Friday, April 28, 2006

Buttermilk & Ricotta Pancakes

There are times when you just need something comforting and sweetness. Today was one of these days. After I brought Soeren to KIGA, I managed to get through a large amount of work and simply had a craving for something scrumptious after a few hours. I realized it was already a little past lunch time and decided to make myself a second breakfast or, if you prefer, a brunch!

Buttermilk pancakes are my all time favorites and I decided that this would be just perfect to satisfy my craving. Cooking and photography is also a perfect way for me to relax in between a heavy workload. Thanks to home office I am able to juggle my schedule the way I want and this gives me a lot more flexibility to enjoy such luxuries.

I put on my current favorite music - The Black Eyed Peas, and started getting my ingredients together. I found some ricotta cheese and remembered that Haalo had posted a recipe of ricotta pancakes a little while back. I looked it up and decided to adapt the recipe for my pancakes making my own changes.

I will leave you with these for the long bank holiday weekend. We are away for the long weekend and I'll see you on Tuesday. Happy Weekend!



Ingredients:



120g Ricotta
2 eggs - separated and the whites beaten stiff
170g all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
200 ml buttermilk
butter for frying
Maple Syrup
Fresh strawberries - cut up in quarters



Method:

Mix together the baking powder and flour together. In a separate bowl beat the egg yolks with the the ricotta until creamy. Add the buttermilk and beat further.

Pour this mixture into the flour and whisk until everything is combined. Add the beaten egg whites and fold in carefully until the batter is smooth.

In a heated pan add a small amount butter and bake the pancakes on both sides till golden brown.

Stack high, add the strawberries and pour with maple syrup.

Lay back and enjoy!



Verdict:
The ricotta gave these pancakes a really nice touch. Buttermilk makes it smooth and soft on the inside. Just perfect.

No, I did not eat the whole stack! I managed two and froze the rest. My two men just have to try these out. I'll surprise them this weekend!
Hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Two Tarts Part 1 - Raspberry Kiss

When I was making these I was thinking of two things:

  1. The song from Frankie goes to Hollywood "Two Tribes" but singing "When two tarts go to war ..."

  2. Yipee ... I get to stack my own tarts. After seeing little stacked tarts all over the blog world I decided to make a few too.

Both types are adapted from Lara's tarts.

I have been meaning to make these for a while. I actually even went out and bought a new silicon mini muffin tray to try out. They are so easy and perfect for parties or, as I thought, perfect for Soeri's Tiffin. So, when I saw these luscious organic raspberries at the market I knew the time had come to make those tarts.

They looked so cute when they came out of the oven that all I thought of was they had a breath of a kiss.

Now, I sit here with a few on my plate, watching "Dirty Dancing" (oh how I love this film) on TV and I share a few kisses with you.


Ingredients:
150g puff pastry
100g fresh raspberries
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger



Method:

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Using a form cut out circular shapes in the pastry. Line the muffin tray with the pastry.

In a mixing bowl add all the ingredients together and mash with a fork.

Fill the pastry forms with the raspberry mixture and bake for 20 minutes.



Verdict:
Well as Tom is out of town and Soeri will be getting a few in his lunch box tomorrow, it is up to me to give the verdict.
They are sweet and spicy - just like kisses. Because they are so tiny one is never enough - just like kisses. They leave a mist of fruity tanginess on your lips - just like kisses.

So, how do you like my kisses?

Two Tarts Part 2 - Pesto Rosso & Mozzarella

So, when you are already making one type of tart why not make it another, right. But it had to be something to complement the raspberry kisses. I remember Lara made some with pesto alla genovese. As I did not have the ingredients for that I decided to adapt that and make it with pesto rosso (I'll post the recipe some time in the future).

Pesto rosso is made of sun dried tomatoes, olive oil, basel, nuts and parmesan.
I made mine with cashew nuts, pecorino cheese, basel and wild garlic leaves. There is a large variety of ready made pesto rosso one can find in the stores and some taste pretty good. So you can make life even easier and use this - that is until I post the recipe here These tarts are made in the normal sized muffin tin.

It was a typical day that drains all energy out of you. Tom is away on a trip and Thursdays are pretty full. But I really was able to relax when I found a little time to prepare these and take a few nice pictures.



Ingredients:

Puff Pastry
150g Pesto rosso
100g mozzarella
wild garlic leaves



Method:

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Cut pastry in appropriate shapes and line muffin tin.

Add a teaspoon of the pesto rosso to each tart. Lay a few slices of mozzarella on top of this and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Take out of oven and sprinkle with chopped wild garlic leaves.




Verdict:
Soeri and I had these for a light dinner today. It was just right. We made a rucola salat with this, although Soeri just stuck to the tart.
This is Italy in all bursts and flavors. The puff pastry is crunchy and the pesto is smooth and creamy. All I can say a must at every party or simply to snack on.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Power Potato Cakes with Smoked Graved Salmon

These are so full of goodies that there can be no other name for these potato cakes.

