,,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, November 24, 2011

Goan Fish Curry

A traditional fish curry from south-west part of India - Goa. Like most of the Goan food, this dish is hot and delicious....especially for those who love shellfish and spicy food.
Fish is a staple food in the Goan cuisine, but also includes all types of meat and vegetables, each cooked in its on unique way. Traditional Goan food is cooked on a wood fire that brings extra, unique flavor which no gourmet chef can duplicate in the modern day kitchen.
Almost all the food in Goa is served along rice. This style of fish curry is tangy and spicy.
Today I will present you my way of doing this delicious dish. I like this curry with large Tiger Prawns but you can use any shell fish or any fish with firm flesh.

Goan Fish Curry Recipe  for 10 portions
Goan  Curry Paste
5 whole red chilies or 2 tbs. crushed dry chilies
2 tsp. coriander powder from
2 tsp. cumin Seeds
2 tsp. turmeric powder
2 tsp. roughly chopped garlic
2 tbsp. roughly chopped ginger
1 tbsp. tamarind paste
To make the paste add all the ingredients to a blender with 5cl of water.

For the curry
1kg of clean mix shell fish (prawns, scallops, baby octopus, mussels)
1kg of large tiger prawns
coconut oil for frying
500gr diced onions
500gr chopped tomatoes
400 ml coconut Milk
4 green chilies deseeded.
500 ml ready fish bullion
Salt to taste.
Heat the coconut oil in a pot or wok. Add onions and sauté well until golden brown. Add the Goan paste to it and then add the chopped tomatoes and cook on low for about 2-3 minutes.
Add coconut Milk and fish bullion and bring to boil. Add salt to taste.
Add shell fish and green chilies to it and let it simmer for 5-7 Minutes.

For the Tiger Prawns
1kg of large tiger prawns
2 tsp. butter
2 clove of garlic crushed
juice from one lemon
Cook the tiger prawns on the grill, brushed with butter, garlic and lemon juice.
To serve
I serve this curry with plain boiled brown rice and some cucumber and yogurt salad with coriander and mint which makes for a balanced satisfying meal.
Garnish the Goan curry with grilled Tiger prawns and fresh coriander.

As well you can serve this with chapatis or popodomus, or simply on its own as a satisfying meal for lunch or dinner.
You can buy all TRS spices here-
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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Prawns, bacon and corn Chowder

When the weather gets cold, I start thinking more about soups….hmm!...Corn Chowder with bacon ...
Anyway, this is one of those recipes that you can make any time of the year.
I am making this corn soup since I purchased my ‘’ The New Basics’’ cookbook back in the 2003. I have altered the recipe a little bit to suit my tastes and I think you are going to love it too because it always wins rave reviews for us.
Corn chowder is a great American dish and a large bowl with some crusty bread makes a welcome lunchtime meal on its own. Chowders can be modified and developed by adding smoked fish, crab, lobster or clams to become a personalize chowder. It should be thick and chunky and full of flavor and you should almost be able to stand the spoon up in it.
To make a good Corn Chowder, really rich, that will keep you coming back for more you need to use homemade stock in place of the water and cream rather than just milk.
This soup is creamy, is fishy and loaded with vegetables - onion, carrot, potatoes, and of course sweet corn. I made garlic croutons with salmon roe to go with the chowder. They were the perfect addition to this delicious meal.
The result? Well, I'll let you be the judge.
Here is my way:
- 100gr butter
- 300gr onions
- 200gr chopped crisp bacon
- 200gr diced carrots
- 200gr diced celery
- 500gr diced potatoes
- 1 -400gr cans kernel corn
- 20gr chopped parsley
- Salt, pepper,
- cayenne to taste (optional)
- 1 liter of lobster or shrimps stock
- 500gr chopped raw shrimp or small shrimps
- 100gr flour
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/2 tbsp. marjoram
- 500ml cream
-500gr Jumbo boiled shrimp
Melt the butter and saute the bacon, onions, celery, and carrots.
Stir in flour and cook 3 to 4 minutes.Add lobster stock and water to make a thin sauce.
Add diced potatoes, corn, small shrimps, lemon juice, marjoram, salt, pepper, and cayenne.
Simmer about 40 minutes. Add cream and bring to a boil.Just before serving, add in chopped parsley.
Garnish each serving with 1 jumbo shrimp and a crouton with salmon roe.

