Russian Beetroot Caviar

 This bright beetroot dip doesn’t contain salmon or any other fish raw. In my home-country vegetable spreads and dips that are mushed into a non-smooth consistency are often called caviar. In USSR fish caviar was an expensive product and most of the time was served over special occasions, but people have always wanted something tasty not only during holidays or weekend; and such vegetables as an eggplants, marrows and beetroots were cheap and available almost throughout the year, thus I guess economical version of the “caviar” was created.

russian-beetroot-caviar

 The recipe I found in a book dated 1990, it calls to boil beetroot, fry onions and press through the  meat-grinder machine along with other ingredients. Easy-peasy. It turned out so tasty, that i have already made it few times in a row! Moreover, it was a hit at the home-party, especially when I served this dip nicely decorated with little festive crackers; needless to say, guests asked for the recipe!
 The original Russian recipe calls for the salted pickled cucumbers, which are usually watery and personally I don’t like its taste, so I used regular crunchy pickled cucumbers and the beetroot dip was absolutely amazing and delicious! I prefer slightly coarse a caviar-like texture, so I don’t blend ingredients too much, but if you wish – just blitz it more to get the smooth dip. Enjoy!

Russian Beetroot Caviar

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients 
400g/2 medium-size beetroots
2 tps olive or sunflower oil, for frying
1/2 large brown onion
~100g pickled cucumbers
2 cloves of garlic
Salt&Pepper, to taste
Method 
  1. Boil beetroots until soft. Cool, clean and chop.
  2. Chop the onion and fry in a oil until soft and golden, about 5 minutes.
  3. Finely chop cucumbers. Also finely chop or mush garlic.
  4. Blitz all ingredients in a food processor until desired consistency.
  5. Check the seasoning. Serve with rye bread or crackers.
Enjoy!

Kulesh

Kulesh – simple thick soup/pottage, that was popular in old times among peasants and Cossacks. It was also called “field pottage or kasha”, as it was often cooked by farmers for their lunch during field works. This pottage consisted mainly of millet and any root vegetables that were available at the moment. Garnished with some onions and salo (salted or cured fat, usually pork one), kulesh was prepared on a fire, that added a nice smoked flavor to the whole dish.
It should be thick enough but if you prefer thinner consistency add more water. Mine was thick and nourishing because of smoked meat (cooked pork belly). Using smoked meat replaces the cooking on an open fire. But feel free to make completely vegetarian version and omit the meat.Kulesh - simple thick soup/pottage
Once I wrote that millet is a healthy grain or seed. And if you still think it’s just for the feeding birds, you’re completely wrong and miss lots of benefits of this lovely grain. It’s a good source of vitamins B, calcium and iron. Here another recipes that I do love and cook at home: sweet breakfast millet porridge and autumn recipe – millet cooked in a pumpkin pot.
So, have you ever cooked millet? What are your favorite recipes?Kulesh

Kulesh

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: very easy
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You can add some cubes of celery root along with other vegetables.
Ingredients
4 medium potatoes, cubed
1 large carrot, cubed
200g millet
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion
150g smoked pork belly
1 bay leaf
fresh chopped parsley and spring onion, optional
S&P to taste
Method
  1. Boil 2l water in a large pan. Add cubed vegetables and some salt. Bring to boil, reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer about 15 minutes.
  2. Wash millet throughly under running water. You may also cover millet with some warm water, it helps to cook it faster.
  3. Add millet to the pot along with bay leaf and simmer for 10-15 minutes more or until it’s cooked.
  4. Meanwhile, slice or chop onion, and cut pork belly into thin slices or chop it as you like. Heat the oil in a frying pan and saute onion until it’s soft. Add pork belly and fry for few minutes.
  5. Stir the onion-pork mixture into the soup. Adjust the seasoning.
  6. Pour the soup into serving bowl. Sprinkle with fresh herbs, if desired. Serve with bread.

Enjoy!

Barley and Vegetables salad

  Hello, lovely readers. I miss blogging, baking cakes whenever I want.. Honestly, I have no idea how some new-mums  manage to post often. May be their husbands or sisters cook, take photos and then write posts. 😀 Even if you don’t know what mom has been up to all day, just believe me she is often so busy! There are endless tasks – feeding, playing, caring, plus laundry, cooking.. Motherhood turned out wonderful, emotional, sometimes crazy and difficult; so I still need to organize this new life somehow..
 I have always wanted to prepare those colorful and beautifully arranged on a plate salads, that I’ve seen million times on the Internet, but never get a chance to do. Finally, few months back I made it (haha, exactly months, not even weeks). This delicious salad is super healthy and extremely easy to prepare plus it can be made ahead and then reheated, if you wish. I prefer it’s served warm over chilled.
barley-vegetables-salad

Barley and Vegetables salad

  • Difficulty: super easy
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Ingredients
pearl barley, cooked
roasted red and yellow pepper
roasted eggplant
cherry tomatoes, sliced
feta
olives, optional
sliced red onion, fresh or pickled
fresh chopped parsley
pine and pistachio nuts, chopped, optional
Dressing
lime or lemon juice
EV olive oil (or your fav veg oil)
salt, pepper to taste
Method
  1. Arrange barley and all other ingredients on a large serving plate.
  2. In a small jar combine dressing ingredients, shake well and pour over salad.
Enjoy!

