Sunday, 30 July 2017

Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks

This cooking method is awesome! I had it in the slow cooker in the middle of the night and woke up to an irresistible aroma. For all kinds of meat that should be cooked long until the protein brakes down, this is a way to do. The best thing is, the moment you have done your prep work and closed the lid on the cooker, you are done. No need to check up or stir.

I was at my Turkish supermarket and the butcher gave me 3 good sized lamb shanks. A total of 1,5 kg.

recipe for 3:
3 lamb shanks
1 big red onion
1 regular white onion
6 cloves of garlic
2 bay leaves
7 juniper berries
1 whole peel of a lemon
2 carrots
2 tbsp flour
500 ml lamb stock
250 ml rosé wine
salt and pepper
1 tsp pul bieber
1 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp butter

Heat the butter in a skillet and season the lamb shanks with salt all over. Brown them all around in the butter and place  them  in the slow cooker.
Cut onions into half rings and leave the peeled garlic whole.
Crush the juniper berries.

In the same pan saute the onions and garlic, add tomato paste and carrots, add flour and let it coat everything.
Fill it with the liquid and let it bubble until it thickens, season.
Pour it over the lamb shanks and close the lid
Cook for 7 hours.
It will fall off the bone.

Serve it with some green beans and mash.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Eggplant Apricot and Nut Pilaf

This is a version of an slow cooker recipe I have in a cook book. I took the slow cooker out of storage to prepare lamb shanks tomorrow and thought about a dish for Saturday lunch. But after I came back from grocery shopping at our huge Turkish supermarket I was a bit late for a slow cooked lunch. Since I had to prepare all the steps in a pot anyway I decided to cook the pilaf in the pot until it was done. I served it with chicken thigh.

I can recommend this method because the whole prep and cooking time came to 45 minutes. There are a lot of ingredients that goes into that pilaf, but if you have people over who are allergic to some nuts, go with seeds and almonds, that makes it edible for them. I bought a bag of double roasted chickpeas and shelled hazelnuts and a bag of cashews - sooo  good!

recipe for 3:
3/4 cup basmati rice
3 cups chicken stock
1 cinnamon stick
3 cloves
2 bay leaves
1/2 large onion
1 egg plant
10 dried soft apricots
4 dried soft dates
30 g whole shelled hazelnuts
30 g roasted chickpeas
50 g cashews
30 g golden linseed
1 tbsp tomato paste
salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
3 chicken thighs
2 tbsp sweet beets syrup
chicken spices
3 tbsp Bourbon whiskey
salt and pepper
a bunch of flatleaf parsley

Make the pilaf:
Chop onion and eggplant and start the onion in oilve oil, then add the eggplant, salt and pepper. Cook until light brown.
Chop apricots and dates.
Add nuts and seeds to the pot, then the rice, the fruits and the spices, stir well and add hot stock.
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat down to very low and let it soak up the liquid until the rice is tender. Give it a good stir.


Season the chicken with the spices, salt and pepper and in some oil fry them on both sides, add the syrup to glaze them, then the whiskey and close the lid and let them get done.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Turkey breast stir fry

350 g of turkey breast steak went into my shopping basket. I had no idea what to prepare with it but I was looking forward to a tasty meal. I checked my bigger freezer in the basement and found a bag of frozen vegetables, mostly peppers, carrots and some sugersnap peas. A container of tagliatelle was in the fridge. That sounded like a wonderful combination and stir fry popped into my mind. I defrosted the veggies, that was the time I gave the meat to marinate. I used half a jar of Hoisin sauce for that.

Everything came together later with a good dose if Sweet Chili sauce.

Turkey breast does not take long to marinate, less then 30 min will do.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Quick minced meat sauce

A good quality filled pasta from famous German discounter ALDI makes a midweek dinner easy. I made a sauce with minced 60% beef and 40% lean pork and sacrificed a bag of frozen homemade tomato sauce.
The pasta was filled with ricotta, tomatoes and basil and worked fine with the sauce.

350 g minced meat 60/ 40 beef/pork
2 onions
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp herbes de Provence
1 tsp salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
150 g ready made tomato sauce
fresh basil
1 bag fresh tortelloni

Chop onions and garlic and season the meat with salt and pepper.
First start the meat in the olive oil, when it turns to brown add the onions and garlic and the dried herbs.
Defrost the tomato sauce and add it to the brown meat.
Season to taste and cook until the pasta is done as told on the package.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Tomato Rice in a Rice Cooker

This is a quirky way to make a tasty rice dish.
I saw it on YT this weekend and needed to try it. I only have a small rice cooker not such a fancy one. It worked a charm. I will try it again some time soon.
A small bag of my frozen tomato sauce made it even better.

