Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Spanish liver soup

Polish: wątroba
Zazaki: kezebe
Maltese: fwied
Lingala: libale
Aymara: k'iwcha
Basque: gibel
Bahasa Indonesia: hati
Nahuatl: Ēltapachtli
Vietnamese: gan
Russian: Пе́чень

Liver is, in my opinion, a food that you love or hate. Contrarily to what you may think about eating liver, it doesn't have to be boring and monotonous. Livers fried in onions; livers mashed with hard-boiled eggs into a breakfast spread; livers stewed in tomato sauce with sweet red pepper slices... and even eaten raw, as liver sashimi. What I didn't know is that there is also a liver soup. Eaten in several regions of Spain (and also Latin America) especially during the slaughter, named originally sopa de hígado; pureed or with liver chunks, tastes really good. The ingredients for 2 portions are the following:

1 - 1 1/2 cups liver (poultry)
3 cups water (some will add 1 cup wine, too)
1 big onion
1 green or yellow pepper
1 garlic clove
3/4 cup yesterday's bread chunks (or rice or thin small noodles*)

1. Prepare liver (cut what has to be cut out) and clean it (I spread it with flour and pepper and then I wash it - to reduce the smell). Cut into small pieces and fry 5-10 minutes while stirring.

2. Pour water over fried liver and bring to boil.

3. Chop onion and pepper and fry. Add to the soup. Control the softness of liver. When almost soft, add bread chunks. Cook a bit more and liquidate the soup. Bread chunks will make the soup thicker and velvety. But you can also add rice or noodles. You can reserve some liver chunks to serve on the top of the soup or you may cook the liver and set fried vegetabels aside and sprinkle them over the soup before serving. You can sprinkle the soup with chopped scallions or parsley. Some people add almonds to the soup and cook and grind them together with the liver, some people don't puree the soup but just leave liver chunks - the coise is yours :) My soup (liquidated, with some chopped liver and scallions on the top) looks like this:

Spanish sweet eggplants

Polish: bakłażan
Tajik: Боқлаҷон
Suahili: mbilingani
Romany: patlazhùy
Albanian: patëllxhani
Sranan: bulansyey
Catalan: albergínia
Tagalog: talóng
Finnish: munakoiso
Papiamento: berehein

I was wondering more than once which plant is a vegetable and which is a fruit. Recently an Egyptian told me that in Egypt strawberries are considered vegetables... or rather, students are taught that strawberries belong to the vegetable family. But since I know that it is possible to make a sweet cake from spinach, parsnip, zucchini or beet and add quinces, pears or apricots to meat savoury dishes, nothing is impossible. Going back to the divagations about aubergines and traditional dishes made of this, like Indians say, "king of vegetable", but prepared on a sweet way, I suggest Spanish (Menorcan) berenjenas dulces, sweet eggplants. Actually, I know two sweet eggplant Spanish dishes. Both have a long tradition and are more than probably ancient, medieval, Arab influence. Berenjenas dulces are more sopisticated than berenjenas a la miel, eggplants fried in a batter and dipped in honey. The second recipe will be posted here soon, too.

2 eggplants (rather big)
1 potato
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 egg
1 teaspoon butter
+ some more butter and breadcrumbs

1. Cook unpeeled potato in water with a bit of salt. When soft andstill warm, peel and mash it and set aside.

2. Cut eggplants lengthwise in 2 halves and cook 15 minutes in boiling water. Drain well and set aside to cool. Using a teaspoon, take the pulp away, but leaving 1/2 cm-thick marge of eggplant pulp. Now you have "boats" from the skin and 1/2 cm pulp.

(left: aubergine pulp, middle: aubergine boat, right: aubergine half)

3. Mash eggplant "meat" together with potato and fry 5 minutes in butter. Set aside to cool. After that, add sugar, cinnamon, whisked egg and breadcrumbs. Taste and check the consistency, if needed add some more sugar or breadcrumbs.

