Monthly Archives: February 2015

Tvorognaya zapekanka

 Tvorognaya zapekanka literally means a cottage cheese bake. This is a very special treat for me. It reminds my childhood and good time when I was going to the kinder-garden. Some of my friends do not share the same nice memories about the food in a kinder-garden, and even few of them hate any cottage cheese bakes (and not only bakes) and don’t want to believe that it can be so tasty! Thank God, I was luckier and remember not only huge onion chunks in a beef stew 😀 but also good meals, like this sweet cottage cheese bake and delicious plum jam.
 Speaking about tvorog (that’s how we called cottage cheese or farmer cheese in Russia, and it can be both smooth and chunky), I do like it and consume regularly: either as is or adding it to the apple pies and cabbage bakes. So, I’ve tried hundred times to make a bake somewhat childish, and every time it was too liquid or too sweet.. Finally, here it is! The bake is perfect! The only notice, maybe next time I will use a smaller baking dish to make the cottage cheese bake higher.
Russian cottage cheese bake

Russian sweet cottage cheese bake

  • Servings: 3-4
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If you’ve got a chunky and dry cottage cheese – push it through a sieve or stir with electric blender into a smooth mixture.
IngredientsCottage cheese bake
450-500g cottage cheese
40g butter, melted
2 medium eggs
3 tbsp white caster sugar
2 tbsp semolina (I used coarse, but fine is ok, too)
2-3 tbsp milk, warm
3 tbsp sour cream
a pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract or any other vanilla
50g raisins/currants
Glaze (optional)
1 egg yolk
1tsp icing sugar
Garnish
sour cream or sweet condensed milk
icing sugar, if desired
Method
  • In a small cup, soak semolina in warm milk for 5 minutes. Add sour cream and mix well.
  • In a other small cup, soak raisins in hot black tea or water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • In a bowl, beat eggs with sugar and salt until pale and creamy, allow sugar to dissolve.
  • In a large bowl, smooth cottage cheese with a folk or electric blender, add butter and mix. Add beaten eggs and vanilla, mix to combine. Add semolina and raisins, and combine.
  • Grease the baking dish with some butter or oil, pour the mixture in and bake in preheated 200C oven for 25 minutes. At this step check the color of your bake: if its top is still pale, brush the bake with glaze and put the dish back into the oven for 15 minutes or until golden-brown; if top is already golden-brown, omit the glaze and bake for 10-15 minutes more.
  • Cut the cottage cheese bake into slices. Serve warm or cold with a dollop of sour cream, if desired. It’s also tasty to pour over some sweet condensed milk (instead of sour cream).
Enjoy!

Fish souffle

 What do you imagine when hear a word ‘souffle’? An airy and sweet apple souffle or may be a fluffy and cheesy one?
The word  soufflé comes form French verb souffler, that means ‘puff up’ or ‘to blow up’. The base of any souffle is beaten egg whites, which provide the lift: a souffle puffs up in the oven.
 What about a fish souffle? 🙂 Fish Souffle
This tender and light dish is a perfect meal for weight watchers and health enthusiasts! Protein food is an important part of any well-balanced diet, it’s also good for growth and development in children and pregnant women; thus why don’t you make fish souffle to vary your diet. Some children refuse to eat fish and fish souffle is a great meal to feed a peevish child. It’s may be not a gourmet dish but it’s certainly light and tasty. Moreover, it’s one the most easy ways to prepare fish, if you don’t want to hang around the kitchen for hours.Fish Souffle. Russian recipe

Fish soufflé. Russian recipe.

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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You can add 1-2 tsp chopped fresh dill  or some grated cheese to the fish mixture before baking. 
You could also make this recipe with some leftover cooked fish.
Serve with boiled/roasted potatoes or/and green salad.
Ingredients 
300g white fish fillet
1 slice white bread
1 tbsp milk, warm (full fat milk or cream)
1 tsp butter, soft
2 egg yolks
2 egg whites
salt, pepper to taste
butter, bread crumbs, for greasing
1-2 tbsp grated cheese, optional
sour cream, chopped dill, for garnish
Method
  • In a small bowl, add bread and warm milk, soak for 2-3 minutes.
  • Check that no bones remain in fish. Cut fish fillet into small cubes, mince in a blender until very fine pieces. Add bread, butter and egg yolks, season to taste, bit the mixture to combine.
  • In a big bowl, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until firm peaks.
  • Carefully fold 1/2 egg whites into the fish mixture. Add the rest egg whites and fold in.
  • Grease two baking tins with butter, sprinkle with bread crumbs. Divide the fish mixture between tins. Sprinkle with cheese, if desired. Bake in preheated 180C oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden and puffed.
  • Sprinkle with dill, serve immediately with sour cream and your choice of side dish.
Enjoy!
Tasty and Healthy: Fish Souffle

