Thursday, 31 December 2015

Japanese Ramen

Ramen Noodle Miso Soup

I love this kind of soups, you need a good broth, some fresh veggies- what you have at home sitting around in the veggie drawer of your fridge- preferably an egg and a piece of Noori sheet for visual aid.

Ramen Noodle Miso Soup

On the meat or fish side you can use any piece you like- small leftover from a roast, a chicken breast or leg meat or a piece of salmon are lovely. Or buy a handful of ground beef and throw it in a pan season well and saute it off and chuck it in the soup.  Even a cup filled with lobster, prawns or mussels are welcome.   

Ramen Ingredients

800 ml chicken stock  (I used some leftover Guinea fowl broth from  X Mas)
1 heaped tbsp Misopaste
2 cloves of garlic grated
1 tbsp grates fresh ginger
150 g  cooked Gammon steak
2 large mushrooms
60 g celariac
1 boiled egg
2 spring onions
1 Noori sheat
100 g Ramen Noodles

Prepare the Noodles likes it says on the package.
Heat up the chicken stock and add the grated garlic and ginger and use a small sieve to put in the Misopaste and dissolve it in the broth.
Put the Gammon steak in to warm through for 3 to 5 minutes.
Chop up the veggies and cut the egg in half.
Get the meat out of the broth and cut it into slices.

Use a bowl and start with the Noodes and built everything on top. Pour the Miso soup through a sieve on top of the ingredients and dress with green onion bits.


Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Chocolate Panettone Pudding

I had a quarter chocolate chip Panettone loaf covered in sugared almonds left over from Christmas.
After a couple of days it gets a bit stale.

I found the recipe on SortedFood and made a custard, added some cinnamon and lemon peel  and dunked the bread in.

Chocolate Panettone Pudding

In my fridge was a bag full of fresh and not so fresh cranberries, which I bought some time before Christmas but had no food to combine them with. More than 3/4 were still looking great and so I put them on top of the bread in the ovenproof dish. Covered the whole thing with the rest of the custard and some almond flakes and put it into the oven at 200 C for 20 minutes.

It should have a slight wobble, when it comes out of the oven.

I served it with some light beaten double cream and since the cranberries are a bit on the tart side, this dish is no longer an overly sweet one. Best eat it still warm.

3 thick slices of panettone with choc chips and almonds
3 eggs
200 ml double cream
100 ml milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp lemon peel
2 tbsp almond flakes

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Cooked Cheese or Kochkäse

Kochkäse is a specialty from the Hessian region where I live.

Some prepare it from fresh curd with baking soda, I use a sour milk cheese which is almost fat free.
On many farmer markets and in farm shops you can buy the homemade cheese. It is also available in supermarkets, but not in this quality. You can eat it strait on bread or use a vinegar, onion and oil mixture to go with it. 

I love this kind of cheese very much, it is like a good soup, I could take a bath in it :-) but it is not recommended.

Cooked cheese

I make it for gatherings or a do sometimes. When there is a party at the office and everybody has to bring something, most of my coworkers buy stuff. I make this cheese and it is a winner every time.
I am famous for it.

There are many different ways to prepare this cheese. I use a Thermomix, so I have it ready in about 10 minutes. But cooking it on a stove in a pot is easy too. It is possible to prepare it on the lean side or for a great taste the way I do it.

simple ingredients

It should at least rest a day before serving. It lasts about 10 days in the fridge - ha ha ha, it never had in the past.

Putting  it on bread or rolls is one thing, but using it in the kitchen to top of a fresh baked Schnitzel is an awesome way to have leftover cheese. Put it on fries (chips) with fresh onion rings and some vinegar, could be a new tradition of cheese fries.

200 g sour milk cheese
200 g cheese spread high fat variety
300 ml unsweetened condensed milk
200 g sour cream
100 g  unsalted butter

2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp caraway seeds

When you use a kitchen helper like  I do, throw the 5 upper ingredients in the machine, blend it up,  put on 70 C and cook it for 7 minutes. 
Otherwise, chop the cheese into small bits, heat up the condensed milk in a pot and add the cubes, start to melt them. When melted, add the cheese spread, melt that, add the sour cream and the butter until everything is combined. Don`t use to much heat.

Take a bowl with a lid that is at least 2,5 times bigger than the mixture you just have in your pot. Now starts the magic.
To the hot cheese add 2 tsp of baking soda and stir constantly. The mixture will rise like a lark in the morning. If your bowl is to small, you will make an awful mess. Add some of the caraway seeds to the mixture, but just a few- some people don`t like the taste and you can add it later on your own bread.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Tamagoyaki or the art of making a square omelet

Tamagoyaki is a special kind of egg dish in Japan.