Enjoy!! Pin It Now!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cream soups - Cauliflower, blue cheese and black truffle soup

Making homemade cream soups is more easier than you think!
On a cool autumn or cold winter day, there is nothing better than a thick, hot soup to warm the body. Our soups conventionally uses a chicken base for flavor, but you can also use vegetable base to make the soup vegetarian friendly( here you can find the recipe for a base).
Making a cream soup will also allow you control fat and salt levels, as you can opt for healthier versions on and with key ingredients.

Soup is easy to personalize and you can use whatever ingredients you have on hand and fridge. Today I will outline some general rules that will guide you to making great soup. Add vegetables at different times, depending on how long they take to cook. Root vegetables, such as potatoes and turnips should usually be added first, tender greens can be added 10 minutes before serving.You can puree all the soup or just part of it. Consider pureeing half of the soup and then mix it with the non pureed soup for a difference in textures.
All herbs and spices can be used to flavor the soup.
If use woody herbs such as bay leaves or springs of fresh thyme or rosemary or whole spices...etc, combine in a small piece of cheesecloth (you can also use a tea ball) so that you can flavor the soup while it's cooking, but remove them before serving.
You can flavor your soup before serving with a splash of wine, sherry, brandy or lemon juice.Top soups with a dollop of creme fraiche, sour cream or yogurt.
Garnish soups with crumbled bacon, chopped herbs or croutons.
Here is one of my favorite recipe:
Serves 4
1 medium cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small pieces, stalk included
50g butter or olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic
6 sprigs of fresh thyme
1L chicken stock
250g blue cheese
100ml cream
50g crumbled blue cheese
10g fresh slices of black truffle
2 tablespoon white truffle oil
Melt butter in a large pot, add onion and celery and sweat over medium heat for a few minutes until softened and transparent. Add cauliflower, garlic and thyme and season lightly with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Add chicken stock and bring to the boil. Simmer covered for about 20 minutes or until cauliflower is soft.
Add cream and cook over low heat for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat, cool, then blend until really smooth and check the seasoning.
Serve in Martini glasses with crumbled blue cheese on top and garnish with fresh slices of black truffle and small drizzle of the white truffle oil. For a nice presentation, before serving add a small crouton made from tortilla and black salt.
Here are some other soups I made.

 Spicy tomato soup with mozzarela and anchovies foccacia.
 Lobster cream soup with salmon pate and salmon  roe.
 Roast pepper soup with fresh pesto bruscheta.
 Green peas soup with crisby bacon and sage.
 Smoked tomatoes soup with spicy popcorn.
Roast pepper soup with black truffle cheese and salmon roe.
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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sorbet and Granita

Sorbet is a frozen dessert made from a syrup flavoured with fruits, juice or fruit puree, wine, tea, coffee, liqueurs or strong alcohol. Any type of fruit can be turned into a puree for sorbet, and can be sweetened with honey, syrups or sugar. I like to play with the texture and flavors in sorbets by making combinations such as lavender or green tea or chili vodka with chocolate pieces. As a chef I like to make my sorbets to complement the meal, so many times I use rosemary, tomato, beets or basil to make savoury sorbets. I serve sorbet between courses as a way to cleanse the palate before the main course or as a refreshing dessert in the summer. The good sorbets must have a soft, melt-in-the-mouth texture that comes from tiny ice crystals. The tiny crystals are achieved by getting just the right balance of sugar syrup to fruit juice or fruit puree and then constantly turning the mixture as it freezes. For these sorbets that I present you today you don't need an ice cream maker, for that I will use alcohol in these recipes (alcohol lowers the freezing temperature, resulting a soft texture). You need about 3-4 tablespoons of alcohol to 500ml of liquid sorbet for a soft-set style. Sugar and alcohol lower the freezing point, keeping the mixture from freezing into a rock-hard block of ice. For regular sorbets with no alcohol I recommend to use an ice cream machine. If you don't have one, mix the sorbet regularly with a fork as it freezes, or process it in a food processor once frozen. Many recipes suggest beating in egg whites to improve the texture of sorbet, but then you need to be sure of the eggs quality or to use pasteurised eggs (raw eggs may contain salmonella). My sorbets are made with no animal products, so are lower in fat and is suitable for vegetarians. Because sorbet are dense and intensely flavored, serve them in small scoops, so that it does not overwhelm the dinner. If the sorbet is too hard, a small amount of alcohol may be added to the mixture to soften it. Here I share with you some pictures of the sorbets I made this summer and the recipe for Margarita Granita, by far the best seller sorbet cocktail in the restaurant. Please fell free to experiment with your favorites flavor.

