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Friday, February 20, 2015

Ensalada de quinoa con chonta (Central and South American) (vegan)

I wanted to explore the cuisine of Central and South America some more and this was one of my favorite discoveries while researching it. It's delicious and fresh and a bit tangy and I couldn't stop eating it. Also - which is something I can say about few dishes - I have repeated this one more than once. I keep a can of palm hearts in my cupboard especially for when the munchies strike and I quickly fix a bowl of this good stuff. Enjoy.
Recipe source: here.

Last year: The Sidecar (cocktail).
Two years ago: Pears with rosemary sugar dust (raw vegan).
Three years ago: Beefsteaks in apple juice.
Four years ago: Broccoli and pancetta orecchietteNoodle salad with black sesame (vegan) and Chocolate and stout cupcakes (Irish).

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Shrimp pizza with cherry tomatoes and parsley

I'm a fan of most seafood and especially shrimps in almost any size or any method of preparation. And since everyone likes pizza (right? right?), then it was time to take my love of prawns further and put them onto a pizza base made of crispy wholemeal dough. To make the whole thing very fresh-tasting, I kept the heavy ingredients to a low (just grated mozzarella, but I chose a really good buffalo mozzarella so its full flavor could really be felt in the final dish), and added a lot of fresh ingredients (like cherry tomatoes, a squeeze of lemon and plenty of chopped parsley). The result was delicious, light and perfect by my book. Enjoy :)

Last year: Flourless chocolate cake with choco-whiskey sauce.
Two years ago: Poulet Vallée d'Auge (Chicken, apple and Calvados cream stew) (French).
Three years ago: Sprinkle butter cookies (Italian).
Four years ago: Chinese fried riceBroccoli and ham torte and Cardamom lassi (Indian).

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Syrniki (Sweet Cheese Pancakes) (Russian-Belarusian-Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian)

These Russian pancakes made with fresh cheese and raisins are a popular breakfast or treat all-throughout the Slavic space. The exact name and recipe can be found in Belarus, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine, but there are other countries in Eastern Europe which have a similar but different version. For example, in Romania, we make cheese pancakes without the raisins and with semolina flour, my mother's papanași which I've previously told you about :).
They're easy to make and delicious to enjoy. Next time you think about a treat for someone dear or only for yourself (by the way, if you like celebrating Valentine's Day, then I guess this makes the ideal breakfast in bed kind of thing), just whip up a batch of these and serve them with hot black tea (for the full Russian experience). :)
Recipe source: Saveur.

Last year: Harissa and truffle potato puree with mozzarella-olive sauce.
Two years ago: Crispy cheese and guacamole tortillas.
Three years ago: Sprinkle butter cookies (Italian).
Four years ago: Tirolese spinach and cheese dumplings (Austrian)Spinach and cheese crostini and The perfect fluffy fried bananas.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Kuvana Krtola (Potatoes with yogurt and fresh cheese) (Montenegrin)

This may not look like much, but trust me when I say that it might be the best Balkan meze you'll ever taste (or at least from the non-spicy spectrum of food). If all over the world people seem to like the combination of potatoes and cheese and consider it the epitome of comfort food, this had to be true in the Balkans as well, right?
I initially heard about this dish from an acquaintance who's a travel expert and guide, who said this is what they would recommend first and foremost to anyone traveling in the Montenegro region. I looked it up afterwards and it was so simple to make that I just had to have it by the end of the same day. And I didn't regret it. Even if it's not a typical hard cheese like cheddar, the combination between freshly baked or boiled potatoes and freshly made cheese and yogurt is really good, and kind of refreshing. Try it.

Last year: Pizza Diavola (Italian-American).
Two years ago: Deep fried Brie with tamarillo relish.
Three years ago: Sprinkle butter cookies (Italian).
Four years ago: Mashed potatoes with caramelized shallots and ParmesanPork in spice crust and Banana bread with nuts (American).

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Blue Skies Cake (Orange cake with blue curacao frosting)

I've been dreaming to devise a cake inspired by my favorite cocktail (called Blue Skies, made of milk and Blue Curacao bar syrup) for a long time now. 
I finally created the perfect version of it: both milk-tasting and creamy (from the cream and mascarpone) and with a strong orange and blue orange flavor (because that's what the curacao flavor actually is - a blue orange syrup). The moist sponge below contains plenty of grated orange zest and candied orange peel, while the creamy top is full of cream, mascarpone and blue curacao syrup.

