Sunday, July 31, 2011

aats = Apricot - Almond Tartelettes

It´s high season for Apricots. You see small ones, big ones, some with a little bit red on her skin (as if they had put some cheek blush on.. :). Really ripe they smell and look gorgeous. As I needed to bring some sweets for my collegues at work I was thinking about what to make. At the moment summer is making a (hopefully only short) pause and so I thought about making something expressing summer. So what could be better than using those tempting Apricots that I could´nt resist to buy on the Market? As puff pastry is one of the thing I have quite ever at home I decided to make some AATs = Tartetelettes with Frangipane topped with Apricots .
You need:
- 500 g apricots
- 275 g puff pastry (ready to use)
- 125 g ground almonds
- 75 g softened butter
- 100g icing sugar
- 1 egg
- 1tbsp. amaretto sirup (or liquor) (would not be a problem if you have´nt but in my opinion the almond taste becomes more stronger)
To prepare:
1. Start with the Frangipane by mixing together butter and sugar until well melted. Than stir in the rest of the ingredients (almonds, sugar , sirup, egg)
2. Cut the puff pastry in rectangular pieces
3. Put 1 good tsp. Frangipane on each piece of puff pastry
4. Top with half of an apricot and cut their skin lengthwise with a sharp knife 2 -  3 times. Fold the pastry around your filling.
5. Place on a oven tray armed with parchment paper and bake for 25 min. in the preheated oven (180 C)

I like to serve those tarteletts with some sweetened cream or a scoop of vanilla ice

The first completely self done Cake from my daughter!!!

 Ok, we are living in an emancipated environment. Ok, woman can do quite everything. Ok being a woman you must not be a good cook. But it is also not a fault to be able to cook, no? And I think it is not a question of emancipation if you are doing kitchen work or not. However I like to cook and to bake and of course to savour all the things that we cooked. So I confess that I was very proud as my daughter came over with her first  self-baked tart. She has done it without any help! Is´nt the cake looking gorgeous? For the candles she was so friendly to not put all on them that would have corresponded to my age.. :). Want to know what kind of cake it was..? Now a yummy one :).
It was a sponge cake flavoured with violet aroma with a sugar icing and topped with candied violets. Thank you so much! I have the best daughter in the world!

Violet Cocktail

Cocktails for non professional bartenders and without a hundred of different ingredients are a hard exercise... :). But having guests I want to serve something not so usual as aperitif... something readily and easy done... So I like to refer to some Champagne Cocktails. This time I made a VIOLET COCKTAIL.
You need: Chilled Champagne (or some Frizzante) with a not to dominant taste, some violet sirup (I use one from Monin), purple sugar (I have one very special from Dean and Deluca from daughter brought it to me...thank you my dear for that gift once again..), toothpicks, blueberries, 1 lemon.
1. Cut the lemon in wedges and go with it around the bezel from your glasses
2. Put the sugar on a plate and roll the bezel of your glasses in the purple sugar
3. Take 2 blueberries and stick them on the toothpicks
4. Fill 2 tsp. (or more or less; depending on  if you like it more or less flavoured) violet sirup in your galss
5. Fill up with your good chilled champagne and stir slowly with a spoon until well combined
 And now serve with some nuts, some tacos or what ever and wait for the questions coming.. like "oh what is that?, Oh is that so cute..." :))

(One can do in the same way with some rose sirup...)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Aubergine with Yoghurt-Buttermilk sauce

Now, as I was in London and visited one of the Restaurants from Ottolenghi I naturally also bought one of his books. Browsing through the cookbook I was planning to try some of the recipes.. My only problem is when to do all those things and also who should eat all those things... :) and wasn´nt there some other recipes that I wanted to try some day...? On the market I found some pretty, tempting aubergines and in Ottolenghis book a interesting recipe to prepare them. He roast the aubergines in the oven and top them with a youghurt-buttermilk sauce. Really simple but very tasty.. together with some Pita bread yumm.
You need (serves 2 persons as a starter):
1 medium sized aubergine
40 ml + 1 Tbsp. olive oil 
1 Tsp. thyme leaves + some fresh sprigs
70 ml buttermilk
60 g greek yoghurt
1 small garlic clove, crushed
salt and pepper to season
To prepare:
1. Preheat the oven to 200 C
2. Cut the Aubergines in halves (also throught the stalk) and cut in a diamond shaped way the cut-side of each aubergine
3. Put the Aubergines cut-side up on a oven tray armed with parchement paper.
4. Drizzle the olive oil on the olive oil until all the oil has been absorbed by the flesh
5. Season with salt, pepper and thyme leaves
6. Put in the oven for about 40 minutes
7. Meanwhile the Aubergines roast in the oven prepare the sauce by whisking together in a bowl buttermilk, greek yoghurt, the crushed garlic clove and season with salt, pepper and 1 Tbsp. olive oil.
8. When the flesh of the Aubergines is soft, remove from the oven and let cool down.
 9. Place the Aubergines on a plate, top the flesh with plenty of the yoghurt-buttermilk sauce and decorate with some fresh thyme sprigs.

