Dienstag, 31. Juli 2012

Pasta ribbons, mushrooms and tomato topping

Today I made an easy dish using lots of different kinds of mushrooms. Outside it is rather cool (18 C) and windy and it starts to rain very often so it reminds on autumn – quite perfect for a mushroom dish. 

I used:
1 kg mixed mushrooms:  brown button mushroom,  chanterelle, oyster mushroom , slippery jack mushroom, bay boletus, yellow boletus, sliced or trimmed or halved
1 bigger onion, diced finely
1 garlic glove, minced
1 shot sherry (medium dry)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 sprig thyme, leaves only, chopped roughly –  maybe 1 tablespoon
black pepper
2/3 teaspoon arrow root starch desolved in a sip water
Olive oil

Tomato topping
6 bigger cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 spring onion, sliced and chopped
1 1/2 tablespoon sweet old aged balsamic vinegar (crema di balsamico)
sea salt (fleur de sel)
2 tablespoons pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, toasted

I heated a little olive oil in a deep pan and seared the onion dices until translucent. I added the mushrooms and the garlic and stir fried until the mushrooms began to release some of their liquid. I added sherry and soy sauce and let the mushrooms simmer a little longer, covered with a lit until the mushrooms were soft and done. I added chopped thyme and pepper and thickened the cooking liquid with some arrow root starch. The mushrooms, especially forest mushrooms, are very aromatic so they don’t need anything else. Just adjusting the seasoning with soy sauce or salt or a few drops worcester sauce will do.
Meanwhile I boiled the noodles in salted water.
I mixed tomato chunks with spring onion, toasted seeds and balsamic vinegar, salt.
I served the noodles with lots of mushrooms and sauce and topped with a few spoons tomato mixture.
Pasta ribbons (noodles) are a special kind of rather big flat noodles with cute ruffles at their edges, german name: Wellenbandnudeln (Wellen = waves, band= ribbon, nudeln = noodles) - they are made of durum wheat flour and eggs.

Sonntag, 29. Juli 2012

Cold noodles Tempura and dipping sauce

Today I made Tempura using a lot of different vegetables and cold noodles with a dipping sauce.
I like Tempura very much but it is not ment for people who want to stay slim. I think it is not a bit healthier then french fries but who cares. It is simply delicious so we will have it once in a while (with lots of regrets afterwards...)

one serving

 For vegetables I took:
  • 1 yellow carrot, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 purple blue carrot, sliced lengthwise
  • 8 runner beans, trimmed
  • 1/2 small pumpkin (japanese) peeled and sliced
  • 3 spring onions, trimmed
  • 1 waxy potato, sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 eggplant, sliced into rounds and halved (keep pieces in salted water until frying)
Thickness of slices maybe 5 mm.
This are way too much vegetables for 2 persons but we will have some tomorrow too.
I also prepared Ebi fry:
A few bigger shrimps - not as big as I wished for, which I peeled and tried to cut in the belly region to prevent curling and the ingredients for bread crumb covered fried shrimps:
  • 1 egg
  • Panko flakes
  • flour
  • 1 pinch salt

For the Tempura batter I took an very easy and fool proof mixture:
  • 1 1/3 cup flour (I added it until the thickness of the batter was to my liking)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon starch
  • 1 pinch baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cup sparkling water (iced)
  • 1 pinch salt
For Tempura batter just mix all ingredients together very quickly - there should be some lumps left but that doesn't matter, just don't overbeat. Set bowl on top of an iced cooling device to keep the batter cool or keep bowl in a bigger bowl filled with ice cubes and water.

The dipping sauce was made from:
dashi, mirin, soy sauce (3:1:1)
1 tablespoon sugar,
1 little garlic glove (1 glove peeled but not sliced or crushed)
1 slice ginger
Just heat this up once and let it cool down. Ged rid of ginger and garlic and fill sauce in bowls.

Cook noodles (Soba or thin Udon) and rinse with cold water and keep in a sieve.

