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Beef Stroganov


They say that at the end of the 19th century, Alexander Stroganov, an aristocrat from a well established old Russian family, gave his name to this well-known Russia dish of beef and onions. The recipe is written in hundreds of cookbooks and one of these is “The Practical Encyclopedia of Eastern European Cooking” from 1999, found in London 6 years ago and of course tried once. I decided to write this recipe because this is the original, not the liver Stroganoff I wrote some weeks ago, which is just a version. A very tasty one but not the original. Plus, I thought of lingering in Russia for a bit. It is a wonderful country that my parents visited 22 years ago and spend the Romanian Revolution in Moscow. I remember how difficult it was for them to leave Romania as tourists, even for a communist country. But they succeeded after weeks of antechamber and left just before the Revolution started. When they returned, Ceausescu was no more but they saw Russia and they were really impressed. That is why I would love to see it myself, all of it, if possible. And there was another thing that I loved about Russia: the butter. My parents told me that there was butter with every meal. And this is like paradise to me. I loved butter since I was in my mother’s womb and I suffered I couldn’t have it as often as I would have liked it. In those times, there was hardly any butter on the market and I would buy it with a ticket…half of pack a months per person. This is a very strong reason to love Russia and want to visit it, for the buuter of it. :)) I would have butter 3 times a day! Isn’t it fantastic? 😉

Now that I have established my reasons of going there, let’s see how the Russian aristocrats of the 19th-20th century ate.

Beef Stroganov

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 450 g (1 lb) fillet or rump steak, trimmed
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) sunflower oil
  • 25 g (1 oz/ 2 tbsp) unsalted butter (80-82% fat)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) plain flour
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) tomato purée
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) Dijon mustard (or just plain mustard if you don’t have Dijon)
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) lemon juice (squeeze a lemon, do not cheat with that awful lemon juice in a bottle)
  • 150 ml (1/4 pint/ 2/3 cup) soured cream
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh herbs, to garnish

Method:

  • Place the steak between 2 oiled sheets of clear film or in a plastic bag. Gently beat with a rolling pin to flatten and tenderize the meat. Cut it into thin strips about 5 cm, 2 in long.
  • Heat the remaining oil and half the butter in a frying pan and fry the beef over a high heat for 2 minutes, or until browned. Remove the strips of beef from the pan with a slotted spoon, leaving any juices behind.
  • Melt the remaining butter in the pan and gently fry the onion for 10 minutes, until soft.
  • Sprinkle over the flour, and stir it in, followed by the tomato purée, Dijon mustard, lemon juice and soured cream. Return the beef to the pan and stir until the sauce is bubbling.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper, and then serve immediately, garnished with fresh herbs, with deep-fried potato chips.

Bon appetite!

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Mama Rusia


Daca tot am ajuns in Rusia cu descoperirea culinara, eu mai zabovesc putintel pe aici. E o tara superba pe care mi-as dori din tot sufletul sa o vizitez. Are ceva aparte, ca de altfel toate tarile si culturile lumii dar o simt mai calda. Poate si pentru ca parintii mei au vizitat-o acum 21 de ani, cand i-a prins Revolutia in Moscova si au venit incantati de acolo. Cat de greu au reusit sa iasa din Romania pe vremea lui Ceausescu, cu aprobari si anticamere, asta nu mai conteaza. Conteaza ca au facut una din cele mai frumoase excursii ale lor si asta nu se uita niciodata. Ce mi-a atras mie in special atentia din ce mi-au povestit: faptul ca rusii servesc unt de trei ori pe zi. Daca asta nu raiul pe pamant pentru mine, atunci ce e? Ok, ok, ar mai fi si altele dar pasiunea mea pentru unt e dinainte sa ma nasc. Pentru ca mama numai unt putea manca la sarcina. Altceva nu primeam. Ca sa vezi ce mofturoasa am fost, unborn yet. ;))

Plus orasele, oamenii, bisericile, metroul din Moscova, teatrul de balet, etc. Mai multe stiu despre Europa Vestica si civilizatia occidentala pentru ca a stiut sa se faca mai cunoscuta dar cu cat un loc e mai necunoscut, cu atat incantarea e mai mare de ceea ce descoperi. Iar Rusia este un taram fascinant. Raman si azi pe aici cu o reteta celebra pe care am facut-o tot o data in viata, la Londra, reteta care are legatura cu reteta precendenta, care e de fapt o variatie a acesteia: vita Stroganov. Cartea de unde am luat-o se numeste “The practical Encyclopedia of Eastern European Cooking” din 1999.