Before making one, you have to buy a very special pan for it. It is relatively small and square. You get the pan online.
Square Tamagoyaki pan

The method makes the omelet more fluffy than a regular flat one. Enjoy the taste of the spiced eggs and eat it with fresh cooked rice and some fresh salad.

Eggs in many layers

The egg mixture gets into the pan in many steps. Each time you let it set one minute, then turn the egg from the other side and roll it over until all the mixture is tucked under. Use 2 spatulas and that makes the turning of the eggs more easy. Press the egg against the side of the pan for 30 seconds, then start with the next part of the mixture. Grease the pan with a  bit of oil in between the cooking process. When all egg is done, press it again against the side, then turn and it and press the other side.
You can eat it warm or cold, cut into slices.

I prepared  half  of a cucumber, salted it outside and let it sit for 5 minutes, then rub the skin down with kitchen paper. Cut it in 1 inch blocks, cut out the wet middle and slice it very fine. Add Japanese pepper, seasoned salt, Mirin and soy sauce. Cut one spring onion very fine.

You need 3 eggs and some Japanese ingredients.

3 eggs
1 tbsp Mirin
1 tbsp Sake
1 pinch of dried salad herbs
1 pinch of  white Japanese pepper
1 pinch of salt
2 tbsp of sesame oil

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Pizza Avanzi

Pizza Avanzi on Sunday after Christmas.

Doesn`t it sound more hip than Pizza topped with leftovers? Going once across the kitchen and picking up everything.

I had some fresh yeast in the fridge and made a New York Style Pizza Dough that has to rest 18 hours. This time, it will get the 18 hours, last time I had to cut it short to 16. That dough feels really rested and when you put it on the baking tray, only use your hands to shape it, the best over the back of your hands from the middle out. This method makes sure, you leave the air in the dough and you get a nice crust.

300 g plain flour Type 550 (bread flour)
20 g fresh yeast
4 tbsp olive oil
150 ml lukewarm
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried Italian herbs
1/2 tsp smoked paprika

And for the toppings- open up the fridge and the cupboards and see what you find. At the end, add some chilli honey and a good dose of olive oil around the crust.

Pizza Avanzi
The toppings of our Pizza Avanzi are Wieners, little bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, black olives, capers, raw ham, Emmenthaler cheese, tomato sauce, herb des provence and pepper.

Some years I make Empanadas to cover up what is sitting in my fridge, or I prepare a huge pot of Minestrone, when I have lots of veggies and only some bits and pieces of meat. Throw in some rice, pasta and potatoes and everybody is happy and tucks into it. I love this challenge to bring things to a new purpose.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

St.Stephen´s Day Waffles

St.Stephen´' s Day or the 26th of December serving a light meal

The second Christmas Holiday to celebrate with the family. People meet their in-laws this day, the kids see their second half of the grandparents. Main thing today is eating- what else!

If you would see me now, we are in the middle of a extremely warm winter. I just came in from a walk in the sun and decided to clean my chair and table on the balcony and take my notebook outside to write the blog in the sun. The Thermometer beside me on the wall shows a nice 22 C in the sun. 

Many families go out and have a 2. Christmas Day Lunch in a Restaurant. Today is a heavy crowd day for the chefs and service people all over the places. To get a seat with many people needed an advanced reservation at least 4 weeks ago.

But I´m not a huge fan of this type of celebration. When the crowds hit the restaurants, often the quality of the food suffers. You have to wait long. It is noisy and crowded.

That is the reason why I hit the kitchen myself and prepare a lighter fare, then the last days.

I started my day with a Matcha Latte, something light and tasty. I found the idea on Pinterest. It looked so nice. Since all the ingredients were on hand, it was a fast start of a late morning.

Matcha Latte with tea whisk

100 ml hot water 80 C  ( boil it and let it cool down for 8 minutes)
1/2 tsp Matcha tee powder mixed with
1 tbsp cold water
200 ml Milk,  any kind you like or have on hand ( I used whole milk) make it hot and then take some kind of blender, whisk or cappuccino milk whisk to it and make a milk foam
1 tsp Agave  syrup can be added if you like it sweeter

Put the milk foam in a tall glass and use a spoon to pour the Matcha tea on top. It will make a lovely pattern in the glass.

Today on the menu is fish.

