Sunday, March 28, 2010

Vietnamese style spring rolls

When we lived in Shanghai there was a restaurant that served the most amazing Vietnamese spring rolls, ever. So when I came across the recipe that reminded me of those I just had to make it. And the rolls were super delicious, fresh and very summery.

I filled the spring rolls with fresh vegetables and veal cutlet. But feel free to use what ever vegetable or meat you like the most.

Vietnamese style spring rolls

recipe from Eating Out Loud 
serves 2 hungry
1/3 C smooth peanut sauce
1/3 C water
2 tbsp soy sauce (I used only 1 tbsp)
1 tsp honey
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp chili oil (I used chili powder)
2 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
1 clove minced garlic

200 gr veal cutlet
2 tbsp peanut sauce
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced ginger

1 carrot
1 kohlrabi
1 cucumber
fresh cilantro
couple of salad leaves
10 rice wrappers ( I used square 16x16 cm)

First make the peanut sauce. I did not use blender, instead I chopped cilantro and whisked all ingredients in a small bowl.
Blend 2 tbsp peanut sauce, garlic and ginger in a bowl and marinate the meat. In the meantime cut the vegetables.

When done with vegetables, heat a pan a cook the meet to your liking. Let the meat sit for about 10 minutes and then slice.
Pour some warm water in a deep plate big enough to fit rice wrappers. Dip one wrapper in the warm water until completely soft (10-15 seconds). Take out of the water and put on a dry plate.
Place some vegetables and a strip or two of meet and wrap tightly. Repeat until you have used all vegetables. Serve with the peanut sauce.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


I really had no idea it was this easy to make mayonnaise. I usually never use mayonnaise but now I needed it for a recipe and decided to make it myself. It went excellent, it is very simple. But lots of whisking is necessary so take your time.

recipe from Gourmet 
makes about 1 C (2,5 dl)
1 large egg yolk (room temperature)
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 C oil ( I used organic sunflower oil)
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1,5 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp white pepper

Whisk yolk, mustard and salt. Add 1/4C oil, veeeery slowly. I took a teaspoon and was dripping the oil slowly, whisking all the time. Add vinegar and lemon juice, whisk until combined. Add the rest of the oil, now you can add teaspoon by teaspoon, whisking constantly. Add some more salt and white pepper. Mayonnaise keeps in the fridge for 2 days.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Pumpkin seed spätzle

Recently I wrote about the pumpkin seed oil and since then I have been looking for more recipes where I could use this amazing oil. And I found the pumpkin seed recipe: spätzle. Both the seeds and oil are used, and I also sprinkled the roasted pumpkin seeds over the dish. Fabulous.

I also bought new spätzle maker. It is so much better than my old one as the dough does not have anywhere to escape and make a mess.

Pumpkin seed spätzle

recipe slightly adapted from Epicurious
serves 4 as side dish 
1/2 C pumpkin seeds (mine were a bit roasted)
2 C flour (I used white spelt flour)
1 tsp salt
1 C water
3 eggs
1 tbsp pumpkin seed oil
50 gr butter
nutmeg, salt and pepper
2 tbsp roasted pumpkin seeds

Blend the seeds and 1/2 C flour until the seeds are ground. Add the rest of the flour and salt. In a bowl whisk eggs, add water and pumpkin seed oil. Slowly add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, whisk until smooth. Set aside.
In a large saucepan boil water, add salt and with a help of spätzle maker make spätzle. Cook for 2-3 minutes. If you have smaller saucepan make the spätzle in two rounds. Drain spätzle and set aside.

In a big pan melt the butter, add spätzle, freshly grounded nutmeg, salt and pepper. Serve with some drizzled pumpkin seed oil and roasted pumpkin seeds.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Polenta with gorgonzola

The only way I can eat gorgonzola is when cooked with creamy polenta or in a pasta sauce. I really love how how it tastes then. When I make gorgonzola with polenta I add it at the end and let it melt completely. 50 gr gorgonzola per person is how I like it the best.

