Say ‘no’ to politics and crisis post

I’m not into politics. Not even a tiny little bit. But its influence just keeps crawling into my life with a triplesonic speed. Seriously, how should a normal citizen react when your income, your savings, your EVERYTHING is worth less every single day? Everyone is talking about nothing but rouble depreciation. I do not even work in finance any more, but I can still hear people talking about it basically everywhere. I even overheard a kid of about 14 talking to his friend over the phone about it. And the main problem is (and that is actually what scares me the most) that no one has a faintest idea of what will be next. Where we all will be in just a couple of months.

What I do know though is that we can survive anything. So here comes my culinary ‘no-to-politics-and-crisis-manifest’. An incredibly simple warm and comforting salad recipe made of homemade (or home grown) products:

  • Butternut squash (of my mum’s own growing), cut in medium cubes, 500g
  • 1 onion (of my mum’s own growing, too), minced
  • Arugula (of my own window-sill growing), 100g
  • Curd cheese (homemade by myself), 100g
  • Tomato cherries (well, okay, store-bought), cut in halves, 100g
  • Thyme (of my own window-sill growing, dried), 1/4 teaspoon
  • Honey (bought from local farm), 1 tbsp
  • Salt, sugar and pepper, to taste (hope we won’t run of those in our stores ever)
  • Olive oil (3 tbsp) and balsamic (1 teaspoon) (I will smuggle those if they stop selling them in Russia)

Butternut squash salad 1

Preheat your oven to 200ºC. Place the butternut squash cubes in a baking dish, sprinkle over 1 tbsp olive olive, thyme, a pinch of sugar, season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bake for 15-20 min until soft and a slightly caramelized.

In a medium pan heat 1 tbsp olive oil, add onion, 1 tbsp sugar, season with salt and cook until soft and gold.

In a small bowl microwave honey on HI for about 20 sec, add 1 tbsp olive oil, balsamic, season with salt and pepper and mix thoroughly.

Now combine the salad. Mix arugula, fried onion and roasted butternut squash. Sprinkle over curd cheese.

Butternut squash salad_1

Top with cherry tomatoes and pour over honey and olive oil sauce.

Butternut squash salad_2

Enjoy while still warm. And don’t even think about any politics-and-crisis stuff! Better pour yourself a glass of wine… be tough! (so now I’m into poetry…)


Oh autumn! Part 2: One happy camembert story

Being ‘sanctioned’ from most of the cheeses we like best (we literally don’t have them in our supermarkets here in Moscow), we were grocery-shopping like crazy during our trip to Austria and Italy. I believe it was quite a shock for local people making their everyday purchases to see our shopping basket loaded with what seemed like TONS of different kinds of cheese and ‘wurst’. Still, believe me, the effect on the airport guys was even stronger, especially when they had to check our backpacks filled with all the yummy camembert-parmesan-salami stuff =).

Anyway, when we got home I realised that I got sooo much cheese in that bout of esurience, that eating it just as a chaser while drinking wine would definitely not be enough to use it up before it goes bad (we don’t drink THAT much). So yesterday I decided to use some of the cheese up while cooking dinner. The idea was to use a fusion of eggplants (seriously, what’s wrong with me with all the eggplants?) and camembert to make a warm salad – I also added some sweet pepper and cilantro and it worked out really well! The mix is definitely something new – eggplants come all sweet and creamy making a great complement to crispy though tender fried camembert, with cilantro and pepper shaping it all in a nice, rich fusion!

You will need:

Eggplant and brie salad ingr

You will also need 1 tbsp sugar, a handful of breadcrumbs, 1 egg, 2 tbsp olive oil, some sesame seeds and a small sweet long pepper

Preheat your oven to 180ºC. Peel most of the skin off the eggplant (I say ‘most’, but you may of course leave it all if you like eggplant skin, it’s just that in this recipe I think it’s best to make the eggplants as tender and creamy as they can get and the skin just won’t be like that no matter how you cook it, but leaving some of it makes the eggplant look prettier), cut it into 4 stripes lengthwise, arrange the stripes on a baking sheet or a large plate, season with salt and leave them like that for 30 min. Then dab the eggplant stripes dry with a paper towel and cut them into 6-7 cm sticks. Cut the pepper in large pieces. Arrange the eggplant sticks and pepper on a baking tray covered with a baking sheet, season them with salt. Roast in the oven for 15-20 min until the veggies just start to shrivel and become tender.

Prepare the sauce. Put the teriyaki sauce and honey in a small saucepan and simmer over low heat for a couple of minutes, increase the heat to medium and then add sugar stirring until it fully dissolves. Take the sauce off the heat.

Remove the veggies from the oven and spread the sauce over them with a food brush. Increase the heat to 200ºC, switch the roasting mode to ‘grill’ if your oven has one. Put the veggies back in the oven on a top shelf and caramelize for just a couple of minutes. Remove them from the oven.

Cut camembert in 8 segments. In a small bowl beat up the egg, put the breadcrumbs in another bowl. Put camembert pieces first into egg and then into breadcrumbs. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and roast camembert pieces covered in breadcrumbs over medium heat for just a few minutes until golden brown and then take them out of the pan immediately.

To serve, put roasted eggplant sticks and pepper on each plate, top them with camembert pieces, sprinkle over the chopped cilantro, sweet pepper and sesame seeds.

To add extra freshness enjoy it with cucumber salad (just slice the cucumbers, season with salt and teriyaki sauce). And don’t forget to pour yourself a glass of wine – there’s camembert in this salad after all!))

Eggpland and brie salad

PS I promise I’ll stop cooking eggplants)