Dienstag, 22. April 2014

Garden viewing

Just some pictures because I am so happy - the small tree peony is in full bloom. Last year we had no tree peony blossoms at all due to the big freeze/cold spring.
View into the inner (walled) garden, taken from the porch:

peony, yeah 3 big buds.

Montag, 21. April 2014

Easter Leg of lamb roast

So sorry, there are no pictures but I had some trouble with my equipment. For easter holidays I prepared a leg of lamb. Really traditional to have some leg of lamb for easter, nothing special at all in Germany.
Maybe interesting was the cooking method - the most easiest way to prepare a really great sunday roast, very relaxing, so I am going to share:
I bought some rather small part but upper part of a leg of lamb, about 1 kg, bone in. Put on some salt and pepper and roasted it in a pan while using a little bit of olive oil, until the leg of lamb was golden at all sides. Afterwards I covered the leg of lamb with a mixture of 2 tablespoons coarse mustard, 2 tablespoons chopped herbs (sage, thyme, rosemary) and 4 finely chopped garlic gloves.
I cut 2 carrots, 1 big onion and 1/4 celery bulb into rough dices, put the leg of lamb into a cast iron baking dish, roasted the vegetables in the same pan without any additional fat until nicely roasted, added 1 tablespoon tomatoe paste and let it roast a bit and deglazed with 1 cup medium dry sherry and 1 cup water and transferred the vegetables and juices to the lamb. Now here we go:
Just put the baking dish into the oven at 85 degree Celsius and let it run for 6 hours. That is all, forget everything, just let it bake at very low temperature. Husband and I went for a long walk down the river, visited the oldest Biergarten in town, established since 1875, had some refreshments, went home, had some strawberry cake and coffee in the afternoon, did this and that and than I just prepared some mashed potatoes, green beans, asparagus, carrots as sides, and gave the lamb 15 minutes at 200 degree C.

I put the lamb on a cutting board and refilled the dish with some more sherry and water (all in all 250 ml) and boiled it up once, sieved the sauce, added 100 ml cream and 1 cup greek olives to the sieved broth and let it simmer for a few minutes, adjusted the seasoning with salt and pepper. That was all, ready to be served.
The lamb was soft and juicy. It is a lamb roast called "spoon lamb" because it is so soft, you can nearly use a spoon instead of a knife to slice it. Delicious.

Sonntag, 20. April 2014

Easter decoration

This year I was not that much into easter preparations because I had no time at all - lots of journeys. Lucky I remembered to buy some chocolate eggs at least - I nearly forgot. So today I quickly assembled an easter "nest" (time 5 minutes..). I just went into the garden an picked wisteria, yellow azalea and ivy and done with it.

Easter sandwich

For easter I boiled a lot of quail and chicken eggs. These eggs are used for easter decorations. Just a German tradition, more related to celebrate spring arrival. Usually we will eat the eggs during the easter days and afterwards.
I decided to have some of the quail eggs for breakfast.
And this is what I made:

To prepare the sandwich I took two slices braided easter bread - some kind of not too sweet brioche / soft yeast bread I baked the day before, and toasted until golden. I peeled 3 quail eggs, halved them, spread some mayonnaise on top of one bread slice and decorated with fish eggs, chives and sprinkled salt and pepper. Done.


braided easter bread

Samstag, 19. April 2014

Salmon rice bowl

Husband asked for a quick snack / small dinner... and this is what he got:

Very easy to prepare:
I cooked enough rice for two bowls and simmered a small piece of Konbu with the rice. I filled the hot rice into a wooden bowl and added a mixture of mirin, sugar and rice vinegar and fanned the rice until lukewarm.
For the vinegar-mix - according the small amount of rice, I used about 1 tablespoon vinegar, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon mirin and 1 pinch salt.

I divided the rice to two bowls and decorated: thick pickled* salmon slices (which I glazed with a sirupe cooked from soy sauce, sugar, lemon juice and sake), a few spoons fish eggs, sliced spring onion, shredded nori, pickled ginger, yuzu-paste.

*) mild pickled salmon is a great substitute for fresh salmon.

Samstag, 12. April 2014

Someone feeds on my stawberries

Just look at this guy. The caterpillar of the Scarlet tiger moth. The most pretty moth in our area. So raise and shine...

Donnerstag, 10. April 2014

Liver of veal and glazed apples

Today I visited Berlin for work. Berlin is somewhat famous for liver and glazed apple dishes, usually served with mashed potatoes and fried onions. Traditional german family style restaurants will have this dish on the menu quite often. But I skipped this and bought me a delicious sandwich at the Galery Lafayette for lunch instead: Farmers bread with blue cheese, pear confite, honey-walnut. Heavenly yumminess...
Back at home I decided to prepare my own version of liver and glazed apples because - honestly - I am not a fan of the traditional preparation method and I don't like to eat pork liver.

Liver of veal, does not look that great, but it is very tasty
So on my way home I bought two slices liver of veal while visiting an organic butcher. I would never dare to buy liver from industrial raised animals because the farmers feed lots of antibiotics and even cough medicine to prevent diseases in their over crowded stables. Liver is the organ who has to deal with those drug loads and I am not going to eat this crap.

For my version of liver of veal and glazed apples I used:

Glazed apples and onions:
  • 1 sweet-sour cooking apple, decored, sliced (0,5cm) but not peeled
  • 2 red onions, sliced into thin slices
  • 1/2 leek, light green part, sliced into thinnly slices
  • 1 knob butter
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • good dash sweet and thick date balsamic vinegar* 
  • 1 small pinch salt
  • black pepper
  • 2 thin slices organic liver of veal (350 g)
  • 2 tablespoons flour (allpurpose)
  • freshly ground black pepper and a small pinch chili flakes
  • soy sauce and more balsamic vinegar (just a dash)
  • 1 tablespoon oil
First I fried the the onion and apple slices in butter until nicely soft and roasted golden, added the leek and let it roast too for just a minute. Deglazed with mirin and soy sauce and set aside. Sprinkled a little salt.

For the liver I added the oil to the same pan. Lightly dusted the liver slices with flour mixed with pepper and chili and fried the liver on both sides for a few minutes only - maybe 2 minutes on each side. Never cook veal liver too long - the liver has to stay pink inside. The liver has to stay soft so don't use any salt or the liver will become dry, grey and firm. Sprinkle salt always only when ready to be served.

I deglazed with a little soy sauce and a good dash sweet vinegar. And it was done: Served the liver covered with the apples, onion and leek mix. Sprinkled more balsamic vinegar. Did not use any salt for the liver at all.

*) this balsamic vinegar is very mild and sweet, reminds on a molasses.