Millet bitochki

 Bitochki or bitki is the name for round-shaped, flattened cutlets (côtelettes/patties) in Russian cuisine, which are prepared from chopped meat or grains. Originally in old Russia, a good and expensive cuts of meat were flattened, cooked and called bitochki, but lately people adapted the recipe and began to use cheap meat. Any remaining meat was chopped, mixed with other ingredients and then served fried or baked. Poor people even used grains.MIlletBitochki
 Nowadays, not only poor one can make such bitochki. I used millet for mine. Bitochki are not only tasty, but healthy and it is a good option for a meatless day. Millet is one of the healthiest grain, moreover is considered to be one of the digestible and non-allergenic grains*. It contains lots of fiber and low simple sugar. Finally, bitochki have such a nice texture inside (it reminds a white fish a bit) and crispy outside.
 You can serve them with a lettuce-tomato salad on a side. I made mushrooms sauce, but if you are run out of time or lazy – serve with a good dollop of sour cream (or creme fraiche).
MIlletBitochki with mushroom sauce

Millet bitochki with mushroom sauce

  • Servings: 12 pieces
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Instead of mushroom sauce you can serve bitochiki with sour cream.
Bitochki as well as mushroom sauce can be made a day or two ahead and then gently reheated.
 
*You can use both cream and sour cream, or any one.
Ingredients
150g millet
500ml hot water
1 medium egg
2-3 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 medium onion (any sort you like)
300g mushrooms (I used oyester and champinions), chopped
1 tbsp butter+ 1 tbsp olive oil, for mushrooms
20g butter
15-20g plain flour
100ml 35% cream*
2-3 tbsp sour cream*
150ml hot water
salt, freshly ground pepper to taste
2 Tbsp olive or sunflower oil, for frying
some chopped parsely, for garnish, optional
Preparation method
  • Wash millet throughly under running water, cover with hot water, season with some salt, bring to boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until millet is ready. You need to cool it completely. To make it faster, spread millet on a large plate and put in a fridge for 10-15 minutes, while preparing the mushrooms and sauce.
  • In a frying pan, heat butter and oil, add onion and fry for 5 minutes (set aside half of onions for millet ). Add mushrooms and fry on a hight heat for 10 minutes or until all liquid is evaporated (if there is any). Season to taste. Set aside 3-4 tbsp mushrooms for millet; then chop it finely.
  • Meanwhile, in a small pan, add butter and flour, stir on a medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir into mushrooms.
  • Pour over cream along with sour cream, give it a good stir. Pour in hot water. Check the seasoning. Simmer on a medium heat for 5-8 minutes. Add more hot water to reach desired consistency. Keep the sauce warm.
  • Transfer cooled millet in a mixing bowl, add egg, parsley, season with salt and pepper. Mix in fried onion and mushrooms. Combine the mixture. I didn’t use any flour, but if the mixture seems doesn’t want to resemble into a patty, add a tablespoon or two of plain flour.
  • Generously spread breadcrumbs on a large plate. With a tablespoon take a millet mixture and make a ball, pat it down with your hand or spoon. Cover in a breadcrumbs. Repeat with all millet mixture.
  • In a large frying pan, heat oil, put bitochki and fry on both sides until golden. To keep it warm while preparing others – put them in a preheated 120-150C oven.
  • Serve with mushroom sauce and sprinkle with extra parsley, if desired.
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
  • 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!

Masoor dal (red lentil) Soup

Masoor dal is a split red lentils, widely used in Asian cuisine, particularly in Indian. Lentil is a good source of protein and fiber. These lentils do not need to soak overnight, they cook very quickly, so the recipe is perfect for everyday cooking. Adding aromatic Asian spices enhances lentils’ taste and brings loads of flavour to the soup! Rich, amazingly good vegetarian thick soup; you should give this recipe a try! 🙂Masoor Dal (red lentil) Soup

Masoor dal (red lentil) Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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You can skip chilli if you don’t want the soup hot, or add more if you like it really spicy.
The longer you cook the soup – more creamy it’ll be.
Ingredients
300g red lentils, washed
200g (2 small) potatoes, cut into small cubes
2 Tbsp olive or sunflower oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/3-1/2 tsp chilli seeds, optional
1 clove
2 bay leaves
5-6 pink peppercorns, crushed
sea salt, to taste
3-4 Tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
naan/flatbread, to serve
  1. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add mustard seeds, chilli (if using), cumin, bay leaves, clove and fry until fragrant. Add onion and garlic, cook for 5-7 minutes until soft. Stir in potatoes – fully coat it in oil and spices. Sprinkle with turmeric, pink pepper and salt, stir.
  2. Stir in lentils, add water to cover the mixture. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until vegetables are cooked. Add more boiling water or continue to simmer further to achieve your preferred consistency. Adjust the seasoning.
  3. Stir in fresh coriander. Serve with bread.

