Pork belly with crispy crackling and winter spices


So Christmas is nearly here and with all this jolly around us we can only think about Christmas shopping, decorating and cooking delicious meals.Pork belly with crispy crackling and winter spices

            This year (like for the last two, in fact) I will be spending Christmas in Florence with my sisters (much nicer than me) and a fairly large group of noisy Italians. And as I am the only sister with chefy skills I was “hired” to prepare the Christmas Eve dinner.

            I already have in mind what I want to cook and because I couldn’t help myself I started warming up in advance. So I rolled my sleeves, I preheated the oven, poured a glass of rose,  took a piece of pork meat and made my ways with it.

             And with all this contagious Christmas I just want to move into the kitchen and just cook, bake and drink more rose.

            Now let me tell you about this delicious, juicy pork belly or like Tom Kerridge says “proper pork belly” J.

   You’ll need:

  •  1kg of pork belly with skin and all
  • Olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt and pepper
  • Winter spices mix: allspice, coriander seeds, cumin, fennel seeds, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom
  • More cloves for garnishing
  • 1 large onion
  • 250 ml chicken stock or water 

Method:

 First you will need to score the skin diamond shape, rub olive oil and sea salt (don’t be cheap with it because it will make the most amazing crispy crackling ever). Leave it to rest a bit, then in a mortal and pistil crush together your spices (quick tip: you can roast your spices first in a pan, then crush it for the spice rub – all those nice spices will release their oil and it will be even more delicious) and rub all those goodies into the skin and on the meat.
Set aside and cut large slices of onion and place onto the tin your about to cook your meat in to support and flavor the meat. Pour a glass of chicken soup and throw it in the oven at 250 C for about 30 minutes so that the skin will become crispy  then turn the heat down at 160 – 180 and leave it in there for 2-2.30 h checking it from time to time and pouring soup over the meat so that will become juicy. After those couple of hours will take it out of the oven, let it rest for a bit then serve cm. thick slices with whatever side you like: roast potatoes, backed beans, green beans with butter, garlic and lime, you name it.

And because it’s Christmas time and gifts season we at Milk and Toast and Honey are preparing 2 delicious dessert recipes  for you. Stay tuned!

 Happy holidays!

Pork belly with crispy crackling and winter spices

Pork belly with crispy crackling and winter spices

Pork belly with crispy crackling and winter spices

Pork belly with crispy crackling and winter spices

Text: Simona Stinga
Cook: Petrica Ghita
Foto: Ionela Stoica




Basmati and nut pilaff


Orez cu nuci-0165s

Maaan, this is a good to know recipe for vegetarians, for hungry and busy vegetarians that don’t have the time to cook. It’s a good one to have it the next day too! And some days are just like that, you don’t want to stress
yourself to much, all you wish for is a hot healthy meal and a bath. This is a good to know recipe for that kind of days.

 

 

You will need:

  • Basmati rice – 100g
  • Onion – medium size, chopped
  • Garlic – 1 clove smashed
  • Carrot – 1/2 coarsley grated
  • Oil
  • Cumin seeds – 1tsp.
  • Coriander seeds – 1/2 lingurita
  • Cardamom – a pinch
  • Vegetable stock – 1 cup (or water)
  • Dafin – 1-2 leafs
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Nuts – 75g
  • Fresh parsley or coriander

Method:

For a light basmati rice rinse the grains before cooking. You can do this either by swilling the rice in cold water and leaving it to soak for 30 minutes in the last rinsing water , or you can just clean it in a sieve under running water. 

In a pan fry the onion, with the garlic and carrots for a couple of minutes. Add the rice and all the spices, and cook for 1-2 minutes, so that the grains are well coated with oil. Add the stock or water togerther with the bay leaves and season with salt and pepper. Let it boil for 10 minutes (time may be different, check the time on the back of your box). After 10 minutes, remove it from the heat without lifting the lid and leave it like that for 5 minutes. Remove the bay leafs and add the nuts and chopped parsley.

 

Basmati and nut pilaff

Photo: Ionela Stoica




Jerusalem Artichoke Tart


Last week, my friend Catalina from Sunny side up, got me all warmed up with her tarts, and since then, I keep thinking doing one  lovely tart. And when i received from my friend Carmen a bag with these jerusalem artichokes,JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE TART that was the moment when i said: I know! And from 1 kg i did this quiche and some patties that didn’t turn out that good. So i’m gonna share with you this easy, delicious recipe that i kinda made it on the way.

