Casual Cakes

Brazilian Carrot Cake

Brazilian Carrot Cake

I’m such a huge fan of Brazilian cakes! In Brazil, they have lots of cakes which only require a few basic ingredients, using only an electric mixer! The outcome is AMAZING! Such simple cakes but really delicious, flavorful and moist.

I’ve once tasted this delicious carrot cake at a birthday party of my Brazilian friend. It’s usually called “BOLO DE CENOURA”. I fell in love with it right away and decided to try making it at home. She didn’t give me the exact recipe though because she kept on emphasizing how easy this cake is and that I only had to put carrots, sugar, oil and flour into an electric mixer. Her “BOLO DE CENOURA” had a chocolate glaze which was fantastic. I dust my cake with powdered sugar so that it’s kind of “easier” to eat with your hands. My son loves having a slice of cake in his lunch box sometimes, therefore I find it more practical this way. I also love taking something sweet to my work along with a cup of coffee and this definitely comes in handy.

I always have carrots at home. They’re inexpensive, very healthy and a great snack for kiddos. I love including carrots into a lot of my recipes. Every time there’s a few carrots at our place which nobody want to eat anymore, I make this cake.

My NJ is more of a cucumber kind of boy but he really loved this carrot cake. I bet that most of you already have these ingredients at home. Just simply throw everything into your electric mixer and pour the batter into your cake pan…and voilà! You got yourself a scrumptious homemade cake!

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Brazilian Carrot Cake

Ingredients:
300 g Carrots, cut into small chunks
3 Eggs
240 ml Canola oil
200 g Brown sugar
200 g Sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Lemon zest

Directions:
Preheat oven to 175°C/345°F. Grease and flour a bundt pan.

In an electric mixer, add carrots, eggs, canola oil, brown sugar, sugar and salt. Mix until everything is combined and the carrots should be well mashed.

Add the baking powder and lemon zest.

Pour the batter into your greased bundt pan and bake for 35 – 40 minutes. A skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean.

Soups

Meliann’s Chicken Noodle Soup

Meliann's Chicken Noodle Soup

It’s that time of the year again…SOUP SEASON! Yey! 🙂

I love the cool autumn/winter days where you just throw on your fluffy bathrobe and your cozy socks, sitting with your family and enjoying a bowl of soup while watching a great TV show.

This is also the flu season again, where a great Chicken Noodle Soup comes in handy. It’s amazing how a bowl of hot soup can easily make you feel calm and relaxed.

My brothers love going out and having a bowl of Ramen soup every once in a while. I must admit, I like Ramen soup but find it really expensive at most of the restaurants. It’s way much cheaper and easier to make a whole pot of soup at home where I’m sure there will be lots of leftovers for the next cool morning.

I use Asian egg noodles for this soup. You could actually use any kind of Asian noodles but this type of egg noodles have the perfect texture and I love that they’re also thin. The Miso paste gives this soup the something “special” taste therefore I wouldn’t leave this out. You can fine both of these ingredients at almost all Asian stores.
These are the noodles I always have in my pantry.

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I guarantee you that this soup will make your family and friends happy and satisfied especially when someone has the flu or simply to warm you on cold days like now.

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Meliann’s Chicken Noodle Soup

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:
6 cm Piece of ginger
2 Red chili pepper
2 Carrots
200 g Pak-Choi
2 Pieces Chicken breast, boiled and shredded
600 ml Chicken broth
500 ml Water
250 g Thin Egg noodles
40 g Miso paste
2 Tbsp Soy sauce
4 Hard boiled eggs
Spring onions for garnishing

Directions:
Boil chicken breast until cooked and shred with fork and knife.

Peel the ginger and carrots then cut into stripes (julienne).
Cut the red chili pepper and pak-choi roughly.

In a large pot, bring chicken broth and water to a boil. Add the Miso paste and let cook for 2 minutes.

Add the carrots, ginger, pak-choi, egg noodles and shredded chicken breast into the broth and let cook for 4-5 minutes.

Season with soy sauce and garnish with chopped spring onions, boiled eggs and red chili peppers.

Cookies & Bars

OREO Cheesecake Brownies

OREO Cheesecake Brownies

Who doesn’t love OREO cookies, cheesecake and brownies? Have you ever tried the three of them in one recipe? No? Oh my Goodness! You are missing out on something AMAZING!

My brothers and I grew up with OREO Cookies. We love dunkin’ our OREO cookies in a glass of milk, all the way American style! When we moved to Germany, OREO wasn’t that popular yet. All that has changed now! Luckily, all groceries in Germany sell OREO cookies. It’s become such a great hype here in Germany as well.

