Sunday, 30 April 2017

Pulled Pork in a Crock Pot

You can call it a Slow Cooker too!

I made pulled pork before, just braising in a pot on the hob, the other time using the oven, but the end result did never really satisfy me. Since I am a kitchen machine junkie, I found an offer on Amazon leading me to this side. There were so many different offers there, I had to make some studies before buying one. In the end I ordered a 3,5 l Crock Pot and I am happy that it came so soon.
I watched some YT vids and checked a douzen recipes online and as always came up with my own version.
It tastes sooo gooood!  And it smelled even better during the night.  When I woke up, the smell became more intense over the hours.

1,5 kg pork neck
1/2 medium bottle BBQ sauce with hickory smoke
250 ml apple juice
250 ml chicken stock
1 white onion
3 cloves of garlic
6 slices ginger
2 bay leaves

1 tbsp  pork rub (coriander, allspice, caraway, lovage, onion, garlic, majoran, rosemary, cloves, juiper berries, thyme, paprika, salt and mustard seeds)
2 tsp truffle honey
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 tsp worchester sauce
2 tsp malt vinegar

Use a big freezer bag and get all the marinade components in.
Take a sharp knife and trim most of the fat and sinew off the pork neck.
Drop it in the bag and start kneeding it. Place it in the fridge for 12 hours.

Peel the onion and garlic and make half onion rings and crush the garlic. Place it in the crock pot, add the ginger slices and the bay leaves and 3 tbsp of BBQ sauce. Stir it.
Take the meat out of the bag and drop it on top the onion garlic mix. The bone should be on top.
Fill in the apple juice, chicken stock and 3 tbsp of BBQ sauce. The liquid should max reach the top of the meat, it can be a bit lower.

Close the lid and set the crock pot on high.
Let it run  for 8 - 9 hours.

Get the meat out, discard the bones. Sieve out the veggies bits from the liquid, put it in a casserole and reduce it until you have half the liquid. Degrease with a spoon or cool down and take the grease off.
Use 2 forks and pull the pork apart. Mix with some of the sauce or BBQ sauce and serve.

Sicilian Pistachio Sauce with fresh Pasta

Back to the Island of Sicily and back to a dish I ate there.
Farmers grow lots of pistachio and almond trees here and the pistachios are famous for their taste.

One evening we had as a first coarse a bit of homemade pasta in a creamy sauce. It was not green, but it had a lovely bite to eat. That it was nuts- or pistachios took a moment to comprehend. Not that the pistachio taste was dominant, but it left a great mouthfeel.

Our guide told us how the sauce was prepared. I thought it was a roux with butter, onions and some flour and then added pistachios, but I was wrong- but only a bit.
Sicilians use a flour for the roux, but it is pistachio flour and they add tiny bits of pistachios later as a finish.

recipe for 2:
300 g fresh tagliatelle pasta
2 tbsp pistachios
1 tbsp butter
3 spring onions
1 clove of garlic
1 tbsp double cream
salt and pepper
1 tbsp parsley

Sauté the onions and garlic (fine diced) in butter until they are very soft.
In a kitchen blender ground 1 tbsp of pistachios to a finer crumb/flour.
Add that to the onions and make kind of a roux..
Cook the pasta in salted boiling water.
Use some of the pasta water to loosen the "roux"

When you drain the fresh pasta, keep lots of pasta water for the sauce.

Add the cream and the pasta and loosen with more water.
Add the tbsp of chopped pistachios. Season  with pepper and a bit of salt. Finish with parsley.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Japanese Curry Sauce to dip Udon Noodles

Dipping cold noodles into hot broth or thick sauces is very common in Japanese kitchen.
It would be called Tsukemen if the dipping noodles were Ramen.
In Japan you find so many of these combinations, Ramen or Soba Noodles with a  dipping sauce.

Making the dipping sauce is easy, depending on the type of broth you will need. Make a dashi stock with Bonito flakes or use any kinds of stock you have.  I used the chicken stock I had leftover from the Freekeh dish I made last week. The Udon noodles are a ready pressed kind from the supermarket shelf.

recipe for 2:
400 ml broth of any kind
60 g bacon bits
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sake
1 tbsp sugar
2 shallots
1/2 cup carrots and other root veg
2 blocks Japanese curry roux
400 g ready pressed Udon noodles
1 spring onion

Brown the bacon and drain the fat and set it aside.
Make the dipping sauce with broth, heat it up and add soy sauce, sake and sugar and let it cook a bit.
Peel the onions and cut into slices, slice the veggies and put that into the stock to soften. Add the bacon.
When the veggies are done, take a small sieve and cut the roux cubes a little and dissolve it in the cooking broth until it thickens. Add some pepper.

