lacto-ovo

Beet-Potato Two Colored Gnocchi

November 19, 2014 2 Comments

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Thanks to Fiji Water to sponsor this partner post about “Perfection Takes Time”. All the opinions written in this post are my own.

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It takes a lot of time to make the perfect gnocchi… at least for me. Especially if the cute, little gnocchis are two colored: red from the beet and yellow from the potato. Aren’t they beautiful?

When I was thinking what to “create” for this campaign, gnocchi came to my mind. Whenever I make gnocchi, it takes a lot of relaxing time, persistence and patience to roll the dough into the perfect “ropes” on a lightly floured surface. I think a dish that takes time to make, deserves a simple serving… I tossed these two colored little potato pillows with extra virgin olive oil and topped with shaved Pecorino, a pinch of freshly grated black pepper and you are in heaven.

On a Saturday or Sunday morning if the weather is gloomy and cloudy, go to the kitchen and make these delicate, light gnocchi. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy… but the end result… oh my, yum!

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Fiji Water trickles down through the layers of volcanic rock over time and gathers minerals and electrolytes along the way that create Fiji’s soft smooth taste – slow cooking and baking often brings out the most amazing flavors and scents of almost any ingredient. This process is what the “Perfection Takes Time” campaign is all about. The fact that sometimes, slower is better.

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I learnt this recipe from a Hungarian chef, Viktor Segal who I tested a recipe for his first cookbook for.

Get this and many other “Perfection Takes Time” recipes here or visit Fiji Water’s homepage.

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Spinach Gorgonzola Strudel With Sesame Seeds From Karin Of Yum And More Blog

September 3, 2013 1 Comment

fresh Turkish spinach

Karin and I met two years ago in London at Food Blogger Connect.  We got on well for the first time we started talking. Karin likes talking a lot… and I love listening to her stories for hours. She is lively, friendly and funny. She writes the wonderful blog Yum and More.

Hers she is sharing a delicious struder recipe. Karin says: “I am very excited about doing this guest post on Zita’s wonderful blog Zizi’s Adventures for two reasons: it means that Zita and Ivan’s precious child has arrived into this world and because it is an honor.

I have chosen a simple recipe for spinach gorgonzola strudel with sesame seeds. It is delicious and elegant, a perfect combination of tastes and can be ready within an hour and 15 minutes. Although we never ate spinach when I was a child and I didn’t like it as a teenager I really love it’s versatility now and will buy it fresh whenever I see nice spinach at an acceptable price. I then wash it and shrink it in olive oil as described below and freeze it in portions of around 300 grams about the amount left over from 500 grams of fresh leaves. I prefer Turkish spinach to the local German kind, its stems are longer and the leaves are thinner and don’t leave that thickness on your tongue that some spinaches do. I use spinach in pasta sauce, on quiche or pizza, and in this lovely spinach strudel that makes a perfect light meal for three with a side of tomato or other salad, a dollop of yoghurt. It is also perfect as an appetizer for a larger crowd.”

spinach mound on pastry

Spinach Gorgonzola Strudel With Sesame Seeds

Ingredients

– 270 g puff pastry, rolled into a rectangle
– 120 g ripe Gorgonzola cheese or other blue/green cheese
– 500 g fresh spinach or 300 g cooked spinach leaves
– 6 large mushroom, cleaned and cut into pieces*
– olive oil
– 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
– 1 teaspoon Arrabiata spice mix (a spicy chili based mix used for pasta sauce usually contains: garlic, tomatoes, hot chili, carrots, celery, basil and salt)
– 1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
– 1/2- 1 clove of chopped garlic, optional to taste
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– flour for dusting while rolling pastry dough
– 1 egg, beaten for egg wash
– plain yoghurt for serving

* You can leave out the mushrooms if you prefer.

Method

If you are using fresh spinach, cut off the stems and wash the leaves 2-3 times until no sand or dirt remains. Spin the leaves in a salad spinner to shake off excess water.

Heat a non-stick pan on medium heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Now place all the spinach leaves into the pan at once, squish them in or pile them up, don’t worry they will shrink. Cover with a lid or other top. After 3 minutes lift the top and add some salt, mix and stir gently until all leave have collapsed. Do not overcook you just want the leaves to shrink together. Remove from the heat and put spinach in a colander to let any further water drip off and to cool it.

Cut the Gorgonzola into smaller pieces.

Preheat the oven to 180° C.

Wipe down the pan you used to shrink the spinach and reheat on medium heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Put in the chopped shallot, the mushrooms and the garlic if using, stir-fry for 4 minutes lowering the heat so that it doesn’t burn. Squeeze the spinach one last time to remove any excess water, roughly chop it and put it in the pan. Add the Arrabiata mix. Stir the mixture carefully to blend and remove from the heat.

