Jidasky Czech Easter Buns

>> Monday, March 29, 2010

easter buns
Easter Sunday is right around the corner and many of you are getting your meal plans for your celebrations ready. So I thought I would share a recipe that I came across in my little Czech cookery cookbook, it's for traditional Easter buns. These little breads are baked on Good Friday and enjoyed as a Lenten lunch during the season. The breads or Jidasky are supposed to represent the rope of Judas......OK I tried to do some research on this to clarify it better for you but well, that's pretty much what I came up with. The Czech Republic was under 42 years communist rule and during that time religion was highly discouraged and persecuted, the country became or was an atheist state. Till this day most of the people are non-religious, but over the past years there has been a rise on people beginning to practice different religions. The Czechs have very tolerant views towards religion, it isn't something that comes up in conversation a lot or causes problems between people - it's a non-issue. Being that I myself am not a religious person I find this to be a great and positive attitude to have towards people's own personal beliefs. But regardless of religious or not people have kept up with traditions like this that have been handed down from generation to generation.

If you are interested in this little cookbook (see photo) I did find it on Amazon, CZECH COOKERYbut with out a picture of the book cover. I did a Google search and found this site in Canada that sells it. Alternatively if you are ever in CZ you can find it in any book store or tourist shop.
baking ingredients bread
Your Ingredients:
400 grams or 3 cups fine or medium grain flour
30 grams or 1 oz fresh yeast
40 grams or 1.41 oz Castor (super fine **not powdered* )sugar
250 ml or a little over 1 cup milk, lukewarm
pinch of salt
60 grams or 2 oz of butter
2 egg yolks (reserve the egg whites)

extra flour for rolling
butter or oil to grease the baking pan

1. Melt the butter and set aside to allow to come to room temperature. In a small bowl break up the fresh yeast then add half the sugar and about 100 ml or 1/2 cup of milk. Allow the yeast to rise, about 5 minutes.
2. Mix the remaining sugar into the remaining milk and set aside. In a separate bowl combine the salt and flour, make a well in the center. Once the yeast mixture is ready add it, the melted butter and remaining milk to the the flour. With a large wooden spoon start mixing the mixture until it comes together. You can begin kneading the mixture into a smooth dough for about 10 minutes (adding extra flour if needed). Cover and leave to rise until it has doubled in size, about an hour.

how to make the bread3. Preheat oven to 200c or 392f. On a floured surface knead the dough once again then cut into equal sized pieces/balls. Roll each piece/ball into long tubes and work into spiral or pinwheel shapes like in the photographs. Grease a baking pan, place the breads on the baking sheet and brush egg whites over each bread. Leave bread to rise for another 5 minutes. Bake until they are golden brown 10-15 minutes.

moist bread recipeAllow to cool down before serving. Once you are ready to serve allow each person to dribble honey over them and serve with coffee or tea. This breads came out very moist and fluffy and very good, actually this recipe and taste reminds me a lot of my own dinner roll recipe , with a few differences.

rolls with honey

Check out the Blood Orange Zest Version here : http://spiciefoodie.blogspot.com/2010/04/blood-orange-zest-rolls.html


Yellow Split Pea Spread

>> Friday, March 26, 2010

The recipe I have for you guys today came together as a craving for a hearty yet healthy alternative to dairy bread spreads. I came up with this yellow split pea spread just by looking at what I had available in my kitchen. So you will more than likely already have all the ingredients in your kitchen too. I just started mixing different the spices and flavors and textures until I was happy with the taste, and this is what I came up with.

Yellow split peas cook very fast ( see package instructions) so you can cook them right before you prepare the recipe, or alternatively you can soak the split peas overnight , ( which is what I did ) . Yellow split peas are more commonly used in soups, although in both Guyana and Trinidad the Indian communities use them as Dal and are less common in India. Yellow split peas are a great source of protein, which provides our bodies with energy. If you are on a diet or trying to consume less calories protein is something you want to make sure you have with your meals because it will keep you feeling full longer.

