Monthly Archives: July 2013

Italian dessert trio

Standard

In my opinion the only people who know how to make desserts better than the french- are the italian. And boy do they know how to make them. Here’s a recipe for my all-time-favourite, panna cotta, with what I call a ”vanilla hat”. I serve it with some crunchy catuccini cookies and a rhubarb sorbet.. so I suppose I could call it my ”italian dessert trio”. Anyways, however you call it – it’s delicious and worth trying out. It’s really not difficult, and most of the work can be done a day ahead!

 

serves 4:

for the sorbet:

2 stalks of rhubarb- washed and cut into small chunks

100g of sugar

juice of one lemon

50ml of water

 

for the panna cotta:

250ml of heavy cream

250ml of full fat milk

1/2 tsp of vanilla beans

50g of sugar

pinch of salt

4 leaves of gelatine, soaked in cold water for 10 min

 

for the garnish: 7-8 strawberries per person

1 tbsp of powdered sugar

1 tbsp of crema di balsamico or balsamic vinegar

8 cantuccini cookies

4 small basil leaves.

 

Start off by making the sorbet. It’s really easy. Just place your rhubarb,sugar,water and lemon juice in the pan and let it come to a boil. The rhubarb will loose a lot of moisture, so don’t be alarmed. Once it’s boiling,cook until the rhubarb completely falls apart. the smaller the chunks, the quicker it will happen. After 15 min or fast boil, the mixture should be pulpy and syrupy,sticky, and the rhubarb should be jammy in consistency & soft. When that happens, turn the heat off and let it cool slightly, before putting it into food processor and blitzing it until smooth. Put the mixture into a freezer-safe container and let it cool completely- moving it every hour or so. When it starts to freeze, blitz it every 2-3hours until you get a sorbet.

for the panna cotta- just bring your cream,milk and sugar to a boil with vanilla beans.You can also add extra vanilla or almond extract if you wanted to. Once the mixture has come to a boil, turn it off , take your gelatine, squeeze out the excess water and throw them into the hot cream-milk mixture. mix well, so the gelatine disolves quickly. Let the mixture cool slightly, before pouring into lightly oiled forms/molds or cups. Place in the fridge,and once the mix is completely cold, cover with cling film and let it stand over night. The vanilla will naturally fall to the bottom, flavouring the mix through, and creating a ”hat” on top of the turned out panna cotta. πŸ˜‰

When you’re ready to serve, cut your strawberries into chunks, add sugar and crema di balsamico. mix well. Turn your panna cottas out, by shaking them out onto your hand, you can use a small knife if they’re stuck to gently ease them out.

Place the pana cotta on the far left of the plate and arrange the strawberries around it. Put cantuccini cookies in the middle, and put the sorbet into a shot glass or a separate ,small glass or bowl. You can also use an ice cream scoop to shape it and place it directly onto the plate. decorate with a smally basil leaf.

enjoy! πŸ˜‰

 

2013-07-28 19.05.06

 

 

2013-07-28 19.05.12

Advertisements

Herb marinated pork tenderloin with ratatouille

Standard

This combination of flavours came to me one day as a true revelation. Not sure why I haven’t thought of it before, so decided to give a try there & then. It’s an easy way to make an impressive meal, no pasta,potatoes,rice cookin required. Just bread.Β  Which makes it perfect for long summer afternoons, when you don’t really feel like cooking much.

serves 2:

1 pork tenderloin – about 250-300g

4 cloves of garlic

2 Β tsp of fresh thyme

2 Β tsp of fresh rosemary

2 tsp of fresh oregano

1 tsp of dried tarragon

salt,pepper

4 tbsp of olive oil

1 courgette

1 aubergine

1 bell pepper

1 ripe tomato

30ml of white wine

1 bagiette, cut into slices

2 tbsp of butter

10-12 basil leaves, cut into slices

First of all, marinade your pork. The longer the better, but 15-20 min will do the trick. Use pestle & mortar or food processor to make the marinade-paste, out of 2 garlic cloves, 2 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tsp of oregano,1 tsp of rosemary ,1 tsp of tarragon and 1 tsp of thyme. add salt & pepper and crush into a paste. apply it onto the pork and let it sit as long as you can. (min 15-20min).

While the pork is marinating, you can prepare my quick ratatouille. Cut the vegetables into equal chunks. Heat up 2 remaining tbsp of olive oil and add your aubergine in.Let it cook for about 3-4min before you adding Β the 2 remaining cloves of chopped garlic. When the aubergine starts to brown up and is getting soft, add your courgette, bell pepper and tomato. add reamaining thyme,oregano and rosemary(finely chopped). Season with salt and pepper and add the wine. Let it evaporate and cook for about 5-10 min, or until the vegetables are cooked through.

While the ratatouille is simmering, you can heat up some butter & oil in the pan, and fry your tenderloin. Fry in medium-high heat for the first few minutes, so the meat develops a nice brown crust, then turn the heat down and put the lid on, and let it cook through until it feels firm to the touch. Let it rest for 1-2minutes before slicing it. It should be nice and pink all the way through.

