Thursday, April 28, 2011

Quail eggs, dyed with beetroot

Quail eggs, dyed with beets / Peediga värvitud vutimunad

Another item I served at this year's Easter brunch. Same idea, but this time I used quail eggs and "pickled" them simply in grated boiled beetroot. They were adorable :)

Quail eggs, dyed with beets / Peediga värvitud vutimunad

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Beetroot and feta tart recipe

Beetroot & Feta Quiche / Peedi-fetajuustupirukas

Cooksister's Jeanne is hosting this month's Monthly Mingle, and she chose topless tarts as the theme. She's one cheeky foodblogger, you know :) As my little family has been growing, I've been very bad in taking part various foodblogging events, but this theme really speaks to me and hence this post. I'm contributing this lovely beet and feta tart for the occasion. I know, I know - it wasn't so long ago that I blogged about beetroot tart. But March's beetroot tart was this lovely quiche with blue cheese and pickled beets. This time it's all about feta cheese and roasted beets!

I realise it's a risky choice for this month's mingle, as the hostess isn't so fond of beets. Hopefully she'll still accept my entry and give it the consideration it deserves :D

Here's a reminder from last summer - beets from our own garden:

Our beets / Meie oma aia peedid

Aren't they cute? I think they are ;)

Beetroot and feta tart
Inspired by Molly @ Orangette
Serves 6

Beetroot & Feta Quiche / Peedi-fetajuustupirukasA

180 g all purpose flour (300 ml)
0.5 tsp salt
0.5 tsp caster sugar
100 g cold butter, cut into cubes
cold water

300 g boiled or roasted beets
200 g feta cheese
2 eggs
150 ml milk or single cream
fresh or dried oregano or dill
freshly ground black pepper

Make the pastry first. Combine flour, salt, sugar in a bowl of your food processor, then add the cold butter and process until you've got coarse crumbs. Now add a tablespoonful or two of cold water, until the dough comes together.
Flatten the dough into a disc and wrap in clingfilm. Place into the fridge for at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour.
Roll the pastry on a lightly floured surface into a circle large enough to fill a 24 cm springform tin. Transfer the dough into the tin, pressing it gently to the edge and up along the sides. Blind bake in a 200 C oven for about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven.
Great the beetroot coarsely, spread over the partly baked base.
Crumble the feta cheese over the beetroot.
Whisk the eggs with milk or cream, season with salt and dill or oregano. Pour over the tart.
Bake in a 180 C oven for about 35-40 minutes, until the egg is set.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Birthday cake 2011

Birthday cake 2011 / Easter cake 2011

I went for a fancy cake this year. A week or so ago I spotted this Limoncello, coconut and white chocolate mousse cake* at the Swedish Allt om Mat website, and fell for it. Making it required several steps and couple of hours waiting now and then, but it wasn't actually too complicated. And our guests today (22 adults + 15 kids!) LOVED it :P

Recipe in Estonian here.

Previous birthday cakes:

* I used marzipan eggs for decoration, as Easter Sunday and my birthday coincided.

Nami-Nami Easter Brunch 2011

(The post is actually written in January 2013, I just wanted to archive the menu for the traditional event)

This year the Easter Brunch coincided with my birthday, so I had a hard task of designing a menu that would celebrate Easter, spring and my birthday :) Here's what I served - something light, something green and something yellow - to go with my typical Easter menu.

Snow crab (surimi) salad:
Imitation snow crab salad / Surimisalat / Lumekrabisalat

Quail eggs dyed with beetroot:
Quail eggs, dyed with beets / Peediga värvitud vutimunad

Home-made wild garlic cheese and home-made caraway cheese (sõir)
Estonian home cheese with caraway seeds / Köömnesõir Estonian home cheese with wild garlic / Karulaugusõir

Smoked salmon (ordered from MEKK restaurant), served with creamy horseradish cream
Smoked salmon from MEKK / Imemaitsev suitsulõhe restoranist MEKK

Wild garlic pesto with almonds:
Wild garlic pesto / Ramson pesto / Karulaugupesto

Crostini with white cheese and onion marmalade
Crostini with onion marmalade and cheese / Suupisted sibulamoosi ja Saida juustuga

Puff pastry rolls with feta
Fetasnurror / Feta puff pastry wheels / Feta-lehttainarullid

Cannellini beans with tomatoes and onions:
Cannellini with tomatoes / Cannellini oad

Limoncello, coconut and white chocolate tart:
Birthday cake 2011 / Easter cake 2011 (Limoncello, white chocolate, coconut)

Paskha (sorry, no photo for some reason)

The guests brought along some Estonian rye bread, fresh strawberries (imported, of course) and the drinks (Prosecco, white wine, sea-buckthorn juice, freshly squeezed orange juice, water).