Your Ingredients:
1/2 cup or 100 grams yellow split pea
1/4 tsp. each salt and black pepper
1/2 tsp. Turmeric
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ginger powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
splash fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. olive oil

1 small carrot, shredded
*1/2 sprig onion,including green stem, Or chives
+ salt & b.pepper to taste

Potato masher or Blender

1. Cook split peas following package instructions, you want to over cook these a bit since they will be pureed. Once the split peas are cooked, allow to completely cool off. Either in a blender or in a large bowl/container , add the cooked split peas and all of the spices and lemon juice. Mash or puree the ingredients , until it becomes a thick paste or puree. If the mixture is too dry add a couple of tablespoons of water, one at a time.
2. * By half of a sprig onion I mean, slice the onion down the middle to include all parts. Or for a more pungent taste you can add the whole onion.* Mix in the shredded carrot and sliced onion to the puree combine well. Taste for salt and pepper, and adjust to your liking.

Serve on sliced bread/toast or crackers. I served mine on whole grain bread that was covered in seeds and oatmeal and it was perfect! You could also use this spread to dip fresh vegetables instead of using fatty dressings. Store leftovers in the refrigerator , but use it up in the next day or two.


Nominated for 2010 BlogsbyLatinas Award

>> Monday, March 22, 2010

Hi everyone, just a quick post to ask you all to please Vote for me, I have been nominated for a 2010 BlogsbyLatinas Award! If you would like to participate please go to http://www.BBLAwards.blogspot.com to vote. I/ Spicie Foodie is under the Food/Comida category . Voting ends March 29 and you can only vote once.

Thank you everyone


Drinking is good for your heart and waistline???

>> Thursday, March 18, 2010

I bet you never thought you would hear that drinking is good for your heart and waistline. Ladies this one is for you. According to Reuters news agency and a report published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, women who are light to moderate drinkers are less likely to gain weight. ( Light to moderate meaning 1 to 2 glasses a day). The study focused on 19,000 plus American women over a 13 year period and compared women who are light drinkers to non- drinkers. The study found that light-moderate drinkers were less likely to gain weight and less likely to become obese over time. It was red wine that they found to be the healthiest, as compared to beer and spirits that have actually been linked to causing the highest weight gain. In a report by Times Online they state the following :

"The research suggests that a calorie from alcohol has less impact on weight than a calorie from other foods and that the way the body deals with alcohol is more complex than realised. One theory is that in regular drinkers the liver develops a separate metabolic pathway to break down alcohol, with surplus energy turned mainly into heat, not fat."

In other studies red wine has been found to boost blood flow to our brains and to help lower the risk of heart disease. Some research has shown that red wine helps prevent blood clots and reduce the blood vessel damage caused by fat deposits.
Have you ever heard of the "French Paradox" ? French people have a very low occurrence of coronary heart disease and obesity even though their diet is high in saturated fats that is found in cream,cheese, butter, Pâté and so many other amazing French dishes. Some of the main factors as to why French people are thinner than other countries are smaller serving sizes, the use of Olive oil and of course Le Vin Rouge (red wine). French people drink wine with their meals and also cook with it, so they are ahead of this study. The French Paradox is a very interesting subject to read about, there is so much information out there so if you're interested do a quick search.
Now I'm not suggesting that everyone should start drinking every day. Moderation is always the key, not just with alcohol but as we all know with food - to much of anything is never good. Remember first you need to consult your physician to see if this is something you could benefit from.

Being that red wine is my favorite alcoholic drink , this report is great news to me. Having lived in Paris for some time I was greatly influenced by the French tradition of enjoying a glass of red wine with my dinner. So if you'll excuse me while I sit here and enjoy my amazing glass of Syrah, Santé! or a votre santé ! ( To your health!! now how perfect is that. )

