Ok, lets just cut to the chase here: Cannelloni just don’t photograph well. They are definitely not the prettiest of the pastas. They are also not the easiest. All in all they are pretty much the nerdy and sort of uninteresting best friend of the Lasagne. You know, the one you wouldn’t date because he is too high maintenance. But I promise, what’s on the inside will be totally worth it.
Where was I? Right, talking pasta. – This recipe does require some patience so I prefer to make it on a Saturday because the mid-weekend is the best time to try out something more complicated with longer prep time or dough rising or else. Also gives me an opportunity to clean over the kitchen while food is in the oven. Yes I know, I am so industrious!
2 cloves Garlic
1 small Zucchini
1 small Eggplant
1 bell pepper
4 – 5 Button Mushrooms
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup grated cheese (a mix of gouda, mozzarella and parmesan works well)
2 1/2 cups of tomato sauce
1 teaspoon each: Rosemary, Thyme, Sage and Oregano (or italian seasoning)
salt, pepper, olive oil for frying
If you have a food processor, now would be a good time to take it off the shelf! If you don’t, finely dice or shred all your vegetables. You want to cut them as small as possible so that you can pipe the filling into the cannelloni.
Fry your vegetables in 2 tablespoons olive oil for about 5 minutes, season with salt, pepper and the italian spices, let cool completely.
Mix the vegetable filling with the sour cream, cottage cheese and grated cheese. If you were impatient during step 2 the filling will still be warm and you will now have a goo of half melted cheese, ask me how I know!
Transfer a portion of the veggie filling into a pastry bag or freezer bag with one corner cut off. Repeat until all Cannelloni are filled.
Mix the remaining filling with the tomato sauce and spread evenly on top of the Cannelloni. The pasta should be completely covered.
Bake for 30 – 35 minutes on 180C/360F. Poke a steak knife in to see if the pasta has softened.
I am not a big fan of the store-bought, ready-to-roll Pizza dough. For some reason it has a weird flavour to me, I don’t know? Preservatives? I can’t quite pinpoint it, but every time I am looking forward to Pizza and we were lazy and bought dough at the store I am disappointed, I’d rather pimp up a frozen Pizza with fresh ingredients to be honest.
This Pizza Crust is perfect – I will elaborate if you don’t mind because I know lots of people claim to have found the perfect dough and you feel most of them are lying, because they just like their Pizza different then you do. This crust is fluffy and airy but crunchy on the bottom, it holds up to extra sauce, extra cheese and extra pepperoni without getting soggy. If you love your Pizza thin and crispy feel free to move on now. If you are intrigued, read on and get your supplies ready!
If you have a stand mixer it is most convenient to make the dough with the hook attachment. It will look quite oily but I promise this will reduce after the dough has risen and it will not be oily at all after baking. You will need to plan ahead to make this but it is also possible to freeze it and make your own ready-to-roll crust. Simply spread the dough on a sheet of baking paper after the first rise, then cover with foil wrap and roll up. Fold up the edges and place in freezer bag. There you go! 🙂
500 grams flour
2 teaspoons yeast or 1/2 cube fresh yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
100 ml olive oil
250 ml milk
1 tablespoon Italian spice or 1 pinch each: Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano and Sage
Dissolve the yeast in a little bit of lukewarm milk.
Mix all Ingredients in a mixing bowl.
Transfer to a lightly greased bowl, cover with foil wrap and let rise for about 2 hours or until doubled in bulk.
Knead and divide the dough into 4 equal pieces for individual Pizza or spread on a baking sheet, you will not need additional oil. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let the dough rise for another 30 minutes. Preheat the oven with your Pizza stone or turn a cookie sheet upside down instead.
Add toppings of your choosing – I used pizza sauce, grated mozzarella, pepperoni, ham, button mushrooms, red bell pepper, onion rings and green olives.
So we all know impulse buys, right? It is not only me? You should never go and shop while you’re hungry and you should especially never visit the baking aisle without having a vague idea of what you want to bake and what you need for it. If you ignore all the good advice you end up like me, with a bag of butterscotch chips and no idea what to make of it.
In my search for the perfect and deserving butterscotch “something” I ended up on one of my favorite blogs: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. Over time I have tried a lot of her recipes and they were almost always excellent so I went for it.
