Friday, December 26, 2014

First snow and Bratäpfel

Totally unexpected we woke up to a white Christmas morning. Inspired by the magic of the snow I prepared some Bratäpfel in grandma's copper snail pot ( this pot has 12 small dents to fit the snail shells, but we weren't planning to use it for the original purpose any time soon).

Quick recipe: remove centre of apple with the seeds and stem, fill with almond butter, plum jam  and pistachios, sprinkle with cinnamon. No need to add sugar. Bake for 20 minutes at 200°C. They will turn out delicious sitting in a buttery juice.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

weekend links

Russell James, the raw chef, shows  how to prepare a chia seed porridge.

Don't miss this beautiful and informative film about yoga.

Christmas time is cooking time; maybe these cooking techniques on nytimes video will come in handy.

Do you love Tom Ka Soup as much as me?  Here's step-by-step how to prepare  the most delicious vegan Tom Ka Soup.

Just skyped with my daughter Vik  "Oh, you are posting weekend links?  You MUST post this video. I couldn't stop laughing!"

Are you still looking for the perfect Christmas gift? What about the foodist box? Surprise, surprise!

And finally,  the "Reincarnation" film by Karl Lagerfeld from Chanel's Métiers d'Arts in Salzburg.

I wish you a happy 3. Advent!

Thursday, December 04, 2014

#6 Grandma's Classics: Thüringer Stollen (Thuringian Christmas Cake)

When two people marry, it usually involves a fusion of traditions. Especially in the time of Advent and Christmas I love to go back to a recipe that I learned from my family in law: The Thuringian Stollen!
My family used to bake basketfuls of Christmas cookies, but no Stollen at all, so I adopted the Thuringian version as my own.
Now, of course, Dresden is the hometown of the world's most famous Stollen. I love to buy Dresdner Stollen (yes, there are certain bakeries where people queue up in the darkest and ugliest mornings before  opening hour to leave the shop with armfuls of Mohn- and Rosinenstollen. And obviously I don't buy just one!). I also enjoy it at my friends' houses with a good cup of coffee. But when it comes to homebaking it always will be the Thuringian one.

Our family recipe is lighter, less rich, less packed with dried fruit than the Dresden one, but with plenty of milk soaked almonds. It feels more like a wintery, fruity brioche.

Thüringer Stollen (old family recipe)

1kg flour
250g sugar
250g butter
1/2 l milk
80g yeast (or 4 sachets of dry yeast)
200g peeled and chopped almonds (soaked in milk)
200g sultanas (soaked in rum or port wine)
125g candied lemon peel
125g candied orange peel
the pulp of a vanilla pod
the grated zest of a lemon
a teaspoon Stollen condiment (a mixture of ground cinnamon, cardamom, star anise and allspice)

125g butter to spread on the Stollen once out of the oven
a few tablespoons of icing sugar

Make sure that all your ingredients have room temperature.

Soak the almonds in milk. Soak the sultanas in rum or port wine. Chop the citrus peel if you bought it in a whole piece. Scratch out  the vanilla pod and prepare the Stollen condiment.

Fill the flour into a large bowl, form a small cavity in the middle for the yeast, a bit of luke warm milk and sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
Add the sugar, butter, milk, vanilla pulp, condiments and grated lemon peel. Beat well using the dough hooks.

When the dough has begun to pull together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead in the sultanas, chopped almonds and candied citrus peel. Continue kneading until smooth.

Lightly flour a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, cover with a cloth and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about one hour. Knead it deflating the dough and let it rise for the second time.

Cover a baking tray with a baking sheet, form two loafs of the dough and place them on the baking tray. Fold a piece of baking sheet between the loafs to prevent them from sticking together.

Let them rise again for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180°C. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 160° and continue baking for 30-40 minutes until golden brown.

Once out of the oven, immediately coat the loafs with butter using a baking brush. Dust the cooled loafs with icing sugar.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Haute Cuisine at Genuss-Atelier

This picture shows Lisa Deutschmann (business management and marketing), Martin Seifried (chef), Marcus Blonkowski (chef) and Nicole Blonkowski (restaurant management).

They all met in Vienna where they studied, trained and worked in Haute Cuisine. The team of four decided to start something great back in their hometown Dresden. And born was the idea for Genuss-Atelier: a restaurant that offers food of an extraordinary quality in an unpretentious atmosphere.

Our lunch  

Romaine Lettuce with Poularde, Capers and Parmigiano  

Saibling with Parsley Root and Leek

Mousse of Gingerbread with Crumbles and Morello Cherries 

If you are curious and want to try it yourself, here is their website and address.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday, November 07, 2014

Donna Hay's pear tart

This wonderful pear tart just breathes autumn. I freshly ground the almonds and the whole-wheat in my Vitamix. Instead of buttermilk I used almond milk. Happy sunny autumn!

