no-dough · vegetarian

Carrot Soup Puree

Carrot Soup Puree

I recently had a sudden inspiration which resulted in a big pot of Carrot Soup Puree. A bright and spicy comfort food soup for these frosty March days.

Carrot Soup Puree

Year ago – Chestnut Coffee Cake and St Petersburg in February
2 years ago – Italian Sourdough Bread with Potatoes and Herbs
3 years ago – No-Fuss Russian Blini from Old Recipe Book
4 years ago – Sprouted Grains and Welcome Spring!
5 years ago – Sourdough Pancakes, as Promised

Carrot Soup Puree – spicy and creamy soup from carrots and the secret ingredients – cauliflower and potatoes.

Ingredients:

  • 5 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 400 g frozen / fresh cauliflower
  • 2 onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 boiled potatoes
  • stalks from fresh parsley, dill and coriander
  • chopped dried celery and parsley roots (traditionally used in soups in Russia)
  • soy sauce
  • olive and sunflower oil
  • pepper, salt, turmeric, paprika, dried basil and other herbs and spices
  • 4 l water
  • fresh herbs and smetana (sour cream), optional

Procedure:

With my mother we usually first make the (vegetarian) broth by heating plain water in the pot together with stalks leftover from the fresh parsley, dill and coriander we use for salads (we keep those in the fridge for the ‘soup day’). We discard them once they loose colour. Then we also add chopped dried celery and parsley roots (traditionally used in soups in Russia) and we do not discard these. My mother also adds whole black pepper but I don’t – since I was a child I just hate the moment when you get it in between your teeth, brrrr.

Meanwhile, heat a large cast-iron pan on medium to low heat and add your roughly chopped carrots. I usually first ‘roast’ the carrots without oil and then when they start getting a bit too brown, I add a mixture of olive and sunflower oil. Add chopped onions (again, the chinks can be pretty big and rough, you will puree them anyway), herbs and spices and keep cooking the veggies stirring from time to time. At some point I also add soy sauce and then I throw in the garlic, chopped.

When your broth is ready, discard the stalks and add the cooked veggies. Don’t forget to pour some water from the pot into the pan, stir a bit and pour the water back into the pot so that you get all the juices and flavours from the veggies. Add you frozen / fresh cauliflower into the pot (you can leave large florets whole), adjust salt and pepper, lower the heat and keep cooking until the carrots and the cauliflower are verging on becoming soft. Puree two boiled potatoes in your blender and add them to the pot – stir well cause the starch can create lumps. Then fish out carrots, onion chunks and cauliflower and puree those too, adding them back to the pot and stirring well. You can leave your pot at low heat while doing this. At this point you can adjust the amount of water and the salt / spices. No need to keep cooking the soup, it should be ready.

Carrot Soup Puree

Remarks: I guess you can use any ‘secret ingredient’ such as pumpkin, zucchini or other member of the cabbage family. And of course you don’t have to have pre-boiled potatoes, you can cook them with the rest of the ingredients. As I was quite generous with the black and red pepper, my soup was pretty hot. Adjust the amount of spices and herbs to your taste buds. Also, add as much water as you wish (to create a thicker / thinner soup) and feel free to leave some veggie chunks too.

Result: Colourful comfort food for early days of spring. Serve it with sour cream and fresh herbs and a slice of good rye bread.

Carrot Soup Puree

Adding this recipe to the Lunch/ Dinner collection.

G.

no recipe · no-dough · on USSR / Russia · St Petersburg

Pavlovsk Is Beautiful

Pavlovsk

Pavlovsk Park close to St Petersburg is beautiful any time of the year. In winter on sunny day like this it is majestic.

Pavlovsk

For the lack of time and for the laziness I rarely get out of the city to meet with the nature not just on the pages of Michail Prishvin’s diaries (I’m reading his 1948-1949 diary now).

Pavlovsk

We came back with pink cheeks and too much fresh air in our brains and blood. Feels like we’ve been to a forest … with a 100 RUB entrance fee 🙂

Pavlovsk

While I was (swiftly) walking along the park lanes my Dad was making his magic with the camera: there was yet another photoshooting of girls in traditional Russian costumes designed by the enthusiastic promoter of all things Russian Marina Shadenkova. Spot the curious squirrel!

