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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Chicken in red wine and grape sauce (Italian)

When I saw this recipe for chicken cooked in a lovely red wine and red grapes sauce, with Italian seasonings like basil and pesto (also red, to match the rest of the sauce) I thought it to be quite special and worth trying. And I wasn't wrong. :)
Recipe a bit adapted from: Radu.

Last year: Bagula (Fava, garlic and dill salad) (Egyptian) (vegan).
Two years ago: Carrot, ginger and orange soup (vegan).
Three years ago: Banana-hazelnut-honey smoothie (vegan).
Four years ago: Sticky sweet and sour chicken wings.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Radishes sauteed in butter (French)

The combination of pink radishes and butter is a French classic, usually served raw on baguette bread (an awesome sandwich you should try asap if you haven't already). But another way to prepare radishes with butter in order to highlight the best in both flavors is to cook them gently until the radishes become slightly softened. Usually, the French cooks also add bits of radish greens to the pan to further enhance the flavor of the saute. 
It's quick to make, as delicious as a meal can get, and one of my go-to's whenever radishes abound. For the best taste experience, serve this with a few slices of country-style multi-grain bread, crunchy and ready to absorb all the peppery butter drippings. 
Recipe source: Epicurious

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

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Schweinsoerchen (Pig's ears) (German)

A very popular kind of German cookies called literally "little pig ears". :) While the rest of the world simply calls similar cookies "palmiers" or palm-tree cookies. I actually made something very similar once, using a brown sugar and cinnamon filling. 
But this here is the true German version, so I'm sticking with tradition to bring you these little crunchy morsels. They're munched on especially in winter (and around the holidays). And they couldn't be any easier to make, really. Enjoy! :)

Last year: Gröstl (Austrian potato, bacon and onion hash).
Two years ago: Karbonāde (Pork Cutlets With Chanterelle Cream Sauce) (Latvian).
Three years ago: Butternut squash soup with chili and cream.
Four years ago: Middle Eastern pita bread (tutorial) (vegan).

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Paprika pasta with Camembert sauce

For this recipe, mini paprikas are ideal because of their intense flavor. But if you can't find any, regular red or orange paprika works just as well. The pasta is soaked in a creamy Camembert cheese sauce, flavored with a bit of Hungarian paprika and caraway. In the end, the fried garlicky paprikas are mixed into the whole thing. The resulting combination is pasta bliss. Enjoy :)

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

Friday, November 20, 2015

German Potato Salad

The well-known potato salad, so present in its different versions in all the world's kitchens, here in the good old German tradition. With onions and bacon and a little white balsamic vinegar for a tang.
Recipe adapted from Saveur (they kept the onion raw for more of a kick, but I wanted to stick to the letter of the traditional version). :)

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

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Spicy sausage, olives and mozzarella pizza

An easy and relaxed dinner with a new version of pizza - the ultimate comfort food for movie nights and lazy days. :) The sweetness and creaminess of melted mozzarella provide a counterbalance to the spiciness and saltiness of sausages and olives perfectly. 
Goes wonderfully on thin and crispy pizza crusts (like mine here).

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

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Green Palmyra (cocktail)

Another variation on the mint-lime classic combination (just like Green Tree, Mojito and so on). Only that this time it uses vodka as its alcohol base. It's not one of those light cocktail (I'll admit it's quite a "heavy" one), but it's also still sweet enough to indulge more lady-like tastes. Anyway, like with all alcohol-based drinks (and sorry for being such a party-pooper), moderation is key :).

Source: another Friday cocktail pick from Saveur

Last year: Loubieh Wa Hommus Bi-Ziet (Green beans with chickpeas in olive oil) (Lebanese) (vegan).
Two years ago: Crisp rosemary flatbread (vegan).
Three years ago: Pork steaks with sage sauce and caramelized apples.
Four years ago: Winter tabbouleh with roasted eggplant and feta.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Uova all'Origano (Eggs with oregano) (Italian)

Next time you feel like making yourself a fast fix of fried eggs, try giving them this Italian twist instead. The flavor of oregano, a generous drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of Parmesan make them so much better. Without extra fuss. 
Recipe source: Epi.

