Roast Lamb with Bread Crust and Pesto


I’ve made this dish for the birthday of my elder daughter in March. We’ve hosted the close family (15 people) and my goal was to create a special meat dish. So, my husband was sent to our butcher and was asked to bring home lamb meat.

The recipe was influenced by this idea of Tuscan-style Lamb Bread. The following yields approximately 8 portions…

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Ingredients:

1 read lamb leg, approximately 2.5-3 kilograms of weight

Pesto:
1/2 bunch of parsley
1/3 bunch of cilantro
1/3 bunch of mint
2 sprigs of rosemary
5 garlic cloves
3 rosemary sprigs
Salt
Chili (the amount depends on one’s taste)
Juice of 1/3 lemon
1/2 glass olive oil
1/3 glass of pine nuts

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Lemon Curd Macarons / Luxemburgerli


I know that there are lots of Macaron (or Luxemburgerli) recipes all around (and, therefore, it is far from being original to make one), but my niece simply informed me that we were baking Macarons together, leaving me with very little choice.

The technique we used was influenced by this blog (and originally developed by Alain Ducasse). Below you can find our variant with full comments. Although this requires a lot of work, the result is very tasty making it all worthwhile…

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Ingredients:

For the Macarons:
110 gr. almond flour
225 gr. sugar powder
125 gr. aged egg whites
50 gr. sugar
*3 drops of yellow food colorant

For the Lemon Curd:

4 egg yolks
100 gr. sugar
Zest from 1 lemon
70 ml. lemon juice (roughly, a joice of 1.5 average lemons)
Pinch of salt
70 gr. butter cut into small cubes
3 gr. gelatin (sheet)

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Mushrooms Marinated in Balsamic Vingear


The idea for this dish was born when I was looking for a quick garnish for a main meat dish. I had some mushrooms and a bottle of balsamic vinegar. This dish is delicious and very simple to make – 5 minutes of work and 2 hours of “marinating” in the refrigerator.

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Ingredients:

500 gr. fresh champignon mushrooms
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
30 ml. mustard oil
1/4 olive oil
1-2 garlic cloves
A pinch of salt

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Russian Schweinebraten Baked with Dough Crust


Schweinebraten is a German (or Austrian) pork roast dish. The Russian version is originally called Буженина (Buzhenina) and is somewhat different.

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In my family, we made Buzhenina as boiled pork and only recently I started roasting it in foil wrapping or in bag. The idea of baking meat inside a dough wrapping has interested me a lot, and I’ve decided to try it for myself. The result has exceeded all expectations – soft and tender meat, that could be cut to very thing and light pieces. We’ve prepared around 1 kilogram of meat, and my family has consumed it in less than a day.

Ingredients:

1 kilogram of pork neck

1 tbsp (with some extra) of mustart
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 glass olive oil
2 garlic cloves (“squashed” and cut into small cubes)
2 tbsp of grape jam
A couple of drops of spicy oil (*)
Salt, Pepper

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Home Made Cured Meat


I have always been under an impression that making a decent cured meat at home without having underground cellars or owning some kind of special equipment was impossible. Therefore, every time we visit Italy for vacation, we buy some (as much as the air luggage could care) pieces of cured meat and “prolong the taste of the vacation” for a few weeks at home. And then begins the long waiting period – until the next vacation. When I found this idea in a culinary magazine, I simply had to try it to see the results for myself. To make a long story short – the result is amazing. My guests couldn’t believe that this was home-made and not bought at some deli. And the fun part – the toughest thing here is to find enough space in the refrigerator…. So, anybody up for some cured meat? 🙂

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Ingredients:

1 kg meat (*)
40 gr. sea salt
30 gr. sugar
4 gr. ground coffee
10 gr. black pepper, coarsely ground
10 gr. ground juniper berries (**)
5-6 bay leaves

* It is recommended to use a long piece of topside beef

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Tbit – Iraqi Cholent


According to religious laws of Judaism, Saturday is a day of complete rest. This is a day when an observant person should spend time with his/her family (and, naturally, pray in the temple). No work is allowed whatsoever. One could only imagine the challenges such a life style may impose on a housewife that needs to feed the family. That’s why Friday morning is the busiest day in a traditional Jewish family’ kitchen. Food needs to be prepared for the whole weekend and the deadline is very clear.

To make things even more complicated, lighting a fire is considered a “work” from the traditional perspective (to understand this one needs to think of a historical angle, when people had to chop wood and bring it into the house in order to start a fire for cooking). Since eating “cold cuts” only on Saturday is not the best possible idea (to say the least), a tradition of “slow cooking” on a low heat that remains open throughout the whole day (this way the work required to start it takes place before Saturday, and there is no dedicated work during Saturday to maintain it). The variety of dishes prepared this way is huge, as different Jewish communities have taken local cuisine and adjusted it to their constraints, but all of them have the same goal – provide a warm meal for observant families on Saturday.

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The idea for this recipe has appeared in a magazine review of traditional recipes by various Jewish communities. It comes from Iraq. It’s a chicken roasted with rice in the oven all night long. When I first read about it, the whole story sounded a bit surreal, since usually, chicken is roasted for about an hour, and rice is cooked after 20 minutes. The result is surprisingly delicious, and has this “home cooking” atmosphere. All of the ingredients are simple and available.

Ingredients:

Whole chicken (ask your butcher to remove the skeleton, but leave the chicken whole)
2 glasses of long rice (basmati, persian or khimshali)
4 tomatoes, grated with a fine grater
1 large onion, grated as well
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1.5 tbsp. of baharat (*) spices mixture
1 tsp. dried mint
Salt, Pepper
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 glasses of chicken stock or water

* Baharat is a mixture that can contain: cloves, cinnamon, English pepper, black pepper, nutmeg, cardamom and coriander seeds. In Iraqi version, cumin is added as well.

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