Jan 23, 2015

flavorful, buttered corn on the cob

we were in london this past weekend, for an extensive tour of great food in buzzing, eclectic spaces and a couple (okay, a douzen of couple) of beers in various oldschool-shabby to fancy-stylish pubs. london, my food mecca. at one point, we ordered vino to go with our 10 starters (for 4 people): white wine. the (italian) waiter asked us whether we were going for red wine, later. upon which the four of us said that uhm nope, we prefer to stick to the white all night, thank you. the waiter promptly replied: "good choice, red wine is for pizza". 

it quickly became our favorite fun line, and i'm making sure to never forget it. imho, this simply hit the nail on the head. it takes the biscuit. red wine is for pizza. period.

when it comes to grilling, you've probably realised that i've quickly become an expert. with my brandnew griddler baby, that's been in constant use ever since i got it, grilling and bbqing has become my favorite pastime (right after watching new girl on netflix, maybe - and don't you vote for jess and nick to stay together, forever? they're soooo good together... anyyywayyyy...). and when it comes to corn on the cob, i'm by no means an expert, but i know that i like it buttery. butter and corn goes together well. so this is a love story, kind of, too. enjoy the happy ending.

buttered corn on the cob
rezept auf deutsch auf si style

4 corns on the cob
a little olive oil

100 g butter, soft
1 tbsp. thyme leaves, finely minced
1 tbsp. rosmary needles, finely minced
1 tbsp. oregano leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp. coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
1 tsp. paprika (medium hot), finely chopped
1 tsp. cumin, ground
1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
a little tobasco
1 organic lime, zest grated
1 tsp. salt
2 limes, for garnish & juice

for grilling the corn, there are two possibilities: you can either soak the corn (raw) in water for 2 hours. or you can quickly blanch it. i stick to the blanching version.

so, bring a large pot of water to the boil and blanch the corn for 4-5 minutes. drain, pull back the leaves and pat dry. brush with olive oil, then roast on the grill on all sides until it's dark brown in places and smells lovely. 

as for the butter, you can either follow this recipe for cafĂ© de paris butter (which, hands down, is divine) or adapt it slightly according to this one here. either way, you can't go awry with butter. just slather it on your corn nicely. 

for this version of the herbed butter, work the spices, herbs and lime zest into the soft butter. season well with salt (butter 'absorbs' a lot of it...). refrigerate until used.

as soon as the corn is done on the grill, smear a tablespoon full (or so - be generous, not nitty-gritty) of the butter on top of the cob. press the lime juice over the corn and serve with more butter and more limes. enjoy hot.

Jan 20, 2015

cherry cardamom pavlova

pavlova! i don't think this ever gets boring. clouds of meringues, tart, boozy cherries on top,  hints of cardamom... what's not to like? in other words: i'm really into pavlova. i mean i wish i could be one. no! i really mean: i just really like pavlova. full stop. and i can't wait for spring and summer to come up with new combinations.

the recipe for the meringue can be taken from here and the cherries are the same i used for the black forest trifle. 

Jan 16, 2015

grilled ricotta tomato quesadillas

only recently, i've discovered a major secret. ground shattering. earth moving. show stopping. bing bang secret. you know, as a food blogger i'm pretty much addicted to good looking food. not limited to the good looks, of course, because the taste is just as important if not more important, sine qua non, so to speak. but as a food blogger, it goes without saying that i'm constantly seeking inspiration from other foodies, food bloggers and authorities of any kind in the food area when it comes to styling and prepping food. my inspiration comes from anywhere, really, be it online or offline, i don't care. a lot of it, truth be told, comes from pinterest (i'm more than just a little addicted...). 

and face it, for anyone who's ever taken a "selfie" of his lunch to be shared on any social site from facebook to instagram - or who has indulged in others' "foodporn", so to say - must have crossed donna hay's path. if you haven't it can only mean you're living in a rabbit's hole - or that you aren't really a foodie (cough-cough). anyway, she's only the celebrity when it comes to food styling. has been for many years now, and probably will be for a couple more to come. i adore the ground she walks on pans she cooks in! 

