Monday, 31 October 2016

Pear Mousse

It is an eggless mousse. Since many people are not so comfortable to eat raw eggs, a recipe like this is a great alternative and I can assure you, it is a wonderful end of a dinner.

400 g pears
4 tbsp sugar
100 ml water
1 vanilla pod
2 tbsp pear schnaps
4 gelatine leaves
100 ml double cream

Wash and quarter the pears, get the middle out and peel them.
In a casserole simmer the pears with the water, sugar and vanilla seeds for 20 minutes until very soft. If there is still liquid in the pot, cook until the liquid is gone without a lid.
Soak the gelatine leaves in water, squeeze the water out.
Add the pears with the schnaps into a high bowl and take a stick blender and make a puree. Back into the pot and add the gelatine to the hot mixture to dissolve it.
Taste it if its sweet enough. Cool it down.
Beat the double cream until stiff and fold it into the mix.
Let it set in the fridge for 4 hours minimum.

This pear mousse was served with a bit of Battenberg cake Halloween edition :-)

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Halloween Battenberg Cake

GBBO inspired me to bake a Battenberg Cake.
The Royal family part of Mountbatten originates not very far from here. So it was interesting to hear about this cake.

It is unkown here in Germany. I saw it a couple of years ago on a trip to England and asked about this checkered cake. But never ate it or made it.
The cover of the cake is most of the time marzipan - and I hate marzipan!
On SortedFood they covered the cake with fondant icing, and used cream cheese to sandwich the pieces together- less sweet than jam.

I was invited to a Sunday lunch and wanted to bake something for Halloween. I found some orange fondant and decided to go Battenberg.

200 g selfraising flour
200 g softend unsalted butter
200 g icing sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 couple of drops Pandanus extract
1 couple of drops red food colouring
1 tsp Arrak essence
500 g Fondant icing

Use a 20x20 cm tin and baking paper and a bit of cardboard to make a divider.
Spray the baking tin and place the paper with the divider in, make sure it is in the middle and upright.
Preheat the oven 180 C

Kermit and Miss Piggy Sponges
Cream butter and icing sugar together, add the eggs one after the other.
Sift in flour and baking powder and add the vanilla extract.
Divide the dough evenly in 2 bowl.
Add Arrak or Rum and red food colour to one bowl, the Pandanus extract to the other. 

Spread evenly in both parts of the tin and bake for 25 minutes.
Cool down, cut off the brown crusts and enjoy them on the side!
Cut each color sponge down lengthwise and assamble a checkerboard.
Use cream cheese to glue the sides together and don´t forget top and bottom.
Roll out the fondant and decorate.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Gingerbread spiced grilled Mango

Now is the time of year where you find the warming spices of the typical German Lebkuchen or Gingerbread on every spice rack. Cinnamon, cloves, coriander, fennel, star anise, macis, nutmeg, cardamom, orange- and lemon peel are the components of the mix.

But not only for Christmas goodies is the spice mix used - bring it together with some tropical fruit and you have a new treat to enjoy. It is quick to prepare and as a dessert for a larger group of people easy to handle in bigger amounts. Just pare it with some Greek yogurt or a scoop of vanilla ice cream and you have lots of happy campers around your table.

1/2 to 1  Mango per Person as a dessert
1 scoop of Greek yogurt
1 tsp runny honey or Agave syrup
a dash of lemon juice
German Lebkuchengewürz or Gingerbread spice

Preheat the Grill in your oven 180 C
Take a knife and cross cut the mango without cutting through the skin.
Drip honey and a bit of lemon juice on top and sprinkle with spice

Grill for 5 minutes. Enjoy!

Friday, 28 October 2016

Feta Schnitzel

This is a vegetarian dish from the Mediterranean or more specific Greece.
I bought some Bulgarian sheep feta in my Turkish Supermarket. It was a bit on the strong side and smelled and tasted a lot of sheep. Well, I would recommend to buy a less strong brand of feta. I wont use it again.