Last year: Yogurt flatbreads with caraway (gluten-free).
Two years ago: Smoked trout quiche Provencal (French).
Three years ago: Cream of wild mushroom soup (American).
Four years ago: White chocolate and blueberry cupcakes.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

White bean and pancetta soup

I made this creamy white bean soup on a cold evening and it was ready pretty fast and very warming, which was exactly what I was aiming for, considering how low temperatures tend to drive me back to my burrow like a marsupial mouseling :). 
The soup is flavored with thyme and shallots and generously sprinkled with bread and pancetta croutons. It will be lovely whenever you try it. Enjoy.

Recipe adapted from here.

Last year: Kaeng khiao wan (Green curry with chicken) (Thai).
Two years ago: Pignoli (pine nut cookies) (Italian).
Three years ago: Arancini carbonara (Fried risotto balls in carbonara style) (Italian).
Four years ago: Chicken liver parfait with sage and red wine.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Fresh fig tart with rosemary cornmeal crust and lemon mascarpone cream

A rosemary-flavored crust with an addition of corn maze for a touch of crunch. On top, a filling of creamy sweetened mascarpone with lemon zest. And on top of that, freshly sliced figs, brushed only with a little red currant jam or jelly to make them shine. 
The combination of flavors is a classic - I've featured it before in some delicious mini baked tarts with agave, but there's nothing baked about the figs in this one. :)
Nothing could be simpler and it's the ideal dessert if you want to make something that has a heart enough base but really highlights raw figs and lets their flavor shine.

It's quite easy and fast to make, for a tart (only the crust needs to be baked). I really hope you try it - it's great to share with guests as well :). Enjoy.
Recipe adapted from here.

Last year: Masala chai (Indian spiced tea).
Two years ago: Red lentil and sausage stew (British).
Three years ago: Savory hazelnut bread (vegan).
Four years ago: Fettuccine Alfredo (Italian).

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Salată de gulii (My mom's kohlrabi salad) (Romanian) (raw vegan)

One of my mom's salads. I always loved its freshness and enjoyed it with almost anything (except desserts.. :P) It goes wonderfully with any kind of steak, fried chicken or vegetarian mains like pilafs, potatoes and so on. 
We mostly had it around in winter, but also in the spring and whenever the kohlrabies were fresh in season, for a little detox routine. 
It's ridiculously simple, with only three ingredients (one of them being salt...) but I wouldn't change anything about it. If you taste it, enjoy this little bit of our culture! :)
P.S: Sorry for the quality of the pictures on this one. But trust me, it reflects nothing of the salad's yumminess.

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

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Mediterranean light pasta casserole

This is an easy-to-make and pretty light baked pasta casserole. To be honest, I prefer my tortellini souffle (it was truly addictive), but this is less complicated to make and vegetarian also, so I get why many people would prefer it.
I used some green pasta, fresh broccoli, mushrooms, tomatoes, and flavorful herbs. The result was really nice. I think pasta dishes (whether baked or just mixed up) are the most satisfying of all in relation to the very little time they require (as in tastiness achieved at the end per minute invested). :)
Enjoy your green and fresh and lazy dish! :)

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

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Asparagus roast with almond flakes and bacon vinaigrette

I generally prefer green asparagus to white because of its stronger herbal flavor. I prefer it in bread, in risottos, and in almost anything (except when white asparagus it being specifically called for in an ethnic recipe). Of course, we've had our fair share of working with the white variety also, which I'll admit has the advantage of tasting more buttery when cooked properly.
Anyway, the main point is that I generally prefer the strong herbal flavor of the green variety of asparagus. It just tastes as green as it looks. And when you roast it up in the oven and you serve it with almonds flakes and a smoky-balsamic bacon vinaigrette it's just wonderful :)

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

Friday, October 30, 2015

Hong am Rèisleck (Chicken in Riesling) (Luxembourg)

I've mentioned before how charmed I am by Luxembourg and its medieval multicultural heritage and history. This is another example of a dish that highlights that mixed heritage of French and German influences.
Chicken pieces are slowly cooked in white wine (Riesling) and finished with a rich mushroom sauce. I think it's needless to say how delicious this was. And another plus: as scrumptious and complicated as it looks, it's actually pretty easy and fast to make :).
Recipe source: here.

