December 23, 2011

Pain d'épices

Pain d'épices is kind of  gingerbread that is made of rye flour, honey and spices and it makes a perfect holiday breakfast with butter and a mug of hot chocolate.

Happy Holidays!

(based on a recipe by Alain Ducasse)
basic dough:

120 ml milk
4 g star anise
200 g rye flour
215 g honig
100 g brown sugar
the next day:
65 g flour
13 g baking powder
132 g (about 2 and a half) eggs
105 g soft butter
6 g salt
265 g oranger marmalade
4 g spice mix (ground mace, allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon)

Bring milk together with the star anise to the boil, then let it cool to lukewarm. Mix together rye flour with the honey, brown sugar and the sieved milk. Refrigirate for two days. Preheat the oven to 170°C.  Stir flour and the eggs one by one to the basic dough. Cream butter with the salt and mix it to batter. Finally stir in the marmalade and the spices and pour the batter into the buttered 15 cm baking form and bake for 50 minutes.

December 19, 2011

Mint - White Chocolate Ganache

Well, somewhen in October I saw a huge box full with candy canes and though I have never really liked them, I took a bunch with me. I thought they might be handy to use in one or the other photo during the holiday time. Then I had the sudden idea to make macarons with mint-white chocolate ganache, but I had no time to bake them until today! After last week's baking "stress", it felt so good to spend some time making these macarons and relax.

(recipe by Tartelette)
80 g aged egg whites
25 g sugar
100 g almond flour
100 g icing sugar
100 g sugar
35 g beet juicefor the filling:
100 g white chocolate
50 g cream
5-7 mint leaves
natural green food colouring (chlorophyll)

Beat 40 g of egg whites with 25 g of sugar until it forms peaks. Meanwhile make the syrup: bring 100 g sugar with 35 g beet juice to boil and as soon as it has reached  110°C remove it from the heat and add it to the beaten egg whites in a thin stream while beating constantly. Keep on beating until it has cooled down, this takes about 10 minutes. Stir the other 40 g of egg whites, unbeaten to the sieved almond-icing sugar mixture. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Pipe macarons onto a silicon sheet or a baking paper covered baking sheet. Bake macarons for 13-15 minutes depending on the oven or a few minutes longer if you make bigger ones. For the ganache bring cream with mint leaves to the boil and pour it over the chopped chocolate. Add chlorophyll and stir until smooth. Refrigirate for 1-2 hours.

December 16, 2011

Saffron Fish Consommé

What a week! I am so totally tired, you have no idea! After all I had to bake about 6 kilos of cookies, two 40 cm cakes and one 20 cm round one. In fact, I still have to decorate them and pack the cookies, but that is just peanuts! However, I must say that I have enjoyed every single moment of baking and I would do it over and over again! On the other hand I had absolutely no time to plan for Xmas, but I am going to catch up next week and take 2-3 hours to think about everything in details. Today, I felt like I really deserve something special for lunch after so much baking. Agree? I wanted something that is prepared fast and not much work. Huh? A consommé and little work? Well, if you have a fish stock in the freezer, then nothing is easier then that. The rest of the work isn't that much at all, really!  Of course I had some ideas while cooking about how to pimp the seafood served with the soup, but I had just no energy to realise them. Though I could not resist to at least prepare a portion of herb oil using the green of the fennel bulb, at least that!

100-150 g fish bones (prawn shells and other parts)
2 celery stalks
1 parsley root
1 onion

1 fennel bulb
1 bay leaf
5 coriander seeds

1/4 teáskanál sáfrány
500 ml fish stock
3 egg whites
few drops of lemon juice
4 prawns
4 scallops
2 seabass fillets
salt, pepper

Mix together the chopped onion, parsley root, half of the fennel bulb, celery stalks with the fish parts and the egg whites and pulse it for a few minutes in a mixer. Over low heat bring the chilled fish stock with the spices and the egg white mixture to simmer and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. Sieve using a cheesecloth add saffron and bring consommé to the right temperature and simmer for a few minutes. Season with salt, pepper and few drops of lemon juice. During this time the egg white mixture is going to clear the consommé. Fry or poach the fish, prawns, scallops in court bouillon or fish stock.

December 14, 2011

Orange flavoured Beetroot Waffles

Well, waffles again! I could not resist to try another version using beetroot juice. A friend of mine brought the idea to replace milk with beet juice. As beets and oranges are just great together, I decided to add some freshly squezzed orange juice to the batter among some zest. The colour is just amazing, agree? By the way, if you want double the amount of sugar, because I reduced it, after all it is sweet enough once it is served with syrup.

