Monthly Archives: March 2012

fancy up your pancakes:) (croquettes)

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Looking for a way to make a pancake adventurous? 😉 well I have one for you.

The recipe I’m going to share with you today I got from my mom. She has been making those as long as I can remember- usually for new years celebration served with a typically polish beetroot soup- barszcz. We call those krokiety, so in english I suppose you can call them croquettes, and they’re a wonderful way of utilising leftover crepes/pancakes 😉

 

You can use leftover pancakes or fry new ones if you want,just make sure they’re rather large and pretty thin. Let them cool once they’re fried, then they’re more flexible.

 

The stuffing my mom makes consists of button mushrooms,onions and bacon. That’s it. But you can add whatever you want to them, cheese,spinach, other types of meat. You can basically stuff them with anything, as long as it’s not too liquid, as pancakes have pores,little holes in them,and the stuffing might seep through.

 

This stuffing is really simple,you just fry up onions and bacon,then add sliced mushrooms and season it with salt and pepper. Then you let it cool. I used :

 

250g of smoked bacon

2 onions

750 g of mushrooms – and the amount of stuffing was just enough for 8 croquettes.

 

You will also need 1 beaten egg and some breadcrumbs.

 

Once pancakes and stuffing are cooled, spoon over about 2 tbsp of stuffing onto the middle part of the pancake and fold over the sides tightly, then dip it in egg while holding the folded edges with your fingers, coat it with breadcrumbs and put the edge-side down, onto hot oil. It’ll only take 1-2 min to brown and seal, then flip it over,let it brown again. Then they’re ready. It’s important that you cook out your stuffing well, as when you brown and seal the croquettes, it won’t have any extra time to cook through again 😉

 

I like to serve mine with some fresh rocket. You can have them warm or cold, on their own or on the side of barszcz or any other soup you like. Hope you like them, here’s how they look. Enjoy!

 

 

 

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Pipe rigate served with red wine&tomato braised beef.

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Today we’ll be making pasta with a beef, red wine & tomato sauce 😉 it might sound complicated, but trust me- none of my cooking is, it’s mostly a question of putting everything into a big pot and letting it cook slowly.. then you’re off the hook 😉 lets get started.

 

The amount of ingredients will serve 2-3 people.

 

500g of beef chunks (chuck steak or any kind of stewing cut is fine as long as it has a bit of fat on it- it’ll keep the meat moist)

3 peppers- I used green,red,yellow- diced

2 onions- diced

200ml of dry red wine

3 tsp of tomato purée

2 cloves of garlic

2 tsp of paprika powder

salt,pepper to taste

oil to fry on

350g of pasta – I used Pipe rigate

some green leafs- I used rocket lettuce mix

some water to thin the sauce out with.

 

 

Brown off the beef in a pan and add the garlic,paprika and pepper. Don’t salt! That will make the meat tough and chewy. Salt it at the very end. Once it’s browned, take it out of the pan and fry off the peppers and onions. Return the beef into the pan and stir through. Add tomato puree, wine and let the wine reduce. Once it’s cooked out by half add 300ml of water. Let the whole thing stew for about 2 hrs, stirring every now and then. If the sauce reduces too much,add more water and a tad more wine. You can substitute the water with beef stock.

 

When the sauce is ready and the meat is very tender, season with salt, a tad sugar if it needs it ( might be tart because of the tomato puree) and serve it over pasta, along side some green salad. That’s it 😉 hope you enjoy it!

 

Mexican Quesadillas with a vibrant tomato salsa! yum

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The spring is almost here and it’s time to wake up, cook vibrant food and forget about stews, heavy soups and mashed potatoes ! 😛

 

Today I am going to show you how to make a very easy meal, that doesn’t involve a lot of cooking to be honest.. you can have it for dinner, lunch or serve it on a party as a canappé.

So, what is it? Quesadillas! They’re easy and delicious.. what could you want more?

Here’s what you’ll need:

 

8 medium sized tortillas (2 per person)

250g of beef mince

1 large red onion, sliced in half-rings

1 red pepper- diced

1tsp of tomato purée

1 can of red kidney beans- rinsed

tex-mex seasoning (or 1 tsp of paprika powder, 1 tsp of chili powder, 1tsp of corriander powder and 1 tsp of cumin powder)

salt and pepper to taste

a squeeze of lemon

1 tsp of sugar

2 cloves of garlic.

young cheese of your choice, I recommend Manchego, but use any kind you like.

 

You can serve quesadillas as they are, but I like to serve them with a fresh tomato salsa. It just cleans your palate and is a cooling contrast to the spicy quesadilla. For that you will need:

 

 

15 cherry tomatoes-halved

half a red onion- thinly sliced

a few corriander leafs- finely chopped

½ tsp of ground corriander

salt, pepper

squeeze of lemon

1 tbsp of olive oil   – simply mix all the ingredients together and set aside so all the flavours combine.

 

Now, let’s make the filling for our quesadillas- fry up the beef mince until nice and brown,add the onion, garlic, pepper and all the spices. Fry up until the meat is fully cooked and the veggies are cooked but still crunchy. Add the drained beans and let it all warm through. Take a potato masher and mash it all together, so the filling becomes sticky as the beans break apart and release starch- it’ll all help for the filling to stick to the tortilla and it won’t fall out.

