Your favourite recipes this week:

Best savory dishes of 2014...

I can't really say that I bake more than I cook savory dishes in my kitchen. I'd like to think that I do both equally often, I definitely enjoy both the same! :) Baking is that little bit easier for me, as I can include my two little girls in the process, whereas with cooking for example dinner, it's not that simple - as sharp knives, hot stoves, graters, raw meat etc. are usually involved. There were good few dishes I have discovered in the passing year, I'm using the word discover here, as about some of the dishes I haven't even heard before! I hope you'll like my little "sum up" and here it is:

Anula's Best Cakes of 2014...

December, especially the very end of the month always makes me think about the year that passed. I usually make "sum ups" of the best dish/cake/meal I had/discovered in each month of the passing year (2012 sum up & 2013 sum up), but seeing as 2014 was especially interesting and diverse in my kitchen I decided to divide the year into categories, I simply couldn't decide on one dish/cake only form each month! The Best cakes of 2014 is the first category I wanted to share with you. The second one, coming in few days time, will be all about savory dishes.
So to start with summing up of the year 2014 this is the list of 12 cakes that I think were "the star" of each month in my kitchen:

best cakes of 2014

Smoked salmon roulade...

There's really not a lot of fish out there or seafood in general that I don't like, but I was never so kean on smoked salmon. when I used to live in Poland it was quite tricky to get a good quality one, one that's really smoked and not just covered in something that's imitating real smoking process. That has changed when I moved to Ireland. Living on an island now, literally few miles from the Ocean I have one of the best fish and the freshest one, here at my doorstep. Smoked salmon - as this is the star of my post today. I really start loving the stuff and enjoy it on many ways. One of my Baby J (who's 4 years old now) favorite way of eating smoked salmon is simply on buttered toast, just like that. I usually put mine on a toast covered already in some scrambled eggs. But I was challenged to think of some new, interesting but easy at the same time, way of eating smoked salmon.

This is a recipe I created specially for Quinlan's Kerryfish using their organic smoked salmon. It IS good! When thinking what will I make I didn't want to over complicate it, nor I wanted to "kill" the taste of the fish with another strong ingredient. Seeing as my favorite way of eating smoked salmon is with eggs, here's a result - smoked salmon roulade made using a kind of egg pancake, but to put some creaminess inside, and a little bit of a "kick" and different texture - you'll find cream cheese and a small "kick", as well as some crunch from the gherkins.

smoked salmon roulade

How to make it...

Food & Wine... Launch of The Wine Club at Sol y Sombra...

An average person walking into a supermarket or an off-licence is, I think, somewhat "crushed" by the sheer amount of wine at the display... Where do I start? Which wine should I buy? White or red? Wait - there's even rose?! Maybe sparkling? Which wine will go well, compliment my dish tonight? Which one will be perfect just for sipping and chatting with a friend? How many of us were put in front of dilemma like that...? I know I was, on more than one occasion... I love wine, but I'm not, by any means, an expert in that field. But - there's always room for an improvement ;)

Photo by Bartek Witek Photography

I was very lucky to be invited and take part in a launch of newly created Wine Club - "Match made in heaven - Food & Wine event" in my local Sol y Sombra, with wine on the evening generously sponsored by Findlater.
It was one of the best events I took part in. Well organised, everyone invited had some background and/or interest in food and wine. Amazing dishes - and here KUDOS to the chefs who really pulled out all the stops (see the menu below) and wine which went amazingly well with every course. Before each course, Peter from Findlater, gave us a little background about the wine that we'll have with the dish. No, it wasn't a long and boring speech about technicality of producing each wine. It was a story, sometimes even a legend, on how each wine came to be and then, a little bit about its distinctive taste. Truly enjoyable!
I really liked the set up in the restaurant itself, the fact that we were all at one loooong table, all 30 of us attending. It became very nice, interesting social event at which we discussed wine & food extensively and had a bit of good, old laugh :)

A Match Made in Heaven MENU
27th November 2014

First Course
Mini-Hamburguesa de Langostino con Ali-Oli de Algas y Rúcola
Mini Prawn Hamburger with Seaweed Ali-Oli & Rocket
Wine Match: Lands & Legends Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand

Regaña con Solomillo en Manteca y Aire de Vino
Loin of Pork cooked in Chorizo Oil on a Savoury Cracker with ‘Red Wine Air’
(served at ambient temperature)
Wine Match: Andean Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina

Fish Course
Tartar de Salmon Sobre Carpaccio de Vieiras con Guacamole Marino
Salmon Tartare, Carpaccio of Scallop with Sea Guacamole
Wine Match: Torres Waltraud Riesling, Penedes, Spain

Meat Course
Pato Crujiente al Mango con Su Magret
Duo of Crunchy Duck & Mango Rolls and Seared Magret Duck Breast
Wine Match: Ibericos Rioja Crianza, Spain

Dessert Course
Falso Tarta de Queso
False Cheese Cake – Matcha Tea Sponge, , White Chocolate Mousse,
topped with Strawberries in Sweet Wine
Wine Match: Torres Nectaria, Central Valley, Chile

Polish grey dumplings...

Those dumplings are very popular in Greater Poland. Quick, budget friendly dish, that literally anyone can make. Traditional way of serving them will be with some pork scratching and caramelized onion. Some recipes call for eggs, like the one below, but some won’t be using any at all, just raw potatoes, flour and a bit of salt. Both versions are delicious, very quick and simple to make. Also very easy on your wallet! Yes, I am aware that in different parts of Poland there are "grey dumpling" which are completely different than those below, even though they also use raw potatoes, but as with almost each and every dish in my native country - every part of Poland (sometimes even every family) has it's own way of preparing it and naming it too.
I know they might not be the prettiest, but they have very unusual taste, are easy to make and what's the most important - are delicious. I actually like that uneven, funky shape of those dumplings, the fact that each and every dumpling is different! Aren't we all..? ;)

polish grey dumplings

How to make it...

Marbled cupcakes...

Another cupcake creation and another one based on The Hummingbird Bakery cookbook. I wrote million times already how much I love making and eating cupcakes, but to sum up again - quick and relatively easy to make, versatile and it somehow makes me less guilty if I eat a cupcake rather than a thick slice of cake, but I might be little delusional here... ;)
The below method of making cupcakes was little bit different than how I'm used to preparing the batter, but it gave fantastic result of fluffy, light and spongy texture. The marbled effect looked really nice, I'm just regretting of not "swirling" my batter enough to make it even more "marbley". As I;m not a big fan of creamy/buttery frosting, I omitted that part in the recipe ( I also changed slightly how I made my two different batches of flavored sponges) and decided to decorate mine with a little bit of icing sugar "dust", but I don't think that you need any kind of decoration on top of those little beauties - especially if you'll be more daring with swirling than I was! :)

marbled cupcakes

How to make it...