Sunday, 29 April 2018

Strawberry Mousse

Fresh strawberries from Spain are now exchanged by German strawberries grown in foil tunnels. They are a lot better because they are regional. But the are 3 times as expensive.

A light and good looking  dessert is a mousse. Served on sweetened Greek yogurt and a fresh made strawberry salad.

Recipe for 4:
500 g strawberries
6 Gelatine leaves
75 g Sugar
200 g double cream
300 g Yogurt
2 tbsp orange juice

Put cleaned strawberries with orange juice and sugar into a blender.
Beat double cream and mix with yogurt and add the strawberry blend.
In a bit of cold water let the gelatine soak, then squeeze out the water.
Make it liquid with a little heat and first mix in a bit of the blend, then the rest. Fill it in half sphares and stick it in the fridge.
It gets easier to demold when you put it in the freezer for 15 min.

Strawberry salad:
250 g strawberries
1 tbsp vanilla sugar
1/3 juiced lemon
1 tsp Amaren cherry syrup
A couple of fresh thyme and mint leaves

Starter with Quail Egg

After a long time I was cooking again with my friends at their house. My friend wanted to introduce me to 6 new family members and took me outside the winter garden to a new built facility. First I did not spot the tiny chickens, but then I counted 6 quails. 4 have different coloured feathers and that means that the eggs have different shades too.
They are busy laying eggs and my friend had a tray of them in the fridge. I even took 3 eggs with me for Sunday lunch.

We had poached quail egg on top of our mixed starter.

It is wild garlic time now and we made little bread knots out of bread dough with mixed in wild garlic. They baked for 20 min. The recipe for it is here on the blog under "Wood garlic bread".

The asparagus chunks were sauteed in oil and a bit of veg stock. Then I added about 1 tbsp Stilton cheese to the pan to melt. A little salt and a lit of pepper and the veggies were done.

Recipe for the red pepper salad:
3 red bell peppers
2 tbsp chives
1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp sunflower oil
Wild garlic salt and pepper
4 tsp cream goat cheese
1 quail egg per Person

Cut the bell peppers in brunoise. Finely chop the chives. Make the dressing and let the salad sit for 15 min.
Fill small jars with a third of the salad, place a layer of goat cheese on top and fill up with more salad.

To poach the quail eggs, lay out some cut out 15 cm circles of plastic wrap, oil it slightly and crack an egg in the middle.
Use a bit of twine and close the wrap into small balls.
Heat up the water and cook them for 2,5 min. Place in ice water. Then unwrap and serve on top of the pepper salad.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Fennel Tarte with Pecorino

When you buy a bag of fresh fennel bulbs, you should have a plan what to do with it.
But as plans go, this dish has not gone up to plan.

I wanted to eat a fennel risotto but since we in asparagus time just now, the fennel went into the veggie drawer of my fridge and more or less was forgotten. I made green asparagus risotto instead.

I found it a week after I bought it and it was still in top shape. Now or never. The other ingredient that I discovered in the veggie drawer was a roll of puff pastry. Just 2 weeks over the best before time, but looking and smelling just fine. A small bunch of wild garlic sat there too.

The fennel is a bit hard when you eat it raw, I blanched it for 3 minutes to make it a little softer.

Recipe for 3:
1 sheet puff pastry
2 bulbs of fennel
2 spring onions
15 g wild garlic
1 egg
100 ml double cream
60 g pecorino grated
Salt and pepper
Chili flakes

Preheat the oven 200 C
Half the fennel and take out the hard core. Cut it into fine slices. In boiling salted water cook them for 3 min, drain and cool down a bit.
Roll out the puff pastry and cut a rectangle of 1 inch around.

Prick the middle with a fork.
Chop the spring onions and wild garlic anf tosd it with the fennel in a bowl.
Add cream, egg and half of the cheese and season well.