Heat up oil in a Wok.
Dipp vegetables into the batter, let batter run back into the bowl (vegtables should only be covered very slightly with batter) and fry a batch of a few pieces for a few minutes in hot oil (175 C, induction heat mark 7). Time depends on the vegetables. Eggplants will need 2 minutes only  as runner beans and spring onions. Potato, pumpkin and carrots will take a little longer, carrot the longest. Flip the vegetables over in the middle of frying time.
Store fried vegetables in a sieve over a layer of paper towels.
just a few vegetables: eggplant, pumpkin, yellow and blue carrot

For shrimps:
As I said, I made a few deep cuts into the belly region up to the imaginary spine but they curled during frying: The cuts were not deep enough. Anyhow:
Powder shrimps with flour, toss in an egg beaten with a little salt, toss in panko flakes and fry until the colour of the ends turns pink and the crumb crust golden. They will be done rather quickly.

Serve Tempura and shrimps together with cold and feshly rinsed noodles, dipping sauce, wasabi paste.

This years new plants in my garden

This year husband was reading about tomatoes in the internet. He ordered seeds of different kinds of rare tomatoes and went really ballistic. This was a first. He was never that much into growing plants before.
As result we have an overcrowded greenhouse:

and almost tomato plants on every dry and sunny place around our house. This is the view out of our sleeping room window - it reminds on a jungle.

I just did what I do every year, I am growing some new flowers before gardening starts to get boring
Here are some examples:

A sweet potato with deep purple leaves,so pretty!

And new border plants: I bought the seeds for the Cerinthe mayor purpurascens in England. I have never seen this plant in Germany so it was quite challenging but the results are great. Seeds need a very warm surrounding to start germination. This may be the reason while most attempts of sowing lead to nothing as I read in some gardening forums. It is a nice border plant and it melted quite fine into my other border plants. I sowed it end of May in the greenhouse and now it started flowering.

 And new canna lilies. My old cannas died in the garage because of the last very cold winter. Now I had to start anew.

And I mixed different coloured Pelargonium crispum grandiflorum (very big blossoms) with Plectranthus coleoides which worked out just fine. I will stick to this combination for the bigger plant pots the next years.  Butterflies are very interested in the pelargonium flowers therfore my cats are happy.

big clay plant pot 50cm x 50 cm

Sonntag, 22. Juli 2012

German beef rolls - Rindsrouladen

Today I made a very traditional german dish: Rindsrouladen (Stuffed beef rolls).
There is even a wikipedia entry for this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rouladen

I bought four big and long, but thinnly cut slices beef (from the upper back leg), aged nicely and marbled with fat. This is important or the dish will turn out dry and hard to chew.
With the help of a meat pounder I stretched out the slices even a little more.
I spread 1 teaspoon mustard on each slice and covered this with bacon slices. Afterwards I placed carrot sticks (1 small carrot for 1 slice), halved pickled cucumbers (gerkins) and thinly cut onion slices from 1 onion on this and wrapped it up. I did not use any salt because the air dried bacon was salty enough. I fixed the rolls with wooden tooth picks and powdered them with a little flour only.
Meanwhile I ground 8 black peppercorns,  5 allspice berries, 4 juniper berries in a spice mill together with 1 tablespoon mustard seeds  and sprinkled a little on the meat.
I cut 2 carrots, 1 onion and a quarter celery (root) in small cubes and 1/2 leek in slices.

