Friday, September 23, 2011

Sour beetroot soup - barszcz / borscht...

It is widely known and liked soup, not only in Poland but mainly in Eastern Europe. I used sour beetroot juice I made earlier, but you can easily add acidity to your barszcz by adding either vinegar or lemon juice - it's not 'authentic' but you'll get pretty similar result.
Barszcz in Poland is mainly eaten on Fridays, as it's usually vegetarian soup and in many parts of Poland during Wigilia, on Christmas Eve.
I like mine with a hard boiled egg and boiled, diced potatoes, sometimes with a teaspoon of cream to make it less sour. Traditionally barszcz is served with uszka or sometimes with a krokiet on the side. It's completely up to you and your own taste how you eat it!

"The basic Polish borscht (barszcz) recipe includes red beetroot, onions, garlic, and other vegetables such as carrots and celery or root parsley. The ingredients are cooked for some time together to produce a clear broth (when strained), and the soup is then served as boullion in cups or in other ways. Some recipes include bacon as well, which gives the soup a distinctive "smoky" taste. (...) A key component to the taste of barszcz is acidity. While barszcz can be made easily within a few hours by simply cooking the ingredients and adding vinegar, lemon juice, or citric acid; the traditional way is to prepare barszcz several days in advance and allow it to naturally sour. Depending on the technique, the level of acidity required, and the ingredients available, barszcz takes 3–7 days to prepare in this way." - by Wikipedia.org




How to make it...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sour, fermented beetroot juice for borscht (barszcz)...

I know that it may sound horrible, but believe me it's the key ingredient for anyone who wants to try the 'real deal' which is borscht. It's very easy to make and beetroots are mainly what you need. I have to admit though, that it was my first time making sour beetroot juice, as it's my Dad who always makes it (and I had to give him a call to check the details ;) ). You can easily keep it in the kitchen, pantry, utility room but just away from the direct sunlight and maybe not next to heater etc. You can use your beets twice for it, but the second batch of the juice will be less sour.
It's something very traditional, especially in Eastern Europe, but as everything else it's slowly being forgotten. I think we should keep those traditions (not only the culinary ones) alive. Hope you'll give it a go!





How to make it...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Jam doughnut style muffins...

Those muffins are great! Highly addictive! They're way easier than traditional doughnuts and healthier too (for what it's worth you're not deep frying them but baking). Very quick and easy to make too. I usually make them when baking the bread. The most energy consuming is actually heating the oven so once it's on the full swing I use it for baking muffins etc. and bread dough has ideal warm condition for rising.


How to make it...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Stuffed zucchini (or courgette) with tomato sauce...

I don't know about other countries but in Poland we love our stuffed veges. it will normally be either stuffed peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, cabbage leaves etc. this time we tried zucchini - and it was great! You have to look for 'fat' ones so you can put as much stuffing inside as you can. The sauce is simple too - I used a big jar of ready made tomatoes pasta sauce but you can easily make your own - pureed tomatoes, salt, pepper, basil, some garlic and that's it!
Another thing - it was hard for me to give you exact quantities of the sauce needed here - the main thing is that it has to cover your stuffed veges.



How to make it...

Monday, September 05, 2011

Gypsy tart...

I've heard so much about Gypsy tart and wanted to try it for a long time. I couldn't believe that 3 ingredients - pastry, evaporated milk and sugar can taste sooo good. My Hubby called it 'weird' - not bad not good just weird... Well, I love it! It's perfect with some strong, black coffee and a spoon full of crème fraîche.



"A gypsy tart is a type of pie made with evaporated milk, muscovado sugar (though some varieties include light brown sugar), and pie crust. It originates from the County of Kent in England. The tart is extremely sweet and is, for many people, associated with school dinners (...) Originating in Kent, the story behind this pie is that during the early part of the 20th century a lady regularly saw undernourished gypsy children playing in the fields next to her house. One day she decided to feed them but had nothing more than a pie crust, evaporated milk and brown sugar. She made the sweet tart and henceforth the tart has been a Kentish tradition, present in many Kentish bakeries and of course, a regular on school dinner menus during the 1960s, 70s and 80s." - by Wikipedia.org



How to make it...

