Szarlotka – Polish Apple Cake

Finding Feasts Szarlotka Apple Cake
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Szarlotka – Polish apple cake – If I had to make a choice between a sweet and savoury dish I would definitely choose savoury, unless a plate of my mum’s yummy apple cake otherwise known as Szarlotka was put in front of me!

Szarlotka  is somewhat similar to an apple pie however the top and bottom is of a much different consistency and the apple mixture is far less sweet. Mum has also from time to time added raisins, although as a child I hated that version. Raisins were these strange unknown little brown ‘bits’ that didn’t sit well with me. The topping can vary too from a sweet short-crust pastry to a sweet crumble, very similar to an apple crumble pie.

The recipe I have posted here is one that my mum has been making for years and if challenged she could most likely make it from scratch with her eyes closed!  It’s a recipe that takes me back to my childhood memories, especially the ones where I could have endless slices and not worry about the side effects like having to count the calories! Ahh those days a long gone!

Mum would always let the cake rest and cool first before serving it up, but I love it whilst its still warm and sometimes have some vanilla ice cream on the side! Equally delish the very next day, warmed up in the oven.

… enjoy

Bella

Avocado & Miso Dressing w/ Chicken Quesadillas

Avocado Miso Dressing w/ Chicken Quesadillas
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Avocado & Miso Dressing w/ Chicken Quesadillas – This is a multi use dressing as it will depend on the consistency you make it as to its use. Here I have used it as a dip so have left it quite thick. If you want to have it as a dressing for a chicken salad then add some water till you get to a more fluid type consistency.

The flavours in this dressing pair so well with chicken that I know you will come up with a multitude of menu ideas to use it with.

Happy lunching! Blondie

Loaded Chicken Noodle Soup w/ Omelette

Chicken Noodle Soup Omelette
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Loaded Chicken Noodle Soup w/ Omelette – Looking for a quick meal to make that’s delicious and healthy also? You can’t go past this soup. Plus, leftover chicken gets shredded for sandwiches over the next day or two…. hmmm, poached chicken and mayo with salad sandwiches…

What I love about this soup is that all the hard work is done with very little effort from you. The whole chicken and the flavourings added to the cooking water are busy doing their thing. The water is being turned into a fragrant stock and the chicken is cooking in one of the most gentlest ways possible, leaving it fall off the bone tender and juicy.

When you get home, all you need to do is put the whole chicken (or chicken pieces) in a pot large enough to hold it and throw in all the ingredients for the soup base. Leave it to cook for 60 minutes while you are getting out of your work gear and then it’s basically done.  You just need to compile and then devour.

Another reason chicken soups like these are so fantastic and easy to make, is because you can use frozen chicken, straight from your freezer. I know! Amazing, right?! This one was actually made with a whole frozen chicken. The time is a little longer, closer to 1hr 40mins or so, depending on size, but the result is the same. Just make sure you have a meat thermometer so you can check that it’s fully cooked on the inside. You want the internal temperature to be 75°C / 167°F for chicken.

Any part of the chicken is suitable in this recipe so keep some thighs or breasts permanently stocked in your freezer, along with a bag of frozen veggies and you will always have chicken soup.

Happy slurping! Blondie

Gow Gee Silverbeet & Ricotta Ravioli

Gow Gee Sliverbeet and Ricotta Ravioli
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Gow Gee Silverbeet & Ricotta Ravioli – I have a soft spot for pasta, especially when it is filled with cheese & spinach / silverbeet!

Where possible I do try to make my own pasta dough but there are occasions when time is of the essence! It was a few years ago when talking to mum I found out that she sometimes makes pierogi (Polish dumplings) & other ravioli type things by using Gow Gee pastry. Gow Gee pastry can be found at your local Asian supermarket or grocery store in the fridge section.

So I am stealing her idea! Don’t get me wrong…absolutely nothing beats fresh home made pasta…but when you are pressed for time…this is almost just as good!

I serve this with my favourite creamy pink sauce…my question to you is…what is YOUR favourite pasta sauce?

Look forward to hearing from you!

