March 27, 2009

Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna - Daring Bakers

Nothing sweet this months, but a delicious lasagne! I love lasagne, and this was the tastiest ragu I have ever cooked, so it is definetly a keeper! Actually I am not a spinach fan, therefore my favourite way to eat it is when it is hidden in a nice sheet of homemade pasta, unless it is baby spinach because that makes a faboulos salad. For me it was quite difficult to take a more or less acceptable photo of the lasagne, because as written in the recipe it was really a moist lasagne that slips when it is cut. Sure the next day it would have been easier, but then it was already all gone! The March 2009 challenge is hosted by Mary of Beans and Caviar, Melinda of Melbourne Larder and Enza of Io Da Grande. They have chosen Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna from The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper as the challenge.

Country Style Ragu’ (Ragu alla Contadina)

Preparation Time: Ingredient Preparation Time 30 minutes and Cooking time 2 hours

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (45 mL)
2 ounces/60g pancetta, finely chopped
1 medium onion, minced
1 medium stalk celery with leaves, minced
1 small carrot, minced
4 ounces/125g boneless veal shoulder or round
4 ounces/125g pork loin, trimmed of fat, or 4 ounces/125g mild Italian sausage (made without
8 ounces/250g beef skirt steak, hanging tender, or boneless chuck blade or chuck center cut (in order of preference)
1 ounce/30g thinly sliced Prosciutto di Parma
2/3 cup (5 ounces/160ml) dry red wine
1 &1/2 cups (12 ounces/375ml) chicken or beef stock (homemade if possible)

2 cups (16 ounces/500ml) milk
3 canned plum tomatoes, drained
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Working Ahead:
The ragu can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. It also freezes well for up to 1 month. Skim the fat from the ragu’ before using it.

Browning the Ragu Base:
Heat the olive oil in a 12 inch (30cm) skillet (frying pan) over medium-high heat. Have a large saucepan handy to use once browning is complete. Add the pancetta and minced vegetables and sauté, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, 10 minutes, or until the onions barely begin to color. Coarsely grind all the meats together, including the prosciutto, in a food processor or meat grinder. Stir into the pan and slowly brown over medium heat. First the meats will give off a liquid and turn dull grey but, as the liquid evaporates, browning will
begin. Stir often, scooping under the meats with the wooden spatula. Protect the brown glaze forming on the bottom of the pan by turning the heat down. Cook 15 minutes, or until the meats are a deep brown. Turn the contents of the skillet into a strainer and shake out the fat. Turn them into the saucepan and set over medium heat.

Reducing and Simmering: Add the wine to the skillet, lowering the heat so the sauce bubbles quietly. Stir occasionally until the wine has reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Scrape up the brown glaze as the wine bubbles. Then pour the reduced wine into the saucepan and set the skillet aside.

Stir ½ cup stock into the saucepan and let it bubble slowly, 10 minutes, or until totally
evaporated. Repeat with another ½ cup stock. Stir in the last 1/2 cup stock along with the milk. Adjust heat so the liquid bubbles very slowly. Partially cover the pot, and cook 1 hour. Stir frequently to check for sticking.

Add the tomatoes, crushing them as they go into the pot. Cook uncovered, at a very slow bubble for another 45 minutes, or until the sauce resembles a thick, meaty stew. Season with salt and pepper.

March 24, 2009

Home made kürtöskalács

Lately there is a huge boom of baking kürtöskalács in the Hungarian foodie blogsphere and that encouraged me to bake some as well. I found a great transilvanian recipe for it so therefore I had no more excuses left!

30 g fresh yeast
about 200-250 ml milk
2 tablespoon sugar
500 g flour

2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 pinch of salt
60 g butter, melted

sugar, cinnamon, walnuts for coating

Heat 100 ml milk until lukewarm and pour it over yeast among 1 tablespoon sugar and let it stand until yeast swims on top. Add flour, rest of the sugar, eggs, egg yolks, salt and knead a dough, pouring luke warm milk in small portions into it. When the dough leaves the side of the bowl knead melted butter in it. Set dough aside to rest for an hour. Prepare kitchen paper rolls for baking: half them and cover with aluminium foil and oil. Roll out dough about 0,5 - 0,7 cm thick rectangle and slice about 2 cm thick. Roll slices up on the oiled rolls and brush with water. Roll it in cinnamon sugar or walnut sugar or whatever you desire. Bake for 10-15 minutes on 170°C.

March 17, 2009

Hazelnut Biscotti

After having a wonderful walk on this sunny day, I still had no idea what to bake that goes well with a nice cup of tea. While preparing lunch, I discovered an open bottle hazelnut syrup in the fridge and that brought me to the idea to bake hazelnut biscotti.

