Wednesday, March 04, 2015

In praise of Georgian food

The Washington Post muses on March 3rd, 2015, whether the Georgian food might be the next big thing. It certainly deserves much more attention, if you ask me. There was this incident almost ten years ago, when Kuidaore's Joycelyn began her cookbook meme (memes were a big thing in the early days of food blogging) wondering whether she really needs a Georgian cookbook. I left a long comment insisting she does :)

I've been a fan of Georgian food as long as I remember. The food is so flavoursome and colourful, providing plenty of textures and variety. The picture here is from the chapter dedicated to the cuisine of Georgia in my third cookbook, "Nami-Nami. Maailma maitsed 1" that was published in October 2013 (see my blog post here).  Doesn't it look really appealing and appetising?

Supra. Gruusia pidusöök. Georgian feast.

There are 99 photos in my  Georgian album over on Flickr, most with links to the Estonian-language recipe. However, there are plenty of excellent Georgian recipes here on Nami-Nami as well for you to browse, helping you to get familiar with the "next big thing". Enjoy!

Georgian-style green beans with herbs and garlicky yogurt or mtsvane lobios borani (pictured at the bottom right, below) is a wonderful side dish (#glutenfree #lowcarb).

Gruusia _06

Beet salad with walnuts and garlic, pkhali, is a potent vegetable salad that brightens up any festive table (#glutenfree #Paleo):

GEORGIAN FEAST: beetroot pkhali/ beet mkhali GRUUSIA PIDU: peedi-phali

Cucumber and tomato salad with fresh cilantro/coriander is a delightfully different way to serve the summer favourites, tomatoes and cucumbers. Tomato and cucumber salad, Georgian style / Gruusia stiilis tomati-kurgisalat

Chicken in a cold walnut sauce, satsivi, is another winner from Georgia (pictured in the front, below). Georgian cuisine is rather unique in that they use walnuts a lot as a the main ingredient, not just to give some extra flavour or texture. Here the walnuts and mixed with spices and fried onions to form a wonderfully aromatic sauce. (#glutenfree #lowcarb #Paleo)

Gruusia _03

Creamy mushrooms with spices and herbs, is a great way to cook and serve those rather bland-tasting cultivated white mushrooms (#glutenfree #lowcarb):

Georgian mushrooms / Koores ja vürtsidega hautatud seened Gruusia moodi

Walnut and egg salad,  are here pictured on crispy toasts (#glutenfree #lowcarb):

Georgian egg salad / Gruusia munasalat

If you can get hold of the salty Suluguni cheese, then it's excellent when fried in butter:

GEORGIAN FEAST: fried suluguni cheese / GRUUSIA PIDU: praetud suluguni juust

Yet the most wonderful way of using the Georgian Suluguni cheese is to make a Georgian cheese pie, khatchapuri. There are lots of different versions about that Georgian cheese bread. I've got three recipes in my cookbook, but the recipe you find here on the blog is the simplest one, Imeretian khatchapuri.

Hatšapuri x 3

Chicken with herbs and tomatoes, chakhohbili (pictured at the centre, below), was the first Georgian recipe to appear here on Nami-Nami, and still finds its way to our table quite regularly (#glutenfree #lowcarb #Paleo)

Gruusia _02

So, which Georgian dishes have you eaten? Which one would you cook first from this selection here on Nami-Nami?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Gâteau Marcel. A recipe for a delicious layered chocolate mousse cake (gluten-free)

Gâteau Marcel. Chocolate mousse cake. Šokolaadikook.

Happy Valentine's Day to all the lovely Nami-Nami readers out there!

Today's recipe is this gluten-free and fun cake from Denmark, where it's considered to be the French chocolate cake. The recipe is from Michel Michaud, a French chef. Well, Michel Michaud was born in France in 1946, but moved to Denmark in 1971, where he introduced the Danes to the culinary delights of French cuisine. Including this cake.

I never came across this cake when living in Denmark at the tender age of 18. I only came across the cake few weeks ago, when somebody mentioned in one Danish-language Facebook group that "oh, this [cake] is very similar to Gateau Marcel." Well, I had to check out what's behind that fancy name and turned out that it's a gluten-free cake that consists of only 4 ingredients (chocolate, butter, eggs, sugar), results in three dirty bowls and one decadent two-layer chocolate mousse cake.

Intrigued? So was I - and we loved this cake a lot!

Best made on a previous day.

Gâteau Marcel 
(Eestikeelne retsept)
Adapted from several Danish-language sources, but modfied
Serves 10

Gâteau Marcel. Chocolate mousse cake. Šokolaadikook.

200 g good-quality dark chocolate (chips/pellets or chopped)
200 g unsalted butter
200 g caster sugar
6 large eggs
a pinch of salt (optional)

To serve:
cacao powder (un-sweetened)
fresh raspberries or chocolate curls

Pre-heat the oven to 175 C/350 F.

Melt the chocolate chips and butter in a bowl set over barely simmering water. Stir until combined, then cool a little.

Separate egg yolks from egg whites. Whisk egg yolks and about 2/3 of the sugar in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. In another, very clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, then continue whisking and adding the sugar, until the egg white mixture is shiny and stiff.

(You've got 3 bowls now - one with melted chocolate and butter, one with egg yolks and sugar, one with egg whites and sugar).

Gently fold the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Then fold in about a third of the meringue (aka egg white mixture) until combined, then very gently add the rest of the egg whites to the batter.

Grease a 24 cm/9 inch springform tin thoroughly with butter, sprinkle lightly with sugar or cocoa powder. Spoon up to a half of the batter into the tin, smooth the top. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool a little - it'll collapse a little, which is perfectly normal.

Then spoon the rest of the chocolate batter on top of the cooled chocolate cake - this will become the chocolate mousse layer. Smooth the top, then place into a fridge for at least 4 hours or until the next day.

Before serving, remove the cake carefully from the tin and transfer onto a serving plate. Sprinkle generously with cocoa powder, then decorate with fresh or frozen raspberries or fancy chocolate curls.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

It's not Pancake Day, it's Shrove Tuesday cream bun day ;)

Vastlakuklid 2014
Photo by Juta Kübarsepp for the March 2014 issue of Kodu ja Aed magazine. 

It's time for semlor or lenten cream buns again - remember, instead of pancakes, in Estonia and other Nordic countries cream-filled buns are eaten (semlor in Swedish, vastlakuklid in Estonian, laskiaispulla in Finnish). I've got three different recipes here on Nami-Nami, all delicious :)

Recipe for classic lenten buns
Recipe for chocolate lenten buns
Recipe for raspberry and marzipan lenten buns

So, are you having pancakes or cream buns today? ;)