Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Daring Bakers #6 Dobos Torte...

The August 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful of Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers' cookbook Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Caffés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

"Dobosh or Dobos Torte (type of cake) was first introduced at the National General Exhibition of Budapest in 1885; Franz Joseph I and his Empress Elisabeth were among the first to taste it. The cake soon became popular throughout Europe as it was different from all others. It was simple but elegant, as opposed to the multi-storey, flaming cakes of the age. Its other secret was its use of fine butter cream, which was very little known at the time; cake fillings and frostings were usually made with cooked pastry cream or whipped cream. The chocolate butter cream and the batter of the cake were both invented by Jozsef C. Dobos." - by Wikipedia.org

This month's challenge was a torte - it was the first time in my whole life making a real torte! It was my first time making butter cream! It was my first time making caramel! Lots of 'first times' for one recipe ;) It was a real challenge for me... I liked the result a lot - especially chocolate butter cream - very soft, velvety and delicious. I liked the bowl ;)



How to make it...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Bigos - Polish savory stew of cabbage and meat...

This is very popular dish in Poland. No party, celebration (especially in Silesia and Mountain's region) can be without it! It's also traditionally served on the Christmas Day. I like it a lot. There are many versions of bigos - I would say that each family have their own, unique recipe. This is how my Hubby makes it - and it's great :) But I still miss my Dad's bigos - can't recreate it!


"Bigos - a savory stew of cabbage and meat... Typical ingredients include fresh and fermented white cabbage (sauerkraut, 'kapusta kiszona' in Polish), various cuts of meat and sausages, often whole or puréed tomatoes, honey and mushrooms. The meats may include pork (often smoked), ham, bacon, beef, veal, sausage and, as bigos is considered a hunters' stew, venison or other game. Leftover cuts find their way into the pot as well. It may be seasoned with pepper, caraway, juniper berries, bay leaf, marjoram, pimento, dried or smoked plums and other ingredients...
As with many stews, bigos can be kept in a cool place or refrigerated then reheated later—its taste actually intensifies when reheated. A common practice is to keep a pot of bigos going for a week or more, replenishing ingredients as necessary. This, the seasonal availability of cabbage and its richness in vitamin C made bigos a traditional part of the winter diet in Poland and elsewhere." - by Wikipedia.org

How to make it...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Macaroni cheese with broccoli and tomatoes...

It was my first time making Macaroni cheese - I wanted to try it for a long time though. Macaroni cheese is very popular in the UK and in the USA - where it's called mac'n'cheese. Its popularity in the USA has been attributed to Thomas Jefferson serving it at a White House dinner in 1802 - who knew it's origins go back that far?!

Recipe for the famous macaroni and cheese couldn't be any simpler - just a white sauce, with a lot of cheese and macaroni cooked just al dente. But, I'm usually not the one to stick to the recipe and always looking for ways to change it, to make it "my own". As it happened I had a lot of broccoli which I had to use, I really hate food waste, but I'm pretty sure that other veges would work great too here - just think of artichokes, cauliflower, mushrooms or peppers!


As it happens there were some cherry tomatoes sitting on the counter top too, looking rather miserable and waiting eagerly for their turn, so they too found their way into this, so not "traditional" at this stage, macaroni and cheese.
Yes, I do know I'm not using the traditional macaroni pasta here either, but have you seen the price of it?! Half a kilo of macaroni shaped pasta costs more than a 2 kg pack of the one I used! I simply can't see a reason big enough to justify using the "traditional" macaroni shaped pasta for this dish.
At the end of the day it's all about the taste, and the looks too. Well, I can honestly say that on both accounts - I've succeeded!


Cheese sauce works very well with the broccoli as well as slightly sharp and acidic tomatoes. The dish is not bland and it has more than one texture, that of the creamy sauce.

How to make it...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Homemade 'almost' ice cream...

