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.

Chicken breast with Parma ham and goat cheese

There are days that I don’t mind cooking, but I’m really lousy with figuring out what we should have for dinner.  Those days I leave it totally to Mr. No Onion Please, though I know that 2 out of 3 times he will simply answer – let’s stuff and wrap something. You see, we have this kind of “rescue” dish when we want something easy, fast to prepare yet still flavorful. It is enough to take a piece of meat (chicken breast or thick slice of pork sirloin), some kind of cheese (ranging from Philadelphia cheese to mature goat cheese),  herbs (sage, basil, oregano, marjoram… whatever you say) and the wrap thingy – dry-cured ham like Parma,  Jamon, or just regular smoked bacon. Choose one ingredient from each group, combine and voila! The dish below is my favourite combo 🙂 I’m a real freak when it comes to sage – it’s definitely my favorite herb and i try to stuff it into any food that we cook 😀 My second great love is goat cheese, though I must admit, the relationship started rough as when I have bought it for the first time, I threw it away with disgust (God, that’s how udder must taste I thought :D). I’m laughing that I wasn’t mature enough to appreciate it,  because nowadays my kitchen would be absolutely incomplete without a log of nicely aged goat cheese. This is an extremely fast and easy recipe that combines all the flavors I like, hope you will enjoy it as well :). The amounts given below are enough for one person. Oh, and by the way, I’m going on holidays again so see you back in 2 weeks or so ;).

INGREDIENTS:

– chicken breast without skin and bone

– 2 slices of Parma ham

– 2-3 slices of goat cheese (I used aged Sainte Maure cheese)

– 1 tbsp of finely chopped sage

– pepper (I don’t use salt as the ham and cheese are already salty)

1. Cut a pocket in the middle of the breast. Be careful not to poke it with the knife. Stuff it with goat cheese, sage and  sprinkle a bit of pepper inside.

2. You may want to close the pocket with the toothpicks, however I don’t do it, Parma ham is enough to keep the cheese inside if you wrap it tightly. Sprinkle pepper on the breast and wrap it tightly in Parma ham. Voila! Now you just need to fry it! Ain’t it super-fast and easy? 🙂

Astoria soup

I’m lately quite lazy when it comes to writing posts, I guess mostly it’s because I should still go through some pictures from Istanbul and I can’t put myself to do it. This post is somehow unintended one. I usually don’t blog about the mid-week food as it is always cooked in the evening, in a rush and I’m too hungry to make pictures. However, this particular soup turned out to be so amazingly delicious that in spite of terrible photo I just had to blog about it. I’ve recently borrowed Jamie’s America cookbook and must say there are quite many recipes that I would like to try. One of them was Astoria soup and since I had most of the ingredients in my kitchen it was first on try. No disappointment here. I guess it’s even one of the best soups I have been eating recently! I’ve changed slightly Jamie’s recipe – instead of bulgur I  used quinoa, added juice of 1 lemon (the soup really needs some acidity to develop the flavour fully) and adjusted spice amounts to my own liking. Below you can find the original recipe. Don’t be discouraged by the photo, the soup is truly great!

Ingredients

3 peppers (red or mixed colours), deseeded and sliced
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
olive oil
2 tbsp sumac
2 tbsp zataar
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1l chicken or vegetable stock
salt and pepper
bulgur wheat

1. Cook bulgur/quinoa until tender and set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a big pot. Add peppers, garlic, sumac, zataar, cumin and paprika and saute for several minutes.

3. Add the stock and tin of tomatoes. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 min.

4. Add the wheat, cherry tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, cook for 2-3 minutes more.

Kohlrabi soup

What is your first food memory? Mine is eating raw baby kohlrabi, freshly picked from my grandpa’s garden. It was always my first choice, let the strawberries and cherries hide, nothing could possibly beat kohlrabi those days. I still love it,  eating it straight as it is or grating into salads. I used to enjoy it raw only, but recently I have discovered how delicious it can be sautéed with parsley and served with browned butter. I thought that why not to try some new way to use this a bit unusual veggie and decided to make a thick, hearty soup out of it. I thought about either combining it with some Indian flavors or focusing on herbal scents. I chose the second option, particularly that I’ve just got from my friend a pack of winter savory and thought that it will fit pretty well with sweet, slightly cabbagy taste of kohlrabi.

I was pretty happy with the outcome. The herbal mix choice hit the spot as it nicely complemented kohlrabi taste. Still, I found the kohlrabi sweetness a tiny bit overwhelming and when making this soup next time I’ll decrease its amount in favor of potatoes or beans.

INGREDIENTS

800g kohlrabi, cubed
2 cloves of garlic sliced
1l of vegetable stock
bunch of parsley, shredded
bunch of dill, shredded
2 tsp winter savory
pinch of cayenne
salt and pepper
walnut oil

1. Sauté kohlrabi and garlic for several minutes. Add the stock, bring to boil, decrease the heat and cook for 10 min.

2. Add the herbs and spices and cook on a small heat till kohlrabi is very soft. Blend the soup. Garnish with walnut oil and parsley.

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.

Spinach, parsnip and celeriac soup

I don’t really like spinach soups. But soups WITH spinach, that’s a completely different story, right? One of the things that I love about winter is the abundance of root vegetables. I couldn’t live without those underestimated ugly brutes. Sure you can buy them all year round, but right now they are still in season, so let’s enjoy them as much as we can!  I felt like having some really simple soup that would nicely complement delicate nutty sweetness of my favorite roots – parsnip and celeriac. No extra spices, just basics, sometimes basic things are best. In my fridge I still had a huge bag of spinach that I usually use for salads, but the bag was too big, I mean I can’t eat salad with spinach for whole week. So I decided to blend it in as well. And here it is, extra simple, delicate and smooth spinach, parsnip and celeriac soup. If you don’t have your home-made veggie broth and you don’t like the idea of using even organic one than you can simply substitute it with water + onion. That should do fine.

Ingredients:

400g celeriac
1 big parsnip root
200g fresh spinach leaves
salt & pepper
1-1,2l vegetable broth
almond flakes, roasted

1. Cut celeriac and parsnip in cubes. Saute them for 3-4 min and add the broth. Bring to the boil, decrease the heat and simmer for 15 min.

2. Add spinach, boil till the veggies will be soft. Put salt and pepper to taste and blend it till smooth. Garnish with almond flakes