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Green Peas and Kale Soup

Soups are sort of boring…but very nutritious.

I like them anyway.

The question is always the same: what would you  have them with? Well, I would say something crunchy like bread and something uplifting to watch. I like having soups with ‘It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’. The gang running an Irish pub called Puddy’s Pub in Philadelphia always cheers me up. They are a manipulative, dishonest, egotistic bunch, just like everyone around you is trying to be but not always succeeding. Because being selfish, lazy and ignorant is one thing but manipulative, unethical and good at it is something else. Watching the gang’s shenanigans and questionable behaviour gives me comfort. I feel almost like they are my family, and honestly, I would love to be a part of their gang, because they are really entertaining. I would rather be surrounded by a lively, openly dishonest and selfish group than people fancying themselves as a gentle and delicate flower and then stabbing you with the most insensitive comment.

sunny

Peas and Kale Soup:

green peas and kale soup

green peas and kale soup

2 potatoes

2 leeks

1 carrot

4 cups peas (you can use frozen)

200 g kale

3 tbsp olive oil

1 l water

1 l vegetable stock

salt

pepper

chopped parsley

rocket

1.  Wash and cut into 2 cm pieces leeks. Heat olive oil in a pot. Add leeks. On a low heat sweat them until soft.

2. Add cubed potatoes and carrots. Fry on a low heat for 5-10 minutes. Add stock and water.

3. Simmer till vegetables start getting soft. Add peas and kale. Simmer until all the vegetables are soft. Add salt and pepper.

4. Carefully liquidize your soup in a blender (or using hand blender). If your soup is too thick, add more liquid. Add parsley. When serving, add a handful of rocket onto your plate before pouring your soup. Enjoy! And be a Dayman.

green peas and kale soup

 green peas and kale soup

DSC06537

Dayman (ah-ah-ah)
Fighter of the Nightman (ah-ah-ah)
Champion of the Sun (ah-ah-ah)
You’re a Master of Karate
And Friendship
For Everyone!

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Rocket, goat cheese and fig salad

For a week the weather has been really amazing. Autumn is my favorite part of the year anyway, but the beginning of the season is incredible. It is still warm, the leaves on the trees just started turning yellow and red, and you can detect that autumny smell in the air – decay and crispy, foggy morning smell. For some unknown reason to me, it makes me feel really optimistic and whole. It makes me want to dine outside in fading warmth of the sun. It also makes me think of my favorite French director – Eric Rohmer. Especially two of his films – A Tale of Autumn and The Green Ray. One reason is because there are so many beautiful scenes of people dining outside but also because of the atmosphere of his films.

Rohmer’s films make me feel really nostalgic. I became obsessed with his work as a teenager. Many years later I was introduced to one of my (now) best friends and first conversation we had was a heated argument about Rohmer. He changed his mind after a few years and started admiring my favorite director. At some point when A Tale of Autumn was released he bought two tickets and said to me: ‘ You, me, dark cinema and Rohmer…what can be better’. That cinema doesn’t exist anymore in my university town, but I remember every single film I watched there…

The Green Ray is my favorite because I feel close to the main character who’s a vegetarian (most of the time) and a bit bonkers. The way she cries randomly and unexpectedly makes her even more amusing but honest.

What I also love about Rohmer is his philosophical references. His characters discuss Pascal or Rousseau, girl from A Tale of Springtime makes a point that people constantly confuse meaning of transcendent with transcendental, something that anyone who studied philosophy finds quite amusing. And no one in film history, maybe apart from Woody Allen, could make an interesting film about people ‘walking and talking’. He had an ear for the way people talk but also knew how to make an interesting, intelligent film. Maybe because he wasn’t treating his audience like idiots, he had faith in them.

So, what would one like to serve while having a little Rohmer session? Well, it has to be something light but elegant, like his films.

Goat cheese and fig salad

rocket, goat cheese and figs salad

rocket, goat cheese and figs salad

200-300 grams rocket, washed

4-5 figs

200 grams soft goat cheese

shavings of vegetarian parmesan

walnuts or pecans

For the dressing:

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

2tbsp lemon juice

4 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

1. Cut figs in half, spread them on a baking tray, bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

2. In a dry pan or in the oven toast walnuts or pecans (whichever you prefer).

3. Put the rocket in a bowl. Make your dressing by combining all ingredients, pour onto the rocket, mix. Put figs on top, crumble goat cheese, sprinkle your choice of nuts and shavings of parmesan. Serve it with red wine and Eric Rohmer’s film.

rohmer autumn tale

raccontodautunno3

rayon01

rayonvertfilm1

Christmas party – menu

I said recipes were coming soon, but who truly can define ‘soon’.

