Slovak Buddha Bowl. Early fall edition

I actually wanted to take a short break from cooking and food writing but can you guess where I found myself on Friday evening? Of course, right in the kitchen again. Well, if it can’t be helped, I should use this endless enthusiasm wisely and write a new recipe here.

My Friday night hero was Buddha bowl. I’ve been excited about it since the moment I saw it on Instagram as I love dishes made from many ingredients. Is Buddha bowl a dish? In a way yes, but maybe I would prefer to call it “food concept” because ingredients can be combined in any order you want. Original  Buddha bowl is a vegetarian dish, however I found meat recipes too and I added a hard boiled egg to my own version. Here are a few rules of what should be added to Buddha bowl.

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5 food photography tips for your cookbook

Hello, Ferns’n’Cakes, it’s been a while, I missed you so much 🙂 As I mentioned in my  previous post, I was involved in a cookbook project and my goal was not only photography and food styling but also cooking  all the recipes.  I cooked 2-3-4 and sometimes even 5 recipes every day and I have to say that this experience was absolutely awesome.  Of course it was a challenge and I feel like I’ve spend 37 days in the kitchen, but I also had a lot of fun and learned huge amount of new things about food and cooking. I decided to summarize this experience and write a short guide for those who want to make photos for cooking book.

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Spaghetti with tomato and calamari

I’m back from “a kind of holidays” in Croatia. Why “a kind of”? Well, it’s a long story. First, some of my customers need almost every day attention and I have to be “always there” and online. Second, short before the trip I’ve got a  proposal to join exciting cooking and photography book project. Deadline is in September so I preferred not to hesitate and already started to make pictures in Croatia, which means that I was both cooking for myself and friends and also for this new book. As a result, I’ve spent quite a lot of time in the kitchen. But I can’t complain as cooking with south vegetables and olive oil from local market was a pleasure. I promise to write a big post about the book as soon as it is finished  🙂 Now it’s time to share the first of my Croatian recipes. I’ve made pasta with calamari for our “welcome” dinner and it had a great  success.
(🇸🇰 slovenský preklad nájdete za anglickým textom)

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Zucchini and chickpea flour pancakes

I’ve got few home grown zucchini in Nová Baňa and 2 of them were white. It’s actually interesting because I have been trying to find white zucchini (so common in my native Odessa) for last 5 years of my life in Slovakia but all my attempts were unsuccessful. Nová Baňa managed to surprised my once again.
I cook a lot of dishes with zucchini, both green and white. It is nice, when it’s stewed with sour cream, chicken and dill or like a filling for a cake. Zucchini pancakes are nice dish for late summer morning. I used chickpea flour for this recipe, but you can substitute it with white all purpose flour.

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Roasted eggplant spread recipe

It was very hot here in Slovakia during last 2 weeks so to be honest I didn’t cook a lot. It was hot even in Nová Baňa last weekend but it didn’t stop me from cooking one of the most famous summer dishes from Odessa cuisine: grilled eggplants, peppers and tomatoes spread. This recipe has obviously Greek or Bulgarian roots, but both Greek and Bulgarians were quite influential in summer Ukrainian region so it’s no wonder that a lot of dishes I often cook  have South European or Middle East origin.

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Side dish ideas: Swiss chard and potatoes

Can I officially claim this year “the year of the products I’ve never tried before”? Here is another prove of this fact: my traditional Saturday visit to the farm market in Zilinska street brought me a large bunch of colourful Swiss chard. The lady, who sells it names chard “Croatian spinach” and tells that it can be cooked like ordinary spinach. If you are from Bratislava and also visit the market in Zilinska, you know this seller for sure. It’s famous Cilka from Zohor, area to the North from Bratislava which is reach in culinary traditions. She names chard “Croatian spinach” and tells that it can be cooked like ordinary spinach. It makes a nice side dish together with potatoes. Of course I’ve made a short research of Swiss chard recipes and here is my own version of potatoes with chard.

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Overnight rice flakes and chia pudding

The main event of July (not just for me but for all Slovakia I assume) was Pohoda musical festival. I’ve never taken part in summer open air activities and was quite nervous if my inner introvert survives in a crowd of 35000. Well, I shouldn’t have been nervous as the festival was unexpectedly cool: really good organized, with plenty of workshops, master classes and great music, of course. Food courts were also great with all possible types of dishes: from fresh coconuts to traditional Slovak langos (fried dough with different toppings like cheese or garlic) or from absolutely great pastrami (it was my first pastrami and I totally liked it) to chia pudding. I finally tried the famous Slovak codfish salad tapped into hot dog bun. It tasted ridiculously good despite the fact that I have prejudice to mayo salads. Well, once in a while 🙂
On one of festival days my breakfast was chia pudding made by Lunter company ( the biggest Slovak producers or tofu and vegetarians spreads like hummus or “fake codfish salad”. Btw, it makes Slovakia special, where else can you try codfish salad hot dog or fake codfish salad made from soya beans?

