January 31, 2011

Lemon Oil

Last weekend, I have managed to buy a couple of fresh Sicilian lemons. Did you actually know, that there are torns on the branches of the lemon? Well, at least on this kind. I still have no plan what I am going to prepare, but as I had no more lemon oil left, I made one small bottle.

It is very simple to make your own flavoured oils and there are so many different combinations that you can choose from! However, it is very important to prepare only small portions at once. This means that you shouldn't make more than 200-300 ml from a kind, because once you open a bottle it has to be used within a few days or a week at the most. It looses its aroma very quickly, but sealed it can be kept up to a month. It is also important to use an oil that has a neutral taste such as grapeseed oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil or a light olive oil.

It is up to you with what you want to flavour it, the method is almost the same no matter if it is lemon, orange, chili, herbs or garlic.
In case you make a lemon or orange flavoured oil use only organic fruits and dry the zest in the oven on 110°C for 24 hours. Usually, I use 3 lemons to make 200 ml of lemon oil.

Heat the neutral oil until it reaches
120°C, then add the desired flavouring and remove it from the heat. Cover and let it stand until it cools completly. Now you only have to sieve it and fill it into bottles. In case you flavour the oil with garlic and chilis, then there is no need to sieve.

January 27, 2011

Coconut Flavoured Beetroot Consommé

Well, I believe that a soup only deserves to be called a consommé, if it is cooked out of meat or fish and it is cleared by egg whites. If this is not the case, well then there is nothing to talk about. This soup doesn't even need to be cooked, well not really and no clearing with egg whites is required, but at least it is transparent. It is prepared very fast with very little work to do, but for sure it is going to impress your guests.

Finally, I have managed to buy a coconut that was not affected by mold. I prepared some coconut chips and this time I saved the water to cook with, instead of drinking it immediately. That box of leftover vegetable stock in the freezer was pretty handy to prepare this soup. By the way, I think some fried shrimps would go very well with it.

250 g beetroot
500 ml vegetable stock
1 piece of fresh ginger
1 teaspoon cumin
kb. 150 ml fresh coconut water
1 small beetroot
salt, pepper

Peel 250 g of beetroots and grate coarsly. Bring the vegetable stock together with the grated beetroot, ginger and cumin to the boil, then set aside and let it stand for 1-2 hours. Sieve and add coconut water and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or cold with thinly sliced beetroot and fresh coconut.

January 26, 2011

Pork Stir-Fry with Shiitake Mushroom

Yesterday, I promised that at least once a week I am going to use on of those ingredients that are waiting for being cooked in my pantry. These are foods like quinoa, millet or even a frozen lamb. I like to have certain foods always on stock, after all that way I have everything around to use it any time I feel like. The disadvantage is, that I often forget about certain foods. Just like I have completly forgetten about a pack of dried shiitake mushroom.

Around 4 o'clock in the afternoon, I realised that it is more than time to prepare something for lunch. In such a situation stir-fry is always a great option. After all it is prepared so fast and there is not much to clean up afterwards. So I boiled some water for the mushroom, and marinted the meat, then sliced the vegetables quickly. By the way a pepper would have been just a perfect addition to the stir-fry, but as it is not in season, I left it out. The stir-fry has a slight touch of sweet and sour, but it is not that typical flavour, which I do not like at all.


4 slices of pork cutlet
1 tablespoon black vinegar
3-4 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon corn starch
peanut oil
1 piece of ginger
100 g fresh or dried shiitake mushroom
100-150 g bamboo sprouts
1/2 leek
handful of roasted peanuts

Soak mushroom in hot water, in case you do not use fresh ones. Cut meat in thin slices and marinte in black vinegar, soy sauce, honey together with sliced garlic. After it was marinated for at least 30 minutes, sieve, but set the marinade aside. Heat peanut oil and add ground ginger and fry the starch dusted meat. Add mushroom, leek and bamboo, fry for a few minutes, add some marinade, some soy sauce to taste and chili if desired. Stir in peanuts right at the end.

