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Stew comes in many forms and flavours – combination of vegetables and meat, beer and mustard, red wine, white wine, in a casserole, in the oven, on the stove … But whatever shape or form, its depth of flavor and richness of taste, makes it irresistibly ever present, always welcome winter dish at our home.
This is a classic family favourite. Slow cooked beef stew with red wine and honey, served with delicious and healthy celeriac pure.
For the Beef Stew
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion
- 1kg beef stew meat, cut into small pieces
- 2 carrots
- 300ml red wine
- 100ml water
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of black pepper
- 1 Bay leaf
- 2 strings of thyme
- 1 vegetable bullion
- 3 tbsp clear honey
- 3 tbsp of plain flour
- Parsley for decoration
For the Celeriac Pure
- 1 big celery root, peeled and cubed
- 1/2 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 8 whole cloves garlic, peeled
- Chicken broth (or stock) to cover (2-3 cups)
- 1 large Russet potato, peeled and cubed
- Salt, to taste
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened), plus more for topping if desired
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Chopped fresh celery leaves or parsley, for garnish
1. For the Beef: Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a deep pan and add the chopped onion. Let the onions crisp until golden and take them out of the pan put them in a plate.
2. In a plastic bag, mix the beef stew meat together with the salt, pepper and the flour until all the dry ingredients have been well absorbed and are sticking to the meat. Pour the remaining olive oil into the pan and let it heat up. Put the beef stew in the pan and let it be sealed until nicely brown.
3. Add the onion and the carrots (roughly chopped into circles) and mix together with the stew. Pour over them the wine and the water and add the thyme and the bay leaf. Let the stew simmer for at least one hour mixing regularly not letting the mixture stick to the bottom.
4. When the stew mixture has thickened and the meat is ready, add the bullion and the honey, flavoring the stew to your taste.
5. For the Celeriac Pure: Combine celery root, onion, garlic and chicken broth/stock in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 20 minutes or until celery root is very tender.
6. Meanwhile, cook the potato in a separate saucepan in salted water until tender.
7. When celery root is fully cooked, drain off excess chicken broth/stock (reserve for another use if desired), leaving about 1/4 cup broth/stock in the saucepan with vegetables. Add the butter and cream. Puree with an immersion blender until smooth.
8. Drain the potato. Push through a potato ricer into the puree and gently fold it into the puree. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
9. Garnish with chopped fresh celery leaves or parsley and extra butter if desired.
Goes well with: Rice, mashed potatoes, croquettes.
We are a family of foodies. Unashamed, our summer time holiday destination selection has began to change adding “fine cuisine” as a top criteria. Bathing or taste buds in a sumptious tasty experience is not something solely received for vacations. Every Christmas and birthday celebration has become an occasion for new delightful cookbooks to enter into our family collection with the hope, that not before too long, we will be discovering new amazing family favourite dishes.
This Christmas season cookbook gifts have opened our world to Asia. We have already tried Thai fish pancakes and Thai green curry falling deeper and deeper into the Thai cuisine – light, well balanced and full of flavour, but most of all so quick and easy to make.
This coconut milk chicken soup takes less than half and hour to make, yet it offers real celebration of healthty light meal full of warmth and tender, fragrant flavour.
- 500 ml Coconut milk
- 800 ml Water
- 3 cm Fresh Galanga root (grated)
- 2 Stalks Lemongrass
- 4 Lemon leaves
- 1 Chicken boullion cube
- 1 tbsp palm sugar (or brown sugar)
- 2 tbsp Fish Sauce
- 1 Shallot
- 300 g chicken filet
- 150 g oyster mushrooms
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- handful of fresh coriander leaves
- 1 red chilli
1. In a deep cooking pot mix together the coconut milk and the water, letting them gently simmer over a medium heat.
2. Add the grated galanga, lemongrass stalks and the lemon leaves and leave them to boil for 10 minutes until the flavours are infused.
3. Take the lemongrass and the lemon leaves out.
4. Add the chicken bouillon, the palm sugar and the fish sauce.
5. Slice the shallot into thin cubes and add to the soup. Cut the chicken filet into small cubes and add to the soup. Boil for 5 minutes.
