Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Birthday Brownie






So it's the boy's first birthday today. We invited couple of friends over to celebrate. To be honest the food wasn't very good. The feldsalat soup was somehow a little bitter, and the lancashire hotpot was a bit bland since I only used water instead of beer, and the rotkohl just didn't taste right. The desert however turned out ok. The birthday boy enjoyed it immensely. Here's how to please an one year old.

For 8 servings of chocolate brownies I used 4 eggs, 12 table spoons cocoa, 1/2 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, a teaspoon vanilla, a dash of salt, 2/3 cup flour.

Preheat the oven to 160c. Melt butter and mix cocoa in it. Then add the rest of the ingredients and stir to uniform texture.

To avoid the brownies from sticking to the baking pan you need to first butter the pan, then cover pan with flour. Pour batter into pan and bake for an hour or until set (toothpick comes out clean). Let cool and cut into squares.

I served them with some freshly whipped cream that was just lightly sweetened. Good balance with the very sweet brownies.

Kai and Kathrin thank you once again for coming and sharing the special evening with us. Also thank you to the well wishers and the gift givers for the wonderful thoughts and presents.

Baingan Bharta

My in-laws love Inidan food. They're coming on Saturday and I'm goning to make an Indian dinner for them. But first I need to practice. First, Baingan Bharta or Eggplant curry.

Cut an eggplant in half, rub oil on the flesh sides. Roast in oven skin side up for 30 mins until the flesh is soft. Let cool, remove skin, mash flesh with fork and set aside. Soak one tomato in hot water, remove skin, chop, and set aside. Mince garlic, ginger, chilli into a paste. Heat pan with oil, fry the cumin seeds til fragrant, add the chopped onion. Next add the paste, then the tomato and eggplant. Let it simmer for a bit before adding a cup of yogurt. Season with salt and garam masala. Let it reduce a bit more so it's not too liquidy. Serve with saffron basmati rice.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Lotus Root Latkes

Used up the other half of the lotus root. This takes some time so prepare early.

Soak some dried shrimp in water, drain, and puree. Finely chop Chinese mushrooms and sautee, set aside. Marinate minced pork for 30 mins. Chop coriander and chives. Grate lotus root, squeeze out water. Mix everything in a bowl and using two spoons form small patties. Fry them in oil over medium heat. When done remove from pan and soak up excess oil with paper towel. A few minutes before serving fry them again over high heat for a crispy finish. Sprinkle salt and pepper over them and serve.

Even half of a lotus root makes a lot of pancakes, my wife and I were so stuffed. Consider yourselves warned.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Aubergine Parmigiana

So today's lunch is definately not for the lactose intorlerant. There's quite a bit of cheese in it. The picture really doesn't do the dish justice. As you can tell by now all the nice pictures were taken by my wife and the others well... my baby boy.

For two people I used 1 eggplant, 2 mozzarellas, 1 canned tomatoes, onion, garlic, herbs, balsamic vinegar, sugar, lots of freshly grated parmesan.

Preheat the oven to 200c. Slice the eggplant and fry in olive oil until nicely browned on both sides. In the meantime prepare the sauce. Sautee the chopped onion and crushed garlic, add the tomatoes, bring to a boil and simmer until most of the water evaporates. Season with balsamic, sugar, and lots of fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary, oregano, parsley, basil, etc. Layer the bottom of the baking dish with sauce, then eggplant, then mozzarella slices, repeat until eggplant and mozzarella run out. Top with a layer of sauce, and sprinkle generously with parmesan cheese. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 mins. Let cool for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with some more grated parmesan and parsley.

It's best with some crusty bread to mop up all the juices. This is surprisingly light despite the cheeses. I suppose one can also make it with minced meat for a non-vegetarian version.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Beef Braised In Wine

Prepared this on Saturday so that after the boy's first tobogan experience on Sunday in the morning we can have a nice warm stew for lunch.

Very easy and simple, the only thing is the cooking time. Slice onions, chop bacon, cut beef (preferably from the shoulder or other braising cuts) in cubes. Sautee everything a bit of butter, pour in a whole bottle of red wine. Bring to a boil and simmer. Add a few sprigs of thyme, season with salt and pepper. Keep the lid on and simmer over low heat for a few hours. Half an hour before serving throw in some carrots, peas, capers, and herbs (pasrsley, rosemary, etc etc). Serve with pasta, potatoes, or simply some crusty bread.

