Fridays with Beatrice: Banana, Chocolate and Hazelnut Muffins

I confess: It's not friday. It's the last day of the year, and I feel obliged to post one more time this year. To be honest - those muffins were baked over a week ago; and I took several pictures of our christmas dinner or the cookies I baked. But when it comes to posting I just stare at the display and feel empty - it's not just my blog, all my other internet activities have decreased. I am kind of hibernating I would say.

So I am glad Lena is kind to adhere herself to my (pregnancy related) dietary restriction too - she chose something sweet again, banana, chocolate and hazelnut muffins. Normally I am not a friend of baked goods containing mashed bananas because I think they start to smell kind musty of after a day. But this recipe was different, and the muffins didn't survive to that smelly point. We ate some right from the oven - couldn't resist the soft inside and kind of crispy outside. So if I ever want to make banana muffins again, this is the recipe - forget the rest!
Roundup: THE banana muffin recipe.

Fridays with Beatrice: Millet, oat and apple muffins

This time it was my turn to choose a recipe again, and because I'm limited right now concerning ingredients, I picked a plain & simple muffins recipe. Unfortunately nearly all the recipes I'd like to cook in this book contain ingredients I should'nt eat at the moment, like peas, lentils or cabbage-like vegetables ...

Like Lena said in her post, the muffins didn't taste anything special. I liked the idea of using tahini instead of just oil or just butter; and I think I could taste a hint of that when eating the muffins. Because of the tahini and the millet flour they had a very nutty taste. My muffins were moist (just how I like them), but just because I may have used a little bit more apples than recommended. Unfortunately you couldn't taste the apples (which were handplucked from a tree in the garden of my hubby's grandparents). At least the muffins were really satiably, so if I would have children in school age and wanted to provide them with a healthy snack, this muffin would definitively be my choice.

Roundup: Healthy satiable snack for in between, but no fancy or extraordinary treat I would serve at the coffee table.

Fridays with Beatrice: Buttermilk, lemon and poppy seed quinoa pancakes

Due to some issues it's already tuesday before I could post about this delicious recipe. I've been sitting into dark rooms (attending an ultrasound training course) during the last days including the weekend and now have to keep up with things I would have been doing at this time normally. Because of my 'condition' I feel constantly tired after a usual working day now so I'm glad I am able to maintain the weekend cooking (and sometimes baking). During the week I have to eat at work, I really don't like the meals at the cafeteria and am already tired of them, so those pancakes Lena chose were a welcomed change. (By the way, check out Lena's new blog - I am really jealous - in a nice way - about the design and her passion about blogging and the constant improvements at her blog and would really like to change mine that way too. Unfortunately my day 'left' has only four hours ...)

Funnily, this time I had 'bookmarked' this recipe too. There were several reasons: First, I like thick fluffy pancakes, especially when they are made with buttermilk. Second, I love lemons. Third, I love the combination of lemon and poppy seed. There is a cake recipe by Jamie Oliver (passed down from his granny) containing lemin and poppy seeds; I made this cake maybe a dozen times and I love it. You can find the recipe here. Those pancakes are even a little bit more sophisticated than the cake. They are made with rice and quinoa flour and quinoa flakes, which I had not at hand, so I used a little bit more flour. Unfortunately they therefore turned out a little bit dry, which we could 'compensate' with more spread on top - we had them with jam and caramel cream. They were very satiable so I wasn't able to eat more than three (which was a pity).

Roundup: If you find 'usual' pancakes boring, try those - and if you like lemon (like me), they are a must!

Fridays with Beatrice: Oeufs en cocotte with leeks, spinach and smoked salmon

This week, Lena and me 'pimped' the usual breakfast egg. As ususal, it was a recipe I totally missed while skipping through the pages. I love eggs (in all kinds) too, especially when the yolk is still runny ... At the moment I shouldn't eggs like that, but there are some things I can't resist. 
The egg is cooked in a waterbath  surrounded with flavours from leek, smoked salmon and spinach, a great combination for my taste anyway.

