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Very late Blog-march: Last 4 challenges

Publié le par Charly C.

Well, hello there.

We are well into the month of April and I know I haven't finished the March challenge. However, due to how this platform works, I can post this in March. ;) 

The thing is - I won't finish this challenge. Below we can see the remaining challenges.

March 27 - National cheese day

This is a French platform, run by French people. I suppose the stereotype that the French love their cheese is true if they dedicated a day to celebrate it. 

Personally, I don't live in France, so I have no idea if there is such a day celebrated, or if Cheese Day is every day. 

So, what is my favorite type of cheese? I do like cheese, so I have a favorite. 

I ate blue cheese a few times - I didn't find it bad, but also not something to eat daily, or even very often. I used to really like the Romanian telemea cheese, but not so much anymore. 

Of course, you may not or don't know what telemea is, so here is more about this cheese, from Wikipedia

Lately, I like Italian mozzarella cheese. Smoked yellow cheese is another type of cheese I like. This type of cheese is called Kashkaval and I can't recall seeing any that is white in color. Most of these are off-white or some shade of yellow.  

This type of cheese melts nicely on pizza, and any other dish you may want melted cheese on. 

March 28 - World day against endometriosis

I wish all women dealing with this problem, a lot of health. 

I wish everyone else who is not aware of this health problem, to learn about it. Also, please stop asking women "When will you get married?" "When will you have children?". 

It's none of your business. Unless YOU plan on being the 3rd wheel in the relationship or taking care of the baby with your own money and time. Not all women want to be wives or mothers. 

And women suffering from endometriosis may even have a hard time conceiving, even if they want to have babies. So, again, I repeat: Not your body, not your problem! You can ask questions and give advice only when you're very close to the person and you're concerned about their health and overall wellbeing. 

March 29 - Cinema spring

I have no idea what this means or what am I supposed to write about. 

In any case, keep an eye open and stalk my other site for at least one movie review, The Taming of the Shrew, an Italian movie. ;) I think it's a good movie for spring.

March 31 - World day of personal data protection

I think this is what it means. If this is what it means, I'll have to remind you to change your passwords often, keep them written down -in an agenda, diary, cookie jar, whatever. Do not share them with anyone under any circumstance. 

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Blogmas Day 10 - Christmas Menu

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello all!

So today I'm supposed to plan the menu for Christmas. Except I don't need to because every year we eat the same thing. 

See, here in Romania, there are a set-in-stone celebration dishes. Everyone makes the same food. Rarely there's any variation. 

One of the first things that need to be made for Christmas, or any other big celebration that is, is the cozonac

I personally never made one, so I don't have a recipe for it. As type of food, this is a dessert. By the method used to make one, it is a bread. So basically, it's a sweet bread and traditionally it has a filling made of nuts and cocoa. Rum (the alcohol) or rum essence (flavoring) can also be used in the filling. 

Blogmas Day 10 - Christmas Menu
Blogmas Day 10 - Christmas Menu

Of course, nowadays it is very common for city folks to buy one or a few. In the country side, it is still being made the traditional way.

The cozonac found int he city comes in different shapes and flavors, with some of them better than others. 

Another dish that cannot be missing from the Christmas table are the sarmale. This dish comes from Turkey and if you know that dish you'll know this one as well. 

We have cabbage leaves wrapped around a filling made of rice mixed with meat. Generally, the meat is a mixture of beef and pork. I talked a bit about the filling in this article. 

You just have to take about a spoonful of filling mixture and put it on the cabbage leaf, then to roll or pack the whole thing neatly. We'll most likely receive some Sarmale, if everything goes smoothly this year, considering the virus. 

Sarmale are labor intensive and this is why they're kept for special occasions. These special occasions can include weddings and funerals, especially in the countryside. 

Another dish you'll see is the Oliver's Salad, though it's usually called Boeuf Salad or A la Russe. There's actually a small difference between Boeuf and A la Russe: the former has meat and the latter does not. Otherwise, they look the same and generally have the same ingredients. 

