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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Carrot and clementine cake with carrot-ginger marmalade, honey-cream cheese frosting and balsamic glaze

This was a treat. But a light and healthy treat, full of fibers, very little fat and sugar and so on (it even uses wholewheat flour!). I'm very proud of my creation here. Let me detail it for you :D : the two sponges are carrot cake with clementine juice and saffron, between them is a thin layer of our awesome carrot-ginger and caramel marmalade, a cream cheese-honey mixture; on top there's more of the honey cream cheese frosting, fresh clementines and a red balsamic glaze. Who could resist the temptation when even health objections are out of place in this case :) ?
Not too complicated to make. Enjoy :) And have a Happy New Year! :)

Last year: Aubergine and spicy chicken with mascarpone pasta

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Simple bundt cake with raisins (Romanian guguluf)

This is an easy and basic "chec" recipe (sweet bread very often made in Romanian homes). When it's done in a bundt pan, resulting in what Germans call a gugelhupf, the Romanians call it a guguluf :). We like having slices of it with warm milk for breakfast. It's not too sweet, not too dry and keeps well for 2-3 days, even uncovered and at room temperature. Have fun :)

Last year: Pasta alla carbonara and Ginger-lemon chicken breast with honey-spicy vegetable sautee

Monday, December 26, 2011

Salată de crudități în piersici din compot (Raw winter salad in preserved peaches) (Romanian)

Merry Christmas everyone! We thought this is a good time to give you a peek into something more traditional for us Romanians in wintertime. Enjoy your winter holidays in whatever tradition you're keeping them! :)

The raw winter roots salad is a delicious and easy staple in Romanian houses, traditionally made in a season when other fresh salad ingredients besides roots are hard to come by. It has become a go-to food for almost all households and a detail of many home-related nostalgia of Romanians everywhere. This is a less common, but still Romanian way to serve this salad: by filling peach halves from a peach compote with it. It may sound weird, but it's a delicious combination. 

Last year: Smoked salmon on lemon-herb butter toast

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Simple tortellini soup

Christmas is almost here so we'll take a break from posting for a while. This year, my parents are visiting us instead of the other way around, and for the first time I get to be the host and cook lots of delicious things for them, most of them quite different from our usual Holiday tradition. Of course the mentioned delicacies will find their way on the blog eventually (in the following weeks / months)... but until then, we wish you all a Merry Christmas and leave you in the company of a warm soup perfect for this time of the year. :)

This is a hearty-tasting (although light) and warming soup perfect as a cold weather comfort-food. We're fans of filled pasta in almost every form and this rich-tasting broth full of veggies (carrot, parsley root, fresh mushrooms etc) and herbs seems one of the best fitted frames for the tortellini. 
Serve it with some grated Parmesan on top if you'd like, but it's delicious enough without it too. 

Last year: Simple blackberry-almond breakfast treat and Italian orrecchiete with Parmesan cream, bell peppers and olives.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Breakfast braided bread with cheese and ham filling

I like making the dough for this awesomely delicious bread quite often (at least once a week), then get creative with it. The braided breakfast bread is the thing we most often do with it, but not the only one. As you'll see, it's a very versatile bread which can be made in various shapes and with various sweet or savory fillings and toppings (like our tapenade bread rolls or mini Nutela and walnut pies). 
In this version, the bread can be put in the oven when you wake up so you can enjoy it warm 30 minutes later. It's a fluffy-crunchy blast with the melted cheese and ham filling. For us, an ideal breakfast.
First adapted from here

Last year: Avocado halves stuffed with salted cheese and tomatoes and Mexican nachos with mixed dips (salsa, guacamole, aioli and cheese fondue).

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Vanillekipferln (Vanilla crescents) (Austrian)

Around here (Germany and Austria) whenever the holiday season approaches, people go crazy with the plaetzchen (little Christmas cookies) mania. These little biscuit-like vanilla-scented half-moons, originally made in Vienna, are among the most popular and common such sweet bite-sized cookies. 
Don't know how it is around where you might be from, but here and back home (in Romania), the Christmas spirit is already very active around the streets :). Our main gift (a baby girl) will arrive a few weeks later than Christmas though, but we're more enthusiastic as ever as the term approaches :D. 
Enjoy your plaetzchen with warm milk and wait for Santa! Be good! :)

P.S: We're also featuring this recipe in the Sweet Romania December challenge. Tis' the season!

