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Savoury Yoghurt - Mango + Avocado

On my recent trip to the US - a trip selflessly undertaken for the sole purpose of bringing the latest food-crazes to the olsb_recipies page, obviously - I discovered savoury yoghurt.

An enthusiastic report led to questions from all my European flisties along the lines of "what is this, enlighten us". Fortunately, the famous yoghurt 'restaurant' Chobani in NYC does recipe cards. Here's the first one. Lord S and I have just tried it, and he liked it a lot. And it does taste like the one I had in New York.

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One of my favourite deserts, easy to make and that doesn't even need baking!
If you're only cooking for yourself, you might consider reducing the portions a little bit. We use this doses, and it suffices for four big portions plus leftovers for dinner - but my mom comes from Southern Italy, and, well, if you're not so-full-oh-god-I-could-be-sick after a meal, it only counts as a snack.

Also, since you have to use raw eggs, please make sure that they're super fresh! And keep it in the fridge for less than 24 hours. Please be careful, because you could get food poisoning.

Well then, let's get going.

You'll need:

-6 big extra-fresh eggs
-500 grams mascarpone
-roughly 100 ladyfingers
-10 tablespoons of sugar (but you can adjust the quantity to your taste)
-coffee, or milk, or rum
-cocoa powder
-a strong arm, and lots of patience

Separate the yolks from the whites and put them in two different bowls. Mix the yolks and the sugar until they're combined and smooth, then amalgamate the mascarpone.

Mix the egg whites until firm, then carefully combine them with the egg and mascarpone mixture. Use a spatula, not the mixer.

Then, you have three alternatives: if you want something with a slightly bitter note, prepare the coffee. If you don't like coffee, or you're going to have younger guests, you can use milk. If you wish to make the I'm-a-college-student-and-I-only-use-water-when-I-need-a-shower version, go to your liquor cabinet and pick your favourite.

Pour the drink of your choice in a bowl, and, if you wish, in a cup.

You'll need a baking tin, or a tray with high edges, of any shape you wish. Personally, I find the rectangular ones to be easier to work with.

While sipping from your cup, sink the ladyfingers, one by one, in the coffee/milk/alcoholic beverage, for a really short time: make sure they're wet, but not soaking, since you don't want them to turn to pudding.

When they're wet, resist the urge to eat them, because you might need all of them. I cannot tell you how many times I had to run to the shop because I had eaten my ingredients while cooking.

Anyway: sink the biscuits and put them on the tray, until you have a layer of ladyfingers; cover them up with the cream, then repeat, until you run out of cream or ladyfingers. Or until you've consumed so much alcohol you don't think is safe for you to stay in the kitchen.

Make sure you finish with a layer of cream, then dust it up with cocoa powder.

Put the tray in the fridge for a couple of hours to help it set.



Peanut Butter Cookies

It has become a tradition for me to start the cookie-season with something not yet spiced like later on in the holiday-season, but instead bringing back memories of the US (which gets me in the mood for Haloween):

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

stir together flour, salt, soda in one small bowl;
in a big bowl heat the butter for about 30 sec., add peanut-butter and sugar; beat until fluffy; add egg and vanilla, beat well;
add the dry ingredients from bowl one and beat until well combined;
shape the dough into small balls, place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet; crisscross (and flatten in the process) with a fork;
bake in a 375 ° F (190 °C) oven for about 10 min; cool about 1 min before removing to a wire rack;
makes about 48 cookies


Comfort Food That Roars

I love comfort food on the kind of chilly days we're having right now. But sometimes I want a dish that's a bit more adult in its taste than the nursery-food sort. And then I make Pasta Puttanesca - an explosion of adult flavours that roar like the MGM lion, and I still have lots of lovely carbs.

The name means "hooker's pasta", and one could write fanfic about how that came to be. I wonder what the Italians say about it (*waves at new Italian com member caranil - can you shine light on this one?*)

Very little prepping time and ingredients you can store in your cupboard. Get them in now - when it starts snowing you'll have a great meal while staying warmly indoors.


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Aillade de Veau

A great dish for dinner parties - can mostly be made ahead and takes very little prepping. It's not garlicky, in spite of the ingredient list. The garlic just adds flavour in a non-overpowering way, and no-one has to eat whole cloves. Although they taste great.

Utterly unsuitable for vegetarians, though.

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1 frozen banana.

bunch of frozen strawberries.

Maybe a half cup of plain Greek yogurt. (Fage is the best.)

Glug of Chocovine, feel free to indulge.

Almond milk to get enough liquid.

Blend it up.

You're welcome.


A Great Comfort Food Soup

It was such a cold, clammy, rainy day today that I wanted something warm and comforting for which I could buy the ingredients in the neighbourhood. So I made this recipe. It takes about 45 minutes to prepare, with time in which to have a glass of port and check the flist, and it makes 3 meals for one person. So yes, it can be frozen. And it's the ultimate comfort soup on a cold night.

Potato, leek, and roquefort soupCollapse )
Tonight I went back to the wonderful Greek Vegetarian website for this recipe.

