Nov 21, 2011
1 splitterbot headphone sharing robot via thinkgeek
2 porcelain coffee cup 'not a paper cup', via moma store
3 ricemon phone & gadget holder, via not on the highstreet
4 moustache shaped flask, via gearculture
5 retro phone headset for iphone, via alibaba
6 instax mini 7s instant camera, via japangadgetshop
7 robot usb drive, via polkarobot
8 ice cream cone timer, via amazon
9 retro rape iphone case, random
10 gold bar customized paper weight, via sz-wholesale
11 rocket popsicle maold via geeksugar
when i discovered this roasted cauliflower some time ago, it became an endless love-story. i couldn't help but make it over and over again since. i didn't even alternate much in the beginning. usually, i don't post the same things again - but this is just so good.... so when my mom and a friend came over last week, i decided they had to get an extra large plate of this goodness.
i roasted two large cauliflower heads, with cumin, a little curry powder and some maldon sea salt. then put some yogurt with lemon juice and a little garlic on top. plus chopped celery stalks (for an extra bite, yum, i love celery), as well as chopped cilantro, mint and pomegranate seeds, and sprinkled a little more olive oil on top.
note: see, i varied it, a tiny bit... if you look closely you might find all the differences - and boy, it was good. again.
there are few things in life i like better than truffles (the mushroom ones, in particular). if you're a truffle lover like i am, make sure you stop by bruno's in lorgues, if you're ever in france. his truffle menues are entirely created around and made with truffle (five complete courses) - it's an endeavor.
i wanted to make his signature dish - truffled potatoes - ever since i tried them. and last week i finally got around shopping for a truffle at globus, especially with it in mind. it's probably not exactly how bruno does them - but, anyway, he's a famous cook, so that's okay by me... and, if i dare say: it sure tasted very much like his creation... (i've always been very humble, me).
truffled potatoes (à la bruno clément)
6 medium sized potatoes (not the 'floury', dry kind; the sweet, compact ones are much better - i took charlotte)
20 g butter
1/2 liter of cream
1 (or more, if you can afford it) fresh black truffle
20 g pickled truffle
1 cup parmesan (note: i'm sure bruno hasn't used it, but i quite like the combination of it with truffle)
fleur de sel de guérande
freshly ground black pepper
utensils: truffle grater
preheat the oven to 150 degrees (celsius). tear apart six aluminum foil squares. wash and peel the potatoes. smear some butter on them, salt lightly with fleur the sel and then wrap with the foil. place in the oven for 45 minutes or more, until the potatoes are tender but still compact.
note: i was afraid that baking the potatoes would make them dry and fall apart, just like real baked potatoes... but with the foil around them, they were rather like steamed, in fact, and thus very sweet and very tender, but still firm. just make sure you really bake them at a low temperature. that way, they will also stay good if you have to leave them in the oven for a little longer, due to a delay.
grate the truffle, and separate the crumbles and tiny pieces that came off from grating to put in the cream reduction. heat the cream with the pickled truffle and the real truffle crumbles. simmer on low heat for ten minutes or so, until the liquid is 'reduced'. season with fleur de sel and pepper. add the parmesan if you like and heat through again. only at the end, stir in a few drops of the truffle oil, for extra flavor.
take out the potatoes and arrange on a plate. pour the cream reduction over the potatoes, and place the truffle slivers on top. sprinkle with a bit more truffle oil, and a bit more fleur de sel. serve immediately, and love every bite of the divine truffled creaminess.
do you like it? i'm almost sure you will. like, we decided we make it on christmas, it was that good.
this winter it was really hard to for me to find the right boots. i was looking everywhere for a pair that's both casual and with a few cute details. then i finally found these gorgeous studded boots at zara, with shiny black studs all over and a soft leather. and it's not completely irrelevant that they have a good sole and are thus winterproof, either (though the snow is still far away, unfortunately...).
Nov 18, 2011
sometimes i feel like the best dinner doesn't come in three to five plus courses, but in one single bowl, served 'family-style' in the bowl, with salad servers. not necessarily in front of the tv, but, you know, that might happen sometimes, too.
this dish was made in a hungry moment. i didn't shop for anything in particular beforehand. i had a few healthy veggies at home, and the occasional grains and things in my pantry, as always. i combined what was at hand - and the result was such a fragrant and lavish dish, it's hard to believe it's actually healthy, too. it's like a miracle salad (and you know i do strongly believe that the best salads are not made of boring green leaves but a combination of tepid grains).