200 g flour
60 g butter
40 g sugar
2 eggs
1,5 teaspoon baking powder
200 ml beetroot juice
100 ml orange juice
zest of an orange

Melt butter over low heat. Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and the eggs. Add beet and orange juice and stir until smooth. Stir in the orange zest and bake waffles.

December 13, 2011

Tempura Shrimp with Coconut Flakes, Lemongrass-Sunchoke Puree, Avocado-Passion Fruit Salsa and Passion Fruit Sauce

In the past I was not a fan of prawns, I did not even like lobster, but I was crazy about langouste. Then it has changed! Currently, I am having a kind of prawn period, that means that I prepare prawns once a week. Unfortunatly, the rest of the family don't like prawns at all, so I do not have the chance to serve them some. Yesterday, I felt like taking a short break from baking cookies. In fact I did not even want to think about a single Zimtstern or honey cookie, so I went to the kitchen and started to cook totally relaxed.

As I have just finished everything, suddenly the phone rang and I recieved another request for 6 kilo xmas cookies. And so my break has ended. Anyway, let's see the recipe. This time no beets! Instead I cooked sunchoke, as I did not want to bother with peeling them raw. While that I brought coconut milk with lemongrass to the boil, then I pureed the sunchoke with it. The marinated prawns were deep fried with tempura and coconut chips. Only the sauce was missing, but I also prepared an avocado-passion fruit salsa. Next time I am going to add fresh chilli to the salsa, now I only used some cayenne pepper.


2 passion fruits
150 ml brown veal stock

100 ml cream
salt, pepper

Half passion fruits and scrape out the seeds into a saucepan, then add veal stock and reduce by half. Add cream and cook until it thickens, sieve and season.

December 12, 2011

Tonka Bean Flavoured Beetroot Waffles

Well, I must confess, that I am a waffle addict. I never thought, that this could ever be that way, but it has just happened. Everything started with Vera's gorgeous pumpkin waffles, that finally, made me want to buy that waffle maker. I always had it on mind, but I thought it is really stupid to store one more kitchen gadget that will not be used, not that I have many of them, but still. So I always postponed it. But then one day I bought a small round waffle maker. One lazy Sunday morning I prepared my first batch according to e recipe of Ducasse and two landed immediately in the garbage. I thought no way, can't be that I am not able to bake waffles, huh?! Luckily, the rest of the batter worked out well and we could enjoy a couple of freshly baked waffles. The smell of waffles is just so special, I do not even know how to describe then. So what made ma a waffle addict? Well, and here comes the recipe of a Hungarian food blogger Elif, who tried the recipe of Petra and because it just looked so good, I gave it a go and so here I am as a waffle addict! Some days ago I have recieved a comment by Shaheen. I discovered in her blog a couple of beetroot recipes among one for beet waffles. Huh? Just perfect for a beetroot fan like me! Though I confess, I do not like to bother with the conversion of cups, so I decided to create my own version with baked beets flavoured with tonka bean and served with the mandarin syrup.

200 g flour
60 g baked beetroot
60 g butter
60 g sugar

40 g cocoa powder
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
300 ml milk
tonka bean

Wrap two small beetroots in foil and bake it in the oven for 40 minutes on 200°C. Let them cool, then peel and puree. Melt butter over low heat. Whisk together the beetroot puree iwth the flour, baking powder, cocoa, sugar and the eggs. Flavour with about a half of a tonke bean. Stir in the molten, lukewarm butter and stir in the milk. Bake them in your waffle maker.

December 9, 2011

Mandarin Syrup

Well, slowly I am going to disappear under the huge mountains of xmas cookies that I am baking day after day. I really enjoy it, though I was not sure if I wouldn't get bored. Not at all! I love doing it! In fact the most time consuming part of the proccess is the package making part, but still that is great fun. On the other hand I have plenty of idea that I would love to realise in the kitchen, but there is not enough time at the moment. Of course I note everything in order not forget a single idea! As I have run out of maple syrup I decided to prepare a small amount using mandarins, after all no pancake for breakfast without syrup, right? However, I'll show you on Monday, what I prepared to be served with the syrup so stay tuned! (Ah by the way, now you find the blog also on Facebook.)