 Photo courtesy of Vasily Mulyukin
Model Marina. Costume by Marina Shadenkova. Photograph courtesy of Vasily Mulyukin
 Photo courtesy of Vasily Mulyukin
Model Marina. Costume by Marina Shadenkova. Photograph courtesy of Vasily Mulyukin
Photo courtesy of Vasily Mulyukin
Model Olga. Costume by Marina Shadenkova. Photograph courtesy of Vasily Mulyukin

What I particularly love about his photos is when he captures and reveals the beauty of the person he’s photographing. I guess that should be the ultimate goal of it all.

And this was one of the paraphernalia used for the shooting which still serves its owner so good we could only marvel at how great this old hand-made wooden sledge can keep the balance!

Pavlovsk

You can see some of my Father’s new photos here. Soon to appear on his website too.

Pavlovsk in summer, Pavlovsk in spring. I’m now missing a post on Pavlovsk Park in autumn.

G.

Italian recipe · no-dough · vegetarian

Involtini di Melanzane

new job

Autumn. Veggies. New job. More veggies and kefir. Tea, tea, tea. New people, new tasks. Seems like I normally change jobs in autumn, already somewhat a habit of mine:) Walking in shorts on September 1st – something new too! Please, autumn, do linger some more!

Involtini di Melanzane from www.greenkitchenstories.com

A year ago – Gulf of Finland and Neva River

Two years ago – Franconian Wood Oven Bread in Regular Oven

Three years ago – Pita, Sourdough Pizza and Stewed Aubergines

Involtini di Melanzane or Aubergine Rolls adapted from www.greenkitchenstories.com will make peppery aubergine rolls à l’italienne with a hidden – Greek – ingredient… For the entire recipe please visit the link above.

My changes:

I had just a bit of canned tomatoes so I had to add water to the tomato sauce. However it was ok! Used couscous instead of bulgur and added some salt. Instead of Feta used Adygea cheese. Had no capers so skipped these. For the topping used hard cheese and no pistachios – cause I forgot about them.

Baked the rolls at 190 on the upper shelf.

Involtini di Melanzane from www.greenkitchenstories.com

The hidden ingredients from Greece in this Italian dish – Feta (here subbed by Adygea cheese) and pistachios, right from the Aegina island! I won’t say that you can immediately tell that there are pistachios in the filling (they get quite soft after baking) but they surely add some special flavour to this dish!

Involtini di Melanzane from www.greenkitchenstories.com

Remarks: Do not skip the tomato sauce – mine was definitely too scanty for the amount of rolls this recipe produced. It adds some extra… Italianism to this dish! Serve the rolls with some salad to balance the spiciness.

Result: Garlicky-peppery vegetarian rolls with thick filling (which won’t escape – that’s nice!) and tasty tomato sauce. Something to bring change to your veggie dishes portfolio!

***

Two more shots from my new job. It’s an old mansion in the center of St Petersburg, right close to the most incredible place in St Petersburg:

new job

And following a nice tradition of working at places resembling Hermitage, this mansion has at least three very authentic-looking halls and a marble staircase. More photos to come!

new job

Adding this recipe to my collections of country-specific dishes and those for lunch / dinner.

More recent veggie recipes here and here.

G.

Family recipe · no-dough · vegetarian

Veggie Dishes, Improvised

Yellow Lentils with Bulgur and Cauliflower

Back to food for a change. Two improvised vegetarian recipes I threw in together when I got tired of the usual pasta-rice-buckwheat circle. I’m actually thoroughly enjoying this ‘throwing’ procedure, which allows you to get curious results and varied flavours. It is all very easy and creative, so join in!

A year ago – Chasing Alexander Pushkin in Tsarskoye Selo

Two years ago – Zucchini and Aubergine Whole Wheat Pizza

Three years ago – Moscow and Courgette Pies

Yellow Lentils with Bulgur and Cauliflower (improvised) will make a fiber & protein-rich vegetarian dish.