i love her style, her feeling for hassle free entertaining and her sense for flavors. all pretty daunting. but most of all i love her grill marks. they're everywhere on donna hay food. it's like her signature style. it's what i wanted to achieve, just this once, for my dishes. just maybe for a tiny little piece of bread. 

and i mean... let alone the taste that i assumed it would achieve, those grills marks... i'm not even talking about these. i'm clearly only obsessing about grill marks' visual benefits, so far. ahem. clearly. because i haven't told you that i'm already drooling, too, because that would be gross, kind of.

so i've always guessed those perfectly styled grill-marks on vegs, meats and breads were achieved with some high maintenance super grill-tattoo like piercers or something. something a normal person - let alone chef - certainly doesn't feature. however extensive their kitchen equipment collection might be (and mine is pretty vast, as that). i thought those grill marks, i might just have to keep day-dreaming but forget about them in real (food blogger) life. because not possible.

then i found the griddler (and i lovingly call it "my griddler baby", in a sotto voce taylor swifty kind of voice) by cuisinart. and my life has changed.

the griddler does anything for me. it grills my (oldish) bread on sunday mornings and gives it new crisp and life. it renders my meats (that occasionally do happen in my house) juicy and smokey in a jiffy. it softly burns (in all the right places and amounts) my vegs for a nice roasted look and taste, it melts cheese in sandwiches, it hugs randomly filled panini and quesadillas... in other, less poetic but more effective words: it's a miracle. 

so there it is, fresh off my kitchen to yours: the secret behind perfectly styled grilled marks. all you need, obvs (to anyone but me) is not a proper grill (as in bbq thing, fire, gas, etc...) but a griddler. so do yourself a favor and get one, or put it on your wish list. because men love it, too, so your better half will likely enjoy himself standing at the grill, even more than you. win-win, wouldn't you say?

about those quesadillas. they're donna hay inspired, too, shhh. i had to start somewhere. and the trick about them is: you can eat them for breakfast or as a snack or as a dinner. i like them anytime. they're really light and such a nice surprise.

grilled ricotta tomato quesadillas
rezept auf deutsch auf si style

2 fajitas or other flat breads
1 cup ricotta
200 g spinach
1 tomato, sliced very thinly
1/4 cup parmesan, grated
1 handful basil leaves, finely chopped
1 organic lemon, zest grated
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
salt and pepper

pour boiling water over the spinach, leave to soak for a minute, then drain and pat dry. chop finely and put aside. mix the ricotta with the parmesan, basil, garlic and lemon zest. season with salt and pepper. add the chopped spinach to the ricotta mix. spread the ricotta mix onto the first fajita, leaving out a bit of the rim as it will spread when grilled, layer with tomatoes and top with the second fajita layer. grill in a griddler or panini maker from both sides for a couple of minutes, until the grill marks are exquisite and the cheese inside is melted. slice and enjoy hot.

Jan 13, 2015

kaiserschmarrn with apple sauce

the odds are: i really like kaiserschmarrn, and i've praised its perks - i.e. comforting, sugary, sweet and basically everything you want from something to eat - at least once (though in my mind, it's been far many times than that, really). 

and for those of you who have no idea what kaiserschmarrn is, here's a little cue: it's kind of like a pancake, except it isn't. because it's at least deconstructed, so that's that. way more special than your average pancakes (coughing, not-sorry). it's european - austrian, to be precise - monarchy kind of goodness. you're dismissed now! says the queen. x

kaiserschmarrn with apple sauce
serves 4
rezept auf deutsch auf si style

ingredients for the schmarrn:
1/4 liter (1 cup) milk
5 tbsp. heavy cream (not whipped)
3 egg (yolks and whites separated)
pinch salt
1 tbsp. confectioners' sugar
200 g flour
1 tsp. lemon zest, grated (from organic lemon)
3 tbsp. butter, for frying
more confectioners' sugar, for dusting

