**This post has been kindly sponsored by Magnetic Latvia as part of their #TasteofLatvia campaign, as always I am sharing 100% my honest opinion**
At the end of last year I was fortunate enough to be one of the few invited to an at-home (because of covid-19) cook-a-long with chef Mārtiņš Sirmais for a Christmas party with Magnetic Latvia to celebrate and learn more about Latvia. We learnt how to make two traditional dishes: a rye bread dessert and grey peas and porcini mushrooms with a bitter I’ve never tried before (in fact, never heard before!) native to Latvia – Riga Black Balsam enriched with natural Nordic blackcurrant juice.
Latvia has never been on my bucket list if I am being honest with you but before our virtual trip to Latvia, I did a little research. I am now hoping to be able to get over there next winter! It is so stunning covered in snow, just take a look at some of the incredible images I found online…
Anyway, back to the cook-a-long…
I wanted to share with you how we created the two recipes because they are dishes I’d never heard of and I know some of you are going to want to recreate them!
I was very in the moment and didn’t take down the step-by-step instructions so I’ve grabbed them off the website but this saves you clicking through different pages:
RYE BREAD DESSERT
Riga Black Balsam
1 cup rye bread
1/2 cup mascarpone
1/2 cup Cranberry jam
1 cup Apple juice
1/3 cup Brown sugar
1/3 cup Sugar
1. Add 4 tablespoon sugar and ½ cup Black Balsam to the small sauce pan and heat on a medium high heat until liquid is evaporated by ¼ and became a syrupy, cool it down.
2. Mince rye bread with fingers to make a crumble. Add ¼ teaspoon cardamom and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon to the bread crumble, add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, then mix it ad add little by little apple juice until bread is soaked and sugar is melts. Leave it to rest.
3. Mix mascarpone and Black Balsam syrup until its incorporate.
4. Serve desert in layer. Soaked rye bread, Black Balsam mascarpone and jam.
YUM! And yes I took pictures from Pinterest of what the dessert can look like as they are far prettier than my concoction!
and now for the mushrooms dish…
2 cups grey peas, pre-cooked or black beans
3 medium onions, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
4 dried porcini mushroom soaked (or 1/2 a cup)
1. Take 3 medium size onions and cut in a small dice. Chop 3 garlic cloves. Heat the pan, add olive oil and cook the onions and garlic on a medium heat about 10 min. Add salt, pepper.
2. When onions are translucent, add soaked dried porcini mushrooms ½ cup. Cook porcini few more minutes
3. Then add roasted crushed hemp seeds 1/3 cup and warm them through.
4. Then add pre cooked grey peas 2 cups or black beans, or kidney beans. Add 1 cup tap water and simmer 10 minutes uncovered, until liquid is evaporated by half. Taste salt and pepper.
5. If you want, add 1 tablespoon of butter, then transfer all in the blender and blend it smooth. Serve like a dip with bread, crisps ore vegetables.
If you don’t know cup measurements, 1 cup = 128g.
Let me know if you make either of them because I would love to see your creations! And enjoy the spritz with either: 2 parts Balsam, 3 parts Prosecco, 1 part soda water and garnish with a slice of orange.
We were then treated to entertainment from pop-folk singer and previous Eurovision participant Katrīna Dimanta.
She was in traditional dress clothes and sung us some beautiful tunes, we even ended the night humming along as she sung Jingle Bells in Latvian!
To sum it up? I’ll be crossing my fingers I get to travel to Latvia this time next year, it’s going to be heaven for the foodie and photographer in me!
Until next time,
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