Margarita Granita
Ingredients for 20 nice portions
500ml water
250gr sugar
3-4 lime juice and zest
600ml fresh orange juice
2,5kg fresh or frozen strawberry
600ml gold tequila
450 ml brandy
Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a saucepan, stirring mixture constantly until dissolved. Pour into a large bowl; add lime juice and zest, orange juice, strawberries, tequila and brandy. Blend until smooth puree with an hand blender or in a liquidizer.
Pour the mixture into a plastic container, and freeze until slushy, about 3 hours, then break up the mixture by running a fork through it several times.
Repeat every 2 hours or so, until the Granita is icy throughout, about 8 hours. It will not freeze hard, as alcohol has a very low freezing temperature.
To serve, scoop the Granita into martini glasses and garnish with a fruit slice, or mint leaves if desired. Serve quickly - its melts fast!
Or try this:
Mango Sorbet with pasion fruit.

Trio Sorbets; Mango and pasion fruit, raspberry and lemon.
Mellon sorbet with summer fruits.
Mojito Sorbet with white rum, lime and mint.
Gin Tonic and cucumber sorbet.
Water melon and Tequila Sorbet. Enjoy!
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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Modern Romanian cuisine (2)

Soups (ciorba or zeama - argot). In fact, in Romania, soup (supă) means something else; it's a homemade clear vegetable and meat broth where we add very thin homemade pasta (more like noodles) or semolina dumplings. But we can not translate ''ciorba'' in English, other then soup.''Zeama'' or ''ciorba'' is the way we call the soup In Romania and we use to eat a lot of them. We have a wide range of soups( zeama or ciorba) that are made with or without meat, or made with fish and they are offered on all menus in Romanian restaurants.Fresh ingredients are the basics to really tasty Romanian soups. As the climate and landscape changes thoughout Romania, regional favourites depend on what is available around the seasons.These can be made from meat and vegetable, beef tripe, pork foot or fish soups and all this can be soured with traditionally borş (fermented wheat bran), lemon juice, sauerkraut juice or vinegar.
Many of this traditional soups recipes use a lot of pork fat and the cooking time for this recipes are long...way to long. By cooking the vegetables to long we destroy not only the bad bacteria but we destroy the good things too. So here in my new modern Romanian recipes I will try to aproach them a bit different and try to save some vitamins beside a new presentation.
Recipes don't always have to be exact, try improvising to make traditional dishes not too traditional...try to make them in the way you like and try to use the fresh ingredients that you already have.
With the wide range of fabulous organic ingredients that exist in Romania today, you can be inspired to make fantastic soups. Organic ingredients enhance taste, and make recipes healthier for you and your family. Number one secret for a good soup is to make a good stock.Stock is most important in making soups because it has flavor, and it carries flavor in soups. Stock is the thin liquid produced by simmering raw ingredients. Then solids are removed, leaving a thin, highly-flavoured liquid. The stock can be made from any meat like... beef, veal, chicken, fish or vegetables. Soup stocks are best made with bone-in meat to slowly release the flavor carrier (collagen) from the bones. By slowly heating it, the collagen dissolves and brings out the flavor from the bones, and picks up the flavors of the aromatic vegetables. In this way stocks have flavours.
''Collagen - a flavor carrier is a substance, generally in liquid form, that can absorb organic molecules. That's because everything with flavor, with the exception of salt, is made up of organic molecules. Water alone cannot not do the trick. Water cannot dissolve organic molecules, which is why oil and water do not mix. Collagen is a substance that comes from bones, tendons, and other tissues of animals. And because it comes from these animal sources, it also brings along with it the flavors that reside within the tissues.''Here I show you how I made duck and goose broth that I used to the duck meat balls soup(ciorba de perisoare).A stock pot should be tall and narrow. The reason for this is that a narrow pot will have less evaporation than a wider pot, and this is a good thing for stocks. Stocks are not made with lids on, as this tends to increase the cooking temperature, which decreases the amount of collagen that is extracted from the bones.