Spread on thd pastry and leave the rim free. Get the rest of the cheese on top.
Bake for 20 min.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Lunch at the office cantina

No time to get out of the house. No time to to wait foa a delivery service. Check out your inhouse cantina, if you have one.
We are lucky to have one and a owner who loves to cook fresh food. She is from Poland and her dishes often show her heritage.

But many of the coworkers love pasta, so many days its on the menu.

But she is well loved for her meatballs. They are a staple in our cantina. I choose one fresh out of the frying pan with boiled potatoes, creamy mushrooms and a little salad. She loves fresh dill and you can find this herb on many dishes. I am very fond of dill too.
Very good.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Sandwich levelled up

High built up sandwiches are not so common here. Mostly open faced breads are eaten with a topping that is seldom thicker as the slice of bread its on.

SortedFood levelled up a ham sandwich and packed a lot of stuff between the two slices of bread.

I bought a decent kind of ham and two other kinds of wide slices of sausage.
A strong Italian cheese warmed up with the bread in the pan as a top.
Tomatoes and fresh herbs on top of remoulade was the bottom.
Toasted rye sourdough bread is a lot better than the white loafs.

Monday, 23 April 2018

Vegetarian Asparagus Pho

With a bunch of fresh herbs, its the way soups are eaten in Vietnam. I finally had the time and spring weather to redo my balcony herb garden. Several herbs survived the winter but many needed replacement. It is great to have it back. When you cook, you just went outside onto the balcony and cut off some fresh greens.

I had white asparagus for lunch and a couple of stalks were left over. The cooking broth still sat in the pot and was ready to be used again.

I put rice noodles in a bowl and poured boiling water on top. Two spring onions and the asparagus chopped up, that was all I needed.

I added some soup stock to the asparagus cooking water, mirin, soy sauce and a bit of Vermouth and brought it to a boil. The veggies in to reheat and a bowl filled with the drained noodles.

My fresh herbs went in while I ate.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Chiffon Vanilla Cake

This type of cake is well known in Asia. Asking people here, it is mostly unkown.
It is a very eggy sponge cake with a fluffy texture.

I was in our large Asian supermarket yesterday and stumbled over a box of cake mix. I was not sure about making my own cake mix, so bought that to try. I had to add a lot of eggs (7) and a bit of coconut milk.

The most work did my Kenwood kitchen machine.

To get an absolut fluffy and airy mixture, it needed a lot of time to beat.

I did not have the right baking dish, so I used  my Radon form and built a paper ring around it.

The cake had to bake at 160 C for 1 hour.
The cake came out fine and it tastes great.
I just ordered the proper baking dish at Amazon for more of this cakes.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Asparagus Risotto with Prawns on skewers

We finally reached German asparagus season, yeah! This year started very late because Februar and March have been uncommonly cold. Then after my trip to Italy I dived into eating the white or green veggies.
I had white asparagus twice and made a risotto from the green ones today.

The stalks were on the thin side. I only cooked 2/3 of the stalks without the tips in the rice. The others went into a pan with the asparagus tips to brown a bit and get that nutty taste. I had no bottle of white wine on hand so I used some white vermouth and a but of chicken stock for the first round of cooking.

The protein part of the dush beside the cheese and butter were frozen raw prawns.
I defrosted them in a bowl of cold water, skewered them and made a marinate to brush them.  I set up my electric grill on the balcony and put them on for 5 min.

Prepare the risotto and put the skewered prawns on the grill.

Recipe for 2
200 g defrosted raw prawns
1 tsp olive oil and sesaning for prawns and chili flakes
125 g caneroli rice
1 large spring onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp butter to saute
3 tbsp Noilly prat + 5 tbsp chicken stock
400 ml chicken stock
400 g green asparagus
60 g pecorino cheese

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Risotto al Limone

The lemons on the coast south of Napoli are famous. You find different kinds in Sorrento and in Amalfi and others on the island of Capri. The ones of Amalfi are a bit sweeter. Many of these lemons are the size of a child´s head. The special ones do not have a lot of juice, they are grown for their skin.
Most famous is the yellow liqueur called Limoncello. Is is served very cold after many dinner meals. The skin of the lemons gets peeled without the bitter white side and stored in 90% alcohol for a couple of days. Then you prepare a sugar and water solution and get the skins out and mix the alcohol with it.

