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Bruschetta experiments

September 2, 2015
Variety of bruschetta

I was always thinking that “antipasti” means food that does not contain pasta. But in reality it is an appetizer served before the main meal. Since in Italian a meal is called pasto, antipasto literally means “before pasto”. So easy! There are plenty of types of antipasti, some became more international and adopted to other cultures, others are more traditional and are served only in Italy. Usually antipasti should correspond to the main course – if the main meal is fish, antipasti should contain fish and if it is meat – then antipasti should be prepared from ham, salami ect.
One of the most famous antipasti is bruschetta. However there are also two other similar things – crostini and panini. Once I was puzzled about the difference between all of them. In Ukraine we only have sandwiches, does not matter how they look like. In Italy they prefer to be more specific about food. After a short research things became clearer.
Panini – is a sandwich with two layers of bread – from the top and from the bottom. Bruschetta – is a large grilled slice of bread drizzled with olive oil and topped with tomato, ham or cheese. Crostini – is a small grilled toast that can be served with any topping.
This evening we focused on bruschetta. After buying a bunch of products that we thought could be used for bruschetta, we started to experiment and created 9 different pieces. In fact it is very easy, you just combine what you like and what you think will taste good together. The results are below:
1. Caper Pate and pepper – very simple bruschetta for those who likes capers with the fresh taste of peppers.

Bruschetta with capres, pepper fruit and basil

Bruschetta with capers, pepper fruit and basil

2. Green pesto and basil – real Italian bruschetta. The best is to use a home-made pesto.

Bruschetta with pesto and basil

Bruschetta with pesto and basil

3. Fresh cheese and mushrooms. The base is cheese Philadelphia. Mushrooms are fried on the pan in olive oil and milk. Basil leaf brings up the colour.

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Bruschetta with fresh cheese, fried mushrooms and basil

4. Fresh cheese and salmon. The base is cheese Philadelphia. Smoked salmon is on the top of the cheese. And herbs of your taste – could be oregano, basil or some other mix.

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Bruschetta with fresh cheese, smoked salmon and herbs

5. Avocado, tomatoes and shrimps. This is Mexican oriented bruschetta that has something similar to guacamole on the top. Smashed avocado with salt and pepper and pieces of tomato and shrimps.

Bruschetta with avocado, tomatoes and shrimps

Bruschetta with avocado, tomatoes and shrimps

6. Chorizo – Spanish oriented bruschetta. Basically it could be any other sausage or salami – we used one of our favourites – chorizo.

Bruschetta with chorizo

Bruschetta with chorizo

7. Tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. This is a classic Italian bruschetta. Do not forget to drizzle it with olive oil.

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Bruschetta with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil

8. Mixed olives. Simple and tasty – choose the olives of your choice and enjoy. Drizzle it with olive oil!

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Bruschetta with mixed olives

9. Goat cheese and aubergine. Aubergine and goat cheese go good together, especially with the addition of olive oil.

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Bruschetta with goat cheese and aubergine

It was fun to experiment! Honestly 9 bruschettas are too many for two people for one evening. It is also important to mention that they should be eaten the same day – the day after the taste is not the same.

Try! Enjoy! And share your ideas :)

Food News Travel

Torvehallerne på Nørrebro – eat like a Dane

April 29, 2015
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I lived in Denmark for 4 years, 2 of which I spent in Copenhagen. Regardless the weather and weird people, I really like this country. Copenhagen is the biggest city is Scandinavia and as every capital it has interesting sightseeing spots. However, when it comes to history it does not have much to offer. Denmark is a small country, where nothing fascinating has happened for centuries. Probably, the most famous Dane is H.C.Andersen and his “Little mermaid”. Therefore, in my opinion, if you are in Denmark, don’t waste your time in the museums, but enjoy the city and the interesting modern places that it offers (if you are lucky with the weather).

Among many highlights of the city, that I may describe in the other posts, I would feature Torvehallerne. This is an amazing place for food lovers. You can find everything from meat to candies – both locally produced and imported.

