October 31, 2009

Parsnip Soup

Lately, I am totally crazy about parsnip! I have only discovered this beautiful root vegetable some weeks ago. Of course I knew about its existence, but I just ignored it. What a pity it was! Twice it ended up as a puree together with fennel and potato. This time I served it as a soup among a spinch-macadamia nut pesto and poached quail egg.

400-450 g parsnip
2 small potatoes
600 ml beef stock
salt, pepper

Peel parsnip, potatoes and cut in cubes. Together with the beef stock and salt bring it to boil and cook for 15-20 minutes. Puree, if it is too thick and some more water and season with salt and pepper.

October 30, 2009

Macarons again!

This is something, I thought would never happen to me. Now I am in love, no, this is an obsession! If it just wouldn't be so hard to wait, until the days are over that are necessary to age the egg whites. Yes, I cought the macaron fever. And the only medicine is to bake, bake and bake! My head is full of ideas and combinations. I think this Christmas every friend of mine going to recieve a box of them. Anyway, for the second batch I prepared a white chocolate ganache flavoured with saffron and vanilla.

250 g white chocolate
50 ml cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 g saffron

Heat cream with vanilla and saffron and pour it over the white chocolate. Mix until the chocolate is molten and let is stand for 1-2 hours, until the ganache reached the desired consistency.

October 29, 2009

Tomatoes poached in olive oil

Slowly, I am getting on with emptying the freezer, and it feels really good. Yesterday, I got a pack of chicken breast out of it. That ended up as a farce for lamb loin in phyllo among parsnip-fennel puree and coffee sauce. I am totally fond of the heirloom tomato tomatoes I get from the farmers. Luckily, last weekend, there were still some available. Mostly I love the orange and yellow ones, not to forget the fantastic zebra.

I thought some tomatoes would go really well with the lamb and fennel, so I decided to try something new and poached the sliced
beauties in some olive oil.

olive oil


Peel and remove the seeds of the tomatoes, then quarter them. Season with salt and together with garlic, thyme and rosemary put them on a baking sheet. Cover with olive oil and leave it in the preheated oven for 2-4 hours on 90°C.

October 28, 2009

Grape Sorbet

Oh, how I miss all those Hungarian grapes, most of all the gorgeous Othello! I have never seen any here in Switzerland, so usually I buy the French Lavallée. I simply adore red grape juice and I love any kind of ice cream, sorbet, parfait, you name it! Strangely, I have never made a grape sorbet, although ever since I have the ice cream maker this was the first I wanted to try, but I haven't until now.

500 g grape, stemmed
3 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon Port wine

In a pot add grapes along some water and cook until soft. Remove from the heat and press through a food mill. In this case the result was 300 ml juice. Simply add sugar and Port wein,
the rest will be done by the ice cream maker.

Chicken with sesame sauce

Yesterday, I felt like experimenting. I gathered a bunch of ingredients together and gave them a stare. After a while it felt like having a conversaion with the lemongrass while I was eavesdropping what sesame was talking with the soy sauce. Then I decided to go for it: chicken with sesame sauce among polenta flavoured with ginger and lemongrass.

1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon butter
200 ml chicken stock

juice of half a lemon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
sesame seeds
cayenne pepper

In a saucepan bring vinegar, soy sauce, honey, butter, stock, lemon juice and grated ginger to boil and let it cook until it reduces to a thick sauce. Stir in sesame and season with cayenne pepper. For the chicken breast heat a saucepand and fry the breasts from both sides among
some thyme and garlic. Place it to the oven on 150°C for 10-15 minutes. For the polenta heat stock among ginger and lemongrass. As soon as it starts to boil set aside and let it stand for 30 minutes. Sieve and cook polenta in the lemongrass-ginger infused stock.

October 27, 2009

Macarons - Daring Bakers

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. who chose "Macarons" from Claudia Fleming’s "The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern" as the challenge recipe. Well, I must say, so far none of the challanges made me so nervous like this one. Macarons. What?! Oh my...I thought when I checked out what the challenge is, yeah macarons. I read it right. I remembered my first attempt some 2 years ago, all macarons cracked, but at least they had a "feet". The second trial almost a year after, nice top, no feet. I thought no way, that this time I can make it. I hardly trusted my eyes when I looked in the oven: I had good looking macarons in there with feet and a whole top! I was almost speechless and extremly happy! Yeah, the 3rd trial and it worked! I called my mom immediately to tell her, because she was there when I failed with my second trial. To celebrate my first macaron success, I decided to prepare Pierre Hermé's passion fruit - chocolate ganache, and I guess it was the best choice I could make!