Baked, Stuffed Avocado with Mushroom, Walnut, Feta and Thyme
(Papoutsakia Tou Avokado)

Serves 4


2–3 tablespoons olive oil
300g Swiss Brown (or Portobello) mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup walnuts
50g feta cheese, crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste
4 small avocados


1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.
2. Heat oil in frying pan and cook mushrooms until they start to sweat. When the mushroom juices are bubbling, add garlic, thyme and oregano and keep frying until the liquid had evaporated. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
3. Meanwhile, halve the avocados, remove the stones and shell out some of the flesh. Set the flesh aside until needed – this will be combined with the stuffing.
4. Transfer cooled mushroom mixture to a food processor, add walnuts and pulse on and off for 30 seconds. (Note: I do not have a food processor, so I cut the mushrooms small to begin with, broke up the walnuts a bit, then used a pastry cutter to chop them after the mushrooms were cooked.)
5. Place mushroom and walnut mixture into a mixing bowl and add crumbled feta, reserved avocado pulp, salt and pepper to taste. Mix until combined.
6. Place avocado shells on a baking tray lined with foil. You can use a neat little trick to keep the avocados level by placing a walnut under the thinner end of each avocado (see photo below).
7. Spoon mixture into avocado shells and bake for 10 minutes.

I have three words for this: To.Die.For.


This is a direct copy/paste from the wonderful blog Greek Vegetarian. Do check it out!

Serves 2 (And is really, really, good.)


1/3 cup olive oil
2 medium, squarish red capsicums
200g broccolini, finely chopped (I used regular broccoli)
30g walnuts, roughly crumbled
1 large clove of garlic, crushed
250g fresh ricotta cheese
1/4 cup of grated sharp cheese
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
1 turnip, peeled and cut into 4cm pieces


Fry broccolini on low–medium heat in a little oil until browned. Takes about 20 minutes. The volume of brocollini will reduce by almost half but don't be alarmed. The flavour is still all there!
Add garlic and walnuts and fry for a couple of minutes.
Place broccolini mixture, ricotta, sharp cheese and parsley in a medium bowl and combine well. Add salt and pepper to taste, then add egg. Mix well.
Cut tops off capsicums and discard. Remove seeds and membranes from inside of capsicums.
Add oil to a small baking dish, roll capsicum shells in oil to coat and sit them upright in the dish.
Arrange turnip pieces around capsicum shells to prevent the capsicums from tipping over. Use spray olive oil to coat the turnip pieces with oil.
Fill capsicum shells with cheese stuffing and bake for 1 hour at 180 degrees celsius or until cheese filling begins to brown on top.


On the blog, she suggests a Green Greek Salad for a side. (The recipe is at the site.) I served it with Youvetsi, the recipe for which came from the same blog.


My Grandmother's Panettone

A couple of notes.  This recipe is the result of years of proportion fiddling. I never saw my Grandmother use anything but her hand or fingers to measure  dry ingredients.  She did everything by "feel."  I don't work that way.  I usually make this after Thanksgiving but before Christmas as she did.  Yo can of course make it any time you want.
If you buy Panettone in a store it is usually made in a mold.  This isn't…it was the way she did it and the way I will continue to do it.  If you feel the need for a mold, please by all means use one.  I have no idea if that will change the cooking times.
You can mix all this by hand, but you'll wind up with forearms like Popeye.  I use a Kitchen Aid mixer with a dough hook. Just sayin'…
I like this best toasted and slathered with butter. NOT diet friendly but damn good.  Have fun!

4-4 1/2 cups unsifted flour

1/2 cup sugar
1 Teaspoon salt
2 pks dry yeast
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
3 eggs-room temp
1/2 cup chopped citron, or 1/4 cup citron and 1/4 cup orange peel, or candied fruit of your choice
1/2 cup seedless raisins ( I use mix of black and golden)
2 tablespoons pine nuts (little extra is not a bad thing)
1 tablespoon anise seed, as above...to taste

3 tbs water
3 tbs sugar
2 tbs brandy, rum, or bourbon

1.  Mix 1 1/2 cup flour, sugar, salt and yeast
2.  Combine milk,1/2 cup water and butter in saucepan and soften butter.  Do not boil!  Add to ingredients while just warm or you'll kill the yeast.
3.  Gradually add to dry ingredients and beat 2 minutes at medium speed, scraping bowl as necessary
4.  Add eggs and 1/2 cup flour or enough flour to make a thick batter.  Beat at high speed for two minutes.
5.  Stir in citron, raisins, anise and pine nuts. I mix these ahead of time in a small bowl with a tablespoon of flour.  It helps un-sticky the raisins and fruit.
6.  Add rest of flour SLOWLY to make a soft dough
7.  Turn out on floured board and knead until soft and elastic. Do NOT over work dough!
8.  Place in oiled or greased bowl, (I use olive oil only) turning to grease top.  Let rise until double (about 1 hour)
9.  Punch dough down, cover, let rise again until doubled (about 30 minutes)
10. Turn out on lightly floured board, divide in half and form two cannonball shapes. Press down lightly on baking sheet so that you have two hemispheres. Leave plenty of room between them for expansion. Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes.  Loaf should sound hollow when thumped. Place on wire rack to cool.

Glaze (optional of course as is the booze content)
In small sauce pan add water, sugar and booze, heat until sugar dissolves, and brush on bread while bread is still warm.  Two coats! Note--this stuff makes great glue.  Do over paper or foil while bread is on rack.