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25.01.2007 vonFranz

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What makes this lentil soup so sensational? – Pretty nearly everything!

When you use those small green lentils from Puy your soup will be ready cooked in no time at all and it will be clear and light. Thanks to the vanilla bean and to the Pastis liquor the soup’s flavor will be wonderful and unique. And the chips on top of it made of Jerusalem artichokes are the icing on a cake – and that is: each one of them. Delicious!

I am sending the recipe Lentil soup with Jerusalem artichokes as my contribution to the HotM 10 “Quick and easy” – event.

Lentil soup with Jerusalem artichokes
Category: vegetarian
Serves: 4


Ingredients:
100 g leek
300 g Puy lentils
1,2 Ltr. light chicken stock
1 vanilla bean
2 tbsp. Pastis liquor (Pernod, Ricard etc.)
2-3 bay leaves
salt
ground black pepper
2 tbsp. parsley, chopped
200 g Jerusalem artichoke
oil for deep-frying


Preparation:
Cut the leek into small strips and wash them. Wash the lentils too and bring them to the boil in chicken stock. Slash the vanilla bean lenghtwise and add it to the soup. Also add the Pastis, bay leaves and leek. Let the soup simmer for approx. 20 min. until the lentils are done but will not mash.

Clean the Jerusalem artichokes by brushing them under water and cut them into thin slices of approx. 2 mm. Deep-fry them in oil for about 3 min., take them out of the oil, let them cool down a little and drip off on kitchen paper. Then deep-fry them again until they are golden and crunchy. Let them drip off again and slightly season with salt.

Now, take the vanilla bean and the bay leaves out of the soup, season and portion in soup plates and sprinkle some ground pepper and chopped parsley over it. Garnish with the Jerusalem artichoke chips.

You can replace the Pastis liquor with 1 tsp. of fennel seed. Some like chopped cilantro rather than parsley – a mere matter of taste.

When you deep-fry the Jerusalem artichokes twice and let it cool down in between they will be airy and crunchy, just like very well made french fries.

You could substitute potatoes for the Jerusalem artichokes but that would be only half the pleasure.

For me this soup is unique and so convincing as to be a separate course in a gala dinner. In that case, however, I would serve only a very small portion.



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Matters of the heart

20.01.2007 vonFranz

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This is my contribution to the HotM#7 Fruit & Berries – event.

Let me talk about some new experiences. A while ago, when experimenting for a cooking contest called “innards” I came into contact with some recipes and ingredients which so far couldn’t be found on my bill of fare. In doing so, I learned a great deal of new things and I’ve shed many a prejudice.

Recently, in a German TV cooking show they were frying a calf’s heart and everybody with at least a trace of taste enthused about it. Shortly afterwards I found a similar recipe in a German chef’s newsletter. I couldn´t help doing it any longer– I ordered a calf’s heart at the butcher’s.

When I unpacked the heart I did feel a little queasy. A heart is a very special organ. On the one hand it’s innards but on the other hand it’s pure muscle. This heart was well cleaned. I removed all skins and strings until there were only pure, lean pieces of meat in different sizes left. After all they weighed about 500 grams.


Now the meat is sorted in thickness and thin ends are cut off. With the thin snippets you can cook a wonderful sauce, for example with noodles.


For making a variety of Boeuf Stroganoff calf’s heart is also a very good choice. It’s very tasty with a sour or a sweet sauce. The fried meat’s taste is very mild and is reminiscent of liver. It has a medium firm structure.


As a course in a menu one calf’s heart is enough to serve 4 plates. Additionally, you can cook a very nice sugo for four persons with the thin cut-offs.


Calf’s heart with Balsamico and pearl onions

Category: veal lights/innards
Serves: 4
Recipe source: based on a recipe by Vincent Klink

Ingredients:
1 calf’s heart, approx. 650 g
2 shallots
12 pearl onions (or small shallots)
1 clove of garlic
250 ml bouillon
1 tbsp. black currant marmelade
2 tbsp. Balsamico
125 ml red wine
2 tbsp. butter
vegetable oil
salt, pepper

Preparation:
Clean the calf’s heart. Use only pure and lean pieces with about the same thickness. You can use the small and thin pieces for cooking something else, for example a pasta sauce.

