Russian Beetroot Caviar

 This bright beetroot dip doesn’t contain salmon or any other fish raw. In my home-country vegetable spreads and dips that are mushed into a non-smooth consistency are often called caviar. In USSR fish caviar was an expensive product and most of the time was served over special occasions, but people have always wanted something tasty not only during holidays or weekend; and such vegetables as an eggplants, marrows and beetroots were cheap and available almost throughout the year, thus I guess economical version of the “caviar” was created.

russian-beetroot-caviar

 The recipe I found in a book dated 1990, it calls to boil beetroot, fry onions and press through the  meat-grinder machine along with other ingredients. Easy-peasy. It turned out so tasty, that i have already made it few times in a row! Moreover, it was a hit at the home-party, especially when I served this dip nicely decorated with little festive crackers; needless to say, guests asked for the recipe!
 The original Russian recipe calls for the salted pickled cucumbers, which are usually watery and personally I don’t like its taste, so I used regular crunchy pickled cucumbers and the beetroot dip was absolutely amazing and delicious! I prefer slightly coarse a caviar-like texture, so I don’t blend ingredients too much, but if you wish – just blitz it more to get the smooth dip. Enjoy!

Russian Beetroot Caviar

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Ingredients 
400g/2 medium-size beetroots
2 tps olive or sunflower oil, for frying
1/2 large brown onion
~100g pickled cucumbers
2 cloves of garlic
Salt&Pepper, to taste
Method 
  1. Boil beetroots until soft. Cool, clean and chop.
  2. Chop the onion and fry in a oil until soft and golden, about 5 minutes.
  3. Finely chop cucumbers. Also finely chop or mush garlic.
  4. Blitz all ingredients in a food processor until desired consistency.
  5. Check the seasoning. Serve with rye bread or crackers.
Enjoy!

Warm butternut squash salad

This delicious warm salad is perfect for cold months. Yes, it is simple but bursting with flavour, and of course it contains the main autumn ingredient – beautiful winter squash! Slightly sweet roasted butternut squash together with salted feta and fresh spinach leaves create nice and tasty salad, perfect in its simplicity.

winter-squash-salad
And don’t forget to sprinkle the salad with raw pumpkin seeds (as I did.. haha)!
Warm butternut squash salad

Warm butternut squash salad

  • Time: 40min
  • Difficulty: very easy
  • Print
Slightly adapted from here
Ingredients
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1cm-thick slices
1 medium red onion, cut into wedges
1 orange
fresh spinach leaves, as much as you like
100-150g feta or white/Bulgarian cheese
handful of raw pumpkin seeds
Dressing*
juice of 1/2 orange
2-3 tsp white balsamic or champagne vinegar
1 tsp honey mustard
2-3 tbsp EV olive oil
freshly ground sea salt &white pepper, to taste
Method
  1. Arrange butternut squash and onion on a baking tray, drizzle everything with olive oil, plus squash with juice of 1/2 orange. Roast in preheated 180C oven for 25 minutes or until squash is soft.
  2. For the dressing, in a small jar combine all ingredients and shake well. *Adjust to your taste by adding more vinegar or oil.
  3. Arrange spinach on a serving plate, top with warm squash and onion. Sprinkle with feta and pumpkin seeds. Drizzle with dressing.
Enjoy warm salad!

Kulesh

Kulesh – simple thick soup/pottage, that was popular in old times among peasants and Cossacks. It was also called “field pottage or kasha”, as it was often cooked by farmers for their lunch during field works. This pottage consisted mainly of millet and any root vegetables that were available at the moment. Garnished with some onions and salo (salted or cured fat, usually pork one), kulesh was prepared on a fire, that added a nice smoked flavor to the whole dish.
It should be thick enough but if you prefer thinner consistency add more water. Mine was thick and nourishing because of smoked meat (cooked pork belly). Using smoked meat replaces the cooking on an open fire. But feel free to make completely vegetarian version and omit the meat.Kulesh - simple thick soup/pottage
Once I wrote that millet is a healthy grain or seed. And if you still think it’s just for the feeding birds, you’re completely wrong and miss lots of benefits of this lovely grain. It’s a good source of vitamins B, calcium and iron. Here another recipes that I do love and cook at home: sweet breakfast millet porridge and autumn recipe – millet cooked in a pumpkin pot.
So, have you ever cooked millet? What are your favorite recipes?Kulesh

Kulesh

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: very easy
  • Print
You can add some cubes of celery root along with other vegetables.
Ingredients
4 medium potatoes, cubed
1 large carrot, cubed
200g millet
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion
150g smoked pork belly
1 bay leaf
fresh chopped parsley and spring onion, optional
S&P to taste
Method
  1. Boil 2l water in a large pan. Add cubed vegetables and some salt. Bring to boil, reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer about 15 minutes.
  2. Wash millet throughly under running water. You may also cover millet with some warm water, it helps to cook it faster.
  3. Add millet to the pot along with bay leaf and simmer for 10-15 minutes more or until it’s cooked.
  4. Meanwhile, slice or chop onion, and cut pork belly into thin slices or chop it as you like. Heat the oil in a frying pan and saute onion until it’s soft. Add pork belly and fry for few minutes.
  5. Stir the onion-pork mixture into the soup. Adjust the seasoning.
  6. Pour the soup into serving bowl. Sprinkle with fresh herbs, if desired. Serve with bread.

Enjoy!

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
  • Print
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!

Sunday Breakfast: Baked quail eggs

 When it’s not a weekend, sometimes being pressed for time can make hard to prepare anything for breakfast, and I’m not saying about to sit down and enjoy it, and you probably skip it day by day.. I never skip breakfast, and studies show that those who eat breakfast regularly lose weight! So be sure you eat a good and tasty breakfast! Like this protein-based, that starts your metabolism and your energy level will be fired up.
 You only need to put all ingredients together in a baking dish (small-individual or one large to share), crack small&tasty quail eggs in it and bake for few minutes. Meanwhile, you can make a fresh tea or toast some bread. Sunday Breakfast: Baked quail eggs

Baked quail eggs with Gruyère cheese, ham and spinach

  • Time: 15-20min
  • Difficulty: very easy
  • Print
Ingredients
butter, for greasing baking dishes
fresh spinach leaves
cooked ham slices (1 large per person), cut into strips
5 or more quail eggs per person
1-2 tbsp grated Gruyère cheese per person
salt, crushed pink peppercorns to taste
Garnish
extra grated cheese
chopped parsley
cherry tomatoes
bread
Method
  • Preheat oven to 200C.
  • Grease baking dishes with butter.
  • Put in spinach, ham, 1/3 of cheese. Crack eggs, season with salt&pink pepper and sprinkle with some cheese.
  • Bake for 6-10 minutes or until the egg white is set.
  • Sprinkle with parsley, garnish with cheese. Serve immediately with cherry tomatoes and bread.
Enjoy!
Have a lovely and delicious weekend breakfast!

Baked quail eggs with  Gruyère cheese, ham and spinach