Make sure you don't boil the stock rapidly. Keep it at a very very low simmer, with just a few bubbles coming up. When you remove the solid ingredients at the end of cooking, do it gently, removing large chunks with a slotted spoon or skimmer and then pouring it through a fine strainer. Then, don't mash the ingredients in the strainer to remove more liquid, as you will add little parts of the solid items too.
Once chilled - refrigerate your finished stock, the fats will separate and harden and form a layer on the top of the liquid that you can then easily remove. After you've removed all the chunks of fat from the top, freeze the stock gel (either from naturally occurring gelatin or by adding more gelatin), and then let the gel melt-defrost very slowly in a fine strainer that the clear liquid separates from the gelatin which holds the impurities.
The freezing technique leave you with a nice clear bulion '''consommé'' and takes almost no effort. But the process of chilling the stock, freezing it, and letting it thaw at refrigerator temperatures takes a minimum of 48 hours.
The soup that I liked the most in my childhood (only thinking of it I have mouth-watering) and I want to talk about today, is meat balls soup. There are many types of soups which I hope we're going to talk about in next posts.Duck meat balls soup (Ciorba de Perisoare din Carne de Rata)
Twisted with gold leaf stock is a delicious soup that's both healthy and low in fat!

I made the meat balls with minced meat from the duck legs mixed with thyme, uncooked rice, egg, garlic, one chopped onions cooked in duck fat and some choped parsley.
I serve the duck consommé very hot on the side with a gold leaf mixed in and the meat balls on top of some uncooked julienne vegetables made from carrots, zuckini and red pepper.
It's a great way to get some vitamins and it's beautiful to serve when entertaining during the Holidays with the beautiful red and green uncooked juliennes vegetables in the soup.
To be continued.... Pin It Now!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Water + !

It is very important to drink enough water to stay hydrated in the hot summer days, so here I share with you some great flavored water recipe ideas, to add a twist to your water. Dropping a lemon wedge in water is a common way to add flavor, but you should try another kind of citrus mixed up with a few mint leaves. You can also get creative and mix together some fresh fruits cubes with herbs and ice cubes. Or add a few fresh slices of cucumber to mineral water for a refreshing drink. Or try some slices of fresh ginger in a glass of water to make a drink that’s not only invigorating, but it's also a natural cure for an upset stomach.
This home made flavoured water is the version of what might be poured at a spa or a fine restaurant, where slices of cucumber or citrus are added to the water cans. The fruit and herbs flavors will permeate the water to offer you a special taste experience. This drinks are pure refreshment with flavor of the fruits and herbs but with no sugar or heaviness.
If you don’t like the taste of plain flavoured water from your supermarket, these are a nice alternative. It’s very easy, healthy, inexpensive, and looks beautiful.
Here are few ideas, but basically you can use any fruit you love in any combination.
Sassy Water is a popular drink that reduce your cravings for sweet food and stimulates your digestive system in healthy ways. The recipe is quick, easy and simple. Other web sites say Sassy Water has an energizing effect somewhat similar to caffeine. The ginger is the key; it has natural energy enhancers.
- 2 liter of water
- 20 mint leaves
- 1/2 cucumber thinly sliced
- 1 spoon of sliced ginger
- 2 lemon thinly sliced
- 2-3 spoons of honey ( I use agave sirup)- optional
Add all the ingredients to the water.
Put the water in the refrigerator and let it get cold. Overnight is recommended.
Water made with dry goji berries and lime.
Frozen fruits water.
Lemon, basil and honey.
Orange, tarragon and pine sirup.
Let's drink! Pin It Now!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Modern Romanian cuisine - (1)

