Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Aromatic hummus / Hummus aromatyczny

This is a slightly more spiced and less oily variant of this popular spread.

You will need:
350-400g of chickpeas (soaked in water overnight, then cooked with one Bay Laurel leaf - I strongly advise to use a pressure cooker which might be one of the better investments in your kitchen. I use one manufactured by AMC but there is a variety of pressure cookers on the maarket.

juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon of tahini paste
1-2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
a dash of chilli powder
2 teaspoons of ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander seeds
some nice olive oil
some water from cooking chickpeas (otherwise you will need more oil)

Blend everything with a hand mixed and voilà you have a dinner!

I serve it with some bread and lots of vegetables and some lemon juice on the side. Also, it tastes remarkably well with a sliced banana.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Perfect snack / Przysmak doskonały

Salt and pepper. And some soy sauce.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cajun potatoes with holy trinity salsa / Ziemniaczki cajun z salsą

This is one of my favorite dishes ever and I know at least one reader here to be fond of spicy potatoes, so I sure hope she is reading this post.

It's hot and it's spicy and it takes forever to make these but it is all worth it. Believe me. Well, maybe it doesn't take forever - it just is difficult to time. So prepare the Cajun potatoes on an afternoon when you have plenty of time and aren't too hungry to wait.

For the Holy Trinity salsa you will need:
2 celery stalks, finely diced
½ red pepper bell, finely diced
a piece of red onion, finely diced

For the rest of this dish you will need:
Cajun spice from the post below - the amount there should me enough for even 800 grams of potaoes.
Potatoes - washed, peeled if necessary and cut into wedges. The smaller potatoes you choose the better.
A few button mushrooms cut into fours and peeled whole shallot onions (both optional).

Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Pour some oil into a baking dish - enough to cover the bottom and place it in the oven.

Roll the potatoe wedges in the spice. Add the potatoes to the baking dish, toss and add what might be left of the cajun spice. Add mushrooms and whole onions.

Bake for some 45 minutes. This depends on the size of potatoes used, your oven and so on. Be prepared that it might take more than an hour. Turn occasionally.

Last time I made it I made some fast chicken meatballs - baked in the oven underneath the potatoes. I just need to remember to take pictures of food before I start eating. Everything looks so much better then.


Avocado salad and a lazy dinner / Avokadosalat og en lat middag / Sałatka z awokado i leniwy obiad

This recipe comes from a well-known vegetarian cookbook - I have modified it only slightly. If you have time, prepare the dressing first and store in the fridge for an hour or so.

You will need:
1 tablespoon of good olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice (you can use lemon instead)
1 teaspoon grated lime rind
1 teaspoon soft brown sugar (less if you use white sugar)
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 small red chilli, seeded and finely chopped

Combine everything in a small bowl, make sure you stir the dressing until the sugar melts.

2-3 ripe avocados (use a spoon to empty the skins)

I made it just yesterday and the dressing is enough for two generous portions. Sweet and hot - perfect for avocado. And all the other vegetables I used yesterday. Below you see it served with corned beef and loads of green stuff. In other words: nice and lazy dinner if you simply find some suitable protein source to go along with it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Cajun spice / Cajun krydder / Przyprawa Cajun

This spice is not so difficult to mix at home and way better than what you can buy in a shop. Contains less MSG and other enhancers used in spices.

You will need:
½-1 tablespoon of finely chopped garlic (depending on how garlicky you like it)
1 tablespoon of finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons of white pepper, crushed
2 teaspoons of balck pepper, crushed
2 teaspoon of dried thyme
½ teaspoon of dried oregano
½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper (or chilli powder) - less if you are delicatem, more if you are tough :)

Mix everything in a bowl with flat bottom and continue reading in a separate post on Cajun potatoes!

Edit: Next time I want to try it with fresh herbs instead.

American Goodness on French Toast / Amerykańskie przysmaki na francuskim toście

One of my breakfasts in London deserved a separate entry. On Monday morning it was time to try The Breakfast Club at Angel. The place opened at 9 am and so we were quite hungry by that time. Their filter coffee wasn't good but the menu was promising. I went for Banana and Bacon French Toast. Which for me was very American. Served with maple sirup. Yummy. Not very healthy perhaps but oh so good.

Just see for yourself:

Bacon is actually one of the food things I remember best from the trip to New England. The smell of bacon in the enchanted house out in Cambridge the first morning after arrival, and then bacon served with maple sirup at the even more enchanted apartment of my friend in Vermont. And then the thought that you really have to try hard to find bad food in America.

What do you associate with American food? Do you like it? Why? Or why not?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

There and back again

Of course I regret now not taking more pictures but the last few days were spent in the pleasurable company of friends and acquaintances in the overwhelming city of London. The wheather was generally good, and the food - of course - was generally even better.

Right after our arrival at the hotel in the Islington area we had lunch for which I have chosen toasted English muffins with Portabello mushrooms and poached eggs. Sweet and slightly sour and good.

Later in the evening, before visiting the Francis Bacon exhibition, I had the opportunity to taste some excellent Indian cuisine at Guffa at 39 Upper Street/Islington. The menu was extensive and rather different from what you would normally get in Oslo. Their chutneys were delicious and did not taste sugar and the spinach was not canned and there were many good and interesting tastes.

The next morning was started with a solid English breakfast. The coffee was rather thin but the food was good and a plenty. I walked through Victoria&Albert Museum and Postman's Park without really getting hungry.

Appearances may deceive and they did this time when our cosy Italian place chosen for dinner turned out to be rather dodgy and managed to serve an avocado sandwhich consisting of dry toast and avocado only, with a side dish of salad leftovers of the day (hopefully not the week). But my consolation prize was en evening of great music in good company along with a choice of beverages.

Accidentally the cider I liked best during my stay in London this time was Blackthorn which I preferred to both Strongbow and Magners. Well, well, at least I cannot consider myself a real snob ;-)

The following day begun with a cappucino and sandwiches at Tinderbox - a nice alternative to Starbucks - before heading to the tacky house of Sherlock Holmes, The Beatles shop that didn't really sell music and finally Bunhill Fields drowned in unbelivable amounts of rain. All this was seen before lunch. Foodwise the peak of this trip.

I have long wanted to try out St. John Restaurant in London. My expectations were high and I have to say they were satisfied during this lunch/dinner.

Here is why and how...

Roast Bone Marrow & Parsley Salad - which was the initial reason for taking up an interest in this place.

Funny grouse with herbs stuffed behind.

Delicious hare with aromatic spices served with mashed potatoes.

Roast beef with grilled carrot.

And then came the desserts that invited lots of censored humour.
Try for yourself and identify the dish to the left I had the pleasure of sharing with Felizia:

Afterwards there was more to see at The Imperial War Museum, namely James Bond exhibition and more good people to meet with and more cider and general fun.

Enjoy your week!

Edit: I think I know where we are eating next time in London. Here! Thanks to our patient native speaker guide to British food - Mr T.