Daring Bakers December Challenge: Sour Dough & French Country Bread

Our Daring Bakers Host for December 2011 was Jessica of My Recipe Project and she showed us how fun it is to create Sour Dough bread in our own kitchens! She provided us with Sour Dough recipes from Bread Matters by AndrewWhitley as well as delicious recipes to use our Sour Dough bread in from Tonia George’s Things on Toast and Canteen’s Great British Food!

I have made sourgh dough bread before - but mine was made with rye flour (post in German).I liked the idea of making bread myself, especially after I watched a tv documentary about frozen-and-baked at the spot bread and breadrolls wich are used in lots of supermarkets and bakeries nowadays. The big bunch of enzymes used in those goods are not my kind of idea how to achieve good quality bread. So I gladly jumped in back to the roots and just the use of flour, water, salt and time.
There has been a book n my shelv for a while I wanted to bake all the recipes from the beginning to the end - The Bread Bakers Apprentice by Peter Reinhard. I made two ore three recipes but didn't manage to go further. Thanks to this challenge my 'bread sparkle' is back, because the French Country Bread I made was astonishing. I used a ceramic baking plate (last year's christmas present from a friend) which is suppode to produce a really good crust - and it worked!  At first I was a little bit afraid because I had no proofing basket and the dough came out really flat onto that plate, but it got all right in the end.

The second task which came which the challenge was to 'showcase' the baked bread. A lot of ideas came into my mind, recipes I made before. There where French toasts (especially good for leftovers) or 'Arme Ritter' how we call them here. Or 'Strammer Max' which is basically bread covered in ham and fried egg, a popular cheap dish. I remember we eat lots of it during study time, using cheese and ketchup in addition. Old bread is always good for bread & butter pudding - don't throw it away! My favourite dish is 'Schweizer Brotauflauf' - Swiss bread pudding  which is savoury. Here is a similar recipe from epicurious - Savory Bread Pudding with Asparagus, Gruyère, and Fines Herbes.

I wanted something special for my special bread, and I decided for my own version of a famous French dish - Coq au vin. I served the warm dish onto the (dry roasted) bread which made a great christmas meal.

Coq et lapin au vin rouge

What is a graet winter dish especially around christmas time? Something warm with a bunch of spices of course. I had a couple of bottles red wine and some frozen meat into the freezer which were supposed to be put together into a pan. Inspired by dishes like Brunswick Stew (a Daring Cooks Challenge) and a risotto with rabbit and black olives, I decided to create my version of the French classic Coq au vin.

Daring Cooks December Challenge: Char Sui & Char Sui Bao

Our Daring Cooks’ December 2012 hostess is Sara from Belly Rumbles! Sara chose awesome Char Sui Bao as our challenge, where we made the buns, Char Sui, and filling from scratch – delicious!

Char Sui is a Cantonese dish and nothing else than barbecued (pork) meat. Char Sui Bao is a bread bun with a Char Sui filling - Char Sui to go if you like ...

I didn't feel like blogging lately. I guess my annual winter depression (especially because of the lack of light) is around the corner, and my other new (excessive) hobby - knitting - are the two main reasons. My work is exhausting me, and even the joy of cooking and baking isn't enough to compensate. I didn't skip the last challenges because I didn't like them but because I couldn't get myself motivated to stand in the kitchen and concentrate for at least an hour or two.

Today, against all odds like bad time, terrible photo conditions because of the artificial light and another tiring round of overtimes, I found my way to my favourite place (besides the couch) in my appartment. I'm glad I did because now it smells ridiciously good. The buns are just ouf of the oven and I haven't had such a good outcome in a while. The marinade is similar to the one for BBQ chicken I discovered into a cooking book years ago and have used in lot of variations since. Well, I think this one wan't invented by the author of that book, wasn't it? There were lot's of variations given for cooking the meat, but I decided for the oven method (simple & easy). The result was incredible, the meat was soft and tasty (I marinated over 10 hours), and some of it dissappeared somewhere during the filling-preparing process. Must have been the occasionally occuring black hole which crossed my kitchen from time to time (although my man isn't present right now). I think the buns with their soft texture and moist & spicy filling won't last any longer ...

Halloween Special: "Gruselaugen" - Cupcakes

Es ist mal wieder soweit, Halloween steht vor der Tür. Nur mache ich mir überhaupt nichts aus Halloween, denn ich bin der Meinung man muss nicht jeden Feiertag eines anderes Landes übernehmen, nur weil man nicht genug eigene hat ... Kulinarisch sehe ich es natürlich etwas anders, und mir ist jede Gelegenheit recht, neue Rezept auszuprobieren. Als ich nun die Gelegenheit hatte, an gleich zwei Cupcake-Backwettbewerben teilzunehmen, konnte ich nicht widerstehen. Ob ich Lust habe? Aber sicher - nur Zeit ... eher weniger. Gerade weil ich wieder einmal arbeiten musste und erst wieder in letzter Minute darauf stieß. Einmal hatte mich Maria von Ich bin dann mal kurz in der Küche. eingeladen, und auch der nächste BackAthon stand vor der Tür. Also blieb mir nichts anderes übrig, als meinen Lieblingscupcake (Schoki mit Chai) mit einer grusligen Halloween-Dekoration zu kombinieren. Als Frosting musste es unbedingt etwas mir Kürbis sein, denn das passte sowohl zum Motto als auch zur Jahreszeit. Das Karamel konnte ich leider aus Dekorationsgründen nicht so üppig benutzen, aber wer es besonders süß mag, kann seine Cupcakes auch gerne damit füllen.