Filled with carrots, herbs, flax seeds and sesame seeds they are perfect for so many dishes. When I make these I make a huge batch because we eat them in so many ways and with so many dishes. I made these yesterday and used them in Soeren's Tiffin. They are so easy to freeze and take out any time you want.

The idea for this recipe came when I was at a friends place and she served these. I asked her how she makes them and she said she doesn't she buys them! Well I figured I can do that too, but it would be better (and healthier) if I had a go at making them myself.

It's an easy peezy recipe and tonight I served these with smoked Graved salmon and avocados. A light snack filled with an extra portion power. Full of tangy freshness with avocado and a touch of lime juice. The mustard honey sauce fives it a fine aroma.


Ingredients:
For potato cakes:

300g potatoes - grated
100g carrots - grated
handful flax seeds
handful sesame seeds
1 cup mixed herbs
salt & pepper
oil

For smoked graved salmon

200g Smoked Graved Salmon - thinly sliced
1 avocado
fresh lime juice
150g sour cream - double use
2 teaspoon mustard - I used dijon
11/2 teaspoon clear honey
salt & pepper



Method:
Potato Cakes:
In a large mixing bowl add all the ingredients together and mix well. Form medium sized flat cakes.

In a frying pan heat up the oil and fry the cakes on both sides till golden brown.

If freezing, fry for only 2-3 minutes on each side. Take out and pat dry. Allow to cool. Lay a sheet of baking paper in between each cake and freeze in a ziploc bag. When you take these out of the freezer you can bake these in the oven or fry them without thawing.

Smoked Graved Salmon
In a mixing bowl add 100g of the sour cream, mustard, honey, salt and pepper and whisk until smooth and creamy. Put in refrigerator to cool.

Cut the avocado in thin slices. Place in bowl and add the lime juice. Toss the avocado well.

In the mean time using the rest of the sour cream, add a small dollop on each potato cake. Place two avocado slices on top. Roll a slice of the salmon and place this on top of the avocado. Now, using a teaspoon add a small portion of the mustard honey sauce into the roll.

Serve this with a green salad made from lamb's lettuce and green asparagus. Recipe coming soon!


Verdict:
This was Soeren's first try at salmon. I made his like a little sandwich instead of the open faced cakes. He ate it with ketchup (?) instead of the honey mustard sauce, but he enjoyed it. After he ate his portion he said "The ham was good!" Cute eh?
Tom came a little later then usual and I think his was a little cold, but he really liked it. He loved the silky combination of the avocado, with the crispy potato and the smooth salmon. He also liked the fact that it was light and easy.

The London Story 3

Here is my third and last part of the London Story. It's been on The Family Buzz since Monday, so if you have not read it yet go ahead. Plenty of tips for any first timers to London!

Hope you enjoy it!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Monthly Mingle #1: Football's coming Home (Football = Soccer)!

OHHH! I did not mean to step on any toes with that comment. But Folks the truth of this fact is, it's the Soccer/Football World Championships this June and we in Germany are hosting it. So, while Beckham, Ballack and Co. are getting ready for the big kick off, I thought what better theme to kick off my first Monthly Mingle.

I know this can be a point of huge frustration for some, while partners sit glued to the screens all summer long, screaming, shouting and cursing. It could be a lot worse than watching 22 more or less cute guys run after a ball, right?

Imagine this: I have invited you all to my place for the hottest final ever (Germany vs ???). You all just have to bring one dish along to the potluck that you think fits in this theme. Whatever you like! It can be a national dish of your country or a dish from the country of your favorite team - something that will represent team spirit and is fun to eat at big gatherings.

I have a barbecue you can use, an oven and a microwave. And I also have a buffet table a kilometer long that needs filling. Besides the dish, a little story telling is always good and I'd like to hear what you think about football/soccer and any stories about your family/friends that fits the theme. Don't need a novel, just a few lines, paragraphs will do. This is the party of the month!

Party starts May 1, so email your entries to blogmeeta@hotmail.com. Deadline is June 9, when the first match kicks off, here. I will do the round-up on the weekend of June 10, when I shall also announce the theme of the next Monthly Mingle.

Look forward to having you over!

More infos here

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Allgaeuer Kaesespaetzle - Cheese Spaetzle from the Allgaeu

Allgaeu is a beautiful region in southern Germany, in Swabia. I was there quite a few years ago when I first moved to Germany. This region does not only boast of picturesque scenery but also of great tasting food and wine.

A very good friend of ours, Rainer, originally comes from Wangen in Allgaeu. He used to be Tom's collegue at the university. Once we realized that he and his girlfriend Uli share many of the same intersts we became pretty good friends. Uli, at that time worked in Heidelberg, leaving Rainer here in Weimar. One of Rainer's hobbies were also cooking and of course eating. He was always complaining that he would start putting on weight.

Well, you can imagine that we often spent many a lovely evening cooking up some great recipes together.

The last meal we cooked together before they moved to Basel in Switzerland was this great tasting Cheese Spaetzle. I believe the recipe came from Rainer's mum and he was very particular in getting it right in exactly the same way.

