Tuesday, 16 October 2012

It's been some time since we baked a bread last time. Either, it was related to the lack of culinary inspiration or maybe it was purely because I killed our sourdough twice... or maybe both... hmmm 

Thanks to Zorra, who again this year announced the World Bread Day, we thought that it's just about time to catch up with our baking. I have to say that I've been missing my own, crispy, homemade loaf of bread for a breakfast...So, today is 16th October - official World Bread Day and we'd like to invite you to join us in this huge worldwide home bakery to share a slice of virtual bread... and even if many of you do not blog, you can still share your thoughts and experiences here.

This year, we wanted to share with you a great recipe of Jim Lahey for this Cheese Bread with dried tomatoes and olives. 
However, to our surprise, something strange happened to our loaf... it looked lovely when we took it out of the oven, but when we cut it, each slice was like a rock and the smell was rather offensive reminding of intensive fresh yeast mixture... yukk.... Even our thorough loaf autopsy did not bring any reasonable explanation for the stony consistency of our bread. It was late in the evening, I was unbearably tired but we couldn't let go... we are not of those who easily give up... So we found those one-hour rolls that actually saved our day :)

One Hour Bake Rolls
(based on the recipe from kornikwkuchni.blogspot.com)

Ingredients for about 16 rolls
240 ml of warm milk
115ml water
1 teaspoon of honey
55g of butter
1 egg
400g of wheat flour
160g whole wheat flour
7g dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt

milk for brushing
to sprinkle: oregano, herbes de provence

Put yeast into a bowl, add half of the warm milk, stir thoroughly and leave for 10 minutes. For the small pot, pour the milk, add the water, honey and butter, heat until butter is dissolved, leave it to cool.
Put the flour into a large bowl, add the yeast mixture and milk with butter. Add salt, break the egg and combine all ingredients. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, it should be flexible and sticky. Divide the dough into 16 parts, form a medium size balls and arrange them on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Let it raise for 30-35 minutes in a warm place. After this time the grease the rolls with milk and sprinkle with your favorite herbs. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 200 degrees. Cool down on a wire rack.

Have a lovely evening!

World Bread Day 2012 - 7th edition! Bake loaf of bread on October 16 and blog about it!

Friday, 12 October 2012

Everyone has their favorite vegetable or fruit. I have both. And by “both” I mean tomato. Well, some say it is a vegetable, and others that it is a fruit. It's hard to believe but in the seventeenth century it was considered as a poison and was grown only for ornamental purposes. But soon (to my endless happiness) the medicinal properties and flavour of the tomatoes have been discovered. It didn't take long for the tomato to become a king of the international cuisine. Thanks to Queen Bona, who has introduced the 'golden apple' to the Polish market. I love them so much that I recently couldn't resist to smuggle a few kilogrammes of Majorcan tomatoes to UK... nice souvenir, isn't it?

Did you know that tomatoes ....

· Are a source of carotene, vitamins C, K, E, B1, B2, B3, B6, folic acid and biotin. Tomatoes are also richest in potassium, sodium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, iron, copper, zinc, manganese.
· Are rich in lycopene, which gives them their beautiful red colour and makes them a great antioxidants with powerful anti-cancer effect.

Tomato, thanks to its vitamin C, helps to maintain beautiful skin. Vitamin E, on the other hand protects against the formation of wrinkles and premature aging. Apparently, tomato juice mask applied to the skin of face and hands, lighten up blemishes and soothe acne. Potassium actively neutralizes harmful excess of salt in our diet that may cause increased blood pressure, water retention and muscle spasms. It also improves brain function by improving its oxygenation. Among the vitamins important for us is a vitamin A, which is beneficial to the optic nerves by strengthening them. It may be beneficial in people overdosing computing ;) The high content of folic acid in tomatoes can help future mothers, and those under greater stress as it is known to have a mood's soothing properties.

Not forgetting the male part of the population...
Some clever dudes from Harvard have proved that eating 10 pieces of pizza with tomato sauce per week or other food containing tomatoes, reduced a risk of prostate cancer by 45%. Italians, on the other hand have discovered that 7 servings of tomatoes a week will protect men against colon and stomach cancer. Moreover,  Finns have recently published results of 12 years of research on the role of tomato's lycopene in reducing the number of strokes, which not only prevents the formation of blood clots in the arteries but also inhibits the inflammatory response.

A few tomato facts:
· The best sources of lycopene are tomato sauce, ketchup, tomato soup, canned tomatoes, tomato juice.
· The digestion of lycopene increases when tomatoes are processed with the addition of fat, preferably olive oil.
· Organically grown tomatoes contain three times as much lycopene as tomatoes from conventional crops.
· The best tomatoes are the ones with washed out colour and glossy skin. They contain more beta-carotene and lycopene.
· You should avoid tomato and cucumber salad as the enzyme found in cucumbers destroys vitamin C contained in tomatoes.
· Fresh tomatoes are excellent, however processed tomatoes (canned, sauce, puree, ketchup) retain most of their nutritional value. Furthermore, they contained more lycopene than a fresh fruit. In addition, often added oil, increases the digestion of lycopene. More evidence based publications about tomatoes' medicinal properties can be found here and here and there ...

I have tried out a various tomato juices but this one I have “composed” by myself, simply out of laziness... :) All the recipes on Internet and in food magazines recommend to cook tomatoes or tomato puree mixture with water before actual drinking. But who would want to cook the juice and then wait for it to cool down when what we want is to drink it right now!? So, in accordance to the principle 'need is the mother of invention' I want to share with you my latest tomato juice recipe. And because we don't own a shaker, for this purpose I have successfully adopted an empty jar of (already eaten) marmalade. Tomato puree together with fresh celery stick is full of flavour, and with just a small pinch of cayenne pepper is just right and slightly spicy and most of all, it is cheaper than the one bought in a supermarket. I've tried lots of different tomato purees and the best so far are those produced by Turkish and Hungarian manufactures, as they don't contain any salt, but are purely made of 100% tomatoes. Unfortunately, I got disappointed when I read the labels on the Polish branded tomato pastes - most of them contain only 20% of tomatoes, some percent of citric acid plus salt and other substances which names I can not even decrypt. I will not give the name of the manufacturer but somehow I feel a bit sad when looking for my favorite Polish products in the UK, I end up with foreign products in my basket.