i cooked three 'grains' (one actually being a pasta) separately to start with: barley (the main ingredient), buckwheat (only a little, for the nutty fragrance) and orzo (that actually being rize-shaped pasta, i love to use that in a combination with other grains, it adds a little more substance - and carbs, no less). in the meantime, i slowly roasted a few differently colored cherry tomatoes on low temperature, with garlic and best olive oil. easily one of my favorite salads i ever made. sometimes, a rush of inspiration, driven by hunger of the moment, really is the best cook.
barley orzo salad with roasted tomatoes
1 cup barley
1 cup orzo
1/2 cup buckwheat, all cooked (separately) according to directions
500 g green coco beans, quickly blanched in salty water, drained, cooled and sliced diagonally
handful of differently colored cherry tomatoes, washed and halved
2 - 3 garlic cloves, minced
2 pinches maldon sea salt
salt for cooking
for the lemon dressing:
3 tbsp. argan oil
1 tsp. best truffle oil or walnut oil (for a more intense nutty flavor)
1 lemon, juice
1tsp. acacia honey
1 knife point harissa
pinch maldon sea salt, plus more for serving
fresh basil leaves, to decorate
cook the grains according to directions on the packaging. blanch, drain, cool and then slice the coco beans. in the meantime (or in advance) roast the halved cherry tomatoes with sprinkles of olive oil, the garlic and a generous pinch of sea salt in the oven at a low temperature for up to one hour.
combine the (tepid) barley, orzo and buckwheat, and sprinkle with some more olive oil, so it doesn't dry out and stick together. add the hot tomatoes and the been slices on top. make the lemon dressing with all the ingredients, and pour it over the grains-vegetable mixture. sprinkle the chopped basil and some more flaky maldon sea salt (i've really grown to love that salt...) on top, and serve, tepid, family style. love served.
Nov 17, 2011
make a 'baker's kit', offered in a biscuit tin or a vintage gugelhupf mould, with various little things and tools inside. i'm pretty sure my friend who's a keen baker would love it. here are a few of the items you could use to make it - of course there are no limits to your creativity.
1 green, red and white melted chocolate drops for baking, via layer cake shop
2 candied violets in a cute jar, for decorating, by demel in austria
3 organic lavender bulbs, for infusing, by purple haze lavender farm
4 striped paper straws, by paille en papier, via kikkerland
5 various odd shaped and colored sprinkles, white snowflakes and candy canes, via layer cake shop
6 striped goodies paper bags, via layer cake shop
7 pink polka dot cupcake sheets, via layer cake shop
8 biscuit and cookie tins, via my greener home
9 cupcake shaped gift tags, random
10 red baker's twine, via layer cake shop or bhldn
11 madeleine biscuit moulds, via walmart
12 glass pastry cloche, via gilt groupe
13 heart shaped silicone baking shapes, via armada silicone
14 vintage appeal gugelhopf mould with lid, via avrupas catering equipment
15 scalloped white porcelain cake stand, via 21st century lifestyle
16 fluff marshmallow creme (in zurich available at the english book store)
17 cooking thermometer via amazon uk
18 pink shiny spatula set by le creuset, via bed, bad and beyond
19 professional quality baking spray by sprink, via ruth pretty catering
Nov 15, 2011
christmas chez nous is always rather... a big thing. i know this makes us sound a bit creepy and fanatic, (we're not...). we just love to plan it. we believe a christmas celebration should be unique. and that asks for a theme, one throughout, from the decor to the menue.
generally speaking, we are rather traditional oriented when it comes to christmas styles; normally there's a tendance towards greens, reds, whites and natural brown shades (like from pine cones or wood). for example, we once had a "forest inspired" christmas, with plates made of wood and simple evergreen everywhere (though when we were kids, there was also the occasional blue silver colored christmas tree - i guess those were the 80s...). last year we somehow ended up with a metropolitan theme, with classy blacks and whites, sleek, elegant silverware and simple white votives to create an effortless chic.
and here's a sneak peek to this year's inspiration*. it's inspired by deep red cherries, reddened cheeks, living on the countryside, in the midst of white snow. a theme of white food with deep red details and chocolatey dark accents. here's the christmas menue** we came up with so far (i'm almost sure this is not the final version, just yet...):
christmas menue chez nous
(draft no. 1)
christmas lemonade & eggnogs
red & green baby leaves with toasted walnuts
roasted cauliflower soup with bread crumbs
baked potatoes with black truffles
poached spiced pear with stilton
black forest gateau with amarena cherries
white chocolate covered marshmallows
home made dark & white chocolate cranberry truffles
tonka bean cookies
pomegranate ice water
darn, by now i'm drooling over this, merely by thinking about it. what do you think, fellow christmas lovers and foodies?
