Cinnamon Rolls

An awesome Danish recipe.

Leg of Lamb

For the perfect Sunday roast.

Honey and Cinnamon Cookies

Delicious cookies.

Orange and Ginger Chicken Thighs

A summery chicken recipe.

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Basic White Bread

I have been playing around with a bread recipe for two months now. Since we only eat bread on our cheat day (we're on paleo), it took a while to get it to where I wanted it to. Bread in Denmark is remarkably different from the bread in Portugal and we find ourselves craving for something authentic, from time to time. A few years ago, my dad gave me a recipe for bread that could be tweaked to what I was looking for in a loaf of bread, with a range of possible percentages for flour and yeast instead of quantities.
The husband is very particular in regard to what kind of bread he likes: it has to be light, with small air holes, a slight bitter taste and a soft crust. After a lot of experimentation, I finally discovered the combination that would result in that type of bread: white but strong flour, steam in the oven for a soft crust, overnight proving for bitter taste and a smaller second proving for small air holes. And that is the recipe that I'm sharing today!


Ingredients

  • 500g (4 1/3 cups) strong white flour (check note)
  • 350g (12.35oz) cold water
  • 10g (0.35oz) salt
  • 20g (0.7oz) baker's yeast
Note: The flour plays an important role in the way your bread will look and how it will taste. I used a T55 type of flour considering the Portuguese nomenclature. In Denmark, they identify the flour by the percentage of protein - in this case 12%. You can check here for different kinds of flour and how to identify them. Also, keep in mind that if you want a darker bread you should use a stronger flour (or a combination of two kinds). 

Instructions

Start by crumbling the yeast in the flour with your hands. Dissolve the salt in the water and add it to the flour and yeast.



Mix well and now it's time to work the dough. If kneading the dough by hand, it might take you 15-20 minutes. You want an elastic dough that doesn't break when pulled. Because you're using 70% water, the dough will be a bit wet and it will seem unmanageable at first. But it will soon become easier and it won't stick to your hands as much. Once you're done kneading, cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let it prove in the fridge overnight, or leave it out for 3-4 hours (or until it doubled in size). I like to keep it overnight so that it can acquire a sightly bitter taste.



The next day (or a few hours later), shape the dough and let it rise in a floured oven tray, until it has doubled in size. If you left the dough in the fridge overnight, it will take a while to get to room temperature and rise accordingly. Mine took about an hour. Cutting the dough on top is optional. Place a baking tin on the bottom of the oven with water, and bake in a preheated oven to 230ºC (450ºF) for 15 minutes, lower the temperature to 200ºC (400ºF) and bake for 30-40 minutes (the steam from the water will make the crust softer).


To check if the bread is baked properly, tap the bottom of the loaf and look for a hollow sound. Let it cool down before slicing it.


Serve and enjoy your homemade loaf of bread.



For a print friendly version visit this recipe at my Recipes page.

Apple Flan

I talked raisins and nuts last week and it wouldn't be right to skip cooking something with apples this autumn. Whenever I'm out of ideas for new recipes I just pick Pantagruel and look for inspiration. This recipe seemed simple enough and, more importantly, the main focus was on apples. The recipe called for Reinette apples. These apples originated in France and are oftentimes used as a cooking apples in Portugal. Unfortunately, I couldn't find them in Denmark and so I used Royal Gala instead. The result was a crunchy top, a flan like consistency on the bottom and an amazing aroma. 


Ingredients

  • 100g (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 40g (1/3 cup) flour
  • 4 cooking apples
  • 1 egg
  • 2.5dl (1 cup) milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter (plus more butter for the baking dish)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla sugar 

Instructions

Grease a baking dish with some butter. Wash your apples (I used Royal Gala but you can use other type of cooking apples).


Peel the apples, slice them in four and put them in some fresh water with a few drops of lemon. Finely slice the apples and place them on the bottom of the baking dish. I used a food processor and that is why it looks a bit messy, but I actually like how it came out in the end.