80 g butter, room temperature
12 maracujas
30 g acacia honey

460 g milk chocolate
180 g hazelnut, whole

Cut butter in cubes. Half passion fruits and scratch out the seeds and press them through a strainer. Bring the passion fruit juice together with the honey to boil. Melt chocolate over steam and stir in the fruit juice and after the butter. Set aside and let it cool. Fill macarons
with the ganache and place one whole roasted hazelnut in the middle of each.

October 23, 2009

Hungarian Fish Pörkölt

Pörkölt is a Hungarian stew made of boneless diced meat, onion, tomatoes, pepper, garlic and wine. Flavoured with majoram and the colour is given by paprika powder. Pörkölni means to roast, that is where the name of this dish comes from. The most common pörkölts are beef and pork, but of course other meats are used as well like rabbit, lamb or tripe, that version is called pacalpörkölt. Usually it is served with nokedli and pickles. If you add some sour cream you get a so called paprikás. In a paprikás the meat is cooked with the bone included, for example for a chicken paprikás you can use a whole chicken cut into pieces. Today, after all it is a Friday, I decided to serve some fish. I had the sudden idea of a fish pörkölt, that of course I served it with nokedli. I have never prepared fish pörkölt before. After reading a lot of recipes I decided to improvise. Here is my fish pörkölt with a tiny little twist.

4 fillets of zander
3 onions
1 teaspoon lard or oil

2 red bell peppers
1 yellow bell pepper

3 big tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon majoram (dried)

1 twig thyme
3 twigs dill
1/8 teaspoon paprika powder

100 ml white wine
600 ml fish stock
salt, pepper

Chop onion, dice 1 red and half yellow pepper and 2 tomatoes. Heat lard, add chopped onion, thyme, majoram and diced pepper, stew for 5 minutes. Add white wine and let it absorb. Stir in paprika powder, diced tomato, dill, stock, salt and cook for 20-30 minutes. In the meantime, peel and dice the rest of the paprika. Heat water, cut the top and the bottom of the tomato and leave it in the boiling water for 30 seconds, remove its skin, seeds and dice. Set aside together with the diced paprika. Sieve the sauce, and bring it to cook again until it reaches the desired consistency and season with salt and pepper. Sautee paprika and tomato in white wine, season with salt and pepper. Fry fish and serve it with the sauce, nokedli and the sauteed vegetable.

Pear "dessert" for a fruit day

One day a friend of mine came over for a visit. That is nothing unusual or special and that offers always a good opportunity to bake something. In that case I knew that she is doing some kind of long term diet so it wouldn't been appropriate to bake, especially not on a fruit day. She complained that she had enough fruit and she hardly eats on a fruit day, because it is just too much. I asked her if she could also eat cooked fruit and how about nuts, she said that would be fine. So, I thought I surprise her with a fruit dessert that contains only fruits and nuts.

You simply need a pear best is the type Alexander, that has a brown skin. With the help of a mandoline slice it thin. Preheat oven to 100°C and dry the slices for about 10 minutes. Heat a saucepan and roast a handful of walnuts. Take about 200 g grape, puree, sieve with some lemon juice and cook grape juice until it thickens. Place one pear slice on a plate sprinkle with some grape juice. Repeat the process as many times as you want to. Add some roasted walnut on top.

October 22, 2009

The Freezer Project - Part 3

Well, I am not gonna make it, definitely not! The two weeks will not be enough to empty the freezer, but at least I haven't frozen anything new and I can even see the bottom of one of the shelves through the different bags! It is almost like the light at the end of the tunnel! Yeah! I am on the way to an empty it, but I guess I will need two more weeks. Anyway, it feels good to work with almost forgotten ingredients! Like today, a nice pieace of free range pork tenderloin. I decided to poach it and served with Albert sauce among parsnip puree and carrot flan. Albert sauce is a sauce used principally in British cuisine to enhance the flavour of braised beef. It consists of grated horseradish in a clear bouillon, thickened with cream and egg yolks, and spiced with a little prepared mustard diluted in vinegar. It is named after Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Queen Victoria's spouse. (source:wikipedia)

