Prawns in garlic butter sauce

Yesterday I read in the news, that we are enjoying righ now the most beautiful summer for the last 23 years! That was quite a shock for me. True, the summer is really lovely this year, with few occasional showers and temperature often in it’s mid 20s, but still for me it’s a kind of “average” summer, the one I was used to enjoy as a kid in Poland. Though the weather is definitely better in my homecountry, I much prefere the summer time here in Finland. I really adore how much it is able to transform throughout the year. While in the winter time it looks as if everything has frozen and died for good, now the land is thriving with vibrant green colour, spotted with blue lakes all around. Summer means for me lot’s of dishes with seasonal fruits, vegetables, fish and seafood. This lovely, fast, slightly changed recipe comes from Bajaderka. I’ve made a small mistake and was close to burn the garlic, fortunately nothing really happened apart from the colour change 😉 I’ve figured out I’ll fry the garlic first and once it is ready I’ll fish it out and throw the prawns in. Unfortunately the butter started to foam and I couldn’t do that, I just quickly threw the prawns in. Phew. No more modifications, next time I’ll follow the recipe straight 😀

INGREDIENTS

25 large prawns
3 tbsp good quality virgin olive oil
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp chilli flakes
6 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
50 ml white wine
2 tbsp provencal herbs
salt and pepper
lemon juice

1. Wash and clean your prawns. Rub them with a bit of salt.

2. Heat up oil and butter on the pan. Add pepper flakes and garlic, fry for 1-2 minutes.

3. Add the prawns, saute for 2 minutes. Add the wine and provencal herbs, turn the prawns on the other side and saute for 1-2  minutes more.

4. Remove the prawns from the pan. Heat up the sauce till it boils. Season with pepper, salt and lemon juice. Serve with baguette.

Thai style mussels

I have a little confession to make. I actually do have a favourite space in my fridge. Yup, you read it right, FAVOURITE SPACE in the FRIDGE. How weird that sounds? Anyway, it’s a drawer where I store all kinds of sauces and pastes that are used in South-East Asian cooking. You see, I have this great dream that one day I’ll go for a long cooking course, where I will finally learn true, ingenius way of oriental cooking and whenever  I look in that drawer I smile to myself imaginig the dream comes true. Since I adore that versatile cuisine, I read a about it and cook quite some dishes. I slowly start to understand the complex taste combinations and begin to figure out my own recipes. The more I learn  though, the more I want to learn from someone who has the skills of that cuisine “in their blood” 😉 Anyone interesting in borrowing me their grandmum 😉 ?

This recipe makes for a lunch for 2 or a starter for 4.

INGREDIENTS:

1kg mussels

2 mild chilli peppers, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, grated
3 tbsp grated fresh ginger
300ml coconut milk
1 lemon grass – smashed and cut into 3-4 pieces
4-5 kaffir lime leaves
1/2 lime juice
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp red curry paste
1 tbsp demerara sugar
salt

handful of chopped coriander

1. Clean the mussels. Discard the ones that do not close when you knock on them.
2. Saute chilli, garlic and ginger. Add half of the volume of coconut milk.
3. Add lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, lemon juice, sugar, fish sauce and red curry paste. Simmer for 3-4 min till the milk become very fragrant. Add the rest of the coconut milk and season to taste.
4. Add the mussels, mix well and cover. Steam for 3-4 minutes.
5. Add coriander, stir and steam for additional half a minute.

Beef tenderloin marinated in molasses with baked sweet potato puree

Today is Finnish Independence Day. In spite of being an expat, it is somewhat natural for me to celebrate 6th of December anyway, as it is a St. Nicholas day in Poland. As much as I would prefer to enjoy the Polish festivity (oh don’t blame me, we get presents on that day), it’s always uplifting to take part in independence merriment. This year, the national celebrations took place in the city of Kuopio and you can have a look at several photos from the army parade in my previous post.  We’ve also decided to have some fun at home with a bit more fancy dinner and so here it is – a succulent beef tenderloin marinated in molasses and ginger and served on baked sweet potato mash. YUM!!!

INGREDIENTS*

beef tenderloin
170 ml molasses
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
5cm piece of ginger, grated
1 tsp chili flakes
3-4 garlic cloves, grated
2-3 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme
2-3 tbsp pepper

1. Mix everything well and marinade for 24h. Turn the meat around occasionally.
2. Heat the pan and seal the fillet all over until brown.
3. Place in the oven preheated to 125C and roast till inner temperature of the meat will reach 56C (for medium) or till your liking.
4. Wrap the meat tightly in aluminium foil and let it rest for 15min before you serve.

