Samstag, 15. November 2014

Butterflied chicken with oven baked vegetables

Today I prepared chicken, butterflied and placed on a bed made of vegetables. This dish will do all the cooking on it's own, easy.
The chicken was not that big, but raised organic, running around all day. Hopefully such a nice chicken life ended in a fine meal:

my share, a small piece of breast, vegetables, broth
For Preparation:
Just cut the chicken backbone out using a well-honed and heavy kitchen knife and flatten the chicken (I also removed the small rib bones attached to both backsides). Trim and peel, slice the vegetables:
  • 5 potatoes, cut into small wedges, 
  • 6 slender "baby" carrots just split lengthwise
  • 15 baby* onions, peeled
  • 3/4 butternut squash, cut into bigger wedges
  • 1 handful cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into bigger chunks
  • 2 sweet chocolate chili peppers, quartered
  • 3 jalapeno chili peppers, sliced into rings
  • 2 garlic gloves
  • a few sage leaves, a sprig thyme
*)To peel very small baby onions - I don't know the english name for those kind of onions, in german they are called pearl onions, it is best to soak the bulbs in hot water, just for a few minutes, rinse with cold water and peel the brown now soft outer skin. (By the way the chili peppers were home grown)

Place the vegetables into a deep baking dish, add the herbs, sprinkle with
salt, dash olive oil, very good pinch mexican spice mix (all-spice, cinnamon, pepper, chiliflakes)
place the chicken skin-side up on the vegetables rub with salt and mexican spice mix and sweet paprika (1 tablespoon).  I also placed the backbone into the dish, for a better broth - be seen at the upper side.

Place the baking dish into the oven at 200 C and roast for 15 minutes, add 500 ml water and let roast for 30 - 40 more minutes (depends on chicken size). Stir the vegetables 2x during this time and laddle some of the broth over the chicken once in a while but not during the last 8 minutes.
Ready to be served. The meat should be juicy and tender (when a tooth pick is poked into the thickest part of a chicken thigh and juices are running clear the chicken meat is done) , the potatoes should be soft. Believe me, the broth is just heavenly, maybe adjust the seasoning but usually it is just fine.

Husband had 1 thigh and I had some of the breast meat:

Freitag, 31. Oktober 2014


Prepared some pumpkins and sweets for the children.
Scary enough I hope. I carved the bigger one with my set of kitchen knives and spend some time on carving the teeth. I even put a little bit red food colour over the edges so it looks quite bloody.. Note the big one is eating a very small one...
The smaller and slender butternut pumpkin was quite a challenge. I digged a hole at the top side using a carving spoon and scraped of all inner flesh with a big chef knife turning the blade round and round. For the tongues I used some red bell pepper.

Mittwoch, 29. Oktober 2014

Figs in sirup preserve

Last weekend I harvested the latest figs (530 g), yet unripe and still small, because the weather turned nasty cold - 1 degree Celsius this morning. Unripe figs are not that bad at all, you can make lovely preserves: halfway candied fruits in sirupe.
First I soaked the firm small fruits in water and trimmed the ends. Better use rubber gloves because unripe figs release a lot of natural rubber, sticky and slightly poisonous too. Even allergic reactions may occure.
Afterwards I dropped the figs into a pot with a lot of boiling water and boiled for 15 minutes. Not ready yet, rinsed the figs with cold water:

I poaked a deep hole right into the middle of each fig by using a thick bamboo skrewer, and boiled them again in fresh water for 15 minutes.
I washed the pot between the boiling turns using a metal spongue to clean of the sticky rubber...

Rinsing and boiling is to get rid of the rubber and to soften the figs of course! So after the second time boiling it is iportant to rinse the figs with fresh water again and let drain in a sieve.
Meanwhile I boiled 750 g sugar and 350 ml water until the sugar disolved and added the rinsed figs:

Boiled again for 15 minutes, added 1/2 vanilla pod, 6 gloves and the juice of 1 lime and let sit over night. Heated all up again in the morning and let sit until evening. Voila nearly candied figs:

Boiled it up again and spooned the hot figs into 2 jars. Boiled the sirup longer and let reduce until a somewhat thicker sirup formed. For test just drip some drops on a cold plate, should be runny but more slowly and "fat" runny. Afterwards I removed the vanilla pod.
Filled the hot liquid into the jars to cover the figs. Sealed with a lid.
Those figues are yummy with cheese or yoghurt...

