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“Kibinai” – National dish of Karaimai

(ALL CREDITS GO TO MY WIFE )

INGREDIENTS:

For the dough:

  • 1kg of plain flour.
  • 380g creme fraiche (at least 30% fat, but more is better).
  • 250 grams unsalted and chilled butter.
  • 2 eggs.
  • salt
  • pepper

For the filling:

  • 500g unsmoked pork loin joint
  • 500g smoked pork loin joint
  • 2 big onions
  • salt and pepper

First of all a little bit of history of this dish which is very popular in Lithuania. It was brought to Lithuania with ethnic group of people which is mostly based in Trakai nowadays. Kibinai became very popular in Lithuania as they are very delicious and very easy to eat , perfect when you need to pack your lunch or when you want to feed a large group of people. You do not need cutlery to be able to eat which makes them good for picknics too.

Lets get started with the dough first, as it will need to rest in the fridge for about 30 min once finished. Take 1kg of plain flour and run through the sift , put some salt and pepper so the dough wasn’t bland. Grate in butter, mix it with the flour thoroughly, you should not have any big butter pieces left and flour will become a bit yellowish and wet grainy crumble (You can spread this process up by using food processor). Now make a well in the centre and put all wet ingredients which is 2 eggs and creme fraiche. Kneed the dough while no flour is left on a work table, everything is well combined and not sticking to the hands. Wrap the dough into a cling film and put into the fridge for about 30 min.

Second step would be to prepare the filing. Dice the meat in 1cm cubes, mix with diced onions, season it with salt and pepper (Do not use minsed meat instead as it will change the texture completely). Kibinai supposed to have a bit of heat so don’t be afraid to put a bit more pepper. The quantity of the salt used in the filling depends on the saltiness of the meat. I normally mix 500 gr. of raw pork loin with 500 gr. of lightly smoked pork loin therefore I put less salt.

When dough is relaxed and filling is made, take the dough out of the fridge and divide into 4 equal pieces.

Roll each piece as shown in the picture below (Roughly 30 cm length rolls). Divide each piece into half and each half into half again and you should end up with 16 equal pieces.

Roll each piece into circles as per pictures below. I find it best to roll all of the pieces first and then spread the filling evenly. To make the proper form of Kibinai follow pictures below. If the edges of the dough became too dry you may want to brush it with some egg wash. Stick the sides of the dough together and then to make a nice looking pattern on top, twist the top part of the dough towards yourself and press lightly (See the pictures below).  When finished with the pattern, line up your baking trays with some baking paper and transfer Kibinai leaving some space in between as shown in pictures below. Brush with an egg wash and bake in preheated to 200deg C oven for 30 min or until golden brown.

Traditionally it goes with chicken broth (bouillon) but it is very nice with the fresh salad or beer. Bon appetite!

 

Cod with mediterranean salsa

INGREDIENTS:

500gr of cod fillet

50gr. of flour

1 onion (chopped)

3 anchovies

50ml white wine

1 chilli pepper (chopped)

1 Tbs of dried marjoram

1 Tbs of dried oregano

Handful of fresh basil

1 tbs of cappers with 1 Tbs of capers marinade (Juice in which capers comes in)

10 black olives (I used Calamata olives )

8 fresh medium size tomatoes (cut into quarters)

Fresh parsley & dill

Olives oil, Salt & pepper to taste and sugar (if needed)

 

PREPARATION:

Firstly let’s cook the Cod. Season the cod fillets with salt & pepper and coat with flour. Make sure you shake off the excess before transferring fish onto the pan. Heat the pan on medium-high heat. When pan is relatively hot transfer the fish. Cook for 2 min each side or until it’s lightly golden brown. Remove it from the pan and leave it aside.

Let’s make a salsa. In the same pan, add anchovies and cook until they break down and almost melts. Add the onion with chilli pepper and cook until onion gets translucent. Add the dried herbs (oregano & marjoram). Cook them for about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and reduce the heat to low-medium and cook them for about 8 minutes until they break up and release their juices. Add olives and wine and cook for 2 more minutes until the alcohol evaporates. Add parsley, dill & basil. If salsa at this point is very thick(depends on tomatoes you use for this recipe), introduce 1-2 tablespoons of water. Now adjust the seasoning. I didn’t season at the beginning just because anchovies were very salty. If salsa is on a sour side, introduce a little bit of sugar just to balance it out. Add fish fillets into the salsa mix and cook for 1-2 min just to warm up the fish.

