Thursday, 29 November 2018

Goulash Soup

This soup has its origin in Hungary.

Lots of paprika powder and red bell peppers bring the taste of this soup. It has some heat and is comfort food. It is often served in large pots as party food late in the evening. Some people like it as a midnight snack on New Years Eve.

Recipe for 4:
500 g beef for braising
3 onions
3 cloves of garlic
2 red bell peppers
3 potatoes
400 ml beef stock
200 ml red wine
200 ml water
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp lard
3 tsp paprika powder mild
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp hot paprika paste
Salt and pepper
1 tsp Ancho chili
1 bay leaf

Cut the beef in 2 cm cubes and the onions in cubes too.
Bell peppers and potatoes in smaller ones.

In a pot melt the lard and bring it uo to high temperature. Season the beef with salt and brown on all sides. Lower the heat a bit and chuck in onions and garlic and give it a good stir. Then add the paprika paste. Cook for 3 minutes, then sprinkle the flour on top.
Stir well and add the paprika and chili powder and a good dose of pepper.
Add the liquid and adjust the amount of water. Put the bay leaf in.
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
Add bell peppers and potatoes and cook for 20 more minutes.
Give it a taste.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

White Chocolate, Cranberry and Almond Muffins

A set of 21 muffins for my birthday. I had to bring them to the office.

We have some coworkers with different nut allergies. I only used almonds on half of them. Some were topped with peanuts and the rest kept nut free.

White chocolate is not my favourite kind of chocolate, it is too sweet for my taste. But combined with dried cranberries it should work.

I prepared the batter in my kitchen helper, but you can just use a spatula.

375 g self raising flour
90 g brown sugar
150 g white chocolate
100 g dried cranberries
50 g almond flakes
25 g peanuts
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
150 g very soft butter

Mix the dry stuff together in one bowl and the wet stuff with the melted butter in an other. Leave the almonds and peanuts for later.
Combine everything and do not overwork the batter.
Pour it in muffin paper cups 3/4 high and sprinkle with nuts.
Bake at 190 C for 17 min.

Monday, 26 November 2018

Salmon Donburi

You can call it a bowl of rice with every kind of topping you can find.

I was lucky to get some sachimi salmon. That is rare in our supermarkets. First thought was to make my own sushi. But I did not have the time.
Easy to prepare is this Donburi.
Just cook a half cup of rice and fill it into a bowl.
Slice the salmon and peel an avocado.
Slice this and place it both pn top of the rice.
Pickled ginger out of a jar and some wasabi.
Eating it with a bit of shoyu - soy sauce.

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Aubergine and Anchovis Sauce with Pasta

Or call it eggplant and sardine sauce.

Different names with a great tasting sauce. Do not say Yuck when you here Anchovis/Sardines. When you prepare the sauce in the right way, nobody is tasting the fish in the sauce. It is just the Umami that rounds up everything. No MSG necsessary.
Eggplants on the other hand are a bit tasteless. They need a partner to shine.

All kinds of tomato sauces go well with pasta, this one is no excepetion.

recipe for 4:
500 g pasta
250 g Japanese eggplants /or any other kind
340 ml tomato passata
2 tbsp tomato paste
4 cherry tomatoes
6 anchovis filets in oil
1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions
2 spring onions
4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp sugar
200 ml wine
100 m water
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp chili
pepper NO salt

Chop the onions and garlic and start that in a pot with oil and the anchovis. When the onions are soft, add the tomato paste and cook through. Add wine and water.
Cut the eggplant into 1 cm cubes and quarter the tomatoes. chuck them all into the sauce and let it cook- season with oregano, pepper and chili. Âdd the sugar.
Get in with the passata and cose the lid and on low heat simmer for 20 min.
Cook the pasta. 

Onion and Spinach Bhajis

I wanted some Indian food again. These bahjis are often eaten as a snack or served as street food.