Freitag, 24. Oktober 2014

Prague II

I visited Prague on educational leave. So I did not have enough time to take lots of pictures since the schedule was very tight. We visited former palaces and castles - now governmental buildings and had some talks with officals from the city hall, chamber or trade, the senate, german ambassy. Especially interesting were the meeting we had with an famous author, who told us about czech political history and his role related to the events during the "Prague Spring" and the day we spend in Theresienstadt with a survivor of the Theresienstadt concentration camp / Terezin - a very kind old lady, who told us about her youth in Terezin, heart breaking.
And there were the visits of the old synagoge and Skoda car factory plant and some more famous places. In the evening we always had a lovely 3 course czech dinner in different restaurants. Afterwards some of us visited jazz clubs - good music (best club ) and lots of cheap beer... Czech dark beer is really delicious.
During the spare hours, called free time, I walked a lot in the inner city, public transportation is dirt cheap...

Never seen this kind of architecture before - czech cubismn:

 Art deco:


Lots of stores are selling czech's famous products as jewelry and bohemian glass ware. Most of the shops around wenzel'splace and city hall are tourist traps selling overprized and not very artful things, but this store sold a lot of fine goods:

And this is a tourist trap selling bohemian glass and some more things you and I will never need. I asked for the price of the cristal lamps: 2000 Euros and more - rediculous.

Nice little shop selling handmade woolen crafts for low prices in the old town:

 Bought such souvenirs as organic soap, chocolate, czech liquor, canned beer, plush animals.

Skoda factory museum:
They did produce some really nice bikes first

This car never went into mass production (beginning of WWII) what a shame..

Montag, 20. Oktober 2014


Nur um mal zu zeigen, wie die Rückseite von Prag kann nicht alles haben.
View from my hotel room, not that great...

Montag, 6. Oktober 2014

Rose Jelly

Sunday I cut a few roses in full bloom. I decided to prepare some rose jelly because I recently found a bottle of sparkling wine in the basement, long forgotten, not the best to have a drink after all, but still useful.

Sadly the light is not that bright, so you don't see the pinkish colour..

For the jelly I soaked the plugged rose blossom leaves of 12 roses (most of them french perfume roses/damask roses) in a glass jar, added 750 ml aged sparkling wine and placed the jar in a window (jar covered with cling film) to let the sun do the work. After one night (all in all 24 hours) I sieved the wine through a fine mashed strainer, messured, added the same amount jelling sugar and boiled the jelly for 4 minutes. Just enough rose jelly to fill 5 smaller jars with the lovely jelly. The kitchen smelled of tons of roses and a late night bar.
This jelly tastes wonderful on brioche, slightly toasted and buttered. Husband cleared halve a jar in one day.
Roses I used too besides the damask roses:

Don't use store bought roses to prepare the jelly. They are often treated with harmful chemicals as fungicides or pesticides. I don't use those chemicals in my garden so no harm can be done. Most of the time I will use ecofriendly stuff only to prevent rose deseases. For example mixtures of baking powder, rapeseed oil, water and soap or buttermilk, home made fermented nettle extract and such.

Sonntag, 21. September 2014


Seriously unhealthy..

But really delicious. First I thought it a kind of joke: Candied bacon, chocolate ganache and cupcake. Something to be aspected on halloween. But no, they did taste incredible nice.
I found the recipe on fox news and made half of the batch with minor adjustments.
The original recipe should end in 6 huge cupcakes but I prepared 8 small.