Garnish with fresh basil leaves and chopped chilli pepper. Serve it with a slice of bread of your choice, I used Ciabatta bread.

Bon appetit:)

 

 

 

 

Seared scallops with cauliflower-corn puree and sun dried tomato pesto

 

INGREDIENTS:

CAULIFLOWER & SWEET CORN PUREE:

2 baby cauliflowers

2 sweet corn cubs

50 g of unsalted butter

150ml of milk

salt to taste

SUN-DRIED TOMATO PESTO:

100gr of sun-dried tomatoes in oil

50ml of extra virgin olive oil

50gr parmesan cheese (grated)

1 clove of garlic

1 cup of basil leaves

salt & pepper to taste

PICKLED RADISHES:

10 Sliced radishes

A bunch of chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 tbs of extra virgin olive oil

50 ml white wine vinegar

SEARED SCALLOPS:

8 scallops (for 2 people)

olive oil

salt & pepper to taste.

 

PREPARATION:

Let’s start with pickled radishes. Slice the radishes thinly, add white wine vinegar and leave it to pickle for approx 30 min. Just before you serve it , add chopped parsley and olive oil, mixed it through.

Let’s make sun-dried tomato pesto. Add sun-dried tomatoes,  parmesan cheese, 1 garlic clove, basil and salt & pepper. Blend all together at the same time adding olive oil until you reach desired consistency of your pesto.

Now onto cauliflower puree. Heat the pan (griddle pan if available) and cook 2 sweet corn cubs until they slightly chard . Then carefully take the corns off the cub. Leave it to rest. In a mean time cut the cauliflower into smaller pieces so it cooks faster. Heat the pot, add  a little bit of butter and add the cauliflower. Cook it for 4 minutes until they starts to soften then add milk and corn. Bring it to the boil and simmer for about 10 min until cauliflower is fully cooked through and tender to the knife. Take the hand blender (or blender of your choice) and blend it until smooth consistency. If it’s a little too thick add some milk and blend it again.

Lastly –  The scallops. Heat the pan until it starts to smoke, add olive oil . Add a little salt & pepper onto the scallops and transfer them onto the pan. Make sure your pan is smoking hot , otherwise your scallops will cook in it’s own juices and not caramelise. Depending on the size of the scallops cook it for about 20 sec on each side (I like my scallops just a little raw inside). Then transfer them to the plate to rest and start assembling the dish. It’s up to each person taste how they want dish to look.

Bon appetit.:)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mushroom ravioli

 

INGREDIENTS:

FOR FILLING:

  • Mushrooms (Chestnut) 100gr (chopped)
  • Dried mushrooms 10gr (soaked in water and chopped)
  • Mascarpone cream (2 tablespoons)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Half of mild chilli (chopped)
  • 1 shallot (chopped)
  • 1 clove of garlic chopped)
  • 100gr of spinach (chopped)
  • 1/4 of a teaspoon of nutmeg
  • Salt, pepper & olive oil.

FOR DOUGH:

  • 200gr. all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk.
  • Pinch of salt.

FOR SAUCE:

  • 50gr of butter
  • 100ml of chicken stock
  • 100ml of white wine
  • 100ml of single cream
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Bunch of thyme leaves (3-4 springs)
  • 1 shallot
  • Salt

PREPARATION:

Let’s start with the filling. Heat the pan on medium heat and add shallot, garlic and chilli. Cook the shallots until they get translucent and add the chopped mushrooms, thyme, nutmeg and lemon zest. Cook it off until all liquid released by mushrooms is evaporated. Add dried mushrooms and cook it for further 5 min on medium heat. At the very end of the cooking add spinach and cook until they wilt down. Transfer to the bowl let it cool down a bit, then add mascarpone cream. Mix it well and transfer to the fridge.

As our filling is done let’s start with a dough. Whisk the eggs. Add flour and eggs to the food processor and pulse it slightly until mixture resembles wet sand. Dust the surface with a flour and transfer the dough mixture and start kneading. It will take from 10-15 min. Knead until the dough stops sticking to the surface and your hands. After it’s done wrap the dough with the plastic and transfer to the fridge for at least 30 min.

