Friday, 29 June 2018

Pasta Variations

Pasta Variations are a fall back to meal when you come home from work and have not much time to get something on the table.

I use often dry store ingredients or a bag of my last fall made tomato sauces. With a little fantasy you get a good dish.

One of the dry store goods is canned tuna.

Most of the time I have a bunch of spring onions and garlic on hand.

Sometomes I just one a bit of veggie that is in the fridge and add it to the pasta.
Such as asparagus.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Sweet Rice with Cherries on top

It is cherry time here. After last years freezing temperatures during cherry blossom, that resulted in a very small harvest, this year is a lot better.

Many trees are so heavy with cherries, they are left to the birds.

I have a big bowl of cherries sitting in the kitchen. I eat most of them without anything. Just a fruity snack.

I came home from work and wanted to watch football world cup. The last match of the German team. But I was hungry and so I started the sweet risotto before sitting in front of the TV.

220 g caneroli risotto rice
850 ml whole milk
40 g butter
40 g sugar
1 g vanilla seeds
1 pinch of salt
1 egg
1/2 lime

Saute the risotto in butter for 2 min.  Add milk, salt, sugar and vanilla and cook for 25 min. Stir often.
Seperate the egg and beat the egg white stiff.
Add the egg yolk and lime juice and the egg white.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and top with cherries

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Mozzarella and Raspberries

It sounds crazy, I know.

But the good quality balsamic vinegar makes it difference. I found a bag of buffalo mozzarella in the fridge. It was only good to this day and I wanted something quick.
On the way back home from work I stopped at a temporary fruit stall that sold cherries. I bought some and a small basket of raspberries.

I snacked on some of them while a thought about something to do with the mozzarella.

The cheese is a bit bland and the dark vinegar helped. I took a raspberry and just ate that.

So good.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Seabream in Saltcrust

Since I had this dish last weekend, I wanted to try it myself. Yestersay the fishmonger had fresh Seabream. I choose the biggest one with 414g. If you want a larger size you have to preorder it.
It is useful to ask for fish with the scales on, that protects the fish from getting too salty.

Next was buying some salt. It is either the fine granulates or the coarse salt. I went for the fine stuff. There are some different techniques to pack fish into salt. For a lighter crust, just use coarse salt and some water. For a solid crust, you have to crack open with force, add egg white to the fine salt.

Fill the cavity of the fish with fresh herbs and lemon or lime wedges and add a little pepper.

Recipe for 1:
400 g seabream
1 lime or lemon
Fresh thyme
2 kg salt
2 egg whites
75 ml water

Preheat the oven 200 C
Beat the egg white frothy and add salt and mix. Loosen with a bit of water.
Press 1/3 on a baking paper and place the herb stuffed fish on top.

Press the rest of the salt all over the fish and make sure it is covered all over. Bake for 30 min.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Potato salad Russian style

When most people are looking at the Russian World Cup I look at things to eat.

What is Russian cuisine famous for? The beef, cabbage and red beets soup -Borschtsch is one of them. Pelmeni, the filled dumplings are an other. The salads mostly have a mayonnaise dressing. This is the staple of the Russian food.

Some ingredients of the classic Borschtsch goes into the potato salad. And it tastes great.

Do not forget the dill. A herb with a little licorice taste, that is found in all kitchens in the north.

500 g cooked potatoes- best from the day before
150 g cooked red beets
50 ml beet juice
1 cabbage leaf chopped
1 small cooked carrot diced
1/2 bunch dill
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp vinegar
1 tsp onion powder
Salt and pepper
4 quail eggs fried

Meatballs in Cheese and Pea Sauce

I have still a lot of great Italian cheese blocks in the fridge. Some of them in a sauce sounded great. I went grocery shopping and let myself get inspired. I bought some mince meat (pork and beef) and a package of fresh peas in their shell. I still had no idea what to cook but went online and found an idea.

