Tag Archives: food styling

Mini Appetizer: Goat Cheese Balls

 Goat cheese must be the most controversial cheese. One does like it, another hate. What about you, dear reader? Do you like goat cheese or its odour is too pungent for you?
 Whatever you goat cheese stance, I suggest you to try it! May be you will find you earthreal cheese! 🙂
 I couldn’t find a good goat cheese, when I lived in Russia, there was no any variety even in supermarkets. You could find the goat milk, which was sold by farmers in the countryside, but usually only milk, they didn’t produce any goat cheese. There were plenty of soft and hard farmer cheeses but made from cow milk. Thus many people haven’t try goat cheese. Of course the situation has changed now.
 I was amazed how many goat cheeses are sold in Dubai: fresh, soft and creamy, aged, etc, which are brought here from Europe (usually from France).
 Once I watch a food-show and chef made a salad with mini cheese balls, covered with parsley. I liked the idea.. After several days  I created my own appetizer to impress my guests.
 It looks like a gourmet appetizer, and it’s certainly good if you don’t want to hang around the kitchen for hours. 😉
Goat cheese starter

Mini Appetizer: Goat Cheese Balls

  • Servings: 5-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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If you want to make it ahead of time, you can roll the balls and roast beetroots 1 to 2 days beforehand.
Ingredients:
150g soft goat cheese (I used honey-flavoured)
1 Tbsp cream cheese
a pinch of sea salt
1/3 tsp white or pink pepper, freshly ground
1-3 Tbsp walnuts, finely chopped
1-3 Tbsp fresh thyme, sage, flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1-2 small beetroots
1-2 small tomatoes
Dressing:
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp wholegrain mustard
1/2 tsp liquid honey
Method:
  1. Wash and clean beets, cover with a foil and bake in preheated oven 200C/400F for 30-45 minutes, depends on the beets’ size.
  2. Cut the beets and tomatoes into equal circles, and arrange them on a serving plate.
  3. In a bowl combine goat and cream cheeses along with salt, pepper and walnuts. Spoon cheese mixture and form into balls (you can use table or teaspoon, depends on a size of your choice).
  4. Gentle roll the balls in herb mixture, coating well. Place onto vegetables.
  5. Serve immediately (with fresh arugula or young chard leaves, if desired), or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  6. Optionally, you can make a dressing and pour over cheese balls and salad.
TIP: You can add 1-2 fresh or dried finely chopped figs into the cheese mixture.
I’m bringing this dish over to FF tonight! Hopefully, someone has brought a good bottle of wine.. 😉 And don’t forget to bring the good mood to the party!
 ENJOY!

5-star Salad

  I feel very honoured that I took the 1st place in the challenge held by Angie – Thenovicegardener.  This was my first time I won in food-blogging contest and hope not the last. Thank you all who stopped by my post and made comments about kulebyaka. The kulebyaka is so Russian and delicious pie, and I hope one of you will make it one day. 😉 Feel free to ask me if you have any questions about the kulebyaka preparation.
 Is it Friday yet? Oh, yes! That means one more party at Thenovicegardener. Does anybody would like ‘a 5-star salad’? Why 5-star, because it looks posh and the portion is so small like from a high-class restaurant. Moreover, it’s healthy and tasty.
 Actually, I made it from the cauliflower remains, when I cooked this soup. 🙂

5-star Salad

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: very easy
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Ingredients:
7-9 small cauliflower florets
1 red or yellow capsicum
1 small shallot
1 clove of garlic, smashed
1-2 tsp almonds, sliced and roasted
1/4 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/4 tsp fresh parsley or basil, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil + 1/3 Tbsp butter
The dressing:
1/2 tsp wholegrain mustard
1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp small capers
freshly ground sea salt and white pepper
  1. In a frying pan heat the olive oil and butter. Add the onion and cook until soften but not browned for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the capsicum, garlic, thyme, and sauté for 5 minutes or until the pepper is soft and browned. You can add the cauliflower along with capsicum and sauté it too, or leave it raw. Pick out and discard the garlic.
  3. In a small bowl or glass, combine all ingredients for the dressing and give it a good stir.
  4. Arrange the vegetables on a serving plate, sprinkle with almonds, parsley or basil; pour over the dressing.
Enjoy!
Salad
You can also check out these recipes, using the capsicums: the salad with chickpeas and Russian stuffed capsicums

Kulebyaka – Russian pie

 Kulebyaka or Coulibiac is an authentic Russian hot pie, which has an oblong shape and features several fillings.
The word became from old Russian verb – ‘kulebyachit’, that means to make with hands, to shape, to bend and to knead.
 Pies are always have been loved in Russia. Even famous Russian writers as N.Gogol and A.Turgenev glorified pies in their works. Various pies were always made for every holiday and festival, though it was posh royal celebration or small peasant occasion. Large pies stuffed with several ingredients were really popular, they were baked on Butterweek and Easter and served in taverns and small tea-houses, where each owner had a special recipe and baked very individual pies, different from anyone else’s, i.e. opened and closed pies, feature simple (potatoes or cabbage) or complicated (sturgeon with buckwheat) filling.Festive&Delicious Kulebyaka by milkandbun
  Only in the 17th century, the grand oblong pie, that features several fillings, was named ‘kulebyaka’. The pastry shell was usually made from the yeast dough (the recipe is below). The main distinction of the kulebyaka-pie from any other Russian pie is that the quantity of the filling should be two or three times exceeds the quantity of the pastry; the filling of grand (festive) kulebyaka is usually complicated and separated with thin pancakes.
 The most popular fillings are salmon with buckwheat, ground meat with boiled eggs and rice, cabbage with mushrooms and onions, or visiga – a spinal marrow of the sturgeon, the last one is the unusual ingredient for nowadays, but in the 17-18th centuries it was very common.
 In the 19th century, French chefs, who had worked in Russia, brought the recipe to France and adapted it to the modern cookery, thus the kulebyaka became popular pie not only in Russia. 🙂Beautiful Kulebyaka/Milkandbun
Here is my version of the festival kulebyaka.