Last year: Hawaiian pizza (Canadian).
Two years ago: Barmbrack (Irish cake loaf for Halloween).
Three years ago: Zucchini cream soup (vegan).
Four years ago: Chocolate banana bread with white chocolate chips.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Bors cu fasole (Moldavian white bean soup) (vegan)

This is a traditional Moldavian recipe and something my mom sometimes makes on lent days. It's delicious and hearty enough (because of the beans) to keep you full all day even though vegan. 
This was made by her (and in her kitchen), I only took notes and made the pictures. 
Enjoy :).

Last year: Pasta Frola de Dulce de Membrillo (Quince Tart with Lattice Top) (Argentinian).
Two years ago: Creamy white bean dip / spread.
Three years ago: Broccoli, chicken and cheese casserole.
Four years ago: Potato, cheese and mushroom gratin.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Pumpkin cheesecake with gingerbread crust and candied kumquats

Besides the regular pumpkin pie and the occasional cheesecake with various stuff, we like to make pumpkin cheesecakes. :D. Because nothing beats the combination between creamy and flavorful. With a gingerbread crust to put you in the winter mood. And to top it off and maintain the color tone, freshly candied kumquats. Lovely, lovely, lovely. :)

Not too complicated to make. It just takes a little patience waiting for things to bake. Enjoy :).

Last year: El Submarino (Argentinian hot chocolate).
Two years ago: Wild rice risotto with peas and basil pesto.
Three years ago: Belgian brownies.
Four years ago: Polish buttermilk drink (Kwasne Mleko Ze Szczypiorkiem).

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Prosciutto crudo pizza (Italian)

One of the nicest specialties of Italian delis. The prosciutto crudo (raw ham) has a specific taste you either love or hate, but it's definitely one of the most culturally significant icons of the Italian cuisine (sort of the counterpart of the Spanish jamon serrano). Prosciutto crudo pizza, consequently, is to be found in almost every better-than-average pizza place. This is how to make it at home. Enjoy :)

Last year: Saumon et poireaux en papillote (Salmon and leeks en papillote) (French).
Two years ago: Hoddeok (Korean pancakes) (vegan version).
Three years ago: Grilled cheese (halloumi) and veggies on bulgur (Greek).
Four years ago: Scottish cardamom griddle scones with butter and honey.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Spaghetti aglia e olio del Re (Italian)

I've previously shared the joys of no-time AOP spaghetti. This is another consecrated version of them, called "del Re" (which means "of the king") because it also features anchovies. Personally, I've tried cooking more than just this pasta recipe using anchovy fillets from the jar, and I just love it. You don't have to use a lot to give strong salty flavor 2 or 3 per serving is quite enough, and they melt just as soon as you put them in the hot pan, infusing the whole dish with yumminess. 
Imagine that, combined with the other flavors the aglia e olio already has: garlic and chili. All sizzled in extra virgin olive oil. I'm getting hungry as we speak.
Recipe source: here.

Last year: Mini poppy seed croissants (savory).
Two years ago: Glazed duck with orange sauce and vegetables (French-style).
Three years ago: North Croatian deer goulash.
Four years ago: Scottish cardamom griddle scones with butter and honey

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Brussels sprouts with lemon, garlic and chili sauce (vegan)

A healthy and light way to eat more of these often neglected greens. Spicy and flavored with garlic and lemon, the tiny "rose cabbages", as the Germans call them shine through and provide their nutritional benefits in a delicious manner. Try this dish and learn to enjoy their flavor so you can perhaps add more Brussels sprouts in your diet(s) :).

