Samstag, 31. Dezember 2011

Silvester Krapfen - New Years Eve Donuts

Lots of things to do today but I could not skip one tradition:  Baking Silvester Krapfen.

Silvester Krapfen
Silvester means New Years Eve - Krapfen are deep fried yeast dough buns. Think donut without holes! Don't ask me since when and why there has to be something like this at New Years Eve in Germany. The legend says this special ball shaped dumplings - filled with jam, where invented by a baker during the year 1756. He baked cannon ball shaped dough dumplings to praise the military (where he served as baker for the troops during seventh year's war) and his king Frederic the Great. But deep fried or baked yeast dough dumplings/buns where known since ancient times, maybe not cannon ball shaped, but as festive food. Krapfen is just something you can eat easy and it is filling. Most of the time people will have a party and therfor lots of snacks & booze or decent dinners until midnight. There are always games and fortune telling involved. Some Krapfen are filled with hot mustard as a "bad" joke (you don't know what you will get...).
You can buy Krapfen in each and every bakery all around the year but not in this big amounts as today. Krapfen are decorated with icing sugar, colourful sugar glaze and chocolate glaze. They are filled with jam: Strawberry, raspberry and plum jams are the most common fillings or a custard cream with advocaat. Some are additonally decorated with little items - symbols for luck: Piggies, four leaved clovers, chimney sweepers.
It is quite easy to make Silvester Krapfen. All you need is yeast dough, a wok, oil and jam and a piping bag with a flute sized nozzle.

Why a nozzle? How to place jam into the ball?
Inside the Krapfen

For yeast dough:
250 g flour (allpurpose)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar (sugar with ground vanilla pod)
1 good pinch salt
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon soft butter
120 ml milk (lukewarm)
1/2 cube fresh yeast of 1/2 bag instant yeast

For Filling:
1/2 jar jam (smooth without fruit pieces or seeds not too runny; strawberry, raspberry prefered)

Oil for Frying
Icing sugar

Crumble fresh yeast into milk and stir together with the sugar. Add everything into your kitchen machine bowl and let beat for 10 minutes on medium speed. Wether to use a kitchen machine or beat and knead by hand is up to you. The more beating the more fluffy  the structure of the buns will get and the dough will rise much quicker. After resting up to 45 minutes, covered, at a warm place, the dough should be soft and elastic and rised to its double size. Punch down and form a long roll but don't knead - just stretch and roll it on a lightly floured baking board. Cut the roll in 12 slices and form each slice into a small ball shaped like a small satsuma.
Let rise again for 25 minutes (covered with a damp kitchen towel)
Heat enough oil in a wok (the dough balls have to swim easily) up to 170 degree Celsius. Don't overheat. Fry 4 balls about 3 minutes (depends) until golden browned on one side, turn the balls and fry the other side too until golden brown. When ready let the buns rest on a wired rack. Fry the next 4.
Fill jam into a piping bag. I heated cherry jam up in a small pot and purreed it with a blender.  The jam gets somewhat thicker which is better for filling.
Stick the nozzle into the bun and squeeze in the jam until it leaks out of the bun.
Fill all the other buns. Afterwards dust with icing sugar.

Donnerstag, 29. Dezember 2011

Chinese pork sweet and sour

I am not that big of a fan of chinese pork sweet & sour at our local chinese restaurants (dish #136). Most of the time it is sticky sweet and nothing else. I decided to give it a try with home cooking. After searching the web and adapting some hints I went with this:
pork sweet and sour
First I made the sauce with vegetables:
1 big green bell pepper (some parts were already turning orange), cut in bite size chunks
2 small carrots, cut in 2 mm slices
5 red onions (smaller onions), peeled and quartered
2 medium hot red chillies, chopped finely
1/2 sweet and ripe pineapple, peeled and cut in small chunks
1 knob ginger, grated
1 garlic glove, sliced
70+ ml sugar
50 ml white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1+ tablespoon oyster sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon plum sauce (home made sweet and tangy tamarind-plum sauce)
120 ml water
1 teaspoon arrow root flour
1 tiny littly pinch chinese 5-spice powder, the very little pinch fitting at a knifes point

First  stir fry the vegetables in a little oil until carrots were not that firm anymore. Add pineapple chunks, ginger, garlic and sugar and let it caramelize just a little, deglaze with vinegar and water. Next add the spices* and soy sauce, oyster sauce, plum sauce. Boil for 2-3 minutes but don't overcook vegetables.- there still has to be some crispyness. Afterwards stir in arrow root flour (arrow root must be mixed with just a little cold water until smooth beforehand). This had to boil just up to 1 minute and the sauce was done. I added a little more sugar, salt and a little oyster sauce. Sugar content depends on the pineapple and plum sauce.
* Careful with the 5-spice. It is very dominating. There should be only a faintly hint but without it tastes boring.
vegetables sauce: arrow root gives a glossy shine

This sauce tastes even better when reheated.  The spices and pineapple need some time to develop their full flavour.

