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Gornooryahovski Sudzhuk

: food, February 19 2024

A friend of mine gave me the recipe to be put in the "hall of fame" - soon to be tested on premise. What you need:
- Tender beef (rib lifter)
- salt (25g/kilo)
- sugar (1g/kilo)
- potassium nitrate a.k.a. saltpeter(1g/kilo)
- ground black pepper (2.5g/kilo)
- ground cumin (2g/kilo)
- sausage casing of your choice
- Cut the meat in large pieces, put it in a deep bowl and add the salt
- Mix well and leave it to rest for 24h in the fridge
- Remove the liquid and transfer the meat to anoter bowl
- Add the sugar, saltpeter, pepper and cumin, mix
- Use the large-hole gitter of the meat grinder to grind the meat
- Mix well and put it in the fridge for another 24h
- Use smaller gitter to grind the meat one more time, mix again
- Fill the casings at 45cm lenght, use string to tie the ends
- Use a needle to make several holes in each casing
- Slightly press the sausages to remove excess air
- Hang them in a cool, dry place
- On the third day (and every 5 days after) use a rolling pin to flatten the sausages
- Edible after 25 days

Fish soup

: food, October 15 2023

It has 2 parts - the soup itself and the garnishing sauce. As my father says "without the sauce you are just wasting the soup". You can use whatever fish you have, preferably different types. The important part is to be cleaned good, slow cooked and properly deboned. The key ingredient here is the lovage - I would not even try to make fish soup without it. Sadly, I had only a dried one.
For the fish stock:
- 1kg dorade (sea bream, zipura)
- 2.5l water
- 2 celery sticks
- 2 bay leaves
- 1ts black pepper corns
- 2-3ts salt
Put the stock ingredients in a proper pot. Boil for 1 hour. Strain the stock and put it aside. Remove the fish from the other ingredients (discard them) and let it cool down, then debone it. You need small fish pieces.

For the soup:
- 2 medium sized potatoes
- 2 medium sized carrots
- 1 celery stick
- 1 red pepper
- 1 big onion
- 4ts chopped lovage
- 80-100g butter
- 2-3 table spoons finely grated horseradish
Thinly chop all components from the "for the soup" part above. In a new big pot saute the onions with the butter for ~5-7 minutes, then add the carrots, celery, pepper and potatoes. Cook them for 10 minutes, stirring now and then. Add the fish stock and the deboned fish pieces. Boil everything another 30 minutes. If using fresh lovage, add it after you turn off the heat.

For the garnishing sauce:
- 2ts lovage
- 2ts chopped parsley
- 2ts chopped dill
- 8-10 cloves of garlic
- 1-2ts salt (you can adjust this to taste)
- 1ts sugar
- 2ts hot chili flakes
- 150g vinegar
Press the garlic into a paste. Chop the spices. Mix all ingredients.
Honestly, every soup that I cook, tastes better on the next day, but I just could not resist.
After serving, put 2-3ts sauce in your hot bowl of soup and enjoy (yes, 50ml brandy is a nice addition).

Chinese tea eggs

: food, May 04 2023

A colleague of mine introduced me to this wonderful recipe a while ago, but I wanted to test it several times, before recommending it. The existence of this article proves successful trials.
A brief history: the tea eggs are typical Chinese street food. Hard-boiled eggs, pickled in a savory five-spice marinade, served as an appetizer (I believe, initially, the main idea is food preservation).
Again, mine thing here is a "variant". In the original recipe, you crack the egg shells and leave them on the eggs during the pickling. Thus you get a beautiful marbling, but less flavor and longer preparation time (that's why I discard them). The best thing is you can keep them marinating in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and quickly grab a snack at any time.
Hint: you can buy pre-made spice mixture from your local Chinese shop. If you do that, you need only eggs, soy sauce, sugar and salt.
- 8-10 eggs
- 2 table spoons five-spice powder (ground cinnamon, star anise, fennel seeds, cloves and Sichuan pepper)
- 2 bags black tea
- 2 cups soy sauce (~300ml)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 table spoons sugar
- 1 table spoon salt
Preparation - the eggs:
- hard-boil the eggs. Meaning, bring the water to boil, put the eggs in, count ~8 minutes, depending on the size of the egg. 9 mins won't hurt here.
- put them out, cool them down in cold water immediately, peel the shells.
Preparation - the marinade:
- 300-500ml water.
- add the soy sauce, bay leaves, tea bags, sugar and salt.
- bring to a boil and let it simmer for 10 mins.
- cool down completely (room temperature) before moving on.
- use a strainer to remove any hard particles.
Pickling (marinating):
- put the peeled eggs in the marinade. Here you can use a deep dish or a bag. The important part is to have them fully submerged in liquid.
- leave them in the fridge for 48 hours.
- done.

Beef soup - asian style

: food, December 17 2022

I do not dare to call this "Pho" as someone might put a prize on my head. But it is inspired by it. At first I doubted myself if I should put it on display, but then I thought "well, I have been eating this soup 4-5 times per month, so it has got to be good".
Step 1 - preparing the stock:
- 1kg beef of choice (I prefer a little bit fat on it)
- 2l water
- 2 carrots
- 1 onion
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 celery sticks
- a tea spoon of black pepper
- 3 cloves
- 2 star anise
Put everything in a pressure cooker and give it 45-50minutes on "high" (after the pot starts hissing). Let it cool so you can operate easily after. Use large strainer to separate the stock from everything else. Separate the meat and cut it in small pieces. Squeeze-drain the remaining stock from the vegetables. Throw away any spice and vegetable leftovers.
Step 2 - portion for 1 person and leave the rest in the fridge:
- 350ml stock
- 30-40g Chinese soup noodles
- 150g of the beef meat from above
- 1-2 table spoons of fish sauce
Let this simmer for ~10 minutes. You can boil 1 egg (in a separate pot) for 6mins if you feel fancy.
Step 3 - getting it together:
- cut 1/2 green onion in small pieces
- cut 1 carrot on thin slices
- cut some parsley (I hate coriander, but it is up to you)
- cut the boiled egg in half
- pour the boiling soup in a deep serving dish and add the onion, the carrot, the parsley and the egg
- grind black peeper, add some chilly and lemon juice to taste
Enjoy this nice, warming meal, good enough for lunch in a cold winter day.

Pork Skewers

: food, October 02 2022

It cannot be simpler than this - a skewers recipe where marinating is the focal point. You need to start 24 hours in advance.
- 1kg pork neck (boneless)
- 2 ts salt
- 1 ts ground black pepper
- 1.5 ts oregano
- 1 ts thyme
- 1/2 ground cumin (be careful here!!!)
- 1/2 ts garlic powder
- 1/2 ts hot red pepper
- 1 ts sweet red pepper
- 1/2 cup of white wine
- some bell peppers and onions for the skewers (not for marinating)

Cut the meat to (ideally) 3x3x3cm dices. Mix all together 24 hours before the grilling. Again - be careful with the cumin as it is quite a strong spice with some variations of intensity.
On each skewer put 1 meat dice, then some onion/pepper slice, then another meat dice - you know how it goes. Grill to your own preference.