December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I would like to wish a Merry Christmas to all and the best wishes for the coming year! See you with new recipes in January!

December 17, 2010

Saffron Pilaf with Rose Water

During the past days my spice box from the pantry has moved into the kitchen, although there are at least fifty glasses of different spices on the shelves. Sometimes forgotten spices surprise me such as fenugreek or sumac. Actually, I only planned to cook pasta with a mushroom sauce, but I didn't have enough fresh mushroom and the dried was out of shelf life, so I needed a new idea. I decided to prepare fish and not only because it is Friday. Strangely, this week it was the third time that fish got onto the plate. As I have found fresh ginger, lemongrass and half a box of coconut milk, I felt like cooking something Asian inspired. The fish was flavoured with garam masala salt and fried. I cooked a simple coconut milk sauce flavoured with onion, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, coriander seeds and cumin. I only needed an idea for the rice. I cooked a pilaf flavoured with saffron, rose water, cardamom and served with a nice portion of roasted almonds, macadamia nuts and pistachios.


180 g long grain rice

300 ml chicken stock or water
2 ek oil or ghee
1/4 teaspoon cumin
2-3 curry leaves
1 small piece of fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon saffron
1 tablespoon rose water
80 ml cream
1/4 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Crush saffron and mix it with the rose water, add cinnamon, cardamom, clove, pepper and pour cream over it. Heat ghee, add cumin, curry leaves and grated ginger. Add rice after a few a minutes and let it brown while stirring. Pour stock over it, season and cook it uncovered. As soon as the liquid has absorbed, add the spicy cream, cover and let it stand on the switched of stove for 15-20 minuets. Stir in
roasted almond, macadamia nuts and pistachios before serving.

December 16, 2010

Chocolate Cake with Cranberries

So far I have only had dried cranberries and as I do not like raisins I was pretty sure that this is going to be the same with those too. However, I have to say, that some years ago they did a great job in a fish dish with lentils and that was a great surprise, but still dried cranberries are not my cup of tea. Since a while I was planing to buy some fresh ones, however I always postponed it to the next time. Finally, I managed to buy a bag and of course I planned to use some in a cake. That is how this cardamom spiced chocolate cake was born. The cake is prepared pretty fast and you do not even have to wait until it cooles completly. The only thing that is missing on top is a nice portion of beaten cream!


4 eggs
150 g sugar
200 g chocolate (70% cocoa)
40 g flour
100 g ground hazelnut
150 g butter
150 g cranberry
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Beat egg yolks with sugar and cardamom until pale, add soft butter, hazelnut and molten chocolate. Stir in the flour, then fold in the beaten egg whites and the cranberries. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

December 15, 2010

Cod poached in red and port wine

This year I am not going to bake Christmas cookies, probably on the honey cookies and the beigli is going to be baked. Of course there will be other sweets during the holidays, like a chocolaty cake with toasted hazelnut, a couple of ice cream and other treats, but no cookies. The reason is pretty simply, the whole family likes beigli and the honey cookies most, and rest is usually left in the pantry until end of January. Besides, I am a lot behind with the preparations, because I had a tiny accident and broke my small toe and therefore I could not stand in the kitchen, and still can not. But today I had enough and no matter what I decided to cook something, as I miss it so much. I wanted to use holiday spices in my lunch, so I had the idea of poaching a nice fillet of cod in red wine. I also found a beautiful radicchio and some fresh porcini in the fridge.

As far as the porcini is concerned, well it ended up in a puree, without cream but with porcini liquid, as I also added some dried poricini to the puree. Besides I saved some of the liquid and cooked a mushroom sauce with veal stock. The whole thing was served among balsamic vinegar flavoured black lentil and some sauteed radicchio with parma ham.

500 ml port wine
300 ml red wine
1 staranise
2 pods brown cardamom
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 tablespoon coriander seeds
1/4 stick cinnamon

Put all the ingredients into a pot big enough for the fish fillets. Let the liquid simmer over low heat for about half an hour until it is reduced by a quarter. Place fish fillets into the poaching liquid, that should be barley simmering and let the fish poach for 6-8 minutes. At the end feel free the reduce the poaching liquid and bind it with some cold butter, season and there you got your sauce.

