I’m still here… seriously

My life seems to be a mad ride lately. And even if I find time to cook, I usually forget to blog… is a vicious circle I’m telling you, but will do my best not to disappear for so long. Seriously mostly focusing on multitasking, while  things, events and finally obligations are piling up joyfully. Allez, I’m not here to moan but to talk about food.

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My parents have their favourite cusines and those are either Chinese or Italian. And of course to serve their fancy I keep on researching both cusines constantly and madly trying to get as many inspiration as only possible. Today I found a big piece of ginger (there still is almost 20cm piece left, but I have amazing plan for it…. it will end up in Christmas presents) lingering around fridge, and an idea just popped into my mind. Checked the pantry for other regular suspects and put together this lovely little number. It’s comforting, light and still rather exotic that’s what suits this winter just perfectly.

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It consists of all my favourite elements and spices – fresh ginger, lemon, smoked paprica, wasabi (yes, you heard it right – wasabi baby!), garlic and honey. Dish is a rather quick fix, the only time consuming bit is marinating meat, but hey it’s worth it ;) I tried new technic as well, which was reducing the meat marinade into thic sauce then added to the fried meat and veggies as final touch. Worked like a song to be honest. Mix of three kinds of rice was cooked in vegetable broth, and to provide creamy finish added splash of seasam oil instead of butter.

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Honey Wasabi Chicken Stir Fry

2 boneless and skinless chicken breasts cut in small stripes or chunks
5cm fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 lemon, zest grated, and juice squeezed
1 tb spoon honey
1 tea spoon wasabi powder
splash of seasam oil
splash of dark soya sauce
2-3 garlic cloves grated
1 leek, cut into thin stripes
2 carrots, cut into matches
1 root celery, cut into matches
1/2 stalk celery, sliced
2 tb spoons bamboo shoots (if you like them)
additionally: 1 tb spoon honey
1 tea spoon wasabi powder
3 chopped garlic cloves

In a bowl mix ginger, soya sauce, seasam oil, garlic, honey, lemon juice and zest. Mix well and add the chicken chunks. Let it marinade for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer. Stir occasionally.
In wok preheat oil of your choice, remove the meat from marinade and fry until done, remove from the pan and set aside. Pour in the pan remaining marinade and let boil for good 5 minutes until thickens. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add some more oil and add chopped garlic, let it fry for a moment, then add leek, after few minutes root celery, carrot and keep frying until tender, add honey and extra wasabi, then celery stalks and bamboo shoots, fry 2 minutes. To the marinade add the juices from meat. Add now meat to the veggies and then thickened marinade, and season with extra tea spoon of smoked paprica and black pepper. Fry all together for 2 minutes. Serve with rice of your choice :)

Posted in carrot, celery, chicken, chinese, food talk, ginger, honey, soul food | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Is in the Fish….

it really is when it comes to sushi. I’m a huge fan ever since the first time in London restaurant back 2000, when my posh and amazing cousine from Australia introduced me to the brand new idea of sushi and miso soup. Darling, I’m forever grateful to you for that summer in London, it in a way determined my life as it is now. It was as well my lovely cousine who taught me how to make sushi, and japanese omelette, together with my first bowl of gree thai curry.

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That one summer in London seriously determined who I am now. Amazing people I met back then, tastes and experiences, all now are proves that UK and London feels very much like home. So as you see one summer was enough.

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Sushi is about the fish. Japanese have amazing culture based on the access to the high quality of seafood. So is UK and London. But Warsaw? Here nice fish is expensive, fresh tuna is hardly avaliable, salmon is ok to fry but no to eat raw. So all is left are smoked fishes and other local products like herrings. I strongly believe that variation of such sushi is much more accurate and can make it more affordable at the same time.

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I’m very greateful for another invention – sushi molds. Makes life so much easier and work quicker, plus one can have heart-shape norimaki… how cool is that?
Please don’t get me wrong, I love handrolled sushi and whenever I have some time I’m more than willing to make such. But days like today when one’s in hurry and all one wants is a nice lunch sushi molds seem the quick solution. Mine were filled with smoked salmon and smoked mackerel, carrots, cucumber and kohlrabi. Very satisfying indeed.

