Freitag, 30. März 2012

Just a piece of cake

Today I visited my dentist. It is quite annoying getting older. A few days ago I did bite into a sandwich heartfully and suddenly found one of my molars gone, the tooth just gave up... Lucky they did not harm me today  but  I will be under heavy reconstruction at the end of next month (so not funny, soft food and pain killers recommended).
I arrived home earlier than thought and decided to clean up my kitchen. Found 4 rather old aged apples, not that fresh and crisp anymore. Perfect for a pie.

piece of cake

I made a small version of a southern german apple cake - the name can be described as "apple cake with a lid". It is very similiar to american or english apple pies.
First I made the short cake crust dough:
  • 250 g flour
  • 125 g butter, cold, cubed
  • 60 g sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon milk
Rub butter with flour and sugar, salt, add egg yolk and knead a still crumbly dough (work quickly).
Fill half of the crumbles into a pie mould or small springform. I layered the form with a piece of parchment paper first. Flatten the crumbles into a dough layer. It does not need to look perfect.
Add milk to the other half and knead. Keep in the fridge for 20 minutes. Roll a rather thinnly dough layer with a rolling pin (best to be done between two sheets of cling film).
For the filling:
  • 4 apples, no crips apples go for softer cooking apples
  • 3 - 4 tablespoons brown sugar, depends on the sweetness of the apples and cider
  • 1 good pinch cinnamon
  • 1/4 vanilla pod, split open
  • 3 tablespoons currants
  • 1 tablespoon starch
  • 200 ml apple wine / cider
  • 1 egg
  • brown sugar to sprinkle on
Peel, core and cut apples into quarters and afterwards into slices. Soak currants and vanilla pod in cider for 1 hour beforehand. Add cider (set 3 tablespoons aside), apple slices and sugar into a pot and boil for 3 minutes, add currants.  Stir starch with the cider (set aside) until smooth, add to the boiling apples and stir well  it will thicken in a blink.  Remove vanilla pod. Set aside. Add the egg after a few minutes, the apple sauce has to be cooled down a bit or the egg will get boiled, and stir a little.
Bake short cake layer for 10 minutes at 180 C. Fill in the thick apple sauce, cover with the dough layer, cut and form a nice rim. Make a few incisions into the cake dough lid and sprinkle with a little brown sugar.
Bake cake (or pie) at 180 C about 30 minutes or until golden.
Let cool. Serve with whipped cream - additionaly I sprinkled a little cinnamon on top of the whipped cream.

Dienstag, 27. März 2012

Kimchi Stir fry

Today I used up half of my quick pickled kimchi.
I made a rather colourful stir fry from different vegetables and pork cutlet meat.

 Therefor I took:
  • 200 g lean pork (cutlet parts) in stripes
  • 1/2 small broccoli, broken in small pieces ( roses)
  • 1 huge spring onion, white thicker part sliced, green part cut in smaller slices
  • 1 red pointed bell pepper, cut in stripes
  • 5 small red round radishes, halved or quartered
  • 300 g Kimchi
  • 1 bigger knob ginger, minced and squeezed, - juice only
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 garlic glove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon starch
  • 1 dash Soy sauce
  • a few sprinkles sesame oil (dark roasted)

I mixed meat, sugar, starch, ginger juice and garlic with a dash of soy sauce and let it rest 30 minutes.
I stir fried the vegetables in a non stick pan with a little oil on very high temperature. After 2 minutes I added the kimchi and stir fried again until the kimchi was hot and the broccoli a little bit softer.
I transfered the vegetables to a bowl and stir fried the meat in the cleaned pan with a little oil - just for a minute until nicely coloured  but still a little bit raw/pink because otherwise it would be overdone very quickly. I added the vegetables/kimchi again and heated it up until hot again (the meat will be done during this short reheating process). Finally I adjusted the seasoning with soy sauce, sesame oil and fine green onion slices. The kimchi released a nice sauce. There was no need to add any salt or lots of soy sauce, just a few drops only. The dish was very spicy and hot, yummy.

Sonntag, 25. März 2012

Quick and easy kimchi - update

It is done. Tasty but very hot. I am used to eat something spicy but I had to cry a little:
Guess I will make some kimshi stirfry the next days.

