Oct 21, 2014

white chocolate & coconut truffles

the approaching season is by far my favorite... i love the holidays, i love christmas season. my mom and i would start weeks - if not months - ahead with the dreaming up and planning of our menu and the decoration. my mom usually went full out - on pretty much every aspect of the event. the food was always insane. and what i'll always keep in fond memories is the chocolate truffles she would make for dessert (or second dessert or to go with the coffee, really). it meant she would go to schwarzenbach and come back with jars full of fancy little ingredients; like tonka bean and amarena cherries and a decadent black sugar and lush vanilla beans and stuff. all of this potion like prepping and the charming end results that melted and exploded on your tongue caused me to forever think of her as some sort of willy wonka (and if you know me that much, then you know that charlie and the chocolate factory is my favorite book, ever. well, maybe straight after harry potter, that is).

my own attempts at creating truffles go back to these passion fruit chocolates that were surprisingly tangy - in the best way possible. these more classic ones were very good, too. yet, i'll definitely have to up my truffles game for christmas should i ever want to be able to compete with my mom.

white chocolate & coconut truffles
rezept auf deutsch auf si style

150 g white chocolate
1/2 cup mascarpone, room temperature
100 g desiccated coconut flakes (fine, meal-like ones)
1 tbsp. zest of organic orange, grated
1 tsp. vanilla extract

for the decoration:
200 g black chocolate
50 g white chocolate
a little fleur de sel

melt the white chocolate in a small pan on the lowest heat possible and with a lot of patience. if you're not the patient kind, think about using a bain marie, instead. put aside for a minute to cool. then add mascarpone, coconut flakes, orange and vanilla and combine well. cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. then, shape with a melon baller or by hand into small balls. spread them on a work surface lined with baking sheet. melt the dark chocolate (see note above), pour melted chocolate in a tiny bowl and, using two forks, coat each white chocolate truffle in the melted dark chocolate. place back onto the baking sheet. proceed, then refrigerate the truffles again for about 30 minutes. then, melt the remaining white chocolate, pour it into a ziplock bag and cut off one edge (tiny, tiny hole). through this hole, you can now make some sort of pattern onto the truffles, by making lines, horizontally and vertically. let's be honest: i just used a little spoon for this, not the ziplock bag (i like to say it's because i prefer imperfection, ahem). keep cool until used.

Oct 17, 2014

pink spaghetti with beetroot pesto

these days, the weather is acting a bit crazy... beautiful red sunrises, with a sudden and harsh turn to wind and pouring rain in the morning, to scorching late summer like warmth in the afternoon and a brisk and cloudy chill in the evening. fall weather. 

with the fall weather, i've started to incorporate heavy, comforting and warm foods. like soups and braises and stews and, of course, cheese-stuff (have made 5 fondues and 3 raclettes so far, or something around those figures, anyway). but also, i'm craving color. with pumpkins, that's not too hard. and only yesterday a friend of mine told me i looked like one myself. well, i hope she meant the coat's color (which is admittedly very pumpkin-esque, a very bright orange) - and not my shape, ahem. foodwise, these pink (wow!) beetroot spaghetti were a winner, for sure. and also the taste was surprisingly convincing: earthy with a bit of sweetness and a distinct tang (coming from my beloved, favorite ingredient: the lemon). make it for yourself, then bring it to work the next day

pink spaghetti with beetroot pesto
rezept auf deutsch auf si style

2 beets, cooked and coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
50 g pecorino cheese, grated
ca. 15 almonds, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil + more for the spaghetti
1/2 lemon, juice
ca. 1 tsp. maldon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
a little bit of the spaghetti cooking water

300 g spaghetti
2 tbsp. ricotta
some mint leaves

if you're a gwyneth - aka nitty-gritty and super health-conscious to the verge of being slightly pathetic - you're likely to want to boil your own beetroots. then i won't stand in your way. should you be a more laid-back version of a homecook, then the pre-cooked beets are just the thing for you (and me). i did use pre-cooked ones. and it was just fine. so quick!

so, cook the spaghetti al dente in enough salted water. drain, and keep some of the cooking water. coat with enough olive oil so they won't stick together.

in the meantime, prepare the pesto: combine the beets, garlic, almonds, pecorino, olive oil and lemon juice in the (tall) bowl of a blender. add 2-3 tablespoons of the cooking water, this will make things more smooth and you will need less oil. pulse thoroughly until the pesto has a smooth consistency. season with salt and pepper. 

before serving, toss and turn the pasta well with the pesto - about 1-2 tablespoons needed per person -  to coat them well. everything needs to look pink, that's why. add a dollop of ricotta on top, for extra creaminess and depth. sprinkle with mint leaves and serve. 

the pesto can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days. just use it like you would any other pesto: added to the pasta just like that, without warming or anything.

