Foraging through unkempt gardens

Unkempt gardens are the best places where you can find fruit that grows spontaneously and unaided by modern chemicals and other plants that you would expect to take a long walk though the forest for. Here's the scoop:

I had some help - shy at first

But willing to give a loving helping hand eventually

We found piles of small golden and green apples.

Baby stinging nettle and mint

But the discovery for me were the elder fruits. You can find them hanging in the sun, ripening and waiting for you

I decided to pick as many as I could [approx. 3 kilos and another 3 afterwards]

And made the most delicious jam ever - with bourbon vanilla and lemon juice.

Other items on the day's menu were a thick gazpacho

And nettle puree with romanian polenta

All in all, it was a fun day


Courgette and mushroom summer pie

This is a recipe I've got from a friend by word of mouth (very surreal nowadays).

So here it is:


  • 250 grams flour
  • 8 grams yeast (fresh)
  • a teaspoon sugar
  • a tablespoon warm water
  • 70 grams butter (melted)
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk
  • one egg and one yolk

  • 350 grams [more is equally fine] cheese mix of your choice (make sure you use one salty cheese, with a more powerful taste and one fat cheese that will melt when baked)
  • a tablespoon dried thyme - I buy my thyme fresh and dry it myself
  • one egg and the egg white you didn't use in the crust
  • black pepper
  • one and a half zucchini, courgette or [better] both
  • 6-7 medium sized champignon mushrooms
  • 100 grams cheese 
  • pinch salt, pinch pepper


In a cup, mix the yeast and the sugar until the yeast liquifies. Add warm water and a teaspoon of the flour. Let sit for 5 mins. Then mix it well with all the other ingredients.
Let rest and rise while you prepare the filling and toppings.

Grate the cheese and then mix with the other ingredients.

Cut the courgettes/zucchinis in slices [2-3 mm thick]. Sprinkle salt and let them soften while the crust dough rises.
Cut the mushrooms in slices and place them in a tablespoon olive oil in a non-stick pan and fry them about 30 seconds to one minute on every side. Don't overlap the slices in the pan - use multiple pans or multiple batches. You'll need the specified cheese for assembly.

Place the crust in an oiled pie tin using your fingers or a rolling pin. Pour the filling over the crust. Place the courgette slices overlapping only slightly. Grate the cheese you saved for the topping on top of them. Then place the mushroom slices over the cheese. 
Note: You can swap the layers of courgette and mushroom slices or you can mix them to form other patterns.
Then bake for 30 min at 190 Celsius. I actually didn't follow this last instruction and decided that a lower temperature and a longer time would be more appropriate in ensuring that the crust portion touching the filling doesn't stay raw while the outer layers burn. I didn't have a thermometer-enhanced oven so I can't tell you what the temperature was but I left it on low-to-medium for about 100 minutes.

So here it is - one of the most detailed recipes I posted so far. 
I recommend this for lunch, brunch, as a side dish, as a main dish, etc.


Tuna s'witch

Tuna carrot sandwich. Whip up a tuna salad: grate a large carrot, chop a white onion and mix with good quality tuna chunks in-oil. Add cider vinegar or lemon - or both [half quantities], and black pepper. Top slices of toast with this salad and add hard-boiled eggs. A good sauce that goes well with this is what I call a fake mayo: half-and-half mustard and full-fat sour cream.

There you go: tuna sandwich, with a switch!


Summer pork: this is how it's done

I know that eating pork during hot summer days might seem like a bad idea, but I thought - if Spaniards dot it so well, why can't I?
So I went off buying pork (juicy and fat pork neck) and summer veggies (zucchini, mushrooms and garden tomatoes).
I brushed salt and coarsely crushed black pepper onto the pork slices and placed them in a non-stick pan on moderate-to-high temperature.
Meanwhile, i cut the vegetables into chunks and heated them on low with red onions until juices started to  flow. By then I had just boiled some rice so I combined the two to form a so-called risotto.
It's very easy to make and quick as well - 20 mins tops.

To be enjoyed with a sprinkle of fresh dill even on hot summer days, in a shaded and cool place.
The recommended drink is pressed citrus and lemons, mixed with spring water and served ice-cold in chilled glasses and garnished with melon.