Salmon Parcel with creamy spinach

As a base I used the SortedFood recipe Salmon Parcel, puff pastry filled with a good piece of salmon under a layer of leek and cream cheese. It is not much to do and very tasty and a light meal compared to the last two days. A creamy spinach with shallots and garlic and lots of nutmeg was the only side dish. I love these creamy spinach dishes, you get them frozen with some added cream already, but a little upgrade wont hurt.
As a child and later until I left home, I hated spinach. The creamy variety came later and my Mom was shocked to find an empty package of spinach in my bin. That was when I came to like spinach as a great veggie for a quick meal.

As a dessert I served some waffles with yogurt and passion fruit. It is wonderful to dip the warm waffles in the creamy yogurt.

Waffles with Passion fruit yogurt

100 g sifted all purpose flour
100 g sugar
1 tbsp vanilla sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
250 ml milk
100 g melted butter
3 beaten free range eggs

first mix the dry ingredients, in a 2.bowl mix the wet ingredients and bring them together. Let the mixture rest for 1 hour.

Friday, 25 December 2015

Guinea fowl capon

Christmas Day, the 25th of December meets the Guinea fowl capon

It is a day for cooking poultry in many German households. The bigger the family, the bigger the bird.
Many eat turkey today, because the meat is less fat than goose and seams to be healthier.
But talking about eating healthy on the holidays is a bit absurd.

In a small household  eating a big bird is out of the question.

 Quail = too small, Chicken = too ordinary

In France I found a Chapon de Pintade or Guinea fowl capon.
1,75 kg bird, a good meal for Christmas Day with some extras for the coming days.

Guinea fowl capon
3 years ago I prepared this dish for the first time. I found the basic recipe in the Gourmand Magazine issue, a french twice monthly cooking issue. Basically lots of veggies, even more garlic and a good dose of Pastis, the anise seed liqueur. The whole apartment is smelling of the anise seed and baked garlic chicken - amazing.

served with roasted veggies and purple Vitelotte potatoes

1,75 kg guinea fowl capon

3 tbsp softend butter
1 tsp Cafe de Paris Seasoning
1 roasted clove of garlic
1 pinch of pepper and salt

1 dried roll
200 ml milk
2 tbsp treacle or any kind of dark syrup

4 carrots
1 white of a leak
2 parsnips
2 onions
1 1/2 bulbs of garlic
6 thyme stems
6 oregano stems
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
200 ml Pastis
200 ml chicken stock

500 g Vitolette purple potatoes

Preheat the oven 200 C.

you can´t have to much garlic

Wash and dry the bird. Soak the bread roll in milk, then press the excess out. Chop up 3 cloves of garlic and mix with the syrup, seasoning and the bread. Stuff into the bird and close the cavity with a toothpick.
Mix the butter with the Cafe de Paris Seasoning, salt, pepper and the mashed roasted clove of garlic and smear it all over the bird.
Clean the veggies and all the garlic and form a trivet in a large baking dish, so that the bird doesn`t sit directly on the heat. Place in the oven. If you have, use a Thermometer and stick it in the bird. When the core temp is 85C the bird is done and you are on the safe side. During baking time, baste it with the juice twice.

Cook the potatoes and cut up the meat and serve with the veggies and the juice from the pan.

Christmas Food on the 24th

Christmas Food on Heiligabend, the 24th of December

This year we have 4 days to cook and enjoy great food. If it is the traditional food, I don`t think so.

Here in Germany we celebrate Christmas on the eve of the 24th. This is our day, when the family gets together and exchange presents and eats together.

Some just see it as a light dinner, because the cooks of the houses are mostly the women of the families, and to much work on a day like that is no fun. So preparing a potato salad and serving some sausages with it, is in many families a year long tradition.

In my family, we had a salad with herring and beets. After many years, we got rid of the tradition and have a complete meal on that eve.

The 25th is for the midday feast, many families have goose or turkey, others love venison or beef. First courses are soups mostly and with the meat several side dishes are served. A dessert is crowning the feast.
Often on the 26th families are joining others and some visit other members of the wider family. Anda new day of feasting starts again.

Toady's meal I prepared for my family was a sweet chestnut filled pork in a thick onion, garlic and chestnut gravy. Served with potato dumplings and tender stem broccoli in a cream sauce.      

Christmas Dinner

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

BLA instead of BLT

Blood pudding or Blutwurst 
a BLA instead of BLT

An ingredient that splits the masses. You either love it or you hate it.
It is a rather pure kind of sausage, you see what´s inside and the rest is just pigs blood and spices.

