5/31/2014

Mini-eclairs

Mini-eclairs

A classical French recipe and a great dessert filled with vanilla and cocoa cream.
Ingredients for the pastry:
- 1/2 cup of unsalted butter or vegetable oil plus extra for greasing the tray
- 1 cup of water
- a pinch of salt
- 1 cup of all purpose flour
- 4 eggs

Fillings:
- 2 1/2 cups of milk
- a stick of butter
- 1 cup of sugar
- 2 tbsp of cocoa
- 3 tbsp. of flour
- vanilla essence

Glaze:
- white chocolate bar
- dark chocolate bar
- 4 tbsp. of milk
- 4 tbsp. of sugar

Put the water, butter or oil and salt into a medium-sized pan and heat until the butter has completely melted. Then bring the mixture to the boil and add all the flour in one go. Immediately start rapidly beating the flour with a wooden spoon while removing the pan from the heat. The mixture will look messy at first but will soon transform into a smooth and heavy dough. Leave it to cool a little then add the eggs one at a time (the dough shouldn't be hot, because the eggs could coagulate) stirring with the same wood spoon. Finally you'll get a soft, glossy dough. With a pastry tube and a tip, pipe the dough in small balls on the greased tray. Make sure that you leave spaces between the balls of dough because it doubles the volume after baking. Put the tray in the pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes, at a medium to high temperature (450 F or 180-190 C). When ready, gently remove the mini-eclairs with a knife from the tray and leave them aside to cool.

Mini-eclairsMini-eclairs









The fillings - whisk the milk, sugar and flour then put it in a bain-marie pan (the pan with the mixture stays in another pan with boiling water) whisking with a hand whisk. When it boils whisk almost all the time, because if you don't, the cream may stick to the pan bottom. Add the vanilla essence and let it boil until the composition starts bubbling. At this point, if you take some of it on a knife blade it should stay firm and easily removes from the metal. Remove the cream from the heat and then add the butter. When the composition is homogenized, separate in two and add the cocoa in a half of the cream.

When the mini-eclairs are cool, cut down the length of one side of each eclair and pipe in the vanilla and cocoa cream. When all are filled, melt each chocolate bar (of 80-100 g each) in 2 tbsp. of milk and 2 tbsp. of sugar on low temperature until the icing is fluid. Then decorate the mini-eclairs, let them cool and serve.

Enjoy!

Mini-eclairs

5/27/2014

Amaretto ice cream


Amaretto ice cream

I remember some years ago I was in a cafeteria in Strasbourg and I wanted to buy some ice cream. One of it was called Amaretto and it was white and pink with some dark red veins. I hesitated as I did not know what could it be. Someone in the group of tourists bought an order and so I found it was bitter cherry ice cream.

These days, when temperatures are growing, I feel like eating ice cream all day long :) Therefore I dared to make Amaretto ice cream.

I used a base of lemon ice cream:
- 150 g yogurt 
- 200 g sour cream (whole)
- juice and zest of one lemon
- 100 g powdered sugar 
- 100 ml whipped cream 
- 150 g bitter cherry jam.

Mix the yogurt, sour cream, sugar and whipped cream until fluffy. Add the lemon juice and zest. Then add bitter cherry jam, stirring it gently with a spoon, and then leave in the freezer for at least 5-6 hours. When serving add bitter cherry syrup over the ice cream cups. For the syrup, combine 1 tbs of jam with 2 tbs of hot water.


Enjoy!


Amaretto ice cream

5/22/2014

Roman salad with grilled chicken chest

Roman salad with grilled chicken chest

When summer comes, I often eat a salad instead a main course. So, I made myself a Roman salad with grilled chicken chest, a healthy and tasty  dish. As the name says, it's an Italian, even Roman, traditional recipe, and you might find it in the menus of those many trattoria restaurants if you visit the beautiful Rome.

It contains:

- Roman green salad,
- One  large tomato
- Celery
- Carrot,
- Cabbage white (or red)
- Cucumbers,
- Olive oil (or mayonnaise)
- Lemon juice,
- Salt to taste
- grilled chicken chest
- Mozzarella cheese


Grate equal quantities of celery, carrots and cabbage. Then place a few leaves of a Roman salad (it has long leaves) in a bowl and the rest of it cut in thin strips. Cut the cucumbers in slices, then chop the grilled chicken chest in small pieces. Mix everything with olive oil or mayonnaise then add some salt. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Slice the tomato and garnish the bowl with it, then add the salad in the middle. At the end grate some Mozzarella cheese on top of your salad. Decorate with a slice of lemon.

Enjoy!

5/20/2014

Eggplant Salad

Eggplant Salad

This is one of my favorite salads since I was a kid. Some people say it's not healthy for our liver. But I eat huge quantities whenever I get the chance, and I have never had any problems. I have problems only when I feel like eating eggplant salad and I don't have eggplants in my kitchen. This is why I chose to preserve it in small glass jars for winter.

