Recipes

Festive spring brunch

The calendar begins now. The one dictating the rhythm of sprouting, repeated pattern following every year serving you what you need and want. According to traditional Chinese medicine our bodies have seasonal, monthly and daily rhythms aligned with tempo of nature. In spring our bodies are running cleaning program and dandelions are offering help to clean your blood and liver. It is also has diuretic properties and helps to flush out the toxins from the body. Besides, bitterly freshness somehow feels right, tastes better now. Bitter is not one of my prefered tastes, but right now this is what I crave for.

Until today dandelions were always prepared as a salad. Quite boring, besides chilly spring requires warm variations. Sauté the dandelions with olive oil and garlic, they will remain bitter, but moist with smoother texture. Cover it with poached egg on toasted bread for a festive brunch.

Poached eggs on dandelions and toast

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Recipes

First things feast

Time for some desperate measures – anemic winter is scraping the baskets of it’s last real seasonal produce. Meaning there are only the musshy apples left on the market. Not very attractive to hungry eyes,  as the main thing with the apple is the first crunching sound of a juicy bite. These  poor bastards need some serious pimp up: fill them up and shove them in the oven with a dash of cinnamon.

Screw you winter, we’re still gonna have a feast.

Baked cinamonn apples with raisins

Baked cinnamon apples filled with millet kasha

  • 150 ml water
  • 6 apples
  • 5 tbsp millet
  • salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 150 ml milk
  • cinnamon
  • coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp raisins

Cook millet with raisins in salted water. After 5 minutes add sugar, milk and cook for remaining 10 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 180° C. In the meantime make a hole in the apples with a small spoon, removing all of the seeds,  but leave the bottom untouched and don’t peel them. Fill apple holes with millet and cinnamon. Grease the pan with coconut oil and lay filled apples inside. Bake 20-30 minutes depending on the apple size. Serve warm with honey and additional cinnamon.

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Recipes

Futile winter attempts

Here it is, the pitch dark winter with twiggy branches in all it’s morbidness. The sun deprived flesh is craving a real raw freshness to take the dull of the bones. The greenhouse grown argula can’t do the summer trick. She feels the same dull feeling under flourescent light – this is not her time to flourish. We need tough vegs in the winter, the lonesome ones, the ones that stay in devastated field.

Sometimes mighty development seems almost absurd, if you look at the absurdity of complexity behind it and the result it brings. I’m talking about the gigantic houses of computer controlled environments which produce tasteless argula. If there is no real taste, why fuss at all? Winter is the time of persistence, patience and not much is left but to hibernate tightly packed. Accepting and adapting to things you can not control can feel defeating, but eventually (and hopefully) we do get to learn when to struggle and when to accept things the way they are. Certainly fighting with Mrs Gaia is futile, and she certainly knows best, nevertheless she’s been here for ages.

Enough with the mumbo jumbo – point is you should use the seasonal stuff you can get at the moment. Here is a combo for suggestion, very simple and accesible, although black radish seems more exotic then…argula in January?

winter salad

Winter black radish, kale and smoked bacon salad

Slice washed and brushed black radish as thin as possible, leave the black skin on. Wash and cut kale leaves, slice out the main thick veins. Blanch the kale leaves for a few seconds and rinse under cold water. Mix kale leaves with black radish, toss in cooked red beans and diced smoked bacon. Sprinkle salt and pepper, and pour pumpkin oil over it generously.

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Crumbling nostalgia

Not so long ago I was completely blown away by the webzine/portal/blog Mrvica. The whole concept and approach to food and culinary writing focusing mainly on local, authentic and real production and consummation kept me glued to the screen, resulting in a sticky pasta, but it was worth it. Željka’s open and straight forward writing got me thinking, laughing and craving for a free range egg. Not to mention the amazing photography of Maja Danica Pečanić, I determined this is the best thing after the discovery of green tea ice cream. Seemed like we were already on the same frequency, so the collaboration was inevitable.

In the third Mrvica issue you can find my contribution on awakening of nostalgia and here below you can find the recipe for a tipsy foamy dessert – Wine chaudeau.wine chaudeau

For the best chaudeau use strong red vine, such as teran, to get most of the flavor and vibrant purplish shade. Using a hand mixer, instead of electric one, makes the foam bubbles bigger, and the foam fluffier.

Teran chaudeau

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 l teran wine

Boil a water in a pot, and set glass bowl on top of it to create steam bath. In a separate bowl mix eggs and egg whites with sugar and wine. When the glass bowl is heated, pour the mixture in a steamy bowl and immediately start to beat the mixture. When the entire mixture thickens, divide into 4 cups and serve warm.

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Recipes

Learn French, it’s good for you

You can’t go far with food discussions without relating to French influence. They still are known to be the greatest gourmands, with some of the best world chefs mastering their cuisine arts. Notice the crucial gastronomy related words are French, as a proud patriotic reminder of where it has started – the glorification and dedication to perfection of taste. Even the simplest rustic pie has a fancy name galette, which already sounds like one of the ballet pirouettes. Not just perfection with food preparation, their meals are more of an eating rituals aka. feasts. Despite the fact their food is heavy with red meat, sugar and fat along with generous amount of alcohol, French people are fit as a butcher’s dog.

In the time of nutritional and calorie values, we tend to forget, the food is a source of energy which can not be valued only by it’s scientifical measurements. Use fresh quality ingredients in every recipe, served in good company with some silliness on the side to experience the benefits of french diet. Oh, and don’t forget another french word often heard at the table – Répéter.

Here is a simple yet elegant galette with artisan bakery quality, so do not make it to perfect – it’s ok to be a little messy and dripping, just make sure it’s moist and crunchy at the same time.

Plum galette

For the crust

  • 2 1/4 cups whole spelt flour (or all purpose flour)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 3 Tbsp ice water

Filling:

  • 1 pound of sliced plums
  • 4 Tbsp of sweet homemade plum marmalade
  • 2 Tbsp of sugar

Make the crust: in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl, combine flour and salt (and sugar, if you’re not using agave nectar). Gradually add pieces of butter and mix on low using the paddle attachment (or mix using your hands, if not using a stand mixer) until the mixture looks sandy, with pea size and smaller pieces of butter still visible. If using agave nectar, mix with cold water and gradually add to the flour/butter mix until a dough forms. Shape into a flat disc, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Keeping it cold is essential for achieving the flaky crunchiness of the crust.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a floured surface, roll dough to half centimeters thick.  Assembly step begins with spreading the marmalade on the dough, sprinkle with sugar and arrange sliced plums on the marmalade layer in as close to a single layer as you can get. Fold edges of dough over the plums. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Before serving you can sprinkle it with chopped grilled hazelnuts for extra crunchiness.

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