Many countries have this kind of sausage, blood is the binding agent for bits and pieces and some ingredient to bulk it out. In Germany, there is no cereal added, in other countries the use of oats or barley is found.

I love the light smoked variety of the sausage and the longer is has the time to dry, the better.

The one I bought a couple of days ago was from a local farmer. 

Bloodpudding and baked apples sub

The idea of using it as meat in a sub/sandwich came to me on my way back home from work. Somebody was talking on the radio about sandwiches and the classic fillings like ham and cheese or BLT.

Since I had lettuce at home minus the bacon and the tomatoes I was thinking about an alternative.
I make a BLA = blood pudding, lettuce and apple

100 g smoked black pudding
1/2 redskin apple
1 tbsp spring onion greens
2 leaves of lettuce
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp malt vinegar
1 tsp creme fraiche
1 pinch of dried herbs
1 tbsp butter
1 white sub roll

Take the casing off the sausage and cut it into 0,5 cm rings. Slice the apple into
small wedges. Cut the green of the spring onion into rings.
Mix oil, creme fraiche, vinegar and mustard and season it with the dried herbs.
In a pan start with the butter, add the sausages and saute them for 2 minutes, add the apples and warm them through on both sides.

Construct the sub:
Open up the roll and put the dressing on both sides. Start with the lettuce, then the baked sausage and add the apples and onion rings. 

Monday, 21 December 2015

Zwetschgenknödel - Plum Dumplings

Zwetschgenknödel - Plum Dumplings Austrian style 

I started to blog with one of my favorite dumplings, the Marillenknödel. Now it is time to show the second favorite one, the Zwetschgenknödel.
Every time a go to Austria I look for a restaurant, that serves a dish like that. Eating dumplings in the country where the recipes comes from, makes them even more authentic.


The basic dough is the same kind as the Marillenknödel, it is potato dough, the very same recipe I used there.
The work is not very different, destone the plums, put sugar cubes dipped in Schnaps inside, close the dough around and put them into lightly boiling water for 20 minutes.

The next step varies, the dumplings get a coating of ground hazelnuts mixed with breadcrumbs. The nutty flavour goes great with the plums.

When serving them, put a little bowl of deep red cherry brandy to the side, that goes amazing with the hazel nutty dumplings.

1,2 kg floury potatoes
50 g Cornstarch
200-250 g plain flour
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1 kg ripe plums
15 sugar cubes
100 ml plum schnaps  or Slibovic
150 g breadcrumbs
150 g ground hazelnuts
120 g butter
1 tsp cinnamon

150 ml white wine, 2 tbsp sugar and the rest of the plums get cooked until they are soft for a dessert.
50 ml cherry brandy  for dipping.

Since the cooking process is similar to the Marillenknödel, check out the blog about it.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Indonesian Cooking with Beef Rendang

Indonesian Cooking with Beef Rendang

I bought a wonderful piece of Charolais beef for braising yesterday. Cutting it into pieces I knew it had to cook long and slow and then would dissolve in the mouth. And now I´m sitting in a wonderful smelling living room.  The spices of cinnamon, lemongrass and ginger together with the toasted dessicated coconut let it feel festive, as if this recipe is for Christmas.

This is a traditional meal for festivities in Indonesia. It is called a curry, but has little to do with the Indian style curries. But I have eaten it in the Netherlands as well.

It is a great dish to serve to guests, because when everything is combined and in the oven, it is out of the way and you have time for your guests. And it is not a problem, if some arrive fashionably late, it can stay in the oven, until everybody sits at the table.

Beef Rendang after 2,5 hours in the oven

As a base I used the SortedFood recipe, I added carrots and parsnips to the mix and together with the homemade paste of onions, garlic, chillies, ginger, lemongrass and lime juice I added some premade Indonesian Rendang paste from an Asian supermarket.

850 g Charolais beef for braising
2 onions
8 cloves of garlic
3 red chillies
5 cm root ginger
2 stalks of lemongrass
1 lime juiced
2 tbsp Rendang Paste
2 large carrots peeled and in slices
1 parsnip in 2 cm cubes
70 g dessicated coconut dry roasted in a pan until it smells sooo good
500 ml coconut milk
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp coconut oil

Use an ovenproof pan with a lid and preheat the oven 160 C

In a blender chuck in the rough cut onions, garlic, chilly, lemongrass, ginger pieces and lime juice and make a coarse paste.

Cut the beef into bite size pieces and heat up some coconut oil in the pan. Since you have to much beef for one pan, just brown it in 3 batches, so the meat can really get the needed heat and wont start to let water and cook. When you put it into the pan, keep you spatula away for at least 2 minutes, then turn it first.

