Do’s and don’ts of Gdańsk

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Food / Food - International / Travelling / Uncategorized

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  • DON’T withdraw money while half asleep;
  • DON’T always go with the cheapest hostel you can find on booking;
  • don’t go for public transport unless you really have to;
  • do walk a lot;
  • do eat at Gdański Bowke;
  • do enjoy fresh seasonal food at Klatka B;
  • do try their salmon soup;
  • do eat lots of fish;
  • do get a sunburn in April;
  • do visit the sea;
  • DON’T eat the Berlin Kebab they have – it’s anything but a Berlin kebab in there;
  • do visit the Market Hall;
  • do take your time on Ulica Mariacka;
  • don’t buy overpriced Amber;
  • don’t take a dip in the Baltic Sea – unless you have strong ovaries or you’re overall brave AF;

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Super healthy frittata

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IMG_7897Spring is like a wake up call to reality that summer is coming and your body is nowhere beach body ready. Not that I care that much but my body is smarter than I am and it’s like yo dude, Christmas is over, Easter is over, maybe now you give me some vegetables too?

So did I with what I had in the fridge, meaning:

  • 6 eggs
  • dash of milk
  • handful of asparagus
  • mushrooms
  • spinach
  • parmesan
  • salt
  • pepper
  • chilli flakes
  • garlic podwer

METHOD:

  1. preheat your oven at 180° C;
  2. cut your mushrooms and add them to a frying pan;
  3. once half done, add the asparagus in;
  4. season with a little bit of salt and pepper, garlic powder and chilli flakes;
  5. add the spinach in – I used fresh since I had it lying around, but frozen works just as perfect;
  6. cook until the spinach is done – the key here is to eliminate as much as you can from the vegetable’s liquids so your frittata is gonna cook evenly;
  7. in a big bowl add the eggs, milk, salt and pepper and mix well;
  8. grease an oven proof pan, add your eggs and vegetables in;
  9. spinkle or shave some parmesan cheese and bake at 180° C until the egg cooks.

and that’s it!

Very versatile, perfect for busy mornings, lunch, to impress someone.

Until the next healthy one,

V.

Wild garlic mushroom quinoa

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Food / Food - International / Uncategorized

Yours truly over here can easily earn the Miss Healthy 2018 title. Easily!

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all you need is:

  • 1 shallot
  • 3 medium size king oyster mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 glass of white wine
  • 750 ml chicken stock
  • healthy bunch of wild garlic
  • salt
  • pepper

IMG_7849.jpgSounds familiar, right? This recipe was suppose to be a brown rice risotto but guess who was lazy enough NOT to spend 40+ minutes next to the pan and switched it to quinoa instead.

but with no further due,

METHOD:

  1. peel and finely chop the shallot;
  2. add it to a frying pan and cook it until translucent;
  3. cut the mushrooms and add it to the pan; season with a little bit of salt and pepper;
  4. once the mushrooms are cooked, add the quinoa and stir;
  5. add the white wine and cook until the alcohol evaporates;
  6. gradually stir in the chicken stock until the quinoa is cooked – or go lazy and add half of the chicken stock at once and once incorporated, the other half;
  7. when the quinoa is cooked and you got a creamy consistency of the dish, turn the heat off and add the chopped wild garlic.

IMG_7882IMG_7893and that’s it. Super simple, super quick and not to mention, super healthy.

Have a happy sunny spring!

V.

 

Black pepper granola

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A very easy and healthy recipe, you’ll need:

  • 500 grams of 5 grains mix (found mine at Rewe, bio section)
  • 150 grams walnuts
  • 150 grams coconut oil
  • 80 ml maple syrup
  • 20 ml agave syrup
  • vanilla essence
  • generous amount of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp of ground cardamom
  • pinch of salt

METHOD:

  1. preheat your oven at 180° C;
  2. in a bog bowl add the grain mix, and the hand crushed walnuts and set aside;IMG_7746.jpgIMG_7758
  3. in a mojar and pestle add your peppercorn and crush it until your desired size;IMG_7766
  4. in a sauce pan melt the coconut oil and add the vanilla, salt and syrups;
  5. back to the big bowl, add the pepper then the liquids and stir until everything is coated;IMG_7776
  6. add the mixture to a baking tray; make sure the mixture is distributed evenly;IMG_7778
  7. bake at 150-180° C, flipping it from time to time to make sure it is not burning;IMG_7809IMG_7825

And that’t it! Best enjoyed with some creamy yogurt and some fruits on a side! And coffee.