Play some songs from Kate Yanai (Summer feeling / Bacardi song), savour the Aubergines and you feel like beeing somewhere on a Beach, looking the sunset....

Monday, July 18, 2011

The heat is on..... Cucumber-Lemon Water

Summer is great! I love the heat! But of course we need some cooling drinks... One can not go for a swim all day long.. The last days was quite busy as all the staff from UK came and of course I helped my daughter to sort and store everything. Outside the sun was shining bright and we melted like ice..... To cool down my daughter served me a Cucumber-Lemon Water, good chilled and yummm it tastes good and one feel instantly better.. So I am very proud to be able to present you this "recipe" for a really cooling, non alcoholic drink from my daughter :)).
You need (for about 1,5 liter):
1/2 of a Cucumber
1/2 of a Lemon
(feel free to add more lemon or more cucumber..)
To prepare:
1. Slice the cucumber (not too thin) as well as the lemon
2. Put all in a jug and fill with cold water
3. Chill for at least 2 hours in the fridge and serve really cold......

Summer here we come!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Fingerlicking rice fritters :)

There are things that satisfies our "basic instincts": eating is by sure one of... eating with fingers, dipping into ketchup, mayo or whatever, makes fun and relates to our I think thats one of the reason why children love those fritters.. There was a time my daughter ate only Pizza and Spaghetti... My sister one day made as those rice fritters and, god bless her and the fritters, my daughter ate them...with plenty of ketchup. Now even when my daughter is grown up and became somewhat of a little "gourmet gourmand", from time to time we make those fritters and it remembers as both her childhood.

You need (serves 2 persons):
125 g rice
1 mid sized Egg
75 g all purpose flour
1/2 mid sized onion, cut in small pieces
Some fresh herbs (I took basil), coarsely sliced
Salt and pepper
Olive oil to fry
To prepare:
1. Cook the rice (or take some left over rice)

2. In a bowl get together rice, onion, flour, herbs and egg. Season with salt and pepper

3. In a non sticking pan heat up some olive oil and spoon some of the ricemix in the pan and flatten to get round shaped fritters
4. Fry until golden brown on both side
5. Take the fritters out of the pan and drain on a kitchen paper

 Serve with some salad, ketchup, Mayo or make it "asian style" with Soy sauce

Sunday, July 10, 2011

..and yet not finished with dumplings: Curd cheese Dumplings

There are some days I am craving for something sweet..but also not too sweet or too sticky... You know those days? Even if it´s a real great summerday today and the temperature went really high up, I was in the mood for some sweet treats for lunchtime... Dumplings are somewhat of characterisitic for my country.. sweet or salty.. as main course, as side dish, as dessert.... We call them KNÖDEL. Curd cheese dumplings are one of those traditional dumplings. Either you do them only with curd cheese or you fill them with some fruit, like strawberries or apricots... I prefer them only made with curd cheese and accompained with some fruit compote. Normally they are coated with roasted breadcrumbs. I prefer a variation by covering them with some ground and roasted nuts. I took almonds this time...
You need:
250 g of curd cheese (so called "Topfen")
1 middle sized egg
70 g wheat flour (+ some more to dust your hands)
70 g semolina
2 dashes of vanilla paste (or 2 tsp. vanillated sugar)
60 g of ground almonds
3 Tbsp. butter
Plenty of icing sugar :)
Some fruit compote if desired...
To prepare (serves 4 persons) :
1. Mix together curd cheese, egg, flour, semolina and vanilla until well combined. Let rest for about 30 minutes
2. Bring to boil enough water so that the dumpling may "swim" in it
3. Meanwhile make the dumplings by dusting your hands with some flour and rolling the dough in your palms until you get cute, round, little dumplings (repeat the dusting of your palms..)
4. Put the dumplings in the hot water and let simmer until the dumplings come up to the surface of your water (this takes about 8 minutes)
5. Take the dumplings out of the water and drain
6. Meanwhile the dumplings cook, heat up the butter in a non sticking pan, add the almonds, 1 tbsp. icing sugar and roast this mixture
7. Put the dumpling in the pan with the nuts and cover them all over with the almonds