For serving prepare the pork:
For meat:
150 g pork loin cut in smaller cubes (size of a quartered loin slice)

For batter:
3 tablespoons starch (2 for the batter)
2 tablespoons flour
1 small egg
1 pinch baking powder
1 sip water (cold)

1 tablespoon soysauce,
1 small knob of ginger, grated

Stir flour, baking powder, starch, egg add a little water until the batter reminds on stiff  pan cake batter.
Toss meat (after marinating for 20 minutes) in 1 tablespoon starch.  Heat 200 ml oil in a wok. Toss meat cubes in batter and deep fry in 3 batches until crisp and golden. Let sit on paper towels to reduce the fat.
pork chunks after deep frying on paper towel

Reheat vegetable sauce.
Toss meat with vegetables sauce. The batter has to suck in some sauce. Serve with rice.  The batter was ok but not great. I am still searching for another batter. All in all - it was much tastier than chinese restaurant dish #136.

Some add ketchup and worcester sauce to the vegetable sauce. This may be good, but it is definitely not chinese. Even the pineapple is somehow strange.

Montag, 26. Dezember 2011

Dried persimmons - final

I did it. First dried persimmons are done. Last week I took them in. The air outside was way too moist due to rain, rain, rain and wind and it was and it is unusual warm for this time and season.
One persimmon showed first signs of mold. I placed the others near one radiator and they turned out fine. If you ever touched big dried figs you know the feeling: sticky and slightly wobbly with a skin texture reminding on leather:

Sonntag, 25. Dezember 2011

Christmas eve dinner

For today I planned on something easy, good to be prepared ahead: Some fish, salad and something sweet. Traditionally christmas eve was part of the lenten season, meat was therefor forbidden. So fish is the right thing to serve for christmas eve but nowadays anything goes.

Some fish: cured salmon, eggs with caviar,sprats, clawfish and in the middle trout mousse

In Germany many families eat potatoe salad and wieners on christmas eve: mom or dad don't have to cook much, children love it and all are having more time to relax and unwrap the gifts, tradionalist will have carp. The really big dinners will take place the first day after christmas eve and on second day. We will do the same.
So we had fish:

Graved lax (cured salmon)
A few days ago I bought a good part of a salmon half and cured it in 4 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons salt (sea salt flakes).  Usually this scandinavian recipe calls for fresh dill but I am not so fond of dill. I switched to spices. Therefor I toasted 3 tablespoons mustard seeds, 1 teaspoon sechzuan pepper, 1 teaspoon allspice and 1 teaspoon black pepper in a pan until fragrant. Afterwards I crushed the spices in a mortar - just a little. I covered the fish half (deboned but with one skin side) on both sides with the sugar /salt and the "meat" side with the spices. Afterwards I wrapped it tightly in foil, set it in a flat tray - meat side down and covered it with another tray. As weight I layered 1 liter bottle mineral water on top. The fish had to rest 2 days in the fridge or cool basement.
salmon just unwrapped

Afterwards I scraped off the spices and rinsed the fish onces with water (maybe not necessary but I don't like it very salty) and pat it dry.  Using a sharp knife I sliced the fish by angular flat cuts in thin slices (off the skin). The fish was firm and nicely deep orange red. Just as it had to be and it was only faintly spiced.

In the mornig I made a mousse of smoked trout fillet. This is so easy, it is done in no time: Just puree smoked trout fillets with a blender while adding a little horseradish (just a few drops lemon juice prevents horseradish from oxidation), a pinch sugar, pepper and  a very little salt. Beat some whipped cream (200 ml cream : 150 g trout). Desolve 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin in 3 tablespoons water and warm this up. Mix it cooled down to lukewarm with the fish and blend in whipped cream (just a few seconds, don't destroy the fluffyness of the whipped cream). Fill in forms. Top later with lingonberry jam.

