Chocolate Caramel & Puffed Quinoa Pecan Bars

If you follow my Instagram stories, you probably saw that I was making these bars yesterday. It’s been a while since I’ve made a new dessert bar, so it was due. These are decadent, not overly sweet and they have a hint of heat from the chipotle roasted pecans. And they are very easy to make, without any corn syrup or candy thermometer. I got some questions already of where I get chipotle powder in Amsterdam. I bought it at Tijn’s toko close to the Albert Cuyp market.

This recipe is for a 22cm baking square dish.

Ingredients:

For the roasted pecans:

180grs of pecans

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

2 tablespoon of maple syrup

3/4 teaspoon of chipotle powder (optional)

Pinch of salt

For the puffed quinoa crust:

2 cups of puffed quinoa

3 tablespoons of butter, melted

1 vanilla bean, or 1 ½ teaspoons of vanilla essence

3 tablespoons of icing sugar

1 egg white, slightly beaten with a fork

For the chocolate caramel:

1 cup of sugar

2 tablespoons of water

6 tablespoons of salted butter

1 1/2 cup of heavy cream

120gs of dark chocolate, chopped

½ teaspoon of vanilla extract

Pinch of sea salt

 

Start by roasting the pecans.  Preheat your oven to 200C/400F and line your baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix the pecans with the vegetable oil, maple syrup, chipotle powder and salt. Spread them in a single layer over your prepared baking sheet. Roast them for 15 minutes, stirring half way through.

To make the puffed quinoa crust, first melt the butter and preheat your oven to 180C/350F. If you are using a vanilla bean pod, add the vanilla beans to the melted butter and mix well so that it dissolves. Then add the vanilla butter to the puffed quinoa, icing sugar and egg white. Mix well. Line your baking mold with parchment paper, also cover the sides of the mold so that it is easier to remove the bars later on. Place the quinoa mixture into the prepared mold and use the back of a spoon to evenly distribute it and press to make it compact. Bake it for 15 minutes. Then remove it from the oven and allow it to cool down.

To make the chocolate caramel, place the cream in a bowl and microwave it for 45 seconds. Then add the chopped chocolate, vanilla essence and salt.  Microwave it for 30 second intervals till the chocolate has melted. Mix in between. Set it aside.

In a large medium saucepan, add the sugar and water. Let it melt over medium heat until it becomes amber in color. Swirl the pan around from time to time. Then lower the heat to low and add the butter, one tablespoon at a time. Stir with a heat-proof spatula until all the butter has melted. Then add the chocolate cream that you made before. Stir constantly over low heat for 10 minutes until it becomes a thick sauce, like fudge. Then turn off the heat and keep stirring for 2 minutes to allow it to cool down and become thicker.

Carefully pour the chocolate caramel evenly over the quinoa crust. Swirl it around so that it covers the edges. Carefully place the pecans on top in a single layer. Let it sit in the fridge to set for at least 5 hours.

Store them in an airtight container in the fridge. I’d like to take it out before eating since I prefer them when they are at room temperature and the caramel is chewier.

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook. For behind the scenes, more of Amsterdam and a peek of press events, you can follow my Instagram stories.

 

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Peanut Butter & Sea Salt Caramel Popcorn

The other day we had unexpected friends over and while they started opening some beers in the kitchen, I made some kettle corn to snack on. This is what I love about popcorn, it’s so easy and quick to make. The variety of flavors you can add to it is basically endless. And this Peanut butter popcorn is such a divine combo! I’ve partnered with Calve Peanut Butter to create this recipe. It’s crunchy, salty, sweet and addictive. The perfect snack for movie night and it also makes a nice edible gift.

This recipe makes 1 large bowl of popcorn.

Ingredients:

For the popcorn:

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

105grs of popcorn kernels (1/2 a cup)

For the Peanut butter & sea salt caramel sauce:

100grs of sugar (3/4 cup)

45grs of butter tablespoons of butter (3 tablespoons)

105grs of water (¾ cup)

75grs of Calve smooth peanut butter (1/3 of a cup)

1 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt

1 ½ to 2 teaspoons of baking soda

Brush one very large bowl with vegetable oil. If you don’t have one large enough, grease two medium ones. Keep in mind that you need to have enough space to coat all the popcorn in the caramel.

Line a large baking tray with parchment paper.

In a large pan with a lid, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the popcorn, cover and keep the pan moving until all the kernels have popped. Transfer the popcorn to the greased bowl. Remove any unpopped kernels.

Add the sugar, water and butter to a medium pan. Cook over medium heat until it becomes a light golden color. This will take about 10 minutes. Swirl the pan from time to time.

Remove the pan from the heat. Quickly add the peanut butter, sea salt and baking soda. Stir with a wooden spoon until it is all well combined.