It's 'almost' as they are lacking that nice, smooth, velvety consistency - but that's maybe due to lack of the ice cream machine... I did everything by hand. And it was my FIRST time ever attempting to make my own ice cream! :) Those are more like sorbet though, but... They are delicious! It's just spooning up, that has some difficulties... The other advantage is that I know exactly what I'm eating - no preservatives, E something etc. The taste is great and I'll work on my consistency next time - if anyone has any suggestions, a piece of advice very welcome! :)



How to make it...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Egg paste... and so many memories...

I know , I know - an egg paste isn't anything unusual or creative. It's not a rocket science, but... In the current economic situation you have to be able to do SOMETHING from ANYTHING. This recipe isn't original though. It's from my University's canteen. I remember when I used to buy those sandwiches - big, white roll and a thick spread of an egg paste.... yum! I tired to recreate it for 2 reasons - not too many things in my fridge and to bring back all those memories from my time at the university. It was almost the same - but the memories were back, fresh as it was yesterday... I miss those days sometimes...
I know I won't be able to make exactly the same egg paste - one of the reasons: I never asked for an 'original recipe' ;) No more writing back to the essence :)



How to make it...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Apple & banana fritters...

I didn't have an exact recipe for those fritters. It was a moment. I had some apples, bananas were already getting brown so... I just make up some batter to coat them and fry. The result was amazing. Nice crisp from the outside and soft inside! Banana ones are my favourite. I also wanted to make some pineapple fritters - but didn't have any at home... All you need is a cup of coffee/tea to go with it :) I ate some of them with icing sugar, some with honey - they would be perfect with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, but then again - nothing in the freezer. Next time tough!



How to make it...

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Daring Cooks #3 Spanish dish of rice, mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes...

The host of this month's Daring Cooks challenge was Olga from Las Cosas de Olga and Olga’s Recipes. She have chosen a delicious Spanish recipe - Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes by José Andrés, one of the most important Spanish Chefs at the moment.

I really enjoyed this month's challenge. It was delicious - my Hubby had 2 BIG portions, accompanied by a pint of Kilkenny... I remember similar dish when I was in Barcelona - I loved it then too :) It was very easy to make, especially if you prepare your Sofregit in advance. The only 'hard work' was with the allioli - over 20 minutes of constant stirring in the mortar - and I wasn't happy with my final result, but it was tasty (the most important thing!).
I will be making this dish again for sure. Next time I'll try to experiment with different 'main ingredient' - maybe chicken, vegetarian version etc. ...



How to make it...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cherry pie or... cake...

I love cherries! I remember when I used to pick them as a child, fresh from the tree. My Granny would make jams, starch jelly, pies, muffins... Beautiful childhood memories. I can still smell boiling cherries with sugar for jam or marmalade :] I was lucky today and bought a big jar of cherries (already without the stones!). Fresh cherries are crazy expensive here... I was thinking how to use them, carefully and make them last a little longer. Is there a better idea then a pie/cake?!? No. Not for me anyway ;) I'm not sure if it's more of a pie or a cake - better decide yourself.



How to make it...

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Beghrir - Moroccan semolina pancakes...

Beghrir are tender Moroccan pancakes made from semolina. I found that recipe on the Internet when looking for something with semolina - as I had so much of the stuff at home... They are very easy to make, but the batter has to rest for 1 hour before frying the pancakes, so plan ahead a little bit here. They are great hot or cold, so you can make them in advance. They are traditionally served with a syrup made from butter and honey (which you can see on my photo), but  beghrir are also great with maple syrup or just plain honey and maybe a bit of Greek yogurt. I love their "bubbly side", which soaks up honey sooo well :)




How to make it...

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Burgers without BBQ...

It's BBQ time. Unfortunately we don't have our own BBQ as we live in a flat and don't have a garden... Never less - where's will ;) My Hubby had this nice idea for lunch today. Burgers with a salad. I normally don't like burgers (they always remind me about McD etc. Not my kind of food...). Those were very nice. Not too 'fatty/oily', nice balance of spices and herbs and perfect with tomato-green cabbage salad. Shame it couldn't have that nice BBQ smell...



How to make it...