,,One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating.
And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends. ,,
-Laurie Colwin

Thursday, June 13, 2013

White Beans with Lamb Pastrami

White bean ... a healthy ingredient to eat and incredibly versatile and easy to cook. White bean is a staple in my kitchen. It is an extremely versatile ingredient that can shows up in any course, from salads, appetizers and soups to stir-fries and stews. It can also be served as an accompaniment to other foods, from grilled meats to roast vegetables. The beans can also be mashed or blended to make a savory dip that is similar to hummus.
White beans are very high in fiber, potassium, calcium, iron and a good source of protein, which can make an great meat substitute for vegetarians.
Today I'll show you some of my creations and some suggestions for this versatile ingredient.

White beans puree with pastrami of lamb
400 g pastrami of lamb
1/2 tsp ground cumin
salt and black pepper
a little olive oil, for frying

White Beans Puree
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
salt and black pepper
2 x 400 g cans white beans
1-2 tbsp lemon juice to taste

Smoked paprika and onions
4 tsp olive oil
1 white onion, chopped
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp chopped thyme
salt and black pepper

To garnish (optional)
edible flowers
Affilla cress
2 red radishes, sliced
baby asparagus

To make the white beans puree, place the white beans, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper in the bowl of a small food processor and process until smooth. Set aside.
For the lamb, mix together, cumin, salt and pepper. Sprinkle all over the clean and sliced lamb pastrami.
Heat a little olive oil in a heavy-based fry-pan or grill and cook lamb over a medium to high heat until done to your liking (about 2-3 minutes each side).
To make the Smoked paprika and onions, in a pan, heat and the olive oil add chopped onions, smoked paprika, garlic, thyme, salt and black pepper. Give it a good stir until onions become soft.
To serve, heat 4 dinner plates. Heat and divide the white bean puree between the plates, arrange the lamb pastrami on top, then the onions and smoked paprika sauce. Garnish with sliced of red radish, baby asparagus, Affillia cress and edible flowers.

Here is another way to play with white beans. I added beetroot jus to my white beans puree and I served with Sea bass, green peas and salmon caviar.

And here we have Mediterranean white beans salad with Red Snapper and coriander tomatoes salsa.
Enjoy! :) Pin It Now!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Linguine with avocado and Tiger Prawns

I Start Posting On My Blog Again!
I know I haven’t posted in a long time. We just had a lot of stuff going on, but we shouldn't have neglected the blog. :) My last post was in August last year, just before my family moved with me in Norway. After ten months we start posting again.
We created this blog around 3 years ago because our prime interest in life is food, so we decided to write about it, about our experience with food, about the way we see and understand  the food, recipes  and bunch of other stuff. But soon after that I found out that it takes tons of time and effort to manage a blog covering all aspects of food. It's hard and time consuming! :) During these ten months I have realized that I don't write about food, but I write about my Pleasure, and this is the purpose of my life and this is what the blog is going to be about.
I’m looking forward to getting back to this. We honestly missed it a lot.

I don't think I have to many pasta dishes on the blog! So, today I will share with you one pasta dish with avocado, which is one of our family most favorite ingredient.

Linguine with avocado and Tiger Prawns
Ingredients (for 2 servings):
300 g linguine pasta, cooked ''al dente''
1 large avocado
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 lemon
1-1/2 cups white wine
200 ml sweet whipped cream 32% fat
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 shrimp size 6/8 (Banana Prawns) - complete with head
8 shrimp size 15/20 (Tiger Prawns)
1-1/2 tsp butter
salt and pepper
a teaspoon of fresh coriander, chopped
For decoration I used mini red shisho leaves, watercress sprouts and edible flower petals.