combine the milk, cream, egg yolks, salt, lemon zest and sugar. sieve in the flour. whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form. fold into the batter. let sit for about 30 minutes, cover with foil, in the fridge. heat a large frying pan, let the butter melt in it. then pour a large soup-ladle full of the batter into the pan. it should be about 1cm thick; a bit like a thick pancake. let sit for a minute or two, until the top looks bubbly and the sides begin to come off from the side of the pan. flip over and fry for a few seconds. now, while the center of the pancake is still smooth and liquid-ey but not too much, begin to tear apart bite-sized chunks with a spatula or a ladle. keep on frying until all parts are equally done / golden-brown. shortly before removing from pan, add a bit of the confectioners' sugar to the pan and stir to combine. this is a super trick, as it will render the kaiserschmarrn nicely caramelized and creamy textured from the outside, and prevents it from turning too dry immediately. ladle onto a plate, and serve, dusted with confectioners' sugar and a fruity compote - in this case apple sauce - on the side. previous versions schmarrn versions included this peach and apricot compote, for the record. 

ingredients for the apple sauce:
3 apples, peeled and cored, sliced
1/2 cup apple juice
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

directions for the apple sauce:
wash, peel and core the apples, then cube. heat the sugar in a small saucepan and melt it into a lightly colored caramel. deglaze with the apple juice. add the apple cubes to the pan and simmer for a couple of minutes, until the apples are tender. strain through a passe-vite, to remove the chunks. season with cinnamon. to be served warm or at room temperature.

Jan 11, 2015

winter feast

as much as i love to cook and entertain, i'm not complaining when i'm invited for dinner, either. especially at my mom's. she's a grat cook and i'm always happy when she's in one of those 'showing off' modes, like she was pre holidays on that particular night. i've kept the pictures hidden way too long but thought i'd share them now - better late than never.

dinner was: 

duo of winter salads
radicchio rosso, grapefruit, water cress, citrus dressing
poached beets, goat's cheese, pistacchio crunch, red wine jus
hand made grisons buckwheat pizokel
with cavolo nero and swiss mountain cheese
coq au vin with potato mash
selection of cheeses
fruit bread, baked poached pears, cranberry chutney
kaki mousse, almond milk
gingerbread cake
peppercookies (made by moi)

xoxo, lovelies

Jan 9, 2015

shakshuka - hangover cure

i've come to terms with the fact that i'm probably not a wild thing anymore... as in: i'm not a party goer anymore. those times feel long over. nowadays, i much prefer a godly sleeping time and my bed to a night at a bar or club. the sunrise is something i enjoy seeing on my way to work - not on my way home from the club. socializing has become a more 'civil' affair, one which doesn't necessarily include drinking various cocktails. but there is one thing i duly miss about my wilder days (or nights). and that's the morning after. ahem.

i hear you snigger and say "yeah right, that's just what i do not miss about going out, at all!". the hangovers, the splitting headaches, the the dark under eye circles, the pale skin, the messy and grubby (from dancing, urgh) hair and the stinky clothes. let alone some potential regrets about last nights texts or things that you said. yeah, i get it. but just think about the hangover breakfasts! aren't they marvelous? my fondest breakfast memories are built on hangovers, if you want to know. 

on one particular occasion that i remember, we went out until the wee hours. the sun was almost already rising. we went home to sleep - near comatose - until well into the afternoon. when we woke up, we desperately needed some liquid (that wasn't a "drink") and a bite or too of something savoury, salty. so we made our way into the city with our sunglasses on our noses and stumbled into the first shady pub there was and ordered the best burger and fries. succulent burger, lots of mayo.

equally satisfying a hangover cure would be this shakshuka: baked eggs in a fiery tomato sauce, that you eat with lots and lots of good, fresh bread. since i'm not going out, like, regularly enough at least for it to be a thing, i'm officially installing these as a "not hungover but all the same happy"breakfast, instead. 