**Please read the links above for more information and exact numbers on this study**


Nasi Goreng Indonesian Fried Rice

>> Monday, March 15, 2010

Nasi Goreng
A couple of weeks ago our friend, aka frequent dinner guest (FDG), brought me a gift. Actually two gifts the first was an Indonesian cookbook from his trip to Indonesia and the second a packet of Saffron from his trip to Egypt. As you can imagine to a foodie these make the best gifts:) The cookbook is called " The best of Indonesian Cooking" by Yasa Boga and published by Marshall Caven Dish. Here is a picture of the cookbook and I checked on Amazon but it's not available, so maybe you can try to find it else where.
Indonesian cooking
There are so many recipes that look and sound so good. Just flipping through the pages makes my mouth water. Honestly, I couldn't decide which recipe to try first. It was like a mouth-watering overload and I wanted to try them all at once. But I finally decided on two recipes for two dishes that we are familiar with, Nasi Goreng or Fried Rice and Chicken Satay with peanut sauce. The first time my husband and I went to an Indonesian restaurant this is what the waiter recommended to us, and we both enjoyed it very much. Today I'll share the Nasi Goreng recipe and in another post I will share the Chicken Satay recipe. This is a very easy and fast recipe to make, also a great way to use up left over white rice.

First is the recipe as it is written in the book and following it I will share my substitute ingredients in case you need them. Also I used dark soy sauce so the color on yours rice and Satay maybe lighter.

Indonesian fried riceIngredients:
5 Tbs. oil
600 grams (1.32 lb. )refrigerated rice*
1-2 Tbs. sweet soy sauce

Spices (ground) :
5 shallots
3 garlic cloves
3-5 red chillies
1/2 tsp. dried shrimp paste

sliced cucumbers
sliced tomato
fried shallots
fried eggs (per the book image)

Saute ground spices in oil until fragrant and thoroughly cooked. Add rice and sweet soy sauce. Mix well until rice becomes warm. Serve fried rice with fried eggs, finely sliced cucumber and fried shallots.

*Note: Use cooled rice, preferably rice that has been left overnight, to make fried rice. Newly-cooked rice breaks easily and sticks to the frying pan.

My substitutes:
Sweet soy sauce is soy sauce that has had refined brown sugar added to it. I only had dark Chinese soy sauce to use, so I added 1 teaspoon to the soy sauce and allow it to dissolve completely. Unfortunately I cannot find shrimp paste so I used 1 teaspoon of Fish sauce mixed with a pinch of paprika (for the color). I know not very authentic but it will add the fishy taste and smell to the rice that the shrimp paste would. This is something that I have been doing for a while and I haven't noticed the missing shrimp paste yet. The image in the book had sliced tomatoes along with the cucumbers, so I added them even though the recipe doesn't call for tomatoes.
Nasi Goreng fried rice, fried egg
Another tip to people that can't or don't eat very spicy food, use less chillies or perhaps omit them all together. But add a little paprika so the rice still has some of the color.

What did my husband and I think of this recipe ? YUMMM !!! it was delicious and my husband asked if we could have this again very soon:) I can't wait to make it again for us and for our friend FDG. Thanks again FDG for my gifts that keep on giving, hehe. Now I just need to figure out what to make with my Saffron, hmm .....
chicken satay, Indonesian


Cucumber Sandwiches, a British Tradition

>> Saturday, March 13, 2010

cucumber sandwich
Cucumber Sandwiches are a light finger food traditionally served at the British afternoon tea. Afternoon tea is a light meal or snack that was traditionally served in the afternoon or early evening before supper. Traditionally tea is served along with small snacks such as scones, cakes, pastries, and light sandwiches like these cucumber sandwiches.

english cucumber

If you do a quick search on cucumber sandwiches you will come up with a wide variety of recipes using all sorts of spreads and breads. But I am showing you the traditional and true "British Cucumber Sandwich". So no fancy spreads or over the top ingredients. First make sure you have good quality fresh soft white bread, then try to get your hands on an English cucumber. English cucumbers are longer and skinnier than garden cucumbers. These are also the best cucumbers to use because they have thin skins, very few if any seeds, and you don't need to peel them before you can eat them. At my local vegetable market they always come sealed in plastic , it apparently gives them a longer shelf life. If you can only find garden cucumbers peel and remove the seeds first.

how to prepare tea sandwich

tea sandwich ingredients
Ingredients needed :
-thin slices of crust less white bread
-butter, at room temperature
-paper thin slices of English cucumbers

