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Friday, January 16, 2015

Garam masala (home-made) (Indian spice mix) (vegan)

The garam masala spice mix is one of the most used in all Indian cooking, as you're surely aware if you've tried your hand at some recipes from that area. It's usually bought ready-made, but if you make it at home it will be much more flavorful and intense, as spices tend to fade out after grinding.

I've bought an electrical spice grinder and thought I'd have some fun, and this is the first thing that was on the list. The result was even better than I anticipated. :)
The ingredients sometimes vary from area to area and from kitchen to kitchen, but a common recipe has been reached and this is it. Enjoy.

Last year: Peanut butter and bacon sandwich (American).
Two years ago: Breakfast pizza with bacon and egg.
Three years ago: Dukkah-coated turkey wraps.
Four years ago: Sweet pumpkin strips, pan-fried, with honey (vegan) and Simple wellness salad with potatoes, apple, feta and egg.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Mixed bean salad with pumkpin seed oil (vegan)

Pumpkin seed oil is a delicate and intensely-flavored wonder. It can be added to most savory dishes to make them go from bland to addictive in mere seconds. If you've never tried it, it's well worth investing in a little gem of a bottle of it. It's not only crazy flavorful, but also beautifully colored in hues ranging from emerald green to an almost-black. 
This bean salad is perhaps the dish that benefits most from the wonderful flavor of pumpkin seed oil (the same goes for beans in general, actually). Soaking the onion firsthand in the pumpkin seed oil with a bit of salt makes for the most insanely flavorful morsels that give the salad its je-ne-sais-quoi, so please don't skip the step and just toss everything together as I know you'll be tempted to do. It will be worth the extra 10 minutes wait, I promise. And it will still be ready fast. :)
Recipe only slightly adapted from Adi Hădean.

Last year: Orange and wine infused chickpea and mushroom stew (vegan).
Two years ago: New York-style pizza crust (puffy and thin) (vegan).
Three years ago: Dukkah (Egyptian and generally Middle Eastern) (vegan).
Four years ago: Simple chicken stock and Chicken risotto with bell pepper.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Tamarillo and red wine rice pudding

Another lovely thing to make with tamarillos (I previously shared a deep-fried Brie recipe with tamarillo relish). 
Make a sweet topping with the fruit's flesh and some red wine and use it on a bed of creamy vanilla milk rice. :) A bliss for lazy evenings or nostalgic breakfasts. Enjoy!

Last year: Lemon and condensed milk cream tart.
Two years ago: Authentic carbonara (Italian).
Three years ago: Tuna and clementine creamy spread.
Four years ago: "Lapte de pasăre" (Romanian "bird's milk" dessert, my mom's recipe).

Thursday, January 8, 2015

French garlic soup with mint

Yes, we're big fans of garlic soup. We've tried it and keep having it in lots of styles and versions. Here we tried it in a classic French way, with whole cloves, served with fresh yogurt and mint leaves and fresh oven-baked herb butter baguette. Very delicately flavored, very light, doesn't leave any garlic breath behind, keeps the cold away.. what more could one ask for :) ?
Adapted from "Ma boitte de recettes" via Cătălina

Other garlic soups I'd recommend:
Czech garlic soup with chorizo and mustard (the way they do it in Prague).

Last year: Pear salad with walnuts and Gorgonzola (American).
Two years ago: Kedgeree (Anglo-Indian or Scottish).
Three years ago: Tapenade (olive paste) bread rolls.
Four years ago: Tabbouleh (Lebanese and generally Middle Eastern bulgur wheat salad) (vegan) and Simple wellness salad with endives, feta, clementines and pumpkin seeds.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Spaghetti with Garlic and Cumin (Italian-Moroccan)

A really special dish that combines the spirit of both Italian and Moroccan cooking into one fast meal. It's not really traditional per se in any of the two countries, but it was imagined and created by a child of both cuisines, and it feels so authentic to both that I'll gladly list it in each of them. :)
P.S: Don't know about you, but I'm mad about garlic and cumin! And to get to enjoy those flavors in their fried intense form, tossed with spaghetti and Parmesan was really terrific! :)
Recipe source: here.

