Monthly Archives: July 2011

Hungarian Lentil Soup

This soup is probably more of a winter soup but it is very tasty and healthy so I don’t think that it really matters. Anyway today is the Hungarian Grand Prix so I don’t really care.

Hungarian Lentil Soup

test

Recipe: Hungarian Lentil Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 Medium Onion – Finely diced
  • 1 Carrot – Finely diced
  • 1 tsp Butter
  • 1 Clove of Garlic
  • 1/2 cup or 100g of Dried Lentils – I used red split
  • 1/2 tsp Chilli
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 2 Tomatoes – Roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp White Wine Vinegar

Instructions

  1. Sweat the carrots and onions on a low heat in the butter for about 10 minutes until they are soft
  2. Add the garlic to the carrots and onions and cook for a few minutes
  3. Tip the rest of the ingredients into the pan and add about 750ml of water (or ideally, stock). Bring to the boil and reduce the heat to a simmer.
  4. Cook on a gentle heat for about 30 minutes until the lentils are thoroughly cooked
  5. Season to taste and serve with a spoonful of yoghurt, sour cream or creme fraiche

Quick notes

A small bowl of this (without the yoghurt) is 4 of the new WeightWatchers points

Variations

To bulk this soup up you can add some smoked bacon or sausage. If you do, reduce the amount of smoked paprika.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Cooking time: 40 minute(s)

Diet type: Vegetarian

Diet tags: Low calorie

Number of servings (yield): 2

Posted in Recipes | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Hungarian Grand Prix

After basically spending all of last week slagging off German food (spot the irony – my new project is in Munich!) I was not looking forward to attempting Hungarian food. I believed that it was basically goulash and stews; it is not the same as German food but it does rely on the same heavy sources of meat and potatoes. One of the things that I am excited about are the spices, especially the peppers; I love cooking with spices and enjoy punchy flavours. Hungary is seen as a melting pot of Europe, influenced by the Turks, Italians, Germans and Slavs and luckily all of their different foods.

Goulash the Leonberger

Image Credit: mo pie

One thing that I know that like is their white wine – by that I mean their Tokaji. It is typically a sweet wine but Rich & I had a bottle the other day that was medium dry which was lovely. But as Rich is away in Seattle speaking at MozCon (although I’m not entirely sure why he has to stay until Sunday when he was speaking on Wednesday…) I am not going to go all out on the booze and the puddings. I have also restarted on WeightWatchers which means that traditional pancakes are probably not the best option! Although, saying that, I did take my sister (Mill) to the Berkley yesterday for her Birthday treat and I am not sure that 6 courses plus wines fits into my daily allowance!

Anyway, I digress. I will have to make some sort of Goulash this weekend, as it’s what you think of when you think of Hungarian cuisine but I am also going to cook a traditional lentil soup.

FYI – I was looking for pictures of Goulash on Flickr and kept on getting pictures of this gorgeous dog called Goulash hence the picture

Posted in My Blog | Leave a comment

Ham and Knödel

I did want to try cooking pork knuckle, as it seems to be the most traditional German cut of pork. Unfortunately, it’s not a very common cut in the UK and I didn’t manage to order it from the butchers in time. Instead I went to Waitrose to see what they could offer me in the way of pig produce. When I got to the store I was slightly confused as they are having a major refurb and nothing was in the right place!  But I soldiered on and managed to get a bargain that my Mum would have been proud of; I bought an Organic, Free Range gammon joint for £5 reduced from £12. It actually worked out better than the fatty knuckle and was amazing; Rich said that it was his best Grand Prix dinner yet! To go with it I served Knödel and schwarz grünkohl (Cavelo Nero / Black Kale).

