niedziela, 28 marca 2010

Tuna Spread with Walnuts

               There are moments in each person life when you feel little...fishy. You're unsure, feel dizzy and not like yourself. Everything is weird and you wonder why. To be honest - i have no idea what to do with this feeling, but I have fish-inspired solution for you. The simplest Tuna spread.
I love spreads. Sweet, salty, hot, cold - I am sure that anything you would think of, I have made one day.
This time is was empty-fringe situation : i literally have nothing inside. Just two canned fish ( pink salmon and tuna ), two cottage cheeses and few things that are really not-worthy mentioning. 
Anyway - I came up with this recipe for bread spread. I made it many times, but this time I added crushed walnuts for some crunchy play for your teeth. 

Tuna Spread with walnuts:

1 can of tuna ( mine was 120g after draining it )
150 g cottage cheese 
50 grams of walnuts ( you can use also other nuts, but rather those spicy )
bunch of parsley
pinch of sea salt and pepper

In your blender mix your tuna and cottage cheese until you get quite smooth combination (i like mine not to be too runny, so it take me about 1 minute). Add some salt and pepper for taste. Chop the walnuts into really small pieces (you can also crush them with roller ) and add them into tuna mix. Do the same with your parsley. Mix well. Your done. This is my life-saver solution for empty fringe. Taste great with French toast and some good quality olive oil.

piątek, 26 marca 2010

Rustic Chocolate Tart

                       When I was little I had amazing chance to spend every holiday in a countryside. With my sister we could play all day long, not care about anything. I felt safe and careless. We had no idea about a real world out there, and it seems to be the right of childhood. Those days were also strong connected with food. We had as many fresh veggies and fruits as we like. Fresh milk take straight from grandma's cow. Real eggs. Those dishes that make us happy. Thick slice of old-fashioned bread, just with homemade butter and salt. Leftover dinner potatoes, fried later in the evening for supper, eaten together with two forks from one pan.
Those things were super simple, but we didn't know or need anything else. 
There are few things in culinary world that are take for granted. First - the simpler dish the best way to show the real taste of a product, and second - that anything made with chocolate is better than the same dish without it (of course I exaggerate, bu you get the idea). That's why this pie is so amazing. It incorporate simple pleasure and pure taste. Rich, gooey filling with crispy and light crust. It doesn't need any decoration, any things, it is pure perfection.

Rustic Chocolate Tart 

For crust:
400 grams (1 and 1/2 cup) of flour
200 grams ( in Poland - one stick ) of butter 
100-120 grams of sugar
1 real egg yolk ( those with 0 or 1 number printed on them )
optional : 1 tablespoon of thick cream ( I used 18% ) 

For filling:
200grams of good chocolate ( Godiva would be wonderful, but I ended up with surprising good Milk bars)
3 tablespoon of good, unsweetened cocoa
100ml of sweet cream
1 big egg or 2 small
Pinch of sea salt
optional : use some muscavado sugar if it's too strong taste for you. I didn't.

Preheat oven 180C/350F.
Mix four and cold butter to make crumbs ( by hands ). Beat egg yolk with sugar until it change color from yellow to more white shade. Add egg mixture to your crumbs and if it still too dry - add cream. Roll it in a circle and put in your tin tart. Cool in a fridge for half an hour.
Make filling. Put some deep pot with about 2 inches of water on a heat and bring it to boil. Now take some bowl and put it on the pot. Break chocolate into a small pieces and put them in a bowl. Stir occasionally until they totally blend. Add cocoa. Now pour sweet cream inside. Now, very important, key ingredient - sea salt. It change your filling completely. Playing with your mouth and showing whole different level of chocolate sweetness.
The last point is to beat egg in a cup and gradually add some chocolate. Just add one teaspoon and beat in a cup. Then another, and another, and another. Continue it until the egg mixture will be warm enough, so when you add it in a bowl of chocolate-cream mix, you will not end up with chocolate scramble eggs (which also could be fantastic, but it's not a point today). Take you crust from he fringe. Pour filling mixture on it and bake for 40 minutes or until you will see that a base is browning too much. Cool a little. Serve with just a spoon of thick, sweet cream and small cup of espresso coffee.

