According to my calendar, today is brownie day and it also happens to be my birthday (can I get a yeah, yeah ! 😉  ) so, of course, I had to share this amazingly delicious and easy recipe, they are really the best brownies ever !

best brownies recipe sofia plana food photographer

Ingredients : 

2 cups of sugar

1 1/3 cups of flour ( sifted )

1 tsp baking powder

200 gr of good quality dark chocolate ( 70% cacao )

4 eggs

150 grs butter

2 tsp vanilla extract

a pinch of salt

white chocolate chips/chunks ( optional )

Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees and line in with baking paper your tray. ( I use a rectangular 34cm from Tala )

In a large bowl, mix together the sifted flour, baking powder and sugar and set aside.

In another bowl, melt the chocolate and butter over simmering water. When it’s soft, incorporate this to the dry ingredients bowl with the vanilla.

Add the eggs , mixing them in one by one; finally, add the white chocolate chips ( or chunks )and mix well . Pour the mix in the tray and bake for about 20/ 25 minutes.

best brownies recipe sofia plana food photographer

Because you don’t want to brownies to be dry, make sure that the inside is a bit soft and sticky when you do the toothpick test ( you know, when you bake a cake and you check with a toothpick if the cake is cooked and it has to come out dry ) . This way you’ll get them nice and soft in the middle.

best brownies recipe sofia plana food photographer

Let it cool for a few minutes before cutting them in squares. Ice cream or double cream is always a good pairing when serving, but they are also delicious on their own!

I’ll be blowing my birthday’s candles on one of these bad boys later! ; )

 

Sofia x

 

 

 

lamb and lentils sheperds pie sofia plana food photography

A few weeks ago I was watching  a tv show that swaps food for healthier options… and one of things they did was swapping some of the meat for lentils in a cottage/Shepard’s  pie, making it healthier and cheaper.

So when E asked me if we could have meat pie one day, I totally got inspired to make it that way! And also, my iron levels are in the low side so I thought adding lentils was also a good way to sneak in some extra iron.

And let me tell you this.. It’s so much tastier this way! So I’ll be doing my meat pies this way from now on…

Ingredients :

2 onions ( chopped )

2 garlic cloves

3 carrots (chopped )

400 grams of minced lamb

2 cups of lentils ( I like it with a lot of lentils but If you want more meat than lentils just add one)

2 tins of chopped tomatoes

a splash of red wine

1 stock cube ( or  if they sell flavor pots the oxo red wine and rosemary goes perfect with this! )

fresh thyme

potatoes

butter

cheddar cheese

 

lamb and lentils sheperds pie sofia plana food photography

For the pie filling  

In a medium/big pot, add some olive oil and start cooking the chopped onions and garlic in a low fire until soft.

Chop the carrots and add them to the pot. Cook for 5 minute and add the minced lamb.

Cook until it starts to brown then add the lentils and the tins of tomatoes.

Mix well and add one measurement and a half of one of the tomato tins of water and a splash of red wine.

Add the stock cube/flavour pot, chopped fresh thyme salt and pepper . Mix well and bring to a boil.

Then lower the fire to a simmer, cover the pot and cook for 30 minutes, mixing every now and then.

Once it’s cooked , I like to let it rest for at least 1 hour before adding the mash, but if you are in a hurry you can transfer the mix to an oven tray straight away.

For the mash

Wash the potatoes . You can peel them or not.. I normally don’t peel them because I don’t mind the skin on my mash.

Place in a pot, cover with water and add a pinch of salt.

Bring to a boil and cook until they are soft.

Drain the water and transfer to a bowl. Add butter and mash.

I also like to add a bit of English or wholegrain mustard and cheddar to my mash.

Place on top of the meat in a oven tray and sprinkle some cheddar. Bake in the oven at 220  until the top is golden and crispy.  Yummie and perfect meal for this crazy cold weather!

This will give you enough for 5 medium/big portions and you can always freeze it. What I did this time was prepare with the mash enough for 3 portions and then freeze the rest of the meat. That way it takes less space on the freezer and when we want more all I need to do is defrost the meat and make a new mash. 🙂

 

grilled garlic octopus pulpo al ajillo sofia plana food photography-2

Octopus reminds me of the Mediterranean… Of summers in Spain and visiting Greece.

Preparing an octopus from raw has always seemed a bit daunting , I thought it was really tricky, plus octopus are really slimy, but it’s actually not that tricky to make.

Ingredients  :

1 octopus (When you buy the octopus from the fishmonger, ask if they can clean it and remove the skin for you.)

1 cup of white wine

1 garlic head

1 chili

fresh parsley

octopus sofia plana food photographer

You’ll need a tall pot for boiling, as the octopus needs to be submerged.

Add the dry wine and 2 garlic cloves to the boiling water.

Now, here’s a little tip to get the tentacles nice and curly… Lower the fire to a simmer, and carefully not to burn yourself, dip the octopus in the water three times before submerging it fully.

You’ll see that each time you dip it the legs get curlier.

Cover and cook in the simmering water for around 45 minutes, until tender.

Now, you can very well eat it just boiled with some olive oil and paprika, “a la gallega” as the call it in Spain, but for me the best way to have it grilled.. So that the outside is crispy and the inside is tender… add olive oil, salt and parsley and you’ve got a winner!

But today I wanted to show you how I did it ” Al ajillo”, aka with garlic.

Cut the legs and put them in a bowl with olive oil, salt, garlic and parsley. Rub them well and let them marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Then grill the legs until crispy. If you don’t have a grill you can do it the oven, pre heat the oven to 250 and grill them until crispy. Around 10 min.

Once is crispy, cut them in slices.

In a skillet or pan, heat some olive oil, garlic and chilies to taste. Add parleys and sauté the sliced octopus for a few minutes and serve.  A good side is boiled potatoes and of course bread… To dip in that glorious spicy olive oil, the Spanish way!

It is so good that we ate all 8 legs of the octopus in two days between E and I. Needles to say I’ve covered my craving for octopus for some time 😉

Tips:

If you are not going to eat all the legs, you can keep the boiled legs for the next day ( some say even 2 days but they won’t be as tender ) , you can also freeze them after boiling for up to a month or if you are certain it hasn’t been frozen before you can freeze it fresh.