Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Home made ricotta (or curd) - extremelly simple!

Unsuccessful attempts to find low-fat ricotta in Danish supermarkets led me to producing my own. Surprisingly simple! All you need:

1 liter of low-fat milk
250 ml of low-fat sourmilk (otherwise called buttermilk, kærnelmælk på dansk)

Put everything to a non-sticky sauce pan and stir while its getting warmer, taking the forming curds (white solid parts) from the bottom and sides when they form. When the it gets warmer, stir only occasionally to let the curds go up. Stop at once when the liquid becomes greenish-yellowish transparent, and you see white curds on top. If you overhead, your cheese will be quite hard (just like mine :)). Now, drain the curds in a sieve. As I did not have a propper one, I just took the curds out of the pan with a plastic spoon and placed them in a pasta sieve for some 10 minutes.

The outcome is only a handful, so you might want to make at least double amount. If you want real sour cottage cheese (like Lithuanian one) that is not existing in at least Danish supermarkets, I believe replacing milk with sour milk would help.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Green-red vegetarian full-corn lasagna

Finally! I came up with a lasagna, that is sooo good (for my taste) and that fully fits to my healthy profile :) The green lasagna I learned from Agne and Daniele, and that is certainly the best lasagna ever. The red part came in for a change, and also because I did not have enough of spinach, but, if you have never tried green one, just use double ingredients and don't mess up with the red. This version also has no bechamel souce. You can add it, but it is also good without. You can also use lasagna noodles from the pack, but it is just not the same!


Green part
125 g low-fat ricotta chease or sweat (not sour) cottage cheese
250 g frozen finely chopped spinach
a spoon of olive oil
one big onion
2 garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
a bit of peper
a bit og nutmeg powder
a teaspoon of salt

Red part
1 can of tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
1 carrot
A handful of black olives
a spoon of olive oil
a bit of chilli (optional)
a bit of paprika powder
a teaspoon of salt
80 g of low-fat mozarella (fresh or shredded)

Lasagna noodles
2 eggs
1 glass (or a bit more) of all-purpose wheat flower
3/4 grass of full-corn wheat flower
a teaspoon of salt for boling


1. Defreeze the spinach in hte fridge, some 10 hours ahead. You can also use the fresh ones and cut them in tiny pieces, but that will add plently of prep time.

2. Prepare the noodles: add flower to eggs and put it together with hands, until it is uniform and not sticky. If the dough is still too soft, add some more flower, but not too much. Then, roll it out on a kitchen table until it is very thin. When it already seems very thin, make it double more thin. Then, cut in squares and let them dry (honestly, I do not know why it is needed to dry). If you are making only green lasagna, you can add some spinach to the dough. If you are making a green-red lasagna, you can add some spinach to half of the dough.

3. Cut garlic and carrots to small pieces.

4. Prepare the green filling. Cut garlic cloves to halves and fry a bit in olive oil in a sauce pan. Then, add onions and saute until they are transparent. After, add spinach and a bay leaf and saute a bit more. At the end, add salt, spices, turn it off, take out garlic and bay leaf, and mix with ricotta. I used home-made low-fat ricotta, the recipe is on the way - it is extremelly simple.

5. Prepare the red filling. Cut garlic cloves to halves and fry a bit in olive oil in a sauce pan. Then, add onions and saute until onions are transparent. Add tomato, basil, sliced olives, and saute until part of liquid evaporates. At the end, add the rest of the spices and take out garlic.

6. Put everything together. Bring the salted water in a big pot to boil, and add some 5 noodles at a time. Add a bit of red sauce on the bottom of an oven dish, then cover with 1 layer of noodles. Add a bit more of red sauce, cover with a bit of mozarella, and a layer of noodles. When the red sauce and the biggest part of mozarella is finished, continue with the green one. Finish with the green sauce and some mozarella on top.