Last year: Spicy turkey fillet in tomato-coriander sauce and Buttery penne with smoked salmon.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bulgur pilaf with garlic

This is very simple and almost not worth posting, but just in case someone wonders exactly how to make the go-to side-dishes that we use with the more complicated mains we present here, here's one :).
It tastes slightly crunchier than a normal rice pilaf, has more fibers and goes well with spicy and saucy or creamy mains. Ready in 20 minutes.
The last time we made this we had it along some delicious sweet and sour sticky wings :)

Last year: Lebkuchen (German gingerbread cookies) and Ragout with tarragon and white wine sauce (German)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Rustic pie (galette) with olives, wild mushrooms and red onion (vegan)

I wanted to make a pie that looked rustic enough (without using a pie shape), something that could easily be baked in a traditional oven, using a vegan dough and vegan filling ingredients. Something about humbleness and austerity and the old ways when treats were indeed only for holidays pushed me to it and I'm quite charmed by the result. As for Bogdan, he said it was the best thing we ever ate that didn't have meat in it. Coming from him, it's a lot :)
P.S: The dough is really ideal as a crunchy pizza base as well, so if you're into vegan stuff don't hesitate to try it.

Last year: Moldavian (and Romanian) "Tochitura" (with polenta).

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Classic Pavlova (New Zealand and Australia)

Today is Miriam's birthday! :) Have a slice of cake on us!

The Pavlova is the national dessert of New Zealand (also very popular in Australia) and it was first created and made in honor of the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova, after one of her tours (1926) in the two countries. Considering it's so easy to make, it's very popular and frequently home-served in both New Zealand and Australia.
The base of the cake is a crunchy-outside and soft-inside meringue, topped with vanilla whipped cream and fresh fruit. Very airy and poetic :). Like a fluffy fairy fruit cloud.

Last year: Light and colorful field salad and Drink of the Gods (Gottergetrank)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Farfalle with cheddar cream, green apple and red onion

This is a pasta dish we like to make when we're too lazy to cook anything else. The combination between the cheddar cream (a classic pasta topping), the red onion and the sour green apple pieces is something we've created together and we're quite proud of. It may sound a bit strange, but it goes together very, very well. Try it once and you'll want more :)
P.S: Laziness is also the reason the final pic is with the whole pot of pasta.. because we ate right from it :).

Last year: German mustard cream pork chops with Apple and leeks winter salad

Friday, December 9, 2011

Turkey fillet with chestnuts

This was a hearty-tasting (although light) main dish screaming of fall through every flavor hint it contained :). We had some chestnuts on our hands that needed to accompany something and pairing them with roast turkey and a nice delicious sauce seemed the best idea. Definitely re-doable and worth sharing with you guys, so here it is. Enjoy.

Last year: French onion soup with oregano, toast and emmentaler

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Quesadillas with cheddar, bacon and cherry tomatoes (Mexican)

If you ever had quesadillas in Mexican restaurants you know there's so simple but yet to die for. What could be yummier than a warm crispy tortilla glued together by melted cheese and, in this case, bacon? Serve it with a fresh topping (like tomatoes), fresh salad leaves and a good sauce (like garlic mayo or guacamole) and go straight to heaven. 
This type of snack is basically delicious anyway you make it, but to make sure it's an authentic quesadilla it must be made from a tortilla half-way flipped over and filled, not by two tortillas stacked on top of the other and with the filling sandwiched between them, because that would be a "sincronizada", considered a completely different kind of dish in Mexico. 
Back to the point: it's super easy to make (if you have wheat tortillas on hand, home-made or store-bought), ready in under 10 minutes, quite addictive and quite healthy. What are you waiting for :) ?

Last year: Cheese-stuffed mushrooms and cheese fusilli with herbs and aioli and Swedish-style salmon with vegetables and white sauce.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Classic chocolate cream pie (American) + 1 year blog anniversary!