* hello, mom! don't be shocked, it's just a draft. 'm sure we will work on this for a few more hours, anyway, until we're happy. right? chuckle. and, of course, you have yet to give your blessing to any of it.
** many of the people in our family are almost-vegetarians - and equally as many are well-known meat-lovers too... so we usually make a vegetarian as well as a meat version, in order to please everyone. this here is the meat-less version, so far. how would you incorporate meat into this menue? i thought maybe with a lamb filet, a salmon terrine as a starter, or a tiny dried grison style beef plate with various (white and dark) breads?
picture sources from left to right: lemonade, pears, cauliflower soup other white soup, black truffles, beetroot chips, black forest gateau, white cake with trees, potatoes, white chocolate truffles, marshmallows
since i love healthy, original ingredients in general and soba noodles (they're made from buckwheat) in specific, i figured i had to love buckwheat as a primary ingredient for a dish. but little did i know about it. did you know that the plant has nothing in common with the conventional wheat, though the name suggests that? that's what also makes it ideal for people with a sensitivity or allergy against gluten. it was first cultivated in asia, and is the main ingredient in japan's famous soba noodles (that i knew). it's nutty taste that many so love is thanks to buckwheat. apart from that, it can be used in many different dishes, for example as a substitute for rice, as flour or as a porridge. and: it is, indeed, very, very healthy (i'm not going to elaborate on the health benefits, because you are probably yawning heavily by now...).
so i made a buckwheat porridge, with nothing but beurre salé à la fleur de sel and some roasted mushrooms and a little pecorino on top. it was divine.
buckwheat porridge with grilled mushrooms
1 cup buckwheat
2 cups water
500 g or more mushrooms (i only took button mushrooms, the brown ones, organically grown. but of course you could use any other mushrooms you like, it would also be lovely with fresh shiitake or portobello mushrooms), quartered
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. beurre salé à la fleur de sel or any other butter
few sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
maldon sea salt
handful of pecorino crumbs
preheat the oven to 220 degrees. place the buckwheat in a saucepan, and add the double amount of water to it. salt lightly. cook according to directions on the packaging (i had to bring it to a boil, then turn off the stove and let sit, with the lid close, for 10 - 15 minutes, exactly like you'd do it with rice).
in the meantime, prepare the mushrooms, combine with the olive oil, garlic and thyme leaves, salt lightly with maldon sea salt, and place in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the mushrooms are neatly roasted.
add the butter to the buckwheat and stir to combine. arrange the mushrooms on top, sprinkle with pecorino and season with more sea salt and thyme, if needed.
Nov 13, 2011
when i was a kid, my 'aunt' irma lived with us. auntie irma wasn't an actual relative of ours - we just called her aunt. and to specify that: around our house, aunt irma didn't even really have a name - she was just called 'the aunt'. why, you ask? well, of course i never asked why, as a kid... somehow, the fact that we called her aunt never seemed stranged to me back then. it just seemed to be the decent thing to call an elderly austrian lady with no (imminent) family. plus, i might add, she clearly was the auntie type, with neatly starched and ironed aprons on every day. you know, the flowery kind. and a perfectly styled bun of identical shape every single day i knew her. so the title 'the aunt' fitted her really well - and it was some kind of an honor, given as it sounded so superlative...
the aunt used to stay with our family at our house for several months on end each year. that was perfect, given as my mom was working, too, and not always at home. i learned such a lot from the aunt - and i loved her dearly (this is not the entire thruth, though... i also feared her, sometimes. she was very severe. the kind with hair on her teeth, you know. quite frightening - from a kid's perspective). she tought me all kinds of things; from telling all sorts of wild herbs apart, to ironing and sewing, and, most importantly, she introduced me to the secrets of the austrian cuisine. like marillenknödel, kaiserschmarrn, zwetschgendatschi, ribiselntorte and flädlesuppe, for example. and griessnockerlsuppe, of course.
ah, how i loved this soup. i would happily eat it all week. when i suddenly thought of it last friday, it struck me how long i haven't had any, and the fact actually made me sad. a little like betraying the aunt, maybe... so i snuck some things out of my pantry and started on griessnockerln for a dinner à deux with my bf. it was so nice, and it tasted just like 20 years ago... how quickly time flies.
griessnockerlsuppe (semolina dumplings soup)
2 tbsp. warm water
1 pinch salt, plus more for cooking
twice the egg-weight semolina (not exactly a science, there)
(vegetable) broth or home-made stock
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
beat up the eggs into a bowl, add semolina. not too much at first, so that you can add more later if necessary. add the water. season with salt and pepper. if the dough is too hard, add more water. if it's too liquid, add more semolina. the dough should be lightly 'shapeable'. let sit for 10 to 30 minutes. in the meantime, heat the vegetable stock or broth in a large saucepan. in another saucepan, heat well salted water (to cook the dumplings later).