First I heated up a little oil in a cast iron pot. I seared the rolls from each side until they were nicely browned and set them aside on a plate. I added the vegetables to the pot and roasted them together with the spice mixture, 2 laurel leaves, 1 tablespoon tomato paste and 1 pinch sugar.  After the vegetables showed some roast marks I deglaced the whole with a glass of red wine and boiled it down until the alcohol was nearly gone (during this I scraped the pot bottom good). I added 400 ml beef stock, a little salt and the meat rolls and covered the pot with a lit. On very small heat I let the meat rolls tenderly simmer for 2 hours and afterwards I put the dish in the fridge for one night.
The day after I heated up the sauce and meat, set the meat aside and sieved the sauce. I boiled the sauce up and reduced it to nearly the half and thickened it with a little starch (1 small teaspoon starch stirred in a little sherry).
Meanwhile I cooked Spätzle (german noodles) and half of a cauliflower and 1 smaller brokkoli (the vegetables were steamed with a little salt and nutmeg with a little water).
For serving:
Cut rolls in slices after removing the tooth picks. Serve with sauce, noodles and vegetables. There are different ways concerning the side dish: potato mash or boiled salted potatoes and red cabbage (stewed) are the most traditional.  Serving Spätzle is the southern german way and I don’t like to eat red cabbage stew during summer times.

Does'nt look that much...but I did have enough time...

As for dessert we had peach compote (made from white fleshed flat peaches called donut, saturn or Ufo peach, cooked with some sugar, - not much, a little lemon juice and a hint bitter almond oil) and plain yoghurt.

Freitag, 20. Juli 2012

Apricot dumplings

This is a sweet main dish from Austria which is very addicting but bad for the hips. It was one of my favorite dishes as child and I still make apricot dumpling sometimes during the short apricot season.

Dumpling - sweet sour filling
You need:
10 apricots not too soft, ripe fruits
10 sugar lumps
450 g waxy potatoes
2 tablespoons strong wheat flour
2 tablespoons corn starch or potato starch
2 tablespoons semolina
1large egg
1 good pinch salt
1 pinch nutmeg

For topping:
70 g butter
3 tablespoons panko flakes, smashed into fine crumbs
2-3 tablespoons sugar (as sweet as you like)

Boil potatoes in their jackets until done. Remove peels while hot and mash (potatoe ricer). Spread mash on a bigger plate, cover with a tea towel and let rest about a few hours in the fridge.
Knead mash, flour, starch, semolina, egg, salt and nutmeg into a smooth and firm dough and form a roll. Cut roll in 10 equal slices.
Cut apricots open and remove the stones. Instead of the stones place a sugar cube/lump (or a good pinch rough ground sugar).
Apricots and dough
Pat dough slices flat. Wrap each apricot in one slice and form a dumpling. Make sure the dough covers the apricot even and completely.
Dumplings - still uncooked
Boil 3 liters salted water as for cooking noodles. Lower heat to medium and simmer the dumplings for 15 minutes, they will start to drift to the water surface.
Meanwhile heat butter in a pan and roast the panko flakes until golden, add sugar and stir well .
Remove dumplings with a slotted spoon and toss in the pan.

Deep fried eggplants - japanese style

These days Hiroyuki made a very interesting dish using eggplants: Nasu no age bitashi.
Now is the season and I got hold of a few smaller ones. So I simply did nearly the same:

I cut the eggplants into halves, made the surface carvings in a nice and almost equal crisscross pattern (but not as small and well defined as Hiroyuki did - because I am a lazy cook... just read his entry and look at the pictures) and because the eggplants were still a little bit too big, I halved the halves again. So in the picture above is actually a quartered eggplant already fried and stored in sauce.

My own eggplants in the garden still need some time even when there are some kind of dwarf eggplants with the lovely name "Ophelia" not that I recommend the store but the pictures are nice:
This eggplant needs some more days...

I soaked the eggplant quarters in salted water (for a few minutes only), patted them dry  and deep fried them in batches of 4 pieces from each side until softer. Besides I used a wok for frying.

I didnt buy the sauce because I simply could not find any mentsuyu.
As for the smentsuyu I boiled up:
4 small cups dashi (instant dashi stock) and added
1 small cup soy sauce,
½ s. cup sake (because I had only little mirin left),
½ s. cup mirin,
2 tablespoons sugar
until the sugar had desolved.
I transferred the deep fried eggplant pieces into the sauce stored them in the fridge. Very tasty

Mittwoch, 18. Juli 2012


Since it is peach and apricot season I am digging in. Both are my much beloved favorite fruits. I have lots at my office as lean and refreshing snack. I had a small amount of ripe and soft apricots left over (and they did not taste that much so to say, if there were great there would not have been any left overs). Before they are going to get moldy and turn into manure - since 3 weeks it is warm but very wet due to heavy rainfalls again and again (call it monsoon or whatever), I made some quick jam for breakfast.


