Russian roll with Argentinian pears

 Everything is simple here. A few days ago, Argentinian pears were sold in a supermarket here, I’ve never tried them before and the price was attractive, so I bought a huge pack. Even though they turned out juicy and very delicious I still had some not-so-ripe left. Good to highlight, that using a bit hard but ripe pears that retain its shape during the baking process is a key to the good and not mushy filling.
I added tvorog (as I mentioned many times in my blog – it’s very Russian product) into the dough for my roll, it makes the dough softer and more tasty. Don’t worry, the dough won’t rip but make sure you carefully roll it out on a floured surface. Pear Roll
 The roll looks like a strudel, but the dough is absolutely different, it’s not that thin and thus much easier to roll out! It is tender&delicious and absolutely deserves to make it again and again. Another bonus, the dough can be make a day ahead! Plus juicy pears, sweet black raisins and crunchy nuts in the filling! Doesn’t it sound luscious? It is!😀Russian roll with Argentinian pears

Russian roll with Argentinian pears

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Ingredients

Dough

250g tvorog
90g soft butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 tbsp white sugar
200-210g plain flour
a pinch of fine salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
Filling
40g black raisins
hot strong black tea or water
1 egg white, optional
80-100g roasted almonds, chopped
450g (3-4) pears, cut into small cubes
2 tbsp brown or raw sugar
Glaze
1 egg yolk
2 tsp milk
1 tbsp demerara or raw sugar, optional
Method
  1. For the roll dough, whisk tvorog with butter.
  2. In another small bowl, whisk egg with sugar until pale. Add beaten egg into the mixture.
  3. Sift the flour along with salt and baking powder into the dough. Combine to get the soft dough, shape into the disk. Cover in a plastic wrap and put in a fridge for 30-60 minutes to cool.
  4. Preheat oven to 180C/360F.
  5. Wash raisins and cover with hot strong black tea or water. Leave to soak while ready to use. Drain.
  6. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into 30x40cm rectangle, making sure it doesn’t stick to the surface.
  7. Brush the surface of the roll with egg white (optional). Sprinkle with nuts, spread pears and raisins. Sprinkle with sugar. Slightly fold in all sides (thus the filling will stay inside the roll and don’t fall out). Roll the dough into a barrel.
  8. Carefully transfer the roll on a greased lined baking tray. Brush the roll with egg glaze and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden-brown.
  9. Leave to cool for 15-20 minutes. Slice and serve as is or with whipped cream/frozen vanilla yogurt/ice cream.
Enjoy!

Spiced cauliflower with peas

 A year ago I visited “Taste of Dubai”. It was a large, full of fun and activities festival, dedicated to food, cooking and eating! It brought together restaurant and street food, music performances, cooking classes and live cooking demonstrations. You could order some nice food, relax and enjoy the music, another great way to spend the evening was to cook along with top chefs. Many world-famous and celebrity chefs were invited to the festival, and I could watch how they are preparing amazing and tasty food, and then taste it. Among many chefs was Dhruv Baker, he is known as a winner of MasterChef 2010, and I didn’t miss a chance to sign his cookbook ‘Spice’. Spiced cauliflower with peas

 Honestly speaking, I’ve prepared only few recipes from his book so far.😀 They were not spectacular as I expected: for example, “caponata” turned out as a regular eggplant stew, that I make often too – only without vinegar and olives. But I really liked this recipe made from fried cauliflower florets with peas, tomatoes and a mixture of spices. Mustard seeds, fresh ginger and cumin infuse the dish perfectly, while chilli adds a mild spiciness. The final addition of fresh coriander leaves on top and lime juice adds a beautiful touch. I served this simple but tasty cauliflower with roasted chicken.
Fried cauliflower with spices
 I am curious about all new foodie things and lately, I have discovered on the Internet that the combination of cauliflower and peas is a common in Indian cuisine. I really liked this easy and healthy dish. Spices do wonders!:)

Spiced cauliflower with peas

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 30min
  • Difficulty: very easy
  • Print
Adapted from “Spice” by Dhruv Baker.
Double the qauntity of cauliflower and peas to serve the dish as a main vegetarian course.
Ingredients
200-300g cauliflower
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp cumin seeds, crushed
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
3 small round chilli
100g frozen peas
1 large tomato, finely chopped
2-3 tsp lime juice, optional
some fresh coriander leaves, chopped
salt, white pepper to taste
 
