Freitag, 28. Dezember 2012

Good luck charms

On New Years Eve we decorate our homes and especially tables with good luck charms for the New Year to come. In Germany the good luck charms are chimney sweepers (little figurines: guys wearing black clothes, high hats, carrying a ladder) or / and pigs and pots with clover (the plant). Pigs and chimney sweepers are decorated with 1 cents coins or four leaved clovers. I made some charms by hand - as you can see an army of pigs, each pig just a little bit bigger than a walnut. They are small presents for friends. You could easily buy these kind of pigs in every supermarket (tons, everywhere) but I like to make them on my own, just for more fun and pleasure:

I like this one the most - looks so cheeky and happy
Best: all are edible. They are made of almond paste (for pastry), icing sugar, glucose, rosewater and a little food colouring. The raw almond paste has to be knead with icing sugar (ratio 2:1) and a little glucose sirupe mixed with a few drops of rosewater and food colouring. I used red and green colours and a little melted chocolate for the eyes. I used a little solution of red food colouring and glucose sirupe to highlight the cheeks and the snouts (painted with a calligraphy brush).
200 g almond paste
100 g icing sugar (up to, best to knead it in little by little)
1 teaspoon glucose sirupe
1/2 teaspoon rosewater
Tools: wooden toothpick, chopstick, calligraphy brush

To shape the pigs start to make rolls from the almond paste mixture and divide this rolls into small pieces, shape pieces into balls, bigger for the body, smaller for the heads and very small balls for ears and very thin rolls for the tails. The rest is up to the fingers and tools. The paste is soft and slightly sticky, for best results clean the tools and hands with water from time to time. After they are finished they should dry a little, afterwards just place them on a piece of cardboard, layered with  food proof decoration foil and wrap them up in transparent sheets.
wrapped up piggy - with coin attached

army in progress

Donnerstag, 27. Dezember 2012

Christmas dinner

Sorry to say we did not have the time to make any pictures. As for christmas eve we had a lot of appetizers: tiny puff pastry tartes with dried tomatoes, goat cheese, olives or onion jam and fois gras or onions and sardines; followed by salads: ceasars salad, celeriac-carrot-orange-apple-walnut- salad. Afterwards deer stew with wild mushrooms, potatoe dumplings, red cabbage stew.

Dessert was english christmas pudding with a sip of homemade Advocaat and some whipped cream. I made a lot of pudding, just one serving left over. The pudding has been simmered in a pudding tin (tin with a lid) for about 3 hours (very traditional), but it never looks very good on pictures, just a dark something:

It is made from lots of ingredients as candied and dried fruits, treacle, sugar, bread,  flour, butter, eggs, rum, orange juice, coconut flakes, spices. The advocaat was made from egg yolks, condensed milk and light evaporated milk, vanilla and Bourbon. Kind of tricky to adjust the thickness because first the egg yolks were simmered and whisked with the condensed milk until a very thick custard formed. After cooling I added the bourbon and it was still a thick custard: Hell of a booze not for drinking but to be eaten by spoon (laugh). Adding light (4% fat) condensed milk did the trick, little by little it reached a more runny state (laugh).

Merry Christmas - Fröhliche Weihnachten

Just a short Season Greating - lots to do

Sonntag, 23. Dezember 2012

Pork and chinese cabbage casserole

I had some ground meat left in the freezer. So what to do? I also was a little fed up with all the prepartions for the christmas days and lots of festivities the last weeks so today I decided to cook something very easy and ended up with somthing you could call crossover - it just popped up into my mind...
It is a dish mainly made of ground pork, chinese cabbage and italian pasta leaves (for lasagna) and chinese spices. Sounds strange - believe me it is good, it is like a cabbage roll without roll (laugh)
It is kind of hard to make a picture of casseroles looking appetizing:

1/3 of the casserole - going to freeze this

6 pasta leaves (rectangle shaped for lasagna)
450 g ground pork
1/2 chinese cabbage, bigger leaves
3 celery stalks, cut into thicker slices
1 red pointed bellpepper,cut into stripes
1 big onion, cut into wedged slices
3 spring onions, cut into slices
2 garlic gloves, sliced
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons chinese black bean sauce (sechzuan style)
1 tablespoon sesame oil, toasted
soy sauce
chinese mushroom sauce
1/2 cup broth
1 tablespoon sugar
60 ml sake
1 tablespoon starch
2 eggs
oil for the tin

