Puff pastry SALMON with sun dried tomatoes

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With just few days away from Christmas,I’m indulging into this special time of anticipation….smell of gingerbread cakes dancing around the house mixing with the scents of fresh Christmas tree, twinkling lights in neighbours’ houses and the sound of jolly Christmas songs….
It all brings back fond memories,takes me back to my childhood and puts a generous smile on my face.
My close family might be 1,058 miles away from me this Christmas but it feels like they’re here with me.I’ll be cooking Christmas dinner with my mum over the phone,compete with my dad who’s having the best tree,text silly massages to my brothers,and see them all on Skype on Christmas day.

I don’t believe that the meaning of Christmas is gone.Christmas never change,some people do.I can just wish for myself never to change and hope that Christmas will always be the same for me.I’ve always felt deep magic of Christmas time…It’s always been about family,slowing down and living in the moment.And presents?I love giving gifts to others and watch their reaction.It’s priceless…but as for myself,there is always the same present I wish to find under my tree – a wrapped orange and a bag of nuts.What more can I want?I’ve got everything I need.I’m healthy,people I love the most are healthy too.I have my soulmate always by my side,I’ve got loving family and friends that are always there for me.I have beautiful memories too and I’m grateful for those memories I can still make.Instead of wanting more,I’m thankful that I’ve got EVERYTHING ๐Ÿ™‚

I wish you all to be truly happy.Not only for Christmas.Happy for life ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s the most beautiful gift you can give to yourself and to others ๐Ÿ™‚
Have a magical time with the special people you love.Merry Christmas xxx

Before I go,I’ll just quickly tell you about this awesome(I know I use this word way too often!) recipe.I’ve always been afraid of puff pastry,I always felt it was too complicated and way too time consuming.After my first attempt I can tell you that it is time consuming but it’s super easy!And with this recipe for a quick puff pastry you’re going to save same time too.This recipe for puff pastry comes from chef Michel Roux and I can tell you now that I’ll never ever buy puff pastry from the shop again.Now, that I put it in writing I should feel ashamed if I ever do! ๐Ÿ™‚

So we’ve got the best puff pastry possible wrapped around fresh salmon fillet,topped with sun dried tomatoes and garlic.This is the best Christmas dish I’ve ever eaten!(And it doesn’t have to be served only for Christmas!)I’m sure you’ll love it too ๐Ÿ™‚

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RECIPE:

serves : 8

INGREDIENTS:

Puff pastry:

250g plain flour
250g cold butter
0,5 teaspoon salt
80ml-100ml icy water

Other ingredients:

8 pieces of salmon (around 800g)
16 sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil,chopped
couple of pinches of sesame seeds and almond flakes to sprinkle on top

PREPARATION:

1.Put the flour in a bowl. Add the butter and salt and work them together with the fingertips.

2.When the dough starts to look grainy, gradually add the iced water and mix until it is all incorporated, but don’t overwork the dough. Roll it into a ball,flatten, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30minutes.

3.Flour the work surface and roll out the pastry into a 40 x 20cm rectangle. Fold it into three and give it a quarter-turn. Roll the block of pastry into a 40 x 20cm rectangle as before, and fold it into three again. These are the first 2 turns. Wrap the block in cling film and refrigerate it for 30 minutes.

4.Give the chilled pastry another 2 turns, rolling and folding as before. This makes a total of 4 turns, and the pastry is now ready. Wrap it in cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.

5.Before taking the pastry out a fridge, preheat the oven to 190C/375F.

6.Take the pastry out the fridge,cut it into 4 squares.Roll out the first part to around 15 x 40 cm and cut in half.You should get 2 rectangles of 15 x 20 cm each.Place salmon in the middle of each one(along the shorter length) and cut the slits on both sides of puff pastry around 1/4 inch (6 mm) apart at a slight angle(have a look at a picture above),place 1 spoonful of chopped tomatoes on top and start folding them from the top,alternating sides.Brush with egg mixture and arrange on a baking try,lined with a baking paper.Do the same with the remaining parts of puff pastry.

7.Sprinkle with sesame seeds and almond flakes.

8.Bake for 30 minutes.

Enjoy x

Sauerkraut and mushroom TARTS

 

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The most magical time of the year is just round the corner.With 14 sleeps and 10 working days to go I can’t stop jumping with the excitement.How not to love Christmas?There is sooooo much awesome food(and drink) involved,all in the atmosphere of the best tunes of the year.Morning breakfasts with Michael Buble’s carols,lunches with”Rockin around the Christmas tree” and peaceful evenings in a company of Frank Sinatra.Life is goood!To make it even more beautiful,the aromas of home made mulled wine fill the house from top to bottom and there is lots of amazing food around which never tastes as good as in December.It’s a real feast for the senses.One of the great things about blogging is that you celebrate Christmas at least tree time before it comesย  ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ All this recipe sampling,cooking and shooting allow to experience Christmas for much longer.

