Friday, April 24, 2015

French Fridays with Dorie - Prawns à l`Escabèche


Today´s recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is Sardines (Prawns) à l`Escabèche. This is a very popular French brasserie dish with Spanish roots that can be enjoyed as an appetizer or served as an antipasto/mezze .




Bascially, à l`Escabèche, means a dish that preserves fish by frying it, then pickling it. As the fish (such as sardines, prawns, or mackerel) absorbs the vinegary dressing over time, its flavor deepens, picking up the notes of the different ingedients of this dish. Following Dorie´s recipe those lovely flavors inlude rosemary, thyme, sun-dried tomatoes, chile, coriander and tomato paste.




The pickled vegetables (Dorie´s recipe calls for onion, carrots, celery and garlic) are considered to be a fantastic way to cut the oiliness of the fish, especially if you are using sardines. They are available throughout the winter but are at their best in spring. Sardines from Portugal, Spain and France are considered to be particularly good – since I learned from my fishmonger that I was late with my order and therefore could not get my hands on sardines in time (they are due to arrive at the beginning of the week),  I opted for Dorie´s „Bonne Idée“ and went with the prawn version instead. Apparently, fresh sardines are not that popular around these parts - although I know a lot of people who consider them ideal for grilling and barbecuing.




Although, unfortunately, I was not able to try sardines in this recipe, I certainly did not regret making this dish with fresh prawns instead. The sweet, firm, meaty flesh of the prawns was delicious when paired with the pleasantly sour note of the pickled vegetables. Plus the prawns turned a lovely orange hue from the sweet sundried tomatoes and the tomato paste, very pleasant to the eye as well - which, as you might have noticed, is something I enjoy quite a bit.

Overall, we thought that this was a very tasty and different way to serve prawns. I also really enjoyed the versatility of this dish – you can keep it in the fridge for up to a week, enjoy it cold or at room temperature, on its own or an a bed of seasonal salad, or maybe with some nice grilled bread or as part of a mezze or antipasto spread.

To see whether the other members of the French Fridays with Dorie group enjoyed this week´s recipe, please go here.

For copyright reasons, we do not publish the recipes from the book. But you can find the recipe for the Sardines (Prawns) à l´Escabèche on pages 188-9 in Dorie Greenspan´s cookbook "Around my French Table".


Monday, April 20, 2015

Vegetable-Spiral-Quiche - Gemüse-Spiral-Quiche


In general, a quiche is a savory pastry with a custardy filling. The most famous quiche recipe being one for Quiche Lorraine, with a filling of crème fraîche, eggs, double cream, Gruyère and boldly seasoned with salt, freshly ground black pepper and nutmeg. All on top of rendered lardons, a quiche lorraine is baked to golden perfection in the oven. But if apart from this all-time favourite you are looking for other types of fabulous quiches, rest assured that there are many more varieties of quiche recipes out there with countless delicious fillings.
Eine Quiche ist ein pikanter Kuchen, der mit einer Eiersahne zubereitet wird. Für die wohl bekannteste Variante, die Quiche Lorraine, wird eine Füllung aus Crème Fraîche, Eiern, Sahne, sowie Gruyère verquirlt und mit Salz, Pfeffer und Muskat kräftig gewürzt. Zusammen mit angebratenem Speck wird die Eiersahne auf dem vorher gebackenen Quiche-Boden verteilt und anschließend goldbraun gebacken. Es gibt jedoch noch unzählige weitere, interessante Quiche-Varianten mit vielen unglaublich leckeren und durchaus verschiedenen Füllungen.




The first step in making a quiche is ususally the preparation of a basic shortcrust pastry (pâte brisée). The next step is to line either a quiche-, tarte or springform baking pan. In order to ensure that the savory egg custard will not result in a soggy pastry, you will be required to pre-bake the pastry case. Make sure to line the pastry with parchment paper, fill with dry beans and bake on a hot baking sheet.
In der Regel besteht die Basis einer Quiche aus einem Mürbeteig (pâte brisée). Dafür wird eine Quiche-, Tarte- oder Springform mit Mürbeteig ausgelegt. Um der Füllung sicheren Halt zu geben, wird der Quiche-Teig dann zunächst mit Backpapier ausgelegt und mit getrockneten Hülsenfrüchten blindgebacken. Bei dieser Methode bleibt der Teigboden schön flach, während der Rand hochgeht.




If you are looking for a quicker solution, you can also use good-quality ready-made puff pastry. But, in my humble opinion, oftentimes when I use puff pastry for my quiches, I am not too happy with the way the base of the pastry turns out. It is hard to bake a puff pastry with quiche filling so it actually turns out to be perfectly crunchy.
Für eine schnelle Variante kann man alternativ auch einen fertigen, guten Blätterteig verwenden. Allerdings finde ich es bei der Verwendung von Blätterteig für Quiches immer ein wenig schwierig, dabei einen gleichermaßen gut durchgebackenen und knusprigen Quiche-Boden zu bekommen.




In order for the shortcrust pastry to turn out short and with that lovely taste of butter, you will be required to work rather quickly. Shortcrust pastry loves the cold!

