Monday, February 26, 2007

What's in a Pie? Covered Creamy Veal and Mushrooms



What's the difference between being comfortable and being lazy? With regards to cooking. Don't get where I am going here? OK let me tell you a story and you decide. Am I comfortable or am I lazy.



I make lists for pretty much everything in my life. I like to be as organized as I can because my theory is the more organized I am the more time I save. Time I might be able to use elsewhere - like relaxing in the bathtub or playing an extra round of Memory with Soeren. So, for me to organize myself to perfection I make lists - not to mention the fact that lists also help me to remember every detail, every item, every information that might be important. My day starts of with the very first list I make - at work. All the things I would like to achieve or complete. Then as the day progresses I remember a few things I need to buy - run out of toilet paper, need more milk etc. Of course there is a list of choices for dishes to make for dinner and the "To Do" list - pick up skirt form cleaners, pack Soeren's gym gear, pay telephone bill etc.
The joke around the house is, I need a list to manage my lists!

Am I more organized, less forgetful and do I save time? To be very honest, although I'd like to think that I am, I do have my share of chaos days. When I have to drive two ways because I did forget Soeren's gym gear. Or I just did not get around to doing as much as I thought I could achieve at work. Or end up making cheese sandwiches for dinner because I was so exhausted that my enthusiasm for preparing something more extravagant had totally deflated.

Then there are certain days when I decide to make a nice lunch. I have organized everything I need on my list and am standing looking at the mis-en-place on the kitchen counter. The enthusiasm to make an extravagant meal is there and the organization is going pretty well. However, I am looking at the ingredients and thinking "How can I simplify the work and how can I shorten the time needed for preparation?" And what do I do? I make a mental list of all the possibilities I have. Most of the time the ideas that emerge are not only creative but save a lot of time.



Like this dish. The original recipe was to be the traditional Zurich Geschnetzeltes recipe, which is basically veal strips in a creamy sauce with mushrooms. This is normally served with Rösti, which is similar to hash browns. While I was sautéing the veal strips and mushrooms, I was really in no mood to fry the röstis separately. I was not being lazy. I was thinking of how to adapt it to save more time.

Exactly at this time my mind wandered off to a relatively new event Waiter There's Something In My .... being hosted at the brilliant Cook Sister. This month's theme is pies.

Like a typical image in cartoons - a light bulb went on in my head and I thought "This is it!" I was so excited about it that you'd think I actually discovered the pie!

As the little ramekin bowls sat in the oven, I poured myself a glass of white wine and sat down to browse through my latest InStyle, making a list of all the must haves this Spring ;-)!

So, am I lazy or am I comfortable?



Reminder!

Blogger Postcards Around The World goes into it's last leg. 40 out 60 have already received their postcards. For those who have received your cards please do not forget to send me the link to the post. If you want to browse through all cards check out the Valentine List.



The theme for the latest Monthly Mingle is - Savory Cakes.
Deadline is March 15th. Hope to see you there!










Ingredients:

750g Veal - cut into strips
1 large onion - finely chopped
250g button mushrooms - sliced
2 tablespoons oil
salt and pepper
150ml dry white wine (or veal stock)
2 tablespoons flour
200g cream
750g potatoes - grated
1 egg






Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

In a large pan heat up the oil and fry the meat in portions until browned. Salt and pepper. Take out of the pan and set aside.

Sauté the mushrooms and onions in the same pan. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of flour over the mixture and allow to cook for approx. 1 minute. Pour in the wine (or stock), 1/8 l water and cream. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for approx. 5 minutes.

In a bowl, mix together the egg with the grated potatoes and the rest of the flour. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add the veal strips to the sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Fill the ramekin forms with the veal and mushroom mixture. Then cover each bowl with a generous helping of grated potatoes. Press down gently

Bake for 45 minutes. Towards the end put on the grill function of the oven to allow the potato crust to brown evenly and become crispy.

Vegetarian Tip: Instead of the veal substitute with a mix of different mushroom types.





Verdict:

It's ingenious isn't it? Adapting a traditional Swiss recipe and converting it into a elegant pie-like dish was a little surprise for the entire family. As a matter of fact, in my opinion the meat was more succulent and the sauce creamier. The grated potato covering it was crunchy and crispy. Just right.

