Lamb and Pearl Barley soup

Hi guys, how is your foodie-life going on out there? It’s such a good weather now here – in Dubai, I’ve heard that this year March is one of the coldest months of the past 10 years! Believe me or not, but I’ve been living here approximately the same time and it really seems colder than usual, especially in the evening or those very windy days, that even with the jacket on I want to go in and hide somewhere with a cup of hot tea. 😄 

And this warm and nourishing soup exactly what I need these days. I’ve been enjoying it for the last couple of weeks, as I cooked it twice and both time in a large pot so it will be enough for at least two days. This soup combines Russian and Middle Eastern flavors and textures: pearl barley is a well-known grain in my home country, and lamb is a popular meat in the UAE and other Middle Eastern countries.

The soup is good in its simplicity, even though it takes more time to prepare it comparing to other soups, but you will like the result – flavorful and delicious thick soup. Using all spices is a another little secret to get wonderful aroma!

“Lamb

  • Servings: “4-5”
  • Difficulty: “very
  • Print

Dear readers, sorry but the ingredients’ weight is approximately. Next time I will cook it – I will measure fore sure. 😉

What You’ll Need 

  • 800g lamb, with bone preferably 
  • 100g pearl barley (you need about 2-3 Tbsp uncooked barley per person)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 medium capsicum
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp EV olive oil
  • 2 tsp whole coriander, crushed a bit
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • S&P to taste
  • some fresh chopped coriander, optional
  • Arabic or any other bread to serve


How To Make It 

  • Night before or at least 3 hours before cooking, cover washed pearl barley with cold water.
  • In a large pot, add lamb and cover with cold water. Bring to boil, remove all foam, reduce heat to medium-low, cover with a lid and boil for 1hour. Take the meat from the broth, and cut into medium pieces.
  • Drain pearl barley and then add to the pot, cook for 40 minutes.
  • Cut vegetables into small cubes, and add to soup along with bay leaf. Season the soup with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook the soup for 20 minutes more. 
  • Tip: Add some hot-boiling water if the soup is too thick for your taste.
  • Meanwhile, in a small frying pan, heat the oil and fry onion on a medium heat until it’s just transparent. Add coriander and cumin seeds, and garlic if using, and fry for 1 minutes more. Transfer to the soup.
  • Turn the heat off.
  • Serve hot with some bread. Garnish with fresh chopped coriander, if desired.

Enjoy!

Russian Cabbage stew with mushrooms

What is y our comfort winter food? Is it roasting chicken or meaty stew? Or maybe you are making lots of sweet pies during cold days? Everyone has their own preferences and favorite dishes that warm you up when outside is cold, and undoubtedly, such food should be warm, aromatic and delicious.

 For me, one of such winter dishes is stewed cabbage. The recipe is very simple, easy to cook and affordable. White cabbage is not expensive, and nowadays available all year round. As I already mentioned the recipe is really simple but takes time and patience to prepare, you have to stir cabbage regular so its color will be nicely dark but not burned. I used dry mushrooms along with fresh, as they add amazing flavor and uniquw taste to the whole dish; if it’s the right season and you are like to get fresh wild mushrooms – use it (like chanterelle or little honey mushrooms, or fresh porcini). It is a perfect vegetarian dish. If desired extra protein – serve the cabbage with roasted chicken or sausages. 

Russian Cabbage stew with mushrooms

What You’ll Need:

30g dry porcini mushrooms

300g brown mushrooms, sliced 

1 large brown onion, sliced or chopped

2 large carrots, grated 

1kg white cabbage, shredded

100ml tomato sauce or 2 tbsp tomato paste

2 bay leaves

1 tsp whole coriander seeds

150-200ml hot water

sea salt to taste

For garnish: fresh chopped dill, parsley, spring onions

How to Make It:

In a medium bowl cover dry mushrooms with hot boiled water. Leave for 30 minutes, drain, wash, chop and leave aside until needed.

In a large pan, heat oil and butter, add fresh mushrooms. Fry on a medium heat for 10 minutes or until liquid from mushrooms is evaporated (if will be any). Season a little bit and transfer to a bowl until needed. 

In the same large pan, add a tablespoon of oil if needed, onion and carrots. Fry on a medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Add half of the shredded cabbage. Stir and sauté for 5 minutes more. Add the rest cabbage, tomato sauce or paste, spices, stir well and sauté on the medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring even now and then. At this step if the cabbage begins brown too much, add a little bit of water, stir and continue to sauté. 

Add again a little bit water if needed, stir, cover with the lid and stew for 20-30 minutes more, stirring every now and then. 

When the cabbage is almost ready, add fresh and dry mushrooms. Cover and stew for 10 minutes more. Adjust the salt.

Sprinkle with fresh herbs if desired. Serve warm with a slice of rye bread. 

Can be eaten alone or with some roasted chicken, grilled sausages. Enjoy!


