Friday, 25 July 2014

Frozen Yogurt Blackberry Tartlettes

Have you ever had that ultimate feeling of knowing something no one else seems to know yet and thus feel like the smartest one around? That's exactly what I had this week as I took a glance at the wild blackberries that are growing next to my running track and saw that the bushes were all covered with juicy ripe fruits. After an interior dance of accomplishment for the rest of my run I went back the next day to pick them up - hanging in the bushes covered with purple stains and being trapped in the thorns, yaaaa it was fun. No but seriously these little gremlins don't make it easy to be enjoyed ;-).

The taste testing showed that some were still a little tart so instead of using them fresh I decided to cook them into a compote, to be used on top of oatmeal, yogurt, icecream or just plain. 
While the stovetop stewed them like there's no tomorrow I tapped around in the kitchen, thinking about a nice recipe to share with you guys. 

When the world comes to an end one day and there's nothing left at all, you can always be sure to still find a little yogurt in our fridge. Yep, we're basically living on that stuff. So yogurt+blackberry compote+european heatwave= frozen yogurt with a blackberry compote swirl! And to include some greens: topped with roasted pistachos and chopped mint leaves! I think I'm on a frozen dessert-ing train in the moment ;-).

Okay, so I stop with my ramblings now and am off to pick some more blackberries before anyone else finds out that they're ripe already - okay, seriously I just want to make more of these tartlettes to beat the heat and because they're soo good! So happy tartlette-making and I hope you can be just in time for some wild-picked blackberries! ;-)

Frozen Yogurt Blackberry Tartlettes
- makes 6 tartlettes if you use regular sized muffin tins
- 200g Blackberries
- 50 ml tap water
- 2 Tbsp honey, more if you have quite  a sweet tooth
- 500g all natural yogurt, works well with both regular and low-fat, greek might be nice as well
- a handful of chopped roasted pistachos
- 10 mint leaves, chopped

1. Make your compote: wash the blackberries and remove any stems. Put them in a medium sized saucepan and add in the water. Turn the stovetop on medium high heat with the lid on. Once the berries cook remove the lid and stir from time to time to prevent them from burning. Turn the heat down to low and let them simmer for up to 30 minutes until mixture is thick. Remove from the heat and let cool for a further 30 minutes, then stir in the honey.
2. Assemble: Divide the yogurt amongst your muffin tins, then top it with the cooled blackberry compote. To achieve a nice marbled effect swirl it a bit with a fork. Put the tins in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours to overnight to freeze. 
3. Once ready to serve remove the tartlettes from the tins by inverting them on a plate - a little warm water on top of the outside of the tins might be necessary. Top each with some roasted pistachos and chopped mint. Serve and enjoy! 

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Plum Crumble Squares

Plum Crumble Squares with honey and oats
Stone fruit season is in full swing now - the markets are pouring over with apricots, peaches, nectarines, cherries aaaaand PLUMS!! There's a long tradition of gorgeous plum streusel or crumb cakes in my family: just a nice crust, some juicy plums and a buttery crumble on top is all it takes for summer weekend perfection.

I almost ran into a box of  perfectly ripe plums this week and as I cycled them home a combination of oats and honey to pair up with the sweet fruits came into my mind. It was mid-week so an indulgent crumble cake was out of the question, not only because I like to save it for the more 'special' weekend coffee time yet also because a trip was scheduled for the weekend and a whole cake would have been difficult to enjoy during the drive ;-).
Plum Crumble Squares with honey and oats

Plum Crumble Squares with honey and oats

In the end I settled for an all-honey-sweetend bar with the addition of some crunchy oats for a more complex, crunchy texture. The tiny squares consist of a crunchy crust, a juicy cinnamon plum centre and a proper crumble on top - you won't miss the butter, the sugar and neither the additional dollop of whipped cream that would usually accompany the cake. Healthy indulgence - that's my kind of mid-week-cake!

Plum Crumble Squares with honey and oats

Plum Crumble Squares
- makes 24 squares, about 5x5 cm in size
- 6 plums
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- 3/4 cup honey
- 5 dried dates, pitted
- hot water
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 50g Almond Butter, unsweetened
- 170g ground oats
- 1 tsp salt
- 50g oats
- 200g whole wheat flour
- 2 Tbsp whole almonds

1. Wash, halve and pit the plums, then cut them into slices (about 3 mm thick).
Preheat the oven to 160 °C/320 °F. Now mix the plums with two tablespoons of the honey, one tablespoon of the flour and the cinnamon. Set aside.
2. Put the dates into a small bowl (~10cm in diameter) and pour boiled water on top until just covered. Set aside.
3. Now prepare the dough: Mix the whole wheat flour with the ground oats and the salt. Now add in the melted coconut oil, the almond butter, the remaining honey and the beaten eggs. Work the dough with a fork until it comes together. Divide into three parts. Use two thirds to form the crust: roll the dough out, on a parchment lined baking sheet, into a rectangle, about 30x30cm in size and about 3-5mm thick. Top the crust with the prepared plum filling.
4. Roughly mix the remaining dough with the oats and almonds and distribute it into pieces to be sprinkled on top of the plum filling.
5. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the crumb topping is slightly browned and the plum filling is cooked through. Take out and let it sit on the counter for 10 minutes before cutting it into squares. Serve or allow for further cooling before storing it wrapped in aluminium foil or in a box. Enjoy!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Strawberry-Watermelon-Mint Smoothie

Strawberry-Watermelon-Mint Smoothie

I've got a new obsession: smoothies! Okay, you may laugh at me now, but I've never been the kind of person that drinks her calories - I drink my coffee black (most times) and am not the biggest fans of either juices or shakes or soft drinks. Not that I would dismiss a good homemade apple-juice or similar once in a while but in general I'm a non-sparkling-water-all-day-long kind of person.

Sorry to get back on the all-time-theme of the weather again, but some days the humidity here  in the city is a killer. But I've found my kind of relief: a good iced Strawberry-Watermelon-Mint Smoothie!!

I'm addicted to watermelon and we had a whole bunch of self-picked strawberries sitting in the refrigerator AND the mint-plants started to take over our balcony until one morning this happened:

Refreshing summer smoothie recipe

In the short moment between laying in my bed and deciding what to have for breakfast a thought came up in my mind and the idea of a great smoothie for breakfast and to cool down as well triggered my all the time during my morning run. As I came back I immediately gathered the ingredients and fluuuuuuushhhhhh - 5 minutes (and of  course a little shower) later I was able to sit down and enjoy a whole glass of icy-strawberry-watermelon deliciousness with a good touch of mint - heaven!!
The recipe will make half a litre, so it was enough to share with my sister who requested another one right away. So get your watermelon, strawberries and mint ready and enjoy!

Smoothie recipe

Strawberry-Watermelon-Mint Smoothie
- makes 500ml/ ~2 cups
- 300g/2 cups diced watermelon
- 1 cup strawberries
- a bunch of mint leaves (I used about 20), reserving a few for the decoration
- 100g/ 3/4 cup crushed ice

1. Blend together the fruits and mint until well mixed. Then add in the crushed ice and continue blending until desired consistency is reached. You can add in some optional splashes of water if the texture is too thick. Decorate with some additional mint leaves or strawberries and enjoy!