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C with circulating air. Roast the meat pieces shortly on all sides in a pan with a mixture of butter and vegetable oil. Then fry it in the oven for an additional 12 minutes. Remove the heart pieces from the oven, season with salt and pepper and wrap them in aluminium foil. Let them rest in a warm place for about 15 min.


Finely dice two shallots and the garlic clove and fry them with some oil in another pan until they turn golden. Now add the black currant marmelade and deglaze with the bouillon and the Balsamico. Add the peeled pearl onions and let them simmer.

Loosen all browned food particles stuck to the first pan with the red wine and pour the liquid into the pearl onion’s pan. Let the mixture boil down until it is syrupy or slightly thicken with potato flour which is first dissolved in a little cold water.

Slice the heart pieces thinly and arrange them on plates. Season with Fleur de sel and ground black pepper. Add the onion and Balsamico sauce.

A buttery potato puree corresponds very well with this recipe.

A piece of advice:
The heart’s structure will be medium firm. If you like the heart to be soft and tender use the low-temperature-method: after shortly frying simmer the heart pieces for 3 or 4 hours at maximum 75 – 80 degrees C in the oven.

I think it would be great to add some fresh black currants to the sauce too.
Don’t worry too much about the buttery potato puree – it’s so delicious that everybody’s heart will jubilate.
Instead of the butter you could use Swedish butter oil, a rape-seed oil with butter flavour as well, or (ok, this would be the best) you take a native olive oil. These are heart healthy alternatives that you easily can make to many dishes.

Give heart a try. After all, cooking with calf’s heart is a very delicious, easy and reasonable affair.

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Vegetable soup with coffee-flavored buckwheat pancakes

08.01.2007 vonFranz

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When I was a little boy I often spent my holidays at my relative’s farm in the Eifel area near Cologne.
I remember not only some countryside adventures I had to endure, but also a giant plate of those delicious buckwheat pancakes in the middle of an old kitchen table.
As you can see I was already fond of good food at this young age.

The farmer’s wife baked the buckwheat pancakes as a garnish to her gorgeous fresh vegetable soup. The pancake stack was quartered and everyone took his slice, rolled it and ate it out of the hand.
As dessert we often had some soured milk – freshly milked and immediately placed in a big bowl to rest in the cool buttery until it turned thick and stiff.
Then the soured milk’s bowl was also placed in the table’s center and everyone helped themselves using a big spoon. I always spared some pancake crumbs to have them with the soured milk, and if there had not been some legendary cooks who were quicker than I the Blinis with Creme fraiche recipe might be have been invented by a young boy sitting at an Eifel farmer’s table …

I am sending the recipe Vegetable soup with coffee-flavored buckwheat pancakes as my contribution to the HotM 11 “Soup” – event  hosted by Joanna’s Food.

Lately, there were a couple of vegetable leftovers in my fridge – an opportunity to cook a good vegetable soup. But this time I wanted it to be a very special one, so first I made a luscious vegetable stock.

Vegetable stock
Category: Basic cooking, soup
Serves: 6 portions

Ingredients:
300 g carrots
2 leeks, white parts only
100 g celeriac
50 g fennel
250 g shallots
2 cloves of garlic (unpeeled)
1 Bouquet garni
250 ml dry white wine
10 g white pepper

Recipe source:
Michel Roux “nur das Beste”

Preparation:
Dice all vegetables and let them simmer in wine and 2 litres of water for about 45 min. , skim if necessary.
Drain the soup and squeeze out the vegetables slightly.

This is how to continue:
Dice some carrots, onions and celeriac into bite-sized pieces, sautee them in olive oil and deglaze with some vegetable stock, season with salt. Now, fill in all kinds of your preferred vegetables one after the other: potatoes, pumpkin, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, string beans, fennel, cauliflower and everything you have in your house. Finish with leek and parsley, season with salt, freshly ground pepper, nutmeg and chili pepper – done.