* The recipe for beef tenderloin comes from the book STEAK by Paul Gayler

INGREDIENTS

1,5kg sweet potatoes
1,5 tbsp of runny honey or golden sirup
1,5 tsp cinnamon
1/2-3/4 tsp ginger
1/2-3/4 tsp cardamom
1 egg
heaped tbsp butter

butter
bread crumbles – preferably from rye bread

1. Pierce the potatoes with a fork, grease with butter or olive oil, bake in 200C till soft and peal the skin.
2. Blend the sweet potatoes, spices, egg and butter.
3. Transfer the mixture to greased oven-proof dish. Sprinkle generously with bread crumbles and put thin slices of butter on top.
4. Bake for 30min in 180C.

Lamb stew from South Africa

So it’s official. The real winter has finally arrived. The temperature has dropped below -10C and the world out there is completely white. As much as I shiver every time I look outside of the window, still I really enjoy the frost, but only when accompanied by sunshine. The world is then just like taken straight from a fairy tale. Tiny particles of ice shine like little diamonds all over the trees. For such weather there is nothing better than the ultimate winter dish – stew. Slowly cooked meat in a flavorful sauce is surely one of the best comfort foods in such weather. I’ve found this delicious recipe on Fork Spoon Knife blog and changed it slightly according to the contents of my fridge ;). Below you’ll find my version of the mouthwatering South African lamb bredie.

 

INGREDIENTS:

 

400g of lamb shoulder, diced into cubes

butter

400g can of tomatoes

2 red chilies, diced fine

2 medium potatoes, cut into small cubes

100ml beef stock

5 whole black peppercorns

1 cinnamon stick, cut in half

6-7 whole cloves

4-5 cardamom pods, very slightly crushed

1 tsp brown sugar

salt, pepper as needed

100g  peas

 

Marinade:

finger sized ginger piece, grated

2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

salt and pepper


1. Marinade the meat overnight.

2. Dry roast the cloves, cinnamon and whole peppercorns, set aside once they are fragrant. Brown the meat in a little bit of butter in a cast iron pot. Add the tomatoes, chilli, cardamom, stock, salt and pepper and stir well. Slowcook the meat in the oven in about 120C for 2-3h.

3. Once the meet starts to become soft and fall apart, add the potatoes and cook till they are soft. Add peas, return to the oven for several more minutes. Serve with rice.

Beetroot pickles

Traditionally, late summer and autumn were the times of harvest, when one struggled to preserve nature goods for cold winter months. Today, living our lives in a complete rush, most of us don’t feel like using their precious free time  to make preserves. Surely, it’s so easy to get pickles on your plate, you just go to the shop, pick them up from the shelf and voila! That’s so easy and so cheap that nowadays few people bother  making pickles themselves. I wanted finally to try how difficult can it be to make your own preserves. And you know what? It is actually ridiculously easy and the best part is that with this recipe you don’t need to bother with pasteurisation!

INGREDIENTS

2 kg of beetroots

2dl sugar
2dl 10% vinegar
3-4dl  water
heaped tbsp salt
1dl oil
3-4 bay leaves
15-20 allspice grains
several grains of black pepper
whole garlic divided into cloves, peeled

1. Wash the beetroots and put them to boiling water. Boil until they will be soft but tender. Cool down, peel the skin.

2. In the meanwhile prepare the solution. Combine rest of the ingredients and heat up till they start to boil. Take off the heat.

3. Cut the beetroots into matchsticks (kitchen robot is very useful in this task). Throw them into the solution and heat up till everything boils once again.

4. Transfer hot beetroots to sterilized jars, press them a bit and add some of the solution to cover them in liquid if necessary. Leave around 1cm of free space in the jar,  close the cap tightly and flip jars upside down. Once they cooled down flip them back and store. You can eat the preserves already 1-2 weeks later, but they will easily keep for months in some cooler place.

 

Recipe from Samanta (from Polish food forum CinCin)

Trout steamed in a Thai way

This is a second dish I have prepared for previously mentioned South-East Asian festival. I’ve recently noticed we definitely don’t eat enough fish. We buy smoked salmon quite frequently, but fish as a main dish appears on our table maybe 4-5 times a month what is definitely too few. Finland is plentiful in salmon and trout and I’ve decided from now on to incorporate them more frequently to our menu.  Let’s hope this is a good start and I’ll keep to my  resolution 😉 This recipe comes from the book “The food and cooking of Vietnam and Cambodia”.