First I roasted the ground meat in sesame oil until nicely browned, adding the onion and garlic during the middle of time. Finely I added soy sauce (just a shot) and sugar and caramelized it a little. Afterwards I added celery and bellpepper, ginger, sake, broth  and the black bean sauce. I let this simmer until the meat was tender and the celery not that much crisp anymore (maybe 10 minutes). Meanwhile I blanched the cabbage leaves in salted water until softer and rinsed the leaves with cold water (squeezing a little to get rid of too much moisture).
I oiled a non stick casserole tin and made a first layer from cabbage leaves (3 leaves). The meat had cooled down a little and I added the starch, the whiter parts of the spring onions and just stirred it in. For final seasoning I used a little bit more soy sauce and mushroom sauce.
I made a layer of meat sauce on top of the cappage leaves and a layer of uncooked* pasta leaves (3 leaves). Topped again by cabagge, meat sauce, pasta leaves, a little more meat sauce, cabbage. Finally I mixed 2 eggs with 1 teaspoon soy sauce and a few tablespoons water and the darker green of the spring onions (finely chopped) and pured it over the last cabbage layer.
There it went into the oven: 25 minutes at 200 degree Celsius.

*)There is no need to boil the lasagna leaves beforehand, they will soak up the liquid and will get cooked during the baking time.

Samstag, 22. Dezember 2012

White Nougat (methode de Montelimar) sticky yummyness

Since many years I am visiting southern france during holidays. My ancesters are from southern france that is why I am really tiny and have darker hair and whenever I am in france I just blend in, unless we talk to each other - les boches n'est pas... My grandmother was very proud of her french ancestry. She even talked to us in french (sometimes) and made a big fuss about french manners and dinners too. So I was always addicted to french cuisine and I often cook french meals.
And sweets... I like the french nougat. Thought about to make it at home and I did it this year for christmas.
This is really tricky and I don't know if it is wise to post it, because there is a high risk it will never turn out good. For southern france christmas it is one of the 13 desserts / delights to be served on christmas eve.
Sweet treat: pieces of white nougat just cut into bite-sized cubes
You need for a small amount / trial version

150 g sugar
2 tablespoons honey (orange blossom honey but common honey will do while adding a little orange oil - see below)
1 tablespoon glucose
50 ml water
1 large egg white
200 g mixed nuts (skinned and not skinned almonds: toasted -  more tradional almonds, pistachios and pine nuts)
almond oil, orange oil, only a few drops
candied cherries, opitional- I think this adds a nice colour

Add a few drops almond oil to the cherries and let sit an hour.
Skin the almonds or let the skin on or both and toast - 1 minute at scale 900 W in the microwave will do, covered. Beat the egg white to a stiff snow (adding a little salt is good too) add a few drops of orange oil when neary done.
Add sugar, honey, glucose, water into a pot and boil while scraping the sugar crystalls forming at the pot sides down into the sugar mixture until the solution reaches 130 degree Celsius, hard ball stage for sugar cooking. During this time stir well (I use a wooden spatule), don't burn the sugar, don't let it turn too dark. This is tricky. Forget all the handy manuals about dripping a small  amount of the solution into cold water for testing the right hard ball sugar stage. This will not do. Use a sugar thermometer too!
Whisk the hot sugar sirupe into the stiff egg white, let the engine run during this time on high speed and further on for at least  2 minutes. Change from balloon whisk to paddle and let the engine run 5 more minutes, add the nuts during the last minute. Whisk in the cherries by hand. The mixture should be somewhat firmer but elastic, very sticky. Spread the mixture into a small rectangle baking tin layered by parchment paper. Cover with parchment paper and make it even, layer some weight on top. After a few hours the candies can be cut and wrapped up. It is much better to use a layer of thin starchy flatbreads (wheat only wafers) instead of parchment paper if you can buy such. Sadly they were sold out. But is is fine to use parchment paper, just wrap the sweets into clingfilm they are a little soft and sticky...