And I bought some cooked clawfish (without shells) and sprats (Sprotten) small smoked fish -some sort of herring but small as anchovis.

And I made some sauces:
Honey-Mustard sauce: 2 tablespoons dark honey, 1/2 lemon - juice only, 1 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard (hot french mustard), 1 tablespoon minced herbs (chives, parsley, tarragon)
Avocado dip:  1 avocado, decored, 1 small spring onion, in slices, 1 jalapeno chilli pepper, sliced,  1 garlic glove, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, pinch salt, 5 date cherry tomatoes, quartered. Just put everything in the blender but not the tomatoes. Blend until smooth, stir in the tomatoe bits.
2 tablespoons mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon cream- horseradish: just stir.
(Honey-mustard for the salmon, avocado and mayonnaise for clawfish).

And I made some potatoe crisps filled with anchovis:
Cut a big waxy potatoe lengthwise in very thin slices (I used a mandoline). Use only the bigger sized cuts. Powder some starch on each slice. Dip the powdered side of the slice in beaten egg. Cut anchovis (salted should be rinsed in water before) in halves. Layer 1 anchovis half in the middle of one potatoe slice (egg wash side up) put another fitting slice on top (egg wash side down) press to close the slices around the anchovis: Deep fry in oil in two turns. First deep fry until light golden. Just before serving fry until crisp and golden.

And some small potatoe pancakes:
Just grate 3 medium sized waxy potaotes and 1 small carrot and 1 very small onion finely. Stir in a good pinch of salt, some nut meg and pepper, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley and the leftover beaten egg from the anchovis crisps. Fry small pancakes  (1 tablespoon batter each) in oil until both sides of the pancakes are golden and crisp - on medium heat. This pancakes are called Kartoffelpuffer (in german) and goe very well with cured salmon. Just top with a few salmon slices and honey mustard sauce. They should be eaten warm. So fry in 2 rounds. First until nearly done, second just before serving.

And I served boiled egg with caviar:
I halved the eggs, mixed the soft cooked yolks with a pinch of mustard,  1 minced anchovis, a little chilli pepper, 2 teaspoons mayonnaise and piped this back into the egg halves and topped this with caviar.

For serving I put all the fish varieties and eggs on a plate. I served the pancakes and crisps on some additional plates and some bread (rye baguette and wheat baguette).
My first share, trout mousse, avocado dip, clawfish and mayonnaise,crisp (n the middle), salmon on pancake
For salad I used some roman lettuce and radicchio in a sweet sour dressing made form honey, white wine vinegar, shallot, salt, pepper, olive oil and toasted walnuts.

Smoked and cured fish will never become friends with red whine. White wine would be ok but we had some beer. This is the best for smoked fish.

Plum Pudding:
For the sweet I reheated plum pudding and served it with brandy cream.
Plum pudding

I made this pudding  a week ago. It is cooked from lots of dried fruits as raisins, plums, corinth, sultanas,  candied orange and - lemon peel, soaked in lots of sherry and a good sip of rum. Breadcrumbs, orange juices, chopped walnuts, treacle and cleared butter, spices as cinnamon, gloves, ginger, star anise, bitter orange peel, orange peel (no beef fat), eggs. This pudding was cooked in a water basin for 5 hours and 2 hours on christmas day. Just before serving you add some brandy and give it a nice burn. I used a  pudding mold (with good closing lid) which is non stick - very convenient.

Donnerstag, 22. Dezember 2011

Spicy fishballs in tomatoe sauce

Today I went shopping for christmas and had to visit the fish monger. On christmas eve I am going to serve cured salmon. The salmon takes 2-3 days to develop so today was the right day to buy some.
The fish monger had pollock on sale for a reasonable price and I bought some too. A few month ago I found a recipe for pollock in the french cooking magazine "Cusine et vins de france" and I always wanted to try out but never did and now there it is:
my share

(I reduced the ingredients for two persons and add some vegetable and spice. As for chilli paste or piment d'espelette just use what you have in storage):

I took:
2 small pollock fillets, diced finely
1/2 bunch coriander, chopped
1 small egg
1 thick slice white bread soaked in water and crumbled
1 pinch cumin
1 teaspoon harissa (arabian chilli paste)
1/2 garlic glove, minced
a good pinch salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons flour

