There has been a long silence and very few posts with various regularity for some while on this blog. Well… it will most probably continue to be so, as the meaning of regularity has reached a new level in our house. Since the beginning of January there are five of us. Needless to say, the young addition of the family isn’t too keen on haute cuisine quite yet… However, we will still eat, hopefully not too much junk, and will try to drop a line and a pic here now and then.

Thank you for being faithful. Cheers and enjoy!

Sandis

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Coleslaw

I do like cabbage, but try to avoid mayonnaise. The baby is born, and there is no more legitimate excuse for unhealthy indulging. After a quick search for “coleslaw dressing”, I found this recipe:  http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1815,136162-235200,00.html. Blend mustard, garlic, apple juice, oil, an apple, honey, tabasco, vinegar, salt, and pepper. I used far less oil than in the recipe to save on calories. A tablespoon of pistachio oil and 2 spoons of olive oil seemed sufficient. Vinegar and tabasco was added more generously. So full of flavours, after you try this out, you’ll never come back to mayo!

Baiba

Holidays
Two weeks off, a festive season with guests and the last month of pregnancy: a valid excuse to indulge. I even baked a honey cake.
Tonight: a pork tenderloin in puff pastry and winter veggie curry with lentils, served with lettuce.
For the pork, you`ll need a piece of tenderloin, an onion, a package of puff pastry dough (not a healthy option, just for the occasion), salt, pepper, sugar, and thyme. Chop an onion and fry in some oil with sugar, salt, pepper and thyme. Spread over the dough. Fry the pork from all sides to seal the juices and wrap in the dough. Cover with foil and bake in the oven until cooked through.
Winter veggie and lentil curry: will work with any vegetables you have. I used carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, potatoes and celery root. Cut the vegetables into bite-size pieces. Chop an onion and a couple of garlic gloves. Fry each veggie (except potatoes) in a teaspoon of butter, then put in a pot and cover with stock. When boiling, add a couple of spoons of curry paste. Since I had red lentils that only need 10 minutes of cooking, I added them shortly before the vegetables became soft.
Happy New Year.

Baiba


Beef in orange sauce
My first choice for beef filet slices would be a slow braising with chopped fried carrots and onions, just as my mom did it. We usually had it in winter with boiled potatoes and pickles.
This time: a quick recipe and an Asian touch. Original recipe from http://www.cetrassezonas.lv/lv/receptes/austrumu_virtuve/recipe.php?id=47390.
You will need:
thin slices of beef
carrots
freshly squeezed orange juice
soy sauce
fresh ginger, grated
chili, fresh or dried
brown sugar

Fry the meat until just tender. Set aside. Fry the carrots. Add the orange juice and all the spices to the carrots in the pan or pot, add the fried meat and let simmer for some minutes. Serve with rice.

Baiba

Christmas feeling

The original idea of the blog was to promote fast and healthy dinner ideas. However, I`ve been quite a lot at home lately which eliminates the need for “fast”, and pregnant, which has modified the concept of “healthy”.
One of Christmas time specials in the local grocery stores is the duck. Although the kids were not too enthousiastic (one thought it looked like a frog, and the other suddenly decided that eating animals and birds is immoral), me and Sandis enjoyed the roast.
3 hours before dinner, prepare the duck. Peel and quarter 3 apples, slice half an orange. Mix with salt, cinnamon, and cardamon, and stuff the duck. For the glazing, mix mustard with honey and rub into the skin. Cover with foil, and the duck can go into the oven.
After 2 hours (depending of the size of the duck), peel potatoes and turnips, cut into large chunks or slices. Mix some olive oil with salt and rosemary to coat the vegetables. Place in the oven, in one layer. 
Serve with fresh black radish.

