Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Cottage Cooking Club - October Recipes


Today, marks the sixth 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 online cooking group is meant to be a project aimed at incorporating more vegetable dishes in our everyday cooking, learning new ways to prepare tasty and healthy dishes, and sharing them with family and friends.

We will make an effort to use as much local, regional, organic and also seasonal produce as is resonably possible. With that goal in mind, during that month of October, I prepared a few wonderful dishes from the book.

Let us start with a picture of these lovely late summer squash that I came across at one of my favorite farmers´ markets at the beginning of the month – always delighted to find these bright yellow beauties (especially in early October). I grilled them and marinated them, following one of my favorites recipes from the book „Marinated courgettes with mozzarella“ (page 314) -  as a group we prepared that very same recipe in July of this year.




Onto this month´s recipes then. My first recipe for this October post is the „Baby beet tarte tatin" (page 48), from the chapter "Comfort Food & Feasts".




I could not believe my luck when I came across these yellow baby beets in Belgium. I carried them through Antwerp all day long when we visited a few weeks ago and kept thinking about making this wonderful savory tarte with them. The beets have to be roasted in the oven together with some butter, oil, cider vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Then they get covered with puff pastry, and need to be baked for a good 20 minutes. Once you turned the tarte out onto a plate, it is time to prepare the vinaigrette with shallots, Dijon mustrad, cider vinegar, oil, pepper, salt and plenty of chopped fresh parsley. I do not think that there is any savory tart that is more photogenic or more delicious than this one.




The second recipe we enjoyed was the „Warm salad of mushrooms and roasted squash“ (page 94), from the chapter "Hearty Salads".




This is a delightful autumnal salad with lots of flavor and color. I chose one of my favorite squashes for this recipe, the „Butternut squash“ that I roasted with fresh sage from my herb garden. For the mushrooms, I chose some baby portabella mushrooms. My preferred kind of mushrooms.




For the „greens“, I bought some very seasonal lamb´s lettuce, the buttery leaves of that salad go so well with the meaty mushrooms and the slighty salty Pecorino Romano shavings that I used in lieu of the blue cheese (which the kids do not really appreciate). Utter delight on a plate is all I can say.




The third recipe was a soup. I love hearty soups. "Cannellini bean and leek soup with chilli oil" (page 165), from the chapter „Hefty Soups“ is a hearty, yet light enough soup to be served before a main course. Or as a main course with an assortment of breads and rolls alongside.The only qualm I had with this recipe is that my chilli oil did not have that wonderful reddish hue – it tasted nice and spicy but unfortunately the color was a tad pale.




Leeks are so abundant around here these days, making this soup was a really good choice for the month of October. Another plus is that this recipe is so easy to put together – especially since you can use canned white beans. The only advice I have is to use a very well seasoned vegetable stock for this or you might find the finished soup a bit bland, despite the added chilli oil. You can always use Hugh´s recipe for vegetable stock on page 130.




Onto recipe number four, the „Kale and onion pizza“  (page 186), from the chapter "Bready Things".




I made this recipe a while back and used tons of fresh spinach instead of the kale for this – this is our favorite vegetable pizza recipe of all times – you must try this if you have not already done so, you will not regret it, trust us.




Recipe number five this month was „White beans with artichokes“ (page 240), from the chapter "Store-Cupboard Suppers" – more of a non-recipe, so easy to put together using those canned white beans and those wonderful oil-preserved artichoke hearts that are readily available at Italian markets around here.




For the salad part I used more of the beloved seasonal lamb´s lettuce and added some local Belgian endives – there is an endive farm not far from where we live, and I loved using that fresh, slightly bitter salad in this recipe – it paired so well with the artichokes hearts and the creamy beans. To finish off this dish, I used a local goats cheese feta and crumbled it over top – makes me feel good to be able to use so many local and seasonal ingredients for this nice recipe.




Onto recipe number six „Broccoli salad with asian-style dressing“ (page 316), from the chapter "Mezze & Tapas".




So, it was time to pull out that steamer basket again for the broccoli. The dressing which consists of garlic, freshly grated ginger, sugar, rice vinegar, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, sesame seeds, spring onions, sea salt and pepper is actually almost identical to the Asian-inspired coleslaw on page 115 – a salad which I make on a regular basis to accompany Asian foods and which the kids adore. They could not get enough of this very tasty broccoli version – I made it twice this month and plan on making it many times still.




It is Brussels sprouts season, so I made the „Roasted brussels sprouts with shallots“ (page 352), from the chapter "Roast, Grill & Barbecue". What is not to love about this hearty dish – Brussels sprouts and shallots seem to be a match made in heaven, roasted with tons of fresh thyme from my herb garden, lemon juice, freshly ground black pepper, sea salt and olive oil, these tiny cabbages turn into a sweet delight that everyone gobbled up.




Did you know that Brussels sprouts are actually called „Rosenkohl“ (literally meaning „rose cabbage“) in German – funny sometimes how differently the same things can be called in various languages. The first recorded harvest of this lovely autumn/winter vegetable can be traced back to the year 1587 in what was then the Netherlands and is Belgium today.




While I prepared the sprouts, I decided to make the „Roasted cauliflower with lemon and paprika“ at the same time. Almost the same procedure as the above Brussels sprouts – roast the cauliflower florets with lemon juice, pepper, salt, olive oil and a bit of hot smoked paprika.