Povestea acestei retete spune ca la sfarsitul  secolului al XIX-lea, baronul Alexander Stroganov a dat numele sau acestui fel de mancare cu vita si ceapa si smantana si a fost unul din felurile principale cu care isi delecta oaspetii. Multumita lui Wikipedia, am aflat ca familia Stroganov a fost de origine umila dar si-a castigat statutul aristocratic, de-a lungul secolelor, prin afacerile reusite pe care le-a facut. A construit biserci, a finantat campanii militare, a detinut functii importante in timpul tarilor, a infiintat institute si palatul familiei, acum parte a Muzeului Rus de Stat, este unul dintre locurile care trebuie vizitate in Sankt Petersburg. Eu l-am trecut deja pe lista.

Dupa atata istorie, mi s-a facut foame. Iata cum se manca acum cateva secole in Rusia la mesele aristocratilor:

Vita Stroganov

4 portii

Ingrediente:

  • 450 g muschi  sau pulpa de vita
  • 15 ml (1 lingura) ulei
  • 25 g (2 linguri) unt nesarat (80-82% grasime)
  • 1 ceapa, feliata
  • 18 ml (1 lingura) faina
  • 5 ml (1 lingurita) piure rosii (sau sos de rosii)
  • 5 ml (1 lingurita) mustar Dijon (daca nu ai, e in regula, foloseste mustar obisnuit, dar ii schimba putin gustul)
  • 5 ml (1 lingurita) suc de lamaie (nu gata facut in sticla, ia o lamaie si stoarce-o)
  • 150 ml (2/3 masura) smantana grasa
  • sare
  • piper negru proaspat macinat
  • patrunjel pentru decorat

Preparare:

  • Aseaza bucata de carne intre doua bucati de folie, unse cu ulei. Bate usor cu sucitorul ca sa inmoi carnea si apoi tai-o in fasii subtiri de cca 5 cm lungime.
  • Incalzeste restul de ulei si jumatate din unt intr-o tigaie mare si mai inalta si prajeste carnea la foc mare cca 2 minute sau pana se coloreaza toata. Scoate-o din tigaie, avand grija sa o strecori bine de ulei.
  • Adauga si restul de unt in tigaie si prajeste ceapa la foc mic, cca 10 minute, pana se inmoaie.
  • Adauga apoi faina, amestecand continuu, apoi piure-ul de rosii, mustarul, sucul de lamaie si smantana. La final adauga si vita si lasa sa dea in clocot. Acum e momentul sa adaugi sarea si piperul.
  • Serveste imediat, cu cartofi prajiti. Pentru un aspect frumos, decoreaza cu cateva frunze de patrunjel.

Pofta buna!

In a hurry?


If you are in a hurry but still want to impress someone special or your friends, here is a recipe that it is both delicious and easy to make: liver Stroganoff. The book I found the recipe in, is titled how else but “Cooking in a Hurry” by Anne Ager, published in 1980. In those times I guess it was still kind of boring to stay in the kitchen and just cook, one wanted to live her/his life too. In Romania it was a way of life cooking not for your family but organising festive meals for the entire clan. I speak for myself because I have seen my mom many times doing that during a year and my sister and I had to help too. It was fun for us but if I put myself in her shoes I guess it was not that fun. I know I wouldn’t do that but occasionally. Well, if my mom had known this recipes she would’ve got away with it easily. Joking. 🙂

Though I made this recipe just once, a few years ago, I loved it and I thought to share it with you. So here it is.

Liver Stroganoff

Preparation and cooking time : 25 min

Ingredients:

  • 750 g (1 1/2 lb) calf’s or lamb’s liver, cut into strips, 5 mm (1/4 inch) thick
  • seasoned flour
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 50 g (2 oz) butter (80-82% fat please)
  • 100 g (4 oz) button mushrooms, sliced
  • 6X15 ml spoons (tbsp) dry sherry (if you don’t have sherry, don’t worry now, try to make sure you have for some time in the future, there are plenty of recipes with sherry)
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 150 ml (1/4 pint) soured cream

Method:

  • Dust the strips of liver in seasoned flour, then shake off any surplus flour.
  • Fry the onion gently in the butter for 2 minutes in a shallow frying pan.
  • Add the liver and continue frying, stirring occasionally, until the liver begins to colour.
  • Add the mushrooms and fry for a further 3 minutes. Add the sherry, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. And close the kitchen window so you take pity on your neighbours.
  • Stir in the soured cream and heat through carefully, without boiling.
  • Serve with boiled noodles and a salad. Do not forget to toss the noodles in butter and add some pepper, if you like.

