Tuesday 23 July 2013

Maca meringues

When left to my own devices for the day, I seldom do more than cook and write, interjected with spurts of yoga to wildy inappropriate music (dubstep yoga anyone?) and perhaps a spot of meditation once I'm feeling a bit frazzled. It was on a day like this that I, faced with a couple of egg whites left over from this mayonnaise recipe, decided to make meringues. Not just any old meringues though, I wanted to make them a little bit special, as you do: to put my own Zuza stamp on the whole meringue genre. I settled on adding a tablespoon of ground maca powder, for a malty, creamy kind of vibe

2 egg whites
Pinch of salt
75g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon good vanilla essence
1 tablespoon maca powder
Beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt until they form soft, snowy peaks. Add the sugar, maca and vanilla essence and carry on beating until the peaks turn caramel. Pour little blobs of the mixture onto a greased baking-papered tray and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for just 5min. Now, the secret to crunchy-on-the-outside-and-soft-and-chewy on the inside meringues: turn the oven off and leave the meringues in there to cool for 2-3 hours. And that's how you get sinfully tasty maca meringues. I polished them all off in under 48 hours. I did attempt to give some away, yet somehow, I completely forgot

Monday 22 July 2013

Homemade mayonnaise

I believe that challenges help us evolve. This standpoint informs most of my life decisions, so I never choose people or situations that will make my life easy. I'm not saying that this is always the best approach, it's just how it is for me, sometimes to my detriment even. And let me tell you, dudes and dudettes, things do not get much more challenging than making your own mayonnaise in 40 degree heat (officially, it is 31 but my living room is a suntrap). Well, I guess 50 degrees would make it more challenging, but I would call that madness. It's been boiling hot for over two weeks now (not complaining!) and I had freshly baked bread and all the raw mayo-making ingredients winking at me, so off I went. You do not use an electric whisk for mayo by the way. I don't know why, you just don't, so it's always going to be a workout

2 egg yolks
100ml vegetable or groundnut (flavourless) oil
100ml light but good quality olive oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
Large pinch pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
Beat the egg yolks with the seasoning and mustard until they reach a creamy consistency (about 10min). Now, slowly, start adding the oils, beating all the time. After another 10 minutes or so your mixture should have the consistency of mayonnaise. Now add the lemon juice and keep beating. You may want to season more, to your own taste, at the end of the process. I would only use shop-bought mayonnaise in recipes that require mayo, or in my BLT, but this stuff is more like Aioli, so I spread it on bread instead of butter and use it as a dip

Sunday 21 July 2013

Seafood by the sea, the way it should be

This is how I like to eat when I am by the sea
I really can't recommend this fish shop on the seafront in Eastbourne enough. I cooked the clams simply, in cider, adding a bit of crushed garlic, seasoning and a bay leaf, and simmering until they all opened up (of course, as with mussels, you need to chuck any ones that are already open beforehand). The prawns and scallops were fried together on a large pan with olive oil and more crushed garlic. Once they were nearly ready, after about 4 min (2 each side), I squeezed half a lemon on top, seasoned them with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and gave them one more minute, covered. They produced this lovely, seafoody, orange sauce all by themselves. Clever prawns

Tuesday 16 July 2013

Refreshing bean salad

Ah those dreamy days... 
You know the ones I mean - when it feels like you are receiving a special gift from the universe: the sun is shining, you are in the right place at the right time, old friends reappear as if by magic and you happen to be in the most perfect, remote, rural setting. Sometimes you forget that these places even exist while living in London
So it was on one of those days that I decided to make this bean salad, shared with me on the beach in Birling Gap by my old pal, Lou Lou, who I hadn't seen in two years but just happened to be at her parents' house at the same time that I'd decided to visit my dad
A bean salad may not seem like the most refreshing food on the face of this earth, and yet this one really is. It's that East European combination of sour cream, cucumber and dill that does it. You blend the sour cream with the crushed garlic, salt, pepper and dill first, then pour over the beans and cucumber


Tin of cannellini beans, drained
Tin of butter beans, drained
Cucumber, peeled and chopped
Handful chopped dill
250ml sour cream
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Salt and white pepper

Friday 12 July 2013

Malty snickers iced-coffee aka probably the best iced-coffee in the world

After an impromptu barbeque last week, I found a freezer filled with mini Snickers ice-creams, which inspired me to make this particular iced coffee. I've been messing about with various recipes all this week, and finally today, I have arrived at the perfect one which I would like to share with you. I prefer to use instant coffee, using a strong-tasting filter coffee gives it a much stronger coffee flavour obviously, and I prefer it when it tastes more like a milkshake. The maca root powder adds not only health benefits, but also more maltiness. Just blitz all the ingredients down there in a blender until smooth and fluffy

1 cup of coffee
1 teaspoon honey
1 mini Snickers ice-cream
1 tablespoon maca powder
1 cup of almond milk
Handful of ice

Monday 8 July 2013

Lazy brunch east-european style: placki with tomato salad

So, it's my first day off in London in a looong time. It's boiling hot. I slept in deliciously until about 11am, then rolled out of bed and warmed up the placki I made for my friend, Ayesha, yesterday. Ayesha loves potatoes. This morning I ate them with salted yoghurt and a slightly spicy cherry tomato salad - just some cherry tomatoes, basil, good olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and some fresh chilli thrown together. Life's feeling pretty good...
Placki are one of the most simple and brilliant things to make. You grate some potatoes (1 per person and 1 extra on top) and an onion, making them as mushy as possible, add an egg, some flour and season with salt and pepper. For 3 potatoes I added about 2 tablespoons of flour. Heat some oil up on a large frying pan and spoon on the mixture on to the hot oil. Fry until brown on both sides, which takes approximately 10min. I make them all first, keeping them in the a warm oven until they're all ready to be eaten, but some like to eat as they go, the choice is yours