Sunday, November 25, 2007

Do you know when your name day is?

I've already shared my love for soup with you. Well today I made a fish-soup, something I haven't done for two years at least I think. And it's so good. Well worth the momentary smelly-episode in the kitchen.

Also made an old-school sponge-cake (Siim gets an undeniable cake-craving every Sunday, I've learned not to try to fight it :). After the cake was ready, it turned out that today is my name-day. So a cake is only appropriate.

Salmon and bass soup

2 bay-leaves
1 sliced onion
2 sliced potatoes
2 sliced carrots
chopped dill and parsley
sliced leek
salt and pepper

The old-school cake:

sponge-cake (two layers)
whipped cream
vanilla curd-chees cream
1 can of peaches

Mix the whipped cream and the curd-cheese cream. Soak both layers with the juice from the peaches, then cover the lower layer with the whipped cream and curd-cheese cream mix, peaches, place the other layer on top and decorate with the mix and some more peaches. It's a bit too sweet for me, but I'm not a cake-lover to start with.

Elegantly wasted

I love dinnerparties, really. Love throwing them, love going to them. It's such a great way to get plastered :)
Some friends came over yesterday for wine and dine and somehow we ended up with an insanely posh menu. Initially I was planning to make some burgers, farely straight-forward, right? But then someone brough foix gras and someone else brought some moose-meat.

So we ended up with:

Foix-gras with red wine and brandy sauce and cowberry jam on toast

1 foix gras
salt + pepper
cowberry jam
red wine
tomato juice
1 tsp flour

The liver has to be room temperature, then it's easy to devein. After deveining I cut it into 2 x 2 cm chunks and seared on a piping-hot pan, 30 sec. on both sides. And that's it. For the sauce I combined wine, brandy and tomato juice, added sugar and flour, whisked and boiled until reduced by half. It was fantastic. And so easy to make.

Wild-moose-burgers with glazed oven-fries (and a fantastic bottle of Trapiche Medalla).

olive oil

for burgers:
salt + pepper
500 gr beef mince
250 gr. pork mince
350 gr. moose mince
grated Parmesan
salt and pepper
2 eggs
1 big grated carrot

for serving:
multi-grain buns
sliced tomato
sliced cucumber
one large onion
knob of butter

Cut the potatoes into sectors, wash, dry, toss in balsamico, olive oil, salt, pepper and sugar and bake in the oven. Mix all the burger ingredients, form patties and fry on both sides. On low heat fry sliced onions with butter, salt, balsamico and some sugar (to get nice sticky onions). Arrange into a burger, sit down and start receiving compliments :)

Monday, November 19, 2007

sweet underground

One of the good things of having a job that takes you to Warsaw a lot is that you get to visit your friends. I get to visit Krzyzstof and Joanna (who're traitorously planning to move) and every time I visit they make food. The magic of a nice home-made meal when it is done by someone else (especially if they live in another country) is that it is always surprising. It kind of looks like something you would have made, and it might even smell like something you would have made, but it usually surprises you.

Last time I went to see them, I had promised to bring dessert and I managed to find an impressive pastry-stall in the subway (yes, I know, the whole concept of buying something that has not been air-tightly packed in a subway is difficult to swallow, but I was wearing my "I'm a tourist" rose coloured glasses) and bought some poppy seed cheesecake (which I later learned was two of the most popular Polish cakes merged into one) and some doughnuts. They sell a lot of doughnuts in Poland (the big round ones, with a filling) and I can usually understand enough of Polish to know what's inside, this time however, I found some that I couldn't guess. In the end it turned out, that whatever it was that the doughnuts were with, they didn't put enough in for us to identify it. Doughnuts with a secret they were then.

Oh, and now actually to the bit about the surprises of a home-made meal. Krzyzstof and Joanna made oven-roasted cinnamon and laurel leaf chicken with black-plum stuffing. And after we drank the wine we sat around tasting Joannas dads home-made liquers - cherry, lemon + honey and I never understood what the last one was. Something made out of small orange coloured berries.