He left the recipe with me and today I decided to make the delicious Allgaeuer Kaesespatzen, as they are called in Swabia.

So, what exactly are Spaetzle? They are noodles that are made from a simple dough and scraped into boiling water.

Here in Germany, in Switzerland, in Austria and in Italy you can find ready made Spaetzle in the supermarkets either dried or fresh. However, the tedious work to make your own fresh Spaetzle really will be much appreciated by all those sitting at the dinner table. Your kitchen will look like a bomb has exploded in it, but the smiles all around will make you feel so satisfied that you know that you will do this again.

I am sure Rainer's grandmother probably used a simple board and scraper to scrape the dough into the boiling water. Nowadays we can buy what is known as the Spaetzle press. There are many different types of presses available on the market, but I know a few people that still choose to use a simple board and scraper!

Another very important ingredient in making the cheese spaetzle is naturally the cheese.

Using good sorts of cheese is very vital here. In Europe we are spoilt for choice when it comes to the selection of cheese. The Allgaeu Emmentaler is always one preferred type of cheese and a Bergkaese, a cheese that is made during the summer months in the 70-120 days the cows graze high in the Alp mountains. A Gruyère would probably also do.

So, lets's get on to the recipe.


Ingredients:

Dough:
500g sifted flour - in Germany one can directly buy special Spaetzle flour, however, any other flour will do. I used just plain white flour.
5 eggs
200-250 ml water
salt

Cheese spaetzle:
500g onions - I prefer using red onions as they taste better. Cut in half and then sliced.
125g Emmentaler - grated
225g Bergkaese or Gruyère - grated
100g butter
Salt and pepper




Method:

Basic Spaetzle Recipe:
In a mixing bowl add the flour and all the eggs. With an electric dough kneader, start kneading the mixture. Slowly add the water until the dough in a sticky, runny mass. A good test is when it slowly runs from a spoon in a gooey consistency.

Set aside and covered, allow to rest for half an hour.

In a large pot bring salted water to a boil. Fill the press until the bottom is covered with the dough. Gently press the dough in small "blobs" or buttons into the boiling water. Sieve out each batch after approx. 2 minutes or when the spaetzle swim on the surface of the water. Repeat this until the dough has been used up.

Allgaeu Kaesespaetzle:
Preheat oven to approx. 180°C.

In a hot frying pan melt part of the butter and gently sautè the onion rings until they are soft and slightly caramelized.

Mix the two types of cheeses together in a bowl.

In an oven proof dish cover the bottom with some spaetzle, cover this with a layer of cheese. Add another layer of spaetzle, then a layer of cheese. Repeat this method until all the ingredients have been used up. The top layer should be covered with a layer of cheese. Salt and pepper each layer as you go along.

Spread the caramelized onions over the top. Sprinkle the top with a few butter flakes. Covered place in the oven and bake until the cheeses have melted - aprox. 15 minutes.

Serve with a nice chilled white wine.



Verdict:
What can I say? You sit down on the dinner table, looking at the hungry faces around you. Each cannot wait to tuck into this. The suspense, if strenuous effort in the kitchen paid off, is killing.
Once you cut portions into the kaesespaetzle you are greeted by a fantastic fragrance of cheese and onions.
A bite and everything melts into your mouth. The mixture of the cheeses and the sweetness of the onions is delectable. The spaetzle itself is light and spongy - perfect.

I say this often when it comes to noodles. Soeren loves noodles in all forms, shapes and types. This is so perfect for kids that you just know you will be satisfying their picky tastebuds. Although he picked out the onions he cleared away everything on his plate.

Tom found this too good to be true. His joke at the table was "An Indian that cooks better German food than the German!" "The German" being Rainer in this case.

Rainer, thanks buddy. We've got to do this again ;-)

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Italian Vegetable Soup with Gnocchi

... or as Soeren (my 3 year old) calls them Pinocchis!

Just come back home from a hard day at work, slogged yourself home in that pouring April rain, or just looking for something quick but tasty to make on a Saturday for you and the kids? Well, I can guarantee one thing about this soup, whether you came home soaked like a poodle and need a bit of warmth and comfort or you were out in the garden with the kids and want something fast and nourishing served up, this Vegetable Soup with Gnocchi will satisfy whatever needs you want satisfying.

For those visiting my blog for the first time: Please excuse the quality of the photos you see here. Last weekend my camera got stolen and I have been a bit handicapped ever since. I have been trying to take the pictures with my HandyCam which explains the crappiness of the photos.

For my regular readers: I know I am whining on about it! You will be glad to hear, that it almost has an end. I have found a new camera! I just have to order it (and pay for it). So, you just have to put up with the whining for a few more days ;-)!



