Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Coconut rice

Leftovers - always inspiring for new dishes. So I want to recommend another podcast  (A taste of the past) that I listened to. No recipe from there but it reminded me that we had fantastic savoury coconut rice in the Caribbean part of Costa Rica. So I wanted to try that out. There were a couple of large coconut pieces left, some of the white and red rice, I paired with Zaalouk the day before and some frozen and cooked squid pieces I had from am meal some time ago.
Olive oil
1-2 gloves of garlic
1 large onion
chili to taste

Make your base with olive oil, garlic, onion and chili, add coconut, rice and squid - add water or something else like juice or wine - I added water and a touch of gin which provides an interesting counter point to the coconut. Rum would be great as well

Sunday, June 18, 2017


Hello again, some new input for cooking - finally. I have discovered a new podcast which is about cooking - like the format because it is very entertaining, with good tips and various stuff, paleo, vegan, ketogenic - hadn't even heard this last one before.
So I got inspired by the recipe for Zaalouk, a Moroccon recipe. As I heard in the podcast, these are the ingredients: Garlic, shallots, olive oil, eggplant, diced tomatoes - very ripe or canned -, salt,
turmeric, cumin, paprika, black pepper, cilantro and parsley.
More or less it went like this:
make your base with olive oil, minced garlic and diced shallots, add diced eggplant and let it simmer with a medium low temperature. - It takes some patience because the eggplant needs time to take up the oil and get cooked, maybe even 30 minutes, add the rest and let it simmer for another 10 minutes. With a fork, mash the whole mixture up, so there will still be texture but not large pieces of eggplant
Since I still have frozen eggplant here which I brought from Italy, I took up the idea at once.
Here is what I did:
1 onion
1 cup of wild garlic
olive oil
1 eggplant
1 can of italian cherry tomatoes
chili powder
Zaalouk with home made spelt flour bread and white and red rice with avocado

I was a bit disappointed because it somehow seemed to bland for me, I would have thought that it is more interesting - and I am not talking about spiciness from the chili. Maybe it was the absence of garlic and the wild garlic wasn't strong enough in taste or just not enough, who knows.
So the next day, I cooked it some more, with a little water added, lots more of turmeric and cinnamon. I mashed it some more with a food processor and added a generous sprinkle of lemon.
Next time I would even add more of these spices, maybe roast the cumin in a pan first. However, it is a great vegan  and gluten-free dish to eat with some rice or couscous or use it as a spread on some toasted bread.
For the whole procedure, why don't you listen to this podcast. It is called harvest eating and really worth listening to.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Stew season again

Fall is the right time for soul food like stews. Still with lots of vegetables..
This time I mixed chick peas, fennel and cauliflower.
Start with a large pot and roast onions and garlic in olive oil (like always), add carrots, leek and celery in dices until they have a roasty aroma.
If you wish to add some meat, this is the right time to do so, possibly two or three different kinds of it, otherwise the vegan version is perfectly fine, too.
Fill up with water and add chilies to taste. 
I cooked all the other ingredients separately. It is a little more effort and more to clean up, but this way you have better control of the cooking times and maybe you want to do a different combination next time.
This is what I added to the mix:
Cauliflower, cooked in salt water, about 10 minutes
Chick peas which were soaked in cold water for 24 hours, cooking time about 30 minutes
Pearl barley, about 30 minutes in salt water
Fennel and scallions, diced small, about 10 minutes

In the end, add as much of everything as you like and keep up all your options for different combinations - don't forget: sprinkle with lots of chopped parsley and some grated Pecorino cheese

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Carbonara is easy to make

Spaghetti Carbonara - or in this case Bavette Carbonara is one of those dishes you can throw together in 15 minutes when you arrive home late or don't have much time to cook. Always better to cook yourself than to get some processed convenience food from the supermarket.
The original Carbonara was made with "guanciale - pork cheek", salt, pepper, eggs and pecorino cheese - so no cream is added!!
This is my variety - since I don't always have pork cheek at home, I added diced smoke-dried meat to a small diced onion in a spoonful of olive oil. Roast slowly while waiting for the pasta water to boil. When the pasta is ready, add it directly to the mix in the pan and add two or three eggs directly. Stir the whole mix until the eggs are mixed up with the rest and serve with lots of chopped parsley.