The ingredients are boiled potatoes, carrots, peas, pickles, black olives, and mayonnaise. Everything gets chopped and mixed together. It is usually decorated with olives, boiled eggs, and red pickled peppers. This salad i plan on making. I made it before, and i can't believe i have zero pictures as proof, though i had some pretty ones made. 

Creator & Copyright: Dana Valery from retete-culinare-cu-dana-valery.ro/reteta/salata-a-la-russe-cu-legume-si-maioneza

That's what it can look like and the link will take you to a recipe in Romanian. Google Translate can be your friend.

This salad should be made a day or two in advance, so that the flavors mix well. It's definitely a dish that tastes better at least the next day, and it has to be kept in the fridge. 

The taste depends greatly on the pickles used as well as on the mayonnaise. It's best to make the mayonnaise at home, from scratch as it tastes better than the one from the store. 

Many people would prepare many dishes based on pork, as they butcher a pig a few days before Christmas. The most notable dishes are steak and home-made sausages. 

Some people will replace the pork with a roasted chicken or maybe beef. 

This is it for now! see you in blogmas day 11!

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Pumpkin soup -vegan!

Publié le par Charly C.

Is it Halloween? No, it's the lent before Pascha (or Easter, depending on who you're asking), and pumpkin soup is a vegan dish. We're supposed to eat vegan dishes during lent. 

It's also one of the easiest dishes I came across! And honestly, i have no idea why I waited for so long to make it! No, I do know why: I thought it's sweet, since I associate pumpkin with the pie. I was wrong, or at least this soup didn't turn out sweet. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • pumpkin
  • carrots
  • salt
  • powder black pepper
  • water (of course)
  • the tool to mash potatoes (in this case, pumpkin)

METHOD:

You need to peel the carrots and dice them. 

Throw the carrot cubes in a large enough pot, with water and salt. Place the pot on fire. Carrots cook slower than many other vegetables, hence it's ok to have them on the fire for a little longer.

Cut the pumpkin in smaller pieces, and remove the skin. I used my knife for this part. You might want to cut the pieces even smaller, to help with the cooking time.

Throw your smaller pumpkin pieces into the pot as well. Hopefully you can tell the pumpkin pieces in the pot are smaller than on the cutting board.

Turn the heat up, and make the whole think boil for some 20 minutes. You might want to adjust the time, depending on the quantity. You have to make sure the pumpkin is cooked. It has to be soft when you poke it with a fork.

Now you want to take the tool you use for mashing potatoes, and use it to mash the boiled carrots and pumpkin. 

When you're done, you might want to add more salt, and some pepper. You can serve hot or cold.

Bon appetit!

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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3 Romanian cakes

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello World! 

The title says it all: today i want to show you 3 Romanian cakes. These cakes can be found in any cake shop and even at the supermarket. Or this was my experience so far.

If you ever find yourself in Romania, I think you should try these cakes, but try and make sure you buy them from a cake shop: they taste better there, for some reason, compared to the ones in supermarkets. Ana Pan is where you'll probably find the best tasting cakes, at least in Bucharest. 

i should mention that we do have many other types of cakes available, but i'll present the ones that are specific to Romania, and not imported. 

Ok, enough rambling: on to the cakes!

 

3 Romanian cakes3 Romanian cakes

Cartof Cake

This is a pretty simple cake, and easy to recognize: it looks like a cocoa ball. It's also covered in cocoa powder and sits prettily on muffin-like baking paper. 

Besides cocoa, it also contains raisins, rum, butter, and of course sugar. It has a moist texture on the inside, though it looks dry on the outside. 

"Cartof" actually means "potato" in Romanian, so i suppose the cake is meant to look like a potato, but it's just a ball. 

You can eat it with a spook or fork, or even directly with your hands, but holding it through the paper it sits on. 

I vaguely remember seeing log-like cartof cake. Besides the shape, there's no other difference. 

3 Romanian cakes3 Romanian cakes

Savarina Cake

This cake is pretty similar to choux-a-la-creme, I guess. 

