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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Tiramisu pralines (Italian-style)

A praline made in the tiramisu fashion. It's like a softer truffle made of tiramisu (ground savoiardi biscuits, coffee, amaretto, mascarpone and cocoa). Need I say more? :)
Recipe source: here

Last year: Salată orientală (Romanian potato salad).
Two years ago: Risotto carbonara (Italian).
Three years ago: Plăcintă cu dovleac (My mom's pumpkin pie, with puff pastry) (Romanian-Moldavian).

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Saltimbocca alla romana (Italian)

The saltimbocca (which means, literally, jump-in-the-mouth) is a traditional Italian dish which has spread to the neighboring regions as well, and although it's called "alla Romana" (Roman-style), it most probably originated in Brescia. 
It consists of thin beef steaks (minute steaks), wrapped in prosciutto and fresh sage and cooked in wine and butter. It's simply and utterly delicious and not as heavy as it might sound (or as other beef dishes tend to be).
Recipe source: Maya

Last year: Fondi di carciofi (Bacon-wrapped artichokes) (Italian).
Two years ago: Coconut, carrot and brown sugar cake slices.
Three years ago: Chickpea, avocado and pesto salad.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sărățele (Romanian cheese straws)

This is my mom's recipe for Sărățele. I already featured a simplified version of them before, but it's nothing compared to the authentic one here. 
The straws are made from a butter and egg dough rich in grated cheese, cut into strips and brushed with beaten egg. Some minutes later in the oven they transform into golden crunchy salty and flavorful snacks that remain tender and crisp for 4-5 days, so making larger batches is perfectly fine. My mom always makes them for holidays (like Easter and Christmas) and our little toddler Mira seems to be crazy for them too (and she's a very shy and picky eater when it comes to most other foods but these).

Last year: Kashmiri chai (Indian cardamom tea).
Two years ago: Zucchini, bean and cheese quesadillas
Three years ago: Baked Camembert with rum raisins (French). 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Hawaiian pizza (Canadian)

Although it's called Hawaiian, this pizza was actually invented in Canada and is an important part of the country's cuisine. Found in almost every pizza joint across the world, the sweet and salty combination of light ham and pineapple bits quickly became a classic.
Here I made it on wholemeal crust for a healthier and crispier base :).

Still, a note (to self and to others), I think the ham and the pineapple pieces should not be added at the beginning of the baking (as I did here), but 10 minutes before the end, to avoid the charred edges of the ham (pictured above). Unless, of course, you like your ham a bit charred-crispy around the edges, in which case I take it all back :).
Later edit: this is a better picture from another time I made it :).

More on the history of this pizza here.

Last year: Barmbrack (Irish cake loaf for Halloween).
Two years ago: Zucchini cream soup (vegan).
Three years ago: Chocolate banana bread with white chocolate chips.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Pasta Frola de Dulce de Membrillo (Quince Tart with Lattice Top) (Argentinian)

A pasta frola is one of the most popular sweet pastries (or pies, like in this case) from the South American cuisine in general and from the Argentinian one in particular. This kind of sweet confection is so popular that there's even a saying there, "La vida no es una pasta frola", which translates to "life is not a pasta frola", meant to warn about the less sweet part of life, I guess :).

A pasta frola always comes with a sweet filling, often fruit-based, and with a shortbread cookie-like crust. It was imported at first via the Italian cuisine (which had a huge influence on the Argentinian and Uruguayan food cultures), but it is now almost a nation dessert for Argentinians. The most popular kind is this one, Pasta frola con dulce de membrillo, filled with the quince jam used for so many other South American and Spanish foods. 
Recipe source: here

Last year: Creamy white bean dip / spread.
Two years ago: Broccoli, chicken and cheese casserole.
Three years ago: Potato, cheese and mushroom gratin.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

El submarino (Argentinian hot chocolate)

"El submarino" means "The submarine" and it's a popular kids' treat in Argentina, referring to the sunken piece of chocolate in the hot milk. 
The drink is flavored with vanilla, a bit of sugar and, of course, the lovely piece of chocolate.

Perfect for evenings. Just stir and melt and watch the dark chocolate magic unfold itself in the milk. Sip away :)
Recipe source: here

Last year: Wild rice risotto with peas and basil pesto.
Two years ago: Belgian brownies.
Three years ago: Polish buttermilk drink (Kwasne Mleko Ze Szczypiorkiem).

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Saumon et poireaux en papillote (Salmon and leeks en papillote) (French)

All things "en papillote" are basically wrapped in a package. Sometimes just a baking paper package, other times a crunchy phillo package (like in this case).
Lean and pink salmon fillets were covered in a creamy fresh leek spread, then wrapped and baked. The result was a crispy and delicious dinner. 
Enjoy :)

Last year: Hoddeok (Korean pancakes) (vegan version).
Two years ago: Grilled cheese (halloumi) and veggies on bulgur (Greek).
Three years ago: Scottish cardamom griddle scones with butter and honey.

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.

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