Hello there! Here I am, finally back posting a new, tasty recipe. This one is perfect for these colder days, and with aromas of orange you’ll be transported to some nice tropical island … A dish I really needed as there is quite an intense, but awesome and positive week behind me. Besides some awesome work related things, I had also the pleasure of lecturing at Hekovnik’s start:Ecommerce workshop and Friday visiting the 16th Slovenian Wine Festival. After resting the weekend I’m really excited to start this new week.
This dish is really quick and simple to make, as it will take you approximately 3o minutes for it. I hope you’ll enjoy it!
Ingredients for 4:
700 g muscat pumpkin,
800 ml vegetable or chicken stock,
100 ml cream,
2 garlic cloves,
1 tbsp butter,
salt and pepper,
1 sheet ready made puff pastry (for decoration),
Start with the puff pastry. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Cut pastry to vertical stripes, approximately 1 cm thick. Beat the egg and use a brush to spread it over the puff pastry. Cover them with thyme springs and set to bake for 15 minutes.
Clean, peal and cut the pumpkin to cubes. Chop the onion and garlic. Melt butter on medium heat, add onion and leave to soften up, add the and leave to infuse. Add pumpkin and allow to soften. Then add stock and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and leave to simmer for 10 minutes.
Grate half of orange zest and squash its juice. After 10 minutes blend the soup to a velvety texture with the help of an immersion blender. Add pinch of thyme springs, orange zest and juice and cream while blending. Taste and if needed adjust with salt and pepper.
Pour it in plates and top with thyme infused puff pastry.
Making a visit to the store yesterday I got this nice pack of pears and it instantly reminded me of this recipe. Try it this week-end, I assure you won’t regret it.
For a lunch for 2 you’ll need following ingredients.
For the pasta:
approximately 75 g of cooked beetroot
200 g 00 or semolina flour
pinch of salt
some flour for dusting
For the sauce:
6 thin slices of dried pancetta (look for one that was not smoked)
2 matured pears
100 g fresh arugula
50 g pine nuts
1 tbsp sugar
knob of butter
extra virgin olive oil
Cook the beetroot, peel, dice and blend it with an immersion blender. Mix together egg, pinch of salt and beetroot paste, add to flour and knead together until obtaining a consistent dough. You might need to add a bit more of flour because it tends to get more sticky than other pasta doughs. Knead for approximately 15 minutes. Wrap in clinging film and set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Roll the dough into a tiny sheet and cut into stripes. You can check this post on information on how to cut pasta and her various shapes.
Now for the sauce. Use a large, non sticky pan. Warm it on medium fire, place pancetta slices into and cook them until crisp. Remove them from the pan leaving the fat behind.
Cut the pears into quarters, remove seeds and cut them into slices, leaving the skin on. Put them in the pan, onto the fat of pancetta. Add butter, salt, pepper, thyme and cook until golden. Take them out of the pan and set aside.
Add pine nuts onto all of the juices in the pan, sprinkle over sugar and cook until sugar has started to caramelize and pine nuts start to toast. Add pears to the pan and coat them into caramel.
Bring water to the boil and add in pasta. This pasta cooks really quickly so check if it’s “al dente” fast (10 – 15 seconds might do it). Add pasta to the pan with sauce. Add to it arugula, almost all of the crispy pancetta and shake it well to coat all ingredients.
Serve the pasta on large plates. Put it on the center of the plate and top it with few slices of remaining pancetta, slices of Parmesan cheese and sprinkle on some good extra virgin olive oil.
Now all that is left for you is to enjoy the meal.
Well, couple of last days were quite hectic, visiting family and friends, celebrating 3 birthday parties … I really needed something to calm. And what better way to relax than by making a nice tart?
We brought a ton of fruit from our last visit to Bosnia, so it was time to do something as it would be a shame wasting it. I never did anything with quince, so this was quite an experiment. I love their aroma and I still remember from my childhood memories the smell of its compote.
So here goes the recipe.
You’ll need a tart tin of 28 cm Ø, baking paper and baking beans.
