Cream puffs!

DSC_1559When I was little, my parents used to take me and my siblings to a little bakery on the outskirts of the city to buy sweets. Usually donuts and cream puffs. It was like little Christmas, no matter the season. It was a small family run bakery, behind the house, and mostly open from the afternoon onwards. That was a good and a bad thing. Good, because it was after school. Bad, because a lot of people knew of this place too, and it was late enough so there was normally a huge line. The smell of fresh donuts, stretching for almost a kilometer, not seldom contributed to our increased orders. And I’m pretty sure, not only our.

To this day, everytime I visit my parents, we go there to buy some cream puffs and donuts.

Of course I bake it from time to time at home too. And I have to say, there are things, baked or cooked, that disappear in a blink of an eye. Especially when you want to try only one, and suddenly there is nothing left. And I think cream puffs top the list in my household. With or without the cream.

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For 14 small puffs you need

100g butter

100g flour

200ml water

4 eggs

1tbsp sugar (optional)

For the cream:

2 packs of vanilla pudding

500ml milk

100g sugar

150g butter

Preheat the oven to 195º. Put the water and the butter in a pot on middle heat and melt the butter. Add the flour and stir until it creates a solid mass, with no lumps. Remove the pan from the heat and add the eggs, one at a time. Let it cool a little bit and spoon the batter into a piping bag.

Squirt the batter in a round form on the baking sheet. The puffs with grow, so make sure you let enough space between them. Put it in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.

For the cream heat the milk in another pot. Add the puddings and the sugar and stir thoroughly. When the mixture becomes more solid, remove from the heat and let it cool. Mix the cold mass at high speed adding the softened butter until smooth.

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Something for the winter? Why not try this beef and potatoes ragout!

DSC_6573After very warm begining of November, cold is finally aproaching. No surprise there since eventually it had to come. Listening to weather forecast also helps being prepared. Woollen socks and sweaters became my best friends again, especially during those long evenings when I can just sit and enjoy a good book, or challenge my boyfriend to a game of monopoly. But a hearty meal is also something I wouldn’t want to miss. And here is a little something for the cold days. True, it takes a while to cook. But it’s enough time to beat someone in scrabble or check Facebook. And believe me, the taste (and smell) is definitely very rewarding.

To serve 4 (or two VERY hungry people) you need:

500g lean beef ( you can also use lamb)

2 medium onions

3 garlic cloves

7 bigger potatoes

150g kabanos, or other sausages

3 tbsp olive oil

2tbsp hot pepper

400ml passata

200ml stock

salt and pepper

sprig of parsley

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Preheat the oven to 150º. Clean the meat and cut into ca 2cm big cubes. Peel the onion, halve, and cut into stripes. Peel the garlic and cut into small pieces. Wash the potatoes, don’t peel them and cut in halves. Cut the kabanos in thick pieces.

Pour the oil into a pan, add the beef and sear it. Add the onions, garlic and potatoes and let it cook together for while. Add the kabanos and pepper, pour the stock and passata and mix well. Let it boil for few minutes. Add salt to taste.

Pour the ragout into a big casserole dish, cover the lid and put it into the oven for ca 90min. If the casserole dish is not big enough, you can try an oven proof pot and cover it with aluminium foil.

Wash the parsley, cut and sprinkle over the ragout.

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Cauliflower soup

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Is there a vegetable you don’t like? I’m pretty sure everyone has. For me it was a cauliflower. Maybe it was the way my parents usually prepared it, cooked and sprinkled with bread crumbs. Or maybe it was just the taste. Whatever it was, it was probably the reason why I avoided it in my adult life. Until recently. Doing shopping one afternoon, and seeing a big pile of cauliflower, I thought I’d give it a go. You know, being curious and open for something new. In worst case it would only confirm my resolve not to buy it again. But today I’m glad I risked it as it turned out to be very good! And very easy!

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To serve 4 you need:

1 small cauliflower (ca 800g)

1L stock

80g grated cheese (Gouda, Maasdamer)

½ Tsp cinnamon

½ tsp grated coriander

½ tsp cumin

½ tsp curcuma

½ tsp curry

100ml cream

salt and pepper to taste

coriander leaves to garnish

Wash the cauliflower and divide into small florets. Leave few aside to garnish.

