Eat the World – Part 19

Czech Republic

etw-33-czech

Czech food = hearty, meaty and filling. This recipe is no exception. This here is a classic Czech meatloaf, completed with semolina dumplings (borrowed from nearby Austria), pickles and mustard. It’s good winter and homely fare, the kind you’re served in little Czech eateries. And it’s bound to cure your hunger woes.

Sekaná (Czech meatloaf)

Ingredients (Serves 6)

  • 1 stale while bread roll
  • 150 ml milk
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 800 gr mincemeat (combination beef and pork)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Marjoram
  • Salt and pepper
  • Breadcrumbs

Method

  1. Grease and line a 20cm x 10cm loaf pan (or as close as possible). Preheat oven to 180C. Cut roll into small cubes and pour milk over the top. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in frypan over medium heat. Cook onions for 5 minutes.
  3. In a bowl, combine mincemeat, garlic, egg, marjoram, cooked onions and salt and pepper. Squeeze excess milk from bread pieces and combine with meat mix. If the mix is too wet and sticky, add some breadcrumbs.
  4. Press meat mix into loaf pan. Cook for 75 minutes, pouring a small amount of water (2-3 tablespoons) over the top twice throughout the cook.
  5. Serve with potatoes, semolina dumplings, sliced pickles and mustard.
Semolina dumplings

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 cup butter, melted
  • ½ cup semolina
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chives, chopped

Method

  1. Beat together egg and butter until foamy. Stir through semolina and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper, and chives to taste, combining everything well. Rest for 10 minutes.
  2. Bring a pot of water to the boil. Form oval shaped dumplings with a pair of spoons and drop each into the pot (ensure there are only a few at a time, as they will swell and stick together if overcrowded). Cook for 12 minutes, or until they rise to the surface. Remove from heat, add 1 cup of cold water and stand for an additional 10 minutes.

Hungary

etw-34-hungary

This is a real treat of a cake, that’s a little tricky at times but absolutely rewarding in the end. The Hungarian grillazs torte is essentially an almond sponge, layered with a sweetened coffee cream and almond praline – now, is there one part of that that doesn’t sound awesome? It’s got loads of texture, with the softer crumble of almonds, sponginess of the cake, and combo of snappy and chewy praline depending on where it sits within the cake.

Grillazs torte

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
  • 465 gr caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
  • 200 gr ground almonds
  • 25 gr stale breadcrumbs
  • 10 eggs, separated
Cream icing
  • 600 ml thickened cream
  • ⅓ cup caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules

Method

  1. Line and grease a 30 x 24 cm baking pan. A similar sized one will do if you don’t have one, but just keep an eye on cooking time and give or take a few minutes as needed.
  2. To make icing, beat cream to soft peaks. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. To make praline, place almonds on a lined oven tray. Place 165 gr sugar in a small pan over medium heat. Cook, uncovered, for about 6 minutes, or until it begins to liquefy around the edges. At this stage, gently shake the pan or give it a few gentle stirs (don’t disturb it too much, just make sure all the granules are part of the melt down). Keep a close eye on the sugar once it’s all melted, as it can go from golden to burnt quite quickly. When golden, remove from heat and pour over almonds. Set aside until cooled and hard. Break into pieces and process in a food processor until coarsely ground. Set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 150°C. Sift flour, cocoa and baking powder into a bowl. Stir in coffee, ground almonds and breadcrumbs. Beat egg yolks in a large bowl with remaining 300 gr sugar until pale and fluffy. Fold in almond mixture. Whisk egg whites to soft peaks. Working in 3 batches, fold egg whites into cake mixture. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a skewer inserted into centre comes out clean. Rest for 1 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  5. To assemble cake, cut cake horizontally into 3 layers. Place 1 layer on a platter, spread with one third of the icing, then scatter with one third of the praline. Repeat twice more with remaining cake, icing and praline. Serve.

Italy

etw-35-italy

There are a million ways you can top pasta, but this is my favourite.

Ok, a pasta recipe feels like a cop out given it’s every week food for me (heck, it’d be every day food if I could…) However this one’s so yum I had to include it. The roast pumpkin can easily be replaced with roasted tomatoes, and extra bits and pieces (eggplant in this one, for instance) do add to the topping, but minimal is best. If you roast up your veges on the weekend, there’s no reason this should take more than 10 minutes to pull together, so it’s the perfect Monday night meal.

Burnt butter, pumpkin and ricotta fettucine with crispy sage

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 300 gr jap pumpkin, cut into 2 cm pieces
  • 1 eggplant, sliced into 1 cm semicircles
  • 2-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 340 gr fettucine
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 bunch of sage, leaves picked
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ cup pitted olives, roughly chopped
  • 150 gr ricotta, crumbled

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Coat the pumpkin and eggplant in oil, season and roast for 40 minutes or until pumpkin starts to caramelise and eggplant is crispy. Set aside so cool slightly (refrigerating for a day or two is fine if you want to make it ahead of time).
  2. Cook fettucine as per packet instructions.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in frypan over high heat. Fry sage leaves for 3-4 minutes, shaking occasionally, until crispy. Transfer to paper towel.
  4. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon in frypan over medium-high heat until it begins to brown. Add garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes, until it begins to crisp up. Remove frypan from heat and stir through pumpkin, eggplant, olives and ricotta. Drain pasta and toss through toppings. You can add extra butter at this stage if you like.
  5. Serve in bowls topped with crispy sage leaves.

Malta

ETW 36 Malta.jpg

This dish sounds ridiculous, but it’s really, really good. Here you have a pie – inspired by any number of regional variants throughout Italy – that combines a four-meat stew, cheese, egg and pasta into one glorious pie. It’s super impressive and filling, too (the portions in this dish are probably overkill). If you never thought you’d eat a pasta pie, this Maltese recipe is your chance to change that poor thinking!

Timpana

Ingredients (Serves 6)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 150 gr bacon, chopped
  • 200 gr minced beef
  • 100 gr minced pork
  • 100 gr chicken thigh fillet, roughly diced
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 200 gr canned chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup beef stock
  • pinch of grated nutmeg
  • 250 gr rigatoni
  • 60 gr finely grated parmesan
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon milk
Parsley salad
  • 2 cups flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 eschalot, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup baby capers
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Method

  1. Heat oil in a large, heavy-based pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 minutes or until softened. Add garlic, bay leaves and bacon, and cook for 4 minutes or until bacon starts to brown. Add beef and pork minces, breaking up lumps with a wooden spoon, and cooking for 7 minutes or until browned. Add chicken and cook, for 4 minutes or until browned. Add tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, then add tomatoes, stock and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 15 minutes or until liquid has reduced slightly. Remove from heat.
  2. Meanwhile cook pasta as per packet instructions until al dente. Drain, add to sauce with parmesan and 2 lightly beaten eggs, mixing to combine. Set aside to cool.
  3. Preheat oven to 220C. Place one sheet of pastry in two 20cm x 15cm baking dishes. Divide pasta mixture between dishes. Place another sheet of pastry on top of each dish, folding over and pressing together the edges. With any additional overhanging pastry, trim it off and decorate the top of the pie. Whisk the remaining egg with milk and brush the tops of the pies. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce oven to 180C and bake for a further 15 minutes or until pastry is golden. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  4. To make parsley salad, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Slice each timpana into three portions and serve with salad.
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