UPDATE 10.8.2007 - you can read Andrew's saucy sauce round-up here.
For the seventh (already??) installment of Waiter, there is something in my ... foodblogging event, Andrew has chosen SAUCE as the theme. And there's a catch, you see. Andrew wrote:
"A wide open theme I hope you agree. Plenty of room for experimentation, family favourites and the tried and tested. You can use fruit. You can use meat. You can serve it over meringue or pasta or even splash it over a chunk of juicy steak. They can be tart and fruity or mellow and creamy. It can be ethnically Estonian or lip-smackingly Kiwi; 'Sauces' - versatile and delicious. What can you come up with?"
You see, he has specifically mentioned that the sauce can be ethnically Estonian. How could I be expected to make anything else then? I mean, coming up with a delicious Caribbean rum sauce or a classic French velouté would be bound to disappoint Andrew, don't you think? I therefore present you with a truly 'ethnically Estonian sauce' - munakaste. Munakaste translates egg sauce, it reminds me of very smooth and fluffy scrambled eggs. It is usually served with boiled new potatoes and rye bread. Although I remember eating it a lot as a kid, there has been a certain absence of it from my kitchen for the last few (oh well, maybe even ten?) years. And suddenly, out of the blue, I had started developing cravings for this eggy sauce. In mid-June I had some delicious munakaste at my high-school reunion weekend away (15 years!?), and when I saw Andrew's WTISIM call, I knew this is gonna be my entry.
Easier said than done. I couldn't find a suitable recipe for Estonian egg sauce it in any of my cookbooks - and there's many of them! I guess a sauce consisting off eggs and smoked greasy bacon isn't trendy at the moment, and it clashes with some healthy eating guidelines (one recipe for munakaste stated that 'obviously modern women use oil as a basis of the sauce and not smoked fatty ham', which totally misses the point, as it's the smoked ham that gives a wonderful flavour to the sauce). Eventually I called my maternal grandma Senta, who at the respectable age of 86 is a living proof that a diet consisting of frequent munakaste cannot be too bad for you (at least when combined with hard farm labour). This is her version, and mine from now on.
And I hope it's ethnically Estonian enough for Andrew :-)
My grandma Senta's egg & smoked ham sauce
1 heaped Tbsp plain flour
2 large eggs
300 ml milk
a pinch of salt
200 grams smoked & salted ham (see here), cut into small cubes
1 medium onion, finely chopped
chopped scallions/green onions
In a small bowl, whisk eggs and flour into a paste. Then add milk, little by little, whisking all the time. Season with salt.
Heat a frying pan or a small non-stick saucepan on a medium-high heat and add the cubed ham. Fry, stirring regularly, for about 5 minutes, until the ham starts to brown and release plenty of grease. Now reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and saute them with ham cubes for about 5 minutes.
Now pour the egg and milk mixture into the saucepan and start stirring the sauce with a wooden spoon, waiting for the sauce to thicken - this could take up to five minutes. It's important to stir all the time, or you'll end up with scrambled eggs, which isn't the same thing at all!
When ready to serve, sprinkle with chopped green onions.
And serve with boiled new potatoes and rye bread, as I said above.
Here are links to my previous Waiter there is something in my ... entries:
June 2007 (DUMPLINGS): Vareniki dumplings with curd cheese filling, served with home-made apricot jam & pistachios.
May 2007 (STUFFED VEGETABLES): Stuffed tomatoes with two types of salad - cod liver salad & cucumber and wild garlic salad.
April 2007 (BREAD): a traditional Estonian quick mushroom bread, Seenekarask.
March 2007 (EASTER BASKET): a selection of various Easter delights.
February 2007 (PIE): a great Russian puff pastry and fish pie, Salmon Kulebyaka.
January 2007 (STEW): my version (in collaboration with Anthony Bourdain:) of the French classic Boeuf Bourguignon.
BLAST FROM THE PAST
Two years ago I wrote about an essential Scottish dessert - Cranachan. Considering that raspberries are in season at the moment in many parts of the world, then this recipe is definitely worth checking out! And who wouldn't like a combination of raspberries, cream and whisky? There's even a delicious porridge version of Cranachan.