There are two kinds of this smoked paprika with a rather intense flavor, hot and mild – we liked the spicy kick from the paprika in this dish – overall nice but not quite as nice as the roasted sprouts. But roasting cauliflower is a nice way to prepare this vegetable, no doubt.




Pumpkin and raisin tea loaf“ (page 394) from the chapter of „Sweet Asides“ was my ninth recipe from the October line-up. What would the month of October be without some sweet baked dessert with pumpkin – I used grated „Hokkaido“ also called "red curry squash" for this recipe, no butter, no oil, just Muscovado sugar (form the British shop), four eggs, zest and juice of a lemon, raisins (that I plumped up in some warm apple juice for about thirty minutes), ground natural almonds, self-raising flour (also from the British shop), sea salt, freshly ground cinnamon and nutmeg – I also added two teaspoons of homemade vanilla sugar.




I baked this tea cake in my special so-called „saddle of venison baking pan" („Rehrücken-Backform") – love the shape of that pan. We rather enjoyed this loaf cake with a cup of tea in the afternoon – the kids preferred it with a bit of butter and jam – a nice easy, seasonal tea cake.




To gild the lily and just in case you need further convincing that I am a true life fan of the Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipes and his River Cottage Series, I made two recipes from his latest cookbook called „River Cottage Light & Easy – Healthy Recipes for Everyday“.

The first recipe I made was the „Carrot cornbread“ (page 67), from the chapter „Baking“. I made this easy cornbread with with freshly grated carrots as a side to the above „White beans with artichokes“ – a nice, moist cornbread with just a hint of sweetness from the almond milk and the carrots and what a gorgeous color too. This bread is also great as a side to a hearty winter soup and just plain, dunked in a bit of your favorite oil, such as linseed oil or olive oil.




Then, I just could not pass up the opportunity to prepare another sweet recipe – apart from the Pumpkin and raisin tea loaf. I opted for the very seasonal „Chestnut and almond shortbread“ (page 380), from the chapter „Treats“.




Who would have thought that shortbread with chestnut flour (readily available at Italian markets), wholemeal buckwheat flour, ground almond flour, Muscovado sugar and sunflower oil could taste this delightful – I did add a pinch of ground cinnamon and some vanilla sugar but other than that I stayed true to the original recipe – what a delightful addition to your cookie repertoire and with its crumbly texture and definite nutty taste, a treat that is sure to please even the most discerning cookie lovers.

Chestnut flour is quite popular for sweet as well as savory dishes in France where it is called "farine de châtaigne" and in Italy, where it is known as "la farina di castagne".




If you are looking to reduce your use of wheat flour and dairy ingredients, would like to use new grains and oils – this new cookbook would certainly be worth adding to your Christmas wish list...

Another month full of wonderful recipes- I managed to incorporate all of the above recipes in our regular schedule and was very pleased that the recipes I prepared were received with so much enthusiam and curiosity – I owe another big, fat „Thanks“ to my utterly devoted taste testers and keep enjoying to cook from this cookbook!




Please note, that for copyright reasons, we do NOT publish the recipes. If you enjoy the recipes in our series, hopefully, the Cottage Cooking Club members and their wonderful posts can convince you to get a copy of this lovely 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 October, please go here.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Autumnal Spice Bundt Cake with Sugar Beet Syrup - Herbstlicher Gewürz-Gugelhupf mit Zuckerrüben-Sirup

"Bund“ (German for „a gathering of people“) cakes originated in Europe hundreds of years ago with the "Gugelhupf“ (German) or "Kougelhopf“ (Alsace, France) baking pan, when a baker discovered that if a metal tube was placed in the centre of the pan, the cake cooked more evenly and rose higher than usual. The technique was widely copied and probably taken to America by European immigrants. It was D. Dalquist of Nordic Ware in Minneapolis who created the first aluminium „bundt“ pan in 1950 and added the letter “t“  to the end of „bund“. "Bundt" is now a registered trademark of the company which to this day produces many different kinds of "Bundt" baking pans. But no matter whether you call this lovely cake a „Gugelhupf“, "Kougelhopf" or „Bundt Cake“,  whether you use a more traditional baking pan or a modern fancy one, this humble Autumnal Spice Bundt Cake will undoubtedly steal your heart.
Man sagt, dass es in Europa schon seit hunderten  von Jahren „Gugelhupf“ oder „Kougelhopf“ (wie man diesen Kuchen im Elsass nennt) Backformen und Rezepte gibt. Ein findiger Bäcker hat vor langer Zeit entdeckt, dass ein Kuchen, der mit einem „Kamin“ in der Mitte der Backform gebacken wird, viel besser gar wird, regelmäßiger backt und auch besser aufgeht. Einwanderer haben wohl die Idee einen Kuchen in Gugelhupfformen zu backen mit sich gebracht. Um 1950 hat D. Dalquist von der Firma Nordic Ware in Minneapolis, die ersten Bundformen kreiert, ein „t“ an das deutsche Wort „Bund“ gehangen und seine Backformen danach benannt. „Bundt“ ist bis heute ein eingetragenes Markenzeichen und inzwischen produziert die Firma unzählige wundervolle „Bundtformen“. Aber egal, ob man diesen wunderbaren Kuchen „Gugelhupf“ oder „Kougelhopf“ nennt, ob man ihn in einer traditionellen oder eher einer ausgefallenen, neueren Form backt, dieser Gewürz-Gugelhupf wird sicherlich jedes Herz erfreuen.




