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Monday, April 7, 2014

Es Pokat (Indonesian Avocado Shake)

This sweet avocado-chocolate smoothie-like concoction is very popular in Indonesia and it's served both as dessert or as a mid-day snack. 
To our Europeanized palates, it tasted... interesting. Not exactly my cup of tea, but definitely interesting and worth having at least once. Enjoy :)
Recipe source: Saveur

Last year: Milk and poppy seed muffins.
Two years ago: Brie, potato and thyme pizza.
Three years ago:  Potato salad with pesto and mozzarella and Egg, avocado and bacon breakfast spicy bagels.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Indonesian potato and spinach curry

A lovely one-pan food with lots of fire and exotic spices. Quite light but highly flavorful and warm. Make the most with spring new potatoes by trying this for your next dinner. :)
Recipe source: here.

Last year: Bouneschloupp (Green bean and ham soup) (Luxembourgian).
Two years ago: Crispy pizza crust (vegan).
Three years ago: Pickled red onions and Linguine alla matriciana with zucchini.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Polenta and corn muffins

The ultimate picnic fare, since we're entering a full-scale spring. :D
Delicious savory muffins with fried onions and corn kernels scattered through a lovely polenta-like base made with yogurt, Gouda and chili flakes. 
Great comfort food and hunger-fighters so they're ideal as a take-away snack during the day.
Recipe adapted from BBC's Good Food.

Last year: Garlic, chili, lemon and olive spaghetti (vegan).
Two years ago: Apple tart with honey and almond flakes (very light).
Three years ago: Tortellini with white wine sauce and tofuSimple artichoke dip and Aloo Baingan (Indian)(vegan)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Orange and poppy seed cake with chocolate topping

A fluffy but dense sponge cake full of poppy seeds and orange flavor. A dripping chocolate sauce spooned over its top, and a generous sprinkling of candied chopped orange peels on top of the sauce. The ideal way to end a spring afternoon :).

The way to make this is pretty much on the easy side, so it will be a pretty relaxed baking session. Enjoy :)
Recipe adapted from here.

Last year: Red onion, garlic and olive Flammkuchen.
Two years ago: Cous cous and pomegranate spicy salad (vegan).
Three years ago: Caprese skewers (Italian)Pork, bell pepper, carrot and broccoli stir-fry (Chinese)Basic carrot cake bars (American) and White fish (pangasius) fillet in cream-wine sauce

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Pajeon (Korean green onion pancakes)

Another Korean dish that highlights eggs and green onions (the other one is Gyeran-Jim), this time more pancake-like and strongly flavored with soy sauce. 
The delicious magical sauce (and I now think of the times when the British had just discovered it and made all sorts of speculations about it, like the fact that the Chinese were supposedly making it out of beetles :D) is added in the batter of the pancakes, as well as served next to them and the way it tastes it almost overwhelming and wonderful. Since it's a big component of the final taste, make sure you use a really high-quality soy sauce. 
Ready in no time and absolutely delicious. :)
Recipe source: here.

Last year: Eggplant, pomegranate and chickpea cous cous (vegan).
Two years ago: Mechouia salad (roast vegetables and tuna) (Tunisian).
Three years ago: Zucchini and coconut muffinsMelanzane alla parmigiana (Italian) and Pancetta and artichoke pizza.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sweet potato spicy wedges with guacamole (Mexican and Tex-Mex) (vegan)

This is a classic Mexican and Tex-Mex starter, using flavorful sweet potatoes with the fresh and spicy guacamole. You can make a bowl of these as a starter for friends at a party or enjoy it as a main course in two. Just remember to take off your sombreros to the deliciousness of the combination :).

Last year: Sticky banana and maple syrup cake bars.
Two years ago: Cheddar and leek muffins.
Three years ago: Asian white fish (pangasius) fillet with sesame noodlesRuladă de pui cu spanac (Romanian chicken and spinach roulade) and Green pasta and pesto souffle (gratin).

