The Food Blog

Thursday, February 23, 2006

BOZA /Millet-Ale/ -Bulgaria

This is a popular Bulgarian drink typical also of other Balkan countries. The boza is a thick, fermented beverage (containing up to 4 percent alcohol) with a sourish or sweetish taste. The boza is made of various kinds of flour (barley, oats, corn, wheat), but boza of best quality and taste is made of millet flour.
We offer you directions for making boza at home. The recipe is meant for 5 littres.

5 l of water
2 teacupfuls of flour
2 teacupfuls of sugar
1 teacupful of boza or home-made ferment

Directions:Roast slightly the flour (to become rosy in colour). Take care not to get it burnt. Mix it with a bit of lukewarm water. Pour the mixture into the pot filled with the rest of the water and put it on the plate. Add the sugar and leave the liquid to boil stirring it once in a while. Keep boiling for 5-6 minutes still stirring. Remove the pot from the fire and let it cool. Add 1 teacupful of boza or 1 teacupful of the home-made ferment. Leave the mixture in a warm place for 2-3 days to cause firmentation. When the boza is ready, pour it in bottles and store in a cool place (refrigerator).

Home-made boza ferment
1-2 spoonfuls of slightly roasted flour
1 teacupful of tepid water
1 spoonful of sugar

How to make the boza ferment:Mix the slightly roasted flour (take care to keep it from burning) with the water and stir well. Add the sugar. Leave the mess in a warm place for 2-3 days to ferment, stirring it from time to time.
Note: The teacupful of boza or home-made ferment can be replaced by 6-7 moistened and crumbled slices of wholemeal bread /or toast/, or by 6-7 spoonfuls of leaven. In this case before storage the boza has to be filtered (without pressing).
There is reason to suppose that for causing fermentation it is also possible to use a mixture of a little bit of yeast, water or milk, and a teaspoonful of sugar, left beforehand to rise.
Obviously, to become a good boza maker one has to experiment.

Stuffed baniza – burek From Slovenia (Balkans)

1 package strudel leaves
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup milk
2 eggs

The fillings:
Cheese:50 dag cottage cheese (FETA)
3 eggs3 tablespoons yogurt

50 dag minced meat
2 eggs
2 onionssalt and pepper to tastedash of paprika

From strudel dough roll out 3 pieces. Rinse out a cake pan with cold water. Place in 1 piece of dough. Brush with melted butter; spread on it half of combined ingredients for cheese filling. Place on it second piece of dough; brush with fat again; spread with rest of cheese filling; top with third piece of dough. If desired, beat milk and eggs and pour in. Bake until brown in oven for about 40 minutes. Proceed in the same way with meat filling, mixing meat with finely chopped onions, eggs, and spices. Serve hot or cold. Burek is originally a Serbian dish, but is widely used in Slovenia.


2 lb lean beef
·5 firm, green bananas (ensure that they are not ripe)
·2 large onions
·1 large tomato
·2 cups coconut milk
·1 cup water
·2 tbsp vegetable oil·
½ lb peas
·6 oz snow peas, mange tout, washed·salt and pepper (to taste)

Peel and dice the onions finely
Dice the tomato into coarse pieces
Peel the bananas and cut into 1 to 1 ½ inch pieces
Dice the beef into approximately ½ inch pieces
Place the meat in a saucepan, cover with water, add salt, bring to the boil and then simmer until tender.Heat the oil in a saucepan and sauté the onions without browning. Add the tomato as well as the meat mixture. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Continue cooking until the tomatoes soften.Add the coconut milk, stirring continuously and bring the mixture to the boil. Add the banana pieces and the peas to the stew. Reduce the heat and simmer for approximately 10-15 minutes, or until the bananas are cooked, soft but not mushy.

Pork fillet stir fry

1 tbsp oil
110g/4oz pork fillet, thinly sliced
55g/2oz purple sprouting broccoli, chopped
½tin water chestnuts, diced
½red pepper, de-seeded and sliced
2 baby leeks, sliced
2 tbsp soy sauce
1. Heat the oil in a wok. Add the pork and cook for two to three minutes.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and sauté for another five minutes.
3. Transfer to a dish and serve warm.

