Saturday, January 25, 2014

Scottish salmon and spinach frittata

Glennfinnich monument jakobitowA

What does Scottish cuisine have to offer? Quite a few interesting things. And this is after excluding the ever ubiquitous porridge and haggis. Fish and seafood are of exceptional quality in this country of mists and moors . It does not come as a surprise after visiting Scotland's rocky coast.

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Scottish smoked salmon is of quite exceptional quality and has really refined taste. To make it more interesting and colorful pair it with eggs, lots of herbs and fresh spinach. This frittata is a quick and tasty dish for lunch.


It is important to prepare it in a frying pan that can go to the oven (with metal or cast iron handles).

losos frittata1 copy

Salmon and spinach frittata with herbs

7 eggs
200 ml of thick sour cream (or crème fraîche )
2 teaspoons horseradish creme
salt to taste
2 tablespoons butter
3 shallots , finely chopped
3 tablespoons chives, chopped
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
50 g fresh spinach, chopped
6 slices cold-smoked salmon
some chopped chives and freshly ground pepper

Combine eggs, sour cream , horseradish and salt in a big bowl. Whisk it until smooth and frothy. Preheat the grill in the oven. Fry the shallots in butter for 2 min in a skillet. Add chives, parsley and spinach and fry for 3 more minutes. Pour the egg mixture and immediately distribute it evenly with fried greens. Fry for about 5 minutes until the edges begin to brown .Put the skillet  in the oven for 2 minutes. When the top starts to cook distribute slamon slices in the middle and bake for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle the top with the rest of the chopped chives and ground pepper. Serve frittata hot in the skillet.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Honey and walnut cake with coffee frosting


Honey, nuts and coffee. What else do you need for a lovely winter cake? Especially on a such wet and foggy Sunday. All you want to do is roll up in an armchair with a nice, hot cup of tea (and it is exactly what I am doing right now).

The Atlantic Ocean has calmed down a little bit after providing us with 20 meter high waves last week.  Last Sunday the ocean water "geysers" were 3 times higher than the lighthouse displayed on the blog header. 20 cars were swept away by the waterfront, including a turist bus. Fortunately nothing bad happened to the people who were there, but everybody got quite frightened. It is better not to mess with our Atlantic puddle.


Let's get back to our cake. It contains a little honey and some crunchy walnuts . The frosting is enriched with butter and sweet cream. You get a lot of frosting from this recipe but of course you can make a cake without it if you prefer. But then you won't get a coffee note, which, in my opinion, is quite important for this cake. What more do you need? A cup of coffee or tea. You cannot go wrong with tea... especially prepared the English way - with milk.


Honey and walnut cake with coffee frosting

20 cm round cake tin

125 g butter
75 g light brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
150 g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
3 eggs
75 g walnuts, toasted and chopped

50 g butter
100 g light brown sugar
2 teaspoons instant coffee powder
2 tablespoons single cream (12% fat content)
150-175 g of icing sugar

Preheat oven to 180ºC. Mix the flour with baking powder and salt. Whip the butter, add sugar to it and mix until fluffy and smooth. Add  eggs and flour alternately, mixing briefly on a low speed. Add chopped nuts and fold them to the batter. Pour into the prepared (greased and floured) cake tin and bake for about 30-35 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Frosting :
In the saucepan, combine together all the ingredients except icing sugar. Stir and bring to boil. Remove from the fire and gradually add icing sugar to the desired density. Pour the frosting on a cooled cake.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Hoppin 'John for good luck - New Year's dish

Hoppin' John

After the Christmas feast this dish is stunning in its simplicity. The main ingredient - black-eyed beans ensure prosperity and abundance in the New Year. Hoppin' John is eaten on 1st of January in the southern United States. Accompanied by: rice, dark green vegetables (like green $) and cornbread (symbolizing the precious gold). This set of dishes is to ensure financial success in the coming year.

The recipe for Hoppin 'John comes from Lowlands on South Carolina coast. But it has its roots much further - in West Africa, especially Senegal, where people eat cowpeas and rice for centuries.

City of Charleston South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina. We visited this stylish city in 2006.

Rice and beans are very popular combination in many traditional cuisines (especially in warm or tropical countries). The residents of equatorial Africa and Central and South America love every imaginable dish with these ingredients. In South America it is so iconic that Brazilian singer Daniela Mercury released a CD called "Feijão com Arroz" (portuguese for: beans and rice), one of my favorites from the time I moved to Portugal. You can already find some rice and bean dishes on my blog: a Cuban and a Honduran version. Today it is time for the U.S. rice and beans.