Ingredients:

  • cauliflower, broken in florets, if frozen no need to defrost
  • yellow lentils, rinsed
  • bulgur
  • olive oil
  • turmeric
  • chopped herbs such as dill or parsley
  • toasted pumpkin & sesame seeds, optional

Procedure:

Start with heating a deep pan, then throwing in bulgur and adding a splash of olive oil so that the bulgur is ‘moistened’. Don’t let it burn! Then add the cauliflower (frozen is fine), and the yellow lentils. Cover them with water. The moment the water starts simmering, season with salt and add some turmeric. You can either throw in the chopped herbs now or add them later. I usually cover the pan with a lid and add more water if it boils off. Don’t overcook the lot, cause both cauliflower and yellow lentils are quick-cooking buddies! Check the bulgur and if it’s cooked, than the dish is ready. Serve with some toasted pumpkin & sesame seeds, a splash of soya sauce and some white cheese, to taste.

Yellow Lentils with Bulgur and Cauliflower

Remarks: You can adapt this recipe to your own taste buds and hunger. You can adjust the amount of each ingredient according to your preferences. The yellow lentils I was using for this recipe cook very fast and if slightly overcooked become quite mashy. You might want to add them later! Also make sure to add enough salt, this dish might get a bit bland without the extra soy sauce. Next time I would add some chopped onion as well.

Result: Yellow and quite unusual! The turmeric adds just a tiny bit of spiciness (try curry instead), the bulgur remains crunchy while the cauliflower and lentils are soft.

By the way, if you’re not sure what bulgur is (I learnt about it for the first time in Strasbourg and since then it has entered our family cooking) and what benefits it might have, here’s what you read on Wikipedia: ‘Compared to unenriched white rice, bulgur has more fiber and protein, a lower glycemic index, and higher levels of most vitamins and minerals’. Sounds pretty impressive!

***

When I think of aubergines I most often immediately think of garlic. This is such a traditional combination for our family that it just comes naturally. Mom used to fry aubergines with crushed garlic and this fragrant duet is solidly engraved in my mind. As these superbly coloured eggplants or aubergines are in season now, I’m carpe-diem-ing them a lot in my cooking 🙂

Garlicky Aubergine Rolls with Cheese and Olives

Garlicky Aubergine Rolls with Cheese and Olives (improvised) will make salty and zesty rolls with melt-in-your-mouth cheese inside. The preparation requires some time.

Ingredients:

  • aubergines, preferably long
  • soft white cheese such as Adygea, Feta or farmer’s cheese, sliced
  • olives, sliced
  • some hard cheese
  • garlic, minced or crushed, to taste
  • olive oil
  • dried oregano (or any other herb)
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • sesame seeds

Procedure:

Preheat the oven to 180 ‘C. Grease a large baking sheet. Wash, clean and slice the aubergines – you will need long slices for the rolls but the short bits are ok too – these will also go in. In a small bowl combine some olive oil, dried oregano, coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, plus minced or crushed garlic (if you’re not sure about the amounts for this mixture, make it small for starters, you can always make more!). Rub this mixture (or brush it over) into the aubergine slices – I left one side clean and so placed the aubergines clean side down onto the baking sheet. Bake the aubergines until they get quite soft but not burning! Just peep in from time to time. Meanwhile you can slice your cheese and olives. When the veggies are ready, take them out of the oven and cool slightly. Places cheese and then olive slices on each aubergine slice, season (if your cheese is not very salty already) and roll from the short side (the bits too small to roll can just be made into ‘towers’ of cheese and olives). Don’t worry if they naughtily unroll – just tuck the ends under the rolls and push the rolls close together. This will also facilitate the next step: grating some hard cheese over, sprinkling with oregano and sesame seeds. You now need to reheat them and make the cheese melt, that’s all – so you can place the sheet back into the oven onto the highest rack. Be careful not to burn them!

Garlicky Aubergine Rolls with Cheese and Olives

Remarks: I’ve repeated this recipe without rubbing in / brushing with the oil + herb mixture, just splashing some oil over the sliced aubergines and then baking them. The result was less interesting from the first super-garlicky variant. Also the second time the quality of the cheese was better and I also grated it on top but I was quite careless to let the rolls overcook and the smallest of them became hard. 