2 eggs
200 g sugar
50 g hazelnut syrup
2 tablespoons sherry
200 g hazelnut
300 g flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Beat eggs with the sugar, syrup and sherry until foamy. Add hazelnuts, flour and baking powder and knead well. Half batter and form two flat rolls, about 4 cm wide. Bake for 20 minutes on 160°C. Let biscotti cool and slice in about 1,5 cm thick and bake for another 15 minutes.

March 16, 2009

Black Salsify Flan

I was wondering what to do with the leftover serpent root or viper's herb or simply black salsify, yeah I am fond of snakes, they are beautiful animals, that was hiding in the fridge. First I had the idea of a soufflé, but at the end I put my vote for a flan, as I have never baked a flan before, so I thought that is the opportunity. Listening to a crazy voice in my head, I served some crème fraîche among the flan, that I mixed with dijon mustard, ground hazelnut, lemon zest and juice.

250 g salsify
1 shallot
2 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon apple vinegar
350 ml vegetable broth
1 egg
1/2 egg yolk
2 tablespoon heavy cream

salt, pepper

Peel salsify under running water using gloves. Heat butter, add chopped shallot and sliced salisfy and fry for 2-3 minutes. Pour apple vinegar, vegetable broth over salsify and cook on low heat until soft. Puree, stir in egg, egg yolk and heavy cream. Season with salt and pepper. Butter 4 oven proof forms and pour mixture in it. Place forms in another form with water so that they are covered it half. Bake for 30 minutes on 150°C.

March 15, 2009

Once again I could not resist!

I must confess: I still haven't had enough of the chocolate-banana combination! Luckily I have a good excuse: poor bananas got really brown and I had to use them, no way out! I baked my favourite brownies, but only a quarter of the recipe, as I only had one lonely egg in the fridge. To make it as scrumptious as possible, I added the brownie chunks to the banana ice cream and served it with a warm chocolate sauce. Could you resist?!

3 bananas
300 ml condensed milk
200 ml heavy cream
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoon sugar (depends on the sweetness of the bananas)
50 g bittersweet chocolate

100 ml water
50 g sugar

Peel bananas and puree with the lemon juice and sugar. Stir in condensed milk and beaten heavy cream. The rest of the work does the ice cream machine. For the chocolate sauce heat water with sugar and boil until sugar is dissolved. Stir in chopped chocolate and cook until it is thick enough to cover the back of a wooden spoon.

Cod in Champagne Sauce with Saffron Pasta

Pacific cod caught by trawl or Atlantic cod

Pacific cod caught by longline

Obviously, cod is my kind of fish, for most of my fish recipes are based on that. This Friday one of them ended up on my plate and took a swim in a Champagne sauce. I served homemade saffron pasta.

100 flour
1 egg
1 g saffron

coriander, ground
50 ml Champagne
1 tablespoon butter

1 shalott
100 ml fish stock
50 ml Champagne
50 ml heavy cream

salt, pepper

Marinate cod for an hour in Champagne and season with coriander, salt and pepper. For the pasta dissolve saffron in 1 tablespoon water and knead a dough. Set aside for 30 minutes and after do the job using your pasta machine. Melt butter, add chopped shallot and fry for a minute or so. Add fish stock and Champagne and reduce. Stir in heavy vream and reduce more. Season with salt and pepper. Fry fish in olive oil, season with salt and pepper.

March 13, 2009


My favourite swiss breakfast pastry is the Mandelgipfeli. It is a puff pastry filled with almond filling. Yesterday I prepared a bunch and I also tried a new recipe for laminted dough, but I was a bit dissappointed. It was totally difficult to roll out and I had quite a fight with it. Besides the consistence was also not exactly what I expected. That is why I am only going to share the recipe for the filling. Next time I am going to bake these using the good old croissant recipe from the Daring Bakers.

75 g ground almond
75 g sugar
1/2 egg yolk

1 egg white
1-2 tablespoon water

1/2 egg yolk and 1 tablespoon heavy cream to brush

Mix all ingredients and fill pastry with one tablespoon of the filling. Brush with the egg yolk-cream mixture and sprinkle with sliced almonds. Bake for about 10-13 minutes on 180°C.

March 12, 2009

Porcini Gnocchi

Weekend is coming and the fridge is getting emptier and emptier. I realised that I haven't cooked anything with potatoes since quite a while and therefore there is a smaller potato mountain in the pantry that should be used. I also found a piece of parmesan and slices of Prosciutto di Parma in the fridge and some eggs were also fooling around. So it was quite obvious that I am going to prepare gnocchi in a delicious parmesan sauce with the leftover prosciutto.