Preparation time less than 30 mins
Cooking time 10 to 30 mins

steamed salmon

For the steamed salmon
1 handful of herbs, including mint, chives and coriander
1 lime, juice only
½ tsp caster sugar
2 tsp soy sauce
140g/5oz salmon
For the herby new potatoes 110g/4oz new potatoes
1. For the steamed salmon, place the herbs, the lime juice, the caster sugar and the soy sauce into a mini food processor, and blend to make a paste.
2. Place half of this paste into a bowl, and keep the other half for the new potatoes.
3. Add the salmon to the bowl of paste. Spread paste evenly over the fish and leave to marinate for five minutes.
4. Place a steamer over a pan of boiling water. Place the marinated salmon into the steamer, and steam with a lid on for 8-10 minutes, or until cooked to your liking.
5. For the herby new potatoes, boil the new potatoes in hot water for 8-10 minutes, or until tender, remove from the water and drain.
6. Toss the new potatoes in the remaining herb paste, and serve with the steamed salmon.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Dinner Recipes for Valentine's Day

Caramel Chicken Fresco Bake

4 cups of broccoli florets
4 tablespoons butter, divided
12 ounces baby Portobello mushrooms, sliced
3 shallots, sliced
14 ounces artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed and quartered
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 ½ cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon each salt, dried tarragon leaves and black pepper
1 cup of grated Emmentaler cheese
2 pounds of boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, cut into 1 ½ inch cubes
1/4 cup of Asiago (or Parmesan) cheese

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray a 4 quart baking dish with cooking spray. Steam the broccoli for about 6 minutes. Drain and set aside. In a large skillet, sauté the mushrooms and shallots in one tablespoon of butter. Cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and place in a large bowl. Add the broccoli and artichokes to the mushrooms and toss gently and set aside.Melt remaining 3 tablespoons of butter over low heat in the same skillet. Stir in the flour and blend until smooth. Add the stock, mustard, salt, tarragon and pepper. Whisk for about 2-5 minutes over medium heat until slightly thickened and smooth. Add the Emmantaler cheese and stir until melted. Remove from heat.In prepared baking dish, alternate layers of the chicken with the vegetable mixture. Pour cheese sauce over all. Cover with lid or foil and bake for 40 minutes; uncover and sprinkle with the Asiago cheese. Bake for an addition 15-20 minutes. Serve over rice or noodles, if desired.

Cupid's Chicken Skewers Recipe

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, sliced into long strips
Wooden skewers
Marinade:1 C. honey
2 sticks butter, melted
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 oz. Southern Comfort
Juice of 1 lime
3 oz. balsamic vinegar
Dipping Sauce:
1 C. Chinese sweet chili sauce
2 oz. Southern Comfort
2 sprigs of cilantro (chopped)
1 lime (juiced)
1 T. hot sauce
3 oz. honey
1 oz. sesame oil
Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl, and set aside.In a separate bowl, combine dipping sauce ingredients, and set aside.Slide the skewers lengthwise through each piece of chicken breast. Place the skewered breasts in marinade and let stand 1 hour. Grill the chicken until done or lightly browned on each side. Remove from the grill and serve with the dipping sauce.
Serves 4.

Heart Shaped Pizza Recipe

Pizza Dough:
1 C. water
2 T. milk
2 t. sugar
1 1/4 t. salt
1 T. shortening
1 T. olive oil
1 T. durum semolina (or corn meal)
1 C. unbleached all-purpose flour
2 C. unbleached bread flour
1 1/4 t. yeast
Food processor:Place water, milk, sugar, salt, shortening and olive oil in bowl of food processor and pulse to dissolve sugar and salt. Add yeast, semolina or corn meal, bread flour and all purpose flour. Process until a soft ball forms. Remove from machine and allow to rest, covered with a towel, about 45 minutes. By Hand:In this case, use only all-purpose flour. Place water, milk, sugar, salt, shortening and olive oil in bowl and dissolve sugar and salt. Stir in yeast, semolina or corn meal, all purpose flour and knead to form a soft, but not-too sticky dough (8-10 minutes). Allow to rest, covered with a towel about 45 minutes. Deflate dough very gently before using and allow it to rest a further 15 minutes before using in a recipe. You may refrigerate dough in an oiled plastic bag for up to two days.
Shape dough into a heart. Top with your favorite sauce and toppings. Bake in a hot oven 425 - 450°F. for 15 - 20 minutes.

Banana Split Cake
1 package banana cake mix (Duncan Hines)
3 large eggs
1 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
2 to 3 bananas
16 ounces chocolate syrup
8 ounces frozen whipped topping, thawed
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Colored sprinkles
Maraschino cherries with stems

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13x9-inch pan. Combine cake mix, eggs, water, flour and oil in a large bowl. Beat at low speed until moistened. Then beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into pan.Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 32 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely. Cut cake into squares, top with banana slices. Drizzle with chocolate syrup. Top with whipped topping, walnuts and sprinkles. Garnish with maraschino cherries. Serves 12 to 16.Tip: To keep bananas looking fresh, dip them in diluted lemon juice.

