Orange & Pink Peppercorn Rolls with Orange Glaze and Pomegranate Seeds

img_5303

Holiday season is around the corner and with that comes family and friend gatherings. These rolls are great for dessert or brunch, and are perfect for sharing. I mixed the pink peppercorns, sugar and orange zest in the food processor. This allows the natural oils in the orange zest to come out and the whole pink peppercorns to be crushed. This recipe is very aromatic and the pink peppercorns add a very subtle heat and peppery taste. The tartness of the pomegranate seeds are there to balance the sweetness in the glaze, as well as to add a more festive feel to it. We just had a couple of these and will probably finish the rest during movie night later today.

This recipe makes about 11 small rolls.

Ingredients:

For the dough:

7 grs of dry yeast

1 cup of warm milk

3 ½ cups of all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling

2 teaspoons of vanilla essence

Pinch of salt

4 tablespoons of butter, melted and cooled

1/3 cup of sugar

1 egg

For the filling:

1 cup of sugar

Zest of 3 oranges

1 tablespoon of pink peppercorns

1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder

3 tablespoons of melted butter

For the egg wash:

1 egg

1 tablespoon of water

For the glaze:

2 cups of icing sugar

Fresh orange juice (about 1 orange), without pulp

Extra:

½ cup of pomegranate seeds

 

Place the warm milk and yeast in the bowl of the stand mixer and let it sit for 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes have passed, add the remaining ingredients for the dough to the bowl with the yeast.

Knead on low speed for 5 minutes, using the dough hook attachment. You can also knead it by hand.

Then remove the dough from the bowl. Clean the bowl and then grease it with a bit of vegetable oil.  Form the dough into a ball and place it back into the greased bowl. Cover with plastic film and let it rise for 1 hour in a warm place.

Once the hour has passed, lightly butter the oven dish in which you are going to bake the rolls. To make filling, place the sugar, orange zest, pink peppercorns and cinnamon in the food processor. Pulse for a couple of minutes until the peppercorns are crushed. Transfer the sugar to a small bowl. Have the butter already melted and ready with a brush.

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll it into a large rectangle. Then brush the top of the dough with the melted butter. Sprinkle the sugar mixture evenly on top. Roll it tight lengthwise. Cut the uneven edges and discard of them. Now that you have an even rolled dough, cut it into about 11 even pieces. Place the pieces on the prepared oven dish, leaving some space in between. Brush a large piece of plastic wrap with vegetable oil. Cover the rolls with the greased side down. Let them rise for 1 hour in a warm place.

About 10 or 15 minutes before the timer is up for the second rise, preheat your oven to 180C/350F.

Once the hour is up, remove the plastic wrap from the oven dish, brush the rolls with the egg wash and bake them for about 23-25 minutes until golden.

Once the rolls are baked, start making the glaze. Place the icing sugar in a small bowl. Slowly pour in the orange juice while whisking until the glaze becomes pourable. Once the glaze is of your desired consistency, just pour it on top of the rolls. Add some pomegranate seeds. They are best when served right away while they are still warm. 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.

Rhubarb & Citrus Mocktail

IMG_6056

The weather has been crazy lately. Friends were visiting from abroad and I had already told them how temperamental the weather can be here, so they came prepared. On Thursday and Friday, we had summer-like temperatures, and on Saturday and Sunday it was felt more like winter. Funny to see the pictures we took, because you would think they are from two different visits by the change of clothing. It was so nice to show them around Amsterdam and this trip ended up being extra special for them since they got engaged.

Going back to this recipe, this is a very refreshing drink. And of course you can add some liquor if you want, but it doesn’t need it. You’ll have enough rhubarb simple syrup to make about 3 batches.

IMG_6063

This recipe makes about 1.5 liters.

Ingredients:

For the rhubarb simple syrup:

3 large rhubarb stalks, roughly chopped

1 cup of sugar

1 ½ cups of boiling water

For the mocktail:

Juice of 4 oranges

Juice of 3 ruby red grapefruit

¼ cup of the rhubarb simple syrup, cold

Bunch of mint

750ml of sparkling water, cold

15 ice cubes

Edible flowers (optional)

 

Start by making the rhubarb simple syrup. Place the rhubarb, boiling water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Let it cook for about 25 minutes until the rhubarb is very soft and the liquid is syrupy. Then strain the syrup using a fine mesh sieve. Allow it to cool down.

