Archive for ‘cooking’

October 2, 2011

Recipe: Gorgonzola, fig and peach bites

Well let me start with, this is not much of a recipe, but more like an idea. In a previous post I mentioned, I’ve been asked to cater a gin tasting night, so I need to come up with some bites, for about 50 people. My hands are a bit tied, as at the bar, I have minimum cooking facilities (pretty much only a chopping board and a knife) so the food needs to be cold, transportable, and if possible still created at the spot.

Also, what does one cook for a gin tasting? – I asked myself again, and the first hour I got nothing. I looked at my old recipes, and I came to the conclusion I prefer wine, and cook with or to wine. So that didn`t help much. I didn`t have any gin at home…also disadvantage. So gin..dry? Right? Right! So either something preferably very salty or something semi- sweet. So I ended up with 4 different bites 2 salty and 2 semi sweet ones. Which the first one I`m sharing with you now. Couple of weeks ago I posted a very similar recipe.. Gorgonzola toasts with poached figs , well yes I still have a fixation for figs, especially fresh one, and lucky me there are sort of in season now. I say “sort of” as they are indeed still in season, still impossible to find some. I wanted to use this recipe somehow, but I dont have any toast-privileges at the bar. So I thought a simple cracker will do the work. Also plain Gorgonzola is nice, but here I needed something which is not so rich in taste and a bit creamy. I ended up mixing the cheese with some spread. Why spread and no butter? Well butter turns bit hard when cold, even if its mixed with something else making it a bit difficult to work with, so spread does the work perfectly.

You need pretty much no time making these, so in case you planning a cocktail party, this recipe is highly recommended:) 

Ingredients

crackers

Gorgonzola cheese

plain unsalted spread, or even Philadelphia creme cheese is nice

figs

dried apricots.

Mix the cheese with the spread, slice  dried apricot in half. lay it down on the cracker with the sticky side down. Add a small spoon of cheese spread on top, and finish it with a thin slice of fig!

Enjoy!

 

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August 24, 2011

Recipe: Selection of easy-tasty and colorful dips!

 

If there`s one thing to know about The Wonderingchef..so moi, is that I like dipping! Ok so now its out there let me tell you why… cos it`s fun! I mean who doesn’t like to dip fresh bread or nachos into tasty and cool dips? Its perfect for movie night, bbq night, wine tasting night, party night, or just nights… Also never over think it, if you got a blender at home, and a few cans of stuff hidden in your kitchen there’s so many things a creative mind can do.

I took the photos a couple of months ago, as I’m working on a project only a few friends know of. I been saving the recipes and pictures, but to be honest with you, they are just too good to stay on a disk, and not be shared. So here they are hope you will enjoy them! The whole 3 dips and 1 salad should take not much more then an hour. If you only pick one, there’s one which literally takes 5 minutes to create!

Note: If you use yogurt, wherever in the world you are, there`s going to be plenty to chose from, however, I really advise you to buy good quality, THICK Greek or Turkish yogurt! Otherwise the dips will end up runny, and that’s not nice. In case there’s no available thick yogurt, press it trough a fine sieve, so it will get rid of excess water!

Be creative with the spices! Don`t have ginger? use coconut milk! Don`t have chili? Use pepper! and so on and on and on…you dip will be tasty anyway:) 

1st zucchini and yogurt salad, with lemon grass (serves 4)

2-3 small zucchinis, or  2 big ones, or 1 very big one

200ml of thick yogurt

handfull of lemon grass..shiffanade

3 cloves of garlic

salt, white pepper

1 onion finely chopped

3 spoons of olive oil.

Slice the zucchini into small-medium cubes, so they will stay chunky after frying. Heat a frying pan, add olive oil, onion and crushed garlic. Add zucchini and fry/brown all sides, until cooked in the middle.season.  Set aside to cool. When cold, mix it with yogurt, and lemon grass! (With mint, or Thai basil, or with some extra chili is fantastic!)

Instant beetroot dip

Here you can use fresh or canned beetroots as well. It doesn`t make any difference. Only the fresh beets you need to cook and peel of course. If you use canned beetroot, get rid of the brine..you don’t need that!

