Kotletki are Russian fast food but unlike that of the Western world, they are delicious and healthy. They can be bought from the supermarket or when out and about and in need of a quick, hot snack. But most people would make these at home. So I gave it a go and I was impressed. Lovely chunky burgers, with great texture and taste.
1 grated potato
1 grated white onion
300g minced pork
300g minced beef
100g white breadcrumbs
30ml rapeseed oil
100ml smetana (sour cream)
To serve with buckwheat:
Cook as instructed and add gently-fried slithers of white onion
Add mince, potato and onion in a bowl and mix thoroughly
Make into small balls and pat flat into burgers
Place in breadcrumbs and thoroughly coat
Heat oil and butter in frying pan
Fry burgers in pan on each side for 2 to 3 minutes
Then put lid on pan and continue cooking on a low heat for 10 minutes
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.
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
75 ml tomato puree
1 litre beef stock
3 tomatoes, sliced
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
Add in beef stock and heat until simmering
Put slices of aubergine on top of each casserole dish
Pour tomato/beef stock mixture over casserole dishes
Place dishes in oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes
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
Remove from oven and serve with slices of fresh bread
There is something about the smell of ginger and spices that fill the house with the internal warmth one seeks during the cold, bitter, winter months. And haven’t these last few weeks been bitter! I believe the UK has had more snow than some of the East European countries famed for their skiing. I’m no gourmet cake expert but I do love throwing everything in, stirring and baking making this recipe ideal. Using a foil tin in place of a baking dish (only an option) also means there is little washing up! I warn you, this is rich and for those who would prefer something a little lighter it may be best to omit 1/4 of the treacle in place of an extra 1/4 of golden syrup. Enjoy with a mug of tea or strong coffee.
200g golden syrup
200g black treacle
125g dark muscovado sugar
2 tsp finely grated ginger
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp bicarbonate soda dissolved in 30ml warm water
250ml full-fat milk (do not use semi-skimmed or skimmed!)
2 eggs, beaten
300g plain flour
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius (adjust for a fan oven) / Gas Mark 3
Grease a 30 x 20 x 5 cm foil tin
(Alternatively, line a roasting tin or ovenproof dish with baking parchment)
Melt the butter on a low heat in a saucepan
While the butter melts, add the sugar, syrup, treacle, fresh and ground gingers and cinnamon
Take off the heat
Add the milk (this cools it slightly so the egg should not scramble)
Add the eggs and dissolved bicarbonate
Put the flour into a bowl and pour in the liquid ingredients
Beat until well mixed
(The batter is not thick which makes the cake very sticky)
Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 45 minutes until risen
Transfer the tin to a wire rack and let the gingerbread cool in the tin before cutting into squares
The cake can also be stored whole in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or be frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost thoroughly at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours and then cut into squares. Cut when desired.
I made a promise to some of my colleagues at Glam that I would bake them a cake and as one of my colleagues is Hungarian I took inspiration from the Hapsburg’s traditional confectionary. I am not particularly artistic so my efforts are always going to be rustic rather than looking as if it has been picked up at a patisserie but at least it gives it a real homemade feel. This chocolate cake is a simple chocolate sponge with a mocha buttercream filling and a chocolate and brandy icing topping. I have made this cake once previously and I made the icing on top a lot thiner so it literally ran off the spoon and covered the whole cake and sides but this time I made it thicker and piled it on the top. Depsite the sugar and butter content of the cake, it contains no preservatives or artificial colourings or flavourings and is surprisingly light and not sickly, making it the perfect little treat for your family or friends!
This is a two-layered slice with a rich walnut base and creamy light coffee topping. Serve with a complementary drink, for example, a sour cherry liqueur. If you want to alter the recipe, use pistachios instead of walnuts.
This is a really tasty and healthy dish originating from Bulgaria. It’s super quick and requires few dishes so the washing up is limited! The chicken is smothered in a rich, herby sauce. Serve the chicken with rice to mop up all the wonderful juices.
This recipe is perfect for a quick but super healthy meal and requires just seven ingredients (and that’s counting salt and pepper as two!) If you don’t want to use salmon, trout is a reasonable alternative, or mackerel could be used but I would imagine that could produce quite a different taste.
This little but absolutely scrumptious dish is a sort of cross between a pancake and an omelette, however, unlike the aforementioned, it is cooked in the oven. This dish is super quick and very easy, requiring relatively few ingredients which makes it ideal to serve as a starter with a garnish of green salad, as part of a tapas selection, or even for a perfect evening supper dish when you are tired after getting home from work and want a quick and delicious snack. Sweet alternatives can also be made, just exclude the vegetables and sweeten with sugar and/or honey.
I am a real advocate of the breadcrumb. If it wasn’t for the breadcrumb, I’d have never consumed cauliflower. The first time I tasted cauliflower was in Kranjska Gora. Mira, the Grandmother, would gently heat florets of cauliflower in some simmering water, then remove them from the water, let them cool, coat them in egg and breadcrumbs and fry. Perfect!
Kranjska Gora was also the first place I ever tried veal. Being thirteen the first time I visited (in 1999) I was actually a bit confused as to what veal was. I am not ashamed to say this. However, once I tasted it, I knew I would always be a veal lover. It is not as unkind as most people think due to media campaigns from previous decades. British veal in particular is very humane and, I’ll have you meat eaters know (cannot argue with the vegetarians and vegans among you, you have morals, I do not) that when you tuck into some lamb, it is actually killed at a younger age than veal.
A popular dish in Slovenia and Croatia, and no doubt other countries of Central and Eastern Europe, is veal escalope in a breadcrumb crust. This is such an easy dish to make!
Plain flour (with seasoning: salt and black pepper)
Put plain flour on a plate
Beat eggs and put in bowl
Put breadcrumbs on plate
Make sure veal is sufficiently flat, if not, beat with a meat hammer
Coat veal in plain flour
Dip veal into beaten egg
Dip veal into breadcrumbs
(For best results: double dip! No nothing to do with British MPs’ expenses!)
Re-dip into beaten egg
Re-dip into breadcrumbs
Heat olive oil and butter in frying pan
Put veal into pan
Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on one side
Cook for 2 to 3 minutes maximum
Serve on a bed of watercress, spinach and rocket, drizzled in olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt and black pepper