6. Cut the red chilli pepper into small pieces and add to the soup.
7. Cut the oyster mushrooms into thin slices and add to the soup. Let it boil for 5 more minutes.
8. Garnish the soup with a handful of freshly chopped coriander leaves.
Chocolate cake is already delicious but what about combining it with vanilla cheese cake? Hmm… the combination is divine… Several days ago, I have promised to bring a cake at the office. The options of what to prepare are always more then enough, but for this particular occasion I have been considering as much the flavour as the logistic transportation practical side. As a result, this delicious chocolate cheesecake swirl bundt cake has emerged delighting all the senses.
Preparing the cake was easy and simple. Keeping it away from my family has been a real struggle and temptation, something to remember and avoid in the future whenever I can. Why did I not even consider to prepare two cakes instead of one? With the cake intact and graciously arriving at the office in one piece it made me happy to see the joy it brought to my colleagues and that even before noon not a single slice was left.
Cream Cheese Filling
6oz cream cheese, softened (from 8-oz package)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
- 1 Vanilla
- 1 1 box Betty Crocker™ SuperMoist™ dark chocolate cake mix
1/4 cup Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
1 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
2 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1 Vanilla
2 to 3 teaspoons milk
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
- Coffee Chocolate beans
1. Heat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour 12-cup bundt cake pan, or spray with baking spray with flour. In small bowl, beat 6 oz cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Beat in granulated sugar, vanilla, 1 tablespoon flour and 1 egg until smooth; set aside.
2. In large bowl, beat cake mix, 1/4 cup flour, the water, oil and 2 eggs with electric mixer on medium speed 2 minutes; stir in 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Pour into pan.
3. Spoon cream cheese filling over batter, keeping it away from edge of pan. Run table knife through batter in large zigzag pattern once around pan.
4. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Turn pan upside down onto cooling rack; remove pan. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
5. In small bowl, beat 2 oz cream cheese and 2 teaspoons milk using whisk. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. If too thick, add additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency. Spoon icing over cake.
6. In small microwavable bowl, microwave whipping cream uncovered on High 30 seconds or until cream just beings to simmer. Add 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips; stir until smooth. Place in small resealable food-storage plastic bag. Cut off small corner of bag; drizzle over white icing. Decorate with coffee chocolate beans.
Late spring and all the senses and rejoicing with the coming summer. We long for walks on the beach, summer night dancing parties, abandons of delicious fruits and salads. This simple late spring dish has all the hopes of the days to come. Beetroot and carrot, meet fresh salad leaves and herbs, kissed by fresh raspberries, melting goat cheese and contrasting walnuts all gently coming together with a Raspberry Dressing Sauce.
1 cup plain yogurt
- 1/2 cup raspberries
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons white sugar
- handful of fresh raspberries
- mixed salad (rocket, young spinach leaves, baby leaf lettuce)
- Goat cheese
- Red beetroot
- Fresh herbs (mint leaves, basil leaves, lemon balm leaves)
1. Raspberry Dressing Preparation: In a blender, combine the 1 cup yogurt, 1/2 cup raspberries, 1tbsp vinegar and 2tsp sugar. Blend until smooth and refrigerate until chilled.
2. Salad Decoration: Wash the salad mix leaves, dry and place in a serving dish. Peal a carrot and slice into thin stripes. Cut a read beetroot and slice it into thin stripes. Arrange both over the salad leaves. Sprinkle fresh herbs like basil, mint and lemon balm leaves to add some extra flavour. Slice soft goat cheese disks into halves and arrange on top of the salad. Add walnuts cut into small pieces. Scatter fresh ripe raspberries and top with the raspberry dressing.