150 ml mandarin juice
150 g sugar
2 tablespoons orange blossom honey
1 teaspoon orange liqueur

Sieve freshly squeezed mandarin juice and bring it to the boil over medium heat together with the sugar and honey. Cook for 5 minutes or until the sugar is dissolved. Let it cool a bit and stir in orange liqueur. If you use organic mandarins then add the grated zest as well.

December 8, 2011

Swiss Chard Gnocchi

During this cold time of the year we do not have to say good bye to the colourful meals, after all there is wide range of varicoloured vegetables available. Just think about the purple cabbage, the carrots, beetroots, or the bright green of the brussel sprouts, not to mention the various kinds of chicory. As far as swiss chard is concerned, well I doubt that these are free range and still in season, however I left my veggie calendar at home... besides I could not resist them. Also because they reminded me of a xmas tree.

500 g potato
70 g swiss chard
1 shalott
1/2 garlic clove
1 egg yolk
150-180 g flour
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons pine nuts
3 tablespoons butter
salt, pepper

Boil potatoes in salted water, while that satuee chopped onion and sliced swiss chard stem. Cook swiss chard leaves for about 40 seconds in boiling water, then add it to the sauteed stems and puree. Smear puree through a sieve and mix it together with the riced potatoes. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Knead it together with the egg yolk and flour and form a roll, cut in pieces. Cook gnocchi in simmering water. While that roast pine nuts, melt butter and prepare the nut butter flavoured with bay leaf and garlic. Toss gnocchi in butter, sprinkle with pine nuts and freshly grated parmesan.

December 7, 2011

Chestnut Soup with Marsala and Cranberry stuffed Ricotta Dumplings

Yesterday, I wrote it pretty confident, that I have a couple of recipes on stock. Well, it turned out that this soup is the last one. I have already mentioned a couple of times that cranberries are just gorgeous in combination with clove. The last kick was given by these ricotta dumplings, that are actually also great for dessert, so if you decide to make it, go for a double portion. It is worth it!

for the soup:
400 g chestnut
1 tabelspoon butter
1 shallot
50 ml marsala
400 ml chicken or veal stock
100 ml cream
2 cloves
salt, pepper
for the dumplings:
100 g ricotta
1 egg yolk
1/5-2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons semolina
100 g cranberries
50 g sugar
2 pinches of ground clove
25 ml orange juice

Boil chesnuts for 25 minutes, let it cool and peel, you should have about 150-200 g of chestnuts. Sautee onion in butter, and peeled chesnuts, pour marsala over it, add cloves and as soon as the wine has reduced pour stock over it and cook for 10-15 minutes.Remove clove and puree soup together with the cream. Season with salt, pepper and some more Marsala.

For the dumplings mix together ricotta, egg yolk, flour and wheat groat, then let it stand for 30 minutes. For the filling cook cranberries with the sugar and ground clove in orange juice for 5-7 minutes, then press it through a sieve and set aside to cool. Make 4 to 6 small dumplings: flatten the ricotta dough and put a small portion of cranberry puree in the middle. Cook dumplings in simmering water, they are ready as soon as they swim on the top.

December 6, 2011

Parsnip Soufflé with Apple-Walnut Sauce

Luckily, I still have some recipes on stock and that is pretty handy, considering that I have to bake so much lately, that I'd have no time to experiment around. This was the first dish that I prepared for the French website, however I have only managed to post it now. This light soufflé is perfect for Xmas as a starter. By the way parsnip is one of my favourite root vegetable, may it be served as a soup, puree or even oven-baked with maple syrup.

enough for 5 ramequins (10 cm diameter)
250 g parsnip (peeled, and chopped)
20 g butter
20 g flour
125 ml milk
3 eggs
50 g grated cheese (e.g. gruyere)
salt, pepper
1 apple
1 teaspoon butter
1 tablespoon honey
40 ml white port wine
1 tablespoon chopped walnut

Cook parsnip in salted water, then puree. Melt butter, stir in flour and pour milk over it while whisking, cook over low heat until it thickens. Remove from the heat, stir in pureed parsnip, then the egg yolks and the grated cheese. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt, then fold it into the parsnip batter. Pour it in buttered and with breadcrumbs coated ramequins and bake for 6-8 minutes over 200°C. Peel and dice apple and sautee for a few minutes in butter, add honey and pour port wine over it. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stir in the walnuts and serve it with the soufflé.