Sweet egg custard with berry compote

Today I made a sweet dish using the egg coddlers again.

Simply beat 3 egg yolks with 2 tablespoons sugar, add 200 ml milk and 100 ml cream and a pinch of vanilla pod seeds.
Fill in two buttered coddlers and steam boil for about 12 minutes. And here it is the point of no return: Two long and you may have some scrambled egg desaster, too short you have sauce. There is no helping, but watch the whole process carefully and pray. Let the custard cool down in the fridge.

For berry compote:
300 g mixed frozen berries (black and red currants, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, acid cherries)
Fill frozen berris in a pot and add 3-4 tablespoons sugar and a 3 cm piece split opened vanilla pod. Let cook until berries are soft - this will be done quickly. Take 1 tablespoon arrow root starch and stir the starch with a little water, add this to the berries and boil it up while stiring until bubbling and juice becomes clear - this will result in a very glossy compote. Let cool down.

Place custard (pudding) on the berry compote. Or spoon it from the molds if too soft.

Samstag, 24. März 2012

Breakfast - another just "crack an egg"

Hiroyuki showed different methods to make poached egg. Here is another method to cook an egg. Most easiest. You may call it egg in a jar.
I have some egg coddlers named "Jenaer Eierkoch No. 2" from the designer of Bauhaus Wilhelm Wagenfeld. Eierkoch means egg cooker. Very convenient:

Egg coddler: jar, lid, clamp
For each egg coddler:
wipe the inside of the coddler with a little butter. Put in 1 cherry tomato, cut in small chunks without seeds, some stripes of ham, a few drops soy sauce, 2 spring onion slices, pepper, sweet chilli, crack an egg into it, sprinkle with chives, close lid and place the egg coddler in a pot with boiling water - water should reach up to half of the coddlers height.

Coddler sits on a folded sheet of kitchen paper towel
 Lower heat to some soft rolling boil and cook with closed pot lid about 7 minutes (more or less, as you want) until the egg white is set. I prefer the egg yolk runny and wobbly.

Eat from the coddler or just flip it on some bread.

Freitag, 23. März 2012

Quick and easy Kimchi

I visited the asia food store to restock on soy sauce, mirin, rice and such. While searching the japanese - korean section I found something new: Kimchi starter-spice-mix.
I bought one bag - just out of curiosity. Dry and powdered ingredients: salt, chilli, ginger, garlic, sweet chilli, shrimps, sugar, onion, citric acid. Sound good to me. So today I started preparing kimchi.
The manual tells:

1 carrot, cut in pieces
3 spring onions, chop
100g chinese turnip/beet, cut in pieces (I have never seen this vegetable, took a piece of daikon instead)
Mix Vegetables with starter and devide in two equal parts.

1 kg chinese cabbage, cut in halves lengthwise, stem removed

Put spice-starter-vegetable mix on each cabbage leave. Close in a plastic container. Let rest 1 day in the fridge. Cut cabbage in pieces, let rest 2 days in the fridge. Kimchi is ready. Can be stored up to one month in the fridge.

I spread the mix between the cabbage leaves, put the two cabbage halves together again and stored the cabbage in a plastic bag. The mixture was already smelly - yes, definitely kimchi.
In 3 days we will see.

Sonntag, 18. März 2012

In the aftermath of drinking Mai Tais - noodle salad

Today my slightly disturbed stomach and head, did you ever drank lots of devilish American Mai tai based on Makers Mark - you know what I mean - was in need of something light and easy going with my intestines.
Looking into the vegetable storage I decided on a quick noodle salad.

