eat in my kitchen

To cook, to bake, to eat and to treat.

Tag: chili

Perfectly Fudgy Ginger Chili Double Chocolate Cookies

Ginger Chili Double Chocolate Cookies

Over the past few days, I’ve been working on last year’s tax declaration, a rather frustrating task that is only bearable with lots of sweets on the side. Or a glass of wine, which I don’t recommend to avoid serious problems with your tax office due to illogical inconsistencies caused by a tipsy mind. This highly responsible – but absolutely boring work – needs lots of concentration and sugar to keep the brain cells awake. I think any kind of cookie would have worked in my case – I’m always happy when I have these sweet, chunky bites in my mouth – but I was after a powerful treat, packed with spice and bittersweetness.

And here’s what I came up with: Ginger Chili Double Chocolate Cookies. I would call it a proper man’s cookie, at least our male friends who passed through our flat recently were absolutely hooked on them and praised the perfect balance of softness and crunch. They are very dark, with chocolaty depth, I used melted bittersweet chocolate plus roughly chopped chunks and only a little bit of flour, which had an amazing effect on the texture. These cookies are soft inside, a bit fudgy, and wrapped in a thin, shiny crust – perfect. I stirred in plenty of freshly grated ginger and finely chopped fresh red chili pepper. The result was hot, citrusy and fresh – don’t expect a slight hint of the spices, they are present.

You have to take these cookies out of the oven at the right point, when the dough is just done. I made 11 cookies, 10 were perfect, and only 1 of them (for whatever reason) was still too gooey inside for my taste. The chocolate flavour is intense, I wouldn’t use chocolate much darker than 55% for this recipe, the bitter note can become too overpowering and disturb the spices – even for men.

Ginger Chili Double Chocolate Cookies

 

Ginger Chili Double Chocolate Cookies

Ginger Chili Double Chocolate Cookies

Makes 10-12 cookies

bittersweet chocolate (about 55%) 300g /10 1/2 ounces
unsalted butter 45g / 3 tablespoons
freshly grated ginger 1 heaping tablespoon
ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon
plain flour 65g / 1/2 cup
baking powder 1/2 teaspoon
organic eggs 2
granulated sugar 100g / 1/2 cup
fine sea salt 1/4 teaspoon
medium hot fresh red chili, finely chopped, 2 teaspoons

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F. Line 1 baking sheet with parchment paper.

Roughly chop 1/3 of the chocolate  (100g / 3 1/2 ounces) and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt the remaining chocolate, the butter, ginger, and cinnamon over low heat, stirring occasionally. Let it cool for 2 minutes.

Combine the flour and baking powder and set aside.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the eggs, sugar, and salt for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Whisk in the melted chocolate until well combined. Using a wooden spoon, fold in the flour and chopped chocolate until just combined. Stir in the chili and scoop 1 heaping tablespoon for each cookie onto the lined baking sheet, leaving a bit of space between the cookies. Don’t flatten the cookies. Bake for about 11-12 minutes or until the cookies are a little crunchy outside and slightly soft in the middle. Take the baking sheet out of the oven and let the cookies cool for 10-15 minutes before you transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely, the chocolate will need a little while to become hard again.

Ginger Chili Double Chocolate Cookies

 

gingerchilichocolatecookies6

 

Ginger Chili Double Chocolate Cookies

 

Ginger Chili Double Chocolate Cookies

 

Ginger Chili Double Chocolate Cookies

 

gingerchilichocolatecookies13

 

gingerchilichocolatecookies10

Spaghetti with Green Asparagus Anchovy Pesto

Spaghetti with Asparagus Anchovy Pesto

Asparagus season could be extended for months if it were up to me! So many recipes bring out different sides of this vegetable, especially the green asparagus, it’s so versatile thanks to its strong taste.