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As you see Smeagol was very curious about it as well ;) So when next time are you making some sushi?

Posted in carrot, cucumber, fish, food talk, kholrabi, soya sauce, sushi | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ruguh…what? Rugelachs My Love

yes, you heard well rugelachs, which are small pasteries in crescent shape, filled with delicious filling, they come from Jewish tradition and are to die for… big time. You can read more about them here. As I was reading through Pinterest, no wait reading is not a right word – browsing, definetely browsing, so when I was browsing through Pinterest last night on my quest to find perfect recipe for rhubard, I came across rhubarb rugelachs recipe and fell in love. Sorry lovely person, who gave me this idea I didn’t save your blog and now can’t find it. The post wasn’t much of recipe but gave general idea of regulachs with rhubarb filling done according to Martha Stewart’s recipe. As I seem to have love-hate relationship with Martha, but still idea was too tempting, I decided to give it a test ride. Better safe then sorry on Dad’s namesday party.

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First things first I collected rhubarb in the garden – four stalks, then peeled them, washed them and placed them in the dish with sugar, cinnamon and few cloves. And then let it roast in the oven for about an hour. After that time it was just enough to give it a quck stir, and rhubarb changed into amazing thick jam. So simple and so absolutely satifying…. I could eat the whole of it just as it was. Now I know I need at least one or two stalks more.

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The dough recipe given by Martha is simple, quick and straight forward. Ready is nice and crunchy and flaky, absolutely delicious. Together with tangy, spicy and sweet filling is match made in heaven. Nice crunchiness is provided by almonds, but now I’m thinking pistachios as they have more body then almonds. So those are the winner big time! I made 54 of those darlings, and already half of the plate is missing. Dad seems to be refilling every few minutes and so is mum. To me they are the taste I’ve been looking for ever since my last visit in jewish restaurant Mandragora in Lublin…. heaven in mouth, which perfectly accompanies a cup of coffee.

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So what you think? Maybe time for you to give a try to those little darlings? Recipe requires just a bit of time… but is worth it!

Little Darling Tangy Rugelachs
(for about 50-60 pcs)

recipe for rugelachs (dough, coating and preperation) by Martha
filling:

5-6 stalks of rhubarb
4 tb sugar
cinnamon
few cloves
2 handfulls of chopped pistachios or almonds (or any other nuts of your choice)

Prepare the dough according to the recipe, devide into 6 equal pieces and stick it in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Seemingly longer it stays in fridge more playable it becomes. Clean, wash and slice the rhubarb, place in the baking dish, cover with sugar and spices, add 1tb of cold water and roast in the oven for about an hour (200C or 180C fan-forced). Remove from the oven and give it a good stir, so that rhubarb turns into jam. Set aside to cool. Roll each piece of dough into circle 20-25cm diameter, cut into 8 equal wedges, place a tea spoon of rhubarb on the wider end of triangle, add good helping of nuts and roll, when you have about 16 pcs done ( that’s enough for one tray – if you have big trays) dip each rugelach into butter, then sugar and cinnamon mixture and place on the lined tray. Bake until nice and brow (carmelized), so for about 35 minutes in 180C (or 160C fan-forced). Let them cool and not try to eat them all at once…

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So are you ready to treat yourself?

Posted in baking, cinnamon, food talk, jam, jewish, Martha Stewart, nuts, rhubarb, rugelachs, soul food | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Time Flies By….

…. and I seriously didn’t have time to blog. Somehow I cooked, photographed and then…. forgot to blog or was too busy to catch up on my blog. What is a great pity and makes me really upset to notice how much time passed by and how many of fun dishes weren’t reported here. But voila, I promise to catch up on that asap.

Today was another quick fix, as it turned out that noone bothered to do shopping on Saturday (as I was at work) and we had vet visit scheduled around noon, I had to cycle to the nearest shop to restock. Still as time was short the plan was to cook something what could be prepared ahead, and then just quickly cooked to perfection. And for me this means one thing – it’s time to heat up the wok :)

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I used pork chops, which were lurking on the fridge waiting to be eaten, and got inspired by “Easy Chinese Cooking” by Ken Hom. Planned something completely different but then of course it turned out that our local store (one of them) does not have any kind of chinese noodles. Oh well… so pork chops chinese style it was.

