Category Archives: Family Recipes

Apple chutney

Mom helped an old friend few days ago, who has a huge garden with lots of apple trees. Long story short, she came home with a bag full of those that had fallen down. They are the sort of apples you can use immediately, so I made apple cake, but then was left over with nearly a kilo more. So what do you do?

I tried apple chutney. Never made it before, so I can’t really compare the taste, but the ingredients sound nice, so I gave it a try. And like usually – you miss some things, you have more of another, the tastes don’t feel right… so I changed it. But I like how it came out still, so here’s my version of it:

700 grams of apples – cleaned and diced.
200 grams of white sugar
110 grams of brown sugar
200 grams of raisins
1 medium onion finely diced
1,5 teaspoons of mustard seeds
1,5 teaspoons of ginger powder
0,5 teaspoons of salt
3 tablespoons of 30% white vinegar
1,5 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
up to 300 milliliters of water

The odd water amount comes from the fact that not having the right vinegar at hand, I took a glass, mixed the white vinegar and balsamic vinegar (for there is nowhere said I can’t do that) and added enough water to fill that glass. Taste it carefully – it should be still acid enough, but not bad for your taste.
Clean the apples and onions, dice them quite small and toss them in a good thick bottomed pot together with the rest of the ingredients. Bring it to boil, then turn the heat low and let it bubble away, mixing every now and then to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom. Let it simmer until the apples and onions are done and down to more sticky context.
I prepared 5 small bottles about 200 ml each (like you would prepare jam bottles) and filled them up to the neck. Was left enough for later tasting and that was it.

I’m not sure it actually would fall under chutney, but the abundant taste would make nice addition to meat in few months. Taking in consideration of the taste combination, I would say it will want to sit on the shelf for few months before its actual goodness comes out.
chutney test

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Filed under Family Recipes, Preserves

Muffins a’la air

…or lessons on how to make muffins if you are not allowed to have dairy, eggs or anything that has gluten in it.

4 tablespoons of gluten free flour mix
2 tablespoons of rice flour or almond flour
4 tablespoons of sugar
3/4th teaspoons of baking powder  (50:50 of baking soda and citric acid)
4 tablespoons of water mixed with 2 heaped teaspoons of egg replacement
1 big mashed banana or 3 tablespoons of apple sauce
1/2 teaspoons of vanilla sugar
2 fistfuls of raisins
1/2 glass of water
3 tablespoons of cooking oil
can also add 1 tablespoon of coco for chocolate flavor

Set the oven to 200 C and put ready about 10 medium size muffin forms. Mix the dry ingredients separate in a bowl except raisins and in another the water, oil and mashed banana.  Mix separately the egg replacement.  Mix the egg replacement and water mix quickly in the flours. Put in the forms and straight in the oven. Bake about 15-20 minutes.

Ready. Enjoy.

I must say I never thought it possible, but it turns out you can cook without using actual ingredients. Taste rather nice too.

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Filed under Sweets

A to Z Challenge – Spell crafts – Yeast

Witches yeast is actually wild yeast dough, or by its common name – sourdough that is kept alive on countertop in your own kitchen.

Doesn’t sound very magical, does it? It isn’t, if you look at it by the modern standard – you go in the shop, buy the yeast and do the sourdough. Yeaaaah, that’s if you are not so happy performing alchemy in your own kitchen.

I have tried keeping sourdough alive for a month. If you’d make bread at home in regular pace, keeping it alive would be much easier and getting it “good” would be easier task too. If you just take it up as one of these homey experiments, then you probably give up before your yeast matures enough to start giving good results in your bread making.

My grandmother still tells me how they had wild yeast pot which was kept hanged down in the well – they needed some, they went and took the portion, “fed” the yeast and hung it back. The reason it was kept in the well was because the most perfect way to keep the yeast from overproducing is to keep it on steady temperature and in a farm of four seasons, where the rooms go from 0 to 20 *C in couple of weeks, where is the most steadiest temperature? In the well! 4*C-s throughout the year.

The wild yeast however prefers warm kitchen. There are several technologies in the net, but my know-how goes that you just take some bread flour and mix it with warm water into thick paste. To get the process going, you can add something sour, like sour milk, kefir, fresh apple juice, fermented cabbage’s juice or anything of the sort. You let it sit for few days and it is ready when it has risen up and then flattened out again. After that you can cut it in pieces, add some flour and water and mix it smooth.  In few days you notice it will froth up, smell a bit like wild beer and it turns liquid.

The best place to keep it is the fridge, but not longer than a week, too much co2 in the process I guess. You take the witches yeast, make bread dough like usually, then take a handful of the new starter out of the dough patch before adding the rest of the flour (mm, that is difficult to explain, you basically add little flour and little water until it is liquid form and let it sit, gather power, and before adding the rest of the flour to turn it into knead-able dough, you take a cup out of it for the next time).