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter lamb for one. Or two. A recipe for grilled marinated lamb

Grilled lamb filet / Grillitud tallefilee

Lamb's a popular choice for Easter, especially a slow-roast leg of lamb. However, unless you're cooking a big Easter feast, buying and cooking a whole leg for a small family isn't really sensible or economical. Here's a dish that can be successfully cooked for one, or two (or more, if you wish so). It's from Nigel Slater's excellent book Real Food. Nigel suggests a potato gratin (esp. his stove-top Dauphinoise with Pancellta and Rocket) as an accompaniment. I have always loved the combination of lamb and cabbage, and as I had bought a new season's cabbage, I served the lamb with simple sauteéd cabbage. A wonderfully satisfying and light spring-time meal.

Grilled marinated lamb
(Marineeritud ja grillitud tallefilee)
Serves 2 to 4

2-4 lamb fillets, depending on size and the number of eaters
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 Tbsp lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp dried Herbes de Provence seasoning
freshly ground black pepper

Cut _almost_ through each lamb fillet horizontally, then open it up as a book. Place on a cutting board, hit with a knife a few more times here and there to flatten the meat and to allow the marinade to soak through. Put onto a deep plate or a bowl.

Put the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, herbs and pepper into a small jar, cover and shake until well combined. Pour over the lamb fillets, giving the meat a good massage :) Cover the plate with a clingfilm and leave in a cool place to marinade for at least an hour, preferably 24 hours.

To cook the lamb, heat a ridged grill pan until smoking hot. Place the lamb on the pan, press down with a back of a spoon and leave for a couple of minutes until the lamb fillet is golden and crusted underneath. Flip around and cook from the other side as well. The lamb should remain nicely pink inside.

Leave to rest for a few minutes, then cut into thin slices and serve.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter paskha for chocolate lovers

Chocolate paskha / Šokolaadipasha
Chocolate paskha, 2011, decorated with dried apricots

It's Easter Sunday this weekend and many a festive table will have a paskha (also spelled as 'pascha') as a centerpiece. We will, for sure.

Paskha is a sweet and rich curd cheese dessert that's traditionally served during Easter. I've shared two favourite recipes with you before - my traditional uncooked paskha with pistachio nuts and craisins and creamy cooked paskha with egg yolks. Here's another delicious paskha, especially for those of you who love chocolate!

Chocolate paskha
(Šokolaadisõbra kohupiimapasha)
Serves 8

Easter brunch / Kevadpühade brantš: Chocolate pashka / šokolaadisõbra kohupiimapasha
Chocolate paskha, 2009, decorated with candied kumquats

500 g curd cheese (kohupiim/tvorog) or ricotta
100 ml whipping cream
100 g dark chocolate, chopped
75 g butter, cut into cubes
50 g caster sugar
handful of dried apricots
handful of dried seedless raisins

Place raisins and apricots into a colander, pour over boiling water and drain thoroughly. Put aside.

Place cream, chocolate and butter into a small heavy saucepan and heat gently, stirring with a wooden spoon, until chocolate and butter are melted and you've got a luscious brown sauce. Remove the pot from the heat and immediately fold in the curd cheese, sugar, apricots and raisins. Mix until combined.

Line a special paskha-dish or a fine sieve with a double layer of cotton muslin that you've rinsed under cold water and wrung dry. Pour the curd cheese mixture into the dish, place a small plate on top. Place the filled paskha-dish over a bowl to collect any whey liquid that will drip out of the paskha.

To serve, turn the paskha onto a plate, remove the muslin and paskha dish or sieve.

 Decorate as you please - I love the contrast of chocolate-coloured paskha and something orange (apricots, candied kumquats etc).

Friday, April 15, 2011

Baked Lemon Cheesecake

Baked Lemon Cheesecake

Have you decided upon your weekend cake yet? If not, then may I recommend this lovely and creamy and very lemony baked cheesecake? One of the local dairies has began to market cream cheese in 400 g tubs, and I had had one of those in my fridge for week or so. As I had also come across some very nice large Spanish lemons, I ended up making this delicious and creamy baked lemon cheesecake. I used a smaller cake tin this time, ending in a slightly higher cheesecake, but this would be also nice if made in 24 cm tin.

Note that this has quite a thick biscuit base, which nicely balances the zesty lemon filling. You may use much less, if you prefer.

