Sep 19, 2014

roasted brussels sprouts with grapefruit, cinnamon & star anise

here it is: the first crazy combo by ottolenghi from his new "plenty more". the intention in the recipe is to use pomelo instead of grapefruit, but hey... i'm only human. with only a ton of work on the side, crazy hobbie and bunch of fabulous friends that i want to see every leap year or so, if possible. hm. so, sadly, no, i simply do not make it to globus delicatessa every weeknight. and since we don't have wholefoods and the likes in switzerland... oh well, that's possibly for the better, anyway... i do not wear an apron as soon as i come home and i do not prepare a candle light dinner every night. in fact, most nights i simply collapse on the couch. that's about as glamorous as it gets. so do not pester me with pomelo, do you hear me? sorry, minor breakdown.

so what's the drill: it's a really fragrant, surprising dish. and as always with ottolenghi, it makes sense. also, i quite like how it seems ottolenghi and i are on friend-terms. which we're not (since we do not know each other in person, although i know him, hehe). but we would totally be, if he only knew me. tiny little piece missing in the formula.

roasted brussels sprouts with grapefruit, cinnamon & star anise
recipe adapted from ottolenghi's "plenty more"
rezept auf deutsch auf si style

100 g sugar
1 cinnamon stick
5 star anise
3 tbsp. lemon juice
2 grapefruits (or pomelo), segmented
600 g brussels sprouts, stemmed and halved
250 g shallots (i used less), peeled and halved
75 g olive oil
10 g coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped
salt & pepper

first, prepare the syrup with the flavors: combine sugar, cinnamon, star anise and 100 ml of water in a saucepan. bring to a boil and cook for about 1 minute, until the sugar has dissolved. remove from the heat and let cool slightly. add the lemon juice. then add the grapefruit segments and let marinate for at least 1 hour.

in the meantime prepare the oven to 220 c / 430 f. note: ottolenghi wants us to quickly blanch the sprouts first but i simply couldn't be bothered... i like my sprouts nice and roasted, anyway. so i ommited that step, but go ahead and blanch them for 3 minutes first if you want, then drain and pat dry and continue as follows: spread the sprouts on a baking sheet lined with parchment, together with the shallots. dress with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, toss to coat a bit, then roast for about 20 to 30 minutes. remove and let cool a bit. 

remove cinnamon and star anise form the syrup, drain the grapefruit segments and keep the syrup. to serve, toss the roasted sprouts together with the marinated grapefruit segments. add a bit of the syrup to act as additional flavour and dressing. season with more salt and pepper if necessary. then serve and savour.

Sep 18, 2014

"plenty more", courtesy of ottolenghi

my fondness for ottolenghi is immense. i've cooked his dishes, i've loved every single one. i've eaten at his various places in london, the food having gone through my dreams. so, when i heard it through the grapevine that he's out with a new cookbook by fall, i couldn't believe my luck (remember me being on the sunny side of life? so that's that, again). on the night of the same day i heard about it and still wasn't really sure whether it was true or just wishful thinking, i went to my english bookshop to make a preorder. when they confirmed that yes, it was in fact due in september, i was happy.  it's not actually exaggerated to claim that i've had a couple of sleepless hours due to the launch of this book… 

then, during our vacation in august, my mom suddenly sends me a cheeky text, along this: "hi how was your day? oh, by the way, got the new ottolenghi today" (and believe me i heard her snickering with it). i was incredulous! and simply stammered: "whaaat? that's so unfair! howwww…??" and she just replied: "why, like it's hard? i've got connections, you know". we debated back and forth, and, needless to say, the movie we were watching wasn't really the centre of attention anymore… at the end, i came to the conclusion, that, surely, the english book shop must have been confused or dazed and not able to process the many preorders…? it was painful to have my mom "win" the ottolenghi battle. no, i was not happy for her. i wanted my ottolenghi, and i wanted it first. well, stuck with the vacation i was. there was nothing to do but wait until i got back. i pictured myself having to do some stern talking to the bookshop guys… it wasn't pretty.

the finale came a little later, though, in the shape of a text (again), that said. "f***, i've already got that one!!!". mom had managed to buy the old volume, "plenty", again. let's just say the snickering was now mine. and the victory, because i ended up still being the first with my copy. and am i not a nice daughter: as i speak, her copy is ready and waiting for her in my home. because one defeat is enough for one month. sometimes, it's good to be noble like that.