Let me tell you a little bit about Polish Christmas.We might be living in England for over 8 years but Christmas in our house is always 99% Polish.1% goes to English crackers we have on our festive table ๐Ÿ™‚ It might surprise some of you but we sit down to our main Christmas meal on the 24th of December ๐Ÿ™‚ And we open our presents on Christmas Eve too!I know!We are a very eager nation ๐Ÿ™‚ There is 12 dishes on the table.(Apparently because there was 12 Jesus’s Apostoles) We don’t eat any meat except for fish.Carp is traditional fish we eat during Christmas but since it’s a royal fish in the UK and it CAN’T be eaten here we swap it for salmon or cod.It suits me fine as carp is full of bones anyway.Polish Christmas is all about sauerkraut and wild mushrooms with some poppy seeds and dry fruits in between. ๐Ÿ™‚

I think those tarts reflect exactly the taste of Polish Christmas but they might as well be eaten all year round.That’s what I do!They are served with home made borscht and there is nothing like this duet.Sauerkraut is pretty awesome,super tasty and full of goodness by the way.And here I have to admit that I’m the luckiest girl in the world as there is always some home made sauerkraut in my pantry ๐Ÿ™‚ (Thank you the best mother-in-law in the world!)

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RECIPE:

for 4 smaller tarts or 1 big

INGREDIENTS:

Pastry:

250 g plain flour(I used organic)
150 gย  salted cold butter
1 egg + 1 egg for brushing
3 tablespoons cold water

Sauerkraut filling:

2-3 tablespoons butter
2 medium brown onions,chopped
2-3 garlic cloves,chopped
450g sauerkraut with carrots,rinsed,chopped if necessary
1/2 cup(125 ml) water
5og dry wild mushrooms(soaked overnight) or 200g chestnut mushrooms,sliced or chopped
small bunch of fresh parley leaves,chopped
salt and pepper

PREPARATION:

1.If you use dry wild mushroom,soak them overnight,then rinse, cover with water,bring to boil and simmer for around 1 hour until soft.

2.Make the pastry.Sift the flour into a medium bowl,add butter and egg.Rub the butter and egg into the flour with your fingertips.Add cold water and combine together using your (or someone’s else’s :)hands.If the mixture feels too crumbly add some more water.Cut out 1/3 of the pastry(it’s going to be the top layer),flatten both parts of pastry into discs,wrap with cling film and put in the fridge for 1 hour.

3.Prepare the sauerkraut filling.Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan,add the onions and garlic,fry until golden.Rinse the sauerkraut generously with water and add to the saucepan(You might want to chop it first).If you use dry mushroom,place them in a saucepan now(cooked and chopped).Season with salt and pepper,add parsley and cook covered for around 1/2 hour,stirring it from time to time and adding couple of tablespoons of water if necessary.If you use fresh chestnut mushrooms,melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium pan,add mushrooms,cook until soft and mix with sauerkraut just before taking it off the hob.Let the filling to cool down.

4.Preheat the oven to 190C/374F.

5.Take the pastry(bigger part)out the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface in a size of 4 small baking dishes or 1 bigger.Place the pastry over the dishes or dish and run a rolling pin on the rims of each one to get a perfectly lined tarts.Prick each one with a fork,cover with baking paper and baking(or dry) beans.Bake for 20 minutes.

6.Take the tarts from the oven,remove the beans and paper,put back in the oven for extra 10 minutes until the pastry turns golden.Remove from the oven.

7.Spoon the filling(cold) over the tarts.Take out the remaining pastry from the fridge.Roll it out quite thin(about 5 mm) and cut into stripes.Woven the stripes over the tops of the tarts.Brush with beaten egg,put in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.

8.Serve warm.

NOTES:

In a traditional recipe sauerkraut and mushroom filling is always made with dry wild mushrooms.But I understand that they might not be available everywhere or they are ridiculously expensiveย  so here come fresh chestnut mushroom to help.Mind that the taste will be differentย  to traditional sauerkraut and mushroom filling if you use fresh ones.

Some sauerkrauts are already chopped in a jar.If it’s still in form of quite long strings I would advise you to chop it(not too finely tho).

Enjoy xxx

Quinoa,halloumi and pomegranate WINTER SALAD

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I first tried quinoa couple of years ago,when suddenly the world got absolutely crazy about this grain.They were praising it on television,enumerating it’s healthy benefits in magazines,everyone talked about quinoa.Curious of what it was,I flicked through the recipes that were overflowing the internet and urgently decided to give it a go.30 minutes later I was coming back from the shop with a packet of those tiny pearls and a big smile on my face.I decided to make porridge from this so called “amazing recipe”,which sadly turned out not so amazing at all.It was runny with not much flavour and I ate it without the expected WOW factor.And so I buried the open packet of quinoa deep down in my pantry and never went back to it again.I don’t give up on new ingredients but this one time I did and I would probably never fancy trying it again if I didn’t come across a similar salad recipe in Top with cinnamon cookbook.Halloumi and pomegranate are the two ingredients I just cannot live without in the winter and when you throw in some cashew nuts and top it with quinoa you’ll receive the best winter salad ever.

So happy cooking xxx

Enjoy x

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RECIPE:

serves 4

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup (170g) quinoa
pinch or two of sea salt
9 oz (250g) sheep halloumi
50g cashew nuts
pomegranate seeds from 1/2 a fruit
splash of fresh lemon juice(optional)

METHOD:

1.Cover quinoa with 2 cups (500ml) boiling water,add salt ans simmer for around 12-15 minutes until all the water has been absorbed.Put aside.

2.In the meantime,heat the oven to 374F/190C.Cut halloumi into thich slices 1/2 inch( 5mm) and put on the rack placed over a baking tray and bake for 3-5 minutes on the top shelf(closer to the heater). When the cheese golden on the top,flip it over and bake on the other side for another 3-5 minutes.Remove from the oven and let it cool down.Cut into smaller pieces.

3.To make the salad combine quinoa with halloumi cheese,cashew nuts and pomegranate seeds.You might drizzle it with a splash of fresh lemon juice if you like.

Enjoy!