Tag Archives: lunch

Irish Stew with Guinness

 I have to admit that I’m a big fan of Ireland and dreaming about to visit this country some day and try authentic Irish dishes and, of course beer. In Dubai we have a pub called Irish Village, and the name of the place says for itself. As I have not been to Ireland yet, but for me it is a small part of the Ireland in the middle of the busy megalopolis, and this is the place where it’s all started… Back in 2006, this was the place where I have tried draught Guinness for the first time in my life, and from the first sip I felt Irish cheerfulness and joy. I have been to this place many times afterwards and tried many dishes like beef and Guinness pie, cottage pie, black pudding and others. Some of the dishes I tried for the first time ever, and with every my visit to this place I felt like I am coming back to something very comfortable, something like home away from home, and I felt in love with the Ireland more and more.
 
 Ireland is celebrating Saint Patrick’s day on 17th of March and I made one very special dish today – the traditional Irish Stew with the Guinness stout.
Irish stew-2I wish all Irish and all people around the world who may read my blog now a very happy Saints Patrick’s day! 🙂
Ingredients:
800g boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 5cm/2″ chunks
1kg baby potatoes
3 carrots
1 large onion
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled
500ml/1 can of Guinness stout
400ml lamb or beef stock
3 Tbsp flour
1-2 Tbsp olive or sunflower oil
3 sprigs of thyme (or 2 tsp dry)
2 bay leaves
salt&black pepper to taste
A handful of chopped parsley
Preparation:
The stew can be made on the stove-top or oven.
  • Coat the lamb with salt, pepper and flour evenly. In a large frying pan heat the oil and brown the meat all over. Avoid crowding the pan with the lamb pieces or it will boil instead of brown. Set aside.
  • Peel and thickly slice the onion and carrots.
  • Add the onion and garlic to the frying pan and sauté for 5 minutes. You can avoid this step and add it straight to a casserole.
  • Wash and scrub the potatoes thoroughly, peel the skin off if desired, and leave whole or cut in half.
  • Put in a casserole half of the potatoes, add the lamb, then remaining potatoes along with carrots, onion-garlic, bay leaves and thyme.
  • Add the stock and stout. Cover with a lid.
  • Bring to boil, then reduce the heat and cook on a very low heat for 1,5-2 hour or until tender (or braise in the oven 160C/320F), stirring occasionally. The meat and vegetables should always be covered by liquid.
  • The ready stew sprinkle with parsley.
  • Enjoy!
I served the Irish Stew in a clay dishes; the meat turned out very tender and juicy, the taste and smell of meat broth was scrumptious thanks to the stout. 😀
Irish stew-1

Adapted from here

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!  🙂
  Pancake_pie_caviar-1

Russian schi (cabbage soup)

 
 Today is 3rd day of Butterweek (Rus.-Maslenica) in Russia. It’s spring festival, saying goodbye to the winter, and the week before Lent. During the week we bake pancakes (we say exactly bake, not cook, even though we fry them on a pan) almost every day, invite relatives and friends, and our hearts fill with a joy of the upcoming spring.
 Every day of Butterweek has the name and meaning. Today (Wednesday) is ‘Lakomka’ – Gourmand. When wife’s mother invites son-in-law and treats him with pancakes. Unmarried boys and girls usually went to slide from snow hills. Old folks bantered with guys, who hadn’t married that year and played various pranks to them. And guys bribed with pancakes and candies.
 More you can read in my previous post here. 
 
 I’d like to tell you about another no less famous Russian dish – Schi, it’s cabbage soup, similar to Borsch (with cabbage and beetroots). Everyone knows and enjoy it. 😉
Schi-9
 Schi is the main hot Russian dish over a millennium. Peasants started to cook it a long time ago in the 9th century when cabbage has begun to cultivate everywhere in Russia. In spite of the fact that people’s tastes have been changing, the soup is always been eaten.
 Of course, schi was not the same for all social classes. Full of content, with meat and thick cream, was called ‘rich’, other ‘empty’, as it was cooked only from cabbage and onion.
 To create a special and unique schi’s taste, it was prepared in clay or cast-iron pot in Russian petch/oven. ‘Schi’s spirit’ was always in homes, that means everybody cooked it. The Russian proverb says ‘Schi and kasha is our food’, as they were eaten every day.
 
 Schi consists of six major components: cabbage, meat (or mushrooms rarely), roots (carrot, parsley), spice part (onions, garlic, bay leaves, black pepper) and sour part (sour cream, apples or cabbage brine). First and last parts are essential and absolutely compulsory. Thus, the simplest schi could be done from cabbage and sour cream 🙂
 The notable feature of schi (that you cook not just a simple cabbage soup) is a slightly sour taste, which usually archived by adding sour cream, sour/salted cabbage, and brine or salted mushrooms into the soup.
  
 Originally, flour was added as well to make schi thicker, but such ‘dressing’ spoiled the taste and then began to add potatoes or buckwheat.
 
 Considered that the ideal schi is so thick, that if you put a spoon into the soup, it holds vertical position and doesn’t fall. 😀 or when a huge piece of meat is risen above a plate of schi.
 
