March 27, 2011

Lovely individual lime pies

We had a family gathering today. Preparing dinner for 6 people went just fine once I made my mind up about what to make. When the table was set, I had totally forgotten to photograph but I think I made a nice meal and everyone seemed to like it. We had roasted chicken breasts, fresh fettuccine with salvia and lemon-lime dressing, sallad, fried sugar peas and cold avocado-lime-sour cream sauce. Yummie :)
For dessert I made these tiny lime pies. I just love individual desserts when I can slip cutting and measuring so that each portion looks the same..You have certainly heard of a Key Lime Pie dessert. One of my absolute favorites! I have made it before but this was the first time I sieved the filling to get a rid of the lime zest. I couldn't make a better decision! The filling came out so smooth in both texture and flavor. Highly recommended!

Individual lime pies

Ingredients: (makes about 16 small sized pies)
about 180 g Digestives
100 g butter
1 tea spoon dried ginger
small aluminium cups
1 can sweetened condensed milk
juice and zest of 3 limes
3 egg yolks
(whipping cream and lime+zest for decorating)

1. Set the oven to 180 degrees.
2. Mix the crushed Digestives and the ginger spice with the melted butter. Line the aluminium cups with the mixture, just like when making a pie crust. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and let cool.
3. Mix the sweetened condesed milk with the juice and zest of 3 limes. Add the egg yolks and mix until it comes together.
4. Let the mixture drag the lime flavor for about 30 to 60 minutes. Seive and toss the lime zest.
5. Fill the prebaked crusts with the lime filling and baked for about 15 to 20 minutes. The baking time depends on the size of the pies.
6. Let cool completely, preferably in the fridge.
7. Before serving, remove the aluminium cups carefully. Serve with a whipping cream flavored with lime zest.

March 19, 2011

Pearspotting :)

Pears, pears and more pears. These last few days I've been hooked on pears, you might have noticed :) I know, it's so not their season this time a year but..It started when I was making oven baked root vegetables. I thought that it wouldn't hurt mixing pears with carrots, parsnips, potatoes and red onions. And yesterday. Avocado&pear kidney bean salsa for lunch. Today I was searching for a pear dessert recipe and found loads of them that I plan to try. The first one makes itself in the oven, just what I need when I'm preparing for an exam.

Baked pear with cinnamon&ginger butter

Ingredients: (2 servings)
1 pear (I used Conference)
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ginger spice
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
 tin foil
 hasselnuts (or almonds, walnuts, pecans..)

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
2. Cut the pear diagonally and remove the core, leaving a scoop in the middle.
3. Mix together butter, sugar and spices. Spoon the mixture in the scoop.
4. Place each pear half on a separate square of tin foil, scooped side up, and wrap so that it does not leave any opening.
5. Bake for about 45 minutes.

Spiced butter together with sugar and pear juice make a wonderful syrup. Serve with toasted nuts and creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream.

March 18, 2011

Catchin' up..

Gosh, it's been a busy week and went by fast like hell! I didn't have a spare moment to spend with my blog so now I'm catching up. Amazing things have happened in the food blogger world this week. The best Slovak food bloggers I'm following have made some seriously wonderful stuff in their kitchens that made me wanna Cook, eat and photograph :), they made me wanna enjoy!
I'm having a day off which means that the kitchen is full of me! Why should I bother making plans for cooking when my first (or second?) thought after waking up is that I'd fancy a fruity "sponge cake" (bublanina). Having thoughts like this is not unusual for me but they usually attack my brain when I'm fully awake.
Bublanina is a very easy made and very common Slovak dessert. When I'm thinking "bublanina" I recall a hot summer day at my grandad's garden with an odour of fresh rape fruits like apricots or peaches in the air. I made just a couple of bublaninas over the last few years so maybe that's why my craving for making one today was so intense..