300 g apricots, pitted  (keep some stones) - for  pitting just cut into halves with a small and sharp knife and remove stones
150 g preserving sugar for jam (preserving sugar which calls for 1 part sugar : 2 part fruit - not too sweet)
1 tablespoon lemon juice to prevent oxidation
1 sip apricot brandy (not really necessary if the apricots are perfectly aromatic)
1 lavender twig out of my garden, the tiny blossoms only without stem

Boil apricots together with 5-6 apricot stones and sugar and keep on boiling on medium heat until apricots are soft and very mushy. 
boiling in a bigger pot

Remove stones and puree apricots with an immersion blender, just pulse 4 times to make a jam which is smooth but has some apricot chunks left. If you don't have a blender no worries, just cut apricots into small chunks before cooking and mash with a laddle. Add lavender blossoms and apricot brandy, heat it up again and fill in a jar (rinse jar with hot water beforehand). Close lit, flip it over and let cool down.

If you are quick with the knife this will take 10 minutes.

Mittwoch, 11. Juli 2012


My husband likes bartending very much. If he continues I may have to face some serious problems with my alcohol intake but you only live once.
Today he served me a drink which may be one of my favorites further on: Bombay bramble
Not much to say but it was delicious - here is the recipe he followed

I do like drinks based on gin the most, They are not that sweet.

Samstag, 7. Juli 2012

Southern german “tiny little grape cake” - Träubleskuchen

This is a very typical summer cake usually made from red currants.  I am growing the more unusual white currants (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_currant) with the name Weiße Versailler “White from Versailles” a kind of ancient variety. They have a much milder and sweeter taste and are less acidy. 
white currants

Thankfully our birds are kind of lazy. They already harvested all currants growing at the upper outside of the currant bush and left the berries at the inner and lower brunches untouched just enough for a cake and a few berries to be eaten raw.  But they didn’t leave one single cherry behind - I guess they love cherries the most. We already harvested most of the cherries (made a big bowl of wiskey cherries) but left a lot on top of the tree as snack for the birds. 

For the currant pie
One piece of cake
 you need

for the short cake crust:
  • 250 g flour
  • 125 g butter
  • 80 g sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pinch baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
Chop cold butter into coarse cubes and quickly knead  a crust dough by hand –just rub everything together and form a ball. Let dough ball wrapped in foil rest for 30 min in the fridge. Line a springform (26 cm) with 2/3 of the dough rolled into a thin layer and make an outer rim using the left over 1/3. Pinch the bottom layer with a fork  all over: here and there.

For filling:
  • 6 egg whites
  • 150 g icing sugar
  • 500 g white currants, stripped from their stems (using red currants add 50 g sugar)
  • 150 g almond flour (peeled and finely ground almonds)
  • 8 lady finger cookies, crushed into fine crumbles (or use a cup of panko flakes or pain de mie mixed with a tablespoon sugar)
Spread cookie crumbles over the short cake layer.  Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add icing sugar in a few small batches and beat the egg whites again until soft glossy peaks form. Add the almond flour and fold in carefully.  Set 1/3 of this mixture aside. Fold currants into the other part and spread this into the springform.  Spread the left over 1/3 of egg white-almond batter on top of this.
Bake cake in the preheated oven at 200 C for about 40 minutes (after 30 minutes cover with a baking sheet). Let rest in the oven for 10 more minutes. Using red currants the cake spread will turn pink  sprinkled with red dots. Using the white currants it will stay nearly white. Just look at some pictures in the net to see the difference.

I used up the egg yolks baking a small pound cake "marble cake",  as treat in my office next week for coffee break.