Last year: Kataif / Kadayf (Turkish-Greek).
Two years ago: Pumpkin and sage soup.
Three years ago: Potato, sun-dried tomatoes and herbs creamy salad.
Four years ago: Scottish cardamom griddle scones with butter and honey

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Gashouse Eggs (Sunshine Toast) (American)

This classic recipe of sunshine toast (a piece of toasted bread with a sunny-side-up egg) was first developed by the Gashouse restaurant, presumably. Other names for this dish are eggs in a pocket, one-eyed jack or baby in the hole. :).
The bread round which is cut out of the main slice is toasted as well, and it's perfect for dunking it in the runny egg yolk and for scooping out the delicious liquids. It's also a breakfast idea very popular with the kids. :). Enjoy!
Recipe source: Saveur

Last year: Duck liver, orange and parsley crostini.
Two years ago: Fig and blue cheese tart in walnut crust.
Three years ago: Duck eggs with broccoli and prosciutto.
Four years ago: Scottish cardamom griddle scones with butter and honey.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Kumquat cardamom tea bread

If you take a bowl of kumquats, puree them and add them to a cardamom-infused cake batter, add a handful of chopped walnuts while you're at it, and when it comes out glaze the whole thing with more kumquat puree, then this lovely cake ensues. And it's the most flavorful and tangy and bright and happy citrus loaf cake you've ever had! Just sayin'. But because I'm such a nice person, I'm sharing the recipe right here with everyone. (Well, to be fair, it wasn't really mine to begin with).
Recipe source: Epicurious.

Last year: Pico de gallo (Mexican) (raw vegan).
Two years ago: Cocoa and chili biscotti (Aztec-style biscuits).
Three years ago: Cajeta cake squares (Molten caramel cake).
Four years ago: Scottish cardamom griddle scones, with butter and honey.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Grapefruit guacamole (raw vegan)

I fancied the idea of a grapefruit-flavored guacamole recipe ever since I first saw it here. And I'm not sorry I tried it. :) Enjoy it with your favorite dipping sticks / veggies / tortilla chips and so on.

Last year: Arroz Verde (Green cilantro rice) (Mexican).
Two years ago: Aztec hot chocolate.
Three years ago: Rosemary, Gruyere cheese and potato bread.
Four years ago: Tagliatelle with Gorgonzola and spinach sauce.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Pommes de Terre Byron (Byron Potatoes) (French)

These classic French potatoes (also known as a "golden pancake") are all the melted cheese comfort food goodness you may crave on a cold and tired evening. They're really easy to throw together and they will be gone before you know it. Moreover, I'm willing to bet the dish will be a crowd-pleaser and even the pickiest of children will enjoy it (as the upgraded version of a baked potato with cheese topping). Whenever you crave comfort food but don't really feel like putting in a lot of effort to make something time-consuming, just put some potatoes to boil on the stove top or bake them in the oven and the rest will be easy as (eating) pie. :)
Recipe sources: here and here.

Last year: Hummus, scallion and kalamata pita pockets (vegan).
Two years ago: Hasselback potatoes (Swedish).
Three years ago: Salată de varză (Romanian white cabbage salad) (raw vegan).
Four years ago: Simple strawberry, cream and rice crispies treat.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Orrecchiete with artichokes, chanterelles and spinach pesto

A slightly more complicated than average pasta dish, but so worthy in every aspect. The foamy orecchiette are paired with marinated artichoke hearts, chanterelle mushrooms, chili flakes, and some garlic, everything slightly cooked in olive oil. To make it perfect, everything is next mixed with delicate tasting, freshly made spinach, and cashew pesto.
Enjoy. :)

Last year: Black Russian (cocktail).
Two years ago: Cheddar and oat scones (British).
Three years ago: Mexican rice with vegetables (vegan).
Four years ago: Sweet potato and prosciutto starters.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Pizza-ghetti (Canadian)