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Yes, indeed the best pancakes ever...!

I wish I could take credit for those - but I can't. Those are really, truly, the best breakfast pancakes ever - and I've tried good few recipes... This one comes from a lovely blog 'A feast for the eyes'.
Those pancakes are very quick and easy to make, they're rising very well and are light and fluffy. I was a little skeptical at the beginning when reading the list of ingredients... a vinegar... in pancakes... yack! But you can't taste it and that vinegar is that secret ingredient which makes everything better! So give it a go on those lazy, weekend mornings - I assure you - you'll love it!
I had them first with some maple syrup - heavenly! - and then with some strawberry yogurt - yum!... The below version is "full on" - honey, yogurt, strawberry jam and even diced banana! Because WHY NOT?! ;)






How to make it...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Gratin dauphinois... by Raymond Blanc...

I've already made this dish once, but from a different recipe. This time it was my Hubby who made it and even though that it should be the same dish it was actually completely different one - as he used different recipe from a Raymond Blanc's book. It was very creamy and soft but even though it had great deal of cream and cheese it wasn't heavy at all!



How to make it...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Beetroot Salad with Cottage Cheese...

The recipe comes from the new Jamie Olivier's book '30 minute meals'. The whole TV series is fantastic. Thanks to Jamie we no longer cook/boil our potatoes in water but instead we're using microwave to do that - easier and simpler for only the 2 of us (which usually comes to about 4-6 potatoes). I just love beetroots so I had to give this salad a try. It's very fresh and light, perfect accompaniment to a meaty dinner.



How to make it...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Eggs with chanterelle mushrooms...

Got back from my holidays in Poland. Can't really say it was a proper holiday (came back more tired than before going...) - running after 14 months old Baby J, visiting family, friends, some necessary shopping and of course visit in a clinic to make sure that Baby #2 is OK. Baby #2 is in fact better than OK :) growing and healthy and I also know... it's a girl to! My Hubby is doomed :P he'll have to start sitting on the toilet... :P

Anyway back to the merit. So I had one of my all time favourite breakfasts in Poland. As I can't get those mushrooms here it was something I was craving for a looong time. It couldn't be more simply but it's so good and it reminds my about all those great summer holidays spent in the county at my Nan's.
All you need is some eggs and chanterelle mushrooms - I took advantage of my mother-in-law organic eggs from her own hens and freshly picked mushrooms :) YUM!



How to make it...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pasta alla genovese by Nigella Lawson...

I like Nigella a lot. Her recipes aren't too complicated and they are always a success. This one wasn't any different. We divided the amount of ingredients by half - as it's only 2 of us here and we used only olive oil for the pesto. This dish is quite quick to prepare and you have only 1 pot to clean afterwards! :) I was concerned a little about all the different textures of potatoes and pasta together but I have to admit it worked well. I liked it a lot and definitely will make it again!
Recipe comes from Nigella's new book "Kitchen" - which is very nice collection of checked, hearty and in most of the cases very quick too, family recipes.



How to make it...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Daring Cooks #19 Noodles, makaron, lane kluski...

Steph from Stephfood was our Daring Cooks' July hostess. Steph challenged us to make homemade noodles without the help of a motorized pasta machine. She provided us with recipes for Spätzle and Fresh Egg Pasta as well as a few delicious sauces to pair our noodles with!

I simply couldn't miss that one and I didn't have to as my Hubby made good few versions of this month's challenge. For me it was also an occasion to finally buy him a pasta machine :) He's delighted!



Noodles, in polish -> makaron, is very popular in Poland. You can't have your traditional Sunday dinner without clear chicken broth with home made egg noodles. We also made popular in Poland 'lane kluski' which could be done for the broth, tomato soup (like in our situation this time) or I also like them for my breakfast made in simmering milk.

How to make it...

Monday, July 04, 2011

Polish white cheese - twarog / twarozek...