December 10, 2010

Dark Chocolate Butter Caramels

Well, I could not get the chocolate butter caramels out of my mind, so I planned to search for some glucose during the weekend. Yesterday, while I was tidying the pantry, I have found a pack of fructose, so I have left everything as it is and went straight into my kitchen to start making the caramels. What a great decision it was! Soft, chocolaty and mmm...! The worst part of the preparation is the packing, because it is so time consuming, but at least there is a trick. Smear some oil on the knife before cutting, that way you are a lot more efficient with cutting. For the salted version you are supposed to prepare the salted butter a day before, however I did not want to wait because of that another day. Besides I can simply sprinkle some fleur de sel on top, or some roasted, salted almond would just be perfect on top of the caramels!

100 g salted butter
3 g salt
50 g dark chocolate ( at least 70% cocoa, but you can even go for 99% cocoa)
20 ml water
100 g glucose
250 g sugar
200 ml cream

The day before mix salted butter and salt together and cut into pieces of 15 g and 85 g. In a heavy bottomed pot melt glucose with water, then add sugar and cook a light caramel. Remove it from the heat and stir in 15 g of butter and the slightly warmed cream. Bring caramel to cook again and stir in the leftover butter, as soon as it has reached
118°C remove it from the heat and stir in molten chocolate. Pour it into a baking pan covered with baking paper and let it set for 24 hours on room temperature.

December 9, 2010

Beetroot Sauce

Well, this is again one of those meals, that I have been planing to cook it for months, but I always ended up preparing something else, also because I had no clear idea what I actually want. It was only sure, that I want to use sunchokes, beetroot and fish, but besides knowning that I want to fry the fish, I did not know how to cook the vegetables. My first idea was a silky sunchoke sauce among caramelised beetroot, but somehow this seemed to be too "dry" for me. Yesterday, finally, I managed to make a decision: sunchoke puree, beetroot sauce and a beurre blanc in order to balance the heavy, spicy flavours of the beetroot sauce, that I flavoured with some fresh pomegrante juice as well. By the way, sunchoke, beetroot and fish has already met on the plate this year, in March when it was served among horseradish foam. Beetroot sauce is also not a new guest in my kitchen, however now it was prepared in a complete different way. As far as the fish is concernd, it was a gorgeous, huge organic Meagre or Stone Basse, that I cleaned outside and inside as well by myself. If I am not mistaking, this was the biggest fish ever that has seen my kitchen, and its taste is fantastic, I would say it even has the chance to beat the gorgeous Loup de mer.

70 g beetroot
2 shallots
1 twig thyme
some caraway seeds
some fennel seeds
1-2 seeds of star anise
some black pepper corns
50 ml white wine
300 ml fish stock

2-3 kk pomegrante juice
4-5 chunks of cold butter
salt, pepper

Peel beetroot and cut in small cubes, then cook it together with the spices in the fish stock, then sieve to remove the spices. Melt some butter and sautee chopped shallots, add white wine and reduce by half. Add cooked beetroot and fish stock and cook until it is reduced by half. Puree and sieve. You can either serve the pureed beetroot with the fish, or dry it in the oven and use for example in a risotto, or when making fresh pasta or even in cakes. Bring the sauce to the boil and add pomegrante juice, season with salt and pepper. When it has the desired consistency stir in cold butter, season again if needed.

December 8, 2010

Glühwein Mousse

Herzlich willkommen hinter dem 8. Türchen des diesjährigen kulinarischen Adventskalenders! Zorra vom Kochtopf veranstaltet diesen schon zum sechsten Mal. Hinter dem heutigen Türchen versteckt sich ein luftiges Glühwein-Mousse, das gemeinsam mit einem leckeren Glühwein- Gelée im Glas serviert wird.

Der Vorläufer des heutigen Glühweins ist der
Conditum Paradoxum. Nach dem Kochbuch des Apicius wird hierfür Honig mit etwas Wein eingekocht. Dazu werden Gewürze,geröstete Dattelkerne und Datteln beigegeben. Zum Schluss wird die Mischung mit zusätzlichem Wein verdünnt. Jahrhunderte später wurde der kalt getrunkene Hypocras beliebt.