Cooked meatballs in a cheese sauce.

350 g mixed pork and beef mince
100 g fine chopped Parma ham
300 g fresh peas
3 spring onions
1 red onion
5 cloves of garlic
1 red chili
2 tbsp paprika paste
1 egg
1/2 roll soaked in milk
2 tbsp bread crumbs
salt, pepper
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp butter
100 ml milk
300 ml stock
nutmeg, salt, pepper

First I shelled the fresh peas and put on a bigger pot to make a "one pot" meal. Not all things cooked at once, but one after on other in the same pot. That does not really save dishes, but some room on the hob.
I blanched the peas in some salted boiling water for 4 min and got them out with a slotted spoon. I dumped some veg stock into the pea water and kept the pot on warm for later.

The meatballs were made 6 cm size and simmered in the pot for 20 min. Always keep an eye on the pot, so it wont start to boil. Get the meatballs out with the slotted spoon into a bowl and set them aside.
Use a fine sieve and pour the cooking broth into a bowl and save for later.

Make a roux in the same pot you just drained the broth from, first add a bit of milk and then a couple of ladles of the fresh broth. Put in the cheese and let it melt, taste and season.
Add the peas and the meatballs and let them heat through again.

Serve on rice.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Easy Cucumber Salad

Summer time is the best time to have refreshing salads.
When you get the first garden cucumbers, you have the taste of summer. No longer hot house vegetables.

Quick to prepare and eaten as a side dish, that is so good.

Slice them very fine on a mandoline or kitchen grater. Then salt the cucumber and let it rest 10 min. Drain them.

4 tsp Greek yogurt
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Agave syrup
2 tsp rapeseed oil
2 tsp white balsamic vinegar
Fresh herbs like parsley, dill, cress
Salt and pepper

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Fiaker Goulash

An Austrian goulash is a tasty dish to serve to a group of people.
The Vienna Fiakers are horse drawn carridges and the drivers loved that goulash. So it ended up with the name.

You can prepare a large quantity in advance and just make the finishing touches before you plate it.

We served it with home made herb Spaetzle. Little pasta.

But the prominent part played quail eggs again, one soft boiled one and one sunny side up.

Recipe for 5:
1 kg stewing beef and pork shoulder mixed
2 onion2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp flour
2/3 Veggie stock
1/3 Red wine
Salt and pepper

Bell peppers
Veg stock
Salt and pepper

Wiener sausages 1 per Person
1 gherkin per Person
2 quail eggs per Person

Cut onions and garlic and the meat into bite size pieces. In a wide pot heat up the oil and brown the seasoned meat. Best in 2 batches so every piece sits on the bottom of the pot.
Put flour on top and stir well. Add wine and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 75 min.
Let it cool down. You can even prepare it the day before.
Clean carrots and peppers and start them in a pan. A bit of stock and seasoning. Let the veggies get soft and add to the reheated goulash.
When you reheat the goulash, add the Wieners and let them heat up

Usually it will be eaten with gherkins and a fried egg.

Serve with pasta, rice or potatoes.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Gazpacho - Cold Soup

We have a hot spring time for the last couple of weeks. This is a bit uncommon and these long stretches of heat makes you think of preparing summer food.

Cold soups are usually not my favourite. I regularly prefer them hot even in summer. But there are a few exceptions. One it them is Gazpacho, the veggie summer soup.

A couple of juicy tomatoes, yellow and red bell pepper, 1/2 cucumber and one clove of garlic.
Seasoned with salt and pepper and put into the blender.
When  you prepare the veggie and do not need the soup right away, just put the cut up veggies into the fridge.
Mix them in a blender with a little water and put it back into the fridge.
Before you serve it, put in a diced up slice of toast or baguette without the crust, 2 tbsp oil, 1 tbsp red wine vinegar and 4 tbsp of carbonated water.
Give it a good blend.

