Thursday, December 27, 2012

Herring Omelet Recipe

Herring Omelet

Nice, easy and nutritious dish. Of all the fishes, herring has one of the highest  levels of omega 3. Omega 3 is good for your brains. 

Even though herring is one of the healthier fishes, it is quite reasonably priced. Good things don't necessarily have to be the most expensive all the time. The less awareness there is of herring and its benefits, the better it is for us!

Herring Omelet
About 100 grams herring, fresh or smoked, diced into cm squares
2 eggs, beaten
¼ onion, finely diced

  1. Add oil to non-stick frying pan and place over medium high heat
  2. Add onions and cook until tender. Reduce heat to medium
  3. Mix together eggs and herring, add to frying pan and cook until the bottom starts to turn brown. Turn over and cook the other side.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Puff Pastry White Chocolate Cookies Recipe

Puff Pastry White Chocolate Cookies

Just two ingredients are required to make these cookies, and cookie or cake mix is not one of them. These are incredibly quick and easy to make. Spread the puff pastry with chocolate, roll, cut and bake. That’s pretty much the whole recipe in one sentence.

You will end up with cookies that are buttery and crispy, flavoured with slightly caramelized white chocolate. 

The French make something called a palmier. Palmiers are made with puff pastry and sugar, and the cookies are shaped like a palm tree or elephant ear. 

I didn’t give any measurements in the recipe below. You can decide how much chocolate to use. I generally prefer less sweet desserts so I spread the chocolate sparingly. But you can be as generous as you want.

A tip for melting white chocolate. Place chocolate in a bowl and put it in an oven that has been heated to about 50°C/120°F and turned off. This method takes time but requires no attention, and there is no risk of burning, either yourself or the chocolate.

Puff Pastry White Chocolate Cookies

Puff pastry, thawed if using frozen pastry
White chocolate, melted

  1. Heat oven 200°C/390°F.
  2. Melt the white chocolate
  3. Spread the white chocolate over puff pastry, leaving about a centimeter border at the end of the pastry
  4. Roll up the pastry. Chill the pastry if it is too soft
  5. Cut the rolled pastry into ½ centimeter thick slices
  6. Place the sliced pastry on baking paper, place another sheet of baking paper on top and flatten it either by pushing down with the palm of your hands, or using a rolling pin. Aim for about 1-2 millimeter thickness
  7. Bake until golden brown and delicious, about 10-15 minutes

Puff Pastry White Chocolate Cookies

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Crème Caramel Recipe

Crème Caramel

This is a lighter recipe that uses milk instead of cream. Many of the recipes I saw online used milk instead of cream. I don’t know the history of crème caramel but I presume it was initially made with cream but now the milk based versions are becoming more popular. I have never tried crème caramel made with cream but I think I would prefer the milk based version because of lightness. 

I've also tried  crème caramel made with oat milk and the result was absolutely fantastic. I preferred the oat milk version. In addition to bringing extra flavour, oat milk also added a bit of color.

Recipe Source: Mary Berry

For the caramel
160g/6oz sugar
6 tablespoon water
Unsalted butter, for greasing the ramekins

For the custard
4 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
25g/1oz sugar
600ml full-fat milk

  1. Heat oven 150°C/300°F. Warm the ramekins in the oven, so they are warm when the caramel is poured in.
  2. First make the caramel. Pour the sugar and six tablespoons of water into a clean stainless steel pan.
  3. Dissolve the sugar slowly, stirring with a wooden spoon over a low heat.
  4. When there are no sugar granules left, stop stirring and boil until the sugar turns a dark copper colour.
  5. Remove immediately from the heat to ensure the caramel does not burn. Quickly pour the caramel into the warmed ramekins. Set aside to cool and become hard. (Do not put in the fridge because the sugar will absorb moisture and go soft and tacky). Once hard, butter the sides of the ramekins above the level of the caramel.
  6. For the custard, whisk the eggs, vanilla extract and sugar together in a bowl until well mixed.
  7. Pour the milk into a saucepan, gently heat over a low heat until you can still just dip your finger in for a moment, then strain the milk through a fine sieve onto the egg mixture in the bowl.
  8. Whisk together until smooth, then pour the mixture into the prepared ramekins.
  9. Stand the ramekins in a roasting tin and fill the tin half-way with boiling water from a kettle.
  10. Cook in the oven for about 20-30 minutes or until the custard has set. Do not overcook the custard – check around the edges of the dishes, to make sure no bubbles are appearing.
  11. Take the crème caramels out of the oven, remove the ramekins from the tray and set on a cooling rack. When cool, transfer to the fridge overnight so that the caramel is absorbed into the custard.
  12. To serve, loosen the sides of the custard by tipping the ramekin and loosen with a small palette knife round the edges. Place a serving dish on top of the ramekin and turn upside down.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Crème Fraiche Fish Mousse Sauce with Pasta Recipe

