Steak Tartare… I am very sorry!

Not a Steak Tartare recipe! We’re not doing that…

Alright, every now and then something happens. Not just something like… putting your coat on in the morning, I refer rather to something like going out, buying a tartar steak, getting home, opening the box with the steak and thinking that what you ordered was not really what you wanted to order. :)

So, it started with Ana getting sick. Just a cold, nothing extraordinary. Well, it may be extraordinary for her because, as she puts it, she never caught a cold in Portugal (as compared to getting a cold three or four times a year in Italy). In the Czech Republic it might be the first time she caught a cold so far. And, since Christmas is near, we don’t yet have a Christmas tree (again, yet), and she is a bit sick, she said she longed for a good beef steak. Remember this, because it contains all my later drive.

Some days after, while returning from work I had an idea. Men have all sorts of funny ideas. Some times they are good, other times they should just remain ideas, you know, like in “unfulfilled”. My idea was to get my lady a nice, ‘juicy’ beef steak.

So, after getting back from work I rushed to a restaurant which we sometimes go to and asked for the menu after telling the hostess I wanted to get a take-away. Then, I was left alone with the menu, which again, was a very imprudent thing on my behalf, to hog the menu all to myself and not ask for directions. Again, I am a man, so I don’t have to explain much that we have a peculiar way of learning. If it’s not trial and error, you’re cheating, and men don’t cope well with cheating. See Casino for a better understanding of things. So, I had the menu, but the offer of beef steak was not incredible. Out of the two possible beef related steaks, I got the one without peppers (capsicum): steak tartare. Little did I know, or rather ‘little did I remember’ that this – well, technically it doesn’t even count as a steak now, does it?? -  steak was featured in some Mr. Bean show. So, I waited 15 minutes to have the steak, probably for the side dish to be ready: grilled vegetables – very, very nice… I had said I didn’t get the other type of steak because it had peppers. Of course, I didn’t bother to ask if the grilled vegetables included peppers or not. As I was about to find out, once back home, they did.

I always had my doubts, probably always will, regarding eating raw meat. But opening the box and revealing the raw egg on top of the… yes, you guessed it, minced, raw beef… was appalling. Of course, Ana wanted to have it cooked. So it became a sort of burger which she eventually ate.

Reiteration (in steps):

1. Ana says she would like a nice, juicy steak.

2. Dan thinks about getting Ana her desired nice, juicy steak.

3. Dan goes to a restaurant and checks the menu.

4. Dan orders something which looks like the perfect steak for Ana.

5. Dan gets home victorious (he starts to be slightly afraid… something in the boxes smells of peppers).

6. Moment of truth. The boxes are opened: Dan returned home with a handful of minced raw meat with a raw egg on top of it that obviously Ana hates and a side dish that Ana hates as well.

BUGGER!

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What is this? Spaghetti?

That’s what my dearest asked me tonight, when she started to eat the pasta I had prepared.

I always feel like cheating when preparing pasta. That’s also the reason why if I decide to prepare pasta, it has to be a pretty… well, not heavy, but a similar word, dish, altogether.

I came home before her so I just threw some rice noodles in some warm water, readied a pan, chopped some “chouriço” (Portuguese sausages), some Hungarian, spicy sausages and some other type of meat, and started frying them gently. I then added some chopped onion and some cabbage, just so that they get somewhat “fried”, not mushy, steam boiled…

Separately I had blended two tomatoes, some cloves of garlic and a carrot. Then I put everything in the same pan that the meat was… well, frying, and added a tint of curry. And suddenly I had a revelation. So I added about a cup of beef broth to this whole mess :) )

I then added some olive oil in a terracotta tray, put the rice noodles on the bottom and then added the “saucy sausages” on top of the noodles (I am afraid of calling it pasta, because, it’s not really pasta, is it?). Then the tray went into the preheated oven for about 20 minutes (180 degrees C).

And then there was silence and then the LADY asked “What is this? Spaghetti?”

Note:

I was too tired to take pictures. Or hungry? One of the two. I could take some now, but I would better not. Your imagination works better :)

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End of holidays, Katharine Hepburn’s Brownies and Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Have you ever realized that as a rule of thumb, you are not really announcing anyone when your holiday starts (if you have a holiday, that is) but then you announce everyone when your holiday ends? If not, then it’s definitely my case.