But the lemons are used for cooking and for the perfume industry too.

The risotto al limone de Sorrento is found on many menus. I had this on the second night in the Hotel in Meta di Sorrento as first course. The waiter came around with a serving dish a slopped a spoon full onto my plate. It did not look very appetizing and I did not take a picture of it. I hoped the taste was better. And it was, only the kitchen had been a bit skimpy on the cheese.
But I knew, I had to make this at home as soon as possible.

recipe for 2:
160 g caneroli rice
500 ml veg stock
3 shallots
1 clove of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil with lemon
1 lemon skin and juice
water as much as the lemon juice
100 g pecorino cheese
2 tbsp butter

Chop onions and garlic and heat up the oil, saute them for 2 minutes and add the washed rice.
Give it a good coating in the oil.
Grate the skin from the lemon and squeeze out the juice, double it with water and add it to the rice.

Add the veg stock in 4 sections, each time cook it down while stirring often.
After the second round add the lemon peel and pepper.
When the rice is cooked, make sure it still has enough liquid, add cheese and butter.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

The last dinner in Sant`Agata sui Due Golfi

WiFI in Italian hotels is mostly slow and often not available. We stayed up in the hills over Sorrento in Sant `Agata sui due golfi in the Hotel Pergoletta. A family run buisiness on a very busy road. A sign at the check in counter said free WiFi Hotspot, but nobody of our group was able to excess it.

Around dinner time we all met in the dining room and had pasta as a starter. Pasta al pomodoro, with tomato sauce. No fuss and good quality. Several of us took a second helping and that was a good idea.

Secondo looked good at first sight and was a thin slice of pork scallop, so thin that it had thesc thicknessc of a regular slice of sausage. Served with a Pomme Duchesse and a bit of salad.

The dessert was made up quite nicely and was a slice of canned pineapple, topped with half a canned peach with some whipped cream from a can and 2 drops of caramel sauce.

Not to mention the breakfast the next day, the baddest coffee I had in a long time and not much food to eat.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Gelato in Taormina

I hurt my knee the day we arrived in Taormina. Walking around was not an option. I went up to the city with the shuttle bus near the Messina Gate. Walking 20 m led me into a Gelateria.
The first thing I found on the beverage menu was an almond milk drink.

Served on ice with a little sparkling water made it very refreshing. But it was a little on the sweet side, less sugar and it would have been perfect.

The gelatos in touristy spots are often small and a bit expensive. When I saw the "Mixed bowl grande senza panna" on the menu, I did not expect a huge cuppa.
I was surprised when the waiter brought out my order. Chocolate, Hazelnut, Pistachios topped with  baked palmiers.

Very good ice cream and so tasty.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Seafood in Capomulini

On our day off during the tour we stayed in Capomulini in the area of Catania.
After breakfast some of us went out to explore the tiny seaside village.
When we were at the main place with sea excess a man in a wet suit came out of the sea and carried a netbag with him.

He collected sea urchins and he showed us his catch.

 We talked to some locals about open restaurants during lunch time and the
Ristorante del Pescatore came up.

Later we went there.
As a starter I had Spaghetti con Cozze, with mussels and as a secondo a plate with fried squid.
Very delicious.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Food in Sicily

My Italy trip brought me over to Sicily again. I was here 13 month ago and loved the food. Several blogs about are already up.
This time I am staying here only 2 nights, arrived and left by overnight ferry.

The group tour offered a dinner arrangement and we ate at the hotel in the evening.

We stayed in a hotel were tour busses are the main guest groups. 4 busses and the dining hall was loud to deafening. Italians are on the louder site when in groups of more then 1. Lol.

We had as Primo the pasta dishes.
Maccaroni with Ragu and short pasta with pesto the other night.