Dissolve the flour in the milk, add the egg and the vanilla and spread on top of the apples. Spread the sugar on top of everything.


Cut the butter in tiny bits and place it on top of the sugar. Bake in a preheated oven to 160ºC (320ºF) until it turns golden.


Serve warm or cold with a good cup of tea.


For a print friendly version visit this recipe at my Recipes page.

Broas do Bolinho

Now this is a first. I couldn't find an appropriate title in English for this post so there you go, good old Portuguese. We don't really celebrate Halloween in Portugal. Instead, on the 1st of November, children wake up early in the morning and go door-to-door asking for "Bolinho" or "Pão-por-Deus" - basically they get treats that can be in the form of these rolls I'm sharing today, chocolates, money or even walnuts/chestnuts if you're terribly unlucky. I'm not 100% certain they do this in the big cities, but I sure got to do it in Leiria and I loved it. 

The 1st of November is celebrated differently depending on the region you are from. For instance, if you're from the North of Portugal you might remember the dead on this day. However, in Center Portugal it's all about the treats for the children. As for the catholic adults, in some villages, you can leave flowers on your door as a symbol that you welcome a priest to come in your home and give you and your family a blessing (and get some cake and wine!). Or at least that's what used to happen 18 years ago. 

As for the recipe, it's from an aunt of mine who is known for baking the very best "broas", in the village she lives in. This was the first time that I tried baking these and they were kind of amazing. You might think that 1kg of flour is a lot, but you can freeze them and reheat them in the oven later, and I promise they will remain just as good. Also, the recipe calls for baker's yeast, but they don't need proving!


Ingredients

  • 1kg (8 1/3 cups) flour
  • 400g (1 2/3 cups) water 
  • 375g (a little less than 2 cups) sugar
  • 125g (1 stick) butter
  • 100g (3.5oz) raisins
  • 100g (3.5oz) walnuts
  • 25g (0.9oz) baker's yeast 
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 10g (0.4oz) salt
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 egg yolk and some milk for the egg wash

Instructions

Start by mixing the flour, the sugar, the raisins, the walnuts, the cinnamon, the baking soda and the zest of the lemon. Melt the butter and add to the dough. 


Dissolve the yeast in a bit of lukewarm water and add it to the dough. Measure the necessary lukewarm water and dissolve the salt in it. Add it to the dough and mix just until the dough comes together. You should end up with a fairly tough dough. 


Shape the dough into rolls and brush them with a egg wash. Bake in a preheated oven to 200ºC (390ºF) until they're golden (~25 minutes).


And serve! They're great on their own but you can also have them with a bit of butter.



For a print friendly version visit this recipe at my Recipes page.

Portuguese Rice Pudding

I keep introducing Portuguese recipes as "classic"/"traditional", but lets face it, Portuguese Rice Pudding is a Portuguese classic. It's on our tables at birthday parties, Christmas and any other occasion. This one is my mom's recipe and is a very simple recipe. Some people use vanilla or even some sort of flan to give it a more structured texture, but I prefer this version. It's creamy and delicious. I hope you enjoy it.


Ingredients

  • 1L (4 1/2 cups) milk
  • 300g (1 1/2 cups) sugar
  • 300g (1 1/2 cups) short grain rice
  • 2 lemon peels (not the peel of two lemons, just two peels of one lemon cut vertically)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • cinnamon q.s.

Instructions

Cook the rice with enough water to cover it with a bit of salt until it is nearly done. Mix the milk with the sugar and the lemon peels and heat it in a pot. 


Beat the egg yolks and add a little of the warmed milk to the egg yolks. Add the egg yolks and the rice to the milk. Let it cook in low heat until it thickens (I like it more on the thick side, but if you prefer it thinner just remove it sooner).


Place it on a serving bowl and let it cool down. Once it has reached room temperature, place it in the fridge for 2h/3h. Sprinkle some cinnamon on top and serve!



For a print friendly version visit this recipe at my Recipes page.