7/21/2014

WARM CHICKPEA SALAD WITH ROSEMARY MEAT BALLS



I’m a meat eater. Everyone in my family is. For me it is natural to have some well prepared piece of meat on the plate few times in the week. It’s mostly fish or white meat, but I will never give up my grand mum’s meatballs. She used to prepare them for us since we were kids. I remember the smell of freshly baked meatballs in her kitchen. She always made small portions of the size of a golf ball. So yummy! This is my version.


 WARM CHICKPEA SALAD WITH ROSEMARY MEAT BALLS


400g of fresh minced meat
1 yellow onion
2 cloves of garlic
Herbs – rosemary, thyme, mint
½ cup of breadcrumb
¼ cup of milk (classic or almond)
2 middle size carrots
250g / or two hands full of green young beans
4 middle size brown button mushrooms
300g chickpeas (you may use also can package)
2 large tomatoes
fennel seeds
roman cumin
salt
pepper
lemon










Meet balls:

Cut ½ onion and 1 clove of garlic. Place them in a hot pan; add olive oil a stir till they get light brown colour. Take the meat and mix it with salt, pepper in a large bowl. Then stir in the mixture of breadcrumbs, milk, onion and garlic, plus thyme and rosemary (nicely chopped). Use your hands. Mix it all together, and then start rolling small meatballs. It depends on you, what size you choose to roll. Don’t worry if you end up with larger balls, than you have expected. Just freeze a portion for later on.
Heat up the pan. Use Ghee butter, pork fat or olive oil. When hot, place the balls on the pan. Leave them on one side for 2-3 minutes till they get nicely brown on the high level, then turn. Lower the heat, and let them cook for approx. 7-8 minutes.


Warm chickpea salad:

This salad contains warm and cold ingrediences
For the warm part, peal carrots, ½ onion and all the other vegetable for the recipe. Cut everything into nice pieces. Use a second pan. Grill the greens first with a light touch of olive oil (onion, carrot, beans). Add fennel seeds and cumin, salt & pepper. Then add mushrooms and grill nicely.

For the cold part, cut tomatoes, mint and 1 clove of garlic. Mix it with chickpeas, salt, pepper and olive oil. If you use cooked can chickpeas, you just need to rinse them with fresh water. If you use dry chickpeas, leave them in a bowl full of water over night. Then you have to cook them for 15 minutes in salted water the next day.
Add the warm part of the salad and let it sit a little  Use fresh juice from ½ lemon to give it a final touch. I do eat this salad without any additional meat very often as a main course.

Use some nice bowl or plate, serve 2 – 3 spoons of the salad and garnish it with the meatballs. I think you will have no complains. 


Enjoy :)





7/12/2014

SATURDAY KICK OFF SMOOTHIE



Smoothie definition

Green smoothies are a type of health shake or smoothie, made by blending green raw leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, swiss chard, collard greens, celery, parsley or broccoli with fruit such as oranges, kiwis, apples, mangoes, pears, and bananas, some of which may be frozen, and water or ice.To balance flavor and nutrition the typical ratio in a green smoothie is about 60% fruit to 40% leafy greens. (Wikipedia)





SATURDAY KICK OFF SMOOTHIE

½ red grapefruit
½ lemon
½ banana
1 green apple
fresh ginger root (depending how spicy you like your smoothie)
mint
2 cups fresh coconut water
1 tea spoon of honey
ice

Preparation 5 minutes, 2-3 portions






Place it all in to a blender. Mix it well. I do personally use Vitamix blender.
Store the smoothie in glass cups or bottles.

Serve cold & enjoy!




7/10/2014

PEACH/ APRICOT / ALMOND /SPELT FLOUR CAKE



This is a summer version of my favorite winter “Teeschnitten”, which I love to bake before each Christmas. I thought it’s a pity to bake this simple and beautiful cake only once a year. After looking around the house and the fresh fruits in season, I decided to pimp up the recipe my way. By using peach, apricot, lemons, almonds & spelt flour, I’ve completely changed the original recipe. It is healthier and fresher. For those of you, who do not tolerate butter, I suggest to use ghee butter or coconut oil. Regarding the sugar – there are many substitutes you can choose from – brown sugar or coconut sugar. I would’nt use liquid sweeteners – they do not blend well with butter. But you may give it a try.





PEACH/ APRICOT / ALMOND /SPELT FLOUR CAKE




160g spelt flour
1 TS baking powder
160g soft butter
260g icing sugar
6 eggs
2 peaches
4-5 apricots
120g pealed almonds

Preparation time 50- 60 minutes
6-8 portions





















The base:

Preheat the oven to 170 degree Celsius and line the baking form with baking paper (spread a little bit of butter on the form and then place the baking paper on top – it will hold in place better)

Beat the butter and 150g of icing sugar in mixer to a nice white cream. Then add 4 egg yolks and 1 whole egg bit by bit. Mix the flour with baking powder, and then stir in to the butter/egg mixture. Pour the batter onto the baking form, and spread in all corners. Clean and cut the fruit into slices. Make nice fruit layers on the top of the batter. Place in the oven and bake for 20 – 25 minutes.

