Saturday, December 17, 2016

ode to autumn

Sticky semolina-quince cake
 1 cup semolina
1 cup ground walnuts
1 and 1/3 cups sugar
12g baking powder
1 cup milk, plus 100ml
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups quince (peeled and grated)

Preheat the oven to 180C. With a wooden spoon mix gently all ingredients in one bowl. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan (lined with parchment paper) and bake for about 35-40 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan warm 100ml of milk over medium heat until it starts boiling. 
As soon as the cake comes out of the oven drizzle boiling milk over a hot cake and leave to cool slightly. 

Best served with homemade yogurt ice cream!

Homemade yogurt ice cream
350g plain yogurt
250g creme fraiche
100g icing sugar (sifted)
1 tbsp vanilla paste 

Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature before mixing. Combine all and cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in a fridge until mixture is completely chilled (at least 2-3 hours). 
Churn the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions and then transfer it to a container and freeze until firm.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

challah virus

Almost a month ago I caught  a virus called challah. The symptoms are pretty easy to describe, during night you knead challah dough and it repeats night after night until you use all duck eggs. And no, the recipe does not require duck eggs but it happened that I got one of the best gifts recently from my foodie friend Smiljana. She gave me free range duck eggs and I started to knead and bake like crazy. And not any recipe for basic challah dough, but the very special one from the Molly on the Range cookbook recently written by Molly Yeh, quin of sprinkles. Have to say that so far I only tried her mouthwatering cake recipes but the contagious video for this bread recipe was shared by Betty Liu - scallion pancake challah. And all is true, this dough is amazingly simple to make, trust the more experience blogger and follow all the steps described and you will end up making it on a regular basis. 

Scallion Pancake Challah / Adopted from Betty Liu / Recipe: Molly Yeh

makes 2 loaves

Basic Challah Dough 
4 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1  1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon plus 1/4 cup sugar
6 1/2 cups flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 large eggs (duck eggs for golden yellow color)
2/3 cup flavorless oil
1/4 cup additional sweetener: sugar, brown sugar, honey, or molasses
egg wash: 1 large egg yolk (duck egg yolk for getting this shiny crust on top) + 1 tbsp water

In a medium bowl, combine yeast, warm water, and 1 teaspoon of the sugar and give it a little stir. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it becomes foamy on top.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl or in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix together the flour, salt, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, and additional sweetener.
When the yeast is foamy, add it to the dry mixture immediately followed by the egg mixture and stir to combine. Knead, either by hand on a floured surface or with the dough hook until you have a smooth and slightly sticky dough. 7-10 minutes, adding more white flour as necessary.
Transfer dough to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature until it has doubled in size, about 2 hours. Or, stick in the fridge overnight and let it sit at room temperature for about 1 hour before shaping.

For scallion pancake challah
6 scallions, minced
3 tbsp sesame oil (I used extra virgin olive oil)
salt and black pepper
crushed red pepper
egg wash: 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tbsp water
toasted sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 190C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Divide dough into 2 parts. Put one aside and cover with plastic wrap. Divide the other half into 3 equal parts and roll into 12 inch logs. Gently flatten each log so that it is about 3 inches wide. Brush with sesame oil, sprinkle with scallions, salt, black pepper, red pepper. Roll logs up lengthwise and pinch seams to seal. Lay logs next to each other and pinch them together at one end (see GIFs by clicking on Betty Liu name above). Braid and pinch at other end. Place loaf on parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with other half of dough. Let rise 30 minutes.
Brush loaves with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds and black pepper coarse sea salt.
Bake until loaf is golden brown and has an internal temperature of 190F, around 28 minutes (30 minutes in my case :)).

This bread is really special, please make it and taste it. This virus is worth of spreading!!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

bowl of happiness

Food can make you happy!

Orange soup/Bowl of happiness

3 large carrots, peeled and chopped (about 450g)
one small butternut squash, peeled and chopped (about 500g)
one small onion, peeled and quartered
juice of one orange
few stripes of fresh thyme
olive oil
coarse sea salt for seasoning

optional for serving: basmati rice, avocado, fresh thyme, parsley, pickled red onions

Preheat the oven to 200C. Place the chopped vegetables onto a baking sheet and drizzle the olive oil over and sprinkle fresh thyme leaves and salt. Roast in the oven for about 30-40 minutes (or until all is tender). Remove from the oven and in two times puree vegetables in the blender adding orange juice and water (just enough to have smooth consistency, about 250ml). Pour the mixture into a saucepan and bring to the boil and simmer for just a minute or two. Season with salt and serve into bowls.