It was very nice with a glass of German pinot meunier (Schwarzriesling). Specially after a nice morning playing in the snow with my little family.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Stuffed Lotus Root

Technically they're not stuffed, but rather little sandwiches. These are again from the Susie Wong recipes I got from Caroline. I was so excited to find lotus root at the Asia shop that I had to try them out. Used half of it, the other half I'll use for lotus root latkes.

First marinate the minced pork with light/dark soy sauces, sesame oil, salt, sugar, oil, and water for 30 mins. Finely chop the soaked Chinese mushrooms. Peel and slice the lotus root. Mix the mushrooms, pork, and some chopped coriander together in a bowl. Fill between two slices of lotus root some pork, press gently togther so they don't come apart. Sprinkle starch on both sides and fry in oil over medium heat till cooked. Remove from pan and 20 mins before serving fry again over high heat until golden brown.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Braised Rice Noodles

Another Asian quick lunch. It's not the best looking but sure is satisfying.

Thinly slice soaked Chinese mushrooms, peppers, chicken, chilli. Soak rice noodles in water to soften. Soak preserved Chinese cabbage in salt water. Sautee mushrooms and chicken, add the drained cabbage, bean sprouts, chilli, and lastly the peppers. Stir in the noodles, season with oyster sauce, dark/light soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar. I went a bit heavy on the dark soy sauce that's why the color doesn't look so appetizing. Pour in a bit of water and let simmer for a few minutes.

Garnish with coriander and serve. Surprisingly my wife enjoyed it, says it reminds her of something her mother would make when she was small?! Huh?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Cauliflower Pancakes


Wednesday are always the day to finish what I have as the organic veggies come tomorrow.

I did pretty good this week, just have a giant head of cauliflower left. Made these little pancakes with half of it, the rest I'll make a curry.

Wash and core the cauliflower, boil in salted water until soft about 15 mins. Drain, mash, set aside in a mixing bowl. Finely chop parsley and onion, throw that into the mixture. Add flour, beated eggs, salt and pepper. Combine to form uniform dough. Heat oil in a pan. Using two spoons to form little patties, carefully slide them in and fry over medium heat for 5 mins on each side or until nicely browned. Romove from oil and place on paper towel to soak up the excess oil. Arrange some greens on a plate and place pancakes on top. Sprinkle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

They can be served as a side dish as well, I suppose it would go really well with lamb.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Ginger Scallion Lo Mein

My wife couldn't come home for lunch today, so I made myself something quick (really).

My friend Caroline sent me a bunch of recipes a while ago, old school Chinese recipes to be exact. They are from a radio personality in Hong Kong, Susie Wong. One of them was this lo mein.

Thinly slice the scallion and the ginger, set aside. Cook the noodles in water, using chopsticks to loosen them up. Warm oil in a pan. When the noodles are done, drain, and run under cold water. With noodles still in drainer, throw the ginger and scallions in. Then pour the hot oil on top, mix well with chopsticks. This way the excess oil can be easily drained (very clever trick in my opinion). Serve with a dash of sesame oil, a bit of oyster sauce, and some roasted sesame seeds.

I cooked and ate this lunch in less than 10 mins. Beats instant noodles by miles and miles.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Rotkohl

There's always something I focus on for every meal. For lunch today it was the rotkohl or red cabbage.

Takes a couple of hours, but once you put everything in the pot you're pretty much done. First fry the chopped up bacon over low heat for a few minutes, then add the sliced apples and onions. Let that soften up a bit before adding the cored, shreaded cabbage. Add water, vinegar, sugar and stir. Put the lid on and let everything cook for a while. Add cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leafs, peppercorns. Simmer over low heat for an hour or two. Check occasionally if additional liquid is needed.

We had this with some nuenrbergers but any other fried sausages would be good with it.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Eiskaffee

Eis in English is ice-cream. So eiskaffee is coffee with ice-cream. On sundays my wife and I would usually go to the bakery and have a slice of cake and coffee. But I wanted to stay in and study so we had to skip this weekend ritual.

Make some coffee and chill. Chill the glasses as well. With electric mixer whip up some cream and sugar. Pour chilled coffee into glasses, scoop in vanilla ice-cream, top with whipped cream. Serve right away.

Much nicer in the summer time.

Chicken Fingers, Home Fries, Blue Cheese Dressing

Took a break from German to make lunch. Maybe I should try to blog this in German...

