Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pasta, my love!

Yesterday I got a craving for pasta. With smoked chiken. Don't know where did this come from, but I had to follow my appetite.
As the weather is not so warm as I wish, I felt this dish has to be bit more rich, so the chicken got cream as a partner.
The green leaves and grass outside inspired me to add the same colour to my plate as well, so that explains the spinach and peas.
Champignons were feeling lonely in the fridge, so I set them together with the greens.
Onion.. you just have to have some onion in pasta. Estonian way of cooking, I guess.

Creamy Smoked chicken pasta with greens and some mushrooms
(for about 4)

One big smoked chicken thigh or other parts
Some (frozen) peas
Oil, butter
Some champignons
Pot of spinach (or frozen one)
Pasta (linguine for example)
Cream (as rich as you wish)
Salt, pepper

Cut the chicken meat in pieces. Peel, chop the onion. Rinse, cut the mushrooms.
Wash the spinach. Put the spinach in boiling water for some minutes. Then set aside, let cool, and chop roughly.
In the same water (seasoned with salt) boil the pasta, al dente. Add the frozen peas as well in the same water.
Heat the pan with some oil and butter. Cook the mushrooms and onion, then add chicken and spinach. Mix and stop the heat.
If pasta's ready, drain the excess water. Pour over with cream and set on moderate heat, while stirring, in order to thicken the cream. Add the rest of the ingredients, mix well. If pasta is nicely creamy, stop the heat and serve.
Season and serve with parmesan, if you like.

S like Salad in Spring

As this winter was way too looooong and I got really tired of it, I switched fresh salad to my menu already in February. Since then, I have changed the recipe slightly, and now it's time to share it.
Usually, a salad is not a very appetizing as it's associated with diet and does not really call for: yummy! But for this, I can say that even guys have appreciated it as it is more hearty and offers the same value as a meal.
You can (and should) always switch the ingredients, so that it will never get boring.

Silja's Spring Salad
(I will not be precise on quanities, as then there's room for spontaneity)

Different salads: iceberg, lettuce, lollo rosso, Roman, iceberg...
Paprika (whatever the colour)
Roasted sunflower seeds
Linen seeds (optional)
Sprouts (luzern, bean...)
Feta cheese (makes it more creamy)
Tuna/ chicken/ crab.. (or keep it veggie)

Dijon mustard
1 part of vinegar
2 parts of olive oil
salt, pepper

Wash, cut, peel the vegetables. For carrot, you can either grate it, or use the paring knife for long thin pieces. (faster and you don't need to wash the grate later ;) )
Roast the sunflower seeds on a dry pan (or oven); let cool before serving.

For the dressing, I mix it in a jar, so I have enough for several servings- again, win time.

Mix all the ingredients together, add some creamy cheese, put some dressing, mix well.
Enjoy guilt-free :)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dinner for 4 on a slightly cold and rainy spring evening

I'm not in a very "writable" mood, so I'm going to get to the point directly. I cooked a nice dinner this evening and as the results were yummy, I will share it with you.

For the starter, Pesto tartlette
(made 4 small ones)

50 gr of butter
100 gr of wheat flour
bit salt
2 eggs
creme fraiche/ sour cream
1 big spoon of pesto
salt, pepper
4 slices of tomato
fresh basil leaves to serve

Mix the cold butter with flour and salt; work it until the butter is nicely mixed and you have crumbs. Then add just a little of cold water (a spoonful) so that the dough becomes smooth. Roll it into a ball, wrap it into plastic and leave to fridge to cool for about 20 min.

You can prepare the filling in the meantime. Just mix the eggs with pesto, cream and season.

Fill the tartlette forms with dough and make holes with a fork (so the dough would not rise when baking). Pre-cook in the oven of 200 degrees about 7-8 minutes, until a bit golden.

Add the egg mixture and then gently place a thin tomato slice on top.
Cook about 10 more minutes until the filling is not liquid any more.
Less cool a bit and then serve with fresh basil leaves.

This can be also prepared in a big form, like a quiche. The little individual portions are nicer and more festive.

