Archive for ‘Food’

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!

 

Advertisements
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 18, 2011

Recipe: Chili and orange cookies

 

Who doesnt like cookies? As they can come in many sizes, packages,  not to even mention the taste. Wel just like a cupcake or a muffin, the flavour can be changed just the way we want. There are plenty of good quality cookies available in stores, especially nice gourmet ones are getting popular too.

But making them is so damn easy. Although I think everyone should find a basic recipe, that works for them. After all sort of ingredients can be added, pretty much anything from chocolate chips, to caramel, to chili and coconut..you name it! 🙂 There`s plenty of dough recipes on the internet, some are a bit complicated some are easy as ABC, the outcome will always be planty of delicious cookies.

So here is the basic cookie recipe I use, with the baking it will b ready in about 20-25 minutes, makes about 20 pieces.

Ingredients

250g butter, softened

140g caster sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg yolk

300g plain white flour

2 thai chilies, seeds removed, chopped finely (you can use more or less chilies, depending on how strong are the ones you have)

100g candied orange zest, ready or home made.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Beat the butter in a bowl with a whisk, until soft and white. Beat in sugar.

Add egg yolk, beat in well, add vanilla extract.

Add chili and orange zest. Mix in well with a wooden spatula.

Fold in flour, don`t add to much at a time.

Lay down baking sheets on a trey.

Spoon in dough mixure, one should be a bit smaller then a golf ball. Make sure you leave some space between the cookies, as they will spread while baking.

Bake for about 12-15 minutes. Don`t worry when you take them out, the dough still going to be soft! Leave them to cool for a couple of minutes. Transfer later to a wire rack, to cool completely!

Enjoy!

August 17, 2011

Recipe: Gorgonzola toasts with poached figs

 

 

How about a little snack? Dinner party, wine tasting, bbq, birthday party..these little toasts will serve you well. Easy and will be ready in no-time. Especially now, when figs are in season, you can easily replace the poached figs to some fresh ones with balsamic glaze. For this one I used ciabata bread, but any thick crust dough will be nice, especially french baguettes!

To prepare the poached figs will take some time, depending of course how many you are making, to me 40 pieces were 20 minutes, it also cools fast, and in case you wont be using all, it can be stored up until a month in the fridge!

Ingredients for 10 toasts

10 slices of ciabata bread, or any other bread

50 g of Gorgonzola cheese

20 figs, dried..or fresh ones, which don`t need to be poached

100ml of red wine

100ml of water

2 spoons of sugar

1 spoon of white wine vinegar

little bit of salt

Combine the water, wine, vinegar, sugar and salt in a small sauce pan, add figs, and bring it to boil. Cook until liquid is reduced, and you end up with a thick caramelized. Put it aside to cool.

Spread the gorgonzola on the bread slices, add as thick as you like, depending how much you like the taste of the cheese. Some prefer a bit less, some a bit more. Put it in the oven to 180C for a couple of minutes, until golden brown.

When toasts are ready, add 2-3 figs each, spread some of the caramelized wine jam, on the serving plate!

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 🙂

May 15, 2011

The 90 day diet vol1.

So yes, everybody is dieting, trying to lose wight, watch their figure and eat healthy. There are plenty of diets, some well know some not that much, some are really a struggle some easy to keep. I found (especially in my field of work) that keeping and following a diet, can be difficult during a work week. Sometimes you don’t have time to prepare your stuff, or need to go for a work lunch, or just the local deli doesn`t sell the stuff that you need. And after a while people just give up as “it`s just too much work”

The deal with me was pretty much the same. I tried Atkins diet for a while, it worked, but only for a short amount of time, as to be honest I don’t really like to eat meat that much.  So that was a no go, very low energy diets just made me really tired at work, and I still needed to taste most of the food I made so, again no go. I tried to separate some ingredients, so no meat with carbs and etc, it sort of worked but wasn`t enough.

The 90 day diet is popular in Hungary, so I thought I give it a go. Basically ingredients are divided for 4 days, You only eat one kind of food a day, so lats say fruit or carbs, or high protein, and you repeat the days for 90 days, until your body cleans itself. It sounds hard but it isn’t, basically you can eat anything (almost) just on the right day. Make sure your breakfast is always fruit, and make sure you don`t mix the variety of ingredients.

