27 January 2013

Garlic shrimps

I hope everyone had a great weekend. Mine was filled with grocery shopping and watching movies. With the snow and all I’m not really in the mood to do anything else. But today it started to rain. I never thought I would be so happy to see rain. The snow just melted away. Having 2 weeks of winter with snow and scrapping my car windows is more than plenty for me. Please let the spring start soon.
On Saturday I bought a bag of frozen, peeled and deveined shrimps. Talk about shortcuts. Normally I buy them with shell, so this was a nice change. I always try to have a bag of frozen shrimp in the freezer. Never know when I need them.
I don’t know if I should call this post garlic shrimps or shrimp garlic given the amount of garlic I marinated them with. I know my boss will not be too happy tomorrow at work. Somehow he always knows when I had garlic. But that doesn’t stop me from eating it. I just love garlic!

For these super simple garlic shrimps I used:
-       About 25 pieces of peeled and deveined shrimps
-       4 cloves of garlic
-       1 teaspoon of salt
-       Fresh ground pepper
-       Some slivers of fresh chili
-       1 teaspoon of garlic powder
-       Dash of olive oil
I started with mincing the garlic and sliced some slivers of chili. I don’t like it too hot so just a couple would do.
To this I added the salt, the pepper, the garlic powder and the olive oil.
Then I butter flied the shrimp, making sure I didn’t cut them all in half and mixed them with the garlic mixture. I let it marinate for a day, but if you are in a hurry you can use it after a couple of minutes also.
In a hot wok I added a bit of olive oil and one teaspoon of butter. The moment the butter melted in the oil I added the shrimp.
Shrimp cooks so fast, so the whole process took no longer then 2-3 minutes. There is no doing anything else while the shrimp is cooking so you’ll have to be there and keep an eye on them. When one side was done I turned them around and after everything turned pink it was time to serve it.
We ate it with some toasted bread, but it was good just like that also; a great, fast and simple snack before dinner.
PS: try these shrimps on top of a salad!

20 January 2013

Lemon passion fruit semolina cake

I know it is bit late but I think it is never to late for a happy new year! I hope this year will be all that you want it to be.
Looking back at last year I can say that it’s been a very good one. Now that I’ve think about it, I don’t think I had any bad year at all. Or maybe I’m just good at ignoring any bad past.
Anyway it’s been really good taking a break from blogging and focusing more on getting healthier. I’ve stopped running since the days are getting shorter and the nights longer, but as soon as the temperature goes up to somewhat decent running temperature; I will be picking up where I left. Still have that wedding to go to in June...So far I haven’t gain any kilos, but I’m afraid I can’t hold that off for long.

I checked my pantry and notice that I had a bag of Semolina that was about to expire. I looked everywhere for a recipe and then I remembered that my Greek neighbor use to make semolina cake. All the recipes I saw were using 6 or more eggs. Somehow I just can’t justify using 6 eggs just for 1 cake. So lucky I found this recipe and decided to tweak it a little: http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/20192/lemon+semolina+cake

For the cake I used:
-       130 grams of unsalted room temperature butter
-       ½ cup of sugar
-       Zest of one lime
-       2 eggs
-       ½ cup of milk
-       2/3 cups of all purpose flour
-       1 ½ cups of semolina
-       1 teaspoon of baking soda
-       ½ teaspoon of salt
Since I had a lot of passion fruits I decided to use them in the syrup.
-       ¼ cup of passion fruit juice
-       1 cup of water
-       1 cup of sugar
-       Juice of 1 small lime
-       Pinch of salt
I started with creaming the sugar, the butter and the lime zest. 
Then one by one I added the eggs. After the eggs were incorporated I added the milk.

I preheated the oven on 180C degrees.
In a different bowl I mixed the flour, semolina, baking soda and the salt. After the milk was mixed in I added the dry ingredients. I used a spatula to mix it a bit first and then with the hand mixer I made sure everything was mixed well.
I use a bit of butter to grease a square baking tin and added the mixture. I made sure it was somewhat flat on top.

The cake was in the oven for about 40 minutes.
This gives me more than enough time to make the syrup. I cut about 7-8 passion fruits in half and scooped out the seeds. It went into a pot and on the fire so it can boil for a little. After that I drained the seeds and poured 1 cup of water on top. I made sure I extracted as much flavor as I could. Then the pot went back on the fire. After it boiled it added 1 cup of sugar, a pinch of salt and the juice of 1 small lemon. I let the syrup boil for about 8 minutes.
By now the cake is done and has a really nice golden crust. To make sure the syrup can go through the whole cake I punched some holes. Then I poured about 2/3 of the hot syrup on the hot cake.
After it cooled for a bit I cut the cake in squares. I can see that the cake has not sucked up all the syrup so lucky I had some left so I could pour a bit more on top.

It was a very nice and easy cake to make. The only thing I would do different is I would double the amount of syrup so I can let the cake soak in more and maybe shorten the oven time to 30 minutes. This time I only poured it on top so the cake wasn't wet enough for me. Still a very good first try.