Daring Bakers October Challenge: Povitica

The Daring Baker’s October 2011 challenge was Povitica, hosted by Jenni of The Gingered Whisk. Povitica is a traditional Eastern European Dessert Bread that is as lovely to look at as it is to eat!

Povitica (pronounced po-va-teet-sa) is traditional Eastern European dessert bread that is traditionally served during the holiday season. It is also known as Nutroll, Potica, Kalachi, Strudia, just to name a few. Family recipes, and the secrets on how to roll the bread so thin, was passed down through generations of families.The traditional filling for this bread is an English walnut filling, but other typical fillings also include apple/cinnamon, apricot preserves, and a sweet cheese (like cream cheese).

Spontaneously I remembered a bread I baked long time ago, during my study time, for a 'Polish evening' with some Polish students. It was a recipe from a Polish cookbook and called "poppy seeds strudel". I guess it was one of the traditional recipes mentioned above - and I liked it a lot. So I started this challenge enthusiasticly - and I went nuts (a little bit). 
I used the half batch recipe and made the first two small loaves for a birthday brunch we had, and filled one with butter, sugar and sinnamon and the other with my favourite selfmade strawberry & lime jam (with a whole glas of the asset of my last ressorts). The second batch I made for a family get-together with coffee and cake, and the fillings were the traditional nut filling (which was prefered by ma sister-in-law) and a poppy seed & curd cheese filling (which was prefered by my brother and my parents). 
I found out that the leftovers were the right thing for my sweet tooth. Slice for slice was wandering into my lunchbox every day ... I think I got addicted and have to make a bunch every week, so thanks for this great recipe!

Daring Cooks October Challenge: Moo Shu Pork

The October Daring Cooks' Challenge was hosted by Shelley of C Mom Cook and her sister Ruth of The Crafts of Mommyhood. They challenged us to bring a taste of the East into our home kitchens by making our own Moo Shu, including thin pancakes, stir fry and sauce. 

"Simply put, Moo Shu is a stir fry, containing thinly sliced or shredded vegetables, meat (traditionally) and scrambled egg. It is usually served on flat, thin, steamed pancakes, and is accompanied by a complementary sauce.

Moo Shu pork (the protein most commonly used in Moo Shu dishes) originates in Northern China (commonly attributed to the Shandong province, though sometimes attributed to Beijing), rising in popularity in Chinese restaurants in the West in the 1960's and 70's. As the dish became more popular, different restaurants adapted the recipe to meet their own styles, or to accommodate for expensive or hard-to find ingredients, so there is a lot of variation among recipes. Common among them, though, is a basis of cabbage and the inclusion of scrambled eggs."

The challenge recipe provided for the Moo Shu filling comes from The Chinese Kitchen by Deh-Ta Hsiung. The pancake recipe comes from the same source, adapted from a variety of online demonstrations. The sauce recipe provided is from epicurian.com.

This is a really great & quick recipe - my pancakes landed in a zipper bag and followed me to work, where they were heated into a microwave oven and eaten with lots of joy. I had some leftovers, which I ate with some rice the day after. 

Buchteln (alias Dampfnudeln) mit Pflaumenmusfüllung

Die Tage werden kürzer, das Wetter stürmischer und kälter, also genau richtig, um drinnen zu bleiben, die dicken Socken hervorzukramen und sich mit warmen Speisen zu verwöhnen. Das folgende Gericht ist einfach perfekt dazu - zwar habe ich es im heißesten Sommer gekocht und fotografiert (bei 28°C mache auch nur ich den Herd an ...), aber beim Anblick läuft mir schon wieder das Wasser im Mund zusammen. Hier in der Region sind Buchteln zwar als Dampfnudeln bekannt - zumindest wies es so immer der Essensplan der Schulspeisung aus - aber es ist die selbe Bezeichnung für eine ursprünglich aus dem Böhmischen stammende Mehlspeise. Mein Rezept ist aus einer Ausgabe der A la Carte "Das süße Wien" - einem Magazin welches ich bei meinem Besuch in Wien unbedingt kaufen musste. Wer sonst, wenn nicht die Wiener, verstehen sich auf solchen Süßkram am besten ... Ich habe noch eine Pflaumenmusfüllung 'ergänzt', aber es geht sicherlich auch jede andere Marmelade, wer möchte kann sie aber auch ganz 'pur' herstellen. Mit dem gemeinen Germknödel, der hier zu Lande in den Supermärkten feilgeboten wird, hat die Buchtel aber nichts zu tun, den der reichhaltige buttrige Teiggeschmack lässt sich gar nicht mit den geschmacklosen Luftschwämmen vergleichen ...

Daring Cooks September Challenge: Berlin Noodle Soup with with marrow quenelles & lye rolls

Peta, of the blog Peta Eats, was our lovely hostess for the Daring Cook‟s September 2011 challenge, “Stock to Soup to Consommé”. We were taught the meaning between the three dishes, how to make a crystal clear Consommé if we so chose to do so, and encouraged to share our own delicious soup recipes!