But non the less the dish is something to go to midweek, it is fresh, light and very tasty.
I served it with the pasta that looks like rice, called Kritharaki, Risoni or Arpa Sehriye. I had an open package of Arpa Sehriye and a full package of Kritharaki in storage. So the open package won.

Use frozen or fresh spinach, it depends what you get.

recipe for 2:
300 g feta
1 egg
3 tbsp flour
5 tbsp breadcrumbs
500 g spinach
8 cocktail tomatoes
1 spring onion
1 small onion
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 red chili
2 tbsp of olive oil
200 g pasta
salt, pepper, nutmeg
200 ml veg oil

Start the pan with onion, garlic and chili in oil and add the spinach to defrost it.
Cook the pasta.
Use some of the pasta water and add that to the spinach, when nearly defrosted add the cut up tomatoes, season.
Pannier the cheese and heat up the veg oil on medium heat, fry the cheese on both sides, do not let it go to dark!

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Warm Cabbage Potato Salad

I have a head of white cabbage sitting around in the kitchen and after all that pumpkin, I wanted to eat something else. The typical cole slaw on a cold and rainy day was not my first choice, so I went through the internet to find some ideas. On Pinterest I got lucky and used the basic recipe and added some of my twists, out came a very tasty slightly warm salad, delicious.

200 g cabbage
2 large potatoes
2 spring onions
3 shallots
2 cloves of garlic
2 bay leaves
1 tsp caraway seeds
150 ml home made veg stock
salt and pepper
50 g creme fraiche
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil

Peel single leaves off the cabbage, cut out half of the hard middle bit and place a couple of leaves over another and roll into a cigar. Chop into 1/2 cm strips and wash them.
Cook the potatoes as they are until not too soft.
Peel the shallots and garlic and chop them with the spring onions.
Heat up the water with the veg stock- you can use a cube!

In the olive oil fry off the onion, garlic mix until a bit tender.
Add the cabbage and the caraway seeds and give them a couple of minutes with the onions.
Add the stock and the bay leaves, stir and cover with a lid.
Reduce the heat and cook for 15 minutes.
Drain the potatoes and let them sit in cold water for 5 minutes, then peel and cut into bite size chunks.

Chop the dill and mix the creme fraiche with the vinegar and the celery seed.
Take some of the liquid from the pan, it will water down the salad, then mix everything together.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Pumpkin Bacon Thyme Sauce with Pasta

The final pieces of my first Autumn pumpkin are going into a pasta sauce today.
In my newest issue of the Thermomix magazine I found a great recipe. It is fast and tastes great and you can freeze leftover pasta sauce for further use. The recipe can be made with uncooked pumpkin or oven roasted pumpkin flesh.

400 g pumpkin flesh
2 shallots
2 clove of garlic
1/2 red chili
125 g smoked bacon bits
20 g oil
450 g whole milk
1 veg stock cube
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 good grounding of pepper and a bit salt
25 g potato starch
300 g fresh pasta

Start with the chopped onion, garlic and chili in oil and sweat it off for 3 minutes, add pumpkin and bacon and cook for 7 minutes until the pumpkin is soft and the bacon is cooked.
Add the milk and the veg stock cube and the thyme and cook for 7 more minutes.
Cook the fresh pasta for 2-3 minutes and drain.

Dissolve the starch in a bit of water, add it to the sauce and cook for 3 minutes. Season and mix with the pasta.

One Pumpkin down- a couple more to go !

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Victoria Sponge Cake

I was watching the Great British Bake off on YT and over the last 2 days the Story of Mary Berry.
What a fascinating lady- the Cake Lady- they call her.
That was the reason to trot out my inner baker. I am not such an enthusiastic baker- except for baking breads, but the sweet stuff and especially filled cakes are not on my list of favourite things to bake.
So I have to bake in regular intervals to keep up with my baking skills. The more often you do it, more confidence you will get.
Mary Berry made one of her classics, the Victoria Sponge Cake.