Dear friends, on the 2nd of December (that is, yesterday) was our 1 year blogging anniversary. It's been a joyride and we're glad to have met all of you. We learned a lot about cooking and about food photography :P and we're confident things will just get better and better. Here's to you guys and have a slice of creamy chocolaty goodness :)

Now to get to the pie itself:
This is a very common dessert in American households, the type of pie you would expect every USA grandma to make on a weekly basis. The chocolate cream pie is back in the trends in the last few years and the revival has brought lots of posh-ed up versions of it, but here we made it in its most classic form, the one which a lot of people living there grew up with. 
It's supercreamy and delicious and not such a big deal to make as it would seem: basically a crumbled biscuit base topped with a generous layer of chocolate-flavored milk pudding. The slices are then served with some whipped cream and grated chocolate. Delicious. Enjoy :)

Last year: Complete-meal salad with basil and Simple-fried bananas with cinnamon and honey

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sticky sweet-and-sour chicken wings (American)

Mini chicken wings glazed with a sticky sweet and sour sauce. Full of marvelous flavors of balsamic vinegar, caramelized honey, lemon juice, lemongrass, garlic, thyme and sesame seed oil. Super easy to make (one dish, stove-top). You'll love them. 
We gave them an Asian extra by using sesame oil and a touch of lemongrass, which are not traditional in the American version, but by skipping those ingredients from the list you're left with the original version. :)
Not to mention that the similar ones you can get (almost) ready made are full of fats and artificial flavors and yucky stuff. And not even close to the home-made ones regarding yummyness. Really, make them as soon as possible and they'll become your go-to dinner. 
Inspired from Lavinia.  

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hummus (Middle Eastern)

The famous Middle-Eastern chickpea dip in its easiest-to-make and classic form. From this basic recipe you can go on whichever path you choose: add some chopped tomatoes, avocado, other spices, use it as a spread or as an ingredient in lots of other dishes like tortilla wraps and shawormas etc. 
We like it best spread inside a pita bread (as in served the way it's intended to be), but also as a dip for various raw or cooked veggies (like carrots, cucumbers, bell pepper wedges, potatoes etc).
We had it inside warm and perfectly puffed Lebanese pita breads :D.
 It's a healthy and yummy snack for whenever the munchies strike and it's ready in 10 minutes. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pita bread (perfectly puffed) tutorial (Middle-Eastern) (vegan)

Maybe I shouldn't say this in a tutorial, but this was our first try at pita bread. We were very anxious about it, as we know that there are people who try making it dozens of times before getting it right. They end up with delicious breads really, but delicious flat-breads. Definitely not pitas (which are meant to have an air pocket all inside them, to be filled with delicious stuff afterwards). 
Well, after researching all the do's and don't's out there, we gave it a shot and there perfectly puffed babies sprung out of the oven. And we'll show you exactly how to make it :)
Mostly adapted from here.  

Monday, November 21, 2011

Amaretto chocolate milk pudding (German)

This is super-fast and quite easy to make and surprisingly light for how flavorful it is. A staple German  home-made treat, spiced with a tablespoon or two of Amaretto (almond) liquor and decorated with almond flakes :) You'll love it. Enjoy.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Red lentil ragu with basil and ajvar

When I'm in the mood for a saucy and simple main, the easiest choice is to go for a ragu. Originally intended to be served over Italian pasta (the famous bolognese sauce is a typical ragu example), it can also be accompanied by anything else carbs-based - from baked potatoes to cous-cous or rice. Here, we chose to have with fresh, warm, crusty Irish soda bread with seeds :D. 
The other detail I wanted to tell you about before finally moving on to the recipe is the delicious Ajvar. I'm addicted to this Serbian goodie ever since I discovered a little East-European supermarket where I can find stuff to bring us closer to home in a spoonful. It's the closest we could find to our lovely Romanian zacusca which we took for granted so often back home :). Anyway - if you have a chance to try either Ajvar or zacusca (though we would naturally recommend the latter), do not hesitate. Just spread it over fresh bread and don't be surprised if you finish two jarfuls in one meal.
Returning to this ragu with red lentils, it's ready in about one hour, but without too much fuss - it's mainly because red lentils have a long boiling time. And the special Ajvar can be replaced with red pesto for its flavoring purposes, so don't walk away from the recipe if you can't get any. Enjoy. 