Tomato juice

3 teaspoons of tomato puree
1 sprig of celery
250 ml mineral water
2 cubes of ice
Salt and Pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Place two ice cube in a jar, add tomato paste and seasoning as desired. Grate your celery stick on finely and combine with the rest of the ingredients. Close the jar thoroughly and have fun while shaking, rounding, twisting... like a real bartender :) Shake the jar several times to mix all ingredients. Open the jar and serve your juice with a sprig of celery.

Voila! Quick and tasty juice!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Hey People,

Do you like Cranberries? We do.... We've got a 1 kg of cranberries to preserve. Any ideas? Juice or sauce? That's the question... Or maybe something else?

Monday, 8 October 2012

Good Morning World!
It's Monday morning, 8:30 GMT...
It's beautiful autumn here in London, a bit cloudy sky, thermometer shows 13 degrees... it seems like we might need an umbrella later on...It was going to be a long and thorough post about our fishy passion but instead it'll be super extra quick recipe for our favourite fishy sandwich spread which was once given to me by an old family friend, who was a great fan of fishing... ;)

Quick sardine sandwich spread

250g semi-fat fromage cheese

1 tin of smoked sardines in olive oil
1/2 small onion
2 eggs
salt and pepper
fresh baguette

Chop the onion finely. Mash the cheese with a fork in a bowl, add the sardines with oil from a can (oil adds moisture). Chop boiled eggs finely or grate on a coarse grater and mix with the remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Mash everything thoroughly with a fork. Spread the mixture on a crispy slice of baguette and enjoy!

... and something to soothe the Monday morning mood... :)

Thursday, 4 October 2012

If you've ever been to Krakow, then you know where to go for the best ever roasted baguettes with mushrooms, melted cheese, ketchup and chive. For those who don't know, this is called ‘zapiekanka’. Located in the very heart of Kazimierz, in the middle of a grocery market square in Plac Nowy, right next to popular pubs and clubs such as Singer or Alchemia. As long as I can remember, this place always had a vibrant social life from the morning to the late night. Decadent bars and clubs where we used to stay to very late night or even very early mornings were always full of local people and international guests. We, people of Krakow enjoyed this absolutely scrumptious food prepared personally by Endzior – owner himself. There was nothing as good as a night out with a pack of friends, couple (or more) of beers in a pub and a crunchy zapiekanka with salami, or chicken. Even though, most of what they sell are roasted baguettes with different toppings (pol. zapiekanka), and burgers, there was a never-ending queue every night. 

But who has not been to UK before, then you do not know that the English have their own brilliant cheesy toast. Although, you can’t buy it ‘take away’ on the street, nor I haven't come across it in any of those decent British pub, it is in the minds of the Welsh, especially those who were poor over the past centuries, who often couldn't afford the cheapest piece of meat. So, for the average Welshman, the toast dripping with melted cheddar cheese was like a feast of roast rabbit. I do not know why, today, instead of 'rabbit' they tend to call it 'rarebit'. I personally prefer the original one. 

A genuine 'Welsh Rabbit' is a thick slice of bread, covered with a creamy mixture of cheddar cheese (or Gloucester cheese or Cheshire cheese) and egg, mustard and stout. Then grilled and eaten straight from the oven.

Although, there are hundreds ways of preparing welsh rabbit, we still hold on to this one, just basic, simply delicious!

4 large slices of bread 
200g cheddar or Leicester cheese 
1 egg 
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce 
Pinch of cayenne pepper 
½ tsp of mustard 
30 ml stout 
A little bit of butter 

Preheat the grill to medium-high, and toast the bread on both sides. Beat the yolks into the bowl together with grated cheese, add all other ingredients and seasoning and mix them thoroughly. If you find your mixture too dry you can add one more egg. Then spoon the mixture on to the toast and cook until bubbling and golden. Serve immediately as hot as you can stand.

*** Nice article about the pleasures of cheese is here, I recommend it. 

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

This year, autumn visited British Island as early as mid-August. However, only in a last few days it could be seen in its full glory... we can feel it in the air that passes through a thin slits in the window frames... 
I love to get stuck in my comfy sofa and watch the tips of the yellowing trees through the window, and the sky seems a bit grumpy today too... 

... with the autumnal laziness in my head, I’m trying to sort out the current and outstanding issues, and getting ready to open a new chapter of my life...
In a kitchen, the hot soup with golden chanterelles is quietly simmering in a small pan... hot, with delicious double cream will soothe the autumn mood... 

Chanterelle soup with fennel and sun-dried tomatoes 

1 large carrot 
1 parsley 
2 small celery sticks 
½ fennel bulb 
1 onion, chopped 
2 cloves of garlic 
25ml olive oil 
250g golden chanterelle mushroom 
few sun-dried tomatoes 
1 L mushroom broth 
200 ml of double cream 
salt and pepper 

Chop all your vegetables and garlic finely. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry all the vegetables for about 10 minutes. Add the washed and dried chanterelles and fry them for a few more minutes. Pour mushroom broth, add tomatoes and cook for another 30 minutes. When the vegetables are soft, season them with salt and pepper and pour a double cream into the pan. Serve your soup in a bowls and sprinkle with some fennel. 

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