April 30, 2012

Lilac Jelly

Could you imagine anything more delightful on a rainy autumn afternoon, then a freshly baked scone with butter and a fragant jelly that brings back those gorgeous spring days? I simply adore lilac! It is one of my favoruite flowers, among poppy. Both remind me of my childhood and bring back beautiful memories of the days we used to spend in the nature with my family. The fragrance of lila takes me always back to the those days. Some years ago I already made lilac syrup and "jam", now this time I am here with the jelly. It has a beautiful frangrance and taste, however it has lots its colour, because I had to cook it twice. First I used some kind of sugar mixture with gelling agent, but the next day it still was liquid, so in order to save it, if possible, I had to cook it again. Nevertheless, the taste compensate the loss of colour!

100 g lilac petals
500 ml water
juice of 1 lemon
300 g sugar
30 g agar-agar or pectin

Pour boiling water over the lilac petals, then add the juice of the lemon and let it stand for an hour. Sieve, add sugar and pectin and cook it for about 5 minutes. Fill in jars and enjoy a spoon of spring as soon as it set.

April 27, 2012

Beetroot - Fresh Goat's Milk Cheese Mousse

Well, okay it is only half of the truth! In fact this mousse was served on a cardamom scented rhubarb jelly with blood orange juice and elderberry syrup and in coffee poached beetroot, elderberry vinegar marinated raw beet and walnut crumble. But the other half of notes that I made for the recipe has disapperaed and it is probably hanging around with those lost half socks somewhere in the cracks of the universe. So in order the save the recipe for the mousse I rather share it with you! I was lucky to recieve some long shaped beets from my mom so it was no question that I have to make something real pink! After all to me this kind of beet is the non plus ultra of all red beets. Oh yeah! 

200 g fresh goat's milk cheese
80 ml beet juice
2 sheets gelatin
100 ml cream
salt, pepper

Bring half of the beet juice to the boil with any type of herbs or spices you desire. Yeah, feel free and experiment! If you ask me, I would either suggest fennel seeds or rosemary with some honey. Both goes perfectly well with beet root and goat milk's cream cheese. With the rest of the juice puree the goat's milk cream cheese. Then dissolve the previously soaked gelatine sheets in the hot beet juice and mix it together with the pureed cream cheese. Finally fold in the beaten cream and season with salt and pepper. Chill for 2-3 hours.

April 20, 2012

Dandelion Syrup

Though I should rather call it honey, because it tastes like that and even the consistency is the same. It is real nice treat with a slice of buttered brioche. When I found the recipe last year on Robert's blog, it was already too late to try, because dandelion wasn't blooming anymore. After this week's rainy days, finally I managed to collect the flowers and to cook the syrup. Yum!

100-150 dandelion flowers
1 lemon
250 g sugar

Shake flowers so the insects can escape. Pour water over it, just enough so that it is covered and bring it to the boil. Remove any foam if necessary. Now add sliced lemond and cook until it is reduced by half. Cover and let it stand until the next day. Sieve and measure liquid. Cook dandelion liquid with sugar, half of the amount of the liquid (in my case 500 ml liquid with 250 g of sugar). Cook it over low heat until it thickens, it takes körülbelül 2 hours over 90°C. Pour it into jars and enjoy.

April 13, 2012

Think Outside the Can: Tarragon Trout Fritters with Beetroot Mayonnaise

There is life without eating tuna! Personally, I have quit eating tuna already for 8 years and I do care very much that the seafood that gets onto our plates is from sustainable sources. Greenpeace has started a campaign in order to finally stop ripping up our oceans. So people out there it is time to finally wake up! Why not try these trout fritters instead the usual tuna stuff?

for the fritters:
150 g rainbow trout
25 g butter
100 ml water
90 g flour
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1-2 fresh tarragon (as desired)
salt, pepper
oil for deep frying

