My daughter’s kindergarten has held a “Family Day” activity, and our assignment was to prepare a vegetables plate. I thought of the below serving idea, using a braided basket.
Naturally, the most interesting feature of this plate is the idea to put a dip inside the cabbage. “Scraping” the cabbage into this shape could be done using a large spoon with sharp edges. I used this Ice Cream Scoop (the brand doesn’t really matter, the form does). The dip itself, naturally, could be whatever suits your taste.
Just an idea…
This is my pumpkin-orange spicy-flavored XMAS-tree dessert. The idea to make a dessert shaped like an XMAS tree was raised in the 3rd round of “Chefs Battle Winter” competition. As there were no limitations whatsoever defining the ingredients, I first tried to think of the final image of my tree. Simple googling brought up the idea of a tree-over-cupcake/muffin As I don’t like butter-made frosting, both for amount of calories and for flat flavor, I decided to use whipped cream instead – it’s much easier to work with, and you can give it almost any twist you like. And to make it even simpler – you don’t really have to make the cone by yourself as I did. Just tale ready-to-use ice-cream cones and fill them either with my pumpkin batter, or your favorite English cake batter, and then bake. The result would do the job as well.
So, let’s start working. Btw, don’t be afraid of the length of the recepie – I wanted it to be as details as possible. It’s really quite easy to make. Would you believe me if I said that I did the decoration of the tree for the first time in my life?
My first “real” cake. I thought about it all week, had endless debates with my sister regarding combination of flavors, memorized a chapter from a culinary bible on the compatibility of pistachios with other flavors… In the end, that’s what I got – Paris-Brest with Pistachio Cream, Banana Caramel and Cardamon/Pistachio Praline.
A little bit of history: this cake is named after a Paris – Brest – Paris long-distance bicycle racing event. Today this is officially the oldest bicycle event that still takes place.
Below ingredients yield 2 cakes 22-centimeters in diameter each, I took the cake base idea from Maria Selyanina.
Choux Pastry Ring:
100 g water
150 gr. milk
5 g salt
5 g of sugar
100 g butter
150 g flour
5 eggs (230 gr.)
50 gr. chopped pistachios
After a long busy period, here’s the latest of my creative cooking. This French apple tart was prepared for the “Chefs Battle Winter” competition. I’ve finished baking it in the evening, and took the below pictures the morning after. The credit for this recipe belongs to Beth Le Manach.
The recipe and all the ingredients are targeted for a round baking form 24 centimeters in diameter.
- 150 grams of flour
- 100 grams of cold butter
- 10 grams of sugar powder
- A pinch of salt
- 1 egg yolk
- 30 ml water
The inspiration for making this dish (as always) is that we recently visited our favorite fisherman store not far from Jaffa port. They have huge variety of fresh fish and seafood. The mussels were so fresh, that even after spending a couple of days in a refrigerator they were still in a top shape and almost all “opened up” when being cooked.
It is absolutely crucial to use fresh seafood for this risotto. Don’t even bother trying this with frozen or pre-cooked ones.
(For 6-7 portions)
A pinch of Saffron “threads”
1.5 liter of fish stock
300 ml. of dry white wine
0.5 kg. shripms
1 kg. mussels
6 small calamari
75 gr. butter
1 onion finely chopped
500 gr. of large round risotto rice
Parsley for serving
The season for mango is almost over. I saw my favorite cultivar, called Maya at the market, and took some fruits without even thinking what to do with them. I am not sure if everywhere in the world people actually distinguish between various Mango cultivars, but in our country we have, at least, 4-5 clearly distinguishable cultivars of Mango available during the season. The fruits of this specific cultivar are relatively small (like a large pear), with a very thin skin and very fruity, sweet and juicy pulp. The uniqueness of this cultivar is that the pulp isn’t fibrous like in many others, therefore making it very suitable for salads and desserts.
We bought some steaks today and I was looking for a light side-dish. Mangoes came very handy….
1 medium-sized cucumber
1 small chili pepper (6-7 centimeters-long)
Cilantro and Mint – 2 table spoons of chopped leaves of each
1 branch of Basil
1 tbsp. of vegetable oil, odorless
1/2 tsp. of balsamic vinegar
Juice of half a lemon, or, even better, lime
I saw the idea a long time ago in some magazine, and then the Broccoli season has “arrived” and I’ve remembered it and made it. The dish is so successful, that I ended up repeating it multiple times since.
1 flower head of broccoli
1/4 glass bread crumbs (I use the “golden” ones, usually used for schnitzels)
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp. of grated hard cheese, preferably Parmigiano or Grana Padano, but could also be Kashkaval or Pecorino
1 tsp. sesame seeds
1 tbsp. of olive oil
I have tasted my first Caponata in a nice traditional restaurant in Catania (Sicily). The dish was so good, I ended up literally licking the cup that was used to serve it and asking for some more. As for the restaurant, named I Crociferi (the Crusaders), it was something special. Lets set aside the fact that the food was very good, and the selection of fresh fish and sea food was absolutely out of this world (which is pretty normal for Sicily), the place itself was memorable. Imagine being sent back in time for, say, 40 years or so… Large hall (30-40 tables) with tall arches separating it to a number of areas. The tables, made of dark wood, were covered with flawlessly white cloth. A memorable experience…..
Caponata is a widely prepared salad in Sicily, heavily based on eggplants. We’ve tried many versions of it and all other ingredients could vary (sometimes it would have some local flavors, depending on the are of Sicily you are in). Here’s what I managed to taste in the majority of them: tomatoes (of course), tomato paste, olives (green or black or both), capers, red pepper, chili pepper, vinegar (wine vinegar). Almost in every traditional Sicilian restaurant, you’d get a version of this salad with local bread.
When preparing mine, I was trying to emulate the most memorable one – the one from I Crociferi. It definitely isn’t identical, but quite similar and, regardless to authenticity, very tasty. Every time I am making this dish, I start remembering the vacation and the restaurant, so for me, its always a double pleasure
(For half-a-liter of salad)
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 medium-sized eggplants
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp of small capers (salted)
7-8 green olives
2 tsp. tomato paste
50 ml. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
How do you make a chicken liver pâté? Probably, you fry the onions until golden-brown, then cook (or fry) liver meat and then turn it all into a puree. Right? Anyway, that’s what I used to do, and it worked for me for some time. There’s nothing wrong with this process, but it is a bit time-demanding and requires a lot of attention. Recently I’ve seen another recipe, in which the pâté ”practically” prepares it self, and it all takes only 10 minutes. The result is simply fabulous – its a great appetizer and you’ll get tons of compliments from your guests….
- 500 grams of fresh Chicken liver
- 2-3 glasses of chicken broth
- 250 grams of lard (melted chicken fat, or even butter)
- Salt, pepper
- 50 grams pistachios
This recipe qualifies as gluten-free, its very easy to make and serve as a perfect snack.
For 8 pancakes:
400 grams corn seeds (fresh, defrosted or canned)
3 tbsp. rice flour (can be substituted by a “regular” flour)
1 tbsp. yellow curry paste
1 egg *
1 medium sized red onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp Fish Souce (Nam Pla) or Soy Sauce
1/2 glass of finely-chopped cilantro (coriander) leaves
Corn Flour (optional)