When the 3 batches are brown, add some more coconut oil to the pan and fry off the paste with the ready made Redang paste for 2 minutes. Add half of the coconut milk and the veggies and get it cooking again, add the last coconut milk and the beef, give it a good stir and at last add the dessicated coconut. Bring it to a boil again and place it in the oven for 2 hours with the lid on. After one hour, give it a good stir. After 2 hours, take off the lid and keep it in the oven for 30 minutes longer.
Press a little lime juice on top before serving.

Boil some Basmati rice with salt, star anise and cinnamon stick and serve with the Beef Rendang.

served with Basmati Rice

Saturday, 19 December 2015

1000 Island Sauce

1000 Island Sauce as the result of the Christmas Goodies from a good supermarket.

I did most of my holiday grocery shopping today, to plan ahead what to cook over the 4 days. Meat, poultry and fish are on the cooking agenda now.

While looking for the perfect dish, I found a huge platter of large king prawns, I couldn´t resist to buy them and they were my feast tonight. A lot of work to peel and clean them, but I love to get my hands on food and getting messy. The only thing is, during this time the phone was more or less constantly ringing.

What goes great with large prawns? A wonderful dipping sauce. And I made my all time favorite 1000 Island Sauce, a recipe I´m preparing since I started cooking. Even when I rarely use it, the moment I dip something in it (probably my finger to taste), the taste buds say: yeah that`s it!

Large Prawns with 1000 Island Sauce

Basic Ingredients and some not in the picture
recipe for 1000 Island Sauce:
4 tbsp Mayonnaise
3 tbsp Ketchup
1 tsp Gherkin water
1/2 cap of Osbourne Brandy
4 tiny Gherkins finely chopped
1 tsp chopped Capers
1 tsp chopped Chives
2 good dashes of Cipotle Tabasco

btw: when you peeled and discarded the innards of the prawns, don´t through away the heads and shells and everything except the black innards.
Use a medium pot, throw it all in, add peppercorns, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 bay leaves, 50ml Pernod, 50 ml Noilly Prat and 500 ml water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, then drain the liquid through a fine sieve and you have a great base for soups or sauces.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Midweek meals

Midweek meals as a result of raids through the fridge

Grocery shopping for the week is not always easy and getting things that are not the usual are fascinating. So very often I don`t know what to cook with things I buy, the week will show me as it progresses.

I combine many foods that are on the first look incompatible, sweet and sharp, salty and fresh and so on. I sometimes buy goods on the first look, I don´t know what to do with them and I store them for use in the next days.

Looking for the unknown is one of my favorite things to do. Since I love to travel, I love to walk  through markets, farmer markets and supermarkets. Food that talks to me, is a wonderful thing. And I listen!

Often while preparing something, I see solutions to cook with the leftovers combined with other items I stored away.
Kaki with Fennel Salad
Carrot Rasberry Raita

Jerusalem Artichoke "Bun" with Burger
What to do with one lonesome Kaki and a bulb of Fennel and a strive for something healthy. Easy: first eat a raw fennel and later the kaki.  Boring!

Sweet with the anasidic taste of fennel sounds more fun. And it has to look great on camera. So what to do:  chop  up the fennel into small pieces, cut the kaki into thin discs.

recipe for the dressing:
100 g plain yogurt
50 ml orange juice
1/2 lime juice
1 tsp agave syrup
a pinch of salt and orange pepper
1 yellow chilli seeded
2 tbsp rape seed oil
1 tbsp chives
5 g Chia seeds
30 g toasted pine nuts

Get the dressing together, stir in the fennel and place on top the carparccio style dressed kaki discs.
Toss pine nuts and chia seeds on top.

get flashed!

Carrot Rasberry Raita
I once bought on my way home some raspberries,  I was so hungry that I grabbed some carrots out of the salad drawer of my fridge. While still chewing on those, I saw my rasberries and popped 2 into my mouth. Chomp chomp later and my brain stated, wow! That is a great combination. Chicken skewers with some carrot as a veggie was forgotten, and I came up the the Raita.

1 cup Greek yogurt
3 medium carrots
1 punnet of raspberries
1 tbsp chopped parsley
2 pinches each of ground cumin, coriander and vanilla
1/2 tsp salt and pepper

Peel and grate the carrots, chop the parsley and quarter half of the raspberries. Put everything together and mix the yogurt with vanilla, cumin and coriander and season it with salt and pepper. Use some whole raspberries in the mix and decorate the rest on top.