Sonntag, 16. Dezember 2012

Ribeye Steak slow cooked, roasted potatoes

During last week I made dinner for friends cooking a ship load of different japanese dishes. As there were:
- different kinds of sushi because they wished for: inside-out-roll, maki and nigiri sushi made from ingredients as tamagoyaki, fish roe, crab meat, tuna, salmon and cucumber, avocado, pickled yellow radish, carrot
- udon soup with some flower shaped root vegetables, duck meat
- salted salmon grilled and glazed
- simmered  seabrass
- beef bowl with ribeye steak slices, mushroom-onion stirfry and onion-ponzu sauce
- several vegetable side dishes - stirfried lotus root and bok choy, carrot and burdock root , miso eggplant, pickled turnips, pickled sweet sour hot radish
- hot tofu with enoki,
- crab meat salad with peanuts and crisp fried noodles
- raw cheese cake with stawberry compote
Sorry no pictures: I have an open kitchen-dining-living area. Thought they would call me nuts if I was going to take a picture of every single dish...

For the beef bowl I bought a 1kg piece of ribeye (or entrecote as it is called here) and used a thicker slice of the steak to make the beef bowl but had a 650 g piece left. So time was up to cook it. Slow cooked ribeye with roasted potatoes, sauce tartar, green beens and bok choy stirfry:

I decided on a slow cooking method on low oven temperature. The plan was to have half of the meat today and cuttings of the leftover to be eaten cold the other days.
First I rubbed the meat with salt and lots of pepper (freshly ground). I roasted the meat on every side until really nicely browned. Afterwards I put it on an oven rack and placed it in the preheated oven for 2 hours at a low temperature: 85 degree Celsius. To make sure it is not going to be overcooked I put a meat thermometer in it. At 60 degree Celsius internal temperature it was done.
This method is very convenient and easy to prepare but you have to make sure to buy a really good quality meat. The texture was tender, buttery and juicy and it kept all its juices well -and no, it was not raw but looked very pink.
leftover meat

As for the roasted potatoes (German style) I used waxy potatoes cut into halves and sliced, roasted in a little goose fat/oil until brown and tender, diced onion added when nearly done, spiced with a little sweet Paprika, salt, pepper. Beans just boiled in a little salted water, spiced with thyme and the bok choy was made in the wok spiced with salt, soy sauce and sesame oil.
The sauce tatar was just a little something made of chopped homepickled gerkins, chopped boiled egg (in fact I used some leftover tamagoyaki), capers, mayonnaise, mustard, tarragon and a little fresh orange juice, salt pepper.

Dienstag, 11. Dezember 2012

German Apple cake – grandma version with modifications

We will have a nice and cosy Christmas party at my office, during the late afternoon of cause.
Everybody (21 people) was asked to help out: Place the tables in the big meeting room,  prepare some decorations and settings,  cook coffee and tea,  bake cakes or cookies,  clear the dishwasher.  I promised to bake a cake, so here we are:
Apple cake – I still have some of the big Boskoop apples in storage …

This cake is very big but the apple wedges are big too so it looks rather small
 The recipe is based on a very traditional german apple cake recipe:
Rich pound cake dough, covered with apple halves or slices, which are going to sink into the cake during baking and a cream pour. I made some modifications using a certain kind of spices and cranberries, rum.

For the pound cake batter:
250 g flour
125 g butter (soft)
2 large eggs or 3 small
150 g sugar
1 pinch salt
¾ bag baking powder
1 pinch orange zeste
1 pinch 4-Spice / vanilla for the traditional version
2 tablespoons rum (no rum but milk in thetraditional version)
3 tablespoons milk

Bottom (not traditional):
1 handful walnuts (very roughly chopped halves)
1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon butter

1 kg apples (3 Boskoop), peeled, core removed, cut into wedges (using big apples 1 wedge = 1/8 apple, for small apples ¼ or ½) – with a sharp knife make cuts into the round sides of the wedges, just a few millimeter deep (think checkerboard pattern). This helps to cook the apples properly.
¾ cup dried cranberries soaked in rum (or apple juice) / currants in the traditional version