By making this in little ramekin bowls you could even consider serving this as a starter to a meal. If you do not have small ramekin bowls, an alternative would be to use a larger oven proof dish.

Dig in!



Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,



All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2007 Meeta Albrecht unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Time Flies...

"Bouquet" taken at Amsterdam's Flower Market

... and then your Blog turns 1!

Still somewhat hard to believe, but What's For Lunch, Honey? has completed a whole year. A year of recipes, cooking, photographs, events, designing, struggling with template layouts and - the best of all - friends. Actually it looks like I am having a week of Birthday celebrations. The Daily Tiffin also turned one this week.

Come celebrate with me!



All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2007 Meeta Albrecht unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Soup Glorious Soup - Goulash Soup



Winter is not really my time of year. Before I came to Germany winter for me was nothing below 20 degrees Celsius. The German winters literally caught me out in the cold. I exchanged bikini, windsurf, flip flops, sun, sand and sea for woolly underwear, turtle necked sweaters, gloves, mittens, snow, ice and scraping the car each morning with numb fingers.



I've been living in Germany for 14 years now! Although I am still that sunshine-beach bum loving type of girl, there is a certain charm winter has draped around me over the recent years.

There is just something magical when the snow covered hills glisten in the winter sun. The air is crisp, cold and your face tingles. Under my feet the snow crunches and behind me, I hear the whizzing of Soeren's sledge being dragged along. I hear the laughter of the kids as they pull their sledges and then their excited shrieks as they zoom past us. Once on top of the hill I cannot help but take a deep breath of the fresh air and sigh deeply at the view in front of me.

Crystal white, as far as the eye can see, gleaming every now and then when the sun hits like diamonds scattered across the field. I can't help but smile. Because I am in awe of this feeling. Because it is so unlike me. Because it is so easy to get captivated. Because, as I zoom down the hill on the sledge I hear the pure happiness in my son's laughter. Yes, there certainly is a charm to winter.

The best, as we know, always comes at the end though. Coming back home, where it is warm. The mittens, jackets, and heavy boots fly off in all directions. In front of the warm fire we thaw the cold out of our bodies. Leaving Soeren with a good book and a warm blanket, I go into the kitchen and cannot wait to to cook up a rich, strong and piping hot soup. It has to be soup. Because there really is nothing else that would bring warmth and satisfy that craving that only comes when one has spent hours out in the cold.

My dearest friend, Alanna's call to put the Soup On came at the perfect moment. After such a wonderful winter's day that is just what I did. What can be more satisfying, comforting and warming than a strong, nourishing and tasty Goulash soup?






Reminder!

Blogger Postcards Around The World: For those who have received your cards please do not forget to send me the link to the post. More than half have already found out who their secret postcard partner was. Interested? Check out the Valentine List.



The theme for the latest Monthly Mingle is - Savory Cakes.
Deadline is March 15th. Hope to see you there!








Ingredients:

500g Beef rump - cut into small cubes.
20g dried Porcini mushrooms.
2 onions - finely chopped
1 garlic clove - finely chopped
1 small kohlrabi - cut into small cubes
4 tablespoons - butter
1 tablespoon paprika powder
1 tablespoon tomato puree
salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 1/4 liter beef stock
500g button mushrooms - sliced
juice and 1 teaspoon lemon zest
chives





Method:
Soak the dried Porcini mushrooms in 125 ml hot water.

In a large heavy pot melt 2 tablespoons of butter and sauté the onions and garlic until they just start to take on color. Remove from heat and mix in the paprika powder. Replace back on the heat and add the meat and the kohlrabi cubes. Fry this well, until the meat has turned a nice brown color.

Mix the tomato puree and cook for just a couple of minutes. Add salt, pepper and cracked coriander seeds into the pot. Pour in 1 liter of the stock.

Strain the Porcini, retaining the water. Chop the Porcini coarsely and together with the water add to the pot. Allow this to simmer for at least 1 hour.

What you will notice as the cooking time passes that the soup takes on a gorgeous deep brown color.

In the meantime, pour the lemon juice on the sliced button mushrooms. In a pan melt the rest of the butter and fry the mushrooms until lightly browned. Add to the soup towards the last 15 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve steaming, sprinkled with chives in large bowls.



