Tag Archives: recipe

Oreo Biscotti – a sweet Christmas gift

Usually as soon as the calendar hits the 1st of December, I start Youtubing Christmas playlists… Who am I kidding, I start doing it mid-November!

To be honest, I wasn’t feeling very festive last year, because it was my first Christmas in Thailand. I guess I either miss snow, cold yet sunny Lithuanian winters, or the appalling British weather. Apart from the snowless winter, I am very jolly and I hope you are too. If not – just stick to your 5-a-day (and by that I mean mulled wine!).

Cosy Christmas in Leeds... with a Waitrose coffee-cup Christmas tree :)
Cosy Christmas in Leeds… with a Waitrose coffee-cup Christmas tree 🙂

For our last Christmas in the UK, Auste and I decided to make gifts for our friends and family ourselves, and I have to say it was definitely worth it. We had so much fun looking for crafting materials, recipes and spare boxes from work, and the result did give a magical festive feeling. We made Oreo biscotti as one of the gifts and they turned out excellent. If you follow the recipe, they should come out very moreish. Hence, make more if you’re making these crunchies for both your friends, and yourself to enjoy. Two days later they no longer existed in our place…

So surprise your friends and try the recipe below. If you’re an average Joe, you should really have every ingredient and would only need to buy the Oreos or vanilla extract.

oreo biscotti homemade Christmas gift ideas
Fresh out of the oven – you just want to find the broken ones and taste, then you find more and more until you’re full.

Makes 40+ biscotti

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons butter

2/3 cup sugar

½ teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

2 eggs

2 cups flour

20 Oreo cookies, chopped (trust me, 20 is NOT too much)

Optional decoration:

100g white chocolate

1 tablespoon butter

3 Oreo cookies, cookie part only, finely crushed

Icing sugar (about 3 tablespoons)

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 180 C (350 degrees F). Line baking tray with baking paper.

2) Using a fork mix butter, sugar, salt, vanilla extract and baking powder in a bowl until smooth. Beat in eggs.

3) Slowly (to avoid lumps) add flour and mix until smooth, then stir in chopped Oreos.

4) Divide the dough in half, shape into 2 logs on the baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.

5) Remove the biscotti logs from oven and cool on the baking sheet for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 160 C (325 degrees F).

6) When they cool down, slice the logs into 2 cm slices leaving small gaps between them. Bake for an additional 25 mins until golden (or less for softer biscotti). Remove and cool completely.

a Christmas packet full of homemade goodness that Auste sent to her family
a Christmas packet full of homemade goodness that Auste sent to her family

Hummus (eating healthy in Thailand)

Street food, street food, street food… We were obsessed with it, and that was one of our main reasons for coming to Thailand. We used to watch Mark Wiens’ videos nearly every day and drool over amazing-looking dishes he tried across the country. Then we came here.

We found that 90 % of food on the street is meat-based, and the other 10 % is fruit. With an aim to lead a healthy vegetarian lifestyle we quickly invested in some kitchen appliances and our exotic foodie adventures shifted from the street to our own kitchen.

It’s just meant to be I guess – if you enjoy doing something, circumstances WILL make sure you end up where you should, in our case – the kitchen. So here we are in Thailand, off the beaten foodie path, making our own creations and enjoying old classic dishes. One of which is HUMMUS – a simple moreish supper that we recently made. It’s like peanut butter – you just can’t get enough of it.

If you follow the recipe without changes (maybe just the water content to help blending), it should come out not too smooth or thick, tasting a bit smokey, a tiny bit acidic, with a gentle touch of garlic and a protein-ish texture. Leftovers? (happens for meal-planners, right?) Make a hummus-veg sandwich with a nice toasted baguette, bell peppers, some rocket salad or sunflower sprouts, and freshly ground black pepper. It’s also great with falafels.

Hummus

HUMMUS ingredients:

1 teaspoon cumin

2 chopped garlic cloves

3 tablespoons of each water and oil

Juice of ½ lime

1 can chickpeas

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1- Toast the cumin in a dry pan for under a minute until smoke starts appearing, then grind it in a food processor (or pestle and mortar, OR a bag and a dough roller/heavy item)

2 – Mash/blend the drained chickpeas with garlic, lemon juice, oil and water (I prefer not using water, but it just doesn’t blend in our processor)

3 – Add ground cumin, salt, pepper and mix everything thoroughly

4 – Sprinkle with the paprika and some parsley for more aroma, both being optional.

Nutritious peanut butter granola bars

Back in Leeds we were obsessed with peanut butter. At one point we had 5x1kg tubs of 100% full-skin peanut butter from Meridian.

Do you even lift, bro?
Do you even lift, bro?

