Archive for ‘interesting’

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!

 

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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

February 13, 2011

Recipe: Fried pancakes stuffed with spinach and camembert cheese!

So here I am back on fried food again. Well, I must admit vegetarian fried goodness are one of the things I`m really good at, so I`ll I guess I need to stick to my “roots” As well as the idea of a stuffed deep fired pancake came from my “roots”..hungarian roots! Pancakes are big in Hungary, they are like the french crepes, but they are smaller, and everybody`s favourite! Sometimes households don`t even exist without them. Especially when they are stuffed with grandma`s home made apricot jam, or sweet cottage cheese mix.

The idea of deep fried pancakes are unfortunately not mine. I started to like them when I remember, was still in elementary school and one of the local, deep-frost food company started to sell them (with cheese, or ham, or mushroom) . They became popular pretty fast, and almost all of the take away foodshops sold them. But for some strange reason, they disappeared, even thou people like them a lot.

Of course I wanted to come up with a very gourmet filling, and something not as usual as ham and cheese or mushroom. Originally the recipe would have been with gorgonzola, of course that day we were out of it! Typical! 🙂 Anyway, I thought camembert would do, I wanted to use dried cranberries with it, but again I thought the combination would be a bit too obvious, when I realised, I have some spinach leftover within my mise en place. Well it did sound interesting enough for me to try!

The result was beyond surprising, the 2 ingredients work amazing together, as the camembert cheese melts, and unites with the spinach. They just melt in your mouth, and you can`t wait for an other bite. I found that 2 pieces is pretty much a complete meal, I wold only recommend some lettuce OR 2 half of grilled tomato with it! (In the service time the grilled tomato appeared by “surprise” and turned out to be a perfect company with the crepes!)

Ingredients for 4 people

8-10 pieces of crepes (egg, flour, milk or soda, salt, NO SUGAR! this time)

2 packs of round camembert cheese. ( You really only need the cheapest one from the supermarket, don`t waste expensive good cheese on deep-frying)

half a kg. of fresh spinach (well washed, chopped)

3 cloves of garlic

batter: flour, egg wash, breadcrumbs

Slice up the camembert, into thin slices –  1 pancake can hold 1 or max 2 slices of cheese. Fry the spinach on hot oil with the chopped garlic, add salt and white pepper. Try and get rid of as much liquid as possible.

Fill the crepes – don`t overfill! If you have some spinach leftover, better to put it in the freezer. If you overfill the crepes, they are going to break.

Fold the crepes, first fold in the 2 sides, and then fold up in 3 from the bottom to the top.  You should het a nice cylinder shape.

Batter and deep fry!

Enjoy!

February 13, 2011

Recipe: Caramel and Amaretto Cupcakes recipe!

 

Now I started experimenting with cupcake frosting, and finally found a good oven at my workplace which doesn`t have a strong ventilation, so my cakes turn out to be decent nowadays.

Experimenting with the frosting is nice..not as much in colour but in taste. Adding some flavoured alcoholic drink like amaretto or triple sec, can really make some wonders. For the cakes, I found the most amazing basic vanilla cake recipe on Australias taste.com.au. The recipe is perfect, and it`s higly recommended to be used. Just follow the steps one by one!

Basic vanilla cupcake recipe ingredients by taste.com.au

200g butter, softened

  • 1 3/4 cups (370g) caster sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups (405g) self-raising flour
  • 1 cup (250ml) milk
  • Butter frosting

  • 200g butter, softened
  • 6 cups (900g) icing sugar mixture
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) milk

Extras for taste: Ready made caramel topping, 3 shots of amaretto, and 4 tbs of cocoa powder!

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 24 1/3 cup (80ml) muffin pans with patty cases.
  2. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla bean paste with an electric mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until just combined. Add the flour and milk in alternate batches and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined.
  3. Spoon mixture evenly among the patty cases. In the middle add some caramel topping and cover with dough. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. For the frosting, use an electric mixer to beat the butter until very pale. Gradually add the icing sugar while beating. Add the milk and beat until well combined. Add cocoa powder and amaretto
  5. Divide frosting into small bowls and colour. Use a small palette knife or round-bladed knife to spread the icing

 

February 2, 2011

New York: Oriental Gardens

Oriental Gardens

14 Elizabeth St
(between Bayard St & Canal St)
New York, NY 10013
Neighborhood: Chinatown

One of the greatest finds from our short New York visit was “Oriental Gardens” in China Town. I guess it was one of the most interesting experiences in the city. Since I moved from Sydney, I never really could find a restaurant anywhere else, which serves yum cha, or pretty much “dumplings on the trolley”. Or even just dumplings for that matter. I found some places in London, but they didn`t really make a good impression. But here in New York, yum cha was called “lunch” good lunch to be honest, I can`t wait to go back and have even more dumplings!