January 25, 2011

Sea bass, artichoke and porcini

Last Friday once again I was cleaning a beautiful organic sea bass in the kitchen, while I was wondering what I should prepare to serve with it. There were a bunch of king trompet mushroom left in the fridge, that brought me the idea to preapre a mushroom sauce. Of course for that I also needed some dried porcini. After searching for about a half an hour, I have finally found the artichokes. Only one more component was missing. I decided to cook a parsnip puree, because I already knew, that I am gonna serve the fish with in white wine cooked artichoke and in butter sautéed Mâche.

As far as the artichoke is concerned, well I just could not leave those in the store. It happens very rarely, that I buy something that is not local, of course except for tropical fruits and spices, but after all Italy is so near.


20 g dried porcini
1 tablespoon butter
1 shallot
250 ml dry white wine
500 ml chicken or veal stock

150 ml cream
salt, pepper

Soak porcini in hot water and let it stand. Sautee chopped onion in butter, then add white wine and cook until there is almost nothing left. Add porcini, 3/4 of the liquid and stock. Cook over high heat until it is reduced by half. Add cream, sieve and cook until it has reached a creamy consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

January 24, 2011

Coffee Mousse

As promised on Thursday, here is the recipe for the coffee mousse, however I brought something else as well. If I'd have put the whole quantity of the mousse into the cake, well that would have been too much, so I filled some glasses with the leftovers. The rest came on its own. The leftover simple syrup was perfect for preparing a portion of coffee granita to be served on top of the mousse.

However, as it happens so often, there was something missing but I did not have to think much to figure out what. I cooked a simple caramel sauce with cream, and that came also on top of the mousse. The mousse recipe is by Alain Ducasse, however I have lowered the quantity of the cream, as I think more of it would have destroyed the coffee flavour. Not to mention that over 600 ml of cream is just too much even read on a paper!

250 ml milk
30 g ground coffee
100 g sugar

1/2 vanilla pod
100 g cream
3 egg yolks

2 g corn starch
3 leaves gelatine
425 g cream

100 ml rum

Bring milk to the boil, add coffee and let it stand for 30 minutes. Make a caramel out of the sugar, add vanilla seeds and pour warm cream over it. Add the coffee-milk mixture to the caramel. Beat egg yolks with the corn starch and pour the coffee-milk-caramel mixture to the egg yolks and cook it over low heat until it thickens. Add the previously soaked gelatine leaves and let it cool. Beat cream with the rum and fold it into the coffee cream. For the caramel sauce simply melt 125 g of sugar and add 250 g cream to it and cook until it thickens. Let it cool. For the granita add coffee to the simple syrup and freeze for 2-3 hours and stir it with a fork every 30 minutes.

January 21, 2011

Spaghetti alla Carbonara with a twist

The past few days have been pretty exhausting, and I do not even really know why. Anyway, therefore I wanted to surprise myself with one of my favourite pasta dish, the spaghetti carbonara. I decided to give it one or two tiny twists.

First of all I have made fresh pasta, because there is nothing better than that. Instead pancetta I used Parma ham. One very important part of this dish is the pepper, so I decided to use the special cubeb pepper instead of black pepper. This type of pepper is also called Java pepper as it grows in Java and Sumatra. It is very aromatic, a tiny bit bitter and of course hot.

It was just perfect together with the Parma ham and the 24 months old Parmesan cheese. But that was not the twist I want to write about. I served the pasta with in clarified butter poached quail egg yolks. There is nothing complicated about this, do not worry! Simply crack the eggs with a help of a knife and remove the egg whites. That is pretty easy, just let the egg white flow down between your fingers. Pour clarified butter into small ramequins and slowly glide the egg yolk into it. Place them into the to 65
°C preheated oven and leave them in there for 20-25 minutes. These were truly amazing together with the fresh pasta!