I didn't have a small and deep glass jar for layering all the ingredients like proposed, so I spread them thinnly into a Crème brûlée mould which worked fine too. I have to admit that I omitted the leek (just used some spring onions) just because right now I have to avoid food that causes flatulence.
Nevertheless the dish was a success - I barely got to taste a bite because everthing dissappeared into someones else's belly. We are having brunch on sunday with some friends, and I really think about making some oeufs into a cocotte of bread 'baskets' baked into a muffin tin ...

Roundup: If you want to spoil yourself for breakfast, this is a must-do. Otherwise a fast and healthy dish in between. My new favourite recipe I would say.

Daring Cooks October Challenge: Brazilian Feijoada

Rachel Dana was our October 2012 Daring Cooks' Challenge hostess! Rachel brought Brazil into our lives by challenging us to make Feijoada and Farofa along with some other yummy side dishes traditionally served with Feijoada, which is a delicious black bean and pork stew.

"Hi! I’m Rachel Dana, a non-blogging member. I’m an American who has been living and cooking in Belo Horizonte, Brazil for the past 6 years. For this month’s challenge I wanted to share a traditional Brazilian meal that I believe will be possible to make anywhere in the world, so I chose Feijoada. And not only a feijoada stew, a feijoada meal, so get ready to get into the collard greens, farofa, vinagrete, and some other fun things as well. If the plate isn’t overflowing with food, it would just be inappropriate.
Feijoada is a famous Brazilian black bean stew filled with meat, mostly pork parts. A really traditional feijoada will have pig ears, feet, nose…this originated with slaves and what was left for them to cook with."

It was a little difficult for me this month - first problem was getting the ingredients, second problem was that I do not like beans.. Maybe it's just a side effect of my pregnancy, but the imagination of a stew with lots of pork meat in it was not really attractive. But I was curious to try a Brazilian dish so I changed the meat to chicken (mainly). I could only get hold of black beans in cans, so I was able to make a really quick feijoada. Instead of the collard greens for the feijoada meal I made spinach; and I also skipped making the Brazilian whit rice. The original recipe (with the pork feijoada, white rice and collard greens) can be found here.

Fridays with Beatrice - Chocolate and plum almond cake

This time Lena chose this fabulous cake. I love plums, especially in combination with cinnamon, so I was eager to bake it. I wasn't sure about the chocolate flavour together with the plums, especially because the recipe suggests chocolate with 60% cocoa but it turned out to be fine. 
This time I sticked 100% percent to the recipe for a very simple reason - I had all ingredients availiable. The cake is baked with almond and amaranth flour instead of wheat flour. The texture feels therefore softer and lighter (for my taste). The plums are cooked with butter, sugar and cinnamon before added to the cake and to be honest - I could have eaten them right away from the pan and just a few would have made it into the cake. Bea suggests you can use other fruits for example nectarines too, but trust me, the one with plums will blow you away. Unfortunately the cake was mostly gone before I could eat it because someone else in this household though it was delicious ...

Roundup: Light and soft cake with a delicious flavour combination. A recipe which has to be added to the basic repertoire of baking recipes.

Daring Bakers September Challenge - Empanada (with baked apples)

Patri of the blog, Asi Son Los Cosas, was our September 2012 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she decided to tempt us with one of her family’s favorite recipes for Empanadas! We were given two dough recipes to choose from and encouraged to fill our Empanadas as creatively as we wished!