Seafood in Tallinn

... is generally not such a good start for a post. We do have our Baltic herrings, yes. And lately it is possible to get some more or less decent sushi or a nice meal of fish. But a little while ago I was quite impressed.

We went to celebrate Siims B-day in a Cafe/Wine-bar "Tigu" (Snail). A weird little place in Kadriorg. Even though we're both from Tartu, we generally don't appreciate places that look like your old aunties guest room (and Tigu looks exactly like that), BUT, they served some really good seafood there.

I started with some oysters and then had sea-bass in prosciutto. And it was almost really good, almost as good as in Portugal. We washed it all down with a nice bottle of white frizzante (they didn't have vino verde). A very sunny-meal, as said, almost Algarve, especially if you wouldn't have needed to step out into freezing cold where the wind very nearly blew off your coat and then your dress before the taxi came.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Fathers Day

Went to visit my parents this weekend, mom had decided to make an old-school sponge + whipped cream cake and since I'm not a big cake-lover (or cake-maker, for that matter) we shared the tasks. She was whipping away and I was in charge for the meat. She'd bought some nice pork neck chop and this is what happened to it.

Rose peppered pork with mangetout and Dijon sauce

pork neck chop
rose pepper
Dijon mustard
1 tbsp flour
sour cream
8 cloves of garlic
one medium onion
some sundried tomatoes

I cut the meat into four peaces (5x5x10cm) and quickly fried them on a steaming hot pan. I then rolled them in mashed rose pepper and salt and layed them onto an oven pan covered with baking paper. I also tossed in some unpeeled garlic cloves (drizzled with the olive oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes) some sectord of onion and put some sun-dried tomatoes on each peace of meat. I covered the meat with some wet and crumpled baking-paper and sent it into a hot oven (200C).

The mangetout I had was home-grown, pre-cooked and frozen, so it was easy - into some boiling water and then quickly on a pan to brown.

I made the sauce on the same pan where I fried the meat, first the flour with some additional olive oil, then 2 tbsp of Djon mustard, then some boiling water and some salt and sour-cream.

All in all, a bit heavy on using the frying pan (the smelly hair factor) but it was very nice and appropriately manly (you can't beat pork when it comes to boy-food) for Fathers Day.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Walk like a Lebanese (in Warsaw)

So far my experience with Arabic food has been scarce to say the least. On a holiday in Egypt they served some bland and sticky bean-porridge for breakfast and I've had some really good Turkish fast-food in Berlin (such a cliche) but that's about it.
Recently I went to a house-party in Warsaw and they had Lebanese catering. And it was SO good. Mezze (basically like Tapas, i.e. a bunch of snacky stuff to start with or eat with drinks) was especially impressive. The hot meals were also good but less surprising.

Some things I especially liked were:

Mujaddara - lentils, rice, onions
Muttabel - eggplant and sesame-seed mash
Tabbouleh - a salad of parsley, tomato and mint. I think we had two kinds, one plain and the other one with some egg(?) added in.
Tahini - like hummus, but made of sesame seeds. Probably has enough calories in one spoonful to feed a village, but Yum-Yum, how good.

I also really liked the thing that basically reminded me of a slightly spicier version of Boef A la Tartar, but I don't know what that's called, basically raw and spicy minced meat with (sesame?)-oil and pine-nuts.

And stuffed grape-leaves, but I've always liked those, so no surprise there.

Now all I've got to do is learn to make them (and find the necessary ingredients in Estonia). Any tips?

Monday, November 5, 2007

They're happy, because they eat lard

Viimase Varssaviskäigu ajal toimus retk traditsioonilise köögi maile. Ehkki olen sellega mini-pelmeenide (pierogy) ja verivorsti sisu laadse pudru maitsmise raames ka varem tutvust teinud ja avastanud, et see on laias laastus samade koostisosade ja mõistusevastase rasvaprotsendiga lugu, nagu Eesti köökki, siis viimane söömaskäik (restorani Folk Gospoda, mis ongi selline turistidele suunatud rahvusklishee) suutis siiki üllatada.