After 30 min. start rolling the dough. If you have a pasta machine( the lucky ones!) just run the dough through the pasta machine from the highest setting to the lowest. Pasta must be paper thin for a good ravioli. As I didn’t have pasta machine I used a good old rolling pin:) After rolling the pasta, make 2 round pasta pieces (see pic) for 1 ravioli (you can use pasta cutter or as I did – I used the cup). Add 1 teaspoon of filling in the middle of one piece. Brush the edge with water and put another piece on top and lightly press so it sticks to the bottom piece. Make sure you don’t trap the air inside the ravioli as it may explode during the cooking process. Use can press the sides with a fork to have a nice textural element (this is optional). I managed to make 14 raviolis.

Now start making the sauce. Add 1 shallot into the pan on medium heat. Cook it off until translucent. Add white wine, chicken stock, juice of 1 lemon and thyme leaves. Reduce mixture by half and add salt to taste. Add butter and cream and simmer on a low heat for about 5 min.

While sauce is simmering let’s start cooking our ravioli. Add ravioli to the pot of  simmering salted water (on medium to low heat) and cook until it flows to the surface, this usually takes 3-4 minutes. Remove them for the pot and add on a paper towel to drain. Then plate it up. Add some sauce, add a ravioli and some more sauce on top. I used a spring of thyme to garnish the plate.

Bon appetit.:)

 

Dried mushroom risotto

 

INGREDIENTS (for 2 people):

  • 2 shallots (finely chopped)
  • 2 springs of thyme
  • 100ml of white wine
  • 50 gr of dried mushroom (I use boletus. Can be replaced by porcini)
  • 150gr (or cup) of risotto rice (Carnaroli or Arborio rice)
  • Chicken stock (800ml)
  • Parmesan cheese .
  • Salt, pepper & olive oil
  • A knob of butter (about 50 gr)
  • Parsley

PREPARATION:

Prepare mushrooms first. Add mushrooms into a bowl and pour over some boiling water (about 200ml). Leave it for about 10-15 min for mushrooms to soak up some oh the liquid. Water becomes dark brown colour. Take the mushrooms out and chop them into smaller pieces. Do not discard the water. Add it to the chicken stock.

Heat a pan on medium heat. Add olive oil and shallots and cook them until translucent for about 5 minutes. Add the rice and lightly toast them until they become sticky when squeezed between the fingers (warning: they are very hot when doing that!). Add the wine and let it evaporate for about a minute. Now add the mushrooms, season it with salt and pepper and add a ladle of warm chicken stock into the pan(Keep stock on simmering at all times!). Continue to stir the rice until they absorb the liquid, then add another ladle.(Continuous stirring helps the rice to release its starch what gives risotto a creamy texture) Keep doing it for about 20 min until the rice still has the bite to it (not chalky) and not mushy(Italians call it al dente). At the very end of the cooking add parmesan cheese, thyme leaves and butter. Stir it well. Add last ladle of stock, cover the pan and leave it to rest for about 5 min. Risotto must have a liquid – runny texture. Add parsley to garnish and eat straight away:)

Bon appetit.:)

 

Basil panna cotta

 

INGREDIENTS:

 

For Basil Panna Cotta:

  • 500ml of single cream
  • 100ml of milk.
  • 3 sheets of gelatine.
  • 200mg sugar
  • 200gr of basil leaves.
  • raspberries to garnish

For strawberry coulis:

  • 100gr of strawberries
  • 2 tbs of lemon juice
  • 1 tbs of sugar

For caramelised pistachios:

  • 200gr of pistachios (shelled)
  • 200gr sugar
  • 200ml of water
  • 1 tbs of lemon juice.

PREPARATION:

Let’s start with preparing the basil. Add basil leaves to the blender and blend until smooth. Run everything through a sift so we have nice basil juice at the end.

Add gelatine sheets into a pan with cold water and leave it aside for 10 min

Heat the pot for panna cotta , add 500ml of single cream, milk and sugar. Add basil juice and stir until sugar is completely incorporated into the mixture. Don’t let the mixture boil. Remove from the stove and add gelatine sheets by squeezing them beforehand to remove excess water. Mix everything and pour into ramekins. I usually get 4 full ramekins from this amount of mixture. Leave it to cool at room temperature for 30 min , then transfer it to the fridge for 6 hours preferebly.

While panna cotta is chilling, we can start with our coulis. Transfer strawberries into the blender add lemon juice and sugar, blend everything and run the mixture through a sift to make sure all seeds are left out. Transfer the mixture to the fridge.

Transfer whole pistachios to the food processor and run it for 5 sec to have a finer texture. Add them to the bowl.