I have made them before. But that was a long time ago.  Shopping gran or chickpea flour in the large supermarket yesterday was a challenge.
First I checked the isle where all kinds of flours been sold, nothing. Then I went to the special isles with Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food, nothing.
On my way out I found someone to ask .
Did you look at the Vegan isle? No. I had to walk all the way back to the entrance area to reach the isle and I got confused. The sign on top said VEGAN. On one side, they had lots of different kinds of flours (lots of them were on the regular flour isle as well) but no chickpea flour. 2 m to the side on the same shelf were more kinds of flours. And I found the one I was looking for. Very interesting.

Recipe for 2:
75 g baby spinach
1 red onion
1 white onion
1 yellow onion
1 spring onion
1 knob fresh ginger grated
1/2 cup red lentil flour
1 cup chickpea flour
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
250 ml water
Sunflower or canola oil for frying

1 cup Greek yogurt
3 tbsp fresh parsley
1 tsp tsatziki seasoning
1/4 tsp ground coriander

Peel and cut the onions in halve rings. Wash the spinach.
In a bowl mix all the dry stuff together and start combining it with 100 ml of water. Gradually add more until you have a thick waffle batter.

Chuck in the veggies and stir well to coat everything.
Heat up the oil 175 C.

Use tongs and drop mix in the fryer. Do not overcrowd it.
On one side 3 min, then turn an finish. Drain on kitchen paper.
Eat warm with the Raita.

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Turkey Drumstick in Clay Pot

The preparations for the Thanksgiving Dinner went on the day before.

I bought a piece of drumstick, about 1 kilo. I did not want a lot of work, so I looked for a method with little fuss.

I have an clay pot, a Römertopf, or Roman cooking ware. You only have to submerge it in cold water for 30 min. The clay pot does not need any more preparation.
Just layer veggies and meat in and pour some liquid on top. Close the lid and set it into the cold oven. Then heat it up and cook. The cooking time starts, when your oven reaches the temperature.

This type of cooking is ancient. You will find clay pots in lots of other countries. A Tagine in Morocco is one of them. In these countries the clay pots are in daily use. Ours are mostly forgotten.

Recipe for 2:
1/2 turkey drumstick about 1 kg
3 onions
2 cloves of garlic
2 carrots
1/5 celeriac
6 cm white from a leek
5 cherry tomatoes
1 Japanese long eggplant
250 ml sweet white wine
Salt and pepper
1 red chili
4 slicey cured ham
4 tsp marmelade or pumpkin jam

Water the clay pot.
Clean the drumstick and season it. On top smear the jam and cover with ham.
Cut the onions into rings, chop the other veggies and put everything in the bottom of the pot, season.
Place the turkey on top and carefully pour the wine in.
Close the lid and place the pot the lower shelf of the COLD oven.
Heat the oven to 200 C fan, when it has reached the temperature, cooking time will be 1: 50 min.

Fish it out of the pot and get rid of ham and jam. Set aside.
1 1/2 tsp flour
2 tsp butter
300 ml chicken stock.
Make a roux and add half of the veggies and the liquid from the clay pot and mash everything into a thick gravy

Serve the Thanksgiving Dinner with sweet corn, potato mash and cranberry sauce.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Cranberry Sauce

Getting fresh cranberries here is difficult. They are not common in our cuisine. You get the dried sweetened ones everywhere. But fresh, very rare.
Since it was 3 days to Thanksgiving my big supermarket had just one package of 200 g fresh berries sitting in the berry fridge.

I bought the one and few ingredients I needed for the sauce. Fresh orange juice and an apple.

I spent a couple of Thanksgivings in Florida over the years and had my fill of turkeys. I remember one time we bought the fresh cranberries from Ocean Spray at the Publix Supermarket in Miami Beach. I had no idea how prepare the classic sauce. But help was just one phone call away in Virginia. Monika gave me her recipe and the sauce turned out well.

I had to go through my memory to get back to the recipe after so many years. But it worked out well.

200g fresh cranberries
150 ml fresh orange juice
1 clove
One small or 1/2 of a big apple with skin
8 tbsp dark muscovado sugar

Toss it all in a pot and bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the berries are popped.
Use a fork and mash them a little.
Put in a jar and keep in the fridge.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Potato Soup with roasted Bread

Cold afternoons are calling for a hot soups. The basic ingredients are potatoes, onions and a bit of cooked ham.

