Teriyaki Salmon with Fennel

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Japanese touch to salmon – yummy!!! I’m a big admirer of Japanese cuisine!!! I’m a huge fan of sushi and all other dishes that these people have invented and created. Everything they do is superb but yet so simple … just a few ingredients, a lot of fresh vegetables, that’s it … for me, it is perfect! Isn’t it? I have never met someone who does not like Japanese and Chinese kitchen! Anyone?

There sauces always play the main role. Depending on them the dish takes one or another direction. Combine whichever one you like: soya, oyster, sweet-sour, fish sauce, teriyaki and the meal will be exquisite! Even plain rice becomes incredibly tasty and interesting just buy adding some of these sauces!

I love salmon, I really do but I have to admit that I doubted that it tastes good in Japanese way. For me the salmon is great just pure as it is. No need to add something to intensify its original taste. But, as I tried this recipe, it became one of my favorite!

Sweet teriyaki adds a special pump to salmon. Also, crunchy and aromatic, anise-like taste of fennel fits so well with it!!! The combination is excellent!  

Ingredients: 

Salmon filet cut in bigger cubes (see photo)

1 medium size red onion, sliced

½ of fennel, medium size – use bulb and leaves

Celery leaves, chopped

2 garlic cloves

For the sauce:

3 tbsp soya sauce

3 tbsp fish sauce

1 tbsp mirin (or white wine with ½ tsp brown sugar)

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp rice vinegar

2 tsp water

½ tsp ground ginger

Pinch of fresh ground pepper

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Take salmon out of the fridge and let it stand for 30 minutes before preparation process. Cut the fish in cubes and sprinkle with some virgin olive oil.

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Heat the frying pan to high temperature. Place salmon cubes and fry them very fast, just a minute or two. Take them out and keep them on a warm place, wrapped in aluminum foil. The best is to preheat the oven on 80C – 100C and keep them there until the vegetable is ready.

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In the same pan put onions and garlic, fry for 2 minutes. Then add fennel. Sauté onions and fennel for 10 minutes.  

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Mix all ingredients for the sauce. Pour the liquid in the pan with fennel and cook everything for 5 minutes. Add salmon and let it soak a bit of sauce, for few minutes only. Mix carefully not to break the salmon cubes since fish will be very tender. Add chopped celery or coriander leaves.

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Steam cook rice and serve it as a side dish.

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Very very tasteful!!! I love to drink Cabernet with this sweet fish taste.

German “Streusel” Cake with sour cherries

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I was coming home from work, dead tired … with an incredible urge for something sweet! But, no industrial chocolate bar or ready cake from the supermarket would satisfy this striving for sugar. So I decided, for the first time in my life, to be flexible and to see what ingredients I have at home to bustle something sweet, fast but savory.

Letting imagination does its work can create excellent things sometimes! I should trust it more often instead of always planning and organizing everything till perfection … btw, it is never perfect ;-).

Here is one excellent cake, fast, easy, sweet enough to make you happy, flexible in terms of fruit, no extra shopping needed, one bowl will do it …. Just what I always need!  

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100 g white flour

100 g rye flour or whole wheat

125 g melted butter

70 g brown sugar

1 egg

1 packet cinnamon powder, around 8 g

100 g grated marzipan. One trick to great it easier: put it in a freezer for few minutes!

400 g sour cherries

150 g sour cream

½ packet vanilla pudding powder

Leave cherries to drain so the juice does not wet the cake.  

Melt butter and let it cool down a bit. Mix flour, sugar, egg and marzipan till become crumble. Add butter. Use 21 cm springform. Lay parchment paper on the bottom. Put 2/3 of dough in the springform and press with fingers to form a disk. Put some dough on the sides, just 1 to 2 cm high.

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Mix sour cream with 1 tbsp of sugar and pudding powder. Spread it on the bottom of the dough.

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Place cherries all over. Crumble the rest of the dough on the top of cherries.

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Bake the cake in preheated oven on 180C for 40 minutes. Cool it down and sprinkle with powder sugar.

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This cake tastes excellent with vanilla sauce or with vanilla ice cream. I usually eat it with ice cream during summer and with warm vanilla sauce in winter.

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Great cake that everybody will love and ask for more!!!

This is quite practical recipe since you can use any fruit you like: try it with pears, apples, pineapples, red forest fruit …. There are millions of choices, just choose the favorite and start baking! Enjoy!