This one is a pesto, light and fresh with a smooth texture, almost velvety. The preparation is the same as the broccoli pesto I made in March, the cooked vegetables are mixed with some of the water they are cooked in. I added garlic, fresh hot chili peppers, tarragon (my herb of the month) and anchovies. The fish adds a soft saltiness  which only makes this composition complete. I once made this pesto without as I had run out and it really wasn’t as good. I use 4 anchovies for 500g (1 pound) of asparagus, I originally started with just 2 when I made it the first time. I  thought they would be too strong for the pesto but sometimes in cooking you shouldn’t be shy, being brave is the key to success!

Spaghetti with Asparagus Anchovy Pesto

Spaghetti with Green Asparagus Pesto and Chili Peppers

For this meal it’s best to warm the plates in the oven.

For 2 hungry people you need

spaghetti 200g / 7 ounces
green asparagus, the woody bottom part cut off, 500g / 1 pound
water used to cook the asparagus 30ml / 2 tablespoons
olive oil 60ml / 1/4 cup
freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 tablespoon
anchovy preserved in salt, rinsed and dried, 4 fillets
garlic, crushed, 3 cloves
tarragon 12 leaves
fresh red chili pepper, finely chopped, 1, half for the pesto the rest for topping
salt and pepper

Cook the spaghetti al dente.

In a large pot, cook the asparagus in lots of salted water for 7 minutes. Keep the water, take the asparagus out with a slotted ladle and cut into 3cm / 1″ pieces. Set the heads aside and leave for the topping.

Purée all the ingredients for the pesto in a blender (except the asparagus’ heads and the chili peppers for the topping). Season with salt (carefully, I didn’t need to add any because of the salty fish), pepper and lemon juice to taste.

Arrange the spaghetti, pesto and asparagus’ heads on the warm plates and sprinkle with chili and crushed black pepper.

Spaghetti with Asparagus Anchovy Pesto

 

Spaghetti with Asparagus Anchovy Pesto

Guacamole Bagel with spicy Chili Peppers

Guacamole Bagel

Whenever I make guacamole I have to make lots of it, I can eat it with a spoon! When an avocado is so smooth, ripe and buttery that you can scoop it out like an ice cream, it doesn’t really need anything more. If only there wasn’t this addictive Mexican dip which combines the fruit’s oily richness with lemon juice, coriander, salt and pepper. There are endless variations on it, I always try out new versions, this time I added some sour cream and freshly chopped red chili pepper.

For this week’s Sandwich Wednesday I had a bagel in mind. I had a couple of them in my freezer from the last batch I baked (I haven’t forgotten that I still have to share the recipe, it will come soon!). For the guacamole, I chopped 2 ripe avocados roughly and mashed them with a fork, just a little as I wanted a lumpy texture. I mixed them with 2 tablespoons of sour cream, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, salt and pepper and added 1 red chili pepper (without seeds) cut into tiny cubes and 2 tablespoons of roughly chopped coriander leaves. Spread on a juicy bagel or any other nice bun, it’s divine!

Guacamole Bagel

 

Guacamole Bagel

Broccoli Pesto with Spaghetti and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Broccoli Parsley Pesto + Spaghetti

Finally pesto! I love it, bunches of basil, parsley, chopped green or black olives, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, garlic, anchovies mixed with olive oil, nuts or cheese. There are endless possibilities to bring one of the most satisfying meals onto the table, pasta with pesto. It’s so simple yet so special! When I make pesto I just follow my mood and appetite, picking what the kitchen herbs on my window sill offer and mixing it together with the Mediterranean fruits and vegetables preserved in salt or oil I keep in jars in my fridge. Sometimes I mix fresh vegetables in as well, like green asparagus or broccoli.

Today is a broccoli day! I cook it al dente, put some of it in a blender and mix it with parsley, ginger, garlic, anchovy, lemon juice and olive oil. Some of the water used to cook the broccoli stirred in makes the pesto nice and smooth, it’s lighter than using just olive oil. When the warm spaghetti has been mixed with the broccoli pesto, I sprinkle some broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes and red chili on top. There are lots of different flavours in this pesto but they blend in perfectly and allow the broccoli to show its fresh side.