In other words I was just being lazy, doing what you should over Christmas – do nothing, eat, drink, and be merry…

But here it comes, christmas party menu:

Beetroot soup with mushroom parcels

For the beetroot soup you need:

2-3 beetroots (fresh)

1 carrot

1 parsnip

1 onion

3 pints of water

salt

pepper

dried marjoram

oregano

lemon juice from 1 lemon

1 spoon of olive oil

 

1. Boil water in a pan. Add olive oil.

2. Peel all the vegetables , cut them into big chunks (onion in half) and add to boiling water.

3. Add salt and pepper.

4. After few minutes add lemon juice. Boil for 15-20 minutes, taste and add more seasoning or lemon juice if you need to.

5. You can take all the vegetables out of your pot (we need clear beetroot soup) and add herbs and a dash of an olive oil.

I’m not going to lie, you can make yourself mushroom parcels (like tortellinis with porchini mushrooms). My sister does. But I bought them frozen from a Polish shop (one can only do a few things at a time).

mushroom parcels

mushroom parcels

 

beetroot soup with mushroom parcels

beetroot soup with mushroom parcels

Next thing on the menu were Beet and Goat Cheese Terrine with Rocket and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

beetroot and goat cheese terrine

beetroot and goat cheese terrine

 

beetroot and goat cheese terrine

beetroot and goat cheese terrine

You can find the recipe in ‘Fresh’ by Anna Olson

I served it with Rocket and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad, Ina Garten aka Barefoot Contessa’s recipe:

You can find it in her book ‘Back to Basics’

or on the Food Network website here.

For the main we had Spanakopita (Spinach and Feta in Filo Pastry). I tried different variations of  this Greek dish but my favourite recipe which I used over and over again is Jamie Oliver’s from his ’30 Minute Meals’  book

There were two deserts. One of them was mince pies in filo pastry, dead easy. You need to cut filo pastry into squares, brush with melted butter and arrange in a muffin tin. If you feel artistic and have time arrange them with corners making a star. Fill them with vegetarian good mince meat, zest of lemon and fresh cranberries, bake till golden and sprinkle with icing sugar and maybe little sugar snowflakes…?

mince pies in filo pastry

mince pies in filo pastry

And there were also Gingerbread Cupcakes.

Christmas gingerbread cupcakes

Christmas gingerbread cupcakes

Christmas gingerbread cupcakes

Christmas gingerbread cupcakes

And the recipe you can also find on the Food Network website here.

 

Halloween party – menu

When people talk about organizing a perfect dinner party or making decorations etc,  there is always one person being mentioned…Martha Stewart. But to me the perfect party queen is Ina Garten also known as Barefoot Contessa.

If I could choose my dream party I wanted to be invited to, it would be Ina Garten’s party. I mean, hello! There’s no competition.

For the Halloween party this year I took my inspiration for the menu from Barefoot Contessa’s books.

Halloween Party menu:

Starter:

bruschetta with peppers and gorgonzola

spiganarda with roasted vegetables

Main:

pumpkin risotto

desert:

chocolate cupcakes with orange icing

drinks:

red wine

coffee martini

 

Let’s talk about starters.

Bruschetta with peppers and gorgonzolla

I found this recipe in Ina Garten’s book ‘Back to Basics’.

You will need:

baguette (or any bread you fancy)

yellow, green and red pepper

2 tablespoons of drained capers

gorgonzola

salt

pepper

olive oil

fresh basil

1.Slice baguette or your choice of bread. You can brush your slices with olive oil and toast in the ovcn but I found them too dry, so to make them crusty on the outside and soft inside it’s better to toast them on the grill pan (really hot).

2. Preheat the oven (180 C)

3. Cut peppers into thin strips. Arrange them on the baking tray, sprinkle salt and pepper on top, bake them in the oven till they are soft and lightly brown on the edges. Ina Garten sautes them and adds sugar but I think when you roast them in the oven, you don’t need to add sugar because they are slightly carmelized anyway.

