Tag Archives: DIY

Kisel – Russian sweet drink

 Kisel – is a well-known and popular sweet drink in Russia. This healthy drink contains berries or fruits, also sugar and water, and thickened with a potato starch. Kisel can be served cold or hot, sometimes it’s poured over ‘cottage cheese bake’ or ‘syrniki’. The kisel thickness can vary depending on how much potato starch is used; the thickest version does look like a mousse or jelly and can be eaten with a spoon, however the thin kisel is the most common version in Russia and usually consumed as a drink.Kisel-Russian sweet drink

  Kisel is generally made with fresh berries or fruits (red currants, cherries, cranberries, apples – are most common flavors which are widely available in Russia), but during the winter sweet jams or frozen berries are used to make it. The very first Russian kisels were thick and made with oat, wheat, rye or pea flours, and it dates back over one thousand years.
 Nowadays there are lots of instant kisel mixes, which you can find at Russian stores, but I do assure you that to make you own kisel is very easy and definitely better and tastier. I made mine with fresh red currants; you can use any fresh or frozen berries. Enjoy!Russian red currant kisel (drink)

Kisel - Russian sweet drink

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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To make thick kisel add more starch.
Ingredients
200-300g fresh red currants, rinsed
5-7 tbsp sugar (or more, depends on your taste)
2l water
3 tbsp potato starch (or cornstarch)
Method
  • Keep aside some red currats. Strain the rest through a sieve into a saucepan. Add water, sugar and bring to boil. Reduce the heat, taste and adjust the sweetness.
  • In a small cup, mix starch with few tablespoons of cold water. Add it to the saucepan along with red currants that you’ve kept. Give it a good stir and turn off the heat.
  • Pour in a glasses or cups. Serve warm or cold. Enjoy!

Olive Oil and Rosemary Crackers

 I’ve been on a homemade everything kick for a quite long time.. 😀 Homemade crackers is not an exception. I’ve tried lots of crackers recipes and usually crackers turned out like cookies, not very crunchy, tasted like shortbread cookies, or I was unable to roll out dough thinly. Finally, after tasting and comparing different recipes, I created my own recipe of salty crackers. You need only few ingredients to prepare these amazingly tasty, crunchy and aromatic crackers! The dough contains extra virgin olive oil and rosemary, natural bitterness and pepperyness of the oil and piney aroma of the herb give incredible taste and smell to the dough and crackers. You can make sticks, twists or roll out the dough very thinly and cut out any shape you like. I enjoy these crackers as is, it’s a nice midday snack; you can also make a sauce and dip crackers into it.Crackers Twists

This edible bouquet for all beautiful and wonderful ladies, who has brought many tasty dishes to Fiesta Friday party today! A feast for the eyes and the stomach! 😉Rosemary Crackers Bouquet

Olive Oil and Rosemary Crackers

  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients
160g strong/bread flour
130g wholemeal flour + more if needed
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black or white pepper
1.5-2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary 
150ml water
90ml extra virgin olive oil
 
  • In a large bowl, mix flours, baking powder, salt, pepper, rozemary. Add water and mix with a spatula or wooden spoon. Add olive oil and mix again. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead with hands. Add a bit more flour if the dough is too sticky.
  • Cut the dough into equal 6-8 pieces. Roll each piece into circle as thinly as you like, cut into squares, diamond shape. You can also cut into strips (1.5-2cm width, 15cm length) and then twist each strip.
  • Place crackers on a baking sheet and bake in preheated 220-230C (450F) oven for 10-11 minutes or until golden color.

I keep crackers in airtight container in the fridge up to 5 days.

 
Enjoy!

Apple Scones

 Many of you heard about these lovely biscuits, which are called scones. Whenever I see or hear ‘scones’ I immediately imagine the Queen of the United Kingdom, how she’s drinking her 5 o’clock tea, beautiful china teacups are set on a huge royal table, and elegant waitresses serving various treats and of course scones! Did you know that originally scone was round and flat, usually as a medium-sized plate, it was made with oats and baked on a griddle, and only after that cut into triangular sections for serving. Only when baking powder became available and popular, scones began to be the oven-baked. Nowadays, scones are widely liked and popular not only in Britain. Saying honestly, scones aren’t popular in Russia, may be because of large and good variety of cookies and other cakes. Here, in the UAE the same thing, they are not sold in regular bakeries and stores, so I decided to make scones myself and here the result – buttery and tasty triangle scones. 🙂Triangle apple scones

