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Friday, January 30, 2015

Potage de garbanzos con chorizo (Chickpea, potato, spinach and chorizo stew) (Spanish)

This is a hearty yet kind of light stew from the Spanish cuisine, perfect as comfort food for slightly colder days. It's a bit soupy too, but not enough to be labeled a soup. It contains tomatoes, potato, sweet potatoes, spinach, chickpeas, onion, garlic and flavorful chorizo slices. It's cooked on low heat with a bay leaf, to give all the flavors some time to get to know each other better. :) And it's really, really good. Enjoy.
Recipe sources: various, but mostly from here.

Last year: Turkish baklava.
Two years ago: Endive and apple salad with poppy seed vinaigrette (raw vegan).
Three years ago: Dagaiku imo (Japanese sweet potatoes with honey and sesame) (vegan).
Four years ago: Winter wheat berries soup with capers (vegan) and Endive and bacon pasta.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Patatas alioli (Spanish)

This is a variation on the patatas bravas dish, both being some of the most well-known and loved Spanish tapa dishes (entrees). Instead of the fiery tomato sauce accompnaying the main version, these potato cubes are served with a garlic mayo sauce. Sometimes, both sauces are combined in the same serving, like in this version from Saveur
Recipe source: here.

Last year: Avocado "fries" in Parmesan coating (raw).
Two years ago: British country apple cake.
Three years ago: Creamy potato and artichoke salad (very light).
Four years ago: Bacon and eggs breakfast with a fresh touch (British) and Vegetable stock from scratch.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Patatas bravas (Spanish) (vegan)

This is one of the best known Spanish tapas (entrees) you can find in any taperia or bodega. Small potato cubes, around 2 cm in size, are fried until golden and crispy, and then they are covered in a fiery tomato sauce. The name "bravas" refers to their fiery character.
Another well-known version of the dish is patatas alioli, which replaces the spicy tomato sauce with a garlic mayo. Sometimes, both sauces are combined, like in this version from Saveur.
Recipe source: here.

Last year: Moroccan tomato salad (raw vegan).
Two years ago: Three cheese pan potatoes.
Three years ago: Linguine alla putanesca (Italian).
Four years ago: Red pepper and pesto pasta with smoked salmon and Fig salad with feta, rucola and cherry tomatoes.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Tapa de sardinas (Sardine tapas) (Spanish)

If you use high quality sardines, preserved in olive oil (and almost resembling duck confit in the process), these sardine tapas may very well be the best appetizer you ever had. 
These oil-preserved sardines are spiced with salt, pepper, lemon zest and lemon juice, and laid on baguette slices fried in olive oil. A generous dose of freshly chopped parsley adds some extra yumminess. 
Recipe sources: here and here.

Last year: Chicken, olives and preserved lemons tagine (regional variation with liver) (Moroccan)
Two years ago: Cheddar and beer soup (British-Scottish).
Threeyears ago: Tandoori chicken skewers with field salad and lemon raita (Indian-style).
Four years ago: Ricotta and cinnamon pancakes with pomegranate and raspberry sauce and Bavarian white radish salad with lemon (German) (raw vegan).

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Simple yogurt muffins

Simple muffins made with yogurt. You can either have them as a staple for breakfast or use them as a nice base to get creative with in order to develop delicious cupcake toppings and fillings. I suppose no one actually needs any suggestions in this department - I mean, think of all the fruit and chocolate or nut combinations you can muster - from cherry and marzipan to blueberry white chocolate or cardamon carrot cake, why not? :) 
All I'm saying is that sometimes it's really good to have a basic and clean yogurt muffins recipe to start improvising with. Well, this is it. As a bonus, they're all great on their own, and the crust they develop on top is crispy and slightly caramelized, just the thing to kick-start your mornings. :)
Recipe slightly adapted from here.

Last year: Strawberry and poppy seed four layer cake.
Two years ago: Kohlbrot mit wurstchen (German cabbage and sausage bread).
Three years ago: Mini cheesecakes in ramekins, with honey and lime.
Four years ago: Easy Spanish tapas (with deli meats) and Kolokitho Keftedes (Greek zucchini fritters) with tzatziki sauce.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Red onion and chili bhajis with mint-garlic raita (Indian)

Bhaji is a generic term for Indian fried snacks. Here, the bhajis are made from red onion and chili, with a spicy chickpea flour batter, and they're served alongside a mint-based raita (yogurt dipping sauce). If you're a fan of Indian food, this is the thing to make on a relaxed afternoon. :). Best enjoyed with friends.
Recipe source: here

Last year: Za'atar dip (sauce) (Jewish and Palestinian) (raw vegan).
Two years ago: Ginger cake squares (crispy base, fudgy topping).
Three years ago: Onion-tamarind soup with herb butter baguette.
Four years ago: Tortilla de patatas (Spanish potato omelette) with parsley and fennel and Red wine pears with Camembert.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Garam masala (home-made) (Indian spice mix) (vegan)

The garam masala spice mix is one of the most used in all Indian cooking, as you're surely aware if you've tried your hand at some recipes from that area. It's usually bought ready-made, but if you make it at home it will be much more flavorful and intense, as spices tend to fade out after grinding.

I've bought an electrical spice grinder and thought I'd have some fun, and this is the first thing that was on the list. The result was even better than I anticipated. :)
The ingredients sometimes vary from area to area and from kitchen to kitchen, but a common recipe has been reached and this is it. Enjoy.

