Juicy Prune Compote with Spices

This year we had been blessed with a lot fruits from the garden and now the plums (European plums or prunes) are just ripe enough.

I decided to create a side dish, which goes with meat (for example roasted pork, chicken or game), but now I think that this (perhaps with less salt, and adapting the spices to your taste) would be lovely as a dessert with vanilla ice cream, Greek plain yogurt or over your morning muesli (or cereals) . Next time…

For the preparation, I used allspice, finely crushed coriander and pepper, but other combinations would work as well. Alternatives could be cinnamon, cardamom, ground ginger, cloves, grated orange zest, garam masala and so on.

Juicy Prune Compote with Spices

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

You need

  • 12 prunes
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 pinch pepper
  • ½ teaspoon finely crushed coriander seeds
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoon brandy (or grappa, whisky, …)
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine

Procedure

  1. Wash the prunes, cut into halves and remove the pits.
  2. In a small bowl combine sugar spices, salt, water and brandy
  3. In a non-sticky frying pan, heat the butter at medium heat and fry the prunes on the skin side for a few minutes until you see that the skin begins to brown.
  4. Pour the mixture over the prunes and turn the prunes cut side down.
  5. Cook until the juice reduces to a thick medium thick sauce and the cut side of the prunes begins to turn brown. Don’t let burn the sugar!
  6. Immediately remove from the skillet and place in a serving plate.

 

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Dried Figs stuffed with Almonds and Orange Zest

This year we had a very warm summer and the garden gave us a lot delicious figs, which we shared with friends.

However, it was only during our holidays on Crete after noticing that most of the figs fall on the floor and, as I hate food waste, I decided to try to dry some figs and prepare a great souvenir of the summer in a jar.

The good thing we had for this, beside the figs of course was the sun; the strong Greek sun is best to preserve these figs and for this reason, I searched in the internet how I should proceed.

To make them more special, I decided to modify an Italian recipe (from the *Puglie* region) and so I started to collect ripe but still firm green and black figs and to dry them in the sun!

Figs can be dried halved or cut in two pieces; I opted to cut them into two halves as the effect of the sun would be stronger drying the figs quickly and the rays would destroy all possible parasites.

The best way to dry them would be on a grid, but since I did not have this, I used my normal baking try with a black baking foil, which attracted the sun and kept the heat; in two days, the figs were dry enough, some of them almost to dry! J

If you don’t have the opportunity to collect and dry the figs, you should opt for the dry figs from the store and halve them with a scissor taking care to keep them partially attached.

These figs are an unusual addition to the holiday table and make a unique Christmas gift from the kitchen!

Dried Figs stuffed with Almonds and Orange Zest

  • Difficulty: easy
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You need

  • 50 dried figs, butterflied
  • 1 orange, peel only removed with a vegetable peeler and cut into small pieces
  • 50 almonds
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1 pinch o cinnamon
  • 10-20 bay leaves

Procedure

  1. Add a piece of orange peel on one side of the butterflied fig.
  2. Add an almond on each it and cover with the other side. Press them well together.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes at 180°C/350°F, Check on the color and temperature as cooking time may vary from oven to oven!
  4. In the meantime, combine the powdered sugar with the cinnamon.
  5. Switch off the oven, take out the figs out, dust with sugar and place them in the oven for other 5 minutes.
  6. In order to store them for a long time, place the still warm figs into sterilized jars layered and with several bay leaves between the layers for added flavor. Store the jar in a cool dry place.

Tip1: After sun drying the figs, some of them resulted very dry, too dry for this preparation, for this reason I placed them in bowl, sprinkled them with water (about tablespoons for 5 cups of dried figs) covered them, and placed in the microwave for 2 two minutes. After resting for about 10 minutes they were ready for this preparation.

Tip2: Quartered walnuts and orange zest by lemon or tangerine zest may replace Almonds!

Author: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

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Tomato Confit

If you have a garden with a lot of delicious ripe but still firm tomatoes and you wish to save the for the winter, this is the perfect recipe for you!

I used San Marzano Tomatoes, but if you have only cherry tomatoes this will go as well simply skipping the peeling procedure and starting form point 9; reduce time and heat as need until the tomatoes reduce their juices but don’t turn to dry.

These slow-roasted tomatoes are fancy food ingredients which can be served as appetizer or addition to sandwich, salad, or pizza.

Tomato Confit

  • Difficulty: medium
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You need:

  • 1-2 kg San Marzano or Roma tomatoes (or not to big tomatoes)
  • salt to taste
  • olive oil
  • herbs to taste

Procedure

  1. Bring water to boil in a big pot (about 2/3 of pot content) . Prepare a big colander that fits in the pot.
  2. Fill the kitchen sink with cold water, adding ice if possible.
  3. Make a cross incision on tomatoes peel using a sharp knife.
  4. Place tomatoes in a colander.
  5. Place the colander in the hot water.
  6. After 30 seconds remove from the hot water and place them in the cold water.
  7. Leave them again for about 30 seconds then remove them and sit them somewhere to drain and rest for a couple of minutes.
  8. Remove the skin of the tomatoes.
  9. Halve the tomatoes.
  10. Remove seeds with their water.
  11. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for approximately one hour at 150°C/300°F.
  12. Remove from the oven and let cool down.
  13. Serve with olive oil and sprinkle some salt and herbs or preserve these in jars.