Puree fish with tarragon and coriander. In the meantime melt butter and water over medium heat, then bring it to the boil. As soon as it is boiling add all the flour at once and mix together. Keep on mixing until there is a thin white film on the bottom of the pot. Transfer batter into a bowl and whisk in the egg. Fold in the pureed trout, season and transfer into a piping bag. Pipe batter into the hot oil and bake until golden brown.

for the beetroot mayonnaise:
1 egg yolk
5 tablespoons beet juice
150-200 ml rape seed oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1-2 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish
salt, pepper

Whisk egg yolk together with the vinegar and 1 tablespoon of beet juice. Now add in a thin strin while whisking constantly. As soon as the mayonnaise is getting together add 3 more tablespoons of beet juice and the rest of the oil. When done season with salt, pepper, fresh horseradish and the rest of the juice.

April 11, 2012

Quark Cake

Ever since my childhood a nice slice of túrótorta or quark cake was a must during the Easter holidays. My mom usually took a piece of yeast dough to cover the baking form. Of course I had to bake it this year, after all my parents brought me a nice portion of túró that is not the same like curd or cottage cheese, because these are made with the help of rennet, but traditional túró isn't. If you are not able to find túró then I would suggest to use ricotta, though that is fresh cheese made using whey, however it has kind of a similar texture. Anyway, it is impossible to say no to a slice of this cake. It is especially perfect with fresh, juicy strawberries and beaten cream. Well, no local strawberries until somewhen in may, so I served it with some lyophilized red currants.

(for a 18 cm round baking form)
for the pastry:
125 g flour
75 g soft butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of sugar
1/2 egg
1/2 tablespoon milk
for the filling:
500 g quark
3 eggs
160 g sugar
1 vanilla pod
zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 tablespoons semolina

For the pastry sift flour and pour it onto a working surface. Make a hole into the middle and add diced soft butter, sugar, salt and the egg. Now start to work together the flour with the other ingredients. As soon as it is crumbly add the milk and knead until smooth. Refrigirate until needed. If you do not want to mess around with a half egg, then double the ingredients. The pastry can be kept for up to a week in the fridge or simply freeze it. For the fillin beat egg yolks with sugar until creamy, add quark, seeds of the vanilla pod, zest of the lemon and 1 tablespoons semolina and mix well. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks with a pinch of salt and fold it into the quark mixture. Cover the baking form with the pastry, sprinkle the leftover semoline onto the bottom, add the filling. If you like fold the excess pastry over the filling. Bake for 50-60 minutes over 160°C. The filling will collapse a bit once it has cooled down, but you can hide that with a nice portion of beaten cream.

April 10, 2012

Langoustine Bisque

The task was challenging, because nobody in the family likes seafood. My dad might eat a scallop or two, but that's it. However, this time I thought I might be able to trick them into eating langoustine. And it worked, at least to a certain point, because nobody wanted the tails on top of the bisque. But still it was a success, because my mom told me that it was the best soup she ever had. Well, that's a compliment, right? I kept it as simple as possible in order to concentrate on the delicate taste of the langousintes. At last it turned to be a pretty traditional bisque, if I may say that.

for the stock:
10-15 langoustines
1 teaspoon butter
2 shallot
1 clove garlic
1/2 fennel
1 carrot
1 parsley root
2 thin stalks of celery
100 ml dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 small bay leaf
fish stock or water
for the soup:
1/2 teaspoon water
1 shallot
1 small potato
1/2 fennel
1/2 teaspoon tomato puree
2 pinches of saffron
1 twig tarragon
70-90 ml cream
1-2 teaspoon cognac
salt, pepper

Remove the heads of the langoustines, then peel the tails and devein. Be careful during this process because the peel of the langoustines is a lot header then the peel of prawns. Sautee heads and peel in butter until it gets pale. Now add diced vegetables, bay leaf and coriander seeds and sautee for a few more minutes. Add white wine and cook until reduced. Pour stock or water over it, just enough so that it is covered and cook for 10-15 minutes and sieve. Sautee chopped onion, potato and fennel in butter, add half of the tails that you have set aside, then add the prepared stock and cook for 10-15 minutes. Now puree and add cream and cook for another 5 minutes, season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat, add tarragon and let it stand for 5 minutes. Then remove tarragon and season with some coganc. Serve with the rest of the leftover tails that are fried in butter and flambee with cognac if desired.