Result: Garlicky! And cheesy. The aubergine flesh is very soft while the skin is crunchy (sounds pretty carnivorous, doesn’t it?). Perfect as appetizers – I can imagine piercing them with a toothpick to make them into snacks.

Enjoy!

Adding these to my lunch / dinner recipe collection.

G.

leftovers · no-dough · vegetarian

How to Make Silky Cream Cheese at Home

Homemade Basa Cheese from honestcooking.com

Experiments in the kitchen time!

I love sour milk products as much as I love bread. I’m kind of crazy about them, I can leave without many food items but anywhere I go and anywhere I find myself eating – I’m searching for milk products. With my insatiable hunger for them I’ve been thinking recently about making my own – yogurt at least. But to start making something you really have to DO it. And here is what I did!

Homemade Basa Cheese from honestcooking.com

the photo features this whole-wheat baguette

I’m sharing with you a Croatian recipe I picked up to make homemade cheese (for sure many nations will have their own cheese recipes). This is a very interesting process to observe, really! Full of pleasant surprises : ) It even feels creative although you’re not DOING anything, you just leave it to work on its own. I’ve already started my ‘cheese process’ thrice, the first two times the result was very nice, the third – well, I think I bought some pretty weird milk which wouldn’t even boil O_o But with my stubborn zeal to get the result, I finally had another bowl with yogurt-like product soon to become silky cream cheese!

Homemade Basa Cheese from honestcooking.com

A year agoApricot Oatmeal Bar With Pistachios

Two years agoAfter Apples Come the Berries (I wish I could say the same this year…)

Three years ago2 Energy-Boosting Sweets to Keep Your Mind and Spirit Up

Homemade Basa Cheese (Croatian) adapted from honestcooking.com will help you make your own yogurt, then cream cheese and finally soft cheese / tvorog. It all depends on how fast you eat it 🙂 The original website has clear instructions so here are just my changes and remarks.

The amount of milk given in the original recipe (2 litres) might turn out too large for an already stuffed refrigerator (and for your strainer / pan / bowls). So I would suggest making only half of it. Anyway, if you want to experiment and not to regret it, begin with small amounts 🙂 1 litre of milk will be just about right for a small pan and a medium strainer. You won’t need too much free space in the fridge for it either. Although be ready to start a new portion as soon as you see how easy you can get all-natural homemade yogurt!

I used 2.5 % fat milk but instead of sour cream which is about 15-20% fat here in Russia I used prostokvasha which is only 2.5% fat. Prostokvasha is simply (prosto) the first product you get when you sour (kvasit’) the milk, kind of very delicate yogurt. I didn’t add salt.

Homemade Basa Cheese from honestcooking.com

Advice: Oh that dairy heaven! If you don’t want to turn it into something nasty, please, observe two things. First, do NOT use enameled pots! The milk will burn INTO it. I used a ‘plain’ metal pan and still the milk would burn a little at the bottom. This gave a sourish taste to my third portion (see further). If this burnt milk drama happen to you, generously sprinkle soda on the bottom of the poor pan, add hot water and leave it for some time. Soda helped me more than any other detergent. A very Soviet solution! The second rule is not to leave your milk while it’s heating. It might look very peaceful and the next second it’s overflowing the pan!

Homemade Basa Cheese from honestcooking.com

Remarks: If you’re patient enough, you can wait while your cream cheese continue its metamorphoses until it becomes a sort of soft white cheese. I couldn’t : ) Also, if you add a more fatty sour milk product like sour cream, you would get a different result and I’m sure you’ll get to the soft cheese point (which will keep its shape) much faster. Probably even before you eat it all all the while it’s still at its ‘cream cheese’ stage! =)

Homemade Basa Cheese from honestcooking.com

By the way, if you have just one strainer but want to make ahead another portion of cream cheese, you can hang the first portion over something taller than a bowl like a jug, fastening the cheese cloth ends to a stick or a wooden spoon, which you will place across the jug. Thus the cheese ‘parcel’ will hang over the whey without touching it. The cheese will form better this way too, I guess, cause it will release whey even faster.

