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.

Black lentil salad

Black lentils are great and have an excellent taste. I ate them for the first time at a festivity in a restaurant. 
I don't know their recipe, I like to combine different tastes, in this case spicy, sweet and sour.

Black lentils - amount depends on your plans, for a starter calculate about 50 g per person, I added chilies, grated orange peel, wild garlic leaves and salt.
Don't cook them in too much water, they will loose their beautiful black color. Instead make a little "soffrito"and add water slowly until they are cooked as you like them. Then add your other ingedients.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Nearly vegan curry

I still have been cooking but not posting about it - a first this year. I hope I can go back to blogging about food again. I was very busy with our B-Litter and with our other three giants among whom there are two quite stubborn teenagers who need a lot of training and discipline.

I have been to an Indian restaurant these days and got a great curry. Very nice, go visit them when you are in the region.  It is called Suriya and is situated in Ludwigsburg, South Germany. We forgot to tell them precisely if we wanted mild, hot or very hot.. So we got the mild version. I said then that I would have liked to have some spice and got an extra sauce for conditioning. They didn't fail to tell me to be very cautious because it is extremely hot. In fact it was but mixing I got just the right taste.
So I wanted to try make a curry myself. Actually, reading all over the internet, there are so many recipes that it is difficult to choose.

This is where I got the basic idea:

Suggested/ what I made:
2 table spoons of peanut butter / ok
15 g butter/ had none put none
1 large onion, diced/ ok
1 table spoon of fresh sliced ginger/ had none, will put it next time however
2 table spoons of sliced garlic/ put one garlic clove, should be enough
1 tea spoon of cinnamon/ ok
1 tea spoon of black pepper/ actually I forgot it, but I prefer chili
2 table spoons of ground coriander/ ok
2 table spoons of cumin/ ok
1/4 tea spoon of turmeric/ ok
2 tomatoes/ had only cherry tomatoes but leftover tomato juice, about 1/4 liter
1 tea spoon of cayenne/ dried chilis
2 red chilis without seeds/ more dried chilis
2-4 table spoons of fresh coriander herbs/ I put only 1 tea spoon. In my opinion too much coriander herbs can destroy a whole dish. Got once an otherwise great ceviche in Costa Rica which was so full of it that it was really a pity for the taste of the fresh fish.
110 g yogurt/ I put 150 g of yogurt
680 ml water/ since I put tomato juice I didn't add any water

Next time I will add the ginger, roast the spices in a pan before adding them and make lots more of this curry, so I can freeze it for next time.

The curry sauce goes well with this combination: sliced avocado - avocado is always good - roasted banana and mango, whole grain rice with chick peas and yogurt with sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
Yogurt seems to be served quite often as a side with Indian dishes and it seems it is to take away the hot feeling of the chilis and cayenne, works really good!
If you use a dairy-free yogurt for the sauce and side dish you have a vegan, yummy and nutrient meal!
For my restart I want to add a nice youtube music video which goes well with the dishes every time now. So India - there must be lots of different kinds of music but I am not really into them.
This one  is from an older movie, very nice scenes and dance, music starts around 4.00