The cold butter will have to be mixed together with the flour and the salt as quickly as possible so the dough does not even have a chance to start to soften. Depending on the recipe that you use, you will have ot add an egg, milk or ice water to the flour mixture. It is best to flatten the dough into a round disc before placing it into the fridge. The resting time in the cold will help the dough to turn out buttery and short after baking.

You should also make sure to roll out the dough as evenly as possible, so it can bake as evenly as possible. I have made it a personal habit to always pre-bake my quiche and tart pastry cases, so I end up with perfectly tender crusts.
Damit der Quiche-Teig schön mürbe wird und auch buttrig schmeckt, hilft nicht nur eine schnelle Zubereitung, sondern auch Kälte. Mürbeteig liebt es nämlich angenehm kühl!

Die kalten Butterstückchen werden mit dem Mehl und etwas Salz rasch mit den Händen verrieben und dann zügig verknetet, damit der Teig nicht anfängt zu kleben. Je nach Rezept kommt noch Ei und Milch oder Eiswasser dazu. Den fertigen Teig sollte man zu einem flachen Ziegel formen, so kühlt der Teig gut durch und lässt sich später problemlos ausrollen. Er kommt sodann in den Kühlschrank, denn Kälte sorgt dafür, den Teig am Ende mürbe und knusprig werden zu lassen.

Man sollte darauf achten, dass der Teig schön gleichmäßig ausgerollt wird, damit er auch gleichmäßig gar wird. Damit der Quiche-Boden auch knusprig wird, backe ich ihn auch immer ohne Füllung vor.




My Vegetable-Spiral-Quiche does not only look very pretty, it also tastes absolutely fabulous - you can also vary the vegetables that you plan on using in the filling. Depending on the season, you can choose summer squash in addition to or instead of the zucchini, or use different-colored carrots, sweet potatoes or maybe butternut squash.
Meine Gemüse-Spiral-Quiche sieht nicht nur wahnsinnig hübsch aus, sie schmeckt auch noch einfach umwerfend lecker! Der Jahreszeit und dem Geschmack folgend kann man das Gemüse für die Füllung ruhig auch variieren. Je nachdem was Saison hat und was einem am Besten schmeckt – man kann zum Beispiel zu anderen Sorten von Möhren greifen oder man nimmt gelbe Zucchini anstatt der grünen.




Vegetable-Spiral-Quiche

Ingredients for the Quiche Pastry
  • 250 grams flour (either use spelt or wheat flour here), plus some for flouring the tart pan
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 130 grams unsalted butter, nice and cold, plus some for greasing the pan
  • 1 Ei,(L), free range or organic
  • 3 tbsps milk
In addition
  • one quiche pan (11 inches), preferably with a removable bottom
  • a soft-bristled pastry brush
  • ceramic pie weights (or beans/rice) and two sheets of parchment paper for blind-baking and for lining the baking pan
Gemüse-Spiral-Quiche

Zutaten für den Quiche Teig
  • 250 Gramm  Mehl (entweder Weizenmehl oder Dinkelmehl Type 630), plus etwas zum Bearbeiten des Teigs
  • ½ TL feines Meersalz
  • 130 Gramm ungesalzene Butter (kalt), plus etwas zum Einfetten der Backform
  • 1 Ei (L), Freiland oder Bio
  • 3 El Milch
Außerdem
  • eine Tarte-Form (28 cm) oder Quiche-Form am besten mit Hebeboden
  • einen Backpinsel
  • Keramik-Backbohnen oder Hülsenfrüchte und zwei Bogen Backpapier zum Blindbacken und zum Auslegen der Backform



Preparation of the Quiche Pastry
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and the salt. Cut up the cold butter into small cubes and, using your fingertips, rub together the ingredients just until it looks like coarse oatmeal.
  2. Add the egg and the milk and mix everything together as quickly as possible. Pat the dough into a disc. Wrap in saran wrap and place in the fridge for at least one hour (better for three hours).
  3. Take the quiche dough out of the fridge 30 minutes prior to making the quiche. Then on a lightly-floured work surface, roll out the dough to a circle (12 inches).
  4. Grease the baking pan with some butter and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, then butter again and dust with flour and make sure to shake out the excess. Then line the pan with the rolled-out dough, and place in the fridge again for 30 minutes.
  5. Take the baking pan out of the fridge, dock the dough with the tines of a fork, line with crumbled parchment paper, fill-up with pie weights and bake in the middle of the oven for about 15 minutes at 475 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Take the baking pan out of the oven, remove the pie weights and the parchment paper and bake again for another 10 minutes or until the patry has a golden color.
  7. While your tart case pre-bakes, you can prep your vegetables.
Zubereitung des Quiche-Teigs
  1. Mehl und Salz in einer Schüssel mischen. Die Butter in kleine Stücke schneiden, dazugeben und mit den Fingerspitzen unter das Mehl reiben.
  2. Ei und Milch zugeben und zügig zu einem glatten Teig verkneten. Zu einem Ziegel formen, in Frischhaltefolie wickeln und mindestens eine Stunde, am besten drei Stunden, kalt stellen.
  3. Den Quiche-Teig aus dem Kühlschrank holen und zirka 30 Minuten bei Zimmer-Temperatur liegen lassen. Dann auf einer bemehlten Arbeitsfläche zu einem Kreis (32 cm Ø) ausrollen.
  4. DieTarte-Form einfetten, den Boden mit Backpapeir belegen, wieder einfetten und mit Mehl ausstäuben. Dann die Form mit dem Teig auslegen, dabei den Rand gut andrücken. 30 Minuten kalt stellen.
  5. Die Tarte-Form aus dem Kühlschrank holen. Den Teigboden mehrmals mit einer Gabel einstechen, mit Backpapier bedecken und mit getrockneten Hülsenfrüchten beschweren. Im vorgeheizten Backofen bei 200 Grad auf der mittleren Schiene 15 Minuten vorbacken.
  6. Die Backbohnen und das Backpapier entfernen und weitere 10 Minuten backen, bis der Teigboden goldbraun ist.
  7. Während der Teig vorbackt das Gemüse vorbereiten.



