Monday, April 28, 2014

Sicilian Caponata...

I was never a huge fan of aubergine. Mainly because of the way it used to be prepared good few years ago, when it wasn't so popular yet and wasn't so widely known - at least not in Poland. It was just sliced, salted and deep fried in oil (at which point it would soak up all the oil and would be sooo greasy, that I just couldn't make myself to eat it...).
But I do know there's more to that versatile veg - I just have to look at the Mediterranean cuisine to have more than one proof! So, hoping to restore my faith in that, so beautifully looking veg, I bought some recently. After a good look through my many cook books the choice was made - as I trust Hugh ("River Cottage Veg" cookbook) and none of his recipes failed me before, that was the winner! :) And the result.... I'm a complete convert! I love it!!! What's more - I've already marked more recipes to try and will buy aubergine on my next trip to the shop!
Caponata turned out to be quite easy and fuss free to prepare, it's delicious both warm and cold. The smell is fantastic and it tastes very fresh (even tho it's supposed to be stew, so something we associate with winter and quite heavy dishes...).


"Caponata is a Sicilian aubergine (eggplant) dish consisting of a cooked vegetable salad made from chopped fried eggplant and celery seasoned with sweetened vinegar, with capers in a sweet and sour sauce. Numerous local variations of the ingredients exist with some versions adding olives, carrots and green bell peppers, and others adding potatoes, or pine nuts and raisins." - by wikipedia.org

How to make it...

Friday, April 25, 2014

Super light and crumbly scones...

Scones are one of my favourite "bread things" for breakfast - actually anytime of the day... When I was living in Poland I've never came across scones, we have "ladies rolls", kajzerka, huge availability of French type products like brioche, baguette, croissants etc. and many more to choose from. But since moving to Ireland and discovering scones I eat them at least few times a week. I love all the versions - with dried fruit, with cheddar cheese, with thick, crunchy layer of sugar on top, wholegrain and plain, you name it I'm sure to like it if it's a scone :) I bake scones often at home, but for the very first time the result was very, very light, crumbly and soft inside with a nice crunchy, thin "skin" outside. I think it's the swapping of the normal milk for the buttermilk that resulted in that lighter version of my favourite little treat.




How to make it...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Slow roasted lamb...

I love lamb. Lamb eaten in spring time tastes even better, there's something almost magical about lamb this time of the year. I don't have to convince anyone that Irish lamb is probably one of the best in the world and I'm so grateful to have such an easy access to it - all year round. I went for the below recipe, as I didn't want to stand over the cooker and cook, stir, mix etc. I wanted something easy and fuss free. The only problem, well more of a difficulty I had with this one, was all the waiting! Your kitchen (and the whole house for that matter) smells so delicious and comforting, but no, you have to hold back and wait... 6 hours to be exact! But I tell you one thing - it was SO worth the wait! The result -> moist, melting in your mouth, aromatic and delicate lamb. I could just eat it on its own, dipping the meat pieces in the sauce that was left in the roasting dish. It reminded me of BBQ pulled pork, same principles, similar result but such a different taste!
I really DO hope you'll try this! I promise that you will never look back :)




Recipe taken from a great cook book "An Irish butcher shop" by Pat Whelan.

How to make it...

Friday, April 18, 2014

Simnel cake...

Easter in full swing! I've heard many times about simnel cake but never ever made it before. What a shame! If you've never eaten simnel cake I can tell you it's lighter version of the Christmas fruit one. There's no booze in it and less spices - only cinnamon. It's moist, sweet and very rich. What's important - it's easy to prepare :) I hope you'll try it - it definitely is my new Easter tradition!




