Friday, August 20, 2010

"I could make you happy'n all, if you weren't already"

I have no idea, why it felt necessary to post this recipe with an Ani diFranco quote, but it did and since I'm currently going through a very new-age "listen to thy gut-feeling" period, then, well, there was really nothing I could do. For a moment I was a tad bit worried about the subconscious links I might have between "f*** you" songs and pork, but I decided against pursuing that train of thought.

So, here it is my non-Ani related pork.

Pork tenderloin with spicy tomato salsa (Sea sisefilee vürtsika tomatisalsaga):
Serves 3

~600 gr pork tenderloin
freshly ground sea-salt and black pepper
a knob of butter
1 glug of sunflower-oil

6 large, ripe tomatoes
3 large clove sof garlic
2x2 cm knob of ginger
1 tsp of powdered paprika
1 tsp of onion-flakes
1/2-1 green chilli
1 glug of sunflower-oil

Peel and chop the tomatoes, garlic, ginger.
De-seed the chilli.
Heat the oil in a large skillet and add the paprika powder, the onion flakes, the garlic and the ginger. Stir and sautee on medium heat for a minute or so. Add the tomatoes and the ginger, stir. After a minute or two, add the chilli. Stir, cover and leave to simmer.

Heat the oil and the butter in a skillet, when they're really hot (but not smoking) flash-fry the tenderloin on each side (less than a minute per side, just until it's lovely and brown and you can smell the sweet, sugary, butter+meat smell).
Reduce the heat and cover the pan, leave the meat to cook for 10-15 minutes (check at some point, by cutting it).

When the meat is almost done, put it on a cutting board and cover with tin-foil and leave it to rest for about 10 minutes.

Stir the salsa occasionally, but leave it to simmer until the meat is good to go. Cut the meat into about 1 cm slices and serve with salsa.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Holiday resorts and summer dining in Estonia

One might say that there are 4 resort-towns in Estonia. Well 4 towns that are resort-like during the summer and pretty much bleak and stranded (or occupied by retired-folk from Scandinavia who've come to soak their bones in some smelly mud at a spa) in the winter.

Pärnu is the most popular among locals, unfortunately this fact also has a nasty side-effect of all the dimwits and f***tards congregating there during the summer. They hang out in parking lots, blasting auditory brain-damage through their car speakers and nurse their hangovers in all the restaurants. So, um, thanks but no thanks, right?

Narva-Jõesuu is the smallest and really popular among Russians, probably due to the fact that 90% of the inhabitants of Narva-Jõesuu are Russian speaking. But it has the loveliest and the longest sandy beach in Estonia and it offers some culinary surprises. But we went there last year, so we decided to pass this year.

And then there's Kuressaare - capital of the Island of Saaremaa, where we hadn't been in ages and Haapsalu, the... er ... capital of mud? I've no idea. It's on the sea coast and they have this special mud that's supposed to be good for you. And a blues festival that we went to.

So Saaremaa is nice


And there are many nice places where to go for a snack or a dinner. We went to hotel Arensburg's restaurant

where I had my first ever ostrich carpaccio and it was yummy indeed. The eel-platter, however had a ridiculously stingy amount of eel on it but the fig-preserve they'd made to go with the cheeses was lovely. And the Asian soup S had was pretty good as well.


Besides that we also had some lovely fresh, smoked flounder in a place called SADHU. They have a great backyard terrace and a nice mix and match atmosphere.

And the best clear fish soup (made with pike) of this summer at a cafe / lounge called Chameleon.

And Haapsalu was kind of lovely as well.


They've just recently fixed up the boardwalk and there's a restaurant in the Kuursaal (resort hall) that we went to.

Their fish-soup was, honestly speaking, crap. But the roastbeef slices with mushroom salad that I had was lovely and the cream-meringue pie with pears was divine. Although I have a feeling that the pie was actually from Müüriääre Cafe, it's legendary for it's cakes and pastries (we tested the meringue, the mille-feuille (divine) and the chocolate cake (honest).



In addition to that there's this gallery / cafe on the same street with Müüriaare Cafe, it's called Epp Maria Galerii / Anni kohvik (the artist is Epp Maria Kokamägi and the chef's her daughter Anni Arro), that one's a feast for the eyes for sure, the artwork is lovely and the interior design, the painted tables and the random bits and pieces of art that are displayed on the II floor are beautiful indeed. We only got coffee there, but the cakes looked pretty decent as well.

