niedziela, 15 kwietnia 2012

Chinese style sweet and spicy chicken

I always like characteristic shiny dishes straight from Chinese cuisine! There is something beautiful in golden-red Peeking duck, don’t you think?
Homely way - faster than traditional marinating – I prepared chicken drumsticks in a sweet and spicy glaze.
Meet stewed this method is really soft and juicy. Next time I will prepare ribs this way . Just can’t wait for it!

750g chicken
1 can coca-cola
3 garlic cloves
¼ cup soy sauce
5 grains pimento
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon “five flavours” seasoning
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
chilli (fresh or dried) – the dish has to be hot
2 tbsp oil

Put a couple small cuts into the meat of each drumstick, for the marinade to penetrate the meat. Heat a pan, add oil and fry drumsticks until the skin is golden. Put the chicken on a plate and keep it on a side. Pour all the sauce ingredients in a pan, add drumsticks. Bring it up to a simmer and turn the heat down just to keep the simmer going for about 2 hours, keep moving drumsticks. The amount of sauce should evaporate and the sauce itself should become sticky (remember when cold is more sticky). Be careful not to burn the sauce!

piątek, 13 kwietnia 2012

Roasted vegetable cream

When I’m asking Piotr what he would like to eat for a dinner, every second time the answer is” roasted vegetables”. It is a surprise how different is the taste of roasted veggies to boiled or fried ones. They become more aromatic and genuine sweet. Carrot, parsley root, potatoes, pepper – roast all!!
This time I combined few Mediterranean style vegetables, add herbs and mixed so I got a soft cream. It is perfect for sandwiches, for pasta and also (with minced fried meat) as a filling for crepes.

2 medium size eggplants
1 red pepper
2 onions
3 garlic cloves
few sings of thyme
1 tbsp tomato puree
About ¼ cup oil
salt, pepper

Peel the eggplants and slice them. Cut pepper into small cubes. Cut onion in quarters. Leave the garlic clove in shell (after roasting it become creamy and sweet). Place all the vegetables on a baking tray, drizzle with oil, add salt and pepper. Make sure everything is well coated with oil, put thyme on top. Bake until the vegetables are golden brown, in preheated oven to 180 oC, stirring from time to time. When the vegetables are roasted and soft mix them with tomato puree (remember first peel the garlic clove). If you want you can add more salt or pepper. Serve with pasta, bread or i.e. as a meat sauce.

czwartek, 29 marca 2012

Chocolate and pear clafoutis

The renovation and move made me energy less. There was a long waited, special day on Saturday! We packed our belongings and overloaded we crossed the doorstep of our new apartment. I’m learning my new way to work and how to solve things in cabinets. Slowly I’m coming back to cooking because finally I have a kitchen!

I started with a dessert to make our living here sweet!
Recipe from

Ingredients (makes 4-5 portions)
3,5 oz (100 g) wheat flour
2,5 oz (70 g) brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp cocoa
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup milk
2,5 oz (70 g) dark chocolate
1,7 oz (50 g) butter
2 – 3 medium pears
pinch salt

Peel pears and cut them cores, drizzle with lemon juice to preserve from becoming dark. In a bowl mix together flour, cornstarch, salt and cocoa. In another bowl whisk eggs with sugar until fluffy, add the flour mixture and milk step by step whisking all the time. Add slightly cooled melted chocolate with butter. Pour batter into the small baking dishes, on top of each place a wedge of pear. Bake for 30 min. in preheated oven to 175 oC. Serve warm (not hot).

Rustic style fruit tart with thyme and rosemary

Considering the amount of fresh, ripe fruit you can now easily find everywhere, the end of summer is one of my favourite seasons! I mixed everything I had in my kitchen: pears, apples, raspberries flavoured with thyme and rosemary. This combination also works well with peach desserts – you have to try – herbs beautifully enhance the desserts taste.