300 g potatoes
1 egg
90-100 g flour (depends on the starch content of the potatoes)
15 g dried porcini

1 tablespoon butter
1 shallot

100 ml white wine
200 ml porcini water
100 ml veal stock
150 ml heavy cream
20-30 g Prosciutto di Parma
50 g champignons

5 tablespoon parmesan
chopped parsley

salt, pepper

Pour boiling water over dried porcini and soak at least for 30 minutes. After drain mushrooms, squeeze, puree and set porcini water aside. Boil potatoes in salted water to cover until tender. While still warm, peel potatoes and rice onto an even layer on a large cookie sheet and let it cool. Add flour, porcini puree, egg, salt and pepper and form a dough. Knead dough
until smooth. Half dough and roll each piece into a cylinder about as thick as your index finger. Cut it into dumplings and shape with a help of a fork. Cook in salted water until they swim on top. For the sauce heat butter, add sliced mushroom and fry until golden brown. Set aside and add chopped shallot, pour white wine over it and reduce. Add porcini water and veal stock and reduce half. Add heavy cream , mushrooms and cook until it thickens and gets a nice sauce. Stir in parmesan, chopped parsley and prosciutto. Season with salt and pepper.

March 11, 2009

Banana - Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Surprisingly I was totally eager to eat something with chocolate and banana. You might remember my post about those cute banana balls filled with chocolate. Well those made me love this combination. Therefore I baked a bunch of pancakes and served them with lot of maple syrup. Imagine how those tiny chocolate chips melt inside the fluffy pancake...mmm!

25 g butter
2 eggs
30 g powder sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
150 g flour
200 ml buttermilk
2 bananas
chocolate chip
oil for frying

Melt butter. Whisk eggs with powder sugar and salt until creamy. Stir in flour, baking powder, buttermilk and melted butter. Heat oil and place 2 tablespoon batter per pancake into the frying pan. Add chocolate chip on it and with a help of a knife push them into the batter. Add banana slices on top. Bake for 2-3 minutes on each side. Serve with maple syrup.

March 10, 2009


Well in fact it is under cover, to be exact: mushrooms under egg cover with Taleggio. The cheese is named after Val Taleggio an Alpine valley in the Italian region of Lombardy. It is probably one of the oldest soft cheeses. Taleggio gives a fantastic aroma to this dish, that can be a eaten for breakfast but it also makes a decent lunch.

200 g brown champignons
2 onion leeks

2 tablespoon butter
handful chopped parsley
2 eggs
1 tablespoon peanut oil
50 g Taleggio

salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 200°C. Cleam mushroom and slice in bigger chunks and fry in butter until golden brown. Add the sliced green of the onion leeks, chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper. Butter a ramequin and pour mushroon in it. Add sliced Taleggio on top. Mix egg yolks with a tablespoon water and peanut oil. Beat egg white with a pinch of salt and fold it to the egg yolks. Cover mushroom with the egg and bake for 10-15 minutes.

March 9, 2009

Souffle di riso carnaroli al limone

Altough Locatelli's beautiful cookbook is sitting on my bookshelf for 3 months already, I still haven't had enough of it! Yesterday evening I was browsing through the desserts, and decided to prepare his rice-lemon soufflé. At the begining I was a bit concerned if it is going to work out, because the recipe seemed to be very long, and it reminded me of a huge mountain. Aren't mountains are there to climb? So without thinking any longer about it, I went to the kitchen and organised all ingredients. The original recipe is for 6 persons, so that is why I quartered it, that way it was enough for 4 ramequins, well in my case for 3 and one lemon. Originally it is served in lemons, but I only had one organic lemon that was thick enough, so that is why I made the rest in ramequins. Of course I did not want to miss the lemon taste, so I added some extra lemon juice to the rice mixture, and instead of the orange-butter glaze for the forms, I prepared a lemon-butter glaze. I submit this post to Zorra's Lemon Day event.

for 6 persons

200 g carnaroli rice
2 l milk
1/2 vanilla pod
25 g lemon juice

50 g sugar
50 g butter
3 huge lemons
65 g corn starch
6 g gelatine

250 g egg white
190 g sugar

Preheat oven to 200°C. Cook 80 g of the rice in half of the milk until it is overcooked, puree it and set aside. Cook the rest of the rice al dente in the rest of the milk together with the vanilla pod, sieve and place it on a cooled plate and let it cool, but not in the fridge. Hole out lemon and save the juice. Place lemon in the fridge for 30-60 minutes. Cook lemon juice with sugar and as soon as the sugar is melted stir in butter. Glaze the lemons with it and set them upside down to the fridge on a piece of baking paper for 5 minutes, so that the overrun glaze can drop down. Mix corn starch with 4 tablespoon of the rice-milk puree and bring the rest to boil, add corn starch-rice mix and cook for 1 minute. Stir in gelatine and mix it to the al dente cooked rice. Beat egg whites and when it is quite stiff add sugar in small portions and keep on beating. Mix beaten egg white to the rice and fill in the glazed lemons. Bake for 8 minutes, however in my case they needed 16 minutes.