Bublanina with pears and raspberries

2 eggs
1 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla sugar
lemon zest of a half lemon
0, 75 dl milk
0,75 dl canola oil
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1 pear and a half a cup raspberries (frozen or fresh)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
Beat the eggs and sugar until fluffy. Add milk, oil and lemon zest. Stir in flour and baking powder, pour it in a medium oven ware dish. Clean the pear and cut into pieces. Powder the fruit with a little bit of flour in case you don't want it to sink on the bottom of the cake while baking (I didn't do this and look what happened :)). Place the fruit randomly on the cake dough and bake until the top is golden brown, for about 25-30 minutes. Check after 20 minutes, the baking time very much depends on the oven type, dish depth, dough etc..

Lunching for me is almost always a spontanious thing. All I knew today was that I'd make something of avocado. I had my favorite avocado soup earlier this week so I was gonna let my imagination go a bit further this time. The result was decent and took only 5 minutes to accomplish. Having a spare pear that I didn't use when baking, I'd decided that I'd put these two lovely fruits together. Tada, they totally match! Kidney beans made the "avocado-pear marriage" a legitimate lunch material :)

Avocado&pear kidney bean salsa

Cut the fruit of avocado and pear, mix in a bowl, add lime juice, a little bit of sea salt and kidney beans of a good quality.  


March 11, 2011

White chocolate and vanilla bean panna cotta with mashed raspberries

After what seems like ages, it's panna cotta time! I couldn't resist the temptation of making one as I was salivating through the latest Daring Bakers' challenge on Tastespotting.
This panna cotta is my favorite for two reasons: 1. No added sugar and 2. (rasp)Berries!
I'm stuck in the heavenly combination of white chocolate dissolved in heavy cream and topped with the freshness of juicy raspberries.
I only dare to make this dessert either on special occassions or when i know that there is a chance for hours of sweating at the gym! And never more often than once-twice a year :)) It's highly addictive!

White chocolate and vanilla bean panna cotta with mashed raspberries

Ingredients: (2 servings)
2,5 dl heavy cream
50 g white chocolate
2 gelatine sheets
a pinch of vanilla bean powder
about 100-150 g raspberries

1. Put the gelatine sheets in a cold water and let them soak for about 10 minutes.
2. Heat up the heavy cream and remove from the heat when it starts simmering (do not cook).
3. Squeeze water out of the sheets of gelatine and stir so that it dissolves in the heavy cream.
4. Add the chopped white chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Add vanilla bean powder (and some sugar if you like).
5. Pour into a serving bowles and refrigirate for about 4 hours.
6. Before serving, mash the raspberries and spoon them on the top of the panna cotta.

March 6, 2011

Sheep cheese crostini

Small, tasteful toasts. No wonder that there are a zillion recipes on crostinis, they simply have the potential.
I can never find the Slovak product of sheep cheese called "bryndza" here but I shouldn't complain, a Greek sheep cheese is always available. I'm so longing for a plate of bryndzove halusky, Slovak traditional dish, but I know I can forget about it until I'm reunited with my family in Slovakia. Or, I can make friends with the Greek sheep cheese instead :)

 Sheep cheese&cherry tomatoes crostini

olive oil
(crushed garlic)
cherry tomatoes
dried basil or oregano
sheep cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Choose the same program you use for making pizza.
2. Slice the baguette. Place on a baking sheet.
3. Brush the crostinis with olive oil and a little bit of chrushed garlic.
4. Cut the cherry tomatoes and place on the bread. Sprinkle some basil or oregano on the tomatoes.
5. Top with the sheep cheese and bake for about 6 minutes, until the crostinis are lightly brown. Cool before serving.

My time for cooking (and other pleasant things) has shrunk drastically but I still have to and want to cook. More than ever I'm looking for easy and quick solutions (that are not dull). Thanks to my food blogger friends I'm never left with a dilemma about "what to cook". It's actually more about "what to cook first??" So today I chose to try this recipe. I can totally recommend, if you like surprising tastes. We do!:)