For the dough:
100 g butter
100 ml medium sweet wine
200 g sugar
450 g 00 flour
pinch of salt
For the filling:
800 g Quince (peeled and diced)
juice of 1 lemon
3 allspice whole
1 cinnamon stick
For the topping:
600 g Quince (peeled)
200 g sugar
zest of 1 lemon
Start by making the dough. Beat softened butter, sugar and salt until obtaining a fine cream, then add gradually flour and wine into the mixture until obtaining a compact dough. Wrap in cling film and set in fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Roll thin the dough on a surface dusted with flour and place in tart tin. Pinch bottom of dough with fork, cover it with baking paper and lay beans on top, to prevent the dough raising from the bottom of the tin. Place in the oven and bake for 12 – 15 minutes. After that remove from top baking paper and beans and return to the oven for 5 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool.
Meanwhile prepare filling. Put all the ingredients except sugar to the pot and allow it to soften up. Add sugar and cook for another 15 – 20 minutes so that it thickens up and you get a filling that resembles marmalade. Remove allspice and cinnamon and set aside to cool down.
Lay the filling onto the dough and bake at 180 °C for 25 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare the topping. Peal Quinces, cut into quarters and remove seeds. Place them into a pot, add sugar, lemon zest and cover with water. Cook for maximum half an hour or until soft.
Take quince quarters out of the water and cut into tiny slices. Top them on the baked tart, cover with a bit of icing sugar and return to the oven. Position it on the top layer so that it makes a crust on top of the tart (be careful and don’t repeat my rookie mistake here, I added to less sugar on top and while I was waiting for the crust edges overcooked a bit – better luck next time I presume …).
Allow to cool down and serve with some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Buckwheat has a special place on our tables. In fact Ajdovi žganci (a kind of polenta made out of buckwheat flour) are one of the typical dishes or the Ajdovi krapci too … But we use its flour to prepare also bread, štruklji (a sweet version of dumplings but it has numerous variations and forms here) and also a fantastic ricotta tart.
Did you know that it is really healthy and also considered to be a super-food? Buckwheat is gluten free and packed with iron, zink, selenium and antioxidants.
I decided to combine buckwheat with Piran sea bass from Fonda. Simply because buckwheat needs a fish of a delicate but pronounced flavor and taste which this one surely has. If you aren’t able to get one than try obtaining at least wild sea bass as those from breeding are lacking both in coping with buckwheat’s aromas and taste.
For 2 portions you’ll need following ingredients.
For the fish stock:
Sea bass filleting left overs
1 shallot or small onion
1 celery stalk
salt & pepper
You can skip the preparation of fish stock. In that case have 500 ml of either fish or vegetable stock (or dissolve half the dice of stock cube in 500 ml of warm water).
For buckwheat risotto:
100 g buckwheat
approx 500 ml of fish or vegetable stock (yes, you can skip making it on your own)
1 shallot or small onion
salt + pepper
And of course 2 fillets of sea bass (approximate weight of whole fish should be around 550 g).
Start by filleting the fish. Check this really great video on fileting sea bass. At first it looks hard but try it, after couple of times you’ll be doing this no sweat. You can also ask your fishmonger to do that for you and don’t forget to take also what will be left of the carcass (spine bones, head and tail).
For the fish stock start by chopping the shallot, carrots and celery stalk. Heat the pan, add a bit of olive oil and then soften the shallot first, add both carrots and celery stalk and allow them to soften and develop flavors. Add fish leftovers and when they are done cover them with water (use all the water at least so that you don’t run out of stock). Add salt, pepper and thyme and bring quickly to the boil. Lower the heat and leave simmering for approximately 30 minutes.
I like to dice (bruonise) the carrots for buckwheat risotto into small cubes of approx 3mm x 3mm. See this video on how to brunoise carrots.
Now to the sea bass fillets. Remove pin bones with the help of fish tweezers and cut them in half. Position them skin side up, press the edges gently together so that the middle part will stand out and cut the skin vertically in approximately 1 cm distance. Add thyme springs and salt and gently rub in salt and thyme springs into the cuts to let it infuse filets. Making those cuts will also prevent the skin from shrinking up causing the fillet to cook uneven.