You can find almost everything with OREO nowadays: ice creams, donuts, baking mixes, chocolate etc. There’s really a huge selection!

Now my family love everything that contains OREO cookies. My brother Kevin is a cheesecake fan and my brother EJ just loves brownies. Therefore, I’ve decided to whip up these fantastic Oreo Cheesecake Brownies! It has everything that your heart desires! 🙂

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OREO Cheesecake Brownies

Ingredients:
200 g Cream cheese
160 g Sugar
3 Eggs
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
115 g Butter
50 g Cocoa powder
60 g All-purpose flour
1 tsp Baking powder
15 OREO Cookies

Directions:
Preheat oven to 180°C/355°F. Grease and line your brownie baking pan (I use an 11 x 7-Inch pan).

Crumble the OREO cookies roughly.

In a small bowl, beat cream cheese, 60 g sugar, 1 egg and 1 tsp vanilla extract together until well combined.

Melt the butter in the microwave.

Add cocoa powder, 100 g sugar to the melted butter and mix.

Now add the 2 eggs and continue mixing until combined.

Add the vanilla extract and the crumbled OREO cookies (leave about 2 Tbsp for the topping)to the batter and slowly mix just until combined.

Using a spoon, add the brownie batter into the prepared baking pan.

Pour the cream cheese batter over the brownie batter and sprinkle the remaining 2 Tbsp of crumbled OREOs on the batter.

Bake for 40 – 45 minutes.

Drizzle melted chocolate if desired.

Finger Food

“Obatzda” Crostini

Obatzda Crostini

The Oktoberfest has already started and I wanted to make something simple to celebrate the great German folk festival. Of course, pretzels and large glasses of beer is what immediately pop into my head every time I think about the Oktoberfest.

“Obatzda” is is a Bavarian cheese delicacy which you usually spread on pretzels or rustic dark bread. It’s a classic example of Bavarian “Biergarten” food.
Some people add a small amount of beer into their “Obatzda”.

I like mine real simple with crisp rye bread and a glass of cold apple juice. I’m not much of a beer drinker but my brother couldn’t resist indulging these with a glass of  cold German beer.

It’s such a great explosion of flavors, biting into the “Obatzda” slathered bread topped with fresh radishes and red onion. It feels like being at the Oktoberfest without leaving the house! These make good appetizers for game nights or other get-together.

Cheers to a great Oktoberfest and a fantastic German Appetizer. 🙂

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Obatzda Crostini

Yield: 8 – 10 Servings

Ingredients:
500 g Camembert Cheese
200 g Butter (softened)
1 tsp Ground cumin
1 tsp Ground paprika (sweet)
Salt
Pepper
1 bunch Chives
8 pieces Radish
1 Red Onion
2 Tbsp Olive oil
8 – 10 slices of rye bread (you can also slice Baguettes)

Directions:
In a medium bowl, mix Camembert cheese and butter together, using a dough hook attachment.

Add cumin, paprika, salt and pepper and mix for another 1 -2 minutes until well combined and creamy.

Chop chives roughly and slice radish and red onion thinly.

Heat olive oil in pan and add the slices of bread; heat both sides of the bread for about 2-3 minutes until slightly brown and crisp.

Spread the crisp slices of bread with the “Obatzda” cheese and add the sliced radish and red onion on top.

Garnish with chopped chives.

Casual Cakes

Cherry 7 UP Bundt Cake

Cherry 7 UP Bundt Cake

I’m such a sweettooth! I love everything that contains sugar! I’m talking about chocolate, frostings, candy, soda etc.
I’m the only one in my family who likes everything extra sweet!

This cake is all that! The 7 UP in this cake gives it that great sweet lemony flavor and the glaze…mmmhhh! OMG! The glaze is the cherry on top! And I even add more cherries on top of that! Hehehe…

I love poking holes on top and adding the cherry juice to give this cake an extra cherry flavor and moisture. Plus the color looks really great!

This cake is a big hit and will surely impress your folks! You could also simply leave out the cherries and make it a simple lemon cake.
You could also leave out the glaze and dust with confectioners sugar instead.
Adding blueberries instead of the cherries is also a great option.
Bottom line is you can customize this cake as much as you want and the result will always turn out amazing! 🙂

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Cherry 7 UP Bundt Cake

Ingredients:
340 g Unsalted butter (room temperature)
400 g Sugar
5 Eggs
1 tsp Salt
375 g All-purpose flour
2 tsp Lemon extract
180 ml 7 Up
1 jar Maraschino cherries, drained (keep juice)

Glaze:
250 g Confectioners sugar
2 tsp Lemon extract
4 Tbsp Milk

Directions:
Preheat oven to 165°C/325°F (top and bottom heat). Grease and flour bundt pan.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs and continue beating until well combined.

