Tomato soup with smoked sausage and poached eggs, a rustic soup with a great flavor profile. Nothing reminds me of my childhood more than this soups. It’s the soup of those sore – throat mornings and it’s the soup of those long days of July. It’s definitely a soup of contrasts, the refreshing tomato juice, the fragrance of the basil, the earthiness of the shallot and the smoked sausage. The perfect geometry of the homemade square noodles and the imperfect beauty of the poached egg.
Why I love tomato soup with smoked sausage and poached eggs:
- it’s simply delicious, it’s hearty and fragrant
- it’s ready in less than 30 minutes
- it prepares almost by itself
- it takes about 5 budget-friendly ingredients
- it’s great all year round
Continue reading Tomato Soup with Smoked Sausage and Poached Eggs
Quail eggs boiled to perfection, served in a velvety and decadent butter and beetroot sauce, scented with ginger and Garam Masala. It does sound appealing, doesn’t it! The fact is I’m seldom dazzled by a combination of flavors, not because I’m a person hard to impress, but because I try really hard to content my emotions, at least culinary-wise. But this flavor profile mesmerizes me, it fascinates me to the point I drag myself to the kitchen at 1 am, in my pijamas, just to enjoy that taste again.
The starting point of this recipe is in fact Murgh Makhani, a delicious Indian butter chicken curry. About three years ago I substituted chicken with quail eggs and the recipe made so much sense, that I’ve made it only with quail eggs ever since. I often make this recipe with ghee, the Indian clarified butter, a very nutritious ingredient, but since I make my own ghee and I happened to run out ot it, I decided to use regular butter. And yes, that gorgeous chick in the picture is one of my quail-pets. On this note, how cool is the fact that my pets also provide breakfast? Continue reading Quail Egg Butter Curry
In a farm, the rooster has an extremely active life, from fertilizing the eggs, to mentaining the social order and chasing me like a crazy person whenever he’s in the mood for some action defending the chicken family from any potential predator and this active lifestyle must be sustained by a powerful muscular system. After the rooster meat is cooked, this muscular system (which is essential for the fulfilling daily attributions) often turns into a chewy, rubbery, uncomfortable, almost painful mess. To tenderize the meat and to make it juicy I pulled off some two simple and efficient tricks:
- Aging the meat. I learnt this trick from my grandmother. She used to wrap the rooster in parchment paper and refrigerate it for 2 – 4 days. And let me say, this trick really works. It is very important to wrap the meat in parchment paper, and not cling film, because the paper allows the meat to breathe.
- Slow-cooking the meat. I take the aged meat from the refrigerator about an hour before cooking and I let it get to room temperature. I pad dry it and I sear it, I deglaze the pan with wine, I cover the meat halfway with chicken broth and I slowcook it, covered, for about 1 hour, making sure I drizzle some juices from the pan every 15 minutes.
These two basic tricks allow me to get a tender and juicy steak each time. The taste is incredible, earthy, somehow buttery, with subtle notes of wine and sage. To conclude, if I didn’t manage to bust the “rooster is too rubbery” myth, at least I hope I made you curious! Continue reading Braised Rooster Legs with Wine and Sage Sauce
As soon as the first leaf turns brown, I immediately start preparing soups, creams, stews and other semi-liquid and preferably hot dishes. I simply love the idea of having a melting pot on a stove, a pot that simmers quietly and makes the entire kitchen smell like fall. On this chilly Saturday morning, I decided it’s suitable, if not perfect, to make a delicious Tuscan bean soup, a flavorful Italian cannellini bean and prosciutto soup. It is so easy to make, you just have to saute some prosciutto, onion, carrots and celery, you deglaze the pan with wine, you cover the ingredients with cubed tomatoes and broth and you let the soup simmer. Before serving you add the beans and some baby spinach and the soup is ready. Simple as one, two, thee! The most intriguing part of this dish, and the source of its complex flavor profile, if I may, it’s the addition of a parmesan rind. This element gives the soup an unbelievable flavor! Next time you’ll be tempted to throw away a parmesan rind, think again and let the rind elevate a Tuscan bean soup. You won’t regret it! Continue reading Tuscan Bean Soup
Whenever I want to roast pork, I seem to choose tenderloin more and more often, and the reasons are multiple: it cooks fast, it’s tender, it’s delicious, it’s moist and it’s inexpensive. While pork shoulder is sometimes quite fat and the pork loin quite dry, the tenderloin has just the right amount of fat. It’s so easy to work with tenderloin because it remains moist and juicy long after it’s sliced, not to mention that regarding the side dish, tenderloin literally goes with everything.