Irish soda bread (with mixed seeds)

The Irish soda bread is famous for its fast preparing time (given that it's made with soda instead of yeast, thus canceling the rising time) and the fact that is uses yogurt as the moisture required to make the dough. It's crunchy, very crusty and delicious. 
The use of various seeds was inspired from here. Also, I decided to make more portion-sized buns instead of a large round bread (which tradition called for). Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Winter tabbouleh with roasted eggplant and feta

If you want a classical version of tabbouleh, the way they make it in the Middle East, you should check out this post here. We love the parsley and mint based version, but this time felt like added the flavor of roasted eggplants and some overall heartier veggies to the bulgur salad. The result was divine, very warming (although served cold) and fulfilling but also light. 
It's best served on top of a pita bread / flat-bread / wheat tortilla etc. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

White chocolate and blueberry cupcakes

What's better then having to decide between fruity and chocolate-chip muffins? Muffins that have both, obviously. And what's even better? When said muffins get transmuted into cupcakes :). I personally love the combination between blueberries and white chocolate (and at a more abstract note, between white and violet), so this was perfect on many different levels. Enjoy.
Adapted from here.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fettuccine Alfredo (Italian)

The Fettuccine Alfredo is one of the two mother-recipes of Italian pasta cuisine, right next to the Carbonara pasta (you can see our take on those here). Not for the faint of heart regarding calories, the creamy Parmesan-butter sauce of this dish takes you straight to puddle-like heaven. Definitely one of the the simplest and tastiest noms out there.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Chicken liver parfait (with sage and red wine)

The sage is a not-very-often-used herb that happens to go wonderfully with the taste of liver. Also, this home-made pâté is actually a parfait given its soft consistency and the generous use of liquid cream and butter. The red wine used both in cooking the liver and in mixing the paste only enhances the flavor and gives it an addictive touch of a fermented and balsamic note. This parfait is best served with something sour, like pickles and a red balsamic glaze (in our case), or chutney if you have any on hand. The yellow-y parts in the picture are from the butter used to seal the pâté shut (given that it has no additives, it can get oxidized pretty fast, so it's best to seal it for consuming later). Enjoy :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Plăcintă cu dovleac (My mom's pumpkin pie, with puff pastry) (Romanian-Moldavian)

As long as I can remember, I was always mad about this pie, but my mom wouldn't make it very often because grating all that pumpkin was pretty exhausting (in the age before food processors and such). So she would make me a deal that if I wanted her to make it I could grate it myself (with the help of my friends who also wanted a piece or two as a reward :D ). Of course I agreed, but still, the pie did not happen as often as I wanted (even employing all that additional voluntary workforce was not that easy to organize). But in the last years, the use of high-tech kitchen gadgets have took all that away, mostly for the best, of course (except the nostalgia) :). 
Of course, that didn't mean we can't have a pumpkin-pie-making party nowadays as well. So, I'm quite giddy about the fact that for this particular cooking feat, I had the manpower of not just one, but two strong men (as you'll be able to observe down below from the pics). The extra hand came this time from our friend Madalin :).
Now, I proudly present to you my version of mom's pumpkin pie, which I can now have anytime I like (and the mood strikes quite a lot, as you'll see for yourselves after tasting this). Enjoy. :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Chickpea, avocado and pesto salad

We wanted to include more chickpeas into our diets and at the same time got tired of the same old classic variations, but then I came up with this salad. Actually it's pretty consistent for a salad, it's more like a main course, resembling Indian mains a little but served cold and without all the spices. It's more like herbal-fresh tasting because of the pesto, lemon and fresh melissa leaves. 
It could also work very well as a creamy side-dish so make what you want of it.
Bottom line: it was very good and it's going to be our go-to thing for lazy afternoons or detox phases from now on :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Baked Camembert with rum raisins (French)

