Plum cake

It’s a fact that spring came to this year-round sunny city too, and temperature start to creep slowly. During the day the weather is still nice for swimming and sunbathing without uncomfortable sweating like in the summer months. Another pleasure is to take an evening walk in the fresh air, or to sit outsite and enjoy sipping a tea while the weather is till cool. Having a tea without a piece of cake is absolutely wrong thing! :D So, you can guess that one of my favourite ‘indoor activities’ is baking! I had mascarpone cheese and ripe plums that used to be a jam, but mascarpone was nearly to expiry date and I had to use it somehow.. Plum cake ingredientsIt was a ‘mix all what you have’ cake, I also added a splash of cognac for an extra hit. After a half an hour of baking the cake was still uncooked and I was a bit worried. But the final result was a wonderfully divine and delicious cake! It was totally worth the wait: tender, moist and filled with amazing flavour! I will be making this cake again! :)Plum cake (with mascarpone and cognac)

Plum cake with mascarpone and cognac

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 1hr 15mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients for 18cm baking tin
50g butter, very soft
80g brown sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tbsp cognac (or brandy)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbsp lemon zest, optional
100-120g mascarpone, at room temperature
100-110 g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
4-5 dark plums, sliced
1 tbsp plum jam (or apricot jam), optional
Preparation
  • In a mixing bowl, beat the butter with sugar. In a separate bowl, beat eggs with cognac, vanilla and lemon zest. Gradually stir into the butter mixture. Fold in mascarpone cheese. Sift flour with baking powder into the batter, mix to combine.
  • Pour the batter into greased baking tin. Arrange plum slices on top. Bake in preheated 180C oven for 50-60 minutes or until the inserted toothpick comes out clean. Grease the top with jam. Let it cool slightly before serving.
Enjoy!
Tender and Tasty Plum cake

Paskha – Russian Easter treat

 In the previous post I’ve told you about the traditional Easter cake – kulich. But there is one more no-bake dessert for Easter, it’s called ‘paskha’, which means Easter in Russian. It’s made in a special wooden or plastic pyramid-shaped mold, which called pasochnica. Of course, it’s not easy to find such mold, but it can be easily substituted with a clean flower pot or a bowl.
There are many variations of the Paskha but of course tvorog (farmer cheese) is a main ingredient and mixed with eggs and butter. Some recipes call to mix it with raw egg yolks, another with cooked, the quantity of butter may vary as well. To flavour the tvorog mixture adding some chopped candied fruits, nuts, cocoa powder. If you love soft, creamy desserts that reminds a no-crust cheesecake you should definitely prepare it! :)Russian Paskha

Paskha - Russian Easter treat with tvorog

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients
500g tvorog, dry preferable
60g butter, soft at room temperature (not melted)
50g chopped candied fruits like orange peel, pineapple, strawberry
50g raisins
1 large egg yolk
80-100g white sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar
80ml cream (20-30% fat)
  1. First of all you need to beat the tvorog with an electric mixer until very smooth or push it through a sieve two times.
  2. Whisk butter for a creamy consistency. Add to tvorog along with 50g candied fruits and 50g raisins.
  3. In a small bowl whisk egg yolk with sugar and vanilla.
  4. In a small saucepan warm cream, then pour it into the egg mixture and quickly stir. Pour back into the saucepan, simmer for a 3-4 minutes, whisking continuously. Stir the mixture into tvorog.
  5. Line a paskha mold or any suitable bowl with a double layer of wet cheesecloth, pour the tvorog mixture in, fold ends of cheesecloth on the top. Arrange a weight (it can be a can or jam jar) and put in the fridge for 12 hours or up to 24 hours; allowing whey (liquid) to drain. When it’s ready to serve – unmold, remove the the cheesecloth.
  6. Decorate with candied fruits, if desired. To serve cut a slice or eat with a spoon.

Russian Easter. Kulich

 Today is Paskha (Easter) in Russia, it’s a bright and warm festival that is celebrated among Orthodox Christians. One of the traditional and famous treats for this day are died eggs, kulichi and paskha (in my next post). During this day we congratulate each other and say ‘Христос Воскресе’ which means Christ is risen, and the reply is ‘Воистину Воскресе’ – indeed hi is risen.Easter cake-Kulich
 Kulich is a special Easter sweet cake/bread which usually has a cylindrical shape and decorated with white icing. It’s made from rich yeast dough; raisins, currants or candied fruits can be added. Traditionally kulichi have a cylindrical shape, and some Russian housewives use empty tins from pea or beans for that purpose. After baking and cooling kulichi is glazed with white icing (egg white or water with sugar) and decorated with edible sugar beads, flowers and thin candle. Kulichi and died eggs can be also blessed in church; a part of Easter treats usually is leaved in church for poor people.Kulich- Russian Easter cake

Kulich recipe {Russian Easter cake}

  • Servings: 2 pieces
  • Time: 4hr
  • Difficulty: moderate
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I used large eggs. Egg for the glazing need to be very fresh.
The dough should be soft, but if needed add more flour.
 