1 can tomatoe chunks with juice (250 g)
1 tablespoon tomatoe paste
1 onion (french echalote), diced
1 garlic glove, minced
1/2 bunch coriander, leaves only
black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 pinch piment d'espelette (french chilli powder)

1 zucchini, cut lengthwise and sliced
1 sweet red bellpepper, cut in triangles
olive oil
1 sprig rosemary
1/2 garlic glove
sea salt

1 cup instant couscous
1 3/4 cup vegetable broth
1 small knob butter

As for dicing the fish

fish dicing, first make thin slices afterwards cut slices in dices

Take a really sharp knife or it will become a mess. It is a good opportunity to check for fish bones.

First I cooked the sauce:
Roast diced onion in olive oil until translucent, add tomatoe paste and roast it a little while stiring. Add garlic, tomatoe chunks and juice, spices and salt, boil it up and cook on low heat with lid on for 10 minutes.
Mix the chopped fish with egg, bread, salt, spices, coriander, lemon juice and form small balls (size of a satsuma). Toss them in a little flour - careful they are very fragile. Place the balls in the tomatoesauce - don't stir. Cover with lid and simmer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes turn the balls once, cover with lid and keep warm.

simmering fishballs

Meanwhile cook vegetables: Heat a little olive oil in a non stick pan and roast the vegetables together with the garlic glove and a rosmary sprig over medium heat until zucchini are done but with a little bite - don't let the vegetable get any roasting marks. Season with salt.
cooking the vegetables

 Cook cousous: Boil the broth, add couscous, turn off heat, cover with a lid and let sit 5 minutes. Add a little butter and stir a little.
Serve topped with corianer leaves and lemon slice (freshly squeezed lemon juice goes very well with sauce and fish).

Montag, 19. Dezember 2011

Hot and spicy vegetable stew with Cabanossi sausage – mexican style

On saturday we went out with friends (20 people) having a big duck and goose feast at a rural inn. We visit this inn a few times a year to enjoy down to earth seasonal food. It was yummy as always but way too much and typical german: lots and lots of meat, heavy sauce, roasted potatoes and/or potatoe dumplings and some red cabbage stew: Vegetables play a minor role in this inn. The goose was a little dry and the ducks very soft (husband whispered he rather would eat my peking duck) but it was not bad at all. So we did dig in.
I don’t know why, but germans are addicted to meat: No meal is complete withour meat and some say germans even eat meat breakfast, lunch and supper and inbetween – maybe they are right. In ancient times when germans lived with their clan in clay and straw houses, prayed to horses, trees and cruel gods, they did fight a lot inbetween and against the romans and went into battles with bleached hair, naked and sometimes painted blue. After such battles they ate lots of pork roast. And the best fighter got the best and biggest piece of the roasted pig called the heroe piece. Maybe this is still running in our genes…eat lots of pork and such...having your daily heroe piece…

Yesterday I used only a little meat (in german terms) after the big duck and goose feast:
I cooked a big pot of vegetable stew with one sausage.


1 medium garlic sausage, type Cabanossi
4 red pointed sweet bell pepper, cut in bigger chunks
1 big carrot, diced
3 tablespoons celery, cut in small dices
3 onions, diced
½ Hokkaido pumpkin, peeled, without seeds and cut in cubes (2 cm x 2 cm)
1 handful thin string beans (blanched)
1 small can tomatoe chunks and juice
1 small can kidney beans, rinsed
1 big red chilli poblano, chopped
2 starfish chilli, chopped
1 pinch smoked chilli powder
1 pinch cumin
2 pinches cinnamon
1 pinch allspice, freshly grind
1 pinch pepper, black, freshly grind
1 pinch orgeno
1 bunch cilandro (green coriander) leaves, chopped
1 dash fish sauce

First I roasted onions and Cabanossi sausage (cut in slices), until onions were translucent and Cabanossi a little browned (if one don't like sausages this stew goes well with chicken or turkey cubes or even with tofu too). I did not use any additional fat. I added bell pepper, chillies, carrot and celery, stir fried this a little more. Afterwards I added tomatoe chunks/juice, kidney beans and a little salt.
This had to simmer about 10 minutes with a lid on. After 10 minutes I added the spices, oregano, string beans, and pumpkin cubes: 10 more minutes to go with a lid on until pumpkin was soft.  Before serving I sprinkled the cilandro and adjusted the seasonings. We had it with rice.

