Friday, December 31, 2010

Sweet and fast dessert with coconut milk

 Yesterday, after a long day of cooking and preparing the meals while writing to some projects, I wanted to have something sweet - but not too sweet - and fresh new in the recent history of my meals. And, as a big fan of the Thai, and Asian cuisine, in general, I tried to remember as fast as possible some good sweets I had one year ago, while hicking in Thailand. As I was already having coconut milk - for preparing a meal I will disclose the secret the next year - and some fruits, I had the following idea:

cold coconut milk (the brand I found in my neighbourhood, nothing special)
one banana sliced
cinnamon sugar
And the dessert is here! Maybe instead of the cinnamon sugar you can put some honey, I will try this the next time, promise!

Delicate mushrooms

I love mushrooms a lot and I prepare them in various easy, but tasty combinations. This one is extremely easy and you don't need more than 10 minutes.
Add to the mushrooms a nail of butter - or/and cheese, including tofu - and fry them in a pan with oil. Serve with two or three leaves of fresh parsley. 
A glass of white wine might be a good chocie too.
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Tasty tip of the day

Not a personal discovery, but a good tip I would like to share forward:
Nothing is tastier than to add to turkey ham sandwich a delicate slice of kiwi. The taste is extremely fresh and a bit sparkling. Like the champaigne some of you will have soon!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Soon: Muffin stories with CSN Stores support

Just ordered today from the CSN Stores, the "Lust auf Muffins". I always wanted to have such a wonder toy in my kitchen and thanks to the interest shown by the representatives of the company in the blogging world, you will be able to have soon the occasion to read the story of the perfect muffins in the world. And, to follow the same path of muffin perfection yourself!
Be back soon!
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Baking bread

Not very long time ago, I used to be extremely jealous of my girl friends posting pictures with their successful bread and exchanging their successful experiences in the field of doughs. How could I confess them, without being considered the black sheep of the cooking world, that I am simply afraid to think about me baking bread and I would rather prefer to starve than to get involved in the magics of producing out of flour, yeast and other ingredients a crunchy bread. 
But one winter day - maybe I have to be thankful to the bad German weather for all my progresses - I studied several recipes of bread, made a list of the most-haves and back home, started the experiment. This poppy bread is one of my best, but almost none of my experiences in the field by now were a failure. Thus, I will keep going and going.
For the poppy seeds bread, you need the following ingredients:
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
5 cups of white flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups of vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon butter
3 eggs
3 tablespoons poppy seeds

Mix all the ingredients - but only 2 tablespoons poppy seeds - and put the dough in a warm place. Wait for 30-40 minutes. Preheat the oven at 170 C. Bake the dough - use the 1 tablespoon of poppy left as glaze - for another 45 minutes. 
Enjoy it! It is simply delicious!

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Dealing with fish (this is not a post about the golden fish)

I love fish: it is clean, tasty, easy to cook and to digest.

Here are a couple of my recent experiments with white fish:

Fish with sesame and dried mint and garlic.

Fish with brocolli, sesame seeds and garlic.

Served with salty baked potatoes.

And never without the yogurt mint.
Nice swimming!

The wine choice - Barkan Classic Sauvignon Blanc

I am the supporter of red wines, of any kind, but for this Hanukkah the best fit is a white one. And I decided to try something else than my usual Yarden - Barkan Classic Sauvignon Blanc. And it fitted perfectly the oily food, bringing the fruity taste and refreshing smell.

Successful latkes

Hanukkah is far away and I am missing a lot the warm atmosphere and the togetherness. This year, I was the fairy who surprised the guests and the family with various wonderful and tasty combinations. I was so proud of myself, but too busy to make pictures of my accomplishments. 
The role of the queen was, by far, represented by the latkes. 

I used some traditional recipes, as my newly experiences senses and tastes. 
The ingredients, for 17 latkes:
4-5 potatoes peeled and grated after
1 big onion - grated
3/4 cup - canola oil
3 scrambled eggs
salt, on taste

Mix the potatoes, onion, eggs and salt together. The size of your pist, make a little boulette and throw in the pan. Heat the oil in the pan at 250.  
You have to be careful for not burning them and to take them from the pan before turning into black holes - and prompting the fire alarm to cry (as it was in our case). 
The life span of this first experiment: maybe three full hours.

