Tag Archives: walnut

Some Like It Cold


Too much heat will kill you. It is true with this weather. I feel like I melt in the hot air. I can not breath, I sweat and I want to sleep. I don’t even want to eat too much. The problem is that I have too. What do I want to eat? Watermelon, everyday, all day long. Yogurt, plain and fat. Fruits in season. Sometimes a barbecue. And then again watermelon. And yogurt. Speaking about yogurt I remembered that some years ago, I discovered an easy and fresh recipe with yogurt, just perfect for a hot summer day. I found the recipe in the book “The Practical Encyclopedia of East European Cooking”, a book that provided and will give other recipes here.

I am talking now about a Bulgarian soup, also known by the name Tarator and I am sure that for days like these, when to be honest, I hate to stay in the kitchen and get hot by the oven, it is just one of the best ways to fill my stomach.

Cold Cucumber and Yogurt Soup/ Tarator

Serves 5-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 cucumber
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2,5 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
  • 75 g (3 oz, 3/4 cup) walnut pieces
  • 40 g (1 1/2 oz) day-old bread, torn into pieces
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) walnut or sunflower oil
  • 400 ml (14 fl oz, 1 2/3) cups cow’s or sheep’s yogurt (my favourite one is Total Greek yogurt, the classic one)
  • 120 ml (4 fl oz, 1/2) cup cold water or chilled still mineral water
  • 5-10 ml (1-2 tsp) lemon juice
  • 40 g (1 1/2 oz, 1/2 cup) walnuts, coarsely chopped, to garnish
  • 25 ml (1 1/2 tbsp) olive oil, to garnish
  • sprigs of fresh dill
Method:
  • Peel the cucumber. Dice the cucumber flesh and set aside.
  • Using a large mortar and pestle, crush the garlic and salt together well; add the walnuts and bread.
  • When the mixture is smooth, add the walnut or sunflower oil slowly and combine well.
  • Transfer the mixture into a large bowl and beat in the yogurt and diced cucumber.
  • Add the cold water or mineral water and lemon juice to taste.  If you prefer the soup smooth, purée it in a food processor or blender before serving.
  • Pour the soup into chilled soup bowls to serve. Garnish with the coarsely chopped walnuts, a little olive oil drizzled over the nuts and sprigs of fresh dill.
Bon appetite!

Hazelnut Rugelach


When I first made this recipe, I thought that it is the same as something that mom used to make at home. Well,  it is almost, but with a twist. Imho, I like this much better. It is slightly different but I do enjoy eating it more than anything. In my journey to try the international cuisine, I found this book “The Jewish Kitchen. Recipes and Stories from Around the World” by Clarissa Hyman, 2003 and this delicious recipe: Hazelnut Rugelach.  The result was mouth-melting. If you like cooking, try this at home, if you don’t, find someone who does and eat together. 😉

Hazelnut Rugelach   

Makes 32 small or 16 large

Ingredients:

  • 200 g (7 oz) butter, softened
  • 200 g  (7 oz) soft cream cheese (I prefer Philadelphia but may be you prefer something else)
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 250 g (9 oz) plain flour, sifted with a pinch of salt
  • 100 g (3 1/2 oz) finely chopped hazelnuts (or walnuts)
  • 50 g (2 oz) soft brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp cocoa
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 25 g (1 oz) butter, melted
  • 1 egg white beaten with a little water ( you can use a whole egg, I’m sure I wouldn’t mind)
  • granulated sugar  (optional)

Method:

  • Cream the butter and cheese until well blended. Stir in the caster sugar, then the flour and mix until the dough begins to hold together. Gather into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and chill overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/ 180°C, 350°F.
  • Combine the nuts, brown sugar, cocoa and cinnamon and set aside.
  • Cut the dough ball in half and return  one half to the fridge while you work with the other. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into a thin circle about 25 cm / 10 inches in diameter. If it is too sticky, flour the pastry too. The pastry may feel hard at first but it quickly softens. Use a cake tin or a plate to help cut out a neat circle. Cut the dough circle into a 16 or 8 equal pie-shaped wedges.
  • Brush the surface pf the wedges with melted butter, then sprinkle evenly with half the nut mixture. Cover with a piece of clingfilm and use a rolling-pin to press the filling lightly down into the dough. Remove the clingfilm and roll up each wedge from the outside, wide end towards the point, so you end up with mini croissants. Place on a lightly greased baking tray and brush with beaten egg white. Sprinkle with a little sugar, if wished. Repeat with the remaining dough and bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown.
  • Leave to cool slightly the transfer to a  wire rack.

Bon appetite!

Braised pork in orange sauce


For me, this recipe was a surprise the first time I saw it. I haven’t thought before of proper food with fruits. In my mind, fruits go with desserts, not other dishes. When I tasted this meal, I liked it. And I think you would agree if you are open to try. Plus, you can cook it ahead so if you want to eat it next day, all you have to do is to put the casserole in the preheated oven and this is it. Simple and easy. I have to say that I have found this recipe in Ann Ager’s book “Cooking in a hurry” edited in 1980 and I cooked it some years ago when I was in London. I would like to cook it again, someday. 🙂

Braised pork in orange sauce

Advanced preparation and cooking time: 45 min.