The Main Dish:
Pork stew with peppers
(Recipe is a fudge of several ones; as I like it :) )

1 kg of pork (neck part)
2-3 onions (depends on size)
2 garlic gloves
2 red peppers
1 green pepper
bit chilli paste or one fresh chilli bean
some champignons
olive oil
some thyme
some fennel seeds (ristiköömned eesti keeles)
0,5 l light beer
400 gr of tomatoes
1 bay leaf
fresh parsley to serve
pepper, salt

Rinse the meat and dry. Cut to about 3 cm cubes. Wash, cut the peppers to chunks. Chop the peeled onions and garlic.
Pour boiling water on tomatoes, so that you can peel off the skin. Cut to pieces.
Also wash and cut the mushrooms.
Heat the oil and caramelise the pork. Later add the onion, garlic; fry a bit. Then add the vegetables, mix and cook for a bit. Then add the herbs, pour over with beer and stew about an hour.
Later season with salt and sprinkle over with fresh parsley (from your own garden, if you can :)

Serves well with steamed rice.

For the Dessert:
Rhubabrb-apple crumble with almondy crumbs

about 0,5 kg rhubarb
2 apples
light muscovado sugar
bit cinnamon

50 gr of cold butter
50 gr of almond powder
50 gr of flour
2 big spoons of light muscovado sugar
2 spoons of white sugar

At first, prepare the crumbs. Mix cold butter pieces with almond powder, flour and sugars. The mixture has to be smooth and form nice crumbs. Leave to cold.

Peel and chop the rhubarbs and apples. Mix with sugar and cinnamon (in a bowl)
Pour it into a low oven mold, let cook for about 10 minutes (210 deg.) Then sprinkle over the crumbs and bake until the crumbs are nice crispy and golden.

Serves wonderfully with vanilla ice cream (found a good one, with real vanilla seeds in Prisma today).

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mothers' Day

Every 2nd Sunday of May we celebrate Monthers' Day in Estonia. I think it is a nice tradition, to take time and go to see our mother, grandmother, grand-grandmother (for the lucky ones) or those who have been like mothers for us: guiding, teaching, being a role model...

I am so lucky to have a wonderful mum, 2 great grandmums, even a French "maman" and 2 other women that I appreciate a lot. All those women have definitely had a great influence on me and I have learned a lot from them.

According to a recent survey, in Estonia there are the most single mothers in the EU. It is sad, as it is also the same group most vulnerable to poverty.

I think there are so many amazing women in Estonia, that can manage so much: work full time, take care of the kid(s), look good and also educate themselves. I guess the more you do, the higher demands you have as well for the partner.

As the male-female ratio is out of balance, it does not really make the guys make great efforts. Instead, what I've noticed, they tend to derogate their foreign brothers that appreciate the local ladies and find excuses not to change.

I was once having a discussion about men-women with a good (male) friend of mine (half-Estonian) and he told that Estonian men want a service from the women. I tend to agree with him.
The least we could do, is to start appreciate, notice each other and the efforts that are made for us, in order to feel good and loved.

To lighten up, I will add a recipe of one of my favourite cakes, that I made for my mum and grandmums: Pavlova.

This dessert take a bit time to prepare, but is surely worth it.
You can also prepare the meringue a day in ahead, so that on the big day, there's no rush.

For one big or 4 individual meringue you need:

3 big egg whites (on room temperature)
bit salt
150 gr sugar
1 tsp potato starch
1 tsp vinegar or lime/lemon juice
Vanilla extract

Whisk the warm eggwhites in a glass bowl (make sure it's nice and clean, no grease, that makes the eggwhites not to rise well). When they start to get white, start adding sugar. Whisk until you get a nice, rich mousse. Then add starch, vanilla, and acid liquid. Mix well.
Then you need to decide, whether to make one big dessert or individual ones; I prefer smaller ones as they look nicer to serve.
Place the rich foam on a baking sheet, shape it so, that you have a slight hole in the middle for the cream later.
Bake in 150 degrees for 10 min; then lower the heat to 110 and bake 1,5 hours. Then stop the heat and let cool for 30min. (Do not open the door! It will make the meringue to fall down) Then you can place a wooden spoon in between the door, so the oven can cool off slowly. You can leave it for overnight for example.

For serving you need:

Whipped cream
(curd- kohupiim, in Estonian.. I prefer Alma's vanilla kohupiimakreem, with real vanilla seeds)

Fresh berries: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries...

Whip the cream, sweeten as you like and mix with curd, if you wish. (I like to add it as then it's not too sweet).
Fill the meringue with cream and put the berries on top. Serve immediately (as the meringue will get soft later).
Enjoy with a smile and good company.

Happy mother's Day!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

a New Beginning

It's been a while now since I'm back to Estonia. As my blog started in France, I wrote it mostly to my Estonian-speaking friends and family. As I have gotten the requests to translate the recipes to English, I decided to switch blogging entirely to this language.

As I have been having the privilege, to manage my time, I decided to start writing also about the topics that are not only about food (though this remains my passion) but other aspects that I find interesting and worth sharing. That's what life's all about- sharing- right?

