Friday, December 31, 2010

The Daring Bakers #16 Christmas Stollen...

The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book.........and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.



How to make it...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Daring Cooks #15 The art of... poaching!

Jenn and Jill have challenged The Daring Cooks to learn to perfect the technique of poaching an egg. They chose Eggs Benedict recipe from Alton Brown, Oeufs en Meurette from Cooking with Wine by Anne Willan, and Homemade Sundried Tomato & Pine Nut Seitan Sausages (poached) courtesy of Trudy of Veggie num num.

First few handy tips passed on by this month's hosts.

So that poaching an egg can be a success:

• Make sure to use the freshest eggs possible. Farm-fresh eggs will make for the best poached eggs. Old eggs will have a harder time with the whites spreading out all over the place when you place the egg in the water.
• Adding a bit of vinegar or acidic agent to your water will help stabilize the eggs and cook the whites faster, and keeping your water just below boiling point (about 190F) will help keep the fragile eggs from all the boiling bubble action rupturing the eggs. Also make sure to salt your poaching water well.
• The other main key to success is to crack your egg into a small bowl first, taking care not to break the yolk. Then it becomes easy to gently slide the entire egg into the water for the poaching process. Some people will also suggest swirling the poaching liquid into a bit of a vortex before sliding the egg in, in order to help keep the egg whites together. I’ve found it works fine whether or not you do this step.
• A poached egg is done when the whites are fully cooked and the yolk has just started to solidify but is still runny when you cut it open – usually three minutes. It’s ok to go a little longer though depending on your desired firmness. I like mine so the edges of yolks are cooking but the inside is still runny, so I usually let them go 30s longer.
• You can poach eggs ahead of time (about a day). Just immerse them in ice water after poaching, and then keep them in a bowl of water in the fridge. When you are ready to use them, place them in hot (not boiling) water until they are warmed through.



I've decided to make poached egg on toast with some tomatoes, lettuce and cheese - exactly the way my Hubby used to make it for me when I was popping home for lunch. This time I made one for him :) It's nice and I love all the different textures - crunchy toast and wobbly poached egg :)


How to make it...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Plum & chocolate marmalade...

It's that time of the year when I spend and awful time in the kitchen making jams and marmalades. I've already made gooseberry & apple jam, and we were lucky enough with our two blackcurrant bushes this year that they gave us over 2 kg of fruit, and my blackcurrant & peach jam is happily sitting on the shelf too.
It was finally time for my favourite sweet treat, as the plums are in season and we bought them for almost nothing (I actually did a small calculation and a jar of this beautiful marmalade cost me € 0,59 not including the electricity for the cooking part, which couldn't be that much anyway!).


If you like chocolate (and who doesn't like chocolate?!) you'll love this marmalade. Plums and chocolate is a marriage made in heaven so this works beautifully. It's great alternative to that very popular chocolate-hazelnut spread you can buy ;) and a jar of homemade marmalade slso makes a fantastic present!



How to make it...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Daring Cooks #14 Daring to bake... soufflé!

Dave and Linda from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen chose Soufflés as our November 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge! Dave and Linda provided two of their own delicious recipes plus a sinfully decadent chocolate soufflé recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe found at the BBC Good Food website.

Made it only.... 4 hours ago! I completely forgot about it... I was so excited when I saw what's for this month's challenge, but with all what's going on around me I forgot that it was already the 14th... Well, better late then never. I've used a recipe for a cheese soufflé from one of my cookbooks 'Culinaria France' (which I had marked ages ago...). The result was fantastic - light, fluffy and soooo big :) I was really surprised how well it has risen :)
P.S. I've always wanted to make a souffle - and here I am :D



How to make it...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween and a pumpkin soup...

It's Halloween, can't believe it's already the last day of October... Time fly too quick! Anyway, as we're living in Ireland and Halloween is celebrated here, this year we decided to buy a pumpkin and cut it :) In Poland Halloween isn't celebrated at all (well maybe now as everything is being commercialized...). Traditionally on the 1st of November Polish go to the graves and light a candle, place some flowers to remember those who are gone (and I have to tell you that the atmosphere on the graveyard after dark, on the 1st and 2nd Nov is amazing, all those candles...)
My Pumpkin 'play' was a great fun today - but why(?) nobody tells you that first emptying and then cutting a pumpkin is tricky and not so easy?! After some hard work (and still with all fingers intact...) I had a nice pumpkin vampire and a bowl full of pumpkin flesh. That way we'll be having a pumpkin soup for next 2 days :) The soup was delicious and it was a very first time ever (for me and my Hubby) to eat a pumpkin soup!!! Recipe taken from a great book by Val Warner 'What to eat now - Autumn and Winter'.
P.S. Can someone explain to me why my pumpkin soup isn't nice and orange in colour but somewhat greenish...? Did I do something wrong or is it the pumpkin's fault...?