Kulebyaka - Russian pie

The yeast dough:
3tsp/5g instant dry yeast
100ml warm milk (or warm water)
2tsp white sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp salt
200ml milk (or water), at room temperature
100g butter, melted
~600g all-purpose/plain/white flour
  1. In a cup, stir warm milk, sugar and yeast together. Let stand until foamy about 10 minutes.
  2. In a big bowl, crack eggs, add sugar, salt, milk, melted butter and stir together. Add sifted flour, yeast mixture and knead the dough until it’s smooth.
  3. Cover the bowl with wet cloth, put in a warm place and leave to rise for 1 hour. After the time, knead the dough again. Repeat this step one more time.
The quantity of dough is enough for kulebyaka and one big pizza.
The filling:
600g fresh salmon, cut into small cubes
100g basmati or jasmine rice, cooked
200g mushrooms, sliced and fried
1 big onion, sliced and fried
4 eggs, cooked and chopped
2+2 Tbsp finely chopped dill and parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper
The pancakes’ recipe you can find here. You can reduce the pancakes’ batter by half, because you need approximately 9 pancakes.
The glaze:
1 egg yolk beaten with 2Tbsp milk, 1/2tsp salt and 1/2tsp sugar
Assembling:
  1. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to approximately 26cm*35cm rectangular and 6mm thick. You can roll the dough on a piece of baking parchement, thus it’ll be much easier to transfer the pie on a baking tray; moreover, you need to turn the pie upside down-the sealing should be on the bottom.
  2. Coat the rolled dough with the pancakes.
  3. Place the egg and herbs mixture lengthways down the centre of the dough.
  4. Then arrange the mushrooms and onion mixture on top.
  5. Next, arrange rice. And the last layer-salmon.
  6. Cover the filling with pancakes, shape it to make a rectangular.
  7. Then, fold the dough and seal the edges.
  8. Transfer the pie upside down to a baking tray.
  9. Decorate with pastry trimmings, and cut two slits in the top with a sharp knife.
  10. Keep for a proofing for 20 minutes. Brush the pie with egg wash.
  11. Bake in preheated 200C/400F oven for 30-35 minutes or until golden.
  12. Leave to cool slightly for 15 minutes before slicing.
  13. Serve with a glass of milk or a cup of freshly brewed tea.
Enjoy kulebyaka! 😀
 Also I’m really excited to take part in the challenge “yeast and herbs”, that Angie organized with Catherine. I almost thought to give up, because I’m using yeast very-very rare in baking, finally after many days of brain storm it dawned on me that I already baked one awesome pie, so I came up with this recipe. It only seems complicated to make, just try it once and you will see that ‘kulebyaka’ is drool worthy dish! 😀
 Moreover, are you parting at Fiesta Friday? Don’t ask me, because I do and now gonna check some great recipes, which have brought participants. Yay!
 

Cabbage casserole with farmer cheese

  White cabbage is widely used vegetable in Russia, it’s eaten raw in salads, pickled to eat during the winter and braised in various stews.
 Nowadays it’s pretty popular to eat healthy dishes, such as cauliflower soup, sautéed Brussels sprout, fish with broccoli and etc. It seems like everybody forgets about this simple beauty – the white cabbage.
Even Greek philosopher Pythagoras said: “It is a vegetable, that helps to have a courage and cheerful mood”. In ancient Russia it was a belief, that if one has a headache, they should cover their temples with cabbage leaves to release the pain.
 The below recipe is a very simple dish with a modern twist, using fresh ricotta and your favorite cheese. It could be eaten alone or as a nice side dish. A must try! 🙂
Cabbage pie-1

Cabbage casserole with farmer cheese

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: not too tricky
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Adapted from Russian magazine ‘The school of gastronomy’
Ingredients:
400-500g white cabbage, thinly sliced
1 small onion, sliced
100-150g fresh homemade ricotta/cottage cheese/farmer cheese
60g any grated cheese + 1Tbsp for the top (Emmental/Gouda/Red Cheddar)
1Tbsp Parmesan cheese for the top, optionally
2 big or 3 small eggs, whites and yolks separated
40g butter
50g flour
400ml milk (preferably low fat)
2Tbsp bread crumbs, homemade
pinch of nutmeg, cumin
1Tbsp fresh chopped dill or 1tsp dried
salt, white pepper to taste
1Tbsp olive oil+1Tbsp butter for frying
 
Preparation:
1) First, make the sauce. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and turn the heat to low. Sift the flour into the butter, stirring continuously to combine them. Add the milk a little at a time. Cook for 8 minutes more, stirring continuously until the sauce becomes thicker. Remove the saucepan from the stove and let it cool.
2) Meanwhile, put olive oil, butter and onion in a pan, and fry for 4 minutes. Add cumin and fry for 1 minute more.
Add the cabbage, sprinkle with dill and stir fry for 10-15 minutes. Transfer the cabbage into big bowl.
3) Add egg yolks into the sauce, one at a time, nutmeg and combine thoroughly.
4) Pour the sauce into the cabbage, add cheese, ricotta, salt, white pepper and give it a good stir.
5) Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until foamy, then carefully combine with cabbage mixture.
6) Grease the baking pan with butter, sprinkle with bread crumbs, add the cabbage mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Bake in preheated oven 180C/360F for 40 minutes.
7) Serve warm. Enjoy!
Cabbage pie-2

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.