December 5, 2011

Zander-Yellow Beet Ravioli with Lemongrass-Coconut Foam, Butter sauteed Chioggia Beets and Beetroot-Vermouth Sabayon

It's been a while that I have shared a recipe with beetroot, right? So it is time to show you these yellow beet-pikeperch ravioli. This main course was in fact inspired by an older beet-prawn dish of mine. Unfortunatly, there no sign of snow yet, but I can hardly wait for the first snowflakes. Until then, all I can do is to serve some for lunch.

for the pasta:
200 g flour
2 eggs
1 teaspoon olive oil

for the filling:

500 g yellow beetroot
150 g pikeperch
300 ml coconut milk
200 ml water
1/4 teaspoon curry spice mixture
for the lemongrass-coconut foam:

50 ml fish stock
1 lemongrass
1 shallot
1 teaspoon butter
50 ml coconut milk
50 ml cream
salt, pepper

for the beetroot vermouth sabayon:
100 ml fish stock
50 ml vermouth
50 ml beet juice
1 shallot
1 egg yolk
chioggia beetroot

First prepare the pasta dough: sift flour and make a mold in the middle and add whisked eggs. With the help of a fork mix it together, when the dough is getting viscous knead it with  your hands, and while that add olive oil, two pinches of salt and knead a dough until it is smooth. Chill for about 30 minutes. For the filling peel yellow beets and dice. Bring coconut milk with water to the boil and cook diced beetroot over low heat until soft. Puree beets with just enough cooking liquid so that you get a spreadable puree. Stir in diced fish and season with salt, pepper and curry spice mixture. With a help of a pasta machine roll out pasta dough as thin as possible and place a teaspoon of the filling on it and form a ravioli with a help of any snowflake or any other shape cookie cutter. Bring salty water to simmer and simmer ravioli for a 2-3 minutes and toss in melted butter. For the lemongrass foam, chop shallot and sautee in a teaspoon butter, pour fish stock over it and add lemongrass, reduce, add coconut milk and cream and cook for 5-7 minutes. Before serving remove the lemongrass and foam it with a blender. For the sabayon sautee chopped shallot in a teaspoon of butter,add fish stock, vermouth and reduce for 2 minutes. Sieve, add beet juice and whisk it together with the egg yolk. Beat sabayon over bain marie until foamy, season with salt and pepper. With a help of an apple deseeder cut pieces out of the chioggia beet, slice and sautee in butter.

December 2, 2011


Somehow, I could never really get warm with these cookies, because you see them in the stores all over the year, therefore they have not much to do with Christmas at least in my eyes. However, it has just turned out that this is one of the most favourite cookies, at least in my area. They are also sold in local farmer's shop and I had to try quite a bunch of them. I must say some were good, but others totally dry. So I decided to bake them myself and took them with me to my favourite farmer's shop. As they liked them very much, I have received an order from them, so I have spent the past few days Spitzbuben.

250 g butter
125 g powder sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 egg white
350 g flour

Cream butter with powder sugar and vanilla sugar. Add the rest of the ingredients and knead a smooth dough. Chill for 1 hour. Roll out about 2 mm thick and cut round forms with a cookie cutter. Bake in the preaheated oven on 170°C for 7-8 minutes, then let it cool on a wrack. Take two cookies and fill with any kind of jam you desire.

December 1, 2011

Fennel Salad with Cranberries

So after yesterday's sweet treat, here I am with a light salad, after all we do not want be shocked if we stand on the scale after the holidays, right? Once again I could not resist cranberries, so they had to be part of the salad. The other special ingredient is a speciality from Basilicata the so called oliva infornata. It is prepared of Majatica olives, that's harvest starts at the end of december. This type of olive has only a small core, therefore it is perfect for making olive oil, and also for the traditional infornatura, which means that the olives are dried under warm air. Traditionally the olives were dried over charcoal fire, however nowdays they use special ovens for this procedure. This speciality is not only part of a southern Italian antipasti plate, but you also find it in pumpkin soup or in the baccalà in umido.

1 fennel bulb
2 oranges
1 shallot
1 tablespoon cranberries
1 tablespoon olive au four
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon orange blossom honey
pinch of ground clove
salt, pepper

Slice fennel bulb with a help of a mandoline and cut cranberries in slices. Mix the rest of the ingredients together with a finely diced shallot and season with salt and pepper. Serve salad with orange fillet and a couple of olive au four.

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