Thursday, November 27, 2014


Thanks to Thanksgiving I can squeeze in one more pumpkin recipe!


280g conchiglie
220g button/chestnut mushrooms (sliced finely)
30g porcini (dried 6-8 slices)
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste
180g pumpkin puree
1 tbsp mascarpone
about 1/4 cup water (where paste has been cooked)
1/2 tbsp olive oil and parmesan cheese for serving

Rehydrate porcini in warm or boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes. KEEP a bronze liquor as you will need it for the sauce.
Put a large pan of water on to boil. When starts boiling season well with salt and cook the pasta (cook the pasta according to packet instructions). In another pan, over a moderate heat, fry mushrooms and garlic until mushrooms get color. Add chopped porcini together with their water (4-5 tbsp) and simmer on a law heat for 10 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper, add pumpkin puree and water where pasta has been cooked and cook for few more minutes. Take the pan of the heat and stir in a table spoon of mascarpone. Drain the pasta and toss in the pan. Check seasoning once again and serve with few drops of extra virgin olive oil and grated parmesan on top.

For this silky and vibrant sauce I used shell inspired pasta, conchiglie. This way mushrooms can hide into the shell's cavity.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


When least expected someone imports huge yellow quince from Greece in November.

 In a presence of a looming winter I make simple compote.

Quarter the quinces and put them in a large bowl. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer until fruit is soft (at least 30-40 minutes). When they are cooked trough, serve them warm or at room temperature.

No sugar, no spices, just simple pleasure of cooked quince flesh.

Advice: use sharp paring knife and be very careful when cutting the quince.

Monday, November 17, 2014



My grandmother was a good cook, a kind of one who had to cook for a big family usually only with ingredients that came from the local farm. Today you would call it 100% organic. I remember how she would say to granddad to go catch a rooster for lunch. Gold liquid served with homemade noodles or semolina dumplings. And that was just an ‘appetizer’. They ate seasonally and did lot of preserving. On the other hand my mother enjoyed using store products. She didn’t like spending too much time in the kitchen. But my father is passionate cook, especially for baking. By strange circumstances he become our le chef. One day while going for work my mother had an accident and later, tomorrow, dad was a star in the kitchen.
I remember, it was long time ago my sister and I came from school and pancakes were on the table. My father has made crepes caramelized in orange juice and not only that, he also made those filled with dark chocolate served with red wine sauce. I will never forget that experience and how he showed to us how much food mattered to him.
It seems today we are all fascinated with food, we all cook, there are TV channels, TV chefs, celebrities cook, images of food are everywhere.
I really cannot tell if our collective obsession with food has gone too far, but my obsession with pumpkins this season is serious.
But I still follow tree magic words: fresh, local and seasonal. 
This Hokkaido pumpkin is produced by local farmer and the lady that sells them at the market is very proud of them. One can tell how she smiles by only talking about them and explaining how they taste.
They really do have hint of that nut flavor, and I like to use them for stuffing, dips, spreads, soups..
pumpkin hummus
6 cloves roasted garlic
3-4 tablespoons olive oil (garlic infused olive oil, the one used for roasting the garlic cloves)
3 tablespoons cold water
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
200g pumpkin puree (Hokkaido pumpkin)
sea salt to taste

To roast the garlic, simmer peeled cloves in a small saucepan with olive oil for about 10 minutes over low heat. First puree chickpeas, water, garlic and oil in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add pumpkin puree and season with salt and add more oil or water if needed.  Blend again until smooth.
Serve with warm bread sticks, crackers, pita bread or anything you can think off.

pumpkin, almond, walnut and coconut muffins  
(makes 12)

80g ground almonds
20g   shredded coconut
100g self raising flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp vanilla paste
180 g pumpkin puree (Hokkaido pumpkin)
2 eggs
3 tbsp honey
65g vegetable oil (sunflower)
200ml milk
100ml juice of an orange

30gr almond flakes
walnuts, handful (chopped)

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Mix all ingredients in a bowl with a spoon until all is combined. Line a muffin pan with baking paper or muffin cases. Divide the mixture into them and sprinkle with few shredded coconut. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, until golden on the outside.