This cake has a pretty big chunk of sponge-like cake as the base. I think it is baked in a muffin shape, given that it has some ridges on the upper part.

As you can see, they partially cut a slice on the upper part which they cover with a red jelly. They then use a huge amount of syrup, and then they add a good dollop of whipped cream. 

Unlike the choux cake, this one doesn't have any other cream nor pudding inside. 

While it also comes on some paper or cake cardboard, it's best eaten with a teaspoon or fork, off a plate. Some place now sell them in a small but deep enough plastic container, to avoid the syrup leaking everywhere. 

3 Romanian cakes

Excelent Cake

This is another chocolate cake. This layered cake has generous amounts of chocolate cream layers.

This chocolate cream is made with butter, and thus it can be quite heavy for the stomach.  

It's best using some tool like a fork or teaspoon to eat it, though eating with the hands is also possible. This is because it is also served on that specific cake paper. 

The chocolate cream on top and bottom is a different type. The one on top is probably ganache. The slices are about as thick as 2 fingers. 

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Homemade vegetarian pizza -recipe

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello all~~

I have no idea who doesn't like pizza. But there are people out there that have dietary restrictions, and so ordering pizza can be difficult. For us, it is a little overpriced, depending on where you oder it from and it's not always good either. 

A's mom started making pizza at home, and it's a really good one too. spicy, with lots of ingredients, and several of them. one is big enough to fill you up, especially if you don't eat a crazy amount of food at once. But A's mom moved out of city, and it's difficult or us to go there to get pizza if we were to ask her to make some. Also getting the ingredients is difficult for A's parents because they don't own a car, so they have to either call a cab (it can get expensive) or rely on the public transportation that is not always reliable. 

 

Long story short, we decided to make our own pizza. A asked for the recipe, and she said she's going to make it. I said "fine" because I think there's a trick to making pizza that I'm not aware of. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • pizza dough -or base, or whatever you want to call it. We can find it already made in stores over here. At Carrefour it's really cheap too. we got 2 packs, with 2 pizza dough in each.
  • 2-3 medium tomatoes 
  • mozarella cheese - ALL the cheese you want or like. make sure it melts, like mozarella cheese does.  
  • 200 grams olives - get the pitted ones or the already sliced ones, you'll save time. 
  • mushrooms - as much as you want, i guess. The pizza in these pictures didn't have mushrooms. :(
  • 1 bell pepper - red would be best
  • corn - we like corn on the pizza. 
  • tomato sauce - you can use pizza sauce, but regular tomato sauce is fine too
  • aromatic herbs -basil, thyme, parsley, whatever you like
  • some ground black pepper
  • some salt
Homemade vegetarian pizza -recipe

NOTES:

You should know there's no set amount of anything when it comes to the ingredients. A just adds "as much as it fits on the pizza dough."

If you're eating meat, you can add salami, sausages,maybe bacon.  Basically any type of meat you like. A says it's a "trial and error" until you find the balance you like.  Of course you can replace some of the ingredients with others, but the pizza made with these ones was by far the best. 

METHOD:

  • Spread the tomato sauce on the pizza dough.
  • Sprinkle with the condiments - or the aromatic herbs you chose.
  • Add cheese. The more the merrier. ;) It's better to slice it before putting it on the pizza
  • Then add everything else. Make sure to slice the tomatoes, mushrooms and anything that is either too big or has a shape preventing it from staying put on the pizza. Chopped also works.
  • Add more condiments on top. 
  • Bake for 15 minutes, on a really high heat setting, on baking paper. Our oven has a special "pizza" setting, and anymore than 15 minutes in the oven can burn it. NOBODY likes burnt pizza. 

Now you can enjoy it straight from the oven, though leaving it for the next day is perfectly acceptable too. 

Bon appetit~~

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Recipe for Roasted Potatoes

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello everyone!

The Great Lent started in Romania - this is the lent before Pascha (or Easter). It lasts for 7 weeks and is the longest of them all, hence the name. OK, now it's close to the end, as I kept on delaying editing pictures and writing. The article is finally here!

