Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ottolenghi's chargrilled broccoli with chilli and garlic

Ottolenghi's chargrilled broccoli with chilli and garlic / Rösti

Here's a lovely recipe adapted from London-based Yotam Ottolenghi's first cookbook, Ottolenghi: The Cookbook. The book is full on inspiring vegetarian dishes that I've been drooling over - and cooking - over and over again. I've already blogged about two of the dishes - roasted aubergine/eggplant with saffron yogurt and a refreshing cucumber and poppy seed salad, and here's a lovely vegan side dish using broccoli. I've reduced the amount of oil used in the recipe considerably, but otherwise it's following the book.

Chargrilled broccoli with chilli and garlic
(Röstitud spargelkapsas tšilli ja küüslauguga)
Serves 4

500 g broccoli
4 Tbsp olive oil
4 to 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 mild red chillies, deseeded and thinly sliced
sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

To garnish:
toasted almond slices or thinly sliced lemon

Separate the broccoli into florets and blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes and not longer! Immediately refresh under cold running water to stop further cooking, then drain and leave to dry completely.

Once the broccoli is dry, toss with 3 Tbsp of the olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Place a griddle pan on high heat and leave for 4 to 5 minutes until smoking hot. Grill the broccoli in batches on the hot pan, turning to get lovely charmarks on all sides. When ready, transfer into a heatproof bowl.

While the broccoli is cooking, place the remaining Tbsp of oil in a small saucepan together with sliced garlic and chillies and cook on a medium heat until the garlic begins to turn golden brown. Be careful not to let the garlic and chilli burn – they will continue cooking in the hot oil even when off heat. Pour the garlic and chilli oil over the hot broccoli florets and toss well.

Season to taste, sprinkle with almond slices or lemon slices and serve immediately or at room temperature.

Monday, November 28, 2011

And the winner is ....

... Joanna, a Brit living in Latvia. Please send me your postal address, so I can mail you your copy of Marika Blossfeldt's Essential Nutrition.

You can contact me at nami (dot) nami (at) yahoo (dot) com

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Book project No 2: Christmas at Home (Jõulud kodus)

Remember my first cookbook, "Nami-Nami kokaraamat" and its launch party on December 1st almost a year ago? The cookbook has done well, I'm happy to say - and I'm already working on the third book. Yes, the third one, as despite giving birth to a second baby earlier this year (and thus having two kids under-3 crawling and running around in the kitchen) I also managed to work on my second cookbook. Or kind of cookbook. My dear publishers, Varrak, kindly asked me in late Spring if I could co-author a Christmas book with Irina Tammis - she'd write the section on Christmas crafts, and I'd write the festive recipes. I was thrilled to say yes and so it happened that I was baking gingerbread and roasting black pudding in the middle of the August heatwave this year :)

The book came out in the beginning of November - first as part of the Suur Eesti Raamatuklubi (the Large Estonian Book Club, where it is the star book of November), but is now available in most bookstores in Estonia. RRP is 15.90 EUR and, obviously, it makes a wonderful Christmas gift to your loved ones (if you speak Estonian, that is :))

Here's a list of Christmas recipes - I've provided links to relevant recipes in English here on the Nami-Nami foodblog - and some pictures as well. Note that all recipes were re-tested and (usually) re-photographed during the summer, so the edited recipe in the book is necessarily not exactly the same as here on the blog.

Lehttainarullid pohlamoosi ja verivorstiga
Christmas pork roast / Jõulupraad seakaelakarbonaadist
Christmas meatballs / Vürtsikad lihapallid
  • Small blue cheese and marmalade tartlets
  • Joulutortut aka Finnish Christmas stars
Finnish Christmas stars / Jõulutähed / Joulutortut
Inglise jõulukeeks / Inglise puuviljakeekseeks

Estonian Christmas cake with cream cheese frosting / Pehme piparkook toorjuustuglasuuriga

Eggnog / Jõululiköör / Munaliköör / Jõulujook

You can see the book advertisement on the publishers' website here. Of course, I'm happy to answer any questions about the cookbook and the recipes - and if there's a particular recipe that catches your idea, but isn't yet available in English on the blog, please let me know. The Christmas is just around the corner and I'd be happy to share the recipe!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Marika Blossfeldt's 'Essential Nourishment' and a recipe for Kabocha Apricot Soup (book giveaway)

NB! I've got one copy of this wonderful book (in English!!!) to give away to Nami-Nami readers. See details below!

