Beer risotto with chanterelles and bacon

This weekend I had culinary holidays. Mr. No Onion Please disappeared in a cottage among woods with his friends and that meant only one for me – FREEDOM!!! I could eat whatever I want, without murmurs and complaints – pancakes as a main dish of the day? Yes, please! But, but, but…. the centerpiece of my celebrations is here, a dish that revolves around 2 most hated ingredients of his, onions and mushrooms (on the other hand it also includes 2 of his favs – beer and bacon 😉 ). The autumn is inevitably approaching, and as much as my mood suffers from upcoming darkness, my belly wildly celebrates, as my favorite culinary season begins. There are still some berries and currants available, capsicums, eggplants and courgettes are at their best, first mushrooms appear and soon the pumpkins and my beloved root veggies will star in my dishes! The recipe for basic beer risotto comes from THIS book. I pimped it up with adding some pancetta, thyme and of course chanterelles!!! It is absolutely delicious, it’s such a pity that those great mushrooms are in season for such a short time 😦 The amounts make a generous portion for 2 people. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

butter

250ml risotto rice (eg arborio)
130ml dark, rich beer
80ml double cream
roughly 500ml chicken stock
onion, finelly chopped
2 garlic cloves, finelly chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper
a handful of grated mature cheese such as grana padano, parmiggiano reggiano, pecorino etc

1,5 liters of chanterells, bigger ones cut to pieces, smaller ones left whole
150g of pancetta
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
5-6 tbsp of beer

1. Heat up a tbsp of butter in a pot. Add garlic and onion and saute till golden in colour. Add the rice and mix until it becomes slightly transparent from the fat.

2. Add the cream and simmer slowly, stirring continuously. Once the cream is nearly absorbed add the beer and stir. Yes, risotto is all about stirring – the more you stir the better it is, because the more starch is released. Once the beer is nearly absorbed start to add the chicken stock in small amounts and stir. You will need around 500ml and 15-20 min till rice absorbs everything. So in the meanwhile you can make the mushrooms.

3.  Melt a tbsp of butter in another pot. Add pancetta and cook till crispy. Add the mushrooms and thyme, saute for 3-4 min till the mushrooms soften yet stay tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Fish out the mushrooms and add to remaining sauce beer. Heat up till boiling and reduce the sauce.

5. Once your risotto looks ready add the thyme, cheese and 1/3 of the mushroom/pancetta mixture into it, stir for a minute or so.

6. Serve risotto on a bed of mushrooms sprinkled with sauce.

Advertisements

Flammkuchen and Luxembourg trip

I guess you already know we love to travel. I wish I would also love to write about it and share the amazing places we’ve been with you, but I’m kind of lazy, and since I’m making thousands of pictures on holidays (yes you read that correct, I go into THOUSANDS and it annoys even me a lot 😉 ) it’s pretty difficult to choose what I would actually like to show you in a tiny space of a blog post.  Fortunately, that’s not always the case. At the end of  June we went for a long weekend to visit our friends in Luxembourg. Short trip + lot’s of time spend on chatting = few photos 😉 Yes, finally manageable enough for me to finally write a post 😉 Luxembourg welcomed us with rain. Fortunately, we were unlucky with the weather just for a single day and enjoyed hot sunny days for the rest of our trip. I must say I was quite surprised how tiny yet international is the City of Luxembourg. It has only 80 000 of citizens yet it bursts with energy.

Somehow, I had an image of Luxembourg as a country that looks just like Netherlands, and I have never even thought that we will see charming villages hidden in the valleys surrounded by forests. I was really enchanted with tiny old towns full of cafeterias and craft shops – that’s the thing I really miss in Finland. And another reason to visit Luxembourg are lovely vineyards  spreading along picturesque Mosel river scenery, a true lifelong memory for me. I must say I’m really positively surprised how much this petite land has to offer! Sadly, I guess at the same time, it is the least traveled country among Benelux area.

Luxembourg is a really tiny country. I guess it’s a bit difficult to talk about the traditional cuisine there as all the German, French and Belgian culinary influences pretty much mingle together. Thanks to our trip, I have fallen in love with a traditional dish from this region – the Flammkuchen, a kind of  crispy peasant pizza that is topped with fresh cheese or cream instead of tomato sauce (it is also called tarte flambee on the French side). The traditional Flammkuchen is made with onion and bacon cubes, but since I have Mr. No Onion Please at home, I made a bit more modern and lighter version of it. From the amounts given below, you’ll get 2 Flammkuchen. The recipe  for dough comes from  Linda Collister’s and Anthony Blake’s “The bread book” and I found it on CinCin forum. The dough is absolutely fantastic! Comes out crispy and it’s so easy to work with – a must try!

INGREDIENTS

455 g flour (about 12% protein content)
1,5 tsp salt
15 g fresh yeasts
1 tbsp olive oil
280 ml luke warm water

200g creme fraiche
4-5 tomatoes, thinly sliced
salt & pepper
2 handfuls of rocket
10-12 slices of dried ham

1. Dissolve the yeasts in luke warm water and leave them aside for 5-10 min.

2. Combine flour, salt, yeasts and oil and knead a ball of dough. Let it rest under cover for 1,5-2h until it doubles it’s volume.

3. Hit the dough with the fist to release the air and divide it in half. Roll the dough very! thinly (I additionally stretch it in the air, to make it super thin), you should get 2 pieces roughly of the size of your baking tray.