Homemade Basa Cheese from honestcooking.com

love the texture printed on the cheese!

Homemade Basa Cheese from honestcooking.com

Result: Unbelievably silky soft and tasty. Although it doesn’t have much of a conventional cream cheese ‘taste’ (I mean, I didn’t add any salt), the cream cheese that I got was the most tasty. But here you have to take into consideration the fact that the result will depend on the texture, fat content and flavour of the sour milk product you’re using. My three portions had a delicate vanilla hint (the same as the whey it produced). The things I’ve tried the cream cheese ON and WITH already: bread, sweet muffins, corn groats porridge (perfect union!) and just plain 🙂

Also, as a ‘side’ result (and a positive one for those baking quite a lot!) you will get lots of whey which you can certainly use instead of buttermilk or even milk in your bread or sweet recipes. It has a very tangible flavour though. I already used all of whey in various muffins, bundt cakes and even sourdough bread (like this and this). And if you continue making this cream cheese you will get such a leftover of whey that you will have no need in buying extra buttermilk / kefir for baking!

Homemade Basa Cheese from honestcooking.com

This is my third portion in early morning when I peeped in to see the result (the second portion is pictured with pink cloth). And who would believe that this third portion almost failed: first the milk wouldn’t boil then it wouldn’t coagulate even overnight and then I had to warm it up again and add more prostokvasha while the pot I used got double burnt milk layer on the bottom… Probably thanks to this extra ‘effort’ this portion tasted just like low-fat tvorog – cottage cheese! We’ve just finished it today.)

Homemade Basa Cheese from honestcooking.com

This time vanilla flavour was even more pronounced. The photos feature the second loaf from this super-tasty whole-wheat sourdough bread recipe. On this shot you can see the texture is different – it’s more grainy. After one more day the colour and flavour also changed to creamy and more sour.

Homemade Basa Cheese from honestcooking.com

I think I will resume this curious process after I turn back from my next journey. Meanwhile, enjoy your cooking experiments!

G.

no-dough · traditional Russian recipe · vegetarian

Two Ways To Make Russian Carrot Patties

Here are some pics from our dacha after a quick rain which is this summer 2014 a very ‘frequent guest’, as we put it in Russian. The photos are from mid June though, when there were all these flowers around. The same applies to the recipes I wanted to share with you all this time, Russian carrot patties inspired by a dish I once ate at a vegetarian cafe in St Petersburg. There the patties were called rather un-vegetarian-like Zajka Moya, My Bunny : ) Both recipes I’m sharing here with you do not contain flour, butter or eggs and were listed under ‘Lenten’ food on the original websites.

But first let’s enjoy some more nature:

peony

Those peonies were huge!

Thyme

This is thyme in blossom and oh so fragrant. I like to put some in my tea, whether fresh or dried, it’s lovely.

Camomile

Love the pattern of the ‘sun’ part (the yellow)

Rose

A rose is just a… beautiful rose!

***

And here come the carrot patties! Get the best and the most out of fresh carrots with these two recipes I found on the Russian food sites. №1 The first variant requires boiling carrots before making the patties which makes them super-soft:

Carrot Patties from pojrem.ru

A year ago – Seeds and Grains

Two years ago – Sourdough Bread with Dates and Flaxseeds

Carrot Patties adapted and translated for you from pojrem.ru (website’s name can be decently translated as ‘let’s eat away’) will make neat almost melt-in-the-mouth patties. My remarks are in italics. I actually halved the amount of the ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 700 g carrots, unpeeled
  • 1/2 cups semolina – I used semolina for the batter and wheat bran to roll the patties in
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • salt, to taste – I accidentally put in too much of salt… + added curry and premixed seasoning for salads

Procedure:

Cook the unpeeled carrots in salted water till they are done. Let cool a bit, peel and finely grate them. – This is the trick of these patties – they are so soft because the carrots have been boiled first! I forgot that the carrots had to be unpeeled, btw… But there was no problem with that.