Moving on with the buckwheat risotto, finely dice the shallot. Heat the pan on medium heat and add olive oil, add chopped shallot and soften, add chopped carrots and let them soften up. Then add buckwheat and allow her to absorb all nicely developed flavors. Aaah the aroma that will come out of the pan as soon as buckwheat starts heating up …
This step is optional, but I like to add approximately 50 ml of Slovenia vodka, not only because it has a great flavor and will add a nice kick to the risotto, but also because it is made with buckwheat. Allow it to evaporate and then start adding warm fish stock ladle by ladle allowing it to evaporate completely in between the process. When you’ll be left with approximately 2 ladles add a spring of fresh thyme to buckwheat and stir it well, so that it will infuse its flavor into the buckwheat. Taste the buckwheat and season if needed. When cooked buckwheat has to be soft but consistent.
Now for the sea bass. Before adding last 2 ladles of fish stock to buckwheat heat a pan on medium heat, add olive oil and when hot position sea bass fillets skin side down. When they will start going white all over the edges turn them around and pan fry for approximately 45 seconds. When they are done place them on a sheet of paper to absorb excessive oil and you’re ready to plate the dish. You can also check this video on pan frying sea bass.
I like to finely chop trimmings of a carrot and use them for decoration together with few thyme springs.
If you’d like to match this dish with a perfect wine than look for a wine that did not rest in wood and has a lot of freshness and pronounced aromas. At the presentation in Palmanova Giovanni suggested pairing it with Malvasia from Mulino Delle Tolle, 2012. The pairing was perfect because the wine has lovely aromas of fruit like peaches and pears and there is also an aroma of hazelnuts. All of them go well with the aromas of buckwheat which reminds chestnuts and hazelnuts. And in the mouth the play in between freshness of the wine and sea bass, the rather softness of wine with buckwheat consistency, the body of wine not overpowering but complementing both buckwheat and sea bass. Amazing …
The recipe might be a bit time consuming, but it really pays of. Enjoy!
I’d like to start this post with a big “Thank you!” to Elena, Giovanni, Martina, everyone at Palmanova’s outlet village and of course everyone present there for this amazing, tasty, flavor filled week-end.
Saturday’s noon came too quick. I hear Giulia did great and I’m really sorry to have missed her presentation. So, time to do some last minute shopping, prep the ingredients, filet the sea bass and there we were, ready to hit the stage. A quick meet and chat with Giovanni, sound check and pans were on fire.
I respect Giovanni deeply, his knowledge of wine, food, wine-regions – also Slovenia’s is immense and he presented the event amazingly. He didn’t have an easy task, as it proved, my Italian (probably also because of a little bit of stage fright) was a bit rusty, but none the less we managed and I hope that guests enjoyed the presentation.
I was asked to prepare something typical Slovene and when you think about Slovenian cuisine you cannot go more obvious than buckwheat. I wanted to try and unite earth and sea, so I decided to cook buckwheat risotto with Piran sea bass. By the impressions it went more than fine, so stay tuned as in the following days the recipe will be available on this blog. For now here are some images of the presentation, taken by my lovely wife.
But for the past two week ends Palmanova’s village was not only about food bloggers cooking, it was also about local producers coming to the village and presenting their delicacies. They were scattered in nice little stands allover the village and it was a really lovely enrichment to the shopping experience. By what I could see people really enjoyed checking the stands, chatting with producers and of course tasting their delicacies. We were so interested to check what is offered on the stands that we returned there the next day and enjoyed every bit we could. Just to mention:
Mulino delle Tolle and their wine, we paired their Malvasia with the dish I cooked – perfect match, so I had to meet Giorgio the owner, we will definitley pay you a visit,
In Cortile with some amazing salami and insaccati,
Arvenis with dried game meats and some intriguing jams and jellies,
So, what are your plans this weekend? Many of you will be probably hitting the streets of Ljubljana at the 18th Ljubljana Marathon others will be probably spoiling your taste buds with chocolate delicacies at Čokoljana.