Noodle salad - Thai style
I took:
  • Thai Rice noodles (80 g), cooked and rinsed with cold water - I used some more larger noodles not vermicellis
  • 2 carrots, cut in julienne
  • 1/2 medium sized daikon, cut in julienne
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 spring onion, sliced
  • 2 red shalotts, sliced
  • 1 knob ginger, grated
  • salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce (Nam plah)
  • 2 tablespoons and a bit more dried shrimps
  • 1 hot chilli pepper, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • a little bit oil
  • more chilli if in need
Sprinkle a good pinch salt on carrot-, daikon- and bell pepper stripes and let sit for 30 minutes. Squeeze and rinse with cold water, squeeze to drain. Salt is good for drunkyards...
In a non stick pan fry shalott slices and dried shrimps until onions are nicly roasted. Just use a few drops oil to catch the fragrance. Add sugar, ginger, chilli pepper, lemon juice, fish sauce, stir well, add to a bowl.
Add noodles and spring onion slices and vegetables stripes and toss well. I would have added green coriander leaves too, but I had none.
At least I added a little indonesian chilli paste to my bowl. Cured me in an instant.

Candle light dinner

Yesterday night was a night out. We went to have dinner and cocktails with some dear friends. Therefor we visited a good italian restaurant, which means it has to be booked quite in advance and it was crowded like hell. You never can get wrong with italian cooking. There is always something at their menu even picky eater may like to eat.
But as good as they may prepare the dishes, we had some problems with their menu card. It is quite tricky to read properly, when the only light is supplied by some candles and a little wall decoration. Glad we did not burn their menu card while holding it near the candles.

this is not due to power outage

I had some very delicious Spaghetti vongole with a big amount of vongole, Husband tagiatelle with a nice and heavy meat sauce (stripes of beef loin). But he was not that happy with the anti pasti he had chosen: vegetables only. The reason, he could not read the small printed list of ingredients. So he got oily tomatos and oily eggplant, mushrooms and oily summer squash - most things he is not really fond of, especially soggy eggplants and summer squash. He did not ask and I did not tell - I was just wondering why he would choose this. Next time he will bring his reading glasses for sure or a small torch light - as I recommended.

Freitag, 16. März 2012

Strawberry - Charlotte

I didn't want to buy them, first strawberries of the year, because it is way too early for strawberries. But they looked good, the price was reasonable and today we had a nice warm spring day  (20 C).
Time for a  cup of coffee and big slice typical german cake, messy grandma style, while sitting in the garden. Charlottes are known all over europe, so maybe we did not invent it, but who cares... It is a question wether this is a cake or not. At least it is always some sort of cream / mousse surronded by sponge cake or lady fingers.

All you need is to bake a sprong cake layer. The rest is done in a blink or so, that depends.

For the layer:
  • Beat 3 egg yolks with 100 g sugar until white and fluffy
  • beat 3 egg whites with a little salt until stiff peaks form
  • beat 2 tablespoons oil into the egg yolks
  • add 70 g flour and 30 g starch (both sieved) and beat for a short round only
  • fold in egg whites
  • spread batter on parchment paper (one baking sheet layered with parchment paper)
  • bake for 15 - 20 min at 180 C until light golden and done (toothpick method)
  • Sprinkle a linnen tea towel with 2 tablespoons sugar and turn the sponge cake layer over onto the sugar coated towel(sugar prevents the sticking of the layer to the towel)
  • quickly remove parchment paper from the back of the layer
  • cover the layer with 100g strawberry jam
  •  roll the layer up with the help of the tea towel - think sushi roll
  •  let cool
    / Working with the sponge cake layer has to be done very quickly. Once the layer cools down, and it will cool down fast, rolling gets impossible!
Sponge cake roll on tea towel
For the filling
  • puree 250 g strawberries and 6 tablespoons sugar in a blender
  • mix puree with 250 g yoghurt
  • prepare liquid gelatine made from 8 g gelatine sheets or powder - follow instructions of the producer (enough gelatine to stiffen 800 ml liquid)
  • mix gelatine with some tablespoons strawberry-yoghurt, add this back to the bigger part strawberry-yoghurt and mix well
  • place the strawberry-yoghurt in the fridge until it just starts to get firmer (not really firm!!!)
  • fold in 250 g strawberries cut into slices
  • whip 450 g whipping cream until stiff and fold into the strawberry-yoghurt- don't overdo the folding
Assemble cake
  • Cut sponge cake roll into thin slices
  • layer a round bowl (1.5 l content) with cling film
  • cover the bottom and the sides of the bowl with sponge cake slices
  • fill in the cream
  • cover the top with a layer of sponge cake slices
  • let sit in the fridge for 2 hours minimum
  • turn the bowl over and let the cake slip on a plate and remove cling film.
Cut into wedges and enjoy. This is a bad bad cake. It tastes so fluffy. I don't use much gelatine so the cake is rather tricky to cut, but more gelatine ruins the heavenly fluffyness. More gelatine will keep the cake in a much more neat and better shape, even the sponge cake layer will stick much better together, but I hate it when the mousse reminds me on rubber. This cake has to be stored in the fridge or it will run away.

