Sunday, June 27, 2010

Summer lunches

Fried chantarelles / Praetud kukeseened

Chantarelles fried in butter, boiled new potatoes and fresh green leaves from your garden, dressed with some sour cream. I'll never get tired of that combination!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Estonian Shashlik Recipe

Eesti šašlõkk

During the long and light Wednesday night most Estonians stayed up really late, sat around a bonfire and ate lots of barbecued and roasted pork and sausages. So did we, although we chose to stay "in town" this year and enjoy our new garden and patio. Few friends came over and we ate lots of delicious food, including two different types of pork, grilled chicken livers in sherry-honey marinade, boiled new potatoes with lots of dill, Estonian home-made cheese, egg and cottage cheese salad, freshly pickled cucumbers, home-baked rye bread, a crispy coleslaw, and various desserts. (Thank you, P&K and P&K for your potluck contributions ;))!

One of the dishes I really wanted to make again - and share with you - was the traditional Estonian-style "šašlõkk" or shashlik. It's a controversial dish. Most people buy their shashlik meat from the supermarkets, already seasoned and marinated. Those who make it from scratch can argue about the best cut of pork to use, whether or not to use vinegar, how much onion to use etc. I LOVE the hint of vinegar flavour in my shashlik, but it does dry the meat out a little, so you must choose a juicy cut of pork (this is NOT the recipe for using tenderloin or such like), or simply omit the vinegar from the recipe below. It'll still be a delicious meat dish.

Traditional side dishes would include freshly boiled new potatoes, a cucumber and tomato salad with some sour cream (but a coleslaw would work as well) and some ketchup :)

Estonian Shashlik
(Traditsiooniline šašlõkk)
Serves 4 to 6, depending on the amount of side dishes

1 kg pork shoulder
4 large onions
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 Tbsp vinegar (30% proof)
2 tsp finely ground salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp caster sugar

Cut the pork shoulder into thick slices (about 1,5-2 cm), then into small chunks, sized about 4x4 cm. Place into a large bowl.
Peel the onions and cut into thin slices. Add to the bowl with crushed garlic, salt, pepper and sugar. Sprinkle the vinegar on top:

Estonian shashlyk / Eesti šašlõkk

Now - wearing a pair of kitchen gloves - massage the meat and onion rings for about 10-15 minutes, so the onion juices are released and the seasonings are firmly massaged into the meat chunks. Instead of dark red (as above), the meat should look much paler now:

Estonian shashlyk / Eesti šašlõkk

Cover the bowl and leave to marinate for 24 hours.

Pierce the meat chunks into a skewer and cook over hot coals until fully cooked and dark brown outside. (Sorry, I cannot give more accurate timings here - it all depends on your cooking vehicle).

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Tonnato, the versatile tuna mayonnaise

Tonnato sauce / Tonnato-kaste (tuunikalamajonees)

Vitello tonnato is a popular summer-time dish in Italy, originating in the 19th century Piedmont. Cold thin slices of cooked veal are topped with a creamy tuna and anchovy dressing. I love the classic version a lot, but the tuna mayonnaise is much more versatile. It's been a frequent visitor in our kitchen this spring, and I've given below the recipe I've come to love. I especially like it on top of crisp crostini slices, but it's also a good dressing for some left-over boiled eggs.

What's your favourite tonnato recipe and dish?