I just love twarozek! But unfortunately you can't buy it here in Ireland (well, you can in Polish shops, but I had a bad experience with it once and don't want ever again!). Luckily it's not complicated at all to make cottage cheese. I remember when my Granny used to make it from fresh cow's milk. I was a little skeptical if this will work with the pasteurized milk - but it did! And what a result! Twarozek is perfect both with sweet or savory accompaniments. My two favourite ways to eat it are: either simply spread on a piece of bread with sliced cucumber, spring onions and sprinkled with some salt, or spread over the bread and topped with honey or jam. Hope you'll try and make it - it IS very easy and definitely beats the store bought version!




"Quark is a type of fresh cheese, also known as tvorog (from the Russian творог), topfen (from the Austrian name), biezpiens (from Latvian), and varškė (from Lithuanian). It is made by warming soured milk until the desired degree of denaturation of milk proteins is met, and then strained. Dictionaries usually translate it as curd cheese or cottage cheese, although most commercial varieties of cottage cheese are made with rennet, whereas traditional quark is not. It is soft, white and unaged, similar to some types of fromage frais. It is distinct from ricotta because ricotta (Italian: recooked) is made from scalded whey. Quark usually has much lower fat content (about the same as yogurt) than cream cheeses and has no salt added." - by Wikipedia.org

How to make it...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

French onion soup - Soupe à l'oignon...

I'm not a huge fan of onion... to be honest I'm hardly a fan at all... and the reason to that is that onion doesn't go well with me. Raw onion is OK, diced in a salad or on a sandwich but cooked, fired etc. onion kills me... I always(!) have such a huge stomach ache after I eat it that I simply stopped all together.
French onion soup is something my Hubby always wanted to try and he finally did. He loved the soup! I liked it. I was surprised by it's sweet taste and nice soft texture and I have to admit I really liked it, but then again... pain came after about half an hour after eating.
If you like onions try this recipe! You'll love it!
P.S. My Hubby used a recipe from Raymond Blanc's book and that's the exact recipe below.


"French onion soup (Soupe à l'oignon) is an onion and beef broth or a beef stock based soup traditionally served with croutons and cheese as toppings... Onion soups have been popular at least as far back as Roman times. They were, throughout history, seen as food for poor people, as onions were plentiful and easy to grow. The modern version of this soup originates in France in the 18th century, made from beef broth, and caramelized onions. It is often finished by being placed under a broiler in a ramekin traditionally with croutons and gruyère melted on top. The crouton on top is reminiscent of ancient soups." - by Wikipedia.org

How to make it...

Thursday, May 05, 2011

How to arrange a cheese board - a cheese clock...

OK so I'm writing here about different cheeses and I'm encouraging you to try different kind soft cheeses: goat's cheese, blue cheese, hard cheeses etc. because even if you wouldn't like some of them - you'll know you tired it, and you know how it tastes (which may be a very precious information in the future, you never know).

I must admit that I don't (maybe not properly) know how to arrange a cheese board and what kind of wine to serve with different kinds of cheeses. But hey - life is a lesson and the fact that I'm not an expert in that matter doesn't mean that I can't enjoy it! So I did a small research online and found few useful information, some with very handy photos and diagrams.


"Your first cheese should be a mild one found using the mild icon and placed at the 6 o'clock position on your plate to begin your cheese flight.
Arrange your selected cheeses in a clock wise manner starting at 6 o’clock position and use the icons 9-12 o'clock , or 12-3 o'clock , or 3-6 o'clock in this step-by-step manner – you may skip icons or select more than one cheese per icon.
Alternate cheese selections between milk types and textures to create balance and harmony." - by Arisanalcheese.com
It's nice to have some fruit as well, obvious choices are: grapes, pears, apples and other fruits that are in season (like berries for example). I'd say that wine (for me at least) will be a matter of taste more than what someone thinks should be right - so experiment here!