"The Simnel cake is a symbolic Easter cake and is decorated to signify aspects of Christianity. The eleven marzipan balls around the cake represent the 11 disciples, though there were 12 – Judas Iscariot betrayed so he is omitted! Some people just put a large ball in the centre of the cake to signify Jesus." - by odlums.ie



"Simnel cake is traditionally eaten on Easter Sunday. In olden days female servants would bake this fruit cake using all the ingredients that had to be used up before the fast and abstinence of Lent. They would take this home on their rare visits to their mothers on Mothering Sunday." - by odlums.ie



Recipe taken from Paul Hollywood's book "How to bake".


How to make it...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Walnut and honey loaf / cupcakes... by The Hummingbird Bakery

I know it says loaf in the title and that's exactly what you'll find in The Hummingbird Bakery cook book, but I found some time ago, that cupcakes have a better chance of being successful (meaning eaten!) in my house.I guess they fit a pair little hands perfectly ;) I've also noticed that cupcakes will disappear within the day, two tops, whereas the cake can last even 4 days.
This recipe (either you'll chose to make loaf or cupcakes) is a perfect marriage of walnuts and honey. The cake itself is soft and moist (from the honey syrup you pour over) and chopped nuts inside give you a little bit of crunch. As with all The Hummingbird Bakery recipes I have tried to date, with this one as well I reduced the amount of sugar I used - especially that you're adding honey to the batter too.
Do try those! They're perfect with a cup of strong coffee! :)





How to make it...

Friday, April 04, 2014

Rajma - red kidney bean curry...

If you're reading Anula's Kitchen for a while now, you know I love Indian cuisine, so when I came across this new (to me) recipe I just couldn't not to try it. I have never before came across red kidney beans in a curry - always thought more of lentils, chickpeas and vegetables like cauliflower or aubergine. Rajma turned out to be very tasty and quite filling meal - one that I'll make again and again in the future! I read that traditionally it should be served with rice, but as I already had some naan bread at home I ate it with that and a side of cauliflower steaks :)




"Rājmā is a popular Indian vegetarian dish consisting of red kidney beans in a thick gravy with lots of Indian whole spices and usually served with rice and roti. Although the kidney bean is not of Indian origin, it is a part of regular diet in Northern India. This dish developed after the red kidney bean was brought to the Indian subcontinent from Central Mexico and Guatemala." - by wikipedia.org
Recipe taken from thekitchn.com

How to make it...

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Gorgonzola, walnuts, apple and honey crostini...

Recently I have promised myself that I'll buy and try one new thing (food related) every week. This is my very first purchase of the sort and it's Gorgonzola - Gorgonzola Dolce to be exact. I've heard about this cheese many times, saw many recipes with it but have never, ever tried it. What a shame! I was pleasantly surprised with it! It had creamy texture, had to spread it on my crostini rather than be able to slice it. I was afraid that the blue veins will be too strong - no, they aren't! They give a little hint of something, breaking the creaminess of the cheese itself, but in no way it's too strong. It also smells very light and mellow.


"Gorgonzola is a veined Italian blue cheese, made from unskimmed cow's milk. It can be buttery or firm, crumbly and quite salty, with a "bite" from its blue veining. It is mainly produced in the northern Italian regions of Piedmont and Lombardy. Whole cow's milk is used, to whichstarter bacteria is added, along with spores of the mold Penicillium glaucum. Penicillium roqueforti, used in Roquefort cheese, may also be used. The whey is then removed during curdling, and the result aged at low temperatures.
During the aging process metal rods are quickly inserted and removed, creating air channels that allow the mold spores to grow into hyphae and cause the cheese's characteristic veining. Gorgonzola is typically aged for three to four months. The length of the aging process determines the consistency of the cheese, which gets firmer as it ripens. There are two varieties of Gorgonzola, which differ mainly in their age: Gorgonzola Dolce (also called Sweet Gorgonzola) and Gorgonzola Piccante (also called Gorgonzola Naturale, Gorgonzola Montagna, or Mountain Gorgonzola). " - by wikipedia.org


PS. Can I really call my toasts a "crostini"? Isn't it too big for that...? ;)

How to make it...