Cream pour:
200 ml crème fraiche
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 small pinch cinnamon

Hot Quince jelly or apricot jam
Whisk the eggs (room temperature) with the sugar, salt, spice and zestes until very fluffy, the longer the better, engine with baloon whisk on rather slow speed.  Add the soft butter (room temperature) and beat in. Eggs and butter must have the same temperature, this is important or the batter may be ruined! Sieve flour with baking powder, add to the egg cream and beat while adding the rum and the milk until incorporated but don't beat too long, just until incorporated.  The batter is not runny - it forms rather  stiff peaks!
Butter a big springform (28-30 cm diameter) with 1 tablespoon butter, sprinkle with 1 ½ tablespoon sugar and sprinkle with walnuts.
Spoon the batter over the sugar-walnut mix and carefully form an even layer.
Place the apple wedges on this layer,  just place them next to each other, going  in circles.  Sprinkle the cranberries over and between the apple wedges. Stir crème fraiche, egg yolk, cinnamon and sugar until smooth and pour over the apples.
Bake at 180 degree Celsius for 1 hour.  Finish: Glaze the apples with the liquid jelly.

Sonntag, 9. Dezember 2012

Plumbread baking to fight the weather

Today the weather was really ugly and I had zero interest in leaving my warm and cosy home. But I had to. First I cleared 20 m pavement covered by snow up to 15 cm high. I had to, if some old lady would break her leg while walking aside our house caused by slipping in the snow, this would have terrible expensive consequences. And we have lots of old folks living around. Meanwhile husband stayed in bed fighting a cold (I don't know who was the lucky one at least).

Inner garden, forgot to put the chairs inside..and it didn't get any lighter today

But that was that, afterwards it started to rain and it was getting even uglier and I had to sprinkle the pavement with some slipping inhibitor granulate. Time to keep my oven running.
Since I did not make it to the bakery today, who wants to walk on ice covered streets, I decided to bake my own bread. Plumbread: A yeast dough (brioche dough) with lots of dried plums and sultanas, best to be eaten slightly warm with a bit of butter and jam but cheese goes well too:

raspberry jam - yummy

For the dough:

200 g spelt flour
250 g flour
4 tablespoons brown sugar
120 g butter, soft
2 eggs (large)
15 g instant yeast
180 ml milk, lukewarm
60 ml sherry, medium dry
250 soft damaszene plums, pitted
1 handful yellow sultanas
1 handful dark sultanas (currants would be even nicer)
1 teaspoon 4-Spice
1 bag vanilla sugar
1 very good pinch of salt

Roughly chop the the dried fruits. Fill in a bowl and soak in a little sherry (or apple juice) for 1 hour. Cover and put it in the microwave for 2 minutes. This will plump up the fruits much quicker.
Get the yeast started by mixing it with some warm milk with a little sugar, let sit until desolved.
Sieve flour in the mixing bowl, add sugars, eggs, soft butter, salt, warm milk and yeast milk and let the engine run about 10 minutes on medium speed. The dough should be very glossy and elastic - Put the dough on a baking board, stretch it and fold in 1/3 of the dried fruits - without the soaking liquid, fold again and place the next batch, fold and use the next batch.  Fold and stretch the dough until the fruits are well incorporated (if it is too sticky use a little flour). Form a roll and place the dough in a loaf baking tin (I always use duration baking foil to prevent the bread from sticking to the tin, but parchment paper or a good covering with butter and flour is also convenient).
Let the dough rise about 1 1/2-2 hours covered by a floured cloth, rising time depends on the surrounding temperature. Make a shallow cut lengthwise in the middle of the loaf, brush the surface with egg yolk and bake the bread at 175 degree Celsius about 1 hour. When the surface gets dark too soon cover with aluminium foil. Just make a wooden toothpick test after 50 minutes, if there are sticky crumbs at the toothpick give it 10 more minutes baking time.

the bread

Donnerstag, 6. Dezember 2012

Saint Nicholas day

Today is Saint Nicholas day and old St. Nicholas seems to have visited my office during the early morning. Look what I just found (took me 2 h to work because of the terrific traffic jams caused by snow):

X-Mas Chocolates

Nice isn't it...

