Sonntag, 25. Mai 2014

Sushi - sort of

Recently I discovered a new hobby. How about that:

Yep fat tuna..maybe

Just one bite or better not. I made this little piece of sushi with some colored wool and a special felting needle. Needle felting is a crafts art where you can build all kinds of three-dimensional objects. I just watched some tutorials on youtube and bought some wool and some needles. Did not think it would be that easy but what a surprise, it is easy as long as you don't poke the needle into a finger. This was my third attempt. I already made a cat and Totoro... For the sushi I prepared an oval shaped ball and felted small balls for the rice. For the tuna I felted a rectangle sheet of red wool and mixed with some strings of white wool. Nori is made from black-brownish wool. Therefor I felted a long rectangle strip and felted it all together with a thin needle until it became firm.

What is is it good for you may ask. It is just a little decoration for my hand bag. Here we are:

Sonntag, 18. Mai 2014

Spritzkuchen - german Cruller doughnuts

Today I made a batch Spritzkuchen, some sort of doughnut invented by a german baker in April 1832. The question remains wether he was really inventing it or simply was the first one to put the Spritzkuchen on display and sale in a german town called Eberswalde. There are some hints in medieval recipes that spritzkuchen were already known for a long time. As always, there is really nothing new under the sun..


Traditionally the dough is not that sweet at all, sweetness comes with the glace.
Choux pastry dough (for 20 small Spritzkuchen):
  • 125 g flour
  • 1 good pinch salt
  • 1 generously heaped tablespoon sifted icing sugar
  • 1 good pinch cinnamon and a little nutmeg
  • 90 g butter
  • 125 ml water
  • 3 eggs
  • oil for frying
  • 1 cup Icing sugar
  • 1/2 big lemon: juice, -zestes
In a heavy pot bring water and butter to a bubbling boil, add sifted flour and icing sugar at once and stir well with a wooden spoon. Keep up strirring until a dough ball forms and the bottom of the pot is covered with a thin white crust. If you pinch a bamboo skrewer into the dough ball the dough shall not stick to the skrewer.
Transfer the dough into a mixing bowl and let rest for a few minutes, just to slightly cool down from piping hot to very warm. Add 1 egg and mix in until well incorporated. The dough will form big lumps. Add another egg and mix in until well incorporated. The dough lumps will break into small lumps. Mix in the last egg, the dough will become smooth.

Fill the dough into a piping bag with a star shaped snout attached and pipe rings into the center of small rectangle shaped sheets of parchment paper. If you are really good with the piping bag, give the dough string a twist while piping - I am no good or rather - I kept it simple. The dough will rise very well so make sure there is a lot of free space in the center of the rings.

Heat up oil until 170 degree Celsius and deep-fry the rings in batches of four pieces (I used a wok filled up to 1/3 with oil). Remove the parchment paper with a tongue once one side of a ring is browned, flip the ring over and fry until the other side is golden brown too.
Remove the Spritzkuchen and let sit on a weired rack just to let some oil drip off, dip Spritzkuchen into the glace (for glace mix icing sugar, lemon zeste and - juice well). They are best to be eaten luke warm.

Not german style but good too: cut the rings into halves and fill with vanilla custard cream.
While deep-frying keep a close look at the rings, I charred four...

Mittwoch, 14. Mai 2014

Bratkartoffeln - german style fried potatoes

Today I made a batch of german style fried potatoes just to explain the "how to".