Good to serve with any chicken dish and spicy curry.  Give it a try!

Burger Week and what to do with a bag of Topinambur or Jerusalem artichoke.
Place the meat between veggies and forget about a real bun and call it a Veggie Burger .

Absolutely tasty and filling, the thin deep fried slices, drained and seasoned mixed with the other condiments and soaked with the juice of the burger patties, a real treat.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

My joy of cooking Asian style

Fast food without being Fast Food

Evening meals as a quick solutions against sugar lows.
Or call it a raid through the fridge.
Everything laying around and needs to get done or it would spoil.
Leftover discovery and their way back to a new purpose.

Call it as you like it.

I was inspired by some YouTube videos about living in Japan, the culture, the history and especially the food. 
Since I love to eat and prepare Sushi, many ingredients are known to me already. And many things to buy I can get in my local supermarket. Even Misopaste and Dashi stock.

A dish of Udon noodles, Ramen or Soba is very quick, egg dishes like Soboro or a square Tamagoyaki omelet and my favorite Omurice are Fast Food for me.

So, I often experiment with western foods and make them into something Japanese. My thinking of Japanese may not be the real kitchen of that country, but flavours and cooking styles giving me confidence, that I´m doing something right.

Tonight I wanted something quick and noodles are a good solution for that.

                               Egg Soboro, cold Soba Tsuyu Sauce, fried peppers and hot noodles

Egg Soboro:
2 eggs
2 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp sake
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of pepper
1 pinch dried salad herbs
1 tbsp light sesame oil
3 tbsp dried fried onions

a small pot, 4 wooden chopsticks and some elbow grease

Mix the eggs with the seasoning and heat up the oil in the pot.
Take the 4 chopsticks in one hand, put the egg mixture into the hot oil and instantly start to stir with that chopsticks, it will take a good time and some endurance to make small crumbles of egg. When it is cooked and completely in small pieces, take it off the heat.
The peppers are Spanish Tapas veggies, just use very hot oil and get them a good black skin, take them out of the oil onto kitchen paper and season with salt and dried fried onions.

Place the cold Soba Tsuyu Sauce beside the hot noodles, combine with veggies and egg and have a great dish to enjoy.  Spain meets Japan!

Sunday, 13 December 2015

A huge dumpling

Serviettenknödel - Giant Napkin Dumpling
When was the last time I did this? 
That was the question when I thought about cooking this huge kind of dumpling. I only have some foggy memories about eating it, but preparing it - never ever. And checking different websites didn`t help either, because nobody is doing it the way I was thinking.
All modern with Glad Wrap and Foil and in smaller proportions. Doesn`t anyone have huge cotton napkins anymore? Or dishtowels?
Will my method work??

But after cooking it, I know now why other people prepare the smaller versions, you need help in the kitchen. 4 hands is a must, otherwise keep to the smaller kind of dumplings.

                                                              giant napkin dumpling

6 dried rolls
260 ml hot milk
3 eggs
1 large onion in small dices
4 cloves of garlic
4 tbsp chopped parsley
3 tbsp flour
250 g bacon or black forest ham
nutmeg, pepper, salt, paprika, marjoram, chili, thyme  and lots of it!
5 tbsp butter

Use a big bowl and cut the rolls into small cubes,
in a small pot with 1 tbsp of butter saute the onions and the garlic and add the ham. When everything is soft pour it over the bread, use the same pot to heat up the milk and add it to the mixture.

Stir it well and let it sit covered for 20 minutes, add the eggs, the parsley and the seasoning and as much flour to get a soft but solid dough.

Take  the biggest pot you have- minimum 6 l and a clean and not with softener washed napkin or dishtowel.

Put some butter on the inside of the napkin and form a dough ball and place it onto the middle. Fold the 4 sides over and make two knots, one for each 2 sides.

Bring the water with salt to the boil and use a big spoon to close the knots around and let the dough hang down from the spoon without sitting on the bottom of the pot. The cooking time is much longer than regular dumplings, but with slow simmering water it will take about 60 minutes. Use a wooden skewer and check if the dumpling is cooked.

When the dumpling is ready, get it out of the water and peel off the napkin. Half it and cut slices about 2,5 cm thick . You can eat the dumpling slices with any kind of rich sauce- meat or otherwise, just make sure, there is enough sauce to go around.

But to take it to a higher level, you can fry the slices in butter before serving them.