Broccoli Parsley Pesto + Spaghetti

Broccoli Pesto with Spaghetti and Sun-dried Tomatoes

For this meal it’s best to warm the plates in a 75°C / 165°F warm oven for a few minutes. I prepare them while the pasta is cooking.

For 4 people you need

spaghetti 400g / 14 ounces
broccoli, florets and the soft part of the stem, 450g / 16 ounces
water used to cook the broccoli 50ml
sun-dried tomatoes, cooked in a little water for 2 minutes to wash off the salt, dried and chopped, 1 1/2 tomatoes for topping
water used to cook the sun-dried tomatoes 3 tablespoons
parsley, chopped, 3 heaped tablespoons
garlic, crushed, 1 big clove
ginger, grated, 1/2 teaspoon
anchovy preserved in salt (optionally), rinsed and dried, 1 fillet
lemon juice 2 teaspoons
olive oil 3 tablespoons
salt and pepper
fresh red chili, chopped, 1 for topping

In a large pot, bring water to the boil, add some salt and cook the broccoli al dente. Keep 1/3 of the cooked florets, cut into bite sized pieces and set aside.

Cook the spaghetti al dente.

Put the rest of the broccoli (florets and stem cut into pieces) in a blender and mix together with some of the water used to cook the broccoli and sun-dried tomatoes. Add the parsley, garlic, ginger, anchovy, lemon juice, olive oil and mix well. Season the pesto with salt and pepper but keep in mind that the tomatoes used for the topping will add some saltiness as well.

Arrange the spaghetti and the pesto on big plates and sprinkle with the chopped tomatoes, pieces of broccoli, chili and some more black pepper.

Broccoli Parsley Pesto + Spaghetti

Thai Soup and Beef

Thai Soup

The past couple of days have brought a lot of snow, turning the world outside into a winter wonderland. Everything is covered by a soft white blanket, which is true magic to me! It looks different, sounds different and it even smells different. Two days ago I had time for a short walk so I went down the road to a tiny park that looks a bit like a secret garden. It’s my city hideaway as it seems to leave the noise and bustle outside as soon as you enter the iron gates. The trees and bushes were covered in snow and I had my camera with me, luckily, so I could take some of these wonderful impressions home with me and share them with you.

After walking for a while I started to feel cold and I got in the mood for a warm, spicy broth, a Thai soup. I have all sorts of broth in my freezer. Every few weeks I cook a few litres of  vegetable broth to use for soups and risottos, but I also have duck and pheasant broth in stock at the moment. When you have a strong broth you are already well on your way to a good soup. I warmed up the duck broth and added some lemongrass, ginger, fresh chili and coriander. I was really hungry, so I decided to throw in some pointed cabbage and some tiny meatballs mixed with the spices. The meatballs weren’t bigger than walnuts, after cooking in the soup for 5 minutes they were done, the cabbage needed even less. If you prefer the vegetarian version just leave out the meat, which is what I often do. Either way, this soup is a perfect treat for this cold season, you can be sure you will feel warm, strong and refreshed afterwards!

Thai Soup

Thai Soup with Meatballs

For 2 people as a main or for 4 people as a starter you need

broth 1500ml
pointed cabbage, sliced thinly, 250g / 9 ounces
ground beef 400g / 14 ounces
fresh ginger, thumb sized piece, 1/3 sliced thinly, 2/3 grated
garlic, crushed, 2 cloves
coriander roots, ground in a mortar, 2-3
coriander leaves, a handful
fresh chili, sliced thinly, 1
lemongrass, peeled and cut into thin slices, 1
salt and black pepper

Mix the coriander roots, the grated ginger, the garlic and a generous amount of ground black pepper in a mortar and grind to a smooth paste. Mix the paste together with the beef, half of the coriander leaves (chopped) and a teaspoon of salt. Form little walnut sized balls with a teaspoon.

