April 22, 2011

Rhubarb & Frangipane Tartelettes

Well, these tartelettes were baked for a spring market, so I only served one, just to test the quality. Luckily, my friend, who by the way has a fantastic food blog with amazing photos, was happy with it and that calm me as well, that I made the right choice with these tartelettes.

At first I was kind of helpless, because I had no idea what to bake, though they gave me green light, it just had to contain rhubarb and must be without cream, because no fridge was available. Suddenly, I had the idea of frangipane and from then it was everything clear. As far as the pastry is concerned it is totally amazing and it melts in your mouth. And now I would like to take the opportunity to wish everyone who comes across my blog: Happy Easter Holidays!

(makes 12 tartelettes)
250 g flour
200 g soft butter
100 g powder sugar
1 pinch of salt
2 egg yolks

Sift flour onto a working surface. Cut butter in chunks and add it to the flour together with the salt and the sifted icing sugar. Crumble it together with your fingertips, then add the egg yolks and knead a smooth dough. Place the dough to the fridge until needed. Roll out about 2-3 mm thick and cover the baking forms and put it back to the fridge for about 20-30 minutes.

125 g soft butter
125 g powder sugar
3 eggs
125 g ground almond
30 g flour

Cream butter and icing sugar then stir in the eggs on by one. Fold in the ground almond and the flour and add about a a tablespoon onto each tartelette. Put sliced in elderberry syrup marinated rhubarb and top and sprinkle with almond crumble. To make the almond crumble simply mix together 80 g coarsly ground almond with 3 tablespoons cane sugar and 40 g cold butter. Bake the tartelettes for 15-20 minutes on 180°C.

April 21, 2011

Asparagus Soup

Well, this is going to be a kind of post with and without recipe at the same time. I am not going to write about asparagus soup, after all the whole web is full of recipes and probably everybody has their own. However, it is important to handle the king of the spring vegetables with care!

Personally, I prefer white asparagus much more than green. However, lately I am totally fond of raw green asparagus and eat it all day long as a snack. Yesterday evening I could not decide if I should cook white or green asparagus soup, so at the end I did not decide and made both. It is common to add cream or a mixture of cream and egg yolks to the soup.

My soup does not contain cream, I have only added a medium potato to the butter sauteed asparagus and cooked with asparagus stock and seasoned with salt, a bit of lemon juice and a pinch of sugar, as I wanted to keep the natural flavour, so no spices no nothing. To the green soup I did not add potato but a nice chunk of butter before mixing. Of course it was served among the asparagus spears and a kind of hollandaise parfait, that is in fact nothing else, but a frozen sauce mousseline, with the difference, that I folded the beaten cream into the cold hollandaise. To add some crunchiness I roasted some hazelnut together with grated parmesan.

April 20, 2011

Pasta al limone with Parmesan Foam

Lately, I have posted many meals with fish, so it was time for something different. Sometimes, I have periods, when I can not eat meat or eggs. Not the best timing before Easter, but what can I do. However, cheese or fish are always welcome. If cheese for lunch, well, then the first choice is almost always pasta. I made fresh pasta and served with lemon sauce, barba di Frate and parmesan foam. The sauce contains no cream, but it is part of the parmesan foam.

1 lemon
150 ml white wine
150 ml chicken stock
olive oil
salt, pepper

Reduce whie wine, chicken stock together with the lemon zest by half. Season with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. For the parmesan foam simply bring 100 ml of cream to the boil, add 50 g of grated parmesan, but do not cook it any longer and foam it with help of a mixer, season if needed.

April 18, 2011

Rhubarb Tarts

The rhubarb season is finally here! Not to mention that local asparagus and radish are also available. Now only strawberries are missing! Last week, I have been baking a lot, though the rest is yet to come, so I am going to be busy these days. Anyway, these rhubarb tarts were baked for us. It is a simple short crust pastry with ginger flavoured pastry cream topped with lime scented rhubarb.


125 g flour
50 g soft butter
50 g powder sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 egg

Pour flour onto a clean surface and add diced butter, sugar and salt into a mold. With a help of your fingers work the ingredients together until it forms crumbles. Add the egg and knead a smooth dough. Put it to the fridge for 1-2 hours. Blind bake the tart shells.

3 egg yolks
60 g sugar
20 g flour
250 ml milk
1 cm fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder

Whisk egg yolks with the sugar until fluffy and pale, stir in the flour and the ginger powder. Bring milk to the boil together with the grated ginger, after sieve and pour it to the egg yolk mixture and cook for about 1 minutes. Let it cool. For the rhubarb cook about 100 g of sugar with juice and zest of a lime together with about 5 tablespoons of water and add peeled rhubarb and cook for a few minutes.

April 13, 2011

Asparagus Velouté, Brown Butter Poached Turbot and White Wine Foam

Finally, finally, the first bunch of fresh local asparagus is here! During the weekend I already cooked a soup and also had a portion served with Hollandaise sauce.

However today I felt like expermenting. Actually, this dish was inspired by the bright purple colour of the asparagus spears. First, I planed to add a purple potato to the velouté, but then I felt like that the colour would be too much. So I decided to make some potato chips instead, so that way the plate became more interesting. For the velouté I cooked asparagus ends and peel with just enough water to cover it with a tiny pinch of sugar and a bit of lemon juice, and then I used this asparagus stock to make the velouté.
The fish was cooked in brown butter over low temperature and served with a very light white wine foam, some extra brown butter, lemon oil and roasted hazelnut.

