Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Spicy-Salty Tiger Prawns

You may have noticed that there aren't many shellfish recipes on this blog. Fish recipes, yes, but not recipes involving mussels, shrimps/prawns, scallops etc. There's a good reason for that, but it doesn't mean I don't cook them at home. Contrarily to me, K. adores shellfish, so every now and then I try a new recipe. This recipe is an adaptation of Jamie Oliver's, who uses small prawns and eats them with shell and all. I much prefer cooking with large tiger prawns - they look more decent to me. K. wholeheartedly approved, and considering it took about 5 minutes in total, then it's a good recipe indeed :)

Spicy-Salty Tiger Prawns
(Soolased krevetid vürtsidega)
Serves 3 to 4

400 g unpeeled fresh tiger prawns (headless, thoroughly defrosted and drained, if frozen)
2 generous pinches of sea salt flakes
a generous pinch of fennel seeds
a generous pinch of coriander seeds
a generous pinch of cumin seeds
a small pinch of dried chilli flakes

Place fennel, coriander and cumin seeds into a pestle and mortar and bash them couple of times (just enough to crush them, no more).
Heat a large wok or frying pan until very hot, add sea salt flakes, crushed spices and chilli flakes and heat for about half a minute, until they're all aromatic.
Add the tiger prawns and shake the pan, so the spice mixture would cover the prawns nicely. Dry-fry for 2-4 minutes, depending on the size of your prawns, until they've all turned pink with golden brown, indicating that they're cooked.
Peel the prawns while eating them.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Mustard bread for mustard lovers

You're probably wondering why the bread on the photo looks so yellow. No, it's not me and K. mishandling the white balance on our camera. It's just that this bread is so exceptionally yellow in colour (mustard powder + ground turmeric), as well as mustardy in flavour (whole-grain mustard + mustard powder + mustard seeds). Definitely (or perhaps?) too mustardy to be your daily bread, but it would make a lovely loaf to accompany a simple vegetable soup, and perhaps even a cheeseboard.

The recipe is adapted from an Estonian supermarket food magazine Toit & Trend.

Mustard Bread
Makes 1 loaf

250 ml (1 cup) lukewarm water
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp whole-grain mustard
400 g plain/all-purpose flour
1 packet active dry yeast (app. 11 g)
3 tsp mustard powder (I used Coleman's English)
0.5 tsp ground turmeric
0.5 tsp salt
1 egg, whisked, for brushing
2 Tbsp brown mustard seeds, for topping

Mix the water, oil and whole-grain mustard in a large bowl.
Mix the flour, dry yeast, mustard powder, turmeric and salt in another bowl, then stir into the water mixture and knead, until the dough breaks loose from your hands (or dough hook, if using a mixer).
Cover the bowl with a clingfilm or a clean kitchen towel and leave to prove for an hour in a warm, draft-free place. It should pretty much double in size.
Knead the dough once again, then form into a round loaf. Transfer the loaf into an oiled oven sheet, cover again with a piece of clingfilm or a kitchen towel and leave to prove for another hour.
Cut few slashes on top with a sharp knife, then brush with egg and sprinkle with mustard seeds.
Bake in the middle of 200 C /400 F oven for about 30 minutes, until the bread is lovely golden and crispy on top.
Let it cool for about half an hour after taking out of the oven, then slice as thinly or thickly as you like.

Other bread recipes @ Nami-Nami:
Estonian Soda Bread with Ricotta Cheese
Tender Potato Bread (a Daring Baker challenge)
Fennel Seed Bread
Georgian Cheese Bread Hatchapuri

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Fancy an After Dinner Mint Mousse?

Here's a clever way to combine the dessert and the after dinner mints served with coffee. The recipe is inspired by a British one using unwhipped double cream (fat content 48%, but not available in Estonia), so I've played around with quantities and serving sizes a bit. It's very-very minty and rather chocolatey - not perhaps everybody's cup of tea. But if you do fancy an after dinner mint, then you'll love it..

I used After Eight Dinner Mints, just because it's a classic, but you could try with some of the other mints instead..

