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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ginger, apple and lime smoothie (raw vegan)

This is a simple but classic combination of tastes for a delicious smoothie. The ginger gives it a tang and makes it ideal to revitalize and to prevent colds or food-fatigues as well. :)
Enjoy your cup of sunshine!

Last year: Oven-baked salmon with herb crust and caramelized carrots
Two years ago: Pina colada cupcakes (muffins) and Brussels sprouts side with lemon, garlic, nutmeg and chives.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Brownies with mixed seeds and vanilla

I had a fantasy of creating some brownies studded with seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, pine nuts etc), but also strongly flavored with vanilla. And I don't just mean the regular teaspoon of vanilla extract, I mean full-on vanilla pods ground into the batter. Yes, that strong :)
And things couldn't have been better. Here it is :)
The basic recipe I improvised with is the same I use for the mascarpone marbled brownies or other variations, only with a bit less flour for extra moisture, considering the dryness of the seeds. Enjoy!

Last year: Cinnamon and brown sugar palmiers.
Two years ago: Diet cupcakes (muffins) with cranberries, spices and dark chocolate and Risotto with caramelized onions, artichokes and bacon.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Simple broccoli, artichoke and bechamel souffle

I love vegetable souffles covered in the delicious white sauce that made me fall in love with the French cuisine. I believe the bechamel could make anything underneath it delicious no matter how unappealing it would initially be - which is not the case here, as both the broccoli and the artichokes are lovely.

But what is truly spectacular about the sauce here - and makes me very proud to have concocted it - is the addition of a generous helping of Pickled mustard seeds (which we always have around) that transform it in a crunchy and flavorful masterpiece. The pickled mustard is so easy to make that you should always have a jar around to add to almost anything. You're going to love it even if, like me, you don't really like the classic mustard paste! :)

Last year: Pickled lemons (Moroccan preserved lemons).
Two years ago: Black olive dip (Tapenade) and Concentrated orange juice caramel.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bulgogi (Korean fried beef) with cellophane noodles

Bulgogi is a very flavorful and popular Korean dish made of beef strips marinated and cooked in a lovely sauce made of soy, ginger, garlic, onion, sesame oil, sugar and vinegar. It tastes divine and it's very easy to make, which probably explains the popularity.
It's usually served on a bed of simple white rice or cellophane noodles. Here we had it with the latter. 
Enjoy :)
This recipe is on its way to the Sweet Romania challenge of this month, hosted by Pasiune si Culoare

Last year: Home-made raclette bowls with wild mushrooms, lemon and capers
Two years ago: Spaghetti and tuna balls and Orange and poppy seed muffins.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Halloumi and chickpea salad with mint and oranges

We like halloumi. It's like the poshed-up version of feta. In this salad we've had it fried rather than grilled, paired with mint, parsley, fresh orange segments and hearty chickpeas. It was delicious and fresh but still managed to make us feel full like a regular meal.
Recipe source: Good Food

Last year: Bell pepper sticks with refried bean dip.
Two years ago: Tikka masala chicken cous cous and Czech poppy seed cakes (kolache).

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pears with rosemary sugar dust (raw vegan)

I had the idea of marinating pear segments in orange juice and dusting them with rosemary-infused sugar. The result was spectacularly simple and delicious but also fancy enough for a party. Enjoy :)

Last year: Beefsteaks in apple juice.
Two years ago: Broccoli and pancetta orrecchiette, Noodle salad with black sesame and Chocolate and stout cupcakes

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Poulet Vallée d'Auge (French) (Chicken, apple and Calvados cream stew)

First of all, we must warn you this lovely creamy-smoky French dish comes with a hint of danger. Those who crave it must pay the price and play with fire ;). 
That being said, the chicken breasts are cooked and flamed in a lovely Calvados (apple brandy) and apple sauce that gives the dish its specific taste. Try it (but not alone, it's best if at least two people handle this), have fun and enjoy! :)
Recipe source: here

Last year: Sprinkle butter cookies (Italian).
Two years ago: Chinese fried rice, Broccoli and ham torte and Cardamom Lassi (Indian).