Until the next healthy post,

V.

Smooth hummus

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Food / Food - International / Uncategorized

After many attempts on smooth hummus, there it is.

instalamb-2.jpgThe essentials:

  1. pressure cooker;
  2. boil your chickpeas, don’t go for the canned ones;
  3. mix your tahini with water, lemon and garlic;

So, with no further due, you’ll need:

  • 250 grams raw chickpeas (this will give you around 3 cups of cooked chickpeas)
  • 1 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate)
  • 2-3 tbsp tahini
  • 1-2 tbsp water
  • juice of one lemon
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • cumin

METHOD:

  1. soak you chickpeas overnight in water and sodium bicarbonate; this will help to soften the skins of the chickpeas, making it easier to absorb some of the soaking water and helping them to rehydrate and soften when cooked;
  2. drain your chickpeas and give them a good rise; make sure you really give them a good rinse; any bicarbonate residue will pretty much blow up in your pressure cooker (I was smart enough to add 1 tsp of bicarbonate while boiling!!!! and I pretty much ended up with chickpeas all over the kitchen); so yeah, give them a GOOD rinse;
  3. add the chickpeas in the pressure cooker with enough water and cook it for 30 minutes with some salt and cumin;
  4. in the meanwhile, prepare your tahini paste in a bowl;
  5. add the water and stir; the consistency will get really thick and pastey but don’t worry, keep on stirring until it gets smooth; add more water if necessary;
  6. add the lemon juice from a half a lemon into the tahini paste, a little bit of olive oil, crushed garlic cloves and some salt and mix well; the key here is the acidity form the lemon juice that will cut off the strong raw flavour from the garlic, therefore your hummus will taste balanced and not garlicy;
  7. when your chickpeas are cooked, add them warm to your blender with some of the liquid they’ve been boiling in; you want to use them warm since the chickpeas, like any other pulse, harden while cold, therefore won’t give you a smooth result in the end; that’s also why it is better to cook your own instead of going for canned chickpeas;
  8. the consistency you’re looking for is of a thick chickpea soup; remember, it will harden up when cooling, giving you that super smooth result;
  9. add the tahini sauce in;
  10. add the cumin, season to taste, add some more olive oil and lemon juice if needed;
  11. if you feel like something is missing taste wise, wait until it cools down and give it another taste;
  12. add the hummus to a serving plate, top it with olive oil, sesame seeds, chilli flakes and fresh coriander.

And that’s pretty much it! Best served with raw veggies or oven baked potatoes, flatbread or pita chips. Also, it is a good substitute for mayo or mustard. It can also be used to make deviled eggs with, or even in a potato mash!

Enjoy it,

V.

 

 

 

Cardamom cookies 2.0

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Food / Food - International / Uncategorized

This is actually a recipe I already posted of the blog buuuut back then I was too cool to add the measurements as well, therefore my repost now.

Also, the first time I made them, turned out quite tacky but this time, my God! Airiness, fluffiness heaven melts into your mouth. Studio Session-001-2.jpg

You’ll need:

  • 400 grams of rice flour
  • 125 gr unsalted melted butter
  • 1 cup of icing sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • pinch of sea salt
  • freshly roasted pistachios

METHOD:

  1. with the help of a hand mixer, whisk together the butter and the sugar until smooth and pale;
  2. stir in the egg yolk, the cardamom and the salt;
  3. remove the hand mixer and with a spatula add the flour in, gradually until it all gets incorporated;
  4. warp in plastic and allow it in the refrigerator for at least 2h;
  5. preheat oven at 180° C;
  6. cut the cooke dough in 4, and send two back to the refrigerator while your work with the other ones;
  7. with your hand, pull off a generous teaspoon of dough and shape it  into a ball;
  8. transfer it to the baking tray by lightly flatten it;
  9. add the pistachios on top and cook it for 17 – 20 minutes or up until the edges are brown;
  10. carefully transfer them to a cooling rack and allow them to harden.

