Thursday, October 31, 2013

red october

or beetroot and pomegranate in a play

Beetroot and pomegranate are like tree and earth, can’t live one without the other. At least this will be the first thing that will cross your mind once you try this deep red combination.

Light the fire under the pot and let the main actor play his best roll. Simmering or playing together, beetroot and potato start the performance, only a few seconds later a miracle is happening, visually and sensory. And this is just an introduction to all that will come later.. 

When you think the work is finished, the other star, pomegranate enters the stage and complement the whole thing by making it perfect.

If you think that I am exaggerating, make the soup and judge for yourself. If you are not a lover of red colors in October than this play is just not for you. Simply don't even try to buy 'tickets'. But if by any chance someone surprises you, don't miss to taste and experience revolution.

for the soup:
1tbsp sunflower oil
one small red onion
500-600g beetroot 
3 medium potatos
1,2l water, recently boiled from a kettle
one vegetable stock cube
one pomegranate (juice from one half and seeds from another)

Heat the oil in a saucepan and add peeled and chopped onion. Cook on a gentle heat for few minutes, stirring occasionally, until it has slightly softened. Add sliced beetroot and potato, stir for a minute or so and pour in the water and vegetable stock cube. Bring everything to boil and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until the potato and beetroot are tender. Taste for seasoning.
Leave to cool slightly before transferring everything to a blender and blend until smooth. Add pomegranate juice and serve scattered with pomegranate seeds.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

autumn in a plate

butternut squash and quince soup

We rather have two seasons now, hot and cold one. Spring and autumn come, and if we are lucky enough we have few weeks to enjoy. Also, we are lucky if those few weeks are just few days. More often nature tricks us and from being in swimsuits we jump to ski pants.

This soup is literally autumn in a plate, ode to all colors of yellow.


one small onion
two carrots, peeled and chopped
½ quince, peeled and ruffly diced
one large potato, peeled and diced
300-400g butternut squash, peeled and grated
1 star anise
2 cardamom pods, bruised
1l water, recently boiled from a kettle
salt and pepper to taste
1tbsp sunflower oil
pomegranate seeds (optional)

Heat the oil in a saucepan and add peeled and chopped onion, carrots and butternut squash. After few minutes of stirring add diced quince and potato. Add star anise and cardamom pods and season with salt and pepper. Cover with water, bring to boil and let simmer for around 20 minutes.
When it is ready transfer everything to a blender and blend until smooth.
Serve scattered with pomegranate seeds.

Butternut squash and carrots give sweet taste and warmth, potato gives comfort and quince gives burst of excitement. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

blind date with a cake

'Blind dates can be awkward, humiliating, and terrifying.' Not this one.
We can stop whining about not meeting the significant other and start dating cakes.
First step: find a recipe. Always search for more information, look online for ‘profile’. Make a backup plan if something goes wrong. Dress appropriately, so that you are comfortable while on a ‘date’. It is important to keep an open mind and change a recipe if needed. Don’t eat entire thing.

Hocus pocus No.1 – evening hours, kitchen

for the base:
4 eggs (separately beaten)
50g icing sugar
50g caster sugar
20g plain flour
30g cocoa powder
tsp vanilla paste
Baileys liqueur for sprinkling (about 100ml)

Preheat the oven to 180oC. Beat the egg yolks with icing sugar until pale and double in size and add vanilla paste. Separately whisk the egg whites with caster sugar until firm. Combine everything carefully to keep the air. Sift in flour and cocoa powder and combine carefully again. Fold into a lined tin and bake for about 20 minutes (or until the cake tester comes out clean). Leave the cake to cool completely and when cooled halve horizontally.

For the filling:
400ml whipping cream (already sweetened)
100ml Baileys liqueur
2 tbsp icing sugar
tsp vanilla paste
10g powdered gelatine

Place the water (4 tbsp of cold water) in a small bowl and sprinkle over the gelatine. Set aside for about 5 minutes or until the gelatine has been absorbed. Place the liqueur in a small saucepan over medium heat. When it’s hot (but not boiling) take it from the heat, stir in the gelatine until dissolved.
Whip the cream with icing sugar until soft peaks. Add vanilla paste and Baileys mixture to it, and whisk to combine.

Put one layer of the cake on a plate and sprinkle over the liqueur. Spread the filling over it and sit the second layer on top, press with hands a bit and sprinkle over liqueur. Let cool in the refrigerator at least for 3 hours.

For the topping number 1:
100g white chocolate
3 tbsp whipping cream

Place the white chocolate and cream in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir occasionally until smooth. Spread over a cooled cake and leave it in the fridge until thickened.

For the topping number 2:
100ml whipping cream (already sweetened)

Whip the cream till it’s thickened and spread over the cake.

I won’t tell you anything more about the cake, the texture, the taste.. a blind date secrecy.

Monday, October 7, 2013

roll-out cookies

Last call for fermented apples, the moose thought.

While walking through the Swedish woods he pumped on a tree. This was not some regular, random tree. The tree itself was dark brown, like any other tree, but this one smelled on cinnamon, cloves and chocolate. Also, huge apples were hanging from the tree. Dark, brown, ripe apples barely clung to branches.

Moose started to eat apples. Then the other moose came and started to eat apples too. 

Then rain started to fall. The perfect smell was spreading through the woods attracting other animals. Branches were so delicious as well so they started to eat them and at one point the whole tree had disappeared. After they ate everything, animals went home.

For the playing dough you will need:
200 grams plain flour (plus more for dusting)
100 grams cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
100 grams butter (soft)
100 grams dark muscovado sugar
2 eggs
3 tablespoons runny honey

Combine all dry ingredients in a food processor and blitz. Add the butter and honey and blitz again. With the motor on add eggs one by one.
Form two discs and put them in a freezer bag or cover with clingfilm and leave in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to rest.
Line trays with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 170°C.
Dust a work surface with flour, roll out the disc, also floured, to about 5mm and cut out animals with cutters (for the animals you can use Ikea cookie cutters). Re-roll and cut again and keep doing so till all the dough is used up.
Arrange the 'animals' on the lined trays and cook for about 15 minutes.
Transfer cookies to a wire rack and leave to cool.

After few days cookies taste even better. They are perfect for making up stories. Eat them and start wandering!