Cut half of avocado into cubes, sprinkle with a little lemon juice and the second half of avocado is mashed with honey, lemon juice and salt.
In a pan boil the wine and 1 clove garlic finely chopped. Reduce by half, then add the cream, season with salt and reduce until it becomes a creamy sauce.
Meanwhile, until cream becomes sauce, prepare the prawns. In another pan, fry the prawns in hot butter on both sides, and when the butter is brown, add 1/2 cup white wine, 1 clove garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Continue cooking about 30 sec., until wine evaporates, then pull from heat and add chopped coriander.
In the cream sauce add avocado puree and linguine pasta. Stir until all pasta is coated with sauce.

Serve pasta with prawns and butter sauce, plus avocado cubes.

Garnish as desired! I decorated with mini red shisho leaves, watercress sprouts and edible flower petals.

Enjoy! :)

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My signature dish - Quail in forest flavor

''Every great Chef has a signature dish – one that defines their culinary point of view and highlights their particular skill set.
It’s the culinary equivalent of an artist finding their own style. Chef’s signature dish often changes with time or they may claim several signature dishes. The process of creating your signature dish takes time – so don’t skimp on the space you’ll need to put this together (in your head, your heart and in your office). Most chefs are famous for a “signature dish”, the one dish that they hang their hat on as the best in their restaurants.'' - quote from http://thewordchef.com/2012/03/your-signature-dish-how-to-create-a-program-that-sizzles/

I was once preparing quail for an event at Radisson Blue Olympia Hotel in Tallinn, Estonia for about 50 people. At this event 5 chefs, from 5 different restaurants, from the top 10 restaurants were invited to cook for food writers and food bloggers. The theme for this event was '' Modern Estonian cuisine''.
My dish was the main course and for this event I create a  special dish from organic quail with flavors from the Estonian forest.
More pictures about this event here: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.305012046194849.88676.100000581697968&type=3

A lady who was part of the organizers and who is cookbook writer, walked into the kitchen and asked me what I was preparing. I invited her to taste my quail cooked in two ways. She tasted it and really liked it. She asked me, “Is this your signature dish?” Without hesitating, I said “Yes!”
Since that day, roast quail in two ways has become one of my signature dish. Since that day I was trying to improve it.
Below is my recipe.

Roast quail in two ways with sweet potato, quail egg brioche, thyme sauce and the flavors of the forest (cranberries, almond, juniper berry, wild baby leaves salad and pickled onions)

4 quails – serves 4
Marinade as follows:
1 bunch thyme
1 small garlic clove
15 ml olive oil
12 peppercorns
1 bay leaf

Remove quail legs and thigh bones. Make a marinade by mixing all the above ingredients together. Pour it over the quail leaving it overnight in the fridge. Remove the quails from the marinade, season and brown in a hot pan on the sides.
Place the quail into oven at 180 C for 10 minutes. Check and taste often. Remove quail and allow to rest for two minutes. Remove both breasts from each bird. Season the flesh side of the breast and place the two sides together. Serve on top of the cabbage.

Sweet potato
300 gr sweet potatoes or yams
lime juice to taste
fresh cream

Peel sweet potatoes and roast on a foil-lined baking sheet in middle of oven for 1 hour or until very soft. Cool potatoes just until they can be handled and scoop flesh into a food processor. Puree potatoes until smooth. Add lime juice, cream and salt to taste and puree mixture until combined well. Sweet potato puree may be made 2 days ahead and chilled, its surface covered with plastic wrap.

Forest crumble
30 gr dry cranberries
30 gr chopped almond
30 gr dry orange peel

Mix all ingredients and keep in a dry place.

Pickled onions
50 gr (4-5pieces) fresh pearl onions
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar
juniper berry
black peppercorn
bay leaves

Peel the onions and slice in half, long way. In a pan fry the onions upside down until golden brown.
Turn onions and cook for one more minute. Add sugar, vinegar, spices and cook for 3-4 minutes until the onions is soft. Cool and reserve in a container cover with marinate.

Cranberry sauce or jam
100 gr frozen or fresh cranberries
100 gr organic pine syrup.

In a small pot just bring to boil the fresh cranberries and the syrup and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Do not over cook.