I had lots of tiny potatoes sitting in my bowl. They are a pain to peel. I cooked them before I added them to the soup.
Just add what you find, that might taste good in a soup

The broth was a basic beef stock. To give it a bit more flavour, I sauteed onions and spring onion in some butter in  small pan.
The nearly cooked potatos went in with a little starchy potato water. That helped to bind the soup later. I roasted the potatoes in the pan a little and seasoned them with salt and pepper.
The ham was finely sliced and got mixed in with the potatoes in the pan.

Everything got dropped in the stock and brought up to simmer.

2 slices of rye bread in cubes went with a large garlic clove and butter in the pan. Browned garlic bread is so good to eat with the soup.

With only a few ingredients it was a tasty soup.

Now it is your turn to cook a soup like that with the ingredients you have on hand!

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

One basic dough for lots of cookies

The Christmas time calls for cookie baking. All the traditional ones are great, but I love to try new things.

I wanted some Matcha Tea Cookies. I checked Pinterest and found several versions. And I found a cookie hack.

Use one basic recipe and add various ingredients to change the flavour.
There are called 9 Rollen Kekse or 9 cookie rolls.
Bake all at 175 C for 13-14 min.

Basic Recipe:
125 g soft unsalted butter
100 g sugar
1 pinch of salt
200 g flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp milk

Matcha cookies:
2 tsp Matcha powder

Add all ingredients and form 2 sausages, wrap in clingfilm and put in tge fridge for 1 hour.
Then cut into 1 cm disc and place them on baking paper with a bit of space. Bake and let them sit on the baking sheet for 5 min when they come out of the oven. Cool on a wire rack.

Sesame cocoa cookies:
4 tbsp cocoa
1 tsp dark sesame oil
1 egg white
30 g roasted sesame seeds

Prepare the dough and roll 2 sausages. Brush them with egg white and coat them in sesame seeds. Wrap and cool them.
When you bake them, use a lot of space on the baking sheet, they spread out!

Monday, 19 November 2018

Vanilla crescents or Kipferl

This is Christmas cookie baking for me.

Warm nutty and vanilla scents are coming out of the oven. Use a standmixer with a paddle attached, if you have one.
The dough is super crumbly and needs to rest for 90 minutes in the fridge and needs quick work to get on the baking sheets. If you are working slower, just cut the dough in halves and stick one part back into the fridge. Use a little flour on the work surface, otherwise the dough will stick.

Take walnut size chunks and form them into a small sausage, press lt lightly on the table and form a crescent.

Transfer to a baking paper with enough room to expand.
Bake for 11 min on 200C.

Let them rest on the baking sheet for 10 min, then carefully coat them in the sugar mix and let them cool completely on a wire rack.
They need to be still warm so that the sugar sticks to it. Don't do it too early, they will crumble between your fingers.

Recipe for 45 cookies:
1 vanilla pod
210 g soft unsalted butter
100 g ground hazelnuts
70 g sugar
250 g all purpose flour

60 g icing sugar
2 tbsp vanilla sugar

Sunday, 18 November 2018

I am no longer used to Restaurants with smoking

The Non Smoking Law for public places is now 10 years old. Smoking in restaurants until then was pretty heavy often, but no one cared. When you went to a place like that, you had to drop all your cloth in the washer when you arrived home.
It was such a relief, when the no smoking law banned smoke from restaurants. Eating there was much more pleasurable. Well, for people like me who never smoked.

I observed in Japan, that they still had smoking in Restaurants. But the ones I was in, were either smoke free or had special areas to sit in.

On Friday night I wanted to revisit a restaurant that serves the Flammkuchen from Alsace/France. Thin crusts with various toppings. I was there twice before, but during the summer month.
I planned to go there with my friends on my birthday to avoid the hassle of cooking on a work day.
Since I am a cautious person, I wanted to make sure, the quality of food and service was the way I had it before.
I asked a friend to come with me and check it out again. We both had been there before together.