I have made it before, with a recipe from the Hairy Bikers on their trip to a home economics institution somewhere in the countryside. They started with a hack that I use now when I am baking any kind of sponges, weighting the amount of eggs to use in the mix and adjusting the other ingredients according to it.
That makes sense, because when you had your own hens laying eggs, you seldom had the same sized eggs, not the kind you buy a dozen now at the supermarket all in the same weight. Making sure the sponge had the right consistency, you weighted the eggs before you started.

My first cake tins were rather large, so the cake in the end was a bit flat. But in spring I brought two 18 cm loose bottom cake tins in Exeter for the only reason to make a better Victoria Sponge Cake- and it worked!

3 eggs  weight 189 g
185 g self raising flour
185 g soft unsalted butter
185 g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
80 g raspberry jam
150 g fresh raspberries
150 g double cream
icing sugar for sprinkling on top

Cream the butter very light, add sifted icing sugar and beat well. Add the eggs one at the time. Add half the sifted flour first, combine and add the rest.
If the dough is too stiff, add 1 or 2 tbsp of hot water.

Preheat the oven 180 C
Divide the dough in two 18 cm loose bottom cake tins, laid out with baking paper.
Bake for 22 minutes.

Let the cakes cool down, start with the jam and pile the whipped cream on top, add the raspberries and place the second cake on top. Don´t press down to much!
Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Pumpkin Ravioli with Rainbow Trout

I have still some of my pumpkin to work with. A quarter is still there. Today I halfed the piece and took the seeds out and put it into the oven for 40 minutes. I scraped the flesh out and cooled it down.
Making pasta dough is standart work, so nothing to really talk about.
I hate fiddely work with pasta dough, so I took the 13 cm cutter, it makes life so much better.

recipe for the filling:
100 g cream cheese
35 g Parmesan
200 g oven roasted pumpkin 
the green of 1 spring onion finely chopped
1/5 of a fresh red chili and 1 clove of garlic, very finely chopped
zest of half a lime
salt and pepper
a bunch dill
3 tbsp butter

Mix the roasted pumpkin with the cheeses and the finely chopped ingredients and add 1tsp of the fresh dill. Season.
Use a brush and put some water on top the pasta, it help not to dry the pasta out.
A tbsp of filling into the middle and fold it over and try to get some air out before you close it. Use a fork to make some pressure marks around the edge.

Cook for 3 minutes and drain.
Chop the bunch of dill and get the butter in a pan and add the dill.
The cooked pasta goes into the pan to be coated with dill butter.

Serve as a vegetarian dish or with some trout.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Pumpkin and Pear Soup topped with Chanterelles and Beef

I still try to get rid of the pumpkin I bought. This time I prepared a soup, a very veggy soup with a couple of twists.

I love pumpkin soup, but sometimes the usual recipes get boring and I was looking for some ideas. I found a couple of nice ideas and combined them ruthlessly.
Get the soup a bit spicy, pumpkin likes it hot and it will mellow down through the ripe pear you drop in. Trust me, it will taste great.

500 g  Nutmeg pumpkin
1 large ripe pear
1 carrot
2 onions
50 g celeriac
10 cm white of leek
1 hot red fresh chili
2 cloves of garlic
1 medium potato
6 parsley stalks
2 bay leaves
1 stalk lovage
1,2 l veggie stock
100 ml white wine
salt and pepper
150 g creme fraiche
2 tbsp olive oil

200 g beef mince
150 g chanterelle mushrooms
1 stalk green from the leek
salt and pepper
250 g  white bloomer loaf croutons
4 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil

Peel and chop everything roughly. Save the pear for later, so it does not get brown.
In a large pot heat up 2 tbsp of oil, add chili, onions, garlic and parsley stalks without the top and get them a good start for 4 minutes.
Get the other veggies in and the wine and stock, add the bay leaves and the lovage. Bring to a boil and the reduce the heat and let it simmer until the veggies are done.
In a pan start with 1 tbsp of oil and the fine sliced green of the leek, add small pieces of beef mince and brown them, season with salt, thyme and pepper and add the chanterelle mushrooms. Cook for 10 minutes.