 Serve them dusted with a lot of icing sugar.... I served them with a compote made out of different berries. I just put them in a pan, added a little bit of water and sugar and cooked for some minutes.....

Friday, July 8, 2011

Potatoe - Parmeggiano Dumplings with sage butter

Of course I had not used the whole Parmeggiano... and whenever I looked into my fridge he said "Hi".... :). Of course there is no hurry to use him... but it´s tempting.. I remembered having done once dumplings with Parmeggiano.... and I found again the recipe in one of my recipe maps... And family at the moment is "thrilled" about Parmeggiano; quite no dish without this cheese... But after having eaten Spaghetthi with Parmeggiano more or less every day :) you are looking about something else....
You need (serves  4 as a main dish)
750 g potatoes
150 g grated Parmeggiano (+ some more to disperse over the dumplings when served)
2 medium sized eggs
 All purpose flour (about 5 - 6 Tbsp.)
2 Tbsp. olive oil and 2 good knobs of butter
1 small bundle fresh sage
(You can eat the dumplings as a vegetarian main course or as a side dish with some steak.....)
To prepare:
1. Peel the potatoes, cut them into quarter and cook until soft (one can also cook the potatoes the day before or in the morning for a later use on the same day...)
2. Press the cooled potatoes in a bowl with a potatoe ricer
3. Mix together pressed potatoes, parmeggiano, eggs and add gradually flour until you have obtained a soft but moldable consistency
4. Put some flour in your hands and form small dumplings by rolling the dough in your palms . For every new dumpling dust once again your hands with flour
5. Put the dumplings in some nearly boiling water and wait until the dumplings are coming up (this takes about 4 minutes). Remove them out of the water and drain (Those dumplings can also be easily freezen for a later use....)
6. Heat up oil and butter in a pan, add the sliced sage and the dumplings until getting a little bit browned.
Serve together with some fresh, coarsely grated Parmeggiano (dispersed over the dumplings) and some salad for example.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Fresh baked Pesto-Parmeggiano Focaccia

I like very much mediterranean food and in my opinion one of its particularity is his simplicity. Bread is quite important in mediterranean kitchen as well as in France, Germany and Austria. The odour from fresh bread is quite unbeatable accompained with the flavour of some fresh brewed coffee, a fine cup of tea or in the evening by a good glass of chilled wine.... Normally to make bread at home takes some time to prepare the dough, then one has to wait for hours until it raises.... The following recipe is easy done. You put the dough over night in your fridge (yes believe me) and bake it the next morning or evening and get a fresh baked bread that is great to savour slightly warm... (based on a recipe from "delicious days").  I like this recipe not only because of his simplicity and fastness but also because one has thousands of possibilities to varie the topping...
You need:
250 ml luke warm water
20 g fresh yeast
250 g all purpose flour
1 Tsp. salt
1 - 2 Tbsp. of Pesto genovese
1 - 2 Tbsp. grated parmeggiano
1 tsp. of coarse sea salt
some good olive oil, a 1 Tbsp. of a mix of dried or fresh herbs (thyme, oregano, rosemary..)
To prepare:
1. Dissolve in a bowl the yeast in the luke warm water and stir in the flour and salt until well combined. 
Cover witth a lid and put in the fridge over night.
2. Next morning: take your dough out of the fridge one or two hours before you intend to bake your bread.
3. Pour the dough on a oven tray armed with parchment paper.
4. With a finger tip make some holes in your dough an sprinkle all over with some olive oil. 
5. Disperse on your bread pesto, herbs, sea salt and parmeggiano.
6. Bake in the 230 C preheated oven for about 20 - 25 minutes until golden brown

I like this bread fresh out of the oven to dip in different oils such as hazelnut oil, different olive oils (italian, greek, croatian..)....
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