Secondo was the first night thin Schnitzel from pork and the other night Chicken skewers.
The veggie was served first on a plate for the table and was getting cold until the meat arrived.

The evening dinner ended with desserts.

Not bad for Hotel food.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Pizza in Amalfi

The Golf of Salerno with the coast of Amalfi is one of the most famous parts of Italy. On a trip of 50 km you have to pass 1200 curves. The road winds along the high coastline and through very tiny villages.

Doing this on board of a 12 m long tour bus is no fun for the driver and often not fir the passengers who sit on the cliff side and in the first rows.

When we reached Amalfi, the main point of interest, we took a trip on a small boat and looked on all the noble hotels and the villas of the stars ( Sophia Loreen, Gina Lollibridgida, Kennedys and other.
Then we had freetime to check out the city and get some food.

Like in all most frequented  tourist areas, food is expensive and rarely better than average. Knowing that, I went up the main road leading out of the city and it got quieter. Less tourists and mostly Italians.
On the side of a black sandy beach were some tables high on the promenade and what people had on their plates looked good.

We wanted something traditional and ordered

Huge, great taste with a heaping amount of fresh mozzarella. We paid 6€ per pizza. Half of the price down at the piazza and a lot bigger.

Gambrinus Café in Napoli

There are cafes all over the world you need to visit one day.
They are famous for their atmosphere or beautiful site and mostly for their coffee and great pastries and other sweet stuff.

In Austria are the Vienna coffee houses of Sacher and Dehmel. In Paris its Café des Flores and in  Budapest Cafe New York. Just a few of the famous of a long list.

Beeing on a trip to Italy, I came to Napoli. A city with more then 1 million inhabitants and a historic downtown area with lots of great buildings.
At the Piazza Plebiscito , the place of the people, in a corner building is the Cafe Gambrinus. It is a mix of late 1900 to the Art Deco.

I did not have enough time to sit down and enjoy the place. But I took the time for a coffee at the bar.
That is a tradition you see the Italians enjoy daily.

I ordered a coffee Veneziana. Espresso with cream, topped with dense hot chocolate, milk foam and sprinkled cocoa on top. Served with a glass of tap water.
It was delicious.
Now I was to an other coffee house to check off my list.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Capri - A day trip with little food

Many Germans have a very dreamy picture of the Isle of Capri in mind. The reason for that is an old song about the Red Sun sinking into the Sea over Capri. The song was written 1943 and became a hit in the early 1950.

I made a trip by jet ferry to Capri. And I was not alone. Many boats came from different ports. Traffic jams and lots of exhaust fumes.

Food: when you are on a guided tour and in a large group, you stay with the group

Our guide brought us to a place where they are used to feed large quantities of guests in a short time. Fast service with a limited menu.

I ate Spaghetti Bolognese. Al dente pasta with a good sauce. Dessert was  small slice of cake with chocolate and almonds and a glass of house wine. Fully ok, nothing to moan about.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Eating at a Hotel in the area of Sorrento

I am on a one week holiday trip again. The first one on 2018.
This time a group tour with a flight to Napoli and a bus and ferry trip.

I will try to show what is offered as food on this booked tours.

The Hotel for the first 2 nights is in the area of Sorrento.
The Panorama Palace Hotel in Meta di Sorrento.

The streets to this hotel up on the hillside are so small that our bus had to stop on the local center and we were shuttled with a smaller bus up to the hotel.

For dinner we sat in a seperate room and an old nice waiter started the service with the beverages. Since the kitchen and the restaurant were on a lower level, it took a while.

Then a second waiter went around with the pasta course. Penne with eggplant and tomato sauce, a la Nonna.
The pasta was cooked al dente and the taste of the sauce was ok.

The secondo were 2 thin slices of pork roast, canned peas and potato cubes.

Last came dessert. Vanilla ice cream with a splash of blueberry couli on top. We all loved it.

The quality of the food was alright and reminded me of food in a canteen of a company. But for the price that we all paid in advance for this dinners, it was ok.