Ingredients for the Vegetable Spiral
  • 2 to 3 medium sized zucchinis
  • 5 to 6 medium sized carrots
  • 3 eggs (L), free range or organic
  • 250 ml half and half (cream)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • freshly ground nutmeg
Zutaten für die Gemüsespirale
  • 2 bis 3 mittelgroße Zucchinis
  • 5 bis 6 mittelgroße Möhren
  • 3 Eier (L), Bio oder Freiland
  • 250 ml Sahne
  • frisch gemahlener schwarzer Pfeffer
  • Meersalz



Preparation of the Vegetable Ribbons and Filling 
  1. While the pastry shell is pre-baking, make sure to prep all your vegetables.
  2. With a mandoline, cut all your vegetables into even and thin ribbons. If you do not own a mandoline, you can do the same job with a very sharp knife - make sure to attempt a 2mm thickness.
  3. In a wide pan, bring water to the boil with 1/2 tsps salt. Blanch the vegetable ribbons for about one minute and immediately place the ribbons in ice water to stop the cooking process. Blanch each veg separately.
  4. Dry off the blanched vegetable ribbons - best done using kitchen towels.
  5. Place the vegetable ribbons in the pre-baked pastry case in concentric circles.
  6. Once the veg spiral is done, mix together the eggs, cream, pepper and salt and pour the mix over the spiral.
  7. Bake the quiche for about 40 mintes on a lower rack in a pre-heated oven (455 degrees Fahrenheit).
  8. Place the baked quiche on a cooling rack and then take it out of the baking pan.
  9. Either enjoy right away or at room temperature.
Zubereitung der Gemüsestreifen und der Eiersahne
  1. Während der Quiche-Boden vorbackt, das Gemüse waschen, putzen und schälen.
  2. Mit einem Küchenhobel das Gemüse gleichmäßig längs in dünne Scheiben schneiden. Oder man nimmt ein Messer und versucht alles zirka 2 mm dick zu schneiden.
  3. Wasser mit 1/2 TL Salz  in einem breiten Topf zum Kochen bringen. Die Gemüsescheiben in gesalzenem kochendem Wasser zirka eine Minute blanchieren und danach sofort in Eiswasser abkühlen. Mit jeder Gemüsesorte getrennt genauso verfahren.
  4. Das blanchierte Gemüse trocknen lassen (mit Hilfe von Küchentüchern geht das am besten).
  5. Das vorgegarte Gemüse abwechselnd und spiralartig in die Form schichten.
  6. Wenn die Spirale fertig ist, Eier, Sahne, Pfeffer und Salz mit dem Schneebesen verrühren und über die Gemüse gießen.
  7. Im auf 180° (Umluft) vorgeheizten Backofen auf der unteren Schiene ungefähr 40 Minuten backen.
  8. Auf einem Kuchenrost abkühlen lassen und aus der Tarteform nehmen.
  9. Entweder frisch aus dem Ofen oder lauwarm genießen.



Once the Vegetable-Spiral-Quiche has cooled down somewhat, you can easily slide it out of the baking pan - due to the parchment paper that should not be a problem at all.

Do make sure to serve the quiche whole and only cut it into elegant wedges at the table. That way, once you cut into the quiche at the table in front of your guests, the beautiful, concentric layers of vegetables will be revealed.

The vegetable ribbons still retain a perfect "bite". They are kept together in the most delicious of ways by the savory custard. Despite the eggs and cream used in the custard, this quiche is much lighter than a regular quiche and is perfectly suited to be served as a main course  with a lovely seasonal side-salad or as a side-dish to a roast chicken, pork tenderloin or a lovely roast.

 The key to making the perfect quiche is always attention to detail and the very best quality ingredients that you can afford.

Why not cook this gorgeous vegetarian quiche for a special occasion like a family-picnic or brunch.
Wenn die Gemüse-Spiral-Quiche etwas abgekühlt ist, kann man sie aus der Backform nehmen. Dank des Backpapiers wird sie sich leicht herausnehmen lassen.