Mittwoch, 5. Dezember 2012

Apple Beignets (pancakes)

Last week I bought a box of apples: 10 kg, 7,89 €, reasonable. It is the variety Red Boskoop, a very nice, tangy-sweet so called winters apple. Very good for baking, compote, apple sauce, apple chutney. Actually Boskoop has a big amount of sugar but also a big amount of acidity and a deep spicy  apple flavor, very pleasant. It is the number one apple for baking german apple cakes.

But there is one thing: each apple weighs about 400 - 460 g - one would need a whole day to eat just one. Boskoop apples, when stored after harvest for a few weeks, taste good eaten raw, but you need someone to share (laugh).

So I am doing my best to cook them.

Today I made apple pancakes or so called Beignets: Apple slices dipped into batter and fried in oil.

The recipe is very easy:
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon starch (corn or potato)
1 1/2 tablespoons desiccated coconut flakes
1 small pinch salt
1 very small pinch (tip of a knife) baking powder
1 teaspoon orange blossom water (optional)
80+ ml water (very cold)

Just stir with a whisk until nearly combined. The batter is rather runny, think crepe batter (if not, add some more water) and let rest for a short while.
Slice each apple in round slices (thickness of a finger), remove core. Dip each slice in a little flour, dip in batter, fry in a pan with enough oil so that the slices are nearly covered (swimming in oil) until one side is golden, flip and fry until the other side is golden.
Sprinkle with some icing sugar and serve with honey or vanilla ice cream. If you are using plain tasting apples (some of the sweet modern varieties do taste very bland, not much apple spice at all) add some cinnamon to the icing sugar. Don't use apples which are very crisp, they may stay too firm.

Beignets with dark "forest" honey
Inside the beignet: juicy and soft but not too soft apple
I used 2 apples for 7 beignets. There were the upper and bottom parts of the apples left: The first slices of the stem section and the flower section. I used those and 2 apples to prepare apple compote. Filled hot into jars and closed by a lid, this compote will keep a few days in the fridge.
Just peel, pit and cut 800 g apples into slices or chunks, steam the apples with a small amount of white wine (120 ml) or water, 2-3 tablespoons brown sugar (depends on the sweetness of the apples), 1 handful dried grape berries (big goldengreen sultanas)  and 1 cinnamon stick in a small but high pot for about 15 minutes (this is for Boskoop, other apples may take less time) until the apple chunks down in the liquid and upto the middle are mashy and the apple chunks above are done but still a little firm. Just toss ones and get rid of the cinnamon stick. I will have this tomorrow.
Mashy but with chunks:

Dienstag, 4. Dezember 2012

Hiroshima Okonomiyaki

Today I made Okonomiyaki following the recipe of the Food Channel Cooking with dog.

1/4 piece of Okonomiyaki
It tasted great but I had to make minor (or maybe bigger) changes because they used some ingredients impossible to buy here, as powdered bonito or Okonomiyaki sauce or this deep fried squid.
Powdered bonito: I put a handful of Katsuobushi in my electric grinder and added a little nori (crumbled). After a few rounds I got the powder. Don't know if this tastes the same as store bought powder but it gave a very nice and rich flavor.
To the shredded cabbage I added 1 finely sliced carrot and a few mushrooms (4 sliced button mushrooms and a little Enoki). For toppings I enriched common mayonnaise with a little bit more hot mustard and finally I made my own Okonomiyaki sauce:

For Okonomiyaki sauce
2 tablespoons Ketchup
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons worcester sauce
1 tablespoon Mirin
2 tablespoons dark and thick plum jam
100 ml dashi

1 teaspoon arrowroot starch

Bring to boil and add the strach (dissolved in a little water). Stir and simmer until thickens to Ketchup state.

Sonntag, 2. Dezember 2012


Just a short peep at my backyard:

Nasty... see this white stuff?

This afternoon friends will come over to have some tea and cookies, because today is the first of Advent. And I wanted to clean the windows today. So not going to happen while it is still snowing.

