Thursday, 30 May 2019

Roquefort Sauce with Pasta

This is a very easy way to prepare a flavourful sauce for pasta.

You only have to like strong tasting cheese. Roquefort cheese is bold and hits you in the face. It comes from the caves in the South of France around the area of Millau. It is made from sheepsmilk.

If you look for a less intense kind of cheese, get the Italian Gorgonzola cheese.

I the used Italian pasta Paglia e Fieno, green and white long strings of pasta. The meaning is straw and hay.

Recipe for 3:
175 g Roquefort very ripe
2 spring onions
2 large cloves of garlic
1 tbsp butter
50 ml milk
150 ml double cream
2 tbsp Noilly Prat
1/2 tsp Piment d'Espelette
Black pepper
Salt for the pasta water
Basil leaves.

Chop onions and garlic and give them 4 min in a pan. Add Noilly Prat, milk and cream and toss the cubed cheese in.
Cook the pasta in salted water.
When the cheese has melted, add the seasoning.
Drain the pasta and stir it into the pasta.
Finish with basil.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Rhubarb and Apricot Compot

It is rhubarb and strawberry season now here in Germany. But apricots from Spain are sold in every supermarket here too. I saw lots of fresh aoricots at the fruit and veg stores in Bilbao and San Sebastian, but I had no time to try some.

Today I bought some dark orange to medium red ones. These kind I saw the first time during the holiday. I only new the light orange and yellow ones.

A couple of red stalks of rhubarb went into the shopping basket along with strawberries. They go together so well.
But I ate the strawberries after a good wash as they were. I still need a lot of fruit and veg to compensate the food I had during the holiday.

I made a new compot with the red apricots and the red rhubarb. This is amazing too. I used some fresh picked orange verveine from my herb garden on the balcony. The intense smell goes so well with the compot.

5 stalks of red rhubarb
250 g red apricots
5 leaves of orange verveine
A dash of lemon juice
50 g brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
A pinch of blueberry salt
100 ml dry white wine

Cut the rhubarb into small chunks, destone the apricots and cut them the same size.
In a pot caramelize the sugar with a little lemon juice, add wine and salt and cinnamon.
Put the rhubarb and apricots in and cook until both are tender.
Finely slice the verveine and stir in in.

Serve with kaymak cream or vanilla ice cream.

Taste Test in a new Restaurant near by

What´s going on in my neighbourhood? New restaurants are popping up where for many years there was not really an improvement in the gastro scene to see.

We have a sports complex a block away were soccer, tennis and gymnastics are the main sports. There is a restaurant attached, that is often for the people to sit and eat after they did their Workout.
The owners and the menus changed quite a lot of times, from Balkan to Greek to Italian. And for months it was closed in between, until they found some new owners.

Since this April it is reopened and has Italian cuisine. They even added a new name by translating the name of the sports club Rot -Weiß to Ristaurante Rosso e Bianco. Fancy.

I´ve heard good and bad Things about the service and the food there and wanted to eat there to make up my mind. My foodie friend and I went there last night.

When we go to Italian restaurants we start with Vitello Tonnato, we can see and taste the differences to the other ones of this dish and can compare.
The presentation was a bit uncreative and boring and just four single capers on top were a shame.
I love capers.
But the tuna in the sauce was the right amount and could stand for it self against the veal.

We both ordered Pizza. Mine was Pizza Pugliese with tuna, onions, olives and capers. The other was Pizza Mista with two types of sausages, fresh mushrooms and bell peppers.
The crust was good, but both were a bit soggy in the middle.

A Dessert to finish the meal was ordered . We both had Panna cotta with Raspberry Sauce. It was nicely jiggly and tasted good.

Most people around us ate Pizza or Pasta. This is the go to menu that is safe for most.

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Pintxos in Pamplona

Pintxos can be a very inexpensive and filling food on a tourist trip.

We walked 2.5 hours through Pamplona and checked out the way, where the stears run to the arena in July daily for a week. Hundreds of  people run in front of them. Several get hurt every year.

After many sites and a visit in the cathedral we were hungry and we needed a place to rest our feet.
On the other side of the ayunamiento or town hall we found a beer bar that served pintxos. It was a bit disorganized because they started a renovation process, but the guys behind the bar were nice.

We choose 3 of the same, fried egg on top of lean pork cutlet, on cheese and cured ham on a piece of baguette.
I had  a bread with ham and bell pepper cream and a slice of goat cheese with caramelized onions and a walnut on top. The last one was a type of croquette with mixed peppers, pork mince in bechamel sauce, in breadcrumbs and fried.