After Dinner Mint Mousse
(After Eight šokolaadivaht)
Serves 6

200 g box of After Eight chocolate mints
2 Tbsp cognac or brandy (I used Georgian Gremi brandy)
300 ml whipping cream (35%)
1 Tbsp caster sugar
0.5 tsp vanilla extract (I used Pure Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla)
fresh mint, for garnish

Put six chocolate mints aside for decorating later.

Place the rest if the chocolate mints and cognac/brandy into a small heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat on a low heat, stirring every now and then, until chocolate has melted. Remove from the heat and cool a little.
Whip the whipping cream and sugar until soft peaks form, then fold in vanilla extract.
Stir one-third of the whipped cream into the cool melted chocolate mixture, to soften the latter. Then gently fold in the melted chocolate into the whipped cream, until combined and fluffy.
Divide into small dessert bowls or glasses.
(If necessary, you can cover the portions with a cling film and put into a fridge for a few hours).
Before serving, garnish with a chocolate mint square and a pretty mint sprig.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Oxtail braised in dark beer

Have you ever cooked oxtail before? 

Until mid-November, I hadn't. I had eaten it before (for example during our trip to Spain last March-April), but never actually handled uncooked oxtail in my kitchen. Then, back in November, we had a Offal and Alternative Cuts Cook-Off on my Estonian site, and upon K's insistence, I decided to make an oxtail stew. If you get hold of good-quality oxtail (e.g. with lots of juicy soft meat attached), then there's not much you need to do with your oxtail. Basically, I had to decide whether I want to braise mine in beer or wine (I chose dark beer, Saku Jõulupruul) and which vegetables to go for (carrots, celery and turnips were my choice). Once you've made those decisions, you're well on your way to a beautiful dinner with friends.

PS I will be eating some again tonight. K. has just informed us that our friends P&K have invited us for a dinner of oxtail tonight. Mmmmm... :P

Oxtail braised in beer
(Õlles hautatud härjasaba)
Serves 2-3 (generously)

1 kg oxtail, cut into chunks
1 to 2 Tbsp oil
200 ml (just under a cup) of dark beer
500 ml (2 cups) good-quailty beef stock
2 carrots
2 small turnips
2 celery sticks
2 to 3 smaller onions
1 bay leaf
2 thyme branches
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil on a large frying pan, add the oxtail pieces and brown them on all sides on a high heat. Transfer into a large heavy-bottomed oven dish with a lid (f.ex. a Dutch oven).
Pour the beer and stock into the pan, and bring into a boil. Simmer on a low heat for about an hour, skimming any froth and impurities that appear on the surface during the beginning. When no more froth is appearing, then cover the stockpot with a lid.
Peel the carrots and turnips and cut into chunks. Cut the celery sticks into an inch-long pieces, the onions into quarters. Dry-fry all vegetables on a frying pan, until they're lovely golden brown on all sides (this considerably improves the flavour). Add the browned vegetables to the stockpot alongside the spices.
Simmer for another 2-3 hours, until the meat easily falls off the bones.
Season and serve with my caraway-roasted potatoes.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Multekrem or Cloudberries with Whipped Cream

I've sang praises to cloudberries before on this blog, including recipes for Goat Cheese Mousse with Cloudberry Compote, Home-Made Cloudberry Jam, Squeaky Finnish Cheese with Cloudberries and Mascarpone, Rye Bread Canapés with Cloudberries and Blue Cheese. And I must admit that most of these recipes are extremely simple. But then when you've got such delicious and luxurious ingredients in hand, then there's no need to really get finicky, is there?

Here's a dessert I served couple of weeks ago at a dinner party we cooked when catching up with an old friend and her husband. Apparently it's very popular in Norway during the festive season, but serving cloudberries - either fresh or as a jam or compote with whipped cream is typical at home, too. I used a jar of cloudberry compote that K's mum had graciously given us.

A true Nordic summer in one serving. 