I can't believe it's already october - and that I'm posting a challenge so late ... But after my two-week 'summer' vacation in september (and all the preparing that comes with a hikig trip), days with lots of work and another lucky condition I'm it I just feel tired. My energy level has been very low during the last months and it costs me a lot of effort to stand in my kitchen for a longer time and prepare food. 
Normally I cook dinner at home, but lately I eat at work because of my overwhelming hunger attacks at noon. Also I have to stick to a bunch of food restrictions (nothing smoked or raw, soft cheese, alcohol) so I feel a little bit limited in my cooking too. I guess some of you know what I'm talking about right now. 
So I feel pity I'll maybe miss my favourite season of the year. The story of Patri about her grandmother's kitchen in Portugal inspired me (I could literally smell the flavours coming from that kitchen), and I rembered my favourite smell of fall - warm/baked apples. Usually I would make a cake with apples in fall but as we were allowed to use a sweet filling for our empanada too, I chose to make a baked apple filling. Baked apples are something mostly eaten around christmas time, but I have a really bad craving for them right now (made even some for a BBQ yesterday). The filling is my own creation I usually use for the baked apples, but which also makes a nice layer of an empanada.

Fridays with Beatrice - Apricot tartlets with honey and olive oil

It was my time to chose again, and I decided for something sweet. I hadn't made a tarte in a while, so I wanted to give it another try. This recipe sounded interesting, and as I had the luck tu get some goog quality apricots, it should be this one. My biggest fear is always the crust, especially when it comes to rolling out and transferring the dough without it falling apart. I was a little bit sceptical about the flour and olive oil combination. I finally got some quinoa and amaranth flour so I can try the gluten-free stuff, but unfortunately I am still searching for xantham gum; so I had to replace some flour (in this case millet) with some all purpose flour. Rolling and transferring was easy this time. The sugar-almond-lime mixture you put on the crust before adding the fruit was new and suprisingly enhancing the taste of the fruits. I recommend  using the red currants as supposed in the recipe, they go really well with the apricot flavour. The only thing I dind't like at the finishet tartelet was the strong olive oil flavour coming throuch every bite - maybe that's just my opinion, it took a long time before I could get used to olive oil and its flavour and started using it into my kitchen...

Lena had her troubles too (which started with buying apricots) -  I think apricots and red currants taste great 'cooked through' in this case but I missed a special something about this recipe.

Roundup: Nice flavour- and fruit combination, but next time I'd prefer another crust.

Daring Bakers August Challenge: Filled Pate au Choux Swans

Kat of The Bobwhites was our August 2012 Daring Baker hostess who inspired us to have fun in creating pate a choux shapes, filled with crème patisserie or Chantilly cream. We were encouraged to create swans or any shape we wanted and to go crazy with filling flavors allowing our creativity to go wild!

Today I'm just leaving a small note: I haven't been in the mood lately for some kind of baking or cooking, that's the reason I skipped the last month's challenges. My thoughts got distracted lately by something (or better someone) else ...
The swans were easy (as promised) and it was a quick challenge - so you should really give it a try (like Kat says).

Fridays with Beatrice: Cheese gougéres

This week, Lena suprised me again. Somehow she always picks recipes I seem to miss while choosing my favourites; and they alway turn out great. She decided for the cheese gougéres, a savoury paté choux variation with lots of cheese. As I didn't have parsley at hand, I used some fresh sage instead. The flavour and consistency were great. They were puffy and moist at the same time, and my boyfried who loves cheese bread rolls was really satisfied with this 'poshy' version. I put them on the table as a snack and they dissappeared within a short period (I warn you, they are addictive...). I would like to make a version with cheddar and chive next time ...

 My only mistake - putting too much cheese on top of the gourgére which makes them fall together in the middle after baking. I had the idea of making them a snack when trekking next month (since I bought my vacuum-sealer last mounth I try to vaccum everything) - but I think they are too moist, and because of the eggs in the dough they can't be preserved. What a pity!

Roundup: Better than any potato chips or other savoury snacks you've tasted before. Great for cheese lovers. Another remarkable recipe.

Daring Cooks August Challenge: Cornmeal (Pancakes)

Rachael of pizzarossa was our August 2012 Daring Cook hostess and she challenged us to broaden our knowledge of cornmeal! Rachael provided us with some amazing recipes and encouraged us to hung down other cornmeal recipes that we’d never tried before – opening our eyes to literally 100s of cuisines and 1000s of new-to-us recipes!