Crostini with tuna mayonnaise, garnished with caperberries (Suupisted tuunikalamajoneesiga):
Ciabatta with tonnato spread / Saiaviilud tuunikalamajoneesiga

Vitello tonnato aka cold veal slices with tuna mayonnaise (Vasikalihalõigud tuunikalamajoneesiga). That's the classic way of serving tonnato:

Vitello tonnato / Vasikaliha tuunikalamajoneesiga

Uova tonnata or boiled eggs with tuna mayonnaise, garnished with some capers and lemon zest (Munad tuunikalamajoneesiga):
Uova tonnata / Muna tuunikalamajoneesiga

Tonnato aka Italian tuna mayonnaise
Serves 4

Note that I make my tonnato from scratch and not cheating by simply mixing mayonnaise with canned tuna :)

Tonnato sauce / Tonnato-kaste (tuunikalamajonees)

2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
2 anchovy fillets in oiled
juice of half or whole lemon
10 salted capers, rinsed and drained
1 shallot, finely chopped
freshly ground black pepper
150-200 ml mild olive oil
200 g good-quality tuna chunks in oil

Place egg yolks, capers, anchovy fillets, juice of half a lemon, chopped shallot and some black pepper into the bowl of a hand-held blender. Blend until you've got a thick paste of uniform consistency.
Add oil in a thin stream, still blending the mixture.
Finally add the tuna chunks and blitz a little bit more.
Taste for seasoning - add more pepper, lemon juice or perhaps salt.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Nami-Nami turns 5 today!

Baby-led weaning / Söömine on tähtis töö
This beautiful girl keeps me from blogging more often these days :)

My little foodblog, Nami-Nami, turns five today. It's been five fun years, and although I've been blogging less frequently during the last year or two (I've got a good reason, trust me - see above), I'm still enjoying it immensely and have no plans of stopping in the near future. Hope that you, my dear readers, will stick around as well :)

For those of you who have actually tried some of my recipes - would you mind naming your favourite one?

Here are links to some of the recipes that you've mentioned in the comments:
Canadian Apple Cake (November 2005)
Colorful quinoa salad with crayfish and avocado (February 2010)
Minimalist banana bread (May 2009)
Upside-down onion pie (January 2006)
Blueberry tart (April 2006)
Carrot ragout (December 2007)
Caraway teacake (December 2009)
Spiced rhubarb cake (June 2009)
Warm Ginger and Carrot Salad with Feta Cheese (November 2005/June 2009)
Raspberry focaccia (August 2008)
Mocca cake with toasted almonds (April 2006)
Kama muffins (June 2009)
Kama and mascarpone truffles (September 2005)
Creamy swede and pearl barley (March 2010)
Salmon confit (November 2009)
Toffee apple cake with cranberries (January 2007)
Cranberry upside down cake (December 2005)
Filo tartlets with beetroot and cheese (August 2006)
Plum cake (August 2008)

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Estonian Cabbage and Mince Stew

Estonian cabbage and meat stew / Kapsa-hakklihahautis

I realised today that I haven't been posting many Estonian recipes lately, which doesn't mean I haven't been eating lots of local food recently. I have. Especially cabbage dishes, as the new season's cabbage has hit the stalls. Today's dish is not strictly seasonal per se - it can be made in the middle of a rainy autumn, dark winter and promising spring. But somehow I always crave this dish in the early to mid-summer, when the cabbage tastes sweetest.

Estonian Cabbage and Mince Stew
Serves 4

1 large green cabbage (about 2 pounds/1 kg), finely shredded
2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
about a cup of freshly boiled water
freshly ground black pepper

400 g (leanish) beef mince
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 Tbsp vegetable oil

fresh parsley (optional)
boiled potatoes, to serve

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the carrots and the cabbage, season with salt and sauté for a few minutes, until the cabbage wilts a little. Add the boiling water, cover and simmer on a medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, until cabbage starts to soften.
On a frying pan, heat the oil, then add onions and minced beef. Fry, stirring regularly, until the mince is browned all over. Add the whole lot to the softened cabbage. Give it a quick turn and continue simmering for another 10-15 minutes, uncovered, until the cabbage is nicely softened.
Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley, if you wish, and serve with boiled potatoes.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Rhubarb ripple cheesecake

Rhubarb ripple cheesecake / Siiruviiruline rabarbri-toorjuustukoook

I've been playing with the idea of a rhubarb cheesecake for a few years now, and finally settled for this simple rhubarb ripple cheesecake (or should I call it "Marbled rhubarb cheesecake"?). I use the base from my lingonberry cheesecake (but feel free to use the regular Digestive-base), the filling from my Manhattan cheesecake and a simple addition of poached rhubarb (with some candied ginger added for a zing). We loved it. The creamy simple cheese filling, the tart rhubarb and moreish base work together like a dream..