wtorek, 23 marca 2010

Poppy Seed Cookies

              In Poland people really fight until they blood over one, but very important issue - what is better : Christmas or Easter?
You might laugh, but we are talking not only about catholic traditions connected with each holiday, or people faith in God, who come back on earth etc., - no : at first place we talk about food.
Because food on holidays my dear friends is complicated - each family has its own tradition how to make holy grail of different holiday meal. That's why at this time in year you can hear discussion flaying over the streets, in buses, trams or any public building. People argue, people scream, people fight.
That's why my take on a traditional Poppy Seed Cake is risky for me. I may risk my life, and for what? For food.
I didn't make traditional Roll one or Cake with pastry. I went to, also traditional here and there, no crust Poppy Seed Cake. But to make it more modern and individual I make them in one-person size.

Poppy Seed Cookies with hazelnuts:
1 can (850 gram ) of ready Poppy Seed mixture ( I had mine from polish brand Bakalland )*
1 egg
2 tablespoon of white flour ( you can use also almond or nut flour for more nutty flavor )
2 big tablespoon of melted chocolate ( yep, this is not traditional as well )
50 gram ( or use how much you like ) of chopped roughly hazelnuts

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F.
Mix you canned Poppy Seed mixture with beated egg, flour, chocolate and hazelnuts. Yes this is it. It's really hard to believe how easy it is. Now take your cake tin - butter and flour it to avoid sticking to the form. Bake about 25-30 minutes, until it puff nicely and brown ( or should I say black? ) a little. Take from the oven and cool a little but not completely. If it still little warm you can easily cut cakes from it. You can also make individual cakes before baking. Now give it time to cool down ( the cakes will be not so runny than ). And your done. 
Now you must just find a solution how to bring it to holiday table without arguing with your grandma.

* this is ready to bake, or eat-with-a-spoon, product. It contains grounded poppy seeds with honey, mixed dry fruits ( as raisins ) and nuts. But you can use dry poppy seeds, drained with water over a night, then boiled in water or milk, grounded, mixed with honey,nuts, dry fruits and some eggs. But for specific recipe you must search other food blogs or wait until i will make it this way ;)

sobota, 20 marca 2010

Chickpea Tart with Sauerkraut ( polish sour, picked cabbage )

                 I love tarts. I mean, seriously, what is better than comforting slice of warm pie with your favorite filling? And as i love sweet ones, i am the biggest sucker for savory tarts. Onions, broccoli, leek - you name it, i have it. But this time I was little bored by making classic pastry and, since I have one can of my beloved chickpea, I though why not to try something different. I also used pickled cabbage with mushrooms and tomatoes. But you can really use anything for filling. I just suggesting something spicy since pastry is quite bland. 

Chickpea Tart filled Sauerkraut with mushrooms and tomatoes:

For Crust:
1 can of Chickpea ( also known as Garbanzo beans ) - 240 gram of drained and pureed peas
1 tablespoon of butter
about 2 or 3 big tablespoons of flour ( i use rice flour )
1 egg yolk
pinch of salt and pepper
optional - 1 tablespoon of sour cream to make your pastry smoother and easier to roll out

For Filling:
250 gram of Sour Cabbage ( Sauerkraut )
2 big tomatoes
5-6 boletus
1 small onion 
1 tablespoon of butter
1 teaspoon of cumin
optional - some red pepper powder, or even chilli powder

Preheat you oven 180C/350F.
          Start with the filling. Melt butter on deep frying pan. Chop nicely your onion and put in it. Heat until it starts to become see-through and little sweet (not until golden brown). Add cumin. Now, chop your cabbage and pour with boiled water to make it less, well..., sour. Drain quite good and put onto your onion. Pan-fry for few minutes until you smell gorgeous smell. Add chopped tomatoes. Heat long enough until filling starts caramelizing and become little runny. Take from the heat and give it time to cool down.
         Now time for the pastry. You can make it in food processor but i like to be old fashioned. Plus you can work your biceps. Mix your pureed chickpeas, butter and yolk until it will be smooth. Add enough flour  until you feel that pastry is good for rolling. Yes, I know it's hard to tell for newbies but you'll see - you will know when your pastry has enough flour and starts to be too dry (don't panic - you can always add some sour cream to make it smooth). Form into a ball and put in you fringe for about 5 minutes. Now - on a lightly floured work surface roll the pastry 5 mm thick and cut into two parts (although one can be bigger). Make bottom and sides from one part (bigger) and put your cooled filling on it, take second part of crust and cover the filling. Cut few cuts around and place into heated oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until it golden brown.
Eat straight away or cool down and take it for a picnic. Taste great with some rocket salad. And some spring sun in your face. 

