Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Return of the LazyCook - 'spiced biscotti with marsala mascarpone'

Yes, we're back with an Italian bakery classic (and our favorite coffee food). The recipe is from 'Marie Claire food+drink' - a great recipe book for dinner parties, cocktails and of course afternoon tea parties. 

So we began with preheating the oven to 180 degrees and mixing the flour, sugar, baking powder, dried fruits, almonds, lemon zest, cardamom and cinnamon in a large bowl. 

In the meantime my favorite assistant was beating the three eggs!

i'm getting help from little miss lazycook
beating the eggs..
We made a well in the flour mix, added the beaten eggs and made a sticky dough. Then we divided this (very) sticky dough into three pieces of about 4 cm in diameter (as it says in the recipe). We put these logs onto the baking tray lined with baking paper (leaving space between them) and baked for 30 minutes. 

don't forget to leave space between the logs
After 30 minutes, we removed from the oven (and reduced the oven temperature to 140 degrees) and allowed to cool, then cut each of the loaves into thin slices with a sharp bread knife. We laid the biscuits on the baking tray and returned them to the oven for about 10 minutes, turning the biscuits once. (In the recipe it says 20 minutes but they turned dark and very crispy in 20 minutes in one of my trials).

slice and put them back to oven but make sure not to overcook

Perfect with the first coffee of the day...

my favorite couple 
However, for after-dinner, we recommend the Marsala mascarpone dip. Supermarket price for Marsala wine is overly expensive for the dip! We used Misket, a demi-sec Turkish wine and it turned out well but next time we'll go for a sweet wine. For the dip we mixed the mascarpone cheese, wine and the caster sugar until smooth.

This was one of the favorites in the "Weekend Bakery" event in Galata House last sunday besides many amazing muffins, tarts and sandwiches. A blog post will follow about the event..And hopefully many many happy posts..It's good to be back!

- 2 cups plain flour
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 100 g dried figs, sliced 
- 50 g dried apricots, sliced
(I put around 8 figs and 10 apricots, and I add cranberries if I have at home)
- 150 g slivered almonds (yes when you really put 150 g of almond slices, it prevents the stickiness)
- 2 teaspoons chopped lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (I couldn't find ground cardamom, instead I extract one cardamom seed and put 2-3 of what is inside!)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 eggs, beaten
Marsala-Mascarpone dip
- 200 g mascarpone cheese
- 2 tablespoons sweet Marsala (or any other demi-sec or sweet wine)
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dinner with Friends

We were really excited to have our first lazycook guests last week. After scanning through couple of cookbooks, we decided to go for a lamb dish (in Turkish 'tandir') and bean salad (both from Jamie); and grilled asparagus, our usual mixed salad and brown rice to accompany them. This time as a change we made a simple dessert and in fact we were successful at it (as generally we are not!)


We boiled the beans for 4-5 minutes and prepared the French dressing with mustard, white-wine vinegar and olive oil. Then seasoned it with salt and pepper and added shallot and capers (optional but definitely recommended). The trick with this salad is that the beans should be steaming hot when you put the dressing on top, otherwise they don't take it. And  it should be served warm. 

French dressing and capers..
bean salad served hot!

Grilled Asparagus with Olive Oil, lemon and parmesan

We grilled the asparagus in our griddle pan and dressed them with lemon juice and three times as much with olive oil. We seasoned them with salt and pepper and added shaved parmesan on top. Best way to serve asparagus!


The incredibleness of this lamb is coming from its slow roasting. After we prepared it with garlic and rosemary, we put the lamb in the oven (covered tightly with tinfoil) with 170 degrees and left it for 4 hours. After 4 hours we checked if the meat was pulled apart easily and it was like Turkish delight! (this is a Turkish expression indicating its softness). We put the lamb on chopping board, covered it with tinfoil and then tea towel and left it there for resting, as it is written in the recipe. Meanwhile we prepared the gravy with the sauce from its roasting tray, vegetable stock, capers, fresh mint and red wine vinegar. By the way, it is a big change for us to be able to use red/white wine vinegar here as they don't sell them in Dubai. When our guests came after babies went to sleep, we put the lamb in the microwave for couple of minutes to warm it. And served it with gravy and brown rice.