I hope to get my expressive mode turned-on, so that this would not just remain a post without continuation.

I was making classic potato salad for this evening and I found a nice surprise from the dill box from the freezer. I will definitely take this as a sign. It's spring, after all!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Karamelliseeritud banaani- šokolaadikeeks

Väga hea retsept. Banaani maitse tuleb eriti hästi esile jahtunult ning selle eelnev töötlemine ongi selle keeksi saladus.

150 gr pehmet võid (Valio oma on kõige parem)

110 gr suhkrut

3 muna

160 gr jahu

1 tl küpsetuspulbrit



2 küpset banaani

killuke võid

fariinisuhkrut (3 spl)

100 gr tumedat šokolaadi

Koori banaanid ja lõika nt seibideks. Sulata pannil tükk võid, lisa fariinisuhkur ja banaanid. Kuumuta, kuni banaanid pehmenevad. Lase jahtuda.
Vahusta või suhkruga, lisa ükshaaval munad, vahusta. Lisa hoolikalt läbi segatud kuivainesegu ning hakitud šokolaad (ebakorrapärased tükid). Lisa banaanisegu, sega.

Küpseta keeksivormis 180 kraadi juures nii 45 min.
Naudi tassi tee kõrvale :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

kerge eelroog ja orsoto

Juba mõni nädal tagasi valmistasin õhtusöögi, kus kiidusõnu sai just eelroog. Tegemist väga kerge ja värske ampsuga. Lihtne, tervislik ja kiirelt valmistatav pealegi.

Retsepti idee pärineb suvise köögi raamatust, mida siis eestistasin :) Hea on serveerida rooga läbipaistvast kausist või klaasist, et näha erinevaid kihte/ koostisaineid.

Vaja läheb:
(koguseid panna tunde järgi)

Hapukas õun (nt Granny Smith või veelgi parem, midagi vanaema õunaaiast)
Idusid (nt lutsern)
Sool, pipar

Lõika (kooritud, puhastatud) puuviljad suupärasteks tükkideks. Lao need oma soovi järgi kaussi/klaasi. Lumekrabi rebi nt ka parajateks tükkideks.
Sega kastmeks sidrunimahl, sinep, õli, soola ja pipraga maitsesta ka. Vala igale salatiportsule mõni lusikatäis.
Kõige peale pane idusid.

Kuna käes on jälle kõrvitsahooaeg, siis tuli jälle isu aasta tagasi esimest korda tehtud orsoto järele. Kuna tegemist on nii maitsva ja jällegi lihtsa, Eestipärase roaga, siis läheb retsept taas jagamisse ja värskendamisele.

Originaalretsept pärineb Roman Zaštšerinksilt, mida olen natuke jällegi enda järgi teinud (nt kitsejuustu välja jätnud).

(kogused jällegi umbes-täpselt 3-4-5-le)

350 gr odrakruupe
400 gr kõrvitsat
2 loorberilehte
2 suuremat sibulat
2 küüslauguküünt
hapukat õunamahla
kuiva valget veini
mõnusa suitsuse mekiga sinki/ peekonit
kanapuljongit (nt Knorri uued puljongikontsentraadid)
sulatatud juustu (nt Atleet)
soola, pipart

Kruubid võib panna nt vette likku, siis keevad nad kiiremini (10 min 20 asemel).

Poti põhjas kuumuta tükk võid ja õli. Lisa hakitud küüslauk ja 1 sibul. Hauta keskmisel kuumusel klaasjaks. Lisa kõrvitsatükid (mida väikesemad, seda kiiremini jällegi läheb). Lase kaane all haududa nii 10-15 min. Siis lisa õunamahl ja puljong; nii palju, et kataks kõrvitsa. Lase veel haududa, kuni kõrvits on pehme. Püreeri segu.

Panegi keema kruubid; vette lisa loorberilehed ja sool. Kui valmis, kurna.

Nüüd tegutse nagu risoto puhul: pane pannile tükike võid ja sorts õli, hauta klaasjaks sibulatükid. Lisa kruubid ja prae neid natuke. Lisa vein, lase alkoholil aurustuda. Lisa osa kanapuljongist, lase sel kruupidesse imenduda. Lisa veel puljongit. Lisa kõrvitsapüree ja lase vedelikul auruda. Kui soovid veel kreemisust, lisa mõned lusikatäied sulatatud juustu. Lisa vajadusel soola.

Serveeri krõbedaks praetud peekoni/ singitükikestega ja värskelt jahvatatud pipraga.

Head isu!