Hoppin' John

Initially, Hoppin 'John was cooked and eaten mostly by blacks slaves, then somewhere in the middle of the eighteenth century everybody in the southern states began to enjoy it. Every American cook has a favourite recipe for this dish. Variations abound. The core ingredients are: black-eyed peas, some kind of smoked meat (bacon or sometimes the whole ham on the bone), hot peppers, and of course rice to accompany the dish. My version of Hoppin John s a little bit unorthodox - I add tomatoes to it,  but it helps to blend all the tastes very well. This is best done in big pot, as reheatings only enchances the flavours.

Just a word about the strange sounding name - it is said that Hoppin' John is a corruption of Creole pois pigeon (pigeon peas).

All the best for the New Year!

 Hoppin' John

Hoppin' John

3 cups of dry black-eyed peas
1 onion, peeled and halved
3 carrots, peeled
2 l broth cooked with some smaked meat or veal stock
3 bay leavessalt to taste

250 g bacon, cut into ladrons
1 onion
2 celery sticks
1 green bell pepper
6 garlic cloves, crushed 
 salt to taste
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
800 g tinned tomatoes

Soak the beans in plenty of water for 10-12 hours. Drain them off. Add carrots, 1 onion, beans and 3 bay leaves to the broth. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 min. Add salt at the end of cooking. Reserve 2 cups of cooking broth. Drain off the rest. Throw away onion, carrots and bay leaves.

In a large, preferably cast iron pot fry bacon until browned. Dice onions, celery and peppers. Add the vegetables to the bacon. When the vegetables are tender, add the garlic and fry for a while. Add thyme, paprika, pepper and bay leaves. Add diced tomatoes with liquid. Cook covered for about 30 minutes. Add the beans and enough cooking liquid to get the desired consistency.

Serve with cooked rice.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Boston Cream Pie

Today I invite you to celebrate the 5th anniversary of my blog (the Polish version).

I propose on this occasion an American classic: Boston Cream Pie. In fact, no one truly knows why this name was given to this cake. Some explain that probably first East Coast immigrants coming from Europe brought only pie pans and bake every kind of cake in them. Officially the original authorship is attributed to the French pastry chef Sanzian employed for the opening of Boston's Parker House hotel in 1856. The hotel was known as the first in town with hot water and elevator. Boston cream pie is a nineteenth-century delicacy, and since 1996 is also known as the official dessert of the state of Massachusetts.

I admit that being twice in Boston I never found an occasion to eat this cake. There is more: to be honest I didn´n know that it even existed. Traveling through the US I tasted and liked very much  the Boston cream donuts - donuts stuffed with custard and with chocolate glaze on top, very, very tasty.

Boston Cream Pie

Spring form ( diameter 23 cm )

 5 eggs, whites and yolks separated
100 g cake flour 
1 / 2 teaspoon baking powder 
150 g sugar, divided 
pinch of salt 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
3 tablespoons milk 
2 tablespoons (30g) butter

Chiboust Cream:
 200 ml milk 
200 ml double cream 
1 vanilla pod
3 egg yolks 

90 g sugar
 pinch of salt 
25 g (3 tbsp) cornstarch 
20 g (3 tablespoons) cake flour
1 tablespoon unsalted butter 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
150 ml heavy cream 

15 g vanilla sugar 

 150 g dark chocolate 60% 
125 ml double cream 
1 tablespoon butter 
3 tablespoons corn syrup (optional)

For soaking the cake:
 juice of 1 / 2 lemon 
1 tablespoon vanilla liqueur 
1 tablespoon rum 
4 tablespoons water

 Preheat the oven to 175 º C. 
Sift flour with baking powder. Warm up the milk and butter until butter is dissolved, and keep warm. Whip egg yolks with half the sugar and vanilla extract, light cream weight, dissolved in milk, add butter and a little while mixing.
Whip eggs whites with a pinch of salt and the rest of the sugar. Incorporate them to the cake mixture with the aid of spatula. Add sifted flour and mix very carefully again. Pour the dough into
spring form pan (base lined with baking paper) and bake for about 40 minutes until top is golden brown and a stick stuck in the middle of the dough comes out dry.
Cut the sponge cake in two equal layers after it cools completely .  

Mix ingredients for soaking and brush both layers of the cake (from the cut side).

Chiboust Cream:
 Mix egg yolks with sugar, then add  flour and corn starch to form a smooth paste. Bring milk to a boil with splitted vanilla bean. Take out the vanilla. Pour the boiling milk into the yolk paste and stir vigorously. Transfer the mixture back into the pot and bring to boil again. When small bubbles appear take off the heat and add the butter and vanilla extract. Mix everythin together and a smooth put into a clean container.
Cover the surface with a transparent cling film to prevent a formation of the skin (the film has to lie directly on the cream) and leave to cool completely. When it is cold put into the fridge. Whip heavy cream with vanilla sugar. Add egg custard to the whipped cream (one tablespoon at a time) each time mixing well.