Just to give you an idea about Danish food culture, I will describe several facts here. In general old Scandinavian cuisine was very bad. That is why they decided to develop a new Scandinavian cuisine. The concept of the new Scandinavian food is to borrow experience from the other countries cooking traditions, mix them up with Nordic flavours (liquorice, sweet herring, remoulade) and present in a very artistic way. They like to experiment with molecular cuisine and combine incompatible. So far, the concept is very successful, and for example, a Copenhagen restaurant Noma was recognized as the World’s best restaurant for 2 years in a row.

Hereby Danish food culture has improved significantly during the last decade or two. As a result of this, places like Torvehallerne started to appear. Actually Torvehallerne has it roots back in XIX century, when local farmers were bringing their goods to Copenhagen and selling to people and small businesses. Unfortunately it was creating a logistics problem in the city centre and the market had to move to the outskirts. There were many projects to renovate the market in the city centre, but some of them were declined and only in the beginning of the XXI century the plan was approved and the market opened again in 2011.

Nowadays you can find there everything you can imagine. If you want to have a snack, there are mini-bars with salads, sushi, tapas, freshly-quizzed juices, coffee and many others. At the same time you can buy good quality products (meat, fish, cheese, vegetables) and pumper yourself with the fancy meal at home. There are around 60 shops working in Torvehallerne now. And I swear once you are there you want to try all of them. There is also a rumour that the best pizza in Copenhagen is made in Torvehallerne.

Here are some teasers that will make you want to visit the place.

Grab some food and drinks and get a spot just outside of the market. It’s a great way to feel the vibe of the place, listen to a funny Danish language and admire the people. Some say that Scandinavians are the most beautiful people in the world. Of course it is all subjective, but I tend to agree.

outside_Torvehallerne

In one of this lovely days, enjoy Danish sun that is never too hot

You will find Smørrebrød everywhere in Copenhagen, but if you want to have a choice go to Torvehallerne.

Smorrebrod

The most traditional Danish food – Smørrebrød (Butterbread). On the top of the buttered bread you can put everything you wish.

And here is what Smørrebrød is actually made of – Rugbrød. It is an opposite of baguette – it’s dark, heavy and with various seeds inside. Possibly a healthier option.

Rugbrod

Famous Danish Rugbrød

Meat takes a very important place in Danish food ration. They are especially proud of the pork that is in the centre of many Christmas and Easter traditional meals. That is why another important speciality is red sausage (rød pølse). Small hot-dog places are on every corner. Definitely worth to try.

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World of meat

Fruit and vegetables are also here. And in the kiosk just next to this one, you can get a freshly squeezed juice. Don’t forget to ask for a shot of ginger in it.

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All sorts of fruit and vegetables

Danish people are coffee lovers. In fact Nordics is the most caffeine addicted region in the world. They consume from 6 to 10 cups of coffee per day per capita. Normally it’s not an espresso, but something with milk, like cappuccino or coffee-late. But still impressive! The most reasonable explanation is the weather the amount of sun light. With very short winter days and huge amount of precipitation, these poor people have to find a way to keep awake.

coffee

Get a cup of your favourite coffee

And get one of these healthy snacks with your coffee. Wrap is made of omelet with the fill of your choice.

omelette

Amazing omelette

Torvehallerne is a good place to be and definitely worth the time and the money. When I lived in Copenhagen it was one of my favourite places to get inspiration for cooking or simply treat myself with something delicious.

I like Copenhagen. This city opens a lot of opportunities and gives perspectives. And even I decided to move from there, it will always have a special place in my heart. Besides everything else, I met my little monster over there :)

Food News

Borscht – a gem of Ukrainian culinary art

April 22, 2015
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World does not know much about Ukraine. Most of the people think that it’s just a little part of Russia and cannot really see the difference.