 

Now put your tortilla on a cutting board, sprinkle some cheese on one half, then spoon over some filling (not too much) make sure that the filling is spread evenly, then sprinkle more cheese on top, and fold the tortilla in half, press down. Pop it into a dry pan, on a low heat and wait till it becomes golden brown, then flip over and do the same. By that time the tortilla will crisp up, the cheese will melt and stick everything together, and the filling will warm through.

 

Take it out of the pan and cut into 3 even pieces with a sharp knife. Arrange the pieces on a plate and spoon the tomato salsa in the middle. I hope you’ll enjoy it, I certainly did..here’s how  it looked.

 

TIP: you can use any type of meat, fish or make it vegetarian.. you can also add sweet corn to the filling if you wish 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red beetroot & bacon risotto with goat cheese and walnuts.

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This is a dish that hits every spot on the list. It’s creamy, it has texture, it’s salty, it’s peppery.. it has sharp goats cheese and walnuts for crunch. To me it’s perfect. Don’t be afraid of a risotto, it’s really simple once you get the hang of it. There is only one rule : once the rice is al dente – serve it. Risotto doesn’t wait for anyone. 😉 I’m not adding any parmezan cheese in this recipe for a reason- the stock and bacon are already salty, and I wanted to balance the sweetness of the beetroot by adding something sharp, that’s why I chose soft goat cheese, and I recommend this combination to you. So, here we go.

 

What you’ll need to serve 6 people is:

 

600g of risotto rice (arborio or carnaroli, it’s up to you- I think carnaroli holds up its shape better)

2,5 l of chicken stock

250 g of smoked bacon or pancetta

4 cloves of garlic

8-10 sprigs of thyme

400 g of cooked beetroots- blended until smooth

200ml of red wine

100g of butter

2 red onions- chopped

salt and pepper.

120 g of soft goat cheese

100g of walnuts- roughly chopped

some green watercress, rocket lettuce or other baby lettuce of your choice to garnish.

 

Before you start- prepare your stock and keep it hot on the burner, ready to be used.

In another pan (big one) fry off the bacon, onion, garlic. When the bacon is lovely and golden add the thyme and deglaze the pan with the wine. Add the rice and fry it off for a few minutes in the bacony juices until it’s a little translucent. Start adding the stock ladle by ladle, while stirring in the same direction. The rice will start to release its starch and the whole thing will become creamy add 1-2 ladles of the stock and a few spoons of the beetroot purée at a time, this way the red colour and the flavour will penetrate the rice. Don’t pay attention to the cooking time on the rice box.. it will always take longer with a risotto. About 20-25 min, but keep tasting the rice as you go. You will know when it’s al dente. When its cooked- turn of the gas and add the cold butter, stir it through until it melts. Ladle the risotto onto deep plates, crumble goat cheese over it, sprinkle with walnuts and garnish with baby lettuce. That’s it 😉

Enjoy!

 

Lime pie? Difficult ? I think not.

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I’m not great when it comes to cakes and pastries.. but if I could do it, then so can you. It’s dead simple, let’s get started!

The pie serves 12 people, I made it in a 27cm diameter tin.

What you’ll need is:

600g graham crackers

120 g of butter

6 limes

8 eggs

2 cans of sweetened condensed milk

200ml of thickened cream

bash the cookies until they’re very fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and mix until they look like wet sand. Line the tin with them, making sure the mixture goes all the way up the sides too. Let it set in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

Zest 4 limes and juice all of them afterwards. Whisk the eggs while adding the sweetened condensed milk, cream and lime juice/zest. Mix altogether, pour onto the cookie base. Bake in a preheated oven for about 55-60 min in 175C. how easy was that? 😉

important: let the pie cool completely and then put it into the fridge for the night until it sets properly. then cut it. 🙂

Simple and quick apple cakes:

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Everyone has a sweet tooth.. and sometimes we need to give in and satisfy it 😉 this is a combination of pancakes and flapjacks really..you can use any kind of fruit in it – banana works very well.. but it’s great with apples in my opinion. Those cakes really taste like a mini apple pie. Give them a try.

 

What you’ll need is:

 

3 apples of your choice- I used Pink lady apples

350g of plain flour

150g of caster sugar

2 eggs

about 150ml of milk  ( ingredients to make a thick pancake batter)

1 tsp of cinammon

oil to fry.

 

Mix up a pancake batter by adding wet ingredients to the dry ones, add the cubed apples and mix them through making sure they’re coated well. Dollop the mixture out onto the hot oil making sure that every cake has plenty of apple in it (don’t make them too big or it’ll be too hard to flip them).  Fry until golden brown on both sides 😉 you can serve it dusted with powdered sugar.

 

Easy & Breazy pumpkin soup.

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It’s simple, filling and delicious.. but above all: good for you. I can show you a quick way to make a lovely, home made pumpkin soup in less than 25 min. It’ll stay good for 2-3 days in the fridge and sure will be loved even by fussy eaters. So, what you will need is:

 

400g of cubed pumpkin

2 large potatoes

1,5-2 l of stock of your choice (I’m using chicken)

1 tsp of good quality curry powder

salt & pepper to taste

1 large onion

1 clove of garlic

a blender.

 

It’s very easy. .start of by frying the onion with the garlic until soft – you don’t want any colour on it. Add the curry powder and stir it in. add the cubed pumpkin and peeled, cubed potatoes. Let it come to a boil and simmer for 15 min until the vegetables are soft.

Then blend until super smooth. That’s it!

 

Serve with a dollop of sour cream,chives or parsley & some chili flakes(optional). Also lovely with a side of a crunchy baguette 😉 enjoy! ( pardon my clumsy plating and photography!)