Fish. Arabian red grouper

 Hello-hello! Many of us know that fish is loaded with lots of important nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, plus it is a low-fat and high-protein food. But let’s speak honestly: do you consume it at least once a week? I bet you often stick to the same preferences, it sounds “easier” to cook “favourite” chicken thighs or simply grill sausages… Maybe because you don’t know how to cook fish properly? or don’t like its smell?
 And for those of you who really like fish, what type do you prefer? Have you ever wonder how do you choose it: is it common salmon or tilapia, or do you buy whatever is sold on the market? Do you always stick to the same recipes or experimenting is your motto?
What are your thoughts, guys?
I like fish, most often I cook salmon, sea bream or sea bass. The easiest way to cook fish is Bake it. You need season fish, arrange it on a baking sheet/dish and bake until it’s done. Sounds easy, but if the cooked fish is too flakey that unfortunately means your overcooked it, and most probably it became dry and tastes not that nice as it should be. Well, it’s not a secret that I overcook fish quite often, especially fillets… I think I need to buy a special thermometer.. because how on earth I should check that fish color turns from translucent to opaque without flaking the fish? If it’s not right, I have to bake (cook) it longer and then flake it again..? So, finally, you will serve ruined-flakey fish instead of a whole piece of fillet. I prefer to cook it a bit longer that it has to be. I desperately need a fish thermometer! Red grouper with citrus slices and fresh herbs
This beautiful fish called ‘grouper’, it was caught in the Arabian Gulf (i.e in the UAE; I like to try everything local and that’s s why I chose it). When I don’t have any new ideas how to cook fish, I stuff it with fresh herbs and beautifully aromatic citrus slices, sprinkle with some extra dried ones plus seasoning and bake; and it turns out always good. If the fish itself is fresh and good, you can’t spoil it, right?
Red grouper

Baked Arabian red grouper

Tip: I have read 140F/60C is a desired internal temperature.
What You’ll Need
2 red grouper fishes
fresh coriander
fresh fennel or dill
some chopped garlic
few lemon slices+juice
few lime slices+juice
1/2 tsp dried fennel
freshly ground pepper
sea salt
EV olive oil
How to Make It
  • Wash, pat dry fish. Arrange on a baking tray.
  • Drizzle with lemon or lime juice, and season inside and out.
  • Stuff with fresh herbs and citrus slices.
  • Sprinkle with dried fennel and extra seasoning.
  • Drizzle with a bit of olive oil.
  • Bake in preheated 360F/180C oven for 15-18 minutes or until it’s cooked.

Enjoy!

Arabian Red grouper

Spring quiche with asparagus and ricotta

 Hello guys! I need to confess, I’m loving quiches and can eat it anytime: for lunch, dinner and simply whenever I’m hungry. I was browsing the net the other day, looking at various beautiful green salads with lots of leaves and spring vegetables, when I realised that I haven’t prepared or even tried somewhere a quiche with asparagus. In cafes  asparagus is most of the time served as a side dish or part of a salad. So, I was feeling very excited to make a quiche with beautiful asparagus! While soft and buttery crust was chilling in a fridge, I was wondering about the filling: to use asparagus alone or add something else, use only double cream, or probably add  some nice cheese in it.. So many ideas, so little time. Finally, I used double cream along with ricotta, that by a lucky chance was in the fridge, plus I threw a handful of frozen peas in.Milkandbun
 Can’t describe how good it was! Flaky, buttery, aromatic crust holds beautifully yellow custard-ish filling. Delicious!
Milkandbun
I was enjoying it with a cup of milky tea. You can serve it with some lettuce-cucumbers salad on side. Milkandbun