rezept auf deutsch auf si style

1 tsp. cumin, ground
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 peperoncino (mild), finely chopped
3 tbsp. tomato paste
1 can tomatoes, chopped
1 cup of vegetable stock (optional)
1 tsp. harissa
1 bunch parsley, stems and leaves separately chopped
1 red pepper, sliced into 6 rings
some cilantro (optional)
6 eggs
salt, pepper

toast the cumin in an oven proof pan (i.e without plastic handles) until fragrant. add the oil and sweat the onion in it. add the garlic, peperoncino and tomato paste and fry for a minute or so. add the tomato from the can together with their juices (note: you might have to add some more water / vegetable stock at a later stage, depending on the amounts of liquid in your tomatoes). add the harissa and parsley stems. season with salt and pepper. then let cook for about 45 minutes, until the sauce has seasonably reduced. place the pepper rings - that will act as 'bowls' to hold the eggs together, sort of - into the sauce. crack the eggs one after another and drop them into the pepper rings (it doesn't matter if it doesn't work 100% - it's not a science). season the eggs with salt. now place the whole pan in the oven at 200 c / 380 f for about 10 mintues or a little more, until the egg whites are solid and the yolks are still runny. sprinkle with the left over parsley leaves and serve with fresh bread. 

Jan 6, 2015

champagne cake pops

i've always wanted to make cake pops, but then again, for some reason or other, they do feel a little premature...? you know, like studs on clothes and shoes (some might say) - although i totally have a weak spot for studs (still). this does not mean i'm working hard on not buying anything with studs on it. i am really trying hard. the premature aspect about the cake pops, though, is entirely up to the lolly sticks. honestly, we're not 5 (although we would sometimes undoubtedly like to travel back in time, what with those lines appearing around our eyes, ahem...). 

so i made these darned pops, because i had to, eventually. but i left out the sticks. these champagne cake pops version in pink (it turned out a little more "popping" - pun intended - than planned) is subtle and almost chic. the ideal treat for a new year's eve - or any, really - lush dinner party. for grown ups and (eternal) kids alike, mind. 

i have a vision of eating only these, in luxurious pajamas my boyfriend's stolen t-shirt, lounging in bed, sipping champagne from my new champagne goblets (a very thoughtful gift). growing up does have its perks. the freedom of lounging about is only one of them. drinking champagne is another. here's an (official) toast to 2015! xx

champagne cake pops
makes about 48 pieces
rezept auf deutsch auf si style

note: cake pops are being made from cake that you're turning into crumbs, combining with frosting and shaping into balls. dipped into chocolate, they make for a decadent treat. usually, they're skewered onto a lolly stick, but i prefer them sans.

3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 pinch salt
250 g (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract - or 1 vanilla bean, scraped
6 egg whites, at room temperature
2 cups champagne
a couple of drops of pink or red food coloring
butter and flour for the pan

1 packet (175 g) of philadelphia cream cheese
200 g white chocolate
sprinkles and glitter for decorating

for the cake preheat the oven to 180 c / 350 f. butter and flour a large (mine was 26cm) round spring cake pan. put in the fridge while preparing the dough. in a smaller bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and salt. in a large bowl cream the butter with the sugar with the help of a handheld mixer until fluffy. add the egg whites and vanilla. with a spatula, fold in dry ingredients and champagne, alternating between the two. tint pink with the food coloring. fill into the prepared and chilled cake pan. bake for about 30 minutes or until the rim comes off from the pan and a skewer inserted comes out clean. let cool on a wire rack.

for the cake pops crumb the cake (either by hand, which works best, hands down, or with the help of a blender). work in the cream cheese. the dough should now be workable and rather moist, so that you can shape it easily into balls. shape into evenly sized balls and put them in the freezer for half an hour. 

melt the white chocolate on very low heat very slowly. stir occasionally and smooth out with a spatula. fill the chocolate into a small bowl. with two forks, dip each cake pop into the white chocolate. let excess chocolate drip off. set the cake pop on a baking sheet and sprinkle with desired sprinkles. let it dry and set. 

the cake pops can be stored in the freezer (i'd recommend to keep them in the freezer undecorated, i.e. without the chocolate glaze and sprinkles, and to finalize them just before serving) or in the fridge for about a week.