Rhubarb ripple cheesecake
(Siiruviiruline rabarbri-toorjuustukook)
Serves 8

Poached rhubarb - what a colour!!! / Keedetud rabarber
Beautiful poached rhubarb

100 g unsalted butter, softened
85 g caster sugar (about 100 ml)
1 large egg
180 g plain flour (300 ml)
0.5 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt

Poached rhubarb:
250 to 300 g slender pink rhubarb stalks
2 Tbsp demerara sugar
3 Tbsp candied ginger pieces

Cream cheese topping:
600 g full-fat cream cheese, softened
125 g caster sugar (150 ml)
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla sugar or extract

First, poach the rhubarb. Wash the rhubarb stalks and cut into 1 cm chunks (I never peel the young rhubarb stalks, as the colour is mostly in the skin). Place into a small saucepan with sugar and 2 Tbsp of water. Simmer on a medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until rhubarb is completely soft. Stir in the candied ginger and put aside.

For the base, cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, thoroughly beating each time. Add the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Press the mixture onto the base and sides of a 26 cm springform tin lined with parchment paper. Place into the fridge to wait while you prepare the cheesecake mixture.

For the cheesecake topping, mix all ingredients thoroughly (you may use a whisk for a fluffier result).

To assemble the cake, pour the cream cheese mixture over the cake base. Spoon the rhubarb mixture here and there over the top, then use a knife to stir the rhubarb mixture into the cheese mixture, to get a marbled effect.

Bake in a preheated 180 C oven for 40-45 minutes, until the filling is set and the cake base cooked.

Remove from the oven and let cool completely before serving.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Ottolenghi's roasted aubergine with saffron yoghurt

Roasted aubergine with saffron yogurt / Röstitud pommu e. baklažaan safranijogurtigalant

Ottolenghi's new book, Plenty, is just out, and I've already bookmarked several recipes from the book that I'm keen to try. Meanwhile, I'm still in love with their first book, Ottolenghi: The Cookbook. I've blogged about their bright and beautiful cucumber and poppy seed salad already (and I've made it twice). I've tried their orange florentine cookies twice. But there's a dish I've made thrice at home, as well as twice at a Middle Eastern cooking club session I hosted few months ago. That's their fabulous recipe for roasted aubergine (eggplant) with saffron yogurt. I cannot imagine anyone not liking this salad (well, perhaps if you hate aubergine/eggplant and saffron :)) - it's bright and colourful, with contrasting textures and bold, interesting flavours. I've followed the recipe pretty much to the letter, apart from roasting the aubergine slices on a hot griddle instead of the oven, and slicing them into rounds as opposed to wedges. Highly recommended (if you like aubergines and saffron, that is :))

See also Meeta's beautiful version of this recipe. Her beautiful and detailed posting almost discouraged me to blog about the salad, but then it's my favourite dish, too :)

Roasted aubergine with saffron yoghurt
(Röstitud pommud safranijogurtiga )
Serves four

Roasted aubergine with saffron yogurt / Röstitud pommu e. baklažaan safranijogurtiga

2 medium-sized aubergines
olive oil for brushing
2 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted
a large handful of pomegranate seeds
a large handful of basil leaves
sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

Saffron yogurt:
a small pinch of saffron strands
3 Tbsp hot water
200 g thick Greek yogurt
1 garlic clove, finely crushed
3 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt flakes