Pumpkins and squash might hog the limelight in the month October, but do not forget other seasonal fare. Celebrate the late fall season with lovely warm spices, natural ground almonds, and sugar beet syrup.

This Bundt is baked with my favorite locally produced syrup for extra flavor and moistness. The damp crumb and slightly caramelized crust of this cake will most certainly win your taste buds over. The sugar beet syrup syrup is one of those foods that never goes off – in that regard, it is beyond seasonality and can be stored for long periods without ill effect. Making it a perfect baking ingredient. Around Christmas time, I bake a lot of cookies and cakes using this syrup, it has become an essential flavoring ingredient for all my gingerbread batters, for example.
Im Monat Oktober stehen ja allerlei Kürbisse im Rampenlicht – aber bei all diesen wunderbaren Rezepten, sollte man nicht vergessen, dass es noch jede Menge anderer wunderbarer Zutaten im Herbst gibt.


Dieser Gugelhupf wird mit Zuckerrüben-Sirup gebacken. Dadurch wird der Kuchen innen wunderbar saftig und hat ein leicht süßes Äußeres – sehr überzeugend. Der Zuckerrüben-Sirup (solange er noch nicht geöffnet ist), ist unglaublich lange haltbar und von daher zwar nicht saisonal aber geschmacklich schon, denn er eignet sich nicht nur hervorragend für diesen herbstlichen Kuchen aber auch für mein Lieblings-Weihnachtsgebäck, Lebkuchen.




The syrup has the most wonderful flavor and a rich, dark color. In Germany,  particularly the Rhineland area where we live, this syrup (called „Zuckerrüben-Sirup“),  a cooked and concentrated sugar beet syrup, is often used as a spread for sandwiches instead of butter, as well as for sweetening sauces, cakes and desserts, or as a topping for freshly baked waffles. The syrup itself is very molasses-y in texture, smooth and thick and very sweet. You will typically see this in yellow containers in the honey section of the grocery store, produced by a company called „Grafschafter" (for more details on this company, please go here).

We went to visit the company during harvest time, better watch out while visiting there - the local farmers are quite busy these days delivering their sugar beets to the company for processing.
Der Zuckerrüben-Sirup hat einen ganz einzigartigen Eigengeschmack und eine tolle dunkle Farbe. In Deutschland, besonders im Rheinland wo wir leben, wird der Sirup oft als Brotaufstrich verwendet oder um Saucen, Kuchen und Nachtische zu süßen. Man kann ihn natürlich auch zu Reibekuchen und Waffeln reichen. Die Konsistenz des Sirups erinnert an Melasse (mir der ich immer In Nord-Amerika gebacken habe). Im Geschäft findet man die gelben Dosen von „Grafschafter“ meist neben dem Honig und der Marmelade. Wer mehr über die Firma „Grafschafter“ erfahren möchte, kann ja mal hier nachschauen.

Wir haben die Firma besucht und da gerade Erntezeit war, musste man schon ziemlich aufpassen, denn die Bauern der Gegend haben unerlässlich ihre Traktoren mit den Zückerrüben-Anhängern zur Weiterverwertung auf das Firmengelände gesteuert.




If you cannot get this syrup in your area, you can always substitute molasses. Molasses is a sticky and thick by-product of sugar cane or sugar beet processing. Its taste and texture resembles that of honey. Aside from sugar cane and beets, it can also be made from grapes, dates, pomegranates, mulberries, and carob. It is made by extracting the juice of the sugar cane through crushing or mashing. The juice is then boiled to make a concentrate and to crystallize the sugar.

I have tried this recipe using molasses (called "Zuckerrohr-Melasse") as well as sugar beet syrup. They work equally well and the finished cakes varied only slightly in flavor, the sugar beet syrup taste is a bit less prominent than the molasses in the finished cake.
Wenn man keinen Zuckerrüben-Sirup im Laden findet, kann man auch gerne Melasse nehmen. Melasse ist eine dickflüssiges Nebenprodukt bei der Zuckerrüben-Sirup-Herstellung. Oft findet man auch Zuckerrohr-Melasse (im Bio-Laden), oder Trauben-, Dattel-, Granatapfel-, Maulbeer-, oder Johannisbrot-Melasse (eher im Mediterranen Laden zu finden).

Als ich dieses Rezept ausprobiert habe, habe ich den Kuchen mit Zuckerrüben-Sirup sowohl als auch Melasse ausprobiert. Der Kuchen gelingt mit beiden Zutaten gleich gut und geschmacklich fand ich den Sirup etwas zurückhaltender als die Melasse. Persönlich finde ich, dass beide Versionen wunderbar schmecken.