Roll out the dough on baking paper to the size of a baking sheet – use some flour if needed. Place the spinach mixture on the dough carefully making an even mound of it on one end of the long side of the baking sheet. Leave a spinach free rim of dough on either end of the mound. The spinach will still be warm and will make the dough soft so you need to be fast and careful.

Distribute the chunks of Gorgonzola along the spinach and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

Now roll up the strudel carefully. Start by folding in the short sides and then rolling up the long way. Use the baking paper and a dough scraper for help. The dough will be soft because the spinach is warm.

Turn the strudel over if necessary so the seam is on the bottom, and the strudel in the middle of the baking sheet on the baking paper. Cut two small slit in the top to release steam or make 2 holes and decorate them with pastry cut-outs. Brush the roll with egg wash and bake for 35 minutes until the pastry is done and golden brown.

Serve in slices – use a bread knife to cut the slices – with a dollop of yoghurt and enjoy!

spinach strudel served

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Interview to get to know Karin more…

Where are you from?
K: I am orginally from the United States I was born in Brooklyn, New York and grew up in New England and in France living with my French Grandmother outside of Paris.

Where do you live?
K: I live in Frankfurt am Main, Germany since 1984 and have lived in Germany since 1977. I really like living in Frankfurt but hope to retire to the United States some day.

What is the name of your blog?
K: Yum and More.

How long have you been blogging?
K: Since September 2010

When did you start cooking/baking?
K: As a child and for my family as a teen.

Who (where) did you learn cooking/baking from?
K: From my Grandmother, my mother and from my own curiousity.

What is your signature dish?
K: My “Leaning Towers of Peaches and Tomatoes”. My lasagna is the most asked for but it is not my personal favorite although delicious. My best dishes definitely contain lemon, tarragon or cilantro, mustard and vinegar and are composed salads or veal dishes such as “blanquette de veau”, my sauces are pretty awesome too.

What is your favorite vegetarian/vegan meal?
K: This strudel or something with fresh peas. I detest green beans!

Where do you get inspiration from?
K: Everywhere! The market, my travels, magazines, blogs, cookbooks…. I soak up inspiration through my eyes and it goes straight to my taste buds and my food inspiration memory.

What was the most memorable food you have eaten during your travels?
K: Definitely whole crab in thick curry sauce on Lankayan Island in Malaysia. I also found Singapore to be an amazing city for food inspiration.

Name three things you always have in your fridge!
K: Mustard, cheese, fresh herbs

Is there a food that always reminds you of home?
K: Lobster, clams, steak and cheesecake

What would people be surprised to find in your kitchen? Is there anything you want to share?
K: I have 30 types of mustard and 15 types of vinegar. I prefer cooking with gas to induction and I love my built-in steamer. My kitchen would not be complete without the frog picture.

Zucchini Flower And Tomato Tian From Emiko Of The Emiko Davies Blog

June 20, 2013 2 Comments

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Let me introduce you my third guest, Emiko who writes her wonderul food blog Emiko Davies. We met a few years ago, thanks again for Food Blogger Connect (it really connects people!). Giulia introduced her to me and I think we had our first long conversation on the first day of the conference at dinner time. Since then we haven’t stopped talking! 🙂 Emiko loves historical cookbooks and of course she brought a recipe inspired by Elizabeth David, one of her favourite food writers. Here is Emiko…

“Elizabeth David is one of my favourite food writers of all time. Her writing is witty, decisive and entertaining. She wrote about the real food culture and traditions of sunny Mediterranean countries, educating and inspiring the mid-century British palate. This tian recipe is inspired by one of her articles on a simple and rustic Provençal picnic dish consisting of eggs and seasonal vegetables. Named after the earthenware dish it is baked in, the tian, like so many good country dishes, doesn’t really have a strict recipe, it changes from kitchen to kitchen and season to season. The basic idea is to use what you have on hand: a good proportion of cooked seasonal vegetables, perhaps spinach or potatoes (or both), zucchini, even a rich tomato sauce or rice can be added to the mix for colour or texture; plenty of fresh herbs; some grated cheese; and eggs, beaten like you would for an omelette. Eaten hot or cold, it’s a great portable dish to take on picnics or barbeques. This recipe includes mixing a fresh tomato sauce through the eggs for a marbled effect of rich red sauce and golden eggs. It is topped with fresh zucchini flowers and is just as pretty to look at as it is tasty!”

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Zucchini Flower And Tomato Tian

Ingredients
– 500 gr of ripe tomatoes
– 1 clove of garlic
– a handful of fresh herbs, such as parsley, thyme or marjoram
– about 6 zucchini flowers or enough to cover the tian
– 6 eggs
– a handful of grated Gruyere or Parmesan
– salt and pepper to taste
– olive oil

Method

You will need a suitable pan to bake this in, preferably earthenware if you want to be traditional, about 20cm long and at least 5cm deep. Heat the oven to 160°C.