Don’t get me wrong, even without being marinated, tenderloin is juicy and flavorful, but today I chose to run the extra mile and I brined it in pomegranate tea and sea salt. It became even more tender and the fruity flavor was spot-on. After the marinating process, I coated the tenderloin with creamy roasted garlic and I wrapped it in thin bacon slices.
It’s not a big culinary secret that pork goes heavenly with all sorts of fruit, so I dressed up this marvelous steak with a sweet and tangy sour cherry sauce. To keep it simple, this morning I’ve picked some lovely new potatoes, I’ve boiled them in broth and I sauteed them in sage-flavored butter. The whole business took less than an hour, including the time spent waiting for the garlic to roast / drinking a coffee / taking more than a dozen trips to my vegetable garden as I have the memory of a 90 year old and I always forget half of my ingredients. Continue reading Bacon Wrapped Tenderloin with Sour Cherry Sauce
I’m a new potato lover and I’ve always been. I love them boiled, steamed, fried, roasted, it doesn’t matter how are they cooked, as long as I can still perceive that lovely nutty flavor. It’s not spring until I make a new potato salad and I prepare it at least once a week. Who am I kidding, I make it every other day! My all time favorite new potato salad is unbelievably flavorful, very satisfying and (funny enough) vegan. In this recipe I used new potatoes, which I’ve picked from my own garden and I boiled them in vegetable broth (you can only imagine the flavor on these guys). I mixed them with radishes, onion rings and roasted tomatoes and I dressed them with a fresh herb, olive oil and vegetable broth emulsion. Let’s get serious, what’s not to like? Continue reading Vegan New Potato Salad
I’ve finally found a recipe for cream of carrot soup that doesn’t taste like baby food. It is made from roasted carrots and fennel, two vegetables that go so well together. I must confess that I picked my carrots from my garden this morning, on a warm summer rain. It sounds enchanting, doesn’t it? So, I chopped the vegetables, I drizzled some olive oil and I roasted them in the oven, just to enhance their flavor. After they were nice and brown, I simmered them in vegetable soup, with red onion, wine and thyme. At the end I flavored the soup with some fragrant roasted garlic. The result was a delicious and hearty soup. The funny thing is that only long after I enjoyed this divine soup I realized that it was in fact vegan. My family never suspected! Continue reading Cream of Carrot Soup
I’ve always loved duck roast for its unmistakable flavor, its reach and exquisite taste and its mouth-watering crispy skin. But I’ve always felt discouraged to try to cook it. It seemed too technical and challenging to get the perfect seared duck breast. Last year I finally gave it a try and was the best decision ever. Little by little I managed to understand the meat, its physics and its chemistry. And it’s not difficult at all. If you pay attention to a couple of things, your seared duck will always turn out perfect.
I like my seared duck medium to well done, with a divine crunchy skin and a juicy, pinkish, flavorful meat. In order to get this finish I brown the breast in a cast iron skillet in its own fat, and I finish it in the oven for 6 minutes. After duck has rested for 5 minutes, I slice it and I serve it with a sweet and sour wine and cherry sauce. It is a wonderful combination! Continue reading Duck Breast with Wine-Cherry Sauce
I love veggie creams so much, not because I am lazy (fine … that too, I admit), but because creams are a great method to include more vegetables in your diet. In my case it’s difficult to pick a favorite, in general I like everything that’s savory and creamy. Anyway, this broccoli and ricotta soup, which is a relatively recent discovery, has quickly become my obsession. It’s so rich, smooth and fragrant, and the subtle minty flavor gives this dish such a nice touch. Continue reading Creamy Broccoli and Ricotta Soup