Jan 30, 2015

roasted tomatoes & chickpea curry

my "conscious" week is coming to an end and i'm making a balance. speaking of "ending it" now, i must say that i didn't really find it hard to stick to my conscious, detox inspired menu plan. rather, it came to me naturally and i think it's kind of the way to go and to treat ourselves: to reduce sugar to a minimum, cut out animal produce and focus on vegs (that are kept as natural as possible) and fruits instead and plant based proteins doesn't feel like a sacrifice at all. in fact, i feel great. really strong and healthy, and my skin is actually glowing. 

doesn't mean i'm not craving a good ol' stinky cheese and crackers, but hey, one must always challenge oneself. 

this curry here is fine for a conscious week, too, as the only animal produce it includes is gee. but i kinda really like gee and think it's an awesome product. so i'm sticking to this habit. you can cut out the bread for an extra detox friendly meal. 

roasted tomatoes & chickpea curry
inspired by greg malouf's new book "new feast"

8 raf or merinda (winter) tomatoes
2 tsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. gee or sunflower oil
1 onion, finely grated
1 tbsp. black mustard seeds
1 tbsp. yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tbsp. cumin, ground
1 tsp. cilantro / coriander seeds, ground
1 tbsp. turmeric
1 medium spicy chili or peperoncino, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
1 can coconut milk (200 ml)
1 can tomatoes (200 ml)
1 large can chickpeas, drained
1 handful parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp. curry leaves, fresh or dried
salt, chili powder
some vegetable broth, optional
1/2 lime, juice
cilantro / coriander, finely chopped, for garnish

rice or bread to serve

first, start by roasted tomatoes. preheat the oven to 200 c / 400 f. brush the tomatoes - with the stalk on - with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt. place them in an ovenproof pan an roast for 20 to 30 minutes, until the skin shows cracks. put aside.

in the meantime, make the curry: melt the gee in a pan, add the onion and sweat for a while, then add the spices: mustard seeds, fennel, cumin, cilantro/coriander seeds, turmeric. add the chile/peperoncino, garlic and ginger and fry some more. deglaze with coconut milk and canned tomatoes. add the chickpeas, parsley and curry leaves. simmer for about 15 minutes and add some vegetable broth if needed to liquefy. season with salt and some more chili powder if needed and squeeze in half a lime.

add the tomatoes back to the pan and heat through briefly. plate, sprinkle liberally with fresh cilantro/coriander and serve with bread or rice.

Jan 27, 2015

raw, no-bake energy bites

i haven't made any major, unrealistic new year's resolutions, however, i must admit i let my workouts awfully slip these past months due to simply being in over my head with work etc. i'm now more than ready to get back into the saddle (not literrally), as in: i'm taking my beloved yoga sessions back up this week. i will probably look like a rusty elephant on a rope, but hey... you can't have it all. plus i've signed up for a (grown-up, aka clumsy elephant again) ballet class! been meaning to do that in forever. i danced as a kid - both ballet and step dance, can you believe it? - and definitely have had a weakness for anything ballet-y ever since. not just the sweet tutus and blush pink, the leg warmers and the elegant ballet shoes (although they obviously don't hurt, either) - but also because i'm really rather into the whole "strengthening while stretching" (if that makes any sense), core balance building and - most of all - the aesthetically pleasing movements, that you get from yoga and ballet alike. the major plus about ballet is the music, too. so i can't wait to take it back up (after 25 years, haha) and see where the journey leads me.

in terms of nutrition, i'm also starting a conscious week (as i call it, because detox is probably a bit of an overpromise?). making sure i incorporate lots of (mostly raw) greens and fruit, drink lots of water and herbal tea and avoid sugars. that's basically it with the rules. keeping it simple and manageable, hehe. a week will do to make me more conscious about what i put into my body. hey, who knew making smoothies could be that much fun?

but since i know i will find it hard to cut back on sweets and little snacks entirely i've come up with a healthy snack. well, this and the fact that my oven is temporarily seemingly forever broken, which made me have to be creative, shm. anyway! insert: these raw, no-bake (yay) energy bites! they look like pralines but they're basically just a granola ball. aka super nutritious and satisfying. proud to say boast that i've created these on my own, taking it as i went, and now i can't wait to make them again because they're so good and sweet and nutty and healthy. go, glow!

can't wait to embark on my "healthy body and mind" mission. keep you updated!

raw, no-bake energy bites
makes 20


1 1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup dried cranberries or raisins
1/4 cup almond slivers
1/4 cup desiccated coconut, shredded
2 tbsp. chia seeds
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp. manuka honey or 2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
2 tbsp. peanut butter
100 g dark chocolate
1 tbsp. coconut oil

combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl: the oats, cranberries, almonds, coconut, chia seeds, cocoa powder. add the honey, if you're using honey (which i did). add the vanilla extract, cinnamon and ginger to the dry mix, too. in a small pan, melt the chocolate, peanut butter and coconut oil on very low heat. smooth out with a spatula occasionally. pour the chocolat-peanut-butter-mix into the dry ingredients and stir to combine. put in the refrigerator for 10 minutes for the mixture to harden a bit. shape into balls - which really means: press them together (!) in the palms of your hand really hard. pop back in the fridge until fully set. keeps well in the refrigerator for a couple of days.

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