4. Add capers into the peppers. Chop basil and add to peppers. Set aside.

5. Arrange slices of bruschetta on baking tray lined with foil. Top each one with spoonful of pepper mixture. Crumble gorgonzola on top. Bake in the oven for  few minutes, serve warm.

bruschetta with peppers and gorgonzola

bruschetta with peppers and gorgonzola

Spiganarda with rosted vegetables

This one comes from Barefoot Contessa’s Parties book. Original recipe was with orzo pasta but my Italian shop run out of orzo so I decided to replace it with spiganarda. I also added olives instead of spring onions because I don’t like spring onions and I love olives.

1 aubergine

1 red, yellow and green pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced or crushed

250 grams of spiganarda pasta

salt

pepper

olive oil

lemon juice

olives

1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts

feta cheese diced

fresh basil chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 200 C. Dice aubergine and peppers, toss them with garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper on a large baking tray. Roast in the oven till they start turning brown, turning with the spatula a few times.

2.In the meantime cook pasta. Drain and transfer into a large bowl.

3. Add vegetables, pine nuts, basil, feta cheese and olives into the pasta. For the dressing mix lemon juice from one lemon with olive oil, salt and pepper, pour over the pasta.

Now, main dish. I’ve made it before for the halloween, but this time I changed my recipe a bit.

spiganarda with roasted vegetables

spiganarda with roasted vegetables

spiganarda with roasted vegetables

 

Pumpkin risotto

arborio rice

pumpkin or butternut squash

saffron

salt

pepper

1/2 bottle of white wine (pinot grigio)

2 pints of vegetable stock

lemon zest from one lemon

olive oil

knob of butter

cup of grated parmesan

chopped shallots

minced garlic

1. Preheat oven to 180 C. Cut your pumpkin or butternut squash into cubes. Spread on the baking tray, sprinkle with olive oil and salt and pepper and roast till they’re soft and start to get golden brown.

2. Warm 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan (the best to use is an ironcast one), add knob of butter. After the butter melts add shallots and fry them until they are soft and translusent. Add garlic and fry for two minutes. Then add arborio rice (1/2 cup for each person). Mix and let it fry for a while till coated with olive oil and warm.

3. Add a ladle of vegetable stock at the time. Cook on low heat (not too low, if it’s too low the rice grains will stay hard, if the heat is too high it will turn into mash) till rice absorbs the liquid. Keep adding stock and wine (wine needs to be room temperature, stock can be hot, you don’t want to stop the cooking process by adding cold stock).

4. Add few strings of saffron, salt and pepper.

5. Add roasted cubed pumpkin and zest of lemon. At the end add grated parmesan. Serve immediately.

pumpkin risotto

pumpkin risotto

pumpkin risotto

Halloween chocolate cupcakes with orange icing

The main inspiration for the batter came from…you guessed, Ina Garten again. This time from the book ‘Barefoot Contessa, How Easy Is That?’.

I changed few ingredients and the icing to make it more suitable for Halloween.

So here it is:

2 1/2 cups flour

1/4 cup cocoa

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon baking soda

1 cup buttermilk

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

120 grams of usalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

pinch of salt

2 eggs, at room temperature

milk chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 180 C. Line muffin tins with paper liners.

2. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and pinch of salt.

3. In a seperate bowl combine buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla.

4. Beat the butter with sugar on a low speed for a minute, till fluffy and light. Add one egg at a time and beat until combined. Start adding dry ingredients and wet ingredients in 3 parts, mix on low speed till combined.

5. Add chocolate chips.

6. Scoop the butter into muffin cups, bake for 25- 30 minutes till a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely.

For the icing you will need:

120 grams of room temperature butter

120 grams of cream cheese (you can just use cream cheese if you prefer)

1/2 cup icing sugar

1 tablespoon orange extract

orange colouring (I couldn’t find it in any shops, so I mixed red and yellow)

1. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and combine it well. Pipe it onto your cupcakes.

Couldn’t be easier!

halloween cupcakes

halloween cupcakes

halloween cupcakes

halloween cupcakes

halloween chocolate cupcake with orange icing

halloween chocolate cupcake with orange icing

And finally…

Coffee martini

1 part of strong coffee

1 part of tia maria

1 part of blood orange vodka

1. Mix with ice in a coctail shaker and serve in martini glasses

coffee martini

coffee martini

coffee martini

coffee martini

tomato and mozzarella soup

Posted on
tomato soup

tomato soup

 

I’m addicted to watching food channels. It’s like my equivalent of a porn channel. I can’t wait till I get home so I can watch it, I get overexcited when I watch it, sometimes I get all dreamy and distracted. It’s not like I watch everything, I’m not that addicted, I have my favourites. The only problem is when you watch it, you get hungry and you have to quickly make something nice and full of flavour to eat. Soups are coming to the rescue!

