Spring has well and truly sprung. I love spring, not too hot and not too cold and the world around me blossoms into new life. Amongst all the blossoming (and hayfever) it is Australian asparagus season.
Asparagus is regarded by some as an aphrodisiac and is also known to make your pee smelly. When you think about it, such a contrast of missions for this humble spear. Good thing it is pretty tasty too.
I love potatoes, give them to me baked, boiled or fried. I have inherited having a continuous healthy stash of them in my kitchen from my mum, they are a staple. It has only been in recent years, as I research more about Latvian culture and cuisine, that I am adamant that my love of potatoes is in my blood.
If you are like me, when you think of a potato munching country you automatically think of Ireland. It seems, for all the same reasons that potatoes were important to the Irish, they were just as important to Latvians.
Potatoes are sometimes referred to as ‘the other bread’ by Latvians, and they feature heavily in the cuisine. The hardy spud was an important introduction to Latvia from North America in the 19th Century. No longer would peasants go hungry when the grain stores ran low in Winter and Spring, there was food to eat.
I adore curd. I grew up knowing this type of spread as ‘butter’, but these days I call it curd. My most favourite curd would have to be lemon.
Curd of any kind is extremely versatile. It can do so much more than be a spread for your fresh bread or toast. You can use it to fill sponge cakes with some fresh cream, use in cup cakes, with pancakes or crepes, fillings for doughnuts, the list of its use really does go on and on.
You will always find garlic in my pantry. When I am lucky enough to stumble across smoked garlic at the local farmers’ markets, then you will find that in my fridge. Sealed tightly in a zip lock bag to prevent my fridge smelling like a bush fire.
Why in the fridge? I found out the hard way that smoked garlic tends to sprout a lot more quickly than normal garlic. I am not sure if the smoking process speeds up the garlic’s ‘shelf life’, but by keeping it in the fridge, it keeps very well for quite a long time.
Entertaining can be hard work and stressful at times. It really doesn’t need to be when you have some quick and easy dishes in your repertoire that taste great and look impressive.
I recently made this dish for a get together of a bunch of friends. A casual affair where we all bought something along for lunch. I really felt like I was cheating by bringing a couple of rounds of brie along, but it was a success with all.The brie was prepared up to baking point at home. Not that there is much preparation involved. It may seem simple but the addition of the rosemary, juniper berries and brandy magically transform humble brie to something quite addictive. The most difficult part of this recipe is wrapping it in baking paper and tying it with string. You will need an extra pair of hands for that step. Read more →
I have been wanting to share this New York Times article with Belly Rumbles readers for a little while now. Want to know how to achieve a perfectly fried egg? José Andrés, recently named ‘Outstanding Chef’ by the James Beard Foundation, happily shared how it is done. A fried egg which is crispy fried on the outside and glorious liquid gold on the inside.
I have tried the method and it works. Your first couple of eggs may fail, don’t let that dissuade you. Once you have mastered the method you won’t look back.
There aren’t any special ingredients or equipment needed. All you will need is a fry pan, oil, a gas stove top and of course an egg. To see step by step photos and read the New York Times article jump over to here.
I also discovered a YouTube clip that quickly shows Jose demonstrating his method at the start of another egg recipe. The recipe is for Fried Eggs and Chorizo and shows another of his methods to achieve a crispy fried white and runny yolk. In this instance José separates the white from the yolk.
My only tip for cooking a fried egg this way is to make sure you have some paper towel handy to absorb any excess oil before serving. Other than that happy frying and eating!
Do tell dear Belly Rumbles’ reader, how do you make the perfect fried egg?
I am not a dessert person, not at all. If dining out, often when others are having dessert, I will opt for the cheese plate. It will take something exceptional to head for something sweet, but there is one general exception. Crème brulee, if I see it on the menu, then there is a high chance it will be chosen. The magic of cracking through that thin toffee layer to get to a creamy custard wins me over every time.
My grandmother made Pashka religiously each Easter. I adore it. The tanginess of the farmers cheese, with citrus, the richness of the butter and eggs added. What completes this is the toasted flaked almonds with gives the dessert a nutty accent.
Traditional Latvian dishes were/are a major part of celebratory occasions like Easter and Christmas with my family. Most of you may of heard of Pashka and immediately think of it as a Russian dish. It is, but it is also a traditional Easter Latvian dish.
Due to the geographical location of Latvia, the cuisine is very influenced by Russia, or is it the other way round? I won’t go into Russian occupation and Latvian history which also would weigh in on the cuisine.
You will see recipes that have candied peel mixed through. I am not a fan of mixed peel at all and it is unceremoniously discarded from my recipe. Instead I am a little more generous with the lemon and orange zest. I have even seen glace cherries added to some recipes. Sorry as far as I am concerned that is sacrilegious. Read more →
Sarah from Simply Cooked was our November Daring Cooks’ hostess and she challenged us to create something truly unique in both taste and technique! We learned how to cook using tea with recipes from Tea Cookbook by Tonia George and The New Tea Book by Sara Perry.
I have attempted cooking with tea before. Grand ideas of tea smoked duck’s egg. Let’s just say that was a bit of a disaster as stupid here forgot to line her wok with aluminium foil. Oh yes, tea mixture went straight in and burnt itself solid to the base of my wok. Poor wok was only fit for the bin after that. Read more →
Jenn and Jillhave challenged The Daring Cooks to learn to perfect the technique of poaching an egg. They chose Eggs Benedict recipe from Alton Brown, Oeufs en Meurette from Cooking with Wine by Anne Willan, and Homemade Sundried Tomato & Pine Nut Seitan Sausages (poached) courtesy of Trudy of Veggie num num.
I know that poached eggs are not up some peoples’ alley as the gooey runny yolk goodness can give a major gag reflex. Not me, give me my eggs runny, gooey with golden molten seeping goodness, oh yeah.
Eggs Benedict is probably my favourite Sunday brunch meal beside yum cha. They are the two things that I get cravings for. Eggs Benedict, large glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, decent latte and I am in heaven.
Originally I had planned to do my challenge the Sunday after the Sydney Food Bloggers Christmas Party, but I woke up feeling like death warmed up. Sore throat, chesty cough and basically incapable of doing anything. So my original brunch idea became dinner on Monday evening. I still felt like death warmed up, but I actually really felt like this for dinner. Read more →