Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Easy Cucumber Salad

Summer time is the best time to have refreshing salads.
When you get the first garden cucumbers, you have the taste of summer. No longer hot house vegetables.

Quick to prepare and eaten as a side dish, that is so good.

Slice them very fine on a mandoline or kitchen grater. Then salt the cucumber and let it rest 10 min. Drain them.

4 tsp Greek yogurt
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Agave syrup
2 tsp rapeseed oil
2 tsp white balsamic vinegar
Fresh herbs like parsley, dill, cress
Salt and pepper

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Fiaker Goulash

An Austrian goulash is a tasty dish to serve to a group of people.
The Vienna Fiakers are horse drawn carridges and the drivers loved that goulash. So it ended up with the name.

You can prepare a large quantity in advance and just make the finishing touches before you plate it.

We served it with home made herb Spaetzle. Little pasta.

But the prominent part played quail eggs again, one soft boiled one and one sunny side up.

Recipe for 5:
1 kg stewing beef and pork shoulder mixed
2 onion2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp flour
2/3 Veggie stock
1/3 Red wine
Salt and pepper

Bell peppers
Veg stock
Salt and pepper

Wiener sausages 1 per Person
1 gherkin per Person
2 quail eggs per Person

Cut onions and garlic and the meat into bite size pieces. In a wide pot heat up the oil and brown the seasoned meat. Best in 2 batches so every piece sits on the bottom of the pot.
Put flour on top and stir well. Add wine and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 75 min.
Let it cool down. You can even prepare it the day before.
Clean carrots and peppers and start them in a pan. A bit of stock and seasoning. Let the veggies get soft and add to the reheated goulash.
When you reheat the goulash, add the Wieners and let them heat up

Usually it will be eaten with gherkins and a fried egg.

Serve with pasta, rice or potatoes.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Gazpacho - Cold Soup

We have a hot spring time for the last couple of weeks. This is a bit uncommon and these long stretches of heat makes you think of preparing summer food.

Cold soups are usually not my favourite. I regularly prefer them hot even in summer. But there are a few exceptions. One it them is Gazpacho, the veggie summer soup.

A couple of juicy tomatoes, yellow and red bell pepper, 1/2 cucumber and one clove of garlic.
Seasoned with salt and pepper and put into the blender.
When  you prepare the veggie and do not need the soup right away, just put the cut up veggies into the fridge.
Mix them in a blender with a little water and put it back into the fridge.
Before you serve it, put in a diced up slice of toast or baguette without the crust, 2 tbsp oil, 1 tbsp red wine vinegar and 4 tbsp of carbonated water.
Give it a good blend.

We served the soup with more toasted bread, a skewer with thin sliced cucumber and a smoked hardboild quail egg.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Excellent Dinner in Town

When there is a reason to celebrate something, go for an excellent evening out.

For an occasion I choose one of Darmstadt's first class Italian Restaurants, the Orangerie. It is located in a park beside an historic building from 1719. The park behind is decorated with many citrus trees, that are only out from end of May until beginning of October.

The restaurant has a large open air seating area.

The menu is very seasonal and just shown on black boards, that are wheeled to the table.

When several interesting offers are on a black board, it took us some time to decide how to start the dinner. We opted for two different cheese starters and shared a bit of it.

My friend had bacon wrapped mozzarella di buffala and orange melon wrapped in Parma ham.

I choose caramelised goat cheese with onion confit, mixed salad and warm tomatoes.

We shared the main course and decided on a Dorade baked in a salt cover. It was served with a lemony tomato and caper dressing, risotto with white asparagus and green asparagus as a side veg.

With the food went a bottle of Vernaccia di San Giminiano, Tuskany. This white wine is one of my favourite. I've been to San Giminiano twice and love the mineral taste of this wine. 2  large bottles of San Pellegrino were drunk too.

Then came the final course and the 2 of us were unable to decide between 3 things from Strawberry or a dark chocolate dessert. We discussed and came to no choice. Luckily our very nice host made the decision for us and came up with the solution:
Strawberry kisses Chocolate
It was served with an Elderflower Cordial.

Later, we finished the evening with cold Limoncello.

We had a great evening with very competent service and excellent food. Next time we have something to celebrate, we will come back.

Zurek - Polish sour flour Soup

I had this soup twice during my Poland trip. The first time at Holy Virgin Mary Day in Swietka Lipka the second time at the last hotel in Poland - Amber Palace Hotel.

Yesterday I went to the Russian Delicatessen in my neighbourhood. They have Polish goods there too and the first thing I found was a bottle of Zurek, the fermented rye flour mix. Just a meter down the isle I found a package of Polish Kielbasa sausages.
Reading about the soup and remembering what our tour guide told us, all kinds of veggies are good for this soup.
I had 2 red bell peppers from last week and they needed to be cooked and I have thrown them into the soup mix. It made the soup a bit redder then the ones I had in Poland. The taste was the same.

recipe for 4:
1 liter beef stock
1 large carrot
3 small potatoes 
1 small leek
1/4 celeriac
2 red bell peppers
3 spring onions
3 cloves of garlic
300 g Kielbasa sausages
100 g raw ham
salt and pepper
500 ml Zurek ready fermented rye flour
2 hard boiled eggs
60 g fresh dill

Put all the veggies into a blender and give it a quick blend. Pour it into the pot with the beef stock and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat.
Put the sausages in and let them cook with the soup.

It needs about 25 min.
Get the sausages out and pull the peel off.
Shake the Zurek long and very well to mix it together very well.
Bring the soup back to the boil and pour the Zurek in. Let it cook good 5 min to thicken the soup.
Peel the eggs and chop the dill
Cut the sausages into rings and get all together.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Parma Ham Pasta

I had the same ingredients as the day before but I wanted to have a full meal.
Pasta is the answer.

Asparagus as the main veggie works well when you serve it in a creamy sauce.

The ingredients are so easy to prepare and when you have peeled the white asparagus, you can cook it together with the pasta in one pot. Just check the pasta cooking time and throw the veg in to get ready with the pasta.

A good amount of spring onions and a couple of garlic cloves are the base for the creamy sauce.

Recipe for 2:
250 g pasta
250 g peeled asparagus
3 spring onions
4 cloves of garlic
60 ml apple cider
80 ml double cream
Salt and pepper
Thyme and parsley
1 tsp oil
1 tsp butter

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Parma Ham and Asparagus

When you order food online you get surprises sometimes.
A while ago I ordered cheeses and some Parma ham in the online shop I use often in Italy.
When the package came and I unpacked I looked quite surprised.

I had on my shopping list a piece of Parma ham with 600g.
The piece I took out of the box had 1,6 kg.

Yesterday I finally started to slice some of it up.
I have a very old but still funktioning electric
Bread and meat slicing machine. I normally use it to slice breads but it worked just fine on the cold ham.
It is important to have cold meat to cut, that makes it a lot easier for the machine to get thin cuts.

A good company for the Parma ham is asparagus. I cooked some and drizzled a little butter over it and served it. So delicious.