We found the restaurant by pure luck, and with a little Zagat help. Wandering around in China Town we were a bit lost. Shall we eat here or there? Everything looked good or interesting. And I was a bit afraid we going to miss out something really good. The choise went to Oriental Gardens, the price range noted in the book and the review was pretty good, and we were only a block away. The fact that we had to wait about 20 minutes for a table was a bit uncomfortable but very exciting at the same time. The place was PACKED, and packed is good, meaning the food is good! So if you visit you have to be very lucky to be seated straight away, and get ready to possibly share your table with somebody else. Which actually doesn`t bothert me, this way you can meet some interesting people!

So, the food. Waitresses were walking around serving chinese dumplings finest, like spring rolls, and bbq pork bun, and steamed chicken dumplings and many many fried goods. If you didn`t like that selection, or just had a few things in mind, you could ick from a very long list of dumplings, noodles, soups from the menu. We said yes to almost everything, and ended up eating a lot, but I knew im not going to see much dumpling for a while, so no guilty feeling there!

The dumplings were nice, my favourite of all time are bbq pork buns. I’m crazy for them. There were 2 things I really disliked, but at some point I expected it! The mini prawns!!!! In everything!!! You order chicken, there prawns in it! Pork..the same! And I don`t eat seafood, so it was a bit annoying, trying to dig them out with a chopstick! The other thing, the hot and sour soup was really disappointing! It was just pure hot and tasteless. Try and avoid it! But finally I had steamed pok choi again! One of my favourite vegetables, which are sometimes very hard to get a hand on in Europe.

If you are in China Town, visit Oriental Gardens, I highly recommend it!

January 31, 2011

Bari: Di Cosimo Pizzeria, picture expension.

I think Pizzeria di Cosimo, from Bari was one of my first posts on the blog, and since it`s been one of the most popular ones. Especially in the recent weeks, it was one of the most googled article from Wonderingchef. I decided to add some more photos, for the ones who are interested. Puglia is an up and coming travel points among bloggers and food lovers, the recent year has really done well for it`s popularity. And if you trust me, you`ll belive me it is worth to visit! Nothing is better than picking up some fresh giant green olives from one of the local markets, and pretty much eat your way trough the whole day! Also, after visiting New York, I have to say, Bari is one of the most cheapest places to eat around Europe, or pretty much anywhere!

So…. 3 pictures from Di Cosimo!

Picture 1: Since my first visit to Bari I`m addivted to Panzerotto. Small big, I don’t care as long as It`s fried! I’m not really a big fan of it`s ovenbaked version. I don`t know why , it`s just nothing special.  The fried version however, just had me at hello! It`s very similar to a hungarian langos – fried dough, but most of the time we eat it with sour creme and cheese. Well let me say the tomato sauce-mozarella cheese combo is even better. On this picture you can see a fried and an al forno panzerotto.

Picture 2: My latest discovery is pizza pana. It was fantastic! Also very simple, and I can`t believ I havent thought about it myself. This is pretty much, a simple pizza, with the tomato sauce basic, on top with fresh cooking creme. We have creme based pizzas here but that`s it, it`s never mixed with the tomato sauce, but it damn right should be! Try at home if you want, or at Cosimo, it`s even better:)

Picture 3; Pizza nd pizzella. Pizzella is a pizza, it`s just a small version. The food prices here are relatively small, price for a pizza is about 5 Euros, for a pizzella is 4 as far as I remember. I would suggest, if you are hungry order a panzerotto and a pizzella, so you can try as many things as possible. Also I pretty much described what Di Cosimo sells, These are the 2 items on the menu. Try and go early, otherwise you’ll be fighting for your food with the locals!

January 19, 2011

Recipe: Pappardelle in Yellow tomato sauce with grilled cherry tomatoes.

To be perfectly honest, there`s nothing new or interesting in this recipe, only I used yellow tomatoes for the sauce. I really like tomatoes, and when their colourful friends appear in stores and markets I just go crazy, because they just look cool. Of course their price isn`t really friendly most of the time, but I can tell people love them as despite their price they disappear from the shelves pretty fast.