To preserve then for the winter:

  1. Tightly pack the confit tomatoes and with their  juices into 500 ml jars within 1 cm of the tops and screw on lids.
  2. Place in a large, heavy-based saucepan and pour in enough water to cover the jars, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 40 mins. Turn off the heat and leave to cool in the water.

Chicken Tagine with Chickpeas

A tagine is such a wonderful way to prepare and serve a complete meal at once.

The combination of meat, vegetable and carbs makes this possible and super easy!

The special spice mix, which I call “Moroccan Spice Mix”, is a wonderful very versatile balanced combination of flavours; I use this in many different ways, mostly spontaneously according to the ingredients I have on hand at home.

In the recipe below, I added some honey from our own production; this made the plate really really delicious!

Chicken Tagine with Chickpeas

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Moroccan Spice Mix:

  • 2 teaspoon ras el hanout spice mix, if available, optional
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

Tagine:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 500 g chicken skinned, cut into big pieces (if you prefer deboned)
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and cut into quarters (wedges)
  • 1/2 lemon with peel, cut vertically in wedges (skin on)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 6 teaspoons Moroccan Spices Mix (see above)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 4 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetal broth
  • 1 can chickpeas, about 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • ½ lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoon raisins (+ some for decoration)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parsley for decoration

Prcedure

  1. Prepare in advance the ingredients taking care to prepare the tomatoes. To peel the tomatoes dip them in boiling water for two minutes, place in cold water and remove the skin. Cut into half and with your fingers remove the seed, cut into 1-2 cm pieces.
  2. Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet (provided of lid) and fry chicken for 2 minutes, add onion and lemon wedges and fry for other 3 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, ginger and spices. Stir fry shortly until fragrant.
  4. Add tomatoes and sauté for 1-2 more minutes. Set aside a few pieces tomatoes, one lemon and one onion wedge for decoration.
  5. Add the broth and stir well-
  6. Add chickpeas, lemon juice, honey and raisins.
  7. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Cover and let simmer covered for about 30 minutes or better one until the chicken results tender. Stir and add little water from time to time as it should not result dry.
  9. Just before serving top with the reserved lemon and onion wedges, the pieces of tomatoes, a few raisins. Cover for a few seconds.
  10. Top with parsley and serve with a smile!

 

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

Dolmades me Avgolemono – Stuffend Wine Leaves with Egg-Lemon Sauce

Spring, sun, flowers, herbs and missing Crete!

During my walk through the garden I noticed that the fist wine leaves were almost big enough to be used for one of my favourite Greek dishes: dolmadakias (diminutives of dolmades)! Now in early spring the leaves are very light, tender and even if even still small, I decided to try to make this without meat (lamb or beef

As the same times I had some asparagus on hand, I decided to prepare also the egg-lemons sauce, which is perfect for both preparations!

Usually for this recipe, we use pine nuts, but as did not have such of them just now at home, I decided to uses some previously roasted pumpkin seeds; and WOW! This was real great!

I collected only about 30 leaves about 10-12 cm wide (yes real small, but tender!) and these made 3-4 cm sized dolamadakias.

Note: this dish often served lukewarm and the lemon leaves would taste even better the next day.

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  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: medium
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You need:

Leaves:

  • 30 young tender fresh grape leaves (double the filling and the sauce if you have big leaves), washed and stem removed

Filling:

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • ½ cup rice
  • 1 cup vegetal broth (or simply the hot water you used to prepare the leaves + salt)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, copped
  • 2 tablespoons, chopped roasted pine nuts (or roasted pumpkin seeds)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Sauce

  • 1 egg
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • 1/2 lemon, grated peel of
  • 1 cup water (I used drained liquid form the stuffed leaves +  the blanching water for the leaves)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Additional lemon juice

Procedures

  1. Bring about 1 liter of water to boil and place the leaves in hot water. Drain the leaves after 3 minutes (preserve one cup of water). Set aside and don’t discard the water.
  2. Fry the onion in the oil just until translucent, add the rice and the broth. Reduce to simmer.
  3. Add the herbs and seed, cook until the water is adsorbed for about 6-8 minutes, the rice will not be cooked through, but this just fine. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Place a small amount of this filling (about 1 teaspoon or more if the leaves are big) on the backside of the leaf near the stem and then close it. For this step, I first fold the left and right side of the leaf toward the center and I roll it up starting from the side of the stem (like the spring rolls).
  5. Place one tablespoon of olive oil on the bottom of you pot, and then place the stuffed leaves one by one, near each other, opening side down so that they don’t move. If you have more leaves you some leaves to cover the bottom of the pot or (even better) a few thin sliced potatoes (addition to your meal)!
  6. Try to make two layers of the leaves in the pot (size depends on the leaves and the pot!)
  7. Grate le lemon zest, set aside; juice the lemon and set this aside as well.
  8. Place parts of the peel or additional lemon slices over the stuffed leaves, cover with the water (add to the water previously salt to taste), add about 1 third of the lemon juice as well.
  9. Cover with a small plate the stuffed leaves, so that they don’t move while cooking. Cover with the lid and simmer for about 40 minutes (adding some more water if needed). Drain out the liquid and use it for the sauce.
  10. If you have rice leftovers, cook them in a small saucepot with water as a risotto until done.
  11. For the egg-lemon sauce blend together the egg, the lemon juice the lemon zest, the drained liquid from the stuffed leaves, the cornstarch and the olive oil.
  12. Very slowly heat the sauce in a small saucepot until it thickens (do not let it boil but add more water if needed). Adjust salt and pepper. If you need add more lemon juice to taste.
  13. Serve the stuffed leaves with this sauce.