This is a nice way of enjoying both pizza and spaghetti (with tomato sauce), both culinary/comfort food staples, in the same plate. Nice of the Canadians to come up with it, huh? :) I particularly love how corny the name sounds. It's adorable. :)

Last year: Pumpkin pie with crunchy spice star biscuits.
Two years ago: American pumpkin pie (from scratch).
Three years ago: Lemon pepper grilled chicken.
Four years ago: Frittata with bell pepper and Tirolean sausages.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Mont Blanc cookies (French-Italian)

A classic dessert both the Italian and French tradition share. It can be shaped as individual cookies (like we did here) or a large single cake. The composition is pretty easy: pillow-like fluffy meringue, topped with chestnut puree and a dollop of snowy white whipped cream on top. And voila. :)
Delicious and very much like Mont Blanc (with its high snow-covered snow peaks) that goes well into both Italy and France :)

Last year: Kastaniencremesuppe (Chestnut cream soup) (German).
Two years ago: Autumn chestnut and beetroot salad. (October seems to set me in a mood for chestnuts).
Three years ago: Fig, rosemary and mascarpone tartlets.
Four years ago: Spicy Guinness mustard (Irish).

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Chicken Jalfrezi (Indian-Chinese)

This Chicken Jalfrezi dish may sound Indian if you only look at the name and the way it's prepared, but it is disputed between the Chinese and Indian cuisines, being, in fact, a fusion of both of them. 
It's very well-known around the world, apparently being the most popular dish in British Indian restaurants, and its heat is cooled down by a generous helping of cream or yogurt and fresh herbs (usually coriander).
We had it with gram flour chapatis (chickpea flour flat-breads). It's best if you can serve this with an ethnic bread as well, but it's delicious without it too.
Recipe source: mainly BBC

Last year: Beef and bamboo shot soup (Filipino).
Two years ago: Crispy chili beef with broccoli (stir-fry)
Three years ago: Green tree (cocktail).
Four years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Friday, September 25, 2015

Gram (chickpea) chapatis (Indian flatbreads) (vegan)

A chapati is a flat round bread from the Indian cuisine traditionally used to accompany all meals. Usually, chapatis are made with whole-wheat flour (as opposed to a roti which is very similar but made with all-purpose flour). But the gram chapati (made with chickpea flour) is another variation of these delicious flat-breads which tastes even more "whole" and authentic. 
We had them with a main of Chicken Jalfreezi, but feel free to eat them with any kind of spread (even a humble butter-and-salt) or curries. Enjoy :)

Last year: Shopska salad (Bulgarian).
Two years ago: Mushroom and baby corn soba noodles (vegan).
Three years ago: Truffle potato mash and Salată asortată (Romanian assorted salad) (raw vegan).
Four years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Smoked salmon and scallion omelet

A quick and easy lunch with delicious bits of smoked salmon and scallions, folded in half to keep the savory filling inside. Enjoy :) 

Last year: Bob chorba (Bulgarian bean soup) (vegan).
Two years ago: Caviar on mashed potatoes (Russian).
Three years ago: File Marajoara (Steak with melted cheese) (Brazilian).
Four years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Monday, September 21, 2015

Quatro Formaggio pizza (Italian)

I'm getting hungry just by looking at it while I write this post. I mean, who doesn't crave cheesy pizza? Probably only the people who just had one. :)
The Quatro Formaggio pizza (literally "four cheeses" pizza) is one of the classic types of Lasio (Rome)-style pizza. According to tradition, it must contain a layer of tomato sauce, followed by a generous sprinkle of mozzarella, stracchino, fontina and gorgonzola. Sometimes ricotta can be swapped for on of the latter three. If you ever see a Quattro Formaggio pizza in a restaurant menu that contains Parmesan as one of the four kinds of cheese, don't buy it. It's not the real deal. ;)
(My personal recommendation is that if you replace a cheese with ricotta, don't replace the gorgonzola. It's saltiness gives an un-replaceable thing to the pizza. I replaced the stracchino with Brie cheese, since I couldn't find stracchino and I'm mad about Brie, but that makes my pizza a bit less authentic too, I guess. Nevertheless, I guarantee that it was divinely lovely. Do try it.)