100 g butter
20 g flour
300 ml beef stock
100 g horseradish, grated
200 ml cream
15 g breadcrumbs
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard powder

Melt 20 g butter, stir in flour and fry for 2 minutes, but do not let it get brown. Add beef stock, grated horseradish and cook for 5 minutes. Add cream and cook for another 15 minutes over low heat. Sieve, add breadcrumbs and cook for another 10 minutes. In the meantime melt the rest of the butter. Whisk egg yolk, vinegar and a tablespoon water together and beat
it over steam until fluffy. Dilute mustard powder in a tablespoon water and whisk it in the sauce with the breadcrumbs. Whisk melted butter into the egg yolk based sauce and then stir it in the breadcrumbs sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

October 21, 2009

Cardamom Ice Cream

Since I have seen that gorgeous chocolate and roasted beet pudding cake in Aran's blog, I couldn't get it out of my mind. I was wondering for quite a long time together with what and when to prepare it. I had the idea of something with cardamom, first I thought about a sabayon but then it was clear that it must be something cold, so I went for an ice cream. I must confess, I just got them out of the oven about a half an hour ago and took some photos quickly. It was absolutely lovely and went very well with the cardamom ice cream. It is a fantastic recipe so give it a try if you haven't done it yet! Thanks Aran for sharing!

5-6 cardamom pods
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
350 ml full fat milk
150 ml heavy cream
70 g sugar

3 egg yolks

Heat milk and heavy cream among the cardamom pods and the ground cardamom until it starts simmering. Turn off the heat and let it stand for an hour. Whisk egg yolks with sugar and slowly add hot milk mix to the eggs while whisking. Take it back to the cooking plate and cook until it thickens (it should be 85°C). Let the mixture cool and then let the ice cream maker do the rest of the work.

October 19, 2009

Homemade Curry Powder

Ever since I discovered, that the curry powder I used to buy, contains a thickening agent I decided to prepare my own. Not, that it is such a tragedy, because food thickeners are based on polysaccharides like starches, or proteins. This could be cornstarch, tapioca, potato starch, guar gum, xanthan gum or egg whites, gelatin and so on. However, I think substances like that have nothing to do in a spice mixture. Besides it is so much fun to discover all those spices and to mix them as you desire.

25 g coriander seeds
15 g cumin
1 tablespoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
2 tablespoon tumeric powder

1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 small piece of cinnamon
6 cardamom pods
6 cloves
6 curry leaves

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Heat a heavy saucepan and roast seeds, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom pods while stirring frequently. Let it cool, add the powders and curry leaves and blend all together. Mixture can be kept in a jar for 3-4 months.

October 17, 2009

The Freezer Project - Part 2

Barramundi from Australia/Vietnam

Barramundi from U.S.

Meanwhile I doubt that I am going to be able to empty my freezer in the 2 weeks I gave myself, but who knows. I found a pack of barramundi fillet, I guess I bought it somewhen last year or even earlier, so I have no idea where it came from, but I hope not from Australia or Vietnam. I do not want to write about the overfishing problem again, but frankly I am totally shocked that stores still sell tuna, on the other side they only sell what people buy... Now back to the dish I want to share today. I served the barramundi with curry sauce, mango and my new favourite rice the aromatic Joha.

1 onion
1 garlic clove
1 piece of fresh ginger
1 apple or half a mango

1 chili (or more if you like it very hot)
1 tablespoon oil

2 tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon tumeric powder
1 star anise
1 teaspoon ground fenugreek seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
200 ml coconut milk

500 ml beef stock

Chop onion, apple or mango, grate ginger and garlic. Heat oil and stew the mentioned ingredients for about 2 minutes. Add spices and sliced chilli and fry for another minute. Pour coocnut milk and stock over it and cook for about 10-15 minutes. Sieve and cook for some more minutes if needed, season with salt.

