Welcome to I Scream Kitchen! This is a blog to inspire you to try new dishes and make your cooking experience a pinch more fun!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Healthy Strawberry-Coconut Milkshake

For a hot minute last month, we enjoyed some lovely sunny weather here in Vienna and this in combination with the strawberries on the market (and the fact I had to clear out my fridge before a trip home) made me crave a fresh spring-summery drink. To be honest this recipe was a complete experiment and I just threw some stuff together and blitzed them up in the blender, but the result was incredibly satisfying! This is just a glass of heaven when it gets sweaty outside, it’s quite healthy and let’s not even mention how quick it is to prepare, takes seconds!

Healthy Strawberry-Coconut Milkshake

Strawberry-coconut milkshake recipe:

250 ml/8.5 oz light coconut milk
150 ml/5 oz yoghurt
500 g/1 lb strawberries (washed and without stems)
Honey to taste (I put 1 tbsp. per glass)


Blend all the ingredients together with a stick or a regular blender. To make it a truly summer shake either add some ice cubes to the drink or if you have a regular blender add the ice cubes while blitzing all the ingredients together and you’ll be left with something similar to strawberry margarita in texture. Cheers!

Healthy Strawberry-Coconut Milkshake

PS Taking those pictures laying in the grass in front of my place made my neighbours a little judgmental to say the least :)


Monday, 8 April 2013

Classic Hummus

When I used to live in England, I discovered hummus. I used to eat it every day for lunch with a little pack of crackers. My colleagues must have been very happy about the garlic smell! But, it’s absolutely delicious and full of super healthy ingredients. It’s, also, very rich in protein due to the chickpeas and contains a ton of really healthy fatty acids, which lower your cholesterol (don’t fatty acids sound absolutely irresistible, haha) and keep you full for longer. You can also eat it with fresh cut veggies or bread, just dip them in. If you feel more adventurous you can add some more spices and herbs to it. A classic version is with coriander/cilantro (just chop it and stir it with the mixture at the end, otherwise everything will be a weird browny-green colour) or with some powdered cumin. Also, making it takes just minutes if you opt for the canned chickpeas. I usually boil mine, but honestly, it tastes the same. You just need to decide whether you’d like to use something a little more expensive, which takes you a lot less time to prepare, or something cheaper but more time consuming. If you’d like to use dried chickpeas, soak them for at least 2 hours (works best if you soak them overnight) and boil them in plenty of lightly salted water for about 1-1.5 hours, just try one out, should not be chalky.

Plain hummus

Classic hummus recipe:

1 can of cooked chickpeas (or cook them yourself, about 1 full cup when cooked, but they should not be warm)
1 tbsp. tahini paste (this is a sesame seed pate; some people don’t like this, but I think that a little bit is nice)
The juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil and some extra for serving
2 cloves of garlic
Some of the liquid from the can or the water the chickpeas have been boiling in
Paprika powder and salt to taste
Fresh cut vegetables to dip in the hummus (carrots, fresh celery, peppers, radishes, spring onions, cucumbers, etc.) and/or crackers


1. Blitz the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic together in a blender (stick blender works fine, too).

2. To reach a nice consistency, add some of the chickpea juice, I use about 3 tbsp. but it totally depends on your taste how thick it is. I like it the consistency of custard. Add salt to taste, but be careful as most chickpea cans already contain salt or if you boil them with added salt to the water.

3. Serve in a bowl and add some olive oil and paprika powder if you like. Eat with crackers or fresh cut vegetables.

Tipp: As it has fresh garlic in it, it tastes better if you make it a little in advance, so the garlic will release more taste, so it will be a little stronger. Best before a date or a visit to the dentist :D

Classic hummus with olive oil

Hummus with olive oil and paprika


Thursday, 21 March 2013

The Real Mushroom Risotto

I love risotto but for a long time I was a little apprehensive to try making it at home as for the real good risotto you need to stir a lot. Whatever people tell you, whatever cut-corners tips they give you, the real deal actually requires that much stirring. I tried loads of that advice but it just couldn’t compare to this more or less traditionally cooked recipe. I say more or less because I am not Italian and I have combined parts of quite some recipes I found and I altered them slightly. However, this is the best risotto I have ever tried, and the stirring doesn’t make me avoid cooking it on a regular basis!