Ingredients:

200g Fresh or ready made Gnocchi
olive oil
1 liter Vegetable stock - either pre-prepared or self made (Vaishali of Happy Burp has an easy recipe for this).
2 tablespoons of fresh basil chopped
2 cloves garlic - finely chopped
1 tablespoons tomato purée
500g mixed vegetables:
zucchini, green beans, onions, broccoli, red bell peppers, carrots - cut these in either slices or bite sized pieces
Parmesan cheese - grated
salt & pepper



Method:

Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the chopped garlic and gently sauté until soft. Add the tomato purée and cook for another 1- 2 minutes. Throw in all the vegetables and allow to cook for 4-5 minutes.

Pour in the vegetable stock and simmer for another 5 minutes.

In the meantime boil enough water for the gnocchi and cook the gnocchi for 2 minutes.

In the soup add salt and pepper to taste. Pour some soup in a soup plate. Place some gnocchi into the soup sprinkle with basil and grated parmesan.

My tips: Cook the gnocchi separately and not in the soup. Often one has a bit of leftovers, cooking the gnocchi in the soup makes it mushy for the next round.

If you steam the vegetables for 2 minutes prior to adding it in the soup and then running these under cold water, they will retain their bright colors. Add the steamed vegetables to the soup after you have added the stock to the tomato purée mixture.



Verdict:
There is a burst of tastes when you spoon this soup into your mouth. The crunchy vegetables, the cheesy parmesan and the soft gnocchi, not to mention the herby basil and the gorgeous garlic. Delightful!
Soeren enjoys his pinochhi every time. They are the first to disappear from the plate. Most of the time it is only the bell peppers that remain otherwise the soup is a great hit for him.
Tom too is impressed by the variety of tastes the soup offers. With the gnocchi it is a filling meal and there is really no need for bread as a condiment. The only thing he did not like was the fact that I made a small portion, as there was no soup leftover - only some gnocchi!

This is also my entry for Cate's ARF/5-A-Day Tuesday.

PS. I look forward to welcoming you to My Monthly Mingle next month. Hope you can make it.

Friday, April 21, 2006

My Monthly Mingle

MonthlyMingleBanner Template2012-II Kopie

I love entertaining and with this virtual mingle I'd like to invite you over to join me and my guest hosts for a bit of fun, story telling and hopefully a lot of laughter.



The Monthly Mingle runs from the 1st through to the 30/31st of the respective month. The theme and deadline to the Monthly Mingle will be announced on the last weekend of the prior month. This deadline is only the specific date the actual theme ends on and the date you should send me your entry by. It is not the date you must post your entry on your blogs.

This mingle should be fun and flexible. So, don't stress yourself! If you are cooking up something in your kitchen and think this could be an entry to the actual theme, then send it over.

Here’s how it works:
  1. Create a dish that fits the respective theme as described in each announcement
  2. Post about it on your blog during the relevant deadline (entries must be in English, please).
  3. Your creation must exclusively be prepared for the current Monthly Mingle theme and cannot be submitted to any other blog event.
  4. You must provide a link to this post and/or the announcement post and send the details to me or the guest host (see below).

Please check the Monthly Mingle Calendar below for details on who is currently hosting the Monthly Mingle.

I hope I have thought of everything. I know I am the typical fretting hostess, but enough of all the fretting and let's get on to the party!



The Previous Mingles:
Click on the [+/-] to expand and collapse the event boxes











 




Monthly Mingle Guest-Host Calendars

This is the Monthly Mingle event calendar for all the guest-hosts hosting the Monthly Mingle. Keep track of the MM and make sure you never miss it ;-).

If you are interesting in hosting the Monthly Mingle in one of the open months, please drop me an email at: blogmeeta[AT]gmail[DOT]com. Look forward to hearing from you!

Calendar 2012

Month

Guest Host

Theme

Roundup

February

Add to Taste

Heart Healthy

March

Melecotte

April

Life's A Feast

May

Cook Republic

June

What's For Lunch, Honey?

July

Cook Sister

August

Zizi's Adventures

September

Jenn Cuisine

October

Cookin Canuck

November

The Well Seasoned Cook

December

Junglefrog Cooking

 

Calendar 2011

Month Guest Host/Location Theme Roundup
January   BREAK  
February Astrid
Paulchen's Food Blog
Small Bites: Soul Food For Your Loved ones Deadline 28th February, 2011
March Sarah 
Maison Cupcake
Think Pink Think Pink Roundup
April Jeanne 
Cook Sister!
Topless Tarts Topless Tarts Roundup
May Juls
Juls Kitchen
Fresh Pasta Fresh Pasta Roundup
June Nina
My Easy Cooking
Apple Affection Apple Affection Roundup
July Sukaina
Lick My Spoon
Stone Fruits Stone Fruit Roundup
August Kulsum
Journey Kitchen
Yeasted Doughs Yeated Doughs Roundup
September Divya
Dil Se
Scintillating Salads Scintillating Salads Roundup
October Nikki
Art & Lemons

Zakuski

The Zakuski Roundup
November Sally
My Custard Pie
Custard The Custard Roundup
December   BREAK  

Calendar 2010

Month Guest Host/Location Theme Roundup
January Jamie -


Life's A Feast
Bread & Chocolate Bread & Chocolate Roundup
February Meeta

What's For Lunch, Honey?
Champagne Champagne Roundup
March Mandira 
Ahaar
CANCELLED  
April Meeta