Method
  • Wash the cauliflower and cut into small florets.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan on a medium heat, add mustard seeds. As soon as the start to pop add all spices and stir for a minute.
  • Add cauliflower florets and stir to coat with spices. Cook on a medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes.
  • Add frozen peas and tomato, season to taste. Reduce heat to low-medium and cook for 20 minutes or until cauliflower is cooked.
  • Arrange on a serving plate, drizzle with lime juice if using and top with coriander.
Enjoy!
Fried cauliflower with peas, mustard seeds and round chilli

Thick lentil soup with pork ribs

 One is dreaming about spring and warm days, another like me wants the weather staying cloudy and windy as longer as possible. This soup is not something extraordinary, but it is comforting and hearty. It nourishes and fills you up, and sometimes that’s exactly what you need after a long day at work. I love lentils because they are healthy – contain protein, fiber and vitamins, and easy to prepare – you do not need to soak them for hours.
 Aromatic bay leaf and hot chilli flakes make this thick soup brighter! So, wake up your taste buds and start cooking the soup, it’s  a great way to warm up your belly and bowl!Thick lentil soup with pork ribs
If you want this soup to be vegetarian, feel free to omit the meat or try this recipe of red lentil soup (meatless).
Lentil soup with pork ribs, chilli and bay leaf

Thick lentil soup with pork ribs

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Time: 1hr30min
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
IngredientsThick lentil soup
200g pork ribs, cut into segments
200g beef, but into medium cubes
4-5 black peppercorns, optional
100g brown or green lentils, washed
1 small leek and 1 small red onion, sliced
2 small potatoes, peeled, cubed or sliced
1/2-1 tsp chilli flakes
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 medium tomato, chopped
1+1 tbsp olive or other veg oil, for frying
salt, black pepper to taste
small bunch fresh parsley or coriander, chopped, for garnish
Method
  1. In a frying pan, heat oil and fry pork ribs and beef cubes from all sides on high heat until just browned. Transfer the meat to a soup pan along with peppercorns, cover with water. Bring to boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes. Do not season with salt, it will increase the lentils cooking time.
  2. Add lentils to the pan, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in the same frying pan (you use another one if you wish), add more oil if needed, and fry leek and onion on a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add potatoes and fry for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in chilli and garlic, saute for a couple of minutes.
  4. Stir vegetable mixture into soup, season to taste and simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes or until lentils and potatoes are cooked.
  5. Serve hot, sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Enjoy!
Adapted from Rus magazine “Collection of recipes”, 2010

Sunday Breakfast: Oladushki

 One of the most-viewed and visited posts in my blog is “oladushki”. For those of you who doesn’t yet know the meaning – it’s Russian name for small pancakes. Yes, it’s absolutely incorrectly to call them blini as many people do (blini are large and thin like crepes, look here), and how they are usually called in restaurants or sold in stores.Oladushki with sour cream

 This is the perfect breakfast or brunch to spoil yourself with on the weekend, and it could be make in a short of time. Russian housewives most of the time use soured or any leftover kefir to prepare these soft beauties. You can try to substitute with buttermilk, drinking but thick yogurt, or as I did – used laban (local dairy drink). Oladushki go well with many sauces: honey, sour cream, sweetened yogurt, jam or sweet condensed milk. You can also serve them as a savory brekafast: with a cream cheese or sour cream along with cured salmon or caviar.Russian Oladushki with jam&yogurt

 Few tips how to make oladushki soft and fluffy (not only to add a baking soda for leaving):
you should sift the flour (add the air); do not over-mix the batter (it leads to tough texture);
let the batter rest for a half an hour and then do not stir it again (otherwise the bubbles will deflate);
carefully scoop the batter from the side of the bowl – do not dip the spoon into the center;
finally, when you flip oladushki over – do not press it with spatula.
 So, this or next weekend morning that you make these oladuski, make a few extra. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge. And next hectic morning you don’t need to skip breakfast: reheat them, sit down&enjoy and plan for a successful day.:)
Soft&fluffy Russian oladushki

