Hello-hello! I love summer because it’s berry season! May be not that summer when the outside temperature is +40C or even 50C.. Hope you are having the same great summer as I do this time in Russia: lots of organic berries, vegetables and greens, amazing weather, long walks and talks with friends. But sometimes the weather plays a joke: in the morning can be so cold that you need a thick jacket, later so hot – you need a dress instead of jacket, and so on..
Talking about summer berries, currants is super common and one of the popular type of berry in Russia. I’m sure many of you tried redcurrants or seen it in supermarkets, or tried a dessert garnished with it. Here, there are three types of currants: black, red and white. They differ from one another not only in their color; blackcurrant is the sweetest one, red is tender and sour, and whitecurrant is sweet-and-sour with lots of seeds. And I guess, the white one is less-known, so I’ve been determined to make something tasty with these beautiful berries. Here, they are usually eaten as is or they make compotes (cold drink), jams. I made shortcrust pastry with tvorog (cottage cheese), filled with tender tvorog filling (yes, again cottage cheeese! I love it!) and scattered whitecurrants over the top. Yummy!
The recipe calls for whitecurrants, which are usually uncommon, so use redcurrants or any berries that you can get.
If you’re using frozen berries, don’t defreeze it.
I used 22cm baking tin.
100g butter, cut into small cubes
100g tvorog/cottage cheese (I used 0% fat)
70-100g sugar or fructose (depends on your taste)
300-350g sour cream (20-30% fat)
100g tvorog/cottage cheese (I used 0% fat)
1 tsp vanilla sugar/extract
To make the pastry, place flour, butter in a large bowl (or in the food processor) and mix to get breadcrumbs. Mix in tvorog. Add egg and mix until just comes together. Shape into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Roll the pastry on a lightly floured table to form a round. Grease the baking tin and lightly dust with flour. Arrange pastry into the baking tin. Place in the fridge to cool while you’re preparing the filling.
Preheat oven to 180C.
In a bowl, whisk eggs with sugar. Beat in sour cream. Add cottage cheese and vanilla, whisk to combine.
Take the pastry out the fridge, pour in filling. Scatter over berries.
Bake for 35-40 minutes. Leave to cool in the baking tin, then carefully remove from the tin and serve.
While I’m enjoying the time in my home-country, in Dubai is the month of Ramadan. It’s one of the important months for Muslims; during the month they are fasting (no food or drink) during the daytime. Traditionally, it’s normal to brake the fast with dates before Iftar. Iftar includes buffet tables with a large variety of dishes.
Mezze is a selection of small dishes, appetizers served before the main course in many countries like Turkey, Lebanon, UAE, Syria, Greece, Cyprus. There are vegetarian, fish or meat mezze. Arabic-style mezze platters often include marinated olives, fresh herbs such as mint and zaatar, labneh (thick yogurt), halloumi cheese, kofta (meatballs) and many others. I guess, almost everyone is familiar with classic hummus – pureed chickpea dip. I do like this tasty dip, it’s wonderful with roasted chicken or lamb kofta, or simply with bread. But this time I made unusual hummus -with roasted red bell peppers and pomegranate molasses; it turned out so delicious! I served the hummus with Arabic pita bread, olives and baked halloumi cheese.
Halloumi cheese is another tasty appetizer, which is pretty popular in Middle Eastern cuisine. Baked halloumi with touch of honey and thyme makes wonderful snack. Serve it warm with bread or salad.
Arabic Mezze: Roasted red pepper hummus & Baked halloumi
2 tsp pomegranate molasses (or add more lemon juice)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black/white pepper, to taste
Cut peppers into halves and place them onto lined baking tray under the grill for 15 minutes, or roast covered in foil in preheated 180C oven for 30 minutes. Remove their skins.
In a small frying pan, heat olive oil, add onion and fry over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, add garlic and cumin and saute for a minute more.
In a food processor, add peppers, fried onion, paprika, chickpeas, coriander, lemon and orange juices, molasses if using and pulse several times. Add extra virgin olive oil, and blend again. Season to taste.
