Anything with a breadcrumb…

Veal Escalope!
Veal Escalope!

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!

Ingredients

Veal escalopes

Plain flour (with seasoning: salt and black pepper)

Beaten eggs

White breadcrumbs

Butter

Olive oil

Instructions

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

veal-2

Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on one side

Turn

veal-3

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

Add a wedge of lemon for perfect taste!

Serve!
Serve!

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Jewish Almond Cake

This is a real favourite of mine.  It can be served simply with a sprinkling of caster sugar, or with a fruit coulis.  It is a very traditional cake and will be found throughout Eastern Europe, particularly in former parts of the Austro-Hungarian empire.  I love making this cake because it is really simple.  It really is a case of throwing everything in one big bowl and stirring, though not too aggressively.  If you want, you can freeze the cake for up to one month, but I think it is best eaten fresh.  It will keep in an air-tight container for three to five days.

Ingredients:

125g butter

150g caster sugar

2 drops of almond extract

1 drop of vanilla extract

3 eggs

75g ground almonds

40g plain flour

Instructions:

Grease 7-inch (17.5cm) tin

Cover base with greaseproof paper or silicone

Preheat oven to 180ºC (Gas Mark 4)

Cream together butter and sugar

Butter & sugar

Add almond and vanilla extract

Add eggs one at a time, each with a third of the ground almonds

Eggs & ground almonds

Beat until fluffy

Sift flour and fold in

Flour

Mixture in tin

Put in over for 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean

Out of oven

To prevent top of cake from burning, it may be necessary to cover with foil halfway through cooking

Cool and sprinkle with caster sugar if desired

Serve small portions as it is very rich!

Serve small portions as it is very rich!

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Bulgarian Fried Peppers With Cheese

This is not a quick fix dish, it is a bit of a dinner party piece.  I would suggest making extra so you can pick the ones which look best as it is quite difficult to re-create their structural stability after the skin has been removed.  It’s a great starter though, very tasty, mainly because the creaminess of the feta really complements the warmth of the chili while the parsley refreshes your palette for the next mouthful.

Ingredients (serves 2 -4)

4 peppers (can be red, green or yellow but personally, I think red taste best)

50g plain flour

1 egg, beaten

olive oil for shallow frying

For the filling:

1 egg, beaten

90g feta cheese finely crumbled

2 tbsp fresh parsley

1 small red chili, seeded and chopped

Instructions:

Slit open peppers

Scoop out seeds and core but leave peppers in one piece

Peppers pre-grilling

Carefully open out peppers and place under hot grill (skin side up!)

Peppers under grill

Cook until the skin is charred and blackened

Peppers charred

Place the peppers in a bowl of cold water to prevent them from over-cooking

Leave peppers until cooled and peel off skin

Mix feta, egg, parsley, chili together in a bowl

Feta, egg, parsley, chili

Fill each pepper with mix

Fill peppers

Secure peppers if necessary with wooden cocktail sticks

Dip peppers in seasoned plain flour, then egg, then flour again

Fry the peppers in olive oil for 6-8 minutes, turning once, until golden brown and filling set

Peppers in pan

Drain peppers on kitchen paper before serving

Peppers done! Serve!

Peppers done! Serve!

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