I wish to all runners godspeed and new personal bests. I’m feeling bad as this year I won’t be there, but since I haven’t trained it’s totally my fault. I’ll definitely make up next year, maybe even with a special goal I’ve been dreaming of for some time now …
Non the less it will be a busy week-end for me and if you don’t have any special plans this Saturday why not coming to Palmanova’s Outlet Village? From the past week-end they’ve been hosting a really nice series of oenogastronomy events and they invited also some food bloggers to come and cook some dishes.
And then this week-end. Saturday I’m honored to be among the ones cooking and I’ll be cooking a typical Slovenian dish (OK, with some adaptation). There will also be an experienced oenologist – Giovanni Munisso on the stage with me and I really hope we’ll make an entertaining and interesting presentation of Slovenia’s food.
The presentations starts already at 15:30 when Julia Godeassi of Juliet’s belly will be preparing some typical delicacies from Friuli region – can’t wait, can’t wait … And then at 17:30 it will be my turn.
Of course you can decide to be there also Sunday and be delighted by two other presentations about Friuli’s cuisine by Valentina Cipriani of valentinacipriani.eu and Micaela Liberati of Cheladigranchio.
So, can’t wait seeing and meeting you all there! If you want, you can check also details of the event here or the Facebook image gallery of last week-end’s presentations.
We love bread, we really do … In fact it’s on our table on daily basis. I love it for it’s versatility, for the fact that it can be made in so many different shapes, variations, tastes and you can mix in the dough practically anything to make it even better. Plus is so much love doing it, I find it extremely relaxing, and not to mention when your whole flat smells so nicely of those fresh, bakery, yeasty aromas … mmmm
You can also make your own yeast, giving it an even more personal note, but let’s leave this for another post.
So here’s how I make it. Ingredients are for 2 fresh loafs and such bread can last without problems for 5 days, compare that to the one bought in supermarkets. Preparation time is about 30 minutes, but count also time for the dough rising which can be in total around 1,5 hours.
250 g all purpose flour + 3 tablespoons for sourdough + some for dusting
150 g first clear flour
250 g whole grain spelt flour
100 g whole grain rye flour
42 g (cube) fresh yeast
500 ml warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt
5 tablespoons of olive oil
Start by making sourdough. In a plastic or glass bowl crush the cube of yeast into small peaces, add sugar and mix with a wooden spoon. Set aside and allow yeast to take action. You’ll notice it will start turning into fluid. Meanwhile you’ll have time to measure and mix together flours, prepare a large glass bowl, salt and olive oil. When yeast turns into fluid add 3 tablespoons of all purpose flour, cover with 250 ml of warm water and mix. Cover bowl with a cloth, set aside and allow sourdough to activate and start raising.
Add salt, warm water, olive oil in a large bowl and start mixing while slowly adding flour. You can use also a kitchen robot, if so work with a hook attachment. However I prefer working the dough by hands. When you are left with approximately half of flour left add sourdough to the mixture and mix it in well. Then add rest of flour and mix it all together. You will probably need to add some more flour. If working with a robot you’ll know it’s ready when it stops attaching to the bowl’s surface.
If working it with hands place dough on dusted surface and start kneading it for at least 15 minutes, work it with both hands, turning it round and round. You have to obtain a consistent dough that is smooth and non sticky.
Place dough in bowl, cover with a cloth and leave to raise for at least 45 minutes or until it has raised by 2/3. Now at this point you could already place it in the oven, but I prefer to knead it for one more time. Kneading it again will expel Co2 and allow dough to start raising again, making bread more soft and airy. Now is the time to shape it as you like. You can make baggles by simply dividing dough in more small peaces, or shape it in balls and put them in a tray separated by few centimeters in between – that way when raising they will stick together … Or cut the dough in half and make 2 rolled loafs like on below images.
Cover dough with a cloth and set aside to raise again for approx 45 minutes or until it has raised by 2/3. Preheat the oven to maximum – 275°C for most commercial ovens. Incise 3 lines in raised dough to allow expelling of Co2 and place on lower lining of the oven. Dough needs love, it needs to be caressed by the heat and putting it on the middle lining will burn it, as it will be reaching the top part of the oven, which is super hot. Adjust temperature to 200°C and bake for 40 minutes. Now here’s a little trick I’ve learned, sprinkle some water on bottom of oven for an even nicer crust. You can verify if bread is made if it sounds hollow when you knock on it.