January 20, 2011

Chocolate, Coffee and Tonka Bean

Honestly, lately I am not able to bake anything as it is written in a book. That means that usually I change so many components of a cake, that at the end I got something completly different. Actually there is nothing wrong with that. I mentioned, that I am going to post the holiday cake, well finally it is here! By the way, it was inspired by Alain Ducasse wonderful pastry book. So the cake went through some changes. I have left out the chocolate glaze and the caramel part. I felt like this would be too much right now. So what's left?! A very very thin hazelnut sponge, that would not even be worth to mention, if it wouldn't be so delicious! After all this cake is about the creams! On the hazelnut sponge there is a lovely and totally addictive tonka bean crème brûlée, though it has no burnt caramel on top, but these kind of creams are called that way everywhere I have seen, so why should I call it differently?! On the this layer there is a gorgeous coffee mousse, but for the recipe you gotta wait until Monday, because it is coming on its own together with a cold surprise and caramel. Stay tuned! So on top of the coffee mousse, well what else could be if not a dark chocolate mousse! The cake is sprinkled with a lot of cocoa powder and toasted hazelnut. This cake is just to die for! Trust me!

4 egg yolks
110 ml simple syrup
200 g dark chocolate
400 g cream

Cook a simple syrup out of 200 ml water with 200 ml sugar. Beat egg yolks over steam together with 110 ml syrup, when it is nice and thick, remove it and beat until it cools. Stir in the molten chocolate and the beaten cream. Refrigarte for 2-3 hours, or over night in case you prepare the tonka bean cream as well.

300 ml milk
300 m cream
120 g egg yolks
80 g sugar
tonka bean

Bring milk and cream together with ground tonka bean to the boil, remove it from the heat and let is stand covered for 10 minutes. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until pale and pour the milk over it. Pour the liquid into a silicon baking form and bake for 50-60 minutes on 100°C-os, in case the form has a size of 24-26 cm. Let it cool and refrigerate.

50 g finly ground hazelnut
12 g flour
4 egg yolks
1 pinch of cream of tartar
125 g sugar
35 g coarsly chopped hazelnut

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Beat egg whites to soft peaks, add sugar gradually then beat until stiff. Stir in the flour and the ground hazelnut and pour it onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle with the coarsly chopped hazelnut and bake 10-13 minutes.

January 19, 2011

Cream of Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

The Jerusalem artichoke, also called the sunroot, sunchoke or topinambur, is a species of sunflower. Lately, I've become a big fan of this root vegetable and luckily a nearby farm sells its own, so I have access to very fresh sunchokes throught the winter. Most of the time the fresh soil is still on it! I just love the smell of the fresh soil and frankly, you can not get any better vegetable than those with still the wet soil on the outside! But there is a problem with sunchokes, I just hate to peel them! That is such a tedious work. As today, I had no time and no nervs for that, I decided to bake them in the oven, hoping to make the peeling part easier. Considering the lack of time, I cooked a simple, yet flavour sunchoke soup served with roasted hazelnut.

500 g jerusalem artichoke

250-300 ml vegetable or chicken stock
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 shallot
1 small garlic clove
1 bay leaf
2-3 tablespoons cream
1 tablespoon butter
salt, pepper

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Wrap the jerusalem artichokes in foil together with some olive oil and salt, then bake for an hour in the oven. Sautee chopped onion for a few minutes, add sliced garlic, bay leaf and the peeled jerusalem artichokes. Pour stock over it and cook for 10-15 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and pour the soup into a mixer. Puree together with the cream and the butter. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Serve with roasted hazelnut and some hazelnut or olive oil.

January 17, 2011

Red Wine Butter

Frankly, I would have never imagined, that one day I would enjoy a slice of fried beef medium or sometimes even rare. In the past it had to be well done. What a pity! Once in a while I feel an unstoppable desire to eat a steak, and then it must be it, nothing else.

That is what happened this weekend: once more I could not say no to those gorgeous slices of T-bone steaks in the butchery. I wanted to keep the meat simple, so it was fried among some garlic and thyme, but before it was resting for about 3 hours on room temperature. Frying a cold steak is a sin!

Blumenthal's carrot, oven roasted shallots and salad was served among the gorgeous piece of meat that was just perfect with the red wine butter.

(recipe by Anthony Bourdain)
100 ml red wine
1 shallot
220 g butter, soft
1 bunch of parsley
salt, pepper

Finely chop shallot and bring it to the boil together with the red wine and reduce until there is almost no more wine left. Let it cool. Cream butter, stir in the shallots, the chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper. Form a log or any other shape you desire and refrigirate until the butter is firm enough to slice. Freeze the leftovers.