Ingredients for 1 person or as small side dish for 2:
2 medium potatoes / 400 g (better use some firmer variety not some flaky, waxy potatoes for crisp Bratkartoffeln)
1 small onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons bacon, diced
1 good pinch salt
pepper to taste
Sweet Paprika to tase
2 tablespoons oil for frying

After flipping over the first time, onions and bacon freshly added

Boil potatoes in their jackets until you can stick a knife into but with some resistance in the middle. Don't boil them until they are soft enough to get mashed. Peel the potatoes and cut into 5 mm thick slices, or halfmoons or quartered round slices.
Fry the slices in oil over medium heat until one side of the slices are well browned. Therefore a good heavy and bigger pan / skillet is in need. The slices should be spread out evenly or it will not work out. Flip each slice over (don't stir, stirring may break the slices), add the onions and bacon and spread them inbetween the potatoe slices and fry until the other side of the potatoes are gold brown. Flip over again and put the slices at the side of the pan, so you can fry the onions and bacon more easily until those are well roasted too. Sprinkle salt and spices and toss. Another way is to fry the bacon and onions beforehand and just add them to the nearly done potatoes to heat them up again.

Dienstag, 13. Mai 2014

Microwave crisps

Today I made a bunch of potato crisps, following a recipe I found on another german blog. I must say, the person running the blog definitely has a totally different type of microwave. I had to adjust the time quite a lot.
Here we are:
1 used two medium sized waxy potatoes and brushed them under running water. I mixed a shot olive oil with a good pinch hot yellow curry powder, a pinch sweet paprika, smoked chili powder, pepper and salt and dried italian herb mix. I shaved the potatoes with the help of a mandoline in very thin slices and padded each slice dry with a paper towel. I tossed the slices in the olive oil spice mix.

Afterwards I stacked the slices onto watered wooden skrewers - it took 3 rather large skrewers - and placed the skrewers over a huge bowl:

I microwaved the potatoes at 950 W for 5 minutes - as told by the recipe mentioned before - no not ready at all, just soft potato slices.

It took 10 more minutes while I opened the microwave once and again to reduce the steam.
After all in all 15 minutes the crips were ready to be taken from the skrewers. Some were still soft in the middle and I layered those each for each (don't let them touch) on a piece of parchment paper and let the microwave run for a minute: They got really dark browned... 30 seconds would have been more appropriate.
Anyhow, really really tasty and crunchy. Next time I think I will give it 10 minutes for toasting on skrewers.  First I will not stack the potato slices the way I did. They need a little more distance in between. After the microwave session on skrewers I will strip the crisps off the skrewers and place them in batches on parchment paper and give each batch 1 or 2 minutes microwaving time. Those darker browned bits tasted like cornflakes...

Freitag, 2. Mai 2014

Pastel de nata

Today I prepared those tiny little bits called Pastel or Pasteis de nata. I know, I know they are wellknown all over the world so nothing new.  Today it was rather cold outside and after doing a little gardening I was rummaging around in the house and kitchen and got a little bit bored. I found 2 leftover sheets puff pastry dough (175 g) in my freezer and everything afterwards was done in a blink:

For 7 pasteis:
Let the pastry sheets sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to defrost. Cut the sheets in 2 cm wide strips. For the length: the strips should reach from one side of a mould to the other side while layed into the mould. Greeze the moulds, I used some silicon cupcake/muffin moulds, and place 4-5 stips next to each other into the mould so that the bottom and sides of the mould are covered and the ends of the strips are coming together on both sides. Pinch the ends together. Pinch the bottom of the pastry with a fork for a few times. Some cut the pastry into discs and use these discs for layers. The problem with discs is that the dough layers will rise unevenly while baked. The strips will keep nice in cup shape.
Heat up 1 cup milk until simmering and set aside or use cream for more richness. Whisk 2 egg yolks, 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, small pinch of salt and a few drops vanilla essence together until creamy, add 3/4 tablespoon starch, whisk, add a little hot milk and whisk for a little while longer. Fill this mixture to the milk and heat up again. Whisk until the boiling point is nearly reached. The mixture should remind on a smooth custard but not on scrambled eggs..
Fill a good tablespoon egg custard into each mould and bake at 210 degree Celsius until the puff pastry is all puffed up and golden and the custard shows roast marks (takes maybe 15 minutes).

Dust with icing sugar mixed with a good pinch cinnamon.