INGREDIENTS:
200ml coconut cream
2 tsp raw cane sugar
1 tbsp oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 chili, finely chopped
4cm piece of ginger, grated
750g trout
1 star anise, grated on powder
a handful of fresh Thai basil leaves
a handful of cashew nuts, chopped
salt and pepper

1. Heat the oil in a pan and fry garlic, chili and ginger. Turn down the heat, add coconut cream and sugar. Stir till sugar dissolves, take out from the heat.
2. Place the fish on a wide piece of foil and tuck up the sides to form a boat shape container. Cut several slashes into the meat and rub them as well as the inside of fish with salt, pepper and star anise. Scatter half of the Thai basil leaves on top. Spoon the coconut cream into the container and close it firmly.
3. Steam or put to the oven (180C) for about 20 min.
4. Roast the cashew nuts in the frying pan. Once the fish is ready transfer it to a plate, drizzle with cooking juices and sprinkle with  nuts and remaining Thai basil leaves

Cod in pistachio crust

Ohoh, summer has really come here, I’m so lazy with writing new posts 😀 Not that I don’t cook, but I just don’t feel like writing somehow…. at all…. Lately I have lots of writing to do at work and in the evenings I just can’t put myself to write several simple sentences. I  need holidays. Fortunately, they are nearly here! We’re flying on Saturday to Poland for whole two weeks 🙂 Can’t wait, I also hope we will make a day trip to Slovakia and be sure I’ll post lots of pictures from our beautiful Tatra mountains :). However, now time for a copy-cat recipe 😉 I’ve found it on Trissalicious blog, it’s fast and gives a really nice outcome. I’ve just noticed I’ve never posted any fish recipe here before. And again it’s the same story we eat them but I don’t write about them, or no wait… it’s rather that I don’t find fish photogenic. Or …. ok, well ok I’ll just admit it… I can’t make nice fish pics… there I said it…. snif…. I kept to recipe pretty much, apart from folding the fish and adding still a spoon of Parmesan to the crust as well as omitting egg white (ups … I forgot about it). Below is an original recipe, enjoy 🙂

INGREDIENTS:

2 cod fillets, skinned and deboned

35 grams butter

75 grams pistachios

2 cloves garlic, crushed

3 springs thyme

salt and pepper to taste

1 egg white

4 slices lemon

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c
  2. Season the fillets with salt and pepper
  3. In a food processor combine the pistachios, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper (Parmesan optionally)
  4. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the pistachio mixture. Cook for around 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes. Add the egg white and mix well (not necessary)
  6. Bend fillets in half, put 2 slices of lemon inside. Coat the fillets in the pistachio mixture
  7. Place the coated fillets in an ovenproof dish
  8. Bake the fillets for around 10 to 12 minutes until cooked through.

Sweet potato and peanut soup

A new post and…. back to Asian flavours again 😀 What a surprise 😉 Today I’d like to present you a delicious Thai style batat and peanut soup. We’ve enjoyed it really much. I’ve found the recipe in an online issue of Men’s health magazine and changed it a bit. You can see the original version here. Bon Appetit!

INGREDIENTS:

– 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
– finger-long piece of ginger, finely chopped
– 2 big batats (0,8-1kg), cubed
– 1 tbsp curry (I gave Madras blend)
– 1 tbsp red curry paste (be careful if you don’t like spicy food)
– 0,7-1l water or vegetable broth
– 1 tbsp fish sauce (nam pla)
– 2 heaped tbsp peanut butter
– juice from 2 limes
– coconut milk – I stirred in 400ml, can be more depending how dense you want the soup to be
– sesame oil
– coriander and peanuts to garnish

1. Fry garlic and ginger in a drop of oil till golden. Add batat cubes, curry and curry paste and saute for several minutes. Stir in water, bring to the boil, decrease the heat and simmer till batats will soften.

2. Add fish sauce, peanut butter and lime juice. Cook  for 2-3 min more. Take of the heat and blend it. Return to the heat and add coconut milk till the soup will reach the consistency you like. Simmer still for 2-3 min. When serving drizzle with sesame oil and garnish with coriander and peanuts.