Use a second pan and heat up the  butter and add the bread cubes to make croutons.
Taste the soup and see if it is hot enough and fish out the bay leaves.
Peel  and core the pear and chop it into cubes and add it to the soup and let it cook 5 minutes.
Use a stick blender and make a fine creamy soup, add the creme fraiche and mix again.
Bring everything together and enjoy!

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Marinaded Pumpkin with South Tyrolian Speck

Eating Pumpkin raw is not the ususal way to prepare it, but this dish shows, that it tastes great and gets soft, when staying in a marinade for some time.
Make sure you have a Pumpkin Muscade or Hokkaido Pumpkin, these have a nicer taste then the other rather bland ones.

This is a dish I found on a German blog "wohlgeraten",  they went on holidays to South Tyrol as in Northern Italy. Pumpkin is often used there. I adapted the recipe to my likes.

recipe for the marinade:
300 g Pumpkin
1 1/2 lemons
1/2 tsp blueberry salt
1/2 mixed peppers
1 tsp light sesame oil

recipe for the rest of the dish:
1 head lettuce
3 tbsp cranberry sauce
3 stalks of thyme
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
100 g South Tyrolian Speck
30 g roasted pumpkin seeds

Use a mandolin and slice the pumpkin into 2 mm slices, the should curl around when you handle them.  Thicker slices wont get soft through the marinade.
Lay the slices out in a circle and make sure they do not overlap to much, season and mix lemon juice and oil and pour it over. Let them sit for 60 minutes minimum.

Wash the lettuce and rip it into pieces and dress plates with it.
In a bit of oil roast the pumpkin seeds again.
Mix cranberry sauce with lemon juice, sesame oil and fresh thyme and salt and pepper.
If you have a block of Speck, slice it very thinly.
Bring everything together and don´t waste the marinading liquid, just get it on the salad too.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Kabak Tatlisi with Kaymak

Autum is pumpkin time.  Turkish sweet pumpkin with cream and walnuts.

I bought a nutmeg pumkin - Muscade pumpkin - some days ago. I was looking for ideas how to prepare it and found a YT video with a cooking sequence. Pumkin sweet style. This is a traditional autum dish made in all Turkish households and can be made for dinner parties in large quantities.

recipe for 2:
250 g peeled nutmeg pumpkin
5 cloves
1 cinnamnon
2 heaped tbsp sugar
1 orange
1 lemon
3 tbsp Kaymak or Mascarpone
30 g walnuts

Peel the pumpkin and cut it into 1 inch slices. Use a medium pot und place some of the pieces in, sprinkle with some sugar. Place the others on top and add more sugar. Get a lid on and let it sit 60 minutes minimum or even over night.
The liquid that comes out is the cooking liquid. Just add cloves, cinnamon, orange and lemon juice.
On low heat let it cook until soft. Get the pumpkin pieces out and fish out the spices. Reduce the liquid to a syrup and cool it down.

Serve the pumpkin with Kaymak or Mascarpone, some walnuts and the syrup.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Spaghetti al Tonno

That is a classic Italian dish you can get in some restaurants. It is quick, tasty and filling and easy to take as a lunch the next day. I pimped it with some sweetcorn to give it some structure. Since the tuna comes out of a tin as well as the sweetcorn, it is a good to go meal, when you don´t have time to shop.

250 g spaghetti
1 can of tuna in oil or water
1 small can of sweetcorn
2 spring onions
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 a chili
50 ml Noilly Prat
60 g creme fraiche
salt and pepper
some fresh herbs
1 tbsp olive oil

Boil the pasta in salted water until al dente.

Chop garlic , onion and chili and fry it in some olive oil, add the tuna and some of the pasta cooking water and Vermouth and flake the tuna into bits. Add the sweetcorn and the creme fraiche.
Get the drained pasta in and chop up some chives or parsley. Give it a good stir.