And here are the latest cookies: Honey-Gingerbread.

Samstag, 1. Dezember 2012

Half baked cat

Just a little something: half baked in 30 cm distance in front of our fire place...
Yes, it is cold, wet and nasty outside. This cat, his name is Jack, can beat the cold easily. He loves our fire place and he can manage the heat pretty well, resting, snoring on his scratching matt, since hours.
Don't you dare to disturb me...

Christmas cookies

Yes, it is the season. Today I made the first batches. This year I started with new recipes. I will make the family recipes too, but it is always more interesting to try new ones.
I made date rolls, stollen cookies and a recipe I found today on the Guardian which I am so not going to make again - look at the picture: the dark cookies with the wave pattern: chestnut chocolate cookie

 date rolls, stollen cookies, chestnutchocolate-cookies

I don't know what went wrong, but they did not stay in shape. The taste is nice but not as nice as expected while using such expensive ingredients as "creme de marron". It is a waste of the marrons.

But I am totally fine with the date rolls (a recipe I developed on my own) and the stollen cookies. Petra published this recipe in her Blog but I made a big change: instead of Quark I used Tofu and it worked out and it worked out very good! As you may know, Stollen is a very important christmas cake in Germany, no christmas without Stollen and the stollen cookies are nice little somethings very Stollen alike (from the taste and some of the ingredients).

For the date rolls

200 g pitted dried dates
100 g walnuts, lightly toasted
1 teaspoon 4-Spice (quatre èspice)
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon rose water
1 tablespoon starch

Chop dates and walnuts, heat up honey in a pot over medium low heat, add the chopped dates and walnuts, rose water, spice and stir until hot. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth, add the starch and incorporate. Set aside and let cool down.

 For cookie roll dough:
200 g flour
100 g butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small pinch salt

40 g melted butter

Chop cold butter and knead into the flour, sugar while adding the egg yolk and olive oil until the dough forms. Let rest in the fridge about 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into 3 parts. Form 3 long rolls (20 cm) from the date mix (after cooling it is easy to handle).
Roll each dough part in a flat layer and wrap 1 date roll into it (think sushi roll: use a sheet of clingfilm, roll the dough into a rectangle, set the date roll along one long side and roll the roll with the help of the clingfilm).  Baste the rolls with melted butter, pinch the surface with a fork for a few times, bake at 180 degree celsius for 15-20 minutes until the cookie dough turns golden. Let cool down and slice with a sharp knife into pieces (thickness of a finger).

For the Stollen cookies:

300 g flour
150 g firm tofu
75 g Sultanas
75 g dried Cranberries
2 tablespoons rum
2 tablespoons orange juice (1/2 organic orange)
orange zestes (1 organic orange)
100 g butter, soft, at room temperature
75 g brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground dried ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon chopped almonds
1 tablespoon chopped pistachios

2 tablespoons butter and Icing sugar

First I blended the tofu into a smooth cream. I  roughly chopped the rather big sultanas and cranberries and put them together with the rum and orange juice in a bowl which I put into the microwave for 2 minutes.

I sieved the flour with the baking powder and mixed the other ingredients quickly in, using a wooden spoon,  just until the dough roughly formed. I rolled the dough rather thick on a floured baking board and cut the layer into cubes.
The rolls were baked for 15 minutes at 200 degree Celsius until nicely golden. Afterwards I basted the cubes with melted butter and powdered them with icing sugar.

Dienstag, 27. November 2012

Christmas market first buy

Today we went to the market during lunch break. Had a nice little salmon bread, just shredded grilled salmon on a nice ciabatta bread roll with a little cream-mustard dressing and some salad. The salmon was grilled near the open fire, attached at wooden boards. After drinking one cup mulled wine for children (in fact very delicious hot norwegian berry juice mixed with tea - not too sweet, no alcohol) we went on a little stroll and there, in a kitchen tool stall, I found my first bargain:

Just a small very traditional kitchen knife (Windmühle/Windmill, Herder, Solingen, carbon steel) - reasonable price, fabulous. My friend took one too. And nearby was a stall with wind chimes and window decorations. I found a really funny and pretty chime made of small porcellain cups, teapots, spoons and forks (sounds weired) but it was too crowded, no chance to buy something. Have to come visit again.