 

 

JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE TART

For the filling you will need:

  • Jerusalem artichokes – 400 – 500g
  • Cheese – 200g
  • Sour cream – 200g
  • Eggs – 3
  • Peas – 50g
  • Leek – 1 piece
  • Salt

For the crust:

  • All purpose flour – 250g
  • Baking soda – 1 teaspoon
  • Salt – 1 teaspoon
  • Warm water – 100ml
  • Oil – 100ml

Method:

For the pastry you’ll have to mix in a large bowl the flour with the salt and baking soda and stir together. Add the warm water mixing it with flour, and then add the oil. Once you have the dough set it aside in a fridge and let’s do the filling.

To cook the artichokes you’ll have to boil them for 10-15 minutes and then just remove the skin with your hand,  when boiled it’s very easy to remove the skin. Cut the leek into pieces and fry it for a few minutes in a few drops of oil until soft and tender. Set aside. In another pan boil for a few minutes the peas, about 10 minutes.

Put the eggs in a bowl and beat them lightly, add the sour cream and grated cheese. Mix everything. In the same bowl where you have the filling mix in the peas and artichoke pieces. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface into a circle that will fit into your pan and cover it’s sides. Arrange the leek as a first layer and then pour in the filling.

Put it in the oven for about an hour, until you see that nice colour. 


Jerusalem artichokes Power!

JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE TART

JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE TART

JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE TART

Foto: Ionela Stoica




Aubergines in chinese sauce


vinete in sos chinezesc

This Saturday we wanted to change the register a bit and go fusion. I made this recipe a while ago and it just stuck in my head. I’d say that it was a Chinese day theme given that in the morning I went in the Chinese Town and I’ve warmed up with lots of Chinese food: sweet pork ribs, bamboo with veggies, beef and onions and Chinese aubergines (not as good as mine, obviously – sorry chinese guys cooking there). I stopped by the Chinese Supermarket and stock on some uber-good soy sauce, some dehydrated peas with wasabi (love, love, love) and…durian flavored candy (whaaatttt!!!!-that’s what they said).

If I wasn’t obvious enough, I LOVE CHINESE FOOD!!!! So, yeah, I confessed my sins, hahahaha!!!

Now let’s get back to our aubrigines bathed in rosé (yeah, we didn’t have rice wine, thank God we have a fancy girlfriend that drinks rosé…always saving the situation!), soy sauce, garlic and chili peppers. Curious much?

 vinete in sos chinezesc

You’ll need:

  • Sunflower oil
  • Sesame oil – 1 tbsp
  • Aubergines – 1 kg
  • Garlic – 2 bulbs (small if organic or 1 big from the store)
  • Chilies – 1
  • Vegie stock – 1 cup
  • Soy sauce – 1 cup
  • Rosé – 1/2 glass
  • Starch – 1 tsp

Method:

When I first tried this recipe I got inspired by Maya and we loved it.

I pealed the aubergines zebra style and cut them into cm slices, fried them in about 1 tbsp of oil each batch using two frying pans to speed up things.

When I was done frying the little monkies I threw them in a wok in about 2 tbsp. of sunflower oil and 1 tbsp sesame oil, threw garlic and chilies and fried for about 3 minute the whole shebang, then I poured the stock and wine turning up the heat so that the alcohol can evaporate.    

After another 3 minute I salted with soy sauce, about 100 to 150 ml and I let everything simmer away for about 7-10 minutes stirring occasionally. When everything was done and perfect I sprinkled 1 tsp of starch to thicken the sauce and turned off the heat.  

I hardly could make the jackals invading the wok step away so that I could serve this wonder rightly: with steamed rice (or rice noodles) and more soy sauce … Happy Days! as Jamie Oliver says.

Chinese Power!

vinete in sos chinezesc-9573

Text & Cook: Stinga Simona
Foto: Stoica Ionela
Inspired by: Maya’s World




Baked Crispy Strips


Backed Crispy strips

Ok, this recipe is for all the Crispy lovers out there! Without all the deep frying, cheeper, healthier and faster than going to KFC! Needless to say more, you just have to try this version! 