Ham and Knödel with a Selection of German Booze

Recipe: German Ham

Summary: This is my interpretation of “German” ham using caraway as the predominant flavour. I have also added some vinegar as traditionally the ham will be cooked with Saukraut

Ingredients

  • 1kg Gammon Joint
  • 1 tsp Caraway Seeds
  • 1 tsp Peppercorn
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1 tbsp White Wine Vinegar

Instructions

  1. Place all of the ingredients into a pan and cover with water, bring to the boil.
  2. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about one hour.
  3. Once the ham is cooked take it out of the water and leave to rest for at least 10 minutes (make sure that you keep the water to cook the knodel in). To test that the ham is cooked, check if the juices run clear.
  4. As the ham has been boiled it doesn’t look too attractive. If you can be bothered brown the fat in a hot pan.

Quick notes

he ham can be served cold the next day and makes amazing sandwiches

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Cooking time: 1 hour(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

Culinary tradition: German

Recipe: Knödel

Summary: These dumplings are very satisfying and easy

Ingredients

  • 400g Potatoes Boiled – Cold
  • 1/4 cup of Self Raising Flour – Plus more for shaping
  • 1/4 cup Breadcrumbs
  • 1 Egg
  • Generous Seasoning
  • Nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Either user a ricer or a fine grated to get really smooth mashed potatoes
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly, make sure that you add plenty of salt and pepper because they seem to soak up seasoning
  3. Shape the dumplings, by hand, to about walnut size flouring them thoroughly and place on a floured board; this mix should make about 16 dumplings.
  4. Bring the ham stock to the boil and gently drop the dumplings into the water.
  5. Decrease the heat to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes.

Quick notes

You can add a lot of different seasoning and ingredients to this basic mix for example herbs, bacon onions…the list is endless!

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 20 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

Culinary tradition: German

Posted in My Blog, Recipes | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Courgette Pasta Recipe

This is one of the many recipes that I have devised to use up the massive glut of courgettes that you get in the summer time (if you grow them yourself or even if you have a veg box).

The inspiration came from the classic Italian pasta dish of broccoli and anchovies but I have added some dill to give it an additional dimension. In my mind there is no need to have any cheese with this dish but of course you can add it if you wish. At the weekend I will cook the onions for longer but during the week I don’t have over 30 minutes to wait for the onions to soften. To speed it up, I will cook them on a slightly higher heat and accept that they won’t have dissolved into a sweet puree and move on.

Romanesco and Gold Rush Varieties - Grown from Seed

Recipe: Courgette Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Tin of Anchovies
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 3 Courgettes – Thinly Sliced
  • 1 Clove of Garlic – Finely Chopped
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Dill – Roughly Chopped
  • Dried Pasta – I like Orecchiette but any shape will do

Instructions

  1. Add the anchovies, with their oil, into a pan on a gentle heat.
  2. Soften the onions in the melting anchovies with a lid on for about 15 minutes.
  3. Add the sliced courgette and garlic, stir thoroughly and replace the lid. Cook for a further 15 minutes on a low heat.
  4. Put the pasta into plenty of rapidly boiling salted water; this should take about 10 minutes.
  5. Keep stirring the courgettes, after the pasta has been cooking for 5 minutes add a ladle of the pasta water to the courgette mixture. The pasta water helps to stop the courgettes drying out and also brings the flavours of the sauce together.
  6. When the pasta is cooked, strain it and drizzle with extra virgin oil in its colander. Make sure that you put colander over the cooking pan to catch any of the starchy oil.
  7. Tip the pasta into courgette mix, add the dill. If it’s a bit dry, add some of the starchy oil in the cooking pan and some additional olive oil.

Quick notes

You can speed this dish up by putting the heat up and stirring constantly. It won’t be as subtle as if you have cooked it slowly, but it will be lovely all the same. I use a mix of varieties of courgettes as that is what I grow. I do believe that they do have more flavour than the shop bought ones but they do work as well.

Variations

I sometimes add some other greens, like broccoli or kale, into this. It also works well if you add a little bit of chilli at the beginning, not to make it spicy but to give it a subtle kick.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Cooking time: 30 – 60 minute(s)

Diet type: Pescatarian

Number of servings (yield): 2

Culinary tradition: Italian

Posted in Garden, My Blog, Recipes | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Apple and Blackberry Kuchen

Now I realise that the German’s do have good taste – this sweet bread is beautiful or as Rich said “well nice – doughy, fruity, not too doughy, light and fresh”.  If you really want to sell your house you should bake this instead of plain old bread. The aroma is heady with spice and citrus; actually I am pretty surprised that supermarkets don’t bake this in store.