Freitag, 16. Dezember 2011

Ghost story

A short while ago I watched Shinya shokudo - midnight canteen. There was a part dealing about sweet and sour pork and a ghost story attached. I really do like ghost stories a lot. Actually I read about a tourist tour in Tokyo visiting all important haunted places - that is something I would book anytime. Do I believe in ghosts?
Let me tell you this:
About 20 years ago I lived with my husband and son in the capital city. We just moved in a huge flat in an old building. This 5 story house was build in 1900, survived two wars,  was bombed ones and did burn a bit, but it was rebuilt. It is located in a so called good living quarter and the flats in this area and in this type of building are well liked. So we were really happy to find such a nice flat to rent for little money.
One late evening I was laying in bed trying to sleep. Husband was in his office (at this time he started his company not long ago and had to work late hours) and the son was in his room hopefully sleeping as well. I must have been falling asleep for just a few minutes  as I woke up again. The air in our sleeping room suddenly turned chilly although it was late summer. I was still wondering why and at this moment I sensed someone right besides me. Do you know how it feels when you lay in bed and another person is going to lay down on the same mattrass? The mattrass moves while giving way for the weight of a body laying down and your body follows a bit?
I felt this. There was someone who just layered its huge body near me with just a littel space  inbetween. It emanated coldness and at the same time the air felt somehow thick, hard to breath. In an instant I knew there was something seriously wrong. This was not my husband. This thing did not make any sound - no breathing at all and I was scared as scared as could possibly be. I was so scared I could not move a bit.  I opened my eyes  and looked besides me - it was really dark in the room, but next to me it was even more pitch black, darkness shaped a person. I don't know how long it took, but the mattrass moved again and that thing was gone from one moment to another - in a blink.  I jumped out of the bed and turned on the light but there was nothing and I was soaked in cold sweat.

Was I asleep, was it a dream between sleep and awakening?  I really don't know, but it felt so real...and I can still recall the feeling and pictures anytime.

This is so not funny: first snow

Took me one hour to get home by car, traffic slowed down... the white plague is back again.

Donnerstag, 15. Dezember 2011

Mushroom soup with rice noodles and deep fried tofu

Today I came back from work and husband was already at home: he cought a cold  (poor him).  Best thing  to do when suffering from a cold is to have lots of hot liquid.
So I switched dinner plans and decided to make a very quick (15 minutes only) soup out of my fridge.

Mushroom soup

Rice noddles

I took:
 1 cup frozen mixed wild mushrooms  (must buy more, they are so very convinient)
1 bunch enoki mushrooms
6 frozen lotus root slices
4 chinese flower broccoli stems, leaves and flowers and small parts of stems only
1 garlic glove
2 spring onions, trimmed, sliced
4 twigs green coriander, leaves only
1 scoop miso
dashi instant stock
100 g thick  rice noodles
100 g firm tofu cut in rectangles
1 tablespoon corn starch
chili flakes
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 sip sake

Heat 1 1/2 l dashi stock. Add fozen mushrooms, frozen lotus roots, roughly chopped broccoli leaves and flowerbuds, garlic in slices and bring to boil. Cook 6 minutes on medium  high heat. When broccoli is done, dissolve miso with a little broth and stir in. Add chopped coriander leaves, spring onion slices, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and a sip of sake and enoki mushrooms - just pluck the bunch in smaller bunches after cutting of the firm base - adjust seasoning to your liking (salt..). Keep warm on very low heat.  Meanwhile cook rice noodles (follwing instructions on the wrapping they have to cook 10 minutes) .
Pad and squeeze tofu dry with paper towel and cut in pieces, toss pieces in starch, heat oil in a pan and deep fry the tofu until golden. Remove excess oil from tofu while padding with paper towels,  season with soy sauce, chili, salt, roasted sesame
First add noodles into your bowls, add soup, top with some tofu.

This is no recipe from somewhere - it is just something I thought would taste good and it did!!!

Dienstag, 13. Dezember 2011

Dried persimmons - state

The persimmons are still dangling in our late atumn storms. Today I was a little concerned wether they would be still up or blown away with the wind. But they are doing fine. They lost some of their size (1/4?) so the process is going on and on. There is no sign of mold or rotting and I give a little massage once a day while turning them in the net bags. The outdoor temperatures are about 2 degree C at night to 8 degree C during the day and since a week we have very windy weather. At the moment, after 2 weeks, I would say the net bag method seems to be a sucess.