It’s up to your taste to sprinkle some olive oil over the soup or add some Parmesan cheese.
This time I wanted it pure but with buckwheat pancakes.

I chose a traditional Münsterland region recipe in which they use cold coffee for the pancake’s batter, which is a good idea because the roasty flavor of the coffee makes a very special but harmonious spice for this batter. Some people in Münsterland also add the coffee grounds and serve the pancakes with fried bacon, turnips syrup and pumpernickel (a very dark and juicy bread) or with farmer’s bread and salad. Down south in Rhineland people like a very luscious buckwheat batter with many eggs inside but also coffee and they serve it with roasted onion rings.

For my Eifel recipe I picked some things from here and there.

Buckwheat pancakes Eifel style
Category: pancakes, garnish
Serves: 6-8 portions

Ingredients:
250 g buckwheat flour
1/4 liter cold coffee
125 ml milk
2 eggs
1 pinch of salt
1/4 Liter sparkling water

Preparation:
Beat the eggs and stir in cold coffee, milk and salt, let the mixture rest for one hour.

Then dilute the batter with the sparkling water.

Heat a pan with some olive oil, pour in some batter until the pan’s ground is lightly covered and bake the pancake on both sides.

Stack all baked pancakes in the warm oven.

I can’t remember if they used cold coffee for the pancake’s batter in those old Eifel days but it could very well have been so because my version tasted as good to me as those pancakes did nearly 50 years ago.

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Pea on a leaf

05.01.2007 vonFranz

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This looks like a very stilted title for a dish, but it’s a bright idea for a successful combination of two special vegetables which is barely found in Germany’s kitchens. It’s another find from the book “Silberlöffel” (silver spoon), the German version of the modern Italian kitchen bible “Il Cucchiaio d’argento”.


As usual this Italian dish is straightforward and you can make it “rapidamente”.

Peas and Roman salad
Category: Italian, vegetarian, garnish
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

40 g unsalted butter
2 spring onions
1 lettuce/green salad ( Roman, medium size)
600 g peas (deep frozen)
salt, pepper
ground nutmeg

Preparation:

Cut the spring onions in small slices and sautee them with butter in a pan.

Cut the salad in squares of approx. 5 cm and put them into the pan with the frozen peas. Season and add water until about 1/3 of the vegetables are in the water.

Cover the pan and let it simmer for about 20 min. Stir from time to time and add some liquid if necessary. When it’s finished cooking there should be only little liquid left in the pan.

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You can take lettuce as well – but it will become awfully mashed, green chicory is a good choice, too – but you will have to add something to make it sweeter. For me, the green Roman salad works best (this is how this big and crunchy salad is called in Germany). We can buy it in every Turkish grocery.

Peas with salad are a very good garnish with fried fish or even with nothing but roast potatoes. I tried to roast a crusty panful of them from grated uncooked potatoes which were slightly sprinkled with flour. You should only put a few of the potatoes into the very hot pan because otherwise you will produce an awfully lumpy mass like I did. Nevertheless, it’s a pretty method.

Maybe next time I’ll make the fresh uncooked roast potatoes the same way my mother did:

Peel the potatoes, wash and dry them and slice them into small sticks similar to very thin French Fries. Add some bay leaves and fry the potatoes in a very hot pan with some oil or lard. Fry many potatoes at the same time in many layers one on another. Now you have to be patient and brave at the same time. The potatoes will puff and sizzle, but you should not turn them over until you’re nearly sure that they have already burnt stuck to the pan’s bottom. After you have carefully turned the potatoes with a spatula you have to be brave again. Season with salt and pepper when the second side is readily fried, carefully turn the potato layers again, season the new uppermost layer too, add some finely diced onions and a little soup stock, cover the pan and let the potatoes braise with self-sacrificing bravery. Then the potatoes will be turned over again, maybe you’ll add some ground nutmeg, some more stock and onions, cover the pan again and let the potatoes braise to be fully cooked. Now, lifting the pan’s cover will be a tongue-wagging affair. Frying potatoes is an art: they should be roasted dark-brown but not burnt, their liquid and their starch have baked them into a fluffy cake and everyone around the table will get their portion which will be cut off with a spatula.

