Saturday, 31 March 2012

Pasta with wild garlic sauce

In the last edition of the Jamie Oliver Magazine for Germany there was an article about wild garlic or "Bärlauch" as you call it in German. So I thought I should get some wild garlic. At the moment is also the time to get it in the wild. However, it is not so easy to get it in the wild around here. First you need to know where. Then you need to know how to recognize it from poisonous other plants. I also read somewhere, that it is not so common around here where I live and it is also kindly under protection. So you need to be nice to plants when you find any and don't destroy them, but only take a few leaves from individual plants only. A little respect regards nature is always good.
Anyway I got some wild garlic - not so wild - it was from the supermarket. They sold some cultivated organic wild garlic. So I had a go. Today then I tried this recipe from the magazine.
Here is the wild garlic. Well, it also doesn't look to wild to me. It was just quietly resting there not giving any resistance to the following treatment.
The recipe said to put a large pan on medium heat with some olive oil - and so I did.
While the heat is building up, I chopped two shallots and ...
... of course put them in the pan with the hot oil.
Now there was time to roughly chop the wild garlic and of course you guessed right ...
 ... add them to the pan. Now there is quite some time to do other things. You got 7 minutes. Wait! Not, when it comes to the reading here. This referred to the cooking.
After that you add some pureed tomatoes, a splash of sherry vinegar, enough salt and pepper and you reduce the heat and again there are 10 minutes for other things, like cooking the pasta, because ...
... when the pasta is ready, it joins the other lovely things in the pan. After that, when all is mixed through nicely you can serve it with some Parmesan on top.
What is the final verdict? I expected a bit more from the wild garlic - maybe it would have been better would it have been really wild wild garlic. This now doesn't mean that the dish didn't taste nice. It is still a lovely pasta dish. This time I also took some time to put a small simple salad together. As dessert I had a few fruits - nice and fresh - this all feels like spring, although the day didn't feel like that too much.
Well, coming back to the wild garlic, maybe I get the chance one day to get some wild garlic from the forest - I just need to get more information and keep my eyes open.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Quick meal

Finally all the leftovers are gone. However, It is still possible to have a nice delicious meal in about 5 minutes. Get a pan on high heat. Slice a chorizo sausage and at to the pan and fry for about two minutes. Drain some tinned lentils, add to the pan and cook for one minute. Finally add some sherry vinegar and olive oil. Plate it up and sprinkle some flat-leafed parsley on it. That's all! In Spain this is a tapas dish. You would of course expect more to come afterwards. However, I had some Libanese flatbreads at home and they went together perfectly. This was already enough as a full meal - ok, maybe I could have made a salad to it, but I was to lazy and it wouldn't have been such a quick meal anymore.
As a dessert some vanilly icecream with olive oil. How is that? Sounds strange, but tastes nice. You don't know if you don't have a go!
Well, you don't see the olive oil so good. It all went down, at least most of it.
It's always good to enjoy simple things.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Schaumburg Kochbar - kurz vor 2. Runde / local cooking/recipe contest

Nun sind schon wieder ein paar Tage ins Land gegangen. Bis Samstag kann man noch für die Rezepte unter Schaumburg Kochbar abstimmen. Einige gehen wirklich gut und es wird ordentlich abgestimmt. Es ist also eine ganz harte Konkurrenz. Bis jetzt sieht es also nicht ganz so gut aus. Aber dabeisein ist alles. Es ist trotzdem spaßig. Aber was am Ende nun wirklich rauskommt, kann ich auch nicht sehen. Da müsste man sich nochmal durch alle Rezepte klicken.
Hauptsache ist, dass diejenigen, die sich diese Seite (http://www.kochbarschaumburg.de/alle-rezepte) anschauen auch ordentlich was zu kochen haben, dass also selbst fleißig gekocht wird. Das ist doch was schönes!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Leftover risotto

Somehow it often occurs that I cook more then what can be eaten at one meal. Good, still something left for another day. That means less work at another day. Or you loose an opportunity to cook something new. With some things you have it that they taste better when you eat it at another day. Some kind of coleslaw taste better when they had some time to soak. However, some things are not so nice anymore when you warm it up again - the pasta gets dry, pizza is not very nice and you could go on with the list. A good way then is to make something new. So I had lots of risotto left from Saturday and by the way still have. One way to use it, as I did last time I was in this situation, fill bell peppers with it. This time, though I got a hint from a friend on a forum. I made some risotto cakes, or burgers I would say (that is what they reminded me of). I made some little cakes/burgers of the risotto, dipped them in flour, then egg, and then breadcrumbs. Then fry them in a pan and enjoy it! I liked the resulting crust very much. Maybe if you think further, you get even more ideas.