1 medium can of beetroot. or 2-3 fresh ones

3- 4 cloves of garlic

3 spoons of olive oil

handful of fresh thyme leafs

Blend all ingredients together! WOA…I told you it`s instant! (add a bit of honey, and rosemary for an extra twist!)

3: 5 minute mint-chili and yogurt dip!

200 ml of yogurt

handful of fresh mint

2 cloves of garlic

a bit of olive oil

chilies– depending how much you like them, or how strong are the ones you have. Here i really cant tell. I used one, of course i didnt use the seeds, and it was till nice and spicy!

bit of salt.

Blend mint, garlic, salt, and chili together. Most likely you will need to use some olive oil to help your blender. Don`t leave any chunks it should look like a pesto.

Mix with yogurt! (got some nice middle eastern spices at home? use them!)

4:  Roasted Carrot dip with honey, ginger, and corriander

3-4 carrots, thinly sliced

1 onion finely chopped

2 spoons of olive oil

1 spoon of honey

1 spoon of shredded fresh ginger

couple of fresh coriander leafs

Roast carrot on a frying pan, with olive oil, honey and onion. Make sure they are soft!

Blend all ingredients together while still warm!

So now! Dip the bread and enjoy!

August 23, 2011

Recipe: Halloumi cheese and pesto bites

 

 

I finally managed to find some decent halloumi cheese in the supermarket. Let me tell you, I love them! Its a great substitute for a vegetarian BBQ, which meat lovers will like as well. These cheese is traditionally Cyprian, and very popular in The Middle East and Greece. Usually made by sheep’s or goats milk, sometimes there are cows milk based available too.

The best thing about it: It goes ell with almost anything, with chili or sweeter sauces, vegetables, grills, prosciutto, salads..you name it. Spices as well can be used while grilling, I would recommend sumac and some cured lemon.

I had to try out some bread recipes today, and ended up, with a nice thin sourdough, which is perfect toasted with some olive oil. I thought it ill go well with the halloumi, just wanted to make it a  bit colorful As I said it goes well with almost anything, I thought I add some grilled tomatoes, and since I had a pesto open just spread it on the toast. The result was yummy! The combination of the flavors was just amazing, and nothing beats fresh home-made bread! Its perfect as a welcome snack or to a wine tasting or to pretty much any food-loving occasion!

Note: If its your first time grilling halloumi, there’s a few things you should know. Fry it in a non-stick frying pan. Make sure the pan is burning hot…and I mean literally burning hot! Use only a drop of olive oil, not much more! Don`t overcrowd, so try and fry maybe 3-4 at once, or else the temperature will drop and your cheese is going to melt instead if grilling. Just brown each side and your cheese is ready!

Heat a frying pan, add a couple of spoons of olive oil, toast the bread slices at both sides

Spread some pesto over the toasts, while they are still warm so it melts a bit.

heat the same frying pan, until burning hot

add halloumi cheese and fast fry on both sides

when finished with cheese add tomato halves, and grill

season with a bit of sumac and white pepper only if you like

be careful with salt, as the cheese itself is very salty!

Enjoy!!

August 22, 2011

Recipe: Pea and mint soup, with balsamic glaze and tomato bread.

 

 

It looks like every summer has a “trend” soup, especially among Budapest caterers/restaurants/bloggers. This summer it seems to me, the craze is, minted pea soup. This one I actually do like. It`s easy to make, it goes well with plenty of sides and garnishes. And actually is plenty tasty. And I like easy and simple, and of course the light green color is funky:)  (note: Im really sleepy, just going to cut the chase, and continue writing the recipe…)

Don`t overcook the peas, as the color of the soup will become dark. You can use fresh or frozen peas, this is really up to you. The soup sometimes can use some Parmesan cheese, as a garnish, will become very tasty. You can use ready-made balsamic glaze, is just as good as home-made ones. Very easy just boil balsamic vinegar with some sugar.

Ingredients For 3-4 serves

3 onions thinly sliced

4 cloves of garlic, crushed

3 spoons of butter

1 glass of dry red wine

2-3 handful frozen or fresh peas

100 ml creme

0,5 liter of vegetable stock

handful of fresh garden mint

salt, white pepper

4 slices of sourdough bread

2 tomatoes

In a saucepan melt butter. Add onion, soften it, be sure doesn’t get brown.

Add garlic, and peas, mix well.Add wine and saute the vegetables.