so, by now you're probably eating your screen because you want to know all about the new bible…? it is called "plenty more". and isn't it pretty? it's the sequels to "plenty"*. it means there are 120 more winner veggie recipes to tackle for me! 120 more opportunities to make guests happy. 120 more ideas to turn into own dishes. ah, the possibilities!

i've briefly leafed through each and every single page, read about a dozen recipes straight away on the street in front of the bookshop (no kidding) and even cooked a couple of dishes off it. thus, i'm entitled to tell you this much: it's dazzling, brilliant, inspiring. it's another highlight. and it maybe is even a teeny tiny bit better than his last books. like the title says: it's simply plenty more.

and now is the big news (if you want to discover it for yourself, stop reading now): this time, it is organised by cooking method! brilliant, no? sighs. ottolenghi, you bastard! you did it again. congrats.

that's why we're having an ottolenghi plenty more celebration party over here, how about that? a week-long celebration, to be precise! i've cooked 2 vegs dishes and one dessert that you will get to see here. yays! laola-wave. thank you.

* i just checked: i haven't even reviewd "plenty" yet! shame on me! definitely something to catch up on.

Sep 16, 2014

kanelbullar - swedish cinnamon buns

it wasn't in my stars to know how to make yeast based breads and pastry. i somehow made a few good yeasted things - probably out of sheer luck…? but there is definitely no consistency in my skills. but hey, there is always the lucky punch. if you really want to know: i'm a bit of a lucky devil… since i was little, i've always always kind of gotten what i wished or hoped for. mostly more than that. only recently, i scored a really nice vintage shelf for my dining room, that will make the perfekt home for my soupière and tableware collection (i'll show you once i have it, for sure). it was hard to get, that shelf. let's just say it must have been my lucky stars to help me with such a deal. so i guess every once in a while i get lucky with baking, too… shall we take our chances?

kanelbullar - swedish cinnamon buns
rezept auf deutsch auf si style

ingredients for the dough:
300 g flour
20 g fresh yeast
100 ml milk
60 butter, melted
70 g sugar + 1 tsp.
1 egg
1 tbsp. cardamom
1/4 tsp. salt

ingredients for the filling:

100 g butter, room temperature
2/4 cups sugar
4 tbsp. cinnamon
1 egg for the glaze
coarse decorating sugar

for the dough, sieve thte flour in a bowl and add sugar, salt and cardamom. melt the butter, then let it cool a bit. add the cold milk, so that the liquid is only hand warm (not too hot not too cold). dissolve the yeast in a bit of the milk butter liquid with a teaspoon of sugar. make a well in the flour mix, then pour the yeast into the well and cover lightly with flour. let steep for about 10 minutes, until bubbles form. then pour in the milk and egg. now work the dough with an electric stand mixer (it helps to attach the dough hook, ahem) or else, should you not be so lucky (in this case i am not, sighs) work it with your hands, i.e. with a wooden spoon, for 10 to 15 minutes (snooooze), until your dough is elastic. i found that i had to leave the dough in the bowl for it, because it's a rather moist dough (and so it should be). but if you have to, add some more flour in the process. 

let the dough prove in a warm place, covered with a clean kitchen towel, for 30 minutes. remove from the bowl, dust your work surface with flour and roll dough out into a slim, long rectangle, to about 1 cm thick. spread the butter evenly on top, then dust with the sugar and cinnamon. now fold twice, towards the middle, so that you have three layers (like you would with a business letter, somehow). cut width wise into 2cm wide stripes. cut these again, now lengthwise, but leaving the top of the legs uncut. it has to look like a pair of trousers. if you have no clue what i'm talking about, watch this. now twist the legs, then knot them (messily). proceed until all the kanelbullars are knotted. 

place on a baking sheet lined with parchment. cover with kitchen towels and let prove again for for 1.5 hours until doubled in size. preheat the oven to 220c / 430 f. brush with egg wash and sprinkle with decorating sugar if you want.

revision: of course you need a baking time! thank you for pointing this out, fellow foodie sweets. okay, here goes: bake for 9-11 minutes (depending on size of the buns and on the exact heat of your oven. and how doughy and chewy you like your buns, mind. mine took around 10 minutes in a rather hot oven). then eat (while they're still warm, because you can). xx

