Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Black bean salad

This is terrific. Black beans, and tons of flavor: lime, lemon and orange zest, fresh coriander, red onion, et cetera. It's easy to make, pleasantly spicy, and makes for quick lunches -- at home or at the office. And it's terrifically colorful!

Ingredients (4 servings):
  • 1 cup dry black beans
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • heaping 1/2 tsp of your favorite spice (non-ground) (e.g., cumin seed, coriander pod, whole peppercorns, etc.)
  • 1 small hot pepper
  • 1 sweet yellow paprika (or half a bell pepper)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • fresh coriander (at least 1/3 cup)
  • 1/2 red onion
  • zest from a lime, lemon and orange
  • juice from one lime
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Put the beans, two garlic cloves (cut into quarters), the bay leaf and the spice into a large pot. Cover with 2 inches of cold water and bring to a boil. Simmer gently until beans are cooked to your liking (do not overcook; they should be slightly crunchy for the salad). The simmering will take approximately 45 minutes, but check every 10 minutes after half an hour. When cooked, strain the beans and cool.
  • Place hot pepper, paprika/bell pepper, coriander, red onion, the rest of the garlic and zest into a blender (a mini blender, if you have one) and mince. You can also do this by hand (which is how we did it last night), but it's more work than is really necessary.
  • Combine beans, blender mix, and the remainder of the ingredients (cherry tomatoes, lime juice and olive oil)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Apples, strawberries and whipped cream

More specifically, apples stewed with butter, cinnamon and nutmeg; strawberry purée; and cream whipped with Cointreau -- and all served in a glass. Very yummy, very summery, very simple. The recipe is adapted from Baking Obsession. I did away with the crisps, and used Cointreau instead of Frangelico. Next time, I will cut down on the amount of whipped cream (we have enough left over to cover a cake) and half the amount of liquor -- the taste was, for me, a tad strong.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Halibut with grapes and raisins

The abject lack of good fresh fish here in Budapest means that we now by some of our fish frozen -- quite a shock from Canada and Cameroon. And it's hard to cook. But this recipe -- which uses grapes, raisins and balsamic vinegar -- worked like a charm. The balsamic vinegar turns the fish a pleasant brown, and the fruit adds an assertive sweetness.

Ingredients (two people):
  • 2 halibut (or similar) fillets
  • scant 1/4 cup raisins or sultanas*
  • large handful seedless green grapes, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1 tbsp. good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. white wine
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • touch of butter
  • Heat the oven to 400/Mark 6.
  • Place the fish in a baking dish and season with black pepper. Dab with butter.
  • Scatter raisins/sultanas and grapes over the fish. Mix together balsamic vinegar and wine, and pour over the fillets.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes, until fish is done.
  • Serve over rice or couscous.
*I recommend soaking the raisins/sultanas in a tiny bit of white wine while the oven preheats. It will make them plumper and juicier.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter baking

Perhaps baking a large batch of cinnamon rolls and hot cross buns on the same day wasn't the greatest idea. After all, there are only two of us. But both are great, and we conjured up some gardening/eating-Easter-treats help. The cinnamon bun recipe is from The Pioneer Woman Cooks, and the hot cross bun recipe is a variation on those made by Chez Piggy/Pan Chancho in Kingston. Instead of sultanas and candied peel, they have sultanas, raisins, dried mango and dried cranberries.