Apple and Marzipan Slice

We had a couple of our friends coming for tea and had not much time to bake anything, luckily, I had a ready puff pastry in a fridge and apples, which did remind me about James Martin’s recipe I’ve recently seen on TV. It suited perfectly for this occasion, – very quick to make and really delicious. Tart apple filling, marzipan layer and crispy pastry is a perfect combo! This quantity of ingredients will make a rather big slice which easily will provide about 6-8 portions.

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APPLE AND MARZIPAN SLICE

(Adapted from James Martin’s recipe)

Ingredients:

750g apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped

3 tablespoons sugar

2 x 320g ready-made all-butter puff pastry sheets (about 35cm x 23cm/14in x 9in)

200g natural (uncoloured) marzipan, thinly sliced or grated

2 egg yolks, lightly beaten

2 tbsp demerara sugar

butter plus extra for greasing

cream, clotted cream or ice-cream to serve

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180 Fan.

2. Heat the apples, 3 tablespoons of sugar and 3 tablespoons of water in a saucepan over a medium heat. Bring the mixture to the boil, stirring well, then cover and reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering. Continue to simmer for 3-5 minutes, or until the apple has softened. Cook until the apple has completely broken down to a purée, then remove the purée from the heat and set aside to cool.

3. Place one sheet of puff pastry onto a baking tray lightly greased with butter. Lay the slices of marzipan (or I prefer to grate it) on top of the pastry to cover, leaving a border of 2cm all the way around.

4. Spread the cooled apple purée over the layer of marzipan, then brush the pastry border with a little of the beaten egg.

5. Fold the second sheet of puff pastry in half lengthways, then carefully score the pastry from the folded side towards the cut side at 1cm intervals down the length of the pastry, leaving 2cm intact at the cut side of the pastry.

6. Unfold the scored pastry and lay it exactly on top of the apple-covered pastry, then crimp the edges to seal the two sheets of pastry using your fingers.

7. Trim the edges of the pastry and brush the top of the Apple slice all over with the remaining beaten egg. Sprinkle the top with demerara sugar, then bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the pastry has risen and is crisp and golden-brown.

8. Allow to cool slightly before serving, serve with any variation of cream you prefer (pouring, clotted or ice-cream). 🙂

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Antipasto Salad

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Once I saw this recipe on a fellow blogger’s site here. I made it the same evening but got caught up with some things so didn’t  write a review, nor to say a big thank you for the recipe as the salad was delicious and became a regular addition to our winter menu.

Here is the recipe, from Mermaid’s Tresses, I have’t changed a thing, apart from fresh parsley for decoration:

ANTIPASTO SALAD

Ingredients:

1 carrot
1 stick of celery
1 or 2 stems from a fennel bulb
1/4 cup of black olives
A good amount of dried Italian herbs
Salt and pepper (optional)
1 teaspoon of capers (optional)
Dressing: 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, 1 clove of Finely minced garlic

Method:

Dice the carrot, celery and fennel into 5 mm cubes, and roughly chop the olives. Toss them into a bowl and add as much of the Italian herb mix as you like. Sprinkle a good pinch of salt and pepper in as well. Mix the dressing together in a separate bowl and pour over the top of the salad just before serving.

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Sagar Vegetarian Review

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As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, last Saturday we spent in London, browsing some galleries, and looking for some nice places to eat. Initially we wanted to check out a place called Kintan, which is famous for its Japanese/Korean barbecues,(the food being cooked at the table over a hot plate), however, we didn’t make a reservation beforehand hence didn’t get in, as it gets very busy at week-end (lesson learnt for next time:). Because of that we decided to check out another place which I wanted to visit for a long time,- ‘Sagar‘ Vegetarian Indian place (Covent Garden branch). And believe me, I really wanted to love this, but sadly, we were a bit disappointed,-firstly with a rather frosty service (but we didn’t pay too much attention to it as, understandably it is in a very busy location) and, secondly, with the food 😦 I ordered the Dosa Massala, which was the only dish we both liked! Vegetable Biriyani  was the worst we ever had (with some wilted and burnt pieces, presumably mushrooms, dried out and brown colour (by the time it reached our table) peas and rather bland rice altogether). We both looked forward to trying Pani Puri and what a disappointment it was,- cold and plastic-like crunchy with some doggy smelling mixture of flavored water. In general, all dishes we ordered were a little watery and lacking in flavour/spice. I really hope we came when the chef had a bad day or may be we made a wrong choice (because after reading majority reviews you can see that it’s a favourite spot by many), but as for me it’s more an eat and go place rather than somewhere to linger. It is definitely a good value for money, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you are looking for something more special. 😦

East Meets West Exhibition

Last week-end we headed to the Saatchi Gallery to check out the Post Pop: East Meets West exhibition. It was on my list ‘to do’ for a while and it didn’t disappoint my expectations. The collection included the work of artists from the former Soviet Union, China and Taiwan, as well as those from Britain and the US. You can read more about it here.

I know the exhibition had mixed reviews, some people disapproved of it, some were shocked, others found it funny. As for me, the exhibition impressed me on many levels. Firstly the nostalgic factor, lots of the imagery was reminiscent of my soviet era childhood, we all grew up surrounded by this kind of imagery and art. At the time, no one would ever have imagined any of it as being future art. Behind this, it’s a critique of man made obsession and ideology in terms of the material and the religious, which is delivered in this bright and humorous work, and a great comment on the nature of the world we live in today.

The exhibition is on until 3rd of March 2015, so if you are looking for something to do in London, I’d definitely suggest to visit Saatchi gallery and grab some delicious street food from the Duke of York Market afterward. 🙂

Below there are only few ‘pieces’ which grabbed my attention:

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Chocolate and Hazelnuts Biscotti

These biscotti are loaded with chunks of hazelnuts and chocolate, and are perfect for dunking in your coffee. They are crisp and crunchy, with a deep chocolate flavor that comes from adding both unsweetened cocoa powder and dark chocolate to the batter. You can make them as crunchy as you prefer by leaving them longer in an oven during the second bake. Original recipe asked for pistachios but I didn’t have them on hands, so I used the hazelnuts instead and was pleased with the result. IMG_4646

CHOCOLATE AND HAZELNUTS BISCOTTI

(Adapted from Martha Stewart’s recipe)

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons butter, softened, plus more for baking sheet

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for baking sheet

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup toasted hazelnuts

1/2 cup roughly chopped dark chocolate

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 180C. Butter and flour a baking sheet; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beat until well combined. Add flour mixture, and stir to form a stiff dough. Stir in toasted hazelnuts and chopped chocolate.
  3. Transfer dough to prepared baking sheet; form into a slightly flattened log, about 30 x 10cm. Bake until slightly firm, about 25 minutes. Cool about 5 minutes. Reduce oven to 150C.
  4. On a cutting board, using a sharp knife, cut biscotti diagonally into 2.5cm slices. Arrange biscotti, cut sides down, on baking sheet, and bake until crisp but still slightly soft in the center, about 8 minutes (or longer, depends on how crunchy you want them to be).