I had a tray of mixed veggies in the oven for 20 minutes, then added wine and baked it 10 more minutes and with a 500 ml jug of passata and veg stock cube I had a great sauce. Blended it roughly.  To enrich it, I used 250 g Mozzarella and melted it in the sauce.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Old times and little dumplings

Stepping back in time and thinking about today.
Today I found an old cookbook while looking for some Christmas food recipes in my huge stack of about 300 cookbooks. I got sidetracked and started to read about the area where I live and what people ate 50 to 100 years ago. Since a huge part around the city was rural area, cooking back then mend making the best of things locally grown. And there were always lots of mouth to feed and not much income to go around.
I love checking out these things and they remind me what my grandmother told me about her youth and the way they had to prepare their food. Diversity was not really something you`ve found at that time and eating due to the seasons was a must. But on the downside, she ate as meat only pork, beef or fish and was vehemently against all other things. So her family had to eat, what she liked and was restricted that way. 
Now I try to eat fruit and veggies when they are locally at their prime and grow all around to harvest. But it is so easy to stand in the Supermarket in front of a box of beautiful looking strawberries in February and get waylaid to buy that. Very often I regret that later, when the taste is not what I expected. Having food from all over the world is a wonderful thing and I enjoy to look into foreign kitchens and be able to cook that at home. But at what a price?  
Living in a multicultural society means that all groups of people want a piece of home and an easy way to feel at home means food, that brings back memories. Over the last 20 years many foreigners opened deli shops, supermarkets and specialty stores. All the food trends developed over the years. 
Now it is quiet normal to have a Döner Kebap, a Pizza and Thai food in friendly neighborhood to Bratwurst and Schnitzel and nobody is thinking that this is strange.

But back to old time cooking and a wonderful short recipe to prepare for two people on a small budget, or a quick midweek meal. 
This special recipe is from around here were eggs, flour and bacon were easy to find, old bread as well and nothing was wasted : 
Little dumplings with bacon and breadcrumbs
Little Dumplings with bacon and breadcrumbs

8 tbsp plain flour
4 tbsp water
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 pinch nutmeg
150 g bacon bits
3 tbsp breadcrumbs
2 tbsp oil
prepare the dough:
beat the flour, eggs, water with salt and nutmeg together until it is a smooth dough. 
Heat up a huge pot of salted water and bring it to a boil. With 2 teaspoons dipped in the water, pick up some dough and let it drop into the water. Cook for 4 minutes and get them out with a slotted spoon. Make all dumplings until the dough is gone.

In a frying pan, heat the oil add the bacon bits and let them go crispy. Get the bacon out and discard some of the oil. in the rest fry the breadcrumbs until golden brown.
Mix the dumplings with the bacon and the breadcrumbs and enjoy.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Spinach Dumplings

I am still raving about the diversity of dumplings. They are not to be underestimated. In many different countries you find this kind of food. Often it is made out of cheap and easy to find ingredients, it fills many stomachs on a low budget and it is comfort food.  Check your own countries for similar kinds of food.

Spinach bread dumplings Tyrolean style

300 g dried rolls cut into 2 cm cubes
250 ml warm milk
450 g defrosted spinach
2 eggs
2 tbsp flour
5 tbsp breadcrumbs
60g butter
1 medium onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp salt, pepper, paprika, chilli, nutmeg
250 g Gorgonzola
50 g Parmesan
150 ml cream
50 ml water
2 veg stock cubes
1 tbsp parsley

prepare the dough and bring a huge pot of water to the boil, season it with salt an 1 1/2 veg stock

press out the water from the defrosted spinach and chop it into pieces. In a small pan heat the butter and fry off the onions and garlic, season with salt and pepper.
In a huge bowl, add the bread cubes, mix it with milk and the warm onion/garlic mixture, use the same pot and heat up the milk and pour it over the bread. Add  the spinach and a lot of nutmeg. Give it a good stir and let it rest for 10 minutes.

prepare  the dumplings

add the eggs and the rest of the seasoning, mix everything good together , cut some 2 cm cubes from the Gorgonzola , take 2 tbsp of the mixture on the palm of your hand and flatten it, put the cheese cube inside, close and form a dumpling- to be on the safe side, everything holding together, place the one dumpling into the simmering water and wait for 4 minutes. When it stays together, form all the other dumplings and cook them for 15 minutes on low heat.

prepare the sauce

mix cream and water and 1/2 stock cube, bring it to temperature and add the rest of the Gorgonzola , let it melt, add the fresh grated Parmesan and the parsley and season with

pepper .


Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Oriental Cookies

Date Fig and Oatmeal Cookies with Oriental Spices 

This is a Christmas cookie for me. Oriental spices like cinnamon, ginger, cloves, vanilla and nutmeg are a part of the festive time of the year.