The topping:

Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt into a nice fluffy “snow”. Then mix in 110 – 120g of icing sugar and add finely crushed almonds. Grind lemon peel into the mixture.

The final cake:
After 25 minutes of baking, take the base out of the oven and spread the topping over the fruit on the top. Place back into the oven and bake for another 15 minutes.
When the alarm clock rings, stick a toothpick into the cake to check if it is ready- if the cake does not stick to the toothpick, than its ready. Take it out of the oven, and let it cool down for 30 minutes.



You can serve it with vanilla ice-cream or whipped cream. Nice and fluffy cake for sunny days … Enjoy!







7/07/2014

SUMMER ON YOUR PLATE



Summer on your plate

There is nothing better than to enjoy tasty food prepared with fresh seasonal ingredients. Summer gives us so many options and varieties when it comes to vegetables and fruit, as a great base for a light summer lunch or dinner. I got some fresh cod fish at the Saturday morning market and I had some turkey breast waiting for me in the kitchen, therefore I decided to prepare a light meal of both – they fit nicely together. 




COD FISH & TURKEY STEAKS WITH NATURAL RICE, YELLOW ZUCCHINI AND TZATZIKI SALAD



300g fresh turkey steaks
300g fresh cod fish fillet
1 large yellow zucchini
2 carrots
6 spring onions
1 cucumber
1 lemon
2 – 3 garlic cloves
fresh herbs – rosemary, sage, oregano, tarragon
2 cups of natural rice
150g  plain yoghurt
olive oil
butter or ghee butter
salt
pepper

Preparation time 30 – 40 minutes






















Rice:
Melt 1 teaspoon of butter or ghee butter in a small pot. Add 1 cup young onion and carrots, stir for 2-3 minutes. Add natural rice and stir well again for another 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper and add water – 2 cm above the rice (you may also use chicken/vegetable stock). Wait until it starts to boil, then lower the temperature, cover with lid and let it cook for 25-30 minutes on low heat. The natural rice needs aprox. 10-15 minutes longer than standard white rice to cook well. When cooked, turn off the heat, stir and let it cool with the lid on.

Zucchini:
Cut the zucchini into quarters, then cut out the soft middle part with seeds (not necessary if they are not too hard – it is mainly done because of the high level of water in the middle part which can make the zucchini soggy in the grilling process), cut into nice half moon shapes. Add olive oil and a bit of butter into the pan,  add spring onions and zucchini once the pan is hot. Stir over and over and add salt and pepper. You want to end up with lovely pan baked zucchini - kind of grilled. Easy and tasty side dish, ideal for fish & meat. Preheat the oven to 40 grades Celsius to keep the zucchini warm.

Meat:
Use two grill plates. The only difference between fish & turkey preparation is mainly in the herbs added. If you have time, you may marinate the turkey in a mixture of salt and pepper, crushed garlic, spring onion, rosemary and oregano marinade. Mix with your hands and leave covered in a cold place for at least 30 minutes. But you may also do it without marinade. Just sprinkle salt and pepper over the meat and grease the pan with olive oil or ghee butter. Add herbs, garlic and onion to the hot pan to build a base for the meat. Ad turkey at the end and grill aprox 2 - 3 minutes on each side (turkey steak max 3 cm thick). When ready, place the turkey next to the zucchini into the oven – the meat needs to rest in a nice warm temperature for a few minutes to be ready. Get the fish ready in the meantime!

The preparation is a bit easier with the cod fish. Just sprinkle fresh salt (pepper is optional) over the fillet and squeeze fresh lime juice over it. Heat up olive oil mixed with herbs – sage, tarragon, add garlic, spring onion (you may also use slices of lemon – I like this option a lot!) to get the base. Make sure the pan gets nicely hot. Then grill fish from both sides – at most 2 minutes on each side. Careful – fish gets dry easily!

Salad:
Cut cucumber into small pieces and place into the bowl, add plain white yoghurt, 1 clove of crushed garlic (depending how much garlic you like in your food – you may use less or even more), salt, pepper, 2 tea spoons of olive oil. Give it all a nice toss. 


Well and that’s it! Serve with love and enjoy pure summer on your plate. Bon Appetit!

