Thursday, December 11, 2014

Food & Wine... Launch of The Wine Club at Sol y Sombra...

An average person walking into a supermarket or an off-licence is, I think, somewhat "crushed" by the sheer amount of wine at the display... Where do I start? Which wine should I buy? White or red? Wait - there's even rose?! Maybe sparkling? Which wine will go well, compliment my dish tonight? Which one will be perfect just for sipping and chatting with a friend? How many of us were put in front of dilemma like that...? I know I was, on more than one occasion... I love wine, but I'm not, by any means, an expert in that field. But - there's always room for an improvement ;)

Photo by Bartek Witek Photography

I was very lucky to be invited and take part in a launch of newly created Wine Club - "Match made in heaven - Food & Wine event" in my local Sol y Sombra, with wine on the evening generously sponsored by Findlater.
It was one of the best events I took part in. Well organised, everyone invited had some background and/or interest in food and wine. Amazing dishes - and here KUDOS to the chefs who really pulled out all the stops (see the menu below) and wine which went amazingly well with every course. Before each course, Peter from Findlater, gave us a little background about the wine that we'll have with the dish. No, it wasn't a long and boring speech about technicality of producing each wine. It was a story, sometimes even a legend, on how each wine came to be and then, a little bit about its distinctive taste. Truly enjoyable!
I really liked the set up in the restaurant itself, the fact that we were all at one loooong table, all 30 of us attending. It became very nice, interesting social event at which we discussed wine & food extensively and had a bit of good, old laugh :)

A Match Made in Heaven MENU
27th November 2014

First Course
Mini-Hamburguesa de Langostino con Ali-Oli de Algas y Rúcola
Mini Prawn Hamburger with Seaweed Ali-Oli & Rocket
Wine Match: Lands & Legends Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand

Regaña con Solomillo en Manteca y Aire de Vino
Loin of Pork cooked in Chorizo Oil on a Savoury Cracker with ‘Red Wine Air’
(served at ambient temperature)
Wine Match: Andean Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina

Fish Course
Tartar de Salmon Sobre Carpaccio de Vieiras con Guacamole Marino
Salmon Tartare, Carpaccio of Scallop with Sea Guacamole
Wine Match: Torres Waltraud Riesling, Penedes, Spain

Meat Course
Pato Crujiente al Mango con Su Magret
Duo of Crunchy Duck & Mango Rolls and Seared Magret Duck Breast
Wine Match: Ibericos Rioja Crianza, Spain

Dessert Course
Falso Tarta de Queso
False Cheese Cake – Matcha Tea Sponge, , White Chocolate Mousse,
topped with Strawberries in Sweet Wine
Wine Match: Torres Nectaria, Central Valley, Chile

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Polish grey dumplings...

Those dumplings are very popular in Greater Poland. Quick, budget friendly dish, that literally anyone can make. Traditional way of serving them will be with some pork scratching and caramelized onion. Some recipes call for eggs, like the one below, but some won’t be using any at all, just raw potatoes, flour and a bit of salt. Both versions are delicious, very quick and simple to make. Also very easy on your wallet! Yes, I am aware that in different parts of Poland there are "grey dumpling" which are completely different than those below, even though they also use raw potatoes, but as with almost each and every dish in my native country - every part of Poland (sometimes even every family) has it's own way of preparing it and naming it too.
I know they might not be the prettiest, but they have very unusual taste, are easy to make and what's the most important - are delicious. I actually like that uneven, funky shape of those dumplings, the fact that each and every dumpling is different! Aren't we all..? ;)

polish grey dumplings

How to make it...

Monday, December 08, 2014

Marbled cupcakes...

Another cupcake creation and another one based on The Hummingbird Bakery cookbook. I wrote million times already how much I love making and eating cupcakes, but to sum up again - quick and relatively easy to make, versatile and it somehow makes me less guilty if I eat a cupcake rather than a thick slice of cake, but I might be little delusional here... ;)
The below method of making cupcakes was little bit different than how I'm used to preparing the batter, but it gave fantastic result of fluffy, light and spongy texture. The marbled effect looked really nice, I'm just regretting of not "swirling" my batter enough to make it even more "marbley". As I;m not a big fan of creamy/buttery frosting, I omitted that part in the recipe ( I also changed slightly how I made my two different batches of flavored sponges) and decided to decorate mine with a little bit of icing sugar "dust", but I don't think that you need any kind of decoration on top of those little beauties - especially if you'll be more daring with swirling than I was! :)

marbled cupcakes

How to make it...

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Kouign-amann - Breton cake...

One of my favorite treat in the whole wide world! One that reminds me of summers in France :) of my dear French friends. So few, everyday, simple ingredients and such an amazing result! Kouign-amann is an essence of Brittany for me (aside from salted caramel and galettes of course). How I missed that taste!
It's really hard to describe kouign-amann. Breadish, sweet and sticky, "caramely", crunchy outside and soft, almost velvety inside. I love it slightly warmed, so the caramel becomes soft, paired with a side of cream or vanilla ice-cream (but I will happily eat it plain, as it is, with just a cup of strong, black coffee to keep it company).


I will not lie to you - it IS tricky to make, even though all the steps of the whole process aren't that difficult. It was quite daunting when I read the recipe (and please, DO read it from start to finish before you start doing anything!) but I didn't give up and... I'm so glad I was daring enough to make it :) The recipe and instructions call for pastry rings, in which you're supposed to bake your kouign-ammans, but as I didn't have them I simply used... muffin/cupcake baking tray. Which thankfully worked well! The below recipe comes from a great book "The Baking Bible" by Rose Bernabaum - and I do admit, that I haven't heard about her much, before I came across her newest cook book. I like Rose's writing style, which is clear and simply, explaining everything with the smallest detail. It reminds me a little of Julia Child and her writing.
I'm putting the recipe here exactly as it is in the book - because of the complexity/many steps of the whole process and the fact that I really want you to try it and succeed!

kouign-amann breton cake

"Kouign-amann (pronounced [,kwiɲˈamɑ̃nː] Breton pl. kouignoù-amann) is a Breton cake. It is a round crusty cake, made with bread dough containing layers of butter and sugar folded in, similar in fashion to puff pastry albeit with fewer layers. The resulting cake is slowly baked until the butter puffs up the dough (resulting in the layered aspect of it) and the sugar caramelizes. The name derives from the Breton words for cake ("kouign") and butter ("amann"). Kouign-amann is a speciality of the town Douarnenez in Finistère, Brittany, where it originated in around 1860." - by

How to make it...