These are very fond memories from my childhood.

The combination of peas and salad is also brilliant for a frittata.

Frittata made of egg whites

Category: Italian, vegetarian
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

1 green salad ( Roman, medium size)
1 onion
150 g peas (deep frozen)
6 egg whites
1-2 tbsp. flour
salt, pepper
ground nutmeg
1 buffalo Mozzarella cheese
native olive oil

Preparation:

Clean the salad. Cut out the thick center vein of the leaves and finely dice the veins.

Blanch the leaves in salted water, rinse them with cold water, squeeze out all remaining liquid and chop them finely.

Peel the onion, slice it into thin half circles and braise them in a pan with olive oil. Add the diced leaf veins and let the mixture simmer until it is nearly dry. Add the deep-frozen peas, season and let them braise again for some time. Take the pan from the oven and let the salad mixture cool for a while.

Now beat the egg whites to be creamy but not stiff. Add a pinch of salt and stir in 1 or 2 tbsp. flour. Add the salad, mix carefully and season to taste.

Oil a pan and fill in half of the egg and salad mixture. Sprinkle with finely diced buffalo Mozzarella and cover with the other half of the salad batter. Now bake the Frittata slowly with medium heat.

From time to time you should loosen the Frittata from the pan’s rim and you should also shake the pan in order to remove it from the pan’s bottom. As soon as the surface gets stiff take a spatula and slide the Frittata carefully onto a plate, sprinkle some drops of oil on it, cover the pan with a plate and turn round both swiftly in order to bake the Frittata’s second side. Shake the pan until the Frittata loosens again, turn it back onto the plate, cut in segments and serve.

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It’s a very special Frittata dish made without egg yolks but only with the egg whites. This makes it very light and especially easy to digest. Some people also say that baking with egg whites only is also healthier, but who knows.

If you are a regular reader of my blog you’ll remember the oceans of egg yolks which I recently transformed into cream and mousse and sauce. I usually deep freeze the egg whites in portions of 4 or 6 each. No doubt, every single leftover egg white is worth to be made into those incredibly delicious Madeleines and I have certainly been tempted to do so but a wonderful egg white Frittata is not too bad after all.

If there is no original buffalo mozzarella in your house it’s much better to cut out the cheese. All those German supermarket so-called mozzarellas taste like and should be classified as hazardous waste.

We had the Frittata with a hot chili potato gratin and some Parmesan sauce.

Gratin of potatoes, garlic and chili pepper

Category: Italian, vegetarian
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

900 g potatoes (the waxy type)
250 ml fresh cream
250 ml milk (+ a rest)
2 fresh hot chili peppers
2 cloves of garlic
salt, pepper
butter

Preparation:

Mix fresh cream and milk in big bowl. Stir in the squeezed cloves of garlic and the very finely diced chili peppers. Season generously with salt and some pepper.

Peel the uncooked potatoes, wash and dry them, cut them in slices of approx. 2 – 3 mm and immediately put them into the milk mixture. Mix carefully so that all the potatoes are moistened. Let the potatoes rest for about 30 min.

Then fill them evenly into a butter coated gratin dish. If necessary add some more milk so that the potatoes are nearly covered by the liquid.

Bake the gratin in your preheated oven at the bottom level at 180 degrees C with circulating air for about 40 min., then reduce the temperature to 120 degrees C, push down any floating potato slices, cover the gratin dish with a foil and bake it again for approx. 1 hour.

Then level down the temperature to 80 degrees C and let the gratin simmer for another 30 min. (or more).

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It’s your choice how many garlic cloves you’ll use for the gratin and it depends on what you’re expecting to do after dinner. Some only rub a clove through the pan, others happily slice clove after clove. I prefer to use one single clove of garlic, and one chili pepper is also sufficiently hot for me.