Add half of the semolina and the sugar to the carrots and mix well. Form patties (make them rather small = easier to handle!) and coat them with the remaining semolina (here I ran out of semolina so I used wheat bran instead which was actually quite nice!). Fry on both sides in vegetable oil (when my were done I also let them cool down a bit on a paper towel so that the excess oil is eliminated : ). Serve the patties with sour cream (smetana) or jam (yes, the recipe says so and indeed, these might turn out quite sweet if you do not overload them with salt and seasoning!).

Carrot Patties from pojrem.ru

Result: These patties cook through perfectly and yet remain really soft and tasty. What I also like about them is that you don’t get those soaked-in-the-oil fried things. The recipe can be easily halved. Be careful with the salt though – if you put too much you can try to ‘extinguish’ the salt with plain yogurt, which I did, or if you put too little than serve these with some salty sauce as the patties might be a tad too sweet!

Carrot Patties from pojrem.ru

№2 The second recipe does not require par-boiled carrots but you will have to cook the veggies first anyway. This recipe did not make nice-looking patties though as they were quite not willing to keep their shape when I cooked them:

IMG_0036

Lenten Carrot Patties with Semolina adapted and translated from webspoon.ru will make spicy patties (paprika is good!) though rather oily and somewhat falling apart.) My remarks are in italics.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbs water
  • 60 g semolina
  • 2 onions – I took 1 big onion
  • 20 ml sunflower oil
  • 500 g carrots
  • 6 Tbs breadcrumbs – I used whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • a pinch of ground black pepper
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic – I took 1 big clove

Procedure:

Dice the onions and sautée in the oil. Add salt, pepper and paprika.

Peel the carrots and shred it with a kitchen aid or just finely grate it. Add the carrots to the onions. Incorporate the semolina and add water. Cook the mixture for 5-7 minutes, stirring constantly. The mixture should thicken. Finally add minced garlic.

Form small patties (which was quite tricky!) and coat them in breadcrumbs. Cook the patties on both sides in oil. Serve them hot!

Result: Though these patties tend to fall apart when you try to cook them and also take more time to get cooked, the taste is nice, spicy and rich thanks to the par-cooked vegetables.

Lenten Carrot Patties with Semolina from webspoon.ru

Verdict: So, I would vote for the first recipe: although it is less tasteful (forgive me for this phrase), there’s less oil and they are so soft! Probably I just did not eat enough dietary food at the kindergarten (which I skipped) =) The second recipe is more for those who do not like carrots when they are sweet – and paprika makes them really spicy!

For more lunch / dinner ideas (mostly vegetarian), check this page.

Will come back with some bread!

G.

no-dough · travel

A Glimpse of Rhône-Alpes and Cheesy Cauliflower Soufflé

Tain, Rhone-Alpes, France

My stay at the Rhône-Alpes region of France was quite short but yet very intimate, giving me a glimpse into French life in the province. Rhône-Alpes is situated in the East of France just like Alsace, but considerably more to the South which gives this region a distinct central-southern flavor. Vineyards, hills, small towns and hectic roads. It’s a pity you always seem to drive through and along this beauty but you rarely stop by! This is what I did this time, though – to sample yet another region of France. And of course this sampling was pretty much gastronomic as well! Especially when you’re staying at you friend’s house where they imperatively serve all the French meal courses at least twice a day!

Tain, Rhone-Alpes, France

We’ve visited Valence, the capital of the Drôme department (one of the departments of the region) and stayed at my friend’s place in Tain (or rather Tain-l’Hermitage) spread along the curling Rhône river. They say that À Valence le Midi commence (The South of France begins at Valence). The town of Tain is small compared to Valence and there’s something of a resort there, this long promenade area along the river, the fountain in the square where the marché takes place and the overall atmosphere of, well, slow-paced and wealthy life.

Tain, Rhone-Alpes, France

The most famous local products are the local AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée) vines, the well-known Côtes-du-Rhône, mostly red, wines. It’s not only wine that these hills are rich with but also peaches, apricots and cherries. There’s also a factory of super-expensive chocolate Valrhona with free degustation : )

Tain, Rhone-Alpes, France

We’ve climbed the Hermitage hill up to the Chapelle Hermitage (Chapelle Saint-Christophe) to get a splendid view over the Rhône river valley. They say a hermit used to live here on top of the hill (hence the name) – well, he must surely have enjoyed the vista! And now they produce some rather expensive wine here, growing grapes right on the top and all along the slopes.

