Thursday, 30 March 2017

A quick lunch

Sometimes I love to use some good quality ready made food. I bought some filled pasta from Alsasse France last weekend. They are similar to the ones made in Swabia. Here they are called Maultaschen in France called Ravioles.
These are mostly meat filled and were eaten during times when people should not eat meat, the time between ash wednesday and good friday. So they hid the meat in some pasta.

The easiest way to prepare them is cooking them in a broth for 20 minutes until they are puffed up and tender. The better the broth the better the soup later.

Use some fresh lovage, parsley, spring onions and a bay leaf and if you love it a clove of garlic to improve the broth.

When the filled pasta is done, just cut it up into bite size pieces. Put it on a soup dish and fill it up with a generous ladle of broth.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

BBQ Season on the balcony

We have such wonderful spring weather in the moment that I decided to start the BBQ Season on the balcony. It is not allowed to use a charcoal grill, but with a high power electric one it works just fine.

On my way home from work I stopped at the butcher and got myself a couple of sausages. Leftover potatoes went into a salad and some tomatoes as a side.

The weekend weather calls for even more time using the BBQ. Maybe I find some more food to put on.

Potato salad recipe:
500 g cooked potatoes
2 shallots
2 tbsp chives
100 g creme fraiche
Salt pepper
2 tbsp vinegar

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Braised Lamb with Fennel

Short ribs with lots of white onions and a head of fennel tossed into a pressure cooker offer a ready to eat meal in not much more then 30 minutes.
Just sear the seasoned meat a bit and get whole onions, garlic cloves and halved fennel bulbs in.

 If you have stock sitting in the fridge use that. But a stock cube will do the job.

350 g lamb short ribs
3 medium white onions
4 cloves of garlic
1 bay leaves
salt and pepper
500 ml lamb stock
100  ml red wine
2 tbsp tomato paste
Olive oil

Season the meat with salt and pepper and brown it in the pressure pot on all sides.
Clean onions and garlic and half the fennel and place it in the pot on top of the meat. Add tomato paste and bay leave and pour in the liquid.
Bring to a boil and close the lid.
Let the pressure come up. Reduce the heat and cook for 20 minutes.
Steam off.
In the meantime cook some rice.
Bring it together and enjoy.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Cotolette di Melanzane - vegetarian

I saw a round aubergine/eggplant at our local Turkish market. These are rare here, mostly you can get the normal ones. Since my trip to Sicily I love this veg. We had quiet a verity of  dishes containing eggplant and I decided to make a vegetarian dish for tonight.

It takes a bit of time, because you need to let the slices of the eggplant to tear up a bit - that means you have to salt them, stack them and let them sit for 30-45 minutes. They loose a lot of liquid that way. This method prevents them to soak up all the fat later.

650 g round eggplant
2 eggs
100 g Panko breadcrumbs
50 g ground Parmesan
dried thyme
2 garlic cloves
a good amount of olive oil
100 g Ayvar - mild or hot -your choice

Top and tail the eggplant and cut it in 1,5 cm slices.
salt them on both sides and stack them upright in a bowl and let them sit 30 minutes minimum.

Use a bit sheet of paper towel and place them beside each other and take second paper  to pat them dry.
Beat the eggs with the thyme.
Grate the Parmesan cheese and mix it with the Panko.
Pepper the slices and get them into the beaten egg and through the panko mix.

In a huge pan drop in the garlic cloves in the oil on medium heat. You will need a bit more then  the usual amount of oil, but do not fear, it does not soak up to much.
The eggplant needs 3 minutes on each side, do not get them to dark.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Lambs Lettuce

This salad is in Germany a winter salad, you can even keep it on the fields in winter season when you cover it up. The leaves have a slight salty taste and they go well with all kinds of warm dressings. You just have to make sure, you put the dressing over the salad the moment you will serve it, otherwise the salad goes mushy.

I made a huge bowl of it for lunch today, because I am looking forward to some Galettes with fresh strawberries and chocolate spread later for coffee.