At this stage bread will be smelling so nice you’ll probably find it hard to resist not to cut it while its hot, so just go ahead and enjoy!
I love the scent of saffron … I admit we don’t use it a lot and I’m really sorry for this. Maybe after today’s lunch things will change.
So yes, today we made saffron risotto, which is not to be confused with Risotto alla Milanese as the last does not combine wine and has in addition beef marrow.
60 g butter
180 g Arborio rice
0,1 l dry white wine
0,5 l warm beef stock
1 small onion or a shallot
1 sachet of saffron, I used saffron from Tuscany bought at Zafran.eu + a pinch for decoration
70 g grated Grana Padano cheese
Servers for: 2
Start by finely dicing the onion. Melt 40 g of butter on low heat, add diced onion and soften it up. Add rice and allow it to absorb butter by stirring. Add the wine, increase heat and let the wine evaporate, you need to stir constantly. When wine evaporated add 2 ladles of warm stock and allow to evaporate. Repeat procedure until rice is cooked – did I mention you have to stir constantly? 🙂
OK approximately 5 minutes before rice is cooked – you can identify this by trying it, if the rice feels grainy and dusty it is still not cooked, at this point it should be still consistent, but shouldn’t feel grainy – dissolve the saffron in remaining beef stock (you should be left with maximum 2 ladles of it). Add the saffron infused stock to rice and stir until it evaporates, making the risotto of a lovely, vibrant yellow color and turn off the heat.
Add remaining butter and Grana Padano and stir in well. Now taste and see if it needs seasoning, add seasoning as needed.
If you’re a bit of a sweet tooth like we are then this might be an interesting thing for you to try. I had 2 ripe bananas and a sheet of ready made puff pastry which I needed to get rid off. I remembered a colleague once made banana curry ice cream so there was the idea. The aromas and taste of bananas combine really well with turmeric and ground coriander, making it an interesting desert for you to try. You can also add ready made curry spice, but you’ll miss half the fun. And if it convinced my always doubting wife, I’m sure you will like it too.
For this recipe I’ve combined banana curry with pastry cream and baked it on a sheet of ready made puff pastry, quick and easy – part from the cooling time.
Serves: 12 cupcakes
Ingredients for the banana curry:
1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 ripe bananas
knob of butter
Ingredients for pastry cream:
500 ml semi skimmed milk
100 gr sugar
50 gr cornstarch (you can use also normal flour)
3 egg yolks
In addition you’ll need 1 sheet of ready made puff pastry.
Start by melting butter on medium heat, when it dissolves add spices and let them infuse a little to allow aromas to develop. Meanwhile cut bananas into thin slices and add to the curry. Mix well until bananas dissolve into a paste. If there will be some chunks left you can bled them with a hand blender. Set aside and leave to cool down.
Banana curry cream:
Bring to scalding point 400 ml of milk. Meanwhile mix in a large bowl the remaining milk with the rest of ingredients, add banana curry cream at end and mix well. When milk is at scalding point slowly pour it bit-by-bit to the mixture constantly whisking it. Return mixture to a clean pan and cook stirring constantly until thick. Set aside and leave to cool down.
Roll the sheet of ready made puff pastry. Cut it in chunks of approx 1,5 cm (I managed to obtain exactly 12 pieces). Put them on a dusted surface and roll with a rolling pin until you’ll get discs of approx 10 cm diameter. Place them in a cup cake baking thin and set in the fridge to cool down for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200°C.
Take the baking thin out of the fridge and add on top of the pastry approx 1 tablespoon of banana curry cream (I managed to use it all). Place in the oven – closer to the lower part of it, and bake for 20 – 25 minutes.
Allow it to cool down, sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy!
Yesterday I was writing of pasta. What I like about pasta is that you can really make a lot with it. You can play with ingredients and besides eggs, flour and salt add also other things like spinach, aromatic herbs, beetroot … Here’s how you can make spinach pasta and add a nice twist to your lasagna or pasta dishes.