How to make it...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Daring Bakers #15 Doughnuts...

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

So I couldn't possibly miss this month's challenge... as I already missed last few, but being a new Mum isn't easy (and if anyone thinks that it's piece of cake... well, you're WRONG! but I'm not complaining :D ). So doughnuts this month and... Who doesn't like doughnuts? Anyone? No one...? Thought so ;)
Unfortunately I didn't have time to make a yeast doughnuts, all that waiting and ending up making something with them 4 times during few hours is just impossible with an infant... (and I made these only yesterday night!). Yeast doughnuts aren't anything new in my family, there isn't a New Year's Eve without them (usually filled with rose marmalade, very traditional in Poland). This time I used a recipe I had marked in one of my cookbooks for some time now. The doughnuts were great - although I had to make some adjustments. I decided to make Mexican Buñuelos. The result was a nice and light doughnuts, not too sweet perfect for coating in icing sugar or dipping in chocolate (my Hubby ate them with... maple syrup!).




How to make it...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Low-fat cupcake brownies...

I know what is needed to make proper, traditional brownies but those are slightly less calorific but still tastes delicious! They have that nice, soft, little moist centre :) Instead of baking one big cake and then cut it into pieces I made cupcakes which worked just perfect :) Next time I'm planing on making white chocolate icing!



How to make it...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Prune muffins...

Those muffins are nutritious and very delicious :) what one want more?! It's perfect weekend breakfast or a treat for the lunch box. They are made with oil rather than butter so are quick to mix. If you don't like prunes I think you can change them for chopped apples, dried cherries etc.


How to make it...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Home made duck preserve...

I know that recently I've neglected my blog, I've neglected YOU. But the truth is that you can't imagine how much work there is with a small baby until you actually have one ;) Ok, enough with the excuses and now with the post which was waiting for publishing for over a month.
Some time ago we bought a duck (as it's always cheaper to buy whole and use the parts whenever you like). We made delicious duck breasts with oranges and duck confit, but what do you do with left meat on the bone...? So after you take your breasts off and take off you whole(!) legs you're left with the carcass with a lot of meat and fat on it - and here's what we made :)


How to make it...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Daring Cooks #13 Stuffed leaves... done it, but not really...

This month's challenge was very interesting one and for sure very inspiring too. OK, I know I didn't really take part in this month's challenge but... there are few reasons to that.
First - with Baby J it's not so easy to spend a long time in the kitchen, without any disruption from Her (and there's usually a lot of it! especially now that she's teething)...
Second - Hubby is no longer at home with me, he's out usually from 9 till 5 so he couldn't keep Baby J occupied long enough, so I can make stuffed cabbage rolls (and there's a lot of work with it)...
Third - cooking at night is not an potion for me, I'm half asleep all the time anyway, so I really need all the sleep I can get (and I get it only at night, as Baby J is sleeping all night through till 8 am - woohooo!)...
Fourth - this month's challenge wasn't really 'a challenge' for me. In Poland we stuff cabbage leaves both with meat and vegetarian fillings. It's called 'galabki' (which literally means small pigeons - why? don't ask, have no idea...).

I'm kind of sad/ashamed that I'm not doing challenges EVERY month (both Cooks and Bakers) but it's just not possible at this time and place in my life - for which I'm sorry.

What I'll do is give you a link to my post about it. Hope you'll decide to try it someday - it's one of my all time favourites - but no matter how hard I will try, I can't make them as good as my Dad's....
I know that probably some of you will call it cheating, but please notice that I'm not putting blog checking lines here and I'm giving you my recipe for golabki, because I just want to share with you something I really enjoy and somethig which is a part of my heritage (being it not only a Polish dish, but also a great family recipe!).


So here's the POST - enjoy! :)

P.S. I would love to try and make stuffed grape leaves (as I had them when on holidays in Crete, they were great!) but I just can't find grape leaves anywhere her in Ireland :(

Friday, October 01, 2010

Confit duck...