But today I am writing the recipe of fresh eggplant salad, the way I know it from my mother, who has a Greek origin. The eggplant salad is not made with baked eggplants, as I saw on the internet. The original Greek recipe is made with burned (grilled) plump eggplants.

Ingredients:

- 3-4 plump eggplants
- about 1/2 cup of olive oil
- salt to taste
- a finely chopped onion (optional)
- 3-4 tbsp. of mayonnaise (optional)

First of all the eggplants must be grilled, exactly like meat, except that for a longer time, about 20 minutes. You have to place the eggplants on a grill or directly on the gas-fire, and turn them on every side until they soften inside and the peel gets burned. Then put the eggplants in a sink and after they cool a little, remove the burnt peel then wash the core carefully and leave it in a sieve to drain because a too washy salad doesn't taste so good.

Eggplant Salad

Eggplant Salad

After one hour you can chop the eggplant cores with a chopper, or you can blend it in a blender. Then add the oil and salt, mix them well and that's your eggplant Greek salad. If you like, you can add an onion very finely chopped, the taste it's even better. I always add some mayonnaise because it enriches the salad and gives it a special white greenish color. In the pictures where there is a slice of bread and meatballs, the salad contains mayonnaise.

Eggplant Salad

If you want to preserve it, there are more ways to do it, for example, after the cores are drained, you can put them into the freezer and use them whenever you want a salad. Or you can prepare the salad (without onion) and put it into very well capped jars. Then the jars should be boiled in water (to sterilize the salad) for about 1 hour at a medium-low temperature, and when they are cool, leave them in a cold and dry place.

Enjoy!

Eggplant Salad

5/18/2014

Strawberry ice foam

Strawberry ice foam

It's a very simple ice cream and you can add any other ingredient you wish and find tasty.

For the strawberry ice foam you need about 2 cups of strawberries (they should be very well ripped, because you need them juicy, flavoured and sweet) that you will blend to very small pieces. You can chop 5 or 6 strawberries and let them aside.

Strawberry ice foam

Take 3 tablespoons of the strawberry purree and mix it with 3 tbsp of powder sugar until you get a syrup. Leave it in the fridge. Now separate 4 eggs and mix the whites and 4 tbsp of sugar with an electric whisker until you obtain a stiff peak meringue. Add the strawberry purree little by little and gently mix the composition with a spoon. Add the chopped strawberries too in this foam of meringue and strawberry purree. Put the foam in some cups or other forms for ice cream, and leave them in the freezer far 5-6 hours or more. When you serve, just sink the cups in hot water for several seconds, and then the ice foam will be easy to remove. Add a topping of strawberry syrup and enjoy it!

5/17/2014

Fish roe salad


It's true that's a trifle, but who can refuse a sandwich with cucumber and roe salad? :) In fact, I can't tell you why we call it salad, because it is just a kind of paste, more like mayonnaise then a true salad. Anyway, it is a very appreciated appetizer in the whole Balkan area, mainly in Greece.

 We make it with carp roe generally, but not fresh roe, because the taste isn't the same. We use to preserve the fish roe with salt, in a jar and use it whenever we need.

Ingredients for about 200 g/ 1 cup of fish roe salad:
- 2 teaspoon2 full of carp roe preserved with salt,
- the core of a slice of bread soaked in milk,
- 150 ml vegetable oil,
- the juice of a lemon (or lime).
- (optional) one medium size onion

Fish roe salad Fish roe salad Fish roe salad


 Squeeze the slice of bread and mix it until smooth with fish roe. Then pour little by a little the oil stirring all the time in the same direction with a wooden spatula until it becomes consistent, then pour a little lemon juice, homogenize again, then pour a little oil, homogenize, and repeat pouring oil and lemon juice, continuously stirring the salad in the same direction until it becomes like a smooth paste of a rather pink-white colour. If you like, you can very finely chop an onion and then add it to the fish roe salad. It's more tasty like this!

Enjoy!

Fish roe salad

5/15/2014

Ganache chocolate cake

Ganache chocolate cake
Among all the desserts I like chocolate cakes. Therefore, I made such a chocolate cake, with ganache cream, for my father's birthday, at the beginning of April. It was a delight and I can't wait until I have the occasion to cook another one.

The ingredients are for a 28cm/10-11in round cake pan(s): the sponge is in fact made after a brownie recipe, with plenty of cocoa, and the ganache cream basically consists of whipped cream and chocolate.