We always enjoyed Camembert and white mold soft cheeses in general, but only recently discovered that this is the way true Camembert should be served. That's also why the fancier cheeses come in hard paper / wooden packages, so you can bake them directly in it (after you remove the plastic, of course). 
For those of you interested more on the subject, there's even a specialized Brie (or wheel-shaped moldy cheeses in general) baker which looks great here
Add some rum-soaked raisins directly in the hot melted core and you have a winner :)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Chocolate banana bread with white chocolate chips

We've made banana bread before (blondie version, with walnuts), but this time felt like chocolate. Because what could be better than banana bread? That's right, chocolate banana bread. Right on. And to make matters even more sinful, we've studded said decadent goody with white chocolate chips. And a touch of cinnamon and vanilla. Perfect for when you just can't decide what flavor you should choose and just want them all (in a combination which goes together wonderfully, I might add). Enjoy.
P.S: We've had some issues with our camera (a pic or two went missing, and what we managed to recover got rearranged quite funky, so bear with us). And have some cake while you're at it :)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Potato, cheese and mushroom gratin

This is basically a version of the famous French Dauphinoise potatoes enriched with some rosemary musrooms and Emmentaler cheese. It takes a while to cook but it's a feast once it's done. Perfect for a relaxed afternoon when you're in the mood for an impressive vegetarian main. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Polish buttermilk drink (Kwasne Mleko Ze Szczypiorkiem)

This is a rustic East-European way to enjoy a consistent yet refreshing snack during the day, provided you have real Buttermilk on hand (like we happened to have): serve it cold, seasoned with a little salt and pepper and fresh herbs. 
Thanks to the Polish Saveur staff for the tip :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Scottish cardamom griddle scones, with butter and honey

We all know scones as the traditional English cookies served with tea (especially Devonshire tea, or cream tea as it's called). But the original scone was actually Scottish, and it was fried (on a griddle - or, in our case, a heavy-bottomed pan) rather than baked, and it also had the shaped we reproduced here: a large flat round cut into triangle squares. Don't worry about the frying part: it's dry-frying, without any fat whatsoever.
Considering that this is the British-Scottish (as in non-American) version of the famous tea cookies, they're only slightly sweetened, being meant to be served with clotted cream and jam on top. Or, in this case, the match we found (inspired from here) was even better: butter spread on top while they're hot and honey. You won't believe how well it all goes together, but trust us, you'll never want to have them any other way. And considering how fast they are to make you'll want to make them all the time :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tagliatelle with Gorgonzola and spinach sauce

One of my major frustrations regarding the pregnancy-related culinary restrictions is the moldy cheeses. I could eat Brie everyday ever since I first discovered it, but must now restrain from anything like it because soft cheeses like that are made from non-pasteurized milk, which makes them not safe during pregnancy. 
You can imagine my joy when I discovered this recipe from the lovely girls from Kiss the Cook (which I love by the way) incorporating moldy cheese in a heat-exposed sauce transforming all those nasty raw milk bacteria into something not only edible (as is safe) but also delicious. 
My other source of major frustration is the ban on caviar and raw smoked salmon, but since there's no way around that one, let's NOT talk about it (murderous gaze). 
Back to happy sunny stuff: here's the awesome recipe. Incredibly easy to make too. And a lovely way to domesticate the blue mold taste if you find it too strong in some cheeses when eaten raw (like I do sometimes). Enjoy :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Simple strawberry, cream and rice crispies treat

Ok, this isn't really much of a recipe but a nice idea for decorative way to serve your fruits and cream :). Still, if you prepare them before hand, it looks cute and impressive to any friends you might have down for tea and the texture combination with the rice chocolate-coated crispies give the classical strawberry-and-cream an interesting twist. You only need some pretty glasses and a few minutes to layer all the goodies :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sweet potato and prosciutto starter

This starter was very easy to make and tasted very classy due to all the flavor contrast - the carrot and pumpkin like sweetness of the sweet potatoes with the fleshy smokiness of the ham and richness of mayonnaise with a strong citrus tang. It's really no big deal to make them but they look and taste very different than what you usually have as a starter. Enjoy :)
Recipe source here.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fritata with bell peppers and Tirolean sausages

A fritata is basically an omelet with lots of filling, somewhat thicker, that comes from the Italian kitchens. 
There's something similar in the Spanish cuisine, that also contains potato slices, and it's called a tortilla (not the same with the Mexican flatbread) - remember our herbal tortilla de patatas with parsley and fennel?