Once the rhubarb simple syrup has cooled down, start juicing the citrus. Pour the grapefruit and orange juice into a pitcher. Add ¼ cup of the simple syrup, mint, sparkling water and ice. Stir. Top each glass with some edible flowers if you want.

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

 

Orange, Vanilla & Lavender Cheesecake

IMG_5715

This recipe is for a 19cm round cake mold with a detachable bottom.

Ingredients:

For the lavender cookie crust:

180grs of Bastogne cookies, you can also use graham crackers

3 tablespoons of butter

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 tablespoon of dried lavender

For the cheesecake:

400grs of cream cheese, at room temperature

100gr of sour cream

2 eggs

¾ cups of sugar

Pinch of salt

1 vanilla bean or 1 tablespoon of vanilla essence

2 tablespoons of orange zest

1 tablespoon of cacao powder, sifted

 

Preheat your oven to 160C/325F. Line the bottom and sides of your cake mold with parchment paper.

Start by making the crust. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat with the dried lavender.

Place the cookies and vanilla essence in the food processor, and pulse until you get crumbs. Then slowly add the lavender butter. Once everything is mixed through, put the crumbs into the bottom of your cake mold. Press with your fingers or the back of a spoon so that there is a nice even layer on the bottom of the mold.  Set it aside.

Using an electric mixer, whisk the sugar with the orange zest to release the oils. Then add the cream cheese, vanilla and sour cream. Whisk until everything is well combined.

Then add the eggs and salt. Whisk until everything is mixed through. Reserve about 1/3 of a cup of the cheesecake batter to make the swirls later.

Pour the rest of the cheesecake batter into your prepared cake mold.

Whisk one tablespoon of cacao powder into the reserved cheesecake mixture. Using a spoon, drizzle the chocolate batter over the cheesecake. Using a toothpick or the tip of a knife, start making swirls.

Bake the cheesecake for 30 minutes. The center should still wiggle a bit.

Allow it to come to room temperature. Then place it in the fridge for at least 4 hours, better if it is overnight.

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

 

Blood Orange, Chocolate & Chili Upside-Down Cake

FullSizeRender

I love the gorgeous tint that blood oranges have and I was looking forward to making a recipe with them. I find the combination of orange and chocolate delicious, and to give it a little kick I added one chili. This is not meant to be spicy; you just feel a little tingling on the tongue at the end.  And I felt it more the day after. After that I don’t know because we finished it on the second day. It is a very simple, soft and no-fuzz cake.

IMG_9605

This cake is for a 21cm cake mold.

Ingredients:

For the cake:

1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour

1 ¼ teaspoon of baking soda

½ teaspoon of salt

½ cup of cocoa powder

¾ cup of vegetable oil

1 cup of milk

1 tablespoon of white vinegar

2 egg yolks

1 egg

1 ½ cup of sugar

Zest of 1 orange

1 bird’s eye chili, chopped (I used a 5 cm long chili)

For the orange part:

1 or 2 blood oranges, sliced into about 1/2 cm slices

½ cup of sugar

3 tablespoons of butter

¼ cup of orange juice

 

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F and line the bottom of the cake mold with parchment paper.

Once the oven is hot, start to prepare the cake batter. Sift the flour with the cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

Chop the chili with the orange zest, until it is very fine. Then place the zest and chili in a large bowl along with the sugar. Whisk it on low speed for 30 seconds to allow the oils to come out. Then add the egg and egg yolks, and whisk until it is all incorporated. Add the vegetable oil, milk and vinegar. Finally add the dry ingredients and whisk until it is well combined.

To make the orange part, place the butter, sugar and orange juice in a large pan over medium heat. Let it cook for about 3 minutes until the sugar dissolves, swirling the pan around. Carefully pour it into the prepared cake mold and arrange the orange slices on top of the caramel. Press a bit so that the orange slices stick to it.

IMG_9829

Then carefully pour over the cake batter.

Bake it for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Let it cool for 5 minutes in the mold and then carefully run a knife through the edges of the cake and turn it upside down on a serving platter.