My wife said I haven't made homefries for a while, pluse she also requested something with chicken.

First thing is to parboil the potatoes for 10 mins. Leaving the skin on, cut into wedges. Let them cool down a bit. Make the dressing. Blend egg yolks with mustard and lemon juice, slowly add the olive oil drop by drop. This is the base, which is actually mayonaise. Add a clove of garlic, some salt and pepper and crumble in the blue cheese ( I used gorgonzola). Blend well, check flavour, and chill in the fridge. Back to the fries. Heat oil in a pan, and fry the wedges over medium heat until golden. Transfer to paper towel lined bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside. For two people I only used one chicken breast. Melt butter in a pan. Slice the breast thinly. First cover with flour, then beated egg, then breadcrumbs. Fry in buter until golden brown, turning frequently. As with the wedges, transfer to paper towel lined bowl and season with salt pepper.

Arrange some rocket salad on a plate, then the wedges and chicken fingers, perhaps some other veggies of choice. Pour dressing on top and serve. Very nice with a cold beer.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Pound Cake with Ice-cream

So I ripped this off www.kraftfoods.com They actually have a lot of classic things there.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
6 eggs
2 cups flour
1 Tbsp. CALUMET Baking Powder
1 tsp. salt

PREHEAT oven to 350ºF. Beat butter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed 1 min. Gradually add sugar, beating well after each addition. Beat an additional 5 min. or until very light and fluffy. Add cream cheese and vanilla; beat 1 min. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
COMBINE flour, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture. Beat 1 min or until well blended. Pour batter into greased and floured 12-cup fluted tube pan or 10-inch tube pan.
BAKE 1 hour or until golden brown. Cool 10 min.; loosen from sides of pan with spatula or knife and gently remove cake. Cool completely on wire rack.

You don't have to follow the recipes completely, for me they serve more as inspiration than anything else.

Lamb's Lettuce Soup

Ordered another delivery of organic lamb's lettuce. I was gonna make a salad but seemed repetitive. Looked up other ways to cook them and came across this. Apparently it helps to de-stress, I was sold. My wife needs it at the moment, we're trying to wean the boy.

You need a lot of lamb's lettuce for this. Wash them very well, then set aside. Melt butter in a pot and fry a chopped onion untl soft. Add the lettuce and couple of chopped potoatoes. Put the lid on for a few minutes. Then add enough water to cover the ingredients, bring to a boil and simmer for 30 mins. Puree everything, still on low heat, stir in cream. Season with salt and pepper.

While you are making the soup make some croutons to go with it. Garnish with a piece of lamb's lettuce and serve.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Salmon Fillet with Leeks

Tried out some frozen salmon fillets, they weren't that bad. If the fillets were fresh I wouldn't even bother with a sauce.

Preheat oven to 200c. Coat fillets with olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Put them in little aluminum foil pockets (papillote) and bake for 10 mins or so. You can also fry them, I just find by baking in papillote they tend to be a bit juicer.

Cook the noodles in salted water. Drain and arrange on plate.

Chop and fry the leeks in butter until soft. Add cream, sprinkle with flour and stir. Add lemon juice, dill, and mustard. Season with salt and pepper.

Assemble fillet on top of noodles, pour sauce on top as well as the cooking juice from the salmon, and garnish with freshly chopped chives.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Endives with Ham and Bacon in Bechamel

Trying to finish the cheese in the fridge. Used some for the gratin yesterday and today it's all gone thanks to this easy lunch.

First things first, cook the endives in water with a pinch of salt for about 10 mins or until tender. Cut the bottoms off. I find that if you do this before cooking they tend to fall apart. In the meantime preheat the oven to 200c and make the bechamel sauce. Warm some milk first and set aside. Melt some butter in a pan, sprinkle in flour and stir until the texture is uniform. Remove pan from heat and slowly stir in the milk until there are no lumps. Return pan to heat and keep stiring until it's really smooth. Add more milk to thin out the sauce if required. Season with salt, pinch of nutmeg and a dash of pepper.

Drain the endives. wrap them up with ham or bacon or both. Place the rolls in a baking dish and pour sauce on top. Then top with cheese ( I used parmesan and gouda). Bake in the oven for 30 mins. Broil for the last few minutes for a nice brown top.