Sonntag, 11. Dezember 2011

Meatballs in wild-mushroom cream sauce with black salsify root vegetable

This  evening I cooked meatballs in cream sauce and black salsify. Black salsify is a rather interesting vegetable known in northern europe since the 17th century. They believed it could cure snake bites (other names black oyster plant, vipers grass). It is also called winter asparagus.

meat balls and black salsify (front)

For meatballs:
500 g ground meat (pork and beef 1:1)
1 onion, diced in small cubes
1 slice of white bread soaked in milk, sqeezed and crumbled
1 good pinch sweet paprika
1 pinch black pepper
1 pinch nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon mayoram (if there is no myoram available take 1/2 bunch of parsley, chopped)
1/2 teaspoon salt ( I am not into salt, you may use more)

for cream sauce:
1/2 carrot, cut in very small dices (1 1/2 tablespoons)
1 small slice celery, cut in very small dices (1 1/2 tablespoons)
1 cup beef broth
80 ml cream
1 laurel leaf
1 teaspoon corn starch or other starch
1 tablespoon mustard (hot mustard made from whole mustard seeds, or use another mustard)
1 cup wild mushrooms (frozen mix of Porcino, Chanterelle, Bay Bolete, Kuehneromyces  lignicola - no english name) big mushrooms cut in chunks

5 large and thick black salsify roots
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon oil or butter
2 tablespoons hazelnuts, cut in slices
1 teaspoon sugar
pinch salt

potatoes - I used an ancient variety known as Bamberger Hörnchen, small cornets from Bamberg, one of the most delicious potatoe varieties

First glaze the onion dices in a little oil until translucent - just put them in a small bowl with a few drops of oil and cook 1 minute in the microwave.
Kneat meat, onion dices, spices, mayoram, salt, bread crumbs and egg until well combined.
Form small meatballs, sized 3/4 ping pong ball.
Roast meatballs in a non stick pan with only a little oil from all sides until slightly coloured together with the diced carrot and celery. Add beef broth and laurel leaf and let simmer 15 minutes on low temperature covered with a lid.
Meanwhile wash the black salsify roots and peel them in vinegar-flour-water mixture (just add vinegar and flour into a big bowl of water). Use rubber gloves and keep the roots most of the time under the water surface while peeling.  Give peeled roots in another bowl with vinegar-water to rinse them clear. The reason for this:  Black root peel contains a natural rubber and once cut they glue like hell  and peeled they turn brown. Flour and vinegar prevent glueing and oxidation. The roots are allways very dirty because soil is glued to the roots. Once peeled they look like thick white asparagus (white and same size). It is quite some work to prepare black salsify roots but they have a wonderful sweet and nutty flavour.

Cook potatoes in salted water.
Take meatballs and laurel leaf out of the broth. Add cream to broth together with the mushrooms and cook about 5 minutes on medium heat -  sauce should be reduced a bit. Add mustard, stir the starch with a little cold water, add starch to sauce and stir well while boiling until sauce thickens. Adjust seasoning of the sauce and add the meatballs, keep warm until serving.
Cut the salsify roots in long slices and keep them in the vinegar water. Heat a little oil or butter in a non stick pan and stir fry the (strained and pat dry ) slices until done (crunchy but done), add sugar, a little salt and hazelnut slices and caramelize.  (All in all cooking time: about 5 minutes)
Peel potatoes

First attempt of trying to make Ramen right from the scratch

It is sunday - time for some kitchen experiments. The last days we discussed this issue in Hiroyukis blog and just a few minutes ago I ate my first home made Ramen noodles:
Spicy tomatoe - egg flower/drop soup

For the Ramen dough I used:
200 g strong wheat flour

1 g potassium carbonate
1 g baking soda
75 g water

125 ml water for dough
no salt
flour, baking soda and potassium carbonate (potash)

First I boiled 75 ml water and added the potassium carbonate and the baking soda.  This will foam a little but no worries. After the brine was cooled down, I added it together with flour and 1/2? cup water into the kitchen engine (about the amount of water I am not quite sure because I added it little by little). The dough turned yellow in an instant and it was quite hard to kneat. I let the engine run for about 10 minutes on medium speed. Don't try this with weak engines, mine is a big engine for heavy doughs, for example bread dough, and it had to struggle hard.
Afterwards I wrapped the dough in foil and let it rest 1 hour.