But enough theory - this is a simple and yummy lunch :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Spicy Guinness Mustard (Irish)

If you're a fan of dark stout beer (that also happens to be great for cooking) and of lovely Irish things in general, like us, you'll love this home-made mustard which you can use for lots and lots of happy cooking adventures to come (like our mustard soup or salad dressings and so on). It's full of wintery spices, the dark stout flavor and of course, freshly soaked and ground brown mustard seeds. Can be diluted 1:1 with yogurt for a milder taste, but its strength will mellow with time none-the-less. 
Recipe source: Saveur.  

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Signing back in

Dear friends,

In case you were wondering about our long absence, know that everything is fine and we haven't given up on this blog or our adventures in the kitchen :).

Even more good news (at least for us): we are expecting a baby into our family at the end of January. Everything is going great, but the first 3-4 months of pregnancy have made cooking a bit.. difficult (due to the nausea and other less-than-pleasant symptoms and culinary restrictions). Anyhow, that is now behind us and you can expect to see up post more delightful delights soon.

We'll keep in touch with you guys (and we'll keep up the cooking) :).

Bis bald,
Miriam and Bogdan.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Spicy shrimp and wild rice soup (Chinese)

This is one of our favorite soups. If you're not a seafood lover, this could be the ideal thing to start with to get more open to the seafood experience. Also a good start to get introduced to Chinese cuisine. It's not too spicy (depending on how much chili powder you feel like adding), and the watery part of it tastes like the ideal addition to the wild rice and the shrimps. Goes perfectly with a home-made bread. Enjoy :)
Recipe source here

Friday, June 3, 2011

Straciatella cream pie (Italian)

Straciatella is an Italian term meant to describe any white vanilla flavored cream full of dark chocolate bits every here and there, a term most of all applicable to a type of gelato (Italian icecream). But also more consistent (and not frozen) dessert creams bear the lovely name of Straciatella.
Here is an example of a pie filled with that delicious cream. Enjoy.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Stuffed baked avocados (with rice, cream and pine nuts) (Middle Eastern)

We've had stuffed avocados before in some restaurants and we've come up with our version which we particularly enjoyed. But this is the first time we've ever heard of baked stuffed avocados and were intrigued. Apparently it's a Middle Eastern recipe and after we've made it we weren't disappointed. You should try it at least once. Enjoy :)
Adapted mostly from here

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Green pasta with Jamón serrano, Parmesan, mozzarella and olives

The Jamón serrano is a special type of dry air cured ham that comes from the Spanish cuisine. We've talked about it before and what you need to remember is that it's a very lovely delicacy. Here we've had it in a bowl of green pasta with some mozzarella slices, fresh tarragon, olives and a generous layer of grated Parmesan. The combination was lovely. Enjoy :)

Danish pastries with strawberry and cream cheese filling

Who would mind getting up early to this glorious, sweet and creamy and crunchy breakfast? Not us :).And that's it, we'll keep this one short and just get to the recipe already :) 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Mushroom, pickled cucumber and cheese salad

The taste combinations in this salad are some of our faves. Fresh champignon mushrooms, fresh various salad leaves, pickled cucumbers rounds, grated Gouda cheese and two type of croutons, seasoned with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon-grass. To keep it short, it was one of the best salads that one can make in such a short time and with so common ingredients. Enjoy. 

Teriyaki salmon fillets (Japanese)

The Teriyaki sauce is one of the most popular products of the Japanese cuisine. It's especially good for marinating and glazing meats, and the combination with salmon seems to be a staple all around the globe. We decided to share this simple recipe with you, being sure you'll like it too. Serve this with the side of your choice :).