Using this method you can prepare the potato gratin one hour previous to serving. You can leave it in the oven at 80 degrees C.

It’s the same procedure for a Gratin Savoyard – no chili pepper, less garlic, some ground nutmeg, freshly grated Gruyère cheese in between the potato layers and on top of the gratin,

or cooking a Gratin Dauphinois – no chili pepper, hardly any garlic but fresh thyme generously mixed between the potatoes.

Of course, the roast potatoes are a fantastic choice with the Frittata.

Parmesan cream

Category: Italian, cheese, sauce
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

100 ml milk
100 g freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation:

Cook the milk to the boil, take it from the oven and slowly stir in the grated Parmesan using a whisk, keep it warm on the side and stir from time to time.

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This sauce must not boil so that the Parmesan cheese won’t go lumpy. Stir the sauce from time to time and add some drops of milk if it thickens too much.

It’s exactly this Parmesan sauce, thinned down and foamed up with a mixer which you can serve with these small vegetable tartlets, too:

Swiss chard frittata with egg whites

Category: Italian, vegetarian
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

250 g Swiss chard leaves (without the center veins)
250 g fresh young spinach leaves
6 egg whites
1 tbsp. flour
salt, pepper
ground nutmeg
native olive oil
lemon zests
milk
Parmesan cheese

Preparation:

Blanch the Swiss chard leaves and half of the spinach in salted water, rinse with cold water, squeeze out all remaining liquid and chop everything finely.

Beat the egg whites to be creamy but not stiff. Add a pinch of salt and stir in 1 tbsp. flour. Add the chopped leaves, mix carefully and season to taste.

Oil a pan and fill in the egg whites mixture and bake the Frittata slowly with medium heat.

From time to time you should loosen the Frittata from the pan’s rim and you should also shake the pan to loosen the batter from the pan’s bottom. As soon as the surface gets stiff take a spatula and slide the Frittata carefully onto a plate, sprinkle some oil drops on it, cover it with the pan and turn the pan and the plate upside down to bake the second side. Shake the pan until the Frittata loosens again, turn it back onto the plate, cut out small Frittata circles using a glass, serve them on a plate with the rest of the spinach leaves and sprinkle some lemon zest over the tartlets.

For the Parmesan sauce dissolve 1 part of freshly grated Parmesan cheese in 2 parts of hot milk, foam it up with a mixer and pour it over the Frittata.

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To bake small Frittata tartlets you can also use metal rings. Grease the cold metal rings with some oil or butter, put them into a hot pan and immediately fill in the Frittata mixture.

Here you see the same dish once again shaped into a big Frittata.

This time served on rocket salad with cherry tomatoes and goat farmer cheese.
But still it’s made with egg whites only.


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Between the lines

03.01.2007 vonFranz

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„Torta Margherita“ – I was bored at first when I ran down the recipe’s page of the simple sponge cake. But when reading the last phrase: „ … you can also add two peeled and finely diced apples to the dough“. I realized that this could be the basis for a pretty and extremely delicious cake as a dessert, which we could then call „Torta Margherita con mele e la crema di menta“.

Here we go.

Apple bisquit with mint and joghurt creme
Category: dessert, cake
Serves: 1 plate


Ingredients:
3 eggs
300 g yoghurt
200 g sugar
150 ml sun flower oil
450 g all purpose flour
1 baking powder
2 apples (approx. 400 g)

Mint cream:
150 g cream yoghurt
50 ml fresh cream
1-2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 pinch of sugar
1 handful of peppermint leaves
peppermint leaves for decoration
confectioner’s sugar to sprinkle
baking foil or butter

Preparation:
Scramble yoghurt, eggs and sugar. Then add the oil.
Mix flour and baking powder and stir it into the oil mixture until it is a creamy batter.
Peel the apples, dice them finely and add them to the batter.

Now, cover a baking plate of at least 4 cms height with baking foil or coat it with butter.
Fill in the batter evenly.