Spring quiche with asparagus and ricotta

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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What You’ll Need
Crust
200g plain flour
100g cold butter, cubed
1 medium egg, cold from the fridge
1/3 tsp salt
1-2 tbsp ice-cold water, if needed
Filling
250g ricotta
2 large eggs
100g 35% whipped cream (or double cream)
baby/young asparagus 
a handful of peas (frozen)
S&P to taste
How to Make It
Crust. Put flour, salt and butter in a big bowl. Quickly rub ingredients together until coarse breadcrumbs (or use food processor). Add egg and mix until the dough is formed. Pour in water if needed. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight. You can keep the pastry in a fridge up to 3 days.
Roll out 3-4mm thick dough to fit your baking tin. Bake blind in preheated 200C oven for 20 minutes, then without weights for 10 minutes.
Filling/Assembling. Whisk ricotta with eggs, add cream and season to taste. Arrange vegetables, pour the egg mixture over veggies. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper, if desired. Bake in 180C preheated oven for 35 minutes or until the filling is set. 
Let the quiche slightly cool in the tin, then carefully transfer to the serving plate to wooden board, slice and serve.
 
Enjoy! 

Russian Easter Cake (Kulich)

 Every year on Easter I’m coloring eggs and making kulichi. I love foodie traditions! 😀
 Kulich is a traditional sweet bread that is usually baked in a tall cylindrical shape tins (similar to Italian panettone); kulichi are made from brioche dough with dried fruits or nuts added, and decorated with snow-white icing or it might be not topped at all.
 During the Eater holiday in Russia people visit their relatives and friends and give each other colored eggs, various sweets and kulichi. One of the most amazing things about kulich that it stays fresh and soft pretty long: I  suggest to make the double quantity of the dough and bake small-size kulichi, so you can take a couple pieces with you when visiting a friend. What can be better than such a nice, sweet and home-made gift, right? 🙂
Easter eggs&kulich-2
 This time I decided to add a touch of luxury to the kulich’s dough, so I added lots of aromatic spices (vanilla, cardamom, saffron), and used double fat milk and more egg yolks (compare to my regular recipe) to make the dough richer. Of course preparing the dough and making kulichi is a time consuming process but its absolutely worth it! The result is beautiful, flavorful and soft kulich!
 Don’t forget to sprinkle the cake with colorful edible beads for the final touch!
Easter kulich
Paskha is another traditional Easter dessert, where the main ingredient is tvorog (the farmer cheese). I absolutely love it and I wish I could it more often then once a year. 😀 Click here to get the recipe.
 Easter eggs-1

Russian Easter Cake (Kulich)

  • Servings: 1x15cm kulich
  • Difficulty: moderate
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For one 15cm round tin.
 
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

370g plain flour

6g yeast
small pinch of salt
150ml double cream milk, warm
4 egg yolks + 1 egg yolk (for brushing)
80g white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3 cardamom, crushed (use only seeds)
a pinch of saffron
75g butter, very soft but not melted
120g mixture of golden&dark raisins and dry fruits (orange, strawberry)
50-70g roasted silvered almonds, optional
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 in a warm place.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk egg yolks, 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, add spices and mix just to combine.
  3. Transfer the dough to the working surface and knead to combine.
  4. Return the dough to the large bowl, cover again with wet kitchen towel and let it rise for 30-40 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, wash raisins, blot it up with paper towel. Sprinkle all dry fruits with a teaspoon of flour, it allows them to be evenly distributed throughout the dough. Mix fruits and nuts into the dough. Cover the dough with wet kitchen towel and let it rise for 60 minutes.
  6. Line the baking pan with baking paper, grease with butter. The dough should occupy 2/3 of the volume. Cover and let it rise for 20-30 minutes.
  7. Brush the kulich with egg yolk mixed with a spoon of water.
  8. Bake in preheated 100C oven for 10 minutes, then increase the heat to 180C and bake for 30 minutes or until the toothpick inserted into it gets back dry. If the top become too golden – cover kulich with a piece of foil or baking pepper.
  9. Take out of the oven, let it completely cool.
  10. 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).
  11. Spread the icing on top of each kulich with a tablespoon. Let it dry.

Enjoy!