1. Slice your bread into thin slices, if you are using commercial pre-sliced bread try to get thin sliced loaf. Cut the crust off all four sides. Next spread the butter as lightly as possible but covering the entire bread slice.
2.If you want to remove the peel off the cucumber do so first, otherwise rinse the cucumber. An optional thing to do is using a fork score it by running the fork down the top of the cucumber. This will slightly puncture it and leave a nice pattern. Next slice the cucumber as thinly as you can , place the slices on top of a paper towel to soak up some of the extra liquid. Keep slicing as many slices as you need or want.

slicing tea sandwich3. Sprinkle cucumber slices with a little salt and ground black pepper (if you like), arrange them on top of the bread. I like mine with a thin layer of maybe 2 or 3 slices stacked, it's up to you. Place another slice of bread on top the bread. Slice the sandwich diagonally two times to create four triangle shapes. Repeat these steps until you have all the sandwiches you want or need.

Serve with tea (English style which is brewed black loose leaf tea and milk. ), and enjoy!
tea time snack

Nutritionally wise we may not get much from cucumbers, but they are so good and refreshing. The perfect in-between meal snack, or in my case these sandwich makes a perfect light lunch.
cucumber and tea sandwich


Soups On! Tomato Cream Soup

>> Friday, March 5, 2010

Soups on! Tomato cream soup is just perfect for the -5c weather we are having the last few days.( And I was just starting to get so excited about the couple of warm weather days, thinking Spring was coming early this year:( , should of listened to my husband. )
This soup recipe is going to be my first "Recipe Review", the recipe belongs to John from Cooking with Passion. I actually found it last fall, and had been meaning to review it for a while. I did get around to cooking this delicious and very filling soup, as a matter of fact I've made it a couple of times, so you know I like it:) The first time I made it I followed the exact instructions that John gives, the second time I substituted sour cream for cream to make it creamier ( and because I was out of sour cream). So here it goes.

Tomato soup, adapted from Cooking with Passion
1 finely chopped white onion
3 finely chopped clove of garlic
4 inch piece of celery finely chopped
1 medium carrot peeled and finely chopped
5 medium tomatoes cored and quartered
1 tbsp tomato paste
Pinch finely chopped fresh basil
Pinch of salt, pepper and sugar
1 cup of chicken stock
(1-2 TB of oil, I used sunflower oil or you could use olive oil too)

1 heaped tbsp sour cream
Parsley leaf for decoration

Blender or hand held blender

1. Wash,chop, dice, peel all of the vegetables. In a large pot heat the oil and add all of the vegetable except the tomatoes, stirring to prevent them from burning. Once the vegetables are softened through, add the tomato pastes making sure all the vegetables are coated completely. Next add the tomatoes, add a pinch each of salt, black pepper and sugar, stir to combine all of the ingredients. Simmer until the tomatoes have soften and started to fall apart.
2.Add the chicken stock and a bit of the fresh basil, cover and simmer until the tomatoes have completely separated and become mushy, it will take about 20 minutes. Test to make sure all of the vegetables have cooked through, turn off heat and leave uncovered for about 15 minutes to cool down.
3. Pour some of the soup into a blender , or using a hand held blender mix in the pot. Puree soup until it's a soft and creamy mixture. You can put through a fine sieve to remove the skins and seeds. ( He also suggested removing the seeds and skin at the start of the process. I preferred to remove the seeds when I was cutting the tomatoes, as for the skins I left them.)
4. Put the soup back in the pot with a nob of butter and bring to a boil. Just before serving if you like sour cream you can add some to the soup now. (I used 2 tbs. of cream and I omitted the butter.) Serve with bread and garnish with some parsley leaf, I added dried basil instead of parsley.

What do I think of the recipe and the soup? I quite liked this soup, it's hard to get good tomato soup. But this one is exactly how I wanted it, creamy with the tomato taste but without the overly sweetened taste of tomato paste. It's very filling so if you want an easy lunch or a lighter dinner, this is it. As I said before I have made it a couple of times, and I will continue to make it on cold days like today.
Stop by Cooking with Passion for some more great recipes from John.


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