Clementine jelly

I have been to Italy, recently, and brought loads of vegetable and fruit. Sometimes it is easy to exaggerate when you see all the good aromatic stuff, unfortunately in Germany there is much less sun and much more rain. So I had a whole box of clementines which were going to rot (of course also not treated, so they won't last in eternity like those from the supermarket - which is a good sign, of course). Last year - and also this year - I made quince jelly which was great to eat on toast or also with a spicy cheese. So this time it will be clementine jelly:
clementines non treated
jam sugar

Squeeze the clementines and add peel to taste if you like the more bitter variety, the jam sugar indicates the proportion of sugar and juice. I prefer to add less sugar so I usually take the 2:1 version, 2 parts juice, 1 part sugar.
Be sure to have your jars ready, sterilized in hot water.
Boil the juice with the sugar in a pot and stir for about 10 minutes. Then fill them in the jars directly and put the jars on top for about 10 minutes.
Done - great gift also to bring along for friends and family.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Squash and lamb's lettuce

Now there is fall again - squash season. I like to use hokkaido because you don't have to cut off the peel but prefer the taste of butternut.
The important thing about squash is to add flavors - especially spicy ones - otherwise it is too bland for my taste.
Lamb's lettuce is a typical salad of fall season and it has a great earthy taste.  I only buy the German one because the French lettuce is planted in sandy ground and you can even wash it ten times and there will still be that grain of sand which you feel between your teeth at a certain point - a really nasty taste!

For the dressing I roasted red onions cut in dices, adding a spoonful of water and a teaspoon full of raspberry vinegar, give the dressing over the salad when it is still warm, add a sprinkle of lemon and a spoon full of olive oil.

The squash was cut into pieces, adding a chili and some sea salt, roasting it slowly in a pan, adding a little bit of water or white wine.

That's it.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Calf cheek with red Camargue rice, buckwheat, carrots and hokkaido

I am reading lots of vegan blogs and recipes right now. Some time ago it seemed to me that vegan was all about imitating meat and sausages with other ingredients like soja. I still have this memory of school. When we went on our school trip for one week in the north of Germany to an old farm house where we cooked ourselves, one of our teachers was a vegetarian so we had very little meat  we brought along - which didn't really disturb me. However we had some kind of fake meat made of soja which had such a terrible taste (not like meat and not like vegetable but like licorice - really nasty) that I couldn't really understand the idea of eating badly imitated meat products.
Now vegans have really understood how important it is to cook yourself using all the great ingredients which are offered from nature.
I really got great ideas from some of those blogs:
I tried chia pudding which has become one of my favorites, I tried buckwheat and am absolutely flashed by it's taste. Amaranth has been a bit of a delusion until now. I tried to pop it, didn't work out, and somehow these grains are really really tiny. Maybe I will rather stay with quinoa.
More experiments to come.

I still had red Camargue rice which is really good but takes an awful long time to cook, about 40 minutes. Separately I cooked some buckwheat for about 15 minutes. Both together, topped with some roasted cashews have a wonderful nutty taste, you don't even need onions or garlic with it.
Vegetables were roasted carots and hokkaido pumpkin, made in the oven just topped with salt and some pumpkin seed oil.

The meat - veal cheeks - were made like this:
Cut dices of onions, carots, parsley roots, celery and roast altogether in a large pot, add some slices of garlic and wild garlic. After 10 minutes add the calf cheeks and braise until they have a nice dark color on all sides, then slice them up in pieces thick about 1 finger, add tomato juice and wine to taste and continue until the meat is done.