"Confit is a generic term for various kinds of food that have been immersed in a substance for both flavor and preservation. Sealed and stored in a cool place, confit can last for several months. Confit is one of the oldest ways to preserve food and is a speciality of southwestern France." - by Wikipedia.org

You can store duck prepared this way simply by placing in a pudding bowl, covering in with the fat and keeping in the fridge - it has to be cover in fat to keep for weeks. The fat used to make confit can be reused over and over, the flavours will improve each time.



How to make it...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Lamb liver...

"Offal is a culinary term used to refer to the entrails and internal organs of a butchered animal. The word does not refer to a particular list of organs, but includes most internal organs other than muscles or bones. In some parts of Europe, scrotum, brain, chitterlings (pig's large intestine), trotters (feet), heart, head (of pigs, calves, sheep and lamb), kidney, liver, "lights" (lung), sweetbreads (thymus or pancreas), fries (testicles), tongue, snout (nose), tripe (reticulum) and maws (stomach) from various mammals are common menu items." - by wikipedia.org

Offal is widely used in Polish cuisine. I already posted 2 recipes with offal, for Kołduny and Jellied pig's feet. Recently I had a huge craving (yes craving!) for liver. I have to admit that from all livers available at butcher (lamp, chicken, calf) the lamb liver is the best - and that's the one I recommend if that taste is completely new to you.
Great website about offal, which I can definitely recommend, is Offal Good.



How to make it...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cheese - French Rocamadour...

I know it was a while when I posted about first cheese for you to try :) With the Baby J, all other things to do around the house etc. I have less time for posting, but the time has come to add another cheese to my cheese board.



Rocamadour is a French cheese from the regions of Périgord and Quercy. It takes its name from the commune of Rocamadour in the département of Lot. It has benefited from an Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) since 1996. Rocamadour comes from cheese family called Cabécou. It's very small cheese in a shape of 2 inches flat disc. It is a very young goats cheese of just 35g that can be eaten after just 12-15 days of ageing, but gets more intense after a few months. When young it is often consumed on hot toast, in salads or, as it ages, on its own with a red wine after a meal.



Personally I love this cheese! Made with raw goat’s milk, cheese's rind is thin and inside is soft and creamy, with a subtle taste of milk and mould. The aftertaste is light and the aroma reminds me of hazelnuts. It will be perfect with white wine or very subtle and fruity red.
The only minus - it's SO small - so make sure you buy more than only one ;)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Always perfect crispy duck breasts with orange sauce...

I love duck. At my family home there's no Easter or Christmas without roast duck. My Dad always debone the bird, stuff it and roast. Then you just have to slice it and enjoy. Unfortunately my Dad is far away so we had ot do something else with our duck. We bought whole, frozen bird for eur10 when in the Chinese take away you'll have to pay eur16 for the half. I'd say it was a good deal ;) My Hubby loves duck breasts so he decided to make it for dinner. The result - fantastic - and he finally learned how to make perfect crisp skin on the breast (the tip was taken from John Torode's 'Chicken' book).



How to make it...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Daring Cooks #12 Food preservation...

The September 2010 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by John of Eat4Fun. John chose to challenge The Daring Cooks to learn about food preservation, mainly in the form of canning and freezing. He challenged everyone to make a recipe and preserve it. John’s source for food preservation information was from The National Center for Home Food Preservation.

I couldn't possible miss this month's Daring Cooks challenge. First - the host is a person who I admire and always look forward to His posts and Daring Kitchen challenges results :) Secondly - I love food preservation, don't do it a lot here in Ireland as I really think the full advantage of this is when you have your own little veg patch, some fruit trees etc.
I've picked Apple Butter recipe as I still remember my Nan making apple marmalade every summer - that amazing smell... and that unforgettable taste! I recently made some apple marmalade myself and instead of all spice (as in this challenge recipe) I used vanilla pods - amazing result! :) The all spice version gives it another 'dimension' and my Hubby is already planning a dinner of pork chops and apple sauce - using of course this apple butter :)
As an addition to the challenge I also made a mint syrup - hope you'll try it!



How to make it...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Red lamb shank Korma...

I know I'm probably getting a little bit boring with all that Indian cooking - but I just can't help myself! Another great Anjum's recipe :) her cookbook is slowly becoming one of my favourite. The only thing is that I didn't have chillies lying around in my kitchen so had to use red pepper and some chilli flakes instead - definitely will use chilli next time! With the red pepper it was rather delicate and mild dish whereas chilli will give it definitely a kick!



How to make it...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Portuguese chicken croquettes...