I have made soups and broths (mainly for risottos) before, but they were simple, easy and quick to make. I'm not really fond of soups as a main dish - I don't know why - so I don't cook them very often. The only one I loved to eat was "Buchstabensuppe" (letter noodle soup) made bey my grandaunt who died three years ago. It was a simple dish, with a broth made from sausages (wiener) and small noodles shaped in letters. Her soup was the best noodle soup I can remember - it reminds me so much of my childhood. So I wanted to taste something similar again, and by accident I found a suitable recipe by one of my favourite German chefs, Kolja Kleeberg. It's a recipe that reminds him of his childhood and a typical/traditional dish of Berlin, our beautiful capital. This soup is made with noodles, a broth of veal, cooked veal meat, parsley and little balls made out of beef marrow, bread and eggs (I learned they are called quenelles). As accompaniment I chose a very German bread/pastry too - lye rolls.
Unfortunately my first attempt to make quenelles went completely wrong and they dissolved themselves instead of getting firm. That ist the reason the soup is not as clear as supposed to be. The bread rolls were easy to make, I skipped topping them with coarse salt because I don't like that either.

National Cupcake BackAthon: Trollheimen Cupcakes & Red velvet cake with summer berries

It's time for another BackAthon - and a premiere: my first double post. The BackAthon's topic was berries. I remembered a cake I found at epicurious and made for our last summer party. It was a red velvet cake with cream cheese topping and filled (and topped) with berries. II really liked this cake and remembered it when I read the topic. I thought red velvet cupcakes would be a nice idea too. They had to be with blueberries, becuase at our summer vacation in Norway we found lots of them along the way, and I still had a huge craving for them. I added some cardamom to the dough - Norwegians like to put this spice into their baked goods and I kind of like that too. The filling uses an ingredient which ist also typical for Norway - rømme (or in my case, creme fraiche). The moment I turned my back to the finished cupcakes, the first one was already gone ...

Daring Cooks August Challange: Appam and Eggplant Curry

Mary, who writes the delicious blog, Mary Mary Culinary was our August Daring Cooks’ host. Mary chose to show us how delicious South Indian cuisine is! She challenged us to make Appam and another South Indian/Sri Lankan dish to go with the warm flat bread.

Next day, next post ... Really sad that I couldn't post this one in time. I love Indian food - and I loved the result from this challenge. It took me lots of time and sweat, because last weekend we had about 28°C in the kitchen - and I went into it and started frying eggplants ... (something I would normally never do - I hate frying, as I mentioned a dozen times before) I enjoyed the curry sauce - the combination of flavours was delicious, would be perfect with meat, fish or other vegetables too. I used the Appams as a wrap, and the rest of the curry ended up into Naan breads. Yummy!

Daring Bakers August Challenge: Candylicious - Milk Chocolate & Hazelnut Pralines and self-made Fudge

The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at http://www.chocoley.com offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!

After (nearly) two weeks with dehydrated food in the Norwegian mountains I'm back home, enjoying fresh ingredients and all the things harvested from my brothers garden. We have lots of cucumber, zucchini and tomatoes.On our way home we were at my parent's annual plum-dumpling dinner and I got some of the remaining fruits. So we had plum cake (recipe from Dorie). Then we got pears from the father of my sister-in-law. So I made pear butter. Then there was the Daring Cooks Challenge for this mounth which I missed. So we had eggplant curry and appams (post will follow). After that it was time for this challenge. Really, my kitchen looked like a mess. Now I am exhausted writing this post, lucky I could assuage my sweet tooth. I decided to make the milk chocolate & hazelnut truffles which looked very appealing and reminded my of Ferrero Rocher which I like. I added some pepper to the truffle mixture - a spicy idea I borrowed from an ice cream recipe of David Lebovitz. As second I chose fudge although it's something I would call my nightmare. I tried svseral times to make a fudge recipe from Trish Deseine's Caramel-book. It never worked out. This time too I had to make another recipe for fudge twice before it worked.

Daring Bakers July Challenge: Matcha and Cherry Frasier (Anne's birthday cake)

Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to make Fresh Frasiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine.

As many times before, I used the challenge to create something for a special occassion. This time, it's a friends birthday I made the fraisier for. And as the cake is supposed to be a suprise, I'm not telling anything until it will have been served on saturday because this particulary friend is reading my blog. I'll give you just a small hint: The flavours are coming from far east, from the country of the cherry blossoms and tea ceremonies.

Right - this was supposed a Japanese Frasier flavoured with matcha and cherries, especially made for my friend Anne's birthday.  For the filling I wanted a subtle and sweet taste, so choose some jasmine tea instaed of the vanilla for the creme anglaise. The ready cake didn't look very pretty  - I omitted the almond paste topping because I thougt it would be to sweet for the matcha, and the fillings did look unpleasantly greyish brown (because of the jasmine tea) but must have tasted really good.
Why do I write 'must have'? Because I didn't get a single crumb of it - the birthday guests were eating faster than I could cut the pieces and some guests even ate more than one ... I am glad it turned out so well - I was a little bit unsure if the combination would work out but it obviouly did. It even tasted better than a second cake I made (which was a delicious red velvet cake with straw- and blueberries and a mascarpone and cream cheese frosting). I guess I have to add frasiers to my birthday cake repertoire - next time maybe a lemon-blueberry one? The pictures I took were mostly made at the party, so the quality isn't that brilliant but they are quite nice shots.

Daring Cooks July Challenge: Homemade Noodles - Tiramisu Ravioli with red fruit jelly

Steph from Stephfood was our Daring Cooks‟ July hostess. Steph challenged us to make homemade noodles without the help of a motorized pasta machine. She provided us with recipes for Spätzle and Fresh Egg Pasta as well as a few delicious sauces to pair our noodles with!