use to tablespoons to shape the dumplings. slide them into the hot (not boiling) water. proceed one by one and cook them for 10 to 15 minutes. place the carrots in the broth. then turn the heat of the dumplings saucepan off - but let them sit in the hot water for another 10 minutes or so.
take the dumplings out with a sieve. put in soup plate, and pour some broth and carrots over them. serve hot. you can also add a little parsley on top.
i hope the aunt would have been proud of me... i hope you like it just as much as i do. that way, the aunt's tribute lives on.
Nov 10, 2011
i love to pull pretty things together. the first part of my gift guide, for nature lovers, can be found here. i hope you like the second part addressing cooks and aspriational chefs? xo
1 home made cookie stamp via shopterrain
2 white truffle salt via shopterrain
3 farmer's market porcelain fruit basket via anthropologie
4 home made cook book via amazon
5 canning cook book via amazon
6 truffle grater random
7 blue q artist dish towel
8 le creuset mini stewpots
9 dalmore whisky with silver deer (yes, i like that one very much)
10 vintage silver measuring spoons via modcloth
11 laduree special edition red & white maccarons in gift boxes
most work days in my life are not bad, not bad at all. i'm in a job i love, that is actually something i am good at, even, and it even is fun, most days. on nights of most of such days, cooking is the means to transport me from my job me to my homey me. it helps me to relax and get away from it all.
Nov 8, 2011
if you love peanutbutter, and marshmallows, well, you gotta love fluffernutter. the crazy, american sandwich that combines both tastes. it's sweet, it's salty, it's creamy - in other words the perfect stuff for cupcakes. i wanted to make these here forever, and when i finally got a fluff i started right away on them.
i experimented with various ways to shape the cupcakes this time, always trying to get the best result (that's me and my perfectionism for you). the ones with the home-made, individually cut parchment paper squares (instead of conventional, store-bought) cupcake sheets turned out particularly lovely (though those might be better for muffins, i.e. with no frosting on top to disturb the cute look). i made the frosting swirl without a pipe, frankly, i was just too plain lazy to bother (here you say: well, well, so your perfectionism probably doesn't come that long away, after all, hein? and tut-tut. yeah, you're right...). anyway, so i probably had other things on mind that night, like running around my new living room table, totally extatic and over the moon about it). but i think i will try it the patissier way the next time, in order to make these beauties more polished. but for now, i'm just indulging in fluffernutter sandwiches for breakfast, until this precious jar of fluff is up. yup, all good things (have to) come to an end - so best to enjoy it while it lasts.
Nov 7, 2011
december season means you get away with lots of red, green and white colored things, jingles, snowmen and other tacky decor. needless to say, the food in this season has to represent this theme, as well. it's got to be cinnamon and orange flavor and of course cranberries for me. these cookies here have been sort of a trial run for (possible) christmas food gifts. so i finished them off with a red and white bow and an oversized jingle (i got these in the city during a lunch-break this week). christmas can come!
cranberry white chocolate cookies
1 1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 tsp. baking powder
1 pinch salt
2 cups dried cranberries
1 cup white chocolate chips (or, if you're not able to get any, cut a bar of white chocolate into tiny cubes)
preheat the oven to 220 degrees. place a parchment paper onto a baking tray. mix together sugar and butter, and beat until sugar has dissolved. add eggs and vanilla extract, and continue to beat for a while. sift in the flour, baking soda and salt, mix till combined. fold in chocolate chips and cranberries. shape tablespoon sized dough balls (no need to flatten the cookies, the dough will spread when baking) and place them on the tray with enough space between them. bake for about 9 minutes (less will render them more chewy but also more fragile).
Nov 5, 2011
christmas is not about giving and receiving presents. the purpose of it is an entirely different one, we all know that. still, it's nice to be thinking of your loved ones, friends and family, during this time of the year. the effort you put into finding the ideal, matching present for someone, in order to make a person you love happy - it's the best thing, and i much prefer it to getting presents myself.
ask anyone: whenever they do not know what to get as a present for someone, i would be able to come up with a long- and then a short-list with specific ideas, that range from socks to cookie cutters (or so). so why not use this talent to make other people happy?
here's my first xmas gift guide 2011 - guaranteed santa approved (no kidding, we only just had a meeting, he's terribly busy...). this gift ideas here are for my first group of beneficiaries: the nature lovers (or, less common, you could call them tree huggers, too). every family has one of these in them - so you'll find this comes in handy.