So it looks a little bit like a mess.

Breakfast - just crack an egg

Today I took a day off. Time to have a relaxed start of the day. I just read a little and was visiting [no recipes] cook blog. This is so my breakfast, I thought. Not the beans and citrusses plate but the egg. Yes! Must have this egg and toast and bacon asap!
So I made it: Voila -poached egg on toast
Poached egg seasoned with black pepper and fleur de sel

The egg is seated on a layer of warmed loin ham on a slice of roasted french bread - and I did not cut off the crust because I love to crunch and munch bread crusts.
last bite
I skipped the hint calling for vinegar because I hate the faintly taste of vinegar clinging to the egg whites. I bought really beautiful big and fresh eggs yesterday so the coagulating should be fine without any vinegar harmed. It is very convenient to live in the countryside concerning buying fresh eggs.

I just cracked the egg into a tiny bowl and dipped the bowl in hot simmering water while releasing the egg. First I heated the water, as recommended by Marc, to the point of vivid rolling boil and reduced the heat from 9 to 7-6. I use an induction oven. So 9 is the highest heating (there is  a 9+P too which is power heating - good for wok) and 7-6 which is just simmering with vivid small bubbles (think sparkling water). I did not loose much egg white. In fact it formed a cup around the egg yolk in an instant - very good.
Some cooks recommend, you should stir the water during the state of  a rolling boil into a vortex and place the egg in the middle of the vortex using a ladle. The vortex will twist the egg white around the yolk. Most of the time the vortex is too slow or too quick or what ever and the whites don't twist nicely.  The bowl method is much more of a safe game.
Thanks to Marc I had a nice breakfast.

Donnerstag, 15. März 2012


Today I made a colourful vegetable stir fry with tofu - nothing special. Just lots of different vegetables cut into chopstick friendly slices, tofu slices stir fried in little oil. Afterwards spiced up with soy sauce, hot black bean sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and sesame seeds.
I had tofu left over and decided to make tofu-dango as a sweet dish in addition afterwards.

tofu-dangos: soy sauce and black sesame coating

The recipes called for silken tofu but I had some common, more firm tofu only.  So I simply put the glutenious rice flour (100 g)  and the tofu (100 g cut ins smaller cubes) into a blender bowl and blended (immersion blender) until the flour got the structure of slightly moist and fine sand. I added a few tablespoons water - only a little water until the rice flour were put together - and knead a dough by hand until smooth and slightly elastic. For the dangos I formed dough pieces into marbles.
rice flour-tofu balls sitting on a slightly oiled steamer rack
The dangos were put in a steamer and steamed over medium high heat for about 20 minutes.
Afterwards I just sticked them up onto bamboo skrewers. Half I dipped in the hot water and turned them in black sesame sugar coating (1 tablespoon sesame seeds : 1 tablespoon sugar; ground in an electric grinder).  The other half I basted with soy sauce sugar sirup (1 sugar : 1 mirin: 1/2 soy sauce - cooked until sirup forms)
Very addicting chewy little devils but only tasty while warm (husband didn't like the soy sauce coating...)

Sonntag, 11. März 2012

Last week

Last week I had two warm meals at least: Two times simply pasta with tomatoe sauce and olives and lots of cheese I managed to prepare late in the evening after a hard day at the fair ground. I worked form early morning until late night...

Oh, I had lots of so called sandwiches, wraps and finger food prepared and delivered by a catering company too. But after 2 days I hated it a lot. It is good if you are away from home, on a one day journey, but not day after day.  So, nothing beats home cooked meals. I am so looking forward to it.

