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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.

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).

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