Seafood: crab | octopus | calamari

I love those dinners where food is so great that I'm almost shy when it comes to eat it. Luckily for me, a great white was there [poured in cool glasses] to inspire confidence.

Oh, just look at those crisp and juicy octopus tentacles - a perfect blog banner for the summer if you ask me!

Green lentils cream soup

Sauté diced carrot, celery, parsnip in a dash of butter. Add salt, pepper, spices. Add water, simmer until tender. Add green lentils, replace liquid while simmering.
Mix well in a blender. Serve hot. Goes well with onions and toast.
Works well for a light dinner.

Random dinner: chicken liver and cheese-stuffed shrooms

Cook chicken liver in the oven with a tiny drop of oil and vinegar [apple-cidre and honey is what I used], a pinch dried herbs and bring it out when brown yet still moist. Meanwhile, place shrooms [champignons or other regular-shaped mushrooms] in the oven [same oven, worked for me very well], but not before you stuff them with cheese(s) of your liking.
Garnish with salad.


Crudités salad

Cut carrots and celeriac using a vegetable peeler. To get nice curly strips you'll have to keep them in ice-cold water for a while, but I didn't have the time. Next I added a lettuce leaf, for color. After the salt, vinegar and oil, I sprinkled a small amount of raw, unsalted sunflower seeds.

Super easy to "make" and a good idea to complete a light breakfast: toast [ I make mine in a non-stick pan, just heat the pan and place the slices there, flipping occasionally - until you feel the smell of toast and see the rich color], butter, fresh fruit, coffe, yerba mate tea.


Cheesecake no1: chocolate base and orange-prune chunks

This must be the tenth cheesecake I've made but it's the first I took [acceptable] pictures of so I'm going to consider it as my first online cheesecake.

Recipe coming soon - I misplaced the paper where I wrote the quantities and it's a personalized recipe. Until I come back with the recipe, enjoy the pics!


Super foods: spring salad

Baby stinging nettle - we always eat baby stinging nettle stew when spring comes but I've never summoned enough curiosity to test the statement that it doesn't sting when you eat it raw.
Well this year I felt a closer connection to my planet and the forest that can feed me if I respect it - I foraged for baby stinging nettle and ramsons [wild garlic - lat. Allium ursinum, meaning bear's garlic]. So, feeling that much closer to nature, I figured I can try and eat the stinging nettle raw - and it worked! Didn't sting and had a seed-nutty favour.

This inspired me to compose a spring super-salad: baby stinging nettle - a bunch, half a leaf lettuce - rolled and thinly sliced and a pinch of sunflower raw unsalted seeds, vinaigrette (sunflower seed oil and apple-cider-and-honey vinegar).

As for the ramsons [wild garlic], I decided that I wouldn't combine it with any other leaf and just added vinegar and oil.


Savory egg pate with red garden orache

Blend hard-boiled eggs, natural mustard and dried condiments of your liking together until a smooth pate is obtained. Garnish with red garden orache. 


Another take on the cheese biscuits

Using the same recipe in this post, I made cheese biscuits/scones again. I had cow's and sheep's salty cheese and wondered if it would work. As you see, they came out a bit flat but were still tender inside and somewhat crisp on the outside. This time I washed the down with Carlsberg and got to share with friends.


A winter cake

Since I'm digging out photos from the past these days, I thought why not show them the cake my sister got for her birthday? She's born in December, hence the winter theme.

It was delicious - simple sweet icing, and a bouquet of aromas inside - chocolate mousse and chocolate crust, cranberry bits - the whole package.

After a long wait: my photo camera's first trip to Capriciosa, Bucharest

As I promised long time ago in the sneak peek post, here are shots from that one time I took my photo camera to Capriciosa Restaurant in Bucharest.
I started with Crostini Toscani - homemade chicken liver pate, topped with champignons and herbs.

I then moved on to a plate of Rigatoni con Porcini, which also boasted smoked aged cheese, but with such a long time since I went, I don't recall its name. Smooth taste and good textures.
Now, for dessert, I had:

a great millefoglie (above), classic - vanilla cream, caster sugar on top, and

my first, amazing, panna cotta - a very delicate cream dessert, which had a great red fruit sauce.


Simple Food: Delicious Zander Lunch

Deep-fried zander served with carrot and beet salad, baked potatoes and a touch of flavour: raspberries and lemon wedges.

Simple and delicious.


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