Polenta with gorgonzola

serves 2

1,5 dl polenta
about 7 dl milk
100 gr gorgonzola
salt and pepper

1/2 dl chopped walnuts

Put the milk in a saucepan, let it boil, take off and add all polenta all at once and stir with a wooden spoon. Return back and cook on low heat, stirring as much as you can. I use polenta that only needs 10 minutes to be done so not much stirring is required.
Cut gorgonzola i small cubes and when polenta is cooked add it. Stir until the cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with walnuts on the top.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pink pepper vinaigrette

recipe adapted from Eve 
enough for a salad for 2 people
1,5 tbsp vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
4 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove
2 tsp red peppercorns

Put the vinegar in a small bowl, add mustard and blend well with a whisk. Add slowly oil, whisking constantly until you have used all the oil. The vinaigrette will become thicker in consistency.

Crush the peppercorns, press the garlic clove, add to the vinaigrette and blend well.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Bosnian spinach pie

This is the pie I needed milk ricotta for, Bosnian spinach pie. Actually all over the Balkans you can find a variety of this pie, shaped differently but filled with spinach, cheese or some kind of creamy diary. This pie is actually type of a strudel but much thinner and differently shaped.

The best is to use fresh spinach, it gives the best consistency and it does not make the pie too much wet. Fresh spinach also absorbs eggs better then frozen spinach.

I prefer to cut the dough in three parts and then to stretch each part individually to have three dough sheets. But if you want you can stretch all the dough at the same time so that you have one big dough sheet.

Bosnian spinach pie
serves 4
600 gr fresh spinach (not cleaned)
or 350 gr cleaned & wilted spinach
200 gr milk ricotta
2 eggs
salt and pepper

2,5 dl strong bread flour
2,5 tbsp oil
1/4 tsp salt
about 7 tbsp warm water
80 gr melted butter for brushing the dough sheets
round baking dish, 28 cm

Start with making the strudel dough and let it rest. Wash and clean the spinach, cut it in thicker stripes and steam in a sieve until wilted. You can also wilt it by putting a tiny bit of water in a saucepan and cook for couple of minutes until wilted. Let cool and then squeeze out as much water as you can. Set aside.

Stretch the dough, I made 3 dough sheets, each approximately 60x35cm. Let dry until you finish preparing the filling. Add eggs to the spinach, salt and pepper and blend everything with your hand until the eggs have been absorbed by the spinach. Drizzle the melted butter over the stretched dough.

Put a third of the spinach filling on the long side of the dough sheet, and third of the milk ricotta over the spinach, leaving 5 cm edge all around. Roll until you have used all dough. Grease the baking dish and put the pie roll inside, shaping it as spiral. Repeat with two other dough sheets.

Brush the top with some melted butter and bake on 180 C for about 45 minutes. Serve warm.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Milk ricotta

Italian ricotta is made of whey that is left after making other types of cheese. Milk ricotta, on the other hand, is made straight from the milk. I do not know if technically milk ricotta can be called ricotta, but it was the right type of cheese I needed for a pie I was making.
Milk ricotta is grainy, does not melt when cooked and I wanted exactly that kind of cheese for my spinach pie. I was looking to buy it but could not find the equivalent, so I decided to make it.

It was super easy to make it and milk ricotta turned out beautifully. I will for sure make it more often, and use for more than the spinach pie. I have also made it with goats' milk and it was as delicious.

Milk ricotta
recipe adapted from Epicurious 

makes about 200 gr ricotta
1 liter milk (I used 3,8%)
1/2 tsp salt
2,5 tbsp lemon juice
sieve and large tea/coffee filters

Line the sieve with filters and put over a bowl. Bring the milk with salt to boil, stir from time to time and keep an eye on it. Add the lemon juice and simmer until the milk curdles, minute or so.

Pour the ricotta into the sieve and let drain for about an hour.