Mushroom risotto with loads of rucula on top

The real mushroom risotto recipe

(serves 3 - 4 if eaten as a main)

2-4 tbsp. olive oil
500-800 g (1-1.8 lbs) Portobello/chestnut/button mushrooms or a mix (the more you put the more mushroomy it is but 500 g is also OK) – thinly sliced
1 large onion – chopped
1 large clove of garlic - chopped
300 g (0.7 lbs) Arborio rice (or another branded as risotto rice)
½ cup dry white wine
1 L (34 oz.) hot stock (chicken, veggie, mushroom, etc.)
50 g (0.1 lbs) butter
Salt to taste
Fresh ground black pepper
Freshly grated parmesan (Don’t you dare use those powdered ones! Better skip it if you don’t have it, or use another type of mature cheese)
Fresh chives to taste (optional)
Fresh rucula/arugula to taste (optional)


1. Heat up a large pan or skillet to medium high and fry off the mushrooms in a little bit of the olive oil. Don’t cram them or they will be slimy in the end. You must have only 1 layer of mushrooms in your pan, if you have more just fry them of in a couple of batches. This is important! You are looking for light golden brown colour on the mushrooms, they shouldn’t be looking like boiled but they shouldn’t be all crisped up either. This usually takes about 5-10 min per batch. Set them aside.

2. You can use the same pan you used for the mushrooms. Heat up some more olive oil over medium high heat and add the chopped onion and garlic. Cook a couple of minutes until they turn transparent.

3. Add the well washed rice (wash it with cold water until the water is no longer milky looking, or your risotto will be gluggy) and fry along for a couple of minutes until a little transparent.

4. Add the wine and leave evaporate.

5. Here is the tiresome part of the recipe. Add a ladle of the hot stock (if you made it with a cube, don’t add any salt until the last minute after trying the dish as cubed and powdered stock are usually really high on salt) and let almost evaporate while gently stirring with a spatula. If you don’t know what you a looking for, it’s should look a bit like thick porridge before you add another ladle. Proceed like that ladle by ladle (your ladle should be around ½ cup) until you finish your stock. When you do try if you are content with the texture of the rice, ideally it shouldn’t be too soft, with a little bit of bite but definitely you shouldn’t be feeling like you are eating raw rice. If it’s not done yet, continue the same way, ladle by ladle while gently stirring with hot water until you’re happy with the result. The whole process usually takes between 20 – 30 minutes over medium high heat; make sure it’s not too high or your risotto might burn or you might need a lot more liquid. The final consistency of the dish should be somewhat like porridge, not like a big sticky lump but also not soupy. Have in mind that when you add the cheese in the end the risotto will get a little thicker, also those several minutes it takes to serve will make the rice suck up some more liquid.

6. Add the butter and let it melt in. The quantity might look a bit excessive, but it makes the risotto a lot more flavourful and smooth, don’t skip on it! Then add salt to taste (it might not need it) and freshly ground pepper.

7. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan and some chives and rucula. I like a lot of rucula, as it gives the dish a little spicy note but if you’re not a fan, just leave it out. Buon Appetito!

Mushroom risotto with chives


Sunday, 17 March 2013

Roasted Zucchini/Courgette Balls Bulgarian Style

I am of the definite opinion that the zucchini are amongst the most wrongfully neglected vegetables in most western kitchens. Many find them tasteless or slimy, or just gross. Not once or twice, have I noticed friends of mine pushing them aside to the rim of their plates with a grossed-out facial expressions. I have to say, when I was younger, I was definitely not a fan either! However, the thing with zucchini is that they contain loads of water and if prepared wrong they can indeed be rather slimy. So, the way I like them is when they are a bit crispier and the recipe I am sharing with you today is an amazing way to add some healthiness to your weekly meals.

I admit, I am a convinced carnivore and I would usually really miss the presence of meat at the table (don’t let me begin what kind of a failure my fasting attempts were… why do I even try?!); however, this is one of the rare vegetarian recipes, where I feel that nothing is missing. So, that’s, also, a great one to make when you have some vegetarian guests and you don’t want to either cook 2 meals, or suffer with a tasteless soy dish. It is really wholesome and is bang full of flavor! Let’s not even mention how good from a diet point of view it is, especially if you go for a low fat option on the dairy products. I am absolutely addicted to it, especially when the weather gets a bit warmer, as it’s really nice and light. You don’t feel like a sweaty pig after dinner in the summer. I am generally a fan of yoghurt-based veg dishes in the spring and summer as it adds freshness. The only thing I have found with those is that that, even though they are super easy to prepare, they usually take some time, so if you like them as much as I do, you can make a huge batch and pop some in the freezer. I use my zucchini balls as a substitute for all those frozen potato and other similar pre-made things you usually have to fry, and I have to say the zucchini dish is just as satisfying even when you’re hung-over. Without any further ado, here’s the recipe and do let me know if you decide to make it yourselves or it sounds cool to you.