October 16, 2009

Friantines au chocolat

It has been ages since I ate hazelnut spread! I stopped buying it because if there is a jar in my kitchen it gets empty pretty soon, so in order to save some calories I banned it from my shopping list. Lately, I started to miss it very much, so last week I thought I get a jar, but instead I prepared my own. It was a failure! Why? Because it is worlds better than the store bought one! I love its texture with the ground hazelnut, I think next time I even going to add some extra chunks for the crunch. Anyway, I recieved a pack of phyllo from my neighbour, who bought it by accident and had no idea what to do with it. I found a recipe by Philippe Conticini in Pierre Hermé's book, that calls from hazelnut spread and phyllo, so I thought to give it a go. I am talking about fried chocolate ice cubes. The chocolate ice cube is not the same like the Swedish speciality Ischoklad. Ischoklad is made of 2/3 chocolate and 1/3 coconut oil, and the ice cubes contain only chocolate, milk and hazelnut spread and I tell you those are highly addictive!

200 g hazelnut
200 g milk chocolate
2 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 tablespoon cocoa powder

Roast hazelnut until golden and with a help of a kitchen cloth rub off its skin. Ground together with the sugar oil and cocoa powder. Stir it into the molten chocolate and fill in a jar. It reached the right consistence the next day.

135 g dark chocolate
100 ml milk
50 g hazelnut spread

powder sugar

For the chocolate ice cubes bring milk to boil and pour it over the chopped chocolate, mix well until chocolate is molten. Stir in hazelnut spread and fill in ice cube form. Let it freeze for 3 hours. If you manage not to eat them, then pack it in phyllo, sprinkle powder sugar on top and bottom and grill in the oven from both sides, 45 seconds each side. Well the grill function of my often isn't very good, so I grilled it only from the top. Serve immediately.

October 15, 2009

Beef liver spread with porcini

Liver? Well, you either love it or you hate it. Personally, I love liver, may it be chicken, beef or veal. As a child I often ate canned liver spread, those days I hardly cared for the ingredients. Growing older made me more curious about it and I stopped eating that canned stuff, instead I rather bought fresh liver and prepared it fried with a nice tomato salad. Frankly, most of those canned liver products have only a tiny percent of liver in it, not to mention all the other ingredients that are simply disgusting. There is even one kind here, that has a huge percentage of yeast as the basis! Isn't that shocking?! Therefore when I feel like having a slice of bread with liver spread I make it myself. It is not a big deal and the result is just great and most of all it contains only liver and no rubbish. This time I also added some fried porcini and served on a nice slice of pumpkin bread I baked some days ago, with sage-pumpkin seed pesto swirl.

200 g beef liver
1 onion
75 g butter
majoram (dried)
thyme (fresh)
Port wine
salt, pepper

Melt 1 tablespoon butter, add chopped onion, stew for some minutes. Add liver and fry until done among the spices and 1-2 shoots of Port wine. Puree together with the butter. Season with salt and pepper. Optionaly stir in some fried porcini and cover the top of the spread with melted butter. Leave it in the fridge for 3-4 hours, but it tastes best the next day.

October 14, 2009

Vietnamese Chicken Pho - Daring Cooks

This month's challenge was hosted by Jaden of Steamy Kitchen and she picked a recipe for Vietnamese chicken pho and sweet wontons from her new cookbook. We had complete freedom for the filling of the wontons. I decided for a coconut ice cream with chilli among a chocolate sauce flavoured with tamarinde and some caramelised limequats.

For the pho part I decided to go vegeterian. Thanks for this great challenge Jaden!

October 13, 2009

Porcini Oil

Being a huge porcini fan I always think of possibilites to use this beautiful mushroom. My absolute favourite is still the sabayon, followed by the gnocchi and the porcini pasta. Now I would like to share a simple recipe for porcini oil, that can be sprinkled over any dish you want to give a special touch, like salads, pasta dishes, soups or marinades. Simply take 100 ml neutral oil like grapeseed and pour it over minced dried porcini. Leave it in cold, dark place for 10-15 days and enjoy!

October 12, 2009

Apple-Poppy Bars

Yesterday afternoon I was craving for something sweet. I went to the pantry and my eyes stuck on the basket of apples, so I picked some and took them to the kitchen among a bag of poppy and a jar of honey...

300 g apples
200 g honey

100 g poppy, ground
100 g hazelnut, ground
4 eggs
50 g flour
1 lemon
8 g vanilla sugar

Whisk egg yolks with honey until fluffy. Grate apple and sprinkle lemon juice over it. Stir
poppy, hazelnut, 3/4 of the grated apple and lemon zest to the honey-egg mixture. Beat egg white with vanilla sugar, stir it to the rest among the flour. Butter a form, pour batter into it, spread the rest of the apple on top and bake for 20-25 minutes on 180°C.

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