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.
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!
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.
And don’t forget to sprinkle the salad with raw pumpkin seeds (as I did.. haha)!
A year ago I visited “Taste of Dubai”. It was a large, full of fun and activities festival, dedicated to food, cooking and eating! It brought together restaurant and street food, music performances, cooking classes and live cooking demonstrations. You could order some nice food, relax and enjoy the music, another great way to spend the evening was to cook along with top chefs. Many world-famous and celebrity chefs were invited to the festival, and I could watch how they are preparing amazing and tasty food, and then taste it. Among many chefs was Dhruv Baker, he is known as a winner of MasterChef 2010, and I didn’t miss a chance to sign his cookbook ‘Spice’.
Honestly speaking, I’ve prepared only few recipes from his book so far. 😀 They were not spectacular as I expected: for example, “caponata” turned out as a regular eggplant stew, that I make often too – only without vinegar and olives. But I really liked this recipe made from fried cauliflower florets with peas, tomatoes and a mixture of spices. Mustard seeds, fresh ginger and cumin infuse the dish perfectly, while chilli adds a mild spiciness. The final addition of fresh coriander leaves on top and lime juice adds a beautiful touch. I served this simple but tasty cauliflower with roasted chicken.
I am curious about all new foodie things and lately, I have discovered on the Internet that the combination of cauliflower and peas is a common in Indian cuisine. I really liked this easy and healthy dish. Spices do wonders! 🙂
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.
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).
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.
The week before St.Valentine’s Day is just started. Are you ready for the Big Day? Have you planned how do you want to spend it? No matter what you choose – whether to go to a restaurant or to spend a romantic dinner in, I recommend you to try this pureed soup with roasted beetroot. You can serve it as a hot starter on the V-Day, or just prepare it during the week. The soup is very easy and quick to make. The only thing I’d like to mention: better to roast beetroot instead of boiling, roasted beets with rosemary and olive oil have such a lovely aroma and they add an extra amazing taste to the soup! And if you are vegetarian – omit the bacon.
You may also garnish the soup with fresh chopped dill instead of chives.
Omit the bacon for vegetarian option.
2 small beetroots, about 230g
1 small red onion
1 garlic clove, optional, peeled
1 teared fresh rosemary sprig or 1 tsp dried
1 tbsp olive oil
500ml water (or veg or beef stock)
2 small potatoes, about 230g
1 bay leave
1 tsp dark muscovado sugar (or sub with white)
1 tbps lemon juice
freshly ground pink pepper, to taste
sea salt, to taste
3-4 smoked bacon strips
1.5 tbsp each cream cheese+sour cream (or use more cream cheese)
4 tbsp fresh chive
Wash and peel beetroot, cut into 4-5 slices and arrange on a piece of foil. Slice onion and add along with garlic and rosemary to beetroot. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake in preheated 180C oven for 20 minutes, then take out onion and garlic. Seal the foil and bake beetroot for 20-30 minutes more or until it’s soft.
Meanwhile, peel potatoes and cut into small cubes. Bring water or stock to boil in a medium pan, add potatoes, bay leave and some salt. Slightly cover, simmer on a medium heat until soft. Discard the bay leave.
Add all roasted vegetables to the pan along with sugar and lemon juice. Season to taste with pink pepper and salt. Simmer all together for 5-6 minutes more.
In a small pan, fry sliced bacon (without oil) until it’s crispy. Drain on a paper towels.
Blend the soup until smooth.
For the garnish, mix cream cheese with sour cream, or use only cream cheese. Chop chives.
Pour the soup into serving bowls. Garnish with fried bacon, chives and a dollop of cream.