An other one was 2 chorizo sausages with pepper sauce on bread and bloodpudding on a veg stew on an other baguette.
Since we were in a beer bar, the beer was good.

We paid 3 € per pintxos, with the amount of food on each one, that was a bargain. And the quality was top.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Sideria Tour in an Apple Orchard Restaurant

Not only wine grows here. The region is famous for their apple orchards too. When you have too much apples, you make wine. Cider or Apple wine. This here is on the strong side with 6 % alc.
It is a little carbonated naturally when it is fresh.
The taste is acidic and for people who are not used to it, a bit unpleasant.
Since I live in an area with a long apple wine tradition, it tastes just like the one at home.

We had an evening out program there with food and cider. At first we were shown the original way of getting the drink. We grabbed our glasses and went into the cellar where 6 2500 liter wooden barrels stood, went in line and held our glass in the thin stream of cider that shot out of the barrel. About 1 inch of cider later the next one followed. That method gives you the freshest and most sparkling wine. A couple of rounds later we went back to the table.

Now food arrived. First warm chorizo o bread. All on platters to share
Next was Bacalhau omelet, delicious.

A large piece of Bacalhau on green peppers.

Then came the piece de resistance,  a platter with slices from a beef cutlet.

Fun was the dessert, some slices of hard sheep cheese with quince concentrated jam and a whole paper bag of walnuts to crack yourself.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Pintxos and Wine Tour in San Sebastian

After a 2 hours sightseeing tour on foot in the morning, we ended that with Bar Hopping.

Eating Pintxos and drinking wine is s favourite past time of the Basque people.
Many bars are stocked with mounts of tartines or open faced sandwiches and ham filled breads. You choose between vino tinto,  vino blanco and rossato. Mostly wine that is grown locally.

We visited 3 different bars in 90 minutes.

We had Anchovies on grilled peppers on toasted bread and a ham sandwich.

Then tuna on cream cheese with salmon caviar on top.

Guacamole with tortilla chips and a chicken and potato croquette with coriander pesto on top.

After all that savoury stuff and 3 glasses of wine I needed some coffee and tea.
A sweet thing for dessert too.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Loup de Mer over cooked at PreMierk Restaurant

A large part of our group went out to dinner in Bilbao. A 3 course meal was served and we could choose from 2 different entrees and 3 desserts. The starter was the same for all of us.
We all looked forward to this, because we booked a premium kind of dinner opposed to the Hotel food on 3 nights.

The restaurant was part of a wine bar and the interior decoration was great. We sat surrounded by wine bottles.

The starter was nice, Serrano ham, Foie gras and some small croquettes with mushroom or ham. These balls were a bit mediocre.

Most of us chose Loup de Mer, because the beef cutlet would come rare to medium rare. And it was mostly rare and you had to chew a good while.

I got a thick piece of fish and was nicely surprised about the size of this expensive fish. But my surprise did not last long.
The fish was rubbery, dry and fully overcooked. But nit only my piece was bad, most of our group had the same dry fish. You had to tear it apart and chew it down.
What a shame. Such a great fish and such a bad cook. The fries on the side were just mushy and oily, not so good either.

For dessert I choose cheesecake. The other two desserts been strawberry ice cream (artificial- that had never seen a strawberry) and Scottish coffee. Not something Basque to choose from and mediocre.

The wines were good and we had fun with those.

Monday, 20 May 2019

Pintxos - a Basque speciality

Everybody has heard of Tapas. The little snacks served all over Spain- or not. Tapa means lid and was something on a little plate ti cover the glass to prevent bugs or flies to enter your drink.

Here in the  Basque country they serve Pintxos. This means skewered with a toothpick. Mostly toasted breads like baguette with cured ham and lots of different toppings. Some of them a served warm.
The natives here have one with their local white wine as a snack before they go somewhere for a meal.
After our guide finish the 2 hour walk through the old part of Bilbao,we had some free time.  We went back to the Plaza Nove, where a couple of Bars and Restaurants waited for guests.

We took a table and waited, but no one was coming. Then I saw a woman carring a plate and a glass to a table - self service.
I went in and was overwhelmed. 2 huge display cases of food and mountains of sandwiches on the bar. And everything looked good.
If you have a problem to make descicons,  better turn around and run.
I was limited by my two hands and I wanted a beer to go with it. I can only carry two plates in one hand.

I choose a heated kind of albondiga, a meatball with some bloodpudding mixed in sitting on top of quince jam on toasted baguette. With a dollop of beetroot cream on top.

Next was a little glass with a yellowish cream and some chickpeas o  top- a lemony light hummus with a little pickled shallot strips. Delicious.