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Ken Hom Eat My Chops
(feeds 6)

5 boneless pork chops, sliced in stripes
1/2 root cellery, peeled and sliced in stripes
2 carrots, sliced
1 onion, sliced
6-8 leaves nappa cabage, sliced
1 courgette, sliced
handful muhn mushrooms, sliced
1 pack broccoli sprouts

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pork marinate:
dark soya sauce
honey
peper
paprica
cinnamon
ginger

celery marinate:
dark soya sauce
peper
paprica
cinnamon
honey

Mix both marinates and mix into one pork chop stripes and celery to the other. Let sit for at least an hour. In wok heat up 1-2 tb spoons of peanut oil, until it’s steaming hot and fry the pork. Take out, whipe the wok, add more peanut oil and fry celery. Take out, whipe clean the wok. Add peanut oil and fry carrots, courgette, nappa cabage, onion and mushrooms. Add meat and celery, stir and fry together for few minutes. At the end add broccoli sprouts and cook for 2 minutes. Serve with rice of your choice.

Posted in celery, chinese, ginger, mushroom, pork, soya sauce, zucchini | Leave a comment

Is all in a pie

… it really is… or at least pies are rather important part of British cooking. There’s something comforting in their nice and steamy presence. And I’m not talking about sweet pies like apple pie or cherry pie, but savoury ones – steak, sheppard’s pie, milkman’s pie or fish pie. Mr Fiance got me newest Jamie Oliver’s book for Christmas 2011 and I got pulled into the world of British food. Of course fact of constant travelling between here and there is influencing my taste as well.

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Traditional Sheppard’s Pie is basically mince and mash, where mince can be beef, veal or lamb. But I didn’t want a simple mince with mash, wanted nice chunks of beef, with gravy and mash. So decided that can easily give traditional dish an upgrade. I based my recipe on Jamie Oliver’s recipe from book “Jamie’s Great Britain” but went a bit further.

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Always seemed to have a thing for Britain and British food. Must be British by heart or something along the lines. Is rather unusual but true in my case. Of course especially now when I live between Poland and UK and Mr Fiance introduces me to British culture and food I feel even closer to UK then ever before.

(here for your viewing pleasure a picture of Mr Fiance, British Bestie and Me in our local pub in Colchester)
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There’s no other place like Borough Market in London, or amazing bacon, thick cut chips, crisps with vinigar and salt, tasty breaded scampies, hot cross buns with clotted cream or a pint of good cider… you know what I mean, don’t you? British food is vibrant, fun and comes from all over the place, because every expat brings something new into British culinary tradition. In Colchester a walk distance from each other are Polish deli, Chinese Deli, English Butchers and Italian Deli…

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With british beef it’s enough to just give it a quick cook or roast, unfortunately polish beef is tragedy and that’s why I had to cook it under pressure so that meat would be tender and easy to bite into.
Because I chose chunks over mince, in my recipe there’s gravy to come with it, otherwise pie would be dry and not enjoyable.

Very well now the recipe.

Almost Sheppard’s Pie

1 kg good quality beef, diced
2-3 carrots, sliced
2 onions, sliced
1 leek, sliced
1 can chopped tomatos
1-2 tbsp flour (for gravy)
1 kg potatos
5-6 cloves garlic
cream (sour cream or creme fraiche) about 2-3 tbsp
knob of butter or two
milk, about 200-250ml

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In pressure cooker add some olive oil and toss all veggies (carrots, leek, onion) and give them a quick fry, add beef and tomatos, 1/2 can of water and put the lid on. Cook for about 45 minutes, until meat’s nice and tender.
Peel and dice potatos, add garlic cloves and boil until nice and soft, in seperate pot. When done, remove water and let steam for about 2-3 minutes. Do not turn off the heat, just reduce it and add butter, cream and milk and mash until the mash is nice and fluffy. If need be adjust amount of milk and cream. Season with salt and peper, you can add chopped spring onions or any herbs.
Open the pressure cooker and fish out the meat and veggies, place on the bottom of the casserole dish, put the juices to cook, and in seperate bowl mix flour with some of juices, then slowly mix into remaining juices, give it a quick boil, and then puree gravy with mixer. If you want more tomato taste, add 1 tbsp tomato puree. Season with salt and peper. Now spoon out the gravy, so that chunks of meat are covered but not drowning. Gravy should be nice and thick. Spoon the mash on the top and smooth the surface. Put into the preheated to 180C-200C oven and bake for 20-25mins. When done tak out from the oven and let stand for 5-10 mins before serving, which would allow the pie to be ready to serve and gravy not to be lava hot.