7/03/2014

FISH & GREENS FOR KIDS


We all find excuses, why our kids don’t like to eat vegetables and fruit. Yes, it’s a tough  job to convince these little monsters to eat something, what they see as disgusting, soggy and tasteless. My mum always used to say:

“Put it in your mouth, and if you don’t like it, just spit it out.”

Luckily, she didn’t have to use this sentence very often. My children are used to eating vegetables and fruits from their early years. But I completely understand many of you out there, who try the impossible without any progress. All I can do is recommend an easier way to convince your kiddos to eat more veggies and fruit.

Two things you should try – involve them while cooking, and try to “hide” every ingredient they could moan about – mix it, mash it, wrap it, make it look better!


FISH & GREENS FOR KIDS


1 big sweet potato
4 carrots
1 fennel
bunch of young spinach
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
bit of fresh ginger
½ cup of veg. stock
herbs – thyme, sage
salt
pepper

From the freezer:
1 cup of frozen young peas
10pc of king prawns
1 slice of salmon filet

 




If you have fresh prawns & salmon even better – 
in that case they’ll need 2-3 minutes less for cooking! 






















Start with the sweet potato.  Peal it, and cut ¾ into thick potato fries, use baking paper and put them on a hotplate. Addonion sliced into large chunks (onion will get nicely sweet and soft) to the plate. Add virgin olive oil, salt & pepper. Use your hands to stir the mixture. You want the oil to be all over the potatoes – that will make them crispy and they won’t dry out. Pre heat the oven to 180 degree Celsius. Place the potatoes inside and roast for approx. 15. minutes.



Clean the carrots, cut into small pieces (smaller pieces will cook faster). Heat extra virgin olive oil in a pot. Add the second half of the cut onion. Wait till it gets “glassy”. Then add carrots, 1/3 of sweet potato, garlic, herbs and grated ginger over the top. Let is sizzle for 2-3 minutes. Then add frozen peas and stir for another 2 minutes. You should still have a little bit of sauce in the pot – but just a tiny bit! Add prawns and salmon. Don’t worry that they are frozen. They will soften and the juice from prawns and fish wil prevent the dish from burning! Give it a nice stir, but be careful with the salmon. Don’t turn it too much – you want to have a nice fillet of fish. Add a bit of stock, put the lid on the pot and let it cook for 5 minutes. Then take the fish and prawns out of the pot. Your potatoes should be ready in the meantime. Turn off the oven; add the fish and prawns to the potatoes hotpan, and let them rest in the oven. It will take only a few minutes for the dish to be ready



Now you have a pot full of yummy greens. Since I know that my eldest doesn’t like to eat spinach that much, I decided to divide the greens into pots. Add the spinach in one half, and let it cook - only for one minute – it doesn’t need more. Turn of the heat and mix both “sauces” – you will end up with kind of orange and green sauce. To make it even more yummy for children – you may add cheese or fresh cream – but it’s not necessary.



Take a plate – and make your own design for dinner. You may try to make a funny face or kind of animal on the plate. Kids love such surprises. But if you are in a hurry – don’t worry. As I wrote before – let them cook with you. They will slowly start bulding a relationship with every ingredient. Have fun with it!



For the salad – just cut fennel into nice thin slices, add a bit of brown sugar or honey, fresh lime, salt, pepper & olive oil. Stir well, and let the ingredience work together for 5 minutes. So simple and delicious…







So! Good luck to all the mamas out there……





7/01/2014

TOMATO MARMALADE




Cook books. They join my whole life. The first cook book I remember was a very thick blue book my mother use to cook from (was probably age 4 that time). She got this old book, full of traditional recipes as a gift from her grand mum. These days you may find recipes everywhere – manly on the internet. But for me is nothing better than to flip trough a book full of great pictures, my notes, favorite recipes. One of my biggest treasures is this old book from 1943. Cook book written by Iren Bárovičová  “The Slovak housewife helper”. I have found this book at the flea market 7 years ago. I could not believe my own eyes. Not only that it is a book full of treasures, recipes you’ll not be able to find anywhere these days. This book is really special – it is signed by the authoress - as a gift for one of her friends. I have translated one of the recipes for you – Tomato marmalade.
 


TOMATO MARMALADE

1kg of ripe tomatoes

40 dkg of brown sugar

1 lemon

1 vanilla bean







Clean and peal the tomatoes. Then cut to bites, put in to a pot and lat cook on a low heat level. After few minutes of cooking you may mash the tomatoes (but if you like bits of fruits and greens, like I do – just leave it as it is!). When the mash starts to get thicker add sugar, slices of lemon and vanilla (scratch the seeds out, but use also the bean. Just leave it in the pot while cooking). Cook till it gets nice thick. Then fill in to jars or use right away. I think this marmalade may be great also as addition to meat or cheese. I would recommend using bit of fresh chilly and thyme to make the marmalade even more interesting.