 

 

Backed Crispy strips

Serves: 2
You’ll need:

  • Chicken breast – 1 cuted to 2-3 cm thickness and sliced into thin strips
  • Eggs – 2
  • Flour 50 – 100g
  • Paprika – 1 -2 tsp.
  • Milk – 50ml
  • Corn Flakes –  smashed
  • Oil

1. Pre-heat the oven. Cut the chicken into slices.
2. Whisk the eggs with flour, paprika, milk, salt and pepper.
3. Mix the chicken slices with egg mixture, and then toss with the corn flakes.
4. Place coated chicken strips on a baking sheet and then brush over some oil.
5. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes until golden brown and crispy.

There you have it, your own crispy strips! Buh-bye KFC Strips!

Backed Crispy strips

Photo: Ionela Stoica




Aubergines stuffed with couscous


Stuffed aubergines with cous cous

Aubergines stuffed with couscous and vegetables – delicious for a Meatless Monday day, easy to cook with whatever you have in your fridge!

Enjoy!

 

 


Serves: 2 pers.
You’ll need:

  • Eggplants – 2 medium-large
  • Olive oil – 30ml
  • Tomatoes – 2 (deseeded and chopped)
  • Onion – 2 (chopped)
  • Sultanas – 2 tbsp.
  • Couscous – 100g (cooked accordingly to packet instructions)
  • Parsley
  • Salt
  • Pepper

First of all preheat the oven – 180 C. Cut the eggplants in half and remove the flesh (out it aside). Saute the onion with eggplants flesh for a few minutes. In a bowl mix the tomatoes, onion, sultanas, couscous, salt and pepper and fill the cavities of the aubergines. Cover the dish and bake it in the over for 30 minutes. Add some parsley leaves and serve!

Vinete umplute cuscus

Vinete umplute cu cuscus

Photo: Ionela Stoica




Ratatouille with Chicken


Ratatouille with chicken

It’s autumn, and we start to enjoy the confort of our homes, it’s warmth, that everything it’s going to be ok feeling. You know! This dish, it’s perfect for those moments, when you need comfort food, a hot shower, a book, a good movie and a hug. 

I know that all you want in some days is to go in bed and just finish the day faster, i know that feeling. But also try to enjoy that feeling you get when you cook for your family, that feeling that you protect them and they got your back covered.

 

Serves: 2
You’ll need:

  • Vegetable oil
  • Chicken legs –  2 
  • Red onion – 1 (cut into wedges)
  • Garlic – 4 cloves
  • Paprika – 1 tsp.
  • Red pepper – 1 cut into pieces
  • Aubergine – 1 small and sliced
  • Courgettes or zucchini – chopped
  • Tomato puree – 1 tbsp.
  • Stock or water – 100 – 150 ml
  • Tomatoes – 1 chopped
  • Fresh Basil leaves 
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Pre-heat the oven, it won’t take long before we’ll use it to put our dish there. Heat the oil in a pan and brown the chicken on all sides, until it changes it’s color, then set aside. In the same pot add the onion  and cook it for 5 minutes, until it’s all soft and sparkly. Add the garlic and paprika, and mix everything, stirring for 1 minute. It’s pepper time! Add the pepper, the aubergine and the courgettes. Stir in 1tbsp. tomato puree and pour the stock. Return the chicken to the pan, and season with salt and a pinch of pepper. 

Cover the pot and place it in the oven for 30 minute, adding the sliced tomatoes and basil. Let it cook for another 20 minutes.

Enjoy!

Ratatouille with chicken

Ratatouille with chicken




Quiche with Pumpkin and Gorgonzola


Quiche with pumpkin and gorgonzola

As you know this month it’s all about pumpkin! Sice i got a huuuuge pumpkin last year from my grandmother, and it’s still holding up – now in the freezer, i decided to cook something new everytime. It all started with a Pumpkin soup with garlic (recipe here), and it continued with this amazing Quiche with Gorgonzola in it. So you tell me, how can you not like it? It has smelly cheese!

But since this pumpkin journey  I discovered that the world is divided into two: the pumpkin lovers and there are those who hate pumpkin from the bottom of their souls. As it is Lex Luthor for Superman, The Mandarin for the Iron Man, Green Lanthern to Sinestro, Jonah Hex to Quentin Turnball… their nemesis! 

But these words are for those who love pumpkin in any form, pies, cakes, shakes, seeds, salads, soups … and this mix, pumpkin and smelly cheese it’s awesome! 

Let’s get down to business!