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

 

 

 

 

 

Duck Breast Salad with Orange – Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

FullSizeRender (1)

I love duck breast and it’s something I don’t eat very often. Usually I have to go to a butcher to get it because regular supermarkets here don’t carry it unless it’s the holiday season. That time of the year has come and when I saw it at the supermarket, I couldn’t resist. This is a salad you can have as a first course or main, perfect for the holidays. And it doesn’t require a lot of time which is very handy if you want to host a dinner.

This recipe serves 2. If you would like it as a main course, I find it nicer to get 1 duck breast per person.

Ingredients:         

For the vinaigrette:

½ cup of fresh orange juice

½ cup of olive oil

¼ cup of apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon of poppy seeds

2 tablespoons of honey

Salt

Pepper

For the duck:

1 duck breast, about 225grs.

Salt

Pepper

For the salad:

1/3 cup of dried cranberries

2 apples, thinly sliced (I used one Royal Gala and one Granny Smith)

1 persimmon, thinly sliced

40grs of baby kale

75grs of arugula

 

To make the vinaigrette, just place all of the ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake it until it emulsifies. Taste for salt and set it aside. Just re-shake it right before serving.

To cook the duck breast, first preheat the oven to 200C/390F. Trim any excess skin that is just hanging off the meat. Using a sharp knife, score the fat of the breast in a criss-cross pattern.  Season it with salt and pepper on both sides.

Heat up a cast iron skillet or oven-proof pan over medium heat. Place the duck breast with the skin side down and let the fat render off for 4 minutes. Then sear the meat side for 1 minute.  Finally turn the breast fat side down again and place it in the oven for 5 minutes. This will give you a medium to medium rare duck breast depending on the size of it. Once the breast is cooked, let it rest for 5 minutes and then thinly slice it.

To plate up, mix the arugula with the baby kale and divide it among 2 plates. Add the cranberries, apples and persimmon.  Then add the sliced duck breast and serve with the dressing on the side.

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

Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Orange & Pecans

Cookie

It’s been a while since I made cookies and now that the weather has turned, I feel more like baking sweet things. I added chopped dark chocolate, orange zest and salted pecans to the cookies. If you don’t want to use salted pecans, just add a good pinch of salt to the cookie dough. These cookies are soft and chewy. It’s impossible to eat just one!

FullSizeRender

This recipe makes around 30 cookies.

Ingredients:

1 cup of granulated sugar

½ cup of brown sugar

226grs of butter, at room temperature

1 tablespoon of vanilla essence

¾ teaspoon of baking soda

2 eggs

2 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour

100grs of dark chocolate, chopped

Zest of 1 orange

½ cup of salted pecans, chopped

 

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Place both sugars in the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and mix until it’s soft and fluffy.

Add the vanilla essence, baking soda and eggs. Mix it for a few seconds. Then add the flour and mix until all the flour is incorporated into the cookie dough.

Finally add the dark chocolate, orange zest and pecans. Mix just until everything is combined.

Scoop about 1 tablespoon of the cookie dough and place it on the prepared tray. Make sure to leave enough space in between the dough because the cookies expand quite a lot.

Bake for 9 minutes, until the edges start to get golden. Allow them to cool for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

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

Adult Fruit Salad (Cherry, Orange & Strawberry Salad with Balsamic-Elderflower Dressing)

adult fruit salad

As soon as warmer weather approaches, I start looking forward to summer fruits, especially berries and cherries. I love going to the market, and seeing all the stands filled with gorgeous and colorful produce. That’s my kind of guiltless candy shop. I wanted to make a fruit salad that was a bit different, with a bit more adult flavors so to say. And by adult, I don’t mean alcoholic.

Balsamic reduction is a staple in my pantry. I actually still remember the first time I tried it. I was having dinner with my parents at an Italian restaurant about 15 years ago, and we ordered an octopus salad that came with a balsamic reduction.  We all loved it and my mom asked how to make it. Since then, she’s always had it in her pantry and when I moved out, I started to do the same.