Heat the pan on low-medium heat and add water with sugar. Mix it up well and heat for approx 10 min until we get sirupy texture. Add pistachios to the pan and mix. Distribute them evenly on a cooling rack (I usually put it on a baking paper). Transfer to the fridge if possible to let it solidify.

Just before serving transfer pistachios into the blender and blent it for a couple of seconds so we have nice caramelised crumble.

Remove panna cotta from the ramekins by running a knife to loosen it. Tip out on to a serving plate. Add coulis and pistachios.

Bon appetit.:)

 

 

 

 

 

Thai inspired coconut soup

INGREDIENTS

1L of good quality chicken stock (I have home-made here)

200gr Shitaki mushrooms.(not in a photo)

A handfull of spinach.(not in a photo)

2-3 Kaffir lime leaves

1 red chilli (de-seeded and chopped)

2 garlic cloves (grated)

3 shallots (finely chopped)

2 lemongrass sticks

a thumb size piece of galangal (or ginger )

3 limes (zest of 1 lime is need in the recipe)

3 tbs fish sauce

1 tps of sugar

1 can (400ml) of coconut milk (light)

Seafood: 1 big cod filet and 6 large Indonesian prawns(can be substituted with large prawns)

 

PREPARATION:

Add chicken stock to the pot and keep it on medium heat. Add Kaffir lime leaves, 1 chopped chilli, grate 2 garlic cloves. Add the shallots with lemongrass sticks (Make sure to pound lemongrass with a back of the knife to release its juices). Grate galangal root. Pour 2 cans of coconut milk. Add zest of 1 lime to the pot. Add shitaki mushrooms. Leave it to simmer on a low heat for 10-15 min.

Now for the most important part. The balance of flavours: sweet, sour, salty & hot. Add 1 tbs of sugar into the pot, 2 tbs of fish sauce and squeeze juice of 2 limes. Mix all together. If needed add juice of 1 lime. Leave it to simmer on a low heat for 10-15 min

In the meantime prepare the seafood: cut fish into bite size pieces. Clean the prawns (peel and devein if necessary).

Add the seafood and mushrooms at the very end of cooking and simmer on low heat for 3-5 min until seafood is fully cooked and prawns are nice pink colour and fish is just about to flake.

Garnish with a little bit of parsley and it goes very well with nice toasted ciabatta bread.

Bon appetit.:)

Lithuanian potato pie “Kugelis”

INGREDIENTS (4-6 people):

2.5kg of potatoes.

6 chicken thighs (de-boned with no skin)

150 ml of milk

1 large onion (or 2 small)

salt & pepper & olive oil

FOR THE SAUCE:

Smoked pancetta or bacon

1 onion (chopped)

3 tbs of creme fraiche

handful of parsley (chopped)

 

PREPARATION:

Heat the pan with the olive oil. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper to taste. Cook them on medium heat for 2-3 min on each side or until almost cooked and move them to the baking dish and place evenly.

Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Peel potatoes & onions and grate them with a fine grater or use food processor with the grater attached to it (or you can use juicer to separate potato juice from the potato itself. Mix them together afterwards. This way you can avoid long and tiring grating procedure). Add some salt & pepper to the potato mixture then some lemon juice which will stop your potato mixture to become brown . Heat a small pot with milk until its almost boiling and add to the potatoes. It helps to keep the potato pie soft when cooked. Mix well and transfer mixture into the baking dish with the chicken. Just pour over the chicken and put the dish into the oven for 1 hour. After 1 hour in the oven start checking if  mixture is fully cooked. Take the toothpick and if toothpick comes out clean that means it’s done and the crust has to be dark brown colour.Remove from the oven and let it sit for about 10 min. Then slice into portions.

While potatoes are cooking and almost done , prepare the sauce to go with it. Chop some pancetta or bacon slices in cubes. The same has to be done with the onion. Add pancetta to the pan on medium heat and let all the fat to come out, add onions and cook it on low to medium heat for about 10 min or until onions are transparent and pancetta is crispy. Take the pan off the stove and add creme fraiche and chopped parsley.

Add a portion of “Kugelis” to the plate and pour over the sauce.

Bon appetit.:)

Seafood soup

 

 

INGREDIENTS:

4 slices of Italian pancetta (smoked) or bacon (chopped)

1 carrot chopped

2 small onions chopped (or 1 large)

2 potatoes (chopped into bite size pieces)

1 l. of Chicken stock

3-4 cherry tomatoes

200ml of single cream

1 red chilli pepper (chopped)

100ml of white wine

1 tbs of flour

1 tbs of tomato paste

Olive oil, salt & pepper to taste.