For the crust you’ll need:

  • Vegetable Oil – 100 ml
  • All purpose flour – 250 g
  • Salt – 1 tsp
  • Baking soda – 1 tsp
  • Warm water – 100 ml

For the filling:

  • Baked pumpkin – 500g (diced)
  • Heavy cream – 200 ml
  • Gorgonzola – 100g (or any blue cheese)
  • Red onion – 2 large – julienne
  • Oil – 30 ml
  • Eggs – 4
  • Rosemary – a pinch

First of all i diced the pumpkin and mixed it with a few drops of olive oil, a pinch of rosemay and a pinch of salt, and then put it in the oven on low heat for 30-40 minutes, until it’s all soft. 
Meanwhile i made the crust. It’s easy peasy –  just put all the flour (250g) in a large bowl and mix it with the dry ingredients – salt and backing soda. Make a hole in the middle and pour while mixing 100 ml olive oil and then 100 ml warm water. Mix until you get a nice dough and set aside.
Let’s take care of that filling – mix the eggs with 200 ml heavy cream, and then add 100g crumbled gorgonzola. If the pumpkin is ready put in the same bowl with the filling and mix it. Now let’s saute that onion with a pinch of oil, until soft and tender. 
Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and rolling from center outward, form a round shape so that it will fit into you pan. Put it into bottom and sides of you plate, gently. Now pour the pumpkin filling in it and bake it for 45 – 60 minutes – until golden brown! 

Quiche with pumpkin and gorgonzola

Cook & Photo & Main eater: Ionela
Inspired by: www.closetcooking.com

Enjoy! 




Baked French Potatoes with Parmesan


Cartofi frantuzesti2

When we moved in together, two years ago, this was one of the first recipes I cooked for dinner. I do not know why they call it “French”, maybe just to sound more pretentious, because they have nothing french. I can imagine a scene… Him: “Honey, what we have today for dinner?” She “Baked French Potatoes!” Him: “Ooooo, french you say!” So if you want to impress someone with a recipe, juat add the word french somewhere in your recipe, and there you have it, you’ll look like you know what you are doing.

Serves: 2
You’ll need:

  • Potatoes 4-5 medium  (peeled and sliced​​)
  • Eggs – 2
  • Cheese – 300g (not too salty)
  • Parmesan cheese – 50g
  • Sour Cream – 200ml

Step 1: Boil or steam the potatoes ~ 15-20 minutes.

Step 2: In a large bowl mix the grated cheese with eggs, sour cream and parmesan cheese.

Stept 3: Place on your baking tray one layer of boiled potatoes. After that pour half of the mixture we made at step2. Add another potatoes layer and pour the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake it on medium-low for 45 minutes, until all golden and gorgeous.

Step 4: Enjoy!

Cartofi frantuzesti

Foto: Ionela Stoica




Ricotta and Spinach Tortellini with truffle sauce


Ricotta and Spinach Tortellini with truffle sauce

Fresh pasta, truffle sauce and cream. It sounds good and it is delicious. Did I mention it takes about 10 minutes to make it?

Every time I make this recipe I start missing Italy, and Tuscany with its food (and prosecco hihihi), the views and the amazing places that I’ve been to.

Don’t mind me and my daydream, let me tell you more about this recipe:

You’ll need:

  •  Fresh pasta – 1 pack
  • Truffle sauce – 2 tbsp
  • Heavy Cream or whipping cream – 100ml 

Method: 

In a large potboil enough water for your pasta. Make sure the water is salty enough because it will be the only way your pasta will season. Cover with a lid so that it can boil faster.

When the water begins to boil throw pasta and cook for about 2 minutes. When working with fresh pasta is good to know that they don’t need more than 2 minutes to be al dente. This time I used tortellini with ricotta and spinach, but you can as well use tagliatele or any other fresh pasta you prefer.

While your pasta is boiling heat a sauce pan and place two tablespoons of truffle sauce and allow it to heat well, no more than 30 seconds. Add the cream, season with pepper to taste and let it simmer a little.

When your pasta is al dente strain and throw in the sauce pan over the truffle sauce. Add a tablespoon of that starchy pasta water, mix and have yourself some pasta tartufatta.

Not only is this the quickest pasta recipe, but it is so tasty that you will not want to buy ready-made pasta sauces ever again. I promise!

 

Enjoy!

Ricotta and Spinach Tortellini with truffle sauce

Cook: Simona & Petru
Foto: Ionela