Add half of the stock and bring it to boil.

When peas are soft remove from stove add mint and blend. Make sure you blend well, as sometimes there can be a couple of hard peas.

Add remaining stock, and creme, and bring back to boil. Stir well, and blend again if needed.

Serve with balsamic glaze, and tomato bread… goes well with cool dry rose or white wine!

Enjoy!

 

 

July 11, 2011

Recipe: Simple meal for 2

 

I always say simple meals are the best. Yes of course I like eating out, and have something fancy, but after spending most of my time in the kitchen,nothing beats home-made.

Now its summer, fresh vegetables are just over the roof, its hot and we need fruits and greens. Again Im not vegetarian, but I much prefer meatless dishes. One of my new favourite ingredients and greens are the romanesco broccoli. Why? Cos they just look fun, and the taste is somewhere between a broccoli and a cauliflower, cooks really fast, and goes well with most of the meats, especially steak. But this time “We” are not frying steaks, we making pasta.

Pasta always comes in handy, when you have not much time, or want to create something simple. However you make it, it`s going to be good. Sometimes I just look around what I have hidden at home, and a new recipe gets born every time..true story! :)So, last time I`ve been to the market, and spotted the romanesco I thought I come up with a pasta dish. It goes well with cream and garlic, so this was pretty much set. I had some spinach stuffed ravioli, and some mozzarella balls, so one part of the meal was covered.

With all of this I wanted something fresh and light. Bruschetta works all the time as well. I mean it`s one of the best meals ever. Just chop up some tomatoes with garlic and basil, and salt, put it over olive oil toast, and you have the perfect appetizer or party food. To make it look even better, try and pick up various cherry and regular tomatoes, red, yellow, green you name it, its going to look fantastic!

I also wanted to make some simple salad. I had some red wine seeded mustard at home, which I didn`t have the chance to try yet. My favourite lettuce is romaine lettuce, so most of the time I use that, and I juts love fresh cress. especially onion cress. So the salad was set as well.

When you get a meal ready, dont over think it. Just look around what you have at home, hiding in your fridge, pick up some things from the market or grocer which you fancy, and want to try, and even the smallest efforts go a long way.

Ingredients

Tortelloni with romanesco cream and mozzarella

A pack of fresh stuffed tortelloni for 2

half of a romanesco

100g of small mozzarella balls

100ml of creme

2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

salt, white pepper

small slice of butter

Cook the tortelloni in hot boiling water, it gets ready just in a couple of minutes. Meanwhile, divide the romanesco in small roses, put it in boiling water, and cook just for a couple of minutes until soft. Don`t over cook it, when ready leave it under cold running water for a bit. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, add the garlic and creme, bring it to boil and watch not to burn it.  Add the romanesco, salt and pepper to taste, stir and add the pasta, make sure it all warms trough. Put it in a serving plate and put the mozzarella balls on top. Just let it melt a little over.

Ingredients

“Rainbow” bruscetta

2 ciabatta breads

a selection of fresh colourful tomatoes yellow, zebra, green, cherry, and red

3-4 cloves of garlic

pinch of pink Himalayan salt

4-5 leafs of fresh basil

Toast the bread slices in a frying pan over olive oil. Set aside. Slice and mix all ingredients together. Spread it over bread. YUM!!!!

June 22, 2011

Recipe: Camembert and ruccola spring rolls with blueberry jam

When I posted my last blog entry (which is even hard for me to admit how long ago its been) I didn`t think its going to be followed by such a big break. Unfortunately after trying to do way too many things at the same time, working like a dog, I lost the motivation to write. Its silly I know, cos all of this time I been thinking about recipes to post and share, been taking pictures, developing ideas, just when it came to actually writing them down, I stared at the screen a bit empty, lazy until lets face it nothing has happened. Why Im writing this? Well today was the first time after a month I dared looking at the site stats and the comments, and I realized people do read it, and like it, subscribe and leave comments. I also realized how stupid of me was that I left what I worked for just hanging. For all of you who are reading The Wonderingchef, thank you, and lets get the recipes started. 

 

So, not that long ago one of my dear readers requested the following recipe: “Camambert and ruccola filled spring rolls, with blueberry jam”, after I posted a couple of pictures of food ive been working on. So to @onceuponarecipe, and of course to all of you here is the guide to the rolls.