Prepare a sauce with the tomatoes by first scoring the skin with a cross on their bottoms, then blanching them for 1 minute in boiling water. Place them in a bowl of cold water and then you will easily be able to peel off their skins. Dice them roughly.

In a large skillet, very gently heat up the chopped garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until it just begins to colour. Add the tomatoes and let simmer and reduce for about 10 minutes. Set aside but keep warm.

Prepare the zucchini flowers by cutting them in half, length-wise and taking out the stamen (you can leave the stalks on if you like) so that you now have flat flower halves.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl until frothy, add your favourite herbs, chopped, the cheese and season with salt and pepper. Pour into the baking dish, mix through the hot tomato sauce (it is important that the mixture be hot not cold) and arrange the squash blossoms on top, flattened out, to cover the surface. Drizzle a couple of glugs of olive oil over the top and bake for about 20 minutes or until the eggs are set and golden brown.

Serve hot or cold with plenty of crusty bread.

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Interview to get to know Emiko a bit more…

Where are you from? Where do you live?
E: It’s not an easy question to answer in a short sentence for me as I’m such a roamer! But I now live in Melbourne – it’s been one year exactly since I moved here from Florence with my husband Marco. I was in Italy for 7 years and before that 4 years in the US and before that 8 years in China, but I am half Japanese and half Australian and grew up in Australia!

What is the name of your blog?
E: My blog doesn’t really have it’s own name as is the usual thing to do – it’s part of my website, emikodavies.com.

How long have you been blogging?
E: I can’t believe it as it seems just like yesterday I started blogging but last December my blog was 2 years old!

When did you start cooking/baking?
E: As soon as I could reach the stove top (helped with a small stool), I can remember my grandmother teaching me how to make scrambled eggs. I’ve always loved being in the kitchen.

Who (where) did you learn cooking/baking from?
E: When I was little, I learned a lot from helping my mother and my grandmother in the kitchen. As a teenager, I loved baking and devoured cooking magazines and cookbooks – I have to say that the very first of Donna Hay’s cookbooks when she was with Marie Claire and Jamie Oliver’s first two cookbooks were vital in my college years and I cooked so much out of them I memorised many of the dishes!

What is your signature dish?
E: I don’t think I have one, I’m usually trying out different dishes! There is one that I love eating but I always get Marco to make it for me – tagliolini with a lemon and goats cheese sauce. It’s a staple in our house.

What is your favourite vegetarian/vegan meal?
E: Oh, so many to choose from. The ones that come to mind first also happen to be some of my favourite comfort foods, like eggs poached in tomato sugo (another staple!) or a Japanese dish of fried eggplant topped with miso sauce. Even just simple spaghetti with aglio, olio, peperoncino (garlic, oil and chilli) is hard to go past!

Where do you get inspiration from?
E: Above all from traditional regional Italian cooking. During the many years I spent living in Tuscany I developed a great fascination with traditional, even historical, dishes. I have a growing collection of historical cookbooks that I love reading through for ideas – from Pellegrino Artusi (1891) to Ada Boni (1927) to Bartolomeo Scappi (1570) to Elizabeth David (1956)!

What was the most memorable food you have eaten during your travels?
E: There is almost too much to write about for this question – a holiday in Puglia in Italy’s deep south was truly eye-opening for me, in terms of food. But another unforgettable experience was an amazing cooking class that my husband Marco and I took in Marrakech. After a treasure hunt for the ingredients in the souks, we made a fish tagine and the most heavenly Moroccan carrot salad and sesame biscuits. The carrot salad I have made over and over again. We were also on our honeymoon so that could have also helped make it so memorable!

Name three things you always have in your fridge!
E: Unsalted butter, free-range eggs and organic, whole milk.

Is there a food that always reminds you of home?
E: My mother always made such a variety of dishes, some Japanese, some “western”, that there isn’t really one thing that stands out. But maybe the closest thing is a quick dish that she used to make for us as kids; it’s the sort of thing I’ll make when I don’t feel well. It’s simply an egg, beaten with some soy sauce and scrambled with steamed or boiled rice. It’s nice eaten with some crunchy dried nori!

What would people be surprised to find in your kitchen? Is there anything you want to share?
E: I own a garlic crusher. It’s maybe not the craziest item to be surprised by in the kitchen but I love Elizabeth David’s article on garlic crushers being the most useless utensil in the kitchen – when she owned a homewares shop, she even refused to stock them! I personally like to crush garlic with the back of a knife and leave it at that, but the garlic crusher was a house warming gift and actually, I will admit to using it every now and then!

All photos are courtesy of Emiko Davies.