Chicken is a main meat in our home recently. As you all know it's one of the cheapest meat and as times are though we're trying to spend as little as possible - that applies to food as well. With the chicken we always try to buy only free range or if organic is 'on sale' that's out first preference - I try and avoid buying mass produce chicken as it taste of nothing to me and I don't really approve the way the are kept... As we have a small budget I tend to look into cook books more than usual, one of my favourites recently are John Torode's books and this recipe comes from one of them. I was slightly disappointed with this dish... I don't know if it was my fault, wrong ingredients, wrong way of doing it or maybe it's just not my taste... I'll definitely try to do this minimum one more time to give it (and myself) a chance to make it better (even John advices in his book to try each recipe few times, to try and 'perfect' it :) ) As it was this time - the croquettes almost fall apart during frying and after they were done the consistency was quite unusual (not to say weird...). Anyway - if you try it, please do let me know about your result!



How to make it...

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Kashmiri lamb kebabs and roti bread...

OK, I'm now officially Indian cuisine mad :) I already have stock up on all necessary spices and Indian like ingredients - by the way it all smells incredibly! Those kebabs are so nice, something different than my usual lamb burger - more taste and depth to it! When seeing them in the cook book I immediately thought about roti bread to go with it - and it was a great idea.
So with a fantastic smell in the whole house me and my Hubby enjoyed an Indian dinner (for a fraction of the price which we would have to pay in the restaurant or even take-away!).




How to make it...

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Tarka Dal...

"Dal (also spelled Dahl or Daal, or Dhal) ( Hindi: दाल Dāl, Nepali: दाल Daal, Bengali: ডাল Dāl, Kannada: ಬೇಳೆ Bēḷe, Malayalam: Parippu, Marathi: डाळ Ḍāḷ, Tamil: பருப்பு Paruppu, Telugu: పప్పు Pappu, Dāl, Urdu: دال, Gujarati:દાળ) is a preparation of pulses (dried lentils, peas or beans) which have been stripped of their outer hulls and split. It also refers to the thick stew prepared from these, a mainstay of Indian, Nepali, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, and Bangladeshi cuisine. It is regularly eaten with rice and vegetables in Southern India, and with both rice and roti (wheat-based flat bread) throughout Northern India & Pakistan. Dal is a ready source of proteins for a balanced diet containing little or no meat. Sri Lankan cooking of dal resembles that of southern Indian dishes." - by Wikipedia.org

Recently I'm fascinated with Indian cuisine, to be honest not only cuisine but the whole country - it's history, religion, people, geography :) This was my first time making this dish and it was a success - the only thing I will change in the future is to use different lentils, as those disintegrated a lot and I would prefer more texture in my dish :) Though my self-confessed meat eater Hubby liked it a lot! That was a surprise :)
The recipe comes from a great book by Anjum 'Anjum's New India'.


How to make it...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Green mango salad...

This is mainly my Hubby's dish. He was inspired by Rick Stein's BBC series when he travels around Asia (by the way if you have a chance see it!). Generally I'm not a big fan of fresh mango (prefer the canned one) but this salad works really well. Hope you'll try it :)


How to make it...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Chicken biryani...

First dish made from John Torode's book "Chicken" (more info about the book here). I'm always slightly scared when I have to cook Indian style food. I always think it will be complicated and I won't do it properly. That was completely different experience. The recipe is dead easy and the result is delicious!!! I had all the ingredients at hand at home. This recipe is definitely a keeper and I'll be cooking more from the book!


"Biryani, biriani, or beriani (Nastaliq script: بریانی) is a set of rice-based foods made with spices, rice (usually basmati) and meat, fish, eggs or vegetables. The name is derived from the Persian word beryā(n) (بریان) which means "fried" or "roasted". Biryani was brought to the Indian Subcontinent by Muslim travelers and merchants. Local variants of this dish are not only popular in South Asia but also in Arabia and within various South Asian communities in Western countries." - by Wikipedia.org




How to make it...


Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Daring Cooks #11 The world of pierogi...

The August 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and an optional challenge to provide one filling that best represents their locale.

OK, first of all - THANK YOU ALL FELLOW DC MEMBERS FOR PARTICIPATING IN THIS MONTH'S CHALLENGE! Hope you enjoyed the world of pierogi and you'll be making them more often (from scratch of course) at home. You all did a GREAT job this month! You came up with such an amazing fillings for the humble pierogi, I wouldn't ever thought of! YOU ROCK :)
I'll try to visit as many blogs as I can (as I really enjoy discovering all those different fillings you made all around the world) and leave a personal note. I know that probably I won't be able to visit all the blogs (for which I'm really sorry)- but I'll do my best (when Baby Julia will go to sleep I'll stick behind with my laptop)! :)

Sweet version of Warenki (cheese and strawberry filling).
It was such an honour to host a Daring Cooks challenge - thank you once again! :)

How to make it...