For breakfast, coffee, tea or any time

Recipe: Apple and Blackberry Kuchen

Ingredients

Dough

  • 350g Strong White Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 50g Caster Sugar
  • 3.5g Easy-Blend Yeast or 7g of Fresh Yeast og 1/2 tbsp of Dried Yeast
  • 2 Large Free Range Eggs
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Grated Zest of 1/2 a Lemon
  • 1/4 Nutmeg Grated
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) Milk – Luke warm
  • 1 tsp Vegetable Oil

Topping

  • 1 Large Free Range Egg
  • 1 tbsp Cream
  • Grated Nutmeg
  • 3 Apples – Peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  • A Handful of Blackberries
  • 1 tbsp Demerara Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Caster Sugar
  • 2 Allspice Berries – Finely crushed
  • 2 tbsp Flaked Almonds

 

Icing

  • 3 tbsp Icing Sugar
  • 1 tsp Water

 

Instructions

  1. Mix the milk yeast and 1 tsp of sugar in a bowl; leave is a warm place for the yeast to activate; this should take about 10 minutes. You’ll know when the yeast has started to work as there will be bubbles on the surface.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, the rest of sugar and salt.
  3. Add the eggs, lemon zest, nutmeg and vanilla to the bubbly, yeasty, milk.
  4. Tip the liquid into the dry ingredients (flour etc) and mix to form a loose dough
  5. As the dough is quite rich it is very loose and sticky, if you use the traditional method of flouring your surface it will dry out the dough. Then it won’t be as lusciously soft when its cooked. Instead you need to oil the surface. Pour a little of the oil onto your surface and oil you hands (I always think that it must be good for your nails) it should be lightly oiled not an oil slick. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it turns silky smooth.You will probably think that this will never happen but persevere, it will.
  6. Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover will oiled cling film or a tea towel. Leave in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours for it to double in size. You can do all of this in the evening and leave it to prove over night if you like.
  7. Once the dough has doubled in size knock it back – the easiest (and most satisfying way is to punch it a couple of times). Knead the dough for 30 seconds and then shape it to fit into your oiled tin. Cover with a tea towel (or oiled cling film) and leave in a warm place for 20 minutes. Put the oven on at gas mark 6 or 200 degrees C.
  8. Mix the egg, cream and the nutmeg. Brush the glaze over the proved dough; don’t feel that you need to use all of it.
  9. Combine the sugars and allspice.
  10. Scatter the chopped apple and blackberries over the glazed dough.
  11. Sprinkle the spiced sugar over the apple and blackberries. Place the cake into the oven for 10 minutes.
  12. Take the bread out and sprinkle with the flaked almonds. Return to the oven and lower the temperature to 180 degrees C or gas mark 4, cook for another 20 minutes.
  13. Remove from the oven and place the cake onto a wire frame
  14. Mix the icing sugar and water to form a paste; drizzle over the warm cake using a knife. I like to think of myself as a bit of a Jackson Pollock at this stage.
  15. Leave to cool for about 10 minutes and then eat; I enjoy it with tea or a glass of bubbly.

Variations

You can use any fruit that is in season but you may need to adjust the sugar amount

Diet type: Vegetarian

Number of servings (yield): 8

Culinary tradition: German

Posted in My Blog, Recipes | 6 Comments

German Grand Prix

To be 100% honest the German cuisine is not my favourite. The last time I was in Germany I had to go to an Italian restaurant to get my vegetable fix. The reliance on meat and potatoes (or any other heavy starch) doesn’t really get me excited; unless I have been on a very long country walk in the winter. But the trouble with the Grand Prix is that it’s in the summer and you really have to be inside to watch it. Although saying that, it’s bloody cold at the moment especially at the Nurburgring – 16° max!

