Wednesday, July 9, 2014

POTATO CAKE WITH PINE NUT ICE CREAM AND VINO SANTO ROASTED CHERRY

Where should I start? At the beginning... I read about a recipe competition a couple of weeks ago. The theme was so inspiring that even if I'm really busy to work for a new, lovely client on a huge project quite recently  I couldn't resist that. The organizers look  for Tuscany inspired recipes! I love Tuscany and I'm definitely in love with Italian food. Only two weeks and we'll be there again as every year. If I close my eyes I can see myself getting up early and drive for the local market to look for the best Italian burrata, mussels, juicy fresh fruits and bread. What kind of other adventure could be more  fantastic than hunting through an Italian market? To me nothing.

I've made some search over the web and found out some really nice tuscan ingredients. And then I asked my friend Gabah who is a master in fish and seafood dishes and happens to live in Italy if my idea fits with the criteria. She made some great suggestion and I couldn't wait to take my apron and got bake! It was a lovely choice, even if not ready under 20 minutes it's worth to make.








Ingredients for a 18 cm diameter cake tin:

for the cake:
700 gr starchy potato
100-150 gr sugar
4 eggs
70 gr finely grated almond
1 lemon zest and juice (unwaxed)
30 gr melted butter
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
3 cardamom pods

for the ice cream:

100 gr roughly chopped pine nuts
300 ml double cream
100 ml whole milk
1 lemon zest (unwaxed)
1 vanilla pod
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp sugar

for the cherry sauce:

250 gr king cherries
1 tbsp sugar (or if the cherry too sweet it's not necessary)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 star anise
150 ml Vino Santo






  1. First of all make the ice cream: put the egg yolks, sugar, cream and milk into a metallic bowl that fits with a pan. Pour some water into the pan and place the bowl over the pan. Mind the bottom of the bowl doesn't reach the water surface. Heat on low, simmer gently and keep stirring with a wire whisk or wooden spoon until the mixture gets thick and cover the back of wooden spoon. 
  2. When thick enough remove from the pan and set aside. Add lemon zest and scrape vanilla seeds stir well, then leave to cool completely. Pour into a plastic bowl cover with a lid and chill ate least for  night.
  3. Next day pour the mixture into ice cream maker and according to the instructions make the ice cream. Keep in the freezer until served.
  4. For the cake: peel and dice potatoes. Put them into a pan and add cold water. Salt lightly, cover with a lid and bring to boil. When potato is tender remove from the hob, pour over a sieve and set aside. Mash with a masher and leave to cool completely. 
  5. Preheat oven to 180 C. Grease the cake tin with some butter and dust with breadcrumbs. set aside.
  6. Spoon the mashed potato into a bowl. Add sugar, eggs, almond, lemon zest and juice, butter, vanilla. Mash cardamom pods in a mortar then add to the mixture. Stir with a wire whisk until smooth and silky. 
  7. Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 50-60 minutes or until gets golden. If meanwhile the top starts getting too dark cover with a piece of greaseproof paper. 
  8. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely. 
  9. For the cherry sauce: Preheat oven to 170 C. Wash and remove stems. Pit them and put into an ovenproof dish. Add wine, sugar, cinnamon and star anise. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until tender and juicy. Keep warm until served.
  10. Before serving dust the cake with icing sugar, add a scoop of ice cream and a spoon of roasted cherry. 












Monday, June 30, 2014

FRESH OYSTERS WITH TOMATO SALSA




Oysters.... ambivalent food, isn't it? I know someones how would die for it and know many others who would never ever tasted even if they died of starving.
My first memory with oyster was about 10 years ago. I was sitting in a fancy restaurant where lots of dozens of oysters were sitting on ice. They looked so inviting I couldn't resist them. But I was more than disappointed. It was not tasty, not bad just like nothing. So after then I haven't tried again. Until a couple of weeks ago when I read a great interview on lovely Lizzy's site on Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things. There were so many new infos in that to me, that I decided to go for it again. I searched heavily on the web for a recipe to my taste. I was sure to eat them with some juicy veg. And what could be juicer than some fresh, red tomatoes? So tomato salsa proved a good decision and all in all it was much more delicious than anything in my kitchen recently.

Ingredients:

a dozen of fresh oysters
4 red tomatoes
a good handful of yellow tomatoes
half of red onion
small bunch of flat parsley
half of lemon juice
sea salt




  1. Make the salsa: dice finely tomatoes, onion. Put into a bowl then add some salt, finely sliced parsley, lemon juice. Chill for at least half an hour before serving.
  2. Clean the oysters outside under running water. Rub the shells with your fingers or a stiff brush if you have one for this purpose. Keep the oyster tightly in a towel to protect your hand. With the flat side up insert the tip of an oyster knife into the hinge or near the hinge. Open oysters carefully. If there is any grit inside the shell carefully wipe away. Never wash an oyster after it has been opened. 
  3. Place the opened oysters on the bed of ice cubes or crushed ice. Put some salsa into the shells and serve immediately with lemon wedges. 