Next to it the ever present Iberico ham.A lot of tiny bits were mixed into a thin mayonnaise and scooped on top of toasted baguette. The pintxos was a toothpick with shredded cured ham around it.
The last one was an open faced sandwich on wheat bread with thin slices of smoked dried cod and some gro

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Bilbao Hotel Dinner

I arrived here in Bilbao in the afternoon and a short brake at the Occidental Bilbao Hotel went to the Guggenheim Museum for a 2 hour stay.

After the long day the group was ready for dinner. This was a buffet style one at the Hotel.
We are a large group of 47 people, but mostly the commentaries about dinner were positive.

It started with a good choice of salads and veg to choose from. With tuna and egg you could make an Italian salad.

The hot dishes have been Paella, but that was just a huge amount of rice. Tender beef with peas and potatoes, very good. Tuna with tomato topping, to well done for my taste, but most of the group liked it that way.
Very tender strips of squid and fries and two different kinds of veg.

Dessert was a bit disappointing. Just plain yogurt and some fruit mix out of a can and bits of industrial cakes, cut up into bite size pieces.

For the first day, it was good. But I expect better the next days.

At the Guggenheim Museum I had a small rice and almond cake. I was so hungry, I ate halve of it before I took the photo.

Friday, 17 May 2019

Tibits - Swiss Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurant

In my hometown we have the first Swiss Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurant in Germany. Tibits is on the Swiss market now since 2000 and they have 18 Restaurants there. Mostly in the German speaking part of Switzerland, but now two in Lausanne. They opened two Restaurants in London a while ago.

Why are they here in a City with 160.000 people and not in Frankfurt or Berlin? -We have the Headquarter of one of Germany's top organic Supermarket chains near by. And with near by I mean near by. About 2 min by car or 10 min on foot.

They opened up in a new quarter in the City were until the late 90s US troops were stationed.
They build the whole multistory structure with clay, wood and glass. About 500 employees work there. They have their own kindergarten on the premises. It is an open to the public Restaurant but also the Cafeteria for the workforce.

I heard from two of my elderly neighbours that they went there. Both moaned about the ugly wallpaper. But the food was good. The lady would have liked a Schnitzel to go with all the good vegetarian food, but he liked the food as it was.

Today I was off work at noon and decided to give the Restaurant a try on my way home. It was a good crowd sitting inside and several in the outdoor sitting area. I took a plate and went on the prowl. Just scoop what you like on the plate and go to the bar and place the plate on a scale.
You pay per 100 g of food.

I had a scoop of Banana Mango Sweet Potato Curry with coconut milk, a scoop of Lemongrass basmati rice with turmeric, fried eggplants with Harissa and chives - These were all vegan. The forth scoop was homemade spaetzle with thin red apple slices and a very heavy smelling -Swiss mountain cheese melted all over the place.
The eggplants were a bit dry but well seasoned. The vegetarian option with the cheese was great- I love smelly cheeses. The curry and the rice are going into my own repertoire soon.

I will come back on other Fridays when I am off work early. And just 2 min more until you are at home. I have no problem with the wallpaper, I am going to eat there not live there.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Leek, Pineapple and Bacon with Asia Chicken

I bought a huge piece of leek on Saturday. I had to cook it today but had no idea what to do with it.

As often I used the time on the Autobahn back from work to ponder a few options. I had to make a quick grocery stop anyway.
What goes good with leek? Pork, cheese, hmm.  Not today.
There is a party salad with leek and pineapples. Great, but I wanted something hot. Chicken breast meat from the inner thin filets was as an offer today.
Marinating it Asian style and served with leek and pineapples, that sounded good.

The list of ingredients I collected at first on the table was on the meager side. Then I added sauces and spices and got the chicken on the hot side.

recipe for 4:
400g chicken inner filet
80 g  Bacon bits
400 g leek
1/2 can of Pineapple chunks
2 tsp Quatre èpice my own blend
dark sesame oil
1 tbsp soy Sauce
3 tbsp Ketjap Manis
3 tbsp Sriracha
5 tbsp Pineapple juice
Salt and pepper

At first marinate the chicken with spice blend, salt and pepper, sesame oil, ketjap manis and let it sit 20 min.

Chop into discs and wash the leek. In a wide pan brown the bacon bits, when they are nearly done add the leek
 Saute and cover with a lid, that helps to steam it too. After 10 min, add pineapple juice and steam 5 more min
Get it out of the pan into a bowl and cover.
In the same pan stir fry the marinated chicken until done, add the leek and the pineapple chunks and cook through.
Add more seasoning and Sriracha to taste.

Serve with rice.