Oct 14, 2014

snickerdoodle cookies

if you know me a little, then you probably know that i've got quite the excessive hobby. namely turning ingredients into yummy, mouthwatering cakes, cookies, breads, salads, soups and whatnot. it's pretty time consuming.

but, the day has 24 hours. so i've recently taken up crocheting, too. crocheting, guys! basically the uncool little sister of sewing. i was wildly determined to make some headbands (note the plural... i'm always euphoric like that), also to give to my girlfriends for christmas. i actually went and bought wool, like, on the same day i had the idea. the wool was super fluffy and chunky and girly and cute. and hippie-like, my honey would say. and though i'm still not 100% sure that that's a good thing (in his eyes), then at least i was pretty sure that this wool would look super cute turned into a headband. and off i went, crocheting on a train. like a maniac old lady.

now you want to know how it turned out... my first attempt at a headband. well, firstly: i was super fast! the first headband was finished in under 2 hours (chunky wool and all). and it was... kind of fun? you know, as activities to do on a train ride that make you look 50+ years go, i'd say it's pretty far up the list of fun things. but, okay here's the thing: you (or anybody, really) would not want to wear it. because it's really kinda ugly. not to say super ugly.

now, my crocheting lessons are maybe 25 years back (this makes me sound even older, plus the crocheting fact, but whatevs, i'm an old soul, i knew that all along), so i couldn't really tell what made my nice wool turn into... this. my dreams of headband wearing little me on the powdery, wintery slopes, skiing, turned to dust. dust.

i may have started a second attempt at heandbanding. but i'm only telling once it turned out good. there you have it.

far more than crocheting, anyway, is sunday reading... now that's something i'm pro at! i've read the rosie project a while back and it made me laugh out loud all the time. and now! the sequel: the rosie effect. it looks just as promising than the one before (from where i stand - on page 20 or so).

confession (as if the crocheting wasn't enough of a disgrace in itself, already): i don't really know what snickerdoodle cookies are. or at least i never ate one. yet, i've made them, on sunday. and they turned out... well, cinnamony, and rather sweet. but i guess that's their nature. and we love all creatures, don't we?

snickerdoodle cookies
recipe adapted from "zucker, zimt und liebe" by virginia horstmann 
makes about 20 - 24 cookies
in deutsch auf si style

140 g sugar
120 g brown sugar
120 g soft butter
1 egg
200 g flour
1 pinch salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
more sugar and cinnamon to coat the cookie balls in (about 70 g sugar and 1 tbsp. cinnamon)

first, be sure the butter is really soft... remember to remove it from the fridge early enough. preheat the oven to 200 c / 400 f on top and bottom heat and line a baking sheet with parchment (don't all good things start with that?). in a bowl (of a standmixer) cream together the butter with the sugar. then add the egg and mix some more. in another bowl, prepare the flour with the salt, baking soda and cinnamon. add to the butter mix and combine until a firm dough forms. shape into walnut sized balls and place - with considerable distance between each other - on the baking sheet. coat in the sugar and cinnamon mix and bake for 8 minutes. let cool entirely before you remove them from the sheet as they are still very soft when warm. serve with milk (or soy milk, but you get it).

a little excursus on making cookies (i.e. the perfect spreading): i never know what to do with cookie dough (apart from consuming indecent amounts straight from the bowl and then licking the bowl) pre-baking: should i chill it in the fridge for a while? should i make balls and bake them as balls? or flatten them pre-baking? the thing about cookies is: you want them to spread nicely, i.e. not as balls but not as paper-thin slices, either. and if you chill the dough pre-baking, that considerably alter the appearance of the cookies after baking. because a cool butter melts less quickly, and thus spreads less. whereas an already warm butter spreads more quickly and considerably. i've messed up a couple of cookie dough batches in my life because i wasn't sure what to do. big confusion. so here - being the clever me - i tried all varieties: unchilled shaped into balls, unchilled shaped into balls then slightly flattened into disks and chilled as balls. i can't say any of the varieties turned out exactly the way i wanted them to (in terms of spreading / height). but it turns out the method virginia recommends here is actually really the best. namely: do not chill dough, shape into walnut sized balls, no flattening required, then bake.