Multekrem or Cloudberries with Whipped Cream
(Murakad vahukoorega)
Serves 4

200 ml whipping cream
2 Tbsp caster sugar
a 0.5 tsp vanilla extract
100-200 ml cloudberry jam or (drained) compote
lemon balm or mint for garnish

Whip the cream with sugar and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Fold in the cloudberries (if using compote, then drain it first) and divide the dessert between small serving bowls.
Garnish with couple of cloudberries and a lemon balm or mint leaf.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Egg White Cake Recipe (Munavalgekook)

Egg white cake / Munavalgekook

Have you been making ice cream or perhaps zabaglione recently? If yes, then you're left with lots of egg whites. Last weekend we had blackberries with zabaglione at friends' place, and were left with 6 egg whites after that. K. had already made the most beautiful macarons for the New Year's Eve party (see Flickr photo set here), so I had to come up with another idea. Meringues or pavlova are always an option, but then I remember an egg white cake recipe my schoolmate Kristel had shared on my Estonian site, where it had got good reviews. I decided to give it a go.

It's a bit similar to the famous Angel Cake (heavy on egg whites, no egg yolks), but it's not as virtuous as it contains almost a stick of butter. Psst - don't tell anyone! :)

And it was lovely. Very simple to make (especially with the help of my trustworthy KitchenAid Stand Mixer), and I loved the dense, moist and small crumb of the resulting cake. I made a plain version, but would consider adding some Nielsen Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract or real vanilla seeds, or perhaps couple of drops of Boyajian pure orange oil next time.. In any case it's a good recipe to have on hand when you've got lots of egg whites but don't feel like making meringues..

Egg White Cake
Serves 8-10

Egg white cake / Munavalgekook

6 large egg whites
250 g caster sugar
160 g plain/all-purpose flour
1 heaped Tbsp potato starch or cornflour
1 tsp baking powder
100 g melted butter (just under a stick), slightly cooled

Whisk the egg whites with 2 Tbsp of sugar until thick and pale and very foamy. Mix the rest of the sugar with flour, potato starch and baking powder, then sift into the egg mixture and fold in gently.
Finally fold in cool melted butter.
Pour the batter into a buttered bundt-form and bake in a pre-heated 180 C oven for 30-40 minutes. Test for doneness with a wooden toothpick.
Cool slightly before turning out of the cake tin.

Some other bloggers have tried this cake:
Ju @ The Little Teochew (2012)
Karen @ Citrus & Candy (2009)
Sarah @ What Smells So good (2009)
Erika @ Beyond Pasta (2012, though she doesn't link back to here)
Ronni @ Cooking Memos (2011)
Closet Domestic Bunny (with matcha!, 2012)
La Petit Four (another matcha version, 2012)

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Seven-Layer Salad, Estonian style


Here's another 'Estonian-style' dish for you, dear readers. But let me first take you back to my first trip across the big pond..

When I was in the US last summer (in June 2008), I spent a few days with a lovely foodblogger Alanna in St Louis, MO. Alanna took very good care of me, and fed me well. One of the dishes she introduced me to, was a Classic Seven-Layer Salad. Last night, at the New Year's Eve party at our place, I served an Estonian equivalent of that salad - which, rather appriopriately for a Beet Princess, also contains a generous beetroot layer. A recipe is adapted from an Estonian cookbook (Pereköögi kokaraamat, 2007).

It's best to use a straight glass bowl for this salad, so you could see the pretty layers. Also, make the salad at least the night before to allow the flavours to meld and develop.

Estonian Seven-Layer Salad aka Layered Beetroot and Cheese Salad
(Kihiline peedi-juustusalat)
Serves 8 to 10 as part of a buffet table

400-500 g boiled beetroot, coarsely grated
250 g coarsely grated cheese
4 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped*
4-5 pickled cucumbers, finely chopped
200 g frozen petit pois peas

250 g mayonnaise
250 g sour cream
1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

chopped herbed
hard-boiled quail eggs

Mix the dressing ingredients together.
Place the frozen peas on a colander and pour over boiling water to 'cook' them (or you may want to actually blanch them for a minute, if you prefer). Drain thoroughly.
Layer the ingredients in a glass bowl in a following order: place peas on the bottom, top with grated egg. Spoon about a third of the dressing on top.
Then add the grated cheese, then beets and cubed pickles. Spoon the rest of the dressing on top, covering the whole salad thoroughly.
Cover with a cling film and place into a fridge until serving.
Before serving, garnish with peeled and halved quail eggs and some fresh herbs of your choice.