Wholewheat Cherry Pie (with pecans)

Hi all! I supposed to post this recipe long time when cherries were still in the season..and I was not sure at first whether to publish the recipe or not but luckily nowadays you can buy frozen cherries in any large supermarket and it’s not a bad substitution at all. So, go ahead and make this delicious beauty, especially if you already know that cherries are a good source of vitamin C and contain some antioxidants. With crunchy streusel on top – it is a perfect treat at any time of the day!Wholewheat Cherry Pie (with pecans)
I used fresh sweet dark cherries if you can’t get it, use sour and add a bit more sugar. And do not refreeze frozen berries, scatter them over the pie straight from the fridge. Also if you prefer brown sugar to the white one, you can use it; probably it works even better: the taste will be richer and the color more golden.
PecanPie-1

Wholewheat Cherry Pie (with pecans)

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print
I used a 20cm square baking pan
 
What You’ll Need
150g butter, soften
75g white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
2 eggs
250g wholewheat flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
50g ground oats (I used medium oatmeal)
200-300g fresh sweet cherries, pitted
Streusel (crumble topping)
4 tbsp wholewheat flour
2 tbsp white sugar
2 tbsp butter, softened
2-3 tbsp chopped pecans (or walnuts)
How to Make it
  1. For the batter, beat softened butter with sugar until slightly pale.
  2. Add vanilla and salt, and beat in eggs one by one until just combined.
  3. Mix in flour (no need to sift) along with baking powder and oats.
  4. Spread the batter on a baking pan (lined with baking paper if needed), scatter cherries.
  5. For the streusel, mix the flour and sugar together in a bowl. Rub in butter with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in chopped nuts.
  6. Sprinkle the streusel over the pie.
  7. Bake in preheated 200C oven for 45 minutes.*
  8. Take the pan out from the oven, allow to cool slightly in the pan and then put on the serving plate.
*Note: if the pie begins brown too much, loosely cover with a piece of foil, and continue to bake.
Enjoy!
PecanCherryPie

Chocolate cherry cookies

Hi there! It’s been a while, and I kept telling myself I’d get back to blogging tomorrow, in a day, a week, etc, but finally, I’m here writing the post. Hope you all had w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l holidays, full of surprises, lovely moments and delicious food. What is your favorite sweet treat during winter? Hot chocolate, spiced orange cake or just lots of chocolates? I’m still eating chocolates from the Christmas tree (yes, it’s still in our house, and probably will be here until the beginning of February).Chocolate Cherry cookies

I adore dark chocolate with cherry pieces in it, and I like cookies: good, buttery with those tiny little dots of pure vanilla in it. So, I combined my both desires and prepared these beautiful cookies. I’m thinking you will really love it. Even though, I prefer vanilla cookies over chocolate, but not this time. Better you cook and try, and you will never buy a cookie. Ok, maybe you will but nothing taste like homemade cookies, prepared with high-quality ingredients and the most important – your passion and love. Give these a try and you will be as happy with them as I was.ChocoCookies

Triple the quantity and take some to share with your friends or co-workers, or maybe even a neighbor.ChocoCherryCookies

Chocolate cherry cookies

What you’ll need
100g mild dark chocolate
50g dark chocolate with cherry pieces, or plain dark chocolate
180g plain flour
30g cocoa
1.5 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
120g butter, at room temperature
50g light brown sugar
50g white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
100g dried cherries
100g chopped/slivered almonds
20-30g dark chocolate with cherry pieces, optional
How to make it
  1. Chop 150g chocolate or break into pieces, and put into heatproof bowl and microwave on low power or melt over a pan of simmering water.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In another bowl, whisk butter with sugar for 5 minutes or until light. Whisk in vanilla extract and then eggs (one by one). Add the melted chocolate and stir well.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the batter mixture and stir well. Stir in cherries, almonds and chopped chocolate (if using).
  5. Line the baking sheet with baking paper and scoop out equal portions in some distance apart. Make 14 equal balls, flatten them.
  6. Bake in preheated 180C oven for 15 minutes.
Enjoy!
Chocolate cookies with cherries&almonds

 

Marinated roasted peppers

 Hello, dear friends and all foodies! I’ve been away for awhile.  The life and time with my little pie fly by so fast that I haven’t realized that summer is already over and autumn almost too, and I haven’t posted a recipe or even a small note. Hope someone miss me, because I’m happy to come back with new ideas and recipes. 😀
 When you think autumn what do you imagine in your mind, I bet not only beautiful yellow and reddish leaves and trees in the woods, also lots of pumpkins and probably carrots. That’s not bad at all, I love those vegetables too; its bright color and wonderful taste turn a dull and boring day into a cheerful one. But I decided to go another way and prepare bright, aromatic and tasty marinated roasted peppers. If you have never tried to make those at home, you have to! Really! It is one of the quickest dishes, and no need to buy those expensive jars from a store! Make your own! The final result is fabulous, you can use peppers in so many ways! One of the recipes will be in the next post, don’t miss it!
MRP-1
 But first, you need to roast bell peppers. I usually cut them into halves, remove all seeds and stems, arrange on a tray (line it with a foil – less mess), then drizzle with some oil, and roast in the oven for 40-60 minutes. When they are done, pell off the skin, it comes off very easily. At this step you can stop and eat them, for example on a slice of sunflower seeds bread😀 or be patient, slice them, arrange into jars along with couple of garlic cloves, rosemary, and chili flakes, optionally – a good pinch of sea salt, plus a splash of white balsamic vinegar,  and of course drizzle with some oil (I prefer extra virgin oil, but you can use any you like/have).
 I keep peppers in this marinade for a week in the fridge (honestly, they rarely stay that long). And what an amazing smell when you open a jar!
MRP-2
If you want to store them longer, I suggest to heat the marinade and use sterilized jars.
About the recipe: I don’t have any exact ingredients, just add as much as you like/feel. Happy cooking!
MRP-3