Aumnal Spice Bundt Cake with Sugar Beet Syrup

Ingredients for the Bundt Cake:
  • 280 grams (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 180 grams (1 cup) packed light brown sugar (I used "Muscovado" sugar, an unrefined brown sugar)
  • 200 grams (1 cup) fine baking (caster) sugar
  • 75 grams (3/4 cup) powdered sugar plus some for dusting the baked cake
  • 4 tbsps sugar beet syrup or molasses (I used my favorite local sugar beet syrup called „Grafschafter“)*
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 3 eggs (L), free range or organic
  • 5 egg yolks (L), free range or organic
  • 350 grams (2 1/3 cups) AP (plain) wheat flour
  • 125 grams (1 1/4 cups) natural almonds**
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp  ground allspice
  • 3/4  tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (organic, please)
  • 1 cup milk, room temperature (I used 3.5%)
  • *NOTE: Sugar Beet Syrup is the pure, natural juice of freshly harvested cooked sugar beet carefully concentrated under vacuum - without added ingredients and without chemical treatment. Much like molasses, it can also be used as a sandwich spread, for sweetening sauces, desserts and as a baking ingredient.
  • ** NOTE: Cakes with ground almonds keep well, usually 3 to 5 days. They tend to become more moist over time and are at their best 1 to 2 days after making.
Herbstlicher Gewürz-Gugelhupf mit Zuckerrüben-Sirup

Zutaten für den Gugelhupf
  • 280 Gramm ungesalzene Butter, Zimmertemperatur
  • 180 Gramm brauner Zucker (ich nehme immer „Muscovado-Zucker, erhältlich im Bio-Laden)
  • 200 Gramm feinster Zucker
  • 75 Gramm Puderzucker, gesiebt –und ein wenig für den fertigen Kuchen
  • 4 EL Zuckerrüben-Sirup oder Melasse (ich nehme immer „Grafschafter“ aus der Region)*
  • eine Vanilleschote
  • 3 Eier (L), Freiland-Haltung oder Bio
  • 5 Eigelbe (L), Freiland-Haltung oder Bio
  • 350 Gramm Weizenmehl (Type 405 oder 550)
  • 125 Gramm ungeschälte Mandeln**
  • 2 TL Weinstein-Backpulver
  • 1 Tl feines Meersalz
  • 1 ½ TL frisch geriebene Muskatnuss
  • 1 ½ TL gemahlener Zimt (ich nehme immer Ceylon Zimt)
  • 1 TL Piment
  • ¾ TL gemahlener Ingwer
  • ½ gemahlener schwarzer Pfeffer
  • ½ TL gemahlenen Nelken
  • 1 TL geriebene Zitronenschale (Bio)
  • 250 ml Milch, Zimmertemperatur
  • *HINWEIS: Zuckerrüben-Sirup wird ohne Zusatzstoffe hergestellt und wird oft wie Melasse verwendet. Man kann mit den übriggeblieben Sirup (kühl lagern) auch Kekse backen, Gerichte süßen und vieles mehr.
  • **HINWEIS: Kuchen, die geriebene Mandeln enthalten, sind saftig und lassen sich gut ein paar Tage aufbewahren. Sie werden auch am zweiten Tag meist noch etwas leckerer, da man dann die Gewürze umso mehr schmeckt.



Special equipment needed
  • A 26 cm (10") diameter nonstick Gugelhupf (Bundt) pan

Preparation of the Bundt
  1. Arrange a rack in middle of your oven and preheat to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degress Fahrenheit).
  2. Thoroughly brush your bundt pan with melted butter, then flour and tap out the excess flour. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, sugars and molasses, frequently scraping down sides and bottom of bowl and beaters, until light and fluffy, about five minutes.
  4. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean. Cream some more. NOTE: Keep the bean for making homemade vanilla sugar.
  5. Pulse flour and almonds in a food processor until almonds are finely ground. Transfer to a large bowl. Whisk in baking powder and next seven ingredients. Set aside.
  6. Mix in lemon zest. Add eggs and yolks one at a time, beating to blend between additions; beat mixture until fluffy, about three minutes.
  7. Reduce speed to low. Add half of dry ingredients; mix until almost blended. Add milk and mix until almost blended. Add remaining dry ingredients; mix until batter is blended and smooth. Scrape into prepared pan. Tap pan gently on counter to even out.
  8. Bake until a tester inserted near the center of cake comes out clean and cake is dark golden brown and has begun pulling from sides of pan, 65-70 minutes.
  9. Transfer pan to a wire rack. Let cake cool in pan for 25 minutes. Invert cake onto rack and let cool completely, about one hour.
  10. Dust cake lightly with powdered sugar just before serving.
Außerdem
  • Eine 26 cm große Gugelhupf-Backform

Zubereitung des Gugelhupfs
  1. Den Ofen auf 180 Grad (160 Grad Umluft) vorheizen.
  2. Die Gugelhupf-Backform mit geschmolzener Butter ausstreichen und mit Mehl ausstreuen. Das überschüssige Mehl 
  3. herausklopfen. Beiseite stellen.
  4. In einer großen Rührschüssel die Butter, die drei Sorten Zucker und den Sirup so lange rühren, bis die Masse hell und schaumig ist, zirka fünf Minuten. 
  5. Dann die Vanillebohne auskratzen und zu der Buttermasse geben. Weiter rühren. HINWEIS: die ausgekratzte Schote für selbstgemachten Vanillezucker verwahren. 
  6. Die Mandeln zusammen mit dem Mehl in der Küchenmaschine mahlen, solange bis die Mandeln fein sind. In eine große Schüssel geben und mit den nächsten sieben Zutaten gut mischen. Beiseite stellen.
  7. Die geriebene Zitroneneschale hinzu geben. Ganze Eier und Eigelbe nacheinander hinzugeben und jeweils gut unterrühren, dann die ganze Masse noch zirka drei Minuten weiterrühren.
  8. Den Mixer langsamer stellen. Die Hälfte der Mehlmischung unter die Buttermasse rühren, dann die Milch hinzu geben, dann den Rest der Mehlmischung. Nur solange rühren, bis der Teig homogen ist. Den Teig in die vorbereitete Backform geben, damit ein paar Mal auf der Küchentheke aufklopfen um etwaige Luftbläschen zu eliminieren.
  9. Solange backen bis der Kuchen eine goldbraune Farbe hat und kein Teig mehr an einem Holzstäbchen klebt. Der Kuchen braucht ungefähr 65 bis 70 Minuten.
  10. Dann auf einem  Kuchenrost auskühlen lassen, ungefähr 25 Minuten. Dann erst aus der Form nehmen, da der Kuchen sonst bricht. Ganz auskühlen lassen, dauert ungefähr eine Stunde.
  11. Mit Puderzucker bestreuen und servieren.