Last year: Smoked salmon and scrambled egg on toasted bun.
Two years ago: Peanut butter cookies (American).
Three years ago: Cranberry and walnut scones (Southern USA style).
Four years ago: Zucchini and caraway salad with parsley and lemon salad.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Lemon pepper cod with basil-garlic rice

A light and fast to make idea for a lunch you can make without much fuss. There's no reason to eat boring stuff even though you're in a hurry :).
The cod fillet is rubbed with lemon pepper and some lemon juice and pan-cooked in very little oil. The bed of rice is infused with a bit of garlic and basil for extra flavor. The result is a healthy lunch in no time at all :)
Note: the instructions and ingredient list are for one serving, but the recipe is easily doubled or tripled and so on if you decide to be unselfish and share :).

Last year: Palak dal (Indian lentil and spinach curry) (vegan).
Two years ago: Mint and carrot tzatziki (raw).
Three years ago: Eggplant croquettes (fritters) with spicy-sour yogurt sauce.
Four years ago: Fast baby pasta with creamy Parmesan and pea sauce and Pasta con pomodoro (Italian simple tomato sauce pasta).

Friday, January 2, 2015

Australian Flat White

A very lovely and foamy coffee drink which is a common way to have it in Australia. The so-called flat white is made by combining an espresso shot with sugar or sweetener and a very generous layer of freshly foamed milk. Since I'm a big fan of foamed milk - the more the better - this kind of cup-a-joe is ideal for me :).
Recipe source: the above wiki link and also Saveur.

Last year: Nutella hot chocolate with hazelnut liquor
Two years ago: Spinach and chickpea soup with chorizo.
Three years ago: Pollo alla cacciatora (Hunter's chicken stew) (Italian).
Four years ago: Fried carp with polenta and garlic sauce (Moldavian/Romanian).

Monday, December 29, 2014

Birchermuesli complet (Swiss-German)

If you've managed to make your own Muesli mix by now, the next step is to serve the full Muesli breakfast, the way it was intended to be served when Dr. Maximilian Bircher-Benner designed it. :)
This "full breakfast" includes a bowl of Muesli with milk or yogurt, a banana, a roll of bread with butter and a large cup of milk coffee. You'll love it, I promise. :) [And it will also keep you full whenever you have a long day ahead - tried and tested]. 
I just thought that for once, I should end my year of posting with a healthy and not that fancy recipe, instead of some complicated cake like the previous years. Enjoy! :)
P.S: Today was a very, very happy day <3 :).

Last year: Banana cheesecake with candied cherries.
Two years ago: Tiramisu (Italian).
Three years ago: Carrot and clementine cake with carrot-ginger marmalade, honey-cream cheese frosting and balsamic glaze.
Four years ago: Eggplant and spicy chicken bits with mascarpone pasta.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Muesli (Swiss-German)

Probably the best known breakfast cereal mix, Muesli was invented by a Swiss doctor, Maximilian Bircher-Benner at around 1900 for its health properties. Ever since, this lovely cereal mix has become a favorite all over the world, and one of the greatest things about it is how highly adaptable it is to personal preferences, if you make it at home.
It's very easy to make, you skip a ton of extra sugar and additives, and you also add almost any combo of cereals, nuts, dried fruit and even herbs and spices. Whatever suits your fancy :). Here's a basic recipe to get started. 

Last year: Crab starters with guacamole and black sesame.
Two years ago: Pumpernikel rounds with beef ham, mustard and cornichons.
Three years ago: Simple bundt cake with raisins (Romanian guguluf).
Four years ago: Pasta alla carbonara (Italian) and Ginger-lemon chicken breast with honey-spicy vegetable sautee.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Brændende kærlighed ("Burning love") (Danish)

Scandinavian comfort food at its best. A plate of buttery and fluffy mashed potatoes topped with fried bits of onion and bacon, and nicknamed "Burning love" by the Danes. I guess this supports that theory which states that we express affection by feeding people. :) [I know I tend to].
Recipe source: here.

Last year: Gorgonzola and white wine potato gratin
Two years ago: Prosciutto, chile and onion pizza.
Three years ago: Raw winter salad in preserved peaches (Romanian).
Four years ago: Smoked salmon on lemon-herb butter toast.

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