!!!YOU HAVE TO TRY THIS!!!
Now I have to share with you something that my Hubby discovered - well maybe not himself personally but Jamie Oliver in one of his shows. So you take a slice of cheese (about 5 mm), a hard cheese like Cheddar, you spread some honey on it and you sprinkle it with.... ground coffee! Yes, ground coffee, a pinch will do.
Trust me on this one. When he approached me with this first time I told him his out of his mind! Oh, I was SO wrong! All our guests who are popping for lunch or just a coffee are now converted! Once you try it - you'll never stop.
Please DO try, do it for me (and you'll be really doing it for yourself!) and the PLEASE DO let me know how you liked it - I'm so curious as till now I haven't met anyone who didn't like that combination....

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Spaghetti with curried chicken balls...

So we're back to business with one of our family's favourites: I'll be boring here - it's another(!) John Torode's recipe (I just love what he does with a humble chicken, if you don't have his book yet - what are you waiting for!?!). So if you like Indian food and want something on the budget, but something which definitely won't taste like something on the budget... you have to try this one!
P.S. It freezes well too, so don't be afraid to make more :)



How to make it...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Daring Bakers #17 Yeasted meringue coffee cake...

The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.

Made it exactly on the 13th March for my Bday! It was delicious, but what's not to like if you're a BIG fun of meringue and yeasted cakes! :D So THANK YOU very much for thins month's challenge! It was perfect!
The dough itself was very easy, fuss free and what's more successful! As I have to assure you that it's not so easy(!) to make a yeasted dough and make it rise (both during improving and during baking!). This recipe is a keeper! If not for the 'full' version with the meringue filling, for the dough and the method itself!
I've opted for the Jamie's version as I was expecting some guests and didn't know if they would like 'Indian' flare... though, I would love it!
I've changed the list of ingredients for the filling and added a hand full of sultanas - worked perfectly! :)


How to make it...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Flour - the mystery solved...

I'm always confused about different types of flour and which flour is the best for baking bread, cookies, sponge cake etc. So I think I'm not alone with those dilemmas... To save you the time of looking for some answers to the questions you might have about the flour here's a little sum up of what I've found during my research online. I would like to share it with you in a kind of article form to save you those hours browsing and looking for the answer ;)
All feedback welcome!

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First why flour is called flour...

"The word "flour" is originally a variant of the word "flower". Both derive from the Old French fleur or flour, which had the literal meaning "blossom," and a figurative meaning "the finest." The phrase "fleur de farine" meant "the finest part of the meal," since flour resulted from the elimination of coarse and unwanted matter from the grain during milling."

What was the first flour...

"Approximately 9000 BC it was discovered that wheat seeds could be crushed between simple grindstones to make flour. Around 3000 BC the Egyptians introduced yeast. The Romans were the first to grind corn on cone mills and in 1879, the beginning of the Industrial Era, the first steam mill was erected in London. In the 1930s began enrichment of some flour with Iron, Niacin, Thiamine and Riboflavin. In the 1940s mills started to enrich flour and Folic Acid was added to the list in the 1990s."


FLOURS:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Full Irish breakfast and... Happy St.Patrick's Day!

Full Irish breakfast isn't something we will have regularly. It's a treat and there are few reasons to it: first of all there's a little bit of work involved in preparing it, definietly more than making your porridge or simple toast, secondly it isn't the healthiest of the options ;) I have a sentiment to this so popular (not only with the tourists) meal. It was the very first(!) meal/ breakfast we had when we've emigrated to Ireland... We were staying in a small, family run B&B and it was an obvious choice on our very first morning on the Green Island. We went for the "full on" version, and I have to admit I wasn't hungry for quite some time after it.

Now, I would make full Irish when we have guests visiting - family and friends from Poland, France etc. in general from abroad, somewhere when they wouldn't come across this kind of breakfast before. I also make this kind of breakfast as a treat for us - on birthdays, Christmas Day etc.


"In Ireland, as elsewhere, the exact constituents of a full breakfast vary, depending on geographical area, personal taste and cultural affiliation. Traditionally, the most common ingredients are bacon rashers, sausages, fried eggs, white pudding, black pudding, toast, sliced tomato, and fried potato. Sauteed mushrooms are also sometimes included, as well as liver (although popularity has declined in recent years), and brown soda bread. A full Irish breakfast may be accompanied with a strong Irish Breakfast tea such as Barry's Tea, Lyons Tea, or Bewley's breakfast blend served with milk. Fried potato bread, farl, potato farl or toast is often served as an alternative to brown soda bread." - by Wikipedia.org

How to make it...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Almond & Cointreau cookies...