Why did I say guide and not recipe? Well first of all the is very easy, just fill the pastry sheets with the ingredients, and there you go! The only trick is folding the pastry the right way, so it wouldnt blow or break up while frying, also the proper storage is necessary as well, otherwise the sheets get too wet or too dry, which will make them impossible to fry.

After you know the important steps, it all should be easy. The reason why I like making spring rolls, is that that you can fill the sheets with whatever you like, its going to be fun to serve and most likely delicious as well. My favorite ones are duck rolls, one we used to make in a restaurant where I worked in England (there were many days before xmas I made 200 pieces daily)- fun times!

As much I dont like repeating myself too much, I posted a spring roll recipe a couple of month ago, which you can find on this link : https://thewonderingchef.wordpress.com/2011/03/15/spring-rolls-pt1-spinach-smoked-cheese-and-jalapeno/    here I listed all the steps which needs to be followed by making rolls. After you master that, you should be able to make all kinds of goodies, Im only listing suggestions.

Ingredients

These spring rolls can be either starters or desserts, lest say to a wine tasting, or just snack,, I mean after you make it you can do whatever you like 🙂

Brie or camembert cheese– to be honest you can use which ever you prefer, don`t use too expensive once or to strong or gourmet ones, First of all you are going to fry them, cheese will lose a bit of its taste, also going to melt, so dont use very runny ones, as its impossible to work with and just why would you do that to yourself?

Ruccola– fresh and crispy.

Note from all the fillings you need juts a little, lets say one slice of cheese, about half cm thick and a couple of lettuce leafs. If you put too much filling your pastry either going to break while rolling, or while frying the cheese is not going to melt completely.

Spring roll pastry sheet, and egg whites.

Hot oil for frying

Blueberry jam– if this was a perfect world, I would post my very own home made blueberry jam recipe, but its not a perfect world and let me be honest I never made jam before. So use whatever you feel like for dipping, if you take a suggestion ..buy organic! 🙂

So just click on the link and follow the steps listed in the recipe.

Enjoy!

 

May 16, 2011

Recipe: Cottage cheesy doughnut balls with raspberry jam.

Of course I`m not going to leave without a recipe, even if this one won`t fit into any of my dietary days. Also I promised more Hungarian recipes, cos they are fun, cos most of my readers are from The States, or pretty much anywhere from around the World, besides that 3-4 fans I have from my country. So this might be interesting for you “outsiders” 🙂

If there`s one thing we love more than doughnuts, is cottage cheese. Of course we are convinced, the best cottage cheese is indeed in Easter Europe, and nothing tastes so good, or even close. To be honest, I managed to find decent once in Australia, even in England, so this legend might be false, or ricotta also does the trick, even it`s hard for us to admit.

Why do I like this so much? Well it`s fried, there`s cottage cheese in it, and it`s easy. If you don`t belive me just read the recipe:)

Ingredients

500g cottage cheese

250 g all purpose flour

4 eggs

1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

pinch of salt

Crumble the cottage cheese into a flour. Mix in the eggs, the bicarbonate of soda and the pinch of salt in a bowl, and work the ingredients well together.

Spoon them into hot oil, and fry until golden brown. They need to be the size not bigger then a golf ball when ready, you`ll see it almost doubles the size while frying, so make sure the middle will be cooked as well.

So serving suggestion: Icing sugar, vanilla icing sugar, jams. I used raspberry jam, as I have a fixation for raspberry, but you can use anything you want really.

You see? I told you it was easy!

Enjoy! xxx

May 16, 2011

The 90 day diet-Vol2-starchy foods

Well there`s no recipe here this time. 2 reasons, I had no time taking pictures today about the meal, also It was pretty simple and not at all interesting.

So day 2 should be starchy foods, meaning: vegetables cooked, steamed or fried, or fresh, rice, potatoes. Very much vegan to be honest with you. I was planning on an asparagus “risotto”, of course no butter or cream version, but I promise Ill make it, and post it most likely on Friday (if I am lucky enough with work).

It`s the day of the diet when you can get pretty creative if you got the time. Also my favourite sushi is allowed. Of course strictly vegetarian one, even have to watch out for tofu or omelet.