piątek, 19 marca 2010

Nutty, homemade ricotta cheese

                        Homemade things are wonderful. Even though today you can buy anything, there is something really great and heart-warming in doing it by yourself. Puff pastry, ketchup, pita's breads, pickles... there are many, many options for someone who is looking for real flavor. But among all those things there is one I love everytime - homemade cheeses. And among all kind in the world I am the biggest sucker for RICOTTA. Smooth, little sweet, little salty it's delicious cheese for spread your fresh baked bread, spinach gnocci or just for eating it straight from the jar ( number one option for me ).
These time I wanted something with a twist. I used argan oil, which my aunt brought me from Turkey, maple syrup and some mixed nuts for deep, nutty flavor.

Homemade Ricotta Cheese with smoky, nutty twist:

1 liter of full fat milk
1 lemon, juiced
1-2 tablespoon of sweet cream
1 teaspoon of argan oil ( you could use some nut oil also )
2-3 teaspoons of maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
some nuts for spread 

optional you can use some white pepper to make your ricotta hotter ;)

Heat your milk slowly until it almost start to boil. Turn off the heat and add lemon juice. Mix with spoon and heat again just for few seconds. Remove your milk form the heat and pour into cheesecloth placed over a stainer. Now - it depends how runny cheese you like. I give my cheese 20 minutes. 
Take a bowl and put your cheese in it, mix with sweet cream. Now time for some flavor. Add salt, maple syrup for balance and argan oil for smother texture. Spread with nuts if you like. 
Great alternative for New Your Bagel's spread. Or cheesecake. Or tortellini. Or whatever.

środa, 17 marca 2010

Spinach muffins for St.Patrick Day

                Going Green is very common term these days. But, like it or not, with St.Patrick Day just around corner, I knew that sooner or later I will find myself making something green. Baking green, to be exact.
Well if you hate be like everybody else think about that recipe as a spell. Spell against winter.

Spinach muffins with pumpkin seeds ( recipe inspired by Green Kitchen's Spinach Muffins ):

300 gram flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1 big farm egg or 2 smaller eggs
1 tablespoon of olive
300 gram of spinach ( or spinach and carrot mix )
1 cup ( 250 ml - 300ml ) of yogurt
pumpkin seeds to top it

Preheat oven 350F/180C. 
Mix all dry ingredients in one bowl. In second beat egg with yogurt, than add your spinach ( i used chopped frozen one, heated before to dry it a little ) and mix well. Add your yogurt-spinach mix to dry ingredients and mix quickly with a spoon. It could not be mix well. I say more - it should be imperfect.
Take your muffin tins and spray them with oil. Pour your muffin to 1/2 of tins hight. Decorate with pumpkin seeds. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Eat and celebrate St. Patrick Day.

Irish Soda Bread with sun-dried tomatoes

                 Home – simple four letters which reminds whole kind of things.  It’s easy with english but in polish we have the same word for house and home.
Smell of newborn baby, fresh cutted grass, pie which was just taken from oven.
But also smell of your uncle’s cigarettes, favorite pencils, smelly odour of your beloved grandma’s olfashioned perfumes.
All those things which connect you with your home wherever you are.

Irish Soda Bread with dry tomatoes:
300 gram of flour ( i use mix of plain white flour and whole wheat )
1 tablespoon of baking soda
1/2 teasspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of sea salt
pinch of black pepper
some sun-dry tomatoes ( use as many as you like )
230 ml ( or one cup ) of buttermilk
1and 1/2 tablespoon of honey

Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. Put your dry tomatoes in some jar and water it with hot water to make them soft. Dry on kitchen paper and cool them down. Mix with your bread flour.
Whisk together buttermilk and honey. Pour inside your flour mix. Using a spoon gently stir it to just to combine and form a soft dough.
Get your baking tray and put some baking paper on it ( i use two layers ) with some flour dusted here and there.Shape nice round loaf, dust it with flour and cut quite deep cross into the top.
Bake 30 minutes or until it golden brown with nice dark crispy skin.