Tuesday, June 28, 2005

A creamy rhubarb pie

This is a very simple and very tasty rhubarb pie – the creamy filling complements the tartness of rhubarb very nicely, and using melted butter in the crust makes it especially crumbly. If you use thin and youngish rhubarb, you don’t need to peel them first, but that would be wise with older and thicker rhubarbs. I actually prefer to use unpeeled rhubarb, as the pie gets a lovely pink hue then. And the scent of cinnamon and cardamom makes your kitchen smell divine..

A creamy rhubarb pie
(Kreemjas rabarbripirukas)
A recipe adapted from June 2003 issue of Pereköök

The crumbly crust:
250 ml of plain flour
0.5 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp brown sugar
100 g butter

Sieve the flour and baking powder, mix with sugar and melted butter. Press the mixture into Ø 26 cm loose-bottomed cake tin and put into the fridge for half an hour.
Pre-bake for 10 minutes in 200˚C oven.

The aromatic & tart filling:
500 g of rhubarb
100 ml brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamom
1.5 Tbsp plain flour

Peel the rhubarb, if necessary, and chop into 1-2 cm pieces. Mix rhubarb, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and flour in a bowl and dip into the half-baked crust.

The creamy topping:
2 egg yolks
300 ml whipping or double cream

Whisk the egg yolks, add the cream and pour over the rhubarb filling.
Put the pie back into the oven and bake for another 30 minutes or so.

The pie filling should be slightly soft and creamy – but if you prefer it firmer, let the pie cool a little. Add a touch of whipped cream or good vanilla ice cream, if you wish, grab a spoon and enjoy. Mmmmm.

Monday, June 27, 2005

A Really Garlicky Week

My family left for Estonia yesterday after a very nice week in Edinburgh, and today is my first day in the office after a long-long break. That also means that I can finally write my first proper foodblog-like entry. As I still haven't made up my mind which digital camera to buy, there won't be any photos this time. But soon, I promise.

As I mentioned in my previous entry, my parents arrived with bags full of Estonian food. I don't mind, as I do miss Estonian food occasionally, so I enjoyed the breakfasts consisting of rye bread, cheese, salami, and yogurt from home. I also have loads of chocolates and sweets still to eat - oh so yummy, though 'a moment on your lips/lifetime on your hips' mantra suddently pops to my mind as well..

I had the pleasure of cooking quite a lot on my family's request. Some were their old favourites (my take on the Greek feta-spinach pie is always popular, for instance - my mum had even brought along some fresh spinach from her garden!), some were new to them (I made my first ever Eton Mess for my 5-year-old nephew's great joy, and my family also quite enjoyed the Penne alla (Estonian) Vodka from Nigella's Feast). We also had few nice meals out - lunch at the newly re-opened Pancho Villa's and post-graduation dinner at my lovely local Turkish restaurant Hanedan were especially nice. My mum was slightly disappointed that I didn't bake lots of cakes, but it was unusually hot in Edinburgh last week, so I didn't feel like baking a lot and instead we spent lots of time walking around and slothing in various parks..

But the week in general can indeed be described as really garlicky. Just over a week ago I found myselt wandering along the aisles at the Farmers Market in Edinburgh again, looking for something nice to buy to cook for my family. I stopped at the Nairn-based Really Garlicky Company's stall to get some of their nice cream cheese, when I was asked if I'd like to participate in their market research. Why not - as a sociologist, I understand the need for good market research:) and as a just-recently-a-student, I can't refuse a free foodie/goodie bag. So I signed up and was delivered a box full of their products last Tuesday. I tried and tested the products - a tub of cream cheese, a tub of aioli, a tub of garlic butter, a box of mash seasoning, a box of garlicky rub, a loaf of garlic bread, box of garlic scapes and some frozen chopped garlic - with my family on several occasions. The garlic mash was delicious, and my father almost single-handedly finished the aioli. But our clear favourites were the garlic scapes. Described on the packet as "carefully hand picked garlic shoots from the highlands of scotland", these were really yummy - long, twisted, green, roundish (you can see them under the "Shop" link on the company's website). Maybe just slightly too pungent when nibbled raw, they nevertheless made a tasty sandwich filling when mixed with tuna and mayonnaise. I used them as a base for some creamy garlicky gravy (my dad refuses to eat anything without gravy, so I always have to make some, whether the dish actually requires one or not). And they were simply divine added to the huge wok full of chicken-broccoli-green bean stir-fry with orange-soy sauce I made to my family. Soft and crisp at once, with a delightfully subtle garlic flavour and aroma. I'll definitely be buying these scapes again next week. Or maybe not. Seems that our Farmers Market is cancelled this Saturday because of the G8 meeting in Scotland. Oh well, I'll guess I have to wait until next week then. But then they're worth it..

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Here we go then...

I've decided to start my own food blog. I'm not new to the internet foodie-ness - indeed, I've been managing an online recipe website since 2002, if I remember correctly. My former partner Heigo, now sadly no longer with us, was a software developer and he insisted that I'd put my recipe collection online. I'm not sure whether it was his software developer Self that wanted to try if he can create an online recipe database from scratch with ingredient search functions etc, or whether he got tired of me emailing from Edinburgh to Tallinn asking him to find, copy and email me a recipe for a particular dish I fancied making at the moment, but in any case Nami-nami retseptikogu was born. It contains over 7000 recipes that I've found from numerous cookbooks, magazines (food/travel/women's), newspapers, websites, TV shows; recipes I've inherited or asked from my mum, relatives, friends. I'm quite proud of Nami-nami - the range of sources is rather wide, especially as I've added recipes from Estonian sources, as well as translated them from English, Finnish, Danish, Swedish and occasionally even from Russian. I've tried only to add recipes that I've tried, or plan to try recreating in the future. Of course, the task is rather daunting, and I will never cook all of them. But one is allowed to dream, isn't she?
However, the recipe database is rather limited in its uses, and until I find a new IT-specialist to redesign and develop the website, I cannot muse about cooking the way I want. Therefore this blog here.
Although I had a rather good overview of various internet sites dedicated to food and cooking, having been scanning and reading them regularly since late 1990s, I've only very recently discovered foodblogging. I have to thank my dear Norwegian friend Guro for inadvertedly introducing me to them. Couple of weeks ago Guro mentioned that her American friend Melissa, to whom I occasionally bump into in Edinburgh, has recently set up a foodblog - Traveler's Lunchbox. I checked it out and was hooked from moment go. The texts were fun and interesting to read and pictures gorgeous (it also explained why I recently spotted Melissa taking pictures at Edinburgh's Farmers Market:). Rather unfortunate actually, as Nami-nami was already eating up quite a big chunk of my time (I guess if it hadn't been for my recipe website addiction, I would have finished my sociology PhD in three years after all:). I knew Melissa could cook well, Guro had often mentioned it, but this was rather impressive. Being a non-native English speaker, and quite crap in photography, my foodblog will never be as impressive as Melissa's. I'm also far less advanced - or adventurous - in cooking (lack of time/kitchen equipment explain some of it), although my friends are always happy to come for dinner parties, so I cannot be too bad. I am also an avid reader of cookbooks and magazines, and keen to learn more and more, so I will try to improve myself. Through The Traveler's Lunchbox I've also discovered other delicious foodblogs (I'll be adding links to them as soon as I master the linking skill) that have kept me staring at the computer screen far more than is healthy or necessary. And I'm also afraid that I should start sleeping less than 10 hours a day from now on - so I would time to do my daily job - AND update my foodblog..