Mix the soft butter with a pinch of salt and the basil leaves in a small bowl.

Serve a portion of ratatouille on a plate, and arrange silces of meat on it. Serve with the butter and baguette and a glass of the same white wine you used in the ratatouille. enjoy πŸ˜‰

 

2013-07-27 18.06.21

 

 

 

2013-07-27 18.06.32

Summer Caesar’s Salade

Standard

There’s nothing better than a fresh, crispy salade in the middle of a hot summer day. This salade is my version of a world famous Caesar’s salade. It might not be the most authentic thing in the world, but trust me- the flavours are there, and it’s worth a try for sure.

Serves 4:

4 little gem lettuce, stems cut off, torn into bite-size pieces,washed & dried

2 large chicken fillets, cut into strips

1 large egg, whisked, seasoned with salt & pepper

100g of plain flour

150g of breadcrumbs

large amount of oil, to shallow-fry the chicken in.

10-15 g of grana padano cheese per person (parmezan or pecorino are good too)

4 tsp of light may

4 tsp of greek yoghurt

1 clove of garlic

juice of half a lemon

8 slices of ciabatta bread- toasted in the oven.

 

For this recipe you will need three plates.Β  Put your flour into one, your egg into the second and breadcrumbs into the third.

Season your chicken strips with salt,pepper(or with any seasoning you like). toss them well, so they’re all covered equally.

throw them into your flour-plate and toss until they’re all covered with a thin layer of flour. Then place them all in the egg, and toss until they’re all covered in a sticky layer of egg, only to throw them into the breadcrumbs, and toss again, until they’re all evenly covered with breadcrumbs.

Throw your chicken strips one by one into the hot oil and shallow-fry until they’re golden from both sides. When they are,remove them from the pan onto a sheet of kitchen paper, to drain the excess oil.

When all of your chicken is ready, let it cool slightly, while you make the dressing for the salade.

In a large bowl mix mayo, yoghurt,lemon juice, a small pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well. add the crushed garlic and mix until well combined. Add your lettuce and toss patiently, until all of the leaves are dressed.

Place the leaves on the serving plates.Add even portions of chicken, shave some cheese over the top, and add a final few drops of lemon juice. serve with the croutons on the side. Enjoy πŸ˜‰

 

2013-07-29 18.21.53

 

 

 

2013-07-29 18.22.09

Italian style bruschetta

Standard

Bruschetta may sound like a fancy italian meal, it is however toasted bread with a tasty topping. You can eat it as it is- as a snack, a starter or a side dish.. it’s tasty and simple, ready in just a few minutes, so why not give it a try?

serves 4:

1 large ciabatta bread loaf, cut into 8 thick slices

1 tbsp of butter

1 clove of garlic

salt,pepper

2 large tomatoes

basil leafs to garnish.

about 10-15g of pecorino cheese (parmezan or grana padano are good too).

Take the bread slices and place them on a baking sheet, crush the garlic clove into a small , microwave appropriate bowl, and place the butter in it. Microwave for about 30sec until the butter melts. brush the melted butter onto the slices of bread, making sure you cover them well (one side is enough). season with salt and pepper, and place into a pre-heated oven,150-160C for about 5-8min, or until the bread gets a little crispy & slightly golden.

In the meantime you can prepare your topping. Cut your tomatoes open and remove the seeds and the crown. Cut the rest of the tomato flesh into small cubes, season with salt,pepper (you can add balsamic vinegar or olive oil,or a variety of herbs-use what you like).

When the bread is ready,place it on a plate, spoon over some filling, garnish with basil and cheese. serve right away. πŸ˜‰ enjoy!

 

2013-07-28 17.20.57

 

 

 

2013-07-28 17.20.49

Traditional American Meatloaf

Standard

There’s probably as many ways to cook meatloaf, as there are cooks in the world. And all of them are different most probably πŸ˜‰ this is my way of making meatloaf. It’s pretty easy and laid back. Nice to make on a rainy Sunday afternoon and share with your family. The good part about this recipe is- you’re most likely to have all the ingredients on hand πŸ˜‰ so let’s get started :

You will need: (serves 4-5)

600g of mixed mince meat – I use 60% pork and 40% beef

1 large onion, finely diced

2 tbsp of ketchup – Heinz is the best;)

3 cloves of garlic

2 heaped tsp of sharp mustard like dijon

1/2 tsp of dried thyme

1 1/2 tsp of worcestershire sauce

1 tsp of smoked paprika powder

salt and pepper to taste.

5 hard boiled eggs (if small)

1 bread/meatloaf tin

100g of breadcrumbs

1 egg

Β 

so, start by cooking your eggs.Cook them for about 8 minutes or until they’re hard boiled.

The next step is to prepare your meatloaf mix. Tip your meat into a large bowl, add your breadcrumbs, your egg, your herbs,spices and seasonings. Everything goes into the meat at once,basically. If you wanted some extrea flavour,you could add some bacon,other herbs like rosemary or oregano,it’s completely up to you. This is just the basic recipe, whatever you do : season well with salt and pepper.