4. Fill the "boats" with sweet aubergine-potato filling, cover with butter scraps and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake in the oven (180 C) for about 20-30 minutes (you have to check if the surface is already golden-brown and crunchy)

(filled boats)

(filled boats with butter and breadcrmbs, just before being baked)

Monday, 21 July 2008

Ecuadorian green plantain stuffed fritters

Polish: plantan / banan skrobiowy
Swedish: kokbanan
Portuguese: banana-da-terra
Dutch: bakbanaan
German: Gemüsebanane / Kochbanane
French: banane plantain
French Antillais: banane farine
Korean: 요리용 바나나
Arabic: ‏موز الجنة

I have not much experience with musaceae... As the most of Central Europeans, I thought that banana is the yellow curved sweet fruit... I had no idea that besides of cavendish sort, there is a plenty of other varieties, inlcuding red bananas and plantains... But I must aware those for who this vegetable is a mysterious riddle, just like it was for me: plantain can be eaten either green or mature, while banana only mature; plantain can be eaten only cooked, baked or fried, while banana can be eaten raw. They are eaten widely as a staple food in the equator area, very often thinly sliced and fried as chips. The recipe below is more sophisticated: empanadas de verde, Ecuadorian green plantain stuffed fritters

see laso: Uzbek pumpkin puffs
see also: Cuban green plantain soup

4 green (unripe) plantains
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter (soft)
a pinch of salt
flour if needed
1 cup grated cheese
1 big onion, chopped finely

1. Peel plantains. Cook 3 of them in water with salt until soft. Grate finely the fourth one. When the three other plantains are soft enough, let them cool in the water in which they were cooked, and mash them together with the grated, raw plantain

2. In a food processor mix well plantain dough with butter, egg and a pinch of salt. Set aside and let rest for some hours (you can leave it overnight in the fridge)

3. Fry chopped onions until golden brown. Mix with grated cheese.

4. Sprinkle your workplace with flour. Take plum-size balls of plantain dough and roll so thin as you can. Fill each "pancake" with a mixture of cheese and onion. Close well with your fingers or using a fork. Set in the fridge for some time (1/2 h) and fry about 5 minutes from each side. They are absolutely delicious and the melted cheese-onion filling is just fabulous!

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Polish milk-cauliflower creamy soup

Polish: kalafior
Estonian: lillkapsas
Hindi: फूल गोभी
Bahasa Indonesia: kubis bunga
Romanian: conopida
Latvian: ziedkāposti
Cree: ᑳ ᐙᐹᒡ
Gujarati: ફૂલગોબી
Czech: kvìták
Albanian: lulelakër

This Polish milk-couliflower soup, zupa kalafiorowa na mleku, comes from Kresy - this is how are called in Polish language the regions that formerly belonged to Poland and today to Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania. Kresy literally mean borderland and factually, those regions were Polish eastern and boundary grounds. Those places, be it western Ukraine or Lithuania, are magical. It was a place where "east" met "west" and cultures, languages and religions were coexisting. I could write pages about this places but don't wanna introduce more nostalgy, since this soup reminds of a happy summertime. Observe: cauliflower cooked in milk loses its unpleasant smell.

see also: Polish milk and pumpkin soup

(for 4 portions)
500 gr cauliflower
250 gr potatoes
3 cups milk
salt, sugar, pepper, nutmeg, curry (to taste)
1 onion + butter + a handful of parsley
lemon juice

1. Divide cauliflower into same size "roses" and put for 15 minutes into a bowl with water and a tablespoon of lemon juice.