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Artichokes hearts and quinoa warm salad

Last Thursday I invited guests to late dinner and my plan was to cook something quick and impressive (and worthy to be shared here, lol). It didn’t take too long to make a choice, because I had pickled artichokes and freshly bought package of quinoa that was on sale in Tesco. I can also proudly say that this whole recipe was created by myself: it’s quinoa warm salad with pickled artichoke hearts, shallots and tomatoes. It’s really quick to cook if you already have pickled artichokes, but this quickness didn’t save me from being late as I had some urgent work to do, so I started too late and guests came when salad was cooling. And… Do you also say to your friends “wait a moment, I have to make a picture first and then we can eat?” Well, my friends are already used to it.

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Greetings from Nová Baňa: cold beetroot soup recipe

This week was very hot in Bratislava so the idea to spend  a weekend in a country house in Nová Baňa sounded as a good idea. It was hot even there so my choice for the Saturday dinner was obvious: I cooked a cold beetroot soup.

If you ask me what is the taste of south Ukrainian summer, I will place this soup (it has very cute name in  the region where I grew up “cholodnichok”) right after famous Mikado tomatoes.  It’s also interesting because you can find all 3 staples of Ukrainian cuisine in this recipe: beet, dill and sour cream. Someone call this soup “cold borsht”. Every year I waited for the beginning of summer and my mom can finally  cook it. It’s a super dish for hot summer days when you don’t want to eat too much but you also don’t want to feel hunger in an  hour after you had lunch.

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Artichokes heart and cherry tomato salad

Artichokes were always something mysterious to me. They were either painted on my favourite classical still lifes by old Dutch masters or appeared in the recipes of famous food bloggers I follow on the Instagram. I tried them pickled on the top of pizza, but I always wanted to try them fresh. Artichokes are neither usual  in my native Odessa  (and I can’t understand why, the climate there is close to North Mediterranean now)  nor in Bratislava. However Tesco gave me another surprise and last week I found Violetto artichokes among vegetables right under a box with rhubarb. The  price was high enough, so I bought just some. Of course they were not so fresh, beautiful and fragrant as those at Italian or French farm markets, but ok, it’s still nice that I can expand my cooking horizons.
( 🇸🇰 slovenský preklad nájdete za anglickým textom)

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Rabbit stew with shallots recipe

I feel a special kind of excitement as today I’m going to post the first meat recipe in my blog. It didn’t take too long to decide what meat dish to cook first as my Slovak friends mentioned that they have never tried rabbit and I invited them to the dinner with rabbit stew.

Before I share the recipe, here is a funny story about my experience with rabbits. In Odessa, where I grew up, rabbits on farm markets are always sold with one unskinned paw. Why? Because it is a proof that you are buying a rabbit, not a cat that was caught on the nearest street. I am still not sure if these “rabbit cats” were not just an urban legend.

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Rhubarb banana muffins

I honestly tried to break this “no meat recipes” circle in my blog but it’s hard to switch to other topics when you have fresh rhubarb in your fridge. So the recipe of rabbit stew will wait until I get enough of rhubarb. This week I decided to combine sour rhubarb with sweet bananas in muffins (muffins are my current baking favourites as they are so easy to make and can have so many varieties). Inspiration for this recipe was found on Rhubarb Central which is a great page where you can find everything about rhubarb.

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Chickpea flour tofu easy recipe

2 weeks has passed since my last post was published. Now try to guess, what I was looking for during all this time? Rhubarb is the answer. I haven’t found it yet and it’s a kind of culinary frustration as I was looking forward to cooking something with it so much (it’s hard to believe but I’ve never tried  rhubarb yet). There is just no rhubarb in Bratislava, at least in all grocery stores where I usually do shopping and even farm market can‘t help this time. However, I don’t lose hope to bake my first Rhubarb cake.

So I will not write about Rhubarb in this post, but I will share Chickpea flour tofu recipe.

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Warm quinoa salad with green beans and bryndza cheese

After reading my so far favourite book about food history, Cuisine and Culture: A History of Food and People by Linda Civitello, I became interested in New World crops. Quinoa was one of them, but the price for even a small package was so high that I always held myself from buying it with a quote “stop buying avocado on a toast if you want to afford the house “. Last visit to Tesco brought me a surprise, 250 package of quinoa for the price that I could name “still overpriced, but I can try it”. What cook from quinoa on May in Slovakia when famous May bryndza cheese is available in all stores? I have an obvious answer: just combine these 2 products in 1 dish. The result is great 🙂

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