 Tomato and mozzarella soup

 Ingredients:

2-3 cups of chopped tomatoes (or 2 tins of chopped tomatoes if you are making your soup during a commercial break)

2 diced carrots

1 diced parsnip

1 small chopped leek

pinch of sugar

coarse salt

freshly ground pepper

2 spoons of olive oil

knob of butter

fresh basil (handful)

mozzarella

1. Put carrots, parsnip, leek and tomatoes in a pot, add a pinch of sugar. Cover, simmer on a low heat.

2. When carrots are tender, using blender or food processor purée everything. Bring back to boil, add olive oil, season with salt and pepper, add knob of butter.

3. Take of the heat, add chopped basil.

4. Chop or tear mozzarella. Transfer soup into bowls, add mozzarella and serve with grilled ciabatta slices.

Watercress – miso soup

When I was at university my best friend got me interested in Chinese medicine and the five elements theory. I was really fascinated by cooking according to the five elements and bought a lot of books. People probably thought we were witches as we had really, really long hair, were wearing bohemian clothes and talked about yin and yang, Earth becoming weak and not supporting Metal, etc. I had a poster on the wall which looked like a pentagram, but was simply a chart with all the foods I was using in a different section (element they belonged to). I’m still into all that jazz but my friend went even further. After studying ancient Greek and Latin, Agriculture, Biology, Nursing and Art, she started studying Chinese medicine. I was ecstatic when I found out, but she warned me that 7 years is one hell of a commitment and she might drop out at some point. Fingers crossed she won’t.

Last time she visited me she recommended me a book: ‘Ancient Wisdom Modern Kitchen’ by Yuan Wang, Warren Sheir and Mika Ono. The book is a hit, absolutely amazing.

And because it’s Chinese New Year I’m going to share a recipe with you for my favourite soup. The inspiration is taken from the book but it’s my variation. Enjoy!

watercress-miso soup

watercress-miso soup

 

Watercress – miso soup

Ingredients:

2 cups of mushrooms (fresh enoki or mitake if you can find them, I’m sometimes using any mushrooms I can get – chestnut or portobello)

2 1/2 vegetable stock or water

1/2 block of tofu (I’m using a whole pack of marinated quorn tofu)

3-4 tablespoons of white miso

1 spoon of red miso

1 spoon of sesame oil

bunch of watercress

chopped green onion

small bunch of Japanese udon noodles

 

1. Wash and chop mushrooms.

2.Bring the vegetable stock/water to the boil. Add mushrooms, udon noddles, sesame oil and tofu, simmer over low heat, covered with the lid slightly ajar for about 8-13 minutes. Turn of the heat.

3. Remove 4 tablespoons of the stock from the pot and, in a bowl, mix it with the miso paste, making sure there is no lumps left.

4. Gradually pour miso mixture back into the pot and stir.

5. Divide watercress among the serving bowls. Spoon the soup over watercress. Garnish with the green onion.

Happy Dragon’s Year!

 

I Want Winter to go Away Lentil and Tomato Soup

It’s winter. It’s cold and dark outside, quite miserable really, with occasional heavy winds. To cheer yourself up and make yourself feel warm you’ve got two options: 1. start heavily drinking or: 2.have some soup. I know what you are thinking – first option seems somehow very, very tempting. But think about your liver. Think about all the money it would cost you. Soup is so much cheaper.

So here you go. A recipe for a nice, warming soup. It’s nothing like a glass of wine but trust me, it does the trick.

lentil and tomato sopu

Ingredients:

1 parsnip

2 carrots

3-4 potatoes

1 leek

can of chopped tomatoes

cup of red lentils

pinch of cayenne pepper

salt

basil, oregano, thyme, bay leaf

1 spoon of olive oil

knob of butter

 

1. Boil 1.5 litres of water.

2. Peel, wash and dice parsnip, carrot and potatoes, add to boiling water.

3. Add salt, olive oil and lentils. Cover and simmer till vegetables and lentils are soft.

4. Using blender turn everything into a creamy soup but don’t go crazy, it’s nice to have chunks here and there.

5. Heat up your soup, add chopped tomatoes and simmer for a while. Add herbs and cayenne pepper. At the end add a knob of butter. Serve with some nice bread.