I find that using the orange or the zebra or the yellow tomatoes in salad and sauces can really spice up the look of some old favourites, and make the lunch or dinner a bit more fun. Only the yellow tomatoes are a bit sweeter then their red version, and they are incredibly tasty with some extra garlic and parmesan cheese.  As much for italian traditions, they just go mental when they see people eating pasta with the salad, in their eyes it is just WRONG! But, I found that this version of tomato sauce goes very well, with some dried-fruity salad.

It is an easy and fast meal. If you are not a professional and experienced cook, you can still make f un dinners and surprise your guests.

Recipe (2-3 people)

  • half a package of pappardelle
  • 1 big onion (brunoise)
  • 3 cloves of garlic ( finely chopped)
  • 5 big yellow tomatoes.
  • 2 spoons of butter
  • olive oil
  • a couple offresh rosemary leafs
  • Couple of cherry tomatoes for decoration.
  • salt, white pepper, nutmeg

Boil some water add the pasta, and some salt. If you added oil into the water so far, please don`t do it, it is just the waste of oil, you don`t need it! Stir it occasionally, don`t overcook it!

Put the tomatoes in boiling water for a minute or 2 so you can easily get rid of the skin. After that slice them up into small cubes, and mix it with the finely chopped garlic, and the rosemary leafs.

Heat the oil and the butter, in a small saucepan, untill the butter melts. Get a spoonful of this mixture out and put it in a frying pan, this is for frying the cherry tomatoes. Add the onion, and  sweat it,while stirring occasionally, make sure the onion doesn`t get brown! Add the tomato, garlic, and rosemary mix, and cook for 10 or so minutes or untill sauce is ready. If your sauce is a bit thick you can add some water, but make sure, you bring it to boil and reduce the liquid! Before you finish add salt, pepper to taste, and a pinch of nutmeg. Serve it with the fried cherry tomatoes and some fresh parmesan, and maybe a glass of dry rose wine!

January 17, 2011

New York: Chelsea Market in words and pictures

Chelsea Market

75 9th Avenue (Between 15th and 16th streets), New York

Chelsea Market Website

Chelsea Market building New York

Chelsea Market building New York

This enclosed shopping center and food court was once home of the famous Oreos, and is now one of the No.1 meeting point of the city’s gourmet food lovers. Naturally I had to visit it. If you want a piece of advise, you won`t have breakfast before you go there. The market has plenty to offer! From cupcakes to foccacia, from risotto to sushi, even if you are picky, you`ll want to try them all.

Chelsea Market, New York, Amys Bakery

Chelsea market Amy`s Bakery

Gourmet food tours, should be the best way to visit the area. The tours are available on the markets website. Unfortunately I didn’t know about these, and only discovered them when we arrived to the market, they seemed fun and interesting, and surely You can try, and taste more products this way, also you can learn some insight stories about the establishments. Next time I visit I`ll surely join one of them, but not only the market`s but whole a whole Chelsea tour.

Chelsea Market- Amy`s Bakery, Lobster`s place

Amy`s Bakery, Lobsters place, Chelsea Market New York

2 of my favourite businesses were “Amy`s Bakery” and “Lobster`s Place”- even thou I dont` eat seafood. If you are a sushi lover I would strongly recommend to pick up 1 or 2 plates of freshly made rolls there, or just look at the making process from the window. And of course fresh lobsters and plenty other seafood is available. What I liked the most, is the presentation of different products, from all around the market, everything is so organized, colourful and creative! And most of the time, open, so you can look at the production process of several bakery, or restaurants, or pretty much anything.

Chelsea Market, New York, Buon Italia

Chelsea market, New York, Buon Italia


Chelsea and it`s market should be a foodies dream destination when visiting New York Ci, it`s a nice walk from Times Square for the more adventurous tourists!

 

Chelsea market, New york- Buon Italia

Buon Italia, Chelsea market, New York

 

January 16, 2011

New York: Magnolia Bakery

Magnolia Bakery

1240 Avenue of the Americas New York

For info and more locations click here

 

Magnolia Bakery at the Rockefeller Center

Magnolia Bakery New York

Well I like to think about myself as a real “Cupcake Connoisseur”, and to be perfectly frank, I`m crazy for them! Not always about the taste or the consuming, I just like how they look like. Small, cute, colourful, and creative. Sadly, the cupcake madness isn`t really big in Europe, or If you can buy some, most of the time, they are dry and tasteless. I have this dream, about opening my Cupcake-bakery, untill then I`m just visiting shops and websites for more inspiration.