7. Bake it in pre-heated oven and bake for ~30 min. Take it out and let it settle down for few minutes before cutting.


For me, it was great. Fresh and light and tasteful. The noodles were much thicker than I expected, so really roll them out until they are transparent. Full-corn flower did not mess up the taste, but use some white flower as well, otherwise it becomes too bitter. I had some left-over noodles, so you could use a bit more sauce. And, I did not miss bechamel sauce at all. This time I ran out of garlic and did without, but garlic adds lots of flavour.

Possible changes - paprika and mushrooms for the red sauce, no onion for the green sauce.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Carrot Cake

After a long time I tried to make a cake, probably the only one that I managed to make good, that was 2 years ago. This time it is flat again, and I have no idea why! Although, it still tastes like a nice carrot cake.


3 cups of carrots (5 average carrots)
1.5 cups of flower
1 cup of brown sugar
half cup of raisins
A handful of crushed nuts (preferably walnuts, but can be any)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of baking powder


Mix carrots with half of sugar and set asside. Beat the egg with half amount of sugar. In a small stream add oil. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients (flower, baking powder, cinamon). Add egg-oil to the flower mix slowly, and mix everything together. At the end, add carrots and raisins. Preheat oven to 180-200C and bake for ~45-50 minutes, depending how thick is the cake.

You can also add crushed pineapples, more spices (nutmeg, cloves, cardamon), replace half carrots with squash (although may sound strange, its really good!).


The cake is really good and simple to make, but... if anybody knows, how to make it NOT to fall flat at the end of baking, please let me know! No, I do not shout and make noises while the cake is in oven :) By the way, I would use less sugar than in original recipe, but guys like it that way :) Next time, I will try a really healthy sugar-free low-fat carrot cake, though I am sure I will be the only one eating it.

Tamale Pie

I was inspired to make this dish by Simply Recipes. Then I browsed more for it and found many versions. As I understood, it is an American dish that pretends to be Mexican. Anyway it tastes good :) I changed beef to turkey, added carrots, and removed sweat pepper (simply because I did not have it).


400g minced turkey
2/3 of a can of sweat corn
a small can of olives
One big carrot
A small handful of raisins (optional)
A can of crushed tomato
2 onions
2 cloves of garlic
A spoon of olive oil
A small spoon of cumin
A small spoon of paprika
A bit of chili (depends how spicy you want it, I use just a small bit)
A cup of corn
A cup of milk
A cup of water
A spoon of olive oil
A teaspoon of salt
A bit of chilli


First, prepare the corn batter for the cover. Mix all cover ingredients in a pot and bring to boil. Reduce the fire and boil for some 5-7 min, then leave covered and warm.

Pour a spoon of olive into a pan and when it is hot, add the onion and garlic, cut into small pieces. Fry a bit, add carrots, meat, and spices. Cook until the meat is almost ready (around 10 min), then add tomatoes and cook more until the liquid evaporates. At the end, add corn, sliced olives, and raisins.

Put everything to a baking dish and cover with the corn batter.

Preheat the oven to 200 and bake the pie until the cover ("corn bread") becomes crusty, around 30 min.


I have no idea what the outcome should be, so I was happy with mine. Just make sure you leave no liquid in the filling, otherwise the corn bread will hardly get crusty and you will have the sauce dripping out of the dish, just like it happened to me :) There are many versions of the corn bread, it could also be with egg and more oil, or just water and corn. I liked mine, milk adds nice taste to it.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Lithuanian Salad

While I am running unsuccessful bus tracking experiments, I will write down one more food experiment here. I am sure all Lithuanians know how to do Lithuanian salad, but the others don't. They don't even know it is Lithuanian salad, and for some strange reasons call it Russian salad. And for Lithuanians, there is a home-made mayonaise recipe, which did not work very well this time :)

This salad is a MUST for all family parties, as well as all other parties where people eat. And we eat in almost all parties :) The quantities give enough for a decent Lithuanian party (keeping in mind you have 10 more salads and hot dishes :D)


8 big boiled potatoes
4 boiled carrots
half glass of pickles
2 cans of grean peas (sometimes I used frozen, and also add beans)
4 hard-boiled eggs
small onion (spring onions are good as well)
salt, dills