Cook the Udon noodles and wash them under cold water to get rid of some starch.
Place the noodles on a plate and put the sauce in a smaller bowl.
Chop the spring onion into small strips and put it on top.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Prawn Stock with Carrot, Fennel and Ginger

The bag of prawns I bought I had to peel. Instead of discarding the rest, I just thrown away the intestine tract and saved the rest for a stock. It does not take hours to make a stock out of shellfish leftovers, it only takes about 20 minutes.
Using it as a stock base for preparing a tasty soup is great- waste not want not!
This is the second recipes from Andreas Viestad, I made it the way he did and it looked as if the soup tasted great.

Lets see!

recipe for the prawn stock:
heads and casings of 320  g prawns
2 shallots
2 cloves of garlic
2 bay leaves
10 peppercorns
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
900 ml water

Heat up the oil in a pot and toss in the rough chopped onions and garlic and give them 3 minutes.
Get the water in.
Add the prawn exteriors and the bay leaves and peppercorns and bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cook for 15 min.
Strain and you have the stock ready.

recipe for the soup:
750 ml Prawn stock
2 grated carrots
1 fine diced fennel
1 knob of fresh grated ginger
1 tbsp sour cream
some fennel fonds
fresh pepper

Heat up the prawn stock and toss is the veggies and the ginger and cook until they are soft.
I did not blend the soup, with the veggies bits it gets some texture, add a bit of pepper.
Add a dollop of sour cream and place a fennel front on top and you are ready to serve.
Depending on the amout of ginger the soup packs a little heat.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Four Seasons Prawn Cocktail

I saw this recipe on TV. It was made by Norwegian chef Andreas Viestad. I did not catch the whole recipe, I just saw the preparation process and that he did not use any kind of Mayonaise or cocktail sauce. I did not get what went in the dressing, so I developed my own.

This is such a great way to present cooked prawns. No lettuce leaf in sight, just fresh produce form 4 different seasons of the year.
The best time for prawns is the winter, they are the sweetest now.
The spring is represented by a large spring onion, that makes sence :-).
Summer is the  best time for tasty tomatoes and
Fall is represented by brown button mushrooms.

The last ingredient is the only one, that needs time on the stove, so making the salad is pretty fast.
If you buy allready shelled prawns, you ready to serve in 10 minutes.

If you make it the way the chef did it, you have a great soup as a starter. So buy the prawns whole and shell them yourself, discard the intestine and keep the rest for a stock.
Check out the other recipe.

250 g cooked prawns- shelled
1 large spring onion
2 medium tomatoes
4 brown button mushrooms
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
1 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp ketchup
1/2 tsp Agarve syrup
salt and pepper
celery seed and some dried salad herbs.

Cut the mushrooms into quarters, if they are bigger into 6 pieces. In 1 tbsp oil brown them on all sides. Let them sit in the pan and do not stir them too often. They need time to let out the water and get some colour. Season with a bit salt and pepper. Cool down.

Cut the tomatoes and finely chop the spring onion.
Combine everything and pour over the dressing.
Best serve it with some slices of buttered toast.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Minute Steaks from Beef Mediterranean style

This  strips of beef as minute steaks are new to me. They are very thin cut and I feared that they get tough the minute they leave the pan.
Checking some recipes I found a Mediterranean one and decided to give it a try. I serve it with the same oven roasted potatoes I just did this week. They are soooo tasty.

Let the meat get to room temperature. Cut some thyme and rosemary and use an ovenproof dish .

5 beef minute steaks- about 340 g
3 small tomatoes
fresh thyme
fresh rosemary
salt and pepper
2 tbsp Ghee

Use a wide pan and bring the Ghee up to high heat.
Do not season the meat, it will get tough.
Brown each side of the beef for 30 seconds, get it out and set on the ovenproof dish.

Season with salt and pepper, add fresh thyme and put a middle slice of tomato on one side, top with a disc of cheese and some sprig of rosemary.
Close with a toothpick.

Preheat the oven  180 C fan.

Serve with oven roasted potatoes. (Recipe is on the blog).
In the last 5 minutes the potatoes will need, place in the meat.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Quick Kind of Spaghetti Carbonara

I have my own version of Carbonara (named Spaghetti with feta and bacon) which is on this blog already.
I saw Donal Skehan prepare this dish. And with some fried bacon leftover from an other dish that sat in my fridge, a couple of eggs and a chunk of Parmesan it gave me the reason to make it.