January 14, 2011

Plain in Pigna

Today, I am here with another speciality from canton Graubünden in Switzerland, the so called Plain in Pigna. It is actually an oven baked rösti that contains a couple of different Swiss sausage specialities like Salsiz, Landjäger (smoked, raw beef and bacon sausage) or even Mostbröckli, that is a piece smoked and dried raw beef. There are a bunch of recipes in the net, and probably traditionally there is no egg or cheese in it, but in my case cheese is a must. Since years, I prepare this delicious dish according to the same recipe, I have only added a lot more cheese and reduced the baking time. As far as the meat part is concerned, well I always use leftovers, just like today.

500 g waxy potato
1/2 teaspoon butter
1 onion
50 g bacon
150-200 g different types of smoked sausages or dry cured ham
2 eggs

75 g flour
50 ml milk
70-100 g cheese (e.g. Gruyére)
salt, pepper

Preheat the oven to
200°C-ra. Sautee chopped onion in butter until glassy, add cubed bacon and fry for a few minutes. Mix flour with milk and the eggs, season. Stir in the cubed sausages, the cheese and the fried onion with the bacon. Stir in coarsly grated potato and bake in a cake pan for 35-40 minutes.

January 13, 2011

Beet Gnocchi

Well, I've planned to make gnocchi, from a part of the beets, already for a week. Today, in one of my favourite blog, I discovered a way to bake beets in a coffee-salt crust, so it was no question, that I am going to bake the beets that way. My plan was anyway to use baked beets for the gnocchi and the coffee made me very curious, so I switched on the oven immediately. I discovered a pack of goat cream cheese in the fridge, so it was clear that I am going to add it to the gnocchi. After all beet and goat cheese are a great match, no matter if they are in a salad, a risotto or a mousse. And this time again: they were just the perfect combination together with brown butter, poppy seeds and some pomegranate seeds.


100 g beetroot (peeled quantity)
80 g goat cream cheese
1 egg
150 g flour
salt, pepper

Bake beets on 200°C for 90 minutes in a coffee-salt crust (mix 600 g corse salt with 100 g ground coffee and 4 egg whites). Peel and puree baked beets. Mix it together with the cream cheese, egg and flour. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour mixture into a plastic bag or a piping bag. Bring salted water to boil, reduce hit so that it simmers. Pipe gnocchi in the simmering water and as soon as they swim on top they are ready to be served. Melt butter and cook it until it browns, add poppy seeds and stir in the gnocchi and serve.

January 11, 2011

Ravioli stuffed with ragù alla bolognese

Already a couple of recipes have been posted here for ragù alla bolognese, however this time I did not bake a lasagne, but prepared some ravioli. The recipe for the ragu is also different, now it is one by Giorgio Locatelli. I think ragù alla bolognese is the only dish where I can not decide which version I like most. I guess, the favourite is always the one, that is on the plate that very moment. And there are so many different versions, that I still want to try!

Traditionally, only tomato puree is added and they do not use ground meat but a nice piece of beef chuck that is cooked until it falls apart. During my first trials in the kitchen, I used to prepare the bolognese sauce using turkey, because I was convinced that I do not like beef. Nowdays, I even enjoy a medium rare fried steak!

250 g flour
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
pinch of salt
250 g ground beef
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small carrot
1 small onion
1/2 celery stalk
1 twig rosemary
2-3 leaves of sage
1 clove garlic
170 ml dry red wine
1 teaspoon tomato puree
250 ml passata
250 ml water
salt, pepper

Make a hole in the middle of the flour, add eggs, egg yolk and whisk it in with a help of a fork. When the dough is getting viscous knead it with your hands until smooth, add a little water if needed. Chop vegetables and sautee in olive oil together with the whole garlic and the herbs. Add ground meat, season and fry it until golden brown. Pour wine over it and reduce, then stir in tomato puree and fry for a few minutes. Now add passata and water and cook it for 1 hour or 1 1/2 hours. Season with salt and pepper and let it cool. With a help of a pasta machine roll out pasta dough and place a teaspoon of the filling on it and make ravioli with a help of a form or anything you've got. Cook ravioli in simmering salty water for 3-5 minutes.