Cremé Friache Fish Sauce with Pasta

This is a really quick and easy dish. The fish is pureed before serving and this completely elevates the taste.  It is surprisingly different, and arguably tastier, than having 'unpureed' fish with crème fraiche or smetana. I knew pureed fish would taste different but I didn't expect it to be this different.   

Some people may scream at the thought of pureeing an expensive piece of fish. But we puree fish in our mouth, so I had no issues with pureeing it before eating. 

I’ve tried this dish with salmon, canned tuna and herring. My favourite is salmon, followed by canned tuna and herring taking last spot, unfortunately. Herring is still delicious, though not as delicious as salmon or tuna. 

About 120 grams finely diced fish (such as salmon or herring) or small can of tuna (185 grams)
¼ cup smetana or creme fraiche or thick yogurt
¼ onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon oil
Lemon juice (optional)

  1. Heat saucepan over medium heat and sauté onions until they turn soft
  2. Add garlic, sauté for couple of minutes. Don’t let it turn brown
  3. Add fish, salt and pepper and cook until the fish is done. Add lemon (optional). Cremé fraiche is already tangy so you may not need lemon.
  4. Add smetana and puree the mixture. I used a hand held stick blender
Smetana Fish Sauce with Pasta

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Swedish Red cabbage (Rödkål) Recipe

Swedish Red Cabbage (Rödkål)
This braised red cabbage dish is usually part of the Swedish Christmas table. Its popular in other Scandinavian countries. I also heard that Germans prepare something similar, and I presume other European countries make some version of it. There are many different versions made in Sweden. The recipe below comes from Per Morberg, a Swedish actor, chef and news presenter.

Braised red cabbage might sound dull and boring. Not this version, the sweet and acidic flavours are quite addictive. I couldn’t stop eating them. The salad is quite refreshing, and of course cabbage is good for you as well.

I wasn’t sure whether I found the cabbage a bit too sweet for my liking, I am undecided. That’s just my personal preference, I might prefer slightly more acidity and less sweetness. Next time I will half the about of syrup.

Swedish Red Cabbage (Rödkål)

Adopted from

1 red cabbage, about 0.5 kg
1 onion
2 apples
4 tablespoons syrup or honey (you can use syrups such as maple, dark or golden)
4 tablespoons red currant jelly (or any other jelly such as strawberry or raspberry)
2 tablespoons cider vinegar (or substitute with red wine or balsamic vinegar)
5 pcs cloves, ground
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup water
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Shred the cabbage. 
  2. Peel and slice the onions and apples
  3. Heat butter over medium high heat in a large saucepan
  4. Sauté cabbage, onions and apples until onions turn soft
  5. Cover and cook until cabbage turns tender
  6. Add jelly, syrup or honey, vinegar, water, and cloves and cook uncovered for a further 5 minutes
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Russian Honey Cake (Medovik) Recipe

Russian Honey Cake

Looking at the photo you probably think this is an ordinary honey cake, cut across and filled with cream. Russian honey cake is quite different from any other cake that I made, even different from the Armenian Cake.

Honey cake batter is similar to a cookie batter, no milk is used and the consistency is similar to cookie dough. The dough is rolled out relatively thinly and then baked. You end up with something resembling large cookies. The ‘cookies’ are layered with cream and allowed to rest for many hours. As a result the cookies become soft like soggy biscuits, nice soggy biscuits, not the kind associated with British ‘tradition’! Sorry for mentioning this.  

The texture of the cake is fantastic. Some of the moisture from the cream filling goes into the cake, softening the cake and firming the cream.