Breakfast of course fruit, nothing else is allowed till lunchtime. I had one apple and 1 banana..by lunch, I was starving!

So my lunch, and as well dinner was: Rice with corn, fresh cut salad (lettuce, onion, tomato, olive oil) and a handful of potato chips. Yes this diet allows chips, within reason of course 🙂 Hopefully on the next starchy day I`ll be back with a more interesting food combination!

Tomorrow is carb day…. my favourite day 🙂

April 4, 2011

Recipe: Chili lime and prawn Risotto recipe.

Risotto. Why? Because it`s so much fun:) Endless possibilities in one simple meal, ready in no time, and everybody loves it. Even if they say no, they secretly like `em:)

Also chili and lime together is delicious, not to mention if you hide s bit of seafood, in it, you end up with one unique gourmet dinner. Trust me, you can only get compliments for this one. The recipe is simple and fast, and the result is culinary heaven 🙂


So long story short… here is the recipe:

Basic Risotto recipe

150g Arborio rise

50g butter

100ml rose or white wine

2 shallots

3 cloves of garlic

1liter of veg stock approx.

And the delicious extras:

zest and juice of 1 lime

100ml sweet chili sauce

100g of cocktail prawns, of a couple of fresh scampi

1 fresh green shallot thinly sliced.

bit of fresh coriander and some green pepper.


Cook a basic risotto base. Melting the butter, adding the thinly sliced onions, garlic, arborio rise, and wine. Constantly adding a bit of stock, reducing the liquid, adding more stock, untill rise is ready. The outside in nice and soft, and a bit, BUT ONLY A BIT! crunchy in the inside.

Meanwhile melt some butter over a frying pan. Needs to but hot hot hot! Add your prawns or scampi. Fry both sides, add the sweet chilli sauce, stir.

Add zest and juice to risotto. Mix with prawns. Wait a bit stirring, untill flavours combine. Season with salt, coriander and green pepper.

Serve with green shallots and sweet chili on top!

You see? i told you it`s easy:)

Enjoy!

 

April 3, 2011

Recipe: Mini Tomato foccacia bites

Well, I never kept my foccacia obsession a secret, and I guess soon i will need to seek therapy, because I`m just hooked on the amazing tomato bread. The whole thing is just brilliant. It`s cheap, it`s easy, it`s fast, and just soooo yummy!  And not to forget FUN! Soon it`s BBQ season, also perfect timing for parties, and picnic, outdoor fun, and having friends and family over. And good hosts give good food:) Smart good hosts try not to make this not too difficult for themselves:) So foccacia is highly recommended. Especially these little bites.


To be honest there’s absolutely no difference between these and a normal oven foccacia. They just have a fun shape, and easy access at a party. If you wan`t to make them even more fun, you add different colourful toppings, like red bell peppers or zucchini, or just simple herbs, maybe even pesto?

The basic dough is easy peasy. And 1 kg of flour makes plenty. And I mean plenty!  Also don`t forget, they disapear kinda fast. My motto is you can never have enough foccacia:)


Ingredients

1kg of flour

2 spoons of dry yeast

4 spoons of sugar

4 spoons of salt

600ml of luke warm water.

Tomato slices, olive oil, salt, white pepper, crushed garlic, mixed together in a bowl.

In a medium big bowl, sift in flour. Make a hole n the middle, add yeast, sugar and salt. Mix well together

Add water, only a little at the time, and mix with wooden spoon. When flour takes up enough water, transfer on a clean table, and start kneading. Add more flour or water if needed. The dough needs to be medium hard, a bit elastic, easy to knead.

Oil up  medium bowl, put in dough mix, cover and let ir rise at a warm place. It usually needs an hour. Really depending on the quality of the ingredients. Sometimes it triples it`s size within an hour, sometimes it needs more time and patience.

Preheat your oven to 220C.

Roll the dough out, to about 2 cm thickness. With a small glass, or pastry cut, make small rounds. Put them on an oiled baking tray. (Foccacia loves oil, so depending on your taste you can use plenty of olive oil if you like). Make sue you don`t put the rounds too close to each other. place a slice of tomato on top of each, push them into the dough a little bit, so they stay.

Put them in the oven for about 15 minutes, or untill golden brown. leave on a wire rack to cool.

Enjoy the tasty tomato bread goodness!