Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Cheese Platter at Malbok Castle

We visited Europes largest red brick castle today. Built by the Teutonic Knights in the 14th century.

The castle is huge, more the 800 m long and 250m wide grounds.

After long walks inside and outside we had to take a rest and went in one of the castle restaurants.
Local cheeses with fresh bread and butter spoke to me. Fortifyed with a cold local beer we were ready to see the rest of the castle.

Monday, 28 May 2018

Filled Crêpes

Yesterday we were on a horse drawn waggon first, then changed to wooden boats to be poled around a nature reserve. We came out and were hungry.

The local restaurant scene in the middle of nowhere was not the biggest

Our tourguide booked us into a family owned lakeside joint. They had 4 dishes to choose from. Fish, schnitzel, mushrooms and pancake.

I choose pancake. They were crêpes filled with apple sauce and topped with whipped cream and some chocolate.

Very good and not too filling on a very hot day.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Lunch at Holy Virgin Mary Day in Swetka Lipka

A whole of people went on procession to the huge basilika in Heiligenlinde. The priest held an open air mass and it was impressive.

Beeing on a sightseeing trip during this time makes a huge dent into the programm. But we managed and went to lunch to pass the time. Masuren specialities were on the menu and we were not dissapointed.

On the menu was a Masuren flour soup. I was intrigued, all others were disgusted
But I was right, the soup was an absolut hit. I will check different recipes and make it at home soon

Mushrooms are a huge part in many dishes and I ordered potato pancakes with creamy mushroom sauce. Lots of salad came with it.

Many of the group ate sweet pirogy, filled with blueberries. They loved it too.

Dinner at a Castle Hotel

I am spending 3 nights in the Ermland of Masuren in Poland. Our hotel is an old Teutonic knights fortified castle Zamek Ryn. In the restaurant we had a Buffet dinner.
Always a problem when you arrive late in the evening.

Food sits a long time in the warming containers, but getting cold and stale anyway.

Some dishes were nearly empty and not filled fresh again.

What stands best for long times are soups and crude salads. What stands worse are fish dishes.

Friday, 25 May 2018

Dinner at Palac Wiejce in Poland

After more then 15 hours on tour sitting down to dinner sounds great.

I began my Poland trip today and arrived at a very hidden castle hotel
The name is Palac Wiejce.

The grounds are extensive and well maintained and food was served in a banquet room.

It started with a clear chicken soup with some pasta and a bit of carrot. Good flavour and the right amount of salt content.
Then came a slice of pork roast with a stock based potato mash- no butter or cream in sight.

A bowl of sourkraut salad was the side dish. Good, but the salad was my favourite.

Washed sour kraut. Some bacon, red onion, carrot and radish, finished with some chives.

The dessert was some combination I did not eat before.
Banana mash with double cream topped with vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Kohlrabi Apple Salad

The dressing and the fresh roasted pine nuts makes this a great salad. Easy and fast to prepare, just before you serve it to your guests.

This veggie and fruit mixes are my favourite kinds of salad. Savoury and a little sweet. I had just a few items sitting around and had to get them done. I am going on my next trip tonight and having to clear out the fridge.

Recipe for 2 good portions:
300 g peeled kohlrabi
1 red skin apple
50 g fresh roasted pine nuts
3 stems thyme
3 stems lemon thyme
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp Mango vinegar
2 tbsp rapeseed oil

Put the dressing in the blender first. Quarter the apple and cut the kohlrabi in chunks. Put it into the blender and give it a quick mix.
Sprinkle with the pine nuts and serve.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Slow Cooker Adobo Chicken

The bones of the chicken legs just fell out of the juicy meat.

That was my first experiance with this Filipino dish out of the Crock Pot, when I scooped out the first piece of the chicken.
I marinated the pieces nearly 12 hours in vinegar, soy sauce and ginger. The vinegar breaks down the protein in the meat and this makes a juicy chicken.