150 g lambs lettuce washed
1 large spring onion or a shallot and some small spring onion
1 clove young garlic
50 g Black Forest ham
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
1 tsp dried salad greens
1 tsp creme fraiche
50 g Baguette
2 tsp butter

In a pan heat up some oil with the onions and garlic and after 2 minutes add the raw ham. Give it a couple of  minutes, then pour into a large salad bowl.

Mix it with oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and salad greens and add the creme fraiche.
Use the same pan and melt the butter an add the croutons and brown them all around.
Get the salad in the bowl, mix it and serve it with croutons.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Seafood Pasta

I thought it would take longer until I wanted to eat pasta again. But after one week I was looking forward to a new pasta dish.

I took a friend today with me to France to do the monthly grocery shopping. We had a lot of fun and I showed her many new things there. We decided to buy the ingredients for our lunch today after checking out different offers.

Seafood looked good and they had many offers and special prices.  With the decision to make Seafood we decided on pasta to go with it.
She never had oysters before. Huge ones were sold on a very low price and I choose 6 for us. If she would not like them, I had 2 more for myself. I chucked them at home, offered some lemon juice and she liked them.
We bought a big bag filled with smaller bags of seafood and choose some veggies to go with it.

1 kg mussels
350 g squid rings
400 g cooked prawns
4 spring onions
4 fresh young garlic cloves
50 g black olive rings
200 g cherry tomatoes
400 g green asparagus
l/2 bunch of parsley
olive oil
350 ml cider
3 tbsp creme fraiche
1 tsp piment d Espelette
salt and pepper
2 tbsp ketchup
300 g linguine pasta

Wash the mussels, rip out the beards and check if they all are closed. Discard the
ones who are broken and the ones who wont close after knocking them on a board.
Shell the prawns and take the intestine out .
Cut the squid into bite size pieces.

Chop spring onions and garlic, quarter the tomatoes and break off the ends of the green asparagus and chop it into 1 cm pieces.
Chop parsley, stalks and leaves.
Cook the pasta.

Use a big pot with some olive oil and start1/3 of the onion garlic mix and add some of the parsley stalks. When a bit soft, add the mussels and the cider and close the lid. The big mussels needed 3-4 minutes. When open, discard the closed ones and get the mussels out onto a colander and save the liquid. Get the mussels out of the shells.

In a wide pan in some oil start the rest of the onion garlic mix, add the tomatoes and the olives and the  mussel liquid. Season with salt, pepper and piment ´d êspelette. Reduce the liquid by cooking on full speed, add the ketchup.

In a small pan in some oil flash fry the squid for 2 minutes and add with prawns and mussels to the sauce. Finish with some creme fraiche and parsley an stir in the linguine.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies

I reached 20.000 Followers at the food community of SortedFood today. To celebrate that  I wanted to bake something. Making a cake was not an option, short after the vacation I did not have time for it. But cookies are always good and my coworkers will love them.


It is an American recipe and contains lovely dried cranberries. I am usually not a huge fan of white chocolate, but the combination with the tarte berries balances the sweetness.
Baking American recipes often, I know I have to reduce the sugar to suit our tastebuds.

recipe for 18 cookies:
185 g flour
100 g light salted butter
130 g light brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
100 g chopped white chocolate
100 g soft dried cranberries
some white chocolate curls

Mix soft butter with sugar and the egg to a fluffy paste.
Mix flour and baking powder and add to the paste.
Add the vanilla extract.

If you have a solid package of white chocolate. Keep it close and use the back of a big knife and bash on the slab of chocolate. Open the package and chop the rest into small pieces.
Add to the mix with the cranberries.

Use baking paper on two baking sheets and set a tbsp of dough wide apart, they will spread. Just 9 cookies per baking sheet.

Bake at 170 C for 12 minutes. They should come soft out of the oven and will firm up. Stick a piece of chocolate curl into each warm cookie.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Pea Soup

This is a soup best done in large batches. It freezes well and you can come back to it when you are hungry and short of time.

The dried peas are great to store in the cupboard and it takes a bit planning ahead to use them, they have to soak in water for 12 hours.