Don’t be temped to leave them in the oven more. These type of cookies, like the shortbread cookies or the chocolate chip cookies harden up while resting.

Enjoy them over coffee!

V.

Cozonac Moldovenesc

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IMG_7666Ah, the Romanian sweet bread. A caloric bomb, eaten in my family just on Easter time, a recipe that represents hard work, stress and family unity. Yeah, the joy of Cozonac. Also comes with stomach ache while eaten in large quantities. Also kudos to grandma who gave me the tray you see in the image! Not to mention BIG thanks to my parents for video assisting me, living with the same intensity as I was, encouraging me like I was some sort of athlete on the edge of winning. Thanks mum, dad, what would I do without you?

But with no further due, shall we proceed since I have a feeling this blog post will be a loooong one.

So, the first thing you know about Cozonac is that is a heavily on sugar/butter sweet bread, filled with walnuts, cocoa, Turkish delight and raisins. Traditionally.

The recipe is more or less similar to the Mucenici Moldovenesti so if you tried that, you can pretty much nail this one too.

For the sweet bread you’ll need:

  • 1 kg flour
  • 5 egg yolks (room temperature)
  • 200 grams butter (room temperature)
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 2 packages dried yeast
  • lemon zest from one lemon
  • vanilla essence
  • 1 litre milk (room temperature)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 300 grams sugar
  • 100 ml vegetable oil

For the filling(s):

  • 350 grams walnuts
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • vanilla essence
  • 5 egg whites
  • 100 grams sugar
  • alcohol soaked raisins
  • 350 grams Turkish delight
  • 200 grams dried apricots

Told you, pure caloric bomb.

METHOD:

  1. in a medium sized bowl make the poolish by adding the yeast together with 1 tsp sugar, 3-4 tbsp lukewarm milk and 2-3 tbsp flour – se aside for 15 minutes or up until it doubles in size;
  2. boil a cup of milk;
  3. in another bowl, add 2-3 tbsp of flour and pour that hot milk on top of it; stir and do not worry about the lumps; set aside and let it cool up until it reaches the same temperature as your finger;
  4. when cooled, add the poolish to the flour-milk mixture and allow it to rest again until doubled in size;
  5. while the second poolish is rising, separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and save the latter for later;
  6. with the help of a hand mixer beat in the egg yolks and 100 grams of sugar until it’s pale yellow and doubled in size;
  7. the rest of the sugar (200 grams) will be added in a sauce pan with 100 ml milk and the lemon zest on low heat until the sugar dissolves;
  8. in a big bowl, add the flour, the salt, the vinegar and the vanilla essence;
  9. make a well in the middle and add: the poolish, the egg mixture and the milk mixture;
  10. at this point you should have left on the table just the room temperature butter, milk and oil;
  11. also at this point it will be better to get some help;
  12. start kneading – this time by hand only, no mixer – slowly adding the warm milk into the mixture; depending on your flour, you might use the whole 3 cups of milk, or less; the key here is to achieve a soft, smooth and wet dough that doesn’t stick to you hands;
  13. this procedure should be exactly 10 minutes, where you constantly knead and add a little milk at a time until you reach that perfect dough;
  14. after those 10 minutes, it is time for the butter to get in; keep half of it at room temperature and half melted; slowly add the whole butter in by constantly kneading; this step should be around 15 minutes of constantly kneading and adding the butter; you should also start sweating by now.
  15. on a clean oiled surface, smash the dough 5 times by pull and stretch method;
  16. bring the dough back to the bowl and slowly add the oil in, by kneading for another 15 more minutes;
  17. again, smash for 5 more times and eventually allow the dough to rest for one hour in a warm, draft free environment;
  18. clean your sweat away and enjoy yourself a glass of wine because we’re not done;

THE FILLING:

  1. in a bowl, add 150 grams of raisins and soak them in alcohol of your choice;
  2. grind the walnuts and set aside;
  3. in a bowl, add the egg whites and with the help of a hand mixer beat it up by slowly adding the sugar to it;
  4. in a big bowl add the ground walnuts, the cocoa powder, vanilla essence and the egg whites;
  5. slowly fold in the egg whites into the mixture;
  6. set aside;
  7. cut the Turkish delight and the dried fruits in equal size small cubes;
  8. set aside;

THE BRAIDING:

  1. take the dough out and divide it into 4 equal parts;
  2. prepare your baking trays with baking paper and butter on top;
  3. on a large, very oiled surface start spreading your dough like it’s a pizza;
  4. add all of the cocoa mixture on top of it making sure you cover all the surface;
  5. gently start rolling everything in, making sure the dough doesn’t break;
  6. once the first roll is done, set aside;
  7. spread another ball of dough and add all of the the dried alcohol soaked raisins on top of it;
  8. roll it as you did with the other one and intertwine them by using short, quick and precise movements; remember, the dough is soft, there is a lot of filling so you have to move quick in order not to achieve a disaster;
  9. once you have a braided sweet bread loaf, add it to the pan by grabbing it like a newborn baby; make sure you hold the head and the butt of the Cozonac;
  10. take another ball of dough, spread it, and add the Turkish delight on top of it; roll and set aside;
  11. spread the last ball of dough, add the dried fruits on top, roll and intertwine with the other roll;
  12. add it to the other pan;
  13. allow the loaves to rise for another hour, covered with a towel, in a warm, draft free environment;
  14. 30 minutes before they are done with the second rising, preheat the oven at 150° C;
  15. beat an egg with a little bit of milk and brush it on top of the loaves;
  16. add it to the oven for 10 minutes at 150° C, increasing the temperature at 180° C until they pass the tooth pick test;

And phwhew, YOU’RE DONE!!!! 

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Have another glass of wine and be happily exhausted now because you truly deserve it.

Have a Happy Romanian Easter,

V.

Tender juicy leg of a Lamb

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Lamb can be rather tricky. It smells, can be chewy, can be raw, it’s rather expensive and not very encouraging to experiment with.

I must admit, I am not necessarily a big fan of it because of all the reasons above but since I am a very courageous woman and after lots of hours of Youtube and mother knowledge, I’ve came up with this fail proof perfectly tender juicy goodness leg of lamb.

There are very few crucial steps you wanna follow to achieve a good result.

  1. Scoring the meat – this will not only help the salt and marinate go better into your meat creating more flavour but also it will make it easier to eat afterwards;
  2. Rosemary – lamb has lots of unsaturated fat, meaning the fat is prone to oxidising; when it oxidise, it releases the strong smell of lamb that can be a killer game in (some) most of the cases. To tone down that strong smell, use any antioxidants you have in hand: rosemary, vinegar, lemon, mustard;
  3. Have in hand any meat thermometer  – again, this meat can be rather tricky to cook. If you cook it too long it will be dry; too little and it will be raw-ish and chewy. You wanna go for an internal temperature of 70-71° C for medium rare and 76°C for well done.

But with no further due, let’s get going with this beauty:

You’ll need:

  • fresh leg of lamb
  • rosemary
  • garlic
  • salt
  • pepper
  • pinch of cayenne
  • a can of beer
  • 2-3 onions

METHOD:

  1. score your meat as explained above;
  2. separately, cut some garlic cloves into slices and pick up some fresh small rosemary bouquets – set aside;
  3. also cut your onions and set aside;
  4. mix together the salt, pepper and cayenne and generously rub the meat with it – keep in mind that it is a thick cut of meat, so you wanna go generous with salt. Also, go in between those cuts you just made so you’ll get more flavour in the end;
  5. with a small sharp knife poke some holes, large enough to host your garlic-rosemary bouquets;
  6. insert the garlic-rosemary bouquets as shown in the photos below:

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7. in a large container, add the onions and beer and place the meat on top;

8. allow the meat to marinate in beer for 24+h; make sure you turn the meat around, preferably 12h on each side, since the can of beer won’t cover it – the key here (and why is it just a can of beer and not more) is because you don’t wanna get that strong beer flavour in the final result;

9. preheat the oven at the highest temperature it can go;

10. add the lamb on a grilled roast oven tray and pop it in for 30 min at high heat;

11. after 30 min, turn the heat down to 180º C, cover the meat with tin foil and cook the lamb for 40 min/kg, or up until it reaches the internal temperature of 70° C for medium rare or 76° C for well done;IMG_7694IMG_7704

And there you go! Perfectly roasted leg of lamb, juicy, tender and full of flavour!