Oct 10, 2014

kaki & burrata with crispy quinoa gremolata

what you see here is the colorful result from a recent sunday walk in the nearby forest. what i particularly like about zurich is the closeness and vicinity of nature. it's almost like nature hugs the city. it only takes 10 minutes tops, and you're in a different world. 

now, i'm certainly not the most outdoorsy person... i've recently even dubbed myself 'city bumpkin' (in spite of my well documented sympathy towards and ogling with country life). referring to the type of clothes i predominantly own, there would be mostly chic(ish) shoes that are neither suitable for rain nor proper walks (let alone hikes) - aka 'ballerina flats'. and, well, layering my basics (like maybe a simple silk blouse and leather pants, or sweater dress) and finishing it off with an umbrella (because you never know) is basically my idea of an outdoor proof outfit. needless to say i've always been skeptical but also slightly envious of people with a "practical" wardrobe. in certain occasions, it's simply wiser to be dressed the part - and i don't mean a black tie event at the opera, i mean occasions with the probable possibility to get dirty. like a proper walk in the forest, "offroads", so to say. 

so this specific documented forest sunday walk here wasn't exactly a hike. nor was it particularly long or exhausting. but we ended up dirty (and with blisters, ha!) anyway. so it certainly counts for something. as outdoorsy as a city bumpkin gets, anyway. 

aren't those funghi and creatures a funny thing? hideous and elegant in one. 

kaki and burrata with crispy quinoa gremolata
serves two to four as a starter
rezept auf deutsch auf si style

2-3 kaki persimmon, evenly cubed
2 burrata balls (or alternatively mozzaralla)
4 tbsp. quinoa, cooked according to directions
4 tbsp. olive oil
1 organic lemon, juice and zest (grated)
2 twigs mint, leaves finely chopped
2 tbsp. walnut oil
1 tsp. maldon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

cook quinoa according to packaging instructions, then let cool and steam off. heat the olive oil in a pan, then fry the quinoa until crispy and golden-brown. drain on a kitchen paper to soak up excess fat. cut kaki into even cubes. pat dry the burrata carefully with kitchen paper. prepare the gremolata / the dressing for the salad: combine lemon juice, zest, walnut oil and mint. season with salt and pepper. arrange kaki cubes on a plate or oval platter, place burrata on top. now add the crispy quinoa to the dressing and drizzle it over the kaki and burrata. sprinkle some more maldon sea salt over everything.

note on serving: the dressing as such doesn't make a big impression as such. but it doesn't have to! because once the burrate are cut, you will find their creamy cores marry the dressing and the result is absolutely delicious, rich, zesty and creamy. add a chunk of good bread for good measure.

note on the kaki persimmon: it's probably not kaki season where you live, yet, either! mine were the result of an extremely persistent request to one particular vegetable and fruit monger... but soon enough, there will be jewel colored kakis everywhere, so don't despair!

oh and that the beautiful checkered plate is from en soie in zurich, my favorite shop in the world. btw i recently went on a (short!) shopping spree (unintended, too!) where i ended up being extremely naughty and buying a silky dream of an en soie dress... for a friend's wedding, so at least i have a really good reason (i like to tell myself). also, i might have to wear it for the following decades to amortise it, ha! oh well, you only live once. btw, you can shop en soie online, too.

Oct 3, 2014

middle eastern yellow lentil, tomato & aubergine soup

i'm dreaming up winter activities. and in order to make sure i've got everything on my list covered, i'm jotting them down here. keep the cold coming! 

my favorite winter activites

1. a walk in the forest, combined with gathering mushrooms or maybe chestnuts.
2. breakfast in bed. with a good book, your favorite tea and maybe your favorite person.
3. a hamam visit followed by a massage. thank you (says your winter skin).
4. pink flowers (like dahlias). because winter will be classy in red and green long enough.
5. make (or buy) a headband, for a stylish appearance on the slopes.
6. spoil someone just because you can. and because christmas is still so far off.
7. make plans for romantic fondue and raclette nights. and of course put them into action.
8. throw a lavish dinner party for your friends. friendsgiving and friendsmas are big.
9. deluxe visit to the movies'. like with those extra large and cozy seats. and xl popcorn.
10. soup! soup! soup! and we're serving them in old, thrifted soupières. 

middle eastern yellow lentil, tomato and aubergine soup
recipe adapted from the current version of "Essen und Trinken" 
rezept auf deutsch auf si style

200 g onions, finely chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp. cumin seeds
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. ras el hanout
5 tbsp. olive oil
1 cinnamon stick
1 red chile, finely chopped
1 tbsp. ginger, minced
some brown sugar
2 cans tinned tomatoes, whole 
500 ml vegetable broth
400 aubergines, cubed
250 g lentils
2 tbsp. currants
salt, pepper, harissa

for garnish:
3 scallions, cut into rings
5 bunch parsley, coarsely chopped
1 bunch coriander, coarsely chopped
2 limes, juice
harissa, for extra heat

heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. sweat onions and garlic until translucent. add cinnamon, cumin (both, seeds and ground), ginger, ras el hanout and chile, and sweat some more. add 1 or 2 teaspoons of sugar and let it caramelize nicely. add the tomatoes and broth and let simmer (without the lid) for about 20 minutes on medium heat. do not season with salt and pepper yet, as the lentils need cooking, before (or maybe i'm just superstitious).

in the meantime, heat the rest of the olive oil  in a large pan and fry the aubergine cubes in it. season with salt and pepper and put aside. wash lentils and drain in a sieve.

add currants and lentils to the sauce and let cook for another 15 to 20 minutes. add the aubergines 5 minutes before the soup is being served. 

prepare the scallions and herbs. season the stew with salt, pepper, harissa and lime juice. ladle into bowls, then sprinkle liberally with scallions and herbs. serve with an additional slice of lime and maybe some more harissa. 