The sponge: 
- 1.5 cups of all purpose flour (300 g)
- 2 cups of caster sugar (400 g) 
- 1/2 cup of milk (125 ml)
- 2 oz of unsweetened cocoa powder (50 g)
- 1 cup of butter (non-salted) - (200g)
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 4 eggs (separate whites from yolks)
- 1 cup of ground nuts (or peanuts) - (200 g)
- vanilla extract and rum (to taste - usually 1-2 teaspoons each)

The ganache cream and chocolate glaze:
- 2 cups of whipped cream (400 - 450 g)
- 2 chocolate bars with min. 65% cocoa - 7.5 oz (200 g)
- rum to taste
- 2 tbsp. of butter

1. Preheat oven to 180º C/350º F. Prepare one or 3  28cm/11-inch cake pans by  buttering and lightly flouring. (If you use one single cake pan, when the sponge is ready you'll have to horizontally slice it in 3 equal layers.)

2. Prepare the cake sponge: add milk, butter, sugar and cocoa in a bain-marie pot (the pot with ingredients is placed into another, larger pot, with boiling water). Stir with a wooden spatula from time to time, until everything is perfectly melted and homogenized. Turn off the cooker and remove the pot from the boiling water. Put 10 tbsp. of this mixture in a cup and leave it aside to cool. You may leave the pot in a cool place (not in the fridge). Separate the eggs whites and beat them with an electric hand whisk at high speed until the mixture stands up in stiff peaks when the blades are lifted. Leave it aside, in the fridge. When the mixture from the pot is cool, add the yolks one by one, stirring with a tablespoon. Then add the flour little by little mixing at slow speed with an electric whisk, add baking powder and baking soda, rum, groundnuts and when homogenized stop mixing. The batter should be rather consistent in this phase. Add the beaten whites to the batter with a tablespoon stirring gently. Now the batter is more fluid and can be put in 3 separate cake pans (or in a single one, and when ready and cooled, slice it horizontally in 3 layers); bake at medium temperature for about 30 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test. When ready, let cool completely on a wire rack.

The ganache cream : melt one chocolate bar in the butter and rum at low temperature and stir with a teaspoon all the time until homogenized. Cool it and when it's still fluid add it little by little to the whipped cream mixing it with an electric whisk at slow speed in the beginning and then at high speed.

Ganache chocolate cake

Spread the ganache cream on the layers of cake and on sides. The last layer of cake doesn't have ganache cream on top, it will be covered in chocolate glaze.
Glaze: melt the mixture from the cup and the other chocolate bar at low temperature and stir with a teaspoon until homogenized. Then pour it on the cake.
Decorate as you wish. Leave in the fridge or in a cool place for about 4-5 hours before serving.

It's a wonder of cake! :) Enjoy!

Ganache chocolate cake

5/14/2014

Peach Granita

Peach Granita
During the hot summer days, such a dessert makes you feel good and comfortable
For the granita - which, at least considering the name, seems to be another Italian recipe :) Mr. Google says it's a Sicilian old icecream -  I used:
- 150 ml water (1/2 cup)
- 100 g sugar (or 6 tablespoons)
- 3 large peaches,
- champagne 50 ml (3-4 tbsp.),
- 50 ml rum (white rum if possible)

Make the water and sugar boil together for about 2-3 minutes, then leave the syrup aside to cool. Peel the peaches, remove the cores and mix the fruit pulp in a blender to homogenize. Then add the cooled syrup into the mashed peaches mixture, stir with a spoon, then add the champagne and the rum. Leave the granita in the freezer for at least 6 hours. Meanwhile, mix it 2 or 3 times to look like having pieces of finely crushed ice in it.

If granita is served by children, replace alcoholic drinks with orange or peach juice.

Enjoy!

Peach Granita

5/12/2014

Chicken scaloppine with lemon sauce

Chicken scaloppine with lemon sauce

I love Italian food, so today I'm writing about the scaloppine recipe. Usually this scallop is made of veal, but I prefer it made of chicken chest.
Ingredients: 
- 2 or 3 slices of chicken chest per serving, 
- olive oil for frying, 
- cilantro, cumin, salt and white pepper to taste, 
- juice from 1 or 2 lemons (lime is better), 

Chicken scaloppine with lemon sauce

Beat the slices of chicken chest with a meat beater. Then add some salt and fry them into a rather large pan, in hot oil. When the meat is done, spread the spices and pour the lemon juice over the slices. With a wooden spatula mix the lemon juice with the oil in the pan then and cover with a lid. Leave aside for 5 minutes so that the sauce should soften the meat and the flavours mix. 
You can serve the chicken scaloppine with French fries and finely chopped parsley leaves on the top. 

The preparation of the chicken scaloppine with lemon sauce takes about half an hour.

Enjoy!

5/11/2014

Omelet salad with cream sauce

Omelet salad with cream sauce
I like omelets because I can make them fast and they represent a consistent food. I think I often make a rich omelet instead of a second course for lunch.