I mix the meat well, just until everything is incorporated, the trick with a good meatloaf is not to over mix.

Tip half of the meat-mix into your tin, and push into the sides and corners well. Push up the sides to make a nice little nest for your eggs πŸ˜‰ take your eggs and put them in the middle, touching eachother,so there are no gaps between them. Now tip the leftover meat on top, and press well, covering all the holes,gaps and nooks. You want to make it compact around the eggs.

At this stage smear the top with ketchup if you want to. Makes for a nice crust.

Bake in a preheated oven 175 for about 45min or until fully cooked and browned on the outside. Let it cool slightly in the tin, then tip it out,cut and serve.

In my opinion a meatloaf should be served with some old fashioned sides like buttery mashed potato and peas&carrots or glazed carrots. That’s all it needs πŸ˜‰ also great the day after,when its cold in a sandwich! hope you enjoy it! πŸ˜‰

Image

Β 

Simply stuffed puff pastry parcels :)

Standard

This recipe could be considered a snack, or lunch – served along a green salade with a light vinaigrette. The possibilities are endless, so take your pick. It came to me today as a revelation, I had leftover ham, grated cheese, tomato puree, some puff pastry and green bell pepper.. it felt wasteful to throw it out, so I put this little baby together, and I was surprised myself how tasty it is. You have to give it a try.

for 4 parcels you’ll need:

4 squares of puff pastry – around 12x12cm

4 thick slices of ham – ham of your choice- cut into thin strips

1 small green bell pepper – cut into thin strips

about 50-60g of grated cheese of your choice – I used young Gouda

black pepper

2 tsp of tomato puree

1 beaten egg

take your puff pastry squares and smear an even amount of tomato puree in the middle, leaving about 2cm free from each side.

divide the cheese into 4 even amounts, (leave some for extra sprinkling on top.) and sprinkle in the middle of your square. take your ham and pepper strips and layer them diagonally in your parcel. take yourΒ  corners (the ones at the top and bottom of your ham/pepper strips) and fold them into the middle, so they’re touching eachother. it’s okay to press them together,you don’t need to be too delicate with them.. then take the edges and fold them over, pressing tightly so the pastry sticks together.

put your parcels on a baking tray lined with baking paper, brush over a generous amount of eggwash, and sprinkle the remaining cheese and add a twist of fresh,black pepper.

Bake until puffed up and golden, in my case at 175C for about 18 minutes. leave to cool slightly before serving. They’re tasty while cold too. ideal with a simple, fresh salade or just on their own. enjoy! πŸ˜‰

Image

Image

Ukrainian barszcz – ukrainian beetroot soup

Standard

Ukrainian barszcz (or ukrainian beetroot soup, in polish ”barszcz ukrainski”) is one of my favourite soups. My mom would always make it in spring and summer, using all the delicious,new vegetables. It always seemed like a lot of work, but lately I gave it a go myself, and it really wasn’t that hard, and it’s certainly rewarding. If you’re cabbage and beetroot-fan, you’ll definately like this one!

 

serves 8:

4 chicken legs(thigh and drumstick,with skin on)

about 300g of shredded,white cabbage

400g of cooked beetroot- grated

3 large carrots, cut into thirds

1 can- 400g of white beans- drained and washed

optionally- 4-5 handfulls of kale or curly kale.

1 leek, cut into thirds

3 large potatoes, peeled and diced.

40ml of heavy cream

salt,pepper,sugar,vinegar- to taste

1 tsp of tomato puree

2 stock cubes, chicken flavour

about 150ml of beetroot concentrate- or barszcz concentrate- available in polish delis.

fresh dill to garnish.

 

the list of ingredients might seem long, but its a really relaxing, one-pot meal to cook. so don’t let that fool you;)

Put your chicken legs, leek and carrots into a large pot,cover with cold water-so the meat and vegetables are well covered, add your stock cubes, and bring to a boil.After that, cook for 45 min total,until the meat is fully cooked and falling off the bone.After about 18-20min remove the leek and carrot, and cut into chunks, setting them aside for later.

After 40min the meat will be tender and falling off the bone,remove it from the stock and let it cool slightly,before peeling the meet from skin and bones. shred the meat into bite-size chunks.

Add your shredded cabbage,curly kale and potatoes into the stock and let them cook for about 10-15min until completely tender. Then add your carrot and leek,the meat, shredded beetroot and the beans. Let everything heat through before adding the tomato puree, beetroor soup concentrate,salt,pepper, and about 1-2 tsp of sugar. You might need to add a teaspoon of vinegar, if you want your soup to be a bit more sweet and sour. Add your cream in the end, and turn the heat off. The soup will have a nice pink-red colour and will be filled with tasty vegetables. Serve with some fresh dill on top- you can choose to add a bunch of chopped dill to the soup, for extra flavour πŸ˜‰ enjoy!

 

2013-06-22 17.47.44