Fresh tomatoes cooked until the get mushy, some seasoning and olive oil that is all it takes. I pimped my rice with some Italian herbs, some fresh basil, boiled eggs and the next day with some leftover cooked ham.
This is a great midweek meal.

recipe for 2:
1 1/2 cups of short grain rice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt and pepper
1 tsp Italian herbs
2 small or one bigger tomato
4 eggs
150 g tomato sauce

Wash the rice and measure out the proper amount of water.
Add oil, salt, pepper, herbs.
Cut out the green stem of the tomatoes and set them with the stem side down onto the rice.
Close the lid and start the cooking process.
Boil some eggs and defrost the tomato sauce.
When the rice is done use the wide plastic rice spoon and crush the tomatoes into the rice.

Bring everything together and enjoy.
It is great as an office lunch the next day.

Grafschafter Rübensirup -Molasse Cookies

The thick dark sugar syrup from sugar beets is very famous in the Rhineland area of Germany. It is not the same as molasse but you can use it the same way. It is a little bit fruity and extremly sweet.

A lot of spices add to the cookie batter and it makes for a warm feeling. Since it is cold and rainy in the middle of July here, these cookies will make us feel good.

1/4 cup Grafschafter sugar beet syrup
3/4 cup soft butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tap cloves
3 tbsp coconut flower sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar

Heat the oven 170 C.
The cookie batter will need an hour to cool in the fridge.
Use 2 big bowls.
Sieve the dry in one bowl.
Beat sugar, molasse and butter creamy and add the egg.
Mix in the dry stuff and combine well. Put in the fridge to set.

Roll 1 inch balls and toss them in the coconut flower sugar and set them apart on the baking sheet.
Bake for 11 minutes.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Panchetta Pangasius and Pasta

I was out in the morning to see my coworker getting married and on the way back home I went into the local organic supermarket there to get some food for the weekend. The supermarket chain is not a place where I shop regularly, so I was looking forward to see what they have.
They sold some fresh fish, not much to choose from but certified quality. I choose pangasius, regularly not a kind of fish I would buy, but they garantied good quality.

I decided on a pasta dish and checked my fridge for some ingredients to go with it.
Panchetta slices were sitting in my fridge for a long time and they needed a dish to go into.  Some open jar of creme fraiche and an open jar of pimiento cream with hard Manchego cheese mixt into it. This pimiento cream was a gift and came from the island of Gomera in the Canary Islands.

Recipe for 2:
200 g Tagliatelle
360 g Pangasius filets
100 g panchetta slices
1 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper
3 l veg stock
50 ml Noilly Prat
60 g creme fraiche
2 tsp pimiento cheese cream
2 spring onions

Cook the pasta in veg stock.
In a wide pan toss in the olive oil and the panchetta and start to brown it.
Chop the spring onions and add it to the mix.
Deglaze the pan with the Noilly Prat and add a ladle of veg stock pasta water.
Add creme fraiche and pimiento cream.
Clean the fish and season it on both sides with salt and pepper, cut it into 2 inch slices.

Set it in top of the panchetta and close the lid for 3 minutes, turn the fish and keep the lid off. It takes about 2 minutes and the fish is done.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

A French Café in a small town

About 50 km north of here, a 10 minutes drive from where I work, is a nice town that was famous for its Spas  - Bad Soden am Taunus.
This Saturday I went there because my coworker married. We were 3 from the office to congratulate her on her big day.
I was in Bad Soden once about 8 years ago and remembered a French style café where I had breakfast. Going again to Bad Soden I checked if the café still existed and made a reservation for a table at the Café Merci.

My morning started very nice with lots of fresh fruit and homemade granola, smoked salmon, cheeses and ham, some jam and croissant, roll and bread. This came with some fresh pressed orange juice and a glass of Cremand. I had a big - very big- mug of Grand Café creme too.

I nice time at the wedding ceremony closed the morning for me.

Sweet potato bake with Maple syrup

There is a lot more to this recipe as the name tells you. A lot more components make it a wonderful smelling and great tasting dish on its own or a side to many chicken or pork dishes. It takes the regular potato gratin to an other dimension.

I wanted to buy a purple sweet potato, but at my local supermarket they sell the different kinds all from one huge basket and now I know to look closer when I buy some. The orange ones are lighter in colour and the purple ones darker. O K, I took a darker one out of the basket and was looking forward to some purple delight.
Today I took a veggie peeler and voila! That thing was white!

recipe for 2:
750 g sweet potato (any kind will do)
3 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp butter
salt and pepper
2 tsp maple syrup
2 tbsp creme fraiche
200 ml coconut
1 tbsp Sriracha
1 tsp Agave syrup
2 tbsp fresh herbs (parsley chives or else )

Peel the sweet potato and use a mandoline if you have one to make 2 mm slices. They should all be the same thickness so they will cook the same time.
Preheat the oven 190 C
Use an ovenproof dish, best one with a loose bottom
In a small pan melt butter with olive oil and maple syrup and brush the baking dish with it.
A little salt on the bottom.

Set a layer of potato slices around the dish and give it a brush with the liquid, go on until the slices are gone and so is the butter mix, season with salt and peppeer.
Put into the oven for 75 min, check after 60 if you have to cover the dish.

