Saturday, October 25, 2008


I tend to keep a box of minced meat in my freezer, just in case. I mean you never know when you have desire to cook something meaty and are too lazy to go outside to do shopping, and besides, it's cheap :).

I took one box to thaw in the morning and I made meatballs for dinner, I flattened them, so I can eat them tomorrow between bread as hamburger. I have tried several meatballs recipes and this is my favorite.


1 dl bread crumbs
1/2 dl sour cream or plain yogurt
1,5 dl water
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
500 g minced meat, (beef is good, although I use sometimes mixed version)
1 egg
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly grounded black pepper

1. Cover bread crumbs with water and leave them soak for 10 minutes.

2. Chop the onion and garlic clove and fry quickly until golden. Cool a little.

3. Add sour cream, egg and fried onion and garlic to bread crumb mixture. Stir lightly.

4. Add minced meat to bread crumb mixture and stir.

5. Add salt and black pepper. Give another stir until seasoning is incorporated.

6. Shape little or average size balls and bake them medium-high heat until brown.

My version: I use what I have at home, sour cream or plain yogurt, both work. I also flatten my meatballs a little and if I'm in mood, I dip them into bread crumb mixture before frying.
Good dinner, I served with mashed potatoes and cucumber.

Cream Scones

It's Saturday again, amazing how much joy one weekend might bring :). Today's breakfast is again from Dorie Greenspan's book Baking: From My Home to Yours, cream scones.

This is my first time when I actually bake scones, I have baked cinnamon rolls, meat pastries and some other yeast containing pastries. I really enjoyed her Basic Biscuits and I had a bit heavy cream left in fridge so scones was perfect choice.

Cream Scones

1 large egg
2/3 cup cold heavy cream
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
5 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
3/4 cup moist, plump currants

1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.

2. Stir the egg and cream together.

3. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Drop in the butter and, using your fingers, toss to coat the pieces of butter with flour. Quickly, working with your fingertips or a pastry blender, cut and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly.

4. Pour the egg, cream and currants over the dry ingredients and stir with a fork just until the dough, which will be wet and sticky, come together. Don't overdo it. Still in the bowl, gently knead the dough by hand, or turn it with a rubber spatula 8 to 10 times.

5. Lightly dust a work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Divide it in half. Working with one piece at a time, pat the dough into a rough circle that's about 5 inches in diameter, cut it into 6 wedges and place it on the baking sheet.

6. Bake the scones for 20 to 22 minutes, or until their tops are golden and firmish. Transfer them to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before serving, or wait for them to cool to room temperature.

My version: I think there's mistake in recipe, according to her book, she never mentions currants in instructions. I tend only read ingredient list and from instructions I read temperature and baking time, so I discovered later that there's no currants! I used raisins which I found from dark corner of my cupboard and mixed them in with flour mixture.
I have noticed Dorie's baking times don't match with my oven, I set timer 5 minutes less then recipe requires and it's more then enough.

Valuation: great for breakfast or even eating as all-day snack. They turned out really puffy and crumbly, especially good warm with cold butter.

Recipe adapted from: Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Chocolate Banana Muffins

These are great muffins, especially when you have some bananas laying around in kitchen which are starting to brown.

Chocolate Banana Muffins

1 dl dark brown sugar
2 eggs
100 g melted butter or margarine
2 ripe bananas (the bigger the better)
3,5 dl flour
2 tsp baking powder
50 g chopped dark chocolate

1. Beat eggs with sugar, add melted and cooled butter, chopped chocolate and bananas (make puree of them first).

2. Add flour with mixed baking powder and mix everything fast and as less as possible.

3. Place dough into muffins cups and bake around 18 minutes in 200 degree C oven.

My version: These are my favorite muffins and I usually add a bit more chocolate and the bigger the chunks you chop the better! I baked them 15 minutes and that was quite enough.

Valuation: I have baked these quite few times already and every single time they turn out just fine. Soft and moist muffins, perfect with glass of cold milk.

Recipe adapted from: Muffins (Muffinid) by Maire Suitsu and Lia Virkus

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Crispy Chicken Fingers

I have had Bill Granger's book Every Day for some time now and to be honest, at first I didn't think much of it, just browsed very quickly and thought "this is not one of my brilliant ideas". Today when I was looking for Sabrina to start, I browsed this book again and I must say, it's pretty good actually. I marked quite a few recipes which I'd like to try someday.

I am collector, especially which concerns food, so I desperately needed room in my freezer for cranberries, so chickens had to go since I wasn't ready to give up my blueberries yet :).
Considering the size of my pantry, I won't be surprised if I manage to feed whole army but I just love grocery stores, and shoe stores too of course :-).

Crispy Chicken Fingers

60 g plain flour
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 eggs
100 g fresh breadcrumbs
50 g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
small handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
4 chicken breasts, cut into thirds
2 tbsp olive oil
25 g butter

1. Put the flour and little seasoning in a flat bowl. Bear the eggs in another bowl. Put the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, parsley and seasoning in a third bowl and stir together well.