On a sidenote: These Brownie Bars were made for the man in my life to take to work last Saturday because I firmly believe that when you have to work on a Saturday you should at least get cake, or cookies, or brownies, or cupcakes – or all of the above. The remainder was then taken to my workplace, so these bars have been taste-tested by roughly 30 people and all of them asked for more 🙂
I will probably adapt the frosting next time, I did not follow the instructions completely so I can’t blame Mel, but my frosting did not harden as well as expected. I waited a couple of hours and then decided to spread it on the cake and let it rest overnight in the fridge.
Bad idea, don’t do that. Do what Mel tells you to. My frosting ran off the cake and left me with a thin layer on top and a pool of frosting on the bottom of my pan. But as you can see in the picture: Made it work and it was well received!
Please also take a look at my adorable Easter decorations! I will tell you all about these in a separate post 🙂
So I do like Couscous. What I like most about Couscous is that it is done quickly and doesn’t require lots of preparation. My friend Nina who worked with me some 5 years ago would just make some couscous as a quick dinner for herself – using just her electric kettle. I was so impressed that I have stored the information in the back of my brain and still remember today.
1 part couscous + 2 parts boiling water + 1/2 bouillon cube
There you go, this is even easier as cake! 🙂 I usually just take my measuring cup and eyeball it. The Couscous will double in volume and is very filling so I use roughly 1/2 cup for 4 portions as a side dish, where I would use 1 cup of rice. Please also read your package instructions and make sure you wait the proper amount of time for the Couscous to rest.
If you have never had Couscous before, try this sort of european style recipe. I once had instant Moroccan Couscous and it was just plain gross. I promise, this is nothing like it! When we have fish at buttonsprouts’ I like to serve this greek style salad with couscous. Very quick and yum and wholesome. What more do you need?
Greek Style Salad with Couscous
1 bell pepper
1 small glass of green Olives stuffed with paprika paste
1 small glass Feta cubes in herb or garlic oil
1 handful baby spinach (optional)
1/2 cup of couscous
1/2 bouillon cube or 1 cup fresh vegetable bouillon
freshly ground salt and pepper
Finely dice your vegetables while boiling 1 cup of water in the electric kettle or on the stove. Wash your spinach thoroughly.
Prepare couscous and the 1/2 bouillon cube in a heat-resistant bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Stir well so the cube dissolves completely. Set aside.
Spice salad with freshly ground salt and pepper. Drain Olives and mix in.
Drain Feta, keeping a small amount of the oil aside as salad dressing.
Fluff up the couscous and mix all ingredients well. Serve with fried fish or fresh baguette!
I am a little bit of a cheapskate when it comes to buying Naan, we actually haven’t bought any in over a year because I can make better at home and not pay an arm and a leg! It is actually super easy, even if you do not have much experience with yeast dough. Just beware! After trying these babies store-bought Naan bread will taste like spiced cardboard to you!
If you have a stand mixer it is most convenient to make the dough with the hook attachment. I make it with the Kitchenaid. Funny anecdote: While the Kitchenaid Artisan Stand Mixer is present on most wedding registries, my family was surprised that I wanted one for my 30th Birthday. I mean, why would you wait with baking until you’re married? That is just crazy talk! – So I got the Kitchenaid for my birthday, my BFF and the dearest BF had collected money from everyone who seemed like they wanted to buy me something for this occasion and I ended up with the beautiful Ferrari Red limited edition. First time my dad came to visit he did this dad thing: “Na?? Are you using it often?” – Yes, I am. 🙂
(yield 15 breads)
500 grams flour
4 teaspoons yeast or 1 cube fresh yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 pinch salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons milk
250 grams plain yogurt
Dissolve the yeast in a little bit of lukewarm milk.
Mix all Ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add more milk if the dough looks too dry, it should be smooth and elastic.
Transfer to a lightly greased bowl, cover with foil wrap and let rise for about 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
Knead and divide the dough into about 15 small flatbreads. Preheat the oven.
Mix a small amount of Olive Oil with sesame seeds and garlic powder. Lightly brush the breads with the seasoning – you can add some dried cilantro if you like.