Meat, cheese and a bit more meat

image credit: reiner.kraft

When I searched in google for modern German cuisine I found Aqua which is one of the top 50 restaurants in the world, but I am as likely to cook that as I am any of Heston’s restaurant dishes…

I apologise to any Germans that I may have offended. I am sure that there are some lovely recipes it’s just that google hasn’t found them and I didn’t have an opportunity to buy a good book.

Through my research, one good thing that I have learnt about the German cuisine is that it’s seasonal – which means that I can use my jungle of a veg plot!

I have elected to try to do a German influenced dish and take some of their ideals and flavours. Therefore Rich and I will be eating meat, potatoes (in the form of potato dumplings) and kale followed by an Apple Cake. I realise that the black forest gateaux is the most obvious choice here but I hate wet bread – and yes, wet cake counts as wet bread!

Posted in My Blog | 1 Comment

Pembrokeshire, Wales

Here are a sample of the sites that you can see in Wales – despite the weather.

 

Posted in Gallery, Travel | Leave a comment

Pumpkin Pasta

One of the main reasons that I started growing pumpkins in my garden was to be able to make this pasta dish – plus the fact that they are delicious, very low in calories and expensive in the This dish tastes like it has cream in it but the only fat is milk (I use semi-skimmed) and a little butter to cook the onions.

All of the ingredients needed for the pasta sauce

Recipe: Pumpkin Pasta

Summary: Quick and easy sage and pumpkin pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 Medium Onion Sliced
  • 25g Butter
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic – Finely Chopped
  • 6 Sage Leaves
  • 1 Medium Pumpkin – Chopped into 1 inch chucks (I used Red Kuri as it’s one of the varieties in my garden)
  • 1 Cup of Milk
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Spaghetti or Linguine to serve

Instructions

  1. Cook the onion in the butter on a medium to low heat for about 10 minutes until it is softened
  2. Add the sage and the garlic and cook for about 1 minute
  3. Add the pumpkin, stir and then add the milk and bring to the boil
  4. Simmer for about 15 minutes stirring to stop the sauce catching on the bottom of the pan. The sauce will break up into a slightly lumpy puree. Season to taste and mix in freshly cooked (buttered if you wish) pasta and serve.
  5. You can add some cheese but due to the milk it’s already quite creamy. Don’t be tempted to add a drizzle of olive oil as this dish is a northern Italian – if you do want additional fat, add butter.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 15 minute(s)

Diet type: Vegetarian

Number of servings (yield): 2

Culinary tradition: Italian

The finished dish

Posted in My Blog, Recipes | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Scones

Every time that I make these scones I am always amazed how easy they are

Recipe: Scones

Summary: This is a really quick and easy scone recipe; I warn you once you realise how easy it might be hard to stop making them…Below only makes four real scones and one off-cut. I always try to make a small batch to stop me eating too many!

Ingredients

  • 4 oz Self Raising Flour
  • 1 oz Butter – Room Temperature Soft
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 90ml Milk – Approximately

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 7 or 220° C.
  2. Rub the soft butter gently into the flour with your finger tips until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Quickly mix in the sugar and salt; remember that you don’t actually need too much sugar as you’ll want to be adding jam once they are cooked.
  4. Add the milk and mix with a knife, or your hands, to form a dough. You may need to use slightly more or less milk than stated above. Personally, I think that it is better to add a little be too much liquid as it makes the scones softer. The main thing that you need to be aware of is not to mix to much or you will get tough scones.
  5. Dust your clean surface or bored with a little flour.
  6. Place the dough one the floured surface and shape to about 2-3cm thick.
  7. Using a biscuit cutter of about 6 cm diameter (or glass if you don’t happen to have a cutter hanging around like me) cut out your scones. Don’t be tempted to twist your cutter or you’ll end up with wonky scones. Place the cut out scone onto a floured baking tray. You won’t get them all out in one go so just reshape the dough and cut again. Again, don’t over work the dough or you’ll end up with tough scones.
  8. Place into the preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes until they are lightly, golden brown.
  9. Place on a rack and eat as soon as they are room temperature. If you are not eating yours straight away, put them into an air tight tin and eat as soon as possible as they are best fresh.