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C (180 degrees C when using circulating air) and bake the sponge cake for approx. 25 min. until its surface becomes lightly golden brown.

Meanwhile mince the ingredients of the mint cream in a food processor very finely and add less or more fresh cream, depending on how liquid you prefer it to be.
Portion the lukewarm sponge cake into small cubes, sprinkle them with confectioner’s sugar if you like, decorate with mint leaves and serve them with the mint cream.

I modified the original recipe by reducing the sugar to 2/3 because the apples and the confectioner’s sugar will add some more sweetness.

The lukewarm cake tastes very well but I nearly prefer eating it the next day when it seems juicier and even more refreshing, especially when you portion it into small cubes and serve it chilled as a dessert. A mint parfait will go with it extremely nicely, I assume …

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Small balls of lentils and my most indispensable crazy kitchen gadget

02.01.2007 vonFranz

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Crazy Kitchen Gadgets from all over the world are currentlly being collected in the US! The event is organised by Not Eating Out in New York. You’ve probably also got some such doodad of which knows any more what it is actually good for.
Anyway, this is my contribution.


My kitchen is quite well equipped, I think. Actually there is nothing I haven’t used at least one time. I may have used the one or other thingy only once: just before tossing it out with howls of fury. But that’s not what I want to talk about.

I want to show you one of my extraordinary kitchen gadgets. The other day, there was a new recipe for lentils balls which I happened upon and I realised: this is a sign from heaven. Onions had to be grated for this dish. Hooray, here comes – no, not a grater – but my onion mask!


Granted, when I bought it it was called a diving mask. But if you ever had to chip a hole sackful of onions, you will be admit that a diving mask can be rather helpful in a kitchen. So let’s call it an onion mask.

By the way, on this picture I’m not wearing a neoprene diving suit but a black cotton t-shirt. You can’t see I was actually barefoot when the photo was shot but I was not wearing flippers, I swear.

So, when I started grating the onions my eyes were save, no tears, no cry, but it turned out that grating onions with my kitchen grater is not very effective. When I instead used my electric food cutter it was much easier and the result was a simply perfect puree.

Anyhow, I felt a little bit disappointed when I realised I would not need my beloved, tried and tested onion mask any longer. Shortly afterwards I noticed the recipe was rather schlock and the mush I had produced reminded me of the flavour of fire proof paper. Seemed it was’t my best day.

Well, I chucked the whole in the garbage bin and then I fished my own proven lentil balls recipe out of my recipe binder. Here it is:

Curry balls my style

Cathegory: vegetarian
Serves: 6 – 8
Recipe source: own recipe

Ingredients:

Lentil balls:
600 ml water
1 tsp. cucuma
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. Madras curry powder hot
2 tsp. Madras curry powder mild
1 tsp. paprika powder hot
1 tsp. salt
1 piece of ginger, sliced
1 tsp. vegetable soup instant
1 tsp. sugar
250 g lentils
lemonjuice
2 eggs
8-10 tbsp. breadcrumbs
oil to deep-frying

spice bag:
lemon grass
dried chili
2 tsp. coriander seed

sauce:
2 cloves of garlic
1 piece of ginger, grated (sic!)
250 ml mushed tomatoes
500 ml vegetable soup
250 ml heavy cream or coconut cream
200 g string beans
2 carrots
2 eggs

Preparation:
For the lentil balls heat the water with the spice bag and all spices except the lemon juice and let the lentils simmer in it for about 35 min. Pour off the water, let the remaining water evaporate and remove the sliced ginger.
Mix 2 whisked eggs, breadcrumbs and lemon juice, to make a dough, season to taste and shape 20 small balls in your wet hands. Deep-fry the balls in very hot oil for about 3 min. Be careful: use a big pot because oil can awfully foam up. Remove the balls from the oil and let them drip off on kitchen paper.

For the sauce boil the eggs until hard, peel and dice them. Wash the beans and blanch them in salt water for 5 min., put them in very cold water. Peel, slice and braise the carrots slightly with some butter, salt and sugar.