During any Lent, Romanians are supposed to fast by eating a vegan diet - so no meats including fish, no eggs and no dairy products. (hmm, I actually don't know if honey is forbidden or allowed.) This page explains better the rules of fasting. It also makes no mention of honey, and thus I think it's allowed.

In any case, when buying premade foods in Romania, we should pay attention to the packaging to say "de post" - this means the product is vegan-friendly.  If you don't want to eat honey, search for the word "miere" (=honey) in the ingredients. Fish is allowed for consumption on certain days during the Lent (fasting period). 

  • Romanians don't celebrate Fat Tuesday nor Ash Wednesday. Good Friday is not a public holiday either, but the 2nd day of Pascha (Monday) is a bank holiday, and only hospitals, police, public transportation, and a few shops still stay in business. 

I already have a few vegan-friendly recipes posted, and I want to share with you the recipe for Roasted Potatoes as well - this is an important recipe to know how to make if you love potatoes because they're awesome when roasted. 

Recipe for Roasted Potatoes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3-4 larger potatoes, preferably suited for baking
  • salt
  • oil
  • powder black pepper
  • other herbs or condiments you like
  • also, a baking tray

METHOD:

Peel and slice your potatoes. Make sure to have rather thick slices and not thin. If they're thin, reduce the cooking time by 15 minutes to avoid burning them. 

Take a baking tray, smear it with cooking oil, place your potato slices in it. 

Smear your potato slices with cooking oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and all the condiments and herbs. 

Let bake in the oven for some 45 minutes, on medium heat, preferably on the middle rack of the oven. 

You can now serve!

I made this recipe over and over, and I didn't always take pictures. This is why some of them are dated "December 2018." The light is bad because I usually cook in the evening and therefore the artificial light is not great.  

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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General and vegan stew with potatoes

Publié le par Charly C.

Today I decided to make a stew and also share the process as well. This stew is 100% vegan, as i made sure not to use anything that was made by animals, or with their meat. 

I'm hungry, so let's start the recipe already.  Here are the ingredients:

  • potatoes -more than 1 kg (2.5 lbs? 3 lbs?) 
  • 2 medium carrots
  • some 300 grams of green beans  (less than 1 lbs)
  • 1 bell pepper (any color)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt ? (depending on how salty you want it)
  • 1 or 2 spoons of cooking oil
  • sweet or hot paprika (powder)
  • black pepper (you can use both powder and whole, or either one)
  • aromatic herbs - packed individually. -see the image below

You can also add a small eggplant in this stew, if you want. I don't recommend zucchini nor baby pumpkins - I tried and I found the experiment rather unpleasant. 

METHOD:

Take the beans and 2 spoons of oil, and put them in a large enough pot, that you place on a small fire or heat source. 

Peel and dice your carrots, and place them on top of the beans. Also pour some water and some salt, and cover with a lid.

It's time to peel, wash and dice your potatoes. Potatoes cook much faster than carrots, and if the fire or heat is on medium to low, there won't be much to worry about. 

Once this is done, drop the cubed potatoes into the pot, and fill with water just enough to cover everything,much like in the image below. Now leave the pot to cook over medium heat for some 45 minutes.

When the time is up, you add the condiments, herbs, chopped bell pepper (mine was frozen, so you can't see it well), and 2 spoons of tomato sauce.

General and vegan stew with potatoesGeneral and vegan stew with potatoes

Now, after you added all that, mix and let sit on the fire for some 15 minutes more. This is enough time for the bell pepper to cook and for the aromas to mix up, and flavor the dish.

Next, you can serve lava hot if you feel like it, but I recommend you wait some 30 minutes for it to cool down a little - it will still be delicious. You can serve it as is or with lettuce or Greek salad, fried tofu or fried soy meat substitute. 

FOR MEAT EATERS:

You can also serve with chicken, with fried eggs, fish, and even with steak - basically anything that can be fried or roasted. You can put smoked bacon in it during cooking, if you really want to, for more flavor.

