(Cottage)Cheese Straws

As the title suggest, these are not your usual loaded with Cheddar cheese straws, these are a much lighter version, made with the Cottage Curd Cheese /Twarog

You can snack on them, serve instead of bread with soups and dips, or even with tea and coffee, if you don’t have a sweet tooth. They are very addictive though.

Also there is no limit to toppings. Traditionally, they are sprinkled with caraway or poppy seeds, but  you can sprinkle with whatever takes your fancy: paprika, linseeds, sesame seeds, curry powder, chopped nuts or as a sweet option with sugar and cinnamon.

COTTAGE CHEESE STRAWS

Ingredients:

250g twarog cheese (available at Tesco or other Polish supermarkets)
250g butter, at room temperature
350g plain flour
2 eggs  (1 — for a dough, 1 for the topping)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder

Options for topping:

Caraway seeds
poppy seeds
linseeds
paprika, etc.

Method:

  1. Beat the cheese with butter until smooth.
  2. Add the egg and sugar, beat again. Add the flour, salt and baking powder. Knead lightly until the dough comes together and is quite soft.
  3.  On floured surface roll out to a of 7-8 mm thick and cut into sticks with a width and a length of about a finger.
  4. Place the cut out strips on a baking sheet, brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with caraway seeds, sesame seeds or anything else of your choice.
  5. Bake in a preheated to 180C oven about 13-15 minters or until the straws are tender and golden brown.

 

 

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Cheesy Christmas Trees

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As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, today is the day when a lot of people celebrate Orthodox Christmas. To commemorate the continuation of the festive period (for some people) or just an excuse for some fun, here is the fun starter I made a few times recently. It is so easy and quick to prepare and assemble, you can also vary it according to your taste.

CHEESY CHRISTMAS TREES

Ingredients:

For 10-12 trees:
10-12 crackers (any you prefer)
dill (approx 150-200g), finely chopped
150-200 g of cottage cheese (preferably this one)
6-8 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
salt and pepper
a handful of walnuts, finely chopped
a pinch of Italian herbs
1-2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
cranberries for decoration

Method:

1. Simply place all chopped ingredients in a bowl and mix it all up, using the fork or hand blender. Adjust the seasoning if needed. Mixture should be quite stiff to be able to roll a ball.

2. Then, with your hands form the curd mass 10-12 balls, then form each ball into a cone. Put the chopped dill on a flat plate. Roll each cone in chopped dill (try to keep the cone shape).

3. Arrange the crackers on a plate or board, plant one tree on each cracker,  as a tree topper use the fresh cranberry. Let it chill in the fridge for at least an hour (alternatively you can make it the day before, but if you do, hold back from putting it on the cracker until you actually serve, as the cracker will absorb all the moisture from the cheese). Serve as an appetiser or as a part of a cheese board.

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New Forest Walk & Aubergine Rolls

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What sort of thing do you think about when walking through a beautiful  rolling wilderness with its vibrant moss carpet, rolling green hills, burnt colour trails and different hues of purple? Call me crazy, but a recent walk we took through the New Forest brought only one thing to my mind – my Dad’s Aubergine Rolls. I think the same colour pallet gave me a hint, or I was just hungry…

 

AUBERGINE ROLLS WITH COTTAGE CHEESE STUFFING

Ingredients:

2 aubergines, sliced length ways

400 cottage cheese

3 cloves garlic, crushed

150g walnuts, finely chopped

salt/pepper to taste

olive oil for frying

handful of basil leaves

Method:

1. Cut the aubergines length ways, brush it with olive oil on both sides and fry on a pan until cooked through and pale golden. Set aside on a paper tower to absorb excess of the oil.

2. In a bowl mix together cottage cheese, crushed garlic, finely chopped walnuts, salt and pepper.

3. Take an aubergine slice, place the scoop of the cottage filling closer to one side and carefully roll up. Continue the same process with the rest of the aubergines and filling. Place the rolls on a plate, decorate with the basil leaves.

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Cheesecake crumble

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No, I didn’t make a mistake in a title, this pudding is the best of both worlds – it is a combination of cheesecake and crumble. It is my Mum’s recipe, so it’s ultimate comfort food for me 🙂 As someone living outside their home country, now and then I really miss some products and for me this special ‘missing’ product is cottage cheese, which gives me a special boost and endless possibilities in cooking.

However, the cottage cheese I grew up with is very different from the ricotta or quark available in the UK, which is sometimes used as a substitute in many recipes. Although it comes from the same dairy family, it fits a different purpose. I’m sure most of you know which type I’m talking about, but if you have not come across this kind of cottage cheese, please do not be put off as it is widely available now. You can easily find it in any international food store or even in local supermarkets. It comes in different packaging but the main thing it should look similar to this:

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CHEESECAKE CRUMBLE

Ingredients:

Crumble base:

150 g butter

300 g plain flour

80 g sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3 tablespoons desiccated coconut

Cheesecake mix:

400 g cottage cheese

2 eggs

100 g sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Butter the baking dish or spring-form tin and line with the parchment paper.

2. To make the crumble mix, place the flour, butter, sugar, baking powder and desiccated coconut in a bowl and mix it all with your fingers until it forms the crumbs (alternatively, use the food processor and pulse it for a few times).

3. In another bowl, beat together all ingredients for the cheesecake filling.

4. Place half of the crumble mixture on the bottom of the baking dish, making sure there are no gaps but do not press the crumble mixture to the bottom of the tin. Then pour over the cheesecake mix and cover with the left overs of crumbs on top.

5. Bake it for 30-40 minutes, until it’s slightly golden on top. Serve hot or cold.

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