Verdict:

As the aromas waft into the air in the kitchen and the fire cackles in the fireplace in the living room, I just know that this is going to be a perfect end to a perfect day.
I gave the typical Goulash a slight twist adding different types of mushrooms and some tangy lemon. It was a huge hit with both my men. As Soeren's toes waddled in front of the fire, his arms scooped the soup with relish. Tom joined us in front of the fire and loved the strong full-bodied flavor the soup offered.

Yes, even winter has it's warm side.

More soothing soups to try:
Creamy Ginger Carrot Soup with Lemon Cream
Coco Mango Soup
Porcini Cream Soup with Parmesan




Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,



All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2007 Meeta Albrecht unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

Friday, February 16, 2007

M Bakes: Sweet Seduction for Chocoholics

This picture is part of the Wall Calendar available in my shop

It has started again. I feel it. It's just a tiny twinge right now, but I know if I do not do something about it, it'll get worse. Quickly I close my eyes shut and shake my head. As if this movement will shake it away.

I turn to the tutorial I should be working on and try and concentrate on the contents. It's no use. I can feel it growing. The twinge becomes a distant rumble. I push it aside and think about the chores I need to finish. The rumble now is a torrent . I should go and pack my gear for the gym. But alas I am crushed by the overwhelming avalanche. Once again it has me in it's addicting grasp and I give in to it.


I need some now. If I don't get some I will go crazy. I rush over to the cabinet and rip it open. NO! I almost faint at the sight that stares at me from the gapping shelf.

It's empty! I push my arms as deep as I can, my fingers rummaging through empty wrappers and crisp packets. Just one little bit. Please, just a tiny corner. I am out of luck. There is nothing.

My name is Meeta and I am a Chocoholic!

As I take a minute to gather my thoughts and think of how to satisfy my insane chocolate craving, my son comes into the kitchen and says

"Mum I'm craving some chocolate cake!" The son of a true chocoholic!!



That was it. The best idea I had heard all day. I was going to bake the ultimate chocoholic cake. In the baking section of my pantry I found everything I needed. I am so proud of myself that I organized my kitchen and pantry a few weeks ago. It made finding all the ingredients I required so easy. Even the truly delicious chocolate from Sarotti.

When baking, I like using the chocolates from Sarotti's brand "No. 1." This brand uses cocoa from places like Ecuador, Java, Papua New Guinea and Sao Thomé. Sarotti's rich dark cocoa powder also is perfect for baking and tastes so rich when added to any cake recipe. I was so glad the chocolate I had on hand was "No. 1" from Sao Thomé. This one is especially wonderful with 75% cocoa and has caramelized cocoa kernel splinters inside. The Sao Thomé sort uses the cocoa bean of the Forastero type, which has a strong, smoky and at the same time delicate and mellow taste to it. Forastero makes up about 90% of the world crop.

As I started whipping up the batter I just could feel that this cake was going to be a fantasy come true, the sweetest of all seductions and I knew it was going to satisfy my cravings to the soul.

Are you ready to be seduced?



Reminder!

Blogger Postcards Around The World is running in its last round. More than half have already received their postcards. Check out the Valentine List.



The theme for the latest Monthly Mingle has just been announced - Savory Cakes.
Deadline is March 15th. Hope to see you there!






Music While Baking:

Ruby - Kaiser Chief - new on my iPod
An awesome song. My recommendation.







Ingredients:

125g Butter - at room temperature
125g sugar
40g icing sugar - sieved
2 eggs - lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
80g Blackberry preserve
145g All-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
60g cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
250 ml Milk

Chocolate cream
50g dark chocolate - finely chopped. I used some with the caramelized chocolate kernels for more crunch.
25g butter
3 teaspoons cream
30g icing sugar - sieved






Method:

Pre-heat oven at 180 degrees Celsius. Grease a square cake pan (20 x 20 cm).

In a mixing bowl cream together the sugar and butter with an electric mixer until the consistency is smooth and creamy. One by one add the eggs, whisking for approx. a minute after each one. Mix the vanilla essence and the preserve. Now sieve the flour, baking powder and soda and the cocoa powder into the batter. Pour in the milk and with a metal spoon gently fold into the butter cream.

Fill the batter into the cake tin and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes or until a knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

In the meantime prepare the chocolate cream. In a pot gently heat the chocolate pieces, the cream and the icing sugar until it turns into a rich and creamy mixture.