To be honest, I'm not a fan of cornmeal. I've tried some recipes before, also with polenta (like this apple cake) but I didn't find it compelling. It always had a kind of 'raw' taste and left the impression of eating sand behind. There are some products made of cornmeal I like - for example tacos or french fries made out of cornmeal. So I gave it a try and chose one of the recipes given at the end  - lemon cornmeal pancakes - I love lemon, so this couldn't be a wrong choice I though. I was right. I loved the sponge-like consistency, the lemon flavour and the mixture of all-purpose and cornmeal flour which makes the pancakes a satiable dish. Instead of using blueberries and maple syrup I stacked them together with raspberry jam (in Germany, we usually eat pancakes with jam, sugar or apple sauce) becaus I love the lemon-raspberry-combination.

Fridays with Beatrice - Tartine with slow-roasted tomatoes and coriander-flavoured carrot and zucchini tartlets

This friday, we had a two course-meal from the book, and I loved it. Lena chose the Tartine with slow-roasted tomatoes and prosciutto from page 87 and the coriander-flavoured carrot and zucchini tartlets with manchego cheese (a recipe I marked myself) from page 114.
As I have no possibility to buy amaranth or quinoa flour here, I had to improvise an alternative tartlet dough. I used all-purpose flour in combination with millet and hazelnut flour and was satisfied with the result (could have used a little less butter). The filling a good vegetarian alernative and a good way to get rid of some more zucchini. I wished only I could have tasted more of the manchego cheese (which is laid out at the bottom before adding the filling). I made one large tart instead of tartelets and we had a slice lukewarm which was really good.

 The tartine wowed me even more. I love goat cheese, and those slow-roasted (tarragon-flavoured) tomatoes and the prosciutto made a heavenly combination. I do use tarragon seldomly and was suprised it suits well with the tomato flavour. 

Roundup: Carrot and zucchini are a fine pair on top of a tarte - next time I have a vegetarian visiting for lunch or dinner, this is a must. The tartines are a much better variation of the cheese-and-ham-baked-in-the-oven toast - and those slow-roasted tomatoes will be a nice topping for my next focaccia or pasta dish.

Fridays with Beatrice: Basil-flavoured zucchini and Comté muffins

This time, it was my turn again. I have been waiting long to propose this recipe, but now there is zucchini season, it was just right. I love savoury muffins - long time ago I made pizza-style ones which were great, but after that I didn't find recipes that seemed healthy enough (containing just loads of cheese or bacon). This recipe is a gluten-free one, but as I had no amaranth flour, I hat to use wheat flour. For grating the zucchini I used my microplane grate which gave a great result. Unfortunately I couldn't find Comté, so I used Emmentaler.
My brother promised me some fresh zucchini from his garden - and I was given four huge 'things' (two yellow and two green zucchinis), each weighing about 800 to 1000 g. As I only need 300g for this recipe, I guess there will bei made a lot more batches of those muffins during the next days.
The muffins were really moist (as they are supposed to be) and had a nutty taste (thanks to the hazelnuts and the millet flour). As Lena states in her post, there is some salt missing - I used about a teaspoon but that wasn't enough. I think that is the reason the intensity of the basil and cheese flavour was low. Maybe a more aromatic (and saltier) ham like Pancetta could solve that problem - I will try that with the next batch. The nuts were a nice addition, but are not really necessary for my taste.
As the muffins came out of the oven, I was quite hungry. So I ate three of them before they were cooled. Afterwards I was stuffed - in a good way ;-)
Roundup: Savoury muffin with potential, especially for a regular brunch snack.

