Hidden veggies, Take 2: Broinhas de Abóbora

As you may have read on my previous post, this month Daring baker's challenge was about hiding vegetables into something sweet. I don't know if this can really be called "hidden", because the color gives it a bit away, and I'm not even sure if you can categorize pumpkin as a vegetable, so I made a second post for this recipe (also I was running out of time to include it in the first one).

Broinhas is a small cake or cookie traditionally made of cornflour and honey. I like making "Broinhas de Natal" during christmas time, those include pumpkin and all the seasonal spicies, but I try to stay clear from christmasy baking the rest of the year, otherwise it feels less special. This one has pumpkin too, but with dried fruits and almonds. It turned out to be a lovely breakfast brioche.

Broinhas de Abóbora / Cornflour and Pumpkin Brioche (based on a recipe from 7gramas de ternura)

550gr of Pumpkin, skinned and diced
150gr of Brown Sugar
1 Lemon
1 Stick of Cinnamom
50gr of Butter
400gr of Flour
300gr of Cornflour
1 pack of Instant Dried Yeast
100gr of Shaved Almonds
50gr of Grouns Almonds
100gr of Dried Raisins
100gr of Dried Apricot, diced
Icing Sugar, for dusting

In a pan, place the pumpkin, sugar, lemon zest and cinnamom stick on a medium flame and let cook for about 20 minutes, until the pumpkin is cooked, stir every now and than. Off the heat, take out the cinnamom stick, add the butter, and using a plunging mixer, make a purée with your pumpkin, set aside.

In a big bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (both flours, yeast, almonds, raisins and apricot) and make a well in the middle, pour in the (cooled) purée and start stiring with a wooden spoon, or in a standmixer. If it's too wet to shape the dough, add some more flour, if it's too dry, add a bit of milk. Leave the dough for 2 hours in a warm place.

Line your oven trays with parchement paper, place the little brioche you've formed on them and leave them to rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Cook the brioche for about 15 to 20 minutes and leave them to cool on a rack before dusting them with icing sugar.


Daring Baker - March 2013: Hidden Veggies!

Ruth from Makey-Cakey was our March 2013 Daring Bakers’ challenge host. She encouraged us all to get experimental in the kitchen and sneak some hidden veggies into our baking, with surprising and delicious results!

I don't have children of my own, but I have nieces and nephew that I'm in charge of every once in a while, and let me tell you, preparing lunch for them is not an easy task... They are really picky, seem to steer away from most vegetables and anything that looks healthy. Sometimes a recipe they liked a few weeks back is all of the sudden not good anymore... go figure!

I'm pretty sure I wasn't this difficult as a child, or maybe that's how I want to remember. But I'm very happy I didn't grew up on fast food and frozen ready made meals. So I really liked this month challenge, it gave me a chance to sneek in a few extra vegetables and making it to a game of "guess what the secret ingredient is".

I've made a chocolate cake with raw beetroot that was interesting in texture and taste, even if it won't be my standard chocolate cake, it's definetly worth a try. I also made some kind of pumpkin brioche called Broinhas de Abobora, that I liked very much and will share in my next post. Otherwise I invite you all to check the best vegetable cake there is (in my humble opinion) which is the swiss carrot cake! Still my favorit one.

Beetroot Chocolate Cake with White Chocolate Ganache (based on a recipe from Cook yourself thin)

250gr of Dark Chocolate (60%)
3 Eggs
250gr of Brown Sugar
1 Vanilla pod
60ml of Honey
80gr of Flour
1 Tablespoon of Baking Powder
a Pinch of Salt
a Pinch of Bicarb
25gr of Cocoa Powder
50gr of Ground Almonds
250gr raw beetroot, peeled and finely grated
100ml of Tea
30ml of sunflower oil
180gr of White Chocolate
100ml of Cream
Poppy Seeds

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and flour a round cake tin.

Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie (over simmering water) and set aside.

In a standmixer, beat the eggs and the sugar with the seeds of the vanilla pod, add the honey, mix for a couple of minutes. Than add the dry ingredients (flour, bicarb, salt, cocoa and ground almonds).

After you dried out the beetroot with some kitchen towel, you can fold them into your previous batter, adding also the cooled chocolate, the (cold) tea and the oil with a spatula.