It was my BDay yesterday and yes I baked a cake but I also baked some cookies. I wanted to make my Dad's cookies but decided against it and instead I tried something completely new. The Cointreau is completely my idea and it worked beautiful! Hope you'll try them one day - oh, just one thing, in the recipe for the basic almond cookies it says that I should have approx. 25 biscuits, well I got only 16 out of that amount of the dough, but it can be easily doubled - which I'll do next time!



About Cointreau liqueur..."it's a brand of triple sec liqueur, and is produced in Saint-Barthélemy-d'Anjou, a suburb of Angers, France. Cointreau sources its bitter oranges from all over the world, usually Spain, Brazil and Saint-Raphaël, Haiti. Alexis Lichine states that its primitive name was "Curaçao Blanco Triple Sec". In addition to being imbibed as an apéritif, Cointreau is sometimes used as a digestive. Cointreau is considered to be either a triple sec or a unique category of liqueur. With a 40% alcohol content, Cointreau is strong for triple sec, which usually has an alcohol content of between 15 and 40 percent." - by Wikipedia.org For more info go to the official web site
P.S. I love this liqueur :D

How to make it...

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Daring Cooks #18 and we're going to Peru...

Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja was our Daring Cooks’ March 2011 hostess. Kathlyn challenges us to make two classic Peruvian dishes: Ceviche de Pescado from “Peruvian Cooking – Basic Recipes” by Annik Franco Barreau. And Papas Rellenas adapted from a home recipe by Kathlyn’s Spanish teacher, Mayra.

This challenge was great! Loved the Papas although I would be adding more 'spice' to the filling in the future - as I was preparing the filling and tasted, it was great but... once covered with the dough the 'heat' somehow disappeared and it wasn't spicy enough - for both me and and my Hubby.
I didn't make another part of this month's challenge: the cheviche. I would love to try it but unfortunately I don't have an access to a good, fresh fish and didn't want to try it with something that might give me an upset tummy etc. ... but I have it on my 'to do' list!



How to make it...

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Beer-braised pork knuckles...

OK, I have to be honest here, I wasn't a huge fan of pork knuckles/ham hocks ever in my life - or whatever you want to call them - but there is one (well two really) ways I'll eat them. First is the jellied pig's feet and now this! Recipe taken from Nigella Lawson's book "Kitchen". If you only can - try it! Especially that you can get pork hocks at butcher's for nothing! This dish is what I call a 'men's food' ;) but it doesn't mean that a woman can't enjoy it too! Oh, and just one thing of caution - I know that in some countries (like Poland) it is 'a point of honor' to eat whole pork knuckle, but trust me guys you don't want to do it... one generous ham hock is good for 2, not 1 person!



How to make it...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Chicken with olives and lemons... a marriage made in heaven!

Another great, great, great recipe from a great book 'Chicken' by John Torode. We eat a lot of chicken lately mainly because it's cheap and good (of course if you buy a good product in the first place!). We always buy at least free range chicken and if possible organic - but organic tends to be crazy expensive so we usually opt for the free range one ( €6 for a medium size bird).
This time we decided to roast the whole bird. I didn't want a plain roast chicken though so we grabbed the book from the shelf and picked the one for which we had all the ingredients at hand. One thing - in the future I'll only use black olives (I don't like greens anyway), as I think they are more 'earthy' and the flavour goes better with the meat.
So don't wait any longer - if you planned a chicken roast do this one! It's sooooo worth it!!!


How to make it...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cheese - Irish Wicklow Baun, Brie...

There was a big break in my 'cheese board' series, but today I have something special for you. I only hope that wherever you live you'll be able to taste this one :) Yes, an Irish cheese and it's a Brie! My Hubby insisted that we try Irish instead of French brie this time and I'm glad I've listened.



