Ukrainian Roasted Vegetable Stack Recipe

When I was in Kiev a few years ago I went to eat at Khutorok, a paddle-boat steamer-come-restaurant.  The charming decor was accompanied by even more charming staff and food.  It was by far the best meal I had in Kiev.  I ordered veal, wild rice and roasted vegetables.  The presentation was faultless and the vegetables were impressively stacked.  I remember sitting there thinking that I’d never be able to re-create that but last weekend, as part of a meal I cooked for my family, I foolishly thought I’d give it a go! Although it was a hassle, it looked amazing and I was really pleased with my achievement!

Ingredients

1 aubergine

2 courgettes

Handful of fresh thyme and rosemary (use dried if you can’t get fresh)

3 garlic cloves

150ml rapeseed oil

4 red peppers, roasted, skins removed and sliced into discs

2 white onions, sliced quite thickly

Sprinkling of paprika for presentation purposes

Instructions

Slice aubergine and courgette and place in a dish

Blend the oil together with the garlic and herbs

Drizzle oil over the aubergine and courgettes and leave to marinate for at least 3 hours

Ukrainian Roasted Vegetables

Heat a griddle pan, when hot, place the aubergine, courgettes and sliced onion in pan using marinate as oil

(Add more oil to pan if needed)

Ukrainian Roasted Vegetables

When all vegetables have a nice charred colouring across them, set aside

Put aubergines, courgettes, onion and sliced red pepper into a dish and heat in oven for 15 minutes on 180°C

Arrange vegetables on top of each other

Sprinkle paprika over the plate to decorate and serve

Ukrainian Roasted Vegetable Stack

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Chanachi po-Gruzinksi – Russian Baked Lamb Recipe

This Russian lamb one-pot recipe is a personal family favourite.  It’s great to serve in individual dishes so you don’t have to worry about dishing it up.  It’s very easy too.  Simply a case of putting it together and cooking on a low heat.

Chanachi po-Gruzinksi - Russian Baked Lamb Recipe

Ingredients (serves 4)

600g roughly-diced potatoes

1 large white onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 aubergine, sliced

1 mild red chilli, chopped and deseeded

800g boneless, diced lamb

3 tbsp parsley

3 tbsp coriander

4 bay leaves

8 black peppercorns

50g butter

75 ml tomato puree

1 litre beef stock

3 tomatoes, sliced

Instructions

Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius

Lightly grease individual casserole dishes with rapeseed oil

Put onion, potatoes, lamb, chilli garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, coriander, parlsey in casserole dishes

Heat butter in pan

When melted add in tomato puree and stir

Chanachi po-Gruzinksi - Russian Baked Lamb Recipe

Add in beef stock and heat until simmering

Put slices of aubergine on top of each casserole dish

Chanachi po-Gruzinksi - Russian Baked Lamb Recipe

Pour tomato/beef stock mixture over casserole dishes

Place dishes in oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes

Chanachi po-Gruzinksi - Russian Baked Lamb Recipe

Baste aubergine etc. on a regular basis with any left over tomato/beef stock mixture

20 minutes before the end of cooking, remove dishes from oven, top with slices of tomato

Chanachi po-Gruzinksi - Russian Baked Lamb Recipe

Remove from oven and serve with slices of fresh bread

Restoran Katedralis, Zagreb

Zagreb Cathedral
Zagreb Cathedral

Restoran Katedralis sits on a corner overlooking Zagreb’s beautiful cathedral.  The restaurant offers a vast menu with plenty of Croatian delights to satisfy the hungry tourist looking to indulge in some local specialities and best yet, this restaurant is not a tourist trap.  The large, split-level terrace is filled with tables of Croatians enjoying great food and fantastic wine.  The restaurant staff are attentive and friendly, without being overbearing.

While mulling over the menu, the waiter presents soft white bread, accompanied by a local, soft cheese, mixed with cream and herbs.  The cheese may resemble coleslaw (one food stuff I simply loathe) but it tastes delicious and is worth trying, even if one finds its appearance slightly off-putting.

Kruh, sir i vrhnje
Kruh, sir i vrhnje

The main courses on offer include a selection of typical home-cooked meals, as well as usual restaurant favourites such as Zagrebački Odrezak (veal schnitzel Zagreb).  The schnitzel was served with a garlic dipping sauce, wedge of lemon, thin, fried onions, and some carved carrots and radish.  The schnitzel was thick and wrapped in ham and cheese before covered in breadcrumbs and fried.  The cheese, usually an edam like cheese, oozed out with every cut of the knife.  This plate was quite simply heavenly but incredibly large which made it a little bit of a challenge to eat every morsel!

Zagrebacki Odrezak
Zagrebacki Odrezak

Other traditional main courses included a mixed meat plate, with beef, pork and chicken, served with a herb sauce, and a veal saltimbocca, the latter of which is traditionally Italian but also eaten and enjoyed throughout Croatia.  However, unusually, the veal saltimbocca, a thin veal escalope with sage, prosciutto and dry sherry, was served with a pepper sauce.

Mixed Plate
Mixed Plate

A mixed dish of grilled vegetables, aubergine, courgette and white pepper with cubed potatoes made the perfect side dish.

Veal Saltimbocca
Veal Saltimbocca

The wine list boasted many great Croatian wines and Graševina, Vrhunsko vino, Vinogorje Kutjevo, Berba 2007, 12% vol. seemed like the perfect choice to wash down the meal with.  Not too immature, as many East European wines can be, the taste is smooth, dry and not too floral and its colour was golden.  The wine and meal was followed by a homemade pear schnapps which was quite lethal!

Grilled vegetables & potatoes
Grilled vegetables & potatoes

What to know: 10% discount for cash

Restoran Katedralis

Bakačeva 9

10000 Zagreb

Tel: (01) 48 14 938

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Hungarian Easter Meal: Part 2: Creamy Aubergine & Mushrooms

I made creamy aubergine and mushrooms to accompany the cooked Hungarian ham I served on Easter Monday.  I always feel I should like aubergine but somehow, no matter how many times I try them, or how they have been cooked, I find them unpleasant.  This is the first time I have found them edible.  Instead of the normal slime you would be served, they remain crunchy, and are particularly tasty.

Ingredients for 4-6 servings:

2 aubergines

115g unsalted butter

225g mushrooms, sliced

120ml beef stock

250ml double cream

4 tbsp fresh parsley

salt and freshly ground white pepper

Instructions:

Peel the aubergines and slice.

Sliced aubergine

Put the aubergine on a dish towel (or kitchen paper) and sprinkle liberally with salt.

Fold over the dish cloth to cover the aubergine and leave for 30 minutes.

Aubergine covered

Use the cloth to squeeze out the moisture from aubergine.

Heat the butter in a large frying pan.

Butter in pan

Cook the aubergines and mushrooms for 10 minutes.

Mushrooms & Aubergine

Pour in the beef stock and simmer for a further 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Season to taste before stirring in the cream.

Mushrooms, Aubergine & Cream

Reheat but do not allow to boil.

Add 3 tbsp of chopped parsley.

Mushrooms, Aubergine, Cream, Parsley

Spoon into warm serving dish and garnish.

Done!

Serve!

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