January 31, 2013

Blood orange - beetroot jam

Just a quick post this evening where my two absolute favourites come together: beetroot and blood oranges. Both are in season, both have gorgeous colours so no wonder that the jam looks just amazing. Nothing can beat beets, that is for sure!

200 g beetroot (weighed peeled)

200 g blood orange (
weighed peeled)
1 organic orange and its juice
juice of 1 lemon
pinch of ground clove
250 g sugar
2 tablespoons agar-agar

Finely grate beetroot. If you manage to get organic blood oranges, then grate the peel finely, if not cut it off and cut out the segments of the oranges. Grate peel of the organic orange and juice. Put everything into a pot, add sugar, ground clove and agar-agar and bring it to the boil. As soon as it starts to thicken remove from the heat and pour into jars.

January 30, 2013

Cinnamon-cocoa sugar coated beignets

This is a quite old childhood favourite and strangely it has never been prepared at home. I remember, I was 8 or 9 years old when I had these for the very last time. In the small town where we used to live there was a big factory that of course had a canteen. These beignets come from that canteen and I was lucky to get the recipe from them. Nothing special, but it brings back some beautiful memories from those days. It is best served with cinnamon-cocoa sugar, but it is also a treat with apricot jam.

500 g flour
500 ml milk
50 g butter
6 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
vegetable oil for frying
icing sugar, icing sugar-cocoa powder or cinnamon-cocoa sugar for coating

Bring milk with butter and salt to the boil, then pour in all the flour at once and whisk together. Transfer batter into a bowl and when it is lukewarm stir in the eggs one by one and the baking powder. Heat oil and with a help of an ice cream scooper add portions of batter to the hot oil and bake for 10-13 minutes or until golden. Coat the lukewarm beignets in cinnamon-cocoa sugar.

January 25, 2013

Citrus-fennel salad with pistachios

As much as possible I really care to cook with local and seasonal produce, however once in a while I just have to make an exception. After all there are a couple of classical combinations that are just not in season at the same time, like fennel and orange. And I think it is best to prepare this salad when oranges are in season, rather then during summer-autumn, when we have local fennel. This time I gave it a kind of oriental touch with cardamom, rose water and pistachio.

1 fennel
2 oranges
1 grapefruit
1 mandarin
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon honey
2-3 green cardamom pods
1/2 teaspoon rose water
50 g unsalted pistachio
freshly ground pepper

Slice fennel thinly with the help of a mandoline and set its is green aside for garnish. Grate the zest of the orange, then prepare it among the other citrus fruits. Cut off the top and the bottom and cut off the peel following the shape of the fruit with a knife. Then slice fruits and prepare the dressing. Crush cardamom and ground seeds in a mortar, if you want to skip that, just use ground cardamom, about 1/8 teaspoon. Just don't forget, less is more! Mix dressing with fennel and put a bunch on top of the fruit, sprinkle the rest of it over the sliced ruit. Season with salt and pepper, and serve with coarsly chopped pistachio.

January 23, 2013


The carnival season here in Switzerland wouldn't be the same without the so called Fastnachtschüechli which you find in every shop throughout the country during this time of the year. I think the store bought chüechli is crispier and also thinner, but the home made one is tastier. Not to mention that you are free to boost the flavours with anything you can think of. I decided to add some lemon zest and vanilla, but orange zest with a few pinches of ground anise might work well too!

based on a recipy by Saisonküche
25 g butter

3 eggs
75 ml heavy cream
2 tablespoons vanilla sugar
zest of 1 lemon
pinch of salt
320 g flour
oil for deep frying

Melt butter over low heat, in the meantime whisk together heavy cream with the eggs, vanilla sugar, lemon zest and salt. Stir in molten butter and sift flour on top. Knead a dough, it shouldn't be stick, so if that's the case and more flour. Let the dough rest on room temperature for 1 hour. Cut dough in 15 equal pieces and roll each as thin as possible with a rolling pin. Deep fry in hot oil and serve it sprinkled with icing sugar.

January 22, 2013

Prawns with shiitake mushroom and noodles

Hunger is the best cook, and that's just so true! I've been craving for Asian flavors in the past days, so yesterday I sort of cooked the mother of today's lunch. Originally, I wanted to combine prawns with a juicy mango, but I changed my mind. In a way I rediscovered shiitake, I must say that I didn't liked it at all, so I felt it is time to give the mushroom a new chance. What a great idea it was! For this quick stir fry you only need a couple of ingredients and only a few minutes in the kitchen. Personally, I think the less ingredients the better stir fry you get. Of course it should be hot, but not that kind that makes you wrap up the fridge's door for a glass of cold milk.

