Friday, April 29

Made in Italy!


made in italy

Today, I came across this magazine(published for a Waitrose supermarket in England) and was quite impressed. It didn't only include all the offers but also had very good articles, recipes and reviews.
So I found this spot in the sun (can you see the shadows? -pointing out with excitement and happiness that it was sunny!) and sat down to read,

with few nibbles on the side.

So, I got so inspired that I decided to spend the month of May 'a la Italiano'. And what's more, I found a very nice Italian blog - where you can read genuine recipes by another food enthusiast.

Going back to the magazine, I studied upon the 'Flavours of the month' - being Cromer crab (see www.waitrose.com for a cooking method), lemons for enlightening taste to food in summer, wild rocket with its peppery bite, asparagus which is beatiful blanched or roasted, fresh butter melting on warm vegetables or used as a base for hollandaise sauce and finally pink radishes - so moorish when sliced and sprinkled with salt.

My first taste on the journey of the italian food will be homemade pasta! Not that I have never made it, in fact, I have been making pasta all my life, but not the italian way. I am sure I can learn a lot of new tricks and adding more flavour to pasta than what I was used to.

I am calling out for all the food bloggers who are interested, know some good italian recipes and could join in. Everybody is more than welcome! It would be fantastic to read all the contributions. Please, just post your recipes on your blogs anytime and drop me a line with your blog address.
Thanks! (looking forward to read your posts)

Sunday, April 24

IMBB # 14 - Honey, ginger, apricot chicken


Chicken with honey,ginger and apricots

Ooph! This was done for the last minute and posted to Foodgoat who is hosting this month's theme of Is My Blog Burning?(IMBB). They have chosen an interesting one this time (reminding me of a mobile phone advert, hehe) - orange.

There were lots of suggestions as to the ingredients that could be used like sweet potatoes, peppers, sweet paprika (which is soo much used in my roots' quisine - hungarian and slovak), butternut squashes, etc.
But no mention of fruit!

To me, orange coloured fruit was a definitive choice of an ingredient to be used for my final entry. I was thinking of orange jelly that I have eaten in a superb hotel in Canterbury for my birthday.
But as it was a bit late today, I was forced to come up with a hearty meal which will be enjoyed as a nice lunch by my hubby tomorrow.

Simply, I always keep some fresh chicken and ginger in the fridge, cupboboard is stocked up with tinned fruit and other everyday necessities like honey. Herbs are now nicely growing on my window sill, so I can tear off few sprigs as I need them.

Here we go then - it is sweet(honey), bit spicy(ginger, thai spice) and aromatic (herbs).

ready for oven

well done (nearly burnt it!)

delicious final entry Posted by Hello

Ingredients:
6 chicken thighs
fresh root ginger (peeled and grated)
1 can of apricots (drained)
honey
soy sauce
4 garlic cloves (peeled and sliced)
Thai 7 spice
sesame seed oil
freshly chopped herbs (lemon thyme and marjoram)

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
Lay out the washed chicken thighs in an oven-proof dish. Spread the freshly grated ginger in top of them. Place the tinned apricot halves around the chicken thighs. Add the garlic slices.
Sprinkle with thai spice and drizzle honey and soy sayce all over(about 2-3 tbsp each)and SESAME seed oil (very important for the flavour!!!)Add some herbs and leave some for the final decoration once the chicken is cooked.

SHF # 7 - Fruit&nut squares


Making of them

Although I have missed SHF # 7, I am posting my contribution above.

I was a bit indifferent to 'molasses' until today when I remembered that I had a red tin labelled 'Black Treacle' in my cupboard.


First of all, I didn't really know what to use it for.
I have heard about it but did not pay too much attention to it.
But as I was walking past my food calendar in the kitchen, I noticed these beautiful looking nut squares and thought that I'll make them.
It required 'Black Treacle' and then it struck me as a lighting from heaven that it must be the one, so much talked about - molasses.I was very pleased that finally I was going to try it out and it was again a quickie.


pretty nut squarePosted by Hello

Ingredients:
200 g rolled oats
100 g dessicated coconut
70 g melted butter(margarine)
40 g light muscovado sugar
2 big tablespoons of black treacle(molasses)
70g chopped dried fruit of your choice (cranberries, raisins, apricots, dates..)
50 g chopped mixed nuts (cashew, pistachio, almonds..)

milk chocolate (topping)
dash of milk

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Melt the butter over a low heat, add the sugar and treacle. Once melted, add this to the oats mixed with coconut.
Then add the rest of the ingredients, spread into a cake tin (I used an oven dish) and bake in the oven until golden brown.

Thursday, April 21

Flowing with flavour


baconsarni Posted by Hello

First of all, I should say I love food blogs and blogging. Secondly, I have just got a part-time job(next to my other job) working in a bakery/convenience store, so I have even less time to write and post.
I keep looking at, reading, admiring, etc. other food blogs and getting frustrated over how much I would like to develop my site too. I just feel I am missing something! Is it the time, writing, a theme?
Oh, well, whatever it is, I'll keep posting and it might appear.
For the moment being, it is satisfying my creative 'flair' (hehe, ;)) from several sides (cooking, painting, chatting..) which is a good enough reason for me to continue.

So if you look above, you'll see my dinner. Flowing with flavour, it is my favourite - toasted garlic pitta bread, filled with bacon, basil leaves, apricot stilton cheese and BBQ sauce.
Ok, maybe it doesn't look quite like a sarni(short for 'sandwich') but painting can be like cooking. You add few new flavours/colours here and there and see the outcome.

