Monday, 25 April 2016

What you can do with a beetroot..

Do you like beetroot? I think this vegetable is a bit underrated in most of the kitchens. The truth is that beetroot is not only delicious, super healthy but also very diverse in preparation. It can be used for savoury or sweet dishes, even pickled it tastes delicious.

Today I am going to share two beetroot salads, which can be eaten for a light lunch during the day, as a starter for dinner or as a side dish to any meat. Both salads are done under 10 minutes, are super nutritious and looks just beautifully on the plate. If you want to prepare something special without spending too much time in the kitchen you would like these recipes for sure.
Beetroot with goat cheese and lime honey dressing
  • 1 beetroot bulb (precooked)
  • goat cheese
  • walnuts
  • lime (juice and zest)
  • honey
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • blackberries (optional)
Cut the beetroot in thin slices and arrange them on the plate. Crumble the got cheese over the top. In a small bowl mix together lime juice, zest, honey, olive oil, salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and garnish it with walnuts and blackberries.

 Beetroot and chickpeas salad
  • 1 beetroot bulbs (precooked)
  • 2-3 carrots
  • a glass of chickpeas
  • 3-4 tablespoons natural yogurt
  • salt, pepper, olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1-2 cooked eggs
Grate the carrots, beetroot and the eggs in a big bowl and add the chickpeas. Press the garlic into the yogurt and mix well. Pour the yogurt over the salad, season with salt, pepper and olive oil, mix till everything is well combined.


Monday, 18 April 2016

Plov, a rice dish I grew up with

If you like rice, you will love the recipe I am going to share with you today. The recipe is slightly changed from the original one, mainly due to the fact that we like chicken more than lamb. Plov (or Pilav) is an Asian rise dish done with lamb and is a dish which will be prepared for any kind of celebrations. I know the dish from my childhood as I was born in Tajikistan and so we would always get it served if we were invited somewhere. Over the time my mom adjusted this dish more to our taste changing slightly the ingredients, the preparation however remains the same. Plov will be prepared in a sort of big iron pot in a wok shape calls "Kazan". You do not have to have a Kazan however, any "Dutch oven" pot will work perfectly good too. 

Plov is perfect to be done for many people and can be done a day before, it always tastes much better the day after. The ingredients are simple and available all year around. I love Plov not only because it is a dish of my childhood, but also because my boys are crazy about it and it is done with lots of carrots, my favorite vegetable....

Plov - my family style
  • 3-4 chicken legs
  • 1 big onion
  • 1 whole garlic bulb
  • 5-6 carrots
  • 1 cup rice (coffee cup)
  • 2 cups hot water (use the same cup as for the rice)
  • 2 cubes of vegetable stock
  • neutral oil (sunflower or rapeseeds oil)
  • salt , pepper
First measure the rice, note that you shall use the same cup as a measurements for the water as you use to measure the rice. There are different kind of rice, take the hard cooking one for this dish (long grain rice), if you take something like basmati rice, your dish will appear too sticky. Wash the rice with cold water at least 3 times, till water appears to be clear.
Wash, dry and season the chicken legs with salt and pepper. Fry them in a frying pan in some oil till golden brown (shall take about 6-7 minutes). Meanwhile cut the onion in cubes and grate the carrots (use large size of the grater). Preheat the Dutch oven pot on medium high heat, add some oil and cook the onions and carrots for couple of minutes. Dissolve the vegetables stock cubes in two cups of hot water (the cup you used for the rice). Now take the fried chicken legs and put them on top of the onion-carrots mixture, place the garlic bulb (with skin) in the middle of the pot. Spread the rice over and cover it all with the vegetable stock. Put the lid on the top of the pot. As soon as it starts boiling (shall take not more than 2 minutes), reduce the heat to very low (on a scale from 9 to 1 I always use 2-3) and let it cook for 30-40 minutes.
You can check the dish after 20 minutes, if the water it boiling away to quick reduce the heat bit more. When the dish is ready you shall not have any water / stock left in the pot. Take the garlic out and serve it separately, as individual gloves to the portion. Stir the dish gently to get the vegetables evenly mix with the rice. Serve with some freshly chopped coriander....


Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Do you believe in signs...

Today on the blog, another participation of "Cooking the chef" challenge, sharing the recipe from Carme Ruscalleda... another Spanish-Catalan Michelin chef, with an impressive career as chef and restaurant owner and wonderful dishes.

I found this very interesting dessert recipe from her, some weeks ago already, but got so preoccupied these days that I was already about to give up on the participation... till yesterday, the day I got some signs I could not simple ignore!! The dish is rather humble but very elegant and simple delicious, exactly my cup of coffee. The name of the dish "Plum cream & Teules", sounds gorgeous already, wouldn't you agree?

Back to the signs, coming home from work and decided to look at some cooking programs, to get bit distraction from the long busy day. And voila they would show a dessert program where teules are being made. I decided to oversee this one. The program eventually ended and by then I knew some tricks on how to create a perfect teule. I kept sitting at the sofa, still not willing to jump up from it. The second sign was just around the corner, new program started where they would present Spanish-Catalan Michelin chefs... and since the odds have spoken, today another recipe to be shared with you...

For the plum cream:
1kg ripe plums (yellow or red, as you prefer)
4 eggs
150g sugar
20g cornflour (Maizena)

For the teules:
185g sugar
3 egg whites
40g butter
20g flour
30g ground almonds

For the plums cream: Clean the plums. Cut them and remove the pits. Weigh the fruit pulp and add mineral water until it reaches 1kg. Blend it in the blender, pour into a saucepan and let it cook. In a bowl, mix eggs with sugar and corn flour. Add the egg mixture to the plum sauce, once it starts to boil. Mix and cook for another minute or so. Pour the cream into another dish or divide evenly in individual dishes and let cool off.
For the teules: Mix the egg whites with the sugar. It must become a homogenous mixture. Add the butter, flour and ground almonds to make fine dough. On a silicone tray, spoon out the dough making little round forms of approx. 5cm diameter.  Cook the cookies at 190ºC in the oven for 4 to 5 minutes.  While the cookies are still hot, remove them with a spatula and put them on a stainless steel tube of approx. 2cm diameter to achieve a round form. Once they are cold, reserve them in a hermetic box to protect them. Serve the plum cream with the teules

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