Oct 2, 2014

sunken apple cake with caramelized walnuts & calvados

cold(er) (sort of) weather makes me dream up a life that evolves around apples. it makes me want to be a farmer, growing fruit, with rows upon rows of apple trees. and the odd pumpkin patch, for good measure. i'd throw apple picking parties. and it would be fabulous.

in the meantime, i'll probably have to put up with turning apples into my (main) 'diet'. sweetness.

sunken apple cake with caramelized walnuts & calvados
recipe from annemarie wildeisen's magazine
rezept auf deutsch auf si style

125 g walnuts
100 g sugar (1)
1 lemon, juice and zest
750 g sour apples (or about 6 pieces)
200 g warm butter
125 g sugar (2)
4 eggs, room temperature
250 g flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 pinch salt
4 tbsp. calvados (or milk, but i mean…)

2 tbsp. brown sugar (i ommitted this)
maybe 1/2 glass of apricot jam, for the glaze (addition by moi)
confectioners' sugar for dusting

start by preparing the caramelized walnuts. break the walnuts into chunks. slowly caramelize the sugar in a pan on medium heat, without stirring, until the sugar turns brown. add the nuts and stir well until all the nuts are evenly coated with the caramel. spread onto a parchment paper. cover with an other parchment paper, then break into small chunks with the help of a rolling pin, pan or hammer (haha).

peel and quarter the apples, remove the core and cut - but only half way through - into fine horizontal stripes. coat with the lemon juice and put aside.

butter and flour a large round spring form. preheat the oven to 180 c / 360 f. combine butter and sugar and cream together until fluffy. add eggs one by one and combine well. in another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, lemon peel and salt. now add flour mix and calvados alternatingly to the wet mix. fill the dough into the form. arrange the apples on top with the cut sides on top. sprinkle with brown sugar (if using) and bake for about 50 minutes on the bottom rack of the oven. 

if you want to add some extra shine to the cake, heat the apricot jam and brush the still hot cake with the jam. leave to cool completely, then remove from the pan. dust with confectioners' sugar before serving. 

jolly good, this apple recipe number one. fall is just fabulous.

Sep 29, 2014

martini bianco risotto with baked cauliflower

this risotto was made with almost only the contents of my pantry and my fridge. we did get that cauliflower, not really knowing what exactly to do with it. but then we turned it into a cremy risotto. and it was just the perfect sunday night dinner after an exhausting (kind of) weekend with lots of running around.

a note on baked cauliflower, because every little cauliflower deserves some love, now and then: i've made cauliflower, the roasted or baked kind, many, manymany times (even in a soup version). and it has never failed to impress. 

martini bianco risotto with baked cauliflower
serves 2 (plus some decent leftovers, if we're being honest)
rezept auf deutsch auf si style

2 cups risotto rice (mine is from terreni alla maggia)
1 small onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely diced
1 glass (or three, haha) of martini bianco (if you happen not to have any wine around)
1 liter of good vegetable broth, heated
2 bay leaves
2 cups parmesan cheese, grated
1 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. olive oil

1 small cauliflower, cut into florets
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. pine nuts

freshly ground pepper to taste

preheat the oven to 220 c / 430 f. heat the olive oil and butter in a large saucepan. sweat the onion in it. add rice and garlic and sweat until the rice looks shiny and translucent (2 minutes). heat the vegetable broth in a second saucepan, together with the bay leaves. deglaze the rice with the martini bianco. now keep stirring thoroughly, until the martini bianco is incorporated or has evaporated wholly. then continue to add liquid - now the broth - ladle by ladle, stirring and working it slowly into the risotto.  continue until the risotto is al dente (you will need most of the liquid or possibly a little more, even). the rice should still be a little firm to the bite. then add the parmesan. stir well to combine until it is melted. now season with more salt (if necessary, depends on the saltiness of the broth) and some really good pepper, to taste. 

while the risotto is cooking, prepare the cauliflower: spread the florets on a baking sheet lined with parchment and evenly sprinkle with olive oil. season liberally with salt and the cumin. then bake for about 30 minutes in the oven until crispy and browned. finally, dry toast the pine nuts for 2 minutes in a dry pan (without any additional oil), until golden. 

to serve, divide the risotto between the plates, arrange the baked cauliflower atop of it and sprinkle with pine nuts. serve hot. because love is hot and so are we.