Comfort Cooking Abroad

Get a taste of home no matter where you live

Archive for the category “sweets and treats”

Leftover Rice Pudding

Rice pudding made with leftover rice and coconut milk.

Rice pudding made with leftover rice and coconut milk.

I recently had a lot of leftover rice from Chinese takeaway. Everything but the rice had been eaten and I didn’t want to throw out 2 cups of rice. Usually when I make rice pudding, I cook the rice in a thick custard, but this time I decided to make something closer to what I used to have at breakfast in KSA. I even had real cinnamon and cardamom pods to add, which is what you see in the lower left and top center of the pot.

Ingredients for 8 servings

2 cups leftover rice

1 12 oz can coconut milk

1 1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp salt

1 egg

cinnamon and cardamom to taste – optional

This recipe couldn’t be any easier. Put the leftover rice in a pot and break it up a little. combine the coconut milk, milk, sugar, salt and egg in a bowl and add it to the rice. Add cinnamon and cardamom if you like. Bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 20 minutes.

Pudding mixture before cooking.

Pudding mixture before cooking.

The rice will soften and the liquid will thicken slightly. Don’t expect a custard-like pudding when you finish. This Arabic style rice pudding is much thinner. Try topping it with crushed pistachios for a bit of crunch.

Advertisements

Rustic Plum Pie

Rustic plum pie.

Rustic plum pie.

I love fresh homemade pie. It’s hard to think of a food that’s more comforting or harder to make without a proper oven. These simple, individual pies are so easy to make and bake up quickly and perfectly in a toaster oven.

Ingredients for 4 pies

Crust

Pie dough for 1 double crust 12 inch pie – divided into quarters

1 egg white

Filling

4 plums – thinly sliced

1/2 cup sugar

2 – 3 tsp cinnamon depending on taste

dash salt

Cream cheese layer

4 oz cream cheese – softened

1 egg yolk

1/4 cup sugar

Start by mixing all of the ingredients for the filling. This is best done by hand so that the plum slices don’t fall apart. Set the filling aside and mix the ingredients for the cream cheese layer in a separate bowl. If you’re pressed for work space, keep both bowls in the fridge while roll out the dough for the first pie. On a lightly flour surface, roll one quarter of the pie dough into a rough circle about 6 in (15 cm) across. Smear  one quarter of the cream cheese layer in the middle of the pie dough.

Pie dough with cream cheese layer.

Pie dough with cream cheese layer.

Arrange one quarter of the plum filling over the cream cheese.

Pie filling.

Pie filling.

Now, all you need to do is fold over the edge of the crust. This step is much easier to do than it is to describe, so I’ve got a couple of photos to help you make sense of my explanations.

Fold up a small part of the edge so that it cover the plum filling. Fold up the next part of the edge allowing a bit of crust to drape over the first fold.

The first few folds.

The first few folds.

Continue folding around the pie. When you get back to where you started, drape one side over the previous fold and tuck the other side under the first fold.

Finished folding.

Finished folding.

This is a rustic pie, so don’t worry about getting your folds perfectly even. Just brush the crust with the egg white and place it on a foil-lined toaster oven baking sheet.

Bake your pie on 350 f or using only the lower heat source for approximately 18 minutes and then switch to the upper heat source for 2 minutes. While the first pie is cooking, you can repeat the steps for the second pie.

I included the cream cheese layer because the sweet cream helps cut the tartness of the plums. If you can get almond paste, that would be even better. Just spread about 2 tbsp of the paste on the crust as you would with the cream cheese. You could also use a little coconut cream on top of the finished pie instead.

Plum pie with coconut cream topping.

Plum pie with coconut cream topping.

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Coffee cake and berries for breakfast.

Coffee cake and berries for breakfast.

I ❤ coffee cake. It makes a great breakfast or snack food. And it can come in so many types and flavors that it’s hard to get tired of eating coffee cake. Cinnamon, however will always be my go to. This recipe for cinnamon coffee cake doesn’t take long to whip up and invariably earns compliments.