4,5 oz (125 g) room temperature butter
3 oz (90 g) powdered sugar
1 egg
9 oz (250 g) wheat flour
pinch of salt
1 apple
1 pear
1 cup raspberries
lemon juice
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 sings of thyme
4 leaves of rosemary
2 tbsp almonds

Dough: mix butter and sugar in a food processor, until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and whisk for about 30 sec. Add flour and mix until combined (not too long as the batter can’t become too hard). Wrap the dough in a cling film and for 30 min. keep it in the refrigerator. After 30 min. roll it out at about 5 mm. in thickness. Place it on the baking paper.
Peel the fruit and cut them cores. Cut into small pieces, drizzle with lemon juice – to preserve them from getting dark. Apple, pear and raspberries place in a bowl and mix with sugar and cornstarch, add chopped herbs. Place the fruit mixture in the middle of rolled dough, sprinkle with almonds. Fold the edges of the dough but leave the space in the centre. Bake it in preheated oven to 180 oC until golden brown. Serve slightly warm with i.e. ice creams or whipped cream.

Extra quick omelette with divine plums

I dream about mornings with a smell of freshly baked rolls. I could give a lot for a daily delivery of crispy baguettes and sourdough bread! As the world is not perfect, and I don’t have enough of strong will to regularly bake bread I’m left with “mornings alternatives”. Very often I start my day with different omelettes, pancakes or crepes. All you need is 2 eggs, a little bit of flour and something tasty on top! And as for the matter……

Favourite omelette – 2 beaten eggs, a little bit of flour, drop of milk and pinch of salt
10 sweet plums
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp brown sugar muscovado
¼ cup water
big pinch cinnamon
big pinch pimiento (optional)
2 cloves

Fry the omelette. Heat the butter in the pan, add the plums cut into quarters, sugar, water and spices. Fry for a few minutes until plums are juicy and soft and sauce thick. Warm plum sauce put on top of the omelette and enjoy your breakfast!

Tenderloin in a thyme - plum sauce

Who said that it has to be a dessert with a plum? I’m a huge fan of aromatic fruit sauces for meats. It can be cherries, raspberries or even back currant preserve, Add some red wine, spices and instantly your meal gains a flavour and… a class.

2 pork tenderloins
1 tbsp wheat flour
½ onion
1 garlic clove
few thyme sings
1 cup red table wine
8 plums ( Hungarian type)
1 tbsp molasses ( or honey)
1 tbsp cold butter
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
optionally you can add some balsamic vinegar for taste
salt, pepper

Cut the tenderloin clean from the membrane, lengthwise into 2 cm slices. Each smash slightly with the fist, dust with flour, salt and pepper and fry (briefly) until golden brown. Meat set aside in a bowl to cool down.
Pour a little bit of oil into the pan (do not clean it after frying tenderloin) add onion and garlic, fry. Add plums cut in quarters, cook covered until juicy. Pour in the wine with thyme, coriander and molasses and stir fry until the sauce gets quite thick. Pour some meat-sauce from the bowl with the tenderloin, add pinch of salt and pepper. When you take the pan from the heat, add cold butter – the sauce will gain creamy texture and beautiful sheen.

Christas time cranberry sauce with a flavour of oranges and gingerbread spices

Christmas preparations are almost finished. One of the last things I did this year is the cranberry sauce, which I will serve with pate and cold meat ( just before the moment I took the pork loin stuffed with cloves, garlic and apricot glaze from the oven – it smells insanely !)
To make the sauce ( or maybe “jam”) it takes just a few minutes, and it tastes sensational – sweet with a hint of bitterness.

1 ½ cups frozen cranberries
orange juice of 1 big orange
1 cup brown sugar (or less if you prefer savoury sauce)
1 big apple
5 g cloves
1 cinnamon stick
orange zest of 1 orange
pinch salt
lemon juice – to add taste
optional a little bit of water if the sauce is too thick

Peel the apple, cut in small cubes. Together with cranberries, orange juice, sugar and spices put the apple cubes in the sauce pan. Cook over low heat for about 10 min., until most of the fruit will fall apart ( you can help fruit with potato masher). Add some lemon juice to add some sourness. Hot sauce you can put in jars and bottled. Served cold taste the best!

