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Pumpkin Lingonberry cake

 Is the pumpkin season over? I think pumpkins with its amazing and cheerful color, and great taste are always on time. For this cake, I used butternut squash because it was very sweet compared to a dull and bit tasteless slice of pumpkin that I had in my fridge. Choose any sweet variety or increase sugar, but definitely, the naturally sweet fruit is the best option.
 Once you grated the pumpkin, mixed it up with tvorog (cottage cheese) and berries, and the cake is almost ready. 🙂 For many of you, lingonberries are exotic berries but I do hope that will not stop you to try this cake, as these berries taste very similar to little sour cranberries. So, you may always find another good substitution. They are also known as cowberries or mountain/tundra cranberries.
Pumpkin Lingonberry Cake
This bright cake turned out incredibly soft and delicious. Lovely little lingonberries and orange glaze made it even more special and festive. You need only to brew the aromatic tea (like this wonderful spiced tea) and enjoy the cheerful atmosphere.
 Isn’t it the perfect cake?
Pumpkin Lingonberry Cake with orange glaze
 You can click here for the marvelous drink recipe that also goes perfectly with a slice of this pumpkin cake. Aromatic spices and berries in both recipes make you feel very festive and happy.
A slice of Pumpkin Lingonberry Cake

Pumpkin Lingonberry cake

  • Servings: 5-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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I used 20cm baking pan
*Carrots are another good substitute.
**Can be substituted with fresh small cranberries. No berries – not a problem, omit it or add few dried cranberries.
What you’ll need
350g finely grated pumpkin or butternut squash*, any sweet variety is fine
50g butter, at room temperature
40g (2 tbsp) white sugar (or brown)
2 medium eggs, slightly beaten
1 orange, zest+1 tbsp orange juice
1 tbsp orange marmalade (I used fine cut)
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg or a pinch of fresh
200g 0% cottage cheese (or 5-7% is even better)
100g yogurt (thick one is preferably like Greek yogurt or creme fraiche)
~100g lingonberries (I used frozen)**
100g plain flour+1 tbsp cornflour (not corn starch, or add extra plain flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3-4 tbsp orange marmalade, for the glaze, warm
How to make it
  • Grate pumpkin, squeeze juice if there is any. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk butter with sugar until pale but don’t over-mix.
  • Mix in eggs.
  • Add orange zest, orange juice, marmalade and nutmeg.
  • In a separate bowl blend cottage cheese with yogurt. Fold into the batter mixture.
  • Fold in grated pumpkin and berries. If using frozen – do not refreeze.
  • Sift in flours with baking powder and soda.
  • Line the baking dish and pour in the mixture.
  • Bake in preheated 200C oven for 40 minutes.
  • Prick the warm cake with a toothpick several times. Pour over warm orange marmalade.
  • Serve warm or cold.
Enjoy!

Cauliflower rice

Hi, guys! Somewhere hot days are already over, in other places heat is still on and summer doesn’t want to give up. It’s also unbearably hot in Dubai, but all shopping malls and cafes are air-conditioned here and that’s a true life-saver. Despite the hot days I prepare and eat a hot dish once a day, and today I want to share a simple recipe on how to make cauliflower rice — tasty and healthy alternative to regular rice.
Have you ever taste it? Don’t be skeptical and trust me — you will love it. It is delicious! Adding few ingredients to the plain and for someone tasteless cauliflower and you will get absolutely another vegetable — tasty and aromatic. Cauliflower rice is very easy to cook a low-carb dish, moreover, it’s rich in fiber and how popular to write nowadays — gluten, dairy-free, and vegan (of course if served without any poultry). 
Cauliflower rice with fried turkey tenders
All you need — just blitz medium-size cauliflower florets in a food processor or cut with a knife or grate (in that case it’s more time-consuming) until chopped into tiny pieces. Then sauté with aromatic olive oil, season well and serve by itself as a quick lunch or dinner. For not vegan alternative add some fried turkey or chicken tenders. Enjoy!
Cauliflower rice
 I suggest preparing a good amount to enjoy this healthy meal for a few days. Cauliflower rice sometimes is also called couscous, click to check out my “cauliflower couscous with shrimps” recipe.
Cauliflower rice with capsicums and tomato

Cauliflower rice

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Tip1For extra crunch: add nuts — roasted almond flakes or silvered; or seeds — sunflower or pumpkin seeds.
Tip 2For non-vegan option: season turkey or chicken stripes/tenders with salt, pepper and mix dry herbs (Italian blend is good), drizzle with oil, leave to marinade, then pan-fry or grill and serve immediately with cauliflower rice.
What You’ll Need
1 medium cauliflower/400-500g
2 tbsp EV olive oil
1 large red onion
2 small capsicums, different colors preferably 
1 medium tomato or 1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 tsp oregano
1/3 tsp marjoram
some fresh thyme leaves, or 1/3 tsp dry
1/3 lemon, juice 
spring onion and/or parsley, chopped
freshly ground sea salt and white pepper to taste
 
 
How to Make It
  1. Wash and roughly chop cauliflower. Using a food processor, blitz cauliflower florets into small/rice-size pieces, but not pureed.
  2. Cut onion, capsicums, and tomato into small cubes.
  3. In a large frying pan, heat oil and fry onions over medium heat until slightly golden. Add capsicums cubes and tomato or tomato paste along with sugar. Fry for 5 minutes more.
  4. Add garlic and herbs and fry for 1 minute more.
  5. You may skip this step and add cauliflower to the vegetables. At this stage, I prefer to transfer all fried vegetables to a bowl and put a side. Then I add cauliflower to the same pan with some more oil and saute it. Afterward, I return vegetables to the cauliflower rice and saute all together for extra few minutes. 
  6. Add cauliflower, stir a couple of times, cover with a lid for 5-6 minutes. Remove the lid, return back vegetables and continue to saute for 10 minutes more or until cauliflower rice just begins to brown.
  7. When it’s ready – add lemon juice and season to taste. Sprinkle with fresh herbs.
 