(See the recipe in English as the first comment)


250 ml Rotwein
125 ml Wasser
2 Nelken
1 Stange Zimt
frische Zitronenschale
frische Orangenschale
2 EL Zucker

Das Wasser mit dem Zucker und den Gewürzen aufkochen und ein paar Minuten kochen lassen.
Den Rotwein dazugeben und erwärmen, aber nicht mehr kochen.


70 ml Glühwein
50 ml Orangensaft
10 g Zucker
1 Blatt Gelatine

Den Orangensaft mit dem Zucker aufkochen, Glühwein dazugiessen. Anschliessend die
eingeweichte und gut ausgedrückte Gelatine dazugeben und in die Gläser füllen. 1-2 Stunden
kühl stellen.


125 ml Orangensaft
1/4 Zimtstange
2 Nelken
3 Blatt Gelatine
50 ml Glühwein
3 Eigelb
60 g Zucker
20 ml Rum
250 ml Schlagsahne

Den Orangensaft mit den Gewürzen erhitzen und auf etwa 100 ml reduzieren. Glühwein, Eigelbe, Zucker und Orangensaft mischen und über einem heissen Wasserbad zu einer Schaumcreme schlagen. Die eingeweichte Gelatine gut ausdrücken und im erhitzten Rum auflösen, dann zur Creme geben und etwas auskühlen lassen. Geschlagene Sahne unterheben,
in die vorbereiteten Gläser füllen und mindestens 3 Stunden, besser aber über Nacht, kühl stellen.

December 7, 2010

Ossobuco alla milanese

Traditionally, ossobuco is preapred without tomatoes, however nowdays this version is pretty forgotten. The dish originates in the North-Italian Lombarida, where it was cooked without tomatoes and even without olive oil, as butter was more common in the north part of the country.

The ossobuco al pomodoro is prepared with peeled and deseeded tomato slices and a bit of tomato puree. The version prepared in the Toscana uses red wine instead of white. Last weekend I prepared ossobuco in bianco, the traditional white ossobuco, for lunch, that I served with its traditional side dish the risotto alla milanese with saffron and beef marrow.
According to some sources ossobuco in bianco is flavoured with bay leaf and cinnamon and of course the gremolata, that is mixed into the sauce some minutes before it is ready in order to aromatise it with the fresh flavours of lemon and parsley with a touch of garlic.

4 slices cross-cut veal shanks
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
150 g onion
150 g celery stalks
150 g carrot (not included in the traditional version)
200 ml white wine
400 ml veal stock
1 bay leaf
1 piece of cinnamon stick (optional)
salt, pepper
a bunch of fresh parsley
1 garlic clove
zest of a small lemon

Heat olive oil in a large iron pot and fry seasoned and with flour dusted veal shank slices from both sides until golden brown, then set aside. Add butter and sautee vegetables over low heat for 10-15 minutes. Pour white wine over it and reduce by half, then place meat on top, add bay leaf, cinnamon stick (if you use) and pour stock over it, then put it to the oven and braise for 2 hours on 160°C-on. Once in while turn the meat, so that it cooks evenly and you might need to add some stock as well. Some minutes before it is ready add the germolate. Simply chop parsley, garlic and lemon zest, give it a good stir and let it stand for 5 minutes. If you do not want to serve it rustical, then sieve the sauce and bind it with a few chunks of cold butter.

December 6, 2010

Butter Caramels

Actually, I wanted to prepare some chocolate caramels, but I had no glucose at home. Anyway, I thought, I still go for it and use sugar instead, as I have already replaced it in the past in other recipes. Though, I was pretty sure that it might not work out this time, but I still tried. The result was a delicious chocolate-caramel cream, that made an awesome spread on a slice of bread, but well, that was not what I wanted.

Of course, I did not give up and searched for another recipe, this time without glucose, but the result turned to be the complete opposite of the other. I ended up with hard chocolate-caramel like candy, that tastes good, but it is not the real stuff. So after that, I decided to make some normal butter caramels, this time not salted. These are so delicious! Be careful when wrapping, because these are addictive! In my case one ended up in a wrap, the other in my mouth...

