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Archive for the ‘cooking from food-blogs’ Category

dsc00125Last summer, on one of those very hot- sweltering- days, one month or so before my little boy was born, I made this refreshing limeade. Making this was part of goal 154, which has to do with cooking from the vast collection of food blog recipes I’ve acquired over the years & not just letting them sit there unused. I found this limeade in Anne’s wonderful blog which I’ve been following for some years now. What’s original & interesting about it is its use of a whole lime, peel and all, instead of simply using the juice. You can find instructions on how to make it here, but really it’s very straightforward, as it involves a simple combination of a whole lime, sugar & water. It’s simplicity itself, but its really delicious & its taste & smell have stayed one my mind since I made it.dsc00132

Fast forward a few months. A couple of days ago, on a grey, rainy, miserable evening here in London- the complete opposite of that hot summer day- I was sitting next to my 3 month old boy, surfing on the internet. At some point I felt I wanted something to drink. But instead of going for the usual autumney stuff- hot chocolate, hot tea, hot coffee- I suddenly had an intense craving for the tastes & smells of last summer, and so made this limeade instead, however out of season it may seem. It’s not the first time actually that I’ve felt it’s hard to let go of the summer that just passed… I think it has to do with the feeling that time is passing oh so quickly now that I’ve become a mother. Each day brings noticeable changes in my boy’s development, and with the joy that involves, there’s also a kind of bittersweet sense of constant loss too…

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Since I discovered De.li.cious I’ve been an avid hoarder of recipes from food-blogs (well ok, when I’m being good I also tag and save news articles that are relevant to my PhD research!) If you haven’t already discovered De.li.cious, please do check it out, it’s the best way to save those recipes that you keep finding & copying for future use.

This recipe is one I’d saved ages ago, and I decided to finally try it, as part of my ‘cooking from blogs’ goal (number 154). It was a great success, I’m happy to say. This was originally created by Pille at ‘Nami Nami’, a wonderful Estonian blog which I’ve been following for years. As Pille, rightly, says, ‘every Greek cook has their special moussaka recipe’. So I was pleasantly surprised (and my partner too) to discover a different way to serve moussaka to the one we’re used to… as Pille’s title suggests, this recipe, in a way, ‘deconstructs’ moussaka. It doesn’t use bechamel, making it much lighter and easier to make as a quick, everyday supper. Here’s my own version of Pille’s deconstruction. In a way, this is a… deconstruction of a deconstruction!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsps olive oil (I used extra-virgin)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped / minced
  • 2 minced garlic cloves (I skipped these, due to my partner’s dislike of garlic)
  • 500 gr. ground-lamb
  • 400 gr. chopped tomatoes (I skipped these & just used diluted tomato puree instead)
  • 3-4 tbsps tomato puree, diluted with water (Pille suggests only 2 tbsps puree, since she uses the chopped tomatoes too)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon (I skipped this, feel free to use it if you like)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine (my addition)
  • 200-300 gr. roasted-in-olive-oil aubergine pieces, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (my addition)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme (my addition, too)
  • salt & pepper

To garnish:

  • 200 gr. Greek feta cheese, crumbled in small pieces
  • some fresh mint

Method:

  • Roast the aubergines, sliced & chopped in pieces, in some olive oil, at a very hot oven
  • Heat the olive oil on a big saucepan
  • Add onion and garlic (if using) and fry gently, until soft
  • Add the ground-lamb and fry until the meat is browned. Add a bit of water if you think it’s needed
  • When the lamb is fried, add the white wine
  • Add the chopped tomatoes (if using) and tomato pure (in my case, I diluted the puree in quite a bit of water), season with cinnamon (if using), with oregano & thyme, and generously with salt and pepper
  • Simmer on a low heat for about 20 minutes, adding the prepared aubergines, cut in smallish pieces, half way through
  • To serve, sprinkle with feta and mint

This is really delicious, aromatic, and warming. However, it’s not too heavy, making it perfect as an easy dish for this time of year. I served it with some mashed potatoes as a side dish, keeping with the Greek tradition of including potatoes in a moussaka dish.

If you’re interested in other recipes of moussaka, here are a few that I found online:

Thanks to Pille for a fantastic recipe!

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Moving on to goal 155… which is a fun & indulgent one: making one dessert from someone else’s blog every two weeks. I chose a recipe which I’d bookmarked a while ago: Yoghurt cake from Jessica at Smalltime Cooks (originally from Clotilde at Chocolate & Zucchini). This cake is delicious and very very simple to make. I used low-fat greek yoghurt instead of the stipulated full-fat, because that’s what I had in the house. As soon as it was out of the oven, I gobbled up a slice with some black cherry jam… I highly recommend the combination (but you can use any jam, of course).