Apple Scones

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients
150g plain flour
100-120g wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp orange or lemon zest
2 tsp cinnamon
100g sugar
110g butter, very cold
110g sour cream
1 egg
1 apple
1 tsp lemon juice
Glazing
100g powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
  • In a large bowl or food processor, combine flours, salt, baking powder, sugar, zest, cinnamon. Grate the butter or cut into small cubes, add to the flour mixture and mix in. Knead the dough.
  • In a small bowl, add sour cream, egg and whisk to combine until smooth. Pour the mixture over dry and fold until just combined.
  • Peel, core and cut apple into small cubes, sprinkle with lemon juice. Fold apple cubes into dough until just combined.
  • Put the dough on a lightly floured surface, shape into 20-23cm and 2cm thick disk. With a knife slice the disk into 6-8 wedges.
  • Transfer wedges on a lined baking sheet with some space apart. Bake in preheated 180C oven for 15 minutes. Allow scones to cool on a baking sheet for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the glazing. In a small bowl, sift icing sugar and whisk with lemon juice until smooth. Drizzle scones with the glazing.
Enjoy tea-time!

Plum cake

It’s a fact that spring came to this year-round sunny city too, and temperature start to creep slowly. During the day the weather is still nice for swimming and sunbathing without uncomfortable sweating like in the summer months. Another pleasure is to take an evening walk in the fresh air, or to sit outsite and enjoy sipping a tea while the weather is till cool. Having a tea without a piece of cake is absolutely wrong thing! 😀 So, you can guess that one of my favourite ‘indoor activities’ is baking! I had mascarpone cheese and ripe plums that used to be a jam, but mascarpone was nearly to expiry date and I had to use it somehow.. Plum cake ingredientsIt was a ‘mix all what you have’ cake, I also added a splash of cognac for an extra hit. After a half an hour of baking the cake was still uncooked and I was a bit worried. But the final result was a wonderfully divine and delicious cake! It was totally worth the wait: tender, moist and filled with amazing flavour! I will be making this cake again! 🙂Plum cake (with mascarpone and cognac)

Plum cake with mascarpone and cognac

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients for 18cm baking tin
50g butter, very soft
80g brown sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tbsp cognac (or brandy)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbsp lemon zest, optional
100-120g mascarpone, at room temperature
100-110 g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
4-5 dark plums, sliced
1 tbsp plum jam (or apricot jam), optional
Preparation
  • In a mixing bowl, beat the butter with sugar. In a separate bowl, beat eggs with cognac, vanilla and lemon zest. Gradually stir into the butter mixture. Fold in mascarpone cheese. Sift flour with baking powder into the batter, mix to combine.
  • Pour the batter into greased baking tin. Arrange plum slices on top. Bake in preheated 180C oven for 50-60 minutes or until the inserted toothpick comes out clean. Grease the top with jam. Let it cool slightly before serving.
Enjoy!
Tender and Tasty Plum cake

Homemade Aromatic Breadcrumbs

 I’m sure most of you eating bread almost every day. And I guess you have pretty much leftovers, which going to be mouldy or dry out. My decision is not to buy or eat less bread, is to make your own homemade breadcrumbs! Of course, you can make a bread pudding or French toasts with the leftover bread, but I bet you do not always have a time to prepare it in the morning. Easy to follow steps allow you to make aromatic breadcrumbs, which is extremely good and more tasty than store-bought, and you know all ingredients you’ve used. Include different types of bread and play with herbs, I prefer rosemary, thyme, basil, sage. Breadcrumbs should be store in an air-tight container, or even in the freezer. When you need some, just spoon out the amount of breadcrumbs you need.
 I make a simple pasta topped with breadcrumbs, or stuffed chicken breasts. You can also make a delicious snack – baked slices of zucchini and/or eggplants. For that you need to combine breadcrumbs with dried or minced garlic, chopped fresh parsley and thyme, fresh ground pepper, olive oil, grated parmesan, then top each slice of veggie with the mixture and bake. 🙂
 I hope you will never buy commercial breadcrumbs again, or at least you will try. 😉
Homemade Aromatic Breadcrumbs

Homemade Aromatic Breadcrumbs

 If you have only few leftover bread slices, cut them into cubes, put into a freezer bag and place in the fridge. When you’ve got more leftovers, keep adding bread pieces to the bag until you have enough quantity. Then follow the recipe steps.
 
Ingredients
one/two-days old bread or any leftovers
1 tsp each: rosemary, basil, thyme
  • Cut bread into small pieces with a knife, then arrange on a baking tray. Bake in preheated 160-170C/150C-fan oven for 20-30 minutes or until bread pieces is golden and crispy.
  • Put bread pieces into a food processor along with dried herbs and blend to a small crumbs. You can also put bread pieces into a plastic bag and smash it with a kitchen mallet.
  • Put into a glass jar/container and cover tightly. Or put breadcrumbs into a freezer bag and keep in the freezer.