Friday, June 6, 2014

GRILLED AUBERGINE SPREAD

Recently I'm not in a mood to develop on my own recipes. I'm rather focusing on improving my photography skills and just cook our loved and easy made family favorite recipes instead. The season of spring is a real heaven in terms of ingredients. Asparagus, new potato, broad beans, peas, rhubarb are in season at almost the same time. I could eat them every day and I have so many all time favorite recipes that I wouldn't like to change. But sometimes a new recipe, a bit of freshness or a tiny little twist can be added to my home made foods.

This recipe was published in Guardian last Saturday. The author stated that it was a real Provencal starter could be served on canape or as a dip. Sounds great! Go ahead, it's really-really delicious! 



Ingredients:

4 medium aubergines
4 sprig of fresh rosemary
2 garlic cloves
4 teaspoon olive oil
4 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoon salt
half of sweet chilli
small bunch of flat leaf parsley
freshly grated black pepper








  1. Line a baking tray with baking parchment or kitchen foil. Preheat oven to 180 C.
  2. Wash aubergines and halve in lengthways. Cut criss-crosses in flesh. 
  3. In a mortar mix together olive oil, honey, salt, mashed garlic cloves. Rub the mixture into the upper side of the vegs, push gently a sprig of rosemary into that and roast for 35-40 minutes or until tender.
  4. Remove from the oven, scoop out the flesh and put into a blender. Add the chilli (deseeded), finely chopped parsley and black pepper and salt to taste. Ready. 








Sunday, June 1, 2014

WATERMELON GOAT CHEESE SUMMER STARTER

Even if it was made at the end of May, it was quite hot. Hotter than expected in the UK in this time. 
And watermelon was so sweet as in high season. 
This combo is the easiest summer starter I can imagine, so the recipe is just almost nothing, the idea behind is simple and perfect. Just go ahead and if You arrange a garden party recently it will be definitely a showstopper! 


Ingredients:

watermelon
goat cheese
maple syrup
walnut



  1. Half the melon then slice into 1,5-2 cm thick slices. Cut it into squares and arrange nicely on a plate.
  2. Crumble the cheese over the top of melon and sprinkle with roughly chopped walnut pieces.
  3. Asa final touch pour over some maple syrup to taste. Serve immediately.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

BROWN BUTTER, PEA AND ASPARAGUS FARFALLE

This week is National Vegetarian Week here in the UK. Even if I'm not vegetarian I'm in love with veggies! I could mention hardly any of them as my only one favourite, but I could list some of them that are really not my cup of tea. For example I really hate the  taste, texture and fragrance of parsnip from my early childhood. I gave an other try somewhen 2 years ago and I still not like it at all. Ok, I use it quite often in many vegetable soups and then discard, that's all. 
The other veg on my "don't like list" is pak choi. I know that many foodies would die for a bite of fresh, crispy pak choi but me. If You asked me what I don't like in that I could say the too neutral flavor. Just like nothing special to me and too far bland.

I have so many sweet memories with peas. My parents had a huge garden when I was a little girl and when it was in season we shelled dozens for many hours. My sister, Mum and me were sitting in the tiny kitchen with a bowl on our knees and had  chat meanwhile shelling. I ate big  handful of raw peas and then had a aching stomach. But it was sooo crispy and sweet that I couldn't resist.
Now my boys love to help me in shelling. The younger one is still not very dexterous  in cracking the pods but his brother always gives a hand to him. So they work as a real professional team.


Peas, asparagus, pasta and on the top brown butter. What could I say even more? Perfect spring indulgence!





Ingredients:
Serves 2

500 gr fresh peas (in pod)
1 bunch of green asparagus
200 gr farfalle
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tbsp unsalted butter
small bunch of flat leaf parsley

grated parmesan 




  1. Shell peas and rinse through a sieve. Trimm asparagus and cut down the lower end where the outer skin is tough. Cut the stalks into 2-3 cm sticks.
  2. Heat the oil in small pan, add peas, asparagus sticks, a pinch of salt and cover with a lid. Cook on medium, stir occasionally until tender. Add finely chopped parsley and remove from the hob. Keep warm until served.
  3. In a big pan bring water to boil. Add salt, some oil, then  pasta. Cook for a few minutes until gets "al-dente" or according to the instruction on the package. 
  4. Pour pasta into a sieve then add to the vegs. 
  5. Meanwhile heat the butter in a light color small pan on low heat. (if your pan is light inside you can track the changes in color easily) If the butter has melted properly turn the heat up. The color will turn into light brown and it smells wlanut. Then some tiny dark brown spots will turn up in the butter and it's done. 
  6. Pour the butter over the pasta and mix well. Serve immediately. Grate some parmesan on the top. 