Fridays with Beatrice: Rice Pudding with Strawberries stewed in Lemongrass and Lime

This time, you are lucky. Lena chose her favourite recipe of the book and is sharing the recipe too. It's something sweet with fruits of the season - strawberries. They are cooked with lime and lemongrass and used as a topping for rice pudding (something I would translate to German as 'Milchreis' in this case). The rice pudding is flavoured with ginger and lemongrass, an idea I really like. Usually we serve rice pudding plain with cinnamon and sugar, which can be boring. 

 I have used the combination of lime and strawberries before - really good for jam or a cake . I was excited how some additional lemongrass would work. When cooking I had to think about a friend of mine who - after beeing pregnant - coulnd't stand ginger or lemongrass anymore. What a pity!
Making the rice pudding and the strawberry 'compote' was easy. I minced the lemongrass in my mortar and added some organic carob gum to the compote for a thicker consistency.
Beatrice says the dish is best when eaten lukewarm, but I had it at work cold from the fridge and it was delicious -especially with this hot and humid weather at the moment. The lime and lemongrass are enhancing the fresh flavour and I can imagine using it as a base for an ice cream.

Roundup:  Flavour explosion in your mouth. Perfect summer dish. Can be eaten as dessert or dinner.

Foodie Month: June 2012

This month, I have been busier again. I recognised I like to cook things from the current Jamie Magazine Issues and 'reinvent' older recipes I cooked before. 

Diesen Monat war ich wieder etwas fleißiger - im Moment koche ich am liebsten Rezepte ause den aktuellen Jamie Magazinen oder 'erfinde' alte Rezepte neu.

Magazine Mondays

Pasta Rodeo - recipe from 'LECKER Trattoria' (original by Vapiano)

Pappardelle with Oxtail sauce - inspired by a recipe from the German Jamie Magazine  (Issue 3, May/June 2012)

Baking Tuesdays

Raspberry Muesli Buns - Baking Tuesdays - recipe adapted from the Jamie Magazine (Issue 27 March/April 2012) - post about my version will follow

Daring Bakers June Challenge: Battenberg Cake

Mandy of What The Fruitcake?! came to our rescue last minute to present us with the Battenberg Cake challenge! She highlighted Mary Berry’s techniques and recipes to allow us to create this unique little cake with ease.

"This cake has far grander beginnings than tea with teddy. It was actually created as a wedding cake for royalty. The first Battenberg cake was made to celebrate the marriage of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter, Princess Victoria, to husband Prince Louis of Battenberg. It’s traditionally flavoured with almond and has the signature Battenberg markings, that is, the yellow and pink squares (said to represent the four princes of Battenberg). The strips of sponge are glued together using jam (normally apricot) and the whole cake is covered in marzipan. Sometimes the edges are crimped and the top is patterned with a knife."

I chose a recipe given in the challenge PDF - the Coffee and Walnut Battenberg. The principle how you do this is easy - bake the sponge, 'glue' it together with the coffee buttercream and cover with marzipan. Mandy provides lots of pictures how to do it right (just have a look at her blog) and even recipes for modelling chocolate if you don't like marzipan. I was in a hurry to get done with this, and marzipan was the fastest thing of all (otherwise I would have tried to use white modelling chocolate). 
As I didn't have a special Battenberg tin, I baked two flat rectangle cake sponges, cut them into eight cubic stripes each and assembled 'four in one'. It looked really nice but boy - there were loads of sugar and calories on that plate in the end ...

Mango-Erdbeer Sorbet am Stiel [Mango-Strawberry Sorbet Ice Pops]