Sonntag, 4. März 2012

Onigiri again

It is the beginning of the gardening season.  We made good use of the mild and friendly weather until it started to rain. Husband was about and around his pond and his car and I had to cut a huge amount of twigs and branches into smaller pieces after I chopped down one tree yesterday (yes I did use the chain saw and survived unharmed...). I also pruned the quince tree and nashi tree, cut the roses and removed dead wood and shrubs.  Afterwards I digged out some plants: I filled a cardboard box with a few offshoots of some of my plants as one young rhododendron, hollies, cherry laurel, mahonia. A friend needs some plants for his new garden and these are for free.
At lunchtime I got really hungry - too much activities, engine running on low. I quickly made some rice balls - japanese onigiri. Today I tried to follow the advice to make some with bare naked hands right after steaming the rice. But the rice was way too hot. I put on some vinyl gloves and this worked out pretty good. Still hot but without instant pain.
I steamed 1 cup japanese short grain rice after washing the rice until the water runs clear. I made a simple filling: one small can flaked tuna (without liquid), a little mustard, mayonnaise and lemon juice and some salt pickled capers and minced spring onion.
I mixed 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds and chopped seaweed ( 1 teaspoon) into the hot rice. I moistened the gloves with water, sprinkled a little seasalt flakes (fleur de sel) into one palm and put some rice on it,  placed some tuna in the middle, wrapped the rice around and formed a triangle shape in one go without much squeezing. I did not turn the rice ball more than 3 times.  Hot rice really holds its shape much better and the salt flakes were just right as thought. I still need some practice with wrapping a stripe of nori nicely.

Samstag, 3. März 2012

Black and white cheesecake

Today I made a small cheesecake, which is not too sweet and heavy. Preparation method reminds on New York cheesecake but I did not use double cream cheese. Double cream cheese results in a heavy cheese filling (mouthfeeling: fatty fresh concrete) - tasty but way too stuffing and not nice to my stomach and hips. So this is a lean version of New York Cheesecake.

dark part flavored with chocolate, white part with Tonka bean and Amarettini

You need
  • 500 g fresh cheese (Quark). Quark is very healthy (lots of calcium and lean), medium fat version.
  • 125 g yoghurt, 3.5 fat
  • 3 small eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 heaped tablespoons finely grated dark chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1 small pinch tonka bean, freshly grated
  • handful small italian almond cookies (Amarettini: made from egg white, sugar, sweet and bitter almonds)
  • 6 shortcake cookies
  • 2 tablespoons butter, soft about 50 g
  • butter for the mould

Heat the oven up to 200 C, fill hot water into a baking sheet (2 cm up) and place it in the oven.
Mix sugar and  eggs until fluffy, mix in cheese, tonka bean, flour and yoghurt until well combined. Careful with the tonka bean! Use only a little - think nutmeg. Too much tonka bean tastes very funny but not good at all. Using the right amount tonka bean leads to a wonderful vanilla and something else flavor.
Divide the cheese batter into two parts. Mix chocolate and 1 teaspoon cocoa (real cocoa) into one part.

Crumble shortcake cookies with a rolling pin: Just fill them into a freezer bag and roll a few times over the bag until the cookies are finely crumbled. Stir cookie crumbles with soft butter.
Take a small springform mould (18 cm) fill the crumbles into the buttered mould and spread even. Place some italian cookies here and there and cover with the white batter. If you cannot find Amarettini just leave them out. They simply add a small nice surprising almond flavor, if you find one, while eating the cake.
Carefully spread the chocolate batter over the white batter.
Wrap the bottom of the mould up to 4 cm high (to the mould side) in a sheet of aluminium foil.  Place the mould into the hot water on the baking sheet. The aluminium foil should prevent the water from leaking into the mould. Why water? This cake needs a humid baking surrounding or there will appear some cracks in the surface of the cake later on. This method is called  poaching a cheesecake.
Bake 10 minutes at 200 C and afterwards 30 minutes on 180 C. Don't open the oven during this time. The cake is done when there are no signs of wetness of the surface at the center of the cake. Let cake sit in the oven for 10 more minutes (heat turned off). Let cool down and place in the fridge. Ready to be eaten after 2 hours. Dust with 1 teaspoon cocoa.