Cakes at the Magnolia Bakery New York

Magnolia Bakery Ney York

Merchandise at the Magnolia Bakery New York

Magnolia Bakery New York

So it happened, on my very first visit to New York I searched for the best cupcakes in town.  Google`s search engines pointed pretty much to one direction: MAGNOLIA BAKERY!!!!! After a bit more searches I realised these are also the famous cupcakes from Sex and the City, and they also appeared in some other film productions. Well, of course I had to check them out. Their website was already mouth-watering. It`s cute, a bit rustic, and you can read titles like: orange, double chocolate, pumpkin, Red Velvet cake, devil`s food cake, Pumpkin spice cake, pies, cookies, brownies.. all yum yum yum! How I’m going to try ALL of these by only one visit??????????

Cupcakes at the Magnolia Bakery New York

Magnolia Bakery New York


Well in terms, I was lucky, as my hotel was only 1 block away from its midtown`s location. So ive been a frequent visitor for over a week. Going early so, I don`t have to que u, with all the other cupcake lovers inside the small bakery, which has a very nice and cosy atmosphere.Friendly staff, an almost open kitchen, so you can have a sneak peek into the cupcake decoration and cake frosting.

Magnolia Bakery New York

Magnolia Bakery New York


From all what we tried the red velvet cupcake was the favourite, also the vanilla and chocolate classic cakes were very very nice. I loved the frosting, it was creamy and tasty, the cakes were all moist and light. But some of them were a bit disappointing, the orange and lemon cupcakes were a bit tasteless, and there were a bit lack of variety of cupcakes you could get without ordering in advance.The 2 and the 3 story cakes looked amazing. My favourite was, the pumpkin spice cake, but there’s many more to try!

Cheesecakes at Magnolia Bakery New York

If you wish to become a cupcake baker at home, you can pick up a copy of “Magnolia bakery`s cookbook” with pictures and recipes, for about 27 Dollars, among with the bakery costume made t-shirts and aprons. If you are there, treat yourself, once, twice or well, any day if you feel like it!

September 26, 2010

Recipe: Grape in Grape

Well, well isn`t it September? Well, I know, it is almost October but, school has just started, leaves are becoming yellow and golden brown, of course there are wine festivals, and yes there are grapes. Black and white ones, small or bigger ones, sweet or a bit sour, they can be surprising by every bite. Grapes are good, that was always my motto, but let`s see what kind of recipes we can make out of this great fruit?

About 2 months ago I enrolled into this cooking contest, where every month there is a different theme, and they wait for your recipes/pictures etc, so the can put them on their website. I came up with 3 ideas, and this one, that you will be reading is the first. Pretty much it is almost like a traditional greek dolmades, but I made it a bit “grape-i”:) There are a few ingredients thou, so don`t be afraid, we still talking about an easy recipe, it only has a few steps that`s all.  Also the dolmades are so nice with some yoghurt dip, so instead of the usual tzatziki, I prefered to make a mint-shallot version, as for a little change.

Ingredients

Grape-Sage Risotto (3-4 people)

1 spoon of butter

1dl of white wine

1 small red onion

2 cloves of garlic

1 cup of arborio rise

1 cup veg stock

1-1- handful of white and black grapes – diced

1 handful of fresh sage

Make a risotto base using the ingredients, adding the sage and the grapes only at the end, and set aside to cool down. Season it as you like, I prefer white pepper and salt.


Mint-shallot yoghurt.

0,5 liters of good quality, thick greek or turkish yoghurt.

1-2 shallots depending on the size brunoise

Handful of fresh mint – shiffanade

1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar

1 clove of garlic brunoise

salt, pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, and keep in fridge.


With the grape leaves, if you don`t grow grapes at home, you can easily buy the leaves in brine at the local deli store, but if you can access some fresh grapes, it’s a 2 minute step to make them at home. You only need to blanch them in boiling salty water, for about 1 minute. Set aside to cool down. As quantity, I gave 3-4 dolmades per person, but of course it’s up to you how many you would like to make.


After that you only need to roll the risotto in the leaves, and store them in the brine mixed with some olive oil.  Keep in fridge up to 4-5 days, serve with the yoghurt, toasted baguette and some olives. Maybe some fresh grapes as well. Don`t forget it`s amazing with some dry white wine! Enjoy!