I miss those weekends when we used to use the oven since early morning. We (at least I) used to get up around 8 AM, maybe go to the gym, get a free coffee from Waitrose, and head to the market on my way back. Then I would turn on the oven, mix up the granola mass and relax with Auste in the living room, on our cozy little carpet, enjoying the view through our huge floor-to-ceiling window. Then I would take out the granola, impatiently break off a tasty chunk and burn my fingers. Those were the days!

Three full trays of granola - some were for making bars, some for granola cereal
Three full trays of granola – some were for making bars, some for granola cereal

At that point I had been reading up loads of granola recipes online, and trying them almost daily. Then we started wrapping them up in nice paper with ribbons and packing them as snacks for our trips, only because we had loads left. The good thing about granola is that you can keep it for months and the taste stays the same. If the bars come out too hard or break up into uneven pieces, you can make them smaller and keep in a jar to use as a granola cereal!

Wrap them nicely, grab a coffee before the train - it looks as if you've bought them from a fancy coffee shop!
Wrap them nicely, grab a coffee before the train – it will look as if you’ve bought them from a fancy coffee shop!
A beautiful morning enjoying home-baking and a nice cup of tea
A beautiful morning enjoying home-baking and a nice cup of tea

PART 1/3

I call this the ‘sugar’ batch, because I replaced 50% honey with sugar – you can make it no sugar, all honey, or the opposite if you’re vegan.

Mix all of the below ingredients in a BIG bowl (this is a big batch):

500g peanut butter

100g sugar [if no sugar, read on]

and 100g wheatgerm

then add 400g oats

100g ground nuts (1 cup) (almonds and cashews)

50g dried nuts (hazels) – I just put them in a bag, and smash a few times with a jar or a strong bottle

pinch of salt

and a teaspoon baking powder

Mix everything.

No need for fancy equipment - after watching Jamie Oliver's shows a few times you pick up a lot of simple yet genius ideas!
No need for fancy equipment – after watching Jamie Oliver’s shows a few times you pick up a lot of simple yet genius ideas!

PART 2/3

Once you’ve got the dry’ish mixture, add 200g honey if using sugar (if no sugar, add 400g) – if your peanut butter is not 100% peanuts, reduce the amount of honey / sugar accordingly.

Add 100g soy milk. Mix well.

 

PART 3/3

Now this is UP TO YOU, but it worked very well for me, because the bars were solid but not too hard, plus I like the below ingredients due to their availability and nutrient content:

Add 25g ground chia seeds and 25g ground linseeds.

Bake in a preheated oven (160 C) for about 17 mins (keep checking!).

 

Because I literally made a bucket of granola mass, I separated it into different containers, and experimented with different flavours. Auste enjoyed batch #3, but I loved #4, because it was very chocolatey and after eating them I didn’t want to have any other snacks.

 

Variation 1: cranberry and coconut

Variation 2: cranberry and pumpkin seeds

Variation 3: cranberry, pumpkin seeds and raw cacao nibs

Variation 4: dark chocolate

Variation 5: goji berries and banana coins

Even though they're high in sugar and fat, they're vegan and the peanut butter adds some protein, and the seeds add some micro-nutrients. If they can replace a chocolate bar or a slice of cake, why not?
Even though they’re high in sugar and fat, they’re vegan and the peanut butter adds some protein, and the seeds add some micro-nutrients. If they can replace a chocolate bar or a slice of cake, why not?

Camembert and caramelised apple salad

It is true what Bryan Adams has taught us – “You don’t know what you’ve got ’till its gone”. For a food lover like myself, it has been way too long without a cooking facility. Six. Bloody. Months. Only during times like these you realise what you really enjoy in life –
cooking. And cheese.
Man I love cheese! This week Auste and I bought 3 tubs of goats’ cheese, five packets of mozzarella, a round of camembert and a block of gouda… We didn’t really think about the fact that cheese has an expiry date, and we’re just two small people. So with all the cheesy stuff going on, we decided to make a cheese salad.
Today I had the last day of school before the Christmas break and I asked Auste to prep all the ingredients so we could take a photo before it gets too dark. I get home, and guess what? She asks if I could help prep everything before it gets too dark!
We finished just in time for a beautiful sunset and really enjoyed the meal.
croutons
The sweetness of the caramelised apple goes very well with peppery rocket leaves. Soft and flavoursome camembert goes well with the crunchy garlic bread. All of those things combined make a really simple ‘gourmet’ dinner.
Ingredients:
small baguette, cut into 1cm slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 apples cut into wedges
handful of rocket salad
100 g camembert cheese, cut into thin wedges
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
optional – handful of grapes for a lighter taste
Directions:
1. Brush the bread with oil and garlic and grill for a few minutes until golden. (add a touch of salt and pepper)
2. Heat butter and sugar in a pan over medium heat.
3. Add the apples and sauté for 2-3 minutes until light golden.
4. Arrange all of the ingredients onto a serving platter and drizzle with the remaining butter from the pan and a touch of balsamic vinegar.
Camembert salad