This is how they look like - topped with salad!
However, it is always good to talk about things. You can get many fine ideas and learn a lot. There is always a different way of doing things. Go for it!

That was really yummy and no big deal. Just because it was so good I like to share it again, this time with the No Waste Food Challenge I am allowed to host this month (March 2014) in behalf of Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

French baking - having a break

Well, it is Sunday again. Time for baking bread. That is normally, but today it didn't work out. I had a different appointment this morning, and therefroe no time for kneading and raising and baking bread. I will have to postpone then until next week. I already have the recipe for garlic bread ready, though. We will see later.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Risotto

My mother never cooked a risotto for me. Risotto is an Italian rice dish that is kind of creamy and oozy. It tastes very nice and like with pasta, you can have it in many different ways. Maybe one or two years ago I made risotto for the first time myself. The start is always the same: you heat up some oil slightly and put a chopped onion and a few celery sticks finely chopped. After 15 minutes or so you add the risotto rice (maybe 500-600 g). It  is a special Italian rice - Arborio is one of it. This kind of rice can absorb the liquid better releases starch better, so we can get this sticky creamy thing we desire. 
Right after that you add about 250 ml of white wine or white vermouth. When most of the alcohol has evaporated you can add chicken or vegetable stock. It's best to have it heated up in a separate pot. One litre would be sufficient. You add the stock ladle by ladle, waiting in between until the rice has absorbed the liquid. You do this until all stock is gone or the rice has the right consistency. 
When this is done you can remove the risotto from the heat, add 100 g of butter a handful of grated parmesan cheese and the special ingredients you want to have in your risotto. Today I had it with 200 g Gorgonzola cheese, 80 g goat cheese, and two apples in small chunks. You can season as well with salt and pepper if you need. All went into the pan and covered with the lit it was left standing for a minute or two so that all can melt nicely - or you say sit.
Time to bring it to the plate. A few lightly toasted walnuts on it and some extra parmesan grated on top.


Well I took the recipe for this risotto from the book "Cook with Jamie" (well it would be one down, if I would try to cook through the whole book). You can find the recipe also here: http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/risotto/apple-walnut-risotto-with-gorgonzola.
This was just one kind of risotto. There is much more to explore.

 Bacon and beans risotto

Tomato and basil risotto

And there are many many more options. Just have a go. You will not regret it. By the way, in Italy risotto is normally not a main course, but a first course, a primo. However, do as you please!

Friday, 23 March 2012

Schaumburg Kochbar / local cooking/recipe contest

Nun muss ich doch mal was auf Deutsch schreiben. Na ja, ich wohn ja immerhin hier in der Gegend. 
(Well, it is all about a contest were you had to send a recipe in. From tomorrow on readers can evaluate the recipes ... and then it goes on somehow. I almost forgot about this. I casually send in a recipe and today I noticed it is only.)
Im Augenblick findet hier bei uns ein Kochwettbewerb oder so was ähnliches statt: http://www.sn-online.de/Themenkanal/Kochen/kochbar/Kochbar-geht-in-die-heisse-Phase.
Da hab ich einfach mal mitgemacht und ein Rezept eingereicht: http://www.kochbarschaumburg.de/component/content/article/95-rezepte/p/98-parmesanhaehnchen.
Man kann die hier (http://www.kochbarschaumburg.de/) hinterlegten Rezepte nachkochen und dann bewerten. Die besten Rezepte kommen dann in die nächste Runde. Da sind so ca. 90 Rezepte (hab mich bestimmt verzählt) - also schon etwas Konkurrenz. Es sind auch so einige interessante Sachen dabei. Mal sehen, was so passiert. Ich muss mir das ganze mal in Ruhe anschauen.

Life is good - is it?

I had a "wonderful" day. The sun was shining as if heading for summer. The only problem - I was on the other side - inside - no chance to enjoy it. When I came home from work it was all almost done. Even no time for cooking. Good thing I still got some leftovers in the fridge - bruschetta with Baba Ghanoush and prosciutto is really nice. I love bruschetta anyway - garlic melting nicely into freshly toasted bread. Life is good?