This Autumnal Spice Bundt Cake with Sugar Beet Syrup is anything but boring. It is quite perfect with that cup of tea or coffee as an afternoon treat or even for a decadent breakfast slice.This humble cake with its divine smell, beautiful damp crumb and slightly caramelized crust really won over my heart.
Dieser Herbstliche Gewürz-Gugelhupf mit Zuckerrüben-Sirup ist kein keineswegs langweilig. Geradezu geschaffen für den Nachmittagstee – oder Kaffee. Zum Frühstück schmeckt es auch geradezu vorzüglich. Dieser bescheiden anmutende Kuchen mit seinem himmlischen Geruch, saftigem Inneren und appetitlicher Kruste hat es mir und allen anderen Geschmackstester wirklich angetan.




Enjoy baking an autumnal cake with warm spices, ground almonds and sugar beet syrup (or molasses) - baking at this time of year can be very versatile, fun and delicious - love those warm colors and flavors!


For more information about:
  • the different kinds of Nordic Ware bundt baking pans, go here.
  • a selection of German Gugelhupf baking pans, go here.
  • the sugar beet syrup and the company that produces it, go here.
  • the German spice merchant that will arrange delivery of all these lovely spices to your doorstep, go here.
Also, Backen im Herbst ist unschlagbar wenn man frische Gewürze, gemahlene Mandeln und Zuckerrüben-Sirup (oder Melasse) dabei verwendet – da werden jede Mange wundervolle Erinnerungen wach.


Für mehr Informationen über:
  • das Sortiment an „Bundtformen“ von Nordic Ware, hier klicken
  • eine Auswahl an deutschen Gugelhupf-Backformen, hier klicken
  • Grafschafter Zuckerrüben-Sirup, hier klicken
  • einen deutschen Gewürzhändler, der die frischen Gewürze direkt nach Hause schickt, hier klicken


Friday, October 17, 2014

French Fridays with Dorie - Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes with Garlic


Today´s recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is „Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes with Garlic“, a nice autumnal side-dish or starter.




All that is required for this recipe is the following: peel the Jerusalem artichokes, then cut them into quarters. Place them in an oiled pie plate and roast them together with a few sliced garlic cloves, salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme until golden. After about 20 to 25 minutes they will have softened up nicely and you can turn them once. Continue roasting for another 15 to 20 minutes to crisp the artichoke quarters, then serve straight away.

We think Dorie´s "Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes with Garlic" go well with both meat and fish but they are particularly good as part of a plate of mixed antipasti. That´s how we enjoyed them - quite a bit, actually.




Jerusalem artichokes (lat.Helianthus tuberosus) or "Topinambur" as we call them in German, are not to be confused with globe artichokes. They are also known as "sunchokes" in North America. These rather lumpy, brown-skinned tubers often resemble a ginger root. Contrary to what the name implies, this vegetable has nothing to do with "Jerusalem" but is derived instead from the Italian word for sunflower, "girasole". Jerusalem artichokes belong to the sunflower family.

The white flesh of this vegetable is nutty, sweet and crunchy and is a good source of iron. It is the plant’s small knobbly underground tubers that are eaten. These tubers are compatible with many flavorings such as sage, bay leaves, thyme and rosemary, to name but a few.

Jerusalem artichokes can be cooked in much the same way as potatoes or parsnips and are excellent roasted, sautéed or dipped in batter and fried, or puréed to make a delicious soup, such as cream of Jerusalem artichoke soup. Once you have peeled them (works best with a small teaspoon), drop them into acidulated water until you are ready to use them because the flesh discolors quickly. And remember to keep an eye on them while cooking as they can turn to mush quite quickly.




To see how much the other members of the French Fridays with Dorie group enjoyed this recipe, please go here.

For copyright reasons, we do not publish the recipes from the book. But you can find the recipe for the “Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes with Garlic“ on page 353 in Dorie Greenspan´s cookbook "Around my French Table".



Sunday, October 5, 2014

Stevan Paul´s new Cookbook & Fried Semolina Slices - Stevan Pauls "Auf die Hand" & Gebratene Grießschnitten


About two months ago,  I wrote a rather lengthy blogpost about a cookbook that is close to my heart. It is called "German vegetarian cuisine". For this book, Katharina Seiser and Stevan Paul re-discovered traditional German recipes and interpreted them from a vegetarian point of view. (You can take a look at my blogpost from August 17th here).
Today, I would like to add a little update to that blogpost with these delightful " Fried Semolina Slices with Rhubarb Compote", you can find the recipe on page 48 of the book.
Vor zwei Monaten hatte ich bereits einmal ausführlich über das Buch "Deutschland vegetarisch" berichtet. Katharina Seiser und Stevan Paul entdecken dort klassische deutsche Gerichte ganz neu für die moderne vegetarische Küche. (Hier geht es zu meinem Post vom 17. August.)
Heute möchte ich noch ein kleines Update nachreichen: "Gebratene Grießschnitten mit Rhabarberkompott", zu finden im Buch Seite 48. 