What's For Lunch, Honey?
South Africa South Africa Roundup
May Erin

The Apartment Kitchen
Sweet Treats Sweet Treats Roundup
June   BREAK  
July Sara

Sara's Corner
Party treats Party Treats Roundup
August   BREAK  
September / October Beth

Dirty Kitchen Secrets
Taste Lebanon Taste Lebanon Roundup
November Deeba

Passionate About Baking
Fruit in Baking Fruit in Baking Roundup
December Ria

Ria's Collection
Chocolate Extravaganza Chocolate Extravaganza Roundup

Calendar 2009


Month
Guest Host/Location
Theme
Roundup
January
Michelle
What's Cooking Blog
Healthy Family Dinners
Healthy Family Dinners Roundup
February
Meeta
What's For Lunch, Honey?
Caribbean Cooking
Carribean Cooking Roundup
March
Srivalli 
Cooking 4 All Seasons
Kid's Lunches
Kids' Lunches Roundup
April
Meeta
What's For Lunch, Honey?
Spring Cakes
Spring cakes Roundup
May
Nags
Edible Garden
Ravishing Rice
Ravishing Rice Roundup
June
Jenny
All Things Edible
Mexican Fiesta
Mexican Fiesta Roundup
July
Hillary
Chew On That
Marvelous Melon
Marvelous Melon Roundup
August
Bee & Jai
Jugalbandi
Heirloom Recipes
Heirloom Recipes Roundup
September
Aparna 
My Diverse Kitchen
High Tea Treats
High Tea Treats Roundup
October
Meeta
What's For Lunch, Honey?
Brunch
Brunch Roundup
November
Tongueticklers
Tongueticklers
Soups
Soups Roundup
December
Sudeshna
Cook Like A Bong
Winter Fruits & Vegetables
Winter Fruits & Vegetables Roundup Part 1



Calendar 2008


Month
Guest Host/Location
Theme
Roundup
February
Meeta
What's For Lunch, Honey?
One-Dish Dinners
One-Dish Dinners Roundup
March
Abby
Eat The Right Stuff
Spring Fruit Sensations
Spring Fruit Sensations Roundup
April
Meeta
What's For Lunch, Honey?
Bollywood Cooking
Bollywood Cooking Roundup
May
Mansi
Fun and Food
Appetizers & Hors D'oeuvres
Appetizers & Hors d'oeuvres Roundup
June
Meeta
What's For Lunch, Honey?
Mango Mania
Mango Mania Roundup
July
Sig
Live To Eat
Grill It!
Grill It Roundup
August
Meeta
What's For Lunch, Honey?
Fruit & Chocolate
Fruit & Chocolate Roundup
September
Ruth
Ruth's Kitchen Experiments
Sensational Sides
Sensational Sides Roundup
October
Meeta
What's For Lunch, Honey?
Tea & Coffee
Coffee & Tea Roundup
November
The DT Team
The Daily Tiffin
Low-Sugar Treats
Low-Sugar Treats Roundup
December
Meeta
What's For Lunch, Honey?
World of Spice Cookies
Spiced Cookies


For our guest hosts I have also created a Google calendar, which you can use to your advantage for reminders etc. Once we have set up the dates I will add your event to the Google calendar and send you an invite to sign up for it.

The London Story - Part 2

First, it is important to me that I just say thank you to all who have shown their kindness and offered great support in my last post London Story 1. It cheered me up immensely and in contrast to the "bad" it's great to feel the "good" in people. Thanks folks!

Well we arrived in London on the Friday afternoon. We had left a cold, wet and windy Germany behind us and stepped into the warmth, sunny blue skies of England. Very unusual but hey I was not complaining. We arrived at Stansted Airport, which is a little out of London. With the Stansted Express you are in approx. 45 minutes at Liverpool Street station, which is in the heart of London. Just for those traveling for the first time to London, the fares for a return are rather high but it really is the best and most comfortable way to get to the city.

Read the rest here.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Piroshki - The Russian Samosa

I can't stand it! Look at these pictures. They do not do justice to the motive in any way. The whites are tinted red my backdrop looks splotchy. This is even after the fact that I worked on them in Photoshop.

Something I did not do often with my Sony DSC F717. Most of the pictures I presented were the actual ones I took. Ever since it got stolen in London, I have become frustrated. You should have seen me with these photos. I now truly feel sorry for the guy who stole my camera. I do not think I have ever cursed and rebuked someone so much!

I will not allow that to handicap me and I am still trying to do my very best with the Sony HandyCam I have. Until I do get my new camera I really hope you will forgive the quality of these pictures.

I decided to make Piroshki for Soeren's lunch box tomorrow (see The Daily Tiffin). In London, we were in a great Russian restaurant (I'll be reviewing it on The Family Buzz later this week in the London Story 2), which made me think of the Russian piroshki being very similar to our Indian Samosas. It too can be filled with several types of fillings, the most common one being mince meat. I decided to go for something more vegetarian. I used canned mushrooms basically because the piroshki gets very dry, but if you add too much fluid it becomes soggy. Using canned mushrooms add just the right type of "wetness" to it.