Take the cake out of the oven and allow to cool. Using a spatula cover the top of the cake thickly with the chocolate cream. Allow to set.

Enjoy with an espresso or a cappuccino or just a fork!


Verdict:



Rich, moist, fruity and above all chocolaty. This cake is a tease for all of your senses. It will seduce you, tantalize you and satisfy you.
Tom, the gourmet, cut his large piece into smaller bite sized pieces and enjoyed each piece with indulgence.
Soeren, the sweet toothed, the bigger the piece the chocolaty the hunger. He just could not get enough.
Me, the chocoholic, standing in the kitchen with a fork and simply picking at the cake straight from the cake tin.


The lovely Jasmine of Confessions of A Cardamom Addict is hosting this months Sugar High Friday. The theme is absolutely perfect for this cake - Sweet Seduction.



Blog Information

Maybe some of you have already noticed that I have been building up the resources on my sidebar. Initially I wanted to get a second sidebar to be able to offer everything I wanted to share with you. As a matter of fact, on my test site I have it all ready. However, I have come away from that idea now. I like this clean and uncramped look. It does not mean I won't be sharing my ideas and resources with you. Take a look at my latest section "My Cookbooks." Here you will find a selection of some of my fave cookbooks - some I have and others I have my eye on.

I hope you enjoy browsing through them and if you like something simply click on the book and you will find the link to Amazon.com where you can read more about the book and eventually buy it. If you have any thoughts or feedback on a cookbook in my organizer drop me a note or share your thoughts in the comments section of any post. The organizer will be constantly updated as time goes by and as I keep finding new books that I like or have bought. So keep an eye out for this section.


Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,



All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2007 Meeta Albrecht unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Will You Be My Valentine?



All my affection and warmest regards to all my Valentines out there!

Roses are red but Orchids are exotically beautiful. That is why I selected this gorgeous flower for a new product in my shop. Greeting cards for your own personal and special words. You will also find that this flower adorns a wonderful high quality one page wall calendar printed on glossy, 12 point paper and measures 11" x 17".

Take a moment and browse through all the articles available at Meeta's Pix Shop.

I would also like to thank all those who have bought the large wall calendar and the limited Valentine's special "Sweet Love" greeting cards. Hope you enjoy the pictures.



All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2007 Meeta Albrecht unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

Monday, February 12, 2007

Sweet Love Round-up and MM #8 Theme



Well if you are not a bunch of romantic foodies at heart I do not know who is. I am not going to believe any of you if you tell me you are a Valentine's grump. If you were, this round of the Monthly Mingle has definitely converted you.

There are so many new faces to this Monthly Mingle that it was truly a delight discovering all the new blogs. It was a pleasure seeing my old friends and regulars to the Monthly Mingle too. I cannot imagine mingling without you all.

I know you are all waiting to get to the round-up so I present to you how we bloggers celebrate the sweetest love.



Updated:
Curry Bazaar
Jyothsna sent in her Tiramisu Valentine It seemed that it landed in my spam folder. Sorry about that. It really looks great.


Posie's Place
Pam indulges in an Apple Crumble - a recipe from her grandmother.



Jumbo Empanadas
Brilynn is not the soppy Valentine type of gal. But she does create a very "I Wuv U!" kind of Cherry Dessert.



Paulchen's Foodblog
Astrid is one of the many new people I met through the BPW and I am hooked to her blog. She brings along a gorgeous looking Sweet Love Cheesecake.



La Mia Cucina
Saucy Lisa's "Hubbs" surprises her with an incredibly Self Saucing Pudding. That Lisa is a lucky gal!



Homemades
You know sometimes you see something and you just want to dive in. Well take a look at Arfi's Hot Chocolate Fondant and you will know what I mean.



My Korean Kitchen
Sue explains how Valentine's day is celebrated in Korea. She makes Strawberry Rice Cakes and expresses her love for her husband.



Chez Mégane
Megan makes lovely oozing, delectably addictive Molten Chocolate Cinnamon Cakes. Get those spoons ready!



My Khazana of Recipes
Coffee makes probably the most classic Valentine's treats - Chocolate Dipped Strawberries



Aroma
Asha creates a well known Indian dessert and combines it with another interesting ingredient to serve a great looking Carrot Beet Halwa.



