Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Tomato soup with gremolata (for anniversary)

It has been two years since I started blogging. Today I would say exactly the same as last year. Although I slowed down little bit, still enjoy blogging. I hope you enjoy my posts, like the recipes and photographs and all I hope for that there will be more to come in years and you will still be here. Just want to say thank you and send you my best smile!

Today again I have for you an anniversary recipe for tomato soup. In the middle of winter you need and kick of vitamin C so why do not sprinkle warm soup with some gremolata? Enjoy

Serves 4-6

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and diced
tsp brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped 
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 x 400g tinned, chopped tomatoes
about 1.2l vegetable stock 
freshly ground black pepper


handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped  
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
zest of whole large lemon

To prepare gremolata mix all the above ingredients just before serving.

In large pan fry the onion on the olive oil and after few minutes add the sugar. Fry until the onion is softened and add the garlic. Fry for about 2 minutes, then add the vinegar, stir and leave it to bubble away. Then add tomatoes, hot stock, stir, bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Using hand blender whiz the soup until smooth, season with salt and pepper and serve with some gremolata on the top.  If it seems too thick you can add some more stock.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Pork ribs braised in mead & sauerkraut

I am one leg in our old house and one leg in the new one. We still have plenty of things to pack and move, some cleaning to do in both places before we definitely change the address. Not much time to cook anything decent, but we cannot survive all week on the bowl of pasta with pesto (well, I can… My well built man seems to struggle on this kind of diet), so I try to cook one pot dishes that are suitable for reheating and keep us going in this busy time.

This is one of the Polish dishes that join two very popular in Poland ingredients: cabbage (in this case sauerkraut) and pork. I am sure there is quite a lot of different ways to make this dish, but this is my own and favourite way to cook ribs in sauerkraut – with a hit of sweetness from mead (honey wine) and prunes.  Also the fennel loves pork as much as the cabbage. This time I did not use the caraway seeds, typical for Polish cuisine. Hope you will enjoy it.

I hope to be back on the track soon, when everything gets sorted with the new home (end of February hopefully!).   

Serves 4-6

1.5kg pork ribs
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
3 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tsp smoked paprika
freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp goose or duck fat
1 large onion, peeled and diced
1 tsp fennel seeds, slightly crushed
¾ cup of mead (honey wine - I used Polish dwójniak variety)
6 prunes, sliced into thin strips
2 bay leaves
2 all spice  
few whole black peppercorns
1.2kg sauerkraut, drained, about cup of fluid reserved

First marinate the ribs, preferably overnight, or at least for 2 hours. Mix the soy sauce with chopped garlic, smoked paprika and pepper and rub into the ribs, cover and leave in a fridge.

When ribs are marinated, season them with little salt, heat the duck or goose fat in large heave bottom pan and fry the ribs on both sides until browned. Do it in batches, do not overcrowd the pan, so they actually fry not cook. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the onions to the pan and fry for few minutes until slightly softened, then add fennel seeds and fry for about a minute, stirring all the time. Next add the mead and leave it to reduce slightly, using a spatula or wooden spoon scrap all the bits from the bottom of the pan – they have lots of flavour.

Next add the drained sauerkraut to the pan, as well as the marinate used for rinbs (if any left) prunes, bay leaves, peppercorns, some salt and all spice. Mix well; add the ribs and any juices they released during the resting, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If it seems a bit dry and starts to catch at the bottom of the pan during the cooking, add some fluid reserved from the sauerkraut.

Serve with some mash potatoes or a generous slice of good bread. It definitely tastes better when reheated and cooled down several times.