Da hier hochsommerliche Temperaturen herrschen (ok, heute nun mal gerade nicht), gibt es etwas Erfrischendes für alle Eisliebhaber. Die Idee warein Sorbet aus Mangos und Erdbeeren herzustellen. Normalerweise mache ich einen Shake oder einen Fruchtsalat aus frischen Früchten, aber das war mir bei dieser Wetterlage nicht kalt genug. Anstatt das Fruchtpüree gleich in die Eisförmchen zu füllen, habe ich meinen (schon vor ewigen Zeiten hergestellten) Invertzuckersirup hervorgekramt, um dem Ganzen eine weiche Konsistenz zu verleihen und zum Titel Sorbet zu verhelfen. Normalerweise wird für ein Sorbet erst ein Zuckersirup gekocht, aber wer möchte schon bei 30°C den Herd anstellen?! Den Zuckersirup empfehle ich also besser im Winter herzustellen, da er sich lange hält. Der Aufwand ist etwas größer, aber im Prinzip macht die Industrie genau dasselbe mit den fertigen Eispulver-Mischungen (einfach mal auf die Zutatenliste schauen). Für das Sorbet selbst braucht man nicht einmal eine  Eismaschine. Das Ganze kann auch in eine große Auflaufform gefüllt, aller 2-3 Stunden aus dem Gefrierfach geholt und mit einer Gabel 'aufgelockert' werden, prinzipiell kann man das Sorbet aber auch gleich in die Stieleisformen füllen. 

[for English version, scroll down]

Fridays with Beatrice: Hachis parmentier with chicken, lime & coriander

This time it was my turn to choose. As I love all things baked in the oven with cheese on top, it had to be the Hachis parmentier. Usually this is a leftover dish, made with beef (the French version of 'Shepards Pie'). In this recipe it's made with chicken and an Asian twist by using lime, coconut milk and coriander. I love coriander and lime with chicken (used this combination for curries before) so I was curious how it would taste topped with potatoes and baked. 
I guess I should have used less milk because my potato layer was really slurry what I didn't like that much. I made the hachis in a terrine mould, and the final meal 'melted' onto our plates - not really nice for the eyes. The taste was not disturbed by that, I wished the chicken layer would have tasted a little bit stronger. Robert liked it anyway, he ate the whole rest out of the mould which you always can take as a compliment.

Roundup: The consistency was too slurry. The flavour combination lime-coriander-cocnut was good and should be tried with beef again. As Lena stated in her post, beef would have been better - I agree with that.

The Daring Cooks June Challenge: Cannelloni with radiccio and pancetta filling

Manu from Manu’s Menu was our Daring Cooks lovely June hostess and has challenged us to make traditional Italian cannelloni from scratch! We were taught how to make the pasta, filling, and sauces shared with us from her own and her family’s treasured recipes!

I am too late this month, but neverthless I will share the recipe I made for this month's challenge. I've made pasta from scratch before, and I know it's taste is unbeatable compared to store-bought one. But making the dough takes time, something I didn't have so much during the last weeks. I preferred to sit on my couch and to knit to be honest. I didn't have the energy to crouch into my cabinet, fishing for the pasta mashine on the top shelf and (much worse) cleaning it afterwards. Until I remembered I had this pancetta in my freezer and this radicchio into my fridge. I bough the radicchio about a week ago in an attempt of making something with an ingredient which I didn't use before. The thing was near to expiration date (looking at it), and I didn't wanted to throw away (I hate to cast away groceries). So I fought my inner couch potato and got cooking. The original combination of radicchio and pancetta goes with Taleggio which isn't availiable here, so I used Provolone (which I added to the bechamel sauce too). Iit's really easier to make cannelloni this way (with fresh dough instead using the store-bought ones - I found them more difficult to fill and you need to cook them before using (which you can omit when using fresh dough as I found out).  So thanks again daring Cooks for challenging me - I killed two birds with a stone this time - using radicchio and making delicious cannelloni from scratch.

Fridays with Beatrice: Apple, Rhubarb & Strawberry Nutty Crumble

This time, Lena and me chose a sweet recipe. I love crumbles and made one of Bea's Crumbles before, a dish which always finds the way to my brunch table (and which is always gone first). So I was expecting nothing more than a divine combination of flavours and consistencies coming together in my mouth, and I was not dissappointed. There was a little bit scepticism about the gluten-free crumble but I was suprised to find myself thinking "this is even better than the normal one". I had the feeling they were more saturating and had an even nuttier taste. It was the FIRST TIME EVER I made a gluten-free dinner on purpose (before there was only a  Daring Bakers Challenge and a failed chocolate cake). 