Avenue Food
A Monthly Mingle regular, Sarah make lovely homemade Valentine's Oatmeal Cutout Cookies. Simple and totally delicious.



Just For Fun
Jasmine makes lovely looking Little Heart Palmiers.



A Foody Froggy in Paris
Tiramisu is my all time favorites and Anne creates this gorgeous dessert with a new twist - Candied Chesnuts Tiramisu.



My Life The Rainbow
When you click onto Evinrude's blog you are greeted by a lovely song. Makes drooling over her Two Cupcakes all the more enjoyable.



Notes From My Food Diary
Pretty in Pink - a cake that really looks too pretty to dig into but too scrumptious not to. Eliza thank you for bringing this along.



Kieran reminisces about the holiday with his girlfriend in Morocco and creates a wonderful flavorful Cardamom Honey Ice Cream



Start Cooking
Kathy makes the most chocolaty looking Fondue ever - all without a Fondue pot.



Autres délices
Marie-Laure and her boyfriend are not chocolate fans but still love the sweet things Valentine's day offers. She comes along with moist looking Chestnut Madeleines.



Lucullian Delights
My lovely friend Ilva is not only known for her breathtaking pictures but also for her wonderfully original recipes. I was so glad she took time to come and join the mingle. She brings fantastic looking Orange and Ginger Jellies.



One Hot Stove
An honor indeed. Nupur joins us for this mingle for the first time and with her fantastic and refreshing looking Lemon-Poppy Seed Cake my doors are always open for her.

A Fridge Full of Food
Take a look at Glenna's Valentine's Cake. Thanks for sharing it with us.



Boxcar Kitchen
Esther joins us again with another killer recipe. She whips up beautiful looking Honey Lemon Tarts.



The Passionate Cook
There are two people I am dedicating this Monthly Mingle to. The first one is the gorgeous Johanna. Those of you who read her blog often will know that she just gave birth to a gorgeous looking Henrik (thanks for the pics Johanna), her third child. She also found time to to make Chocolate Pudding and join us at the mingle. Please raise you pink champagne glasses for a toast to this awesome woman! Thank you!



Food Lover's Journey
Anh makes a heartwarming gift to her best friend who recently got married. Her Lover's Knots symbolizes the wonderful relationship. If that is not perfect for Valentine's!



Daily Unadventures in Cooking
Katerina serves her boyfriend cool Skor Ice Cream for his birthday. I am so glad she brought some along to the mingle.



Mishmash
Shn makes delectable heart shaped Shortbread Hearts. Lovely gift idea.



The Budding Cook
Thy has an encrypted message for her boyfriend in her post for crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies.



Küchenlatein
Ulrike is my favorite German Blogger and I am always so happy to see her at my mingles. The fact that she always brings along great dishes plays a little role too LOL! This time it's no different. She brings Warm chocolate brownies with Baileys sauce. Spoon! Any one seen my spoon!



Akshayapatra
Chandrika is also on the same trip. She brings lovely looking Chocolate Brownies.



Yambalaya
Isis is the second person I would like to dedicate the mingle to. Ever since I started the Monthly Mingle she has not missed one. It did not matter where she was in this world and how busy she was, Isis always found a way to come over for a bit of fun and laughter. This time was no different. Scuba diving in the South of France is nice, but she rushed home to share her Valentine's Breakfast in Blue. Happy Birthday gorgeous!



Tartlette
Sweet Helene's blog is one of my regular reads. I love her recipes, that's why I am glad she came over to join us. She brings along some brilliant Cranberry and Cream Scones. Luscious.



Cook food, Serve love
Lakshmiammal makes Easy Breezey Cookies to snack on.



Cream Puffs in Venice
My sweetest friend Ivonne, it's such a pleasure to see you! Just as you all would expect, Ivonne brings one of the most creamiest dreamiest desserts I know Coeur à la Crème and I am eating my heart out. Oh man! Being the hostess I have to share this with you ;-). Thanks Ivonne!



Big Cook, Tiny Kitchen
Ashley wanted to make something for her boyfriend but he is in Brazil! So she makes Poost Student's Shortbread for her friends.



Ahaar
Mandira whips up a creamy and cool Three Layer Sundae. Looks wonderful.



