Sunday, April 25, 2010

B b b beany

I've professed my love for various spreads, pastes, pates and other kinds of veggie-based goos on many occasions. And the time has come for a new beany goo post. Partially because, well, they're good (need to get those legumes y'know), and partially because I'm so lazy lazy and I just haven't cooked enough, or when I have, I haven't taken photographs etc. But I've made this particular broad-bean hummus at least twice already, so here goes.

Broad-bean hummus (Põldoa hummus):

1 can broad beans
1-2 tbsp cream cheese
1 tbsp mustard (I used Dijon once and Mediterranean mustard with Balsamico the other time and both were good).
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1-2 cloves of garlic

Peel and chop the garlic, blitz everything in a food processor.

Serve as a dip for julienned veggies or as a bread spread. Works well on it's own, but once I made these sandwiches with sautéed white mushrooms and plum tomatoes with oregano (canned) and that was so nice as well.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Nigella strikes again

Friends of mine were going white-water rafting, I couldn't go, but I did go to a little get-together preceding it and I must say, after hearing all these stories about needing to duck-tape your pants into your shoes and hypothermia and being really really wet, but hopefully not drowning - I wasn't all that sad anymore that I couldn't go. The pre-rafting thing was dubbed a 5 o'clock tea with cake, so I decided to turn to Nigella in deciding what kind of cake to make. At first I was kind of thinking of a cheesecake, perhaps one that I hadn't tried before, but by the time I went to the store I was pretty sure I'd make the almond/marzipan cake. Once I was at the store and saw that they had some nice ricotta, I changed my mind. The only problem was that I remembered seeing a recipe for an Italian ricotta-based cheesecake in Da Queen's book, but I didn't remember what else went in there. I had eggs at home so I just ended up getting ricotta, almost turned the car around to go and get some lemon too, but I didn't and when I got home it turned out that, well, the cake really just consisted of ricotta and eggs :D
I kid you not. Well that and sugar.

So here's the recipe to Joe Dolce's Italian Cheesecake from Nigella's How to be a Domestic Goddess. I normally prefer the cheesy cheesecakes, not the grainy cottage-cheesy ones, but this one was pretty nice. No competition with the New York or London one for me, but a nice, springy cake that is just the thing for a 5 o'clock tea. I pretty much followed the recipe, except I diminished the quantities somewhat, as it seemed enormous otherwise, and as I had "only" bought 600g of ricotta I ended up adding 250 g of Philadelphia cream-cheese. Oh well. And I added some brandy (don't ask me why, just seemed like the thing to do and it added a nice fragrance).
Oh, and as a warning, this is a cake that kind of needs to be made the day before, it's really easy, just takes time and lot's of flipping (ahem).

Joe Dolce's Italian Cheesecake (Joe Dolce itaaliapärane juustukook ricottast):
serves 8-10

9 large eggs
600 g ricotta
250 g Philadelphia cream cheese
200 g caster sugar + extra for sprinkling
1 tsp of vanilla extract
glug of brandy

For the strawberries:

500 g strawberries, cleaned and chopped
a glug of Balsamico
fresh mint leaves, chopped
1-2 tbsp sugar

Preheat the oven to 180 C.
Beat the eggs until well mixed.
In a separate bowl beat the ricotta and the Philadelphia until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar, eggs, vanilla and the brandy and beat some more.

Pour into a spring-form tin and bake for 1 1/4 h. Do not open the oven before that. After that time check the cake, if the edges have turned golden and it's just resistant to touch, you're good.
Then leave it in the oven with the door open for an hour.
Now take it out and let it completely cool of on a rack.
Line two large lipless plates with paper towels. Loosen the sides of the cake with a spatula (although I must say the sides to mine were loose on their own) and then undo the clasp of the spring form tin. Turn the cake, upside down on one of the plates. Remove the tin base, cover the cake with the second paper-towel lined plate and flip it again.
Now put it in the fridge for at least 12 hours (although mine was there for a night and then some more) so that it sits on some paper towels and is covered by some as well. These will soak up the extra moisture.
An hour before you want to eat it, take it out, remove the towels from the top, line a plate with fresh ones and again turn the cake upside down on the plate. Cover with more kitchen towels. Finally, after an hour, remove the towels, flip it onto a serving plate, remove those towels that were stuck underneath and sprinkle with caster sugar.