I love pasta, especially filled one like tortellini or ravioli. I could eat it every day - just look at the label 'Risotto und Pasta' and you'll find a lot of recipes. Normally I buy the usual stuff at the store, but sometimes when I'm really in the mood for passionate cooking, I am liberating my pasta machine from the depths of my pantry and make pasta from scratch. I've made lasagne and pappardelle (recipes are in German) and even bought a ravioli mould which I hadn't used before. So I thought a Daring Bakers challenge would be the perfect possibility for trying to make ravioli - sweet ravioli. There are a lot of recipes with chocolate pasta, so why not make chocolate ravioli with a sweet filling; and because I am addicted to coffee and Italian desserts I choose to make a tiramisu filling. As the base for the filling I made a Crème pâtissière (pastry cream) with coffee instead of milk and added the mascarpone cream afterwards. The sauce we had red fruit jelly because it's season for sour cherries and red currants which are a good contrast to the sweet pasta.


Heute ist eine Ausnahme - es ist nicht so drückend heiß wie die letzten Tage. Ok, es ist Sommer und da ist es naturgemäß heiß, aber ich mag es lieber kalt. ehrlich gesagt ich hasse die Hitze und könnte mir etwas besseres vorstellen als mich stundenlang selbst in der Sonne zu grillen. Bei solchem Wetter bleibe ich zu Hause und ... mache Eis - oder genauer gesagt - Sorbet. Einige Rezepte habe ich schon ausprobiert, unter anderem ein Rotwein-Himbeer-Sorbet von David Lebovitz (dem Eiscreme-Papst) oder ein umwerfendes Zitronensorbet von Jamie Oliver, das man auch hervoragend in den ausgehöhlten Zitronenschalen servieren kann. Ein anderes Rezept von ihm wollte ich auch noch ausprobieren, nämlich das Birnensorbet (welches aus dem selben Buch wie das Zitronensorbet -"Genial italienisch"-  stammt). Das Originalrezept (englisch) erschien mir aber ein bißchen fad, und ich erinnerte mich an meine Zeit in Polen, wo ich in der Sommerhitze immer Birnen-Minze-Eistee getrunken habe, nur den gibt es hier in Deutschland nicht. Warum also diesen Geschmack selbst herstellen? Ich hatte kurz vorher Nanaminze im Teeladen gekauft, und die schien mir genau richtig dafür.

Daring Bakers June Challenge: Baklava and Homemade Phyllo dough

Erica of Erica’s Edibles was our host for the Daring Baker’s June challenge. Erica challenged us to be truly DARING by making homemade phyllo dough and then to use that homemade dough to make Baklava.

I paniced a little bit when reading the challenge. This kind of recipe requires a lot of time and patience; things, I don't have lot's of (especially patience). Finally I made it - as always - and daring enough for me I guess. I was suprised as with every challenge that the result was tastier and prettier than I could have imagined. I hardly could stop my boyfriend trying before I took pictures ("No, I didn't take pictures yet. Back off!") This recipe is something to be definitively made again (but only with store-bought dough) ;) !

Daring Cooks June Challenge: Potato Salad - Baked Potato and Pineapple Salad

Jami Sorrento was our June Daring Cooks hostess and she chose to challenge us to celebrate the humble spud by making a delicious and healthy potato salad. The Daring Cooks Potato Salad Challenge was sponsored by the nice people at the United States Potato Board, who awarded prizes to the top 3 most creative and healthy potato salads. A medium-size (5.3 ounce) potato has 110 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, no sodium and includes nearly half your daily value of vitamin C and has more potassium than a banana!

One thing we Germans should know how to make is potato salad - we eat it at every BBQ, summer party and every christmas eve. Every time you order or buy a sausage at a place to eat you can have it with potato salad. Not to speak of 'Schnitzel' or other kinds of fried meat. But normally the salad is boring and made with lots of mayonnaise and pickled cucumber, but not lots of love. The best and really simple potato salad I had was at a traditional Austrian Restaurant in Vienna, the 'Figlmüller'. The serve the most famous 'Wiener Schnitzel' in town with a stunning potato salad with lamb's lettuce and Styrian pumpkin seed oil. So if you are in Vienna, you have to try it!
I posted a potato-salad recipe some time before (it's unfortunately in German), this one is with smoked trout, radish and a dressing of mayonnaise, mustard, honey and dill. For the challenge I wanted to make something really different. If you are a fan of 'toast Hawaii' or Hawaiian pizza, it's your kind of recipe. I personally don't like the mentioned above, but quite liked the salad; and in case of doubt just serve the potatoes separately ;)

Daring Bakers May Challenge: Chocolate Marquise on Meringue

The May 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Emma of CookCraftGrow and Jenny of Purple House Dirt. They chose to challenge everyone to make a Chocolate Marquise. The inspiration for this recipe comes from a dessert they prepared at a restaurant in Seattle.

"When we learned we’d be hosting a Daring Bakers challenge, we knew this was the dessert to share with all the other bakers willing to take it on. Why is this dessert so special? Well, for starters, it’s rare for us to meet anyone who’s even heard of a marquise, much less tasted one. Nobody makes this dessert anymore. I found a recipe for it in a professional pastry curriculum, but I’ve almost never seen it in mainstream cookbooks, and rarely is it written about online (although there seem to be plenty of photographs). We’d better share it if we want to keep it alive.
It’s also a fairly involved dessert, if you make all of the components. Imagine a cube of spicy and creamy chocolate resting on a tuft of something that tastes like burnt marshmallow cream, drizzled with tequila caramel, spicy nuts, and some cacao nibs. Yum. But take away all of those accoutrements, and you have a lot of technique in these recipes, things you may not get to do every day. When was the last time you worked with a frozen mousse? Boiled meringue? A blowtorch?"