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Readymade muffins

One of the reasons I upgraded from perfect beginner to beginner level 1 in terms of cooking is that I had the wonderful opportunity to try my hand with a lot of ready made solutions. You have all the ingredients already prepared and all you have to do is to follow with attention the recommendations written on the box's cover. 
In my case, the problem was how to use the oven for avoiding the temperature disaster: too hot - high risk of burning, bringing immediately the cookies out of the oven will affect the shape of baked products affected to variations of temperature etc. I had a couple of failures, including the visit of my worried neighbours after the smoke from my kitchen invaded their apartments. (Now I realize that I missed the opportunity of a funny post by showing the best of unsuccessful cooking experience. as I don't have any picture of them). But, little by little, with not too much money, I had the chance of experimenting and learning a lot. 
Part of my success is due to the small puffy muffins, I never believed I will taste in my (late) mornings. But, I did it - as you can admire in the picture - and nothing and nobody will stop me for going far far away! 
PS. Long live Dr. Oetker!
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Two yogurt combinations

For fish and veggies and for rice, here are two favorite - and very easy yogurt combinations:

The yellow one, from my left, is the happy result of a meeting between two spoons of saffron and 100 g. yogurt. The presence of the salt is not compulsory, but welcomed.

The second creation is the alliance between the same 100 g. yogurt and dried (or fresh, if you are a lucky citizen of a sunny country) mint. You can add too some salt and some drops of lemon juice. 

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

As I am preparing for a couple of new colourful and tasty posts in the next two days, I decided that it is about time to have a deep breath and decide the plan for the next 12 months of intensive writing (and cooking).
So, here there are - it might sound modest, but for me it is pretty challenging:
- Trying every single week new recipes, discovering new tastes and spices and sharing them all on the blog
- Sharing my recipes on the expert cooking blogs
- Reading more cooking books and looking for my own cooking writing style
- Attending at least one single class on cooking writing
- Preparing a nice and cool booklet of recipes with my photos sand wonderful experiences of an inexperienced cooker
Stay tuned and wish you all a tasty and great time!
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Sunday, December 26, 2010

CSN stores opening its secrets for my readers

A great news for the readers of this blog: I was contacted by a representative of CSN stores for a promotional writing collaboration. If interested, have a look and be ready to shop wonderful bedroom furniture, for adults and children, great kitchen and dining tools and everything you dreamed about to have in a warm and welcoming home.
Will be back soon with news!
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Friday, December 24, 2010

Brussels sprout and potatoes (not exactly the French fries you would expect)

This year, I tried an impressive number of new tastes and foods. One of them is the Brussels sprout, that I heard about very often, but never curious enough for trying it. The first contact was when I boiled some and serve it as a salad. 
This time, I wanted something different: after boiling the sprout - for almost 30 minutes, I fried them in the pan, together with the  roasted potatoes, with some olive oil and salty background. If you want more, you can add some fresh yogurt too.
For me, it was a wonderful lunch. And easy to prepare, in less than one hour!
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Baba Ghanoush: Need a new try

I used to be a very spoiled kid: when I wanted something, I didn't neet too much time to waite for. Professionally wise, when I wanted to reach something, I set up objectives able to be fulfilled, based on my experience and my skills.
With cooking...well, it is a different story. First, I need more experience. Second, I need more attention and focus. Third, all I want is to put some new skills on trial, while trying to make my happy family happier. 
The first objective is to get more experience, using the relative window of opportunity of enjoying, for the first time in my life, the free time to spend with my family. 
The last week, I wanted to try the Baba Ghanoush, following the recipe from the same book I am reading and following carefully, at least for the next month or so. 
The first step was to go buying:
2 big eggplants, of around 750 gr.
Tahini paste - out of which I used around 80 ml.
Garlic - 3 finely chopped cloves
1 bunch of fresh parsley
Olive oil
1 lemon - to be turned into juice
Black pepper

The longest time was dedicated to cooking the eggplants - almost one hour, at the oven heated at 250 degrees. After, the flesh is separated from the cover and put in the mixer, together with the garlic, tahini, pepper, salt and pepper. After another 10 minutes, you have a paste, where do you add and mix the rest of the ingredients. With some fresh pita, you can have a taste of the colourful Middle East.
My problem was that I had too much eggplant and not too much Tahini, for example. Or garlic.
Also, you need to eat it very fast, after maximum two days, as eggplants need to be consumed fresh.
Will try once again soon! Maybe another recipe and with some advices guidance. And looking for a place in Berlin to have a tasty experience...
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Moroccan carrot salad

From time to time, I simply fell in love with some recipes and/or ingredients. The taste effect is so strong that I can't live without. One of my long lasting relationship is with avocado: I use it all the time, as often as possible. Recently, I refreshed my reserves of avocado honey.
The latest entry is the Maroccan salad, I picked up the last week, from the same Cohen's book. Since, I did it again this Wednesday and again today. 
My adapted variant is:
4 - or more, up to the number of guests - carrots, finely gratted
1 bunch of fresh parsley
30 gr. sesame seeds
100 gr. canola oil
1 spoon of salt
1 spoon of sugar
1 spoon of lemon juice