Pour the peanut butter caramel sauce over the popcorn and mix well. Spread the popcorn over the prepared baking tray. Allow it to cool down. Once cooled, you can break them apart into smaller chunks. It will keep in an air-tight container till the next day. Enjoy!

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook. For behind the scenes, more of Amsterdam and a peek of press events, you can follow my Instagram stories and my Snapchat: cravingsinams.

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Salted Chocolate Ganache Tart with Coconut Macaroon Crust

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I made this tart a couple of weeks ago for a friend of mine that came over. It is very easy to assemble. It has a chewy coconut macaroon crust, a rich chocolate ganache filling and a sprinkle of sea salt adds the final touch. For the crust, I used coconut condensed milk for extra coconut flavor. If you can’t find it, just use regular condensed milk.

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This recipe is for a 35x11cm tart mold, preferably with a detachable bottom.

Ingredients:

For the coconut macaroon crust:

1 egg white

2 cups of unsweetened shredded coconut

½ cup of coconut condensed milk (you can also use regular condensed milk)

Pinch of salt

For the filling:

320ml of whipping cream

225grs of dark chocolate, chopped

30grs of salted butter

1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

Extras:

Sea salt for sprinkling over the tart

 

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F and grease your mold with a bit of vegetable oil.

Start by making the crust. Place egg white, condensed milk, shredded coconut and salt in a large bowl. Mix well. Then press it into the bottom of your prepared baking mold. Try to make the crust as even as possible. I used the back of a spoon to press it into the mold.

Bake it for about 13 minutes until the edges are golden brown. Be careful that the edges don’t burn. Allow it to cool down completely.

Once the crust is cold, start to make the ganache filing. Place the cream and vanilla essence in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the cream starts to simmer, turn off the heat. Add the chopped chocolate and butter to the cream. Stir until everything has melted. Then pass it through a sieve to make sure there are no lumps.

Carefully pour the ganache over the crust. Place it in the fridge to set for at least four hours or better overnight.

Sprinkle some sea salt before serving. Enjoy!

Keep it stored in the fridge.

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook. For behind the scenes, more of Amsterdam and a peek of press events, you can follow me on Snapchat: cravingsinams.

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Mini Cucumber with Greek Yogurt & Savory Granola

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A super healthy snack since summer is around the corner. It’s super crunchy, fresh and very easy to make. Great to take to a picnic too.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

2 cups of Greek yogurt

8 mini cucumbers, sliced lengthwise

Drizzle of olive oil

Chopped chives

For the savory granola:

½ cup of oatmeal

½ cup of nutritional yeast

¼ cup buckwheat

Pinch of celery salt

1 teaspoon of sumac

Pinch of salt

Pinch of cayenne

Pinch of garlic powder

Pinch of onion powder

¼ cup of olive oil

 

To make the granola, preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Mix all of the ingredients for the granola in a bowl and then spread it over the prepared baking tray. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring half way through. Then allow it to cool down.

Serve the Greek yogurt in one bowl, drizzle some olive oil and top with a bit of chopped chives. Serve the granola in another bowl. Dip the cucumber slices in the Greek yogurt and then coat them in the granola. Enjoy!

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

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Coconut Mojito Ice Cream

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It feels like summer today and I couldn’t be happier, especially since it’s supposed to last till at least Monday. That also means ice cream weather is upon us. I love the combination of coconut, lime and mint. The alcohol is optional but I used coconut rum to add more coconut flavor. Yum!

This recipe makes about 1.5 litters of ice cream

Ingredients:

For the lime and mint simple syrup:

½ cup of sugar

1/3 cup of mint leaves, packed

Juice + zest of 3 limes

1 cup of water

For the ice cream base:

400ml of coconut milk

250ml of whipping cream

½ cup of sugar

4 egg yolks

1 cup of shredded and desiccated coconut (optional)

½ cup of coconut rum (optional)

 

Start by making the lime and mint simple syrup. Place the lime zest, lime juice, mint leaves, sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes, stir from time to time so the sugar dissolves. Then transfer it to a bowl and let it cool down.

For the ice cream base, place the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl. Whisk to combine.

Place the coconut milk and whipping cream in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk it to dissolve any solids from the coconut milk. Once it is simmering, very slowly start pouring it into the egg yolk and sugar mixture while whisking. It is important to pour it slowly and to whisk it fast so that the yolks don’t curdle.

Then transfer the mixture into the saucepan again. Over medium low heat and using a wooden spoon, stir for about 5 to 6 minutes. You know it’s done, when you draw a line with your finger on the back of the spoon and it stays. Transfer it to a bowl and allow it to cool down. If you want to be sure there are no curds, just use a fine mesh sieve and strain the mixture.

Once the ice cream base has come to room temperature, place it in the fridge to cool down completely.

Once the ice cream base is cold, strain the simple syrup and whisk it into the ice cream base. Add the rum. Whisk to combine.

Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When the ice cream is nearly finished freezing, add the desiccated coconut into the machine and allow it to mix thoroughly.

Store in an airtight container for at least 2 hours before serving.

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

 

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Cucumber “Noodle” & Radish Salad with Miso Salmon

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I love to making oven-roasted miso salmon. This miso sauce adds so much flavor and I love to pair it with a cucumber and radish salad. This time I made the cucumber into noodles by using my mandoline with the julienne attachment. A very easy and flavorsome meal.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

For the salmon:

320 grs of Salmon, pin bones removed and sliced into 2 fillets

2 tablespoons of red miso paste

2 tablespoons of brown sugar

¼ cup of soy sauce

2 tablespoons of peeled and grated fresh ginger

2 tablespoons of white vinegar

2 tablespoons of sesame oil

2 teaspoons of white sesame seeds

For the cucumber noodles:

3 cucumbers, washed

10 radishes, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons of black sesame seeds

For the sesame dressing:

¼ of a cup of sesame oil

1/3 of a cup of white vinegar

3 tablespoons of honey

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of ginger syrup (if you can’t find it, just add 1 teaspoon of grated ginger)

Juice of 1 lime

 

To prepare the cucumber and radish salad. You can use a mandoline or a spiralizer. I used my mandoline with the julienne attachment. I sliced the cucumber into noddles, but I stopped when I got to the seed part (discard the core). For the radishes, I just thinly sliced them.

Place the cucumber noodles in a large sieve with a bowl underneath to catch all of the water. Let it stand like these to loose the moisture until ready to serve.

To make the vinaigrette, place all of the ingredients in a jar with a lid, seal it and shake it. Set aside.

To prepare the salmon, whisk the vinegar, miso, brown sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce and ginger in a bowl until combined.

Put the salmon on a plate and add the miso sauce. Make sure to coat the salmon pieces well in the marinade. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Remove the salmon from the fridge and place it on an oven dish lined with parchment paper. Pour some of the sauce on top and cook for about 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, turn on the broiler on for about 2 minutes. Check constantly so it doesn’t burn. It should be a bit browned.

Remove the salmon from the oven.

Press on the cucumber noodles to try to get most of the moisture out. Then place the cucumber noodles in a bowl, add the radishes, black sesame seeds and the sesame dressing. Mix well.

Divide the salad among 2 bowls and add the roasted salmon. Sprinkle some white sesame seeds over the salmon. Enjoy!

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

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Beet & Potato “Tacos”

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Not too long ago I watched a video on The Feed Feed’s Snapchat where Kendra from Paleo Paparazzi used thinly sliced Jicama instead of tortillas to make healthier tacos. That inspired me to make these. My mom is a big potato salad fan and so am I. A potato salad at the Christmas table was always a must. She would make it with cooked beets, eggs and cornichons. When I was little I didn’t like beets that much but now I love them, raw or cooked. So this is my version of my mom’s salad in taco form. It makes a great appetizer for a party too. It doesn’t require a lot of time to make and it is budget friendly.

Ingredients:

700grs of potatoes (I used 4 large ones)

2 large beets, I used 1 candy cane and one golden beet

1/3 cup of finely chopped cornichons

1 cup of blanched peas

1 ½ tablespoons of finely chopped dill

For the dressing:

1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup of mayonnaise

½ teaspoon of celery salt

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 teaspoon of mustard

1 ½ teaspoons of honey

Salt to taste

 

Cook the potatoes in a pot with boiling salted water until tender.

Then drain them and allow them to cool down enough to handle. Peel them and chop them into small cubes. Remember the size of your beets; you don’t want huge cubes of potato as a filling to the tacos.

Peel the beets using a potato peeler and then with the help of a mandoline, thinly slice the beets so you get your raw “tortillas”.

To make the dressing, just add all of the ingredients in a jar with a lid, cover it and shake it until it emulsifies.

In a large bowl, add the potatoes, cornichon, peas and dill. Add the dressing and mix well.

To assemble each taco, just grab about 2 tablespoons of the potato salad and use the raw beets as if you were using tortillas.

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

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Buckwheat, Oatmeal, Almond & Pomegranate Molasses Granola

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This was my breakfast yesterday. Greek yogurt with granola that I made with pomegranate molasses. Love the tang that the molasses gives and it is quiet easy to make at home. I made it with some cinnamon and vanilla but you can spice it as you like.

Ingredients:

For the Pomegranate molasses:

710ml of pomegranate juice

½ cup of sugar

1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

1 cinnamon stick

1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

For the granola:

1 cup of oatmeal

1 cup of buckwheat

¾ cup of slivered almonds

3 tablespoons of melted coconut oil

4 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses

1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

1 ½ tablespoons of honey

 

Place all of the ingredients for the molasses in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, about 2 to 3 minutes. Then reduce the heat to medium low and let it reduce until it becomes a thick syrup. This will take about 40 minutes. It will thicker like a caramel as it cools down. Remove the cinnamon stick. Let it cool down for a few minutes and then pour it into a glass jar. Let it cool completely before covering it. Keep it in the fridge.