It really tastes like the cocktail I named above :). It's perfect! (at least to me). If you're fans of any cocktail with a slight lagoon-blue color that means you love the curacao flavor too. Which also means you'll love this cake. Enjoy (with a mug of Blue Skies) :).
Because today my little girl Mira will turn 3, and 3 is a magical number in traditional Romanian fairy tales, I think this was the most appropriate thing to post today. :)

Last year: Sholezard (Iranian rice pudding with saffron, almonds and rosewater).
Two years ago: Ti ki burfi (sesame seed burfi) (Indian).
Three years ago: Sprinkle butter cookies (Italian).
Four years ago: Pickled mustard and Marliesentorte (German hazelnut, chocolate and cream cake).

Friday, February 6, 2015

Classic grilled cheese (British and American)

Words can hardly describe how comforting warm grilled cheese can be. An American and British classic, it consists of simply a grilled (or fried or toasted) sandwich with cheese between the bread slices. After the quick cooking, the bread becomes crispy and toasty and the cheese is melted, making it the ideal comfort food (and a traditional companion to tomato soup). :)
There are multiple variations stemming from the original recipe, with lots of extra topping and ingredients which can be added to the cheese, but this is the basic, classic version. Enjoy. :)
Recipe sources: Smitten Kitchen and Jeff Mauro

Last year: Turkey bites with vodka sauce.
Two years ago: Smoked salmon pizza (Italian).
Three years ago: Sprinkle butter cookies (Italian).
Four years ago: Bacon-wrapped baby cornSpicy chocolate truffles and Pissaladières (French caramelized onion tarts).

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Kumquat liquor (vegan)

Because kumquats and because vodka. And also because when you'll be using this wonderful potion as an extract for cookies, or as an ingredient for cocktails, or when you'll be using the delicate kumquat slices inside as the improved grown-up version of candied kumquats, you'll thank me. So get to it.
Recipe adapted from here.

Last year: Tuna parsley fritters with mustard Bechamel sauce.
Two years ago: Tortellini and vegetable souffle.
Three years ago: Sprinkle butter cookies (Italian).
Four years ago: Chicken with cream and mushroomsSingapore noodles with chicken and Mexican-style scrambled eggs.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Rice waffles with cream cheese and chia seeds

Another lovely way to serve chia seeds, in case you were wondering about how to incorporate more of those into your diet. To me at least, this is a most delicious snack I dig into during the day, especially if I'm too busy to cook anything (and many days, this is my breakfast). To turn this into a desert, just drizzle a bit of honey over it. I like it with or without just as much. Enjoy.

Last year: Guacamole de granada (Guacamole with pomegranate) (Spanish-Mexican) (raw vegan).
Two years ago: Chili and lemon fried shrimps.
Three years ago: Sprinkle butter cookies (Italian).
Four years ago: White rice pudding with rosewater and almonds (Turkish)Florentine pie (with spinach and egg) and Bramboraki (Czech potato pancakes).

Friday, January 30, 2015

Potage de garbanzos con chorizo (Chickpea, potato, spinach and chorizo stew) (Spanish)

This is a hearty yet kind of light stew from the Spanish cuisine, perfect as comfort food for slightly colder days. It's a bit soupy too, but not enough to be labeled a soup. It contains tomatoes, potato, sweet potatoes, spinach, chickpeas, onion, garlic and flavorful chorizo slices. It's cooked on low heat with a bay leaf, to give all the flavors some time to get to know each other better. :) And it's really, really good. Enjoy.
Recipe sources: various, but mostly from here.

Last year: Turkish baklava.
Two years ago: Endive and apple salad with poppy seed vinaigrette (raw vegan).
Three years ago: Dagaiku imo (Japanese sweet potatoes with honey and sesame) (vegan).
Four years ago: Winter wheat berries soup with capers (vegan) and Endive and bacon pasta.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Patatas alioli (Spanish)

This is a variation on the patatas bravas dish, both being some of the most well-known and loved Spanish tapa dishes (entrees). Instead of the fiery tomato sauce accompnaying the main version, these potato cubes are served with a garlic mayo sauce. Sometimes, both sauces are combined in the same serving, like in this version from Saveur
Recipe source: here.

Last year: Avocado "fries" in Parmesan coating (raw).
Two years ago: British country apple cake.
Three years ago: Creamy potato and artichoke salad (very light).
Four years ago: Bacon and eggs breakfast with a fresh touch (British) and Vegetable stock from scratch.

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