500 g dried soaked peas
5 potatoes
2 onions
3 cloves of garlic
200 g celery
200 g carrots
200 g leek
3 bay leaves
salt and pepper
250 g smoked bacon
4 wieners
1 stock cube
2 tbsp parsley
nutmeg, thyme
2 spring onions

Peel and chop the veggies, drain the peas.
Use a large pot and start the bacon, without any oil. Drain off some of the fat.
Add onions and sautee them for a couple of minutes. Add the veggies, give it a good stir. Pour in enough water to to cover 2 cm over the veg, add the stock cube and bring to a boil.
Cook until everything is done.
Scoop out 1/2 of the soup into a bowl, discard the bay leaves and take a stick blender to the rest to make it smooth soup. Add the other half again. Season to taste and finish with parsley.
Chop the spring onions and fry them in a bit of oil as topping for the soup.
Heat the wieners and serve.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Wild Garlic Risotto

Spring is finally around the corner. When the supermarkets start to sell fresh wild garlic, the leafy goodness calls to many of us. In the woods, it will take a bit longer to pick up some but with the store bought you can start the season early.

Time to indulge in some heavy garlic things without the bad breath the next day. The flavour is a bit milder like the very young fresh garlic cloves you buy some times.
It works wonderful mixed in some oil, you can drop that over soups, pasta or on toasted bread with some tomatoes- delicious.

Wild garlic pesto is a must to prepare and then you can prolong the season to use it.

recipe for 2:
2/3 cup Carneroli risotto rice
1/2 red onion
80 ml white wine
65 g of wild garlic leaves
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp butter
650 ml chicken stock
40 g Pecorino cheese
salt and pepper
250 g pork chop without bone
paprika and veg oil

Marinade the pork for an hour in oil and paprika.
Use 15 g of wild garlic and mix it with some salt and pepper with the olive oil.
Chop of the white stalks from the wild garlic and cut them into small pieces.
Chop the leaves roughly.
Cut the onion into cubes.
Grate the cheese.
Prepare the chicken stock and keep it warm.

In a medium pot melt 1,5 t tbsp butter and sauteed the onion  until soft, add the rice and coat it in the butter, add the chopped stalks.
Add the wine and some pepper and a bit of salt and cook until the wine is completely gone.
Add 200 ml hot chicken stock and stir and cook until gone.
During this time start with the pork chops to be ready with the rice.
Repeat and repeat until the rice is no longer hard but has some bite in the middle.
Toss in the greens of the wild garlic, the rest of the butter and 2/3 of the cheese, stir well.
Use a big plate and place the risotto in the middle, cut some meat and place on top, pour some green oil around and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Lentil and Spinach Curry with minced Meat

Back from Sicily and no pasta in sight here. I love to eat pasta, but every day for one week, sometimes twice a day, is too much even for me. But do not fear, I found a lot of wonderful recipes during my tour around the island and I will prepare them all. So pasta galore in the next couple of weeks. I bought a new cook book and some ingredients there.

Today's menu had to be something not Italian.  
I went out grocery shopping and found baby spinach and bought a bit of mixed pork and beef mince.
A curry based around lentils and spinach.

1 cup red lentils
2 medium or 4 small potatoes
250 g mixed beef and pork mince
2 tomatoes
1 red onion
4 cloves of garlic
1 spring onion
1 knob of ginger
1 tbsp oil
200 g coconut milk
100 ml lentil cooking water
50 g Greek yogurt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam marsala
1 tsp tumeric
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
2 tsp black sesame seeds
1 tsp red curry powder
salt and pepper
350 g baby spinach
1 tsp brown sugar

Peel the potatoes and cut them into small cubes and toss them with the washed lentils in a pot with 4 fingers water above the lentils- no salt - and cook them for 10 minutes, drain and keep a cup of the lentil water for later.

In a wide pan heat up the oil and toss in the meat and brown it. When done add the spices and keep cooking, add lentil water and coconut milk, onion slices, garlic and ginger. Cook for 2 minutes and add the lentils and potatoes and season with salt and pepper.

