Rhubarb and Apple Crumble and Russian Idioms

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There is a popular idiom in spoken Russian: “All in the chocolate”. Of cause it is not the language of good literature, but rather an expression you use among your cute fellow lads to sound easy and loose, and it means that all is fantastic, fabulous and dreamy. I doubt I had ever used it, as first I am not that cool type of gal, and second I had not had such a  phenomenal success yet. Until this Friday.
I came from my job, where I have a pretty exhausting project: I have 250 museums on my list, so I have to contact each and request the complete list of the exhibitions for 2015, and put in the system. Museums are unorganized institutions, who don’t respect deadlines and need to be watched like children. After a week of working as a psychologist, negotiating, praying and blackmailing where suitable, I came home on Friday with the dream of indulging myself. The aim was a perfect marble cheesecake. Apparently, it was a sign of solidarity with Tanya (see my tagline to learn who is she), who made a cheesecake for her party and shared with me a recipe and inspiration. So I came home and I was whisking, mixing, melting chocolate… the cheesecake looked fabulous, the oven reached the temperature and I was putting the baking dish inside when cheesecake suddenly slippered out of my hands and dropped on the floor. As we say in Russia “The bread is always dropping with the buttered side down”. As proved, cheesecake tends to follow the same pattern. The floor, the furniture, the oven were covered with a good and tempting level of chocolate. Finally I learned on my own skin how it is “to have all in chocolate”, which I can boast about among my friends. And I guess my newspaper owes me a cake, for making me exhausted to this extent.
Ok, so for tonight my cheesecake is crumble. A very good crumble though. 
Time of preparation: 40 minutes Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients:
Rhubarb________400 grams
Apples_________ 2
Sugar__________ 100 grams golden caster
Liquor_________ 2 tablespoons
Crumble: 
Self-raising flour___140 grams
Butter____________85 grams
Sugar____________50 grams muscovado
Walnuts__________ 50 grams
1. Chop rhubarb in pieces of approximately 5 cm, put in the pan, cover with sugar, pour in liquor (I used amaretto) or water if you do not want to use alcohol and simmer on the low fire for about 15 minutes – the rhubarb should become soft but not shapeless. Transfer it in the baking dish, leaving some of the juice in the pan.
2. Fry the apples in the preserved juice till they are brown and soft. Transfer in the baking dish.
3. Combine butter and flour, rub together with hands, when crumbles are formed add sugar and chopped walnuts. Mix, and cover the apple/rhubarb filling. Bake on 200C (400F) for about 30 minutes or till it is golden brown.

 

Pesto from Genova

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I thought I should complete my small flash-back to Liguria with some eternal classics, namely green Pesto or Pesto alla Genovese (quite predictable, isn’t it?). But almost for a week I have been sitting without writing a line. I wanted to tell a little bit about Genova, but I can’t find the right words. I already mentioned, that it is a city of contrasts, city with drug dealers, prostitutes and people of other doubtful occupation openly managing their business right in the middle of the day. I decided to find a holy place within this seem to be sin city.
In good old time I wanted to name my son Harrison – quite a daring ambition for a Russian mother-tongue. Guess who was the hero of my lifetime? Sure, Indiana Jones. He was so irresistible going to all these incredible places (where the hell they are located?), fighting crowds of evil locals, saving somebody in the spare time, digging out various staff… Couldn’t help thinking of becoming an archeologist, buying the suit of a sand color, and going to search for Graal (or similar).
And here I am in Genova, many years after, in simple white-red and blue dress, with degree in international relations and with Graal in my hands. Ok, ok, not in my hands, but in front my very eyes. And what do you think? It’s GREEN! Moreover, it’s BROKEN! They say it was Napoleon, but I guess they just look for a scapegoat (Sphinx, Graal – too many staff to break for one guy). Pretty incredible, but the Holy Graal is not lost, neither it is hidden… it is simply disposed in the treasury of San Lorenzo Cathedral in Genova, together with many other relicts. Obviously, no photography allowed – but it is a hexagonal deep dish, made out of green transparent glass with a huge hole next to the basement…
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And back to pesto:
Time of preparation: 10 minutes Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients:
Garlic_______2 cloves
Olive Oil_____100 ml
Basil________50 grams
Parmesan___ 70 grams, grated
Pecorino____ 30 grams, grated
Pine nuts____1 tablespoon
1. Chop garlic, put in a food processor. Add basil, a pinch of salt and process for a short time.
2. Pour in oil, process again. Finally add cheeses and nuts, process till mixture is homogeneous. Enjoy!