Fish with spiced lentil ragout

 Happy Valentines Day!!! 
I’d like to represent a very delicious main course, that looks elegant and suits perfectly to this special day. A healthy and tasty fish is complemented here by aromatic lentil ragout and fresh fennel shavings. Another secret weapon in this sensational dish is aromatic spices: turmeric and ginger, that really burst the lentils with lots of flavour. And of course don’t forget the final touch – a drizzle of lime juice.
 Simple! Healthy! Sensational!Fish with spiced lentil ragout

Fish with spiced lentil ragout

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients
Fish
2 x 150-200g white fish fillet (I used sea bass)
2 tbsp lime juice
freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
some homemade breadcrumbs and flour, for coating
1 tbsp olive oil or other veg oil, for frying
Lentil ragout
100g dried green/brown or Puy lentils
1 rosemary sprig
water
1.5 tbsp olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
1 small carrot, cut into fine cubes
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 medium tomato, chopped (without liquid and seeds)
1.5 tbsp tomato puree
zest from 1/2 lime
freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
Garnish
lime juice
lime wedges
fennel shavings
fennel or parsley
Preparation method
  1. Rinse and drain lentils. Put in a saucepan with rosemary, cover with water (do not season) and bring to boil on a medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes or until lentils are tender. Add extra water if all absorbed, or drain some if there is any left.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a small frying pan, add onion and carrot and saute for 6-7 minutes until soft and golden. Add garlic, ginger, turmeric and saute for a minute more. Stir in chopped tomato and puree. Turn off the heat.
  3. Discard rosemary form lentils. While lentils are still warm season with salt and pepper, then mix in lemon zest and vegetable mixture; give it a good stir.
  4. Drizzle fish with lime juice, season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle skin side with breadcrumbs and flour. Heat oil in a frying pan and fry skin-side down for 2 minutes, then turn and fry for 1-3 minutes more (depends on fish thickness), until golden and cooked.
  5. Arrange lentil ragout on a serving plate, top with fennel and fish fillet, drizzle with lime juice. Garnish with fennel (or parsley) and lime wedges.
Enjoy!

Beetroot dip with coriander crackers

 This is an extremely delicious beetroot dip that is super easy to prepare and is a crowd-pleaser. The bright beetroot dip can be made as a tasty and healthy appetizer for either home-parties or just your family, especially if you serve it with lots of homemade coriander crackers. Appetizer made from scratch adds a special touch to any kind of gathering. 🙂 It’s also a healthy snack anytime – just spread it over toasted bread, or use it as a wrap filling.
Beetroot dip
You can make the dip even without cheese, but I like it this way more. Also try to add feta or other soft white cheese instead of cream-cheese, walnuts is a another good substitute for pine nuts.
Beetroot dip with coriander crackers
 

Beetroot dip with coriander crackers

  • Difficulty: very easy
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Keep covered in the fridge up to 3 days.
Beetroot dip
Ingredients
150g cooked beetroot (boiled or roasted), chopped
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2-1 tsp cumin, crushed
1 tbsp EV olive oil
2 tbsp Philadelphia cheese
1 tbsp parmesan, finely grated, optional
1 tbsp pine nuts, lightly roasted
sea salt, freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Put all ingredients, except the pine nuts, in a small bowl of blender and blitz until smooth. Season to taste, add pine nuts and pulse a couple of times to keep some nuts pieces; if you like more smooth-pulse again.
  • Garnish with pine nuts and some grated parmesan, if desired. Serve with crackers or toasted bread.
Coriander crackers {Make approx 18 crackers}
Ingredients
130g plain flour+some for kneading and rolling
1/3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine salt (want less salty, add less salt)
some freshly ground white pepper
1 tsp whole coriander seeds, crushed or ground
1/2 tsp cumin seeds, ground
40 ml EV olive oil
40 ml water+1/2 tsp white sugar
  • In a mixing bowl, combine flour, b.powder, salt and all spices. Mix in olive oil.
  • Dissolve sugar in water and pour into dough, knead the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and keep to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  • On a lughtly dusted surface, roll the dough (approx 3-4 mm thick) and cut into 5×5 cm squares.
  • Transfer to a lined baking sheet and bake in preheated 190C oven for 15 minutes or until golden-brown.
  • Cool&Enjoy!