Roasted zucchini balls with yoghurt sauce... and my messy room as a background

Zucchini balls recipe:

(For 3-4 people)

For the balls:

1.5 kg (3.3 lbs) zucchini (baby marrow, courgette)
½  cup finely chopped fresh dill
3 spring onions, finely chopped
2 eggs
½ cup dry bread crumbs
200 g (0.45 lbs) white brine cheese/feta crumbled up

For the yoghurt sauce:

400-500 ml (14-17 oz) Bulgarian/Greek style yoghurt (should not be sweet tasting, rather either the creamy or the more sour type)
2 crushed garlic cloves
½  cup finely chopped fresh dill (if you don’t have it, don’t substitute with dried)


1. Heat up the oven to 225-250 C/ 440-480 F.

2. Peel the zucchini and grate them on the smallest setting of your grater. Put them in a sieve or colander and sprinkle them with salt, so that the moisture would be drawn out of the vegetable. If you don’t have either, you can put some kitchen paper under the grated zucchini, so it can suck up all the water. Set aside.

3. Mix all the products for the sauce and set aside, so the garlic can make the mixture more aromatic.

4. Get rid of the residual moisture from the zucchini. You can either squeeze it out by hand or through a muslin cloth, but make sure you leave no water in whatsoever! Otherwise, the dish will be slimy. Nobody likes a slimy ball!

5. Mix the squeezed-out zucchini with the rest of the products for the balls, form little…well balls (better be flat so they bake faster) and bake for 30-45 minutes in a baking tray laid with baking paper (no fat is needed here) until golden.

6. Serve with the sauce. They are actually really good cold, as well. You can also freeze them (without the sauce) and when you want to have them just defrost them and pop them in the oven till warm.
Zucchini balls, roasted

Zucchini balls with sauce on top


Thursday, 14 February 2013

Amazing Red Velvet Cupcakes with Caramelized Centres

Red velvet cupcakes
Whether you hate or love Valentine’s Day, there is absolutely no excuse for you not to stuff your face with some delicious desserts! In love? Yes? Then make this for your loved one. No? Celebrate it with a cupcake! Until recently I hadn’t even tried red velvet cupcakes, and I really didn’t understand what the fuss was all about. After I did, my cake world was seriously shaken! Those are so incredibly moist and full of flavour; so much more complex than a plain old sponge. I made those for new year’s and gave the last 2 to one of my best friends for her and her sister, but after eating hers she couldn’t help but nom on her sister’s too (sorry to give out your secret!). Cupcakes do come before family!

The only thing I was concerned about those was the atrocious amounts of red colouring needed to achieve a bright red colour. As I’m not a big fan of additives, I didn’t put by far as much as I should have, so mine ended up on the brown side. If you decide you want them super red, you have to add enough red colouring to the mixture that it looks like blood, as it darkens a bit later. My cupcakes are covered with a delicious cream cheese frosting, which goes so incredibly well with them. On the inside there was a hidden surprise: a caramelized piece of white chocolate, which gave a lovely complex texture to the cake. But enough of me yapping, there’s the recipe:

Red velvet cupcakes
Red velvet cupcakes recipe
(makes around 9)

For the cake:
1 cup sugar
1 egg
½ cup oil (I used sunflower seed, it’s very good because it’s tasteless, don’t use anything rich in flavour like olive or sesame seed oil!)
½ cup milk with a couple of drops of lemon juice in it
½ tsp. apple cider vinegar
½ cup brewed coffee (room temperature, otherwise it will scramble the egg)
1.25 cup flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. cocoa-plain
1 packet of vanilla sugar/ 5-6 drops of vanilla flavouring/ 2 tsp. vanilla extract/ 2 vanilla pods
Red food colouring (depends how much you need to use on the type you buy, just read instructions on the packaging)
Around 9 pieces of white chocolate
Cupcake/muffin baking tray
Cupcake paper wrappers

For the cream cheese frosting:
½ cup cream cheese
½ cup sifted confectioners’ (powder) sugar
2 tbsp. softened butter (no margarine!!!)
½ packet of vanilla sugar/ 3-4 drops of vanilla flavouring/ 1 tsp. vanilla extract/ 1 vanilla pod

1. Preheat the oven to 165 C/325F

2. Beat the egg with the sugar until creamy (with a mixer) then add slowly while mixing the oil, milk, vinegar, coffee, flour, baking soda and powder, salt, cocoa, vanilla.