This recipe can be found in the chappter entitled "spring". In line with that lovely season, the recipe is prepared with fresh rhubarb and cherry juice. Since rhubarb is one of those veg (!) that takes well to a stay in the freezer, and cherry juice is available year round, you can actually prepare this recipe any time really. When I prepared the compote, I took the liberty of adding sweet cherries along with the cherry juice, other than that, no changes to the recipe. Delicious.
Seiser und Paul ordnen die Grießschnitten im Kapitel "Frühling" ein. Entsprechend dieser Jahreszeit werden für das Kompott frischer Rhabarber und Kirschsaft verwendet. Da Rhabarber sich jedoch sehr gut einfrieren lässt und Kirschsaft immer verfügbar ist, kann man auch im Rest des Jahres nach diesem leckeren Rezept kochen. Lediglich ein paar Süßkirschen habe ich dem Kompott noch hinzugefügt. Lecker.




Semolina slices, no matter which way they were cut, and what they were served with that day, were always considered to be a "main course" by my grand-mother. Today, you would probably serve them for dessert instead and go for a more savory lunch or diner. Sometimes when I look around me it seems as if the only "sweet lunch" that is being served all over Germany, are the ubiquitous pancakes. When my kids go to their friends´ houses and happen to have lunch there, most of the times it consists of either pancakes with apple compote and that rather well-known Italian hazelnut spread or noodles
Grießschnitten, in welcher Form und mit welchen Beilagen auch immer, waren noch zur Zeit meiner Großmutter ein "süßes Hauptgericht", also ein komplettes Mittagessen. Heutzutage werden die süßen Sachen in der Regel zum Nachtisch serviert, während als Hauptgang eher etwas deftigeres gekocht wird. Das einzige Menü, das sich in Deutschland flächendeckend als süße Hauptspeise erhalten zu  haben scheint, ist der unvermeidliche Pfannekuchen. Jedes zweite Mal, wenn unsere Kinder bei Freunden zum Essen zu Besuch sind, kommen entweder Pfannkuchen mit dem bekannten italienischen Haselnussaufstrich oder mit Apfelmus, oder Nudeln auf den Tisch.




How commendable then for Seiser and Paul to present these sweet main courses actually as full meals again - giving them the attention they deserve at the lunch tables. And I must admit that if you serve a fruity compote alongside the semolina slices, you will not regret having made a sweet lunch for a change.  
Wie lobenswert daher der Ansatz von Seiser und Paul, der süßen Hauptspeise wieder einen angemessenen Platz auf dem Mittagstisch zuzuweisen. Und mit dem leckeren Kirsch-Rhabarber-Kompott wird tatsächlich eine wirklich leckere und vollwertige Mahlzeit daraus.




But the semolina slices are not only suited for the lunch table, they are also wonderful served as dessert or with a cup of your favorite tea or coffee in the afternoon. I have made them a few times since receiving the book and sometimes I serve them with the Apple-Pear-Compote (the recipe can be found on page 152) or other seasonal fruits and berries.
Aber nicht nur zur Mittagsmahlzeit eignen sind die Grießschnitten, auch zum Nachtisch oder am Nachmittag machen sie eine gute Figur. Wir haben sie schon mehrmals gegessen, serviert nicht nur mit dem Kirsch-Rhabarber-Kompott, sie passen auch hervorragend zu Apfel-Birnen-Kompott (selbes Buch, S. 153) oder einem anderen Obst der Saison.




On October 23rd, Stevan Paul (recipes and reportages) and Daniela Haug (photography) will present Paul´s latest cookbook, entitled "Food eaten with your hands - sandwiches, burger & toasts, fingerfood and evening fare " (forgive the free translation) in my lovely hometown Cologne. In this new book, due to be released tomorrow October 6th (!), Stevan Paul interprets classic streetfood-fare for homecooks like myself. I am anxious to see how Stevan Paul will present streetfood so we can cook authentic streetfood at home. The new book will be presented in Cologne as part of an evening of music and streetfood. There will not only be the presentation of the new book but also food trucks so that the visitors will be able to taste some of the food that was the inspiration for the recipes in this book. I count myself lucky to be able to attend the evening as tickets were sold out in less than an hour.

In the meantime, while waiting for my book to arrive tomorrow and to get in the mood for the evening, I am happy to watch and share this lovely video. Enjoy!

Wishing Stevan Paul the best of luck for the launch of his new cookbook tomorrow!
In Köln wird am 23. Oktober das neue Buch von Stevan Paul (Rezepte und Reportagen) und Daniela Haug (Fotos) vorgestellt: "Auf die Hand - Sandwiches, Burger & Toasts, Fingerfood & Abendbrote".
Stevan Paul interpretiert hier internationale Streetfood-Klassiker für die heimische Küche. Ich bin gespannt, wie Paul die Rezepte "der Straße" so aufbereitet, dass man auch zu Hause authentisches Streetfood servieren kann.
Das Buch, welches morgen, am 6. Oktober (!) erscheint, wird in Köln im Rahmen eines abendlichen Streetfood-Festivals vorgestellt, bei dem einige Köchinnen und Köche mit ihren Garküchen und Streetfood-Trucks die Gerichte servieren, die als Inspiration für Paul und Haug dienten. Ich hatte das Glück, zwei der raren Karten zu ergattern und freue mich schon sehr auf diese Veranstaltung.

