A glorious comeback with chicken croquettes

It’s been quite a while since my last post. Even the interface of WordPress has changed a little bit (or maybe they do that every other week?)

Anyway. Lots of stuff has happened during this last…well 5 weeks (OMG, I’m breaking a crucial ‘regularity’ rule of any self-respecting blogger).

First, and of course the MOST important thing – I created an account on Instagram. Even two accounts 😉 One for myself and one for my project CheeseBox. It IS quite an event as I’d been avoiding this application for suuuch a long time with everyone around me scrolling and posting and taking selfies and never letting their phones go. Well, now I’m one of these freakish people, too and you can find me at either @valeriyaopanasyuk or @yourcheesebox.

Second, and of course faaaar less important thing – I’ve continued working on my project CheeseBox and we already have lots of our clients who are happily making cheese at home! We still have tons of stuff to do, while current economic situation in Russia is far from welcoming for a small start-ups like us…but ‘When your heart is in your dream, no request is too extreme…’

And finally, I’ve decided that 2015 should become a turning point in my relations with sports and health so now I’ll be posting more of healthy and low-fat recipes to keep us all fit! Just to clarify, I definitely didn’t stick to my sports-and-health new-year resolution during the long holidays in the beginning of January, hogging all sorts of goodies ‘sans cesse’ ;).

And here comes the first healthy recipe of the year: chicken croquettes with butternut squash. The croquettes themselves are super-light, juicy and tender + you can use bain-marie instead of frying pan to make them even healthier.

Chicken croquettes_3

For the croquettes you will need:

  • 800 g minced chicken fillet
  • 150 g grated butternut squash
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp tumeric
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil

In a large bowl combine all the ingredients until well mixed. Salt and pepper, to taste. Form small croquettes about 2 cm thick and 5 cm in diameter (when forming, wet your hands with water from time to time). Heat olive oil in a frying pan and roast croquettes for 3-4 min, then turn them, add 50 ml water, cover the pan with a lid and roast for 3-4 min more, until ready and golden brown.

Chicken croquettes_4



Halloween and burgers…perfect match!

Sooooo… I guess it’s time for a Halloween report…which I’m probably a bit late with, but I’ve already made my peace with the fact that nothing goes well with this year’s Halloween posts (check out my previous post about scary sea bass and you will get a bit of an idea why).

You know how sometimes you are planning something waaay ahead and then it just all turns out to be completely different? Well, that’s exactly what happened this weekend.

First of all, most of us didn’t have any Halloween costumes (although we did have some horse-head masks plus one lovely maid costume which looked even more fantastic with our gorgeous Evgeniya wearing it). Secondly, I was too lazy to cook any Halloween treats in advance (shame on me) so we decided to make burgers which seemed to be a great and simple idea with us going outside of town and with the weather being just terrific. However (what a surprise!), by the time we finally gathered together it was too cold and too dark to grill ANYTHING, let alone taking pictures of the process. Still, the hunger, need-for-meat and a bit of cocktails did their part and we managed to grill the burgers. They turned out to be fantastic! The pictures, however, were not that good, so I went through with our burger experiment at home today (oh no, don’t you think I just wanted another burger?!) and took some nice shots so that you can get an idea of how great they were.


For 4 of your own home-made burgers you will need:

  • 4 large soft bread rolls, cut in halves (any of your favourite bread will do)
  • 500 g beef mince
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 100 g fresh arugula/basil/corn/mangold leaves (use the mix of those you like, I used arugula and basil)
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 100 g light mayo
  • 3 medium pickles, hashed
  • 4 large slices of any semi-soft cheese
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon grape vinegar
  • a pinch of ground chili
  • salt and pepper to season
  • + a bowl of ice-cold water

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add sliced onions, sugar, honey and vinegar and stir well. Cook for 3-5 minutes over medium heat until onions are soft and caramelized.

Preheat your barbecue or chargrill pan to high heat. Grill the bread rolls and then lightly butter their insides.

In a large bowl mix together beef mince, ground chili and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Form 4 meat balls and then press the balls flat so that they are the same diameter as your bread rolls. Place the patties in ice-cold water for 30 sec and then immediately place them on the barbecue or chargrill pan. Grill for 4 minutes, then turn the patties, place a slice of cheese on each patty and grill for 4 more minutes.

In a small bowl mix together hashed pickles and mayo.

To assemble the burgers, spread the mayo and pickle sauce on the base of each bun, scatter a handful of salad leaves, put on a cheese-topped patty, top with caramelized onion rings and sliced tomatoes. Cover the burger with the grilled bun top. Enjoy!


PS Thank you guys for an amazing evening! I did find some pictures that are not blurred =), although unfortunately not all of our boys were “lucky” to be on those. As for now, Andrey and Filya are our supermodels!

Halloween people

Simple sour-and-sweet autumn dinner idea

Sometimes I get so preoccupied with the stuff I’m doing that when I’m back to reality from whatever it is I was up to I realize that (1) I haven’t eaten for a whole day, (2) my cat hasn’t eaten for a whole day, (3) my cat made such a mess in the apartment that I wish she doesn’t eat at all, (4) my fiance will be home in just half an hour and I have nothing for dinner neither for him, nor for myself. As I’m all into learning German and tons of other things that I’m doing now to make up for my ‘lost’ time at work, this situation has become quite common lately. And you know, sometimes you simply don’t feel like cooking anything sophisticated. You just need a simple, still a very tasty meal.

One of my favourite choices for these times is chicken – I usually have some in my fridge and there’re soooo many easy ways of cooking chicken that I never get tired of it.

Next time you are short of time or just have something more fun (or important) to do than cooking, you should really try this recipe of tender, sour-sweet honey-mustard-lemony baked chicken.

Honey mustard chicken ingredients

I also used some lemon zest and lemon juice which add some slightly sour taste and freshness – but that’s completely up to you.

So, first of all, preheat your oven to 200°C. In a small bowl whisk together dijon mustard, honey, 1-2 tbsp lemon juice, 1 teaspoon lemon zest and crushed garlic cloves. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper and place them in an oven-proof dish. Pour over the honey-lemon-mustard sauce and spread it evenly over the thighs with a food brush.

Honey mustard chicken_in sauce

Bake the thighs for 35-45 min until cooked through and golden brown (I recommend to grease the thighs a couple times while baking with the exuding chicken juice).

Enjoy the thighs while still hot with a fresh vegetable salad or baked veggies!

Honey mustard roasted chicken

PS What do you cook when you don’t actually feel like cooking?)