Baked Lemon Cheesecake
Serves 8

250 g Digestive biscuits
125 g butter, melted

400 g cream cheese, softened
150 g caster sugar
1 heaped Tbsp finely grated lemon rind
4 Tbsp lemon juice
3 large eggs

whipped cream, to serve (optional)

Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease a 20 cm round springform cake tin with butter, line the base with parchment paper. Process biscuits into fine crumbs, add melted butter and combine (I actually crushed the biscuits with a wooden spoon and mixed it all by hand). Press the cookie mixture over base and sides of the prepared tin. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese, sugar and lemon rind together until smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until combined. Add lemon juice, beat for another minute. Pour the mixture into prepared cake tin.
Bake for about 1 hour or until filling is just set (mixture may wobble slightly in centre, but will firm on standing). Cool in oven with door slightly ajar.
Refrigerate for 4 hours or until cold.
Garnish with some lemon zest and serve with cream.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Swedish coffee cake aka kärleksmums

Kärleksmums / Love yummies / Swedish coffee cake / Rootsi kohvikook

I was translating some Swedish recipes the other day, when I came across the word 'långpanna'. I knew it was an oven sheet, but wasn't sure about the size of it. A quick internet search revealed that it's the deep-sided oven sheet, about 30x35 cm in size, that's used for baking kärleksmums. Although I know about quite a few Swedish cakes and pastries, I hadn't heard about these 'love yummies', but was intrigued. They are described as a slightly lighter alternative to regular brownies and are apparently sold pretty much in every café in dear old Sverige. This must be indeed the cake - a friend of mine - Airi - who lived in Sweden for quite a few years during her 20s, instantly recognised the cake at a party last weekend, where I brought it along.

Our little family loved it - not too chocolatey or rich, but still with a good amount of cocoa and very satisfying.

Both Anne and Dagmar have blogged about that particular cake as well, good Swedish foodbloggers as they are ;)

(Kärleksmums ehk kohviglasuuriga kakaokook)
Makes about 30 squares

150 g butter, melted
3 large eggs
250 g caster sugar
150 ml milk
240 g plain flour/all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla sugar

Coffee-chocolate glaze:
75 g butter
2 Tbsp strong coffee
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla sugar
about 200 g icing sugar/confectioner's sugar

desiccated/shredded coconut, to decorate

Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F.
Whisk eggs and sugar until thick and pale. Fold in the melted butter (cooled!) and milk.
Combine the dry ingredients, then fold quickly and gently into the wet ingredients.
Spoon the batter onto a lined cookie sheet (abut 30x35 cm).
Bake in a preheated 20 C oven for about 15-20 minutes, until the cake feels springy when touched with a finger. Take out of the oven and let cool.
For the glaze, melt the butter over a low heat, stir in the rest of the ingredients. Spread the glaze over the cooled cake base.
Sprinkle with plenty of shredded coconut.

Cut in to squares before serving.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Braised pork chops with sautéed tomatoes

Braised pork chops with stewed tomato / Siga tomatises kastmes

We've got a nice and pretty well-known butcher's shop near our house, and I do try to buy most of my meat from there. There other day I returned with a nice piece of pork, top loin, to be more specific. As there are only two big and one small eater around our table during the weekdays, I divided the meat into two. I had a clear idea that I'll use half of the meat to make my mum's very delicious and special pork stew. The other half I wanted to use for something I hadn't made before. I did a quick web search and came across a lovely-sounding recipe in the the Australian Better Homes and Gardens magazine. We didn't have to regret the choice - the slightly tangy tomato sauce was an excellent accompaniment to the braised pork chops. No other extras were necessary.

Braised pork chops with sautéed tomatoes
(Siga tomatises kastmes)
Adapted from Australian Better Homes & Gardens magazine
Serves 4

8 small or 4 large pork loin chops, trimmed of excess fat
4 Tbsp all-purpose/plain flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-2 Tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 large (red) onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
400 g can chopped peeled tomatoes
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 Tbsp capers, rinsed

Season flour with salt and pepper on a deep plate. Coat pork chops in flour mixture and dust off excess.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based pan. Add pork chops and cook on each side for 3-4 minutes. Remove from pan and put aside on a plate.
Add the onions to the pan and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add tomato, vinegar, rosemary and capers and stir to combine. Simmer for 3-4 minutes.
Taste for seasoning, then return chops to pan and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Meatless Monday: Oven-roasted pepper and gnocchi with feta cheese

Gnocchi with roasted tomatoes and peppers / Gnocchi röstitud tomati-paprikapadjal

I find gnocchi so much more interesting than pasta recently - there's more bite to them and I love their pillowy shape. In any case, I find myself throwing a packet of fresh potato gnocchi into my shopping cart much more frequently recently. I've blogged about one of the gnocchi dishes on the blog earlier - Gnocchi Puttanesca - and here's my latest find. I started with a recipe for oven roasted pepper and garlic gnocchi in an old issue of British Delicious. However, I more than doubled the amount of feta cheese required (the original recipe had a just 75 grams of feta for four persons - that's nearly not enough, don't you agree!). Also, I LOVE roasted feta cheese, so I adapted the recipe further.