Now place the washed spinach on top and place a lid on the pan to steam for 2 minutes.
Open the lid and stir the spinach and the lentils. 


Friday, 17 March 2017

Almonds and Pistachios grow here a lot

I have seen and eaten many different kinds of food that contained either almonds or pistachios during this week. The first things were sweets, but often are these kinds of nuts found in savoury dishes.

Lots of almond different cookies are showcased in the shop windows. Even on the famous fish market in Syracus, fresh almond cookies were sold.
If you love pistachio ice cream, you have to eat it here in Sicily.

Yesterdays first course pasta contained a pistachio sauce on thick pasta, savoury and very tasty and pasta with mixed veggies.

Later for dessert they served Semifreddo alle Mandorle or roasted almond parfait.

People here use almonds in pestos and pistachios in creamy pasta sauces.
But the best things are found in small pastry shops.
Eat them as you go or take a whole lot home to your family and friends.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Great food in San Leone

Trust your foodie instincts and you will find great food.
I am in a seaside town near Agrigento and went out to have some lunch.
It was expensive, but worth every penny.

I treated myself to a starter of Antipasti Sicilian and a plate of Spaghetti
con Bottarga.

Beer, bottled water and Espresso to drink.

The Antipasti was really a mirror of the food served here on the island. A very smooth and creamy Ricotta, Pecorino and a more softer kind of buttery cheese. Salami and Prosciuto, an hard boiled egg filled with a sardine cream and a pot of super tasty marmalade from the juicy oranges of Sicily. Eggplants can be found in many dishes and a slice roasted with some olive oil and garlic topped with a potato wedge is great.
But the 2 things on this platter were a ball of cold couscous salad mixed with sauteed onions and mushrooms and some herbs. And a warm baked timbal of polenta. This was creamy and had little flecks of cooked carrot in.
Eating some Grissini bread sticks with it  made it a round dish.

What is Bottarga you will ask. The eggs from the tuna are salted and dried and usually pressed into a sausage shape.
Cooking with it is not so easy as I know well myself.
But now, I finally now better. And I will definitely cook it at home.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Fish Dishes on an Island

When you are on such a big island like Sicily, you expect to have lots of great fish dishes. But when you drive around in the west of the island and see several tuna fish canneries that have gone out of business since the late 80s, you know that the Mediterranean has lost its majority of fish. Many kinds of fish now served here in Restaurants are from the North Atlantic. But Swordfish, Sardines, Scampi and Squid and Octopus are still caught here.

Sardines are often used in dishes created by the fisherman, they sold the pricier types of fish and kept the sardines for themselves.

The tradition to mix this fish with raisins has its origin in the Arabic kitchen.
All these different influences of Phoenician, Greek, Cather and Romans left many traces in the culinary world of Sicily.
During the Roman times (146 BC to 468 AC)  they improved the fishing methods, started farming fish and developed methods to conserve fresh fish.

Typical Dishes to eat while on Sicily

There are some very exciting foods to experience here during my tour. I am looking forward to test many of them at home when I am back.
At the Temple of Segesta I found a cookbook with the typical Sicily dishes and 3 of them I already tasted.

The kitchen here on this island shows the many influences of the different people that came to reign over the island. Very strong is the influence of the North African cuisine. Raisins and Couscous are very prominent here in several dishes.
Raisins mixed in with fish or vegetables is standard.

Pasta with Sardines, fennel and raisins was awesome and that will be one of my first dishes to try when I get home.

The island has lots of almond trees, so you will find many dishes with almonds, not only sweets but mixed into savoury ones too.

From the area of Trapani comes the famous Pesto de Trapani. It is almond based.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Food in Sicily

I am on an other road trip. This time the lovely island of Sicily. Taking in old charm and historic sites does not leave me enough time to realy explore the food scenen

But having a picknick in the park near the sea promenade in Palermo is a good way to start. One of the delicious things I ate were Aranchini balls, huge in size and still warm from the shop. Risotto rice with saffron folded around great Bolognese sauce. Coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried. Yum. We had little yeasty breads - not pizza - topped with tomatos and basil. For dessert there was a tray of ricotta filled cannoli

All with some rose coloured wine from the region.