Yes, they were right. I have never heard of or seen a recipe for a marquise.It tasted intersting but I had a hard time making it. First, I learned again that it is important to read correctly because there IS a difference between egg yolks and egg whites - which was the reason I had do toss the first attempt away. Second, I still did something wrong. My marquise didn't get solid enough for cutting or any kind of shaping. That's the reason for this lump in the middle of the meringue. Third, the method for making the meringue was quite different but idiot proof. My meringue got creamy, stiff but still fluffy without any problems. If everyone was experiencing the problems I had while making, I do not wonder why nobody makes it anymore ...

Crumb Cake à la Dorie mit Rhabarber und Himbeeren (der perfekte Sonntagskuchen)

Crumb cake - was soll das denn sein?! Na ja, wenn ich es einen Streuselkuchen nennen würde, klänge es nicht mehr so spektakulär und kein Mensch würde diesen Post lesen, denn wie spektakulär kann ein Strueselkuchen schon sein? Sehr sogar! Besonders wenn es sich um ein Rezept von Dorie Greenspan handelt. Da werden in die Streusel schon mal gehackte Nüsse mit eingearbeitet, und der Rührkuchenteig erinnert eher an Bisquit als an einen trockenen Kaffeebegleiter. Der perfekte Sonntagskuchen, wenn es schnell gehen und sowohl Freunde als auch Omas begeistern soll. Könnte ich mir auch gut als Muffins vorstellen.
Meine Variante ist mit Himbeeren und Rhabarber, weil ich diese Kombination verführerisch finde, aber es gehen noch andere (frische oder Tiefkühl-)Früchte. Nur Erdbeeren oder Dosenobst sei zu feucht, schreibt Frau Greenspan, also Finger weg davon!

Daring Cooks May Challenge: Spicy Meat gumbo

Our May hostess, Denise of There’s a Newf in My Soup!, challenged The Daring Cooks to make Gumbo! She provided us with all the recipes we’d need from creole spices, homemade stock and Louisiana white rice, to Drew’s Chicken & Smoked Sausage Gumbo and Seafood Gumbo from My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh. 

Luckily, we where allowed to use any gumbo recipe we had at hand. Although there were really good recipes provided, I grabbed my chance to cook a recipe I wanted to try even more - one by my all-time-favourite Jamie. I bought his book 'Jamie's America' some time ago. It was a little bit disappointing, and only a few of the recipes in it were appealing - one of them the recipe for a spicy meat gumbo. I added some crawfish to it and played a little bit with the spices and the result was amazing. The sauce had a creamy consistency (thanks to the sweet potatoes) and the smoky flavour was overwhelming. I guess my boyfriend loved it like I did because he licked the plate clean again ;)

Roux - Crucial to the gumbo is the roux. According to Besh, there are other thickeners besides flour for making their roux, but only a flour-based roux yields that traditional flavor. As for the fats in a roux, just about anything works. Rendered duck fat, chicken fat, or lard is preferred, but canola oil works nearly as well. Use a 1:1 ratio of flour to fat/oil. Heat the oil first and whisk the flour into the hot oil. This speeds up the process and yields a deep, dark chocolate-colored gumbo. Always add the onions first to the dark roux, holding back the rest of the vegetables until the onion caramelizes. Otherwise, the water in the vegetables will keep the onion from browning and releasing its sweet juices. Chef Link stresses that it’s essential to whisk the roux constantly as it cooks (but not so vigorously that you splatter the roux and burn yourself), because if even a small bit of flour sticks to the pot, it will become spotty, scorch quickly, and burn the entire roux. Also, Link advises against using a wooden spoon to stir the roux, until after the onions are added. A whisk allows the roux to pass through it and reduces the possibility of splashing, as well as getting into the sides of the pan.

Holy Trinity - As a culinary term, Wikipedia tells us the holy trinity originally refers specifically to chopped onions, bell peppers (capsicums), and celery, combined in a rough ratio of 1:2:3 and used as the staple base for much of the cooking in the Cajun and Louisiana Creole regional cuisines of the state of Louisiana, USA. The preparation of classic Cajun/Creole dishes such étouffée, gumbo, and jambalaya all start from the base of this holy trinity. Similar combinations of vegetables are known as mirepoix in French cooking, refogado in Portuguese, soffritto in Italian, and sofrito in Spanish. While a "trinity" may refer to a generic representation of three cornerstone ingredients of a particular national cuisine, a trio of specific ingredients combined together to become essentially flavor bases, much like its original usage within Louisiana cuisine, are also called "trinities". This is often created by sautéing a combination of any three (or at least, the primary three ingredients in a more complex base) aromatic vegetables, condiments, seasonings, herbs, or spices.

Gumbo - Spices

Kartoffel-Blumenkohl-Curry Shahi Style (und mein Jamie-Oliver-Mörser)

 Zu Weihnachten bekam ich von meinem Bruder einen Jamie-Oliver-Mörser geschenkt. Ich hatte ja schon öfter mit dem Erwerb eines großen Mörsers geliebäugelt, den Kauf dann aber immer wieder nach hinten geschoben, es ging ja auch ohne. Meine Freude war groß, obwohl ich ja nicht so ein Freund dieser ganzen Merchandising-Produkte bin. Nur weil ein Name irgendwo drauf steht, kocht man damit nicht automatisch besser, in meinen Augen größtenteils Geldmacherei. Ich könnte mich jetzt noch aufregen, dass Herr Oliver inzwischen schon Parmesan oder fertiges Pesto mit seinem Namen verkauft, wie ich neulich im Jamie Magazin feststellen musste (ok, beim Magazin habe ich mich auch verleiten lassen). Er, der sonst frische Zutaten und Herstellung von Grund auf propagiert. Kein bissiger Kommentar dazu (*auf die Zunge beiß*).