To make the dressing, I reduced some elderflower cordial into the balsamic reduction. It adds a floral depth to the dish. The combination of the dressing and the juices from the fruits are a nice explosion of flavors in the mouth. Add the creaminess of the whipped goat cheese and crunchy pistachios, and you’ve got a great mix of textures as well.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

1 cup of fresh cherries, pitted and halved

2 cups of strawberries, thinly sliced

3 oranges, segmented

¼ cup of unsalted pistachios, chopped

For the whipped goat cheese:

100gr of goat cheese

4 tablespoons of cream

For the dressing:

¼ cup of balsamic reduction

5 tablespoons of elderflower cordial

 

If you have never made balsamic reduction before, it is super easy to make. You don’t need a fancy bottle of balsamic vinegar; just get a cheap one, since it’s going to reduce a lot. Pour 250ml of balsamic vinegar into a pan. Reduce over medium-low heat until it has reduced to about 1/3 of a cup.  Don’t let it get too thick though, as it will thicken as it cools down. If it gets too thick, you can always warm it up in the microwave for a few seconds to loosen it up. You can make this in advance and keep it in your pantry. I use it often so I normally make a bigger batch. It is very nice to drizzle over sautéed asparagus.

Prepare all of your fruit.

To make the whipped goat cheese, just place the goat cheese and cream in the food processor and pulse until smooth.

To make the dressing, place the balsamic reduction and elderflower cordial in a pan. Let it simmer over med-low heat for about 1-2 minutes, until it is all mixed. Don’t let it reduce too much, otherwise it will become a caramel and you won’t be able to pour it.

To plate up, pour some of the dressing on the plate. Then add the fruit. I formed quenelles with the whipped goat cheese. Finally, sprinkle some pistachios.

 

Orange Madeleines with Dark Chocolate & Honeycomb Candy

IMG_3116

I am a cake person. Give me pie and I’ll enjoy it, give me cake and I’ll love it. I cannot go too long without a piece and madeleines are such pretty little cakes. They are so simple but yet so beautiful that they can be included at any high tea.  One of the pictures that I took of these madeleines got reposted on social media and one of the comments underneath the picture said: you could be eating these with greasy hair and sweatpants and still feel sophisticated.  I thought it was funny, because that is how we ate them (minus the greasy hair). Even though here it has been a soft winter so far (knock on wood that it stays that way), it is still winter and it is still cold. I cannot think of a better way to spend a Friday night than cuddling with my hubby and my cats on the couch in front of the TV.

IMG_3118

I made the honeycomb candy from scratch without a thermometer. You can also just buy some but it really doesn’t take long to make. It takes 5 minutes. And it doesn’t have to look perfect because it will be smashed anyways.

This recipe makes 12 madeleines.

Ingredients:

For the madeleines:

2 eggs

¼ cup of sugar

1 tablespoon of honey

70gr butter, melted and cooled

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 teaspoon of baking powder

¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour

Pinch of salt

Zest of 1 medium orange, finely chopped

For the honeycomb candy:

½ cup of sugar

¼ cup maple syrup

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon of water

1 teaspoon of baking soda

For the chocolate dipping:

150gr of dark chocolate

 

To make the honeycomb candy:

Line a baking tray with aluminum foil. Then grease it with some vegetable oil.

In a medium pan, over medium-high heat, add the sugar, maple syrup, salt and water.

Let it come to a boil and don’t stir until it has reached a dark amber color. This will take 5 minutes.

Then turn off the heat and add the baking soda. Stir fast because it bubbles up.  Then quickly pour the mixture into the prepared tray. Set aside and let it cool down and harden.

 

To make the madeleines:

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Butter and flour the madeleine pan.

Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt.

Add the honey and vanilla extract to the cooled melted butter.

Beat the eggs with the sugar using an electric mixer on high speed until it is pale. This will take around 5 minutes. Then gradually add the flour mixture.  Once the flour is mixed in, slowly add the melted butter mixture. Finally add the orange zest.

Spoon the batter into the molds. Leave a little bit of space for them to rise. Give it a good tap to get rid of air bubbles.

collage

Bake them for 13 minutes or until lightly golden.  Then carefully remove from the mold and place them on a cooling rack.

Once the madeleines are cold, smash the honeycomb into pieces.

IMG_3073

Cover a cutting board with plastic film, this makes cleaning later easier. Then start melting the chocolate over a water bath. Dip about ¾ of each madeleine in the melted chocolate. Place the chocolate dipped madeleine on the prepared cutting board. Sprinkle some of the smashed honey comb and repeat for the rest.

Allow the chocolate to harden before serving.  They are best when eaten on the same day.