It is a dish you can prepare in the time it takes the spaghetti to get cooked. Just throw the bacon in a pan with a little oil and wait until it is done. I like my bacon bits not to crispy, so I get them out when they are still a bit soft. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside.

You need only the egg yolk, so discard the white or use it for something else.
Use a big bowl and mix the grated Parmesan into the egg yolks. Season  with some pepper.
When the pasta is al dente, scoop out a cup of pasta water and drain the rest.

In the bowl loosen the Parmesan egg mix with a tbsp of hot pasta water, get the pasta and the bacon in and toss, you will need a bit more of the pasta water to make the sauce creamy.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Pink Lentil and Kritharaki Salad with Zaatar covered Aubergine

I bought organic slight pink colored lentils from the Gascogne region of France. They are small and the information on the back of the package said it was good for salads. This is a vital information, because using red lentils would not be such a clever idea, because they cook to a mush in a very short time. The pink lentils cooked for 20 minutes and kept their shape.

The usual  pasta is to big to go well with this small lentils so I took some Greek Kritharki rice shaped pasta.
Aubergine or Eggplant was never one of my favourite kinds of veg. I ate it but not sought  it out to cook often with it. Since the trip to Sicily, I am finally a friend of this veg. It is versatile and needs a good seasoning or a good sauce to stand on its own. Travelling gives me insights and that is something I love.

recipe for 3:
125 g pink lentils from the Gascogne
100 g Kritharaki pasta
2 spring onions
1 red bell pepper
1 tomato
1 handful of spring greens or herbs
1 tbsp oil
40 g pine nuts
30 g sesame seeds

1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp strong honey - I used truffle honey
3 tbsp olive oil
2  tbsp pink balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp red curry powder mild
celery seeds
7 pepper mix
fleur de sel
1 tbsp warm water

2 Aubergines / Eggplant
5 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp Zaatar seasoning
chili salt and pepper

In unsalted water cook the lentils for 20 minutes, drain.
Cut the eggplant into 1/2 inch slices, put them into a bowl and salt them, toss them and let them sit minimum 30 minutes, dry on kitchen paper.
In salted water cook the pasta for 15 minutes, drain and add a tbsp of olive oil.
In a wide pan with not fat roast the pine nuts and short before they are ready toss in the sesame seeds.
In the same pan in a little oil fry the spring onions.
Chop tomato and bell pepper into small cubes and chop the greens.
In the pan heat up the rest of the oil, season the eggplant slices with Zaatar, chili salt and pepper and on medium heat cook until done.
Make the dressing and bring the salad together and serve with the aubergine slices.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Matcha Pannacotta

Pannacotta is a pretty classic Italian dessert. Here in Germany we love it too. Do not be scared to work with gelatine, it is easy when you follow some steps. I´ve made with powder gelatine, but I will give you the recipe with the more standart gelatine leaves, since they are widely available.

After my trip to Japan I am a huge fan of Matcha tea. I have different qualities at home, even a mix for Matcha latte. The stronger the Matcha taste gets, it will not be so pleasant for European tastebuds.
For a really vibrant green colour you need lots of Matcha and the dessert gets bitter. I helped myself with a little Pandan extract.

It took a lot less time to cook the dessert as it took me to make a decent photo. I used many different settings- having 4 cups of Panacotta - until I found one that looked satisfying. There is sometimes food that tastes great but is bland to look at on a photo.

recipe for 4:
400 g double cream
100 g whole milk
3 gelatine leaves
40 g sugar
1 tsp good quality Matcha
2 tsp Matcha latte powder
1 drop Pandan extract

Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 minutes, then squeeze out the liquid.
In a pot heat up milk and cream, add the sugar and the Matcha and stir well.
Bring to a boil, take off the heat and add the gelatine. Back on low heat and stir until the gelatine is fully dissolved. Add a drop of Pandan to make a greener hue. Do not add too much, otherwise it will look like someone killed Kermit.
Fill into 4 equal cups and let it set in the cold for 3-4 hours.
You can serve it in the cups, but if you take a thin knife and get around the rim of the cup, it gets easy to drop it on a plate.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Oven roasted potatoes

Coming home during midweek and being hungry, I´ve looked for something tasty to eat. I had some Nuernberg small sausages and some tomatoes in stock and checked for a side to go with it.
I thought about potato mash but decided against it, then about fries (or chips) but I had not stocked up on frying oil, so I remembered something else.

Crispy potato chunks from the oven seasoned in garlic, herbs and olive oil.
I had some red potatoes from the Alsace region of France in a basket, I peeled them and cut them into small chunks.
In salted water with a bit of baking soda, I cooked them for 5 minutes and started the oven at 180 C fan.
I drained the potatoes and shake them in the pot a couple of times to rougher the surface.