For the maple cupcakes (8 small)
1 Cup all-purpose flour
1 Teaspoon baking powder
1 good pinch salt
100 g unsalted butter, softened in the microwave at 360 W

1/2 Cup light brown sugar
2 medium eggs
1 Teaspoon pure vanilla extract
40 ml milk
40 ml maple syrup

For the chocolate ganache
200 ml creme double
200 g cuverture, semi sweet, chopped

For the candied bacon topping
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 Teaspoon black peppercorns - later crushed
8 slices bacon


To make the cupcakes

Step 1:

Preheat the oven to 180° C. Prepare 8 silicon moulds by slightly spreading melted butter and powder with a little flour.

Step 2:

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Step 3:

In a medium-size mixing bowl, with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and brown sugar until well combined. Add the eggs and vanilla and maple syrup and beat until fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add half of the flour mixture and the milk, beating to combine. Add the rest of the flour mixture, and continue to mix just until the dry ingredients are incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Step 4:

Fill each prepared muffin cup about 3/4 full. Bake until the tops are just firm to the touch and a tooth-pick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 15-20 minutes. Leave the cupcakes in the pan on a rack to cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer the cupcakes to the wire rack to cool completely before frosting, about 1 hour.

To make the ganache

Step 1:

In heavy small saucepan heat the cream until hot but not boiling. Stir in the cocholate let it melt on very low heat and stir until smooth and glossy.

Step 2:

Transfer to a medium-size mixing bowl, and cool to room temperature. Chilling the mixture in the refrigerator will take about 1 hour. Beat the ganache on medium-high speed until thick and creamy, about 2 to 3 minutes. The cream will become much lighter in colour and fluffy. Fill cream into a piping bag with a bigger star shaped snout.

To make the bacon topping

Step 1:

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and place a similar-sized wire cooling rack inside the pan.

Step 2:

In a motar combine the brown sugar and pepper and grind coarsely. Spread the bacon strips on a plate, sprinkle and rub the sugar-pepper mix into the both sides of the slices. Lay the strips in one layer on the wired rack. Bake for 15 minutes until browned. Cool down before crumbling by hand.

Step 3:

Pipe the cream on top of the cupcakes, sprinkle with bacon. Keep the cupcakes cooled until serving.

Just one thought. Wether you take maple syrup or a little bit more milk should not make much of a difference. The syrup amount is way too small to leave some special aroma. Should be fine with advocaat too. The chocolate cream and bacon flavor did it :-)

Freitag, 15. August 2014

Summer squash harvest

After returning home from my summer holidays I had to look after my garden. The courgette (or summer squash) was brimming with fruits and now I had to deal with the lot. There is something strange with summer squash, first it is all blossoming and you start picking the small delicious fruits with flowers still attached, the next time you look at it, there are several really big fruits hidden underneath reminding on the Hindenburg. What to do with those big guys... Husband doesn't like to eat summer squash that much, especially not those recipes calling for filled summersquash (filled with ground meat and baked as my mother always do), where the big ones would come in handy. Had to think about something else. This is a dish using up one really big summer squash - and hubby eats it without complaining at all:
Summer squash croquettes

Very easy to prepare and delicious too even for non summer squash eaters:
Take one huge summer squash, the peel should be still soft and the internal core may be a bit wooly but still no hard shelled seeds should have formed. Halve the squash lengthwise and spoon out the wooly core. Ground the halves to very small strips, put the strips into a bowl and sprinkle a generous amount of salt (1 1/2 teaspoon should do). Mix and let sit for an hour. Put the soggy and watery lot in a tea towel and squeeze and press until the liquid is all gone. One big fruit will result in one cup dry-squeezed flesh, believe it or not, the whole thing consist of 80% greenish water.
Meanwhile boil 2 potatoes in their jackets until soft, peel and mash finely.
Cut 2 trimmed spring onions into slender slices and chop, also chop 5 parsley sprigs finely.
Mix squash, potato mash, 1 tablespoon flour, 1 egg, spring onions and parsley, add some good pinch salt, pepper and a pinch of chili flakes. With wet hands form small paddies and deep-fry in oil in a few batches. The croquettes are ready when they turn nicely golden browned.
They taste just fine with a home made tomato sugo or a greek yoghurt sauce and green salad. They even do taste good served cooled down the other day.

