Monthly Archives: September 2015

Radish-Cucumber salad

 Many of you already greeted the autumn season and began to bake various apple pies and cook hearty dishes. Autumn signs have been also trickling into Dubai, but slowly and it is still summer-like days here with plenty of strong sunshine during the day-time. Mornings and days, though still warm and sunny as usual, have been followed by lovely and cool evenings. Despite of all hot days, it’s a big advantage of living near the Gulf: we can enjoy the sea and sand any time over the year long. That’s what we did one afternoon – went to a beach. But before the joy of swimming in the sea, I prepared a very simple, light and fresh, and crunchy salad. It needs only few ingredients including beautiful radishes, which I found at local supermarket and just couldn’t resist picking up a huge bunch.Radishes-Cucumbers-Spring Onion

As you can see, the recipe is V-E-R-Y simple: all you need is lovefresh sliced cucumbers and bright radishes, chopped spring onions, some seasoning and sour cream!

Radish-Cucumber salad

 I like this salad. It reminds me summer holidays: staying at parents house, fun of gardening and eating lots of fresh veggies and berries. And for that reason I decided to mix up vegetable slices with traditional Russian dressing – sour cream, instead of olive oil. Simple and well-loved. Be generous with spring onion!  You may also add some chopped dill, if you wish.
Radish-Cucumber salad (with sour cream dressing)
 Don’t be sad if the summer is over in your place, I will post autumn recipes soon {more pie recipes are on the way..} Thanks for reading and Stay turned! 🙂

Sunday Breakfast: Zaatar fried egg

 Good morning to you my dear reader! I have an intriguing question for you this lovely Sunday morning – what time are you awake on weekends? Is it 6am or 11am? Today I had a special fitness morning. Firstly, I wake up early today: at 8am (yes, it is early for me), went to a nice and energetic pilates class, which is really made my day. Afterwards, I was so hungry and in need of something extremely tasty and healthy!Zaatar fried egg

 I fell in love with zaatar (it’s a mix of dried spices) since I moved to Dubai. I can’t remember how or when I tried it for the first time, but once I tried this incredible mixture, it remains my favourite Middle Eastern spice ever since. As my husband says: “you can eat anything with zaatar”. 😀 it’s funny but true. You can prepare many dishes using zaatar, like eggplant wedges with it and pomegranate molasses or delicious roasted salmon steaks, or anything else you like.
 All you need for today is an egg and zaatar! A slice of wurzel or sourdough bread, some olives and feta could make your breakfast more complete and nourishing. Hope this bright and simple meal satisfy your taste buds! 😉Zaatar friedd egg on a slice of wurzel bread

Zaatar fried egg

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: very easy
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Ingredients
1 or 2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tbsp olive oil, for frying
1 tsp dry zaatar spice mix (per egg)
salt, pepper to taste
1 slice of wurzel or sourdough bread
1 tbsp olives (preferably in olive oil)
1 tbsp feta cheese
few cherry tomatoes, optional
  • Heat oil in a frying pan on a medium-high heat, crack an egg, season with salt, pepper, then sprinkle with zaatar and fry for a couple of minutes.
  • Meanwhile, toast the bread or put it under the grill for a minute.
  • Arrange bread on a serving plate, carefully transfer the fried egg on the toast. Top with olives and crumbled feta.
  • Serve immediately with fresh cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle with extra zaatar, if you like.

Rigatoni with mini meatballs

 Pasta is always wanted and favourite meal in my family. One of the important thing – it shouldn’t be overcooked, then I add some sauce and voilà – super speedy and tasty dish is on the table! During this week I made these rigatoni. They look awesome and tasty, don’t they? 🙂 I also had some minced veal in the freezer, plus a can of whole tomatoes and fresh basil. You simply can’t go wrong with these nice ingredients! This flavourful and tasty lunch or dinner can be ready in a half hour or less. Enjoy!Rigatoni with mini meatballs

Rigatoni with mini meatballs

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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You can also add a quail egg to the meat mixture, optional.
Ingredients 
250g dry rigatoni
Mini meatballs
150-160g veal or beef, finely minced
1 tbsp finely chopped onion
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
freshly ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Tomato sauce
1 shallot or 1/4 medium onion
1/2 tsp dried garlic (or 1 chopped garlic clove), optional
1 can of whole tomatoes (about 250g drained)
1/3 tsp dried oregano leaves
1 tsp dark muscovado sugar (or sub with white)
freshly ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 tbsp olive oil, for frying
Garnish
some parmesan shavings
few basil leaves
Method
  1. In a bowl, mix meat mince with onion and all spices. Shape small meatballs – about 2cm in diameter. Place them in a greased baking tin and roast in preheated 200C oven for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a frying pan on a medium-high heat, add chopped onion and garlic, saute for 5-7 minutes. Add whole tomatoes, roughly crush them with a spoon. Add oregano, sugar, salt and pepper, and simmer on a low-medium heat for 5-8 minutes until it’s thicken a bit.
  3. Transfer mini meatballs in a tomato sauce, cover and simmer for 5 minutes more. Adjust the seasoning.
  4. Bring a large pan of salted water to boil. Add dried rigatoni and cook according instruction on a pack. Drain, drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Put rigatoni on a serving plate, pour over the tomato sauce with mini meatballs. Top with parmesan shavings and basil leaves.