1 hour later I simply rolled it out with a rolling pin. I have planned to use my pasta maker but I could not find it. What happend to it, I wonder. So I had to use a rolling pin, what a pain... I rolled the dough until it had the size of the baking board, folded it twice and rolled it out again and again. I dusted the dough with a little flour and rolled it up and cut it in small slices. I unwrapped the slices and strechted / pulled the single noodles a little by swinging because they seemed to be a little too thick. This went very well because the dough was still quite elastic. To be precise some noodles were damaged but most of them survived and afterwards my kitchen looked like a war zone.
still a little too thick and in reality they are lightly yellow coloured

I cooked a simple broth with 1 big garlic glove (sliced), 5 cherry tomatoes cut in quarters (both roasted in a little sesame oil), 1/4 leek - sliced, a good sip soy sauce and 3 cups dashi and a teaspoon sugar, chilli peppers and indonesian chilli paste (2 tablespoons). I dropped 1 lightly beaten egg into the hot soup for egg flowers.

Meanwhile I boiled lightly salted water and cooked the ramen just a few minutes. They tasted very good, not a faint too chemical aftertaste (first I was concerned about the potassium) and were just as chewy as they should be. I will do this again but only with the help from my pasta maker.

Samstag, 10. Dezember 2011

Just a snack: Octopus Wiener

A few days ago I found one of my favorite mangas online in english translation. It is called Shinya Shokudo (midnight canteen) and all stories take place in a small japanese bar after midnight, where the master serves only a few cheap dishes a la carte. But many more dishes due to his customers needs while you get to know something about their troubled life. My reading skills are still not good enough for reading japanese mangas in their language properly. It takes a few hours and much scrolling in my kanji dictionary (using this is a science of its own, which radical, how many strokes...) for a few pages. Guess how happy I was, when I found the first english issues. I cooked the dish from the first issue called "red weenies" - not rocket science but comfy food: Just small sausages with 3 crossing cuts made on one end and afterwards fried in a pan. The cut ends jump open and the sausage turns into the shape of a baby octopus.

And this is my husbands share, just small sausages called "Cocktail Wiener", cabbage-carrot salad with satsuma juice, soy sauce, sesame oil dressing:

I had lots of salad and only 3 sausages (damn I would like to eat some more) - they have high fat content...

Donnerstag, 8. Dezember 2011

Gaisburger Marsch - southern german beef soup with handmade noodles and potatoes

We are in the middle of stormy weather, heavy rain, single snowflakes and I feel like freezing to the bones. The weather forcast predicted an european windstorm , a cyclone - I am so looking forward it... Nasty weather:  hot soup!  So  today I cooked a very traditional soup or stew not wellknown in northern germany. It is grandmothers cooking and can be made beforehand. It lasts for a few days. The soup contents a strong beef broth made from the shinbone/leg of beef (cheap meat so called soup meat): Just a thick cut slice with some meat,  bone and bone marrow, handmade egg noodles, a few carrots, quarter of a celery,  some leek and many roasted onion rings and a little parsley. Things people could easily have in storage, nothing exotic.

First you cook the broth:
Roast 2 onion halves on their cut side until charred. Cover with 1.5 l water. Add 2 laurel leaves, 1 tablespoon pepper corns,  the meat and 1 teaspoon salt, 2 carrots (don't peel and cut them), 1/2 quarter of peeled celery and 5 parsley stems without leaves, 1/4 leek. Bring to boil and afterwards simmer on low heat about 2 hours covered with a lid. During the first 10 minutes skim off the foam.
After 30 minutes remove carrots and celery  from the pot and let cool down, peel the carrots and cut them in slices, cut celery in dices. Some cook the vegetables together with the meat about 2 hours but I think it is a waste.
Make noodle dough from 125 g flour and 1 egg and 1 egg yolk and a little water. Let rest 30 minutes and afterwards cook hand scraped noodles (Spaetzle): How to look here. Set aside ad keep warm (or reheat before serving in microwave).
Meanwhile cook 3-4 potatoes - unpeeled. Peel after they are done and cut them into quarters and slice quarters. Set aside and keep warm (or reheat before serving in microwave)
Peel and cut 4 onions into rings and roast the rings in little oil or butter until nicely caramelized. Set aside.
After 2 hours, when the meat is very tender and soft, remove it from the broth and cut it in small pieces. Remove the nasty parts as bone, fat, gristles and such.
Sieve broth through a fine mashed metal strainer (to get rid of mashy onions, leek, laurel leaves, pepper corns, parsley stems and such). Give the clear broth back into the pot. Reheat broth, add 1/4 fresh leek cut in fine slices, cook 2 minutes, add meat pieces, carrots, celery and chopped parsley leaves (1 small bunch - the stems where in use before). Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, sip of sherry and Maggi (if you like it) and grated nutmeg. Turn off heat.