Ingredients for 1 cake – about 8 servings

Cake batter

1/3 cup butter – softened

3/4 cup cane or raw sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

1/3 cup plain or vanilla yogurt

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 2/3 cup flour

Filling

1/4 cup cane or raw sugar

1 tbsp cinnamon

Topping

2 tbsp butter – softened

1/2 cup flour

1/3 cup cane or raw sugar

Start by creaming together the butter, sugar and egg for the batter. You can do this with a fork if you don’t have a whisk, but you will need to mix quickly to work in some air. When it looks a bit fluffy, gently mix in the milk and yogurt. In a separate bowl, stir the flour, salt and baking powder. Stir the dry ingredients into the batter. The batter should be fairly thin. You are looking for a pourable consistency.

Combine the sugar and cinnamon for the filling. Pour half the batter into a foil line or lightly greased loaf pan small enough to fit in your toaster oven. Spread the filling evenly over batter. Cover with remaining batter.

Cinnamon layer.

Cinnamon layer.

In another bowl, stir together the flour and sugar for the topping. Using a fork, cut in the butter. Cutting in is done by pressing down with the tines of the fork on the butter to break it into small pieces while also mixing the butter into the dry ingredients. Cutting in is also done when making pie crust. When the topping has a crumbly texture and there are no pieces larger than a pea, sprinkle it over the top of your coffee cake.

Put the pan in the toaster oven at 350 F or using only the lower heat source for approximately 30 minutes. The top of the cake should be golden brown. Check for doneness by piercing the center of the cake with a toothpick or skewer. If it comes out clean, allow your cake to cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

Finished coffee cake.

Finished coffee cake.

Cream Cheese Danish

Cream cheese danishes.

Cream cheese danishes.

Cream cheese danishes.

Cream cheese danishes.

 

These dainty breakfast treats are filling and much easier to make than you might think.

Ingredients for 3 servings

1 portion puff pastry dough

4 oz cream cheese

1 egg – separated

1 – 2 tbsp sugar depending on taste

Start by rolling out your puff pastry dough into a rough rectangle of about 18″ x 12″ (46cm x 31cm). You’ll be doing a bit of folding around the edges, so don’t worry about getting the dough to perfect proportions. Slice the dough into  six even sections.

Squares of pastry for danishes.

Squares of pastry for danishes.

Begin folding in the edges to make a roughly circular rim. Start at one corner and work your way around.

Start folding and pinching at one corner.

Start folding and pinching at one corner.

Fold and pinch around the edge.

Fold and pinch around the edge.

Continue until you have formed a roughly circular rim.

Continue until you have formed a roughly circular rim.

Form rims on remaining pastry squares. In a bowl, mix the cream cheese egg yolk, and sugar with a fork. It should be the consistency of a thick sauce. Spoon one sixth of the cream cheese mixture into the center of each danish circle. and put them on a foil-lined toaster oven baking sheet. Brush the egg white on the top of each pastry to help it brown more evenly.

Danishes ready to bake.

Danishes ready to bake.

Puff pastry needs to bake evenly to puff up and become flaky. Use both top and bottom heating elements to cook your danishes and watch them carefully. I recommend cooking them for about 20 – 25 minutes, but this will depend on your toaster oven. If the tops of your danishes appear to be cooking too quickly, switch to the bottom heat source only until the last two or three minutes of baking. Usually a toaster oven will cook foods more quickly at either the front or back. So when you have about five minutes left, remove the  baking sheet and rotate it.

For a slightly faster method, you can smear the cream cheese filling diagonally across the pastry squares and then fold in opposite corners. Baking is done in the same way.

Alternative danish preparation.

Alternative danish preparation.

Banana Cake

Rice cooker banana cake.

Rice cooker banana cake.

I love bananas. They’re a fantastic healthy snack, and relatively inexpensive. Unfortunately, I don’t usually eat a whole bunch of bananas before one or two of the start to get soft and spotty. Bananas that are just edging into overripe are perfect for baking though. I like to save aging bananas in the freezer until I have enough to make a cake, bread, muffins, etc. When I take them out of the freezer they slide right out of the peel and barely need any mashing to mix into the batter. Put the bananas on a plate or in a bowl while they thaw unless you want to clean up the drippy mess afterwards.

Frozen bananas.

Frozen bananas.