Nun ja, über diesen Mörser kann ich jedenfalls kein bißchen klagen, er ist sehr praktisch - ob kleine Mengen Gewürze oder Kuchenzutaten, alles bekommt er klein. Mein leidliches Problem mit Schokolade hacken oder Nüsse zerkleinern hat sich auch erledigt. Früher habe ich dazu immer eine Tüte und meinen Fleischklopfer benutzt, nur führte dass zur Löcherung der tüte (selbst wenn ich die glatte Seite des Klopfers benutzt habe) und versprühte Nusssplitter in der gesamten Küche. Jetzt kommt alles in eine Tüte und wird im Mörser zerklopft - funktioniert wunderbar. Die Reinigung ist ebenso einfach - mit Wasser ausspülen und auswischen. Ein sehr nützliches Küchenutensil, nur seine Zehen sollte man außer Reichweite halten ...
Gerne mache ich indische Currymischungen damit. Irgendwann hatte ich einmal eine lose Garam masala Mischung gekauft, die ich nun wieder einsetzten kann. Denn frisch geröstet und gemörsert schmecken Gewürzmischungen einfach besser als die ferig gemischten und gemahlenen Varianten. So konnte der Mörser beim folgenden Curry zum Einsatz kommen. Letztens sah nämlich nur noch der Blumenkohl in der Gemüsetheke einigermaßen akzeptabel aus. Nur mag ich die traditionellen deutschen Methoden der Blumenkohlzubereitung nicht, deswegen verwende ich ihn fast nur wenn ich indisch koche. Ich erinnerte mich an unseren letzten Besuch beim Inder in der Neustatdt, wo ich Appetit auf ein vegetarisches Gericht hatte und mich für Shahi Paneer, den typischen indischen Käse in einer würzigen Sahnesoße mit Mandeln, entschied. Ja, richtig gelesen, Rosinen - wo ich die Dinger doch hasse. Es gibt nur wenige Ausnahmen wo ich sie in meinen Gerichten toleriere, und dieses Gericht klang zu verführerisch. Meine Erwartungen wurden nicht enttäuscht, und ich suchte mir ein entsprechendes Rezept aus dem Internet heraus. Paneer selbst herstellen ist mir etwas zu aufwendig, und warum sollte nicht auch normales Gemüse in dieser Soße funktionieren? Zum Glück musste ich nicht einmal den Blumenkohl kochen, denn nach etwas intensiverer Recherche stellte sich heraus, dann dieser sich auch hervorragende im Ofen (zB zusammen mit Kartoffeln garen läßt).


Wer mag Knoblauch? Ich schon. Die Meinungen zu dieser kleinen Knolle gehen aber sehr weit auseinander. Ich kann nicht ohne leben, und so oft wie möglich (wenn es zum Gericht passt) reibe oder hacke ich eine Zehe und werfe sie in den Topf - und das auch, wenn ich am nächsten Tag wieder arbeiten muss. Sonst fehlt dem Essen irgend etwas, und es schmeckt irgendwie fad. Natürlich übertreibe ich es auch nicht gerne, und Rezepte mit mehr als drei Zehen werden in ihrem Knoblauchanteil reduziert. Mit einer Ausnahme: Diese Suppe. Ein Wohlfühlessen für Knoblauchliebhaber an kalten Abende oder kühlen Sommernächten. Die Methode, Knoblauch im Ofen zu garen, funktioniert auch gut in Aufläufen oder bei Ofengemüse. Einfach Zehe mit dem Messerrücken zerdrücken und (mit Schale) unter das Gemüse mischen.

Gefüllte Focaccia-Stangen

Mit gefülltem Brot hatte ich bisher nie richtig Glück - entweder war es zu feucht oder der halbe Inhalt quoll aus dem Endprodukt, ganz zu schweigen von diversen Zusammenrollproblemen. Das einzige Brot, was mir immer gelingt, ist mein Focaccia. Zugegeben, das Rezept aus einer meiner Lieblingszeitschriften ist kein Original mit wahnsinnig viel Öl, sondern eine kleine runde handliche Variante mit verschiedenen Zutaten oben drauf - ich hatte schon Backpflaumen und Mandeln, Zwiebeln und Ziegenkäse (das muss ich auch noch unbedingt posten...) oder Kartoffeln und Thymian als Belag. Einfach Salz und Zucker gab es natürlich auch. Diese Brote sind bei meinen Freunden sehr beliebt, und immer das Erste was alle ist - ob beim Brunch oder beim Grillen. André mag sie sogar so sehr, dass er gerne einmal ein gutes Steak dazwischen legen möchte.
Normalerweise mache ich den Teig in meinem Brotbackautomat - Zutaten rein, anstellen, und wenn es piept, ist der Großteil der Arbeit erledigt. Nach meinem positiven Hefeteig-Erlebnis bei der vorletzten Daring Bakers Challenge (Meringue filled Coffee Cake) wollte ich es genau wissen - kann ich Focaccia-Teig auch nur 'by hand' machen? Dabei wollte ich unbedingt ein gefülltes Brot probieren, denn die herzhafte Variante des Coffee Cake von Audax Artifex mit Oliven, Parmesan und Mortadella tireb mir das Wasser im Mund zusammen. Ich war zuerst etwas skeptisch, ob der Eischnee unter dem Käse so eine gute Idee war, aber wie von Audax geschrieben war die Konsistenz dieser Mischung im fertigen Brot unwiderstehlich, also unbedingt ausprobieren! Die fertigen Stangen waren dann ein sehr schmackhafter Reiseproviant auf unserer Tour in der Sächsischen Schweiz.

