Vegetable soup

In these cold days, there is nothing better than a warm and healthy soup plate. Vegetable soup is quite simple to prepare and have a lot of nutrients.

I’ve made this soup for years. This recipe was a suggestion from my nutritionist to help me lose weight. The main ingredients are pumpkins, zucchinis, tomatoes, onions and carrots. But if you want, you can add others vegetables to increase the taste, as celery, chayote and green beans. I like to top it with collard green, green onions and parsley, for example.

My husband likes to eat some protein source during the meal. For all this years, we have tried a lot of sources, like cottage cheese or quinoa flakes. Those are very light and you just have to mix them within your soup before eat. But definitely my favorite one is chicken (boneless breast, preferably). Instead of cooking the chicken in the soup, I like to prepare the chicken separately, braised with olive oil, onion, garlic, tomatoes and paprika. I don’t recommend turkey or beef. That combination is not good for this soup!

I love to dip some bread slices in the soup. The French bread is perfect for that. I made one to eat the soup, but this bread is very delicious and deserves its own post!


Vegetable soup

2 acorn squash
4 tomatoes
2 carrots
2 zucchinis
1 onion
Black pepper
Green onions

Cut the acorn squash in half through the stem end and place, cut sides down, on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven until a skewer pierces the flesh, about 25 minutes. Scoop out the seeds, scrape the flesh from the skin and set aside.
In a stock pot, brown the onions in olive oil. Either simmer the vegetables, water, and salt together, partially covered, for 20 to 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Puree soup with a blender. Adjust seasonings to taste. Garnish each serving with sliced green onion tops and black pepper, if desired. 


Condensed Milk Flan

Condensed milk flan is one of the most delicious and easiest desserts to prepare. Just beat all the ingredients together and bake in water bath. Simple like that! The hardest part is to control yourself and not eat all at once.

I personally think that the condensed milk here is not too muck sweet, so I decided to add one more cup of sugar on the recipe. But this is up to you to decide it.

You can also substitute the whole milk for skin milk, if you want. The taste will change a little bit, but it will still delicious. Just be careful when you remove it from the pan, because it won’t be too much firm.

Condensed Milk Flan

1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoon water
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 measures can of whole milk 
3 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Place the sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepot over low heat. Let the sugar dissolve. When the sugar turns golden brown add 2 tablespoons of water and let dissolve. Remove from the heat and carefully divide the hot caramel among cake pan or ramekins. Let cool for at least 2 minutes.
In a blender, beat the condensed milk, eggs, sugar and milk about 5 minutes. Place the mixture in a pan or ramekins. Carefully pour boiling water into the baking dish until 2/3 of the way up the sides of the ramekins. (Be careful not to get any water on the mixture.) Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and very gently slide it towards the center of the rack. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the custard are almost fully set. Remove from the oven. Let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes, then refrigerate until well chilled.
To serve, dip the ramekin or pan in very hot water for 15 to 20 seconds. Run a sharp knife around the sides of the ramekin. Invert the custards onto serving plates. The caramel will pool around the inverted custards. Serve immediately.


Cream Biscuit - Bolachinha de Nata

I come from a Brazilian State named Minas Gerais. It is one of the major producer of coffee in Brazil and most of my relatives plant coffee. If you go to England, you will enjoy the tradition of having a cup of tea. But if you go to Minas Gerais, you will appreciate a delicious cup of coffee, made only with freshly harvested grains. This is an especial tradition that unites people around the table not only to drink coffee (which we prefer with milk, not cream), but also to have a “Quitanda”. “Quitanda” is a collection of divine treats like tapioca biscuit, polenta cake, Brazilian cheese bread and cream biscuit, which is my favorite and I will have the pleasure to share the recipe with you.

This recipe is in family for generations. I have great memories of my beloved grandma baking many biscuits in the firewood oven in the farm. But first, she boiled the fresh milk, which she got in the farm too, and then collected the fresh clotted cream formed on the surface after cooling it. That’s right, fresh clotted cream is the secret ingredient. My mother also usually made them as snacks for the break at school. My sister and I loved to help her. As we were not able to make a braid, we rolled like little shells. Our “shells” were a success in the school!

Many years later my husband, then boyfriend, ate for the first time the biscuit in my aunt’s house and he loved it! He ate so much that every time he comes back there, he is greeted with a lot of biscuits.

I made the cream biscuits for the first time by myself. I rolled them like my mother used to make, but also like the shells that I used to make when I was a child. This is a very easy recipe to prepare. If you don’t want to use clotted cream, you can substitute for butter or vegetable shortening. There is another ingredient in this recipe that is kind of different: ammonium carbonate. It is a classic leavener that makes extra-crisp texture. It has a very strong smell when baking, but it totally dissipates by the time the biscuits are done.

Here comes a tip for you: try to moist the biscuit on the coffee with milk before eating. I love to do this and it’s simply delicious. Enjoy it…

Cream Biscuit

500g cream
4 eggs

13 teaspoons of sugar
2 tablespoons ammonium carbonate sifted
about 1Kg of all purpose flour

In a bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, combine the cream, sugar and eggs. Beat until light and fluffy. Add the ammonium carbonate and stir. Then add all purpose flour until the point of rolling. Bake until golden on 360°F.


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