Baiba

Traditional Spare Ribs and Wine from Decanter

What you see in the picture is nothing special - traditional spare ribs with bbq sauce, mashed potatoes and red beet. Some great food after a tiring hockey game. But the reason I wanted to post this photo is the item in the background. I recently acquired a wine decanter. And I’ll tell you something - if you fancy wine and don’t have a decanter, get one. Marques de Caceres Reserva Rioja 2008 tasted like never before. And you don’t have to remember to open the bottle an hour before consumption…

Sandis

Kürbis

This year, we have been enjoying the Halloween period with all sorts of Kürbis dishes. The hard-flesh Hokkaido pumpkins, the mild butternut squash, the melon-like spaghetti squash - whatever is offered in the grocery store and farmers` stands.
The simplest way to enjoy cucurbita is roasting in the oven as a side-dish. Slice the pumpkin or squash. Crush a clove of garlic and/or rosemary and/or thyme and pepper, dilute with some oil. Cover the vegetable slices in the oil marinade and roast in the oven until soft. Serve with the main dish as side vegetables. Experiment with the spices, oils and cucurbita varieties.

Baiba

Meat ball soup

Although most of the time I have simply given up, there are still dinners when I try to offer the kids vegetables. Disguised in all possible forms. Believe it or not, there are actually children who eat them. In the neighborhood, not some starving third world region.
In the picture, you see one of my attempts. It`s been some time since the picture was taken, I cannot recall the precise recipe anymore. However, as with most soups, it`s the idea that matters, vegetables, spices and proportions are up to your imagination and fridge contents.
Fry a chopped onion and grated carrots in butter. Pour over water or stock. I use water, my mom`s preserved soup spices (from what I have guessed, the main ingredients are finely chopped mixed greens, garlic, onions, and carrots in salt), and pepper. Add bite size pieces or squash, potatoes, tomatoes (peal the skin off first), and simmer until the vegetables are soft. Blend the soup. Prepare meat balls: mix minced pork with an egg, pressed garlic, salt, pepper, and a tablespoon of buckwheat flour. Heat the blended soup on the stove again, and add small balls formed from the meat mixture. When they are cooked through, the soup is ready.
The dish was half-success: one of the two kids liked it.

Baiba

Halloween approaching

The vegetable of October is pumpkin. Tonight: in both stew and the sauce. We had a Sunday roast with a vegetable stew and a pumpkin/mango/chili sauce.
For the stew, you don`t really need a recipe. Take the vegetable roots you have and stew in the spices you like. It just cannot go wrong.
I used a slice of a pumpkin, some savoy cabbage leftovers, carrots and potatoes. Fry a chopped onion, chili, cumin and mustard seeds. Add bite-size carrots and pumpkins, fry for some more minutes. Pour over water to cover, let simmer. In 5-10 minutes, add potatoes and savoy cabbage. Salt and cook until soft.
Sauce: cut a slice of pumpkin into bite-size piecies. Roast in the oven until slightly brown. Place in a pot together with 1 mango, chopped, and a chopped fresh chili. Pour some water, add tumeric, and cook until soft. Blend.

Baiba

A fish pie.
I`ve never used a ready-made dough before. Besides, I don`t bake much in general. Not that flour will kill you, but it`s not something I would eat on everyday basis.
However, here comes a fish pie from a ready-made rolled-in dough. A nice change among all the vegetable stews of lately.
You will need:
a package of dough
For the filling:
fresh plaice
spinach
3 eggs
some milk
ricotta
Cook spinach for 1 minute until wilted. Set aside. Layer an oven-proof dish with the dough. For the filling, first place pieces of fish. I used fresh, but I think it would have been better to fry the fish on a pan before putting in the pie. Salt the fish. Whisk the eggs with salt and pepper and a couple of tablespoons of milk. Mix in some tablespoons of ricotta. On the fish, spread the cooked spinach and pour over the egg/cheese mixture. Bake in the oven. Serve with fresh vegetables.

Baiba

Chicken in Orange Juice

Bite-size chicken filet pieces are among regulars in our house. This time I tried a new recipe for the sauce.
Ingredients:
Chicken filets, cut into bite-size pieces
A tablespoon or so of cornstarch
Orange juice, freshly pressed from 2 oranges
A tablespoon of honey
A tablespoon or 2 of soy sauce
Roasted sesame seeds (optional)
Preparation:
Cover chicken pieces with cornstarch. Fry them. When light brown and cooked through, pour over the orange juice, add honey, soy and sesame seeds. Let simmer for some minutes until the sauce thickens and sticks to the chicken.
Serve with buckwheat (roasted brown Russian type, bought from amazon) and fried bell pepper with caramelized onions.
Quick, easy and delicious.

Baiba