For summer squash of a decent size I like to make those: Cheese filled rolls and some Anti-pasti version

For the rolls the squash should be a little bit bigger but not big as the Hindenburg and no wooly core please. Slice squash lenthwise into 4 mm thick slices and fry the slices in olive oil until they can be bend more easily without falling apart and they show some nicely brown spots.  Add a garlic glove to the frying oil and a sprig of rosemary while frying.
Let the finished slices rest on some paper towel. Sprinkle a little salt and spread a good heaped teaspoon cheese mix on each slice, wrap it up, fix it with a toothpick and put it in the fridge for an hour. 
For cheese mix:
  • 100 g fresh young goat cheese or Feta cheese or just cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary leaves, chopped finely
  • 2 sage leaves, chopped finely
  • some chives, chopped finely
  • 1 small garlic cloves, minced
  • some salt (depends on the cheese) pepper, maybe chili, sweet paprika
stirr with cheese until well combined. If you don't have fresh herbs you can use 1 teaspoon dry Café de Paris mix, this is the spice mix for herbed garlic butter.

As for the Anti pasti:
Just cut squash into slender rounds and fry until nicely browned. Again add a few sprigs rosemary and thyme and some garlic glove to the cooking oil but remove before burned. Place squash rounds into a container, sprinkle some salt, add the fried thyme, garlic and rosmary and fill up with the oil from the pan and some more to cover. This will keep in the fridge for a few days. I like to eat those on a sandwich, with cheese or snack it away as it is.

Mittwoch, 13. August 2014

My journey to france

I made a nice trip to france. This time I visited the Loire valley. Never been there before, but as a friend and admirer of gardening and history this was something I always wanted to do: See lots of historic sites and historic gardens and eat well.
The region around Tours is pretty perfect for those kinds of interests.
It was a little bit exhausting because we started each day at 8:30 a.m and returned around 7:30 p.m. We were visting castles, gardens, museums, vineyards, market places, cathedrals, monestaries and so on.
We even ate at a convent (St.Martin, Tours) where nuns prepared us a perfect french meal, best dinner we had on our journey, starting with fresh melon and wine soaked raisins, pork stewed with olives and a rice bowl with egg plant and summer squash (baked with cheese). Delicious home cooking. The other dinners were good too with several kind of different stews, cheese plates, salads and desserts. But this one was special.
As for castles for example: we visited Villandry a famous castle and garden. What made the difference, most of the ornamental plants were vegetables, amazingly beautiful.

On our journey we had some picknicks too, betweem visiting castles or cathedrals and walking around a lot:
We visited a mushroom farm and had a mushrooms taste testing: Mushrooms were raised in caves in the hills..

We also visited a vineyard and had a taste testing on sparkling wine after we visited the winery.
Been to the castle Chenonceau too - I especially liked the gardens - here the vegetable/kitchen garden
And the kitchen of the castle - whereas the castle was a beauty on its own, it is rare to find a good historical kitchen, see the rotation unit for the grill, Iwas so exited...

We visited Blois (yes I have seen the house of magic and the castle) but here is Leonardo da Vinci's garden located besides his latest home!!! Now this is something. There was a really interesting exhibiton on Renaissance garden architecture at Blois castle at the moment which I visited too:
I also highly recommend to visit the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition at the parc. They did rebuild lots of his inventions.
We also visited the castle Chambord, this is the garden area with some garden houses - not the castle. I liked the combination of flowers, herbs and vegetables. And I saw the feeding of the pack of hounds which is very famous. Never seen so many dog buttocks before..

This is a market hall, one of many we have seen - I think it was in Chatres. Bought cheese, olives and dried fruits.
All in all along my journey I bought local specialities like rosé wine, orange cookies, creme caramel with fleur the sel, goat cheese, chocolates, macarons, an apron in Paris and I even ate boudin noir, fresh soft black blood pudding and I liked it. Next time I will do this journey along the Loire by bicycle. I think it is much better for my hips.