If you want to make the hummus thiner, add a couple of tablespoons of water.
Serve with Arabic bread, pita, crackers or your favourite bread.
200g halloumi cheese
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp liquid honey
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp black sesame seeds
Cut halloumi into slices. Place onto baking tray lined with baking paper or foil.
Mix all other ingredients. Pour over cheese.
Bake in preheated 200C oven for 10 minutes or under the grill until just begin to brown.
Hello my dear blogofriends! I’ve been out of blogging for some time, but I have a reason: I’m currently on holiday in my home-country. The weather is perfect here, only +30-35C during the daytime, and evenings are cool and fresh. Moreover, it’s a strawberry season here, and my parents have got lots of delicious strawberries in their garden, so you can imagine how many berries I’ve been eating every single day. :D Local strawberries are totally different from those ones in Dubai’ supermarkets, they are flavorful, sweet and of course organic!
Another amazing thing about fruits, that cherries and apricots are both in season in Tashkent (the capital of Uzbekistan), and fortunately for me, plenty of these fruits are sold in Russian markets straight from sunny Uzbekistan, which is known for their tasty fruits.
And here is the picture of ‘zemlyanika’ or wild strawberries which I picked myself in the wild woods near one Russian village. I have no words to describe them! These little germs are full of wonderful aroma! You need to try these little berries at least once. :)
Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan, one of the former USSR countries. According to one version this salad was created in Moscow during USSR times, when Soviet government set the task to popularize the various national cuisines of the Soviet Union. Due to a very limited availability of the ingredients in most parts of the USSR, Soviet cuisine can be characterized as simple. So, the salad also had to be simple, tasty and nourishing. Another version says that the salad was created by chef of the “Tashkent” restaurant in Moscow, where it also was served for the first time.
Main ingredients are boiled beef and green radish, sounds simple but believe me the salad will be very tasty! Unhealthy side is dressing, because it’s mayonnaise. So, I suggest to make and eat this salad during weekend, or serve it for a special occasion and everyone will certainly be in awe. ;) You can also substitute mayo with sour cream, but the taste will be slightly different. Another option for dressing is flavorful sunflower oil, that sometimes mixed with a teaspoon of vinegar. Chose the option and enjoy the salad!
800-900g green radish (I used daikon/Chinese white radish)
4 eggs, hard-boiled
1 large brown onion
2 tbsp sunflower oil for frying
100-150g mayonnaise for dressing (or sour cream/sunflower oil)
fresh chopped coriander or parsely for serving, optional
pomegranate seeds for serving, optional
salt, black pepper to taste
In a large pan, put the raw meat, cover with cold water, season with salt. Bring to boil, remove the foam, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 50-60 minutes. Optionally, you can add few peppercorns, bay leaf, small onion to get aromatic stock which you can use later. Cool the meat, then cut into julienne (thin strips).
Cut eggs into thin strips. Optionally, instead of cutting eggs into strips you can cut them into 4 wedges and garnish the salad.
Cut radish into julienne. Sprinkle radish with salt and let stand for 15 minutes, drain the liquid. If you are using green radish, cover it with cold water and leave for 1 hour to get rid of bitterness; then drain the water.
Thinly slice the onion into half-moon. Heat the oil and fry the onion until golden-brown.
In a large serving bowl, mix radish with onion, add beef, season with salt and pepper. Carefully stir in eggs and dress with mayonnaise. Garnish with coriander/parsley and pomegranate seeds.
I had only few tablespoons of leftover mashed sweet potatoes and I couldn’t throw it out. I don’t know how this idea came into my mind when I decided to make cookies, and you know what? Leftover sweet potatoes puree got the new life! I mixed ingredients like for shortbread cookies; I was trying to make it a bit healthier, so I used fine oats instead of plain flour and raisins for a sweet taste. You can even omit the sugar or maple syrup and add more black or golden raisins, they have quite enough its natural sweetness.
And what’s your way of using up leftover puree? :)