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Irish Shepherd's Pie...

"Cottage pie refers to an English meat pie made with [Beef] mince and with a crust made from mashed potato. A variation on this dish using Lamb mince is known as shepherd's pie (shepherds - sheep/lambs). Unlike standard pies, cottage or shepherd's pie does not include a bottom pastry crust. (...) The term "shepherd's pie" did not appear until the 1870s, and since then it has been used synonymously with "cottage pie", regardless of whether the principal ingredient was beef or mutton. There is now a popular tendency for "shepherd's pie" to be used when the meat is mutton or lamb, with the suggested origin being that shepherds are concerned with sheep and not cattle. This may, however, be an example of folk etymology." by Wikipedia.org

I've been living on The Green Isle for over 4 years now and it's the first time we had a home made Shepherd's Pie. It was always easier and quicker to buy ready made version. But from now one it will be only home made Shepherd's Pie - there's nothing better! And you can add cheese, different veges etc. as you like :)
We made 2 loaf size pies, one was for the dinner straight away and the other went to the freezer ready to be baked in the future.



How to make it...

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Sauerkraut salad...

This is a very popular salad in Poland. In my family we usually eat it with fired fish. It's easy to make, cheap and full of vitamins! It reminds me of my family home. When I was a child I used to hate it and my parent always made me to eat it... Now, times have changed (and tastes too!) and I like it a lot! Just one thing - if you buy sauerkraut and it will be too acidic just put it on the strainer and under running water - it will 'rinse' away some of that acidic juices.



How to make it...

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Scallops with black pudding and mustard dressing...

As we're living by the sea we decided to take full advantage of it and eat more seafood, so my Hubby bough scallops (please don't ask about the price - horrendous!). I ate them maybe only twice in my life, but never on their own. We decided to make them with black pudding as it's a very popular way of eating scallops here on the British Islands. OK, maybe it's only me but scallops aren't anything special... I've expected an amazing taste - they were good, slightly sweet, not chewy or rubbery - but to be honest I think I prefer prawns, squid or mussels... Good I had a last minute idea to serve it with mustard dressing (dead easy!). I used Guinness flavoured mustard and it worked perfect. To sum up - for the price we've paid and the smell we had in home after cooking I think I'll stick with restaurant next time I want to eat scallops...



How to make it...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The English Food Market, Cork...

I was in Cork good few times, but never properly IN the city. It was the first time that we actually took a stroll down the street, looked around the city centre and the most important went to the English Market. You can read about that place in all guide books, websites about Cork etc. it's a must place to visit (not only if you're a 'foodie').

I didn't expect a lot... Having rather bad experience with Irish farmers/food markets. But I was surprised, a lot! It's not a huge space but you can find anything you want. From all kind of meats, through seafood, chocolates, cheeses (both local and international), chocolates and spices/ingredients from around the world.



We have finally bought a Greek oil of olives (as I don't believe that Italian is the best, sorry to all proud Italians out there!). I've tasted few oils from different countries and I think (my Hubby has the same opinion) that the best oil of olives is from Greece, Israel and countries around that part of the world. It's a taste you can't compare with anything - light and very aromatic.



Besides the oil of olives I finally bought a huge selection of cheeses (which I can't get anywhere else in my area). They were all great, well maybe not all of them but I finally had a chance to try few I was looking for a some time now.



Unfortunately we didn't buy any seafood (although selection was big) or any meat as we had an over 2 hours way back home and didn't have anything to pack it in. We finished our visit in English Market upstairs, eating some lunch - well it was a lunch for my Hubby as he ordered a proper sandwich I spoiled myself a little with... Banoffie pie :) and hot chocolate.

If you'll ever be in Cork English Market should be high on your list of places to visit. I know I definitely be there now each time I'm in the city.
More info about the English Market on their official web site here.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Cheese - French Comté...