Sonntag, 29. Juni 2014

Miso katsu

Today I prepared some crisp breaded cutlets. I decided to make two japanese style and the others are for husband to be eaten the next two days because I will be away on a work related journey. Therefore I cooked an italian sugo too, made of diced eggplant, chopped fennel, onion, garlic and tomatoes. He can have this with some pasta.

But today it is miso katsu. Instead of the sweet worcester sauce based BBQ sauce, the miso sauce is made with dark red miso. This style originated in Nagoya - read about it sometime ago. I like miso a lot and am addicted to the rich and deep flavor - perfect for me. Husband - at first look - thought it would be some kind of hot mexican chocolate based sauce and got quite excited but what surprise, no mexican food today... I will keep this in mind and prepare mexican chicken next weekend - with real chocolate sauce...

Miso kastu
I shredded half of a small white cabbage, rinsed in cold water and set aside in a sieve.
I breaded 5 cutlets (thin cut pork chops without bones):
  • dusted the meat with some flour
  • dipped in 1 beaten egg mixed with some salt and pepper
  • dipped in bread crumbs
  • deep-fried in oil until crunchy golden-brown.
  • deep-fried some trimmed spring onions too
For miso sauce I stirred:
  • 3 tablespoons red miso
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon sake
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon soysauce
and heated it up gently.
Steamed some rice too. The cutlets were cut into pieces and simply placed over cabbage, rice as sides.

Yesterday the weather was much nicer and we had a salad made of some mustard greens, young chard leaves and lettuce out of my garden, indian onion, some tomatoes and fried salmon. For salad leaves I bought some bargain seed tape for just 1.79 Euro (and I only used half of the tape). We had lots of salads since late spring and the plants are still doing well in my raised bed.
The salmon was salted a few hours before, patted dry and the meat side rubbed with coarse mustard, sugar, some soysauce and simply fried in a non-stick pan. First at the skin side afterwards only for a short time at the mustard side.
Salad dressing was balsamic vinegar, french hot mustard, honey and olive oil, salt, pepper:

Salmon salad

Dienstag, 24. Juni 2014

Meeting a shaman

Yesterday I stayed in the wilderness near a very small, very remote rural village in the east. A german saying goes: "this is a place where fox and hare greet each other a very good night" - I am pretty sure there were lots of foxes and hares out there. We had an work related overnight stay in this village because there is no internet connection and no mobile connection available - pretty perfect conditions to held so called intensive workshops so people don't get distracted from work by the outer world. We had to stick together in a small camping side / hotel only visited by some nature loving tourists.

After the first day work was finished, in the late afternoon, some decided to have a quick run at the riverbank or take a nap and I found something very interesting to do for myself. I met with a local witch or better "shaman" who offered me a 1 hour guided tour into the nature to look out for herbs.
First we had a ritual to open the inner eye because she said, that most medical or witchcraft plants where found because those plants will call out for you, but first you must connect with the earth and spirutal world. Afterwards you have to walk into the nature and the first plant reaching you curiosity is something special / has a special meaning for you. Each and every step we found some plants to cure body or mind. To be eaten, or to be drank as tea or for scented oils or alcoholic infusions or rubbed onto your skin or burned as insence to open your mind (those mind opening plants where really something - rather dangerous laugh). Mostly we found some sort of nettles, thistles, galium, sweet clover, evening primrose, angelica, night shades (it is magic!) but she also talked about trees and mushrooms and snakes. Lots of otters out there - I was a little bit uneasy because we trampled right into the rough where all those otters live. She was a strong believer of every plants has it's good use and if it is strongly poisonous you have to use it for rubbing, insence or you should dilute it to mere nothingness. One of her saying, after I asked "what is honeysuckle good for?", was, that this plant must have something to do with inner tubes (organs) because the blossoms remind on tubes. Afterwards I found out that in chinese medicine honeysuckle is used to take care of liver problems. She was right!
And now to the witchcraft:
Another thing she told me was, that the plants are coming to help or guide you. If you own a garden and suddenly some plants appear and crowd together, they were coming to take care of you. In my garden the foxgloves are running wild.