Chop garlic and ginger and braise it in 2 tbsp. of oil. Add the mushed tomatoes, vegetable soup and fresh cream (or coconut cream) and let it all simmer for about 10 min. Add the beans, carrots and lentil balls and let it simmer for another 5 – 10 min. while carefully stiring one or two times. Season to taste, add the egg cubes and serve.


Unfortunately, I don’t know yet at which precise point I could use may onion mask, because in this wonderful recipe you don’t do such silly things as grating onions. If you are a squeamish cook, you might use the onion mask whenever you cut onions. Oh, you can use it when grating ginger root!

Or maybe you have to cook somewhat bigger portions of lentil balls, say for 90 or 150 people. You may rest assured that this will happen if you tell the world how delicious these lentil balls are. So be careful with my recipe. It is so terrific that you will have to grate many, many ginger roots anyway. And actually you will be lucky having an onion mask in your kitchen ready to hand all time.

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Coarse rye bread with dried fruit

02.01.2007 vonFranz

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Everyone knows white bread with raisins. But what about a hearty coarse rye bread with dried fruit baked in ? – But of course! Here it is, tailor-made for the BREAD WITH FRUIT – Event No.2


Coarse rye bread with dried fruit
Cathegory: bread
Serves: 2 loaves
Recipe source:
Eckhart Witzigmann “Süße Verführungen”/own variation

Ingredients:
25 g fresh yeast
10 g powdered sugar
500 g wheat flour
250 g rye flour
15 g honey
10 g soft butter
20 g salt
470 ml water
50 g pine nuts
100 g mixed dried fruit

Preparation:
Solve the yeast and powdered sugar in approx. 30 ml of water. MIx half the wheat and rye flour with 470 ml of water. Let both solutions rest for 30 min.
Then mix all ingredients except the pine nuts and the dried fruit and knead the mixture in a food processor for about 8 min. The dough is fully kneaded when it detaches from the bowl’s surface and is smooth to the touch. Dust some flour over it, cover it with a towel and let it rise until doubled in size in a slightly warm place.
Cut the dried fruit in small cubes und roast the pine nuts until they are golden in a dry pan, let them cool down.
When the douigh has doubled in size, roll it out and form a rectangle, spread fruit cubes and pine nuts evenly on it and form a roll. Knead the dough thoroughly with your hands and divide it in half.
Shape two loaves of bread, place them on a coated baking plate and make several slashes in the surface with a razor blade. Dust some flour on it , cover it with a towel and let it rest again for approx. 30 min.
Preheat your oven to 210 degrees C with circulating air and bake the bread for 20 min. Pour some hot water on the oven bottom initially to give a “kick” to the yeast.
After 20 min. reduce the temperature to 180 degrees C and bake for another 20 min.
Check whether the bread is done: knock on the bottom of the breads with a knuckle. If it sounds dully and hollow your bread is well baked. Take it from the oven and let it cool down on a grid for 1 hour.



This recipe was created by Eckart Witzigmann, the German “chef of the century”, (who’s actually from Austria). His recipes are so perfect that, apart of the dried fruit and the pine nuts, I didn’t have to change anything. Okay, I modified the temperatures and baking time, let’s say to adapt it to my oven and habits.


The dried fruit is a mixture of apple, plum, apricot, pear, and pineapple. Of course, you can also take a single fruit or eseveral types, depending on individuel preferences.

If you like bigger pores in your bread, choose the no-knead-method. You will find a recipe here. You just replace the dried tomatoes with the half amount of dried fruit and pine nuts.


I like this hearty, tasty bread best when it’s fresh from the oven, just cooled a little bit and with nothing on it but some creme fraiche or cream curd: einfach köstlich (simply delicious).

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Not simple – but delicious!