  1. This time no photos. I am sorry- I was to busy to grab some plate and food  😃

Friday, 10 March 2017

Cordon Bleu Sauerkraut Burger

This is not something you will get in any burger joint!
But I can assure you it was incredibly tasty.

I had to clean out my fridge because I am going on a holiday and several thing from the week were sitting around. I bought fresh crispy rolls this morning at my local bakery- where I bought a huge cream puff for tea time today. One of those rolls formed the burger bun.
A Schnitzel filled with gouda cheese and cooked ham, coated in breadcrumbs waited to be reheated again. A bag with lovely Sauerkraut from last weekend needed to be eaten too. Some wilted spring onions had to go as well.

spring onions
2 cloves of garlic
1 reheated cordon bleu
1 tbsp oil
reheated Sauerkraut
2 tbsp ketchup
1 crispy roll

Saute onions and garlic and reheat the cordon bleu in the pan or bake a fresh one.
Warm up the Sauerkraut and make sure it does not have to much liquid.

Put ketchup on the bottom of the roll, fill half of the sauerkraut and the onion garlic mix in, place the meat on top and finish the same way.

My tea time Cream puff.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

A salad bowl for dinner

That sounds just boring. But with all the bit and pieces that are sitting in the veggie drawer of the fridge and in baskets in the kitchen you get a nice salad together. Now you just have to pimp it with some protein and you have a great salad bowl for dinner.

Grate the carrots and the cabbage, it makes it easier to eat and the texture is then different from the other things you throw in.

1 carrot
1 tiny can of sweet corn
1/4 can of white beans
1/5 head of white and red cabbage
all kinds of lettuce sitting around
8 cherry tomatoes
1 hardboiled egg
60 g cooked ham
40 g soft goat cheese
1/2 tsp dried herbs
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp creme fraiche
2 tbsp white balsamic condiment

Since that is not a recipe, just a couple of things sitting around- do with the lettuce and veggies all kind of other combinations. Just let you imagination run wild-----
How about some canned tuna, how about some left over cooked salmon?
Pour in some Hummus instead of creme fraiche and some cooked chickpeas.
Seeds and nuts are a great additional crunch.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Salsify and creamy pasta

Salsify is a winter vegetable not very often seen in supermarkets. It is a root and was often called the poor man´s asparagus.
It is labour intensiv and not so easy to handle. Most people I know only use the ones out of a jar.

But if you know a couple of tricks and are not squeamish to get your hands dirty, you can peel a pack of salsify in a good 15 minutes.

First trick:  Use gloves
Second trick:  Use a bowl with 2 tbsp of vinegar and 2 tbsp of flour filled up with water
Third trick:  Use your kitchen sink and a medium size colander
Forth trick: Use a speed peeler

Close the sink and fill it up half with water, sit the colander inside. If it floats around, no big deal, it just helps to get the peel out later.
Brush off the excess dirt from the stalks.

Soak one after the other in the water in the sink, use the speed peeler and peel the stalks under water.
When they loose the skin and you hold the in the air to long, they discolour and get yellow to brown.
Keep them submerged as you peel them, and they stay white.
When they are completely "naked" cut them into 3 pieces and store them in the bowl with the flour and vinegar water.
In a pot with salt and a dash of milk cook the salsify for 20 minutes or until done.

Make the pasta sauce:
750 g salsify
2 tbp butter
1 tsp flour
100 ml milk
1 spring onion
125 ml chicken stock
100 ml double cream
2 tbsp cream cheese
1 tbsp cheddar
50 g smoked ham
50 g defrosted peas
salt, pepper, chili, nutmeg
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp parsley

Make a onion roux and start the pasta.
Fill the roux with bit and bit of milk until creamy. Add the chicken stock and cream.
Season and chuck in the peas and the ham.
Parsley and lemon juice
Chop the salsify into 1 inch pieces and together with the pasta mix everything  and serve.