She told me therefore I have to take care of my heart. Beats me. Didnt I mentioned the honeysuckles? Lots of honeysuckles at my wall which I did not plant, so I will have to stop drinking or eat more thistles...
Later on, after she asked me some questions about my impressions of some places and plants, she told me that I have the "eye" and should try to learn more and become a shamane myself.
Thinking about it, I guess it is a good idea to learn more about plants and herbal medicine and become a tour guide for our local moor excursion center. Could be fun when I am retired. I even know a local gallow tree hill where mandrake may grow, but I will need a dog to harvest it.

A new career at the horizon and a well spend one hour.

Samstag, 21. Juni 2014

Coffee roasting

Don't you think some of the more expensive coffee machines remind a lot on steam engines? Husband did spend a lot of time on so called coffee boards and forums and we ended with a ton of devices to ground and prepare coffee. One of our coffee machines (engine) looked like something which could be used to run a victorian spin mill or a submarine. It was a short fling - he fell out of love pretty soon because it was a hassle to prepare even one small cup of coffee.
I was much delighted to learn that there is a locomotive running, called the coffee roaster. No wonder, steam engine, coffee, fire..
If you will ever come to visit Germany you may have a ride on a small train called the coffee roaster. The 15 km tracks are running from Grevesmühle to Klütz at the Baltic sea area of north-eastern Germany so there is a lot of nice landscape to be seen for sure. Here are some pictures of the so called coffee roaster:

The locomotive is not called coffee roaster because it is a steam engine. It is called coffee roaster because in former times the track was used in a supply chain for a long gone malt coffee factory. But for tourists it is very nice to have a ride. And for train men, people (geeks) who simply love/adore trains/locomotives, it is a must to visit because it is some rare kind of locomotive and railway. I am going to buy some tickets and a 1 weekend / hotel accomodation for my uncle who is such a guy. We already rode some really strange trains with him.

Samstag, 14. Juni 2014

Strawberry shortcake

Strawberries are in season now and I always have to be quicker than the slugs and blackbirds to bring them in. Sadly more often the slugs win. So I had to buy 500 g strawberries today to bake this cake, my own harvest was just to small - a mere 100 g.


This cake is a little bit special but doesn't look that way.
First of all, there is no cream cheese or whipped cream involved,  it is made with fresh goat cheese!
And second, the cake batter is made with canola oil and advocaat.
Third, the strawberries are sprinkled with dollops of mint-sugar. So it is a little bit different...

Quite ordinary cup cake batter:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup advocaat
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, whites and yolks
  • 1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 small pinch salt
  1. Beat egg yolks and sugar until creamy white
  2. Beat egg whites with a little salt until soft peaks form
  3. Beat egg yolks-sugar with oil and advocaat until well combined
  4. Sieve flour with baking powder and baking soda over the runny batter and quickly mix in (beat for a short time only)
  5. Fold in the egg whites in 3 batches.
  6. Line a spring form (26 cm) with parchment paper and fill in the batter. Make sure the batter is spread evenly.
  7. Bake at 175 degree Celsius for about 25 minutes. Anyhow please perform a toothpick probe to be sure the cake is done.
  8. Let the cake cool down on a rack.
For Toppings

  • 100 g very aromatic strawberries (out of the garden is best)
  • 75 g sugar 
  • 1 small teaspoon agar-agar 
Heat this up until bubbly and glossy and spread this jam over the cake (first flip cake over and use the bottom after removing the paper as the new top)
  • 100 g fresh white goat cheese 
  • 2 tablespoons soft quark or thick yoghurt 
  • 3 tablespoons sugar 
  • 1/2 lemon, juice only
Spread the cream over the jam layer. If you don't like the goat taste you can always use double cream cheese instead but don't add yoghurt or quark. I added those because goat fresh cheese is a little bit more dry.
Halve 500 g strawberries (or use whole berries) and place the berries all over the cheese cream layer.

Glaze berries with 250 ml fruit tart glaze. I used a product which comes as a small bag containing some sort of modified starch. This has to be mixed with 3 tablespoons sugar and 250 ml water - according the instructions. I added 1 tablespoon grenadine sirupe and a teaspoon lemon juice to the slightly reduced amount of water. The mixture has to be heated until boiling up for once.  It becomes a jelly really quickly when only slightly cooled down. If you don't get this kind of glaze you can make your own using 250 ml water or water/apple-juice mix and 25 g agar-agar, sugar. Same procedure.