OK I know I'm not very often here lately but you know the reason - Baby J :) But I still eat a lot and cook whenever I can - though usually this was passed on to my Hubby and he's good at this so I'm not complaining ;)
I eat a lot(!) of cheeses being it French, Italian, Irish, Polish, Dutch etc. so I decided to share with you my experience (or lack of it ;) ) in that field. I'm not an expert when it comes to cheeses. I like trying different types of it, like finding out the history, how it's made, from what kind of milk etc. so I hope my posts about all those things will be somehow helpful for you and will encourage you to try some as well :)
Oh, just so you know - all the cheeses I'll be posting about were "tried and tested", I'm afraid I will be judging with my own taste so if I'm not fond of some particular cheese please don't let it put if off trying it for yourself! It will be only my opinion and you really should make your own! :)

I couldn't start with anything else but probably the most famous of French hard cheeses - Comté.



The best way I can describe it is: medium soft texture (although it's a hard cheese), nice distinctive but not too offensive taste, you're left with a king of 'woody' after taste in your mouth (like it was a little smoked, even though it's not). You can definitely taste fruity/flowery overtones.
It's great on it's own - I ate it with a fresh baguette and fully bodied red wine (of course French one ;) )

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Daring Cooks #10 Nut Butters...

The July 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make their own nut butter from scratch, and use the nut butter in a recipe. Their sources include Better with Nut Butter by Cooking Light Magazine, Asian Noodles by Nina Simonds, and Food Network online.

This month's challenge was very interesting. And ye again I left it for the very last minute - made it only today. It's starting to be some kind of tradition for me doing challenges on the day of posting ;) Next month will be different though - as me and another DC member are the hosts! :)
Anyway back to this month - the challenge was great. I picked up the Asian Salad as me and my Hubby love shrimps. We weren't disappointed. It was delicious and very(!) easy to make (this time I did all the cooking while the two of them -Hubby and Baby J - were sleeping...).
I also had a chance to bake delicious peanut butter cookies - for which the recipe you'll find in the previous post.

Oh, thank you all for the wishes reg. Baby Julia :) and she's better now - less colics!!! Yupi!



How to make it...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Peanut butter cookies...

With peanut butter you either lov it or hate it... I just LOVE peanut butter! Never tried to make peanut butter cookies though, so after seeing in online for many months it was a high time I make some myself... This recipe is very easy and gives a great result. Enjoy! They are perfect with a cup of strong coffe :)



How to make it...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Daring Bakers #14 Chocolate pavlovas...

The June 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Dawn of Doable and Delicious. Dawn challenged the Daring Bakers’ to make Chocolate Pavlovas and Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse. The challenge recipe is based on a recipe from the book Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard.

I've only made it today... With a Baby I don't have much time for cooking now (not even for sleeping...) The Baby has horrible colic and sleeps only in my or my Hubby's arms... quite exhausting but it helps her so I don't mind - the only minus is that you can do 3 things while holding her: watching TV, reading or sleeping with her and that's about it... So it's only today I got the chance to make it. I really didn't want to skip this month's challenge as meringue is one of my favourites things in the whole world :) I had to change mascarpone filling for something else - as I didn't have ingredients to make it exactly as per recipe (all my changes are below the recipe). All in all great challenge - the chocolate meringue comes out dry, crisp and very light - it's definitely a keeper :) it will be great in Eaton Mess dessert!



How to make it...

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Daring Cooks #9 Pâté & Bread... the perfect couple...

Our hostesses this month, Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz, and Valerie of a The Chocolate Bunny, chose delicious pate with freshly baked bread as their June Daring Cook’s challenge! They’ve provided us with 4 different pate recipes to choose from and are allowing us to go wild with our homemade bread choice.

I love pate - in all shapes and sizes :) and I love home made bread. Unfortunatelly this month's challenge wasn't in perfect timing for me... but...



I know I didn't make this months challenge as I should have. I didn't use any of the recipes provided for the pate, but please pop in to The Daring Kitchen to see those 4 great recipes... Reason being for not doing those is that a few days ago I had my Baby Girl (you can read about that here) and wasn't able to do the challenge at all! I want it to make it this month badly - as pate is one of my favourite things in the world! But... my Hubby made it instead. He wanted to make a recipe for pate which he got from my Dad. I admit - quantities are huge (we got about 4 kg of final pate - shared it with my neighbours and rest to the freezer), but if you're making pate, doesn't matter how much of the ingredients you have - work is basically the same...
Hope that this month's challenge will count for me ;) even though I made some significant changes...



How to make it...

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Beetroot, chicory and orange salad...