I followed Nigella's advice and served it with some mint and Balsamico infused strawberries. Vanilla custard might have been nice as well as our hostess pointed out.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Catering service?

I had bought this lovely piece of pork tenderloin and planned to make a nice salad, but then S got us a play-date with our friends and their little girl. And promised that we'd bring over something to eat. So I ended up preparing the salad ingredients at home and assembling the salads there. Even though it's not much different from showing up with a pizza or a store bought salad or some snacks, I had this nervous episode before leaving the house. For some reason I thought that it might not be a good thing to show up with a bunch of Tupperware containers in someone else’s kitchen and start asking for plates and knives etc. Luckily I was mistaken and our catering service entrance was well received :D

Pork tenderloin and parsley-pesto potato spring salad (Kevadine roheline salat sea sisefilee ja peterselli-pesto kartulitega):

serves 4

~600-700g piece of pork tenderloin
Lea Perrins sauce
1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 average potatoes
1 large tbsp of parsley pesto
2 pots of lettuce
handful of alfalfa sprouts
1/2 cucumber
2 - 3 stalks of celery
1 onion
1 pack of fresh baby spinach leavesˇ

Sprinkle the tenderloin with some Lea Perrin's sauce and set aside for about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Peel the potatoes and boil them until they're just tender. Cut into sectors.
Peel the cucumber and julienne it.
Slice the onion.
Chop the celery.
Heat the oil on a pan and quickly fry the tenderloin on each side, about 30 sec per side, so it's nice and brown, closes off the juices but doesn't start cooking really.
Season the tenderloin with some salt and pepper and wrap the tenderloin in some tinfoil and put it in the oven for about 15 min (60C meat thermometer).
Turn the heat to medium under the pan and quickly sauté the potatoes with the parsley-pesto, stirring just enough so that all the wedges are covered with pesto but careful not to break them.
I was aiming fro pink, but the after-cooking process that went on inside the tinfoil until we got to our friends house cooked it so that it was just outside the pink-point. It was still deliciously juicy and succulent though.
Wash the salad leaves and the spinach leaves and assemble the salads sprinkling with alfalfa sprouts, seasoning with salt and pepper and squeezing over some lime juice, mayo or any other kind of dressing you prefer.

Photos by Adriaan Kik

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ice Cream vol 3

So probably there will be a time, when I'll get bored with my fabulous ice cream maker, it hasn't happened so far, every time I make dessert I automatically think that I should make ice-cream. This one was my third I think. I wanted to have swirls in it like store-bought ice-cream can have swirls of caramel or chocolate sauce or marshmallow. So I wanted to have maple syrup swirls, but that didn't happen. Don't know why, have to keep digging for a swirl-method. Leave me a comment if you know. But apart from the obvious lack of swirls, it was pretty darn fabulous again.

Vanilla ice-cream with chunks of digestive biscuit and maple syrup (Vaniljejäätis digestiivküpsiste ja vahtrasiirupiga):
makes ~1 quart

500 ml whipping cream (38%)
250 ml half and half or milk (I used a 10% cream that's called a coffee cream here, yes I was going for rich :)
100 g sugar
2 large eggs
2 heaped tsps of vanilla sugar (couldn't get my hands on real vanilla bean paste or anything like that, but that'd obviously be better)
3 heaped tbsp of maple syrup
6-8 digestive biscuits, crumbled into large chunks

Whisk the eggs until light and fluffy, add the sugar and the vanilla-sugar (extract) a little at a time and continue whisking until blended and not grainy. Pour in the cream and the milk / half and half and continue whisking until smooth.
Pour the mixture into the ice-cream maker and crumble the biscuits. Add the biscuit chunks about 2 min before the ice-cream is done. That's also when I drizzled in the maple syrup, hoping the mixture was cold enough for the syrup to leave nice swirls but it ended up just getting combined into the mixture and giving everything a lovely hint of a maple syrup taste that worked well too.
I'll probably end up needing to give my ice-cream maker up for adoption before the bikini season comes too near :) Sighhh...