Bella

Braised Wild Rabbit w/ Smokey Bacon & Mushrooms

Braised Wild Rabbit w/ Smokey Bacon & Mushrooms
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Braised Wild Rabbit w/ Smokey Bacon & Mushrooms – I have a couple of favourite butchers I love to go to. Unfortunately my visits to them are limited to our annual and quarterly visits to family. This is why I go prepared with a big esky and lots of icepacks to bring my loot safely home.

Wagga Wagga is Knights Meats, an veritable candy store of meats. We always stock up on their Corned Hogget, enough to last a year as we only get there annually.

Canberra has Eco Meats in one of my favourite food markets, located right near my nana’s place, in Belconnen. If there is an animal you would like to try then here’s your place… among their cornucopia of meats are camel, ostrich, possum, crocodile, plus nitrite free bacon. This is where I stock up on bacon and wild rabbit before heading back to Sydney.

I love rabbit and have been eating it since I was young, even being the ‘lucky one’ and getting the bullet in one of my mouthfuls when eating a freshly shot one we had for dinner when we were in Finland.

There is a big difference between a farmed white rabbit and a wild rabbit. The flavour of a wild rabbit is definitely alot more flavoursome and as they may be older than the farmed ones, they can be tougher, which is why braising is the preferred method for wild rabbit. Having a stronger flavour also means you can be a bit bolder with the other ingredients you choose to put into it. The farmed rabbit has a more delicate flavour so softer flavours are needed so as to not overpower the rabbit.

If you aren’t sure if you would like wild rabbit or have yet to try rabbit then purchase a farmed one and then move up to the wild rabbit.

Happy hunting! Blondie

How to make beetroot kwas or kvass

Beetroot Kwas
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Beetroot Kwas – With the foodie world going crazy about fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kombucha tea, kimchi and kefir  I thought it was time to pay some attention to kwas, a fermented tonic made from beetroots. Kwas is also known as Kvass, although that’s in Russian.

Fermented foods and juices are good for you but let’s quickly look at why:

  • They add good bacteria to the gut, and seeing as the gut makes up about 80% of your immune system that’s a pretty good reason in itself!
  • Fermenting foods creates more nutrients in the food whilst enhancing others
  • If consumed prior to your meal fermented foods will improve your digestion and allow for the absorption of nutrients
  • Fermented foods are high in b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids and carry various strains of probiotics – much better than taking them from a jar in tablet form!

What are probiotics? They are live microorganisms such as bacteria, yeasts and fungi. Probiotics can protect against disease an boost your immune system and are essential especially is you have just gone a round or two of antibiotics.

So how does beetroot kwas fit into all of this?

Beetroot kwas has been consumed in Eastern European countries for many centuries. A common non-alcoholic drink, it was originally made from stale rye bread which gave it its colouring. This beetroot version has also been made by many households as the starter to an awesome beetroot barszcz (borscht if you are Russian).

Beetroot kwas shares similarities with kombucha tea, it is fermented in a similar way and is high in probiotics, it is also an excellent liver cleanser, rich in nutrients and fiber, high in antioxidant and anit-inflammatory properties, a perfect blood tonic! Mum and dad have been making it for as long as I can remember and drink it daily.

Best of all, it is extremely easy to make, although I did fail at my first attempt. I forgot to add the salt and sugar, key components! Simply peel your beets, add salt, sugar, juice of sauerkraut, water and ferment away. The fermentation process will depend on the time of the year and how warm your kitchen is. Do check it daily and if it starts to smell funny start again. 

I typically let mine ferment away for 2-3 days, when light frothy bubbles form at the top you know your beetroot kwas is ready. 

What does it taste like once ready? Sour, tangy earthy flavours. 

Happy fermenting!

Bella 🙂

Individual Chocolate Chip Cookie Pots

Individual Chocolate Chip Cookie Pots
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These Individual Chocolate Chip Cookie Pots are microwave cookies baked in seconds with only minutes of prep work required. They are insanely good and just perfect for those moments when a few mouthfuls of something warm, soft and slightly gooey is all that’s needed to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Just picture yourself sitting on the couch, all rugged up with woollen socks on and a blanket draped over you, slowly eating this freshly made warm chocolate chip cookie cup. Maybe you have a dollop of ice cream on top, which is gently melting from the warmth of the cookie adding another delicious element of languid creaminess to each mouthful.

Go for it, you know you want to… Blondie