Man sollte die Quiche auch im Ganzen servieren und dann erst am Tisch anschneiden, denn beim Anschneiden kommen die verschiedenen Farbschichten der verschiedenen Schichten besonders gut zur Geltung.


Die Gemüsestreifen haben auch nach dem Backen noch einen wunderbaren Biss und werden von der Eiersahne zusammengehalten. Dennoch handelt es sich um ein Gericht, welches leichter daher kommt als eine ´klassische´ Quiche. Man kann die Quiche als Hauptspeise mit einem saisonalen Salat servieren oder als Beilage zu gegrillten Hähnchen, Schweinefilet oder Braten.

Der Schlüssel zu einer wunderbaren Quiche liegt immer bei den guten Zutaten und der Liebe zum Detail.

Bei nächsten Familientreffen oder Brunch macht sich diese Vegetarische Quiche sicherlich wunderbar.


Friday, April 17, 2015

French Fridays with Dorie - Pork Roast with Mangoes and Lychees


Today´s recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is Pork Roast with Mangoes and Lychees. A delicious treat on this lovely Spring day - with tons of flavor from the sauce and delightful sweetness from the fruits.




The recipe calls for pork loin roast but I opted for pork tenderloin instead. This is the eye fillet that comes from within the loin. It is a "lazy muscle" and as such is lean and very tender, It is very quick to cook but will soon dry out if overcooked. Remember to remove any tough white membrane or sinew from the outside of the loin before cooking. I browned the fillet first, then transferred it to a pre-heated oven for 15 minutes and then while the sauce reduced in the pan, let the meat rest, covered, then sliced thinly and served with the sauce and the fruit.




Dorie´s recipe call for two fruits to accompany the pork - lychees and mangoes. The lychee is a fruit that originated in China and is now grown in the Far East and the West Indies. In Europe, fresh lychees are only available from November to January, and they are most often sold canned, preserved in sugar syrup. So, although at this time of year no fresh lychees were to be found for this recipe, I used really good-quality, plump canned ones that Í drained prior to using.

Mangoes have a fragrant sweetness, rich flavor and succulent texture. The majority of Asian mangoes have a delicate skin and a short shelf life. They are at their best when enjoyed raw. For that reason, they are flown into Germany (mainly from India and Pakistan), so are more expensive. The thicker-skinned varieties are shipped in by sea year-round, they are more suitable for cooking and baking - and those are the ones I used in this recipe. They held their shape nicely, even in the sauce.




The sauce is a wonderful reduction of pan juices, onion, garlic, red wine vinegar, dry white wine, soy sauce, lime juice, local runny honey, piment d´Esplette (you can also use sweet Spanish smoked paprika here), bay leaf and thyme from the garden and then the added fruit - what a combination of bold flavors and what a success! Served with soba (buckwheat) noodles - this dish made us all very happy eaters!

To see whether the other members of the French Fridays with Dorie group enjoyed this week´s recipe, please go here.

For copyright reasons, we do not publish the recipes from the book. But you can find the recipe for the Pork Roast with Mangoes and Lychees on pages 278-9 in Dorie Greenspan´s cookbook "Around my French Table".


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Almond Cake with Fleur de Sel - Mandelkuchen mit Fleur de Sel


This is a recipe for an incredibly moist and nutty almond cake. If you are a devoted almond lover like me and appreciate the combination of sweet and salty in a dessert, this Almond Cake with Fleur de Sel is most definitely the right cake for you.
Hier mal ein Rezept für einen unglaublich saftigen, nussigen Mandelkuchen. Dieser Mandelkuchen mit Fleur de Sel ist für all diejenigen der richtige Kuchen, die nicht nur wie ich auch gerne Mandeln essen, aber auch die Kombination von süß und salzig schätzen.




The ground almonds in the batter as well as the coarsely chopped almonds in the topping lend a very agreeable sweetness to the cake. While, at the same time, the fine Fleur de Sel in the batter as well as the coarse Fleur de Sel in the topping lend a wonderful saltiness and crunch to the cake. The Ceylon cinnamon as well as the pure vanilla sugar harmonize so well with the taste of the almonds. And the light Muscovado sugar adds a taste of caramel. A memorable combination of flavors not to be missed! 
Die gemahlenen Mandeln im Teig und die gehackten Mandeln im Belag verleihen dem Kuchen eine angenehme Süße. Zugleich verleiht das feine Fleur de Sel im Teig und das grobe Fleur de Sel im Belag, dem Kuchen eine unvergleichlich angenehme salzige Note. Und der Ceylon Zimt und die Vanille harmonieren ganz wunderbar mit dem Geschmack der Mandeln. Und der helle Muscovado-Zucker hat eine leichte Karamellnote, die sich vorzüglich mit dem Fleur de Sel ergänzt. Geschmacklich einfach ein wunderbares Erlebnis.




If you need more convincing and to make things even more agreeable, you shoud know that this cake comes together in no time and requires a mere 45 minutes of baking time.
Zudem ist der Kuchenteig ist im Handumdrehen zusammengerührt und der Kuchen braucht weniger als eine Stunde Backzeit.