For the mint-sugar put:
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves (I took chocolate-mint which I grow in my garden)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, coarse
into a small motar and pound it to a coarse paste. Sprinkle over the strawberries, done.

Mittwoch, 11. Juni 2014

Cold noodles

Nothing special just a bunch of cold chinese noodles:

I added some toppings and simmered a sauce:

Now the noodles were transformed into this (my small plate):

After reading No recipes post about Goma Hiyashi Chuka, I decided to make my very own version. As always I can never stick to a recipe...
As you can see, I sliced a bunch of vegetables: carrot, red pepper, spring onion, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, radishes and sprinkled a little salt to make them softer. I pickled some red radishes in salt-sugar brine the day before.
I also made some egg-roll and fish fingers: salmon cut into finger shaped strips, dipped into starch,  into beaten egg (slightly salted) and panko flakes and deep-fried until golden brown and crunchy.
For the sauce I roasted 3 tablespoons sesame seeds until they started to make popping noices and ground the hot seeds to a stiff powder. I boiled up 2 tablespoons sake, 1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon yuzu peel scented sugar (sugar where I put some yuzu zestes in some time before), 1 tablespoon mild rice vinegar, 5 tablespoons dashi and stirred in the powdered seeds and stopped the heating.

I took plenty of vegetables, a little egg-roll and 1 fish finger, husband some vegetables (no cucumber...) and lots of fish fingers and all of the egg..

Montag, 9. Juni 2014

Garden viewing

Just a few pictures:
I especially like how the  wooden fence (2 m high) to our neigbor is grown all over by lots of blossoming plants: I planted a rambler rose, clematis, honeysuckle and two thornless brambles 2 years ago. At the ground golden nettles and vincas are running wild and on top a wisteria (climbed over from our neighbors side).

Some more blossoming plants:

Hydrangea named "firework" already showing some sparklers...

Another with round shaped and mixed coloured blossoms: lightgreen and pink...

Pink rambler rose giving the best at a wall of my house. There is a bumble bee nest nearby and the bumble bees are visiting this rose again and again and again, which irritates one of our cats royally. He is afraid of bees, wasps and bumble bees so whenever a bumble bee flies buzzing over him he will run into the house in lightspeed. Sadly his formerly most favorite place to take a nap outside is nearby. He is running quite a lot these days.

The dwarf nymphaeas are already showing their new leaves all over the pond (besides: lots of dragon flies this year, one took a short rest on my finger)

Hot summer means BBQ

Today we got a taste of how it is to live in a tropical area: it was hot (30+ C) and humid (85%).  Thankfully it is still an holiday in Germany so at least we did not have to go to work. Early in the morning we had some bad thunderstorms and heavy rain, again lots of sun and a few sprinkles rain during the afternoon. Therefore the climate is really tough, during the day the emergency teams came and went for a few times: for most of our elderly people this weather is dangerous.
I tried to do some gardening by cutting and shaping some bushes, cleaning the roses, but had to give up after an mere hour. I was so beaten and bitten.. The mosquitos are annoying as can be.

Later on we decided to eat mostly cold dishes.
This is my plate:  roasted vegetables in balsamic vinegar, potato salad with peas, carrots; baby leaf salad with strawberries; roasted bread; garlicy greek yoghurt sauce with herbs.

For potato salad 

I boiled:
  • 500 g baby potatoes in their jackets - to be peeled and sliced afterwards
  • 1 egg
  • 2 carrots, diced.
  • 1/2 leek, thickly sliced

in a little olive oil just until still crunchy
and sprinkled salt, added
  • 1 shot mild vinegar,
  • 1/3 cup water
and let it cool down.
I stirred
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, 
  • pepper,
  • 1 teaspoon hot mustard, 
  • 1 teaspoon agave sirup 
and tossed the vegetables and broth into the sauce.
I added:
  • 1 very small can peas (did not have any frozen left),
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • sliced potatoes,
  • 1 chopped hard-boiled egg 
 and adjusted the seasoning with more salt and a sprinkle worcester sauce.

