grate a little or a lot of cheese on top of it, stir until melted and serve.

For a final touch, once you turn off the stove, and with the pasta still in the pot, you can add a little bit of pesto sauce,tomato puree, or more cheese for extra flavour.

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Have fun experimenting with different pastas and ingredients and let me know what combination is your favourite. I will keep trying different ones myself. I think next time I will make some Farfalle with Mushroom and Spinach.

I will keep you posted!

ENJOY!!!

Super Crunchy and Juicy Breaded Chicken

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Crispy and light

My favourite breaded chicken. The crunchiest recipe I have ever tried, the secret is on the seeds. So tasty and simple!

This time around I used chicken breast but it works as well with chicken thighs or other meats like turkey and pork. The best way to accompany them is with a spicy and easy to make sauce to dip the tender pieces in (find a suggestion below).

For the breaded chicken;

Ingredients:

  • Chicken Breast (cut into chunks)
  • Eggs (the happier the hen, the tastier the eggs!)
  • Flour
  • Breadcrumbs (shop-bought ones are fine, but homemade are nicer)
  • Sesame seeds
  • Salt, Crushed Pepper, Cayenne Pepper

You can use different spices and herbs, add a bit of lemon zest as well, or swap the sesame seeds for poppy or chia seeds.

Method:

We will need 3 containers.

  • The first one: flour, salt, pepper, a little bit of cayenne pepper
  • The second one: beaten eggs and a pinch of salt
  • The third one: breadcrumbs and sesame seeds

1- Take the chicken pieces and coat first (flour), dip second (eggs), and cover lastly (breadcrumbs). Always the same order, this works for any breaded recipe; flour, eggs, breadcrumbs.

2- In a hot pan add sunflower oil and once is pipping hot, add the coated chicken to the pan. Keep the fire in a medium-high temperature and turn the chicken pieces when needed. Once golden brown, they are ready.

3- Place the chicken chunks into a plate with kitchen paper towels for any excess oil.

And that’s it! Crazy crispy on the outside, super juicy and tender on the inside!

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Sooooo juicy!

For the fast and spicy dip sauce:

Use mayonnaise as the base, add a bit of Sriracha and English Mustard.

Done!

Dip!

Enjoy!