Recipes

Tahini Miso Cookies

Don’t like to use the word fusion, because it sounds like something futuristic and modern, but the idea behind tese cookies is that they use Japanese ingredients in a form that is not tipical for their cuisine, but very much adored here in Europe. These are sort of version of english tea biscuits and are ment to be minimal and simple but complicate with individual complexity of ingredients. For example – adding salt with miso. Because it’s creamy like tahini, and brings a kind of gentler, deeper saltness. Orange peel and ginger for the zing, to uplift the heavy, slobby grease of tahini. And sesame seeds as garnish on top are crucial, but have to be mildly roasted (not too browned, as they get bitter) in advance to bring the full nutty aroma.

I like to keep the list of ingredients to the minimum and not over complicate, but these have to have all this inside to be perfect. You should know these are not very sweet, only a hint of sweetness, so they fall in the adult cookie category. Pair them with genmaicha tea, it’s nutty aroma complements them really nice.

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Tahini Miso Cookies

  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp white miso paste (if you use stronger and darker miso paste use only generous 1 tbsp)
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Orange zest from one orange
  • 1/2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds, gently roast till you can smell the aroma

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400 F). Mix flour and baking powder separately from the wet ingredients. Combine both mixes, if to dry add a splash of water. Form into a ball of dough. You can substitute olive oil for butter, to get more shortbread like texture. If you used butter chill the dough for at least an hour. If using olive oil begin with forming the dough in small balls. Dip each ball in roasted sesame seeds and flatten the ball to form a nice even round cookie. Bake for 20 minutes.

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October figs

The figs are late this year, because we had cold and wet summer. As terrible as is sounds, the good side of that is that right now you can get both of the most voluptuous fruits in season at the market – pomegranate and figs. This calls for a celebration pastries, with amazing texture which literary bursts flavour in your mouth.

The only right way to consume figs is to eat them straigt from the tree, when they are dripping ripe, but since I’m nowhere close to a ripening fig tree, this week the market figs will do. Although flavourful, these are usually picked when still a little hard, in order to get to the market in one piece. So, although I still loudly declare that figs are best just as they are, and over preparing them does them no good, here is an exception, because market figs are not as soft and moist, and also cold from autumn mornings. This is how you get them warm and dripping gooey, but still as simple as possible to keep them real.

Fig puff squares

  • Wrap of refrigerated puff pastry
  • 6-10 Fresh figs
  • Marmalade
  • 1 Pomegranate
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 220°C (420 F). Cut puff pastry sheet in squares, big enough fit size of your figs. You can cut figs in various different ways or have them all in the same form. Put one small teaspoon of marmalade on each square, and lay a cut fig on it. I used cherry marmalade, but homemade from figs would be fantastic, if you have it on the hand. Bake for half an hour, sprinkle pomegranate seeds and powdered sugar before serving warm.


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Seasonal spectacles – Yay or Nay?

Do you consider yourself a christmas freak or a grinch? No matter which side you take, the holiday season is jumping in our faces from all sides. Whether you frown upon the megaxlbonusconsumerisim there is a soft spot in everyone. Perhaps you melt in the first snowy morning or sight when you hear George Michael singing “Last Christmas”.

We have forgotten about the seasons and rituals along with the natural pace and rhythm. But they are here for a reason. December as the darkest, coldest time, when the spring is still so far and distant, seem like people needed to keep warm and joyful at this time, and therefore emphasized the positive and joyfulness of the season. In today’s central heating and all year round abundance there is different drive to it, but nevertheless we still fall for the same predetermined meanings and emotions.

It is not necessarily naive and part of the mob like behavior, take it as you want it, enjoy it as you want it, or suffer over it.  So, call me a sucker, but batch of ginger cookies is a must when the first snow appears. And it is not just the christmasy flavor that makes it the perfect snack , ginger and spices keep you warm, boost the immune system, plus ginger is a very efficient natural way to prevent any kind of sickness – be it hangover or kitsch overload.

The recipe for these Triple ginger cookies is adapted from here, mine are made bigger, with mashed banana instead of an egg, butter replaced with coconut oil and there is no turbinado sugar sprinkeld at the end.

Triple ginger cookies

2 cups spelt flour
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon star anise powder
4 1/2 teaspoons ground dry ginger
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1/2 cup coconut oil, room temperature
1/4 cup molasses
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and diced
1 mashed banana
1 cup crystallized ginger, finely minced
2 lemons, zest only

Preheat the oven to 350F degree. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, star anise, ground ginger, and salt.

Melt the butter, stir in the molasses and sugar. Blend the mashed banana and fresh ginger cubes in a fine smoothie like mixture and whisk it in the butter and sugar mixture. Now pour this over the flour mixture, add the crystallized ginger (make sure it isn’t too clumpy), and lemon zest. Stir until just combined. Scoop out the dough and place individual spoons of dough a few inches apart on the baking paper. Bake for 7-10 minutes and enjoy the smell.

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The road not found, please try later

There is so much said about the information saturation in today societies. Internet, media, all of the world’s knowledge at the simple reach of our finger. Despite the fact there is pouring information flooding us on our every move, I started noticing it is not broadening our horizons, but still rather streaming it to known and established highways. There is no such thing as coincidence on internet, stumbling on something, is better put as, randomly selected one of the top visited websites. The same goes for choice: so much to choose from and yet behind the branded images there are mainly 30 forms, ingredients or contents repeating in one way or another.

We search for perfect spots or favorite corners, get used and adapted to them and frame our pathways around them into our own perfect niche – a subculture of all our interests and likes. Think about it: your day revolves around you favorite information points, with plenty of newness every day, but it is all in the same flow.

Getting lost these days is practically impossible (yet, still very common) with satellite support. It is there to help us stay on the right path to the best restaurant, nearest attraction and at the end of the road famous cemetery, you simply can not miss. I like getting lost in unknown lands, somehow I always find myself on the right places, which were unable to predict. Whether it is the no signal or some other limitation, it’s the obstacles that seem to push us to explore off the beaten paths. Like weird food allergies forcing you to search for replacements for your beloved cravings. So here is newly discovered carob, for all of us not following the chocolate brick road.

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Carob macadamia cookies

2 1/2 cups spelt flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla sugar
6 tbsp carob powder
1/4 cups milk
1 cup coarsely chopped roasted and salted macadamia nuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix flour, soda, and salt. In a separate bowl cream the butter, sugar, baking powder and vanilla sugar. Mix the milk and carob into the butter mixture. Add flour mixture slowly at low speed to the butter and carob mixture, later fold in macadamia nuts. Drop a big spoon full of batter onto a baking sheet, repeat until you use up the entire batter.  Bake 20 minutes or until the tops look crunchy dry.

 

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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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