Today’s recipe is for a dish I remember since I was about 4 years old. Something very similar was an all times favorite of all the school and kindergarden kitchens in ex-USSR – yeah, I happened to be born in Moldova, one of the republics. This is one of those things you are either crazy about, or consider it your worst culinary nightmare, and I admit, I belong to the former. Yesterday I got 2 kg of fresh ricotta from my local deli – the DeliHub in St Ives, NSW (big shoutout to these guys – there’s no week I am not there!), hence this old times relic was brought back to life by my wife and here we go!
It’s been a long while, as I’ve been busy with my other projects, which I will be delighted to share with you quite soon. My wood workshop has been made fully operational and I am trying my luck as a hobbyist woodworker.
However, my barbie was not given any days off! So here is a quick and very easy to make pork fillet roll, grilled, needless to mention. And with some extra bacon reinforcement it really is a treat!
Grilling or smoking for me is by far the most preferred way to cook fish. There’s something utterly primal in the combination of fish and fire, since, mind you, this is just the way our great great ancestors used to cook it, right after pulling the fish out of the waters… The sea was the taste, the smoke was the spice and the fire was the soul.
Salmon is one of the most noble creatures of the sea and it deserves the noble and most traditional treatment – open fire!
Despite its simplicity, this dish has a history of thousands of years. Pilaf, or palov, osh-palov, biryani, pulão… It has known countless variations in India, Balkan, Caucasian, central and south Asian countries, and it’s basis is rice, cooked in a seasoned broth. The usual meat of choice is lamb, but here’s a version of the same dish, but with chicken.
Last two weeks the weather was, how shall I put this, not smoke friendly. So I pulled out my dutch oven, or, to be precise, a bigger brother of a wok, made of cast iron, which can be used on a gas stove top, and… well, there was a cubed beef, potatoes, carrots, onions…. so here we go – braised beef with potatoes, the way my granny used to make it 30 years ago.
It is quite an interesting fact that marinated mushrooms are most known as classic Russian dish, regardless of the fact many world kitchens make an extensive use of this wonderful ingredient. Marinated mushrooms – be it champignons or any other – were mostly considered either as pickles or, more popular, as the bite following a shot of an ice chilled vodka. So, as a tribute to this wonderful dish, here’s my version of it – quick, easy and very tasty!
When I posted this photo on my Facebook page I wrote “burgers and kabobs”. However, since I got quite a few complaints from my Greek speaking friends (and working in a company with a big branch in Cyprus, I have a bunch of those 🙂 ), I decided to give this post a Greek spirit. So, today we are grilling mpiftekia – Greek burgers, and souvlaki – chicken thigh fillet skewers. And yeah, you’ll get extra points if you’re able to actually pronounce those names 🙂 🙂 🙂
Those of you who follow my posts probably remember my origins, roots, if you like, are from Eastern Europe. Generally speaking, Russian, I would say, but being more specific, I was born in Bessarabia, a relatively small piece of land in between Moldova, Ukraine and the Black Sea. Throughout its whole history Bessarabia was a very desired trophy – it’s been conquered by Turks, Romanians, Russians and a handful of others who ruled the land for shorter periods of time… Such a mixture of cultures created a very interesting culinary fusion as well, and Bessarabia’ cooking is heavily influenced by that of the conquerors – Turkey and Romania mainly, but also Russia and Ukraine. So, today I want to show you my take on a traditional Romanian “mititei” – grilled ground meat rolls, as I remember them from my childhood.
So, the chicken breasts… One of the cheapest cuts you can get, and one might think, quite simple to cook. But here’s the catch – this cut is one of the leanest ones as well, so, to keep it succulent and tender, you will find all kinds of marinating, brining and wrapping techniques suggested in the recipes. No, I am not saying these methods won’t work… On a contrary, they will, and you’ll most probably love the results, but… what if I told you there’s a way to grill an ultimately juicy and tender chicken breast completely fuss-free and ridiculously simple? Do I have your attention now? Good! Let’s go!
Couple of weeks ago, during the “quarterly visit” to Costco, we ran into a big books stand loaded with cook books. I wasn’t planning on any additions to my culinary library, but my wife picked out of a huge pile a book with Christmas recipes. Since we’re new to Australia, I thought it’d be a great excourse into Australian traditional Christmas delights, and I was most definitely not mistaken. So, the first recipe we (ok, ok, my wife 🙂 ) picked was this luscious, totally crazy and addictive dark chocolate and sherry-cherry cake. Chocolate junkie like me, I was in heaven!!!