Grains

Barley and Vegetables salad

  Hello, lovely readers. I miss blogging, baking cakes whenever I want.. Honestly, I have no idea how some new-mums  manage to post often. May be their husbands or sisters cook, take photos and then write posts. 😀 Even if you don’t know what mom has been up to all day, just believe me she is often so busy! There are endless tasks – feeding, playing, caring, plus laundry, cooking.. Motherhood turned out wonderful, emotional, sometimes crazy and difficult; so I still need to organize this new life somehow..
 I have always wanted to prepare those colorful and beautifully arranged on a plate salads, that I’ve seen million times on the Internet, but never get a chance to do. Finally, few months back I made it (haha, exactly months, not even weeks). This delicious salad is super healthy and extremely easy to prepare plus it can be made ahead and then reheated, if you wish. I prefer it’s served warm over chilled.
barley-vegetables-salad

Barley and Vegetables salad

  • Difficulty: super easy
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Ingredients
pearl barley, cooked
roasted red and yellow pepper
roasted eggplant
cherry tomatoes, sliced
feta
olives, optional
sliced red onion, fresh or pickled
fresh chopped parsley
pine and pistachio nuts, chopped, optional
Dressing
lime or lemon juice
EV olive oil (or your fav veg oil)
salt, pepper to taste
Method
  1. Arrange barley and all other ingredients on a large serving plate.
  2. In a small jar combine dressing ingredients, shake well and pour over salad.
Enjoy!

Millet bitochki

 Bitochki or bitki is the name for round-shaped, flattened cutlets (côtelettes/patties) in Russian cuisine, which are prepared from chopped meat or grains. Originally in old Russia, a good and expensive cuts of meat were flattened, cooked and called bitochki, but lately people adapted the recipe and began to use cheap meat. Any remaining meat was chopped, mixed with other ingredients and then served fried or baked. Poor people even used grains.MIlletBitochki
 Nowadays, not only poor one can make such bitochki. I used millet for mine. Bitochki are not only tasty, but healthy and it is a good option for a meatless day. Millet is one of the healthiest grain, moreover is considered to be one of the digestible and non-allergenic grains*. It contains lots of fiber and low simple sugar. Finally, bitochki have such a nice texture inside (it reminds a white fish a bit) and crispy outside.
 You can serve them with a lettuce-tomato salad on a side. I made mushrooms sauce, but if you are run out of time or lazy – serve with a good dollop of sour cream (or creme fraiche).
MIlletBitochki with mushroom sauce

Millet bitochki with mushroom sauce

  • Servings: 12 pieces
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Instead of mushroom sauce you can serve bitochiki with sour cream.
Bitochki as well as mushroom sauce can be made a day or two ahead and then gently reheated.
 
*You can use both cream and sour cream, or any one.
Ingredients
150g millet
500ml hot water
1 medium egg
2-3 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 medium onion (any sort you like)
300g mushrooms (I used oyester and champinions), chopped
1 tbsp butter+ 1 tbsp olive oil, for mushrooms
20g butter
15-20g plain flour
100ml 35% cream*
2-3 tbsp sour cream*
150ml hot water
salt, freshly ground pepper to taste
2 Tbsp olive or sunflower oil, for frying
some chopped parsely, for garnish, optional
Preparation method
  • Wash millet throughly under running water, cover with hot water, season with some salt, bring to boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until millet is ready. You need to cool it completely. To make it faster, spread millet on a large plate and put in a fridge for 10-15 minutes, while preparing the mushrooms and sauce.
  • In a frying pan, heat butter and oil, add onion and fry for 5 minutes (set aside half of onions for millet ). Add mushrooms and fry on a hight heat for 10 minutes or until all liquid is evaporated (if there is any). Season to taste. Set aside 3-4 tbsp mushrooms for millet; then chop it finely.
  • Meanwhile, in a small pan, add butter and flour, stir on a medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir into mushrooms.
  • Pour over cream along with sour cream, give it a good stir. Pour in hot water. Check the seasoning. Simmer on a medium heat for 5-8 minutes. Add more hot water to reach desired consistency. Keep the sauce warm.
  • Transfer cooled millet in a mixing bowl, add egg, parsley, season with salt and pepper. Mix in fried onion and mushrooms. Combine the mixture. I didn’t use any flour, but if the mixture seems doesn’t want to resemble into a patty, add a tablespoon or two of plain flour.
  • Generously spread breadcrumbs on a large plate. With a tablespoon take a millet mixture and make a ball, pat it down with your hand or spoon. Cover in a breadcrumbs. Repeat with all millet mixture.
  • In a large frying pan, heat oil, put bitochki and fry on both sides until golden. To keep it warm while preparing others – put them in a preheated 120-150C oven.
  • Serve with mushroom sauce and sprinkle with extra parsley, if desired.
Enjoy!

Buckwheat porridge with caramelized orange and figs

 Another Sunday, and here is another idea for Sunday Breakfast! This time it is a well-balanced, healthy and very tasty buckwheat porridge, that makes a fantastic breakfast treat. I guess many of you need something special to pull yourself out of the bed in the cold autumn mornings, and this warm and cozy porridge does help you!Buckwheat Porridge

 I used for it buckwheat flakes mixed with some oats. Do you know, that buckwheat grain provides a very high level of protein, second highest only to oats! It makes this porridge high in energy, so it might help you to do more housework during the day or just stay in a good mood! 😉 For those of you who not especially concerned with buckwheat nutritional benefits, it is also tastes delicious and has a delightful nutty flavour. Plus, I topped the porridge with caramelized orange slices and figs, now you can imagine how divine and irresistible it was! Some chopped almonds or hazelnuts add an extra nice and crunchy note to your morning breakfast bowl! Buckwheat porridge with caramelized orange and figs