As a starter we had small dips with baguette. The herby one was lacking salt and the eggplant dip was too sour for my taste.

I ate a Flammkuchen with prawns, spinach and Emmenthaler cheese. My friend had one with sour cream, oregano and salmon. There should have been Emmenthaler on it as well, but we both thought that the combination of salmon and strong cheese wont match. It was a good decicion.
Her Flammkuchen took on the wooden taste of the serving board.
That was not so nice and we both thought about the hygiene of these boards.

Should I go there again?  May be in summer, when you can sit outside.

Avocado Linguine with Bacon

A 30 minute meal.

The ingredients are pretty basic and the prep work is not too much. Just have a stick blender on hand.

Avocados are so popular in the moment that you can find them pretty much everywhere. The problem is only are they ripe enough to eat when you need them. Buying the cheaper ones at the discounter is only an option, when you have a couple of days to wait until they are ready. On a short notice, better buy those which are ripened. Mostly they carry signs on the packaging saying ready to eat or pre ripened.

recipe for 2:
250 g linguine
2 avocado
100 g bacon strips
1 organic lemon
3 cloves of garlic
2 spring onions
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp olive oil
Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Start the cooking with cleaning of the organic lemon under hot water and patting it dry. Take a microplane and grate the zest into a high mixing bowl. Juice it then.
Peel and destone the avocado and toss it in too. Season with salt and pepper. Give it a quick first mix.

Start the linguine in well salted water. Before you drain them, scoop out 200 ml pasta water.
Pour the olive oil over the pasta and add the egg yolks and stir well.

Put the bacon strips in a small pan and let them crisp up. Chop onions and garlic and wait until the bacon is done.  Drain it on kitchen paper.
In the bacon grease saute the onions and garlic for a couple of minutes and then chuck them into the blender with the hot pasta water. Mix well.
Get everything over the pasta and coat all of it.
Grate some Parmesan cheese and pick a couple of basil leaves.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Ariston - a Greek Restaurant in Frankfurt

A downtown Frankfurt Restaurant, Ariston on Heiligkreuzgasse, is a top 4 ranking restaurant on Tripadvisor's list of restaurants in Frankfurt.

They serve a combination of traditional and modern style Greek food.

The starters were a grilled eggplant with tomato and goat cheese and a Hokkaido pumpkin soup.

That was delicious.  The main courses were seabass with lemon potatoes and grilled mixed vegetables and the other was the famous Greek Moussaka.

It did not only look good, it was good.

As dessert we had a coconut cake with mango sorbet.

4 glasses of Prosecco and bottles of water together with friends made a very pleasant evening. Service and location are good and it is alwasys nice to come back.

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Hearty vegetable and meat soup

I had a big bag of vegetables sitting around. They have been left over from the tiny dishes prepared on spoons. Not all of them would have lasted a while longer, so I cleaned and chopped some root vegetables for a next dish and froze the vegetables. All the rest had to be done on the day.

The best way on a cold November day is preparing a hearty soup out of them. I went grocery shopping in the morning and bought to slices of beef shanks and a bit of raw bratwurst for sausage meat.

Use a big pot and start with the beef shanks, there will be a lot of dark foam building up on top of the soup. Just take a strainer spoon and get all this scum off, that makes for a clear soup later. It will take some time until all that is taken off. Then add carrots, onions, celery, cleriac and leek and the stems of parsley. Bay leaves and fresh lovage are good from the beginning. 

Put all the veggies in, that have a longer cooking time, the ones that get mushy, just add later together with the rice and the pasta.
You now have the time to take the sausage meat out of the casings and roll them into balls. When the beef is out, just get them in and let them cook for 5 min in the soup.

The beef shanks needed about 70 minutes cooking time. Take them out and let them cool down a bit so you can handle them. Cut off the meat and toss it back into the soup.
Finish with some fresh parsley.

The soup can be frozen or reheated a couple of times.

3,5 l water
2 beef shank slices -about 800 g
400 g sausages
sprig onions
green asparagus
2 tbsp Tomato Paste
1/2 cup long grain rice
1/2 cup small soup pasta
3 bay leaves
2 lovage stems