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Posts Tagged ‘Irina Georgescu’

The first thing to mention, is that this is not like the cauliflower in cheese sauce that we all know and love, but no less because of that. This dish is more set, more ‘eggy’ and has a distinctive tang from the soured cream. It also reheats particularly well, regular cauliflower cheese tends to split. So the verdict is that you should definitely give this a go – we served as a side with a dish of minty peas and lettuce and some baked ham. It could definitely work as a main either with a green salad or green veg.

Cauliflower gratin with soured cream – serves 4

  • a knob of butter, for greasing the dish
  • 50g breadcrumbs
  • 1 large cauliflower, about 1kg when the leaves have been removed, cut into medium-sized florets
  • 350ml soured cream
  • 125g Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3 tsp mustard
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp black pepper
  • 50g sunflower seeds

Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Grease a ceramic baking dish with butter, then sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the florets for about 6 minutes, or until just tender. Drain, then steam dry in the warm pot for a few minutes and drain again on some kitchen paper to make sure no water remains.

Combine the soured cream, 100g of the cheese and eggs with the nutmeg, mustard and seasoning in a large bowl.

Put the drained cauliflower into the prepared dish, then pour over the soured cream mixture. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, covering with foil if it starts to brown too quickly.

Serve with the sunflower seeds scattered over the top.

(Original recipe from Carpathia: Food from the Heart of Romania by Irina Georgescu, Frances Lincoln Publishing, 2020.)

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This is a Romanian version of moussaka and much easier than the Greek version we usually make. The aubergines are replaced with layers of potatoes and the cheese sauce is a mixture of yoghurt, cheese and egg yolks. Makes a great family meal with a salad on the side.

Wine Suggestion: This suits a light, earthy red and a recent find, the Jeunes Vignes de Xinomavro by Thymiopoulos was yet again a delight.

Musaca de cartofi – serves 6

FOR THE FILLING:

  • 1 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 500g pork mince (or you can use a mixture of pork and beef mince)
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 300ml passata
  • 4 medium potatoes, waxy ones work best
  • 15g butter

FOR THE CHEESE SAUCE:

  • 100g Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 150g natural yoghurt
  • 2 egg yolks

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and carrot and sauté for 6-7 minutes. Add the pork mince, paprika, tomatoes and passata, then cook for 25 minutes, until reduced and thickened. Give it a stir now and then as it cooks.

Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and slice into thin discs (a mandoline works best for this job). Bring a large pot of water to the boil, add some salt, then blanch the potatoes for about 5 minutes or until just softened. Drain and set aside.

To make the cheese sauce, mix the cheese with the yoghurt and egg yolks.

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas4.

Grease a 6-person lasagne dish with a little of the butter and arrange a layer of potatoes over the bottom, they can overlap slightly. Dot with a little butter and season with salt and pepper. Spread half of the meat filling on top, then cover with another layer of potatoes, dot with butter and season, then spread the rest of the filling on top. Finish with a layer of potatoes and top with the cheese sauce.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until nicely browned on top.

(Original recipe from Carpathia: Food from the heart of Romania by Irina Georgescu, Frances Lincoln Publishing, 2020.)

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This is a Romanian dish called Pilaf cu pui ciuperci. We haven’t knowingly cooked any Romanian dishes until now, but we recently purchased Carpathia: Food from the Heart of Romania by Irina Georgescu. This is a beautiful book and we’re looking forward to cooking many more dishes. While Irina suggests blitzing the veg in the food processor, we chopped them by hand. Either way you want them nice and fine but not blitzed to a pulp. Serve with salad.

Wine Suggestion: Unfortunately we didn’t have a Romanian wine to hand but we can attest it works well with one of our favourite wines: the Ch du Hureau Saumur-Champigny “Tuffe”. Elegance, style and grace, but also very grounded and earthy and what we love about Cabernet Franc from the Loire.

Oven-baked pearl barley pilaf with chicken and mushrooms – serves 4-6

  • 3 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 1.5kg chicken pieces, we used thighs and drumsticks but you can joint a whole chicken
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 300g pearl barley
  • ¼ celeriac, finely diced
  • 2-3 celery sticks, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 red pepper, finely diced
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 200g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
  • 600ml chicken stock
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 5g black pepper
  • 25g butter, roughly chopped
  • a bunch of parsley, roughly chopped

We found it easier to fry the chicken in a large, heavy frying pan and then to transfer to a large roasting tin. Irina suggests frying and baking in a large deep casserole dish, but we didn’t have one big enough. A roasting tin covered with two layers of foil worked well.

Heat the oil in a large heavy frying pan or casserole dish, over a medium heat. Brown the chicken pieces on all sides – it’s easiest to do this in batches. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate and set aside.

Add the onions to the pan and cook for 10 minutes, then add the pearl barley and stir to coat the grains in the oil, cook for another few minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Add the chopped vegetables to the pan with the tomatoes, mushrooms, stock and seasoning and gently combine. You might need to transfer to a large roasting tin at this point. You need to be generous with the salt. Arrange the chicken pieces on top and cover the dish with a layer of foil and a lid or if using a roasting tin you can cover with a double layer of foil.

Bake for 40 minutes, then remove the lid and foil and cook for another 10 minutes. Check the vegetables are tender and that the chicken is cooked through, then remove from the oven. Dot the top of the dish with the butter and sprinkle with parsley.

(Original recipe from Carpathia: Food from the Heart of Romania by Irina Georgescu, Frances Lincoln Publishing, 2020.)

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