Monday, 31 December 2012

Toast with Egg Salad

This is a recipe I have used for the last few New Year's Eves. It originates from my grandmother whose birthday was shortly after NYE. Mostly she did the buffet herself - and this recipe was always an integral part of the dishes she presented to her guests. It was - and still is - one of my favourites.

Given the ingredients you might be excused to think there should be a government's health warning attached to it. But then I only eat once a year - on NYE.

What you need

  • 12 eggs
  • 10 pickled onions
  • 5-6 gherkins (pickled)
  • 3-4 hot peppers (pickled)
  • 1 onion
  • pepper, salt and a pinch of sugar
  • mild curry powder
  • mayonnaise 500gr
  • ketchup
  • mustard (mild)
  • Emmenthal cheese
  • toast bread sliced
Equipment: baking paper, a bowl for preparing the egg salad

How you do it

Prepare the egg salad
  • boil the eggs for several minute. We need hard eggs for this.
  • Once boiled, let the eggs cool down in cold water. Then peel off the shell
  • peel and chop the onion - put into the bowl
  • take the pickled onions and chop - put into the bowl
  • the gherkins and hot peppers should but cut thinly. Add the cut peppers/gherkins to the bowl
  • cut the hard boiled eggs into little cubes (if possible) and add to the bowl
  • now add the mayonnaise (all of it)
  • add 2 table spoons of ketchup and 2 tea spoons of the mustard
  • add 1-2 tea spoons of the mild curry powder
  • spice with pepper, salt and a pinch of sugar
  • mix thoroughly
It's best to store the egg salad in the fridge for a few hours, or even overnight so that the flavour of the salad can develop.

Prepare the toast 
For each slice of white bread do the following
  •  take as many table spoons of the egg salad and spread evenly over the slice of bread
  • cut a few thin slices from the Emmenthal cheese and cover the bread with the egg salad
Heat up the over to ca 180 degrees (C) and bake the toasts for ca 35-40 min - so that the cheese on top starts getting slightly brown (but not burnt)

You can serve the toasts hot - or cold.
And if you can manage more than 4 you are VERY good.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Piddie's Lamb Stew

What you need

  • 1 kg lamb cut in cubes - no bones
  • cinnamon stick or powder
  • oregano (dry)
  • 4 All Spice berries, 4 whole cloves
  • pepper corns
  • salt
  • 1 or 2 bay leave(s)
  • 1 small onion, 1 garlic
  • ca 500 gr shallots (small onion)
  • 6 medium sizes tomatoes
  • ca 250ml red wine
  • 2 table spoons red wine vinegar
  • tomato puree
  • olive oil
Equipment: pestle/mortar for crushing berries/cloves/corns, large casserole dish, small pan 

How you do it

  • peel, chop the medium and small garlic
  • put 1 table spoon olive oil into the casserole and heat up until hot
  • put the lamb cubes into the casserole and add some salt. Cook and stir for ca 10 min.
  • add chopped onion and garlic and cook for another 5-10 min
  • now crush the all spice/cloves in the pestle/mortar. Add the crushed spices, the cinnamon, the oregano and ground pepper to the pot.
  • stir and cook for ca 5 min.
  • Now add a glass of red wine and 2 table spoons of red wine vinegar to the casserole. Bring to the boil.
  • lower the heat and put the lid on.
  • Wash and cut the tomatoes into quarters.
  • Peel the shallots.
  • Heat up the small pan with a tablespoon of olive oil. When hot, add the shallots to it.
  • Stir and cook until the onions are slightly brown - take the pan off the cooker and let cool it down.
  • Now add the chopped/cut tomatoes to the casserole/lamb stew. Stir and put the lid back on. If you are running short on sauce in the pot, add a bit of the red wine to it.
  • Let the stew cook in the casserole on a small flame for ca 1 hour.
  • After an hour, add the previously cooked shallots to the casserole.
  • Cook for another 1 hour on small heat with the lid on.
  • Add the tomato puree and mix into the stew. Stir and close the lid. Cook for another 40-45 min.