Winos and Foodies
Great minds think alike! Barbara also brings along a wonderful looking Coeur a la Creme. Thanks for joining us.



Recipe Source
Sushma makes our mouths melt with her fruity Strawberry Tender Melts. Yum!



Eating The Right Stuff
Abby made it at the last minute. Her wonderful Lavender Fruit Brulee is too delicious to resist.



Writing At The Kitchen Table

Ok I know I said this was to be "sweet" love, but how could I resist Freya's heart shaped Cherry Tomato, Goats Cheese and Onion Marmalade Tart. Adding a bit of sugar made me take it into the round-up LOL!



I hope I did not miss anyone in the roundup. With a little under 40 entries this was a lot of work but so much fun. So, if I did miss anyone please let me know and I would be glad to update the list. For those of you who made it too late for the event, sorry I had to turn you down but here is an idea. Simply post the link of your recipe into the comments section of this round-up.



Monthly Mingle #8
Are you all ready for the next theme?
Well I think we had some what of a pleasant sugar shock with Sweet Love so I thought I'd take it in the other direction for the next round. Wait! I am still thinking cakes though and this is what I thought we can create - Savory Cakes.

Take out your loaf pans and beat up a batter. Replace sugar with salt, chocolate chips with bacon, fruit with cheese, whatever you go for it has to be savory and a cake. Be creative, be bold, try something new and bring it along to the Monthly Mingle - Savory Cakes.

Here's how it works:
  1. Create a dish that fits this theme. Blog about it anytime from now till March 15th, 2007.
  2. Email me your entry with your name, the name of your blog and your permalink by March 15th, 2007.
  3. In your post please include a link to this post and/or the MM logo, so your readers get a chance to mingle with us.
  4. Please send only one entry per blog. If you do not have a blog, simply email your entry, with a picture (if you would like me to add a picture) to blogmeeta@gmail.com.

Browse through the previous Monthly Mingles.

Technorati Tags:, , , , , , , ,


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2007 Meeta Albrecht unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Sweet Love: Nougat Glacé On A Warm Fruit Compote



How sweet can the sweetest sweets get for your sweetheart?

Oh boy am I getting into the lurve thang already? It must be because all those wonderful entries I've been getting for the Monthly Mingle are not only making me gain weight by the entry but also making me think you all are a soppy bunch of bloggers.

Is a day like Valentine's a good day to spread a bit of extra love and be a bit more soppy? How about those desserts and sweets? Can I go overboard and create an extravagant dessert whipped up with all my extra love?


Well for me Valentine's day is not just a day to show my romantic feelings towards my partner, but also show my affections for those around me. My son, my dad, my mum, best friend - all get a special Valentine treat from me. A small little something to show that I care.

It's just a day to STOP - take that moment and be happy for the love around me. Soppy? Yes it is! And I love every soppy minute, kiss and word this day can give me. So, c'mon give me all you got!

In return I am sharing a very elegant and incredible delicious dessert with you. Cool, crunchy, fruity, and creamy all wrapped into a single dessert.

I ask again - is this too much to handle?





Ingredients:
Please note: The glacé mixture needs to be stored in the freezer for at least 4 hours (overnight recommended).

For the Nougat Glacé
100g sliced almond slivers
190g sugar
500g cream
20g honey
2 egg whites
100g mixed candied fruit - chopped. I used papaya, melon, pineapple, ginger and orange.

For the Fruit Compote
40g each dried plums, apricots and figs - chopped
Juice from 2 oranges
50g honey
20g butter






Method:

Pre-heat the oven at 160 degrees Celsius. Spread the almond slices on a baking tray and roast for about 4 minutes. Take out and allow to cool.

In a pot add 120 g sugar and gently allow it to caramelize. As soon as the caramel takes on a lovely amber color add the almonds. Constantly stirring, coat the almonds completely in the caramel.

On a piece of baking paper, spread the caramelized almonds evenly. Allow to cool and then with a sharp knife coarsely chop. Place in an airtight container until required.

Whip the cream with a electric whisk until stiff. Place in the refrigerator, where it will remain cool.

Now the next couple of steps need utmost care. We need to prepare a type of an Italian meringue with the egg whites, remaining sugar and honey.