Ingredients for 1 cake 8 servings

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup sugar

pinch salt

1 egg

3 – 4 bananas – thawed

1/4 cup oil or melted butter

1/4 walnuts or pecans – crushed

This cake is extremely easy to make, and I should probably be ashamed to admit it is the same recipe I use for banana bread. Simply combine the flour, baking soda, sugar and salt. When the dry ingredients are thoroughly mixed, incorporate the egg, bananas and oil or butter. The bananas should be soft enough to blend in with a fork.

IMG_1129

Banana cake batter.

Banana cake batter.

When it’s well blended, just fold in the crushed nuts. Crushing nuts in a small kitchen can be pretty difficult if you don’t have a food processor or blender. I like to put them in a sealed bag flat on the counter top and roll a mug over them. As long as the nuts are in a single layer, they’ll be in tiny pieces in just a few seconds without making a mess everywhere.

Now it’s time to get your rice cooker ready. You can use butter to coat the bottom of the cooker pot, but you risk having the butter burn a little. Oil is a better choice in this instance. Just put a small amount of oil on a paper towel and wipe the bottom and sides of the pot. Now pour in your batter, put the lid down and turn it to cook. Rice cookers are regulated to turn from cook to warm at 101 F. This means you’ll have to listen for the click or ding that signals the temperature change and check on your cake. It will probably change within 20 minutes and that won’t be enough time for your cake to finish. Open the lid so it can cool off slightly, then close it and push the cook button again. My cake was finished in an hour, but the time varies quite a bit between models. You’ll know it’s done when a skewer comes out clean. Due to the steam while cooking, it will be very pale and spongey on top, so don’t try to go by the appearance.

Finished banana cake.

Finished banana cake.

Try serving the banana cake with caramel sauce and candied orange peel.

Banana cake with candied orange peel and caramel sauce.

Banana cake with candied orange peel and caramel sauce.

Candied Orange Peel

I hate throwing things away, especially food. Sometimes rubbish is dealt with in a questionable manner (thrown into nearby rivers or burned by the side of the road) so I try to be extra careful to use everything possible when living abroad. Candied orange peel is a great way to use every part of an orange and add some extra vitamins to my diet. They keep well and make a very tasty snack. In fact, you can make candied peels from any kind of citrus.

Candied Orange Peel

Candied Orange Peel

You can make these one orange at a time if you don’t eat oranges often, but it’s much easier to make a batch from three or four orange peels. When you eat an orange, cut off the peel in fourths and place the peel in a sealable bag in the fridge. They should keep in the fridge for a few days which will, hopefully, give you time to eat enough oranges for a full batch.

Ingredients

Quartered peels of 3 oranges

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

Additional sugar to coat peels (optional)

Orange peel quarters

Orange peel quarters

I had fairly large oranges and made a batch of these treats after peeling three oranges. When you’ve collected enough peels, don’t worry about removing the pith (that white spongy stuff) from the peel. Just slice the peels lengthwise as evenly as possible and not more than a quarter of an inch (about half a centimeter) wide.

Slicing orange peels.

Slicing orange peels.

Put the peels in a pot and just cover them with water. You will have to boil them on the cook top because a rice cooker won’t get up to a high enough temperature. Boil the peels over medium to high heat for about five minutes, then drain and rinse them.

Peels just covered with water.

Peels just covered with water.

Draining peels.

Draining peels.

Next, do it again. To remove the bitterness, you will need to boil and rinse the peels two to four times. Oranges can usually be boiled twice, while grapefruit  will need to be boiled four times. After the last rinse, return the peels to the pot and add 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar. Now, boil it again. This time keep the heat on medium to low and bring it down to a simmer as soon as it starts to boil.

Peels with water and sugar.

Peels with water and sugar.

At this point the peels are very soft and the smell of citrus will have permeated everything. Keep simmering the peels until they become translucent. When you can see through them, they are ready to come off the heat and get their optional sugar coating.

Translucent orange peel.

Translucent orange peel.

Let the extra syrup drip off the peels before coating them lightly in sugar and placing them on parchment paper to dry. The easiest way to coat your peels is to drop them in a bowl of sugar and shake the bowl carefully until all sides are coated. Make sure you let as much syrup drip off as possible or too much sugar will adhere to the peels.

Sugar coating.

Sugar coating.

Candied Orange Peel

Candied Orange Peel

You now have delicious candied orange peels and, as an added bonus, citrus simple syrup. That’s right, the syrup you cooked the peels in can be used as a liquid sweetener. It tastes amazing in tea!