2. Take 2 cups milk and two cups water. Peel and dice potatoes. Add potato dices and couliflower roses to boiling milk with water, add salt and sugar (1/2 teaspoon of each) and cook until vegetables are soft. It takes about 15-20 minutes (try with fork)

3. Using a sieve or a food processor, puree vegetables. Heat the 3rd cup of milk, pour the milk with water inwhich vegetabels were cooked, add vegetable puree and season to taste with nutmeg, salt, pepper, curry powder (the last one not too much!) and lemon juice (or vinegar); you can add a bit of fresh ground garlic, too

4. Fry finely chopped onion in a butter together with parsley (or coriander) green. They are ready when golden.

5. Serve the soup in plates / bowls and pour butter-onions on the top

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Polish bilberry dumplings

Polish: czarna borówka / jagoda
Lithuanian: mėlynė
Ukrainian: Чорниця
Estonian: mustikas
Northern Sami: sarri
Saterland Frisian: bikbäie
Catalan: nabiu
Irish: sméar gorm
Turkish: yaban mersini
Welsh: llus

Bilberries are one of the most favourite summer fruits of Poland. Depending on the region they are called jagody, czarne borówki, czerniny, jagodziny, czernice... The list is long :) You can buy them on a markt but many people collect them on their own in the forest, just like they do with differrent types of mushrooms. Then you can only bake bilberry muffins or typical sweet yeast buns called jagodzianki, prepare bilberry soup, kissel, jelly, cheesecake, eat bilberries with whipped cream or blended in a smoothie, with noodles and cream or as a filling to the most beloved dumplings, called pierogi. I am gonna share with you today this delicious summer recipe: pierogi z jagodami, Polish dumplings with bilberries!

(for about 20 dumplings)
1 cup flour
1/3 cup hot water
a pinch of salt
1 cup bilberries*
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon dried breadcrumbs
+ 1/2 cup sour cream
+ flour to roll

1. Sieve flour into a bowl. Pour boiling water over it and knead when it becomes bearable to handle. Add salt and knead until elastic and homogeneous. Set in fridge for 1 hour to rest.

2. For the filling, mix berries with sugar and breadcrumbs. Without breadcrumbs the filling may flow while cooking and will splash while eating all the time :)

3. Sprinkle your workplace with flour. Roll the dough so thin as only possible and using a glass, cut circles out. You may also take a bit of dough (walnut size), roll it in your hands and then roll thinly to obtain same circles

4. Fill each circle with 1/2-1 (depending on how big is your circle) teaspoon bilberry mix and join both sides of teh dough to form half-moons. You may decorate the rands the way I did or by pressing them with a fork.

5. Put the dumplings into boiling and salted water and cook 5 minutes. The dough is thin so they are ready so fast. Drain and serve with sour cream sprinkled with sugar.

*Nota bene:
you can use other fruits, too: raspberries, brambles, strawberries, sweet or sour cherries

Spanish cold tomato soup

Polish: pomidor
Czech: rajče
Hausa: tùma̋tìr
Tagalog: kamatis
Malagasy: voatabiha
Inuktit: ᒥᓗᑦᓱᑳᒐᖅ
Kazakh: Қызанақ
Hungarian: paradicsom
Romanian: roşie
Telugu: టమాటో

Tomato is a perfect ingredient for summer cold soups. In Spain there are two famous cold soups which main ingredients are tomatoes: salmorejo and gazpacho. They contain similar ingredients and are made in the same way, so what's the differrence between them?
Salmorejo cordobés, the most typical one, differrently to gazpacho, contains no other vegetables than tomatoes and garlic, while in gazpacho you will also find cucumber, pepper and onion. Salmorejo has a thicker texture due to higher amount of bread and oilve oil and lack of water. The detailed recipe for this extremely simple and tasty summer soup is the following:

(2-3 portions)
1 kg tomatoes, very ripe
2 slices / 100 gr of yesterday's bread (only the white part)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
salt, pepper to taste
(optionally: 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar)
boiled eggs (1/2 egg pro person)
(optionally: jamón serrano slices)

tomatoes without seeds / tomato juice (don't throw it away! Drink it!) :) /bread slices

1. Peel tomatoes and throw the seeds and juice away. Grate or puree in food processor.

2. Mince garlic and mash with a pinch of salt

3. Soak bread in olive oil, add vinegar and mash until homogeneous

4. Combine all the ingredients. Soup should be creamy and thick. You could set in the fridge for 1/2 hour. Serve with chopped boiled eggs (and serrano slices)

(soup is deliciously red but unluckily you can't see it on my picture, made in the evening...)