* Here's my tip for 'finely grating' hard-boiled eggs. I simply peel them, place in a deep plate and mash with a fork into fine crumbs :)

(The salad just after layering - you can already see the beetroot seeping through the layers).

Nami-nami in Print and in Press

I've collected here print and online mentions of my English-language NAMI-NAMI foodblog as well as my Estonian-language NAMI-NAMI recipe collection, as well as direct links to articles written by me and food photos taken by me and/or K.

Happy browsing!


Everyone's a Critic, October 7, 2008
Nami-nami foodblog was mentioned in Debbie Elkind's article Everyone's a Critic published in an Australian SBS Online..

10 December 2007
Nami-nami foodblog was listed as one of the finalists in the 2007 Food Blog Awards
Rural category, alongside Lucullian Delights, Farmgirl Fare and Garlic Breath. I did not win, unfortunately, but it was such an honour to be a finalist in the annual food blog awards. You can read more here.

9 November 2007
The food section of Guardian Unlimited Blogs, aptly named Word of Mouth, mentioned my K's cannelés post in "Our Faves" section :)

21 October 2007
Wynn Williamson of the Wide Open Education site mentions Nami-nami alongside Delicious Days, Jamie Oliver and YumSugar on his list of favourite food sites.

15 October 2007
The Swedish MatFeber site has again featured one of my photos, that of the beetroot pickled eggs.

15 October 2007
Guardian's Word of Mouth blog posted an article by a very mycophobic Jack Arnott, who also linked to my wild mushroom hunting post, though he claims that mushrooms would 'give him shivers. Oh well, we all have our weird habits and phobias I guess..

14 October 2007
The food section of Guardian Unlimited Blogs, aptly named Word of Mouth, mentioned my wild mushroom hunting post in "Our Faves" section :)

9 October 2007
picked up my Sea-buckthorn Jelly post, adding it to their recipes section.

4 October 2007
Kalyn featured my Cinnamon Roll photo in her BlogHer post about Daring Bakers.

17-23 September 2007
I'm doing the week-long eGullet foodblog - you can follow the thread here.

18 September 2007
Tea Austen Weaver of the lovely Tea and Cookies blog featured Nami-nami in her CHOW Grinder article How Do You Say "Yummy" in Estonian?

13 September 2007
Liz Crain of the Oregon-based Culinate food site interviewed me recently. You can read the interview - Food for the taking: An Estonian blogger forages the forests and the fields - here.

11 September 2007
Amy Sherman (of the Cooking with Amy fame) mentions my blog in her Epicurious Blog post on Daring Bakers and credits me for sharing both my successes and failures. It obviously pays off being honest about burnt recipe notes :) Thank you, Amy!!!

9 September 2007
An American expat living in Tallinn, Rachel J. K. Grace, mentions Nami-nami foodblog in her interview to Expat Interviews, Baltic Yank: American expat Rachel in Estonia.

20 August 2007
Two of our photos (this taken by me, this by K) were used to illustrate Ryan Nadel's article Darker fruits could fight cancer in Australian crowd powered media NowPublic (Click on the slideshow to see the photos).

15 August 2007
My post & photo about Nigella Lawson's raw beetroot salad with dill and mustard seeds was featured by the Swedish news and lifestyle blog Matfeber. The same article (and photo) was co-published by the online edition of Swedish daily newspaper, Express.

8 August 2007
My photo of traditional Estonian rye bread was used as an illustration alongside Joel Alas' article about bread in Estonia in the English-language newspaper The Baltic Times.

July/August 2007
I was asked to test and review a recipe for the July/August 2007 issue of Oma Maitse, the local equivalent of the BBC Good Food magazine (see page 5 for a short bio, and p. 25 for my opinion of this recipe.)