Preparation and cooking time on the day: 40 min.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 500 g (1 1/4 lb) pork fillet, cubed seasoned flour
  • 300 ml (1/2 pint) pure orange juice
  • 150 ml (1/4 pint) chicken stock (or water if you don’t have stock)
  • 225 g (8 oz) carrots, peeled and grated
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 oranges, peel and pith removed, cut into segments
  • 150 ml (1/4 pint) double cream
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts

Method:

  • Fry the chopped onion in the oil for 3 minutes over low heat. Dust the cubed pork in seasoned flour and add to the onion. Cook over moderate heat until the meat is lightly browned on all sides.
  • Gradually stir in the orange juice and chicken stock. Bring to the boil and add carrot, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
  • Stir in the orange segments, double cream and walnuts and allow to cool.
  • Transfer to a casserole, cover and chill in the refrigerator overnight.
  • On the day: cook in a covered casserole in a preheated oven at 180°C, 350°F, Gas Mark 4,  for 40 minutes. In case you eat this immediately, skip the  “chill overnight” step. And enjoy the flavours!

Bon appetite!

Marble Cake


When I say marble, I always remember Marble Arch in central London. This is a symbolic sign of London, but not the only one. But I like the way it stands marking the end of Hyde Park and the beginning of Oxford street, in an open area and circled by roads and cars. I would love to see it again.

Talking about marble, what I am to put here now it is a recipe that it is well-known in Romania and it is somehow different from the way others do it. But, in my humble opinion ;), this recipe is better, even if it takes longer but the result is worth it. Trust me! I have eaten it in my godson’s house. His mother made it and I asked for the recipe. Since then, I haven’t tried out other marble cakes but this one is the best.

Marble Cake

Ingredients:

  • 10 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 10 tbsp oil
  • 1 – 2 cups walnuts, chopped
  • 2 – 3 tbsp cocoa
  • 1 tbsp sugared vanilla or vanillin sugar
  • butter
  • honey
  • icing sugar

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 170°C.
  • Whisk the egg whites with sugar and vanilla sugar in a big bowl until stiff.
  • Beat the yolks with the oil in a smaller bowl.
  • Pour the yolks and fold gently with the whites until mixed.
  • Sieve in the mixture a cup of flour and fold again until mixed.
  • Divide the cake batter and put 1/3 of it in another bowl. Combine the cocoa with this 1/3 and fold carefully.
  • Sieve the flour in the white batter and fold again until mixed then add the walnuts.
  • Brush 2 loaves pan with melted butter to lightly grease or choose 2 foil bread loaves for a quicker baking. If you have a non-stick loaf pan, you don’t need to use butter at all, or do as I do: use non – stick baking paper to line the loaves and pour the mixture directly. Once it is cooked, you just take out of the loaves the marble cakes and discard the paper. Easy, peasy!
  • Pour the white mixture and then the cocoa one. Use a spoon to gently swirl the batters together to create a marble effect. Tap the base of the pan on a flat surface to smooth the surface.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 50- 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from oven and set aside in pan for 5 minutes. Brush the top with honey or sieve some icing sugar
  • Turn onto a cake rack to cool completely and cut into slices. Serve.

Bon appetite!

Cheese D’Artois


En Garde!

En Garde!

Cheese D'Artois

Cheese D’Artois

2 fingers

2 fingers

Crist aras! It is the second day of Easter and after the break of yesterday, I have returned with something easy and special: cheese D’Artois. They are perfect during the festive season, like Easter or Christmas. What is so special about it? I will make it with a home-made puff pastry. This kind of pastry is vert tasty and good-looking, I can say it is my favorite pastry. But the way of doing it is not simple at all. I wanted to make it quick. So I searched Google for easy puff pastry and I found one that I liked very much. Here is the link, if you want to try.

Cheese D’ Artois

Makes 30-40

Ingredients:

  • 150 (5 oz) Gruyère, grated (you can use cheddar or parmesan instead)
  • 25 g (1 oz) walnut pieces, coarsely chopped
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 370 (13 oz) packet frozen puff pastry, thawed

Method:

  • In a bowl, mix together the cheese, nuts and pepper to taste. Bind with the egg, reserving a little egg to glaze the pastry.
  • Roll out the pastry to a rectangle 40,5 x 38 cm (16 x 15 inches).
  • Cut the pastry into 10 strips, each measuring 20,5 x 7,5 cm (8 x 3 inches), using a pastry wheel for an attractive edge.
  • Lay 5 strips on an ungreased baking sheet, divide the filling equally between them and spread it out evenly, almost t the edges.
  • Cover with the remaining 5 strips and lightly press the edge to seal. Cover with cling film and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • Mark each strips into 6-8 fingers and brush with the reserved egg. Bake in the oven at 200 grades C (400 grades F) mark 6 for about 15 minutes until risen and golden brown. Cut the pastry through into fingers and serve immediately.

Bon appetite!

Tip: You can make this pastry with sweet filling like pastry cream (crème pâtissière). Enjoy!