The near perfect layers looks like something that only professional bakers can achieve. Obviously not, if I can do it. This cake is really quick and easy to assemble.

Russian honey cake is normally served with a sour cream filling. Instead of sour cream filling I made egg free vanilla custard. I have given recipes for both below. Also, I used much less cream that normally used. The cream layer is quite thin, as you can see. You should be a lot more generous with cream than I was.

Russian Honey Cake

Recipe source: Whats Cooking America

¾ cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
¼ cup butter
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour

Sour Cream Filling
2 cups sugar
1½ litre smetana or sour cream 

Egg Free Vanilla Custard
2 cups milk
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour
½ vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Heat oven to 190°C/375°F. 
  2. In a small bowl, combine sugar and eggs
  3. In a large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add honey, egg-sugar mixture and baking powder. Stir constantly until well blended and foamy.
  4. Remove from heat. Stir in flour until dough is not sticky If the dough is sticky, add more flour (a little at a time).
  5. Separate dough into five (or more, or less) equal pieces, depending on how many layers you want
  6. Using a floured rolling pin, roll one piece of dough into a round 1/4-inch thick. Place on floured or greased cookie sheet and bake until just barely golden but not brown, about 3 to 5 minute. Remove from baking sheet and cool on a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining four sections of the dough, re-flouring cookie sheet if necessary.
  7. To prepare Cream Filling. Whisk together sour cream and sugar. Don't whisk too hard otherwise it may split or get runny. Chill before using.
  8. To prepare custard: Heat milk and sugar until milk almost boils. Slit the vanilla bean, scrape the seeds and add to the milk, or add vanilla extract. In a bowl mix cornflour with a small amount of water to form a paste. Add the paste to milk and simmer until you get the desired consistency. Keep stirring throughout the process.
  9. To assemble cake, coat each layer with cream and place on top of each other. Allow to set for at least 6 hours before serving. Optional: For the top layer crumble the last piece of cake and sprinkle over the top layer

Russian Honey Cake

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Draniki (Belarusian Potato Pancake) Recipe


Some years ago a Belarusian friend promised to make me draniki’s if I visited Belarus. I didn’t visit, never got the chance to try authentic homemade draniki and it got forgotten until I saw it on Yuliya’s blog. It brought back memories and the urge to make it in my own home.

The word draniki means 'having being grated'. It may not be the most enticing sounding name but don't let the word discourage you. With its crispy exterior and soft interior, draniki's are absolutely delicious. It is generally served with sour cream but I was quite happy to eat it on its own.

Russiapedia has the following to say about draniki:

Draniki originated in Russia some 200 years ago. The first mention of the dish dates back to 1830, though it is also said the dish was a kind of imitation of a German course. There are international variants of Russian draniki such as Ukrainian deruny or kakorki, Polish tartyuhy and Israeli latkes.

Draniki, quite unlike Japanese sushi or French fondue are not considered an exquisite dish. This is due to the “low origin” of the main ingredient – the potato.

There are numerous recipes for the dish that vary from family to family and from region to region. Some add onions; others who are more carnivorous add minced meat and still others mix grated potatoes with grated carrots.

But traditional Russian draniki are prepared in accordance to several fixed rules, the main one being never use flour when making draniki!

The traditional recipe just uses potatoes, onion, sourcream and salt. All ingredients are mixed then fried. The traditional recipe looks interesting but I have already made something similar before, my baked version. The traditional version mixes sourcream with the batter whereas the ‘modern’ recipe serves sourcream on the side. Perhaps the Belorussians deconstructed the original recipe even before today's chefs knew what deconstruction means!


5 lbs potatoes
1 medium onion
2 eggs
3 tablespoons flour
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable oil
Sour cream for serving (optional)

  1. Grate the onions and potatoes in a large bowl. Grate onions first. If you start with potatoes they will discolor 
  2. Add eggs, flout, garlic, salt and pepper and mix well
  3. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add 1-2 tablespoons of oil
  4. Place tablespoons of batter in the pan and flatten
  5. Cook until the bottom is golden brown, turn over and cook on the other side. You may need to add more oil when turning over the pancakes


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hershey's Chocolate Fudge Recipe

Chocolate Fudge

One of the first things I ever made using a recipe was chocolate fudge. The recipe I used appeared in the user manual of an electric frying pan. I distinctly remember the fudge being slightly crumbly, not chewy at all and melting quite quickly in the mouth, unlike the stuff available now. And it was made from cocoa powder, not chocolate. Unfortunately the frying pan is long gone, along with the user manual.