I use them in other recipes during the whole year, but they warm and make me feel comfortable in fall and winter.

Baking the usual German Christmas Cookies isn´t a thing for me, you can get them everywhere at friends houses, at the office, in the bakery and at the Christmas Markets in town. Preparing something more unique lifts the season for me.

                                                   Spiced Cookies

125 g Butter
250 g Oats
100 g sugar
2 Tbsp Vanilla sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
200 g Dates pitted
50 g dried figs
2 Tbsp Rum
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp mixed spice (ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg)
2 eggs

Preheat the oven 175 C
prepare the oats:
melt the butter in a pot and add the oats. Coat them in the butter and let them cool down.

prepare the fruit:
cut the dates and the figs into small pieces and mix them with the rum and let them rest a while

make the dough:
mix everything together and stir well. Use a baking paper and a tablespoon and place the mixture on the paper. You will need two baking sheets, because you get about 45 cookies out of the dough. 

Bake for 17 to 20 minutes. Let them cool down and place them in a tin.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Bonemarrow Dumplings

Bone marrow Dumplings

This soup started many festive meals in our family and many of our friends were looking forward to a bowl of dumplings.
But you had to be careful serving it, count all dumplings and the heads around the table, so you have an even number to serve. Better let some dumplings stay back in the kitchen, then serve a bowl without the same amount of dumplings as the others.
Everybody around the table was secretly counting dumplings in the other bowls. And no one wanted to be served short.


2 beef marrow bones
1 egg
1 egg yolk
80-100 g breadcrumbs
1 pinch of salt, pepper and dried thyme
1 good grating of nutmeg
1 liter water
2 beef stock cubes
1 hand full of celery, carrot, turnip or other veggies
1 chilli 
1 clove of garlic

Prepare the dough:
scrape the marrow into a small pan and over medium heat melt it. Put the fluid through a sieve to prevent any kind of bone pieces to get through and let it cool down. Chop the parsley and separate one egg. Add this together with the whole egg to the fat.
Whip the mixture:
 to get a smooth dough, whip and season the mixture before you add the breadcrumbs. When the breadcrumbs are combined, use a fork to do it, let it rest for 20 minutes. 
Make one dumpling the size of a 2,5 cm ball , heat up the broth and put this dumpling in. When it holds its form, the consistency is ok. Add the scraped out marrow bone and the veggies to the soup, cook it for 15 minutes. During this time roll all the other dumplings.

Cook the dumplings:
Add all the dumplings to the broth and let them simmer for 12  minutes.  Fish out the marrow bones, add some fresh parsley to the soup and some more seasoning and serve it with the dumplings.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Don´t underestimate the diversity of dumplings.


Austrian style apricot filled potato dumplings. You can eat them as a full meal or serve them as a sweet treat after a meal. Kids will love them, too.
I remember them from the summer holiday we had spent in the Villach region in Austria, when I was 12 years old. There was a big family restaurant, which served mostly specialties from Austria. And a full plate of sweet dumplings, what else would a child look for.

At home, my Mom made them every year during Apricot season and I was looking forward to them.
Now I am making them myself and still have the memories of my childhood, while enjoying them.

And following the apricot season in late August, the plum season starts with the plum filled dumplings.  I´m still not sure, which dumplings are my favorite ones.

1,2 kg floury potatoes
50 g Cornstarch
200-250 g plain flour
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1 kg apricots
15 sugar cubes
100 ml apricot brandy or peach liquor
300 g breadcrumbs
120 g butter
3 tsp cinnamon
1 cup vanilla custard
150 ml apple juice

Prepare the Potato Dough:
cook the potatoes in salted water until soft, drain them and push them through a potato ricer when still warm, let them cool and mix flour, starch, egg and salt .You cab make that the day ahead.

Prepare the Apricots:
for 12 dumplings pit 12 apricots and put a sugar cube dipped in apricot brandy inside.the rest of the apricots get pitted and cooked in apple juice with the rest of the brandy and some cinnamon.

Prepare the dumplings:
grab a piece of dough and flat it out in your hand, put an apricot inside and fold the dough over. roll to a ball.

Cook the dumplings and prepare the crumbs:
in 2 huge hots with salted boiling water, place the dumplings in an reduce the heat to a slow cook, when they float up, they need 20 minutes. Heat he butter in the pan and put in the breadcrumbs and cinnamon and brown it. When the dumplings are done, drain them and roll them in the breadcrumbs for a good coating. Serve with vanilla custard and apricot coulis.