If you could have a look at my freezer you would found there a disc of shortcrust pastry. It’s very handy to have one there, so once you don’t know what to cook or unexpectedly a friend decided to come over, you can prepare a nice tasty galette (or mini quiches, click here for the ideas) in almost no time. Tip: make a couple of crusts ahead, shape into discs (it takes less space in the freezer and then easier to roll out) and freeze. For the filling you can use almost whatever you can find in your fridge or even freezer, wether it is savory or sweet stuff. And another tip: freeze roasted or boiled chicken, deli ham leftovers; or if you bought too many fruits and berries, clean and cut them and freeze as well.
This time I had a roasted chicken and gammon leftovers, I combined both. Gammon was a bit dry, so probably I won’t use it next time. But the chicken tasted quiet nice, especially mixed with lots of leeks sautéed in a butter and few cherry tomatoes. Some cream cheese (on any other cheese) on top makes this delicious wholemeal galette only better.
If you fancy to try sweet galette click here. Cherry one! 😉
When experiments in the kitchen end up like this amazing tart, all I can say is – you have to try it as soon as possible! Really! It is luxurious and creamy, and as many other my recipes is very easy to prepare, especially if you already have a ready shortcrust pastry in your fridge or freezer! Preferably homemade.. Seriously, don’t go out and buy ready pastry. Do try to prepare it yourself, at least once and you will see how easy it is. 😀 Have a look at my unsweetened pastry recipe here (super tasty quiches).
The tender custard-ish filling was done in almost no time. Simple and unbelievably good! Of course it’s hard to get fresh figs, so I do think you can substitute with dried ones, but then reduce the sugar.
Sweet and tender fruits, rich and flaky crust – all these words make my mouth water!
What you need is to get ingredients and follow instructions. Very easy recipe, believe me. And don’t forget to stand back and admire this beautiful tart before enjoying! 😉
Unsweeten or sweet shortcrust pastry, any one you like/have.
10-11 medium-size dates
3 fresh figs
1 tbsp orange liqueur or cognac*
2 large eggs
80g brown sugar
250ml creme fraiche (30%)
1 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Line the baking tin with baking paper if need. Otherwise, roll out the pastry to fit the tin. Prick the pastry base with a fork and chill in the fridge for 15-20 minutes. If you have a time you can prebake the pastry base.
Pit the dates, keeping them whole; cut figs; put both in a bowl and drizzle with liquor and leave to infuse for 15 minutes.
Beat eggs with sugar.
In another large mixing bowl, whisk creme fraiche with vanilla, nutmeg, add the egg mixture and whisk again.
Arrange the dates and figs over the pastry. Pour over the batter. Sprinkle with almond flakes.
Bake in preheated 180C oven for 20-25 minutes or until the centre is set. Leave to cool in a tin, then carefully take the tart out and serve.
Maslenitsa or Butterweek is going on in Russia right now. It’s a winter festival, saying goodbye to the cold winter days and greeting the warm and sunny spring. During this week people prepare and eat lots of blini. For breakfast blini can be served simple and quick with melted butter and sugar or some homemade jam, for lunch – again blini, and for the dinner, especially when the whole family is getting together, is really nice and festive to serve the delicious salmon pie or this one – soft, aromatic and nourishing spiral meat pie.
Blini and the filling can be prepared a couple of days ahead, so you can assemble the pie whenever you have the time or just before the dinner. Succulent stewed cabbage, tasty beef and aromatic dill along with coriander and parsley make the filling truly wonderful! Moreover, blini will be soaked in a mixture of sour cream and eggs, that adds extra moisture and taste.
Maslenitsa is a very kind and light time, each day has a special meaning according to old tradition. For example, Wednesday is called “Gourmand”. On this day huge tables and stalls were settled on main squares, where people could drink hot honey-based sbiten and aromatic tea, enjoyed gingerbreads, fresh buns and some other sweet treats, and definitely taste the unlimited blini! But the main event was the visit of son-in-law his mother-in-law, and the mother tried to prepare the best blini she could to show respect and love to her daughter’ husband.
On Friday, the mother-in-law returned the visit, then her daughter made pancakes and the son-in-law had to please the mother and her other relatives.
Heat some oil in one frying pan, add chopped onion and beef, season with marjoram and salt and pepper. Fry on a high heat for few minutes, breaking up the lumps with spatula. Reduce the heat to medium and fry for 10-15 minutes more. Then add some warm water, if the meat is too dry, cover with the lid and simmer until tender or while you’re preparing the cabbage.
In another pan, heat the oil and shredded cabbage, fry on a medium-high heat, stirring occasionally and adding water if necessary, allow cabbage to brown but not to burn. Fry until cabbage is brown, then sprinkle with dill and coriander, season, cover with a lid and cook until the cabbage is soft.
To assemble, you need any round baking dish, covered with baking paper and drizzled with oil. Mix meat with cabbage and fresh parsley. Take one blin and put one-two tablespoons of the filling into it, roll. Make as much as fits to the baking dish.
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.
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!
One is dreaming about spring and warm days, another like me wants the weather staying cloudy and windy as longer as possible. This soup is not something extraordinary, but it is comforting and hearty. It nourishes and fills you up, and sometimes that’s exactly what you need after a long day at work. I love lentils because they are healthy – contain protein, fiber and vitamins, and easy to prepare – you do not need to soak them for hours.
Aromatic bay leaf and hot chilli flakes make this thick soup brighter! So, wake up your taste buds and start cooking the soup, it’s a great way to warm up your belly and bowl!
If you want this soup to be vegetarian, feel free to omit the meat or try this recipe of red lentil soup (meatless).
small bunch fresh parsley or coriander, chopped, for garnish
In a frying pan, heat oil and fry pork ribs and beef cubes from all sides on high heat until just browned. Transfer the meat to a soup pan along with peppercorns, cover with water. Bring to boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes. Do not season with salt, it will increase the lentils cooking time.
Add lentils to the pan, and simmer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in the same frying pan (you use another one if you wish), add more oil if needed, and fry leek and onion on a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add potatoes and fry for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in chilli and garlic, saute for a couple of minutes.
Stir vegetable mixture into soup, season to taste and simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes or until lentils and potatoes are cooked.
Serve hot, sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Adapted from Rus magazine “Collection of recipes”, 2010