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Romanian style spinach - with milk!

Publié le par Charly C.

This is the first entry for 2019, so happy new year! I will try to update you soon (fingers crossed) with how I managed to keep my last year's new year resolutions, and which are the new ones. 

You know I have (paid) work to do when I start writing or doing anything else out of stress. .. as long as I can get some stuff done, I should be forgiven? no? only if I meet the deadline on Friday? I'll meet it. ;) 

And now on with the recipe! First I have to tell you that this recipe first appeared on my old blog, back in March 2017. However, last night I re-made it and took more pictures, so I post this as a fresh entry, but with both old and new pictures.

They say spinach is very healthy for you, but not everyone likes it. I must say I REALLY like spinach for some reason. Too bad I'm not eating more of it, though.

I'll not go into why is it good for you, or give one hundred reasons to eat it. I'll just advise you to try new recipes for the foods you don't really like.. or better-said vegetables you like least. I'll share a rather simple recipe that hopefully will make you curious enough to try it out. Perhaps you'll even like it.

Romanian style spinach - with milk!

There is a bit of garlic in this Romanian recipe - in the original version which I want you to try. You probably know by now I don't eat or cook with onions or garlic, but I will share this recipe exactly how it is done - as I believe most of you will like it better this way. Let's say that you can easily get nauseous because of this food if you don't add garlic, and you can't use onion instead either.

INGREDIENTS: (4 servings)

  • 1 kg (2 pounds) fresh spinach *
  • 5-6 tablespoons oil
  • 5-6 garlic cloves
  • 3-4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 800 ml cold milk
  • salt [to taste]
  • 8 eggs [2 for each serving]

METHOD:

  • Wash your spinach well, several times if needed. Make sure you have only nice looking leaves in there. [skip this step if you use a frozen product like me]
  • Boil it for a few minutes in salted water. It should look cooked. Strain.
  • Grab your wooden chop board and a non-metal spatula or spoon** and finely chop your spinach. [you'll skip this step for frozen products, as they might already be chopped]
Romanian style spinach - with milk!Romanian style spinach - with milk!Romanian style spinach - with milk!
  • Heat oil in a pot large enough to hold 4 pounds of food, as you'll add all the ingredients in here. Chop or mince your garlic*** and add it in to cook a bit. The garlic should become a bit translucent not brown (or the food becomes bitter) just enough to give some flavor.
  • Add your flour and mix well and wait for it to become a bit brown.
  • Add half of your milk and let it simmer for about a minute - you should have a white [thick] sauce at this point. Mine was a bit lumpy because I didn't mix/stir well enough. Avoid lumps in your sauce [if you can].
  • Add your chopped spinach and stir.
Romanian style spinach - with milk!Romanian style spinach - with milk!
Romanian style spinach - with milk!Romanian style spinach - with milk!
  • Add the remaining milk until you get the desired consistency. Don't forget to add salt. Let cook until it becomes steamy again. I personally didn't feel I needed etra milk.
  • OPTIONAL:  add a teaspoon of sugar and vinegar (or juice from a half lemon). I didn't add these, so I'm not sure if it will taste better. Apparently, some older women cook it this way. ****
  • Fry your eggs sunny side up, and place 2 on each serving, and serve!
Romanian style spinach - with milk!Romanian style spinach - with milk!

Bon-appetit!

You can also serve with fried chicken liver like seen below, but it simply tastes better with eggs. We eat fried liver in Romania - chicken and pork liver are most popular and delicious when hot!

NOTES:

*I used frozen spinach because it is impossible to find fresh one in December, around here.

**we have special butcher knives made of wood or silicone. 

***I'm not sure if there is a taste difference, but the idea is not to use the garlic cloves as they are.

****The first time around I didn't add neither lemon nor sugar. Last night I added lemon. I used the juice from half a lemon for the whole quantity of food.

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Mac&Cheese recipe

Publié le par Charly C.