Best Of 2012

December 31, 2012 3 Comments

I’m sharing my favourite top 12 recipes from 2012. Some of them were very popular – according to statistics – but I loved these 12 the most. I really enjoyed looking back at all of these vegetarian or vegan meals I cooked or baked over the past year.All in all I shared more sweet recipes than savory. Of course it doesn’t mean we only eat sweets, I just somehow like taking photos of these delicious yuminess!

I’m excited for the new year and all it will bring! I hope you’ll still be here reading my short stories, commenting and enjoying my recipes. You inspire me to make this blog better and better day by day. See you in 2013!

Let’s see the favourites of 2012…

January

This month I really loved cocoa, chocolate and walnut cookies! I bet you did too! Also shakshuka was a new way for me to poach eggs in herby tomato sauce. Yum!

February

In February we challenged ourselves. We were planning to do a 29 day sugar-free (no cakes, no chocolates, no sweet fruits only apple, lemon, orange and mandarin sometimes) vegan challenge but we ended it on the 25th day. 25 days were enough. We enjoyed it, we had ups and downs but we couldn’t bear not to eat anything sweet anymore.

As a result of the challenge this month only brought savory recipes. One of my favourites is this spring roll with citrus soy sauce but I also loved the udon noodles with creamy tahini sauce, roasted kale and tofu.

March

This month it’s unequivocal that the best recipe was the raw chocolate ganache cake. This has been one of the most popular recipes on the blog.

April

In April I shared the first recipe from the cookbook, Veg Every Day. I could cook and bake all the recipes from the book because all of them are vegetarian or vegan. With over 200 recipes and vibrant photography, River Cottage Veg Every Day is a timely eulogy to the glorious green stuff. This kale and mushroom lasagne was a big hit.

May

The biggest challenge in May was making strawberry leather or you can call it the healthy version of gummy candy. This leather thing is exciting not only for children, for adults too. It’s very easy to make (and a few hours) but don’t miss it.

June

Another sweet favourite in June: vegan chocolate popsicles with roasted almonds. They are creamy, thick chocolate-y vegan popsicles to enjoy! Yum! I also loved making and eating this raw zucchini spagetthi with creamy tahini sauce.

July

I love nut roasts and vegetarian/vegan patties. I made these yum quinoa patties for a picnic.

August

From the end of the summer my favourite recipe is this milk pie I baked with my recently deceased grandmother. This is actually a thick pancake baked in the oven. It is not too sweet but moist and soft.

September

Imagine little sweet indigo-coloured berries and little sweetish yellow corn kernels in soft, moist muffins with a bit of crispness from the cornmeal. You got it? These vegan corn blueberry muffins are just like I described.

October

I love cooking pancakes. I used carrot to make this soft, vegan and sugar-free pancakes. You can use  honey, agave, rice or maple syrup to pour over the pancakes. A real autumn Sunday indulgence…

November

I added pumpkin purée to this oatmeal that’s why its colour looks bright yellow. With a bit of maple syrup and spices it is one of the best comfort food breakfast during winter time. It is a small bowl of harmony in terms of its colour and taste.

December

This month was one of the busiest with 11 recipes I shared. It’s difficult to choose one of them so I let you make this decision. 🙂

Mákos Guba, The Traditional Hungarian Christmas Dessert

December 13, 2012 1 Comment

This dessert brings back so many memories from my childhood. In Hungary the Christmas tree is decorated on the Holy Night (December 24) in immediate families. For us, Christmas is a private, family holiday and we don’t go to parties. Most families decorate the tree together, but some families keep the tradition that the tree should be a surprise for children, who believe it is brought by angels.

When I was a child I entered the room with my brother only when the small tree bells rang. Everything was magical: the smell of the Christmas tree, lit candles and sparklers on the tree. Gifts were laid around the tree with small labels saying who they were for. We usually sang one or two Christmas songs, then opened the gifts and spent the night together.

The menu for the Holy Night in Hungary is very traditional. We usually have fish soup made from carp, followed by fried carp with french fries or potato salad. As a dessert we eat beigli, a special pastry roll filled with poppy seed or walnut.

Also a Christmas classic, mákos guba is a dessert made with poppy seeds and honey. Poppy seed is a popular ingredient all over Central-Eastern Europe and there are many dessert recipes in the Hungarian cuisine that call for it.

Mákos guba is baked in the belief that the poppy seeds bring good luck and lots of money in the new year. A quick way to make it is using a day-old, dry kifli, a crescent-shaped pastry, but you can use any type of roll or bread.

I make it the traditional way from yeasted dough as I learnt from my grandmother years ago. She was the one who was responsible for mákos guba to make it for the whole family. My dear granny passed away only two months ago and we miss her so much. This Christmas my mom and I are responsible for making this sweet, traditional dessert that reminds us how life precious and we have to respect what we have.

To get my recipe visit The Travel Belles’ website here.