It is mid September and the summer days start to whisper of the coming autumn. We cuddle lovingly at home with a cup of tea, glowing candles, warm blanket and a book close by. Home sweet home. Our travelling business agendas keep us far from home and when the weekend comes being home is a joy and celebration. We treasure these simple moments in many ways. Sharing hours among the mundane taking care and the things that bring delight. Sometimes it is a walk in the woods, sometimes it is delicious dinner, sometimes a favourite cake. Speculoos are traditional cookies offered all year round, but especially around St. Nicolas on the 6th of December in Belgium. A couple of years ago a Belgian company transformed this delicious flavour into a paste, that nowadays can be easily found in every store all over the world – called Speculoos Paste or Cookie Butter. This is the main ingredient our weekend cake today – delicious and spicy, soft and flavoursome Speculoos Cake.
- 250g self-raizing flour
- 220g butter
- 250g caster sugar
- 2 vanillas
- 4 eggs
- 4 tbsp of Speculoos Paste
- 4 Speculoos cookies
1. Soften the butter.
2. Whisk the softened butter, the sugar and the vanilla. Gradually, one by one, add the eggs continuously whisking. Whisk in the flour adding a little bit at a time. Add four table spoons of Speculoos paste and whisk again until smooth.
4. Grease and flour a backing dish. Poor over the cake mixture. Smooth evenly. Brake four speculoos cookies in half and dip each cookie half in the cake mixture.
5. Bake in the oven for 50 minutes on 175C. When ready, take the cake out of the oven and let it rest for 2min in the form, then take it and turn it upside down on a plate. Serve warm with a spoon of vanilla ice cream, or cold.
A recent trip to Germany has expanded my culinary horizons adding one more show-stopping cake recipe book to our library. This time, the challenge has been set even higher, embracing the hidden secrets shared by a renown German fine patisserie chef Noemie Strouk in her culinary book “Baking with a wow-effect“.
Wow-effect it is… Browsing through the tempting looking pages I leave my husband to make the final choice of what he might wish for me to prepare, as honestly speaking any single cake looks absolutely more then fine to me. His choice is a Banoffee cake and the challenge is on.
The original recipe requires first to bake a cookie base for the cake, but considering an alternative version we decide to make the base from speculoos cookies in a similar way as preparing a cheese cake. The flavour combination between the speculoos cookies the banana and the caramel with the light and fluffy mascarpone cream topping ends as being absolutely sublime. Simple, elegant, light and so easy and quick to prepare… fine dinning “wow” it really is.
200g Speculoos cookies
50g salty butter
125g crystal sugar
pinch of salt
- 2 bananas
- 50g mascarpone
- Vanilla sugar Dr. Oetker (8g)
- 30g powder sugar
- Chocolate curls
- Hazelnut bresilienne
- Dry cornflower petals
- 2tsp cacaco powder
1. Prepare the speculoos cake base: Blend the speculoos cookies into a fine dust. Melt 100g butter. Mix the butter and the cookie dust together into a sticky mess. Place baking paper on the base of a 22cm cake form. Press the cookie and butter mixture into a flat disk in the cake form and let it chill for half an hour in the refrigerator.
2. Prepare the caramel: Place 125g crystal sugar in a pot with a thick bottom. Place it over medium fire and let the sugar caramelise (do not touch). Once the caramel starts to get a golden colour and all the sugar has dissolved add a little bit from the cream (do not poor all the liquid at once as it will start to rise). Add 190g cream in three or four times stirring continuously. Cut the salty butter into pieces. Add the butter to the caramel one piece at time stirring continuously until the caramel start to thicken. Once all the butter has been added set aside and let it cool completely on room temperature. Once cooled add a pinch of salt and stir the caramel.
3. For the cream topping: In a cool glass bowl add together the cold 300g cream, 50g mascarpone and vanilla sugar. Mix together with a mixer initially on slow speed until the cream starts to thicken then on high speed. Add the powder sugar and mix until thick.
4. To assemble the cake: Take the cake form out of the fridge. Open the ring and let only the cookie base remain. Cut two bananas into rings and arrange them on top of the speculoos cookie cake base. Drizzle over caramel. Using a piping bag, pipe the mascarpone cream on top of the cake. Dust caoaco powder on top and decorate with chocolate curls, hazelnut bresilienne and dried cornflower petals.