Brownie Pizza Recipe
1 9 x 13 inch pan size brownie mix
Filling:8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/3 C. brown sugar
1/3 C. peanut butter
Topping:1/2 C. chopped peanuts
1/2 package (about 15) miniature peanut butter cups, chopped
Bake brownie mix as directed on package. Cool completely. Mix cream cheese, brown sugar and peanut butter until smooth and spread over cooled brownies. Sprinkle chopped peanuts and peanut butter cups on top of the cheese mixture. Before serving, drizzle top of dessert with chocolate syrup. Keep refrigerated.
Makes at least 24 bars, but could be cut smaller.

Almost as Good as Sex Cheesecake
Crust:5 oz Graham cracker crumbs
3 tb Sugar
5 tb Butter; melted
Filling:16 oz Cream cheese; softened
1/2 c Sugar
1/2 ts Vanilla pn Salt
2 lg Eggs
3 tb Chambord liqueur
8 oz Sour cream
1 tb Sugar
1/2 ts Vanilla
1 tb Chambord liqueur
1 c Raspberries; fresh

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.For Crust:Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Press mixture firmly into bottom of 9" springform pan. For Filling:Mix cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and salt at medium speed with electric mixer. Add eggs, and mix until well blended. Using a fork, gently fold Chambord into batter. Pour mixture into crust.Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until golden brown. Loosen cake from rim of pan. Let cool and remove rim of pan.For Topping:Mix sour cream, sugar, vanilla, and Chambord and spread evenly over cheesecake. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.Top with fresh raspberries just before serving.

Exotic Rum Grilled Fruit Kabobs
I star fruit (carambola), cubed
1/4 papaya, peeled and cubed
1/4 pineapple, peeled and cubed
I cup dark rum
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 dozen wooden skewers,
5 to 10 inches in length
Combine star fruit, papaya, and pineapple cubes in a flat bowl. Add rum and cover with plastic wrap, chill for 1 to 2 hours.In separate bowls, place fruit and brown sugar. Put on a table next to the grill with bamboo skewers. Have each guest spear pieces of fruit, roll them in brown sugar, and hold over grill until surface glazes and lightly browns. Cool slightly before eating. Yield: 2 servings

French Vanilla Tiramisu
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1-1/2 cups cold milk
1 pkg. (4-serving size) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding & Pie Filling
2 pkg. (3 oz. each) ladyfingers, split
1/3 cup prepared MAXWELL HOUSE Coffee, cooled
2 cups thawed COOL WHIP French Vanilla Whipped Topping
1 square BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate

grated Beat cream cheese in large bowl with electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add milk, mixing well after each addition. Add pudding mix. Beat on low speed 1 minute or until well blended. Sprinkle cut sides of ladyfingers with coffee.
Place 1/3 of the ladyfingers on bottom of 9-inch square dish; top with layers of 1/2 each of the pudding mixture and whipped topping; sprinkle with 1/3 of the grated chocolate. Repeat all layers. Top with remaining ladyfingers and grated chocolate.
Refrigerate 3 hours or until ready to serve.

Kahlua White Chocolate Valentine Cake
White Chocolate Ganache
1 3/4 cups whipping cream
3 1/2 ounces chopped white chocolate
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract Cake
2 ounces white chocolate
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 1/3 cups sifted cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 whole egg
1 separated egg
6 tablespoons milk (at room temperature)
Kahlúa Syrup
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 cup Kahlúa White Chocolate Ganache:
Prepare ganache before mixing and baking cake to allow it to chill.Ganache: In large bowl of electric mixer, combine cream and chocolate. Set over simmering water until chocolate is melted. Stir until smooth. Refrigerate at least 4-5 hours, stirring occasionally, until very thick. Add vanilla extract and beat until stiff. Cake: In small bowl set over simmering water, melt chocolate and cream together. Stir until smooth. Set aside to cool completely.In large bowl of electric mixer, beat batter until fluffy. Gradually beat in 3/4 cup sugar. Beat in whole egg and egg yolk until smooth. Stir in cooled chocolate. Alternately stir in dry ingredients and milk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients and blending thoroughly after each addition.In small bowl, whisk egg white with dash of salt until soft peaks form. Whisk in remaining 1/4 cup sugar, beating until very thick and glossy and mixture falls from whisk in heavy ribbon. Gently fold egg white into batter. Pour batter into 8 or 9 inch heart shaped cake pan which has been lined with butter and floured wax paper. Bake on center shelf of oven at 350 degrees F about 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes.Turn out of pan, if necessary, first trim any excess crust away from pan rim, and carefully peel away paper. Cool completely. Transfer cake to serving plate. Using wood pick, poke holes about 1 inch deep and at about 1 inch intervals in top of cake. Frost with white chocolate ganache. Kahlua Syrup: In small saucepan, combine water, coffee powder and sugar. Stir over low heat to dissolve coffee and sugar. Bring to boil and pour into small bowl. Add Kahlúa and stir to blend. Cool.
Serves 6

