Tag Archives: yummy

Best Ever Plum Crumble

 I discovered crumbles not long time ago, but immediately fall in love. Thank to the British for this amazing, simple and absolutely delicious dish! I’ve already tried various sweet crumble recipes – with peaches, mixed berried, pears.. I love them all! But.. Once I stumbled upon a new crumble recipe by James Martin, he is a well-known English chef; the recipe called for plums, spices and wine. And what do you think – it’s the best crumble I’ve ever made and tried! Plums with spices sautéed in red wine remind me mulled wine, and it’s incredibly tasty! This crumble is very aromatic and delicious even without ice cream on top! I slightly adapted the recipe – added oats and chopped nuts, walnuts and/or pistachios is a nice crunchy addition here.Plum crumble

Best ever plum crumble

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients 
20g butter
7-8 dark plums, halved, stones removed
1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract
1 star anise
a pinch of fresh nutmeg
1 cinnamon stick
20ml water
60ml red wine
2-3 tbsp golden syrup (I used honey)
2-3 tbsp brown or raw sugar
Crumble topping
50g plain flour
30g oat flour or fine oats
2 tbsp demerara sugar
40g butter, softened
2-3 tbsp chopped pistachios or walnuts
To serve
vanilla ice cream
Preparation
  1. Preheat oven to 200C.
  2. Heat the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the plums and fry for a few minutes.
  3. Add the split vanilla pod, star anise, nutmeg and cinnamon stick to the pan. Add the water, red wine, honey and sugar and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5-6 minutes, until the plums break down to a thick sauce. Transfer plums with sauce to one or 2 individual baking dish.
  4. For the crumble topping, mix the flours and sugar together in a bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in chopped nuts.
  5. Sprinkle the crumble over the plums and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until golden-brown.
  6. Remove and allow to cool slightly before serving with ice-cream.
Enjoy!

Plum crumble-2

Pumpkin Cheesecake

 It’s my very first pumpkin cheesecake! 🙂 I do love both cheesecake and pumpkin, but never tried to combine them together until I baked too many pumpkin slices and already couldn’t eat them.
Cheesecake is enjoyed by millions around the world, and each person has its own take on the best way of making it. Truly a scrumptious dessert! I guess that the pumpkin cheesecake is the America’s favorite dessert. Moreover, I’ve heard about National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day, is that true? In Russia we eat pumpkin, too, but usually it’s sliced and simply baked with sugar, or whole pumpkin stuffed with grains (have a look at my recipe here).
I knew how to make a basic cheesecake, so I just added pumpkin puree and some spices. Oh, I’m so happy with the result! The only thing I was worried that it can be too wobbly, finally it set good, just cracked a little. The texture is perfect – creamy, deliciously smooth and not-very-sweet, everything how I like. Unfortunately, the cheesecake has some unwanted calories, thus for weight watchers I recommend to substitute cream cheese with low-fat cottage cheese or quark.Pumpkin cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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You need 18cm baking tin for this recipeSlice of pumpkin cheesecake
Ingredients should be at room temperature
Crust
150g graham crackers, finely crushed
80g butter, melted
Filling
350g cooked pumpkin, then pureed
220-250g cream cheese
30g brown sugar + 40g white caster sugar
2 tbsp double cream (35% fat)
2 whole eggs + 1 egg yolk
2 tbsp cornstarch (cornflour)
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger powder
small pinch of ground cloves, allspice and salt
Method
  1. To make crust. In a medium bowl, blend butter with graham crumbs. Press the mixture into the base of baking tin to create an even layer. Chill for 10 minutes in the fridge, then bake in preheated 160C oven for 5-7 minutes. Take the tin out and let it cool for 10 minutes.
  2. To make filling. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with sugar until smooth consistency. Add pumpkin and combine. Break one at a time, add egg yolk, mix to combine. Add double cream, cornstarch, flour and all spices. Beat until well combined. Pour the filling into crust, spread evenly and bake in preheated 180C oven for 45-50 minutes.
  3. Take the tin out of the oven, let it cool at room temperature. Cover the baking tin and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Remove cheesecake from the tin and slide onto a plate, slice and serve.
Enjoy!
[Click the photos for a closer look]

Vegetable bake with mozzarella and bacon

This simple, good-looking and so-delicious bake is a time-saving dish for busy week days, or when you’re tired but still want to prepare homey food. I love one-pot recipes, whether its made on a hob or in the oven, they are always comforting, full of flavor and tasty!
For this bake I used young potatoes, that can be substitute with regular, but make sure to slice it very thinly. Want better and quicker? Use boiled or roast potatoes! For the vegetarian option – omit the bacon.
Also the bake can be great and tasty work lunch, you can see it’s not difficult or time-intensive task. Homemade lunches are definitely healthier than any fast food, you know every single ingredient in it, also you can make it balanced, nutritious and satisfying. Beyond that, such home-packed meals is one of the simplest ways to trim your budget.Vegetable Bake with mozzarella and bacon

