,,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

Sunday, June 27, 2010


In Romania on the night of 23-24 of June we are celebrating the Night of Fairies, in Estonia
is John's Day. In Estonian language is called Jaanipäev and as an Estonian person told me, they celebrate the light and sun. In the last 5 years we used to celebrate traditional Estonian way with a bonfire and a big grill, a lot of people and we party until morning but this year we decided to stay home and have a small grill and chose to have more time to rest after a very busy period in the restaurant.
Here I show you how we spent the day cooking a simple meal. Before we started preparing the big meal we had a snack platter with some different cheeses (brie, blue cheese and cedar), marinated olives, peanut butter and some mix nuts all to complement a cold glass of rose wine for a summer day.
The olives I marinated them with rosemary, lots of garlic and good olive oil and leave to marinate for 2 days.
With the garlic, when you thing is too much, then double the quantity for a nice aroma :)
Then we started to prep the meat for grill. For the pork ribs we used only salt and pepper because after they were cooked on the grill, we covered them with a smoked BBQ sauce. For the pork neck I chose a Mexican marinate with taco spices and extra chili and oregano and we put them on skewers. On beef entrecote steak we put just salt and pepper for a natural flavor but be sure the beef is aged and good quality for a tender meat. And of course some chicken fillets for kids.
To complement the meat we marinate the boys in  a local corn beer and we used some fresh vegetable to grill like mushroom, eggplant, peppers and zucchini which I marinated them with olive oil and seasoning. As well I sprayed them with some BBQ sauce. Then we made a cold sauce with sour cream, garlic and herbs and one spicy sauce with curry and cocos milk.
As a garnish for the grill we made two different salads, one is a Mediterranean potato salad with onions, marinated cucumber, oregano, seasoning and virgin olive oil and the second salad of tomato and white cabbage.
                                                             And then we grilled.
                                                            And then we eat.

After a long pause and more beer we had dessert. Bianca made this very good dessert with salted nuts, peanut butter and cream cheese filling  and sour cream frosting.

Recipe for the cake will follow soon.
We had a great day! Pin It Now!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Strawberry tiramisu

In Ireland we use to make a lot of this dessert but here in Estonia we have a big problem with finding good fresh organic eggs. I have been making the wonderful Italian tiramisu dessert for many years and in many ways now. It had been a huge success with all my friends – even with the Italian ones. I will never use raw eggs in any recipes if I’m not sure for the quality. The recipe I have made here deviates slightly from the classic Tiramisu and turned in a bullet proof recipes with no raw eggs and for an original look I served in a glass different that the classical way. If you wish to prep a classic recipes keep in mind that these eggs will not be cooked. So better use really good and fresh eggs. And consume the tiramisu within a day.
Tiramisu is an 'Italian Trifle" because, like any trifle, it is made by layering cake, that have been soaked in spirits, with a rich custard (Zabaglione) that has been mixed with mascarpone cheese. Zabaglione is rich Italian custard that is made by whipping egg yolks, sugar, and strawberry liqueur in my case over a water bath.
Mascarpone is a soft immature cheese, thick, buttery, sweet cheese, with a delicate flavor, produced from cow's milk with the texture of sour cream.
Basic Tiramisu is made with Mascarpone cheese, raw eggs, sugar, espresso coffee, ladyfingers, liquor and the top of the Tiramisu is garnished, first with a dusting of cocoa powder, and then with shaved or chopped semisweet chocolate. Heavy cream is an optional ingredient. The richness depends on the quantity and quality of each ingredient, and the care of preparation.This variation on the classic tiramisu recipe mixes the flavor of coffee with strawberry for a delicious and colorful effect.Prepare this some hours ahead so all of the flavor came together and the ladyfingers are fully soften. Here is the way I prepared this different Tiramisu for 10 persons:
600 g fresh strawberries
10 egg yolks
150 ml heavy cream
150 g sugar
50gr vanilla sugar
200 gr white chocolate or strawberry chocolate
100 ml strawberry liqueur
1kg mascarpone cheese
250 gr ladyfingers biscuits
150 ml chilled espresso
100 g chocolate
Cut off the tops of the strawberries and slice. Reserve 10 whole berries for garnish.
Over double boiler, beat together - with a wire whisk - the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla sugar and cream. Cook beating constantly until thickened to pudding consistency. Leave to cool. Whisk occasionally while Zabaglione is cooling then add the melted white chocolate and strawberry liqueur. Fold in the mascarpone and mix until smooth.

Spread or pipe out 1/3 of the cheese mixture on bottom of each glass then add soak ladyfingers in espresso, and layer with half of the sliced strawberries.
Repeat with the next ladyfingers, espresso, remaining cheese mixture, and sliced strawberries top with remaining cheese mixture.
Sprinkle chocolate shavings over cream mixture, and garnish with 2 reserved strawberries and some ladyfingers.

Enjoy. Pin It Now!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Caprese Salad - Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil

Caprese is one of the simplest and most delicious salads but it requires the right ingredients.
This – basically summer dish - is an easy and delicious salad made with fresh summer-ripe tomatoes (juicy and flavorful but not overly soft) and fresh buffalo mozzarella.
It does not need more than a touch of fresh young basil, extra-virgin olive oil, pesto, salt and pepper and this simple salad is turned it to a fantastic appetizer. With good quality fresh bread like focaccia or ciabatta and a glass of chilled white wine, this makes an excellent summer lunch or, in a small portion, an ideal first course for a summer meal.
Here is the way I made this salad for 4 people:                   
3 x 125 gr balls of buffalo mozzarella cheese, sliced
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced
1 pot fresh basil leaves
coarse salt to taste
freshly-ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons freshly made pesto
50 ml extra-virgin olive oil
20 ml balsamic reduction
On a large platter (or on individual plates if you are doing individual portions) arrange tomatoes, cheese slices and basil alternately overlapping on platter. Just before serving, pour on some good-quality extra-virgin olive oil, fresh pesto and balsamic reduction.
Caprese should never be allowed to sit in oil for any length of time to become soggy.
A classic recipe has no vinegar of any kind in but I like it very much and you can see in the pictures with and without.
Balsamic Brown Sugar Reduction Recipe:
250 ml balsamic vinegar and 100 gr brown sugar.
Cook the vinegar/brown sugar mixture down on med-high heat until it is reduced by half, approximately 3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow cooling before serving.

Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe:
Traditional Italian pesto is made by hand in a marble mortar, adding the basil leaves one by one for silkiest, smoothest pesto imaginable. In easier way we like the food processor, and the result is almost as good.
400 gr fresh basil leaves, packed
100 gr freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
500 gr pine nuts
3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. Add the garlic, pulse
a few times more. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Can be served with pasta, salads, potatoes, or spread over toasted baguette slices.
If you find the sauce to oily leave it on a side for the pesto to set down and then strain the oil.           Pin It Now!

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