Almond Cake with Fleur de Sel

Ingredients
  • 75 grams unsalted butter, plus some for greasing the baking pan
  • 110 grams superfine baking sugar
  • 110 grams light Muscovado sugar
  • 1 ½ tsps pure vanilla sugar
  • 3 eggs (M), free range or organic
  • 1 tbsp Amaretto or dark rum
  • 200 grams ground almonds, skins on or off* (according to your personal taste)
  • 50 grams light spelt flour
  • 1 ½ tsps  baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (preferably Ceylon cinnamon)
  • ½ tsp Natural Fine Sea Salt, such as  "Sel fin de Guérande"
  • 50 grams chopped natural almonds
  •  ¼ to ½ tsp (according to your personal taste) Natural Flower Sea Salt, such as "Fleur de Sel de Guérande"
Mandelkuchen mit Fleur de Sel

Zutaten
  • 75 Gramm ungesalzene Butter, plus etwas für die Backform
  • 110 Gramm feinster Backzucker
  • 110 Gramm heller Muscovado Zucker
  • 1 ½  Bourbon Vanillezucker
  • 3 Eier (M), Freiland oder Bio
  • 1 EL Amaretto oder Rum
  • 200 Gramm gemahlene Mandeln, mit oder ohne Haut* (je nach persönlichem Gesckmack)
  • 50 Gramm helles Dinkelmehl (Type 630)
  • 1 ½ TL Backpulver
  • ½ TL Ceylon Zimt
  • ½  TL feines Meersalz, z. Bsp. "Sel fin de Guérande"
  • 50 Gramm ganze Mandeln mit Haut, grob gehackt 
  • ¼ bis ½ TL (je nach persönlichem Gesckmack) Fleur de Sel, z. Bsp. "Fleur de Sel de Guérande"



In addition
  • a springform or round baking pan (24-26 cm)
  • baking parchment
Außerdem
  • Springform 24-26 cm
  • Backpapier



Preparation
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180° Celsius or 365 ° Fahrenheit.
  2. Using a pastry brush, lightly butter the cake pan and line with baking parchment.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt the butter on medium heat, take off the heat.
  4. Add the melted butter to a mixing bowl, then add the baking sugar, Muscovado sugar and vanilla sugar to the same bowl and mix all the ingredients together.
  5. Add the eggs, one after the other, making sure to stir the batter after each egg.
  6. Then add the Amaretto or dark rum and stir again.
  7. In another mixing bowl, mix together the ground almonds, the spelt flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and the fine Fleur de Sel.
  8. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir everything together.
  9. Finally, add the batter to the prepared baking pan and top with the coarsely chopped almonds as well as the coarse Fleur de Sel.
  10. Bake the cake for about 45 minutes. The cake is done when a wooden skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out with no doughy crumbs attached.
  11. Take the cake out of the oven and let it rest for a few minutes, then with the help of the baking parchment, lift it out of the cake pan and transfer it to a cooling rack. *NOTE: To blanch the almonds and remove their skins, place the almonds in a bowl. Pour boiling water to barely cover the almonds. Let the almonds sit for about one minute. Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again. Pat dry and using your fingers slip the skins off. If you would like to remove the skins from a whole bunch of almonds at the same time, you can also use a clean tea towel to rub the skins off the almonds after you blanched them and rinsed them under cold water.

Zubereitung
  1. Den Backofen auf 180° Celsius vorheizen.
  2. Die Springform mit etwas Butter ausstreichen und mit Backpapier auslegen.
  3. In einem kleinen Topf auf mittlerer Hitze die Butter schmelzen, dann vom Herd nehmen.
  4. Die geschmolzene Butter in eine mittlere Rührschüssel geben und den Backzucker, Muscovado-Zucker und den Vanillezucker mit einrühren.
  5. Die Eier nacheinander ebenfalls unterrühren.
  6. Den Amaretto oder Rum unterrühren.
  7. In einer weiteren Schüssel die gemahlenen Mandeln, das Dinkelmehl, Backpulver, Zimt und das feine Fleur de Sel mischen.
  8. Die Mehlmischung auf die Eier-Zucker-Mischung geben und alles zu einem Teig verrühren.
  9. In die vorbereitete Backform füllen und mit den gehackten Mandeln sowie dem groben Fleur de Sel bestreuen.
  10. Den Kuchen in zirka 45 Minuten backen. Der Kuchen ist fertig, wenn an einem Holzstäbchen, das man in die Mitte des Kuchens sticht, keine klebrigen Teigrückstände mehr haften bleiben.
  11. Den Kuchen aus dem Ofen nehmen und einige Minuten ruhen lassen, dann aus der Form nehmen und auf einem Kuchengitter abkühlen lassen. *TIPP: Zum Mandeln häuten die Mandelkerne kurz in kochendem Wasser blanchieren. Die blanchierten Mandelkerne kalt abschrecken. Nach dem Blanchieren die Kerne mit den Fingern nun ganz einfach aus ihrer Haut drücken. Möchten man größere Mengen Mandeln häuten, gibt man die blanchierten und abgeschreckten Kerne in ein Küchentuch, dann zum Mandeln häuten im Tuch kräftig durchkneten und die Haut entfernen..



If you enjoy snacking on salted almonds, you can also substitute the coarsely chopped natural almonds that my recipe calls for in the topping with chopped salted almonds instead - just remember to omit the coarse Fleur de Sel from the topping then.
Wer gerne Salzmandeln mag, kann auch diese anstatt der herkömmlichen Mandeln grob hacken und vor dem Backen auf dem Kuchen verteilen. In diesem Fall sollte man dann allerdings das Fleur de Sel auf dem Belag weglassen.




This cake is a fabulous dessert cake, especially if you serve it while still slightly warm. Or enjoy it with a cup of tea or coffee in the afternoon. It is best eaten without whipped cream or ice cream on the side - just enjoy it plain - that´s when it is at its best, giving you a chance to truly savor the different components of this cake, the sweetness of the almonds, the warmth of the vanilla and the cinnamon and the hint of caramel from the Muscovado sugar.
Dieser Kuchen ist eine tolle Nachspeise, vor allem, wenn er noch leicht warm serviert wird. Oder man genießt ihn am Nachmittag mit einer Tasse Kaffee oder Tee. Am besten dann auch ohne Sahne oder Vanilleies, so schmeckt der Kuchen einfach am besten und man kann die einzelnen Geschmacks-Komponenten des Kuchens am besten genießen - die Süße der Mandeln, die Wärme des Zimts und der Vanille und die Karamel-Note des Muscovado Zuckers.




The combination of sweet and salty is unbeatable - this Almond Cake with Fleur de Sel is truly a must-bake recipe, you know that you can trust me on this one!
Die Kombination süß-salzig schmeckt einfach fantastisch. Diesen Mandelkuchen mit Fleur de Sel sollte man auf jeden Fall einmal ausprobieren.



Friday, April 3, 2015

French Fridays with Dorie - Waffles & Cream with Homemade Egg Liqueur


Today´s recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is Waffles & Cream – Dorie´s recipe is a really good recipe for delicious waffles, specially for one of those fancy waffle irons. You'll need a waffle iron to make these warm, crispy waffles.




If you wanted to describe a waffle, you could say that it is a „batter baked between two hot irons marked with indentations, producing a crisp plain cake or flatbread with deep ridges on each side and a soft aerated interior“ (DL) – sounds rather amusing but I love that description.

Waffles are typically served with butter, maple syrup or other sweet or even savory toppings. Typical ingredients for the waffle batter include wheat flour, butter, milk, salt, sugar and egg.




When making homemade waffles, it is always important to remember not to over-enrich the batter with too much fat, sugar or egg as the waffles can color too quickly and turn soft soon after baking. As a rule, you should use plain flour rather than bread flour to help produce a light and crisp result and keep egg, sugar and cream to a minimum. The toppings used will accentuate the sweet or savory characteristics of the waffle.




We live in a country of devoted waffle lovers. Therefore, I own serveral waffle irons, for very pretty heart-shaped or shell-shaped waffles. I also count a rather fancy Belgian waffle maker among my true kitchen treasures. I love my waffle irons – if you haven’t got one, put it on your birthday wishlist!




We usually eat waffles in the afternoon, dusted with confectioners´ sugar and may be some lightly whipped cream on the side. Never as a breakfast meal. When we visit the Netherlands or Belgium, there is always the aroma of freshly-baked waffles in the air – you can order them all day long at coffee shops and cafés and specialty food trucks and choose between plain ones or the ones with cream and fruits piled high, or warm chocolate or caramel sauce. Always such a treat.

And classically, Belgian-style waffles are yeasted waffles, they are crispy on the outside and soft and light on the inside. We love the yeasty flavors and aroma.




Dorie´s recipe also hails from a Belgian chef living in Paris. This is a recipe with only a few ingredients, namely butter, milk, flour, sugar, salt, vanilla and egg whites – alas, no yeast in sight. Still delicious and very easy to whip up.




And even more wonderful when served with softly-whipped cream as well as some Homemade Egg Liqueur (Eierlikör) that I made this morning. In Germany, egg liqueur is mostly consumed during Easter and Christmas, but available year-round.  It has a rich, creamy, custard-like flavor and makes a great topping for everything from ice cream to rice puddings, vanilla custards and can also be used in preparing cakes. Eierlikör tastes best right out of the fridge and when kept there, stays good for a few weeks.




Vanilla Egg Liqueur – Vanille-Eierlikör
(for all those adult taste testers)

Ingredients
(Makes 500 ml)
  • 5 very fresh egg yolks, use M or L (buy the very best organic eggs you can find) 
  • 125 gram confectioners´ sugar (sifted)
  • a pinch of fine sea salt
  • one fresh vanilla bean (preferably a Madagascar vanilla bean)
  • 100 ml vodka (or rum)
  • 200 grams cream or half-and-half 

Preparation
  1. Sterilize the bottle that you are using to store the egg liqueur.
  2. In the bowl of your mixer add the egg yolks, the confectioners´sugar and the salt and mix on high speed for about ten minutes. - NOTE: you can use the egg whites to bake my Coconut Easter Lamb Cake, for my recipe, please go here.
  3. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add the scraped seeds to the egg mixture together with the vodka (or rum) and cream.- NOTE: make sure to keep the scraped vanilla bean to make Homemade Vanilla Sugar, for my recipe, please go here.
  4. Mix for another ten minutes and laddle into to prepared bottle (or use a suitable funnel).
  5. Refrigerate overnight for best taste - NOTE: Egg liqueur doesn’t keep as well as most other liqueurs do. Keep an unopened bottle no longer than a few months and make sure to consume an opened bottle as quickly as possible. Once opened, store in the fridge.