  • In the final hour of cooking I usually take the lid off. Continue cooking on small heat. However, since the lid is off, you would have to stir regularly.
  • As the lid is off, the sauce in the casserole will ultimately thicken.

The total cooking time should be something like 4 hours.
The stew is getting better if you prepare it the day before and let it rest overnight. Then warm up and serve with either rice or roast potatoes. 

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Potato Dumplings

Another traditional German side dish to accompany most roasted meat dishes are potato dumplings. They come in a number of different varieties. Probably the most common is the half-half potato dumpling. Meaning, it is based on half boiled, half raw potatoes.
The other common form is a potato dumpling entirely based on raw potatoes.

That's the recipe we are going to handle here.
But be warned, this is not for the faint hearted. Potato dumplings made from raw potatoes are quite tricky, the most common danger being that they turn to potato mash.
It took me quite a while to get a handle on them. And I won't claim that the recipe below is perfect. But it should get you going.

What you need

  • 1.5-2kg of potatoes. 
  • Up to 300g of potato flour. My grandmother used to get the potato starch directly from the potatoes, but that is a pain in the butt. So let's just make it a bit easier, ok?
  • Salt
  • 75g of semolina
  • a pint of milk
Equipment: kitchen grater (flat if possible), a large bowl, a large pot, a smaller pot for the milk. A kitchen towel. A good kitchen mixer. Grease proof paper.

How you do it

  • fill the large bowl with cold water
  • peel the potatoes one by one. Once you peeled one potato, immediately grate it into the bowl with cold water. The reason to put it in the water is so they don't oxidise (and turn brown)
  • make sure that when you grate them you use the finest grating. There should be no lumps of potatoes
  • pour the milk into the small pot and bring to the boil
  • add the semolina. Constantly stir (otherwise it'll burn) until it is really thick. Remove from cooker.
  • take the crated potatoes out of the bowl and place them on the kitchen towel centre.
  • Now close the towel and wring it so that all the remaining liquid drains out. Repeat so that only a minimum amount of rest water remains.
  • Use the bowl of the kitchen mixer and put the grated/wringed potatoes in there.
  • Now add salt and switch on the kitchen mixer.
  • Slowly add the milk/semolina mix
  • let the mixer run for a while so that it becomes a nice mash
  • now - with the mixer still running - add the potato flour/starch. 
  • Make sure it is all well mixed.
  • Roll out the grease proof paper. 
  • put some potato flour on your hands to get a grip on the dough.
  • From the bowl take out a small handful and form into a ball. Place the ball on the grease proof paper. At this point you know if you added enough potato flour. The dumpling should stay in shape on the grease proof paper.

  • Put some salt in the large pot - fill with water - and bring to the boil.
  • Add the potato dumplings to the hot water. I'd recommend to try it with only 3 first time round. 
  • Put the pot on a simmer and let it cook for 20 min.
  • Then take the dumplings out. 
  • They are ready for consumption
A tip: you usually put the dumplings into a porcelain dish. If you do that, use a small saucer and put it upside down at the bottom of the porcelain dish. That way the water can drain from the dumplings without soaking them.


Additional Ingredients:
  • parsley
  • a few slices of white toast
Here's what you do with it
  • cut the white bread into little cubes
  • fry them in a pan until brown
  • store aside
  • chop the parsley as fine as possible
Put the breadcrumbs into the dumplings
  • After you prepared the potato dumpling dough in the kitchen mixer:
  • take a hand-full of the dough one at a time.
  • for each hand-full: put a little dent with your thumb in the dough
  • put a few breadcrumbs into it
  • now close the dough and shape into a ball. the crumbs should be right at the centre.

  • put the raw dumplings into the hot water and put on a slow simmer for ca 20min
  • when you take out the dumplings put them on a serving plate and sprinkle them with the chopped parsley 

Red Cabbage

As the festive season is upon us, there is a traditional German side dish to roasts that I'd like to share.
It is Red Cabbage (in German Blaukraut or Rotkohl).

It is NOT to be confused with Sauerkraut, which is actually quite tricky to do yourself (some might so totally impractical).
Although, you can buy Red Cabbage ready made from Delicatessen stores, it is relatively easy to make yourself.