For the pickled vegetables
I roasted:
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 2 red peppers, cut into pieces
  • 1 red onion, cut into wedges
in a pan with a little olive oil.
After 3 minutes I added:
  • 2 sprigs rosmary and 3 sprigs thyme 
  • 2 crushed garlic gloves 
and gave it a few more minutes.
I tossed the than still a little crunchy vegetables with a little balsamic vinegar and salt and let this sit in the fridge over night.

For baby leaf salad
I picked:
  • 1 bowl baby leaves
  • 1 handful small strawberries (very sweet wild strawberries)

I sliced: 
  • 2 young spring onions
I halved the strawberries and stirred:
  • 1 teaspoon coarse seed mustard,
  • 1 teaspoon honey,
  • 1 tablespoon dark roasted sesame oil,
  • 1 teaspoon mild vinegar,
  • 1 good pinch salt,

and tossed it all together.

Yoghurt sauce
1 stirred a cup greek youghurt with 1 minced garlic glove, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 1/2 cup chopped herbs (chives, parsley, lemon balm, mint) , salt, pepper and a small pinch cumin to taste

And we decided to get the BBQ-grill going:
  • pork belly in curry dry rub (rub with coarse curry powder)
  • small pork steaks (neck) with herb rub (just cajun seasoning with dried thyme, rosemary)
  • sausages

I had one small steak. Most of the meat can be eaten tomorrow, cold, with salad again because tomorrow will be another hot and humid day.

I have to keep my baby salad (growing in a raised bed) under wire because the birds always try to eat the young leaves. They know what is really tasty.

Sonntag, 1. Juni 2014

Pumpkin buns

Today I decided to get rid of the butternut squash lazing around in my kitchen since several weeks. It was a rather small one and because I waited to long to cook the vegetable, this guy was really hard to peel but therefore flesh was deep orange and sweet. I wanted to make some semi-sweet buns filled with pumpkin puree (good either steamed or baked or deep-fried):


bun with sweet pumpkin mash filling

For the puree:
I steamed the squash/pumpkin flesh, cut into smaller chunks, without any additional liquid but covered, in the microwave for about 6 minutes and mashed it afterwards.
Mixed with 2 tablespoon sugar I heated the mash up in a saucepan and stirred on high heat to let some more of the moisture evaporate. After a few minutes the pumpkin mash was dry enough to be used for filling.

I prepared a dough:
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup milk, lowfat, lukewarm
1 large egg, room temperature
3 tablespoons butter, soft
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon honey
1 small tablespoon instant yeast


1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon mirin
1 teaspoon soy sauce
sesame seeds

For the dough I filled all ingredients into the mixing bowl of my kitchen engine and let it run for about 8 minutes on medium speed.
Afterwards the dough had to rest and rise in the bowl until doubled in size, covered by a damp towel for about 1 hour. I stretched the dough on a flour dusted baking board and folded it 4 times, rolled it into 2 long  rolls and divided each roll into 12 slices/pieces. Each piece I formed into a disc, smaller as my palm.

I greased two silicon muffin moulds with a little butter, each comes with 6 small moulds and placed 1 disc of dough into each. While covering the bottom of a mould the dough has also to build a small rim - just like a small cup. I filled 1 heaped teaspoon pumpkin puree into each dough cup and covered with a second disc of dough while pinching down the edges to close the buns. Than I pinched the upper dough layer with a fork for a few times. The buns can also be formed free-hand by using a larger disc of dough instead of two, while pinching the edges over the filling. The dough is soft and so is the filling so this way is more kind of playing on the safe side...

I let the buns rise until doubled in size, brushed the egg wash on top and sprinkled on sesame seeds. The buns were baked at 180 degree Celsius for about 20 minutes (+/-) until well browned.

The buns are best to be eaten lukewarm. Don't eat them hot or the pumkin mash will burn your mouth...