Bon appetite!

Ficati de mancat


De la Imperiul Otoman la alt imperiu azi. Imperiul Rus. Si o reteta celebra dar cu alta carne decat cea de vita: ficat. Sursa de inspiratie a fost o poza foarte colorata si apetisanta din cartea lui Anne Ager “Cooking in a Hurry” din 1980. Veche si cartea dar ideea e haioasa. Cui nu-i place sa termine rapid de gatit ca doar nu ar vrea sa stea ore intregi in bucatarie? Mai ales cand ii este foame sau mai sunt si altii care asteapta mancare. In mod ideal ar trebui doar sa bati din palme si sa apara felul la care te-ai gandit. Day dreaming? Wake up, please. Acum se potriveste cumva si o vorba pe care o am pe un magnet de frigider: I love you, I need you, I like you, I vrea tu. Dap, ai vrea tu! :))

Du-te in bucatarie si transpira putin muncind la o reteta de-li-cioa-sa. Nu o sa iti para rau si cine va manca alaturi de tine va avea un stomac fericit. Si zambitor. Si tu la fel. Spor la treaba!

Ficat Stroganoff

Preparare si gatit: 25 minute

Ingrediente:

  • 750 g ficat miel sau vitel, taiat fasii de cca 5 mm grosime
  • faina
  • 1 ceapa medie, taiata fin
  • 50 g unt (gras, cat mai gras)
  • 100 g ciuperci feliate (de preferinta ciuperci albe, mici si rotunde sau Champignon)
  • 6 linguri sherry sec (nu-i bai daca nu ai, nu pui, dar pe viitor daca poti, cumpara un sherry ca sa il folosesti la gatit )
  • sare
  • piper negru
  • 150 ml smantana (grasa, grasa – nu de alta dar am citit recent ceea ce stiam cu totii, ca grasimea naturala e grasime buna si oricum cu sport si portii mici o poti elimina)

Preparare:

  • Trece fasiile de ficat prin faina asezonata cu sare si piper si scutura-le bine de orice surplus.
  • Prajeste ceapa la foc mic in unt cca 2 minute, intr-o tigaie mai adanca. Adauga ficatul si lasa-l sa se rumeneasca incet, intorcandu-l pe toate partile, tot la foc mic.
  • Adauga ciupercile si lasa totul cca 3 minute.
  • Adauga sherry, sare si piper, acopera si lasa sa se patrunda totul cca 5 minute.
  • Adauga apoi smantana si las-o sa se incalzeasca dar fara sa o fierbi. Acum e gata mancarea
  • Serveste-o cu salata si taitei fierti. Dupa ce ii strecori de apa, pune-le cateva bucatele de unt, in functie de cantitatea fiarta si putina sare. Sunt deliciosi asa.

Pofta buna!

Shepherd’s Pie


Everybody knows about Shepherd’s Pie. I hope. 😉 I really like this dish and when I have first eaten it, I didn’t know what to expect. I discovered a very tasty and homey food. It makes me smile just talking about it. That is why I have made it several times and I would do it again, on a freezing winter day. It goes very well with boiled vegetables and a red wine. And a warm heart. 🙂

Shepherd’s Pie

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 115 g (4 oz) mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 500 g (1 1/4 lb) lean chuck steak, minced (ground)
  • 150 ml (1/4 pt) red wine
  • 150 ml (1/4 pt) beef stock (if you don’t want to use wine, just put 300 ml of beef stock  or water)
  • bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2-3 dashes Tabasco sauce
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée (paste)
  • 675 g (1 1/2 lb) potatoes, boiled
  • 25 g (1 oz) butter
  • 3 tbsp hot milk
  • 5 medium tomatoes, sliced
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
  • salt
  • pepper

Method:

  • Heat the oil in a saucepan or big pan, add the onion, carrot,mushrooms  and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. Stir the beef into the pan and cook, stirring to break up the lumps, until lightly browned.
  • Blend a few spoonfuls of the stock or water with the flour, then stir this mixture into the pan. Stir in the remaining stock or water and wine, and bring to a simmer, stirring. Add the bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, tomato purée (paste), the cover and cook very gently for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Uncover the pan towards the end of cooking to allow any excess water to evaporate, if necessary.
  • Preheat the oven to 190 °C, 375 °F, Gas Mark 5.
  • Put the potatoes in a pan with water, to boil, until very tender. Drain then mash with the butter, milk and seasoning.
  • Add the tarragon and seasoning to the mince in the pan, then pour into a pie dish or baking dish.Top with a layer of sliced tomatoes, then an even layer of potato. Mark the top with the prongs of a fork.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes, until golden brown.