Recently I started looking for the recipe online and came across a recipe on Hershey’s site. I don’t remember if the recipe I used was different from Hershey’s but it looked pretty good. The fudge turned out as I hoped, crumbly, not chewy at all and melting quite quickly. 

According to Hersheys, this is one of their most requested recipes, but also one of the most difficult. The recipe suggests using a candy thermometer. I don’t have one and managed without it. Perhaps I was lucky. If not done properly the fudge can turn out soft or rock hard. If it is soft it will be a delicious chocolate sauce. And if it turns hard you can use it for self-defense. Death by chocolate!

This may sound like common sense, and it is, but I will mention it anyway. Use a very clean saucepan. My chocolate fudge had a very faint fishy aroma. It took me a while to realize that I had used the same saucepan earlier to cook salmon. I washed the saucepan but obviously not thoroughly enough. The fudge picked up some of the scent. The salmon I cooked earlier didn’t have a fishy smell but the fudge had a subtle but stronger fishy smell, if that makes sense. It smelt more like anchovies. The smell was subtle so it didn’t bother me. If fish flavoured chocolate fudge comes on the market I won't be jumping up and down with excitement.

Chocolate Fudge

Recipe source: Hersheys

3 cups sugar
2/3 cup cocoa
1/8 teaspoon salt
1½ cups milk
¼ cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Line 8 or 9 inch square pan with foil; butter foil.
  2. Mix sugar, cocoa and salt in heavy 4-quart saucepan; stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to full rolling boil. Boil, without stirring, until mixture reaches 112°C/234°F on candy thermometer or until small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water, forms a soft ball which flattens when removed from water. (Bulb of candy thermometer should not rest on bottom of saucepan.) 
  3. Remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla. DO NOT STIR. Cool at room temperature to 43°C/110°F (lukewarm). Beat with wooden spoon until fudge thickens and just begins to lose some of its gloss. Beat too little and the fudge will be too soft. Beat too long and it will be hard and sugary.
  4. Quickly spread into prepared pan; cool completely. Cut into squares. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature.
Chocolate Fudge

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Spinach and Blue Cheese Filo Triangles (Spanakopita) Recipe

 Spinach and blue cheese filo triangles

This is a slight variation of spanakopita. Spanakopita is generally made with feta cheese. I substituted with blue cheese. I think both feta and blue cheese work well with spinach, but blue cheese is what I had in the refrigerator when I made this.

Making these spinach and blue cheese filo triangles is simple but you need gentle hands. Filo is quite delicate to work with, it can tear quite easily if it is dry or not defrosted properly, in case you are using frozen pastry. Other than that, it is as simple as gift wrapping. Here's a word of wisdom! You can wrap the present or spinach mixture as neatly as possible but ultimately it is the contents that count. So wrap your presents neatly but don't put too much effort into it. And wrap that spinach mixture neatly as well but don't overdo it.

To prevent filo pastry from getting dry, cover with damp cloth. Damp cloth will not stick to the pastry.

200 grams frozen spinach, defrosted
200 grams blue cheese
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon oil
Salt, pepper and chili powder to taste
Melted butter
Filo pastry

  1. Heat oven to 190°C/375°F
  2. Heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion has become tender.
  3. Drain the water from the spinach. Add spinach, blue cheese, salt, pepper and chili powder to the onions and mix well. Let it cool
  4. Place unrolled filo pastry sheets on a flat surface. Brush one sheet with melted butter and then cut the filo pastry into strips about 10-12 cm wide
  5. Place another filo pastry on top of the buttered filo pastry.
  6. Place a generous amount of the spinach mixture on one side. Fold one end over so it forms a triangle (see picture above)
  7. Continue folding until you reach the end
  8. Brush the pastry triangles with butter, place on baking tray and bake until golden brown and delicious, about 30-40 minutes.

 Spinach and blue cheese filo triangles

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