Bis dahin erfreue ich mich an dem Video, das auf das Buch einstimmen soll. Ich finde es gut gelungen und deshalb ist es hier auf meinem Blog zu sehen.

Das Glück liegt in der Tat auf der Hand!

Stevan Paul wünsche ich viel Glück zu der morgigen Buchveröffentlichung!




Saturday, October 4, 2014

French Fridays with Dorie - Celery-Celery Soup


Today´s recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is „Celery-Celery Soup“, a lovely fresh dish, inspired by a recipe from the Paris bistro "Les Papilles". The soup pairs celery stalks as well as celeriac, hence the name of the soup.




Celeriac, is a large, knobbly root vegetable, the base of the stem of certain types of celery. It is from the celery family and tastes quite similar, but has a slightly nutty, milder and sweeter taste. To prepare celeriac, peel it like a potato, rinse and keep in acidulated water until ready to use to prevent it from discoloring. It can be roasted, boiled and mashed, steamed, made into soup or used to flavor stocks. And it is perfect for making vegetable chips.




For the soup, melt the butter in a large Dutch oven, add the celery, onions and apples, season with salt and pepper and cook for about five minutes. Add the celeriac cubes, bay leaf, and thyme. Add the hot homemade chicken or vegetable stock to the pot, cover with a lid and cook for thirty minutes. Pour the mixture into a blender and blitz until smooth. Pour the soup into a lovely vintage soup tureen and garnish with toppings of choice such as curried croutons (as per Dorie) or homemade crisp celeriac chips and crème fraîche as well as some fresh cress (as per myself).




This easy celery soup recipe is surprisingly elegant and was received very favorably by most of my devoted taste testers. 

Because the vegetables are very slowly cooked, this soup has lots of lovely flavors. We really enjoyed the combination of the two types of celery as well as the addition of the two cooking apples to the soup - the celery stalks have a bright flavor, the celeriac added a bit of nutty flavor and the apples lend a bit of sweetness to the final dish.  A little touch of thick crème fraîche and fresh, homemade crispy celery chips will not go amiss here. Celery was definitely the star of the show here.

To see how much the other members of the French Fridays with Dorie group enjoyed this recipe, please go here.

For copyright reasons, we do not publish the recipes from the book. But you can find the recipe for the “Celery-Celery Soup“ on page 65 in Dorie Greenspan´s cookbook "Around my French Table".


Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Cottage Cooking Club - September Recipes


Today, marks the fifth 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 online cooking group is meant to be a project aimed at incorporating more vegetable dishes in our everyday cooking, learning new ways to prepare tasty and healthy dishes, and sharing them with family and friends.

We will make an effort to use as much local, regional, organic and also seasonal produce as is resonably possible. With that goal in mind, during that month of September, I prepared a few wonderful dishes from the book.

Let us start with a picture of these purple beans, called "Blauhilde" (literally meaning „blue Hilda“), a heritage bean variety that was planted and harvested at a non-commercial garden specializing in heritage plants and crops. Although these beans loose some of their lovely purple color during cooking, they were delicious and I am always incredibly delighted when I find rare veg like these.




Onto this month´s recipes then. My first recipe for this September post is the „Fennel and goat´s cheese" (page 102), from the chapter "Raw Assemblies".




I chose to make this dish as a starter because there is still tons of fresh, crisp and wonderfuly fragrant fennel available around here.




For this recipe you have to slice the fennel very thinly and let it macerate for a good thirty minutes with freshly squeezed lemon juice, mild olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. After the fennel had a chance to rest for a good thirty minutes, the slices will be a bit softer, yet still crunchy and fresh. You will have to taste the dish and add more seasonings …




…and maybe finish it with a scattering of fennel fronds and a bit more oil. I also opted for some freshly grated organic lemon zest to wake up the fennel even more. We love fennel and lemon, so we really enjoyed the anisseed flavor of this dish and appreciated the crunchiness of the raw fennel together with the tanginess of the lemon juice and the zest – this dish is even bette when prepared with a rather mild olive oil – so the flavors of the vegetables rather than that of the olive oil shine through.




The second recipe is a very colorful salad recipe, the „Fish-free salad nicoise“ (page 85), from the chapter "Hearty Salads".




Having made salade Nicoise before, I was curious to see whether we would enjoy this tuna free version as much as the original. Hugh´s version calls for new potatoes, French beans (I used yellow as well as green ones), eggs (of course, those farm-fresh ones are best here), lettuce (I opted for burgundy and green oak-leaf salad), olives, basil (for extra flavor, I added basil blossoms as well) and tomatoes (I used small yellow and red ones and those wonderful zebra tomatoes as well).




The thick and tangy dressing consists of a bit of crushed garlic, olive oil, cider vinegar, dijon mustard and some runny honey. As this is quite a substantial salad with lots of late summer veg and a hearty dressing, I can tell you that no one missed the tuna in this dish. We loved this recipe.




The third recipe I chose was „Roasted Squash“ (page 346) from the chapter "Roast, Grill & Barbecue".




Now, the hardest part about this recipe was deciding which variety of pumpkin to use for this – I settled on the hokkaido pumpkin with ist glorious bright orange color – when you roast or bake or cook hokkaidos, you can leave the skin on, making the preparation time even shorter and the recipe even more of an everyday kind of recipe.