Tain, Rhone-Alpes, France

May is the month of poppies and lily-of-the-valley in France and in this region poppies are widespread – burning red spots scattered all over the brand new green grass. Just beautiful.

Tain, Rhone-Alpes, France

Standing there on top of the hill and suddenly feeling so close to the skies was amazing.

Tain, Rhone-Alpes, France

And now a glimpse of Valence where we headed to for some sightseeing:

Valence, Rhone-Alpes, France

The traditional couronne bread and baked bread men called… Swiss

Valence, Rhone-Alpes, France

Central park of Valence with a view over the Drôme hills:

Valence, Rhone-Alpes, France

Inside the park:

Valence, Rhone-Alpes, France

And in the evening when we came back to Tain, we walked in the old city center and saw one of the vine boutiques:

Tain, Rhone-Alpes, France

And then we crossed the Rhône river via the Marc Seguin bridge which unites two cities located in two different departments – Tain of Drôme and Tournon-sur-Rhône of Ardèche.

Tain, Rhone-Alpes, France

The hills of Tain where the chapel is perched on look just so unreal

Tain, Rhone-Alpes, France

 The next morning before we set off to Provence, we went to the local market in Tain, where I bought a heavy sausage for my Dad. My Dad says it was so delicious he had to stop himself from eating it all right away. But the only thing I can say is that even three plastic bags could not keep the aroma of the all-natural product locked in whenever I unzipped my rucksack .)

Market in Tain

We’ve tried lots of local and just French types of cheese at my friend’s house but unfortunately I failed to get a traditional recipe from the region which would use cheese. Ironically, we ate baked (!) Camembert on our way to Provence, which I will tell you in one of my next posts. For the lack of something authentic cheese-loaded and oh-so-Frenchy, here’s a dish I baked just a couple of days ago which can be considered French at least by its name : ) Welcome on your plate Cheesy Cauliflower Soufflé, in this photo already de-constructed and served with some tapenade povençale…

Cheesy Cauliflower Soufflé (Low Carb & Gluten-Free) from www.theironyou.com

A year agoEcco Una Collezione Italiana

Two years agoBread, Soup and Crackers and Koulouria of Thessaloniki

Cheesy Cauliflower Soufflé (Low Carb & Gluten-Free) adapted from www.theironyou.com will make a soft salty omelette-like soufflé with a secret ingredient that even vegetable-intolerant meat lovers will not tell!

Check the original recipe following the link above. Here are some of my remarks:

cut into floretsI used regular 2.5% fat milk and my cauliflower was already cut into florets as it was frozen (no problem with that).  I seasoned the dish with mélange povençale (super aromatic herb mix I bought in Provence) which I strongly recommend as it also gives a flavor to the dish if, as in my case, you’re using just plain cheese (and not cheddar or Parmesan as suggested).

Be careful with the amount of salt: my Russian cheese variety was quite salty already which made my soufflé a tad too salty.

The recipe says you can use either a large soufflé dish or 6 ramekins – I preferred the smaller pans. Here they are right in the oven – I feared they would collapse right away before I could take a picture of them and, well, they did!

Cheesy Cauliflower Soufflé (Low Carb & Gluten-Free) from www.theironyou.com

Result: Salty, cheesy, soft and nutritious! I like the recipe as it is relatively easy (although with separate stages of preparation) and has just 3 eggs (not 5 like in some authentic French recipes), no flour and – of course – this secret vegetable ingredients which is almost indistinguishable in the cheesy texture of the dish – but you KNOW it’s there! : ) For an even cheesier soufflé you could grate some cheese on top of each soufflé before baking, I can only imagine what a cheese crust that would create! BTW, I know this is a sacrilege for a French person but we reheated the soufflé in its dish in the microwave the next day and… it even puffed up a bit : )

So much like summer here in St Pete already! Such a stark difference with the early May!

G.