Start by making the sauce. Place the saffron strands into glass, pour over the hot water and let infuse for 5 minutes. Pour the infusion into a bowl containing the yoghurt, crushed garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and some salt. Whisk well to get a smooth, golden sauce. Taste for seasoning and chill until ready to use (Can be made up to 3 days in advance).
Cut the aubergines/eggplants into 1 cm slices (cross-wise). Brush both sides with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill on a very hot griddle pan until soft and golden brown, then flip over and fry the other side until golden brown as well. (Alternatively - and originally - roast for 20-30 minutes in a 220 C oven). (This can also be done up to 3 days in advance. Keep the roasted aubergine slices in the fridge, but bring to room temperature before serving).
To serve - layer the roasted aubergine slices onto a serving dish, slices slightly overlapping. Drizzle with saffron yogurt, sprinkle with toasted pine nuts, torn basil leaves and pomegranate seeds.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Whole Bream in a Salt Crust

Bream baked under salt crust / Ahjulatikas soolateki all

There's a weekly farmer's market in our suburb, Viimsi, and there's a rather good fish stall run by Pepe Kala. The choice of fresh, cured and smoked fish is excellent, both local and imported, and we're thrilled to bits. During the winter we usually tend to buy salmon or trout - delicious and easy to prepare, but obviously a simple and non-challenging choice. So we've decided to buy some fresh whole fish (read: ungutted and unscaled) every weekend and try some new and more interesting recipes. Several friends have lined up for our Saturday Night Fish Feasts already, so the motivation is high :)

First up - a large, 2 kg carp bream (Abramis brama, 'latikas' in Estonian) that we baked under a salt crust and served with butter-fried lemon slices. You could use any other large white fish (red snapper, carp etc), if you prefer.

The serving idea came from a Finnish food magazine MAKU.

Whole Bream Roasted in Salt Crust
(Latikas soolateki all)
Serves about 4 to 6

Bream baked under salt crust / Ahjulatikas soolateki allf

2 kg whole bream
2 kg coarse sea salt

1 large lemon
2 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp finely chopped chives
1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

Clean the fish by gutting it (i.e. remove the liver and roe and pat the insides thoroughly dry with a kitchen paper).
(We didn't bother with scaling the fish, as we were removing the salt-crusted skin before serving anyway, plus the scales protect the fish during the long roasting process).
Take a large oven dish that fits the fish snugly and spread half of the salt in the dish. Place the fish on top:

Bream / Latikas

Spread the rest of the sea salt on top of the fish (you can leave the head and the tail out):

bream in salt crust / Ahjulatikas soolakatte all

NB! Many recipes I've seen mix the sea salt with lightly whisked egg white, as this keeps the salt crust intact. I didn't need that, but you may use some whisked egg white or even water to moisten the salt before patting it over the fish.

Bake in a preheated 200 C oven for about an hour.

Before serving, cut the lemon into thick slices. Melt butter on a saucepan, add chives and pepper and place lemon slices onto the pan. Fry over moderate heat, turning once, until golden brown.

To serve, carefully remove the salt-crusted skin - you don't want the salt to come in direct contact with the tender meat.
Place the fried lemon slices on top of the fish and serve.

Bream baked under salt crust / Ahjulatikas soolateki all

We served the fish with some cottage/farmers cheese salad (cheese, chopped chives, lemon juice, pepper).

Bream baked under salt crust / Ahjulatikas soolateki all

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Supelsaksad Café @ Pärnu, Estonia

A short photo essay of a wonderful café in Pärnu. Definitely worth a visit, if you happen to be at the Summer Capital of Estonia, Pärnu. You'll find Supelsaksad at the corner of Supeluse & Nikolai street.

Supelsaksad, Pärnu

Supelsaksad, Pärnu

Supelsaksad, Pärnu

Supelsaksad, Pärnu

Supelsaksad, Pärnu

Supelsaksad, Pärnu

Supelsaksad, Pärnu

Supelsaksad, Pärnu

Supelsaksad, Pärnu

Our daughter thoroughly approves:

Nora @ Supelsaksad, Pärnu


Supelsaksad, Pärnu