Friday, January 29, 2010

The easiest cake in the world - but is it good?...

I'm a little sceptic if it comes to 'ready make' cake packs etc. I've made few of them in my life and usually they tasted ... well just 'fake'. You could taste some strange flavors, additions which shouldn't be there. On the other hand - what do you expect for a fraction of the price for all the 'real products' to make that cake... All that, until I made this one today... It's simply 'coffee cake' and it's good! I'll have to try their other cake mixes too someday. I know that 'Delecta' has a huge range of cakes, ideas for cold desserts, muffins.



This 'coffee cake' I made today couldn't be easier. Just 2 eggs, 100 g melted butter, 50 ml water and the 'mix'. Then just mix it for 5 minutes, transform into the cake dish and bake. The smell was fantastic! Light scent of coffee and freshly baked cake. The result was very good indeed. Already half of it disappeared - and it's only me and my Hubby here ;)
So my conclusion is - not all ready cake mixes are bad. As long as you go for a good product, from good manufacturer you can actually enjoy a cake within an hour (without huge costs and labour...). If you will have a chance to try this one (made by Polish company 'Delecta') do it.
Of course nothings better than real home baked cake, but sometimes, on those lazy days, you can take some shortcuts ;)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Daring Bakers #10 Graham Wafers and Canadian Nanaimo Bars...

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and www.nanaimo.ca.

I was looking forward to this challenge, as I want to go and visit Canada some day and was very happy to have an opportunity to try something Canadian :) Although it was quite time consuming - with making my own wafers, for the first time! - I enjoyed it a lot! The final result was delicious! Once everything was made the worst thing was waiting, waiting for the bars to chill and set properly. I made some Olympic rings to honour this years Winter Olympics. I was left with a lot of melted white chocolate and decided to add it to the middle layer. All in all - great challenge, delicious dessert perfect for parties, as you can make it in a big dish and just cut small individual portions. But... you need a strong coffee to go with it - as they are VERY sweet and filling dessert! If you want to know more about Nanaimo bars go here.



How to make it...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Baked pork belly...

As we know meat (especially the good one) isn't cheap but... Instead of buying ready cut pork chops, ribs etc. you can cheaply(!) buy a whole piece of pig and prepare it at home, yourself. I know it requires some knife skills, but you can always learn it. My Hubby bought a whole pig shoulder and we will have good few dinners out of it. It's simple mathematics - the shoulder was 5,5 kg and cost eur 8.00 if we wanted to buy ready cut meat pieces, total of 5,5 kg we would spend around eur 35.00 easily! So... we will have some pork chops, spare ribs, baked bacon, 2 packs ready cut meat for stew and... my Hubby also made baked pork belly (which is great cold on a sandwich). We won't be buying meat for over a week now!



How to make it...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Polish potato pancakes...

These are the most famous pancakes in Poland. They are very(!) easy to make and also very "budget friendly" ;) They have very specific taste, which I personally adore. At my family home we usually eat them only sprinkled with some sugar on top, sometimes also with a dollop of cream or natural yogurt. If you have a nice vegetable or meat stew with a lot of sauce, those potato pancakes will be perfect accompaniment for it! If you make too many, you can simply put the in the fridge for a day and reheat on a dry pan the next day.



"Potato pancakes, are shallow-fried pancakes of grated potato, flour and egg, often flavored with grated onion or garlic and seasoning. Potato pancakes may be topped with a variety of condiments, ranging from the savory (such as sour cream) to the sweet (such as applesauce or sugar), or they may be served ungarnished" - by Wikipedia.org


How to make it...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Jellied pig's feet...

I know it may sound horrible at the beginning, but believe me it's very good. I understand it won't be to everybody taste. I'm sure that some won't even try it when they read what's in it... In Poland traditionally nothing is wasted, we eat whole pig - from nose to tail. Jellied pig's feet ('zimne nóżki' or 'galareta z nóżek' in Polish) is VERY popular dish in Poland and Eastern Europe too. We usually prepare it for birthdays parties etc. as it's great with a shot (not necessary only one...) of vodka! For me it's a type of comfort food, a remainder of my family home. It's very easy to make, but a little time consuming. Hope that you will be brave enough to make it, or at least try it in a Polish restaurant.
P.S. I saved you the 'view' and didn't published a photo of cooked trotter, as I hope you will try this dish someday ;)



How to make it...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Culinaria France (book review)...