Last year: Polenta, apple and dried fruit country cake (Italian-style).
Two years ago: Alivenci (Polenta cream cake bars) (Moldavian and Romanian).
Three years ago: Mascarpone marbled brownies.
Four years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Coconut and raspberry muffins (vegan)

These lovely muffins are made exclusively with vegan ingredients, they're a tad crunchy from all the coconut in the crust and filled with a soft and runny pool of raspberry jam that drips from the inside when you eat them. They taste clean and bright, and the flavor combination of coconut and raspberry is a classic.
The ingredient list isn't fancy like in other vegan baked sweets out there (full of egg replacements or other chemical stuff) and they're quite easy to make. I made these during the pre-Easter lent period and they were lovely. Enjoy :)
Recipe adapted from here.

Last year: Dulceață de gutui (Romanian quince jam) (vegan).
Two years ago: Chicken and pomegranate molasses stew (Middle Eastern-style).
Three years ago:Penne alla vodka (Italian-American).
Four years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Kartoffelpuffer (German potato pancakes)

Each people from around Europe and beyond seems to have their own version of potato pancakes. This is the German way: very thin, browned to crispiness, salty and onion-flavored, served next to a generous dollop of slightly sweet applesauce. I, for one, am a great fan of these. :)
Recipe source: Saveur

Last year: Gnocchi al pesto (Italian).
Two years ago: Pizza Margherita (Italian).
Three years ago: Pickled carrots in salt brine with honey and mustard (vegan).
Four years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Shrimp cocktail in avocado cups

Shrimp cocktail with a little extra touch (the classic cocktail sauce that's supposed to dress the shrimps is made with Greek yogurt instead of mayo and heated with a touch of harissa or any spicy sauce you have around) and a beautiful twist: served directly from avocado cups instead of plain glasses lined with lettuce leaves :)
I personally think anything served from avocados is droolingly good (see the Mediterranean stuffed avocados or the Middle Eastern baked stuffed avocados), so, naturally, I thought this was a very good idea. And the recipients and recipe testers who got to try it were also quite convinced it was a good idea. From the first bite :).

Last year: Cypriot tomato salad (Greek).
Two years ago: Coconut corn salad.
Three years ago: Goat cheese rounds in prosciutto.
Four years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Yuanyang (Hong Kong-style Coffee with Sweetened Milk Tea) (Chinese)

This is what happens when you mix black tea with coffee. And condensed milk. And sugar. And it's strong and sweet and great. :)
Recipe source: and Saveur.

Last year: Saganaki (Greek fried cheese).
Two years ago: Goat cheese, lemon scallions and walnut tart.
Three years ago: Banana American pancakes with agave syrup and almonds.
Four years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Fried mini mozzarella (bocconcini) (Italian)

Breaded mini mozzarella balls (also called bocconcini) deep fried until crispy on the outside and melted and gooey on the inside. A lovely snack or starter to be served hot while the cheese inside is still runny. Perfect to please a crowd of visitors or as comfort food just for yourself. Enjoy :)
Recipe source: here

Last year: Flourless apple brownie with walnuts.
Two years ago: Muffins using only wholemeal flour (with raisins and chocolate).
Three years ago: Mimosa (cocktail).
Four years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Monday, September 7, 2015

Nutella swirl yogurt biscuits

I love making biscuits with yogurt, whether they're sweet or salty. The texture obtained by making their dough with yogurt is crumbly and tender and crunchy at the same time and after a while of experimenting you learn to distinguish it from all other biscuits :). It's kind of unforgettable. Not to mention very easy to make, the perfect thing to scoop up when you have a free afternoon on a rainy day or too much left-over yogurt on a morning when you can't figure out what to have for breakfast :).
And what better addition to keeping their easy, comfort food, go-to feel than some generous tablespoons of Nutella swirled through the biscuit mass? The result was purely scone heaven. I mean, who doesn't love Nutella on biscuits? What could be better than that, especially next to a cup of tea? Oh, I know: Nutella in biscuits. :)
Recipe heavily adapted from Two peas and their pod.