Cut the pumpkin into wedges, drizzle with olive oil, add salt and pepper and a couple of fat garlic cloves, scatter everything on a parchment lined baking sheet and your are all set.

I chose to add a few French shallots and a few sprigs of rosemary and thyme and could not have been happier with the outcome. Except to add a few leftover cubes of the pumpkin to a wheatberry salad the next day.




Recipe number four this month – now there is my absolute September favorite, the „Mushroom risoniotto“ (page 258) from the chapter "Pasta & Rice".




Quicker and easier to cook than rice, „risoni“ (or orzo) is a tiny rice-shaped pasta that is indeed quite charming but it took me a while to find it in stores around here. But I am certainly glad that I persisted and made this lovely, autumnal mushroom risoniotto with baby portabella mushrooms, they have a robust meaty texture, perfect for the rich mushroom ragout that gets added to the cooked pasta.




The risoni needs to boil for about nine minutes or until the pasta is approaching softness. But it should retain a certain bite. While the pasta is bubbling away, you will be preparing the mushroom ragout with your choice of mushrooms, garlic, thyme, balsamic vinegar, white wine, double cream, salt, pepper and lots of chopped flat-leafed parsley. I chose to add a few finely sliced spring onions along with the garlic – they are so abundant right now and they always add such a wonderful mild onion flavor. What a delicious side dish – we loved everything about it, the taste, the texture of the risoni, the meatiness of the mushrooms, and the creaminess from the double cream – perfect with lots of chopped parsley.




The fifth recipe for this month was a lovely soup, the „Puy lentil and spinach soup“ (page 162) from the chapter „Hefty Soups“. I have prepared the famous French Puy lentils before and written about their virtues – suffice it to say now that they are earthy and nutty and hold their shape incredibly well when cooked.




This soup is quite similar to the kind of lentil soup I prepare – but sans bacon and sausages. The base is a wonderful homemade vegetable stock. Other than the stock, the ingredients for the lentil soup itself are shallots, carrots, thyme, garlic, tomatoes, Puy lentils, Italian parsley, salt, pepper and baby spinach.




A perfect light soup, yet hearty enough to satisfy even the hungriest of taste testers the day I made it  – especially when served with a nice loaf of bread – I really liked the addition of the tomatoes, giving the soup a very nice layer of acidity. The addition of the fresh baby spinach at the very end also added a nice layer of flavor and some richness as well, a very nice touch. Just before serving, I garnished the soup with shaved parmesan and a good drizzle of my favorite mild olive oil  – perfect.




The next recipe was entirely new to me. I had never prepared „Cauliflower pakoras with tamarind raita“ (page 318), from the chapter „Mezze & Tapas“.




The batter for this intriguing appetizer consists of gram flour, baking powder, ground cumin, corinander, turmeric and cayenne pepper, plus some fine sea salt.  It had the most delightful warm color. It is true what they say about gram flour varying greatly. I used some organic one which I have used for pancakes before and I know from experience that it seems to need more liquid than the regular gram flour available around here – so I ended up adding more water to the batter than the recipe called for – I just went by the description of the batter having to have a consistency of „double cream“. And I fried a few „test florets“.




Fried like this in a very tasty batter and served warm with a cool mango chutney raita – this was a true crowd pleaser indeed. As I could not find the tamarind paste, I went with the optional mango chutney - a cool, tangy yet slighty sweet dip - wonderful alongside the warm, spicy fried cauliflower pakoras.




The seventh recipe this month was a wonderfully fragrant side-dish of „Runner beans with tarragon and lemon“ (page 375).




So many beans still available around here – I must admit to serving quite a few of them during this time of year. I really liked the preparation method for these. You simply sweat some shallots, add garlic and beans and sweat some more. Then after ten minutes you add a bit of water and cook for a few minutes until the beans are done but still hold their shape.




The recipe gives you a choice of using either „runner beans“ or the more widely available „French beans“ . In general, runner beans are stronger in flavor and coarser in texture than green beans and I used French beans for this recipe. The final touch is lemon juice, salt, pepper, and tarragon. Often used in French cooking this herb has long, soft green leaves and a distinctive aniseed flavor – love it.




Last but certainly not least, I prepared the „Two veggie sarnies“  (page 195) from the chapter "Bready Things".




These are two kinds of sandwiches served on two kinds of bread. The first one is a „Mushroom, watercress and blue cheese“ sandwich that I prepared as per recipe except I used goat´s cheese instead of the blue cheese and rocket instead of the watercress – both these greens have a pungent, peppery taste but the watercress did not look all that good when I was shoppping for it. I used a wonderful, moist rye bread. Great, hearty sandwich with a lot of flavor.




The second sandwich is a „Curried egg, lentil and flat-leaf parsley“ sandwich that I prepared with a lovely mulit-grain bread. What a great way to use those left-over lentils from the Puy lentil and spinach soup and add them together with eggs, mayo, curry powder, parsley, salt and pepper to make a wonderful topping for sandwiches – a bit messy but quite delicious.




What a month full of wonderful recipes- I managed to incorporate eight out of ten in our regular dinner/lunch schedule and was pleased as punch that all of the recipes received glowing reviews – love cooking from this unique cookbook!

Please note, that for copyright reasons, we do NOT publish the recipes. If you enjoy the recipes in our series, hopefully, the Cottage Cooking Club members and their wonderful posts can convince to get a copy of this lovely 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 September, please go here.