April 9, 2012

Rhubarb-Quark Mousse Cake

Mother nature's timing was just perfect this time! Right before Easter the first local rhubarb of the season was available at a local farmer's shop. As I had no idea what to bake, I was more than happy about that! Combined with blood oranges is just unbeatable! Play around with the spices, for example add some cardamom and ginger or cinnamon. As far as I am concerned I wanted to keep it simple with the flavours so I only used vanilla and orange zest to boost this beautiful vegetable. Together with quark it made a light dessert, however something was missing: strawberries. For those we still have to wait until May, but I know that it is worth to do so!

(based on a recipe by The Art of the Cake by B. Healy and P. Bugat)
100 g butter
100 g powder sugar
100 g egg whites (about 3 eggs)
85 g flour
2-3 teaspoon raspberry or beetroot powder

Cream soft butter with powder sugar until fluffy, then add egg whites and stir until smooth. Fold in the sifted flour and raspberry powder. Make any type of pattern onto a baking sheet and chill for 15-20 minutes.

85 g finely ground hazelnut
75 g powder sugar
25 g flour
150 g eggs
90 g egg whites
10 g sugar

Sift flour, powder sugar, hazelnut into a bowl and mix well. Beat egg whites with sugar to stiff peaks. Mix eggs into the hazelnut-flour mixture, then fold in the beaten egg whites. Pour batter onto the baking sheet with the pattern and bake for 5-7 minutes on 250°C. Let it cool on a wrack and cut into the size you need (my cake here is about 24-26 cm).

for the pistachio sponge:
40 g almond flour
40 g ground pistachio
35 g sugar
18 g flour
2 eggs
50 g egg whites
40 g sugar

Whisk together the flour, ground almond and pistachio with 35 g of sugar and the eggs. Beat egg whites with the rest of the sugar until it makes stiff peaks. Fold beaten egg white to the egg yolk mixture and spread it on a baking paper covered sheet. Bake for 10-13 minutes on 170°C. If you want the first layer to be thicker, then double the recipe.

for the quark mousse:
500 g quark
zest of 1/2 lemon and zest of 1/2 orange
1 vanilla pod
120 g simple syrup

80 g egg yolks
4 gelatine sheets
300 ml cream

Pour quark into a cheesecloth and press out as much water as possible. Over steam beat egg yolks with syrup until thick and creamy then stir in the previously soaked gelatine, quark and the zest of the citrus. Pour it into a bowl covered with foil and chill for 4-5 hours. Before assembling the cake put it to the freezer for about 30 minutes.

for the rhubarb jelly:
400 g rhubabr (weighed trimmed)
juice of 3 blood oranges
1 orange
150 g sugar
1 vanilla pod
2 1/2 gelatine sheets
Slice rhubarba and cook until tender in the blood orange juice with sugar and orange zest. Set 150 g aside and stir the previously soaked gelatine into the remaining rhubarb and pour it onto the pistachio joconde. Chill until it sets. If you desire pimp it with cardamom, cinnamon or ginger.
for the rhubarb mousse:
150 g rhubarb puree
2 1/2 gelatine sheets
3 egg yolks
90 g sugar
300 ml cream

Take about two tablespoons of the puree and warm it, then dissolve the previously soaked gelatine in it. Cook a syrup with the sugar and the same amount of water. Whisk egg yolks with the syrup in water bath until thick and creamy. Then stir in the rhubabr puree and the cream. Place the quark mousse onto your base and pour the rhubarb mousse on top. Chill for 2-3 hours.

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