Right… what did we do… Brownies!

Well, I was trying to find something soothing and chocolaty for Ana. And I came across this Hollywood recipe. Or one version of it. Yes, apparently there are several brownie recipes that Madam Hepburn was fond of. Ironically, they all look pretty much alike. Slightly different quantities of raw materials sometimes, entirely different materials some other times. Yet, they all call it Her recipe. Fine by me, as long as it tastes good. As a matter of fact, it is possible that she modified Her recipe depending on what materials and quantities were available to her… which is exactly my type of cooking :D

Hence, I started my “famous” brownie saga.

Ingredients (used by us):

100 gr. chocolate

115 gr. butter

100-150 gr. sugar (granulated)

2 eggs

2 tbsp. all-purpose flour (2 tbsp normal wheat flour + a bit less than 1/4 tsp. baking powder)

1/4 tsp. salt

50 gr. sunflower seeds

20 gr. sesame

50 gr. cashew nuts (slightly chopped)

vanilla essence

How to:

First of all, you should preheat the oven until 165 degrees Celsius. Use some butter/ oil and flour on your baking pan to prepare it for the chocolaty wonder.

Melt the chocolate together with the butter, then add the sugar, mix in the eggs as well and add also the vanilla essence. At the end, add the flour, seeds and the salt.

Pour the mix into the baking pan and bake it for about 35 minutes.

Notes:

1. I don’t know if it was the chocolate or not, but we found Delicatessen, Amélie and Micmacs fantastic movies. Both in the literal sense of the word and in… the other one (figurative). Maybe, JUST MAYBE, it was all because of Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the director of all three pictures. It definitely cannot be the brownies… even if they have a Hollywood flair!

Pictures? You already have three. Look above. :)

I forgot to mention, last week I was on holiday.

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Mango Lassi

Background information

Lassi is a refreshment drink originating in India and Pakistan. There are multiple variations of lassi, ranging basically from salty to sweet. It always involves mixing yogurt with milk or water and spices or fruits.

Lassi is usually enjoyed as refreshment, especially during lunch. As it’s main ingredient is yogurt, you can probably think of all the benefits it brings: proteins, calcium and vitamins, B2 (riboflavin – you know you heard about it, just imagine it’s very important), B6 (involved in several metabolic processes) and B12 (good for the brain and the nervous system, also for the formation of blood). It almost makes me feel sorry for the lactose intolerant…

First time we tried it, we didn’t have mangos… One can imagine mango is imported in the Czech Republic. So we tried it first with pears! Needless to say it was great. Second time we tried it, we used, you might have guessed, apples! Pears were better for being more flavoured. Well, we’re Europeans so we don’t really have that many choices for indigenous fruits. Ana might contradict me here… :)

But then we had mango!!

Ingredients:

1 mango (peeled, without stone, and chopped)

1 cup of milk

2 cups of yogurt

2- 3 tablespoons of sugar

How to:

Put everything in a blender and let Edison do the work. Alternately, use a hand blender. It doesn’t matter how you get there, it’s the trip that counts. :) Blend everything like there is no tomorrow (forget about “Tomorrow never dies“; speaking of this, there can be only one and the one is definitely Sir Sean Connery – at least for me).

So, after blending/ mixing everything, pour into glasses/ cups/ mugs and have a blast with it. I know we did:

The second picture is obviously ironical. Ana was asking why didn’t we use a proper glass, I was asking why didn’t we have the proper beverage.

Notes:

1. Err… use at discretion. :)

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No Romanian and Portuguese translations

Upon long minutes of pondering (following hours and hours of deep thought with bits of food in between) it has been decided. There will be no more translations of English posts in Romanian and Portuguese.

This site/ blog started as a humble project which initially was not designed to be that humble, dealing with 2 other languages apart from the default one, English.

Even though the technical process itself was made easy with the WPML WordPress plugin, it is far too burdening, and rather put us off instead of making us post more.

Some things are still hanging. Example: the name of the domain, “gatesc eu” literally means “I cook” in Romanian and this  was the main reason for choosing this domain name. In the future we might consider another domain name that will suit better the site’s purposes. Until then, it’s fine, meaning I am still cooking, in all languages at the same time. Beat that! :D

Now, without further ado, keep your eyes on the next recipe, a fast and easy way to prepare LASSI.  :)

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