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Cooking and gardening

To cook something nice depends to a large extent also on your ingredients. Having good quality ingredients can make good meals. Here a good way would be to have things from your own garden. Then it is also possible to get things you hardly can buy at a shop, like for example courgette flowers.
Here, Spring has just started. A few things are already sown or planted in my garden. Today I spotted already the first plants making it's way to the surface. Tiny spinach plants were to be seen. It's always exiting seeing things grow.
This year I have for the first time rhubarb in the garden. I got some crowns from a friend. So I'm also exited how this will develop.
Gardening and cooking really go hand in hand. So, when you have the chance to sow or plant a few things, you will be happy. I also have some things inside the flat on the windowsill. This is also a fine alternative. Somehow I can't go without having some herbs. It's always good to have some fresh herbs at home. You can not go to the shop and buy some all the time.
I will see how things develop this year, whether the windowsills will get crowded again and what produce the garden will bring.

Jamie's Great Britain

Well, here is another cookbook coming my way: Jamie's Great Britain. It was a special offer, so I had no chance but getting it. Now I can have a closer look again at British food. I already got a book on British food, but this will be very interesting. Usually there is a special twist and the recipes work very good and are very tasty.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Stuffed

After more then two hours cooking and waiting the meal was complete. 
As a starter baguette with Baba Ghanoush.
Then Guiness, steak and cheese pie (Recipe by Jamie Oliver).


Finished off with a bit of tiramisu.

Well, a completely mixed meal from different countries, but good and more then enough ...

Baba Ghanoush sort of thing

Do you know Baba Ghanoush. It is an aubergine puree - very delicious. So I just did a kind of this puree, but with a little variation - some kind of a mix in the direction of what they sell at this oriental stalls on the marketplace at market day (costs you a fortune, sort of, when you buy it there).
That's how you do it then. Grab yourself two nice big aubergines and chuck them for 20-25 minutes at 180°C in the oven - turning it from time to time. Meanwhile get yourself 200 g of feta cheese, 100 g of creme fraîche, 2 cloves of garlic roughly chopped, olive oil, salt pepper, some dried tomatoes (depends on your taste how many you like to use - I used some), a bit milk (a splash), some cumin. Put it all in a food processor or liquidizer. When the aubergines are ready, peel them (if you can stand it, do it right away or you have to wait until they cool of a bit). Cut them in chunks and add to the liquidizer. Then do it and have a nice puree. You may have to add some liquid to make it work - maybe more oil or milk.


I had to go a little bit piggy to get all from the liquidizer. It is just to delicious to waste any. What do you do now with it?
Have some nice bread and go ...
Or you can put it between a baguette with some roasted meat or ham on it and maybe some slices of tomato. Yummy yummy! Maybe you have also some lamb available.
Just enjoy it!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Cooking after a full day at work

Sometimes you win and sometimes you win! Would be good to win for a change. How do you feel after a frustrating day at work? Frustrated? Why not!
Well, then, after a full more or less frustrating day at work, a bit of other business, shopping, it's time to be at home again. It's 6:30 in the evening. The dog is already waiting for some attention.


So, first things first and out with the dog in the garden, using already the opportunity to pick some fresh thyme.
After the dog is relieved it is time for ... yes? Time for what? Would it be time for some cooking? Or is it just heating some things up - some fast food?
I find cooking relaxing. Therefore I go for the option to prepare something fresh. I start with the dessert - Quick Tiramisu. Fine, most of the preparation is quick: putting sponge fingers in a bowl, spilling some fresh sweetened coffee over it, mixing mascarpone with sugar, vanilla, liqueur and lemon, and pouring it over the sponge fingers. Then I stop to agree with the term "fast". The recipe says to "grate" chocolate on top - a whole 100 g chocolate. This is the most work part of the whole deal, but still manageable.
Into the fridge goes the Tiramisu. Time to prepare the main dish. In fact originally it is just classed as a tapa: patatas bravas - fried potatoes with a hot sauce. The potatoes are pre-cooked in 15 minutes, while the sauce is prepared: 1 onion, 4 cloves of garlic, 3 fresh chillies, 1 carrot, the thyme from the garden, 1 tin of tomatoes.
When the potatoes are finished with cooking, are drained, and have cooled off, it is time for frying: potatoes into the hot oil - ring, ring - there goes the telephone. Bad timing for a phone call. The caller is asked to call back later.


Just  before the potatoes are finished (about 1 minute) I add some garlic to the pan.
Then it is time to eat. Well, the sauce was somehow not so "brava", but nevertheless it tasted fine. 
The phone goes again. After the call and some cleaning up - three hours later after returning home from work - it is time to do other things, like sitting in front of the computer and typing this ...

