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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
  • Print
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

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
  • Print
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! 😉

Sunny peachy-nutty cake

Days go by and summer is slowly coming to Dubai, winter doesn’t want to give up though, giving us some cloudy days sometimes but its days are counted…
 One lovely morning I was at home, and looking at the dull skies, I decided to make something special for the afternoon tea, something sunny, sweet-smelling and new, a cake that I’ve not tried before, and it should be fruity. 
I have to say that I do not normally know what I’m going to cook this or next day, I’ve never have a master plan for a week ahead, and prefer to be inspired by details around me, whatever I see, read about food or trying something myself, rather than be organized in the proper food-blogger way 🙂 
  So, I went to a grocery to look for an inspiration. One important and remarkable thing about buying food in Dubai is that large groceries and markets here do always and really inspire me; we have no such variety of fruits in Russia, and every time I go for a shopping, whether it is some oranges for a morning juice or avocados, I never know from which part of the world these fruits or veggies would come from. And that day was not an exception. Without even roaming between fruit rows I remarked some nice peaches shortly after I entered the shop, and once I came closer and took a couple of them in my hand, I already decided that it’s going to be a beautiful peach cake!
 Peaches always remind me of summer, they share the same bright and yellowish colour of the pulp with the sun, giving the cozy feeling of warm and sunny days.
 At home I cut one fruit and tried it. I was slightly disappointed that the peaches weren’t as juicy as I expected, but that  turned into fantastic peach cake in the end… 😉Peach pie-2Ingredients for the cake:
Peaches* – 4 big 
Eggs, at room temperature – 3
Yoghurt -150g or 0.6cup
Sugar* -100g or 0.5cup 
Butter, cut into small cubes – 130g or 0.6cup
Self-raising flour – 150g or 1cup (or 1 cup plain flour + 1 tsp baking powder)
Cornmeal – 2 Tbsp
Whole walnuts – 130g or ~1cup
A pinch of salt
Lemon zest – 2tsp
Orange zest – 1tsp
Ingredients for the mandarin sauce:
3 big mandarins*
2 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp water
2-3 Tbsp icing sugar
1 Tbsp cognac (or brandy, or Grand Marnier) – optionally
 *Really good substitution for peaches are nectarines! 
*I used only 100g of sugar and that means the cake won’t be sweet, 
I suggest sweeten it with 150g or 3/4cup of sugar.
*I used mandarins, just because :D; oranges go well here too, as you already guess.
 
The cake preparation:
  • In a bowl beat the butter and sugar together;
  • Stir in one by one eggs;
  • Add yoghurt and citrus zest, combine;
  • Ground the walnuts, add to the batter and mix;
  • Sift the flours and salt into the batter mixture;
  • Grease the baking dish with butter or oil. Pour the cake batter into it;
  • Cut the peaches into wedges and stick into batter;
  • Bake in preheated oven 210C/400F for 45-60 minute;.** 
  • Meanwhile prepare the mandarin sauce for the cake;
  • Let the cake cool a bit. Pour the mandarin sauce over it. 
Mandarin sauce preparation:
  • First of all, squeeze the juice out of mandarins; 
  • Combine citrus juices, water and sugar in a small saucepan; bring to boil;
  • Reduce heat to low, add cognac and simmer for 10-12 minutes;
  • Remove from the heat and cool.
**When I’m using a glass dish for the cake, it takes me little bit longer to bake it. 
Thus after 40 minutes, pls check the cake is done or not yet.
To check the cake’s readiness – tuck into a toothpick, if it comes out dry –  the cake is ready.
Peach pie-1
  The final result overcame all my expectations –  the cake tasted fantastically! The peaches became tender and even more sweeter, and because they were not so juicy they kept their integrity. Needless to say about aromatic mandarin sauce.. I’ll definitely be making it again!
 I also suggest to sprinkle some icing sugar on the top along with the citrus sauce.
P.S. Several days back I didn’t even know that there is such type of flour as ‘cake’, thanks to dear fellow-blogger Suzanne, now I know about it and adding cornmeal everywhere…Haha 
Hey, are you still here? 🙂 Go and bake the cake!
 Have a sunny and bright day, guys!
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