Buckwheat porridge with caramelized orange and figs

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: very easy
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You may drizzle the porridge with honey.
Ingredients
Porridge
100g buckwheat flakes
50-60g oatmeal
100ml water
300ml milk (I used full fat)
a pinch of salt
1 tbsp white or brown sugar (to taste)
vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract
Topping
3-4 tbsp white sugar
2 large figs or 3 medium, cut into fourths
1 large orange, peeled and cut into 1cm slices
2-3 tbsp lemon juice
8-10 whole toasted almonds, roughly chopped
Method
  1. Put the water and milk in a saucepan over a medium heat, when it just begins to boil, add buckwheat flakes, oatmeal and all other ingredients for the porridge. Stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low, simmer for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the porridge is too thick add more milk or water. Turn off the heat, cover with a lid and leave for 4-5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, put a pan with sugar on a medium-high heat. Don’t stir it, allow to become lightly golden. Add figs and orange slices, caramelize for 2-3 minutes on each side. Turn the heat off. Take out figs and orange slices. Add lemon juice to the pan and stir with all sugar and juices in the pan.
  3. Spoon the porridge into bowls and top with figs and orange slices. Pour over the sweet juice from the pan. Sprinkle with almonds.
Enjoy warm and cozy breakfast!

 Buckwheat porridge with figs and orange slices

Boyar Millet Kasha (Porridge)

 Millet is a tiny and round-shaped grain, that usually has a yellowish color. It is edible (and it’s not only for feeding birds) and delicious grain with mild nutty taste. Millet is a quite popular grain in Russia, though not that much as buckwheat, but still it’s widely used and served as a savory side dish or breakfast cereal; and it is also good for adding to stews and soups.
 Millet is more than just an interesting alternative to common grains, it is a good source of anti-oxidants and vitamins, especially folic acid, niacin, calcium and iron. Millet is high in fiber and contains no gluten. Moreover, it helps to regulate blood sugar level, which is helpful for diabetics and those trying to lose weight.
Have you ever tried or cooked millet? What’s you favourite way to consume it?
Sundat Breakfast: Millet Kasha
 I called today Sunday Breakfast ‘Boyar Millet Kasha (Porridge)’. Boyars were members of the highest rank of the feudal aristocracies in 9-16th centuary in old Russia. They were immensely powerful people and occupied the highest positions in the government: boyars were the major legislators of old Russia, as members of The Boyar Duma (the advisory council to Tzar). Needless to say, it was extremely wealthy class with various privileges. I guess, their everyday food was diverse too, including spices and nuts (which were expensive and not affordable to the lower class), and they could enjoy this beautiful and delicious millet porridge. 🙂Boyar Millet Kasha (porridge)

Russian Boyar Millet Kasha (Porridge)

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

Millet
200g millet
400ml milk
300ml water
a pinch of salt
1 tbsp sugar
Topping
50-60g black or brown raisins
1 large apple
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla, optional
50ml warm water
30g butter
2 tbsp sour cream, optional
2 tbsp chopped walnuts
2 tbsp honey
  • Wash millet thoroughly under running water.
  • Warm the milk and water in a medium saucepan, add millet, salt and sugar. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until millet is ready, stirring occasionally. The millet should be creamy, so add more hot water if it’s too dry.
  • Meanwhile, soak raisins in hot water for 5-10 minutes, drain.
  • Cut the apple into small cubes. In a small pan, add apple cubes, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, water and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes or until apple soft.
  • Stir in butter and sour cream, if using. Stir raisins and apple into the millet (or top). Top with nuts, raisins and drizzle the millet porridge with honey. Serve warm.
Enjoy!
Boyar millet porridge with apple and black raisins

Moroccan lamb with peas

 Lamb is a very popular type of meat in Morocco and Arabic countries. This stew gets Moroccan flavours from a mixture of aromatic spices such as ginger, turmeric, thyme and cumin. Would be nice if you could find a dried lemon, it adds slightly citrusy aroma, or you can use preserved lemons which are widely-used in Moroccan cuisine. This hearty and tasty stewed lamb with aromatic saffron rice is perfect to share with you family! Moroccan lamb with peas (and saffron rice)

Moroccan lamb with peas and saffron rice.

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Adapted from “a little taste of Morocco”
Ingredients
500g lamb, cut into 3-4cm pieces
1+1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion
1 garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1/3 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 dried lemon
200ml water
1/2 tsp dried thyme
100g fresh or frozen peas
2 tbsp chopped parsley or coriander leaves
2 tsp chopped fresh mint
salt, black pepper to taste
 
  1. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan. Add lamb pieces and brown all over; remove to a dish.
  2. Add more olive oil and onion, fry on a low heat for 5 minutes. Add garlic, spices and lemon and cook for a minute more. Add water, give a good stir, return lamb to the saucepan and season to taste. Bring to boil, reduce the heat to very low, add thyme, cover with a lid and simmer for 50 minutes. 
  3. Add peas, chopped parsley and mint, cover with the lid and simmer for 10 minutes. Open the lid and simmer for 10-15 minutes more to reduce the liquid a bit.
  4. Serve with saffron rice.
Saffron rice
180g long-grain rice
1 tbsp olive oil
300ml water
a pinch of salt
1/3 tsp saffron threads
15g butter
 
  1. In a saucepan, bring water to boil, add saffron, turn the heat off and leave to infuse for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Wash the rice, drain. Heat oil in a pan, add rice and stir well to coat evenly in the oil, stir-fry for a minute.
  3. Add rice and salt to the saffron water, bring to boil and boil for 1 minute. Reduce heat to very low, cover with a lid and cook for 9-10 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the pan covered for 8-10 minutes. Add butter and fluff with a fork.
Fes {Morocco}