1 whole freerange chicken
1/2 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup soy sauce less salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
3 slices fresh ginger
2 white onions
8 cloves of garlic
10 peppercorns
4 bay leaves
200 ml chicken stock

Break the chicken down into its parts. Do not throw out the carcass, make the stock.

Use a ziplock bag and put chicken, vinegar, soy sauce and ginger in. Close and put into the fridge for up to 10 hrs.

Pour it into the Crock Pot. Add sugar, chopped onions and whole peeled garlic and bay leaves and pepper
Add enough chicken stock to come up to the chicken.
Close the lid and set on low for 7 hours.
Serve on Basmati rice.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Giant Couscous Salad

Lebanese Giant Couscous is not so often sold here in Germany. Our Turkish Supermarkets seldom have it in stock. When you see the spheres for the first time, you might think these are some kind of Italian pasta.
One thing is different about it from the beginning, the couscous needs a lot of broth or water and cooks for 30 minutes. One moment it is still hart, the other moment it gets soft. So stay alert when you cook it.

Serving it for lunch with grilled meat and a bit of yogurt sauce on the side is an alternative to the usual pasta or rice salads.

We mixed ours with sauteed bell peppers, blanched cucumber, small radishes and red onions and finished with some fresh chives.

half a lemon juiced
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar

Dressing a plate for success

Or plating food to look like something else. Inexpensive ingredients steal the show on the plate.

The shiny cans with Russian Caviar are sold empty on the Internet, unused and undamaged. Obviously there are more people trying to make their food shine.

The bottom of the can was filled with a potato cream and topped with black Beluga lentils. Since Beluga caviar in famous and extremely expensive, the humble black lentils step up to the plate with a shiny texture.
Finishing the dish with 2 types of quail eggs. One kind was sour and spicy with onions and the other was cracked and marinated in a mulled red wine. That made a marble effect on the eggs.

4 medium potatoes cooked in their peel
200 g Greek yogurt
2 tbsp chives
1 pinch dried marjoram
Salt and pepper

80 g black Beluga lentils
30 g celeriac

Pickled quail eggs:
6 quail eggs
1bay leaf
1 onion
mustard seeds
1/5 of a star anise
caraway seeds
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp vinegar
350 ml water

Red wine pickled quail eggs:
400 ml red wine
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 caraway seeds
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

When the potatoes are cooked, peel them and press them through a potato ricer. Mix with yogurt and seasoning to a cream. Put into the oven at 80 C to keep warm.

Cook the lentils with the celeriac in water without salt, when they are done, season, drain and put them into the oven to keep warm.

The days before - start the pickled eggs- they need 2-3 days in the jar to get the taste.
The eggs should be cooked and the skin cracked all over so that the hot liquid can get in and when they cool down it will get more intense.

12 hours before prepare the red wine eggs. They need that time to get the marble effect.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Octopus Dog or Pulpo Dog

This is an other recipe of 2 Michelin stars chef Tohru Nakamura.

What I love about his dishes are the quality of the products and the easy way to prepare them. They sound complicated when you look at them first, but are very good to prepare.

The textures and flavour combinations are awesome. This is the 5. recipe and I am loving the taste of this one. It was my first time I cooked an octopus and it was not too complicated. I prepared most of the work before the Royal wedding of Harry and Meghan and ate my dog when they came out of the church. The longest time is just the cooking, cooling down and reheating of the octopus. All other prep work is done is just minutes.

recipe for 2:
600 g whole octopus - enough for 2
500 ml Weißbier or wheat beer
2 tbsp soy sauce
enough water to cover the beast

1 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp white miso paste
1 tbsp peanut butter

1 small cucumber
3 small carrots
1/2 daikon radish
1 tbsp coriander or parsley or chives
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 gem lettuce

2 baguette rolls or submarine rolls
40 g comté or peccorino cheese
1 tbsp dried fried onions

In a wide pot pour in the beer and the soy sauce and place the cleaned octopus in and top off with water until nearly covered. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to very low and let it simmer for 2,5 hours. Take the lid of and let the octopus cool down in the liquid.

