32 years of imagining, and then converting into one of my hobbies... I hope you'll enjoy it... (^.^)/ , by Marina

July 27, 2012

Stuffed Zucchini Flowers

So, as promised here's the first Zucchini recipe. :)
Since my garden is in bloom and the Zucchini plant has a lot of flowers that don't grow into a fruit, I decided to use them instead ;). It might sound strange to some of you, but zucchini flowers are edible. In fact their delicate flavour and sweet taste places them as special dishes in many extravagant restaurants.

The main disadvantage to their more frequent usage, is their frail nature. They grow, flower and die in a matter of few days. Once picked they can last two days at most if kept unwashed - in a dry, cold and dark place. Water damages the petals and contributes to a much faster putrefaction. Sometimes I find rotten flowers still attached to the peduncle after a light rain, which were still great just before it.

This recipe is quite a great one, originally made by Andrew Blake. Zucchini flowers stuffed with fresh cheese, and then fried to a crispy state in beer butter. Mmmmm... just thinking about it makes me hungry! (and it's lunch time ;) )

July 25, 2012

Vertical Garden

I mentioned some time ago that we've been working a lot on our vertical garden, didn't I? Well it's in its' full bloom now. Overcrowded as it is - Zucchini, Cucumbers and Tomatoes spilling out of it... pumpkins growing over the roof... herbs flowering and seeding.

Each morning, when approaching the terrace, quietly... you can hear a silent, deep, rhythmic whisper. Sounds like a jungle voice calling out "Uga chaka, Uga chaka, Uga chaka". And then, just as you open the curtains, there's a general confusion for a second! Shadows dance around for a lingering moment. Each of them searching it's own hiding place. Under a leaf! Behind a pot! Surely - I must have adopted some Makurokurosuke :D

July 19, 2012

Egg Rolls: Salmon and fresh goat cheese

It's summer, the perfect time to use as much raw food as possible. Salads, fruits, vegetables... so many fresh ingredients are now at their ripe time. And with our vertical garden growing bigger each day, we can enjoy raw food at it's most. So today, let's not waste time at the stove but rather make something quick, simple to digest and ideal to give calories to a salad - Egg Rolls.

Ever since my first encounter with Sushi and the Bento world, egg rolls where a big question mark to me. Always looking so yummy and so bright - nothing but a nice touch of yellow in a otherwise pale plate. For as long as I can remember scrambled eggs were thick, easily broken and flexible as Styrofoam can be - so how could they use them so roundly and nicely?
....google...google...gooogle.. :) Just by adding a spoon of sake, or even easier a small amount of starch and taa-daaa: your eggs can be formed into a perfect sheet - ready to be rolled! Whether used for sushi, decorating your Bento or filling in with your favourite ingredients, it will definitely give your dishes a fresh and appealing color!

July 16, 2012

Bento: Berserk - Puck Emoticon

Here's today's Bento! Everyone, meet Puck, the funny elf that follows Guts wherever he goes. For those of you that know him, I'm sure you can think of at least 3 different sketches and funny faces he makes. :) One of my favorites was this one - made in Volume 24, page 20, as a response to Ishidoro's epic declaration { -.-}. How I laughed out loud when I read it! :D

For those who don't know him here's a pretty elaborate dossier of this little fella - one of the main character in Berserk's manga, by Kentarou Miura, rated as one of the top 5 best mangas in almost every rating I could find. (In Example here) The plot centers around Guts, the Black Swordsman, who wanders around in a medieval world slaying demons as they are attracted to a demonic mark on his neck. To his help he has inhuman strength gained from a harsh childhood lived with mercenaries, a gigantic sword, an iron prosthetic left hand and the elf Puck. Check it out, but mind it's not material for underage readers - it can be pretty violent and harsh at times.

July 12, 2012

Carrot Cake

Summer time in it's full season - creamy cakes and delicate desserts are not the best choice for this time in the year, are they? And yet there are plenty of options available for all those who wish for smth sweet and yet not too heavy.

The original recipe of this cake has been given to me by one of my fellow candidates during the culinary TV show I attended. She made a great impression with it, and we all immediately asked for the recipe! :) This is my version, I hope you will like it (^.^)

July 3, 2012

Tonkotsu Ramen #4: Toppings

The final step - Toppings! And your Ramen is ready to be enjoyed.
Based on your liking the topping can vary from the whole range of vegetables, cheese, eggs, nori, mushrooms and so on.
Even thou one could add many different ingredients, it is still important to keep track of the flavours, trying to stick with one or two dominant flavours, and arrange the rest to fit it.

In this case the dominant flavour is the meat. Second to it are the shitake mushrooms, the rest just completes the palette ;).

Tonkotsu Ramen #3: Meat

Among all the toppings in your Ramen, one is surely very important - the meat.
A bite of a tasty piece of meat can change the whole experience when eating Ramen. For this reason I prefer slow cooking my meat, allowing it to drink up all the juices and taste.

Professional chefs surely know how to accomplish it in an instant. I'm not such, so I rather go the old fashioned way :).

Tonkotsu Ramen #2: Noodles

This is the second step in making a great Ramen - homemade ramen noodles.

Very easy to make, this recipe gives you smooth, tasty, tender noodles. A much better option in comparison to the ones you buy in stores.

They can be used immediately, prepared a day ahead or even dried out for future use. Whichever suits you the best!

Tonkotsu Ramen #1: Soup Stock

This is the first step in making a great Tonkotsu Ramen (or Pork Bone Ramen) - the soup stock.
Taking up to 6h of your time, it is the base and thus non avoidable step. However, since the soup will be cooking for at least 5h while needing little attention, you can use those hours to prepare the other ingredients, or on the other hand.... just do whatever you wish to. (^.^)

It's Ramen time!!!

Mmmmm...Ramen dattebayo! Ever since I started watching Naruto I got intrigued by this dish, who wouldn't when that little clumsy ninja never says no to one. :) Well, can't blame him - a big pot full of soup and other delicious ingredients just can't be bad right? And it definitely is not! After trying it in Toronto I got the Naruto fever and decided to make my own :).

Now, this is not a quick recipe, it's the old fashioned make it from scratch - soup stock and all.
If you want to make it easier you can use dehydrated soup stocks (dashi) and ready to use noodles, but those will be taken into account in another post ;).
This one is a long, delicious, homemade ramen :) , soup base: pork.

(divided into a couple of posts to make it easier to read - let me know if you want me to combine them into one)