Pear Tart 

3/4 cup (115g) whole-wheat flour
1/3 cup (40) ground almonds
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup 880ml) maple syrup or light agave syrup
1 egg
3/4 cup (180ml) buttermilk
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
40g unsalted butter , melted
2 firm pears, peeled, cored and sliced (I took Conference.)
2 tablespoons raw sugar

Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F). Place the flour,ground almonds and baking powder in a bowl and mix to combine. In a separate bowl, mix together the maple syrup, egg, buttermilk/almond milk, lemon rind and cinnamon.Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients with the butter and mix to combine. Line the base of a greased 24cm loose.bottom tart tin with non-sticking baking paper. Pour the mixture into the tin and smooth the top.
Arrange the pears over the top and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

two ways to cook quinces

I'm always keen to find new quince recipes, because every autumn my quince tree heaps basketfuls of this wonderful, old-fashioned fruit on me. My classic is the double reduced, deep coral red, jelly. Besides pure muscle strength (which is always necessary to cut a quince in pieces) it takes many steps and a lot of time to prepare. Although I really love the classic jelly I have been looking for something easier, quicker, but nevertheless more sophisticated than the homely quince and apple sauce.

Regardless of the recipe, you will need a good kitchen equipment and you have to be very careful not to cut your fingers to turn the tough and rock-hard fruit into its soft, sweet and fragrant state.

In one of the last weekend editions of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung I came across this recipe which I put aside for the next "quincy" occasion: poached quinces with mint cream.

poached quinces with mint cream
yields 4 servings

2 ripe and beautiful quinces
1/2 l white wine
100g honey
100g sugar
1 vanilla pod

for the cream:
5 fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon sugar
200g créme fraiche

Peel the quinces with a regular vegetable peeler. Cut the fruit in half using a large sharp chef's knife. Be careful! Cut the core and seeds away. They are very hard and woody, I use a melon baller to cut them out. Make the poaching liquid combining the wine, the honey, the sugar and the vanilla pod. Let it simmer until the sugar is dissolved.
Add the quinces. Let them cook at a bare simmer for 40 minutes or until pink and tender.

Refrigerate them in the liquid.

Combine the crème fraiche, the sugar and the mint and blend in a blender. Refrigerate.

Serve the quinces without the poaching liquid (you may save it to drizzle it over ice cream). Cover them  generously with mint cream and decorate with a sprig of fresh mint.

And here's how I cook our traditional  double reduced quince jelly:

6 -8 quinces
1l water
500g sugar

Clean the quinces with a kitchen cloth. Chop them with a sharp chef's knife. Put them into a large pot with core, seeds and skin. Let them cook at low temperature for about 40 minutes. Strain Them through a cheese cloth during the night or at least for a couple of hours. I additionally press the cheese cloth with my hands to increase the amount of juice before I discard the fruit. It will become a little less transparent, but who cares!

Measure the juice. It should yield one liter. If it is more liquid reduce it cooking at slow temperature with the lid open.
Combine one liter juice with 500g sugar. Reduce it again cooking slowly with the lid open to about one liter. You will see how it thickens. Try if it has jelled cooling a tiny amount on a plate. Fill it in jars. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

weekend links

"I breathe life into the impossible" says London based set designer Rhea Thierstein. Here's an interview with her.

Check out "Live the language" on vimeo. It's great fun.

How to figure out what you really want to do in life - in case you haven't found it yet

Behind the scenes of a food photography shoot with the famous food photographer Matt Armendariz.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Sweet Dumpling, oven-roasted with prawns, tomatoes, goat cheese and white wine

End of September is a special time for me because I finally accept that summer is over and autumn has come. Even though I try  as often as possible to not wear socks ( hello cold!), but I don't resist anymore to include roast pumpkin into my menus.

The topping of prawns, finely cut tomatoes, fresh goat cheese and white wine complemented perfectly the fine chestnuttiness of the sweet dumpling.

Sweet Dumpling, oven-roasted with prawns, tomatoes, goat cheese and white wine

1 sweet dumpling, cut into 4 slices
250g prawns, peeled
2 -3 tomatoes
50g fresh goat cheese
1 glass of white wine
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
a few sprigs of flat-leaved parsley, finely chopped
herbal sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil

Distribute the sliced pumpkin slices onto an ovenproof dish, sprinkle with olive oil and herbal salt and put it into the oven for 20 minutes at 200°C.
Meanwhile combine carefully the prawns, the finely cut tomatoes, the garlic, the fresh goat cheese and the white wine. Add the chopped parsley and season the mixture with sea salt and pepper.

Spread the prawn-tomato-cheese mixture onto the golden brown pumpkin and put it back into the oven for 5 minutes or until the prawns have changed their colour and the goat cheese has melted.

The sweet dumpling can be eaten with the skin and it is very filling.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Tour de Luxembourg

Lovely days with the family, great modern arts, iron and steel, walks in the forest and excellent cuisine.