Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Nectarine & plum galette / crostata...

There are a lot of them on the web. And I do mean a lot! But I don't mind - as each and every one seems to be prettier than the last one I saw. Called either galette or crostata (first French, the second one has it's origins from Italy). I really like those "free forms" pies, not perfect by any means when it comes to their shape - but so pretty, each an every one unique. They're very easy to make and quick to assemble. I'd say you could use nearly any fruit that's in season. Strawberries, or any berries for that matter, plums, nectarines, peaches, thinly sliced apples or pears. As we know some fruit are more juicy than others and the juices can easily soak into your pastry bottom making it quite soggy. bearing that in mind I decided to prevent that from happening. Simple trick of spreading some ground almonds before arranging the fruit worked perfectly! No soggy bottom! :)


Cold butter is the key here - or you'll end up with pastry that's not workable at all. Dice your butter into medium size cubes and keep it in the fridge till the very end, take it out just before adding it to your pastry dough. If you're short for time when making crostata, you can chill your dough in the freezer rather than in the fridge and cut that part of the process by 60 minutes!



How to make it...

Monday, June 29, 2015

Globe artichoke... simply with butter...

It has been a while since I've tried a globe artichoke for the very first time. Actually, when I think about it, it was the only time I had a pleasure to eat a globe artichoke like that (artichoke hearts from jars don't count!). It was summer 2002, Brittany in France. Probably one of  the best places to eat an artichoke for the very first time :) I was visiting my friend - Berengere - and on one of the sunny days, her mum prepared artichokes. Simply. On it's own, with a side of melted butter.
I tried to remember how it was prepared/cooked, but the only thing I could remember was, that it was baked in the oven, at least I think it was... I couldn't think of anything more specific, so decided to boil mine - so I won't make a total mess out of it and it will still be edible...

It didn't take long. The waiting time when the artichoke was simmering happily in the pot, was full of anticipation, curiosity and a bit of anxiety as well. I can honestly and proudly say that I've succeeded! The result - soft green leaves, of a distinctive taste and a lot of fun while eating - with your fingers of course! This little, leafy globe will be perfect starter during a summer party, small gathering and even a "meal for one" (you really can't cook "too much" here!). Or, like it was in my case, a meeting of two, dear friends...

globe artichoke

My memories came back! With a bang! The moment I tore off that first leaf, dunk it in the butter and tasted it... Yes, I was in France! It's really amazing how smell and taste can bring back so many memories, literally transform us to days long gone... Now, I miss that summer. Chatting to my dear friend, who I haven't seen for few years now... time to change that!


How to make it...

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Minty beef meatballs... from Curry Nation cookbook...

If you're reading Anula's Kitchen for some time now, you've probably noticed that I'm a big fan of Indian cuisine. But not being brought up surrounded by this food, this amazing culture, it presents a bit of a challenge for me every time I'm trying to create a dish. I'm happy to say, and I hope I'm right, that I'm getting better and better and more confident with Indian food. I have a huge selection of spices, ghee and I was also able to create a collection of different flours, rice and have even started making my own naan and chapati bread. So I think I'm on a good way of discovering Indian cuisine - and there's a LOT to discover.
Each region of India has it's own distinctive cuisine, dishes, spices. What's more - Indian people living, for example in the UK have created their own versions of dishes from their homeland. The below dish actually comes from a family like that. Indian family living in UK and it's from a great cook book "Curry Nation" by Madhur Jaffrey.
Minty beef meatballs... have to admit that the title didn't really appeal to me when I first saw it. Living in Ireland I always associate mint with lamb, so was quite surprised to see it paired with beef. But the result - fantastic! The sauce is creamy and surprisingly light, perfect for dipping your naan or chapati bread in it! Meatballs have nice texture - not too dry - and the spice mix is just right. Yes, I know - the ingredients list is quite long, but these are mostly spices. And yes, again - there's a bit of work involved, but steps are easy and quick. It actually took longer to cook than to prepare/assembly the dish. And it took almost no time at all - to eat it! :)


I like Madhur Jaffrey a lot, and I mean a lot! She knows her food very well and it's a pure pleasure to watch her programs and listened to her talking about Indian food, culture and traditions.

madhur jaffrey

How to make it...