When everything is folded in properly, pour it into your cake tin and cook it in the oven for about 1 hour. Leave it to cool completly.

In a sauce pan, break the white chocolate into little pieces and heat it up gently on a low heat with the cream, stir with a wooden spoon to keep an eye on it. When the chocolate it melted, take it off the heat and pour it on your cooled cake. Sprinkle with poppy seeds.

I'd advice you to make this cake one day ahead of time, as it seems better to me the day after.


Winter is back?

Apparently, that's what the forecast is telling us for the upcoming week where I live. I was getting used to have one less layer of clothes, to see the flowers starting to bloom, the days getting longer and the temperatures being above 10°C. But I believe I'm a patient person, I can wait a little longer until we get to those nice spring days.

In the meantime, nothing beats a one dish tasty casserole. It takes a while to cook, but once it's prepared, those recipes have great advantages: you can make one big batch to freeze, or reheat. Because to me, those dishes are even better the second time around. I think it's the cabage, it works the same with sauerkraut, which I'm not a big fan of, but I think it gets more interesting in taste when you warm them up.

So this might not be the prettiest dish around, but it's a good option to start on a cold monday, and help you get thru the week. The chouriço de porco preto, and bay leaf, is to give it a portuguese touch, but you can easily choose bacon or any pork sausages you like, I think it will do the trick. So instead of having a warm sun above your head, you'll have at least a warm tummy.

Cabbage Casserole

Serves 2

1/2 Cabbage Head
2 Carrots
1 Onion
1 Potato
1 Glass of White Wine
1 liter of Chicken Broth
2 Bay Leaves
100gr of Chouriço Porco Preto
Olive Oil
Coarse Salt

Wash the vegetables, peel the onion, the carrots and the potato. Chop the onion quite thinly, cut the carrots and dice the potato.

In a big pan, heat up some olive oil on a medium to high flame. Add the vegetables you've cut so far, add a pinch of salt, and let them cook for 5 minutes, stir so it doesn't attach.

Chop the cabbage and add it to the vegetables, keep stiring for about 3 minutes. Pour in the white wine, and let it steam out a little before adding the broth. Lower the heat, add the bay leaves, the chouriço and let it cook for 2 to 3 hours, lid off, so most of the liquid steams out. To serve, sprinkle with some coarse salt.


Beetroot and Pear Carpaccio with Tuna, Horseradish Cream

Communication is fascinating. Semantic, the meaning of words, the way we use them, how they evolved thru time and the differences between languages. I don't know if any of you ever seen "Quest for fire", but can you imagine going from basically grunts, to such an evolved vocabulary that we can express our every feeling.

I pride myself to be able to speak in different languages, to even do my work in the ones I'm fluent in. I love learning a new one, and hope to be fluent in that one too, one day. But sometimes I wonder, no matter how educated we are, is what we say going to be understood? Is how we tell things, the same as how people are going to hear them? Beyond knowlegde, isn't our own experience going to influence our understanding.

Take music for instance, I might find a meaning in a song that reflects on my life, where the musician might have ment something completly different. Or you might be wondering if you're still on a food blog by reading this. Well no worries, you are! And this blogger has spend last week-end in her favorit city, enjoying sun, music and food. It was also a reminder of all the things I've learned so far, aswell as all the lessons I still have ahead of me.

Beetroot and Pear Carpaccio with Tuna, Horseradish Cream

Serves 1

1 Small Beetroot, cooked
1 Pear (Rocha)
150gr Tuna Fillet (mine was canned and Portuguese)
10cl of Cream
1 Teaspoon of Horseradish
1 Tablespoon of Chive, freshly choped
1 Tablespoon of Dill
Walnut Oil
Lemon juice
Coarse salt, Pepper

Using preferably a mandoline, slice the beetroot and the pear as finely as possible. Season them with lemon juice, so the pear won't turn brown.

Whip the cream, add the horseradish and whip again until it's nice and fluffy.

To serve, place the beetroot and pear around the plate, in the middle add the tuna. Season with the walnut oil, if needed add some lemon juice. Sprinkle with fresh chive, the dill, a little bit of salt and pepper. To finish, add some of the horseradish cream.