Bring the remaining sugar and honey together with 50 ml water to a boil and allow to cook through for not more than 5-7 minutes, until the mixture starts to get "stringy." This happens when it reaches a temperature of 125 degrees Celsius. You can control this with a sugar thermometer. If you do not have one of these the best way to check this is with the "spoon check" method. Simply dip the spoon into the mixture and then take out. The sugar should drip from the spoon in thread-like strands.

While the sugar-honey mixture is cooking beat the egg whites with an electric whisk
in a separate mixing bowl until they are semi-stiff. Place the bowl in a cold water bath.

Once the sugar-honey mixture is ready pour it all at once into egg whites while constantly beating. Do this with a normal whisk and until the entire mixture has cooled down. Add the chopped candied fruit and the chopped caramelized almonds. Mix this gently into the mixture. Finally, fold in the beaten cream. Line a loaf pan or a terrine form with cling film and pour the mixture into it. Place in the freezer and allow to set for at least four hours.

Now you can prepare the compote. In a pot mix the orange juice, honey, butter and the dried fruit together. Allow it to simmer over a gentle heat for 5-10 minutes until the fruits are soft and viscid. Keep warm.

Are you ready to serve?

Take the terrine form out of the freezer just before you want to serve. Place it for a few seconds in some warm water and then tip the Nougat Glacé. Remove the cling film and cut the glacé into slices. On a plate put some of the fruit compote and place the glacé slice on this. Sprinkle more of the compote over the top and serve to your sweetest darlings.

Kitchen Tip: If you have any glacé leftover, place it back into the terrine form lined with cling film put it into the freezer. This will keep for 1-2 months. If it lasts that long.



Verdict:

Simply irresistible! Every bite is a heavenly experience. Your sweetheart will bow to you in total awe when this is served up. The dessert has it all cool, warm, creamy, crunchy, fruity and nutty. My men were eating out of my fingers and licking their own. The success of the dessert was worth every bit if hard work in the preparation.

This is my own entry for Sweet Love.

As the deadline to the Monthly Mingle draws to the end, I will let you all in on a secret - with 30 entries this is going to be the sweetest round-up you'll ever see. Look forward to it next week - I'll let you guess when ;-)



Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,



All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2007 Meeta Albrecht unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Fresh Pasta with Zucchini & Sundried Tomatoes



"Are you planning on hurting someone with that?"
"What as in Death by Cookbook?"

That's what I got to hear when I unpacked my precious Christmas present. I had desperately wished for it and just picking up the carefully wrapped parcel, I knew what it was at the weight of it.

One would probably feel intimidated by the utter size and weight of this thing, but me? I was glowing and beaming from ear to ear!



Culina Mundi is a whopper of a cookbook in every way. Over a 1000 pages, 60 World class cooks from 40 countries and over 500 recipes make up this treasure of a cookbook.

When Sara announced the theme for the next Weekend Cookbook Challenge I was so excited to finally give Culina Mundi a spin. I flipped through the pages marking all the things that appealed to me.

I settled on something Italian and for the first round a bit easy.

A wonderful flavorful pasta with all my favorite fresh ingredients - zucchini, cherry tomatoes and basil and the added bonus of sun dried tomatoes. The pasta is freshly made, making the entire dish just delicious.

I am just a dork and forgot to post it. So, I am hoping that I can misuse the time zones a little and still manage the deadline.





Ingredients:

Fresh pasta - homemade or store bought. Brilynn recently posted a great recipe for fresh pasta
1 garlic clove - finely chopped
50 ml extra virgine olive oil
1/4 onion - finely chopped
15 cherry tomatoes - cut in halves
1 zucchini - cut in strips
6 sun dried tomatoes - cut in strips. I used some that was marinated with herbs and oil.
cracked black pepper
salt
fresh basil leaves
100 ml white wine
grated Parmesan cheese





Method:
Prepare the pasta according to instructions. Keep in mind that fresh pasta does not take long to cook so it might be a good idea to leave this till after the topping is prepared.

In a large hot pan sauté the garlic without allowing it to get brown. Add the onions, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, sun dried tomatoes, salt and cracked black pepper. Allow this to cook for 1-2 minutes. Tear the basil leaves, coarsely and add to the vegetables.

Pour in the white wine and simmer for approx. 2 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste - if required. Now take your cooked pasta and add it to the pan, tossing it lightly until the pasta is nicely covered with the sauce. Let it heat through for a minute.