2-4 prawns per person
2 medium onions
100 g bean sprouts
8 shiitake mushroom
200 g asian noodles (any type you fancy)

2 cm ginger
2 cloves garlic
4-5 tablespoons peanut oil
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
pinch of sugar and a few splash of rice vinegar if desired
ground chili or chili sauce as desired
2 teaspoons sesame seeds

Prepare the noodles according the instructions on the package. Cut mushroom and onion in slices, and rinse prawns with cold water. Heat oil in a wok and add grated ginger and garlic and stir fry prawns for about 2 minutes, then set aside. Now add mushroom, onion and bean sprouts and fry for another 2 minutes. Add the sauces, put back the prawns and after a minute or two add the noodles. Season with a pinch of sugar, rice vinegar and chilisauce as needed. Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.

January 21, 2013

Fried anchovies

Just squeeze some lemon juice over the hot anchovies and you are in culinary heaven. It doesn't really need anything else, however some capers and glass of cold beer goes pretty well with it. Some say, the smaller the fish the better, others swear that the bigger the better. Frankly, no need for a recipe for this one, but maybe there are some beginners out there who appriciate an advice or two.

bunch of anchovies

semolina flour or corn grits
some herbs if desired
oil for deep frying


lemon for serving

Some say just take the anchovies as they are, but if you ask me, I suggest to remove the head and the guts. Once done, rinse them carefully in cold water. After just coat them in semolina, or corn grits, but even in flour and deep fry in hot oil. Serve immediately with some freshly squeezed lemon juice and capers.

January 18, 2013

Blood orange granita

Who cares that it's actually about -6 and snow out there? Besides eating ice cream really don't depend on the weather, however granita is something for a real cold treat enthusiast. In a way it is almost like licking a piece of ice, but a lot more tasty and less cold. If ice cream is able to caress the throat with its velvety texture, then granita definetly gives it a kick. I really suggest to wear a pair of gloves when eating it, and if not, then you'll scream for it once finished. Cold or not, I had to prepare this granita, after all it is blood orange season and that colour is just breathtaking, agree? No spices in here, but boost it with some ginger, or if you like to experiment, well black pepper goes very well with it!

juice of 7 blood oranges (about 500 ml)

125 g fructose
250 ml water

Juice the oranges and pass the liquid through a fine sieve. In the meantime bring fructose with water to the boil, then pour it to the blood orange juice and mix. Let it cool completly. Pour mixture into a bowl and freeze. Whisk it up every 20-30 minutes, then cover and freeze for at least 1 more hour before serving.

January 15, 2013

Quince-pumpkin pots de crème

As promised yesterday, I am getting on with my pumpkin cooking campaign. This time it got together with a leftover quince and two juicy oranges. Frankly, I was pretty surprised that the quince has survived for such a long time in the pantry. I wanted to prepare something that you just get out of the fridge and it is ready to be eaten, so pot de crème seemed to be a good choice. Flavoured with speculoos spices and served with some leftover cookie crumbs it was a real treat.

for the quince-pumpkin puree:
1 quince
130 g pumpkin (peeled)
1/2 teaspoon speculoos spice mixture

1 tablespoon cane sugar
juice and zest of 2 oranges
some water if necessary

for the pots de crème:
makes 6 100 ml portions

360 ml heavy cream

150 g quince-pumpkin puree
4 egg yolks
70 g cane sugar

1/4 speculoos spice mixture, if desired
zest of 1 orange

For the puree peel quince and cut in cubes together with the pumpkin. In a pot melt sugar and let it caramelise, add the chopped pumpkin and quince, orange juice, spice mixture and some water if needed so that ingredients are just covered. Cook over low heat until soft, then puree and let it cool.

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Bring heavy cream to the boil, in the meantime beat egg yolks with cane sugar. Pour hot heavy cream over the egg yolk-sugar mixture while whisking constantly. Stir in the quince-pumpkin puree, season with some more spice mixture if you like and a zest of an orange. Pour it into ramequins or small glasses. Pour hot water into a heatproof bowl and place the ramequins into the water so that the water is half way up to the side of them. Bake for 15-20 minutes, they are ready when the middle is still wobbely. Let them cool and chill over night or at least for 5 hours.