Monday, April 18

Bite or not bite?


puff , huff and it's gone Posted by Hello

I couldn't decide which pickie to post (now I have a digi camera, see post below, I can't get enough of it).
Could you comment whether it is suitable to have 'pics with a bite' taken?

Mandarine meat in puff pastry


Puff pastry turnover Posted by Hello

So, finally! I have a digi camera! Not expensive, just fine for everyday usage and all the necessities connected with blogging (like the macro feature).

At the moment, I am hooked a little on puff pastry. For those of you who are in favour of proper definitions I've found that puff pastry is ' a delicate French pastry with hundreds of layers of dough and butter. The French call it "pâte feuilletée." When baked, the butter creates steam which creates the "puff." It is used to create croissants, Napoleons, and allumettes. It's versatile, filling and it tastes fantastic. Don't we just love it? Well, of course - with so much butter!

Somewhere I learnt to make these pretty turnovers with puff pastry (I can't remember where or who taught me this trick). They are incredibly easy to make!!! 5 minutes - if you have a ready to roll puff pastry. Filling can be of your choice - usually minced meat, or other meat in a sauce. So, here we go: Roll the 500g puff pastry dough into a rectangular about 3 mm thick, so that you can cut 6 square shapes out of it. Cut it first lengthwise once in the middle and then the two strips into 3 squares. Then take each square and make 2 right angle cuts in 2 opposite corners of the square about 1 cm away from the edge. Make sure you have cut 2 right angle cuts and not cut out a whole square in the middle. The 2 cuts must not reach each other. Once you have that, lift one corner(where you have cut the right angle) and fold it over to the other side (stick it down to the dough with some water). Then take the other right angle and fold over the top of the first one and stick it down. You will get 2 flipper over corners. I really hope it can be understood, although I have doubts. It would need some pictures. I can send them via e-mail if anybody needs them.

Filling: minced turkey jiuce of 2 mandarines segments of 2 mandarines(or can of mandarines) garam masala spice hot red chilli spice (or fresh chillies) 1 carrot (grated) 1 big potatoe (grated) 1 slice of each red, yellow and green pepper 1 red onion 3 garlic cloves olive oil (or sunflower) Fry the onions, peppers, potatoes, carrot in a little oil. When a little softened, add garlic and garam masala spice and chilli. Add the minced turkey. Cover with a lid and cook until done. At the end add a juice of 2 fresh mandarines or 1 mandora and the segments. Take each puff pastry shell and scoop out the middle (leaving the bottom crust) and fill.

Friday, April 15

Hot chocolate


hot choc Posted by Hello

Continuing on hot drinks or hot desserts (this time - one of those you don't know which group to list under).
I got inspired to write about this drink/dessert by my fellow blogger Ana has commented how she likes chocolate based drinks and that hasn't seen 'something like that ' in Canada.
So, here is another one!
About this one I know that they do a similar thing in Spain, called 'churros' where they dip these fried small sweet dough strips into this hot chocolate.
It is nearly like rich chocolate blamonge when it is just cooked and not set. It is thick and it beaufully slowly folds into a glass cup.
Then you can add few dark kirsch cherries ( in a liquor) on top (some will sink a little) and finish with a cream (from a spray can) .

To make this delicious hot choc, you can either buy chocolate blamonge (they usually come in 4 flavours in a packet in supermarkets) and follow the instructions and enjoy whilst hot. If you leave it to cool completely , it sets and then it becomes a delicious dessert.

If you can't get this, here is a home-made recipe:
Ingredients:
milk
sugar
cocoa powder
corn flour

Let's take about a pint of milk. In a separate cup, pour a little milk out of this pint and add 1 tbsp of cornflour, 3-4 tbsp of cocoa powder and 2 tbsp of sugar. Mix well until smooth.
Heat the pint of milk in a saucepan and add the cocoa mixture into it. Cook over a low heat until it starts to thicken ( at a boiling point). If it is getting too thick, add a more milk.
Pour into thick glass cups (you can warm them with pouring a little hot water into each and then getting rid of it before filling up with our hot choc.
Finish with some cherries and cream.

Saturday, April 9

Cappuggiro coffee break


cappuggiro Posted by Hello

So, I am back from my holidays (Slovakia) which I already miss for many reasons - beautiful weather, friends, my family, fantastic coffee shops and pattisseries (cukraren = sugar shops = cake shops)...
I even came back to England with a little sun tan on my face!

And as every holiday goes, I was seeing lots of people, sitting in the sunshine in the main square whilst kiddies were circling the statue of Saint Trinity, popping for a cake(or two) into sweet shops and finally sitting down for a delicious coffee in a trendy Lavazza coffee house.

Oh, and the choice of coffees was fantastic!
Amongst my favourite ones is 'Cappuggiro' and 'Moccachino'.
Cappuggiro has a thick dark chocolate syrup at the bottom of the tall glass, over which they pour hot milk and top it with an ice-cold thick sweet coffee-milk foam(beige colour).
Moccachino was served in these tiny hexagonal glass cups (tall as a finger) - chocolate syrupat the bottom, topped with shot of hot espresso and finished with beautifully folded sweet cream.(like an ice-cream in a cone).

Other coffees served were Irish coffee (with an Irish cream), Viennese coffee (long espresso with cream on top), Paspuccino (with caramel poured over the cream), etc.

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