 Health-giving properties of the soup allowed to consume it frequently. There are many schi versions: ‘summer schi’ with fresh cabbage or sorrel, ‘winter schi’ with sour cabbage, ‘lenten/lean schi’ without meat and etc. Mine is with fresh cabbage and meat.
 For the meat part better to choose fatty beef, belly or rump, bone in. Even you can add some pork. I used boneless lamp, because couldn’t find a proper piece of beef.
 When the soup is ready, leave it for 15-30 minutes to get the enhanced flavor. A similar principle is brewing tea, we keep it for 3 minutes to get a wonderful aroma. So, you can make a big pot of schi and eat it all week long. 🙂

Russian schi

  • Servings: 5-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
 

Ingredients
500-600g lamb or beef
300-400g cabbage
3 medium potatoes
1+1 onion, for broth and frying
1+1 carrot, for broth and frying
2-3 tsp tomato paste
small bunch of parsley and/or dill
2 bay leaves
5 whole peppercorns
2 tbsp. sunflower oil, for frying
1 garlic clove
sour cream, good quality 
rye or wholemeal bread
salt, black pepper to taste
 
Preparation
    • Put the meat inn a large soup pot, cover with 3 litres of water, bring to boil and remove the foam.
    • Meanwhile, grate carrot and dice onion. Sauté vegetables until they are soft for 10 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and sauté for 3-4 minutes more.
    • Take and throw carrot and onion out, we won’t use them anymore.
    • Take the meat out as well. Cut into small cubes and keep aside.
    • To get the clear soup, you can strain the broth through cheesecloth (optionally).
    • Season the broth with salt and black pepper to taste.
    • Slice potatoes, add into the broth and boil 15 minutes.
    • Thinly shred the cabbage and add to the potatoes (when they are half way done) along with meat cubes.
    • Again bring to boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes until vegetables are soft.
    • Add sautéed carrot and onion to the pot along with bay leaves, whole peppercorns (you can smash them little bit), salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes.
    • Add chopped parsley/dill and crushed garlic.
    • Turn the heat off, cover the pot with a lid and let it stand at least for 15 minutes.
  • Serve with a dollop of sour cream and rye or wholemeal bread.
 
Enjoy Russian lunch! 🙂

You can click on any picture to have a look it in full size.

Slow-cooked beef with fruits

  In Russian language, we have one word “tomlenie”, which is similar to the word “stewing”, but has a significant distinction. Tomlenie is a slow-cooking process of meat, fish or vegetables in Russian petch (oven/stove, have a look at the pictures of traditional Russian petch here and here).  
  Nowadays traditional Russian ovens can be found only in out-of-the-way places (villages and provinces, located in the remotest depths of the country).
  It’s considered that, slow-cooking in the common oven is close to the “tomlenie” process, but the real taste and aroma of dishes prepared in Russian petch unfortunately couldn’t be done anywhere else.

Slow-cooked meat

Let’s try to prepare the closest dish.
First of all, we need a clay pot with a lid. 
Be patient! Stewing will take several hours.
Don’t worry! During this time you don’t need to check or mix the dish every 10-20 minutes, thus you can have a break and watch your favorite movie, and even prepare a side dish. 🙂

Beef with fruits

If you don’t have clay pot-use casserole.
If you don’t have a lid -cover the pot with foil.
Replace cherries with cranberries.
Omit the sugar.
Spice the meat with 1/3 tsp of crushed cardamom, it brings a nice interesting note. 
You can add 2-3 tbsp of dry red wine for the better taste (after the frying meat).
Ingredients to feed 4 people:
Beef, cut into 2-3cm cubes – 700g/1lb
Golden onion – 1 big, sliced
Pitted prunes – 150g/5 oz
Cherry fresh or frozen – 150g/5 oz
Sunflower or olive oil for frying- 1 tbsp
Cinnamon – 1/2 tsp
Sugar – 1 tbsp
Bay leaves – 2
Whole black peppercorns – 8-10
Salt, pepper – to taste
some parsley, chopped
 
Method:
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onion for 5-7 minutes, add beef cubes and fry until slightly browned.
  • Sprinkle the meat with sugar and cinnamon.
  • Put the meat in a clay pot, add boiling water (just to cover the meat), bay leaves and peppercorns. Season with salt and pepper. 
  • Don’t forget to close the pot with a lid! 🙂
  • Transfer to a preheated oven, 200C/400F, for 2 hours.
  • Check the quantity of the liquid, and add some more water  – if desired (the meat always should be in the broth).
  • Reduce temperature to 180C/380F and return to the oven for a further 1 hour.
  • Add prunes and cherries (no need to defrost), check the seasoning and return again to the oven for 30 minutes.
  • Switch the oven off and leave the pot in it (until the oven is still warm).
  • Sprinkle with fresh parsley.
 
The good garnish to such meat is a buckwheat porridge, mashed or boiled potatoes. It could be served with broth; in a clay pot or on a serving plate.
Enjoy the holiday dinner! 🙂