20 g butter
1 shallot
150 ml dry white wine
100 ml fish stock
salt, pepper

Melt buter and sautee onion until soft. Pour white wine over it and cook until it is reduced by a third. Add fish stock and cook until it is reduced by half. Stir in cream, season and foam it with a help of a mixer.

April 7, 2011

Barba di Frate - or Friar's Beard

Well, finally, I found this kind of salad, the Barba di Frate or agretti, the edible leaves of the opposite leaved saltwort. First I have seen it in Robert's blog, and ever since I was absolutely curious about it. Its taste reminds me of spinach, though it is crispy. Often it is served among fish, but also raw as a salad. In the 16th century it was popular as a medical plant. Nowdays, the cultivated plant is grown in North Italy and in the southernmost canton of Switzerland, Ticino.

Lately, I've shared plenty of recipes with fish, but I just do not feel like eating meat. On the other side I am totally eager to bake, I just do not know yet what. Anyway, back to the dish. Barba di Frate is often flavoured with lemon and as I planned to serve fish, I decided to serve it among a lemon sabayon. However, I did not want a strong lemon taste, therefore I baked the lemons in the oven and used the so to say baked lemon juice. Many people dislike the fish skin, but if it is really crispy it is totally delicious, therefore I served it seperately this time, as I did not want that it gets soft under the sabayon. This quick and fresh meal need only a few minutes of cooking.

April 6, 2011

Just for fun...

Well, I was kind of bored, and felt like cooking, but nothing complicated. Then I remembered that I have a small portion of white tomato consommé in the freezer. It would be anyway time to finally empty it, so this was a start. I decided to make a dried tomato gelée to serve it with the soup. The whole thing was finished with a light basil foam. A great cold treat in this warm evening and it makes it easier to wait until the tomato season starts.

April 5, 2011

Poached Turbot with Leek Puree, Fried Potato and Purslane Velouté

Probably, the most inspiring ingredient for me is fish, maybe except beets. As soon as I choose the fish in the store, I already have plans about the dish, and I always try to prepare something that is worthy to be served among that gorgeous animal. My family prefers to eat fish fried just among a slice of bread, or if it has to be then they take fish and chips. On the other side if I serve it differently, they always love it and ask for more. However often I cook fish only for myself, just like yesterday. This time, I had no idea what and how to cook, I only knew, that I gotta use the purslane, as it was not very fresh anymore. Right before serving, I decided to poach the fish, instead of frying. The potatoes do not sound spectacular, but it takes a while to make them. First I cooked them over very low heat in duck fat, then fried them in butter and seasoned. For the sauce I made a velouté and added the pursalne to it. Leek and fish is always great together, so I cooked leek with a potatoes and made a puree. That's it! Simple, light and yummy!

15 g butter
15 g flour
500 ml cold fish stock
100-150 g purslane
salt, pepper

Prepare a white roux: melt butter, stir in the flour. Pour fish stock over it while whisking and cook for 30 minutes, stir it once in a while. Season with salt, pepper and add purslane and puree. Adjust seasoning if needed.

April 4, 2011

Beet Parfait

Yeak, beets again! Actually, I did not want to bring any recipe with beets in April, but then I just had to preapre the beet parfait. And the leftover blood oranges also needed to be used, so those ended up as a sorbet. Ah yeah, and the leftover candied beet chips, well they just had to be used as decoration once again.

I had the idea to prepare raspberry fruit leather, but I forgot to buy frozen berries, so I almost had to forget the idea to serve the sorbet piped into fruit leather. But luckily, I had a mango in the fridge, so I decided to use that for the fruit leather.

The bottom layer of the dessert is just an ordinary brownie, simply because I wanted to bake brownies, so I decided to combine them, after all beet and chocolate is always great together.


(recipe by Johnny Iuzzini)
80 g beet juice
150 g + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon powdered gelatine
35 g sugar
3 egg yolks

1/2 vanilla pod

Sprinkle gelatine over the 2 tablespoons of cream. Beat egg yolks with the sugar, seedes of the vanilla pod and the beet juice over steam until foamy. Melt gelatine over low heat and stir it to thte beaten beet juice mixture. Remove it from the heat and beat it until it cooles, then fold in the beaten cream and freeze for at least 5 hours.

April 1, 2011

Turbot with White Bean Puree, Dried Tomato Sabayon and Dried Tomato - Basil Crumbs

Some days ago, somewhen came across my blog searching for tomato sabayon, and that inspired me while preparing yesterday's lunch. First I had the idea to used the rest of the tomato consommé, but then I saw the bowl of soaked dried tomatoes, that I left on the kitchen cupboard. I thought, why shouldn't I use that liquid for the sabayon? It was already clear, that I am going to serve a white bean puree among the gorgeous fillets of the turbot, that I filleted myself. It was the very first time, that I filleted a flatfish.

For the puree I cooked the white beans with rosemary, onion and celery talks, and then peeled them. Then I sauteed some chopped shallot in butter, added a rosemary twig, a tiny clove garlic and some cream and cooked it for a few minutes, then pureed the peeled beans with the flavoured cream. I thought something crunchy is missing, so I chopped with the help of a mixer some bread, some soaked dried tomatoes and fried it in olive oil, then mixed it with fresh basil leaves right before serving. And the sabayon? Well, that is totally easy to prepare and it has such an intense flavour!

100 ml dried tomato liquid
100 ml white wine
1 shallot
2-3 twigs of basil
1 egg yolk
salt, pepper

Soak about a handful of dried tomatoes (unsalted!) and let it stand over night, then sieve. Bring the liquid with the wine, chopped shallot, some dried tomatoes and basil to the boil and reduce by half. Sieve and beat it together with the egg yolk over a water bath until foamy and creamy, season and serve.

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