Serve topped with cooked basmati rice, sliced avocado, pickled red onions, fresh chopped parsley and thyme leaves for extra happiness!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Jedi breakfast

Bring balance to the Force, not leave it in darkness!

Jedi breakfast
honey and butter toast with galactic moons and stars
blue milk on a side

honey w butter spread
♥ 150g honey
60g butter/room temperature
Place honey in a bowl and mix with electric mixer for about 15-20 minutes. add butter and mix for few more minutes. place the spread in a jar and refrigerate for longer use.

Jedi toast
Make a toast from bread slices, and while still warm, spread honey and butter spread evenly and place moons and stars on top.

Double your powers! 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

quince and rosehip jelly

I wish Sunday is Monday
and Tuesday
and Wednesday
even Thursday.

You might be surprised
I wish Sunday is Friday 
and Saturday.

When Sunday is calm and fragrant like this one today, who wouldn't wish to have it more often.


serves two
one quince, cored, and cut into about 1cm wedges (don't peel)
1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
water, just enough to cover the fruits
2 tbsp sugar
rosehip tea bag
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
10g agar-agar 
2tsp rosewater

Place quince wedges, water (just to cover fruits), sugar and lemon in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat and cook gently for about 15 minutes, until quinces are tender.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer quinces between two bowls and let liquid cook for few more minutes.
Make a tea, rosehip tea in a cup (cover tea bag with 300ml recently boiled water adding sugar and lemon).
Combine tea, 250ml and liquid from cooked fruits, 250ml in a saucepan and add agar-agar. Bring to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes. Leave to cool for 5 minutes and then add rosewater. Pour liquid over cooked quinces and leave to set at room temperature for few hours.
Meanwhile you might consider making paper cranes, or do whatever suits your nature! 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

pot of wonder

It all began with a bowl standing on the kitchen table. Crowded vegetables peeped out from it. And one lemon, and few avocados, they also peeped from a crowd. The bowl with crowded vegetables stood on the kitchen table. It stood there for days. It’s not a secret that vegetables are magical. One afternoon, late summer afternoon, bowl magically turned into a pot of wonder.
And this is what happens almost each time when we look long enough in all these bowls, booths, shelves, buckets crowded with fruits, vegetables.. only magic changes. 

Involtini my way ~ Stuffed eggplant and zucchini bathing together in tomato sauce  

2 eggplant (big)
1 zucchini (big)
7-8 baby leeks
1l tomato juice (homemade preferable) 
1l hot water
1 sweet potato (big)
3tbsp Crème fraîche
2 handfuls fresh chopped parsley
sunflower oil 
mature cheddar 
salt, pepper, sugar

I admit, preparation time for this dish is not minimal but some things can be done in advance, so don't be alarmed. Also, it's been confirmed by one person of having one of the most hilarious dreams after eating this dish. Sleeping on a potato is quite an experience?! You never know when magic ends. If you are creative enough it can be permanent.


Preheat oven to 200C.
Peel sweet potato and slice it into small cubes (about 2cm). Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Spread potatoes in a single layer on prepared baking sheet and drizzle with oil evenly and sprinkle with salt. Bake until potatoes are golden brown and tender, about 30 minutes. Leave to cool.

While potatoes are in the oven, you can prepare eggplants and zucchini for a hot grill. 
Cut eggplants and zucchini lengthwise into tin slices (about 3mm thick), sprinkle generously with salt and leave to drain at least 20 minutes.

Trim the ends and roots of the baby leeks and wash them carefully. Chop them finely and put into a large frying pan with 2-3 tbsp of oil. Fry leeks over moderate heat until tender and slightly colored. Add a tsp of sugar and stir. Add tomato juice, hot water and bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook for  about 20-30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Before brushing eggplant and zucchini slices on both sides with oil, make sure they are dry (remove extra liquid with kitchen paper towels). Place nonstick pan or ridged cast-iron over medium-high heat. Working in batches, grill eggplants and zucchini slices, turning them until soft and (if using a ridged cast-iron) crisscrossed with grid marks. Set aside and leave to cool.

Make stuffing. Place baked sweet potato in a blander together with crème fraîche and blend until smooth. 

Spread eggplant and zucchini slices on a surface, and place about 1 to 2 teaspoons at one end of each slice. Roll up slices tightly to secure filling, and place on a plate.

It's finally time for heavy machinery. They’re big and they’re heavy but they are the best. Enameled cast iron pots!  
Place about 200ml of tomato sauce in the bottom of the pot. Place rolls in a single layer and spoon again about 300ml of tomato sauce. Sprinkle chopped parsley and repeat layers, rolls, sauce, parsley and top with tin slices of mature cheddar.

Bake in a preheated oven (200C) for about 30 minutes.