However when it comes to food, I bet that many of you have some idea about Borscht, or borsh. This is this red-colored soup with a lot of stuff inside and that tastes incredibly good! So, FYI the origins of this meal are indeed in Ukraine. The legend says that long-long time ago, when the strongest were hunting and the weakest collecting food, Ukrainian women discovered a taste of rumex (щавель). In a while they also learned how to boil it and prepare soup. After the tribes moved to the North, to the modern Russian territory, they took the cooking tradition along. By adding eggs and sour-cream, we will get something that is known like Russian Green Borscht – “Shee”. Meanwhile, cross-continental trade was developing and Ukrainians were introduced to the new ingredient – red beet root. It came to us from the Mediterranean cost. It took the main place in the traditional Ukrainian Red Borscht. Consequently the other ingredients like cabbage, tomatoes, potatoes, were added. All of them were “innovations” from the West.

We say that every housewife has her own recipe of Borsch and you can never find 2 identical soups. Hereby it is common to say that Borscht is “created”, not cooked. It is like a piece of art – you can always add something new and experiment, but there are also rules that you have to follow. The traditional Ukrainian Borscht differs from the west to the east of the country. In the west you can find more similarities with Polish Barsh that is a red beet root soup without anything in it. In the central and eastern regions folks like to add cabbage, carrots, potatoes, sometimes even prune.

Being a 25-years old Ukrainian woman, I started to feel ashamed that I have never cooked Borscht in my entire life. Ever though my grandma tried to teach me a couple of times, but I never had time or will to try myself and eventually it was all forgotten. This time it will be different! Now I went through all the steps of the process and took pictures of every small detail – and this will not be lost.

Borscht “creation” contains 2 simultaneous procedures –  preparation of broth and “pidjarka”. In the end you just mix them together, add salt and spices and the masterpiece is ready.

But let’s first see the ingredients that we have to prepare.

For the broth you will need meat. Anything: pork, beef, chicken or even a mix. Note that for the best results there should be a bone. For the 3.5 liter of broth we took about 300-400 grams of meat (with bone).

meatforbroth

Meat for the broth

 

For “pidjarka” you will need some vegetables namely: beetroot, carrots, onions and in the end 3-4 spoons of sugar.

 

pidjarka

Beetroot, onions, carrots and cabbage – peeled and cleaned

 

Potatoes

Potatoes

And some herbs and garlic that we will also add in the end.

herbs

Some herbs and garlic

We are starting with the broth. At first we cover the meat with water and boil it. After it starts to boil take it off fire and wash the meat and the pan. Start all over again, but this time put 3.5 liters of clean water and begin to boil the broth. Basically this is it, the broth will be boiling until the meat is ready, around 1-1,5 hours. Note “If you want to cook it fast, leave it on the big fire, if you want the broth to look transparent and clear, boil it on the small fire”.

Meanwhile let’s switch to “pdjarka” that is basically the core of the meal. Chop beetroots, carrots and onions and start frying them with a bit of sunflower, olive or any other oil. Stir and fry for 10-15 minutes, until they look ready. After that add 0,5-0,7 liter tomato juice and 4 spoons of sugar. Stir everything nicely and leave on the small fire for 40-50 minutes. Stir from time to time.

collage pidjarka

Getting ready

 

While you are busy with “pidjarka”, the broth might already get ready. Check the meat, if it’s done, we can continue. The next step is to ad chopped cabbage, potatoes and a little piece of onion to the broth.

othervegetables

Vegetables

 

Boil them for another 15 minutes until the vegetables are done. After that add “pidjarka” to the broth. It will like this:

Mix

Mix everything

Mix it all together – this is almost the end. We need to remember to add some spices. As you can imagine the soup has a sweet taste at the moment. Beetroot + sugar are contributing to it. Therefore, now don’t be greedy on salt. Add at least 2 full table spoons of salt, 10 pieces of unground black pepper, 6 bay leaves. Try to fit your own taste. The last element is to add herbs and garlic, to give it a better smell and a better look.

This is how it should look like in the end. The rule says that the spoon should get stuck in the pan of Borsch.

borscht_end

Here we go