1 wood usb stick via brand electron
2 peter silver tail ring via modcloth
3 toadstool white object via modcloth
4 stat tote by alphabet bags via notonthehighstreet
5 talon candlestick via catbirdnyc
6 argan oil for hair, face and body by josie maran cosmetics
7 hickory coaster set via shopterrain
8 gingham pumpkin plate via shopterrain
9 honeycomb dipping bowl via shopterrain
10 magicicada earrings via modcloth
11green & spring indulging bath foam via shopterrain
Nov 4, 2011
shortly after i decided on challenging myself with home-made gnocchi, i thought why not try ravioli, too. i remembered seeing an unconventional version with gyoza dough from - guess who? - donna hay, and thought these were just right (for my level of pasta-expertise... which shows a tendency towards zero...). home-made appeal, with something unusual to them, quickly done - i like.
dim sum spinach ricotta ravioli
adapted from donna hay (basically i added more herbs and more spices to the mixture)
500 g fresh spinach leaves, washed
200 g ricotta (the dry kind, if available)
1 cup parmesan
1 tbsp. lemon zest
1 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small piece peperoncino, finely chopped
gyoza or dim sum dough leaves (i had them in the deep freezer for a while, and took them out only about 2 hours before i used them)
start with the spinach. heat olive oil in a high frying pan. i fried the garlic and peperoncino quickly, then added the washed and wet spinach quickly and fried it for about a minute, only until it 'fell together'. take it out and pat it dry with kitchen paper. let cool a little, then chop it thoroughly. then add the ricotta, basil, lemon, two pinches of salt, musk and a bit of freshly ground pepper, and mix together with a fork, making sure there are no too big lumps.
heat salted water in a large saucepan. meanwhile start with the filling of the ravioli. take one dough leaf and place a tablespoon full of the spinach-ricotta mixture on it. make the rims of the (lower) leaf wet, using your fingers - now top it with the upper leaf, pressing the rims together, hard. proceed until all the mixture or all the leaves are used up. cook in salted water for a 2-3 minutes, or until the ravioli appear on the surface. take out with a sieve, put on plate and cover with a drizzle of olive oil, home-made basil pesto, or - as i did here - with quickly fried chanterelles and chopped dried porcini.
a happy weekend to you!
lots of love
Nov 2, 2011
if you are a regular reader of my humble blog, you probably know that i'm a huge deer fanatic; as it has been documented here, here or here. i've got a significant amount of items with deer (or: from deer, even, par example the antlers that serve as a decoration on my new coffee table).
and here is my latest addition: an xl deer champagne cooler - with a deer head on either side. i've had this on my wish list for ages - and now i've got one. i immediately incorporated it into my christmas decor: a few simple christmas bauble in silver, brown and black - shiny and matte - plus a few walnuts and a chunky candle. a simple yet glam christmas decor, that's not overdone or too kitsch. i can't wait to start on the rest of the flat!
Labels: home sweet home
i seriously thought about not sharing this one with you. after some reconsideration, though, i felt the urge to tell this story nonetheless... it just so happens as a cook that you create things that turn out inedible or simply not your taste. probably, the more you experiment as a cook the more things turn out to be - pardon my french - chunk.
like this coconut pannacotta. promising, yes - but simply not enjoyable, if not to say inedible, i'm afraid. and it might not even be the recipe's fault - it's probably (to some extent, at least, okay - entirely) my own fault that this dessert turned out unenjoyable. because i simply can not stick to any recipes... sighs.
okay, so a short recap... fault number one: i used agaragar (vegetarian version for gelatine) instead of proper gelatine. fault number two: i might have added too much of it (the agaragar, i mean), too, in fear of it not getting firm. in a way i put too much effort in it (as always in my life, typical), and along the way i ruined it.
not that the idea of a coconut pannacotta as such is a bad one! i certainly love coconut. it's just that: the vegan version of it made it rather not creamy enough to be a pannacotta (or maybe it wouldn't have been creamy after all...) - and a pannacotta has to be creamy almost by definition (i say). instead it was bloody firm (yes! strike! on the agaragar side, at least...), and more like the consistency of glue. or a really glibbery jelly. er, yah: yuck.
so it became evident that as my personal cooking 'diasters' go, a rubric had to be installed on the blog, too. for me to share and handle, and for you to participate in my failures. and there you go. here it is, up on my archive site, for your mere entertainment or maybe to learn, too: 'cooking disasters made by scarlett'. enjoy (if not the food).