What is Modern Romanian cuisine? I want to believe that there are a few chefs out there who do actually have a meaning of that and they will try to improve with passion the classic Romanian cuisine. For me modern cuisine must use high-quality local ingredients, preparing them in ways which combine traditional Romanian recipes with modern innovations. Also, modern approaches for me mean using cooking implements like food processors and maybe reducing the amount of fat, salt or sugar in dishes. I love as well to add extra ingredients for a final touch, to bring the dish to a different level. Romanian cuisine is a diverse blend of different dishes from several traditions with which it has come into contact, but it also maintains its own character. It has been greatly influenced by Ottoman cuisine while it also includes influences from the other cuisines such as Germans, Russians, Serbians and Hungarians. I love this cuisine that I grew up with.
Today, if you visit any Romanian supermarket you will see the multicultural influence in Romanian food. Today, the cuisine of Romania blends two types of cooking styles: a traditional one, which is used for everyday living in all Romanians houses and the Romanian cuisine that gathers influences from the Western civilizations and is used mainly in restaurants. .
The fast-food industry is developing quickly as well. The fast-food that is consumed in Romania has bad effects on people’s health. Romania is now among the first countries, in the heart disease top, and obesity also becomes a common health problem. Another factor that leads to bad health is represented by the high use of pork fat and pork meat in the preparation of the traditional dishes. In order to remediate these problems, we need to develop new preparation methods, based on the same ingredients with a healthy twist. Pork is the preferred meat, but chicken, beef, lamb, and fish are also popular.
There are many ways to categorize the style of Romanian cuisine but the most important I think is a classification based on regions of the country. Every region has its own fantastic distinct culinary traditions.
I will not speak here about the food from these regions but I'll try to share with you the most popular recipes that I think they deserve to be mentioned in my little story. The one of the most popular dish in Romanian cuisine is Sarmale.
Sarmale is a dish of cabbage, vine leaves or rhubarb leaves ( thanks to PENE, a friend of us, I just found out these are toxic, so I woudn't recommend anyone using them, even if I ate them when I was a child and I'm still here. I haven't eaten them in a very long time, but I remembered them and so I mentioned them in the post) rolled around a filling usually based on minced meat. Minced meat, rice, onions and salt, pepper and fresh thyme are mixed together and then rolled into large plant leaves, which may be cabbage (fresh or pickled), vine leaf (fresh or pickled) or rhubarbs leaves.
The combination is then boiled or cooked in the oven for several hours. While specific recipes vary across the regions, it is uniformly recognized that the best cooking method is slow cooking in large clay pots. Sarmale is one of the staple meals for festive occasions like Christmas, New Year, Easter, birthdays, etc. Also, I remember that my grandmother was making Sarmale without meat, where the meat was substituted with mushrooms and mince vegetables.
Unlike other European cultures, in Romania we use sour cabbage as opposed to fresh cabbage. At the end of the autumn, families traditionally prepare their own sour cabbage by pickling in salted water with thyme and horseradish (as whole cabbage, or as individual leaves, but not shredded) for sarmale-making.
Another kind of Sarmale are those rolled in (grape) vine leaves. Sarmale is normally a heavy dish and is usually eaten during winter. Traditionally, they are served along with mamaliga (polenta) or potatoes, sour cream and fresh chili. Here I will present you some of my Sarmale in new modern way that I made here in Estonia for different occasions and it has been a success every time.
Here I made ''Sarmale'' with  minced wild board, served with polenta cooked in goat milk, red pepper caviar and sour cream.
 Oven baked ''Sarmale'' with tomato sauce and sour cream served on soft polenta.
 Sarmale with deer meat served with white truffle polenta, chili hair and spicy fillo pastry. 
No meat - Sarmale with mushroom and brown rice, served with polenta, piri-piri chili and beetroot sour cream. 

Traditional Sarmale made in wine leaves served with polenta, smoked home made tomato sauce and parmesan. 
To be continued.... Pin It Now!

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