While shopping for our dinner, I saw big red plums in the market but unfortunately they really tasted sour and then I decided to try this dessert from Nigel Slater (see the recipe at the bottom of the page from guardian.co.uk). It is really simple to prepare with white toast breads and we served it with vanilla ice cream. The sourness of the plums actually made it better and I didn't put much sugar (less than what is written in the recipe). We had another dessert from our friend - apple torte, which was really tasty as well.

I think our first lazycook night went well! But everybody's favorite was the bean salad.

Now we're thinking if we should go for Turkish since we are in Istanbul now. What do you think?

Monday, June 20, 2011

'We're Glad to be Back' Chicken Roast Pasta and very Green Salad

Yes, we're really happy to be finally back to the lazycook kitchen. In these last couple of months that we disappeared we changed countries - moved back to our home country after living in Dubai for almost a decade, added a new lazycook junior to our family and he is now 2.5 months old and built our new kitchen where we will cook and create lots of new recipes to family and friends.

The first of these recipes is a chicken roast from Jamie's Dinners 'Everyday Crispy Chicken with Sweet Tomatoes' which we served on top of pasta. It was easy to prepare as you can see from its website but resulted in a very delicious pasta dish. 

Pasta with Crispy Chicken Roast
And as a side dish we chose a rich, green salad with asparagus, avocado and goat's cheese from our Comfort Book which will definitely be added to our basic menu list. 

For the salad, we seared the asparagus in our griddle pan with a little olive oil and seasoned it wilt salt and pepper. 

We peeled the avocados, cut them in half and drizzled with a little lemon juice to prevent the discoloring. We placed the halfes on top of rocket leaves and top with asparagus and goat's cheese. For the dressing, we combined some balsamic vinegar, olive oil, 1 crushed clove garlic, 1 teaspoon honey, 1/2 teaspoon mustard and salt and pepper and whisked them all. Simple and perfect..

Afiyet olsun!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Another Soup and Salad Night

And our second dish from our new cookbook, Gordon Ramsay's 'Cooking for Friends' is the Italian-style Turnip Soup which is really quick, healthy and warming.. 

Turnips and bacon frying...

We started with frying with a knob of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil...first the chopped bacon (3 slices of streaky bacon) for 3-4 minutes...then the chopped onion (1 medium), chopped turnips (2 medium) and some salt and pepper joined for another 8 minutes until the vegetables are soft and golden. We added the vegetable stock (1 cube) and partially covered the pan. The soup was simmered for 15 minutes before we added a handful of macaroni (the recipe is with risotto rice to be added before putting the stock but we preferred macaroni) and then another 5-6 minutes. Before serving, we stirred 2 tbsp of grated parmesan. And added more parmesan with some chopped parsley leaves while serving. 

Turnip Soup
And of course we had our usual mixed salad with herbs and feta cheese accompanying the soup...and a glass of red...very heartwarming...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Get N_K_D

We ordered our first NKDPizza on their first opening day here in Dubai on 17th January Monday. It was the Mediterranean with feta cheese, artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes. The crispiness and the taste of the custard which is made from 10 grains plus prebiotic fibre (read all about it on their website) what really impressed us as the pizza doesn't get soggy and one doesn't feel bloated even after eating around midnight (as we did on Monday night).

We will definitely try all NKDPizzas in the menu!

The Lazyburger

I don't know why we delayed putting one of our favorite foods on LazyCook for so long. There is nothing like a juicy burger with some cold beer in front of TV. Sounds sad but true! Anyway, the key to a great burger is obviously the patty. We used our recent favorite from Waitrose, the low fat, grain fed Irish minced beef. We started by working the beef with hands until slightly sticky with 1 chopped medium onion and 1 clove of garlic. We added some chopped fresh thyme leaves and few drops of Worcestershire sauce for some tanginess. We formed the patties and let them chill in the fridge for half an hour.

the divine ingredients!
While patties are resting, we caramelized one sliced large onion in the pan. For this we simply fried the onion in a splash of olive oil on low to medium heat without burning. You can accelerate the process by adding some sugar.

After the onions we sauteed some sliced mushrooms in butter, salt and pepper.

For cooking the burgers nothing beats the flame grilled barbecue. We opted for the second best choice, our heavy stove top grill pan. 5-6 minutes on each side was just enough to get them cooked through.

sizzling sizzling...
Once done, we layered the patties on soft buns crisped on the pan with caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms and all the other usual suspects; crispy bacon, mature cheddar cheese, lettuce, drops of chili sauce, mustard and mayo.