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

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Mixed Grain Sourdough Bread

Today I do not pretend to bring you a completely new recipe. Once again as in the…. I will bring a variation using a different kind of flour: an Italian flour blend of mixed grain.

The proportion are similar:  ½ cup starter + 1 cup water + 3 cups flour and salt.

Take care to refresh your sourdough starter with white flour as usual!

Enjoy this beautiful crunchy bread!

Mixed Grain Sourdough Bread

  • Servings: 2 loaves
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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You need:

FIRST RISING

  • 1/2 cup starter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup flour

SECOND RISING

  • 2 cups flour mixed grain flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt

TOPPING

  • Flour fort he working surface and to coat the bread

Procedure:

  1. The evening before or early in the morning combine all the ingredients for the first rising into a bowl, cover and let sit.
  2. After 2-8 hours (2 hours by 30°C – 8 or more hours by normal room temperature), add the mixed grain flour and the salt. Knead shortly and let lit it sit until you see that it begins to rise.
  3. Knead well again, cut into two pieces and shape each of them to a ball (boule) giving strengths to the walls.
  4. Dust well with flour and place them on the well-floured tray where you bake them.
  5. Make 3 long incisions: about 1 cm deep and crossing in the center of the bread.
  6. Last proof depends on the temperature. When the breads are at least doubled, preheat the oven to 220°C.
  7. Bake in at 220°C for about 20 minutes or until well browned, this takes about 30 minutes
  8. Remove from the oven and let cool down on a grid.

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

Amaretto Mousse in Chocolate Cups

A stunning presentation for a special event!

You may prepare the chocolate cups in advance, fill them with the mousse and freeze until needed. Just before serving arrange on single plates and voilà a wonderful dessert is ready!

It was fun to prepare the cups and I will prepare these again!

Amaretto Mousse in Chocolate Cups

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: medium
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You need

Chocolate Cups (pieces)

  • 15 g white chocolate (optional), chopped
  • 120-150 g dark chocolate, more if needed
  • Silicon molds for muffins or other shapes (each for about 100 ml content)

Zabaglione mousse

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 60 g sugar
  • 4 tablespoons amaretto liqueur
  • 4 egg whites or 1/2 cup heavy cream

Serving suggestion (to taste)

  • Shaved chocolate (white or dark chocolate)
  • 250 g strawberries
  • Amaretto liqueur to taste
  • Heavy cream (whipped) to taste

Preparation

Chocolate Cups

  1. Place the chopped white chocolate in a small plastic bag and close it tightly with a knot.
  2. Hold the bag over the knot and dip the part with the chocolate for 2 seconds in hot water. Take out and knead the bag with the chocolate with your fingers, dip very shortly again and knead. Repeat until completely dissolved.
  3. Drizzle the white chocolate on the sides of the molds. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  4. Melt dark chocolate in a bowl over a pot of hot water stirring constantly until dissolved. Remove from the heat. Brush the sides and the bottom of the mold using a food-safe paintbrush with the dark chocolate taking care not to damage the white chocolate decoration. If needed prepare more melted dark chocolate to make the cups walls thicker.
  5. Place in the fridge to cool down and to set completely.
  6. Gently remove the cups from the molds and place them in chilled place

Zabaglione mousse

  1. Beat egg yolk in a heatproof bowl with about 40 g of sugar until fluffy.
  2. Add the amaretto and place the bowl over a pot of boiling water; take care that only the steam and not water gets in contact with the bowl.
  3. As soon as the zabaglione begins to rise place the bowl over in vessel with cold water and stir from time to time until cooled down. Place in the fridge
  4. As soon as the zabaglione is cold, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks (or the heavy cream) add the sugar and beat until glossy. If using the heavy cream do not overbeat!
  5. Gently fold the beaten egg whites (or heavy cream) under the zabaglione.
  6. Fill the mousse in the chocolate cups and refrigerate (for a chilled mousse) or freeze for at least 2 hours (for ice-cream mousse) or until needed. Best use the same day.

Serving suggestion

  1. Prepare shaved chocolate
  2. Arrange sliced strawberries in single plates, spoons some amaretto over them.
  3. Place the filled chocolate cups in the plate near the strawberries.
  4. Decorate with whipped cream and shaved chocolate.

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/