Breakfast ideas: thick cottage cheese pancakes “Syrniki”

Do you know the damnation of the simplest recipes? Like soufflé that is basically quite a simple dish to cook but I always doubt if I make everything right. Syrniki are the same kind of dish. Syrniki, which are thick cottage cheese pancakes, are traditional breakfast in Odessa. Simple yet delicious, it’s the dish that my mother cooks perfectly. Ingredients are quite simple too: cottage cheese, an egg, a few spoons of flour, a little bit of sugar, may be vanilla and raisins. Nothing more, but it took me a few unsuccessful attempts until I cooked it right. The key ingredient is cottage cheese (or it’s “tvaroh” variation in Central and Eastern Europe. Tvaroh is called “syr” in Ukrainian so name “syrniki” shows that the dish is made of syr), which should contain 9% of fat. Cottage cheese should not be too dry or too liquid, otherwise you will not be able to form pancakes. If cottage cheese is too liquid, press the liquid out using a sieve and a spoon. You can substitute cottage cheese with ricotta.

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Roasted and mashed cauliflower with sun-dried tomatoes salsa

It seems that I’ve already posted recipes with all possible varieties of cabbage and for unknown reasons cauliflower was an exception. It’s time to break this circle 🙂 The only dish with cauliflower I had known before was simply boiled cauliflower and then served with greens, garlic and cheese. I decided to extend my horizons and cook something more exciting this time.
A few notes before I share the recipe. I use tahini paste in this recipe because since I’ve often started to cook hummus, tahini can be always found in my kitchen. It’s already the third recipe with tahini I’m sharing here. The first was pumpkin bread and the second was beet hummus.
Here is the recipe for cauliflower “steaks” with mashed cauliflower and sun-dried tomatoes salsa.
(🇸🇰 slovenský preklad nájdete za anglickým textom)

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Turmeric ginger chicken soup with noodles

Chicken soup seems to be an important dish for many countries. In Odessa it was claimed to be a cure against all possible illnesses (no wonder, as Odessa has a big Jewish population and a rich chicken soup is a staple of East European Jewish cuisine). In Bratislava, chicken soup also plays the key role  on Sunday family dinner. I can cook  this soup both in Odessa and Bratislava styles but I’m always open to new ideas so I tried turmeric and ginger chicken soup and I’ve fallen in love with it now 🙂
(🇸🇰 slovenský preklad nájdete za anglickým textom)

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Pumpkin season is not over: roasted hasselback butternut squash

I noticed Hokkaido pumpkins and butternut squashes in a grocery store during my last time shopping and I asked myself a question “why don’t we cook pumpkin in the winter”? I have no logical explanation for it. Well, I was a little bit overdosed with pumpkin during autumn pumpkin marathon, but it’s already a middle of January so buying a pumpkin again seems to be a good idea. I bought  a small butternut squash and cooked it in a “hasselback” style. Small notice: word “hasselback” comes from restaurant Hasselbacken in Djurgården (Stockholm) whose chief first cooked hasselback potatoes in 1953.
( 🇸🇰 slovenský preklad nájdete za anglickým textom)

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Sausage and shrimp gumbo

I’ve first heard about gumbo from my very favourite BBC Food program podcast. It was clear that this is a special dish of American cuisine (I can compare it with borsht in Ukraine or kapustnica here in Slovakia), because it seems that hundreds of recipes exist and every family from Louisiana has its own way to cook gumbo.
I don’t want to claim that my gumbo recipe is a “true” one, however it contains all key ingredients: ” Louisiana trinity” of onion, green pepper and celery plus roux. A lot of recipes also include okra, but you can’t find okra in European grocery stores in the middle of January 🙂 I like the taste of this dish, it’s reach in taste and it’s perfectly warming.
( 🇸🇰 slovenský preklad nájdete za anglickým textom)
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Spelt flour focaccia with rosemary and olives

One of my New Year resolutions was to write down all the recipes I want to add to my upcoming book. So I’ve done it and now it’s time to test everything that was planned and to post the results here. Let me start with rosemary and olives focaccia.

A few notes. There are plenty of focaccia recipes that use baking powder, which seems “very wrong” to me as it’s only sour dough that gives focaccia that special taste. Then, there are a lot of people who are afraid of yeast and sour dough. Well, sour dough requires some more efforts  in comparison with baking powder or “self rising flour”, but commercial yeast makes its work so perfect that it’s hard to make a mistake. Hope I motivated you at least a little bit. And finally: I found that you can make focaccia with plain spelt flour which is in a way healthier choice than white wheat flour. Try it 🙂
( 🇸🇰 slovenský preklad nájdete za anglickým textom)

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Pavlova with chocolate and fruit

Pavlova was my obvious choice for one of Christmas dinners I’ve enjoyed this week. It’s easy to make (well, if you know how to make it right), it doesn’t require million of ingredients and it looks incredibly stylish. Of course, summer choice of fruit and berries gives you more options of what to add to the topping of your Pavlova, but we still have plenty of fresh fruit even in winter, so it’s pretty easy to make your cake beautiful.
( 🇸🇰 slovenský preklad nájdete za anglickým textom)