Quick notes

These really need to be eaten with clotted cream and jam. Rich and I ate ours with my Mum’s home-made damson jam and cream.

Variations

You can add sultanas but I would recommend having them plain

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 15 minute(s)

Diet type: Vegetarian

Number of servings (yield): 2

Culinary tradition: English

Posted in My Blog, Recipes | Tagged | 1 Comment

Coronation Chicken

I have to admit I am a huge fan of Coronation Chicken in it’s many forms. In the UK, you can find a Coronation Chicken sandwich in most shops or deli’s. But the mayonnaise drenched version, that is often found, is very far from the original recipe that was created for Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation – hence the name!

The recipe below is a mix of a few that I found on the internet including Felicity Cloake’s How to Cook Perfect Coronation Chicken and Gordon Ramsay’s version. I adjusted them slightly but I did make my own mayo as both of the above suggest. I think that it probably adds a certain level of richness but I don’t think that many people would notice if you used Hellmans. I planned to use mango but Rich kindly went to the shops and came back with a very unripe one. Hence, the recipe below uses the traditional sultanas.

Yet again I seem to have written a recipe that has (what seems to be) a lot of ingredients. It is mainly the spices (as always) and these can be played around with. I would highly recommend seeking out the Nigella seeds (otherwise known as Onion seeds) as they add an original flavour and also look pretty.

Recipe: Coronation Chicken

Summary: This makes a beautiful summer lunch. If you don’t have all of the spices below don’t worry, a decent curry powder should give you a nice flavour. I think that next time I will add more turmeric (one more ingredient) to add an additional yellow colour.

Ingredients

  • 4 x Chicken Thighs
  • 5 Peppercorns
  • 2 Cloves
  • 2 Cardamom Pods
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Coriander Seeds
  • 1 tbsp Sultanas
  • 1/2 Portion of Mayonnaise (about 3 tbsps if you aren’t making your own)
  • 1 tbsp Mango Chutney
  • 1/2 Red Onion – Sliced
  • 1/2 tsp Chilli Flakes
  • 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1/2 tsp Curry Powder
  • 1 tsp Nigella Seeds
  • 1 little Gem Lettuce

Instructions

  1. If your chicken has skins remove them and trim off any excess fat.
  2. Place the chicken into a saucepan, cover with water and add the peppercorns, cloves, cardamom pods, cumin and coriander.
  3. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 15 minutes. Check the chicken is cooked through (you shouldn’t see any blood coming out when you poke them with a knife) and leave to cool in the cooking liquid; this will take about an hour but you can speed it up slightly by putting it in your fridge.
  4. Before you put the chicken in the fridge, put a couple of ladles of cooking liquor into a bowl and add the sultanas. If you have one, put it into the microwave for about 30 seconds which will help plump up the sultanas otherwise you can heat it up on the hob.
  5. In a bowl mix the mayonnaise, mango chutney, onion and remaining spices. Taste the mix to see if it is to your liking – it should be slightly sweet and spiced but not hot.
  6. Once the chicken has cooled, shred it away from the bones into bite sized pieces; add to the spiced mayonnaise and add the sliced onions.
  7. Strain the sultanas and add to the rest of the ingredients.
  8. Give everything a final mix, check for seasoning and serve on a bed of lettuce. I would use either iceberg or iced gem, as you want something with texture that doesn’t fight with the delicate spicing in the chicken.

Quick notes

A really nice accompaniment to this is to boil new potatoes in the spiced, chicken cooking liquor. The end result is a delicately spiced potato which goes perfectly with the chicken and doesn’t need any butter!

Variations

This recipe has endless possibilities. I have only ever made it with leftovers before but I think that poaching the chicken adds another depth of flavour.

Preparation time: 30 minute(s)

Cooking time: 20 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 2

Culinary tradition: English

Posted in My Blog, Recipes | Tagged , , | 2 Comments