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil, plus a bit to grease pan (for greasing the pan, I used a light-olive-oil spray which I had)
  • 1 cup plain unsweetened whole milk yogurt (I used 0% greek yoghurt and it still turned out delicious)
  • 1 cup caster sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon light or amber rum (optional but recommended)
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • Good pinch of fine sea sal

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit)
  • Grease the sides of a 10-inch round cake pan or springform pan (I used an 8-inch springform pan) with oil and line the bottom with parchment paper if the pan is not springform
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt and sugar
  • Add the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition
  • Add the vanilla, oil, and rum, if using, and whisk again
  • In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt
  • Pour the flour mixture into the yogurt mixture, and whisk until just combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean
  • Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let stand for 10 minutes.
  • Run a knife around the pan to loosen. If you’re using the springform pan, unclasp the sides. Otherwise, flip the cake onto a plate and flip it back on the rack. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

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Salad with salmon & udon noodlesMy slightly-obsessional adherence to my list of goals continues. Let’s see for how long I can carry this on, taking into account that my pregnancy is making me more and more heavy & immobile.

I have to say that yesterday’s lunch (part of goal 154, cooking main dishes from various food blogs) was wonderful. Not too heavy, not too calorific, quite tasty, and very easy to make. I got the idea from Lizzie at Hollow Legs, who made a salmon & udon noodle salad. I made some slight changes, but the recipe is more or less the same as Lizzie’s. So this makes it part of goal 154, cooking from other people’s blogs.

Salmon and Udon Noodle Salad (for one or two)
Ingredients:
  • 2 salmon fillets
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1″ ginger, grated
  • 1 red chilli, sliced finely I used a bit of red-hot cayenne pepper which worked very well
  • 1 tbsp coriander and 1 of mint, chopped
  • 2 tbsps fish sauce
  • 2 tsps sugar

Method:

  • Combine the above ingredients and coat the salmon fillets in them
  • Leave to marinate for 30 mins
  • Place the salmon fillets including the marinade in a foil pouch and bake in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes, or until just done
  • Leave to cool
  • Assemble a salad with whatever veg you have – I had mixed leaves (Lizzie also suggests mushrooms, butter beans, spring onion and cherry tomatoes)
  • Cook some udon noodles and run them under a bit of water to refresh (not too much water or they’ll become soggy)
  • Toss in soy sauce and lay over the veg mixture (I omitted the soy sauce because I’m trying to avoid eating too much salt since I’m pregnant. It was still delicious and fresh-tasting)
  • Flake the salmon on top, and combine it all with the juices from the foil pouch. Or just serve the slightly-warm-still salmon with the salad, and the noodles on the side.

Makes for a lovely, easy lunch for a warm day in May.

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Pea & lettuce saladThe weather is still pleasurably warm- although, I have to say, a bit too warm at night for someone as heavily pregnant as I am!- but at least there’s a lovely cool crisp breeze throughout the day.

I’m struggling on with my 202 tasks. Although ‘struggling’ is a bit of an exaggeration, I suppose. I’ve worked a bit on goal 189 over the weekend, which involves creating a food schedule. The idea is to eat in a fairly balanced way throughout the week: not too much meat, fish and vegeratian dishes at least once a week, a soup or a pulse dish once a week, and pasta or risotto just the once. Oh, and there’s also a much needed ‘free’ day, just because I don’t want to allow my obsessionality to overtake me. But also because I want there to be a chance for this plan to actually work!

Part of the weekly meal-plan idea is to try and include more vegetables and salads with our meals. So yesterday I looked through my saved blog recipes and chose to make a simple pea and lettuce salad, inspired by Meeta’s post in What’s for lunch honey. This is my first food-related post in this blog (how exciting!), and it’s of course a very simple recipe. But it hit the spot for such a warm spring Sunday. I took it with me to our friends’ house, and we spent a lovely lazy afternoon in the garden, eating teriyaki beef, served with rice and various salads (including mine). I fiddled with the recipe a bit, because I didn’t want the salad dressing to be too heavy (originally it calls for garlic and onion mixed in with the sour cream). I also added a bit of lemon, because it seemed too ‘mustardy’ to me… and finally, I added lots more salad leaves, not just lettuce, just because I wanted a bigger, heartier salad.

Pea and lettuce salad

Ingredients:
1 garlic clove – mashed (I ommited this)

1 medium sized onion – finely chopped (also ommited!)

200g sour cream (I used light sour cream, which works just as well)

3 tablespoons dijon mustard (this was slightly too much, in my opinion)

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

salt and pepper

100g peas

2 romain lettuce hearts – washed and cut into bite size pieces

Other salad leaves (as many as you want, and any type you prefer)

Method:
Prepare the salad dressing first. In a mixing bowl add the garlic and onions (if using) with the sour cream, mustard and vinegar. Whisk well until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.

Steam the peas for 2-3 minutes. Run under cold water so that they keep their wonderful green color. In a salad bowl mix the peas and the lettuce together and pour the dressing over this.

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