We served the soup with more toasted bread, a skewer with thin sliced cucumber and a smoked hardboild quail egg.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Excellent Dinner in Town

When there is a reason to celebrate something, go for an excellent evening out.

For an occasion I choose one of Darmstadt's first class Italian Restaurants, the Orangerie. It is located in a park beside an historic building from 1719. The park behind is decorated with many citrus trees, that are only out from end of May until beginning of October.

The restaurant has a large open air seating area.

The menu is very seasonal and just shown on black boards, that are wheeled to the table.

When several interesting offers are on a black board, it took us some time to decide how to start the dinner. We opted for two different cheese starters and shared a bit of it.

My friend had bacon wrapped mozzarella di buffala and orange melon wrapped in Parma ham.

I choose caramelised goat cheese with onion confit, mixed salad and warm tomatoes.

We shared the main course and decided on a Dorade baked in a salt cover. It was served with a lemony tomato and caper dressing, risotto with white asparagus and green asparagus as a side veg.

With the food went a bottle of Vernaccia di San Giminiano, Tuskany. This white wine is one of my favourite. I've been to San Giminiano twice and love the mineral taste of this wine. 2  large bottles of San Pellegrino were drunk too.

Then came the final course and the 2 of us were unable to decide between 3 things from Strawberry or a dark chocolate dessert. We discussed and came to no choice. Luckily our very nice host made the decision for us and came up with the solution:
Strawberry kisses Chocolate
It was served with an Elderflower Cordial.

Later, we finished the evening with cold Limoncello.

We had a great evening with very competent service and excellent food. Next time we have something to celebrate, we will come back.

Zurek - Polish sour flour Soup

I had this soup twice during my Poland trip. The first time at Holy Virgin Mary Day in Swietka Lipka the second time at the last hotel in Poland - Amber Palace Hotel.

Yesterday I went to the Russian Delicatessen in my neighbourhood. They have Polish goods there too and the first thing I found was a bottle of Zurek, the fermented rye flour mix. Just a meter down the isle I found a package of Polish Kielbasa sausages.
Reading about the soup and remembering what our tour guide told us, all kinds of veggies are good for this soup.
I had 2 red bell peppers from last week and they needed to be cooked and I have thrown them into the soup mix. It made the soup a bit redder then the ones I had in Poland. The taste was the same.

recipe for 4:
1 liter beef stock
1 large carrot
3 small potatoes 
1 small leek
1/4 celeriac
2 red bell peppers
3 spring onions
3 cloves of garlic
300 g Kielbasa sausages
100 g raw ham
salt and pepper
500 ml Zurek ready fermented rye flour
2 hard boiled eggs
60 g fresh dill

Put all the veggies into a blender and give it a quick blend. Pour it into the pot with the beef stock and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat.
Put the sausages in and let them cook with the soup.

It needs about 25 min.
Get the sausages out and pull the peel off.
Shake the Zurek long and very well to mix it together very well.
Bring the soup back to the boil and pour the Zurek in. Let it cook good 5 min to thicken the soup.
Peel the eggs and chop the dill
Cut the sausages into rings and get all together.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Parma Ham Pasta

I had the same ingredients as the day before but I wanted to have a full meal.
Pasta is the answer.

Asparagus as the main veggie works well when you serve it in a creamy sauce.

The ingredients are so easy to prepare and when you have peeled the white asparagus, you can cook it together with the pasta in one pot. Just check the pasta cooking time and throw the veg in to get ready with the pasta.

A good amount of spring onions and a couple of garlic cloves are the base for the creamy sauce.

Recipe for 2:
250 g pasta
250 g peeled asparagus
3 spring onions
4 cloves of garlic
60 ml apple cider
80 ml double cream
Salt and pepper
Thyme and parsley
1 tsp oil
1 tsp butter

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Parma Ham and Asparagus

When you order food online you get surprises sometimes.
A while ago I ordered cheeses and some Parma ham in the online shop I use often in Italy.
When the package came and I unpacked I looked quite surprised.