Bring the stock to boil, put the cauliflower in and let it cook on medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the cinnamon, cumin, curry and grated coriander and stir.

Put the pot aside, and purre the soup with a blender. Put the remaining florets into the soup and move the pot back on the stove. Add the cheese and curcuma and cook for additional 5 minutes.

Beat the cream until semi-rigid and mix in the soup. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Feta and spinach filled chicken

DSC_6373I had spinach on my mind for a while now, but there was always something. Too busy, already had plans for the evening or just bought something else already. I don’t like throwing food away, so I planned my menues for the next few days, so I wouldn’t kick myself later.

Normally I would serve spinach with pasta or with fried eggs, but this time I thought I’ll try something else. And here it is. Something very easy and perfect for a quick diner after a long day. Kind of nothing spectacular, and still a very tasty dish worth sharing.

DSC_6359To serve 4 you need:

4 chicken breasts

150g feta cheese

100g spinach (I used frozen)

3 Tbsp oil

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp honey

2 garlic cloves

250ml stock

salt and pepper to taste

fresh parsley and oregano

cherry tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 180º. Wash and clean the chicken, cut it lenghtwise and then in halves.

Crumble the feta cheese in a bowl, add lemon joice and 1tbsp of oil and mix. Add spinach and mix well. Place the bottom parts of the chicken on a baking tray and put a spoonful of spinach and feta mix on top and cover with the remaining chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Put 2 tbsp of oil and honey in a pan and heat lightly. Then pour the mixture with a spoon over the chicken.

Place cherry tomatoes, along with peeled and sliced garlic,between the chicken, and pour the stock. Bake in the oven for 30min.

I served it with potatoe wedges, but you can also serve it with salad.

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Zucchini rolls-my quick fix for starters

DSC_6305I don’t know about you, but I like having people over for diner. It creates an opportunity to bond, maybe exchange few gossips and feed my friends something tasty. And it is a great chance to clean the appartment too! However I know from experience that the “what should I serve as a starter?” question can be difficult. So today I want to present you my idea for a quick fix, for when you need an inspiration.

DSC_6301You need:

a pack of feta cheese (about 300g)

a pack of cream cheese (about 300g)

3 large zucchinis

fresh parsley

fresh chives

3-4 tbsp horseradsich

1 paprika

4 tomatoes

1 onion

2 garlic cloves

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Wash the paprika, cut out the core and cut in 4. Peel the onion and cut in 4, and the tomatoes in halves. Place all the vegetables on a baking tray, along with garlic, peeled and cut into big pieces. Sprinkle with oil and put it in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Put the feta and cream cheese into a bowl and stir until it forms a homogeneous mass. Divide it into two and put aside.

Wash the zucchinis and cut it lenghtwise into thin slices.

Take one of the cheese mixture and mix with the horseradish. Add a handful of chopped chives and taste with salt.

Peel the paprika and tomatoes and place in a bowl, along with the garlic cloves and onion, and purre it, then add the mass to the remaining cheese and stir well.

Fry the zucchini slices on both sides until tender, then place them on the plate and let them cool a little.

Spread the slices, salt and pepper to taste, and smear the cheese masses. Then roll the zucchinis itnto small rolls, garnish with chopped parsley and sprinkle with oil.

Stuffed salmon on sauerkraut.

stuffed salmon on sauerkrautGermany is a land of sauerkraut! Having moved here few years ago I have to say, there is something to that, even though it is also very present in polish or czech cuisine. Whenever you go to a typical german restaurant, you may find at least one thing served with, or made of, sauerkraut. A soup, a side dish or as an addition to a sandwich, there are many applications of sauerkraut in german cuisine. It is especially important part of the bavarian cooking tradition. Despite the fact that it has lots of vitamins and helps with digestion, one either likes it or hates it.

Today I want to present you a recipe made with sauerkraut, but in a slightly different version.

salmon on sauerkraut

To serve 2 you will need:

1 onion

1 apple

1 tbsp sugar

500g of sauerkraut

200ml dry white wine

600g salmon

1 egg white

100-150g cod

a handfull of fresh herbs (I used parsley and chives)

1 tbsp of butter or vegetable fat

100g cream

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

Peel the onion and cut into small pieces. Wash the apple, peel, cut out the core and cut into small dices.