Serve sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.



Verdict:
Could a lunch get any easier than that? I know it does sound too easy, but it is amazingly tasty. A great alternative to the usual tomato sauce for the kids. Soeren loves his pasta and this was a huge appetizing delight for him. The extra vegetables add all the healthy nutrients needed and now you can put away the tomato sauce for good. For us adults it is an elegant way to enjoy the simple but oh so big Italian flavors. Tom was soaking up the juices with a piece of bread.

Culina Mundi does seem like a promising cookbook and I really look forward to trying out several of the recipes I have marked.


Reminders!
Blogger Postcards Around The World goes into it's final phase. Almost everyone have sent their postcards off and now many have started to receive lovely, mushy, cheesy, and sentimental Valentine's cards. Interested in seeing all the cards? Just check out our Valentine's list


Last call for this month's Monthly Mingle - Sweet Love. February 8, 2007 is the final day to enter all those scrumptious Valentine's desserts, cakes and other sweet stuff.




Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2007 Meeta Albrecht unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Photo Session: White for SLW


It's been a while since I shared photos from the photography group Still Life With on Flickr.

For those of you new around these parts: SLW is my favorite "working" photography group on Flickr. Every month a theme is chosen by Lara, the administrator of the group, and we are supposed to go off with our cameras and try to capture the given theme as best as we can. Of course being a foodie group, the motive is always Food and a max. of three photographs can be entered.

Last month's theme was white. A color that I am not very comfortable taking pictures of.


It's not an easy color to capture and often if there is a tiniest shadow the whites end up looking gray in the pictures. I did my best with these shots and although there is plenty of room for improvement I somehow really like the set.

The photos can be viewed individually on my Flickr photostream:



I'd like to use this opportunity too to first of all apologize to those who have been getting my older posts updated again in their feeds. I've been busy using the label function of the new Blogger to categorize the posts down further. I thought of turning the RSS off for this time but when I started receiving mails and comments for the older posts I thought I'd leave it the way it was. I am also re-functioning my sidebar to be sort of a resource pool for all my readers. So, that is a part that I am still building up on. If there are any suggestions or ideas for resources you think should be added please do let me know.

Reminders!
Blogger Postcards Around The World goes into it's final phase. Almost everyone have sent their postcards off and now many have started to receive lovely, mushy, cheesy, and sentimental Valentine's cards. Interested in seeing all the cards? Just check out our Valentine's list


Last call for this month's Monthly Mingle - Sweet Love. February 8, 2007 is the final day to enter all those scrumptious Valentine's desserts, cakes and other sweet stuff.




Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2007 Meeta Albrecht unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Look



Actually I wasn't planning to change the look so soon, but was more or less forced to. Then when I started I just could not stop. So, what you now see is a new, fresher and "looking-forward-to-Spring" layout.

When I switched to the new Blogger I realized there were many constraints I had to face with my previous template.


So as I tried to transfer my old template into Blogger's new Layout I could not do it to my satisfaction. That's when I simply decided to scrap the whole thing and start new. On the test site things looked fine. But I was still hesitating.

Then. yesterday, it seemed there were many problems with Blogger. We all could not access certain links or pages. What I found out was this pretty much effected those who were still using their classic template from the old Blogger. Last night I got sick of it and decided to switch to the new layout. Boy did I have sweaty palms. But it looked pretty good I thought. Until this morning I decided to look at it on the PC (for those who do not know I am a Mac and Firefox user). How could it have been different! Crappy Explorer was showing my header complete off the page!!

So, I went back and fixed it. At this point I want to say - I was surprised at the ease I managed to do it. The new Layout really does allow you to quickly make changes, without too many hassles. What I really appreciate are the widgets. I can add, modify or delete these without having to always go into my template.

As for the new colors - I am a bit of a fashion victim and as I flicked through my InStyle I saw that the colors for Spring 2007 were pastel tones with a bold color to highlight. Which led me to start playing around with the colors of my blog for fun. And you know what I like it!!

A bit about the picture of The Wolff above: It was taken at the Basel zoo during our short break over New Year's. A perfect opportunity for me to practice taking pictures of moving objects ;-). I love this one - isn't it a proud, royal and elegant animal?