All in all, bot Haapsalu and Kuressaare won't disappoint a vacationing foodie ;)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Big on Japan

I got this wonderful, beautiful book on Japanese cooking for my B-day, I still haven't managed to read it cover-to-cover as it deserves, but I've already christened it by making one of the recipes.

I was looking for something quick and simple, yet different and stumbled upon Ocha-zuke or Rice in Green Tea with Salmon. Green tea? That's right, green tea. Apparently it's a favorite type of fast food in Kyoto region. Basically something to have late at night after drinks (leave it to the Japanese to have something all macrobiotic and healthy for munchies food, while the rest of us stumble into sticky burger joints for some greasy post-cocktails fries). The book also said, that offering ocha-zuke to your guests is basically a polite way to tell them, that the party is over and apparently after such an offer is made, everyone is to promptly refuse, get their stuff together and leave.

It would obviously be a super-simple thing to put together, if you had boiled rice and grilled salmon on the standby, perhaps even some recently brewed green tea, but it's still something that can be managed with one hand tied behind your back, even if you start from scratch.

Ocha-zuke - Rice in Green Tea with Salmon (riis rohelise tee ja lõhega):
serves 4-6

150 g salmon fillet
1/2-1 nori sheet (the original recipe said 1/4, but I used more and liked it)
250 g short-grain rice
1 tbsp green tea leaves (sencha)
1 tsp wasabi paste
4 tsp shoyu (soy sauce)

Salt the salmon and set it aside on a baking-parchment lined oven tin for about 30 minutes.
If you don't have cooked rice, cook it using 350 ml water (bring to a fast boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer until all the water is absorbed).
Preheat your oven to 180 C
Wipe the salt off with a kitchen towel and put in the oven using the grill function for about 5 minutes, until it's cooked through.
Cut the nori into thin strips
Remove the skin and bones and flake with a fork.
Put some rice in the bowls (if your rice is cold, you can heat it by pouring hot water on it through a sieve).
Put salmon pieces on top.
Sprinkle with the nori-strips.
Boil some water, pour out 600 ml and let it cool slightly, then cover the green-tea leaves with it and leave to infuse for 45 seconds (yes, I actually timed it). Strain the tea.
Add some wasabi on top of everything in the bowl and gently pour the tea on, season with soy sauce. In order for the wasabi to evenly mix with the "broth" you probably need to stir it gently with a fork.

It was lovely. And definitely should be added to the list of perfect hangover foods, should you have such a list. The Japanese, as always, seem to know what they're doing.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Jumpstarting the MOJO in Paris - charging to 200 J...CLEAR!...

So, Paris - a foodies dream city. Right?
The lovely husband took us there on a mini-break and we spent 3 blissful days roaming the streets, shopping and, of course - stuffing our faces with every imaginable delicacy.

Here's a short overview.
As for my foodie MOJO, I see an inkling of light in the end of the tunnel. The Paris trip and some amazing Japanese cook-books I got for my B-day seem to be forcing me out of my culinary coma.

My first breakfast at a cafe near Bastille - Galette Ble de noir (Rye galette, I think, the waitresses frenglish demanded a lot of imagination to construe any kind of a meaning to what she was telling us)

a bakery in Les Marais

l'eclair cafe (coffee eclair, was delicious, obviously)

lot's of sushi places to choose from, this one is on Vieille du Temple, a lovely street in the neighbourhood called Les Marais

mindblowingly tasty onion soup, a restaurant in the Etienne Marcel neighbourhood

confit de canard (duck roasted in fat) in the same restaurant on Etienne Marcel

and finally, the orgasmic creme brulee in the same restaurant

the world famous Laduree bakery in St.Germain, the macaroons there are divine

les moules (mussles with home made fries) in a lovely restaurant in L'Isle de St.Louis

one of the veggie stalls at the Marche des Enfants Rouges (the oldes market in Paris)

Well... there's that. And if that doesn't help, there were the lovely escargot, drowned in garlic-butter, the fabulous cheese shop near Les Marche des Enfants Rouges, where we spent our first hour in slack-jawed amazement. And of course lovely breakfast croquettes in street-cafes, where tables are so small and placed so closely together that you're literally having your coffee with everyone there.
It was lovely. Really. Lovely.