Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Meat Cutlets with Onions and Esther's Mashed Potatoes

Not the healthiest option to have for dinner but so comforting, especially when it's cold and rainy outside.

I didn't have a shallow frypan so used one with deep edges. The meat cutlets did not need to be fried for 7 minutes on each side. After about 4-5 minutes, they were close to burning. I made them a little smaller than tennis balls (as instructed) and flattened them only slightly which produced a crunchy crust and very soft and juicy insides.

Since the recipe said that Tatiana served them with mashed potatoes, I decided to use the recipe from the middle of the book. It even said that she served Esther's mashed potatoes with her meat cutlets. Perfect combination. I have to confess this was the first time in my life I made mashed potatoes.

I had no idea what a ricer was so when I googled it, I was happy to realise that we had it! My husband always talked how he couldn't find it in Australia so his Mum brought one for us from South America when she was there earlier this year.

I only made half the recipe portion because I didn't have a pot large enough to fit over 2kg (5lb) of potatoes, plus all the other ingredients that had to go in it. I used light cream (18% milk solids) as there is no half-and-half (12.5% milk solids) in Australia. I was worried the mashed potatoes would be too rich but even with the added butter, they were still a little bit dry.

When I tasted the final product, I even had seconds. My husband said he preferred my version of the meat cutlets (I bake them in the oven, rather than fry them and also add potatoes into the mince). For me, this was the best dish so far.

Ratings - Meat Cutlets with Onions
husband: 3½ / 5
wife: 4/5

Ratings - Esther's Mashed Potatoes
husband: 3/5
wife: 4/5

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Beef Stroganoff

Beef fried with button mushrooms and onions, mixed in with sour cream and served on buttered fettuccine

This was a quicker and easier dish to prepare than Lazy Cabbage. It tasted a bit better too. However, with more than four table spoons of butter, it was a bit too rich for me, although that's what my husband liked.

I did not use sirloin beef as was specified but I would suggest to use the best sort to get the meat as soft as possible. I also used light sour cream which probably made the dish a bit lighter but with all the butter, it was still a little heavy for my liking.

husband: 3½ / 5
wife: 3½ /5
(It was better than Lazy Cabbage but not quite "Yum!")

Monday, October 5, 2009

Lazy Cabbage

Cabbage with minced beef, crispy bacon and rice in tomato sauce with garlic in a soup-like consistency, with sour cream on top

I have decided to make the recipes in book order so Lazy Cabbage was first. I asked my Mum about it because I have never heard of the dish before and she explained that it was the same as stuffed peppers but without the peppers, hence being called "lazy".

I halved the ingredients because using a whole cabbage seemed too much and I was right. The mixture wouldn't have fit into my largest pan. I was also disappointed by a publishing mistake which listed garlic in the ingredients but was not mentioned in the directions. I ended up putting it into the tomato sauce but later my Mum informed me that it usually was cooked with the mince.

It took me around two hours to prepare and even though I didn't have high expectations of the result because I'm not a fan of cabbage cooked with tomato sauce, I was pleasantly surprised. The sour cream was listed as optional but for me, that's what gave the dish that extra complementing flavour.

Overall, I don't think I will be making this any time soon due to the length of cooking time not being worth the final product. Having said that, it did bring back memories of my grandma's stuffed peppers and a variety of Russian cabbage soups.

husband: 3/5
wife: 3/5

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Having finished Paullina Simons's Bronze Horseman trilogy and not being able to get my favourite love story out of my thoughts, I have decided to cook the dishes that Tatiana made throughout her life as detailed in Tatiana's Table.

These recipes cover many origins from Russia to America. Being from a Russian background myself, I have a special interest in making them and can't wait to try them out on my South American husband. We will rate them from 1 to 5 as follows:

5 - heavenly
4 - yum!
3 - it's ok
2 - no, thanks
1 - disgusting

I'm looking forward to creating over 60 recipes mentioned in the book so I can have the taste of this delicious fictional world linger just a little longer.