Montag, 26. November 2012

Christmas Market - yeah!!!

Yes, it is the season. Christmas Market opened today! A little bit early this year but no complains, - except from the churchs (but who cares...)
Doesn't it look magic?
Me and my collegues are going to visit during lunchbreaks until it will close . We will meet with old collegues from fomer departments and retired friends too. End of the Christmas Market season is just a few days before Christmas.
Usually we will eat such sort of food during the season:
grilled sausages, grilled spicy cheese in flat bread with cabbage salad, chinese fried noodles, mushrooms in garlicy cream sauce, fish in breadrolls, deep fried sweet yeast dumplings, grilled marrons, stews, crepes, roasted sugar coated almonds, steamed potatoes, meat skrewers, roasted meat from the big metal skewer and, and, that depends Lots of mulled wine or hot cocoa, tea too...  Tomorrow I am going to have a closer look at the food stalls and I want to buy some christmas decoration and spices and maybe some smaller gifts as handmade soap, candles.
It will be nice and fun and comfy as every year. I just had a small quick walk on my way back to have a look at the illuminations.

crappy pictures with my iPhone

Sonntag, 25. November 2012

Tofu skin rolls with pork, cabbage and bamboo shoots

Whenever I visit the asian supermarket, I buy at least one thing I never had bought before, without thinkig twice.  I am curious as a cat... Afterwards I start a research in the net, on what to do with this little friend. 
Recently I bought frozen tofu skin sheets. I knew fried Tofu skins from preparing Treasure bags, but you can buy the tofu skin bags ready made in a broth and sealed in a plastic container. To make it short: Never had plain Tofu skin sheets before, a chinese product.
Today I decided to make a little kitchen experiment with those sheets - Tofu skin rolls stuffed with pork and vegetables.
rice, roll cut into pieces, vegetables
First I defrosted the sheets by placing them on a wooden cutting board covered with a damp towel. 
I started with the stuffing:
400 g ground pork (lean)
125 g bamboo shoot, already  cooked, sliced and chopped finely
½ small cabbage, shredded, roughly chopped, blanched and squeezed (this guy lazed around in the fridge and I thought: well Gyoza stuffing...)
5 Shiitake, soaked, minced
1 big egg
1 tablespoon starch (just to keep everything together)
1 pinch Chinese 5-Spice powder - I love this
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 heaped teaspoon grated ginger
1 garlic glove, minced
lots of black pepper
1 pinch chilli flakes
1 pinch salt
1+ tablespoon soy sauce
1+ tablespoon oyster sauce

I mixed all the ingredients until well combined by hand. For seasoning it is good to try the stuffing in it's raw state. There is nothing unhealthy in this, I took just a little bit for a taste adjustment check. Actually it was ground pork to be eaten raw, a german speciality (some call this kind of pork craftsmen marmelade because it is eaten raw, heaped on bread, sometimes together with an raw egg yolk and onions, beer fits perfect, very well liked by the males). 
I cut Tofu skin sheets to the size of a small paper handkerchiefs and filled each sheet with 2 good tablespoons filling and wrapped them up.
first the sides than up from one small end ->

8 rolls...

I fried each roll on both sides in oil until golden and made sure to place the rolls on the side with the ends of the wrapping first. Afterwards I layered them on paper towels to get rid of the oil.
Heated up 450 ml dashi with 40 ml soy sauce, 40 ml mirin, 40 ml sake.  Layered the golden fried rolls into this stock, covered them with a drop lid and simmered the lot about 25 minutes. 

simmered rolls

Meanwhile I cooked rice and a vegetable sidedish, actually we had just carrots and summer squash match sticks simmered in a little dashi with a hint of soy sauce. 
The rice was very tasty with the roll broth (not as fat as I thought) and my husband had the rolls with sweet chilli sauce. Due to a jaw surgery (2 freshly made tooth implants) I am no good with hot and spicy sauces at this time. Hurts like hell. Never do this I can tell you. 

I thought the thin skins would become more soft. Actually they stayed quite firm but tasty.