Biscuits ‘Cheesy cushions’

The holidays have finished and it’s a high time we moved on in our culinary explorations and tried something new. These biscuits are just ideal for this purpose: incredibly easy and quick to make, made of simple enough ingredients, and yet mouth-wateringly delicious. Indulge yourself with these light and soft cottage cheese ‘cushions’ with delicate citrusy aroma and just a perfect amount of dark chocolate sprinkling that will make your winter days just a bit cozier.

You’ll need:
100 g butter, room temperature
200 g cottage cheese, room temperature
1 egg, room temperature
120-150 g sugar
250 g flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp orange liquor (may be replaced with orange juice, rum or cognac)
1 orange zest, finely grated
1 lemon zest, finely grated
60 g dark chocolate

Preparation:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180oC.
  2. Whip butter with sugar until whitened.
  3. Continuing whipping add orange and lemon zest, egg, liquor, and cottage cheese.
  4. Mix flour with baking powder, and add it to the butter-cheese mixture. Mix everything thoroughly.
  5. Cover a baking sheet with baking paper. Use two teaspoons to make biscuits and put them on the baking sheet keeping intervals.
  6. Bake the biscuits for 18-20 min until slightly browned and let them cool down.
  7. Melt chocolate over a Bain Marie. Be careful not to let the bowl with the chocolate touch the water surface.
  8. Put the chocolate in an icing bag or its analogue and decorate the biscuits.

Bon appetite!

Baked vegetables with sesame

The long string of winter holidays has finally come to an end and we’re more and more looking to something light and easily digestible, yet still delicious, to unload our stomachs. This recipe is just perfect for this purpose: potatoes, carrots, and Brussel sprouts baked gradually, step by step, to ideal texture, and sprinkled with sesame seeds and lemon zest for freshness, are perfectly light, dietetic, and truly delectable dish that can serve as a side dish for any meat or fish, or just be eaten alone as the main dish. And don’t you doubt about adding carrots – lots of people, me including, hate baked or boiled carrots, but not in this recipe! Added a bit later than potatoes and cooked for exactly the indicated time, it gets the ideal texture being moderately soft with the appetizing smell of fresh carrots. And seasoned with crunchy sesame seeds, even children wouldn’t resist stuffing these vegetables in their mouths!

You’ll need:
5 potatoes, peeled, roughly chopped
2 big carrots, peeled, chopped
400 g Brussel sprouts, remove top leaves
50 ml oil
3 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder (optional)
1 lemon zest
Salt to taste

Preparation:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200oC.
  2. Put the potatoes in a big pot, cover them with water, bring them to a boil, and drain them.
  3. Put hot potatoes in a baking dish and sprinkle them with garlic and onion powder. Salt them to taste and sprinkle with half of oil. Mix thoroughly. Bake for 20-25 min until potatoes begin to brown.
  4. Add carrots, sprinkle them with ¼ of oil, mix once more and bake for 10 min more.
  5. Add Brussel sprouts sprinkling them with the rest of oil and adding salt, and bake them for 5-7 min more.
  6. Meanwhile, slightly brown sesame seeds in a dry pan.
  7. Take the vegetables out of the oven, sprinkle them with sesame seeds and lemon zest, and serve immediately!

Bon appetite!

P. S. Try adding soy sauce as well to give a slightly Asian hint to the dish.

Kalach

Ukraine is a country with probably the largest number of winter holidays, including two New Years and two Holy Eves; and the next week we’re going to celebrate the baptism of Jesus, preceding which is still another Holy Eve. It is traditional to celebrate the Holy Eves with twelve Lenten dishes, among which – at least in my family – is kalach, a traditional braided bread sprinkled with poppy seeds. My recipe of kalach is probably the tastiest one I’ve ever tried: soft, aromatic, tender, and literally melting in your mouth! It’s perfectly easy to cook and quite slow to get stale (my record after cooking double portion was one week, and that tiny bit that was left was still soft). To make it more varied, you can sprinkle it with almond flakes, add raisins or some spices to the dough (especially tasty is adding ½ tbsp cardamom pods), or even add jam to the braid! So, even if it isn’t a part of your traditions, I fervently recommend cooking it just to enjoy its softness or to make delicious toasts.

You’ll need:
15 g compressed yeast
125 ml lukewarm milk
¼ tsp salt
50 g sugar
1 egg
320-350 g flour
50 g butter, room temperature
Sugar and poppy seeds for sprinkling

Preparation:

  1. Put yeast and milk in a bowl and mix until yeast completely dissolves.
  2. Whip the egg until homogeneity.
  3. Add salt, sugar, and ¾ beaten egg to the yeast-milk mixture. Mix everything thoroughly.
  4. Add flour in parts and make soft, elastic dough.
  5. Add butter to the dough and knead for 8-10 min until the dough stops sticking to your hands.
  6. Cover the dough with a damp towel and let it rise for 1 hour until it doubles in size.
  7. Pre-heat oven to 200oC.
  8. Roughly knead the dough once more and divide it into 3 even parts. Roll those parts to make 3 thin long stripes (approx. 25 cm long). Put the stripes parallel to each other and join their ends at one side. Braid them and join their other ends, rolling them slightly inward.
  9. Put your braid on the baking sheet, cover it with a damp towel and let it rest for 30 min more.
  10. Smear the braid with the rest of the egg and sprinkle it with poppy seeds and sugar.
  11. Put your kalach in the oven and bake it for 25-30 min until it browns. Let it cool down for at least 30 min before eating it.

Bon appetite!