Melt the butter and the sugar, add the onion and let it sear for a minute, then add the apple and saute for few minutes. Add the sauerkraut and the wine and let it cook for 30 min on small heat, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Once done, place it in a casserole dish or baking tray.

Pluck the herbs and chop. Rinse the cod and cut into small pieces, then purre with the egg white, slowly adding the cream while doing so. Add the herbs and salt and pepper and mix well.

Rinse the salmon, skin it ( if it’s not skinned already) and cut into 4 pieces. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Smear two pieces of the fish with the herb-cod mixture, cover with the remaining salmon, and place on top of the sauerkraut. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Served garnished with fresh herbs.

Pumpkin pudding!

I know, I know, Halloween is admittedly behind. It’s over a week now, but if you still have some pumpkin flesh or purre left from the carving, and don’t really know what to do with it, then this recipie is perfect for you! Well, if you don’t, but you want to try something else than pumpkin soup, I’m sure there are still places where you can get it. This pudding is perfect as a little snack. Or as a little desert to surprise your guests.

pumpkin pudding1For 4 servings you need:

250g Hokkaido pumpkin

150ml milk

150ml cream

120g sugar

1 egg

2 egg yolks

3 tbsp vanilla sugar

1 pinch of cinnamon

Tsp of grated lemon skin

water, oil and ramekins.

Clean the pumpkin, remove the seeds and cut into small cubes. Place in a pot and stew for 20 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

Put 80g sugar in a small pot and caramelize it until golden brown. Once it’s done, pour it into previously oiled ramekin.

Mix the rest of the sugar, 40g, with the egg yolks and the egg and whisk it. Mix cream, milk and the vanilla sugar in a pot and bring to boil and pour to the egg and sugar mixture, stirring as you do it.

Press the mixture through a sieve, to make sure you don’t have any lumps in it, and then mix it with the pumpkin purre. Mix well and add grated lemon skin and a pinch of cinnamon. Pour the mixture into the forms.

Put the forms on a casserole form or a baking tray (with the edges a little bit higher) and fill half the casserole form with boiling water. Put the whole in the oven and bake for 30min.

pumpkin pudding2You can serve sprinkled with grated chocolate.

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Roasted vegetables soup

Well, the blog is created but lacks the content yet. And since this would be my first post here I was wondering what would be the best. Should it be something sweet? Practical? Or posh? Believe me, I was nervous. In the end I decided it to be something I would serve my friends when they visit. Something tasty, very nice smelling and adequate to the weather outside, or at least a spot on when winter comes. And since the Starks constantly remind us that winter IS coming, you can also use this recipe on colder days. I will definitelly do!

Serves 4 and is very easy to make.

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You need:

2 zucchinis

2 paprikas (red or yellow)

1 onion

4 garlic cloves

about 4 tomatoes

500ml boullion

salt and pepper to taste

thyme

rosemary (optional)

cream (optional)

some parsley to garnish

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees. Smear a little oil on the baking tray.
  2. Wash the vegetables. Cut the zucchinis in half and then halve them again. Cut the paprikas in halves and remove the seeds.
  3. Put the vegetables side by side on the baking tray, cut side down, along with tomatoes (also cut in halves) Peel the onion and cut it crosswise. Peel the garlic and cut in halves. Place the onion and garlic between the rest of the vegetables. You can also put one sprig of rosemary between.
  4. Put the baking tray in the oven for 30-35 minutes, until soft and the skin becomes lightly brown.
  5. Once out of the oven, let it cool then peel the skin of the peppers and tomatoes (it should come off easy)
  6. Place the vegies in a pot and crush roughly using a blender. Alternatively you can also chop them with a knife.
  7. Put the pot with the chopped veggies on the stove (medium heat) and pour the bouillon. Let it cook for circa 10 min, until the veggies are overcooked and all the flavours combine.

The soup taste best with fresh parley and some bread. You can also add some roasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds.