Cheesecake marbled brownies

IMG_6278

 

 

 

 

 

 

These extraordinarily chocolate-y, cheesecake-y, gooey brownies are the best way to say Thank You, a big THANK YOU in fact. Don’t waste them on something like ‘Thanks for watering my plants’ or watching the dog or some such. They are epic, chocolate-cheesecake brownie nirvana, and only those make an adequate gesture for something big, something so wonderful and delightful like two little boys, for example, delivered healthily and for us being looked after so well, even mollycoddled every minute we have been in the hospital.

If you are not a brownie purist but enjoy a cheesecake version as well, then these are it, I mean they, perfection, nirvana, heaven with (chocolate) knobs on. I never buy chips but chop (good) chocolate and find delight in the odd-sized rubble, especially when I hit the jackpot with a chunky nugget on my piece. Hence the Jackson Pollock look of my brownie slab. A slight reduction of the sugar amount results in a less sweet version but these are in fact sweet, decadent and rich, so no kidding oneself that it’s health food – but cut in little morsels they are not only a big Thank you but the panacea for fraught nerves of overtired people.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Spring onion tart with wild green garlic

IMG_5620

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I always have spare bits of pastry dough in the freezer from when I make some for a smaller tart or when plans change and many days they have been supper savers or made light work of a quick fruit tart for dessert. If you’ll do the same you know what I am talking about: making pastry is not exactly hard labour but sometimes it seems that way. Then you are really glad to have homemade frozen short crust at your finger tips. Just remember that labelling helps is really essential when you do not want to end up with savoury filling in a sweet dough.

Spring brings us again the bounty of fresh vegetables, delicious rich eggs and cream and about time to! There is fragrant Bärlauch (wild green garlic leaves) again and wonderful fresh spring onions, both perfect for a tart to celebrate the beginning of spring. They may seem simple, almost humble ingredients, though the result is a more than impressive. Feel free to glam it up with asparagus, morels etc. which I am not averse to but please try this simple version out first, it is worth it. Continue reading

Finnish rye flat breads

IMG_6197

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before the big event, we decided to slip in a little time away in the Alsace and I’ve put everything on the back burner. Though now it his high time for the ‘bun in the oven’ post – I have been dying to do so for months. And, there’s one more thing: let’s make it buns! See, there is a reason for the erratic posting, extreme tiredness, some serious cooking ennui (bread & cheese for supper again, darling) and questionable dishes that should never ever see the light of day again (someone else managed to render the ‘Spanish’ chicken from Food 52 absolutely inedible?). On the other hand you are suddenly super busy getting all the (strictly necessary, right) paraphernalia and wonderful things and, even if you don’t coo at the sight puppies (really?), you’ll definitely swoon over maritime striped bodies in miniature sizes, tiny embroidered shirts and the cutest red corduroy dungarees, which I just had to buy for late spring… and those adorable blue bloomers, of course. Just to clarify: I am pregnant with twin boys. Puppies would be nice, too. One thing after the other.

 

The other buns: mini rye flat breads with a slight sourdough tang. Wholemeal or stoneground rye flour and the fermented buttermilk-yeast starter dough give them a rustic appearance, masses of flavour and just a little rise. They are perfect little buns for a hearty lunch or supper and make irresistible brunch fare with some fitting (as in going on the Scandinavian route) fishy things and herby spreads Continue reading

Vanilla-almond chia pudding

IMG_6185

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I do not want to sound like a health apostle and praise all the virtues chia seeds possess – that would be bordering on nutrionism – but their high protein content, massive amounts of fibre and antioxidants, unsaturated fatty acids, a great Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio, B vitamins etc. and low GI have earned these South American seeds their well-deserved place amongst the so called superfoods. No wonder chia meant strength to the ancient Maya. They taste neutral (not a bad thing), manage to bind a fantastic amount of liquid and provide an interesting texture – ideal if you want to make a pudding without the help of refined starches or raw eggs. Though be warned if sago or tapioca isn’t your thing, you might want to skip this one but if you are not texture averse and enjoy tiny pearls in your pudding then chia seeds are a great healthy thing to try. Continue reading

Mackerel with salted cucumber, horseradish, onion & capers

IMG_6164

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mackerel is one of the fishes I have a hard time passing at the fishmonger’s especially when they are filleted, saving me fiddly deboning and offering near-instant gratification. Grilled or pan fried mackerel is piled along with a nose-clearing dollop of fresh horseradish, soothing softened cucumber, zippy red onion rings and a few salty capers on crispy rye crisp bread.

There is nothing more satisfying than the first (and second and third) bite of this kind of smørrebrød and my version is ready in about 10 minutes. For this is one of the quickest and most delightful lunches you can make after you just passed the fishmonger and found this treasured fish, not to mention the smugness appeal for all the health benefit boxes it will tick. Not that that is my primary interest here. We are from the Live to Eat (great food) camp, which minds what we Eat to Live and values taste over fanatic nutrionism. Continue reading

Puy lentils with tomatoes, tahini & cumin

IMG_6122

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy New Year and lots of luck with this flavourful and surprisingly snazzy lentil dish! Hopefully you had an amazing Christmas and a great start to this new & shiny year full of miracles and joy.

I don’t know about you but the holidays seem to have just rushed past in one big swoosh: plenty of balmy days spent celebrating, feasting & relaxing and we enjoyed every minute of them. Cooking wise, we’ve had a few ups (these lentils, Christmas goose with all the trimmings, bean chilli) and more than a few downs lately (burnt mince meat and no mince pies, the ‘Spanish’ chicken, yesterday’s supper to name the worst) since a stray swarm of tsetse flies must have settled nearby (odd, the forest does not look in the least like Kalahari) and I could hardly keep my eyes open past 9 o’ clock. Unfortunately, that’s a point where cooking ambition switches into sheer survival mode and explains a certain lack of Internet presence & participation. But, discounting yesterday’s meagre plate, I am getting back to normal and the hunger games might be over.

Whatever this year brings to you, it is always good to have a nice lentil supper up one’s sleeve and this Middle Eastern answer to dal is a real keeper as far as we are concerned. Ottolenghi – who else should wonderful dish be from? – mashes them for a more porridge-y consistency though I prefer the lentils intact in this dish where vibrant lemon & tomatoes deliver upbeat notes and tahini adds a touch of creaminess. Finish with zingy onion slices, fresh coriander and a dusting of warm paprika – a feast for all the senses that should bring lots of luck and keep even the sleepiest awake for dinner (me). Even on its own it is a thoroughly satisfying meal (add hard-boiled eggs for additional sustenance) but the lentils are also a spectacular side to pan fried fish we found one evening.

 

 

Puy lentils with tomatoes, tahini & cumin


Puy lentils with tomatoes, tahini & cumin

Serves 4. Adapted with small changes from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty More

 

200g Puy lentils
30g butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1½ teaspoons cumin
1½ tins chopped tomatoes (or 4 medium tomatoes, blanched, skinned and diced)
½ bunch of coriander, chopped (30g), save some 1-2 tbsp. for finishing
60g tahini paste
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt & pepper
water
½ red onion, sliced into thin half moons
olive oil
½ teaspoon paprika

optional: 2 hard-boiled eggs, halved
Cook lentils for about 20-25 minutes until done, drain and set aside until needed.

Heat butter & oil in a large sauté pan over a medium-high flame and cook garlic and cumin for a scant minute before adding tomatoes, nearly all of the chopped coriander (save some to sprinkle over the finished dish later) and the lentils. Stir and cook for a few minutes, add tahini, lemon juice, salt & pepper and 70ml water. Reduce the heat and continue to cook & stir for 5 minutes until the lentil dish has thickened and is hot. At this point Ottolenghi smashes the lentils a few times with a potato masher in order to achieve the consistency of a chunky porridge / hummus but I liked my lentils unmashed.

Garnish with thinly sliced onion, the reserved coriander, a drizzle of olive oil and a dusting of paprika. For a more substantial main course add halved hard-boiled eggs.

 

 

 

Deutsches Rezept:

Puy lentils with tomatoes, tahini and cumin


Puy Linsen mit Tomaten, Tahini & Kreuzkümmel

4 Portionen, adaptiert und abgewandelt von Yotam Ottolenghi’s Linsengericht aus Plenty More. Sehr lecker als Hauptgericht (dazu die hartgekochten Eier) oder als Beilage zu gebratenem Fisch.

 

200g Puy Linsen
30g Butter
2 EL Olivenöl
3 Knoblauchzehen, gepresst
1½ TL Kreuzkümmel
1½ Dosen gehackte Tomaten (oder 4 mittelgroße Tomaten, blanchiert, gehäutet und gewürfelt)
½ Bund Koriander, gehackt (30g), 1-2 EL zur Dekoration zurückbehalten
60g Tahini (Sesampaste)
2 EL Zitronensaft
Salz & Pfeffer
Wasser
½ rote Zwiebel, in dünne Halbmonde geschnitten
Olivenöl
½ TL Paprika

optional: 2 hart gekochte Eier, halbiert
Linsen für ca. 20-25 Minuten gar kochen, abgießen und zur Seite stellen.

Butter und Olivenöl in einer großen Sauteuse bei mittlerer Hitze schmelzen und Knoblauch sowie Kreuzkümmel für eine knappe Minute erhitzen. Tomaten, Koriander und die gekochten Linsen hinzufügen, umrühren und für einige Minute kochen, dann Tahini, Zitronensaft, Salz & Pfeffer sowie 70ml Wasser unterrühren. Die Hitze leicht reduzieren und für ca. 5 Minuten weiterkochen bis das Linsengericht eingedickt und heiß ist. An dieser Stelle zerdrückt Ottolenghi die Linsen mit einem Kartoffelstampfer um die Konsistenz eines stückigen Hummus zu erreichen, ich bevorzuge die Linsen intakt.

In einer flachen Schale mit dünnen Zwiebelscheiben, gehacktem Koriander, etwas Olivenöl und einem Hauch von Paprika servieren. Zusammen mit hart gekochten Eiern wird dies ein noch gehaltvolleres Hauptgericht.

Mimi’s potato pie

IMG_5423

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is hard not to rave about the current weather: I am in love with this autumn, its colourful leaves sailing slowly to the ground (you might have noticed) and the rising fog which makes staying in or returning home after a bracing walk through fresh air filled with the scent of burning wood fires (or even better the local butcher smoking his sausages) and a certain mossy dampness promising the appearance of mushrooms everywhere. Well, finally weather to indulge without a smidgen of guilt in rib-sticking, rich dishes with lots of molten cheese, bacon, potatoes, polenta, pastry, dishes I always associate with Alpine cuisine. You know, stuff you’ll eat after a long day skiing. Or after spending considerable time somewhere in the cold, foggy exterior… like standing around a fire watching effigies of Guy Fawkes being burned on Bonfire Night for example. ‘Remember, remember, the fifth of November / gunpowder treason and plot…’ Continue reading