Ingredients for one serving - two eggs, several leaves of green salad, 2-3 radishes, 2 tablespoons of grated cheese (Cheddar, up to my taste), a spoonful of sour cream, a teaspoon of mustard, a teaspoon of vinegar, salt, pepper, dill or parsley leaves, oil or whole butter for frying.

Omelet salad with cream sauce
Firstly, crack the eggs into a bowl and beat them until they turn pale yellow. Then add grated cheese, salt, pepper and some finely chopped dill or parsley (or both, if you like, they give a special taste and flavour to the omelet) and mix them all.
Put some oil (or whole butter) in a non-stick pan (of 8 inches diameter) over medium-low heat until the oil is hot (or the butter melted). Put the eggs all over the pan to make a round omelet and when it is done, slip it on a plate and roll it like a pancake, then cut it into several pieces. From cream, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper make a fluid sauce, mixing well all the ingredients. On a plate put the green salad leaves, then the pieces of rolled omelet, add slices of radish and sprinkle everything with cream sauce.
Serve as long as the omelet is still warm. 

Enjoy!

Stuffed potatoes

Stuffed potatoes
This recipe was written down in my recipe notebook, and I have it from one of my neighbors, a Greek origin old woman who was born at the beginning of the 20th century. I didn't ask  her, when she was still alive, if her recipes were Greek, but anyway there are very tasty and healthy.

Ingredients for 4 servings : 8 medium sized potatoes, 200 g mushrooms, 2 large onions, 2 eggs , 5 tablespoons of cream, 50 g butter, 2 cups of vegetable broth, a handful of parsley leaves, salt and pepper.

Peel the potatoes, cut them lengthwise in half and scrape with a spoon. Finely chop the onion and then gently fry it in a oiled pan just until it softens, then add the minced mushrooms in the pan and let everything braise about 4-5 minutes at low temperature. Then pour the whipped cream mixed with the eggs, salt and pepper. Stir until the mixture thickens, then set aside. Add the chopped parsley leaves. Stuff the potatoes with this mixture, place them in a pan that goes in the preheated oven, then pour the broth on them, a small piece of butter on every potato and bake at about 180 C/ 355 F.  They are ready after about 30 minutes since it starts boiling. Occasionally pour some broth over the potatoes with a wooden spoon, so they don't get dried on the top.

Stuffed potatoes


Serve the stuffed potatoes when they are hot, with grated cheese on top, and any salad you wish.

Enjoy!

5/10/2014

Pizza Virginia

Pizza Virginia

The pizza is an Italian famous and easy-to-make food. It's very tasty, consistent and I think that it doesn't deserve to be considered among fast food products.

Pizza Virginia contains mozzarella, mushrooms, broccoli and olives.
I made the dough first:

For 2 pizzas I used: 
- 300 g white regular flour 
- 50 ml of olive oil 
- an egg 
- 1/2 teaspoon of sugar 
- 1/2 teaspoon salt 
-  approx. 1 cup of lukewarm water.

In the beginning mix the yeast with a little lukewarm water, sugar and a tbsp of flour in a cup. Leave it aside for about 5 minutes. When the yeast begins to make bubbles, add it to the other ingredients and mix them until you got the dough. Leave it aside for about half an hour, and then divide it into two parts. I formed 2 round pizza crusts and I put them into 2 pans (22 cm diameter) well oiled.

For the topping I used: 
- 100g mozzarella, 
- a few bunches of broccoli, 
- a red pepper, 
- 2-3 tablespoons of canned mushrooms, 
- a handful of sliced ​​olives 
- salt, pepper, oregano 

I spread grated mozzarella all over the pan, then the thin sliced ​​mushrooms, the broccoli, strips of bell pepper and finally the olive slices. In the end I put some salt and oregano then I introduced the pans in the preheated oven (170 C / 350 F) for about 20-25 minutes.
When ready, I served with ketchup and garlic sauce.
If you have ready-made pizza dough, you have your pizza much faster than I did. Anyway, my neighbors felt its smell and came to my door to ask for a bite :)

Enjoy!

Pizza Virginia

Nicoise salad


Nicoise salad

I have recently read on David Lebovitz's website about how the people in Nice, on the Cote d'Azur, France, make this salad.

David says that he read in a book written by a famous chef, that the Nicoise salad contains only fresh ingredients, except the boiled eggs, and it contains neither two kinds of fish, nor boiled potatoes. I saw on some food blogs Nicoise salad with potatoes and more types of fish.

How I made it: on a plate I put lettuce, then slices of tomatoes, slices of ​​boiled eggs, several black olives, canned tuna chunks, stripes of bell pepper. I added some olive oil, salt and pepper and the Nicoise salad was ready to be served.

 Enjoy! :)

Nicoise salad