Vegetable bake with mozzarella and bacon

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients
6-7 small potatoes
1 leek, chopped
1-2 capsicum
3-4 bacon slices, smoked
70-100g mozzarella, or as much as you wish, cut into cubes
40-50g pecorino or parmesan cheese, grated
1 spring of fresh rosemary, or 1 tsp dried
1/3 tsp paprika
1/3 tsp turmeric
5-7 mix peppercorns (black, white, pink), crushed
fresh basil, few leaves, for garnish, optional
sea salt, to taste
2 Tbsp olive oil

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200C. Grease a baking dish with olive oil.
  2. Slice and fry bacon (without any oil). Transfer to paper towel to absorb exsess fat. Set aside.
  3. While the frying pan is still hot, add leek to it and saute on a medium heat for few minutes. Do not let it brown.
  4. Throughly wash and rub potatoes, thinly slice. Roughly chop capsicums. Put vegetables in a bowl, add 1 Tbsp olive oil, spices, season with salt and stir well.
  5. Spread leek on the baking dish. Add vegetables.
  6. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Add bacon, mozzarella and pecorino/parmesan, and bake for 5-10 minutes more. If you have grill, put the baking dish under the grill for 5 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle with basil and extra pecorino/parmesan, if desired.
  8. Serve with green salad.

Enjoy!

Potato bake with mozzarella and bacon

 

Sunny peachy-nutty cake

Days go by and summer is slowly coming to Dubai, winter doesn’t want to give up though, giving us some cloudy days sometimes but its days are counted…
 One lovely morning I was at home, and looking at the dull skies, I decided to make something special for the afternoon tea, something sunny, sweet-smelling and new, a cake that I’ve not tried before, and it should be fruity. 
I have to say that I do not normally know what I’m going to cook this or next day, I’ve never have a master plan for a week ahead, and prefer to be inspired by details around me, whatever I see, read about food or trying something myself, rather than be organized in the proper food-blogger way 🙂 
  So, I went to a grocery to look for an inspiration. One important and remarkable thing about buying food in Dubai is that large groceries and markets here do always and really inspire me; we have no such variety of fruits in Russia, and every time I go for a shopping, whether it is some oranges for a morning juice or avocados, I never know from which part of the world these fruits or veggies would come from. And that day was not an exception. Without even roaming between fruit rows I remarked some nice peaches shortly after I entered the shop, and once I came closer and took a couple of them in my hand, I already decided that it’s going to be a beautiful peach cake!
 Peaches always remind me of summer, they share the same bright and yellowish colour of the pulp with the sun, giving the cozy feeling of warm and sunny days.
 At home I cut one fruit and tried it. I was slightly disappointed that the peaches weren’t as juicy as I expected, but that  turned into fantastic peach cake in the end… 😉Peach pie-2Ingredients for the cake:
Peaches* – 4 big 
Eggs, at room temperature – 3
Yoghurt -150g or 0.6cup
Sugar* -100g or 0.5cup 
Butter, cut into small cubes – 130g or 0.6cup
Self-raising flour – 150g or 1cup (or 1 cup plain flour + 1 tsp baking powder)
Cornmeal – 2 Tbsp
Whole walnuts – 130g or ~1cup
A pinch of salt
Lemon zest – 2tsp
Orange zest – 1tsp
Ingredients for the mandarin sauce:
3 big mandarins*
2 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp water
2-3 Tbsp icing sugar
1 Tbsp cognac (or brandy, or Grand Marnier) – optionally
 *Really good substitution for peaches are nectarines! 
*I used only 100g of sugar and that means the cake won’t be sweet, 
I suggest sweeten it with 150g or 3/4cup of sugar.
*I used mandarins, just because :D; oranges go well here too, as you already guess.
 
The cake preparation:
  • In a bowl beat the butter and sugar together;
  • Stir in one by one eggs;
  • Add yoghurt and citrus zest, combine;
  • Ground the walnuts, add to the batter and mix;
  • Sift the flours and salt into the batter mixture;
  • Grease the baking dish with butter or oil. Pour the cake batter into it;
  • Cut the peaches into wedges and stick into batter;
  • Bake in preheated oven 210C/400F for 45-60 minute;.** 
  • Meanwhile prepare the mandarin sauce for the cake;
  • Let the cake cool a bit. Pour the mandarin sauce over it. 
Mandarin sauce preparation:
  • First of all, squeeze the juice out of mandarins; 
  • Combine citrus juices, water and sugar in a small saucepan; bring to boil;
  • Reduce heat to low, add cognac and simmer for 10-12 minutes;
  • Remove from the heat and cool.
**When I’m using a glass dish for the cake, it takes me little bit longer to bake it. 
Thus after 40 minutes, pls check the cake is done or not yet.
To check the cake’s readiness – tuck into a toothpick, if it comes out dry –  the cake is ready.
Peach pie-1
  The final result overcame all my expectations –  the cake tasted fantastically! The peaches became tender and even more sweeter, and because they were not so juicy they kept their integrity. Needless to say about aromatic mandarin sauce.. I’ll definitely be making it again!
 I also suggest to sprinkle some icing sugar on the top along with the citrus sauce.
P.S. Several days back I didn’t even know that there is such type of flour as ‘cake’, thanks to dear fellow-blogger Suzanne, now I know about it and adding cornmeal everywhere…Haha 
Hey, are you still here? 🙂 Go and bake the cake!
 Have a sunny and bright day, guys!

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