Take a greater or a handy machine and grate carrots, cucumber and radish. Add sugar, salt and vinegar and a little pepper and set aside.

Make the sauce for the arms of the octopus by mixing ketchup, peanut butter and miso. Spoon it onto the arms of the cooled octopus and set it into the oven under the grill to warm through again.
Toast the rolls.
Stuff them with gem lettuce, drained and squeezed out salad, coriander and baked octopus and slice some pieces of cheese on top. Add the dried onions and if you like some lime juice.


Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Cheese Tajine with Couscous and a hot dip

The Handkäse is easily combined with food you will find in North African Culture. Instead of meat like lamb, chicken or beef the protein comes from the cheese. In this dish it is paired with a spicy yogurt sauce.
The tajine is a typical cook ware in Morokko. It is made of clay, filled with all ingredients of a dish and stored in an oven. The juices and the flavours work in an closed envirement.

Recipe for 4:
250 g couscous
500- 600 veg stock
200 g mixed veggies like peas and peppers
1 onion
200 g sour milk cheese
4 tbsp oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Yogurt dressing:
200 g yogurt
100 g sour cream
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp hot chili powder

Cook the couscous in veg stock a marked on the package. Cube the bell peppers into small pieces, sautee them in oil and then let them cool down. Chop the cheese into small bits. Mix everything with the  couscous and salt, pepper, vinegar and oil.

Make the dressing and season it with salt and pepper to your liking.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Risotto Milanese with Bone Marrow

This is the most famous dish of the north Italian city of Milan.

The risotto rice is grown in the area and since the city was and is prosperus, the most expensive seasoning is used in the rice- Saffron.

To take the risotto to the next level, the Milanese like to eat their risotto with cooked bone marrow for added richness. But do not forget the butter and the Parmigiano that goes in as well.

I love this dish for so many years. I started cooking when I got my own household and saw on TV a report about a first class Milan restaurant. The thing that stuck to me was the risotto that was cooked for the crew of the restaurant before the service started. It looked so easy, but it was not.
It took me a while to get the Carneroli rice, then handling the bone marrow, but after a couple of tries, I had my own very classic Risotto Milanese.

Today I served it with fresh picked green asparagus.

Recipe for 2:
2 marrow bones, cooked
180 g carneroli rice
1 small onion
1 spring onion
4 tbsp butter
150 ml white wine
600 ml beef stick
80 g Parmesan
0,4 g Saffron

Chop onions fine and start them in butter. Soak the Saffron in warm water

Add the rice and coat it well, pour in the wine and let that cook down. Now is time for the Saffron. Heat up the stock and add it 4 steps,
stir very often.

Then finish with butter and cheese.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Curacao Style Peanut Chicken

I wanted to recreate the lunch from Kokos Beach Restaurant in Jan Thiel since I came back from Curacao.
It is a dish that has many ingredients and I wanted to cook it together with my friends. Lots of prep work, divided on 3 people made it a lot easier.
Finally last Saturday we came together and made it as the main course of our meal.

I went a little different and changed some ingredients, but it worked fine and tasted very delicious. The style is Indonesian cooking. That is not so uncommon, because the Netherlands were as traders on various islands in Indonesia.

Recipe for 4:
4 chicken thighs
200 g mungo been noodles
1 red onion
1 white onion
3 spring onions
3 celery stalks
2 red bell peppers
1 yellow bell pepper
2 medium cooked potatoes
150 g salted roasted peanuts
50 g whole pistaccios
80 g breadcrumbs
1 tsp chili flakes
5 tbsp ketchup manis (sweet soy sauce)
60 ml white wine
Salt, pepper
Mild Java curry
3 tbsp canola oil
1 lime
Coriander greens

Debone and skin the chicken thighs and cut them into smaller pieces. Save the skin and press it down on baking paper, season it and let it get crunchy under a grill in the oven.

