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Cooking for friends is fun and lovely, especially when your friends are chocoholics :)

Last night I had two friends coming over for a small dinner party. After eating a 2kg roast chicken, I served my homemade brownies (totally made from scratch). Even though the consumption of the big bird made us really full, we still had some space left for a piece of  rich, gooey but heavenly chocolaty brownies. I have to admit they were a hit considering the comment my friend made after munching the second piece of brownies:

‘It’s so good to know the cause of your death!’ … and we all laughed, laughed and laughed …

Please note: Too much chocolate is never good but a small piece of good 70% cocoa dark chocolate is a healthier option :)

Enjoy your life and let chocolate release your happiness hormone!


Recipe adopted from: Cook with Jamie by Jamie Oliver

Dark Chocolate brownies with nuts and cherries

chocolate brownies by Asia Jo

You will need:

250 g butter

200 g dark chocolate such as (make sure you use a very good quality chocolate such as Lindt Excellence 70% Cocoa Dark), broken up

150 g pitted cherries on syrup, drained

150 g walnuts

80 g cocoa powder, sifted

65 g plain flour, sifted

1 tsp baking powder, sifted

350 g caster sugar

4 eggs

strawberries, creme fraiche or vanilla ice creams, to serve

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 180 ℃.

Line a rectangular baking tin with a baking paper.

In a bowl over some simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate and mix until smooth. Add the cherries and nuts. Stir all together.

In another bowl, mix the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, sugar and add the hot chocolate mixture. Stir well. Beat the eggs and mix in until well combined and smooth.

Pour the mixture into the baking tin. Bake for 25 -30 minutes. Let it rest in a tin for a couple of hours before cutting into pieces. The brownies should be gooey inside; for a slightly drier version bake a bit longer.

These brownies rock!

chocolate brownies by Asia Jo

chocolate brownies by Asia Jo

chocolate brownies by Asia Jo

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I’m so so happy … the house renovation is over and I can start cooking once again :) I’ve been waiting for that moment for weeks.

Tonight was an important night since I’ve cooked dinner in my new kitchen for the very first time :)  Everything  in the kitchen works well and it’s really great to be surrounded by beautiful new cupboards and kitchen appliances. Yet, I still feel a bit lost and it takes me a while to find things but I’m getting there:)

So what I’ve made is a lovely chicken provencale dish. I adjusted a recipe from The Complete Low -Fat Cookbook and I am very pleased with the final result. This is a simple dish that’s healthy, easy to prepare and marvelously tasty.

Happy healthy cooking & eating!

Chicken Provencale

Serves 2-3

chicken provencale by Asia Jo

You will need:

2 tbsp olive oil

6 chicken drumsticks

2 small onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic, pealed and halved

2 celery stalks, chopped

1/5 fennel, chopped

1/2 tsp chili flakes

1/3 cup white wine

1/4 cup chicken stock

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 can chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp ketchup

1/2 cup black olives

1 tbsp dry Provencal herbs

1 handful of basil leaves

1 spring of rosemary

salt & pepper to taste

Preparation:

Heat the oil in a saucepan over high heat, add the chicken pieces, cook for 4 minutes or until browned. Add the onion, celery, garlic and fennel. Cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add the wine, stock, chill flakes, tomato paste, tomatoes, ketchup, olives, dry and fresh herbs. Bring to boil, reduce the heat and cook covered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  Season with salt and pepper to  taste. Sprinkle more basil or flat parsley on top and serve with rice or pan-fried dauphine potatoes.

Yummy!

chicken provencale by Asia Jo

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Do you fancy a posh but almost no-time-taking dessert ? If so, all you need is a a ripe mango and a couple of simple ingredients.

Trust me, this is an easy going recipe, you can’t go wrong with it. The only difficult thing about it is that you have to wait two hours until the mousse chills well in the fridge. I’m sure you can do that :)

Enjoy making this wonderful, creamy and  good-looking desert :)

Delicate mango mousse

Serves 2-3

mango mousse by Asia Jo

You will need:

1 large ripe mango, pealed, roughly chopped (reserve one small slice for decoration)

1/8 cup fresh orange juice

1/2 tbsp  lemon juice

1/2 cup powder sugar

pinch of salt

3/4 cup whipping cream, whipped (I used a ready-made whipping cream – normally I would prepare it myself but I still don’t know in which box I have my electric hand mixer)

fresh mint and finely diced mango slices, to decorate

Directions:

In a blender, blend the mango slices, salt, orange juice, lemon juice and sugar until the mixture has a smooth consistency. Pour the mixture into a bowl and fold gently in the whipping cream.  Chill in the fridge for 2-3 hours. Decorate with fresh mint leaves and chopped mango slices. Enjoy :)

Mango mousse

mango mousse by Asia Jo

Recipe source: www.southernfood.about.com

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They look absolutely fantastic.

They taste amazingly fresh.

They sound like a brilliant and quick idea.

What are they? They are my favourite lemon & raspberry muffins!

Feel free to fall in love with them.

♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡♡

Lemon raspberry mini muffins

Makes 14

Recipe adapted from bbcgoodfood.com

lemon raspberry muffins

lemon raspberry muffins @ frock & fork

You will need:

125 g self raising flour

75 g caster sugar

1 egg

70 ml vanilla yogurt

60 g melted butter

zest of 1/2 lemon

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

100 g raspberries, crushed slightly

icing sugar, for decoration

Directions:

Preheat oven to 180 ℃. Line mini muffin tray or silicon muffin cups with muffin cases. Sift the flour into a medium size bowl and add the sugar. Whisk egg and yogurt, add the melted butter, lemon zest and lemon juice, mix well throughly. Add the wet mixture into the dry one. Add the raspberries. Mix everything gently. Divide the mixture into the muffin cases. Bake for 20-30 minutes; until risen and golden. Remove from the oven, cool and eat them all!

lemon raspberry muffins

lemon raspberry muffins @ frock & fork

lemon raspberry muffins

lemon raspberry muffins @ frock & fork

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OK. I have to admit it – today is not my day. I feel miserable, I’m in pain, I can’t stand any more Paracetamol, I have worn my pajamas all day long and the only good thing I managed to do is to cook a pasta dish. I hope tomorrow is a bright new day and my energy is back and my cheerful nature is restored! But before it happens, please enjoy my simple pasta bake.

This dish is good for a quick, full of flavour supper and  to save your wallet, eat the leftovers next day for lunch.

Pasta Bake

Serves 2-3

pasta bake

pasta bake @ frock & fork

You will need:

250 g Casareccia or Penne (preferably De Cecco)

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

2  cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

1 can of chopped plum tomatoes

1 pinch of chili flakes

1 teaspoon of dry Italian herbs (mix)

1 fresh sage leaf

1 small handful of fresh basil leaves

2 thyme springs, leaves picked

5 sun-dried-tomatoes in oil, chopped

1 handful of sliced black olives

salt & peper

1 mozzarella ball, diced

2 tablespoons of finely grinded parmesan

Directions:

Preheat oven to 200 ℃.

To make the tomato sauce: gently fry the onion, garlic, celery, chili and dry herbs. Add tomatoes and fresh herbs; finally add the sun-dried-tomatoes, 1/2 cup of water and bring to boil. Simmer gently for 15-20 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Add the olives and season the sauce with salt & pepper.

While the sauce is cooking, cook your pasta in plenty of salted boiling water according to the package instructions.

Lightly grease the baking dish with olive oil or butter. Pour 3 tablespoons of the sauce and spread on the bottom of of the dish. Add the cooked pasta and pour the remaining sauce. Sprinkle the mozzarella over the top and decorate with a few fresh basil leaves. Finally sprinkle everything with Parmesan. Serve hot  with a slice of ciabata.

pasta bake

pasta bake @ frock & fork

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I don’t know about you, but for me weekends often call for homemade baking. I just love when the end of the week has that extra sweet dimension :) There is nothing better than a good cookie or a piece of cake to go with my  Saturday and Sunday espresso.

When I saw Isabelle’s lemon squares @ Eat My Cake Now, I knew straight away it would be a hit and something I would actually eat any time of the day. I have always liked lemon squares and always thought you need to make them Betty Crocker’s way, you know quite sugary – but not anymore! Isabelle’s amazing lemon square recipe offers an utterly superb twist. Not only she uses coconut but also condensed milk, which combined with lemon juice turns into some sort of soft cheese-type of creamy filling. Divine! Absolutely clever idea! I am sure you will adore this recipe as much as I did.

Please note, I didn’t tweak the recipe but you may want to modify it a bit to suit your needs and likes. I know some people don’t fancy too much lemon and this dessert is quite lemony. I personally love it. Ps: Those lemon squares taste like heaven after chilling in the fridge overnight.

Here is my version of Isabelle’s delish lemon squares:

Lemon Squares

Makes 14 (depending how big you want the squares to be)

lemon squares with coconut

lemon squares @ Frock & Fork

You will need:

90 g oatmeal
120 g  flour
12o g  coconut
70 g  brown sugar
180 ml melted butter
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
300 ml sweetened condensed milk
125 ml lemon juice

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 180 °C. Line 23 x 23 cm baking tray with baking paper.

In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients: flour, oatmeal, coconut, brown sugar, salt and baking powder. Pour  in the melted butter and mix well. In another bowl, combine condensed milk and lemon juice. Take half of the coconut & oatmeal mixture and place it in the baking tray. Pour all milk & lemon juice mixture. Crumble the remaining coconut & oatmeal mixture on top, pressing lightly. Bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes. Cool at least 30 minutes before cutting into squares, if still soft, cool completely and after that chill in the fridge; once set, cut into squares.

lemon squares with coconut

lemon squares @ Frock & Fork

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What a wet day we had in London yesterday! Drama! To avoid any melancholic feelings that the rain was portending, I baked a yummy apple cake. The recipe comes from Tracy’s blog Pink Purl. When I saw the nice photo, short list of ingredients and easy to follow instructions, I decided to bake her Norwegian apple cake immediately. I have changed the proportions a bit and substituted half of the flour with finely grained almonds but you can view the original recipe here: The Comfort of Apples.

Apple Cake from Pink Purl

apple cake

frock & fork

You will need:

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup grained almonds
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp baking powder
3 apples, peeled and sliced

Topping:

1 tablespoons sugar

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

a small handful of sliced or chopped almonds

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 200 ℃. Line a round cake tin with baking paper and butter the sides. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Sieve and add the flour, grained almonds and baking powder.  Then add the egg and mixing well. Pour the mixture into the cake tin. Arrange the apple slices on top of the cake butter. Sprinkle everything with the topping mixture. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool the cake and serve with vanilla ice cream or icing sugar on top.

Enjoy this lovely autumn apple cake!

autumn apple cake

frock & fork

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