First ones will be weird and beyond belief sometimes, but I know people, who have had the same dough starter for a decade if not longer. It isn’t as difficult as it sounds.

Now that I’m writing of it, I think I want to start it again. It felt good to have it on the corner of the cupboard, sitting there like a steady house pet, a spirit in the corner that had to be treated well.

I don’t have my own sour dough picture, but I do have a picture of the other bread I made, so I apologize for my constant readers for a double post image :).Gluten free, dairy free, egg free!

 

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Filed under Daily bread, Yeast

Daily bread

As long as I’m doing the A to Z Challenge, you will get double posts occasionally.

I am bread lover. So after sis told me that we can’t really have the usual bread, I felt like crying out because I can’t get past a day without piece of bread.   I would prefer black bread, but, well, if you can’t have it, then you just can’t have it – it’s no fun to live with them if they are constantly aching their bellies. So, challenge accepted!

I know there are special gluten free flour mixes. But with price of 7 Euros for half a kilo made me crawl up the wall. I could get 6 kilos of normal flour for that! Or 4 kilos of different ones… So instead I took home the 4 different ones and felt like alchemist making the Sorcerer’s stone.

And here it is – gluten free, egg free, dairy free bread! All requirements fulfilled to be added as something we can make normally! And you can add whatever sort of extras in the dough as you want! It puffs up, it can be cut normally, it does not crumble, it does not taste like corn or rice, it is moist and it tastes and acts pretty much like a normal loaf of bread!

The base:

2 tablespoons of  buckwheat flour

4 tablespoons of corn flour (or oat flour)

4,5 tablespoons of rice flour

4,5 tablespoons of  potatoes starch

ab 300 ml of water (warmer than usual if you use dry yeast)

50 g worth of dry yeast (or 50 of live yeast mixed with half of the water above)

3 tablespoons of sugar

half a tablespoon of salt

Extras:
Whatever tasty things you fancy

I tried to keep the ratios of 4 parts of whole grain flours and 6 parts of white flours and starches, 1 part equals 1 lightly heaped tablespoonful.  Simply using one flour came back with results which shall never be mentioned under penalty of death.

First I mixed together the flours and the starch. Mix them throughly so no lumps will be there.  Add sugars, salt and dry yeast. Mix through. If you use the live yeast, add the flour to the rising yeast. The sugar is actually by taste – it’s just the combination I like.

Add half the water. Mix thoroughly. Add in parts the rest of the water. With those flours, you need the mix to look like morning porridge or thicker sour cream.

Add anything else you fancy. For daily loaf, I like adding some seeds or herbs if we begin getting them fresh. For lunch snack for niece, I add a mash of banana, teaspoonfuls of cardamom and cinnamon and teaspoonful of honey.

Let it rise in warm place in the medium loaf pan until your oven heats to 180-200 C. Bake it for about 30 minutes. Remove it from the pan and wrap in a towel. If you feel it is crisp, brush crispy parts with water if needed – it will nicely turn softer. Let it cool inside the towel.

And there you go. Sounds difficult, but with baking, the complete time from mixing the flours to out of the oven is about an hour.

That, by the way, is the real result 🙂 – I am super proud.

Gluten free, dairy free, egg free!

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Filed under Daily bread

Sweet sour cucumber

1 hot house cucumber (they are the long ones) or any fresh cucumber in that matter
small handful of fresh till with stems
2 slices of fresh red or green chilly pepper or 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of salt
4 teaspoons of sugar
pea size amount of mustard paste (we use very strong tasting one, not sweet versions – so it should be twisted by taste)
1/4 teaspoon of mustard seeds
3/4 table spoon of 30% white vinegar
200 ml of water

Melt the sugar, salt and mustard paste in the water. If needed, use 1/4th of hot water to melt them and then add 3/4th of cold water. Add the vinegar, black pepper/ chilly pepper slices and mustard seeds and leave it on the side. Probably by the time you’ve finished with preparing the rest, it will be perfectly cooled.

Slice the cucumbers and lay them in the jar in layers of cucumbers, mustard seeds and cut till. Cover it all with the solution and close the lid. Leave it in the fridge or cellar overnight and there you have it – nice, sweet and sour cucumber breakfast slices.

This version lasts about a week or two, but is not meant to keep for months. It is sweeter then fresh marinated cucumbers, but not as sweet as some varieties you find from the shop. Perfect for breakfast.

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Marinated Baltic sprats

As the past two days were spent boiling meat jelly (our version takes up to 8 hours simmering) and then roasting of pig’s big fat back legs for dinner, it was rather work-filled days. Also, as those dishes are heavy for the stomach, I was glad I got few kilos of Baltic sprats (sprattus sprattus) from the market as well to make another solstice recipe – marinated sprats! We do live near the sea, so the fish is sort of a must-have. But not the “healthy” red fish, but the silver ones :).  Can’t really say that silver is less healthy. I prefer the silver – savor for the flavor.  If I can, I usually buy more than needed for dinner, so I can marinate some in and do some spiced sprats also for heftier breakfast. I’m not giving the latter recipe right now, because the trick there so far has been to get the spice – mix that and some salt-sugar-water and then drawn the carcasses in it for few days. Voila!

