Monday 21 January 2013

Borscht Gets Better...

...with age that is.  I made my first ever version of the iconic Slavic soup yesterday and at first was very disappointed. For all the faff of grating beetroot, carrots, onion and celery the end result was a thin and pretty flavorless brew. My hubby was still game for having it for lunch as there is little heating in the shop where he works - I in my warm office skipped it.  He proclaimed it to be much tastier than yesterday though so I warmed it for dinner.

I have to agree it has definitely gained lots from the overnight infusion of the veg in its beefy broth and even the gentle spicing from allspice, pepper and garlic has been brought to the fore and the vinegar now gives a pleasant zingy sharpness right where it's needed.  I suspect it will be even better tomorrow.
If you want to give it a go it's actually quite simple.

Grate 4 small beetroot, 1 large carrot, 1 large onion and 1stick of celery and soften in a little butter.
Add 1 clove of chopped garlic, 3 bay leaves, and a pinch of allspice.
Add one can of chopped tomatoes and 2 pints of stock (beef or veg) and simmer for 20 mins or until veg is fully tender.  
Add 2 tablespoons of red wine or sherry vinegar.
Season to taste but traditionally it has lots of pepper.
Serve the next day ideally to allow flavours to fully develop with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of dill or parsley.

Healthy and restorative and perfect for the snowy weather - and probably even better with the traditional shot of vodka although that would blow the health benefits!!

Tuesday 8 January 2013

Stuffed Salmon for New Years Eve

We always stay in on New Years Eve as there aren't really any places close enough to home we want to walk to and taxi's are both hard to come by and expensive.  So we prefer a nice bottle or two of fizz and a nice dinner.

This year I was still fighting off an infection so dinner needed to be relatively easy to prepare but I still wanted something special.  We were going to have scallops to start but being in Sheffield and therefore many, many miles from either coastline fish is often not of the greatest quality here.  So I had to improvise on what was available and opted for stuffed salmon.

I simply bought two fillets and sandwiched them with a mixture of parsley, capers, black olives and lemon zest and baked in the oven for 12 minutes (turned out it should have been a bit longer as it was a bit "over-rare" in the middle!)   I made a hot dressing with some courgette cubes, concasse tomatoes olive oil, the juice from the lemon, sherry vinegar and a little honey to balance the sharpness, brought together with a little cold butter at the end.  Served with thin slices of fresh brown bread (not homemade as I have yet to conquer bread and hope to blog more about that in 2013 as it's my cooking goal for the year) and it was very delicious and a perfect light starter to kick off the evening.

Main course was fillet of beef with potato and celeriac dauphinoise with carrots and sugar snap peas in a red wine and shallot sauce (practically the same as last year but we love it and it's an expensive cut so still has to be saved for treats).