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Strawberries and cream biscuits (scones)

Strawberries and cream biscuits. Cookies. Scones. Call them whatever. The point is that unlike most other strawberry cookies, these really taste like the cream too, not just like the strawberries. And we all know how gloriously delicious that combination is, don't we?
As if that wasn't enough to make anyone want to jump them, these little wonders have another perk: the little strawberry bits in them don't dry out like in most similar cookies, but get juicy-melty and create a wonderful and tasty mess. All in a cream-infused cake mass that doesn't contain that much sugar, to allow the flavors of strawberries and cream to really shine. This is the stuff that dreams are made of :)

They're crumbly and delicious. I honestly don't think they can be better by any means. Oh.. wait. Yes they can, perhaps. By adding a little whipped cream to take the whole thing into the abyss of cookies-and-cream perfection:

Recipe source: the wonderful Deb @ Smitten Kitchen

Last year: Paprikás Csirke (Chicken Paprikash) (Hungarian).
Two years ago: Mini Nutella and walnut pies.
Three years ago: Caribbean romance (cocktail)Mousse au chocolat (French chocolate mousse) and Carrot bread (with walnuts).

Monday, March 17, 2014

Irish nettle soup

The nettles are one of the most valuable and neglected spring harvests. And it's a shame, given their lovely detox and mineral replenishing properties. 
So today I'm bringing forth this lovely recipe, in honor of both the installing spring and St Patrick's Day :). A green, green soup from The Green Isle. Keep your eyes on the nettle harvest which will hit the markets soon (if it hasn't already) and try it. It will be simple to make and delicious :).
Recipe source: Darina Allen, via Saveur.

Last year: Colcannon (Irish mashed potatoes and greens).
Two years ago: Turkey pieces in emmentaler sauce.
Three years ago: Orange caramel pastry windmillsParmesan cream potatoes and Vegetarian chili tacos with avocado salsa (Mexican).

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Red beans and rice (Creole Louisiana version)

The "red beans and rice" dish is really iconic to the Southern culture of the United States, to its Creole community and beyond it. It was traditionally made on Mondays in a large pot and served to a crowd. There are still a lot of pubs in the area that have this staple in their menus every Monday. 
My dear Louis Armstrong considered this his favorite dish and he used to famously sign his autographs with "red beans and ricely yours, Louis Armstrong". :)
Similar dishes are popular throughout the world. That is probably because the combination of beans and rice is not only delicious, but also very inspired: when paired, the two create a more complex protein that usually lacks from the diet of the poor (who can't afford meat), and thus dishes like this prevented a lot of deficiencies. 
Returning to the dish here, it may or may not contain smoked meat (some smoked hock or sausage, added in the beans while they cook or at the end, on top of the dish). It's usually cooked on the mild side of spices, but served next to a bottle of hot sauce (as I also did, see above). The rice is mounded up in the middle of the plate, while the bean mixture is spooned around it. I really liked it. :) Enjoy.

Last year: Smoked trout, fennel, apple and beet salad.
Two years ago: Garlic soup with chorizo and mustard (Czech).
Three years ago: Cream liquor cocktailGreen apple and peanut butter muffins and Brie, walnut and caraway salad.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Spinach, green onion and ricotta mini phillo pockets (Spanakopita triangles) (Greek-style)

I feel that I should start this post with a "sorry" for the shadow there in the picture. I should have stepped back a bit while zooming in, but honestly the smell was so nice I felt compelled to lean forward to inhale it better, and the same smell is responsible for why I haven't made more pictures other than this one. :)
But if you make the recipe and taste them, you'll more than understand the circumstances :)
The idea is not my own, lots of people around the internet have their takes on making individual triangle-shaped pockets out of the classic Spanakopita, but I thought replacing the traditional feta with a creamier ricotta would be an interesting twist. And indeed, I didn't regret my choice. The triangles came out way fluffier, creamier and also lighter than I expected. You'll see what I'm talking about :).
So let's cut to the chase and show you how it's done. Enjoy.

Last year: Dill and cottage cheese bread.
Two years ago: Fondant pan potatoes (French style).
Three years ago: Pricomigdale (Romanian walnut biscuits)Salata z Boczkiem (Polish wilted lettuce salad with bacon vinaigrette) and Smoked salmon and cucumber starters.

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