4. Spread the creme on top, leaving some free space on the sides. Put tomato slices on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in 275C till golden brown (remember to preheat not only the oven but also the tray you’ll put the Flammkuchen on!)

5. Spread rocket and dried ham on top. Serve with well chilled white wine 🙂

ENJOY!

Babi kecap – meat braised in sweet soya sauce

Ok, so I have to warn you 😉 I’m taking part in South-East Asian cooking festival on my favorite Polish cooking forum and what that means is that quite some recipes from that region will appear on the blog in the closest 2 weeks. I love the cuisine from that part of the world and I really wish that I could learn some more about it. Right now I can only study some cookbooks, but I dream of the moment when finally we will manage to travel there and absorb everything with our senses. My biggest priority is to go to Vietnam, but since we’ve started planning it’s always been the issue of either lack of money or time. Well… as in previous years I again dream that I’ll go there finally next year, but well… I guess that won’t be possible. For now, I have to stick to travel and cook books and just dream on 😉

The recipe below is adapted from fabulous Rick Stein’s book “Oriental Odyssey”. I’ve borrowed it by chance from my local library, but I simply fell in love with the recipes and now am awaiting my own copy 🙂

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp oil
100g spring onions, finely chopped (well… not appearing in our dish 😉 )
50g garlic, finely chopped
25g ginger, finely grated

1kg of pork meat for braising (I used mixed pork and beef meat), cut in cubes
4 tbsp kecap manis
2 tbsp dark soya sauce
1 tsp tamarind paste
½ tsp freshly grated black pepper
3-4 chilli, sliced
4 bird’s eye chilli, whole
500ml asian beef stock

1. Heat the oil in a thick bottomed pot. Fry the spring onions, garlic and ginger, you may add a bit of salt.
2. Add the meat and fry for 2-3 minutes till it gets some colour. Add kecap manis, soya sauce, tamarind paste, pepper and chilli fry for a minute more. Turn down the heat, add hot beef stock and  braise till the meat will be tender (around 1,5-2,5h depending on your meat and size of the pieces)
3. Take out the meat pieces and heat up the sauce till it’s boiling. Reduce it quite much. It needs to be pretty dense.

Szechuan smoky bacon cabbage

Today we’ve enjoyed a really great weather! Finally the spring has come. YEY! We had a long walk in the woods, some nice a bit lazy but still very good food and since we got up pretty early also looots of time just to hang around and relax. Ahhh I feel so energetic, the days are really long (15,5h at the moment – a definite reason to celebrate after winter’s darkness) and recently we also got quite much of cloudless days what additionally boosts me with energy. Anyway, time for the recipe 🙂 Today a very simple side – again Chinese and again from Ching-He Huang. The Szechuan cabbage was really good, though I’ve made a small mistake that reflected negatively on the final outcome. The recipe calls for  pointed cabbage I’ve never seen it before and just guessed I’ll do fine with savoy cabbage. Unfortunately, the ends of the leaves in savoy cabbage are very delicate and upon frying they wilted. The white parts, however were deliciously crunchy. Next time definitely I’ll go for a  cabbage with tougher leaves.

INGREDIENTS

1 tbsp frying oil
1 chilli, finely choped
1 tsp Szechuan peppercorns, crushed
5 streaky bacon rashes chopped into 1cm pieces
1 tsp Shaohsing rice wine
300g pointed cabbage, shredded
1 tbsp rice vinegar
juice of half lemon
salt

1. Heat wok, fry chilli and peppercorns for a while. Add bacon and fry for 2-3 min till browned.

2. Add rice wine and cabbage and stir-fry for 3 min. Season with vinegar, lemon juice and salt.

Pork tenderloin, Chinese way

Yup, it’s nearly Valentines Day. The net is totally flooded with luscious treats for your loved ones. And so I bet you were expecting some super cool chocolaty post here as well. Hmm …. what can I say…. Blame Mr No Onion Please. I’ve asked him what should I blog about and the answer was PORK. So long yummy cookie post (I’ll get to it a bit later). Ok, I admit, the pork tenderloin is really good as well, and it’s a most recent love of my second half. I’ve done it several times and he never seems to have enough of it. Anyway, 14th of February happens to be as well the beginning of new Chinese year. So fortunately I’m not blogging totally out of the blue.

I’ve got the recipe from a small booklet advertising Ching’s new cookbook – “Chinese in minutes”. I’ve never been out of Europe, not to say China, so I have absolutely no clue how the real Chinese dishes taste like. Of course we have several takeaways here, but well…. I don’t trust those enough to say that they offer genuine Chinese cuisine. So I admit – I have no idea how authentic Chinese dish it really is but it’s darn good and definitely worth trying.

Griddled honey yellow bean  pork:

– pork tenderloin filee

Marinade:

– 3 garlic cloves finely chopped

– finger-long piece of ginger, grated

– 2 tbsp yellow bean sauce

– 1 chilli finely chopped

– 2 tbsp runny honey

– 2 tbsp dark soya sauce

– 2 tbsp rice wine

– 2 tbsp sesame oil

– 1 tsp dark muscovado sugar

1. Marinade the tenderloin for around half an hour. Heat the oven to 200C.

2. Fry the loin till it’s browned from each side, keep the marinade.

3. Put the thermometer to the meat, insert to the oven and bake till it shows 67C

4. Meanwhile pour the reserved marinade into the pot and bring to the boil, then leave on the side.

5. Take the meat out of the oven, let it rest for several minutes before you slice it. Serve with rice and some greens ( I had pak choi).

ENJOY