2. Dip each piece of chicken in the seasoned flour, then the egg and finally in the breadcrumb mixture. Cover and chill for up to 2 hours before cooking.

3. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook about 3 minutes on each side, turning once until lightly golden. You may need to do this in two batches, adding a little more butter and olive oil, if needed.

My version: I halved the recipe and it's still huge bunch of food! I left out parsley, I just don't like it but I added about heap teaspoon of oregano.

Surprisingly good, since I am not big chicken fan, I'm more pork and beef kind a girl but even I must admit, these chicken fingers were good, both warm and cold. Besides it's pretty good party food if you cut chicken breasts into smaller pieces.

Recipe adapted from: Every Day by Bill Granger

Womanizer - The Girl is back!

I am not much of Britney Spears' fan but I have few of her songs in my iPod. For a workout this song is perfect, I can't really run and listen Dan Hill's "Sometimes When We Touch", it's just plain wrong!

Britney's new single is probably one of the best ones, really catchy and I love the lyrics.

Hopefully she has finally got her life back in track since wearing underwear is not such a bad idea at all :).


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Basic Biscuits

Few days ago I got from Dorie Greenspan's book Baking: From My Home to Yours, and since this is Saturday and I don't have to start my morning with make-up and my never ending question "what should I wear today", I had time to make something for breakfast which doesn't include only coffee and cornflakes :).

So I decided to start with biscuits since bread which I thought I had, well, apparently somebody ate it (not me!).

Basic Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 stick cold butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup cold whole milk

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Drop the butter in and, using your hands, blend the butter and flour together quickly. You can also use a pastry blending if you desire. Do this until you have a pebbly, sandy mixture.

3. Pour the milk over the dry ingredient and toss with a fork until the dough comes together.
Give the dough four quick kneads with you hands.

4. Dust a clean work surface or pastry cloth with some flour. Press the dough until it is 1/2 inch high. Using a biscuit cutter or the top of a glass cut the bisuits out. Do this as closely together as you can to get the most out of the first round. Place the biscuits on a baking sheet or stone.
Gather the scraps together, press again, cut out biscuits. Follow this procedure until all the dough is used.

5. Bake for 14-18 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Remove immediately.

My version: I used plain flour, although Dorie suggest you can use 1 2/3 cups of all purpose flour and 1/3 cups cake flour, I didn't have any cake flour so I used that I had in my cupboard. I also added a bit more sugar into dough, 3 teaspoons. Instead of butter, (well, somebody obviously forgot to buy butter!) I used good-quality shortening, and I can't say it affected taste much. For cutting I used flower-shaped cookie-cutter, just because it was the only one I managed to find and flowers look much prettier then regular rounds:).

Valuation: great for breakfast or even eating as snack. They turned out really puffy and moist, especially good with butter or Nutella.

Recipe adapted from: Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Book review: The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten

You got to love Amazon, I mean truly. This company might bankrupt you but it doesn’t make it less lovable :-).

I got today another bunch of books from there and so far I have managed to browse through one, „The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook”.

To leave aside US measurements, its incredible book, full of easy and apparently tasty recipes. Ina Garten have friendly writing style and this book includes useful tips, like how to make your own vanilla extract and how to set up fruit and cake platters so that they look nice both to eyes and to mouth.

She stresses the same principle which I believe in, use the freshest available ingredients and when it's season. I can't agree more, tomatoes taste totally different when you buy them in the middle of February or in the middle of August.

I tend to use post-it bookmarks to mark recipes which I definitely want to try and I must say this book is pretty much covered with them :-).

My “cook these as soon as possible” list includes:
  • Maple-oatmeal scones – I love oatmeal and maple syrup so this should be perfect combination for me :-).
  • Cheddar-dill scones – Cheese is always great, in fact I consider it as one of the food groups :-).
  • Coconut cupcakes – everybody loves coconut and cupcakes!
  • Parmesan smashed potatoes – Parmesan is one of the cheeses which I buy as big chunk, since I know I always eat half of it so I need to buy more than recipe calls for!
  • Roasted carrots – I love carrots, and no, you don't get bunny ears if you eat too many carrots :-)!
  • Indonesian ginger chicken - well, it’s chicken!
  • Filet of beef bourguignon - I have always wanted to try beef bourguignon but I have been quite intimidated by the recipe but Ina’s seems pretty easy so I’ll give it a try.
  • French potato salad – I love classical potato salad (although some might know it as Russian Potato salad), so it’s about time to try some other versions.
  • Parker’s split pea soup – I love my grandmother’s pea soup which she used to make on cold winters. Since winter is approaching what could be better time to test this pea soup.
  • Grilled lemon chicken – Chicken and lemon go well together so I am sure this is one great recipe.