Friday, 11 July 2008

Brasilian sweet potato pralines

Polish: orzech kokosowy
Suahili: mnazi
Tagalog: niyog
Thai: มะพร้าว
Marathi: नारळ
Mongolian: наргил
Vietnamese: quả dừa
Persian: نارگیل
Laotian: kok mak phao
Italian: noce di cocco

Good news for all the fans of Turkish sweet carrot and pumpkin balls! Brasilian docinhos de batata doce, sweet potato balls, belong to the same family, that's sure :) In this case, besides the obvious ingredient which is of course sweet potato, you will need two coconut products: coconut milk and flakes. A great party-idea would be to buy little muffin / praline forms and hide sweet balls there.

see also: Turkish pumpkin balls
see also: Turkish carrot balls
see also: Banana-aniseed balls

1 cup sweet potato puree*
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup ground almonds**
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 coconut milk
1 cup coconut flakes

1. Cook peeled, diced sweet potatoes and puree them*. Take one glass of the puree and set aside. Soak almonds** in milk for 1 hour, drain, pour boiling water on them and after 1/2 hour, peel and grind. take 1/2 cup of them.

2. In a saucepan, combine sweet potato puree, coconut milk and sugar. Cook while stirring, until it becomes some thickness. Pour into a bowl, when still warm add butter and stir well. Butetr should melt and everything should be creamy and homogeneous. Add ground almonds and 2 tablespoons coconut flakes. Set in the fridge for 1 hour.

3. After that time, form lovely balls (walnut-size) from the mass and roll in coconut flakes. Put the balls to the fridge again and take them off just before serving. You may roll them in your hands once again before serving.

Turkish yoghurt soup

Polish: mięta
Portuguese: hortelã
Aymara: muña
Hindi: पुदीना
Ossetian: Битъына
Croatian: metvica
Breton: bent
Maltese: nagħniegħ
Kazakh: Жалбыз
Tagalog: polios

Dried mint gives the essential flavour to this delicious Turkish yoghurt soup, called yayla çorbası. What does exactly mean this name? Well... plateau soup :) Western Turkeys landscape consists of plateaus, where mountain countryman families pasture their herds and where it is too hot to keep fresh milk sweet, that is why yoghurt is much more popular. Yoghurt soup has a pleasant sour taste and is a great ligt meal for the summertime.

2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
2 cups yoghurt
2 tablespoons flour
1 onion
1/3 cup rice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 egg
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon mint (dry)

1. Chop onion finely and fry in oil until golden. Add rice and fry 5 minutes together with onion. Add water and broth and cook until rice is done.

2. Separately, whisk yoghurt with egg and flour. Stir all the time while heating on a very low heat. Add several spoons of cooked, warm onion-broth little by little and whisk constantly, until you combine broth and yoghurt. Do it carefully and gradually to accustom yoghurt to high temperature, so that it won't curdle. Rice and lemon juice should be added, too.

3. Melt butter in a saucepan, add dried mint and fry for 5 minutes, without burning butter, on a low heat. Pour soup into a bowl and add a bit of mint-butter-sauce on the top. Serve!