In a pot with seasoned oil I coated the potatoes and spread them on the baking sheet and baked them for 25 minutes. Turn them after 15 min if you want, but I liked them only a bit more crispy on one side.

I prepared the sausages in a pan during the time the potatoes were in the oven and made a little tomato salad.   So good!

Rhubarb Strawberry Compote

Now we are in  Rhubarb season and the first strawberries grown under plastic coverings are sold here. That is time for a tart kind of compote. It is a family classic, most of the time eaten just as it is.
Sometimes served with vanilla custard or ice cream.

I sometimes go a step further and prepare a parfait out of it. But not this time, the rhubarb and the strawberries are not ripe enough for that dish.
You can prepare a large bowl of it, it will keep a couple of days in the fridge.

150 ml sweet wine  -I used some Ratafia
50 ml water
2 tbsp vanilla sugar
3 tbsp coconut flower sugar
8 stalks of rhubarb
500 g strawberries
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp cornstarch in water

The rhubarb you get here needs to be peeled and the tough strings taken off.  Cut it onto bite size pieces and wash it.
Hull the strawberries and quarter the bigger ones, and half the small ones - do not eat to much while cleaning them :-)
Put the liquid in a pot and heat it up with the cinnamon and the sugars. When it starts to boil, toss in the rhubarb.

Now you have to wait for the moment when the rhubarb is getting soft to chuck in the strawberries. Wait too long and the rhubarb is mush, to early and the rhubarb is still to hard and the strawberries go mush. Shut off the heat when the strawberries are stirred in.
You can bind the sauce with some starch if you like.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Pasta "alla Norma" from Sicily

This was a pasta dish that popped up on every menu and we had it several times during our round trip through Sicily.

The story "alla Norma" comes from the opera "Norma" that 1831 Vincenzo Bellini from Catania composed in just 3 month. It was published in the Scala Opera House in Milan. The opera Norma got famous through a aria "Casta Diva" .
"Norma" is synonymous for all things beautiful, solid prepared or remarkable.
At a banquette in 1920 this sauce was served over pasta and someone told the hostess that this sauce tasted "as a real Norma". That day this pasta sauce has got its name. Usually served with spaghetti, but we had it with lots of different kinds of fresh made or store bought kinds of pasta.

recipe for 2:
250 g pasta or traditional spaghetti
300 g tomato puree
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp sugar
5 basil leaves
salt and pepper
2 eggplants
60 g hard salted ricotta
2 tbsp olive oil

Cut the eggplant into cubes and put them in salted water and set them aside for 30 minutes. Drain.
Brown onions and garlic in olive oil and add the tomato puree, salt, pepper and sugar and cook it for 1 hour.
Cook the pasta and drain.
In an other pan fry off the eggplants and let them drip on kitchen paper to get rid of some oil. Mix with the tomato sauce.
Bring it together, add a bit of basil leaves and grate the hard ricotta on top.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Asparagus and smoked Salmon Pizza

Pizza as Easter Sunday Lunch may sound weird, but we have white asparagus season now and I love the combination with salmon.

I was checking a dozen recipes with this combination, but not one was really the one to make.
So I created my own version from all suggestions I´ve read.
There is a saying here in Germany when you use such a veriaty of things:  "A dog from every village"

325 g flour tipi 00 from Italy
50 g semolina duro
25 g fresh yeast
1 tsp salt
25 g olive oil
a pinch of sugar
200 ml tepid water
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp celery seeds
semolina to roll out and for the baking paper

10 stalks white asparagus - peeled
150 g smoked salmon
2 stalks flat leaf parsley
125 g Mozzarella di Buffala
2 tbsp pimiento and garlic cream - it was a gift of a friend who went to La Gomera in the Canary Islands
1 red onion in half slices
80 ml water
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
creme fraiche

Make the pizza dough and set it covered in a warm place to rest for 60 minutes minimum.
In a pan with some olive oil start the onions and the asparagus  to soften for 2 minutes, add the water and close the lid. Let it steam 3 more min, then lift the lid and let the water evaporate. Cool it down a bit.

On a floured surface roll out rectangular or round shaped pizza.
Spread the pimento and garlic cream on top.
Cover with mozzarella slices
Put onions and asparagus on top.
Set the smoked salmon in pieces on top, just keep two slices back for later
Sprinkle with seasoned creme fraiche.

Bake at 240 C for 15-20 min, put 2slices of smoked salmon on top the moment the pizza comes out of the oven and chop some fresh parsley on top.