for Valentines: Banana Pineapple Strudel

4 sheets phyllo dough
melted butter
cinnamon sugar
bread crumbs (plain)
4 bananas
3 oz. chopped pineapple

Place first sheet of phyllo on work surface. Brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Place second layer of phyllo on top, brush with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Pat down. Follow same procedure for third and fourth layers. Sprinkle bread crumbs and cinnamon sugar on the end quarter of the dough sheets. Place bananas on top. Arrange chopped pineapples in between spaces. Dust with more bread crumbs and sugar. Roll the strudel as tightly as you can, making sure to fold in the edges. Brush outside with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Score into eighths, and bake in a moderate oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Valentines Dinner: Broiled Salmon Steaks with Chardonnay Sauce

Salmon Steaks Salt,
pepper, lemon juice,
all to season the fish
Enough olive oil to brush on the fish before broiling
Preheat the broiler. Season the fish with fresh lemon juice (just a little squeeze for each filet), then sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Place fish onto broiler pan. Brush lightly with olive oil and place under broiler until fish is golden brown and cooked through (about six minutes each side). Serve with fresh vegetables (asparagus or broccoli) and a rice pilaf or couscous.

Chardonnay Sauce
1/2 cup chardonnay
2 shallots, finely minced
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 pound soft whole butter
Reduce wine, shallots and vinegar by half. Add in cream and reduce by 1/2 again. Mixture should be rather thick. Let cool slightly. Using a whisk, add the soft butter so that it incorporates. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with a little lemon zest and some snipped chives.


1 tbsp. honey or sugar
2 tbsp. lemon juice
Cranberry juice
Ice cubes
Fill a glass half full of cold water. Pour sugar or honey and lemon juice into glass and stir slowly. Add ice and top off glass with cranberry juice. Stir and enjoy.


10 oz. frozen sweetened strawberries
2 eggs
3/4 c. oil
1 1/2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 c. chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Thaw strawberries but don't drain. Puree berries with eggs and oil. Sift dry ingredients into bowl. Stir in strawberry mixture and nuts. Blend well. Pour into lightly greased 9x5 inch loaf pan. Bake for 70 minutes or until tester comes out clear. Let cool in pan.


1 box Betty Crocker chocolate cake mix
3 eggs
1/3 c. oil
1 (21 oz.) can cherry pie filling
1 pkg. chocolate instant pudding made as for a pie filling

Beat 3 eggs, add dry cake mix, oil, cherry pie filling. Mix carefully but do not overdo. Pour into greased 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool thoroughly.


3 (3 oz.) pkg. Jello
2 c. boiling water
2 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen strawberries, partially thawed
1 angel food bar cake, broken into bite-size pieces

Dissolve Jello in water; add strawberries. Beat for 4 minutes. Add cake to Jello mixture; pour into mold. Chill until set.


1 angel food cake
1/2 c. amaretto
1 pt. pistachio ice cream
1 pt. strawberry ice cream
1/2 pt. whipping cream or 2 c. Cool Whip
1 pkg. semi sweet chocolate morsels

With a sharp serrated knife, using a sawing motion, cut the cake into 3 layers. Sprinkle layers with 6 tablespoon of the amaretto. Place one layer on a serving platter. Cut ice cream into slices and place pistachio ice cream on bottom layer. Top with second layer and a layer of strawberry ice cream. Top with third cake layer. Place in freezer. In a bowl mix heavy cream and remaining amaretto and beat until very thick. Frost top and sides of cake. Place in freezer. Melt chocolate over very low heat until smooth. Spread chocolate in 1/4 inch thick layer on foil and chill until it hardens. With a small cookie cutter cut hearts (for Valentines day), bunnies and chickens for Easter. Garnish top and base of cake. Freeze until ready to serve.