To make the granola, preheat your oven to 180C/350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix the oatmeal, buckwheat, almonds, melted coconut oil, molasses, vanilla and honey. Then spread it evenly over the prepared baking sheet. Bake it for 25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Because of the sugar content in the molasses, it browns quickly so be careful not to burn it.

Allow it to cool down completely before storing it in a airtight container.

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

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Beef & Sweet Potato Lasagna with Greek Yogurt (Gluten free)

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I love pasta but sometimes it’s nice to switch things up a bit. I made this lasagna with layers of thinly sliced sweet potato. And instead of making a béchamel with flour and butter; I used Greek yogurt, which I flavored with spices. Still comforting and filling, but a bit healthier.

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This recipe is for medium lasagna, I used a 27cm dish.

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Ingredients:

1 kilo of sweet potatoes

For the meat sauce:

1 red onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 bell peppers, chopped

3 tablespoons of olive oil

500gr of minced meat

500gr of tomato pure

1 tablespoon of dried oregano

1 teaspoon of sugar

100grs of pitted Kalamata olives, chopped

Salt

Pepper

For the yogurt sauce:

600grs of Greek yogurt

½ teaspoon of onion powder

½ teaspoon of garlic powder

Pepper

Pinch of cayenne

½ teaspoon of celery salt

1 teaspoon of salt

40 grs of grated Parmesan

Extras:

40grs of grated Parmesan for sprinkling on top

Wasabi arugula (optional)

 

Peel the sweet potatoes and with the help of a mandoline; thinly slice them about the same thickness as the pasta for lasagna. Season the slices with salt and pepper.

To make the meat sauce, place the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the onions and cook them until they become translucent. Then add the garlic, bell peppers and meat. Cook until the meat is slightly brown. Then add the tomato puree, oregano, sugar, salt, pepper and Kalamata olives. Mix well and let it cook for about 20 minutes on med-low heat. Stir from time to time.

In the meanwhile, place the Greek yogurt in a medium bowl and mix it with the rest of the ingredients for the yogurt sauce.

Grease your oven dish with a bit of vegetable oil and preheat your oven to 180C/350F.

Once the meat sauce is ready, taste it for seasoning.

To assemble the lasagna, first spread about 3 tablespoons of the yogurt sauce on the bottom of the dish. Then add a layer of the sweet potato slices, follow it by a layer of the meat sauce. Continue it with a layer of sweet potato and then a layer of the yogurt sauce. Just make sure that the last layer is yogurt sauce. Then sprinkle the extra grated Parmesan all over the last layer of yogurt sauce. Bake it for 50 minutes.

Then lower the heat to 160C/320F and bake it for an extra 20 minutes. I like to serve it with a simple wasabi arugula salad.

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

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Black Rice & Shredded Brussels Sprout Salad with Leek and Whole Grain Mustard Vinaigrette

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A healthy and filling salad with a tangy vinaigrette. I’ve only started cooking with black rice a few months ago and I really love its chewier texture. It takes a bit longer to cook but you can always cook it the night before and keep it in the fridge. It makes a great packed lunch for the next day as well.

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This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

For the salad:

1 1/2 cups of black rice

5 cups of vegetable stock, warmed up

250grs of Brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved and thinly sliced

1 cup of broad beans, shelled and blanched

¼ cup of pumpkin seeds

1 cup of pomegranate seeds

For the leek and whole grain mustard vinaigrette:

1 leek, finely chopped (light green and white part only)

5 tablespoons of olive oil

Pinch of garlic powder

¼ cup of red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon of whole grain mustard

2 teaspoons of honey

Salt

Pepper

Extra:

Garden cress for decoration (optional)

 

Start by rinsing the black rice under cold water. Then place it in a medium saucepan with the vegetable stock and let it cook covered for about 45 minutes over medium-low heat until most of the liquid has evaporated and the rice is cooked. Then turn off the heat and let it sit covered for 10 minutes.

In the meanwhile, start making the vinaigrette. Place olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, lower the heat to medium-low and add the leek, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Let it cook for about 8 minutes stirring until the leek becomes soft but not brown.

Once the leek is cooked, turn off the heat and add the red wine vinegar, mustard and honey. Mix it well. Taste for salt and then transfer it to a bowl or jar until ready to serve.

Once the rice is cooked, place it in a large bowl and add the Brussels sprouts, broad beans, pumpkin seeds and pomegranate. Add the vinaigrette and mix well. Divide it among 3 bowls and top with some garden cress.

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

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