Friday, 30 January 2009

Pivni Gulas...lightened

So I was totally going to write out the whole recipe again, but I'm lazy. I made my Pivni Gulas the other day. It was a bit spicier than the original, because when I was sprinkling in the chile pepper I had a BIT of a heavy hand...another difference? I used potatoes instead of meat, and threw in a leftover hotdog. It was still as delicious, and cheaper and probably a touch healthier as well.

Instead of using flour to thicken it, you can spoon off a ladlefull or two and puree it til very smooth in a blender. Also cuts back on the carbs/calories. Another trick you could use is light beer instead of normal, but I just couldn't bear to do that...

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Cheese Pairings

I love cheese!

This is actually a recently new thing (about 1 year?) But I love trying new cheeses and pairing them with interesting things. I will definitely update this as I find new pairings.

I'll try to keep it different, but I'm sure I'll mention some obvious ones as well. A few of my favorites:

Bresse Blu stuffed in (or with) a dried date

Smoked Eidam (or gouda) on a slice of apple with a salted peanut

A creamy gorgonzola with a triangle of dark chocolate toblerone

Epoisses spread on a cracker with a dab of basil/tarragon mustard

Goat cheese with smoked salmon and a caper

Brynza (a milder feta) on tomatoes with a nice vinegar

I NEED HELP!!! When I was in London, I had this great, washed rind french cheese that had a fine fine layer of dark breadcrumbs on it...I totally forget what it was called, but I believe it began with a "B"...

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Luscious London

Gone are the days of bad food in London. I did not have one shabby meal whilst I was out there. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to be taken to one of Gordon Ramsays restaurants (something I've always wanted to do!!!) This particular establishment was named the Boxwood Cafe. It's in The Berkley hotel. I took photos, so I figured I might as well post about it!!!

To begin with, I was not a HUGE fan of the setting. The restaurant is in a basement, and I felt like the tables were very institutional. The pictures on the website do not hint at this, they actually make it seem very light and comfy and ambient. The lighting for the photos was obviously added. The place was not DARK, but something about the lighting was off putting. not dark enough, but not very light either. There were tables that were placed along the walls with a long shared bench running the length of the wall. I hate shared benches, especially at fine dining establishments. The last thing I want when I'm (supposedly) enjoying my meal is to feel my neighbor flop their ass down next to me after having used the loo.

Fortunately, the food was not of the same caliber as the dining room.

A bread basket was brought out with light and dark breads, along with a pat of butter and a gorgeous anchovy butter. It was salty, creamy, just fishy enough, but not overpowering.

For a starter, I had the Baked Orkney scallops with sea urchin butter, watercress and apple. I actually couldn't taste the sea urchin butter very much, but the scallops combined with the crisp apple and crunchy watercress were an amazing combination. Served in large shells, the presentation was quite lovely as well. My dining partner had the Tagliolini of white and brown crab with chilli, parsley and spring onion
. This was a gorgeous dish because it had depth and levels of flavors that the scallops did not. However, being a mild animal, I am of the school that scallops should be presented as they were: minimal dressing, so the fish could stand out. The crap was mixed in a way that reminded me of coleslaw. I didn't think it was the most appetizing looking dish, but the flavor did stand up to it. It was spicy in a woody, smokey way, which I absolutely adore. I do, however, think that the spices drowned the spice of the crab.

My main was the Pan-fried fillet of black bream with Shetland mussels, clams and leeks. The black bream was served on a lovely circular cake of the leeks, mussels and clams. The leeks were by far my favorite part. Creamy, oniony, with a hint of the clams and mussels. There were, hoever, only about 4 clams/mussels in the leek circle, which made me a bit sad. The bream was panfried without accutrement, to accent the flavor of the fish. It was cooked perfectly, with a crispy skin and melty inside. The amount of fish however, was too much. There were 2 fillets, and I could barely make it through one. After one, I had grown a bit tired of the fish as a whole, I suppose I wanted something a BIT more exciting.

My dining partner had quite the main: Steamed sea bass with langoustine, baby artichokes and coco bean purée. The flavors of this number were amazing. Having the puree (reminiscent of mashed potatoes, but better) artichokes, langoustine and sea bass on the toungue was exciting, flavorful, different, and comforting at the same time. A definite winner.

No dessert because we were full. Sorry! My partner picked the wine, and it was amazing. I don't know enough about wine, so you will have to ask him if you care!!

So I suppose the question is, would I reccomend it? Well, It WAS delicious. The portions were quite big. I'm not sure, however, if the price justified the experience. I felt a bit like I was buried underground, in a cave with good food. When I go out to restaurants, I like to have the experience be special. The place, the food, everything. I like to feel a bit like a celebrity. I did not feel like a celebrity at Boxwood. While I definitely do not regret the meal, (great company) I probably would pick somewhere else next time and not be a repeat visitor at Boxwood.

Tata for now. ;-)

Baked Pangasius with Cream Sauce

So I know that I was attempting to eat healthy (go away, thunder thighs!!!) But I'm trying to introduce the boyfriend to fish. It's healthy, and I love it, and if you buy it here frozen, it's actually quite cheap and delicious. I also just got back from London, where I bought some absolutely lovely cheddar. So the other day I made this dish, and it was super easy and quick (with a bit of help)

Baked Pangasius with Cream Sauce

1 400g fillet of pangasius, frozen or fresh. (Pretty much any whitefish will do)
1 small onion

2 cloves garlic

150-200 ml heavy cream (you could sub light cream, but all I had was heavy)

1 tablespoon mustard
1/2 c. (120 g) grated cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Rinse fish and pat dry

Place in baking pan
Sprinkle with salt and pepper

Bake at 350 F (175 c) for about 10 minutes, until fish flakes with a fork

While the fish is baking, make the sauce.

Process the onion and garlic in a processor

heat a bit of oil or fat in a pan sautee the onion and garlic until fragrant
pour in the cream and add the mustard
simmer gently

Add the cheese, and stir til the cheese melts

salt and pepper to taste

When the fish is done, pour the sauce over the fish.
Serve with rice or veggies or potatoes

Friday, 23 January 2009

New Year

Sorry. I have completely abandoned this blog, it's awful! I've wanted to write, but I haven't taken pictures of things, and always feel guilty about posting recipes without pictures. I myself am a HUGE fan of pictures, so any blog without is a bit blah for me.

Over the winter pause I went back home to Boston, where I cooked up a couple of delicious things and had great meals at all my favorite old restaurants. I also gained about 8 pounds (3.5 kg) and that was NOT fun at all. About half my clothes fit me now. So I will attempt to write more low cal recipes, as I'm trying to fight off the bulge and get back into my skinny jeans!!! The first recipe is....

Black Bean and Corn Salad

1 can of corn (400-500 g)
1 cup black beans from a can or cooked. This was the first time I cooked black beans from dry, and they were delicious. Takes a while though)
2 large garlic cloves
3 pickled jalapeno slices
1 smallish tomato chopped
1 small bell pepper (any color) chopped
1 small white onion or 1 medium red onion chopped
1/4 c. (60 g) packed fresh coriander (cilantro) chopped
generous pinch salt and pepper
dash of ground cumin
splash of lime juice (1 tbs or so)

Mash together the garlic and jalapeno slices with the salt. Put it in a large bowl.
Add all the other ingredients