I had on my shopping list a piece of Parma ham with 600g.
The piece I took out of the box had 1,6 kg.

Yesterday I finally started to slice some of it up.
I have a very old but still funktioning electric
Bread and meat slicing machine. I normally use it to slice breads but it worked just fine on the cold ham.
It is important to have cold meat to cut, that makes it a lot easier for the machine to get thin cuts.

A good company for the Parma ham is asparagus. I cooked some and drizzled a little butter over it and served it. So delicious.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Ketjap Manis Chicken legs

No reason to slave in the kitchen on a very hot and humid Sunday!

Put most if your food into the oven and you are done. Keep the leftovers for the next meals.

I bought 1 kg of chicken legs (3) to cook an Asian style dish from a cook book. I bought the needed ingredients yesterday morning.
Today I read the preparation of the dish and decided it was way too much work for a hot day.

I took a short cut and it was tasty.

Season the legs with salt and pepper and brush them with Ketjap Manis.
Clean some peppers and season them and spray a little olive oil on top.

Stick it in the oven at 180 C fan and cook for 45 min. Turn after half the time.
Serve with some rice and a bean sprout salad.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Bean sprouts salad Asian style

This is a salad I invented many years ago and improved it with now more available ingredients. It is a great summer salad and keeps its crispyness for a couple of hours. That way it is easy to take it to a BBQ or dinner party.

Three main ibgredients have not changed from the beginning:
Mungo bean sprouts, tomatoes and spring onions.
Now roasted sesame seeds are easy to get, they are the last component of the salad.

Even more improved has the veriaty of the dressing components. In old times I just used sunflower oil and a drop of soy sauce and regular white vinegar and a little so called Chinese seasoning.

Now that has changed a lot.

Recipe for 2:
250 g Mungo bean sprouts
5 cherry tomatoes
3 spring onions- only the green part
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

1 tsp dark sesame oil
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 tbsp mild rose balsamic vinegar
1 tsp black Chinese vinegar
1/4 tsp fleur de sel
1/4 tsp mixed peppers with Szechun

Boil a kettle water and pour it over the bean sprouts in a bowl. After 30 seconds, drain and cool under running water.
Cut the tomatoes into slices and finely chop the onion greens.
Mix it all with the seasame seeds.
Make the dressing.

Baby Bel filled Meatloaf with added Cauliflower

I was checking out Pinterest to find something to cook this Saturday and I stumbled over this picture. A meatloaf studded with cauliflower trees. It caught my eyes. I did not have meatloaf for quite some time.
I checked the listed ingredients and made a mental note to buy 3 things necessary for the dish.

I went grocery shopping after I printed my holiday photos at a drugstore. I was not sure if this time of year was time for cauliflower, but I got a small one. The rest was easy to get.

I served it with new small potatoes and discovered I had enough for 3 meals. I changed the original recipe to my liking.

recipe for 3:
500 g minced beef and pork
1 small cauliflower head
5 Baby Bel cheeses
1 tsp curry
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili Ancho
1 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp mustard
1 1/2 tsp ketchup
salt and pepper
3 cloves of garlic
3 spring onions

Bechamel sauce
1 bay leave
30 g butter
30 g flour
200 ml milk
40 ml Noilly Prat
salt pepper

2 tbsp Parsley
1 tsp olive oil

Preheat the oven to 160 C fan.
Put garlic and spring onions into a food processor and make a fine mix.
Add all ingredients listed into the meat and mix well.

Use 1/3 of the meat and form a disc and place it on baking paper.
Put 5 cheeses on top.
Close with the rest of the meat.
Cut the florets off the cauliflower and stick some on top.
Mix parsley and oil and brush it over the florets
Stick it in the oven for 25 min.
Cook the potatoes.
Cook the Bechamel sauce.

Fill a plate with half of the Bechamel sauce and set the meatloaf on top.