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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Mini poppy-seed croissants (savory)

We like having some puffy croissants around to munch on between meals or to serve with our favorite cream soups. This time, we were inspired by an older version with Gouda cheese and decided to go for the poppy-seed crust :)
While many of you might be slightly intimidated by the idea of making your own croissants - trust us, it's easier than it looks. It takes a while, but not a lot of effort: most of the time you can just go about your business while the wonderful yeast works its magic and makes the dough rise :). Give it a try!

Last year: Glazed duck with orange sauce and vegetables (French-style).
Two years ago: North Croatian deer goulash.
Three years ago: Scottish cardamom griddle scones with butter and honey

Friday, October 17, 2014

Kataif / Kadayf (Turkish-Greek)

This dessert is the Greek and Turkish variant of the generic Arabic sweet usually called Kanafeh (or kunefe or similar names). It consists of very thin vermicelli noodles (or shredded yukka dough) and ground walnuts, layered and soaked in a concentrated sugar syrup, and then baked a bit until golden brown. It tastes very sweet (much like Arabic-Turkish and Greek pastries in general, just think of the well-known Baklava) but flavorful. It's also surprisingly easy to make. Give it a try.

Last year: Pumpkin and sage soup.
Two years ago: Potato, sun-dried tomatoes and herbs creamy salad.
Three years ago: Scottish cardamom griddle scones with butter and honey.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Duck liver, orange and parsley crostini

A lovely example of finger food ideal for a small party. A thin baguette is sliced and oven-roasted to create the crunchy crostini base. Home-made duck liver pate, infused with orange and white wine is then spread on top. To finish off the flavor combination and add a bit of green crunch, parsley leaves decorate the crostini. All the hints and tastes come together in one small crispy and creamy bite. Enjoy :)

Last year: Fig and blue cheese tart in walnut crust.
Two years ago: Duck eggs with broccoli and prosciutto.
Three years ago: Scottish cardamom griddle scones with butter and honey.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Pico de gallo (Mexican) (raw vegan)

Pico de gallo is a simple lightly spiced salad usually served in Mexico with hearty main courses, or used to stuff birds before cooking them and so on. It tastes fresh and bright and can be a great side dish to almost anything. If you want to fix yourself a light Mexican meal on a quick weekday, try this as a salad next to a serving of made-ahead Arroz Verde, for example. Enjoy :)
One recipe source (though the Internet is full of others): here.

Last year: Cocoa and chili biscotti (Aztec-style biscuits).
Two years ago: Cajeta cake squares (Molten caramel cake).
Three years ago: Scottish cardamom griddle scones, with butter and honey.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Arroz Verde (Green cilantro rice) (Mexican)

The green-colored cilantro rice (its name literally translated as "Green rice", by the way) is one of the most common sides you could include in a Mexican meal. Pretty easy to make, it's obviously delicious enough to eat on its own, without a main course. Traditionally it's made with chicken stock, which gives a lot in terms of the overall final flavor of the dish, but I guess you could replace it with vegetable stock to keep the dish vegetarian. (Your loss, anyway :P). 
The cilantro flavor is quite enough to make the dish unforgettable, but garlic and chili peppers also contribute to it. Enjoy :).
Recipe source: Saveur.

Last year: Aztec hot chocolate.
Two years ago: Rosemary, Gruyere cheese and potato bread.
Three years ago: Tagliatelle with Gorgonzola and spinach sauce.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Hummus, scallion and kalamata pita pockets (vegan)

This is a nice and fast vegan snack for when you have left-over pitas and/or hummus and you also want to keep it vegan. Click on the links in the above sentence if you want to see my recipes for making your own, or just use store-bought. I'm not judging :)
Spreading things inside the pita's pockets is actually the way these breads were intended to be eaten, and hummus is very often the spread of choice in Middle Eastern kitchens, followed by various combinations of veggies and meat bits. This time, I added green chili, scallions and natural (kalamata) olives and it was perfect and pretty light. Enjoy :)

Last year: Hasselback potatoes (Swedish).
Two years ago: Salată de varză (Romanian white cabbage salad) (raw vegan).
Three years ago: Simple strawberry, cream and rice crispies treat.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Black Russian (cocktail)

The simple version of this strong and sweet coffee-flavored cocktail. When cream is also added, the drink becomes a "White Russian".
While this cocktail didn't originate in Russia, it's called a Russian because it contains vodka :).
More on the history of the drink here.

Last year: Cheddar and oat scones (British).
Two years ago: Mexican rice with vegetables (vegan).
Three years ago: Sweet potato and prosciutto starters.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Grated pumpkin pie with crunchy spice star biscuits

I fantasized about making this pie for a long time until I finally got my head around to actually making it. The crust is filled with grated pumpkin flesh mixed with some sugar and chopped nuts. An extra piece of crust is rolled and cut in little star shapes, which are then dredged through a spicy sugar mix. After they get the sweet-spicy treatment, the stars are placed on top of the filling.

The result is just as lovely as I imagined it would be :). Enjoy.
Recipe inspired from here.

Last year: American pumpkin pie (from scratch).
Two years ago: Lemon pepper grilled chicken.
Three years ago: Fritata with bell pepper and Tirolean sausages.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Kastaniencremesuppe (Chestnut cream soup) (German)

This cream soup made of roasted chestnuts, butter, onions, dark rye bread and sour cream is a rare traditional German treat, served in the most exquisite of guesthouses (that's how restaurants which serve traditional food are called). I sampled it a few times, and then decided to make it myself. It's pretty fast to make, it tastes really special and earthy and I've come to associate its smell and taste with the idea of fall itself. 
To make it, you need a handful of pre-cooked chestnuts. Either take the time to roast them yourself, or buy them pre-cooked (but do expect them to be a bit pricey). Anyway, it will be totally worth it. ;)

Last year: Autumn chestnut and beetroot salad. (October seems to set me in a mood for chestnuts).
Two years ago: Fig, rosemary and mascarpone tartlets.
Three years ago: Spicy Guinness mustard (Irish).

Monday, September 29, 2014

Beef and bamboo shot soup (Filipino)

This is one of the best Asian soups you could have. It's not too spicy (for those of you who are reluctant to Asian cuisine because of this), but full of flavor from the slow cooking of the beef and the bamboo shots (I really love those) and the ginger and the pepper and the fish sauce :). (I got enthusiastic all over again just by reading this list). The point is that the ingredients are simple and few (again, for an Asian recipe), but the result is amazing. Do try it.
Recipe source: here.

Last year: Crispy chili beef with broccoli (stir-fry)
Two years ago: Green tree (cocktail).
Three years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

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