Pumpkin Cheesecake

 It’s my very first pumpkin cheesecake! 🙂 I do love both cheesecake and pumpkin, but never tried to combine them together until I baked too many pumpkin slices and already couldn’t eat them.
Cheesecake is enjoyed by millions around the world, and each person has its own take on the best way of making it. Truly a scrumptious dessert! I guess that the pumpkin cheesecake is the America’s favorite dessert. Moreover, I’ve heard about National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day, is that true? In Russia we eat pumpkin, too, but usually it’s sliced and simply baked with sugar, or whole pumpkin stuffed with grains (have a look at my recipe here).
I knew how to make a basic cheesecake, so I just added pumpkin puree and some spices. Oh, I’m so happy with the result! The only thing I was worried that it can be too wobbly, finally it set good, just cracked a little. The texture is perfect – creamy, deliciously smooth and not-very-sweet, everything how I like. Unfortunately, the cheesecake has some unwanted calories, thus for weight watchers I recommend to substitute cream cheese with low-fat cottage cheese or quark.Pumpkin cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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You need 18cm baking tin for this recipeSlice of pumpkin cheesecake
Ingredients should be at room temperature
Crust
150g graham crackers, finely crushed
80g butter, melted
Filling
350g cooked pumpkin, then pureed
220-250g cream cheese
30g brown sugar + 40g white caster sugar
2 tbsp double cream (35% fat)
2 whole eggs + 1 egg yolk
2 tbsp cornstarch (cornflour)
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger powder
small pinch of ground cloves, allspice and salt
Method
  1. To make crust. In a medium bowl, blend butter with graham crumbs. Press the mixture into the base of baking tin to create an even layer. Chill for 10 minutes in the fridge, then bake in preheated 160C oven for 5-7 minutes. Take the tin out and let it cool for 10 minutes.
  2. To make filling. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with sugar until smooth consistency. Add pumpkin and combine. Break one at a time, add egg yolk, mix to combine. Add double cream, cornstarch, flour and all spices. Beat until well combined. Pour the filling into crust, spread evenly and bake in preheated 180C oven for 45-50 minutes.
  3. Take the tin out of the oven, let it cool at room temperature. Cover the baking tin and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Remove cheesecake from the tin and slide onto a plate, slice and serve.
Enjoy!
[Click the photos for a closer look]

Apple soufflé

 It seems I’d been eating and eating during the past two months, too many delicious pies and sweets, so me and my husband decided to limit the amount of sugar and fat in our regime and keep more healthy diet for a month or so. Diet doesn’t mean the food should be tasteless and dull. Thou, plain meal like steamed fish with broccoli or buckwheat isn’t so bad, especially after a few days of eating it without adding too many salt, spices, butter, cheese or whatever makes it more yummy. 😀
 Another happy moment – desserts for healthy diet do exist! A good and tasty example is Apple Souffle. Apples are baked, then pureed and mixed with egg whites, after those easy steps you need to bake it and voila – tender, airy and delicious dessert is ready! 🙂
I adapted the recipe from old Russian book published in 1984. Apple Souffle

Apple soufflé

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: moderate
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You can serve apple soufflé with cold whipped cream or a glass of cold milk.
Ingredients
300-350g apples
2-3 tbsp water
2 tbsp white caster sugar
1 tsp cinnamon, optional
2 egg whites
a pinch of salt
some butter or oil for greasing
Instruction
  1. Wash, peel, core and cut apples into 4 slices. Put on a baking tray, add water and bake in preheated 180C oven for 20-30 minutes or until soften.
  2. Puree apples. Put apple puree in a small pan, add sugar and cinnamon, cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Meanwhile, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks. Continue beating, add warm apple puree and beat all together for 2-3 minutes more.
  4. Brush ramekins with butter, pour in apple mixture. Bake in preheated 180C oven for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Serve warm. Enjoy!

I’m bringing these delicious and beautiful soufflé to all wonderful bloggers who is celebrating Fiesta Friday anniversary at Angie’s place and two co-hostesses Selma and Nancy. Enjoy! 🙂