Last year: Goat cheese and poppy seed dip.
Two years ago: Spicy bean and avocado tostadas (Mexican) (vegan).
Three years ago: Breakfast croissants with Gouda cheese crust.
Four years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Sauce Gribiche (French mayo dip)

A classic French sauce meant to accompany French fries in a flavorful way. It's very simple and fast to make, as you only need to whizz the ingredients in a blender and then dip away :)
Recipe source: Saveur.

Last year: Home-made pita chips (vegan).
Two years ago: Pesto and caper focaccia (Italian) (vegan).
Three years ago: Tomato gratin provencal with garlic butter baguette.
Four years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Fagioli e tonno (Tuna and white bean salad) (Italian)

A super-easy recipe that is intended to be both an appetizer (antipasto) or main course, depending on how hungry you are. If you make it with precooked (canned) beans, then there's no reason you shouldn't complete this in 10-15 minutes, making it an ideal weeknight dinner. It's also in the healthy AND delicious department, so it's really a guilt-free meal. 
Recipe source: Saveur
P.S: Saveur also has a version enriched with red onion, which you should consider trying sometime, I only chose the classic this time because of my quest for sampling world cuisine as much as possible. 

Last year: Kahluaccino
Two years ago: Pindi chana (Spicy chickpea curry) (Indian) (vegan).
Three years ago: Sancocho (Chicken and root soup) (Puerto Rican).
Four years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Spaghetti con acciughe e pangrattato (Spaghetti with anchovies and breadcrumbs) (Italian)

I was really happy to discover this recipe and it became one of my faves and part of my routine rotations. I always have a jar of anchovies in the fridge and some breadcrumbs in the cupboard so... it's an easy hit whenever hunger strikes. Enjoy.
Recipe source: Ana.

Last year: Rogan Josh (Indian & Iranian beef / lamb stew).
Two years ago: Orecchiette with onion and sage sauce.
Three years ago: Flammkuchen (Tarte flambée) (Alsacian).
Four years ago: Baby making and no cooking. :)

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Plăcintă cu brânză dulce (Romanian/Moldavian sweet cheese pie)

This is my mom's recipe for a classic sweet cheese pie, peasant-style, very often made in Romania and Moldova (both the Romanian side of Moldova and the other side). The dough is a softer version of crumbly shortcrust, made with yogurt, and the filling is fluffy with whipped egg whites to give it a foamier texture. 

The whole thing is baked until golden and delicious. It lasts wonderfully for a few days. Sometimes, raisins are added to the filling, but my mom skipped those. Enjoy.

Last year: Mangu with onions and salami (Dominican Republic).
Two years ago: Carrot, raisin and olive oil cake bars with eggnog and almond icing.
Three years ago: Minty crème brûlée.
Four years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Friday, August 28, 2015

Brie, mushroom, chicken and cream pizza

A pizza to go nuts about if you're a fan of Brie on anything (especially pizza, as I proved to be) or the creamy cheese-chicken combination on pizza. :) 
With some added bell pepper strips and corn from the can for extra crunch and texture. Go easy on the veggie additions, the pizza is supposed to taste mainly like chicken and creamy melted cheese and Brie. Enjoy. :)

Last year: Classic blondies with white chocolate chunks (American).
Two years ago: King Bao Ji Ding (Kung Pao Chicken) (Chinese).
Three years ago: Spaghetti nests with dill cream and caviar.
Four years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Roasted balsamic brussels sprouts (vegan)

Kind of plain for a main dish, but glorious for a side-dish, these little sprouts are baked with peppers and flavored with a balsamic vinaigrette just enough to make them tangier. A good dieting or detoxing idea.
We had them with a delicious saucy turkey main dish and they brought a touch of welcome freshness to the meal. :)
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten, via La Phemme Foodie.

