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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Bagula (Fava, garlic and dill salad) (Egyptian) (vegan)

The simplest and most delicious thing you could ever do with fava beans. In Egypt, it's popular both as a side to main courses or as a snack / street food, on its own. 
Recipe source: Saveur.

Last year: Carrot, ginger and orange soup (vegan).
Two years ago: Banana-hazelnut-honey smoothie (vegan).
Three years ago: Sticky sweet and sour chicken wings.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Toad in the hole (British)

The Toad in the hole is a typical British dish consisting of sausages baked in a Yorkshire pudding batter. The recipe's source and etymology is disputed (it may have been called "Frog in the hole" at some point, and it's still not clear if the name has anything to do with the image of a frog sticking out from a mud hole), but it's origins are definitely pretty old, considering that there's a recipe for it since 1861. :)

I'm really not a fan of sausages myself, but when you cook for men... meh, you compromise. :)
Recipe source: here

Last year: Kolrābju Salāti (Kohrabi and apple winter salad) (Latvian).
Two years ago: Broccoli and coconut stir-fry (vegan).
Three years ago: Hummus (Middle Eastern).

Monday, November 24, 2014

Gröstl (Austrian potato, bacon and onion hash)

The Austrian version of potato hash, it's something of a rustic dish and it's what you would expect to be served at a traditional restaurant up in the mountains next to a sky resort. :)
Made with potatoes, bacon and onions and served with fresh parsley, it's delicious and divine, especially when you crave comfort food. 
Recipe source: here.

Last year: Karbonāde (Pork Cutlets With Chanterelle Cream Sauce) (Latvian).
Two years ago: Butternut squash soup with chili and cream.
Three years ago: Middle Eastern pita bread (tutorial) (vegan).

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Valeriana salad (Field salad) with almonds and kumquats (raw vegan)

Valeriana salad (sometimes also called field salad) is an old favorite of mine. It tastes "clean", which means it tastes like a basic fresh green, without any specific flavor - like, for example, rucola tends to have - but that doesn't make it plain; it just makes it a nice canvas for showing off other flavors. It also has some nice health perks, but don't overindulge in it at one time, since it can get you sleepy as a side effect.
For this salad, I've played with some nice Asian-inspired flavors: the central stage was reserved for the kumquats, but they were also accompanied by sesame oil, fresh ginger, almonds, red onion, rice vinegar and cilantro. I loved it. Give it a try. :)
Recipe adapted from here.

Last year: Kartupeli ar Dillēm (Boiled Potatoes With Dill Cream) (Latvian).
Two years ago: Khoresht-e-Fesenjan (Iranian chicken, walnut and pomegranate molasses stew).
Three years ago: Amaretto chocolate milk pudding (German).

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Namoura (Lebanese semolina and coconut cake with rosewater syrup)

This Lebanese cake squares have a special texture, given sometimes by the coconut flakes, sometimes by semolina flour, sometimes by a combination of both (as in the version I made here). It's topped with almonds and soaked at the end in a very sweet rosewater or orange blossom infused syrup. That final touch gives is its trademark Middle Eastern taste and feel - not only through the flowery flavor, but also because a lot of desserts in the area are really sweet and soaked in syrup (think baklava or katayf). All in all, I really loved this cake and I think it's very approachable: it can work both as a everyday cake (fancied up a bit, I admit) or as a special occasion cake. Enjoy.
Recipe sources: many, notably here and here.

Last year: Nashi pears in wine syrup with walnuts and walnut cream.
Two years ago: Artichoke and cous cous stuffed mushrooms (vegan).
Three years ago: Red lentil ragu with basil and ajvar.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Batata harra (Lebanese spicy potatoes) (vegan)

The Lebanese seem to have a place in their cuisine for many delicious vegetarian mains and sides, and one of them is Batata harra, a fiery dish of cubed potatoes, red peppers, cumin, coriander, chili and garlic, all fried together in olive oil. 
It's unbelievably delicious and hearty for a vegan dish (but also reasonably light), it tastes different and more flavorful than most well-known potato dishes you might be accustomed to, and it's ready in a pinch. Enjoy.