March 8, 2009

Jiaozi: the first tiral!

The pot sticker, Jiăozi (Chinese transliteration), gyōza (Japanese transliteration), is a Chinese dumpling, widely popular in China and Japan. Jiaozi typically consist of ground meat, vegetable filling thinly rolled into a piece of dough. However these should not be confused with wonton, because jiaozi have a thicker skin and are flatter. The dough for the jiaozi and the wonton wrapper contains different ingredients. Jiaozi can be divided into various types, depending on the prepartions: there are boiled, steamed and fried dumplings. The Cantonese style is called dim sum, these are smaller than jiaozi and wrapped in a thinner translucent skin, and usually steamed. If you want to sink in the world of dumplings, you find loads of informations here. I simply adore these dumplings, any kind of them, so I decided to try to prepare myself. It is a huge and beautiful dumpling jungle, and I am standing at the border, but I am ready to take the first step to go in there. In fact yesterday I had my first trial, and I am not sure how to call these, but they were delicious and motivating to take the next step!

125 g wheat starch
10 g maize meal
15 g lard

150 ml boiling water
500 g pork loin, minced

5 spring onions, only the white parts
2 tablespoons sesame oil

3-5 drops dark sesame oil
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
2 tablespoons soy sauce
handful bean sprouts, sliced
20 g cabbage, sliced

Mix wheat starch, maize meal and lard, add boiling water and with a help of a fork mix it. Knead a smooth dough and form a roll. Slice the roll and roll out, as long as it is warm!, cut out circles and fill each (for the filling simply mix all ingredients together), fold and when ready, heat oil, fry them from both sides, pour about 100 ml water on it, cover until water is
evaporated and fry some more minutes.

March 6, 2009

Alsatian Tarte flambée

This is probably the most famous gastronomical specialty of the Alsace. Traditionally it is made out of leftover bread dough, rolled out in a rectangle, covered by crème fraîche, onions and bacon. Being an onion addict, I decided to use my last Roscoff onion for a tarte flambée.

200 g flour
2 tablespoon oil
125 ml water
200 g crème fraîche
100 g bacon
200 g onion

Knead a dough and roll out thin. Smear crème fraîche on it , top with sliced bacon and onion. Bake on the highest degree on a stone in your oven.

Chicken Cayenne

This dish is hot, very hot, at least then, when I cook it for myself. The recipe is more than simple, but the result is delicious, and as hot as you want it to be.

200 g chicken breast
1 tablespoon rape oil
1 shallot
60 ml white wine
150 ml chicken stock
1 twig rosemary
2 tablespoons tomato puree
cayenne pepper
200 ml heavy cream

Cube chicken, season with salt and fry in rape oil until it is white from both sides. Add grated shallot, rosemary and white wine, reduce, add tomato puree and pour chicken stock over it. Cook for 3-5 minutes. Season with cayenne pepper and add heavy cream and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve with cooked rice and almonds.

March 5, 2009

Serrano coated cod with black salsify

Pacific cod caught by trawl or Atlantic cod

Pacific cod caught by longline

When I cooked the savoy cabbage stew, I put some outer leaves aside, because one never
knows. Right? I had no concrete idea what I should prepare for lunch, but I knew that I want to roll fish in those intense green leaves. Of course it would have been too boring, so I added a slice of serrano ham as well. I served it with beluga lentil, cooked the same way like in the 7 course dinner, but without the vegetable brunoise and the cranberries. For the vegetable part I chose black salsify, also called serpent root or viper's grass, and carrots.

2-3 salsify roots
1 bay leaf

1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon butter
50 ml white wine

100 ml vegetable stock
100 ml chicken stock

50 ml heavy cream
salt, pepper

2 carrots
1 teaspoon butter

1/2 teaspoon cane sugar
juice of 1 orange

As far as the fish concerned, simply season with salt and pepper and lemon juice. Heat butter and fry in a frying pan, together with sage, from both sides. Remove and roll it into the ham and the blanched savoy cabbage leaf. Place it in the oven on 150°C and cook for 5-8 minutes, depending on the size of the fish. Peel salsify root and cut in chunks (use gloves!) and set aside in milk until you are ready to use. Peel carrot and cook in salted water, set aside. Heat butter, add salsify chunks, bay leaf and garlic clove and stew for 1-2 minutes. Pour white wine over it and reduce, add stock and cook salsify, add 50 ml heavy cream, season with salt and pepper. Heat butter, add cane sugar and carrots, caramelize and pour orange juice over it, reduce and serve.

Related Posts with Thumbnails