I used millet flour (couldn't get hold of amaranth flour) and served the crumble with vanilla sauce (right, not gluten-free ...), because no crumble ever in this kitchen has been served without vanilla sauce - we both love vanilla sauce! Don't want to imagine what would happen if we would have had vanilla ice cream in the freezer .. I guess I used too much orange zest (used the zest of a large orange) because there was a little bit to much of this aroma for my taste.

Roundup: Perfect, crumble heaven so to say, despite (or just because!) of gluten-free crumbles. If I would have to rate it on a scale from one to ten, I'd give it an eleven ... plus!
Thanks to Lena for choosing this recipe because I didn't mark it myself - and would have missed something very tasty.

Daring Bakers May Challenge: Honey & Apple Challah

May’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge was pretty twisted – Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to make challah! Using recipes from all over, and tips from “A Taste of Challah,” by Tamar Ansh, she encouraged us to bake beautifully braided breads.

You won't get anything special this month, because I used a already-exsisting recipe. I made exactly the same recipe some time ago when we visited my mother-in-law, and I remembered it instantly when I read the challenge. Despite of some minor changes, I kept to the recipe; and the tutorial which comes with it is really good, so I don't want to post it again (because I coulnd't have done better). It's from one of my favourite food blogs Smitten kitchen written by the ingenious Deb Perelman. She has got  a cooking book in the line (coming out soon) which I will definitively buy.
This time, I got a really soft and tasty dough (thanks to my changes I guess) compared to the last one I made. 

Honey & Apple Challah

My changes:
  • added 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin spice mix (cinnamon and apples go really well together)
  • used apple compote instead of the fresh apples and mixed it into the dough prior to rising

Foodie Month: May 2012

As I predicted, I got lazy really soon ... I nearly missed my goal for this month because all my weekends were crowded with work or events like a baptism, a congress or family matters; and the days in between were blurred by more work. So this are the results:

Magazine Mondays

Guiness & raspberry brownies (from the Jamie Magazine Issue March/April 2012)

Baking Tuesdays

Chocolaty Chocolate Mufins (from 'From my home to yours' by Dorie Greenspan)

Wednesdays with Jamie

Lentils with sausages & brokkoli (from the Jamie Magazine Issue March/April 2012)

Scandinavian Thursdays

Salad with thinnly sliced raw red beet, apple, horseradish; pickled herring, dill & sourcream

Fridays with Beatrice


Fridays with Beatrice: Verrine Nordique

It's really hot outside - I like temperatures around 15 to 20°C (one of the reasons I travel to Noway). So bubbling dishes are no option right now. Lena chose the right recipe for this situation - the Verrine Nordique (p. 117). The principle of making a verrine is easy - layer ingredients in a nice glas and enjoy. I've used it - under the name of trifle - a dozen times for desserts (which is good for using leftovers). This was the first time with savoury ingredients - and one of my favourites too: smoked salmon. Of course I liked the result! With the greek yoghurt sauce, the potatoes and the cucumber the balance between the different tastes was just right. 

While making the verrine I had to laugh - I usually salt my cucumber slices too before using them into a salad, a thing I learned from a Polish friend. I thought preparing them that way was something typicilly Polish - but maybe it isn't ... Instead of horseradish I used radish (it's to spicy for me).
I made a small portion fot the picture, one into a jar for my hubby (as a take-away, would be perfect for a picnic too) and one large into a tupperware container which I had at work for dinner. I even had some ideas for modifications - what about a yoghurt sauce with lime, some carribean spices and sweet potatoes (instead of the normal ones) and maybe melon slices insted of cucumber? Or an Asian version with wasabi, soy sauce and ginger slices?

Roundup:  Perfect recipe for hot summer days, quickly prepared and easy divided into individual portions. A potential candidate for the next picnic.