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Austrian apricot dumplings

Polish: morela
Armenian: ծիրան
Albanian: kajsi
Tajik: зардолу
Kannada: გარგარი
Greek: βερικοκιά
Chech: meruňka
Mongolian: чангаанз
Kurdish: mijmij / qeysî
Uzbek: o'rik

I don't know any recipe how to prepare prunus armeniaca in Armenian way... (suggestions more than welcome!) but for sure, one of the most delicious ways of eating apricots is Austrian Marillenknödel in Butterbröseln: apricots hidden in creamy dumpling, cooked and coated in roasted breadcrumbs. Attention! This dough is different than the one in strawberry dumplings recipe! That dough was more fluffy, light and very delicious but unluckily didn't form solid balls after cooking. If visual effects are important to you, choose this dough ;) (In Poland, Germany and Slovakia similar dumplings are prepared, but with potatoes as one of the ingredients of the dough. I will post some recipes for them soon!)

see also: Austrian strawberry dumplings

200 g flour
250 g Quark (in Austria: Topfen) or fresh cheese curd of 20% fat
4 tablespoons semolina
1 egg
100 g butter
a pinch of salt
a bit of flour

8 medium apricots (fresh!)*
8 cubes sugar* (the best would be brown)
50 gr butter + 1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
powdered sugar

1. In the evening prepare the dough: combine all the ingredients and leave in the fridge overnight

2. Wash apricots, cut slightly just to take the seed off. Put 1 cube sugar into each apricot (if you don't have them, take 1 teaspoon sugar instead of each sugar cube, but never use honey! It will flow away and you will be unable to close the apricot in the dough)

3. In a pan, bring water with a bit of salt and oil to boil. Divide the dough into 8 equal portions (dough balls should be about the size of apricots - see picture above), form balls and roll them. Cover each apricot with a dough "pancake" and roll well in yur hands until you get lovely shaped balls. Put into the saucepan and cook 12-15 minutes.

4. Put dried breadcrumbs and butter (you can add a pinch of cinnamon too) into another pan. butter should melt and breadcrumbs should fry in it until golden. When dumplings are ready, drain them well and put into the pan with breadcrumbs and butter. Move the pan this way so that the whole dumplings are covered with breadcrumbs. Put on the plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar; you can serve them with cream or vanilla ice-cream.

* of course you may have bigger or smaller apricots... the main rule is: so many sugar cubes as many apricots you have. I also suggest to not take the huge, apple-sized apricots. Walnut-sized are perfect.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

New Zealandic sweet potato soup

Polish: słodki ziemniak
Catalan: moniato
Quechua: kumar
Tonga: kumala
Ilokano: kamote
Nahuatl: camohtli
Aymara: apichu
Sango: babolö
Kikuyu: ngwaci
Gujarati: રતાળુ

Sweet potato seems to be really interesting: you can bake or cook it or eat raw, you can serve it sweet or spicy, there is sweet potato flour, chips, pies and alcohol beverages; even its leaves are eaten, mostly in Africa. Solomon Islands produce 160 kg of batata per person each year, and Burundi 130, while where I live most people never seen it nor tasted it. Among the recipes that I tasted, New Zealandic sweet potato soup (called kumara soup) is really worth trying it. Also in the summertime; even if kumara soup, differrently to Polish summer borscht and Mexican avocado soup is a warm dish, it is still great for summer, cause it is light in digestion and in my personal opinion soups are, together with salads, one of the best meal for the summertime.

(for 2 portions)
1 sweet potato (250 g)
1 medium onion
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon fresh, ground ginger
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 cup milk
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon curry powder
salt, pepper, cumin, oil

1. Chop onion, mince garlic clove. Fry them in oil together with ground ginger. When golden, add curry powder.

2. Grind kumara (Maori name for sweet potato) and add to fried vegetables, fry a bit more (jntil it becomes orange-golden colour) and if needed, add more oil. After about 5 minutes, add broth and cook until almost soft. Puree or pass through sieve or do it partially and leave some vegetable chunks.