Daring Bakers April Challenge: Maple Mousse and (sweet) edible containers

The April 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Evelyne of the blog Cheap Ethnic Eatz. Evelyne chose to challenge everyone to make a maple mousse in an edible container. Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 27th to May 27th at http://thedaringkitchen.com!

After being choosen as a finalist for the savoury was the bar set very high for the Daring Bakers Challenge too. But to my despair all my ideas for sweet edible containers were posted into the forum thread before I could realize them - so I had to say goodbye to chocolate and caramel bowls, and I don't wanted to make an ice or sorbet bowl again. 
There were lots of other creative ideas I never would have thought of, so I would like to share my (five) favourites before showing with what I came up finally.

The Flirty Blog - Pancake Vol-au-vents
Audax Artifex - Sour glazed maple syrup petit fours (he did 9! different versions and I love each one of them)
Anasbageri - Maple red flowers (raspberry tuiles)
Catalina bakes - Cookie egg shells
TxFarmer - Coffee jello (in a flower shape)

My idea was making candy bars because I have bookmarked lots of candy bar recipes recently, including making Twix bars and other sweet treats. I remembered some candy bars I liked to eat when staying in Norway. They are called 'Smash!' and consist of salted corn cores covered with chocolate. I liked the idea of creating a similar bar and used cornflakes with a version of my favourite salted caramel sauce as the base - call it a salty cornflake fudge. This was topped with the maple mousse and covered with chocolate. The remaining mousse was piped into some ice cube moulds from IKEA and covered  just with chocolate (what made really nice pralines). Thanks to my dear friend André I could use my new praline set  with a special rack and forks for that (this was a great birthday present indeed).

My brother- and sister-in-law were my guinea pigs this time and they loved those sweet treats. They dind't taste like 'Smash!' but this melting symphony of sweet & salty in your mouth was irresistable. The only downside was the calorie content ...
I had rarely used maple sirup before - the only recipes I did were in combination with walnuts like those muffins (should make them again soon) or donuts. The mousse was fabulous and really easy to make, so I think about making a swiss roll with walnut sponge cake and maple mousse filling. Maybe a maple ice cream with roasted walnuts wouldn't be bad either ;)

Maple Mousse Candy Bars

Daring Cooks April Challenge: Edible Containers - Lime & Mint Sorbet bowls and Pasta Cannoli

I'm late again this month and I apologize for that, but this time it's not about bad time managment but nasty visitors. I catched a stomach flu at work and was battling agains fever, chills and nausea the last two days. Not to speak of a big antipathy of food of all kinds - I even couldn't stand the taste and smell of my toothpaste. So I hope you don't mind me sharing late ...

Renata of Testado, Provado & Aprovado! was our Daring Cooks’ April 2011 hostess. Renata challenged us to think “outside the plate” and create our own edible containers! Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 17th to May 16th at http://thedaringkitchen.com!

The  challenge was to make edible containers of all kind, so I went a little bit nuts.There were lots of suggestions, from bread bowls to noodle salad bowls and other nice things. The idea of fresh food, salsa and smoked salmon had been haunting my mind for a while and I tried to find a edible container suitiable for that dish. Than I had a look at my ice cream machine - and I thought 'I guess you can make bowls from sorbet too'. I used my silicone muffin moulds and some plastic drinking cups (the ones you can buy for parties) which I cut  to a height of about 4 cm and used as my second mould.

Daring Bakers March Challenge: Meringue filled Coffee Cake

The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.
Recipe Source: Jamie found this recipe on a piece of yellowed paper in her dad’s collection of clipped out and hand-written recipes from the 1970’s, no source, no date, and she tried the recipe and it was brilliant!

This time, the Daring Bakers helped me to oversome one of my worst fears:  Making yeast dough without my bread machine and with fresh yeast. I usually use dried yeast and my bread mashine when making that kind of dough because otherawise I made the experience that it turns into a non-rising lumpy disaster. I have to confess I acidentally bought the fresh yeast (because I thougt we had to use them), and as I found out I didn't need to I decided to be really daring and started an adventure for me: yeast dough, handmade - and it worked! What I found out: Make sure your yeast ist dissolved completely. Use a wooden spoon and your hands, and knead until the dough feels 'good' (I guess the times before I just didn't knead long enough). With that sense of achievment in mind, I eventually will repeat skipping the bread machine part ;)

For the fillings, I decided to use some dark orange-flavoured chocolate I got as a present (don't like to eat this kind of chocolate pure) and thought a combination with pine nuts would give it an Italian touch (filling I). The other filling was supposed to be a 'real coffee cake filling' with coffee beans and coffee meringue (I just LOVE the combination of chocolate and coffee). Both turned out fine, but I liked the second one better - of course ;) This cake is really genius and versatile, and I'll try some other combinations soon, maybe with jam or fruits (and maybe some savoury ones), so a bit thank you for sharing this recipe!

