Monday, 26 August 2013

Better without butter

Once in a while I like to prepare something sweet for my colleagues. Often, I choose muffins. The reasons being obvious: they are easy to eat at work, everybody loves them and I get to try a new recipe. The one I chose a few days ago seemed delicious: lots of chocolate, hazelnuts and... butter, the only ingredient I had not written on my shopping list and was missing from my fridge. At 11 p.m. my only choice was trying to find another recipe online that called for all the food I had either bought or that was sitting in my pantry. The more time passed the more impatient I got and thought: whatever. I mixed some of the ingredients together the way I thought was right, changed some grams here and there to adjust the texture and making up for the butter. I was afraid to check my muffins after they were baking in the oven for 20 minutes. The result was astonishing: they looked and tasted delicious!! Try for yourself: This is what I did:

180 g flour 
200g chocolate
200g crushed or grated hazelnuts
150g sugar
4 eggs
1 package baking powder
I preheated the oven to 180 degrees Cesius, melted the chocolate in Bain-Marie (hot water bath: fill a large pot with water, place a smaller pot with the chocolate into the one filled with water, heat slowly, stir chocolate until melted).
Crush hazelnuts or use crushed hazelnuts.
In a bowl mix eggs and sugar together until fluffy. In a separate bowl combine flour and baking powder. Add chocolate and hazelnuts, then add flour, mix well.
Prepare muffin pan with liners, put dough inside (fill up about 1/3) and cook for 20 minutes. They were so good, I'll make them again soon. I did not miss the butter and sure didn't miss the extra calories! 

Monday, 19 August 2013

Super simple summer RPT salad

Oftentimes I don't even feel like cooking in July and August, thus my sparse writing here. We like to eat cold things I the summer. I love spelt salads with roasted vegetables (will post recipe asap). Today, I worked with what I found in my freezer, fridge and pantry and came up with the creation of my very own RPT salad. Frozen peas, dried and fresh tomatoes, rice and olive oil. I cooked the rice in salt water for only 15 minutes, it needs to be "al dente" - a little bit crunchy inside. I heated the peas and then cooled them in cold water, same with the rice, I cut the dried and fresh, ripe cherry tomatoes in very small pieces, mixed everything together with a bit of extra vergin olive oil, salt, pepper, basil and a tiny bit of lemon juice. Done! This is a delicious salad to serve by itself or with grilled fish or meats. If you have some mozzarella, you can throw it in the bowl or make a second dish: caprese (mozzarella, tomatoes, olive oil, basil, salt and pepper). Easy, light and delicious!

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Some golf

Is it so difficult to hit a ball with a club to get it into a hole? Oh yes, it so is! Just today someone asked me at the club house of the Lignano Golf Club: "So,  and you? Nothing golf, eh?" Well, I wanted to answer, I would not call 70 some lessons in two and a half years and hundreds of euros later "nothing", really. I would rather call it "someone is trying really, really hard", but yeah, I still don't have a handicap and who knows if I will get one before I turn 76! But, you're right: nothing golf... Eh?! 
When I got home after that conversation I decided to open the only book my golf  instructor suggested I would buy: "Ben Hogan's Five Lessons". And here I am, hoping to improve by reading. Thinking about it: reading is doing something, so "nothing golf" would really be an understatement . 

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Dining in August

Hot and sticky summer days are coming to an end, the sun sets sooner every day,  a fresh sea breeze unwinds your hair and you know: August is in full swing! This is the perfect time for an outside dinner with friends! Set the table in the colours of the summer, prepare a light salad with a lemon, raspberry dressing, throw salmon on the grill, open a bottle of Friulian Ribolla Gialla, put your i-tunes playlist on "Best of Paolo Conte" and there you have the perfect dinner setting for an evening with friends. Don't forget the dive in the pool after midnight! Truly magical those August nights in Italy!