Posted in baking, beef, British Food, casserole, food talk, Jamie Oliver, pie, potato, pressure cooker, recipe, Sheppard's Pie, tomato | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Can You Slim Down Lasagna?

…. the anwser is yes you can do it! Seriously… and I’m so not kidding you. Lasagna was always to me about white sauce, plenty of white sauce, tomato sauce and decadent amount of cheese. As mentioned before Mom is sentenced to low fat food as otherwise her body seems to have huge issue with it. But Mom loves Italian food and loves lasagna, so she wants it and I will make it for her. Challenge excepted! Allez…

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First thing was to get rid of white sauce – too much cheese, too much flour, too much milk. I substituted that with layer of spinach with garlic and lovely mashroom sauce with few spoons of sour cream and 1 spoon of flour.

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This is simple lasagna, quick fix if you like but pack with goodies. So let’s get cracking with recipe:

Skinny Lasagna is Skinny

portion of your favourite bolognese sauce
200g of mushroom, sliced
ca 100g sour cream
1-2 tbsp flour
1 pack of frozen spinach leaves
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 lemon, juice
salt,
pepper
herbs of your choice
handful grated cheese of your choice
1 pack of lasagna

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Now it’s all about clever assembling. First of all give mushrooms a nice quick fry on olive oil, if you fancy you can slice/dice an onion or two for extra kick. When fried, mix well flour and cream and add to the pan, add some water and mix until nice and creamy and cooked. Set aside. In the other pan heat some olive oil, add garlic and defrosted spinach. Give it a quick fry and add lemon juice, season to taste.

In the lasagna form pour on the bottom some mushroom sauce, then layer of pasta, spinach, pasta, tomato sauce, pasta, mushroom sauce, pasta, tomato sauce, cheese :)
Now place in the oven and cook for about 40-45mins on about 200C. MIght be longer if you have a big portion of lasagna or you making two, just to save time and have sth tasty in deep freezer. Just watch pasta and you will know when it’s ready. Easy? Easy peasy…. now stuff your face and have glass of red with it, coz you so deserved it!

Posted in cheese, garlic, mushroom, pasta, soul food, spinach, tomato | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

C’mon caramelize me

Yeah here we go again, I’m ill again and therefore stranded home. The recent period seems to be rather harsh on me and my body decided to give in. So I’m staranded and lost my appetite, but every now and again I have cravings or weird ideas. And here today I want to share with you one of those which seemed crazy but proved to be amazing morning treat, quick and rewarding.

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And yes you see very well it’s caramelized toast with caramelized apples. So simple and so amazing. Just a dollop of plain yoghurt as topping and perfect little brekkie is there to keep you in good spirits.

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I could even imagine  it as an emergency dessert in case of unexpected crowd. Because ingredients are those rather common in every household – bread and fruits of your choice to be caramelized. I had apple but bananas would be great, strawberries, pineapple or practically anything your heart craves and what could be dipped in caramel. I had just simple sour dough white bread, but I think you can use anything. Even one day old croissants or challa bread.

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Recipe is really straight forward, but since I know that some of you like organized recipes so here we go:

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Caramelized toast with caramelized apples
(feeds one)

1 apple sliced
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 slice of white bread of your choice
2 tbsp light brown sugar (or there about)

In the skillet melt butter, add sugar and apples and cook until apples are tender. Remove from the pan. Place the slice of bread into pan and give it a quick fry on both sides, then sprinkle the top with sugar and flop it immedietly, then repeat with other side and give it a quick fry, until the sugar melts. Transfer into the plate. Serve with apples (or any other fruits) and dollop of plain yoghurt.

Posted in apples, caramel, challa bread, toast | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment