Monday, 12 October 2009

Carrot and arugula tart

Rabbits love carrots. Everybody knows that.
But can you imagine that cats like carrots too? But they really do!
I planned to make a carrot tart and just started to peel carrots... suddenly my kitten ran into the kitchen and jumped on to the chair watching the peelings fall down.

Why a carrot tart?
Some time ago one of my favourite dishes was grated carrots, cooked with some olive oil, salt and spices. Nothing special but I really love this sweet and spicy carrot taste.

Suddenly the idea of the tart appeared in my mind.
Some crust pastry, of cause, in which I added some sunflower seeds - they give the good fit to the carrots. And some dried lemon peel - it will go well with spices and will add some freshness.

The pastry goes to the fridge and I turn back to the carrots - I'll cut it into thin slices.
The kitten keeps on watching me and I take a clear bowl to let him watch the carrot slices jumping down from the grater.

When the pastry is cool enough I put it into the baking shape, add some mustard and carrot slices.

Soon the tart is ready. But well... I guess something fails...
I take some arugula leaves and put them on the tart.

Carrot and arugula tart

For the pastry*:

150 g all-purpose flour
75 g butter
50 g
sunflower seeds
1 egg
1 tsp dried lemon peel

* You may have some leftovers

For the filling:

3 carrots, cut into thin slices
1 tbsp grainy mustard
2-3 tbsp olive oil
a bunch of arugula
salt, pepper

In a large bowl, place the flour with the salt and sunflower seeds. Make a hole in the middle and break the egg, then add the butter. Mix until just homogeneous, form a ball and place in the fridge (covered with foil) for 30 minutes min. until firmer.
2. Preheat your oven at 390 F. Roll the dough and garnish 25*10 cm baking shape (I also use waxed paper).
3. Garnish the tart with some mustard and add carrot slices. Add some olive oil, salt and pepper.
Cook in the oven for about 20 to 25 min. Serve cold or lukewarm tawith fresh arugula leaves.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Autumn apple cookies

This year there are too many apples everywhere. My colleagues bring apples to our office, my friends pick apples in their gardens and share them with us. The majestic apple flavour mixes up with the fallen leaves smell and reminds us that autumn is coming.
In my mind the apple flavour is always associated with autumn. Farmers' markets which offer all sorts of apples, an apple garden near my friend's country house and surely apple pies!

One day when I was sitting in the office, drinking my green tea and trying to wake up two of my colleagues came to me with a smile.

- What if we bring some apples to you? Can you bake something with them, please?

Surely! I like apple pastry and I just love to bake!

Next day I saw a box full of apples in our office. Some of my colleagues wanted to make fun and put a list of paper near it. "Exchange! Take an apple and put some bread, cheese or an egg inside" - that what was written on it;)

What I was going to bake? Apple cookies, undoubtedly!
Firstly, the reciepe is very simple. Secondly, I can easiely bring them to the office.
And finaly, it is just veeeeery tasty!

These cookies are very soft and even if you are not fond of cookies, you will like them.
Sweet pastry goes well with sourish apples, and spices - I always add a lot of cinnamon and ground nutmeg - make a wonderful taste and flavour!

I put some more ingredients this time, as I planned to take some cookies to the office and also wanted to give Y. some. That was the good idea - when the cookies were ready, we ate at least third of them!

Apple cookies

For 25 pieces:

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup soft butter
1 egg
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1-2 apples, cut into small pieces

1. Preheat the oven at 390 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a bowl mix together flour, spices, salt and baking powder. Set aisde.
3. In another bowl whisk together butter and sugar. Mix well, then add an egg.
4. Add the flour mixture, stiring until just homogeneous.
5. Add the apple pieces.
6. Place 1 tsp of dough for each cookie onto the baking sheet, making sure to keep them about 2 inches apart.
7. Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes. Let them cool a little on racks or eat warm.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Cranberry clafoutis and first school day

When I was at school I used to feel very nervous after summer holidays, before the first school day. Why? Actually, I don’t know))
It seemed to be nothing out of the way, the same school, the same teachers, the same classmates. Everything was as usual.
But the last day of summer holidays always made me nervous. All the day I could not find any peace and in the evening could not just fall asleep.

A long time has passed, I graduated from school and now autumn does not mean the end of holidays anymore!
But this year I felt a little bit nervous at the end of summer again. Do you know why? My niece was going to school this year!

I felt restless all the evening: I checked my camera, my SD card, I wondered if I should take one lens or another one and tried to guess when I would return to work.
After all I got tired of all that stuff and went to kitchen.

"I need to cook something", - I thought.

Cooking always calms me.
Few days ago I bought some buckwheat flour and felt like trying to make clafoutis with it. So I took some buckwheat flour, cornstarch, grounded walnuts, cranberries and some cardamom – it goes well with walnuts and with cranberry – as it turned out.
Well, it was pure improvisation but I liked it very much!

What about first school day –everything was just wonderful! Everybody was joyful and happy – even my niece, who had to spent some hours at school;)

Buckwheat flour, walnut and cranberry clafoutis

for 4-6 serves:

butter, for the ramekins
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup grounded walnuts
1 tsp cornstarch
3 eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
4-5 cardamom beans, seeds scraped out and crushed
4/5 cup cranberries

1. Preheat the oven at 350 F. Butter 4 or 6 ramekins and set aside.
2. In a bowl combine buckwheat flour with cornstarch, sugar, walnuts and cardamom.
3. Add eggs one by one and mix well mix.
4. Add the milk and the cranberry, mix until just homogeneous.
5. Divide the batter between the ramekins. Drop some more cranberries in each ramekin.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve clafoutis lukewarm.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Fig day

I’m looking at the gray clouds gathering over the sky and can’t belive that on Saturday it was still real summer! Bright sun light, blue sky…

But stop. I’ll tell you about that step by step.
Saturday morning my mum and I were on our way to the farmer’s market.

- I wonder, when will figs appear? I’d love to buy some!
- Well, I guess I saw some not long ago.
- Really? –I closed the car door and we passed to the market.

Indeed. We saw them at the first counter. Tidy small baskets full of irregular shaped violet fruits.
I felt in love with them immediately! How much will I buy? Dozen? Two?
I don’t even know why I love figs so much but I’m really crazy about it!
Soft velvet rind, colorful pulp, incredible smell… Well, I guess if you had tasted them once you surely felt in love with them too!

“What will I make with them?”

I took the little basket and was going to put it into the fridge. While I was thinking, my hand took one fig herself – and I felt the pure taste of fig in my mouth.
A little bit later, when my husband Y. came home I realized that it’s almost dinner time. But we were not really hungry – because of the hot weather. Suddenly I remembered about the figs – wonderful! We’ll have alight summer dinner!
Fresh figs, flavoured honey, some cheese and some boiled eggs – for Y., to make his dinner a little more nourishing. Y. ate eggs and a cheese sandwich while I was preparing a dessert –yoghurt with some honey and figs.
The dessert excited our appetite and we decided to eat some cheese dipping it in honey.

Well, after such a dinner it will be quite good to go for a walk.
We took our cats and went to the forest.
In autumn the sun set down quite early so the forest was full of strange shadows and rays of light were beautifully illuminating the leaves.
Our cats were smelling the grass watchfully but then grow bolder and began to explore the nature. While me and Y. just enjoyed the last summer days.

Fig, yoghurt and honey dessert

2 serves:
250 ml plain yoghurt
2 tsp clear honey
2-3 figs

Cut figs into 8 pieces, put in a glass add yoghurt and honey.

Of cause, the recipe is quite simple but Y. and me really enjoyed it!