The carrots, the oil, the salt, the sasame, the sugar and the lemon juice, are heated together for 10-15 minutes, carefully mixed. At the end, you add the parsley leaves and you can serve it!
For me, the gratted part of the story was the most demanding one, as I need, probably, more exercises at the gym!
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Avocado-Pomegranate Salat

I am not following too many recipes, but for the sake of diversification and given my limited experience in the issues of cooking, I need to use some books.
I have already four big colourful ones in my library, a very modest presence, in comparison with the volume of my books.
But, I have Internet, so no worries about my bibliography and actually, I prefer the virtual option, as I can find useful video posts - maybe one day I will try to do it too.
The following recipe is adapted from Elizabeth Wolf Cohen's Jüdische Küche. 100 authentische Rezepte.
What do you need is:
1 pomegranate
2 oranges
2 avocados
10 fresh mint leaves
Cayenne pepper, on taste
1 spoon of honey
25 gr. of salt

Prepare the orange juice and mix together with salt, pepper, the salt and the honey.
Remove the seeds of the pomegranate, peel the avocado and slice it.
Pour the orange mixture and wait another 10 minutes.
The total amount of time is maximum 25 minutes.
I served together with some fish recipes, fighting hard the temptation to eat it as a separate meal. A lovely and unique taste, worthy to taste it!
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Cucumber salad: oldies but goldies

This is a classical presence in our culinary life. Easy to make, tasty at every moment of the day.

For having it on your menu, you don't need more than 10 minutes of preparation (chopping the cucumber and the dill, spreading the sesame seeds and the yogurt) and another 10 minutes to wait while the ingredients (1 bunch of dill, 1-2 cucumbers up to the number of guests, 25 gr. of sesame seeds, 100 gr. yogurt) are melt. On taste, you could add some oil (or some vinaigre) too, but it is good also without. (my choice)

Fresh and tasty, easy to digest and, last but not least, a good looking green presence!

Enjoy it!
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Refreshing mandarine salad

After so many drinks, you need to continue with something fresh. Like, for example, a salad. Not a salad with avocado, as we, in the house, we are having almost daily. This time, it is a mixture of:

2 bunch of fresh salad, washed and chopped
4-5 tangerines
sun flower oil
sesame seeds

Blend them together for 2-3 minutes, put in the fridge for another half an hour - for allowing a dialogue and combination of ingredients and be ready to serve it with fish (in our case) or other meat-based meals or with some cheese and pasta. 
Easy and tasty!
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Let's introduce some drinks: Bella Lula

When I was a child, I used to drink a lot of lemonade. One day, I will share here a couple of personal recipes, but I have to wait for the summer time to find the appropriate cookies. Later in my childhood, I had the occasion to travel in France, and I met Bella Lula. My gustative memory: the fresh mixture between mint and orange - not too sweet, not too sparkling, only good to sip while in the mountains or spending some lazy times in Biarritz. I very often associate my French culinary memories with Proust's madeleine (on my top priority list of recipes). So, when I look at a menu of drinks, after ordering some lemon cake, and saw my Bella, I dreamed again that I am a child, in France and the whole life is waiting for me, but I don't care.
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Let's introduce some drinks: The Dju Dju beer

Since I am living in Germany, I had the great opportunity to try so many types of soft beers: with lemon (from Beck's), or the colourful - green, for example - Berliner Kindle - or the various types of Radler. They are very soft and refreshing, mostly during the 2-3 days of heat of the maximum one month of hot summer.
As you have already the market, you have various demands and adapted offers. As it is the case with the Dju DjuBeer, produced in Germany after the Ghana recipe, which I discovered at a recent Weinachtsmarkt at the food quarter, the African section. Love at first sight after I saw the design of the etiquette. Then, I tried the Mango version (with some sweet potatoes), which I liked it, and later on, the Palm, which I didn't. Will keep in touch about the next DjuDju adventures.
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Back in the virtual kitchen!

For almost one month, nothing new posted on this blog...Does it means that I was starving or on diet? Or, who knows, that I lost the source of inspiration? Or, I become extremely rich so I gave up the daily cooking for taking a cruise for half a year across the Caribbean? Not at all, none of the above.
It was a very busy month, with lots of administrative things to do and many other personal challenges.
And, every single receipe we tried - because, of course, I continued my personal "tradition" of checking something new every week, at least - we carefully documented it by photo. And, if you will have a bit of patience, you will read my whole culinary journey of the last month here! Lots of interesting things, promise! 
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