I also only made a very small number of the piroshkis, so you can always add more to the ingredients. I made 4 and had a bit of filling left over.




Ingredients:

Yeast dough of your choice - I always buy pre-prepared. This time I tried the frozen kind and was quite pleased with the results
1 small can mushrooms - cut in halves
1 small potato - chopped into small cubes
1/2 red onion finely chopped
1 egg - hard boiled and chopped
1 tablespoon sour cream
salt and pepper
finely chopped mixed herbs




Method:

Preheat oven at 180°C.

Roll out your dough and cut 4 circular shaped forms. I used a rim of a large whiskey tumbler. Make sure that the circular shaped dough forms are not too thick. Making them thinner keeps them moist when baked. Let is rest for 15 minutes.

In the mean time fry the onions in a pan. Add the potatoes and fry for approx. 10 minutes on a gentle heat, until the potatoes are cooked. You can pre-boil the potatoes if you want. I did not, as the cubes are so small that they cook in the pan and later in the oven.

Now add the mushrooms, herbs and salt and pepper. Cook for another 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the chopped egg and the sour cream. Mix well.

Using a teaspoon add a generous helping of the filling on one side of the dough, keeping the edges free. Fold the other side over the filling, and press the edges together. Press tightly to seal the edges together.

Place these in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.




Verdict:
My verdict today and Soeren's tomorrow!
These make great party food. I am planning to have a small party before I leave for the US in May and I think these will be definitely on my finger food list. Due to the fact that they were rolled nice and thin and the sour cream and mushrooms kept the entire piroshki nice and moist. I will research the best type of sauce to serve with this, as I personally find the tangy "imli" - tamarind sauce gives the samosa that extra kick. Therefore, I think I have to find the extra kick for the piroshki too!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The London Story - Part 1

What is the worst thing that can happen to an addicted Foodie Blogger? Besides the fact someone blows the internet lines and there is no access to the blog? I am talking really the WORST thing.

No idea? Well imagine being a Foodie ( I wrote about it here), cooking the food and blogging about it are great, but imagine a Food Blog without pictures! It's difficult, right? It would be like having a dish without salt, salsa with out the spice, honey without the sweetness ... you get my point. A Foodie without a camera is like a body with no soul. For a Foodie getting the camera taken away is the worst type of torture they will endure. That, in my opinion is the worst thing that can happen to a Foodie Blogger!

That is exactly what has happened to me, Folks. I think I will remember my trip to London with this sour memory.

Read the rest of the story here!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Chunky Chocolate Chip Scones & Happy Easter!

Folks, my kitchen will be closed over Easter.

As Tom and I head off to our little Easter break and Soeren will be over at his grandparents, I leave you with these completely delicious, scrumptious and utterly luscious scones. They are jam packed to the rim with huge chocolate chunks. Made with buttermilk they are a dream to bite into.

Whatever you do over Easter, I do wish you happy egg hunting, joyous family moments and delectable meals. Enjoy the break and I'll see you on the other side with a few pictures of our break!

Happy Easter!




Ingredients:
280g all purpose flour
50g white sugar
115g butter - straight out of the refrigerator and cut into cubes
90g chocolate - cut in chunks
160 ml buttermilk
11/4 baking powder
1/4 baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

1 egg - beaten
1 tablespoon milk

50g sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Icing sugar




Method:

Preheat oven to 200 °C.

In a large mixing bowl, stir the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Add the butter cubes and mix with your hands until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Mix in the chocolate chunks.

Add the vanilla extract to the buttermilk and pour this mixture into the flour mixture. Knead into a soft dough. I get the best results when I do this with my hands.

On a lightly floured surface knead the dough a few times further. With your hands pat the dough into a circular shape. Not too flat and not too large. Cut the dough into wedges as if you were cutting a cake.

Place the scone wedges on a baking tray.

Beat the egg and the milk together to make an egg wash. Brush this on top of the scones. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle this over the top of the scones.

Bake the scones for 15 minutes until golden brown. Take out of the oven and shift with icing sugar. Allow to cool.

Enjoy with cream, clotted cream or just plain.



Verdict:
"YUMMY MUMMY!" Was what Soeren said when we were done with baking. Both of us spent a rainy Tuesday afternoon baking these scones. He kept peaking into the oven and the 15 minutes seemed like hours. I was asked at least 43 times "Are they done yet?" As I finally took them out of the oven we could not wait to get our hands on them. I blew one until it had cooled down and was not too hot to handle!

Our eyes gleamed as we both bit into the scone. I really had to guard these from Soeri and resist my own tempting hands from polishing the whole batch! But they were really fantastic. When Tom came home he smelled the great aroma of baking and of course jumped on them. Soeren took two in his lunch box today and Tom also got a few to nibble on at the Uni.

Yes, I too ate two with a cup of coffee today. Thank you Jessica for the recipe ... all the way from Perth, Australia.

