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

 

The ruby-red treat

Who doesn’t like a glorious cherry pie? 🙂

One of the good thing about this pie is that you can use different types of pastry crusts and cherries. I like to use fresh sour cherries, but here such cherries are nowhere to be found, I’ve seen only sweet and they are overpriced. So I quiet often use frozen or canned. 
 
I made it a couple of times during the winter and I wish I would have made several more! The pie is quite easy to make and it came out amazing! Moreover, the fact that you can make the pastry ahead of time, makes the pie perfect for company or holiday parties.
 
Don’t forget that cherries should be pitted! The sugar amount for the filling varies depending on how sweet your cherries, adjust it to suit your personal preferences.
Cherry_pie-2

The ruby-red Cherry Pie


Ingredients (for 13 cm/5 inch pie pan):
Short crust pastry:
190g plain flour
100g butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
1/2 tbsp white sugar
a pinch of salt
30-40 ml cold water
 
Cherry filling:
300-400ml pitted fresh or canned cherries
1-2 tbsp white sugar, if needed
1 tsp corn starch
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp cherry liquor or brandy (optionally)
1/2 tbsp fine semolina
 
Glazing:
1 egg yolk+ 1tsp milk 
1/2 Tbsp granulated white or brown sugar
 
Preparation:
  1. Place all ingredients for the filling in a bowl, and gently combine. If you’re using fresh cherries, let them stand for 20 minutes, then toss it again.
  2. Combine the flour, butter, sugar and salt until coarse meal. Pour water slowly and incorporate gently until the dough begins to hold together. Roll into two ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use (at least 30 minutes). The short crust pastry can be kept in the fridge for a week! I suggest to double the quantity of pastry and make it ahead, thus you can prepare a big pie for the family or several  individual pies during the week.
  3. Roll one portion of dough into 22 cm circle and transfer to the pie pan. Keep it in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap, while you roll out the top of the pie crust. 
  4. Roll the second pastry ball into smaller circle – 18-19 cm. Use a knife to cut vents into the top crust, so the steam has a place to escape while the pie is cooking. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  5. Preheat oven to 180C/360F.
  6. Remove the crusts from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 5-7 minutes so they have time to soften.
  7. Sprinkle the bottom pastry with semolina, and fill the pie.
  8. Lightly brush the rim with egg wash. Top it with second crust.
  9. Brush the entire surface with egg wash, sprinkle with granulated sugar.
  10. Bake the pie for about 35-40 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the cherry juices are beginning to bubble. Let the pie cool on a rack for sometime.
  11. ENJOY! 😀


Vareniki

 Almost everybody in Russia knows and adores vareniki! So do I. 😀
Vareniki – are dumplings, stuffed with savoury or sweet filling.

Vareniki-9

It’s considered that vareniki is a traditional Ukrainian dish, but originally it came from Turkey. It was a dish made from boiled unleavened dough with meat and vegetables filling. When “Vareniki” appeared in Ukraine for the first time, they were called ‘diush-var’. The Ukrainian people liked this dish so much that these dumplings quickly spread over the Ukraine and beyond, and became widely-popular, turned into traditional Ukrainian cuisine and began to call as ‘vareniki, and this name simply means – boiled.
 Ukrainian savoury vareniki are usually topped with shkvarki – fried salted pork fat, and also can be topped with fried onions or just accompanied with sour cream according to local taste or preferences (i.e. last two toppings are quite popular in Russia).
 The most popular fillings are potatoes, mushrooms or fish. Vareniki could be also made sweet, with cherries or sweet cottage cheese filling.
There are many recipes of vareniki nowadays, with egg or sour cream in dough, based on water or kefir.
My recipe is the simplest one, and I used a mix of mashed potatoes and mushrooms. You can use the same dough for sweet fillings, such as cherries or black currant.
Here is the short video how I make these lovely twisted edges of the Vareniki.

Vareniki

  • Servings: ~70 pieces
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Vareniki can be frozen well, that’s why I usually make a big batch, put them in ziplocks and freeze! No need to defrost before cooking.
 
Ingredients
The dough:
500g plain flour
1 egg
2 tsp salt
200 ml warm water
The filling:
800-900 g potatoes, boiled and mashed
1 onion, cut into small cubes
300 g wild or button mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbsp oil + 1 Tbsp butter 
Small bunch of dill, finely chopped
Salt, pepper to taste
Garnish per portion:
1-2 Tbsp sour cream 
1 Tbsp chopped dill 
a knob of butter 
 
Method
  • Dissolve salt in warm water. On a flat surface make a well in the flour, add egg and salted water. Knead until the dough is pliable. Cover with plastic wrap or towel and let rest for 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, saute onion and mushrooms in oil and butter. In a bowl combine mashed potatoes with vegetables and dill. Season to taste. The filling is ready.
  • Roll the dough into 8cm/3-inch circles, place 1 tsp potato mixture into center, fold the dough over filling and press it.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil (salt the water as for pasta or you like). Put vareniki into water and carefully stir with a spoon. When they come to the surface – cook for 4-5 minutes more.
  • Serve vareniki with sour cream, chopped dill and a knob of butter on top.
 You can brown vareniki a bit in a butter straight after the boiling. Serve with sour cream, but already without extra butter on top.
 