3 tablespoon butter
360 ml cream
225 g sugar
225 g honey
salt as desired

Cover a baking pan with baking paper or butter it. Mix butter, cream, sugar, honey and salt in a pot and let it melt over medium heat and cook until it reaches 120°C degrees, this is going to take about 30-40 minutes. Stir mixture once in a while, when it has reached the temperature pour it into the baking pan and let it cool for a few hours. As soon as it has the right consistency cut it in pieces and wrap in baking paper or anything else.

December 2, 2010

Soupe à l'Oignon

Well, certainly, I did not believe that the day is going to arrive, when I cook an onion soup. Not that it would be such a big deal, but since my childhood I can't stand cooked onion. In the past only a tiny piece of cooked onion in a dish, and it was over, I could not eat a single bite of it. Therefore my mom often had to prepare my part separetly, because in some way, I have always managed to find every single onion piece. Meanwhile this has changed, because I cook everything with grated onions, and I even learnt to love sauteed leek or oven fried onion slices on top of tarte flambée. But an onion soup?! That is something completly different! And today, I took a big step forward! On the other side I am totally mad about fresh onions! There is nothing tastier than a fresh slice of bread with duck lard and fresh onion! That is unbeatable!

Besides I am a complete onion freak. My absolute favourite one is the beautiful
Rosé de Roscoff, I often call it the Parma ham of the onions. Nothing can be compared to it! Though the Italian Tropea is also a hit, but will always remain the second best on my list.

Now, back to the soup! So today, I have finally cooked my first onion soup, that is originally comes from Lyon, though the Parisians still argue about this. The soup is usually prepared with roux, but some cook it without, and you can also add spices like thyme or bay leaf, it is up to you, however one thing is absolutely essential. If the onions are not caramlised properly or you feel you do not have hours to do so, well then forget it. No need to add sugar, just let the low heat and patience to do job.

This week not only cooked onion won the fight, but I also took some steps forward in baking bread. A friend of mine, who by the way has a gorgeous blog, Vera gave me a baking lesson, so the ice seem to melt in this regard as well. It was no question that the soup is going to be topped with the bread we baked together on Tuesday.

500 g onion
70 g butter
1 tablespoon flour
50 ml white wine
1000 ml chicken stock or leftover meat broth
salt, pepper

Slice peeled onions thinly and melt butter in a pot. Soften onion in butter over low to medium heat. Be sure that the onion is well covered with the butter. Stir once in a while and add some salt as well. This process may take a few hours, but that is definitely worth it, because after all the caramelised onion is the heart of this soup. You can also add some spices or herbs like bay leaf or time, personally, I think it is not necessary at all. As soon as the onion is well caramelised pour white wine over it and reduce. Add flour, stir and pour stock or broth over it and simmer for 50-60 minutes over low heat. Season at the end with cognac or port wine and serve with toasted slices of bread with cheese such as
Comté or Gruyère. Simply top the soup with the cheese sprinkled bread slices and leave the rest of the work to your oven grill.

December 1, 2010

Old Fashioned Hot Chocolate

Well, today is definitely not my day! I have planned to complete a lot of things, yet I haven't even started any of them! Though I still have the chance to do so, but I hardly think that I will. During the morning hours my dog and me were playing outside as usual. She is completly mad about playing frisbee, that is actually her favourite thing to do. So this was not different today, when suddenly another dog came across the creek. Mine welcomed the other friendly, and turned away to go on with playing, when the other dog has attacked her. Luckily, I managed to separate the two, and then the owner of the other has also arrived, so we could calm the situation. My dog was lucky, because she survived the attack only with a small scratch, but still it was a shock for her, so we went home directly. To comfort myself I cooked a nice hot chocolate with kardamom flavoured beaten crean and gave my dog a portion of fresh paunch.

125 g dark chocolate (65-70% cocoa)
500 ml water
50 g sugar
25 g cocoa

Chop chocolate and pour it into a bowl. Bring sugar and water to the boil, then stir in cocoa and bring it to the boil again and pour it over the chopped chocolate. Stir it with a wooden spoon until the chocolate has molten. Serve with kardamom or cinnamon or anything you desire flavoured beaten cream and sprinkle with cocoa.

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