Note: I had some problems with the meringue leaking out of the cuts because it dind't get stiff enough, so make sure yours does. It doesn't have an influence on the taste, but it does look a little bit nasty ...
When making the dough, you have to add a little bit more fluid that given in the recipe, so add about one tablespoon water extra.

Geburtstagsbrunch Nr 2 und eine schwergewichtige Überraschung

An einem Sonntag  im März war es wieder einmal soweit: Mein jährlicher Geburtstagsbrunch stand an, eine Veranstaltung, die wohl Tradition werden wird (so hoffe ich). Nicht nur weil die Zeiten für Kleinkind-Eltern freundlicher sind, sondern auch weil Brunchen meiner Meinung nach die beste und genüßlichste (gibt es das Wort überhaupt?) Form des Essensverzehrs ist. Angelehnt zum letzten Jahr war der Tisch wieder reichlich gedeckt, und nachdem ich den ganzen Sonnabend in der Küche stand um alles vorzubereiten stand für meine Gäste alles bereit, und zwar:
  • Erdnussbutter-Brownies (nach einem Rezept von Dorie Greenspan)
  • Tiramisu-Torte (Reste vom Familien-Geburtstags-Kaffetrinken vom Vortag), ebenfalls ein Dorie-Rezept
  • Panzanella (ein ital. Salat mit Tomaten, Rezept nach Jamie Oliver, ähnlich zu diesem hier)
  • Oliven-Baguette vom Bio-Bäcker
  • ein Hokkaido-Milchzopf
  • indisches Jalafrezi-Curry mit Hühnchen
  • Brokkoli-Tomaten-Schinken-Quiche mit Sbrinz (herzhafter Schweizer, Parmesan-ähnlicher Käse von der Feinschmecker-Messe) 
  • Focaccias (nach einem Rezept aus der 'Lust auf Genuss', die sind immer zuerst weg ...)

Außerdem noch:
  • Eiersalat (von meiner Kollegin Ariane)
  • Früchte-Mascarpone-Creme (von Annelie)
Von diesen Leckereien war leider nach Ende des Brunches auch nicht mehr viel übrig.

Das Highlight für mich war die Terrine de Campagne von Patrick, stilvoll in einer Staub-Terrineform zubereitet, die gleichzeitig mein Geschenk war. Die Form ein echter Zehenkiller (wenn sie da mal drauffallen sollte), aber qualitativ das Höchste, was man in Sachen Terrinenform käuflich erstehen kann. Bisher hatte ich meine Terrinen immer in einer Porzellan-Form von Asa zubereitet, die war nicht schlecht, aber eben nicht das Beste ... Die Terrine war wie immer geschmacklich der Himmel auf Erden, aber ist für viele aufgrund der etwas ausgefalleneren Zutaten abschreckend.  Deswegen teile ich hier mal ein abgewandeltes Rezept für eine Bauernterrine, die ebenfalls gut und auch nicht aufwendig herzustellen ist.

Daring Cooks March Challenge: Peruvian Food - Fish Ceviche

Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja was our Daring Cooks’ March 2011 hostess. Kathlyn challenged us to make two classic Peruvian dishes: Ceviche de Pescado from “Peruvian Cooking – Basic Recipes” by Annik Franco Barreau. And Papas Rellenas adapted from a home recipe by Kathlyn’s Spanish teacher, Mayra.

I've never cooked Peruvian food before, and every recipe sounded really tasty. I finally decided to make the Ceviche recipe, because I hate frying and don't wanted the smell of hot oil into my kitchen and clothes again.  I would have liked to cook more, but when you are reading this, I'm already skiing the white snow-covered mountains near Lillehammer/Norway. While writing and cooking, I am busy packing my stuff and preparing for departure, so there is little time left for other things right now. The taste was interesting, but not really my favourite one; but I guess I have to repeat it with fresh corn, cilantro and better fish ...


Letztens stöberte ich mal wieder bei Epicurious auf der Suche nach einem Rezept für etwas Süßes und stieß dabei auf Brownies.Ich hatte ja schon einige Rezepte für Brownies ausprobiert und fand sie nicht schlecht, aber irgendwie zu trocken. Allerdings stieß ich auf ein Rezept für Brownies mit Kaffee, und da konnt ich nicht widerstehen genauer hinzusehen. Das Rezept war wie öfters (da aus dem Magazin Bon Appétit) etwas abgehoben. Der Kaffee sollte unbedingt Jamaica Blue Mountain sein (eine der teuersten Kaffeesorten überhaupt), und in die Brownies sollten noch Pecanüsse sowie darauf kandierter Ingwer, nicht gerade mein Geschmack. Also habe ich ein bißchen überlegt, umgerechnet, selbstverständlich wie immer den Zuckergehalt um ein Drittel reduziert und violá, fertig waren meine Schoko-Kaffee-Brownies.

Daring Bakers Challenge: Panna cotta with Elderberry Gelée & Florentine Cookies

The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.

I love panna cotta. Every time we eat at Vapiano, I have to have one of theirs for dessert. I made some variations myself, even as cake (a recipe from Aran of Cannelle et Vanille, published at Design Sponge). So I was glad to have the opportunity to make one again, eager to add a tonka bean (which I hat only used once before) as flavouring agent. But what to choose as topping? A time ago I had bought elderberry juice which was originally thought to top an apple mousse (as gelee). I didn't make the mousse, but wasn't elderberry gelee a delicious topping for panna cotta to? I bet!