Oven-roasted pepper and gnocchi with feta cheese and rocket
(Gnocchi röstitud tomatite, paprika ja fetaga)
Serves 4

600 g ripe small tomatoes, quartered
2 red peppers, deseeded, cored and cut into chunks
4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 tbsp olive oil
500 g fresh potato gnocchi
200 g feta cheese, crumbled
50 g fresh wild rocket/arugula
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 220°C/450F.
In a medium-sized roasting tin, toss together the tomatoes, peppers, garlic and olive oil. Season. Roast for 25-30 minutes until softened. Remove from the oven and mash all the ingredients with a fork to a thickish, coarse sauce. Season to taste and return to the turned-off oven to keep warm.
Meanwhile, cook the gnocchi in lightly salted boiling water according to the packet instructions or until they come to the boil and float on the surface of the water. Drain well and toss in the tomato and pepper sauce. Scatter with the feta and return to the oven for another 10 minutes or so, until feta is slightly golden and warmed through.
Top with rocket leaves, season with freshly ground black pepper and serve.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Spring has sprung!

Kasemahl tilkumas 2011

“Spring has sprung!” said the bumble bee.
“How do you know?” said the old oak tree.
“I just saw a daffodil blooming on a windy hill!” – Anonymous

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Cod liver paté on toast

Cod liver toast / Tursamaksasalat

I've briefly mentioned cod liver on Nami-Nami previously - here and here, but it deserves a new post :) There are almost no blog posts on the topic - a FoodBlogSearch enquiry ends with plenty of posts about cod liver oil capsules, and just one food blog posts apart from mine, written by Rosie Dequattro (now available only in in cache) and a mention of foie de morue by Clotilde back in 2004 (!). I always keep a can of cod liver chunks in oil in the larder, as it's a great stand-by to have when you have unexpected friends. Or when you simply need a lunch in a hurry.

I got the recipe from my mum, but it's the same universal recipe used in pretty much every cod-liver-loving family in Estonia (or Russia, for that matter, as Rosie's post reveals). I love it on toast, but you can also serve it to fill vol-au-vents or top small crostini.

Cod Liver Paté
(Klassikaline tursamaksasalat)

Cod liver toast / Tursamaksasalat

190 g can cod liver chunks in oil (look for it in Russian markets)
1-2 eggs, boiled, peeled and finely chopped
a small (shallot) onion, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Drain the cod liver, then place in a small bowl and mash with a fork. Add the egg and onion, season with salt and pepper. (You can add some mayonnaise, if you want a smoother paté, but it's not really necessary).
Garnish with fresh herbs (dill, parsley and chives are especially fine here) and serve.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Whole-baked fish with garlic butter, lemon salt, and dill mayonnaise

Whole baked seabass with lemon salt / Küpsetatud kuld-merikoger sidrunisoola ja küüslaugumajoneesiga

If you're looking for a simple, yet impressive fish dish for the weekend, then this adaptation of Donna Hay's recipe could be just a thing. Very simple to make, yet impressive-looking and delicious. I used two doradas a.k.a. gilt-head bream (Sparus aurata), but any similar-sized white-fleshed fish would work (seabass, snapper, bream etc). I've also downsized the recipe to suit our little family, and I served it with dill mayonnaise instead of garlic one. We do love garlic at our house, but as the fish was already baked with garlic butter, we thought that garlic mayonnaise as a side dish would be slightly overdoing on the garlic front.

K. really-really loved this, and volunteered to bring home the fish whenever necessary, just so he could enjoy this dish again.

Whole baked fish with garlic butter, lemon salt and dill mayonnaise
(Kala küüslauguvõi, sidrunisoola ja tillimajoneesiga)
Serves 2

2 smaller whole fish, scaled (if necessary) and gutted
50 g butter, at room temperature
2 garlic cloves, crushed
lemon wedges, to serve

1 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp sea salt flakes

100 g good-quality mayonnaise
1 small garlic clove, crushed
a generous Tbsp freshly chopped dill

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
To make the lemon salt, place the lemon zest and salt in a bowl, mix well. Set aside.
To make the dill mayonnaise, combine mayonnaise, garlic and dill. Set aside.
Use a small, sharp knife to make small slits in the fish skin. Combine the butter and garlic and place about a tablespoon of the butter mixture in the cavity of each fish. Dot the remaining garlic butter over the fish.
Place on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and bake for 30–35 minutes or until cooked through. Serve with lemon salt, dill mayonnaise and lemon wedges.