Another year gone. Another one ahead of us. Last year was full of new discoveries for me, when it comes to new ingredients, tastes, dishes. My short trip to Mallorca introduced me to delicious ensaimada and churros. Through out the year I've discovered new dishes, ingredients and spices like sumac, pickled eggs, labneh (yogurt cheese). You can say that I've traveled around the world on my plate - and there's so much more so discover/EAT! Can't wait what's in store for me in the New Year! :)
Hope you all will have good, adventurous, prosperous and the most important... delicious 2014!
Apple pie with custard is perfect combination, a match made in heaven! So... why not combine both within the pie?! It's nice, creamy and moist, not too sweet (because of the custard and plenty of cinnamon). I've put an extra attention into slicing my apples to make sure they're completely baked and not crunchy - I like soft but not "mushy" apples in my cakes, but that's just me ;) I'm afraid that I wasn't brave enough (nor did I have enough time on my hands) to make custard from scratch - but if you can, by all means do!
This recipe have been in my family for a long, long, long time. I remember making those cookies with my Dad before each and every Christmas (hence the way I always call them - Daddy's Christmas cookies). We would make them about 2 weeks beforehand and store in an airtight cookie box, although sometimes not that many survived till Christmas... ;)
Now, as I have moved out from my family home, I can't imagine Christmas without those lovely little treats, the smell of those cookies being baked announces to me that yes, Christmas is truly on its way. Now it's my time to pass those Christmas traditions and in a way create some new ones with my two little sous chefs :) so the tradition (and the recipe) can live on.
I know that the quantities are quite "generous", but with giving away good few of them and the fact that they keep well for so long, I always make a big batch. You can easily divide the recipe by half (then use 2 egg yolks + 1 whole egg), but who would want to do that? Enjoy!
I'm a HUGE fan of liver - especially lamb's liver. It has very delicate and slightly "herby" taste to it. It's not very popular in Poland, as lamb is not the most popular meat (mainly because of the high price) but fortunately in Ireland it's widely available and not so expensive.
Word of advice - find a good butcher, a really good one! I normally do all my "meat shopping" in the same place, but my butcher's shop is not in town and on this occasion it wasn't on my way at all. Thinking - all butcher shops should be the same and a liver is just a liver, I bought it somewhere else... Well, won't do my shopping there again! It wasn't "cleaned" and I feel cheated - if you've ever seen a liver, you know that besides cutting it into slices it should be trimmed - it was not! I've spent good 10 minutes trimming my liver and surprise, surprise - after that "operation" I had to discard a bit. I know that profit margins might not be the biggest and that there's some work involved in it but... Qualified butcher would do what I have done in half the time! Yes, it would be "lighter" on the scales and they would make less money because of it, but... they wouldn't lose a client! So find a good butcher and stick to him/her! Even if you have to pay that little bit more - it will pay off in the long run, trust me.
Back to my dish - I know that title says "casserole" and you can't(!) cook liver for too long, as it will get really tough and not nice at all, but the way this dish is cooked guarantees you soft, delicate liver full of flavor!
The above dish is based on a recipe from "The Spanish, Middle Eastern & African cookbook" by P.Aris.
Ireland meets Spain - on the plate anyway. This little dish, with hardly any cooking at all, is great idea for a little starter. I believe that every country in the world has its own version of black pudding, every version little different - depending on the ingredients, herbs available at hand. Only in Poland I know that there are at least 2 different version of black pudding, depending on the region you live in, so I can only imagine all those different versions around the world.
Intrigued by that I've done a little bit of online research and... Some black puddings out there sound fantastic! I only wish I could try them all... Some of the more interesting are:
Taiwan - pig's blood cakemade of pork blood and sticky rice is served on a popsicle stick;
Vietnam - blood sausage, boiled or fried, made with pork blood, pork fat, basil;
Spain - morcilla de Burgos which contains mainly pork blood and fat, rice, onions, and salt. Other varieties introduce breadcrumbs, pine nuts, and almonds.
Iceland - made from lamb's blood and suet, rye flour and oats, traditionally stuffed into pouches sewn from the lamb's stomach;
Chile - may contain a variety of ingredients, such as chopped onion and spices, cabbage, peppers, watercress, rice, meat or even dried fruit or nuts.
"Black pudding, blood pudding or blood sausage is a type of sausage made by cooking blood or dried blood with a filler until it is thick enough to congeal when cooled. The dish exists in various cultures from Asia to Europe and the Americas. Pig, cattle, sheep, duck, and goat blood can be used depending on different countries. In Europe and the Americas, typical fillers include meat, fat, suet, bread, cornmeal, sweet potato,onion, chestnuts, barley, and oatmeal. In Spain, Portugal and Asia, potato is often replaced by rice." - by wikipedia.org