Sunday, 18 March 2012

French baking - bâtard with hazelnuts and apricots

Here goes another week. Somehow I can't do anything about it, I have to get up early on Sunday morning and bake bread. This time I took my well used recipe and added chopped up hazelnuts and chopped up dried apricots. They went in after all the major kneading.
However, the kneading was not so easy today. The dough felt so wet and it was very hard to knead it, although I used the same amount of flour and water as the times before. So I had to flour my hands quite a few times. It didn't have any negative effects on the end result, though. 



I was very much satisfied with the raising of the bread. Of course, I was satisfied with the taste as well. I couldn't resist and had to eat a few slices while the bread was still warm. Dangerous! Nevertheless, there is still some of the bread left. I could have it for teatime with some butter and jam, or simply butter, although it tastes quite nice without anything added.
I guess it would be very helpful to have a nice boulangerie nearby, but for that I would need to move long distance.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Attempting to make yoghurt

I like the idea of trying different things and do something with as basic ingredients as possible. Now I read something about making yoghurt. I guess I will have a go. I bought some nice organic milk and some greek yoghurt. However, it will take about 8 to 12 hours to see whether I was successful. 
I need about 900 ml milk and two tablespoons of yoghurt. All needs to be at room temperature. The milk is heated up just to the boiling point and is poured into a non-metal container. Then it all needs to cool down a bit and a skin will form on top (this reminds me of my failed attempt to prepare clotted cream). 
Then the two tablespoons of yoghurt are mixed with two tablespoons of milk and it is added to the lukewarm mixture, taking care that the formed skin on top is not disturbed.
After that the bowl needs to be covered and left for 8 to 12 hours in a warm, dry place until it thickens.
I will see about that!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

French baking - bâtard with Roquefort

I don't know exactly why, but I got up at 5:30 this morning. Well, I couldn't sleep anymore. So I though I start baking bread. Only the first part needs your full attention, maybe 30-40 minutes. In the first step, after mixing the flour, salt, yeast, and luke warm water, I added nice Rouqefort cheese - that is if you like this kind of cheese. Important here was also to use less water, since the cheese adds liquid to the dough as well. Already while kneading the dough to free the gluten, you clearly recognize that you also release the smell of the cheese. I smelled it all the way thnrough the kneading.
The time for the first raising of the dough I could use to go to bed again and try to still sleep a bit. It worked somehow. Anyway, while the dough is raising you can do different things and use the time. Therefore, in fact, you don't need so much time directly for making the bread.
Comig back to the smell of the cheese, you can really "enjoy" it also while the bread is in the oven. My wife, though, did definetly not enjoy it. She said, it smells like dead goat. Well, I guess then, I have most of the bread to myself.


The first taste check was great - I love it. That is most likely because I like all sorts of cheese anyway.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

French baking

Next on my list with baking French bread is pumpkin bread. I guess, however, it is more practical to break with the order in the book and do some other bread instead. At the moment I don't see any shops selling pumpkins and I don't want to wait for that.
There would be the option then to go for bread with hazelnut and apricot or bread with Roquefort cheese. For both I have the ingredients at hand. However, I guess, I will go for the Roquefort one, although the book mentions it is addictive. Well, I also managed to eat one and a half Thyme bread in one evening just by myself. So I will see.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

French baking - bâtard with thyme

This time I want to sleep in a bit on Sunday and decided to make some bread on Saturday. Sometimes I can not understand people who say they don't have time. Today I went out to work a bit in the garden before everyone around me was even out of bed. Well, the sun was out and it was a good opportunity I thought. You simply have to make good use of the time you have then you will also find time to do the things you like.
Anyway, next on my French baking list is bread with thyme. I have some growing in my garden. Although I thought it would not survive the -15°C we had this winter, it is doing fine. So I took some of it to use it in my bread today.
The procedure is always the same when it comes to the bread. For this version you add the thyme during the first kneading when the dough is already taking some shape. Then you have 10 minutes to prepare yourself for 20 minutes kneading. I find this always the hardest part. The rest is mainly letting the dough raise in peace, shaping, raising, shaping, raising ... and, uh, well baking.
Apart from adding thyme to the dough, I try something else, giving the bread a different look. I'm doing just a few cuts before baking with some clean scissors.
The end result you can see here:



Well, I take some nice cheese and a bottle of red wine and have a go for it.