I served them on top of slices of toasted rye bread. Went well with a German white called Silvaner. Kinda like an in between of Riesling and Chardonnay.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Cauliflower Gratin, Rosemary Potatoes, Beef Fillets

Two things I wanted to use up in the kitchen. Some dried up rosemary that's been an eyesore, and half a head of cauliflower.

The gratin. Seperate the cauliflower and boil for 10 mins till tender. Mix cauliflower in mixing bowl with a beated egg, whatever cheese you have on hand (I had parmesan), cream, salt and pepper. Pour mixture into lightly buttered baking dish. Dot with butter and broil in preheat 200c oven until set and top nicely browned.

The potatoes. Wash and peel the potatoes. Coat generously with olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary. Bake in the oven for an hour or until tender.

The steak sauce. I don't usually like sauce with fillet but the side dishes were a bit dry. Melt butter in a pan and fry the onion slices over low heat for 10 mins. Add a bit of flour, then some crushed whole blackpeppers. Lastly stir in the red wine to thin out the sauce. Serve over beef. It's not the most authentic gravy but works for a quick lunch.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Coda alla Vaccinara


In English it is Slaughterhouse Oxtail. Doesn't sound too appetizing but after a few days of vegetarian diet I was really looking forward to some meat.

As with all stewed dishes it's best to make this at least one day in advance (two's better) and then reheat it before serving.

I didn't really follow the traditional Italian recipe as my wife is not a big fan of celery, but it was still very flavourful. First soak the oxtail in cold water for about 30 mins. Meanwhile finely chop a large amount of celery, carrot, onion, garlic. This will be the soffritto. Parboil the oxtail for 5 mins. Sautee the soffritto in butter until soft and fragrant then brown the oxtail. Nex add lots of peeled and chopped tomatos (simply soak them in hot water and the skin can be easily peeled off). Also add enough red wine to cover everything. Don't forget the bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low for about 4 hours. check liquid level occasionally, add water when required. When the meat becomes loosely attached to the bone remove the oxtails and drain the cooking liquid. Bring the cooking liquid back to the pot and season to taste. Serve with polenta or potatoes and veggies like I did.

Don't throw out the leftover juice/meat as it makes a great pasta sauce. I cooked and served the oxtails with a German red called Schwarzriesling, or Pinot Meunier.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Feldsalat Germania

Feldsalat or in English 'Lamb's Lettuce' is a winter green. It's very popular here as a salad. I was looking forward to the organic deliveries this week to try out a salad dressing from my German cook book.

Wash and dry the feldsalat, set in a serving bowl. Clean and slice the mushrooms, mix with a bit of lemon juice and mix into the salad. For the dressing, cut the leeks, onions, and fry in olive oil with minced garlic. When it's soft and translucent add white wine and vinegar. Bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes. Seaon with salt, pepper, and sugar. Lastly add a few drops of brandy/whiskey/vodka for flavour. Pour the warm dressing uber the salat and serve.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Chorizo Peppers Pasta

I think I've mentioned before that I love chorizo. You can eat it on it's own, in buritos, for omelets, and here I've used it for some quick pasta lunch.

Add a drop of oil in a pan and sautee the thinly sliced sausages over low heat to render out the fat. You don't need a lot of oil as the chorizo will produce plenty. Add the minced garlic and onion. Fry until soft and fragrant. Add the chopped sweet peppers. Season well with salt, pepper, and herbs of choice. I used oregano and rosemary. A dash of balsamic vinegar gives it a kick. Also a pinch of hot chilli flakes if you like it spicy.

Cook noodles according to package instructions. Drain and fold into the sauce with a bit of pasta water. Serve with cheese.

I've been lacking motivation for cooking lately, so if you have any ideas let me know.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Oatmeal Peanut Cookies

Had this craving for cookies. For these I used 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup butter, vanilla extract, 1 egg, 3/4 flour, 1 cup oatmeal, pinch of salt, some raisins, 1/4 nuts. Preheat the oven to 200c, mix the dry ingredients together, and the others in a seperate bowl. Combine the two and drop dough onto baking sheet tablespoonful at a time. Bake for 10 mins or until nicely browned.

Eat as many as possible with a nice cold glass of milk and then store the rest in an airtight container.

Steamed Black Bean Ribs

I love ribs, steamed, fried, bbqed. My all time favorite is this steamed version, my wife likes the black beans too. For a German I think that's pretty cool.

