Monthly Archives: March 2014

Healthy&Light Vegetable Soup with Chicken

¬†I guess we all didn’t like veggies when we were kids ūüôā kids mostly love fruits and so was I, because fruits are sweet and veggies are not. But, despite our childhood preferences my today’s post is about vegetable soup which I could probably like many years back if I would tried it before. My today’s soup is light, smooth and simply delicious.
¬†When I made it first time and tried, it was love from the first spoon. ūüėÄ In Russia soup has another¬†look (like Schi I posted about earlier), but creamy soup have different consistency and taste. Needless to say, that soup with fresh veggies and plenty of protein in chicken breast are always a healthy choice for a general well-being and also for those who look after their body shape.
Such soup for dinner can be a weekday lifesaver, especially if you make a huge pot ahead! ūüėČ
Chicken vegetable soup-2
This soup can be made¬†completely¬†vegetarian, or based on chicken stock (nothing¬†beats the flavor of homemade chicken stock!), or it’s good way for using leftover chicken. Do what works best for you. ūüôā

Ingredients:
Cooked or raw chicken breast Р2, medium size
Zucchini – 1 large
Bell peppers – 2-3
Tomatoes – 3
Onion – 1
Garlic clove – 1
Dry thyme – 1 tsp, optionally
Bunches of dill and/or parsley, finely chopped, or 2 tsp dry
Olive oil –¬†1 Tbsp
A pinch of chilli or cayenne pepper
Salt, pepper – to taste
Chicken vegetable soup-1
Preparation:
  1. If you make this soup with raw chicken breast follow next step, otherwise go to the step 3.
  2. First of all, put the chicken breasts into a pan and cover with water (1l/34oz or so). Add bay leave, whole small onion and several peppercorns; bring to boil, simmer for 20 minutes or until the breasts are ready. Discard herbs and onion. Take the chicken out, cool it, then cut into small cubes and set aside. Reserve the stock. You can do it a day or two ahead.
  3. In a soup pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook until tender for 5 minutes.
  4. Cut bell peppers into cubes, add to the onion and saute for 4-5 minutes.
  5. Cut the zucchini into cubes, add to the veg-mixture and saute for 2 minutes more.
  6. Add chopped garlic, herbs* and chili pepper, stir and cook for 30 seconds more.
  7. Chop the tomatoes, add into the pot along with chicken stock (or water), season with salt and pepper and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  8. Puree the soup until smooth. Put chicken cubes* into soup, bring it to a boil. Cover with a lid and simmer over moderate heat about 10 minutes.
  9. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with fresh dill or parsley and serve with baguette slices.

*I recommend reserve some chicken and herbs for garnish.

Enjoy!
Chicken vegetable soup-3
And now, would you like a dessert?  Have a look here!

Eating out in Dubai. Pizza.

¬†I’m not going to write about food that I prepared, today I want to share with you the place that I visited once and loved dishes I tried over there.
¬†I have to say that I adore authentic food. Something real and natural, the dishes that reflect peoples’ culture and character. Needless to say that pizza is one of those special dishes, Italian cuisine is always very tasty and simple. I found such hidden spot in Dubai which I may call special indeed. The name of the place is Rossovivo and it is very small, it doesn’t look like a restaurant and it has no sophisticated tables and waiters at their best according to Dubai standards. It looks like a bistro, and pizza is the name of the game there! Their pizza is really incredible, whether it’s topped by tomato, basil and oozy¬†mozzarella¬†or bresaola.. In Dubai it’s not quite easy to find something both tasty and exceptional, as most of the places are similar – a lot of world-known chain brands with the same food standards and … taste.
Pizza out-1
Please don’t treat this as a¬†commercial, but I’m really excited of this place ūüėÄ
Pizza out-2
And Happy Fiesta Friday for all bloggers, who is hanging out there today!¬† ūüôā

Sunny peachy-nutty cake

Days go by and summer is slowly coming to Dubai, winter doesn‚Äôt want to give up though, giving us some cloudy days sometimes but its days are counted…
 One lovely morning I was at home, and looking at the dull skies, I decided to make something special for the afternoon tea, something sunny, sweet-smelling and new, a cake that I’ve not tried before, and it should be fruity. 
I have to say that I do not normally know what I‚Äôm going to cook this or next day, I‚Äôve never have a master plan for a week ahead, and prefer to be inspired by details around me, whatever I see, read about food or trying something myself, rather than be organized in the proper food-blogger way ūüôā¬†
¬† So, I went to a grocery to look for an inspiration. One important and remarkable thing about buying¬†food in Dubai is that large groceries and markets here do always and really inspire me; we have no such variety of fruits in Russia, and every time I go for a shopping, whether it is some oranges for a morning juice or avocados, I never know from which part of the world these fruits or veggies would come from. And that¬†day was not an exception. Without even roaming between¬†fruit rows I¬†remarked some nice peaches¬†shortly after I entered the shop, and once I came¬†closer and took a couple of them¬†in my hand, I already decided that it’s going to be a¬†beautiful¬†peach cake!
 Peaches always remind me of summer, they share the same bright and yellowish colour of the pulp with the sun, giving the cozy feeling of warm and sunny days.
¬†At home I cut one fruit¬†and tried it. I was slightly disappointed that the peaches weren‚Äôt as juicy as I expected, but that¬†¬†turned into fantastic peach cake in the end… ūüėČPeach pie-2Ingredients for the cake:
Peaches* Р4 big 
Eggs, at room temperature – 3
Yoghurt -150g or 0.6cup
Sugar* -100g or 0.5cup 
Butter, cut into small cubes –¬†130g or 0.6cup
Self-raising¬†flour –¬†150g or 1cup¬†(or 1 cup plain flour + 1 tsp baking powder)
Cornmeal – 2 Tbsp
Whole walnuts –¬†130g or ~1cup
A pinch of salt
Lemon zest –¬†2tsp
Orange zest –¬†1tsp
Ingredients for the mandarin sauce:
3 big mandarins*
2 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp water
2-3 Tbsp icing sugar
1 Tbsp cognac (or brandy, or Grand Marnier) – optionally
 *Really good substitution for peaches are nectarines! 
*I used only 100g of sugar and that means the cake won’t be sweet,¬†
I suggest sweeten it with 150g or 3/4cup of sugar.
*I used mandarins, just because :D; oranges go well here too, as you already guess.
 