Serving: Fill some noodles and some potaoes into the soup bowls, cover with very hot soup add onion rings.
Pictures tomorrow

Montag, 5. Dezember 2011

Dried persimmons

I read about dried persiommons in Hiroyukis Blog and I just had to do the same ( I am a curious person concerning food and preparing food)  - and I did it. Last week I bought 3 kg persimmons at a cheap turkish supermarket. They tasted a little astringent. To prepare the fruits I peeled them first and dropped each fruit just for a few seconds in boiling water (to prevent quick rottening later on) -  and finaly hung them up: Outside under the roof of my house in the windy and fresh air.
This was not as easy as I thought. You cannot tie persimmons up if they don't have any stem with a "t-bone" left. I tried to stick them on a fishing line but the line cut through the fruit. So I tied them in small bags made from a long sheet of polyester fiber gauze. I am not sure if this will work out properly. It is just another weired culinary experiment and it looks quite funny too. I call it my very special outdoor Christmas decoration.
persimmons in little net bags.

Freitag, 2. Dezember 2011

Fried rice (indonesian style)

I longed for a sea food paella with shrimps, mussels and small cute squids but I did not make it into town due to my back. I had to think about something else - something with fried rice. This is a dish I use to make with different ingredients depending on my fridge. It is really spicy and hot, some sort of Nasi Goreng. I like the roasted onions, which add a certain typical flavour to this dish, the most and always have to keep my fingers away from the onion plate or they will be gone long before serving.
Nasi goreng

Todays ingredients:
2 cups long grain rice (uncooked)
1 big chicken breast without skin and bones, diced in finger thick cubes
1/2 green squash, diced*
1 red pointed bell pepper, diced*
1 carrot, diced*
3 leaves white pointed cabbage, cut in chunks, thick parts removed
1 red hot chili, minced
4 bigger onions, cut in 3 mm thick slices
2 spring onions, sliced
3 garlic gloves, sliced
1 little ginger knob, grated
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon tumeric
heaped tablespoon sambal oelek (indonesian chili paste)
2 tablespoons instant flour (wheat flour with a special milling grade)
1 cup oil
4 eggs
Sweet chili sauce to taste
Salt to taste

First steam the rice and afterwards let cool on a tray. You may use left over rice but don't use sticky rice.
Marinate the chicken with chopped chili, grated ginger, garlic and a little sweet soy sauce until rice is done.
Toss the onion slices in flour until well covered and separated into rings.
Heat oil in a wok. Deep fry the onion rings in 4 batches until golden brown and crisp. Transfer onions on a plate covered with paper kitchen towel to get rid of excess oil and sprinkle a little salt. You may buy ready made roasted onions in asia food stores. They are quite good, but I like them freshly made.
Filter oil to a really fine mashed metal strainer to get rid of the browned flour leftovers and wipe clean the wok with a kitchen paper towel. Give a little cleaned oil back to the wok and stir fry the vegetables until the carrots are a little softer. Transfer vegetables to a bowl, stir fry the meat with attached garlic until browned, add to vegetables and spice up with oyster sauce and a little salt.
Add oil to the wok and stir fry rice with tumeric until hot and getting slightly roasted, add vegetables, meat, sambal oelek, maybe salt, and just stir fry a little longer. Adjust seasoning as you wish.
For each serving prepare one fried egg (sunny side) up in a separate pan.
Serving: serve rice topped with fried egg, deep fried onions (can be reheated in mircowave), spring onions and a dash sweet chili sauce or sambal oelek.

And yes - this is so not food for people on diet...

*) 1 cm dices or cut in match sticks