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Jamón serrano and shrimp tacos (Spanish - Mexican)

Jamón serrano is a very special type of dry cured raw ham (like the Italian Prosciutto crudo) made in Spain. Considered by many the epitome of pork, it is one of the most representative products of Spanish cuisine. And because Spanish and Mexican cuisine share roots and spices and lots of ingredients, we thought the ham would love nothing more than to adorn some tacos that would reunite the two cultures in one dish. The shrimps are also widely used in the Spanish cuisine, so they work just as well in these tacos. Enjoy.

The magic mushroom and almond soup (with lemon balm melissa) (vegan)

This is a soup we have been planning for a long time. The name "magic soup" belongs to the original blog post that inspired our adaptation of it, which you can read here. Perhaps we wouldn't call it quite magical, but the taste combination was definitely very interesting, especially in our version, twinked a bit with more mushrooms and fresh melissa (lemon balm). 
Enjoy it warm and don't puree it all the way - it's more interesting a bit chunky and with occasional almond crunches. :)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ginger ale muffins - cupcakes

Ok, first of all we should apologize for the photo. It wasn't supposed to be the final photo, but some technical issues left us with it, so bear with us on this one, please. 
The whole idea in these muffins (or cupcakes, if you choose to use the frosting) is that I haven't seen around any good recipe for ginger muffins made with ginger ale (a drink we both love). That needed to be changed... so here it is. :)

Pork salad (with olives, roasted peppers and Parmesan)

Yes, I know, when you hear of salads with meat in them it's usually a chicken or fish salad. Pork salad just sounds.. strange :). Well, we found that fact to be quite unfair to this type of meat, usually associated with heartier meals or with a bunch of medieval men slurping barrels of beer :D. So we decided to make pork salad, but with ingredients that would truly match its flavor and consistency, not by simply replacing the chicken from an ordinary salad with pork and calling it a pork salad.
And we believe our concept was quite fit to highlight the pork's qualities: lovely green olives with their salty and robust character, a bed of mixed salad leaves to lend everything freshness, an addition of roasted bell pepper salad to complement the meat with tangy and smoky touch, and a good sprinkle of Parmesan for its deep flavor. Trust us, if you're a pork lover who resented salads up until now or, on the contrary, if you're a salad lover looking for something new, you'll like this. Enjoy.

Salată de ardei copți (Romanian roasted pepper salad) (vegan)

This is one of our favorite things to eat from our local Romanian cuisine. The flavor that comes with roasted peppers and its delicate veggie smokiness is matched by few things in this world. Since we recently made this salad (for the first time I should add, since back home someone else would always make it) to use it as an ingredient for another salad, we decided to share this recipe, especially for our non-Romanian friends. 
The salad is supposed to be served as a side to a main course. There are more than one way to roast the bell peppers, but the easiest and least messy by far is using the oven, as we have done here. Also, keep in mind that red bell peppers yield the most flavorful and juicy pulp, so they should be the only color choice for this. Enjoy.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Simple spaghetti with olives, basil, pesto and yellow tomatoes

The combinations in this pasta dish are so simple and basic and good it's impossible not to be liked by everyone. Also, it comes with a little twist that enhances the taste: use red pesto instead of green (this way you can also add fresh basil for a flavor not already there), black olives instead of green and yellow tomatoes instead of red. You'll love it, and it's so fast it can be thrown together in no more than 10 minutes. 

Asparagus, sun-dried tomato, cheese and olive bread

We made this bread as a not-so-common thing to try with asparagus for May's Sweet Romania challenge, and also because we wanted to try a all-in-one meal bread that tasted like the Mediterranean kitchen. Not too complicated to make, this was yummy. Enjoy it with a bowl of clear soup, if you can. :)
Recipe adapted from here.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Spicy potato-cheese fritters

We all know the combination of potatoes and melty cheese is a nice one. Well, this relaxed and delicious dinner above took it one step further and made it a simple yet refined serving of spicy lemon-cheese potato fritters alongside fresh salad leaves and a tomato-teriyaki dipping sauce. Best served warm, this is a snack fun and easy to make. Enjoy.
Inspired from GF Romania

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