Last year: Spicy chorizo and chickpea soup (Spanish).
Two years ago: Chocolate chip cookies with salted butter (American).
Three years ago: Irish soda bread (buns) with mixed seeds.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Loubieh Wa Hommus Bi-Ziet (Green beans with chickpeas in olive oil) (Lebanese) (vegan)

This was really, really, good. Fresh green beans are cooked with chickpeas, tomato sauce, cumin seeds, onion and garlic and lots of delicious olive oil. It's surprisingly easy to make and just as surprisingly comforting considering "comfort food" isn't what people usually associate with vegan dishes. I would include it in my top ten recipes I actually make it at least twice a week when the beans are in season. Do try, especially if making a meat-based main course of Lebanese or Middle Eastern origin. The beans could be a great side to it.
Recipe source: Saveur.

Last year: Crisp rosemary flatbread (vegan).
Two years ago: Pork steaks with sage sauce and caramelized apples.
Three years ago: Winter tabbouleh with roasted eggplant and feta.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Yogurt flat-breads with caraway (gluten free)

A quick recipe for delicious and crisp flat-breads that uses wholemeal rice flour for its healthy and delicate properties and lots of un-ground caraway for flavor crunches. It's not at all complicated to make and the resulting breads go wonderfully with almost any kind of soup. Enjoy :)
Recipe adapted from: here.

Last year: Smoked trout quiche Provencal (French).
Two years ago: Cream of wild mushroom soup (American).
Three years ago: White chocolate and blueberry cupcakes.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Masala chai (Indian spiced tea)

Spicy black tea with a bit of milk and sugar, all in the masala style. The spices used are fresh ginger, cardamom, peppercorns and cinnamon. A cup of this will warm up and beautify the coldest days. And you know the saying (and if you don't it's about time you did, 'cause it's one of my favorite sayings), "Where there's tea, there's hope". :)
One recipe source (though incomplete, as one person pointed out in the comments) is Saveur; so here is an alternate.

Last year: Red lentil and sausage stew (British).
Two years ago: Savory hazelnut bread (vegan).
Three years ago: Fettuccine Alfredo (Italian).

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Kaeng khiao wan (Green curry with chicken) (Thai)

One of the best dishes you could possibly try from Thai cuisine and from Asian cuisine in general. It's also the most easy to find in most take-aways and the easiest to cook with the aid of prepared jars of green curry sauce, which you can now find in most supermarkets. But the good news is that this curry is actually so easy to make from scratch (and so much better), that once you try the method described below, you won't go back to the jar ever again. Ok, only if you're in a hurry. And the recipe is good for the pre-made sauce too. Just do it :).
Recipe source(s): here and here

Last year: Pignoli (pine nut cookies) (Italian).
Two years ago: Arancini carbonara (Fried risotto balls in carbonara style) (Italian).
Three years ago: Chicken liver parfait with sage and red wine.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Tiramisu pralines (Italian-style)

A praline made in the tiramisu fashion. It's like a softer truffle made of tiramisu (ground savoiardi biscuits, coffee, amaretto, mascarpone and cocoa). Need I say more? :)
Recipe source: here

Last year: Salată orientală (Romanian potato salad).
Two years ago: Risotto carbonara (Italian).
Three years ago: Plăcintă cu dovleac (My mom's pumpkin pie, with puff pastry) (Romanian-Moldavian).

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Saltimbocca alla romana (Italian)

The saltimbocca (which means, literally, jump-in-the-mouth) is a traditional Italian dish which has spread to the neighboring regions as well, and although it's called "alla Romana" (Roman-style), it most probably originated in Brescia. 
It consists of thin beef steaks (minute steaks), wrapped in prosciutto and fresh sage and cooked in wine and butter. It's simply and utterly delicious and not as heavy as it might sound (or as other beef dishes tend to be).
Recipe source: Maya

Last year: Fondi di carciofi (Bacon-wrapped artichokes) (Italian).
Two years ago: Coconut, carrot and brown sugar cake slices.
Three years ago: Chickpea, avocado and pesto salad.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sărățele (Romanian cheese straws)

This is my mom's recipe for Sărățele. I already featured a simplified version of them before, but it's nothing compared to the authentic one here. 
The straws are made from a butter and egg dough rich in grated cheese, cut into strips and brushed with beaten egg. Some minutes later in the oven they transform into golden crunchy salty and flavorful snacks that remain tender and crisp for 4-5 days, so making larger batches is perfectly fine. My mom always makes them for holidays (like Easter and Christmas) and our little toddler Mira seems to be crazy for them too (and she's a very shy and picky eater when it comes to most other foods but these).

Last year: Kashmiri chai (Indian cardamom tea).
Two years ago: Zucchini, bean and cheese quesadillas
Three years ago: Baked Camembert with rum raisins (French). 

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