Eelroogade liual ilutses erinevate juustude ja heeringate kõrval ka rasv. Just-just. Rasv, maitsestatud soola, pipra ja mingi maitserohelisega ja mõeldud leiva peale märimiseks (ma tõesti loodan, et mitte dipina kasutamiseks). Ma püüdsin menüüst aru saada, kas see roog ikka tuleb nime all "keskealise mehe mõrv", aga poola keelest ma veel niipalju aru ei saa. Fotol on rasv koos oma sõbra, vastiku haisva lambajuustuga.

Elagu silmaringi avardamine!

So I've had traditional Polish cooking before, it's relatively similar to Estonian, especially ingredients wise (lot's of pork, sausage, potato and sauerkraut) and in terms of the % of fat in the food. The small dumplings with various fillings (pierogy) are quite nice and so is the black pudding. But this time our trip to the wonders of traditional cusine (restaurant Folk Gospoda, a wonderfully entertaining folk cliche for tourists) left me in a moment of dispair as one of the things brought on the table with the entrees was LARD. I'm not joking. Lard, seasoned with salt, pepper and some herbs and meant to be spread on bread. And I ate it. I also tried to figure out if they serve it under the name of "A Murder of the Middle-Aged Man" in the menu, but my command of Polish is not that good. On the photo you'll see the lard as the translucent blob next to the lamb-cheese smeared with jam (smelled like feet too).

So here's to widening ones horizons :)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Esimene lumi / First snow

Olen ringi rännanud ja ka üht-teist huvitavat söönud, aga ei ole jõudnud üles panna. Luban, et homme.
Täna oli üle pika aja taas võimalus enda köögis süüa teha ja tähistasin seda ühe tummise talvealguse salatiga. Pühitsemaks seda, et esimene lumi siiski ära sulas.

So I've been travelling again, have managed to score some good eats as well, promise to upload it tomorrow.
But today, as a celebration of being back home and able to cook in my own kitchen, I made a warm winter-salad, my homage to the fact that we already got some snow over the weekend (and it obviously melted).

Soe salat ahjuaedviljade ja kanaga / A warm chicken and oven-veggies salad

porgandit, peeti, paprikat sektoriteks lõigatuna / sectored carrots, beet and bell-pepper
neli küüslauguküünt / 4 cloves of garlic
1 keskmine kollane suvekõrvits / 1 medium yellow squash
klaas tomatimahla / a glass of tomato juice
oliiviõli / olive oil
1 tl mädarõigast / 1 tsp horseradish
soja kastet / soy sauce
köömneid / cuminseeds
tüümiani / thyme
soola ja pipart / salt and pepper
grillkana / roasted chicken

Piserdasin porgandite, peedi, paprika ja küüslauguküünte peale oliiviõli, soola ja pipart. Porgandile lisaks balsamicot ja tüümiani, peedile mirini ja köömneid ja paprikale sojakastet ja lükkasin 20 minutiks kõrgel kuumusel ahju.
Suvekõrvitsa lõikasin pikkupidi õhukesteks viiludeks, korraks kuumale pannile ja siis peale mädarõikaga segatud tomatimahl. Kuumutasin läbi kuni vedelikku jäi ca poole vähemaks.
Vooderdasin taldriku rohelis salatiga, selle peale suvekõrvits, siis meelepärases konsentratsioonis ahjuaedvilju ja grillitud kana.
Mina sõin salatina, siim sõi traditsioonilisemas kana + aedviljad vormis, maitses ühtviisi mõlemale.

I tossed the carrots, beets, bell peppers and garlic cloves in olive oil, salt and pepper. In addition I seasoned the carrots with balsamico and thyme, the beets with mirin and cuminseeds and the bell peppers in soy-sauce and sent them all into a piping hot oven for 20 minutes. At the same time I sliced the squash lengthwise into thin slices, tossed them on a pan and then poured over with tomato-juice (mixed with horseradish sauce). I let it simmer for a while, until the juice reduced by half.
I started building the salad from some green salad, topped with the sauteed squash, then the oven-veggies and some roasted chicken. I ate it as a salad, Siim didn't bother building it up and ate it in a more traditional "chicken with a side of veggies" way, but we both licked the plate afterwards :)