In a small blender mix peanuts, breadcrumbs and chili and make a coarse mix.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper and toss in the peanut mix.
Cook in a bit of oil on medium heat until nearly done. Set aside.

Chop all veggies and fry them in the same pan. Add a bit of curry powder and season.
Add half of the Ketchup Manis.

Get the noodles into a bowl and soak them in hot water for 3 min, drain and cut them into short strips.

Use the big pan and bring everything together and heat it up again
 Add the rest of the sauce and a little veg stock or water.
Finish with lime juice and coriander and some whole peanuts and pistaccios.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Savoury Rolls or Räuberbrötchen

The German name Räuberbrötchen means rolls of a thieve. Do not ask me why they have this peculiar name. They are very quick to prepare and the dough doesn´t need any time to rest.

You can freeze them and use them for an other occation and they taste still great.

Well, bacon always tastes good in all kinds of dishes, if you not a vegetarian.

When you have guests and serve drinks, you can make that just an hour before they come and you do not have a lot of work with them.

recipe for 10 - 12 rolls:
250 g low fat curd
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
8 tbsp milk
6 tbsp olive oil
300 g all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
120 g smoked ham bits
60 g dried roasted onion bits
100 g grated pecorino cheese

Heat up the oven to 180 C.
In a big bowl add upper 7 ingredients and mix.
Stir in the last 3 ingredients. It will make a soft ans squishy dough.
Knead for 3 minutes.
Use baking paper and a little flour and make small balls of dough, dip the bottom into the flour and put them with the baking paper into the oven. After 18 min, turn them upside down and give them 8-10 more minutes.

Scrambled Eggs Espuma on Mushrooms

I have this Issy whip bottle and cartoushes for a while. Until now all my efforts to produce some kind of espuma went down the bin. Either the batter inside was too thick and did not come out or it was too thin and I had no foam. My aim was to master this thing one day. My friend had the same problems and she was looking forward to beat the beast this time.

2 weeks ago at German television there was a sequence of KnifeFightClub, a late night one hour cooking show. 2 chefs, often Michelin star crowned, have 60 minutes to produce 3 dishes with 3 ingredients that they did not know before the show. These ingredients get unveiled just before the cooking starts and they are often gross or rare. The chef with the best results wins the large cooking knife, the other gets a small paring knife.

One of the mysterious ingrients here was Pom Pom Mushroom. A huge white kind of round fuzzy mushrooms.
One of the chefs made a scrambled egg espuma and served it on top of this mushroom.

No way to get that kind of mushroom here. But a decent king oyster mushroom is no problem to get. The challenge for me was the espuma.

And we did it! We mastered the beast!

recipe for 4:
3 king oyster mushrooms
100 g butter
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
6 large free range eggs
finely ground pepper and salt
400 ml double cream
3 CO2 cartouches

In a wide pot heat up the double cream with a bit of salt and let it reduce until you have less then 200 ml. Take care  not to boil it over.
Beat the eggs together in a bowl and pour them into the pan with the hot oil. On medium to high heat scamble the eggs until they are very dry, put them into a bowl to prevent to get a crust.

Use a very strong blender or Thermomix. Make a very fine cream.
Heat up the butter in the cleaned pan and let it get brown, slice the mushrooms lengthwise and brown and season them.
Use the funnel with the fine sieve of the Issy to get the egg mix through, close the lid and place a small nozzle on.
Get 3 cartoushes in  and shake well.
Place the mushrooms in 4 bowls and turn the Issy whip head down.   Cross your fingers.
Give it a good push and hope for a Espuma.
Finish with some chives.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Lime and Mint Parfait

This is a recipe I found on Pinterest from the German food magazine "Essen und Trinken" / Eat & Drink.

It is a great way to prepare most of the dessert ahead of time and just finish it a couple of minutes before serving. This time you need for that is the time the parfait needs to soften after you pulled it out of the freezer.