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

PEACH, ROSEMARY BLOSSOM, RHUBARB ICE TEA




It happened a long while ago that a young IT consultant was constantly travelling all over the world. He usually stayed abroad for a month or longer, and sometimes he felt lonely. Even if he had friends and colleagues with whom he spent his spare time, he always missed one thing in particular: homemade food. Often, he dreamed of looking into his neighbour’s kitchen and seeing what they cooked that night. Or tasting it. Because people in the world are so colorful just like their cuisine! But his dream never came true for him. Finally, three years later, he decided he would turn his dreams into reality himself.

By now, as few years had passed, he was not alone at all. He found three other talented young guys full of enthusiasm, and now they’re working on this dream together. 



It’s coming true as we speak, through the application they developed called Piqniq. The idea behind this application is that, no matter where you go in the world, you’ll find that people love to share their food moments with their friends. And Piqniq is the place where you can share what you cooked with your friends or post which fancy restaurant you’re dining in. You’ll never feel alone even if you’re thousands miles away from your friends and relatives. It’s a place where you can always find somebody around you with whom you can share your food. The Piqniq team’s future project is to create a community where you can also sell your homemade food.



 Being a food blogger means you‘re always alone. When you create something in your kitchen, you like it or love it, you take some great shots and then you wait impatiently for your husband or partner to come home and share it with him. But until then you have no feedback at all about your new “baby.” You think it’s great, because you like it but you can’t be sure if others will like it, too.

So my foodie friends, here’s a great opportunity for all of us to share what we are cooking right now and invite your friends and other foodies virtually into our kitchen to share what we’ve done.


And why did I tell you all of this? Just because when I made this fantastic ice tea it would have been lovely to find somebody in my town to share it with. I was sitting in the garden alone, it was sunny and hot, holding my iPad in my hands, I couldn’t find anybody nearby who could pop in and test my tea immediately. So if you download this great application and try to follow some foodie friends you can find me as Multiculti kitchen.


Please come and join me in this fun!







2-3 hibiscus or peach  tea bags
3 tbsp runny honey (or to taste)

350-400 gr fresh rhubarb
1 vanilla pod
2 tbsp cane sugar (or honey)

2 peaches (sliced)
2 big rosemary sprigs with blossoms

  1.  Wash and trimm rhubarb stalks. Cut into 2-3 cm long sticks, add sugar or honey, scatter the vanilla pod, stir well and put into a small saucepan. Add 200 ml water and bring to boil. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes until rhubarb gets tender and mashy. 
  2. Meanwhile make the tea: put the tea bags into jug and pour over boiling water. Add rhubarb mash, and rosemary blossoms to the tea. Remove tea bags about 5 minutes later. Set aside for 15-20 minutes and leave to cool.
  3. Strain tea thorough a fine sieve over a bowl. Add honey to taste and chill for about half an hour or until served.
  4. Put fresh, finely sliced peaches on the bottom of glasses. Pour in chilled tea add some ice cubes and serve. 

The post is also an entry at Ren, in Simple and Season.


Friday, May 16, 2014

ELDERFLOWER CORDIAL AND A PINCH OF SPRING



The best proof that spring has arrived is when elderflowers are blooming. Anywhere You go the air is fragrant nearby them and there is no chance not to notice that You passed an elderflower bush right now. To be honest I'm really in love with elderflowers. And my sons, too.  So they are more than happy to gather huge bunch of elderflowers and always ready to make this cordial. A real home made cordial with less fuss than ever thought.

For gathering the best time is a sunny, hot day when all the tiny petals are open and the most pollens are ready to add their flavor to your cordial. Always be sure and just from the cleanest places, many miles away from  a city traffic gather the flowers. Otherwise You can easily drink leaded cordial. And no insects on the stalks!
So stay on the safe side!



Ingredients:

 1,5 kg sugar
4 liter clean water (not tap water, preferably purified water)
cc 20 pieces palm sized elderflower

100 gr citric acid

  1. Trimm the thick stalks of elderflowers. (not necessary very accurately, just roughly) Put into a large plastic bucket or a big enough jar.
  2. Stir sugar and water, ad citric acid then elderflowers. Stir with a large wooden spoon cover with cling film. Leave in room temperature for up to 2-3 days. Stir well every day to dissolve sugar. 
  3. Pour over a sieve into a clean bowl, then into clean bottles. Cover with a lid and keep in the fridge. 
  4. Serve in 1:1 ratio with still or sparkling water.