Here is also Nandita's of Saffron Trail verdict to this recipe.

PS. I recently took part in My Dhaba's cooking competition. My entries were Spinach Soup with Coconut Milk and Chicken and Italian Oven Vegetables. From April 11 through to April 20, the public opinion poll starts.
Maybe you'll find some time to check it out and nominate me as your favorite. I am counting on you! Details to vote can be found here.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Tuna Tacos - ARF/5-A-Day Tuesday

Tacos are loved by almost everyone I know. Although Tom sometimes complains because one can never eat a Taco with a certain countenance: I file it in my Non-Countenance recipes! But he too loves these great finger foods. The recipes I have for tacos are mostly with beef, chicken, pork - so when I saw this recipe with tuna in a German food magazine, I was delighted.
I also did a little research on tuna to check out the nutrition facts. The basic low-down is:

It is low in Saturated Fat and Sodium. It is also a good source of Vitamin B6 and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Protein, Niacin, Vitamin B12 and Selenium.

Together with kidney beans, which is very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol, a good source of Protein, Folate and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, and the corn, which is very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium and a good source of Vitamin C and Folate, I thought this would be a great dish for the ARF/5-A-Day Tuesday entry over at Cate's Sweetnicks.

Phew! Armed with all this information I hope you enjoy making these great Tuna Tacos.

PS. I recently took part in My Dhaba's cooking competition. My entries were Spinach Soup with Coconut Milk and Chicken and Italian Oven Vegetables. As of today, April 11 through to April 20, the public opinion poll starts.
Maybe you'll find some time to check it out and nominate me as your favorite. I am counting on you! Details to vote can be found here.




Ingredients:

2 white onions - chopped
2 cans of tuna in water without salt (each about 185 g)
250 g kidney beans - soaked overnight (or canned beans work fine too)
285 g corn
1 can of canned tomatoes - chopped (500g)
fresh thyme
chili powder
olive oil
salt and pepper
lettuce leaves
Taco shells




Method:

Heat the olive oil in a large pan and gently sauté the onions until they are soft. Pour in the can of chopped tomatoes and sprinkle thyme, salt and pepper and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the beans, corn and the tuna and cook everything for another 5 minutes. At this point, if you are cooking for children too, then simply separate a portion for the little ones. Add chili powder according to your taste to the main mixture.

Warm the taco shells according to instructions. Line each taco shell with some lettuce and fill with the tuna mixture.

Serve with sour cream and guacamole.




Verdict:
I had these for lunch today and will be serving this to my men later this evening. So, first my verdict:
The fact that I was able to whip this together for a quick lunch gave the recipe a huge bonus point. I work from home and every now and then tend to skip my meals at the thought of cooking something. This was definitely quick and I had most of the ingredients in the pantry. I really liked the taste of the thyme and tuna together with the corn and beans. It was just right. The juices of the tomatoes harmonized really well with the rest of the ingredients. I was going to add a bit of grated cheese to the top but decided against it. It would not have gone so well. Now, I am completely stuffed.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Forest Berry Mascarpone Tart

I have often sat down with a paper and pen and pondered on creating a new recipe. Up till now I did this with cooking. Up till now! Last week I actually faced my apprehensions face on and composed a new cake, dessert, call it whatever you wish.

The Story:
(Please sing the next few lines to the melody of "Ole MacDonald!" ... c'mon just do it!)
Here a tart, there a tart, every where I blog I see a tart!

It seems like the hottest trend this blog season is the "Tart", ladies and gentlemen. In every form and shape they are presented with scrumptious fillings. I have also been a fashion victim and posted my Tart Ratatouille recently.

For this recipe I was inspired by two lovely ladies. L, of Cookbook 411 who had the great idea of making tarts in mini muffin tins. The Queen of Tarts, however, is Bea of La Tartine Gourmande. Nothing compares to her tarts.

With these two as my inspirations I sat down to create my ultimate tart.




Ingredients:

Dough of your preference - I used a simple ready made yeast dough
250 g Mascarpone
350/400 g forrest berries - I used frozen
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 cinnamon stick
2 x 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger powder
few drops vanilla essence
juice from 1/2 a lime - zest for decoration
2-3 table spoons brown sugar
chopped pistachios




Method:

Line a cake tin with the dough and bake in a pre-heated oven according to instructions. Don't be too neat with this. Just overlap the dough or make one side higher than the other. The unevenness gives it a more rustical look and makes a good looking tart!

In the meantime whisk the vanilla essence, cinnamon powder and 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger into the mascarpone.

Set aside. Take the cake tin out of the oven when ready and allow to cool.

Melt the sugar in a pan gently caramelizing it. Add the berries and coat with the caramel. If using frozen berries you will notice that the caramel gets hard, but then once allowed to simmer melts into the liquid. Add the cinnamon stick, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger and the lime juice. Simmer for a few minutes. The frozen berries will leave a lot of liquid, so the best thing is to put into a sieve to drain the liquid. The liquid can be used for a drink or milkshakes.

