Friday, August 22, 2008

Fast food - not so fast, part 2

This one is the most obvious: homemade hamburgers. I made these when a friend of ours visited us with his two sons. Memo to myself: kids and dijon mustard do not combine well. Otherwise I think they liked the hamburgers - at least enough to eat up.

You will need:
600g beef mince (that is slightly better than minced meat, does not have to be beef at all)
a pinch of salt, or two
1/2 teaspoon of crushed black pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped (optional, depending on wheteher you want your garlic in the dressing)

kesam or sour cream or something even lighter
either lemon juice and chopped chives, or chopped garlic

You will also need:
wholegrain hamburger bread, or indeed any other kind of bread you want to serve
slices cucumber, sliced tomatoes, salad and so on

Heat the oven to warm the bread. Fry the hamburgers. I wonder if there is anything vegetarian that you could substitute for meat? Perhaps Miss White Elephant knows the answer?


And remember to enjoy your weekend!

These are a few of my favorite things, part 1

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings...

No wait. I was to write about food and cooking and such.
Here comes my fovorite numero uno: Citrus fruits.

Lemon makes the simples of refreshments - lemon water; it spices up all kinds of fish and seafood; slices cut in four make a great additive in salads (e.g. my couscous and apple salad); zest is important in green lentil soup. What is left after squeezing the juice is also the best means to remove strong/unpleasant scents from your fingers.

Lime - fashionable and omnipresent like the new pesto, or maybe it is the new wasabi? Despite the hype it is useful: just think of lime water; the healthiest of salad dressings may be lime juice and black pepper.

Orange & grapefruit - handy snacks inbetween meals; oranges are make the simplest of desserts when served sliced with a pinch of cinnamon. Not to forget about pomelos, klemntines and mandarines (does anyone still remember those?)

Now I will have to eat some of the above ;-)

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I will be publishing part 2 of Fast food, not so fast and launching the next series of posts These are a few of my favorite things...

But today I have to rest my eyes.

Przy okazji, do moich polskich czytelniczek i czytelników: wszystkie przepisy mogę na życzenie przetłumaczyć na polski. Wystarczy zostawić wiadomość w komentarzach. Miłego gotowania!

Zucchini (courgette) soup / Zupa z cukini

This is perhaps The Soup in my household. I must have made it some ten-fifteen times and never seem to get bored with it. (Pity I forgot to take a picture last time I made it.) Is's fast, it's cheap, it's light. The recipe comes from a popular vegetarian cook book, with several modifications.

Here's what you will need:
1 medium to large onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 medium to large zucchini, grated
1 medium carrot, grated
2-4 button mushrooms, chopped (optional)
1 corn of allspice
a few corns of black pepper
1 bay leaf
vegetable stock or anything similar
a pinch of chilli powder
a tablespoon of oil

Heat the oil in the bottom of a large casserole, fry the onion, garlic and button mushrooms together. Add grated zucchini and carrot. Heat for a minute or two, add all the spices and vegetable stock (about 1 liter) or 1 liter of water with a suitable amount of vegetarian broth powder (e.g. Vegeta by Podravka). Bring to boil and simmer for ten minutes.

If you need your protein add a cut chicken breast fillet or two and cook until it is done.


Sweet salmon in soya sauce / Słodki łosoś w sosie sojowym

You will need (for two):
some 600g of salmon fillet
1 large onion, peeled and cut
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 bit of ginger, chopped
oil for frying (e.g. riceoil)

Cut the salmon into suitable pieces. Heat a frying pan and fry ginger, garlic and onion together. When the onion is done, toss is to one side of the pan, put the salmon in and cover with the onion. When the salmon is alomst done, pour some soya sauce over it. The result is sweet (that's he onion) and possibly salty (depending on the kind of soya sauce). This is actually my copy of a dish served by one of Oslo's thai/viet places. Serve it with rice - or not ;-)

Above you can see my result as of today. It was a bit on the fatty side - I have to remember that for the next time.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cactus fig / kaktusfiken / opuncja zwana też figą indyjską

I first met the taste of opuntia in the form of an artificially flavoured German tea :) A great summer snack. Place it in the fridge for a few hours before serving. In my opinion better and more refreshing than ice cream.

