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Friday, March 30, 2012

Cous cous and pomegranate spicy salad (vegan)

This is a lovely tangy and spicy and fresh tasting cous cous salad. It's best if it accompanies a main course, but it's yummy enough to be served by itself too. As much as it is an explosion of colors and textures (as you can see), it is an explosion of tastes and flavors (inspired from the Middle East, as you'll probably notice). You should try it as soon as possible.
Recipe adapted from Radu

Last year: Chinese pork stir-fry, Basic carrot cake bars (American) and White fish in wine cream sauce

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mechouia salad (roast vegetables and tuna) (Tunisian)

This salad is supposed to be served cold, after at least 30 minutes of chilling in the fridge, in summertime. A very popular Tunisian treat, it tastes very flavorful from the roasted vegetable base and quite hearty from the addition of tuna and hard boiled eggs. Because of this hearty taste we like to have it in the winter as well. It takes some time to make considering oven-roasting all the veggies, but the result is impressive and delicious enough to be worth it.
It can also be served as a spread on toast, topped with the tuna and the egg. Enjoy.
Adapted from various sources on the internet, mostly here

Last year: Melanzane alla parmigiana (Italian eggplant, mozzarella and Parmesan casserole),  Pancetta and artichoke pizza and Mozarella, tomato and basil salad

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cheddar and leek muffins

A springy-feel, fresh and tasty snack to nibble on and also a nice idea if you wonder what else to do with leeks. I cooked these for my parents' and Bogdan's breakfast sometime between Christmas and New Year's Eve :). Enjoy them warm, with the ones that warm you :).
The idea is not my own, but I can't really point to the author because I've seen it in various sources all over the internet.

Last year: Asian white fish fillet with sesame noodles, My mom's chicken and spinach roulade, Green pasta and pesto souffle (gratin) and Zucchini and coconut muffins

Friday, March 23, 2012

Mini Nutella and walnut pies

We made these simple mini-pies in an attempt to recreate something a bit more homey and rustic in the kitchen, using good old yeast-based dough, allowing it to rise at its own pace and topping it with nutella cream and walnuts. The delicious topping gains, of course, a lovely roasted flavor during the baking time, while the dough becomes a fluffy, slightly sweet thick disc you can sink your teeth in. Needless to say, the mini-pies (which are perfectly stack-able after baking, the nutella won't smear) made the perfect thing to take away in our lunch boxes :)

Last year: Vegetarian chili tacos with avocado-salsa, Caribbean romance (cocktail), French chocolate mousse and Carrot bread (with walnuts)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Turkey pieces in emmentaler sauce

This was a very creamy and cheesy treat. Little bits of fried turkey slow cooked in a white wine, cream and emmentaler cheese creamy sauce, flavored with thyme and that comes together in a lovely consistency towards the end of the cooking process. Not too complicated to make, perfect for a relaxed afternoon. Pair it with toasty crunchy bread. 
Recipe adapted from here.

Last year: Green apple and peanut butter muffins, Brie, walnut and caraway salad, Orange caramel pastry windmills and Parmesan cream potatoes

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Garlic soup with chorizo and mustard (Czech)

We are great fans of garlic soup. If you haven't tasted any kind of garlic soup so far, you might think it's a yucky thing that will make your breath chase away all vampires :)). But a good garlic soup has a very subtle flavor, is great in the changing of seasons (treats light colds and such) and is so delicious and addictive you'll want one more bowl as often as you can get it. Try it when you see it on the menu at a restaurant you trust and you'll see for yourself.
There are many kinds of garlic soup - the creamy types, the very creamy types:)), the roasted types etc. But what we'll show you today is a soup made precisely identical to a soup we fell in love with while visiting Prague. It's the clear broth type, with visible slices of garlic, with a je ne sais quoi given by the grainy home-made mustard and a slight smokiness from the very thin and very fried slices of chorizo-type sausages :). Very rustic and warming. Below are some pictures from the nice historical tavern where the soup was at its best (though we sampled it in other Prague restaurants as well):

...As we've said, rustic and homey :). There was a guy inside singing folk songs at his accordion that looked exactly like the soldier figure painted outside (the legendary Svejk). We thought that was cute:). Make the soup and enjoy it as soon as you can :)

Last year: Romanian Pricomigdale (walnut biscuits)Salata z Boczkiem (Polish Wilted Lettuce Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette), Smoked salmon and cucumber starters and Sahne liquor cocktail (Cream cocktail)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fondant potatoes (French)

These are the best potatoes you can make, honestly. They're slowly cooked in white wine infused with bay leaves and a little garlic until the wine reduces completely and glazes them, then very fast shallow-fried in a little butter and served hot with a generous sprinkle of your best salt (like Himalayan crystals or fleur du sel). 
You must, must, really must try them today and chances are you won't ever prepare potatoes in a different way. And given how easy they are to make and how light to enjoy, why should you :) ?
Recipe adapted from the Romanian issue of BBC's Good Food, December 2011.

Last year: Smoked salmon salad with egg, rucola and avocado, Orange bread with chocolate swirl filling (Romanian cozonac) and Wild and red rice with bell pepper and almonds

Monday, March 12, 2012

Simple coconut brownies

Strong coconut flavor..check. Strong brownie flavor...check. Gooey melted center with crispy edges...check. Gets better as the days pass...check. Caloric bomb...check. Sinfully delicious...check. Perfect! :)
Recipe adapted from the Romanian issue of BBC's Good Food, November 2011.

Last year: Pasta with spicy mascarpone sauce, mushrooms and artichokes, Italian sunset (cocktail), Amaretto (almond) liquor cupcakes and Chicken and avocado salad

Friday, March 9, 2012

Sweet potato, wild mushroom and guacamole wraps

Another idea on what to do with some good tortillas and guacamole :). Sweet potato spicy wedges, oven baked, paired with wild mushrooms and crunchy salad are going to make your day (and your school or office snack).

Last year: Goat cheese salad with paprika dressing, Easy Chicken Tacos with guacamole (Mexican), Amaretto Colada and Easy home-made Raclette (French-Swiss)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Three cheese pasta with bell peppers and cranberries

The dried cranberries add a little sweetness and je-ne-sais-quois to this classic three cheese pasta dish, while the bell peppers are a delicious savory addition to almost any kind of pasta. We think you'll like this combination. The casserole is also easy to assemble ahead of time and just be put into the oven when you want to serve it. 
We're big fans of using multiple kinds of cheeses in a dish for the flavor depth we can achieve this way. For another delicious example, try out our Three cheese pasta with rucola, hazelnuts and sesame seeds

Last year: Blue Skies cocktail, Fastest home-made crackers (Romanian saratele), Oeufs Cocotte (French oven-baked eggs) and Orange jam and liquor Linzer torte

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mini oven-baked chicken skewers with satay sauce (Indonesian)

This is a super-fast and easy to make starter (or whole meal) you can just pop in the oven when you plan on serving it. Just marinate the skewers for a couple of hours in the fridge and then mix the sauce in a couple of minutes while you bake the meat. Easy as pie :). And delicious.
The satay sauce is a traditional Indonesian (and generally South-Asian) dip for marinated, skewered and grilled meat. It consists of coconut milk and peanut butter mixed in equal parts and seasoned with a bit of lemon, ginger, salt, pepper and various other spices, depending on the region. It may sound a bit weird, but it's truly delicious. Enjoy.

Last year: Peanut butter hot chocolate milk, Chicken with peanut butter sauce and Pigs in a blanket (British)

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