Season the broth with salt and pepper to taste, add the slices of ginger and lemongrass and bring to the boil. Cook the meatballs in the broth on medium heat for 4 minutes. Keep the lid closed. After 4 minutes, add the cabbage and cook for another 2 minutes. Serve in deep bowls topped with the chili slices and the rest of the coriander leaves.

Thai Soup

 

Thai Soup

 

Thai Soup

Spicy Pumpkin Soup with Bittersweet Chocolate

Pumpkin Soup with Chocolate

It’s cold outside and I see a bright orange pumpkin right in front of me telling me what I need – a warming pumpkin soup. I have played around with many pumpkin variations in the past, with bacon, curry mixtures, roasted onions and I also love my puristic version with pumpkin seed oil and pumpkin seeds. Over the years my pumpkin soups became more spicy. I tend to feel cold all the time in Winter and nothing beats a hot and spicy soup to warm up your body from the inside.

Today I want my soup really hot and I also feel like adding some bittersweet chocolate on top (I love the combination of bitter, sweet and spicy!). I mix the soup in a blender which gives it a smooth and velvety texture. Together with the chili and bittersweet chocolate sprinkles on top, it makes quite a sensual meal!

This recipe has been featured on Food52 Halfway To Dinner!

Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Soup with Chili and Bittersweet Chocolate

For 4 people you need

pumpkin, without the seeds and fibres, cut into cubes, 600g / 1.5 pounds
(I like to use Hokkaido pumpkin with skin, or peeled butternut or Musquée de Provence)
medium sized potato, cut into cubes, 1
medium sized leek, sliced thinly, 1/3
medium sized carrots, cut into small cubes, 2
medium sized onion, chopped, 1
garlic, quartered, 1 clove
bay leaf 1
small dried chili peppers 2
a pinch of mace or nutmeg
salt and pepper
olive oil
water around 1l / 2 pints

For the topping
fresh red hot chili pepper, chopped finely, 1
bittersweet chocolate, grated, 4 heaped teaspoons plus more to taste

In a large pot, heat a splash of olive oil and cook the onion for a few minutes until golden and soft. Add the garlic, leek and carrots and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the pumpkin and potato, cook for 2 minutes and cover with water. Add the bay leaf and the dried chili peppers and season with mace (or nutmeg), salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and cook for about 30 minutes (without a lid) or until the pumpkin is soft.

Take the pot off the heat and remove the bay leaf and dried chili peppers. Purée the soup with a stick mixer or in a blender until smooth, season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the soup between the plates and sprinkle with the fresh chili pepper and chocolate.

Pumpkin Soup with Chocolate

Tomato, Leek and Cream Cheese Bagel

Today has been a busy day so we are going to keep it simple and make some sandwiches. I love trying out new variations as there are so many great things one can place between two slices of bread  – or, in our case today, in a bagel.

Even though my bagels are really good (my recipe will follow soon), I must admit the true star of this snack is the filling of sour cream cheese together with spicy chilli, fried leek rings and fresh slices of tomato. Some salt and pepper on top and you have a most satisfying meal.

When I make bagels I bake them in bigger batches because it is very convenient to have a few of them in the freezer and you just have to warm them up in the oven for a few minutes whenever you feel like. For our sandwiches today I prepare two bagels which I had baked with spelt flour (my favorite flour). But four thick slices of any other nice, fresh white bread will work as well. While the bagels are defrosting in the oven, I gently fry thinly sliced leek (a thumb length piece) in some butter and cut a fresh chili pepper (4 cm) in very thin slices as well. Then I spread the cold cream cheese on the warm bagels, layer this with thinly sliced tomatoes (I use four cherry tomatoes) and scatter the leek and chili on top. Seasoned with some sea salt and pepper, this makes you feel like you never want to eat anything else ever again!

Tomato + Leek Bagle