Caramel Sauce

Finished caramel sauce.

Finished caramel sauce.

One of the easiest sauces to make in a small kitchen with few ingredients, is caramel sauce. It sounds intimidating and, yes, it can be pretty easy to mess up. As long as you watch the sugar carefully, you should have no problem whipping up a batch to pour on cakes, ice cream, fruit, etc.

This sauce will have to be prepared on your cook top, so pull out a fairly deep pot and a wooden spoon. Those are absolutely required utensils for caramel sauce. When it gets to boiling, the sugar will froth up quite high and reach up to a couple of hundred degrees fahrenheit, so you don’t want plastic melting into your sauce or metal spoons transferring that heat to your fingers.

Ingredients for about 1 1/2 cups of sauce

1 cup sugar

1/4 water

1/2 cup heavy cream (or coconut cream)

Salt to taste (optional)

This makes a creamy caramel sauce, but you can leave out the cream and still have a delicious sauce. If you want to make it creamy and can’t find heavy cream, you can substitute in coconut cream. You’ll have to put a container of coconut milk upside down in your refrigerator overnight. The cream and water will separate and the cream will solidify slightly. When you take the milk out the next day, carefully turn the milk over so that the cream and water don’t remix, and pour the water into another container to use later. Chilled coconut cream is much thicker than heavy cream, but your sauce will turn out the same.

Pour the sugar and water into your pan and put over medium heat. At this point you can very gently stir a couple of times to help the sugar dissolve. As soon as you can see that all of the sugar has dissolved, put the spoon down and back up. Seriously, don’t touch anything! Just watch. If you try to stir now, crystals will form.

Dissolved sugar.

Dissolved sugar.

Your sugar will start to boil and you might be tempted to turn down the heat or stir. Don’t! As long as you are using a pot with high sides (your sugar should only cover the bottom of the pot, not fill it), you don’t have to worry about it boiling over. It might start to look a little scary, but just keep watching.

Boiling sugar.

Boiling sugar.

When you sugar turns a golden brown, remove the pot from the heat immediately. You should not be able to smell burnt sugar.

Golden brown sugar mixture.

Golden brown sugar mixture.

If you want a creamy caramel sauce, now is the time to add the cream. Be very careful when you add the cream. The sugar will froth up again and might splatter you with tiny bits of sugary napalm if you are standing right over the pot.

Adding cream to sauce.

Adding cream to sauce.

The sauce will also thicken up a bit so get your spoon and stir it gently. You can also add salt to taste at this point if you want a salted caramel sauce. Table salt will dissolve and just give the whole sauce a slightly salty flavor. If you want pockets of flavor, try using sea salt or kosher salt. And that’s how easy it is to make caramel. Try it with banana cake and candied orange peels.

Banana cake with candied orange peel and caramel sauce.

Banana cake with candied orange peel and caramel sauce.

Post Navigation

Sci-Fantasy Reviews

Honest reviews of science fiction and fantasy books movies and games.

Dearest Sultana

letters to my best friend...

A Lot On Your Plate

A budget friendly blog (now an official website) that gives creative & practical tips, recipes, and more, to help inspire, organize, & simplify your life!

glutilicious.wordpress.com/

Gluten free delicious moments!

The Perpetual Vagabond

Art, Travel, Photography, and Adventure!

What an Amazing World!

Seeing, feeling and exploring places and cultures of the world

On the Luce travel blog

Part-time travel, full-time travel obsession

Quite Alone

"To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world" – Freya Stark

The Squeaky Robot

A Meddling Robot in a Human's World

PinkyBinks

The Further Adventures of.......

Thirdeyemom

A Travel Blog - Traveling the World and Doing Good

Nic Freeman

Sharing the wonders of travel & everyday adventures

Plus Ultra

Stories and photographs from places “further beyond”.

altrunomics

altruism meets economics

All Kinds Of Everything

You never quite know what you're going to get!

TheAdventuresOfDr

chasing the world, finding bliss

Rantings of an Amateur Chef

Food...cooking...eating....tools - What works, and what doesn't!

DU Abroad

The University of Denver sends students to study all around the globe here are some blogs from those students!

%d bloggers like this: