Sunday, October 31, 2010

Poppy seed cake - My husband's Birthday Cake

Delicate  and light cake with pleasant cherry-poppy taste. Easy to make and interesting as a treat. My husband said about taste "This cake is like poetry!". Such lyric cite filled me with joy:-)

For cake:
130 gram poppy seed
250 ml milk
220 gram butter
230 gram sugar
3 eggs
200 gram flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3 tsp. vanilla extract (Or 10 grams of vanilla sugar)

For cream and feeling:
700 ml cream 33-45%
8 gram vanilla sugar
2 tbsp caster sugar

1)      Place poppy seed in milk, bring to a boil, and set it aside for 1 hour. Then smash it lightly in mortar and pestle. But You can skip this step, it just brings out more flavor.
2)      Separate eggs. 

3)      Preheat oven to 180˚C. Beat butter and sugar together until creamy. Beat in egg yolks and add vanilla extract or sugar.

Add poppy seed-milk mixture. In separate vessel mix sifted flour, salt, and baking powder, mix well; stir into dough.
4)      Beat whites of eggs until stiff, and fold them gently into the dough. 

5)      Grease a large cake pan (28-32 cm) with butter. Sprinkle flour over sides so they are covered with a thin film. 

Fill the pan, and bake approximately 1 hour. If a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, the cake is ready.
6)      Take it out and let it cool down before unmolded. And then transfer to rake to cool down. You can even refrigerate it for a while once cool. Cold cake is easier to handle.
7)      In the mean time prepare the filling: Whip cream mixed with vanilla and regular sugar until it’s fluffy and stiff. 

Place it into the fridge for 15 min.
NOTE: Cream before whipping should be properly chilled!
8)      Assembling of the cake:
If the surface of the cake is uneven, slice off a bit of the top. Slice cake into 2 even layers using knife or cake cutting tool. 

Spread generously whipped cream (half of it) over the top of one layer (cut side). Distribute cherries evenly over it. Place the second layer on top.  Coat the whole cake with the rest of cream. Decorate with leftover cherries or as You like. 

Keep in fridge before serving!

I’ve taken 30 % fat cream. It’s harder to handle, it’s less stable. But it’s so light and melting in Your mouth. It’s up to You if to take cream with higher fat content. Just do not take less than 30 %. 

Sour Cherries in Alkohol

Easy to make, perfect filling for desserts and cocktail treat for adults!

600 gram fresh or frozen sour cherries
160 ml water
160 gram sugar
8 gram vanilla sugar
250 ml rum or Cognac (You can use even vodka)

1)      Wash and pit cherries. Place into clean jar.
2)      In a pot over medium bring water, castor and vanilla sugar to the boil. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Pour over the cherries. Set aside to cool down.
3)      When the syrup and liquid are quite cool, add alcohol. Keep in cool place for 2-3 weeks and You have tasty treat and delicious liquor. 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Roasted chicory

So many people do not like chicory because of it bitterness. But it so laden with vitamins A, K and C, that it’s a sin to ignore it. Bitterness can be masked and smoothed by the right sauce!
This dish makes a good starter. 

Serves 2:
2 chicory bulbs
4 bacon or smoked ham rushers
6 thyme branches
4 garlic cloves
6 tbsp balsamic vinegar
6 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp Brown sugar
2 tbsp grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 180 ˚C.

2)      Wash and pat dry chicory bulbs. Halve them and coat with bacon rushers. Place in heatproof dish cut side up. 

3)      Place peeled garlic cloves, thyme leaves, sugar, olive oil, balsamic vinegar in a blender or small food processor. 

Blend everything together and pour the dressing over chicory. 

4)      Place in the oven and roast for 20-30 min. Chicory pricked with a fork should be slightly soft. Sprinkle with cheese and roast for 2-3 min more, until cheese has soften but not melted completely. 

 Have a nice meal!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lamb Tikka Masala

This is so much flavorful, India inspired dish I want to share with You. Devoted to everyone who likes it hot!;-)
If You do not have lamb, make it with chicken. Chicken breast's meat is the best to use. 

Serves 4:
1 onion
Vegetable oil for frying
2 tsp of garam masala
1        ½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 red chilli pepper
40 gram fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves
70 gr tomato paste
450 ml canned skinned tomatoes
150 ml yogurt
Salt to taste
Fresh cilantro for decorating

For lamb:
800 grams lamb
50 grams of lamb fat cut into tiny pieces
Salt and pepper to taste

1)      Wash and pat dry lamb. Cut it into bite size pieces. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside for 15 min.
2)      Place pieces of lard into cold frying pan and heat over medium heat, when fat is partially rendered add meat and  fry till done. Set aside and keep warm.

3)      Peel Your onion, ginger and garlic cloves. Slice onion, chop ginger, fresh chili pepper and tomatoes.

4)      Heat separate middle sized (28 cm) frying pan over medium heat. Add oil, when it’s hot add sliced onion. When it has soften add dry spices and sugar. Stir constantly. Let it heat through for 1 min. Watch out not to burn the spices. 

 5)      Add chopped ginger and press the garlic into the pan. Stir. Heat through. Add tomato paste. Stir  and fry everything for 1 min more.  Add tomatoes and salt. Simmer for 3 min.
6)      Place all the sauce mixture into food processor. Blend till smooth. Transfer back into the frying pan, add yogurt and lamb pieces.

Heat everything through and simmer for 2 min. 

Serve with steamed rice generously sprinkled with chopped cilantro. 

Garam Masala

Garam Masala is one of the most common Indian spice mixture. “Garam”  means “hot”, masala actually “mixture”. If You do not have it ready to buy, here is a basic way to substitute it.

2 tbsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp crushed black pepper,
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground cloves

Just mix all the ground spices together and follow the recipe.
Authentically all the spice are dry roasted first whole and then grounded. Just heat it through in the oil and onions before adding extra ingredients. You will have similar effect. All of those spices have fat soluble aroma compounds, so it will work well. Just watch out! Spices are easily burnt, that will spoil any dish.

Steamed rice a la Gordon Ramsey for Asian dishes

This is the best method of making steamed rice I know.  I’ve seen it Gordon Ramsay makes it at “F World” program. I’ve tried it and it has never failed. It has always been a success. You can adjust quantities according to the serving portions You need. You can easily divide or double it. Just mind the proportions of water and rice. So this is the way it goes:

Serves 4:
400 gram basmati rice
Salt and freshly crushed black pepper
2 cardamom pods
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
600 ml cold water

1)      Wash thoroughly the rice with cold running water. The water pouring down should be transparent, not white. It means that rice is washed properly.
2)      Place into the pot. Add spices, salt and pepper and cold water. 

Cover with a lid and bring to the boil as soon as possible.
3)      Turn down the heat for gentle simmer, DO NOT TAKE OFF the lid. Cook for 8-10 min.
4)      Take off the lid. Take out the spices that should be on the surface. Stir and serve!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Goose meat roket salat

With the autumn coming, came season for household birds. Roasted geese, ducks, turkeys, stuffed or just rubbed with herbs, will improve any event or simple family meeting. Some meat leftovers are often left in a small family. What to do with that aromatic meat…? Here is my option… (I had goose meat, You can use duck or even less aromatic turkey meat)

Serves 2:
300 gram cold roasted goose meat
200 gram roket salad
1 grapefruit
1 tsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
¼ tsp honey
Salt and pepper to taste

1)      Cut meat into bite size pieces. Wash, dry and tear with Your hands roket salad. Place into a salad bowl. 

2)      Squeeze juice out of one half of grapefruit. Divide into sections the second half. Cut off all the bitter membranes. Add pieces of the fruit to the salad.

3)      In a small bowl mix grapefruit juice, vinegar, a pinch of salt and ground black pepper, honey and oil. Whisk everything well. Add to the salad.

4)      Stir salad well, try it and add extra seasoning if necessary. Serve immediately!

IDEA: You can add grated Parmesan to enrich the taste.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Super tender pear pancakes

You know, I have never eaten more tender melting in Your mouth pancakes. They are so fruity and not floury at all! My husband even doubted if You can call it pancakes, because You can’t feel the dough while enjoying sophisticated vanilla pear taste… 

Serves 2

500 gram pears (semisoft)
1 egg
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
8 gram vanilla sugar
¼  tsp baking powder
1,5 tbsp sugar
Vegetable oil for frying

1)      Grate pears  coarsely (using the biggest grater’s holes).  Transfer it to the colander and drain slightly.
2)      In a bowl mix flour, baking powder, vanilla and castor sugar. Stir well and add an egg.

            Stir again until everything incorporated. Add pears. Stir, but not to much. Less stirring means more tender pancakes.  

  3)      Pre-heat a frying pan. Add a dash of vegetable oil, just not too much. Drop a large spoonful of batter into  the hot pan and flatten it out a little, otherwise You’ll have problem to getting them cooked in the center before the skin in burnt. Do not overcrowd the frying pan and fry over low to  medium heat. Flip over when the skin starts turning golden brown underneath and fry 2-3 minutes more. 

4)      Then fry another batch of pancakes.
Serve with chocolate or vanilla ice-cream and chocolate sauce. 

 For a homemade chocolate sauce:
Melt  100 grams of dark chocolate over water-bath and add 50 ml of hot double cream. Stir well and energetically until incorporated.
 For extra shine add a bit (10 grams) of cold butter in the end, and mix well.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Italian classics – rabbit in wine

Intoxicating aroma, tender winy melting in Your mouth meat… Light and nourishing at the same time. Rosemary and wine, are leading taste creating ingredients in this dish, along with tomatoes and garlic make posh sauce! French techniques and Italian ingredients. I do not know any better way to cook rabbit yet..

1 whole rabbit
1 can peeled tomatoes with juice (450 mg)
Flour for coating
300 ml white dry wine
100 ml olive oil
2 middle sized carrots
15 black olives
5 big garlic cloves
3 springs of rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste

1)      Clean and cut rabbit into parts. Pat dry with pepper towel and coat with flour. Shake off excess of it. Peel carrots and cut into chunks. Peel garlic cloves. Pre heat oven to 160 ˚C.
2)      Heat a large frying pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Brown rabbit pieces in batches from both sides and place them in big (about 3-5 l) fireproof pot, ceramic, glass or any You have.

3)      Add wine, the rest of oil, olives, garlic cloves, carrots, rosemary springs, season generously with salt and pepper. 

      Mix everything well. Cover with lid and place in the pre-heat oven for 2 hours or until rabbit is tender and meat easily slides off the bones when pressed.

       Then take off a lid and cook for 15 min more. 

4)      Take the pot out and let the meat rest for 15 min as it is. Then serve with a good dollop of winy sauce.

P.S. Mashed potatoes or couscous make perfect match for it. Even for those who do not like couscous, like my husband:-).

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Breakfast egg salad on a crispy bread

It’s easy, piquant and not trivial! You can make it a night before serving .  It can also be served as an appetizer, make beautiful canap├ęs on toasted rye bread with a half ring of fresh cucumber.

Serves 2:

5 hard-boiled eggs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
Juice and zest of ½ lemon
½ tsp powdered paprika
Freshly ground white pepper
2 rye rolls or bread
10 grams butter
1)Peel and chop the eggs coarsely. 

2) Add mayonnaise, paprika, lemon zest, salt and freshly ground pepper. Mix everything thoroughly. Set aside in refrigerator for 1 hour or for the whole night, that is even better.

3) Brown  rolls parts or bread pieces in toaster. Smear it with butter and place egg salad on top.

Bon Appetit!