I had seen the Estonian version of this book at my friends' place, and loved it. So when Marika, who divides her life between Estonia and New York, and whom I've met couple of times, asked me if I'd love a copy of the English version, I said yes. The book's full title is "Essential Nourishment: Recipes from My Estonian Farm. Your feel-good guide to healthful eating and energized living, one delicious meal at a time". It's divided into three major sections - Nutrition and Nourishment; Lifestyle; Food Guides and Recipes. Marika has been trained in integrative nutrition - meaning a reasonable and wholesome approach to eating and living healthily, and the resulting combination of information on nutrition and a collection on recipes is excellent.

I've got my own favourites - her beet, fennel and quinoa salad is wonderful, as is the recipe for Rye Porridge with Sesame Seeds. Our good friends regularly make her Zucchini Walnut Muffins and Carrot Ginger Soup (I'm especially partial to those muffins - our friend Peter bakes them in mini muffin tins, and they're addictive!) There are several healthy- and delicious-sounding recipes I'm looking forward to trying as soon as the festive season is over - Polenta with Roasted Sunflower Seeds, Quinoa Pilaf with Shiitake Mushrooms, Dandelion Greens in Creamy Sesame Sauce, Chickpeas with Sweet Potatoes, to give you just an idea.

But when I asked Marika which recipe she'd like me to share with my many American readers, she suggested this nourishing soup. Hope you'll enjoy it - and why not serve it as a starter this Thursday?

Kabocha Apricot Soup
serves 6

What could be a better treat than a squash puree soup on a chilly autumn day? Although the original recipe calls for kabocha squash, any winter squash or pumpkin can be used. The dried apricots add a little twist of sweet and tart and a hint of sophistication.

1 kabocha squash, about 2 pounds (1 kg), cut into quarters, seeds and fibrous parts removed
4 cups (1 l) water
1 onion, cut into wedges
12 dried apricots, cut into halves
1 piece fresh ginger, about 2 inches (5 cm) long, sliced
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions

Place the squash in a steamer basket inserted into a large pot. Add 3 cups (750 ml) of the water and steam for 20 minutes. Reserve the cooking water. Place the cooked squash onto a plate to cool. Use a spoon to scrape the meat from the peel.

Boil the onion, apricots and ginger in the remaining 1 cup (250 ml) of water for 10 minutes.

Combine the squash with the onion mixture. In batches, pour into a blender or food processor and puree, adding some of the reserved squash cooking water for a smooth blend.

Return the puree to the pot. Add the butter and bring to a boil. Add more cooking water if the soup is very thick. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour into soup plates and garnish with chopped scallions.


NB! In the month of November Marika offers her book for sale on her website at a discounted rate. You will receive a signed copy and shipping is absolutely FREE in the United States: http://www.marikab.com/store/2021318/product/en
Hint: this beautifully designed cookbook might just be the perfect Christmas present for all your health conscious friends and family members.
European readers, you can order Marika's book on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.de

Furthermore, I've got ONE copy of this book to give away to a Nami-Nami reader (I'll ship anywhere in the world). To win one, just leave a comment with your name, location and the name of your favourite healthy cold weather dish. I'll randomly choose a winner on Monday morning (November 28th).

Friday, November 18, 2011

Latvian cranberry, cream and rye trifle 'Rupjmaizes kārtojums'

Lätlaste riivleivadessert

Our Southern neighbours Latvians are celebrating their independent statehood again today. Last year I shared a recipe for delicious light pork dish, Kurzeme Stroganoff, to mark the occasion. This time you'll get a recipe for a Latvian pudding, kind of rye and cranberry trifle, called rupjmaizes kārtojums (rupjmaize is the Latvian word for dark rye bread) or "Latvian Ambrosia" among English-speakers who know the stuff.  Cream, rye bread and cranberries is apparently a classic Latvian flavour combination. My local supermarket has a freezer selling Latvian ice cream, including a delicious (and deliciously large) tub of "Rupjmaizes kārtojums ice cream". Latvian popular dairy giant, Karums, has at least one Rupjmaizes kārtojums (scroll down here for the photo). A quick googleing revealed many other commercially made rupjmaizes kārtojums derivatives.