 

Marrakesh Rice with Aubergine

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Morocco is gorgeous! .. it is an explosion of colors, soul touching smells, breath-taking historical spots, great nature panoramas and the coast of North Atlantic, extraordinary people and respectful religious sites. This place left me speechless. I was astonished with every eye blink.

You know the feeling when you think “no, this can not be real”? This is how I felt during my entire stay in Morocco. I visited all king cities: Casablanca, Fez, Rabat, Meknes, Marrakesh,  traveled down south to the desert, been in Berber’s village, entered the houses of local people to see the way they live, cooked with 98 years old grandma from the village in the heart of High Atlas  … It is unbelievable!

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Walking through crowded souks, wondering around medina leaves you totally perplexed. There is a sort of mystic wherever you look … Morocco is mystic and full of charm at the same time! The energy here lifts the spirit, indeed! I wish to go back there …. I honestly hope that I will do it soon!

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I loved the food as well! It is very spicy but somehow everything is balanced, in perfect harmony … abundance of vegetables and herbs … homemade bread … great olives … sweet sticky desserts ….

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Authentic Moroccan dish is Tajine, named after the clay pot in which it is cooked: it is a meat stew with vegetables which simmer for hours. There are many variations of Tajine and all of them are just perfect. The meat is always so juicy and tender due to slow cooking process.

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Couscous is a favorite side in Morocco. The way they made it is just astounding! And the taste is so so good. Instant couscous that we eat in Europe is really funny compared to this one.

Must try of course is Pastilla, spiced sweet minced meat pie. You don’t leave Morocco before trying it. It sounds weird, sweet meat, but believe me it is a combinations of spices and herbs that is really extraordinary!

Moroccan spices are one of the best in the world: ras el hanout, cinnamon, cardamom, saffron, turmeric, cumin …You name it, they have it and they use it in excess!!!

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Here is very nice vegetarian dish. If you are one of those who cannot have a meal without meat serve it as a side to lamb cutlets or pork medallions!

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Marrakesh Rice with Aubergine

Ingredients:

Jasmine rice – I used whole grain rice but the normal one would also fit

Aubergine, cut into slices

Tomatoes, chopped

Shallots

Garlic

Vegetable broth

Goat cheese cut into small cubes

Fresh mint leaves, chopped

½ tbsp curcuma

A pinch of cinnamon

A pinch of powdered ginger

Salt and pepper

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Sprinkle aubergine slices with salt and let them stand for 30 minutes so that the bitterness comes out. After this time, the liquid will start coming out. Dry it with the kitchen paper and place it in a non stick pan. I never put olive oil on the eggplant since it totally soaks it and becomes too greasy for my taste. Place it in a preheated oven on 200C and bake for 15 minutes. Let it cool down a bit. Cut into chunk, bite size.

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Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan. Glaze onions and garlic. Add rice and fry for 3 minutes. Pour one cup of vegetable broth. Cook on a medium heat till the liquid evaporates. Add more liquid, just enough to cover the rice. Repeat this till rice is cooked. Whole grain rice needs more time than the normal type, around 35 minutes.

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Add curcuma and powdered ginger. Season with salt and pepper. 5 minutes before the end add tomatoes, egg plant chunks and goat cheese cubes.

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Enjoy this lovely meal and seriously start thinking to visit this extremely beautiful and interesting country! Keep following my posts, in one of my next ones there will be a superb chicken tagine recipe!!!

Be creative and cook with joy!!!

Green Tart with Smoked Salmon, Chèvre and Almonds

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I love everything that is French cuisine! They are THE nation for delicatessen and gourmet eating. They indulge in food with profound emotion, very focused to the smallest detail, proud for having invented some of the famous dishes … They enjoy the food with so much passion and fun, it is amazing. I believe that they are the masters of combining and matching ingredients. I just love the way they do it. I love Paris, as well. I love whole France but, I don’t like the fact the one is lost in this country if he/she is not French-speaking! It is really an unfortunate truth. So, the lucky and the privileged can enjoy …

Whenever I am in Paris I cannot stop wondering how many different tarts they make … it is a creative dish but the combination they make always astonishes me. Here is an interesting one!

I would suggest using mild chèvre since smoked salmon has intensive enough taste. But if you love pungent savor then go with aged version.