Waffles are always a huge hit at our house - these were no exception - served dusted with confectioners´ sugar and whipped cream to the younger and very eager taste testers and for the adult ones with a bit of that Homemade Egg Liqueur. What a treat on a Friday afternoon during Easter vacation. In general, frozen waffles are easy to use as they can be placed in the toaster and simply reheated (unless, of course, they come with a wooden stick attached and unless, of course, you never ever have leftover waffles).




I wish to take this opportunity to wish all my readers a Very Happy Easter! - Frohe Ostern! - Joyeuses Pâques!

To see whether the other members of the French Fridays with Dorie group enjoyed this week´s recipe, please go here.

For copyright reasons, we do not publish the recipes from the book. But you can find the recipe for the Waffles & Cream on pages 416-17 in Dorie Greenspan´s cookbook "Around my French Table".


Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Cottage Cooking Club - Three Green March Recipes


March marks the eleventh month of our international online cooking group, The Cottage Cooking Club. As a group, recipe by recipe, we are cooking and learning our way through a wonderful vegetable cookbook written in 2011 by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, called „River Cottage Everyday Veg“.

The Cottage Cooking Club is meant to be a project aimed at incorporating more vegetable dishes into our everyday cooking, learning about less known, forgotten or heritage vegetables, trying out  new ways to prepare tasty and healthy dishes, and sharing them with family and friends.




The month of March was our Make-up Month, giving all the members of The Cottage Cooking Club the opportunity to re-visit one or more recipes that they truly enjoyed preparing in the past, as well as, or, to prepare some of the dishes that they meant to prepare in the months before but did not get a chance to do so. - This is my small selection of green dishes for the month of March!

There are not a lot of dishes that I did not make before and some of the vegetables are not seasonal right now, so for my first of the three green recipes, I took the opportunity to prepare something that the kids fell head-over-heels for when I made it for the first time last month, the Cheesy peasy puff turnover (page 220) from the chapter „Store-Cupboard Suppers“ with peas and grated and melted cheese. Ever since I made some of the recipes from this wonderful book that call for ready-made puff pastry, I always make sure to have some in the fridge, always.




In order to change things up, this time I made the turnovers with spinach, ramson aka wild garlic (we even have some growing in our garden) and locally produced goat´s  cheese. I came across this amazing cheesemaker who produces artisan, fresh goat cheese a while back and have been going to the cute goat farm ever since. The kids visit the goats while I shop. Who could ask for more.

This version was delicious and it was liked even a bit better by all my devoted taste testers including myself – just showing how versatile the recipes from this book are.





My second recipe was our very favorite salad recipe from the book, the Broccoli salad with asian-style dressing page 316) from the chapter "Mezze & Tapas".




This is broccoli served at its best. With a delightfully fresh dressing of freshly grated ginger, young garlic, rice vinegar, soy sauce and toasted sesame oil, sesame seeds and fresh chives - plus the very first fresh peas of the season (that I steamed together with the broccoli florets) - this was a true spring time treat - we love, love this salad with variations as well. And who could resist adding those sweet fresh peas to the mix - they harmonize so well with the broccoli.




One of the dishes that I am particularly fond of, is also the third one I made again now, the Pasta with greens, garlic and chilli (page 261) from the chapter "Pasta & Rice". I keep repeating that any student should know how to make this. Toss in some slightly wilted spring arugula instead of the winter kale or Savoy cabbage and you will effortlessly have turned a winter pasta dish into a springtime pasta. Such a breeze to prepare with shallots, garlic chilli, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Finish with shaving of your favorite hard cheese to add saltiness. And do not forget to use a fun-shaped pasta, such as the so-called ufo pasta that I used this time. Using different shapes of pasta for the same recipes is always a good idea - keeps all those hungry eateres interested and curious.

Many, many other recipes have become regulars (if I may say so) at our lunches and dinners -  the Spelt salad with squash and fennel (page 72), the Fennel and goat´s cheese (page 102), the Puy lentil and spinach soup (page 162), the Magic bread dough (pages 172-74), the Tomato, thyme and goat´s cheese tart (page 216), the Mushroom risoniotto (page 258), and the Stir-fried cauliflower (page 376) - also top the list – to name but a few.




Please note, that for copyright reasons, we do NOT publish the recipes. If you enjoy the recipes in our series, hopefully, the wonderfully talented and enthusiastic members of The Cottage Cooking Club and their wonderful posts can convince you to get a copy of this lovely book. Better yet, do make sure to join us in this cooking adventure! There is still time, we are „only“ half-way through this amazing book!