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Last minute Christmas baking: dried fruit and ginger biscotti

This recipe has caused a lot of questions from my facebook friends, so I’m glad to share it here. Biscotti are obviously not Slovak Christmas classics, but I think that it’s a nice addition to the variety of cookies. They also remind German Christmas stollen, they are just quicker to make. A lot of biscotti recipes include nuts and almonds, I’ve made “nut free version” as I can’t say that I like an idea of hard nuts in dry biscotti.
( 🇸🇰 slovenský preklad nájdete za anglickým textom)

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Last minute Christmas baking: spelt crinkle cookies

I have always been  amazed by a big amount of Christmas cookies varieties baked in Slovakia since I came to study to Bratislava. There is nothing close to this tradition in that part of Ukraine, where I grew up.

Every December my Slovak and Czech friends post beautiful pictures of their Christmas baking  on Facebook and this year I’ve decided to make a baking marathon and to make some cookies too. I’ve spent almost a week in the kitchen and made 11 kinds of cookies. Due to popular demand on my Instagram (btw, you are welcome to follow me, I’m @my.ko.la there) I will post two of them, crinkles and biscotti.

Here is a recipe for crinkle cookies.
( 🇸🇰 slovenský preklad nájdete za anglickým textom)

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Outdoor Paris food markets tour

I will be away from home the 4th weekend in a row, so not so many new recipes will appear here in December. However, I’m working on my “Christmas cookies” top and will hopefully share them next week.
This post will be about a lovely Sunday morning I spent on November, 24 in my ever so favourite Paris. My goal for this day was to visit Pari fermier market that took place on Rue Saint Charles. Pari fermier markets are organized several times a year to present original gourmet products to Paris foodies. I was very excited about this event. I have to say that all world known French products were really presented there. So I was not disappointed with offers but was surprised with amount of stands. There was not so many of them as I had expected.
Let’s take a look to the offers.
🇸🇰 Slovenská verzia pre časopis Dobré Jedlo

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Vegetarian borscht with red lentils

Oh, I can write a lot about borscht.It is better to say: it’ll be hard to write about the most famous Ukrainian soup briefly 🙂 May be it is borscht that comes first to my mind when I think about Ukrainian cuisine. It’s like kapustnica for Slovaks and it has both gastronomical and cultural values. There are sayings like “you can’t cook borsht with him” which means “this person is not good to have a deal with” or “you can cook a good borscht, so you can get married”. Borscht recipes show a wide range, the one I’m going to share is my favorite, I’ve tested it last year and it was success from the first try.
(🇸🇰 slovenský preklad nájdete za anglickým textom)

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Roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon and walnuts

We had “an autumn feast dinner” with friends last Saturday and roasted duck was the main star of the menu. There are 2 classic side dishes for roasted duck here in Slovakia: braised cabbage and “lokše” thin pancakes made of potato dough. As a “cabbage freak” I decided to add one more side dish to the menu: roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon and walnuts. Well, it’s Thanksgiving classics, but this recipe is not known here. The most popular comment about this dish was “oh, I’ve hated Brussels sprouts since school times, but you made it really delicious”. So mind this recipe if you also have “cabbage haters” among your friends.
( 🇸🇰 slovenský preklad nájdete za anglickým textom)
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Roasted chicken thighs with fennel and orange

2 cool things have happened this week. First: short interviews with Slovak food bloggers about their favourite fall and winter dishes were published in the latest edition of Dobré Jedlo magazine.  So, I’m proud to be featured in the magazine that I like among a company of inspired people. Second: Oslavujeme s Teleránom cookbook has been on sale in book stores since this week and I can finally add it to my portfolio. And now back to the kitchen. Today I will share the recipe of a roasted chicken with fennel which I have been trying to test for the last 3 or 4 weeks. Why has it taken so long?   The reason  is I couldn’t find fennel anywhere: neither on farmer’s market nor in all grocery shops. Fennel had just disappeared and I was even thinking that it’s out of the season (but who cares about seasons when we have fresh grapes from Argentina in January). I found a few small fennel bulbs on last Saturday farmer’s market and, of course, bought it. Before I share the recipe, I want to say that it has been one of the best chicken dishes I’ve ever tried.
( 🇸🇰 slovenský preklad  nájdete za anglickým textom)

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Pumpkin gnocchi with sage sauce

It’s time to finish the pumpkin marathon. I enjoyed it pretty much, but there are so many new products that I want to try that pumpkin can wait till next fall. Farewell recipe is pumpkin gnocchi with sage and cream sauce.  I think this dish is a kind of comfort food: it’s easy to cook and, most important, it can be frozen. It’s a nice feeling to know that some proper portions of gnocchi are waiting for me in the fridge. Gnocchi are relatives to one of Slovak staple dishes “halušky” with the difference in shape and the fact that raw potatoes are used in most of halušky recipes.
( 🇸🇰 slovenský preklad  nájdete za anglickým textom)

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