Ingredients for the dough:

250 g of flour: this time I put 100 g of whole grain flour (the dough is stickier and more “wet”)
100 g cold butter
1 egg
½ dry thyme
½ tsp salt
 
Mix all ingredients, form a ball and leave the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes.

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Ingredients for filling:
–       250 g smoked salmon, cut in small pieces

–       400 g Swiss chard, cooked – the best is to steam cook it so it does not soak so much water … if you don’t have steam cooker be sure that you squeeze as much water out of it as possible. Cut Swiss chard in small pieces.

–       Leek, slices thin

–       200 g chèvre, mild goat cheese cut into small cubes

–       80 g almonds, thins sliced

–       2 eggs

–       ¼ l milk

–       2 tbsp sour cream

–       Few caper seeds

–       Pinch of nutmeg

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Roll the dough to fit 26 cm tart form. Prick few times with fork.

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Place leek all over the bottom. Add salmon, Swiss chard and sprinkle with caper. Place the goat cheese cubes on the top.

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Mix in a bowl eggs, milk and sour cream. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Be careful with salt since salmon and goat cheese are quite salty! Pour this liquid mixture on the tart filling.

Sprinkle with almond slices.

Place in the preheated oven and bake on 180C for 40 minutes. Let it cool down and carefully take out of tart form and place on the serving plate.

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Just add cherry tomato salad nothing more is needed!!! Great light lunch or starter for fish dinner!

Don’t forget you favorite wine … it awakes senses and the spirit! 🙂

Wiener Topfentorte

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I love skiing and I love Austria! One of my favorite things to do when I am skiing is to take a lunch break and get a piece of Topfenstrudel or Topfentorte. It is so delicious!!! I am eagerly waiting for it every day. Great Topfen dessert and a coffee are the perfect way to relax after intense skiing and cold mountain air!

Topfen is authentic Austrian white cream cheese. It does not have any special taste. It resembles ricotta and quark but something in it makes it different. I do not know to say what it is but, those other types of cheese never worked well as a substitute. Topfen is used for making different desserts from which the most traditional and famous one is Topfenstrudel.

Unfortunately, here in Serbia you cannot buy topfen cheese. This type of cheese is really specific, there is nothing similar to it that I could use as a substitute. I tried many things but nothing else worked.

This time I was very lucky, a friend of mine was so nice to bring me some form Vienna. Thank you Martin!!! He brought me many packets so I will have enough to enjoy a couple of great topfen desserts! 🙂

Here is a simple, pure topfen cake. Original recipe includes fruits but since I am so eager for topfen, I made it without any additional ingredients so the cheese taste dominates. It is great to add blueberries, cherries, blackberries, plums, apricots … whatever you feel like, actually. If you are adding fruits, pour half of the pastry mixture in the springform, place fruits and then pour the rest.

Sometimes I add fruit sauce to this plane version. You can cook strawberries with sugar and some liquor or wine and splash over the piece of cake before serving. Or simply serve it with some fresh fruits. Few friends suggested trying it with chocolate sauce! I am not a big fan of chocolate but if you like it, go for it – it is good, for sure!

Ingredients:

5 eggs

100 g butter, room temperature

150 + 50 g brown sugar

1 packet vanilla sugar

1 tbsp bitter almond aroma

500 g Topfen cheese

2 packets Dr. Oetker vanilla pudding

1 tbsp baking powder

Powder sugar for decoration

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Separate egg whites from yolks.

Mix butter till creamy and add 150 g of sugar. Add egg yolks, one by one. When the mixture is compact add topfen cheese. Combine vanilla pudding powder with baking soda.  Put in the topfen mixture. Pour in the almond aroma.

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Beat egg whites until stiff and then add 50 g of sugar. Combine egg whites with the mixture with spatula. Do it carefully in order not to break small air bubbles which will make the pastry fluffy.

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Grease 26 cm springform. Pour in the mixture and bake it in the preheated oven on 180C for 50 minutes. Let it cool down. Sprinkle with powder sugar before serving.

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Peach Salad with Roastbeef

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I love ingredients that you prepare once and then can use them for different dishes! In that way I spare precious time for preparing a main and just focus on the side or salad or whatever is going to enrich that main. Roastbeef is great for this. Buy a big piece of meat, take some time to prepare it for roasting and when it is done store in a fridge …  you can have different meals for next few days. (try my rostbeef Asia salad or roasbeef on a green carpet – YUMMY!)