Bon appetite!

Ceva traditional


Stiu ca despre bucataria englezeasca nu prea poti zice multe. Parerea mea, dupa ce am stat o vreme pe acolo si descoperind arome, gusturi, ingrediente si retete noi, este ca mancarea lor e foarte buna si au o si traditie culiniara. Nu te gandi la fish and chips, ca asta nu caracterizeaza o natie. Englezii au o bucatarie gustoasa, calda, cu multe legume. Reteta asta, de exemplu, imi aduce aminte de mancarea gatita de acasa. Este foarte buna si am decis sa o scriu pentru ca merita. Am combinat doua retete, culese, una dintr-o carte “Traditional British Cooking” 1998 si cealalta din Tesco Magazine. Vorbesc acum de celebra placinta a pastorului. Nu este o placinta propriu-zis dar este delicioasa. Chiar nu ma asteptam sa imi placa asa mult.

Necesita ceva munca, pentru ca trebuie sa prepari o data carnea, apoi piure-ul dar se merita. Si la cat iese, mananci a doua zi si scapi de gatit. Eu zic ca se merita. Daca ai insa musafiri, nu te mai gandi ca scapi, dar tot merita.

Placinta pastorului

4 – 6 portii

Ingrediente:

  • 2 linguri ulei
  • 1 ceapa, tocata marunt
  • 1 morcov, tocat marunt
  • 2 capatani de usturoi, tocate marunt
  • 115 g ciuperci, tocate
  • 500 g carne de vita, tocata (daca ai posibilitatea, cumpara bucata intreaga si roaga la magazin sa ti-o toace sau daca ai robot acasa, fa-o singur)
  • 150 ml vin rosu
  • 150 ml supa de vita (daca nu vrei vin, nu e obligatoriu, si atunci foloseste 300 ml de supa de vita sau apa)
  • 1 frunza dafin
  • 1 lingura faina
  • 1 lingura sos Worcestershire
  • 2-3 picaturi sos Tabasco (optional)
  • 1 lingura piure de rosii
  • sare
  • piper
  • 675 g cartofi
  • 5 rosii medii , feliate (optional)
  • 25 g unt
  • 45 ml lapte fierbinte
  • 1 lingura tarhon proaspat tocat (daca nu ai, foloseste tarhon uscat, dar o lingurita; de obicei mirodeniile uscate sunt mai concentrate si nu e nevoie sa pui aceeasi cantitate ca cele proaspete)

Preparare:

  • Incalzeste uleiul intr-o tigaie adanca si mare. Adauga ceapa, morcovul, ciupercile si usturoiul si amesteca din cand in cand pana devin aurii. Adauga apoi carnea tocata, amestecand bine pana se prajeste.
  • Intr-un bol amesteca faina cu cateva linguri de supa de vita, adaug-o in carne si pune si restul de supa si vin, amestecand continuu. Adauga foaia de dafin, sosul Worcestershire, sosul Tabasco, piure-ul de rosii, acopera si lasa la foc mic o ora, amestecand din cand in cand. Lasa fara capac la final, daca e cazul, sa se evapore si restul de apa.
  • Incalzeste cuptorul la 190°C, 375°F, nr.  5 la cuptorul cu gaz.
  • Fierbe cartofii bine apoi strecoara-i si fa-i piuree cu unt, lapte, sare si piper.
  • Adauga la carnea din tigaie tarhonul proaspat tocat, sarea si piperul, amesteca si rastoarna compozitia intr-un vas yena sau de ceramica, intins. Pune pe toata suprafata feliile de rosii, apoi piure-ul, joaca-te putin cu furculita ca sa ii faci un model deasupra si la cuptor cu vasul. Coace-l cca 25 de minute, pana se face auriu deasupra si serveste. Eu vad mancarea asta calda foarte potrivita pentru anotimpul rece, miroase imbietor si as servi-o cu legume fierte, de orice fel. Cele care merg bine, dupa parerea mea, sunt varza de Bruxelles si brocoli. Dar depinde de gusturi acum.

Pofta buna!