You can serve it in a large glass bowl, like I've done, or in pretty dessert glasses (like on this Latvian website). I've seen recipes that are using just whipped cream for the cream part, and recipes that are using just curd cheese for the cream part. I've gone the Estonian route and mixed the two :)

Latvian sweet rye trifle 
(Läti leivadessert)

about 200 g grated dark rye bread (shop-bought and make your own)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 Tbsp caster sugar, divided
400 g curd cheese cream
200 g whipping cream (35%, optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract or sugar
150 g cranberries, crushed and sweetened according to taste

Place the rye bread crumbs onto a non-stick frying pan. Add 2 Tbsp of sugar and the cinnamon. Stir, then slowly toast the breadcrumbs for about 10 minutes, stirring every now and then, until the bread is aromatic and, well, toasty :) Remove the pan from the heat and let the breadcrumbs cool completely.
Meanwhile, mix the curd cheese, sugar, vanilla and whipped cream (if using).
Layer the dessert into a large bowl or individual dessert glasses. Start with about a third of the bread mixture, then half of the cream mixture, half of the cranberries, then another third of the breadcrumbs, then the other half of the cream, then cranberries and finally top the dessert with the rest of the cinnamon-scented caramelized breadcrumbs.

Leave to stand for about 4-5 hours in the fridge before serving. Garnish with some whole cranberries.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Things to do with (Estonian) black pudding aka verikäkk

Someone left a comment on my blog this morning:

Just brought back home from Estonia some Verikäkk and still wondering what to do exactly with it :D Aitäh also from Spain for your blog ;)

I thought I'll help Enlil out and share some of the recipe ideas and photos with him :)

Verikäkk is basically a dense black pudding (also known as blood pudding or blood dumpling). It's a mixture of (usually pig's) blood, flour (rye, barley or wheat), fried onions, lard/bacon and seasonings. Here in Estonia it's sold widely, and it comes in large dumplings, weighing about 450 grams. Traditionally it was made in late Autumn/for Christmas, but is now available throughout the year. I personally don't think of verikäkk as a Christmas product at all (as opposed to verivorst or black sausages), and happily buy it all year round.

Here are some of the ways of consuming black pudding.

Fried black pudding with sour cream:

Fried black pudding / Praetud verikäkk hapukoorega

1 black pudding
lard, butter or oil for frying
250 g sour cream

Cut into thick (about 1 cm) slices, fry in butter until browned and crisp on both sides. Pour the sour cream on top at the end and heat gently. Serve at once.
Pickled pumpkin salad and lingonberry or cranberry jam/sauce work well as condiments.

Fried black pudding:

Fried black pudding / Praetud verikäkk

1 black pudding
lard, butter or oil for frying

Cut into thick (about 1 cm) slices, fry in butter until browned and crisp on both sides. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and/or lingonberry jam. (If you forgot to buy that in Estonia, then head to your nearest IKEA food isle).

Fried black pudding crisps:

Black pudding chips / Veritsipsid

I've already blogged about this, see recipe here.

Ülle tore ood verikäkile
UMA MEKK video verikäki tegemisest

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

My favourite beetroot soup, vegetarian borscht

October 2011

Here is one of my very favourite soups of all time, which I make about once a month (at least!). It's a vegetarian version of the famous Russian-Ukrainian beet soup, borscht. My version is delicious and heartwarming - brilliant for cold autumn days and dark winter nights. Yet it's light and refreshing enough, so it would also be good during summer. I tend to use sauerkraut during winter and plain white cabbage during summer (and prefer the first one).

Depending how good your knife-skills are, but it could be on your table in about 40 minutes or even less. I use the food processor to shred (or 'julienne') the vegetables.

My favorite beet soup
(Mõnus peedisupp, täitsa lihavaba)
Serves 4 to 6 as a main course

September 2007

400-500 g (about a pound) of beets
2 medium onions
2 large carrots
400-500 g (about a pound) white cabbage or mild sauerkraut
2 Tbsp olive oil
1.5 litres vegetable stock
1-2 Tbsp lemon juice or wine vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

sour cream, to serve

finely chopped parsley or dill, to garnish

Peel the beets, onions and carrots. Cut all vegetables into thick matchsticks (you can use a food processor here to speed up the process). If using fresh cabbage, shred it thinly.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add carrots, beets, onions and a pinch of salt and saute for about 5 minutes, stirring every now and then.
Add the shredded cabbage or sauerkraut, then pour in the hot stock. Bring to the boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer on a low heat for about 20-30 minutes, until vegetables are softened.
Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice, keeping in mind that a proper borscht should have a slightly acidic taste.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream (or omit, if you want a vegan soup) and sprinkle with some chopped parsley or dill.
Serve with some crusty (rye) bread.

UPDATE 21.9.2007
Hedgehog made this soup, too - check out her post here.

NOTE: This soup recipe was originally posted in September 2007. It's been fully revised and updated in November 2011.