Midweek Salad

 Hey guys! What do you cook during the week? If it’s going to be a hectic working week – do you make anything time-consuming? Personally, if I’m tired I don’t cook complicated dishes and eat simple dishes, including lots of different salads. Hopefully, you eat well and do not buy unhealthy quick and junk meals as I do. Moreover, it seems to me that to make a salad or simple pasta at home for your tomorrow lunch is much cheaper and healthier than to eat any junk-food. Thus, eating healthy foods whiteout spending a lot is possible, and I suggest you to start prepare salads like this one. I love beets and add it everywhere, caramelized beets is even more tasty! Eat the salad, man! 😀Midweek salad

Midweek Salad

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients
1 medium beet, cooked
2-3 tsp brown sugar
1/2 Tbsp balsamic or wine vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
100-120g green beans
10-15g butter
8-10 cherry tomatoes, yellow or red, cut into halves
60-80g feta cheese, crumbled
bull’s blood leaves, a handful
2 tsp black sesame seeds
1-2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds, toasted
S&P to taste
extra virgin olive oil
basil micro sprouts, optional
  • Cut the beet into small cubes or wedges. In a frying pan or saucepan, combine vinegar, oil and sugar on medium heat; mix to combine. Add beet cubes and swirl to coat. Cook on a medium heat for 7-10 minutes.
  • In a small saucepan, put beans and cover with water, add a butter, some salt and bring to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Drain the water.
  • On a serving plate, arrange washed leaves, put on beat cubes, beans, tomatoes and feta. Sprinckle with sesame and pumpkin seeds. Drizzle with olive oil, if desired, garnish with basil and season to taste. Enjoy!

Tvorognaya zapekanka

 Tvorognaya zapekanka literally means a cottage cheese bake. This is a very special treat for me. It reminds my childhood and good time when I was going to the kinder-garden. Some of my friends do not share the same nice memories about the food in a kinder-garden, and even few of them hate any cottage cheese bakes (and not only bakes) and don’t want to believe that it can be so tasty! Thank God, I was luckier and remember not only huge onion chunks in a beef stew 😀 but also good meals, like this sweet cottage cheese bake and delicious plum jam.
 Speaking about tvorog (that’s how we called cottage cheese or farmer cheese in Russia, and it can be both smooth and chunky), I do like it and consume regularly: either as is or adding it to the apple pies and cabbage bakes. So, I’ve tried hundred times to make a bake somewhat childish, and every time it was too liquid or too sweet.. Finally, here it is! The bake is perfect! The only notice, maybe next time I will use a smaller baking dish to make the cottage cheese bake higher.
Russian cottage cheese bake

Russian sweet cottage cheese bake

  • Servings: 3-4
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If you’ve got a chunky and dry cottage cheese – push it through a sieve or stir with electric blender into a smooth mixture.
IngredientsCottage cheese bake
450-500g cottage cheese
40g butter, melted
2 medium eggs
3 tbsp white caster sugar
2 tbsp semolina (I used coarse, but fine is ok, too)
2-3 tbsp milk, warm
3 tbsp sour cream
a pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract or any other vanilla
50g raisins/currants
Glaze (optional)
1 egg yolk
1tsp icing sugar
Garnish
sour cream or sweet condensed milk
icing sugar, if desired
Method
  • In a small cup, soak semolina in warm milk for 5 minutes. Add sour cream and mix well.
  • In a other small cup, soak raisins in hot black tea or water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • In a bowl, beat eggs with sugar and salt until pale and creamy, allow sugar to dissolve.
  • In a large bowl, smooth cottage cheese with a folk or electric blender, add butter and mix. Add beaten eggs and vanilla, mix to combine. Add semolina and raisins, and combine.
  • Grease the baking dish with some butter or oil, pour the mixture in and bake in preheated 200C oven for 25 minutes. At this step check the color of your bake: if its top is still pale, brush the bake with glaze and put the dish back into the oven for 15 minutes or until golden-brown; if top is already golden-brown, omit the glaze and bake for 10-15 minutes more.
  • Cut the cottage cheese bake into slices. Serve warm or cold with a dollop of sour cream, if desired. It’s also tasty to pour over some sweet condensed milk (instead of sour cream).
Enjoy!