Enjoy!

Sunday Breakfast: Syrniki with fresh blackcurrants

Syrniki are Russian cottage cheese pancakes, that are made thick and have a roundish shape.  I love having them on breakfast, topped with a sweet condensed milk and some fresh or frozen berries. I already posted the recipe once (click here), today recipe is similar to the previous one but with a delightful touch: these syrniki were prepared by my mum during my summer holidays in Russia. 🙂 My suggestion was to add a special ingredient – fresh blackcurrants, which were picked up that day in parent’s garden. So, we mixed in lots of fresh and juicy blackcurrants. Blackcurrants have enough natural sweetness, and we didn’t put sugar at all.
If you haven’t still made syrniki you should immediately go to your kitchen and cook them! Really! They are so delicious, plus cottage cheese contains lots of calcium, which is great for bones.Syrniki with fresh blackcurrants

Syrniki with fresh blackcurrants

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Difficulty: easy
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If using frozen blackcurrants do not defreeze them, add straight from the freezer.

Ingredients

600-700g tvorog/cottage cheese (I used 0% fat)
2 medium eggs
2-3 tbsp white sugar (or as much as you like), I didn’t put sugar this time
150-170g fresh blackcurrants
100g plain flour
icing sugar, for garnish, optional
some fresh blackcurrants, sour cream/sweet condensed milk, for serving

 

Method

  • In a large mixing bowl, mix cottage cheese with a folk.  Add eggs and sugar if using, stir to combine.
  • Sift the flour into cottage cheese mixture, mix to combine. If the mixture is too wet, add a bit more flour.
  • Sprinkle fresh blackcurrants with flour, carefully fold into cottage cheese mixture.
  • Sprinkle working surface with flour. Take a tablespoon of the mixture and shape flat patties (approx 6cm diameter).
  • Arrange syrniki on a greased baking sheet. Bake in preheated 200C oven for 30 minutes or until golden.
  • You can also fry them. For that, in a large frying pan heat sunflower oil, add syrniki and fry for 2 minutes on each site.
  • Sprinkle with icing sugar, if desired. Serve warm with sour cream or sweet condensed milk and berries on side.

Enjoy!

Russian Syrniki with fresh blackcurrants

Knyshy

 One day I was watching numerous foody videos.. among those millions just one stuck in my head. Russian cook (don’t know his name) made small pies with potato filling, which he called knyshy. Pirogki with potato mash are one of my favourite, they always bring back memories about parents’ home ..kitchen, my mother is making pies, me and my sister are impatiently sitting and waiting while pirogki are baking in the oven.. Sweet time!

 The difference between these pies and regular Russian pirogki is in the dough and shape, first ones are round, second are oval and usually made from yeast dough. I browse the Internet, and found not much information about these little pies. According to different sources, knyshy belong whether to old-Russian or Belarusian cuisine. In 19th century knyshy were widely-eaten pies among middle-class people, and the most popular filling was buckwheat kasha with fried onion and bacon.Knyshy

 It took me some time to shape them and make look like small barrels filled with tasty potato mash instead of rum (or whatever you imagine when hear barrel), but knyshy turned out beautifully and puffy, so they definitely worth all the hard work.

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Knyshy - little pies with potato filling

  • Servings: 16 pies
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients
Dough:
1 egg
120ml sunflower oil
120ml warm water
1 tsp vinegar
400g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
Filling:
600-700g potatoes
1 large onion, chopped
1 tbsp oil+ 1 tsp butter for frying
1 tbsp butter
some chopped dill, optional
salt, pepper to taste
Egg wash
1 egg, beaten
Method
  1. In a bowl whisk egg with oil, water and vinegar.
  2. Sift flour with salt and baking powder into another large bowl.
  3. Pour the egg mixture into the bowl with flour. Mix all ingredients together, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to rest for 40 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a frying pan heat oil with butter, add onion and fry until lightly golden. Clean and peel potatoes, cut into medium chunks and boil until ready, drain. Using a potato masher blend butter into potatoes until soft. Mix in fried onion and dill, if using. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Divide the dough into two parts. On a lightly floured surface roll out one part into 30x40cm rectangle. Spread half of the filling near the edge of the longest rectangle side. Make the roll. Cut the roll into 8 pieces: 5cm width each.* Carefully seal the ‘hole’ on one side, shaping into a roundish form (like a small barrel), place pie sealed side down on a lined and greased baking sheet. Repeat with all pies.
  6. Brush all pies with egg wash. Bake in preheated 190C oven for 40 minutes.
*You may cut the roll into smaller pieces to get more but small-sized pies.
 
Enjoy!
Knyshy - pies with potato filling