For more information on the participation rules, please go here.

To see which wonderful dishes the other members of The Cottage Cooking Club prepared during the month of March, please go here.

Friday, March 20, 2015

French Fridays with Dorie - Côte d`Azur Cure-all Soup


Today´s recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is Côte d`Azur Cure-all Soup, a classic Southern-French healing dish, a soup with egg yolks and lots of garlic. According to Dorie, the basis for this soup is either water or chicken broth. I chose to make a chicken broth. The secret to good chicken soup is oftentimes fiercely guarded, and everyone has their own version. It has a smell that gives us a hit of nostalgia and makes us feel instantly comforted. But there is more to it than nostalgia, though. Broths made from bones are a good source of amino acids, important for bosting our immune systems.




The second step in this recipe is to toss a whole head of garlic (cut into very thin slices) into your stock pot, then add a bouquet garni (fresh sage, bay leaf and thyme) and the chicken soup and let everything simmer along for a good thirty minutes. Then stir together farm fresh egg yolks (about five or six of them) as well as finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano and gradually whisk the egg mixture into your soup.




Everybody loves a warming bowl of soup to pick you up in winter or early spring and, speaking of nostalgia, this soup definitely reminds me of one of my favorite soups of my childhood – sans the garlic though. As a child, I loved to eat chicken soup with an egg yolk – it would always be served piping hot and with the yolk still intact and I loved stirring the yolk into the soup and enjoying the delicious results.




Instead of adding all the thinly sliced garlic to the simmering stock, though, I decided to fry some of the slices in a mild olive oil and added the Garlic Chips with Sea Salt as the garnish to the finished soup – made the soup look nice and added a welcome bit of crunch.




To make this a delicious as well as a satisfying lunch, I also decided to bake some Ramson-Potato-Buns. The dough is made with baked potatoes, farm fresh, thick buttermilk and fresh yeast. I found the first ramson (also known as wild garlic) this week and every year I use as much of it as reasonably possible in my recipes. This seasonal ingredient gives off an incredibly pungent smell in the wild. Unlike common cultivated garlic, it's the leaves that are eaten rather than the bulbs. The taste is more delicate too, similar to the flavor of chives. My favorite dish to create with those lovely dark green leaves is a Ramson and Spring Herb Salad. But I also love to use ransom in my baking and those rolls harmonized so well with this Côte d`Azur Cure-all Soup




There is definitely something restorative and satisfying about this Côte d`Azur Cure-all Soup. It is like nostalgia in a bowl and magic medicine at the same time and we all enjoyed it.

To see whether the other members of the French Fridays with Dorie group enjoyed this week´s recipe, please go here.

For copyright reasons, we do not publish the recipes from the book. But you can find the recipe for this Côte d`Azur Cure-all Soup on pages 70-71 in Dorie Greenspan´s cookbook "Around my French Table".

Ramson-Potato Buns

Ingredients for the Dough

250 grams potatoes (about 2 medium)
250 grams AP (plain) flour, plus some for the work surface
a pinch of fine sea salt
1 tsp sugar
20 grams fresh yeast (or 2 1/2 tsp dry yeast)*
100 ml buttermilk

*2+1/2 tsp (one package) active dry yeast = 18 gm cake fresh yeast
-Carol Field, "The Italian Baker"

Ingredients for the Ramson Butter Filling

100 grams fresh ramson leaves, washed and dried
80 grams soft, unsalted butter
a pinch of fine sea salt

For the glaze

1 egg (M), free range or organic

Additional

a muffin tray for 12 muffins
12 paper liners

Preparation

1. Wrap two potatoes in baking paper, then in aluminium foil and then bake in a pre-heated oven at 160 degrees Celsius/320 degrees Fahrenheit until tender when pierced with a fork (depending on the size of the potatoes, this can take up to one hour). Peel the potatoes while still hot and using a potato ricer (or simply a fork) mash them.
2. In a bowl, mix together the 250 grams flour, salt and sugar. Add the crumbled yeast (or the dry yeast) and the buttermilk and stir well. Add the mashed potatoes to the flour mixture and using the dough hooks of your stand mixer, mix the dough until it comes together. If the dough is extremely sticky, add a bit of flour. Then cover the dough with saran wrap while preparing the ramson butter.
3. Take the stems off the ramson and chop. Mix together the chopped ramson, butter and salt.
4. Line the muffin tray with the paper liners. Knead the dough on your well-floured work surface and roll out to about 30 x 40 cm (11.8 x 15.7 inches). Using an offset spatula, spread the ramson butter across the dough, leaving a border. Roll the dough up from the long side facing you. Cut into 12 slices. Add the slices to the muffin liners. Cover with saran wrap and let rest for about 25 minutes in a warm spot.
5. Using a fork, mix the egg and using a soft pastry brush, brush the buns with the egg.
6. Bake the buns in a pre-heated oven (220 degrees Celsius/425 degrees Fahrenheit) for about 15 to 18 minutes.
7. Cool for a few minutes on a wire rack and enjoy while still warm.