What you need

For the marinade
  • whole Red Cabbage
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Apple
  • Raisins
  • Sugar, salt
For the cooking
  • Cloves (2), All Spice grains (4-5), juniper berries (4-5), peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 onion
  • goose fat
Equipment: a container for storing the marinated red cabbage in; pot to cook it in; pestle & mortar for grating the spices

How you do it

Red cabbage is best if it is marinated at least 1 day before serving. I would recommend to start preparing it 2 days before the dinner.
  • remove the outer leaves from the whole red cabbage
  • cut the piece into quarters. Remove the stem.
  • wash the rest
  • cut each quarter so that you end up with thin, small pieces of cabbage
  • put all of the cut red cabbage into the container.
  • next, peel the apple. Then cut it into quarters, remove the seeds/core. cut into small pieces and add to the cut red cabbage in the container.
  • take 2 tablespoons of raisins and add to the red cabbage/apple in the container
  • take a small cup and put 1 tablespoon of sugar, a pinch of salt and at 4-5 table spoons or red wine vinegar. Mix thoroughly.
  • pour the mix over the cabbage/apple/raisins mix in the container. Mix thoroughly.
  • take a small glass of red wine and pour over the cabbage in the container. Mix thoroughly.
  • Close the container, and store away in the fridge for 2 days.
Cooking the red cabbage. You may do this on the day. However, once you cooked the red cabbage it can be reheated. This may actually add to the flavour. So, if it is all getting far too much. You may cook the red cabbage even the day before dinner - and then simply reheat it.

  • put 2 table spoons of goose fat into the pot
  • get the marinated red cabbage container out of the fridge
  • peel and cut the onion into small pieces
  • heat the pot. When hot, add the onions to the hot fat. Stir and cook until the onions start getting sauteed (looking "glassy") 
  • add all of the red cabbage/apple/raisins mix (with the marinade) into the pot and stir/mix thoroughly.
  • next take the juniper berries/all spice berries/cloves and peppercorns and grind in the pestle/mortar.
  • add the ground spices into the pot with the cabbage.
  • put the lid on the pot and cook on a small heat for 40-50 min. 
  • In between the cooking add small amounts of red wine to it (1-2 tablespoons at the time). Mix and stir when doing so.
  • After 40-50 min the red cabbage should be soft and ready to serve.

Pasta with Porcini

Here is a quick and easy dish I made last week.

What you need

  • Dried Porcini mushrooms, ca 15-20g
  • Dry white wine
  • Sour cream
  • Pasta , e.g. rigatoni. But better still, tagliatelle 
  • Parsley
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, Pepper for seasoning
  • 1 Garlic, 1 small onion
  • sour cream
  • parmesan cheese
Equipment: small bowl, pot (for the pasta) sieve, frying pan

How you do it

Prepare the mushrooms
  • take the small bowl and put the dried porcini in it. Pour white wine over it until it is covered.
  • Leave for at least 2 hours.
Next start putting the pasta on the boil
  • put 2 teaspoons of salt into the pot and fill with water.
  • bring to boil and put the pasta in.
  • when pasta is al dente (i.e. is not overly soft), pour the hot water/pasta through a sieve.
  • At that stage you may want to preserve a cup of the hot pasta water for later.
  • give the pasta in the sieve a good stir - otherwise it may glue together.
  • store the pasta for later
Finally, the sauce
  • chop garlic, onions.
  • clean/wash and chop the parsley
  • grate the parmesan - and store for later
  • put a tablespoon of olive oil in the frying pan and heat up.
  • put the garlic and onions - and half of the parsley into the hot oil/frying pan - and sautee the onions/garlic
  • add salt and pepper
  • now put the Porcini mushrooms together with the white wine into the frying pan.
  • let it boil until the sauce starts to thicken. then put a tablespoon of sour cream to it and stir again.
  • you may also want to put a little of the hot pasta water to it
  • let it cook until the sauce thickens again (stir while doing so).
  • now add the pasta and mix with the sauce
  • add the rest of the parsley to it
  • add the grated parmesan
  • continue to stir until the parmesan starts to melt
Serve straightaway.