January 14, 2013

Cream of pumpkin soup with coconut foam and cayenne pepper

New year, new habits or something like that. That philosophy motivates me these days and I really try to make things better and more efficient then in the past. Besides I promised myself not to look back, but just go forward. Let's see what the magical number 13 brings, after all I was born on a Friday the 13th. As far as cooking is considered I decided to use most of the ingredients that I collected through autumn so that when spring is here my pantry and freezer are more or less empty. My first "victim" today was one of the pumpkins, yeah one of them, there are still 3 left so expect more pumpkin recipes within the next days. This one is a simple pumpkin cream soup, nothing more, nothing less. However, it contains both butter sauteed and oven roasted pumpkin, just like Heston Blumenthal suggests, to achieve a far more complex pumpkin flavor. On the other hand, if you end up with a more or less tasteless pumpkin, well then nothing can save the soup! This pumpkin season I wasn't very lucky with these yellow beauties, however this soup turned out delicious and was really comforting on this pretty cold winter day.

for the pumpkin soup:
800 g pumpkin
200 ml coconut milk

1 shallot
50 g butter
few rosemary sprigs
2 cloves garlic

800 ml vegetable or chicken stock
cayenne pepper

for the coconut foam:
200 ml coconut milk
2 g lecithin

Preheat the oven to 200°C and bake half of the pumpkin with 2-3 sprigs of rosemary and garlic. Peel both the baked and the raw pumpkin. Melt butter and add chopped onions and the raw pumpkin cubes and sautee for 15 minutes. Then add baked pumpkin, coconut milk and stock and cook for 20-25 minutes. Then puree soup and add a fresh rosemary sprig and let it stand for about 15 minutes. Season with salt and cayenne pepper. In case the soup is too thick then use some stock or coconut water to achieve the desired consistency. For the coconut foam bring coconut milk to the boil and lecithin and whip it with a mixer. Serve with an extra sprinkle of cayenne pepper.

January 8, 2013

Lemon thyme infused mascarpone mousse on lemon curd with meringue

You might remember those meringue kisses with poppy seed, that I actually planned to include in a dessert during the holidays. Well, I didn't make anything that would have gone well with the meringue, tough I found out that meringue and ice cream are really great together. Okay, I knew that before, but I simply didn't want to confess, because meringue is really not mine, unless it comes to ice cream. Anyway, I used plenty of lemon zest lately, and as it was impossible to drink such a huge amount of lemonade so I made lemon curd. The only problem is that in my family noone likes lemon curd, therefore I always need some little tricks to make them eat it. So this dessert contains pretty much of recycled food and I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. To add an extra kick I infused the mascarpone mousse with lemon thyme, but thyme or basil would work just great too!

for the lemon curd:
juice and zest of 3 lemons
4 egg yolks
200 g sugar
200 g butter

for the mascarpone mousse:
250 g mascarpone
2 egg yolks
70 g sugar
70 g water
200 ml cream
7-8 twigs lemon thyme

For the lemon curd bring water to the boil. In a heatproof bowl mix together the lemon juice, zest, sugar and butter and put it over the water bath. As soon as the butter and sugar is molten whisk in the egg yolks and whisk until the mixture is pale and thick. Pour into jars and chill for a couple of hours or even over night.

For the mousse bring sugar with water and half of the lemon thyme to the boil. When the sugar is molten remove from the heat add the rest of the lemon thyme and let it infuse until the syrup is cold. Depending on the intensity of the herb you might need more or less of it. Over a water bath whisk egg yolks with the syrup until thick and pale. Whisk the beaten egg yolk mixture with the mascarpone and fold in the beaten cream.

Put some lemon curd onto the bottom of a glass, top with the mascarpone mousse and chill for at least 3 hours. Sprinkle meringue on top before serving.

January 4, 2013

Baked beet salad with citrus and cottage cheese

Being addicted to beetroot, I couldn't make a better choice then to restart blogging with a beet salad in the new year. After the holidays with its tempting treats and meals it is time to eat something light and healthy. Enjoying the citrus season, I prepared a baked beetroot salad with lovely pink grapefruit and juicy Sicilian oranges topped with some cottage cheese and lemon thyme.

for the salad:
2 medium beetroots

2 oranges
2 pink grapefruits

100 g cottage cheese

lemon thyme
2 cloves garlic (or as desired)
olive oil

freshly ground pepper

for the dressing:
juice of the leftover citrus
4-5 tablespoons rapeseed oil
1 teaspoon honey
lemon thyme
freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Peel beetroot, slice and place them onto a baking paper covered sheet together with sliced garlic. Season with salt, pepper, sprinkle with oil and lemon thyme. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cut the top and the bottom of the orange and grapefruit, then cut away the peel and cut out the fruit segments. Press out the leftovers and set the juice aside. Mix the juice with the rest of the ingredients and dress the baked beets. Serve it with the citrus segments, cottage cheese and some additional lemon thyme.

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