Fast food - not so fast, part 1

I sometimes find myself craving for unhealthy fast food. The problem is that in the light of articles such as this one, or this one, or even this one, I am being effectively deterred from satisfying my little cravings.

Thus I have started making the food I think I want at home. Fast food purists may disagree and argue that e.g. kebab is best at this or that place in Oslo. Still I prefer my light variants of fast food - just look at teh pictures in the articles above.

Here comes the first recipe: my almost kebab with light dressing

Prepare the dressing first. You will need:
1 container of light sour cream/kesam or 2 of rømmekolle
2 teaspoons of sweet papika powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of coriander seeds, crushed
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 clove of garlic, crushed
maybe some salt

Mix everything in a bowl and place in the refrigerator for at least half an hour.
Heat the oven and prepare a few pita breads (wholegrain, if available).

For the kebab part you will need:
2 chicken breast fillets of quorn fillets or any other kind of protein source you prefer
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon of chilli powder (or less...)
1 teaspoon of crushed black pepper
1 teaspoon of coriander seeds, crushed
chopped parsley
rice oil

Fry your protein source with onion, garlic and the spices above. Serve with the dreassing, a nice salad and pita bread.

to be continued...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Cilantro / koriander / kolendra

"Some writers say the leaves [cilantro] are used for seasoning, but this statement seems odd, as all the green parts of the plant exhale a very strong odor of the wood-bug, whence the Greek name of the plant."

Vilmorin-Andrieux, The Vegetable Garden (1885)

A few words of introduction

I enjoy cooking and have been enjoying it for a few years now. The general rule of my kitchen is "you take what you have" (this sounds so much better in Norwegian). Sometimes "you take what you have to" because not everything can be stored forever. Apart from modern cucumbers - these stay the same for weeks, somehow.

Most of my recipes are based on recipes from books, and nearly everything has been researched on the web. Google is a handy tool there.

I use little salt and a lot of freshly crushed black pepper. Not out of snobbishness - it simply tastes better.

I will be glad for comments, so that I know my posts are being read. I write in English in case my Polish friends would like to read this. This also explains why my language is a little bit awkward. I might switch to Norwegian, if none of you Poles bothers to read.

Bon Appétit! Vel bekomme! Smacznego!

Parsley pesto / Pesto z natki pietruszki

One of the problems with buying parsley in our local shop is that it comes in huge bunches. In a moment of desperation I came up with the idea of making a parsley pesto to simply get rid of poor thing before it goes bad. Some research on the web proved that alas I wasn't the first one to think of that. From several recipes that I found, I concocted this one.

You will need:
parsley - as much as you have to use up
1 clove of garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
crushed black pepper
some olive oil
roasted almons, chopped (optional)

Blend well with a hand blender. Eat up the same day or the day after. On the third day it just isn't good.

Mango salsa that turned into a salad / Sałatka z mango

This one originates with my friend's sister as a salsa served with potato chips. But it turned into a salad - perhaps because I didn't have the patience to chop and dice so nicely.

You will need:
1 large yummy yellow mango, peeled and diced (be careful, it is a slippery thing)
1 small red onion - or maybe just half of it
2 tomatoes, seeded, and diced
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
cilantro - as much as you like, chopped
juice from one lime

Mix everything in a bowl and season to taste with crushed black pepper.
It looks good and tastes even better. Great summer food.

Black olive tapenade / Pasta z czarnych oliwek

You will need:
Ca 250g of black olives, drained
Ca 30g/1 tablespoon of small capers, drained
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tomato - seeded and diced
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
juice of 1/2 of lemon
crushed black pepper

Blend all the ingredients, apart from the tomato, with a hand blender. Don't overdo it - tapenade is not supposed to be smooth. Fold in diced tomato - that way tapenade looks better. Season with salt if you have to (capers should suffice).

Banana chutney with cilantro and chilli / Sos bananowy z kolendrą

For this you will need:
chopped cilantro (coriander)
1 good banana, sliced
1/2 red chilli without seeds, chopped
juice from 1/2 of a lime

Use a hand blender to combine all ingredients.
Banana chutneys are best eaten the same day as the colour turns greyish after a while. If you find the original colour ugly, use a tiny pinch of saffron soaked in warm water.

Nice with grilled quorn fillets or chicken fillets if you eat those.