Choosing sprats – if the fish has red cheeks, it is at least day old. The less red in cheeks, the fresher the fish. So if you want to be absolutely sure that you get good fish – the fresh fish doesn’t blush.

Baltic sprats

The Marinated Baltic sprats

1 kilo of Baltic sprats
handful of salt
some flour for breading
oil for frying

Marinate:
medium size onion sliced in circles
half medium carrot sliced thin circles
12 black peppers
3 laurel leaves
3 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of sugar
2,5 – 3 soup spoonfuls of 30% white vinegar
1/2 liter of water

Clean the fish ( take it firmly in your hand, back towards you – cut off the head, slice the stomach and remove intestines) and after washing them, let them sit for about an hour with handful of salt.  You can do that night before – if you salt them and cover the bowl lightly, they will stay nicely overnight.

Begin with marinate. For this peal and slice the onion and carrots and put them in a pot with all the rest, except vinegar. Let it come to light boil and then let it simmer until the carrot is al dente. Taste the mix – it should taste slightly stronger than expected taste later. The fish will pull a lot of it in, so if your fish was not salted beforehand, it should taste slightly saltier.
When the carrot is ready, remove it from boil and add vinegar one spoonful at a time. Taste it. Again- slightly more acid than you’d prefer in end results. If you add one spoonful at a time, it will give you playing room. Remember – you can always add, but not take away!

Fry the fish.  Put the pan on stove and heat it. The best is to use not the highest, but the previous setting so you don’t overcook them outside and have them raw inside. Heat the oil.
Because the fish has given out its own juice, you don’t need egg. Gently toss them through so the sprats are wet and then through flour and straight to the pan. Fry on one side until golden brown and then another. I use oil rather sparingly – after fourth pan fulls, the flour burns, so it would be advisable to wash the pan after every fourth or fifth pan fulls. Simple rinse and drying with paper towel will be enough. 😉 spares you from all the smoke.

Let both the fish and marinate cool. After cooling, compose it in the box you wish to store them in in layers – layer of fish, layer of onions-carrots-1 laurel leaf-peppers, layer of fish, etc. until all the fish is gone. Pour over with the marinate and set aside.

Keeps in fridge for about a month. 🙂

Lots of talk, but actually just an hour worth of work with all. You can clean the fish and make marinate day ahead, so by the time you have another half an hour to spare, you can simply fry the fish and compose it in the box.

 

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Filed under Preserves, Snacks

Cooking!

I updated the gingerbread recipe with how to make the syrup. It has been long time since I have made the syrup by scratch and as we tried it out this week-end, I had fresh experience :). It wasn’t as hard as I remembered it to be. Perhaps, because I had few kicks first with caramel pudding?

Which reminds me that I need to transfer any other recipes I use to here. Apparently, when I finished one google accounts I had, I deleted my cooking blog as well. So now I need to renew some of the info I held there. Simple things, like how to make perfect porridge or prepare kissel or other intriguing experiments I don’t have here yet. I know they seem like “why?” posts at first, but there are surprisingly many, who can’t even cook an egg. And the purpose of that cooking blog was to give support to some of my relatives and friends, who were just beginning their cooking experimenting. So things I had there were indeed the simplest of simplest, yet useful.

Which brings me to my next experiment, which will come handy with the upcoming cold and windy season. In Estonia, we have a cream that is used for small cuts and bruises for it helps to heal the wound faster. It is a very simple, yet effective little thing that is sold in apothecaries or made at home in quick go. Safe, if you’re not allergic to the ingredients, that is.

Kriimukreem (Cream for bumps and scratches):
!It is not the exact consistency the apothecary version has – it is recipe I got from my grandmother years back)!

5 ml of olive oil (or infused oil of calendula and/or chamomile)
5 gr of bees wax
5 grams of grind propolis

Cut the bees wax in smaller pieces and grind the propolis. Put them all in small cup, heat them together and drop in the small container equal to the mass you use (15 grams in total in this case). Mix it while it cools. You can mess up with the amounts a bit – it will still work.  Small amount, but it will last for long in the fridge.

It is one of those general creams that you can use on almost anything – from scratches and bruises to creaming your face in the evening if your skin gets dry from weather or use it on hands if they crack in bad weather. It is too oily to be daily body cream, but it helps a lot.

Also, it having no extra ingredients, means it is safe for children from young age. I keep it in the fridge in reach of children (oh the mighty taboo of all the medicine!). If you teach your child from young age, what it is for, then they use it soon by themselves, too. But I can be sure that if they do – and even if they use it to play – it won’t harm them any way.  They taste it, yes, but most of them don’t like the bland taste of it ;).

It is pretty much the same for lip balm ;).

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Filed under Drama, Remedies