Sep 12, 2014

indian spiced cauliflower with ginger & lime

fall is finally here (after an inexistent, sneaky little summer), and i couldn't be happier. the vibrant colors go straight to my heart. and whenever i find a chestnut (fake one, or whatever the inedible ones are called) on the streets i can't help but pick it up. i'm keeping them everywhere - in pockets, handbags and on tiny cakestands on my desk and coffee table - as a talisman and a token of the best season (granted, right after christmas) there is. can not wait to wear plaid capes and xl scarves, junky knits, layers, coats, boots (with my fur soles carefully tucked into them) and tights (yes, even these). can't wait for everything that life has in store, because, honestly, i'm just so grateful for all the beauty. 

indian spiced cauliflower with ginger & lime
rezept auf deutsch auf si style

ingredients:1 large cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tbsp. gee or sunflower oil
1 tsp. of each of the following spices: yellow mustard seeds, black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, ground cumin, fennel seeds, turmeric, ground coriander seeds
1 small green chile (medium heat), finely chopped
1 tbsp. fresh, ground ginger
3 limes, juice
1 handful fresh coriander leaves

blanch the cauliflower in salted water for about 3 minutes, then drain and chill under the running cold water. put aside. in the meantime, prepare the spice mix: heat the gee in a pan, then add all the spices and toast for 1 or 2 minutes until fragrant. add the lime juice, ginger and chile and let cool. toss the cauliflower with the spice dressing and let marinate for at least one hour. before serving, sprinkle with the coriander.

ideal as a snack (maybe with tiny skewers or toothpicks inserted to go with cocktail hour), a starter salad or as a (cold) side to other indian dishes like curries. or even for a bbq or picnic, come to think of it. 

Sep 9, 2014

deconstructed cheesecake in jars - with yellow plum compote

my new friend myriam, whom i've already told you about before, has not only the most enviable cookbook collection in her beautiful, quirky home. she also wrote her own. because, you know, she is fabulous like that. it's only one of the most stunning baking books in german and with the metric system (two things that are essential - yet not always to be taken for granted at all) available on this planet. and that comes from someone with a rather enviable cookbook selection herself (namely moi). i've seen many, many a good cookbook, might i say. but myriam's is now one of my faves. sorry for making you greedy - because it's only available in german so far... pardonnez-moi, cake lovers. this interpretation of myriam's cheesecake in jars will have to do, for now. but i totally believe myriam can take over the sweet world, in a whiff, so be prepared!

deconstructed cheesecake in jars - with yellow plum compote
in deutsch auf si style

ingredients for the crumble: 
75 g flour
30 g ground almonds
75 g brown sugar
30 g cold butter, in cubes
2 sleeves (40 g) of vanilla sugar 

ingredients for the cheesecake filling:
125 g curd (full fat)
2 vanilla beans, scraped
1/2 organic lemon, zest (grated) and juice
250 ml heavy whipping cream, whipped
2 egg whites, whipped
50 sugar

ingredients for the plum compote: 
4-6 yellow plums
1 vanilla bean, scraped
250 ml water
1 tbsp. sugar
1 organic lemon, zest (grated) and juice

preheat the oven to 180 c / 350 f. combine all crumble ingredients in the bowl and mix with a hand mixer until combined. spread onto a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. put aside and let cool.

for the filling, combine the curd with the vanilla, lemon zest and juice. whip the cream and add to the curd. whip the egg whites until very stiff, add the sugar and beat some more. carefully fold into the curd cream. refrigerate until used. 

for the compote combine water, lemon zest, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan and bring to a boil. wash the plums, half, pit and then slice. remove the syrup from the heat and put the plum slices in it to let them steep. add the lemon juice. refrigerate as well. 
before serving, divide the crumble between glasses. fill in the cheesecake cream. top with plums (omit the juice). chill until served. 

Sep 2, 2014

bolo gelado - brazilian chilled coconut cakes

for this cake, i was honestly and really called 'the queen of cakes'. 'queen of everything' would have been better, i agree, but i'm not complaining. 

this cake is about as close to child-hood memories as it can get. my mom would make it on special occasions, on outings, for picnics or potlucks (yes, we did that, in the nineties, a lot, and we did it in style... on another note, i'm glad those times are gone, not only for the baggy pants that look silly on me). and, ever the strategist and thus prone to explaining things in detail (not to say 'dubelisicher', which, from german, translates to 'idiot proof'), i feel obliged to explain to you why this fab cake is so fab and heavenly. give me five minutes (or ten bullets), okay? hehe, you're sold already, i can see that.

reasons why this cake is fab (apart from the obvious)
note before you start (i know you can't wait): this might be proof of my list-making talent - aka neurosis. ahem. more proof here - because our generation is also voyeuristic like that, who are we kidding anyway). 