The cake preparation:
  • In a bowl beat the butter and sugar together;
  • Stir in one by one eggs;
  • Add yoghurt and citrus zest, combine;
  • Ground the walnuts, add to the batter and mix;
  • Sift the flours and salt into the batter mixture;
  • Grease the baking dish with butter or oil. Pour the cake batter into it;
  • Cut the peaches into wedges and stick into batter;
  • Bake in preheated oven 210C/400F for 45-60 minute;.**¬†
  • Meanwhile¬†prepare¬†the mandarin sauce for the cake;
  • Let the cake cool a bit. Pour the mandarin sauce over it.¬†
Mandarin sauce preparation:
  • First of all, squeeze the juice out of¬†mandarins;¬†
  • Combine citrus¬†juices, water and sugar in a small saucepan; bring to boil;
  • Reduce heat to low, add cognac and simmer for 10-12 minutes;
  • Remove from the heat and¬†cool.
**When I’m using a glass dish for the cake, it takes me little bit longer to bake it.¬†
Thus after 40 minutes, pls check the cake is done or not yet.
To check the cake’s readiness – tuck into a toothpick, if it comes out dry – ¬†the cake is ready.
Peach pie-1
¬† The final result overcame all my expectations – ¬†the cake tasted fantastically! The peaches became tender and even more sweeter, and because they were not so juicy they kept their integrity. Needless to say about aromatic mandarin sauce.. I’ll¬†definitely¬†be making it again!
 I also suggest to sprinkle some icing sugar on the top along with the citrus sauce.
P.S. Several days back I didn’t even know that there is such type of flour as ‘cake’, thanks to dear fellow-blogger Suzanne, now I know about it and adding cornmeal everywhere…Haha¬†
Hey, are you still here? ūüôā Go and bake the cake!
 Have a sunny and bright day, guys!

Irish Stew with Guinness

 I have to admit that I’m a big fan of Ireland and dreaming about to visit this country some day and try authentic Irish dishes and, of course beer. In Dubai we have a pub called Irish Village, and the name of the place says for itself. As I have not been to Ireland yet, but for me it is a small part of the Ireland in the middle of the busy megalopolis, and this is the place where it’s all started… Back in 2006, this was the place where I have tried draught Guinness for the first time in my life, and from the first sip I felt Irish cheerfulness and joy. I have been to this place many times afterwards and tried many dishes like beef and Guinness pie, cottage pie, black pudding and others. Some of the dishes I tried for the first time ever, and with every my visit to this place I felt like I am coming back to something very comfortable, something like home away from home, and I felt in love with the Ireland more and more.
 
 Ireland is celebrating Saint Patrick’s day on 17th of March and I made one very special dish today Рthe traditional Irish Stew with the Guinness stout.
Irish stew-2I wish all Irish and all people around the world who may read my blog now a very happy Saints Patrick‚Äôs day! ūüôā
Ingredients:
800g boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 5cm/2″ chunks
1kg baby potatoes
3 carrots
1 large onion
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled
500ml/1 can of Guinness stout
400ml lamb or beef stock
3 Tbsp flour
1-2 Tbsp olive or sunflower oil
3 sprigs of thyme (or 2 tsp dry)
2 bay leaves
salt&black pepper to taste
A handful of chopped parsley
Preparation:
The stew can be made on the stove-top or oven.
  • Coat the lamb with salt, pepper and flour evenly. In a large frying pan heat the oil and brown the meat all over. Avoid crowding the pan with the lamb pieces or it will boil instead of brown. Set aside.
  • Peel and thickly slice the onion and carrots.
  • Add the onion and garlic to the frying pan and saut√© for 5 minutes. You can avoid this step and add it straight to a casserole.
  • Wash and scrub the potatoes thoroughly, peel the skin off if desired, and leave whole or cut in half.
  • Put in a casserole half of the potatoes, add the lamb, then remaining potatoes along with carrots, onion-garlic, bay leaves and thyme.
  • Add the stock and stout. Cover with a lid.
  • Bring to boil, then reduce the heat and cook on a very low heat for 1,5-2 hour¬†or until tender¬†(or braise in the oven 160C/320F), stirring¬†occasionally. The meat and vegetables should always be¬†covered¬†by liquid.
  • The ready stew¬†sprinkle¬†with parsley.
  • Enjoy!
I served the Irish Stew in a clay dishes; the meat turned out very tender and juicy, the taste and smell of meat broth was scrumptious thanks to the stout. ūüėÄ
Irish stew-1

Adapted from here