01.01.2007 vonFranz

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On the dot with the 15th apple day here is my contribution to the event:
Apple- and almond-pudding with Calvados, caramel sauce and rosmary brittle

Not simple – but delicious? – Well, the almonds may get burnt in the pan, the caramel fizzles hellishly when you deglaze it in the pot, the apples may get all mushy and so on, and so forth …
This is not a dessert you will make in passing. But you can make preparations, it´s very impressive, it tastes so mind-blowingly delicious and is the crowning finish in an exquisite dinner. I served it, for example, when our son got married a couple of days ago.

Apple and almond pudding with Calvados, caramel sauce and rosmary brittle

Category: dessert
Serves: 12
Source: e&t magazine 9/2000

Ingredients :

Almond pudding :
200 g skinned almonds
500 g fresh cream
250 ml milk
50 g sugar
5 leaves clear gelatine
2-3 tbsp. maple syrup

Apple jelly:
6 leaves clear gelatine
1 vanilla pod
200 ml Cider
50 ml apple juice
1 small cinnamon stick
60 g sugar
500 g apples
2-3 tbsp. Calvados

Preparation:

Fry the almonds in a dry pan until they turn golden-brown, let them cool down and chop them in a food processor. Cook the chopped almonds with milk, fresh cream and sugar to the boil, take them from the oven and let them stand for 2 hours at least. Pour the almond milk through a strainer.
Soak the gelatine in cold water until it´s soft. Then squeeze the water out and dissolve the gelatine in hot almond milk, add maple syrup and stir the mixture into the almond milk.
Coat a terrine pan of approx. 1.2 litres with kitchen foil so that the foil is about 10 cm higher than the rim. Fill in the almond milk and let it stiffen in the fridge.

For the apple jelly, cook cider, apple juice, sugar, the cinnamon stick, and the slashed vanilla pod and add the peeled and small diced apples for approx. 10 min. on medium heat. The apple pieces should be soft, but not mushy. Let them cool down a little bit.
Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water until they are soft. Then squeeze the water out and dissolve the gelatine in hot apple juice, add the Calvados and stir the mixture carefully into the apple mixture. Now let it cool down until it starts to jell. Spread the apples on the stiff almond pudding and pour the juice over them to fill all gaps. Let it cool in the fridge overnight.

Turn the terrine over on a plate and pull the sides of the kitchen foil to release the pudding from the pan. Cut it in slices and serve it with caramel sauce and rosmary brittle.

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The apple layer must not be filled in until the almond pudding is stiff and the apples should not be too hot.

To release the terrine in the pan pull the kitchen foil towards the terrine’s center on all sides so that some air gets between the foil and the pan.


With the indicated amount of gelatine the terrine will be stiff enough for slicing and handling without any risk of breaking.

Caramel sauce

Category: Dessert
Serves: 12

Ingredients:
2 vanilla pods
80 g sugar
250 ml milk
250 ml fresh cream
6 egg yolks

Preparation:
Fry the sugar in a dry pan and let it caramelize to a golden-brown color. Deglaze with milk and fresh cream. Add the slashed vanilla pods and the vanilla seed and let it cook for approx. 10 min. until the sugar has dissolved again. Let it cool a little bit.
Stir the egg yolks until they are creamy and pour them into the caramel milk while stirring with a whisk. Keep on stirring the caramel milk at low heat on the oven or with a double boiler until it turns into a creamy, thick sauce. Strain the sauce and let it cool.


If you stir the sauce with a whisk it picks lots of air bubbles and will be foamy and fluffy. If you use a wooden spoon the sauce will be more creamy and thick.

Anyway, don’t forget to sprinkle it with some brittle.


Rosmary brittle

Category: Dessert
Serves: 12

Ingredients:
50 g sugar
50 g almond chips
2 tsp. chopped rosmary

Preparation:
Fry the almond chips in a dry pan until they are golden-brown, take them out of the pan.
Let the sugar caramelize to light golden color. Add the rosmary and the almond chips, stir with a wooden spoon and pour it on a coated baking plate. Spread the mixture as evenly as possible. Let it cool, put it into a freezing bag and crush it coarsely with a rolling pin.

If that is still not enough add a slash of whipped cream. But this could also be your end.

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