For any kind of rib dish to just come off the bones, you have to preboil them. So first chop up the ribs in little bite size pieces, then boil them for a bit. Drain and marinate with salt, sugar, sesame oil, oyster sauce, soy sauce, chinese wine, minced garlic, black beans, water for 30 mins. Throw some chilli on top and steam over medium heat for about 10 mins. Garnish with spring onion and serve with lots of rice.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Asian Bolognese

Quick quick lunch. Studying for a German test coming up.

Finely chop the pre-soaked dried mushrooms and the spring onions. Marinate the minced pork with starch, salt, oil, and water for 30mins. Fry pork until color changed and put aside. Sautee the mushrooms and the onions until fragrant, stir in the pork and season well with salt, pepper, and sesame oil. Lastly sprinkle with chinese wine and let evaporate.

While all this is going on cook some noodles. Serve with more sesame oil if desired.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Garlic Chilli Ribs

This is one of the my favorite Chinese rib dishes, the other being steamed ribs with black beans. Both are very easy.

First seperate and wash the ribs. Then boil for 20mins. Dry, and marinate with eggs, flour, salt, oil, and water for 30mins. Fry until light brown over medium heat. Remove from pan. Sautee the minced chilli peppers and garlic, add the ribs. Season again with salt and pepper. Serve with lots of rice.

Friday, January 5, 2007

First Steps

Obviously this is not a food entry. It is much more than that. It is unimaginable joy in the distance of less than one meter.



Spinat und Spiegelei

Just before we went to bed last night my wife put in a request for lunch. Some kind of childhood dish with spinach, potatoes (surprise surprise), bacon, and fried egg.

It's more about the assembly than the actually cooking (if you can even call it that). Boil the potatoes for 15 mins before frying. Prepare the bacon, make a few pieces extra crispy to make bacon bits. Cook the spinach and drain, seaon with salt and pepper. Last fry the egg. Put everything together in a way you like and sprinkle some bacon bits on top.

My wife loved it, to me it's more like a brunch than lunch. Spiegelei means sunny side up in German, directly translated it's called 'mirror egg'.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Lemon Grass Chicken

Running out of quick lunch ideas. The owner of the Asiashop (who is Viet-Chinese) suggested this quick recipe, sounded appetizing enough so decided to give it a try.

Dice the chicken breasts. Finely chop the red/green chillies, garlic and lemon grass. Marinate chicken with chillies, lemon grass, a dash of oil, salt and pepper for an hour. Fry mixture until chicken pieces are half done then add fish sauce and dashes of water. Check seasoning and serve.

It was very simple and yet not too dull. Had to bowls of rice with it.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Rosemary Garlic Chicken with Knoedle

Remember the chicken legs I saved from the chicken noodle soup? Well today is their day.

Seaon the chicken with salt and pepper. Dust lightly with flour. Fry the chicken with the garlic (lots of it, I used 2 whole garlics) until nicely browned. Add enough stock/water/wine to cover. Add the fresh rosemary. Bring to a boil and simme with lid on for at least an hour. In the mean time make some pasta or simply serve it with crusty bread.

The garlic is the best part about this, so soft and tender and full of flavour.

Puffy Egg Toast

Very cool brunch idea I got from the cook book at the in-laws. The ingredients are nothing really special, more or less like eggs benedict but visually it's quite pleasing.

Toast and butter the bread then spread some mustard on top. Fry the bacon. Shread some cheese. Seperate the eggs. Beat the egg whites until stiff. Assemble the toasts/bacon/cheese then top with whipped egg whites. Form a hole in the middle. Bake in preheated 200c oven for 5-8 mins until a bit browned. Put the egg yolk in the middle and serve.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Rouladen

Everything's closed here on New Year's Day. Lucky I had some roastbeef left to make these rolls.

For the rolls I used beef, bacon, onion, mustard, flour, salt and pepper. First trim the fat off the edges of the beef, pound flat with meat hammer. Spread mustard on the meat , then lay the bacon on top, then the chopped onions, seaon with salt and pepper. Roll the meat up and secure with toothpicks or poultry pins. Roll in flour and fry in pot until all sides are nicely browned. Add just enough water/stock to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer with lid for an hour. Remove the rolls and keep warm. Bring the cooking liquid to a boil again and add sour cream, lower heat to medium until sauce reduces to desired consistency.

I served them with noodles. Finished the bottle of Lanson Black Label we opened last night. Not a bad way to start the new year.