I had roastbeef leftovers, as always and was brainstorming my whole way home from work: what could I add as a side to get interesting and kind of exotic dish. I was striving for a bit of adventure … that was the mood in order to forget my stressful workday.

Few days earlier I was on the food market and grabbed some “goodbye” saying peaches … the summer is (almost) gone but peaches are still nice so I was eager to take advantage of that.  I could feel the sweet and juicy taste of them in my mouth! The question was how to combine these two ingredients ….

I had an idea and decided to give it a try …. Experiment! It is always refreshing and creative, and quite tasteful as well :-)))

Ingredients:

Roastbeef

Rocket salad

Lamb’s lettuce (field salad)

Peach

Cherry Tomatoes

Spring onions

Cashews

Fresh mint leaves

Balsamic acid

Olive oil

Whole seed mustard

Salt and pepper

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Instruction for preparing roastbeef:

Take the meat out of the fridge 1h hour before preparation! (important) Season the meat with olive oil, sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Cut rosemary needles so that they release the flavor. Rub it all over the meat. Use non stick pan. Heat the oil and when hot place the meat. Add rosemary and garlic. Sear the meat on each side till golden brown everywhere, approx. 10 min (depending on how thick and big the piece is). This process will seal in the meat juices and prevent it from drying out. Take the meat out and place it on the aluminum foil. Add rosemary and garlic, as well.

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Put the meat in a preheated oven on 140 C and let it roast. I like my roastbeef to be medium, pink in color. To achieve this I leave it in the oven for 15 – 18 minutes. If you prefer it to be more done, roast it longer (approx. 8 – 10 more min). It all depends also on the thickness. So here, you have to rely on your gut feeling a bit. Most important is: not dry it out! That is the main reason why majority fear making roastbeef. But, go for it, nothing can go so wrong! Nevertheless, practice few times before inviting guests! 😉

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When meat is ready take it out from the oven, wrap it with the foil on which it was roasting …. Let it cool down for 10 minutes. Do not skip this step, it is essential!!! The meat needs to rest. If you would cut it immediately all these nice juices would come out … which is really a pity. So, wait for 10 minutes. Sharpen well the knife you will use and cut nice slices.

 

Cut into slices. For this type of salads I like pieces to be thicker similar to tagliata, but you can do as you prefer. Sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper.IMG_5533

Mix rocket salad with lamb’s lettuce. Prepare the dressing: combine aceto balsamico , mustard and olive oil, adding salt and pepper. Mix a bit so that leaves are all covered with the dressing.

Cut peaches in slices. Prepare cashews in a dry frying pan. Cut mint leaves in thin stripes. Dice spring onions. Add all these ingredients to the rocket. Place on the serving plate.

Put the roastbeef slices on the top. Sprinkle everything with cashews.

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Serve with some good Cabernet or Shiraz … here you are: perfect light dinner!

Bluberry Yoghurt Cake

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I discovered cakes with blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and other sorts of these red fruits just recently. I am not a fan of this type of fruits and I never eat it plain. It is either to bitter or to sour or not sweet enough for my taste. So I was quite reluctant of the idea to use them in desserts and cakes.

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Few weeks ago I tried a similar cake in a friend’s house and I really liked it a lot. So, I decided to give it a try, this time with blueberries. I loved the result so here I am sharing with you this extremely easy recipe but magnificently tasteful.

Ingredients:
250 g flour
125 g butter, room temperature
2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
150 g brown sugar
2 packets vanilla sugar
200 ml plain yoghurt
300 g blueberries
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp lemon juice
Grated lemon zest
1 tbsp almond extract
Pinch of powdered ginger

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Mix flour with baking powder. Add salt.

Mix eggs with sugar until creamy. Add softened butter. Mix for few minutes. Slowly sip in yoghurt. Add flour, spoon by spoon. When everything is well combined add lemon juice and zest, almond extract and ginger powder.

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Put the mixer aside. Slowly add blueberries and toss carefully with spatula.

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Pour the batter in a loaf pan and bake in the preheated oven on 180C for 45 minutes.

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When cooled down you may sprinkle it with powdered sugar. I would rather do it on each piece, separately, before serving than on the whole cake. In this way the sugar looks somehow “fresh” and airy.