3. Pour into the saucepan and cook on a low heat. Add milk and coconut milk little by little, stirring constantly. Try it and add as much cumin, salt and pepper as you wish. Plus, sprinkling the soup with chopped parsley or coriander leaves or dill is always a wonderful idea.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Mexican avocado soup (2 versions)

Polish: awokado / smaczliwka
Greek: αβοκάντο
Lingala: sabúká
Nahuatl: āhuacatl
Quechua: palta
Swazi: lí-kotapéni
Uyghur: ئاۋكادۇر
Suahili: parachichi
Lao: ໝາກອາໂວກາໂດ
Vietnamese: bơ

Butter pear? Alligator pear? Midshipman's butter? Vegetable butter? Yes, "the fertility fruit" :) If you wonder why is avocado called this way, take Nahuatl language dictionary and you will find that "āhuacatl" means "testicle", due to its shape. Considered as aphrodisiac and perfect for beauty purposes (face masks and so on) but in the past Spanish conquistadors in Mexico were using the juice of the stone as a substitute of ink! I wonder if they knew the taste of Mexican avocado soup, sopa de aguacate. I guess they did :)

1st recipe
1 medium avocado
2 cups broth
1 clove garlic
100 g heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1. Puree avocado with lemon juice. Add minced garlic and heavy cream, conbine until homogeneous.

2. Add gradually lukewarm broth to avocado cream and whisk. You can sprinkle the soup with chopped coriander or parsley leaves.

2nd recipe
1/2 cup chili pepper, red or green, chopped
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 medium avocado
1 clove garlic
2 cups broth
1 tablespoon lemon juice
oil to fry

1. Chop peppers and onions finely (so many to obtain 1/2 cup of each vegetable) and fry until soft. Add minced garlic and fry a little bit more. Add 1 cup broth and bring to boil. Set aside to cool.

2. Puree avocado with lemon juice. Add gradually second cup of broth (lukewarm) and whisk. Add broth with vegetables. Now you can puree the whole soup or leave vegetable chunks. My first soup was without any vegetable chunks so I didn't puree the second one.

- some people replace 1/2-1/4 of broth with white wine
- chopped parsley and / or coriander are a great accompaniment to this soup
- serve lukewarm or cooled. Never boil avocado!
- if this kind of soup seem too "thin" for you, serve it with croutons, toasts, tortillas (or any other kind of flatbread) or boiled and fried tomato slices. Fried gambas would be a tasty alternative too.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Lime tree blossoms syrup

Polish: lipa
Hungarian: hársfa
Catalan: tell
Finnish: lehmus
Estonian: pärn
Ukrainian: Липа
Chinese: 椴树
Basque: ezki
Vietnamese: chi đoạn
Persian: نمدار
Danish: lind

Rose petals, robinia blossoms and dandelions are gone, sweet woodruff starts blooming so is since then useless in this season, elderberries grow instead of elder blossoms but still I have one suggestion for all those who will dream in the cold winter evenings about some sweet delicious homemade blossom syrup in their tea, instead of sugar: lime tree (linden) blossoms. Great for all who bear with sleepless nights, cause just like lime tree blossoms tea, this syrup helps relaxing and brings sound sleep. Lime tree blossoms syrup is to be prepared this way:

3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup lemon juice
optionally: one orange
2-3 cups lime tree blossoms

(uncleaned blossoms)

1. Clean lime tree blossoms from the resmaining leaves. I know it sounds hard and takes some time, but you need only the blossoms. Leave them on a white sheet of papter for about 1 hour so that all the tiny insects leave their homes. It is important to gather the blossoms from clean, non-polluted areas away from the contamination, cause basically you shouldn't wash them to preserve pollen!
2. Cook a syrup from sugar, water and lemon juice. Leave for some time (let's say, about 1/2h) on a low heat to thicken. Take away from the heat and Set aside to cool downs

3. When the syrup is lukewarm and the blossoms clean from insects, put the blossoms into the syrup. You can add slices of orange (with or without peel, depending on the quality of the orange and your personal taste) to taste or add some more lemon juice according to your palate. Cover and put in the fridge for 3-5 days

4. Strain well, squeeze lemon slices, bring to boil, pour into clean bottles.

ps. There is no picture of the syrup in the bottle. it just looks the same as sweet woodruff syrup... golden and thick.