Parsley to garnish

Seafood – 200gr. of trout filet, 8 scallops, 150gr of king prawns (cleaned and deveined).

Ciabatta bread & garlic clove.

 

PREPARATION:

Start with preparation of seafood. Cut trout in bite size pieces. Clean & devein prawns if necessary. Set aside ( I leave all my seafood in the fridge until the last minute).

Put your soup pot on medium heat. (Remember we will cook all our ingredients in one pot). Start with cooking pancetta until it releases its fat and brown up a little(drizzle some oil if there is not enough bacon fat to cook the onions). Add the onions, carrot & chilli pepper and cook for further 5-6 min until onions get translucent.Add a tablespoon of tomato paste and incorporate into the mixture. Add tablespoon of flour and cook it off for 3 mins constantly mixing the mixture so it doesn’t burn (make sure you don’t see any floury bits after 3 min of cooking). Add white wine and cook for 1 minute. Add chicken stock and bring it to the boil. Add potatoes and cherry tomatoes and cook on medium heat for 15-20 min or until potatoes are tender and fully cooked. When potatoes are cooked add 200ml of single cream. Take the seafood out of the fridge and add to the soup and simmer for 2-3 min, make sure you don’t overcook the scallops because the tend to become like rubber and not pleasant to eat. Garnish with chopped parsley

It goes perfectly with Ciabatta bread, you can add ciabatta bread slices into pre-heated 200C oven and cook until the surface becomes golden and crispy, take it out and smear with garlic clove both sides while they are hot.

Bon appetit:)

 

Stuffed chicken thighs with spinach & walnuts.

INGREDIENTS (for 4 people):

CHICKEN STUFFING:

  • 8 chicken thighs
  • 8 slices of prosciutto
  • 8 slices of Swiss cheese .
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 100gr. of walnuts
  • 200gr. of spinach.
  • salt&pepper
  • 1 spring of thyme.

SALAD:

  • 1 cucumber
  • a bunch of mint and dill
  • fresh radishes.
  • red wine vinegar 30ml.

FONDANT POTATOES:

  • 4 potatoes
  • 150ml of chicken stock.
  • 50 gr of butter
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

PREPARATION:

1) Prepare the garlic first. Cut the tops of the garlic bulb, drizzle with olive oil, add thyme spring. Wrap in foil and bake in the oven pre-heated to 180C for about 40-45 minutes (Don’t let them burn!). When cooked while hot squeeze them and chop it up to a fine paste.

2)De-bone chicken thighs (you can buy them already prepared ) and remove the skin. Slightly even them up with the meat mallet for even cooking.

3) Prepare walnuts. Just grind them in pestle and mortar, but not too fine.

4) Heat the pan on medium heat. Add a little drizzle of olive oil. Add spinach and cook them until they shrink down ( approx. 2min). Add salt & pepper.

5) Let’s start doing chicken rolls. Place ingredients in the following order: Prosciutto – chicken thigh – salt & pepper – garlic paste – spinach – walnuts – cheese. Make 8 rolls in total.

6) Prepare the potatoes – if you have potato cutter that is even better. Just cut two equal pieces of 1 big potato. Make top & bottom surface flat so you have a nice crust on the potato when cooked. If you don’t have it just work with a knife as I did (as shown the in the picture below). Heat the pan on medium-high heat. Add olive oil to the pan. When hot add potatoes presentation side down. Make sure you get nice dark golden colour. Then turn them on the other side, add butter, chicken stock and 2 springs of thyme. Salt & pepper the potatoes. After 5 min move the pan in a hot oven(180C) for about 30min or until potatoes are fully cooked and the tops are crispy.

7) While potatoes are in the oven, move your chicken rolls into a baking dish and add  to the oven with potatoes for 20-25 min or until chicken is fully cooked (I sometimes take out 1 chicken roll and cut it in half to check it).

8) While potatoes and chicken are cooking let’s make a salad. Take a potato peeler and peel the cucumber length-wise so we have nice long and thin strips. Cut the radishes , chop mint leaves with dill. Add to the bowl and mix with red wine vinegar. Let them sit for 10-20 min to slightly pickle the vegetables. Just before serving chop some fresh mint and dill to garnish.

9) Plating – each to their own. I happened to have a nice long plate, cut chicken roll pieces in half, add the potatoes & cucumber salad in between (first photo).

10) Bon apetit everyone.:)