Cover kulich in the foil or plastic wrap and keep in the fridge up to 3-4 days.
Easter eggs&kulich-1

Leftovers wholemeal galette

 If you could have a look at my freezer you would found there a disc of shortcrust pastry. It’s very handy to have one there, so once you don’t know what to cook or unexpectedly a friend decided to come over, you can prepare a nice tasty galette (or mini quiches, click here for the ideas) in almost no time. Tip: make a couple of crusts ahead, shape into discs (it takes less space in the freezer and then easier to roll out) and freeze. For the filling you can use almost whatever you can find in your fridge or even freezer, wether it is savory or sweet stuff. And another tip: freeze roasted or boiled chicken, deli ham leftovers; or if you bought too many fruits and berries, clean and cut them and freeze as well.
 This time I had a roasted chicken and gammon leftovers, I combined both. Gammon was a bit dry, so probably I won’t use it next time. But the chicken tasted quiet nice, especially mixed with lots of leeks sautéed in a butter and few cherry tomatoes. Some cream cheese (on any other cheese) on top makes this delicious wholemeal galette only better.
Leftovers Wholemeal Galette
If you fancy to try sweet galette click here. Cherry one!  😉

Leftovers wholemeal galette

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients 
Wholemeal shortcrust pastry
100g wholemeal flour
100g plain flour
120g butter
1-2 tbsp iced cold water
Filling
roasted chicken leftovers
leek, sautéed in butter&oil
few cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
2 quill eggs (1 egg yolk separated), optional
some cream cheese
S&P to taste
Method
  • For the pastry combine ingredients, shape into a disc and keep in the fridge for 30 minutes, or freeze until needed.
  • Roll out the pastry into 2-3mm thick disk, arrange filling. Pour over slightly bitten eggs, if using. Dot with creame cheese. Fold in the pastry edges. Brush with remaining egg yolk.
  • Bake in preheated 180C oven for 30 minutes.
Enjoy!

Dates&Figs Tart

When experiments in the kitchen end up like this amazing tart, all I can say is – you have to try it as soon as possible! Really! It is luxurious and creamy, and as many other my recipes is very easy to prepare, especially if you already have a ready shortcrust pastry in your fridge or freezer! Preferably homemade.. Seriously, don’t go out and buy ready pastry. Do try to prepare it yourself, at least once and you will see how easy it is. 😀 Have a look at my unsweetened pastry recipe here (super tasty quiches).
 The tender custard-ish filling was done in almost no time. Simple and unbelievably good! Of course it’s hard to get fresh figs, so I do think you can substitute with dried ones, but then reduce the sugar. Fig&Date tart-2
 Sweet and tender fruits, rich and flaky crust – all these words make my mouth water!
Fig&Date tart-1
What you need is to get ingredients and follow instructions. Very easy recipe, believe me. And don’t forget to stand back and admire this beautiful tart before enjoying! 😉
Date and fig tart

Dates&Figs Tart

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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For 20cm baking tin
*Substitute with orange juice or simply omit.
Ingredients
Unsweeten or sweet shortcrust pastry, any one you like/have.
10-11 medium-size dates
3 fresh figs
1 tbsp orange liqueur or cognac*
2 large eggs
80g brown sugar
250ml creme fraiche (30%)
1 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
almond flakes
Method
  1. Line the baking tin with baking paper if need. Otherwise, roll out the pastry to fit the tin. Prick the pastry base with a fork and chill in the fridge for 15-20 minutes. If you have a time you can prebake the pastry base.
  2. Pit the dates, keeping them whole; cut figs; put both in a bowl and drizzle with liquor and leave to infuse for 15 minutes.
  3. Beat eggs with sugar.
  4. In another large mixing bowl, whisk creme fraiche with vanilla, nutmeg, add the egg mixture and whisk again.
  5. Arrange the dates and figs over the pastry. Pour over the batter. Sprinkle with almond flakes.
  6. Bake in preheated 180C oven for 20-25 minutes or until the centre is set. Leave to cool in a tin, then carefully take the tart out and serve.
Enjoy! 
DATE TART