"Culinaria France"
by Gunter Beer

Paperback (468 pages)

Chapters:  Foreword, Paris & Ile-de-France, Champagne & Lorraine & Alsace, Nord-Pas de Calais & Picardy & Normandy & Brittany, The Loire Valey & Central France, Burgundy & Franche-Comte, Lyon & Rhone-Alpes, Poitou-Charantes & Limousin, Bordeaux & Perigord & Gascony & Pays Basque, Toulousain & Quercy & Aveyron & Auvergne, Rousillon & Languedoc & Les Cavennes, Provence & Cote d'Azur, Corsica.


This isn't a cook book as we know it - it's more than that. Culinaria has created a whole series, so you can find not only France, but other countries like Spain, Greece, Russia, Canada, Italy etc. ... It's a book about a specific country, but looking at it from the "kitchen's" point of view ;) Culinaria tells a story, a story of how each region of given country was 'created' by it's food. How life is still surrounded by local produce, regional traditional cuisine and it's people - people with, sometimes disappearing, professions in food industry.

Culinaria France is my personal favourite (I have few other books from this series). It takes you on a journey throughout all of the French regions and its special dishes. In Normandy and Brittany we have Calvados, Galettes and Andouille de Vire. In Provence and Cote D'Azur we have Pastis, Truffles and Calissons D'Aix. Author didn't forget about Corsica either, with its famous fish dishes, local spirits and brocciu. There's also a whole chapter devoted to Paris - famous Parisian breakfast, coffee, patisserie and Paris' grand hotels.
If you're a wine lover you'll find a detailed information about wine in each region, its specific taste, history and today's vineyards. And of course what goes well with the wine - cheese, on which you will learn a lot - again, throughout a journey from one region to another. All together there are somewhere around 400 French cheeses, so there's lot to learn and eat!


As it is a book about food, there are some recipes, followed by beautiful photos, but not a lot of them. It's not a cookbook as such, so if you're looking for a bare collection of recipes - it's not a book for you. This is more of a tale, introduction to a world of French food.

If you're passionate about a particular country or region of the world, I think that 'Culinaria' books will be a perfect start to learn about that country's cuisine. I think that 'Culinaria' will be also a great present for some passionate foodie/traveller.

About the author:
Günter Beer lives and works in Barcelona, Spain. He is a photographer, journalist and chronicler. Germany's most well- known food magazine, DER FEINSCHMECKER ("The Gourmet") writes that "his life reads like an adventure novel."
In 1982, he accompanied Joseph Beuys on a project called 7000 Eichen ("7000 Oaks"). He worked as a journalist in Rio de Janeiro for Jornal do Brasil, and reported on the civil war in Nicaragua crossing back and forth between the Sandinistas and the Contras.
Günter Beer sat in the mud with Venezuelan gold panners, he published the latest news from US military laboratories, took fashion photographs in Mexico, Majorca and atop the Matterhorn.
For Könemann Verlag in 1994 he photographed 255 culinary specialities from all over Europe in 180 days. His work has since focused on more than 20 international cookbooks. - by amazon.com

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Daring Cooks #6 Beef Satay...

The January 2010 DC challenge was hosted by Cuppy of Cuppylicious and she chose a delicious Thai-inspired recipe for Pork Satay from the book 1000 Recipes by Martha Day.
I was so happy when I saw this month's challenge. I love satay but never made it myself - which was a mistake.

Satay marinade is VERY easy and combined with peanut sauce is delicious! I used beef instead of pork and didn't use skewers, but just fried my meat on the pan. It was chilling/marinating over night (around 16 hours). Peanut sauce was simple to prepare and ideal accompaniment to the meat. I served this as a main dish with some boiled rice.



How to make it...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Turkey breast in creamy plum sauce...

My Hubby cooks a lot lately. Mainly because I'm back to work on full time and he still has some holidays left - he'll be back on the 18th Jan!... I'm eating lunches at home, it's only 3 minutes from work and I'm saving good bit of money this way. Since Hubby is at home I have hot lunch ready every day :) Last time he made beautiful! turkey breast in creamy plum sauce, served with tagliatelle. I'm sure it will also work well with chicken instead of turkey. He didn't have a recipe as such so it was hard to get something from him - but I succeeded :)



How to make it...