It was simple and absolutely delicious!!
can't wait to eat this burger!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Seriously Purple Salad with some Green Pasta

We started the year with the immortality elixir i.e. salad with roasted beetroots! We have a new cookbook of Gordon Ramsay's, 'Cooking for Friends' (as a good bye gift from a colleague) and it looks like we will have lots of favorites from it. Accompanying this colorful salad we cooked a very simple pasta with broccoli, garlic and chili from the same book. 

Beetroots roasted in the oven
First we roasted three medium beetroots for 30 minutes, as told in the recipe (see below), in the foil on top of salt crust and scattered fresh thyme leaves. We peeled the beetroots while they were still warm (we used food storage bag as we didn't have gloves to prevent red stains on the hands while peeling!). In the meantime we cooked the lentils, bacon, carrot and celery stalks with a few thyme sprigs until the lentils are tender. The smell around the kitchen was very appealing at this moment! We discarded the bacon, vegetables and thyme. Divided the lentils and sliced beetroots between the plates with mixed greens, herbs and crumbled goat cheese. The salad was super tasty but next time we will try to add the marinated beetroot option and also pomegranate syrup would add some wonders to this salad if you have it.

Purple Salad with goat cheese on top
And for the pasta (for 4), we simply put a pack of spaghetti to be cooked until al dente and a few minutes before the pasta is ready, we heated a large pan with 4tbsp olive oil (low-to-med heat). Added 5 large sliced garlic cloves, 1 red chili (deseeded and chopped) and a pinch of salt and sauteed for a minute. When the garlic turned a bit golden, we added  broccoli florets from 1 large broccoli head and a splash of water, covered the pan with a lid and left it for 2 minutes. We then squeezed over the lemon juice and tossed the broccoli with more salt and pepper.

Broccolis with garlic and chili.
After draining the pasta (don't forget to reserve a little of its boiling water), we put it into the saute pan (adding a little of its reserved water). Drizzled over a little olive oil and served immediately. 

the Green Pasta 

We really loved our first trial from our new book and so did our usual guest (Ari)!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Another Seafood Pasta out in the Balcony

(Supposed to be posted sometime in December!)

January will be our supposedly last month in Dubai and now we are trying to enjoy the beautiful weather and the garden as much as possible (in between the chaos at work and home). For dinner last night we went with the impulse of buying whatever we found in the organic supermarket next to my office and it turned out to be a delicious romantic dinner out in our balcony overlooking the lush green and Chrysler buildings! (not in NY but in Dubai Media City).

While buying Asli’s favorite salmon fish, the giant shrimps and the scallops looked very tempting to me and I thought we can cook a seafood pasta (very similar to our seafood pasta extravaganza). We scanned through Epicurious.com and there was a perfect recipe - ‘Fettuccini with Shrimps, Scallops and Mussels’ (but ours is without the mussels). We did couple of modifications i.e. we couldn’t find the yellow squash but used more zucchini instead, we didn’t have mussels but we used fish stock (not the cubes but real stock)..

Breadcrumbs being sauteed with herbs
Vegetables being stirred
Shrimps and scallops in pan
Vegetables and seafood combined
It was very fulfilling with tasty seafood sautéed with vegetables; and the breadcrumbs sautéed with herbs added a nice flavor to it but be careful with the amount of breadcrumbs as I think they suck the moisture of the sauce and leaves the pasta a bit dry.

And the pasta in our usual pasta plates!
Bon appetit!

See recipe in Epicuirous.com

Steak Salad with an Amazing Sauce

End of last year, one of the Lazycooks was coming back from his long long trip just at dinner time and I thought a light meal with a glass of wine would be just suitable for that night.

I went ahead with “The Flank Steak with Chimichurri Dressing” (apparently the famous Argentine herb sauce) from Epicurious.com and we were very happy with the result. The crispiness of the mixed greens and the fresh flavors of the dressing on top of our tenderloin fillets (which were grilled to our liking and sliced thinly) made this meal wonderful. I also added some slices of potatoes (first boiled and then grilled) as a side dish.

Chimichurri Dressing
Steaks grilling
Steak Salad