"Wicklow Farmhouse Cheese is a small family business in the South East of Co. Wicklow in Ireland. The Hempenstall family have been milking cows on a small dairy farm at Curranstown, Arklow for the past 50 years. John established Wicklow Farmhouse Cheese in 2005 to supplement farm income. He milks approximately 60 cows and has developed a distinctive range of cheeses using only his own pasteurised milk from his herd of Friesian cows. The cheeses are handmade, in a purpose built dairy on the farm, by the entire Hempenstall family, over seen by John. They have won gold, silver and bronze awards at, among others, the British Cheese Awards and have been recommended by John and Sally McKenna." - as per their website.

The cheese itself is very delicate - nice, soft, almost creamy texture and the taste isn't too strong. It will be perfect in a salad or generally to use for cooking, as the taste won't overpower other ingredients in your dish.
It will be perfect on a small crostini with for ex Parma ham and/or a little bit of vinegar. Good red wine like Bordeaux will be the best - as it's not too acidic and will be great with the light, creamy Wicklow Brie.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Daring Cooks #17 This time we're going to... Japan!

The February 2011 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by Lisa of Blueberry Girl. She challenged Daring Cooks to make Hiyashi Soba and Tempura. She has various sources for her challenge including japanesefood.about.com, pinkbites.com, and itsybitsyfoodies.com

As always with Daring Kitchen - something new, something interesting and something... vary tasty! :) The most important thing is that it cost me only € 5 extra for this month's challenge! We're on a budget here so I was very happy that when reading the ingredients list I have realised that I have everything at home! The only thing I had to buy (and I had to buy it only because I really wanted it - but I could do without) was prawns.

I knew tempura but either bought take-away or had ready made, packed tempura mix... if I only knew... It's so easy to make! And waaaaay better than the ready mix! My favourite was... carrot! Yes, a humble carrot! I was a little sceptic when I saw tempura carrot - but I was soooo wrong! It so nice, sweet and tender - YUM! Second favourite was tempura prawns! But that wasn't a surprise ;)

Soba salad was something completely new to me - but it was sooo good. I didn't have a traditional buckwheat noodles but beans noodles which were waiting for something special in the cupboard - and that was it! It was fast and easy to make and the result was great! Served my soba with omelet stripes, ham, cucumber and spicy dipping sauce.


How to make it...

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Fish cakes...

I know I have been away for some time lately - away from my blog I mean as I really didn't go anywhere. I'm sorry for that and I promise to be good from now :)
I had so many changes happening in my life lately that it was hard to keep up with my own private and professional life, not to mention Anula's Kitchen.
So from the beginning - I've got back to work from my maternity leave and had to leave Baby J at home with her Daddy. They are getting OK, more thank OK even. I'm at work 5 days a week 9 till 6 and have only 2 hours with my Baby in the evenings. Besides that, you would know yourself - when I finally have a day off there's million things to do: shopping, cleaning, cooking, laundry and spending some quality time with the Baby.

OK enough with the complaining and back to the merit - it's a cooking blog at the end of the day ;) So, this time something very simple and quick to make. If you only have some mashed leftover potatoes (and who doesn't, I have never cooked just the right amount for 1 dinner only...).


How to make it..

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Daring Cooks #16 French cassoulet...

Our January 2011 Challenge comes from Jenni of The Gingered Whisk and Lisa from Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. They have challenged the Daring Cooks to learn how to make a confit and use it within the traditional French dish of Cassoulet. They have chosen a traditional recipe from Anthony Bourdain and Michael Ruhlman.

OK, I couldn't wait to make this month's challenge. As you probably know I love all things French :) I wasn't disappointed with this dish either! I had to make some changes though (because of the time).
- made chicken confit instead of duck (as that what I had in the fridge),
- used canned canneli beans in tomato sauce! (saved a day there! and you would really tell the difference with that tomato sauce in it...),
- added leek to frying onions
- and unfortunately didn't have the pork rind...
Hope you'll try to make cassoulet one day - as it's truly rewarding dish!
I made chicken confit using those directions. Came out perfect!!! :)



How to make it...