January 10, 2011

Stir-fry duck noodles

Well, some weeks ago, I have bought a nice duck breast, that I completly forgot. When I remembered that I should cook it, I had no opportunity so I put it to the freezer. And it spent quite a long while in the cold. In fact this dish took many days to get finally cooked. Some days ago, I marinated it and left it in the marinade for 2 days. The evening, when I wanted to serve it, something came between, so I sliced and fried it and froze it just to be on the safe side.

However, today it ended up on plate together with noodles, leek, bean sprouts and button mushroom.

1 duck breast
2 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
1 big clove of garlic
1 teaspoon dried ginger
chili if desired
2 tablespoons soy sauce
tablespoons rice wine or sherry
tablespoon honey
70 g Chinese egg noodles
2 champignons
1 piece of leek
2 handful of bean sprouts
1 clove of garlic
1 piece of ginger
tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine or sherry

1 teaspoon black vinegar
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Trim duck breast and score the skin in a criss-cross pattern. Slice garlic and mix it together with the rest of the ingredients for the marinade and marinte the duck for at least a few hours or up to 2 days. Slice mushroom and leek. Heat oil and fry the sliced and with starch dusted duck breast, then set aside. Cook noodles according to the package instructions. Slice garlic and fresh ginger and fry in sesame oil, remove. Fry mushroom, add duck breast and sherry, once reduced add leek and vinegar. As soon as it is reduced add sprouts and noodles. Season with oyster- and soy sauce.

January 7, 2011

Almond-Apple Tartelette

Well, I still haven't finished emptying the freezer, in fact it is almost full again! So yesterday I took a closer look and managed to make it emptier with removing three bags. In one of them was about half a portion of homeade puff pastry, so in the evening I baked a Galette des Rois for the Epiphany, this time with almond cream. There was also a portion of frozen cocoa tart dough and a small portion of crumble. So it was more than clear that I am going to bake something using these leftovers, also because I also had some almond cream left as well. To complete the picture I also added some caramelised apple and a caramel sauce to the tartelettes.
(based on a recipe by Alain Ducasse)
filling for 12 tartelettes

100 g butter
100 g finely ground almond
100 g powder sugar
10 g cornstarch
1 egg
125 ml milk
125 ml cream
25 g sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3 egg yolks
15 g cornstarch

Warm cream and eat the egg yolks with the sugar until foamy, add starch and milk, vanilla essence. Now pour warmed cream over it and put it back to the stove and cook it for 2 minutes, then let it cool. Sieve powder sugar and almond. Beat butter until creamy, stir in the powder sugar-ground almond mixture, the egg yolk and the starch, then stir in the cooked cream. Peel 4 small apples, cut in cubes and caramlise in sugar with a splash of lemon juice and add a chunk of butter at the end. Cover the tartelette forms with the cocoa tart dough, add the almond cream, put the caramlised apple on it and sprinkle crumble on top. Bake for 15-17 minutes on

January 6, 2011

Cream of Bean Soup

The snow is almost melted, but still it is totally cold outside. After the usual morning walk with my dog, I decided to cook a soup for lunch. After all nothing warms you better then a nice bowl of hot soup. First I was considering cooking a minestrone, but then I decided to go for a creamy bean soup with smoked lardo.


200 g dried beans
1 onion
1 clove garlic
1 carrot
1 parsley root
1 bay leaf
1 clove
2 twigs thyme
10 g butter
70 g lardo
300 ml chicken or vegetable stock
70 ml cream
salt, pepper

Peel vegetables and fry diced lardo in butter, then set the lardo aside. Add chopped vegetables to the fat together with the bay leaf, clove, thyme and sautee for about 5 minutes. Add the dried beans that were soaked in water the night before and pour enough water on it so that it is just covered. Cook it until the beans are soft. Remove the clove, the bay leaf and the thyme twigs, add a teaspoon of salt then puree. Add stock and puree it again, press it through a sieve and bring it to the boil with the cream, season and serve it with the fried lardo on top.

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