Once again: the onion soup

If not my aversion to the smell of fried onion floating in the house I could eat this soup every day – especially when the temperature outside drops below zero.
It is amazing how the whole strong taste of onion dies and each bowl of this steaming hot soup is filled with sweet, onion aroma emphasized with nutmeg, thymes and crunchy toast with cheddar on top!
This is real “comfort food”

4 big onions
1 garlic clove
35 fl oz (1 l) bullion ( the best is beef one)
1 cup water
½ teaspoon dried thymes or 1 tbsp fresh thyme
salt, pepper
1 tbsp butter
slices of bread for toasts
cheddar cheese

In a big saucepan melt the butter, add thinly sliced onions and garlic. Cook over low heat, covered, occasionally stir until the onions are soft and caramelised (be careful it can not get brown!). Add thymes and pour the water in. Cook covered until practically brown. But it to the pan, pour the bullion add spices, cook for another few minutes. In a meantime prepare toasts, put cheddar cheese on top of each slice of bread and bake. Pour the soup to bawls, put a toast on top, decorate with a sling of thyme.

Herbal pizza with lamb’s lettuce, mozzarella and tomatoes

In the category of comfort food, pizza is one of my favourite dishes! Actually, I can’t remember a situation when I wouldn’t feel like eating crunchy pizza! Sometimes just the tomatoes sauce and mozzarella is enough, another time I’m choosing chorizo or less conventional ingredients.
This time in my pizza I’ve combined classic with fresh and crunchy taste! Fresh olive oil flavour, balsamic vinegar and fresh herbs create the dish which closer to the restaurant than to fast food.

1 teaspoon yeast
½ cup warm water
1 tbsp oil
1,5 cups wheat flour
2 tbsp your favourite fresh herbs ( parsley, oregano, thymes, basil, rosemary, etc.)
½ teaspoon salt
2 balls mozzarella
2 fresh, ripe tomatoes
few sun dried tomatoes
10 slices air dried ham (i.e. prosciutto)
1 small garlic clove
salt, pepper
olive oil
juice from reduced balsamic vinegar
lamb lettuce ( or arugula)

In a bowl, mix water with dry yeast. Let sit about 15 minutes until the yeast starts to bubble. In a bigger bowl, combine the yeast mixture with rest dough ingredients Mix to combine and knead the dough until it’s soft and elastic. Put it covered aside for about 1 hour, until it doubled in size. After 1 hour quick knead dough and roll out until it’s about 5 mm in thickness. Put on baking sheet lined with baking paper.
Fresh tomatoes cut in eighths, hollow out the seeds, cut into small pieces. Toss with salt, pepper and fined chopped garlic. Spread the tomato mixture around the pizza. Tear pieces of mozzarella and dot around the pizza then drape bits of Parma ham on top. Bake the pizza in preheated oven to 220 oC until the crust and mozzarella are golden brown. To serve, place lamb lettuce leaves and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Coconut milk chocolate cake

I was expecting something different after this cake. I thought it would be more coconut ( but desiccated coconut I sprinkled over vanilla ice cream compensated my disappointment) and more cohesive. Here I got a surprise because, although the cake was quite heavy it was also full of air bubbles – just delicious!
For sure I’ll make it once again and probably soon, because combinations of strong chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream was a real shot in the eye!
P.s. The cake was supposed to have a glaze, but my husband put it in the sink, thinking he’s washing dirty dishes…

2 oz (55 g) dark chocolate (70%)
3 oz (85 g) cocoa powder
¾ cup boiling water
5 oz (145 g) wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 oz (90 g) butter
8 oz (230 g) white sugar
2 oz (50 g) dark muscovado sugar
2 eggs
275 ml coconut milk

Pour over the chocolate and cocoa powder the boiling water. Whisk until the chocolate the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool. Combine the chocolate mixture with dry ingredients ( flour, baking soda and powder). Stir in sugar until combined. Add one egg and whisk to combine. Ann other egg and whisk for 3 min. Slowly add the coconut milk and the chocolate mixture. Bake in preheated oven to 180 oC for about 30-40 min. Serve it cool with a scoop of ice cream and roasted coconut desiccated.