Lime and Mint are a great combination to serve on a hot day, it cools everybody down so quickly.
To prepare it you will need a strong arm to beat the parfait mix over a bain marie for 10- 15 minutes. It is your work out ahead of eating a lovely dessert a couple of hours later.

recipe for a 6:
4-5 organic limes - you will need all the zest, but only 100 ml of juice
180 g sugar
50 ml water
3 medium eggs
5 tbsp brown rum
250 ml double cream
a pinch of salt
3 stalks fresh mint
4 tbsp dessicated coconut
2 tbsp creme de Menthe liqueur ( I used Sirop de Menthe and Vodka)
a bit of oil for the dish and cling film

Wash and dry the limes and over a micro blade get the zest off.
Squeeze out the juice until you have 100 ml.
Put that with the water and the sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5 min. Put through a fine sieve and press out the zest.
Cool down a bit.

Use the same saucepan filled with 1/3 of water, bring to a boil and set a heatproof bowl on top.
In a small bowl crack the eggs and beat them well.
Add the lime syrup to the large bowl and be sure that the water does not reach the bottom of it.
Add the eggs and start to beat with a whisk until your arm falls nearly off and you have a foamy and  creamy consistency.
Put the bowl into a bowl with ice water and beat until the foam gets cold.
In a kitchen machine beat the double cream to soft peaks. Mix with the lime mix.

Oil the freezer dish and place the clingfilm in, pour the parfait mix is. Close the lid and put it into the freezer over night.

Topping can be made just before serving. In a small blender give coconut, mint leaves, and alcohol a short blitz and put it on top the sliced parfaits to serve.

Friday, 11 May 2018

Hessian Cheese made like a Portugese pasty

Pasteis de Nata with Hessian cheese is very far from the sweet and flaky original, but the idea to serve a cheese cream inside of puff pastry tartelettes is not new.

They go so well with a dark red wine as appetiser finger foods.

Recipe for 10 -12 pastries:

1 ready made puff pastry
120 ml double cream
1 egg
1 pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp flour
10-12 small sour milk cheese

Mix cream, egg, seasoning and last the flour in a bowl.

Cut puff pastry in 1 inch discs and stretch them until they fill up the Pasteis de Nata baking dishes. Do not forget to grease the baking dishes before you start.

Put a thin slice of cheese in each dish and fill up with the royal mix.
Bake at 200 C for 15 -17 minutes.

Enjoy them on the day you've prepared them.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Handkäse - a special cheese

This is a Hessian speciality.

A very low fat sour milk cheese. It is often eaten with chopped onions, vinegar, oil and caraway seeds.

But this cheese is much more versatile.

One of my friends decided to let this cheese travel around the world.

Make a spring roll filled with cheese and serve them with a tasty dip

Recipe for 4:
Spring roll sheets or Yuffka dough cut into 15 cm
1 small red onion
2 spring onions
2 slices of Handkäse
1 red skin apple
2 tbsp mustard marinate

4 tbsp mustard
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp oil
100 g sour cream
Salt and pepper
Oil to fry

Make the dressing and set 2 tbsp aside.
Finely chop the mix for the spring rolls and add the 2 tbsp dressing. Fill a tsp of the mix in the sheets.
Heat up the oil and fry the rolls golden.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Endive and Stawberry Salad

Endive was mostly sold during winter season, but now you can find it most of the year. I like the slightly bitter crunchy leaves.

I had one head sitting in the veggie drawer and wanted to have it as salad. Usually some citrus fruit goes into the salad, that's the way I like it.
I had nothing of that kind at home and looked at a basket of fresh local grown strawberries.
I was not sure about the outcome of this combination.
I can highly recommend it, so good.

1 head endive or chiccoree
100 g strawberries
5 lemon balm leaves
1 tbsp mango vinegar
2 tbsp olive et limon oil
1 tbsp agave syrup
Wild garlic salt

Chop the endive as fine or as rough as you like it. Quarter the strawberries. Mix the dressing.

I served it with omlette on rice.