23 July 2007
Elion Digitark, the web forum for the largest Internet provider in Estonia recommends my English-language foodblog as a good source of recipes, especially highlighting my experiments with kama:
"Nami-Nami - toidublogi, mida peavad eestlased, kuid inglise keeles. Juttu nii retseptidest, kui kogemustest erinevate toiduainetega. Korduvalt on selles blogis olnud juttu näiteks kamast."

4 July 2007
I was asked to translate the menu of President Ilves' and President Bush's lunch in the White House for the national weekly newspaper Eesti Ekspress, and was credited for the translation.

22 June 2007
Kristjan Pillak mentions my Estonian language recipe site in his article Jaanipäeval grillimiseks retsepte in the summer website of the national weekly newspaper Eesti Ekspress, providing links to 14 different shish-kebab or šašlõkk-recipes on my site.

17 May 2007
A full page article, Turulkäik Londoni moodi, about our visit to the London Borough Market was published in a national weekly newspaper Eesti Ekspress. Alongside were two photos taken by K.

10 May 2007
A full page review of our visit to the Petersham Nurseries Café, called Restoranitrende Londonist was publised in a national weekly newspaper Eesti Ekspress. Alongside were three photos taken by K.

19 February 2007
I guest-blogged over at Johanna's blog The Passionate Cook, writing a Culinary City Snapshot of Tallinn.

20 December 2006
Kristjan Otsmann recommends my Estonian-language recipe site as one of eight particularly useful sites for Christmas ideas in his article 8 veebilehte jõuludeks in the national weekly newspaper Eesti Ekspress:
"Kui inglise keel valmistab raskusi, siis saad abi kodumaistelt http://www.nami-nami.pri.ee/ või http://www.kokaraamat.ee/ lehtedelt."

1 November 2006
My fellow foodblogger Alanna of A Veggie Venture very kindly mentions my blog in her article Gather ’Round the Computer: Foodies come together in the blogosphere in Sauce Magazine.

24 May 2005
Kadri Vilen praises my Estonian-language recipe site in her article Vilunud kokkajaks tänu Internetile in Arvutimaailm (Computer World).
"Edasi võiks nimetada Nami-nami retseptikogu - sisaldab üle 6000 retsepti. Enamik on pärit rahulolevate kokkajate sulest ning seotud kokandussõnastikuga - tundmatud komponendid seletatakse kenasti lahti.
Eraldi on välja toodud nii tähtpäevadeks sobilikud kui rahvuspühadeks kõlbulikud kodumaised road. Tegemist ühe entusiasti suurekspaisunud projektiga. Tänuväärne üritus."

21 November 2003
Volks Vaagen writes in his article Internetti retseptijahile in a national daily newspaper Eesti Päevaleht about various online recipe sites. My Estonian language recipe collection is praised for citing sources for various recipes, its set-up and logic, good number of ethnic cuisines represented, and for its useful food dictionary:

"See retseptikogu on aus. Ja aususe eest müts maha! Viited selle kohta, mis allikatest on veebil esitet retseptid võetud, ei ole köögindussaitidele tavaline, samas annab äärmiselt hää viite teostele, kust leida muudki huvitavat. Nami-nami on lihtne oma ülesehituselt, kerge kasutada, suhteliselt kiire. Võiks öelda, et tegu on isegi minimalistliku lehega veebikujunduse mõttes, aga sellevõrra lahedamalt kasutatav. Leht mõtleb nendele köögitajatele, kes vajavad kiiresti retsepti või ideed samaks päevaks, sestap antakse päeva retsept eraldi ja targasti tehakse. Rahvusköökide (säälhulgas Eesti) arv on enam-vähem optimaalne. Neid võiks ju ka alati rohkem olla. Aafrika kööke napib, kreooli köök aga sisuliselt puudub. Arvan, et see on ainult aja küsimus, millal need read täienevad, kuna kõikidel külastajatel on võimalus oma retsepte anda ja see on suurepärane! Kokandussõnastik on vajalik ka kõige kogenumale kokale."

22 April 2003
Britta Hansmann mentions my Estonian-language recipe site in her article Kilomeeter kokaraamatuid in Arvutimaailm (Computer World):
"Nami-nami — kaks ja pool tuhat süstematiseeritud retsepti. Otsing, hüva nõu. "