Stuffed Zucchini

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This is another typical representative of Italian cucina povera from Liguria. Poor people all over the world tent to bake leftovers and stale bread, flavoring them with local typical products. Without any doubts, Liguria is one of the best spots on earth for fish-lovers: in any restaurant you can find the fresh fish of the day, and fishermen sell their catch right on the street like in good old times. A trip for Cinque Terre seems to be a journey into past: people still go fishing on their colorful boats, which their drag on the land overnight and place right on the street next to the house. It is amazing how people manage to live there, in the tough simplicity of a life without twitter, the last collections in the shops and other actually not so relevant things. Without the coverage of these digital epoch attributes, life there seems to be so real and genuine, that it becomes material, and you can see it hanging in the air, under the crowded markets, street musicians, bums, prostitutes, and churches. Liguria is a Northern region with all the smells, noises, mess, chaotic movements and problems of the South. But after Rome, it is the most beautiful place of Italy.

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But back to the recipe: of cause, it can be done with numerous variations. As I skip fish and anchovies, to keep it salty and rich in taste I add several spoons of sun-dried tomato pesto (you can find the recipe in my blog among earlier post).
Time of preparation: 40 minutes Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients:
Zucchini______8 medium
Onions_______2
Bread________70 grams (third day bread)
Milk_________ 3 tablespoons
Pine Nuts____ 20 grams
Eggs________2
Anchovies___ 4 fillets (omit for vegetarian version)
Capers______ 2 tablespoons
Tuna________150 grams (omit for vegetarian version)
Marjoram____1 tablespoon (optional)
Parmesan___ 50 grams

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Tarta de Santiago

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Spanish people came up with a precious idea – to replace flour with almonds. So even the simplest cakes (like this one) are scrumptious.

Time of preparation: 30 minutes Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients:
  • Eggs_____________4 big
  • Grinded Almond___200 grams
  • Sugar____________200 grams
  • Zest of a lemon
  • Cinnamon________1/2 teaspoon
  • Rom or cognac____1-2 tablespoons

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Viennese Apple Strudel

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This recipe is more than 100 years old one Austrian family's treasure

This recipe is more than 100 years old one Austrian family’s treasure

It’s not the classic strudel – in this version the dough is simpler. Nevertheless, this old recipe is amazing! The recipe is taken from http://www.fairiesandco.com/
Time of preparation: 100 minutes Difficulty: Middle
Ingredients:
For dough:
  • Flour______200 grams
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Butter_____100 grams
  • Sugar_____ 3 tablespoons
  • Yolk_______1
  • Pinch of salt
  • White wine_1 tablespoon
  • Milk_______1 tablespoon
For filling:
  • Sweet&sour apples__400 grams
  • Brown sugar_______ 3 tablespoons
  • Raisins____________40 grams
  • Vanilla
  • Cinnamon__________1/2 teaspoon
  • Walnuts____________2 tablespoons
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Rhum______________1 tablespoon
  • Breadcrumbs_______ 2 tablespoons
  • Raspberry jam______ 2 tablespoons
  • Egg white__________ 1
In the morning I had two unexpected guests: one was chasing the other in hope to get some piece of food the latter was eating. I have an eternal love to squirrels, so immediately I gave them all my nuts and all the rest which in my understanding squirrels can eat (actually they could eat a lot and were slightly on a fat side). AsI had no camera I decided to post here a picture or a Vienna squirrel I met in the Schoenbrunn park.

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