Towards the end of the month of November we decided to have some Mac and Cheese, but like the real deal. And yes, there is a non-real version too. So I asked A to search for the recipe as I never made this and I tend to just whip some dishes up, with no recipe and the result is not always good, as you can imagine. 

One of the things I need to improve is my willingness to follow recipes and the presentation. Sometimes I'm also under the impression the taste is not the one I imagine it to be. Since we have no reference point, we just have to think the food tastes good. However, the good news is that I plan on cooking more in 2019, even if I won't share everything I cook.

Enough babbling, on with the recipe! 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 250 g macaroni;
  • 125 g (real) butter;
  • 150 g cheese - we used a local cheese called "telemea" 
  • some salt 
  • some ground black pepper
Mac&Cheese recipeMac&Cheese recipeMac&Cheese recipe

METHOD

Boil water with some salt, and add the pasta. Let it boil according the instructions on the package - usually some 10 minutes. 

Dice the butter and shred the cheese. This way, the butter will melt faster. 
When the time is up, drain the water, add the butter and the cheese and mix.

mac and cheese

Let everything in the pot, on the fire for 2 extra minutes, then turn off the fire. 

When the time is up, add the black pepper on top. You can eat it right away, but better wait some 5 to 10 minutes so it will cool down a bit, with a lid on top. 

mac&cheese recipe

Let me tell you that this was the best pasta I had in a very long time. This is why I decided to share this recipe with all of you. Also, if you never tried Mac and Cheese before, this is a great chance to try it out. I know some folks prefer to make recipes that have been cooked by others before, and that were successful. 

Mac&Cheese recipe

Earlier I mentioned I used the cheese telemea. It's a Romanian cheese similar to feta, if I'm not mistaken. You're better off learning more about it from its Wiki page. It's usually salty or very salty, though less salty varieties have been made too. Nowadays, most telemea cheese on the market is made of cows milk, probably because it's easier to come by. 

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Oriental salad - Romanian version

Publié le par Charly C.

I haven't posted a recipe in a very long time, i believe. I think it's time I shared something - a salad this time! It's easy to make, pretty good for the upcoming holidays, delicious in my opinion, and is also vegan friendly! 

Well, ok, what I'll share is not vegan friendly because I used eggs, BUT keep the eggs out and you can safely enjoy it! If you're wondering why I had to specify this is a Romanian version of the salad, is because Google showed me a different type of salad when I searched for the name of this dish. 

I'm not exactly sure what's the story behind this salad, all I know is that it's pretty easy to make, and that it's never enough. 

Oriental salad - Romanian version

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 kg potatoes
  • 200 g black olives (for color; use seedless ones)
  • 200 g pickles
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 eggs (you can skip them for a vegan salad)
  • aromatic herbs  - parsley (fresh or dry), dill (i skipped it)
  • some salt and ground black pepper
  • oil and vinegar

This is the list of ingredients for a basic salad I found on a Romanian website. I know some people add more stuff in this salad. One of the most common ingredients is sliced onion, but you must know we don't eat it. Other ingredients I noticed were shredded cabbage, raw cucumbers (along the pickled ones), and pickled beet, and the salad becomes a bit pinkish. 

Do not add any type of meat in this salad, because then you'll make something else. 

Oriental salad - Romanian versionOriental salad - Romanian version

METHOD

Start by peeling and dicing the potatoes. Then throw them in a pot with water, and place on medium heat. Don't forget to add some salt - I used some pink salt, not that it really matters, but we were curious. I boiled the potatoes for some 30 minutes, but I don't think I had 1 kg.

The next step is to slice or dice the rest of the ingredients, including the olives and eggs. Don't forget about the other ingredients you want to add. 

Next, when the potatoes are done, rinse them with some cold water, and mix them with the ingredients. Of course,don't forget to add oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and the herbs. 

Oriental salad - Romanian version

Look at those vibrant colors! This salad is eaten usually by itself or sometimes maybe with steak or chicken. There's no need for bread when eating this dish. You might need to eat other dishes before or after it to feel completely full. 

I hope you like it if you make it!

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

 

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