Enjoy the delicious vareniki! 🙂

Are you going to Angie’s party? You can try superb cocktail there! 😉

Velvety&Luscious Cauliflower soup

 Vegetables play an important role in our lives. Let’s do it more healthy and cook this velvety and creamy cauliflower soup.
Sautéing capsicum and roasted cashews is great topping to the soup, infused with spices.
Soup
! Don’t forget to adjust the level of chilli seasoning to make the soup less or more spicy. 🙂
Serves 4-6
Ingredients
1 medium head of cauliflower (600-700g/1.5 pounds),
cut into medium-size florets
1 capsicum
1+1 garlic cloves, a slightly crushed
1 small onion
1/2 Tbsp butter
1+1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp cream cheese
100 ml single cream
100 ml vegetable broth (or water) + some warm water
3-4 Tbsp cashews, roasted and crushed
1 tsp dry basil
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (or 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder)
2-3 tsp chilli flakes or chilli seasoning
3-4 tsp chopped parsley and/or basil
Salt&pepper
1 tsp olive oil per plate, for dressing, optionally

 

  • In a soup pot, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil and butter. Add the onion and cook until soften but not browned for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the cauliflower and garlic, cook for 5 minutes. Pick out and discard the garlic.
  • Add the broth and water, season with basil, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat the oil on a frying pan, add the capsicum and garlic and sauté for 5-6 minutes. Pick out and discard the garlic.
  • Purée the soup until very smooth. Season with the nutmeg. Stir in the cheese and cream.
  • Rewarm it over medium heat (just few minutes). If necessary, add more water to thin the cauliflower soup.
  • Serve with capsicum on the top; sprinkle with fresh basil, parsley, chilli and cashews.
  • Drizzle over the olive oil, if desired.
Bon Appetit! 
The soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

 

Pancake Pie

 Today is ‘Forgiveness Sunday’, the last day of the ‘pancake festival’ (Butterweek) in Russia.
According to one old tradition, the more pancakes have been eaten during the Butterweek, the more successful will be the year.
As per another custom, a girl at the twilight, should took a pancake, went out and asked the first stranger his name. It was believed, that man’s name and look is similar to the future husband’s appearance. In case if the girl didn’t like the name ‘n’ look, she had to give a pancake to the guy. If she liked it, she had to eat a pancake herself. 🙂
 There are lots of pancakes varieties, with savoury or fruit fillings. Mine 3 favourites: with cottage cheese, sweet condensed milk and salmon 🙂
 Making pancakes could be really exciting and interesting, you can involve the whole family, invite friends and enjoy the holiday.
 You can surprise your family by preparing this delicious pancake pie!
Pancake_pie_caviar-3
What’s more, I decided to participate in Fiesta Friday, organized by Angie from TheNoviceGardener. I’m happy to be involved in such virtual parties and get new friends. 🙂

The basic Russian pancakes recipe
Serves 4-6
Ingredients:
650ml full fat milk
50ml warm water
250g all-purpose flour
2 eggs
a good pinch of salt
2 tbsp of sugar
2 tbsp of sunflower oil
1/3 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp of lemon juice or vinegar
Preparation:
  • Break the eggs into large bowl, add salt and sugar, whisk.
  • Add the oil and milk, whisk again.
  • Sift the flour into the bowl, whisk thoroughly.
  • Add warm water and whisk to incorporate any lumps.
  • Pour lemon juice or vinegar into a spoon with baking soda on it (to dissolve the soda), quickly add it into the batter and whisk a couple of times.
  • While the mixture is resting (it allows the ingredients to blend together better), heat the pan; grease the pan with some oil, if needed.
  • Evenly coat the pan with the batter. Cook about a minute, then flip the pancake and cook for 15-30 seconds more.
  • Keep prepared pancakes in warm place.
 You can already enjoy the tastiest pancakes, dipping them into a raspberry preserve or hazelnut sauce, or prepare the pancake pie with salmon. It could be wonderful lunch or dinner for the weekend. Pancake_pie_caviar-2
Pancake pie with salmon and cream cheese
Serves 4-5
Ingredients:
8 pancakes
200g salted or smoked salmon, always better homemade (find the recipe here)
120-150g cream cheese
2tbsp sour cream (substitute with crème fraîche, or single/double cream)
4-5 tbsp finely chopped dill
I used red caviare for the decoration, you can do it with salmon or just keep the top as is.
Assembling:
  • Blend the cream cheese with sour cream until smooth.
  • Cut the salmon into small cubes.
  • Arrange the first pancake on a plate, spread the cheese mixture and sprinkle with dill.
  • Cover with the second one. Spread some salmon on the pancake.
  • Cover with the third pancake.
  • Repeat all steps.
 Have a lovely pancake time!  🙂
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