Enjoy!

Chami

  Ramadan Kareem! Ramadan is going on in the UAE, during this month Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, and when the sun sets they break the fast. It is also time to be more grateful and patience, time for charity. Many families and friends get together to break their daytime fast, that evening meal is called iftar. The meal most often starts with a date and a glass of water; then usually soup or salad is served, numerous appetizers (mezze), which includes olives, hummus, and of course cheeses.Chami
 In my opinion, cheeses are loved by many people and every country has their own varieties and names, and Arab region is not the exception. One of the traditional Emirati cheeses is called Chami, which is similar to cottage cheese. I can even say more, it is a cottage cheese. The legend says that an Arabian bedouin traveled somewhere across the desert, and took some milk with him in a goat’s stomach, and while he was traveling, extremely hot sun and his movements (or his horse) caused the milk to separate into curd and whey; thus the first simple cheese was discovered. 
 Most probably that time it was goat’s or sheep’s milk and thus the cheese, but nowadays it is usually prepared by simmering cow’s laban (local dairy drink,  similar to Russian kefir or buttermilk). Chami is usually drizzled with ghee (clarified butter) and eaten with dates. In my home country, homemade cottage cheese is often made the same way: by simmering the soured cow’s milk that caused the milk to separate. I love cottage cheese, not only to eat it as is, I add it into cakes or sweet one-dish bakes (you can find numerous recipes if you write “cottage cheese” in the search line on the right). So I make it quite often at home, but I prefer to simmer local yogurt, which is sold in large one, two and larger liters buckets. thus I have the bigger quantity of the cheese.

Monastery beetroot salad with coriander seeds

 Hello guys! How is your foodie-blogo-life going on?
I’ve wanted to post this recipe for so long that almost forgot about it. When I was a student I didn’t want to spend much time cooking, so the food was usually prepared well ahead of time, and then reheat, or simple dishes were all the time favorite, like boiled potatoes served with homemade pickles or macaroni a la flot, or famous salad vinegret was cooked pretty often. So, the recipe of this salad I read in one tiny little book with few recipes suitable for the Lent diet, when you’re not allowed to eat meat and dairy products; and I liked it from the first spoon (even though first time I didn’t use neither honey or coriander seeds) and since then I prepare it. I highly suggest not to omit coriander seeds, as they give so much flavor, and the simple beetroot salad turns into something special. And I love the idea that this bright salad can be made all year round and served whether as a starter or a healthy main dish (add some roast fish steaks on a side for the more nourishing meal).

MonasteryBeetroot Salad

Monastery beetroot salad with coriander seeds

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: very easy
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You’ll need 
450-500g beetroot
2 medium brown onions
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1.5 tbsp whole coriander seeds, crushed
150g prunes, without stones
100g walnuts, raw or dry-roasted
2 tsp runny honey
some chopped parsley or dill, for garnish, optional
How to make it
  1. Boil or roast beetroots until ready to eat. Peel, cut into cubes or wedges.
  2. Saute onions in oil until translucent, add coriander seeds and fry for 1 minute more.
  3. Chop prunes and walnuts, combine with honey. Mix into beetroot.
  4. Drizzle with extra oil and honey, if desired. Sprinkle with some more coriander seeds and (optionally) with fresh chopped parsley or coriander.
Enjoy!
MonasteryBeetroot Salad with coriander seeds

 

Coconut panna cotta

Panna cotta is such a universal dessert that suits any season, whether it’s freezing winter or hot summer. Cold panna cotta being served straight from the fridge with some fresh chopped strawberries is a perfect refreshing dessert for a sunny day; but if you take it out from the fridge a lit bit ahead of time, while quickly prepare super easy but super aromatic topping, like rosemary-scented mandarins, or quick sauté fresh cubed apples in a butter with a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg – and you have got a nice dessert that warms you up on a cold day.
 I have noticed that I make this dessert during cold months here: probably I miss the snow and the white color of panna cotta reminds me winter in my hometown… This time the idea to garnish panna cotta with coconut candies and flakes came to my mind, so I decided to add coconut milk to the mixture instead of using only regular milk or cream.
Coconut panna cotta
It looks like a mountain, which is completely covered in snow. Doesn’t, it? and those candies are like small snowballs, that little children make to play in a snow fight.
Coconut panna cotta/cup
TIP: If you sprinkle panna cotta with red and pink edible hearts – it can be a lovely dessert to impress your other half on a St.Valentine Day.
panna cotta with coconut milk
I serve panna cotta in glasses, but If you prefer, you can grease cups/ramekins with some oil and pour panna cotta in it, and then when it’s set and firm untold it before serving onto small individual plates.

Coconut panna cotta

What You’ll Need
2 tsp gelatin powder
3 tbsp cold water
1/2 can coconut milk (about 180ml)
250ml whipping cream (or heavy cream)
60g white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
coconut candies and flakes for garnish, optional
How to Make it
  1. In a small bowl, add cold water and sprinkle with gelatin, and let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small pan over medium heat,  heat the coconut milk, whipping cream, vanilla and sugar until sugar is dissolved, (but not simmer). Remove from the heat.
  3. Add softened gelatin to the creamy mixture and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved.
  4. Divide the pan cotta mixture evenly among prepared cups/glasses. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours or overnight.
  5. Garnish with coconut candies and flakes before serving.
Enjoy!
Coconut panna cotta//with coconut candies
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