Last year: Black bean chili tostadas with avocado salsa (Mexican) (vegan).
Two years ago: Mojito (cocktail) (Cuban) (vegan).
Three years ago: Tomato-basil creamy soup with caprese toast.
Four years ago: baby making and no cooking. :)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Lemony courgette and spinach salad (vegan)

A fresh and bright and green and zingy salad with lightly fried courgettes, lemon juice and zest, fresh baby spinach leaves, a touch of olive oil and plenty of freshly grated pepper. It was a quick and light meal and I loved it. :)
Recipe source a bit adapted from here.

Last year: Sopa de Habas (Mexican Fava Bean Soup) (vegan).
Two years ago: Spaghetti with broccoli cream pesto.
Three years ago: Spanish tomato bread with jamon serrano.
Four years ago: Baby making and no cooking. :)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Atol de Elote (Sweet corn and milk drink)

This is the Mayan version of a warm milk drink, and though the combination with corn may sound weird, it's surprisingly good. 

It's a hugely popular drink everywhere where the Mayan legacy is still strong, but especially in Brazil, Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador.

I think it's very interesting to find hot sweet drinks that are cocoa-free, and I was willing to try this out just for this detail, but it was actually so yummy to make it worth it even beyond the whole "exploring world cuisine" value.
This drink is great to enjoy in the same context as any hot cocoa you normally have: at a social gathering, in chilly evenings and so on. Enjoy.
Recipe source: Saveur and 196flavors.

Last year: Cherry tomato and spinach bread.
Two years ago: Tiny German pancakes with strawberry filling.
Three years ago: Strawberry, banana and flax seed muffins.
Four years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Calabacitas con Elote (Zucchini with Corn) (Mexican)

This is a typical Mexican side dish / main course, of corn kernels and zucchini (or courgette) bits fried together with onion and garlic, mixed with buttermilk and topped with freshly grated cheese. It's delicious and quite fast to throw together. Enjoy it as soon as you can, it's comfort food at its best.
Recipe source: Hispanic Kitchen

Last year: Spicy artichoke and cheese pasta souffle.
Two years ago: Avocado and green leaf salad (vegan).
Three years ago: Mushroom and broccoli filled omelet
Four years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Chocolate chip blondies

Chewy blondies with a crisp texture on the outside and fudgy one on the inside. Studded with walnuts and dark chocolate chips. Made with brown sugar (and plenty of it) which caramelizes during baking creating something truly wonderful. These are slightly sweeter than the average brownie, so pairing them with tea is ideal. I made them for a little house party and they were a warm hit :). Enjoy.
Recipe adapted from Barefeet-in-the-kitchen. (I used dark chocolate chips and more of them).

Last year: Peanut butter, cauliflower and pea curry.
Two years ago: White bread croutons (vegan).
Three years ago: Chicken with light gorgonzola and mushroom sauce.
Four years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Sunomono (Japanese cucumber salad) (raw vegan)

Meant as a side to main courses, this simple cucumber salad is dead-easy to make but at the same time not like any other cucumber salad that the Western taste is accustomed to. The sesame oil, sesame seeds and Japanese seasonings really make a difference. Whenever you're cooking Japanese food, do try to include this on the menu as well. It will only take a bit but it will complete everything harmoniously. :)
Recipe source: here.

Last year: East 62nd Street lemon cake (American).
Two years ago: Ciorbă de gulii (Romanian kohlrabi soup) (vegan).
Three years ago:  Smoked salmon carpaccio with sun-dried tomatoes (raw) (Swedish "Najad Lax").
Four years ago: Baby making and no cooking. :)

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