Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Dyeing Easter Eggs with Onion Skins, Estonian style

This was originally posted in 2011. You'll find all my Easter recipes here

Easter eggs / Lihavõttemunad

We don't really 'do' chocolate eggs for Easter here in Estonia, but real, chicken eggs. Dyeing eggs for Easter is very popular, and using onion skins is probably the most popular method. Using onion peels gives you most beautiful dyed eggs, each one unique and special. Here are some photos of the process that I took few years ago.

Pille, onion skins

Here's what you need to do:

* Few weeks before Easter start collecting onion peels. Yellow ones are better than red onion skins, as they give a nice colour.

* You need white eggs for doing this (this gives the shops a chance to sell specially packaged white eggs for a much higher price before the festivities).

Dyeing Easter eggs

* Take an egg and neatly put few onion peels around it:

Dyeing Easter eggs

* Take a piece of mesh/muslin/kitchen foil or even an old nylon stocking and wrap it around the egg to keep the onion peels on place. I used foil here:

Dyeing Easter eggs

* Boil as usual. Cool, then unwrap and unpeel.

Here's the result - each egg is unique and gorgeous:

Easter eggs / Lihavõttemunad

Natasha describes a similar, though less complicated way of dyeing eggs with onion peels that's popular in Russia and Ukraine: Russian Easter Eggs. My 91-year old grandmother uses the same method - she says she's too old to "play around" with the onion peels too much :)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A recipe for gluten-free hazelnut meringue roulade aka Budapestrulle (Budapestbakelse)

ROOTSI: Budapestrulle. Budapest hazelnut meringue roulade.

I am writing this post while sitting on a really comfortable bed in a brand new hotel in Helsinki, called Indigo Hotel. I'm in town for a long weekend to enjoy the Streat Helsinki street food festival. The press trip is organised and hosted by Visit Helsinki, and we have been taken very good care of. This morning Heather of Heather's Helsinki took us for a coffee and Budapest cake at Karl Fazer Café at Kluuvikatu 3. The cake in question was a Budapest slice.

It's a popular cake from Sweden, attributed to a pastry chef Ingvar Strid who was born in 1926 in Vetlanda. It's a hazelnut meringue roulade filled with whipped cream and peeled clementine slices. Delicious! The version popularised by Fazer in Finland is slightly different - the clementines/mandarine oranges are replaced with bananas and raspberries. Different - and sweeter - but still nice.

Here's my version of Budapestrulle - I make the classic Swedish version. The recipe below uses a popular and widely available Swedish product, Marsán snabb vaniljsås, but feel free to replace it with cornflour or potato starch or even all-purpose flour (in latter case it won't be gluten-free, of course).

Since 2013, May 1st has officially been the Budapestbakelsensdag in Sweden.

Budapest slice
(Besee-pähklirull)

Serves 8 to 10

Meringue:
4 large egg whites
100 g caster sugar
150 ml (about 90 g) vanilla custard powder
100 g toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped

Filling:
200 ml whipping cream
1 tsp caster sugar
300 g canned mandarine oranges/clementines, drained

Decoration:
50 g dark chocolate
some canned mangarine oranges/clementines

Heat the oven to 200 C. Grease and line a shallow Swiss roulade tin/baking tray with a parchment paper.

Using electric mizer, whisk the egg whites until stiff but not try. Add the sugar in 2-3 installments, continue whisking until the mix is shiny and white.

Combine the hazelnuts and vanilla custard powder, then gently fold into the meringue mixture. Spread the mixture into the prepared tin. Bake in the middle of pre-heated oven for 12-15 minutes, until the meringue is risen and slightly golden on edges.

Take out of the oven and cool completely. Then turn over onto a new piece of parchment paper and peel off the "baked" parchment paper.

For the filling, whisk the cream and sugar until thick and fluffy, then spread over the meringue. Put some mandarine slices aside for decoration, then scatter the rest over the cream. Roll up the roulade, starting with the long end, and using the paper underneath to help. Carefully lift onto a serving dish, leaving the "seam" underneath.

Melt the chocolate, drizzle over the meringue roulade. Garnish with mandarine orange slices. To serve, cut the cake into thick slices.

The photo above is by Juta Kübarsepp, taken for my cookbook "Nami-Nami. Maailma maitsed 1" (Varrak, 2013).

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

In praise of Georgian food

The Washington Post muses on March 3rd, 2015, whether the Georgian food might be the next big thing. It certainly deserves much more attention, if you ask me. There was this incident almost ten years ago, when Kuidaore's Joycelyn began her cookbook meme (memes were a big thing in the early days of food blogging) wondering whether she really needs a Georgian cookbook. I left a long comment insisting she does :)

I've been a fan of Georgian food as long as I remember. The food is so flavoursome and colourful, providing plenty of textures and variety. The picture here is from the chapter dedicated to the cuisine of Georgia in my third cookbook, "Nami-Nami. Maailma maitsed 1" that was published in October 2013 (see my blog post here).  Doesn't it look really appealing and appetising?

Supra. Gruusia pidusöök. Georgian feast.

There are 99 photos in my  Georgian album over on Flickr, most with links to the Estonian-language recipe. However, there are plenty of excellent Georgian recipes here on Nami-Nami as well for you to browse, helping you to get familiar with the "next big thing". Enjoy!

Georgian-style green beans with herbs and garlicky yogurt or mtsvane lobios borani (pictured at the bottom right, below) is a wonderful side dish (#glutenfree #lowcarb).

Gruusia _06

Beet salad with walnuts and garlic, pkhali, is a potent vegetable salad that brightens up any festive table (#glutenfree #Paleo):

GEORGIAN FEAST: beetroot pkhali/ beet mkhali GRUUSIA PIDU: peedi-phali

Cucumber and tomato salad with fresh cilantro/coriander is a delightfully different way to serve the summer favourites, tomatoes and cucumbers. Tomato and cucumber salad, Georgian style / Gruusia stiilis tomati-kurgisalat

Chicken in a cold walnut sauce, satsivi, is another winner from Georgia (pictured in the front, below). Georgian cuisine is rather unique in that they use walnuts a lot as a the main ingredient, not just to give some extra flavour or texture. Here the walnuts and mixed with spices and fried onions to form a wonderfully aromatic sauce. (#glutenfree #lowcarb #Paleo)

Gruusia _03

Creamy mushrooms with spices and herbs, is a great way to cook and serve those rather bland-tasting cultivated white mushrooms (#glutenfree #lowcarb):

Georgian mushrooms / Koores ja vürtsidega hautatud seened Gruusia moodi

Walnut and egg salad,  are here pictured on crispy toasts (#glutenfree #lowcarb):

Georgian egg salad / Gruusia munasalat

If you can get hold of the salty Suluguni cheese, then it's excellent when fried in butter:

GEORGIAN FEAST: fried suluguni cheese / GRUUSIA PIDU: praetud suluguni juust

Yet the most wonderful way of using the Georgian Suluguni cheese is to make a Georgian cheese pie, khatchapuri. There are lots of different versions about that Georgian cheese bread. I've got three recipes in my cookbook, but the recipe you find here on the blog is the simplest one, Imeretian khatchapuri.

Hatšapuri x 3

Chicken with herbs and tomatoes, chakhohbili (pictured at the centre, below), was the first Georgian recipe to appear here on Nami-Nami, and still finds its way to our table quite regularly (#glutenfree #lowcarb #Paleo)

Gruusia _02

So, which Georgian dishes have you eaten? Which one would you cook first from this selection here on Nami-Nami?