This flavorful pull-apart bread is by far my favorite kind of bread. It is so soft and airy and I can’t even begin to describe how wonderful it tastes. Although it may look fancy, it is in fact very easy to make. If you have a bit of extra time on your hands, you can make this beauty from scratch, using just a few budget-friendly ingredients. Not to mention the fact that you don’t need a knife to slice it, you just tear it apart.
This loaf is the piece de resistence that you proudly place in the middle of the table during a dinner among friends. You just have to sit and enjoy how everyone tears it apart, piece by piece. This loaf obviously has the wow factor, but it is also extremely delicious. It’s something inexplicably satisfactory about tearing it into pieces, pieces that simply melt in your mouth and delight you with a buttery roasted garlic aroma. This bread is simply madness!
Continue reading Pull-Apart Garlic & Herb Bread
Sometimes, I’m simply not looking for symmetries, geometries and flawlessness. Sometimes, a rustic dessert chaotically dropped on a white plate creates for me an ecstatic state of mind, a genuine satisfaction that no other form of perfection could ever bring. Moments like that tell me it’s time to make a crumble.
Fruit crumble isn’t the most aesthetic dessert that you could think of, I give you that, but the taste is simply divine. Those fresh fruit that bake in their own juice, creating a silky, flavorful sauce go wonderfully with the crunchy buttery crust. For this particular crumble I used meaty June cherries, I flavored them with rose water (vanilla or almond extract work beautifully too) and I topped them with a buttery almond flake mixture. A delicious madness! Continue reading Cherry and Almond Crumble
French toast (or Pain perdu) is an absolutely divine breakfast. It’s nothing else but day-old bread soaked in a milk and egg mixture flavored with cinnamon and than fried in butter and served with honey and berries. I make this wonderful treat everytime I find myself in the position of throwing away stale bread. I find it fascinating how an unappealing slice of bread metamorphoses into something sublime.
For French toast I’ve used all sorts of bread, from plain white bread, to whole – wheat, focaccia, or ciabatta, from Romanian sweet bredt, babka or challah. I often use whole-wheat bread soaked in a flavorful egg, milk and brown sugar mixture. The fact that the bread is old gives the final product its fluffiness and keeps the slice together when soaked. If you have only fresh bread, you can always toast it in the oven for 10 minutes. Continue reading Whole – Wheat French Toast
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
These crispy polenta rectangles are a delicious side dish, a satisfying and healthy alternative to good old potato sides. These beauties have a crispy and fragrant crust and a creamy center. They are very easy to prepare and quite quick. The less simple parts (because I cannot define them as challenging) are the preparation of the polenta and the baking part. Between those two parts there is a waiting period, a part where the polenta is refrigerated to firm up. In order to save some time I prepare my creamy polenta, I pour it in a tray and I leave it aside to cool down. While my polenta is firming up, I always prepare my protein. After the polenta is nice and firm, I slice it, I place the rectangles on a parchment paper-lined tray and I broil them to get them nice and crispy. To get the crispy crust you can also fry them in a nonstick frying pan but I prefer the broiled version.
I like to pair my crispy polenta with a rich, nutty and tangy beurre noisette and sage sauce. For this sauce I melt some butter in a skillet. When the butter has melted, I get rid of the foam from the surface and I continue cooking the butter until it turns golden brown. I add some fresh sage leaves, lemon juice and walnuts. Super simple and de-li-cious! Continue reading Baked Polenta with Butter, Sage and Walnut Sauce
Naan is an oven baked flatbread made with yeast. These flatbreads are by far my favorite kind of flatbread. They are so easy to make, the ingredients are always in my pantry, they look so adorable, but also these beauties are extremely delicious. This flatbread is so elastic, soft and airy, with a lovely buttery and toasted sesame seed flavor. It is such a rustic bread and yet so sophisticated. The technique is quite simple and the active part takes no more than 20 minutes. The passive part, the part when the dough rests or rises is the most challenging part, if you will. It takes about 2 hours to rise, so this recipe isn’t the most suitable if you are in a hurry. But if you have some time to spare, trust me, the result is so rewarding and surely it is worth waiting every minute. Continue reading Homemade Naan
Nothing reminds me of my childhood as grilled corn does. Now that I think of it, I can even taste its unmistakable flavor and its sweet and warm smell. I remember taking the hot corn right from the burning coal and devouring the whole thing, without even waiting for it to cool down. Since that particular moment I had hundreds, maybe thousands of them and I enjoyed with the same pleasure each and every single one of them. This time I chose to grill the corn to enhance its sweetness and then I dressed the knobs with a herb butter mixture. There’s not much to say about the herb butter, maybe just the fact that that beautiful bouquet of herbs came from my own garden. I wish I could describe how divine the combination was! Continue reading Grilled Corn with Herb Butter
I love June and its wonderful cherries with their firm texture and addictive sweetness. They are my favorite fruits. They are perfect served as dessert, added in salads or in sweet treats, but eaten right from the tree are even better. They taste like chidhood!
With an acute childhood nostalgia, an intense sweet craving and a dangerously low blood sugar level I decided this morning that it’s the perfect moment to bake a cherry tart. Even though it’s a sweet tart, the crust is sugarless. It is a pâte à foncer, a dough made from flour, sugar, egg and salt. I love how the salty crust enhances the flavor of the filling. This tart has 3 components: the flaky crust, the coffee glazed cherries and the delicate custard. I can honestly say that this is the best tart I’ve ever had! Continue reading Cherry Tart
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
Pea pâté made from frozen peas is a delicious appetizer but when made from fresh spring peas it’s absolutely exquisite. Spring peas are blanched and then mixed with ricotta, parmesan, spring onion and fresh mint and it miraculously transforms into a dense and flavorful cream, with an almost surreal green color. Almost.
I ran out of bread and I decided it’s about time to bake a focaccia (I used exactly this recipe), since I haven’t made bread for so long (for 3 days, to be more accurate). So, while the dough was rising, I prepared a minty ricotta-spring pea pâté. Since I finished the pâté extremely quickly, I decide to caramelize some God knows how old old white onions. I cooked them very slowly, at low temperature without the additional sugar until they turned a rich brown. I assembled the focaccia, spring pea pâté and caramelized onions and I got a cute and heavenly tasty appetizer. Continue reading Spring Pea Pâté with Caramelized Onions