Also please excuse the last photo, since I was too excited about the meat not to take my camera (again) to take a proper photo of my plate.IMG_20180401_204854_725

 

Drob de pui

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Food / Food - International / Uncategorized

A Romanian Easter classic, traditionally made with lamb that I have no clue how to properly translate it. It is pretty much a meatloaf but with part liver, chicken hearts and chicken breast. I am not a fan of liver no hearts of any kind and I think it is the only way I actually enjoying them. Also, I do prefer the chicken version, since it is not as strong in flavour as the lamb one.IMG_7675you’ll need:

  • 1 onion
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 300 grams chicken liver
  • 300 grams chicken hearts
  • 300 grams chicken breast
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup of bread crumbs
  • good handful of parsley and dill
  • salt
  • pepper

For the filling:

  • 4 boiled eggs
  • pickles
  • mustard

METHOD:

  1. boil the chicken hearts in salted water;
  2. finely chop the onion;
  3. add the butter to a frying pan and cook the chicken liver for exactly 7 minutes – not more, otherwise you liver will get rubbery and bittery;
  4. after 3-4 minutes or better said when the liver starts to gain some color, add the onions;
  5. take the pan out of the heat and set aside;
  6. with the help of a blender, chop the boiled chicken hearts, the liver, the raw chicken breast and the herbs – for best results try to make it quite pasty but if you do enjoy the little chunks by all means pulse it until the desired consistency;
  7. in a bowl mix the chopped meats, the herbs, the smashed garlic and add the eggs with the bread crumbs;
  8. mix everything together and season for salt;
  9. in a buttered meatloaf/bread pan add half of the mixture by distributing it evenly;
  10. add the 4 boiled eggs in and the pickles;
  11. add the rest of the mixture on top and spread some mustard on it;
  12. cook it at 180°C for 30 minutes;

And if you are not a fan of liver either, trust me you won’y taste it, because of all the herbs in it.

Enjoy!

V.

Easy natural dyed eggs

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Food / Food - International / Uncategorized

IMG_7683-4.jpg

Is not like I reinvent the world, but thinking about it our ancestors were smart. I mean, who would think to boil the eggs in onions skin? For sure not us, because we have supermarkets and artificial egg dye in it.

Back at my parents’ we used ink and I am not gonna lie, the eggs were stunning. Golden, silver, pastel, shiny, perfect. And I am not sure if once with age the roots are calling but there is something raw and natural in coloring the eggs with onions. Not that I necessarily remember my  grandma doing it but somehow it sent me back there.

All you need is really some onions skin you have around. In the past two years I have tried the beets and red onions skin but I have come up with the conclusion that the results are not necessarily the best. Oh, and this year I tried to make the green one too. Total fail.

So, you’ll need:

  • white shell eggs
  • onions skin
  • turmeric (optional)
  • some old panty hoes you have lying around
  • dill and parsley leaves
  • scissors
  • some elastic band (optional)

METHOD:

  1. with the help of the rough part of your dish sponge, gently remove the stamp with a little bit of soap and warm water;IMG_7619-2
  2. cut your panty hoes in pockets big enough to host your egg;
  3. add the leaves on top on the egg and gently place it in the stockings – make sure your leave is neatly in place – that will be your model afterwards so you don’t wanna mess it up;UNADJUSTEDRAW_thumb_b84
  4. firmly knot the ends of your stocking but be careful not to break the egg – the firmer the stocking is to the egg, the better model you’ll get in the end;
  5. peel around 5-6 onions and add the skins to a big pot;
  6. add water and allow it to boil;
  7. once its boiling, add the eggs and cook them for 8 minutes;
  8. remove from the pot and allow them to cool;
  9. remove the stocking and enjoy your art!

Have a happy Easter and don’t consume too many eggs!

V.