To be clear: Smoothies are for the lazy! Yes, you heard me. If you have blender it should really take you a total of 2 – 5 minutes to make a Smoothie and clean up after yourself. If you are not convinced about this, ask Anna and you will find a quick and easy way to clean your blender!
So back on track: Smoothies are for the lazy. You can basically throw in all the fruit and vegetables you are supposed to eat, mix them with some liquid and you are good to go! I mainly make them in the afternoon because I need something savoury in the mornings but it would also give you a great start in the day! This is a recipe I just invented and will definitely make more often in the near future.
5 a day Smoothie
(makes 1 large glass)
1 cup of frozen fruit (I used strawberry, apple, berry mix)
1 handful of baby spinach
3 tablespoons granola or müsli (I used my homemade Granola from the BBC GoodFood website)
1 cup of Vanilla soy milk
1/3 cup apple juice
Blend all ingredients together smoothly, add some more apple juice when the mixture is too thick and your blender does not rotate properly.
Do you enjoy fish? Iceland has an abundance of fresh fish for an affordable price.
I have been doing really good with my meal planning for January and I am trying to make fish once a week, or at least every other week.
Haddock has been our fish of choice but pan fried breaded Haddock gets boring really really quickly.
So I was very happy when I found a Fish Gratin Recipe in one of the folders I have inherited from my mum, there was already a cross next to it and a comment so how could I go wrong?
I have adapted the recipe a bit and used leeks instead of Onions and it is so yummie!
500g fish fillet
2 medium leeks
200g spread cheese (with herbs if available)
200g sour cream
2 tablespoons of milk
50g shredded cheese
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons mixed herbs (I have a bag of frozen herbs in the freezer but a mix of parsley, dill, chives would work well)
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Cut the top and bottom off the leeks and slice lengthwise up to the core, then wash out the dirt and slice thinly. Lightly grease an ovenproof dish and spread the leeks evenly, top with the fish fillet. Set aside.
Melt the sour cream and cheese spread in a skillet over low heat until creamy and saucy. Add the herbs and season to taste.
Pour the sauce evenly on top of the fish, sprinkle the grated cheese on top and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
This is a tried and true recipe that is very simple and yummie, I usually serve it with fresh pan fried fish but I am lucky that we can get a lot of fresh fish here in Iceland.
Mushroom Risotto (serves 3)
1 small Onion
1 clove Garlic
200g Button Mushrooms
1 cup Arborio Risotto rice
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cube vegetable bouillon
salt, pepper, oil/butter for frying
freshly grated parmesan
Finely mince onion and garlic, dice the mushrooms. Fry the vegetables in a little bit of oil or butter until the mushrooms release their juices. Add 1 cup of Risotto rice and stir until rice is evenly coated. Then add the wine, water and bouillon cube and stir until the cube has dissolved completely. Let simmer on low until the liquid has evoporated and the rice is soft, about 15-20 minutes. Serve hot with freshly grated parmesan.
So anything can taste good as long as you add cheese, right? If you agree with me then you will love this recipe!
Yum Yum, Cheesy goodness!
On my journey to more diversity in the kitchen I tried out this Casserole Recipe and got rewarded the boyfriend stamp! What more do you need?
The recipe uses Ritz Cracker Crumbs but I used some fancy italian olive oil crackers that we got in a gift basket for Christmas. The result was so yum, I didn’t even want dessert!
Creamy Chicken Broccoli Casserole Recipe:
3 chicken breasts 1/2 bag frozen broccoli & cauliflower florets 250 grams cream cheese (I used the one with herbs & garlic) 1 cup milk 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese Ritz cracker crumbs for topping 500g Farfalle Pasta
Cook the chicken, then slice or break it into bite size pieces. Cook broccoli in salted water. Place the broccoli in a 9×13 greased casserole dish. Heat the milk, cream cheese and Parmesan cheese over low heat, stirring till the mixture is smooth. Pour 1 cup of sauce over the broccoli. Now add the chicken into the pan and pour rest of sauce over it. Sprinkle the top with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and Ritz cracker crumbs.
Bake at 180 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. (Note: watch the sauce while baking, it can get too hot and burn on top!) Meanwhile boil the Farfalle and serve hot and cheesy! Recipe from Six Sisters’ Stuff!