I'm not cooking much recently... with such a HUGE bump (39 weeks!) on me I can hardly walk, let alone stand for some time in front of a stove... So, my Hubby happy in the kitchen - at last I'm not interrupting ;) But today I was able to help him a little and made this lovely salad. Had it marked in one of my cookbooks for some time now and having all the ingredients I just finally made it. Didn't know if it will be nice but it was delicious! It will be great accompaniment to grilled meats and fish or alone as a starter. The recipe comes from "Fat free, low fat cooking" by Anne Sheasby.



How to make it...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Chłodnik soup and heat wave in Ireland!...

It's just unbelievable how hot it is. I wouldn't mind it normally, but now I really do (try to be 9 months pregnant and survive temp. around 30 C...). I love such weather and I'm happy it's a real spring/summer here (at last!). We really miss sunshine here on The Green Isle and try to grab any that we get. Surviving such weather is different matter all together. I can't eat, I'm just not hungry - but as we all know one has to eat. So... there's a soup, cold soup designed especially for such weather - perfect for hot days. I admit that I had to call my Dad to ask exactly how to make it and what to put inside ;) It was delicious - a true taste of my family home (Dad would be proud!). Hope you will try it - especially that it's not difficult, cheap to make and healthy too.



"Cold borscht (borshch) or Cold beet soup is a cold variety of borscht — beetroot soup traditional to some Northern European and Slavic countries. In Poland it's called 'chłodnik' or chłodnik litewski'. Its preparation starts with young beets being chopped and boiled, together with their leaves, when available. After cooling them down, the soup is usually mixed with sour cream, soured milk, kefir or yoghurt (depending on regional preferences). Typically, raw chopped vegetables such as radishes or cucumbers are added and the soup is garnished and flavored with dill or parsley. Chopped, hard-boiled eggs are often added. The soup has a rich pink color which varies in intensity depending on the ratio of beets to dairy ingredients." - by Wikipedia.org

How to make it...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Coconut rice with fruit sauce...

I'm definitely a dessert person and what's more... I'm definitely a 'coconut person' ;) I just love coconut. It's such a nice flavour and it goes well with so many things - both meats, veges and fruits. It's great in sweet and savoury dishes. There aren't many ingredients which would be so versatile... but back to today's recipe - I had half a can of coconut milk in the fridge and had to use it sooner rather than later - hence this very simple and so delicious dessert. I made the rice, Hubby had an idea with the sauce.



How to make it...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Fried Brie... eating all my favourites till I can!...

Love this dish. Love fried Brie. Unfortunately I don't eat it a lot as I would be a Hippo in no time - unfortunately usually what's tastes great isn't the best for us... Well form time to time you can make yourself 'a present' ;) especially now that my Baby is due in 2 weeks and after that no more fried/grilled/greasy things for me, no more spicy food etc as I intend to breast feed... So now I'm easting what I can, until I can :D Fried Brie is great with a little bit of salad (balsamic dressing works well) on the side and a crouton - makes perfect lunch. If you have a cranberry jam/chutney you have to eat it with fried Brie - trust me on that!



How to make it...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)... part of Bento box...

Recently I'm FASCINATED by Japanese 'art' (yes, that's a kind of art for me :) ) lunch box - BENTO. I love those different kind of bento boxes (still have to buy one, but have no idea where!?), those little pieces of meat, fish, different shapes of rice, salads with dressings in those cute bottles etc. and what's more - I don't think you can make healthier, more balanced and prettier lunch box than bento :) I know that I'm on maternity leave now - so you may ask what's the point, but... I can make bento for my Hubby or just learn how to prepare it for the future (as I know that eventually, someday I'll have to go back to work :/ ....). So today one of the simplest things to put into your bento.



How to make it...

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Daring Cooks go Mexican... but without me this time...

Yes, it's 14th today and Daring Cooks reveal date... Unfortunately I wasn't able to do this month's DC challenge... I WILL dare to do it in the future though - as it sounds fantastic and I like Mexican cuisine. Besides all other daring cooks results look amazing and so delicious :)

Please pop in to The Daring Kitchen for the recipe and to see other DC Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada. This month's challenge was hosted by Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food so please pop in to their lovely blogs too!

In the meantime - have a great day! And 'see' you soon :)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Puff pizza...

OK I know that with this one I was a little lazy... but you have to forgive pregnant woman ;) I had last one sheet of puff pastry in the freezer and no idea what to do for dinner today. But after some thinking I decided to make pizza using puff pastry. If you never tried it yet - do it! It amazingly light and fluffy. Taste as good as (or even better...) than normal, traditional dough pizza but you don't feel so stuffed after it. I think it will be also great alternative to normal pizza for kids...? Huh? Anyway - use your imagination with the ingredients, buy (or if you dare do your own) puff pastry and enjoy!