Add the flour and salt and mix until blended.

Add the lemon extract and pour in the 7 Up; continue beating.

Using a spatula, slowly fold in the cherries (be careful not to mash them).

Pour batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 1 1/2 hours.

Let cake cool for about 30 minutes then turn the cake onto serving dish.

Using a skewer, poke holes all over the top of the cake and pour your reserved cherry juice slowly over the top making sure the juice gets soaked up.

Mix together confectioners sugar, lemon extract and milk and drizzle over the top of the cake.

Filipino Snacks/Desserts

“Buchi” Filipino Fried Rice Balls

Buchi - Filipino Fried Rice Balls

“Buchis” are a Filipino version of deep fried rice cakes. They are filled with red bean paste and shaped into balls, coated in sesame seeds.

You can normally find them at most Asian snack bars or restaurants. They usually taste very similar but probably have different fillings.

You can fill them with purple yams, sweet potatoes or even chocolate.
I fill them with red bean paste which is the traditional way. You can buy ready-made red bean paste in almost all Asian stores.

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These are the ones I found over here and I’m pretty happy with the taste.

“Buchis” are so easy to make and a great snack for your family and friends. They’re nothing ordinary and I’m sure that only a few of your folks have tried these Filipino rice balls. The kiddos will love these because of the “weird” texture.
To give the “Buchis” a special twist, you could fill them with Nutella.

“Buchis” look so simple but taste very good in an undescribable way! They are chewy with a quite sticky texture and a sweet surprise in the center. It feels like being on an Asian trip munching on these babies! 🙂

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Buchi

Yield: 18 Buchi balls

Ingredients:
250 g Red bean paste
400 g Glutinous rice flour ( 1 pack)
2 Tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Salt
350 ml Water (room teperature)
100 g Sesame Seeds
Cooking oil for frying

Directions:
In a medium bowl, combine glutinous rice flour, sugar, salt and water and knead together until it forms a soft ball.
Hint: You’re basically looking for a Play-Doh texture, soft and a bit moist.

Form balls (50 g each) and flatten them in the palm of your hand. Add about 1 tsp of red bean paste on top of your flat dough and carefully wrap to form into a ball.

Roll the sticky balls into the sesame seeds.

Heat the pan and pour-in the cooking oil.

When the cooking oil is very hot, deep-fry the sesame balls until golden brown.
Hint: Fry them only for about 4 – 5 minutes no longer! They will start to pop when you overfry them.

Remove the cooked Buchis from the pan and drain excess oil.

Pasta

Shrimps Tortiglioni in Herb Cream Cheese Sauce

Shrimps Tortiglioni in Herb Cream Cheese Sauce

On a busy weekday like this, all I want is to prepare something easy and simple for my folks. A few of you already know, how much we love pasta and that we simply can’t get enough of pasta cooked in different ways.

This Shrimps Tortiglioni in Herb Cream Cheese Sauce is very quick to make and tastes unbelievably G-O-O-D!

The cooked garlicky shrimps kissed by the slight taste of creamy herb cream cheese is so fantastic! You wouldn’t guess that this recipe only needs a few ingredients. I bet most of you already have everything in your pantry.
You just have to go out and buy some shrimps now. 🙂

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Shrimps Tortiglioni in Herb Cream Cheese Sauce

Yield: 6 Servings

Ingredients:
500 g Tortiglioni
500 g Shrimps
3 Cloves garlic (finely chopped)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
500 g Cherry tomatoes
2 Tbsp Brown sugar
300 g Herb Cream Cheese
200 ml Heavy Cream
Salt
Black Pepper
Parmesan cheese
Fresh parsley for garnishing (optional)

Directions:
Cook Tortiglioni noodles according to package.

In a large skillet, heat oil and cook garlic until golden brown. Add the shrimps and cook until done.

Take out the cooked shrimps and add the tomatoes.
Cook the tomatoes for about 3-4 minutes (you don’t want the tomatoes to be mashed).

Sprinkle the brown sugar over the cooked tomatoes and continue cooking until sugar is melted.

Add the herb cream cheese and heavy cream on medium heat. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the shrimps and Tortiglioni noodles into the sauce.

Give it a good toss and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.