Sunday Breakfast: Russian Oladushki

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Time: 1hr
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
I served oladushki with plum preserve and vanilla yogurt.
All ingredients should be at room temperature, so take them out of the fridge 1 hour ahead.
Ingredients
1 medium egg
a pinch of fine salt
1-2 tsp white sugar
250ml kefir (laban or buttermilk), I used low fat
150g plain flour
1/3 tsp baking soda
sunflower or any other veg.oil for frying
Method
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat an egg with salt and sugar until fluffy. Mix in kefir.
  • Sift the flour with soda into the batter. Whisk gently until the ingredients are just incorporated. Do not overmix –  it leads to tough texture.
  • Let the batter rest for a half an hour and then do not stir it again (otherwise the bubbles will deflate).
  • Preheat the frying pan (until a drop of water skitters across the pan), lightly coat with oil.
  • Carefully scoop the batter from the side of the bowl. When oladushki are dry around the edges and bubbles over the top – turn it over. Don’t press oladushki with spatula!
  • Transfer to a large plate in a single layer, keep it uncovered (you may keep them in a warm oven), while preparing the rest.
  • The best eaten fresh with your favorite sauces. But they also can be covered with a plastic wrap and kept in the fridge until next morning.
Enjoy!

Beef Stroganoff with pickled cucumbers

 Beef Stroganoff is a definitely a classic dish, which can be make rustic and simple at home and more elegant in a restaurant. I do hope you have already cooked this dish by following the classic recipe, that I posted, and liked it.😀 This time I deviated from the traditional recipe: firstly, I thinly sliced the meat (originally it’s cubed); secondly, used the thick cream along with sour cream; and finally, the main twist is the addition of small pickled cucumbers. Salty and crunchy, thinly sliced cucumbers give an amazing and unbelievably tasty note to the whole dish! I bet you will love it even more!Russian Beef Stroganoff with pickled cucumbers

Beef stroganoff is a staple and cooked very often in my house, so I just whip it up without a recipe in little time. The outcome is always the same – a satisfying meal with authentic taste! Of your course you need to follow few simple rules and you can be able to make the best Stroganoff like Russian cooks! You may use large pickled cucumbers, small gherkins or cornichons; crunchy dill and garlic are the best, soft or sweet are the worst. The best accompaniment is mushed potatoes or buckwheat. I hear you rice-lovers: use plain fluffy rice, but please do not use pasta or other noodles, it destroys the dish!

Beef Stroganoff with pickled cucumbers

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
You may sprinkle beef with a teaspoon of powdered paprika, if desired (add it along with flour).
Ingredients
Mashed potatoes
1 tsp fine salt (for water)
5-6 medium  potatoes, peeled, cut unto chunks
1 bay leaf
50g butter
50ml warm full-fat milk (or a bit more, if needed)
sea salt, white&black pepper to taste
Beef Stroganoff
500g beef fillet (sirloin is good),  thinly sliced
some flour, to coat meat
2 tbsp oil (olive or sunflower are good)
15g butter
1 large brown onion, thinly sliced
100g mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp dried thyme or 2-3 tsp fresh
6-7 small gerkins or 2-2 large pickled cucumbers, sliced
sauce
sea salt, white&black pepper to taste
Sauce
150g sour cream
100ml 30% cream
2-3 tsp Englsih mustard
100ml warm water, if needed
some chopped parsley, for garnish
 
Method
For mashed potatoes, in a large pan, bring slightly salted water to boil. Add potatoes and bay leaf, bring to boil again, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are soft and ready. Drain potatoes. Stir in butter, milk and season to taste. Mash it. Add a bit more milk, if the mixture is too thick.
  1. Lightly flour the beef from all sides, shake off any flour excess. Heat the heavy frying pan, when it’s hot, add oil and meat. Sear the beef from all sides. Divide into few batches if needed, so you don’t overcrowd the pan and steam the meat. Cook for 2-3 muntes or just until browned. Transfer to the plate.
  2. In the same frying pan, add butter along with onions, mushrooms and thyme. Fry on a high-medium heat for 5-7 minutes or until mushrooms are lightly golden. Then add fried meat and saute on a medium heat for 5 minutes more.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce: in a small bowl, combine the sour cream and cream with mustard.
  4. Add cucumbers and sauce. Give a good stir, season with salt and pepper. Cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes longer. If the creamy gravy is too thick, add hot water and stir.
  5. Serve with mashed potatoes, sprinkle with parsley. Enjoy!
Beef Stroganoff with pickled cucumbers