No-no, it’s not that I have found job and have forgotten about kitchen and cooking and blogging. It’s just that the very place of cooking was a little bit occupied by all of us apparently NOT cooking=) I’ve come back from transforming this:
(yuk!) into this:
As our kitchen is still somewhat under process of redoing, I have limited space but do not stop baking. There have been so many recipes in these days, as usual I will choose the most interesting ones (and those which I managed to photo before they disappeared=).
Under the old wallpaper we discovered newspapers (traditionally used for the basis) ranging from 1980 to 1994 when apparently there was the last redo (khe-khe!), it was funny reading those straps about some party meetings or – from 1990s newspapers – advertisements of some fortune-tellers etc. Under newspapers layer there was some awful pink colour, very similar to papier-maché dolls we were making at Home studies at school =)
There was even some fun side to this redo – all our dishes and pans were exiled in the bathroom, we stumbled upon dies and brushes and one evening we were working with no electricity which came down in the nearest block of flats too. So we took out our candles (Soviet people don’t keep them for romantic evenings, hohoho) and quite routinely continued working.
Now my Mom, the propelling energy of all this, is full of ideas and eagerness to go to ikea soon. I’m glad that the place where I spent quite a lot of time is now bright and shiny (and much less Soviet!) I’ve been walking around recently in different districts of my city and shamelessly peeping oooops into the first floor (=ground floor) windows, cause the ground floor in lots of block of flats is mostly occupied by flats instead of shops etc. And I noticed how much Soviet people still are – old standard furniture, kitchy lamps (that’s what you first notice when it’s dark outside), frilly curtains… and of course carpets on the walls! So I’m double glad that even without making a costly and sometimes very much resembling Soviet style “Euro-redo” as people proudly call it, we managed to renew already two of our living spaces.
But let’s celebrate it with some Greek sweetness in order to warm up in this chilly season (it’s only around 5 ‘C today, leaves are flying all around and yesterday there was the first showering snow… SNOW,
noooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!). Although I’ve made it quite a while ago, it really is worth mentioning and making!
Once I bought a can of what Greeks call ‘komposta rodakino‘ – that is peaches in sugar syrup. I grabbed this huge can in a Finnish goods store that we – miraculously – have in our industrial suburb (but what am I saying – we have at least 5 sushi-restaurants around here and coffee places worth of city centre!) and only later read the label just to find out that the perfect peaches are from GREEEEEEECE! so they are just like those peaches in veeeery sweet sugar syrup they were giving us at the free student canteen in Thessaloniki… ah, those halyava times, I do miss them! For those who are unfamiliar with halyava concept, I will explain cause it’s one of the fundamental elements of our lives. If you happen to get (snatch, grab, get hold of, etc) anything for free (preferred) or at a very low price (e.g. a huge bargain, but that will be called “pochti na halyavu” = almost halyava) that is halyava and the owner of that thing is usually very proud and happy of such a chance. Sometimes halyava is used to mean something easily done/got and students even catch halyava the night before the exams by popping out of the window with the student booklet in hand and crying out something like “Come to me, halyava!” etc. =) For me personally, halyava makes me happy when it involves getting something for free =) So, for the sake of our brothers and sisters in Greece let’s all support them by buying some olive oil or canned peaches or feta (check the producer) or whatever Greek you find… Well, I’m not that much babe in the woods, but I really would love to help them. So this is my contribution – Greek peaches, cournflour bought in Greece (thank to Jana who left it to me), Greek recipe and though Polish but à la Greek yoghurt.
Τάρτα με κρέμα και ροδάκινο (Tart with Cream and Peaches) adapted from a Greek recipe from Sintages Pareas
For the dough – you’ll get enough for a huge (Greek style=)
- 2 cups all purpose flour – it was obvious it needs less flour, so add 1 cup and then check how much more you’ll need
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbs white sugar – I also couldn’t help adding some cinnamon
- 1 Tbs cognac – I added that Russian brandy Zapekanka I happen to have
For the filling
- the original recipe calls for 1 package of instant vanilla cream, I substituted it with some Tbs cornflour and about the same amount of sugar
- about the same amount of milk
- 4 Tbs white sugar
- 1 cup cream – I used 180 g pot of 7,5 % “Greek” yoghurt made in Poland and it turned out right!
- 3-4 peaches – fresh or canned – I used those marvellous canned halves of peaches
- 1/2 cup apricot jam – yep, I know it’s used so often in the recipes, but you see there’re no peaches in my Granny’s garden =) So I just swapped it for her Gooseberry jam which is also transparent and sweet, though with some tiny seeds
- 1 1/2 tsp cornflour (=cornstarch, I guess potato flour = potato starch which is more usual for Soviets will work equally fine)
Preheat oven to 180 ‘C.
Prepare the dough for the base – cut butter into 1/2 cup flour then add 1 egg, salt, sugar and cognac and bit by bit add more flour (I didn’t use all the 2 cups, it was too stiff already). Knead and roll out to match your baking pan (butter it lightly), where you’re going to transfer it. Pierce the dough with a fork in several places and bake for 20-30 minutes. When it’s ready, leave it to cool while you’re preparing the gorgeous filling.
Prepare instant cream with milk without boiling the mixture (in my case I mixed cornflour with sugar and milk and heated the mixture stirring constantly). Leave it to cool.
Add cream (or whatever creamy you have chosen to use, perhaps even sour cream with high fat content will do) to the prepared mixture and mix lightly. Pour it on the pre-baked base and chill for some time in the fridge.
Clean the peaches (if fresh), cut them into biteable pieces and decorate the tart with them.
Heat the marmalade/ jam with 2 Tbs water along with 1-2 Tbs sugar (depending on the sweetness of your jam) and cornflour already diluted in some cold water. Boil this mixture for 2 minutes (mine was getting really thick!) and then pour it over the peaches. Enjoy!
The result is a creamy sweet leaky but gorgeous tart that makes you savour it just like Greek summer. I kept it refrigerated and also left it there overnight after baking (partly because I thought the yoghurt might get more set).
My father was in raptures and that means a lot cause he’s quite a fastidious gourmet =)
While searching for a medical article at the foreign literature department of our public library for one of my students I’m tutoring in English, I came across a splendid book to the left from the medical shelf – 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die. I didn’t mind taking that monster of 960 pages of mouth-watering texts and photos =) I’ve started from Dairy section, where I found smetana and butter from Vologda, the hilly region where my Grandpa comes from. The Fruits section was equally mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! Although I will skip the meat and fish ones cause they just don’t give me any kind of pleasure (I prefer livestock to be alive=). Gosh, I loooooooove thosе halyava books from public library! =) I guess I would take loads of them from that library department, they just lie there without being noticed cause all people are borrowing is restricted to Oscar Wilde and Shakespeare (good choice, no objections) and they tend not to turn a bit to the left where the gorgeousness lies.
Coming back soon with something Soviet for a change!