How to make it...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Jamaican coconut bread...

Recently all over the food blog world everyone is making a version of coconut bread - had to finally try it! As I love coconut I couldn't wait any longer. I was looking for a 'perfect' recipe for 2 days but decided eventually to go with the one from Jamaicans.com . It was a good choice. The bread (or really more like a kind of cake) is nice, fluffy and moist. There is one thing I will change in the future though - I will swap the normal milk for the coconut milk, as I believe this will give more 'pronounced' coconut taste.



How to make it...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Pan-fried pork with peaches...

I know it's been quiet on my blog lately, but that was caused by the fact that today is my first day of maternity leave and I had many things to sort out at work etc. before my big leave... Now, that I'm at home and the Baby isn't due till the 14th June I will cook more and keep you posted :)
So, as we are trying to save as much as possible (with the Baby on the way and me getting less money than I used to earn...) I had a good look through our cupboards and try to use what we have for everyday cooking - rather than buying something new. And believe me - the things I found in our storage cabinet - I forgot that we bought all those things at all!
This recipe is based on an idea taken from the "Fat free, low fat cooking". I was positively surprised by the taste - as I thought that pork and peaches won't mix up well together... It's very simple dish and easy to prepare, taste is rather unusual but everything goes well together.



How to make it...

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Meatloaf a little different...

As I probably mentioned it before it's hard to buy here a nice cured/smoked meat for your sandwich. If you don't like ham, corned beef or chicken all the time you will have a hard time either in Ireland and/or UK. I'm used to a huge choice of cured meats, sausages, smoked meat etc. as it's a big part of Polish culinary tradition. My Hubby decided to do something about that. He made something very delicious. One slice of that (kind of) meatloaf on your fresh bread, sliced tomato, hot tea and I don't need anything else...



How to make it...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Encyclopedia of Polish cuisine (book review)...


"Encyclopaedia of Polish cuisine"
by Hanna Szymanderska

Hardback (1148 pages)


As I'm Polish you would presume that Polish cuisine has no mysteries and question marks for me... but it's completely different. The reason is that Polish cuisine is complex, with a rich history, influences from Eastern Europe as well as France, Germany and, on top of that, every region of Poland has their own recipes and traditions. Me and my Hubby got this book as a wedding present and I returned to it only recently as it was our 2nd Wedding anniversary on 24t April :)

The Encyclopedia of Polish Cuisine is a source of information about Polish cooking years ago and today, it covers both haute, official cuisine and recipes from various parts of Poland. The twenty(!) chapters of the book include recipes for flavoured butters, dips, soups, flour-based dishes, egg and cheese dishes, kashas and rice, potatoes, side dishes, sauces, fish, meat, poultry, game, mushrooms, vegetables, desserts, cold and hot drinks, cakes, liqueurs and preserves. The author Hanna Szymanderska presents such well-known dishes as chicken broth or pork chops, you will also find here some long-forgotten recipes for crayfish, stewed hazel grouse, quail nests or coot in cranberry sauce but...

The book is written in an easy and understanding language but unfortunately the author uses very patronising tone - unless you're very good cook you won't achieve anything worth eating. I found mistakes in some of the recipes. As mentioned earlier the book covers lots of recipes, techniques and I think that quantity took more important role than quality. It seems that recipes were included without checking them/cooking from them at all...
Overall the book is a good summary of the Polish culinary traditions but because of mistakes in recipes I wouldn't really recommend it to someone who doesn't have any idea about Polish cooking/baking and haven't cooked anything Polish before. It's more of a 'tale' about traditions, roots of Polish cuisine rather than a good and useful compendium of recipes.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Daring Bakers #13 British Pudding ...

The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.

I didn't have an access to the suet so I choose to make butter based pudding. If you want to get a recipe for the one with the suet and see how my fellow DB did their challenge this month please pop in to The Daring Kitchen.



The result of this month's challenge was fantastic! I didn't want plain pudding though, so I added cinnamon, sultanas and made it with some fresh apples.
I was slightly worried that it won't be a success but... my and my Hubby loved the result!!! It was amazingly light and soft (maybe as a result of slowly steaming it rather thank baking?) We will definitely try it again - next time we're thinking of placing some rich jam/marmalade at the bottom of the pudding basin...

How to make it...