Sunday (clumsy) cooking day

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So today I decided that I was going to cook. Now, I’m a good cook – not to brag or anything, but I’ve learned a lot helping my mom in the kitchen since I was 10 years old, so most of my knowledge and technique comes from her. But lately, I’ve been having a lot of bad luck in the kitchen – this almost never happens to me. Like two weeks ago I tried making an upside down apple cake, a cake I’ve made at least ten times before, but I managed to mess it up somehow. Actually, I tried to make that cake twice. The first time it all went well until I had to make the sponge. So I wanted to use 8 eggs for my sponge and separated the egg whites from the yolks, I began beating them and they never rose. So in my frustration, I threw everything away and tried making the same cake a few nights later. This was a disaster from the beginning: I ruined the melted sugar twice and when the cake finally came out from the oven and it was time to flip it over it all came crumbling down – literally. I think the apples were to big and the sponge just collapsed around them when I flipped it over. Maybe when I’ll make this recipe again and if it actually comes out the way I want it to I will share it with you guys. Until then, let’s talk about what I cooked today.

I’ll start off by saying that I’m very pleased with the work I did. But why was it clumsy? Well, I went to the groceries store and dropped all my purchases on the floor like the all-together lady I am. Got home, tried to put some cream in my coffee and ended up splashing both my fridge and my floor with cream. And as a surprise, I bought some cremeschnitte for my boyfriend, but as I was movingย it to the plate, it came apart in my hands… Don’t ask how… I used to think that cakes and baking were my forte, but now I’m beginning to doubt myself – I think I may be cursed.

Aaanyway, what I cooked today was some chicken soup a la grecque – I don’t know if you guys know what that is or if you’ve had it before, I’ll just tell you it’s delicious! – and a pork roast, as I had some pork neck in my freezer.

So let’s start with the soup first!

Chicken soup a la grecque

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So, my boyfriend loves this soup and so do I! The first time I made it, I enjoyed it so much and was so excited that I managed to pull it off that I made it repeatedly for three consecutive weeks! Here’s how you do it (please note that I have improved my recipe-writing technique ๐Ÿ˜€ – but not my picture taking skills, so shush, I’m working on it :D):

Ingredients:

  • Some chicken – I used 2 large boneless and skinless chicken breasts, but you can use whatever part of the chicken you have at your disposal; Now you can see that I haven’t given you an exact quantity of chicken – but keep in mind, you will be cooking this chicken in approximately 4l of water, so it just depends on how much chicken you’d like to use or you think is enough;
  • As previously mentioned, 4 liters of water;
  • 1ย large onion;
  • 2 medium carrots;
  • 1 medium parsnip;
  • 2 slices of celery root;
  • 1 medium parsley root;
  • 100 g of rice;
  • 1 cube of chicken stock;
  • 1 cube of vegetable stock;
  • 1 lemon;
  • 3 egg yolks;
  • 250 g sour cream;
  • minced dill;
  • salt and pepper to taste.

Begin by washing the chicken breasts and cutting them into small pieces. Then, add the chicken to a large pot filled with 4 l of cold water. Boil the chicken until tender and be careful, the chicken will create a foam in the water as it boils and you will have to collect that foam and remove it with a cooking paddle (? – i don’t know what it’s called). Anyway, I managed to drop some foam on my stove, to add insult to injury on my clumsy day. Once the chicken is boiled, add the minced vegetables (the onion, carrots, parsnip, celery root and parsley root) to the pot and let them boil until they become soft. After that, add the rice – I pre-boiled mine, but I have also made this recipe with uncooked rice and just let it boil in the stock and it turned out great – and the chicken and vegetable cubes. let them boil for another 10 to 15 minutes and remove the pot from the stove. Let it cool down for at least 15 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix the egg yolks with the juice from one lemon and with the sour cream and gently add in the stock from your chicken soup to this mixture – one ladle at a time. Add enough stock for the mixture to get to the same temperature as the soup in the pot – if you don’t, you’llย cut the cream and it will fall apart into tiny bits that look horrible. If this happens, make another mixture – under no circumstance should you add it to your soup. If you managed to bring the mixture to the same temperature as your soup, combine the two in the pot and put the pot on the stove for another 10 minutes on low heat, being careful not to boil it – this also ruins the cream. Add some salt, pepper and minced dill to taste and remove the pot from the stove once done.

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Roast pork neck

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Ingredients:

  • 4 cutsย of pork neck – as I said, I had this in the freezer. This is how I bought them from the store and I think it was perfect because the slices fit in my pan so well. They also came with the bone attached, but you can also used boneless cuts. I didn’t remove the bone before cooking because I was lazy :D. Also, the bones come off much easier when the meat is cooked.
  • seasoning: I used thyme, salt, pepper and paprika;
  • for the sauce: the same seasoning as used on the cuts, some chili powder, 500 ml of beef stock and one spoon of tomato paste – as I said before, I was lazy – having just come back from the store, I realized that I forgot to buy tomato paste. Luckily, I had some cans of tomato pieces in tomato sauce so I used like 125 g of that – like half of a can;
  • also, some cloves of garlic – I used 4 – and some bay leaves – again, I used 4 cause I am slightly obsessed with order (4 cuts, 4 cloves, 4 leaves – right?)
  • a little bit of butter.

I began by rubbing each cut of meat with salt, pepper, thyme and paprika – in that exact order – on each side and put the cuts in a medium pan. I crushed my cloves of garlic andย peeled them (I know I can use them with the peel on, but that’s how my mom taught me, okay?) and added them between the meat in my pan. Then I put one bay leaf on each cut.

Making the sauce is very easy. Just mix the ingredients together! Mind-blowing, right? ๐Ÿ˜€ So I mixed together some salt, pepper, thyme, paprika and chili powder (don’t ask me how much, I just put in as much as my intuition tells me), added the tomatoes along with their sauce and the beef stock.

Before adding the sauce to my pan i put in some butter between my cuts – just tiny slices, as thick as a knife and as long as a bay leaf. Then I added the sauce to my pan and put the thing in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for I don’t know, two hours? You’ll just know when the meat is ready… I let the roast in my oven for as long as it took me to make the chicken soup. I was really pleased with my result, too, cause the meat just separated from the bone and it was the most satisfying thing!

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So I hope you’ve enjoyed my stories and my recipes. If you try them, please tell me how they came out and please let me know what you think!

Have a great Sunday!

Andreea.

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