#1 it's a brazilian recipe (obviously, the title says). and it translates to 'chilled cake' or 'fridge cake' (i guess).

#2 it's got all the good (brazilian) stuff in it: coconut, condensed milk. y'all. no chocolate.

#3 thus, it's almost like a raffaello. and i never ever in my life said no to a raffaello. and likely never will. 

#4 and positively cloudlike, too (if that's even a word). and by that i mean not heavy, but really light and fluffy and aerated. possibly a diet cake, come to think of it. ha!

#5 it's chilled! ideal in the summer (if. ever.).

#6 individually wrapped. makes it cool. for almost every occasion. like the fancy glamping i'm dreaming about. or picnics that i so, so love (with good weather at least). or anything fancy-schmancy like that.

...and if six reasons aren't enough to convince you, well, a seventh and an eighth probably never would. looks like your a massive cake skeptic. i can't help you, buddy. you're in this alone. a-l-o-n-e. the queen of cakes can't make everyone happy, can she now.

for everyone else who thinks, jolly-good, six reasons are more than enough, i'm going to make this! here's the recipe. 

bolo gelado - brazilian chilled coconut cakes
recipe inherited from my mom

makes about 30 pieces
1 large baking sheet required
foil, cut into squares, for wrapping cake individually

ingredients for the cake:
7 eggs
3 cups sugar
4.5 cups flour
2 tbsp. butter, melted
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 cup orange juice

ingredients for the glaze: 
1 tin condensed milk (unsweetened)
same amount of milk
same amount of coconut milk
2 tbsp. sugar
300 g shredded, desiccated coconut


preheat the oven to 180 c / 350 f and line a baking sheet with parchment. combine egg yolks, sugar and butter. add orange juice, flour and baking powder. whip egg whites until stiff, then fold in. spread batter onto the prepared sheet. bake for 20 to 25 minutes (the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle), until the cake is lightly browned and a wood skewer inserted comes out clean, but is still fluffy and light. cut into equally sized squares while still warm.

for the glaze, heat condensed milk, milk and coconut milk together with the sugar until sugar has dissolved. remove from the heat. pour the glaze into one bowl and the coconut into another. now dunk each cake square in the glaze first, until properly soaked. squeeze softly, then transfer to the coconut bowl and cover evenly in coconut. wrap each square individually in foil. store in the fridge (for a minimum of 2 hours before eating) until used. 

for picnics, bring the cake individually wrapped, as they are, but for guests at home remove them from the foil, first.

the queen of cakes says "adieu"

Aug 27, 2014

giardiniera - italian pickled vegetables

this is beaufitul ticino, the southern part of switzerland. well, and some pickled italian vegs. but can you believe this is actually still switzerland? it looks so southern, italian and exotic to me. the lake (i almost called it "sea") on the second picture was so stormy on that day, beautifully silvery. it was wonderfully chilly and warm at the same time, and the air was clean and smelled of summer vacation. perfect for drinking cocktails out and watching people pass and make up stories about their backgrounds and what moves and shakes them. 

giardiniera - italian pickled vegetables
rezept auf deutsch auf si style

1 kg vegetables of your choice: aubergines, peppers, zucchini, green beans, cauliflower, fennel, carrots - but also brocoli, celeriac, celery stalks and mushrooms are good - cut into batons
1 onion, sliced
1 garlic clove (per glass)
1 liter cold water
1 liter white wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups coarse sea salt
1 tbsp. black pepper 
1 (per glass) peperoncino
2 (per glass) bay leaves
herbs and spices of choice: thymian, rosemary etc.
1/2 l olive oil
1/2 l sunflower oil

combine salt, water and vinegar in a large bowl. soak the cut vegetable in it, together with onion and garlic. make sure everything is covered. cover and put aside overnight. put a weight on the vega if necessary, so that they remain soaked and covered by liquid. on the next day, drain the vegs and put them to dry on a roast. leave there for a day. patience is a virtue, remember.

on the next day, prepare as many sterile glasses as you need, then fill tightly with vegs. add one garlic clove to each glass, as ewll as some pepper corns, bay leaves and peperoncino. fill up with oil, starting with the olive oil, until every little vegetable is covered in oil. let stand for a while until all the bubbles have gone. close the lid then let marinate for 2-4 weeks before eating.