Spread the mascarpone mixture on the dough. Now, spread the berry mixture over the top. Sprinkle with chopped pistachio nuts and the lemon zest.

Cool for several hours.

Taa Taaa!



Verdict: I made this over the weekend. My in-laws were coming over and I decided to use them as my test people.
Is it a good sign when the whole cake disappeared? There was nothing left. Everyone said it was delicious. The composition of the ginger, cinnamon with the berries and mascarpone was just perfect. I find this such a versatile type of dish as it can also be served as a dessert.
I was just happy that it not only look good but tasted delish.
If you do try this out, please do let me know how it turned out!

Guest Blogger at Chef Michele's

Hi Folks,

Don't forget today, I am guest blogging on Michele's Weekly Guest Blogger Event.

I am honored to have this opportunity and hope you all will join me at Chef Michele's today. I'll be telling a little story and presenting a recipe that I picked just for the event. As it always is on What's for lunch, Honey?, it has been tried and tested by my jury prior to the presentation.

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Mustard Eggs - Senf Eier

Every now and then I get people saying "We really look forward to some German dishes on your blog." To be honest I have not really presented anything really German as yet. I have tingled through Chinese dishes, mixed up a couple of Indian meals, concocted many Italian recipes, but German .... haven't done that yet.

I know, I know! I live in Germany am together with a German and have a son who is half German, so what am I waiting for? To be honest I find German dishes and meals very heavy. After having a typical German dinner I normally feel like a ton of rocks. So, I normally leave the German cooking to my mother-in-law and enjoy it rarely but then a lot more.

Having said that I decided to make something German today for a few reasons.

It is a very light dish. Instead of serving it with potatoes you can use rice and it works really well with a light green salad.

Easter is just around the corner and I thought this would be a superb alternative to the usual Roast & Co. that is usually served up at Easter. Being really easy and super quick it gives the cook the opportunity to enjoy the time with family and friends, instead of slogging away in the kitchen.

I am also honored to present this recipe at Chef Michele's as one of her weekly Guest Bloggers.

I hope you enjoy it, whatever the reasons are you choose to serve these delicious Senf Eier.





Ingredients:

8 Eggs - hard boiled (approx. 8 minutes) and cut in halves
1 yellow onion - chopped
1-2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons white flour
400 ml Vegetable fond
150 g Crème fraiche or heavy cream
2-3 tablespoons dijon mustard
1/2 cup fresh dill - chopped
salt & pepper

250g rice - a mixture of plain and wild rice is great




Method:

In a heated pan melt the butter and add the chopped onions. Gently steam these until soft. Sprinkle with the flour and cook this gently, making sure it does not go brown.

Pour in the vegetable fond and mix well. Add the heavy cream and allow to simmer for approx. 5 minutes. Add in the mustard and salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the rice according to instructions.

In the meantime add the egg halves into the mustard sauce and heat through. Sprinkle the chopped dill over the sauce. Serve this on a heated plate with the rice.

A nice side dish to this is a big green salad with a light vinaigrette.



Verdict:
There is something about this dish that really makes the mouth water. The smooth creamy texture of the sauce. The ever so light and tangy taste of mustard combined with the eggs. It is hard to believe a dish so easy can offer such a variety of flavors. But it does!
Soeren polished away an egg and a half with a large helping of rice. Tom? I stopped counting after his third helping. At first he was disappointed that I was serving this with rice instead of potatoes (I said he was German, didn't I?) but once he tasted the combination with the wild rice he said it was just perfect.

Friday, April 07, 2006

A Food Blogger's Meme Around the World

Ashwini from Food for Thought has tagged me with this Meme.

From the Windy City, Chicago to the City of Poets, Weimar here is my part.

But before I do go ahead just one note. I am so new to this I did not know that things like this existed. I have heard of chain letters and all that other stuff. But a Meme on a blog? Amazing! Flattered, that someone thought of me and embarrassed to admit, this is my first one!

1. Please list three recipes you have recently bookmarked from foodblogs to try:

3? I have hundreds and will be probably cooking till I'm 110! Ummmmm! Let's pick out the best three!

Haalo's Osso Buco al Pomodoro. I recently made her Grilled Chicken with Pesto and Ricotta and it was great.

Lariffic's A Quartet of Tarts. They are great for my son's lunch box that I pack every day on the The Daily Tiffin.

Shammi's Daal with Vegetables. Looks so scrumptious and full of goodness.

2. A foodblog in your vicinity:

I can only think of Vaishali on Happy Burp.

3. A foodblog (or more) located far from you:

Sweet Napa - Napa Valley
The Food Pornographer - Australia

4. A foodblog (or several) you have discovered recently (where did you find it?):

Sweet Napa by Nina
from Sam of Becks & Posh

Cookbook 411 by Lariffic
from a photography group in Flickr

5. Any people or bloggers you want to tag with this meme?

Sure, I will be tagging:

Shammi - Food in the Main
Haalo - Cook almost anything
Andrew - Spittoon Extra