Last year: Peanut butter and bacon sandwich (American).
Two years ago: Breakfast pizza with bacon and egg.
Three years ago: Dukkah-coated turkey wraps.
Four years ago: Sweet pumpkin strips, pan-fried, with honey (vegan) and Simple wellness salad with potatoes, apple, feta and egg.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Mixed bean salad with pumkpin seed oil (vegan)

Pumpkin seed oil is a delicate and intensely-flavored wonder. It can be added to most savory dishes to make them go from bland to addictive in mere seconds. If you've never tried it, it's well worth investing in a little gem of a bottle of it. It's not only crazy flavorful, but also beautifully colored in hues ranging from emerald green to an almost-black. 
This bean salad is perhaps the dish that benefits most from the wonderful flavor of pumpkin seed oil (the same goes for beans in general, actually). Soaking the onion firsthand in the pumpkin seed oil with a bit of salt makes for the most insanely flavorful morsels that give the salad its je-ne-sais-quoi, so please don't skip the step and just toss everything together as I know you'll be tempted to do. It will be worth the extra 10 minutes wait, I promise. And it will still be ready fast. :)
Recipe only slightly adapted from Adi Hădean.

Last year: Orange and wine infused chickpea and mushroom stew (vegan).
Two years ago: New York-style pizza crust (puffy and thin) (vegan).
Three years ago: Dukkah (Egyptian and generally Middle Eastern) (vegan).
Four years ago: Simple chicken stock and Chicken risotto with bell pepper.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Tamarillo and red wine rice pudding

Another lovely thing to make with tamarillos (I previously shared a deep-fried Brie recipe with tamarillo relish). 
Make a sweet topping with the fruit's flesh and some red wine and use it on a bed of creamy vanilla milk rice. :) A bliss for lazy evenings or nostalgic breakfasts. Enjoy!

Last year: Lemon and condensed milk cream tart.
Two years ago: Authentic carbonara (Italian).
Three years ago: Tuna and clementine creamy spread.
Four years ago: "Lapte de pasăre" (Romanian "bird's milk" dessert, my mom's recipe).

Thursday, January 8, 2015

French garlic soup with mint

Yes, we're big fans of garlic soup. We've tried it and keep having it in lots of styles and versions. Here we tried it in a classic French way, with whole cloves, served with fresh yogurt and mint leaves and fresh oven-baked herb butter baguette. Very delicately flavored, very light, doesn't leave any garlic breath behind, keeps the cold away.. what more could one ask for :) ?
Adapted from "Ma boitte de recettes" via Cătălina

Other garlic soups I'd recommend:
Czech garlic soup with chorizo and mustard (the way they do it in Prague).

Last year: Pear salad with walnuts and Gorgonzola (American).
Two years ago: Kedgeree (Anglo-Indian or Scottish).
Three years ago: Tapenade (olive paste) bread rolls.
Four years ago: Tabbouleh (Lebanese and generally Middle Eastern bulgur wheat salad) (vegan) and Simple wellness salad with endives, feta, clementines and pumpkin seeds.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Spaghetti with Garlic and Cumin (Italian-Moroccan)

A really special dish that combines the spirit of both Italian and Moroccan cooking into one fast meal. It's not really traditional per se in any of the two countries, but it was imagined and created by a child of both cuisines, and it feels so authentic to both that I'll gladly list it in each of them. :)
P.S: Don't know about you, but I'm mad about garlic and cumin! And to get to enjoy those flavors in their fried intense form, tossed with spaghetti and Parmesan was really terrific! :)
Recipe source: here.

Last year: Smoked salmon and scrambled egg on toasted bun.
Two years ago: Peanut butter cookies (American).
Three years ago: Cranberry and walnut scones (Southern USA style).
Four years ago: Zucchini and caraway salad with parsley and lemon salad.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Lemon pepper cod with basil-garlic rice

A light and fast to make idea for a lunch you can make without much fuss. There's no reason to eat boring stuff even though you're in a hurry :).
The cod fillet is rubbed with lemon pepper and some lemon juice and pan-cooked in very little oil. The bed of rice is infused with a bit of garlic and basil for extra flavor. The result is a healthy lunch in no time at all :)
Note: the instructions and ingredient list are for one serving, but the recipe is easily doubled or tripled and so on if you decide to be unselfish and share :).

Last year: Palak dal (Indian lentil and spinach curry) (vegan).
Two years ago: Mint and carrot tzatziki (raw).
Three years ago: Eggplant croquettes (fritters) with spicy-sour yogurt sauce.
Four years ago: Fast baby pasta with creamy Parmesan and pea sauce and Pasta con pomodoro (Italian simple tomato sauce pasta).

Friday, January 2, 2015

Australian Flat White

A very lovely and foamy coffee drink which is a common way to have it in Australia. The so-called flat white is made by combining an espresso shot with sugar or sweetener and a very generous layer of freshly foamed milk. Since I'm a big fan of foamed milk - the more the better - this kind of cup-a-joe is ideal for me :).
Recipe source: the above wiki link and also Saveur.

Last year: Nutella hot chocolate with hazelnut liquor
Two years ago: Spinach and chickpea soup with chorizo.
Three years ago: Pollo alla cacciatora (Hunter's chicken stew) (Italian).
Four years ago: Fried carp with polenta and garlic sauce (Moldavian/Romanian).

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