2 raw egg yolks
mustard (optional)
a spoon of lemon juice
half cup, or as much as you like olive oil
salt, pepper


Cut all ingredients to small pieces and mix together. Potatoes and carros should not be overboiled, and some people say, that less carrots - more tasty salad, but don't reduce to 0:)

As supermarket mayonaise is out of scope of my healthy cooking vision, I decided to make it myself, with olive oil, and without hundreds of E-s. Scramble everything except oil together. Then, start VERY SLOWLY adding oil, drop by drop, and scrambling all the time. Your mayonaise should "emulsify" and become harder. At the end, you can add water, if it is too hard.


Our traditional salad must be respected and not messed up with experiments :) So, the only chance for a mess is mayonaise.

I do not like mustard, so I did not use it. Also, I wanted to make it less fat, but I ended up having almost pure lemon juice, as I used the whole lemon. At the end, I had to heat it up to make it harder, but it still stayed extremely sour. Conclusion: limit yourself with a spoon of lemon, and sufficiently olive oil. Although, next time I will just make a simple oil-and-lemon souce.

French Omlet

This was my dish in the salsa party - an easy thing to do for many people, and has plenty of variations. The basics is egg, and for the rest - you can add almost anything. This is a vegetarian version, if you do not count the eggs :) I liked the combination this time, and it was with a bit of a mix of tortilla and lithuanian omlet.

With the given amounts you get a big one!


9 eggs
half glass of semolina (manai, or mannagryn)
half glass of milk
2 big potatoes
1 big onion
1 big carrot
a couple handfuls of frozen snap-beans (sparagines pupleles, or asparagus boenner; if you are lucky to have fresh, use those)
a hanful of olives
A bit of parmezanno for topping (optional).
Salt, pepper, parsley, dills

Half glass of hot water
2 spoons of butter or olive oil (with oil, it does not crust like with butter, but butter is bad:))
flower to make it hard


Mix the base ingredients together until it is even, hard, and not-sticky. Roll dough into thin layer and cover a baking dish with it. Another variation of the base is to use an egg instead of hot water.

Scramble the eggs well, soak semolina in milk, and mix together (if you have time, scramble egg yellow and white with salt separatelly). Add spices to eggs. Lightly fry or saute very thin-sliced potatoes, onions, and cubbed carrots. Put them, olives, and beans to the baking dish. Pour the egg mix on top. Put to pre-heated oven, and bake for at least 40 min (depends how thick it is). Before the end, top it with grated parmezanno.


The original version is with cream and bacon, just, I don't like these. I used to add milk instead of cream, but the omlet becomes too soft. My mam does omlet with semolina, and it worked for me. I've tried this thing with various vegetables. I think, olives go really well in it, as well as snap-beans. And, it is good to have lots of colours. Dills fit with eggs very well. Although, basilikum and other grasses are also good for a change.

Warm Fruit Dessert

Yet another recipe from the same salsa party (we did dance salsa there, not only eat:)). A mix of fruit and berries, covered with a thin dough layer, and baked in oven. Simple to do, but certainly the best dessert in the party (and the only I tried:)). If you skip the dough cover, it becomes healthy as well. Eat while it is warm!


A mix of raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries. Can be frozen, if it is not the seazon (my guess is ~1/2 kg).
1 banana
1 sweat apple
1 sour apple
1 mango

1 egg
2 spoons of butter
2 spoons of sugar
Flower (as much as needed to make it hard)


Cut the fruit in small pieces and place to the oven dish. From the other ingredients, make a shortcrust dough: add butter and egg to the flower, start chopping with a knife and finally put everything together with hands until it is even and not sticky. Flatten it until thin cover and place on top of fruit. Bake in oven for ~25 min.


The next day after party I tried a similar thing, just without berries (which I did not have), and without the cover. I added cinamon to the fruit mix. It was good, but 25 min was not enough for the apples and mango (a danish raw mango!) to become soft enough. I imagine this "cake" would go well with vanilla icecream.