Thyme sauce
5 g thyme leaves
100 ml white wine
10 ml red wine
1 tsp sherry vinegar
1 shallot (diced)
300 ml quail stock – made from the quail bones.

Dice shallots and wash the thyme. Put red wine, white wine and vinegar in pot. Add shallots and thyme and cook until reduced to glaze. Add stock and reduce by half. Correct seasoning. Fold in butter and it’s ready to serve.

Confit of quail
8 quail legs
1-2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
2 tablespoon sea salt
peel from 1 orange
2 garlic cloves
1 chili
3-4 juniper berries
3-4 black peppercorns
1 kg duck fat

Into a  tray sprinkle the legs with the salt evenly over all sides, turning to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 180C.
Wash the legs to remove the excess salt and pat dry on kitchen towels. Place the legs in a casserole or a tray, putting the legs skin side up. Add the garlic cloves, cinnamon stick, chili, thyme, star anise, orange peels, juniper berries, black pepper, and enough fat to cover the legs and place the pan in the oven. Cook uncovered, until the meat is very tender and has shrink away from the bone, around 30-40 minutes.
Let the legs cool slightly in the fat.

Quail egg brioche
4 quail eggs
sea salt
4 rings of brioche or 4 mini ready  vol au vent

Break the eggs in vol au vent baskets, season with salt cook until soft. Serve.

Enjoy! Pin It Now!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Liquorice ice cream (Bianca)

Liquorice candies are very popular in Northern Europe, specially in Scandinavia. When I visited Norway few months ago, I saw liquorice ice cream in a shop. What caught my eyes was the color. It was black! You know it's an unusual ice cream just by the color :) But being just the beginning of spring, still cold outside, I didn't try it.
We have to be careful how much we eat, as excessive consumption of liquorice or liquorice candy is known to be toxic to the liver and cardiovascular system, and may produce hypertension and edema. You can read more about this here (wikipedia).
I forgot to say ... I love liquorice! :) Nico hates it, so since he's not here, that's a good reason for me now to make it home :)
I guess the really dark liquorice ice creams sold in the shops are dyed with black food coloring, but I didn't use any. My ice cream has a sort of greenish-gray color. Because of the color, it might be a straight NO for some people :) But, for liquorice lovers, I think it's not such a big problem, although just one ball of ice cream might be enough. Even for me! :) To temper a bit the color, I added some gold paste glaze, used in bakery. My ice cream is a bit shinny  :)

- 600 ml cream
- 300 ml milk
- 6 egg yolks
- 25 g sugar (double, if you skip the glaze)
- 200 g chopped liquorice candies ( bought a pack of All Sorts, and picked out the plain ones)
- 100-150 g Liquorice All Sorts, chopped in small pieces (all the colors)
- 80 g gold paste glaze (optional)

In a bowl, with a hand mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar until creamy. Set aside! In a pot, over low heat, put cream, milk, plain chopped liquorice and vanilla bean. Mix continuously, without letting it boil, until the liquorice candies are melted, about 15-20 mins. Take the vanilla bean out, split it half and scrape the seeds in the egg mixture. Take the cream off the heat and little by little, pour it over the eggs, mixing it. Transfer the whole mixture back in the pot and put it again on low heat, mixing continuously until thickens, about 10 mins. Have ready a some ice-cold water bath. Take it off the heat, strain it through a fine sieve into a bowl. Now, put the bowl into the water bath, to cool down the mixture. When it's cold enough to be placed in the fridge, cover with cling film (the whole surface) to prevent a skin from forming. Place the mixture in the fridge for 1-2 hs.

After that, if you have an ice cream machine, put the cream in the machine and let it do its job :) Before you put the ice cream in the freezer, mix in the chopped Liquorice All Sorts.
If you don't have a machine, just put the cream in the freezer for at least 3 hs. But every 30 mins-1 h (depending on your freezer power) take it out and beat it with the hand mixer, to prevent ice crystal from forming. After the last beating, mix in the chopped Liquorice All Sorts.

Enjoy! ... if you like liquorice! :) Pin It Now!

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