Daring Cooks May Challenge: Boeuf Bourguignon

Our May 2012 Daring Cooks’ hostess was Fabi of fabsfood. Fabi challenged us to make Boeuf Bourguignon, a classic French stew originating from the Burgundy region of France.

The moment I read the title, I had to think about THIS movie - did anybody see the movie 'Julie & Julia'? It's great, and I loved it. All of us food bloggers are some kind of Julie or Julia, aren't we? The scene I remember the most and vividly is the one were Julie is exspecting animportant visit (don't remeber of whom) concerning her blog and wants to make boef bourguignon for this occassion. It's getting late, she falls asleep and the boef burns in the oven. I really could feel with her. No idea how many of my dishes landed in the trash can. It's part of the process but I feel sad everytime. I have had meltdowns in the kitchen too. But I was fearless concerning the boef and I exspected  - and got the best. Meat melting on my tongue, flavoured with a symphony of herbs and wine. I ate it with some fresh baguette, and it was perfect. The smell attracted even the collegues of my hubby who ate his share at work. So make and enjoy too!
I halved the recipe and cooked it into the oven at 200°C for 2 hours. The remaining sauce in the pan was thick, so I just added the onions and mushrooms (no reducing required).

Fridays with Beatrice - Arugula risotto with basil & lemon

This time, Lena and me decided to cook the Aragula risotto. I am a fan of risottos, but not of aragula which tastes mostly bitter for me - a taste I do not like (I even cannot drink tonic or something containing grapefruit juice). The idea of a vegetarian risotto was compelling to try, because I tend to make & create risottos with meat or ham to enhance the taste of the otherwise plain dish.


Cherry-Fudge Brownie Torte alias saftiger Brownie-Kirsch-Kuchen

Heute gibt es mal wieder einen Post auf Deutsch, und das aus gutem Grund - nämlich um die amerikanische Backkunst zu huldigen. Ich gebe zu, dass das Meiste einfach nur süß ist und unverschämt kalorienhaltig, aber die besten Backbücher finden sich immer noch in englischer Sprache. Seien es kunstvolle Desserts oder raffinierte Kuchenkreationen, meine Lieblingsrezept muss ich mir immer aus dem Englischen übersetzten und (leider auch die Zutatenmengen umrechnen). Bisher bin ich nicht enttäuscht worden, wenn ich eines dieser Rezepte ausprobiert habe, wobei ich in weiser Vorausicht immer die angegebene Zuckermenge reduziere (entweder nur 2/3 oder die Hälfte). Eines meiner Lieblingsbücher ist von Dorie Greenspan. Die Rezepte sind einfach und lassen sich (je nach vorhandenen Zutaten) leicht abwandeln; und ich möchte gerne wie hier alle einmal ausprobieren. Na ja, fast alle ...
Wer also des Englischen nicht so mächtig ist, dieses Buch leider nicht besitzt oder einfach zu faul, umzurechenen, dem möchte ich heute meine Variante der Cherry Fudge Brownie Torte ans Herz legen. Die Inspiration zu diesem Kuchen stammt laut Dorie von der (ur)deutschen Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, die ich nun überhaupt nicht mag. Dories Variante mit einem Brownie-Boden, darin Kirschen und der Mascarponecreme ist dagegen sehr gelungen, und als ich die Seite mit dem Rezept aufschlug, konnte ich mich sofort dafür begeistern (obwohl es auch kein Bild zu sehen gab). Der einzige Nachteil bestand darin, dass das Ganze Alkohol enthält. Da ich den Kuchen auf Arbeit mitnehmen wollte und einer meiner Kollegen keinen Alkohol trinkt, musste ich mir eine alkoholfreie Variante einfallen lassen. Das hieß auch auf den Vanilleextrakt verzichten, was dem Geschmack aber kein Nachteil war. Besagter Kollege hat dann ganz fleißig mindestens vier Stück verputzt, ein voller Erfolg also!