 Melt all ingredients over low heat or in microwave and mix them well.

Assembling the cake:
 Spoon all the chiboust cream on the bottom layer. Cover with the top layer. You should reverse layers so that the bottom of the cake is on top. Pour warm glaze on the top of a cake so that it drips down the sides.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Kulfi - Pink ice cream from India with plum and cardamom sauce

These are ice creams of Indian origin, for which you do not need an ice-cream machine, and yet in some magical way they are perfectly creamy. You do not need to add eggs, or beaten cream, or other hyper-caloric bombs (but I do not dare call it diet ice cream ;)). I always admired the kulfi in Indian restaurants, and now for the first time I tried to do it myself. Maybe in a slightly less orthodox way. Classics kulfi are not usually made of fruit - they are made mostly with milk and spices. In my version of kulfi the spices still exist - it contains wonderfully aromatic cardamom, but there are  also plums in this recipe that go very well with cardamom. 

The cardamom is extremely important, please do not omit it. Ideally you should use the pods, shell them yourself and crush them in a mortar. They add wonderful oriental aroma to your ice-creams.
You can line your moulds for Indian ice creams with plastic wrap. But if you want to have your kulfi perfectly smooth (I just do not care for it, because I quite like those funny wrinkles on the surface) do not use plastic wrap, just put the molds briefly into hot water before taking ice creams out. 

The original idea came from Mary Cadogan, and I found it here.

Pink kulfi with plum and cardamom sauce
yields 6

3 green cardamom pods
sliced red plums
100g sugar
400ml sweetened condensed milk
150ml whole milk
2 tablespoons of chopped pistachios

cardamom in a mortar into a powder. Put cardamom, plums and sugar in a saucepan. Bring it slowly to boil ( if you need you can add about 5 tablespoons of water ). Mix in a blender to a smooth paste. Leave to cool.

Mix whole milk with condensed milk and 300 ml of plum puree. Pour it into prepared molds and freeze for at least 4 hours.

Serve kulfi on a plate with some
plum sauce, topped with chopped pistachio. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Raspberry & Rhubarb Vanilla Rice Pudding

The pudding of my childhood... Now with some rhubarb and raspberries to balance the smoothness sweetness of vanilla milk rice. You can try it with different fruit combination. Strawberries and rhubarb, raspberries and peaches, blackberries and apricots. Just use your imagination and the best seasonal produce.

Raspberry and Rhubarb Vanilla Rice Pudding
4 - 6 servings

1 liter of 3.5% fat milk 

pinch of salt 
100g short-grain rice 
100-120g of sugar 
1 / 2 vanilla bean

350g rhubarb cut into small pieces 

1 / 2 teaspoon grated lemon peel 
30g sugar (or slightly more if the rhubarb is very tart) 
125g raspberries

the milk to boil  in a large pan with the vanilla bean split in half . Add to the boiling milk rice (previously rinsed) and a pinch of salt. At a very low heat (it has just to simmer very gently) cook it covered for about 1 hour, stirring frequently, until rice begins to thicken. If you have too much milk at the end of cooking, take off the lid for the last 15-20 minutes, so the liquid may evaporate. 10 minutes before the end of cooking add the sugar and remove vanilla bean.
Mix chopped rhubarb with sugar and lemon peel in a small saucepan. Cover it and cook over low heat until it falls apart and creates a kind of mousse.
When the rice cools down a little put it into bowls or glasses and top with rhubarb mousse and raspberries. You can eat it warm, at room temperature or cold from the fridge.

Enjoy !

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Coconut truffles from Goa

Coconut truffles from Goa

Coconut truffles from Goa ( 30 truffles )

35 g (1 / 2 cup) desiccated unsweetened coconut flakes
ghee butter  (or regular clarified butter)
2 tablespoons of tahini sesame paste or smooth peanut butter
50 g (1 / 3 cup) icing sugar
150 g (1 and 1 / 2 cup) milk powder

coconut and chopped pistachios for decoration 

Coconut truffles from Goa

Melt the butter in a pan, pour half  of it to the mixer bowl. Add coconut flakes to the rest of the butter in a pan and fry them until they get golden brown. Mix the remaining butter in a blender with icing sugar and tahini (or peanut butter). Add fried coconut and then gradually add milk powder to the mixture until it is thick. 

Put the mixture into the refrigerator tightly covered until it set. 

Form small round truffles from the cold mixture (most convenient way is to use a little
ice cream scoop ) and then roll them with your hands. If the truffles stick to your hands, add more powdered milk. If it crumbles, add a little more melted butter. 

Once formed, you can coat the truffles with coconut or chopped pistachios but it is not necessary. The truffles  are just as good without these extras. Put them for 1 hour into the fridge and serve cold.

Coconut truffles from Goa