Ingredients

350g plain flour

5-6g yeast
small pinch of salt
130ml milk, warm
1 egg
1 egg yolk
70g white sugar (or 90-100g to make it sweeter)
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla sugar
50g butter, very soft but not melted
60g raisins (golden)
60g currants (dark)
Icing
1 egg white
150-160g icing sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
Preparation method
  1. In a large mixing bowl, sift 100g of flour, add salt, yeast, warm milk and stir to combine. Cover with a wet kitchen towel and let it rise for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk a whole egg, egg yolk, vanilla and sugar with hand or electric mixer for 2-3 minutes until pale. Add egg mixture and butter to the dough, mix to combine. Sift the remaining flour and knead to combine. Cover again with wet kitchen towel and let it rise for 30-40 minutes.
  3. Wash raisins and currants, blot it up with paper towel, sprinkle with a teaspoon of flour – you need to cover all raisins with some flour, it allows them to be evenly distributed throughout the dough. Add raisins and currants to the dough, mix into the dough. Cover with wet kitchen towel and let it rise for 60 minutes.
  4. Line baking pans with baking paper, grease with butter. Divide the dough bettween two baking pans, the dough should occupy 3/4 of the volume. Cover and let it rise for 20-30 minutes.
  5. Bake in preheated 100C oven for 10 minutes, then in 180C for 30 minutes or until the toothpick inserted into it gets back dry. If the top become too golden – cover kulichi with a piece of foil or baking pepper.
  6. Take out of the oven, let it completely cool.
  7. For the icing, whisk egg white with few tablespoons of sugar and lemon juice until well combined. Or beat it with an electric mixer on a low speed. Gradually add more sugar and whisk again. Keep adding sugar until you gets the desired consistency (not too liquid).
  8. Spread the icing on top of each kulich with a tablespoon. Let it dry.

Enjoy!

Cover kulichi in the foil and keep in the fridge up to 3-4 days.

Russian Easter sweet cake -kulich

Spring Asparagus with mushroom sauce

 Happy Easter to all who had celebrated it on the 5th April! I know, you’d already eaten a dozen of eggs, so today’s recipe without an egg in it. :)
 A bunch of asparagus reminds me flowers, the start of spring and a time of new beginnings. Do you know that the name asparagus come from Greek word meaning ‘sprout’ or ‘shoot’. This vegetable is believed to have originated 2000 years ago in eastern Mediterranean region. Asparagus is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients, and has an aphrodisiac qualities!  ;)
I’ve been enjoying crunchy asparagus for a breakfast with a poached or scrambled eggs, but I’ve been looking for new recipes.. I also made a quiche with asparagus and roast chicken leftovers, which was tasty as any pie. Finally, I stumbled upon an interesting recipe which called to blanch asparagus and then top it with a mushroom sauce. I love this delicious and full of flavor mushroom sauce, that can be great with other spring vegetables as well or even with eggs! Below recipe can be served as a nice appetizer or a side dish which you can make very quick!Spring Asparagus with mushroom sauce

Spring Asparagus with mushroom sauce

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 15-20mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients
300-400g asparagus
1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped, optional
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, or 1/2 tsp dried
2 tbsp water or veg.broth
1 tbsp dry white wine, optional
2 tbsp cream cheese
5-6 medium mushrooms (button or oyster), sliced
1+1 tbsp grated parmesan
sea salt and white pepper to taste
  • For the sauce, in a frying pan heat oil, add onion, garlic, thyme, season to taste; cook until tender. Stir in water, wine and cream cheese. Bring to boil, then add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes or until mushrooms ready and sauce is slightly thickened. Stir in 1 tbsp parmesan.
  • Wash and discard woody bases from asparagus. Cook it in a boiling water for 3-4 minutes or until crispy, drain.
  • Arrange asparagus on a serving plate, top with mushroom sauce, sprinkle with remaining parmesan.
Enjoy!
recipe adapted from here

Citrusy Scampi with fennel salad

One day my husband brought home these strange-looking shrimps from a local fish market. A fishmonger called it ‘scampi’, wikipedia told it’s a kind of shrimps or langoustines. So, I’d decided to make a citrusy marinade as for shrimps and then fried it. Sliced fennel with cubes of bell pepper and orange segments worked out great with fried scampi. The smell was amazing! It turned out unbelievably delicious! This scampi recipe can be done in minimal time, super tasty and will leave you satisfied! Scampi with fennel-orange saladNow, it’s one of my favorite seafood meals. Moreover, it looks elegant and you can serve it as a top-class dish for your guests or for a romantic dinner under the stars in your garden. :)Ingredients for Scampi Recipe

Citrusy scampi with fennel salad

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 1hr
  • Difficulty: moderate
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You can substitute scampi with large prawns.
Ingredients
3 large scampi per person as a starter or 6-7 as a main course
Marinade
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lime juice
1/2-1 tbsp orange juice
2-3 tsp orange zest
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed or chopped, as you like
1 tbsp fresh chopped coriander
S&P to taste
Salad
1/2 red onion
1 small fennel bulb or 1/2 large
1/2-1 bell pepper, red
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp white balsamic vinegar
1 orange
S&P to taste
Serving
fresh chopped coriander
extra virgin olive oil or basil oil
Preparation method
  1. Cut the fennel and onion into  julienne (thin slices) and add to the mixing bowl with the balsamic vinegar and oil, toss in. Cut bell pepper into small cubes, add to the bowl. Remove the rind on the orange then cut into segments and add to the mixing bowl (save all orange juices and add it to the salad); gently toss in the bowl with all ingredients. Reserve at room temperature.
  2. Clean scampi, leave tails on if desired. In a bowl mix together olive oil, citrus juices, garlic, chopped coriander and orange zest. Add scampi and leave to marinate for 30 minutes to 1-2 hours. Heat the frying pan on a medium-high heat, add scampi without marinade. Cook for 2-4 minutes on each side, depends on the size of scampi. Season to taste.
  3. Season the salad and gently mix. Divide the salad evenly on plates. Serve salad with scampi placed on top. Sprinkle with finely chopped coriander and drizzle even more oil, if desired.
Enjoy!

Scampi in citrusy marinade

Sharing at 62nd FF party with Angie, co-hosts JessPrudy and all guests! Hope you all gonna love these bright, healthy and delicious dish!