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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Spelt galette with sweet potato, beet and caramelized shallots

I wanted to try this recipe not only because of the filling, that is of course delicious, but also because of the dough. It’s choux pastry variation and as I haven’t had any experience with it, I was excited to try it. I can’t describe how pleasant is to work with this dough. I made it ‘half spelt’ and even despite it the dough was amazingly elastic.
( 🇸🇰 slovenský preklad  nájdete za anglickým textom)
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Pumpkin and apple puff pastry spirals (aka vertuta)

One day I will write “The Bessarabian cookbook”. Do you know where Bessarabia is? It’s a historical region in Eastern Europe between the Danube and the Dniester rivers, located both in the South of modern Ukraine and Moldova. Bessarabia was a kind of melting pot of many nations and in  their culinary traditions, you can see and taste influence of not only Ukrainian and Moldavian cuisines but also  Turkish, Balkan and Greek cuisines there. My native Odessa is not located directly in Bessarabia (well, it’s just around 40km from the place where the Dniester meets the Black sea) but being the biggest city in Ukrainian South it has a lot of Bessarabian people living there. That’s why you can find many  Bessarabian staple dishes in Odessa restaurants and that’s why I know how to cook them – I’ve just got used to them since my childhood.
Here is one of classical autumn dishes from that region, it’s called vertuta and it’s phyllo pasty roll of spiral with different fillings. I will share  a recipe with a  pumpkin and apple filling. I baked it with “ready to use” puff pastry which is closest to phyllo pasty.

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Spaghetti squash with chicken, leeks and mushrooms

It’s just amazing, how many new things I can discover in the “Food Universe”. Last year I could  barely name 3 pumpkin varieties and this fall I have realized there are so much more varieties to know and to try. Spaghetti squash was one of such new discoveries. None of my friends (even those who are “into food”) have ever heard about it. So I was excited to be the first who can share experience about this pumpkin. Here it is 🙂
(🇸🇰 slovenský preklad nájdete za anglickým textom)

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Pumpkin risotto with oyster mushrooms

It’s already the 6th pumpkin recipe here, but as I claimed that this autumn will be about pumpkin “I just can’t get enough”.

I’ve made pumpkin risotto for a cooking book I started doing not so long ago and it was so nice that I got inspired and created my own version of this comfort warming autumn dish.

Food and culture story. I’ve used oyster mushrooms in this recipe and I have to say  that these mushrooms are very popular in Slovakia, both in cooking and in medicine: you can find a huge number of different dietary supplements with beta-glucans extracted from them.  Oyster mushrooms are used like meat supplements in many dishes, I’ve even seen “fake tripe soup” made of them.
( 🇸🇰 slovenský preklad  nájdete za anglickým textom)

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Marinated Swiss chard and beef soup

I’ve wanted to cook a sorrel soup (which is called in Ukraine ‘green borsht’) for a long but I never saw sorrel on sale in Slovakia. My Slovak friends told me that, of course, they knew what sorrel is but most of them had never heard that it could be used in soup. Sorrel soup should be a little bit sour, it makes this soup special and that is why it was difficult to find a good substitution. Sometimes spinach is used together with sorrel in green borsht, but I never liked it because boiled spinach leaves remind me wet toilet paper (sorry!), so combination of spinach and lemon juice was not an option. Last Saturday I discovered that it’s an autumn season of Swiss chard and decided to use it in the soup. It worked perfectly 🙂

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Pumpkin-ricotta-bryndza-sage stuffed shells

I wanted to try stuffed shells long ago, but the only found suitable pasta was Conchiglioni and the price was 3.90euro for 500g packing. I am not frequent pasta eater so I preferred to spend this money on something that I will eat quicker. And then came classical story: сonchiglioni was on sale and I decided “now or never”.
Going through US pumpkin recipes I’ve noticed interesting “food and culture” fact: although sage and pumpkin combination is often called “traditional” it is unknown in my part of Europe. Of course I wanted to try it immediately. I was even lucky to find fresh sage in my friend’s garden. And as it’s fall and I have “pumpkin marathon” here in the blog. So shells stuffed with pumpkin, sage and ricotta were my pick of the recipes this time. A lot of authors add neither parmigiano reggiano nor pecorino romano to the filling, but as “wanna be” locavore I’ve made substitution and add Slovak bryndza. And I didn’t regret.

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Beet hummus with chilli flakes

It’s time to take a quick break from pumpkin recipes (I still have a few to post here as they are really good). Last week I was asked to share my favourite beet recipe in one of  the most popular Slovak cooking magazines. I didn’t want to write about borscht, although I like it. Such choice is too obvious for Ukraine born food blogger, isn’t it? So my choice was easy and tasty beet hummus with chilli flakes.
(🇸🇰 slovenský preklad nájdete za anglickým textom)

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This fall favourite: pumpkin bread with crunchy peanut butter

I tried this bread for the first time just 1 week ago and since then I’ve already baked 3 loaves because it’s so good that I just can’t get enough. It’s my favourite recipe of this fall so far. The recipe has obvious US origin and the key ingredient is canned pumpkin pyre which can’t be found here in Bratislava as it’s simply not produced. I  replaced pyre with mashed roasted pumpkin and it worked perfectly. I also found that crunchy peanut butter works better than creamy one as parts of peanuts in baked bread give extra “wow” factor.
(🇸🇰 slovenský preklad nájdete za anglickým textom)

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Roasted pumpkin and kale pilaf

Pumpkin season started here in Bratislava so I decided to join everyones madness about this “essence of fall” vegetable.
My relations with pumpkin are the story of love and hate as I have refused even to try any dishes with it since I was a kid. But then I moved to Slovakia where pumpkin is one of the staple fall vegetables and there are huge amount of dishes with pumpkin. I had to change my mind because many of them are cool.
This autumn I want to collect all of pumpkin recipes I like here in my blog. Let’s start with kale and pumpkin pilaf.

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Polenta quiche with lentils, tomatoes and bell peppers

Cookbook project has taught me a lot of new skills and quiche baking is one of them. Quiches featured in the book have mostly a puff pastry base. Puff pastry is a nice dough, but  as I’m always trying to avoid wheat flour I was interested in other options. So I found that corn polenta can be one of them. Here is a recipe for polenta quiche with lentils, tomatoes and bell peppers. Isn’t it nice, to combine New World crops in a French baking technique?

Small notice before I start. I found that a lot of people don’t like polenta. May be the trick is that you have to use liquid with intense taste for making polenta. It could me milk, mix of milk and cream, cream, vegetable or meat stock. Just “water and salt” combination is not enough 🙂

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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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