3. Add the food colouring, as mentioned before, if you’d like a bright red cupcake, your dough must look very very bright red, as it darkens with baking.

4. Pour the mixture in a jug, so it’s easier to pour in the cupcake shapes.

5. Put your cupcake wrappers in the holes of the cupcake baking tray.

6. Pour the mixture in each wrapper, so it fills up to 2/3 of the wrapper. Add one piece of white chocolate (if you don’t have white, just skip it, other chocolate won’t fit as well with the other ingredients). The white chocolate will drop to the bottom and caramelize, making for a lovely rich milky caramel. If you’d like something different, you can also put a white chocolate truffle or a Lindor chocolate covered in flour, in the middle of your mixture (poor half of the needed mixture for 1 wrapper, put the chocolate, poor the rest of the mixture). This way your chocolate won’t drop to the bottom and make for a nice surprise in the middle.

7. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes clean.

8. Wait for the cupcakes to fully cool down before you put the icing on top, otherwise, it will melt.

9. For the icing just beat together all the ingredients and with a butter knife spread it on top of each cupcake. I used a piping bag for a cleaner effect, but don’t expect to be able to make any shapes with it, as the mixture is a little on the runny side. If you’d like to decorate with the icing, you have to put more icing sugar, so the mixture stiffens, but then it won’t be as silky, light and delicious.


Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Wholesome Creamy Butternut Pumpkin Soup

After a season of heavy and ultra-rich holiday dishes, followed by a busy exam period, all I’m craving is something easy, quick, delicious and healthy. Also, having in mind, that it is still rather frosty outside, I would really go for something to warm and cheer me up. This next recipe, as far as I know, originates from Australia, and was given to me by a lovely Dutch lady, who lived there for quite some time (hi Berdien!). When I tried it for the first time, I was amazed how this butternut soup could taste so amazingly creamy and heart-warming, and yet be so incredibly healthy and even good for the line (especially if you use light cream cheese). Furthermore, its amazing and vibrant orange colour can’t help but make you happy and brighten up your day. I made this right around my exams and enjoyed it for lunch, which was perfect as it takes a little over 30 minutes to prepare. However, if you don’t want to eat the same thing over and over again, it freezes perfectly, as well. I just can’t recommend it enough, and let’s face it, it is made of pumpkins, I’m totally partial!

Creamy butternut pumpkin soup

Creamy butternut pumpkin soup recipe
(Serves 8)

800g/1.8 lb cleaned and peeled butternut squash
1 large carrot, washed and peeled
1 red bell pepper (it could be a different colour but definitely not green!), washed and quartered
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
3 garlic cloves, peeled
½ cup cream cheese (I like using a light one with herbs)
Salt and pepper to taste
Roasted pumpkin seeds (optional)
Drizzle pumpkin seed oil (optional)

1. Bring 1l/34 oz lightly salted water to the boil (better use a 2-2.5 l/68-85 oz  pot). It is important that the veggies are put in the already boiling water, so that the colours are preserved.

2. Put the butternut squash, carrot, bell pepper, onion and garlic in the boiling water. The veggies don’t need to be cut finely at all, as they will be blended with a stick blender later. Boil for 30 minutes.

3. Blend the soup with a stick blender (or whatever blender you have/ pass it through a sieve). Add the cream cheese and blend again. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. You can definitely stop at step 3. The soup is beautiful just by itself. It tastes creamy and rich even though it is quite healthy. However, if you would like a different variation, you could add any spices to completely change the feel of it. Add some thyme and oregano and/or crisped up Prosciutto and you have yourself an Italian inspired creation. I have also tried it with a Chinese 5-spice and it turns into a completely different dish. My favourite must be the Austrian style of serving it, with a drizzle of pumpkin seed oil and roasted pumpkin seeds. You can be as creative as you’d like, this dish allows it. Bon appetit!

How does this recipe sound to you? Yummie?