So I`ve been doing this for a week now, and let me tell you, it`s really good.  I never separated my food this much, and it`s easier then I thought, and even after a couple of days I felt better. Of course it`s a slow weight loss process hence the 90 days, but t does make you healthier.  And I sort of made the promise Im going to start cooking for myself, which after work Im really not in the mood for. So now, it`s a promise im following the diet, also I wanna share the recipes I make and create for the separate days, as food is still good, and maybe I inspire some to do the diet with me.

1st day

High protein day

(Anything which includes, meat, fish, eggs, dairy) so basically an Atkins day (some lettuce or fresh vegetables are allowed, but within reason)

So yes, here’s the meat, which sometimes needs sauce or flavouring, and there are limited amount of things you can use. Ketchup and mustard are quite common, on this day mayo is also allowed.  Note you can still use fresh herbs, a bit of garlic, chili etc. Stay away from fried vegetables like onion, or a ratatoullie. Or sauces containing flour or sugar.

Lunch- Steak marinated to red wine mustard, with eggs and basil

1 beefsteak

2 eggs

2 spoons of red wine mustard

1 spoon of butter

1 spoon of olive oil

fresh basil leafs

salt and pepper for seasoning

A day before (no time 2 hours before is also good, but less doesnt do much as a marinade) Mix the olive oil with the mustard. Slice on the top of the steak, season it with salt and pepper. Marinate it with the mustard-oil mix, and keep it a container, make sure it doesn`t dry out.

Fry it over butter, for your preference, with the egg. Put a couple of basil leafs in the oil, making them crispy. Enjoy!

April 12, 2011

Recipe: Ramson and shallot yoghurt dip, with Asparagus.

The days are getting longer, the sun is shining, and we know summer is approaching. Warm is coming, BBQ season is coming, fresh vegetables will blow our mind at markets, and now it`s time for some refreshing easy to digest foods.  Soon we can choose from plenty of beautiful green or white asparagus, in some countries and regions ramson is blooming, and people go crazy for it. If you don`t know ramson(or bear onion) is a herb most likely to b found growing in the wild, usually on woods. In Eastern-Europe it`s very common, also in some places in North-America. To be honest, for a decent price it can be found all over the world, I saw them at markets and delis in Australia, Singapore and England as well.  Ramson tastes a bit like leek, but much better, it`s something that must be tried out, not just for the taste, but it`s very healthy as well. Also, can be used in so many ways, you can easily slice it in your sandwich or salad, or make soup, or even bread with.


When summer comes I always think about yoghurt. It`s easy, and sour, and cold, which is the most refreshing dip or side for a nice BBQ. My all time favourites are tzatziki and labna cheese balls. But nowadays I like to experiment. One thing is sure, onions go well with yoghurt. I just love the nice crunchy chopped fresh shallots, and red onions in the creamy white dip. Other thing I love is dipping, garlic breads and fresh vegetables, me is crazy for that stuff 🙂 So eventually when I spotted the beautiful green bunch of fresh asparagus at the market today, I know I found my perfect companion for my dip.


 

Again, the recipe is easy. Cos I like sharing easy things 🙂 But yes, it shouldnt take you more than 10 minutes making it! So Enjoy!

Ingredients.

(for 3-4 people, as a starter or snack)

200g greek or turkish thick yoghurt.

1 bunch of fresh green Asparagus. About half a kg., mine was 700g. Washed, the bottom cut off.

2 spoons of white wine vinegar

8 big leafs of ramson, rolled up, shiffanade.

2 big shallots, brunoise

salt

white pepper


Boil water in a medium saucepan. Add some salt. Out in Asparagus and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Make sure you don`t overcook. We are trying to keep a nice green colour here, if you cook it for long asparagus will turn grey..not pretty!

immediately put in cold water, or ice. Will keep the colour, and the veg will be nice and crunchy.

Mix the yoghurt with brunoise shallots, shiffanade ramson, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Serve with asparagus!

 

Enjoy!