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Crispy cheese and guacamole tortillas

Crispy tortillas filled with melted cheese and smothered with cooling guacamole. Oven baked for a few minutes to crisp it up and melt the cheesy-interior. Topped with fresh cherry tomatoes and fresh coriander.
This Mexican-style snack is ready in about twenty minutes and it's a nice but light comfort food ideal for busy and tired week-nights. Enjoy :).
Recipe slightly adapted from here

Last year: Sprinkle butter cookies (Italian).
Two years ago: Tirolese spinach and cheese dumplings, Spinach and cheese crostini and The perfect fluffy fried bananas.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Deep fried Brie with tamarillo relish

The perfect indulgence for all you Brie fans out there (like us, of course) :). And since cheeses like Brie and Camembert often go so well with tangy berry-like jam, me made our own tamarillo relish to accompany it. It was delicious, needless to say. So when you happen to find fresh tamarillos in one of your fruit markets, don't hesitate. You know what to do with it. :)
Recipe source: here

Last year: Sprinkle butter cookies (Italian).
Two years ago: Potato puree with caramelized shallots and Parmesan, Pork in spice crust and Banana bread with nuts (American).

Friday, February 8, 2013

Ti ki Burfi (Sesame seed Burfi) (Indian)

I expected this kind of burfi (Indian candy-like cake bars that come in many variations) to be similar with those ready-to-buy sesame and honey bars conveniently found everywhere. And so wrong I was. Softer and chewy in texture, the strong milky taste is so far from what you would normally expect and so much better; that you could not believe your mouth. :)  I was so pleasantly surprised by these that they became one of the things I often repeat. 

I even made some a evening before going to the airport and arriving in Romania and packed them up and made sure they survived the transport so we could give a few to our friends Vlad and Laura for the brief 15 minutes we had with them at the airport, before departing again. We didn't have much time because we had to get home with our baby girl Mira and we still had 4-5 hours of travel ahead and the day was already very straining for her, but those two really wanted to see us and most of all wanted to meet her. :) A week later they also became her godparents. 
So while we were taking a bit of air and waited to meet them, they arrived with the traditional salt and bread platter - it was very unexpected, funny and cheesy but also kind of cool. That's the kind of relationship we have :). Our return of gift on the spot was these sesame seed burfi bars, made a night before and carried all across Europe :). Somehow, I find this dessert very fitting for a baby celebration, since we made them with some of Mira's powder milk :).
To cut a long story short - Mira, this is how you met your godfather and godmother. They were charmed by "how white and delicate your hands are" and "how big and blue your eyes are", how much you resemble me and how heart-melting you cling to me and need me and grow restless when I'm not in sight and suddenly calm down when you feel me close. In short, Mira, you made quite an impression and you were a little wonder, as you always are. Today is your first anniversary. Happy birthday! :)

For you other folks, the moral of the story is that these bars will make for the most heart-felt home-made gift and be delicious. :)

P.S: You need a good non-stick pan and a rubber spatula and continuous attention for about 20 minutes or so. Recipe source: here.

Last year: Sprinkle butter cookies (Italian).
Two years ago: Pickled mustard and Marliesentorte (German chocolate and hazelnut cake).

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Smoked salmon pizza (Italian)

Since this is one of our favorite pizzas when we order or eat out, we like making it at home as well. It comes under many names: from Pizza Afumicatto (in Italian) to Pizza Fumé (in French). But it's always the same deal: a pizza with smoked salmon, mozzarella cheese and some fresh rucola on top. Of course, variations exist, but sometimes classic is best. Enjoy! :)

Last year: Sprinkle butter cookies (Italian).
Two years ago: Bacon-wrapped baby corn, Spicy chocolate truffles and Pissaladieres (French caramelized onion tarts)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Tortellini and vegetable souffle

This is a bit more complicated to make than some of our other pasta souffles, but it's certainly the most delicious we ever had. 
Filled with lovely veggies, olives and mushrooms, cubed smoked bacon, a parsley-based sauce and flavorful herbs, the tortellini pieces have never been more at home. Try it when you crave comfort food or want to impress people. :)

Last year: Sprinkle butter cookies (Italian).
Two years ago: Chicken with cream and mushrooms, Singapore noodles with chicken and Mexican-style scrambled eggs

Friday, February 1, 2013

Chili and lemon fried shrimps

First of all, apologies for the blurred picture (taken, I think, with a cell-phone in some unusual circumstances) :). 
This simple way to prepare shrimps in a parsley, lemon, garlic and chili sauce is to die for. This is our go-to when it comes to cooking shrimps fast and when we need a base to improvise with when creating a dish using seafood. Enjoy :)
Recipe adapted from here.

Last year: Sprinkle butter cookies (Italian).
Two years ago: Turkish white rice pudding (with rosewater and almonds), Florentine pie (with spinach and egg) and Bramboraki (Czech potato pancakes)

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