Make the sauce
heat up coconut milk with creme fraiche, add Sriracha and Agave Syrup and chop the herbs.

When the dish comes out of the oven, pour 1/3 of the sauce over the gratin and let it sit for 10 minutes.  Get it out of the dish and serve it with sauce to the side. 

Friday, 21 July 2017

Katsudon -A bowl of Tonkatsu

As you might know after so many blogs that I love Japanese food. Pork cutlets are a great source of protein.

I made Tonkatsu this week and have 2 pieces of fried pork left over.

To reheat it again  I prepared a sauce and placed the cutlets in. The sauce is flavouring the rice later. To finish this simple tasty dish a beaten egg is poured over and with a lid on top of the pot cooked for 30 to 60 seconds.
Put fresh cooked rice into a bowl and slip the Katsudon on top.

2 ready made panko fried pork cutlets
2 shallots
1 egg
6 tbsp water
1 tsp dashi powder
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp mirin
1 tsp sugar
1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley
1 stalk lovage
1 cup of cooked rice
Use a shallow pot or a pan with a lid. Mix water, dashi, soy sauce, mirin and sugar and bring to a boil. Cut the onions in small rings and cook it until the onions are done.
Cut the cutlets into 1 inch strips  and set it on top of the onions and close the lid on medium heat cook it for 3 minutes to warm through. Chop the greens and put them on top of the pork.
Beat the egg and pour it over and close the lid for 30 to 60 seconds.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

It is still wrap time

It is so hot here in central Germany, nearly 36 C. I did not look forward to cook and checked my fridge for something to eat.
I had an open bag with Turkush dueruem wraps and a package of small sausages.
The cabbage head has not realy diminished and I picked 4 leaves of it and shreddered them finely.

Food like this is so good and helps to beat the heat.

4 cabbage leaves
1 wrap
1 spring onion
2 tbsp cutting garlic leaves
2 tsp of creme fraiche
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp agave syrup
salt and pepper
6 small Wiener sausages

Prepare the cabbage and add some spring onion and make a dressing. Warm up the
Sausages in some hot water. Pack both of it into the wrap and enjoy.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Quinoa Chicken Mushroom Wrap

I wanted some more Quinoa, after this weekends Quinoa popcorn. I got a package at Lidl on the way back from work. I found the Turkish dueruem wraps there too.
I put a cup of the Quinoa in 3 times chicken stock and cooked it. This way it gets tasty and that works well with the other ingredients.

I peeled a couple of leaves of a head of cabbage and shredded it and cooked it in salted boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and cooled down.
A package of mushrooms went in the pot next and the whole pot ended up as just a third of the pot.
Add some precooked chicken and fresh made cabbage salad on top of some Ayvar and you have a delicious wrap.

60 g quinoa
250 ml chicken stock
1 piece precooked  chicken
300 g button mushrooms
2 spring onions
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp oil
4 cabbage leaves
1 tbsp miracle whip olive oil
1 pinch of curry
Salt and pepper
3 tbsp ayvar

Sunday, 16 July 2017

A Provencal 3 course meal

A Provencal 3 course meal needs a lot to do when you prepare it for 5 people. Luckily cooking with friends is always a great way to lessen the work load and give many hands something to do.
The theme of the day was the Provence, a beautiful area of France. We all spent time there and loved it.

Baking a bread for a meal is the start of our Sunday, this time individual loafs sprinkled with thyme and Parmesan to go with the tomato starter. The bread did have a some tomato paste in for taste and colour.

Big Coeur de Beouf tomatoes, cut in half and scooped out the middle bits were filled and served. The wet middle bit with the seeds was cooked in a pot with a bit of veg stock and seasoning, later finished with some  Macchia herbs from Corsica and Tonka bean for special flavour, mixed and put through a sieve as the dressing for the tomatoes. Feta, Onions, more small tomatoes and thyme went into the tomato halves.
For a bit of special kick, we cooked some Quinoa for 15 min, let it sit for 5, drained it and spread it on some plate to cool down and dry out. It was deep fried for 2 minutes to puff up to some Quinoa Popcorn.

Greek Yogurt with smoked sea salt and Papaya Pepper was topped with the Popcorn.

Daube de Boeuf was our main course. Beef with some vegetables cooked on low heat for more then  5 hours, finished with green and black olives. The meat falls apart when you stick a fork in. The best side to it is bread to mop up the sauce. Courgette from the garden in fine slices was the salad.

And finally dessert.
Creme brulee with fennel seed brittle dust.
If you like cough drops with fennel, you are in for a treat. If you hate them, stay away from the dessert.
Take a tbsp of fennel seeds and 2 tbsp of sugar and make a caramel. Spread on some baking paper or silicon mat and cool down and let it set completely. Take a pestel and mortar and make a fine dust.

When you get your creme brulee out of the fridge, sprinkle white sugar on top, take a flame thrower and make a caramel, then finish with the fennel dust.
Some apricot chunks for decoration.