Cream roasted tomatoes and aromatic garlic soup

Telling you the truth, I have never eaten such a delicious tomato soup! Prepared on the basis of roasted tomatoes has incredibly deep almost sweet taste, Thick, filling with a delicate note of caramelized garlic… great dish for autumn, when you can still buy ripe, fresh vegetables.

18 0z (500 g) ripe and juicy tomatoes (i.e. roman kind)
1 onion
5 garlic cloves ( in shell)
2 tbsp oil
2 sprigs of thyme
salt, pepper
1 cup bullion
1 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
½ tbsp Worcester sauce

Cut tomatoes in half and onion in quarter, place together with garlic cloves and thymes in oblong dish. Toss the vegetables with oil and roast for 1,5 h in 360F/ 180 oC until tomatoes get soft and lightly caramelized. Vegetables (garlic cloves without shells) blend with bullion until smooth. Season it with salt, pepper, molasses, vinegar and Worcester sauce. Serve with a drop of oil on top.

Aromatic pumpkin pie with lemon frosting

I can not imagine an autumn without eating at least one piece of pumpkin pie. Luckily this year November weather is spoiling us but when it is grey outside there is nothing better than a piece of electric orange cake!
This cake is quite heavy, moist and very aromatic. It is an excellent combination of cinnamon aroma and lemon scent of cream cheese frosting.

120 oz (350 g) pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 ½ - 2 cups sugar (depends on how sweet cakes you prefer)
2 cups wheat flour
1 cup oil
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon gingerbread seasoning
9 oz (250 g) cream cheese ( I used Philadelphia light)
lemon zest of 1 lemon
juice of ½ lemon
4 tbsp powdered sugar

To make a pumpkin puree cut the pumpkin (with the peel) into large pieces and bake in preheated oven to 360F/ 180 oC, until soft. After the pumpkin cools down place it in a food processor or use fork to mashed it, the mixture should be smooth.
Beat eggs with sugar, oil and pumpkin until smooth, Stir in sifted flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices. Spread batter in a greased pan (I used a small baking pan, about 2/3 of traditional size one). Bake it in preheated oven to 360F/ 180 oC for about 30 min.
Mix all the frosting ingredients until well combined. Put the frosting on top of cool cake, you can also sprinkle it with walnuts or orange zest.

Pear Upside-Down cake with caramel and orange zest

This cake just enchanted me! It has been a long time since I have eaten such a delicious, easy-to-make and at the same time very impressive dish!
Frankly speaking, on Sunday two of us ate the whole…
For sure I will be experimenting with this recipe using different fruit and spices ( apples, cinnamon, honey, nuts..). The cake is sweet so I had decrease the amount of sugar: I added I cup of sugar and we had to eat it with a cup of very bitter coffee (but it was still delicious!). It reminds me of Greek or Turkish pastries – wet because of the sweet syrup or in this case of caramel. And wonderful orange aroma blends ideally with pears!

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
3 pears
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence ( or few drops of vanilla oil)
½ cup brown sugar ( or ¾ cup if you prefer less sweet cakes)
lemon zest of 1 lemon
orange zest of 1 orange
1,5 oz (50 g) butter, melted
1,5 oz (50 g) vegetable oil (oilseed rape)
1 cup wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt

Pour the water to a saucepan, add sugar. Heat it slowly on low heat (about 20 min.), until you will get the golden caramel. Pour it into the baking pan lined with baking paper.
Place pieces of pears on caramel.
In a bowl beat eggs with sugar until fluffy, add lemon and orange zest, vanilla essence and butter (melted and cooled) with oil and salt, combine. Stir in sifted flour with baking powder. Spread the batter directly over pears. Bake for about 40 min. in preheated oven to 360F/ 180 oC. As soon as the pan is cool enough to touch, place a plate over the cake and invert the cake onto the plate.